Monday, 29 September 2014

Kitty Kahane Tarot Reading

Having seen this deck around a few times before, I was never very impressed with the artwork or colour palette.  Then, Little Red wrote a post about the Tower card (my beloved stalker, though it hasn't been coming up as much, of late).  That persuaded me and, clickety-click, the Kitty Kahane Tarot (AGM Urania, 2006, OOP) came winging it's way to me :)

Situation - Two of Swords

What I notice here are the faces on the rocks behind her, and beneath her.  Perhaps a situation of feeling a bit blocked because of the opinions of others?  And the strange fruit on her dress.  At first, from the colour, I thought pomegranate, but the shape is more like a pineapple.  Either way, my first impression sticks, and I think that the way out of this stalemate comes from listening to intuition, rather than pure logic.

Don't - Ace of Wands

The Ace of Wands has a lion behind it, and a woman on the wrist of the hand that holds it.  There's also the suggestion of a shooting star, flowers growing out of the wand, and a small heart or mouth opening up beneath to release the wand, or maybe try to nibble on it...   Okay, this deck is definetely weird, but I like it! 

A new energy, with lots going on.  The chance to seize an opportunity, to take the bit between your teeth.  Yet, as the "Don't" card, it says that it's not time to go charging into grabbing something new and running with it.

Do - Ten of Wands

Another cat in this card, though this one looks more like a tiger.  Yet, I'm not sure the figure can even see the big cat, with all those wands in front of his face.  The building behind is interesting, too.  When we are caught up in our projects, we are often oblivious of the things and people around us.  Yet, that isn't always a bad thing: sometimes it is necessary to focus on what we already have going on, so as to get things done.

For myself, I definitely see the suggestion that, if uncertain this week, I should choose to work on something I have already started.  I am often easily distracted by new, exciting ideas/decks/projects.  That doesn't always serve me well, though, and I do already have quite a few things on the go.  So, that's where I'll try to channel my energy!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot Overview

The Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2014) is filled with strange characters.  Large heads and small bodies are one element of her artistic style.  Yet, the bizarre mixing and morphing of human, animal and plant adds another layer to this surreal melange.

One thing some may object to is the fact that every card shows a female figure, most often just the one.  This is true even of the different Courts, on which more below.  Yet, despite this, the images are not samey or lacking in symbolism.

Conversely, one thing detractors of Lo Scarabeo decks may appreciate is that there are no multilingual titles, just basic numbers and suit symbols. The borders are delicate and slightly ornate, much like the images themselves.  And the card stock is sturdy, flexible, not overly thick, and easy to shuffle.

Turning to the images, we see in Temperance a beautiful girl with white hair and a white dress.  This pallid creature is offset by the red fish she sleeps upon.  There are other, smaller red fish that fly around them in the cloudy blue sky, and still others that seem to emerge from, or play among the strands of, her hair.  The colours, the play with fish and sky, and the peacefulness of her sleeping figure, all point to traditional notions.  The card suggests well the mixing of different elements, and how this can be healing.

For the Courts, the King of Pentacles came up.  A beautiful woman raises her skirts, allowing a bull to come charging out. The landscape around her isn't particularly lush, but there is a large town or city behind her.  Strength, groundedness, responsibility and economic growth, as well Taurean links, are all to be found here.

Looking a bit deeper, the Courts are distinguished by the little symbols at the bottom of the cards.  Yet, when placed together, the symbolism and differences are also quite apparent.  The Knights always have some kind of steed, the Queens are always more in close-up, and the Pages farther away.

I like the ballerina for the Page of Pentacles, suggesting a certain youth and innocence, as well as the need for practice to master anything physical.  The Knight on her button-eyed rabbit keeps a tight leash on her physical control, yet still has work to do to have everything as it should be.

The Queen is beautiful, indulging her physical desires with plenty left to share.  And the King, though female, has the strength and power of the bull, and that sense of overarching control and responsibility, through the use of landscape.  Thus, though each shows a female character, they are easily distinguished, with plenty of appropriate symbolism.

Moving on to the Ace of Pentacles, her yellow, egg shape suggests the seed of some material growth or expansion.  The birds are a little strange, more in tune with an airier sign, yet the idea that new possibilities can grow from here is certainly clear.

The Eight of Cups at first glance seems quite similar: pretty girl, bulbous dress and birds.  Yet the differences are also striking.  Her dress is a gilded cage, and the birds are dark.  We can get trapped by our emotions, by the pleasant situation we appear to have.  One bird, though, is out, and the girl's eyes turn to the right, to an as yet unseen potential future.  Will she leave the dress behind, morphing into a bird herself to fly away and seek out new, more fulfilling possibilities?

Overall, this deck does not feel to me like it has been slapped together from preexisting artwork.  While unusual, the symbolism still feels largely appropriate if quite different from tradition.  It is beautiful and bizarre, and would work well as a deck for free-flying intuitive readings, while still being open to traditional interpretations.  While perhaps not the best deck for a beginner, it is lovely and very usable.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Memory Lane

Radiant Rider Waite - my first deck
Previous Blog/ Master List/ Next Blog

As the catchphrase goes: one good post leads to another.  To follow the blog hop round, click on the links at top or bottom of this post.  First, though, I hope you'll follow me down memory lane...

Morgan Eckstein asked us to write about quantum leaps in our tarot reading.  Moments when we realised that things had changed.  I'm never sure if these leaps come based on the build up of lots of little things, or are really as sudden as they sometimes seem.

I can think of a fair few of these leaps in my time reading tarot.  The first came when I took an eight week beginners course, and really plunged into reading daily, understanding all the cards, and having the confidence to manage bigger spreads.  A beautiful leap of faith that has taken me to wonderful places!

Comparative Tarot
The next was when I joined the Comparative Tarot list, back in the day before forums, and dug deeper into the variety of meanings a single card/archetype could hold.  Two other such leaps, going through an endorsement programme reading for strangers and joining various card study groups, I've talked about over on the TABI post for this hop.

Another really big one was the learning provided by going to work for a tarot phone line!  Some of that was learning about how to phrase questions, how to connect with all kinds of different people, how to trust my intuition in the moment, and how to look for what someone can positively take away from a reading.

Bohemian Gothic 1st Ed.
A big chunk, too, was learning what not to do: why I don't feel comfortable doing third party readings (I'm not a spy, and while someone might claim they just want to help their sister-in-law, they might then turn around and attack that person for a perceived misdemeanour!); why I don't like purely predictive readings (what good are they if you don't talk about what the person can do about an impending issue?); and why I don't call myself a psychic (while I do believe there are great psychics out there, and that we all have flashes of this, I don't trust myself enough to offer this 'knowledge' to someone else, I'd rather they learnt to listen to their own flashes of insight).

Interesting to think back over this tarot journey, where I started, and where it's taken me so far.  I wonder where I'll leap next... :)

Previous Blog/ Master List/ Next Blog

Monday, 22 September 2014

Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot Reading

This week, it's another Lo Scarabeo new release. This one has been long-awaited, and is both strange and delightful: the Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot (2014). 

Situation - Eight of Pentacles

A pretty brunette wears a red face mask and dress.  Her slim female body morphs into a fly's wings, legs and arms.  She appears to be trying to train a smaller bug to do tricks with strawberries.  Practice makes perfect could certainly be her catchphrase, which fits well with traditional RWS understandings of the Eight of Pentacles.

Don't - Two of Pentacles

A doll-like figure with no obvious connection between her head and body stands in a strange, chequered room.  She juggles what appears to be six balls, a skittle and a button.  Although there are eight objects, rather than two, the traditional message of juggling different things comes through clear and strong.

Do - Three of Cups

Hmm, once again the feel is right, even if the numbers are wrong.  We see four mermaids clearly, jumping free of the water.  Another three are suggested by fishtails flapping up from beneath the waters.  The feel if the card is joyful and playful, even if some of the mermaids have quite serious expressions.  Like a school of fish, a group of friends often flow together.

For myself, I'm not sure if I'm the trainer or the bug that's learning.  Either way, practice is called for.  The risk of juggling too many things, though, isn't helped by these first two cards.  Should I focus on practising card readings in a forum I've recently joined, which also gets me to practice my German?  Or practice different techniques for trying to get the baby, now six months old, to sleep by himself?  The last card seems to suggest I focus on the former: it is more sociable, and perhaps more likely to succeed :)

P.S. This week there will be an extra post on Wednesday, as part of the Autumn Equinox Tarot Blog Hop.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Alice Tarot Overview

The lovely box
As I mentioned on Monday, although this is the Standard Edition of the Alice Tarot (Baba Studios, 2014), rather than the Special Edition, it comes with shiny, metallic finishes.  These are just gorgeous, and add a really luxurious feel to the cards.  The Standard edition also comes in a lovely, sturdy box, which opens smoothly down the middle.  It is so nice and easy to use that I'm considering leaving my deck in the box, despite having bought a beautiful bag for it!

I also went for a copy of the companion book, written by Karen Mahony.  As with other books she has produced, this one is detailed, well-written, nicely illustrated, and shows the depth of thought and research that has gone into this deck. 

Take the Empress: showing the Duchess and her baby, you'd hardly say she was the image of womanliness!  Yet, as Mahony points out, there are no good mothering figures in either of the Alice books.  So, while giving traditional RWS ideas about the card, she also suggests that when this version comes up we might think of more dysfunctional mothering relationships, like having the Empress reversed.

There is a lot of humour in this deck, too.  For instance, the Page of Cups, rather than having a fish in his cup, is a fish himself.  This character from the book is a fairly good fit, being a dreamer who tries to be helpful, but in an often naive way.

As for the Aces, these follow the slightly surreal but very readable format of the deck.  For example, the Ace of Swords shows a knife spreading butter in the Mad Hatter's watch: a caution to do some research and planning before acting on a new idea.  As for the Ace of Coins, it shows Alice about to eat a cake that says 'eat me'.  Doing so causes her to change in size, and isn't the boon she hoped it would be, at least until she learns to find the right balance.  This leap into a new physical experience is a funny invitation to try something new.

Finally, we have the Eight of Coins, showing a plate with eight jam tarts.  These are beautifully presented, with little hearts in the centre of each.  A reminder that, in cooking as in many other material pursuits, mastery comes with repetitive practice.  And with the added 'Alice' warning to beware of others who may wish to steal your hard-earned success.

The companion book also contains abridged versions of both the Alice books, with small scans of the card related to any particular section.  This is perfect for a quick read, and for a deeper understanding of the cards.

Altogether, this is an absolutely wonderful, somewhat surreal, and delightfully shiny deck.  It will appeal to Alice fans, as well as fans of RWS decks who also like a touch of the bizarre.  Colourful and crazy, I look forward to reading with it much more.