Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Trimmed Interview

Even a year ago, I would have sworn that I would never dream of trimming the borders from a deck.  Firstly, because borders don't generally bother me much.  Secondly, because I have little faith in my craftsmanship.  Thirdly, because it seemed somehow wrong to tamper with a deck.  However, I have been feeling the desire to get crafty, as mentioned in yesterday's blog about pimping a deck.  And then there is the Tarot of the Sidhe.

I love this deck by Emily Carding: the colours and sheer energy and exuberance of the cards is amazing, and I enjoy her take on many traditional RWS themes.  I  have been drawing a personal daily card from this deck for about the last month, as well as occasionally meditating on one.  The big, black borders, though, really put me off.  Yesterday I finally decided enough was enough, and trimmed the deck!  And I love it!  It's so much brighter and more lively without those dark, heavy borders, and easier to shuffle, too.

So, I decided I would ask the deck a few questions about how it felt in its new trimmed state.

How do you feel?  Dreamer Four - Restoration

This card made me laugh.  Firstly, because it had been my card of the day that very morning, encouraging me to go take a nap and generally chill out and do things like trim a deck, rather than working.  Secondly, because trimming the cards "restores" them to the "canvas" state in which they would first have been painted.  The image shows a Sidhe being raised into a sunny sky, rising above a mountain top.  So, it seems the Sidhe enjoy their new look, feeling refreshed and renewed.

How have you changed?  XIX - The Sun

Clearly, the deck feels brighter, lighter, more cheerful and more welcoming.  A very positive change that feels like a new beginning, perhaps from a place of greater wisdom.

How will we get on now? Dreamer ?

Another Dreamer (Swords) card, but I'm not sure which one!  Yet this fits perfectly.  In the image, a female Sidhe has a head full of birds, and rays of light emanating from her.  So, a message about thoughts, the mind, and enlightenment.

As I was trimming the borders I thought about the fact that I really like the way Emily renamed the suits and cards, and the little phrases that were written on the bottom border of each.  Not having these, I will have to work my brain a bit harder, but it'll be worthwhile.  Fortunately, before I started cutting I had already ordered another copy of the deck, to keep in its original form.  Thank goodness, as there are no scans of the deck in the companion book, so I can't tell which card this is until the new deck arrives.

Still, there's so much potential for learning, for connecting and communicating, for meditating with this deck.  Both the difficulty of remembering the titles and the joy in learning and communicating are indicated in this Dreamer card, whatever its title may be.

I feel having to think a bit more about the cards and titles is a small price to pay for a restored and sunny deck!


Still drawing from the Anna K Tarot, today's card is the Page of Wands.

This enthusiastic young fellow is definitely curious as a cat - wondering what lies beyond the wall, wishing to fly high and free like the bird above him.  Entrepreneurial, he gathers up bits and bobs that will help him sate his thirst for new experiences.  And while on his side of the curtain the floor is made of mosaic stones, on the other side we see a beautiful tree filled with pink blossom.  I can only imagine what other delights he will discover in his explorations.

This card reminds me of the way my mother always encouraged me to try new things; from eating snails to practising yoga.  Some things I no longer choose, but others I have come to love.

I am grateful for my curiosity.

I am thankful for the experiences I have had in life, and for those that are still to come.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Pimp My Rider

Reading Magic Mentha recently, I saw she has a deck called the Fauxbergé, for which she thanked Submerina of "the princess and the sea" blog.  Hunting around I discovered that Submerina had trimmed the borders of a Universal Tarot and put glitter on it, and in October 2010 she did a give-away with Celeste/Magic Mentha as the lucky winner.  Looking deeper, there's a whole thread on this at Aeclectic titled "Pimp My Rider" - lots of people blinging decks they don't especially like.

The idea intrigues me - a blinged-out tarot deck!  As someone who loves shiny, sparkly things, how could I resist?  The Illuminated Tarot has the same thing going on, but not everyone can afford that, beautiful as it may be.  Plus there's the delight of a truly personalised deck.

So, I have decided to try to do my own.  I'll be using the Universal Waite Tarot and some glitter nail polish.  I don't plan to trim the borders, but to explore what I find most magical in each card, and bling that

Stay tuned to see the results, or hear the tales of woe.


Today's colourful offering from the wonderful Anna K Tarot is the Two of Pentacles.

A crowd of children stands and marvels at the juggling prowess of a young boy as he keeps three hoops in the air.  This adds an additional dimension to traditional Two of Pentacles cards, with the notion of having an audience.  What kind of additional pressure is placed on us when not only do we have to multi-task, but we are observed while doing so?  The boy has chosen this and seems to be enjoying it, but we cannot know what pressures are in the background, behind that blue curtain.  Blue being often associated with emotion, the question may arise of whether the pressure to perform is one of our own making.

I am grateful to be able to multi-task.

I am thankful not to have an audience for everything I do.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Love Letters

For this second day pulling from the Anna K Tarot, I received the Eight of Wands.

Interestingly, in some cards in the new edition of this deck Anna has removed the human figures (notably in the Star and the Sun cards).  Here, however, in a change to traditional iconography a human element has been added.  The wands (titled Rods by Anna), are very static, forming a barrier between the woman and the world, perhaps providing safety, but certainly restricting her ability to move.  Nevertheless, she stretches beyond her own limits to receive a message from outside.  Messengers travel quickly, by horse, with the implication of movement and speed in the fact of receiving a message.  This also fits traditional associations of this card with love letters.  What I see today, though, is the idea of not letting all the projects in your life get in the way of communicating with others.

I am grateful for the internet, which allows me to stay in touch with friends and family both near and far in the blink of an eye.

This card also made me think of this Golden Oldie:

Saturday, 28 May 2011

When I'm Sixty Four

After the interview yesterday, this week's deck for daily draws will be the Anna K Tarot.  For this first day, the card I pulled was the Lovers.

This is a great image, full of love, comfort, and tenderness.  It makes me think about traditional associations of the Lovers card with choices, as well as with passion.  Here, the message I get is that when we make a choice, it should be made with a sense of commitment, and from the heart.  This isn't about following our whims, but about making sure of what we really want, and being willing to put in the work to make it last.  Whether we're talking about marriage, a career, or even our choice of tarot deck, the more we put in, the more we get out.

I am grateful for the lasting commitments I have made, and the joy they bring me.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Interview with the Anna K Tarot

Although I’ve had this deck, the beautiful Anna K Tarot, for a while, I realised we hadn’t really been introduced properly.  So, I thought I’d better set that right :-)  What would this rather female-oriented deck have to say, I wondered?  Straight off I was in for a surprise, as the deck’s chosen representative walked calmly in, sat down and began examining the books under my coffee table.

"What is your most important characteristic?"  King of Cups

“Although I seem rather dreamy and romantic, I also have a strong delight in knowledge, and repay careful study.  There are plenty of emotions to be found in books, especially in novels, and I like the way that we get emotionally invested in the characters we meet.  I can help you understand these feelings at one remove, as it were, your own and those of others.”

Hmm, exploring emotions without getting swamped by them, but without pushing them away, that could certainly be useful.

"What are your strengths?"  Three of Pentacles

“I bring not only illumination, but also colour to whatever project I'm working on. I am a craftsman and work well with others, enjoying creating things of beauty that are also spiritually uplifting.  I can also remind you to enjoy your creations, appreciating them for themselves, as well as for what you have put into them.”

“Working well with others, does this mean you’d like to do spreads with other decks, or perhaps an oracle?”

“With other decks, or just with other people - you and your querents - I can help you make your readings productive, empowering and spiritual.”

"What are your limitations?"  Page of Pentacles

“I may sometimes ask you to risk what you have for a greater potential reward, which can be a little frightening. I also require some study to appreciate all I have to offer.”

Eek: “What kind of risk are we talking, here?”

“Well, that all depends... If you want a new job you may first have to give up the old, if you want a better relationship you may have to learn to compromise.  I won’t sugar-coat these things.”

That I can handle, just don’t ask me to go fishing, lol.

"What can you teach me?"  Nine of Pentacles

“I can teach you to act more independently and to value the well of prosperity that is your emotional life.  This will always take work, but by empowering you to choose what suits you best, it shouldn't feel too hard.  Doing what you enjoy means doing what you are good at, and vice versa.”

That does look like a pleasant situation to be in, with a well full of Pentacles, the sun warming my back, and beautiful red leaves all around.  And I don't mind a bit of hard work, so long as there's some fun along the way, and the rewards are worthwhile.

"How can we best collaborate?"  Nine of Cups

“We can collaborate best by you examining what it is you really wish for in any situation.  Then, we can joyfully move in tandem, step and counter step, until we reach that place.”

“That sounds like a chat-up line!”

“Well, this is a relationship we’re talking about, but no, that isn’t my intent.”

Oops, did I say that bit about the chat-up line out loud!

“I simply meant I can hear the sweet-talking I’m sure you used to do as a young and handsome Knight.”

“Are you suggesting I am no longer handsome?”

“I think I’ll just stop talking now.  Er, can I ask...”

"What is the potential outcome of our relationship?"  V - The High Priest

“I can offer you spiritual insights and learning, which I am happy to share.”

For some reason, I rather like this fellow, which is rarely the case with traditional Hierophants. He seems calm and spiritual, and he is offering a key to knowledge, rather than holding it to himself unless you’re a sworn acolyte.  And what he says fits pretty well with what the King of Cups said right at the start, representing this deck’s most important characteristics.  I do like it when someone is consistent.

“Well, that all sounds very supportive without being wishy-washy.  Thank you for coming to chat with me today.  I hope to see you again soon.”

“And I you.”  He kisses my hand and swishes out.  He is rather a charmer!

El Brujo

For this final day drawing from the Tarot Lukumi, by Emanuele Noltro & Luigi Scapini, I received El Brujo - equivalent to the Magician.

I find it interesting that I've received the Magician two Fridays in a row, though what very different fellows they are!  Last week's Gay Tarot showed a show-biz magician, while this week he's more of a medicine man.

What I notice here is his cauldron full of swords and various unpleasant-looking hands and claws.  There's a snake underneath it, so a suggestion of transformation.  Not sure what to make of the smoking devil mask in the lower left hand corner...

The Brujo's face looks strangely benevolent, given the bizarre contents of his cauldron.  I guess sometimes we have to mix some pretty strange elements in order to create what we value, and we don't always get to choose.  So long as the result is creative and growthful, perhaps we have to accept the limitations life imposes along the way.

I am grateful for the things I can get done, even if the path to them is sometimes rather windy.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Hope Part 2

So, synchronistically, the card I pulled today for myself from Emily Carding's amazing Tarot of the Sidhe was Hope Discarded.  Given I had a doctor's appointment for Big Boy, it didn't bode well.  And so it came to pass... after an hour and a half stuck in an overly hot waiting room, it turns out we could have saved ourselves the journey as they didn't yet have the test results back from last week's visit!  I had built my hopes up that they might have at least some kind of answer, or better yet solution, for us - ha, the bitter taste of hope :-(

Image: Dreamer Five (Five of Swords) from Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe.


Hope is a funny thing.  On the one hand, it seems to help us through dark times.  Lots of studies show that people who have faith (whatever or whomever they have it in seems to make little difference) do better in recovering from severe illness, both physical and mental.  And yet... hope can also be a barrier to facing reality and actually dealing with it.

James Hillman, renegade Jungian psychotherapist and founder of Archetypal Psychology, said of Hope that when Pandora let all the evils out of the box, the last one out, and the only one she managed to trap, was Hope.  Hope as an evil, as precisely part of the problem rather than the solution, is not something we are accustomed to thinking about in our "Think Positive" culture.  For myself, I've certainly had that sense, that discarding hope may sometimes be the way to truly accept and start to live with a given situation, rather than wishing for something that can never be.  And that is the first step in the process of finding happiness - accepting what is.

Obviously, this brings me to the Serenity Prayer.  The distinction is in whether or not we can change something, and if we can't then hoping we may someday be able to is probably unhelpful.  Perhaps, though, we can hope to find happiness even when circumstances are not what we would wish for - hoping for life without false hope...

I'd be fascinated to hear what others think: hope, good or bad, or does it all depend?

Illustration is the Star from the Mythic Tarot by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli.

Rainbows and Love

For the penultimate draw with the Tarot Lukumi, by Emanuele Noltro & Luigi Scapini, published by Dal Negro, I received the Cuatro de Copas, or Four of Cups.

In the foreground, a dark man and a golden woman bathe two warm chocolate children.  They stand in water, with small rainbows over each of the children.  The water pours from a lilac vessel, whole and overflowing, crowned by a rainbow.  Further back, three other vessels get ever more damaged, with water flowing between rather than from them, and just one small rainbow bridging the stream of water.

The message of this card, so different from traditional Rider Waite Smith imagery, seems to me to be about the wholeness that comes from love, nurturing and family (be that blood family or those we choose for ourselves).  When we forget this, when we isolate ourselves, we are no longer whole, no longer able to be filled with emotion nor able to allow it to flow through and beyond ourselves.  If we can stay with the other, with difference, and still feel love, then something new is born of that relationship, of the between-ness, that is healing and joyful.

I am grateful for the love and acceptance I receive and offer.

I am thankful for my son, embodiment of love.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Bored with Myself

I am still doing regular readings for myself with the Wildwood Tarot, and in one of these, the Four of Vessels came up.  As I looked more at the card, a number of thoughts came to me, all to the music of Meredith Brooks singing "Bored with Myself".  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be on youtube!

Anyhow, unlike the traditional Four of Cups image where a figure ignores three cups before them and seems unaware of a fourth being offered to them, here all the vessels are behind the woman.  However, as water flows from them, presumably there is a tinkling of water to be heard.  This leaves two different possibilities open: either she has seen the vessels, perhaps so often as to have become inured to their charms, or else she is so wrapped up in her own mind that she hasn't noticed them.  In either case, this points to the suggestion that mindfulness is a sure way to break out of boredom.  Becoming aware of our surroundings and our selves, opening ourselves up to sensation and emotion, bring us back to life.

Just yesterday I was walking down a dull suburban street, but I let myself really feel the wind blowing, tickling my neck, tossing my hair.  I was awash in sensation, alive to the beauty of the world: how could I be bored?

Then there’s the cave behind her, entrance to the Underworld.  She has her back firmly turned to this, unwilling to explore the depths of her own psyche, but bored by the shallow, emotionless existence she allows herself.  A suggestion, then, to stop running from our own darkness into the light of company and parties, and instead allow ourselves to explore our dreams, intuitions, and shadow.

So, either focus outward, or focus inward, and there is no room for boredom.  I am loving this deck and the thoughts it brings!

What Price Security?

Today's card from the Tarot Lukumi, by Emanuele Noltro & Luigi Scapini, published by Dal Negro, is the Cuatro de Oros, or Four of Pentacles.

Here, the Thoth influences of this deck are very apparent, and yet... I like the different implements on the golden tower tops, and the many colours and shapes decorating them.  Still, I am left with the sense that the figure in the centre is cut off from the outside, locked in as much as the world is locked out.  And that feels like too high a price for safety.

I am grateful that I don't feel the need for security systems, bars, high walls and gates in my life.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


This week's deck, the Tarot Lukumi by Emanuele Noltro & Luigi Scapini, published by Dal Negro, has Orishas - spirits/deities - as it's Santería-based theme.  Today's card, la Reina de Copas or Queen of Cups, shows the beautiful Yemaya.  I've been doing daily draws with various Goddess decks over the last month or so, and this goddess has been coming up for me a lot!  So, I was delighted to see her here as well.

This feels like a balanced, nurturing, wise and abundant version of the Queen of Cups.  I notice the flowers pouring from her right hand, the way her very dress seems to be made of water, the fish and other sea creatures that gather around her, and the shell cup with chakra-coloured spirits rising from it.  The moon seems cheerful and day-dreamy, rather than moody, and the Cancerian crab suggests emotional depths.

I am grateful for times when I feel at one with my emotions.

I am thankful that I feel supported by this Goddess.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Drinking Buddies

Today's card from the Tarot Lukumi, by Emanuele Noltro & Luigi Scapini, published by Dal Negro, is the Seis de Copas (6 of Cups).

Here we see six Orishas drinking, sat on the points of a Star of David. The one at the bottom looks like a baby. Above him to the left is a leprous male figure, spotty and bandaged. Across from him, a fit-looking, white-haired man wearing green trousers seems to have some kind of lump on his head. In the centre of the Star of David, a stork sits in a nest with six chicks, each of which holds a red droplet in its mouth, dripped in from the flow from the mother stork's mouth. Above the leprous man, a chained, blue female figure with cat-like ears drinks red wine from a glass, as do they all. Across from her, another white-haired figure, this one with a long beard, a sombrero, a white-and-red striped shirt and white trousers, and right at the top a skeleton, with wine leaking out from between his rib bones.

There seems to be something of a message of communion here, of the waters of life and new beginnings, be they physical or spiritual. The Star of David unites fire and water, and these strange drinking companions cover different aspects and stages of life, from death to birth, with strange spirits and challenges in between.

I am grateful for all of life's lessons that have brought me to where I am now.

I am thankful for the many different people who have walked alongside me at various times in my life's journey.

Sunday, 22 May 2011


In this second draw with the Tarot Lukumi, by Emanuele Noltro & Luigi Scapini, published by Dal Negro, I am faced with a snarling black dog.  Fortunately, a machete separates me from him, a weapon and a protection.

This As de Espadas, or Ace of Swords, is certainly powerful.  It looks like this new idea or way of communicating is very necessary to fend off black thoughts, aggression from outside, and perhaps just the tangle of what sometimes goes on inside our heads.  The tangled foliage suggests a situation where nothing seems to move - perhaps office politics, or just not knowing where you want to go.  The dog suggests something that threatens you, whether from inside yourself (in the sense of depression) or from outside (attacks that can be spoken, physical, or psychic).  Holding on to a single, focused thought and purpose will help cut through all these obstacles.

I am grateful for the clarity that comes when most needed.

Saturday, 21 May 2011


This week I will be drawing from the Tarot Lukumi, a Santería-themed deck based on the Thoth.  This deck was created by Emanuele Noltro & Luigi Scapini, and published by Dal Negro.  For this first day's draw I received the Sota de Oros, or Page of Pentacles.

The golden disk he holds aloft has a cross-roads symbol with noughts and crosses in the four corners.  This makes me think of the associations of the Page of Pentacles with study, and the idea of needing to find a direction, and then stick with it.  Perhaps for that reason his foot rests on some stones, rather than on the lumps of gold to his other side - he needs to stay grounded, not be distracted by glitter and shine.  I notice, too, the key around his neck - there are secrets that need unlocking.  He seems strong and jaunty in this pursuit, not just studying out of duty, but out of delight.

I really like the energy and feel of this card, which I often associate with.  I'm definitely of the camp that says we never stop learning and growing - doesn't mean you have to be an eternal student in official terms, but that sense of an open mind and curiosity...

I am grateful that the world still holds much to learn and explore.

Friday, 20 May 2011

The Illusionist

For this last day with the Gay Tarot - by Lee Bursten, illustrated by Antonella Platano, published by Lo Scarabeo - I drew the Magician.

This glitzy, Las-Vegas-style Magician makes me think about the importance of "seeming".  It reminds me of the saying "fake it til you make it": sometimes, to persuade ourselves we can do something we just have to "pretend" until we start to believe we really can.  In the same way, putting on a uniform or costume can help us feel more confident about a role we take on.  For me, all these are aspects of being able to manifest what we want, and are about helping ourselves - about our mindset - rather than about trying to trick others.

I am grateful that I know some ways to help myself feel more confident.

I am thankful for all the different things I have been able to manifest in my life.

Thursday, 19 May 2011


On this sixth day using the Gay Tarot - authored by Lee Bursten, illustrated by Antonella Platano, published by Lo Scarabeo - the card I drew is the Man of Cups.

In this deck, the Court Cards have been renamed as Youth (Page), Man (Knight), Guide (Queen - a tastefully naked, winged male figure seen from behind, with his suit symbol), and Sage (King).  I think some of the Court Cards are really great - for example, the Sage of Swords shows a judge, while the Sage of Pentacles is an older man gardening, and the Youth of Swords looks like a computer hacker.  So, this fireman is equivalent to the Knight of Cups.  Dynamic, willing to charge in, yet associated with the element of water, this uniformed hunk could well be considered a romantic ideal.  One suggestion I see here, which I wouldn't normally associate with the Knight of Cups, is that of putting out fires, metaphorically.  This shows the diplomatic side of him, perhaps, able to understand other's emotions and act in a way to calm emotional upsets.  I guess this fits with what I often see in the Knight of Cups about being able to say the right thing to keep people emotionally attached to him, without necessarily having the follow-through we might like.  The fireman also indicates the possibility of an emotional "rescuer", someone who tries to be the hero and stop others feeling bad, or sad.

I am grateful I no longer feel the need to rescue others emotionally when they don't need it. 

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

All Are Welcome Here?

Today's draw from the Gay Tarot - authored by Lee Bursten, illustrated by Antonella Platano, and published by Lo Scarabeo - is the Nine of Wands.

Although in content completely different to the typical image of a wounded soldier by a barricade, the feeling I get is much the same. The guy hunches defensively as he walks past the Irish Pub. I imagine him having suffered in similar locations in the past, the victim of gay-bashing, whether verbal or physical.

I am grateful that most people I meet are not narrow-minded.

I am thankful that our society is more tolerant than in the past, even if there is still a way to go.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


Today, the Gay Tarot graces us with another card from the Major Arcana.  This deck was created by Lee Bursten, illustrated by Antonella Platano and published by Lo Scarabeo.

The renamed Wheel of Life shows six men of different ages, appearance and social status.  Nevertheless, the message is that they are all joined by their shared outlook on life and sexuality.  With hands meeting at the centre of the wheel, they express their commonality, their brotherhood despite apparent differences.  No matter where they find themselves on the Wheel of Life they know that, through connecting with this fraternity, they will find support and a calm base.

I am grateful for the bonds that link me with people despite our differences in location, age, occupation and gender.

Monday, 16 May 2011

We All Need Friends

The Gay Tarot, by Lee Bursten and Antonella Platano, often offers a very different perspective on tarot archetypes.  In today's card, however, the twist is small and subtle.

In the Gay Tarot Five of Pentacles we still see two people outside in the snow in front of a church.  The twist here is that it is two men, one clearly injured, the other supporting him in a caring fashion.  By its very imagery, with the church in the background, it raises quite different feelings, although it is so close to traditional representations.  Given the church's often bellicose attitude to gay people, the normal idea that a church offers succor to anyone who asks seems an empty, hypocritical promise.  Instead, the support of like-minded individuals feels far more real.  This doesn't rule out the possibility of spiritual support, but it does suggest that this may come from non-institutional sources.

I am grateful to have friends to support and be supported by.

I am thankful to have spiritual beliefs that help me through hard times.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The World Tree Spread

The third spread given in the Wildwood Companion book is the World Tree Spread, based on Major Arcana 21.  

The positions are as follows:

1) Roots - What is the root of the issue?
2) Branches - What are the possibilities of the issue?
3) East - What do I take with me?
4) West - What do I leave behind?
5) South - What do I hope for?
6) North - What do I fear?
7) The Way Through the Woods - What enables me to engage with the issue?
8) The Wisdom of the World Tree - The hidden wisdom of the issue.

My son is going into hospital on Tuesday, so I thought I’d try out this spread around this issue.  The cards I drew were:

1) What is the root of the issue? 13 - The Journey

Although this isn’t a big procedure he’s going in for, there is always the risk when going into hospital and having a general anaesthetic that he might not wake up.  However, as most readers say, this card is probably mostly not about actual death, and this is highlighted by the re-named Wildwood version.  Still, perhaps there is something here about my fears related to this hospital visit.

A different way of looking at it is that, afterwards, we are going to have to do things somewhat differently with Big Boy.  So, we’ll have to let go of the status quo that has reigned for the last year and a half, and get used to something new.  However, it won’t be a complete change, so also a message about checking what is still useful from our old ways of doing things.

2) What are the possibilities of the issue? Nine of Bows - Respect

Based on previous experiences with the NHS, I may have to face up to some of the people I come across.  Although I respect their knowledge and professionalism, I must also stay true to myself - no-one knows my son better than me.  So, if something feels wrong, I need to try to stay respectful but firm.  Other times, my Dear One has been in the hospital with me, and so we could support one another, but this time it’ll be just me.  I may, therefore, need some of this Wodwose’s fierceness, to allow me to stand up for what I feel is right.

3) What do I take with me? Ten of Stones - Home

I take with me a sense of centredness, of family and support.  I take with me all the love in our family, so although I may be alone in the hospital, I can lean on the wisdom and strength of my forebears, as well as of my family and friends.

4) What do I leave behind? 14 - Balance

This is a hard one!  I leave behind a feeling of having found a balance, of knowing what I need, and what BB needs.  We are going to have to readjust, to find a new balance, a new mix of what works and what doesn’t.

5) What do I hope for? 5 - The Ancestor

I hope that this will be a positive opportunity for learning about what BB needs, and I hope that the medical establishment will prove themselves knowledgeable and helpful.  I hope the wisdom of science will come to the fore, in a way that is human and helpful.

6) What do I fear? King of Arrows - Kingfisher

I have sometimes associated the traditional King of Swords with surgeons.  The Kingfisher, too, has some of those characteristics: darting in with sharp precision to get what he wants done; taking a somewhat distant perspective rather than getting himself immersed in the emotional content of the situation.  So, I fear that the surgeon will be cold and clinical.  I see how this contrasts with the Ancestor - I want someone who is wise, but still compassionate.  However, being clinical does also have advantages, if he is professional and accurate.

7) What enables me to engage with the issue? Six of Bows - Abundance

Knowing that I am supported on many levels - that I have an abundance of help and love at hand.  I am supported emotionally by friends, family, and even the tarot.  I am supported practically by medical professionals, by BB’s nursery, by child carers who have worked with him for a while now.  All of these aspects focus in on BB, and remembering this will help me get through this visit.

8) The hidden wisdom of the issue. Seven of Bows - Clearance

The hidden wisdom seems to be that I need to let go of old attitudes and beliefs that will no longer help me - such as, perhaps, my negative feelings towards medical staff, as well as my distrust in my ability to deal with them by myself.  Also, I need to let go of old ways of doing things with BB.  However, this does mean that we can start to do things differently - different can be good, I remind myself.

This feels like a reading with just a couple of themes.  The idea of letting go comes up in the Journey, in the Seven of Bows, and in the West position of the spread itself.  The idea of needing to tap into my support networks and strength, both internal and external, comes in the Nine of Bows, the Ten of Stones and the Six of Bows, as well as in the Ancestor.  My difficulties with medical professionals are likewise highlighted in the Nine of Bows and the King of Arrows, but the overall message seems to be that I need to let go of this, too.

I really enjoyed using this spread, and can imagine it being useful in a lot of situations. It's not that great if you have limited space, as the spread is 6 cards high! Also, at first I was somewhat confused by the positions, having East to the left and West to the right. However, I assume this is because North is associated with the element of Earth, and hence is close to the roots of the tree.
As is sometimes the case, I felt I was perhaps a bit close to this reading to be clear in understanding it, so any suggestions and insights would be much welcome.

Families and Closets

For this second day drawing from the Gay Tarot, by Lee Bursten and Antonella Platano, published by Lo Scarabeo, I received Revelation - traditionally the Tower.

As well as revisioning all the cards, some of the Majors have been renamed in this deck depicting homosexual life.  Here, the Tower is renamed Revelation, and depicts the experience of coming out to your family.  It can be hard enough for someone to come to terms with their own sexuality, but telling parents about it can be especially hard, and is often experienced as a life-altering moment.  Even if parents come to terms with this revelation, it may take them a while, and in the moment their words, actions, or even just expressions can be hurtful.  In some ways, their world is also being shaken - some of their hopes, expectations and dreams about what life would be like are being brought into question, too.

I am grateful that my mother has always been accepting and supportive of my life choices.

Saturday, 14 May 2011


This week, I will be using the Gay Tarot for my daily draws.  This deck was created by Lee Bursten, with artwork by Antonella Platano.

Today's card is the Ten of Wands.  A young, blond man walks away from us at the side of a road.  By his side is a yellow labrador puppy, and he carries a backpack.  A fence borders the left side of the road, while to the right telephone lines head for the horizon, and mountains can be seen in the distance.

Very different from traditional iconography, what I see here is someone who has finally put down those ten heavy wands, choosing to release responsibility to free himself up for new projects and horizons.

I am grateful for moments when I feel unburdened.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Like a Fox in a Hen House

For this final draw with the Fantastic Menagerie Tarot by Karen Mahoney and Alex Ukolov (with companion book by Sophie Nusslé), printed by Magic Realist Press, the card drawn was the Seven of Swords.

I love the humour of this image!  A couple of foxes are stealing away with two hens, having bribed the dog who is meant to be guarding them, and accompanied by a monkey to help out with luggage and perhaps just in case...  The fox on the ground appears to have some regular sized chicken legs and a pink handkerchief sticking out of his pocket - I'm really not sure what to make of that!

I am grateful that I don't have to sneak around behind anyone's back, having all I want by honest means.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Dr. Livingstone, I presume

Today's sixth draw from the Fantastic Menagerie Tarot by Karen Mahoney and Alex Ukolov, published by Magic Realist Press, and with companion book by Sophie Nusslé, is the Three of Wands.

In the best tradition of Victorian era explorers, we see five figures gazing through three different telescopes.  The hawk and the rhino seem to discuss directions as Rhino gazes through the largest telescope.  Two beetles cling to one of the tripod legs of Rhino's telescope, holding their own, miniature instruments.  Down on the floor, a snail peers through another small telescope on a little tripod.  The Hawk and the Rhino wear gentlemen's clothes, while the smaller creatures wear nothing but their shells.  Still they all seem to be in it together, exploring and discovering. 

I am grateful for the very different people in my life who can lend their perspective to projects.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Creepy Priestess

Today's card from the Fantastic Menagerie Tarot is the High Priestess.  This gorgeous deck, published by Magic Realist Press, was created by Karen Mahoney and Alex Ukolov, with the companion book written by Sophie Nusslé.

This is one of the few cards that I haven't directly been delighted with in this deck.  I find the arch decorated with bugs, and the spider's web hanging down behind the gateway, distinctly off-putting.  The thought that comes to mind is that there are lots of less-than-pleasant things crawling around in our subconscious, and that the High Priestess guards the gate to this tricky realm. 

I find it easier to stay with the stork herself, in her amazing costume.  Her pose suggests to me someone saying, "Wait, listen and pay attention!"  Good advice, even if the one I should listen to is myself.  I really like the owl to one side of her and the black cat to the other - these are creatures that I can more easily associate with wisdom, intuition, and an ability to connect to the Otherworld in its many guises.  I am also intrigued that the cat throws a shadow, but the owl doesn't appear to.  Perhaps this is just because the owl's shadow falls on the grass, but it doesn't seem that way.

I am grateful for the wisdom offered by intuition, even if I don't always want to heed its message.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


On this fourth day drawing from the Fantastic Menagerie Tarot, created by Karen Mahoney and Alex Ukolov, with book by Sophie Nusslé, published by Magic Realist Press, the card drawn was the Eight of Swords.

I think this card is an excellent depiction of the Eight of Swords mentality.  With her hands bound by convention, and wearing fashionable clothes even if they are uncomfortable and don't suit her, the giraffe tries to fit in.  This may mean she is accepted by the "Jones'", but will she be happy if she isn't true to herself?

I am grateful that I am no longer controlled by my need to fit in with others.

I am thankful that I can find people who accept me for who I am.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Entrevista con el Tarot Lukumi

I just recently received the Tarot Lukumi, a quite unusual deck.  Although printed in Italy by Dal Negro, the card titles are in Spanish.  The deck theme is the Afro-Cuban Orisha Spiritual tradition, called Santería.  The deck was created by Emanuele Noltro & Luigi Scapini.  The cards are based on Thoth associations, but the pips are fully illustrated.

I decided that we should get to know one another straight away, and how better than a friendly chat with a few basic questions?  Kudos to Fire Raven on Aeclectic for propagating this spread.

What is your most important characteristic?  14 - La Templanza - Temperance

Not quite what I expected, perhaps, she comes breezing in, sky-clad as the pagans would say.  I'm no prude, and the weather's warm enough, so I decide not to mention it if she doesn't.

"Although I am, how do you say... salvaje y libre, wild and free, I am still balanced.  I can be both exposing and secretive, willing to be vulnerable and yet also frightening, it's all about the equilibrio.  I can connect you with emociones profundos, and bring to light perlas de sabiduría, peals of wisdom.  Through me, you can hear the susuros of your intuición, and reconnect with your alma, your soul."

Well, I can definitely see the frightening side, but the fact that she's willing to be this open with me suggests the terrifying aspects are in some ways just a mask.  I sense her deep compassion under it.

What are your strengths as a deck?  Tres de Oros - Three of Pentacles

"I can put into lenguaje simbólico that which I see, allowing you to examinar lo, see it at a slight distancia, rather than being overwhelmed.  I am nurturing and creativa, with clear visión and enough variedad to keep you interesada.  I also put things into spiritual terms - we orishas are very spiritual, and so that's our perspective.  You see a woman, I see a madonna!"

Oh, that's quite an intriguing answer.  I thought she was going to get all practical on me, and then it went the other way.  Once again those polarities of hers.

What are your limitations?  Reina de Bastos - Queen of Wands

"Well, I must admitir that I may sometimes be rather testaruda... I think you say headstrong, and apassionada.  So, maybe you see me as quite challenging and forthright.  Nevertheless, I keep my wilder side under control, so what I say is not aggressiva, just assertive."

Hmm, I'm not sure.  Those lightning bolts emanating from her head suggest she's more than a little tempestuous.  Well, I'm not going to call her on it now, anyway, let's see what else she has to say.

What can you teach me?  La Sacerdotisa - the High Priestess

"With me you can estudiar how to allow yourself to tap into your inner wisdom, without distracciones or pretenses.  I am open to life, and hear the messages of the gods, and of the past, presente and futuro.  I will teach you how to hear some of this for yourself."

I'm glad she qualified that statement with teaching me only some of that, sounds like it could be a bit overwhelming otherwise.  I guess she did promise not to overwhelm me back at the start.  Phew!

How can I best collaborate and learn from you?  Caballo de Oros - Knight of Pentacles

"Collaborar, chiquita?  I lead the way, I guide you, un pasito, one step at a time.  My teaching, my time, is valuable.  But, oye, ralentiza - don't be in a rush.  If you try to go too rapido, maybe you make un error estupido..."

I don't like the idea of making a stupid mistake, it's true, but also like to set my own pace.  Maybe I'm not cut out for her particular style of teaching?

What is the potential outcome of our relationship?  Dos de Espadas - Two of Swords

"I can be a good sparring partner for you, challenging you to be claro in your thoughts and words.  There may sometimes be fireworks between us, but I will always meet you as an equal."

So, perhaps I was too hasty to dismiss our relationship after that last answer.  Someone to match wits with, learn to hear the messages of spirit from, and find balance with does sound like a pretty good package.  I'm actually rather charmed by her.  She's rather different from any other deck I have, and not just because of the funny accent.  Her appearance is colourful, her ideas somewhat different, challenging some of my assumptions, but without being frightening or harsh.  I hope we shall be good friends.