Monday, 31 October 2011

Ghosts and Ghoulies Reading

As promised, here is the reading I did for myself using my Ghosts and Ghoulies Spread.  I used this week's Halloween-themed deck, the All Hallows Tarot.

1) The Ghoul - what is the fear or issue at the centre of the question? Two of Cups

What I see here is a question - what do I really love?  I have been worrying a lot recently about whether or not I am cut out to be a psychotherapist.  I have also changed my mind about what to write my dissertation on.  I see both of these questions here, and the need to follow my heart.  When I look at the card, the woman holds a contract, raising the question - what am I willing to commit to?  Ha, now that's a scary question!

2) The Zombie - what deadens you - stops you acting? X - The Wheel

I have certainly been feeling tangled and enmeshed, like the spiderweb on this card.  So many threads to keep track of, so many different points of intersection.  When I look at this card, I also notice the raven sitting above the spider - can anyone say "I feel like supper?"  This makes me think of my fear of being judged and found wanting.  However, it is also a reminder that normally the raven is seen as a benign messenger of spirit.  Which raises the question - can I find the help, rather than the threat, in this situation?  It is the threat, the looming fear of not being good enough, not being able to do what I need to do, that paralyses me, makes me question whether I should continue. 

3) The Vampire - what revives you - will help you overcome this? King of Swords

So, what will help me?  Well, just being a bit more clear-headed and rational about all of this.  Perhaps thinking about the pros and cons of the different options.  And also remembering that ultimately I am my own arbiter, not anyone else.  The raven here is smaller, and is positioned so it looks almost like it's cawing in the King of Swords' ear.  Can I listen to the messages of others, and of spirit, to take the good and the helpful from what they offer?  And then decide for myself!

4) The Ghost - what lesson can you learn from the past? Three of Wands

This card reminds me that I have already put in a fair bit of work here, and am reaping some of the rewards already.  I have almost completed the taught part of the Masters course.  On top of that, I have also nearly finished all the written work on clients which I need to do.  And the clients, that's the main point.  I really enjoy working with people in this way, trying to help, acting as a support.  It's the one aspect that keeps me balanced, the thing that reminds me why I'm doing everything else.  I see these ravens as my past clients (one of whom I saw recently on public transport purely by chance, looking much more settled), coming to remind me that what I do has value.

5) The Jack-o-Lantern - what lights your way into the future? Page of Cups

 Finally, what guides me moving forward?  Here, the Page of Cups is looking in towards the central question, my fear that I don't know what to commit to.  Yet her hair is green, the colour of life and growth, compared to the dark hair of the woman in the 2 of Cups.  Her bowl seems full, indicating a feeling of emotional satisfaction.  And her dress is bright blue, the colour of communication.  I take all this to say that I need to trust to the process, recognising that I still have a way to go, but seeing that it is a path of growth and emotional fulfillment.  I need to learn to communicate more clearly, with and for clients, as well as, perhaps more importantly, for myself.  How can I expect others to stand up for their emotional needs if I won't do the same for my own?  So, recognising that this is all a process, a journey, and being more aware of and willing to declare my own emotions will help me to commit to this work with an open heart.

I think this reading worked well and was helpful.  It raised some issues I wasn't clear about, and gave me some ideas of what to change to move forward.  Bet it wasn't what you expected with a central issue of the Two of Cups :D

Anyhow, I'd love to hear what you think, of both the spread and the reading.  Happy Samhain!

Boy Band

And so, Halloween is upon us.  On this day the All Hallows Tarot brings out the Five of Wands.

What I see here is a goth band, playing in a small club.  This emphasises the playful competition aspect of this card.  Each member wants to be heard, wants their time to shine.  Still, that has to be balanced with playing together, otherwise they would be a bunch of soloists rather than a band.  So, the interplay of independence and cocreativity is highlighted.

Today I'm back at college.  The message I take from this card is one of having to fit in, to find my place amongst my peers.  Not denying my own take on things, but also allowing everyone else their space, too.

I am grateful for the challenge of academic debate.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Moon Water

The All Hallows Tarot by Robin Tisch-Hollister today offers us a card of hope and generosity - the Star.

I love her stripy tights and black boots, though I'm not sure being dipped in a pool will do them much good!  Very far from the normal nude pouring water from two jugs, our short, black-haired lady wears a flowing white dress and holds a bright red bowl that seems to brim with water.  A bright star shines behind her, a full moon sheds its light from above, and a raven flies towards her.  

I get the sense that this woman has filled up a bowl of moon water, and is offering it to us.  The full moon is a time of completion, of maximum energy.  The raven is often a messenger, just as meditating at full moon can be most propitious for hearing clearly the voice of spirit or our guides.  This card reminds me that Samhain is the start of the Pagan year, a time full of potential.  Yes, winter is still ahead, but it is a time for gathering energy again, replenishing ourselves in quiet, before things kick off afresh in the spring.

Today we head back after our short Madrid trip.  I'm looking forward to getting home, where I can rest and relax, and return to my regular routine which feels supportive and spiritually nourishing.

I am grateful for homecomings.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Bark or Bite?

This week, in the run-up to Halloween, I have chosen a themed deck: the All Hallows Tarot by Robin Tisch-Hollister, published by Leisa ReFalo of Tarot Connections.  The deck features goths, ghosts, mediums... and an additional "Happy Squirrel" card :)

I really like this playful deck!  Today I have drawn the Seven of Wands, which shows one dog defending his sticks from another dog, standing atop a pile of leaves.  This is quite different from traditional RWS imagery, which often shows just one person fending off six attacking rods, but with no sign of the people wielding them.  As the "attackers" aren't visible, and given that there are some numerological systems which see sevens as being about internal conflict or transition, I often read the Seven of Wands as being about feeling under attack, but that the situation may not be as bad as you feel it is, or the attacks may be more imagined than real.  Here, though, the second dog is right there, snarling at the "king of the castle".  Yet the extra sticks are on the floor by his side.  So, who is the aggressor, who is the winner, and if it comes to a tussle, whose bite is worse than his bark?

Today we are going to have a "tipical espanish" lunch with friends - cocido asturiano, a stew of chickpeas, meat, carrot and cabbage.  Should be delicious, and good fun, too.  That is, assuming I get the chance to eat anything.  Sometimes Big Boy gets really stubborn (he is a Cappie, after all), and if he decides he doesn't like where we are, it doesn't matter that the rest of us are enjoying good food and better company, he'll express his displeasure loudly and forcefully.  So, I hope this card is more about my Dear One and my friend's partner discussing bikes or music, as that's much more just bark.

I am grateful that not everything has to be an alpha contest.

Friday, 28 October 2011


The title of today's card from the Today's Journey Tarot is rather misleading, I think.  This is the Devil in most decks.  And whilst I agree that materialism fits well with one aspect of the Devil archetype, it is by no means the only element.

The card image itself, however, offers a far richer reading.  In the background, a casino floor; in the foreground a man setting up lines of coke, with a scantily-clad blonde to one side of him, and a clearly spaced-out guy on the other.  In front of him on the table we also see a gun, as well as scales to measure out the drugs.  This encapsulates well the ideas of addiction, sensuality, being tied to a source of pleasure, hedonism, violence, self-destructiveness, as well as, of course, materialism.

Today we have nothing in particular planned, apart from hopefully a nice meal in the evening.  I guess slouching around Madrid and then eating nice food is fairly hedonistic ;D

I am grateful for days when I can just cut loose, relax, and enjoy life.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

A Self-Made Man

In the Today's Journey Tarot (Expanding Dimensions, 2011) the Court cards have been renamed Father, Mother, Youth and Child.  So, here we have the Father of Fire, equivalent to the King of Wands. 

I really like these sort of modern Court cards.  I find they are often far more approachable and understandable than traditional variants, putting people into a context where we can better apprehend their characteristics.  Certainly, that feels like the case here.  This guy is very confident, he knows what he wants, and he enjoys the trappings of success.  He is dynamic, and takes the long view on things, liking to get an overview rather than getting trapped in the details.  Of course, while I say he, this could represent a woman, or a situation, one where these characteristics are being exhibited or would be useful. 

Today I have a business meeting to attend.  Bringing some of these characteristics to bear would probably be a good idea.  Some of the others tend to get trapped in detail, so a different perspective is always a good thing.  Also, it's an environment where it's good to look confident.  So, that's what I take from this card today.  Of course, it could represent someone at the meeting, the team leader, in particular.  Either way, it's a pretty good energy for any business question :)

I am grateful for the ability to come across as confident when I need to.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Romantic Walks

The Today's Journey Tarot offers me the Two of Water (Cups) on this sunny (here in Spain) Wednesday.

No cups in evidence here, as the suits are elementally associated rather than to specific objects.  Still, the feeling of unity between two people shines through on this card.  They stand in shallow water, bathed in moonlight - how much more romantic can you get?  However, while we are in Spain, we're about as far as you can get from a beach, as Madrid is in the centre of the country, high on a mountain plateau :)  Still, a romantic walk in the local park would be lovely.

I am a bit flummoxed by this card, in the sense that today I have to work a bit (yes, I know I'm officially on holiday, but some deadlines don't care about these things) and then this evening I'm going out with some of my best friends in the world, who live here in Madrid.  Not sure how much time my Dear One and I will have to be coupley, but perhaps this is a recommendation to make the most of any moments we do have :)  Yes, Magic Mentha, I hear you!

I am grateful for the love of my Dear One and my love for him.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Roller Coaster Ride

The card from the Today's Journey Tarot that has come out to play is the tenth Major, normally called the Wheel of Fortune.  Here it has been renamed "Life" and is illustrated with a picture of a roller coaster.

This makes me think of the song "It's Just A Ride" by Jem, which actually starts with the word "life"...  Perhaps the deck author was influenced by her?  In the strange circle that is life, or at least art, I believe Jem was influenced by a sketch by Bill Hicks called "It's Just A Ride".  Certainly, the imagery captures the sense of the ever-changing ups and downs of life that is also present in more traditional Wheel of Fortune cards.

As for me, today we hope to head off for a six day family holiday.  I say hope, as the last two holidays we planned were cancelled due to Big Boy getting ill.  Having just come out of four weeks where he has had three different infections, I'm praying that we'll have a few clear days!  Then there are the vicissitudes of the journey - travelling with a small boy and his medical equipment is always quite a trip in any case.  I really hope that today our roller coaster will be more up than down, and that it won't stall out at any point...

I am grateful for the reminder that, in the end, very little of what happens in life is definitive or truly important.

Monday, 24 October 2011


The Today's Journey Tarot shows us its take on the Eight of Air (Swords) today. 

I love this depiction.  Actually, in a strange way I think the Eight of Swords is often a make-or-break card for me in any deck.  It's the card that sold me on the Anna K Tarot, for example (the link takes you to the card and it's meaning).  Not that I like the energy of the Eight of Swords, but perhaps that it resonates with me nonetheless.

Here, someone has locked herself in her home.  She's dressed in grey, representing the negativity and fear she feels.  Outside, if she would just glance through her window, it's a beautiful, sunny day and people are flying in a hot air balloon above verdant fields.  Instead, she stays curled up on her sofa, with six locks (I guess eight just didn't fit on the door) between her and the ouside world.

This is a great depiction of being trapped by your own thoughts and fears.  She could get up at any time, open the door and go out into the world, but her own pessimism and prejudices won't allow it.

As for me, today I'm back at college.  After last week, I wonder whether this card actually recommends that sometimes it's better to keep things locked up.  Generally, that's not my take on this card, or on life.  And I know that I have been keeping things locked up, perhaps too much - that may be why I exploded last week.  However, I worry that if I have another blow up my tutor might consider it a reason to fail me :(

I am grateful for the reminder to think carefully about whether or not to hide myself away from the world.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


The Today's Journey Tarot takes a novel approach to the Majors, redefining them to a large extent.  That is apparent in today's card, equivalent to Strength, though perhaps less so than in some of the other cards.

Seeing this man focused and disciplined, preparing himself for a feat of strength, I am reminded that we are often our own worst enemies when it comes to getting things done.  He is taming his inner doubts, training his body, and tapping into his own energy.  I like this as an expression of Strength!

As for me, today I need to control my desire to lose myself on the interwebs, surfing Facebook and reading blogs.  Instead, a little focus and discipline are called for, as I have a lot to do.  Tomorrow I'm at college all day, and then have supervision in the evening.  Then on Tuesday we head off for a family holiday for six days.  I still plan to blog, though I may not always have time to reply to comments as quickly as I'd like - there's no internet where we're staying, so I'll have to make forays to the local Starbucks for a connection!

I am grateful for the reminder that focusing my own mind is sometimes the hardest task I face.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Loss and Lightness

This week I will be using the recently released Today's Journey Tarot.  For this first draw we meet the Five of Earth (Pentacles).

In this deck, the suits are given elemental titles (Fire, Water, Air and Earth) rather than the traditional Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles.  Nevertheless, while the image content is very modern, the concepts are still strongly connected with Rider Waite Smith notions.  We can see that here in the Five of Earth, where a woman sits dressed in mourning clothes, in a graveyard.  The idea of going through hard times, but perhaps finding spiritual sustenance, is certainly appropriate to this image.  So, while not people outside a church in rags, a common base can still be found.

On the other hand, this card does allow for quite different readings.  It suggests questions such as: what or who do I need to let go of?  Am I letting myself be restricted by cultural norms?  How can I help myself to grieve?  What are the effects of change in my life?  Do I need to redefine myself?

I am also struck by the feather floating down just above her head.  Is this a message from spirit?  A reminder that life can still be light and miraculous?  This reminds me of a recent post by Prince Le Normand on butterflies as messengers from spirit.

Today I am hoping for a quiet day - the last two weekends my Dear One was ill, and last weekend we also had friends over.  So, this weekend we plan to enjoy the relative calm, and the onset of autumn with a cold, crisp bite to the air.  Might be just right for a walk on the Heath, taking in the seasonal changes and the invigorating air.

I am grateful for the beauty of life even in times of hardship.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Ghosts and Ghoulies Spread

I loved Helen's (of Tarot Notes Major and Minor) idea of using a Halloween Spread.  However, her spread this year didn't really chime with me, so I decided to design one of my own :)

The positions are:

1) The Ghoul - what is the fear or issue at the centre of the question?

2) The Zombie - what deadens you - stops you acting?

3) The Vampire - what revives you - will help you overcome this?

4) The Ghost - what lesson can you learn from the past?

5) The Jack-o-Lantern - what lights your way into the future?

I'll post my own reading with it on the 31st.  In the meantime, why not give it a whirl?

Red Shards

Today, Beth Seilonen's Tarot Leaves shows us its darker, more punitive side, with the Ten of Swords.

In some ways this card reminds me more of the Nine of Swords - a female figure menaced by sword blades from all directions.  She holds her hands up as though to ward them off, as if her will alone could stop her from being pierced and sliced by these pointed, angry red shards.  Her situation looks pretty hopeless, grey and bleak.  On the other hand, the red of the swords brings colour to the scene.  Perhaps they are exactly what's needed, even if they are fearful and unknown.  Cutting their way through this place of lifelessness, perhaps they bring a necessary change, and some room to grow.

Today my mum is coming to visit.  She always brings a fresh perspective and good ideas, as well as a shoulder to cry on in times of need.

I am grateful for people who can offer an outside perspective, bringing fresh light to situations.

Thursday, 20 October 2011


Tarot Leaves today offers me a gift, a possibility, in the form of the Ace of Pentacles.

There is something very fiery and bright about this card, which feels almost more Ace of Wands-y to me.  Still, the flowers peeping in at the bottom of the leaf do suggest growth and blossoming.  Likewise, the verdant Pentacle etched in gold matches far better my idea of Pentacle energy than the fuchsia and orange of the leaf.

What will blossom in my life today?  Or is it simply a renewed appreciation of the physical as I emerge from two different infections in a row?  I guess I shall have to wait and see...

I am grateful for new beginnings, in whatever form.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Magic Mentha has managed to infect me with her My Divination addiction!  It really is an amazing, if somewhat dangerous, site.  Here is a cute little spread with an even cuter deck :)  I was asking about what I need to consider in deciding whether or not to continue in psychotherapy.  The interpretations given are:

Not only  

You need a natural ending point to enable you to move on 

But Also   

Gift of joy, new found happiness. Love in all its forms

I guess what I take from this is that I need to get to the end of this term.  After that, with less stress (readings, presentations, essays) I may be able to refind my joy in this work, which can be emotionally taxing, but is also a work of love.

Any interpretations are welcome :)

Fabulous Four

The Tarot leaf that blows across the computer screen today is the Four of Pentacles.

What I see in this card is a cross being held down by four pentacles, creating a certain stability despite the fact that the leaf appears blown away - not staying all within the borders of the card.  This makes me think of a quite positive reading of the Four of Pentacles: that gathering physical resources can be a way to anchor ourselves when feeling somewhat unstable.  I also adore the colours here, the autumnal yellow/orange/apricot/pink of the card, the wise, illuminated violet of the pentacles, and the blue of pentacle-etching and cross, representative of being able to communicate.  Perhaps, bringing these together, this says something about being encouraged to honestly communicate our physical and spiritual needs when times are hard.  Or maybe to value what we have in this season of harvest before the hardships of winter. 

 Certainly, it feels like a message to me to appreciate the physical and material positives in my life, to enjoy and appreciate what abundance I find.  Today both my Dear One and I are feeling much recovered from our ills.  And we have someone coming to take care of Big Boy, while we go to the cinema and have dinner out - blessings indeed!

I am grateful for the people in my life who anchor me, by giving me a break from time to time, and by being the best of friends.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A New Perspective

Today I watched Trenda's (Tarot Mama) video blog for the week.  One of the cards she drew from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters was Two Kittens, which I blogged about a few weeks back.  It's also the card that I pulled for myself yesterday as the energy I needed for the day.

Trenda's description put a whole new spin on the card for me.  She talked about having to make a choice between two ideas, two options, be they on the physical, spiritual or emotional level, giving examples of speaking up or making a choice in a relationship.

The idea of choosing to speak up resonated with me after what happened yesterday, when I confronted someone at college.  Also, something about the way she was describing the choice very much on a mental level contrasted with what looked to me more like a choice between two people or things: the cats.

So, I thought, if she's not choosing between the cats, what are they doing in her arms?  Could they actually be something that she holds onto, that supports her in making this choice, in braving change?

Certainly, yesterday when I spoke to the person about something I felt very strongly about, I ended up holding tightly to a water bottle.  It helped as the adrenaline ebbed and I began to tremble.  However, perhaps I would have done better to hold onto the idea of being a psychotherapist, with all that entails.  This happened within a "group" session, which is facilitated by a tutor.  So, we are there as people, yet we are also trainee therapists.  And I ended up saying something in terms which were not therapeutic!  Not that I regret the content entirely, so much as the way I expressed it.

I've written before now about the anger I've been dealing with.  How people clogging the pavement or refusing to stop at a crossing annoys me, especially when I'm in a rush.  In this instance, I felt this person had acted extremely selfishly, in a way which was detrimental not just to myself but to everyone else on the course.  However, I believe my anger was fueled by the fact that I feel like I could really do without any extra burdens!  Especially coming after the exhausting weekend I had just had, made worse by that person's actions on the Friday.

I don't regret choosing to speak up, and I think the content of my comments was justified, but I also acknowledge that not all of the anger was attributable to this particular situation.  I can admit, too, that my language became inappropriate at one juncture.

So, what does all of this mean?  I guess part of the reason that I am chewing it over so much is because it makes me question whether I am fit to be a psychotherapist.  For example, Emma Sunerton-Burl, who is a trained counsellor, supervisor and tarot reader, as well as organising spiritual mountain walks, is always a model of restraint and good sense.  I have known her for years on-line, and met her personally, and in all her interactions she manages to maintain a calm and reasonableness that I find enviable.

Overall, I feel I do a good job with my clients, and I have never behaved inappropriately with them.  However, I wonder what would happen if I were faced with a challenging client who pushed my buttons...  Would I blow up?  Would I feel I had to ask for them to be reassigned?  Should I, with my current anger issues, be dealing with delicate souls? 

And so the card I began with asks me to consider the choice: should I continue on the path to becoming a fully-fledged psychotherapist or not?  And what can I hold onto, who can I be supported by, in whichever choice I make?

Knight of Cups

Today's card from the Tarot Leaves deck by Beth Seilonen (Schiffer, 2011) is the Knight of Cups.

I love the blues on this card, though I find the grey of his helmet seems to blend with the card background, making the leaf shape less apparent.  I also notice the strange way he holds the cup on the palm of his hand.

In this I see someone who can be a little careless of others' emotions, and his own.  Emotions are taken for granted, yet not really understood. 

Yesterday I had a massive blow-up with one of my fellow students, and said something I regret.  I've had a good night's sleep, though, so I hope today with clients I can be more careful with my words and their feelings.

I am grateful for the possibility of reflecting on emotion and allowing myself to be more open.

Monday, 17 October 2011


Today's card from Tarot Leaves (Schiffer, 2011) by Beth Seilonen, is one which Kiki, the Tarot Dame, was inspired by to create a Full Moon Reading last week.

What I notice first is the shape of the leaf: more human-seeming than the other leaves we've had so far, it is reminiscent of a dancing figure.  Within its flowing form we see two pillars, a river running between them, and two dogs, one howling at the full moon above.

The shape and image together make me think about the fact that intuition, as well as fears and shadows, flow rather than being fixed.  They come and go at their own pace and time.  Sometimes we may wish intuition would come when we want it, and that fears would go, but they are hard to control, like the water that flows to the sea and can be redirected, but not stopped.  On the other hand, the movement here suggests that, for good or bad, these things will change: this too shall pass.

Today is my college day, I wonder what shadows I shall face there.  The topic of the day is trauma, dark memories that haunt.  We cannot grasp and stop our thoughts, but we can learn to anchor ourselves to a safer place and time.

I am grateful not to be adrift in a sea of bad memories.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Blown Down

Today's card from Tarot Leaves (Schiffer, 2011) by Beth Seilonon, is the Eight of Wands.

What I see here is a rather more chaotic, destructive scene than I would normally associate with the Eight of Wands.  Eight trees appear to have been blown down, still flying around from the force of the gale that buffets them.  Even the leaf on which they appear seems to be blown by that same wind. While there's certainly a sense of directional movement here, it feels somewhat dangerous, caused by an outside force rather than chosen.

Our friends are still here, and I guess having four kids in the house may be a rather chaotic force.  Or perhaps this is reminding me that I need to get a move on with the work for my course, otherwise things will get very hectic as deadlines pile up.  Or maybe this is more positive, speaking to Big Boy's rapid improvement now that he's taking antibiotics.

I am grateful for change, even when it feels chaotic.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Playful Page

This week I will be drawing from a newly released deck by Beth Seilonen, Tarot Leaves (Schiffer, 2011).  The idea behind the deck is that each card is represented by a leaf, and the image is only shown within the outline of the leaf.  Still, it is both the leaf's shape as well as the image which contribute to the interpretation.  It's an interesting deck in soft pastel colours, so let's take a look.

For this first draw we meet the Page of Wands.  I like the way the leaf is quite small and round, which feels appropriate to a Page.  As for the image, it feels warm and colourful.  I notice the sun rising behind the hills in the distance, and the tree just behind the Page, elemental symbol of Wands in this deck.  The Page himself (or herself) has bright red hair and a green t-shirt, and looks curious and playful.

Today we have friends over, whom we have known for a long time.  My Dear One met M at school, and I met him at Uni.  He introduced us then, but we each had different people in our lives.  So, it was only years later, when I returned to England, that M suggested we go out on a date.  And the rest, as they say, is history :)  M is here with his partner and their three kids, so there will be plenty of this enthusiastic, playful energy in the house today!

I am grateful for times when I can enjoy the laughter of children.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Artemis' Arrows

For this last pull with the Tarot of the Dream Enchantress (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) I drew the Moon.

I really like this image.  The woman in the foreground seems a clear depiction of Artemis - a Greek moon goddess associated with hunting, but also with childbirth.  Artemis is independent and strong, yet loving and playful.  What I see here is the way her bow is strung, her arrow nocked.  It makes me think of the way people have described archery to me, that it's all about focus and breath, and feeling rather than analysing.  The Moon above her is lost in mist, she cannot see clearly.  And yet she trusts her senses, all of them, and her intuition, to know where she must aim.

I hope to find some of this clarity and faith today, as well as the strength to make things happen.  We're waiting for some tests about Big Boy's infection, and if they don't come through we'll have to decide whether or not to give him antibiotics in the hope they're the right ones.  Likewise, we've been advised to give him the flu jab.  It's something we've both always been against on principle, but given how often he gets ill and how hard these things hit him, we're having second thoughts...

I am grateful for the trust in my goals which I hope will see me through.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Passionate Choices

This is another card from the Tarot of the Dream Enchantress (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) which highlights the difference between European and American publishers.  The publishers of the Wildwood Tarot wouldn't allow even highly appropriate nudity, whereas here we have a Lovers card which could easily be counted as soft porn.

It makes me think about what our choices are based on: do we act based on our head, our heart, or some other part of our anatomy?  For me, if our heart is involved as well as other parts, then it's probably a good choice, no matter what others may think and how they may react.  Because that's another aspect of choice: what will the consequences of our actions be?  Here, a blue-haired angel flies in the air with a red-haired woman, locked in a passionate embrace.  According to most monotheistic religions, this would be reason enough to throw him down from heaven, one of the fallen, excluded from paradise.  Yet these days, more and more, love in its many guises is being accepted, though it is still often a battle, be it familial or social.

Today Big Boy is still ill, but I have found people to take care of him while I go out to work.  It's the sort of choice I sometimes question - should I just stay home with him?  And I'm sure some people may think me a terrible mother that I don't do so.  Still, that is my choice today.

Update: Another choice I'm making is to dial back on video blogs until next year - I have loads of essay deadlines etc coming up, as well as some hectic work commitments, and even a brief family holiday.  I may post the odd video blog, but I shall try to restrain myself as I really should be spending the time on finishing up my Masters.  All the essays have to be in by the 12th of December, so there may be Yule video blogs ;)

I am grateful for the possibility to make choices about what I do as a mother and a person.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Breaking the Stalemate

Today's card from the Tarot of the Dream Enchantress (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) appeals to me in a strange way.

Two female figures sit facing one another, mirroring one another even, with their hands on the hilt of a large sword.  Some of their hair flows to either side of their faces, meeting at a point between them and seeming to meld together.  This seems like a stalemate, and yet I notice another sword blade coming down from above, alongside the sword they both hold.  This will surely cut them apart, or at least make one or other let go her hold on the hilt.

There is also something about their location, on a boulder in a mountainous region, that speaks to exploring ideas, a challenge, or perhaps trying to find some common ground.

The breaking of a stalemate makes me think of how something like a tarot reading, or even simply as a passing comment by a friend or stranger can change our perspective.  Sometimes we get into a battle of wills with ourself, perhaps between our shadow and our everyday persona.  In those cases, we often can't break out of the situation by ourselves, and it does take some idea or comment from the outside to break us out of our inertia.

Today I feel stuck because Big Boy is ill again, and can't go to school.  I had plans to meet up with an old friend who I haven't seen in about a year, but those have been put on hold.  I also wanted to do some work for college, but I doubt he'll like the idea of mummy paying attention to anything but his sick self.  Even if he naps, he tends to fall asleep on me, and not like being moved!  My better self says I just need to accept that today will be all about him, while another part of me says, "But I have needs, too".  I hope I find some way to accomodate them both.

I am grateful for wise counsel, wherever it may come from.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


Today the Tarot of the Dream Enchantress (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) offers us a rather different take on the Seven of Pentacles.

Instead of someone looking at something they have planted, nurtured or worked on, this lady looks out across high peaks, from a narrow mountain ledge.  Beside her is a white creature, which reminds me of a ferret or a mink.  Above her float seven golden pentacles, each etched with a leaf.  While she may not have created the scene before her, she certainly seems to be taking the long view, and looks to be in no hurry to move.

Patience will be rewarded with growth, is the message I see here, even if we cannot see what it is that will be.  Patience isn't always my strong suit, but working towards being a registered psychotherapist is a long, slow process - minimum four years.  I will need at least five, though, as I have other commitments and so am not fulfilling all the criteria as quickly as I might.  I still can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, but this card is a reminder that there is something there, if I can keep up the work and have patience.

I am grateful for the markers that remind me of the path I walk, when the goal is still out of sight.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Playing the Edge

The Tarot of the Dream Enchantress (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) offers us a sylph today.

She represents the Six of Cups, which we see floating in the water beneath her.  She herself plays at the surface, perhaps dreaming of things she would like to do and see.  One thing I see here is a sort of challenging of herself - playing at the edge of her comfort zone, and dreaming about a life on land, though that is not her element.  These kind of daydreams can be the spur that challenges us to try new things, or it can just leave us feeling despondent about where we are.

Following more traditional associations, I also see a sense of nostalgia here, and a willingness to indulge in emotions.  I notice, too, the lilies, suggesting enlightenment and spiritual openness.  And there is the oft-mentioned fact that lilies grow up out of the mud.  Bringing all this together, perhaps a sense of thinking back about the past, with a view to understanding the emotions of that time and learning from them.

This interpretation fits well with my day, today.  Not only am I at college studying psychotherapy, but I have to present a client in supervision.  So, reflecting back on the client's material, how it may relate to their past, and what emotions it evokes in me, too.

I am grateful for opportunities to reflect and grow.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Daily Draw 8th October

Well, this video gave me a fair bit of trouble.  I realised after I'd recorded it that the card was in a patch of glare throughout *d'oh*  So, I decided to try something a bit different.  I'd been thinking about experimenting with stills to highlight particular features of the card/s in the reading.  And in this case it was that or bin the lot!

First time round, I tried adding in long stills and doing a voice-over for them, but that felt very disjointed.  That attempt went in the trash *roll eyes*  Now, with this version, the stills are brief and with only background music, which I think works alright.  Let me know what you think...

As for my take on the card, what comes to me now, in terms of myself, is somewhat different to what I spoke about on the video.  I have two pieces of work that need to be finished by this evening.  I could moan about having been ill (quite true) and not having been able to give them the time and energy I would have liked.  While it's a fact that I spent a couple of days unable to focus on anything that required sustained concentration, it's also true that I managed to do this video.  So, perhaps I also need to own my responsibility, as well as my empowerment.  Hmm, some tough love necessary today, and a bit of hard work.

Riding High

Today's card from the Tarot of the Dream Enchantress (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) is full of energy and passion.

I rather like this Knight of Cups, she's so daring with her emotions.  Though this time round I also notice her being rather daring, nay even foolhardy, in her physicality - I wouldn't ride a spiny creature with no clothes on to protect me!  Still, she rides a seahorse, jumping above the waves, her cup of emotions spraying out as her mount surges upwards.  She's willing to experiment and to take the plunge, trusting herself to the flow of life and love, willing to take on the challenge of experiencing emotion.

This card challenges me to be a bit more emotionally open and daring today.  Perhaps, also, to try to get some perspective on the emotions of those around me.

What do you see in this card?

I am grateful for a passion for living and a willingness to feel my emotions.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

"My Wing's of Desire" Reading

The Alchemy Stones: Use the Wisdom of the Ancient Alchemists to Transform Your LifeI was lucky enough to win the September giveaway offered by Helen over at My Wing's of Desire!  Some of you may be amazed to hear that I managed to pass up on a deck (though I don't have either of those she was offering).  Instead, I asked for a reading on my studies in psychotherapy.  Given that Helen had drawn runes to choose a winner, I thought she might do me a rune reading.  I was fascinated with the idea, as I've never quite managed to click with runes, despite having created my own set and studied them a bit.  However, based on my question, she decided to use her Alchemy Stones instead.

I'd never heard of these at all, though of course the concept of alchemy is familiar to me from Jung's writings, and the Thoth Tarot in particular.  Helen used a seven stone reading from the companion book, based on the alchemical process.  Altogether, it was a novel and interesting reading.  One thing in particular struck me, though, because it's something I've been thinking about quite a lot recently. 

For the Outcome position Helen drew the Philosophic Mercury stone.  She said: "Philosophic Mercury represents the soft and subtle feminine principle associated with beauty, grace, gentleness, creativity, receptivity, nurturing, reflection, the subconscious mind and intuition."  Getting past the fact that this sounds like the High Priestess though I normally associate Mercury with rather more dynamic, communicative characteristics, it highlights an issue I've been having.  

Working as a counsellor, I don't feel particularly creative.  I enjoy the work, but it doesn't fulfil that side of me in the way that, for example, designing a tarot spread for a client does.  I acknowledge that this may in part be because I don't yet have enough skills and practice to bring creativity into it.  However, I also worry that it may be the nature of the beast - counselling has quite a passive element to it as it is much more about listening than about saying or doing.

For the moment I have this blog, among other things, to satisfy my desire to create.  And I can imagine in the future finding fulfillment in teaching.  What Helen's reading pointed to, though, is that I perhaps need to focus more on those qualities in my counselling work, if I want to do it well.  How can I be creative within a session, as well as receptive and nurturing and reflective?  Finding the answer to that may help me feel more joyful in this work.

I am grateful for the generosity of readings and insights shared.

Fishing With A Basket

This week I will be drawing from the Tarot of the Dream Enchantress (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) by Marco Nizzoli, with LWB by Barbara Moore.

Two young women fish together, using a basket.  They don't seem particularly bothered by the escaping fish, but I guess there are still three more in the basket.  It doesn't seem a very realistic way to catch fish, nor would I wear a diaphanous veil for any manual task, but hey, it's a "fantasy" deck...  Not quite sure whose fantasy that would be ;)  That said, I do really like this deck, though if you're not a fan of nudity, it won't be for you.  I love the fact that all the characters are female, though not necessarily fully human.  And I especially love that, to achieve this, male archetypes are shown as women in masks - adds a whole 'nother layer to the symbolism.

Bringing it back to this card, and to more traditional Three of Wands energy, we have here two people working together and hoping to reap the rewards of their efforts.  They also seem like they are enjoying the actual work as well: standing in warm waters on a calm evening, perhaps chatting as they dip the basket in the water and pull it up heavy with fish.

Will my Dear One and I work together on something today, perhaps a video of Big Boy?  A couple of days ago I gave him a quick tutorial on using iMovie - not that I'm an expert, but I've learned a few things over the last few weeks, whereas he's never used it at all.  So, to save some time I showed him what I know, and I'm sure he'll learn some new things and show them to me.  And I guess that's what I see in this card: working together in harmony, sharing the fruits of our labours.  And if we manage to make a cute movie of Big Boy to show to all the family spread around Europe, so much the better :)

I am grateful for having someone to share both good times and hard work with.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Weekly Vlog for 8th October

This week I decided to do a three card reading with the Rock'n'Roll Oracle.  For one thing, it meant I got to experiment with not just adding an audio track, but mixing in different songs.  For another, I'm just plain enjoying using this lovely deck :)  You can find the reading (which is under 4 minutes) here.

Once again, I've used the Pathway Spread by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, coauthors of the Wildwood Tarot.  They'll be in London for the UK Tarot Conference next week.  Sadly, I can't go, as we have Uni friends coming to stay.  That'll be fun, too, though ;)

Back to the cards, don't forget: if you'd like to get your hands on this deck, you can pledge to the Kickstarter campaign as a way of pre-ordering the deck, get other goodies thrown in, and help out an independent deck creator!

Hope you enjoy the reading, and let me know what you think, one way or the other...

Buttoned Up

For this last day with the Prairie Tarot, by Robin Ator, we are faced with a rather buttoned-up High Priestess.

What a contrast to yesterday's Star card!  Not only does she wear uncomfortable-looking clothes that cover her from neck to toes, but she stands behind a cloth-covered table, with drapes above her and pillars behind.  There is a strange suggestion, though, that these pillars and drapes give out onto a lake and sky, or perhaps it's just a painted wall.  She holds her hand over a glowing crystal ball, and her wire-rimmed glasses reflect its light, hiding her eyes from us.  Her hair is pinned up in a tight bun - very schoolmarm-ish  Once again, that sense of hiddenness, coveredness.

I guess the covering up of secrets might be something the High Priestess knows a lot about, though I associate her more with keeping silent than with actively hiding things.  The magical glow of her crystal ball and glasses lends an air of the paranormal to this image.  Somehow, I associate that more with Victorian parlour tricks than with deep knowing.  Altogether, this isn't an image of the High Priestess which I warm to, though it's normally one of my favourite cards in most decks.

Still, today I would like a little of her insight, her seeing beyond the apparent.  I have to write a verbatim - a report of what went on in a client session.  Normally, I try to do these as soon as possible after the session, but I've been too ill to focus.  So now I need to cast my mind back and see the session in my mind's eye.  I hope this High Priestess will be willing to lend her help in this endeavour.

I am grateful for the marvels of memory.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Pouring Forth

After yesterday's hot, dry and slightly scary image, today we move to a far kinder place.  The Prairie Tarot offers us hope, generosity and inner balance.

I love this image of a Native American woman generously pouring water into a stream.  Beside her are seven stars, in the colours and order most often attributed to the chakras.  This is a common theme in this deck, especially in the suit of wands, which we haven't seen much this week.  The message I see here is that a connection with the flow of life, and an unblocking of the flow of our own inner energy through our chakras, opens us to new possibilities.  The fact that it is a Native American woman suggests that this balance comes from a respect for nature and her cycles, and a valuing of community.

Today, I need to work on balancing myself for sure.  I've had a streaming cold for the last few days, feeling barely able to think let alone get down to any serious work.  My hope, then, is for healing, while a snarky bit of me sees in this image my nose, generously pouring forth its fluids for another day - bleurgh!  There are cycles to colds, too, and it's often best not to fight them - that just puts off the worst for later.  So, I shall accept this, while hoping for it to pass.

I am grateful for lemsip. 

Update:  Thanks to Helen for her inspiration!  Here's another gratitude:

I am grateful for simple moments that allow me to feel in touch with the universe.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Another Rock'n'Roll Oracle video reading

I really enjoyed Monday's Rock'n'Roll Oracle video reading.  A fun deck, a good card for the day, and a lovely song to match - what more could I ask for?  So, I decided to give it another go, and here's the result.  What lights your fire?

The Great White Spirit

Today's card from the Prairie Tarot is quite a visually challenging one. 

This is this deck's equivalent to the Hanged Man, and certainly the man here is hanging, just not upside down.  Instead, his flesh is pierced by hooks, and it is from these that he hangs, his weight suspended and held by his own skin and sinew.

In some tribes, this rite was called the Sun Dance, and this looks like the association of the deck creator, given the bright orb in the sky behind him.  Although to uninformed eyes this could well look like a form of torture, in fact this was an initiation ritual willingly entered into.  It was a way of entering into a trance state, to commune with the "Great White Spirit".  Shaman's also practised this, seeking healing.  In this manifestation, the symbolism echoes well the descriptions of Odin hanging from Yggdrasil (the World Tree) which is often seen in depictions of the Hanged Man.  So, a card of sacrifice embraced for spiritual development, social growth, and healing.  And, in participating in this ritual, of course the men (and it was only men in the Sioux tribes who carried out this practice) were exempted from day-to-day routines for a while.  A time out of everyday life to commune with the numinous.

This card raises the questions: what am I willing to sacrifice today?  What do I need to do in order to grow and learn?  How can I connect with the divine?  I think I'll have to get back to you on that one!

How about you?  What do you see in this card?  And is there something you need to sacrifice or experience today?

I am grateful for the reminder that we can learn from any experience, no matter how seemingly painful.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Barn Dance

Today the Prairie Tarot is throwing a barn dance :)

I find a real charm in the costumes these women wear.  I think because they remind me of Doris Day in "Calamity Jane".  Eek - showing my age again!  Not that I was alive when it was filmed, but I did watch it as a kid, whereas I doubt they show that kind of thing much these days...

Actually, I don't remember any "injun women" in Calamity Jane, they weren't yet that PC.  Still, the notion of tolerance and sharing in celebrations is a good one.  Celebrating together is a great way of cementing friendships and creating a sense of commonality and community.

In the run up to Samhain, this makes me think of the way different groups celebrate this holiday.  It's not quite the same: after all, different people call it by different names.  And yet, the very fact of celebrating something with similar roots together feels like it would be a positive thing.  Whether it be the Mexican Dia de los Muertos, the Continental European All Saints Day, or the American Halloween, all acknowledge this as a festival to honour the dead, be that seen as spooky or just as a celebration of our ancestors.

I am grateful for the reminder of past joys, and future celebrations.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Daily Draw 3rd October with the Rock'n'Roll Oracle

David Rosenhaus, the creator of the Rock'n'Roll Oracle, is trying to get funding to publish his lovely deck with a Kickstarter Project.  Pledging to his project can not only act as a pre-order for one of these sets of cards, but can also net you other goodies, as well as supporting an independent deck creator!

David also set up a competition for ideas of what to do to promote the project.  My suggestion was to do video draws with it, where you could put the appropriate track as backing music to the reading.  Then I decided, why not give it a try myself!  So, after a quick foray into overlaying a second audio track onto a clip I was good to go.

This deck really is fun, and I hope that shows in this reading, the perfect way to start a Monday morning :)  I'll definitely be following the advice of this card to Take It Easy, as I have a presentation to give at University.  More relaxation, less waffling!

Get Back On The Horse

I absolutely adore today's card, in a weird way.  Not that I'm generally a friend of the Tower card, but the Prairie Tarot has such a novel take on it!

A rider is tossed from his horse.  What a simple image and yet... This so perfectly captures the Tower aspect of a sudden, jolting shock that completely upsets our calm passage through life. 

Freud used to talk about the human psyche being like a horse and rider, the horse being our primal self, our id, and the rider being our ego, directing things, but needing the power and energy of the id to get where it wants to go.  This fits with the traditional association of our ego taking a knock and having to refind our footing.  It also adds a different spin on this card's energy.  Instead of it being something from the outside that shatters our sense of understanding the world, it could be we ourselves who create the situation.  Interesting thought...

On a different tack, when I was a child I used to go horse riding.  I did the whole going in early to groom and saddle the horses, and staying after to curry and feed them thing.  I loved the smell of stables, and used to eat some of the horse feed pellets.  Then one day I got tossed.  I wore a riding hat, but still, I took a serious knock.  So much so that I suffered amnesia.  Not really badly, I've just never remembered the fall, nor the next 10 minutes or so of my life.  From my perspective I "woke up" in the back of my mum's car.  From her perspective, I had been walking around, talking, asking for a tissue for my nosebleed.  I can't remember if I ever rode that horse again, certainly I stopped haunting the stables.  Decades later I decided to try riding again, but the joy was gone, the time was past, I couldn't refind that person.

In the meantime, though, I have found other passions, other joys, other things I am willing to dedicate myself to.  At the time, the loss of my joy in horseriding completely changed my life: who I thought I was, and what I spent my time and energy on.  In the long run, though, I realise that it was simply a change, not good not bad.

I am grateful for the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, no matter how hard it may feel in the moment.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Deal or No Deal

Today's card from the Prairie Tarot is one which also came up in the Interview - the Six of Pentacles.

The man on the horse is holding out his hand, as if to shake on a deal, while the man standing in front of him keeps his hands in his pockets.  Are they still negotiating, with Horse Cowboy trying to close, while Standing Man still isn't sure if he'd be getting his money's worth?  This makes me wonder about the value we put on things, which is so very subjective despite what advertisers would have us believe.

I value my family time, and my me time.  When I started looking into training as a counsellor I was shocked by the fact that the majority of courses take place over weekends.  I guess I can understand that if people have to work as well as study, weekend courses make sense for them.  However, given that my work schedule is erratic and fairly flexible, I far prefer to keep my weekends for family and fun (though fun does sometimes include working on presentations, like today).  Given that my Dear One works a normal week, and the Big Boy goes to nursery, there's no way I could manage studying at weekends!

I am grateful to have found a good course which takes place during the week, allowing me to enjoy my weekends especially when they are as sunny and warm as this one.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Weekly Vlog for 1st October

It's funny, when I recorded this video (using the Oracle of the Shapeshifters by Lucy Cavendish and Jasmine Becket-Griffith), it made me think about a situation I'm having with work and study.  I find it hard to reconcile my joy in tarot with being taken seriously as a professional in areas outside of tarot reading.  Yet, I recognise that this is one of the ways that I make sense of the world, and of myself, and that it helps me tap into my intuition.  And intuition is useful in any context, be it in board rooms, class rooms, hospitals or therapy rooms!

Then, as I thought about it more while editing the clip, I realised it's also very pertinent, in a completely different way, to some health issues Big Boy is having this week.  A nurse took a swab to check for infection on Monday, which came back negative, and yet I know that he has an infection (the diarrhoea, temperature and vomiting are pretty good clues!)  So, I listened to that and took him to the doctor.  The doctor agrees that he has an infection, but says he should be able to get over it by himself.  In the meantime, plenty of paracetamol and keep an eye out in case his symptoms get worse.  I'm glad it's nothing very serious, and glad I went to the doctor, rather than worrying all weekend.  And at least she agreed that he does have something... 

I love the way this happens, that the cards can speak to many different situations with equal validity and helpfulness.  Here's hoping this reading has something to say to you, too :)

Look at my Sunflower

After the interview I posted on Thursday, I want to use the Prairie Tarot for my daily card this week.  The first card I've drawn is the Queen of Wands.

This lady is rather more demure than some depictions of the Queen of Wands.  Still, I love her cat!  I've always felt that a cat is a great familiar for the Queen of Wands - independent, feisty, yet sensual.  There's something, as well, about the way the black cat blends into the border - a kind of now-you-see-me-now-you-don't aspect that fits cat temperament very well.  I am also intrigued by the big sunflower.  The way it dominates the image, pulling my eyes away from the Queen, and yet the fact is that she holds it.  So, she's in control of what I notice, distracting me and getting me to look at what she thinks is important. 

Today is meant to be another beautiful, sunny day.  Like this Queen, I hope to go and sit outside, enjoying the sunshine, with maybe a picnic lunch for the whole family.  If BB annoys my Dear One, which sometimes happens when he gets fussy or whiny, I shall try to distract one or other of them ;D

I am grateful for this beautiful Indian summer, especially on the weekend.