Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Once More Unto the Breach

Charging into battle today comes the Knight of Swords.

In this Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011) the Knight of Swords rides a black hose with a purple and gold harness and saddle decorated with the pagan rune for winter.  He rides out with sword in hand, and his armour is seriously spikey!  Dashing through slushy snow, nothing will stop him reaching his goal.

I see the horse's tack suggesting that the horse is the wiser part of this partnership.  The Knight can get carried away by his thoughts and desire to move forward, whereas the horse trusts its instincts more.  The Knight is exiting from a portculis, leaving the safety of the castle behind him, heading out into who knows what.  But then, that's part of the charm of the Knight of Swords: he goes where his search for information and new ideas takes him, paying little heed to others, or to his own security.

I wonder where my essay will take me today?  Will I come across some interesting new information in one of the books which I have just skimmed so far?  Or will I realise I have let some idea run away with me, and need to back it up with a lot more evidence?

In the wider world, today there is a public sector strike as teachers and others try to dissuade the government from proposed pension cuts.  I support the teachers - they're already not paid a huge amount.  I'd far rather see a cut in arms purchases or the standing army.  But then, unlike this Knight, I'm a pacifist at heart :)

I am grateful for my curiosity and desire to learn.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Once again, the Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011) shows us the changing faces of the seasons.

In this version of Temperance, a fairy kneels by the side of a small waterfall, pouring water from an ice-encrusted jug into a flower-bedecked one.  Behnind her to the left the earch is covered with snow, while to her right spring flowers pop up from the fresh, green grass.  She herself seems to be a creature of ice - snow-pale skin and gossamer wings - yet she wears flowers in her hair and a short, summer dress.  The place where she kneels, by the river bank, is bare earth - neither snowy nor green.  She is at the liminal point, in-between.

This card reminds me that, in any given situation, it's not just about getting the right mix of ingredients, or balancing the different elements, but also about getting our timing right!  Certainly, that feels pertinent to the fact that I shall be seeing clients today.  Say something at the right time and it helps, say it at the wrong time and you can set the whole process back.  Talk about pressure *eek*

I am grateful for the help of the universe in knowing when to speak and when to keep silent.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Sowing the Seed

It's time to get on with things, according to today's card from the Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011).

In this Ace of Pentacles, a little green fairy sits on a harvest wreath holding a large pentacle decorated with an ear of corn.  All about are bright red flowers, green grass, and some earth with more pentacles scattered like seeds. 

To me, this card speaks of sowing a seed, making a start on some project to do with finances or the material.  Investing in the future!  That could be starting a new diet or exercise regime, applying for a job, or starting up a new business. 

It's strange, and yet not, for this card to come up today.  It is the last day of my Masters - an end after two years of hard work.  And yet, not so strange, as this marks the start of a new phase on this journey towards a change of profession.  There's still a long distance to where I hope to go - I need to finish my last essay in the next two weeks, continue seeing clients, and start work on my dissertation.  Still, it's good to acknowledge what I have achieved so far, and to also recognise that this marks a new beginning.

I am grateful for the reminder to give thanks for what is over and look forward to what is still to come.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Wheel of the Year

Well, I guess this is a case of wheels within wheels ;) The Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011) shows different seasons in each of the suits of the Minor Arcana.  Meanwhile, Majors are attributed according to what season, or mix of seasons, fits best according to the author.

Today's card, then, is X - The Wheel, and shows all the turns of the yearly seasons.  A perfect reminder that change is a constant, life doesn't stop, and we need to accept and appreciate the cycles of life.  Perhaps, too, a suggestion to enjoy wherever you are on the wheel - each season has its own charms and delights, as well as pitfalls and difficulties.

My MIL is coming for a visit today.  She's someone I get on well with, and value.  Sadly, she's been through quite a lot recently, so I hope this card indicates that things are beginning to change for her, bringing renewed joy even as the weather here grows colder and the nights longer.  Likewise, I am looking forward to a new part of my life beginning once my last essay is out of the way.

I am grateful for the variety of life, and for the potential for change and a new set of challenges and possibilities.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Tree House

This week I have decided to draw from Lo Scarabeo's Wheel of the Year Tarot (2011).  This deck is authored by Maria Caratti and illustrated by Antonella Platano.  I've had it for a while, and done quite a lot of readings for both myself and clients with it.  For me, it's definitely a working deck, despite its cartoon-like qualities.  I like the fact that it is RWS-based, but with a distinctly pagan feel, and playful, vibrant images.

Today's card is the Four of Wands.  I find it interesting the way the deck's creators have chosen to frame the image with four wands, to supplement the imagery, but also giving the card a different feel.  To me, it makes it seem more story-like - a picture that mom might hang on the wall of the home as a reminder of a beautiful moment between daughter and father.  Which just adds to the idea of making something together - not just the tree house, but a home and family that includes the person who "took" the picture.  I know it's not photographic, but that's still the sense that I get from this card :)

While I still have plenty to go before I finish my essay, today I will also be taking some family time to enjoy Big Boy and my Dear One.  Since I was away for a few days a couple of weeks ago, Big Boy wants to sit on my lap whenever possible.  Still, Daddy is sooo much more fun than Mummy, so BB plays with dad while sitting on me!  Oh, the joys of being a beloved seat ;)  I guess, though, it makes me the foundation on which he builds his sense of fun and exploration, and that's a pretty good thing, too.

I am grateful for the simple pleasures of family games and togetherness.

Friday, 25 November 2011


Right from the get-go I want you to know, I am in no way affiliated with any of the websites or products I am going to rave about today.  They're just lovely things, and talented people, so I wanted to "Share the Love". 

Today, my soapbox is both literal and metaphorical.  Last week, I ordered some soaps from the amazing Kismet's Companion.  They arrived in this box:

These soaps are delightful!  They are prettily packaged, look gorgeous (you'll have to check out her pages to see what they look like, as these are gifts and not getting unwrapped), smell delicious and work a treat.  Reason I know?  I ordered some as gifts last year, too, and a small slice was included as a freebie.  I've been using it ever since :)

I felt a little disappointed, though, when I read yesterday that Kismet's Companion and another of my favourite retailer's, Ania M, were offering a "Share the Love" promotion, where if you buy from one, you get a discount from the other.  I adore Ania M's tarot bags, and have quite a few.  Here are some, at least one of which you won't find on her site, as it was custom made for me!

However, these ladies being the compassionate people that they are, after I caved and ordered another couple of bags from Ania, KC refunded me the discount I would have got from her if I'd bought yesterday instead of last week.  How cool is that!!  Together, they look like this:

I have to say, I like this bag even better, because of the frill and inner lining.  Although not all the bags on Ania's site offer this option, if you include a message to say you want it, she will custom make any bag with the extra, though it does bump the price up a little.  Still, I think it's really worth it. 

And just to add in another of my favourite UK-based lovelies, the deck inside that bag is the Tarot of the Sidhe, by Emily Carding.  It is the semi-trimmed version - sides removed - rather than the fully trimmed version I blogged about here.

So, that's my sharing for the day.  And who knows, one of those soaps may make its way into my Yule Yoga Giveaway.  If you haven't yet taken part, you have til the 6th of December...


For this last draw with Iowan's Tarot I finally got a Major, and coincidentally the only one that hasn't had its title changed.  I think it a shame, actually.  I like a lot of the other Majors, which represent quite different takes on traditional ideas.  For example, her version of the Hierophant is called "Djeli", which I just had to google.  Wikipedia tells me that this is a West African storyteller, a mixture of poet, praise singer and history teller much like a bard, which I find a very appropriate, positive and beautiful take on this sometimes problematic card.

However, here we have a traditional title, with an image that seems far closer to notions of Justice.  The Egyptian figure with scales bearing a feather and a heart, standing between two columns, echoes many versions of Maat as Justice.  Still, I guess Maat's association with the Underworld does make her appropriate for Judgement, so often portrayed as people rising from their graves at the call of an angel.  This doesn't have that sense of moving on that I normally associate with this Major, though that may be a road in the background, leading who-knows-where.  I'll be interested to hear what others make of this card.

Not sure how it relates to my day, either.  I'm still in essay mode, and I can't see me finishing and moving on for a while yet.  I'm also seeing a client, so maybe there will be some movement there.  Or maybe I will have my own epiphany...

I am grateful for opportunities to assess where I am and where I'm going.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Second Postal Surprise

So, just minutes ago the postman dropped this item through my door:

I wondered, "What can it be?"  When I saw it was from Llewellyn I was even more confused. "I'm sure I haven't ordered anything from them that would have to be rolled" I thought.  Then I saw the sender's name - Barbara Moore - and I gave a little squeal!

A while back, Babs ran a Steampunk Competition through her Steampunk Tarot website, offering one lucky reader the chance to get their hands on a prototype deck, five or six months ahead of the official launch.  I took part in the competition, though I wasn't lucky enough to win.  However, after the fact Babs announced that everyone who entered would win a consolation prize, and asked us to name our favourite card.  I said the High Priestess.  And so, this lovely lady lay inside the Llewellyn parcel:

High Priestess - Steampunk Tarot

Isn't she gorgeous?  And what an outfit!  Has something of a trickster air to her, too, I'd say: don't expect her to share all her secrets.  I love the glowing crystal ball, the cards on the blue cloth, and the wheels and cogs in the background :)  The image is about 26 x 46 cms (10 x 18 inches for you non-metric people).  I'm going to get her framed, and will post when it's done (may take me a while, essays and Christmas being current priorities).

So, a huge thank you to Barbara!  And I can't wait for the deck to come out...


Iowan's Tarot has a very modern feel to it, as well as being "ethnic".  I can well imagine reading with it for someone who doesn't like "old-fashioned" stuff. 

Today's card is a perfect case in point.  A biker stands with his back to us, gazing at the open road ahead of him.  Out in the distance, a nearly-full moon shines down on the rolling landscape.  On the back of his leather jacket are six crossed spears (swords).  This perfectly captures the idea of moving forward towards the unknown, hoping to find a place of greater calm.

Last week brought me a greater sense of purpose again.  I made the choice to get on with my essays because I don't want to still be stuck in this place of deadlines and other people's requirements.  Today I see my therapist again, and I wonder whether our session will help me find greater clarity about where I am headed after this last bit of essay craziness is resolved...

I am grateful to once again see the road ahead of me.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


I'm not quite sure what to make of today's card from Iowan's Tarot.

In this version of the Five of Staves (Wands), we see a woman sitting curled up with negative words all around her: murder, war, social apathy, depression, alcoholism etc.  These are negative situations the world and other people subject her to, whether personally or at a remove.  I can see here the idea of being attacked and needing to fight for herself.  However, these are in many ways ideas and words she is fighting, which makes it seem more of a Spears/Swords kind of thing.  Still, I guess it is the fact that these ideas are put into practice by people that makes this a fight against others.

My plan for the day mainly involves essay writing.  A battle with words and ideas, that's for sure.  And given my essay topic is intersubjectivity - our relationship with others - I guess that fits this card, too.

I am grateful not to have much discord in my life.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Hmm, Iowan's Tarot has served up two swords cards in a row.  I guess it's trying to communicate something :b

In this version of the Seven of Spears (Swords) I see a woman with five spears held in one hand, and a further two forming a cross at her feet, slightly behind her.  She stands before a thick fence that separates her from a town.  Her feet point away from the fence, while her gaze travels to the town beyond.

This feels very different to traditional Seven of Swords images where we see someone sneaking away with swords/ideas/bounty.  She stands proud, rather than looking sneaky.  While the keyword "trespass" is more closely aligned with the traditional perspective, what I see in the image itself is very different.  There is a sense that she has a lot of ideas, but is being kept away from others by some kind of blockage.  Perhaps she feels unwelcome.  Certainly, the keyword "trespass" can also be taken to suggest that she would be seen as an interloper.  This resonates with the experience of many minority groups, feeling excluded from mainstream society.  While I see a certain wistfulness in her gaze and pose, I also read a sense of determination and having the resources she needs to take her own path.

Today I see clients, who may well feel this way - cut off from the joys of regular society through their experience and pain.  Furthermore, today I hope to start writing the last of my essays, having finished one on Sunday and another yesterday (yay me!)  I hope to bring a challenging perspective, looking in from the outside, so to speak.

I am grateful for having plenty of ideas to work with, and not needing to conform to others' prescriptions.

Monday, 21 November 2011


While connected to the Rider Waite Smith tarot, Iowan's Tarot has a novel, modern and sometimes psychedelic take on the cards, while using "primitive" suit icons - a strange mix, but one which I feel works.

This can clearly be seen here, in the Two of Spears (Swords).  A man sits as though meditating, blindfolded, atop a scales.  In front and back of him, two large spears cross over, tipped with double-forked prongs.  Arching over him is a depiction of Nut, the Egyptian goddess of the night sky.  In some ways, the symbols seem more appropriate to Justice than the Two of Swords.  Which makes me think of the Wildwood depiction, titled Injustice (you can see a pic here from Priestess Tarot).  Yet in Iowan's Tarot the keyword is "compromise".

So, a weighing up of different aspects of a situation from a place of calm and acceptance.  The goddess blesses his endeavour, recognising his openness to the fates, his mental clarity uncluttered by preconceptions.

My second to last day at college beckons, a penultimate opportunity to assess where I am going with this.  A chance, too, to build bridges for the future, and find an equilibrium with friends and others alike.  After the course, I may never see some of these people again, strange after two years when we have shared so much.

And in the evening, group supervision.  Always a balancing act - who needs what and when.  I feel a little guilty that the group has agreed to my going first if I feel the need, given how early I am generally up with Big Boy.  And yet, surely better that than me failing to go again, which has also happened fairly often.  So, the compromise is that I go but may leave early.

I am grateful for the kindness of others.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


For this second day with Iowan's Tarot I drew another court card - the Counsel of Staves (Page of Wands).

The keyword that Iowan has chosen here is "poise".  It's not one I would normally associate with the Page of Wands: more full of youthful joy and playfulness in my eyes.  Perhaps that poise is simply the confidence and delight in life this card represents - a faith in themselves and in the benificence of the universe.

Not sure I'm feeling much of that at the moment, and maybe that's the point.  I need to draw on this trust in the world and in myself.  I have promised myself that if I can finish one of my essays today I won't try for an extension on the other big one.  I'd rather not have it dragging out over Christmas...

I am grateful for the message to trust in my abilities.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


This week, as promised, I will be pulling from the independently published Iowan's Tarot.  This is an African-American deck with changed suit names: Staves (Wands), Gourds (Cups), Spears (Swords) and Cowries (Pentacles).  The Courts are titled Counsel (Page), Rhythm (Knight), Wellspring (Queen), and GateKeeper (King), which I think is an interesting and useful approach to the Court roles.  Also, all but one Major has been renamed.

For this first draw I received the Rhythm of Gourds (Knight of Cups).  All the Rhythm cards show a woman in a warrior-type asana position.  Here, she wears a blue body suit, straddles a small stream pouring down boulders, and holds a carp-decorated ball on her upraised hand.  I find it interesting that, when I wrote a post associating warrior poses with the tarot Knights, this is pretty much the pose that I chose for the Knight of Cups!  And speaking of yoga, a quick reminder that I'm running a yule yoga giveaway, if you haven't taken part yet :)

This image suggests to me an ability to be open hearted, to go with the flow emotionally, and yet to still be strong and dedicated.  Depending on my mood, I can imagine associating the carp with saying what you think the other wants to hear (Koi ⇒ coy).  It can also be associated with love and friendship - according to wikipedia the Japanese have another word that sounds just like koi and means love and affection.  Both interpretations fit my ideas about the Knight of Cups.

I really like the title Rhythm for this Knight equivalent.  It has a great sense of movement, and yet also a sense of power and naturalness.  When I think of the Rhythm of Gourds, I imagine water sloshing round inside a gourd, not a rigid sound but rather one that is variable and flowing.

This morning I'll be working on my essay a bit more, talking about emotions and the fluid process of working with a client.  This afternoon we go to a house warming party, where there'll be plenty of liquid flowing, as well as music to sway to ;D 

I am grateful for times of emotional openness and joy.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Postal Surprise

Outer box, with a fork for perspective
Last Saturday the postman came by with a parcel.  I was a little surprised.  Although I had a deck on order, this parcel was big!  Still, when I read the label (removed in the pic) it said Deck of Cards...

Tugging off all the tape and the label, I plunged through brown packing paper to find a still-rather-large black box inside.  Iowan's Tarot - an independently created and published deck I've been following for at least a year - was nestled inside. 
Outer box and inner box
On to the next layer: I opened the black box to find a very hand-sized deck, a matching bag, and a big card - almost the size of the box when folded - with a wheel of the Major images and some spread suggestions (not pictured here). 
Boxes 1+2, the bag and deck
While the packaging is definitely excessively big, the deck is a lovely size, and very interesting.  The cards were all out of order, so I had to go through everything to check they were all there.  That was my excuse, anyway, as I was supposed to be working on an essay at the time *d'oh*.  I shall be using it as my deck of the week, and hope to write up a review of it at some point, too.  After my essays are all handed in!
Finally, the deck!

Cool Cat

I really like today's card from the Joie de Vivre Tarot.

The King of Swords is a card whose energy I have argued elsewhere is sometimes seen too negatively.  Here we certainly have a more positive view of him.  A cool cat with a red hat, a blue cape, a white-frilled neck cuff, purple shoes, a brown jerkin and trousers, a green bird on his arm and a sword held casually, blade down, in his left hand. 

His clothing suggest both stability (brown), an ability to express himself clearly (blue), wisdom (purple) and passion (red).  The fact that his shoes are purple hints that he isn't entirely practical - more in touch with lofty ideals than with the everyday.  Yet his brown underclothes do say that he is stable in his approach to any matter, just that the matters he approaches may be more on a mental than a physical level.

There are clouds around him, a challenge to his clarity of vision.  Yet the bird suggests he knows how to use resources to find a different perspective.  And the sword suggests he is at ease with his thoughts and mind.

Another day when I could use some of this clear-sightedness and determination.  Have to finish my essay by Monday and it's dragging on horribly.  I'm also seeing a client and having supervision, so clarity of expression is called for, too.

I am grateful for my mind, and for times when it is clear and focused. 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Tripping Over Your Own Feet

Today's card from the Joie de Vivre Tarot had me stumped for a bit.

I normally think of the Page of Coins (Pentacles) as being a very stable chap.  Still learning, but quite intent, it is a card I often associate with yoga - that sense of learning something both physical and spiritual.  Here, though, we have an octopus-y character - hinting at cups/water - standing on a tree branch reaching for a sunny pentacle - wands/fire - with various bizarre fish/rabbit/slug creatures floating around him - swords/air.  Or maybe it's all underwater, though that isn't obvious from the colour scheme.  Either way, where is the pentacle-y earth energy?

Where I see a link to more traditional notions of what the Page of Coins represents is in the idea that he is reaching for something physical/spiritual, and that perhaps he needs to learn and understand his own physicality in order to be able to do this.  The very fact of how ungrounded he is points to where his future learning lies.  I can easily imagine him taking a spill, but getting up and trying again.  There may also be an element of the message/messenger here - the pentacle shining in the sky as a beacon.  The Page as the one who brings that beacon's message to us.  Perhaps the weird creatures are there simply to remind us that we must be playful in our learning.  Or as a dire warning of what can happen if you are not clear with your physical boundaries :)

How does this card relate to my day?  Well, once again it falls on a day when I've planned in a longer yoga practice.  Other than that, today I see both my personal therapist and also a family therapist - plenty of learning opportunities and perhaps a chance to acknowledge areas where I feel my boundaries could do with some bolstering - I'm not great at discipline, which Big Boy needs as otherwise he can hurt himself and others.

I am grateful for the many chances life offers me to learn, on so many levels.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Emotional Choices

Paulina Cassidy created the lovely Joie de Vivre Tarot (U.S. Games, 2011) her second tarot after the well-received Paulina.  She also has an oracle deck out soon called Witchlings, which looks rather fun ;)

Today's card is the Seven of Cups.  I really like the way that her dress resembles sea-foam, and yet there are bats decorating it, too.  Perhaps this says something about the way we perceive the choices offered to us in this card - we can be washed away by the emotions they provoke, or try to see beyond the surface using our intuition as a guide.  And what of those choices?  From inside flowers five birds poke out their heads, offering a heart, a star, a letter, a cherry and a musical note.  Two more flowers contain a snake and a little ant or insect.  The woman looks like she's trying to choose between the cherry, the stalk to which is held in her right hand, or the heart towards which she looks and reaches with her left hand.  Still, perhaps she should take some more time to consider the other options, too...

For me today, though, I think the message is not to get entranced by the many things on offer, and just keep my focus - I need to work some more on my essay, it's getting urgent that I finish it. 

I am grateful for the clarity of knowing what I need to choose.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Passing Through the Darkness

The Joie de Vivre Tarot (U.S. Games, 2011) by Paulina Cassidy today shows us a less-than-joyful aspect of life - the Five of Coins (Pentacles).

No companion accompanies our cloaked woman with the strange, striped bunny ears.  She walks through tangled undergrowth and bare branches, enveloped by grey.  And yet, candle-topped pentacles guide her way, lights in the darkness.  What I see here is a message about finding comfort in times of hardship.  That comfort may come from doing something to feel physically protected (the cloak) or it may come from spiritual guidance (the candles).  In any case, she seems to keep her sense of humour (striped bunny ears).  Or perhaps they indicate that she is extra alert to danger - listening out for any possible problems.

Today I see clients again and this card reminds me of why I do this work - to try to be a support to others while they pass through the shadow of death.  I try to help them find ways to look after themselves, and to reconnect to a sense of faith in the meaning of life. 

I am grateful for the support we humans can offer one another.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Let's Get This Party Started!

Paulina Cassidy's Joie de Vivre Tarot (U.S. Games, 2011) is extremely beautiful, highly whimsical, and rather quirky.  Which is to say, I'm really enjoying it :)

Today's card is the Three of Cups.  What I notice is that the three characters here each seem to be bringing something to the table, so to speak.  The one on the right carries a flute, the one in the middle has cups which overflow, and the one on the left carries baskets of tempting fruit.  Music, food, drink and good company - it's a party! 

Yet the three friends, as well as offering different things, are also very disparate.  One is a rabbit, the other looks mainly human besides the flower fountain that seems to grow from her hair, while the third is a mermaid.

In this card I see a celebration of our dissimilarities, and a willingness to enjoy life in all its variety and colour.  A reminder that it can be fun to challenge our ways of being, and to expand our horizons through other people who are different to ourselves.

Today I am going into college and it's true that, although we are all studying the same subject, there is still a world of difference between us all.  I hope I can appreciate that multiplicity and allow it to open my perspective and my heart.

I am grateful for all the different people who enrich my life. 

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Wondrous Winged Lion

Well, the Joie de Vivre Tarot (U.S. Games, 2011) is certainly introducing itself with a bang!

For this second draw, I am greeted by Strength.  A lion with wings and a heart-tipped tail stands on a tree branch, allowing a winged, flower-crowned woman to pet him.  The lion, with dainty little fangs showing, seems to be leaning into the woman's caress and yet I'm unsure whether his gaze is loving or predatory.  And perhaps that's as it should be: if the lion were completely tame, he would not hold up his side of the Strength equation! 

He is all fiery energy, from his colours to his sun pendant, physically powerful and driven by his urges.  Meanwhile she is calm and light, with a moon-like face and a crescent moon on her dress, reflective and nurturing.  Acknowledging both aspects of our nature, and the spectrum in between, allows us to tap into our full potential, our strength.

Today we're planning a family walk in the autumnal sunshine.  Perhaps I'll need to tap into my strength as we work on boundaries with Big Boy...

I am grateful for the acknowledgement that I don't just have to behave in one way all the time, that I can be a mutlitfaceted person and still be me.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Bouncing Balloon

This week I will be drawing from the recently released Joie de Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy (U.S. Games, 2011).  My first impression is that these cards are beautiful and whimsical, and less busy than the Paulina Tarot.

For this first draw I was just shuffling and shuffling the deck (while reading something on a forum) and this card popped out to say hello.  I have to say, the Sun seems to have a somewhat mournful demeanour.  Still, the fellow flying on a strange sea-horse-like creature looks happy enough, holding the sun like a helium balloon in one hand, and a shining heart in the other.  Youthful innocence and delight shine through.

Today I will try to finish the essay I was working on last week.  Hope this card bodes well for my success in this endeavour.  Perhaps it tells me I need to stay with the things about this topic which I enjoy, and reflect on the ways in which I may be naive about it.

I am grateful for this encouragement towards intellectual curiosity.

Friday, 11 November 2011

11/11/11 Reading

This morning Tarotize published a post talking about her take on the numerology of today.  Discussing it in conjunction with the moon's phases, she recommended using this as a time to do a reading on new beginnings and manifestation.  Although I'm publishing this during the void of course time of the moon, I did the reading while it was still in Taurus (not that I know much about what that means, but I'm happy to take the word of someone wiser than me).

I just asked what I can manifest, though Tarotize talked about it in terms of love.  Well, the cards definitely spoke to that precise question!  I didn't define positions, just pulled three cards from the Steele Wizard Tarot, and the results were:

This new beginning will allow me to manifest my romantic side, my ability to give love, and to share.  The Knight of Cups speaks to me of being more out-going with my emotions, willing to express how I feel.  The Ace of Cups tells me I have a well of love to give, and to let that love flow generously without holding back.

Finally, the Maiden of Pentacles.  This is one of the extra cards that Pamela Steele added to this deck.  I like the idea of a youthful, feminine energy.  As sellers of car insurance will tell you, insuring a young man has very different risks to insuring a young woman.  With the addition of these Maiden cards, Pamela speaks to this difference that encompasses youthfulness but acknowledges the Maiden aspect of human nature.

What I see in this Maiden of Pentacles is someone who is shy yet flirtatious, just starting to explore what it means to have a sensual, sexual body.  She may at times hide behind the physical or the material, yet she is also quite down-to-earth.  So, a call to reconnect with the physical aspects of life, with sensuality, play and pleasure.  Perhaps also a time to consider what to hide and what to reveal.

As I said above, I did this reading early this morning, but didn't have time to do the scanning/writing up etc.  In the meantime, I had a little nap (as well as working etc).  I awoke with an "aha".  The above is a psychological/empowering reading of the cards, my normal modus operandi.  And yet, the Maiden of Pentacles challenges me to consider what I choose to reveal.

When I woke up, I thought about the Ace of Cups being bookmarked by the Knight of Cups and the Maiden.  My lover and I, enclosing a receptacle that, filled with our love, takes form and wells forth.  We have been trying for several months now to conceive another child, and while it feels a little fraught with worry (would another child also have health issues, am I getting too old to have a child?), it also feels like a possibility for new and happier emotions.  I have seen signs hinting at this in other readings, for example here, though I didn't mention that interpretation at the time.  I hope that, if this is the start of a new phase, the chance of a seed being sown can be manifested, a manifestation of love. 

In any case, I don't see the two interpretations - psychological/empowering and divinatory/predictive - as being opposing.  Both could be true and relevant.  For example, the advice I see in the psychological reading can only help the chance of making the divination come into being - being open, sensual and emotionally expressive is a good place to start when trying to make a baby ;D

I hope you'll wish me luck :)

Movement Cubed

For this final draw with the Steele Wizard Tarot (by Pamela Steele) I received the Chariot.

I really like the fact that Pamela Steele has added more women to the cards in this deck, and challenged some gender stereotypes.  For example, her Eight of Swords shows a bound man, rather than a woman.  Meanwhile, here our chariot driver is a woman.  She also added runes to a number of cards, including this one.  The woman wears a brooch decorated with Raidho - the rune for wagon or chariot - and the horses' harnesses are decorated with the Ehwaz rune, signifying horse.  This emphasises the travel and movement aspect of this card, thought the runes also speak of progress, teamwork, loyalty (Ehwaz) and evolution, decision and perspective (Raidho).  Which I guess fits quite well with traditional Chariot associations of taming different aspects of ourselves in order to move forward.

I'm not sure if willpower alone will be enough to help me progress today.  I'm supposed to see two clients, but my voice is still borderline absent.  So, I have to decide whether to push on, at the risk of hurting my throat and perhaps not coming across very well with one client who is just starting today.  Otherwise, I can ring to cancel our sessions and get on with my essays instead...

I am grateful for the ability to move forward one way or another.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

On Manifestation

Today's card from the Steele Wizard Tarot is the Magician.

There are some unusual aspects to this image which I rather like.  While maintaining the idea of drawing down energy for manifestation, here that energy is visible in the form of little glowing stars.  These pour forth from the Magician's upraised hand, and flow down into the pentacle-decorated cup he holds in his left hand.  The active, dynamic suit emblems are present, but tucked away: a sword in his belt and a crystal-topped wand resting in the crook of his elbow.  He doesn't need them, because their energy is manifest in him.  However, he does use the passive suit emblems, the cup and pentacle, to gather that energy, suggesting the necessity of balance to actually manifest.  Active energy takes form in the passive receptacle.

I also really like that here the lemniscate is part of a headband he wears - connecting this symbol of infinity with his third eye.  Infinite manifestation comes from a clear connection with spirit.

Today I return home.  As Picard would say: "Make it so."

I am grateful for the ability to create a life I love, and for the reminder that balance is vital in that process: if I didn't go away, I wouldn't appreciate being home; if I didn't work, I wouldn't appreciate the quiet times.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

On Being Mute

Excuse the poor photography, I only have my phone with me.
As those of you who have read my blog this week will know, I can't currently speak at all.  It's weird, I've got a slight cold and don't feel that bad, but I can barely croak hello.  While this continues, I'm trying to avoid using my voice at all in the hopes it'll recover faster that way!

So, I decided to ask the cards what lessons there are for me in this situation. 

I drew a card from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Blue Angel 2011) and three cards from the Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo 2011).  The oracle card is to represent overall energies of this situation, while the three tarot cards were slightly tweaking Helen's (Tarot Notes Major and Minor) suggestion about doing a spirit guide reading.  Their positional meanings are: 1) what does my spirit guide want me to learn from this experience?  2) why do I need to learn this?  3) what action should I take?

I'll start with the Oracle of the Shapeshifters.  The card I drew is "Bats in the Belfry: You can achieve great things".  What I notice first about this card is the bats - creatures which fly using sonar (what they hear) to navigate and "see". 

At the moment I can't speak in the way we generally take for granted, and have had to come up with other ways to make myself understood.  For example, I know a little sign language, but most of the people I am with right now don't know it, so that doesn't help much.  Also, it turns out my computer has a text-to-speech function so I can type stuff and the computer says it in a silly, sultry voice (I could have gone for a guys voice, but that would be even weirder!)  Unfortunately, while I am currently in Germany, the computer can only handle English!  Still, the fact that I'm finding these alternate ways of communicating, even if they don't work perfectly, is an achievement.  And the whole situation makes me appreciate what it must be like for those who live with communication difficulties of one kind or another: be it muteism or simply a stutter.

I notice, too, that the woman in this card is up in the rooftops: she can see far and wide.  I think that not being able to speak gives me both the opportunity and the excuse to take a bit of a back seat and pay more attention to what is going on around me, rather than getting so involved in it.

Then, the spirit guide reading. 

1) What does my spirit guide want me to learn?  Five of Wands

Seeing the image of two men arm-wrestling, I am struck by this metaphor of what a conversation is.  A good conversation, while not really a struggle, does involve a balancing of power - each person takes turns speaking and guiding the conversation.  If one person is far "stronger" the conversation loses its balance, its mutuality, and is quickly over or at least no longer a dialogue. 

There is also an aspect where I currently "struggle" to get myself heard and understood.  Learning what that feels like (I'm a Gemini and rarely at a loss for words) is an interesting experience.

2) Why do I need to learn this?  Knight of Wands

I need to learn this because normally I tend to just go jumping into conversations, full of enthusiasm, but perhaps without thinking things through nor leaving much space for others.  Having to stay quiet and hope that others will raise the points I'm interested in is quite fascinating, both when it works as I want and when it doesn't.  This experience gives me more appreciation for people who find it hard to join in a conversation, or especially a group discussion.  I can empathise more not just with a potential sense of being left out, but also with a frustration that they have lots going on in their heads, but it stays there rather than being shared.

3) What action should I take?  The Hanged Man

Ha, don't you just love the tarot's sense of humour?!  I'm just going to have to wait this one out.  Hopefully, the block on my vocal cords will lift soon, but there's little I can do about it.  In the meantime, I shall continue to use this as a learning experience!

Queen Brown Bear

One of the things I really like about Pamela Steele's Steele Wizard Tarot is that the kings and queens are accompanied by animals.  I find this adds another layer to these cards.  And, interestingly, in the Queen of Pentacles we find the bear, which is also the Queen of Stones in the Wildwood Tarot :)

Dressed in red, colour of the base chakra and associated with security and connection to the physical world, as well as to our ancestors, this queen is family-oriented and also practical.  While she enjoys home comforts and life's luxuries, she also knows how to make the most of whatever life offers her, and will put her children ahead of her own pleasures, as well as defending them in whatever way seems necessary.  Clearly, though, you don't have to be female or have actual children to channel this energy. 

What does this have to do with my day?  I will be working all day, and certainly a focus on the practical is called for.  Perhaps, too, a willingness to defend the rights of those I value, and to support others who work hard and deserve a boost, as Christmas bonuses will be discussed.  There may be an acknowledgement here, too, that I am missing my Dear One and Big Boy, but I'll be home again tomorrow.

I am grateful for reminders of how fortunate I am: with family I love and a job that keeps the roof over our heads and food on the table.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Fiery Unicorn

What a beautiful card for a not-so-beautiful day!  The Sun from the Steele Wizard Tarot (by Pamela Steele) graces my screen this morning, while clouds darken the skies outside.

I absolutely adore this depiction!  I don't remember having seen a unicorn on any other Sun card (except of course the Unicorn Tarot).  It seems a wonderful symbol for hope, strength, energy, purity of spirit, and forward momentum.  Enormous daisies grow in front of the wall that the unicorn flies over, making me think of daisy chains, sunny days in childhood, and innocence.  Yet the sun also burns fiery hot behind the unicorn, hinting at both great energy and also the shadow side of this card - an excess of enthusiasm and possible burnout.

Today I shall take to the skies, too, as I have to go to Germany for work.  Can't say I bring any child-like enthusiasm to the situation: air travel has become a chore in this age of cheap flights, crowded airports, and ridiculous security measures.  Still, I'll meet up with family for dinner tonight, which is a joy.

I am grateful for my family, both near and more distant, both past, present and future, and for the opportunity to spend time with them.

Monday, 7 November 2011


Today's card is one of the six extra Majors which Pamela Steele has incorporated into her Steele Wizard Tarot.

Titled Evolution and numbered XXVI, this card shows a woman's face transforming into a more spiritual, inward-focused version of itself.  Framed by two rainbow-hued crystals (the border for all the Majors, while the Minors have two interweaving ribbons around them), she is surrounded by balls of light, and also has a point of light at her third eye.  Her eyes gradually close to the outside as she atunes to the Universe from the inside, and that point of light at the brow grows ever brighter.  I love this concept of evolution as spiritual, rather than merely physical.

Today I'm back at college, but I may well have to be more inward-focused than is my custom: I've lost my voice.  Not being able to speak before I think can surely not be a bad thing spiritually :D

I am grateful for times of quiet and reflection.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Communing With Nature

The Steele Wizard Tarot by Pamela Steele today offers me the Page of Pentacles.  In this deck the Page represents very purely youthful energy - for more gendered energy she has both Maidens and Knights, Queens and Kings, a set-up I rather like.

This Page sits on a tree stump, gazing intently at his/her Pentacle.  Thick leaves grow to the side, and a gnarly branch with three leaves hangs down at head height.  The Page wears a red doublet with black and gold piping, lilac leggings, and golden shoes.  I find the colours curious: normally gold and lilac are associated with enlightenment and spiritual understanding, thus to have them on the feet and legs seems a little strange.  Yet perhaps what this suggests is just how grounded this Page is, how it is a connection to the earth itself which brings wisdom in this instance.  The way the branch hangs down to one side at head height seems to reinforce this, like a piece of nature reaching out towards our young friend in greeting and acknowledgement.

The Page of Pentacles is generally a card that I associate with learning something physical or practical.  It has often come up for me with reference to yoga (and if you're interested in yoga, don't forget to check out my yule yoga giveaway!)  Today this Page asks me what I can learn from nature, and perhaps from my own nature and body.

Today my MIL comes to visit.  We often all go out for a walk on our local Heath, which would give me a chance to commune with nature.  On the other hand, I feel like perhaps this card is more about learning from my body - I am intending to do a longer yoga practice today, too :)  I always do at least 20 minutes, but I like when I can fit in a fuller practice.  So, what can I learn from it today?  There's always more to feel and experience...

I am grateful for the many opportunities to learn from nature and from yoga.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Crystal Wand

This week I will be drawing my daily cards from the Steele Wizard Tarot by Pamela Steele (self-published).  This is a RWS-based deck, with a number of extra cards.  Each suit has an extra Court Card - the Maiden - so the Courts comprise the Page, Maiden, Knight, Queen and King.  The deck also has six extra Majors, more about those later in the week :)

For this first draw I pulled the Ace of Wands.  All the wands in this suit are topped by a crystal, an idea I like pointing towards a focusing of the mind and directing of our personal energy towards whatever project we choose.  Here, too, there are runes carved into the wand - Sowilo, Berkano and Tiwaz.  Sowilo represents the Sun - success and energy.  Berkano, a rune of fertility and growth, though somewhat feminine for the wand, is perhaps indicative of the feminine within the masculine, and its regenerative power is certainly a powerful and positive one.  Tiwaz is the rune of the sky god Tyr, representative of honour and leadership.  These both feel like good runes for this card.  I also like the leaves twining around the wand, suggestive of growth and potential, and the feather ornament, which seems like a shaman's talisman, another way of drawing energy into this wand.

I'm certainly going to need this fertile wands energy today: I have an essay to write!

I am grateful for all the help I can get in focusing my intent.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Yule Yoga Giveaway!

As we head towards the holiday season, I feel it would be nice to run another giveaway.  This time the prize is mainly yoga-related, because I like alliteration ;)

So, what's up for grabs?  A yoga book by a teacher I deeply respect (I took two teacher trainings with him), a DVD by another excellent teacher (which is appropriate for any level, beginner to advanced), and a tarot deck, just because :)

I'll do the draw on Sankt Nikolaus - the sixth of December - so hopefully there will be time enough for postage to wherever before Yule/Christmas/Hannukah.  To take part in the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on this thread saying what you like best about yoga...

The Problem of Words

I know there are quite a few people who don't like using decks with keywords or text.  The issue being that these can limit what we see in a card.  However, I feel it's always possible to look beyond this, at least if the deck is decently illustrated.

A case in point is my card for today from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Blue Angel, 2011) by Lucy Cavendish and Jasmine Becket-Griffith.  I drew this card asking what energy I needed to bring to the day.  Now, at first glance you'd think this is just a rather depressing card with no sense of empowerment.  It says: Alice in a Sea of Tears -  Castaway, out of your depth, feeling abandoned.  Looks like a pretty bad day if you take it just as a prediction!

However, what I make of it is that there may be a situation where I feel a bit overwhelmed.  In that case, I need to keep moving, to not give up, so as to keep my head above water.  I also see a message to listen to the small voices inside me which may help guide me.

I don't like simply accepting that a negative card means I'm going to have a bad day.  Instead, I always try to find the empowering message in the card, to help me cope with any difficulties.  So, I don't just take the text on the card at face value, I look deep into the image.  And I also frame my questions in such a way that I can find the course of action, the way forward.  For me, that openness to intuitive reading and empowerment are what using the cards is about :)

All Souls

I've been really enjoying using the All Hallows Tarot.  It's a deck I've had a while, but I hadn't dug it out for quite some time.  It's great to have had this reminder of just what a gorgeous deck it is!  Anyhow, for this last draw I pulled the Five of Cups.

Somehow, these squashed and destroyed pumpkins feel even sadder than spilled cups.  Firstly, perhaps, because they've been anthropomorphised by being carved.  Secondly because they're not just spilling their contents, but have been smashed to bits.  So, it feels like a reminder of people in our lives who have died, rather than just nostalgia for a lost love.  I guess that fits well with the time of year, a time to honour the souls of the dead.  Still, the reminder is also there that, after we have thought of our beloved dead, we still have the living to (re)turn to.

Today my mum is coming over to visit.  Perhaps we can reminisce about my favourite grandmother, my mother's mother, and make a toast to her.  Maybe, too, together we can also remeber my father, who died last year.

I am grateful for the time I spent with my grandmother and my father, and the time I still have to spend with other friends and family now.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Paper Boat

Today the All Hallows Tarot offers us the Six of Swords.

This is a card that I often love, it can have such a sense of forward movement and things getting better.  Here, as it's a very urban deck, we have something rather different.  Still, that sense of the wish to move on is clearly there, a suggestion that movement is in our mind and intention as much as in physical displacement.  I am also struck by their t-shirts, each with a three-of-swords depiction.  This implies that what makes them want to move is the fact of having suffered some heartache.  And so they dream and plan, sending their paper boat down the stream to end up who-knows-where...

Thinking about this card, what I'm aware of is my desire to finish the taught part of my Masters - it is weighing heavily on me at the moment.  I want to have more time for me: to read the books I am most interested in, to meditate, to reflect, to sleep.  I want to feel less stressed.  That's still just a dream - five and a half weeks to go before this part is over, and that's quite a while, and with three essays to write between now and then.  Still, maybe acknowledging my desire for movement, and planning how to get there, is what is called for.

I am grateful for the freedom of my mind: to dream and plan.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Locked Down

On this Wednesday morning, the All Harrows Tarot offers up the Four of Pentacles.

This man clings tightly to his golden disks, which seem to threaten to fall from his arms due to their weight.  There is a sliver of a crescent moon behind him, and his hair is a lively green.  However, he looks rather locked in, with wire-rimmed glasses that hide his eyes, nose and ear piercings that weigh him down, and leather cuffs on his arms, clasped around his sleeves.  Overall, my impression is of someone holding tightly to things he feels will keep him safe, without realising that those same things dehumanise him.

Today I face the bureacracy of applying for a new passport, which is dehumanising in its own way.  Faceless officials, official procedures, and a system where people become numbers - it may be practical, but it doesn't lift the human spirit.

I am grateful that my life isn't very bureaucratic.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Helen's Halloween Reading

Edited in Be Funky
On this All Hallows (All Saints/Day of the Dead), I shall continue with the Halloween theme, and with the All Hallows Tarot.  With the kind agreement of Helen (of Tarot Notes Major and Minor), I have tweaked the layout of her Halloween Spread so that it fits more easily into a single picture and so it makes more sense to me.

I found this reading quite challenging, as I don't generally like "buried" or "what is hidden" positions in a spread.  Still, I think this one worked out fairly well.

1) Grave Stone - what do you keep buried?  The Sun

OK, not a card that I would at first expect to be "buried".  Still, when I think about it, two things come to mind.  Firstly, the literal association of Sun and son.  My son is not someone I talk about much.  Not just here on this blog, but in my life generally.  And the reason for that?  Well, partly because his medical issues cause me a lot of heartache.  Secondly, and connected to that, I guess it's true that I have felt less sunny, less happy, angrier and darker, because of this.  So, my happiness has been buried under fear, doubt, worry and, yes, anger.

2) Lighted Candle - how can you bring it to light?  Ten of Disks

This card makes me think I still need to do a bit more "unpacking" of what happened in the past, and what is still happening - airing everything out.  Perhaps, too, there is a need to honour the dreams of what I thought would be - how I imagined being a mother compared to how it is.  I wonder, as well, this being a time of the ancestors, whether there is a message here about asking for help from my ancestors.  My favourite grandmother died on October 29th about fifteen years ago, so thoughts of her are always with me at this time of year for both reasons.  Perhaps a meditation on what she would tell me about this issue...

3) In the Beat of a Heart - how do you get to the heart of the matter?  Seven of Wands

I get to the heart of the matter by acknowledging how defensive I feel on this subject, and how that makes me react angrily.  Perhaps I also need to acknowledge my envy of others and what I perceive of as their positive situation compared to my own.  I can find it quite difficult sometimes to be with mothers of healthy children, envying them the ease of their relationship with their kids, and of their life generally.  I know that's not fair, that everyone faces challenges which aren't always apparent from the outside, but I still find it hard not to compare my situation unfavourably with others'.

4) Graveyard Shadows - how do you stop this casting a shadow on you?  Temperance

To stop this issue casting a shadow on me, I need to find a better balance: to acknowledge the ambivalence of my feelings, and work on accepting even the emotions which I consider "negative".  I notice the way that the angel and devil are starkly white and red, while the woman in the middle has multi-coloured hair.  Something about blending the extremes so that I can feel more colourful, and express a variety of emotions, not just love or anger.

5) The Skeleton is Out of the Closet - how can you finally lay this skeleton to rest?  The Moon

Gotta love this deck! I never noticed the werewolf in the background of this card before :)  To lay this skeleton to rest I need to be able to feel at peace with the shadowy side of myself and my emotions.  Maybe the werewolf suggests that sometimes I need to act out those negative emotions, to express them in a safe way (such as in therapy), so that I don't fear being suddenly overwhelmed by them.  The dog at the front of the card looks so relaxed, almost as if he were lying in the sun, rather than howling at the moon.  Letting the scary emotions out in a small way leaves the rest of me able to be more mellow...

It's interesting that what is buried is the Sun and what will lay it to rest is the Moon.  There's something there about reflections and shadows, bringing things to light but in a moderated, gentler way.

I have to admit, this reading isn't as clear to me as my reading yesterday.  However, I think that may be a combination of having difficulty with "buried" questions and also with the fact that this is a harder topic for me - hence why it's buried, I guess *d'oh*  I'd be glad to hear any thoughts or interpretations...

Just Clowning Around?

The All Hallows Tarot, by Robin Tisch-Hollister sends out the Nine of Swords today!

The image here is humorous, and yet with a dark edge.  On the one hand, clowns are just jokers, right?  Yet their teeth look pretty sharp...  And is that a bat with a skull's head behind those swords, all lined up to block our not-so-intrepid hero from leaving the cave? 

For me this highlights the fact that even if our worries and doubts may seem silly to others, they can be very real to us, and should be respected.  However, there is still the question of what we can do when insomnia strikes and our minds are populated by fears.  As I write this, laughter therapy springs to mind.  Is it just a joke?

Today I go to see a doctor again with Big Boy, and then later travel to work with clients - what a busy day!  As for how it relates to this card, I have to admit that doctor's worry me - waiting for the bad news, worrying about it, wondering if they'll be helpful or just add to my concerns.  And then, I know that one of my clients feels this way a lot of the time, too, scared of her own thoughts, trying to flee them through hard physical work or mindless television.   Knowing of her distress helps put mine in context, just as laughing at something can do.  I hope that my just being there for her is enough to help.

I am grateful that witnessing other people's Nine of Swords moments can put my own into perspective.