Saturday, 31 December 2011

Blending In

This week we see the change from 2011 to 2012.  So, I decided to draw from the Tarot of Metamorphosis (Lo Scarabeo, 2005) which is all about change and transitions.  It's a fairly non-traditional deck, a strange fantasy/sci-fi hybrid which is quite surreal.

On this New Year's Eve, the card I pulled is the Two of Wands.  Rather than someone contemplating the world from on high, here we have a rather gentle-looking swamp man.  Flowers, grass and foliage grow from his hands and hair.  An iguana sits on his head, looking rather worried, while a hummingbird sups from a flower growing from his left index finger.  His expression is beatific: calm and meditative.

What I see here is a suggestion to examine what is around us and how we fit into the world.  A reminder, too, that no man is an island: we are always part of the web of life, connected to the other beings on this planet.

Today we are planning a mellow day, with perhaps a walk on the local heath.  I'm highly unlikely to see in the New Year - Big Boy gets up far too early for me to stay up that late :(  In this card, I see the suggestion to take time to think about my life and intentions rather than it referring to anything specifically going on.  How about you, what plans do you have for the New Year?

I am grateful for the web of support that sustains me, and which I also contribute to.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Arwen's Wind of Change Spread

Recently, Arwen (of Tarot by Arwen) was inspired to create a spread based on a Chinese proverb.  I thought it sounded like the perfect thing for a quick reading on the year to come.  So, I decided to give it a whirl with the beautiful Crystal Visions Tarot.

The positions are:

1) What wind of change is blowing my way? 

In this position, I drew the Ace of Swords.  Wow, this is definitely about change!  Just look at those clouds blowing about, the butterflies flying, and the roses growing around the ruby-encrusted sword with an eagle-winged pommel.  A new idea that has the potential to transform the way I see things, the start of a new way of communicating. 

I see in this the fact that I have now finished the taught part of my Masters.  From now on, I have to take the lead myself, getting to work on my dissertation.  I will also be continuing on seeing clients, hopefully bringing new insights into how I work with them.

I wonder, too, on a more personal level whether this is about the way I communicate with those in my life.  This is something I've been discussing a fair bit in therapy, and which came up for me quite strongly over Christmas.  Hmm, not so keen on that, but then, it isn't just about what I want or feel comfortable with...

2) What wall do I create to block change?  I love how Arwen described this as us having a "stubborn, inner donkey moment" :D 

My card for this is the Four of Cups.  I notice the waning moon behind her, and think part of how I block change is to do with not wanting to let go of things, even if they aren't what I want.  That old "better the Devil you know" thing... 

The woman looks almost like a mermaid, with her dress trailing into the water as she contemplates a lotus blossom in a cup.  I take this as saying that I block change by getting trapped in self-reflection rather than action.

3) What is my windmill?  Arwen describes this as our most adaptable, creative self...

This is a lovely version of the Seven of Wands, full of dynamism and action.  A man sits astride a dragon, with a shield protecting him.  He wields a crystal-topped wand against the onslaught of six more fiery wands.  I notice the rock the man and the dragon use as a high point, and the way its shape echoes the Ace of Swords. 

My most adaptable self, then, is effervescent and willing to fight for ideas.  In terms of my dissertation, this makes me think of a willingness to present my case with passion and determination.  The dragon also speaks of relying on the wisdom of others, perhaps through reading up on a subject, as well as potentially with my dissertation advisor, once one is appointed.

In other areas of life, too, bringing a bit more vigour and enthusiasm certainly seems like an antidote to the passivity reflected in the Four of Cups.  I guess one of the issues I see is that it's hard to be enthusiastic unless it's for something I care about.  And that brings me full circle to the Ace of Swords: I need something new in my life, an idea that I care about and will work for.

Well, it will be interesting to see how 2012 goes.  I will try to remember to focus on what I can do, rather than over-thinking things.  How about you, what do you hope for from the year to come?


What a beautiful way to end this week with the Crystal Visions Tarot!

Here we have a woman sitting in the crook of a tree, with a wolf beside her and a deer to one side and a little behind her.  There are also female figures carved into or growing out of the two branches that rise to either side of the main figures in the tree crook.  By the roots of the tree, clear crystals sprout from the ground like flowers.  Ten pentacles decorate the tree, six below where the woman and wolf sit, four more to the side and above them.  The pentacles are golden disks with large crystals of varying hues in the centre and six smaller crystals surrounding them.  In the background, a beautiful castle with high turrets is bathed in a radiant light. 

Instead of a traditional family, as seen in the RWS version of this card, here the family is one of the woman's own making: the wolf who leans against her and the deer who gazes up at the two of them, unable to climb the tree.  Although they may not be all the same, they share a bond of friendship that runs deep and true - a family of the spirit, rather than of blood.  The wisdom of ancestors, often depicted by a grandfatherly figure, here takes the form of the wood sprites looking down from the branches that hold the woman and wolf. 

The castle in the background makes me think of the importance of appreciating our home, and making it feel as beautiful and inviting as possible.  I've done quite a bit of that this week: reorganising all my tarot decks into alphabetical order, organising my oracles by genre, doing a big clean on the house and loads of laundry ready for Big Boy to start nursery again next week. 

After yesterday's card, this image also makes me think about the character traits I've inherited from my father.  For several years he worked as a journalist on Fleet Street and although this blog is in no way of that calibre, writing it is a connection between us.  I think he would have approved, had he ever read it, even though he wasn't into tarot.  Still, he loved to write, and he loved imagery, both literary and visual.

I am grateful for the joy in writing I have inherited from my father.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

My Top Ten of 2011

From Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe
Reading about the PECTO Awards, I started thinking about which decks would be on my personal Top Ten for this year, and which I'm most looking forward to for next year.  So, this is my totally personal opinion, in alphabetical order, and mixing tarot and oracle decks, of my favourite decks released this year:

Cat's Eye Tarot - In my eyes, the best cat tarot going (and I have several) as it really is from the cats' perspective, drawn by a vet - 'nuff said.
Crystal Visions Tarot - A soft, feminine deck with beautiful artwork, traditional RWS but with some nice twists.
Joie de Vivre Tarot - Quirky, and a bit less busy than the Paulina, with lovely colours and a playful air.
Journey Oracle - Another feminine deck, but with a hint of Steampunk and plenty of attitude :)
Gaian Tarot - I love the artwork and the nature- and community-based ethos - an intelligent and thoughtful deck.
Oracle of the Shapeshifters - Incredibly cute images, but with some real depth.
Tarot of the Sidhe - Emily's art is stunning, and I love the pagan spirituality it embodies, as well as the sense of magical, spiritual exploration.
Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - This deck is just completely innovative and out there - nothing else like it on the market!
Wheel of the Year Tarot - This choice may surprise many, as it isn't a deck that has gotten much attention.  I love the pagan symbolism and the cartoon-like artwork.  It just speaks to me. 
Wildwood Tarot - A very different, nature-based deck with stunning artwork by Will Worthington.  The proud successor of the Greenwood, I far prefer its more realistic imagery, while the depth of scientific and environmental thought remains.

Most anticipated decks for 2012:

Alice Tarot
Gilded Tarot Royale
Steampunk Tarot

I'd love to hear what your favourite decks have been this year, and why.  And which ones you're looking forward to most next year...

Life is Changed

The Crystal Visions Tarot continues to show a gentle face, today, despite this being a "challenging" card.

In this version of Death the inscription reads "Vita mutatur non tollitur" which translates as "Life is changed, not taken away".  This message of transformation is emphasised by the butterflies gliding up on beams of light, and the very angelic Death figure holding an ankh, symbol of eternal life.  A woman's form seems to blend into the rock on which she lies, making us question whether she is a corpse or a stone effigy.  In either case, she seems to be becoming a part of her surroundings.

Nevertheless, even a change may lead us to grieve.  Knowing that we will never be the same again, or experience the same things or see a particular person, are still reasons to mourn even if the change has positive elements, too.  The angel reminds of this, with downcast head covered and hand held out in blessing.  The angel says goodbye and acknowledges the sadness of this transition.

For me, this card is a reminder that today my Dear One and I have to go and sign some papers regarding my father's estate.  Although he died nearly two years ago, these bureaucratic reminders still pop up from time to time.  Wherever he is now, even if he is just food for worms, is better than where he was the last few years of his life.  His soul gave up on living long before his body caught on.

I am grateful for the reminder to life life to the full while I can.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Getting Your Feet Wet

Today, the Crystal Visions Tarot offers an interesting take on the King of Cups.

I like the fact that he is sat on a boulder by a pool, instead of on a throne.  Still, he has plenty of insignia of his rank - a trident wand, a trident crown, a golden cup, a huge red crystal over his sternum, gold armbands around his upper arms, and a gold necklace at his throat.  Behind him, a full moon shines between overhanging foliage, while in front of him is the pond.  One foot rests on a rock in the pool, the other foot resting in the water.  Lotus flowers bloom in the pool in front of him, and reeds sway behind him.

The symbolism feels quite different to traditional versions of this King.  For one thing, the water around him is calm and still.  For another, it is just a pool, rather than the churning ocean.  And then there's the fact that, rather than sitting on a plinth out of the water, he is actually getting one foot wet.  These things suggest to me that this King is willing to allow himself to experience his emotions while still keeping a sense of perspective.  He is in control, but not by holding himself rigidly.  Years of practising inner calm and mindfulness mean that he knows and is undaunted by his emotions, and is able to tune in to his intuition. 

Today we are interviewing someone for a job, and this feels like a good card for it.  I need to trust my intuition, be empathic, but also keep a sense of objectivity.  I'm sure those are good traits to cultivate more generally, too.  Perhaps today would be a good day for doing some tarot readings...

I am grateful for days when I don't feel overwhelmed by emotion.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Ruby Wand

I am delighted by the vibrant, passionate colours of the Crystal Visions Tarot.  Today, these are show-cased in the Ace of Wands.

A cute little pink dragon twines around a ruby-encrusted wand, with a crimson sky in the background, and pink flowers growing around it.  A couple of bubbles float near the base of the wand, and the huge ruby at its tip shines brightly.

I get a real sense of passion, power and potential from this card.  There is nothing heavy-handed here, nothing bullying or forceful, despite being powerful.  The dragon is fiery, yet with beautiful translucent wings.  And the flowers and delicate bubbles suggest this is not an enthusiasm and fire that will destroy, but rather that have creative potential, with an emphasis on the aesthetically pleasing. 

I'm not particularly artistic, so I don't see in this a call to paint or sketch, to sculpt or knit or sew.  Based on this card, today seems like a good day to make a start on some presentation materials I want to create for a workshop on "Getting to Know the Tarot Court".  I've already sketched out the ideas in note form, but now its time to get inspired and put in visuals and text, as well as putting together handouts.  Fun!

I am grateful for the passion to create, in whatever form.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Perspectives on Strength

Today, the Crystal Visions Tarot offers us another card from the Major Arcana.

There are many traditional elements in this Strength card: from the main characters being a woman and a lion to the lemniscate (infinity symbol) which graces the crystal-topped wand the woman holds, to the way her hand rests on the lion's jaw.  Yet the wand itself is something different, as are the eagles that fly above and the sunflowers around them, as well as the fact that woman and lion sit on a rocky plinth.

To me, this card suggests that part of inner strength comes from being able to get perspective on a situation (the eagles), as well as being able to control our inner urges and use their energy in a productive way, without self-recriminations (the woman gently controlling the lion).  There is also a suggestion of the power of intent and will in finding our inner strength (the wand), and a potential for growth through illumination (the sunflowers) if we manage this act of taming our more brutish aspects. 

Today, I need to control my sloth and my greed.  I am reading another novel (Bewitched and Betrayed, by Lisa Shearin), but also have some work I need to get done quite urgently.  I also want to reorganise my tarot cabinet this holiday, putting my decks in alphabetical order.  At the moment they are rather higgledy piggledy in a semi-logical favourite to least favourite order, which really doesn't work as I tend to change my mind about how much I like a deck when I use it again, anyway :)

Also, on Christmas Eve I gave in and ate some turrón we had been given as a gift by a Spanish friend.  While almonds are pretty healthy, all the processed sugar certainly isn't, and yesterday I noticed that I was jonesing for sweets - and they try to kid us that sugar isn't addictive!  So, I need to steer clear of the stuff until the cravings die down again. 

I am grateful for the support of spirit in controlling my base urges.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Fairy Queen

On this Christmas morning, the Crystal Visions Tarot offers us a Fairy Queen, the Queen of Swords.

I love this version of the Queen of Swords!  Probably because I often associate myself with the Queen of Swords, being a double Gemini woman.  And some versions show her as a bitter, old harridan, which of course she can be: with a sharp wit and sharper tongue, and not being one to suffer fools gladly.  However, on the more positive side we see here her potential for transformation, for following ideas as they lead her towards brighter paths, and her willingness to leave behind pain and allow her spirit to soar on the breath of life.  Having experienced some of the pain of life, we can allow it to turn us sour or we can allow it to open our hearts to ourselves and others.  In this I see the shadow and the light side of the Queen of Swords.

Today we have a very mellow day planned.  Eating left-overs from yesterday, going for a walk on the local heath, playing with Big Boy's new toys.  I'm also hoping for some time to read and, if I'm lucky, write up a tarot reading for a querent.  I guess where I see the Queen of Swords energy is in the fact I may have to do some moderating between Big Boy and his dad, and perhaps in myself letting go of some of the pain of this year to be able to just enjoy where we are now...

Wishing those who celebrate today a wonderful, happy, festive time with loved ones!

I am grateful for all I have learned this year, and for the ability to empathise that suffering can bring.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

To Fly Beyond the Sunset

For this Christmas week I decided to use the recently released Crystal Visions Tarot (U.S.Games, 2011) by Jessica Galasso.

What a lovely way to start, with this beautiful version of the Fool.  When I looked at it today, it brought the phrase "To fly beyond the sunset" to mind.  I was sure it came from something, and when I googled it I realised my mistake - I was thinking of To Sail Beyond the Sunset.  Anyhow, Galasso's Fool looks like she is about to take flight and join the flock of butterfulies that flit around her.  One foot is already stepping off the rocky ledge on which she stands, wrapped around with a ribbon, while other ribbons fly in her hair and from her clothes.  Will these transform into butterfly wings as she transitions to the air?  Or will the butterflies take hold of the ribbons to bear her upward?  Or is she stepping off, to plunge into the pool below her?  It feels as though, one way or the other, a change is coming, something that will start her on a new path.

I see here a willingness to be open to new possibilities and opportunities, to not pre-judge what we see or hear.  The Fool often brings Beginner's Mind to a situation, an openness to experience and a lack of preconceptions.  In itself, this can be transformative, allowing us to see a situation from a wholy different perspective.  It makes me think that this is more about sunrise than sunset - the dawning of a new day, with all the possibilities that offers.

In much of Europe, Christmas is actually celebrated on Christmas Eve, just as New Year is celebrated on New Year's Eve.  Having European roots, that is my practice, too, and one which my Dear One has been happy to adopt.  So, today my parents come to celebrate with us, to light candles and feast together and give gifts.  None of us is Christian, it is more about tradition and family.  I sometimes wonder about swapping around to celebrating on the 21st, but we haven't done so yet...

Perhaps some of the ideas and gifts we share today will open up new potentials in one way or another.  Or maybe this is simply advice to bring an innocent sense of joy to the whole day - never a bad suggestion :)

I am grateful for the infinite possibilities of life.

Friday, 23 December 2011

As Light As A Feather

For my final draw with the Cat's Eye Tarot, the Ace of Swords has come out to play.

In this deck, all the Aces show a cat's paw reaching out to a symbol of the suit's element.  Here, a dainty siamese paw stretches to catch a loose feather from a white cockatoo.  The cockatoo looks on from its window-side perch with some trepidation. 

A feather, like an idea, can be hard to get ahold of: it can easily float away, eluding our grasp.  Likewise, our words often tumble about, skittering here and there despite our best intentions.  And the truth, well, does it even exist as a single thing?  Or, like a feather, is it made up of many other smaller bits?  And, if looked at in one light it may seem one way, while if seen from another direction it may take on a totally different?

Words and ideas aren't always innocent, either.  Even if they are not ill-intentioned, someone else may see them that way, just as the cockatoo here may see the cat's playful batting of a floating feather as a potential threat.

Several months ago, I alienated someone I like and respect through ill-chosen words.  Now, I may have the chance to put that right.  However, it's a delicate situation, and this card reminds me that I need a light touch.  I hope, though, that this card heralds that opportunity, and see it advising me to reach out.

I am grateful for the encouragement to try to right a wrong.   

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Calm Alertness

The Cat's Eye Tarot is certainly giving us the opportunity to look at quite a few Court cards, which many find the hardest to read in any deck.  Good practice, then :)

A young male tabby cat lies in the grass, looking relaxed but alert.  He isn't ready to pounce or swipe, to hunt or chase, to prowl or stalk.  In fact, he doesn't look like he's doing much of anything except enjoying the day, the soft grass under him, and the entertainment offered by watching life go by.  A far less dynamic energy than the other Knights, then, but still very aware and engaged.  He is on the ground, representing the Pentacles connection to the element of earth, and his colouring shows this, too.   He may not be about to leap into action, yet there is a feeling of preparation here.  He's not just taking it easy, but looks like he's checking out the situation so that when he does decide to act he'll have everything under control. 

This the kind of methodicalness I associate with the Knight of Pentacles.  He's not the romantic type to sweep you off your feet like the Knight of Cups, nor the charming, passionate firecracker who leaps in feet first like the Knight of Wands, nor the hot-headed, intelligent and scheming Swords Knight.  He's more of the "slow but steady wins the race" type, who may not seem as exciting as the others, but who still has a lot to recommend him.  Determined, loyal and methodical, he is likely to achieve what he sets out to do, and is a good friend to have.

There are a couple of things today where I could do with some of this energy, which is not one that necessarily comes easily to me.  I still have some Christmas shopping to do (eek), which I need to buckle down to.  And this afternoon Big Boy has another doctor's appointment.  It's not one where I expect anything much, more of a checking on how things have been going type of thing.  We have to keep plodding on with these appointments as they rule out one issue or another, try out one medicine or another, consider one procedure or another.  Lots of variables, and so I don't expect any results or answers.  Still, it sometimes feels like a waste of time.  So, I have to remind myself that it's part of a process that we just have to get through - determination and steadfastness, very Knight of Pentacles.

I am grateful for the reminder to keep my focus on long term goals.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


I have to say, the Emperor is not normally a card I'm very keen on.  All that structure and sense of knowing what he wants and how to get it.  I often see Emperor energy as a bit domineering, though I acknowledge the positives to order and building something lasting.  The Cat's Eye Tarot has a rather cute take on this archetype, yet I still see the same fundamental energy here.

A regal-looking fluffy black-and-white cat sits on a chair by the hearth.  He turns to look down at a ginger kitten trying to scale the chair.  It's funny, at different times I get disparate feelings from this card.  Sometimes, it seems the Emperor is looking down at this young upstart, saying, "Don't you know your place?"  As though the Emperor has a very clear idea of what he considers right and wrong, and who should do what and when, and this little kitten hasn't gotten the memo!  Other times, I see him as a more benevolent Emperor - this little kitten is learning the ropes, and that's something the Emperor is happy to help teach.  "A cat's place is on a comfy chair by the fire." I hear him saying to Ginger.

Today, my in-laws are coming to celebrate Christmas with us.  I see two things with this card, therefore.  Firstly, there is my Dear One getting everything ready for his parents, making sure it is all just so.  Secondly, there is Big Boy, who will get thoroughly spoiled and have his every whim catered to.  I have been getting the Emperor for him since before he was born, and as a little Cappie he does have clear ideas about what he wants, and plenty of methods of showing his displeasure when it doesn't happen.  So, perhaps it's also about the energy I need to bring to put some boundaries on him...

I am grateful for routines and habits which make life with Big Boy easier to manage.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


The Cat's Eye Tarot doesn't pull its punches with today's card!

Left on a pier, with a cage and an "Alley Cat" bowl, this black-and-white charmer's luck seems to have run out.  A woman walks away, taking another cat with her.  Who will the remaining cat miss more, the human or the other cat?  And what were they to one another - siblings, parent and child, friends, lovers?  The cat's pose speaks of despondency and mourning.  Does the cat left behind live on the houseboat with the woman's ex?  Does this mark the end of more than one relationship?  If that's the case, I guess the equivalent of the ignored upright cups in more traditional versions of this card might be the fact that the cat and the houseboat owner still have each other...

Today my Dear One and I are going to the cinema and then out for a meal, just the two of us.  I feel a bit bad leaving Big Boy behind.  Still, on Sunday we took him to the cinema and only got to watch half of "Puss in Boots" because he decided he was bored.  No idea why, as we thought it was brilliant, and plan to get the DVD as soon as it comes out to see the rest.  Anyhow, I see Big Boy in this card, feeling left behind and left out.  Hopefully, that's not really the case.  He'll be with someone he knows and loves.  Maybe he'll have more fun than us... Though we're going to see Sherlock Holmes: action and humour, with a tarot reader as well as Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law - pretty close to perfect in my eyes!

I am grateful for excellent people to help take care of Big Boy.

Monday, 19 December 2011


Another Swords Court card wants to have its say today.  The Knight of Swords from the Cat's Eye Tarot is full of attitude.

An elegant siamese, his mouth is open to hiss or yowl at whatever poor unfortunate has aroused his wrath.  At any moment he might turn and pounce, or just take a swipe with a seemingly dainty paw that hides strong, sharp claws.  Woe betide any bird who comes to taunt him, for he is agile and fast, willing to take risks in pursuit of his goal.  He won't just defend his territory, but is also quick to go on the offence.  He stands on a wooden deck, with a view out over the surrounding landscape - a good vantage point.

I have several situations today where I need to be diplomatic.  So, for me, I think this card is actually about what to beware of.  I can sometimes slip into this kind of energy, but that's not always very productive.  Rather than snapping at someone, or expecting them to have the necessary information and be able to apply it quickly and effectively, I shall try to be calm and patient, to communicate clearly yet gently.

I am grateful that I can choose not to express all my thoughts and criticisms.  I am grateful for the reminder to think and express myself positively.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Himalayan Wisdom

There are very few human's in the Cat's Eye Tarot, and all the Court cards are represented by different cats.  Today we meet the King of Swords. 

This Himalayan tom looks out at us with wise eyes.  He's big and fluffy, but that doesn't diminish his experience and intelligence.  Coming originally from the mountain range between India and China, home of the Dalai Lama, these cats have many strengths.  What I see here is an ability to survive hardship, a deep spiritual connection, an open mind, and ultimately a willingness to make tough decisions.  His eyes are blue, colour of communication.  The way he stands in the cat flap, neither out nor in, speaks of being able to see different perspectives.  It also suggests a willingness to defend a point of view, and that ultimately he can and will choose.  He has a certain gravitas, too, I think.

Perhaps I can use his power of discernment and decisiveness to help with my Christmas shopping.  I've got most of it done, all the no-brainers, which leaves the tough decisions: finding just the right thing for those hard-to-buy-for people.  I guess that doesn't fit very well with the idea of Himalayan wisdom, though - Christmas shopping certainly goes against the idea of non-attachment.  Yet taking time to express our love and keeping-in-mind of others are not bad things.

I am grateful for the internet, a great tool for researching gifts, on top of all its other benefits :)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Call of the Wild

This week I will be drawing from the recently released Cat's Eye Tarot (U.S. Games, 2011).  I've been waiting impatiently for this deck since I first saw images of it on Aeclectic back in 2006!  It's been a long time coming, but definitely worth the wait :)  And I was fortunate enough to join a group order through TABI, so we got the deck for a very good price - another perk of this lovely organisation.

So, for this first draw we meet the Lovers.  Two beautiful, fluffy tabby cats sit cosily together indoors.  However, the tom has his eye on a cute little black cat outside.

All about choices, then!  Do we choose love, even if it sometimes involves mundane and run-of-the-mill everyday stuff?  Or do we choose passion and adventure?  Of course, this isn't just about relationships.  It might be that we face a choice between playing it safe in a job we know, or taking a risk with a career change, or just a new employer.  Or maybe we need to choose between sticking to a diet we know or radically changing the way we eat.

For me, today my choice seems to be between doing what I know I should do - Christmas shopping, writing and posting Christmas cards, wrapping presents - and what I'd like to do - finish my book!  I think today the call of duty is stronger, but I may manage a chapter or two ;)

I am grateful for the reminder that there are many kinds of love in this world - love for our near and dear ones, love for ourselves, love for cats and tarot decks :D

Friday, 16 December 2011

Path of Learning

For this final draw with the Whispering Tarot, I received the Hermit.

Once again, this deck offers a slight twist on the traditional RWS interpretation of this archetype.  Here, we see a young person standing on a path that passes into a tunnel leading up a mountain. He wears a red tunic, colour of passion, and a green hood, colour of growth.  Inside the passage is a lamp, already lit, waiting to be picked up.  And above, on a high ledge, we see an older Hermit dressed in the purple of wisdom, who has already reached the summit on this path to learning.

I like this reminder that we all have to start somewhere when we want to learn something new, or go deeper in our studies.  The fact that we don't know much should never stop us from making a start.  It also suggests that the path is not always easy, it may be dark and steep - we may feel confused and that it is hard work.  Yet the outcome is a new perspective on life, a better understanding of ourselves and the world.

Today, for me, I see this card being more about the retreating aspect of the Hermit.  I plan to spend the day at home, wrapping Christmas presents, shopping on-line, and hopefully making time to read a novel - my third this year!  I used to read two a week, but Big Boy and my studies put paid to that.  So, a treat - some time to read and feel decadent.  My choice today: Karen Chance's Death's Mistress :)

I am grateful for a bit of peace and quiet, and a chance to read without needing it to be about deep learning.  That's part of the path, too!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Winds of Change

Today, the Whispering Tarot offers us a chance at renewal.

The eponymous Tower here is actually a three part building, sitting on a little island.  Fierce waves rise up all about, as though trying to reach the building and suck it in, their power shown by the shipwreck in the background.  Air elementals blow fiercely at the Tower, and a bolt of lightning strikes the highest roof.  Despite the onslaught and desolation, the Tower still seems to stand tall, though there is a fire burning inside the section where the lightning struck.

My sense here is of a situation where there is outward calm in the face of difficulties.  Yet there is transformation going on internally, a reaction to the circumstances which cannot be fought or denied.  Old patterns and structures will eventually have to give way, but something new will be forged in the process.  And perhaps not the whole structure needs to go, though still the largest part of it.

This feels in some ways quite a positive version of the Tower, though still challenging.  Although it isn't my favourite card in the tarot, it's one I seem to have a close relationship with :(  I wondered if this was just my paranoia speaking, but when I went in and checked, it is the Major I have blogged about most often, and all of those posts were as a randomly drawn card.  The next closest card is the Hight Priestess, and several of her posts are ones I chose, rather than them choosing me!

I have had the Tower popping up rather a lot since I was first pregnant with Big Boy.  And I guess having a child is always a challenge to our established sense of self and lifestyle, the way we do things and what we do.  From the small things, like the fact I used to always just travel with hand luggage, and now heft around a huge amount of stuff (how can someone so small require so much?) to the bigger things, they all play into our sense of self.

So, what does this mean for me today?  I wonder whether I will have an insight into what these changes to my sense of self mean, and where I am now compared to four years ago...

I am grateful for the forging of a new self, however hard it may at times feel.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Sagittarian Birthday

Another chance to think about strong, active energy in our lives today, with the King of Wands from Liz Hazel's Whispering Tarot.

This King holds an orb-topped sceptre, an instrument to manifest his will, and which shows a certain foresight.   A green and yellow dragon with white wings wraps around him, symbol of life energy and swift decisiveness.  His robe is red with a purple pattern, indicating his passionate aliveness tempered with wisdom.  His belt is blue, suggesting he talks from his gut - with conviction.

For me, today, this card is about my Dear One.  He is a fiery Sagittarian and today is his birthday.  Although I don't think this is his official birth card, according to the Golden Dawn attributions, I still think it fits him well.  He can be quite absolutist, and determined, believing strongly in things.  However, these days he is learning to soften a little, helped by meditation which is bringing him a bit more calm.  He is also passionate about the people in his life.  Today is Big Boy's school Christmas Carol show, and we're going to that, rather than doing something more particularly for my Dear One (though we will go out for a meal, just the two of us, later).

I am grateful for the chance to love and be loved by a good man.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Swift Flight

Finally we break the spell of emotion, moving out of three days of Cups cards.  The Whispering Tarot offers up the 8 of Wands today, with warmth and movement aplenty.

Two people, one in pink, one in blue, fly on the back of a white-winged dragon, with a blue crest and brown body.  Above them the sun shines as though it were a whirlpool of light.  Below, eight trees stand in the foreground of a valley, through which a river runs, bridged near a small town.  In the background, purple and lilac mountains dominate the skyline.

I have the sense that this movement could take us anywhere - to the mountains, symbols of wisdom and truth.  To the town, symbol of community.  To the trees, symbols of nature and growth.  Or to the sun itself, symbol of warmth and energy.  There is enormous potential here, if we can but harness and direct it.

Yesterday I spoke to my dissertation tutor, and finally hammered out a question to examine, as well as defining my research methodology.  So, now to get a move on and start work on the protocol, while I have energy and enthusiasm.  Today I want to at least start reading one of the books I know I'll need.  Though I do intend to take a break later this week and kick back, but I'll see when the time is right for that :)

I am grateful for a sense of energy and purpose.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Rachel Pollack's God/dess Spread

Recently, I bought Rachel Pollack's latest book "Soul Forest: Twenty Four Tarot Writings".   Having a quick skim through (before my essay was done) one thing that caught my eye was her chapter on a Goddess Spread she came up with in the process of teaching a class.  The idea was to start by writing your associations of Goddesses (or Gods) to the Majors of the tarot.  Then, she suggested separating the deck into Majors, Courts, and Pips.  The positions are:

1 - Major - What Goddess or God is important to me now?
2+3 - Courts - Who have I been in my life?  Who will this God/dess help me become in this life?
4,5,6 - Pips - What task do I face?  How will this God/dess help me?  How does the God/dess want me to honor him/her?

I decided to tweak this slightly, by using a Goddess Tarot deck with specific Goddesses already allocated to the Majors.  I can think of at least three of these: Kris Waldherr's Goddess Tarot, Lo Scarabeo's Universal Goddess Tarot, and my personal favourite - Sage Halloway and Katherine Skaggs' Mythical Goddess Tarot, which is the one I used for this reading.  In terms of tweaking the spread, I also saw this reading more in terms of now rather than my life as a whole.

The Goddess I received was the bawdy, sensual, spontaneous and funny Uzume (who I wrote about here), associated with the Fool.  My two Court cards were 2) who have I been - the Crone of Seas (Cups): resurrection and 3) who will this Goddess help me become - the Child of Wind (Swords): consciousness.  The minors I drew were 4) task - 8 of Fire (Wands), 5) how this Goddess will help - 8 of Seas (Cups), and 6) how does this Goddess want me to honour her - 7 of Fire.

How to interpret this?  I see the Crone of the Seas saying I have recently been feeling very tired and old, in need of some transformation and healing.  A bit of emotional overwhelm there, and a desire for female wisdom to help me in this moment - hence my desire to connect more with the Goddess, which I mentioned a few weeks ago.  As for who I can become, the Child of Wind seems about as far as you can get from this.  Playful, energetic, delighting in communication and movement, listening to the messages of spirit and getting a completely new perspective, she flies on a dragonfly, fearless and enthusiastic.  I can definitely see how Uzume, with her suggestion of playfulness, bravery and spontaneity is an appropriate choice to help me reach this state.

As for how to go about it,  I'll admit at first the 8 of Seas as how the Goddes would help me left me a little flummoxed.  However, just today Rachel posted on how to transform problem cards, which helped give me a different perspective.  So, the 8 of Fire says my task is to be able to express myself and my creativity from a place of love.  How the Goddess will help me is that in a difficult situation she will diffuse high-running emotions with her laughter and spontaneity, depleting them of their power to overwhelm.  How I can honour her is by finding my own inner fire and passion, a sense of courage and a willingness to show myself to, and share myself with, others.

I think this is a lovely spread, and I shall ponder these cards for a while.  I sense there's much more still there to explore.  If you give it a go, do let me know how it turns out...

Borne Along By Emotion

Today's card from the Whispering Tarot is another Court card, the King of Cups.

In contrast to yesterday's Queen, this chap isn't even getting a toe wet.  Borne along by undine's this King travels safely in his boat.  Two swans fan their wings behind him - perhaps part of the boat, perhaps real birds.  On his head, a shell-like crown, and in his raised left hand a golden cup.  His clothes are green, with a yellow over-tunic.

This feels like a good depiction of the King of Cups: he controls sentiment rather than being controlled by it.  He hears the call of emotion, but can rise above it.  He is guided by it, without being overwhelmed.

Today I hope for a mellow day with my Dear One and my brother, with Big Boy at school.  We plan a long walk, and a curry in the evening.  Perhaps this card is to do with spending time with my brother.  He's going through a lot of soul-searching at the moment.  I hope I can stay calm and balanced in the face of his uncertainty, helping rather than aggravating things.  Perhaps, too, I need to guard my emotions - he's in a delicate enough place without having to deal with my stuff.

I am grateful for moments of equanimity.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Floating in Emotion

The Queen of Cups from Liz Hazel's Whispering Tarot floats into view today.

This watery queen wears a five pronged crown on her head, with a flower tucked behind her left ear and a dangling earring hanging from her right.  In her right hand she holds a golden cup, in the other a white orb, while behind her a full moon glows, shedding light across the ripples of the water surrounding our queen.  Two swans can be seen behind her, symbols of beauty, love and defence, while lotus pads, one with a frog, one with a bud and one with a blossom, float in front of her.  She looks completely in her element, her shoulders and head emerging from the water, with no land in sight.

What a positive version of the Queen of Cups!  I see here symbolism of magic and intuition, spiritual growth and enlightenment, beauty and passion, romance and strength.  She seems to suggest that swimming in the realm of emotions can be a powerful learning experience, rather than leading to emotionality or wishy-washiness.

I am delighted to have finished the final essay for my Masters - yay me!  Two days early, to boot.  Anyhow, what it means is that I can spend today on more Queen of Cups-like pursuits: time with Big Boy and my parents, who are coming for a visit; and time to work on a couple of bigger readings I've had in mind for a week or two... :D

I am grateful for the time to tap into my intuition, and enjoy emotional well-being. 

Saturday, 10 December 2011


This week I will be drawing from a little self-published gem, by Liz Hazel of Tarot Decoded fame.  The Whispering Tarot is a delightful deck, with mystical creatures and magic galore, yet without falling into excess or triteness.

For this first draw I pulled the Nine of Cups.  Two mermaids sit together, back to back, while another stands behind them.  They each hold aloft a cup, and six more cups surround them, overflowing with water.  Five little fish jump playfully from one cup to another.  The mermaids look entirely happy and in their element, enjoying each others' company and the play of the sea creatures around them.  Emotional fulfillment and joy!

Well, I certainly hope this proves the case for me today.  The first draft of my essay is complete, but now I need to go over it, editing it and making sure it hangs together.  Just like the cups in this image, there are a number of elements, but they all need to connect up in an emotionally satisfying way, rather then feeling like a bunch of disparate bits.  In between times, I hope to have some fun with Big Boy, and spend a nice evening with my Dear One and my brother.  Not a bad plan for the day :)

I am grateful for moments of emotional fulfillment.

Friday, 9 December 2011


The Journey Oracle offers us a really cheerful and evocative image today.  I'm often not a big fan of "landscapes" on their own in oracle or tarot decks, but this is definitely an exception to that. 

Titled "Resilience", this card makes me think of something Carl Rogers wrote.  He talked about aspects that others see as negative, even pathological, actually just being the best way we can find in the circumstances to cope and survive.  He likened this to a potato in a dark cellar sprouting anyway and sending up a weedy, white shoot, seeking the light.  While this looks deformed compared to a healthy plant, it's just the potato doing the best it can.  Likewise, here we see a tree that has been chopped down.  Still, a new shoot springs forth, life continuing despite the challenges.  And the little bird at the top of the branch suggests the possibility of getting perspective and being lifted up from these hard times.  Being the blue of communication, it feels even more strongly suggestive of the messages of spirit with which birds are, in any case, often associated.  If we can listen to spirit, we will find growth potential in the face of adversity.

I hope this is a message I can put across to my clients today.  One is very willing to hear messages from spirit - she has been talking about going to see a medium.  The other says she doesn't believe in anything, and yet she adores birds, and will always stop and listen to their song.  Both in their own way are opening to spirit.

As for me, one of my brothers is over for a visit.  I think he may need a reminder, too, that he is doing the best he can in his circumstances.  Hopefully, big sis can find a way to say that without sounding patronising.  And perhaps, when I say it to others, my soul can hear it, as well.

I am grateful for the potential for growth that is always there in life, if we can but open ourselves to it.

Thursday, 8 December 2011


While the colours are girly, and the sentiments are fairly New Age/Spiritual, some of the cards of the Journey Oracle are quite challenging, and open to multiple interpretations.  At least, I find that the case with today's card.

Like the bionic woman, with a mechanical eye and arm, this Beauty has been altered, improved?  Some might see her as being ugly and deformed, but others would see her as stronger, more able, gifted even.  I note, too, her clothes, which seem to be made of metal - armour to protect her, or another sign of things that are unnatural?

While the companion book talks of appreciating our own inner beauty, I am left with the question of whether she chose these changes, or whether they were imposed on her.  Either way, appreciating our inner core is clearly relevant, but how easy or hard that is may vary greatly.

Today I go to Big Boy's Annual Care Plan Review.  All the staff and therapists who work with him will be there, and we discuss how he's doing and what provisions need to be put in place for him for the year to come, to help him make the most of education and life.  This includes talking about the various pieces of equipment he uses, and what other things he may need, both at school and at home.  I am reminded by this card not to let all the technicalities stop me from seeing him for himself, a small boy with a ready smile.

I am grateful for the technology that helps improve our lives, and for the reminder that we are more than that alone.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Fragile Thread

The Journey Oracle offers us another beautiful card today, with an air of sadness to it.  Though it's still far more cheerful than yesterday's card!

The Fragile Thread shows a woman holding a heart on a string, the heart pierced by a small hole in one side.  The woman's clothes are seductive, softly flowing, a combination of blue and green, with a red ribbon.  Stars seem to spring from her cheek, floating away in the air like a trail that would lead someone to her.  All in all, it feels to me like she is someone who is offering herself, seductive and enchanting.

This card reminds me of the risks we run when we offer ourselves to others.  The risk of being hurt, taken for granted, or rejected.  And a heart really isn't a toy to be given away to win another's approval.  It reminds me of a Dory Previn song my mum used to listen to when I was little called "I Dance and Dance and Smile and Smile".  OK, the title isn't exactly catchy, but it still resonates with me - a song about loving too much, trying too hard to please.

That's what I see in this card today, someone who doesn't see what a wonderful child of the stars they are.  And so she offers her heart on a fragile thread, trying to win something that she already deserves, if she could only trust in her loveableness.

Today, this card makes me wonder who I might be trying to please by completing my essay, finishing my Masters, working as a counsellor...  Big Boy has been ill again for the past couple of days, and I'm exhausted, yet I also feel this push: I must do it!  And suddenly Alanis Morissette's "Perfect" echoes in my ears.

I notice that both the songs that came to me were about parents, and I guess that's often the root of these feelings.  Not that I'm blaming my parents, far from it.  My mum has always been very supportive of everything I do.  And yet, I still remember any small instance when I didn't feel supported by her.  So, how much is that to do with me, rather than her?

I am grateful for times when I can love myself and respect my own needs.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Giveaway Results

So, lovely people, thanks to those of you who took part in my Yule Yoga Giveaway.  I decided that, as it is the season for giving, and as it was a Double Y giveaway, I'd double it up for U, too :)  So, the two lucky winners, as selected by, are:

First, Jema/Saidenne - congratulations!

Second, Monica of Tarot in a Teacup - woohoo!

I shall contact you both on your websites, but if you spot this first, please do email me at info(at) with your postal addresses so I can get your parcels out to you :)

Wishing everyone a lovely Yuletide!


This card from the Journey Oracle (Schiffer, 2011) reminds me of the Three of Swords.  It even looks similar to that card from Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe, in a much more girly way.

Still, the feeling here certainly isn't girly!  Talk about having the heart ripped out of you, being all cut up, feeling empty!  Unsurprisingly, it makes me think of the Natalie Imgruglia song of the same name.

In the moment, this is one of the worst feelings in the world.  Yet I have always felt that the Three of Swords has a positive side, too, and the same goes here.  Living through this, working through the pain and rebuilding your sense of self, is hard.  Once you've achieved it, though, you're stronger for it.  It makes me think of Joanna Powell-Colbert's recent post on being a member of the Scar Clan... I think many of us can empathise with that title.

Sometimes, though, we don't manage to work through it all, and are left feeling vulnerable.  We might create a false armour to protect ourselves from the outside, rather than re-growing a strong centre from the inside.  That kind of armour protects us, but also locks others out.  And it can crumble unexpectedly.

Today I see one of my clients.  Although he acts all tough and macho, this is how he's feeling on the inside.  Hopefully, by exploring his emotions and building some new strategies for coping, he will in time heal his wounds.

Likewise, I still have some tender spots of my own.  I think overall I'm stronger for them, but certainly changed.  I used to wonder at people who cried at the movies: "It's only a film!"  Now, I sob my heart out.  It still feels weird, I don't even understand why.  But I am coming to accept that this is part of the new me.  What I used to see as weakness may just be that my emotions are more accessible, that I empathise more with others' pain.

I am grateful for hard lessons learned and the chance to grow.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Quick Reminder

©Jasmine Becket-Griffith 2010

Just a quick heads up to say, today is the last day to take part in the Yule Yoga Giveaway!  As a reminder, all you have to do is post a comment on the thread saying what you like about yoga. 

And the prize?  Lots of yoga goodies - a book, a DVD, and a themed tarot deck *ooh*

Tomorrow, being Saint Nikolaus day when many on the continent give presents, I'll do the draw and announce the lucky winner.  So, what have you got to lose?!


I am charmed by the very different faces and feelings of the cards in this Journey Oracle.

Here, we are offered something fleeting.  Is that the woman's fleeting glance in our direction, or the brief blooming of the blossoms over her head?  Is it the passing attention of another, or the more enduring and cyclical changing of the seasons and cycles of life?

Either way, I guess this card calls on us to appreciate the moment, with all its joys and lessons.  I am reminded, too, of the sand paintings created by certain American Indian tribes.  These masterful artworks are designed to be enjoyed in the creation process, and seen briefly, but not to endure - that is part of their charm, that you must experience them in the moment.

It feels a bit weird today, my first Monday with no college knowing that there will be no "next term".  However, I plan to make the most of it to try to get my essay finished.  In this card I see a reminder that this essay is just a small blip in the course of my life, so not to stress about it too much and just do it!  Then I can take time for the other fleeting pleasures, like reading a novel or creating a video blog ;)

I am grateful for the reminder to enjoy whatever I am doing in the moment, without regrets.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Adventurer

The Journey Oracle shows its Steampunk side today, with this adventurous card.

The Adventurer looks ready and willing to head off and explore the world.  Whether floating off in a hot air balloon, firing up the engine of a small plane, or jetting off planet in her spaceship, it is having a spirit for new exploits and discoveries that leads her onward.

Sometimes, though, we don't have to leave our own homes, instead exploring ourselves - body, mind or spirit.  We can take our body on an adventure by trying out a new yoga pose, or new hair colour.  Our mind can explore new ideas, or its own boundaries.  Meanwhile, our spirit can journey to other dimensions, be uplifted in prayer, chant or meditation, or melt into the flow of the universe.

As for me, I'm unsure what the day ahead holds.  Perhaps a yoga practice, maybe a walk on the local heath, certainly some food, but salad, sandwich or soup, I don't yet know.  Go on, call me an adventurer :)

I am grateful for the excitement of life and all its possibilities.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Guardian

After yesterday's thoughts about the Goddess, I decided to draw from the Journey Oracle this week.  This 46-card deck, designed by Adrienne Trafford and published by Schiffer, offers images of women and situations, and is very feminine.

There are several cards in the deck which are horizontal, rather than vertical, and as I shuffled I hoped that one would come up some time this week.  No sooner wished for than materialised, as for this very first day I drew the Guardian.  Somewhat reminiscent of yesterday's card, this red-haired beauty wears green jewellry and has vines twined about her arms.  She cradles an egg with a crack in it, while in the background are castles in the sky, formed by the clouds.

This card speaks to me of divine protection, and perhaps also of offering this protection to others, nurturing them so that they can become who they are.

Today, what I need to nurture is my own creativity, as I work on my final essay again.  I'm really hoping I may get it finished ahead of the December 12th deadline.  Goddess willing...

I am grateful for spiritual nurturance, and the chance to bring my ideas into being.

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Wheel Turns

Just a very quick heads-up to say that I have now taken over the TABI Tarot blog, too.  It will be less personal than this blog, but hopefully still a fun read.  For my very first post in charge of the TABI blog, I've done a little reading with the Wildwood - why don't you come check it out here.

You don't have to be a member of TABI to find something interesting over there, but it might just tempt you to join :)

By the way, if the post titles are the same here and there, that doesn't mean the actual posts will be the same!

Dedicated to Brighid

I adore this depiction of the Three of Pentacles from the Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011).

For a little while now I have been feeling a desire to spend more time exploring my connection with the Goddess, and particularly through feeling creative.  In this sense, her aspect as Brighid, goddess of creativity and inspiration, calls to me.  I see this represented here, with an artist painting a beautiful image of a female figure swathed in life-giving green, with a golden triquetra headband.  The image is framed by a gold border, with the triple aspects of the moon in the three circles of the arch.  Vines grow around the image, reminding us of the Goddess' connection to growth and abundance. 

His focus on the image, his inspiration, make me think of Joanna Powell-Colbert's current work-in-progress on the Crone (first post here).  She has been showing her artistic process step by step, as well as explaining her creative inspiration.  I see that dedication in this artist, too.

Unfortunately, I am no artist.  When I put pen to paper, what comes out is never what I intended.  I'm sure if I dedicated time and energy to studying art I would improve, but it's not something I've ever felt I had a particular aptitude for.  My creative energy goes more into making up songs or cooking something tasty, or writing :)  Yet the pull to create something visual remains. 

I won't be doing anything about it just at the moment, as I still have my essay to complete.  Still, the seed has been sown, and I shall keep thinking about what I can create in the name of the Goddess.

I am grateful for creative inspiration, wherever and whenever it strikes.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Arwen's Blooming Spread

Recently, Arwen (of Tarot by Arwen) posted a spread which I really like the sound of.  The basic premise is that it looks at statements for living a happy and authentic life.  So, I decided that before finishing with the Wheel of the Year Tarot I would use it with this spread.

The positions are:
  • Card 0: Querent’s current center
  • Card 1: Embrace Joy
  • Card 2: Inspire Hope
  • Card 3: Cultivate Love
  • Card 4: Build Intimacy
  • Card 5: Celebrate Life
  • Card 6: Live Authentically
While Arwen defined some of these as where we already are, I thought I'd let the card itself tell me whether it was a positive or negative, something I am doing or something I need to do.  In this, I am following what Lisa Frideborg Lloyd (of Tarotize) beautifully described in her recent post on why she doesn't use reversals.

Card 0 - Current Center - 8 of Swords

This rather different depiction of the 8 of Swords represents extremely well where I am now.  I have a sick child, and that does affect what I think about, how I see myself, and my overall happiness, as well as my sense of being tied - to him, to home, in my time, thoughts and energy.

So, what can I learn from this card?  Perhaps that acknowledging that currently Big Boy is the biggest influence on my life and my sense of whether I am happy and living well.  That being so, how can I find the positive in this?  How can I support myself?  Hopefully, the rest of the spread will shed some light...

Card 1 - Embrace Joy - 4 of Swords

This card makes a lot of sense to me, too.  My life has felt very pressurised and overly full for the last little while, between Big Boy, working for a living (even if part time), studying, blogging etc.

So, what will help me embrace joy at this moment is to slow down and take a break, to hibernate a little.  Fortunately, this should be possible soon - I hand in my last essay on the 12th of December, and after that I have no pressing deadlines for my Masters, and work is fairly light at the moment, too.

Card 2 - Inspire Hope - Knight of Wands

How can I inspire hope in others, what is or should be my outward reflection?  This seems almost too obvious: what is called for is an air of enthusiasm, a sunny disposition, a willingness to take on new challenges.  I'm not sure if this is how others see me.  Perhaps a little, certainly I do like taking on projects I enjoy and believe in.  This can clearly have a shadow side - as pointed out in Card 1 saying I need to take a bit of a break.  However, getting on with things is a good way to keep hope alive in myself, too - if I'm doing things I enjoy, then there must be some good in that, even if it is sometimes tiring.

It's strange, I would have expected a somewhat calmer card here - people often comment on my air of calm in the face of life's challenges.  Then again, perhaps that is why I need a bit more fire and enthusiasm.  Hmm, this is the card I find hardest to interpret, any thoughts would be welcome (for all the rest, too, of course).

Card 3 - Cultivate Love - 7 of Pentacles

Arwen actually talked about love being like a garden that requires cultivation, and what more perfect card for that than this 7 of Pentacles.  Not only does it require our attention, but this is a long-term project - it's not just a question of watering once and no longer worrying about it, but rather watering, fertilising, pruning, weeding, and then doing it all again.  And yet, what this card also says is that this work is worthwhile, because through it we earn the fruits of love - companionship, passion, joy, shared moments, the juiciness of life.

Another thing that I see here is the fact that my Dear One and I are "working" at having another baby.  This is a way for us to cultivate love in our family, as we feel it will be good for us as a couple, for Big Boy to have a sibling to play with, and as a way for us all to have an experience which isn't just about ill-health.  Once again, this may just be my wishful thinking, but certainly the "work" we're putting into the project also helps us cultivate love ;)

Card 4 - Build Intimacy - 5 of Wands

When I first saw this card, I thought it showed what challenges building intimacy.  Competition can be a poison to a relationship.  However, what I also see is two people, or perhaps two aspects of a person, that balance one another out.

Being intimate with myself may require a balance between shadow and light, an acceptance of both the smooth and the rough of life.  Likewise, in relationship it can be good to have difference between people, so long as it is accepted and valued, rather than seen as an obstacle.  And after all, wouldn't life be boring if we all agreed on everything all the time?

Looking back at Arwen's reading for herself, she comments that intimacy induces a bit of stress in her, and I think that's true for me, too.  Certainly, allowing myself to be vulnerable, and being able to open to myself or to an other can be a challenge, and that may be another side to this card.

Card 5 - Celebrate Life - 3 of Chalices

What do I need to celebrate?  At first this card seems to be another *d'oh* moment.  Just celebrate!  Thinking about it some more, though, what I see is three women celebrating the birth of something.  Two things emerge from this.

Firstly, that I need to focus more on my friendships, on making time to see friends and enjoy their company.  Two of my best friends and I are trying to organise a "witchy weekend", where we get together, talk, meditate, read the tarot, cast spells, practise yoga, and just generally support ourselves and each other.  This card suggests I should make sure this happens - that it's something I need in my life.  However, making more time for friends needn't just be about special occasions, but is a daily thing - emailing or ringing, meeting up a bit more often.

Secondly, this card reminds me to celebrate successes and new projects or news, however big or small.  So, I'm already planning a nice meal with my Dear One and one of my brothers for the evening of 12th December, after handing in my last essay for the Masters I've been doing for the last two years.  Likewise, a good friend from University, who I've known now for 21 years, is expecting his first child in the next couple of weeks.  Another reason to celebrate!  Another friend has been offered a job and may be moving away for three years - sad but also good for him, hopefully.  So, this says to me to take the time to celebrate with friends, to support one another, and show our joy in each others' lives.

Card 6 - Live Authentically - 6 of Chalices

For me, this card speaks of living authentically by living in the moment, rather than in the past or in dreams of the future.  The Six of Chalices is so often seen as being about the resurgence of dreams from the past, but thinking of past joys does little to support me in the present.  Likewise, it's all well and good to have hopes and plans to work towards, but if these take the place of recognising and enjoying where I am right now, then I'm not living authentically.  So, for me this is definitely a card about what not to do.

I really enjoyed using this spread, and will try to take the suggestions that have come from it to heart.  Thanks Arwen :)

I hope others will also agree that this is no fluffy-bunny deck, despite its cartoon flavour.  For me this reading was one of those times when the card images themselves seemed ever so appropriate, even more than traditional meanings alone, and where variations opened up whole new areas of thought.

I hope you'll let me know what you think: of the deck, the spread, and the reading :)

Deeply Dippy

Wow, what a change from yesterday's knight!  Today the Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo 2011) offers up the Knight of Chalices.

With a rather goofy smile he sits calmly atop his white horse, with butterflies flitting around him and daffodils at his feet.  His horse has a very simple leather bridle, and a lilac saddle blanket with the rund for spring under a simple leather saddle.  As for his clothes, no armour here!  Instead he wears a yellow lilac and purple outfit and looks ready for a party rather than a battle.  He holds out a large chalice towards us, and his long blond hair flows over his shoulder.  I can imagine him pulling out some instrument and bursting into song at any moment, serenading his love.  The song that echoes in my head is Deeply Dippy :D  I'd never seen the video before, and funnily enough some of their shirts are not far off this Knight's for colourfulness and foppishness!

Well, my Dear One is out tonight, so I don't see much romance for me today.  Instead, perhaps this card indicates a change of perspective - that I will start to see life in a more positive light, feeling hopeful and actually feeling the new beginnings that have been heralded by several cards this week.

I am grateful for new energy and transformed thoughts.