Saturday, 30 April 2011

Body-Mind-Spirit Reading

Today I meditated with the Wildwood Tarot.  Starting with creating a circle, and some simple breathing exercises, I moved on to a visualisation involving the Ancestor (the card pictured on the box of the Wildwood Tarot).  My meditation was somewhat disturbed by my Dear One bringing Baby Boy upstairs for a nap, which didn't last long and, as so often, ended about 10 minutes later with him crying to get out of bed.  Not the best circumstances for a meditation.  Still, I did feel I had gained some insight and energy from it.

At the end, I decided to do a quick reading on what I needed to learn from this meditation, in terms of body, mind and spirit.  The cards I drew made me both laugh out loud and want to pull my hair out in frustration.  They were:

Body - Queen of Stones - Bear

What this says to me is that for my body my number one priority is still protecting my cub.  My mind and spirit may want to commune with the Ancestor, but the primal pull to listen out for my child to be sure he's okay is far stronger.  This isn't all bad, of course.  I'm glad to think of myself as a devoted mother.  Still, sometimes it would be nice to allow time for myself.  I think, from this, that it will have to be when BB is at nursery, so I can't possibly hear him

Mind - Five of Arrows - Frustration

During the meditation I quite often had to resort to the image of blowing away distracting thoughts.  This is a common issue for me, and I try to picture my distracted mental wanderings on a cloud that I blow away, releasing them and allowing calm to return.  Today, though, there was the added frustration of noticing how once I heard DO carrying BB upstairs, I found it almost impossible not to consciously listen out.  I knew that I didn't have to be responsible, that DO was in charge, but my mind had other ideas.  So, despite my attempts to focus, to make my mind one-pointed, directed at meditation, my thoughts flew wild as the arrows of this huntsman, and my goal remained elusive as the goat.

Spirit - Seven of Bows - Clearance

Ha!  The self-same card as came up in my Elemental Interview with the Wildwood with reference to what it can teach me about listening to spirit.  Clearly, then, I haven't yet got the message

This deck can help me let go of old patterns, and start afresh spiritually.  However, first I must burn away what isn't needed.  So, how do I do that?  Hmm, I think I may need to do a separate reading just on this...  Perhaps there's a message about having my back-up plan/s already lined up, like the freshly hewn staves ready to be made into bows.  In other words, I need to be more organised about my spiritual practice.

Postscript

When I came downstairs about 10 minutes later BB was fast asleep on DO's lap, and DO was asleep too!  Heart-warming, and a reminder that they really don't need me all the time!

Up-Date

As the meditation and the reading have settled in a bit more, I come to a more positive reading of the Seven of Bows.  The visualisation was quite different to what I am used to, so perhaps there is an aspect saying, "See, already I begin to teach you new ways of seeing and experiencing.  We still have a lot to do and learn, but spiritual growth takes time: just be open and leave preconceptions behind."

The Green Man

This week I will be doing my daily draws with the wonderful new Wildwood Tarot.  Illustrated by Will Worthington - who also did the DruidCraft Tarot, Druid Animal Oracle, Druid Plant Oracle, and the Green Man Tree Oracle - it really is an inspiring, natural-feeling deck.  As for the co-authors, Mark Ryan and John Matthews, they also have excellent tarot pedigrees.  Although Mark's prime job is as an actor (making me think of this book), he also authored the Greenwood Tarot, of which the Wildwood is a revisioning.  John Matthews has authored a number of decks and books, the Arthurian Tarot and Grail Tarot among them.

The Green Man is the Wildwood equivalent of the Emperor.  Feeling much less stiff and authoritarian, he reminds me rather of the connection of a good ruler to his territory.  With a bubbling cauldron in front of him, a spiral-decorated horn in one hand and a spear in the other, the Green Man comes across as both strong and magical.  According to the book, these are the cauldron of regenerating nature, the horn of plenty and the spear of power, which the Green Man holds for the next King.  The flames beneath the cauldron lick up, seeming ready to set fire to the world.  On a rock behind him we see the Cerne Abbas giant, symbol of protective and fertile male power. 

As an emissary of nature, the Green Man challenges us to respect this planet and all its creatures and plants.  He is happy to work with us, but equally will attack us if we do not heed his blazing stare.  He does not so much lay down an authoritarian structure as enforce the dictates of nature itself.

I am grateful for the opportunity to live on this beautiful planet and share in the natural world with my fellow earthlings, be they animal, mineral or vegetable.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Poem to Wolf


So, having admitted to being out-and-out Wildwood Tarot crazy, here's some more poetry for my new beau:

Running, chasing, out of breath,
Hunting down, the scent of death.
Prey has fallen to the ground,
Howling gathers pack around.
Feasting, sharing, bellies warm,
Til we face the next long storm.
I claim the land, and claim the night,
Filling two-legs up with fright.
King am I til challenged be,
My pack lives on, both wild and free.

Contemplation

For this last day drawing from the DruidCraft Tarot (illustrated by Will Worthington, co-authored by Stephanie and Philip Carr-Gomm, and published by Connections) I got the Four of Swords.

An irreverent part of me thinks, "Sitting with a sword on your lap, probably not a good idea!"  I also notice how silky smooth his legs are and wonder if he's been depilating with his sword?

Seriously, though, I really like the way he sits in calm contemplation, gaze to the horizon.  He's not resting like the knight on a plinth of the Rider Waite Smith tradition.  Instead, I see a meditative calm.  He sits against a wise old tree, supported by a large rock - one elbow on each, drawing in the centredness and wisdom of the ages.  The three swords beside him are somewhat reminiscent of the pattern in the Three of Swords, the symbol Awen which represents (poetic) inspiration.  I also adore the colours in the sky behind him: yellow, peach, mauve and apricot.  There's a feeling of freshness, of a new day.

I don't see strategising or planning here, but rather a calm openness to the situation.  He contemplates what has been and what is yet to come, allowing himself to be inspired, allowing his mind to grasp everything and nothing, without forcing or holding or trying.  This appeals to me, as I think I do far too little of that myself, often being more of a Nine of Swords person.

I am grateful for the moments of calm contemplation in my life, however few and far between.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Straight Up Interview

Over on the TABI forum some people in the Wildwood Study Group decided to use the New Deck Interview Spread propagated by Fire Raven on Aeclectic, and I couldn't resist joining in...

So, the Wildwood and I settled down for a good chat.  I didn't have to wonder long who would be sent to represent this deck and answer my questions.

1) What is your most important characteristic? King of Arrows - Kingfisher.


"I am insightful and quick, incisive and I don't waste time, but I'm also very colourful and pretty."  He preened a little, his wings flashing bright and blue.

2) Where do your strengths lie? Nine of Vessels - Generosity.

"Although I am full of emotions, I  hold them well.  I can still maintain a sense of meditative calm, making me able to share my wisdom generously."

That's quite a trance he seems to be falling into, I wonder whether I should stop there and let him commune in silence, but then decide to carry on.

3) Where do your limitations lie?  Knight of Stones - Horse.

"I may sometimes buck the trend, and I'm certainly not always comfortable to travel with, but I can go the distance."

And not overly humble, either, I think to myself.  Still, with the sort of pedigree he has, why would he be?  Illustrated by Will Worthington, who has also crafted three oracle decks and the ever popular DruidCraft Tarot, authored by Mark Ryan, a renowned actor and author of the cult Greenwood Tarot, and by John Matthews, who has written numerous tarots, oracles and books, the Wildwood can stand proud among tarot decks.

4) What are you here to teach me?  Ace of Vessels - The Waters of Life.

"I am here to remind you that kindness and compassion are unlimited, and all can drink from my waters.  Emotion is not something to be scared of, rather it nourishes and cleanses."

That stone vessel does seem large enough to flow forever.  And it looks like a beautiful place to be.  I love that the swan and the stag share the waters, while a small boat floats calmly along, representing the human element in this otherwise bucolic and megalithic scene.
5) How can we best learn and collaborate with one another?  Six of Bows Abundance. 

"Accepting that we make our own abundance, be it time or energy, we can always find the space to play together. The fire of enthusiasm melds with the smoke of communication, bringing joy and nourishment. So, make space for me in your life, you can always find the time if you want it enough."

Well, my record so far since I received this deck on Tuesday certainly seems to bear that out - I think about the Wildwood even when I'm supposed to be working, like a woman in love.  Better not tell my Dear One!

6) What is the potential outcome of our relationship?  Ace of Stones - The Foundations of Life.

"I can help you make a new start, feeling more grounded and connected with all aspects of your life. This means being in touch with past, present and future, for they are all connected through our embodied existence - we always have a past that influences what we choose now, and those choices lead us forward. Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

Hmm, that last was a bit cheesy, but he did admit from the start to being slightly vain.

So, two Courts and two Aces, and not a Major in sight. My new beau certainly has lots of personality and potential...

Poetic Interlude

In the spirit of using this deck in a more playful way, I was inspired to write a #tarotku about the Wildwood Tarot Wanderer.  #tarotku is a fun Twitter tarot game, where one person names a card and anyone can write a haiku about it.  I love the challenge of this.  Not simply to express an aspect of a card's meaning in 140 characters, but in just 17 syllables!

I step out lightly
Onto the rainbow leading
To inspiration

And then, more poetry:

Open arms, open heart,
Rainbow leading to the start.
Gnarly woods, misty road,
Passage to a new abode.
Forest creatures, sprites and trees,
Faces there for all to see.
Speaking softly, speaking loud,
My spirit lifted up uncowed.
So, exploring I shall go,
Where it leads I do not know.

Lean on Me

On this sixth day drawing from the DruidCraft Tarot, the daily card is the Five of Pentacles.  This deck is illustrated by Will Worthington, authored by Stephanie and Philip Carr-Gomm, and published by Connections Books.  It comes with a very interesting, attractively presented book that covers the cards by number - all the Aces, all the Twos, etc.  This is especially relevant with regard to the Fives, of which today's card is one.

In the foreground, a woman in a yellow dress and blue cape leans against a tree, her head against her arms.  It feels to me like she's unwilling to acknowledge what is around her, perhaps because it's too painful to recognise the difficult situation she's in.   I like that she leans up against a tree, as though to draw strength from its wisdom and groundedness.

In the background, a hare is chased by a greyhound. This is a segment of the tale of Cerridwen.  She had a beautiful daughter and an ugly son.  So, she decided that her son could at least be wise, and brewed up a potion to this effect.  She left a servant boy, Gwion, to stir the brew, but three drops accidentally flew out and he drank them, thus taking the entire power of the potion.  When Cerridwen realised she was incensed.  Gwion fled from her, transforming himself into a hare to try to evade her.  Cerridwen followed and changed into a greyhound.  Next Gwion changed into a fish, but Cerridwen morphed into an otter and hunted him (Five of Cups), so he took to the skies as a bird, but she became a hawk (Five of Swords).  Finally, exhausted, Gwion changed himself into a grain of wheat, which Cerridwen as a hen swallowed (Five of Wands).  Nine months later she gave birth to Taliesin, who became a wise bard.  This story is used in the Fives to illustrate the idea that it is through hardship that we grow.

Unlike in many depictions of the Five of Pentacles, the lady on this card is dressed in a golden dress and a blue cape, rather than rags.  Nevertheless, these seem inappropriate to the winter scene around her.  The blue cape suggests a superficial ability to communicate, but with the sense that at a deeper level this communication is failing her in some way - hence her despair.  I associate the yellow dress with her ability to process what is going on around her -  in this case her ability is not living up to the requirements of the situation.  As for the clothes being quite sumptuous, this seems to suggest that she has the werewithal to take care of herself, but is currently unable or unwilling to do so.  Perhaps she first needs to accept her situation, be willing to really look at it, before she can respond appropriately.  Part of that acceptance may come from sensing the support available to her.

On a musical note, my inspiration for this post:

I am grateful for the times of hardship that have lead to deep transformation.


I give thanks for the people and situations in my life that have supported me through hard times.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Elemental Interview with the Wildwood

Having finally received the long-awaited Wildwood Tarot (illustrated by Will Worthington, co-authored by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, and published by Connections), I decided to interview the deck using a variation on the Elemental spread I've used before.  So, a question each for fire, water, air, earth and spirit:


What can you teach me about acting in line with my beliefs? Eight of Bows - Hearthfire


This card reminds me that surrounding myself with like-minded others will help me to act in a way that matches what I believe in.  I see two different suggestions here.  Firstly, that such people form a support from which to decide what I want to do, as well as to help clarify my beliefs.  Secondly, hearing other people's experiences can be an inspiration.


With particular reference to this deck, this feels relevant in two different ways.  On the one hand because TABI has already set up a study group dedicated to this deck, in which I hope to take an active part.  On the other, because John Matthews, one of the co-authors of the deck, will be speaking at the TABI Conference this year (as well as at the UK Tarot Conference).  So, two distinct opportunities, both on-line and IRL to come together with others to talk about this lovely deck, share experiences, and explore what I value and how I can put those values into practice.


What can you teach me about dealing with my emotions? 21 - The World Tree

I notice first the maze in front of the World Tree.  This tells me that this deck can help me find a meditative place that will allow me to better cope with emotions.  Using it may itself be a structure that helps calm the mind and emotions, and approach questions from a place of readiness to engage with whatever answers will come.  

The Tree itself connects Above and Below, as well as uniting all the seasons.  So, the Wildwood can help me feel more centred, more connected to all aspects of myself and the World.  From this place of calm and understanding, I can better deal with any emotions that arise.


What can you teach me about thinking and communicating clearly? 14 - Balance

In this card we see two dragons, red and lilac, twining around the trunk of a tree.  Below the tree is a rock, carved with a face. 

What this suggests to me is an ability to hold on to opposites, combine them even.  Instead of seeing things as black-and-white, the Wildwood can help me see either side in any issue, to hold ambivalence and the idea that two contrasting views may both be true.  From this place of deeper understanding, I can then communicate this in a balanced way. 

There is also a sense of groundedness, of connection to the past.  This deck, with it's ecological focus and primeval archetypes will help me think about things from a more community-based, earth-based perspective.  It does this while speaking in myth and metaphor, and will encourage me to communicate in this way, too, a more playful approach.

What can you teach me about staying grounded and focused? 0 - The Wanderer

I love this image of a figure stepping out onto a rainbow.  It feels so full of spontaneity and opportunity, a desire to explore and discover, to trust in the world.  However, I can't say it feels particularly grounded!


Nevertheless, the message I take from this is that it is when I feel playful, when I am enthused and excited, willing to explore, that I am best able to focus and manifest things.  If I am bored or doing things by rote, my focus goes and I feel no energy.  So, paradoxically, it is when my spirit flies free that I am actually able to creatively focus and be productive.

What can you teach me about listening to spirit? Seven of Bows - Clearance

Ah, so, I need to discard the old, the broken, what doesn't work, or is just excess to requirements.  If I listen carefully, I will discover what I need now, rather than what I needed yesterday or what I cling to just because.  The Wildwood will pull no punches, burning away what is unnecessary and challenging me to remake my life, my plans, my approach to spirit.


I really like this card!  It is challenging but also hopeful.  And underlying the staves ready to be made into fresh bows, there stands a wise old tree, acting as support, watching what goes on.  This deck is like that tree, stable and grounded, wise with the knowledge of nature and time.  And so I will be able to make changes and listen to what I need to hear now.


Well, after that, I'm very much looking forward to exploring this deck more.  Stay tuned ;-)

This is the End

Today's card from the DruidCraft Tarot is the Ten of Swords.  This deck, illustrated by Will Worthington, was authored by Stephanie and Philip Carr-Gomm, and published by Connections Book Publishing.  As well as its beautiful imagery, the deck incorporates celtic druid symbolism including mythology and plant lore.

However, the differences to traditional Rider-Waite-Smith imagery are less apparent on this particular card.  A man lies face-down, slumped over a hillock, with ten swords piercing his back.  To his sides lie a shield and helmet, leaving him unprotected, though his right hand still holds a broken stave.  Above him is a dark cloud, but a bright new day seems to be dawning in the distance.

This card reminds me that sometimes it is necessary to accept endings, to let go of hopes and fears, habits and expectations, and be vulnerable to whatever will follow.  While this may often feel terrible in the moment, I am comforted by the lack of blood from the man's wounds, and the dawn in the background.  Endings are rarely as painful and annihilating as we fear, and once something has left there is room for the new.

I also seem to be back to a musical turn of mind:



I am grateful for the ability to let go of the old.


I give thanks for the phase in my life that is ending - good riddance!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Beauty and the Beast

Today's card from the DruidCraft Tarot is Strength.  This beautiful deck is illustrated by Will Worthington, authored by Stephanie and Philip Carr-Gomm, and published by Connections Books.

A proud, brave woman stands in a meadow.  To the left of the card, position of the past, a dagger lies on the floor, discarded, not needed.  To the right, a boar twines around her leg, and she runs her fingers through his fur.  I have often read how vicious and powerful boar can be, having brought down many a huntsman in times of yore.  I find boar more frightening than wild cats, which for me always have the association with our feline friends though I know a lion would sooner eat me than have his tummy stroked.  So, this image really captures that sense of taming something wild and frightening, powerful and independent.

She wears a golden dress and a red cape, suggesting to me her groundedness and connection with the past and with what she wants from life.  Red for the muladhara chakra at the root of the spine, connecting us to the earth and to our ancestors, a source of life and sense of security.  Yellow for the solar plexus chakra (manipura) where we digest what is happening to us, choosing what suits us and what doesn't - following our guts.  In touch with these, balanced, she is able to make peace with base instincts, to use their energy creatively rather than destructively, giving her amazing strength. 

I am grateful for the strong women in my life who act as powerful role models of how to be in the world.


I give thanks for my own strength and sense of ease with myself and my life.

Monday, 25 April 2011

No Man is an Island

My third draw from the DruidCraft Tarot illustrated by Will Worthington, authored by Stephanie and Philip Carr-Gomm and published by Connections, is the Six of Wands.

Instead of a successful parade, here we see a hunting party led by a lord on his horse, with a falcon on his arm, and followed by his retinue.  Nevertheless, I still see the message of success supported by others, if anything more strongly.  The lord couldn't have a successful hunt without all the others to help and support him.  More than this, the feudal system actually acknowledged this in the sense that the lord was then responsible for taking care of all of those who formed a part of his household.  After a successful hunt, they would all return to the castle and dine in the same room, on the same food, the difference being that the lord would get the choicest meats and sit at the high table.  However, even if the hunt was poor, the household would still need to be fed - that is his responsibility and duty.

This card reminds me of the expression "no man is an island".  Despite our individualist culture, in reality we all rely on others.  Even when we think we are doing something by ourselves, such as writing this blog, we are relying on what we have learned from friends, family, teachers and books, even from the ideas triggered by strangers we see on the street.  We never exist in isolation, and for me this card acknowledges that.

I am grateful for having a place where I am both needed and supported by others.


I give thanks for the successes I achieve, both large and small: today in particular for managing to blog daily :-)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Harvesting

For this second day drawing from the DruidCraft Tarot - illustrated by Will Worthington, authored by Stephanie and Philip Carr-Gomm and published by Connections Books - I picked the Seven of Pentacles.

In the DruidCraft Tarot, each suit is associated with a season.  For the suit of Pentacles, this is Winter.  So, instead of the traditional image of someone leaning on a hoe watching plants, we have the seasonally appropriate picture of a figure harvesting mistletoe.  Still, the idea of having to put in work to reap the harvest - in this case going out in winter to find the mistletoe and harvest it from high up in a tree - is clearly present, as is the idea that things can only be harvested when they are ready.

Despite the winter snow lying all around, this bare-armed figure is cloaked in green, the colour of growth and life, as well as of the heart.  He (my sense based on the muscular arms and broad shoulders) wields a golden scythe, a ritual implement.  The tree from which the mistletoe hangs sits upon a pentacle-inscribed rock, next to a stream, and dawn seems to brighten the pale sky beyond.

For me, this is a reminder to be mindful both when working and when reaping the rewards of that work.  To put my attention in what I'm doing, and to give thanks for what I receive.


I am grateful for the various benefits (both financial and less tangible) I get from the work I do.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Sacred Space

As I am still waiting (im)patiently for the recently released Wildwood Tarot to arrive, I've decided to do my daily draws this week with the amazing DruidCraft Tarot.  Although by different authors (Mark Ryan teemed up with John Matthews on the Wildwood, while the DruidCraft was authored by Stephanie and Philip Carr-Gomm), the decks are both illustrated by the incredibly talented Will Worthington.  So, I shall use the DruidCraft, long a household favourite, in anticipation of next week being able to draw from the Wildwood.

The first card I picked is the Wheel.  I love this image, very different from traditional symbology.  Here we see a woman drawing a circle in the sand.  She is at the mouth of a cave, on a beach by the seashore.  In her left hand she holds an eight-spoked wheel pendant, indicating the pagan wheel of the year, with its eight ritual holidays.  Meanwhile, with her right she creates a circle, sacred space, reminding me of the goddess Nemetona, who is often called on to bless circles.

For me, this card is a reminder of the cycles of life, the passage of time.  It is a suggestion to celebrate the changes that come in life, no matter whether they are bright as a Beltane fire or dark as the night of spirits at Samhain.  Each has its place in the order of things and we must at least accept (if we cannot celebrate) new life, times of plenty, but also death and times of frugality.  In all these changes, perhaps another idea we can glean from this card is that some things can stay constant - we can always make space and time for ritual in our lives.  And we can create a place of security, if only spiritual, from which to experience the passage of life.

I am grateful for the variety that life offers me, each experience a chance to live and grow.

Friday, 22 April 2011

The Brady Bunch

For the last day with the Pearls of Wisdom by Roxi Sim and Caelli Fullbrite (7th House) I drew the Ten of Pentacles.

This vision of a blond family dancing joyously in the sun somehow brought to mind the Brady Bunch.  And this may be quite a good metaphor for the Ten of Pentacles.  A lot of family, the idea of what we inherit from our parents/ancestors, the mix of joy and challenges.  While the challenges may not be apparent, if we look at wealth, be it material or the gifts and skills we inherit or learn from our families, there must also always be some challenge in this, if only in the question of how we use the wealth we receive.  Oftentimes, though, we inherit traits we like less along with those that form the core of our sense of selves.  Accepting that these, too, are a part of us, is one of the challenges I see in the Ten of Pentacles.

Still, in this bright, sunny card the challenges remain implicit, and what is apparent is the sense of celebration, togetherness, and familial generations.  Flowers burst forth, looking almost like pentacles, of which there is already an overabundance on the card.  Ten people each wave two pentacle-decorated hands, while wearing a pentacle pendant on their pearl necklaces.  A pentacle adorns the centre of the circle where they dance, and pentacles lie almost forgotten in the foreground amongst necklaces, while yet more pentacles of various sizes are found in the stone archway border.  The border is also illustrated by the runes of fehu - mobile wealth - and wunjo - joy - though I might have chosen othala for that sense of inheritance and home that I feel goes with the Ten of Pentacles.




I am grateful for the gifts I have inherited from my family.


I am thankful for times of family harmony and joy.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

It's just a ride

On this sixth day using the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot, my card is the Fool.

Rather unconventionally, instead of being on a cliff edge, this Fool is in a boat named Serendipity :-) on a fast-running stream.  The sense of "taking the plunge" and "going with the flow" - acting spontaneously - are clearly still expressed here.  To either side, we meet again the runes wunjo (joy) and berkano (spiritual awakening/cycles of life), previously seen on the Three of Cups and Judgement respectively.  Around the outside of this tableau we have a bee (fertility/productivity), a butterfly (transformation), a bag tied to a stick (travelling light/carrying all you need), and a dog (loyal companion).  Behind the Fool a sun shines brightly through a rainbow, above a waterfall.  My eyes are also drawn to the fish who swim up-stream as the Fool floats by.

Overall, the sense I get from this card is one of letting yourself go in the joy of spontaneity, accepting that this will bring change, but willing to embrace that.  The dog here seems more happy-go-lucky than in some other cards - not trying to stop or warn the Fool, but also just enjoying the ride.

I find it interesting that these Pearls of Wisdom cards often seem to trigger musical associations for me - today something a bit more modern and up-beat!



I am grateful for the simple joys in life - smelling the spring flowers, enjoying the sunshine.


I am thankful for loving companions on my path through life.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

You Raise Me Up

For today's card I drew Judgement from the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot by Roxi Sim and Caelli Fullbrite, published by 7th House.  I'm really enjoying this colourful deck, which combines runes along with traditional and non-traditional tarot symbolism.

In Judgement we see a female angel in purple throwing flowers to a woman in pink who seems to have been dead, but who is raised back to life by the angel.  In her new, enlivened form the woman has access to the wisdom and clarity of her third eye, as does the angel.  Three small candles and three large candles, symbols of the goddess, illuminate the scene, as does the moon and three stars.  To either side of this tableau, we see the runes perthro (dice cup - linked to the notion of karma and divination, time and synchronicity) and berkano (birch/goddess - the earth mother/the cycle of life and ideas of spiritual rebirth).

I like this non-Christian approach to the idea of Judgement or Rebirth (as this card is often re-titled).  The sense of a spiritual awakening is very apparent to me, and once again the runes seem well chosen to echo the traditional tarot symbology.  Whether we think in terms of guardian angels or our higher self, I sense here a call to see beyond the mundane, to be raised to a place of greater insight, even if only into what our direction in life should be.  As suggested by the rune perthro, if we listen to spirit we can divine what the best path for us is, one that will fulfill us and lead to greater creativity and connection with the universe (berkana).  While I also like the imagery of an angel with a horn - that sense of hearing a calling appeals to me - this image where we are literally being moved also speaks volumes. 

I am grateful for times when I feel a sense of direction and purpose in my life.


I am thankful for the people who lift my spirits and guide me.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Pele

Drawing still from the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot by Roxi Sim and Caelli Fullbrite (7th House), today's card is the Ace of Wands.

In the Aces, Roxi chose to paint female characters in the element associated with the suit, rather than the more traditional suit object.  To read more about her creative process, here's an interview with Roxi by James Ricklef.

So, here we see a woman dancing within the flames that stream down from an exploding volcano behind her.  She wears a flame costume and mask, and more flames are found in the torches to either side of her.  The pearls of her wisdom are wrapped around a wooden staff decorated with green vines and holding a golden globe at the top.  In the sky, a bright sun glows golden through hazy red clouds, and the landscape around her is green, apart from the trail of fire leading back to the volcano.  On the stone arch we see the rune uruz, known sometimes as the cosmic seed, and used in magic to o shape and form circumstances creatively through will and inspiration (Thorsson - Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic)

This card reminds me of the mythology of Pele, Hawaiian goddess of fire, destruction and creation.  Pele has a hot temper, but is also passionate in love and compassionate to those who show warmth to the less fortunate.  She destroys, but also creates fresh, new land with rich soil for growing.


I am grateful for the passion in my life.


I am thankful for the creative spark that allows me to manifest things, be it dinner, an essay, or a song.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Dancing on the body of the goddess

For today's card from the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot by Roxi Sim and Caelli Fullbrite (7th House) we have the Three of Cups.

In this card we see three female figures dancing in a pool.  Although I get the sense of them being outdoors, surrounded by a meadow with golden flowers and both a fir tree and a cherry tree in bloom, at the same time they are also under a stone arch decorated with goldfish from whose mouths flow streams of water.  From the central fish, this water flows down to the women in the pool, who hold cups up, also overflowing with water which streams off to the sides.

The arch is also decorated with the runes mannaz (human - linked to the "complete" human being and to blood brotherhood - or sisterhood in this case) and wunjo (joy - harmonious existence, fellowship and happiness - who could ask for anything more?).

I am struck by the fact that the female dancers are not quite human-looking, being golden, mauve and pink.  Perhaps because they express the archetypal energy of friendship and the goddess?  I notice, too, that the cherry tree has a face and leans to one side, almost as though resting up against the head of the sleeping goddess who forms the hills behind the meadow.  This feels like an enchanted landscape, peopled by strange candy-floss nymphs.

This image feels full of joy, feminine sharing and support, and free-flowing emotion.  It reminds me of the bliss I feel after dancing wildly, or the quieter bliss of a yoga practice - meditation in motion, connecting with myself and with the divine.  And it makes me long for summer, and walks in nature talking about life with my friends.

I am grateful for my friends, who love and support me, and whom I love and support.


I am thankful for the sense of joy I feel in movement and dance.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

A duel to the death?

Today's card from the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot by Roxi Sim and Caelli Fullbrite (published by 7th House) is the Two of Swords.

Two men stand back to back.  One has blond hair and a beard, the other is dark-skinned and clean shaven. They both wear yellow shirts and red waistcoats, but the bearded man wears green trousers and boots while the clean shaven man wears a green kilt and boots.  Both wear blindfolds, dark and light, and hold swords, whose tips touch above their heads, and creating a star at the bottom of a chain of pearls.  Added to this, the bearded man wears a necklace with a single pearl, while the dark-skinned man has a full chain of pearls.  Also where the tips of their swords touch we see a circle, half golden sun, half blue moon.  Behind them seems to be a jade effigy of their two faces, back to back, in repose.  The curtains to the sides of the men also have faces in them, light and dark, and are held back by more pearl chains.  A stream of light seems to emerge from where the sword tips meet, spiralling down around the men, who stand on a board balanced on a fulcrum.  The floor on which this rests is a checkerboard of black and pale blue/white.

There is a great feeling of stillness in this image.  If either man moves a muscle, the whole balance that has been achieved will fall apart.  And yet, while they hold still, while each is given equal weight and space, the balance is perfect and feels energetic.  It seems to me that, rather than a battle of wits or ideas, this card is suggesting that if we can hold polar opposites in our mind at the same time, if we can accept that something can be both good and bad, both happy and sad, we can find clarity, stillness and energy.

I am grateful for the times when ambivalence opens up creative possibilities.


I am thankful not to be narrowly fixed on a single idea or belief in many areas of life (though I'm sure I have blind-spots where my rigid assumptions are taken for granted).

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Merry-go-round

This week I will be drawing daily cards from the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot by Roxi Sim and Caelli Fullbrite, published by 7th House.

With this first card we meet the Chariot.  A bearded man with a laurel wreath around his head holds the reins to two unicorns, one in either hand.  The unicorns seem to head off in different directions, the dark pink unicorn to the left, with a pale blue head dress and dark blue tunic, while the pale blue unicorn heads right, sporting a golden head dress and pink tunic.  They look like the kind of mounts you would find on a merry-go-round.

Behind the chariot we see a night sky, and yet the chariot seems to carry the sun with it as it rushes through a stone archway decorated with the runes ehwaz (horse or two horses - suggesting swift movement, and two aspects of the self working smoothly together), and tiwaz (the god Tyr - a great leader and a god invoked for victory).  To the left is another laurel leaf, garlanded with pearls, and to the right a picture of a tree, with stars and an infinity symbol around it, its roots reaching deeply through the earth towards water.

The sense I get from this card includes the traditional ideas of needing to focus in order to move forward without being pulled in opposing directions.  There are certainly plenty of elements suggesting polarities and opposites.  However, other thoughts that spring to mind include the idea of moving forward in itself bringing light into our lives.  There also seems an element of choice - what do we want to move towards?  Material success, or spiritual wholeness.  Is it possible to have both by harnessing different aspects of ourselves?  I am also struck by the different light sources - torches in snake sconces on the stone arch, stars in the sky, and the sun on the back of the chariot.

I am grateful for the possibilities offered by life, even if it sometimes means making hard choices.


I am thankful that night is followed by day, and that light can be found in both.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Who does it hurt?

For the last draw with the Rumi Tarot by Nigel Jackson (Llewellyn Publishing), I am confronted by the Five of Swords.

In the little tableau we see a man deep in meditation, seeming almost to levitate.  Around him are five turbaned figures with knives raised to stab him, but the central figure seems not to be aware of them.  I think the Rumi quote on this card can be taken two ways.  Firstly, when we attack the divine in whatever form, we hurt ourselves.  When we refuse faith in something beyond ourselves, and the unity of life, for example, we impoverish ourselves.  Secondly, when we attack others, ignoring the divine within them, we also hurt ourselves.  This latter suggestion may seem somewhat less obvious, but as James Ricklef has pointed out in a recent post, negative emotions beget negative emotions, and when we feel angry it embitters us, even if the person towards whom our anger is directed is unaware of it.

I am grateful for the compassion I receive from others, reminding me to practice compassion in my turn.


I am thankful to be able to let go of negative emotions.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

I can see clearly now

Today's card from the Rumi Tarot by Nigel Jackson, published by Llewellyn, is the Moon.

Although following quite traditional symbology - two towers, two dog-like creatures, a crustacean, the moon and some water - there is also much that is different here.  The fact that the water seems to be a lake at the end of a river, rather than us seeing the shore of a huge body of water; the fact that the crab is floating in the sky, being ridden by a woman holding an arrow and a mirror; the fact that the towers are minarets with paths leading to their front doors.

The water flowing into the lake suggests the journey from a source from which we all come, travelling to where we are now, in the deeps of life.  The woman riding a crab suggests to me that she can travel both through the depths of our unconscious and through the solid shore of our more mundane thoughts.  Her arrow and mirror suggest that she will confront us with our own reflection, making us look deeply even if it hurts.  As for the minarets, I get quite a different feel from them than from the more traditional watchtowers.  I guess because minarets are associated, for me, with music and prayer, rather than defense and vigilance.  All together, this suggests a more spiritual reading of the moon, where seeking the divine will help us to see beyond the reflections of maya/illusion.

Then, there is the quote from Rumi, which I find very fitting, both in that it mentions the moon specifically, and in its content.  It reminds us, too, that we need to look beyond illusions and reflections to see the truth. 

This all makes me think of what we hope follows after a Moon experience - the clarity of the Sun.

Oops, forgot my gratitude:


I am grateful for the experiences which help me see my life more clearly.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Love's intoxication

On this fifth day using the Rumi Tarot by Nigel Jackson (published by Llewellyn), the card I've drawn is the Ace of Cups.

The cups in this deck are highly stylised, with a long, thin stem, and a large base.  Added to that, in this Ace of Cups we also have a circlet attached to the stem, reminiscent of a crescent moon.  The cup is golden, with black filigree work on the bowl, base and circlet.  Around the cup are flowers and geometric shapes, and a flower seems to rise from the cup as though decorating a mound of something that fills the cup and piles high.

The quote here makes me think of tales of the Holy Grail - that sense of being so overwhelmed by love and beauty that you would follow it for the rest of your life.  And hopefully there is an element of that being true - when we touch absolute love we are forever changed by it, and look for it ever more, even if not in so single-minded a way as the Grail Knights.

I am grateful for moments of grace in my life.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Love and Death

Drawing still from the Rumi Tarot by Nigel Jackson, today's card is Judgement - and not either the 2 of Cups, the Lovers or Death, as might have been supposed from this post's title ;-)

The reason I chose it, though, was due to the quote on this card.  This strikes me in two very different ways, depending on the perspective from which I take it.  One is the idea that we keep alive our dead loved ones through our loving memories of them.  This certainly fits well with attachment theory's view of mourning, where the suggestion is that we never completely let go of someone we have loved, but that we create a new attachment to the memories of them, and that this is perfectly healthy.  This is as opposed to Freud's view that we must "kill" the dead and detach ourselves from them entirely!

The other idea that springs to my mind is of people who feel deadened, numb, detached from life.  The suggestion then would be that it is through love that they can once again feel alive.  The question this raises is whether they must love, be loved, or both.  My guess would be that any experience of love would work.

So, how does all of this relate to traditional interpretations of the Judgement card?  I often see Judgement representing hearing a calling of some kind - vocational, or spiritual - to make changes in our lives.  However, the fact that the one doing the calling is often an angel with a trumpet also raises the notion of angelic love.

Whether we find love through the divine, or through a passionate interest in something or someone, this love makes us feel more alive, and can take us to a different dimension of life.


I am grateful for the love in my life.


I am thankful that I feel passionate about much that I do.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Feminine beauty

Today's card from the Rumi Tarot by Nigel Jackson is the Three of Cups.

The little tableau at the centre of this card shows three women, two in purple dresses with green hats and shirts, the third dancing in a pink dress with the same green hat and shirt.  Given this blending set of "costumes", they suggest to me a musical troupe - one of the women in purple plays a stringed instrument, the other holds something which might be percusive, while the third dances "centre stage".  The landscape around them is gently hilly, with a stream flowing past their feet, and flowers in the grass around them.  It makes me think of the camaraderie of people who work and play together, sharing common interests and goals.

In this context the quote makes me think that the beauty that is mingled with the dust of our bodies is that of loving emotions: friendship and compassion.

I am grateful for my friends, both near and far.


I am thankful for shared interests that bring joy to my life.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Ego bashing

Today's card from the Rumi Tarot (link takes you to a video of some of the images from the deck - lovely) by Nigel Jackson is the Five of Staves (Wands).

Here we see a brave warrior attacking a large, devil-like creature.  White of skin, with horns, long, dog-like ears, a tail and bird's feet, this monster falls beneath the Stave of the warrior.

Is the ego really such a bad thing?  Freud argued that we should, if anything, be trying to strengthen the ego against the assaults of the id and super-ego.  While I'm not a proponent of his model of the mind, there is something to be said for that.  And, as Bettelheim points out in his short and very readable book "Freud and Man's Soul", it was only the English translators who associated Freud's depiction of the self with the "ego"tistical - Freud actually just spoke of the "I", the self that lives life.

Nevertheless, I also agree that our ego gets in the way of our connection to the divine.  However, unless we are planning to live in a monastery, the realities of life mean that we have to be able to interact with others in the mundane world.  And our "I", our ego, is the part of us that does this.

Bizarrely, perhaps, I therefore suggest that we need to have a stable sense of ego, but also that it is good to develop the capacity to turn it off, or let go of it and of our sense of self, when we commune with spirit.  I don't think this is as daft as it may at first sound.  As existential philosophers and psychotherapists (amongst others) say, we are not aware of ourselves as such during any peak experience.  For example, when exalted in prayer, ecstatic through sex or song or drugs, when thoroughly engrossed in what we are doing, whatever it may be, we are not "thinking" but "doing" or even just "being".  This is the lack, or letting go, of ego, that I feel we also strive for in yoga and meditation.  It is easy when it is for a "perfect" moment in one of these peak experiences, but somewhat harder when we intentionally try to capture this state of being for more than a minute or two.

Still, this warrior's active stance echoes this idea - it is when we passionately pursue some course of action that it is easiest to unseat the ego and touch this ego-less state of being.  Be it in walking on a beach, gardening, practising yoga, communing with tarot cards, or making love, these activities can be a wonderful form of meditation.  Also, in deconstructing our thought processes - in seeing our thoughts and separating ourselves from them - we "smash" our egos, dividing ourselves from them, dissecting them so that we no longer associate ourselves with this ego that thinks and judges.

I am grateful for the moments when I can separate my "being" from my ego. 

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Divine Emotions

After last week's unusual deck, I felt the need for something more restful this week.  So, I'll be drawing from the Rumi Tarot by Nigel Jackson.

Today's card is the King of Cups.  While acknowledging the spirituality of this deck, I have to admit to a puerile part of me that snickered at the quote on this card ;-)  Oh yeah, that sword of happiness will win a wife!


Trying to get my mind out of the gutter, I guess what this could mean is that by cutting through illusions to true happiness, we become forever joined with the divine.  Doesn't mean we feel the connection all the time, but that it is there when we are able to open ourselves to it, and to happiness.

I love the image of this peaceful potentate sat in an ornate garden, enjoying a refreshing drink and meditating on the meaning of life.  His trousers and shirt are purple, colour of our connection to the divine, and his cape is blue, colour of emotion and of speech.  On his head he wears a strange turban with green and red feathers, and what seems to be a stick coming out the top.  A message, perhaps, about his thoughts turning to life, to love, and his will reaching towards the heavens.


I am grateful for the emotions that fill me when I meditate.


I am thankful for the peaceful moments in my life.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Of Quests and Heartbreak

On this last day, the Kingdom Within Tarot offers us heartbreak, in the form of the Five of Cups.

In the foreground, four golden cups lie on the dark sands, their contents spilled like heart's blood.  Between them stands a bright red scorpion, stinger at the ready.  Looking at this scene is a brunette knight in dark grey armour, head bowed, holding the reigns of a black horse.  Behind him, Sir Galahad seems to float past carrying a luminous, jewel-encrusted grail, his blond hair flowing down his back and his armour shining brightly.  The "sea" is psychedelically coloured, as is the sky behind, with a suggestion of the aurora borealis, or a path to a golden ring from which spring pink formations.

What message here, then?  Perhaps that in giving up hope, in seeing only the negative, we doom ourselves to heartbreak.  As in more traditional decks, if the knight were to look around he might be amazed by what he saw, by the potential for hope, belief, and something to follow.

Sir Galahad holds his grail, divine guidance and love, a thing of beauty to inspire heart and mind.  The psychedelic sea suggests powerful, overwhelming emotions, and yet which eventually come to shore and break like any other wave.  The lights in the sky make me think of great plans and dreams, which need work to make them into reality, but which offer so much, even just in the journey.

I am grateful for the times in my life when I have been shaken out of grief and self-pity to see the beauty and possibilities around me.


I am thankful for the guidance of spirit.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Many Paths to Enlightenment

Today's card from the Kingdom Within Tarot is the Hermit.

I am struck very clearly in this card by the cartoonish aspect.  It's something I've been pondering all week, and here I've finally put my finger on it.  I'm still not sure why, but many of the illustrations in this deck make me think of the artwork in South Park!

Anyhow, moving away from such irreverence, I notice how different this image is, once again, from typical iconography for the Hermit.  Here we have a man sitting at a desk, writing.  Around him are books including texts of various world religions, spiritual thinkers, and great works of literature and psychology.  On his desk is a statue of Demeter, and a large globe.  He sits writing in what looks like an accounting ledger, his brow creased, no signs of joy in him.  Meanwhile, outside birds fly across a beautiful spring meadow with a stream running through it, bright wild flowers flourish, and mountains beckon in the distance.

It seems strange that, with three wonderful options for spiritual study and growth at his fingertips - through the words of sages, through prayer to a divinity, or through nature itself - instead he sits at what seems a mundane and boring task.  Perhaps one message here is that even great wisdom must sometimes take a backseat to everyday life.  And at least, when the work is done, he is ready to dive into the study of life's meaning.

I am grateful for the times when I can dedicate myself to study, meditation, and communing with nature.


I am thankful that my work doesn't deaden my spirit.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Ripples and Reflections

For this fifth day of drawing from the Kingdom Within Tarot, the card is the Moon.

A most unusual depiction, here we see two carp, one with orange markings, the other with purple, swimming nose to tail around the reflection of the full moon.  Between them, in amongst the ripples of air over the water, or from the movement of the fish themselves, we make out various tableaux.  A woman bound and gagged, an old woman at a table, a dung beetle pushing a huge ball of dung, a boat in flames with someone tied to it's mast, and someone in bed suffering from nightmares.  Above the fish there is a lotus flower, that archetype of wisdom growing from the muck below.  I also notice the fishes' eyes - bulbous and yet blind-looking.

There's something I really like about the idea of seeing the reflection of the moon in water, and the fish and lotus flower.  However, the tableaux seem, to me, a step too far, and far less artistically achieved.  Nevertheless, I guess their message of the strange situations which our dreams can show us is relevant to the card's meaning.  Dreams, illusions, unconscious processes and what we can create from them, both good and bad, shimmer in amongst the water's ripples.  Overall, I find this quite a powerful card, and am sure other ideas will spring from it in other readings...

I am grateful for the people and situations that have helped me plumb some of the dark places in my mind.


I am thankful to be able to try to help others find some clarity in amongst the confusion of life.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Shakti

Today we meet Shakti, the High Priestess in the Kingdom Within Tarot deck.

This is my favourite image so far this week.  Within an ellipse of the moon's phases squats Shakti, giving birth to the Quabalistic Tree of Life. 

The meanings given in the book are rather different to traditional associations with the High Priestess.  For example, included in the Key Phrases is: "She is protective and nurturing, governing home, pregnancy, and children." (sounds more like the Empress to me), and under Divinatory Meaning we find the statement: "The High Priestess reveals the querent's powers of manifestation and regeneration." (Magician, anyone?)

Nevertheless, I like the association of the High Priestess with the Moon, and also with "nine stars of the Star Universe" that can be seen behind her.  Not sure what the "Star Universe" is meant to be, but the number nine resonates with me in terms of Wiccan beliefs around the Goddess and divination.  I like that Shakti also has a star shining from her third eye, and that she is clothed in red for the root chakra, our connection with the earth and with the physical, and orange, the sacral chakra, associated with sexuality and choices.  This feels like it connects her with knowledge at a very basic, real level - a groundedness that may not express itself verbally, but is deeply felt.

The moon's phases also suggest the veiling and unveiling of knowledge, the perspective change possible at different times when we are in touch with the cycles of life, and the mysterious pull of forces we cannot quite grasp.  Another thing I notice is the way her hair flows around her, as though blown by an unseen force, yet she remains calm and focused.  In Qabalistic terms, I see her as representing the Ain Soph, the original void from which all else followed - a connection to everything, but from a place of silence.

I am thankful for my trust in my inner knowing that helps me stay calm in difficult situations.


I am grateful for the possibility of getting more in touch with the cycles of life.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Happily Ever After?

Today's card from the Kingdom Within Tarot is the Two of Cups, subtitled True Love.

In the foreground we have the Court of Cups - the Green Man (King of Cups) holds a pink cushion with two rings, Gaia (Queen of Cups) holds a bouquet of red roses, Sir Galahad (Prince of Cups) stands with the Faerie Puck (Page of Cups) on his armoured shoulder.  They seem to be presiding over a marriage of opposites - male and female, black and white, the couple are even pouring a strange part-blue, part-purple liquid from one cup into another.  Behind them, a red crab sits on the sand, with a very ornate sandcastle by the water's edge, and an aqua, blue and white striped globe seems to surf towards them on a giant conch shell.

What to make of all this?  The crab scuttles sideways, seeming to always take an indirect path, and certainly the path of true love can be rather winding.  The castle suggests to me the irreality of ideas of Happily Ever Afters - making a loving relationship last takes work and commitment.  As for the surfing globe, it feels like its going to run them all over to me.  No idea what that means!  Perhaps the quashing of fantasies of romantic perfection? 

Looking at the book, the globe is the planet Venus - ah, lightbulb moment! - which is rising from the sea foam to preside over their wedding.  The crab is there to represent Cancer, the astrological sign associated with this card, and the grey semi-circle at the bottom represents Chokmah.  Hmm, I think I prefer my less idealistic vision...


I am thankful for the love in my life, even if it takes work.


I am grateful for moments of deep connection whether in sex, in play, or in conversation, with lover, son, family or friends.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mexican Muerte

On this second day drawing from the Kingdom Within Tarot, we meet the King of Swords.

In this deck, the Court Cards represent characters from various myths/mythologies, and have been given Myers/Briggs designations.  In this case, the card is named Mictlantecutli, the Aztec god of death, and is subtitled Mentor/Sage/Advocate.

So, how does this relate to the tarot King of Swords?  According to the companion book, the Skeleton King "reminds us of the important truth... To be born is only to begin to die."  Thus, "The King of Swords mentally reaches out to perceive both sides of any directly opposing issue; his agile mind perceives far more because of his awareness of multiple viewpoints". 

In terms of the Myers/Briggs classification, this card covers ENTP's: "the innovators and inventors; striving for a balanced and just world, they are able to both successfully mediate change as well as challenge and improve the status quo."

As for the image itself, what it brings to my mind is the idea of someone cold and judgemental.  He flies above the people in the cemetery with a bloody sword - he will take whoever he chooses with no concern for the pain of those left behind.  Trying to find a positive, death is a necessary evil - without it there would be no room for new growth, and for some it is a relief.  I guess, also, from up on his bat he has a good perspective on the situation, and he's clearly not afraid of making tough decisions.

I am grateful for the times when I see things clearly and am decisive.


I am thankful for the natural cycles of life that can be hard to accept, but make change possible.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

She's got the whole world in her hand!

This week, my daily draws will come from the recently released Kingdom Within Tarot.  This deck has strong Qabalistic influences, as well as incorporating astrology, the elements and seasons, and is rather psychedelic.

The first card I drew was the Ace of Pentacles.  In the background we see the earth from space, while in the foreground we have a large brown Pentacle on an extended hand, topped with a stone crown.  At the bottom is a white semi-circle, indicating that we are in the domain of Malkuth.  The card is subtitled Power of Earth.

What struck me at first glance was that the hand holding the pentacle seems to be that of a woman.  I'd never really thought about it before, but I think the hands in the RWS look pretty male.  Of course, there are other decks where the Aces are presented by women, or without external intervention, but this is the first deck in which I've become aware of a disembodied female hand.  It suggests to me a feminine spirit or deity offering us a gift, offering us the seed of all possibilities, as the pentacle is the seed of the physical and thus linked to the entire world we see in the background.

I am grateful for all the possibilities offered me by life.


I am thankful for the health and strength of my body.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Whistle while you work

For today's draw I received the Eight of Pentacles from the magical Wizards Tarot by Corinne Kenner and John Blumen.

In this card we see a student diligently working to perfect his pentacle-craftsmanship.  Despite what must be quite hard work, he looks happy about what he's doing.  I can almost hear him tapping his feet to some rhythm inside his head.  His overtunic is green, suggesting life and growth, while his undertunic is a clean white, emphasising his purity of intent.  His light brown trousers suggest a certain groundedness, which matches well with the suit of pentacles.

There isn't much around him to act as a distraction other than the window by his side, but this doesn't draw him in any case.  He is engrossed in what he is doing.  In a school of magic, I like the fact that he is clearly still crafting these pentacles with care and by hand.  This is a great reminder that much of magic is about intent and practical steps, rather than being Samantha-esque nose wiggling.  This fits well with the magical exercises given in the lovely companion book, written by Corinne Kenner.  For each Professor of the Mandrake Academy (the Majors) she describes various arcane arts with suggestions for simple practices to get you started.  Be it candle magic, crystals or runes, it's not just about waving a magic wand, but about journalling, visualising, practising, creating.  And I see that here in this card! 

There's also an aspect of the sheer joy of making something.  Like the smell of fresh-baked cookies, I love knowing I've made something from scratch.  There's satisfaction in creating something, be it a meal, a work of art, or simply an enjoyable yoga practice.

I am grateful for the opportunity to practise skills both old and new.


I am thankful that hard work leads to useful, enjoyable, sometimes beautiful or tasty creations.