Wednesday, 31 August 2011

True Love

What a beautiful card for this lovely Wednesday morning!  Not only are the keyword and song up-lifting, but the colours, too, are sunny and bright, full of promise.  The Rock'n'Roll Oracle offers us True Love, inspired by a song called "Heart Full of Soul" by the Yardbirds.

This image makes me think about the way that we are connected at a heart level with so many different people, places and things.  We are nourished by this wealth of love, just as we nourish others with our love.  I have to say, it also makes me think of the idea of there being "the one true love" of our lives.  This isn't a concept I personally subscribe to.  I think we are capable of loving a lot of people, and being loved by them.  And the person who is right for us at one time in our lives may not be right at another time.  If we have a web of loving connections then we will always be supported, and not have to depend just on one person for our happiness.

I am grateful for all the love in my life: my Dear One, Baby Boy, my mother and stepfather, my brothers, my uncles, aunts and cousins, my friends both near and far, and my cats, who are so often a lapfull of love.

P.S. Don't forget, today is the last day to take part in the Awesome August Give Away!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Miracles

Today's card from David Rosenhaus' Rock'n'Roll Oracle is called Miracles.  The song it is associated with is "Do You Believe in Magic?" by The Lovin' Spoonful.

David reminds us that every breath we take is a miracle, that we often take for granted, while the song talks of the magic of love and music - both very powerful separately and combined :)  The image, however, takes us a little further into the realms of the esoteric, if we choose to go there.  It shows a person's hands, and a candle flame.  We could just see this as the magic of light and warmth from fire, which has been so important in human evolution.  Or we can see this as being about creating ritual space and setting magical intentions, whether it be lighting a candle as a prayer (Catholic magic) or for some other magickal purpose. 

I really like that the card offers us the idea of miracles and magic at whatever level we are ready to accept these - the magic of breath and fire, or more ritual workings.  Either way, it asks us to appreciate the wealth of life that is available to us.

I am grateful for the magic of the internet, which connects me with people from so many places.

I am thankful for the magic of tarots and oracles, which bring illumination to my life.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Knights and Warriors

Knights of Wands, Pentacles, Swords and Cups: Universal Waite Tarot (Lo Scarabeo)
Virabhadrasana 1
Suryanamaskar, or Sun Salutation, in one form or another is a staple of many styles of physical yoga practice.  And as with anything we do a lot it can become routine.  So, when my thoughts drifted during my daily practice I decided to focus them by trying to once again link yoga and tarot.

What came to mind this time was the question of whether and how I could link Virabhadrasana, or Warrior Pose, with the tarot knights.  Given that I was practising a Dancing Warrior variation on the Sun Salute may explain why this particular question came up.

Using this focus to guide my practice, I thought about what energies I associate with each of the tarot knights, and then, feeling my way into each pose, decided which might be the appropriate warrior pose to link it with.

For me, Warrior 1 (sometimes called proud warrior) is about preparedness and forward focus, or even focus straight upward.  It is about meeting things head on and reaching for what you want (even if that is calm stillness).  So, I linked it with the Knight of Wands.
 
Virabhadrasana 2
 Warrior 2 is often used as a transition  between different poses, a way of grounding and centering before moving to the next position.  It is more open and balanced than Warrior 1, more stable and not quite as dynamic.  Instead of the energy being forward and up, it is balanced between front and back, up and down.  I know this is true of all yoga poses in some ways, but I feel it is more apparent in this variation of Virabadhrasana.  For these reasons, I linked it with the Knight of Pentacles.
Virabhadrasana 3
Virabhadrasana 4
Warrior 3, sometimes called flying warrior, is more dynamic and less easily balanced than any of the other three variants.  This warrior pushes off into the unknown, launches him/herself forward somewhat recklessly.  There is far more chance here to fall, and it is our mind, more than our body, which controls this pose.  The Knight of Swords says I.

Finally, Warrior 4, sometimes called reverse warrior, othertimes wounded warrior.  This is the warrior who doesn't really want to be one, the lover not the fighter.  Here, we open and present our chest, our heart, lifting it up to the heavens.  In this I see not just the open-hearted, romantic side of the Knight of Cups, but also the Grail Knight aspect, dedicated to a search for divine love.

Perhaps by flowing between these poses we can help balance these different aspects of ourselves.  Or else, choosing the pose that represents the characteristics we want to enhance in ourselves, we can practice it, linking the physical and more character-based aspects and thus creating a bodily-anchored intention. 
To do this, we could add an affirmation for each.  For example: Warrior 1 - I focus my mind and spirit on my goal; Warrior 2 - I am balanced and grounded; Warrior 3 - I plan clearly and move forward with determination; Warrior 4 - I open my heart to divine love.   A magical, moving meditation :)  What do you think?

Relax

My third card from the Rock and Roll Oracle is titled "Relax" and associated with the Eagles song "Take It Easy".

Now this card has it all, for me.  A lovely keyword, a beautiful image, and a song I adore.  This reminds me of summers at University when I would stick my Eagles cassette (yes, as in old fashioned tape - yikes, so old) in the car stereo, wind down the windows, and head for the beach.  OK, so the beach was often fairly chilly, it's England after all, but it still had sunshine, fresh sea air, and the waves playing with the sand... bliss!

Even further back, for a couple of summers when I was very young we went to Trinidad, as my mum had friends out there.  They had a huge hammock out on their front porch, and I thought it was absolutely wonderful to be able to lie out in the humid air swinging back and forth, gazing at the amazing greenery all about.

In our society we spend so much time rushing I really like the concept of slowing down, enjoying just being.  Today is a Bank Holiday in the UK, so my Dear One and I are planning a (hopefully) relaxing time with Big Boy.  If it's sunny we'll go to a near-by park, watch the ducks, squirrels and people, and maybe some rabbits if we're lucky.  If it rains we'll go to the cinema, and either see Arrietty or the Smurfs :)


I am grateful for times to rest and enjoy life with my family.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Silicon Dawn Reading

Click to see a larger image - love the detail on these cards!
I am still getting to know this very different deck, and decided to do another three card draw with it to see what it had to say about my week. 

The first thing I notice is the way that the female figure in the centre is breaking out of fixed ways of being.  Yet the options to either side don't seem all that appealing to me.  To the left is the King of Cups, plotting a route through the deeps guided by a map, and cut off from the actual emotion by walls of glass.  Perhaps there is the potential here to see without having to feel, but is that a good thing?  To the other side, overexuberance, drunken joy.  She seems blissed out, but I don't trust an intoxication that comes from the outside.  Drunk on emotion, perhaps not even her own.

On the other hand, perhaps I'm just seeing the negative side.  Today's the first real day of my period, which often leaves me feeling sore and grumpy.  Plus I didn't get a nap this morning.

So, a different take on it would be that, having FINALLY finished my essay, I am now free to follow where my spirit takes me.  I can explore deep emotions, perhaps read some of those psychotherapy texts I've been meaning to get to.  Or I can plunge into enjoying myself and having a bit of a break.  Or better yet, a little of both depending on the day...  A reminder, then, that I probably need some structure in my life to get things done, but that I also need to just kick back and have fun now and again, too.

Fantasy

For this second draw from the Rock and Roll Oracle I received "Fantasy".  This card is associated with the Steppenwolf song "Magic Carpet Ride".  I'd vaguely heard of this song, but was amazed when I saw their other credits - Pusher and Born To Be Wild were also theirs.  Songs I've long known, but never knew who they were by.  OK, so I'm showing my lack of rock and roll savvy more than anything else... oh, well.

I absolutely love the image associated with this card!  It makes me think of the tales of the Arabian Nights, and Sinbad the Sailor, of beautiful damsels, dashing princes, and exotic adventures.  The whole idea of our imagination being able to take us wherever we want to go is certainly one I live by :)

However, I can see both good and bad in that.  Sure, escaping for a while can be very necessary, and it can also be a source of creative inspiration.  Sometimes, though, we forget that we need to come back and live in the real world. 


I am grateful for my imagination, which allows me to travel and explore from the comfort of my own mind.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Possibilities

This week, as promised last Friday, I will be blogging with the Rock and Roll Oracle.  This is a lovely deck created by David Rosenhaus and currently self-published.  You can check out images for all the cards over at his website, or have an e-reading on the Facebook page.

For this first daily card I drew Possibilities.  The song this is associated with is "Dream On" by Aerosmith.  This wasn't a song I knew, not being a big Aerosmith fan, or an Aerosmith fan at all!  However, the lyrics are fairly inspiring:

Every time I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It goes by, like dusk to dawn
Isn't that the way
Everybody's got their dues in life to pay

Yeah, I know nobody knows
where it comes and where it goes
I know it's everybody's sin
You got to lose to know how to win

Half my life
is in books' written pages
Lived and learned from fools and
from sages
You know it's true
All the things come back to you

Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me, if it's just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good lord will take you away x2

Dream On Dream On Dream On
Dream until your dreams come true x2
Dream On x 7

Sing with me, sing for the year
sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
sing with me, if it's just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away x 2

David talks about life's possibilities being endless and advises us to "Dream big, with intention, until your dreams come true."

What I see here is a universe of infinite possibilites, and a human eye looking out at them.  The message I get is to open myself to the potentials around me, rather than just seeing what is right in front of my nose.  So, something about thinking outside the box.

Today I am finishing my essay, finally.  Will I have a sudden last-minute insight to add to it?  Or perhaps just that, now that it's done, I can open myself up to other things again... I like the thought of that!


I am grateful for the wealth of possibilities in life.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Psychedelic Hierophant

On this last day drawing from the Chakra Mandala by Carol Herzer I just wanted to let people know that Carol will soon be announcing a new deck release!  Another luminous, irridescent and glittery 78 card deck, a recolouring of the Illuminated Tarot called Crystal Fire or Dark Fire, depending on the exact colouring.  Check her website over the next couple of weeks for information...

Back to the Chakra Mandala and today's card, a rather psychedelic take on the Hierophant.  It took me a while to get my head around this depiction of this Major 5 energy.  As with quite a few other cards, I find these chakra images show the positive aspects of these archetypes.  When I think of the rather tight-arsed RWS Hierophant, the last keywords I would come up with would be Sex and Heart!  Yet those are the chakras that Carol has assigned to this card.

The Sex or Svadhistana chakra is, as I've mentioned before, not just about sex.  It is also connected to our desires, and even to social status - if you have status you are more likely to be able to get a partner of your choosing.  This hierarchical aspect of the chakra does make me think of the Hierophant.  Also, there is the question of energy being gathered and held in - after all, many different religious orders around the world recommend or demand sexual abstinence, to channel that energy towards a higher purpose.

As for the Heart or Anahata chakra, as we saw yesterday this is linked to compassion and action.  Many religious scriptures advocate something like Karma Yoga - serving others as a way to express your divine calling.  Perhaps, then, this is not such an odd combination for the Hierophant.

In terms of the image itself, I rather like the trippy colours and swirls.  This makes me think of an ecstatic trance, or that place in meditation where you are no longer sure what is up or down, floating in a sea of being.

Today we are off for a family trip to Brighton.  Channeling my energy towards compassion may well be necessary - several hours in a car with a little boy who doesn't like sitting in car seats can be quite wearing on all concerned.  

I am grateful for the reminder to focus my energy on showing compassion.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

When I drew this card from the Chakra Mandala I was definitely surprised.  Here, Carol has created a gorgeous flower, with the Root Chakra as its stem and the Heart Chakra as its blossom.  A bright blue sky surrounds it, as it grows up from waving grasses, reaching for the sun.  These combined energies are Carol's representation of the Emperor.

While I can understand the Root (Muladhara) Chakra being here, the Heart (Anahata) Chakra is a less obvious choice for me.  The Root Chakra, with its four petals, represents our sense of security and groundedness.  In this it fits well with the ideas of boundaries and structure that the Emperor represents.  The Heart Chakra is, at the first level, about love, compassion, and opening to others.  However, it is also connected on a physical level with the hands, and so has aspects of building and making.  Making things in a structured way would fit with Emperor-type energy.

This quite positive take on the Emperor makes me think of Janet Boyer's comparison of the Emperor and Empresses energies.  Her point is that, in a garden as in life, we need rules and structure, we need someone to weed and to put things in an appropriate place.  If we just had wild growth, none of the plants would do as well, as they would not have their individual needs met and would face a lot of competition.  So, creating rules and boundaries can actually be a way of expressing love, and helping ourselves and others to grow.

Today I shall spend some quality time with BB, who I often draw as the Emperor - he is a Capricorn, and pretty keen on structure.   Also a little tyrant, but then, maybe that's because I don't exercise enough of my Emperor discipline :(


I am grateful for the structures in my life which allow me to grow.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Alignment

Uniting the energies of the Sex (Svadhistana) and Crown (Sahasrara) chakras, today's card from the Chakra Mandala equates to the tarot Major the Star.

The Svadhistana links us with our passions and our drives, but here they are harnessed to fuel our search for connection with the divine, through the Sahasrara chakra.  We are, in a sense, aligning our desires with our higher purpose, and so allowing ourselves to be generous and open, guided by spirit.

I love the way that the Sex chakra below is echoed in the centre of the Crown chakra.  Also, this is such a different version of the Crown chakra.  The wheel of colour with almost white petals at the top makes me think of the opening to spirit, of the connection with the stars above, some of which twinkle gently around the Crown chakra.  In aligning ourselves with spirit, we first need to be excited by it, and secondly we need to be open to it.  Both of those aspects are shown here.

I also really like the "landscape" around the Svadhistana chakra - it makes the whole look like a beautiful flower blossoming in a field of other flowers, connecting with a bright star above.  The wheel of colour also makes me think of possibilities.  This is such a vibrant, hopeful card, and to my mind suits the Star very well.

As for me, tonight my Dear One and I have a night out - that's definitely been something I've looked forward to all month, the guiding light in my calendar :)  And yes, there may be some baser desires satisfied, but as Starhawk says, "Every act of love is an act of worship."


I am grateful when I feel aligned with my higher purpose.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Vocation

This beautiful image is the Judgement card in Carol Herzer's Chakra Mandala, as well as the frontispiece for the bag it comes with.

Here we have the Throat (Vishuda) and Crown (Sahasrara) chakras, with blue emphasised in both.  This is a great example of the way that Carol paints the chakras differently each time, as we have already seen both these chakras on different cards (the Vishuda on Strength and the Sahasrara on the Moon card).  Here, though, both the colours and the balance, as well as the background, lend a quite different feel to this combination.  The Throat chakra represents how we communicate, and the Crown chakra represents our connection with the divine, as well as integration.

While the Crown chakra is fairly obvious, Judgement having a lot to do with the divine, the Throat chakra is more subtle.  In traditional images we see an angel with a trumpet, calling up souls for the final days.  This card is often interpreted as hearing a call from spirit to follow a new path, or to follow our calling, hence the link with vocation.  So, more about listening to communications from spirit than ourselves communicating, perhaps...

There is a great sense of unity for me in this card, a flowing between the two energies, and a sense of their connection to more below, but which is taken for granted, or at least not the focus of this card.  This says to me that this kind of integration is only possible after other energies have been harnessed.  We can only move on and follow a higher calling once we have covered the basics in life.

Today is the day I see counselling clients.  This is still something I feel uncertain about - can I really do this, can I help?  And yet it is certainly something I feel called to do.  Maybe if I can focus more on this as a spiritual labour of love, and less on my own performance, then I can hearken better to what I need to hear, both from spirit and from my clients.

I am grateful for the reminder that communication is about listening, more than speaking.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Chakra Mandala Author Info

The vid is another of Carol Herzer's creations, which I thought it would be nice if you could play and watch while reading ;)

Before I started blogging about this gorgeous deck, I asked Carol if that would be OK with her.  Based on having emailed back and forth when I bought the deck, I knew her as a friendly, helpful person.  So, it was no surprise, but still a pleasure, when she happily agreed. 

After the first post on the Chakra Mandala card 11, which I had identified as Justice, I sent Carol a link to take a look.  Turns out, according to her attibutions, 11 is Strength and 8 is Justice!  We had a laugh and a chat about that :D Here is some info from Carol about that and also about how she reads with these cards, which she is happy for me to share here.  I love this insight into how these cards were created and assigned, and how the author herself uses them!

"In my book, and in both of my chakra sets number 11 is not Justice, it is Strength.  Nevertheless you did make some good sense out of it. Which makes me wonder, if there could be more than one way to associate the cards. Maybe infinite (almost) ways. That is the nature of the tarot anyway, it seems to bend and shape itself around many forms and interpretations. That is why it works so well, perhaps.

  When I created the chakras cards I started just making the paintings of the chakras pairs. I had no idea I would make it into a tarot. It took a long time to find the order of the cards. I carried them around for over a year trying to figure it out. The key came in a series of exercises written out by a woman named Jawala, she wrote a book called Sacred Sex. You start with the root, bring up the orgasmic energy to the second, back to root, up to third, back to second up to fourth, and so on weaving upward.So I decided to order the chakras pairs cards that way, starting with the root and second, then the root and third, then the second and third, and so on up. when I lined them up with the tarot majors there seemed to be a LOT of connections.

 You can create your own ways of doing readings with the chakras. I usually start with the basic individual 7 single chakras laid face down, select one with the left and one right hand. I read both of these, left is problem or weak or whatever, and right is strong, or solution, or how to release the blocked energy. Then I read the major card of the two. So the card you had, 11, root and inner eye, could be explained a bit more by the placement of the chakras. You could decide that reversed means the top chakra is left or right or however you want to see it. Sometimes I go on with the reading, pull one more from the basic 7, this gets added above the major, and two more majors are created by combining it with the first two. So if you got power then you would have cards 13 and 2. High Priestess is root and Power. You can keep on going, next draw of again two individual chakras, and just go until you are out of them."


I can imagine using the left and right hand idea with any deck.  And if you give it a go, and let me know what you think...

A Sunny Moon

For this third draw from Carol Herzer's Chakra Mandala, I pulled the Moon card - 18.

Carol links this Major to the Power (Manipura) and Crown (Sahasrara) chakras.  The Manipura is associated with digestion, with the gut.  So, it links to ideas of gut instinct, and of where we draw our power from.  It has five petals, which in tarot terms links it to conflict - we may not trust our gut, or our instincts may go against what our head says and what we feel we should do.  The Sahasrara chakra connects us with the spiritual dimension of life, and is associated with integration.   Part of the message I see here is that if we truly integrate our intuition we would not be left in the nebulous place of dreams and darkness which we often associate with the Moon card.  There is a lot of power here, but we may not direct it appropriately, which is when doubts assail us.

In terms of imagery, this card seems rather sunny for the moon.  The Manipura's colour is yellow, and Carol has echoed this in the Sahasrara, which is often white or violet.  White holds all the colours, explaining this multi-coloured Crown chakra.  And I suppose that the moon does reflect the sun's light, so the Crown reflecting the colours from the Power chakra makes sense.  Overall, this feels a rather more positive take on the Moon card, showing its potential for growth rather than where we may often get stuck with its energies.


I am grateful for the strength of my intuitions, and the variety of my dreams.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Passion and Expression

Today's card from Carol Herzer's Chakra Mandala is one of my favourites.  Combining the Sex and Throat chakras, it is her version of the Strength card.

This combination fits really well with my post a while back on the Silver Era Tarot's Strength card.  There I spoke about Strength in terms of the ability to speak your truth, to feel the powerful emotions that drive you and then say what you want and need.  This matches very well these two chakras - the Sex chakra or Svadhisthana, which is connected to our most basic drives and desires, and the Throat chakra or Vishuda, connected with communication generally and speaking in particular.

In terms of the image itself, I love the way the top and bottom halves balance each other.  Underneath is the Svadhisthana chakra.  This is not just about sex per se (though this linking does make me think of Crowley's renaming the Strength card Lust), but also about what we are passionate about, what drives us.  The Svadhisthana has six petals, a number that links it to the Lovers card, and to resolution.  The Sex chakra is orange, and Carol has added in some red, pink and blue.  I notice the intertwining ribbons that go out to either side, reminiscent of DNA.  A reminder that we are what our genes make us, at base.  

And yet, then there's the top half.  The beautiful blue of the Vishuda chakra with its eight petals - balanced and strong, linking back to this card itself and to achievement - with little red, pink and orange flames and a red core.  These colours echo the groundedness and passion below that seep up and pour out, transformed into something that we can communicate harmoniously allowing us to achieve our goals.

Today we are going to visit my parents with BB.  Although I adore my mother and get on very well with her, things are more complicated when managing the needs and wishes of myself, BB, Dear One, and my parents.  I think it may be relevant to pay attention to what I need in these circumstances, and be willing to express that.  Otherwise, we could end up with an uncomfortable visit, rather than an enjoyable one.

I am grateful for the ability to know my desires and express them clearly.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The All-Seeing Eye

Hand-made rough silk bag with card frontispiece
This week I will be drawing from a Majors only deck!  Now, anyone who knows me will realise this is very rare - I don't normally like decks without pips as I feel that so much of the joy and reality of life is in the everyday, not just in the overarching themes.  However, the Chakra Mandala/Tarot is rather different.  Created by the multi-talented Carol Herzer, renowned for the blinged up Illuminated Tarot, this deck pairs up different chakras to represent the energies of each of the tarot Majors.  Carol also makes music, sings and creates fractal art - check out this youtube clip for chakras and chants, and this one for fractals and chants.

Anyhow, back to the Chakra Mandala: there are a number of variations on this deck.  You can have Carol's recolouring of the the Rider Waite Smith Majors in the foreground and the chakra images in the background (the Chakra Tarot), or you can have just the chakra images (the Chakra Mandala), which is what I chose.  I love that no two chakras are drawn the same, as you'll see over the course of the week.  As with all her decks, Carol also offers various bling versions - glitter and/or irridescent paints to really make the cards shine and come alive!  An added bonus is that they come in the lovely bag you can see here.

I originally got these cards just to meditate with the chakra images, not as a tarot at all.  However, drawing these cards and working with them I started to think about how the combined energies fitted with the Majors they were attributed to.  So, I thought I'd share some of these lovely images and see what others think :)

11 - Justice from the Chakra Mandala 
Today's card is 11 - Justice.  Here we see the Root (Muladhara) chakra combined with the Inner Eye (Ajna) chakra.  The Root chakra is associated with our feeling of safety in the world, our sense of groundedness, and our connections with the past through our forebears.  The Inner Eye chakra, on the other hand, is about seeing beyond the everyday, about bringing wisdom to our perception of the world.  If we take just two key words here - security and wisdom - then the links with Justice become more pronounced.  Bringing wisdom to bear so that we feel safe, have clear boundaries, and trust that good decisions are being made, all fit well both with the idea of Justice as having to appraise the situation we are in and how we got there, as well as trying to make wise decisions for the future.  It also, in a more generic sense, fits with the idea of legal situations and the justice system.

I love the way some of this is portrayed in the image itself.  The Inner Eye chakra has been painted in such a way that it looks almost like an eye, clear-sightedly examining the situation.  And the background looks like a star-scape, with a spiral universe in the petal of the Root chakra that connects it with the Inner Eye chakra.  This seems to me to link with the idea of Justice as karmic - the laws of the Universe, and infinity, all wrapped up in one.  The Root chakra is based around fours - the number of stability and structure - while the Inner Eye chakra has just two petals - the number of choice and duality, there being two sides to any question.  Structure and choices, sounds like another quite good description of Justice.

Returning to the image, there are also some clouds above, the limits of our perception, perhaps?  And darkness below - the muddy ground from which we rise up, which provides the bedrock for our character and the foundation from which we begin all that we do.  There appear to be mountains, symbols of higher truth, and a couple of lines of fire - the passion for life which fuels us.

There is certainly plenty here, both visually and symbolically, to work with and meditate upon!

So, what do you think, do these chakra energies meld well to describe the Justice card?

I am grateful for the ability to assess what has gone before and use that to try to make good choices for the future.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Confusion

This is just a little taster which I couldn't resist posting.  The card comes from the Rock'n'Roll Oracle , currently self-published.  There's also a Facebook page where you can get an electronic reading with it :)  I will be doing my daily card with this deck in a week or two's time, but am drawing from it myself to get to know it in between times.  The premise of the deck is that it features song titles from Rock'n'Roll greats, with lovely artwork to match, and a keyword title.  It's a little gem!

Anyhow, I asked, "What energy do I need today?" and drew Confusion.  My first thought was, no black-and-white thinking today, it's all going to be shades of grey.  Then I burst out laughing.  So far today I have accidentally texted the wrong person, whose number I had incorrectly saved as someone else's.  I wrote a note so confusing that the person it was for did the exact opposite of what I was asking (I had planned to explain it to her in person, but was too tired when she arrived and forgot).  And I posted a comment on Facebook which, after pressing Enter, I realised could be taken at least three ways and sounded pretty stupid whichever way you took it - and this is AFTER having had a nap :duh:

Now I am totally confused - is this the energy I need for today, or just the energy that I have darn well got? LMFAO!

Update: I've been sitting around for the last two hours waiting for a phone call.  Someone just called on my mobile saying, did you know your landline isn't working? #-o d'oh!  Now I don't know if the other person's been trying to call me all morning unsuccessfully or not...

Rescue or Ruin?

Today I say goodbye to Ludy Lescot, or rather hasta la vista.  I'm sure I shall be doing more readings with this Lo Scarabeo published deck illustrated by Patrizio Evangelisti.  Though dark and rather discomfitting, I really like it. 

For this final draw, another card of sorrow - the Five of Cups.  Here, I notice first the pentacles etched on the cups.  Some would say that all emotions are connected with the divine: when we love, it is an echo of divine love; when we fear, we fear a lack of divine compassion; when we hate, it is a lack of belief in the divinity of all of nature.   The despair shown here might, then, show a lack of spiritual faith, that this faith has been challenged in some way. 

Our despondent woman appears to be in a cemetery, suggesting that she has lost a loved one.  Such a loss might well make her question the goodness of life and the universe.  A shadowy figure approaches.  Does he offer assistance, or has he come to challenge her further?

Today I meet with an ex.  We parted as friends, though I mourned the relationship for a long time.  Will seeing him again remind me of past hurts, or what I have found since?  The latter, I think, for my life now is made so much better by my Dear One.

I am grateful for the chance to release past sorrows.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Veiled Truths

For the sixth daily draw with the Ludy Lescot Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011) illustrated by Patrizio Evangelisti, I pulled the Ace of Swords.

In the forefront, a masked woman looks out at us, while in the background a sword stands with blade buried in a stone. Both the mask and the stone-entombed sword make me think of truths which we have to fight for, or those which are hidden, or at least not obvious at first glance. While on the one hand we may not like when we have to hunt for an idea or a truth, on the other hand there can be a sense of protection in not ourselves being fully seen. We fear that, if someone saw us as we really are, they would judge us and find us wanting. And so we ourselves often veil our truths.

Today I see my therapist. Last week was full of fireworks, and I hope to find the courage to speak at least some of my truth today. I see this as a rehearsal for trying to be more open with other people in my life, too.

I am grateful for times when I can show my truth to others openly.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Alien Judgement

Today's card from the Ludy Lescot Tarot, illustrated by Patrizio Evangelisti and published by Lo Scarabeo, is XX - Judgement.

As with many of the cards in this deck, there is something distinctly discomfiting about the image presented here. Bald and naked, both men and women crowd forward towards a tripartite structure through which a strange light shines. The three figures furthest back seem branded with a red spot, like that which shines from the centre of the source of the blazing light. Beyond the structure we see the silhouette of a monstrous creature, elongated of body and with arm upraised as though to strike the person before it. If these people are being drawn into a new existence, it seems more like one of servitude and suffering than of enlightenment.

Most of the figures shuffle forward with bowed heads, except for the woman to the right rear of the crowd. Though also bald and naked, her gait is upright, her gaze lifted to the scene in front of her. In some decks this card is re-titled "Awakening" and perhaps this is her situation. If she is awakening to the situation she finds herself in, what will she choose to do? There seems no obvious way of escaping, but perhaps that isn't her intention. As in the saying that in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is King, here being the one awakened person perhaps she accompanies the others so that, down the line, she can attempt to win freedom for them all.

I am grateful for what I learn through meditation and mindfulness practices.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Awesome August Giveaway

Image from the Wildwood Tarot
I have been inspired by Magic Mentha offering giveaways the last few months!   This week marks two years of me hanging up my tarot reader sign on the web (my reading site, as opposed to this blog which is less than a year and a half old) and I decided that was a good excuse to run a giveaway myself.

So, the competition will run between now and the end of the month.  As it's a 2nd birthday related to intuition, to enter all you have to do is leave a comment on this post describing your favourite II High Priestess card and why you like it. 

As for what the winner will receive, it'll be a secret - the High Priestess is, after all, renowned for being able to keep silence ;)  What I will say is that it'll include an unopened tarot deck and an unopened oracle deck (thank amazon for their sometimes dreadful product descriptions which saw me accidentally buying doubles).  There will also be some other bits and bobs - even I don't yet know exactly what will be in there ;D

So, what's your favourite High Priestess card?

To see more from the beautiful Wildwood Tarot, check out the all new website! http://thewildwoodtarot.com/

Heart-Rending Horror

The card the Ludy Lescot Tarot offers me today is one of unspeakable grief and absolute horror.

This blood-spattered woman with her torn dress and smeared make-up seems to pay no heed to her own state.  All she can think of is the three toddlers in the rubble-filled room behind her, pierced by swords.  Though she clutches a cross, I wonder what strength she can draw from it.  The cross may have saved her life, but that just leaves her to cope with the repugnant sight of three beautiful young children slaughtered.  Maybe, though, it will help give her faith that there is some purpose in life, even in the face of such tragedy.  Certainly, she may need to hold onto something if she is to make it through to the other side of heartbreak.

Today is the day I see counselling clients, so I hope I can be the presence that helps someone through hard times.

I am grateful for each day that I can kiss and play with my son.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Embrace The Night

For this third day pulling cards from the Ludy Lescot Tarot, created by Ludy Lescot and with illustrations by Patrizio Evangelisti (Lo Scarabeo 2011) we meet the Eight of Wands.

A female figure with billowing hair and dress seems to almost fly up the stairs, as if drawn by the full moon rising above.  She leaves behind a sepulchre filled with skulls.  Is she a vampire rushing off to find sustenance at the throat of some unsuspecting human?  Or perhaps a revenant being called up by a necromancer?  In either case, someone is in a hurry to get something done.  Her dress seems to be coming apart at the seams, though, perhaps indicating that more haste equals less speed.

I'm hoping that wont' be the case for me today - I really have to get moving on my essay, even if it doesn't have to be in for another few weeks.

I am grateful to not be hard-pressed by a deadline.



Sunday, 14 August 2011

Sunday Oracle - Gods & Titans

I decided to do a quick draw with the Gods and Titans deck, full of eye candy, erm, I mean active, masculine energy ;)

What this says to me is that I might think today is going to be about having fun and partying (well, picnicking), but actually something may give me a prod so I can't just relax, but have to take charge in some way.  Even if it's simply to pick the sandwiches we'll have and where we'll go, or making sure that everyone has everything they need, I won't be able to rest on my laurels even if it is a Sunday.  Hmm, sounds like pretty much every day of being a mother...

Update: Here was I expecting a quiet Sunday, involving nothing more taxing than a picnic in the park.  In fact a reading request came in through my website.  Jizo is subtitled Support, and I certainly hope my tarot readings offers support to my clients.  So, instead of lounging around with friends, I am being prodded into work-mode, trying to get and offer some perspective (the eagle's view in Zeus' card) to answer a call for support.

Illustrations: Zeus, Dionysus and Jizo from the Gods and Titans deck by Stacey Demarco and Jimmy Manton.

Assassin or Thief?

Today's card drawn from the Ludy Lescot Tarot, illustrated by Patrizio Evangelisti and published by Lo Scarabeo, is the Page of Swords.

Standing in the shadow of a doorway, his sword half drawn, this character has all the markings of an assassin or thief waiting for his prey.  The statue behind him shows a brave or foolish person, sword at the ready, turning to look over his shoulder, and I can almost hear a voice yelling "He's behind you!" to the unsuspecting mark heading for this doorway.

A warning, then, to be on our guard.  While we may not be facing an actual thief or pickpocket, there are people who would assassinate our character through gossip, or steal our ideas.

I am meeting with old University friends for a picnic lunch, perhaps today the message is to myself: don't be tempted into idle gossip.

I am grateful to be surrounded by many kind, supportive, trustworthy people.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Weekend 3 Carder - Finding My Vision

Infinite Visions Tarot: 9 of Cups, 5 of Cups, 7 of Swords
After the relative success of my first unstructured reading, I decided to try another one for the weekend.  This time I used the beautiful Infinite Visions Tarot.  It's a great deck for this sort of reading because it is completely borderless, as well as being RWS-based but with lots of individual personality.

The cards I dealt are shown above.  I looked first to the central card - the Five of Cups.  This person looks exhausted, or maybe just washed up.  Certainly, that is part of how I'm feeling, though tiredness seems to be a constant in my life with BB sleeping so poorly for the last three and a half years.  Still, I notice the beautiful waters behind him that could help wash away his cares, and the rays of sunlight and bright line of yellow that are breaking through the dark clouds.  This feels very hopeful, that there is change afoot. 

Where might this change come from?  Our central figure, if he chose to look up, would see the vision that is being presented to the old man in the Nine of Cups.  Genie-esque, she speaks to me of hope.  If I decide what it is I really want and then wish for that, perhaps she will be the muse to help me achieve it. 

To his other side, the man in the Seven of Swords has taken one sword from a pile and is heading out the door.  He looks towards the central figure, and Seven's sword looks like it could give Five a prod in passing :D big grin  

Although many people associate the Seven of Swords with deceit, I have often thought about it in terms of gathering ideas from a number of sources and seeing which ones you want to use.  I guess in some ways the difference could be seen as that between plagiarism and referencing your sources.  Here, the figure has chosen just one sword, and now is going to use it - a suggestion to find the central idea I need and move ahead with it?  I notice, too, the waning moon in the sky above him.  The moon speaks to me of letting go, something which the Five of Cups so often suggests implicitly.  And the figure in the Seven has chosen his sword and is moving out towards that waning moon - willing to leave behind the rest and move on. 

Another aspect of this Seven of Swords is the beautiful goddess figure/fox face to the right of the man on the wall beside the doorway (you may need to expand your image to make this out).  That duality between asking for assistance or being cunning, highlighted again in this symbol.  If seen as a female figure, her pose echoes that of the muse in the Nine of Cups.  Both have arms upraised - the suggestion being that we must ask if we wish to receive something, in this case inspiration.

Today, I have been working on my essay, and I feel that I have finally found my direction with it (having changed the title three times, so far!)  Deciding what exactly it is I want to express has helped me find my Nine of Cups muse, as well as the clarity of direction and focus that the Seven of Swords implies here.  I have had to let go of several sources I had thought to use, because they don't fit with where the essay is going now.  So, I feel this draw expresses well where I have been (a bit despondent and tired, feeling directionless and rather washed up), and the fact that I have it in my power to change this by connecting emotionally with what I really want to say, gathering appropriate information and letting go of what isn't useful.  And most importantly, actually getting on with writing it...  Now which card would best represent that?

Foul Lucre

This week I'll be drawing my daily cards from the Ludy Lescot Tarot, by Ludy Lescot, illustrated by Patrizio Evangelisti, and published by Lo Scarabeo.

For this first day, the card I received is the Four of Pentacles. This rather suspicious-looking character pours four coins from one hand to the other while he stands in a wooded grove with a treasure chest behind him. Crows crowd the branches above him, the only witnesses to whatever shady meeting he has planned.

Questions this card raises for me are less about how you look after your resources or whether you should hold so tight to them. Instead, it makes me wonder how he gained his treasure, and what he plans to spend it on?

I am grateful not to have to deal with business people on a day-to-day basis.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Interview with Ludy Lescot

Having only recently acquired this rather dark deck, I decided I should probably get to know my new housemate a little better.  The Ludy Lescot is described as being a deck created by Ludy after her experiences in New Orleans.  I guess it is the aspect of voodoo that leads to this somewhat gothic deck, with plenty of vampires in evidence.

I assume, for no better reason than that it makes sense to me, that the woman depicted on all the Aces is Ludy.  Certainly, when she sauntered in, she matched that image.  I wasn't sure what Ludy would drink - something like Pimm's (closest thing I can think of to a New Orleans-style long drink), or gin or iced tea? 

"I (she has a delightful drawl, so this sounds like an elongated "a" as in "amtrak") don't take alcohol.  Interferes with the psychic abilities, you know?"

So, we settle down with some iced tea, and I make a start on my questions from the New Deck Interview Spread propagated by Fire Raven on Aeclectic.

What is your most important characteristic?  King of Pentacles

"Well, darlin'" she drawls, "I'm surprisingly grounded.  Pretty stable and wise, too, I guess, given what I've been through.  And I'm all woman, so there's a touch of sensuality thrown in for good measure.  Sex is something we're all interested in, and I don't see why you can't mix in a bit of eye candy to keep the interest alive.  Don't get me wrong, though, I like things to be ordered and organised - if that's all taken care of then the intuition can flow by itself, you know.  "


Not exactly the answer I was expecting, but a woman after my own heart in many ways.


What are your strengths?  Knight of Cups

"I say things in a pleasant way, and I don't just talk the talk, I also walk the walk.  I'm willing to go to the places I talk about, and I'm not scared of emotion.  You come to me anytime you need help accessing your intuition."

"That sounds like you've experienced a lot yourself?"


"I most certainly have, my dear.  Love and fear, pain and pleasure, it's all part of the tapestry of life."

What are your limitations?  Eight of Cups

"I have to admit, I'm not always good at knowing when to walk away.  I focus on what needs doing, and I may get a bit emotionally involved.  Then, when it's time to let go, I may need a push.  Of course, life is normally willing to oblige, or else you find a friend to give you a helping hand."

"I think I know what you mean - either a Tower moment comes, or else you get support from family or friends."

"Well, I don't have family, but yes, friends - they're the family you create for yourself, darlin', keep them close."

Sage advice, I think, though family do matter to me, too.

 

What can you teach me?  Ten of Cups

"I can teach you how to nourish your inner child, honey, and that helps your relationships flourish.  I know about anger and fear and pain, so I can help you get over them, or at least bear them.  I can mirror your thoughts and feelings to help you recognise them more quickly and easily.  And sometimes I might also suggest ways to modulate them, so they don't overwhelm you or anyone else."

"Those sound like good lessons to learn, and it feels like you bring a certain mothering quality to the relationship."

"Perhaps.  I see it more as being a midwife, I don't actually bear the child, I just help you find how to do it for yourself."

"That sounds very empowering."  I'm impressed.

"Well, we women need to learn to be strong, I certainly did.  You can't let your emotions get in the way, whether you're facing a vampire or just a bully."

"Are you talking about real vampires or emotional vampires?"

"Take it how you like, darlin', it's all the same to me.  I know what I know, is all I'm sayin'."

I'll have to take that with a pinch of salt, but I do like how she thinks.

 

How can we best collaborate?  The Empress

"I work best through a creative and some might say playful approach, so that's how we should collaborate.  Although I have a lot of wisdom, I also know when not to take myself too seriously.  And I can multi-task, as any mother or midwife must."

"Yes, I certainly get multi-tasking, and I like to play: it keeps the darkest things from getting overwhelming." 

Ludy adds, "It's also true I don't like conflict, I like things to be harmonious.  It's part of my emotional make-up.  Playful is normally peaceful - it finds other ways around difficulties.  So, if we do those things together it sounds like we will both be playing to our strengths." 

"I like the sound of that.  I look forward to playing together.  One final question, Ludy."

 

What is the potential outcome of our relationship?  Two of Swords


"Well, sugar, together we can balance out different ideas to shed light on even the darkest situation.  We can find the way to make choices, to choose between passion and purity, ideas and feelings.  I'm not saying it'll always be easy, but I reckon we can manage between us."


She seems so down to earth, despite the vampires and the challenges.  It may be a bit tricky to work with her for my daily gratitude practice, I see her being better suited to more emotional questions.  Still, I'll give it a go ;) winking

Defenses

The last card I'll be drawing this week from the Tarot of the Renaissance, by Pietro Alligo and Giorgio Trevisan (Lo Scarabeo), is the Tower.

What a way to end the week!  Hmm, this card, in one form or another, has been coming up a fair bit lately...

Anyhow, I notice that this Tower looks very solid and square, yet while not yet crumbling entirely there is a huge crack running down one side.  I also see that one of the two figures falling from the tower was wearing a metal helmet - clearly a sentry or some such.  This makes me think that, when we receive a huge shock, the first thing to fall is our defenses.  Then, although we still seem to be functioning, we may notice that a certain instability has entered our sense of the world.  We may be able to shore this up, to repair it in time, or we may have to rethink everything and start over.  Only time will tell.

Finally, my eye is drawn down to the small door at the base of the Tower.   An escape route, perhaps?  When our lives are shaken, we can also just choose to walk away from the wreckage.  Which course is the harder?  Which course should we take?  I don't think there's a right answer...

I am grateful for the moments of calm before the storm.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Howling

Coming towards the end of this week of draws, the Tarot of the Renaissance, published by Lo Scarabeo and illustrated and authored by Giorgio Trevisan and Pietro Alligo offers us a slightly different take on the Moon.

This card is very close to Rider Waite Smith iconography, which somehow makes the differences all the more striking.  Here, it is very clear that there is a domestic dog and a fox, both howling up at the moon.  Another change is that the path we see meanders back and forth before finally entering an enclosure with two towers, rather than passing between what seem more like watchtowers. 

This speaks to me of allowing ourselves to connect with our own wildness, yet knowing that we will have a safe haven to return to after our journey is done.

I am grateful to think that there will be a homecoming at the end of my journey.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Pledge

The King of Swords, from the Tarot of the Renaissance by Pietro Alligo and Giorgio Trevisan, published by Lo Scarabeo, is the card I drew today.

He kneels, one knee on the floor, the other bent and foot planted, holding a red flag decorated with a sword, shield and crown emblem.  In his right hand is a large sword, while a blue cape drapes his armour-clad figure.

It seems to me that this King is pledging himself to something.  To a quest for the truth, perhaps, given his emblem resembles traditional Ace of Swords iconography.  Unlike many depictions where he seems cold and judgemental, here I get the sense of a passionate dedication that leads him ever onward.  The colours are interesting.  Red is often associated with passion, and with a connection to our ancestors.  Blue is related to clear communication.  So, he might be someone able to express family truths, and who seeks truths about where he comes from.

Questions he brings up for me are: what truths do you believe in?  What knowledge do you most need right now?  What would you be willing to dedicate yourself to?  What does family mean to you?  How can you best say what needs to be said?

I am grateful to my mother for always encouraging me to ask questions and speak my truth.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Unstructured Reading

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn - The Fool4, King of Cups, 5 of Swords
I hadn't really thought about this much before - the fact that I never read in an unstructured way.  I have always preferred a "spread", even for a single card daily draw where I decide beforehand if this is about what energies I need to bring to the day, or what I should expect of the day.  The latter, being both more open and more passive, has also rarely suited me!

Why should this be?  I'm not very knowledgeable about astrology, but would like to gain more insight into it.  I recently noticed that, despite being a flighty Gemini, I have Capricorn Moon.  Perhaps this might explain why, when it comes to emotional questions and even to using my intuition, I have a preference for grounding and structure.  However, being a Gemini I do like to try out different things.  So, having recently read how Carla at Rowan Tarot approaches non-structured three card draws, I decided to challenge myself and give it a go.

I drew three cards from the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, without assigning positions to them.  What I got is the line of cards you see above - the Fool, the King of Cups and the Five of Swords.

One of the first things I noticed was the fact that the cards to either side are in darkness, while the centre card is the deep blue of emotions.  So, perhaps a question of fear and emotionality.  The Fool (the fourth in this rather non-traditional deck), is less positive than many renditions of this archetype.  She is actually looking back at the building from which she has leapt.  These cards use an innovative varnishing technique, which unfortunately doesn't scan or photograph well, so you'll just have to take my word for the fact that she has some little wings, and that she's fleeing an octopus-like monster on the roof top.  She didn't jump willingly, but is being chased by a monster associated with water and emotions.  Hmm, already a theme seems to be emerging here.

The King of Cups is deep underwater in a submarine, with a map - finding his way through the depths of emotions and unconscious thoughts, but all without getting wet.  I often associate this card with counselling - being able to navigate emotional situations, and help others do the same, without getting sucked into the feelings involved.  The Fool is leaping towards him - a need to move more towards this kind of emotional stability, unaffected by fears?

To his other side, and also in darkness, is another female figure.  She is spotlighted where she lies on the ground, injured and cowering.  Swords point menacingly at her, while her own has fallen from her hands, lying uselessly by her side.  Now that she can see, though, she may start to feel braver.  Although, once again, it isn't apparent in this scan, the spotlight is highlighted in varnish, shining down as though from the top right corner of the King of Cups card.  Illumination coming to the rescue, making sense of emotions so that words or ideas cannot do any more damage.

Drawing this all together, what I see is that I have been running away from things that scare me, emotions I haven't wanted to face, and ideas that I find difficult.  The way to manage all of this is to get a bit of emotional distance and perspective, and to decide where I want to go and find out where I am now.  This reminds me of Mary Collin's talk at the TABI Conference about visualising where you want to be, checking where you are now, and strategising how to get from here to there, with do-able action points.

In particular, I have an essay to write in the next couple of weeks.  I have been finding it very difficult to get down to.  Well, to be honest, I should be writing it now instead of blogging   Still, I hope that thinking about this will help me find a way to overcome my hesitancy.  I have been afraid of the essay because I have chosen a subject which I find a little daunting.  So, I shall bring it a bit closer to home, to make it more manageable.  Instead of trying to read a bunch of books by some very "philosophical" writers, I shall stick to ones who make more sense to me, even if they aren't as academic.

Also, I have been putting it off because other (emotional) issues took precedence - BB going into hospital, for instance.  Perhaps, too, a fear that I won't do a good job.  To top all that off, my office computer has been giving me serious trouble - it could well be the 5 of Swords character, fatally wounded (but I want to wait til September to get a new computer when the new range comes out, rather than getting one now which will be out of date in a months time!)  Also, just the fact that I haven't done it yet is getting me worried, with the deadline looming.  Plenty of fearful swords and emotional monsters here   The only way to break that mindset is to step back and actually get on with it...

Images from the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn  by Egypt Urnash, published by Lo Scarabeo.