Tuesday, 31 January 2012

How Can I Be A Better Candle?

Taken from http://www.wallpaperpimper.com/
Arwen - of Tarot By Arwen - came up with a really cool idea.  She proposed a Tarot Blog Hop, where each blogger would write a post on the same day about the same subject.  Being a blog-a-holic, I thought this was a lovely idea, and put my hand up for it (twice, actually, there'll be a completely different post on the TABI blog).

Welcome, therefore, those who have come through Carolyn's Art of Change blog, I hope you are all enjoying following these links as much as I am.

Now, what to do with this blog title?  What does it mean to be a candle, never mind a good one?  How can I answer something like that?  Well, of course, I just have to let one of my trusty decks do that for me!  And this week's deck, the Watcher Angel Tarot, with its mythos of angels who bring new ideas and knowledge and share them with humans a la Prometheus, seems a very appropriate deck for the job :)

I decided to devise a spread to look at this candle business and came up with the following:

Body of the candle - what fuels me/gives me strength? - Nine of Pentacles

What I see here are three things.  Firstly, following the image itself as well as more traditional Nine of Pentacles interpretations, I am fueled by everything I have learned and worked on over the years that has led me to being a strong and independent woman.  Secondly, the things I gather around me (all my decks, for example) act as supports, strengthening me.

Thirdly, following the keyword on this particular card, I am strengthened by everything I have inherited that has allowed me to become a strong and independent woman.  What first comes to mind is my mother, who brought me up on tales of having started to date my dad after challenging him to an arm-wrestling competition - she was never shy and had faith in her own strength, both mental and physical.  She is also a caring, nurturing person, a healer and a witch (though she doesn't generally describe herself as such).  She taught me to read coffee grounds and use a pendulum, despite being a university lecturer.  So, I inherited a blend of academic learning and esoteric enthusiasm, strength and self-confidence.  Thanks mum!

Wick of the candle - what lights me/inspires me? - Seven of Cups

What inspires me are all the possibilities that life holds.  Okay, so maybe not all of them can ever become reality.  Still, being able to see more than one way, more than one emotional perspective, more than one type of beauty, is itself a gift.

In my head I hear Alanis Morissette sing "Precious Illusions".  It reminds me that illusions can be a gift, so long as I don't fall victim to believing absolutely in the make-believe.  Instead, as suggested by this card's position in the spread, I can allow them to inspire me.

I could criticise myself for building castles in the sky, or for focusing on the impossibility of the things I imagine.  Perhaps, though, I can acknowledge that those illusions give me a glimpse of what might be, inspiring me to try, even if I sometimes fail.

Flame - how can I shine my light/how can I best serve? - Ten of Wands

Okay, so this is quite a challenging card.  If I go with traditional interpretations, I can best serve by my willingness to shoulder burdens, to take on challenges.  Looking at this image, though, my more intuitive interpretation is that I can best serve others through my own healing despite the weight of burdens.  By letting others see my weakness and vulnerability and the fact that, as suggested by the Nine of Pentacles, I still persevere and prosper.

Hmm... perhaps they aren't opposites after all: I can shine my light by continuing to shoulder responsibilities, while still being able to acknowledge my vulnerability and pain, rather than trying to hide them away.  This is quite a tough one: it's so much easier to say, "I'm fine." than admit to being weak sometimes.

Still, the first card was also a reminder that my strength comes from those around me, as well as myself.  Perhaps leaning on others from time to time is appropriate.  And it reminds me, too, that the idea that we are invulnerable and independent is also an illusion.  I might be inspired by the goal of independence, but that doesn't mean I have to live up to it all the time.  As a candle, or a human soul, being real is far better than trying to be perfect.

I give thanks for this opportunity to think about what fuels my passion, ignites my creativity, and how best I can shine.

Now, as I end, please do click through to Claire-Marie at Beauty, History Magic, and see what other takes there are on this subject :)

*By the way, if you like the card images, check out this link for a video review of the entire deck.

The Artisan

The Watcher Angel Tarot has keywords on all the Minors, and this seems especially relevant and interesting with the Court cards.

Here we have the Knight of Pentacles, a female, as is the Knight of Cups.  Her keyword is "The Artisan".   Compared to traditional associations of the Knight of Pentacles with being hard-working, grounded, but perhaps a bit boring, this emphasises the creative side of this Knight's energy.  The hard work and dedication are still there, but fuelled and directed by creativity.

Today is a day for the crafting of words - in just under six hours the Tarot Blog Hop takes off on its maiden voyage.  35 or so bloggers all writing on the same subject, and linking to one another.  It's taken a fair bit of this Knight's energy, not just in writing the posts, but in everyone figuring out how to schedule a post at the same time and link to other people's blogs.  Let's hope it all works smoothly!

I am grateful for creative energy coupled with follow-through.

Monday, 30 January 2012


In the Watcher Angel Tarot (SpiralFire Studio, 2010) all the Majors are associated with the Mythos from the Book of Enoch,.  In today's card we meet with Enoch himself, as he is carried up to heaven to meet with God.

This card is traditionally associated with forward movement, with taking charge of your life, as well as needing to balance different forces within yourself to do so.  The story of Enoch's ascension to heaven seems to run counter to this - being lifted up by an angel.  And yet, there is a reason that he was chosen for this role.  Enoch was ready to witness what he did, to play his given role.  This makes me think of the idea that, when we are ready, what we need will manifest to help us move forward.

So, what do I need today?  The sarcastic part of me answers "To get a clue" and "All the help I can get".  Perhaps, says the kinder part of my self, I need someone to show confidence in me, that I can do what I have set my mind to.  Unless you're a total narcissist, other people's opinons do matter, affecting our own.  Having someone believe in us helps us to believe in ourselves.   Today I will pledge to allow the Universe to help and support me to achieve my goals.

I am grateful for the help of Spirit.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Weekly Vlog Reading for 30th Jan

I'm really enjoying the Watcher Angel Tarot (SpiralFire Studio, 2010), and decided to do a quick video reading with it for this week.

Once again, I have used Mark Ryan and John Matthews' Pathway Spread (from the Wildwood Tarot companion book).

The reading seemed very clear to me, and matches well with the message I received from the daily card this morning: I have been very critical of myself recently, and it really doesn't help!  Hope the reading is useful for others, too...


Despite its soft-coloured artwork and angelic energy, the Watcher Angel Tarot can still speak to the harder topics in life.  Today's card is a case in point: the Ten of Swords has the keyword "Tragedy".

In the foreground, ten swords plunge into the grassy earth.  Behind them, on a lake or sea, a burning boat drifts away from the shore, a floating funeral pyre.  On a small jut of land, a caped figure stands, windswept and forlorn.

Letting go is never easy, whether it is a person, a pet, an idea or an aspect of ourselves that we must release.  However, turning every ending into a tragedy may not be the most helpful response.  Acknowledging what is ending without turning it into a drama, we can think of all that was, allow it its due time, and then turn our thoughts to pastures new.

What I'd like to release today is my craving for sweets.  Having spent nearly a year avoiding processed sugar, I have succumbed again over the last month.  There's one bit of me that says it should be okay for me to occasionally eat some biscuits, that it's no great tragedy.  Another part says that I want to be in control of whether or not I eat sweets, and at the moment it doesn't feel that way.  Last year, what helped me was a dream.  Not being a lucid dreamer, though, I can't summon one on demand.  Perhaps I need to come up with a spell to focus my intent...

I am grateful for fruit, nature's answer to chocolate.

Saturday, 28 January 2012


This week I will be drawing from the fascinating Watcher Angel Tarot (self-published: SpiralFire Studio, 2011), which I did a video review of here.

What a lovely card to start the week!  The Two of Cups, with the keyword "Union", shows a couple with their arms about one another looking up into a sky filled with shooting stars.  They stand at the side of a lake, with young saplings springing up around them.  The man's arm is raised, as though waving to the stars, and the woman holds a golden cup, with another at the man's feet.

Beyond the traditional associations of true love, soul connection, partnership, and seeing eye to eye, there is a sense of wonder and hope to this card.  There is also a suggestion of the spiritual side to union - it makes me think of Starhawk's statement that all acts of love are sacred.

Today my Dear One is travelling an hour or so to a forest to go biking - single track.  You can check out a video of this sport here (no-one related to me, but it is one of the places my DO goes).  So, I see this card being less about romantic love and more about a union with my Higher Self.  I hope to dedicate some time today to doing a couple of readings with this deck for the Tarot Blog Hop, which will be posted on the 31st of January at 12pm UTC (the successor to Greenwich Mean Time, can't really tell the difference).

I am grateful for some time to commune with spirit.

Watcher Angel Tarot Video Review

This review is a bit longer than some of the others, as I talk quite a bit about the companion book.  It's a fascinating read, covering subjects such as angel names and attributes, the Book of Enoch, and the creative process that led to the deck itself.  In the review you can also see all 78 cards.

This is a lovely deck - I'm really enjoying its energy and artwork.  It also has a really interesting take on the Court Cards - let's see if any of them come up this week ;)  The author and deck creator is Michelle Belanger, and the talented artist is Jackie Williams.  The deck can be bought direct from the illustrator at SpiralFire Studio.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Steampunk Teaser

Before leaving Steampunk behind until April, when Barbara Moore's Steampunk Tarot is due to be released, I thought I'd post this picture.  Finally, here is the framed consolation prize print of the High Priestess that I received from the fabulously generous Barbara at the end of last year.  I think the frame does it justice, though I'm not sure the photo does :/  My Dear One and I still have to negotiate where it will hang, but doesn't she look gorgeous?

And a quick reminder, if you're a TABI Member, or if you join up between now and March, you can net yourself a copy of this fun tarot deck for more than £5 off the amazon price, and with the companion book signed by Barbara, as well as an additional surprise gift!

Family Fun

Charissa Drengsen's Steampunk Tarot offers an image of chaos and yet joy with today's card, the Ten of Cups.

There is something so fun and cheerful about this card, despite the rambunctious bedlam it portrays.  Clowns and showgirls, schoolgirls and teachers, and an eccentric aunt in love with her gramaphone; this card is a reminder that families often have patterns that feel normal to those within them, but feel totally bizarre to an outsider (even if that outsider is a member).

I notice, too, the sign above their heads - Welcome Home.  Home is not just about the place where we live, but about all the people we share our lives with in one way or another.  It reminds me that while our blood family is chosen by birth, we get to choose the family of our heart.

So, what does all of this have to do with my day?  Well, for one thing I'm translating a letter for my step-father.  When it came through, I wasn't hugely keen - three sides of customer complaints and engineering jargon!  However, he is the kindest, most caring and generous man I know.  So, I should have it finished by mid-morning :)

I am grateful for my family in all its shapes and guises.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Beakers and Bunsens

OK, so the title is a bit of a liberty, as there are no apparent Bunsen burners in this image.  Still, today's card from the Steampunk Tarot (Drengsen, 2010) hints at the scientific.

In the foreground, we see a woman's body with her head outside of the frame.  She pours a dark liquid from one silver jug into another.  Her costume is elegant if old-fashioned, yet there is a cartoony tattoo on her arm - a strange mix of old and new.  The background is marked off in grids, and there are scientific objects - a valve-like beaker and other glassware.  I like the association of scientific measuring out of ingredients, which has a very (al)chemical feel to it.  This fits well with my understanding of Temperance, where a carefully thought out balance of different elements or factors is necessary: the right mix to create the desired outcome.

Today, the mix I must get right is a balance of work, exercise, study, shopping and, if I can, editing a video I recorded yesterday.  Plus spending time with my family.  If I get the right balance, it'll feel like I've had a productive, positive day :)

I am grateful for having a varied life.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Tophat and T-Shirt

After yesterday's Queen, today we get the King of Pentacles from the Steampunk Tarot (Drengsen, 2010).

I quite like this cheerful chap's expression.  There is a certain droll challenge in his look, and a jaunty tilt to his tophat.  He holds his golden roulette wheel nonchalantly, yet at the centre of his chest.  The wallpaper behind him is opulent, very colonial.  I do wonder, though, at the fact he is wearing a t-shirt under his jacket.  Perhaps this points to this King enjoying the finer things in life, yet also prioritising his own comfort.

Today I hope to have some time for myself, after a couple of days taken up with work, study, and Big Boy being ill and having doctor's appointments.  However, I see instead the need to get some practical matters dealt with - organising some work and household matters for the coming month.  Like the King of Pentacles, I need to take charge of the day-to-day, in order to earn my roulette wheel and be able to lounge around in my t-shirt ;)

I am grateful for the ability to be organised when I need to, and for the joys of modern software that helps in the task.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Strange Queen

After yesterday, with one of the cards I most like from this deck, today Clarissa Drengsen's Steampunk Tarot ups the ante, offering me a challenge in the form of the Queen of Pentacles.

In my video review I identified this as a card I'm uncertain about.  Someone holds a mini-roulette wheel in front of the woman's eye (the hand that holds those scissor/tong things can't be hers - look at the way the hand is facing!)  Across that eye is a swathe of material with cogs on it, and the Queen has a hand to her chin, pensive.

Does she look at life through a prism of material and financial understandings?  That feels more like the King of Pentacles to me.  How about seeing what lies underneath appearances to how things tick?  That would seem to be the Page of Pentacles' purview.  Is she crafting things together from different bits and pieces to make something worthwhile for herself and her loved ones?  That would represent more of what I traditionally associate with this Queen's entrepreneurial nature.

What resonates with me today is actually the strange tongs, in a somewhat negative sense.  I am taking Big Boy to see a specialist, someone who operated on him last year.  So, an association with medical equipment and the practicalities of doctor's visits.  And I guess the nurturing side of the Queen of Pents is there, taking care of the physical needs of my child.

I am grateful for the wonders of modern medicine, that can patch up many an ill. 

Monday, 23 January 2012

Of Whips and Woods

I'm not quite sure why, but I find today's card from the Steampunk Tarot (Charissa Drengsen, 2010) incredibly powerful.  Hmm, perhaps taking a deeper look will show me why...

In this version of the Ace of Swords we see that Charissa associates the suit of Swords with whips.  It's an association that I think works well - whips are still a weapon, and one with which we can beat either ourselves or others.

Here we see a whip held high, ready to be brought down on some unsuspecting person.  It is held aloft by a hand, the only bit of colour in a cold, grey, wintery scene.  In the distance, a man walks under a bridge.  Is he walking towards us or away?  Overhead, a dark branch reaches down, intimating that we are surrounded by trees.  Yet there is clearer air in the distance.  With this whip we can get things moving, and pass into greater clarity.  There is no promise of warmth, but there is the potential for movement and opening up ideas.

That fits pretty well with my day, I guess.  Back to college for supervision.  I don't like the person I've been assigned this term.  He seems very cerebral, and insists we back up everything with theory, whereas I see counselling as being much more about emotion.  Of course, you need to understand the theories behind it all, but always take them with a pinch of salt, is what most of our tutors have said.  This guy hears a single word and asks me to justify it by naming the theorist on which I'm basing the use of that word in that context - ack!  Ah well, perhaps the intellectual rigour will do me good...

I am grateful that I don't always feel like I'm beating a dead horse.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

No Good Deed...

In this Steampunk Tarot by Charissa Drengsen, Pentacles are represented by what I take to be roulette wheels.  I think it's a great symbolic association!

I also like the decorative effect achieved in this card, where the aspect of give and take is suggested mainly by the scales and the difference in dress between the high class lady and the ragamuffin children.  A lovely touch, too, to have the lady in colour and the kids in sepia tones!

Will the lady give the children some food?  Might they, in turn, steal her rings?  As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished...  Still, I would rather think that she will feed them and give them a few coins to take back to their family, and they will thank her, bring a smile to her face, and help her out should they ever have the opportunity.

Today my Dear One and I head home after our lovely spa break.  Did we deserve it?  I think so...  Will we be grateful to the people who cared for Big Boy while we were away?  Most definitely!  And what is the greatest gift I will receive today?  Hugs from my boy!

I am grateful for time away, and even more for the reunion.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Death and the Lady

This week I will be drawing from Charissa Drengsen's Steampunk Tarot, which I reviewed earlier in the week and also used for a video reading.  It is a lovely self-published deck which first came out in 2010.  I think the photo collage aspect with old-fashioned images juxtaposed with scientific implements and strange costumes works very well for a genre that calls itself retro-futuristic and which highlights reusing and re-functioning objects of all kinds.

I have to admit, one reason why I got this deck was as a place-holder while I wait for Barbara Moore's fabulous-looking Steampunk Tarot, due out this April.  I am more of a fan of cartoon art than photo collage, and I think Barbara is a fabulous writer and tarotist, so it's high on my wishlist for this year!  For any TABI-ites reading, or anyone considering joining, there's a wonderful offer for those going in on a TABI group pre-order.  Not only do we get more than £5 off the Amazon price (that's already over half of the TABI annual membership fee!), but the companion books will be signed by Barbara, and she's promised a little something extra, too (don't you just love surprises?!)  For those outwith the UK, you'd have to pay whatever postage costs were beyond the UK postage, but it's still a bargain, and a treat!  So, if you're a member head over to the forum and search for Steampunk, and if you're not, think about joining

Anyhow, back to Charissa Drengsen's Steampunk Tarot, and for this first draw I pulled Death.  One benefit of a self-published deck is that it can be quirkier and less mainstream than if it went through a big publishing house.  That is certainly the case here, as this is a rather racy version of Death.  There is a naked, veiled woman with a skeleton standing over her, his scythe poised between her legs.  I like this, suggesting as it does the link between death, sexuality, and new beginnings...

Sexual pleasure has an aspect of death to it: we let go of our sense of self, if only for a few moments, to become one with another.  This letting go can be quite hard, it feels scary to be so vulnerable, and to lose our everyday control and notions of who we are.  And it can be so messy ;)  Yep, definitely like death.  As for the benefits, though...

This is my card for the year, and I can certainly get behind this: a need to let go of ideas about what I should be doing, and who I should be; to allow myself to just enjoy the moment, whatever it brings.  Still, those things may need to be mourned before I can move on.  As for today, we're here at a lovely spa in the English countryside.  So, what I hope to let go of are stress and other people's expectations - and a bit of nooky wouldn't go amiss!

I am grateful for some time away with my love, with no deadlines, and not even a mobile phone :o

Friday, 20 January 2012

Steampunk Tarot Reading

Here's a video reading using the Steampunk Tarot by Charissa Drengsen.  I used the Pathway Spread (devised by Mark Ryan and John Matthews) to look at the week ahead.

This deck reads beautifully, and after the fact I thought that this reading is also quite appropriate to my weekend away.  The Queen of Wands indicating a time of sensuality, the Five of Wands saying not to be argumentative with my Dear One, and the Magician saying that we can make this weekend exactly what we want it to be... ;D

I also see in it the situation of a friend of mine who has his PhD viva today: he needs to be passionate and persuasive about his subject, without getting into academic arguments with the assessors.  However, he has already done the work, and knows all the material.  As long as he focuses on that, it's in the bag!


I'm not sure I like today's card from the Oracle of Visions much. 

He reminds me of the tarot Magician, but there's something in his face and clothes that screams mountebank.  Rather than manifesting his ideas, he seems to be just for show, perhaps trying to trick us into something.  Delighting in the impossible, and pretending it's all real, I certainly wouldn't buy a used car from him.  This card reminds me to beware of things that seem too good to be true, or people who are offering something that seems amazing.

Today my Dear One and I head off for our weekend away, which we've been planning for two months.  In this there is more of traditional Magician traits - making an idea into a reality.  We're going to a spa recommended by my MIL, I hope it doesn't disappoint.

I am grateful for the joys of a plan coming to fruition.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Love Letter?

Today's card from the Oracle of Visions (Ciro Marchetti, 2011) certainly has romance going for it!

A woman in a purple, bustled dress faces left, a wax-sealed letter in one hand and a red rose in the other.  Behind her, a flock of black swans (or geese?) fly.

The juxtaposition of the  letter and rose with the woman's dark clothes and demeanour, and the birds flying off, makes me think of planning or announcing an elopement.  Although there is love and passion involved, there is also sadness at leaving something behind.  Of course, in this day and age not many people feel the need to elope, but the point is more about the things we do for love, and the price we may pay for them.  Another interpretation might be that this is a Dear John (or Jane) letter, which once again would hint at the price of love, and the choices we make.  Or, of course, it could just be telling us to expect or to send a message to someone.

Today, this card makes me think about competing loves: my Dear One and Big Boy.  Of course, they are not always in competition.  However, tomorrow my Dear One and I leave for a weekend away, without our son.  It's only the second time we've done this since he was born, and I'm a little nervous, despite leaving him with loving people who know him well.  We need a break,  and I think it generally a good idea for parents to take some time to be a couple, not just parents.  Still, I worry about how BB will feel, and whether, like a cat when their humans return from holiday, he will make his displeasure known upon our return...

I am grateful for some time to relax, unwind and be with the love of my life.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Steampunk Tarot Review

No, Barbara Moore and Aly Fell's Steampunk Tarot hasn't released several months early, more's the shame, and if anyone would like to send me a review copy... ;)

This is a video review of Charissa Drengsen's Steampunk Tarot, self-published in 2010.  Not heard of it?  It's a delightful little deck (poker card size) with photo collage images.  Go on, take a look...


I think this is one of my favourite cards in Ciro's Oracle of Visions deck!

First and foremost, I love the way a tree is growing up her spine.  I don't really see it as a tattoo, more as a symbol of her connection with the world about her.  Strong roots and reaching branches echo the muscles and veins in her body, and the trunk curves as her spine moves.  This is emphasised in the way she forms a perch for a nest with two eggs, and a beautiful bird. 

It was only on about my fourth viewing that I noticed the horse was actually a unicorn, and it took another glance before I spotted the squirrel in the tree.  I also love the little waterfall - a bit of movement that emphasises the calm stillness of the water beneath it.

For me, this card is all about our connection to nature, our ability to nurture, and the strength and clarity we gain from being in nature.  Like a cross between the Empress and the World, it is Gaia at her most wonderful.

Today I see a client who is a mother, and I hope to be able to nurture her a little, so she in turn can nurture her child.  I wonder, too, whether I can make time to go for a walk on the heath, to clear my head a little from all the craziness of life...

I am grateful for the magical calm of a walk in the woods.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Reach Out

Today's image from the Oracle of Visions (Ciro Marchetti, 2011) seems like a cross between steampunk, magic and the performing arts - three influences that all seem quite strong in this deck.

Looking at this image, the song "Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand" echoes in my head.  What kind of magical contraption is he holding to connect to his distant love?  These days we have so many means of communication at our disposal.  Do they make our messages clearer?  How close do we really feel to those who are not with us in the flesh?

I notice, too, the juggling sticks he holds, and the stars that decorate his body - an ability to shine at something we do, even if we have to balance different projects or aspects of life.  His muscular acrobats body speaks of years of practice and hard-work to achieve this mastery.

Below the magical communication device are a face mask and a flame - the soul burns brightly, with no need to hide, yet he keeps his options open - we do not always have to show all that we are to everyone.  Communication involves a willingness to be seen and heard, as well as a willingness to see and hear the other - both sides are necessary to truly connect.  

Today I don't have to rely on modern (or magical) means of communication.  We are going for tea with some friends who had a baby on the Winter Solstice - meeting my goddaughter or whatever the equivalent is if you're not Christian.  Also, another friend who has got a job in the South Pacific is back for a few days on business, and staying with them.  So, instead of relying on email, we shall see him in person, perhaps for the last time in three years (his contract time).

I am grateful for the many ways of connecting with others that are available.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Intuition and Magic

Ciro Marchetti's Oracle of Visions if full of wondrous and magical images, and today's card is no exception, offering up a vision of faeries.

Wearing a large, ornate-yet-delicate crown, with a veil, and sitting between two pillars, she has something of the High Priestess to her.  The woman watches as faeries pour forth from the lidded cup she holds open.  A combination of intuition and magic, then, an opening to the Otherworld through introspection and ritual.

How I would interpret this card would definitely depend a lot on who I was reading for.  From a suggestion to open oneself to the magic of the everyday, seeking joy in everything and looking around oneself with eyes of wonder rather than scepticism, to a suggestion of opening to psychic powers and communing with the faeries, this lady offers messages of magic available to whatever degree we allow ourselves to believe in it. 

Seeing the faeries as creatures who could gather information without people being aware of their presence also allows for the interpretation of being open to messages from our unconscious, from our intuition.  A suggestion that, if we pay attention, we will know the answers we seek about those around us.

For me, today, I think this card holds a message of paying close attention to what is going on around me, and adapting myself to fit.  It is my second class with a new supervisor/tutor, and I think his ideas are very different to mine.  Despite being of a philosophy that advocates challenging fixed ideas, I'm not sure he's willing to challenge his own preconceptions.  So, I may need to stick to what he will accept, rather than offering up alternate possibilities. 

I am grateful for the strength of my intuition, when I choose to use it.

Sunday, 15 January 2012


I find today's card from Ciro Marchetti's Oracle of Visions a little confusing.

While the person has obvious (though subtle) breasts and long hair, their chin looks like it is stubbled.  The butterflies released from a cage suggest breaking out of old ways of being, and transformation.  Is this meant to be a nod to Orlando

I notice, too, the chess set with just the Red King left on the board, checkmated.  When there is nowhere left to go, perhaps we need to think outside the box?

Finally, there is the little kitten, gazing in wonder at the yellow butterfly flitting above.  There is joy in transformation, as well as necessity.  The person, too, gazes at the butterfly, flying free.  Perhaps they do not feel that same freedom to be themselves, fully and without question.

Today is a quiet day for me, not many obvious opportunities for self-questioning and transformation.  Still, I feel like I'm in an on-going process of digesting the Tower situation on Thursday.  It's mainly in terms of questioning my beliefs again, though this time around what it means to be a mother.

I am grateful for the opportunity to transform my perceptions.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Mother Time

Ha, how funny is that?  Today, the same card that came out to play in yesterday's video blog shows her face again!  Drawing from the Oracle of Visions (Ciro Marchetti, 2011), we meet Mother Time.

To me, she feels like a cross between the inward-looking intuitive aspects of the High Priestess, and the time and wisdom aspects of the Hermit.  She reminds us to be true to ourselves, to seek spiritual knowledge.  She also reminds us that this often requires us to let go of the past, to let go of received wisdom, and to be in the moment.  She doesn't try to cling to what was, but allows time to flow, knowing that there will be beauty in each moment, magic always at our fingertips.  She may light our way sometimes, but she also tells us that only we can walk it - that each one of us has our own journey in life.  And that ultimately we must trust that we will find the path that suits us best.

One of the messages for me here is about not letting past failures stop me from acting now.  Just because I have not done something, or not done it to my satisfaction, in the past, has no bearing on what I do now.  I get to choose anew in each moment. 

I am grateful for the reminder to choose wisely in each moment of life, without regrets for the past.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Video Reading for the Week to Come

Now that I'm back to video blogging, I decided to do a reading as well as the reviews I posted earlier this week.  I don't guarantee that these readings will happen every week, but it was fun to do one again.

Starting tomorrow I will be using Ciro Marchetti's gorgeous Oracle of Visions.  So, here I draw a single card from that deck to represent the energy around the week to come...

Poking a Snake

The Universal Wirth Tarot ends on a run of Majors.

Today's card is the Hermit, though he's rather a temerarious one: I wouldn't want to go rashly poking at a snake with a stick!  He holds his light high, to better see what he's doing.  Interpreting this card as I might a dream, I take the snake to be another aspect of the Hermit.  Thus he tries to illuminate his own capacity for transformation.  Self-study, then, for the purpose of spiritual development and change.

In some instances, self-development is best aided by other people.  However, with the Hermit the suggestion is that we take time out, by ourselves, to look inward as well as possibly studying from books.

Today I need to get some work done.  After that, though, perhaps I can make the time to read a fascinating book that arrived yesterday.  I also feel the need to digest some of what came out emotionally yesterday.  Meditation seems in order...

I am grateful for the wisdom to be found in books, which I can read and process in my own time.

Thursday, 12 January 2012


Another Major from the Universal Wirth Tarot graces my screen this morning - my old friend the Tower!

Two men fall from a crumbling Tower.  Both wear Fool's motley, though one bears a crown, while the other has a peasant's hat on.  Yet gravity cares not for status, age or any other GRACES - both plummet to earth just the same.  Nothing can protect us from having our ideas challenged, our lives turned upside down, our sense of self forever altered.

Tower moments come in all shapes and sizes, from looking in the mirror one day and seeing your mother, to a car crash that leaves you wheelchair-bound.  What matters is how we respond to them, the ways we find to deal with them.  I notice, too, the grass into which the figures are falling.  So, perhaps something about how we can soften our landings.

I already have a sense of what this card is about, even though it's only 6am my time.  Today I find out something, one way or another.  In either case it'll be a bit of a shake-up, either of my plans or of my sense of self.  I try to remind myself that a shake-up is a wake-up, and doesn't have to be seen as a bad thing...

I am grateful for the chance to imagine my life being different.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Oracle of Visions Video Review

OK, so I've been feeling inspired just lately!  Here is another review, quite different to the last.  I look at the Oracle of Visions deck by Ciro Marchetti (Self Published, 2011).  As I go through all the cards quite quickly, I didn't feel it was necessary to edit in lots of extras.  Apologies for the glare on some of the cards, I hope it isn't too distracting.  Once again, let me know what you think.  Do you prefer this style, or the other one?  Or don't really mind?  This one was a lot less work... :)

Mixed Sauna

The Universal Wirth Tarot Majors, with their old-fashioned colours, nevertheless manage to bring some interesting twists to traditional archetypes.

Today's card, the Sun, is a case in point.  Instead of a boy on a horse, or two children dancing, we have a man and a woman clothed only in cloths tied around their waists.  She wears a blue cloth, colour of communication and emotion, while he wears a red cloth, colour of passion and life at its most basic level.  They stand in a circle of flowers, under a bright Sun, with sunny droplets like beads of sweat around them.  Is the Sun dripping its energy down to them, all that brightness brought into a more human, useable form?  The message I see here is about the need for balance in order to best utilize the energy at our disposal.

Today I have another busy day ahead, with lots to do, but little structure to help me do it.  Some work, some studying, some exercise, as well as my role as carer...

I am grateful for the reminder to check my priorities and balance my needs and responsibilities to make the most of my time and energy.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Goddesses and Sirens Video Review

As you can guess from this post's title, I have finally made the time to get my video camera out again.  This go-around I decided to do something a bit different (for me).  Instead of a reading, it's my first video review.  I hope you'll let me know what you think!

The review is of the Goddesses and Sirens Oracle by Stacey Demarco and Jimmy Manton (Blue Angel Publishing, 2011).

Fiery Knight

It's always nice to get a cross-section of cards from a deck, to assess it, so I'm glad that today the Universal Wirth Tarot offers us a Court card: the Knight of Wands.

This Knight is all armoured up, charging forwards with his sword in hand.  In front and above him is a ram's head, suggesting his connection with Aries.  Below him is an armoured helm at the centre of two crossed wands, with fire running around them.  It seems as though he is charging across a blue, somewhat cloudy sky.

I have to say, this image offers somewhat mixed symbolism.  While the wands, the fire and the ram all point to typical traits of this Knight, the sword and the skyscape are more suggestive of the Knight of Swords.

As with Ciro Marchetti's Legacy of the Divine Tarot, the Knights all have a helmet on their card.  Ciro says he made this choice to represent the fact that Knight energy is often rather brash - putting on a face and a role, rather than really having incorporated the suit's energy the way the more mature Queen and King have.  I rather like this take on the Knight status.

So, what I see here is the energy to be decisive, passionate and enthusiastic, perhaps beyond reason.  Charging into things on a bit of a whim, there is the danger that there won't be much follow-through.  Still, if there's a decision to be made and action to be taken then this Knight is your man, so to speak.

Yesterday was my first day back at college - I just have a two hour class once a week now.  However, I volunteered to do the first presentation to this supervision group next week, so I need to get moving on that.  Given that I also have a work project that need finishing today, I hope I can draw on this Knight's gumption to get me going.

I am grateful for a shot of energy and enthusiasm.

Monday, 9 January 2012


Another card from the Minor Arcana today shows again the very different perspective which the Universal Wirth Tarot offers us.

In this version of the Three of Wands, we have three wands arranged in a triangle, point up.  In the centre of the triangle is a caduceus, symbol of healing.  Below is the trunk of a bush, from which branches sprout, reaching out in all directions.  Above the triangle we have the head of a dog.

What I see here is a message about the power of friendship or companionship to help us both heal and grow.  Often, people in our society feel they have to be self-sufficient, to be able to take care of themselves physically and emotionally.  In reality, though, we are social creatures who need others for our well-being.  Even when we are alone, we hold conversations in our head with imagined others, or think about how others would see us.  This doesn't mean we are weak, it just acknowledges that we are all part of a web of relationships.  Without that human contact, as children our brains wouldn't develop, and as adults it is hard to stave off depression.  We need others, to be whole mentally and physically.  Denying that is one of the worst side-effects of individualism.

I am grateful for the web of support that surrounds me.  From my Dear One and Big Boy to my friends, from my parents to the people in the shops I frequent who smile and take the time to say hello, from my fellow students to the strangers I share a train carriage with.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Spiritual Rising

The Minor Arcana in the Universal Wirth Tarot are a new addition to the deck which, as with most pre-RWS decks, had unillustrated pips.  They are very unusual - quite simple yet still expressive.

Today's card is a perfect case in point.  This Seven of Wands shows the wands in two formations - a square and a triangle, stability and creativity.  Within the square, animals representative of the four main apostles or the four elements - an eagle (air), a ram (fire), a bull (earth) and a crustacean (water).  The sense I get from this is that we need a solid foundation, a good grounding in our subject, before we can get creative.  The passion and excitement of the Ace of Wands has, in this card, been shored up by hard work so that it is ready to manifest in creative ways.  This is true whether we are talking about a work project, and hobby, or spiritual seeking.

I notice, too, that the overall shape formed is like that of a house drawn by a child - a triangular roof on a square house.  That sense of being able to do something you believe in, based on solid foundations, can also feel like a home-coming, arriving at who you really are.

Today we head home.  So, a less metaphorical home-coming.  Perhaps I will feel illuminated and refreshed from this quick break...

I am grateful for a home that I love, and for feeling at home with myself.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Colourful Devil

After last week's bizarre, sci-fi/fantasy/horror deck I decided to go for something more traditional this week.  Though admittedly this is a re-imagining of a historic deck, rather than the real deal: the Universal Wirth Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2008).

And starting the week off with a bang, today's card is the Devil.  Harking back to early depictions, we see a figure with huge horns and breasts, and the suggestion of male sexual appendages covered by the devil-horned mercury symbol worn over a loincloth, and cloven hooves.  On the Devil's arms, the words "solve" and "coagula" (dissolve and coagulate, sometimes translated as separate and join together) with their alchemical implications.  At the Devil's feet, two demons or imps, brightly coloured, one male and one female.

For me, this card is a reminder that many times it is in our search to perfect ourselves that we fall into the worst binds, trapped by our own prejudices which blind us to any other option.  Or it might be to do with our inability to live up to the high standards we set ourelves.  This can lead to a downward cycle, the "well, I've messed up so I may as well give up and mess up even worse" mentality.

Today we drive back to Munich to spend the day and break up our trip home.  I wonder whether this card is about the "fall" I often feel coming off the high of being in busy social situations...

I am grateful for the reminder to beware of extremes of emotion and the unhelpful behaviours they can lead to.

Friday, 6 January 2012


OK, today's image from the Tarot of Metamorphosis is almost Dali-esque in it's surreality...

A snail woman stands at the edge of the sea, her shell decorated with the symbols traditionally found on the RWS Wheel.  The woman holds a huge daisy, and to the side and behind her are a skull and an apple.  Behind her, a ram-headed male statue has trees growing out of his shoulders.  A ship sails in the distance.

This card makes me think of a number of things.  Firstly, the fact of being on the seashore puts her in a liminal place, like the woman in the DruidCraft version of this card.  Secondly, I hear phrases or sayings that may relate to the Wheel archetype, for example: "going at a snail's pace", "the sands of time", "that ship has sailed", "gone but not forgotten", and "hope springs eternal".  I guess it's not the phrases so much as their juxtaposition that hints at the changeability of the Wheel.  Thirdly, there's the comparison of the live female and the dead (or is he?) statue, and then the phrase "this too shall pass" pops into my head.  A very chatty card, somehow...

Today, we celebrate the Wheel turning for my step-grandmother.  Another year of her life, another chance to celebrate and be with family, and what does the year ahead hold?  I'm very conscious of the different places that we are all at in our lives.  I am the eldest of my cousins, and with the eldest child, though the other great-grandkids followed along in quick succession.  Of six cousins, four of us have kids, and the other two are still at school/studying.  Well, two of us with kids are also studying, go figure...  I'm not sure I can put my sense of the ebb and flow of life into words, but it is interesting to try to feel it, especially when surrounded by these like-and-yet-different others.

I am grateful for occasions that help mark life's patterns, and allow family to come together.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Transforming Teamwork

I’m not quite sure what to make of today’s card from the Tarot of Metamorphosis

In traditional Six of Wands cards we see someone being feted for their success.  The fact that there is generally a group around them is often taken as indicating that team work is needed, and should perhaps be appreciated, rather than just basking in the joy of individual achievement.  I guess there is a touch of that here in the fact of two figures back-to-back - acting as mutual support in the creation of something bigger than either of them alone.  I notice the strange butterfly figure in the water below them, too, speaking of transformation and perhaps of being inspired by larger-than-life figures.

Today will certainly require teamwork from us - we're going on a family trip to visit relatives in Germany.  Tomorrow, my step-grandmother celebrates her birthday, and there'll be 40 or so people there.  For today, though, what it means is a flight to Germany and then a two-and-a-half hour drive.  Not the most fun at the best of times, and travelling with a four year old who doesn't like flying and is prone to tantrums definitely doesn't count as the best of times.  Still, I've been preparing for several days, and hopefully have all we need to keep him cheerful and distracted.  My Dear One plays his part, managing the heavy lifting, and the actual packing of the suitcase, after I decide what to take.  He used to be a Boy Scout, and is adept at fitting things in.  As for Big Boy, his role is as team motivator, I guess ;)  And once we're there, various family members will hopefully help out with keeping him amused while we unpack and prepare everything...

I am grateful for all the help I can get.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Balancing Worlds

Back to sci-fi today with the Tarot of Metamorphosis.

A metallic gargoyle figure looks out over a strange pagoda, while in the sky beyond two moons or planets float low to the horizon, one pink, one turquoise.  Despite the unusual imagery, I still see the message of balance coming through strongly here.  Balancing nature and machine, large and small, masculine and feminine, beauty and horror.  Seeing the winged, taloned figure gazing down from his perch makes me think of the view he would have from up there.  It must be easier to balance different things if you can get an overview of the situation... 

There's also something awe-inspiring about the two moons - their beauty and size, and the idea of something so alien.

Today I am juggling work and preparing for a trip tomorrow, as well as exercise (not a question of discipline, it keeps me sane) and caring for Big Boy.  I could do with some of the perspective the main figure seems to have: to assess what should be done when for best effect.  I'll try to keep in mind that I love all these different things, even while I may struggle to manage them all.  And at least my Dear One is still on holiday, and so can help, as we also have to have the electricity company in (turns out our metere has melted and is a safety hazard).

I am grateful for an extra pair of hands around the house.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Waspish Page

Hmm, maybe there's also a bit of the horror genre in this deck.  Certainly, today's card from the Tarot of Metamorphosis gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Like a weird cross between Mary Poppins and some horror movie (can't think of the name, I don't tend to watch them, but I'm sure there was one like this), this Page of Swords takes flight, dissolving into his constituent wasp parts.  There is certainly a sting in the tail of this Page, and I can imagine his comments being sharp - lots of small, pointed quips that hurt. 

On the up-side, I guess he doesn't see truth as a single thing, being open to numerous perspectives.  Also, he allows his ideas to raise him up, taking flight on a whim and a dream.

Today it's back to work for me, both seeing clients and reading for my dissertation.  However, this Page's umbrella makes me think of a novel that should arrive later today that I'd love to get stuck into.  Recommended by Barbara Moore last summer, it looks fun - Soulless: The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger.  Definitely one I could get transported by :)

I am grateful for the wealth of ideas and books in the world.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Generation Cyborg

Today, the Tarot of Metamorphosis shows its Sci-Fi side...

I don't see much of the apprentice in this card, though I guess the aspect of working hard could be seen in having to follow so many different perspectives at once.  I notice, though, that his "face" is blank - information overload?

This cyborg fellow with his old-fashioned computer monitor head and strange long-limbed body also makes me think of how people are attached to machines.  Watching an episode of the first season of Two and a Half Men two nights ago, Alan and Judith were trying to organise their calendars - PDA's which in this day and age would be half the size with a hundred times the functionality.  We get so used to seeing people everywhere gazing at their smartphones, it seems bizarre to think back to the early '80's when the Filofax was the accessory of the year!

Today is Big Boy's fourth birthday, and he is definitely of the generation that uses technology as naturally as breathing.  He loves "his" iPad, and the software we have on it just for him.  Makes me wonder in what other ways his experience will be different to mine, growing up in this far more technological era.  Still, we read him books often enough that they won't seem a foreign territory to him, even if in the future he does read them on a Kindle (or on his iPad) rather than on paper.

I am grateful for four years of learning and growing with my beautiful son.

Sunday, 1 January 2012


Happy 2012 everyone!  On this New Year's Day, the bizarre Tarot of Metamorphosis (Lo Scarabeo, 2005) offers us a rather eery version of the 7 of Swords.

Thinking of traditional notions of trickery or deception, I notice one "person" hidden in the foliage at the centre of the card, and possibly another hidden behind the tree creature.  So, ideas of camouflage, and hiding in plain sight.  There also seems to be an all-seeing eye at the bottom of the card.  Makes me wonder, in a given situation, who sees what...

I also notice that the tree person is sustained by branches that act like veins and arteries, with no obvious bones.  This suggests we think about what sustains us and what holds us up or holds us together.

There are certainly some things I tend to hide from others.  Today, though, the friend I have known for longest - since I was 4 years old - is coming to visit.  She isn't someone I feel the need to hide much from, and she definitely counts among those I feel helps sustain me, with her sense of humour and her sound advice, and her willingness to listen and share.  We shall do some New Year's readings together and chat and laugh - perfect!

I am grateful that not all old acquaintances are forgotten.