Wednesday, 29 February 2012

My Life As A Vampire - 2nd Bite

I really enjoyed the Vampire spread I used last week - the My Life As A Vampire Spread by Glass Owl (Aeclectic).  So, I thought I'd give it another go, but with a non-vampire deck.  What kind of vampire would the Tarot of the Mystic Spiral (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) be, I wonder?

As a vampire:

1. What would I be like? 7 of Wands

I would, in my hunger, be a grasping, rapacious, scary beast that would attack from the shadows.  I would revel in the smell of fear on my prey, and in hearing their screams.  In a more everyday context, I would also suck people into my world, whether against their will or not.  They might enjoy the depths opened up to them...

2. What aspect of my human personality or makeup would be magnified?  The Fool

My spontaneity, foolheardiness, and risk-taking would be magnified.  After all, why not leap when you know you won't die?  I would roam the world, always alive to the possibilities of my undead existence.  I think my sense of humour would be magnified, it's definitely on the dark side already.  Still, I would try to keep a sense of hope, too, and follow my star wherever it took me, be it ever so strange.

3. What would I struggle with or fear the most? 5 of Cups

I would struggle with the unendingness of it!  I think there would be sadness for those who died while I lived - having to learn to let go all the time.  And it's not just people I would have to let go of.  Fashions change, technology progresses, it's a whole worldview that I cannot get stuck in if I hope to survive.  Think about old people, harking back to the good old days.  If I live forever young, I must stay forever focused on the present, or I will become so anachronistic I cannot survive.

4. What would I strive to live for or accomplish? What would motivate me to keep going?  The Tower

As I just said, I would strive not to become rigid and fixed, to keep growing and allow change into my life.  I would also be motivated by a desire to destroy rigid dogma, to keep things fresh.  I am not an entirely traditional deck, and I think it important to challenge ideas and habits, whether my own or other people's.  So, too, I might not be a traditional vampire, questioning the ways the hierarchy demands things be done.

5. What would I excel at or embrace?  3 of Pentacles

Following on from the last two cards, I would excel at moving with the times: keeping up with new technology, and new ways of communicating.   I would remain creative and novel, using modern technology as a way of expressing myself.  I would also focus on teamwork: as I cannot go out in daylight, I would need to gather others around me who can do what I cannot.  And sometimes the two things would combine - communicating with my team via texts and emails, or whatever options technology brings in the future.

6. What part of my humanity would I try to cling to?  5 of Wands

I would try to cling to my perseverance and my noting of and enjoying the little things in life.  It would be hard for me, no longer being able to bask in the sun, to daydream by the side of a stream, to watch the cavorting of new lambs.  Still, I would take my pleasures where I found them, in the amazing patterns of a spider's web, the music of the wind in the trees.  I think I would find it hard to let go of my connections with others, too.  Even though most of them will die, there's a part of me that would regret that loss of bonds, of camaraderie, of mutual support. 

Once again, this was an interesting exercise.  I was struck by the consistency, especially of cards 3, 4 and 5.  As to which famous vampire this could be, I think I'll go with Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series.  Although the books are set in Victorian times, this is how I imagine he might respond in the present day.  Some of that is backed up by Carriger's own blog where she has a series of questions to Lord Akeldama (see the link above).

What do you think, any particular vampire you see in this deck's future?  You might also enjoy giving the spread a go to look at your own shadow - Lisa at Tarotize did, to great effect!

Fiery Zealot

Rather less full of fire and energy than many, today the Knight of Wands from the Vampire's Tarot of the Eternal Night (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) comes riding onto our screens.

Although not charging head-long into anything, his eyes glow a fiery red inside his dark hood, and he doesn't seem static as he sits astride his steed.  Behind him, a full moon gleams in a cloudy sky, and mist swirls around him.  He holds the reins to his horse calmly, riding with confidence.

I like the symbols Lo Scarabeo used on this deck to denote the different Court positions.  Kings and Queens have stylised busts, Pages have bats, and the Knights have roaring lions.  These certainly express the dynamic, proud energy of the Knights.

This card speaks to me of a powerful drive to push forward: those glowing eyes in particular seem to show his intent and focus, ready to burn holes in anyone who gets in his way.  And perhaps he needs that intensity to ride so calmly through a stormy, misty night.  He feels like a warrior guarding some mystery, riding the perimeter with eyes peeled for any threat to what he protects, ever vigilant.  He also has the look of a zealot, willing to do whatever it takes for the cause he believes in.

Today I shall be aware of any tendency to rush into things, enthusiastic but perhaps overzealous.  Spontaneity and creativity are good, but it's also important to act responsibly and think of others.


I am grateful for feeling energetic and impassioned.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Romeo & Juliet

There's a real Romeo and Juliet feel to today's card from the Vampire's Tarot of the Eternal Night (Lo Scarabeo, 2009).

Lying in one another's arms - face to face, lips touching, yet both as cold as the grave - these Lovers speak of choices.  At some point, each chose the (after)life of a vampire.  Perhaps one chose it because of the other.  So, this raises the question of why we make the choices we do, whether they bring us closer to our higher self, whether we choose from love or some other emotion, how rational our choices are, and whether we accept that there may be unforeseen consequences.

Today I face some choices around how to communicate with those around me, particularly my Dear One.  I hope my choices bring us closer together.


I am grateful to have a strong relationship that can stand a little challenge.

Monday, 27 February 2012

New Samadhi Blog

I have decided to start a yoga blog, where I plan to write about yoga, meditation, chanting and such like.  I will post inspirational comments, as well as reviews of classes, DVD's and books, and anything else yoga-themed that comes to mind.  I probably won't post more than a couple of times a week, but I'll see how it goes.  If you're interested, you can find it at samadhicenter.blogspot.com :)

Solitary Predator

Another extremely creepy figure from the Vampire's Tarot of the Eternal Night (Lo Scarabeo, 2009).

This image is very different to the traditional Nine of Pentacles card.  Instead of a woman in a garden, surrounded by beauty and luxury, we have a creepy, bald, sharp-earred figure inside a tomb, and a ghost-like woman in white floating around outside in the cemetery.  The sense I get is that the woman is being called to the vampire, and she is his garden, so to speak: the abundance which he has invested his time and skills in cultivating, allowing him a sense of well-being.  Still, when I think of some traditional Nine of Pentacles keywords, such as independent and solitary, they both fit and seem strange.  The vampire is solitary, yet needs others for sustenance, independent of the daylight world, yet tightly bound to it.

As for me, today I hope that the work I did last week will allow me to coast a bit.  I finished my essay well within deadline, and just need to print it out and hand it in.  Which is just as well, as my weekend away wasn't very restful, though a lot of fun ;)

I am grateful to be able to relax a bit.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Stone Effigy

Another Four, but this time a far more peaceful one, from the Vampire's Tarot of the Eternal Night (Lo Scarabeo, 2009).

Still, unlike the Knight holding vigil that we see in the RWS Four of Swords, here we have an actual tombstone effigy.  However, in a Vampire deck, dead doesn't necessarily mean dead!  Resting up during the day in his stone tomb, will the occupant rise at night to continue on his existence?

There's a fair bit of debate in the literature as to whether vampires feel a desire to sleep and do so during the day due to the travails of sunlight, or are literally dead to the world during the day.  Either way, a bit of time out is a necessity, and not just for the undead.

I take this card two ways, today.  Firstly, to be grateful that I have had this short break from home, with some of my dearest friends.  Spending time meditating, chatting, reading cards, eating, crying, laughing and practising yoga has definitely been nourishing at a soul level.  Secondly, there is also the message that getting home again and cuddling my Dear One and Big Boy before starting another work week also feels like a good idea round about now :)


I am grateful for the different ways I can recharge my batteries.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Holding Tight

This week I will be drawing from the Vampire's Tarot of the Eternal Night (Lo Scarabeo, 2009).  With artwork by Davide Corsi and a companion book by Barbara Moore, this is a distinctly dark and creepy deck, yet with a lot of depth.

The first card to show its face is the Four of Pentacles.  The creepy guy with soulless eyes is a warning of what can become of us if we focus too much on clinging to the material.  I notice the way one elbow of his coat is ripped - he holds so tightly to his pentacle that he has no energy to notice such things.   He sits on a throne, yet looks deeply uncomfortable.  Material possessions will not keep us warm at night, and closing our hearts to others leads only to a cold and empty life.

Of course, this is the darkest reading of the card.  Perhaps he holds onto that pentacle precisely because his coat is ripped - he needs to watch his finances carefully in a time of hardship.  One of the things I like about the companion book is that it gives a dark and light interpretation for every card, and an additional human interpretation for the Majors - three different perspectives to ponder.

As for me, today I think this speaks to my need to husband my physical resources - most notably sleep.  When I'm with the girls we tend to stay up til all hours chatting, but I still wake up early.  So, I need to make sure I get enough sleep, otherwise I'll get home more exhausted than when I left.  Big Boy has been getting up before 5am every morning for the last two weeks, so I should make the most of not having to get up with him!


I am grateful for an uninterrupted night's sleep.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Weekly Vlog Reading for 25th Feb

Here's my weekly video reading, this time with the Vampire's Tarot of the Eternal Night (Lo Scarabeo, 2009).  I think the Queen of Wands energy was already present for me - I'm perhaps a little more effusive than normal.  May have gone overboard with the sparkles, too.  Hope it's still a useful and interesting reading :)

Involvement and Pertinence

For this last draw with the Tokens of Light, a strange image.  How to make sense of it in the light of the keywords?

What I see is a man wrapping a sleeping figure up in ribbons, while a woman behind the sleeper seems both connected to him and yet also with her focus elsewhere.  I notice, too, the three balls of light floating around them.  One feeling I get from the card is that we should pay attention to our dreams: that they have something to tell us about our current situation or emotions; that they are pertinent to what is going on for us, even when they seem strange and disjointed.

Looking at the three people, each is involved with the others, and yet seems to be caught up in their own little world.  Perhaps a message about noticing where our focus is, and being present in our lives.  The booklet talks about family relations, and certainly we are often connected and yet disconnected with our family.

As for me, I'm off for a girly weekend, with friends I haven't seen since last June, and then only for an evening.  Yet, like the people here, my attention may be a little divided: thinking of my Dear One and Big Boy back home.

I am grateful for time spent with friends.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Chanting

I mentioned in another post the idea of chanting as a meditation. Some people consider this a form of Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion. However, it can also be seen in a more practical light.

Some people claim that chanting has health and spiritual benefits due to the vibrations it sets up in the body and brain. Even if that isn't the case, chanting can be a positive form of meditation. It has similarities to breath meditations, as the act of chanting requires us to focus on our breath, which we hear as sound and feel as vibration, as well as through the movements of our lips, tongue and vocal chords. The repetition of a chant sets up a structure to occupy our monkey mind, so that it doesn't have as much chance to drag us off in different directions.

Certainly, if you've tried meditating but find it hard to concentrate or to follow visualisations, it might be worth giving chanting a go. And if you enjoy other types of meditation and like singing, it could be one to add to your repertoire. You don't have to "be able to sing" in order to chant, many chants are more like speaking while staying aware of your breath. The only thing you do need is a time and place where you won't feel self-conscious if someone hears you ;)

To get you going here are a selection of chants, some more musical, some more spoken. To start, you can chant along.
Deva Premal - Gayatri Mantra
Om mani padme hum
Jai Uttal - Durga Pahimam
Donna De Lory - He Ma Durga
Krishna Das

Later, you may find you like to pick a chant and go for it. It's not about sounding great, or even being loud. You can experiment with almost whispering, or seeing how much your chest or head can resonate. The main thing is for your focus to be on your breath and the chant. If you give it a go, I'd love to hear your experience!

Radiating Light

Today's card from the Tokens of Light is titled: "Radiating light on the surroundings".

The man wears a golden shirt, with a blue cape and a pale green hat.  I like his intent yet gentle gaze forward at what he is interacting with.  In his hand is a hose with a tap on the end.  I have to say, I see him more as watering the world than radiating it with light.  Still, both are nurturing, growthful activities.  And his golden shirt shines, symbolising enlightenment.  Perhaps his hand on the tap transfers that light into the water, so that the water is doubley nourishing.

Supervision on Monday and working on my essay yesterday have raised some quite challenging thoughts and emotions for me.  I hope that I can explore them in therapy today.  That may not illuminate my surroundings, but just clarifying things for myself sounds like a pretty good goal for the day.

I am grateful for the opportunity to question old habits and allow new ideas into my life.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

My Life As A Vampire

My Life As A Vampire Spread (6) by Glass O
Recently, someone on the TABI forum posted a spread, originally seen on Aeclectic.  It was suggested as a creative writing exercise, but I thought it would be an interesting way to get to know a deck - a bit different from a regular "interview".  Given that it's about being a vampire, I decided to use the Vampire's Tarot of the Eternal Night (Lo Scarabeo, 2009).  This is also a chance for me to get my Barbara Moore fix in the run-up to the publication of her Steampunk Tarot :)  The spread looks like this:

As a vampire: 
1. What would I be like?  Six of Swords

I am cold and lonely, always on the move, unable to enjoy a home and family.  Driven by my hunger, yet resisting because of the fear of harming others and turning into a monster, I never stay anywhere too long.  And when I travel, I do so by means that don't put me in close contact with others - there's too much temptation stuck on an airplane with the sweet scent of blood and the pounding of fearful hearts!

2. What aspect of my human personality or makeup would be magnified?  Queen of Swords

My rationality, and clarity of vision are magnified.  So, too, my empathy, which might be another reason for me to feel so lonely.  If I drink from those who are still human I feel guilty, yet the hunger never leaves me.  I can rationalise it all I like, but eventually I must eat.  I use that rationality to find other ways to slake my thirst, and to calm the raging hunger when I am hurt or in pain so that I don't turn on anyone.

3. What would I struggle with or fear the most?  Ace of Wands

What I fear most is creating more creatures like myself.  I deny my creativity, not wanting to inflict this curse on others.  Yet, I am also filled with passion and desire.  And others desire my touch, and even my curse.  It's hard to deny my desires and theirs, yet the price is so high...

4. What would I strive to live for or accomplish? What would motivate me to keep going?  Seven of Swords

I would strive to bring justice to the world - taking from those who have too much, or who abuse their power, to give to those in need.  My desire to do right by people would motivate me to keep going, even if sometimes I had to do what others define as wrong in order to fulfill what I see as good.  If I steal, it is because the one who holds that object is misusing it or stole it before me, and I simply return it to its rightful owner.


5. What would I excel at or embrace?  Five of Swords

I embrace the chance to help others who are in pain and suffering.  Harking back to the first card, I probably won't be able to stay with them long term, but I help them, and then go on my way...  I defend those too weak to protect themselves, and lend a helping hand to those in need.  If you have been bested by someone who abuses their power, I will right the wrong.

6. What part of my humanity would I try to cling to?  King of Pentacles

I try to cling to my ability to provide for others.  I am a natural leader, and so a group of fellow outcasts flock to me.  I keep order amongst them, and look to the practicalities of our new life.  I also continue to feel the pull of bodily pleasures, and as they allow me to be close to humans, if only for a night...

This proved to be quite an interesting exercise.  I noticed a distinct personality emerging from it, and thought about which famous vampire this would best suit.  My choice, for this deck, is Angel, from Buffy and Angel.  What do you think?  You might like to try this reading for yourself, or a deck, and see which vampire you or it resembles...

Spiritual Knowledge

Today's Token of Light from Orna Ben-Shoshan is titled: "Making a living with spiritual knowledge."

At first, I will admit I was a little non-plussed by the image.  What does a guy on a roof with weird growths coming out of his head and a stick he's waving amongst red ribbons have to do with the title?  However, the more I sank into the image, the more sense it made to me. 

He is dressed in the white of spiritual purity, the colour of all other colours combined in light.  The red ribbons form a sort of globe, like the foundations of a new world he is creating by directing his will through the wand in his hand.  And he sits on a roof, so with an entire house supporting him.  Whether seeing the house as a symbol of the self, as Jung did, or as a sign of prosperity, both play into the idea of abundance or wholeness.

Orna attributes this Token to the hebrew letter Zayin, associated with the element of air, and with the Lovers card in tarot.  Here, then, it is about the choices we make, and being able to choose something that is both spiritual and materially rewarding.  Whether this card recommends that you try to get advice from such a person, or become one yourself, will depend on the context. 

Orna says that: "This aspect of the letter Zayin also indicates the need to dedicate a regular time each day to practice meditation and spirituality in a peaceful and nice place that will reload your energies."  Always good advice, and something I'm trying to do.

Today, my focus is definitely on these ideas, as I try to complete my essay for this term of my counselling course.  I will need to attain my Masters if I hope to make a living at this.  I have also been meditating and chanting more regularly, and will try to post about that soon :)

I am grateful for the possibility of focusing on a spiritually fulfilling career.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Healing and Repair

Today's card from the Tokens of Light is the follow-on from yesterday's card.  So, it is the third aspect of the hebrew letter Yod, associated with the Tower in tarot, and with the keywords healing and repair. 

I really like these two strange figures ministering to mini-cows.  Their clothes are the red of security, the yellow of dealing with emotions and seeking enlightenment, with a little heartfelt, growthful green thrown in for good measure.  Their glasses are purple, for wisdom - they see beyond the apparent.  The cows, although the size of toys, seem very animated, the central one lifting it's head as though to snuggle against the hand of the man tending it.

The message I see here is to accept assistance offered, and to take time to heal and repair, be that the body, mind or soul.  There is also something about the joy of helping others, and the benefits we gain from lending our assistance.  This can be in terms of feeling good about ourselves,  receiving recognition from others, and learning something in the process.  A reminder that, when someone helps another, both parties receive something of value.

Certainly I hope that will be the case today, as I see one new counselling client and one I've already seen for a month.  I wonder what I will learn from them...


I am grateful for the gift of healing in all its forms.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Unsticking Things

Following on from this morning's Card of the Day, I decided to take a look at what I can do to help the situation with my presentation and my supervisor this afternoon.  I used the Pathway Spread (Mark Ryan and John Matthews) abbreviated a la Lisa (Tarotize) and used the Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011).
  
Situation: Eight of Swords

It's interesting, I've had this card come up a few times in my personal readings, and have either interpreted the image literally - being laid up in bed/ill - or a bit more metaphorically - trapped in feverish thoughts.  This time, though, perhaps given the "counselling" context, I saw it as saying it's a situation where any difficulties come from the people involved not having taken care of their inner child, and needing to do so.  Perhaps both my supervisor and I have been reacting to one another from a place of childish pain.  So, I have to consciously act from an adult perspective, not taking things personally and not reacting hastily.

Action to avoid: XVIII - The Moon

This card says I shouldn't turn my back on the situation, and especially that I should avoid interpreting things in a shadowy way.  I need to stop letting my imagination, or my fears, get in the way of seeing what's really going on.  I also see something here about not trying to just make nice, I have to actually do the work - as shown by the next card.

Action to take: 10 of Wands

Huh, don't like this card much :/  I guess it's saying that I'd better be prepared to put work into this presentation.  I've already spent about 4 hours preparing for it, but I won't be able to coast the two hours today, either.  However, it does suggest that the end is in sight (thank goodness), but I do have this last steep incline to put behind me, first.  I have to admit, this chimes well with what I am expecting - I know that this presentation shows an area where I am weak.  So, I need to be willing to admit that, and to work on it, and to take on board what my supervisor says in this regard, but in a mature way.  Doesn't sound like much fun, but it's only two hours, right?

Blossom

Another surreal image from the Tokens of Light by Orna Ben-Shoshan!

A huge flower blossoms, raising its head high.  Under one bud is a little man with a golden hat and a blue top.  And above it all, a curtain pelmet suggests raising the curtain on a performance, looking out of place against the blue sky brushed with wisps of fine cloud.

The keywords for this token are fertility, openings and blossom.  It is the second token associated with Peh, elementally related to Earth, and to the Tower card.  It seems a very positive card of growth and possibilities.  The light side of the Tower, the new shoots sprouting after the storm. 

The line from the booklet that most chimes with me today is: "Stuck energies begin to move, and changes occur for the better." As I read that I thought, "From your mouth to God's ears".  It's a phrase I associate with the Spanish, but it turns out (thanks, Google) that it's actually far older than that, being a Hebrew phrase.  And so, it fits this token even better than I thought.

Yesterday I began unsticking some of my energy.  I did some filing that has been sitting around my office for 8 months (yes, I know that's bad), and plan to do more (yes, there's more!)  Today I have a presentation to do for my supervisor, who I find rather difficult.  Hopefully this will be some of the changes for the better - perhaps if I change my energy we won't conflict so much...

I am grateful for energy that comes unstuck.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Satisfied With Less

I really like today's image from the Tokens of Light by Orna Ben-Shoshan!

A man tends a giant flower, taking care as he drips something in amongst the stamen.  I see in this image someone putting focus into something, even if others might not see its importance.  It's about doing your best no matter what you're doing, which is satisfying in itself: knowing you gave your all, rather than just coasting; knowing you made the world better, even if only in a small way.

According to Orna, this card is the first connected to the Hebrew letter Yod, and associated with Virgo, the element of Earth, and the Hermit card, which makes a lot of sense to me.  The sentence in her interpretation which most stands out for me is: "strengthen others and do for society, maintain high values and retain for yourself only what is necessary."

Today I shall focus on others, on my Dear One and Big Boy and the cats.  I shall do my best, whatever I am doing.  First thing, though, is that I need to do a bit of caring for myself - with just over four hours sleep, that's my priority.


I am grateful it's Sunday and I can go back to bed.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Mars Retrograde Reading

I was reading Lisa's post over at Tarotize on the Mars Retrograde we're currently being influenced by.  I really liked her spread to look at what to do to help ourselves during this period - short but sweet.  So, I decided to give it a try for myself, drawing from the Joie de Vivre Tarot (U.S. Games, 2011).
The Three of Coins as the main lesson tells me that I need to work on work, particularly how I interact with others within my work context.  Play nice with others, pulling together to channel our energy more effectively at this time of energetic challenge, is the message I get.  The card also says something about balancing all aspects of a project: designing; creating and manifesting; and clearing out or letting go.  Each must be given its due time and space.

As what not to do, the Queen of Cups cautions me not to be a drama queen, or manipulative, and also says that I shouldn't think that I have all the answers at an emotional or intuitive level.  The Queen of Cups doesn't tend to be very practical, which is what is called for by the Three of Coins.  While working together is certainly important, sharing our emotions at a personal level should take a back seat, I think.

Finally, what I should do is represented by the Hierophant.  This tells me I need to toe-the-line in terms of institutional/governmental requirements, to study and to take advice from those with more experience.  This isn't always an easy one for me - studying I'm fine with, but I can get a bit bolshy with authority.  However, in a time when Mars (with its bellicose energy) is retrograde, allowing my temper to get the better of me is not a good idea!  Growth will come from working together, and so if I have to follow someone else's lead to help make that happen, so be it.

It's interesting the ways in which this reading chimes with the video reading I did for the week.  There, too, there was something about following guidelines and working with others, as well as learning from them.

I think this reading was useful.  Working in emotional professions (counselling and tarot), it can be easy to forget to stay practical, and especially that I can't always do everything by myself.  Let's hope I can put this advice to good use...

Flexibility and Adaptability

This week I will be drawing from Orna Ben-Shoshan's self-published Tokens of Light.  You can find a video review of this oracle here.

For this first token, I pulled 37, which correlates to the Hebrew letter Mem, and is attributed to the Hanged Man, according to Orna's system.  The phrase from her interpretation that chimes most with me for today is: "Things progress under the surface, concealed activity with motives that are a mystery to others."

As for the image, I notice the clouds on the character's suit, connecting them to the sky (despite this being a card associated with the element of water).  The "face" is held on by string - a mask to hide what is going on underneath.  And in the background, a surprise parcel.  I like the green branch in his hand, but I do wonder about those pants!

Bringing it all together, what I see is someone trying to blend in, but doing a poor job of it.  Yet the creativity and wonder are there, too.  So, misunderstood, but doing one's own thing, going with the flow, even if others seem to be in a different river.

For myself, the phrase keeps calling me back, and I think that my motives are a mystery to myself, as well as to others.  Still, if I can trust that there is progress, even if I'm not sure where it's going, and creativity, even if I'm not sure what the result will be...


I am grateful for progress, however it happens.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Weekly Video Reading for 18th Feb

This week the video reading is with the Tokens of Light by Orna Ben-Shoshan.  I really like how it came out - I was a little worried about how the Tokens would work in a larger reading, despite Orna suggesting some three and four card spreads.  I needn't have worried, I think they gave a very clear and hopefully useful reading.  Once again, I used the Pathway Spread by Mark Ryan and John Matthews.

Beauty and the Beast

After yesterday's nod to Samson and Delilah, today the Heart Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) offers us Beauty and the Beast as Temperance.

By their dress and aspect, this pair suggest the balancing of fire and water, as well as other notional opposites: male/female, large/small, monstrous/human.  This Beauty and the Beast notion is one that could quite easily translate to the Strength card, and yet here the feeling is very different.  They seem to be partners - sharing generously, seeing each other as equals - rather than one controlling the other, no matter how gently.  The message I get is that sometimes, in order to find balance, we need to combine disparate elements, counter-intuitive ingredients, that still somehow work together.

Certainly today I've got rather a lot of different things that need taking care of: forms to fill in so Big Boy can go horse-riding; more forms, for medicines for Big Boy; yet more forms, for business this time, and in German; writing something to present at college next week; emails to respond to and snail mail to take to the post office; birthday presents to buy, for a child and a friend.  Hopefully I'll get the mix right and achieve all my goals, making for a productive day, despite the odd bedfellows it contains.

I am grateful for the variety in my life.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Delilah

Lots to think about with today's version of Strength, from the Heart Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2009)!

What I first see is Delilah, about to shear Samson and rob him of his Strength: feminine wiles and ill-intent combined.  This is an unusual take on what I normally consider a positive, female-centric card: using compassion and gentleness to harness baser forces.  If we see this as ourselves and another, which are we?  Are we being tricked, allowing ourselves to be weakened?  Or are we abusing someone's trust, attacking them for our own gain?

Another aspect to it is the more overt male-female dichotomy - less obvious in cards where a woman holds a lion, or even where a man wrestles a dragon or a crocodile.  So, perhaps there is something here about an inner battle between our masculine and feminine aspects, and how we make peace between them.  Does one overwhelm the other, or can we find a balance that makes the most of each?

This card makes me think about the rage I posted about quite a lot last year.  I have been feeling less of that recently.  Partly because things have been better with Big Boy - he's making some really great progress.  Partly, I hope, due to my own efforts in terms of self-exploration through journalling, readings, and meditation.  I would like to think that my rage is asleep, rather than shorn of its power.  After all, rage can be a good thing, too.  Still, right now I am glad there is less rage in my life and more joy.

I am grateful for Arwen and her message to seek joy!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Tokens of Light Review

Today I've uploaded a review of Orna Ben-Shoshan's Tokens of Light.  These aren't a deck per se, being small, round tokens.  However, they are a very interesting kabbalistic oracle.  Come take a look!

I Heart U

Another completely non-traditional minor today from the Heart Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2009).

Instead of someone fending off seven wands wielded by unseen assailants, as in the RWS, here we have a young child with seven coloured pencils, drawing a heart.  He lies flat out on what looks like a huge school book with grids.

This image reminds me of school days and people doodling in their books, or drawing hearts, writing people's names in them and "working out" if it was true love - my first introduction to numerology :)

This is actually a perfect card for my day.  My Dear One and I didn't celebrate Valentine's Day yesterday.  It's not easy getting babysitters on one of the most popular evenings of the year.  So, instead we are going out today.  We're seeing "A Dangerous Method" (ha, almost counts as work for me *grin*), then going out for dinner.  So, a playful day out with my love :)

I am grateful for babysitters, cinemas, restaurants, and my Dear One.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Hermit's Light

Today the Heart Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) offers us another Major: the Hermit.  This seems a bit of a strange card to receive on Valentine's Day, but then, needing some time out isn't dependent on a Hallmark holiday!

This Hermit seems particularly lonely, up on the top of an extremely high pillar, with birds flying below him.  The landscape all around is totally barren, though I guess that the patterns could be quite meditative for the eye.  Although he has a lamp, it is behind him, its light unseen.

In a jokey way, this image reminds me of the 2003 stunt by David Blaine where he endured 44 days in a plexiglas case next to the River Thames in London, with only water to sustain him.  This Hermit seems similarly disheveled.

What makes someone choose to distance themselves from others?  It can be to have some time and space to study and learn, or it can be as a protest or a performance.

For me, I see this card being about emotional distance.  Today and tomorrow, I finish with two clients, one of whom I've been seeing for six months.  I feel great sadness at this - my world will seem more barren for no longer seeing them.  I know I will soon have other clients, yet I will miss these people who I have come to care about.  Taking some time to acknowledge that, then turning to see the light that is still there, sounds like a plan.


I am grateful for the ability to care, even when it hurts.

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Wisdom of Love

Even the Majors in the Heart Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) are not entirely traditional. 

Today I drew the Hierophant.  In this deck the card shows a woman, one hand raised in blessing or explanation, the other holding a narrow glass.  To either side of her are hearts, and the seat on which she sits is carved with two male figures praying, as though to her.

I see great wisdom in this woman, but a gentle wisdom.  I hear her voice saying, "All acts of love are sacred." and "Love is the only answer."  Her bare feet speak of her down-to-earth nature - she does not seek worship, she only wishes to share the ecstatic joy she has experienced communing with spirit.

Today I have supervision at college.  I'm still struggling with my supervisor - I perceive him as highly judgemental.  However, perhaps I need to try to listen with love in my heart to his words: the judgement may be my own.  And even if it isn't, if I can love myself then I can weather his heavy-handed "help".

I also see in this card a reminder that religion or spirituality is not just about faith or about institutions.  At it's best, it is experienced as a deep knowing and a joyful heart.  I shall seek that joy today.

I am grateful for love in all its guises.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Miser or Prestidigitator?

The images on the Heart Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) are largely non-traditional, though the Majors less so.

That difference is quite apparent with today's card, the Nine of Pentacles.  It reminds me more of the Four of Pentacles.  The bony old man looks rather miserly, holding his money pouch close.  Is he delighting in looking at some of his lovely coins?  The cloth on the table is very plain, yet his hat is extremely fancy, with that strange, long feather.  And the way he is holding up one of the coins makes him seem like some kind of magician, levitating the metal with the tip of his finger.

All in all, there is little or nothing of the hard-won wealth and independence I normally associate with the Nine of Pentacles.  Still, perhaps his focus on the floating coin could be taken to indicate effort and intent that has allowed him to achieve the wealth layed out in front of him.

So, what message to take from this card today?  Practice makes perfect?  Don't hold coins too long or they may stick to you?  Perhaps I should see that feather in his hat as a sign of accomplishment, with the arena of that success being making my thoughts lighter.  Add to that the suggestion of focus, and I see it recommending I put in more time chanting on my meditation cushion ;)


I am grateful that practice can be enjoyable as well as helpful.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Arwen's Candle Spread

On the 31st of January, a bunch of bloggers took part in the first ever Tarot Blog Hop for Imbolc.  Lots of great posts were written, and lovely spreads created.  I designed one, and tried out Barbara Moore's one.  Now, I'd like to give Arwen's a whirl.  I'll call it Arwen's Candle Spread, as she didn't name it (so, I'm not the only one!)  For this reading, I decided to use Arwen's deck of choice, the beautiful, soulful Gaian Tarot.

1. Where do I lack spark? - Eight of Air

This is a real card of community, of sharing.  It shows people in circle, listening and being heard, together.  And it has to be admitted, I haven't been doing very much of this lately.  My social life is almost entirely on-line, which is great as it means I actually have a social life, but still not the same as getting together with people, face to face and at the same time.  Now that I'm only at college for supervision, in a group of two, I see very few people other than my clients (also not many).  

I miss that sense of sharing.  I met up with an old Uni friend a couple of days ago, to try to get out more, and I'll be having a weekend away with a couple of girlfriends soon.  Hopefully, that will re-light my spark, and I will find ways to have more of this sense of community. 

2. Where am I creating light? - Ten of Air

In traditional decks, this card would be the Ten of Swords.  However, the Gaian Tarot has a quite different take on things.  This card speaks of migration, of moving on when conditions change.  

In this position, I associate it with the clients I counsel at a bereavement centre - each one trying to move on after the death of a loved one.  I hope that my work offers them some light in a dark place - a friendly face, and someone to listen to their pain and their struggle to find who they are, without that other person.

I certainly notice what many people have said: that helping others is also a way to heal myself.  It gives me something to feel good about, and an outside focus.  So, by creating light for others, I also shed it for myself.

3. Where am I burning the candle at both ends? - Strength

The first thing that popped into my head when I saw this card was "pacifying the beast".  I think for me it's about having to try to control my own demons, and also having to deal with Big Boy's tantrums.  Even my Dear One had a bit of a meltdown last week that I had to get to the root of.  Trying to be strong for everyone else, and handling my own rage, fear, sadness and worries, sometimes leaves me exhausted.  

I notice the lemniscate over her head, symbol of infinity, and think that if this is unending it feels pretty unbearable.  So, I had better find some more ways to get support with this, to shoulder a bit less myself or have better techniques to cope with screaming tantrums, kicking, slapping, hair pulling and the rest.  Not to worry, that's only from Big Boy, my Dear One just shouts a lot :)


This spread worked well, I think.  Not only did I identify some areas that need a bit of work, but also some possible ways of doing that.  Thanks Arwen, and seek joy y'all!

Heart-led King

This week I will be drawing from the Heart Tarot by Maria Distefano (Lo Scarabeo, 2009), which I reviewed earlier this week.

For today's draw we have the King of Wands.  He's rather a strange chap, with his pot belly and his scrawny legs.  Not what I'd normally associate with the traditionally strong, dashing, charismatic King of Wands.  Yet this King does seem to be led by his heart, his passion.  I like the way that he sits, as though daydreaming.  Perhaps he's remembering exploits of his youth, or imagining some new project or plan, something to get fired up about once again.

I am reading a book at the moment called "Finding Flow".  So, I am trying to live more in flow, or in the zone as athletes call it.  One of the main requirements is to keep doing things which are stimulating and challenging in equal measure.  And if you have to do something that doesn't necessarily fit the criteria, you make it do so.  For example, instead of being bored doing an easy job, you can try to do it as efficiently or beautifully as possible, making each day a new challenge.  Can you imagine seeing if you can iron shirts faster, or feed the animals with less movements required?  The theory is that trying to find the challenge in the everyday keeps us from being bored and disappointed with life.  Seek joy y'all!


I am grateful for the challenges of life.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Weekly Vlog Reading for 11th Feb

Here's this week's video reading with the Heart Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2009), by Maria Distefano.  I used the Pathway Spread by Mark Ryan and John Matthews from the Wildwood Tarot companion book.  It suggests that this Valentine's week we need to be careful about our communication with loved ones.  We may need to take the high road, and try to see things from the other's perspective.

Baba Yaga

For this last day with the Goddess Oracle (U.S. Games, 2006), I drew Baba Yaga.

This is a surprisingly "pretty" version of this Goddess (or female archetype, as she's more of a folktale), who is normally depicted as a child-eating hag who lives in a house on chicken legs and flies around in a pestle.  Still, even in the folktales she is acknowledged as someone who doesn't conform, and who is a source of wisdom.  I like the fact that she is clearly a crone, but no less strong and beautiful for it. 

She is the wild energy of the crone who lives outside the village, respected and feared for her herbal lore and other knowledge.  She pays no mind to traditional authority structures, and is more interested in the natural world than in human politics and prejudices.  I love her amazing red robe that seems to be almost alive, shining with golden, magical creatures.

Today I see my osteopath, who has a bit of this energy.  She's an amazing woman, strong and wise, who doesn't kowtow to anyone or anything.  She doesn't just manipulate bones, but sees the body on an energetic level.  And she also always has great suggestions on a range of subjects, from yoga poses to supplements to child development.  I also see in this card a call to get in touch with my inner wisdom, to get a different perspective on life through pathworking.


I am grateful for the wild women in my life.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Brigid's Healing Spread

Based on this morning's card from the Goddess Oracle (U.S. Games, 2006) and what it brought up in me, I decided to design a healing spread.  I wondered about posting this reading here.  Still, last week in my How to Be a Better Candle post, the card for how I can serve others and shine my light suggested that I be more open, sharing my burdens as well as my strengths.  So, if you don't want to read something personal and possibly painful, then just stop here.

I had a nightmare last night, about being pregnant.  As some of you may remember, my Dear One and I are currently trying for another baby.  However, after a miscarriage at the end of 2006 and the serious medical complications following the birth of Big Boy at the start of 2008, it is also something that terrifies me.  So, I want to look at what I can do to heal this emotional wound.

Based on Brigid's card, I chose three elements: the flame, the flower and the harp, and asked: "To heal, what do I need to burn away, what do I need to allow in, and how can I create harmony in my soul?"  I drew from the Crystal Visions Tarot, because I find its energy gentle and uplifting.


Flame: to heal, what do I need to burn away - II - The High Priestess

Two things jump out at me here.  Firstly, that the High Priestess is a very solitary figure.  Secondly, that she is full of inner knowing. 

I need to burn away the idea that I am alone in this situation.  Calling on support from friends and family doesn't mean that I am weak, it shows that I know how to marshal the resources I need.

I need to burn away the feeling that I should have known... everything.  That I am to blame for what happened to Big Boy, that if I had tapped into that inner knowledge I would have been able to prevent what happened.  This is a tough one for me.  With my miscarriage, I knew something was wrong at week six, though I didn't actually miscarry until week 11.  So, there's a feeling that I should have known, should have done something differently with Big Boy.  And now there's a sense of distrust in myself, that I won't know what I need to know this time, either, that things will go horribly wrong and I will be to blame.

Flowers: to heal, what do I need to allow in - Page of Wands

Oh, this is such a lovely, hopeful card!  I notice the candles all around her, the dragon protecting her, the tree in whose shade she sits, and the fact that she's playing a flute.

I need to allow myself to feel safe and protected.   Following on from the last card, I need to allow others to hold me, emotionally and physically.  Also, this may be connected to listening to the wisdom of nature, and the wisdom of others.  Perhaps, too, I need to think about what would make a safe space for me - do some research on where I could go to give birth if I did have another baby - which is about allowing in hope. 

People sometimes say, "Of course it's not your fault." or "You just have to forgive yourself."  Ha, easier said than done!  As I am clearly finding it hard to forgive myself, perhaps I need to focus on allowing others to forgive me...

Metaphorically, it is time to allow light back into my life.  On a more practical level, it is time to light some candles, and use chanting as a healing practice.


There is, of course, also something about Pages representing children.  So, I need to allow a playful new soul into my life, to trust that if a child comes to me, it will be happy to incarnate with us as its parents and Big Boy as its sibling.


Harp: to heal, how can I create harmony in my soul - Seven of Pentacles

Once again, this woman sits in the embrace of a tree.  I notice the female figures that seem to grow from the branches.  The woman holds a bowl of fruit, reaping the harvest from work she has done.

This is another card, like the Page, which I sometimes associate with having children - pregnancy being like waiting for the seeds sown to grow before the crops can be seen, and having to do plenty of weeding and watering in between.  Just managing to get pregnant would be a step on my path to healing. 

However, as that's not something I can control, I guess this card says to me that there is still a lot of work to be done to create harmony in my soul.  It's not something that will happen overnight.  Rather, I will have to make this healing a daily practice - digging out negative thoughts, nourishing healthier, kinder ideas.

The female figures in the tree make me think of the wisdom of others again.  In a few weeks time I am going to have a weekend away with two of my close friends - a witchy weekend of meditation and laughter, sharing and crying, dancing and praying.  I think this will be a step in the right direction.  Perhaps, too, I can draw more on the support of other women in my life - a friend who has been through IVF, my mother, other women who have children with medical complications but still move on with their lives... 


I pray for healing and forgiveness.

Brigid

Last week was Imbolc, sometimes known as Brigid's day, and here she is, from the Goddess Oracle (U.S. Games, 2006).

I love this depiction of Brigid as a triple Goddess.  A bright fire burns from her red hair, and two more flames spring up from the hands of the central figure, who also wears a healing herb amulet pouch.  To one side we have her inspiration in the form of music, to the other she enjoys the scent of flowers, representative of spring.  Behind her, an oceanic blue background that suggests the sky, yet also points to Brigid's connection to sacred, healing waters. 

Reading up on her, I find it curious that Brigid was a triple Goddess, with two "sisters" also called variations on Brigid.  I had thought that the triple Goddess aspect was to capture her as maiden, mother and crone, not as three women of about the same age.  Perhaps it's because there's the idea that no one person could be and do so much...

Today, I call on Brigid in her healing aspect.  I had a nightmare last night which pointed out to me an area where I desperately need emotional healing.  I shall take it to my therapist today, and maybe do a spread on it as well.


I am grateful for Brigid's healing waters.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Heart Tarot Video Review

In preparation for next week and Valentine's Day, I thought I'd review and use the Heart Tarot by Maria Distefano (Lo Scarabeo, 2009).  It's a very unusual deck - as far as I know the only one that is actually heart-shaped - and there is a clear romantic emphasis to all the cards.  However, they are also very playful and beautiful.  Come take a look, you can see all the images in this review.