Monday, 30 April 2012

Contrary Interpretations

Today's card from Holly DeFount's Incidental Tarot (2012) is another Minor, this time from the suit of Arrows (Wands).  I found this attribution a little confusing at first, as I have a couple of other decks (such as the Wildwood Tarot) where the suit of Arrows is Swords.  Still, I can see the sense in Holly's attribution, too, as Arrows are all about acting outside of yourself, and being focused and directed.

So, here we see eight arrows point up, with a ninth crossing in front of them, and with a white flag/ribbon/bandage/banner wrapping around it.  It's not hard to see traditional RWS interpretations of defensiveness and needing to carry on despite previous hardships.  However, once again, very different interpretations are also possible.  For example, the polar opposite of the RWS, saying instead that we are waving the white flag to gain freedom from a limiting situation.

That's certainly something that has been going through my mind, and which comes up again this Monday as I head to college for supervision.  I have done nothing about my Masters dissertation this week.  I've pretty much given up on it for the moment.  If I don't get it done, I'll still get a Postgraduate Diploma and be able to carry on training.  But I do still have two and a half years to get it done.  So, I'm not giving up on it entirely, but perhaps just saying that if it doesn't happen this week, this month, or even this year, it won't be the end of the world.

I am grateful for a breather, a time to reassess priorities, and give myself a break.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

First Knit & Giveaway!

Maat Tarot
So, I mentioned in a post a while back that I had a project to try to improve my relationship to food, and to spirituality, but that I didn't want to talk about it until I saw how things went, and had something to show for it.  And no, it's not a new exercise regime, or fad diet.  It's knitting! 

I've been wanting to do something creative/crafty for a while now, as I mentioned back in December last year!  Finally, things came together in my mind, and so this project, and taking up knitting generally, is dedicated to the Goddess, to tapping into creativity, and to improving my eating habits by giving myself something different to do while watching TV after dinner.

"How did it go?" I hear you ask (go on, please ask!)  Well, I'm certainly not claiming to be a great knitter yet!  Given that the main point isn't to make something impressive, but to do something for my spiritual and physical well-being, I'd say it worked well.

For my first project, I decided to knit a tarot bag for a deck to go on my altar.  First little glitch, it ended up being much wider than intended.  However, as what I'm making isn't the main point I simply changed which deck I would put in it ;)

Second glitch, having ordered some yarn, when it arrived it was in skein form, rather than a ball.  After a "minor" slip, it took me over an hour, the help of my MIL, and quite a lot of fiddling to get it untangled and neatly rolled *eek*  Then it was time to actually start knitting, something I hadn't done in about 25 years!  Still, I feel I did okay, here's a pic of my work in progress after the first day:

From there on, things were easier, and with the help of my MIL (serious skillz), a book, lots of Youtube videos, a darning needle, a crochet hook (for picking up dropped stitches, but I only got to that after a few had been dropped *doh*) and much time and patience, I went via this, after seven days:

and eventually got to this:


Okay, it's not exactly beautiful, but I made it myself and I lost 1.5 kg (over 3 lbs) in the process, in two weeks!  I have put my favourite Goddess deck in it, and dedicated it on my altar just this morning.

I've also learned a thing or two about decreasing, casting off, sewing together, buying buttons, making a loop, and different plys and categories of yarn.  I am now the proud owner of a set of 8 knitting needles, in addition to the small bamboo ones used for this, and a stash of yarn that includes eight different colours.  My next project - also a tarot bag ;D - is already about 5 cms high, as it took time for the buttons to arrive after I realized my first plan - velcro *duh* - was never going to work!

To celebrate all this craftyness/craftiness, I've decided to hold a give-away!  Anyone who comments on this post in the next week (before midnight BST of the 6th of May) will be entered in a draw for some knitting goodness, including a pair of needles and some yarn :D  If you're already a knitter, the needles won't be anything special, but if you haven't knitted before/for a while, it's all you need (that and youtube) to get you started :)  So, whaddaya say?

Dark Quills

The pips of the Incidental Tarot (Holly DeFount, 2012) are semi-illustrated: there are no people on them, but the suit elements are not identical and are in different environments rather than on a plain background.

This can be seen with today's card, the Eight of Quills (Swords).  Eight dark quills criss-cross over a piece of parchment, which has a wax seal in its centre.  It looks as though the seal, which identifies the person writing a letter, is trapped by the quills, and nothing can be written through their overlapping feathered shafts.  The traditional RWS meaning of being trapped by your own thoughts can certainly be interpreted from this.  The typical "analysis paralysis" is also suggested - too many ideas to actually get anything written.  However, there is also a beautiful, varied yet symmetrical aspect to the quills, and I could imagine interpreting this as using focus and structure to make dark thoughts into something beautiful and productive.

As for me, today I can't imagine it is analysis paralysis I face, I've been brimming with ideas the last few days (though none for my dissertation protocol, it must be said!)  However, I've been wondering lately if I limit myself too much by my thoughts about how things "should" be done.  That may be something I can face today and, who knows, with this in mind perhaps I can do something differently...

I am grateful for the potential to break old habits.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Alchemist

As I've already mentioned, this week I will be drawing from the Incidental Tarot, by Holly DeFount (2012).

For this first draw, I pulled the Alchemist.  This would be the Knight of Swords in traditional RWS terms, but I love the fact that, for all the Pages/Princesses and Princes/Knights, Holly has replaced their hierarchical titles with more action-based titles, such as the Muse (Princess of Cups), the Oracle (Princess of Swords), the Bard (Knight of Cups), and the Builder (Knight of Pentacles).

What we have here is a young man, keenly studying a beaker.  It seems as though a white bird is inside a red liquid, flying upward as though seeking to release itself.  He is also holding a quill (the suit of Swords is renamed Quills in this deck) and writing on a parchment.  So, an early scientist, probing the nature of the universe, and perhaps of the human soul.  There is also a sun in the corner above his head, suggesting his masculine energy and drive, as he clearly works through the night, as seen out the window behind him. 

I get the sense of someone who is intellectually curious, rigorous, and determined - nothing will stop him in his search.  In the negative, this kind of single-mindedness can be quite assertive, if not aggressive.

No time for studying or other intellectual pursuits for me today, as I've got Big Boy for a big chunk of the day.  Perhaps, though, I could apply my mind to exploring new games with him, or working on his communication skills...  In the evening a friend is coming over, and we always have fascinating talks, and might do some readings together :)

I am grateful for the stimulation of every day.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Weekly Vlog Reading for 28th April

This week's reading is done with Holly DeFount's Incidental Tarot (2012).  I also drew a card from the Goddess Oracle (U.S. Games, 2006) at the end :)

I'm really loving working with this deck, it has already become a firm favourite.  It's funny, even a year ago, I would have said I could never "love" a deck with semi-illustrated pips, and now I'm finding this deck just speaks to me so much!  So, if you want to see what it said to me for this week, take a look here

Gemini

For this last draw with the Astrology Reading Cards (Findhorn Press, 2012), I meet my own Zodiac sign - Gemini :)

All the Astrology Reading Cards are pretty upbeat, and I see that here, too.  Though you'll also get no argument from me regarding Gemini characteristics, I hope I manage all of those things at least some of the time.  I also like the fact that the image shows a library, but which has a real buzz to it, with streaming data and a crystal - all things I love.

In terms of the day, it seems to suggest it's a good time to get out and mingle with others, to share ideas.  This would be a great energy for work: clear communication, working well with others, lively and stimulating, it suggests enjoyable productivity.  And whether it be a trip to the pub of a Friday night, or something more formal, it's a good day to party!

No parties on my horizons, though.  However, I will almost certainly spend some time on-line, exchanging ideas, or simply socialising.  And not to forget my Dear One, with whom I enjoy many a stimulating, and sometimes mischievious, conversation!

I am grateful for humour and communication with friends and loved ones.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Incidental Tarot Interview

Starting on Saturday, I will be blogging with this unusual, self-published deck: the Incidental Tarot by Holly DeFount (2012).  You can find Holly on Facebook, too, where she showcases new art and sometimes offers free readings!

Although I'm not often a fan of decks with non- or semi-illustrated pips, I was won over by the Incidental Tarot.  Due to the variations in colour and composition on the pips, I still find the Minors very expressive. As for the Majors, they are beautiful; warm and generous, homey yet unusual. 

I decided to start off by interviewing the deck, to get a feel for it.  As I have done before, I used an interview I designed, based on the four elements and spirit, and this time I also added in the quintessence card (a first for me).

What can you teach me about inspiration?  Six of Quills (Swords)

Inspiration first requires balance.  It also benefits from lots of different potential options and ideas.  Both thoughts and emotions turn the wheel of life, and it is through the movement that is created that we find inspiration.  All these aspects must be brought together, and focused, before we can find our centre, where passion and inspiration reside.  Let inspiration move you.

What can you teach me about emotion?  Seven of Quills (Swords)

We start off with pure emotions, but the messages and experiences of life affect us, transforming us and our emotions.  Those changes make us more focused, but they can also darken our hearts and bring anger, sadness and depression to us.  Still, the innocence and potential for joy continue to reside within us.  We simply have to peel away the layers to find them again.  Sometimes that can be a serious process, sometimes it can come through a message from the divine, and sometimes it is laughter that washes away the darkness.  There is always the potential for pain and suffering, but also the potential for joy.  The choice is yours.

What can you teach me about my thoughts?  The Oak Key (Ace of Pentacles)

You can unlock the potential for growth and positive manifestation in yourself through your thoughts.  However, it is not the thoughts alone that are required, but the desire to manifest them.  A thought, an idea, is the jumping off point which, with energy and dedication added, will bring beautiful things to fruition.

What can you teach me about manifestation?  The Rose King (King of Cups)

What you need to manifest right now is kindness, compassion and forgiveness, both for yourself and for others.  An open heart is the first step to creating what you want in life.  This is not just about love for your fellow beings, but also love for the divine.  It is not a pure and innocent love, but a full-bodied, passionate love, which can be expressed physically as well as emotionally and spiritually.

What can you teach me about spirit?  The Builder (Knight of Pentacles)

A connection to spirit requires dedication and consistency.  It takes work and devotion.  Spirituality is not only about meditation or prayer, but can also be expressed through material creativity.  Build what you want in terms of spiritual connection.  Don't expect it to just come to you: plan, design and create it consciously and with determination.

What is your quintessence?  IV - The Emperor (6+7+1+14+12=40=4)

I am structured, organised and authoritative.  I take things seriously, but the discipline I require is not just about wanting my own way.  Rather, I create structure that nurtures and allows growth.  I am the one who plans the garden, lays out the beds, puts in sticks and arbours to train the plants, and weeds to keep order, which allows everything to flourish.  I am very much of the earth, practical and stable.  Turn to me when you need clarity and down-to-earth advice.

The Sixth House

I just love this card!  Today's draw from the Astrology Reading Cards (Findhorn Press, 2012) brings us the Sixth House.

Showing a woman practising yoga in the foreground, with another woman digging her garden in the background, the colours are a warm brown highlighted by gold.  This card speaks of work, health and duty, and certainly I can see the commonality between them.  Good health takes discipline, in our day and age, and many see it as being hard work. 

Yet I also see joy, both in work and in health.  Even duty offers opportunities for joy, if we realise that all our duties are ones which we choose.  That may not always be easy to see, we say "I have to do this to earn a living" or "My family insist I do that".  Honestly, though, we always have choices.  We could change our career, or trust in the universe to provide for us, go off travelling, or simply disappear from where our family is.  There are many things that stop us doing so, but accepting that these really are choices can help us embrace our duties, even when they are onerous.

I hope to fill today with a bit of each of these - work, healthy eating, exercise, and the duties of motherhood and partnership, even the duty of a therapy client - attending my sessions weekly.  All of these add to the wholeness of my life, and I shall seek joy in all of them today.

I am grateful for the joy I find in all aspects of my life.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Incidental Tarot Review

This week I will be working with another wonderful, self-published deck, the Incidental Tarot by Holly DeFount (2012).  Starting off, here is a video review of the deck, which shows all the cards and discusses the Majors, many of which are renamed and revisioned, as well as the Courts (some surprises there) and the semi-illustrated pips.

Altogether, this is a marvelous addition to the tarot world.  There is enough tradition and symbolism here to make it a very useable deck straight out of the pack, yet enough variety to bring new depths to your understanding of the cards.  Although there isn't (yet) a companion book, there is a wealth of information on the website, and on Holly's blog :)

Saturn

Another planet hoves into view with today's draw from the Astrology Reading Cards (Findhorn Press, 2012).

In the foreground, a man builds a wall one brick at a time.  In the background, we see the potential fruits of this labour: a fortress castle.  The card  says: "The part of you that accepts challenge to gain wisdom."

Saturn's energy is all about boundaries and restrictions, but it's true we can learn a lot from these.  An easy  life does not make for a rich and fulfilling life.  I have mentioned before a book called "Finding Flow" and one of the things the author says is that for a good life we need challenges that stretch us without overwhelming us.  I see that here. 

Taking the wall one brick at a time, we can celebrate our successes and enjoy the process.  Just thinking about the enormity of the task ahead - a whole fortress to build - might drain us of the will to ever begin.  Restricting our view to what we can do now allows us to accomplish more than a completely open field might, as writers may well acknowledge when faced with a blank page.

I'm not sure what challenges I face today.  I have several projects in the pipeline, and several deadlines, but they are all either close to completion or a very long way off.  Maybe that's what it's about: that I need to focus on what is doable now for the projects which have a far off deadline.  Otherwise that deadline will get closer and closer, and suddenly the project will look overwhelming.  If I get started now... :)

I am grateful for the reminder that I need to do a little bit regularly to stop my projects getting on top of me.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Uranus

Once again, the Astrology Reading Cards (Findhorn Press, 2012) show themselves to be uplifting even in trying circumstances.

This deck certainly seems to try to stay empowering and uplifting in all its messages.  Today's image reminds me of the Tower in tarot, yet the lightning here does not destroy, but illuminate.  It feels like it is kept in check or channelled by the bubble that surrounds it, allowing its crackling energy to break apart the molecules in its path without causing damage.  The card states that this represents: "Your potential for sudden change, enlightenment and awakening."

Today, Big Boy goes to see one of his doctors again, and I must confess I hold out little hope of change or enlightenment from this source.  Perhaps it is more likely that it will encourage me to change my approach.  I have been wanting to try more alternative healing possibilities with him, and another disappointment may help give me the push I need to do so...

I am grateful for options.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Pisces

The Astrology Reading Cards (Findhorn Press, 2012) have offered us up a House, a Planet, and now a Zodiac sign.

In the top right corner we have the constellation associated with Pisces, while the image itself, in aqua-green tones, shows two fish amongst waving seaweed, and circular patterns perhaps formed in sand.  The accompanying statement is: "This energy is wistful, endlessly loving, compassionate and forgiving. It confuses and softens resolve."

I think without the text I would be a bit lost with this card.  I see confusion, and patterns that may be unstable, but also someone who can help guide our way.  I really like the colours, and the bright fish near the centre does give the card an overall quite positive feel.

Thinking about traditional symbolism, the fish can represent the soul, and the waters of the deep represent our unconscious.  The soul must swim through these confusing and sometimes treacherous waters, yet despite the dangers, this is its home.  This says to me that accepting our emotions, acknowledging them even if we can't name or explain them, is easier when we stay at a soul level.

I shall try to do that today, as I go back to college and face the same supervisor I had last term.  We can only have the same supervisor a maximum of two times, which would be more encouraging if this wasn't going to be my last term anyway.  I shall hope that the positive reading last week bears fruit, and that I will be able to manage this relationship with confidence and for the benefit of all.  And as today's card suggests, with compassion to the fore, and forgiveness of the somewhat harsh words spoken last term.

I am grateful for the guiding light of my soul.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Neptune

Today's image from the Astrological Reading Cards (Findhorn Press, 2012) is rather magical.

I really like the underwater feel of this card, with a mermaid, a sea-unicorn, and dolphins.  The castle off in the distance seems as though on the cliffs above the water.  There is a feeling of movement and light, of being drawn upwards, to illumination.

For me, Neptune is associated with the sea, with deep and powerful emotions and forces.  Here, though, a rather brighter aspect is highlighted.  The card speaks of fantasies, yearnings, longings and potential for illusion.  It seems in some ways to combine the Seven of Cups and the Moon from tarot, and yet still with an overall positive feel. 

At the moment, I am longing for sleep.  Yesterday, a delivery person turned up two hours early, waking me and my Dear One - not happy bunnies!  That was after I'd gone back to bed, as Big Boy always has me up early (5am counts as a lie-in for him).  Then again, I wonder how much my idea of being able to sleep is just a fantasy.  When I was away for two nights, I slept through on the first (really needed it), but woke several times the second night.  Before Big Boy rocked up, I used to be up at 4am sometimes with insomnia.  Is a decent night's sleep just a castle in the sky for me?

I am grateful for days I don't feel exhausted.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Third House

This week I will be drawing from the Astrology Reading Cards by Alison Chester-Lambert (Findhorn Press, 2012).  The deck is intended to be used split into three groups, Houses, Planets and Signs, as I did in yesterday's reading.  Still, as a learning exercise for someone who isn't up on their astrology, and who is still getting to know these cards, I think I will benefit from drawing a daily card.  I also believe these cards will work just fine that way, too.  We'll see if I'm right ;)

Today's card is the Third House, representing our potential for learning and our neighbourhood.  What strikes me is that the image shows a plethora of books.  Now, I adore books, both paper and electronic -  loving having the kindle app on my phone!  And I enjoy academic learning (I'm onto my second Masters degree, so I'd better *grin*).  Still, this week I have become very aware of the limitations of book learning. 

I have been getting crafty, taking up knitting again for the first time in twenty five years (and I wasn't especially adept at it the first time round, as a young teen), and crocheting for the first time in my life.  What struck me most was the weakness of words, and even still images, to describe moving, physical practices.  I have been delighted by YouTube, with its wealth of "how to" videos. 

It's like being taught by your mother, only better!  Better because the person giving the instructions has no emotional investment in you learning, and because you get to see and choose from a number of different styles both of teaching and of doing.  That's another thing which has struck me: there isn't just one way to knit or crochet. 

There are different ways of holding the needles and the yarn, different ways of casting on and so on.  The first way I saw to hold the work didn't feel right to me at all.  The second just looked right, and the moment I picked up the needles my stitches were faster and more even - result!

My experience with astrology is a little the same: not everyone has the same keywords for the third house, for example.  Delving in my books and on-line, I found talk of communication, siblings, travel, and the environment.  I guess communication can be linked to learning, and the environment would connect with our local neighbourhood, but still...

I like this card's connection, though, between learning and neighbourhood. At first, it had me nonplussed.  Then I thought about another huge learning resource - online forums.  These are our virtual neighbourhoods, and certainly somewhere I turn for learning and sharing.  Thanks to a TABI friend (hi, Viv), I have joined a site called Ravelry, and am already learning so much from the people there, too.

I am grateful for learning in all its guises.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Tarot to the Rescue

Maat Tarot
Yesterday, I spent the whole day in business meetings.  The majority of the time we were in a fairly large room - there were fourteen of us in there at some points, as well as a large conference table.  However, the room was originally designed to be the CFO’s office, before being repurposed as a conference room, and the air flow is not up to the job of dealing with fourteen people’s body heat and odours!  Coming back into the room after a quick loo break, it was like being slapped in the face with stale, stinking air - horrible!  And to make matters worse, that sort of stifling atmosphere is very soporific.  I wasn’t the only one struggling to keep their eyes open at some points.

I would love to be able to suggest to them that they get some rock crystal lamps, or an ioniser.  However, I fear that might be seen as awfully new-agey and weird, and this is a very conservative company we’re talking about - a masculine, engineering company, where women are only rarely found in the upper echelons.  Of the fourteen of us in the meetings, I was one of only two women, and we were both “outsiders”, called in for our psychological and sociological understanding of corporate dynamics and individual motivation.  Weird enough, without suggesting anything “peculiar”.

Maat Tarot
Now, falling asleep in an important meeting is a definite no-no, not good for my future contractual prospects!  So, I decided to ask the cards what I could do to help myself out in this situation.  Fortunately, taking a quick peek at my phone wouldn’t be frowned upon, so I pulled up my Maat Tarot app (Julie Cuccia-Watts, 2006) and did a three card action draw. 

For my current situation, I drew the Three of Coins - teamwork.  Spot on :)  For an action to take, I got the Nine of Wands.  In the image we see a woman with a baby in a reed basket.  Julie Cuccia-Watts suggests a need to nurture something over time, and in secret.  I wondered, “what can I do in secret that will help me stay awake?”  What popped into my head was the expression, “I had to pinch myself to make sure I was awake,” normally associated with dreaming.  Still, I thought it a good idea.  And so, every now and again, I pinched myself hard on the arm, under cover of my suit sleeves.  I still have a few marks today, but at least I didn’t fall asleep.  Tarot to the rescue ;D

Weekly reading for 21st April

For the next week I'll be using the Astrology Reading Cards by Alison Chester-Lambert and Richard Crookes (Findhorn Press, 2012).  I decided to start off the week with a three card reading.  Instead of my normal Pathway Spread, though, I'm going with the way the cards are actually meant to be read.  


The deck is made up of 36 cards, twelve each for the Zodiac Signs, Houses and Planets.  The card backs are in different colours for each of the three, so it's very easy to shuffle them all up and then pick one of each type.  Then you put them together and see what the combo says *dramatic flourish*


So, we have Jupiter in the Eleventh House, in the sign of Libra.  Putting this together, there is the suggestion that this week will be a good time for feeling confident in social situations, and being able to create harmony and balance with those around us.  If you've got a party this weekend, looks like you'll be a hit! :)


It also seems a pretty favourable reading for romantic relationships, saying it's a good time to take the plunge.  Whether it's a new relationship or one that's already well-established, be brave and ask for what you really want.  Your wish may well be granted, as you manage to express it well, and perhaps just the sheer chutzpah of asking will be appreciated, too ;)


If you feel the need for some luck work-wise, this is also favourable.  Once again, energy is available to manage any situation with diplomacy, you just need to dare the first step.


This week, then, be courageous.  Trust in yourself and your ability to get what you want from life.  Know that you will be able to express yourself well, and that there is good luck just waiting to be tapped into.


For me, I shall certainly keep my fingers crossed.  Finally back home, I shall ask my Dear One for some us time, and hope that our wish for a child will be granted *crosses fingers*  Also, I have been assigned my supervisor for the term at college, and it's the same guy I had last term.  I wasn't keen then, but I shall trust that I'll be able to deal with him diplomatically on Monday, hopefully setting us up for a fruitful and fairly friendly term... I'll keep you posted!

Happy Families?

We end this week of draws from the Ferret Tarot (Elaine Moertl, 2003) with a Happily Ever After :)

Here, in the Ten of Cups, we see a ferret family, suggesting Mommy, Daddy and Little 'Un.  The parents gaze at one another lovingly, coming in for a family hug, with Junior reaching for Mum from Dad's arms.  There is no suggestion here of trouble in paradise, but in my usual slightly cynical manner, I wonder whether ferrets have multiple litters?  Certainly, the Emperor card earlier in the week suggested they do.  And if so, what has happened to the rest of the litter?  While we may see the sunny side of life, family always has its trials and tribulations, too.

Today, I return to my family.  Even though the trip was only short, I shall be glad to see them again.  It may sometimes feel easier to cope with work than with family issues, but I still wouldn't give them up for the world.

I am grateful for family cuddles.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Ferret Fight

Once again, Elaine Moertl manages to express so much in a simple, black-and-white ink drawing!  Here we have her Devil card, from the Ferret Tarot (2003).

A bat-winged, scrawny black-tailed ferret fights an angel-winged, bushy white-tailed ferret over the head of a ferret who looks on and laughs.  Like cartoon angels and devils telling us what is right and wrong, and shaking their heads in disappointment if we don't follow their advice, this ferret seems to have a decision to make.  We can only guess what choice or temptation is being faced, but there are almost always several sides to any question.

There are sometimes good reasons to follow the guidance of our shadow side.  All work and no play, as the saying goes.  Being overly rigid, disciplined and righteous is not only annoying to others, but can also suck the joy and life from us.  However, always giving in to temptation doesn't lead to a happy life, either, as there are always consequences to our actions.

Today, I'm in business meetings all day.  One of the urges I may have to resist is giving in to boredom.  Arguments that go around and around in circles, between people who've been having a variant of the same argument for the last five years or more.  Fun - not!  I guess I also see the the fact that I will be alone tonight, and may need to channel my energy where I want it, with the temptation to just eat something comforting.

I am grateful for positive channels for my frustration, and for the subtlety of phone tarot apps ;)

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Zinger

Don't you just love the expression on this guy's face!  Meet the Knight of Wands, from Elaine Moertl's Ferret Tarot (2003).

He brandishes his wand with a look of delight on his face, though I'm not convinced he knows quite what to do with it.  I love the little spirals in his soft belly fur, and the way he seems to sway to the side, as though dancing. I imagine him taking part in a hoe down, sliding to the left, delighted to be moving, part of a crowd, partying.  I can just hear him saying: "Wow, this is fun!".

When the music ends, though, he may quickly forget the dance steps, or his partner for the evening.  After all, as Air of Fire he burns both hot and fast.  So, use that energy to your advantage while you can!

I'm off on a business trip again, and could probably do with some of this Knight's energy to get me through the journey.  Or perhaps this is more about what will greet me at the other end - I'm taking the opportunity to meet up with family, including a cousin who has just had a second child.  It's easy to be enthusiastic with a young baby, at least until it's time for them to go back to their own home ;)

I am grateful for any energy I can muster.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Boxed In?

A somewhat strange card today from the Ferret Tarot (Elaine Moertl, 2003).

While this Two of Wands certainly gives the sense of looking out at the world, I find it a little confusing to have three ferrets and no wands in the image.  Still, I like the fact that two of the ferrets are looking out from the safety of a box, looking fairly relaxed, while the ferret on the outside looks somewhat more trepidatious.

This speaks to me of the fact that it is easier to plan something from a position that feels safe.  However, it does raise the question of how realistic our feelings of safety, and our plans, may be.

Certainly, that is one of the main precepts of therapy, creating a safe place from which people can explore their emotions and their options.  Back from holiday, I start seeing clients again today.  The service having moved just a couple of weeks ago, we're still rebuilding that feeling of security.

I am grateful for anything that helps myself and my clients feel secure enough to open up to life.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Ferret Court Couple

A lot of enthusiasm in today's couple, as the Ferret Tarot (Elaine Moertl, 2003) shows us the relationship between the King and Page of Wands.  Using Ali's ideas about how court cards might get on, let's take a look at these two.

The King of Wands is rocking out, doing his/her thing.  S/he keeps busy, and loves what s/he does, always active and enthused.  However, it does mean s/he doesn't always pay much attention to other people.  It's a little ironic, s/he's a people person, others are drawn to his/her charisma and energy, and if s/he turns his/her attention on them s/he will be really there with them.  The rest of the time, though, it's almost as if they don't exist.  S/he is aware of them for what they believe in or do, but may not connect with them at an emotional level.

As for this ferret Page of Wands, s/he is a bit all over the place.  Everything is so interesting, but s/he has little or no focus.  Also, little sense of decorum, subtlety or diplomacy.  S/he gets into everything, and when excited s/he will shout it from the rooftops.  This is another Earth of Fire mix (the opposite of the King of Pentacles), and altogether s/he can be a bit brittle, spread a little too thin.  I see the Page trying to get the King's attention, and s/he may feel hurt at times when s/he doesn't succeed.  

Be it a child/parent, friends, colleagues or lovers relationship, this couple have the potential for a lot of mutual understanding - the King has probably been the Page at another time in their life.  Still, two fire signs together can be a quite combustible combination.  And the difference in their maturity levels may leave them sometimes feeling like the other is from another planet, despite (or perhaps because of) their similarities.  When someone seems so similar, it can be difficult to understand how they can also be so different.

What do you think of this pair?  Do you see them more as parent and child, or some other dynamic?

Authority?

Not a very authoritarian or imposing Emperor this, from the Ferret Tarot (Elaine Moertl, 2003).

With four crying kiddies, he's certainly got his arms full.  Will his rules and boundaries be enough to calm the storm?  How can he impose order on the chaos children bring?  So far, he doesn't seem very confident in his ability to cope.

To me, this card says something about the fact that just telling people what they should do or feel doesn't always (often?) work.  Clear boundaries need to be lived, and maintained.  It also speaks of the caring which the Emperor expresses, sometimes through discipline and structure, sometimes through what he builds and creates.

I certainly feel a bit like this ferret today.  Although I just have the one child, he can certainly be a handful.  Big Boy needs to go to the doctor's again, which has put paid to my plans for the day.  He often enforces a different structure on my day than I would choose.  Still, at least I can ring in the morning and get an appointment on the same day to see someone.

I am grateful for the National Health Service, however flawed.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Drinking Deep

Today, the Ferret Tarot (Elaine Moertl, 2003) entreats us to drink deep of life.

In this version of the Nine of Cups I certainly see the idea of wish fulfillment, and perhaps of feeling rather pleased with yourself.  Life is offering emotional satisfaction, and this ferret is making the most of it.  Grabbing the huge cup with both paws, he glugs down its contents, greedy for all that life can offer.  However, this kind of indulgence has its dangers.  While it's certainly good to enjoy and make the most of what we are offered, too much of a good thing is still too much.

I've been trying to moderate myself, at least in terms of food, and did okay the last couple of days.  Part of that is due to having taken up a new hobby, following the dictum that idle hands are the devil's tools, or at least allow me to reach for the biscuits with far too much ease.  So in this card I see myself drinking deep of the enjoyment of a new hobby, whilst also not giving in to overindulgence of a destructive kind.  Now, let's hope I can keep it up...

I am grateful for a new interest.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Raspberries

What a great card to start this week of draws with Elaine Moertl's character-full Ferret Tarot (Elaine Moertl, 2003)!

I love this cheeky chap, representing so well the smug, I'm-the-King-of-the-castle side of the Five of Swords.  No gracious winner this, he grabs his spoils and blows the losers a raspberry just to add insult to injury. 

Today, I hope to run off with some great ideas and nice bits-and-bobs, but I don't think there will be losers.  I am researching more into some of the projects I have planned, mentioned in yesterday's post on spirituality. 

I am grateful for the joys of the internet, which makes finding out how to do things so much easier than in the past.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Spiritual Path Reading

Yesterday, I was reading a book by a fellow TABI Member - The Fool's Journey, by Kristina Jackson (writing as Kay Darling).  I haven't yet finished it, so I won't review it here, but the point is, it inspired me.  Reading what she wrote about following a spiritual path, I was reminded that this is something I have wanted to focus on more for a while.

So, I decided to do a reading on what I need to know about my spiritual path right now.  As I was on a train coming home, with everything packed but my phone, I used my Legacy of the Divine app (Ciro Marchetti, 2009) and then sent the reading to myself, cropped it, and funkified it.

Where I am now - Three of Wands

What I see in this card is that, currently, my spiritual path is more of a nebulous dream than a reality.  Lately, I haven't been meditating or pathworking, I've rarely done anything with my altar, and despite wanting to do something creative and goddess-oriented, I wasn't sure what.  So, theoretical enthusiasm, but so far it's all bubbles in the air.  This card is a reminder that my ships won't come in if I don't first set sail!
Don't - Three of Cups

My first impression of this was - should I not focus on music?  Recently, the only meditation or prayer I have been doing has been chanting, so giving up on that would reduce my creative, meditative spiritual time pretty much to zero!

However, on consideration I think what it's saying is that my focus should be solitary rather than group-based.  Also, that I shouldn't sing about what is not yet done, shouldn't celebrate anything until there is something tangible, rather than just emotional wishings and musings. 

Do - Four of Swords

What I wrote first for this was: rest up, retreat and meditate.  Those still feel like important things.  In terms of resting up, I'm exhausted at the moment, as Big Boy is quite ill again and had me up changing horrid nappies twice in the night, as well as giving him analgesics three times.  In fact, the nasty nappies have been happening for about three nights, now.  However, that's not the main thing, here.

As for retreat, that fits well with the message of the Three of Cups - these cards could almost be opposites.  And meditation feels important, too.

Vitally, though, I feel there is a message about planning - preparing for what is to come.  I've done a bit of that this morning, and have more in mind.  This also links to my reading on eating earlier this week.  There I drew the Two of Swords to represent what I should aim towards, and I saw it in terms of needing to find two ideas that would balance one another out, and perhaps act as a distraction.

My ideas now, nearly 24 hours after I did the draw, are really coalescing here.  I have plans for something which will work both as a creative, goddess-oriented outlet, and which should also work as a distraction for me at my worst time of day - sitting in front of the TV for the one show a night that my Dear One and I watch.  I wrote in a post a couple of years ago about the terrors of eating in front of the TV, and we now always have our dinner at table without the TV on.  But having a little something sweet afterwards, now that's a different story...  I hope, with this new plan, that will change.  Following on from the last card, though, I won't tell you about my plans until I actually have something to show for them!

Where I'm headed - Nine of Wands

I was a bit surprised when I first saw this card.  Heading towards feeling battle-weary doesn't sound very positive or spiritual!  So, I looked at the card more intuitively.

What I saw then was the idea of being headed towards some sort of self-dedication, of making an offering to the Goddess.  Two of my creative plans can hopefully be achieved in time for Beltane.   And some of my more meditative plans can come together for then, too.  That, then, is my goal, and if things work out there'll be some WIP up-dates, so stay tuned :)

Weekly Vlog Reading for 14th April

The humorous little Ferret Tarot (Elaine Moertl, 2003) shows it's no spiritual light weight in today's video reading.  Though we may poke fun at the need to be moderate in our passions and behaviour, this reading suggests this week it's a priority, not one we should feel duty bound to follow, but one which will help us learn about our deepest needs...

Atalanta

A rather unusual Queen of Swords greets us from the Silenus Tarot (Mike Indovina, 2009).

In the image, all we see is a woman brandishing a sword, chasing after a man who is dropping golden apples.  The story goes that Atalanta's father wanted a son, and when his daughter was born he left her out on a hilltop.  Suckled by a bear, Atalanta grew up to be a fearsome warrior.  She  was also famed for her beauty, but swore herself to be a virgin of Artemis.  After reconciling with her father, he wanted her to marry, but she said she would only wed a man who could beat her in a foot race.  Prospective suitors who failed were put to death!

Finally, Hippomenes asked Aphrodite for her help to win Atalanta, and the Goddess gave him three magical golden apples. With these, he was able to distract Atalanta and win the race.  How things went after that depends on the version of the myth you read.  Some say Atalanta loved her husband deeply, following him into battle with the Argonauts.  Others say that she was warned not to give up her oath of virginity, and so could never consummate her love.  Finally, another version says the young lovers had steamy sex in Aphrodite's temple and the Goddess was unimpressed, turning them into lions, who were believed to only mate with leopards, not each other, and so condemning them to be separated forever.

How does all of this mesh with the Queen of Swords archetype?  Well, I certainly see her as a headstrong woman who has been through a lot emotionally, but is able to find a balance between rationality and feeling, privileging the former without ignoring the latter.  Mike gives the keyword for this Queen as "perception", and I guess I can see her being perceptive, but also raising the question of from which standpoint we base our perceptions.  It's also true that, having been abandoned at a young age by her father, Atalanta would have had plenty of painful emotional experiences from which to develop her brand of tough love and decisiveness, so typical of the Queen of Swords.

This is a reminder to me not to always insist on doing everything myself.  It's something I need to work on, but that I've been doing better with.  Still, my default position is not to trust something unless I've checked or done it myself, which makes for a lot of work and doesn't show the value I place in others.  So, today I vow to allow others to do things for me, and to not check up on what they have done.

I am grateful for the strength, ability and love of those around me.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Midas Touch

The Silenus Tarot (Mike Indovina, 2009) doesn't pull its punches with this card.

At first glance, the image is very reminiscent of the RWS Nine of Cups. A well-fed man sits in front of a table draped in a blue cloth, with ( in this case, and rather annoyingly) seven golden cups on it.  Here, there are also some golden apples and grapes, which become clearer later. 

Some see this as the wish card, but right from the first course I took my teacher asked, what might be hiding under the table?  And a few decks, such as the Maat, or the Ancestral Path (which was my second deck ever), more clearly suggest that we take care with what we wish for.

Here, then, the myth Mike associates with the card is that of King Midas, who wishes for wealth. He is granted his wish, and all he touches turns to gold, which is small comfort when he finds he can no longer eat (gold grapes, anyone?) and he accidentally kills his own daughter!

I see the positive side of this card in my life today.  We are returning home after a week's holiday in France.  While it has had it's good points, I will be grateful to get home to my creature comforts, like wifi I can access from a warm living room rather than a cold and windy garden!

I am grateful for my home, sofa and bed!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Ferret Tarot Review

This week, the deck I've reviewed is a little, black-and-white treasure trove of humour.  The Ferret Tarot, by Elaine Moertl, is into its third print run, and well-deservedly so.  Come and check out what the Sock Wars are all about ;)

Apologies, the link was set incorrectly before.  Clicking on reviewed will now take you to the review *d'oh*

The Minotaur's Labyrinth

Today's card from the Silenus Tarot (Mike Indovina, 2009) is a rather hopeful version of the Devil.

Here we see Theseus about to enter the Minotaur's labyrinth.  The people of Athens had been condemned to send seven youths and maidens to Crete every seven years (or nine, depending on the author).  Theseus, a prince of Athens, stepped in, vowing to kill the Minotaur and rescue the young people who had gone before him.

In the foreground we see Theseus and Ariadne, daughter of King Minos, who had fallen in love with the foreign prince.  She helps him ready for his task with a reel of thread to guide him back out of the labyrinth.  The Minotaur looms on a pillar above them, echoing the traditional position of the Devil.  The Minotaur  is the punishment for the Athenian's hubris.  Theseus, by slaying the Minotaur, releases the burden on his people, perhaps allowing them to own their collective Shadow.  Also, the presence of Ariadne speaks of a kind person, or our own softer side, helping us to overcome our challenges.

All in all, then, I see this card as offering all the interpretations traditionally associated with the Devil.  However, it also explicitly adds the notion that we are freed from addiction, doubt and other shadow aspects when we own and accept them, when we are willing to brave their shadowlands.  This may be helped by a gentle influence, be it internal or someone in our lives, and by being grounded, so we can find our way back to ourselves.

For me, this card reminds me of yesterday's Runway reading, suggesting I be kind to myself, rather than harsh and judgemental, if I sometimes fail in my own goals for healthy eating.  That's not a licence to eat poorly, but rather being compassionate towards myself if I do give in to my chocolate addiction now and again.

I am grateful for support in facing my demons.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Runway to Healthy Eating

The Steampunk Tarot. Text by Barbara Moore,
artwork by Aly Fell. © 2012, Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale
Drive. Woodbury, MN 55125. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the
publisher.
I was reading Rowan Tarot’s blog yesterday and came across this spread, originally from the Mystic Lenormand LWB, called the Runway Spread.  As I’m on holiday with nothing but the wonderful Steampunk Tarot, I used that instead. 

Carla used the spread to look at her path to weight loss and achieving vibrant health.  She chose a Significator and an Outcome card looking through the cards face up, and the three steps to achieve them randomly.  However, part of my problem right now is that I’m not really sure what I want my goal to be.  I would like to lose a little weight, about 3 kilos or half a stone or 6-7 pounds, depending on how you prefer to measure these things ;)  On the other hand, I’m not desperately unhappy with my weight. 

More importantly, I want to feel that I am eating healthily.  Last year I managed, after nearly 40 years of chocaholism, to quit sweets, chocolates, cakes and biscuits for 11 months!  However, since Christmas I’m off the bandwagon.  I’ve managed a few days or weeks without, and I haven’t been overeating the way I sometimes have done in the past, but I’m not entirely happy with it.  Although I didn’t lose much weight last year, my cholesterol levels did drop dramatically, and I felt I had more energy, as well as feeling I was doing my liver good.  (Did you know, eating lots of chocolate can be as bad for your liver as being an alcoholic!)

I’m wondering, though, whether there is a way to achieve a happy medium.  Can I eat sweets sometimes, without going into binges or eating it everyday?  For example, last week I went five days without, but then had a pain au chocolat (we are on holiday in France, after all).  Like AA, that means I have to start my count again from zero.  However, there are studies that suggest that such all-or-nothing methods are highly demotivational - if you’ve “sinned” there’s a certain feeling of, “Well, I may as well make the most of it if I’m being bad” so you’re REALLY bad.  Or “Back to zero, I’m such a loser!” - also not the best for on-going motivation.

So anyway, I’m not sure what I want my goal to be.  Good health, I guess, but that seems a little nebulous - definitely not a SMART goal!  Due to this uncertainty, I decided to let the cards tell me where I am now, and where I should aim towards at the moment, and the three steps that will help me on this path.

Image from Anna K Tarot, as I am not allowed
by Llewellyn to show any more Steampunk images


Where I am - Five of Pentacles

In Barbara Moore’s Steampunk Manual, she talks from the point of view of the woman holding a child’s hand as they both slog through snow.  She hurts more for the suffering of the child than for her own.  This is certainly an important part of where I am now.  As I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago, when Big Boy is unwell, my eating gets worse, and given his medical issues he’s unwell quite a lot :(

Another thing I see here is the idea of feeling hard-done-by.  There’s a bit of me that just wants to be “normal”, to be able to eat things that other people eat.  After all, everyone eats chocolate, right?!  Over Easter, Facebook was full of Happy Chocolate Day messages!

Where I should head - Two of Swords

The first thing that comes to mind here is the idea of getting some balance through having two different ideas to weigh up.  Perhaps balancing between “all” and “nothing”.  It’s a strange card to have as a goal, to be in a stalemate.  However, I guess holding steady in the middle would be quite a good thing for me - not the extreme of chocolate with every meal, nor the extreme of veganism and three hours of exercise daily that was once my regime. 

Another thing I see here, based on Barbara’s interpretation of the card, is that it might be good for me to have a couple of things that so occupy me that I expend all my energy on them, with none left over for thinking about what I am or am not eating.  Not sure how practical that is, as I’ve generally found it is when I’m stressed that I’m most likely to eat unhealthily.  So, they would have to be distractions that occupy me without stressing me...

Finally, I notice the full moon over her head.  For this reading, what this says to me is that I also need to respect the pull of the moon and my cycles - when I last had a big biscuit day, it was my time of month.  So, there are other biometric cycles, or the influence of sleeplessness, which will also affect my cravings.  I need to honour that, and perhaps not beat myself up about it.

Image from the Steele Wizard Tarot
How to get from here to there? - The Magician, Ace of Wands, Knight of Pentacles

The Magician tells me I already have the resources I need to achieve this, I just need to find the will and direction in which to apply them.  For example, just writing this post I realised that I need to set myself a SMART goal, rather than staying so nebulous.  Barbara comments that the Magician makes things seem easy, because of the will invested in spending hours to practice and develop the appropriate skills.  So, this also suggests I need to put some real dedication into this pursuit, be it of healthy eating or of finding distractions.

The Ace of Wands promises me the energy to find that will and direction, and tells me to seize it and use it when it comes.  In the Steampunk version of this card, the base of the wand is an intricate knot work, which transforms via the clockwork of hard work and planning into an organic, living branch with fruit.  This suggests that with this Ace, too, there is an element of planning and determination to create something which can then grow on by itself.

Finally, the Knight of Pentacles reminds me (as other readings have, too) that this is a lifetime’s process, a long, steady slog.  All that Ace of Wands and Magician energy then has to be applied on a day-to-day basis.  It might also suggest that I get the help and support of someone who is practical and grounded.

I notice the total absence of Cups from this reading (not that surprising in a five card draw, but still worth paying attention to).  I think this says that emotion is not my friend here.  Getting over-emotional encourages me to eat badly.  So, I need to stay practical, and logical in order to properly apply my will in this matter.

I like this spread!  Hope you'll let me know if you give it a go :)

Jason and the Clashing Rocks

As I've mentioned before, I find some of the Silenus Tarot (Mike Indovina, 2009) Court Cards a little tricky to understand.  That isn't the case with today's card, though :)

Here we have Jason on his ship the Argo, sailing through the clashing rocks.  These rocks were said to smash together, breaking any ship that tried to pass between them.  However, Jason had been warned by Phineus of the danger, and how to get around it.  Jason released a dove through the rocks, which clashed together just catching the dove's tail feather.  Then the Argonauts raced through the gap as fast as they could, while the rocks were still resetting, getting through with just a slightly splintered stern ornament.  After this, the rocks stopped clashing forever (perhaps they represent the Knight of Wands Rx - getting pouty because they were foiled).

This bit of mythology expresses perfectly my appreciation of the Knight of Wands as someone who is daring and courageous, perhaps a little foolhardy, but with a fair bit of charisma to encourage others to follow his lead.  He may not have the staying power of the King of Wands, but he's still quite a force to be reckoned with!  He can move quickly and decisively, and is also a people person, earning other people's liking and help.

Today, we plan to visit a Chateau here in the Loire Valley.  Doesn't seem an especially brave thing to do, except for the fact that Big Boy is rarely keen on such sight-seeing trips.  And given Big Boy is likely to start grinching after just a short time, I can see us potentially just giving up part way through.  Ah, well, even a bit of culture is better than none at all, right?!

I am grateful that I don't care much about this Chateau, so I won't be disappointed at not seeing much of it... fatalistic, much?

Monday, 9 April 2012

Silenus Court Couple

I'm really enjoying doing this exercise (suggested by Ali at This Game of Thrones) with different decks, when possible.  Each offers such a different perspective.

Today we have the Kings of Swords and Wands, from the Silenus Tarot (Mike Indovina, 2009).  In both of these, the respective Kings are doing battle, fighting for what they feel is important, willing to take on larger than life challenges.  In the King of Swords card, Heracles frees Prometheus from bondage, and Mike gives the meaning: authority and innovative ideas.  Meanwhile, in the King of Wands we see Menelaus (Helen's husband) capturing the sea god, Proteus, in order to receive his advice.  Mike's meaning: wisdom, enthusiasm and growth.

What I see is two wise leaders who do what they think best for their people.  Heracles (King of Swords) uses his smarts to achieve his goals, while Menelaus (King of Wands) uses his strength and enthusiasm to garner wisdom and other traits he may not naturally have.  I think they would get on quite well, able to appreciate each other's strengths, and make the most of them.  They might simply use each other for their own purposes, at least at the outset.  Still, their common goal - good and wise leadership - might well lead them to be friends in time.  They might always have a bit of a battle about who's in charge in any given situation, and I can just hear the kind of bragging competitions they might get into: "Did you hear about the time I..."

Although Air and Fire are complementary, they can be quite explosive together, and that's certainly something I see here.  As a couple, I can imagine some quite passionate fights, and even the make-up sex might involve a battle to see who goes on top ;)