Thursday, 31 May 2012

Two Lists for Life

©Holly DeFount
Recently, I read an article in the Harvard Business Review, and I really liked a lot of what it had to say.  In particular, the author suggested making two lists as a road map for life: a focus list and an ignore list.

For the focus list, his questions were: What are you trying to achieve? What makes you happy? What's important to you?

For the ignore list, he asked: What are you willing not to achieve? What doesn't make you happy? What's not important to you? What gets in the way?

I thought, this would make an excellent two card draw to do each day (or whenever feels relevant).  As ever, no sooner thought than done (with my much loved Incidental Tarot): "Make it so, Mr. Data" ;)

1)  Where should my focus be today?  Two of Quills (Two of Swords)

What I see here is the fact that I have a lot on my plate: a to-do list that seems to go on forever, that feels like it's enough for two people!  And that only has two things ticked off so far.  This feels more like what is important, and what I am trying to achieve, rather than what will make me happy :(   Though I guess there will be a sense of achievement when I get the list finished...

2)  What should I ignore today?  The Arrow Key (Ace of Wands)

Today I need to ignore the siren call of new projects and passions, no matter how lovely and how close to my heart.  They might make me happy in the short term, but I would also be beating myself up about not completing the things I really need to do.  Perhaps less of what isn't important to me here, and more of what gets in the way...

Next, of course, is the question of how I put this into practice.  Knowing what I should ignore is different from actually ignoring it... ;)

Metatron

Archangels grace the Majors of the Angel Tarot Cards (Hay House, 2012), and today we encounter Metatron.

Riding in a red chariot engraved in purple and green, a green and red robed male figure with enormous white wings speeds over a misty cityscape.  His chariot is drawn by two dramatic, prancing horses - one pure white, the other darkest black.  The key phrases match well with traditional interpretations of this card, and what I also get from the image is the idea of going your own way: he flies above the city, rather than following a road laid by someone else.  Something which this deck adds is the name of Metatron, an archangel to call upon if these characteristics are something you want to draw on.  It can be helpful to have a name and an image to attach intentions to, which the Majors of this deck very obviously provide.

I think I will need his self-discipline today, to make sure I finish up a client verbatim I need to present and use for my end of term paper.  So, no Facebook, and no blog reading!  At least until it's done :D


I  am grateful for my computer, which speeds up so many tasks.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Angel Tarot Cards Video Review

Having gotten to know this deck a bit more, I decided to post a video review.  This is especially for people who are interested in knowing how this "100% safe, gentle and trustworthy" deck deals with cards like the Devil and the Tower ;D  I also talk about some of my gripes, and give examples of where I think the deck works.

I've mixed up which text forms I use depending on what seemed to fit the content and time frame best, but I'm not sure if it makes the video seem like a bit of a mish-mash - would be interested in any comments.

So, to take a look at the Angel Tarot Cards (Hay House, 2012) in full HD, click here.

Mutual Support

I think the Angel Tarot Cards (Hay House, 2012) are playing with me!  For the third day in a row, I'm faced with an Air/Swords card.  And not just any Air card, either: first the Nine, then the Five, and now the Three.  Nightmares, defeat and heartache!  Certainly, the deck seems to want to explore how "safe and gentle" it is :D

The image on this card seems more cute than sorrowful.  Two white adult unicorns stand together, and a little brown foal leans up against them. Only the defensive watchfulness of the adults, and the shadows that are cast across the group hint that all may not be well.  However, when we read the key phrases, a more forthright picture appears.  Great sadness, the need for time to heal and for forgiveness are all there. 

I suppose this shows that a painful image is far more in-your-face than words: the picture is gentle, and open to a variety of interpretations; while the words are more subtle in their influence, but more direct in their approach, and truer to traditional interpretations.  If you want to face the heartache you can, or else just stay with the image. 

And yet, having read the text I cannot fail to see the defensive postures, the shadows, and the murky brownness of the background.  Gentle, maybe, but the bite is still there.

For me, what I see in this card today is the need to pull together as a family, to deal with our sadness.  Yesterday, we had to have one of our two cats put to sleep, as he had a brain tumour.  We had been warned about it a few months ago, but over the last few weeks he deteriorated shockingly.  My Dear One, in particular, could do with hearing that he should forgive himself - he wasn't happy and shouted rather a lot when the cat started going to the toilet all round the house, including on his cycling gear! 



I am grateful for the chance to give and receive loving hugs.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Unicorn Disagreements

Another card of the suit of Air today from the Angel Tarot Cards (Hay House, 2012).

This time we have five unicorns, horned heads pointing in towards one another as though they might fight.  I base that on the fact that their heads look too close together to just chat - they're in one another's faces!  Also, the unicorn that looks towards us seems to have flared nostrils, as though angry and breathing hard.  Plus it fits better with both traditional interpretations and with the key phrases - at least "an unwise choice" and "review everyone's motives".  Even these, it must be said, are more upbeat than "feeling defeated" or "a lose-lose situation", which would be other possible phrases for this generally inauspicious card ;)  I like, though, the suggestion to "learn what you can from this situation".  Something that could be said for every card of the tarot, perhaps, but it does suggest the challenging nature of the Five of Air (Swords).

I really hope there isn't too much of this in my day today!  Perhaps it suggests some office politics when I go in to see clients.  Having merged with/been taken over by another charity, there is a bit of vying for position going on.  It could also suggest I watch my words when I speak with my supervisor, though I can't really see it.  He's such a sweetie, even if I said something inopportune he would just take it as a teaching opportunity :)  Which I guess fits with the learning motif...

I am grateful for the opportunities to learn that life offers.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Crafty Weekend

A while back I started knitting again, after more than two decades, and not having been very proficient in the first place.  My next challenge to myself in the craftiness stakes was to learn to crochet!  I love the look of it - just a single hook and your hands, it somehow seems more "natural" to me.  However, time being what it is, I had done no more than skim a couple of "beginners" books. 

This weekend, though, I determined that I needed to make some flowers (long story).  I bought a magnetic flower painting kit, with the results you can see.  Yep, I can't paint for toffee, either, but it was quite fun to do. 

I also thought: why not make this my first crochet project?  I looked in the books I had and found three different flower patterns, but came smack up against the issue that I just don't understand patterns yet.  It's like I have a vague idea what ss, tc, dc, htc, and ch all mean, but when put with numbers and rounds and such I simply feel confusion. 

Being the double Gemini that I am, and despite my MIL making a comment that I had managed my tarot bags without a pattern only because they are little more than rectangles anyway, I decided that at the very least I would learn a bit more about crochet by giving it a go!  And these were my results.  From left to right, they are in the order in which I crocheted them.  I wonder whether it was beginners luck, but I think my favourites were my first and last :D  The last obviously being the more planned of the two, and having experimented with several techniques in between.

So, I still can't claim to read a crochet pattern, but I do have a better understanding of how several stitches work, and can crochet in the round ;)  Probably still need to experiment some more before trying a pattern, but I can hear a beanie calling me...

Peacock Dragon

Today, the Angel Tarot Cards (Hay House, 2012) show us a Court card - the King of Fire (Wands).

Riding calmly atop a huge dragon with peacock-like feathers, this King exudes strength and confidence.  I also see fire, drive and an eye for beauty here.  However, I'm not sure about some of the key phrases - I associate the King of Swords more with communication.  Then again, it's true that I see the King of Wands as being about vision, charisma and leadership, which are also here.

On the principle that a Court card is related to his or her steed, this card makes me wonder: is the King of Fire a bit of a peacock?  Certainly, charisma doesn't require good looks, but can make us feel attracted to someone even without them.

The only thing I really don't like about this card (in fact, it's a quibble I have with a number of cards) is the fact that this character was also seen on the Two of Fire.  Likewise, "Michael" on the Emperor card, is also on another Major and a Court card - and doesn't even get a change of wardrobe, which at least this guy did!

I definitely don't see myself in today's card!  I'm feeling far too bleurgh to inspire myself or anyone else - mainly tiredness, and I really need a few days of calm.  In many ways, I see my Dear One in this King (though he sees himself as being softer, more Queen of Wands).  Perhaps today he will take charge of something that has been hanging over us for a while...

I am grateful for a partner who can be strong and gentle.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Do Unicorns Have Nightmares?

In the Angel Tarot Cards (Hay House, 2012) by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine, the suits are renamed for the elements, and each suit is represented by a particular magical creature.  So, Wands become Fire, and show Dragons; Cups become Water, with Mermaids; Swords become Air, with Unicorns as their creature; and Pentacles become Earth, represented by Fairies.

Today's card, the Nine of Air, is traditionally the Nine of Swords and shows a female figure, head in hands, wakeful through the night, or with nightmares hovering around her.  In this "safe and gentle" deck, we see instead nine unicorns, with the central one wakeful while his/her companions sleep.  I rather like the key phrases given.  Although they don't actually mention the words "nightmare" or "worry", that sense is definitely there.  This is where, although the deck is "safe and gentle", it still expresses traditional meanings well, and doesn't pull its punches - "expecting the worst" followed by "self-fulfilling prophecies" still puts the emphasis firmly on the querent to own their part in the "sleepless nights."

Yesterday I was worrying about today, but this card reminds me that expecting the worst never helps.  So, I shall try to purify my thoughts with meditation to try not to create my own self-fulfilling prophecy :)

I am grateful for meditation and the possibility of a nap - everything looks better after some sleep.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Weekly Vlog Reading for 26th May

This week, as you've already seen, I'm using the Doreen Virtue Angel Tarot Cards (Hay House, 2012).  It's been a hectic week, so I'm a little later than usual posting this reading, but I hope it's still timely.  I like the very positive feel to this reading: a week where we need to use our wit and empathy to tune into others and plan a more positive future, drawing on the past but without getting sucked back into it :)  To see the whole reading, please click here.

Tree Creature

This week I'll be drawing from the rather controversial Doreen Virtue, Radleigh Valentine and Steve A. Roberts Angel Tarot Cards (Hay House, 2012).  This deck is sold as being "100% safe, gentle and trustworthy!", which strikes me as pretty silly - life is never 100% safe and gentle, so why should something which reflects life be?  Nevertheless, I think the deck itself is better than the advertising, so here goes :)

While the text follows traditional RWS interpretations, the imagery is rather different.  A magical tree creature with seven crystal balls containing the image of a beautiful blonde seems to wave his branches.  At the base of the tree, a fairy with gossamer, multi-coloured wings stands, looking towards it.  Is she there to harvest the crystal balls?  Is that her image they contain?  Will she have to wait for the balls to float free of the tree on their own?  While the hardwork aspect isn't apparent, the idea of waiting for a harvest is possibly there.

As for me, today I guess I see "a temporary pause in action".  My MIL is coming over, so I won't have much time to myself.  In fact, this whole week has rushed by in a blur, and I've felt like I had little time for much of anything.  I hope next week will be calmer!

I am grateful for the promise of a harvest of quiet time in the future.

Friday, 25 May 2012

The Hanged Woman

We end this week of draws from the Manga Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2006) with a Major, renamed to match the gender change it illustrates.

Far from traditional imagery, here we have a naked woman doing a handstand on a rock, beneath a waterfall.  The colours are fabulous, but I have to admit the card itself makes me feel rather nervous.  While she looks athletic and calm, I can't help feeling she must surely drown with the water pouring down over her.  Yet, though it splashes down against her feet, the water doesn't seem to touch the rest of her.  Perhaps, as long as she can hold this pose, her own feet are deflecting the water, allowing her to be washed clean and to see the world through the prism of the waterfall, without suffering ill effects from it.  In that, I can see traditional ideas of a change in perspective, and a willing sacrifice made for the potential to learn.

Today my mum is coming to visit, to see Big Boy, and me and my Dear One, too.  She often offers me a very different perspective on things, so perhaps that is what this card indicates.  As for sacrifices, at the moment I feel more as though I am sacrificing my time to work, without the opportunity for growth and leaning which I might have if I were able to read, journal, meditate...  Perhaps the energy of this card is reversed for me today, or perhaps I just need to work harder to see the learning available in what I have to do :)

I am grateful for the reminder that every situation in life offers us the potential to learn and grow.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Priests Together

In the Manga Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2006), there has been a conscious choice to reverse the genders of the characters on all the cards in comparison to the RWS deck.  So here, on Major II, we meet the Priest instead of the High Priestess.  Nevertheless, I still get a distinctly Hierophant-like feeling from him.

However, there is also a big difference, perhaps a softness to him compared to traditional Hierophants.  Retaining the idea of institutional power and tradition, he seems not so much to wield it himself, but rather to focus on passing along both knowledge and power.  Instead of acolytes below an officiating priest, here a young man bows his knee to receive a crown from an older figure.  There is deference and reverence, but also a transfer of power.  It might also be that the young man is a king, being invested with spiritual authority by the Priest.  Either way, though, there is more of a balance here, not a rigid "I'm the boss of you" approach.

Today, I return home from my business trip, but I don't feel like either of these characters.  I certainly haven't been given a promotion, and nor have I taught anyone else anything.  Perhaps, though, I am a little wiser for seeing the power machinations going on around me.  I'm not very "political" when it comes to work, but that certainly puts me in the minority!

I am grateful not to have to play office politics too often!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Interview with Doreen Virtue's Angel Tarot

Starting on Saturday, I will be drawing from Doreen Virtue's recently released Angel Tarot (Hay House, 2012).  Before that, though, I decided to ask the deck how we would get on, and what the angels would bring me.

This deck has been getting quite a bit of bad press in the tarot community, based largely on it being sold as a "gentle and safe" tarot.  I have to agree, I don't like the concept.  Life isn't gentle and safe, so why should a tool which helps us understand and deal with it be?  Still, I have been pleasantly impressed with the cards.  The artwork is often vibrant and fantastical, and the key phrases are surprisingly useful and, although gently phrased, don't avoid or side-step difficulties.

Anyhow, given the suits are renamed for the elements, rather than Wands etc, I decided an Elemental Spread would be the best approach:

1) Fire - What will you help me burn away?  Eight of Fire

It seems this deck will help me burn away my need for speed ;)  With these cards I will be able to slow down, to focus on just one thing at a time.  Often I feel I have to multi-task, to do everything and be everywhere.  However, that isn't always a helpful or do-able approach to take.  So, a bit of downtime, a friend to help remind me what is really important, sounds like a good thing.

2) Water - How will you help me purify myself?  Queen of Fire

I also like the fact that there are keywords for the Court cards, as well as explanatory phrases.  This would definitely be useful for someone new to the tarot (and hey, don't we all baulk at the Courts on occasion?).

Here, then, we meet the Queen of Fire.  In terms of purifying myself, this lady will be happy to remind me that I am strong, that I can wash away my doubts and fears to connect more fully with my creativity and independence.

3) Air - What will you teach me about discernment?  Two of Fire

I will help you move forward by reminding you that two heads are better than one.  I can act as your second, pointing out aspects and perspectives you may sometimes forget, and also encourage you to seek help and connect with others when appropriate.  Burning through the twaddle, I will help you discern the true seeds or centre of any issue.

4)  Earth - How will you help me connect with nature?  Eight of Earth

I can help you connect with nature by reminding you that most anything can be done in nature - you don't just have to go outside for walks or to get somewhere, but can take a book and read outside.  I also encourage you to learn directly from nature, studying the seasons, tuning in to the different elements and how they interact.  You can connect with spirit through nature, and connect with nature through spirit.  All that is needed is to put in the time!

5) Spirit - What is your overarching spiritual message?  XVIII - The Moon

My overarching spiritual message is that it is through plumbing one's own depths, as well as through melding both "civilised" and "wild" aspects of the self, that the deepest learning occurs.  Fear is natural, but can hamper our growth if we let it stop us exploring, so visualise yourself cleansed of fear, and move forward bravely, no matter the uncertainty of the path.  I am always here to help shed light on where to go.

6) Quintessence - 8+13+2+8+18 = 49 → 13/4 Death/Emperor

At heart, I'm all about transformation.  Although I may provide a more structured, secure approach than other decks, that doesn't change the fact that I talk about endings, and how to move on.

I will help with a logical assessment of where you are, and how best to move forward.  In that sense, I am always positive and upbeat, not denying that change is hard, but always encouraging you to release what is no longer growth full and determinedly seek the next step.

Generosity

©Ricardo Minetti & Anna Lazzarini
Today's card from the Manga Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2006) is somewhat non-traditional, adding an interesting new perspective.

Instead of a man dispensing alms to those in need, here we have a well-dressed woman interacting with people dressed in rags, with faces covered.  I get the sense of sleeper community, shunned by others. Yet here is this woman, not only going among them, but even taking off a glove to touch a man, offering the gift of human kindness. 

This card reminds us that generosity and charity come not only in the form of money, but perhaps more especially in what we dedicate our time and energy to.  Also, perhaps, in whether we are willing to see the human in the other, rather than just the neediness.

As I write this, I am sitting on a train, and across from me is a man, drunk at 11:15 am on a work day.  A part of me feels I should show him compassion, as this  woman does with the lepers.  He is talking to anyone and no-one, sometimes seeming almost normal, other times swearing violently, always making pointed comments about those around him (myself included), or others in the news.  I feel empathy towards him, and wonder what has brought him to this situation.  Yet I am also frightened of him, frightened to open up to him in any way, even to catch his eye or acknowledge his ranting. 

I volunteer for a charity, and generally think of myself as a quite compassionate person, but alcoholism is one of my weak spots.  My father was an alcoholic, and I find it incredibly difficult to deal with people who are drunk.  I am sure there is an aspect where he is just doing the best he can, within his situation, even if from the outside it seems self-destructive and aggressive.  Yet I cannot take that step to talk with him, validate his experience, offer him that human kindness.

I am grateful for the reminder that I still have room to grow as a human being.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Falconer

©Ricardo Minetti & Anna Lazzarini
In today's card from the Manga Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2006), the swapping of genders compared to the Rider-Waite-Smith is very apparent.

A man stands in a forest, with leaves and pentacles blowing all around.  On his left arm is a hooded falcon, and in the other hand a bunch of grapes.  He wears a green robe, loosely belted by a yellow sash, and his black hair blows in the wind.  Other than the fact that he is rather gorgeous, I am struck by the fact that the wind is such a strong factor in this card, which would seem more appropriate to the suit of swords.  While the grapes suggest abundance, the fact that the pentacles are blowing around in a rather dangerous fashion does not speak of calm or prosperity.  Rather, I fear he might be beheaded by one of the flying metal disks!  Still, he seems calm in the face of this danger, perhaps certain of his own quick reflexes, honed by years of training.

This is a card I normally adore - that sense of female independence that has been hard-earned appeals to me on many levels.  Swapping the genders around is, at first glance, disappointing.  Yet, looking deeper at the card, it brings up questions of how men may also feel the need for that supportive sense of their own worth - something it can be easy to forget as a woman in what sometimes seems a very male-centric world.  A good reminder, then, that anyone can benefit from being reminded of all they have achieved, or empowered to go out and do what they really want to :)

I am grateful for the reminder that, male, female or anything betwixt and between, we can all benefit from feeling worthwhile.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Golden Angel

©Ricardo Minetti & Anna Lazzarini
Today's card from the Manga Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2006) has a rather different perspective from the traditional.

Here we see a golden-winged, feminine angel with a sword.   She looks intent as she flies from left to right - moving towards the future.  She has a pink body cuirass, protection overlaying her enlightened nature.   There is no sign of humans, rising out of graves or otherwise.  However, we look up at the angel from below, as though we are seeing her flying above us, leading the charge into a new day.  She is not focused on us, on judging us, but on where to go next.  Perhaps she is encouraging us to join her...

Yesterday, before my godchild's christening, I meditated on Judgement.  For me, it is often a card of hearing a calling, and responding to your higher self.  There is an aspect of speaking your truth, and yet what I see here is more about acting from that truth, that higher self.  Certainly, during the christening, I acted from my conscience, without doing or saying anything obvious.  I found a way to speak the words asked of me without feeling they were lies, and of balancing up some of what disturbed me with my own words and images.  It made me think about how staying with our own spiritual truth doesn't have to interfere with someone else's spiritual truth - I feel no need to evangelise!

I am grateful for both the strength and the gentleness of my beliefs.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Broken Sword

©Ricardo Minetti & Anna Lazzarini
Another Court card greets us today from the Manga Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2006).

I adore this Queen of Swords!  Just look at those swooshing robes in blending tones of communicative blue, emblazoned with flowers and butterflies :)  I'm not sure what to make of her strange, five-pointed headdress: could it be an Asian version of the Pentagram?  In her hands a broken sword: she does not put absolute truth ahead of human compassion, and wields her discernment with kindness rather than a heavy hand.  She is able to communicate harmoniously, and works towards positive transformation for herself and others.

I guess, ill-dignified I might interpret that broken sword as her not standing by her own truth, or shattering other people's ideas with the harshness of her comments, or not being able to handle the truth.

Today, I am going to do my official christening duty for a new god(dess) child.  I am glad to say that the father, a friend from University, has said he's happy for me to talk to his daughter about alternative spiritual beliefs as and when the time is right.  In return, today I must officially renounce evil in a church ceremony.  Not too hard ;D  I feel that I can stand by my own truth here - I do renounce evil - and that I will be able to communicate honestly with my goddaughter when she is old enough to decide for herself.

I am grateful for friends who appreciate my honesty and difference.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Sea of Emotions

©Ricardo Minetti & Anna Lazzarini
This week, I will be drawing from the Manga Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2006) by Riccardo Minetti and Anna Lazzarini.

This first draw was done totally randomly, but fortuitously it gives us a direct comparison with last week's Magic Manga Tarot (AGM Müller, 2008). Here we meet the King of Cups, and I personally prefer this version.  He doesn't seem like a child, for one thing!  Besides, I like the fact that, with bubbles floating up around him, he seems entirely immersed in his element.  He does not fear emotion, nor sulk and pout about it, instead drinking deep of life.  On the negative side, ill-dignified or reversed, he may have a tendency to drown his sorrows in alcohol or other pursuits designed to mask emotions.

As for me, after a couple of days this week when I gave in to chocolate cravings, I see here encouragement to explore the emotions that led to that, and deal with them more appropriately!

I am grateful for pathworking as a means to explore and understand my emotions.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Weekly Vlog Reading for 19th May

This week I'll be using the Manga Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2006), so I decided to do a three card reading with it.  I think it's the first time that a reading has been all of one suit!  Anyhow, looks like a time to be practical, loyal to ourselves, to let family get on with their own thing, and to maybe pamper ourselves a little in celebration of a job well done, and in preparation for more work to come :)  To see the video, just click here!

Cutting Through

We end this week drawing from the Magic Manga Tarot (AGM Müller, 2008)  with the Six of Swords.

Once again, this card does not obviously speak to traditional meanings of movement to a calmer place, the need to leave old thought patterns behind, or conversely to learn from the past and apply knowledge to a new situation.  Here, a man with a sword held high has his back to us.  We cannot see what foe he faces, where he is going, or where he has been.  All we know is that he feels the need to have his sword ready to hand.  Perhaps he is cutting through a forest of incomprehension, allowing himself to move into a clearer space - that chimes with traditional ideas. On the other hand, he could be startling at shadows, plagued by invisible ghosts.

Today I see a client, and so I hope that it is clearing through the debris of the past to move towards a brighter future that is indicated here.

I am grateful for the chance to help someone move forward.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Magical Clarity

Another King greets us today from the Magic Manga Tarot (AGM Müller, 2008).

This one is more kingly in my eyes, though still youthful in appearance. He wields his sword with a more regal air, crossed over his heart, and looks at us straight on, unflinching . The red of his crown suggests that his thoughts are focused on practical matters, that he is connected to ancestral knowledge. The pink diamonds on his cloak imply a certain inner softness, which may not often be apparent. It is this compassion which he sometimes fights against, wanting to be seen as strong and decisive, hence his coving of his heart with the unsheathed blade of his sword, symbol of his sharp mind.

This King is one I would call on when decisions must be made, strategies planned, and when we cannot give in to our softer emotions, but must maintain a certain detached objectivity.  I often see him as a doctor, scientist, politician or judge.  Equally, though, we can call on these traits if, for example, we need to take a child to the doctor and stay calm and focused as we discuss what is happening and what is needed.

This isn't a card I would often associate with seeing my therapist. However, after a couple of very emotional weeks, perhaps it is time to calmly see where all this emotion has left me, to assess what has changed, and what still needs work...

I am grateful for clarity of vision and calm.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Manga Tarot Video Review

As I promised in a comment about the Magic Manga Tarot (AGM Müller, 2008), starting on Saturday I will be drawing from the Manga Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2006).  This is a deck I absolutely adore!  So, I thought I'd do a video review of it to show the images for anyone who might be tempted, and to talk about some of the reasons I like it so much :)  Check the video out here.

Wimpy King

Today we meet one of the Court cards from the Magic Manga Tarot (AGM Müller, 2008).  They are all pretty young things, which doesn't necessarily thrill me.

For example, this King of Cups is rather wimpy looking, in my eyes.  A bit of a foppish dandy, who looks somewhat disgruntled with life.  He doesn't yell "King" to me - he could just as easily be the Page!  He lounges on a seat, cup in hand, looking moodily up at us, with a draped white shirt and cravat, a blue waistcoat, and turquoise trousers.  Really, he's a bit of a drip!

So, perhaps he encapsulates some of the more negative traits of the King of Cups.  Moody, sulky, getting caught up in his emotions and washed away by them, and unable to act because of it.  That does sound more Page of Cups-ish, actually, but I think the King, with his slightly rigid and controlling approach to emotion, can end up in that place, too, in bad conditions.

A warning, then, to beware of being too rigid, and ending up bad-tempered.  My mum is coming over for a visit this afternoon, and I wonder whether this card is a warning about Big Boy becoming overwhelmed with too much attention...

I am grateful that emotions aren't always cause for poutiness.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Love At First Flight

©Holly DeFount - Sun, Blue Buddha, Awakening
Well, today's card of the day, the Two of Cups, was most appropriate!  I am totally in love with Indoor Skydiving, and can't wait to do it again.  My personal reading with the Incidental Tarot (Holly DeFount, 2012) was also really accurate.

In the morning, I didn't have time for my daily meditation, which I have done religiously for the last three weeks - hence "don't do" the Blue Buddha (the Hermit).


As for the rest, this has been a day full of metaphorical sunshine (though meteorological hail!).  It was such fun driving up to where the Indoor Skydiving chamber was, and body-flying for the first time.  My Dear One and I were there with just one other person who was also flying for the first time.  We all watched an introductory video, then had a talk from the instructor.  After suiting up in bodysuits, goggles, earplugs (it's noisy!) and helmets, we went up to the chamber, and got to watch some more advanced people practising and learning new skills.  Then it was our turn :D

Our official package gave us 2 one-minute "flights", but we all opted to have extra - the two men had another one each, and I had two as I was just loving it!  Although we hadn't had it spelled out at the start, there was a checklist of 10 things that we might possibly do in this first session, of which the other guy managed 4 (just about), my Dear One managed 5 (with some panache), and I did 8!  Already on my second flight the instructor showed me how to exit the chamber by myself - flying out of the room - and on my third he showed me how to enter by myself.  On the fourth flight he would tap a cross on one of the four main walls, at one of three different heights, and I then manoeuvered to it to high five it, and finally him - six in a minute!

This was such an eye-opener.  I imagine most people have had dreams where they fly, and everyone I've heard has always loved these.  I feel like I have awakened from a dream to find it was real.  It was such an amazing feeling, and I can see it could be addictive.  It takes quite a bit of body awareness and control - I'm sure my twenty one years of yoga stood me in good stead!  At the end our instructor did a mini-demo of the kind of flight you can achieve - it was stunning.  So, here is my certificate, and you can bet I'll be going again!

Ablutions

For a change of pace after yesterday's Tower, today the Magic Manga Tarot (AGM Müller, 2008) offers us what is often seen as one of the nicest cards in the deck: the Two of Cups.

This version of the card is not, perhaps, quite as sweet and romantic as some.  Instead of a couple facing each other, gazing into one another's eyes, we have a woman looking a little surprised as a man comes up from behind her, peering round her privacy screen as she performs her morning ablutions (yeah, something about the image makes my vocabulary go all old-fashioned).

For me, though, this does capture some of the nervousness of new love, or the start of any new relationship.  We want to be seen well, fear the other catching us in something we find embarassing, yet also want to share with the other, to know them and be known.

Today I'm full of nervous breathlessness, not with young love, but rather because I'm going to be doing something I have long wanted to do, yet which is a little scary.  My Dear One was given an Indoor Skydiving Experience as a Christmas present, and today is the day!  I used to want to go parachuting, but realising the very real dangers I was dissuaded.  However, this indoor variety is meant to be very safe.  Although we won't be flying through cloud, the feeling of weightlessness and wind through my hair should be the same.  Wish me luck :)

I am grateful for the excitement of the new.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Lightning

Ah, the Tower, my old friend.  The Magic Manga Tarot (AGM Müller, 2008) may be a very pretty deck, but that doesn't make it gentle or "safe" ;D

A grey building with stairs spiralling up the outside of it is, at the top, a toga-wearing male figure with flowing curls.  His mouth is open, as though crying out in pain or anger, as lightning strikes him and he shatters and crumbles.  Already his arms have been cleaved from his body, falling away, and a deep crack reverberates down to his very foundations.

With this card a quote (from Dylan Thomas) comes to my mind: "Do not go gente into that good night!"  He seems to fight, to try to flee the lightning.  Yet how can a building flee?  Its very solidity, which before may have felt like a protection, which is his identity, is now what binds him to the spot to suffer the agony of destruction.

I quiver when I see this card. What will be destroyed today? And how will I face life under these new circumstances?  Today is my day at college, and I have to present to the supervision group.  I wonder if I will gain some insight from the feedback which will totally alter my perspective, or just encourage me to feel I should be doing something different.  Yeah, ok, my confidence isn't great right now, I'm not feeling enthusiastic and I worry I'm on the wrong path, and not good enough.  May have to get back to you all on this one...

I am grateful for the potential for growth found in every challenge.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Love Potion Number Nine

Today, with the Three of Cups,  we see the more non-traditional side of the Magic Manga Tarot (AGM Müller, 2008).

A very buxom maid, with a heart on her hat and a love potion in her hand, bursts out of her lace-trimmed, elegantly draped dress.  She looks provocatively towards us through long eyelashes, past a beauty spot that highlights her large, wide eyes.  I see nothing here of the traditional meanings of (female) friendship or celebration.  Unless it's some kind of Viagra-induced celebration, with her as the welcoming gift!

In that sense, I guess this card could be a reminder that sometimes we need to carve out space in our busy days for love and passion, and that the truest gift we can give is our own time, energy and devotion.

Today I will make time for love!  Hopefully, both for play and cuddles with Big Boy, and for snuggles with my Dear One . Now that sounds like a good plan for this sunny Sunday ;)

I am grateful for the love around me, and in my heart.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Carriage

This week I will be drawing from the Magic Manga Tarot (AGM Müller, 2008).  This is a somewhat non-traditional deck.  Although it seems largely RWS inspired, the pips in particular have quite different takes on the cards.  Should be fun!

For this first draw we have the Chariot, which has a rather Victorian feel to it - more of a carriage than a chariot :)  From the coachman to the carriage, from the lanterns that fly along with the carriages breakneck speed to the lamppost dividing the card, all have an old fashioned feel to them. 

As for the horses, black and white, the polarity is strong in this image. They seem almost cut in half by a lamppost or wand, as though they are emerging from a singularity. They try to charge in opposite directions: perhaps they cannot exist together, only by separating from the other as much as possible. Yet the driver holds the reins to both, and appears quite calm, focused on moving directly forward, though the carriage beneath him seems as though it may buckle under the strain.

I get a real sense of harnessing violently opposed forces from this card, yet of doing it with panache.  Personal drive is strong, as is the will to move forward, to achieve. Nothing will stop this figure, for while the energies he harnesses are wild, they are also very strong.

For me, I feel more like I cling on when forces swirl and pull me around.  Yet today I do need focus, and maybe it is that alone which makes the difference between being dragged along and actually directing ourselves. The application of will.  Okay, I'll give it my all.

I am grateful for the reminder to apply my focused intent as I choose.

Post-dict: Yay, got my presentation finished! It took quite a bit of effort to rein in my desire to do other, more fun, stuff, but I kept the image of the Chariot in my mind to help me persevere - gotta love the tarot ;)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Weekly Vlog Reading for 12th May

This week I'm using the Magic Manga Tarot (AGM Müller, 2008) with artwork by Viviane.  Yep, like Madonna, or now Cheryl, it's just the one name ;D  It's a very "pretty" deck, a little non-traditional, but still reads really well, I think.  This week looks like a bit of a toughie, with things not going to plan and possibly being haunted by past relationships.  Still, if we use our smarts, I'm sure we'll make it through :)

Tribal Queen

Another of the Wands Court visits us this Friday from the Sun and Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2010).

The Queen of Wands reminds me of Beyonce in tribal dress: sensual, passionate, strong and challenging.  This woman holds a burning wand high, casting light around her, illuminating the dark with her focused flame.  No tame domestic cat by her side; instead it is a cheetah, fastest animal on the planet.  I recently saw two cheetahs in a wildlife park, and they are amazingly sleek and powerful, totally beautiful!  Deadly, too, though that stays well-hidden. 

The Queen of Wands also covers her fierce strength with bonhomie: she is sociable and fun, but beware if you cross her as she may turn on you with claws bared.  She lights up the room when she comes in, and has the determination to see things through.  Her focus  is often on others and how she can support them rather than on how she can manage and control them, which would be more the King's domain.  However, she may well want things done her way, even if they are for someone else.  Still, if she takes up a project, her own or someone else's, she will give it her all.

This is a great card for a Friday: the Queen of Wands certainly knows how to party ;)  She will also help see us through the work day: if there are any projects that need finishing up, she offers us the energy to make that last push so we can go into the weekend with a clear conscience.

I need some of that drive today - my presentation for Monday is still unfinished, and I won't have much time over the weekend *eek*

I am grateful for drive and focus.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Stripey Princess

Despite being a fully illustrated pip deck, the Thoth influences on the Sun and Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2010)  are perhaps most apparent in the Court Cards.  The Kings are youthful-looking and ride horses, the Pages are Princesses, and some of Lady Frieda Harris' perspective and symbolism is maintained.

That is certainly the case with today's card, the Princess of Wands.  Standing atop a pillar of flame, and with a stripey tiger wending its way around, the most "Sun and Moon" part of the aesthetic of this card is provided by her striped stockings :)  With great enthusiasm she holds aloft a red, five-petaled flower, or perhaps one of those mini-windmills, which would certainly spin fast in the updraft from the fire.  She is alive with potential, reaching for the stars, fierce and playful.  She could yet fall from her podium, but we have to marvel at her courage in climbing it in the first place.

I feel the need for some of this young woman's bravery today, to face my therapy session.  Last week was incredibly emotional and cathartic in a good way, but exhausting, too.  And I know I'm not done with what was begun.  So, a gentle kick up the backside from a stripey foot will help me buck up and face my demons ;)

I am grateful for a spoonful of fierceness as required.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Comparative Reading

Comparing card meanings and visuals is nothing new.  After all, that's part of what I do by using a different deck every week, and what was done on the Comparative Tarot forum for years, and with the Comparative Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2003).  Recently, though, I've been thinking about the nuances that can come from looking at the same reading as a whole, through two different decks.  This week, I decided to give it a go, with the Sun and Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2010) and the Incidental Tarot (Holly DeFount, 2012).

So, I did a three card reading, Pathway Spread, and then interpreted each depending on the deck.  I didn't purposely make the readings different, but I did them on separate days, and without referring to the other. 
Incidental Tarot (Holly De Fount, 2012)

Now - The Oak King, Don't - Five of Arrows, Do - The World

It's a time when we're called on to act maturely, for the good of all those to whom we bear responsibility, to ensure that everyone is well at a physical level.  Practicality comes to the fore, and duty, though there is also room to enjoy the physical pleasures of life.

We must avoid explosive disputes, and being too focused on one thing to see what is around us.  Being at crosspurposes with others will serve no useful function.  The advice is to tread lightly, to work towards a sense of completion and fulfillment that includes others, rather than battles against them.

Sun and Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2010)

Now - King of Pentacles, Don't - Five of Wands, Do - The Universe

The situation is one which calls for a calm, steady approach.  This King of Pentacles suggests the need for (re)connecting with nature, for being loyal and steadfast.  Allowing others their time and space is a part of that.

The cards suggest we should avoid conflict, or even seemingly productive competition. Instaed, this is a time for seeing that we are complete within ourselves, and expressing that through finishing up projects and making healthy choices.  Yoga would be a good choice, whatever the question ;D
 
I found this a very interesting exercise.  The readings, though similar, were also really quite different.  It makes me think just how important it is to choose a deck for a given reading or querent.  You can also do this exercise to get another perspective if a reading has you a bit stymied.  Why not give it a go?

Chill-Out

The Sun and Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2010) has a very laid back feel to it today.

A figure rests atop four swords, balancing perfectly calmly like an extreme bed-of-nails yogi.  I love the huge, blue sky, suggesting the vast potential of the mind, and the possibility of deep, all-encompassing calm.  I imagine lying there, feeling as though I was floating in clouds, warmed by the sun, rocked by the breeze, at peace.

I am reminded by this card that taking some calm time, even during the most hectic of days, does not require a full vipasana retreat, or a spa day.  We can achieve this with some calm breaths and a few moments of meditation.  Though, of course, if you can take longer and do something amazingly relaxing, pampering and/or meditative, then all the better.  Most of us live in the world, which goes at a breakneck pace and demands a lot of us.  And so we need these moments to prepare us for the rest of our life.

That is certainly something I shall try to incorporate into my day - some meditation, and perhaps some yoga.  I have a presentation to prepare for next week, but I'm sure it will be all the better for me coming to it from a place of relaxation :)

I am grateful for meditation.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Cool Lady

Today, the High Priestess from the Sun and Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2010) flaunts her stuff.

She is rather more in-your-face and raunchy than most versions of this archetype.  She stands, hip-cocked, between two large pillars, a hand on each, and her feet rising up from foamy waters.  In front of her is a book on a tripod, and in the background are palm trees silhouetted by the light of a crescent moon.  Her dress is elegant, if rather diaphonous - she's showing plenty of leg!  She also wears a crescent moon tiara in her hair.

I have to say, this super-elegant High Priestess seems more Hollywood than deep Mysteries.  Still, I like the way that her hands on the pillars suggest a communing with the wisdom of ages.  Her actually standing in water emphasises her connection with the unconscious.  And the crescent moon and starry sky suggest her connection with the Goddess and the idea of being guided by the divine.

What I take from this is the suggestion to listen to my intuition today with clients, but also to stay connected with the underlying principles of the discipline.  I may have to negotiate choppy emotions, my own and/or those of others, and a calm, steady approach will probably work best.  Now, to go put that into effect...

I am grateful for the inner whispers that keep me on track.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Knit Giveaway Results

Last week, with the successful completion of my first knitting project in at least 25 years, I decided to run a knitting giveaway.  Today, I am happy to announce the winner, and also that I have completed my second project!

So, I used Mat Hayward's randomiser (came up first in my google search), and input numbers for everyone who commented last week.  After just a single click, a winner had been chosen...




But first, I have to show off my latest project :) 

I remembered to photo it before sewing it up this time :)

The finished product :D

I think it came out really quite nicely, certainly better than the first, which shows I'm learning: always a good thing.  For this one I had a greater variety of needles to choose from, which helped.  The first stretch was a bit too loose, in part as the needles were a little large for the yarn, I think.  After that, it tightened up quite nicely.  I also had a little trouble with the loop for the button, which was smoother than the last, but a bit too long :(  Ah, well, can't have everything, right? 

Anyhow, now the bit you've all really been waiting for ;)  The winner is...

✰✰✰ VioletteKitty504 ✰✰✰

Congratulations, Krysten, and I'll PM you on Facebook for your address :)

Drowning In Creativity

Today's card from the Sun and Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2010) is an interesting one.  At first glance, it seems to owe allegiance to no-one.  Although the title is the same as in Crowley's Thoth, visually the image is extremely different from the slime-dripping cups painted by Lady Frieda Harris.  It doesn't reflect the RWS tradition of cups with different things peeping out of them, either.

Here, a couple seem to tread water in a sea where seven cups float down towards the seabed, trailing bubbles.  Quite unlike the RWS, it seems more as though their choices are slipping away from them, rather than having too many.  It also doesn't seem overtly debauched: they are both fully dressed (which isn't true of all the denizens of this deck), although wrapped in a passionate embrace.  However, they are so caught up in one another that they pay no heed to the sinking cups, locked in their own little world of all-consuming emotions, with only their heads just above water.  Perhaps this is the debauchery - being blind to everything else because of the intoxicating emotions in us.

On the more positive side, I see this card suggesting being really passionate about something, willing to immerse yourself in it.  The crescent moon suggests that this focus will allow something to grow.

For myself, I can imagine plunging into some creative pursuits today, things that engage my emotions.  I guess that might also be seen as being a bit debauched, when I should be focusing on paperwork.  Ah well...

I am grateful for creative ideas and the time to pursue them.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Juggling

The Sun and Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2010), takes a quite modern-feeling approach to the tarot archetypes.  The lack of faces on the people at first struck me as strange, but actually it leaves their emotions more open to interpretation.  And body language also speaks loudly!

Here, in the Five of Wands, we see two people with five wands between them.  Similar to all the Wands cards, the sky is black, the earth is brown, and there are flames in the foreground.  I rather like the keyword "strife", with its connotations of conflict whether in the form of a quarrel or a fight.  And yet, it takes co-operation to hold a stick between two others the way they are doing with the top most stave.  So, there is some agreement and some disagreement - it isn't an out-and-out battle.  Then again, friends can hurt us far more deeply than strangers.  I notice, too, the way that their clothes echo one another - a yellow top on one side, yellow trousers on the other, and red trim on one t-shirt, red stripes on the other.  An interplay of similarity and difference, and which makes them more likely to fight?

I imagine the strife today may be between what Big Boy wants to do and what myself and my Dear One want.  Big Boy is interested in cars, trucks, buses, motorbikes, fire engines... you get the picture.  Whereas we'd rather go for a walk on the local heath, surrounded by green.  Still, we'd also rather not deal with a tantrumming child, so I'm guessing a walk along the High Street may well be in our future.  There may also be something about juggling what my Dear One and I each wants, and whether it feels like a battle to both get our needs met...

I am grateful for a bit of give and take, even if it may take some negotiating.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Puppet On A String

This week I will be drawing from the Sun and Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2010).  Although I've had this gorgeous deck since it was published, I've not used it on the blog, except for a spread I designed at the TABI Conference 2010 :)  So, about bloomin' time!

For this first draw I pulled the Eight of Swords, titled "interference".  I have to say, I considered trimming these titles off in the scanning process, as I don't much like them.  Still, sometimes keywords do act as a trigger for something, so I left them on.

Just looking at this card, the song "Puppet On A String" comes to mind (no, I wasn't born when it came out!)  In the song, it is love that controls her, though a rather unhealthy, dependent love.  What I more often see in this card is being controlled by our ideas, and in this case these are not necessarily even our own ideas, but ones that have been drummed into us (by parents or society), or imposed on us from above.

Today, I still have more filing to do, and there's definitely a feeling that it's something I do because I've been told I must.  My Dear One suggested just binning things which I probably will never need and could ask for a copy of.  It's so daring I may just do it!

I am grateful for new perspectives.