Saturday, 30 June 2012

The God of Fire

©Nozedar & Sutton
The ever thoughtful and generous Alison Cross, after writing an interesting and useful post on the unusual Court cards in the Secret Language of Birds (SLB) Tarot (Schiffer, 2012), was kind enough to send me the deck to feed my addiction ;D Thank you, Ali!

It took me a while to decide which deck to pair it with.  I wanted something in some way related, like an animal deck, but preferred not to use a deck I'd blogged with before.  Then I thought the fact of having semi-illustrated pips is a major feature in choosing an appropriate match, as is the fact that the Courts are Queen, King, God and Goddess.  And so I finally landed on the Haindl Tarot (U.S. Games, 1990).  It's not a deck I've gotten on with much before, but I notice that I'm changing in my appreciation of, and how I read, decks.  Time to give it a go...

For this first daily draw, I pulled XIII Bastoni, or the God of Wands in the Secret Language of Birds, traditionally the King of Wands, and in the Haindl the Father of Wands in the East (Haindl states his Courts are ordered Son, Daughter, Father, Mother).  Despite the familial names, all Haindl's Courts are associated with deities (another reason these decks seemed a good match), and here we see Brahma.

The SLB God of Wands is handsome and young, looking up at the stars as he embraces a Hindu firebird, the Gandaberunda.  Flames shoot up behind him limning his crown in burning red, indicating his "passion, inspiration and spiritual knowledge".  I also see in this card an ability to reinvent yourself: to look to the stars for guidance and then move towards your dreams.

©Hermann Haindl
Haindl's Brahma sits in front of a fire.  He has four faces that blend into one another, with five eyes, four noses and four mouths.  He also has four hands, one holding a parchment, another a censor, a third holds a wand in the flames before him, and the last is in a prayer mudra.  He wears a white loin cloth and a golden cape, as well as an enormous crown.

For me, this card speaks more of wisdom and authority than the SLB God.  Still, the emphasis on spiritual connection is still clearly there: all he does is related to the gods, and reminds me that the Hindu Brahmin class are the priests of society.

Taking time to connect to the divine, in whatever form that takes for you, is the message of the day, then.  For me, this is an encouragement to meditate, but also to enjoy being outside in nature.  Although I will spend a good part of the day outside, I'm not sure how much I'll be focused on nature, as we are having a picnic today with about fifteen people, and lots of kids! 

I am grateful for the many ways to feel divinely alive.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Glide or Splash

©Beth Wilder
For this last day comparing the Twilight Realm (Schiffer, 2007) and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007), another Swords card takes its turn.  The Six of Swords is generally one of the less troublesome ones, let’s see if that holds true here.

In the Twilight Realm, a woman sits in a boat that seems to glide of its own accord across the still waters.  She sits with one hand on the side of the boat, and her right resting on the hilt of a sword that is point down in front of her.  It almost looks as though she is using it to steer by, as she moves smoothly away from a jagged coastline littered with swords.  On the opposite side of the water are more jagged peaks, but with green light shining from them, suggesting life-giving truths.  The woman, however, appears to be sailing away into the open water between these two shores, out into the unknown where the waters are calm but dark.  Stars shine brightly in the sky, and the woman seems calm and determined, clear and focused.

My sense is one of leaving behind ideas that no longer serve us, or communications that do not feel helpful.  Taking with us a single, guiding focus, we can move towards something better.  What it is may not yet be clear, but we trust in the guidance of the universe to take us safely where we need to go.

©Nathalie Hertz
The Faerie Tarot feels a little less clear, it must be said.  Two figures (a man and a woman?) sit in a green boat with a strange raised section at the back which may act as a shelter from the worst of the weather.  They leave behind a cold and snowy landscape, but their journey looks like it’s starting to get bumpy.  The figure with its back to us wears royal purple and a gold circlet around his brow, while the woman wears an orange dress with a red collar and a red pattern of seven-pointed faery stars.  She has small, golden wings, a blue stone held by a black cord at the top of her forehead, and purple pom-poms in her long, golden hair. The six swords of the title hang in the air around them.

Based on the colours, green for new growth and regeneration, orange for sexuality and status, and purple for wisdom, they are making a new start, trying to prove themselves.  However, it feels like they have neither left old ideas behind, nor incorporated them enough to use them for their journey.  Perhaps that is why the waters around them are turning choppy - too many unprocessed thoughts.  Or perhaps the swords represent messages from other people flying around, muddying the waters (to twist the metaphor slightly). 

This card makes me think that we need to be clear on what to take with us and what to leave behind when embarking on a new start.  Otherwise, we may run into trouble once we are already too far to turn back.  Our desire to move forward must be supported by the wisdom to understand the past but also look to the future.

As for me, I hope this card bodes well for me moving on today.  I just need to finish my last essay, and then that's it, studies over (at least for the moment).  Although this isn't a card of creativity, perhaps I can use ideas from the past to move me forward...

I am grateful that this is the last essay I ever have to write, though I may choose to write more.


Thursday, 28 June 2012

Heart of Faerie Giveaway

A few weeks ago, I received the Heart of Faerie Oracle (Abrams Books, 2010) a 68-card deck with beautiful artwork by Brian Froud and a companion book by his wife, Wendy Froud.  The kit comes in a nice box, and the companion book is a hardback, with tinted scans of the cards.  However, when I pulled out the inner box, it looked a bit squashed.  Worse yet, the first card of the deck was ripped!

Based on past experiences, good and bad, I decided to contact the publishers in the hope of getting a replacement card sent out.  Emailing the American mother company did me no good, but I persevered, found a number for their European distribution arm, and phoned.  The nice lady said they'd send me out a replacement right away.  About a week later, it arrived - a whole new set!

So, I now have this lovely boxed set, with a single ripped card.  I decided that I would offer it here, to anyone who is willing to accept a damaged set.  I will cover the postage to anywhere in the world, all you have to do is comment on this post :)  If there's more than one taker, I'll do a random draw next Thursday.

If you want to see some more images, a fellow blog hopper, Kerry, posted with it here, and Kiki, the Tarot Dame, reviewed it here.

The companion book

The squashed inner packaging

The ripped card :(

Rear view of the ripped card

Bright Spark

©Beth Wilder
Another Court Card comes to visit from the Twilight Realm (Schiffer, 2007) and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007).  This time it is the Knight of Wands who comes to light our way.

The Twilight Realm Prince (Knight) of Wands has extremely pointed ears emerging from his flowing brown locks.  He seems to look out at us from the corner of his eye, checking whether we are watching what he’s up to.  He wears a green tunic, colour of new life and growth, with diamond patterns of various colours around the neck and upper arm, and under this he wears a red-brown shirt, colour of passion and enthusiasm.  In his right hand he holds a quite delicate wand with a small, diamond-shaped crystal glowing brightly at the tip.

He seems a bit of a showman to me: checking if we’re impressed by his magical display.  He acts confident and cheeky, glancing at us from the corner of his eye.  And though his will does light the way, showing his energy in the wand, he holds it quite delicately still, perhaps not as experienced as he would have us believe.

©Nathalie Hertz
As for the Faerie Tarot Knight of Wands, he sits astride a dun-coloured horse with a blond mane and blue tack.  He, too, wears a green tunic, though this time with a yellow cape with red trim, indicative of enlightenment that is firmly grounded.  He also wears a purple shirt and trousers, suggestive of wisdom, with brown boots, connecting him to the earth.  On his head is a helmet with a sharp point topped with a red dot, and his pointed ears peek through his long, dark hair.  His wings give off bright white sparkles, while his wand gives off red sparkles to match the red fruit within green leaves topping the wooden staff.  His horse carries him through an autumnal landscape, with the sun low in the sky behind him.

To me, he seems somewhat weary, though his steed looks calm but interested.  Yet the sparkles around his wings and wand suggest he does have plenty of energy at his disposal.  Perhaps he just hasn’t yet decided where to channel it.  This can certainly be a problem for the Knight of Wands; full of enthusiasm, but without a clear goal, so his energy may be dissipated along the way, with little to show for it.  The sun behind this Knight appears to me to be setting (though perhaps on another day I would see the sunrise here), which suggests he may have already expended much energy.  His clothing makes me think he may be a little wiser than some brash young knights, so perhaps he is tired after a hard day, leaving behind a job well done.

After several days of feeling exhausted, I'm hoping this card bodes well for having a bit more energy today.  I have my last ever essay to write by tomorrow, so I'll need a bit of a boost!

I am grateful for creative energy.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Going Loony

©Beth Wilder
Today, the Twilight Realm (Schiffer, 2007) and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007) offer us the opportunity to get moonstruck ;)

In the Twilight Realm, two ethereal, grey, female figures peer up at the moon from inside grey veils.  They are surrounded, almost enveloped, by verdant leaves, and one of them has some white flowers with her inside the veil.  On the one hand, the veils seem almost as though they could be made of the women’s own hair, while on the other they seem rather like cobwebs - insubstantial, yet effective to trap the one caught by them.  The moon which shines down on them is full, but with three dark shadows like a screaming face. 

Overall, the effect is one of being trapped in a somewhat nightmarish situation.  It makes me think of being stuck in a dream, unable to get out, lacking control, and with nothing as it seems or as it should be.

©Nathalie Hertz
The Faerie Tarot’s depiction couldn’t be more different.  A smiling moon looks down from a purple-tinged sky on a calm lake.  The lake is bordered by verdant banks with friendly yellow flowers gaily waving their heads.  The light of the moon forms a clear path across the water.  I like that there are more moons, both waxing, waning, happy and sad, around the card’s border: it gives the sense of cycles and change.

My feeling with this card is one of deep emotions, but that our dreams can give us a path to navigate those emotions.  Things may take time, we may not always be happy, but overall there is a feeling of purpose and hope here.

I've been having quite strange dreams, lately.  I can't say exactly what they were about, as I am almost always woken by Big Boy, so I never have the chance to write them down when I first get up.  One last night included my stepmother in a wheel chair (which she isn't), which reminded me I need to contact her...

I am grateful for the wisdom of dreams, both big and small.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Bagpipes

A very strange pair greet us in this comparative draw with the Twilight Realm (Schiffer, 2007) and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007).  Two versions of the Page of Swords, yet very different, and somewhat challenging to traditional ideas of the card, too.

The Twilight Page is fairly “normal” - a young,  probably male figure holding a sword, which he seems to caress with his rather pink-tipped nails.  He looks at the sword as though assessing its heft and sharpness, still getting to know this weapon.  His clothes are elegant - a pleated, bright white shirt, a deep red over tunic, and a gold and red-jewelled chain across his chest.  A young noble, then, learning the crafts of war, strategy and arms, not yet experienced, but willing to learn.

The Faerie Tarot Page, on the other hand, is a rather amusing, pot-bellied little chap.  His beard is grey, suggesting age, his nose is red (too fond of faerie wine, perhaps?) and he stands in a snow-clad landscape playing bagpipes.  His clothing is rather florid - a purple cape with orange and pink patterns, a lilac skirt, orange leggings, a red shirt, and a brown hood.  Even his bagpipes are bright - green and red checks - and his wings are turquoise with purple markings and black tips.  Behind him, a sword stands, tip down, in the snow, while above him five birds fly high up in the air. 

He seems a far cry from the normal idea of Pages as being young and inexperienced, but perhaps this is to remind us that the important part is to be young at heart?  Or maybe he is just starting to learn to play the bagpipes (so raucous that he has been banished to the countryside, with only birds to scare with his croaking, groaning sounds), and so, though old, he is starting fresh in this regard?  Or could it be that his age is a faerie glamour, just to confuse us?

Learning something new, in either case, can be seen, though other interpretations are certainly possible.  If I did not look at his title, I could imagine the Faerie Page of Swords as a chirpy reaper, playing a death knell on his instrument.  The Twilight Page also has a rather macabre bent to him: “Is this a dagger I see before me?”  Or maybe that’s just me... ;)

This guy came up in my video reading on Saturday, and communication, or miscommunication, has certainly been a bit of a theme for the week.  I hope this card simply suggests I can learn something new today, perhaps from my client work, rather than meaning that I may suffer another bout of "foot-in-mouth" syndrome!

I am grateful for the times I think before speaking, and say what I mean.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Foxy Lady

Here, in this third comparative draw with the Twilight Realm (Schiffer, 2007) and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007), we meet the warm and passionate Queen of Wands. 

The Twilight Realm’s Queen of Wands faces us calmly, her red hair shining in the light of the wand held to her right.  On her left arm, a crow or raven (help me out here, folks) sits, glancing back at us over its shoulder.  Her shirt is a red-brown colour that echoes her hair tone, while she wears a green cape or shawl draped over it.  A grounded passion that moves her to action, bringing growth and life.  The black bird suggests a connection with the divine, receiving messages from spirit, and getting perspective.  It is through these that she becomes clear about her purpose, channeling her energy creatively.

As for the Faerie Tarot’s version, she is rather more foxy!  She wears a green, sleeveless dress with paler green trim and a belt to highlight her narrow waist.  She has a blue cape falling alluringly off one shoulder, and behind her are faery wings dotted with red, and red flowers adorning her hair.  To her right walks a red fox, with a jaunty white-tipped tail with a black stripe.  Her long hair flows around her, a subtle warm shade of red-brown.  The trees in the background are leafless and brown, yet to her left is a wand bearing green leaves and red fruit - close to her, new life blossoms.

To me, the Faerie rendition implies greater sensuality, and perhaps a native cunning, rather than a more spiritual bent.  Still, in both cards there is the emphasis on life and new growth.  I like the fact that both have the Queen accompanied by an animal guide - after all, one of the strongest qualities of faeries is their connection to nature.

I'm feeling back to my regular, sunny self again today - hurrah!  This morning my Dear One and I are going to Big Boy's bi-annual school review, so I shall try to be calm and purposeful, as well creative in responding to the suggestions of the professionals involved in his care.

I am grateful for practical focus.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

At The Sharp End

Today, another swords card greets us from Twilight Realm: A Tarot of Faery (Schiffer, 2007) and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007).  The Ten of Swords is rarely a pretty card, and that holds true for both of these versions.

In the Twilight Realm, we see a battlefield scene of death and destruction.  Corpses are littered about, all with deep, blood-red gaping wounds.  They lie on rolling hills that are brown and barren, watched over by a crimson sky.  Overhead, a skeletal faery flies with a red banner, proclaiming the victory of death over life.  Certainly, the card is heavy on drama, and “takes no prisoners.”

The Faerie Tarot, on the other hand, shows a single, blonde faery woman huddled down with her arms wrapped around herself, and tears streaming down her face.  Two blades pin her cloak to the ground, while eight more loom over her threateningly.  Her cloak looks like a night sky, with an indigo background illuminated by stars, and a couple of verdant green swatches to either side of her.  She wears a dress of lilac, with purple patterning.  One interpretation that springs to mind is of a “lady of the night” under attack from harsh tongues.  So, the death is one of her reputation, or maybe her livelihood, rather than necessarily of her body.

A situation that risks wounding, then, be it of body, reputation, or emotions.  Yet, the absolute drama of each card, in different ways, does beg the question of whether the situation is really as bad as it is painted.  After all, the end of the swords pips simply makes way for the beginning of another suit.  Unless there is actual physical death (and even then if you believe in an after life or reincarnation), there will always be something new to follow any destruction.  And who knows, the next go round may be a bit smoother...

I hope this card finally heralds the end of the pain and miscommunication that have been dogging my life for the last couple of weeks  - enough already.  A clean death and a new beginning are called for...

I am grateful for the reminder that there are no winners in a battle to the death.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Weekly Vlog Reading for 23rd June

This week, I decided to use Twilight Realm: A Tarot of Faery (Schiffer, 2007) for my video reading.  Changing things up, I also decided to interpret the cards two different ways: as a relationship reading, and as a work reading.  The cards suggest it might be a tricky week in terms of relationship communication (or is that just me), but a good week for new ideas at work.  Want to see the whole reading?  Click here :)

Communication

©Beth Wilder
This week, I want to try a variation of last week’s comparative draws.  This time, though, it isn’t two versions of the same deck (given there aren’t that many of those around, though I may pull some others out), but rather two decks of the same genre.  In this case, faery tarots.  The two decks for this week are Twilight Realm: A Tarot of Faery (Schiffer, 2007) by Beth Wilder, and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007) by Nathalie Hertz.

For this first draw, the Three of Swords rears its ugly head.  In the Twilight Realm we see a dragon jealously guarding its treasure, a pile so large we can barely make out individual items as they merge into a sea of gold.  Meanwhile, another dragon flies off into the night, in the sky beyond the cave mouth.  Has the main dragon we see chosen treasure over love?  And which of the two will end up more heartbroken in the long run?

©Nathalie Hertz
The Faerie Tarot, on the other hand, offers us a pretty, blonde faery who seems to have been gathering wood.  She looks downcast, though.  Is it because she has to complete this task alone, with no companion to  make the time pass faster?  Did she maybe have a boon companion, who is no longer with her for some reason?  Her dress is pink, colour of romantic love, while her sleeves are red, colour of passion, and her shawl is purple, colour of wisdom and royalty.  I read her as seeming romantic and demure, yet sometimes her actions reveal her depth of emotion which, in her wisdom, she may try to keep under wraps.

Interestingly, despite being very different, in both of these I see the idea of regret for actions which have distanced us from a loved one.  Being the suit of swords, the suggestion might be to try communicating to resolve the issue.

Hmm, second time the Three of Swords has shown up for me in the last seven days, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised, as at least one of the heartaches I was aware of continues unabated.  I shall take my own advice, and try communicating to resolve the issue!  Wish me luck *crosses fingers*

I am grateful for the help of therapy to process my emotions so I can speak about them without attacking the other.  (Not that I always manage this, but writing it will hopefully help manifest it!)

Friday, 22 June 2012

Masquerade Ball

For this last draw comparing the Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004) and the Gilded Tarot Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012), we have a great card for a Friday :)

On both cards, three woman strut their stuff above three cups.  The top two cups pour their contents into the third, which overflows into the endless body of water around it.  As for the women, they seem almost ecstatic.

The Royale shows the women in red, blue and orange, each with matching ribbons flowing out around her, a matching mask-cum-headdress, and matching ballet shoes.  Sparkling trails highlight the flow of their movements, which seem balletic: legs held high; arms out flung; full of energy, but also a feeling of precision.  They could be a troupe practising for a performance: enjoying the dance, the emotions depicted, but still with control, with awareness.

I can well imagine interpreting this card as being about emotional support from a group of work colleagues, or people who share a common interest.  There's fun to be had, but it doesn't feel debauched or wild.

©Ciro Marchetti
The Gilded, on the other hand, shows the women in green, red and blue dresses, and both green and red ribbons float around all three of them.  Their faces are uncovered, and their feet are bare.  Sparkles twinkle around one hand of each of the three, and they are closer together, dancing in a single space, rather than each taking up her own area.  This has more of a party feel to it: less planned; more spontaneous; with the magic that comes from being completely in the moment!

This definitely feels like a great Friday night out with friends, of the kind I haven't had in a long time!  Would I still enjoy that kind of party?  Maybe it would depend on the company :)

The Royale feels closer to my experience of socialising these days - a lot of fun, supportive and interesting.  Today, this could be my mother coming to visit - we share a lot of common interests, as well as being family.  Conversation with her is always stimulating, but it's not a party.

I am grateful for the reminder of what it's like to party like there's no tomorrow.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

White Dove

The Ace of Swords flies into view today, from the Gilded Tarot Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012) and the original Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004).

In theRoyale, a sword with two blue jewels in its pommel floats with its blade pointed down at a slight angle to the right, while its sheath floats behind it pointed slightly to the left.  Two golden chains dangle from the sheath, with Ciro's initials hanging from them.  The incorporation of his initials into all the cards is a new element in this revisioned version of the deck (have you spotted them everyday so far?)  Behind the sword and sheath, a white dove is caught mid-flight.

A blue thread seems to tie a purple and indigo ribbon to the sword's hilt, and written on it in orange is "A bon droit".  This translates as by right, lawfully, or with good reason.  For example, in the tale of King Arthur pulling Excalibur from the stone, these words may have been used in some versions to say that whomever pulled the sword from the stone would be the rightful King.

This card suggests to me a new idea, and that with good reason we should take it up.  In modern terms, you've had a thought, at it's a doozy :D  The dove, with the connection to messages both mundane and spiritual, implies communication.  Perhaps a time to say something straight up, but in a way that will keep the peace?

In the Gilded, the two main differences are the lack of dove, and the fact that the floating ribbon is longer, plain blue, and with no writing on it.  The way the ribbon flows suggests movement, and blue is the colour of the throat chakra, also linking it to communication.  The new idea or communication is still there, in a simpler (purer?) form.

What new thought will present itself today?  Perhaps it is something I will read on the Tarot Blog Hop, which published this morning on thirty five blogs from around the world!  Also, I head home this morning from my trip, and see my therapist in the afternoon - often a source of new ideas, both interesting and challenging.

I am grateful for new inspiration.

Celebrate the Sunrise

Image from English Heritage
Welcome to the Summer Solstice round of the Tarot Blog Hop!  If you found your way here from US Games' site, you will already have experienced some card-based delights.  If not, you could hop back that way, or check out who's next at the bottom of this post.  And if you're feeling a bit lost, there's a master list of all the stops on this journey here.

Today, at Stonehenge and around the country, people gather to celebrate the sunrise on this, the longest day of the year.  In part, this celebration is also a goodbye - from here on out the days get ever shorter until we reach the Winter solstice.  This is part of the cycle of the seasons, the way the world turns.  Thinking about it, I feel drawn to acknowledge the power of change.

And so, for this Midsummer Blog Hop, I decided to do a short-but-sweet "Last Hurrah" spread on what is ending and how to celebrate it.  Once again, I'm using the Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011) as it so perfectly fits this theme :)

©Maria Caratti and Antonella Platano
1)  What in my life deserves a last hurrah?  Princess of Pentacles

Huh!  Although the coin counting doesn't chime much with me, this Princess with writing quill in hand does make me think about studying.  And in just a couple of weeks I finish the last term of my Masters in Psychotherapy and Counselling.  This being the Princess of Pentacles, rather than Swords, also makes sense as a lot of the course is practical, and in fact the "academic" part ended last December - since then I have been focused on my client work and the studying around that.

I've been so busy thinking about what will come after this, that I probably haven't taken the time to actually appreciate what ending this part of my journey means. So, perhaps now is the time to start planning a party to celebrate the end of this part of my life and training.  Anyone for a picnic? :)

©Maria Caratti and Antonella Platano
2)  How can I best celebrate it?  IV - The Emperor

After the party, though, and the end of term, my work as a counsellor won't just stop.  So, I can best celebrate the end of my Masters by realising that, from now on, I will have to set my own boundaries, and create my own structures to support my continued learning and practice.

This week in class, we discussed how to set up in private practice, and that is definitely an Emperor-type pursuit.  I'm not sure I quite feel prepared for it yet, but it's definitely the direction I'm heading in.  This card confirms that, and tells me I'd better get my business head on!

I hope you'll let me know if you give this Last Hurrah Spread a whirl.  And do carry on round the Blog Hop trail: the next hop will take you to Rowan Tarot's up-lifting blog :)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Winged Blindfold

Interesting, we've had mainly pips, and lots of small numbers at that, so far this week.  That continues today, with the Two of Swords from the Gilded Tarot(Llewellyn, 2004) and her younger (and prettier? What do you think?) sister, the Gilded Tarot Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012).

In the Royale, a woman's face emerges from clouds above a bright, full moon over which two swords cross.  Two feathered wings cover her eyes like a blindfold, joined at the third eye by a blue, diamond-shaped jewel and two smaller stones.  The sky around her is tinged with purple, and even her hair and skin tone seem to reflect it.

The feathered blindfold reminds me of Maat weighing up people's hearts against a feather, suggesting karmic justice.  The fact that the blindfold is connected with a blue stone at the third eye point speaks of seeing with truthful clarity that pierces the superficial, perceiving through psychic vision.  The moon emphasises this connection with the deeper flow of reality and with psychic understanding.  The purple tone of the card suggests that this way lies wisdom.

The main message, then, might be one of taking time to assess the situation from all angles, looking beyond the obvious, before trying to make a decision.

Comparing this with the original Gilded, what first strikes me is the change in the blindfold.  In this version, it is a glowing golden band that seems to float in a ring around her head.  While I think this was attempting the same sense of deep illumination as the more modern version, what it often makes me think of is 1980's disco dress and music videos (but maybe that's just me).  In that sense, I often have quite a lively soundtrack going on when I get this card ;)

The moon is less obvious in this version, not being picked out with reflected light at the top as in the Royale.  Also, the overall tinge of the card is turquoise, more suggestive of healing than of wisdom.  Here, then, I get the message that time is needed to heal before a decision can be made.

For me, the Royale's message feels more relevant today.  I have several business meetings to attend, based on which I need to make some investment recommendations.  Tough choices in these hard times.  So, I shall try to look beyond the posturing and the numbers, and sense the emotions of the main players...

I am grateful not to be alone in these decisions.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Pierside

For this fourth comparative draw with the original Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004) and the Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012), another Wands card comes to call.

In the Royale, a man stands on a brick pier, looking out at a ship riding the calm waters in front of him.  Above, two seagulls fly, while a third sits to his left, and a rat scurries past his right foot.  He wears a green cape with purple trim and a gold embroidered pattern above the hem, coupled with a purple hat.  The sky above the ship also glows purple in the twilight. 

This card is often seen as one where effort has been made in a project, and now things are in motion, but perhaps not quite so under our control as they were at the outset.

Other than much greater detail in the man's clothing, and less ornateness in both the ship and the wands, the two things that most strike me between the original and the Royale versions of this card are the animals close to the man and the more constructed nature of his environment. 

Having one (exquisitely detailed) seagull by his side, suggests something around keeping an eye on your projects, even after you have sent them out into the world.  Keeping tabs on things, rather than passively waiting... 

The rat makes me think about the small details that can bring a project down, gnawed to destruction from the inside or through "minor" issues.  Similarly, there is the saying, "Like rats leaving a sinking ship".  These creatures have a strong survival instinct, so the rat being on land, rather than on the boat, may not bode well for the project - it all depends on what catches our eye in a given reading.  

Finally, the man-made environment suggests a rather more professional approach to a project, with good infra-structures or support.

Today, I head off on another business trip - it feels like they've been coming thick and fast this year!  Perhaps because of the troubled times, I'm having to travel more.  And so, it is not me watching a project set sail, but rather moving myself, still for business reasons, that I see here today.  The purple of the far horizon suggests wisdom, and I hope there'll be some of that to be gained from this trip...

I am grateful that these trips don't take too long or come too often.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Burning Emotions

Today's card from both the Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004) and the Gilded Tarot Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012) is the Three of Swords, a card of painful emotions be it heartache, jealousy or sorrow.

In the newly revisioned Royale, we see a large heart, pierced through with the eponymous three swords.  In its centre is a radiant sun design, and around it flames flick out, burning brightly.  Meanwhile storm clouds fill the air with a foreboding gloom.  I notice that, although we see the points of the two crossed swords emerging from the heart, the blade of the sword pointing down is completely enveloped by the lower part of the heart.

The sense I get here is of our own thoughts stabbing us painfully.  Be it self-doubt, recriminations, or jealousy, it is less about the emotions per se, and more about our thoughts and responses to the situation.  For example, if a partner leaves us, we could feel relief, we could feel angry, or we could feel jealous thinking about the new person in their life, or think we are a failure for not being lovable enough.  It is not the situation that hurts, but what we think about it: those thoughts can fill us with burning, painful emotions!

In terms of differences, the two things I notice in the earlier version of the card are: firstly, that the downward pointing sword was plunged less deeply into the heart.  Secondly, the whole heart was lower in the image, whereas in the Royale the heart is almost centred on the card.  One thing this brings to mind is the idea that, just as we can plunge a sword into our own hearts, so too can we pull it out.  In the Royale, the image feels more balanced, but it may not be a very happy balance.  Rather, it is one where we keep hurting, equally cut by a number of different thoughts. 

Looking to the positive, though, the burning flames in the Royale can be cleansing, just as in other decks there is sometimes a cleansing rain falling around the heart.  Difficult situations are also some of the most powerful ones for our personal growth, which isn't easy to remember in the moment, of course.

Ironically, or perhaps that should be tarotically, I realise that there are actually three situations causing me heartache at the moment.  This card asks me to consider how I can change my response to these situations, to make them less painful.  What are the thoughts about them that are making me sad and self-critical?  A big question, and one it may take a while to answer...

I am grateful for the reminder to reflect on my emotions and thoughts.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

What a lovely, restful card for a Sunday!  Here we have the Four of Swords from the Gilded Tarot Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012), and further down from the original Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004).

A bearded knight lies, arms crossed over his chest, in front of a stained-glass window.  He wears plate armour, with a red cape over the top, and his head rests on a red pillow.  Three swords seem to float above him, two crossed with points down, the third pointing straight up.  Below him is an etched stone plinth, with another sword lying horizontally across it.  Purple curtains with eagles on them hang to either side of the window.

The sense of resting up and preparing for something is certainly apparent here, as is the idea of feeling secure.  The latter comes both from his armour - you don't get much safer, even in Kevlar ;) - and from the red of his cape, colour of the base chakra which links to our feelings of security. 

©Ciro Marchetti
Three things strike me in particular as being different between the Royale and the original.  The first is the position of the floating swords, the second is the location, and the third is his armour. 

In the original, the three swords are all pointing down, none of the blades crossed.  The newer arrangement makes me think of the way being barred, but our knight dreaming/planning a way to cut through the obstacles. 

Secondly, there is the fact that in the original he seems to be almost buried, surrounded by bricks.  In the Royale, there is a greater sense of having a perspective on the world.  The watery view outide the window makes me think, once again, of dreaming, as a way to connect with our unconscious and tap into its potential for creativity.

Finally, there is the armour.  He goes from chainmail to plate-armour - so more protected, but also more rigid.  Perhaps it is, in part, because he is so rigidly defended that he needs to seek creativity and renewed energy in sleep and dreams...

I know what I need to prepare for today, as on Tuesday I am off on a business trip.  I am trying to do some things differently, and perhaps that is where this card comes in, reminding me to think outside the box, and also to rest so that I feel refreshed and renewed, able to take on the challenges of the week to come.  How about you, what does your week look like?

I am grateful for dreams that inspire, and sleep that refreshes.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Left By The Wayside

This week I have decided to do something a little different.  Having recently received the beautiful Gilded Tarot Royale, Ciro Marchetti's self-published re-working of his much acclaimed first deck, the Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004) I thought it would be interesting to do a daily draw with the Royale, and compare it with it's older sister deck.

First up is the Seven of Wands.  A man stands, as though protecting the doorway behind him.  The doorway is open with just a trellis in the top quarter, and radiant sunlight shines from it. Above, through the trellis, blue sky can be seen, and the near pillars are decorated with flower symbols, while the far pillars sport a diamond pattern.  In front of the man are six raised wands, the last of the seven being clasped by him in both hands.  His costume looks very renaissance, with purple tights, a billowy red shirt, and an over tunic in blue green and purple.  He also sports a purple-brimmed, red floppy hat.

As with traditional versions of this card, there is a sense of defensiveness, yet it is also true that we see no attackers, just the wands.  So, this can represent self-doubt or feeling defensive about projects we aren't currently taking care of.

©Ciro Marchetti
Comparing this card with the original Gilded Tarot, the main difference that strikes me is the fact that there is a partially open door inviting us through, rather than an open doorway bright with sunshine.  The Royale gives me a more spiritual sense - defending one's sense of self, as the sun is sometimes equated with our own inner light.  There is also a greater sense of perspective and depth in the Royale, the idea of an inner sanctum leading to the open doorway.  This gives greater three-dimensionality to the card, as well as reinforcing the idea of the gateway leading somewhere special, rather than just to a balcony, as seen in the original Gilded.

It's interesting, I'm not sure I have ever thought of this card as feeling defensive about projects left uncared for before.  Of course, the association of wands with projects is one I've always known, but I've always tended to see this card as feeling defensive, though the attacks may be more in your head than external.  That can still be the case with this interpretation: it is me who is attacking myself for not staying on top of all the projects I have taken on. 

This is a busy week for me, with a business trip and the next Tarot Blog Hop, which I've been wrangling.  I've also been writing another (fourth) blog, which I'm really enjoying, too. In fact, I wish I had more time for my blogs, and that may be part of what I see in this card.  I haven't spent as much time on them as I would like. My yoga blog, in particular, has been getting no love for the last two months.  Not because I don't have ideas for posts, but because if it's a choice between a tarot post or a yoga post, the tarot post wins most times.  And also because I still really dedicate the same amount of time to "me". So, I've been spending less time on exercising so I can have more time for meditating and my fourth blog (which is more spiritual).

I am grateful for the reminder that I deserve "me" time.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Weekly Vlog Reading for 16th June

This week I'm going to be using Ciro Marchetti's latest masterpiece, the re-worked Gilded Tarot Royale (2012).  I'm hoping to do something a little different with my daily draws, so keep your eyes peeled!  For today, though, the weekly reading is in video format, with a little exercise in mindfulness and tuning in to your deepest wisdom :)  Looks like we may need it, as there could be hurt feelings around, and a lot of worrying about all the variables.  The advice is to listen to our heart, and be forgiving of ourselves and others.  To see the whole reading, click here :)

Harsh Justice

Good dental hygiene is not a notable feature of Zombies, at least according to the Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012).  Why one of the hardest parts of our body should degrade faster than skin or muscle is anyone's guess, or perhaps just because it's easier to fake bad teeth than muscle detaching from bone...

In any case, today's gentleman represents Justice, or perhaps the reverse side of it.  Wearing an orange, prison-style jumpsuit, he seems to have landed on the wrong side of the law.  Was he innocent and does he blame his lawyer?  Is that whose brain he would first like to suck? 

For me, this card is often more about weighing up our own actions, looking for the fairest course of action for all involved, and admitting if we need to make changes, rather than those things necessarily being imposed from the outside.  Of course, it can also represent being involved in some kind of legal turmoil, but for most people that is, fortunately, not a frequent occurrence.

Today, I may act as moderator between two family members.  That can be a tricky line to walk, trying to see both sides, and keep my own prejudices out of things.  I wonder if I have been as balanced as I should be...

I am grateful for the opportunity to consider my own actions and those of others.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Crazy Queen

Well, we've certainly been given the opportunity to explore Court cards from the Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012).

Today is the turn of the Queen of Wands, and despite there being no obvious suit markers in this card, I rather like her.  There's something about her crazy but enthusiastic gaze that seems alive and almost welcoming, and red is definitely a Wands-y colour :D  The way she turns to look towards us over her shoulder, as if inviting us to join her in some exciting pursuit, speaks to me of Queen of Wands sociability and enthusiasm for life.

Unusually for me, today my socialising will not just be on-line.  Instead, a dear friend is coming over for dinner, with some interesting esoteric books to show off!  As for plans to get enthusiastic about, I have a bucketful (those buckets aren't just good for catching all the rain we've been having, which I won't let damp my spirits!)

I am grateful for creative plans that make me feel alive.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Creative Direction

Today, I met up with a friend I hadn't seen for nearly a year.  We talked about what has been going on for us during that time, and interestingly we had some common experiences, despite not having talked about them before.  One of the things it got me thinking about is how I want to express myself creatively.  I've been feeling a little stuck in a rut with this blog, and I'm not sure if that's just because I've been tired, or if there's something deeper.  So, next week I'll try something a bit different on here, and see how it works out.

And of course, when I got home I also did a reading for myself on it.  I used the Fifth Tarot (Blue Dolphin, 2010), which I really enjoyed exploring last week, but which feels like it has so much depth I need to spend more time with it.  I also like its spiritual focus.  Anyhow, I did my favourite simple three card draw, and these were the results:

Situation - Eight of Stones:  I have a lot of creativity, but there is that "practice makes perfect" "you have not yet mastered this craft" aspect to this card.  I also notice that the craftsman isn't just making one item of jewellry, but rather all different types.  So, something about creative experimentation within a genre, but not sticking to a single format, which is definitely what I've been thinking about.

Don't - Seeker of Feathers (Page of Swords):  The sense I get with this card is that I shouldn't try to rationally figure everything out, to assess and strategically plan my next move.  Trying to keep the big picture in mind, I may lose sight of what I actually want at a human, day-to-day level, and then I lose my passion and joy.

Do - Cosmic Man (Hanged Man):  This card is connected to the element of water, which is made very clear in this version where he seems almost to dive into the waters beneath him.  That, combined with the "hanging" angle suggests that I need to wait and see.  More than that, I need to allow my next step to emerge organically from my unconscious, by listening to my emotions, and allowing time for this creativity to gestate.

Okay, so, try something new next week and see how things go and how I feel about it - can do ;)

Goddess Power Pack Review

This week, I review another of my Goddess decks.  Yep, there're still a fair few to go ;)  This time, it's the Goddess Power Pack (Godsfield, 2005) that gets it's turn.  A 30 card deck aimed at the teen/young adult market, it's actually pretty good.  The companion book contains a lot of information under all the "cool" speak, and the cards are beautiful and packed with relevant symbolism.  Click here to see the full review!

Gruesome Devil

Today's card from the Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012) is a particularly gruesome one!

This Devil is very dark and fearsome, representing more the terrors that control us than materialism or consumerism.  There is little of the temptation of sensuality or the joy in giving in to being "bad" to be found here.  Instead, it truly is the shadow side, the things we fear and cannot admit, even to ourselves, that I see in is card.

I hope that nothing to horrible will bubble up for me today, and that instead this represents the more familiar "demons" of chocoholism, or even Facebook addiction ;D  Of course, the other might lead to greater personal growth...

I am grateful that some of my demons are known and no longer terrifying.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Biker Boy

Another Court card comes to meet us from the Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012).

I rather like this Knight of Swords.  He looks appropriately angsty, or perhaps that is angry.  Either way, he seems willing to move fast and not shy of getting into it, being a biker.  His bellowing face gives me the same feel as a Knight riding full pelt towards battle, and his badges are a nod to knowledge and information.  Not really someone I'd want to meet in a dark alley, but then, being a Zombie, that would be the case with most of these characters ;)  There is something sharp and spikey about him (maybe it's just the hair), but I feel this card is a good fit.  What do you reckon?

As for my day, I'm seeing clients and need to lay clear boundaries with one of them.  I suppose the Knight of Swords' energy could help me with that - clear, firm, cutting to the chase - so long as I don't slip into his more negative side - angry, aggressive, snide.

I am grateful for clarity of thought and speech.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Queen of Pentacles?


Today, the Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012) offers us a Court card to ponder: the Queen of Pentacles.

In my review of this deck, I mentioned that few of the cards have obvious suit elements in them, a fact explained by the deck being a montage of community commons photos around the Zombie theme.  However, it does mean that sometimes the cards aren't very obvious in their attributions - one zombie dude can look a lot like another zombie dude.  Certainly, that's a problem that I see with today's card. 

A zombie woman stands with flowers in her windswept hair.  A line of blood drips down from her mouth and over her chest.  Her eyes look directly at us, but glazed as though she doesn't see us.  Behind her we can make out parked cars, and what may be the beach.  The flowers and the sea make me think of the Queen of Cups, while the windswept hair and high up vantage point could suggest the Queen of Swords, but I see nothing of the Queen of Pentacles here.  

Nothing suggests being grounded, or focused on the material, or a family maker, or entrepreneurial, or any of the other things I associate with the Queen of Pentacles, but perhaps someone else will see something I don't....

Certainly, I plan to spend some quality time with Big Boy.  And I have a fair few practical things to do or organise today, after a weekend away, and a bit of tidying, too :(  Still, there will also be time to socialise with a friend at college, and to learn something in supervision.

I am grateful for a varied day.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Frog Prince

Yesterday lunchtime, my Dear One started talking to me earnestly about the awful state of the world in general, the banking system in particular, how Spain was teetering on the edge, and if it went down then Portugal and Italy would follow, and Europe would drag down China and the U.S. in their wake.  Yes, lovely relaxing discussions for our romantic weekend away!

I was left feeling depressed and panicky, having trouble sleeping, and not at all romantically inclined!  Then I read a post by Arwen on happiness being infectious, and decided maybe if I could do a bit of joy seeking, I could infect my Dear One and cheer our weekend back up.  Drawing a card from the Wild Wisdom of the Faery (Blue Angel, 2009), I got Barnabus and the Prince - seen here on the background of a hotel cushion ;)

What it made me think of is a tip for getting over anger given in a great book: Communication Miracles for Couples, by Jonathan Robinson.  He suggests that, if you're feeling angry or upset with your partner, you take a few breaths and try to remember three things that you love about that person.  The theory being that anger and love are opposites and you can't actively feel them at the same time.  The card reminded me to look for the prince in my toad, and though it took a while to think of three things that I wholeheartedly love about him (as opposed to "I love that, but it's a bit annoying when...") it definitely worked.  We had a lovely evening and night, and the weekend has been mostly wonderful! ;D

Crabby Couple

A somewhat more bloody image today from the Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012).

In this version of the Five of Swords, we see a Zombie couple.  He strides purposefully towards us, while she seems to struggle to hold herself together, yet drags herself after him anyway.  What I see is the kind of humiliation apparent in abusive relationships.  Traditional interpretations of this card include humiliation, defeat, and the question of whether winning at any price is worth it.  What I see is the kind of humiliation apparent in abusive relationships.  She will follow him through anything, including rotting and dropping body parts, it would seem.  And I imagine him feeling a victor, yet all he has won is an eternity with someone who doesn't respect herself, or him.

I'm hoping this card isn't representative of feeling defeated by our return home.  Last time my Dear One and I went away for a weekend, coming home to Big Boy being ill ruined all the benefits of some time away resting and relaxing.  Fingers crossed that won't be the case this time!

I am grateful to be in a relationship where I feel valued and loved.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Dehydration

Today begins a week of draws with the dark yet humorous Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012).  This self-published deck is available through Game Crafter, and would be a good deck for extremely creepy Hallowe'en readings :)

This card, the Sun, is quite subtle.  There is no gore, just a rather tattered, dehydrated-looking Zombie stumbling along under the burning sun.  The sense I get is that of the Sun reversed, drawing into focus the possibilities of burnout, feeling overwhelmed, or drained by too much of a good thing.  When we are in a weakened state, or in poor health, then having fun, acting happy, and new beginnings generally, can feel more of a challenge than a pleasure.

For myself, I'm hoping for an upright Sun kind of day ;)  A massage, a swim, yoga, nice food, and some couple-time with my Dear One - what could be better?

I am grateful for some time away.