Sunday, 30 September 2012

Reflective Draw for the Week

Carla, over at Rowan Tarot, has been doing daily reflective draws recently which I really enjoyed.  However, I'm no good to anyone by the end of the day, given how early I tend to start.  So, wanting to do a reading with the Tarot House deck, I thought, why not make it a draw about the week instead?

I've adapted Carla's questions to reflect the week, rather than the day:


What did I do well last week? - Nine of Cups


Last week, I managed a lot of different emotions, my own and those of others.  I think I did a reasonably balanced job, and communicated well about difficult feelings.  For example, in conversations with my Dear One about where to go after the miscarriage. 

I also worked on making my wishes into reality, writing the first draft of my dissertation protocol.  That's pretty emotional for me, as it's something I feel excited about, but also something that touches me at an intuitive and spiritual level - being able to do something I really love.

What do I need to carry forward into this week? - Four of Wands


I've laid some good foundations, now I need to cement them, build on them, and keep up the good work.  If I just let things slide, those foundations could crumble again, instead I need to reinforce them and keep the energy going.  There may be some influences from outside that challenge me in that regard, but with enthusiasm and hard work I can hopefully move forward.

And what should I be on the lookout for this week? - The Magician


I should keep my eyes open for how I can determine my own future, how I can shape my own reality.  If obstacles come up, I need to think about what I can do to get over them, rather than giving up or relying on others.  This fits well with the previous card of building on the foundations already laid.  I've done the groundwork, now I need to make the magic happen ;)

Spin the Wheel

©P & J House
On this Sunday morning, the card to pop out of the Tarot House deck is the Wheel of Fortune.

It's quite an unusual image, with a hooded and cloaked figure standing to the left and a figure in medieval robes to the right.  They appear to be looking down into some kind of shining globe, waiting for it to stop spinning so they know where it's landed.  What is at stake in this, I wonder?

The card makes me think of tales of gambling with Death.  If he wins, he claims you, if not, you get to go on and explore life a little more.  Every day is a new spin of the wheel, with new possibilities and challenges.

Today, this card says to me it's time to go with the flow, to see what life throws up and make the most of it.  That'll probably involve Big Boy saying he wants to go and watch traffic and people on the High Street, but you never know...

I am grateful for a mellow, family day.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The King of Cups

Radiant Rider Waite ©Poshkus
Carla of Rowan Tarot commented on a reading including the King of Cups, challenging me to rant about why I dislike this Court card so heartily ;)  She likewise wrote up her reasons for hating the Queen of Wands, which is well worth a read even if, like me, you are a fan of this Queen :D

So, why do I dislike the King of Cups?  I acknowledge that there can be some very positive traits to this card, but at a gut level my first impulse is often to react against it.  I think there are two different negative sets of people I associate him with.

Firstly, to me, he represents someone who thinks they are an authority figure, and who doesn't like to admit to their own emotion.  These people often ridicule others for showing their feelings.  Emotional bullies, basically!

For example, I think of a couple of my teachers, who would laugh at kids who got upset over exam results, or anything else that happened.  The kind who'd say "Suck it up!" or "Don't be such a wimp!"  One physics teacher was well-known for throwing chalk at students and saying things like: "That's the kind of answer I'd expect from my dog, and if my dog gave me that answer, I'd kick it!"

Steampunk Tarot ©Moore & Fell
Looking back on it now, I guess those teachers were struggling with their own emotions.  Feelings of being ignored or disrespected, of being stuck in a job that made them unhappy.  But how they expressed it was through being thoroughly unpleasant to others.  The King of Cups, for me, has deep emotions, but doesn't quite know how to deal with them.  He's afraid of being overwhelmed by them, and so lashes out.

My first stepfather, from the age of 8, was like that, too.  He would say that I was pathetic because I was young, or that I should be less of a girl.  "Don't just cry about it, do something!"  Or else, "You're just a child, what do you know?"  At the time I didn't know enough to say, "That's what I feel and I deserve to be respected as a human being."  Well, I'm not sure I'm great at saying that these days, either.  Though I encourage my counselling clients to honour their emotions...

Just look at the Radiant Rider Waite King of Cups.  So stern-looking, and making sure to keep himself out of the water - wouldn't want to get affected by messy emotions!  Or the Steampunk King of Cups, emotionally blinkered, blowing smoke to hide his own insecurity, hiding in alcohol.

Mystic Dreamer Tarot ©Moore &Darras
And that's where my second category of disliked King of Cups characters comes in: alcoholics.  Clearly, there's some overlap between them and emotional bullies, though not always.

Even when an alcoholic isn't an emotional bully, many still  try to drown their emotions in the bottom of a glass of wine, or whatever their tipple of choice is.  The alcohol anaesthetises them to their emotions, and those of others, so they can ignore them.

I hate the fake bonhomie, the boring, repetitive anecdotes, the sense of there not really being anyone at home.  There's no human contact, it's all just a facade.  And as for interest in other people, in who they really are and what they feel, well, that's just not in their frame of reference.

Maybe alcoholism is a disease, maybe the alcoholic can't help it, maybe it's to do with their upbringing, what they've been through.  I know all the excuses, I've heard all the justifications.  But my heart is a little hard in this regard.

Housewives Tarot ©Kepply & Buffum
Why should that be?  Aren't I supposed to be loving and accepting of everyone, as a counsellor and a spiritual being.  Perhaps... but my father was an alcoholic.

Years of being ridiculed, of being made to feel fat and stupid and boring, of being told why everyone else was amazing, have left scars.  My dad would tease me about my eating.  When he was dry for a few years, he admitted he'd done it to try to avoid any comments about the fact that he was drinking most of his calories.  Didn't change the fact that he'd been a big factor in my developing an eating disorder.

He found it really hard to deal with any emotion, so he would avoid emotional situations.  If he were to tell you he loved you, that might provoke an emotional situation.  So he just never said it, at least to your face.  He would tell me about how wonderful my stepmum was, and my half-brothers.  Made me feel like crap in comparison.  Turns out he told them how wonderful I was... so we all felt bad, unloved, and jealous of one another :(

Crystal Visions Tarot ©Galasso
At the root, then, there are a lot of daddy issues in my dislike of the King of Cups.  I am starting to try and recognise his good qualities, some of which Carla discussed here, and others of which Alison, of This Game of Thrones, highlighted here.

For example, in the Crystal Visions Tarot I see a King who is able to have one foot in the water, the other on dry land.  He can be a part of the flow of emotions around him, but without losing his perspective, without getting swept away.  That allows him to help others see their feelings and situation more clearly.  It also lets him stay diplomatic.

He sits under the light of the full moon, tapping into his intuition.  He gazes down at some blooming lillies, a reminder that out of the mud of emotion and chaos, beauty and truth can grow.  He delights in the world he sees around him, in the people, the emotions and the wonder of life.

What about you?  How do you feel about the King of Cups?

Sitting in Judgement

©P&J House
This week, as I mentioned yesterday, I will be working with the Tarot House deck.  This self-published deck is quite unusual in it's semi-illustrated pips, with a whole system around the positioning of the elements.

Today, though, we don't need to concern ourselves with that, as we meet Lady Justice.  She sits on a golden throne placed in the middle of a path that seems to run between two high mountain peaks.  In her right hand she holds a sword, in her left a scales.  Her dress is pale blue, colour of clear communication.  And she wears a golden crown on her head, indicating her state of enlightenment.  She will weigh everything up and then come to a clear decision, a way to move forward.  She is not swayed by status only by truth, and honours everyone involved in a situation, giving each respect and their fair due.

Today, I feel things are hanging in Lady Justice's balance.  I am waiting for a response from my research tutor, having given him details of the new topic of my dissertation protocol.  Of course, he's unlikely to respond over the weekend, so now I sit and wait. 

In the meantime, I can weigh up for myself whether I have fairly balanced all the requisite elements.  I hope, at least, to have a response from my mother, who used to be a university lecturer herself.  I sent her the draft of the protocol, and would feel reassured to have her opinion, even if she suggests places where it needs tweaking.  Although I know she loves me, she wouldn't say it was good if she thought I had a snowball's chance...

I am grateful for some external objectivity.


Friday, 28 September 2012

Introducing the Tarot House

Recently, someone from America commented on one of my video reviews, and mentioned an independently published deck from a site in the UK I'd never heard of: the Tarot House.  Well, couldn't have that ;)

Not too long after, a parcel arrived, and when I opened it I found this:

Love the wrapping!
And what's in here?
A business card with a personal message...
and a sheet with a brief description of all the cards
Unwrapped
The Tarot House Deck
It's a charming deck, with semi-illustrated pips and a novel take on the Majors, too.  So, check back tomorrow as I start a week of draws with it :)

Come Out Swinging!

©Dugan & Evans
For this last day with the Witches Tarot (Llewellyn, 2012) we meet another Court card - the Page of Swords.

A young man stands, sword at the ready, in a grassy meadow.  Behind him, a large fluffy cloud suggests that his perception may not be as clear as he thinks it is.  I really like his eagle pendant, which seems almost as though it's taking flight.  I notice, too, the houses off in the distance - this Page wants to break his own path, discover his own reality.  However, he may be a little hasty sometimes, taking a swing at whatever comes his way: be it an idea, a perspective, or someone talking to him.   

Hmm, I'm not sure if it's hasty, but I hope to email my research tutor this afternoon to see if he's happy for me to submit my dissertation protocol.  Which should be ready by then, as I have about an hour's more work to complete it - yay!  I guess what I see in this card in this respect is mainly my battle-readiness: proposing a dissertation to explore how people use tarot cards may not be the easiest sell... ;D

I am grateful for the enthusiasm this project inspires in me.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Repressed Emotions

©Dugan & Evans
Today's card from the Witches Tarot (Llewellyn, 2012) is the Two of Swords.

This is a very standard image, showing a woman sitting with her back to a lake.  She wears an ivory dress, and I like the touch of her sky blue cuffs.  She bears two swords crossed over her chest and wears a blindfold.  Above her hangs a waning moon, and to either side of her fly little faeries, looking back towards the water.  There is lavender by her feet, which the companion book identifies with distrust, and protection.  It's an unusual association, given lavendar is recommended for relaxation and sleep...

I like the beautiful twilight landscape, and the suggestion that she is honed and ready, waiting for the right moment to react.  She may be putting aside her emotions so she can more clearly focus on what needs to be done.

Sadly, I didn't manage to finish my dissertation protocol yesterday, though I did complete 13 out of 15 sections, and made a good dent in number 14 :)  Although I'd love to try and finish it today, I have to push those wishes aside and focus on my day job - bummer!  Maybe tomorrow...

I am grateful for the focus to do my work.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Balanced Foundations

©Dugan & Evans
A rather unusual perspective greets us in today's card from the Witches Tarot (Llewellyn, 2012).

In this version of the Four of Wands, four women dance under poles that must be 15 feet high!   The women wear dresses of red, green, yellow and blue - the colours of the four elements - with matching bouquets in their hands.  Flowers deck the tops of the blossoming hawthorn poles.  From sunflowers to marigolds to red carnations, they all represent the element of fire.  By the side of the bower sits a ginger cat, while in the background we can make out a castle, representing security and goals achieved.  

While the companion book speaks of celebration, what I also often see in this card is establishing a solid foundation for a new project or relationship.  For example, setting up a new business, beginning a new job, career or course of study, moving in together or getting married, all these would count.  And I guess they would also be reasons for celebration :)

As for me, today I hope to complete my dissertation protocol.  That's just the first step in getting my dissertation done, but it's one I've been humming and hawing about for over a year, so it's definitely cause for celebration!

I am grateful for the energy to lay balanced foundations.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Green Queen

©Dugan & Evans
Once again, this week's deck, the Witches Tarot (Llewellyn, 2012), is behaving itself nicely!  We've had a Major, an Ace, a Minor and now a Court card, just to put it through its paces ;)

Here we meet the Queen of Pentacles.  She sits on an ornate throne with a triple back that seems almost to wrap around her.  Above her are beautiful, red roses, and she holds a bouquet of white and green tulips, honeysuckle and wheat, which are held together by green ribbons.  The green is echoed in her bi-shaded dress, and in the emeralds on her golden crown and in her necklace.  In the other hand she has a golden pentacle, and by her feet sits a brown dog.  The landscape behind her is quite mountainous, with rocks amongst the grass around her.

Everything here points to the elemental association of Pentacles with Earth.  There are also indications of this Queen's wealth, wisdom and loyalty, as well as her beauty and love.  She is a practical, dependable character, one who expresses her emotions in physical or material ways - through hugs and/or nourishing, tasty food, for instance.

I used to think of myself as mainly swords-y, but I have come to recognise my pentacles tendencies of late (could be as I have a Capricorn moon, which fits well with the association of the Queen of Pents as Water of Earth).  Certainly, I aspire to the positive traits of this Queen, and recognise several of them in myself - hugs are hugely important to me :)  Perhaps today I need to express her practicality, getting on with stuff, and her loyalty - expressing my love to my nearest and dearest.  There will certainly be chances aplenty as my mum is coming to visit, and we shall spend the afternoon with Big Boy, who is off school...

I am grateful for good company.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Ali's Autumn Spread

The brilliant Alison Cross of This Game of Thrones fame designed an excellent spread to look at where we are at this Equinox time of balancing, with a little Court card mojo for good measure.  I decided I just had to give it a go.  So, the spread is:

Card 1 - what is in deficit in my life?
Card 2 - what is in excess?
Card 3 - which Court card can balance this out?

I decided to use the charming Stella's Tarot (AGM Müller, 2008) for this, and here's the result:

Yeah, I know, I put the cards the wrong way round in the scanner *doh*

Card 1 - Deficit - Nine of Swords


Well, I'm certainly lacking in the sleep department!  Not only has Big Boy been ill, leading to restless nights, but I've also been a bit insomniac, worrying about the future and thinking about my dissertation.  Perhaps, then, also a deficit in seeing clearly how realistic my worries and fears are or are not?

Card 2 - Excess - Nine of Wands


Hmm, this one's a bit trickier.  An excess of defensiveness?  Or, going more by the image, have I been digging myself into a hole, not letting the world in, yet also maintaining unrealistic hopes and dreams?  That sounds closer to the truth...

Card 3 - Balancer - Knight (King) of Cups


So, what I need to do is get in touch with my emotions in a controlled way, not allowing them to swamp me, but also not pushing them away.  This reminds me of my post last week.  I need to get in touch with the more positive side of the King of Cups, his joy and wonder in life.  I need to re-find that faith in the Universe.

In some ways, the fact of having two Nines gives me some hope - this cycle is almost at an end.  I certainly hope so!

Departure

©Dugan & Evans
Today's card from the Witches Tarot (Llewellyn, 2012) adds in some interesting elements to the traditional Eight of Cups symbolism.

A young woman, with sweet peas in her hair (signifying departure) and a blue, traveller's cloak walks along the shoreline.  Behind her she leaves two neat rows of cups, while out ahead of her is a distant horizon, a crescent moon and eight twinkling stars.  At her side, a dolphin springs from the surf, watching her walk.  Perhaps the dolphin brings some kind of message, a message of hope for the future? 

It's interesting to see the cups lined up so neatly.  I've heard it suggested that the RWS positioning of the cups suggests having lots of emotional achievements and yet feeling something is missing - a gap in our lives.  Here, though, the cups suggest that all loose ends have been tied up, perhaps freeing the woman to turn and search for something deeper, something more spiritual, as suggested by the moon, stars and distant cliffs.

To me, this card feels more hopeful than the traditional image, with a hint of the Star's energy to it.  She may be leaving many things behind, but there is a strong calling and a belief in the path she travels, betwixt and between the worlds.

Today, perhaps I can start to see new hope for the future.  The weekend has been quite healing for me.  On Saturday, my Dear One and I performed a small ritual for the baby we lost.  And yesterday we spent some quality time as a family, celebrating being together, and talking about the future. 

I am grateful for hope in the future.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Hawk's Flight

©Dugan & Evans
For this second draw with the Witches Tarot (Llewellyn, 2012), we meet the Ace of Swords.

A bird of prey, a red tail hawk, flies high in the sky above a deep mountain valley.  A sword rises, tip straight up, the light glinting off its steel blade and golden pommel.  The clouds in the distance seem backlit by the sun, and a morning mist rises from the valley, putting this at dawn.

New ideas, new possibilities and vantage points, new vistas, offer themselves up to us today.  There is a freshness to this image which delights me.  A sense of hope, perhaps...  In the book, Dugan talks about the truth hurting, but also having the power to heal.

Perhaps this is about my Dear One and I starting to talk about what we see in the future now, after last week's loss.

I am grateful for the chance to talk things through, even if it's hard.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Mabon Blog Hop

©Caratti & Platano
Welcome to another Tarot Blog Hop.  You may have popped in from Arjen Glas' blog.  If not, you might want to hop back that way, or move forward with the link at the bottom of this post :)  And if you get lost along the way, check out the Master List here.

As autumn draws in, it is a time to harvest, and to store up that harvest for the winter.  For this round of the Tarot Blog Hop, wrangled by the very able and interesting Aisling the Bard, our topic is: The Power of Transformation.  Aisling's idea was based on the process of fermenting mead, though making wine would be much the same at the level of metaphor, and influenced my card choice for this intro.  Basically, when we harvest, we also need to transform that harvest in a way that makes it preservable, useful for the future.  Sometimes, though, that process isn't clean and easy - it requires transformation; cutting away the old, and changing what is.

Now, to me, tarot is always potentially a tool of transformation.  Whether it be through a reading we do for ourselves, or have from someone else, or using the tarot for meditation, or being moved by reading someone else's take on a card, I feel like tarot transforms me on an almost daily basis.

What then to say about transformation for this hop?  I decided to design a little spread, looking at what in my life currently needs to change, and how I can move things along.  As ever on these blog hops, I drew cards from the Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011)

©Caratti & Platano

What in my life needs transforming? - Five of Swords


The first words that came to my mind when I saw this card were: "self-defeating thoughts".  I need to stop letting other people's words, and perhaps more especially my own ideas, make me feel bad about myself.

Overall, I'd say I have a pretty "can-do" attitude.  However, I haven't been getting much done of late.  And part of that is probably because it has felt all too much.

One of the big projects I have in mind is to complete my Masters dissertation.  I know I'm capable of doing it at an intellectual level, but I've been faffing and changing my topic for the last year, and not getting anything done.  So, time to stop thinking about all the obstacles and difficulties, and get on with it!

©Caratti & Platano

How can I help the process? - The Emperor


I have to say, the Emperor is not my favourite card in the deck!  Still, it's been coming up for me quite a bit, lately, so there must be something here for me to learn...

The suggestion I see is that to help the process of changing self-defeating thoughts, what I need is a plan.  Not just "oh, I've got to change that and do the other" but actually: first I have to do this, then that.  I'll need this and that for it, and I'll try to get it done by this date :)

As for the Masters, first I need to get my dissertation protocol written, which requires a literature review, as well as a structured plan for how I'd actually carry out the research.  That'll take a fair bit of work, so maybe first a reading list, then a break down of which parts of the protocol I'll have done when...

I'd love to hear if you give this quick draw a go - what in your life needs changing, and how can you help the process?

Now, if you haven't been there already, how about hopping on over to Koneta's insightful blog?

New Beginnings

©Dugan & Evans
It's the weekend, time to move on to a new deck.  This week I have chosen the recently released Witches Tarot (Llewellyn, 2012), by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans.

And first out is the Fool, blithely insouciant as he walks precariously along a cliff edge, his dog running before him.  This deck sticks very closely to the RWS, but with subtle witchy twists such as the Pentacle clasp on his knapsack.  I notice the darned patch on his trousers, suggesting that he does not always escape unscathed from his adventures.  Yet he continues on, nevertheless, willing to trust in life.

I feel a definite need for some of that faith in life today, my first day as officially no longer pregnant.  There are so many choices to make, possibilities to explore.  For today, though, I think I shall just try to smell the flowers and enjoy the sunshine (especially as heavy rains threaten for tomorrow after ten days of Indian Summer).  A dear friend is coming to visit this evening, so I shall make the most of that, too :)

I am grateful for new beginnings.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Sinner or Saint

©Charlene Livingstone
Today we come face to face with another King from the Art of Life Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012), the King of Cups.

This is another of those cards that I don't like much!  The colours feel all wrong for the King of Cups, and there's neither cup nor water to be seen.  Perhaps if I knew more about art, or the artist Gauguin, this image would make more sense...  Okay, having read up about him on Wikipedia, he suffered depression and didn't get on with his family - perhaps quite King of Cups Rx.

Then there's the quote: "It is a good thing to be rich and to be strong, but it is a better thing to be loved." - Euripedes.  I guess, if this is saying that the King of Cups is a loving presence in our life, then I can get behind it.  However, it seems more to suggest, given the masculine traits mentioned, that the King of Cups is loved.  Not a bad thing or necessarily untrue, but it doesn't seem to say much about the King, making him a passive recipient.  Perhaps it means to suggest that his nature is loveable.  Or maybe I'm just over thinking this...

For me, I've realised recently that I tend to see the shadow side of the King of Cups. His emotional nature that he struggles to cope with, either sinking into depression, creating a false hardness or drowning his emotions in drink.  At his best, I see him as someone who understands emotions, his own and others', without getting overwhelmed by them.

Today, I see in this card my Dear One.  In a couple of hours I'm being admitted to hospital to "evacuate the uterus" as it says on my form.  He has promised to be with me, to lend me emotional support.

I am grateful for all the love in my life.




Thursday, 20 September 2012

Paris

©Charlene Livingstone
On this Thursday with the Art of Life Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012) we have a card which is surprising in many ways - the Nine of Pentacles.

First off, we have a man instead of the more traditional female figure.  I associate the Nine of Pentacles with an independent woman who has worked hard to get where she is.  A man doesn't face the same obstacles, the same glass ceiling, as a woman, which makes the energy of this card quite different to my mind.  This verdant city scape also lends a different air to a garden scene - it feels less independent to me, more influenced by other people, their contributions or detracting influences.

Another reason this image surprises me is because the picture chosen was also used in James Ricklef's Tarot of the Masters.  There, it is used to illustrate the Three of Wands, which I like far better.  Looking out to assay what you have achieved, and what may still be to do, makes more sense to me with this image...

The quote, though, other than it's gender bias, does speak to me a little of the Nine of Pentacles' energy: "None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.  The idea of achieving something by ourselves does fit my notion of the Nine of Pentacles.  Though I don't think of something "commanding" when I think Nine of Pentacles - in fact the quote might also better suit the Three or the Eight of Pentacles...

For me, today, I take the more traditional symbolism of the Nine of Pentacles to heart.  I need to draw on that inner strength, often hidden or hooded (the bird on the wrist of Pixie's image), that I know I possess.  Yesterday, the scan told a tale I dreaded hearing - the fetus inside me didn't make it.  I am lucky to have much love and support around me, but I also need to draw on my inner resources to make it through the heartache...

I am grateful for both inner strength and outer support.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Retreat

©Charlene Livingstone
On this Wednesday morning, the Art of Life Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012) offers us a moment of reflection.

This is another card where I find both the picture and the quote speak to me.  The picture is far from the traditional, showing a young man lounging on a rocky outcropping, gun and dog at his side.  Yet, it does have that sense of distancing yourself from society, and of looking inward and to the world around yourself for answers.

As for the quote, it's lovely: "Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul." - Marcus Aurelius.  Of course, as the Nine of Swords demonstrates, our souls are not always untroubled retreats, and yet, when they are, what a beautiful place to be...

However, today isn't a day for me to retreat - I have two medical appointments, so I'll have to go out into the world.  Still, perhaps I can take that feeling of calm with me, an inner peace.  Sounds nice :)

I am grateful for moments of peace.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Steadfast Señor

©Charlene Livingstone
I love it when this kind of thing happens - we've had a couple of Majors, a Minor, and now a Court card, to get a good cross-section of the Art of Life Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012).

Here we have the King of Pentacles, in fact King Charles II.  He certainly has the look of wealth and luxury I would associate with this King, and I like the colours of his clothes, sufficiently earthy and material, with a hint of decadence and a certain purity of vision.  He doesn't get distracted by extraneous things: focusing on his responsibilities.


The quote, too, is fabulous: "Wealth stays with us a little moment if at all; only our characters are steadfast, not our gold." - Euripedes.  It both touches on the aspect of wealth, yet also highlights the more important character trait of dependability.


Today, I'm focusing on my physical well-being - I'm going to see an acupuncturist to try to kick the awful pregnancy nausea (I refuse to call it morning sickness, as I feel it pretty much 24/7!)  Later, my mum is over for a visit.  She is more Queen of Pentacles than King in my eyes, but she's certainly supported me through thick and thin.



I am grateful for people I can rely on.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Soul Mother

©Charlene Livingstone
On this Monday morning, who should come a-calling but the Empress, from the Art of Life Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012).

The image is actually of Saint Catherine of Alexandria.  Still, it has a somewhat Madonna-esque feel to it, which fits nicely with more traditional ideas of the Empress as a mothering figure.  I get a sense of female sensuality, wisdom and creativity based on the colours of her robes - green for growth, red for passion, yellow for enlightenment.

The quote is interesting, too: "Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things." - Denis Diderot.  This certainly speaks to me of creativity, and what fires it.

Obviously, motherhood is currently my main passion.  I haven't entirely forgotten my Masters, though, for which I still have to write the dissertation.  I struggled with a topic for a long while, changing several times.  Now, though, I think I've found a way to make it include tarot, so my passion is engaged ;D

I am grateful for creativity, mine and that of others.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Becoming

©Charlene Livingstone
For this second draw with the Art of Life Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012) another card which does not immediately chime with me.

My first thought on seeing this Eight of Wands was: "What a lot of water!"  In fact, every element is represented except fire!

I see the roiling power of the water, it's constant motion which is highlighted in the quote.  However, it is a churning motion, the back and forth of the sea, without any actual direction or focus.  Not my normal understanding of the Eight of Wands...

For me, the Eight of Wands is definitely more about action and speed than simply about flux.  There is a directedness to it, even if our plans go awry.

I like the quote, and agree with the sentiment at least in part, though I don't feel it connects with the energy of the Eight of Wands: "Nothing ever is, but all things are becoming.  All things are the offspring of flux and motion." (Plato)  I feel that all things become not just through motion, but through interaction.  That's a rather philosophical point, either way, I guess.

To stick to the card, it doesn't work for me.  It's beautiful and interesting, but it doesn't express any of my understandings of the Eight of Wands.  Perhaps the issue here is about my expectations.  In the LWB, Charlene Livingstone states: "I realized that by drawing inspiration from my background in art history and my lifelong passion for quotations, I could capture the essence of the meanings behind each card" (p.7)  If the intention were to create new meanings, new interpretations of the archetypes, that would be one thing.  I do not see here the essence of the Eight of Wands.

Going back and looking through the whole deck, I have just been unfortunate with these first two draws.  Many of the cards do speak to me, and some open up interesting and productive dialogues.  In fact, there are only fourteen where I do not find some connection to either the quote or the picture (the quote on yesterday's card redeemed it, for instance).  That's not bad, overall, but does mean I can't imagine using this as a regular reading deck.  One or two off cards would be fine, but nearly twenty percent puts this deck low down on my list, especiaclly as there are many more where it is only either the picture or quote I connect with, not both.  I can imagine using this deck for inspiring quotes for the day, but I won't use it as a tarot.

Well, this has already been rather a long post.  However, I definitely feel a connection both to traditional Eight of Wands energy and to this quote.  Today I'm going to a Pagan Conference with a friend.  I expect it will be a busy day, full of energy and many different ideas and future projects, as well as a fair bit of rushing around.  It may also affect my understanding of this spiritual path, influencing my becoming :)

I am grateful for the rub of ideas that change me.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Beautiful Harmony

©Charlene Livingstone
This week I will be drawing from the Art of Life Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012).  In this deck, the author, Charlene Livingstone, has paired works of art from the great masters with quotes from throughout time, to try to represent the energy of each card.  The first card to come a-calling is Temperance.

I love the picture here, though I'm not convinced it perfectly expresses my notions of Temperance.  A woman washing her feet in a river doesn't really speak of mixing different elements, of finding a good compromise between different aspects of ourselves and our life.  Temperance, in the sense of moderation, is also about finding a healthy balance, and I guess that foot hygiene is part of self care...

The quote fits my notions of Temperance much better: "The unlike is joined together, and from differences results the most beautiful harmony." - Heraclitus. 

As for me, I'm still feeling a bit under the weather.  Yesterday, I didn't even exercise, which is very rare for me.  Normally, I think working up a good sweat helps to kick a cold out.  In the first trimester, though, I'm not supposed to get overheated.  So, balancing normal health concerns with those of pregnancy can prove a challenge...  Still, it meant that I found the time to meditate - perhaps the right balance for me now includes less exertion and more inner exploration.

I am grateful for the balance of the physical and spiritual in my life.

Friday, 14 September 2012

The Evil

©Katalin E. Csikos
For this final draw from Hazelmoon's Hawaiian Tarot (self-published, 2010), we meet The Evil - her version of the Devil.

In many decks, this card is renamed Materialism.  That is certainly part of what I see here.  However, this card emphasises additional aspects.  Materialism is not just negative because it shows our attachment to the world of maya, of illusion and stuff rather than the spiritual, as hinduism and buddhism teach.  And it's not just because it can lead to superficiality and prizing things over people.  It is also negative because, the way consumer culture is run right now, it leads to polluting the planet and needlessly killing the beautiful creatures that live here.  This image reminds us that we are driving many species to the brink of extinction, and beyond.  We are filling the air we ourselves breathe with toxic chemicals!

It can feel hard not to go with the flow: consumerism is so much a part of our culture that it becomes hard to imagine a different way.  Still, even small actions can make a difference.

I've just had a dramatic example of that in my own life.  There's a bit of a cold going round at the moment, as the temperatures suddenly dropped.  A few days ago, a friend said she'd felt one starting, and had put a little garlic up her nose.  I thought, "Eew!"  However, last night, I spent a couple of hours with a runny nose, feeling a cold coming on.  Facing the prospect of sleeping poorly as I couldn't breathe and ending up with a fuzzy mouth, and knowing that I couldn't take any regular cold medications because I'm pregnant, I decided to give it a go.  On the first go, I sneezed the lot out, which at least cleared my nose ;)  After the second, I slept the whole night with an unblocked nose!  I just used a tiny smear of garlic paste, and it worked brilliantly :)

Just think of all the money and resources used to research, manufacture, package and deliver pharmaceuticals which don't even work all that well.  And this is just one example.  For instance, with indigestion, instead of all the tablets and drinks available, you can just use half a small spoon of bicarbonate of soda in a little water.

Perhaps even more powerfully, there was a programme on English TV about a month back singing the praises of fasting for improving overall health and mental function.  There is a lot of evidence that even not eating for one day a week reduces the risk of heart attack, diabetes and cancer considerably!  My Dear One has started fasting as a regular routine, but wasn't sure if he should this week, as he felt a cold coming on.  He decided to go ahead anyway, and after 36 hours of fasting: no cold.  It never happened!

Now, I'm not going to start fasting, as it's particularly contraindicated for female fertility and pregnancy, and it is harder on women, with more side effects such as insomnia and stress.  Still, it really has made me think!

I am grateful for garlic.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Bungee Jumping?

©Katalin E. Csikos
Another Major comes to call today from Hazelmoon's Hawaiian Tarot (self-published, 2010).

A man dangles by one foot from a bridge over a verdant chasm.  He wears nothing but some red shorts, and seems totally unperturbed by the position he finds himself in, nonchalantly crossing one leg behind the other in the traditional pose.  His long, dark hair flows down from his head, and his arms are crossed behind it.

Altogether, this image makes me think of someone who has bungee jumped off a bridge, and is now dangling at the end of the cord, thinking about the experience.

I'm going to have some time for reflection today, as I'll be seeing my therapist.  Therapy gives me a space that feels kind of weird, yet strangely comfortable, where I can take risks and explore my experiences.  Some people wonder what there can be to talk about week in and week out, yet that's never a problem.  Life throws so much at us.  Right now, being pregnant is bringing up lots of stuff about last time round, the unpleasantness of doctors, the emotions and difficulties.  I hope exploring it will help me feel less worried this time round...

I am grateful for sometime to reflect.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Lei on the Water

©Katalin E. Csikos
For this Wednesday we have a rather sad but beautiful card from

A red lei floats on still waters, while a waning moon shines down on it.  Has this chain of flowers been cast adrift as a tribute to a lost soul?  Or did its wearer lose their life in the ocean, leaving behind nothing but this garland?  Flowers, too, by their very nature are transient, a beautiful blossom today, a withered stem tomorrow.  And yet, while they bloom they are bright and colourful, reminding us of the beauty of life.

I shall be starting the day with another medical appointment, and a scan of the new life growing inside me.  Is this a reminder to enjoy life as it is now, before another child comes to complicate and change things, even if in a good way?  Already, I have had to stop carrying Big Boy, which is probably no bad thing.  Still, I enjoyed the "cuddle" of carrying him downstairs each morning. 

I am grateful for time to adapt to changing circumstances.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Watery Warrior

©Katalin E. Csikos
Today's card from Hazelmoon's Hawaiian Tarot (self-published, 2010), is another Court card - the Warrior (Knight) of Swords.


It's interesting, in this deck none of the "Warrior" cards look all that warrior-like.  Take this chap; he's standing in the sea, letting the waves lap around his ankles, and holding his sword more like a stick for balance than like a weapon.  There is a huge smile on his face as he looks off to his right, and palm trees wave gently around him, while the sand gleams a sunny yellow just behind him.  He wears a red lei around his neck, and a yellow and red loin cloth, as well as green leaves around his head, and his long, dark hair flows loose down his back.


It's also striking that, while you can almost sense the gentle sea breeze flowing around him, he is also stood in water.  He may not want to immerse himself in emotion, but he is able to get a feel for the emotions around him, in order to better find his way.  He is using his mind/sword as a tool to help him find a balanced approach, and he tries to keep things friendly.  Not your typical Knight of Swords, yet I can also see some of the traditional ideas around communication and clarity of vision...


Certainly, I can see the need to communicate clearly yet gently today.  Big Boy starts back at school for the first time after the summer holidays.  However, everyone's nerves are already frazzled.  His school has been rebuilding since last July (they were at a temporary site for a year), and despite initial promises that they would move into the new building in June, then August, it has now been pushed back to October!  The school were informed last week that the building wasn't ready, and have been scrambling to organise alternatives for the next few weeks that involve different classes using different play and leisure centres around the borough - and of course transport has had to coordinate so they pick up kids by class, rather than by location.  As for us, after what turned out to be a typo, we had to make several calls yesterday to confirm where he's actually going to be, as we'd been told two totally different things!  It's all been pretty crazy, so some strong but gentle energy would definitely be of benefit to everyone :)


I am grateful for the strength to be clear without being snarky.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Taming the Jungle

©Katalin E. Csikos
Today's card from HazelMoon's Hawaiian Tarot (Self-published, 2010) is quite unusual.

Here we have the Eight of Swords, but rather than someone trapped by the swords, we see them lined up neatly.  Lush jungle foliage is on one side of the swords, but the other side seems almost empty.  Perhaps, then, this says something about limiting ideas that block creativity and growth.

It could also be taken another way, green shoots starting to encroach through the lowest-lying sword suggesting the unstoppability of creativity and life :)

I have a dentist's appointment today, as well as a consultation with a holistic gynecologist.  The dentist is one I haven't seen before, but whom my Dear One recommends.  I'm not a fan of seeing them, but I also acknowledge the necessity.  Still, I recognise my own negative assumptions around the visit (very traditional Eight of Swords).  Let's hope I'm proved wrong!  The holistic gynecologist I see more in the beauty of nature in this card, and I hope that this natural approach can win through some of the rational austerity of the medical establishment...

I am grateful for the power of nature.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Boy of Lava Stones

©Katalin E. Csikos
Hazelmoon's Hawaiian Tarot (self-published, 2010) makes changes with the Court cards, renaming the Page the Boy, and with the Knight becoming the Warrior.  Here, then, we have the Hawaiian version of the Page of Pentacles ;)

This is a strangely ungrounded image - a young boy on a rock in the middle of the ocean.  And yet, he is sat on a rock, rather than a boat.  A pelican (I think) looks on from a tree branch, and the moon shines in the sky above.  That looks like a fire on the second rock, just in front of him, keeping him warm in the night breeze. 

What I see here, then, is someone young exploring the world (and the elements) around them.  Of course, you don't actually have to be chronologically young for this, but to have a spirit of exploration and adventure, a willingness to try new things.  The Boy of Lava Stones is particularly interested in trying to understand the world around him, as well as his body and his physicality.

Today is meant to be another beautiful, sunny day here, so it feels like a good chance to get out in the park and enjoy the world :)  I've also been trying out some pregnancy exercise DVD's which I bought for my last pregnancy and then never used *doh*  Maybe I'll do another of those, or just be aware of how I'll need to modify one of my regular practices as my body changes...

I am grateful for being able to move and explore my body and the world.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Wicca Moon Tarot Review

After spending last week with the rather delightful Wicca Moon Tarot (Self-published by Shirlee @ Wicca Moon), I wanted to post a video review of this deck to showcase all 74 cards.  The Courts are Page, Knight, and a combined King/Queen, hence four cards less than a traditional deck.  I really like the semi-illustrated pips of this deck, as well as the pagan take on the Majors, in particular.  Anyhow, to see the full review, click here.

Palm Trees

©Katalin E. Csikos
This week I decided to draw from HazelMoon's Hawaiian Tarot (Self-published, 2010), by Katalin E. Csikos.  This deck renames the suit of Wands, which become Sticks, and Pentacles, which become Lava Stones.  The Courts are alsom renamed, as are some of the Majors, as we may see later in the week...

For this first draw, I got the Ten of Sticks (Wands).  Ten palm trees loom above us, silhouetted by a waning moon (at least I think it is, may be different in that part of the world).  The image (which is a bit darker in the flesh) makes me feel a bit small and overwhelmed, which I guess captures the Ten of Wands rather nicely.  There's certainly a feeling of not being able to see the wood for the trees ;)

This card makes me think of something my therapist said on Thursday.  He said that, given I'm pregnant and that there are added medical complications, I should really take things easy.  He went so far as to suggest I should make my Dear One my minion for the next nine months :D  While I don't see that happening, I do acknowledge that I need to prioritise, and learn to either delegate or say no to things.

I am grateful for the ability to say, not today!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Dogma

©Shirlee at Wicca Moon
A rather unusual "High Priest" blesses us from the Wicca Moon Tarot today.

When I first saw this card, I thought it might be the Magician, given all the suit symbols around him!  A pentacle decorates his black robe, a god-symbol is etched into the working candle  on his left, more symbols decorate the long staff he holds in his right hand, and a sword and chalice rest at his feet among white roses and lilies.  I notice, too, the black cat that peeks around from behind his legs, and the bubbles or orbs which float to either side of him.  With his pointy ears and hand raised in a gesture of blessing, he seems rather fae, or perhaps Vulcan ;D

A repository of timeless wisdom and a spiritual guide, I find this High Priest far less austere and daunting than many Hierophants.  Ivy grows around him and the candle, linking him to the Wiccan Summer King, to strength and fertility.  I imagine him performing a hand-fasting out in the woods, a revered part of his community.  Or calling in the God for a group ritual, the High Priestess standing opposite him.

Like traditional Hierophant figures, he is surrounded by the trappings of his faith.  Yet, the fact of being outdoors makes this card feel less rigid and dogmatic to me.  I acknowledge that is my prejudice speaking, as dogma and fixed ideas are certainly not limited to people in man-made structures!

I love the way that different versions of cards can help unpick these prejudices I am sometimes not very aware of within myself.  I wonder what other fixed ideas I might have challenged today...  I hope, too, that I will have time to meditate, to honour the sacred in my life.  And to spend some time with my Dear One and Big Boy, the two men I have committed to :)

I am grateful for sacred space in my life.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Rainbow Angel

©Shirlee at Wicca Moon
What a happy card for this Thursday morning!  Temperance, in the Wicca Moon Tarot, has some rather unusual features.

For one thing, instead of pouring a liquid from one vessel into another, this angel paints a rainbow across the sky :)  In front of her is not only a pond, with beautiful blue irises, but also bumble bees.  And in the background, there is an Eastern-looking city, full of onion-domed buildings, giving this an exotic, magical feel. 

This angel is also very feminine, with her flowing blonde hair, and a crescent moon at her brow.  Her dress is white, with subtle embroidery, ribbons, and a neckline highlighted in a soft golden colour.  Her wings, too, are a pure and shining white, and she wears a white pearl necklace, with a diamond glittering at the centre.

All this gives the card a Goddess emphasis in my eyes.  The rainbow is often associated with the Goddess Iris (also related to the flower) and the bumblebee is also a symbol of the Goddess.  A sense, then, of Temperance being connected to balancing the spiritual and mundane, as well as our inner and outer lives.

Today, I think I need to find a balance between different focuses - I have some reviews to write, and I also need to contact a few people about Big Boys medical issues, as well as catching up with some work which took a back seat while I was doing the Motivational Interviewing course, and then yesterday with my mum's birthday.

I am grateful for the ability to creatively balance different priorities.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Whirlwind

©Shirlee at Wicca Moon
Today, the Wicca Moon Tarot shows us another beautiful, yet less restful card.

In this version of the Eight of Swords, the eponymous swords are bundled in the centre of the card, whipped around by the wind.  It pulls them together, allowing little space for movement or autonomy.  It feels like a whirlwind, our ideas becoming trapped in a fixed pattern, unable to escape and head off in new directions.  Yet, it is just the wind, and those swords could cut through it if they were wielded with determination and focus.

As an alternative to this more traditional perspective, we could see this as a gathering together of ideas.  Our intellect bringing together a number of different notions, to see if they will work as a whole.

I see myself in the more traditional interpretation of this card today.  It's my mum's birthday, and she's coming over to visit this afternoon.  I've been trying to find a gift for her, but I think I've been trapped in a fixed idea of what she'd like.  Now I need to think outside the box, and fast!  Or maybe draw together a number of different things she likes, in a novel way... hmm.

I am grateful for the ability to bring different thoughts together.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Wands World

©Shirlee at Wicca Moon
One of the things I love about the Wicca Moon Tarot is the summery, happy feeling to many of the cards.  That's certainly the case with today's card - the Two of Wands.

Two wands stand side by side in a beautiful meadow, gazing out at a floating globe.  It almost looks like they are standing at a cliff edge, with the globe rising up from the chasm: we can see nothing but blue sky beyond the floating planet...  I like that there are little flames at the base of the wands, a reminder of their elemental attribution.  Although things look calm, there is a dynamic energy simmering, waiting to blast off ;D

Which path will we choose towards our goal?  Though we may have a single focus, there can be many different ways to get there...  Alternately, this card makes me think of connecting with others towards a common goal.  We can light each other's fire, achieving more together than we each would alone.

I'm really enjoying the Motivational Interviewing course I'm doing.  I can well imagine using this with clients, as and when I go back to working with them.  However, when that will be is a different question...

I am grateful for a world of interesting choices.

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Royal Couple of Wands

©Shirlee at Wicca Moon
As I mentioned yesterday, the Wicca Moon Tarot doesn't have Kings and Queens.  Instead, there is a single card for the more mature aspects of each suit.

It's an interesting perspective - perhaps suggesting that a mature approach to whatever part of self or life are represented by each suit must always be a balanced one.  That balance and maturity comes from combining understanding and action, emotion and responsibility.  It also means that the deck has only 74 cards ;)

Today, then, we meet the Royal Couple of Wands.  I notice my gut reaction to this Royal Couple isn't as favourable as my response to the Royal Couple of Cups in yesterday's interview.  For me, the fiery, dynamic suit of wands requires a somewhat younger Royal Couple.

I expected a man and woman in their forties or fifties, not these older folks.  As I write this, I acknowledge that my prejudice is showing through.  I know a number of older people who are still incredibly active and engaged, with the added boon of the wisdom of much life experience.  Still, it's probably the fact that I think of the Wands King and Queen as being quite driven - whereas I imagine folks of this age having already achieved most things they want, especially if they started off with that wands-y drive!

Certainly, these two look quite happy, and she is radiant.  However, their clothes are black and blue, also not fiery, and there are bubbles floating around them, as well as a single wand standing between them.  There is also some kind of wooden structure behind them, like a gate.  They seem quite calm and happy, wise and spiritual.

Today, I could do with some wands energy, both to fire me up, and give me some wise calm and focus.  First, I have to go to the clinic for some follow-up on last week.  Then, it's on the tube to attend a two-day workshop (part two is tomorrow) on Motivational Interviewing.  I booked it before getting pregnant and the attendant medical issues, and I'm feeling rather tired and overwhelmed at the thought, yet also glad to have something different to think about...

I am grateful for the energy to get through the day.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Wicca Moon Elemental Interview

©Shirlee at Wicca Moon
As I've already mentioned, the Wicca Moon Tarot is a self-published deck.  If you're interested in getting hold of it, you can try emailing the creator at shirlee (at) wiccamoon.org.uk.  My thanks again to Patsy (find her here and here), who helped me get my hands on a copy ;)

Wanting to get to know this charming deck a little better, I decided to ask it a few questions.

Earth - What are you like at a practical level?  Ace of Cups


"I am perhaps a little too emotionally open.  When trying to get on with things I may be distracted by the underlying emotions of those around me.

"I have a deep sense of reverence for life, and for the wisdom inherent in every person, so that guides my actions.  I love nature, but remain a little separate from it, probably because I see it more poetically than realistically.  That perspective always affects my approach."

Air - How do you communicate best?  King/Queen of Cups


This deck is unusual in that the Kings and Queens are combined in a single card for each suit (giving a total of 74 cards).  So, here we have the Royal Couple of Cups :)

"I am mature and emotionally wise, and I communicate from the heart.  I bring a balanced perspective to life, and find ways to communicate that suit the person I am with.

"I communicate clearly, from a place of wisdom, but also with kindness and sensitivity.  I manage to put across emotions in a way that is easily understandable, though I may speak more in metaphor than in terms of logic."

Fire - In what way are you most dynamic?  Six of Swords


"I am good at finding the path to calmer waters.  I use my experiences to move forward in a way that cuts through to more peaceful ways of being.

"As I'm so emotional, things can sometimes get a bit bumpy, but I believe there's always a solution.  You just have to look deep into your heart and be willing to be honest about what has happened.  Past experience is a rich fount of wisdom and good advice, even if it's in terms of what doesn't work." ;)

Water - What are you like emotionally?  IX - The Hermit


"People sometimes think of me as being withdrawn, but it's because I am emotionally sensitive that I need to pull back sometimes.  I have hidden depths, it's true.  Still, I also use my knowledge to try to help guide others.

"I look for answers from within, rather than in books or gurus.  Not that I disdain knowledge from others, but it always has to be tempered by my own experience, my own understanding.  I can't just buy into something without working through it for myself first.

"That means I sometimes need to take my time, and go over things a few times.  Still, it also means that once I do know something, I can explain it clearly, as I really live it."

Spirit - What is your deepest message?  Ten of Cups


"Emotional fulfillment is what I seek, and what I promise.  There is transformation here, and joy!"

"I can help you find a spiritual connection, and it's through joy and emotional fulfillment that I encourage change.  I think it's a pretty good combination."

Sounds pretty good to me, too!  I have to say, I was suprised to get such a watery/cupsy reading from this deck.  Seems like it might be good for working through deeply emotional questions, where the answers are about feelings rather than what's "actually going on".   Overall, it confirmed my sense of this deck as being a happy deck, full of light, but also wisdom.