Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Answer Spread

I recently saw this spread on The Art of Cartomancy's blog, and thought how good it looked.  So, I decided to give it a spin with my Kindergarten Lenormand.  My question: should I invite my mother and stepdad over for the 24th of December?

©Chloe McCracken

The first column shows the past/current situation, the second column is the answer, and the third column gives extra details. 

Book + Man - a secretive man.  Well, that would be my Dear One.  Although he decided he wanted to invite his family (including aunts, uncles and cousins) over to ours for the 25th, he doesn't actually have all that much contact with them, so it may well be a bit stilted.

Ship + Anchor - a foreigner's homebase and/or a trip that brings stability.  Here I see my mother: she is a foreigner, but our house has become homebase for Christmas since Big Boy, her only grandchild, was born.  Particularly as, being European, we normally celebrate on the 24th anyway.  Also, I have been worried about asking her to travel to ours on both the 24th and the 25th.  This suggests, though, that if the trip brings a feeling of stability it may still be welcomed.

Park + House - a family party.  This says that having my mum and stepdad over separately on the 24th will feel much more festive and also more of a true "family affair" than the time with DO's family.

So, based on this reading, I will ask.  After all, she can always say no if it doesn't suit them, but I think we'd all enjoy it if they did come.

Imps Awry

©Kipling West
Today's card from the Halloween Tarot (U.S. Games, 1997) is rather different to traditional depictions of the Eight of Wands.

Here we have eight Imps flying around in the broad night sky.  A somewhat spooky house sits off in the distance by the side of a stream, and there's a little hill on the opposite side of the card to balance it out.  Still, the landscape is more like a footnote, as the sky and the imps dominate the majority of the card.  What I notice most is that, unlike the neatly lined up wands of traditional images, here the imps are flying all over the place, in every direction.  Several of them brandish arrows, giving them a cupid-like feel.

There is a sense of chaoticness to this card's energy.  A lot of movement, a lot of messages perhaps, but little order or clarity.  And made worse by heightened passions, perhaps...

Hmm, I can well imagine things going awry today.  I have a delivery that's scheduled, but the company are notoriously unreliable.  They've been known to show up not just at a different time to the one stated, but on a different day, despite ringing in person to arrange the delivery *doh*  I also have quite a few different projects that need working on - how to prioritise?

On a more pleasant note, I'm hoping to have time to do some more Blog Hopping, as last night the posts went out too late for me to read more than a couple.  That definitely counts as moving, and given the hugely different takes on the subject, the imps of inspiration certainly aren't all flying in a single direction across all those posts ;)

I am grateful for creative differences.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Samhain Tarot Blog Hop

Halloween Tarot ©Kipling West
Welcome to another Tarot Blog Hop!  You may have popped in from Joanna at Sun Goddess Tarot, or found your way here by some other route.  In either case, I'd thoroughly recommend you hop around the rest of the offerings this All Hallows Eve!

When our wrangler, Amethyst Mahoney, proposed a hop to do with exploring our shadow, I thought it sounded pretty good.  Not that I like my shadow, by definition it's made up of the bits I don't like, that scare me, or that I'm ashamed of.  Still, I've been in therapy for 9 years and I work as a counsellor myself, so I know this stuff is important.  What to write about, though, and how personal to get?

Then, as we got closer to the date something else happened: my life has been super exciting and super busy because of the Celtic Lenormand project.  I've been feeling so energised and enthused, my therapist even commented on it.  And then he asked me to turn around 180 degrees and look at what was behind all that.  Not that I had to go into it, but at least be aware of it.

I took a good hard look, and decided that was more than I wanted to share here.  So, what to do instead?  Well, the Lenormand has been my solace of late, why not go with that?  One of the big differences people mention between the Lenormand and tarot is that Lenormand readings are less psychological, more "just the facts".  Still, wanting to stay on topic, I thought: "How about using a Lenormand reading to look at the symptoms of shadow issues, rather than the issues themselves - how the shadow is playing out within my life, rather than my psyche?"

©Chloë McCracken
I've been eating very badly for the last month, despite feeling creative and energised, so it's clearly a shadow symptom.  I laid out nine cards from the Kindergarten Lenormand to look at what's going on with my nutrition and diet.

Right from the get-go, this reading hits the spot.  With the Child at the centre, I am forced back to the things I don't want to talk about.  While the Lenormand may stick to facts, those facts affect our psyches.

The Child at the heart of the reading is true in four different ways.  Just with that one card this reading hits on so much.  And thinking about it, I realise that is probably half the problem: there are too many fragile things in need of nurture in my life.  Anyhow, in interpreting the rest of the cards I'll stick with just one of those four "Child" elements in my life.

I've been doing a lot of research for the Celtic Lenormand (Tower), but still face any number of obstacles to get it done (Mountain).  After all, at the moment it is mainly just a bunch of briefs on Will Worthington's computer, with about 6 cards sketched in black and white, and one now being completed in colour.  So, the cards still need to be painted, the book still needs to be written, I still need to look into printing options, publishing options, marketing... the list goes on.

No wonder I am nervous and eating to push away the fear!  So much to be done, a lot of it things I've never done before: I'm way out of my comfort zone.  All the worrying about it (Clouds) is impacting on my sense of well-being and health (Tree), so that I fall back on old patterns from the past (Anchor).  Of course, it is mainly in my own head - it is pressure I put on myself, rather than coming from anyone external - hence Woman at the start of the first line followed closely by Clouds.

The Scythe, though, gives me hope that it is within my power to make a break with these negative patterns, and find something which is more growthful for me.  I read the last column as saying that taking a positive and rational/organised approach (Sun) despite the obstacles (Mountain), will help me make cut these bad patterns out (Scythe).

Although this reading could have gone several different ways, I think that even just sticking to this one interpretation was helpful.  I hope that I will bring the light of my conscious mind to bear, overcoming these fears and making a break with this shadow symptom.

Thanks for stopping by!  Now, I hope you'll hop along to TABI's blog and see what else there is to read on this Halloween Blog Hop.

Video Review of Judith Bärtschi's Lenormand

I really love the warm, soft colours of this deck.  It won't be to everyone's taste, as it's fairly busy and has the titles in German.  Still, I'd encourage you to take a little look - they are lovely cards!  To see the review, click here.

Lenormand Corner 9

Something has me rather upset today, so I decided to reach for the cards for some help.  I decided on a quick reading with the Under the Roses Lenormand (Hurteau & Hill, 2012).

©Hurteau & Hill
What I see here is that someone in a position of authority is pushing me to explore things more widely, which will lead to good luck.  So, this negativity can have a positive result, if I let it encourage me to move outwards, rather than turning in on myself.  That's definitely helpful, now I just have to do it... :)

Ghosts of the Past

©Kipling West
The Halloween Tarot (U.S. Games, 1997) renames all the suits, as you've probably noticed the last few days ;)  Wands become Imps, Cups are Ghosts, Swords transform into Bats, and Pentacles grow into Pumpkins.  That makes today's card the Five of Cups, in traditional parlance.

I find this a fascinating take on the card: four ghosts and a pumpkin man watch with unhappy expressions while a fifth ghost pours water from a bucket into a river.  Even the orange-eyed cat is gazing up at the water-pouring ghost.  Meanwhile, five stars twinkle overhead, and another bucket stands unheaded behind the pumpkin man.

What this card says to me is that focusing on the ghosts of past relationships, past experiences, is like pouring all our emotional energy down the drain.  We do not see the guiding light that surrounds us, nor the emotional strength we still have.

As for me, I take this card as a prod to stop feeling sorry for myself.  Yes, my first dissertation protocol was rejected, but things don't have to end there, unless I let them.  Same goes for other things in my life.  They are only hopeless if I look to the past, rather than the future.

I am grateful for the reminder of the light that surrounds me.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Under the Roses Video Review

I am absolutely loving this pretty little deck from the amazing Kendra Hurteau and Katrina Hill.  They are on a real Lenormand roll, having just released this deck, the Under the Roses Lenormand, as well as the Halloween Lenormand (can't wait for it to arrive!)  They are also now working on a Yule Lenormand.  If it's anywhere near the quality of this deck, it'll be a must have for those who don't mind a somewhat non-traditional Lenormand deck :)

Anyhow, to watch the review, just click here.

New Inspiration

©Kipling West
I like today's card from the Halloween Tarot (U.S. Games, 1997), too :) 

This Page has long hair and a rather androgynous look - could be a girl or boy.  There are red salamanders on hir tunic, and s/he gazes up at the bright flame of hir torch.  A little red imp looks out from behind hir, also seeming intent on the flame.  Perhaps wondering what the Page is going to set fire to :)  Likewise, the black cat who graces every card also stares curiously up at the flame.  I like the ghosts on the Page's boots, showing s/he's prone to emotion, as well as passion and enthusiasm.

It feels like this Page has a new inspiration, a guiding light, something to feel excited about.  S/he may not act very wisely, though, too caught up in this new passion to see any of the consequences attached, or anything else at all, for that matter.  Still, a little enthusiasm can go a long way :)

As for me, I am feeling a little more inspired again about my dissertation.  I do recognise, though, that I need to take a good long look at several areas before making another move.  I hope my enthusiasm will weather the vicissitudes of academic rigour...  On the other hand, today I will also be going to Atlantis Bookshop to drop off flyers for my "Introduction to the Lenormand" workshop in January - that's something where I've leapt before looking, but I'm glad of it :)

I am grateful for enthusiasm: be it well-founded or not, it's better than giving up.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Pumpkin Farmer

©Kipling West
The Halloween Tarot (U.S. Games, 1997) is pretty much a RWS clone, particularly in the Minors.  Yet I still find it delightful, and there is often a different feeling to the cards despite the similarities.

Today's card is such a case, I think.  The look on the pumpkin-headed farmer's face is so peaceful and hopeful!  He doesn't look stressed by the work he's put into his pumpkins, he doesn't look worried about how his harvest will turn out.  He appears to just be in the moment, enjoying being outside and looking at those beautiful pumpkins :)

Yes, we may have to wait and see, we may have to reassess whether the seeds we've sown need more watering, or whether we need to weed some out.  Still, this card reminds us to stay present with what we are doing, in the moment.

In this card, I definitely see my need to reassess my dissertation protocol.  What I also see, though, is that I need to stay present with what is happening right now, too.  For example, today is family day.  So, I shall try to turn off thoughts of methodology and research co-participants, and focus on enjoying spending time with my Dear One and Big Boy!

I am grateful for the reminder to be where I am.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Lenormand Corner 8

After the news yesterday about my dissertation protocol being rejected, I felt pretty despondent.  Should I just give up on the whole idea, focus elsewhere?  Or try to alter it so it matches academia's criteria while still being something I want to do?  I turned to my Kindergarten Lenormand, to see what it had to say about the whole thing.
©Chloe McCracken

The cards I pulled were: Fox, Mountain, Park, Flowers, Paths, Stars, Dog, Letter, Sun.

It's interesting, there are a lot of positive cards in this draw, far more than I would expect.  At the centre is Paths: the fact that I have choices to make.  Well, duh!  Fox says I worked hard on this, but have come across a big obstacle.  However, with Park straight after, it makes me wonder about whether I can use my connections, my community, to find a way around this problem.

In the position of the past, I have Flowers.  A gift?  Perhaps this is talking about the Celtic Lenormand, something fun and beautiful which has appeared in my life recently.  This is one of the choices which I now have (Paths).  I need to look for guidance (Stars) in making this choice, and listen to my own higher self.

Dog in the past underlying position makes me think of a watchdog - in this case the reviewer.  I have received an email from him, a perfect example of Letter.  What of the sun, though?  As well as indicating happiness, it can also stand for our consciousness, for rationality.  So, an email from a watchdog, which is very rational.  I guess in terms of advice I see it suggesting I need to stay very logical, über rational, if I want to win the watchdog over.  I need to plan my arguments carefully and make sure there is no nook in which there are shadows to be exploited...

I also see the last line as friends (Dog) lending their support in the comments of my last post (Letter), which helps lift my mood (Sun) :)  Thanks, guys!

To Sleep Part 2

©Kipling West
In this week that encompasses Samhain, what better deck to dig out of my box than the Halloween Tarot (U.S. Games, 1997)? 

Today's image is rather reminiscent of yesterday's Moon card!  Here, the moon gazes down through a stainglass window at a pumpkin-headed Knight on a tombstone.  I love the ever-present black cat, here curled up on the Knight's lap.  I wouldn't mind napping with a cat snuggled up to me, that's for sure :)

This card depicts well the idea of taking some time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Of resting up to prepare ourselves for the next big push.  Though I wonder how comfortable it would be to sleep in armour...

I feel the need for that armour's protection, though.  Yesterday, I was notified that my dissertation protocol has been declined by the first reviewer.  One of his comments put "tarot" and "hokum" in the same sentence :(  He suggested I look at the use of visual cues in therapy, but as far as I've been able to find, no-one does it.  That was part of the whole point, which he managed to completely miss (though I did state that in my bibliography section)!

I know this is just a first setback, and I can reassess how I approach it - change my "spin".  Still, at the moment all I want to do is blow raspberries at academia and throw myself into the Celtic Lenormand and teaching workshops.  Bah...

At least today should be a welcome break.  Carla, of Rowan Tarot, is coming to London and we shall spend the day together.  Sounds like just the kind of relaxing break I need! :)

I am grateful it's the weekend.

Friday, 26 October 2012

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

©Jessica Shanahan
I am sad to see this week with the Tarot of the Absurd end!  There is something really warm in these images, despite them being black-and-white. 

For our last card I pulled the Moon.  This is a very sweet, gentle version of this archetype.  A person sleeps curled up with a couple of dogs (or maybe the traditional fox and dog).  All three lie on a bridge over a stream, with four trees that seem almost like pillars supporting the corners of the bridge.  The trees are bare-branched, and with curly roots digging down into the dark soil.  Above it all, the Moon beams down, eyes gently closed, a soft smile on this otherwise impassive face. 

To me, it feels as though everyone is asleep - the person, the animals, the trees, even the Moon.  Perhaps, though, the Moon is just gazing down, wryly thinking about being the only one awake. 

I wonder what they are all dreaming about.  Curled up together on the bridge, it feels like a precarious place to sleep, unsheltered from the elements and the moonlight.  And yet, being curled together would feel cozy and secure.  A strange mix, then.  Do they dream of being in a happy place, or of being pursued by demons, or of entering a strange world where rooms change shape as you walk through them?  Or do they perhaps dream of flying?  Maybe the Moon is dreaming them, creatures to keep him company through the long night...

As for me, I feel a bit like the Moon: too often awake while most of the world sleeps.  And with strange dreams, too!  I am sometimes uncertain whether they are waking dreams, or whether I have managed to sleep a while.  This is part of the problem of being constantly on the alert for Big Boy, who sleeps so poorly, and of trying to go back to sleep when others are getting up.  It's like being a shift worker, never quite able to sleep properly when it is daytime (though, perhaps fortunately in this instance, the hours of daylight are getting fewer and fewer now).  Yet, through it all, there is that thread of emotion, of intuition and a feeling of connection to something profound and creative.

I am grateful for the magic of dreams, both waking and sleeping.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Kindergarten Lenormand

A friend of mine, when confronted by a deck with less-than-pristine artwork, has been known to comment, "That looks like it was drawn by a teenager!" (yes, you know who you are!)  However, when I set out to draw my own Lenormand deck, I knew that I couldn't hope to aim that high.  So, I decided to call my deck the Kindergarten Lenormand, to acknowledge the style and quality of the artwork ;D  I was tempted to post with a few cards yesterday, but I realised I'd be able to complete it, and held off til I could do a "proper" reading, drawing from the entire deck.
©Chloe McCracken

I asked, "what should I know about you?"  My answer?  Fox, Child, Park, Grave, Heart, Tower, Fish, Tree, Woman.

©Chloë McCracken
At the heart of the reading is... the Heart.  This deck has been a labour of love on many levels.  It is a small part of a much bigger project, which consumes me: the Celtic Lenormand.  I created this Kindergarten deck so that I could start teaching Lenormand workshops, to get myself out there and start promoting the Celtic Lenormand through word-of-mouth: grassroots publicity.  And so, for the love of one deck, I created another.

The Fox points out that all of this has been hard work, yet which has accessed a child-like joy in me (Child), as well as representing a new project, a new beginning.  And of course, the artistic "style" of this deck!  The work is not over yet, though, as I still have to bring it, in its many forms and parts, into the public eye (Park/Garden) through blogging, Facebook, workshops and so on.

©Chloë McCracken
This deck, though it may look rather immature, doesn't hold back on deep emotions.  It says that the history of this lies in a painful ending (Grave), which led to my needing this new passion, this new love (Heart).  As one thing dies, it makes space in our hearts for something else.  Meanwhile, the Tower points out that I still have a lot to do to create a stable place for this project, and a lot of studying and research to complete.

Fish next to Tree suggests that I will have to consider the long-term financial plans for this project - where will the money come from to publish it?  Woman at the end of the line suggests what looks ever more likely, that I will go with self-publishing...

©Chloë McCracken
Reading the central column, I see that this new love (Child+Heart) has the potential to bring me healing and growth (Tree+Heart).

As many people say, with a Lenormand it doesn't much matter what the pictures on the deck look like, it is what they mean that counts.  Whether or not that's true (and I disagree to an extent, else I wouldn't be working to produce the Celtic Lenormand, which will be a deck with striking artwork), it's certainly the case that my little Kindergarten deck reads perfectly well!  And hopefully it'll garner a few laughs when I show it at my workshops :D

Happy Family

©Jessica Shanahan
This is another lovely card from Jessica Shanahan's Tarot of the Absurd

A family sit together, lovingly close.  The child sits in between the man and woman, gazing up adoringly at what I assume to be his mother.  His little hand reaches out to pat her face, while her arm wraps around her man's back.  They are all sat on a chest, with coins floating around them. 

They seem so secure, with each other and with their chest of stuff.  They have all they need for their happiness.  Not a huge house or a fancy car or an expensive suit.  Just what they need to get by, and each other.

I'm not sure how much time I'll have for this kind of family closeness today, as I have three meetings to attend.  So, I'll be out for much of the day.  Still, perhaps this is more a reminder to appreciate what I have, even if I'm not actually with my Dear One and Big Boy.  And to make the most of the time I do have with them!

I am grateful for my family.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Fairy Tale Fortune Cards Review

Here's a quick video showing all the cards from the Fairy Tale Fortune deck, and also talking about the colourful and interesting companion deck.  This is a Lenormand oracle, although not directly marketed as such.  It is very modern, with bright, bold colours.  The only downside is that the cards are BIG!  Go on, take a look ;)

Ra's Chariot

©Jessica Shanahan
Today's card from the Tarot of the Absurd definitely offers us a quite different perspective.

Here we see a bull and a lion harnessed to a chariot.  The angles are all strange, though.  The lion looks like his tail has been caught under the chariot and he's not happy about it.  The bull is arching back, as though about to tumble and crush the lion or the charioteer, or both.  And the chariot stands on it's tailgate, facing straight up.  Perhaps that matters less, as the charioteer has strong-looking angel wings that echo the eagle on the chariot's axle.  He also has a flaming torch above him.

You couldn't get much more disparate mounts for the chariot, and it seems the charioteer has his work cut out for him if he wants to make his way in the world.  And yet, his angel wings suggest an almost godly determination, and the support of spirit for his endeavours.  It feels a little like Ra's chariot, driven through the sky each day carrying the sun.  Such power will overcome any obstacle!

As for me, I have another strange project in mind today, as part of my ground roots marketing of the Celtic Lenormand.  I'm going to be drawing my own Lenormand deck, as Will's art won't be ready in time for me to put it in the slides for my first Introduction to Reading the Lenormand workshop at Atlantis Books in London on 19th January next year.  I don't want to breach anyone's copyright, and I want to be able to give people good handouts.  So, they will get recognisable, if very poorly drawn, Lenormand images as visual cues for the class.  I'll post a few, just so you can all have a laugh at how bad my drawing skills are!

I am grateful for the drive to get even absurd projects done.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Giveaway Result

Hopefully in good time for Halloween, I have done the draw for the Witchy Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2003).  I plugged the number of entries into random.org and clickety-click...

...the lucky winner is ***Christiane***

Congratulations, I hope you'll enjoy the deck!  I'll email you to get your address :)

Lenormand Corner 7

Once again, I did Jase's Lenormand five-finger exercise:

Fairy Tale Fortune Cards ©Dean & Speight
 A fortuitous (Clover) conversation (Birds) leads to happiness and love (Heart).

Well, that fits amazingly well with this morning's tarot draw, again!  It suggests if my Dear One and I take time to tell each other what makes us feel lucky to be together, it'll make us feel all the more loving :)  Sounds like a plan to me!

Delightful Dance

©Jessica Shanahan
Don't you just love this card from Jessica Shanahan's Tarot of the Absurd?!

In this version of the Two of Cups, a man and woman dance together, each leaning on the other.  They would both fall over if the other wasn't there.  Yet they dance and trust, and do it with such looks of bliss on their faces :)

To me, this is the very essence of a loving relationship.  Trust, joy, sharing, being there for each other, and doing it all with a smile.  Of course, we don't always manage that balance; sometimes we fall over and there may be tears, or other spilled emotions.  Still, it's worth the effort, because loving and being loved is a beautiful thing!

This is just the perfect card for me today, too ;D  Tonight is "Date Night" for my Dear One and I.  It's something we instituted after our son was born - regular dates out, to give us some "couple" time, rather than always being "parents".  I highly recommend it - it really does make a difference.  Anyhow, today we're going to the cinema to see the latest Bond movie, and then for drinks and dinner.  I hope we can manage this kind of loving and joyful time together.

I am grateful for someone to love and be loved by.

Giveaway Reminder

Just a quick heads-up - the October Giveaway of the Witchy Tarot closes this afternoon at 2pm BST (in about 8 hours).  So, if you want to take part, go comment on the thread here! :)

Monday, 22 October 2012

Lenormand Corner 6

Today, I decided to do a lovely spread which Jase calls his Lenormand five-finger exercise :)  Interestingly, it echoed a lot of what I saw in this morning's tarot card.

Piatnik Lenormand
I am facing a burdensome situation (Cross) which I find confusing (Clouds).  This is to do with my spiritual understanding of things (I see Cross as both burden and spirituality, and that's one of the things I wanted to write about today, and clarify, for the Celtic Lenormand book: the relationship of these two aspects).  The outcome is an overcoming of confusion, and a sense of shoring up my faith in my understanding (Tower).

This fits well with the Page of Blades I had earlier - the Tower can often represent academia and study, too.  The main difference I see here is the aspect of feeling weighed down.  However, since I wrote this morning's tarot post I've felt like I wasted far too much time on necessary but annoying paperwork, rather than the work I actually want to achieve.  I guess that's where the difference comes in...  Still, the Tower as outcome suggests I will get to do the research and writing I want to :)

Stepping Up

©Jessica Shanahan
Today's card from Jessica Shanahan's Tarot of the Absurd is also the card which graces the front of the packaging the deck comes in: the Page of Blades.

Somewhere on her site, Jessica comments that she doesn't know why she put a crown over the Page's head - perhaps a Thoth Princess influence.  I rather like it, to be honest.  Especially in this card, it suggests a certain illumination or wisdom, small now, but that will grow.  I also like the way this Page stands on books, as though absorbing their wisdom so that she can reach a little farther than those she learns from.  She can also back up any argument, from the books behind her.  It's only a small bookshelf, though, so there is still a world of wisdom waiting to be discovered.

An enthusiastic student - sharp of wit, full of confidence - who may not yet understand just how big and wide the world is: that's what I see in this card!

For myself, I'd definitely like to do some research today, as well as some writing - both for the Celtic Lenormand, and some reviews I've had on the side lines.  This card suggests to me, too, that I may need to keep an eye on being too smart for my own good.  A little humbleness can open up far more learning than pretending to know it all!  And there is so much to learn in this world...

I am grateful for the wealth of ideas and information available to me.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Jolly Gentlemen

©Jessica Shanahan
Today's card from Jessica Shanahan's Tarot of the Absurd (2012), is the Three of Sticks (Wands).

Three very different characters stand together.  One looks like a priest, another seems like an old but nimble archer, and the last a "fat cat" business man.  Each holds a stick, but all three sticks are somewhat different.  Are these three fellows working together on a project?  Or all waiting for something to happen?

The two on the outside look towards each other,  while the small man in the middle seems more focused on what he holds in his left hand.  I also like the way he delicately holds his very fine stick with one finger, as though balancing it.

Somehow, the message I get here is that the more lightly we can hold a project, the healthier for us, and the less stressed we will be.

I shall have to let go of my current projects today, or at least hold them lightly in mind, rather than actually working on them.  That is the joy and the torture of family day :)  I think it does me good - a form of Temperance, forcing me to bring some work/family balance into my life.

I am grateful for a family I love.

 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Lenormand Corner 5

Following on from this morning's post, I decided to do a quick five card Lenormand draw to look at what's going on around the Celtic Lenormand project for me at the moment.  I used the recently released Under the Roses Lenormand (Hurteau & Hill, 2012), which is currently sold-out, but which will hopefully see a second print run soon.

Gentleman, Mountain, Stork, Birds, Fish
It's interesting, firstly, that I have had all these cards before on this blog, even though I haven't yet posted many Lenormand readings here.  So, a definite pattern!

Man has come next to, or near Mountain before, too.  This time, I see it somewhat differently, inspired by one of the keywords on the Mountain card here.  The past of this situation is that I had to deal with an intimidating man.  Not that Will Worthington is intimidating as a person, more his reputation.  It was tough for me to approach him, THE Will Worthington, as just some woman with an idea for a deck.  Still, he was really nice about it, took the project on its merits, and is thoroughly down-to-earth and easy to communicate with.

Stork in the centre position says that this is something which will bring change, growth, a "new addition to the family".  That's a new addition to my family and Will's family, as this is our project, our baby (though he has rather more "kids" than I do).  And also a new addition to the Lenormand family :)

As for the future, Birds and Fish recommend communication for making money.  Straight away, I thought about networking!  I've been doing a lot of that the last few days, spending hours on Facebook that I wouldn't normally spend.  Still, especially if we do go the self-publishing route, having built up a community of people interested in the deck will be vital.

In this combination I also see support for my wish to teach Lenormand classes.  That is another form of communication with a group that will also help make money.  Both directly, in getting paid for classes, and indirectly in creating word-of-mouth about the deck, which I will use in my presentations as soon as images are available.

So, I shall use that Alchemist energy from earlier to approach some occult stores and see about hiring a space to teach Lenormand classes, hopefully with some advertising support from them...

Alchemist

This week, I'll be blogging with Jessica Shanahan's Tarot of the Absurd.  When it arrived, it looked like this:

The cards are all black-and-white, with very unusual and striking designs.  You can maybe get a feel for that here:

©Jessica Shanahan
So, what does this deck have to say to us today?  The first card I pulled is the Alchemist (Magician).

There is a genie-esque quality to this card, the Alchemist seeming to emerge from the upper tip of the crescent moon, which seems to make up the body of some sort of alembic.  Yet, the Alchemist also holds the top of the alembic, as though controlling the flow from it, of spiralling gases, or maybe pure magic.

I see the Alchemist as a she, though it isn't overly apparent.  She wears a floppy hat with a star on it, which is echoed in the base of the alembic, and a single high heeled shoe.  Also a pair of glasses - for short-sightedness or to enhance vision?  She holds some kind of wand in her left hand, with which she seems to poke herself.  Either that, or it's aiming down beneath her, perhaps to where she is emerging from the moon - willing herself out?

The sense I get here is firstly of willing herself into existence, creating herself with a wave of her wand.  What else might she control, if she has such power?  She seems very intent on what she's doing, that's for sure.

It's curious how, with nothing but black on white, the artist has created such a happy, magical feel: like everything is possible.  I also love the feeling of dancing in this image, like all of life is set to music, a graceful flow of movement: which at a quantum level it is...

As for me, today I want to do some writing for the Celtic Lenormand.  I'd also like to start work on a powerpoint for a class on learning to read the Lenormand that I plan to run in some local occult shops.  And if I have time I might start work on my blog posts for the next Tarot Blog Hop...  Hopefully, this Alchemist's energy will help me get lots done :)

I am grateful for will, determination and creativity.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Trance

©Kat Black
For this last day with the Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009), we have what is probably my favourite card this week: the Hermit.

I love the way he looks as though he's moved by spirit, swaying to a rhythm only he can feel.  He is surrounded by animals: a wise owl, an independent, protective stag and a playful cat.  They remind us that we can learn through play as much as through study, and that what we learn we then offer up to others.  His light swings with his movement, casting its beam in all directions, just as we can shine our inner light in many different ways.

I was supposed to be meeting with a friend today, but she texted yesterday to say she was feeling unwell.  Instead, I hope to make time for some meditation - I've been so busy with the Celtic Lenormand (come check us out on Facebook, too) that I haven't meditated all week!  Still, I guess the research I need to do for it also counts as study, and there's certainly a spiritual aspect to it... :)

I am grateful for the messages of spirit.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Announcing...

Have I piqued your curiosity?  Do you want to know what I've been planning and worrying about and delighting in?  The project I've been working on for the last while is finally ready to go public.  Come take a look?  Click here.

To Dare

©Kat Black
Our second-to-last day sees an unusual perspective on the Nine of Wands from the Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009).

A woman stands in old-fashioned but rather fancy dress in front of a wall.  We can see eight wands poking up from behind the wall, and she holds the ninth in her left arm.  She also seems to have some kind of bandage across her forehead, though it's not terribly clear given she's wearing an elaborate hat.  It also doesn't seem to match well with her square-necked dress and gem-heavy necklace.  Not exactly ideal fighting apparel, is it?

I imagine her walking the dangerous streets at night, having left the safety of her walled home, wand in hand in case she has to face any brigands.  What a well-to-do lady would be doing out on her own, though, is less clear.  Rather daring, really! 

I'm not sure how daring I plan to be today.  Still, I want to try to sort out a new website for my soon-no-longer-to-be-secret project ;)  I bought the domain name, but haven't yet managed to link the associated blog to it.  If all goes well, I'll post later today for the big unveiling...

I am grateful for the courage and energy to face technical difficulties.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Cherries or Tomatoes?

©Kat Black
Today's card from the Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009) seems a little dark for the Nine of Cups...

A well-to-do man in a black, fur-lined coat sits at a table with a bowl of some red fruit in front of him.  He wears a ring on one finger, and a black hat with a gold brooch at the front.  Behind him on a shelf are nine gold cups, lined up in an ellipse.

The fruit in front of him (I think it's tomatoes, though it may be cherries) seems like a colourful delight.  Certainly, what many of us wish for is some kind of life-enhancing, different experience, something to bring a bit of colour to our existence.  He seems to have all he could desire - what is left?


As for me, all my wishes for today focus on this evening.  I am meeting with someone for my project, and hope to be able to make an announcement tomorrow.  It's something I've been wanting to do for years, and now I may get my chance.  Still, I am reminded of the shadow meaning of this card: be careful what you wish for.  I may be biting off quite a bit with this.  I believe, though, that I care about this project enough to make it happen, no matter what else comes along.

I am grateful for wishes granted, no matter the costs.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

October Giveaway

©Tuan & Platano
In the lead up to Halloween/Samhain I have decided to run another giveaway.  This time, the deck on offer is a Witchy/Teen Witch/Hip Witch Tarot from Lo Scarabeo (2003).  It comes in the original, unopened cellophane, and with a LWB.  However, there is no box. 

It's a fun deck, with a pagan theme, and a young feel to it.  The Courts represent the Wheel of the Year (Celebrations and Moons), aspects of the pagan path (Trials) and the divine (Goddesses).  The suits are renamed Flames (Wands), Cauldrons (Cups), Broomsticks (Swords) and Boulders (Pentacles).  The Majors are sometimes renamed, other times not.  If you want to read a review I wrote of it a few years back, click here.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is post a comment on this thread.  I will draw a name at random in a week's time, on the 23rd, so hopefully you'll get the deck in time for Halloween :)  Good luck!

Restraint

©Kat Black
Today we meet another Major from the Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009).  This time, it is Temperance who faces us, somewhat dourly.

This woman makes me think of women who go veiled.  She wears a scarf that covers her chin, neck and upper chest.  A bizarre hat a bit like a pointy marshmallow covers her head, so no hair can be seen.  Her dark dress covers all else, down to her wrists.  She appears to sit at a table, or perhaps stand at a window sill, pouring some fluid from a jug into a cup.  Her gaze seems to drift over to a bird standing on the table or sill, perhaps wondering at its freedom to fly.

This Temperance feels so restrained to me.  Caught in a room, trapped by her clothes, limited to the small movements she can make and what she can see from her window.  I guess moderation can be enforced from outside, or can come from an inner force.  And perhaps she chose those clothes, that room, for just that reason: to create some boundaries.

Today, my main limitation is time.  There are so many things I would like to do, but only a limited number of hours in the day to do them.  Still, it's all about the balance, about prioritising and bringing a harmonious mix of elements into our lives.  While I won't be able to spend the whole day on my current favourite project, I will make time to exercise, to play with my son, to talk with my mother when she comes to visit, to cuddle my Dear One, to email friends.  Sounds like a pretty well-rounded day to me!

I am grateful for a varied and vibrant life.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Variation on a Reading

Earlier today, someone asked me if I wanted them to keep quiet about the project I'm involved in, particularly with regard to someone else who is in the same field and a friend of theirs.  I decided to do a quick reading on it with the recently released, recoloured Hello Kitty Tarot by Brittany Tingey (2012).  Positions are:  
Don't - Justice 
Situation - High Priestess
Do - King of Wands
The result looked like this:


Scaredy Cat Reading


My first response to this was, the situation is one which requires silence.  I shouldn't worry about being fair to all parties, but try to enforce my will to keep things quiet.

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar Reading


My second response was: I am the High Priestess, I am the Oracle.  I am whole unto myself and have nothing to fear from others.  I shouldn't worry about legal technicalities - the possibility of someone stealing my idea, or persuading my colleague not to sign the contract we've negotiated.  Instead, I should go forth bravely, and try to forge new relationships, perhaps with someone whom I respect.

And so, I contacted the person and said that, other than specific details, I was happy for them to talk to their friend about it.  In response, I am now going to meet them and their friend on Wednesday.

For me, this was a striking instance of just how differently the same cards can be interpreted.  Both readings fit within traditional notions of these cards.  The difference is in my attitude, not in the cards.  And I decided that I want to approach life from a position of trust, and of self-belief, not of fear and paranoia.  Of course, that trust could be abused.  Still, I have no reason to doubt the goodness of either of the other people involved, and several reasons to believe that they are honourable people deserving of respect, and willing to give it.  I hope I am proved right...

Life Purpose

©Kat Black
On this Monday morning, we meet the Seven of Pentacles from the Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009).

A woman stands, watering a pot with a slightly wilted pink flowered plant in it.  She wears a green cloak and a dusky rose blouse and scarf over her head - reminding me of the Girl with a Pearl Earring.  Over her head hangs a vine with seven coins.  There are more flowers in other pots, red and white.

It's interesting to have a woman in this card, and one in an indoor setting.  This speaks of the variety of ways in which we can nurture something for the future.

During one of her talks, Rachel Pollack discussed the notion of our Life Purpose.  She said, what if we don't even know what our life purpose is, what if it has nothing to do with our life or what we think is our purpose?  She gave the example of Paul Foster-Case, the founder of BOTA.  Before he founded the Builders of the Adytum, he worked in vaudeville.  One day, someone back stage wondered in passing where playing cards came from.  It was a question that was to lead Foster-Case to explore cards, the tarot, and much other esoteric knowledge, and then offer that wisdom up to the world in the form of a correspondence course.  So Rachel said, perhaps that casual commenter's life purpose was just to ask that question of Foster-Case!

I see things somewhat differently.  At another point in time, Rachel talked about hating the question: "When will I meet my soul mate?"  She said: what an amazing assumption.  Not just assuming that you have a soul mate, but that you will meet them, that it's just a question of when.  Now, I'm with Rachel on this one - I don't believe in "The One".  I think that love is what we make of it, and that we might have a soul mate or twin flame relationship, but that this kind of deep connection is no guarantee that we'll wind up with that person.  Or that we might have more than one soul mate, or none at all (or at least might not meet, or not recognise, them).

What has this got to do with the question of life purpose, and our woman in the Seven of Coins?  Well, I think we don't necessarily just have one life purpose.  Yes, maybe the most historically significant thing that person did was ask a random question of Foster-Case.  That doesn't invalidate, though, all the other things that he did in his life.  It doesn't mean that the purpose he saw in his life wasn't valid or worthwhile.  Maybe he also made a sick child smile, reminded a man why he loved his wife, and wrote a really funny song.  Maybe he went on to be an insurance salesman and saved some poor widow from starvation.

We may water many plants in our life.  Some will flourish, some may die.  Only time will tell.  And even then, just because one plant goes on to be a famous ribbon winner, doesn't invalidate the other plants we watered, even if they don't go down in history.  We might be most proud of the one that didn't make it, but from which we learnt how best to nurture the ones that came after...

Today I have a fair bit of boring paperwork to do.  And yet, it may pave the way for something exciting and worthwhile, something of a legacy.

I am grateful for the reminder to give of my best to every task and project in my life, not knowing which, if any, will be "important" in the grand scheme of things.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Of Talking Fish and Sleeping Cats

©Kat Black
Today's card from the Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009) is the Page of Cups.

During the UK Tarot Conference, Rachel Pollack mentioned this card as part of her talk about one of her recent books "Tarot for Magical Times".  She said (I'm paraphrasing), "What if we take this image literally.  After all, just about every culture in history but one has believed in talking animals.  That one is ours.  What if he has that fish there because it is talking to him?" 

 What would that fish be saying?  "Hey dude, get me away from that cat, she's just faking sleeping!"?  Or maybe, "Wouldn't you rather be out swimming naked in the ocean, feeling the water against your skin, seeing the horizon disappearing out ahead of you?"  Yeah, I can get with that.  Well, maybe not the English channel in October, but you know what I mean. 

So, rather than the traditional ideas of soul-searching or messages of love, I see this card today as being about the emotions we can open ourselves up to if we allow ourselves to experiment, to feel, to be.

No idea how much of that I'll be able to do today.  Though I guess it's rather like the Zen proverb: "Before enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water.  After enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water."  So, I shall try to be aware of my emotions and my feelings as I go through the day, no matter what I am doing.

I am grateful for the reminder to be mindful.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

UK Tarot Conference 2012

Over this Friday and Saturday, the Ninth UK Tarot Conference took place, and I was lucky enough to attend.  I asked the Bärtschi Lenormand what to expect:

Cross - spirituality/religion + Birds - communication + Snake - transformation.
So, spiritual talk brings transformation.  That was pretty spot on!
 
Rachel Pollack
On Friday we had two 2-hour workshops with Rachel Pollack, who is just amazing :)  She has such a wealth of knowledge on a wide range of subjects.  She talks off the cuff with great confidence and humour.  I love that she got us doing all kinds of wisdom readings, as a group, very participatory, as well as imparting so many gems of knowledge.

These workshops covered what she calls multi-dimensional readings, which look at not just the personal, but also familial, social and karmic levels.  We also explored the symbolism of the Rider Waite Smith deck, its history, how it connects with kabbalistic ideas, numerology, the Golden Dawn, astrology and more.  It was an amazingly fun roller coaster ride, with some powerful spreads and readings to boot.

There was also a raffle, an auction, and a chance to chat with other attendees.  I was there with a couple of friends, and loved the chance to spend time with them, doing readings and talking tarot and life (thanks to Anna and Carla for their support, as some of the workshops were pretty intense).

Another high point of the Conference, for me, was meeting Lisa Frideborg-Lloyd, of Tarotize, Tarotized Quotes, Love Dove Tarot, and Seer Pathways.  I used to be friends with Lisa on Facebook before she got annoyed with the platform and left, and we both quite regularly read each other's blogs.  So, it was wonderful to finally meet Lisa, who is a beautiful soul, and all the more delightful as it was a complete surprise :D

Tiffany Crossara (right)
There were other people I had met before and/or knew through TABI, and it was fabulous to meet them, too.  These weren't suprises, like Lisa, which made it no less wonderful to see and talk with these delightful folk: a big shout-out to Mary Collins, Sue/Seraphina, Robert Dagnall, Arielle, and Judith.  I also met some people I had no previous knowledge of, who proved to be interesting, insightful, and fun.  As you can tell, the socialising was as important, in many ways, as the speakers ;)

On Saturday morning we started off with Tiffany Crossara embodying the Fool, and encouraging us to do the same, tapping into our intuition, and mingling with everyone.  She brought a great sense of fun and liveliness to the proceedings, and definitely got our energy flowing for the day.

Juliet Sharman-Burke
Next up was Juliet Sharman-Burke, another tarot luminary, exploring the Hermit, IX, given this was the Ninth UK Tarot Conference.  She took us through the history of this Major, different variants and associated myths, as well as the psychological strengths and challenges it provides.  We finished off with a reading exploring the card, which was very insightful.

Over the lunch break, Alfred Douglas gave a talk, which I didn't attend, but which many said was very good.  Caitlin Matthews also showed slides of the soon-to-be-released "Steampunk: Gods of the Machine" Tarot, which you will certainly see featured here after it comes out ;)

After lunch, Cilla Conway took us to meet our shadow self.  This was an incredibly powerful workshop, where we looked at all the "dark" cards of the deck, as well as trying to explore the shadow side of normally "benign" cards.  For me, this really highlighted the difference between shadow aspects and reversals, and I hope to do a few posts on the subject over the coming weeks.  I'll admit I got rather emotional during some of the readings and the visualisation, so I completely forgot to take any pictures of Cilla *doh*

Finally, a last workshop with Rachel Pollack, looking at the four books she has had published in the last year, and what we can learn from them in terms of wisdom readings, oracles, spreads, and the importance of kabbalistic imagery in the RWS, as well as seeing our regular decks with new eyes.

Altogether, this was an amazing experience, and I am so grateful that I was able to attend.

Perfection

©Kat Black
This week I'll be blogging with the sumptuous Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009) by Kat Black.

What better way to start the week than with the World?  A male figure holds two wands, one above his hed, the other pressed to his left hip.  His decency is protected only by the drape of a red cloth around his hips.  Encircling him is a laurel wreath - symbol of victory - and in the corners we see a woman, an eagle, a bull, and a lion.  So, there is a slight gender twist here: a man in the centre, and a woman instead of the evangelist Matthew in the top left corner of the card.  Still, the sense of success, completion, and being watched over are still clearly present.

This seems a very appropriate card for today, as I will be spending the day at the UK Tarot Conference.  What greater sense of fulfillment and joy can there be than dedicating a day to tarot luminaries, decks and good friends? :) 

I am grateful for the many joys of life.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Introducing the Touchstone Tarot

Okay, so there are probably a fair few of you out there who have already met the Touchstone Tarot.  I have been lusting after this deck for a few years, but was under the impression that it was OOP and only available for silly money.  Then, a few weeks ago, I discovered that the Kunati mass market edition, though OOP, is still available from the fab folks at the Tarot Garden!  Clickety-click, meet the Touchstone Tarot ;D

Just the box
Which opens nicely, snug lid
A good-sized book, and deck underneath
The whole lot together
Sitting pretty
Ooh, gold borders - shiny :)
Can't wait to play...