Saturday, 31 August 2013

Tiger, Tiger

This week, we have another cute animal deck, of which there seem to have been rather a few this year.  The Animism Tarot by rainbowofcrazy is self-published through the GameCrafter. 

A big-pawed, soft-featured tiger sits on a rock, with a waterfall spilling itself down to either side of the big cat. With those paws, the tiger seems very grounded, yet it sits happily amid the spray of water from the cascade.  I also associate the power and dynamism of the tiger with Fire, a huge potential and drive that can spring into action at a second's notice.  Yet, for the moment, the tiger sits peacefully, no hint of motion to it.

I find this a lovely depiction for Temperance, with its balance of elements, of potential and peace.  It speaks to me of the calm Temperance promises when we find an equilibrium between all the different demands of our lives.

I hope I can find some of that equanimity today.  Though it's Saturday, I still have work to do before the end of the month :(  I could also do with some balance in my eating, which has been dreadful the last two days.  First, because I was nervous about the news I was waiting for, and then from relief that everything was okay, a kind of release valve :/

I am grateful for the chance to balance different aspects of my life: exercise and food, work and play.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Bullet To The Heart

Yikes, what a card to end our week with the Gypsy Palace Tarot (Nora Huszka, 2013)!

For once, we have a quite traditional image for this Three of Swords.  A man stands with a sharp blade piercing his chest, a heart resting on its tip.  He throws an arm up over his head, as though to ward off the pain.  Behind him, there is an owl in a crescent moon.  Even his robe is decorated with upside-down hearts, to remind us that this card is about heartache.

I like his pose, with his arm over his head.  It's a good reminder that, as a Swords card, this is more about our thoughts than simply emotions.  It is his perception and understanding of the situation that causes him pain, rather than the emotions themselves.  It could even be his worries about what is to come, a preemptive pain that may not happen.

Certainly, as I wait for some news this afternoon, I shall try to take this card as a warning not to let my thoughts get ahead of my emotions.  Instead, I shall try to trust my intuition, hope for the best, and know that, whatever the outcome, I'll deal with it.

I am grateful for the reminder to trust my intuition rather than my fears.

Thursday, 29 August 2013


Despite its rather crazy hodge-podge of colours, shapes and sizes, there is something I find rather restful and hopeful in this card from the Gypsy Palace Tarot (Nora Huszka, 2013).

No ships coming in, nor any wands in this Three of Wands.  Rather, there is a peaceful female figure with some kind of leaf or flower at her third eye.  Beneath her is a tiny village and a crooked pine tree, while above and around her are a number of birds. There are also lots of leaves scattered to the right of her, and some kind of staircase or twisty pole to her left. I think the feeling of peace and hope come, for me, from the radiance of her face, eyes closed, and the bright star that shines above and to the left of her.

Somehow, what I get from this card is the idea that she is bigger than the paths and situations around her.  That she is connected to spirit through the birds, and so is at peace with whatever will come.

I get a sense of needing to find a little peace today, despite waiting for some news tomorrow.  And the suggestion to make time to listen to my inner stillness in order to do that, perhaps with a walk outdoors thrown in for good measure.

I am grateful for the reminder that the news I'm waiting for won't come any faster just because I stress out about it.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Aha!  A card from the the Gypsy Palace Tarot (Nora Huszka, 2013) that actually has the requisite number of objects, even if it is a mix of bones and skulls.

Here we have the Ten of Swords, with an appropriately sinister air to it.  A pile of eight skulls and two bones lie heaped together.  The eye sockets of the skulls are a menacing warning that this situation is as bad as it can get.  Dead is dead, so maybe it's time to let go and move on.  The predominant colours of the card are green and red: a reminder that after the decay, growth can come again.

Well, I sure hope this indicates that I'll finally finish up my project today!  Every time I thought it was done, something extra came up.  I'll be grateful to cross it off my list, as I have a bunch of other ideas I want to start moving ahead with :)

I am grateful for endings.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Emotional Satisfaction?

Another pretty strange card greets us today from the Gypsy Palace Tarot (Nora Huszka, 2013).

At least there are a couple of cups in this card to hint at its suit, if not its number.  In this version of the Nine of Cups I see more a sense of gluttony and lasciviousness than of emotional satisfaction. 

There is a green woman who appears to be licking the paw of a red dog.  And a pink eunuch looking hungrily at the yellow bird perched on the dog's nose.  Or perhaps the eunuch wants to grab hold of the dog's strangely stretched leg and stick it in an oven like a haunch of lamb.  Altogether, this card strikes me as somehow grotesque. 

The message I see for myself today is not to give into emotional excesses.  I need to get on with work, after a long weekend off, and letting my emotions and desires distract me sounds unproductive.  Time to focus!

I am grateful for lists to remind me of what needs doing and to keep my priorities straight.

Monday, 26 August 2013


Well, this is an unusual depiction of the Eight of Wands from the Gypsy Palace Tarot (Nora Huszka, 2013).

Not only are there not Eight Wands in the image, there is also no sense of movement or haste.  Instead, we have a woman in a yellow dress adopting an almost acrobatic pose.  Her chest is draped over what looks like a pile of soft pillows in lush colours.  Meanwhile, her legs are supported by another female figure who is blue and star-spangled, even to the point of having stars for eyes.  The main figure's big toe is supported on a tiny ladder, the legs of which dig painfully into the blue woman's foot.  There is also a blue wolf wrapped around the main figure's head and shoulders.  Altogether, she doesn't look like she's going anywhere!

There is a lot going on around her, and maybe that's where interpretations of being busy might come in.  Overall, though, if I read this intuitively I'd be more likely to see someone finding balance under trying circumstances, or gaining ideas and direction from their dreams (as the blue figure makes me think of Nut, Goddess of the night sky and the creative void).

I can see myself in this figure today: a balance of lounging around, and yet also feeling myself at a precarious tipping point.  While I really want to get on and finish up a work project that is 99.9% done, today is Bank Holiday Monday.  So, although I may fit in a few sneaky paragraphs, the main part of the day is to be dedicated to a play date with Big Boy's best friend from school.  It'll be the first time they've met outside the classroom, and also a chance for my Dear One and I to get to know some other parents.

I am grateful for some more enforced rest time.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Devil Is In the Details

Today's card from the Gypsy Palace Tarot (Nora Huszka, 2013), is rather an interesting take on the Devil: there is no obvious Devil figure in it!

Instead, we have four people in front of a cloth held up from its top corners. The people are all naked or semi-naked.  The green person on the left seems ashamed, trying to hide his or her body.  Next is a small, plump, pink woman with one arm being held up by the green figure, the other hooked up by a branch or rope.  Based on her expression, she's not happy about it!  Next along we have a white woman (literally, rather than ethnically white) and a red man, who seem to be involved in a passionate tryst.  Though the guy does still have a blue loincloth on, so we're not talking full-on debauchery.

Overall, despite the missing namesake, there is a definite Devil vibe to this card.  People being tortured by shame or humiliation (or actual torture), and others in the throes of lust, entrapped by their own desires.  In all cases, except maybe the pink lady, these people could all just walk away from the situation, yet they don't.  For me, the Devil is about those inner demons that keep us locked into patterns that we know are unhealthy.

Often, I see my sugar addiction in this card, but I've been doing quite well on that front, at least at the level of not eating the stuff.  Not thinking, and even dreaming, about it is quite a different matter, though.  As the end of this detox draws into view, I wonder whether I'll be able to carry any of it into 'ordinary life', or whether I'll go back to my old patterns.  I think part of the question is, can I imagine life without chocolate, and do I want to?  I guess time will tell.

I am grateful to have time to think about my life choices.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Colourful Knight

This week, it's back to tarot, and a recently self-published deck: the Gypsy Palace Tarot by Nora Huszka (self-published, 2013).  This was a crowd-funded project, and is an interesting one, full of bright colours, and with titles in four languages: English, German, Spanish and Hungarian!

One thing about this deck is, it has amazing colours!  Take this Knight of Pentacles, with his multi-coloured coat in hues of blue, green and purple.  He also has a bright, fuchsia shirt, yellow trousers, and red boots with red and yellow scarves on them. He seems to emerge from a cloud of blue, while in front of him red and purple patterned fabric flows out into a green field.  The sun is a fiery ball of yellow and orange rings glowing behind his head.

The colours here are a lot less earthy than you might expect for the suit of Pentacles.  Yet, there is definitely a lushness to the image, and a sense of being part of the landscape: feeding into it, and in turn being shaped by it.

This Knight, then, is attached to his environment, cares for it.  He also enjoys material things: nice fabrics, sturdy boots, the warmth of the sun.  He's unlikely to go charging off on a quest based on a passion, romance or an idea, he's far too practical for that!

Hmm, I think the getting close to nature aspect of this card could be relevant to me today.  The spa I'm at is out in the country, and my friends and I normally make the most of it to walk beside a babbling stream :)

I am grateful for the many beauties of nature.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Lennie Week 10 - Magpie Oracle 4

For this last day of our Lennie Week, we have one final reading with the charming Magpie Oracle (self-published, 2013). There are a couple of items that must have been really hard to find, and so Carrie has made a few substitutions or adaptations.  For example, there's a little pyramid for the Mountain, and a coiled rope for the Whip.  Likewise, the Scythe has become an Axe, and the Fox has been substituted by what looks to me like a Cat.  I found that last one a little confusing at first, given how many Lenormands these days include an extra Cat card.  However, it does make a certain sense, as Regula Fiechter (a well-known and prolific German writer on the Lenormand system) says of a traditional deck that you can use the Fox card to represent a cat if doing a reading around a pet.

On to the draw, and keeping it simple (at least compared to a full cast), I just drew five charms from the bag: Moon, Book, Letter, Cat/Fox, Ring. 

Secret emotions are expressed to a friend with good instincts, who knows how to keep a promise.
Fame comes from writing a book about deceitful promises.
Evidence of knowledge about emotions is tied up with the ability to become self-employed (becoming a counsellor, for instance).
Beware, hidden emotions can mean your reading of a deceptive contract is superficial.

The first of these rings true for me today.  I'm off for a spa weekend with a couple of very good friends, and I'm sure we all have secrets we'll share in person, not having seen one another for a couple of months.

I am grateful for good friends.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Lennie Week 10 - Baralho Cigano

Today's deck comes from Brasil and isn't officially called a Lenormand.  Though it clearly is, with just one card totally different: the Clover has become Obstacles, talk about a volte face!  This is the Baralho Cigano published by feiticosaromaticos.  These are kind of hard to come by, the only source I've found in Europe is DeKeizerin in Holland, who speaks excellent English and is very helpful :)

I've been digging into the Brasilian-style decks recently, and find them absolutely fascinating.  Some of the more old-fashioned ones show several differences to standard Lenormands, other than the Clover thing.  For example, Whips becomes Magic, with ideas around mental coercion, rather than the purely physical or verbal abuse associated with the European variant.

These decks are called Gypsy Decks, and many in Brasil are now turning their backs on the traditional way of reading them, moving towards the 'European' Lenormand tradition, in part because of the realisation that they 'aren't really gypsy cards'.  I think it's a shame, though.  To me, it's like the fact that until recently many people believed that tarot cards in general had been brought to Europe by the gypsies.  It simply shows that the cards were seen as esoteric and exotic.

Christ over Rio de Janeiro
That there was a Brasilian method at all speaks to a long history with the cards.  I imagine them being taken over to Brasil by some scared German emigrés wanting to know what their journey to the New World would bring them. (I base this on the fact that Lenormand cards are originally German, that there was a strong German influence in Brasil, and on the fact that the Snake was seen positively, which is often the case amongst German writers).  I like the fact that they adapted the interpretations to the spiritual and religious beliefs of their new country, adding in connections to the Orishas, and making the Cross signify Victory.  How could it be otherwise in a country with a 40m statue of Jesus? ;)

Anyhow, today's deck is a more modern Baralho Cigano with only one renamed card, which doesn't appear in this draw.  Instead, we have Stars, Mice, Mountain, Letter.

Riffing on these may be hard, as I get such a clear message straight off: undermined technology is a barrier to messages - sounds like internet trouble to me!  Here's hoping you can read today's post :o

I guess it could also be a message about relationships: hope is undermined by blocked messages.  Communication is so key to making things work!

Altogether, this makes me think about just how dependent on the internet I have become.  I'm plugged in for hours each day.  If it's not email, it's Facebook, and if it's not Twitter, then it's blogs.  I love the ability to communicate with friends around the world with common interests.  Still, I do sometimes wonder what my life would be like without it...

I am grateful for the internet, in all its guises.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Lennie Week 10 - Magpie 3

For today's post, we're back to the wonderfully tangible Magpie Oracle (2013), and another cast using one of Carrie's downloadable sheets.

Once again, I threw rather than sprinkling, this time ending up mainly on the other side of the sheet *doh*

House 8 - What you are ready to end: Tree - health concerns.
House 14 - This will add to your strategy: Stork - making progress/moving location.
House 15 - This gives you strength and power: Dog - friends/ loyalty/a faithful partner.
House 22 - It's time to make a decision about this: Heart - love/relationships.
House 23 - This is what's gnawing at you: Clouds+Bear - worries about nutrition or weight/confusion about where your strengths lie/ambivalence about your boss.
House 24 - This is what's at the heart of the matter: Boat+Snake+Sun - travel with a woman to sunny climes/nostalgia for a clear path, unencumbered by the twists of life/a foreign woman brings happiness.

House 30 - Tranquility is created through: Letter - journalling/a message.
House 31 - You can tap into success through this: Bouquet+Garden+Man - a public connection with a creative man/the social graces of a man/social attractiveness coupled with a determined, rational approach.
House 32 - Fame and honors are gained through: Key+House+Lily - comfortable security and peacefulness/insights into keeping the peace at home/a successful brothel ;)

And again, there's an awful lot there.  This is one of the reasons I tend to stick to smaller spreads on this blog.  Firstly, because it's hard to apply all of this in a general way.  And secondly, because I don't want to bore people with extremely long posts.

Certainly, there are once again quite a few points that speak to me.  After Big Boy's time in hospital, I'm really ready to put health concerns behind us for a while *fingers crossed*  Going away for the weekend could be the Storks strategy, getting a bit of distance from all this hospital time, and I'll be with a couple of foreign women who make me happy - my two closest friends in Spain.  I'll admit, the way things are, I'm feeling that some of my strengths have changed, and I'm not sure what this bodes for the future.  Still, friendship is a great resource to help sustain me, and I always find journalling helpful :)   Not sure about fame and honours, they're not something I normally think of myself as seeking.  Yes, the Celtic Lenormand is putting me out there a bit, but for the most part I'd rather be peacefully at home meditating and seeking insights into life...

I am grateful for lots of material to think and journal about.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Lennie Week 10 - Mystique d'Epoque

Today, we're back to one of my favourite Lenormand's, used with kind permission from the creator, Pepi Valderrama.  This is the Mystique d'Epoque Lenormand (2012).  It's a lovely deck with clear, fun images, and several delightful extra cards, such as the Monkey ;)

For today, I drew Storks, Clover and Ship.  Brainstorming on these gives me:

A lucky business move.
A lucky move overseas.
A baby brings happy nostalgia.
Synchronicities around travel and moving home.
Happiness due to home renovations and a holiday.

The last one chimes with me most, though it's not so much the fact of the home renovations (going on in the building next door) as of getting away from them by taking a little trip that has me feeling lucky.  I'll get to see two of my besties, and escape the racket for a couple of days - bonus!

I am grateful for a spa weekend with my girlfriends.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Lennie Week 10 - Magpie Oracle 2

For this second draw with the delightful Magpie Oracle (Carrie Paris, 2013), I decided to keep things simple and just pull three charms from the bag.  For those who missed my first post with this, here we have charms which represent the traditional objects, animals and people of the Lenormand system - what a fun and innovative idea :D  Carrie will be speaking at the UK Tarot Conference this October (as will I, so I get to hear her talks, too - bonus!) and will have some of these Oracles available there, for anyone who's interested and wants to avoid postage costs.

Riffing on the Clover, Tower and Star offers me:

Luck with a scientific institution.
Isolating yourself brings a little happiness and a lot of clarity.
A CEO has the opportunity to become a star (Richard Branson, anyone).
An institution brings the opportunity to shine. 
A small amount of luck when dealing with the bosses of a tech company.

Ha, well, I certainly hope we have some luck with a scientific institution.  Today, Big Boy goes into hospital again, and I have my fingers firmly crossed that this time they'll be able to go ahead with his operation!

I am grateful for the hope of a good outcome for my son.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Lennie Week 10 - Vintage Stamp Lenormand Art Edition

For this Lennie Week, I'll be alternating traditional, card Lenormands with the Magpie Oracle.  Today, then, we have a line of three from Kelly Isara's Vintage Stamp Lenormand, Art Edition (self-published, 2013).

Kelly has renamed some of the cards, so that Scythe becomes Axe, Whips become Fan, Bear becomes Crown, Dog becomes Friend, Book becomes Knowledge, and Letter becomes Message. She has also added an extra card: the Teacup ;)  Here, then, we have Stars, Fox and Dragon (instead of Snake).

Deceptive technology requires taking a circuitous path.
Skillful guidance from a woman.
Seek clarity in dealing with treachery and seduction.

Hmm, I'm not sure why, but I see a different combination of the first two as being potentially relevant to me today: Deceptive guidance from a woman.  My MIL is coming over, and I wonder whether she might offer me some guidance that will be deceptively simple - she has a very practical approach to life.  Though, not having all the skills she has, it might not be quite so simple for me to put into practice... Ah well!

I am grateful for the wisdom of those around me.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Lennie Week 10 - Magpie Oracle 1

This Lennie Week we have something rather different.  This is the Magpie Oracle, by Carrie Paris.  Being someone who loves shiny things, innovation and the Lenormand, this ticked all my boxes!  Carrie has gone round sourcing charms to represent each of the Lenormand cards, and bundled them up in a drawstring bag, inside a lovely tin.  You can go to her website to download casting sheets, too, which she changes regularly.  The only bad news is that these are sold out until next year, though she will be bringing 30 over to the UK Tarot Conference in October :)  Of course, you could try creating your own, but I imagine the cost, time and effort would be considerable, and Carrie has found such cute charms, well, I'm sold!

So, I decided to dedicate every other day of this Lennie Week to this 'charming' oracle (yeah, sorry, couldn't resist).  For today, I did a cast with one of Carrie's casting sheets.  I think, for future uses, I'd try a shake-and-sprinkle approach, as a shake-and-chuck resulted in quite a one-sided reading both times I did it.  On the sheet, each 'House' has a little phrase to describe it - basically, it's like reading a Grand Tableau, but without all the positions filled.

Apologies for the blurry photo!
House 1 - Current message: Owls - time to make a phone call/beware of anxiety caused by your own nervousness.
House 2 -What brings luck: Tower+Anchor - working with an institution.
House 3 - What you offer to the journey and it to you: Woman+Coffin - female intuition and endings/women's troubles.
House 9 - The gift you give is: Cross - an ability to bear burdens/faith.
House 10 - Be cautious of: Bear+Sun+Heart - overeating, using up all your energy, and wearing your heart on your sleeve/strong sun and heartburn.
House 11 - How you might be punishing yourself: Ring+Mountain - by committing to tasks that are a real slog.
House 12 - This is what's being said via the air waves: Fish - time to make some money/a fair exchange is required.
House 19 - Self-rule brings: Dog - faithfulness/loyalty to self/good friends.
House 27 - A memo brings: Moon - emotional messages/fame.

Although there's a lot to process there, I really like this casting method.  Lots of information, lots of possibilities.

I was definitely struck by the 'what brings luck', having been so involved with working with US Games this last week.  And the question of what I offer to the journey and it to me, I like the idea of me offering my feminine intuition, and the journey offering me endings - I'll be glad to finally be able to say I've finished my part of the Celtic Lenormand: it's been a long journey.  How I might be punishing myself has a real 10 of Wands feel to it, and I love the message about self-rule.  I also laughed at the House 12 message.  At first it made no sense to me, but then I saw a post about  De Pepi's Magazine being out.  I'm an affiliate, so it was a reminder to post about this, as there is, once again, loads of interesting stuff in the magazine.  Insights into the forthcoming Whimsy Lenormand, a Japanese Culture Oracle, the Gypsy Palace Tarot, and much more!

I am grateful for endings that are hard-earned.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Mad Hatter

Last day with Lisa Chow's Oracle Tarot Deck (self-published, 2012), and we have another Major, this time the Magician.

Instead of our Magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, he is a rabbit in a hat :)  He wears a funny, plaid bow-tie, a hat, and a mustache, of all things.  From his bow-tie dangle the four suit elements, and the elemental symbols also float around him, while a lemniscate floats above his head.  There are also four symbols above him: a heart, a star, a diamond and a triangle.  Not quite card suits, not elemental, if anyone has any idea why they're there...

Despite the odd symbology, I rather like this Magician, with his cute and understated irony.  He has all the elements needed to show his power: an ability to manipulate different aspects of life to achieve a balance, and make things happen.

Today, I'd like to get the very last bits off to US Games.  It'll take some doing, but hopefully the Magician's energy will help me along.

I am grateful for the ability to get things done.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Plant Pot

As the week with Lisa Chow's Oracle Tarot Deck (self-published, 2012) draws slowly to a close, we have a card from the Pentacles suit, which we haven't seen so far.

A prettily decorated plant pot holds some plants with tight buds and spiky leaves.  In amongst the foliage are three large pentacles.  They don't seem to be doing anything in particular, neither growing nor helping the plant to grow.  They seem more as though they are simply decoration scattered in amongst the greenery.

This is a far cry from traditional Three of Pentacles ideas about craftsmanship and teamwork!  The greatest craftsmanship seems to be in the plant pot itself.  Perhaps, then, it is the person who created the plant pot, and decorated the plant with Pentacles, that we are meant to think of with this card...  Or even, that those may have been different people, both contributing to a pretty display, as does the person who waters the plant.

At an intuitive level, I might also read this as a card of trying to grow, but being crushed by material responsibilities, as those pentacles seem rather too big for the plant to bear.

It's funny, this week I've been uploading stuff to Dropbox, for the team over at US Games to start work on.  So, I too am involved in a creative project where I am working with others, yet whom I've never met, who are on a different continent to me.  Hopefully, today I will send off the last of the images, and then there's just the final touches to the companion material to add before sending that off.  Not sure I'll finish it today, but it finally feels real :)

I am grateful for the ways in which I can work with others, without leaving my own home.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Flying Away

On this Wednesday morning, we are faced by another somewhat sad card, the Five of Cups from Lisa Chow's Oracle Tarot Deck (self-published, 2012).

At first glance we see a cheerful hot air baloon, with three cups flying up and away into the stars.  Looking closer though, those three cups are leaving behind two others, sat sad and lonely at the top of a small rise, with vegetation encroaching on them.  The two left-behind cups aren't even leaning in to support each other, but seem almost turned away from each other, facing in opposite directions.

This is quite a melancholy card, with it's sense of abandonment and loneliness.  Of course, the two cups on the hill are close to one another, they simply choose to be on different slopes of the hill (anthropomorphising crazily).

I normally see this card as being more about regrets than feelings of being left behind.  And perhaps that could be an interpretation here, too.  Maybe the two cups are sad they didn't grab their chance to fly away.  I think what I regret most is worrying so much about things that may not even happen...

I am grateful for the reminder to enjoy what I can, in the moment.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Endangered Treehouse

Well, if people have issues with some of the 'scary' cards, this blog is certainly the place to come, as the Tower is my most frequently pulled Major!  Today it's the turn of the version from Lisa Chow's Oracle Tarot Deck (self-published, 2012).

As these things go, this is quite a mild card.  It's not all dark and gloomy, there's even a quite cheerful banner with the title, as well as the number etched into the tree trunk above it.  Still, looking above the banner, we have a slightly gothic house in the crux of a tree.  The tree seems to have tilted since the house was built, so that it looks as though it might slide out and off from the tree.  Added to that, a burning wand or spear has been driven into the tree, perhaps causing the tilt, and certainly leading to several branches catching light.  Precarious!

Last night, Big Boy's temperature started going up, so we'll see how things progress today.  I hope it's nothing very serious, not just because we all hate him being ill, but also because if it is serious he won't be able to have his operation next week.  It would be a pain to have to reschedule it again!  Ah well, nothing to be done but wait and see how the day pans out...

I am grateful for analgesics.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Family Celebration

It's funny, Carla from Rowan Tarot commented on the first card from this deck saying I could probably draw something better myself.  I don't think it's true, but I do notice the zentangle aspects of these cards, though I'd never heard of zentangle when I first got Lisa Chow's Oracle Tarot Deck (self-published, 2012).

Today's card certainly has aspects of that in the repeating patterns in the corners, and the shapes that make up the rainbow.  Despite the underlying simplicity, I think this is a wonderful image for the Ten of Cups.  A rainbow emerging from starbursts, with cups hanging down invitingly from it, and a celebratory banner/title beneath.  While there is no obvious sense of family here, certainly there is a feeling of celebration and emotional satisfaction.

My mum and stepdad are coming over to visit today, fitting nicely with the family happiness theme, and emotional satisfaction.  I am close with my mother, and have missed seeing her or speaking with her these last three weeks that she's been working abroad with little or no phone or internet connection.  It will be good to have some time to reconnect!

I am grateful for a loving and supportive relationship with my mother.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

What Bars Your Way?

For our second day with Lisa Chow's Oracle Tarot Deck (self-published, 2012), we have a rather more evocative card than yesterday's Queen.

We have what looks like a circus cage, holding in a wild profusion of vegetation between its Swords/bars.  There are cheerful sparkles in the card corners, and a jaunty banner with the card's title flying from the top of the cage, giving it that circus air.  And to be honest, the plants seem as though they are staring to spill out, though there is no vegetation beyond the cage.

I like this image, with its sense of wild abandon reigned in.  It speaks to being trapped, though it feels more unfair than self-imposed: human implements locking in natural beings.  And yet, isn't that part of traditional Eight of Swords interpretations: our minds locking us away from expressing ourselves authentically?  It can also be read at an intuitive level as us feeling trapped by other people's ideas and conventions, being reigned in by other people's expectations of what we should do, how we should look.  Altogether, an interesting card!

I have to admit, I've quite often felt hemmed in by other people's expectations of me as a mother.  You wouldn't believe how often people have come up to me on the street and told me I was doing something 'wrong'!  Not dressing my son warmly enough (he overheats easily, which causes him painful spasms), not giving him enough freedom to explore (he can't walk safely by himself as he has no save reflex and slow responses to external stimuli), not giving him food or drink when we're eating (he's tube fed, it's quite subtle).  I'm getting better at brushing such comments off, and in a strange way it actually helps that as he gets older his condition is becoming more apparent.  Still, I recognise that part of the issue is also with my own thoughts, feeling reluctant for others to know about him.

I am grateful to open up more about my son.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Which Queen?

Last week's entry by Alison Cross for the Lammas Tarot Blog Hop reminded me of a deck I've had for a while but never used, never even shuffled!  The main reason was that I was really disappointed with the Court cards on my first look through the deck, so I put it back in its box, and have ignored it ever since.  However, after the reminder, I decided I should dig it out and give it another chance.  The deck is Lisa Chow's Oracle Tarot Deck.  No idea why it's called an oracle, as it is a straight up tarot...

Opening the box for the first time in a year, I was reminded of another reason why I'd set it aside: the corners weren't rounded.  Although I've put my corner rounder to work on a number of decks, it does take some effort.  As you can see from the scans, though, I've now bitten the bullet :)

So, having set aside an otherwise interesting deck because of the Court cards, it's rather fitting that the first card I drew should be the Queen of Swords.  With her analytical mind and no-nonsense approach, she challenged me to dig out the other queens and assess whether these Courts are as bad as I'd made them out to be in my mind. 

Overall, I'm still not hugely fond of them.  As you can see, the base drawing for all the queens is identical - same hair, same face, same collar, same crown.  And given the limited colour palette employed in the whole deck (black, grey, gold and brown), there is little overt colour differentiation either.  Each queen has her suit emblem, an elemental symbol on her crown, and a landscape that is echoed in her eyes.  Other than that and some minor colour differences, they are the same.  Not a lot of symbolism there to spark intuition or understanding of what these cards, which many find the hardest in any deck to interpret, actually represent.

The Kings and Knights are even worse, being extremely similar not just among their own rank, but also to each other, as you can see here with the rest of the Swords Court.  My favourites are the Pages, who are at least quite different from the Queens, but still the same as each other.

In general, then, I stand by my initial assessment that this isn't a deck for anyone uncertain of the Court cards.  It also isn't great for quickly scanning a larger reading, if you have a couple of Courts in it, as you have to look closely to see the differences (or just read the titles).  However, the rest of the deck is very sweet and charming.  So, I've rounded all the corners and will give it another chance :)

Returning to the card for today, the Queen of Swords, she has clouds (not dissimilar from the Queen of Cups' waves, though) and birds as her landscape and eyes.  Her colours are simply grey and black, her crown has an air symbol, and there is a sword that seems almost to jab her through the neck (opening her throat for communication, at a macabre push).  And, as you can see above, the other swords Courts have their sword positioned in the exact same way: yeah, definitely not a fan of the Courts overall!

She seems cold, somewhat distant, but clear.  She'll tell you the truth, but won't be purposely mean about it.  She sees the big picture, and always acts from a place of rational calm.

I have some research to do today, to finish off the Celtic Lenormand companion book.  My, I hope they actually bother to publish it!  Ah well, we'll see.  For the moment, I shall just put my best into it, and hope it's worthwhile.  And if not, maybe I can analyse the content and the market, and find another way to get at least some of it out there...

I am grateful for my reference books and some time to go through them :)

Friday, 9 August 2013

The Seeds of Health

How nice, for our last day with the Deck of the Bastard (Tarot by Seven, 2013), we get an Ace, the last section of the deck not covered by the draws so far.

In this Ace of Pentacles we have, as was the tradition with decks pre-RWS, a single coin centered on the card.  Above and below it are some decorations with a vegetal theme, including leaves and bunches of grapes.  The coin itself bears a woman's likeness: a queen with a long, straight nose, a crown, and an old-fashioned up-do.

This card speaks to me of a financial opportunity, a coin to spend, invest or save.  In the same way, we can think about our physical well-being: do we use up all our resources, put them to use, or hold onto them for later.  Do we invest in ourselves, financially, materially or physically?

Well, I'm not planning to start a new diet or exercise regime today, that's for sure!  And I can't see any financial or work opportunities coming my way, though I could be wrong.  Overall, I'll take this card as a reminder that every day offers us the opportunity to live more healthily, to sow the seeds of a vibrant tomorrow.

I am grateful for a new day open to good choices.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Looking Into The Depths

I'm glad to see a Court card from the Deck of the Bastard (Tarot by Seven, 2013) before we finish our week, as they are another of the more interesting features of the deck.

Here we have the Queen of Cups.  A woman with softly-curling blonde hair stands holding a large golden cup, into the depths of which she gazes.  She wears a golden crown and a green dress with red trim and underside, as well as a red and gold necklace.  While red and green aren't traditional Cups colours, I still think this works well.  Her underlying passion leads to the possibility of growth, all of this guided by her intuition and empathic understanding.

In the RWS Queen of Cups, the Queen has a lid on her cup.  She harnesses her emotions, and can access them at will, but does not have to show them to the world.  Here, there is a different feel.  Her gaze is so soft, it feels like she is deeply accepting of emotion, unafraid of its potential tumultuousness.

I see my therapist today, which is always an opportunity to gaze into that cup with a little less fear and a little more clarity.  I hope that these sessions allow me to use my emotions for growth, use them productively, rather than being overwhelmed by them.

I am grateful for a space to assess in kindness and without judgement.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Staged Happiness

Today, we have another minor from the Deck of the Bastard (Tarot by Seven, 2013), another 'aged' RWS image.

In this Ten of Cups, we have a man and woman, arms around each other, with the opposite hand raised up as though in thanks or to point to the rainbow of cups up in the sky before them.  To their side, two children dance and play, while in the distance we see a little house among trees, and a river running by.  It's interesting, though.  Bled of colour, I notice more the fact that the family appear to be on a flat surface.  It reminds me that Pixie Colman Smith, the illustrator of the RWS, also worked as a set designer in the theatre.  Several writers have commented on the 'staged' feel and look of some of her cards, and though I hadn't noticed it before, this is definitely one of them.

That fits well with my general reading of this card.  There is something to it of putting on a happy face, of the idea of a perfect family, rather than the reality of happiness.  It makes me ask questions like: what do you think a perfect family would look like?  How do you cover up the imperfections in your experience of family?  How can you really find happiness?  Who are the family that you choose?

Certainly, I feel myself and my family are far from perfect.  However, that doesn't stop us from experiencing happiness, even joy at times.  It also doesn't stop us from arguing and getting annoyed with each other, from having problems and disagreements.  That is the reality of family life, and I feel that so long as we can still look at each other with the eyes of love, then we can deal with whatever comes.  We don't have to be perfect to find happiness.

I am grateful for my family.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Rising Up

It's rather nice to get another Major from the Deck of the Bastard (Tarot by Seven, 2013).

Here we have Judgement, and I like this very different take to the RWS.  An angel looks down from a cloud above a scene with people standing around and sat at a table, talking amongst themselves.  The angel is sending out lots of flames of light, of inspiration, in all directions.  However, just a single person in a crowd sees the angel above and raises their arms and face up towards it. 

This speaks far more to the personal, individual nature of this experience, of feeling touched by the divine, or simply feeling a new inspiration, a calling.  This message is available to all, each in their own way, yet not everyone is willing or prepared to hear the message at any given time.  The card says, though, that there is an opportunity to be touched by grace, to feel inspired and raised up, to see life from a totally new perspective.

I doubt it will be a totally new perspective I bring to life today, this being a daily draw.  Yet, I do hear a calling today.  I slept well last night, hence this later-than-normal post, and so I hope to have the inspiration to finish up the Celtic Lenormand companion book.  I'll need to listen to that inner guidance to decide what is right to include, and do some editing, but it feels so close I can touch it now!

I am grateful for inspiration.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Creative Mother

Today, we have another of the interesting Majors from the Deck of the Bastard (Tarot by Seven, 2013), the Empress.

Her clothes are very ornate: from a square-necked, blue bustiered top with pink epaulettes, to a sumptuous, green skirt and a red cloak draped across her lap, all with gold trim.  She wears a golden crown with red jewels that match those between her breasts.  And in her left hand she holds a ruby-tipped sceptre, while in her right she has a shield with a red eagle device, a la Thoth.

She is less of an abundant, sensual and generous figure than the RWS Empress, yet more natural than the Thoth.  The colours of her clothes do suggest fertility: for example with the red of the cloak in her lap speaking of passion, and the green of her skirt indicating growth.  There is also an ability to communicate about tender emotions in the pink and blue of her top.

It doesn't surprise me much to see the Empress to represent my day.  Big Boy has another hospital appointment, for a third issue unrelated to the two last week.  Today, it will require spending about four hours shut in a small cubicle, with him unable to move more than about a metre from the monitor that will be checking him out.  Hmm, a five year old tied to a machine for four hours, now that will take some creativity to keep him going stir-crazy!

I am grateful for toys and gadgets to act as distractions.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Law of Unforeseen Consequences

Once again, today I drew the Seven of Cups.  This Deck of the Bastard (Tarot by Seven, 2013) version is very different to last week's Fire Tarot interpretation, that's for sure!

As you can see, the Deck of the Bastard pips are basically RWS images which have been digitally 'distressed', and with a 'worn-look' border applied.  However, the images weren't just plunked into a template, each border is subtly different.  There's real attention to detail in this deck!  That's probably unsurprising, as it was originally created as a personal project: Elaine just put a deck up on etsy to try to make up for the price of her own copy.  However, it's become pretty popular, and now this tarot street reading single mom is trying to make a viable business out of unusual and customised decks and tarot accessories.  Good luck to her, say I!

Here, then, we have the traditional figure with his back to us, facing seven cups floating on a cloud.  Each cup contains a different offering, a different choice.  Some look scary, some look lovely, but can we really know what we're getting into when we pick something?  The scariest challenge can bring us great growth, while something we thought we wanted can prove disappointing or even toxic!

It feels like the choices I'll face today are likely to be emotional ones.  After all, today is our main family day.  Still, I'm reminded by this card of the law of unforeseen consequences: we can never fully predict the outcome of any choice we make or action we take.  So, we just do the best we can with the information at our disposal.  Of course, the tarot and other divination techniques can help improve the information we have, but life's path is never straightforward.

I am grateful for the tools at my disposal to try to make better choices.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Bastard Magician

I'm not being rude with that title!  Rather, this week I will be drawing from a self-published deck called the Deck of the Bastard (Tarot by Seven, 2013).  The deck's concept is one of creating a mongrel deck with an antique feel.  So, the Majors are from a number of tarot and oracle decks, the Courts are Visconti-Sforza style (though taken largely from Etteila's Grand Jeu du Oracle des Dames), the Aces are rather reminiscent of the Marseilles-style, and the pips are aged versions of the RWS.  When I first got the deck, I was slightly disappointed with the pips, I hadn't realised they were simply recoloured RWS.  However, after last week's somewhat challenging-to-interpret Fire Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011), it feels quite restful. 

On a side note, you can customise this deck (and in fact all Elaine's decks and some of her other esoteric goodies: journals, spirit boards and the like), both the backs and the titles.  I chose to go for no titles at all, and like the clean simplicity of it.

On to today's card, and this is a rather nice way to start the week: with a wise-looking Magician.  An old man with a grey beard and a slightly crumpled, green, pointy hat stands at a table holding a wand.  His robes are the same green as his hat, his cloak is red, and he wears yellow shoes.  The table is covered by a green cloth, with a selection of esoteric symbols on it.  It also holds what looks to me like a figurine, perhaps of the Magician, in a red, hooded cloak.

Although there is no cup, sword or pentacle in sight, there is still a clear connection between the Magician and the ability to manipulate the world and manifest his will.  Yet, the Magician doesn't seem showy or power hungry.  He has a gentle and benign air to him.

This card reminds me that it can take time to develop the skills we need to create what we want.  It says, too, that we should apply those skills not merely on a whim, but with thought for others and for the consequences of our actions.

Today, I plan to put my somewhat meagre Photoshop skills to work, to finish editing the images for the Celtic Lenormand.  I'm glad I took classes months ago, and that I've had  the chance to practice on a couple of projects since.  Hopefully, I'll be finishing up and sending both book and deck to US Games later this week.

I am grateful for the energy to bring this project to completion.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Fiery Roar

What an interesting card to end our week with the Fire Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011).

Here we have the King of Pentacles: a mighty lion roaring fire!  He stands on a stony mountain top, with other mountains barely visible in the distance, limned with golden sunlight.  Our lion is not only roaring out a torrent of fire, but his tail is a snake, writhing up with jaws open, ready to strike.  Scary!

I don't see any of the traditional associations to the King of Pentacles here.  No responsibility for others, no enjoyment of the sensual pleasures of life, no grounded praticality - the lion's paws are even up in the air.  Though I guess the actual act of roaring fire would be quite a physical sensation, more so than just roaring, which already vibrates through your whole body.  And with that fire he's spewing out, he could certainly mark the world around him.

For me, this is a reminder to chant in my meditation today.  I skipped it yesterday because by the time I had the energy and focus for it, the building site next door was so ridiculously noisy that I couldn't concentrate.  Today, though, I will remember to make it happen, whether before they start, in their lunch break, or in the evening.

I am grateful for the reminder that I am a soul in a physical body.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Lammas Blog Hop 2013
Yep, you guessed it, it's Blog Hop time again!  Today is Lammas, or the first harvest.  A time to rejoice in the sunshine and the blessings from the earth, especially fruits and grains.  A time to bake bread, and enjoy fruit fresh from the tree, dripping with juice.  And what could be fresher and fruitier than a bunch of tarotists from around the world all writing about the same topic? :D  As ever, you can take a spin round the other posts by either jumping forward to the ever creative Sharon, or flipping back to the sometimes tart Vivianne (let me be clear, I love a bit of tartness, pure sweetness can be sickening). And if you get lost, there's the Master list to set you on your path again :)

This time around, our wrangler, Arwen asked us: "What can I share from my table to enrich my community?"  I had plenty of thoughts about the first part of the question - I know what I like to share, what I can share.  What, though, of the second part?  Does my sharing actually enrich my community, and if so, how?  So, I decided, as so often, to devise a little spread and see what the cards' thoughts on this were.  I'll call it the Fruit Bowl Spread (can't forget to name it yet again!)  I drew two cards for fruit - it's hardly sharing if there's only one piece of fruit on offer - and one card to look at how this sharing might benefit my community.

As ever this year, I drew from the vibrant DruidCraft Tarot (Connections, 2004).

Prince of Wands
1)  What fruits do I share?  Prince of Wands

Well, now isn't this an energetic card?  The Prince of Wands charges forward, his steed leaping over a little hillock, and his wand raised high.  He is full of vim and enthusiasm, though I sometimes feel it is sheer luck that he clears the obstacles in his path :o

So, how am I like this Prince in sharing my fruits with others?  I guess that I have a pretty can-do attitude, and have been known to dive into things with more will than clarity, more determination than ability.  And yet, as has been said, there is a magic to beginning things. 

For example, I know there's at least one person who has been encouraged by my example to create their own Lenormand deck.  Likewise, some have said that after seeing the way I pop out tarot spreads, they decided to create their own for a specific situation or question.  And I also see this in some of my recent attempts at art: be it zentangles, or actually drawing stuff for the TABI Lenormand.  No-one is going to be asking me for art lessons any time soon, but the enthusiasm is there, for sure :D  And it seems that my willingness to give things a try has incited a few others to attempt things they might otherwise have thought they couldn't do.  I hope so!

Queen of Wands
2)  What other fruits do I share?  Queen of Wands

Ha, with the Queen of Wands following straight after the Prince of Wands, I am reminded of Ali's wonderful This Game of Thrones blog, looking at Court cards.  How is the Queen different from the Prince, in terms of things that I can share with others?

Well, I see the Queen as being more mature.  While she's still passionate, she's less likely to go off half-cocked.  She has a bit more foresight, and also focuses more on others, being Water of Fire, and therefore the most nurturing of the Wands court.  She has a community focus, then, and encourages other people in their projects, as well as fierily advancing her own.

So, she doesn't just encourage people by her example, like the Prince, but actually stops to look at what the other person is doing.  She can get excited about somebody else's project and prospects, not just her own.  She'll applaud their ideas, try to boost their self-esteem, and generally incite them to go further.   That's certainly something I try for: I love to see other people getting animated about an idea or a project, and trusting themselves enough to do it.  I'll gladly praise them, reassure them, and try to rouse them to action, and I hope that helps spur them on.

The Chariot
3)  How does this benefit my community?  The Chariot

What a gorgeous, powerful card.  What I hope is that by sharing my enthusiasm, my willingness to jump up and try something, and my animation over other people's ideas, that others feel enthused and galvanised, too.  That people will grab the reins, like Boudicca in the card, and try charging into things themselves.  And, it may well be, that they are actually far stronger, far clearer, and far more able than they believed themselves to be.  They just needed that little push to dare to give it a go themselves, that feeling of "what the heck, why not try it, what have I got to lose?", or the reassuring encouragement of someone else who believes in them, even if they don't quite ;)

I notice that this is a Major Arcana, suggesting that what those fruits of enthusiasm can inspire is larger than I might think.  People taking the reins of their life, or just setting out on an exciting new creative project, that's a big deal!  It is empowering, and can also lead to wonderful creations.

I hope this spread will inspire you to see what it is that you offer to your community, and just how valuable that sharing is.  That would be another of my Queen of Wands desires :)

Now, please feel free to hop on over to Songs from the Wishing Tree, for more lovely sharing.

Fiery Seed

Ha, after discussing the Aces on Tuesday, today we have another, the Ace of Pentacles.

As I mentioned then, this Ace shows the symbols of all three fire signs - Aries, Leo and Saggittarius - depicted at the corners of an upward pointing triangle, elemental symbol of fire.  Behind them is a starry night sky.  Beneath this, three salamanders chase one another around in a fiery circle, within bright flames.

This, then, despite being the Ace of Pentacles rather than wands, seems to be the seed of all fire, or perhaps the bringing together of different fiery elements.  Perhaps, the reason it is the Ace of Pentacles is that when these are all brought together, they then have to power to manifest in the material world?  Though having gemstones at the bottom of the other aces might seem to be a more appropriate manifestation for the earthy pentacles suit...

Had I designed this deck, I would have made this the Ace of Wands, though I will look forward to hearing if anyone with more astrological knowledge, or just smarts, can figure out why this should be the Pentacles Ace.  Normally, I would associate the Ace of Pentacles with a new beginning or opportunity in the realm of the physical, material or financial.  Reading this card intuitively, I would see a bringing together of similar elements, situations or people, or else chasing your own tail with more energy than direction.

Today, I have both a session with my personal therapist and with our family therapist.  I'm hoping that between the two, my Dear One and I can pull together some of the confusion of the last few weeks.  It would be good if we could find a little clarity and direction, and perhaps a renewed sense of energy.

I am grateful for directed energy.

P.S. There will be an extra post this evening, in exactly 12 hours time, as part of the August Eve Tarot Blog Hop :)