Thursday, 31 January 2013

Darkana Giveaway Results

Darkana Tarot ©Dan Donche
As promised, today is the 31st of January, so it's time to draw a name from the hat (or a number from random.org) and announce the winner of a brand new Darkana deck!

This time, the deck won't have too far to travel, as the winner is a fellow resident of the British Isles.  Someone whose blog I've followed for several years, across a number of platforms, and more banner and background changes than I can count :)

Yep, please join me in congratulating the winner: the delightful and creative Prince Le Normand!

I'll try to email you (if I can find it on your blog).  Otherwise, please do get in touch via info(at)innerwhispers dot co dot uk :)

Amphibian Queen

©Nemo's Locker
Another Court card bestows her regal presence on us today, from the Book of Azathoth Tarot (Nemo's Locker, 2012). 

The Queen of Cups sits on an intersting rock formation by the side of the sea.  She holds a cup in her hands, and has a wave-crested crown on her head.  Her flippers dangle over the edge of the shore, and her tail reaches up behind her.  In the distance, a stark cliff rises above the waves, while some suspicious-looking tentacles reach up as though to tickle her flippers.

What those tentacles suggest to me is that, if we have good emotional balance, then we will be able to cope with the occasional encroachment from our unconscious. 

Today, my Dear One and I see our family therapist.  I take this card as a warning to avoid the drama-queeny aspect of this card, and instead to channel her emotional equanimity :)

I am grateful for calm in the face of powerful emotions.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Devilish Enthusiasm

©Nemo's Locker
Today it's the turn of a Court card from the Book of Azathoth Tarot (Nemo's Locker, 2012)! 

Here we have the rather devillishly charming Prince (Knight) of Wands.  He rides a dragon charger, and seems very confident with his mount, able to carry a long wand in one hand while reining in his stead with the other.  Behind him are pyramids in the distance, an expanse of wavy sand between him and them.  Dragons fly in the border around him, too.

The song that pops into my head with this one is another oldie: That Ole Devil Called Love!  The Prince of Wands may be less of a charmer than the Prince of Cups, but what he lacks in sweet talk, he makes up for in passion and enthusiasm ;)

I'm not sure whether today this Prince of Wands is myself or my Dear One.  We have a romantic meal out planned for this evening, which we're in need of.  The last while has been quite tough with Big Boy, and DO lost the plot a bit yesterday.  So, a little time away, with some fun and passion, sounds like a good idea.  And if he can't muster the enthusiasm, I shall just have to muster it for the both of us :D

I am grateful for interesting restaurants, and babysitters.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Resting Warrior

©Nemo's Locker
On this Tuesday morning we have a superficially rather calm and pretty card from the Book of Azathoth Tarot (Nemo's Locker, 2012).

An elfin maiden lies, scantily clad, on a stone plinth.  Her hands are held as though in prayer above her chest, her eyes softly closed.  A single sword lies horizontally beneath her, with three more hanging over her forehead, chest and abdomen, points down.  The only creepy aspect is that, if we look closely, instead of a stainglass window in the wall, there is someone bound to a cross, being agressed by daggers from every direction, just outside.

The song that pops into my head is an old one, from Susanne Vega: The Queen and the Soldier.  The young maiden looks so sweet and innocent, yet she rests calmly while outside her room someone is tortured. 

And yet, if she's not the evil Queen who ordered the outside figure strung up, perhaps retreat is the better part of valour.  If there is nothing we can do, isn't it better to rest and save our energy for when it can be useful?

As for me, I have some work I'd like to do, in preparation for taking a holiday in mid-February.  It's amazing how many things need to be organised, and that's even before we get to the packing stage.  Part of that is because we need to post a box out ahead with various of Big Boy's medical supplies, as well as nappies and his prescription food.  Gone are the days of travelling with hand luggage only!

I am grateful for lists and computers.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Strange Mechanisms

©Nemo's Locker
A Pentacles card, the Three to be exact, comes out to play today from the Book of Azathoth Tarot (Nemo's Locker, 2012).

As I mentioned before, the "people" on the Pentacles cards seem almost human, and yet they all have bald heads (at least the men).  Here, the twist on the RWS symbolism, other than the strange and fanciful border around the card, is found in the pentacles the craftsman works on.  Two look like the faces of some kind of amphibious creature or alien, with a tentacley mouth.  The third is an opened up pentacle symbol, which is also on the backs of all the cards. 

These three pentacles act as gears and cogs, with smaller mechanical parts all around them.  What will this machine in an arch drive?  Is it some sort of mechanical temple that grinds up its victims?  Or will the mechanism run some fabulous device that makes the world better for all?  The latter would certainly fit better with traditional meanings of this card around team work and pulling together, creating something greater than the sum of its parts...

As for me, most of my work is solitary.  However, some of it still counts as part of a team effort, though I do my part on my own.  So, perhaps this is encouragement to get on with some of that today...  Back to the grindstone :)

I am grateful to have skilled people to work with.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Emotional Connections

©Nemo's Locker
For this second day with the Book of Azathoth Tarot (Nemo's Locker, 2012) we have another Cups card.  It makes me realise that there is a unified border for each suit, while the Majors all have individualised borders - another level of detail!  It's also strange, because while the images for the Minors are entirely RWS, the keywords are from the Thoth Tarot...

A swamp creature sits leaning up against a tree, into which he seems to almost blend with his ridgey skin.  The tress appears to have a face looking left from it, and is overhung by somewhat slimey seeming branches.  Meanwhile, our swamp creature sits with arms and legs crossed.  There are three cups standing in front of him, while another is offered by a hand from a cloud, a la RWS.  With his bulgy frog eyes, it's hard to tell if he's looking at the standing cups, or the one being offered up to him - I'd guess the former.

The traditional suggestion of being bored and stuck, not seeing the opportunities for emotional fulfillment being offered us by the universe, is definitely here.  Our swamp beast makes me wonder, though, whether part of the problem is that he feels undeserving of anything good and beautiful.  His arms and legs are crossed, suggesting he himself closes his heart to new possibilities.

My MIL is coming over today to visit, and I wonder how this card relates to that.  It's true that my Dear One sometimes finds her a little hard to connect with, as she tends to tell lots of stories about people we don't know.  Perhaps, though, today there will be an opportunity to grow closer...  I shall keep my eyes open, and try to facilitate it if possible :)

I am grateful for a life full of opportunities.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Eery Ace

©Nemo's Locker
This week, I have chosen the Book of Azathoth Tarot (Nemo's Locker, 2012).  This self-published tarot is very striking, with its richly detailed, gold-on-black images.  It follows traditional RWS symbolism closely, yet with little gruesome and bizarre twists.  For example, the beings on the Cups cards are amphibious swamp creatures, the Wands cards show devils with curly horns, tails and hooves, Pentacles are represented by almost-human-looking beings, but with bald heads and heavily ridged spines, while Swords show elfin creatures with pointy ears.

For this first day, I drew the Ace of Cups.  A rather skeletal hand holds out a cup on which strange images writhe, while an equally skeletal bird drops a host into it.  Below the cup is the traditional, lily-strewn water, yet darker because of the black background.  Five streams flow from the cup, arching up unnaturally, while a total of 22 drops fall to either side. 

The card border, too, is strangely eery.  A many-toothed, serpentine monster on the left looks like it's trying to reach out of the card to eat us.  Meanwhile, smaller serpentine creatures swim in either direction along the top edge.  Some of the look as though they're swimming straight into the mouth of another big, hungry beast.  There is also a starfish, point down, in the left column, and a strange creature with four worm-like limbs on the right.  The word macabre springs to mind!

And yet, perhaps the message here is that there is love and a spiritual connection possible even in the midst of horror, fear and bare survival.  Even the ugly, disabled or monstrous (and there are days I would count myself among them) feel and seek joy.  And just because things look dark, we should not give up on the possibility of love, of relationship, whether to ourselves, others or the divine.

Taking time to feel and express love seems like good advice for today.  Likewise, taking time to seek joy - yep, Arwen, I hear you ;)  After a busy week, I will make the time to meditate, and take the opportunity to tell my nearest and dearest that I love them!

I am grateful for all the love in my life.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Lennie Week 3 - Cherry Twilight

This lovely deck is the companion to the Lilac Twilight, and is also available by emailing Anna Simonova

It's an interesting idea: you can use the decks together, either as a double deck, or for the mobile houses technique, or to draw clarifiers for a particular card or combo.  And they are complementary.  For example, the Lilac has Songbirds, the Cherry has Owls, the Lilac has a female Rider, the Cherry a male one, the Lilac an open book, while in the Cherry the book is closed.

Cherry Twilight

As for today's draw, we have the Tower, the Owls and the Clover.

A nervous corporation will have little luck.
The official spokesperson seizes an opportunity.
Corporate negotiations go well.
Talking with officialdom brings some happiness.

Looks like a good combo for anyone dealing with officialdom or involved in business, though perhaps not a great day.

Yesterday, I managed to get a cancellation appointment for today with one of Big Boy's consultants.  These cards make me think he will be able to help, though perhaps only to relieve some symptoms rather than getting at the underlying cause.  They also advise that I make the most of whatever is on offer.

I am grateful for the NHS, despite it's shortcomings.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Lennie Week 3 - Lilac Twilight

This is another deck from the Russian publishing house that also did the Old Castle, and the Cherry Twilight, which I'll show tomorrow.  To order, the best idea is to write an email to Anna Simonova, who, I'm told, will answer in English.

This is the second edition of this deck, I believe, and has more prominent borders than the first.  The images may also be different (some people have said).  The backs of this and the Cherry are the same, though, so you can use them together if you want to.  I'll try to do a video review of them, as it's a very cute idea!

Lilac Twilight Lenormand
Today's draw brings us the House, the Birds and the Mountain.

Gossip at home is an obstacle.
Family talk is a burden.
Nervousness about stability is itself a challenge.
Moving from home to an outdoor environment happens through talking about what you want: I'm thinking holidays, here :)

For me, today, this feels like it's about my therapy.  It seems I will have to end with my therapist later this year, after nearly five years seeing him.  I'm starting to worry about it already - he has provided a lot of stability and insight over these years, and I appreciate him a lot.  However, things change, and people's needs change - both his and mine.  I guess this draw says to me that, seeing as I'm worrying about it anyway, I'd better talk it over with him...

I am grateful for the years of helpful therapy I have had.

Update: I spoke to my therapist, and it turns out that what was a deal-breaker for my last therapist, is something he feels happy to work with.  So, we won't have to finish :)  I am grateful I spoke to him, otherwise I would have worried about it for the next few weeks!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Alison's Time Management Spread

Alison Cross, that wise and witty blogger and radio show host, has devised another excellent spread.  This spread is designed to help us out with our time management and, let's be honest, who couldn't do with a little help in that area?

So, we draw three cards, the first a court card, to answer the following questions:

1  WHO can possibly help me improve my time management?
2  HOW will this character help me improve my time management?
3  WHAT does this character warn me against?

I also used the DruidCraft Tarot, though this is my super-trimmed version!

©P&S. Carr-Gomm & W.Worthington

1) The King of Wands is someone who follows his passion.  However, he also knows how to delegate, and how to encourage others to lend a hand :)  I see him telling me to start by clarifying exactly what I most care about.  Certainly, that has been coming clearer lately.  Doing a Lenormand Workshop at the weekend reminded me of just how much I love teaching!  If you want to know how that went, here's a lovely write-up by Lisa Frideborg Lloyd :)  Another aspect is to follow my creative fire, as I am doing with the Celtic Lenormand and a couple other projects I have in the pipeline...  And he also says, ask for help when you need it, don't worry, it won't make you look weak!

2) How he will help me is firstly by clarifying my priorities: which of those wands needs to be thrown first.  He will also help with direction: that chap isn't just lobbing wands willy-nilly, he is doing so in a very goal-oriented, directed manner!

3) What does the King of Wands warn me against?  Well, this is the same card as Ali got in this position.  I see it slightly differently, though.  To me, this says once again that I shouldn't just struggle on alone if I'm finding things a bit overwhelming.  There are other people in my life, so ask for help.  Let someone else carry a few of those wands :)

Lennie Week 3 - Isabel's Dream

For today, I thought we'd return to something more colourful and traditional, with playing card inserts in the German fashion (B is for Bube, equivalent to Jack; D is for Dame, Queen (actually Lady); K is König, King).  These cards are from Isabel's Traum (Büttner Verlag, 2006), a lovely deck by a German artist, Isabel Krsnic, originally born in Peru.  The deck is available through amazon.com, though within Europe it's also available direct from the publishers (see link).  Although the artwork is done on computer, it has a rather "painted" feel to it, and a lot of movement and texture.

Isabel's Traum ©Isabel Krsnic

So, to today's draw: we have Child, Letter and Bear.

Superficial naivety hides inner strength.
A letter about a child brings out protectiveness.
Feeling flat about a new project, it needs an injection of fierce energy.

The last of these feels meaningful.  Perhaps not so much that a new project leaves us flat, but certainly as we head towards February, many people seem to be feeling a bit listless.  So, maybe it's the new year that is leaving us flat...

I'm not normally too affected by the bleakness of winter.  Still, this year with the snow, and perhaps particularly with Big Boy having been home and ill so much this last week, I am feeling pretty low in energy.  I have plenty of ideas and the wish to be doing things, yet also a lassitude and sense of tiredness.  Maybe, like the Bear, I need to hibernate a little, and wait to see what Spring brings.  Or, given that I do need to get stuff done, the light "daylight simulating" light my Dear One got recently will prove it's worth, bringing us that extra zing ;)

I am grateful for a little pick-me-up.




Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Lennie Week 3 - Old Castle

This lovely, gothic-themed Lenormand deck comes from the same company in Russia that also created the Lilac Twilight and Cherry Twilight decks (keep your eyes out for those later this week!)  However, the website is only in Russian, and google translate doesn't seem to work for the subpages where you order and so forth, so the only way I know to get them is via a group order with someone who speaks Russian (hence no link).

Being a fan of all things gothic, I was delighted when this deck arrived.  It has some nice, gruesome touches, like the skulls under the Fox, and the shadowy wolves in the clouds above the paths in the Fork card :)

Mysteries of the Old Castle Lenormand

So, today's draw is Lillies, Fox and Fork.  On a dark riff:

Skillful sexuality brings choices.
An elder makes instinctual choices.
In following your instincts, do you choose harmony, or to walk your own path?
Using cunning and the wisdom of your elders to make better decisions.

The last two, in particular, seem like they might be useful.  Should we be following our instincts, or considering what decision is "best".  And how is that "best" defined?

It's certainly true that I often try to keep the peace, rather than following my own instincts.  And sometimes that may be for the best, but other times it might not be.  Today, I shall try to stay aware of my motivations and choices.  Not that I have anything much in mind - Big Boy is off school again, this time due to a tummy bug, rather than the inclement weather *doh*  Still, plenty of choices in motherly tasks, too, and keeping the peace with a cranky child or doing what is "best" for him...

I am grateful that there are always choices in life.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Lennie Week 3 - Revolution Again

Okay, so I used this deck last Lennie Week, but as Carrie Paris and Roz Foster were kind enough to say I could use more than just 10% of the deck, I decided to give this fabulous deck another outing!   You may see some of the other self-published decks back again in later Lennie Weeks ;)

Lenormand Revolution ©Carrie Paris and Roz Foster
Today's draw is less cheerful than yesterday's, but we can't always have love and happiness, right?  Here we have the Mice, the Stars and the Fish. 

Technological losses bring freedom. (No Facebook would be a kind of freedom, n'est ce pas?)
A cold thief turns to alcohol.
Monetary losses spread like wildfire.
Tainted guidance regarding money.
Clear loss of independence.
Loss of faith in commerce.

Certainly, reading the papers is likely to encourage a loss of belief in the banking industry in particular, and large corporations in general.  And there are plenty of people out there giving very poor investment advice.  Still, that all seems rather distant.  Perhaps more to the point, is the question of how the plans (Stars) we make might be undermined (Mice), and how money (Fish) can help, or be the cause of that.

My plans for the day have certainly been messed with, as Big Boy's school has decided to close due to the heavy snow.  Fortunately, we have some childcare options, though it will cost extra due to the short notice...

I am grateful to be able to afford help with Big Boy.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Lenormand Workshop Debrief

I wasn't planning to write about this, as I was teaching and didn't take pictures or anything.  Overall, though, I think everyone enjoyed it and got something from it (though quite a few people had been reading with the Lenormand for some time, despite it being advertised as an Intro Workshop).  We looked at the history of the cards, how that connects with traditional meanings, how to go about blending and doing short readings, and then focused in on the Grand Tableau in the afternoon.  There was much laughter, and I even sold two of my Kindergarten Lenormand decks, which was rather a shock (I only took them as spare reading decks).

It was great to see some known faces, put faces to a few people I'd only met on-line, and even meet a couple of totally new people!  I really enjoyed the friendliness of the group, and everyone joined in, making it a fun and interactive day that whizzed by.  If you want an independent take on it, Lisa Frideborg Lloyd did take pictures, and said she'd blog about it this Wednesday on her Seer Pathways blog...

Lennie Week 3 - Eclectique

On this snowy Sunday, I drew three cards from the Petit Lenormand Eclectique (Self-published, 2012).  This deck was created by various members of the Facebook Lenormand Cards Study Group.  As collaborative decks go, it is one of the best I've seen, working quite cohesively.  I believe Edmund Zebrowski may still have a few for sale if anyone is interested.  Myself, I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy by one of the artists: the multi-talented Alison Cross :)

©Various Artists
As for today's draw, we have Ring, Sun and Heart - what a lovely combination!  Riffing on these I came up with:

An energetic commitment brings love.
A happy engagement born of love.
Enthusiastic promise made in the throes of passion.
Bright promise of tender emotion.

Seems like a good day for love!  However, it does suggest it's not just gentle emotions that are called for, but also a dynamic commitment to put them into practice.  And, as my first sentence suggests, this reading doesn't only have a romantic interpretation.  It could be taken that today is a good day to commit our energy to something we're passionate about - maybe suggesting the action necessary to get a creative project moving.

For me, though, today, I think this is about two things.  I had a great time at the Lennie Workshop yesterday, and the feedback seemed pretty good.  So, I am ready to commit to running more workshops - it was great to be teaching again!  Secondly, I see it referring to loving relationships.  Though I'm tired after yesterday's workshop, I also know I need to focus my energy and attention today on both Big Boy and my Dear One.  While work is important, my loves are important, too :)

I am grateful for a good night's sleep.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Lennie Week 3 - Crochet Lenormand

Crochet Lenormand
Today being the day I run my first Lenormand Workshop, I decided it was a perfect time to start another Lennie Week :)  For this first day, I decided to go with the über-cute Crochet Lenormand by Pepi Valderrama (The Game Crafter, 2012).

This is a somewhat non-traditional deck, in which various cards have been renamed.  Mostly, the changes are theme-appropriate, affected by what Pepi could crochet.  I am incredibly impressed that she actually designed and crocheted all the items that are portrayed on the cards.  And some of the changes are genius: the Cross is represented by a pair of open scissors crossed over a ball of yarn!  Another interesting one is the Scythe, renamed the Crochet Hook ;)

Anyhow, on to today's reading.  I drew the Star, the Cloud, and the Lollipops (the Anchor).  Okay, I don't really get how lollipops relate to anchors, perhaps Pepi will enlighten us.  However, in good Lenormand fashion, I shall simply treat the card as though it showed an anchor :)




©Pepi Valderrama

Uncertain technology brings work.
Stay hopeful despite bad weather, work will go forward.
A rash of bad weather creates work.
Lack of clear guidance at work.

On an incredibly snowy weekend in the UK, when many schools closed early or just plain didn't open yesterday, and traffic accidents and delays are to be expected nationwide, having the "bad weather" card should come as no surprise!

This reading doesn't bode particularly well for my workshop!  The bad weather is likely to make it hard work for people to get to London.  Still, I take heart from the second brainstormed sentence, having Anchor (my work card) at the end suggests I will still be able to work.  As for the bit about technological troubles, I spent 3 and a half hours on them yesterday, so I hope today it'll all just be plug n play  *fingers crossed*

I am grateful I don't have too far to travel today.


Friday, 18 January 2013

Darkana Giveaway

After this week with the Darkana Tarot (Dan Donche, 2012), I hope you'll have an idea of whether or not the deck interests you.  It so happens that when I signed up to the original funding campaign, I put myself down for two decks, as I had a friend I knew would love it, and who had a birthday coming up.  However, turns out the friend also knew she'd love it, and had ordered one for herself. 

Having forgotten to change my funding level, when the deck finally dropped through my door, lo-and-behold, there were two!  So, I am offering one lovely blog reader the chance to win a copy of this deck :D

All you have to do is comment on this post before the 30th of January, and on the 31st I will announce the randomly selected winner.  Good luck!

Able To...

©Dan Donche
For our last day with the Darkana Tarot (Dan Donche, 2012), we have a sadly evocative version of the Five of Pentacles.

A wheelchair sits in the bottom right hand corner, with three pentacles as the visible wheels.  In the top left corner, two more pentacles hang in the sky, overlapping each other.  The wheelchair suggests sickness or disability, though not necessarily the poverty or dearth of resources often associated with this card.  And those two floating pentacles suggest the hope and resources seen in the traditional stained glass window of a church, without the Christian associations.

Strangely, this card makes me think about the fact that we are often a lot more able than we think we are.  I guess it's because I've been thinking about my business trip, and how I often feel at a disadvantage speaking in German.  Although it was the first "foreign" language I learned, I've never mastered some of the basics.  The fact that they have 16 different variants on the word "the" might give you some idea why! 

And yet, realistically, I do speak it well.  It's fair to say I'm fluent, simply that my German grammar is nowhere near as good as my English grammar.  Then again, there are plenty of blogs out there that show even native speakers (in this case of English) don't all have great spelling and grammar skills.  So, while I have decided to get a German tutor for a while, perhaps I should also cut myself some slack, and appreciate the abilities I do have!

I am grateful my workshop tomorrow is in English ;)

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Gun Slingers

©Dan Donche
For today’s draw from the Darkana Tarot (Dan Donche, 2012), we have the Five of Wands.

In yet another change of ambience, here we see four gunslingers, a woman and three men. The woman in the back right corner aims at the man in the back left corner, while the man in the front right aims at the foremost guy, front left, who nonchalantly holds two guns.  The splatter marks on this image work well, reminding me of the “kapow”s, “splat”s and “boom”s of the old batman TV shows ;)  Or perhaps they represent the blood trail left from previous gun fights...

I rather like the cowboy feel to this card, and it certainly gets across the message of quarrels and competition.  There isn’t really a feel of working together which can sometimes be seen in the Five of Wands, though I guess they could represent outlaws and  lawmen, maybe depending on who’s wearing a hat :D  Overall, though, I get more of a sense of fighting your corner against all comers.

I head back home today, then off to see my therapist.  Perhaps, in this, I see the quarrels that go on within myself (being a double Gemini).  Should I do this or that?  I feel this, but I also feel that, which one would I do best to follow?  If I think of this card more in the sense of work struggles (I’m so glad I didn’t get this card yesterday!) then perhaps it’s about having to fight my corner to make sure things are okay for the Lenormand workshop on Saturday.  I may well have to go to the shop in person to check out the technical arrangements, as the people there haven’t given me a clear answer as to what kind of connectors I’ll need.  I really don’t want to turn up on Saturday to find I can’t use my slides or camera!

I am grateful for the reminder to watch my own back.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Now You See It...

©Dan Donche
Today we have the Magician from the Darkana Tarot (Dan Donche, 2012).

At first glance, he seems more like a stage magician, a sleight-of-hand artist, than a master of manifestation.  And yet, holding cards in his hand to represent the four elements, he reminds us that we can use many different resources, and especially tarot cards, in manifesting our intent.  Though he has glitzy stars around him, and a top hat and tails, he also has glasses to sharpen his vision, and simple tools to work his will, nothing complicated or obvious.

This card reminds me of Derren Brown, who uses simple, psychological ideas to create huge effects.  So, too, we can affect ourselves and our environment with just the words we say to ourselves, for example.

Here's hoping I, or one of my colleagues, can help pull a rabbit out of the hat today, metaphorically speaking.  The meeting we're going to is the continuation of several last year that ended up going round in circles, when not exploding in acrimony.  There are some big personalities, and bigger egos, involved.  I mostly stay quiet, take notes, and try to calm things down when I can.  If things carry on like this, there will be nothing productive to show for a full day of negotiations.  We have a few ideas, though, about things that might help calm the waters.  Wish us luck!

I am grateful for diplomacy.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A Long, Long Road

©Dan Donche
Today's card from the Darkana Tarot (Dan Donche, 2012), while far from traditional, appeals to me none the less.

As soon as I saw it, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" popped into my head.  I can't believe this song has been redone and made Christmas No. 1, all without me even noticing!  Oh, well, I did try to avoid Christmas TV...

Anyhow, it's the bit about perseverance, about walking that road no matter how long, that sprang to mind.  Traditionally, the Seven of Pentacles has a more horticultural twist to it, the idea being we have to keep going if we're ever to reap the harvest we've sown.  Here, though, there is more of the sense given in the song, that we have to keep going even if we don't know where our current path is leading us.  There's a sense of duty, but also a hope for better times ahead, if we follow the pentacle-strewn path.

Well, I definitely have a long road ahead of me today.  I'm travelling to the middle of nowhere, so a five hour journey ahead, then straight into the first meeting.  At least I'll be in good company.

I am grateful to work with people I like (at least some of them).

Monday, 14 January 2013

Freaky Facemask

©Dan Donche
Not sure how I feel about today's card from the Darkana Tarot (Dan Donche, 2012).

The Empress herself isn't bad, with her pregnant belly and splatter-hair.  Though, how come there's what looks like a gas cloud or liquid extruding from her navel?  And more floating up from her backside?  Even freakier is the baby in a gas mask!

I guess, if I try to see the positive side to this, there could be something about doing our best to protect the things we create - totally going against the airline adage about putting on your own oxygen mask first ;)  And certainly she seems very creative - one babe in arms, another on the way.  It's interesting, because the keywords given definitely fit traditional ideas: nurturing, natural.  I also see the Empress as abundant and creative.

One of the things I've promised myself is to be more self-nurturing this year.  And I hope today I can do a bit of that - take it a little easy, go to the cinema, have a nice meal in the evening with my Dear One.  After all, tomorrow I'm off on a business trip again, and living out of a suitcase in a hotel is not the most relaxing feeling :/  Still, it's not for long, and I hope there won't be too many of these trips in my future. 

Perhaps, too, I'll have time for a little creativity, if I can get my Photoshop software working *doh*

I am grateful for customer support.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

©Dan Donche
Okay, maybe the title's a little misleading, but I do love today's card from the Darkana Tarot (Dan Donche, 2012)!

Having the Ace of Swords represented by a chainsaw is certainly dramatic!  What an incredible tool for cutting through BS and trimming our problems down to size ;) Of course, we may also cut too deeply, remove too much in our zeal.  And that's always a risk when we think we hold the sword (or chainsaw) of truth, or when we have an idea we think is the be-all-and-end-all.  Likewise, in terms of communication, we would often be better served by a surgeon's scalpel than by a chainsaw! 

Still, oh the enthusiasm, the excitement, of having this powerful tool, this fascinating idea, this intriguing knowledge, this witticism that just has to be shared...

It's often hard with Aces to figure out how they might manifest.  Perhaps especially so with the Ace of Swords.  After all, it is just the first twinkle in our eye, rather than anything tangible, the first inkling of an idea, the first word of a sentence that could become a conversation or an argument.  I shall take today's card, then, as a heads-up to be gentle in my communications with others today, and to be open to new inspiration and new knowledge :)

I am grateful for the reminder not to use a sledgehammer when a gently spoken word will do!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

New Moon Reading

Yesterday, not one but three people reminded me that it was a New Moon, on 11/1 (European date style, but it still works), and particularly propitious for making big wishes and sowing the seeds for this year, intention-wise.  How could I ignore that big a slap on the head?! ;)

So, in the early hours, a ways before dawn, I did a reading and a meditation on the seeds I am sowing for this year.  As quite a few of those seeds are Lenormand-related, I decided I'd better use a Lenormand deck.  And as it was a reading with a spiritual aspect, I chose the Mystical Lenormand (AGM, 2006).


This deck is a somewhat non-traditional Lenormand, with a heap of additional symbolism, intended for more intuitive readings.  Nevertheless, I have started from regular meanings and just used the intuitive elements for additional details.

What will help me sow the seeds for this coming year?  Fox

I need to use my skills and street smarts, and to be entrepreneurial and willing to work outside the box.  However, I must also be sure to take care of myself and my basic needs: all work and no sleep makes Chloë a tired, useless woman :D 

How can I best help those seeds to grow and flourish?  Tower

Institutions and corporations will be important in helping my plans to flourish.  Here I see U.S. Games, of course, but also something else that I hope to talk about next month...  There is also the suggestion of doing my research well, and of protecting these plants from attack, creating a safe space for them to develop.  I think that's mainly about keeping clear boundaries on my part, and being willing to stand up for what I believe in.

What harvest will I reap from this?  Clouds

Okay, so it'll be a mixed bunch: some good, some bad.  And with a dose of uncertainty thrown in, to boot!  That doesn't really surprise me.  For instance, I'm unlikely to make money on the U.S. Games deal for at least a couple of years, if not longer.  Still, it seemed worth it to me for the improved distribution and reduced hassle.

Nothing is likely to be totally plain sailing, but it will be exciting.  There will be at least a few spots of colour in all of that, and a sweet fruit or two.  I can live with that :)

CSI?

©Dan Donche
Having received my Darkana Tarot (Dan Donche, 2012) just after Christmas, I decided to give this interesting deck a whirl this week.

As someone who loves crime dramas like CSI, this card appeals to me straight away.  Not only does it have the suggestion of something being quite clearly dead and gone, but it also taps into that "drama much?" aspect the Ten of Swords can have :D

The ten swords seem quite anachronistic, pinning down a chalk figure behind crime scene tape.  How could someone get stabbed by ten different swords, and why would the killer/s leave the evidence there?  For that matter, the crime scene techs wouldn't risk damaging or losing the evidence by taking the swords out of the body and plunging them in the ground where the body had been!  It shows the ridiculousness that can result when we over think things, rather than just coming to terms with the idea that things change and even end.

We're trying to organise a family holiday for the February half-term.  In this, I may have to let go of the idea that I can manage everything myself.  Also, and perhaps more painfully, choosing a holiday just across the channel in Paris is a reminder that we may never be able to take Big Boy further afield, because of his troubles flying.  Having travelled so much throughout my life (I started flying as an unaccompanied minor at age 5 as my dad lived abroad), it's hard for me to fathom or come to terms with.  Though as my therapist said, this may be me overdramatising, as it is feasible to drive to Germany, Switzerland or Spain...

I am grateful for the reminder not to take my concerns too seriously: I am lucky to have travelled as much as I have.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Creativity

©Clive Barrett
What a lovely card to draw at the end of this week with the Norse Tarot (Clive Barrett, 2012).

I always love to see the Ace of Wands, sign of new inspiration, creativity and passion.  However, I'll admit I barely recognised this card at first glance.  From the colouring, I would have guessed the Ace of Swords!  Still, I do like the stag at the top of this wand, reminiscent of the Ace of Wands in the DruidCraft Tarot :)

Perhaps what the colouring shows us is that, even when sparked into enthusiasm, we can keep our cool and put our energy to work with clear focus.  Or maybe that blue is a reminder that Wands energy is like the sun on a clear, blue summer's day: it can warm us through, but it can also burn us if we don't take care.

I'm not all too surprised to see this card today.  I had an idea on Monday, and today I should finally get the last tool I need to actually make a start on this new creative project.  While you could say the Ace of Wands would have better represented Monday, I'd say that was more an Ace of Swords moment: the idea, but without yet any basis to start getting creative with it. 

Sometimes it seems like, until I make an actual start, my enthusiasm and inspiration can't really kick in.  It's an idea, floating around, but with nothing to fuel the fire of creativity.  Certainly, that honours the pagan idea of starting in the East with Air, and then moving to the fiery South :) 

I am grateful for the ability to set my creativity free.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Waiting

©Clive Barrett
What a very unusual take on the Seven of Disks (Pentacles) from the Norse Tarot (Clive Barrett, 2012)!

A man sits crouched at the top of a grassy hill.  He wears a brown shirt and shoes, and blue trousers.   Below him, seven rather battered disks or shields lie in tall grasses.  However, I can't imagine that even planting them in the soil will help them repair or grow.  Perhaps, though, they will break down and fertilise the soil, preparing the ground for future crops.  A very long perspective, then!

Somehow, the sense I get of this is of a warrior who is giving up fighting, wanting to settle down and farm, connect with the earth, and enjoy a family life.  Which has nothing to do with the traditional man, his hoe and plant, yet somehow it fits this image.  Or else he could be thinking back to his "glory days".  Yep, this card definitely has different perspectives to the norm!

As for me, I'm planting seeds, and will certainly have to wait to see what grows from them.  Not sure about glory days, I hope I still have great days to come!

I am grateful for the wonderful potential of life.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Gentle Queen

©Clive Barrett
Strangely enough, today's Queen of Swords from the Norse Tarot (Clive Barrett, 2012) seems far gentler than her Wands counterpart!

With long blonde hair held back by a circlet and in a loose ponytail, she stands in a field of waving corn.  The wide, clouded sky echoes her blue dress with white insets, and her necklace has yellow and blue flower motifs.  She holds the hilt of a sword in her right hand, the blade in her left, with the sword crossing her thighs.  It's hardly an aggressive position, more pensive, I would say.

I also like her expression, clear and direct, yet somehow gentle.  It seems to say, "Come, talk with me.  Let's share ideas and clarify things."

What I see in today's card is the need for some clarity and organisation.  The Queen of Swords doesn't put up with flim-flam, even from herself ;)  Also, perhaps, that I may need a listening ear later on today, someone who will tell it as they see it, yet with gentleness. 

I am grateful for clarity and empathy.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Destruction?

©Clive Barrett
I have to say, this Queen of Wands from the Norse Tarot (Clive Barrett, 2012) is rather dark!

A red-headed woman stands in the foreground of a desolate scene.  All around her, the earth is blackened, the trees are burnt and flames still flicker in small patches, as though hungrily waiting for more fuel.  In the midst of one flaming patch, the Queen of Wands stands, wearing a dusky pink dress and a necklace set with red stones.  In her right hand she holds a spear-pointed wand taller than herself, and her left hand crosses her body to join the right on the staff of the wand.  It is a hard, closed position.

I normally associate this card with someone who has great strength of will, which I see here.  But also with warmth, sensuality and generosity, a nature that encourages enthusiasm and nurtures creativity.  Not something I see in this bleak and lifeless landscape.  Perhaps, though, this is a case of tough love, or of seeds which need fire and fresh earth in order to germinate... In which case, part of her strength would reside in having the ability to wait out the storm, strong in her resolve and her faith that something new and creative will blossom after this wildfire has burnt itself out.

After doing some more advertising yesterday for my Lenormand Workshop, today I really want to finish off the last few slides for my presentations.  I need to get organised, as next week I have another business trip, and so little time for these "outside pursuits" :)

I am grateful for strength of resolve to channel my creativity.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Standing Together

©Clive Barrett
For today's draw from the Norse Tarot (Clive Barrett, 2012) we have the Nine of Wands.

On this version of the card, not one, but nine, figures stand holding wands in a rolling field.  From older men with white beards to the fierce, red-haired warrior in the card's foreground, all stand ready to defend their land, their families and their ideals.

I like the fact that these disparate characters all stand ready to act together.  It reminds me to ask, when feeling defensive or overwhelmed, who I can rely on for help and support.  In some cases it may be different aspects of myself I need to marshal, but oftentimes there are kind friends and family willing to step in when needed.

What kind of support might I need today?  What challenges do I have to push through?  Two things spring to mind.  Firstly, I have been feeling somewhat anxious of late.  For that, knowing there are people I can talk to if I get panicky is a real blessing.  Secondly, I need to push on to the end of my PowerPoint presentations for the Lenormand Workshop.  That requires marshalling my enthusiasm, my camera, and some drawing software ;)

I am grateful for support in times of need.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Organisation vs Overwhelm

Oh, what an interesting version of the Ten of Wands from Clive Barrett's self-published Norse Tarot (2012).

A man stands at the bottom of a staircase.  He wears tan trousers, brown shoes, a blue tunic with white trim, and a red cape.  As for those ten wands, he holds them in two tidy bundles of five, one in one arm, the other over the other shoulder.  What a very organised way to deal with those responsibilities and projects!  Still, he is at the bottom of the staircase, and may still have a long way to go.  Even well-stacked wands will grow heavy with time...

What I see here is someone shouldering his responsibilities wisely and with forethought, being organised about what he takes on and how he manages it.  Even so, too much will still be too much.

This card, then, reminds us to be organised in how we deal with the projects and plans in our lives.  It also cautions that, no matter how well we plan things, we may still end up feeling overburdened if we take on too much at one time.

I am generally pretty organised, but the warning that I may, even so, bite off more than I can chew is one I appreciate.  And, it being Sunday, I wonder whether this card recommends I just lay down all the burdens I don't absolutely need to carry today?  After all, work can wait til tomorrow.  The only things I can't avoid today are taking care of Big Boy, and having some neighbours round, given we organised it over a week ago.  Doesn't sound like too much to handle!  And if anyone suggests something more, I shall practice saying "No" :)

I am grateful for permission to forget about business trips, workshops, decks, accounts and all the rest, just for today.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Judgement Again

©Clive Barrett
This week, I will be drawing my daily cards from the self-published Norse Tarot (Clive Barrett, 2012).

Once again, Judgement shows its face. This is a very different image from last week's though.  Two sets of people approach one another across a grassy plane, one armed with a stone-headed axe, but which swings loosely at his side.  In The distance we see the silhouetted forms of two more people, one with a bow raised high.  In the sky above them are somewhat shadowy spirit figures, a white-bearded man with a hat and a staff in the forefront.

This deck doesnt come with a LWB, but what this card makes me think of are Norse tales of the Gods and Goddesses coming to claim dead warriors from the battlefield and transport them to different potential afterlives.  However, these people all seem alive and well.  Perhaps, then, these are the Gods, reminding us that to take a step in a new direction, to transform our way of being, we can call on their support.

Well, I've clarified what I feel called to do in 2013, at least a little.  Part of that includes the Lenormand Workshop I'll be running in a couple of weeks time.  I've nearly finished my PowerPoints, though I still have to make sure my tech all works *eek*  I also want a varied and enthusiastic group.  To that end, I've figured out some other places I might put up flyers, so I'm off into the city centre for a bit today.  Really hope this all works out *fingers tightly crossed*

I am grateful for the guidance of spirit in clarifying my path.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Energy and Distraction

©Choi & Shina
For this last day with the Dreaming Way Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012), I drew the Knight of Wands.

As with so many cards in this deck, there are some interesting twists here.  I love his red-and-white checked tunic, and larger checked saddle, as well as the warm orange of his horse, all symbolising the element of fire!  Okay, so that colour probably isn't called orange on a horse, but I don't know much about horses :) 

On the other hand, I was surprised to see him looking backwards, as to my mind this guy is all about forward momentum.  He may not have great follow-through, but while he's got the bit between his teeth, there's no stopping him!

Perhaps his positioning suggests he's easily distracted.  His eye caught by the next "shiny thing", even as he gallops on by.  Yeah, I can se that ;)

I could certainly do with some of the Knight of Wand's enthusiasm today.  It's just over two weeks til the Lenormand Workshop I'm running in Atlantis Bookshop in London, and I've been a little slack in the advertising department.  Part of it is that I don't feel very comfy doing any kind of self-promotion.  Another bit, I guess, is that it somehow didn't feel real or close until we'd passed Christmas and New Year.  Now, though, it looms large!  *eek*

Yesterday I distributed a few flyers, and got tweeting.  I also compiled a list of places that might have notice boards, so today I need to get my skates on - metaphorically, it's far too hilly around here to be safe roller skating ;)

I am grateful for the energy to get stuff done.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Angels Bugling

©Choi & Shina
For this second-to-last day with the Dreaming Way Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012), we find another Major: Judgment.

It's interesting to have two angels trumpeting, with their backs partially turned to us.  Quite different from the traditional image of a single angel over  people rising from their watery graves!  It makes me think of the fact that we may hear more than one call, feel drawn in more than one direction in our lives.

Still, I like their green, leafy wings, suggesting these may be Earth Angels who bring us messages of growth and renewal.  I also like the sky, which looks like a gentle, summer's day to me.   Something there about moving in a direction that is warm and kind on ourselves...

That being drawn in more than one direction is certainly something I've been feeling, as I mentioned earlier this week.  Perhaps it's something I can talk about with my therapist today, and try to get a bit of clarity.  Though, being a therapist himself, I wonder if he can be open to the idea that being a therapist might not be my calling...

I am grateful for life's options and possibilities.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Girls In Knee Socks?

©Choi & Shina
Carla, of Rowan Tarot, came up with this amusing moniker for the Dreaming Way Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012).  However, as I drew more cards from the deck, I started wondering just how accurate it was...  Being me, I went through the whole deck to find out just how many Girls in Knee Socks there are, and the answer may surprise.

First off, I found three cards where there are women wearing boots around the knee.  Two of them are kind of like UGG boots (the Eight and Page of Swords), while the third is more like leather thigh-highs on the Nine of Cups...  Still, not very sexual or knee-socks-y!

Actual Girls in Knee Socks number only four!

©Choi & Shina
Perhaps part of the reason why they have come to be seen as such a big part of the deck is that three of the four are Majors - the High Priestess (who is also on the box), the Wheel of Fortune, and Temperance.  The final one is the Page of Pentacles.

Those are certainly interesting choices.  Sexualising the most earthy card in the deck (Page of Pents as Earth of Earth).  Also, the High Priestess, who is normally associated with virginity in the sense of being whole unto herself.  And Temperance, who is all about restraint and balance! 

As for the Wheel of Fortune, she makes me think of Sleeping Beauty, which many would say is a very sexual story: going to sleep when she turns 18, only to be woken by a kiss and marry the prince.  Yet, as well as her Knee Socks, she also has wings, and looks pregnant...  Okay, what do you all make of that one?

Bittersweet Birthday

©Choi & Shina
Gah, what is the Dreaming Way Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012) trying to do to me?!  Today is Big Boy's birthday, and I draw the Three of Swords :(

A woman stands in a cold and snowy landscape, next to a tree with a few remaining leaves on a bush at its base.  She is dressed in old fashioned clothing, bindings around her head under a white bonnet.  Three swords protrude from her chest, where her gown is open to allow them access.  Her eyes are closed, and she seems quite calm, almost accepting...

This actually represents quite well one of the interpretations I often call upon for the Three of Swords.  I think it was Rachel Pollack who first suggested that with this card, we have to be willing to hold onto the pain, to sit with it, in order to work through it.  Railing against fate, crying and screaming, will gain us little in the long run. 

I guess this represents my emotions around Big Boy quite well.  I have, for the most part, come to accept his troubles and his limitations.  I still feel the pain, but it is something I have grown used to.  Celebrating his fifth birthday is a bit of a reminder of how little he has changed in some respects over the last year.  And yet, within his capacities he has improved tremendously.  So, it is a bittersweet birthday we celebrate, but I hope I can tap into the joy more than the sorrow as we open presents and eat cake :)

I am grateful for my beautiful son.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Sweet Family

©Choi & Shina
Such a lovely card to start the New Year!  This Ten of Cups from the Dreaming Way Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012), is sweet and stereotyped, but also a little quirky.

A family stand together.  Mum has a little baby in her arms, and dad has their older child sat on his head.  They all appear to be in their pyjamas, dad in a blue striped nightshirt, and mum in a fancy white frilly nightgown.  Though I can't say mum's white pleated thing looks very comfy - okay, I'm more of a lounging-around-in-soft-pj's gal ;)  Above their heads float ten cups, in variations on black-and-white with polka dots, each one different.

This is definitely what I wish for myself for the New Year - a happy, relaxed family life, full of interesting and varied emotions.

As for the first day of this New Year, it will definitely have a large family component.  I'd love to lounge around in my nightgear all day, but I doubt that'll happen.  Still, a nice walk on the local heath is a good second choice ;)

I am grateful for my family.