Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Headstand

By Moore, Pastorello & Ariganello
Today's card from the Book of Shadows Tarot: So Below (Lo Scarabeo, 2013) delights me!

It was, I think, in Rachel Pollack's 78 Degrees of Wisdom that I first read the association of the Hanged Man to doing sirsasana (headstand).  Straight away, as a then yoga-teacher, it chimed with me. 

While I've never seen the aspect of sacrifice in practising yoga, certainly there is a large element of discipline.  And as this image suggests, it is a wonderful way to take some time out of our everyday existence and gain a different perspective on life. 

In this image, I love that she is practising in a beautiful, light space, with candles and very minimalistic and natural decorations - very sattvic :)  The blue of her clothes suggests the visudda (throat) chakra.  As with the Hanged Man's associations to Odin, what she learns through her practice she will bring back into the world.

As for me, the first thing this card says is that today is a good day for a longer yoga practice!  I also wonder about the aspect of enforced stillness that I often associate with the Hanged Man.  There are a couple of things that I'm working on which don't seem to be going anywhere fast.  Sometimes, though, things just need to develop in their own time...

I am grateful for the joys that yoga brings to my life.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Barbecue

By Moore, Pastorello & Ariganello
Another very unusual card greets us from the Book of Shadows Tarot: So Below (Lo Scarabeo, 2013).

Here we have the King of Pentacles, yet I'm not quite sure which figure to take as the King.  Overall, I think I'll go for the guy in the blue jacket and yellow jumper.  He's talking with the neighbours over the fence, and seems like he might be inviting them to come and join the barbecue he and his friends are having. 

That's the kind of generosity and practicality I associate with the King of Pentacles.  He likes to enjoy good food and the rest of life's comforts, but is also very aware of his responsibilities to those around him, too.  So, while on the one hand it seems strange to have other figures on the card rather than just the King, it does also make sense.

Likewise, it seems appropriate to the deck's theme of bringing tarot archetypes into the everyday that we see the King of Pentacles living in a nice suburban house, and creating a pleasant environment for the celebration taking place.  He is just the type to make sure there is plenty of good food and a convivial atmosphere, and to be sure to keep the neighbours on side, too.

It is my Dear One I see in this card more than myself.  He's always thinking of ways to improve the house and garden, and happy to lend the lawn mower to the guy next door or help out putting up shelves and so on.  While these are traits I admire, I associate myself more with the Page and Queen of this suit, not the King.  Perhaps, then, what this card suggests is that I tell my Dear One just how much I value him.

I am grateful for a sensible, practical person to balance me.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Dinner Date

By Moore, Pastorello & Ariganello
Now, this is an unusual depiction of Temperance from the Book of Shadows Tarot: So Below (Lo Scarabeo, 2013)!

It's hard to imagine anything farther from an angel pouring fluid from one cup into another while standing with one foot on land and the other in water.  Instead, a couple sit together at a table, the woman pouring some wine into the man's glass.  On the table before them, as well as the wine, are a bowl of salad, a dish of olives and a small bowl of some kind of sauce, and two plates of cake to finish it all off. 

At first glance, this looks nothing like what we might expect of Temperance.  And yet, a salad, some cake and a little wine actually sounds like the perfect balance of ingredients for a lovely, romantic dinner.  Temperance isn't about absolute abstinence, but rather about finding a healthy equilibrium.  And in life, that definitely includes simple pleasures like enjoying good food with someone you love.

As for me, I guess the right mix today will include some time napping, a bit of exercise, chanting with Deva Premal and Miten, and then family time with Big Boy, my Dear One and his mum.

I am grateful for a Sunday with my loved ones.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Samhain Feast

By Moore, Pastorello & Ariganello
This week's deck is the second volume of Barbara Moore's Book of Shadows: So Below (Lo Scarabeo, 2013).  The first volume, As Above, was extremely non-traditional, looking at the Wheel of the Year, astrology, Gods and Goddesses, forms of divination and more.  This second volume is the mundane side of pagan life and more RWS-based, though still very far from being a clone!

We can see this straight away in today's card, the Four of Wands.  Traditionally, this card is associated with some kind of outdoor celebration, and with creating a good foundation for the future.  Instead of a wedding feast, though, here we see people setting up for a Samhain feast, which celebrates the Wiccan New Year: a time for thinking about the year to come.

One element which is common to both decks in this Book of Shadows series is the elemental creatures associated with each suit being found in its cards.  So, here we can see a black cat playfully batting at a salamander on the  bench, as well as another on one of the pumpkins to the left, and two more on the table.

This card, then, seems to suggest a degree of planning and preparation, but also taking time to celebrate life.

There are several things I feel I should be preparing for: getting things set up so that when things start moving I'll be able to just flow with them rather than try to catch up.  Some of it is web stuff, some to do with other projects, and some for my day job.  Still, I shall also try to take some time today to enjoy being alive, hugging my Dear One and Big Boy, maybe reading a few blogs ;)

I am grateful for the chance to get organised.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Lennie Week 6 - Byron Bay Beach Lenormand

We started the week in Australia, and so it seemed fitting to go full circuit and end there on our last day of this Lennie Week.  The Byron Bay Beach Lenormand is a photographic deck, with all the images taken at the Byron Bay Beach (where else?!)  It makes for a modern, quite funky and still very readable deck, self-published by Lynn Boyle (2013).


Today's cards are Star, Flowers and Snake.  So, a few keyword sentences:

Cosmetic plans bring delays - whether it's beautifying your face or your house, it'll take longer than expected.
Inviting technology is curvaceous - hmm, a marketing statement for selling new gadgets...
Planning a gift for another woman.
Charming guidance from a woman.
Artistic technology is a winding path.

The last is the one that most resonates with me.  Today, I have my first class with a tutor to learn to use Photoshop Elements.  This is the kind of thing where I think having a person to ask, and being able to see things being done in practice, will be helpful. 

And why, you might ask, do I want to learn Photoshop?  Well, in just a few weeks Will Worthington will be delivering all the completed artwork for the Celtic Lenormand!  I'm so excited :D Still, as I've mentioned before, I want to edit the cards myself and send them in a way that will encourage US Games to publish them without borders ;) Cue Photoshop.

I also have another project in mind, another Lenormand from public domain images, different to anything I've seen out there so far...

I am grateful for the opportunity to learn something new. 

And if you'd also like to learn something new, I'm running a workshop on how to read Lenormand cards on 11th May in London - you can sign up using the Paypal button at the top right of this page, or click here for more information :)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Lennie Week 6 - Egyptian Lenormand

With its exotic images and bright colours, todays deck is a vivacious one!  This is the Egyptian Lenormand (Nefer Khepri, 2013).  Many of the cards have been re-named to fit the Egyptian theme, yet it remains true to Lenormand tradition and is easy to read.


The cards I drew were the Djed Pillar (Cross), the Garden and the Birds.

Social burdens create nervousness.
Gossip in a spiritual group.
Communal problems discussed by phone.
Public sorrows are talked about.
Spiritual chanting in public - church hymns or satsang :)

A couple days ago, I signed up for Deva Premal and Miten's 21 day mantra meditation journey.  I love their music, and this is a beautiful idea: meditating on a different mantra every day, knowing others all round the world are doing the same.  It's not too late to sign up...

I am grateful for the generosity of those who share their joy, passion and music.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Lennie Week 6 - Water Color Lenormand

Today's deck is a very recent release from Sue Senden, and a rather lovely one.  Using simple images, the Water Color Lenormand (2013) is mainly traditional, though it does have two Lord and Lady cards.

I tend to leave extra cards in when I shuffle and read.  And so, for today's draw we have Lady, Ship and Lady!  The people cards are some of the few in Lenormand where many readers may pay attention to the direction of gaze of the character portrayed.  I was struck by it in this reading, each Lady looks away from the Ship.

A business venture helps a woman get over the past and look to the future again.
Use your intuition to overcome nostalgia.
A holiday brings a change of perspective.
Two women travel from different directions.

Funny, I'm hoping it's the end of a holiday that will bring a new point of view into my life. Fingers crossed Big Boy will finally go back to school today! 

The mention of two women and holidays is also interesting, as today I'll meet Pepi Valderrama, creator of the Mystique d'Epoque, Alice in Wonderland and Crochet Lenormands.  She's visiting the UK from Spain, and we plan to trawl round central London's esoteric shops together - really looking forward to it.

I am grateful for the chance to broaden my circle of friends.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Lennie Week 6 - Waterlilies Lenormand

This is a wonderful deck for anyone who likes 19th century art and impressionism. The cards were created by Catherine Brown, and it's a lovely deck to have achieved from public domain images.  I'm not quite sure what is going on with it at the moment, though.  It was first available via The GameCrafter.  Then Catherine sold it on her A Historical Retrospective site, and then moved to indieoracles.com, which is currently unavailable :(
©Waterlilies Lenormand
Combining Moon, Scythe, and Storks, I got:

An emotional ending brings changes.
A cutting reputation means you have to move.
An emotional break due to a pregnancy.

Some people feel that the Storks on their own are not enough to suggest a pregnancy.  However, in smaller spreads where you don't have that many cards to confirm or deny an interpretation, it is a possibility, and one I've seen come up in readings.

In terms of the emotional shock interpretation, these cards make me think about the different ways that people respond to difficult emotions. Some adapt more easily, others go into denial, some express anger.  My Dear One and I tend to respond in rather clashing ways - he often acts out angrily, which just upsets me even more.  I try to bring patience and empathy to emotional situations, but sometimes am quite churned up on the inside. 

I sure hope there won't be any more unpleasant emotional shocks this week!  Yesterday was quite bad, with the GP prescribing Big Boy antibiotics, and then us having a minor medical emergency that meant we couldn't give him any medicine for an hour, though we had 5 lined up :(

I am grateful for a dramatic change to more peaceful emotions.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Lennie Week 6 - Britta's Lenormand

We're really moving around the globe this week.  Saturday's deck was from Australia, Sunday's from the USA, and today's deck is another offering from Germany.  This is the Britta Lenormand, from Britta Kienle.  Britta also has a number of books teaching her version of the Lenormand system in German, and offers a compact ebook in English.  Her system is somewhat different to many others, especially as regards timing.  Still, you don't need to follow her system to use these pretty cards if you don't want to.
Britta's Lenormand
Riffing on today's cards (Whips, Child, Key) gives me:

Childish arguments lock the way forward.
A new exercise regime is key to success.
Sincere arguments are successful.
Arguments are caused by significant naivety.
Discussions about a child bring a breakthrough.

As I said yesterday, I don't think I really need a new exercise regime as I've been changing things up quite a bit lately, anyway.  And enjoying the process!  I used to do lots of step classes, but stopped because of chronic shinsplints.  Now, I've found some low impact DVD's which are a lot of fun, and certainly get me sweating and out of breath, too :)

Therefore, I'll go with the last sentence and try to find a way to have productive discussions about Big Boy today. 

I am grateful for diplomacy when talking to people about my son.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Lennie Week 6 - Victorian Lenormand

Our second self-published deck this week is the Victorian Lenormand by Willis Briggs.  I like that this deck is black-and-white, with simple, clear images.  And it's now also available in a very cute mini version ;)


Today's cards are Cross, Bear and Fish.  Brainstorming on the keywords gives me:

Weight burdens lead to monetary exchange - buying into some kind of weight loss programme.
Strong support in commerce - a company with a good customer service departement.
Managerial karma brings in money - a corporate policy of rewarding good ideas or hard work pays dividends.
Motherly faith is repaid.

Though I could do with losing a few pounds, I can't see myself buying into anything that promises weight loss.  I know what I need to do is feel a little less stressed, then I'll eat better.  No miracle cures will help me live my life in joy, I have to work on that for myself!  As Arwen says, seeking joy isn't always easy, but it's always worthwhile :)

Instead, the last one chimes most with me.  I am praying that Big Boy will be well enough to go to school tomorrow.  He's been a bit up and down this weekend, so today will be the decider, as he needs to be 24 hours symptom-free before we can safely send him in.  We'd all love for him to go, Big Boy most of all.  We sometimes bribe him to do things by saying that after he does he can go to school!  An unusual child in many ways ;)

I am grateful for ear thermometers, analgesics, and a cheerful disposition.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Lennie Week 6 - Vintage Lenormand

Once again, it's time for a Lennie week :)  This time round we'll explore seven interesting self-published Lenormand decks, and ways to use them.  We start off with a lovely offering from Australia, the Vintage Lenormand by Jera-Babylon Rootweaver (2013).

Vintage Lenormand
For this line of three we have: Heart, Rider, Garden.

Messages of love in a public place.
Information around emotions brings a sense of community.
An athletic and emotional young man brings notoriety.
Emotions move into the public eye.

It has been quite a week for public emotion, with the events in Boston.  And that is certainly one interpretation of these cards - public emotion about news received.  It's amazing and up-lifting to see how our global community is an emotional and supportive place as well as one of commerce and information.

Another possible interpretation of these cards is bringing information we are passionate about to a public forum.  In that light, I will mention that if you are interested in learning how to read with Lenormand cards, I am running a workshop on the subject in London on 11th May :)

As for me, my Dear One and I have a date night tonight, which is definitely what I see in this.  Although he may not count as precisely young (a characteristic often attributed to the Rider), we are both fairly athletic.  And, hopefully after some loving athleticism, we'll be going out for a nice dinner ;)

I am grateful for a night out with the man I love.


Friday, 19 April 2013

Tree or Signpost?

©Mibramig
For our last day with the Mibramig Magical Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2013), we have our third Court card in a row!

This time it is the Queen of Swords who graces our screens.  A gentle-faced monkey, she sits her throne calmly sword held in her right hand, and her left raised as though in welcome.  I love the curly clouds behind her, almost voluptuous in their pale pink curves in a sky that shades towards ocher (though it looks simply pink in this scan).  The lion-clawed feet of her throne make me smile, a sharpness kept somewhat hidden and controlled.  I also really like the tree to the left of the background.  At first I thought it was a signpost, which would be rather apropos.  Then, based on another being found to the right as well, I realised it must be a tree.  Still, trees too can guide us, pointing the way to water, guiding us to a more habitable zone...

This Queen, then, has a sharpness to her that she knows how to keep under wraps.  She is fair and welcoming, and uses her mind to help guide herself and others through life.

Big Boy is off school still today, I just hope he's well enough to go back by Monday!  Still, although his illness has put a crimp on both my and my Dear One's plans for the week, I hope we can both empathise with our poor boy feeling sick and sorry for himself.  And hopefully I can read the signs well enough today to make him feel a little better - giving him the right amount of play, rest, food and medicine at the right times...

I am grateful for the signs that help guide me through life.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Another Helper

©Mibramig
Today's card from the Mibramig Magical Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2013) is another Court card, this time from the suit of Cups.

In this deck, Cups are associated with dogs, which makes a certain kind of sense.  Dogs are linked with loyalty and friendship, with lasting relationships, which rather suits the Cups cards.  And if I had to hazard I guess, I'd say he was a Saint Bernard.  However, as I have amply shown over the last few days, my recognition of various species of animals leaves a lot to be desired! 

Our King of Cups sits on what must be the tiniest island in the world to house a throne.  Actually, I really like his throne with its asymmetry and the fan-tailed fish on the top corners.  His red and gold crown is also rather asymmetrical, or perhaps just precariously perched on his head.  And his face is far more expressive than most we've seen this week, with a certain mournfulness to it.  Despite that, his gaze is quite direct.  So, he understands sadness, but is still willing to face the world, willing to come to the rescue of those who are lost.

He is surrounded by the ocean, and his throne, too, is blue.  Yet he stays distant from the water, not getting even a little wet.  And his crown is a fiery red, as is his cape, connecting him with the Fire of Water attributed to him in many elemental systems.  He is, it would seem, someone with his emotions kept at a distance, yet with a great deal of passion to him.  Perhaps he's afraid of the explosion if he let his emotions have free rein.  Instead, he tries to help others without getting emotionally involved.

It's interesting to draw a King of Cups card that I rather like.  Last week, Alison over at This Game of Thrones looked at the question of what card we pull most often.  Checking my blog stats, it was the King of Cups who pipped the Knight of Wands at the post.  As regular readers know, if we look at Majors, it's the Tower.  I looked at the Minors, too, and it was the Eight of Swords, just one above the Three of Swords - golly, what a cheerful bunch - NOT!

Anyway...  The King of Cups isn't usually my favourite character, nor anywhere near!  However, I do like this version, with his soulful eyes and his offer of help through emotionally-trying times.  I guess, in his most positive aspect, I see this King as being a good counsellor - able to help steer people through emotional minefields, while keeping his perspective.  And today I'm seeing two different counsellors, so that certainly fits...

I am grateful for emotional support and guidance, from different sources.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Yellow Feather

©Mibramig
We have another Wands card, and a Court at that, today from the Mibramig Magical Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2013).

In this Page of Wands we see another horned creature, with a strange, downward-curving nose and small, straight horns.  I'm guessing it's an animal from the African sub-continent, but I could be way off.  And the LWB is as useful in this as blowing bubbles...  Anyway, our horned friend has a blue hat and cloak, a jaunty yellow feather in his cap, and a greenish tunic with salamanders on it.  He holds a wand firmly in both hands, and stands in a desert landscape, witha mountain range behind him.

I have to say, it's not a very fiery card.  Were it not for the salamanders, I'd say there was no hint of the associated element at all.  And I still don't get why horned creatures were chosen for the suit, though I guess it's better than birds for the earthy suit of Pentacles!  Perhaps because horned animals tend to be more aggressive, willing to butt heads with each other - so a bit of that dynamic wands energy :)  Yeah, I'll go with that.  If you have any other ideas, please do comment!

This card's energy feels youthful and still a little uncertain - he's gripping that wand rather tightly.  Still, I see determination in him, as well as a desire to explore the world.  The image suggests a cheerful outlook, but also a long path still to travel.

I could do with some of that exploratory energy today, as I want to get down to some research for the Celtic Lenormand.  I haven't been doing a card a day recently, with Big Boy on holiday and then ill, and I need to get my enthusiasm back for that and more!  It's definitely a long path, but if I can find the playfulness to make a start...

I am grateful for the internet, boon of all research projects.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Escape

©Mibramig
Today we meet a character from the suit of Wands in the Mibramig Magical Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2013).

I'm not even going to hazard a guess at what kind of horned creature this is.  I'll call it an elk for ease of reference, and if anyone has a better idea, please leave a comment :D

Our elk stands on the battlements of a castle.  He has a view out across the sea, mountains, and some dainty towers.  He holds a blue ball in his right hand, which echoes the colour of his horns, and a wooden wand in his left.  Another wand is held in a fastening attached to the wall.  I am struck by how low down he holds the wand, it looks like it must surely topple.  Perhaps not, though, as he seems to rest it on the wall at his side.  He wears a bright green cape, a yellow blouson which stands up very high at the back, and a bright red hat. 

Although he stands calmly looking outwards, I still get a sense of leashed energy from him.  His colours are so bright compared to his surroundings, and then there's that unbalanced wand in his hand.  It seems like he must surely move at any moment, caught in suspended animation, but about to return to real-time.  And when he does, he'll have to choose: stay in the castle with its fixed patterns, or move out into the less certain world outside?  I think, the wand holds the answer: he has built on the security of the castle, but is now ready to follow his gaze out into the wider world.

Big Boy didn't go to school yesterday, after all, as he's now ill for the fifth time in two months :(  In this card, I see myself looking out at the world I'd like to be a part of, but blocked by my commitments.  Sometimes I feel so restricted, tied to the house and a child who is never truly well.  There are so many things I'd love to go out and do, then my energy gets sucked away into worry and care.  Still, I know that I have things much easier than some people - at least taking care of him isn't my full-time job.  At least I get to do some of those things, even if I can't focus on them in the way I would choose.

I am grateful for the support around me in caring for my son. 

Monday, 15 April 2013

Outcastes

©Mibramig
Here we have a card from the suit of Pentacles in the Mibramig Magical Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2013), and hence with birds as its characters.

An owl on crutches, wearing blue trousers and a brown top, hobbles alongside a black-and-white bird in a silken green cape.  It is unclear whether they are actually together, as the black-and-white bird has its shoulder turned to the owl.  They are outside a building with a pentacle-adorned stained-glass window, presumably a church.  In the foreground is a plant with some red berries poking out from amongst brown leaves.  The scene is fairly monochrome, and there is a sense of dejectedness to both birds.

This card reminds me that, when times are hard, it is easier if you have someone to share your troubles.  My eye keeps going back to the shiny green cape of the striped bird.  It doesn't seem like the apparel of someone in dire straits.  Could this be a secret helping hand being proferred, disguised as a fellow sufferer? 

Today, Big Boy goes back to school after more than two weeks of Easter holidays.  Overall, we've had a good time, I think.  We did a couple of totally new things - taking him to a live show, and to a costume party - as well as doing a fair bit of socialising.  Through it all, I was really glad that my Dear One wasn't working full-time so we could share in BB's care.  Less income, that way, but more support and shared time.  I'll take that as a fair exchange.

I am grateful for company on this path I walk.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Planet of the Apes - Mibramig-Style

©Mibramig
Today we have the Mibramig Magical Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2013) version of the Four of Swords.  Each suit in this deck portrays a different "family" of creatures.  Wands are horned mammals, Cups are dogs, Swords are apes, and Pentacles are birds.  It's a pretty weird system, without any clear connection to traditional tarot associations to the elements, for instance.  Still, I like this Swords association to what buddhists call the Monkey Mind ;)

As you may have noticed already, all the characters in this deck have large, animal heads and small anthropomorphic bodies.  And on this Four of Swords we have what looks like a character from the Planet of the Apes.  He is lying on a stone plinth in a church, under a red and orange stained-glass window portraying further ape-like creatures.  He wears golden armour and lies with closed eyes and hands held as though in prayer.

This card is a beautiful reminder of the need to withdraw and calm our Monkey Mind, allowing serenity in.  Whether as respite from the battles already waged or in preparation for those still to come, finding that inner harmony is extremely valuable. 

Today, the weather is supposed to be beautifully warm, after a long, hard winter.  So, maybe a meditative walk on the Heath is called for :)  Or some more Zentangling...

I am grateful for some time to be quiet.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Happy Squirrel!

©Mibramig
This week's deck is the recently released Mibramig Magical Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2013).  It's a very RWS-based deck, but with some wonderful twists.  And the addition of a Happy Squirrel card, which was the first one I pulled!

I've always loved decks with Happy Squirrel cards, being a big Simpson's fan :D  Though I often find it hard to associate them with an experienced fortune-teller gasping in shock and then backpedalling by saying "The cards are vague and mysterious."  On the negative side, I guess if that squirrel is so happy about having all those nuts, maybe someone else doesn't have any!  And certainly some people see squirrels as vermin, though I think them quite wonderful.  After all, what counts as "vermin", like "weeds", is very much a matter of human perception.

Generally, though, I get a positive vibe from this card in most decks, and the Mibramig version is no exception.  A happy looking squirrel stands holding a big nut, with a whole cache of them in front of her.  Yellow butterflies dance around her head like ribbons in her hair, and she looks up at us shyly.  To me, she seems more delighted than gloating, with maybe a bit of inquisitiveness thrown in for good measure.

This is, for me, a card of having worked for something and being happy with what you've achieved.  A card of making the most of what you find, because you stay open to the possibilities of the world.

Not quite sure what I'll achieve today.  Not much in the way of work, I imagine, as we are going to a "superheroes" birthday party with Big Boy.  What I hope to achieve in that regard is to actually get him to wear the costume we bought him.  Knowing what he's like with new things, I've had him try it on the last three days in a row - exposure therapy :D  Maybe I should have started it earlier, though :o  Seems like this is the Happy Squirrel of Doom, and others will have well-behaved kids who wear their costumes...  Wish me luck!

I am grateful not to be going to this party alone.

Friday, 12 April 2013

TLC on a GT Workshop

I've been doing some work this week for the Introduction to Reading the Lenormand Workshop which I'm running on 11th May.  One of the things I did was tweak the presentation on Lenormand Spreads, taking out the section on the GT.  Athough I know it's something people are interested in,  last time we really didn't have time to cover it properly, and also skipped some of the more basic stuff which is necessary before progressing onto the GT.  So, I've broken down things like the Nine Square more (including knighting, mirroring etc), as well as reading lines.  This way, I think it will actually give people a better foundation to then take on the Grand Tableau.

It also meant that I thought about how I would go about teaching the Grand Tableau - the Lenormand spread that uses all 36 cards.  There's definitely enough material there for a more advanced, half-day workshop.  And the presentation is now pretty much done apart from some of the illustrations (I got inspired).  So, I decided to use a TLC spread to ask the cards what they thought of me running said workshop.  I combined my Kindergarten Lenormand with the Tarot of the Absurd (Jessica Rose Shanahan, 2012).

TOTA©Jessica Rose Shanahan, Kindergarten Lenormand©Chloe McCracken
In the Situation line we have Moon, Child, Garden, Whips, Clover.  A new reputation brings public speaking opportunities.  Whether it's my increased confidence after having been asked to speak at the UK Tarot Conference, or simply that as I put more Lenormand content out there, more people will find me, it seems that opportunities for running workshops like this are materialising.  Looking at the mirroring, it's definitely a growing reputation that is creating these opportunities, and finding new things to talk about is a good idea.  At the heart of it is the Garden - community, people who want to learn.

What do the cards say I should avoid?  The High Priestess from the Tarot of the Absurd sits at a table with a huge book.  I see this as saying I shouldn't keep quiet about the knowledge I am gathering.

What should I do, then?  The Ten of Cups suggests something about family and emotional satisfaction: create a family of Lenormand people and make sure they are happy with what they receive.  Several people have already asked me about running a workshop on this, and there is a real feeling in me that I am part of a community - a good feeling.

The advice from the cards is Heart, Man, Book.  Combining passion, rationality and study is the best mix.  I shouldn't get swept away by enthusiasm, I have to make sure that things make sense on a material and practical level, too.  And I also need to make sure I do my research well and create appropriate materials. 

Overall, though, this reading seems very positive.  There are opportunities to be seized in the moment, and if I take a balanced approach to this - including enthusiasm, study and practicality - it has good prospects :)  So, I'll be announcing a workshop on reading the Grand Tableau soon!

Sad

©Emily Carding
Oh dear, for our last day with the Simple Wisdom of the Household Dog (Schiffer, 2012), we have a card that is quite literally Sad!

Albus Dumbledog lies on his side, head on the floor.  He looks distinctly  mournful.  My first response was to wonder what he could have to be sad about, given that a) we know he has a lovely family and b) he clearly hasn't been deserted as someone's there taking a picture.  However, I soon came up with several possible scenarios: his favorite person might have left for some time;  he might have been told off for eating the Sunday Roast; or maybe his family were all sad and so he's sad, too. 

Still, as Emily says: "Often the acknowledgement of difficult emotions can be the first stage in coming through them, so if you are feeling sad, allow yoursefl for feel it and do not feel ashamed."

I have no reason to feel sad today.  Perhaps, then, this is simply a reminder to consider other people's emotions and lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on, if I can.  A hug and a smile can go a long way :)

I am grateful for the happiness life offers even on the grayest of days.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Innocence

©Emily Carding
Today's card from the Simple Wisdom of the Household Dog (Schiffer, 2012) is definitely a "squeee!" card :D

An extremely cute puppy gazes up at us from a grassy garden, all soft fur, floppy ears, wet nose and big eyes.  Other than the "aahh" factor, I notice he also makes me feel rather protective.  He looks like he could get himself in plenty of trouble, happily jumping into whatever comes his way.  So, a bit of Fool energy here :)

And then, my mind goes to the house training, and other discipline it takes to turn a puppy into a delightful member of the family, and the "aahh" factor takes a back seat.

Let's see what Emily has to say about him...  First there are some comments about eating trainers and hopefully not making the same mistakes twice ;D  Then she says, "we can continue to learn and grow in our understanding so much more if we can keep the wonder-filled eyes of a child."  So, definitely Fool energy!

Despite Emily's words of wisdom, I return to my thoughts on dog poop around the house, and desperate treat box shaking in the park.  Probably because there are a fair few similarities between training a puppy and educating a child.  Yesterday's visit reminded me that normal kids can also be messy and bring heartache.  Though breadcrumbs on the floor doesn't quite compete with regular muccousy vomiting.  Okay, that's probably TMI, but with Big Boy's reflux issues and constant colds, that's something we face several times a day, and often at night, pretty much year round.  Definitely approaching puppy poop proportions :D  And yet, he also has that sweet innocence of the cute puppy, and a delightful way of wagging his finger when he knows he's been naughty.

I am grateful for the innocent laughter of my beautiful boy.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday

Well, so here's my second zentangle - a straight up random pattern, rather than trying to overcomplicate things.  This time, I did it in an artist's sketchbook - ie. proper paper.  I started off in pencil, thinking that might give me more subtlety.  What it mainly gave me, though, was dirty hands.  So I swapped back to a black sharpie :D  Still, the bottom two patterns are in pencil (bet you guessed). 

All this to say, there's definitely a long learning curve still ahead of me.  I do find it quite meditative, though, actually creating these, even if they're not something I'd want to hang on my own wall (or anywhere else).

Loyalty

©Emily Carding
Today's card is the first from the Simple Wisdom of the Household Dog (Schiffer, 2012) in which a human is fully present, I wonder how it might affect our reading of it. 

Albus Dumbledog perches on a tall boulder, his head at the height of the man standing in front of him.  The man scratches Albus' neck, whose tongue lolls out in happiness.  Both dog and man look delighted by their situation. 

This card reminds me that loyalty is a two-way street.  The man might say Albus is loyal - coming when called, waiting patiently by the door for his humans to return.  From Albus' perspective, though, his humans are equally loyal.  They take him out for regular walks, feed him, scratch his neck and rub his tummy, throw his balls for him.

My conclusion, then, is that most often we get what we give in this regard.  Treating others with honour, respect and love will likely earn us the same.  There are exceptions, but living life this way beats most other options!

I haven't been as good in this respect as I could have been.  Today, an old friend is coming to visit with her two kids, one of whom is my godson.  Yet, I haven't seen them since before Christmas, even though we live only two stops apart on the tube.  That's the underground rail system for any non-Brit reading :)

The fault is largely my own, I know.  Part of it is that we both have busy family and work lives, but larger by far is the fact that I have often found it hard to spend time with her and her perfect children.  Obviously, no-one is really perfect, still the comparisons are sometimes painful for me, living daily with Big Boy.  Her youngest is just three months older than he is, yet the two are worlds apart.  And it might not bother me so much, except that she is very much a family-focused person.  Even when her kids aren't there, she talks about them a good deal.  Which is understandable, and yet can be difficult.  Then, I feel guilty for my envy, for the way her life highlights how different things could be.  And so I don't always reply to emails or texts as quickly as I could, I find reasons why today isn't a good day...

I am grateful for the reminder that if I want good friends, I must also be a good friend.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

What is Play?

©Emily Carding
I like the sentiment behind today's card from the Simple Wisdom of the Household Dog (Schiffer, 2012)!

In the background is Albus Dumbledog, who I think may have a small ball in his mouth.  He gazes, though, at a large football and some rope toys in the foreground.   Everything is ready for some serious playtime :D

Of course, we humans have rather different toys, at least some of the time.  And much of the best play requires no toys at all ;)  Yet, whether our games involve a screen or friends to play with, this card is about remembering to take some time out.  It highlights the importance of setting aside a space for play and enjoyment, to gain perspective on the responsibilities or worries of our lives.  I also note that Albus is outside, and these are all toys to be enjoyed actively.  So, getting outdoors and doing something sounds like a plan!

Another aspect of play that I love is the fact that it is so often a "flow" activity, in the sense in which Mihaly of the unpronounceable surname uses it.  Activities which keep us totally absorbed, losing track of time.  They aren't easy, but they are fun!  One of the things which Mihaly talks about is how, when something becomes too easy or habitual, it loses that all-encompassing focus for us.  We need to keep things fresh, and just the right degree of challenging to still be entertaining, without being daunting...

The Met Office say to expect heavy rain today, so I don't think I'll be going for a walk.  There's plenty of fun work that's calling me - I've been focusing on the Celtic Lenormand companion book, but there's still a lot to do since I decided to change my approach to the card information.  I've also been working up a second advanced Lenormand workshop, this one just on reading Lenormand Grand Tableaux :)  However, all of that does have a shade of work to it, so perhaps I'll also take some time to practice my Zentangle skills, just for fun :D

I am grateful that some of my work feels like play.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Good Boy

©Emily Carding
For our third day with the Simple Wisdom of the Household Dog (Schiffer, 2012), we have 'Good Boy'.

Albus Dumbledog sits on a rock, a misty, cloudy sky behind him.  He looks happy, with himself and the world.  And why not, after all his humans just called him a good boy! 

Oh, the power of validation!  I've written before about how important it is to feel connected, part of a web of community.  Think how kids seek attention: even being told off is better than being ignored.  And how much better to be accepted and valued!

Of course, I now also have Alanis Morissette's Perfect running round my head ;)

That song makes me sad, though, highlighting as it does how some people are conditional in their love.  There's a line: "Be a good boy, try a little harder, you've got to measure up, and make me prouder."  I believe my Dear One and I generally avoid that kind of attitude.  Today, Big Boy's physio and occupational therapist are coming for a home visit, and I think we'll all be telling him what a good boy he is :D  Hopefully, they will also recognise our arguments about why we still need some of the equipment they provide for him, even if he doesn't use it at school anymore... Dang cuts!

I am grateful for giving and receiving love.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Running

©Emily Carding
Oh, what a joyous card this is from the Simple Wisdom of the Household Dog (Schiffer, 2012).

A golden-haired dog (Albus Dumbledog) runs full pelt through small puddles of shallow water on a beach.  Behind him is deeper water, and a rocky landscape in the distance.  Here, though, there is nothing but sand and water and the act of running.  There is such a sense of freedom here, as well as the simple enjoyment of moving!

Of course, we complicated humans might ask what he runs to, or from, or why he runs at all.  My sense, though, is that he runs because it feels good and exciting and reminds him he's alive.  He feels a little like the Knight of Wands to me, perhaps just because that card has been coming up for me quite a bit, lately.

This time, my intuitive reading of the card matches Emily's take on it.  She writes: "Put your plans into action, launch yourself forward into a better future, or simply run for the sheer joy of it." :)

One thing I see in this is a reminder to do some exercise, which I love.  The only reason I'd even need a reminder is that I'll have to workout later in the day than I normally do.  And that's because we're going to a show with Big Boy today: CBeebies Live at Wembley Stadium.  It scares me a little; the journey there, coping with the crowds, and what Big Boy will make of it all.  They didn't have seating for three together in the disabled section, though the guy on the phone sorted me out tickets on an aisle and with just eight steps up, so we should be okay.  Still, if Big Boy has a meltdown we'll probably leave early.  Or maybe there will be so much else going on that no-one will notice...  I may need the joy of exercise to clear my head after all that!

I am grateful to be able to move with joy.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Beg

©Emily Carding
This week, I decided to use a rather different deck for a change: the Simple Wisdom of the Household Dog (Schiffer, 2012), by the multi-talented and wise Emily Carding.

For our first card, we have 'Beg'.  While the word seems pejorative, what the image conjures for me is the willingness to ask for what we want.  The dog uses whatever communicative abilities are in his repertoire to get the message across.  And he also knows that asking nicely gets you more than being grumpy about it :D  So we get the big, brown eyes, floppy ears and goofy grin as Albus Dumbledog presents us with his request. 

Another thing this reminds me of is the fact that dogs actually know what they want.  I have to admit, I'm so often in two, three or four minds about something, I wouldn't know what to ask for!

Emily describes this card rather differently.  She says: "we might ask ourselves whether we are being similarly undignified in our pursuit of our desires, and whether or not it's worth it."

I'll stick with my perspective, for today.  My mother always told me: "If you don't ask, you don't get!"  Still, this remains a tough one for me.  As well as often being unsure what I want, even when I figure it out there are always the thoughts:  "I know they want X, and that's in conflict with what I want, so better just not to ask."  "How embarrassing, they'll think me needy/clingy/stupid." Really, though, what it often comes down to is:  "I don't really deserve it."

What would it be like, though, to just say, "This is what I'd like"?  Okay, today I will try to express myself clearly and without shame.

I am grateful for the reminder that the worst that can happen is someone will say no.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Da Boss!

©Betty Sanchez & Napo
For our last day with the Napo Tarot (US Games, 1998), we have yet another Court card: the King of Swords.

He gazes out directly at us, his green eyes strangely piercing yet calm.  He holds a very short sword (once again, more of a dagger, really) in his right hand, tilted at an angle.  He's not too worried about absolute truth, but more about how he can use what he knows, how he can communicate in a way that gets what he wants done.  His hat is a combination of blue and purple - the ability to think wisely and communicate clearly.  Yet his jacket is a more pinkish purple, suggesting that there is loving emotion in there.  However, he processes it and doesn't express it until he has found what seems to him the wisest path.

I am intrigued by the white cloth with the dragonfly on it.  Is it a cravat?  Or perhaps a kerchief hanging from his left hand...  It adds a touch of purity and of lightness.  At his core, his motives are good, even if he does end up doing things his way, no matter what.

Hmm, I could do with some clarity today.  There's a conversation I want to have with my Dear One, yet I'm not sure where to start.  This card tells me, start from a place of love, and things will fall into place from there.  Let's hope so!

I am grateful for some clarity.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Flaming Warrior

©Betty Sanchez & Napo
Today we have another Court card from the Napo Tarot (US Games, 1998).

This time, it is the fiery Knight of Wands who comes charging onto our screens.  He rides bareback on a pure white horse, who looks back calmly at his rider.  The Knight seems rather skimpily dressed in a red tunic, though it does give him a fair bit of freedom of movement ;)  He also waves a rough green-striped club/wand above his head with more enthusiasm than precision.  Meanwhile, the background is a rainbow of stripes at the bottom, curving up into yellow, orange and red flame-stripes at the top. 

I really like this card, it has such a sense of innocence and passion combined!  The Knight of Wands is full of enthusiasm, and gets moving fast.  However, his stead suggests he could sometimes do with a calming influence.

I'm not really feeling the enthusiasm as I write this, but hopefully that will come later.  There are several things that I am excited about, so if my energy increases I could imagine getting moving on them.  As for a calming influence, I'm seeing my therapist today...

I am grateful for a renewed sense of energy - come on Universe, I'm willing :)

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Nine Square TLC'd

As I said last week, the concept of reading tarot cards in Lenormand houses can also be applied in larger spreads and particularly in traditional Lenormand spreads.  Today, then, I have a Nine Square combining my Kindergarten Lenormand with the mini-Rider Waite (U.S. Games, 1971).  I asked: "What should I know about running an advanced half-day workshop expanding the material I have for the UK Tarot Conference?"


Kindergarten Lenormand & mini Rider Waite
Reading the corners for the theme of the spread, I see an opportunity to overcome a certain stuckness (5 of Cups/Clover), so long as I accept that moving towards harmony and happiness is a long and winding path (10 of Cups/Snake).  I think this is about not expecting everyone to embrace new ways of seeing and using Lenormand cards, which would be the focus of this workshop.  Spreading the word of new ways of working with this system (3 of Pents/Rider) may take a while, but is worth persevering with as a way of understanding the cards (Knight of Pents/Key).

As for the centre of the reading, seeking a new path requires letting go of old ideas and ways of doing things (8 of Cups/Coffin).  Running an advanced workshop may help to change feelings of defensiveness (7 of Wands/Storks) and uncertainty about whether people can work this way (Moon/Anchor).  Still, those skills can take a while to acquire and bring to fruition (7 of Pents/Fox).  The biggest obstacle seems to be whether people will be willing to suspend their way of seeing things (Hanged Man/Mountain), so I will have to wait til the time is right.

Knighting adds to the picture.  It suggests that some of the uncertainty about how this all works (Moon/Anchor) comes because people may feel like they are betraying their beloved (10 of Cups/Snake) be that tarot or Lenormand, or just following the traditional system of either/both.  In comparison, this new understanding may seem very far off and hard work (Knight of Pents/Key).  They may also wonder whether it's worth learning a new way of working with these combined systems (3 of Pents/Rider) for what may turn out to be something that's just too much work (7 of Pents/Fox), and which will only bring a little happiness, while seeming to lose something from the past (5 of Cups/Clover).

While having to change perspective is definitely an obstacle (Hanged Man/Mountain), an opportunity to move forward (5 of Cups/Clover), though slow and winding, holds great potential for a sense of fulfillment (10 of Cups/Snake).  So I do see the defensiveness changing (7 of Wands/Storks), once people actually get the information and start trying these systems out (3 of Pents/Rider), and see what new doors may slowly open before them (Knight of Pents/Key). 

Overall, the sense I get from this reading is a positive one.  There may be a need to wait a while - perhaps in part because there are still many people who don't feel confident with the basics of the Lenormand system, so they won't be ready to move onto these more complicated ideas.  This way of experimenting also asks people to let go of certainty and allow in change, which isn't always easy to do.  Still, slow and steady wins the race and there is a lot of potential in this.

I don't think I'll be scheduling an advanced workshop for a few months, then, perhaps not til after the UK Tarot Conference, and after I've run a couple more of the basic workshops.  I look forward to when the opportunity  present itself...

Fairytale Princess

©Betty Sanchez & Napo
Today's card from the Napo Tarot (US Games, 1998) is another Major: Fortitude, normally called Strength.

It's interesting, because the Spanish title, La Fuerza, can be used for force or even coercion, as well as strength.  Whereas Fortitude is defined as "courage in pain or adversity", which is a rather lovely variant on Strength!

As for the image, the woman's dress reminds me of something worn by a fairytale princess.  Though the lemniscate on her head has morphed into some kind of light-emitting, pointy hat!  Maybe that's to represent her connection with the eternal, and the illumination that brings...  Behind her are jaggedy, snow-topped mountains, while the lion at her side seems quite fierce - just look at those teeth!  And yet, rather than just resting a hand on his muzzle, she seems to be almost prying his jaws apart.  All without sullying her dress ;) 

Being willing to face the mess and danger of life shows a certain kind of strength, especially when a lot of that mess comes from within ourselves: our desires fighting with our ideas about how things should be, for instance.  And there's plenty of external mess that requires fortitude, too.

Today, my Dear One and I were supposed to be spending the afternoon with Big Boy.  However, DO has now organised other things, leaving us on our own.  So, is this the Strength I'll need to deal with a sick and crabby child by myself, or the Strength not to strangle him for changing plans on us last minute?  Either way, I could do with it!

I am grateful for the reminder that I can face the trials of life with a gentle and loving demeanour.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

What Would Victory Look Like?

©Betty Sanchez & Napo
After yesterday's call to change, today we have the Six of Wands, card of Victory, from the Napo Tarot (US Games, 1998)!

What I see here is a Native American riding a proud steed, a rough, wooden club held in one hand.  He wears an amazing, intricate cape, as well as red headgear with a red-tipped feather.  Five more wooden clubs hand in the air, as though suspended by the sharp lines of the background that jags betweeen pale blue, tan and indigo.

This card makes me wonder what image the Native Americans had of success when they started fighting the invaders to their lands.  They have achieved a lot more in the way of recognition and independence in the last couple of decades, but I wonder whether their forefathers would appreciate that, or simply see what has been lost.

We don't always achieve what we set out to.  Still, it is valuable to celebrate our victories, no matter how small nor how different from our original intentions.

Big Boy is somewhat better, though he still has spikes in his temperature and the occasional coughing fit.  Sleeping much better, though, and that is a victory I'm glad to celebrate.  And I have been doing quite well on my new intention to do at least a card a day for the Celtic Lenormand.  Of course, I'd love to have the time to do 5 or 10 each day, and some additional research.  Still, I'll count my blessings and celebrate what I do manage :)

I am grateful for more sleep and more energy to devote to the projects I value.

Monday, 1 April 2013

A Change Would Do Me Good

©Betty Sanchez & Napo
On this Easter Monday, we have an interesting twist on a biblical allegory from the Napo Tarot (US Games, 1998).

In traditional images we see an angel, often identified as the Archangel Gabriel, blowing a horn above coffins from which rise a man, woman and child.  (For more on which angel is associated with which tarot card, check out this post from Christiane at Cosmic Faery's Tarot, and for an in-depth look at Archangel Gabriel, why not check out these insights from Lisa at Seer Pathways.) 

Here, though, we have a grey-haired man and woman, and what I take to be a bald man, all rising from a single hole in the ground.  The woman, at least, seems to be wrapped in bandages; perhaps the way corpses were prepared thousands of years ago, at the time of Christ.  It could still be a family grouping, but is less obviously so.  It suggests rising up, but after a long life, with much wisdom accrued.

I also really like the angelic figure.  It illuminates the figures below, while seeming to emerge from a space/time rift.  It also holds a trumpet, calling the people's spirits up, and has small wings.  They seem magical rather than physical, though as with the bumblebee, perhaps these are small but amazingly effective wings...  I notice, too, the bubbles that seem to emerge from the same place as the angel, floating off into the sky.

Altogether, this image has a feeling of wisdom, and of moving up to a new level, changing the way we see things entirely.  If we pass through a space/time rift, what would we find on the other side?  Angels or aliens, our future selves or something else entirely?  This card gives me a feeling of wonder and possibility...

Over the weekend, I heard a call, a push to change.  I'm hoping today I'll have some time to put that into practice.  It was to do with the Celtic Lenormand.  Firstly, I have been inspired to change the format of the card descriptions quite considerably, and have already re-written three of them.  Secondly, I feel the push to make sure I do at least a card a day.  Will Worthington says he'll have the artwork finished earlier than scheduled, hopefully by the start of May.  So, I'd like to get the book done by then, too!  I figure, one card at a time the job won't seem to big.  Finally, reading over what I'd already written I saw where I still need to do some more research, so time to get on it!  Hopefully, a little music will help inspire me: Sheryl Crow's A Change Would Do You Good :)

I am grateful for the call to take things in a new direction.