Monday, 30 September 2013

Archetypes

Today's card from the Babylonian Tarot (Llewelyn, 2006) shows us one of the Court cards, the King of Arrows (Swords).

In this deck, the card is represented by Ellil.  Reading up on this God, he sounds a lot like Zeus: King of the younger generation of Gods, ruler of the earth, in charge of law-making and justice.  Some of his titles also echo Zeus: wild bull, father of the gods, he who resides on the Great Mountain of the East (Mount Olympus, anyone?)  Even the image looks a fair bit like Zeus, though holding an arrow instead of a lightening bolt.

It has always interested me, the way that we find certain archetypal figures repeating in different mythologies from around the world.  In any case, here we have a God renowned for keeping the Tablet of Destiny.  He could show his anger when he felt humanity deserved it, too, a harsh God who advocated for the Great Flood.

So, decisive, sometimes angry, enforcing harsh justice but based on a rational perspective, he does seem to suit the King of Arrows (Swords) quite well.

It doesn't surprise me overly to see this card today.  For one thing, I still have some legal documents to read.  For another, I'll be meeting a solicitor this afternoon, which is definitely a profession I'd associate with this card.  Seems I need to draw on my own inner King of Arrows to handle these challenges...

I am grateful for a decisive and rational approach.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

We Built This City

Today, we have another Wands card from the Babylonian Tarot (Llewellyn, 2006), but a rather more cheerful one than yesterday!

In this Three of Wands, we can clearly see the Thoth influence with the three, crossed, rams-headed wands floating above the scene.  The main image shows Gilgamesh looks out over the city he has founded, and appreciating all that he has achieved.  He hasn't yet managed to reach immortality, which was his plan, so there is yet a way to go.  Still, he can stop and take time to honour what has been done so far.

This is a lovely card for a sunny Sunday.  A card that says, take time to appreciate all you've achieved this week, and maybe relax a little.  There'll be time on Monday to get back to work, but for today just stop and smell the roses :)

I am grateful for all I have achieved this week.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Oppression

Inspired by the TABI contribution to the Mabon Tarot Blog Hop, I decided to pull out some of those mythologically-influenced tarot decks, and their companion books.  This week, then, I'll be drawing from the Babylonian Tarot by Sandra Tabatha Cicero (Llewelyn, 2006).  The deck comprises 83 cards: the standard 78, an additional Major (Genesis), and four additional Court cards (the Kerubs) to represent the element of Spirit.

This deck is influenced by the Thoth Tarot, as well as exploring the mythical characters and stories of ancient Mesopotamia, birthplace of the Sumerian and later Babylonian cultures.  We can see the Thoth influence in the card titles and keywords, such as today's Ten of Wands: Oppression. 

In the background are ten wands, while in the foreground we find a frightening demon.  This is Pazuzu, king of the evil wind demons.  What, you might ask, does a demon king have to do with burdens and responsibilities, things that oppress us?  Well, I guess the demon himself could threaten to oppress us.  However, the author's commentary states that in Babylonian cosmology there were rivalries between the various gods and demons.  So, Pazuzu was called upon to combat an evil goddess who killed babies.  In this way, the image links to choosing the lesser of two evils.  It might also be taken in the sense of having to manage more than you really want: trying to control and direct a demon rather than man-handling a bunch of wands.  Altogether, the card gives us plenty to work with, both for traditional and more intuitive readings. 

It's been quite a busy week, definitely in Ten of Wands territory juggling lots of jobs and deadlines.  However, most of that can't leak over into my Saturday, so I'm a little surprised to see this card today.  Still, perhaps this is about my own demons driving me on.  Though I can't liaise with business professionals, there are several of my off-hours projects I'd still like to make in-roads on.  Yet, do they really need to be done today?

I am grateful for the reminder not to push myself too hard.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Lennie Week 11 - Whimsy Mini

To round out this week, I thought we'd finish where we began: with Pepi Valderrama's playful Whimsy Lenormand (2013).  This time, though I don't think you can tell from the scan, it's the mini version I used.  I'll add in a photo of both decks so you get a feel for just how dinky this deck is :)


Anyhow, on to today's draw.  Rider, Mouse and Dog.  Riffing on these cards I get:


News of a loss of loyalty - hearing someone has betrayed you or something you or they believe in.
Undermining news from a friend - for instance, a friend's good news highlights where you feel you're not achieving much.
Actively eating away at dependability - deciding you don't want to be considered 'Old Faithful' and making efforts to be more spontaneous.

Funny, generally I think of myself as being quite open to new ideas and situations.  Yet, if I look at my life, my schedule is fairly fixed and filled with routine.  Perhaps I should try to be a bit more spontaneous...

I am grateful for the reminder to say yes to novelty and change.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Lennie Week 11 - Yellow Lennie

Today's deck is another from the creator of the Shabby Chicness Lenormand, TarotLyn, who has also created a Shades of Pink Lenormand.  This one, the Yellow Lennie (2013), appealed to me as the cards all include yellow somewhere: such a happy, cheerful colour :)  It's a photographic deck, nicely edited together, with a fairly consistent feel, and with a yellow-tinted image of Madame Lenormand on the backs.  If you go for the 72 card version, you get to choose which of several images you prefer for a number of the cards.  I enjoy the process of making my choices, though a few were tough to decide between...

Interestingly, this draw includes two of the same cards as appeared earlier this week from the Dream Inspires Lenormand: Moon, Letter, and the newcomer, Ring.



Written emotions create a commitment.
Fame comes through a writing proposal.
Journaling helps to clarify cycles, both short and longer term.
Evidence of an emotional pledge.

While the first and last seem similar, in the first I see the suggestion to write about your emotions if you want to create a commitment in yourself.  In the last, I see more the sense of something written being used as evidence, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the situation.

Still, it's the first one that draws me most.  As I wrote in my Heart's Desire Spread on Monday, there are quite a few projects I want to dedicate myself to over the coming weeks.  Since then, I've finished my presentation for the UK Tarot Conference (though I'd still like to practice it a few times).  So, I'm hoping to commit to another project I feel very inspired by.  Perhaps writing down something about why I feel drawn to it will help my focus over the coming weeks...

I am grateful for tools to help me focus my intent.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Lennie Week 11 - Le-Newbie Lenormand

Today we're back to a standard Lenormand, though with an interesting twist.  The Le-Newbie Lenormand (Rootweaver, 2013) boasts simple, pretty and colourful images, and keywords around the borders.  As such,  it is designed to be helpful for someone just learning the system.  It goes a step further, though, in that the images themselves are made up of keywords, some highlighted by being in a larger font than others. 

Altogether, it is a well-thought out and well-executed deck.  My only quibble would be that keywords are often quite variable from reader to reader. 



For example, take today's draw: Bouquet, Woman, and Anchor.  Work, job, and profession are not amongst the keywords given for the Anchor.  Yet, for many readers influenced by the German tradition, myself included, those are the main keywords that apply, with other interpretations being secondary.  So, for the most part, I'll stick with my keywords...

A woman feels creative in her work.
A beautiful woman needs to work at it.
Intuitions of grace bring a feeling of stability.
Feeling joy in your work.
A woman enjoys the gift of some time by the ocean.

Well, I certainly have plenty of work to do today, it's been a busy week.  Still, this card reminds me to try to tap into my creativity, and a sense of being at one with the Universe, rather than just doing things by rote.

I am grateful for work projects that feel creative and inspiring.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Taro Cigano

Here we have another deck from Brazil, this time called the Tarô Cigano (Gipsy Tarot) rather than the Baralho Cigano (Gipsy Deck).  However, it's still pretty much a Lenormand, no matter its name. 

(P.S. I source these Brazilian decks through De Keizerin in Holland, very friendly and helpful).

As I mentioned before, in terms of images the only real difference between this and a regular Lennie is in card number 2.  In the European tradition this is a Clover and associated with luck (though generally small or fleeting).  In the Brazilian tradition, the card shows logs blocking a path and is associated with difficulties and obstacles.  This time, we get to see that, as today's line is Logs, Paths, and Lily.




Difficult choices bring harmony.
Choose between strife and peace.
A walk uncovers problems, which an elder can help resolve.

Funny, when I first drew these, I felt the first sentence was most likely to be relevant to me today.  Re-reading them, though, a variant of all of them seems like it could come into play.  As I mentioned on Sunday, I've been feeling an internal pressure to clarify my path in life.  This is a tough choice, and in some ways choosing my dissertation feels harder because it doesn't inspire me much, yet easier as it fits with societal norms.  This afternoon, my Dear One and I have scheduled a walking date, out on the local Heath. Perhaps my beloved will help me gain a little inner calm talking it through on our walk...

I am grateful for a companion to walk this path with.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Heart's Desire Spread

Yesterday, for the Mabon Tarot Blog Hop, I designed a spread based on the myth of Beauty and the Beast.  Today, then, I wanted to give it a whirl.  So, I drew three cards from my ultra-trimmed DruidCraft Tarot (Connections, 2004).

1) What is my Heart's Desire for the next turn of the Wheel?  The Magician

I have a desire to use my abilities and resources to see projects through to realisation.  I can see this relating to a few things.  I doubt all of them can be achieved within the time frame between now and Samhain/Hallow'een, but I can certainly make inroads on all of them!  And one of them is scheduled to finish on October 29th, so that fits pretty well :)

Another is my workshop at the UK Tarot Conference.  While I blogged a fair bit around the subject back in the spring, I haven't thought much about combining tarot and Lenormand since then, occupied as I was with completing and handing over the Celtic Lenormand.  Now it's time to get back into that mindset, and finish up my presentation, as the Conference is only two and a half weeks away *eek*  So, if you want to look at different ways to combine the tarot and Lenormand systems in a single reading, why not come along on the 11th of October?

DruidCraft Tarot (trimmed)
2) What price will I have to pay?  Ace of Cups

Ah, the multi-layeredness of the tarot!  One thing I see in this card is that I may have to accept losing emotional closeness with some people, either because I will have to spend my time on these projects, or because they won't approve of what I'm choosing to do.  That's not easy to contemplate, but it may well be something I have to accept.

Related to that, though at a slightly different level, the price I'll have to pay is that of pouring myself emotionally into these projects.  This can be draining, yet it's also true that the more we give to something, the more it can thrive.  Which, if we value the project, is worthwhile.

DruidCraft Tarot (trimmed)
3) What will I learn in the process?  Eight of Cups

There is the potential for me to learn that, even if some friendships don't last or I feel emotionally drained, I can renew myself from the source.  I notice that the cups left behind are empty, while the figure climbs towards the spring from which the stream flows.  They might almost be climbing a hill towards another Ace of Cups! 

Learning how to refill our own cup, how to nurture ourselves, and how to connect with spirit at a deeper level, are all things I see here.  They are things which, I believe, we often need to be reminded of.  If I'm not to feel sad and drained despite achieving something I feel is worthwhile, then those are definitely lessons I could do with reviewing.

I take encouragement from this spread that I can get a lot done over the next 5 or 6 weeks, and find ways to do so without feeling totally drained.

I am grateful for the reminder to focus my intent, and seek emotional support to sustain me.

Lennie Week 11 - Dream Inspires Lenormand

Today, we have an interesting photographic deck by a fellow Brit, and published through the GameCrafter.  The creator, Flick Merauld, has made the images slightly surreal, and has incorporated elements of myth, symbol and dream, as well as some of the ancient sacred sites of Britain.  My ex-proofreader self was at first annoyed by the name - grammatically it should be the Dream InspireD Lenormand.  However, Flick explains that, living in Oxford, it is a play on the 'Dreaming Spires' of that city.  I can live with that ;)

As for the cards, they are pretty, filled with symbolism and still fairly clear for readings.  Our selection today is: Moon, Letter and Garden.


Emotional writing goes public - an email to a colleague about something personal which accidentally gets sent to the boss, for instance.  An emotional blog post would also fit the bill.
A famous person writes something publicly - a celebrity declaring themselves for a cause, or excusing an indiscretion...
A famous community writing - this could describe the American Declaration of Independence, for example.
Cyclical community documentation - do you need to renew your passport, file your council tax form, or confirm your voting residency?

Given I'm posting my own reading with yesterday's blog hop 'Heart's Desire' spread this afternoon, the first of those probably holds true for me: a somewhat emotional blog post.  Some of the last one may also be applicable, as I have to do some paperwork for our house: buildings insurance and the like.  Far from the celebrity show-and-tell interpretation, but I'm glad to steer clear of that sort of thing for the most part ;)

I am grateful for the reminder to get my paperwork in order.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Mabon Blog Hop - Mythical Things

Well, time has flown by and another Tarot Blog Hop is upon us!  You can find the previous post from the ever creative and playful Pepi Valderrama here, the next post from Luminaria Star here, and the Master list here, so you should never get too lost :)

The subject for this post was chosen by our wrangler, Christiana Gaudet, who invited us to explore myth in tarot.  I'll admit, I love creating and using simple spreads.  So, when thinking about how tarot and myth meet and meld, I thought: why not create a spread based on a myth?  

The tale which came to mind was that of Beauty and the Beast.  As most people will know, there are a lot of variations, but the tale goes something like this: Belle's father was off on a business trip and promised his daughters to bring back whatever they'd like.  While Belle's sisters wanted fancy clothes and jewelry, Belle just asked her father for a single rose. 

The father's trip didn't go well, and he was returning sad and empty-handed when he came across a huge castle.  He entered it and was treated to dinner in a seemingly empty yet well-tended house.  In the morning, he spied a beautiful rose in the garden and took the rose, only to be caught by a terrible monster.  When he explained why he'd stolen the rose, the Beast said he'd spare the father's life if he promised to return in a week.  The father returned home to see his daughters and Belle extracted the truth from her father and bravely agreed to go to the castle. 


The place was spooky, but she was well-treated, and though initially scared of the Beast, she came to respect him.  She asked to go home for a brief visit, and her sisters tricked her into staying an extra day.  With a magic mirror, Belle saw the Beast pining to death by the side of the rose bush.  She returned instantly to the castle.  When she realised he was dying, she cried for him, and told him she loved him.  Her love saved him and turned him back into a handsome and wealthy noble.  They married and lived happily ever after.  

Distilling this tale down, I came up with the Heart's Desire Spread (yep, remembered to name it again, yay).  As you can see, it's laid out in a rough heart shape, and the positions are:

1) What is my heart's desire for this turn of the Wheel/at this time? 

Beauty wanted a single, red rose.  Symbolically, we could take this as her desire for romantic love.

2) What price will I have to pay for it? 

Beauty had to leave her family, face her fears and live in the Beast's castle.


3) What lesson will I learn in the process? 

Beauty learned that true love is about far more than appearance.

That's it, a simple little spread to look at your Heart's Desire.  If you want to see a reading with it, I'll post my own reading here tomorrow afternoon (6pm BST/2pm Eastern American time).  For now, though, I hope you'll hop on round to Luminaria Star for more mixing of myth and tarot.

Lennie Week 11 - Silhouettes

I love the elegant simplicity of today's deck: the Lenormand Silhouettes (self-published, 2013) from the incredible creative team of Kendra Hurteau and Katrina Hill.  The deck comes with several alternate cards, which I tend to leave in for my readings.  Hence our cards today: Child, Dog, Child.



An immature friend has another 'great' idea.
Faithfulness to a new idea brings new opportunities.
Dependable playfulness with a child.
Childish loyalty to a new project.
Torn loyalties between two children or two new ideas.
 
The last of those speaks to me today.  I have been worrying recently about which direction I should take over the next six months.  While I feel I 'ought' to try and work on my Masters dissertation what calls me far more strongly is the world of Lenormand and divination.  I have another deck idea worked up which just needs an artist to bring it to life, as well as two book ideas.  There's one voice in my head that says Lenormand isn't 'proper' work, and how will I justify it to the people in my day job.  The other voice says: I feel inspired by this, and if I can sell these ideas, doesn't that prove their worth?

So, should I follow my head or my heart? 

I am grateful that I don't have to make any final decision yet.

Just a reminder, too, that there will be an extra post this evening at 7pm, as part of the Mabon Tarot Blog Hop...
 

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Lennie Week 11 - Whimsy Lenormand

It's been a while, so it felt about time for another Lennie Week.  Several interesting, new self-published Lenormand decks will get an outing this week, and what better way to start than with the colourful, playful, yet still powerful Whimsy Lenormand (Pepi Valderrama, 2013)?

While this deck may look cute and endearing, my readings with it so far have packed a punch.  Take today's cards: Garden, Clover, Whips.


These could be read a number of ways, for instance:

Little happiness on a date when arguments break out.
Feeling lucky at a party when the dancing starts.
A happy facade hides abuse.
Luck in a public setting depends on repetition.

The last, while perhaps most unclear, is the one that smacked me in the face as soon as I turned these cards over.  I've been worrying for a while about my workshop at the UK Tarot Conference on 11th October.  Just a couple of days ago I was chatting with Alison Cross of This Game of Thrones, who will also be speaking there, and determined that she won't be there for my presentation (though at least I'll get to catch up with her and hear her talk).  This reminded me that, talking just after lunch on Friday, my slot isn't likely to be particularly well attended.  However, when Alison asked if I'd been promoting it, I had to admit that I haven't. 

Though I thought about the subject a lot back in the spring, in between times I've been totally focused on getting the Celtic Lenormand handed over to US Games, and then with Big Boy's operation and now our potential house move.

These cards remind me that luck is what we make it.  So, I'd better get blogging, tweeting and making the most of other social networks if I want to remind people that this workshop would be worth attending.

I am grateful for a Lenormand kick up the proverbial.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Cock Sure

For our last day with the Victorian Romantic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2012), we have another Court card: the Page of Wands.

Though this is an archetype I'm generally fond of, I can't say I'm too keen on this guy.  Not that he isn't enough like my idea of the Page of Wands, simply that he brings to my mind all the less lovable characteristics of this fellow.

He stands there in extremely gaudy clothes: purple boots, pink leggings, a green blouson, and a yellow and purple pleated shirt, with a crown of yellow flowers and a golden, angel-topped wand.  He has a hand on his hip, a swagger to his stance, and looks like he's talking back to someone.  Another child peers round at him from the background, open-mouthed.  Perhaps shocked by this Page's daring...

To me, he seems like a cheeky little upstart, full of himself and of the foolish bravery of youth and inexperience.  Though I like enthusiasm and a willingness to experiment, and value having faith in yourself, he seems to take these to extremes.  Annoying and bratty are words that spring to mind ;)

Given the nature of projection, I guess these are characteristics I can show which I am less than proud of.  I shall take this card, then, as a warning to remember humility and compassion today.  Given I need to go and deal with  government bureaucrats today, I would do well to be patient, calm and not argumentative.

I am grateful for confidence and the reminder of its limitations.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Nostalgia

On this Thursday, the Victorian Romantic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2012) offers us a sweet version of the Six of Cups.

A young girl and boy sit at a table, toasting each other.  Across from them are a man and a woman, with other people in formal wear in the background, suggesting a party. 

Despite there being more than six cups on the table, I really like this card ;)  There are so many ways to read it, though the image is simple.  Yet, are the adults the parents of one or both children?  Will the children remember this party when they are grown?  Will they still be friends, or married, or meet again for the first time in years and find they no longer have anything in common?  Are they siblings who will reminisce about the party, or have totally different memories of that day?

For me, this is often a card of nostalgia, of reminders of the past, of who we were or what we believed in and dreamed of.  This card can be a warning not to live in the past, but more often I see here a suggestion to use the past to help plan for the future. 

For myself, I see a message here to work for my dreams, no matter if they seem silly or childish.  A message, too, that I shouldn't just forget people from my past.  If Facebook is good for nothing else, it can at least keep us in touch with friends and family from afar.

I am grateful for the encouragement to do some long overdue reconnecting.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Creepy Magician

Another somewhat strange card today from the Victorian Romantic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2012).

Here we have the Magician, yet I have to say he looks rather old and tired.  If the cards didn't have titles, I might have guessed him to be the Hermit, given his age, his solitary situation, and the light shining before him over a book.   There are no suit elements here, no sword, wand or cup, and just a pentagram etched on the floor for the suit of pentacles. 

Looking closer, though, I guess we could see the light before him as representing the fiery suit of Wands, and the book his hand rests on as representing the mental realm of Swords.  The strange little blue thing on the table (anyone want to take a guess at what it is?), could be some representation of water and hence Cups...

Still, the other elements in the card are pretty creepy: a skeleton standing to one side of him; animal skulls and heads above him.  Altogether, he's not a Magician I'd want to get on the wrong side of.  It's true, though, that these can all by symbols of esoteric knowledge and experimentation of one kind or another!  So, perhaps he has developed the ability, using these tools, to achieve or create what he sets out to.

How much I'll manage to achieve today will depend a lot on whether or not Big Boy can go back to school.  I'm hoping, based on this card, that he will :)  Though we had a lot of fun yesterday, my deadlines are haunting me like the skeleton in the Magician's chamber.

I am grateful for the ability to get work done when I set my mind to it.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Celebration!

Today's card from the Victorian Romantic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2012), is another of those that has changed considerably from the first and Russian editions.  In those decks, the Three of Cups showed three muses in classical dress and poses.

Here, though, we have a far more jolly scene.  One woman dances upon a table, her head and champagne glass raised in joy, and her eyes covered by a mask.  Her dress, hat and stockings are red, with a white underskirt and blouse sleeves.  Two other women look up towards her, giving us our traditional three women.  Though there are other figures around, they blend into the background.  These women are picked out by the definition of their faces, and the colour of their hats, while the other people are blurred, pale and a little colourless.  It's interesting to imagine how much editing it took to create this little tableau...

In any case, the card speaks of female friendship and celebration, of supporting one another, and sharing our joys. 

Not sure quite what I might have to celebrate today, other than getting through the day.  Big Boy has been off school since last week - seven days back and he's caught his first cold of the season!  Perhaps this card is a recommendation to try to make the extra time with him as fun as possible - bad enough having to miss school (which he loves), without mummy being grumpy about it.  Though I have a lot to get on with, it will wait another day...

I am grateful for the reminder to enjoy my time with my son, whenever and wherever.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Expectant

Another lovely card today from the Victorian Romantic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2012).

In this version of the Two of Wands, we have a woman looking out expectantly from a place high up on a hill.  She holds two large, dramatic green feathers in her hands, and stands before some kind of structure with a woman's face carved into the end stone.  Her clothes are bright and colourful, and she wears a golden headdress and a red ribbon that matches her sash.  Above and behind her are two tall trees and a rocky cliff face.

In some ways, this card has more of a Three of Wands feel to it.  That sense of waiting, of expectation, is often found in the Three, after a certain amount of energy or dedication has already been put into a project.  Whereas I associate the Two more with choices: this plan or that plan, now or later, stay or go, big or small?  In the Two, there is still a world of possibility, waiting for us to reach out and grasp it.  I guess, in that sense, this woman's view from on high echoes the traditional RWS figure looking out from a castle, getting the lay of the land before making a decision.

For me, I see a suggestion here to get as much information as possible today.  I have some big choices coming up, and always prefer to make them based on facts, where available.  Of course, then there'll be intangibles, too.  But that's what the tarot is for ;D

I am grateful for the reminder to inform myself well today.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Well-Chosen Knight?

Today's card from the Victorian Romantic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2012) is somewhat unusual.

At first glance, this Knight of Pentacles shows a Knight in steel armour, nothing strange there.  And the autumnal woodland scene around him seems fairly appropriate for the suit of Pentacles.  Two details, though, surprise me. 

Firstly, there is his broken lance.  I guess this could indicate his willingness to persevere despite setbacks, which suits the Knight of Pentacles well. 

Secondly, there is the maiden kissing the Knight's hand, and the fact that his gaze is rather sad and distant.  This seems rather more like the Knight of Cups than the traditional stalwart Pentacles chap.  Maybe his gaze is distant because he's actually thinking about how to source a new lance or noticing a useful stream a little way into the woods :D

My Dear One certainly has tinges of the Knight of Pentacles to him.  He's been organising window cleaners, carpet cleaners, curtain fitters and various other tradesmen over the course of the week.  So, I see this card as a reminder to show him my appreciation today.  These may not be grand, romantic gestures, but they are his way of showing his caring.

I am grateful for a kind and practical man.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Saying Goodbye

For this week, I dug out another classic deck: the Victorian Romantic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2012).  Although, I've used this deck on the blog before, that was the Russian language edition from 2010, while this is the newer, English second edition.  Quite a few cards have been changed for this edition, including today's card: the Five of Cups.  In the original and Russian editions, this card showed a woman with her back to us in a garden, a black dog behind her, obviously weeping.

In this version, a woman walks down the last few steps from a grand building, probably a church.  She is wearing fine clothes: a purple scarf with gilt embroidery and tassles, a white blouse and under shawl, and a velvety-looking green skirt.  She throws a melancholy glance down towards three overturned, tarnished cups near the bottom of the stairs.  Two more cups, shiny and upright, sit a couple of steps higher up. There are quite a number of people at the top of the stairs, by the church entrance, but the woman is the primary focus of the image.

The woman's sad gaze is fixed on the three spilt cups, and she holds a lacy tissue in her hand.  There is a definite sense of mourning here, as well as the obvious and traditional symbolism of the two bright cups she has her back to.

It's funny, we often treat melancholia as a bad thing.  However, having worked as a bereavement counsellor, I recognise the importance of allowing our sadness its place and time. This week has been incredibly hectic, mostly  in a good way.  We have put an offer in on a house and, fingers crossed, look set to move in November.  It's easy to get drawn into planning for the move and thinking about where to put the bookshelves and who gets which bedroom.  And so perhaps today is a good time to honour my regret that we are leaving a house we have loved and been very happy in.

I am grateful for six happy years in our home.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Mayan Queen

For our last day with the World Spirit Tarot (Llewellyn, 2001) we have another Court card: the Sibyl (Queen) of Pentacles.

As is often the case with this card, she has an almost Empress-like feel to her.  Here, we have a dark-skinned, dark haired woman sitting on a white stone throne with black marbling.  Behind her we can see a field of corn, and a Mayan-style pyramid.  Interestingly, there are pink flowers behind her throne's back, and a snake at her side, rather than the European tradition of a bunny rabbit.  Looking around on-line, this seems quite appropriate, as the Maya saw the serpent as a symbol of renewal and rebirth, as well as having several serpent deities associated with vision and beauty.

For me, the Sibyl of Pentacles is a woman sure of herself and her place in the world.  She is loving and sensual, caring and nurturing, and definitely hospitable.  She's the perfect mother figure, without any of the guilt-trips: always there with chicken soup (or whatever your special comfort food might be), and good advice on practical matters.

I can certainly see the relevance to my day.  I have to do some shopping for a new bed and bedclothes for Big Boy, and some new pillows for guests.  There are a couple of other nurturing tasks I need to get on top of, too: a GP's appointment for Big Boy; food shopping for the week.  Then, there are some practical things at work, too.  As they're to do with HR questions, I guess that might count as nurturing, as well ;)

I am grateful for the reminder to focus on others today.


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Sixties Dude

This card from the World Spirit Tarot (Llewellyn, 2001) always makes me smile!

Not that the Nine of Wands is all that cheerful, but I can't help grinning at this guy.  He wears pink sunglasses in the dark of night, and has thigh and junk hugging leggings, a blouson shirt and semi-dreaded hair with a goatee beard.  He looks like a student protester from the Sixties :) 

And I guess that fits quite well with the Nine of Wands: making a stand, despite setbacks and difficulties; pushing through for what you believe in.  Standing your ground in the face of opposition, as though drawing a line in the sand. 

It's funny, when I thought about standing up for what I believe in, it's something that I do most days, in a minor way.  I sign petitions and share them on Facebook and/or Twitter.  I email my MP pretty regularly (and have the replies on House of Commons letterhead paper to prove it).  Yet, often I wonder how much good any of that does.  Do politicians care much what their constituents think, once they're safely in office?  And is it true that a handwritten letter is twenty times more impactful than an email?  Some of the causes I've signed up to have succeeded, have achieved something, so I shall take that as a sign that it is worth doing.

I am grateful for the increased ability of regular citizens to express their opinions without having to risk being imprisoned or beaten up in protest rallies.


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Tuckered Out

Today's card from the World Spirit Tarot (Llewellyn, 2001) is an interesting mix of traditional Four of Swords ideas, combined with a bit of Five of Pentacles.

A woman in a green dress sleeps on a hard stone floor, a sword underneath her.  In this, it feels like the traditional RWS Four of Swords with a knight sleeping in a church.  However, there is a crutch to one side of her, and a stained glass window above her.  Though the stained glass shows three more swords, those two elements together are reminiscent of the Five of Pentacles for me.

Altogether, this gives a sense of resting up after a battle, rather than before one, and has a feel of weariness and injury to it that I don't necessarily normally associate with the Four of Swords (though I know some decks that do show it as a time of healing - Legend, the Arthurian Tarot, for instance).  It gives the sense of needing sanctuary, though perhaps, given the suit, a sanctuary from our own thoughts.  And certainly, sleep can be that respite.

It was for me, that's for sure.  This post is going out more than two hours later than normal, as I had a lie in :)  I needed it after yesterday's busy yet successful time.  I hope I can take things rather easier today overall, as I still feel tired.

I am grateful for an easy day ahead.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Relay Race

Another very cheerful card from the World Spirit Tarot (Llewellyn, 2001) today: the Six of Wands.

I've always seen this card in this particular deck as a race runner approaching the finish line, victorious.  A man runs along a road bearing a flaming torch.  People line the path waving flags enthusiastically.  In the background is a mountain just piercing dark clouds, the sun's rays lightening the sky from behind it.

Of course, this could be a hero returning to his village, or some other situation denoting success.  I'm not sure why I've always seen it as a race winner, and perhaps others will see it differently.  In any case, the sense of achieving something, and having that recognised by others, is definitely there.  I think, perhaps, I like the race idea as it also encompasses the sense that our victories are never ours alone.  He might be running the last leg of the race, but the torch kind of suggests a relay race, or the Olympic flame passed from one runner to the next.  Either way, there is a reminder there of those who have supported us in our endeavours, or those who went before on whose work we build.

Today, I hope to achieve some success in a work project.  However, I definitely take the message about it being a team effort.  Either way, I shall be happy if the day is productive.

I am grateful for the hope of success.


Monday, 9 September 2013

Energy 24/7

What a lovely card for this Monday morning!  The Ace of Wands is always a great card to see, and on a day when we've got to get back to work with enthusiasm, even more so.  This version, from the World Spirit Tarot (Llewellyn, 2001) once again adds some interesting twists to tradition.

The Ace of Wands is located in a desert, with pyramids all about.  Despite the hot environment, there are leaves growing on the wand.  It emits rays of light, as well as burning brightly at its tip.  It sits in a vesica piscis or mandorla, a geometric shape also found in many World cards, and which is considered part of sacred geometry.  Outside this, a sun shines on the left, a moon on the right.

Plenty of symbolism here, which speaks of energy, drive, the ability to adapt to different situations, and a great sense of aliveness.  When we feel this Ace's energy, we can shine brightly, spread our enthusiasm, and get a lot done.  While it is just the start of things, it is a good first step, with a solid foundation behind it, full of potential.

I have to make a start on some negotiations today, so I'm glad to see this card.  I hope it's energy will help me set off on a good foot.  I'll also need inspiration for a review I have to write, and the enthusiasm to attend a meeting at Big Boy's school.  Altogether, a busy day!

I am grateful for an injection of energy and enthusiasm.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Ball of Light

Today's card from the World Spirit Tarot (Llewellyn, 2001) is a beautiful one.

One of the things I love about this deck is the way that traditional elements are incorporated, but subtley altered.  For instance, the lemniscate above the woman and lion's head in this card isn't something mystical floating in the sky.  Rather, it is formed by a river split by a couple of islands.  For me, that adds in ideas about the infinite flow of emotion, and how we balance that, which is very appropriate for this archetype.

I also love the way the woman in this card isn't holding the lion's mouth open or closed, but rather seems to be tickling it under the chin (I've yet to meet a cat that didn't like that).  She is also sat with the lion curled around her, the two in perfect communion.  There is such a sense of unity here, combining the calm and the fierce, the vulnerable (and it doesn't get much more vulnerable than being naked in the claws of a huge, wild beast) and the powerful.

Another interesting touch is the tree on fire, reminiscent of the RWS Lovers card, and the snake.  Clearly references to the Garden of Eden, but an unusual combination.  That could be taken as combining masculine and feminine energies, as could the solar eclipse in the sky. 

And what do we get from combining these energies?  Well, the woman holds a sphere of light that seems to have something silhouetted within it.  Strength that combines intelligence with drive gives us the ability to create something new, something uplifting.  That creation may be a part of ourselves: we can create a new ability to cope with life with lightness of heart, for instance.  Or we can harness the positives of both subtlety and power to pour into a project or idea, using those strengths to draw others to our corner, persuade them, enlist them...

I have some persuading to do today, I only hope I can marshall logic and emotion in the right way to make my case.

I am grateful for passion and clarity.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Sage of Cups

This week, I decided to dig out another of my old favourites, which I realised I'd never featured here on the blog: the World Spirit Tarot (Llewellyn, 2001- now OOP).

This deck has black borders, a very multi-national feel, and bright, playful artwork based on RWS ideas.  It also renames the Court cards to become Seer (Page), Seeker (Knight), Sibyll (Queen) and Sage (King).

Here, in the Sage (King) of Cups, we have a card that demonstrates all of the above.  A blue-skinned man with a brown beard and blue-white crown sits on a throne.  He wears blue-white robes with black trim and holds a big, golden cup.  His throne appears to be formed of waves that have risen from the sea around him and solidified in place, as though suddenly frozen mid-splash.  The Sage himself seems to have his eyes closed, though directed into the depths of his cup.  And the sky behind him is torn by black, stormy clouds.

This seems to me a card of finding calm in the midst of deep and sometimes treacherous emotion.  Of feeling emotion without allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by it. 

Certainly, there are a couple of quite emotionally challenging things going in for me right now.  However, it being Saturday, there's not much I can actually do about most of them today.  So, like this Sage, I shall just have to try to find my inner calm and leave any action til next week.

I am grateful for some time to read and disconnect.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Scorpion's Sting

Yikes, from saccharine sweet to a scary, dark stinger all in 24 hours!  For our last day with the Animism Tarot (GameCrafter, 2013), my stalker card, the Tower, rears its ugly head.

A black-armoured scorpion with a slightly reddish stinger arches its tail towards us from the twisted branch of a tree.  In the background, lightning rips through the sky, dark grey clouds boiling around the red glow it leaves in its wake. 

This is a quite menacing version of the Tower, from the colours used to the primeval fear that a scorpion triggers.  Which makes me wonder how much our fears and paralysis may play into Tower moments, making them worse than they need to be.  If we brushed aside the stinger, or had a scorpion poison antidote to hand in preparation, then it would be a pain and a minor inconvenience, rather than something terrifying.

It's funny, one thing in my day that feels slightly Tower-esque also happens to be a way of trying to preempt a Tower moment.  My Dear One and I are going house hunting.  On the one hand, moving house is a huge upheaval, and we love where we live.  We both feel happier there than we have anywhere else in our entire lives, so even thinking of leaving feels painful and shocking.  And yet, realistically, we need to move.  Our home doesn't suit Big Boy's needs, and the older he gets the more apparent that becomes.  So, rather than waiting for it to become a serious issue, we're looking to move ahead of time.

I am grateful for the foresight to act before I'm forced to do so.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Saccharine

Yeesh, today's card from the Animism Tarot (GameCrafter, 2013) is so sweet I almost feel a little ill!

Two swans arch their necks together to touch beaks, forming a heart-silhouette between them.  They are highlighted by  the bright golden ball of the sun, ringed by rainbow colours, and with purple petals floating in the air and water around them.  In front of this happy couple,three little grey cygnets paddle about enthusiastically.

Perhaps I'm just a cynic, but I always feel if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.  Not that I reject happiness, a sense of belonging, and loving relationships.  Rather, I think a lot of work goes into these things, like the swan who seems to glide effortlessly across the water, but is paddling hard under the surface.  There are moments of bliss, of simple joy, bought at the cost of time and energy and a willingness to invest in making something work.

So, though this card may say to enjoy the moment and appreciate those around you, it also says not to take such things for granted.  To seek that joy, to express your love, to be willing to spend time to build something beautiful and lasting.

This card reminds me today to take some time to just be with my Dear One, to tell him how much I love him and name some of the things I appreciate about him.  And to do the same with Big Boy, too :)

I am grateful for the loving relationships in my life.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Moonstruck

On this Wednesday morning, we have another Major from the Animism Tarot (GameCrafter, 2013).

A white rabbit leans out over a river beside a leafless tree, under the light of a full moon.  The reflection in the water, though, is strangely distorted.  The rabbit looks off in a different direction, the tree leans at an alternative angle, and the moon is a bright crescent.

Not only is this card very pretty, I also feel it's a good depiction of the Moon archetype.  Things are not as they seem: there is a surreal sense of irreality, and possibly danger. The danger, too, may be imagined, that's part of the problem: nothing is clear or obvious.

Another aspect of the Moon, of course, is the dream-like quality it can bring to our perceptions, and the advice to look to our dreams for illumination.

I am grateful for my dreams, a source of surprise and sometimes inspiration.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Snake Bite

What a fierce card today from the Animism Tarot (GameCrafter, 2013)!

Here, in the Eight of Wands, we have a snake rising up and primed to strike.  It's grey scales help it blend into the earth and undergrowth around it.  Yet it is also dynamic and on the move, rearing up with fangs at the ready.  This is a good expression of the Eight of Wands, where things are in sudden, rapid motion.  In fact, it is a good depiction of both the positive and negative sides of this card (which I believe every card has).

It can be read both as: beware, there is sudden, violent change ahead.  Or else as: be ready to act quickly and decisively.

Although I have quite a busy day ahead, I don't see anything this rapid in my future.  However, I will take the card as a suggestion to be ready to respond quickly to whatever comes up.

I am grateful for times when I can be decisive and respond appropriately to life.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Lion and Hummingbird

For this third day with the Animism Tarot (GameCrafter, 2013) we have another Major - Strength - and another big cat!

A lion stands slightly to the left of the card, its proportions looking a little strange.  What I think may be a hummingbird sits on the lion's shoulder, looking off to the right.  This is an interesting take on a card I sometimes think of as the "Beauty and the Beast" card.  The hummingbird is small and delicate, the lion big and strong.  They form quite a contrast, sat together like that.  Given its position, the hummingbird might be singing in the lion's ear, calming its temper, suggesting ways to put its power to good use.

Altogether, I really like this card.  It speaks to the idea of balancing our raw energy and our spirit, of taming our instincts without losing their power.

There's certainly one situation today where I need to make sure to listen to the good advice of my higher self, to not charge in roaring.  So, perhaps this card advises me to take some time to listen to that quiet voice at the start of the day, so I can move through the day with both subtlety and strength.

I am grateful for the reminder to think before I speak or act, and then to act with decision and strength.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Two Kangaroos

Today's card from the Animism Tarot (GameCrafter, 2013) is the Two of Pentacles.

A mother kangaroo lies on the bare  ground with her eyes open, while her joey sleeps on the grass behind her.  Above them twines a brown and twisty tree branch, while in front of her there is a red-stemmed, green-leaved plant.  Although it's not clear, the kangaroo may be lying on a path.

There is an interesting yet subtle sense of balance here.  The contrast between wakefulness and sleep, hard ground and soft grass, verdancy and dryness, adult and child.  The mother kangaroo is at the centre of it all, keeping a watchful eye so things stay in place.

It's Sunday, today, our main family day.  Although I have a little work to do in the morning, for the most part I'm planning to keep my eyes open to make sure everyone is happy.  Not just Big Boy and my Dear One, but also my MIL, who's coming to visit.

I am grateful for a peaceful family day after a busy week.