Thursday, 31 October 2013

L-O-V-E

Image courtesy of the Bridgemaker
Previous / Master / Next

Though various people around the world today will be celebrating Hallowe'en or Samhain, this round of the Tarot Blog Hop is going somewhere else entirely.  Our wrangler, the Queen of the Court Cards, Alison Cross, decided our topic for today would be love :D

So, whether you've popped in from the previous post, or came backwards from the next, or just appeared here through the power of the interwebs, I hope you're feeling loved up.  If not, here's a little spread to help explore love in your life.

L - What or whom do I LOVE?
O - What is creating OPPOSITION to this love right now?
V - What VISION will help cut through that opposition?
E - How can I best EXPRESS this love?

Deciding to use one of the decks I most love, I pulled out my ultra-trimmed DruidCraft Tarot (Connections, 2004, art by Will Worthington) to give this spread a try.

LOVE -  The Fool
I love the new possibilities that are opening up in my life right now.  There's certainly enough of them: I'm pregnant, about to move home, and working on an exciting new project, too.

OPPOSITION - King of Cups
Bah, the King of Cups is my sense of duty to finish my Masters dissertation, which is colliding with that new project.  He is also a wet blanket, getting upset at the thought of leaving a home I have been very happy in, and worrying about the emotional impact on my son of having a sibling, and on the new child of having to deal with a disabled brother.

VISION - The Hermit
Hmm, seems I need to look inside to figure out what I really want.  Some meditation will help clarify if the King of Cups is a voice I need to listen to, or just a distraction from plunging into the future.  Studying what I want and what I can do to help grow these different parts of my life will cut through the emotional barrage.

EXPRESS - Six of Cups
I can best express all these different loves by allowing myself to remember the joys of childhood, by focusing on the simple pleasures that fill my heart.  If it doesn't wake delight in me, it's probably not right for me. 

I'd love to hear how you get on with this spread...

Previous / Master / Next

Lennie Week 12 - Samhain Vintage Lenormand

For Halloween itself, I wanted to show a new deck on this theme.  By the person who also created the Deck of the Bastard, the Samhain Vintage Lenormand is exactly what it says.  TarotBySeven has taken vintage images and given them a dark and spooky twist.  There are also four extra cards in the deck: Spider, Bats, Cats, and Pumpkins.  Unfortunately, this was a limited edition, and it's now out of print.  But who knows, maybe it'll be back next year...


And what a lovely reading we have for today, incorporating the Pumpkin card.  TarotBySeven gave this keywords of plenty, prosperity and abundance.  So our line - Bouquet, Pumpkins and House - can be read as follows:

Abundant gifts at home.
Prosperous creativity related to real estate.
Manifesting abundance both in creative projects and in your family.
The gift of prosperity is felt in the home.
A feeling of grace from your generous home life.

This is a lovely reading to get on the day we are to complete on our new home.  It reminds me that, we may need to get creative today if any issues pop up, but it will be worth it for a great home for our children to grow up in, a place of abundance and joy.

I am grateful for the ability to choose a home I think will be wonderful for our family.

Just to let you know, today there will be an additional post in 8 hours time, as part of the Samhain Tarot Blog Hop.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Lennie Week 12 - Día de los Muertos

Continuing with our spooky theme, here is another deck with a Halloween air, this time based on the Mexican Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  Edmund Zebrowski recently brought out minis of some of his decks, and also issued a second edition of this deck for Halloween, including playing card inserts, which I'm sorry to say has sold out already!   If we're lucky, they'll be available again next year...


On to today's reading: Rider, Mountain, Coffin.

An information blockage causes stagnation: sounds like Mercury retrograde.
Delayed information leads to sickness: not knowing there's a vaccination so you get the disease, for instance.
News is delayed by illness: the person in the know falls sick and the message doesn't get through.
Feeling unwell is an obstacle to exercise.

I hope that last one doesn't prove true, I'm often grouchy if I can't exercise.  More to the point, I will make an effort not to let any internet troubles get in the way of my work today.  Our internet has been glitchy for the last month, but I've been finding ways to work around it, using different software or doing more things off-line and the just popping on to post or send them.

I am grateful for the reminder that it's possible to live without the internet.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Lennie Week 12 - Old Castle

A distinctly gothic deck today from Russia adds to our Halloween week: the Mysteries of the Old Castle (Berenika, 2013).  I'm told the best way to order this, or any of their other decks, is to email the administrator, Anna Simonova, who can reply in English.  She's contactable at admin (@) yarasvera dot ru.

Here we have Rider, Dog and Book.

News from a friend about a secret.
Faithful information for a book - doing your research...
A colleague who is both chatty and yet mysterious.

I'm always open to a friend sharing something :) Still, for myself, rather than that more predictive reading, I'll take the suggestion to do some fact-checking today.  Not for a book per se, but I see the Book as representing larger projects more generally...

I am grateful for the reminder to check and double-check things today.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Lennie Week 12 - Petit Lenormand Noir

For the rest of this Lennie Week, I want to adopt a bit of a Halloween theme.  While today's deck isn't officially spooky, I decided the fact that it's all black qualified it.  This is the Petit Lenormand Noir from the talented Robyn Tisch-Hollister (2013, I think).


Our cards today are Man, Bouquet and House.

Creative decisions about your home.
Your partner helps beautify the house.
Deciding to buy a housewarming gift.
A man receives an invitation from the family.

Well, with our house purchase due to go ahead on Thursday, today my DH and I are heading down to a paint shop to pick up some colour charts and testers (weather permitting).  While he does most of the practical stuff, I get called on for creative suggestions and decisions, as he doesn't feel confident making interior design choices.  So, a good balance of a couple of interpretations there :)

I am grateful for the joy of choosing colours for our new home.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Lennie Week 12 - Malkiel's Lenormand

Today's deck may appeal to some for its traditional imagery, while others may be put off by the chunk of text in German at the bottom of the cards.  This is a Lenormand designed with the learner in mind, giving both key meanings and some near and far suggestions for each image.  It was created by Malkiel Dietrich, a German cartomancer who has also been creating content in English on his Youtube channel, such as the monthly reading suggestion which I tried out at the start of the month. The deck is, somewhat unoriginally, called Malkiel's Lenormand.


As for the draw, I pulled Stork, Fish and Key.  Interesting to see two cards from yesterday repeated...

Financial progress leads to increased security.
We find abundance when we open to change and new insights.
A house move certainly requires money.
Having to choose between change and security in financial matters.

I'll admit, for me abundance certainly isn't only about money.  Recently, I've been rushed off my feet, and longing for more time to do things I love.  However, with a house move on the cards, hopefully before Christmas, it's also true we've been looking to our finances.  And what I love to do has to make way for what pays the bills.

I am grateful for a quiet Sunday without big plans.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Lennie Week 12 - The Alone Lenormand

Time for another Lennie Week!  I know, I can't wait either :)

For today, we have a recently released, traditional deck: the Alone Lenormand (2013).  This version of the deck is being sold by Sylvie Steinbach, and comes with playing card inserts and no borders.  It has a rather elegant, feminine feel to it, and is quite beautiful.  There are no extra cards as such (despite what the website says), just a random assortment of duplicates (which Sylvie also did with her own deck).  I don't get it: what good are these duplicates? What if you lose a card, but it doesn't happen to be one you received a duplicate of?  They add nothing new, they are just filler!  End of rant.


As for today's draw, we have Fish, Key and Lady.  Sentences that pop up for me are:

The key to prosperity lies within you.
Secure finances come from a female clientele.
You feel in flow when you let your insights be guided by your intuition.
Feeling secure in the abundance of life depends on your own attitude.
Certainty comes through an exchange with a woman.

Several of those feel relevant to me today.  For one thing, I'm working on something that is targeted largely at a female market, and need to make some decisions about it today.  As for the last interpretation, I am going to have a scan today with a female doctor, which I'm hoping will leave me feeling more certain about this pregnancy.  Although everything seems to be fine, given my past history I can't help but be a little nervous...

I am grateful for modern scan technology that allows us to see inside a pregnancy.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Kiss

What a lovely card to end our week with the Tarot of the Hidden Realm (Llewellyn, 2013)!

A blonde fae woman with flowers in her hair lifts her hand and closes her eyes.  A green man, with twigs or antlers emerging from his head, bends down as though to kiss her.  It's not entirely clear whether she can even see him.  Is he a shadow, stealing a kiss?  Are they star-crossed lovers?  Is he a dream?

Overall, the feeling I get is one of melding opposites, of bringing different aspects into balance.  Sometimes, we find that balance outside ourselves.  More often, it is within ourselves that we must seek our other half.

Today, Big Boy has another doctor's appointment, just a follow-up from his operation over the summer.  When things like this come up, I have to balance my hope for results with my realism about what modern medicine can actually do for him.  He's been suffering a bit this week, but I doubt it's anything they, or any regular doctor, can do much about...  So, I may need to look elsewhere for my choices.

I am grateful for alternative approaches to health.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Thorn's Bite

Now here is card that's a perfect example of the subtle depth of symbolism in the Tarot of the Hidden Realm (Llewellyn, 2013).

A woman gazes off to the left, her dark hair flowing down around her shoulders.  In her hands she holds three roses, the thorns of which have bitten into her left hand.  Blood drips down, staining her dusky pink dress, but she seems not to notice it, her gaze locked on something to her left.

Given that the left is often associated with the past, to me this card speaks of pain caused by our interpretation of what has happened, our worries and wishes to redo that which cannot be changed.

It's funny, thinking about things I would like to do over, I'm reminded of a post a while back, by Carla, I think.  She said it's not the big, life-altering things she feels bad about, but the small, everyday situations.  That's what comes up for me here.  I don't regret moving country or leaving a bad relationship, but I do regret the chocolate chip cookie I ate yesterday!  Yet, focusing on even those small regrets doesn't seem helpful - I attack myself for not doing what I feel I should have, rather than focusing on what I can do now. 

I am grateful for the reminder to be in the moment.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Keep It Under Wraps

Today, we have a Court card from the Tarot of the Hidden Realm (Llewellyn, 2013): the Queen of Swords.

Not that there's that much difference between her and some of our previous cards: we still have a close-up of a single figure.  In this case, a woman sits with a sword on her lap.  She appears to have unwrapped it from its silken cover.  Her dress is lacy at the edges, and blends and tones with the pale lilac of the background, which has an organic feel to it, without any obvious objects in it.  The woman has dark hair, and wears a stone on a chain at her forehead, pointing to her clarity of understanding.  She also appears to have an owl-face necklace on over her throat chakra, suggesting the wisdom of her speech.

There is symbolims here aplenty, then, simply quite subtle and muted.  This Queen is calm, yet she has sharp wits at her disposal, even if she often keeps them under wraps.  She is wise, with clear insight, and can express that when she so chooses.

After yesterday's flurry of activity, and busy to-do list, I see in this Queen the need to step back today and assess what I've achieved, what still needs doing, and how best to do it.  There is a suggestion that subtlety, rather than action, is what is called for today: listening well and assessing the information I get.  While I still feel the drive to tick off more items from my to-do list, perhaps I need to be wise about how I prioritise them...

I am grateful for the reminder to look before I leap.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Let Fly

After yesterday's Eight, today we have another, this time of Wands, from the Tarot of the Hidden Realm (Llewellyn, 2013).  It's rather funny, as last week we had the Eight of Wands followed by the Eight of Swords, also on Monday and Tuesday.  Busy starts to the week...

This card certainly feels powerful and dynamic!  Look at the way her bright, red hair blows in the wind, and the tension on the bowstring as she holds her arrow knocked.  She looks determined, and very focused, in a quite different way to yesterday's character on the Eight of Pentacles.  Her focus is much more outward, on where she's aiming rather than on the tool in her hands.  Her dark dress and fiery hair give her a rather fierce air, yet there also seems to be a calm awareness in her eyes.  Altogether, I like her a lot.

What I see in this is the need to choose our goals carefully today, and line up our arrows to accomplish as many of those goals as possible, in as short a time as possible :)

So, another day of working through a long to-do list, I think.  Still, this card reminds me that if I am passionate about things, I can get a lot done.

I am grateful for the reminder to prioritise.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Dream Enchantress Giveaway Result

Firstly, I must apologise for doing this draw three days later than intended.  We were away for the weekend, and I had neither time nor internet connection for the most part *doh*  Should have thought about that when I picked a day for the draw!

Anyhow, I stuck the names of everyone who commented on the Giveaway post in a database, then put the resulting numbers into random.org, and the result was: number 11.


Which works out as the winner being the delightful Arwen Lynch!  So, the deck will wing its way over to Austin, Texas.  Congratulations, Arwen, I've already emailed to ask for your address :) 

Back To Work!

What a determined-looking character we have today from the Tarot of the Hidden Realm (Llewellyn, 2013).

In this version of the Eight of Pentacles, we see a golden-haired, golden-skinned man looking down somewhat imperiously at the pentacle between the forks of his metalworking tongs.  Flames leap up in front of him, and golden disks are arrayed behind him, connected by ribbon-like strips of gold.

To be honest, at first glance I thought he could be the Six of Wands, crowned with a glowing halo of success.  Still, I think that's just to do with the angle and his golden glow.  He's also great as the extremely hard-working Eight of Pentacles, slaving away in the heat of the smithy, creating and perfecting his work.  When he's finished, maybe he will become the Six of Wands...

This card reminds me that I have a lot to get on with today.  Having been away for the weekend, with both limited time and a dodgy internet connection, I've done nothing for several days!  However, it'll start with some internet catch-up, then I've a parent/teacher meeting at Big Boy's school, then back home for more work, and to the doctor's to try to get Big Boy a referral to a specialist for his increasingly bad allergies.  He had an awful attack on Friday at my uncle's, due to a couple of dogs :(

I am grateful for variety in the stuff I need to get done.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Quiet Time

For this second day with the the Tarot of the Hidden Realm (Llewellyn, 2013), a card comes out which I had already read about over on Prince Le Normand's blog: the Two of Cups.

Two figures sit, looking quite alike with their long, tumbled brown hair and identical flower garlands.  The one on the right looks down at the cup in her (according to the companion book) hand.  She also has a tattoo on her face.  Although they sit close together, these two don't gaze at one another, as so many Two of Cups characters do.  Each seems happy with their own thoughts, together without having to be focused on one another.

In this, I see a level of comfort with one another.  It isn't the passionate connection where you can't take your eyes off the other person.  It is more the enduring love where you don't need to express everything, it is understood.  And where you can each be your own person, knowing the other supports and cherishes you for yourself.

My Dear One and I are often like this, sitting together reading or surfing, occasionally sharing a tidbit that especially pleases us.  Hopefully, we may have a little time today to find that sense of quiet and peace in each other's company, perhaps once we're home and Big Boy is in bed.  It's been a lovely weekend, but quite busy with family.

I am grateful for a partner who loves and accepts me for who I am.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Heron

It's Saturday again, and time to change deck.  This week, I'll be drawing from the Tarot of the Hidden Realm (Llewellyn, 2013). 

The huge majority of the cards in this deck focus on one - or at most two - individuals, with minimal use of man-made objects or symbols.  One exception to this is the Aces, which all feature different woodland creatures.

Here, on the Ace of Swords, we have an elegant heron on a simple, purple background with a ribbon-like detail.  The heron has a clarity of focus that suits this card well.  For instance, it stands waiting for fish to come close enough to catch, assessing the water currents and the fishes habits to judge the best spot on any given day.  The Ace of Swords, likewise, can be seen as representing the mind's ability to assess and plan, to see what facts are relevant.

For myself, what I see today is more the new communication aspect of this card.  We'll be meeting up with a heap of cousins today, and it will be the first time Big Boy has seen them in nearly two years.  At not quite six, two years is a long time, and they're all communicating so much better these days.

I am grateful for the chance to establish new lines of communication.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Experimenting

Another beautiful card greets us today from the Wicca Moon Tarot

In this Three of Wands, two wands stand to the left of the card and one to the right.  They all seem to look out from their position in a yellow-and-purple flower-strewn meadow, over an inlet dotted with boats and across to a lighthouse in the distance.  There are also three butterflies flitting around the wands.

These wands seem to be waiting for the results of their actions, as is so often the case with this card.  However, with the way their 'heads' are angled and with the butterflies flying around them, they suggest to me curiosity about the outcome, and the potential for transformation in those results.

By the way, if you've enjoyed these cards, you might consider exploring them some more.  The deck's creator, Shirlee from the Wicca Moon shop, is running a workshop on the cards in November.  Check out her Facebook page for details.

In that curiosity and potential for transformation, I see an experiment we're carrying out with Big Boy today.  Don't worry, it's not a 'rats in a lab' kind of experiment.  He's had some serious problems with flying in the past, but after the tests doctors ran over the summer, their conclusions and our own observations, we're going to give it a go again.  We've got various helping mechanisms in place, and hopefully that'll be enough, as we really want him to be able to connect with family again.  He hasn't seen them for nearly two years now!

I am grateful for analgesics and modern plastics that are flexible and adaptable.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Alas, Poor Yorick...

Today's card from the Wicca Moon Tarot makes me think of the speech from Hamlet in which he holds the skull of the jester from his father's court, and thinks of how even the mighty return to the earth.

Certainly, there is often more than a trace of that in the Death card: not only the acknowledgement of mortality, and our sadness at the end of people and situations we have known or respect, but also the reminder of the cycles of life and death.  I see that here in the woman gazing at the skull in her hands, with a cauldron to one side and standing in a snowy landscape, yet with green leaves and white flowers beneath her feet.

There is a reminder here to take time to recognise endings and honour them.  Also, though, that life continues, even if in a different form to that we had known.

Yesterday ended up being incredibly hectic, between emails, phonecalls and appointments regarding our impending house move, arrangements for a visit to see family at the weekend, and a big work project that has just taken off.  Still, I managed to make space for some couple-time with my honey, which was much needed (yay for the reminder from the Nine of Cups!)  It's so easy to get caught up in doing, and forget to connect with our nearest and dearest.  Anyhow, after all that craziness, what I see in today's card is the encouragement to think again about what we will be leaving behind when we move, to mourn it so that I can move on.

I am grateful for the reminder that it's okay to be sad, even about an exciting and generally positive change.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Overflowing Happiness

Wow, for the second time in under a week we have the Nine of Cups.  Today's version from the Wicca Moon Tarot is far clearer and happier than that of the Badger's Forest Tarot, though.

Nine silver cups float above calm waters. Flowers of purple, pink and white seem to fly out of them in an explosion of pink light.  The sun glows warmly from behind, and somehow a rainbow also spreads across the sky.  More than mere contentment, this card speaks of joy and emotional fulfilment.

A friend of mine calls this the nooky card, and this explosion of joy could certainly be taken that way.  I think I'll take this as encouragement to try to seduce my Dear One today ;)

I am grateful for the reminder to make time for intimacy.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Dream Enchantress Giveaway

Following on from the UK Tarot Conference, I decided to run a giveaway.  The goodie bag from the Conference was very generous (thanks, again, to Kim Arnold).  We got to choose a number of items, which included choosing between two Lo Scarabeo decks.  I already had both, so I decided to choose the one I liked better, and give it away here on the blog - paying forward some of that Conference joy :)

The deck is the Dream Enchantress Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2009), which I blogged about almost exactly two years ago.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment below.  On Friday, I'll pick a winner at random, and am happy to send the deck anywhere in the world...

Wind Tunnel

Ha, two dynamic Eights in a row from  the Wicca Moon Tarot.

Today, it is the Eight of Swords that sweeps onto our screens.  The eight blades seem almost to have been swept up by a mini-whirlwind, trapped and held just above the pretty meadow.  A couple of white feathers are caught up, too, hinting that it is a lack of bravery that keeps our thoughts trapped in these patterns. 

Yet, it is still a hopeful card.  A butterfly flutters amongst the leaves of the tree above the swords, and two dragonflies fly in front of the scene, as though examining it.  A different perspective brings the hope of change.  Sometimes, it takes an outsider's view to help us see where we've been stuck.  Other times, we can manage that change of perspective ourselves, and the first step is simply to notice the pattern we are stuck in.
It's always a tricky one to figure out how our thoughts are limiting us, seeing as we are generally inside them.  Today, I have a decision to make, and I recognise that I often let emotion take a front row seat in that process.  It's not just about who I like best, but about who I can best work with, and those two aren't necessarily the same.  So, I think I shall take up my cards to help me gain a slightly different perspective...

I am grateful for the perspective tarot offers me.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Did You See What Happened At The UK Tarot Conference 2013?

My TLC workshop - image courtesy of Katrina Wynne
Well, it was an incredibly busy and fun weekend, that's for sure!  I didn't get to go along for the Tour of London on Thursday, just turning up early enough to set up for my workshop on Friday afternoon.  We looked at different ways of combining the Tarot and Lenormand systems, something I've blogged about before.  The feedback I got was good, though a couple of people commented on just how much material there was.  I may well offer this as a half-day workshop in the future, rather than only spending an hour and a half on it!

Lyn Olds - Letters To The Past
Later, Carrie Paris gave a wonderful talk on ways of interacting with art, and the philosophy behind the Four Levels of Understanding, applied to imagery.  She also talked about ways to deepen our practice as readers - all very inspiring stuff, and with beautiful visuals to accompany it.

That was followed by Lyn Olds talking about a project she curated, called Letters To The Past.  She used that as a vehicle to explore the entire history of the tarot, all in 50 minutes.  It was a fascinating approach to history, which really personalised it and brought it to life.

The next day started with another workshop by Carrie Paris.  This time, she had us divining with everyday objects (like, whatever you had in your pockets/handbag!), as well as using her wonderful Magpie Oracle and casting sheets, and of course a few Lenormand decks...

The fabulous Carrie Parris, different ways of divining, and me with Carrie :)
Next up was Caitlín Matthews with a talk that described cartomantic techniques of working with the tarot - she certainly knows what she's talking about.  It was fun to try out some of these, and I'm glad she had a detailed worksheet, as they're fascinating, if sometimes complex.

Over lunchtime, Alison Cross gave an excellent talk on the Tarot Courts.  As they say, there's always something new to learn, even when you've been studying something for years.  Alison certainly came up trumps on that - everyone left the workshop feeling they'd heard something new :)  My favourite bit was when she suggested thinking about how the Courts would all react at a party.  One example she gave was of all the Pages outside in the garden, wanting to play in a treehouse.  She's one funny woman, Alison, as well as a great educator!

Lyn (left), Caitlín (top right), my drawings (bottom right)
After that, I skipped Ina's workshop to grab some food (the downside of lunchtime workshops), so I can't comment on that part.

Then, it was on with the fun with another workshop from Lyn Olds.  This time, she suggested a technique to approach the cards differently.  You draw three cards from a deck, and then sketch out the elements that jump out at you to create a new card.  You then use that "card" to answer your question.  For me, it worked better when I was reading for myself or else didn't know the question, as otherwise I worried too much about getting it right or being helpful and not putting in anything bad for the other person.  Once again, you can see from my sketches why I approached Will Worthington, rather than trying to paint the Celtic Lenormand myself!

Brucie, ah, I mean Ciro...
Next up, we had a wonderful, animated talk from Ciro Marchetti.  He discussed how he was first induced to create a tarot deck (the tarot community's thanks should go to Barbara Moore), what kind of research he did to come up with his images (more than you'd think from his self-deprecating comments about not being able to read tarot), the effect that art has on its audience (hilarious bits there), responses he's had to his decks, his personal visual preferences, and much more.  It was a funny, fascinating talk, including some comic moments, several videos, lots of images, and the bizarre realisation that he looks and talks like Bruce Forsyth.  I'd never noticed that before, despite meeting Ciro several times, but when he was up in front of everyone, I just couldn't stop making the comparison ;)  I asked a couple of others, who all agreed.  Anyway, Brucie aside, it was a great talk!

Kim, and the Tarot Masters book
Finally, Kim Arnold, the fabulous organiser of the whole shebang, led us through a marvellous meditation - very insightful, and a great way to end the Conference.

Anyhow, as if all that wasn't enough, Kim also announced a book launch: Tarot Masters (Hay House, 2014 - yes, 2014!).  It's a project she put together, originally to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the UK Tarot Conference.  All but one of the past speakers at the Conference write about what first got them into the Tarot, and the card they love or loathe.  Kim had copies available for sale, though the official launch isn't until next year!  I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been included in the book, which features the likes of Rachel Pollack, Mary Greer, Paul Hughes-Barlow, Mark McElroy and a host of others!  Anyhow, I'll remind you all when it finally launches officially ;)

And so the Conference ended, and we all headed back to our regular lives.  Here's a last picture of all of us who spoke at this conference.
Caitlín, Carrie, Ina, Me, Lyn, Alison, Ciro, Kim

Tornado

Seems like the Wicca Moon Tarot is only offering us that one day of calm, as today's card is once again filled with a swirl of energy.

In this Eight of Wands, a mini-tornado seems to wrap around the eight wands that fly just above a grassy meadow.  The wands are lined up quite neatly, yet are twisted about in different directions.  A star peeks through between the leaves of the tree above, and yellow and purple flowers raise their heads to the sky.

Traditional ideas of things moving fast, of dynamism and of having to get your plans lined up can all easily be read from this.  We could also, at a more intuitive level, see a warning not to let yourself get swept away by enthusiasm...

I certainly feel the energy of today's card.  While the UK Tarot Conference was an amazing experience, I do have plenty else on my plate that was put on hold.  Even last Thursday was taken up with preparations for the Conference, such as checking my tech, getting my hair done, and choosing what to wear - all the important stuff ;D So, today is a catch-up day...

I am grateful for a busy, exciting life.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Calm After The Storm

On this Sunday morning, we have another gorgeous card from the Wicca Moon Tarot.

In this version of the Seven of Pentacles there is a snowy landscape presided over by grey, leafless trees.  Yet, the view is brightened by daffodils and smaller yellow and purple blooms.

Traditionally, the Seven of Pentacles is often taken as a time to step back and assess what we've been doing.  It can suggest that any harvest will take time to come to fruition.  I see those interpretations here, too.  This isn't the full, riotous bloom of summer, just the first hints of spring.  And after the winter is a good time to take stock, see what we have and what we need, what we can start to plan for as the earth comes alive again.

Well, after everything that happened and that I learned at the UK Tarot Conference, I can certainly see the need for a calmer day to stop and assess what I gained and where I want to go from here.  And, to help the process along, Carla from Rowan Tarot came down for the Conference and stayed over, so we can talk it all over together :D

I am grateful for a quiet day with a good friend.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Ace Day!

This week, we're back to Blighty with this self-published deck from Shirlee at Wicca Moon, the eponymous Wicca Moon Tarot.  Those with good memories will remember this deck from last year, but as Shirlee has just brought out a companion book, I thought it would be a good time to give it another viewing.

The companion book has scans of all the cards in full colour.  For the pips, that and a one-line description is rather unusually all that you get.  For the Majors and Courts, though, it gives interesting insights into the people shown in the deck: who they are, and why they were chosen to represent that card.  There are also Ogham associations to all the Majors, and other interesting, esoteric information.

On to our card for the day, and what a great start this is :) The Ace of Wands shows a single wand in a field of green grass dotted with pretty violet and white flowers.  Several flames flicker at the base of the wand, highlighting the way this card's energy can light a fire under us and get us moving.  Above the wand is a lovely tree, and a pale, full moon shines down on the scene from a beautiful starry sky.

What a lovely follow-on from yesterday's Nine of Cups!  Today is the second, main day of the UK Tarot Conference, and it looks to be an inspiring one on many levels.  So many talks and workshops, and more dear friends joining the fun :) What new possibilities might the day hold?

I am grateful for inspiration in all its guises.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Foxy

For this last day with the Badger's Forest Tarot (GameCrafter, 2013), we have another of those cards that really doesn't help in guessing which suit is which.

In this Nine of Foxes (Cups), we have a fox sitting facing the left, but with his head turned to look up and right.  Has he heard a bird in the tree above?  He doesn't seem startled, just interested.  Then again, it only takes a second for a fox to leap into action.  So, I could see in this the Nine of Wands - ready to jump up on the defensive. Or the Nine of Pentacles, enjoying the sights and sounds of its forest home.  The Nine of Cups' emotional satisfaction is also possible, and the 'right' answer.

Still, this card could be read in other ways, too.  As advice to listen out for messages around you, or to keep an eye open for unexpected opportunities, for instance.

For myself, I think I'll take all three messages today.  It's the day I present at the UK Tarot Conference, so I'll look for the emotional satisfaction in teaching and sharing with my community.  I'll also listen out for messages, as there are plenty of wise and wonderful people there.  And I'll look out for whatever opportunities present themselves: to learn, to network, to make new friends, to connect with familiar faces, and who knows what else!

I am grateful for the opportunities life presents me with.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Trees

Another Major from the Badger's Forest Tarot (GameCrafter, 2013) comes out on this Thursday morning, reminding us that the world is a beautiful place :)

There have been many decks that show the World card as a tree, but it must be said that it seems particularly appropriate for a deck with "Forest" in its title.  Trees stand for the fundaments of what makes up our world, our sense of place.  Trees hold together the forest, homes to many, feeding others.  It's not just at the visible level of the birds in the branches, or more subtley the beetles in the bark, but even the worms between the roots, and the earth itself that is nourished by the falling berries, nuts, branches and leaves.  The tree, then, speaks of perfection, completion, homecoming, of something that underpins the next generation, the next cycle.

This is such a lovely card to get today.  It's a reminder that I have a couple of things to finish off - checking all my tech works for tomorrow's workshop at the UK Tarot Conference top among them.  However, it also reminds me that completing this is an ending, not the end.  There are still many new projects and possibilities in the world, which can nourish my soul, and which I can help grow.

I am grateful for completing some things, and knowing I will begin others, all while nourished at a soul level by the world.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

We Ride

Delightfully, today the Badger's Forest Tarot (GameCrafter, 2013) offers us a Court card, so we can get a more balanced feel for the whole deck. 

Alison Cross, of This Game of Thrones, wrote an interesting post a while back which, amongst other things, talked about what the steeds of the Knights (or their lack of steed) might mean to us in a reading.  In the Badger's Forest Tarot, all the Knights are animals (a rabbit, a badger, a fox and a crow) and all ride a different animal. 

It seems a little strange to have a crow on a wolf, surely he'd get there faster flying?  Still, that actually sort of fits the Knight of Crows (Pentacles) as speed is not the main thing on his mind.  Getting the lay of the land from different perspectives, to have a really good sense of it, is more relevant.  And though his means of transport may be slower than flying, it allows him to see things closer up, and to take more time with them.  Alison described the Knight of Pentacles as Air of Earth, so his mind goes faster than his body, and that is certainly well-expressed in this card.  He may take his time with things, but what he does he generally does well.  And though not the most romantic of Knights, he's trustworthy, reliable and  loyal.

I see this Knight's stick-to-it-ness in our showing the house today.  Buying and selling property is generally such a slow process in this country.  Every time we have a showing, we tidy up, put things away, try to give an impression of space.  We also make ourselves scarce, so that others can take their time looking over our home without feeling our eyes on them.  Plenty of Knight of Pentacles energy on both sides, I guess.  And that makes sense, for a big decision like where to live.  The Queen might also be good for this, but in some ways I like the Knight better - he's going out and exploring, moving and changing, even if very slowly :D

I am grateful for a tidy house.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Flying Bunny

Well, well, look what we have here!  Once again, the Tower comes to seek me out.  Perhaps that's why today's post is so late, I couldn't face my stalker once again...

In this version from the Badger's Forest Tarot (GameCrafter, 2013), we have a cute bunny flying through the air.  Sttones and scree tumble around it from the side of a rocky cliff face that seems to be sliding down beneath its legs.  Lightning jags through the sky above, and the bunny seems to be in free fall!

The fact that we can't see the ground and don't know what faces our poor bunny makes this card all the more ominous.  However, on the plus side, the positioning of the rabbit's legs makes it seem as though it may have taken a leap to try to escape the chaos of the cliff beneath its paws.

And doesn't this well describe the paradox of the Tower?  While something may happen that jars us out of our sense of security, it also offers us the opportunity to take a leap into something new, if we can just work up the courage to let go of what was.

It's funny, as I have actually taken a leap in a new direction today.  How it will work out, only time will tell.  However, I'm hoping that, despite all the strange newness, it will be a move towards growth and new possibilities...

I am grateful for having to do things a different way.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sunny Vista

Today's card from the Badger's Forest Tarot (GameCrafter, 2013) is another which can easily be read either traditionally or more intuitively.

In this version of the Nine of Crows (Pentacles), nine crows fly up in the sky over a sunny field of wheat.  It is only knowing the traditional Nine of Pentacles image that I think of them surveying the field and basking in the knowledge that there is plenty of food for them there.  Otherwise, I might well go for an interpretation like feeling distant from the world or getting a good overview of any situation, or people taking what we feel is ours.  There are even some dark clouds up there, which could hint at stormy times ahead...

Still, for today I'll go with tradition and take some time to appreciate the life I have.  I love where I live, even if we're moving soon.  I love my family, and I love the sunny weather we're having :)

I am grateful for my life.

Subtlety

While the cards in the Badger's Forest Tarot (GameCrafter, 2013) are connected with traditional tarot meanings, sometimes that connection is quite subtle, or more to be created by the reader than jumping out from the card.  At least, that is the way I perceive them.  Before I read the author’s intended links between the suits - Rabbits being Wands etc - I struggled to determine which suit was which simply by looking at them (and I went through the deck a couple of times, though it probably didn’t help that it came from the GameCrafter out of order).  This confusion around the suits is in part because I wouldn’t normally associate Crows (the only bird, and creature of the breezes in the skies and hence to my logic Air) with Pentacles (the suit of Earth and groundedness).  The other part is this subtlety of symbolism, which also leaves the cards open to very different intuitive readings, should you so choose.

Take today’s card, for example.  Here, in the Ten of Rabbits (Wands), we have a rabbit at the front of the card, with a snowy landscape behind in which probably ten dark trees stand.  The number of trees isn’t totally apparent, as there is at least one branch which could simply be a sapling, not yet full grown.  Anyhow, to me this card speaks at a visual level of cold and of hardship, perhaps of having to keep your eyes and ears open for any potential threats or opportunities.  It is only if I think of this rabbit as being part of a family, feeling the weight of needing to find food and shelter for others, that I can come close to the traditional Ten of Wands meaning.  And there isn’t much to suggest this - no hint of a warren with other bunnies in the background, for example.  To me, this card could just as well be the Knight of Swords, on the alert, the Knight of Wands, off exploring despite the inclement weather, or the Five of Pentacles, going through tough times.

Thinking of this card in terms of responsibilities, I see myself and my Dear One coming down from our time at the spa, returning to everyday life.  On a more positive note, I imagine that bunny would be very happy to finally get home to a warm burrow, and I do love my home - not just the building, but what it means in terms of family, connection and stability.

I am grateful for a warm home to return to.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

October Lenormand Overview

Following the example of Carla at Rowan Tarot, I decided to try out the monthly overview system suggested by Malkiel.  Using the beautiful, new Enchanted Lenormand from Caitlín Matthews and Virginia Lee (Watkins, 2013), I wanted to see what the cards had to say about the month of October for me.  So, I laid out a card for each day of the month, and then added in the remaining cards from the deck at places that felt right - not just for the 'negative' cards (as I don't really see them that way), but also for days that felt particularly important or where I just wanted clarification.  I also, as so often, left in the extra cards, hence two ladies appearing (side-by-side, no less).

Some interesting synchronicities came up straight away, as any cartomante would expect :)  The day I'm to give my workshop at the UK Tarot Conference (less than a week now *eek*), I drew the Garden (public events) and the Lady I most associate with - me up there in front of the crowd, get used to the idea, woman!  Also, the Mountain and the other Lady the day before - likely to feel stressed and struggle with last-minute issues/stage-fright ;)

For the following day, when I'll be hanging at the Conference, soaking in all that tarot and lenormand goodness, I drew the Birds - yep, same as Carla ;)  So, plenty of interesting conversations to be had!

As for the day we're supposed to complete on our new home, I drew the Clouds and the Letter - uncertainty around a document.  Well, no real surprise, these things are always rather fraught and unclear in this country :(

Also, on a day when I'm getting some test results, I drew the Sun - yay, good news!  And a day when we've booked a fancy meal with a chef visiting from Paris, the Bear - beware of overeating :D

Overall, looking at it from a more GT perspective, my significator, the Lady, is up in the second line from the top - I'm in control of most of what's going on in my life this month.  Things above me and on my mind: Child, and Coffin, Big Boy's health (always); Clover, Crossing/House, a short trip away from home (not a traditional reading, but it fits with Caitlín's adaptation of the Cross card); Anchor, and Fish, new work projects.

This is an interesting spread, combining the idea of a daily card with that of laying a GT for the month.  I'm sure I shall revisit it as the month progresses...

Winter Stores

It's Saturday, time for a new deck.  And yes, it's another cute animal deck!  This is the Badger's Forest Tarot by Nakisha VanderHoeven (GameCrafter, 2013), who also created the Rabbit Tarot.  The artwork is beautiful, presenting a variety of wild, woodland creatures on its cards.  The Majors show the greatest variety, while the suits are divided into Rabbits (Wands), Foxes (Cups), Badgers (Swords) and Crows (Pentacles). 

Here in the Four of Crows (Pentacles) we have a crow with a bright, red berry in its beak.  The landscape is covered in snow, and the crow is tucking the berry in with three others already stored under a stone. 

More than many traditional Four of Pentacle images, this card makes me think of the cold and hardship of winter, the struggle to find food in nature and the joy at the warm, bright pleasures we come across.  It is a reminder to prepare for the winter months, but also to make the most of any surprise that comes our way.

My Dear One and I are having a spa day: definitely a warm, sensual pleasure to savour before the rigours of the next few weeks and months!

I am grateful for hot pools and massages.

Friday, 4 October 2013

New Beginnings

For our final day with the Babylonian Tarot (Llewelyn, 2006), we have the extra Major which Sandra Cicero added to this deck: Genesis.

A bearded man's head looking like a statue floats in a lightning-split sky.  Below, waves seem to crash around the figure of a baby, curled into itself as though in the womb.  This is the time before time, before words or numbers, when even the Gods were yet to be born.  In Babylonian myth, the universe was created by the mingling of the male Apsu essence - fresh, sweet water - and the female Tiamat essence - chaotic, salt water.  From this event, everything else followed.  Once again, the similarity to other creation myths, be they biblical or Judaic, is apparent.

Whatever your view on such stories, this card is meant to represent new beginnings or a completely new outlook on life.  This isn't when the Fool jumps into something new, but rather when the seed of possibility that there could even be something new germinates.  It reminds me a little of the Aces, but on a grander, more encompassing scale.

After yesterday's exchange, which ended up taking place late afternoon, today nothing has changed yet.  Still, the seed is there.  While I am mostly looking forward to the move, I do worry how my son will react to a new home.  This is a boy who has cried every time he's gone on holiday and had to go to sleep for the first time (and sometimes the second and third times) in a bed that's not his own.  Ah well, there are always birthing pains, right?

I am grateful for the calm before the storm.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Overflowing Abundance

On this Thursday in October, another lovely card greets us from the Babylonian Tarot (Llewelyn, 2006).

Here we have the Three of Cups.  At the top of the card, three blue vases overflow with fresh water, which in a hot, dry region like Mesopotamia would certainly have been a welcome vision.  In fact, this type of vase, the book tells us, was called hegallu, which means "abundance".   Beneath this we have a bald, naked man carrying a basket of fruit between the trees of an orchard.

In terms of meanings, the book mentions plenty, success, pleasure, joy and celebration, as well as maternity and friendship.

This card bodes well for us exchanging contracts today.  That would certainly make my day feel abundant and worthy of celebrating!  In terms of the traditional 'supportive group of women' interpretation, I see in this the fact I'll be sending off my presentation and handouts to Kim Arnold, organiser of the UK Tarot Conference.  She's wonderfully organised with her tech, and also offers to print out handouts: most supportive!  One more task crossed from my to-do list is also something to celebrate :)

I am grateful for the abundance of well-being and good people in my life.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Resting Up

A far gentler and calmer Arrows (Swords) card faces us today from the Babylonian Tarot (Llewelyn, 2006).

Here, in the Four of Arrows, we see a lioness resting in a beautiful garden under a tree.  All four arrows point upwards, and are a calm, blue colour.  The companion book informs us that this lioness was injured in the Three of Arrows, and is now recuperating in the peaceful setting of a royal garden.  These ornate gardens were a favourite site for royal courtships, a peaceful retreat from the world and the burdens of state.

I like both the card's colours and image, as well as the backstory given in the book.  It fits well with traditional interpretations of taking some time out to rest or meditate, appreciating a little quiet and solitude.

You might think, given I'm posting this almost than four hours later than normal, that I managed a lie-in, as suggested by this card.  You'd be half right.  While I got up late, it was after a very restless night, as presaged by yesterday's card.  Waking just before 2am, I started worrying about our house purchase and move (the English system sucks, it's so unclear), about the UK Tarot Conference workshop I'm running next week (tech concerns, mainly), and about a work project that's begging for a bit of TLC.  Not restful!  So, having gotten up and ticked four things off my to-do list, I'm hoping I'll be able to get a bit of respite from my own worries, if not much more sleep.

I am grateful for the clarity of a to-do list.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Lion Hunting

Another Arrows (Swords) card greets us today from the Babylonian Tarot (Llewelyn, 2006).

Here we have the Nine of Arrows, which shows a lion attacking the wheel of a chariot, with nine arrows hanging above it.  The companion book informs us that lion hunting was a popular sport among Babylonian kings, a way to show their power and prowess, and also to frighten and awe lesser nobles.  However, from our perspective, they did their hunting from the back of a chariot, with arrows and spears - hardly a fair fight!  The arrows are arrayed with eight pointing down and one pointing up, to indicate the lion's continued brave fight as, injured, it still tries to attack the chariot that seems the source of its pain.  The title of the card - Cruelty - certainly sums up Sandra Cicero's take on this "kingly sport".

From a more purely tarot perspective, I found it interesting that she includes self-blame and nightmares only as reversed meanings of the card, while those and a churning mind leading to insomnia tend to be my main interpretations.  Instead, she speaks of mental cruelty, despair, loss of a loved one, and suffering that brings new-found strength.

Certainly, there's a lot going on right now to send my mind whirling.  We have an important meeting regarding our house move today, and exchange of contracts is supposed to take place tomorrow.  That could well give me some sleepless moments...

I am grateful for the reminder that I could see this as an opportunity for growth, rather than a reason for worry.