Saturday, 30 November 2013

Imbalance?

This week, it's back to tarot, with a deck published by Schiffer back in 2010: the Otherworld Tarot.  This deck has colourful, fantastical images and semi-illustrated pips, with some interesting, even unusual keywords.

Take today's card, the Two of Swords.  Keywords for me would be "stalemate", "truce", "indecision", perhaps even "unstable/untenable balance".  Imbalance isn't even close, from my perspective.

Still, I love the visual!  Snowy mountain peaks in the background, with two crossed swords in the foreground, a playful crescent moon above, and two spooky eyes gleaming from out of the night sky.  This speaks to me of being at cross purposes with yourself, of possibly seeing clearly, yet still not finding the way to wisdom.  It could also suggest a battle between our rational thoughts and our intuition...  Perhaps that is where the idea of imbalance comes in.

As a double-Gemini, I must confess I'm often in two (or more) minds about things.  Perhaps today is a day to stay with that uncertainty and see if something fertile comes of it if I don't rush to decide.  This mountains aren't going anywhere in a hurry, after all.

I am grateful for a day where I don't have to choose.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Lennie Week 13 - Midnight Madness Lenormand

For this last day of Lennie Week, we have another interesting, self-published deck.  This one would have fitted nicely in the Halloween week, but arrived just a few days too late.  The Midnight Madness Lenormand by Bridgett Trejo is a fun photocomposite deck, with simple playing card inserts and Hammer Horror-style titles :D



So, what do Man, Path and Bouquet add up to?

Having to choose between a man and a woman - possibly your partner and a friend.
Taking action to further your creative choices.
Making a rational choice for beauty.
Deciding between a relationship and a creative opportunity.

I can definitely see some actions I'd like to take today that would expand my creative choices.  Round about this time last year I got myself Leonie Dawson's My Incredible 2013 workbook.  One of my plans for this year was to take art classes.  That never happened, but I have been trying to improve my artistic skills on my own.  I took a class in using photoshop, and I've been zentangling and sketching.  Next on my list is to finally open and use the acrylic paints I bought back before the summer :o  Wish me luck!

I am grateful for the creative opportunities this year has offered me.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Lennie Week 13 - Lovely Lenormand

Today's deck is one I discovered when I was at the UK Tarot Conference back in October.  There, I met Harpa Luthersdottir, a sweet, funny lady from Iceland who created this cute, very modern deck: the Lovely Lenormand (2013).  The images are very simple and colourful, and the deck comes with alternate Man, Woman and Child cards (I like the addition of a second child card, something I have also done in my Celtic Lenormand).  As those who've read a few of my posts will know, I generally leave all the extra cards in.  This time around, I chose one Man and one Woman card (just based on which ones appealed to me most).  However, I left both Child cards in, as I am currently interested in readings that differentiate between Big Boy and the baby that's on the way :)  The Lovely Lenormand also has four extra cards: Angel, Prisoner, Butler and Cat.


And one of those extra card appeared in today's cards: we have Birds, Angel and Snake.  What might they say to us?

A spiritual conversation with another woman.
A message from the angels: there's no need to be anxious about another woman.
Worry about spiritual boundaries.
Gossip about a woman involved in angel readings.

Well, I'm not a big fan of gossip, so I'll go for the first interpretation.  There are quite a few spiritual blogs I read, and having a conversation in the comments section could count as a conversation.  However, that only works if I comment, so today I'll try to make time for that, as it's always enlightening :)

I am grateful for the ability to connect with so many spiritual people via the interwebs.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Lennie Week 13 - Everyday Lenormand

As promised yesterday, today we'll take a look at the sister deck to the Keywordy Lenormand.  The Everyday Lenormand (Tierney Sadler, 2013) uses the same, interesting, vintage black-and-white images as its sister, but with the images expanded, and just simple titles below them. 

The decks, although they both have the same purple borders, also have different backs, echoing the different treatment of the images in each.  And once again, the wrapping the deck comes in is lovely, and the deck itself is simple and practical: no extra cards, just a basic 36-card Lenormand deck. 

For today's reading we have Snake, Tower and Coffin.

As a person, this could be a female nurse.
A bureaucratic loophole is closed.
Institutional boundaries are rigid.
A deceptive sickness requires institutional assistance.
A seductress in a hospital (not sure why men have a thing about nurse's uniforms, but there you go).

I'm having some hassles with institutional rigidity at the moment.  Hopefully, a phone call today will help me clarify if and how I can best work around those restrictions. 

I am grateful for help in dealing with bureaucracies.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Lennie Week 13 - Keywordy Lenormand

Today, it's back to a traditionally-inspired deck, though with a couple of interesting twists.  This is the Keywordy Lenormand from Tierney Sadler (2013).  It's designed as a learning tool, incorporating keywords in bright colours and different sizes around the image, so that they stand out and catch the eye in different ways at different times.  Other than being a nice, clear deck, with useful keywords, it also has a sister deck, the Everyday Lenormand, which I'll show tomorrow!  The idea is that if you learn with the Keywordy, the images from the Everyday will then be familiar and easy to read with.  And the Everyday is very pretty in it's own right, a good, practical deck :)

I also have to mention how these decks came wrapped and packed, because it is absolutely beautiful!  Each came in its own organza bag, wrapped in pretty paper, and sealed with a proper wax seal.  I'm a sucker for that kind of thing, and this is wonderfully done.


Anyhow, back to today's reading.  Lady, Whips and Stars.  Riffing on these I came up with:

An argumentative man on the internet - sadly, there seem to be more than enough trolls around, even within the supposedly more spiritual communities of card readers.
A fight with a man leads to greater clarity.
A sexual relationship with a man has a spiritual side.
Dealing with (or being) an abusive man requires seeking out guidance.

Well, I hope my Dear One and I don't have a fight today.  We are going to a couple of appointments together where we might well have a difference of opinion.  Hopefully, we can learn from these differing perspectives, rather than getting bitchy about it...

I am grateful for healthy debate.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Lennie Week 13 - Baralho para Ver a Sorte

Another Brazilian Lenormand deck shows it's face today.  This one is titled Baralho para Ver a Sorte (Deck to See your Luck).  Once again sourced through the delightful Socorro van Aerts, I really like the playful Court card inserts!  The images, while less colourful than yesterday's, are also charming.


Here we have House, Tree and Stars:

Body, mind and spirit delight in a stable home and a sense of wonder at the universe.
Lasting property investments require guidance.
Home-based health technology - from electric toothbrushes to more complex medical equipment.
A family-man's health issues are spreading.

Well, I certainly hope the last one won't be our case.  My Dear One has had a cough the last few days, and I'm really hoping Big Boy and I don't get it!  Big Boy suffers a lot when he's ill, because of his other issues, and being pregnant means I can't even take a Lemsip, never mind cough medicine!  Maybe he'll just spread it to his work colleagues today ;)

I am grateful for good health.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Lennie Week 13 - Baralho Cigano 2

Continuing in the slightly alternative Lenormand vein, today's is a true Lenormand, but of the Brazilian persuasion.  As I have mentioned before, Lenormand's were taken over to Brazil over a hundred years ago, and have been somewhat adapted to cultural understandings from that country.  For one thing, the Cross is interpreted very positively.  For another, the Clover was adapted to become the Logs: a passing obstacle, rather than a passing bit of luck.  In any case, these very minor changes (which only really affect one card, the other changes being in interpretation rather than design), don't show up in our reading today with another Baralho Cigano (Gypsy Deck) from feiticosaromaticos (sourced through DeKeizerin, a lovely Brazilian now located in Holland).


Here we have Child, Flowers and Tower.  Riffing on these gives me:

A new creative project brings institutional limits - paperwork and red tape.
Rapunzel (a beautiful young girl locked away in a tower) :)
Creativity comes from melding novelty and the tried-and-true.
A new creative project requires some oversight.

I was reading a post over on Greylady's Hearth last night which talked about pushing her comfort zone in a creative project.  I'll admit, I tend to balance structure with innovation, rather than just going wild!  Even that can push my comfort zone, as I was one of those kids who was always told I couldn't draw or paint.  Also, being a double-Gemini, I find that without some structure to give me a guide, I don't even know where to start, seeing far too many possibilities.  Perhaps today, I'll be able to take some time to start on a painting I've been wanting to do for a while.  The sketch is already in place, but now I want to paint it in acrylics, something I've never done before - so, novelty and structure both :)

I am grateful for the wealth of colour in the world.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Lennie Week 13 - X-Karten

Once again, I think it's about time to have a week dedicated to Lenormand readings!  This week, however, I'm going to start with a somewhat different deck.  Purists may want to stop reading now, before they keel over in horror.

In Malkiel Dietrich's X-Karten (reprinted 2013 by Jasmin Andres), 24 of the 36 cards retain the numbering and titles of traditional Lenormands, another 5 keep a meaning equivalent to at least some of the keywords associated with their Lenormand counterpart, while the last 7 are slightly or very different.  Still, I think they can be read quite easily, and they are designed to be read in the same way as a Lenormand or Kipper, so I'm going to go for it.

Keys, Moon, Lightning
As you can see, in this reading one of the adjusted cards has shown up: 8 is Lightning, rather than Coffin.  Malkiel's keyword for this card is ending, but I'll just see where things take me.  Putting it together with Key and Moon, what I get are the following phrases:

Emotional certainty leads to a shock - if you feel absolutely certain about something, then it will be shocking if anything challenges that certainty.
Fame comes through unlocking tragedy - a la Jeremy Kyle?
An insight into your emotions brings closure.
Recognition of a certain ending.

For me, I think a combination of two of these is most relevant.  An email yesterday from someone I respect made me question some emotional certainties and long-held beliefs.  I hope today, perhaps through journalling, I can find some closure around that.

I am grateful for challenges to old tapes.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Look! It's the Bat Signal!

For our last day with the Bohemian Gothic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2007) we get to see one of the Aces, the Ace of Pentacles.

There is definitely an eeriness, but also a hint of humour to this card.  A skull and crossbones decorate the spire of a tall building, silhouetted by the moon.  Skulls are used in all the pentacle cards, so this gives us a clue to the suit's expression in this deck.  It gets down to basics, the fundaments of our very body - you don't get much more material than that - and yet is also creepy, suggesting death by the fleshlessness of these bones.  The humour, for me, comes from the "bat signal" feel of the skull and crossbones being projected by the light of the moon :)

This Ace of Pentacles, then, exalts the material - putting it at the top of a tall building - and yet also pulls it down to its fundaments.  I'm not sure I see a new beginning here, yet it is a signal to focus on the material, and on life itself.  Death will come soon enough, for now, let us enjoy that there is flesh clothing our body, blood in our veins, and breath in our lungs.

I try to appreciate that gift every day, and certainly connect with it through exercise.  I would love to make time to go for a walk on the Heath today, too, though I'm not sure that will happen.  As for new material beginnings, we're getting a car!  I gave my car up back in 2004 when I moved back to the UK, and my Dear One gave his up in 2006 or 2007, but we decided it was time.  It should make some things with Big Boy a deal easier, especially when he has a baby brother.  Struggling on the tube with two kids sounds like no fun at all.  It's been nice to know we weren't polluting the planet with a car, but practicality is taking over now.  And I still plan to walk most of the time, it's more for emergencies, like last week when I had to pick Big Boy up from school at very short notice, which was extremely stressful.

I am grateful for being alive.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Blood and Water

With today's card from the Bohemian Gothic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2007), we are back to very subtle spookiness.

In this version of Temperance, a red-haired woman with white angel wings pours something from one cup to another.  She wears an elegant lilac evening dress with dropped sleeves, and stands in front of a pool of calm water.  Behind her, a hill rises, with rocks and trees and a light dusting of snow.  The sky above is a pale pink.

Where, then, is the creepiness?  Most obviously in the rocky outcropping to her left, where stones mingle with a skull, a snake, and a human face as fountain from which water pours.  More subtly still, the liquid the angel pours from one cup to the other is blood red, at least in the cup we can see. 

This card is often associated with balancing different elements and aspects.  Likewise, it is sometimes tied to healing, which is a way of balancing our body and spirit.  I certainly see that here, with her pouring blood from one cup into another, with symbols of death (skull) and healing (snake) beside her, and the clarity of water to wash away the pain and confusion.

Today, I need to find a better balance between getting lots done and procrastinating over the taxes, which I didn't touch yesterday!  I also plan to arrange some healing appointments for Big Boy, who has been suffering a bit lately.  Modern medicine has said it can do nothing more for him, at least in one regard, so it's time to try some other approaches...

I am grateful for the variety of healing modalities available in London.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Lighting The Way

This card gives me the creeps at first glance, more than many others from the Bohemian Gothic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2007).

Our Hermit figure holds out a warm lamp, the light from which doesn't seem to penetrate far in the shadowy night.  There is also a full moon in the sky, yet it looks small and distant, and there is a mist around the trees that loom over the figure.   I think the creepiness comes not just from the dark, misty night, but more especially from the Hermit's rigid, zombie-like posture, and his eery eyes, with bright whites which shine through even the darker shadows of the non-scanned image.

Although his light is warm and welcoming, he himself isn't.  He also looks very sad, like everything he has learned has made him more melancholy, rather than allowing him to find the joy and beauty in life.  All-in-all, it is a rather mournful card.  Perhaps, though, it is that very sadness that sends him in search of answers...

Hmm, perhaps I'll have a little time today to look inward for answers.  For the most part, though, I need to dig around in various filing systems and accounts for tax information *yawn*  Ah well, it's got to be done, and it is a fairly solitary pursuit which nevertheless shines light for those who examine it later, lol.

I am grateful that not every day is as dull as this one threatens to be.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Cutting Through The Sadness

It's interesting just how much can come from a simple image, as demonstrated by today's card from the Bohemian Gothic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2007).

A golden-hilted sword sticks out of the earth in a graveyard, with white blossoms just behind it, a tombstone farther in the background, and an iron railing in the foreground.  The first sentence that popped into my head when I saw this card was the title above: cutting through the sadness.

Of course, digging into the symbolism, I can also see the suggestion of enlightenment coming from sowing new ideas, or of needing to be grounded in how we apply our ideas.  We could also think about what keeps new thoughts locked inside our head, rather than being put into action...

In the context of my day, I wonder whether a new idea will put some past issues to rest.  I'll be talking with my therapist later, and while many people associate Cups cards with counselling, I can also see this idea of cutting through the past, cutting through sadness, as being related.  It would be nice to have some insight to help me deal with one or two of my worries around this pregnancy, for one thing...

I am grateful for moments of clarity.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Howling At The Moon

Although there is often a wolf howling at the moon in traditional Tower cards, in the Bohemian Gothic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2007) we also have one on the Moon card.

Once again, I love the subtlety of the eeriness portrayed here.  A woman in an elegant, off-the-shoulder evening dress and a crescent moon headdress stands under a waxing moon.  There are some trees to her left, and an ornate garden with a nymph statue to her right.  Meanwhile, behind her a beautiful white-furred fox raises his muzzle to the moon and howls.  As we look closer, we can see that the woman seems unnaturally pale, her eyes almost entirely dark, and she is unphased by the wolf behind her, despite the blood around his mouth!

For me, this works well as a card of mystery, uncertainty and nightmares.  The different elements are juxtaposed in a way that seems quite natural and yet strange, as dreams often do.  It's interesting, too, that several of the figures could well have fitted into other cards - the wolf in the Tower, the woman as the High Priestess.  This, too, lends it a dream-like quality, where different people appear, or a person seems to be more than one real person.

I have to admit, I'm not great at dealing with uncertainty.  Being someone who has worked in administration for most of my adult life, I'm far better with having things organised than with spontaneity, especially in the world of work.  Still, I see in this card a reminder that I can't always get everything clear straight away, and sometimes that's just the way things are.

I am grateful for the reminder to roll with life's punches today.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Pyrrhic Victory

A couple of interesting twists are added to the Six of Wands in the Bohemian Gothic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2007).

At first glance, once again the image seems quite traditional: a man riding a horse is surrounded by a crowd at ground level.   The first twist is that, rather than riding along inside a town, or along a road, the man is clearly leaving a fortress.  Heading out to fight, perhaps? 

The second twist is where more of the gothic creepiness slides in, as the army is made up of skeleton warriors.  This adds levels to the oft-suggested interpretation of succeeding with the support of others, or winning their acclaim.  It seems almost cheating to go into battle when your warriors presumably cannot die.  And they seem unlikely to be willing or adulating, with the suggestion that they are animated and controlled by necromantic arts.  What kind of a victory can come from this, and who will celebrate it with the man?

I consider myself very lucky with all the help I have.  Far from mindless zombies, we have a couple of nannies working with Big Boy who are trained physios, and another who trained as a special needs teacher.  My Dear One is also helping out a lot more now, saying it's his contribution given I'm pregnant again.   I can certainly do with it today, as I cut my thumb quite badly making dinner last night.  It's amazing how hard it is even to type right now - I'm so used to two-handed touch typing.

I am grateful for the wonderful help and support from those around me.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Devil Woman

This week, following on again from the TABI Halloween decks post, I decided to pull out the first edition of the Bohemian Gothic Tarot (Baba Studios, 2007).  A third edition is now available for pre-order, if you're tempted...

For our first card, we have the deliciously creepy Ten of Wands.  At first glance, it's quite a traditional depiction.  A little old lady carries a heavy-looking bundle as she walks past a stone-walled castle with a high up window shedding a warm light.  Looking closer, though, we notice the old lady's shadow has horns, and she eyes us in a challenging manner. 

One thing I read from this is the idea that sometimes we shoulder burdens spurred on by our own demons.  Another take might be that those burdens change us, mark us, if we don't watch out.  

Just today I was thinking about some tasks which I would gladly take on, but acknowledging that I have too much else on my plate.  I hope this is me backing away from my "be responsible" demon, rather than me letting my "laziness" demon talk me into giving up...

I am grateful for a clear sense of what I can handle.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Lounging

For our last day with James Ricklef's Tarot of the Masters we have another lovely card: the Three of Cups.

I like the way these three are lounging around, enjoying a balmy afternoon in the company of friends.  It's interesting to have the suggestion of a harem with the arabic costumes and accoutrements.  While this can have negative connotations of male dominance and enslavement, I have also read that women within the harem often had a great deal of freedom, and an in-built support network.  Of course, that would depend on the group dynamics, as you can get positive and negative dynamics in any system.  Still, this card is a reminder to look for the pleasure in others' company, and the support of those around you.

As for its spiritual message, in The Soul's Journey James writes: "As the 'friendship card,' the Three of Cups calls to mind a wonderful line from the 1946 movie, It's a Wonderful Life: 'No man is a failure who has friends.'...  It also suggests an Erma Bombeck quote, which contains a wonderful bit of advice: 'If I had my life to live over I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.'  And it urges us to remember the old maxim, 'A friend in need is a friend indeed.'"  He suggests some advice for making deep, meaningful friendships, and also comments that: "perhaps the best times spent with friends are quiet moments togher, times when our souls are united in joy even if outwardly we are not doing anything special."

Well, that last line is lovely, and something I hope for in my reunion with my Dear One and Big Boy today.  Although I've only been away for 48 hours, I miss them!  So, nothing splashy planned, just an afternoon of playing with Big Boy, and an evening on the sofa with my love :)  And if there's time, I'd also like to connect with some of my lovely blog friends, as I had little time free or internet access while I was away!

I am grateful for the love and friendship in my life.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Divine Inspiration

On this Thursday, we have a very inspirational card from the Tarot of the Masters: the Ace of Wands.

Here, we see a man kneeling on a bench in front of a writing desk.  His cloak shades from orange at the shoulders to red, colours of passion and life.  Above him shines a star, and an angel reaches down, offering him divine inspiration.  This is an interesting justaposition, colours associated with the lower chakras, combined with the angel's energy.  Yet, without passion applied to inspiration, it will not go far.

In The Soul's Journey James Ricklef offers us a definition of divine inspiration, as opposed to egoistic inspiration: "we might wonder if our inspiration will uplift us or serve to relieve suffering in others.  In that case, it is probably of a divine origin.  On the other hand, if it is focused merely on personal aggrandizement or the accumulation of wealth, it is of the ego."

I hope that some divine inspiration will flow in the meeting today, that's for sure.  The higher-ups have been debating something for years now, and while they know it needs to be done, personal motivations have been getting in the way of a clear decision being made.  Yet, everyone acknowledges that it would be for the good of the company and all involved to achieve clarity.

I am grateful for the encouragement to seek the higher good today.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Secrets

Today's card from the Tarot of the Masters is a rather scary version of the Seven of Swords.

A woman carries a basket filled with bread and wine, her apron stuffed with more goodies.  In her other hand she brandishes a sword and she looks over her shoulder as though afraid of persuers.  And well she might be, given there's a bat above her and a three-headed hound in the foreground.  Is this Cerberos, the Greek and Roman version of a hell-hound?  Is she escaping into or out of the underworld?  She might be entering it, carrying supplies so she won't have to eat or drink from there and be forced to stay.  And why enter in the first place?  To gain some knowledge which others might not want her to have, perhaps?

There are certainly other stories that could be seen in this image, and this may well not be what the original Old Master intended, yet it is what I see today.  A desire for knowledge, and an acknowledgment of the potential costs of that.

Interestingly, in The Soul's Journey one of the things that James associates this card with is secrets, and the way they can control us rather than vice versa.  He suggests that: "We think we benefit from keeping our secrets, but... our secrets often control us, and so the way to freedom includes finding a safe way to release them."  This involves judicious consideration of who the secret effects and why we are keeping it, as well as bringing us face to face with questions of trust.

I can see both research (gaining knowledge from sometimes difficult sources) and secrets in this image today.  I'm off on another business trip, and have some confidential paperwork I need to finish reading.  Fortunately, I'll be travelling with a colleague I trust implicitly, so we'll be able to discuss the ins and outs of the papers and tomorrow's meeting.

I am grateful for shared trust.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Decisive

Wow, what a very different Queen to yesterday's!  This time, we meet the Queen of Wands from the Tarot of the Masters.

This lady seems more of a ruler than a mother, despite her costume which imitates pendulous breasts.  She sits on an ostentatious throne holding a sceptre across her lap.  As for her clothes, she wears armour under her dress, and a red cape over the top.  Yet, despite all these trappings of power, her gaze seems pensive, almost sad.  Perhaps her responsibilities weigh heavily on her...


In The Soul's Journey James states: "The Queen of Wands indicates the attributes of being open and warm, giving and supportive, cheerful and gregarious.  But more than just advocating that we cultivate these traits for our own sake, this card says that we can create a better world by manifesting them and thereby being an inspiration to others."  For me, this is the true power of rulership, setting a good example and encouraging the same behaviour in others.

It's funny to get this card today, as the Queen of Coins would have fit my morning better, with a meeting at Big Boy's school.  Yet later, it's true, I'll have some decisions to make, so maybe that's when I'll need this Queen's determination and focus.  And while I may not be the ruler of anything, I can still try to set a good example, both at the school and at work, being supportive and giving...

I am grateful for the reminder that we help create the world we live in.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Mothering Instinct

Tarot of the Masters
It's always great when a cross-section of cards come up from a deck, showcasing its different facets. Today, the Tarot of the Masters offers us a Court card: the Queen of Coins (Disks).

This image certainly emphasises the nurturing aspect of this Queen, who sits breast feeding her child.  There is a golden coin with a bunny rabbit over the child's belly.  To me, this is both a reminder of the rabbit in the RWS Queen of Pentacles and, by its placement, also indicates the continuity of family: rabbits being known for breeding, and this symbol being over the next generation.  It indicates just how important family is to this Queen, and how she thinks about the practicalities of ensuring that continuity: like a plant that you have to water and prune, families grow and prosper through practical, everyday care and wise use of resources. 

To bring a more spiritual focus to this card, James suggests in The Soul's Journey that we consider that, like a mother, the Universe will nurture us.  Also, that this is the ideal for how we should treat others, and he highlights that offering others a nurturing love does not need to deplete us - it can be a win-win situation.

Well, the reason this is posting late is that I've been on both sides of that equation already today.  As his mother, I took Big Boy to an early appointment at the hospital, for some advice from a specialist nurse.  She was very helpful, and I wrote her suggestions in his school book so the school nurse will also hear about them.  I also offered my seat on the bus to an older lady.  And then, walking the final few steps home, a woman who lives on the street, but whom I don't really know, smiled at me and said "Looking good, mamma!" as we passed each other.  Put a smile on my face :)

I am grateful for the kindness we can show each other.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Grace Under Fire

Today's is a lovely image from James Ricklef's Tarot of the Masters.  And, I believe it's based on a painting by Degas, proving I'm not totally unaware of these Old Masters :)

Here, on the Two of Coins (Pentacles), we have a ballerina on stage, doing an attitude with her left leg.  Both her arms are held up in what looks like second position (though it could be fourth), and her head is tossed back nonchalantly.  Can you tell I know more about ballet than I do about art? ;)   In the background are two more figures, a male and female, who both appear to be in evening dress.  They are standing in what may be the wings, either that or they're all on a beach, which seems rather unlikely.  As though floating in the air, we see two coins, one above each of the ballerina's outstretched arms.

For me, the ballerina is a great image for this card.  She is balancing in her pose, one leg back behind her in the air.  She also reaches out in opposite directions, as though pulled towards each of the coins.  All the elements, then, of balance and physicality that you would expect.  And yet, there's more, as she achieves this balancing act with grace and poise, making it look easy.  That takes a lot of practice, and focus!

Referring to this archetype in The Soul's Journey, James talks about balancing the mundane and the spiritual aspects of life, on which he says: "In order to find a balance between those two, we choose which is truly important to us and then give more weight to that one."   He also points out that not making a choice is, by default, choosing the material plane, given the way we are shaped by the culture around us.  And, as in the Zen proverb: "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.  After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water," he also reminds us that: "Although we may do the same old things when enlightened, we will do them... compassionately and mindfully, and we will be fully engaged in them."  Bringing absolute engagement, then, to a physical experience like dancing, is a way of making it a spiritual experience.

At a basic level, I could take this card as a recommendation to do a ballet practice today.  Yet, I also see it questioning the way I choose to balance different aspects of my life: work and home; energy I give to my living child or the one yet to be born; time I give to myself or others.  Theoretically, I could give time to others, with an engagement that makes of it time I give to myself.  Still, I don't think I've achieved that degree of enlightenment yet...

I am grateful for the reminder to be present in whatever I choose to do.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Cutting Thoughts

Last week saw the launch of a new book by one of my favourite Tarot authors, James Ricklef.  Based on the spiritual wisdom posts from his blog, The Soul's Journey offers quotes from spiritual leaders and philosophers, as well as James' own insights.  What better time to explore his deck, Tarot of the Masters (self-published, currently in 3rd printing), with commentary from the new book?

The first card I drew is the Ten of Swords.  This perfectly illustrates the deck's premise.  It is based on paintings by Old Masters, which James chose for their relevance to tarot meanings, and then re-painted himself, tweaking here and there.  In this image, then, we have a picture of the Death of Caesar, which nicely blends the idea of someone stabbed in the back multiple times, while taking it further and showing some of the after-effects.  The group in the background are celebrating the dawn of a new era.  Of course, things didn't go quite as they intended, but that's a story for another card...

In The Soul's Journey, James says: "Through the deadly violence often depicted on this card, it has acquired a traditional meaning of brutality, although I generally see it more as the ideas, thoughts and beliefs involved than the actual acts themselves."  That is certainly apparent in the image he chose here, as the Roman senators acted because of their beliefs and values.  Yet, those beliefs and values are, to a degree, simply ideas, ways of understanding the world.  As Ricklef adds: "our world becomes a much smaller place when our perception of reality is limited by the illusions of naming and categorizing."  While this could easily be applied to those Roman senators, with their ideas about how Rome should be run, it can equally be looked at from our own perspective.

I think one of the reasons why I've never blogged with this deck before is because it pushes one of my self-categorising buttons.  My mother used to take me to lots of museums and art galleries as a child, and I hated it.  Even today, while I enjoy exploring art in some ways (not just through tarot cards, but also in small exhibitions) spending too long wandering around an art gallery always gives me terrible backache.  It also often leaves me feeling inadequate: both in terms of my own lack of art skills, but also in my lack of understanding of art, technique, and art history.  So, I tend to define myself as someone who doesn't know anything about art.

What a self-limiting belief!  It strikes me as bizarre, writing this, because I love art so much.  I guess I'd describe myself as not knowing much about it, but knowing what I like.  And yet, is that really true?  I analyse art in the form of tarot on an almost daily basis.  Not in terms of brush strokes or medium, but in terms of symbology, colour, and meaning.  Perhaps the new era I could allow to dawn today is one in which I acknowledge my passion for art, rather than denegrating myself for what I don't know.

I am grateful for the reminder not to limit myself through my own self-categorisation.

Friday, 8 November 2013

At Cross-Purposes

For this last day with the Deviant Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007, we have one of my favourite cards from the whole deck!

In this Two of Swords, we see a person divided, at cross-purposes with themself.  The figure has two heads that seem locked in battle, forehead to forehead.  One is pale-skinned, one dark.  Each head is attached to what seems to be a single torso, but with control over half, and in particular a like-skinned arm which brandishes a sword.   The swords also cross, as though trying to slice off the other head!  Beneath, the body has two legs, also one light one dark.  However, these are on the opposite side to the "matching" head and arm.

For me, this card perfectly illustrates a couple of things.  Firstly, the way that things are never all black or all white, never simple or one-sided.  Secondly, it shows the tension that this can create, the stand-still as we decide which way we will go, which aspect we will favour.  Ultimately, though, a choice will be made, even if it is the choice to stay with the tension.

It's funny, because I did a Lennie reading for myself this morning, too.  This card was an excellent reminder to help clarify it.  In Lennie's, some people like to see clarity, but I can't help seeing that there are still always at least two sides to every situation, every card, and every combination.  It may be to do with being a double Gemini ;)  And yet, I do have to make choices, to act.  That stalemate cannot last forever.  This card makes me think about how I make those choices, how I decide which way to go with something.

I am grateful for the reminder that it all comes down to choices.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Drip, Drip, Drip...

There is something both horrific and yet also deeply moving about today’s card from the Deviant Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007).

A rather rotund Queen of Swords stands in a leafless garden, holding two swords.  Blood drips from the tilted blade of one onto the earth beneath, while the other is held upright, and pristine.  Echoing the drop of blood on her sword’s blade is a blue teardrop that rolls down from her mechanical eye.  A small, somewhat grim-faced moon glares down at the Queen.  Her costume is ornate: a red and gold crown and headdress, a matching red outer garment, and a brown skirt and grey blouse.  The Queen of Swords also wears a diaphonous black veil that covers her eyes.

Here, then, there is the suggestion of pain and mourning, of suffering tempered by a willingness to still seek truth and look to the future.  Blood has been shed, yet she isn't happy about it.  Sometimes it is necessary to cut to the quick, but that makes it no less painful.

The main thing this card makes me think of is some phonecalls I need to make to bureaucrats.  My mother always told me: when dealing with a bureacrat, be as clear as possible, and ask nicely for help.  I'll need to cut through some red tape with that sword, but must also remember that it is another human at the end of the phone line.

I am grateful for the reminder to see the person behind the bureaucracy.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Punch & Judy

Today’s card from the Deviant Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007) keeps most of the signature strangeness of the deck - the mechanical eyes; the mix of extremely dark and light skins; the odd, pointy chin of the little girl at the front right; and the strange lashes of all the children.  Yet, it also manages to speak to the joys of childhood, and our deep-held beliefs.

Four children sit or stand in front of a Punch and Judy- style mini-theatre.  They all seem excited: full of suspense and joy at the spectacle in front of them.  On the stage, we see a red-skinned, horned devil figure with a trident, and a dark robe with a waning moon in gold on the chest.  Above the devil sits another pale crescent moon, waxing this time.  There is also a pale, big-nosed figure in grey, with a tall hat, and a buttoned coat, reaching out to the devil.  I find the mini-theatre itself fascinating, full of symbolism.  There are two more crescent moons at the top corners of the theatre, and a full moon, with a little face, right at the centre.  There are also six cups embossed in gold on the top edge of the stage, and two little red flags flying above it.  Red curtains frame the stage, and there is an industrial landscape behind the figures, with stars in the sky above, and what seems like a cloud of smoke between them and the factory buildings. 

The image suggests the innocence of childhood, a time when we still believed in situations and people being what they seemed, when we thought we could understand the world around us and affect it for the better.  While those might seem rather utopic hopes, this card asks why we have stopped believing, and dares us to try to bring some of that faith into our lives today.

I'm not sure how much faith I can have today, if only in myself.  I managed to forget to post this until now, though it was sitting all-but-ready in my blogger box.  Perhaps that indicates the focus of a child - paying attention to the scene on the stage, and not to the bigger picture!  I've been focused on organising stuff for the new house - painting colour patches, measuring up for furniture, transferring utilities to our name.  I also spent some time on work: personnel questions, and fact checking.  Things like the blog fell by the wayside :(

I am grateful for the reminder to check and double check my posts are properly scheduled.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Prehistoric Path

Seeing today’s card, I can appreciate why some people find this deck, the Deviant Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007) creepy.

In this Ten of Wands we have a rather prehistoric looking character.  With his three fingers and three toes, and his head like a pterodactyl, he’s hardly going to win any beauty contests.  He walks along a light path, surrounded by a bleak landscape.  The colours are all muted, from the dark brown and black of his robe to the dusty brown of the twiggy-looking landscape.  Even the landscape looks like a sepia take on black, with a full moon shining from above.  The brightest things are the gold of his mechanical eye and the red of his lips, which only serves to highlight the sharpness of his teeth.

Still, I find hope in the fact that he walks a bright path amongst the rough landscape.  Though burdened by ten thick, wooden staves, he carries on regardless.  His mechanical eye peers out at the world, assessing where he is going.  Sometimes, we need that kind of  unthinking dedication to help us move forward.

It's funny, I don't really feel this way today.  I have plenty to do, it's true, but none of it has a fixed deadline, which I always find more stressful.  Though some of the paperwork I have to read is certainly going to be boring...  The only really burdensome thing is that I have to wait at home for a couple of deliveries (medical equipment for Big Boy, and a present for his friend, whose birthday we're going to on Saturday). 


I am grateful for the ability to order things and have them delivered to my home.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Scary Priestess

On this Monday morning, we have a slightly scary lady greet us from the Deviant Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007).

This High Priestess has a white moon face with a single, mechanical eye glaring at us, and a red-lipped mouth which seems contorted in a grimace.  Behind this first face, we can make out a dark, full round face (suggestive of the dark of the moon) with a closed eyelid that looks like a little crescent moon.  Her arms are crossed over her heart, and her long fingers reach out as though trying to capture a message on the wind.

She has somewhat tattered, grey wings, and wears a dark, hooded cape with gold trim over a red dress.  I notice that the end of her cape on the left side seems to turn into a snake’s tail.  She sits, bare-footed, on a stone plinth with a checkered floor under her.  In the distance are towering buildings, and above it all is the dark of a star-spangled sky.

Her moon-faced head puts me in mind of our intuition.  It is interesting how she has one mechanical eye that is open, and a dark eye that is closed.  It is in dreams, in the dark inner spaces, that she sees most clearly.  It is strange, too, to find her in such a man-made landscape, with little hint of nature.  Yet her feet are bare.  Even when surrounded by the noise and bustle of civilisation, she is able to get in contact with the earth, with nature.

The message I take from today’s card is to listen to my intuition.  I have a budgeting decision to make where I don’t have many of the variables at my disposal that you’d normally consider: price, time-frame, specs for the final product.  Instead, I will have to base my choice more on my gut feeling about the different companies tendering for the job, and an assessment of the process they say they follow.  Still, an unusual situation calls for a different approach, and I just hope no-one holds the choice against me down the line.

I am grateful for the reminder to look inward for more subtle information than I normally deal with in my day job.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Feelings

After the post I wrote as TABI’s contribution to the Samhain Blog Hop, I realised that a couple of the decks I mentioned there were ones that I hadn’t actually featured here on the blog.  So, time to rectify that, and I decided to make a start with the Deviant Moon Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007).  Due to yesterday’s additional post on Lennie Week 12, there will only be 6 days with this deck, which some may be thankful for ;)

We start the week with a beautiful card: the Ace of Cups.  A dark-skinned angel wearing a purple dress with pink and turquoise scarves smiles as she looks into a large, golden chalice.  The cup has sea horses as handles and images of caring moon-faced people on it.  The angel has blue hair, a golden crown, and a mechanical looking eye.  She wears plenty of golden jewellry, and also has red lipstick and nail polish, and a red, moon tattoo on her arm.  The full moon above her seems to be breathing it’s magic down into her cup, purifying and blessing the water within it.

To me, this card speaks of new emotional beginnings, but also promises that there is magic in such feelings.  Even if a new love doesn’t prove to be our soulmate, we will still learn from it, and should not shy away from emotion.  It is through our connecting with others that we find ourselves, that we are able to express ourselves and fully experience life.  There is wisdom in emotion, as shown by the woman’s purple dress, and both a need and a willingness to express it (the blue hair and scarf).  That feeling of connection is at once divine (the moon and the angel), and yet also imperfect and human (the mechanical eye and the simple little sea horses).

It’s interesting to draw this card today.  While I’m not expecting to meet the next love of my life (I’m more than happy with my current one), I do see it marking a change in my emotions.  Finally, the house purchase is behind us, and as I look forward I hope for a slightly less stressful, less busy time ahead.  Of course, there is still a lot to do, but I no longer have tight deadlines pressing on me.  I hope to be able to relax a little, to bathe in the joy of experiencing my emotions, connecting with the baby inside me, spending a little more time with Big Boy and my Dear One.

I am grateful for a day without deadlines.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Lennie Week 12 - Haunted Lenormand

Although this Lennie Week should officially have ended yesterday, this new deck from Robyn Tisch-Hollister arrived after I'd scheduled the other posts.  However, it is such a lovely deck, and so perfect for this time of year that I couldn't resist showcasing it today.

The Haunted Lenormand is all in orange, black and white, with a distinctly creepy edge to the drawings.  It has playing card inserts which mostly fit in well, with the Hearts and Diamonds done in orange rather than red.  It also comes with a lovely spider-web organza bag, and a little instruction booklet which includes "Halloween Night Fortunes".  These are sweet and funny: 1 - Horseman "Don't lose you head this Halloween"; 23 - Rat "Do not feed your fears.  Unless you love being scared"; 26 - Book "Reading ghost stories alone at night is never a good idea".  Another thing I really like about this deck is the card backs.  At first glance, they seem to be reversible.  Looking closer, though, they aren't - there's a sad and a happy pumpkin!  Of course, not many Lenormand readers use reversals anyway, so this works well as it makes the direction clear without being too obvious.  And if you do read reversals, then you'll see at a glance which are the sad pumpkins :)


I love that in this deck, the images really do have an edge of scary, despite the funny colour-scheme.  Just take a look at today’s cards (one card jumped while I was shuffling, so I took it as a theme for the reading): Fish, Cemetery (Garden), Witch (Woman), Headless Horseman (Rider).

In money matters, a woman needs to put on a social face to get her message across.
Finances are improved by networking among women and paying attention to any information you come across.
Today, go with the flow: use your intuition when socialising and sharing news.

The last is the one that I’ll take to heart.  I’m off to Paris to meet with two of my half-brothers today.  My third half brother recently told me some news which he hasn’t shared with his (full) brothers.  That I won’t be sharing.  However, I’ll also trust my intuition on which of my own pieces of news to share with them.  And I’m guessing they’ll have news to share with me, as well.  Overall, I take the message to socialise and go with the flow as a good portent for a pleasant and interesting day.

I am grateful for a chance to spend time with some of my brothers (I have five in total between step and half).

Friday, 1 November 2013

Lennie Week 12 - Halloween Lenormand

No Halloween-themed Lennie week would be complete without the delightful Halloween Lenormand from Kendra Hurteau and Katrina Hill (self-published, 2012).  And for those of you who missed the first edition, there is now a second edition available :)


For today's reading we have: Candy (Bouquet), Vampire (Snake), and Ball and Chain (Anchor).

Feeling drained of creativity at work.
Office politics suck the spirit out of you.
Keeping up appearances feels onerous.
An invitation from a woman at work.
A woman who works creatively.

While the more negative interpretations seem to fit better with the Halloween theme, I'll go for the last interpretation myself.  It reminds me to tap into my creativity today in the different tasks I face.  Those will probably include a work project, painting a second coat on the tester spots we started yesterday, and meeting with a creative woman who designs and makes stained glass windows and some cheaper, stick-on imitations that we're thinking about for our new home.

I am grateful for the variety of tasks in my day.