Monday, 31 March 2014

Petra K Tarot BMS

I first saw this beautiful, pastel tarot deck over on By the Sycamore Tree's blog, and wasn't 100% sure I liked it.  It's rather Thoth-based, and has some very unusual takes on cards.  Yet, the colours and images are amazing, and so I was drawn into it.  The Petra K Tarot is published by Piatnik, and is still readily available.

Body:  Temperance/Art

A mask-like face stares out at us from under a rainbow, with another rainbow pouring out from the chin.  An amethyst coloured crystal forms the forehead, and there are blue and orange gems above each eye, with the same colour echoed on the cheekbone below.  To one side is a beautiful white flower, and to the other a hummingbird.  To me, the rainbows speak of balancing our chakras, and also the paths between different realms: the spiritual and the material.  A connection to spirit helps us balance all these aspects. 

I sometimes see Temperance/Art as being about healing, other times more about balance.  Both of those ring true to me this week: I've had a nasty cough for two weeks now, and really need to do something about it.  Healing my body will bring more balance to all aspects of my life.

Mind:  Eight of Cups

Cups float in murky waters, yet there is a flame glowing from the uppermost cup, which is in a clearer space.  We need to leave behind troublesome, unclear emotions, and reach for something purer.  It's time to find the guiding light of pure emotion in the noise of our minds, to listen to that quiet inner voice.   

There is a lot of murky uncertainty in my mind right now, it's true.  My DO and I want some extra help, more for Big Boy/Brother than for the Little One.  However, we've had little luck finding that, and have been looking since November.  So, instead we thought to get an extra pair of hands in for the Little One, so we have more energy for his brother.  And having put up the ad ten days ago, have already found someone.  I'm in two minds, though.  I don't really want to give up any of my time with my sweet little baby, I'm enjoying carrying him and feeding him, being close to him 24/7.  To my mind, that's what these early days are all about.  Still, we do really need some help, as indicated by the fact that this cough has brought me down so hard.  So I feel I should accept the help, whatever form it comes in.  How we'll work around things I don't know, but this card tells me to keep clear what my highest intention is: to have our family life be a bit less stressful and a bit more joyful...

Spirit:  Death

A turquoise butterfly emerges from a scorpion, framed by a golden disc, a golden sun, and purple candles.  Rebirth and transformation come from death and pain.  The sting of emotions allow us to find our deepest truths. 

To grow spiritually, perhaps there is something I need to let go of.  My notion of what life "should" be like, most probably.  On a less general level, I see here the suggestion of endings: specifically being reborn into a spiritual practice.  I haven't meditated for nearly three weeks, best get to it.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Psychic Tarot of the Heart Oracle Overview

This, John Holland’s second “psychic tarot oracle”, this time related to the Heart (Hay House, 2014), follows the same pattern as the first (Hay House, 2010).  Courts and Tens (which numerologically are dropped from a regular tarot structure, hence the “oracle” nomer.  Yet, the remaining cards follow standard tarot notions for the most part, with the addition of seven chakra cards.  So, a total of 65 cards: 4 suits 1-9 (36), 22 Majors and 7 Chakras.

The artwork for the cards is accomplished and colourful, with a broad spectrum of people and situations depicted.  Many cards, though, have backgrounds, as opposed to landscapes.  For instance, in “Shine” (equivalent to the Sun), we see a beautiful woman with long red hair floating, arms outstretched and chest radiating light.  Around her swirl colours from blue to purple to gold, with shining orbs glowing all about.  This card speaks to me of joyfully flowing with our passion, and surrendering to the what the Universe brings us moment to moment.

I am less impressed with the chakra cards.  Each shows a pedestal of the appropriate colour, with a depiction of the relevant symbol.  However, I find them rather blocky and ugly, surrounded by darkness.  The cards in the first deck were nicer, to my eye, but I guess he had to come up with something a little different the second time around...

As for the Aces, they are not particularly obvious - if you glance through the deck, you wouldn’t go “Oh, that’s an Ace” as soon as you saw them.  Still, as this Ace of Fire shows, they are interesting.  Here, the card is renamed “New Vitality”, and shows a man blowing on panpipes (hmm, Ace of Air?), which look like mini-rockets of chakra-coloured energy (ah yes, the fiery energy of spirit and will).

Finally, a pip card, the Nine of Air, renamed “Darkest Fears”.  A handsome, dark-skinned man with a goatee and wearing a purple coat (colour of the crown chakra), stands in a blue background, with rays of lighter blue shining out from his crown.  Before him are five phases of a solar eclipse, when light is blocked out by shadow for a while.  Still, he looks remarkably calm for someone facing his fears.  Perhaps he knows these are temporary troubles, which his spirit can overcome...

I can’t imagine using this deck if asked for a regular tarot reading, given the “missing” cards.  Still, it is an attractive, upbeat oracle, with less of a learning curve because of the tarot tie-in.  And for those who don’t like Court cards, it’s clearly a win-win situation.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Psychic Tarot of the Heart Oracle BMS

This week, I thought I’d use John Holland’s second deck, the Psychic Tarot of the Heart Oracle, recently released by Hay House (2014).  Like his first deck, although based on traditional tarot numbering and suits, the deck has no Court cards, and no number 10 cards.  Instead, it has seven chakra cards, bringing the total card count up to 65: 36 Aces to Nines, 22 Majors, and 7 Chakras.

Body - Five of Water (Cups) - Change Your Focus

A woman wearing a blue gown and headdress, reminiscent of a nun, gazes to the right.  She stands in a beautiful, landscaped garden, with trees behind her.  To me, this image doesn’t shout traditional Five of Cups words like regret, loss or nostalgia.  Nevertheless, I like the idea of gazing towards the future with clarity, having made a commitment to something.  This seems almost more like the moment after traditional Five of Cups images, with someone who is determinedly turning their face to the future, to what still can be.  As a card for the body, it makes me think of how much of our past is written on our bodies, in the postures we adopt, the patterns we follow. 

Mind - Ace of Air (Swords) - Clarity of Belief

A man stands amid swirls of pink and blue, with a butterfly fluttering off from his left hand, and his right hand over his heart.  He trusts enough in what he believes in to release possibility to the Universe.  This card is well-matched to the spread position - a new clarity in thoughts, a new way of seeing the world.  I like the hand on his heart: things become clearest when we don’t just see them or think them, but feel them, too.  And although thought comes from the mind, belief goes deeper than that.

Spirit - Three of Water (Cups) - Share the Love

This is a strange image for this card.  In the background is the repeated silhouette of a couple, while in the foreground a man’s hand holds out a purple heart around which green light radiates.  Trying to link this to traditional notions, what I see is someone who comes from a secure and loving base, be the couple his parents or himself and his beloved.  From there, he is able to offer compassion and friendship to others.  As the card of spirit, this speaks to me of recognising the love in our lives, and reaching out the hand of friendship. 

This has been a strange and wonderful few weeks for me.  My second son was born, hence why I didn’t manage to post my regular reading/overview last week.  We had to spend five days in hospital, giving him antibiotics.  Now, we are all well and home.

The “Change Your Focus” card speaks to me, loud and clear.  While being in hospital was a reminder of my first son, who spent 17 days in hospital when he was born, almost everything else with this second child is different.  So, I mustn’t dwell on our hospital time, or on what happened with my firstborn.  Instead, I must be present with what is, with the physical reality of this new child.  There are aspects where I feel almost like a first-time mother, so different is this experience.  That’s a good and a bad thing - I feel uncertain, but I am also learning happier habits and patterns. 

This new learning, and being open to it, is emphasised by the second and third cards: I must trust in what I am living now, and open my heart to it.  Spirit is telling me that there is more than enough love in the universe for both my children, and for myself.  I can enjoy and believe in that, rather than worrying about past or future.  And my mind can join with my heart in this, the two don’t have to be at cross-purposes.  There is change afoot, and it is a good thing!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Ostara Blog Hop

DruidCraft Tarot

When presenting this blog hop's topic our wrangler, Joanne of Cosmic Whispers, mentioned its position as turning point between light and dark, being the equinox.  She then challenged us to write about the rebirth and renewal possible at this time.  The two together inspired me to create a spread based on a card from the DruidCraft Tarot (Connections, 2004).

How so, you might ask?  Well, firstly, in this deck the Judgement card is renamed 'Rebirth'.  Secondly, as you can see from the scan, it shows a golden-haired child emerging from a dark cave: light emerging from darkness :)  There is also a man blowing on a horn, announcing the rebirth and perhaps helping guide the boy out into the light of day.

1) What darkness am I leaving behind?

2) What new hope is approaching?

3) What can help me find my bearings at this time?

I decided to give the spread a quick go using another deck by the same artist (Will Worthington), the Wildwood Tarot (Connections, 2012).

Wildwood Tarot
1) What darkness am I leaving behind?  Ten of Stones (Pentacles)

How interesting that this card shows us the view out from inside a cave, as opposed to the cave from outside seen in the Rebirth card!  This card says to me that I am leaving behind a feeling of being trapped.  It's also interesting, given I have just given birth: my second son leaving the home of the womb to join us in our new home. 

Giving birth means that I am no longer restricted by my pregnant body, yet it does come with different restrictions.  A baby who needs nurturing, feeding, cleaning, loving.  Who will have his own schedule, and not give a damn what my plans are.  I will also be more housebound, if only for a short while...

Wildwood Tarot
2) What new hope is approaching?  0 - The Wanderer (The Fool)

What a perfect card for new hope.  There is a world of possibility opening up to me, with every day a new adventure! 

Although this is my second child, it will still be a totally different experience, stepping out into the unknown at every stage.  That can be a little daunting: not for nothing is the Wanderer the zero, the unknown.  It is also exciting, though :D

Wildwood Tarot
3) What can help me find my bearings at this time? 16 - The Blasted Oak (The Tower)

Ha, as ever the tarot shows its sense of humour!  What can help me find my bearings is letting go of any rigid ideas about where I should be going or how I'm supposed to get there.  I can't follow any map, and trying to do so will just set me back and make me feel all the more lost. 

This card echoes the Wanderer, challenging me to go with the flow, to take surprises and shocks in my stride, to be willing to have my perspective turned upside down.  Rolling with the punches, seeing it as a dance rather than a fight, is my only option, the only way to stay present with where I am right now.

I hope you'll give this spread a go, and maybe leave a comment with your reading or a link.  My reading was certainly thought-provoking, and will hopefully help me through this time of joyful challenges.


Friday, 14 March 2014

Anna K Overview

There are many things I love about the Anna K Tarot (self-published, 2010, Llewellyn, 2013).  I was first tempted to buy the self-published version after seeing the Eight of Swords: a woman who is unbound, but sees herself in a mirror as she is more traditionally seen, with a ribbon wrapped tight around her and swords all around.  After receiving and using the deck, there are many more things which delight me about it, several of which are highlighted by today’s selection of cards.

For one thing, I adore the more nature-based perspective on wisdom that the cards often embody.  Take the High Priestess: she looks almost like she’s giving birth to the moon.  And the phases of the moon are there, too, representing her understanding of the cycles of life.  It is a deep, bodily knowing, rather than something merely intellectual.  She leans up against a grand, old tree, leaning on the wisdom of nature, drawing from it.  Both her gown and the tree’s roots spills into the pool next to them, representing their connection to emotions and the unconscious.  In all of this, the High Priestess gazes up towards the night sky, looking totally calm and at peace - beautiful!

I love the sunny yellow that is found in so many of the cards, such as both the Queen of Wands and Ace of Wands.  It’s the colour that adorns most of the walls in my home, and has done for the last 13 years.  Before that, I had curtains that colour for a few years, too, before moving in with someone who didn’t like yellow...  No wonder that relationship didn’t last :D 

There is a warmth and radiance to this deck that fills me with happy feelings.  It’s not just about the colours, but also about the expressions on people’s faces.  Look at the Queen of Wands, she is joyous!  There is a wonderful sense of movement to her, too, as though she is dancing, just because.

Likewise, the young girl on the Ace of Wands is exploring with excitement in her heart.  She is using that wand she’s found to bridge a crevasse, to go further, to express her wonder at the vastness of life, and all with a huge smile.

Of course, not all the cards are happy, and that’s just as it should be, too.  The Seven of Swords is quite dark, and yet even here there is the possibility of different interpretations.  Is his expression one of cunning, or simply self-satisfaction at having achieved his aim?  Is he merely a thief, or a Robin Hood figure?  In either case, you have to give him kudos for having planned and executed his robbery well: definitely a case of working smarter rather than harder.

Altogether, this deck is a firm favourite, and I’m delighted it’s now available in a mass-market edition, making it easy to get ahold of!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Anna K BMS

This isn't the deck I was intending to use this week. Still, it's a firm favourite, and more to the point one I could find in the chaos that is our post-move home.  The Anna K Tarot is now also available in a Llewellyn mass market edition (2013), but this is the second self-published version from 2010.

Body:  Ace of Swords.
  It's interesting, the way the young woman stands on this card, holding out a sword in front of her, yet also holding up her hand as though telling someone to stop.  It's like she is doubly fending people off.  Yet her cream dress and soft expression tell a different story, speaking of a willingness to open to new ideas and ways of communicating.  Although there may be a bit of defensiveness, a new perspective on our body is offered by this card.  And perhaps, a new way of communicating about it, to ourselves or with others. 

Mind:  Ten of Cups.  A woman stands in a field, wearing a blue dress.  Around her are arrayed ten cups, filled with water.  The sun shines brightly from directly behind the woman, and her expression is both radiant and peaceful.  While it doesn't show a traditional family, I love the suggestion that we may find emotional fulfillment from different sources, which all together create a loving, supportive network. 

Spirit:  Knight of Wands.  This mustachioed Knight is rather gung-ho, charging forward on a narrow cliff with his banner in front of him.  It seems to threaten to trip him up, and obscures his view of the terrain.  That flag he waves represents his beliefs, his hopes, and he holds tight to them, even though they may not always be appropriate to his situation.  Yet, they are an important part of him, so he can do no differently. 

Given my situation, I can't help but read these cards a little differently than I would for someone else or more generally.  In the Ace of Swords for the body, I see a new perspective, a new truth, in my body once more harbouring but a single soul.  After all, one way or the other this baby must come out this week.  I hope the sword doesn't indicate literal cutting: surgery.  To be honest, I'd more likely suspect that with the King if Swords, but we'll see. 

The Ten of Cups speaks of thinking about, and perhaps relying on, the support I have around me from family and friends, and seems a positive sign for a successful outcome.

Finally, the Knight of Wands speaks to me of standing up for what I want from this birth: a natural, joyful occasion rather than a highly medical one.  While I shan't let those beliefs get in the way of a healthy outcome, the other cards give me hope that the two don't have to be at cross-purposes.

I am grateful for the many different sources of support I have at this very important time.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Tarot of the Sacred Feminine Overview

I'm in two minds about the Tarot of the Sacred Feminine (Lo Scarabeo, 2014).  On the one hand, I like both the premise and the artwork.  On the other, there are some pretty strange associations on some of the cards and the LWB is pretty useless.

Take the Empress, who is she?  Could be Hathor, could be Eve, or could be a generalised depiction of motherly plenty with her breasts spilling milk, her womb flowing with blood, and a child in her arms.  The LWB doesn't say...

As for the Queen of Pentacles, this normally earthy woman floats above a somewhat stormy sea, with an eagle by her side.  Above the float six golden eggs with a bright, jewel-blue one at the apex.  I guess I can see a recommendation to gather a nest egg, and hence use your resources wisely.  Still, she is not an obvious choice for the practical, nurturing Queen of Pents.

Moving to the Minors, things improve greatly.  I like a labris raised up towards a crescent moon as the Ace of Swords.  This double-edged blade is an ancient symbol of the Goddess.  Yet, it also represents well notions of cutting to the truth, speaking wisely, and of new ideas. 

Likewise, the Four of Swords with its sleeping warrior watched over by the Fates works well.  It portrays the idea of needing some downtime, whether to recover or in preparation.  And it reminds us of the power of external factors, and of our own ability to cope with what life throws at us, so long as we can rest.

While this isn't what I'd call a plug'n'play deck, easy to read straight out of the box, it clearly is RWS-based.  And it is one I feel would work well for spiritual readings, as well as repaying an intuitive approach.

Monday, 3 March 2014

BMS with the Tarot of the Sacred Feminine

This week, I've picked another new release from Lo Scarabeo, the Tarot of the Sacred Feminine (2014).  The premise and artwork are somewhat reminiscent of Barbara Moore's Book of Shadows: As Above deck (Lo Scarabeo, 2012), but without such a steep learning curve, nor so many additional associations.

As for this week's reading, once again it offers us quite a nice cross-section of the deck: a Major, a Minor and a Court!

Body:  XVIII - The Moon.  The waxing, full and waning phases of the moon shine from the sky, echoed below by a young, adult and aged woman.  Around them is a misty night sky, and calm seas lapping a rocky shore.  This card speaks to me of the phases of life, both short and long term, and their associated uncertainties and mysteries.  What bodily changes are you experiencing?

Mind: Seven of Pentacles.  This is an interesting and rather different take on this card.  Two women dressed in rags push a wheel around a grindstone in an icy landscape.  Above them gleams the aurora borealis.  Without checking the LWB (and yes, it's one of the less impressive kind, with little reference to the card images), I imagine they are working to keep the seasons in their place and moving forward.  A hard, often unrewarding job, yet a necessary one that bears fruit in the long run.  How can you channel your thoughts productively this week?

Spirit: the Knight of Pentacles.  What a gorgeous card!  A woman's face stares out of the darkness, her brown hair parted over a forehead decorated with Celtic knotwork.  Beside her is a brown mare, with a crescent moon on her forehead.  This card makes me think of Rhiannon, though she is often described as blonde, with a white mount.  Still, after being falsely accused of killing her own child, she was made to carry visitors like a horse.  A hard and plodding physical task, well-suited to the Knight of Pentacles.  What physical task could you dedicate to spirit?

Having that Major at the start of the reading, followed by two Pentacles, really places the emphasis of this reading on the physical this week.  Which makes a lot of sense to me, as we're moving house over the next 3 days, with me just a week from my estimated due date to give birth.  Everyone has been telling me not to lift anything, to delegate and take things easy.  Things which I'm not very good at, as a rule.  Still, this reading emphasises that I need to respect the phase my body is in, and leave the hard work to my mind and spirit.

I am grateful for the reminder that life moves in cycles, which we need to honour.