Monday, 28 April 2014

Neuzeit Tarot BMS

This week, I'm drawing from a rather busy, "New Age" deck with Thoth influences, the Neuzeit Tarot (AGMüller, 1982).  The LWB gives some rather bizarre meanings, and not much explanation of the images.  However, it is quite a fun deck, with a critical take on modern living.

Body - Knight of Swords

The Knights in this deck (well, the Court cards generally) are rather unusual, often being an amalgam of human and non-human.  However, this Knight is separate from his horse emblem.  Instead, there are a black and a white horse walking towards each other on the canopy over his head.  Meanwhile, the Knight holds up a large sword, while sitting in front of a book with esoteric symbols.  This card almost looks like a mash-up of the Magician and the Chariot.

Anyhow, what I take from this card is the idea that we need to wield our intellect with direction - no getting lost in web-based research, for example.  And he doesn't seem adverse to researching the kookier side of life, either.

Seems like maybe I need to read up on some health-related stuff this week.  It's interesting, I also have a couple of doctor's and osteopathic appointments, for myself and Little One.  So, this could suggest some insights gleaned from those.

Mind - Three of Swords

Three swords lie across quarters of colour - black, white, red and yellow. The pommels are round, smiley faces, while the blades are strange bodies, including breasts on the middle one.  Traditional meanings of heartache, and thoughts which cause us pain, aren't very obvious here, I must say.

Perhaps what can be read from this is that our thoughts can be extremely bizarre, unconnected with reality, causing us confusion and a feeling of discomfort.

I shall keep an eye out for ways in which my own thoughts are upsetting me, putting me off kilter.  Could this be that my reaction to the research I do will confuse me?  More research, then, maybe, rather than jumping on the first thing I find...

Spirit - Three of Pentacles

Three golden disks dominate the foreground.  Around them is a wooden structure with a roof and curved legs, and two faces peering out from either side.  Above that, what looks like a picture frame, with a nighttime and daytime version of the same mountain on either side. 

The act of creation, this seems to say, takes time and is best supported by structure, and possibly other people.  Although it doesn't obviously speak of teamwork, that could be read here, as well as other forms of support.

I can see where some support would help me with my spirituality this week.  My DH is going to a talk by a yoga guru on Tuesday.  It's lovely that we share this interest, and I hope he will bring new ideas back to share with me :)

Friday, 25 April 2014

Goddess Tarot Overview

The Goddess Tarot (U.S. Games, 1998) by Kris Waldherr is in some ways a fairly traditional RWS clone.  However, many of the Majors have been renamed, for example Death becomes Transformation.  And all of them have been attributed to a Goddess, such as Isis for Magic (the Magician), and Inanna for the Star.  Likewise, all the Minors have female characters on them, instead of a mix of men and women.  Almost the only male figures are the Kings and Princes.  In addition, the suits also have "cultures": Staves (Wands) are all shown as red-heads (Celts?); Cups are blondes (Anglo-saxons?); Swords are Egyptian; and Pentacles are Hindu.

Despite these "themes", the deck works well, and is very readable.  I like that there are myths attached to each of the Majors.  For example, I can see why Isis was chosen for the Magician, as she worked magic to bring Osiris back to life (twice) - using the resources she had to hand, and her own focus.

I also like that the Courts are Princess, Prince, Queen and King.  It's a ranking I appreciate, with its gender balance, and the mix of youth and maturity.  Obviously, a Princess doesn't necessarily denote a female in real life when it comes up in a reading - I think we all have aspects of any of these archetypes, no matter our apparent gender.  Still, it brings a better equilibrium to the depictions.  So, in this Princess of Cups, I see a somewhat immature energy, willing to sip from life and explore the emotions around them, yet not ready to plunge deeply into anything, though they may think they are.

The Aces don't  have the traditional RWS hands in the sky offering the suit symbol.  However, they are otherwise quite standard, with nicely illustrated elements, such as the upright wand with lively green leaves seen on the Ace of Wands.  I like that there is also a large sun shining brightly behind it (plenty of energy), a soft green field with flowers at its base (a good basis for growth), and hills in the background (challenges, but not overwhelming ones).  The cards have plenty of symbolism to make them easy to read.

As for the pips, although you can't tell from the card I drew (the Six of Cups), these continue the cultural theme of their suits, and certainly the colour schemes used in them.  In addition, all the male figures in the pips are replaced by females, or left out entirely.  So, for example, the Five of Wands shows five women holding wands aloft.  In the Six of Cups this isn't as apparent, given that it has simply removed the human figures entirely.  Still, the traditional house and garden, little stairway, and flower-filled cups are still there, and I think the notion of an idealised past is still available from it.

All the Tens also have the human figures removed, making the Ten of Wands and Ten of Swords rather less "negative" than they tend to be.  Yet, the meanings are still available, in the way of semi-illustrated pips, from the colour schemes and the shapes formed by the ten objects.

Overall, it's a pretty, pleasant deck, with a woman-centric focus, easy to read, and fairly "gentle".

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

My Favourite Court Card

Many people find Court cards tricky to interpret, though Prince Lenormand talked about an interesting book on the subject in a recent post.  One of my favourite authors on this topic is Alison Cross, with her "This Game of Thrones" blog.  Two years ago, she asked me what my favourite court card was, and if you'd like to know the answer, why not pop on over here.  It was fun re-reading this a couple years down the line. 

My answer would still be the same.  How about you, which is your favourite court card?

Monday, 21 April 2014

Goddess Tarot BMS

This week I pulled out an old deck, the Goddess Tarot (U.S. Games, 1998) by Kris Waldherr.  Truth to tell, I was trying to catch up on blogging and pulled these cards using the app, which is pretty good.  It doesn't have the open functionality of some apps - you can't create your own readings, just use the set ones provided.  Still, it's reasonably priced, as well as allowing you to journal about your draws...

Body - Eight of Staves (Wands)

Eight Wands fly through the air as though in formation.  Their tips point down, they are descending, approaching their goal.  Always being in a hurry can be deleterious to your health. 

Mind - Six of Staves (Wands)

A woman with a creamy golden dress rides a dun horse in a white dressage blanket.  She holds up a wand crowned with a red ribbon and a laurel wreath.  Around her are another five staves.  She looks happy with life, enjoying her success and with more potential around her.  As a card for the mind, this suggests taking time to think about what you have achieved.   

Spirit - Nine of Disks (Pentacles)

A beautiful Hindu lady with long black hair and a golden sari, stands in a lovely garden.  Around her are bushes on which large, golden disks are hung.  Behind her are dramatic mountains, and a white dove swoops down to her upraised hand.  There is so much peace and fulfillment here, yet it being the Nine of Pentacles suggest these come only after disciplined work.  Spiritual peace also takes work, often at a very physical level: such as practising yoga or working through the discomfort of seated meditation practices. 

Rather than things coming to a head, I see more a sense of movement in the Eight of Wands.  I've been trying to make a change in my way of eating, and this card suggests that it's working, even if I can't quite see it yet.  I connect that with some inspiration I gathered, and a new idea (or applying an old idea in a new context), from last week's Ace of Wands :)  The Six of Wands reminds me that believing I can be successful, and getting support, will both help with that.  Finally, the Nine of Pentacles promises a feeling of peace, and says that my efforts will be worthwhile.  I sure hope so :D

Friday, 18 April 2014

Tarot de St Croix Overview

Having said on Monday that one of the cards which originally put me off the Tarot de St Croix (self-published, 2013) was the Fool, wouldn't you know it popped out to show its face in this brief overview!  As ever, though, reading the companion booklet makes sense of this stripy Fool, and makes me like the card better than the image alone.  The artist explains that this is based on "the Pueblo Indian sacred clown Koshare."  This Coyote-masked trickster reminds us to be playful and look beyond our fears.  Lisa tells a story of a time when she played the unwitting Fool in a Zuni Indian ceremony, with a reminder to laugh at ourselves.

This is a fair representation of what is found in the description of all the Majors: culturally varied and interesting takes on archetypal ideas, with personal anecdotes and interesting key meanings.  There are plenty of insights, too, into the inspiration behind the cards, from everyday experiences to different artistic masterpieces.

We see this, also, in the King of Wands.  Although I normally see this King as quite dynamic and charismatic, and generally associate him with a younger figure than that shown here, I like this Magician-like character.  The King of Wands is good at getting things done, whether through enthusiasm, his own skills, harnessing those of the people around him, or a combination of these and more.  Lisa de St Croix chose to base this card on a marble "pavement" showing Hermes Trismegistus, who is used for the Magician in a number of other decks.

Moving on to the Aces, the Ace of Cups shows a perfect wave cresting in the background, with a champagne flute spilling over in the foreground.  I love this variation on traditional Ace of Cups imagery.  To me, it speaks of the sometimes overwhelming nature of love, and also of the joy and celebration it encompasses.

Finally, we have a regular Minor, the Seven of Wands.  This card clearly indicates the multi-cultural nature of this deck, which is another aspect that appeals to me about it.  I guess California is as much of a mixing pot as my home city, London.  So, it's good to see different ethnicities and cultures represented.  In this instance, the card shows Brazilian Indians marching to defend their land.  I like Lisa's keyphrase: stand up for what you believe in!   I sometimes see the Seven of Wands as fighting enemies that are more in your mind than truly around you.  That could also be read here, in the sense that challenges to traditional ways of life may or may not be a bad thing, depending on your perspective and the context.  So, the card is open to many interpretations, always a good thing in my eyes.

Altogether, this deck has already become a firm favourite.  It ticks so many of my boxes: beautiful, well-executed artwork; a thoughtful, varied take on traditional meanings; diverse cultural elements; and a well-written companion booklet.  So, I'm delighted that Lisa has given me permission to blog with it a little more: I'll be using it on 1st May for the next Tarot Blog Hop :)

Monday, 14 April 2014

Tarot de St Croix BMS

I saw this deck a while back, and wasn't sure about it, put off slightly by the orange borders, and the stripiness of the Fool.  Yet, something drew me back to the Tarot de St Croix (self-published, 2013), and I ended up clicking to buy it.  I'm very glad I did, I can see this becoming a regular reading deck!  Anyhow, more about that on Friday.  For the moment, here's this week's reading.

Body - Two of Pentacles

A woman stands on a dark/silver pentacle, and reaches her arms up to a gold/white pentacle above her.  She is naked, back to us, with energy pouring like a cleansing shower from the pentacle above her.  A lemniscate of energy flows through her, and the background is a starry sky.

What a beautiful balance of dark and light, keeping energy moving.  This says to me that if I can reach for what I want, while staying grounded, I can achieve a great deal.  Getting the right balance between doing things myself and allowing others to help me, is definitely something I need to work on this week!

Mind - Ace of Wands

A wooden wand burns at one end, while little white and pink flowers bloom along its length.  There is both energy and growth here, a card full of potential.

I hope to feel inspired this week.  Last week felt pretty stressful, and I didn't get much done.  This week, I'd like to take control again a bit more and tick off a few items from my to-do list.

Spirit - Six of Wands

Three women stand together, lighting the candles of those who come to them.  In unity is strength and the ability to share that passion, that light, with others.  Looking in the companion booklet, this is Brigid in her triple goddess form, lighting the candle of inspiration in those who come to her.

Ha, this says to me that I need to reconnect with spirit if I'm to find that Ace of Wands inspiration.  Just brainstorming won't do it, I need to find that balance of body and spirit, of personal and divine, of self and others.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Spirit of Flowers Tarot Overview

As I mentioned on Monday, this deck, although pretty, does not really cut it for me as a reading deck.  It has clearly been well researched, with meanings given for every flower.  And yet, the flower meanings don't always match either the stated card meaning or any traditional notion of the tarot meaning.  Furthermore, all the cards show a flower and a fairy, with little or no additional symbolism other than for the Majors.

Temperance, for instance, has some of the traditional symbolism you'd expect: an angelic-looking fairy dressed all in white and pouring liquid from one container (a jug) into another (the 'cup' of a pink/red flower).  The jug/flower work to suggest the combining of different elements, the notion of balancing, and the sense of healing often found in this card. 

As for the LWB, I find it more bizarre than helpful: "Temperance: Lily
In the language of flowers: innocent love.
Recovery, readjustment, peace, harmony, cooperation, frugality, friendship, study, chastity, friend, young man."

"Young man"?!  Really?  And "friend" also isn't something I've ever connected to this card.  I guess I can see the links to recovery, peace, harmony, frugality and even chastity, but overall this is one of those rather useless Lo Scarabeo LWB's.

The Courts work rather less well as cards in my eyes than the Majors, given they all show pretty, young fairies.  Take the Queen of Pentacles.  Her earthiness comes across a little through the choice of colours (yellow, green and brown), and the location.  Though given the flower theme, all the scenery is 'outdoorsy'.  However, other than that there is nothing to symbolise her practicality, her nurturing or ability to make the most of what she has to hand.  She's just a pretty, yellow, butterfly fairy with a pair of yellow flowers behind her :(

I quite like the Aces, though once again, if you see them in the context of the rest of the deck they are more of the same: pretty fairy with a flower.  Still, if we take the Ace of Wands, the choice of shape and colour works well for me.  She seems to be emerging, somewhat prickly, and full of fire and enthusiasm.

The number cards are the weakest of the deck, in my opinion.  As here, with the Ten of Swords, there is nothing in the symbolism to suggest endings, pain, overkill, or drama, any of which I would expect to see in this card.  While the LWB does give pain as one keyword, it also states that the Hawthorn represents hard-fought love *confused face*  And the picture just has a pretty blonde fairy under a bow of hawthorn blossom, looking happy as can be - bah!

For those who read purely on the basis of suit and number, this would still be a readable deck.  However, if you like to actually look at the card images, or have prompts from them, then this probably isn't a deck for you.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Spirit of Flowers Tarot BMS

I ordered this Lo Scarabeo deck, the Spirit of Flowers Tarot (2014) because I thought it looked cute.  I am often a fan of Antonella Castelli's artwork, and Laura Tan has authored a number of good decks. Unfortunately, this is one of those Lo Scarabeo decks that gives the company a bad name.

The LWB gives meanings for all the flowers on the cards, and for the cards, which seem barely related to each other, and not at all to traditional meanings.  For example, for the Two of Pentacles we have:
"Calendula.  In the language of flowers: relief from worries.
Difficulties, obstacles, emotions, worries, anxiety, fears, delays, debt, bills of exchange."

On top of that, all the cards basically have a flower and a little fairy on them.  A lot of these give little or no symbolic or postural clues to the card's meaning.  So, I will basically read them using numerological and suit associations, or based on traditional meanings.

Body - Two of Chalices - What kind of partnership do you have with your body?

Mind - The Tower - Which of your thoughts could do with shaking up?

Spirit - Two of Pentacles - How might you prioritise your spiritual needs this week?

What I take from this reading is that I need to find a sense of love towards my body this week.  Having a mirror in the space where I work out has been useful to assess my form when exercising.  However, as numerous studies have shown, it's not great for my self-esteem/body-image.  These negative thoughts about myself are doing me no favours, and I need to find a balance between the practical and what feeds my soul.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Petra K Tarot Overview

I still have strangely mixed feelings about this deck, the Petra K Tarot (Piatnik).  Some of the cards just don't make sense to me, others fascinate me, and all are definitely beautiful.  So, let's take a closer look at a cross-section of the cards.

The Star card is one that is generally joyful and beautiful, and Petra K's version is no exception.  It is unusual, though, in having a palm-tree-like trunk rising up, with a naked woman in an extreme backbend at the top, haloed by a six-pointed star.  The colours are warm and joyful, the idea of vulnerability is definitely there, and yet also a sense of dedication and enlightenment.  While not a typical take on the card, and without such a clear sense of external guidance, it is still quite readable, I think.

The Knight of Disks is far less typical still.  The Knight's helmet is a lovely gold, and he seems supported by brown rocks, which are appropriate to the earthiness of his suit.  Yet, he needs that support as his head appears to be floating on a pool of water, with a purple sky in the background.  This is a rather watery image for this normally down-to-earth chap, and suggests more wisdom coming from emotional depths than the practical stolidness I associate with this archetype.

Likewise, the Ace of Disks is very beautiful.  The colours are warm, full of reds, golds, greens and browns, with a tree below a golden disk, and red leaves above.  And yet, the whole thing appears as though reflected in water, swimming uncertainly across the card's surface.  The sense of a seed planted that can grow into something material is there, but the wateriness of the Knight is there, too, detracting from the groundedness and practicality of the card.  It is more like the dream of material possibilities, rather than the possibilities themselves.

I do adore the last card drawn, though, the Two of Cups.  The warm peach of the bowls of the cups suggests a loving energy, and contrasts nicely with the watery turquoise around them.  Altogether, the card has a feeling of coming together in unity and difference both, with love and clarity of communication - lovely!

I'm not sure I'd use this as a regular reading deck.  It's one that is more about getting to know the deck and how you respond to it than being a "plug'n'play" type.  Yet, the beauty of the imagery would certainly make it a joy to spend some time with...