Monday, 30 June 2014

Under the Roses Lenormand App Reading

Another Lennie this week, but this time in app form.  Here we have the Under the Roses Lenormand app, from Wopple Topple.

As for the reading, at the corners we have Child, Mountain, Tower, Bear: new obstacles with an institutional manager/small delays cause isolation and over-eating.

At the centre of the nine square is the Stork: progress/change/an addition to the family.
The action recommended by the inner cross of Fox, Stars, Dog, and Garden: treacherous science changes a loyal community/skillful clarity brings progress to a loyal group/a cunning plan moves forward through a dedicated audience.

This could easily be taken as a work reading, suggesting obstacles with an authority figure or institution.  It would recommend bringing skills to bear and connecting with a particular audience or group for assistance.  However, as is the case with any reading, context is everything.  

For me, I see here the delays and troubles that my new baby (Stork touching Child) has been facing.  He may have an issue with his kidneys.  We've been trying to get the tests needed to know for sure organised.  However, the hospital has been refurbishing their radiology department, and couldn't organise the scans.  He was supposed to have had them a month ago - talk about a Mountain of delays for a Child not yet four months old, and an institution (Tower) having trouble with their resources (Bear)!  

Finally, the scan has been organised for this week, so a skillful scientist (Fox/Stars - radiology technician) will faithfully and publicly (NHS) overcome that Mountain for us.  In terms of action for me to take, I see a need to trust my instincts (Fox - last time I saved myself at least 40 minutes by knowing the hospital system from previous visits), trust in spirit (Stars), and be friendly (Dog) in my public persona (Garden) towards the people involved, no matter how much the delays and bureacracy annoy me.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Kindergarten Lenormand (2nd Edition) Overview

2nd edition pack
This week's deck is my own Kindergarten Lenormand (GameCrafter, 2014).  I originally drew this deck in 2012 to use when testing out readings around the pagan and timing aspects of the Celtic Lenormand.  I also wanted some images to use in presentations and handouts for Lenormand workshops, and to have 'spare' decks for students to practice with.  Never expecting that people might actually want to buy something I'd drawn, the first print run was just 16 decks, of which I have two left.

Blank cards
Pepi Valderrama reviewed the deck, and liked the blank cards, which I'd just sent her to protect the other cards from being bashed around.  That made me decide to add in some blank cards that still feel of-a-piece with the deck in this second edition, so people can express their inner child :)

Why print another edition at all?  Well, seeing as the Celtic Lenormand has been delayed in coming out, I still need images to use in presentations.  Plus, I'm planning to self-publish another deck later in the year (I won't yet give away anything about it, as it isn't completed), and wanted a practice-run, so to speak.  And hey, some people seem to like the simplicity of these images.  

Explanatory cards
All the cards have been re-mastered, to clean up the backgrounds and make the colours clearer.  I also decided to add in playing card inserts, including fully illustrated Courts.  And I created four cards that give keywords and explain some of the pagan and timing aspects.  The deck has additional 'people' cards - a female Rider, a male Child, a Man and Gentleman, and a Woman and a Lady - as well as other extras I wanted so it would be closer to the Celtic Lenormand in structure...

In the images you can see the original cards I drew, the first edition print run, and the new, second edition, to compare and contrast!
Clover: original, 1st and 2nd editions

Snake comparison - I like that the 2nd edition is bigger and brighter :)

Monday, 23 June 2014

Kindergarten Lenormand Reading

Not having done a Lenormand week in months, I decided it was about time to go for it.  One reason is that I have just recently put the second edition of my Kindergarten Lenormand up on The Game Crafter.  I received the 'prototype' deck last week, and couldn't wait to play :D

I decided to do a nine card draw to look at the situation for this week.  Reading the cards generally, the corners give us a theme: the end (Grave) of something to do with a woman (Woman) gives rise to new (Child) choices (Paths).  At the heart of the reading is Book: a project, or something secret.  And the action that will move things forward is guidance (Stars) from spoken (Birds) messages (Rider) about burdens or ethical questions (Cross). 

Looking at the lines: clear intuition about something new, messages about a project from a conversation, ethical choices around an ending.

What project is foremost in your mind right now?  Who could give you guidance on this?  What do you need to let go of?  How can you choose most wisely and ethically?

However, at a personal level, these cards gave me a very specific message.  This week, we are going to see a surgeon about an operation my older son may need.  So, it is a woman making choices about the illness (Grave) of her child (Child), with news spoken by a scientist (Stars), and a big ethical choice to make, where there are plenty of mysteries: will it help, will he have less pain, will he be safe, will he sleep better, will he be healthier, will he put on weight? 

Looking at the lines: our intuition about this question around our son is something we will have to trust, as we gather messages about all the possibilities through this conversation, and then we have an ethical, burdensome choice to make about this potential end to his 'illness'.  My Dear One and I have gathered what information we can, and made a list of things to ask about, now it's all about this conversation and the decisions that will flow from it... Wish us luck!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

Previous Blog/ Master List/ Next Blog

I had to look twice to make sure that the topic for this Tarot Blog Hop wasn't posted by the fabulous Arwen, Professional Joy Seeker.  Although it would have been right up her street, in fact it was the equally fabulous Olivia of First Earth Tarot who proposed the following questions:

What are you joyful about? What brings light to your heart? How do you spread joy to others? 

I decided to condense those questions down to two, and explore each with a quick, three-card Lennie draw using my own Kindergarten Lenormand (2nd Edition, The GameCrafter, 2014)

What brings joy to my life right now? - Lord, Sun, Woman

Well, the first answer is that my relationship brings me joy.  Just look at the Lord and the Woman, with that happy sun shining its light on them both from the middle, what a perfect response to this question!  I am deeply grateful for my Dear One, who is a wonderful father, a loving man, and very supportive of all my deck buying and other tarot-related pursuits :D

Looking at these cards from a more psychological perspective, I see it saying that I find joy when I achieve a balance between my rational mind and dynamism, and my more nurturing side.  These last few weeks, I've felt a little closer to that, as though I am managing to be myself and to be mother to my children.  It feels joyful to work on some of my own projects, while not feeling like I'm deserting my sons.

How can I spread joy to others? - Storks, Rider, Birds

Hmm, my first response to this was also pretty prosaic - call friends and family more often to share news of the changes in our lives: be it moving home, having a new baby, job news, whatever...  I haven't been great at keeping in touch with friends and family, and letting them know about my new baby (now 14 weeks).  My Dear One let most of our shared friends and closest family know about the birth, and my mother shared the news with more distant family and various colleagues we have in common. I've barely managed to upload a few pics to Facebook!  So, encouragement to reach out more... it's a two-way joy street when we connect, share, and feel heard!

These are my answers to Olivia's questions, what are yours?  Wishing you a joyful Solstice!

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Friday, 20 June 2014

Amanda Palmer Tarot Overview

This week's deck is unusual, in that it was created by 78 different people.  Rather than being united by a genre, the theme of the deck is a person: Amanda Palmer.  I'll admit, I hadn't heard of her until I saw the kickstarter project for this deck.  However, what I saw there interested me enough that I then went and watched her TED talk, and several other Youtube videos about her - a fascinating person!  Clearly, the people who got involved in the Amanda Palmer Tarot (1900 INK, 2013), thought the same.

While the artwork is incredibly varied, overall the deck works really well, helped by the unifying power of the organiser, Madeline Matz, who did a beautiful job on the card backs and packaging.  Those who got involved in the project clearly put plenty of thought and talent into their participation, and the deck is richly diverse, yet always intriguing, much like Amanda Palmer herself.

For example, the Lovers (by Corina St. Martin) shows us Amanda and what I presume is her husband, leaning close together and surrounded by glittering stars.  I love how blissfully calm and connected they look.  They have clearly made their choice, and are happy with it. 

In terms of Court cards, the Princess of Wands was one that caught my eye, and I was delighted when it came up for this overview.  Created by Lani Irving, who you can also find on Facebook, it intersperses Amanda's face with old newspaper, bits of thread sewn through the paper, and what I think is a picture of a needle.  There is an interesting 3D effect to this image, textured and yet fragmented.  While the card is very eye-catching, it seems more like the Princess of Swords - cutting and brittle - than of Wands.  I guess, though, the Princess of Wands can be a bit disperse, pulled in different directions by whatever interesting project catches her eye in the moment :)

The Ace of Wands, by Mary Walsh, is another great card, though picked at random.  Amanda Palmer seems to be quite literally singing her heart out. Here we have all the passion and drive that characterise this card.

Though the artwork is quite different, I also like the Nine of Cups, by Lisa Tagliaferri.  While quite traditional in most ways, we have Amanda Palmer as the figure on the card, holding a cocktail glass and a microphone that echoes the shape of the eight glowing cups behind her, and with her name in lights behind that.  Perhaps suggesting that emotion can light up your life and bring you satisfaction if you are willing to grasp and hold onto it.

I had a discussion with Prince Lenormand recently about things we look for in a deck, and what our pet peeves are. Overall, I'm not a fan of decks which aren't consistent in their artwork.  However, perhaps strangely, I prefer decks like this, where each card is different, yet where there is a strong unifying theme, to decks where the Majors and Minors are different from one another.  While I doubt this deck will become a favourite reading deck, it is readable, and a very nice collectible.

P.S. Tomorrow there will be an extra post as part of the Tarot Blog Hop...

Monday, 16 June 2014

Amanda Palmer Tarot Reading

This week, I'll be drawing from the Amanada Palmer Tarot (1990 Ink, 2013).  This is an interesting collaborative deck, but I'll leave the details til Friday, and just dive into the reading.

Situation - XV - The Devil

Card by Clark Huggins: Amanda Palmer, replete with red devil's tail, dances atop the intoxicated bodies of a man and woman.  Above her revolves a circle of flames, like a circus hoop for these people to jump through, or a circle of lighters held up by adoring fans.  A reminder that often we jump through hoops because of our aspirations, rather than because someone "makes us".

Don't - Ace of Cups

Card by Braden Nesin: A man sits in what looks like an urban American alleyway.  He looks out of place in the alley, sitting at a round, pine table and wearing a tux and a black face mask.  A red rose graces his buttonhole and he holds up a glass of red wine, completing the image of a strange, romantic gesture.

Do - X - The Wheel of Fortune

Card by Amelie Marandet: Oh, what a fabulous image for the Wheel of Fortune.  Lady Fortuna appears at the top, a pair of dice in one hand, a pair of scissors in the other, ready to cut whatever threads the dice decree.  Four images of what is presumably Amanda Palmer ride around the Wheel.  I especially love the one in the bottom left, who is being lifted by a crowd of hands - Amanda crowd surfing on her way up the Wheel!

For me, this reading is once again about health and poor eating.  This is a message I tend to see in the Devil, given that I often say my only vice is chocolate.  Just last week, I bought a Kindle book (just £2.63!) on Tapping for Weight Loss and Body Confidence (Hay House, 2014).  It's funny, the book's blurb talks about how much our issues around our body are to do with emotions, and here the reading says not to get all gushy about emotion, but to let the Wheel of Fate spin.  It reminds me that part of the idea of tapping is to bring about change without sinking into emotion.  Some forms of therapy recommend catharsis, plunging into emotion to "get it out".  However, some recent studies suggest that, in line with New Age ideas about getting what you think about, catharsis may actually strengthen emotional patterns, rather than weakening them.

This week, then, I shall change the script I've been using while tapping, and see if that helps change where I feel stuck and trapped...

Friday, 13 June 2014

Awakening Aeon Tarot Overview

The Awakening Aeon Tarot (Blue Sky Ranch, 2013) is a rather interesting Thoth-based deck.  The artwork is very mixed media, with a textured, shiny feel to it.  The colours are beautiful, and the imagery and symbolism are abstract, yet speak quite clearly. 

In terms of additional associations, each card offers Chinese hexagrams, a system I'll admit I've never gotten my head around.  Likewise, the companion book offers very short, poetic descriptions of the cards, sometimes only a line or two long.  These are not always very "traditional".  For instance, the Ten of Wands says: Give form to your knowledge that it may be understood as wisdom.  Others, though brief and different, still seem connected with traditional meanings.  The Three of Wands says this, and no more: Motion begets either creativity or chaos.

Turning to the cards, I like the golden awning on the Chariot, and the earthy colours around it.  The figure himself is a warm, glowing, energetic gold colour.  His horses, too, are golden, yet surrounded by very different colours, and each trying to pull in the exact opposite direction to the other.  A character who is full of energy, trying to move forward in the face of the variety of obstacles life throws at us, including our own disparate nature.

The Court cards, too, are very interesting.  For one thing, they get the longest write-ups of any of the cards in the companion book - longer even than the Majors!  They echo the most frequent adaptation of the Thoth, keeping the Princess and Prince, but swapping the ever-confusing Knight for the King.  The colour schemes are quite interesting, as we see here with the Princess of Swords, decked out in yellow and green.  She has a sword in her hand, and a green mask over her eyes.  Do we see more or less when we look with the eyes of our mind?

The Ace of Cups has amazing texture to it, a wash of turquoise and blue that seems to form shards between a regular base and the bowl part of a cup.  It feels more like an extension, an explosion, of a cup, rather than like water pouring out.  It makes me think of the idea that all emotion comes from the same source, simply refracted through different lenses, shaped by the containers that hold it.

The Four of Cups shows us a deeper colour, and yet the four cups are separated by lines found in all the fours.  Separation creates stagnation, yet if we can move beyond it we can reach the last line offered by the companion book for this card: Happiness comes through unconditional love flowing both from and to you.

This is not a deck for everyone.  The companion book does not make for simple interpretations, and is more spiritual and psychological than practical.  As for the images, they defy traditional symbolism, and are of the semi-illustrated kind which not all readers get on with.  Yet, the deck is very beautiful, and will repay the attention paid it.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Awakening Aeon Tarot Reading

This week, I decided to do something a bit different.  Instead of the Body-Mind-Spirit reading, I did a Situation-Don't-Do reading.  And the deck is one that I got a while back, but hadn't even unwrapped with all the craziness of moving and having a baby.  As you can probably guess from the name, Awakening Aeon Tarot (Blue Sky Ranch, 2013), it is based on the Thoth.  The images seem to be made from collages - they have a really textured, three-dimensional feel to them.

First thing I notice is that it's a Majors-only reading, though the deck has the full 78, plus four extras...

Situation - The Emperor

The Emperor's face looks out from amongst a variety of boxes.  There is a very 'square' feel to the card, and the dominant colour is red.  Red for passion, but also red for the root chakra, connected to grounding and 'being in the world'.  It's a down-to-earth energy, yet one which is highly organised, and perhaps limiting...

My sense from this is that I may feel a bit boxed in this week, restricted by the structures and responsibilities I have created and taken on.  Or maybe I'll manage to organise things so I can do some of the work I want to do...

Don't - Justice

The cool blues of this card suggest communicating, and emotion, despite the card being about order and balance.  Perhaps this is about communicating to achieve fairness so that all emotions are honoured...  However, in this position it seems to say that we may not be able to achieve a fair balance for all this week!

For me, I guess this means I need to weigh up my priorities, and decide what matters most, then get on and do that.  I won't be able to be 'fair' to all the aspects of my life I'd like to include, so some paring down needs to be done.

Do - Strength

Here, a mix of gold, purple and grey.  The colours suggest enlightenment and wisdom, and the need for a calm background to achieve those.  As to the image, a shiny woman sits on a scribbled lion.  Energy may be quite raw, and wisdom is faceless: we can draw on that base energy, and apply it in a way that is good for all, rather than just for a single individul.

Instead of doing everything, I should make sure that what I do is good for all, not just for myself.  I may need to draw on my inner reserves, on the energy that comes from the body and from my drives and impulses.  Then, it's a question of applying it for a more general good.  I think this advises me to keep up my exercise, as that helps give me strength and energy for other things, but to then devote the rest of my time to projects that are needed for others, as well as myself.  What is for the greater good?

Friday, 6 June 2014

Chakra Wisdom Oracle Overview

There is much to like about this Chakra Wisdom Oracle (Watkins, 2014).  For instance, there is the structure - seven cards for each of the seven main chakras - which also hints at magic, with it's connotations of the seventh son of a seventh son.  There is also the fact that the cards aren't all sweetness and light.  Life, after all, isn't always perfect, and it is often precisely when things aren't great that we are most in need of assistance.  The Rejection card, for example, suggests those times when we listen to critical voices: those of others around us, ourselves, or people from our past.  Yet the view outside the windows hints that there is a wider world, and these concerns are very small in comparison.

The notion of being able to read cards to establish chakra imbalances is also an interesting one.  These can then be adjusted either through using some of the spreads that accompany the deck, or by other recognised means of chakra balancing.  The companion book offers seven spreads specifically to look at and work on intentions, along with sample readings using these.  I like both the spreads and the sample readings, which help show how to use the spreads in a very practical, concise way.

In terms of the cards, the coloured borders make it easy to identify the chakra to which each card is associated.  It's nice, too, that the images play with this colour scheme - the main character or object on each card is in a tone connected to that chakra.  And the artwork, while simple, is colourful and attractive.  There are lots of people depicted, with some ethnic diversity, which works quite well for giving the deck a balanced feel and human expressiveness.  There are also a number of animals, plants and spirits shown.  I particularly like the "Instinct" card, showing a white wolf under a full moon, for instance.

It must be said, sometimes the images seem to have little to do with the fable they are associated with.  For instance, the Balance card's fable is about a character called Periwinkle, who is an actor trying to "make" it.  He drops his "loved ones" to sign with an agent, only to find that he doesn't get the big break he hoped for.  While the image certainly shows the idea of upsetting others, the figure in purple could just as easily be a spirit suggesting a work-life balance, or compromising between different options, rather than the fable's moral that living a loving reality is better than waiting for a dream.

Another aspect which surprised me about the deck is some of the associations to the chakras.  For example, while connecting the red base chakra with grounding is very traditional, associating the third, solar plexus chakra to the intellect is quite unusual.  It is an interesting notion, linking with ideas of knowing things at a gut level.  Nevertheless, people who have spent time studying the chakras may prefer to use their own understandings of the chakras, rather than changing to fit those given in the companion book.

Other aspects of the companion book, though, are fascinating.  The write-up to each card offers a "Legend" (a short fable), an "Inspiration" (a three line summary or thinking point), a "Personal Inquiry" (a question to ask yourself), "Key Ideas" and "Keywords", as well as a short "Meditation".  While it may take some probing to understand how these relate amongst themselves, most people will find something to inspire them or help them connect to each card amongst these.

The set is attractively packaged, though I had to get my partner to help me get the cards out as they were rather too firmly wedged in the box, and the little ribbon to help draw them out fell off the first time I pulled on it.  The card backs, which is echoed on the book cover, is lovely, and the companion book offers brief, varied approaches to the cards.  The cards are a nice quality cardstock, neither too flimsy nor too thick and rigid.  They shuffle well, and are not so large as to be unwieldy for most people's hands.  While the set's catchphrase "The complete spiritual toolkit for transforming your life" may be a little overblown, this is a nice deck and book set, particularly useful for those who like to work with intention and/or with chakras.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Chakra Wisdom Oracle Cards BMS

This week, I'll be using the Chakra Wisdom Oracle Cards (Watkins Publishing, 2014).  I liked the idea of a deck based around the chakras, and have previously seen some of Tori Hartman's stories, the fable-esque nature of which I enjoyed.  While the companion book suggests a number of spreads for this deck, I decided to still use my traditional Body-Mind-Spirit spread, and see how the chakras played into those categories.

Body - Despondence (Sixth Chakra)

Interestingly, although this is a card of the sixth chakra (at the third eye), it jibes nicely with the body, at least in terms of the image and the key phrase.  We see a woman with the earth at the centre of her body, a Gaia figure.  To one side is a rather sad and grumpy looking woman in purple, a clue that she is officially the main character on the card, which has a purple border.

The key phrase given is: "By taking action, I found the way out."  The little fable reminds us that often, by helping others, we can refind our joy in life.  It reminds me of a post on service by Tierney Sadler recently, in which she states that service is not about what we do, but about the attitude with which we do it.  Despondence is unlikely to hold up in the face of acting to help others. 

Although I know the figure to the right is intended as the main character, my intuitive reading of this card for myself centres around the Gaia figure.  She is a mother figure, yet seems to be tearing her hair out, and I can really relate to that!  Last week was a little tough, being half term.  At one level, I feel I have all this creativity inside of me, but no time to express it.  And at another level I feel like a fat mother, rather than a creative goddess.  I hope this week I'll have a little time to remedy both of those - time to workout, and time to do some work that isn't related to nappies, babies, or six year olds!

Mind - Release (Seventh Chakra)

A woman stands in a graveyard, with rain falling around her.  In the background, the sun breaks through the clouds.  This suggests to me the need to let go of something before being able to move on.  In terms of the mind, that says that sometimes we need to prune our ideas, freeing up our mind to think outside of the box.

It's funny, this leads on nicely from the previous card.  I need to let go of my expectations of myself, then I may actually get more done, or at least feel better about what I do get done...

Spirit - Recovery (Sixth Chakra)

At a spiritual level, this card suggests the need to unlock something.  The key floating, as though offered by the spirit, seems to say that we have all we need to set ourselves free, if we can just see what is right in front of us.  Whether it be having the tools to recover pieces of ourselves from the past, or to let go of the past by unlocking a new door, I like the feel of this card.

Over the weekend, I took some time to do more personal readings, and it felt really good and helpful.  Part of recovering my sense of myself is to do the things that I love, without worrying about how much I'm getting done within a certain timeframe.  Taking time to honour the more spiritual side is important, too, no matter what the other pressures on me!