Monday, 28 July 2014

Witchy Tarot Reading

Today's reading is from the Witchy Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2003), which just  came with an infamous Lo Scarabeo LWB.  It was later re-released as the Hip Witch Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) with a good book by Barbara Moore.

Situation - Four of Broomsticks (Swords)

A girl in a black witches hat sits with her back to a stream.  Around her are five rats, and in front of her is a broken broomstick.  Combining the image and more traditional interpretations, I read this as saying that when we can't think straight, it's best to take a break and get some input from nature/our Higher Self.

Don't - Trial of Flames (King of Wands)

In this deck, the Courts (as well as the suits) are totally renamed and very different - we have the Celebration (Page), the Moon (Knight), the Goddess (Queen), and the Trial (King).  Although there are equivalences, these cards also have extremely different potential interpretations.  The suits are Cauldrons (Cups), Boulders (Pentacles), Flames (Wands) and Broomsticks (Swords).  The Celebrations are Imbolc, Lammas, Beltane and Samhain, while the Moons are full, waning, waxing and new.  So, for instance, this Trial of Flames (King of Wands) shows a witch making progress against all odds through the use of magic.  Like the King of Wands, then, it indicates strength and determination, and leadership ability.  However, it can be interpreted very differently.  As what not to do this week, it counsels against fighting the flow of life.

Do - Six of Cauldrons (Cups)

Another behatted witch in capri pants and a bustier sits in a swampy forest, unpacking her lunch.  Below her is a spilled cauldron and a couple of frogs.  Connecting with traditional meanings, I guess you could see this as returning to the simpler things in life, or not giving up on your dreams.

If I read predictively, I'd see some idea of mine being dashed, and advice to give up on getting anything done.  The only bright point would be the sense of reconnecting with a dream from the past.  However, more realistically, I am reminded that everything seems worse when I'm tired.  So, this week I should take time to rest where I find it.  Being full of wands-y enthusiasm is all well and good, but I had quite a social week last week, including a wedding that involved nearly six hours driving.  So, I could do with some quieter, more family-oriented time, and maybe a walk on the Heath.  Perhaps, in the stillness, I can find some good ideas I've had packed away in my mind...

P.S.  This week, there will be a post on Friday as part of the Tarot Blog Hop rather than an overview of this deck.  If you're interested in the Witchy Tarot, I wrote a full review of it a few years back.  However, it's a review of the Witchy Tarot, not including Barbara Moore's book.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Maroon Tarot Overview

The Maroon Tarot (self-published, 2009) was originally named for the marvelous, intricate borders that were designed for it.  The creator, Maja Zaworowska, then also noticed that the name echoed the surname of the artist, Tomasz Maronski.  I rather like it, the very colour/name seems quite sumptuous!  As for the images, they are fantastical, often misty or with an unusual hue to the light and landscape.  The characters that people it are equally wondrous and fantastical: fairies and more elfin creatures, with artifacts which are elegant and a little otherworldly.

The first card I drew to illustrate the deck shows the way in which the images are on a very grand scale.  It also gives that feel of being on another world, as well as showing the variation from more traditional symbolism.  The World shows a moon rising in an azure sky, between two rocky outcroppings that hem in a lake or part of a sea.  The colours make me think of the saying "The world is your oyster".  Below, there is a depth of emotion and a feeling of constraint, above an incredible sense of openness and opportunity.  It's not quite the usual coming full circle or sense of completion, and yet in other ways it is...

The Court cards are also rather delightful.  They use colour beautifully, as well as much traditional symbolism.  And while not having close ups, the figures do vary in age considerably from the child-like Pages to the often bearded and grey Kings.  Though this King of Wands is less obviously old than some of the others, his throne and crown denote his rank, the red hues of the landscape indicate his suit, and his posture suggests his continued willingness to leap into situations he spies from on high.

The Ace of Swords shows well the misty, fantastical nature of the suit, as well as the power of the Aces.  They always have just a single object, and yet the play of light and shadow, and the surrounding landscapes, add depth to the images.  This card makes me think of the phrase "the truth will set you free" as the sword rises up, glowing, from the mists below.

Finally, we have a Minor, the Three of Swords.  The notion of thoughts which cause us heartache could be read into it, especially from the woman's romantic dress and tragic pose.  Yet, the twisted, nightmare creature above the woman could equally be interpreted in other ways.  These images beg for stories: has she been left as a tribute payment for this monster?  Will she overcome her sorrow at her fate?

And that, I think, is one of the greatest aspects of this deck.  It is fantastical, calling us to let our imagination run wild.  It shows life, yet with an edge of strangeness that invites us to think a little differently, to step outside of our everyday thoughts and preoccupations.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Maroon Tarot Reading

This week's deck is another I've had in my collection for years, since it was first published.  I was first introduced to the Maroon Tarot (self-published, 2009) when I won the Majors-only (2007) version in a TABI competition.  When the full deck came out, I was already sold.

Situation - Four of Wands

This Four of Wands has something of the Ten of Wands to it: a figure carrying a bunch of Wands towards a house.  Yet, there are only four wands - the burden is still a light one - and the house is close by, rather than away up a long, hard path.  The house is small, but it is illuminated from above: there is joy here, and a good foundation from which to branch out, seeking additional opportunities without straying too far from our comfort zone.

Don't - Five of Swords

My, what a bleak version of this card! A bald, naked figure crouches before a deep, dark pit.  Swords hang over the scene, shrouded in fog.  Yet, there is golden sunlight piercing the clouds to illuminate the figure, giving hope that they will find their way past this obstacle, beyond this pit of despair.

Do - Three of Cups

A blue, butterfly-winged fairy stands, illuminated by a pale light from behind.  Before her sit two more female figures.  They all seem to be on a rock in the middle of a tumultuous river, with the water dropping over a cliff in front of them.  Though surrounded by wild emotions, they appear calm and confident: strength in numbers, perhaps.

Last week ended up being rather focused on my elder son, with various meetings at school and elsewhere.  Still, I did manage to get some work done, too.  In this week's reading, I see the suggestion to acknowledge what I have done and build on that, rather than focusing on all that remains undone.  As for the Three of Cups, on the one hand I hope to meet with some friends this week.  On the other hand, I have a number of online friends whom I feel are there for me and who I hope feel supported by me.  So, a time to focus on these networks!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Mystical Cats Overview

The Mystical Cats Tarot (Llewellyn, 2014), authored by Lunea Weatherstone and with beautiful artwork by Mickie Mueller, is the latest in a long line of cat-themed tarots.  While I'll admit I'm a total cat-lover, I also think this is a good, readable deck.  While perhaps not as true to the cat's perspective as the Cat's Eye Tarot (US Games, 2011), it has a lot of lovely features, useful symbolism and is very evocative. 

Take the High Priestess; this elegant grey cat sits in an amethyst cave, outside of which a crescent moon glows in a starry sky.  Amethyst is a crystal associated with intuition, and with the crown chakra.  Hence also with wisdom and a spiritual connection to the Universe.  Between that and the crescent moon, there's plenty of symbolism that speaks to the archetype.

The Court cards are another interesting and well thought out aspect of the deck.  Recently, Steve of Tiferet Tarot bemoaned decks with no apparent age difference in the Courts.  In the Mystical Cats Tarot these are indicated by having a Kitten/Page (definite squee factor!), a Tom/Knight, and then the Queens and Kings.  As seen with this Fire Tom (the suits are given elemental titles in line with the most frequent traditional attributions, though Air is titled Sky), the Toms show nicely the dynamic nature of the Knights.  Here, the Tom wends his way between a plethora of burning candles, all without setting his tail on fire.  His focus is on one candle in particular, but who knows how long that will last...

The Aces all have this kind of paw print banner, with a colour and background appropriate to their suit element.  This works quite well, I think, suggesting the possibility of making our mark in a given area or field.  Nothing exists yet but the potential, action is needed to materialise it, make it more than purely symbolic.

Finally, we have the Minors. As we saw on Monday, and as we see here in the Eight of Sky (Swords), these are RWS-based.  A grey cat seems trapped by the branches of a fallen bough.  Meanwhile, eight bats fly towards hir through a darkening sky.  If s/he could get beyond the fear s/he could work hir way out between the branches.  And so, it is not the branches or the bats that trap hir, but hir own thoughts and fears.

Altogether, I find this deck very cute, and also full of wonderful symbolism and ideas that echo the traditional, while also allowing intuitive readings of the cards.  It has many cat-centered delights and pearls of wisdom to share.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Mystical Cats Tarot Reading

This week's deck, the Mystical Cats Tarot (Llewellyn, 2014), is another in the long line of cat-themed tarots.  However, it isn't just a cute, cat deck, it is very expressive and readable.

I decided to use it for a Situation-Don't-Do Reading, and drew:

Situation: Seven of Earth (Pentacles)

A grey tabby lies in wait outside a hole at the base of a tree.  Hoping hir patience will be rewarded with a tasty meal, having already gone to the effort to scope out this spot.  Isn't this an interesting and evocative depiction of the Seven of Pentacles?  There is perhaps less evidence of hard work, and a rather faster expectation of reward than with the traditional figure tending plants, but the overall feel is maintained.

This speaks of a situation where there is a need to wait, perhaps to assess what has gone before and plan for the future.  It could also suggest being ready to pounce when fortune gives us the opportunity!

Don't - The Sun

A statue of Bast watches over three kitties sunning themselves in an elegant patio.  Bast, an Egyptian female cat goddess, is associated with the fiery energy of the Sun.  She is also a playful goddess, compared to her fierce sister Sekhmet.  These attributes fit in perfectly with the Sun card, an image of energy with a sense of refound joy and innocence, and an openness to life.

However, in this position the card tells us not to let down our guard at that mousehole, not to become complacent or slack off.  There will be time for joyous celebration once we've finished what we're doing.

Do - Six of Fire (Wands)

Another grey tabby (or perhaps the same one!) sits at the front of a glade.  Around hir are the spoils of the victor, toys and treats.  Other cats come, bringing hir offerings. 

What would success look like to a cat?  I suspect they are too solitary for this kind of feudal behaviour.  Still, it's certainly true that cats like their creature comforts and happily accept gifts and treats as their due ;D

As what to do, it suggests to me accepting help when offered, in order to be more successful in what we do.

Pulling the reading together, it speaks to me of balancing work and family.  The Seven of Earth suggests taking time to assess how that's going.  Am I getting the balance right?  Do I need to be more patient with how little work I seem to get done?  The Sun says I shouldn't just sit back and give up on work, enjoying my family.  Rather, the Six of Fire encourages me to accept help where offered, so I can know my kids are well taken care of, but still work on other tasks.  And returning to the Seven of Earth, I am reminded that slow and steady wins the race... eventually :D

Friday, 11 July 2014

Whimsy Lenormand App Overview

Article first published in the TABI Ezine, Summer 2014:

The Whimsy Lenormand app for iPhone/iPad uses the deck of the same name, created by Pepi Valderrama (2013).  The 36 borderless cards are bright and playful, and have the card title in English, the Lenormand number, and an abbreviated playing card association.

As for the app functionality, you can draw a single card, a line of 3 or 5, or a 3x3 square.  Going into the settings allows you to chose between the app shuffling automatically when you choose your reading, or when you shake your device :)

There is also both a journal and a 'share' function.  The journal works nicely, with plenty of space to write and a saved screenshot of the cards so you can track your readings.  As for the share function, you can send yourself or someone else a pretty screenshot and commentary by email or text, or either tweet it or upload it to Facebook.  Finally, it also gives you the option to save the image to your camera roll, assign it to a contact, copy it, or print the reading out: so, a really full range of possibilities.

In terms of card meanings, these are easy to access by tapping to enlarge a particular card in a reading and then 'turning it over'.  The meanings give keywords, and positive and negative interpretations, all taken from Pepi's own book on the subject (originally published in Spanish).

There are three things I had thought might be there which aren’t: the option to look through all the cards; the ability to draw a GT, and the ability to create your own spread.  Overall, though, it is a handy, fun and very user-friendly app.  There is a free version, which doesn’t give the journal option or all of the spreads, and then the full version, which costs £0.69 - definitely a good deal!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Whimsy Lenormand App Reading

This week, I'll be drawing from the Whimsy Lenormand App, by Pepi Valderrama.  It's a cute, whimsical deck, as the name suggests.

And this week's nine square has at the corners: Bear, Book, Clover, Lady.  A project manager brings luck to the querent/secret eating reduces intuition/a mother's secret brings an opportunity. 

At the centre: Dog - loyalty, friendship, dogged approach.
Action cross: Cross, Ring, Dog, Flower, Ship.  Loyally commit to dealing ethically on your creative journey/burdens require a creative commitment to a business venture.

If I read predictively, I'd expect some happy news from the person editing the Celtic Lenormand this week, and a reminder of why I feel loyal to US Games.  As I don't though, I see here more that I may need to manage my resources around a project if it is to bring me any joy.  The advice I take from this reading is to commit to my creative pursuits, in the face of other burdens.  So, despite the kids and the other work I need to do, I will make sure to spend some quality time with at least one of my creative projects.  After all, when the kids drive me crazy, that creativity brings me back to myself!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Under the Roses App Overview

Article originally published in the TABI Ezine, Summer 2014 edition:

This app was created using the original, self-published Under the Roses Lenormand (2012), simple title (non-keyword) version.  So, the cards have just a title at the bottom, and then the Lenormand number and abbreviated playing card association in circles in the top corners.  The app is based on a Wopple Topple template, and has been beautifully customised.  The colouring, design and layout are elegant and match the deck perfectly.  And there are lots of great features!

It is possible to look through the entire deck, familiarising yourself with the cards and reading the given keywords and meanings.  You can choose a Card of the Day, or pick one of several spreads: 3 card, 5 card, 9 card, Grand Tableau or Under the Roses.  The Under the Roses spread uses five cards in an arc of 3 above (influencing past happenings, present thoughts, and influencing future happenings) and a pair below (present happenings, influencing future thoughts).

The shuffle section is quite fun, with 6 different modes of shuffling (drop, pull, riffle, random, wash and cut) that you can use as often as you like, until you feel it’s “done”.  Next you get to “pick your cards” from a 36 card-back layout.  Which is fine if you’re drawing a line of three, but gets a bit boring for the Grand Tableau.  Fortunately, you can also just tap “next” to have the app do it for you :)

There is also a journal feature, where you can write about your reading and save a screenshot.  However, there are two things to be aware of here.  Firstly, once you save the reading, you can no longer interact with the cards in it.  Secondly, although you can email the reading, only the screenshot is sent, not whatever you wrote in your Reading Notes section.  I got around this by emailing the screenshot to myself and then cutting and pasting the reading notes into another email, but it isn’t ideal.

Before you save the reading, the cards can be enlarged and you can access the card meaning, as well as the positional meaning.  This is especially helpful in the Grand Tableau, as it reminds you which “house” the card falls in.  Also, in all the readings the cards are quite small, so you may want to enlarge to check which is which.  

Another great feature is that, before you save the reading, you can choose to add additional cards to your spread, or move the cards around.  Double-tapping a card turns it 90 degrees, if you want “crossing” cards, and you can just drag and drop cards on the screen to alter their position.  In the Grand Tableau, I found this a bit fiddly as the cards are small and close together, so it is quite easy to move things accidentally.  Still, it’s a useful feature, allowing you to move cards to “see” the nine square around an edge card.  Alternatively, you can add extra cards if you just drew a smaller spread and want additional information without starting over.  Makes it feel more like a real deck of cards :)

The final feature is that you can choose whether to use the traditional Man and Woman cards, the “alternate” cards (African-American), two Man cards, or two Woman cards.  This seems to be a sensible way to allow access to the “extra” cards, without complicating the app by having different possible numbers of cards in the “deck”.

Altogether, this is a very complete app: beautifully executed, with oodles of features and plenty of elegance and charm.  At £1.69, it won’t break the bank, and is a great tool for learning about Lenormand cards and readings, or for having a deck at the touch of a button when out and about.