Monday, 29 September 2014

Kitty Kahane Tarot Reading

Having seen this deck around a few times before, I was never very impressed with the artwork or colour palette.  Then, Little Red wrote a post about the Tower card (my beloved stalker, though it hasn't been coming up as much, of late).  That persuaded me and, clickety-click, the Kitty Kahane Tarot (AGM Urania, 2006, OOP) came winging it's way to me :)

Situation - Two of Swords

What I notice here are the faces on the rocks behind her, and beneath her.  Perhaps a situation of feeling a bit blocked because of the opinions of others?  And the strange fruit on her dress.  At first, from the colour, I thought pomegranate, but the shape is more like a pineapple.  Either way, my first impression sticks, and I think that the way out of this stalemate comes from listening to intuition, rather than pure logic.

Don't - Ace of Wands

The Ace of Wands has a lion behind it, and a woman on the wrist of the hand that holds it.  There's also the suggestion of a shooting star, flowers growing out of the wand, and a small heart or mouth opening up beneath to release the wand, or maybe try to nibble on it...   Okay, this deck is definetely weird, but I like it! 

A new energy, with lots going on.  The chance to seize an opportunity, to take the bit between your teeth.  Yet, as the "Don't" card, it says that it's not time to go charging into grabbing something new and running with it.

Do - Ten of Wands

Another cat in this card, though this one looks more like a tiger.  Yet, I'm not sure the figure can even see the big cat, with all those wands in front of his face.  The building behind is interesting, too.  When we are caught up in our projects, we are often oblivious of the things and people around us.  Yet, that isn't always a bad thing: sometimes it is necessary to focus on what we already have going on, so as to get things done.

For myself, I definitely see the suggestion that, if uncertain this week, I should choose to work on something I have already started.  I am often easily distracted by new, exciting ideas/decks/projects.  That doesn't always serve me well, though, and I do already have quite a few things on the go.  So, that's where I'll try to channel my energy!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot Overview

The Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2014) is filled with strange characters.  Large heads and small bodies are one element of her artistic style.  Yet, the bizarre mixing and morphing of human, animal and plant adds another layer to this surreal melange.

One thing some may object to is the fact that every card shows a female figure, most often just the one.  This is true even of the different Courts, on which more below.  Yet, despite this, the images are not samey or lacking in symbolism.

Conversely, one thing detractors of Lo Scarabeo decks may appreciate is that there are no multilingual titles, just basic numbers and suit symbols. The borders are delicate and slightly ornate, much like the images themselves.  And the card stock is sturdy, flexible, not overly thick, and easy to shuffle.

Turning to the images, we see in Temperance a beautiful girl with white hair and a white dress.  This pallid creature is offset by the red fish she sleeps upon.  There are other, smaller red fish that fly around them in the cloudy blue sky, and still others that seem to emerge from, or play among the strands of, her hair.  The colours, the play with fish and sky, and the peacefulness of her sleeping figure, all point to traditional notions.  The card suggests well the mixing of different elements, and how this can be healing.

For the Courts, the King of Pentacles came up.  A beautiful woman raises her skirts, allowing a bull to come charging out. The landscape around her isn't particularly lush, but there is a large town or city behind her.  Strength, groundedness, responsibility and economic growth, as well Taurean links, are all to be found here.

Looking a bit deeper, the Courts are distinguished by the little symbols at the bottom of the cards.  Yet, when placed together, the symbolism and differences are also quite apparent.  The Knights always have some kind of steed, the Queens are always more in close-up, and the Pages farther away.

I like the ballerina for the Page of Pentacles, suggesting a certain youth and innocence, as well as the need for practice to master anything physical.  The Knight on her button-eyed rabbit keeps a tight leash on her physical control, yet still has work to do to have everything as it should be.

The Queen is beautiful, indulging her physical desires with plenty left to share.  And the King, though female, has the strength and power of the bull, and that sense of overarching control and responsibility, through the use of landscape.  Thus, though each shows a female character, they are easily distinguished, with plenty of appropriate symbolism.

Moving on to the Ace of Pentacles, her yellow, egg shape suggests the seed of some material growth or expansion.  The birds are a little strange, more in tune with an airier sign, yet the idea that new possibilities can grow from here is certainly clear.

The Eight of Cups at first glance seems quite similar: pretty girl, bulbous dress and birds.  Yet the differences are also striking.  Her dress is a gilded cage, and the birds are dark.  We can get trapped by our emotions, by the pleasant situation we appear to have.  One bird, though, is out, and the girl's eyes turn to the right, to an as yet unseen potential future.  Will she leave the dress behind, morphing into a bird herself to fly away and seek out new, more fulfilling possibilities?

Overall, this deck does not feel to me like it has been slapped together from preexisting artwork.  While unusual, the symbolism still feels largely appropriate if quite different from tradition.  It is beautiful and bizarre, and would work well as a deck for free-flying intuitive readings, while still being open to traditional interpretations.  While perhaps not the best deck for a beginner, it is lovely and very usable.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Memory Lane

Radiant Rider Waite - my first deck
Previous Blog/ Master List/ Next Blog

As the catchphrase goes: one good post leads to another.  To follow the blog hop round, click on the links at top or bottom of this post.  First, though, I hope you'll follow me down memory lane...

Morgan Eckstein asked us to write about quantum leaps in our tarot reading.  Moments when we realised that things had changed.  I'm never sure if these leaps come based on the build up of lots of little things, or are really as sudden as they sometimes seem.

I can think of a fair few of these leaps in my time reading tarot.  The first came when I took an eight week beginners course, and really plunged into reading daily, understanding all the cards, and having the confidence to manage bigger spreads.  A beautiful leap of faith that has taken me to wonderful places!

Comparative Tarot
The next was when I joined the Comparative Tarot list, back in the day before forums, and dug deeper into the variety of meanings a single card/archetype could hold.  Two other such leaps, going through an endorsement programme reading for strangers and joining various card study groups, I've talked about over on the TABI post for this hop.

Another really big one was the learning provided by going to work for a tarot phone line!  Some of that was learning about how to phrase questions, how to connect with all kinds of different people, how to trust my intuition in the moment, and how to look for what someone can positively take away from a reading.

Bohemian Gothic 1st Ed.
A big chunk, too, was learning what not to do: why I don't feel comfortable doing third party readings (I'm not a spy, and while someone might claim they just want to help their sister-in-law, they might then turn around and attack that person for a perceived misdemeanour!); why I don't like purely predictive readings (what good are they if you don't talk about what the person can do about an impending issue?); and why I don't call myself a psychic (while I do believe there are great psychics out there, and that we all have flashes of this, I don't trust myself enough to offer this 'knowledge' to someone else, I'd rather they learnt to listen to their own flashes of insight).

Interesting to think back over this tarot journey, where I started, and where it's taken me so far.  I wonder where I'll leap next... :)

Previous Blog/ Master List/ Next Blog

Monday, 22 September 2014

Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot Reading

This week, it's another Lo Scarabeo new release. This one has been long-awaited, and is both strange and delightful: the Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot (2014). 

Situation - Eight of Pentacles

A pretty brunette wears a red face mask and dress.  Her slim female body morphs into a fly's wings, legs and arms.  She appears to be trying to train a smaller bug to do tricks with strawberries.  Practice makes perfect could certainly be her catchphrase, which fits well with traditional RWS understandings of the Eight of Pentacles.

Don't - Two of Pentacles

A doll-like figure with no obvious connection between her head and body stands in a strange, chequered room.  She juggles what appears to be six balls, a skittle and a button.  Although there are eight objects, rather than two, the traditional message of juggling different things comes through clear and strong.

Do - Three of Cups

Hmm, once again the feel is right, even if the numbers are wrong.  We see four mermaids clearly, jumping free of the water.  Another three are suggested by fishtails flapping up from beneath the waters.  The feel if the card is joyful and playful, even if some of the mermaids have quite serious expressions.  Like a school of fish, a group of friends often flow together.

For myself, I'm not sure if I'm the trainer or the bug that's learning.  Either way, practice is called for.  The risk of juggling too many things, though, isn't helped by these first two cards.  Should I focus on practising card readings in a forum I've recently joined, which also gets me to practice my German?  Or practice different techniques for trying to get the baby, now six months old, to sleep by himself?  The last card seems to suggest I focus on the former: it is more sociable, and perhaps more likely to succeed :)

P.S. This week there will be an extra post on Wednesday, as part of the Autumn Equinox Tarot Blog Hop.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Alice Tarot Overview

The lovely box
As I mentioned on Monday, although this is the Standard Edition of the Alice Tarot (Baba Studios, 2014), rather than the Special Edition, it comes with shiny, metallic finishes.  These are just gorgeous, and add a really luxurious feel to the cards.  The Standard edition also comes in a lovely, sturdy box, which opens smoothly down the middle.  It is so nice and easy to use that I'm considering leaving my deck in the box, despite having bought a beautiful bag for it!

I also went for a copy of the companion book, written by Karen Mahony.  As with other books she has produced, this one is detailed, well-written, nicely illustrated, and shows the depth of thought and research that has gone into this deck. 

Take the Empress: showing the Duchess and her baby, you'd hardly say she was the image of womanliness!  Yet, as Mahony points out, there are no good mothering figures in either of the Alice books.  So, while giving traditional RWS ideas about the card, she also suggests that when this version comes up we might think of more dysfunctional mothering relationships, like having the Empress reversed.

There is a lot of humour in this deck, too.  For instance, the Page of Cups, rather than having a fish in his cup, is a fish himself.  This character from the book is a fairly good fit, being a dreamer who tries to be helpful, but in an often naive way.

As for the Aces, these follow the slightly surreal but very readable format of the deck.  For example, the Ace of Swords shows a knife spreading butter in the Mad Hatter's watch: a caution to do some research and planning before acting on a new idea.  As for the Ace of Coins, it shows Alice about to eat a cake that says 'eat me'.  Doing so causes her to change in size, and isn't the boon she hoped it would be, at least until she learns to find the right balance.  This leap into a new physical experience is a funny invitation to try something new.

Finally, we have the Eight of Coins, showing a plate with eight jam tarts.  These are beautifully presented, with little hearts in the centre of each.  A reminder that, in cooking as in many other material pursuits, mastery comes with repetitive practice.  And with the added 'Alice' warning to beware of others who may wish to steal your hard-earned success.

The companion book also contains abridged versions of both the Alice books, with small scans of the card related to any particular section.  This is perfect for a quick read, and for a deeper understanding of the cards.

Altogether, this is an absolutely wonderful, somewhat surreal, and delightfully shiny deck.  It will appeal to Alice fans, as well as fans of RWS decks who also like a touch of the bizarre.  Colourful and crazy, I look forward to reading with it much more.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Alice Tarot Reading

This week, I am delighted to have finally gotten my hands on the latest deck from those Baba Studios creatives, the Alice Tarot (standard edition).  I've wanted this deck since Karen Mahoney first announced they were working on it, a couple of years ago!  Still, first impression is: it was worth the wait!

Situation - King of Wands

I'm not sure you can tell from the scan, but these cards have shiny bits.  On this card, that translates not just to gilt bits, but also blue and red metallic bits: very nice! 

The Mad Hatter is passionate and enthused about life, and manages to carry others along with him.  Some folks think his actions a little crazy, but there's no doubting his dynamism.

Don't - The Devil

I like the way some elements of the images seem to burst out of the borders, as though they are too strong or big to be contained.  We see that here, with the Jabberwock: a fiercesome creature, part lizard, part bat.  Of course, our own fears are always far worse than the actual threats we face, and the worst that happens to us is more likely to be from our own poor choices.  Still, "Beware the jubjub bird and shun the frumious bandersnatch" :)

Do - Queen of Swords

Oh my, this Queen looks rather grim, despite the warm colours of her clothes (highlighted with lots of metallic, can you see the glitter?)  Still, the Queen of Hearts seemed a pretty grim character, yelling "Off with his head!" at the drop of a hat, or tart.  Yet, later in the story we hear that she doesn't actually execute anyone.  So, a softer touch than she seems: a woman who threatens swift justice but is actually kind-hearted under her bluster.

I've certainly got plenty of plans I'd love to plunge into, with Mad Hatter-like impetuosity.  The Devil reminds me, though, not to allow myself to be distracted by tempting shiny things.  Hmm, no extra readings with this deck, then :D  And the Queen of Swords suggests strategic time-planning will benefit me in getting things done.  Okay, perhaps not just a to-do list, but a plan for how to best fit things in is first up!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Ghost Tarot Overview

This week's deck, the Ghost Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2014), is clearly a theme deck.  As such, it may appeal to goths, as well as having potential for both Halloween and mediumistic readings.  That isn't to say that it isn't a readable deck, though.

I really like some of the imagery here.  For example, this version of Death is very atmospheric and adds some interesting symbolism.  A ghostly, cloaked figure carrying a scythe floats within a graveyard, with a mausoleum just behind.  It stands on a path through the graveyard, framed by the iron doors, and with a full moon shining brightly above it.  There is sorrow and grief here.  Yet, there is also a place for such things, and structure to help us deal with it.  And perhaps a power connected with such endings, the clarity that can be associated with closure.

The King of Wands, on the other hand, represents one of the less sterling aspects of this deck.  Some of the CGI looks overly fake.  Like the figure in the Five of Swords on Monday, there is an irreality, a plasticness, to some of the people that doesn't sit well with me.  And yet, I quite like how these ghostly courts have been done, glowing with the colour associated with their suit.  The symbolism, too, is appropriate and helpful to reading these sometimes tricky characters.  Here, the King sits firmly in his throne, glowing red and holding his wand proudly before him.  He is forthright, and dynamic even in this static pose.  His throne sits with windows behind him, and the sky glows outside: he has oversight in his given field or domain.

The Ace of Cups works nicely, too.  A ghostly hand reaches out beneath a slightly glowing goblet, which floats above a larger fount of water.  Steam rises around the waters, suggesting the veils between the worlds being drawn back.  While there isn't an overflowing here, there is a feeling of abundance and depth, an offer to experience more if we look deeply into the waters.

As for the Minors, all are clearly related to traditional RWS notions.  Yet, each adds its own quirk.  Sometimes, these work beautifully, like Monday's Five of Swords.  Other times, they are a little more strange.  The Eight of Pentacles is a case in point.  A woman in a wedding dress chisels R.I.P. onto a gravestone.  Above it floats a man's figure, with slicked back hair, little round glasses, and a book in one hand.  Is this the woman's intended?  Her father?  Or is she some kind of black widow who has already gone through seven other husbands?

Not a great deck, perhaps, but one which has enough symbolism to read (generally), and enough variety not to be a bore.  The idea of ghosts being around us all the time is one that will appeal to some, and it certainly works very powerfully in some of the cards.  What do you think?

Monday, 8 September 2014

Ghost Tarot Reading

From last week's neo-Victorian creatures, this week we move to the very modern, CGI Ghost Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2014).

Situation -The World

A ghostly figure swims within a green,glowing crystal ball.  She wears nothing but a draping of material, and lines of light flow from her, or to her.  Do those lines feed her, or bind her?  Given this is the World card, the former seems more likely.  Yet, altogether, it is a rather claustrophobic version of what is more often a joyous card.  I am tempted to see here more the idea of finality, completing a cycle, and perhaps realising how confined you have been.  There is a hope for a wider experience and a new start.

Don't - Five of Swords

In the foreground, a rather annoyingly plastic-looking figure smiles as he holds three swords, with two more in the ground just in front of him.  Meanwhile, two rather despondent,ghostly figures walk away from him, towards a lake.  Above the scene, a rainbow fills the blue side of the sky, with clouds above the smug figure.  The expression that comes to mind is "giving up the ghost".

Do - Eight of Swords

A woman stands, with hands bound and eyes covered atop a rocky outcropping.  Behind her, a pair of angel wings rise up.  Is she aware of the wings?  Though her hands are bound and she cannot see, if she just dares to take flight, she will be safe.  This card has a Fool quality to it, as her left foot seems poised to step off the boulder, into the unknown.

I'm hoping the World indicates some kind of a new start, breaking free from the bubble of worry around my elder son, and just plain demandingness of the younger.  I see this reading recommending not to give up on my own aspirations, hopes and dreams.  Though I may feel somewhat tied up with childcare duties and concerns, that doesn't mean I can't think about the things that I want to do.  After all, planning is half the job... :)

Friday, 5 September 2014

Penny Dreadful Giveaway Results

Did you think I'd forgotten?  Well, actually I did, but remembered this morning.  So, from the six brave folks willing to give the Penny Dreadful Tarot a go, the lucky winner is....

Ravenna Rose!

I'll also try contacting you on Facebook, to get your address.  Happy Spooky Readings, and in good time for Samhain :D

Isidore Tarot Overview

As I mentioned on Monday, the Isidore Tarot (by Bethalynne Bajema) is based on the artwork of J.J. Granville.  So, we find many quirky beasts and insects, neo-Victorian clothing and artifacts, and a touch of the bizarre.

Take the Sun, which shows an elongated horse, a mini-tin pot dictator instead of a naked boy, and a calm yet somewhat frou-frou Sun above.  There are also sunflowers, yet they are low to the ground, changing the feel of the card a fair bit.  This card speaks less of innocence, yet still expresses new energy and a desire to explore the world - look at how high that horse raises its foreleg.

The Court cards are very well done, in my opinion.  Like the Queen and King of Cups that we saw on Monday, there is plenty of symbolism to be getting on with, though the images are far from busy.  So too, here on the Page of Coins, we have a rather dapper bird in a mustard coat, holding his Pentacle and looking quite pleased about it.  One finger points to the Coin, as though to say: Here, look at this!  Small flowers bloom around him, connecting him to the element of earth, and to new beginnings in the physical plane.

I also love this Ace of Swords, a hand reaches out holding what looks like a carving fork.  On top of it is a crown, with gems in a colour that matches the sleeve of the hand.  This is a far more "civilised" version - the hand is obviously clothed, there are matching accents and plenty of elegant detail in the fork.  And yet, the card itself remains quite simple and clear, which is a theme of all the images.

As for this Six of Wands, isn't it fabulous!  A donkey wears a wreath, and rides on the back of a zebra, while other donkeys stand around, gazing at this victor.  The six wands rise up around the donkey, intricate yet clear, and in a pattern that is tidy, yet not entirely symmetrical.

This deck is very readable following RWS tradition, and has a lovely simplicity to it, despite the detail of the main elements.  The only downside for me is that, despite quite nice cardstock, the deck came without rounded corners.  So, half an hour with my trusty corner-rounder was required before being able to use it.  The yellowish tones of the deck appeal to me, a bright, yet autumnal palette that suggests sepia, while being far more colourful.  And the quirkiness of the artwork, the strange juxtapositions mixed in with a clarity of design, makes it an interesting reading deck. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

Isidore Tarot Reading

This week's deck is a fun, neo-Victorian pastiche created by Bethalynne Bajema, the Isidore Tarot (self-published, year unclear).  It is based on the artwork of J.J. Grandville, as was the Fantastic Menagerie Tarot (Baba Studios, 2006).  Still, this deck very much has its own voice, and is quite distinct and delightful.

Situation - Ace of Coins

A hand emerges from a mustard-colour cloud, holding a black circle with a hole in it.  Up close, there is delicate etching on the coin.  A new beginning, a coin to spend or invest as we choose.  Will it be spent on a gym membership, a cake, or invested in a fund or a personal project?

Don't - Queen of Cups

A yellow-bonnetted figure on a Victorian armchair looks deeply into a very large and ornate cup.  Looking closely, she also has a fishtail.  Hardly your traditional bathing beauty mermaid, though :D Still, a person who can flow with the emotions around her, and one who is not afraid to look deeply into her own feelings.  However, this is what we should avoid this week.

Do - King of Cups

An austere man with a strong nose holds a cup high.  That, at least, is the first impression.  Looking closer, though, his face appears to be a mask, and a mertail rises behind him. So, a figure who hides his emotions from others behind a mask, and keeps his own feelings at arm's length.

Hmm, seems like a new start is called for, but one where I shouldn't focus directly on my emotions, though they may be very present.  It makes me think of tapping (EFT), where you work through emotions without actually going into the feelings.  I've tried tapping to change my eating patterns in the past, maybe I should focus on that again this week...