Friday, 31 January 2014

Blocking Out The Light

For our last day with the Tarot of Mermaids (Lo Scarabeo, 2003, mini 2005), we have another interesting variant on traditional imagery.

A mermaid sits in a shallow pool with rocks dotted around, and her back to us.  She holds ten oars, which fan out above her head in a cumbersome way.  To one side, there is a treasure chest full of gold, and beyond her we see a rocky island, and the sun setting in a glorious show of colour.  However, her hair blows out in front of her face, between her and the oars, blocking the sun.

One way of reading this suggests that taking on all those burdens has allowed her to accumulate a lot of material wealth.  Another, though, might say that she cannot make use of any of the money because her arms are too full of the oars.  And despite the beautiful sea and sky scape, she doesn't see any of it because her hair and the oars obstruct the view: her thoughts about all those duties and responsibilities, or actions she has to take, stop her enjoying the moment.

I've been trying not to take on too much, of late, given I've had a lot less time than normal, due to taking care of Big Boy.  Still, I do have quite a bit to do today - travelling earlier in the week sucked up a lot of my time.  And I also have a couple of obstetric appointments this afternoon.  Once again, a time to reassess my priorities.

I am grateful for the reminder to be in the moment.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Bound?

I find today's card from the Tarot of Mermaids (Lo Scarabeo, 2003, mini 2005) rather interesting.

Although superficially just a busty mermaid in the traditional Eight of Swords bound and trapped position, with a way free ahead if only she could see it, this card offers us other interesting symbolism.  For one thing, she is in a little, rocky inlet, with the tridents blocking either side of the exit behind her, and rocks blocking the exit to land.  It feels like a double prison, in that sense, blocked by earth as well as by the tridents.  And yet, as she is clearly breathing in the air, she is not as incapable of dealing with life on land as she may perceive.

For another thing, I like the way her hair floats up behind her.  Although she is in the air, rather than the water, her hair still sways freely, as though unaffected by gravity.  Yet, Swords (tridents) normally represent our thoughts and words.  Her rational thoughts may leave her feeling trapped, yet there is a deeper knowing, more instinctive or at a body level, that understands she could swim free any time she chose.

At the moment, my time feels very limited, which leaves me feeling a bit trapped: I can do the things that are highest priority, but those are rarely the things I would most like to do.  This card reminds me that I create those priorities (though based on who pays my salary, and on my son's needs).  Still, there are things I could do differently...

I am grateful for the reminder that we are never truly bound, we always have some choices.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Healing and the Middle Ground

There's something slightly odd about today's card from the Tarot of Mermaids (Lo Scarabeo, 2003, mini 2005).

For the most part, tradition is honoured in this image of Temperance.  We have a mermaid just in the water off a sandy beach, with rocky outcroppings rising above and behind her: combining the sea and the land.  It seems she may, like the mermaid in the Stars, have a split tail, as one part is held above water, and the other is in it.  She pours liquid from a blue jug into a red jug, also suggestive of mixing different elements.  She herself has wings, as well as a tail, and her hair appears short on one side, and very long on the other.  The long side blows out as though in a strong breeze, though there is no other sign of it in the still waters around her or in her diaphonous scarf, which drapes over one shoulder and into the water.

There is a suggestion of healing here - she is an angelic mermaid, after all, mixing up a potion.  And a hint of combining different elements and aspects to create something that is more than the sum of its parts.

Hopefully, our family will manage to be more than the sum of its parts today.  Big Boy had a test yesterday which means that I shouldn't go near him today, for the safety of my unborn child.  And because his class teacher is also pregnant, he can't go to school, either.  So, my Dear One has taken the day off work to care for him.  I hope that, although I can't go too close, I can still be a helpful and healing presence, perhaps doing things in the background to assist, like preparing food and medications.  It's really tough, being here but not being able to hold or cuddle him.  Perhaps I'll also need a little healing help, to get through the guilt of not being by his side.

I am grateful for the reminder that I don't need to be in the mix to be of the mix.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Help or Hindrance

Today's card from the Tarot of Mermaids (Lo Scarabeo, 2003, mini 2005) is a little less traditional than the others we've had so far.

Two mermaids swim past a shipwreck, or perhaps a house that has been submerged by the sea.  A small shoal of fish swim around them, and five pearlescent globes seem to float in the window of the house or ship.  Their being on the outside is also not totally apparent, as the curve of the wooden structure dips towards the mermaids.  Another non-traditional feature is that one of them wears a blindfold. 

We could read this as one person lending aid to another in a time of hardship (blindness), which would fit traditional meanings for the Five of Pentacles.  However, it is also possible to see some kind of game: what will be unveiled when the second mermaid takes off her blindfold?  Fives are often associated with challenges, so could this be an encouragement to explore our senses in ways we are unused to?

Both meanings seem relevant to me today.  On the one hand, my day isn't looking all that great: stuck in a stuffy meeting room, with a great potential for arguments.  Will I be able to help, or will someone help me to see it differently?  I also see the advice to tap into my other senses, maybe focus inward.  Sometimes it's less about what people say than how they say it, and that may be key to moving things forward.

I am grateful for the reminder to pay attention at many levels.

Monday, 27 January 2014

The Ancient Mariner

Another Major greets us today from the Tarot of Mermaids (Lo Scarabeo, 2003, mini 2005): the Hermit.

I really like this image, which seems to combine the traditional Hermit with Poseidon, or perhaps the Ancient Mariner...  He has a mer-tail, a cane, a lamp, and a toga-style swathe of fabric that floats around him in his underwater perch.  There are rocks in the background, but not much else to be made out of his surroundings.  Yet, the white of his toga reflcts the light of his lantern, turning him into a beacon of tranquility.

He is a reminder of the passage of time, and of all that we can learn in the years alloted to us if we choose to illuminate the world around us, and ourselves.  He has had the wisdom to survive, allowing him to become an elder, which is not always as easy as it may seem.

I haven't done as much studying as I would have liked of late.  Perhaps today I can take a little time to read some papers for the meeting tomorrow.  I'd also like to spend some time in meditation, a more inward-focused form of study...

I am grateful for the ability to read, which I have so long taken for granted.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Hope Is A Mindset

Just two days after the last time, I've pulled the Stars again, this time from the Tarot of Mermaids (Lo Scarabeo, 2003, mini 2005).

A rather more traditional variant than last week's, it shows a split-tailed mermaid sat by the side of the ocean.  She wears nothing but a white scarf, and pours white liquid out of two white jugs: one into the sea, the other onto the land.  A huge star fills the sky above her, with seven smaller stars around it.

While there is a lot of female nudity in this deck, I mind it far less in this card which, for me, merits it.  I like the idea of allowing ourselves to be open and vulnerable, of placing that kind of trust in the Universe.  And while her split tail is a little strange, it does stay true to the traditional idea of being in touch with both the practicalities of life and the more emotional side of things.  We need that balance if we are to follow our guiding star, and feel at peace.

What I see here is a reminder that hope is not just something that comes from outside of us, rather it is a mindset.  Being Sunday, I know I won't be getting any news on the subject that is most troubling me at the moment.  Yet, that doesn't mean I should give up and have a bad day.  Rather, I need to keep hope alive, and focus on what I can do now, in the moment.  I can meditate, I can plan, I can play with Big Boy and my Dear One, and I can stay hopeful that tomorrow will bring good news.

I am grateful for the hope that lives within me.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Support

After the bizarreness of last week's deck, this week we're going to the other end of the spectrum.  The Tarot of Mermaids (2003, mini-edition 2005) is a Lo Scarabeo 'art deck', full of buxsome, lithesome mercreatures.  This was the first 'mini' deck I ever bought, and as such it spent a fair bit of time in my handbag and dragged out for impromptu readings.  And while it doesn't have the depth of symbolism many other decks offer, it is more readable than something like the Art Nouveau Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2002).

Take today's card: the Five of Chalices.  A mermaid lies on the sea floor, with three dark shells scattered at her side.  Another two shells sit, shining brightly, on a rock behind her. There is also a pyramidal structure in the background, and a vortex of light, or perhaps ripples on the surface, above. 

This is a fairly traditional RWS-based depiction.  It suggests sorrowful emotions over what is past, and not seeing the potential of what is available.  I quite like the three-dimensionality, which implies not only that she is turning her back on potential happiness, but also that she could look beyond herself for a brighter perspective.

I was reminded a couple of days ago to look for the support that may be available to me, and this card echoes that.  My mother is a wonderful source of support, and is coming for a visit today.  So, time to let go of pain and fears and appreciate the love and caring in my life.

I am grateful for my mother, who loves and supports me so kindly even now.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Hope

The Star is always a lovely card to draw, though this is another very unusual variant from the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot (US Games, 1998).

A large, yellow star dominates the image, bent in half and wrapping its points around a dark moon.  It has the squiffy eyes found in many of the characters of this deck, and a bright, pink and purple smile.  Six smaller stars twinkle around the edges of the moon.  Below this wide sky scape, we see choppy waters and two structures poking up from amid the waves.  The structure on the left holds a scroll, while the right hand one holds a small person.  This little figure in black pours a single drop of water from a jug into the swell of water around them.

This image doesn't bring to mind calm and generosity, as so many Star cards do.  It speaks more of underlying uncertainty, and putting a bright, bold face on.  And if we can't do that, of at least giving what we can, despite trying circumstances.  Or maybe that's just me...  Still, I suppose those could be taken as ideal circumstances for the Star's traditional message of hope and guidance!

I'm certainly feeling a bit like that small, dark figure, under threat of being overwhelmed by the waves.  So, this card reminds me to look beyond my current circumstances and keep hope alive. 

I am grateful for hope.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Stilt Walker

Another weird and wonderful card from the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot (US Games, 1998): the Three of Wands.

In this version, we have an extremely long-nosed stilt walker wearing a black hat and white costume.  His stilts are tied to two little carts, which hold smiley-faced creatures.  One of them carries three star-topped wands, while the other wears a pink t-shirt decorated with a club.  All three appear to be in a circus big top, with a purple and orange awning, and funny jelly-shaped pedestals in the background.

Certainly, the central figure will get a good view from his position, like the traditional figure looking out over the sea.  There's no water here, but perhaps a sea of people in the audience that we can't see from our vantage point.  And maybe what he's waiting for is the applause :)

When I look at this card in terms of my day, though, it's less the idea of gauging where I am that strikes me, than the precariousness of being up on those stilts.  My Dear One and I are going to meet with a midwife today, and I feel a bit that way.  While my Dear One and the midwife will be there for the birth, supporting and cheering me on (I hope), I'll still be in that precarious place myself, the one who could suffer a mishap.  Still, as the card suggests, that position also means that I will hopefully achieve something wondrous: birthing a healthy child safely.

I am grateful for the love and support around me.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Wink?

What a very different Queen of Cups to last week's!  This version, from the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot (US Games, 1998) is certainly unusual...

A blonde woman sits before a green table, with a pink-and-blue chequered wall behind her.  There are numbers in some of the pink squares, and a squiggle in another.  The woman wears a pink latex costume, a black dog-collar with a heart at the front and metal spikes at either side, and a blue face mask with only one eye hole, the other eye being covered by a question mark.  Her hands are below the table, and instead two blue-gloved hands poke up through holes in the table, on the end of more spikes.  One sits in front of her face, as though in a questioning, chin-rubbing position.  The other appears to want to walk off across the table, which also holda a mug decorated with hearts and a cube with a Q on one side.

The face mask makes me think of experiencing your emotions through senses beyond sight, pointing to this Queen's intuitiveness.  She has no hands, though, to show she's not much for action, and she rubs her chin as though pondering something.  The collar makes me think of someone who is controlled by others, perhaps through her emotionality.

Today, my Dear One and I are meeting with someone about the refurb works at our new place.  The phrase "a nudge is as good as a wink" keeps spinning through my head.  So, perhaps I need to listen to the subtexts in the conversation, let my DO do the talking, but try to point him towards anything I notice in a subtle way.  Perhaps, too, a reminder not to let my emotions take over: we'll move when we move, though it's looking likely to be after the new baby is born at this point :(

I am grateful for the reminder of both the strengths and weaknesses in taking an emotional view of situations.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Watch Tower

At first glance, today's card from the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot (US Games, 1998) bears no relation at all to traditional meanings.

Once again, we find ourselves in a sand-coloured building with a black-and-white chequered floor (as in the Ace of Swords).  This time, though, the walls loom high above the lone figure, and there are nine swords stuck in the floor, or perhaps leant up against the light brown walls.  There is also what may be a book lying on the floor, spoi.ing the purity of the chequered pattern. 

Above the figure are a couple of openings, one shaped like a playing card spade (the suit most often linked to Swords), and a more irregular shape which frames a dark and foreboding castle in the distance.  As for the figure, at first I thought it was some kind of magician, due to the pointy hat, but actually I think it's a damsel with a green gown and matching hat with a rather sad pinkish veil.  It was the lack of hair that tricked me!

And so we have a female with something foreboding looming over her, in a situation that leaves her feeling trapped.  Not so different, then, to the traditional woman in a bed clutching the bedcovers as she wrestles with nightmares.  Still, it does remove the pointers to insomnia, which has always been one of my favourite interpretations of many versions of this card (it being something I'm pretty familiar with).

There are quite a few things that I'm feeling apprehensive about.  Like the castle in the distance, though, most of them are far enough off that things may have changed for the better by the time they come round.  There's a business trip next week that I'm already reading the papers for, yay me!  And then there's giving birth to Number Two, with worries about pain and how long it will take, and who will look after Number One while that's going on.  As for what I can do about it, I've got some ideas, and things I need to be dedicated and practise.

I am grateful that things are rarely as bad as they seem in my early-morning worrying sessions.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Lost In Space

Today's card from the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot (US Games, 1998) really makes me giggle!

We have a somewhat loopy little blue alien in a purple flying saucer (decorated with the number 69).  The flying saucer is being pulled by two sea horses, who look bug-eyed crazy.  Perhaps not surprising, seeing as they do seem to be flying in the air, above a colourful landscape with a long-legged giant towering over buildings and pyramids.  There is a puzzle piece in the bottom left corner (a frequent motif and something incorporated in the card backs along with a die, a question mark and the number 56).  There is also a little pink pig with wings looking surprised to see the flying saucer :D

Certainly, the card could be read to imply that sense of charging off into the unknown, sure of our own ability, but without the experience to back it up.  And the crazy eyes of the sea horses suggests the "having to control disparate drives" interpretation...

Still, I hope that today will see some positive forward movement.  Hopefully, I'll have time to get some work done, as several things need some attention pronto.  Of course, this could suggest I'll feel tugged in different directions, which is certainly a possibility.  So, time to get some perspective and prioritise.

I am grateful for the reminder to check where I am before deciding where to go next.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

A Grain Of Sand

Today, we have a Major card from the weird and whacky Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot (US Games, 1998).

In this version of the World, we have a male rather than a female figure.  And rather than dancing within the elements, he is sat at a table with representative objects before him: a plant in a pot, a glass of water, a lit candle, and a little cloud.  Very reminiscent of traditional Magicians. Above all that looms the male's head, which is a Eurocentric representation of the earth. 

All in all, it is a very non-traditional take on the World: stationary, male, clothed and rather cerebral.  Still, I like the bumpiness of the globe, the trees sticking out of it at odd angles, and the little sun and moon to either side of him. 

It's interesting, that idea of holding the whole world in our mind.  On the one hand, no wonder his head is so disproportionately big.  Yet, on the other, philosophers say it is possible to see the whole world in a grain of sand, so why shouldn't a human mind encompass it?

I'm unlikely to have time to gaze at sand today.  Still, perhaps I can find that sense of oneness with the world through a little meditation, and a lot of being in the world: there's not much that's more mundane than looking after a young child.

I am grateful for the reminder that I can see the big picture in the little details of daily life.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Blue Sky Thinking

This week, we take a step back in time to a deck published by US Games in 1998: the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot by Graham Cameron.  This deck is colourfully-drawn, and definitely falls in the "weird" category.  Still, it's pretty fun.

Take this first card: the Ace of Swords.  We have what looks more like a dagger or knife, with a green handle with finger ridges, decorated with a playing card spade.  The guard is pink, and the blade pierces through a little cloud.  However, that cloud, and the dagger, float just off a black-and-white chequered floor, within the ramparts of a sand-coloured fort or castle, with an open, pale-blue sky above.

So, we move from seeing the world in monochrome to piercing through uncertainty, and with the promise of open horizons if we can rise above narrow or self-limiting beliefs :)

In this card, I see the recommendation to grasp a new idea if it's offered.  There are two areas where I'd like to look into something someone mentioned, and perhaps today I can make time for those.  Both are rather "outside the box thinking" for me, which is a good challenge to take up.

I am grateful for fresh perspectives and approaches.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Masks

For our last day with, we have a card that caught my eye when I first looked through the deck: the Seven of Swords.

A woman in an elegant evening gown, with a black bodice, cream skirt and matching wrap, stands before a huge, stone wall.  Her hair is silver-white, and above her seven shining swords hang in mid-air, Damocles-like.  She faces slightly to the left, yet looks off to the right of the card over her left shoulder.  Behind her, the shadow she casts is that of a dragon!

To me, this hints at the traditional interpretation of sneakiness, yet there is more to it than that.  It can also fit with ideas around working smarter rather than harder, and with doing research.  The dragon does what she can to fit in so as to better achieve her aims, or to learn new things.

Well, I'll be seeing beyond the superficial today, with a scan appointment to see the baby inside me.  This 32-week scan was recommended because there was some concern at 20 weeks regarding his kidneys.  While the obstetrician thinks all is well, I prefer to do the tests to be sure.

I am grateful for the reassurance of technology.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Self-Containment

Today, we have another Court card from the Tarot Draconis (Lo Scarabeo, 2013).

This Queen of Cups holds a massive goblet in her left hand, suggestive of being intuitive and emotionally deep.  She sits on her throne in the middle of a still sea, with blue all around her: the sea, the sky, and even her throne.  Yet, amid all these suggestions of calm, emotional tranquility, and openness, she wears armour that covers her from neck to toes, and her feet rest on top of the water, rather than in it.

This seems almost contradictory, and yet I quite like the symbolism.  It's as though she needs a hard outer layer, because she is naturally so soft.  She needs a bit of structure to help contain her, just as water is contained by a cup.  And her intuition runs so deep that she doesn't need to be immersed in the water of emotions to feel them running through her.

For me, meditation is one of those structures that helps contain me and my emotions.  It's one I've been drawing on a lot recently, going for the greater structure of guided hypnobirthing meditations :)

I am grateful for the reminder to draw on the support systems I have.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Fly Me To The Moon

While some may complain that there are no suit emblems on this card from the Tarot Draconis (Lo Scarabeo, 2013), I think it illustrates the card's meaning beautifully!

In this version of the Eight of Cups, a dark dragon flies through an even darker sky, headed towards the bright moon above.  Below the dragon, the sea is choppy in the foreground, calmer in the distance.  I really like the notion here that the dragon is flying upward, seeking the clarity of the moonlight.  It leaves behind the choppy waters of deep emotions and subconscious thoughts. 

It's interesting that there are no neatly stacked cups here, with the sea itself standing in their stead.  It suggests that, rather than the emotions we leave behind being ones that are happy and tidy, these are powerful, sometimes dark feelings.  And in flying up towards the moon, and the calm of the waters farther away, the dragon seeks to let go of this tumult, and find a quiet calm.

It's interesting, as this card was also one of three that came up in the reading I had with James Ricklef on Monday.  I know which difficult emotions I need to leave behind, and I'm certainly trying.  He made an interesting suggestion about how I might do this, so I take this card as a reminder to research that...

I am grateful for the emotional support around me.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Where Next?

While clearly RWS-based, the Tarot Draconis (Lo Scarabeo, 2013) adds plenty of interesting twists to traditional themes.

Take today's card: the Five of Swords.  A dragon stands on what appears to be a battlefield, based on its burned, charred and ruined appearance.  In the background a fire still seems to rage, however here the ground is just black and scorched.  Five dragon-winged blades stand, pommel up, in the battered landscape.  The three in the foreground glow as though with magical energy, while the two further back, though seemingly identical in design, appear lifeless in comparison.

This card invites traditional interpretations of defeat, humiliation and loss.  After all, the dragon is hemmed in by the magical blades, with a fire and destruction behind: a rock and a hard place.  Or we could see that as the way ahead being blocked, while behind us lie the fruits of our own destructiveness.  While the image is also open to questions about who wins in a lose-lose situation (land that is destroyed doesn't support the victim or the victor), different takes are possible, too. For example, those magical blades could be taken as a positive: the dragon still has three energised swords to hand, to move forward with.

Yesterday, I had a very interesting Skype reading from James Ricklef (a delightful Christmas present from a dear friend).  One of the things he said that really stuck with me is that the cards don't necessarily represent actual events, but how we feel about them.  In that sense, for me today this card is another reminder that I need to leave the past behind, and move forward with new ideas that energise me.  I cannot undo what has happened, but I can act differently in the future.  While this is especially true for me with regards to fears around giving birth, I think it a useful lesson in other areas of my life, too.

I am grateful that life is an evolving journey.


Monday, 13 January 2014

Dragon's Hoard

I like the colour-coding of the suits in the Tarot Draconis (Lo Scarabeo, 2013).  Today's card, the Four of Pentacles, is a good example of that.

A dragon rises up over a hoard of golden treasure topped with a brimming money chest.  Four large, dragon-engraved coins sit beneath the chest.  And yet, despite all the gold, the strongest colour comes from the green backdrop.  Not trees or forest, more like the green of a cave interior, flecked with bright, golden sparks.

This speaks very obviously of holding your possessions in high regard, of fiercely guarding what you have and adding to it.  More subtly, it reminds us that a material focus is not purely bad: sometimes, in order to grow, we first must build up our reserves.

I take this card as a reminder to store up the reserves I will need for birthing in a couple of months time.  Already, I have a hospital bag almost completely packed and at the ready, with a couple of bits that I ordered online due today.  Sleep will also help fill my energy reserves, as will meditating and staying strong through exercise.  Sounds like a plan :)

I am grateful for the reserves of strength, calm and patience I am developing.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Dark King

Ah, another deck behaving itself nicely, showing us an Ace yesterday and today we get the King of Swords from the Tarot Draconis (Lo Scarabeo, 2013).

A quite young and handsome version of this King sits on a throne floating amongst the clouds.  He is dressed all in black, with ornate black-and-gold armour.  And while there is no actual dragon on this card, his sword hilt is decorated with a dragon's head and outspread wings.

The King gazes off into the distance, facing slightly leftward.  And it is his left hand that holds the pommel of his intricately etched sword.  The sky behind him is grey and cloud-filled.  Altogether, this image speaks of fortitude and determination: an ability to make tough decisions, coupled with a willingness to take the past into account.

Look how large his sword looms in the foreground.  It makes me think of putting all your faith in an idea.  And yet, there is so much more to both life and knowledge than ideology or thought.  Today, I see in this King the tendency to overthink things, and hence the reminder to be in my body, and in the present moment.

I am grateful for the reminder to live, not just think about it.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Breathing Blue

From the über-traditional Marseille-style tarot of last week, today we move to an ultra-modern, themed, CGI deck: the Tarot Draconis (Lo Scarabeo, 2013).

As you might expect, most of the cards in this deck feature dragons, and that's certainly true of the Aces!  In this Ace of Cups, a grey-brown dragon tips its head back and lets out a stream of blue fire or ether.

This image doesn't have the feeling of overflowing wateriness so often associated with this card.  Yet, the sense of emotion is still there, in the power of feeling that makes this fearsome creature tip its head back and emit such a forceful stream of blue.  And the purity of that gush of colour also suggests the potential it holds for something new and magical.

Today, I see in this card the recommendation to express my emotions.  Not in the  blurting things out sense, rather in the sense of speaking from the heart.

I am grateful for the encouragement to honour my feelings.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Dix de Coupes

For our last day with the Isis Tarot de Marseille (ISIS Marseille, 2010), we have another pip card: the Ten of Cups.

Three rows of three golden chalices line up neatly, while a tenth, larger chalice lies on its side above them.  The nine smaller cups have plain, red tops, or else are full if a bright red liquid.  However, the tenth cup has a red rim and central flower design, with black surrounding it.

Intuitively, this speaks to me of a blossoming of emotion coming from having emotional clarity and tidiness. There is nothing spilled, nothing to disrupt the smooth flow from each of those aligned cups, and so something greater can be created, or felt.  In that way, the card connects to the emotional fulfillment so often associated with the Ten of Cups.

After the ups-and-downs of the last month and its various difficulties, today we are interviewing a new carer for Big Boy.  We've been a person down since before Christmas!  If she works out, it will definitely bring greater calm and emotional well-being to the family, as it's been quite exhausting juggling work, life, holidays, the tiredness of pregnancy, and caring for him.

I am grateful for the hope of easier times ahead.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Trois de Batons

As a Marseille-style deck, the Isis Tarot de Marseille (ISIS Marseille, 2010) has non-illustrated pips, which simply show the requisite number of suit elements.

For instance, here we have the three of wands.  The wands cross at their blue centres, with red handles, and black tips.  To either side, there are a couple of flowers and some leaves in pale blue and gold.  The three wands seem able to come together, working in unison, and from that collaboration comes growth.

It's interesting, too, to have that pale blue I associate with communication at the centre of the card.  For things to progress well requires not just a coming together of different aspects, but their clear communication.

Of course, that's applying traditional tarot notions to the imagery. At a more intuitive level, I could see this as two people or plans blocking the path of a third.  Which makes sense in the light of my day as myself and one of Big Boy's carers have just been herding him around the hospital for another in a battery of tests.  Thinking of a fruitful coming together, I hope that bodes well for the rest of my day, where there's lots going on: work, exercise, and then playing more with Big Boy after school.

I am grateful for the diversity of things in my life.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Le Iugement

Not sure if it's a typo on the card, or a more "Roman" spelling of Judgement, as I think I remember hearing that the Romans sometimes used "i"s in place of "j"s.  Certainly, the card's title isn't spelled that way on all other Marseille-style decks, but that's what we find on the card from the Isis Tarot de Marseille (ISIS Marseille, 2010).

Following tradition, it's a "Judgement Day" scene with an angel in a cloud blowing a trumpet to call the dead to rise.  We have a couple of pink people - recently dead - and someone blue with a possible hole in his head - ancient dead, I guess.  All rise up, with hands held as though in prayer.  The pink guy looks up to the angel, while the pink woman looks at the man.

I kind of like the symbolism of the blue man.  When we hear a call from a higher power, all the parts of ourselves, even those we thought long gone, have a new chance.  We may find something from the deep past is useful again, perhaps in a different way.  This makes me think of the modern phenomenon of a skills-based CV, rather than a job-based one.  Finding the new application of something from the past in a different setting...

A couple of things come to mind in that regard for today.  One is that I've been applying knowledge of meditation gleaned from my yoga training over a decade ago to preparing for the birth of my second child.  With that, I've been following some hypnobirthing practices, which I hope will be helpful.  Another is that I should be able to finish re-editing something from 2012 today :)

I am grateful that old does not have to mean useless or forgotten.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Passionate Clarity

Ah, I do love it when a deck shows us its paces, so to speak.  We've had a couple of Majors, a Court card, and now here's an Ace from the Isis Tarot de Marseille (ISIS Marseille, 2010).

A red-bladed sword is held aloft by a hand emerging from a frill with some added boom - a rather different take than the traditional cloud.  The hand is clothed in a gree sleeve with red trim to match the sword.  As for the blade, it stands straight up, piercing the centre of a golden crown, from which dangle a couple of rather organic-looking fronds.  The fronds both have green at their base and red shafts,  but the one on the left has regular leaves, while the one on the right is pretty spiky.  Multi-coloured yods drift to either side of the blade, without any clear pattern to the colours and positions.

To me, red speaks of passion, of the life-blood that flows through us and invigorates us.  The golden crown is enlightenment, and we wield our mind in this physical body with passion trying to reach that clarity.  Most of the blade is below the crown, only at small points do we glimpse this higher truth.  The fronds are the wonders of nature, which can connect us to it, and sparks of this wisdom drift around, ripe for catching on occasion.  Anyhow, that's my intuitive take on the card.

As for Ben-Dov, he says that the two fronds are branches of palm on the left and laurel on the right, both symbols of victory.  "The red tips of the cut branches resemble blood drops, and may symbolize sacrifice and hard struggle through which victory is achieved."  I like some of his interpretations of the card, which include: "An ability to skip lengthy deliberations and decide one way or another."  He also suggests: "Cutting away with the past".

I'm not decisive at the best of times, so some of that might come in handy today, as my Dear One and I plan to go over some lighting and decorating choices.  I could also do with leaving worries in the past, moving forward in the now.

I am grateful for a little clarity.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Le Pendu

Another Major today from the Isis Tarot de Marseille (ISIS Marseille, 2010): the Hanged Man.

With his blond hair flopping down around his head, this chap hangs by one foot from two hard-pruned trees with a branch set between them.  One leg is crossed behind him, forming the traditional upside-down 4 shape that we also see in the Emperor.  His arms are held behind his back, too, and his right leg is tied to the post above him.  The Hanged Man's head drops below the surface of the earth, as he seems to dangle between two hillocks, or maybe the hanging structure crosses a small chasm.  In this way, he seems linked to heaven and earth, in a doorway that crosses boundaries.  Thus, we find the connection to the story of Odin, and to the idea of being suspended in limbo, but with potential for learning and development.

The underlying colour of his clothes is a growthful green, with a yellow and red swapped-square tunic on top (enlightenment and passion in equal measure), and blue upper sleeves (limited ability to communicate).  My eye is drawn to the fact that one of his buttons, just above his beltline, is different to the other 9, and that he has a small pocket by his right hip.  His transition isn't complete, but fortunately he still has some reserves to help him through this trial.

Several authors and deck creators have seen the potential links between this card and being pregnant.  Although in some ways it seems like not much is going on, and that we don't have much power to do or change what is happening, it is still a time of incredible change and learning, with a hoped for gain at the end.  This card reminds me to appreciate my reserves, and to accept the not-doing and not-knowing with good grace.

I am grateful for my Dear One, who let me have a much-needed lie-in.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Roy De Baton

Today, we meet one of the Court cards from the Isis Tarot de Marseille (ISIS Marseille, 2010): the King of Wands.

He sits upon his throne, yet looks as though he's ready to jump up at a moment's notice.  His wand is a large, green sceptre, which strangely enough has a large golden ball at the base, and just a small green ball at the top.  Perhaps it's upside down?  He also wears a golden crown with a large brim, almost like a lemniscate.  His armour is blue underneath, gold on top, with just a few hints of fiery red.

I see this King of Wands as a dynamic figure: a leader who takes charge and responsibility, leading from the front rather than from behind.  He wants to get involved, to be up and doing, and is passionate about what he believes in and does.

Ben-Dov says the wand represents "creative energy and drives that are fully under control."  He also mentions "a dynamic urge to push forward" but notes that "it appears as if the king is about to stab his own heel, maybe to curb an overly impulsive enthusiasm" :D

Today, I need to curb my worries, more than anything else.  And I guess I need to put some creative energy into work as well.  I have to draft something for work.  It stressed me out all night, so I want to get it done asap, so I can stop thinking about it.  Still, this card reminds me not to send it off half-cocked.  I still need to make sure that it is clear and logical (more the King of Swords' domain), curbing my desire to just get it sent.

I am grateful for the reminder to apply my energy creatively and with full awareness.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Licking Moon Drops

This week, I decided to use a Marseille-style tarot.  In fact, this is the first Marseille-style tarot as such that I've bought.  Before now, the only one I had was the quarter included on the Comparative Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2002, OOP).  However, when I read the description of the Isis Tarot de Marseille (ISIS Marseille, 2010), I was taken: it combines very traditional imagery from the Conver deck (1760), with three dimensional imagery and Japanese aesthetics.  It is, in short, the "prettiest" traditional Marseille deck out there :)

Even so, as today's draw shows, the images are rather bizarre.  Here, in the Moon card, we appear to have two canines (one blue, one pink) trying to lick drops that fall like sweat from the moon.  Lower down, a crayfish rises to the surface of a neatly-edged pool, with rough rocks behind.  Two towers rise, though not very high, in the background, and there are some flowers in the rolling green and yellow landscape. 

To me, this card speaks of unconscious emotions rising to the surface in a sometimes frightening, dream-like way.  The moon madness spreads, like those drops that fall where they will, and our more animalistic aspects revel in the passions thus aroused.

Encouraged by Carla of Rowan Tarot, I asked my Dear One for Ben-Dov's "Tarot: The Open Reading" for Christmas.  This is definitely no new-age book, mentioning that "full-moon nights are often related to rites of sorcery and to 'lunatic' behavior."  Still, it tells us that the Moon is associated with water and femininity.  It also suggests that the rocks at the bottom edge of the card are actually those at the bottom of the lake - raw rock at the bottom to contrast with the neat, man-made upper edges.  These rocks can also signify that if there is depression around due to these uncovered emotions, we won't just sink forever, as there is a bedrock of stability to support us.  Ben-Dov also talks of "a feeling of longing for something beyond normal reality" that can also "link the card with an inclination towards the occult".  Another meaning, which I had never heard before, is that of a quarrel with hidden motives, signified by the dogs barking at one another.

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm feeling a bit worried about giving birth.  It helps that yesterday I drew up a birth plan, booked us in for antenatal classes, and prepared a list of things to put in a hospital bag.  Still, those are the practicalities, the deep feelings will still need dealing with.  I guess the first step is to acknowledge them...

I am grateful for the reminder that emotions exist even when we are doing all we logically can.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Lion Tamer

For this last day with the Anna K Tarot (Llewellyn, 2013), we have the beautiful Strength (numbered XI in this deck). 

I love the softness of the woman's gaze as she appears to stroke the lion's neck, and the way the lion rests a paw on her leg.  While the lion bears its teeth at her, it also keeps it's claws sheathed, and accepts her touch.  The woman holds a chain around the lion's throat, which I like a lot less.  Still, sometimes we need to keep a tight rein on our more brutish instincts.  Overall, this card gives me a sense of warmth, of kindness, and a gentle taming of different aspects of ourselves, rather than a dismissal or harsh suppressing of them.

I wonder what parts of myself I might need to tame today?  Impatience, perhaps, or even a bit of fear...  We have an appointment with the obstetrician this afternoon, and even though everything seems to be going fine, I've realised again recently how many worries I have around giving birth.  Natural, I guess, given how things went with Big Boy, but something I definitely need to get a handle on, without beating myself up for having these feelings.

I am grateful for loving support in dealing with my fears.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hospitality

Wow, we're on a roll with Queens, as this is the third one to greet us from the Anna K Tarot (Llewellyn, 2013) this week.

Today, we have the Queen of Pentacles.  As is the case in a large number of cards in this deck, the sky above her is a pure, sunny yellow.  The Queen herself is rather rosy cheeked - perhaps too much time in that warm sun?  She stands amid baskets of harvested fruit: apples, pears, grapes, possibly apricots.  Holding a leaf in her hand, and gazing up at the orchard around her, she holds the other hand to her belly, rounded with child.  Her dress is the red of life blood, visceral and physical.  Over it is a dark blue layer, signifying to me the depth of her emotional connection to that life.

This depiction of the Queen of Pentacles connects strongly with the Empress, with her pregnant belly and abundant harvest.  Many writers talk of this connection, she is the Queen most closely related to that creative bountifulness which the Empress represents, but at a more practical, everyday level.  This Queen puts that plenty to use, making a comfortable home for those around her, using her resources wisely, safeguarding her finances, and creating practical solutions to everyday problems or situations.

I can certainly see where her energy would benefit me today.  It's Big Boy's birthday, and both sets of grandparents are coming over for lunch, as well as at least one friend.  So, time to make all feel welcome, and make sure I get something nice from the shops.  I'm reminded by this card that it's not just about the food, but also about the presentation - maybe some flowers on the table - and making sure everyone feels comfortable and nurtured.  I'll do my best...

I am grateful that the shops are just a short walk away.


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Success

What a positive card to start the New Year.  Today's offering from the Anna K Tarot (Llewellyn, 2013) is the Six of Rods (Wands).

A man stands, crowned with a laurel wreath, arms raised high in a universal sign of victory.  He bears a wand with a red and gold flag, and a loincloth of the same fabric.  Standing on a flower-strewn podium, he smiles as he accepts the cheers and accolades of the crowd around him.

As is so often the case, it's interesting to note that members of the crowd hold the other five wands, not decorated with flags, but wands nonetheless.  Although the man on the podium is the flag-bearer, the symbol of the success achieved, others have played their role, too.  And to be honest, not everyone would feel comfortable standing alone up on that podium. 

This card reminds me that it is good to celebrate our successes, even if they are not entirely personal achievements.  For example, I can celebrate the progress my son has made over the course of 2013, though they have been influenced by many others: my Dear One, his carers, his teachers, his peers, and he himself.  It's a time to celebrate the achievements that I can more directly claim, too.  I haven't yet had time to fill in that part of the 2014 Amazing Year Workbook, so maybe I can do that today...

I am grateful for all that has been achieved this year.