Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Passing Down the Art

I grew up with a mother that read Tarot (and still does), and I'm enjoying the process of passing this art down to my kids. Every once in a while my oldest daughter (newly 14 years old) will pick up her phone and shortly thereafter I'll hear a shuffling sound emanating from it. "What are you doing?" I ask.... "My card of the day draw," she says. I think that through Tarot apps she's been studying on her own, under my radar.

Last night she was inspired to cook us all dinner based on recipes from a colonial American cookbook she received as a gift years ago. While she was cooking meatballs and potatoes and green beans I started to throw out card names and see what associations she could make with them. Knight of Wands, Strength, no problem. I thought I'd try and throw her a curve ball and I gave her the Lovers. I figured she'd say "love and romance" but her very first comment: "Choices." Awesome!

I asked her to tell me about the Chariot, thinking it was unlikely to be one she's familiar with, but she came at me with "focus, determination, moving forward." Okay I was feeling very proud at this point. We chatted about some further aspects of this card, and she nodded knowingly.

So I suggested we move to the Minor cards, and she said that she felt she understood the suit of Cups pretty well, so I had her go through them, starting at the Ace, and she killed it. It was fun to listen to her process. She would start talking about the card imagery she was seeing in her mind's eye, and drawing meaning from that: "The Three of Cups...well I know there are three people having a good time, there's food and drink, and they look happy. It's about celebration and having fun with people."
The only card she felt stuck on was the 5 of Cups, so I helped her to remember traditional images of the person staring down at three spilt cups, and she took it from there. "He's sad about what he lost but if he turns around he'll see that he still has some good things in his life." Did I mention that I'm a proud mama?? :-)

I asked how she felt about the other suits, and this was her answer, which made me laugh quite a bit: "Wands I'm sort of okay with, Pentacles I don't know very well, and Swords....bad things happen. 9 of Swords...ugh!"

So needless to say, she surprised me with how much she's been absorbing, and it was really moving to hear her talk about the cards so comfortably and naturally. I can't wait to see what kind of reader she'll be, and to see how the legacy of divination continues to be part of our family line as time goes on!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Yule Blog Hop 2013 - Bringing Light into Darkness

Welcome to the Yule Blog Hop 2013! To access more fabulous posts, please use the links above, which will immediately take you to Joanna Ash's Sun Goddess Tarot blog, and Chloe McCracken's Inner Whispers blog! Our wrangler, Joanna Ash from Sun Goddess Tarot, chose the theme of "Bringing Light into Darkness" for this hop, and it feels very appropriate for many reasons.

As readers, we are always engaged in the act of bringing light into darkness. We help illuminate and provide insights into a variety of challenges that people experience, and often seek rays of hope even when a reading may look rather bleak. There is a reason for the term "light worker," after all! Whether we are connecting to the spirits of passed loved ones, pondering a Tarot or Lenormand spread, manipulating a client's energy, or drawing runes, our goal is to provide clarity and guidance to someone in need (and sometimes that "someone" is us!).

On the evening before Thanksgiving this year, I sat down on the couch to compose a new spread. The Hobbit was on the television, and as I was considering how to approach the spread, it suddenly occurred to me to create one based on the Lord of the Rings!  I started to think of characters and traits (whether subtle or obvious), and when I was finished I realized that I'd made something I really wanted to share on this blog hop:

Light of Earendil Spread: Bringing Light to Darkness

Card 1: Gollum (What shadow am I currently encountering?)*
Card 2: Frodo (What hidden/unrecognized strength may help me work with this shadow?)
Card 3: Light of Earendil (What illuminates the darkness for me?)
Card 4: Gandalf (How can I master my power?)
Card 5: Elrond (What counsel will help me confront my current obstacles?)
Card 6: Mirror of Galadriel (What may the immediate future hold?)

I decided to apply this spread to current work-related challenges I've been experiencing, where a personal dispute between two people has expanded to include/impact the entire department:

Light of Earendil Spread
Using Wildwood Tarot (Sterling Ethos 2011)
1: Gollum - 9 of Bows reversed (Respect)

The shadow overtaking my workplace brings feelings of confusion and victimization.  In turn this leads to defensiveness which then leads to scheming and more confusion.  There is a quality of chaotic energy here, a lack of self-respect and mutual respect, of feeling attacked. Things are pretty out of control and there is a serious need for intensive, open communication and renewal of camaraderie that has been lost.

2: Frodo - 5 of Vessels (Ecstasy)

My unrecognized strength is my optimism, and my ability to seek healing through focusing on what's still good in the department. The 5 of Vessels is about harnessing the energy of love in order to move past pain and disappointment.  Instead of focusing on what's been lost, it's about using that energy and moving it forward.  This card shows stars in the sky that remind me of the Light of Earendil, which comes from a star.  It's the power of universal energy, a light in the darkness, hope, and emits a feeling that "this too shall pass".

3: Light of Earendil - The Green Woman

My own illumination is provided by the Green Woman. In part I feel this represents my connection to the earth; she encourages me not to get carried away by emotions, but to be gentle and look for creative solutions. The Green Woman has very nurturing energy, so perhaps it will benefit me to tap into my own mother energy in this situation. But more importantly, the Green Woman reminds me of the energy of the department chair, a wise woman with wonderful talents and a warm personality who is starting to steer the ship slowly back on course. When things have looked most bleak, I've placed my hope in her and haven't been disappointed. It's interesting to note that this was the only Major card in the spread, and I value the extra weight that it carries, particularly in this position. 

4: Gandalf - 10 of Vessels

I can master my role in this situation by recognizing the bounty of love in my life, which prevents me from buying into external emotional excesses and imbalances in my environment. By calling on the abundance of positive energy, I can help both myself and others move past hostile feelings and perhaps find peace. 

5: Elrond - King of Vessels

My wise counsel for this situation is to take on the characteristics of the King of Vessels.  He is the master of emotions and healing energies, and exudes patience, calmness and diplomacy.  His energy encourages the understanding of all parties involved.  This king is caring and supportive, and interested in finding common ground, but at the same time has clear boundaries in place.  So perhaps I will find a way to lead (subtly) by example: with balanced emotions, without reacting or overreacting to anything that arises.  That seems reasonable.

6: Mirror of Galadriel - 2 of Arrows (Injustice)

The 2 of Arrows suggests the potential for continued feelings of injustice in my department, the sense of the scales not being balanced. There are difficult decisions/choices to be considered and made, and it may be challenging to decide what approach or direction to take. There is a sense with this card of things feeling a bit stuck - despite an awareness of the challenges, there may yet be complications and confusion when it comes to making a clear decision. I seem to get this card quite a bit when it comes to work readings!  And it isn't terribly uplifting but it does sound likely given the state of things at present. "Should I stay or should I go, one day is fine the next is black…..if I go there will be trouble…if I stay it will be double!" (yes, this is the Clash). ;)

Summary: All elements are present here, with a predominance of water, which makes sense because relationships and emotions seem to be the core of the dilemma. I like the balance of feminine energy in the Light of Earandil/Green Woman and masculine energy/King of Vessels - water and earth, both passive energies. The summary card is 8, which corresponds to the Stag (justice, decisions, balance, clarity, objective understandings), whose energies are certainly relevant here. The raw water energy/power in the 10 Vessels pours downward, bolstering the King below, who is master of water. 5 doubled is 10, so there is a numeric connection between my hidden strength (5 Vessels), how I can master my power (10 Vessels), and the advice (King Vessels).

Despite an uncertain future, I love how this reading flows, how it highlights the major challenges, the light in the darkness, and how I can be my best self when it comes to working with those challenges - after all, that's what Tarot's all about, right?

Happy Yule to all, and may you continue to share your light with the world!


*I chose Gollum instead of Sauron to represent the "shadow" because Sauron seems just too big, bad and evil to represent everyday challenges we face. Gollum is very ordinary in many ways, and yet became intensely corrupted, and a slave to his own weaknesses. He does a lot of wicked things, but we can at least acknowledge his "humanity." 

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Guardian and The Great Bear

Ellen at Greylady’s Hearth has been doing some lovely blogging about her experiences with the Wildwood Tarot (and other decks). I recently did a reading for her as she won the give-away I was holding, and I used the Wildwood Tarot for her spread (and she wrote a really beautiful blog post about the reading which you can see here).

Spending some time with this deck over the past week has had me considering (for the millionth time) just how beautifully it flows – not just in terms of the sequential arrangement of the cards (which can be found in any deck), but in how it relates to the Wheel of the Year, which is part of the uniqueness of the Wildwood. Two of the cards that share an indelible connection are the Guardian and the Great Bear. In traditional decks the Guardian (card 15) is called “the Devil” and the Great Bear (card 20) is called “Judgment.”

What I see when I view these cards together is a clear path of discovery and growth, and one that is more obvious and more deeply meaningful to me than most other decks have been in this regard.
Wildwood Tarot
John Matthews, Mark Ryan, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos, 2011
The Guardian is the intimidating keeper of shadows, who bars entry into the cave of knowledge.  In order to enter the cave you must be strong enough, brave enough, ready enough, to face your fears, your self-doubts, your weaknesses.  If you’re not prepared for the journey, the skeleton of the cave bear will frighten you away.  If you are prepared, your inner strength and balance will reduce the scary bones to an inactive pile of just that…bones. With nothing left barring the way, you are free to enter the cave, to journey within, to confront your truths, however unpleasant, challenging, or beautiful they may be.
Wildwood Tarot
John Matthews, Mark Ryan, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos, 2011
After your journeying, which includes the sacred energy of the Hooded Man, you reach the conclusion of a cycle of personal transformation, and emerge from the cave at the Great Bear. Now, instead of scary bones, you see a vivacious, fierce animal perched on top of the cave, roaring an announcement to the world that you have arrived. The pole star shines above guiding you forward on a new path, in a new phase of life. The northern lights radiate through the night sky, pouring energy and joy down upon you. You’ve reached a new level of balance between your primal force and the deep wells of your spiritual nature.

So I see a mirror here between these two cards, that provides an important link. It involves the mastery of our Selves, conquering our shadows through acceptance and acknowledgement, the willingness to undertake a journey through the depths of who we truly are as spiritual beings within physical forms.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Taroscope: Week of December 15-21, 2013

Notice that the title said "Taroscope" - as in, singular!? I am playing around with how I want to continue doing my weekly, community draws, and today I thought I'd pull a single card on whose energy all the astrological signs can meditate.  In some way or another, each card in the deck touches our lives, and the card I drew for today is quite fitting for this time of year:

The 6 of Pentacles, from the Deviant Moon Tarot:

Deviant Moon Tarot - Patrick Valenza
US Games/2008
The 6 of Pentacles is about give and take.  I've heard some people associate this card with "gifts with strings attached" but I don't see it that way at all (unless in some circumstances as a reversal). This card always sings to me of reciprocity, and the beauty in paying things not only back, but forward.  We don't always have the opportunity to return favors, but we always have the opportunity to give of what we have when we realize that we're in the position to be generous.  That may be the ability to give of our own time, our resources, or even simply our attention.

So we are now in Yule, or Christmas time, when the topics of generosity, giving, receiving, and kindness abound. Organizations set up "Giving Trees" where anyone can leave a donation for a needy family.  Communities come together to prepare care packages for those who are facing a meager holiday due to unemployment, homelessness, a family loss, or even military deployment.

I saw someone write the other day that this time of year is when bribery becomes so prevalent. I suppose that between some parents and children it could be the case ("behave or Santa won't bring you that toy you want so badly!!"). But I'd like to think that at its core, the holiday encourages all people to embrace the joy and light that accompany not only reciprocity, but simply giving because we can.

So let the energy of the 6 of Pentacles sit with you this week, and allow you to be more conscious of your own important, vital role in the world community. How are you thankful for gifts received? How do you give of your time, talents, heart, resources? Each positive act is like a drop of sunlight that brightens our shared existence!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mind Over Matter

I've heard people talk about the 3 of Swords as the "mind over matter" card, and that it can represent the ability to "get to the heart of an issue." I think these are interesting interpretations that contribute a lot to the understanding of this somewhat unpleasant card.

It's not fun to see when it pops up in a spread… we think heartbreak, disappointment, jealousy, betrayal, pain, sadness, despair.  I've heard this card described as heartache that impacts the mind and the ability to make decisions, which makes sense as it's in the suit of Swords, and therefore pertains to the intellect. I've also experienced this card in a reading as representative of someone considering betrayal, which again fits with Swords in that it's a decision that affects emotions.

Radiant Rider-Waite/US Games

But one of my favorite interpretations, which I've seen recently when it was in relationship to the 5 of Cups in a reading, is the idea of rising above the pain of disappointment and heartbreak so that clear decisions can be made. In other words, having the strength to be logical and intellectual in the midst of sadness; the ability to make sensible decisions by rising above pain, and taking a good look at the reality around you.  This is not easy, and in fact I think it only comes after having spent a long period of time grieving - even if the grief has become a regular part of life to the extent that it isn't always obvious or immediately recognizable. It still sits below the surface. But something must happen, a catalyst that gently shifts the focus from the three empty cups to the two that are still full. And I think that card is the 3 of Swords. Spears of clarity pierce through the pain-riddled heart, encouraging mind over matter, with the promise that with each step the road will become easier.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Making a Grand Tableau Mat

I've been dreaming of the Ciro Marchetti Grand Tableau cloth available from his website, ever since I saw Donnaleigh de LaRose use it in one of her amazing video tutorials. As I worked my way into practicing with this massive spread, I realized that I needed some kind of mat with the Houses all situated. The Marchetti cloth is beautiful, but also a bit over my budget for now, so I decided to take an idea from yet another of Donnaleigh's videos, and use some printer paper to create my own mat. Durable? Not so much..!  But it serves the purpose very well, and for practicing it's perfect!

First I dug out some printer paper. I lined some cards up on a single sheet so I could see the best fit, and then I lightly traced the cards out with a pencil. Then I put the cards away and retraced the pencil lines with a Sharpie. For following pieces of paper I just laid a new piece of paper over the original, and traced the Sharpie lines that were visible:

That took five sheets of paper (I did the mat in the 8x4 +4 structure). Then I wrote the House and number on each card spot, and lined all the pages up to make sure they matched up with each other:

Finally it was time to try out a Grand Tableau! (Not for the faint of heart!!)

Grand Tableau with Gilded Reverie Lenormand

I expect that eventually I'll have to replace the paper mat, though for now I'm storing it in pieces in a folder for safe keeping.  But it took only about twenty minutes to create, and it's really invaluable!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Taroscopes for the Week of December 8-14 2013

We're getting closer and closer to the big holidays! Last night we got our tree and this morning we put on the lights and decorations. Our house is looking quite festive now, I have to say! Most of all I'm enjoying the pine aroma wafting through the air! So this week we have all the elements represented, along with two Majors and two Courts. I used the Halloween Tarot by Karin Lee and Kipling West....just because I love it! Let's see how it's panned out!

Capricorn - 3 of Ghosts (Cups): Get out of the house this week and enjoy the company of others, whether it's tea or beer with friends, a holiday party, or even simply a shared lunch at work.  It's a good way to let off steam, and the friendly vibes this week will contribute to a good time!

Aquarius - 3 of Bats (Swords): Again!? You must have a lot going on lately, Aquarius! Don't let any disappointments get the best of you this week. "Mind over matter" will help you deal with things, even if it's not the most enjoyable process.

Pisces - Wheel of Fortune: Expect the unexpected this week! Things will probably flow smoothly for you, and whatever projects or plans you've been throwing together should go off without a hitch.

Aries - Emperor reversed: Structure is good, but sometimes too much of it can take the fun out of things. You may be feeling a bit constricted this week, but don't forget to enjoy yourself and try to keep things in perspective. Imperfections and disarray can provide excellent learning opportunities.

Taurus - Ace of Imps (Wands) reversed: Your best opportunities this week will come from you rather than your environment.  If you're feeling frustrated because your creative flow just isn't flowing, then try a new approach and perhaps a new project that might reignite your spark.

Gemini - 8 of Pumpkins (Pentacles): Your axe will be all over that proverbial grindstone this week. It may be a busy work week that requires a lot of your attention, and you may also be developing your crafty skills making fun, hand-made treats to give as Christmas gifts.

Cancer - King of Pumpkins (Pentacles): Enjoy your environment this week, and allow yourself to bask in the comforts of home and hearth. You'll be the master of your world, and will find a way to resolve any issues that may arise, and still have plenty of time left over to enjoy a soul-satisfying meal by the fireplace.

Leo - 7 of Ghosts (Cups): You have many exciting opportunities this week, where do you even begin?? Well, make a list, prioritize it, and get to work! You definitely want to harness the energy surrounding you - so much potential!

Virgo - 8 of Ghosts (Cups): If you're feeling "meh" this week, spice things up a bit. Get Chinese take-out instead of pizza. Break your routine, whether at home, at work, or hey - in both places! The change may be just what you need to refresh and inspire you.

Libra - 10 of Bats (Swords) reversed: Last week your 4 of Swords encouraged you to find time for more rest, and this week you just may manage to find a way to rest that pretty little head of yours and refresh and renew your mindset. Just take a deep breath and let things flow - transitions are good for the soul!

Scorpio - Knight of Bats (Swords): This will be a fast paced week! Don't forget to be mindful of your ultimate goal, and avoid making any unnecessary sacrifices on your way to gittin' 'er done. Focus your intentions and enjoy the ride! 

Sagittarius - 6 of Bats (Swords): If it wasn't working the way you wanted it to, let it go and move on! There are new opportunities in the challenges you face this week, and all it takes to capitalize on them is a perpective shift.

Whew! You might have noticed that these are a bit shorter than before...I enjoy doing them so I want to continue each week, but I also wanted to find a way to make it more practical (less time-consuming)!  Have an amazing and empowering week, everyone!

P.S. If you want to put your name in the hat for a free reading, it's not too late! Drawing will be held next Sunday, December 15th. For more info, click here!

Taroscope Spread with Halloween Tarot

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Good and the Bad

My weekly draw for the first week of December was the Tower reversed (Paulina Tarot/US Games). It wasn't the most encouraging card to see. And I really wanted to draw another one on the off-chance that I'd get something different and perhaps more....positive.  But I didn't. When I drew cards for Sunday's Taroscopes, which also cover the first week of December, my sun sign draw was the Lovers, and had a good feel about it. So, which is it??? Would I have a lovely, loving week or one where I'd experience a minor disaster??

Well I can report that both in fact have been major energies this week! 

Last Sunday Jorge and I finally made time for a daytime date, which was really nice; we haven't had one in probably almost two months, so it was definitely overdue!  In the evening we even drank tea and watched a series premier on TV together, with no distractions from kids or technology, which was blissful. We managed to repeat that last night - we stayed home but it still felt very date-like….Lovers card in full effect!

Monday morning Jorge left to take Lourdes to school, and suddenly the doorbell was ringing. I heard him ask Isa for the other car keys, and figured maybe Lourdes had wanted to ride in the other car for some reason, and Jorge was relenting.  When he got back he came in the house and notified me that our main car wouldn't start. It's not too old, so that was concerning.  We jumped the battery and it started but an electrical light was on and blinking and the car was making a strange noise. While Jorge was investigating, he leaned over and his brand new smart phone slipped out of his shirt pocket, hit the cement, and the screen shattered.  So when all was said and done, the car had a major battery issue which we were fortunately able to take care of for a price, and Jorge will be able to replace his phone...for a hefty sum. Needless to say he'll be making calls with a cracked screen for a while yet. So the Tower reversed made its appearance in the form of very unexpected mini-distasters. Nothing we couldn't handle, but something that definitely throws a wrench in the normal flow of the day and week.

So what is the benefit of all of this? One benefit, I think, is the understanding that the Tower rx and the Lovers can coexist, and despite the drama, I'm still giving baths to rowdy kiddos, still thinking about what to make for dinner, still taking evening strolls around the neighborhood (read: life goes on, and it ain't all bad).

While I enjoy using Tarot for guidance and advice, I do sometimes look into aspects of the future, and what happens when the future doesn't look very bright? I think the key is in understanding that you can handle it, and come out on top in the end.  Things will be alright.  No, it's not nice to see a bleak-looking outcome, but anticipation is far worse than reality. You actually can roll with the punches, and there's a good chance that not all aspects of your life will be painful.  Joy is never entirely absent, even when it seems harder to find at the time. If you focus on the good in your life, it really provides very healing energy that helps weather the challenges.

It also brings to mind the very important point that if you inquire about potential future courses of events, you must be willing to accept the news you receive. I was really depressed to see the Tower as my weekly draw.  If I had pulled that card for a client, I probably would have felt really bad about passing that message along, and some people hope desperately for wonderful news, and are down-trodden when a potentially "negative" card arises in their future. So if you want to see where the future is going, be prepared for anything, or else don't ask. (I myself struggle with that - do I really want to see what my month ahead holds in store??).

Don't forget there are many positives to all readings. What are the positives of my Tower week? Well, the car has a new battery, and it didn't cost nearly as much as it might have. Thankfully it was only the battery and not something more serious. What if the car died when we were on vacation, far from home? Thankfully it happened when we were right here and could easily take care of things.

And the truth is that despite those incidents I had a pretty good week with a lot of laughs, and plenty of positive energy flowing through it all.

Paulina Tarot/US Games

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Magical Tea Cup

There are many divination tools in this great big world of ours: cards, runes, bones, stones, candle wax drippings, crystal balls, scrying, and astrology, just to name a few.

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to try my hand at reading tea leaves. It sounds so quaint! In fact lately it most often brings to mind the two elderly ladies from the movie Coraline, who foresee “great danger” at the bottom of Coraline’s cup.

I’m always open to trying new things, especially new forms of divination, so I was all for it when my mentor presented the idea to me.  She said that normally you would actually drink the tea first, and then, when the last dregs remained, you’d flip the cup, swirl it around a few times, and then peer in to see what you could see. She wasn’t in the mood to drink tea, so she threw some peppermint leaves and a little bit of hot water into a couple of newly purchased white tea cups, and set them to steep for a few minutes. Once the leaves had rehydrated, she poured out most of the water (there wasn’t much to begin with) and flipped the cups – first one, then the other. She turned the saucers each three times, and then turned the cups right side up.  I spent some time gazing into my cup, and bit by bit started to make out some minute images… a palm tree…. a series of Ws….a gun…..as I revolved my cup I suddenly saw that I had a visitor perched on the edge of my cup: a crouching figure that very much appeared to be a Green Man.  That was pretty cool!  I was so pleased that I took a picture:

Green Man crouched in my tea cup!

Now palm tree, guns, Ws….all of these things hold little meaning for me, but the point of the practice is to grow accustomed to identifying symbols, and then associating them with various meanings, and then applying them to a particular context or issue in order to provide clarity and guidance.  In this way it’s much like card reading, where each of our cards holds a multitude of meanings, and on top of that endless intuitive meaning potential, and we allow these disparate elements to come together to create a meaningful story for our clients, based on their concerns and unique situations.

The Green Man, however, was pretty cool. This does hold meaning for me, as a representative of the deep connection I feel with nature, with forests, with trees, with the wild parts of our own human nature. So I was very pleased to see him sitting in my cup, poised to leap.

Wildwood Tarot
Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos, 2011

Tea reading was fun, though I’m not necessarily going to make it a focus of extensive studying at this time. Tarot itself is a never-ending journey, and recently I’ve added Lenormand to that.  Runes are high on my list, but I’m trying to pace myself!

If you try tea leaf reading, please feel free to share your experiences!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


The journey continues!  And I'm not sure I'm gonna like it!!!!

My husband surprised me with Ciro Marchetti's Gilded Reverie Lenormand yesterday. It was pretty cool, really.  I've been wanting to enter the world of Lenormand card reading for a while now, thanks primarily to Chloe McCracken.  She's currently in the process of creating a Celtic Lenormand, with Will Worthington, and as she is the one to start my thinking about "Lennies," and because I love Will Worthington's artwork, my plan was to wait until this deck is released…alas as fate would have it, Ciro's deck has been bestowed upon me, and it looks like the journey has begun a bit earlier than I'd intended!

So I've been following Lenormand study groups on Facebook, and I've spent time reading up on various websites to get a feel for how to work with these cards. For any who are unfamiliar with them, they are another method of cartomancy but very different from Tarot. They have a more linguistic structure complete with nouns and adjectives and verbs.  If you want more information than that you'll have to do a Google search, because this is all totally new territory for me!

So I decided to throw out a series of three cards last night as a "day ahead" forecast. I won't lie. I was stumped and went to bed with more or less "WTF" flowing through my mind the entire night (yes, I spent the entire night with some portion of my mind trying to work out the meaning of those three cards!!!)  Needless to say, I am really tired today!  So here they are:

Gilded Reverie Lenormand/Ciro Marchetti - US Games
Clouds (6) + Rider (1) + Crossroad (22)

Well, they certainly are pretty!!! So after a lot of puzzling this is the best I could come up with:

Uncertain news leads to a choice?
Promising news leads to a decision?
Interesting news leads to new options?

The fact that clouds are darker to the left and lighter towards the right seems promising.  I feel very confident as a Tarot reader, but boy these Lennies are making me feel like a wee bitty babe! :) Which I love, because it's a cool challenge to explore!  If any Lenormand readers wants to weigh in on these three cards, please do! 

I haven't received any news yet today but I'll keep my eyes open! I suppose that, as it's a daily read, it will probably be a mundane choice, like… plastic grocery bags, or paper!  I will keep you posted…. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Free Reading Alert!

Dear readers!

It's December and I'm giving away one free Tarot reading! It can be used for yourself or given as a gift, if you like. To put your name in the proverbial hat, please go to my First Earth Tarot Facebook page and "like" it. Then "like" and share the reading give-away post.

On December 15th I'll randomly draw a name and announce the winner via the Facebook page.

I'm not a marketer by nature, so this is attempt at putting my self out into the world, and a way to say thank you for the support you've all given me thus far! :)

Morgan Greer Tarot/US Games

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Taroscopes for December 1-7, 2013

Okay, I'm giving it another go! I realized that I'm spelling Taroscopes without the second "t" in Tarot and I'm okay with that. It's a silent "t" anyway, so I think it flows better on the eyes ;-). At least, that's my excuse.

So last week was full of Majors and this week we have just a few, however again there were a vast majority of upright cards (10 out of 12!) which is promising. I'm hoping it's a relative smooth week for everyone following the holiday and shopping extravaganza of last week!

Capricorn - Lovers: Have an amorous week, good goat! Focus on your love connections, and make that the theme of your week ahead. If you have a significant other, make time for a date - you deserve it, and you need it (and so does your partner!). If you have a big decision to make don't be shy about getting a second opinion - you want to make sure that you're doing what's best, and what will give you the most promising long-term results.

Aquarius - 3 of Swords: Don't let disappointments or heartache get you down this week. Breathe, process, accept, release. Nothing stays the same in life, and you'll probably be glad for that as things may not go according to plans or expectations. This will be a great moment to focus on the support system you have around you. Take a nice bath and drink a cup of the most expensive tea you can find (or a shot of rum - whatever seems like a good idea at the time ;) - that might make you feel a bit better!

Pisces -5 of Cups: The glass is half full, the glass is half full, the glass is half full…keep repeating that in your mind this week, because you may be feeling down about interpersonal relationships, and you'll need a reminder that you do have some wonderful things in your world to focus on.  If last week was amazing and you enjoyed the time off work, you may not be feeling particularly anxious to get back to work. Just don't forget - it's December 1st which means better times really are just around the corner!

Aries - 8 of Cups: Do what makes you happy this week.  Or at least seriously consider what will give you the satisfaction you are craving. You may be daydreaming about brighter pastures, and if you're not enjoying your work, or an important relationship, it may be a good week to think about why you aren't fulfilled, and what you need in order to change that around.  If you're feeling tired just thinking about all the socializing you may have to do this month, just remember that it's just one month of the year, and hey, you just may end up having more fun than you think.

Taurus - Knight of Cups: Woohoo! I felt bad about your Moon last week, and I'm very happy that this Knight is bringing you much love and creativity! This is a great week to work on breathing life into any creative projects you've been considering. The sky's the limit, so think big and let your feelings lead the way. It's also possible that you might have a hot date with a new love interest, and if so, it should be a pretty romantic time.

Gemini - Magician reversed: Are you making use of all of your many talents? If not, find a way to make it happen, and now's as good a time as any to jump in. You are robbing the world by not putting your gifts to work! If you've been thinking about nurturing your spirituality, hey, maybe you should give card reading a try and see how you like it. Also, don't lose sight of the fact that this is a major holiday month, and it'll probably go a lot faster than you think. Plan for activities and gift-purchasing now so you don't end up being one of those lost souls aimlessly wandering the mall looking for presents on December 24th because they forgot that Christmas was almost here!

Cancer - Hierophant: You might be enjoying this fact that we've just leapt into Christmas season. You're decorating the house, listening to Sting's Christmas album, and may even already have started planning the Christmas dinner menu, even though it's still a month away.  You might even consider planning an office holiday party just to capitalize on how much you're enjoying the season this year. Make time to focus on your spirituality this week, in whatever form that takes for you (light a candle, attend Mass, do a walking meditation through the winter wood…)

Leo - Knight of Wands: Ooo… a very fiery card for a Fire sign, I love it!  This is an action-oriented week for you. You may be rushing forth with new ideas, trying to change the world and improve it according to your own standards and expectations. No criticisms will get you down this week. You know what you're doing and there's no stopping you.  The best part of all is that you'll probably make some great head-way, no matter what it is you choose to tackle.

Virgo - 4 of Pentacles: Black Friday madness has come and gone, and now with Christmas looming up ahead you're starting to think more and more about that budget. Don't be afraid to buy thoughtful gifts for family and friends, just make sure you don't overdo it!  And if you're really worrying about how to make your income stretch this month, don't forget that there are a lot of wonderful gifts that you can make yourself for little money (think jarred sauces and oils, or even baked goods, for example) and that people are sure to enjoy. This would be a great week to start planning out these activities.

Libra - 4 of Swords: Have you been busy lately? Indulging in some festivities, or working overtime now that the holidays are approaching?  This is a week for you to consider building in some "me-time." Yes, that actually means rest. Stop checking your Facebook and emails and Twitter and Pinterest and quiet your mind. Take a steamy shower, watch a good movie, spend some time cooking and baking and then eat all of your goodies by yourself. Oh, and try to get a bit more sleep!

Scorpio - 5 of Swords reversed: Make peace, this week. Peace with yourself and peace with others. When you carry grudges or ill will, it really just ends up putting a damper on your state of mind, and you end up not enjoying things the way you're supposed to. We're in December now, it's really time to start letting things go and opening yourself up to positive changes.  If you start now, you should be ready to enjoy all the partying and family time by the end of the month!

Sagittarius - 6 of Pentacles: Balance and flow are the words this week, Sag. You know what reciprocity is all about, and you have a lot to offer the world this week. You have great insights to share, but you also know how to listen. You read a lot of books, but your own writing influences others as well. When a friend is in need you're there, and you know that if you ever find yourself in the same position, that same friend will have your back.  You may be thinking about what to gift people for the holidays, and it may not even matter whether or not you receive something in return.  You are simply enjoying the idea of putting some good out into the world. Positive energy for the week ahead!

Peace out, wonderful people! I hope you have an amazing week, full of light and love!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Tarot's Take on Black Friday

I was hanging out with my kids this evening thinking about what the stores must have been like for those people brave enough to go shopping. I definitely understand the desire to save money, but this day has always both intrigued and horrified me. I have gone out on Black Friday afternoons in the past and found a few unexpected gifts that did seem like great deals. It's never been madness. I figure the crazy people have probably already finished their trips long before 2pm hits, and are snoring happily in their beds by the time I've worked up the courage to show my mug in public. So, for fun, I decided to ask the Tarot to tell me about this extension of Thanksgiving, and here is what it said (using the Halloween Tarot by Karin Lee and Kipling West):

Ten Pumpkins (Pentacles):

The piñata scene brings to mind the businesses luring buyers in with the idea of cheap prices (some of which are apparently not great deals, in reality). The pumpkins in the tree seem symbolic of the crowds rushing out to buy, buy, buy - some enjoying themselves, others perhaps a bit unhappy (maybe because they realized that it was a bad idea to leave the house, or because they missed out on that amazing TV deal). The black cat certainly looks a bit nervous. Pentacles (Pumpkins) are related to wealth, and the 10 is really the pinnacle of comfortable, family-oriented money (and in a way, giving gifts)...and well, Black Friday is all about spending that money in preparation (in part) for Christmas!

9 Ghosts (Cups) reversed:

My first thought when I saw this card was: "excess." Over doing it. Sitting on (or wrapping your entire body around)  the new Xbox at Radio Shack so that noone else gets their grubby mitts on it. You think you're happy, that scoring that sweet deal was a dream come true, but for some it may be an empty happiness, and despite the low price you still may have just used part of your rent money to pay for it.

Queen Pumpkins (Pentacles) reversed:

This is the person who's too focused on the good deals, on saving serious money, to be able to properly enjoy the true spirit of the holiday. She/he won't feel complete until they've driven across town to get those Deerfoam slippers that are marked down by 50% - for three hours only!!  This person may be almost too anxious to provide amazing loot under the tree. The intention might be good, but s/he's over-concerned with the idea that s/he's getting a great deal. This is the person who doesn't nurture themself by getting a good night's sleep because they've spent 39 hours in a tent outside the doors to Best Buy, or because they woke up at midnight to start their shopping excursion.

Okay, there you have it, Black Friday in a Tarot nutshell! I hope the shoppers did well, the small businesses made a nice profit, and that I won't see any stories about Wal-Mart trampling deaths when I check the news later ;-)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Thanksgiving Reading

I decided to look up a spread representing the energies of this Thanksgiving holiday, and found an interesting one courtesy of Arwen Lynch that I decided to try with my Wildwood Tarot. If you're interested in working with it, you can find it here.

A spread with Wildwood Tarot
Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington
Sterling Ethos, 2011
Position 1: Turkey, What sustains you - 8 of Vessels (Rebirth)

I actually wrote a post on this particular card, and I really love it. I love the fact that it came up as the thing that sustains me.  The Great Bear is another card I adore from this deck, which also represents the idea of rebirth, but on a larger scale. I like the idea that the flowing waters of life keep me going. The understanding that nothing stays the same, nor should it. The fact that everything we experience teaches us something, and then we move on to the next lesson, the next experience, the next destination. It's an ever-turning circle. I like the idea of not being "stuck" in a situation that doesn't provide nourishment anymore, and while I do like stability, I also love movement.

Position 2: Stuffing, What completes you - The Stag

When I see this card I always think "As above, so below." The Stag represents the notion of justice and  universal balance. One of the things I've been working toward is establishing a spiritual/physical balance in my every day life, bringing the Above into my Below, and being ever consciously connected to both, so I do feel that this is a lovely and appropriate card for "what completes me." Ever a work in progress.

Position 3: Cranberry sauce, What you don't get enough of - The Seer

Nope, I definitely don't get enough of the energies of the Seer! She is associated with the High Priestess, and one of the things I have to find space for is quiet introspection. There are so many things that I want to do, and I just can't. Finding time to connect to spirit, work on readings, even short meditations - they're all challenging to work into each day because of the following card (Archer). I sometimes dream of having my own little room where I can go, shut the door, and tend to my spiritual and intuitive practices (like Tarot, etc), but it's just not realistic at this point.  Why? Let's find out!

Position 4: Green bean casserole, What you get too much of - The Archer

What I get too much of is the Archer, and the feeling I get from this card is of being so wrapped up in mastery of the outer world that finding a regular balance between this and the Seer is not an easy feat. I have three children, a full-time (stressful) teaching job, a husband I'm partnered with, meals to prepare, readings to do, activities to attend. I'm constantly moving things forward by sheer force of necessity and will.  These are all good things, so I wouldn't say that it's necessarily "too much," but I think it's appropriate for this position in that I have to work extra hard to build in time for quiet, personal work. I do get a lot of support from my husband and family, for which I'm grateful, and when the kids grow older I'll probably have too much personal time, and be lamenting their youth! :) So I'm taking this with a grain of salt.

Position 5: Bread, What you need to share: 9 of Bows (Respect)

When I saw this card I immediately felt tired. This card reminds me that I often fight a lot of battles on my own - not because I don't have support, but because I forget to invite others to share my battles with me (when appropriate). When I worry, when I'm sensing conflict at work, when I'm balancing the budget, when I'm trying to make sure we have enough for Christmas presents… I often forget to speak these feelings aloud.  When I remember, or when Jorge asks me what's on my mind and I start to spill all of my contents, I realize how much easier it is to forge ahead when you're not "on your own." 

Position 6: Pie, What you should enjoy more: 10 of Stones reversed (Home)

Yes, this is so true. We've never been super stable - we've moved quite a bit over the past few years. I realized that I never feel like we're truly "home." I spend the time we stay in a particular residence with the underlying sense that it's just temporary, and that ends up giving me the feeling of being nomads that just so happen to be in one place for a couple of years by coincidence.  So I never fully settle. Maybe I need to stop thinking about where we might go next, and start trying to enjoy where we are now.  How would that change things? Perhaps I would spend more time picking out new curtains, and considering new art for the walls. That would be nice.

Position 7: Blessing, What your blessing in life is: 7 of Arrows reversed (Insecurity)

I was actually surprised yet happy to see this card. I see this is my ability to be honest with myself at all times. I never tell myself lies to avoid pain, and I'm always seeking the road to be the best person that I can be.  It requires honesty - brutal honesty at times. Not always pleasant, but I find it extremely important. I think one of my greatest strengths is not jumping to conclusions, but to really uncover the reality of a given situation, comment, expression, etc., in order to find its value (or debunk it). And similarly to the 8 of Vessels, this card reversed speaks of leaving old, outdated thought patterns behind - not being trapped in mental cycles - so in that way there is a sense of change and onward movement and development.  And I do think that's a blessing.

So I am going to go start Thanksgiving cooking after I drink my critical first cup of coffee. I wish you bright blessings and much love on this beautiful day!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Taroscopes for November 24-30, 2013

Every morning when my oldest daughter wakes up, she walks to the kitchen, sits down at the table, and  takes out her phone to read her daily horoscope. We share the same Sun sign, so she reads aloud in case whatever she finds also applies to me. I know that many people also use Tarot to create daily, weekly, or monthly "Taroscopes", where a card is pulled for each astrological sign.  So I decided: why not try it?  So I've pulled a card for each sign that represents broad influencing energies for the week ahead. I must say that I was pretty surprised to see that nine of the 12 cards were from the Major Arcana! Wow, pretty intense week ahead!  Well, it is Thanksgiving week here in the U.S.A., and that does carry with it a lot of charged energy: food buying, traveling, mingling with friends and extended family (some of whom don't get along), inviting the boyfriend to dinner to meet the parents for the first time (or vice versa), concerns about having enough money, enough food, enough motivation (ha). So let's see how the week is shaping up…..

Capricorn - 7 of Cups: This Earth sign tends to place high value on tradition, so if you're planning to celebrate Thanksgiving you might be trying to make sure it's exactly what it should be. It's fun to imagine the dinner table full of all the lovely dishes that make up the Thanksgiving feast, but don't forget to make time to get to make a shopping list, get to the grocery store, and organize enough time to get your cooking done. Don't be afraid to try a new recipe, and even though you'll likely make a fabulous meal, try to avoid that turkey hang-over - there'll be plenty of leftovers to enjoy, and that's part of the fun of this holiday.  If you're a Black Friday shopper, be realistic about what you can and should purchase - beware of your eyes being bigger than your purse!

Aquarius - Magician: Hm… this looks like it could be a pretty promising week for you! If you have a vision of what you want to happen this week, you're probably going to find a way to materialize it. Emerson said, "Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen." Focus on what you want to see this week, and then put your energy out into the world - you should be happy with the results!  If you're a bargain-hunter, you may find a way to get a hold of those "limited quantity" deals that most people fight tooth and nail over. But you probably won't have to fight at all to get what you really want.

Pisces - Hanged Man reversed: As hard as it may be for you this week, try to let loose and go with the flow. You may not be able to steer the boat this week, and as much as you might try to, you'll just find it a waste of energy.  So what do you do if things don't go your way? Try to change your perspective. That is one thing that you do have control over!  If you find yourself being "forced" to try something new, or do things differently this week, consider the positives that could result, and focus on those. My uncle always said "it's all about attitude." And it really is. You can make those proverbial lemons into lemonade just by changing your outlook.

Aries - Star: It looks like you have a wonderful chance at a lovely Thanksgiving week! You may be feeling inspired and full of love and happiness, which is one of the best ways to approach spending time with others.  You may also end up being that guiding Star for other people. If you find a friend or loved one struggling this week (ahem, Pisces), you may just have what they need to find that grain of joy amidst the gray. Thanksgiving is all about recognizing the many blessings we have in our lives, and that is precisely the energy that the Star brings to the table (hey, that pun works pretty well!).

Taurus - Moon: Alright Taurus, don't let your concerns or fears take control of you.  Whatever you're uncertain about this week, make time to slow down and pay attention to the root of your feelings.  Are they grounded in reality? Are you perhaps more worried than you need to be? When your surroundings feel tenuous, it's often a good idea to go with your gut feeling. Expect the unexpected, and take any sort of relationship tensions with a grain of salt - sometimes things feel more charged and overwhelming during the holidays.

Gemini - Ace of Wands reversed: There is a chance that your amazing plans won't work out precisely has you had imagined this week, leaving you feeling frustrated, and your spirits dampened. Just remember the saying "when one door closes, another opens." How can you turn your frustration into an opportunity? If you're taking on too many obligations or responsibilities, try to pare down your to-do list into something you can reasonably manage - don't forget that you are supposed to be enjoying yourself at least a little bit this week!

Cancer - Lovers: What an auspicious card, Cancer! You have a lovely energy carrying you through this week, which will likely create an aura of harmony and pleasure.  If you're already in an established relationship, you should enjoy each other's company, and the company of the friends and family with whom you choose to spend time. If you're just at the beginning of one (maybe Thanksgiving is the first time you're bringing him/her home to mom!) it should be a deeply satisfying and exciting time. Even if you're single you may find this week loaded with positive feelings for the people you care about. If you're faced with a decision (do we eat with Jim's family or Allison's??), take some time to consider the best all-around option, and then commit to it.

Leo - Chariot: You might find yourself driving to visit family or friends for Thanksgiving this week, and if so, make the trip in a safe and fun way. Check the weather, print a map (don't just rely on your smart phone!), and don't forget your defensive driving skills. Even if you're staying put, you may find that this week you're able to achieve your goals once you put your mind to it. Figure out what you need to do, and how you want to do it, and then get 'er done!

Virgo - Tower: Yikes! Alright, Virgo, this is bound to be an intense week for you! The Tower brings a burst of force that brings new insights, and helps get rid of the out-dated structures in your life. If you've been avoiding a confrontation with a co-worker, friend or family member, this holiday week might just spark an argument or serious conversation.  But as frustrating as the situation might feel at the time, it's likely to help clear out pent-up feelings, which is necessary if you want to try and build a better foundation moving forward. Holidays tend to bring out all the good and bad in interpersonal relationships, so try to go with the flow as much as possible. It really will get better! If your car breaks down and suddenly you can't make the long-awaited trip home, work out an alternative plan. Maybe dinner with your friends will prove to be an amazing and unexpected experience. Finally, let's not fail to mention the fact that sometimes the Tower brings in shockingly wonderful energy that revitalizes us, and brings welcome transformation. If your turkey burns in the oven and the friends you invited never show up, you might just realize how amazing it feels to suddenly have no obligations restricting you!

Libra - World reversed: Don't take the weight of the world on your shoulders this week, Libra. You aren't responsible for making everyone happy, or for providing the entire holiday feast.  And if you try to make it all happen, you will probably find that you have a hard time pulling it all together as you'd imagined.  A lot of last-minute plan changes might leave you wondering if you may as well just give up on things altogether and throw in the towel - but don't!  No matter what happens, you will be able to reach your goals - it just might prove to be a little more challenging than you'd expected or hoped.

Scorpio - 4 of Pentacles reversed: Balance is always a good thing.  If you try to achieve prosperity by closing yourself up in your house so that you're never tempted to spend money, or by working, working, working your days away, you'll also be missing out on the joy of living, however!  You might feel concerned about money, and if so, don't overspend. But it's okay to pry your fingers off three dollars and go buy yourself a pie. I guarantee that you'll enjoy eating it, and sharing it around the table, and the minor financial loss will have been worth it. You may be feeling antsy about mingling with people over the holiday, but try to commit at least a couple of hours to engaging with others. Sometimes getting out of the house is the hard part, but once you're out in the world you find that you are able to let your hair loose and have a much better time than you'd anticipated.

Sagittarius - Judgment: Free yourself this week. Pay attention to that little voice whispering in your heart - what is it saying? You are capable of making changes, starting fresh, forgiving yourself and others, and beginning again. Be like the snake who sheds its skin, showing the fresh, beautiful vibrant one underneath.  Consider new ways of approaching your relationships and your obligations. Do what feels right, even if it seems different or strange or out of character - after all, you aren't meant to stay the same forever; change is part of life. If you have pumpkin pie every year because it's tradition, but your inner voice is telling you to get mince this year, do it!  The taste sensation may just change your entire outlook on what's possible in the world of pastry.

Okay, that was fun! I will consider doing these each week, and if it becomes cumbersome I may do monthly Taroscopes instead of weekly. Now I will be heading off to make my grocery list for some feast shopping (have to follow my own 'scope, right?).

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

More Adventures with Yes and No

I still don't think that yes/no questions are a totally appropriate, or most effective, use for Tarot, but I've been experimenting with different ways of approaching these sorts of questions, trying to determine if there is a method that is dependable.

In my last yes/no post I mentioned that since I work with reversals, I'd decided that I'd take reversals as "no" and uprights as '"yes," and then consider the card's message for additional insights. In my first experiment I asked a question that I was expecting a "no" for, received a strong "yes" (Magician, plus some), and in the end the event did in fact occur. There were some questions about psychic influence potentially contributing to the outcome, so of course, more testing must be done.

Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza - US Games 2008

Since then I've conducted two yes/no experiments.  For the first of the two, I asked a question about an issue based entirely on outside chance (think of things like the lottery, or winning a contest with thousands of entrants). I pulled the 5 of Cups upright. Now this card seems like a "no" and yet it was upright, so I wondered if it did somehow mean "yes." I decided to do a spread of three cards to give me some major energies surrounding the answer, and I pulled the 5 of Cups (again!), the Ace of Wands, and the Tower.  All upright. So by nature of being upright I'd say that it seemed promising. And yet there is no doubt that the 5 of Cups and the Tower seem like pretty strong negatives. The Ace looked nice, but it also felt like it may simply have been representing the opportunity that had presented itself - not necessarily that anything exciting would come from it. So I decided to stick with my upright=yes method, and…… yeah, it manifested in real life as a "no." So then I thought, okay, perhaps the cards do mean more than the upright/reversed presentation.

I tried again. I asked a different question, also based on outside chance, and I pulled the Lovers reversed. Hm.  The Lovers would be a strong positive, but reversed I decided to take it as a "no." Underneath I found a reversed 9 of Wands, and an upright Ace of Pentacles. So my entire take was that I would not see results in the time I had inquired about, but perhaps later in the month something would change for the positive.  Well, two days later the situation manifested in the positive!  So this left me thinking that, again, the card itself is more important than its position.

Tarot Elements has a list of cards that she considers "yes," "no," and "maybe." In my own experience thus far, my cards have matched up appropriately with the list, based on the ultimate outcome. So I will keep testing things out, and will now be ignoring reversals, and going with card meaning instead. Let the journey continue! :-)

November's Forecast

Several months ago I started to do monthly Tarot forecasts for each upcoming month, and so far I've been enjoying doing them.  The only downside is when I see what will potentially be an upcoming challenge, and have no way of knowing exactly what it will be or how it will ultimately impact me. That's what happened in November, and has left me wondering if I'd rather just not know what's coming - at least that way I won't spend my time anticipating something I can't necessarily change!

This was my November reading. The Queen of Swords was the summary card, and the following four cards represent each week of the month, in terms of major energies:

Spread with Deviant Moon Tarot (Patrick Valenza/US Games)

In case you can't see them clearly, week 1 was the King of Swords, week 2 the 4 of Swords, week 3 the 7 of Wands reversed, and week 4 is the Page of Wands.  Whew, so happy week three is over!!!!!

So how did I fare?  I blogged about the King and the 4 of Swords, so I'll leave them out - they were very fitting for their respective weeks. Week three nearly killed me. Wands often relate to career, and I can say that it was probably the worst week I've ever had at work.  Another fitting card for this week would have been the Page of Swords reversed.  Things are finally looking up, but this past week was full of gossip, emergency meetings, and a lot of drama that ended with one person deciding to quit.  Not at all fun, but fortunately the worst is over. I definitely did have some moments where I felt like I was that girl running anxiously through a dark wood, wondering what scary things were going to jump out all of a sudden from the abyss.  So back to my original point - do I really want to know that a week is going to be miserable, when there is little I can do to change it?  I think that probably I could use it to my advantage.  There's a saying "forewarned is forearmed." Even not knowing what form that challenge could take, it's still possible to do what is possible to prepare oneself. For instance, I could have made sure to get better sleep. Knowing that "something" difficult might arise might have caused me to be more aware of subtleties in the workplace so that it would not have been as great a surprise in the end.  All the same, I'll be honest - sometimes I just don't want to know what's around the bend!

To conclude I will say that the Queen has had my back all month long. It's been a Swordsy month for me, but mostly in positive ways. I don't tend toward the Swords temperament, but it has a lot of offer, and I've enjoyed the challenge of working on separating feelings from logic; it's helped me see more clearly, and think more effectively about how to approach a wide variety of things these past few weeks. Now I still have a week left… and the Page of Wands is looking pretty good right now. I'll welcome it with open arms!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Those Deviant Swords

I love the Deviant Moon deck, and it’s interesting how much I love it given the amount of time it took me to actually decide to buy it. I remember the first time I saw the box at the bookstore. I was considering getting a new deck, but was resolved to only buy from U.S. Games because I know I can count on good quality card stock (and I’m really, really picky about card stock – a flimsy or overly stiff stock can really ruin a beautiful card). That particular day the only U.S. Games deck to be had was the Deviant Moon…but I took a look at the box and said, “No, thank you!” I didn’t like all the male figures with lipstick and curved chins. At all.  So I left the store empty handed. (Only to eventually come to purchase it, and subsequently come to really love it). I feel like every time I want to post about a card, I end up writing a preamble about this deck. * Sigh * It’s clearly had an impact on me, probably because of the emotional evolution I experienced!

The suit of Swords is never my favorite in any deck. The strife, sharp edges, feelings parted from thoughts.  An interesting fact is that I absolutely love the Swords suit in the Deviant Moon – in fact I think it’s my favorite suit in the deck. This alone is like a breakthrough. I find the images portrayed on the cards of the Swords suit in this deck to be softer in a way, but very “real” in terms of how they portray meaning. Today I am going to talk about three of those cards: the Ace of Swords, the 2 of Swords, and the 8 of Swords.

Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza, US Games 2008
The Ace is divine.  I normally don’t really connect to the Aces of Swords in many decks, but this depiction says something to me. I suppose it evokes “feeling” for me, which usually doesn’t occur with other versions of this card. I love the look on this lady’s face – the determination and resolve. She is holding the Sword upright with clear purpose.  She’s ready to know the truth, to cut through the fog, to free herself from relationships or connections that are no longer serving her in a positive way. She’s open to fresh insights and ideas that will take her forward, and she has the will to see things through.  I love the green vine that winds around her sword, indicating the new, healthy growth that this card heralds.  Her sword isn’t slicing through the vine wantonly…. It is discerning and clear in its focus.

2 of Swords - Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza - US Games 2008
The 2 of Swords often depicts a woman sitting on the edge of an ocean with a blindfold on, holding two swords that criss-cross in front of her. It’s about denial, avoiding having to make a decision, uncertainty about how to create balance between two disparate elements in one’s life. Unlike the Ace, this card is about not wanting to confront the truth.  What I like about the Deviant Moon’s version of this card is that it brings to light in a powerful way how those feelings and mental blocks can create inner conflict in an individual.  This card shows what looks like one man divided in two. Half of him is dark, the other half light. The upper half of him is at war, each brawny part exerting force against the other side of himself.  From the outside you wouldn’t see this, but there is a battle raging within. He’s stuck in limbo, and his indecision is robbing him of peace, and keeps him from taking decisive action. Each possibility carries too much of the unknown, or offers different but equal cons that make neither option the clear winning choice. I love how the inner world is depicted here – it carries a lot of power in the feeling it conveys.

8 of Swords - Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza - US Games 2008
Finally I want to show the 8 of Swords. In a traditional deck this card would show a blindfolded woman trapped within a circle of 8 upright swords, buried in the sand. She’s on the edge of a rocky sea shore, and salvation is so close, but she can’t see it. Like the 2 of Swords, she may be avoiding the call to focus on a challenging issue.  There’s a sense of powerlessness to this card – that external forces are exerting a control over one’s life that isn’t possible to overcome. The key to this card is in understanding that those limitations are often mental – we convince ourselves that things are too difficult to manage, that we have no power over our lives.  In reality we do have the ability to take off the blindfold and start the path toward shore, we’re just afraid of what we might see.  The Deviant Moon card shows a similar but very unique perspective: a woman stands at a dark window at night, and the moon above appears to be sucking her over the sill.  She’s in danger of falling, where 8 swords wait to greet her below.  What’s interesting about this card is the way it portrays illusion.  The moon represents our fears and confusion, and the deep impact that those feelings have on us and our behaviors.  This woman is allowing her fears to consume her, and to take her deeper into the darkness.  What she hasn’t figured out yet is that the moon’s power is fragile, and she has the strength within her to break the illusions that have her in a helpless trance.  All she needs to do is stand up and walk back in the house, and she can shed the “blindfold” and free her mind.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Using the Cards for Yes/No Questions

I would say that, in general, I'm more a fan of using Tarot for gaining deeper insights into the variety of situations in which we encounter ourselves in life.  Using Tarot to provide guidance, to highlight major energies or themes that influence us and the decisions we make. Sometimes to take a look at where our current paths our leading us.  But yes/no questions?  Not so much.

Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza, US Games 2008
I know that a lot of people have differing opinions on this, and some are very much in favor, while others feel it's a poor use of this sacred tool.  So I decided to experiment.

You could do an Internet search for this topic and find numerous blogs and websites that will give you 82 different ways to determine the answer to a yes or no question using the cards.  Some are very simple: pick a card, and if it's upright the answer is yes, if it's reversed, the answer is no. Some are more complicated: select three cards, and if the majority are upright or reversed, there is your answer! But if it's a Pentacle instead of a Wand it might be a maybe!  Well, you get the idea, anyway. Some people reserve special decks for yes/no questions, or won't consider the influence of the Major Arcana at all. I find that if it seems too complicated, it probably is.

Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza - US Games 2008
I use reversals, so to me the easiest way to test out yes/no questions is to draw a single card.  If it's upright, then it's yes, and if it's reversed, then no.  I also would consider the message of the card itself for additional information about the energies involved. Clearly in order to test this out it's necessary to ask a question whose answer can be determined in a relatively short period of time (and I would not test this out on a client, preferring to use my own life as the guinea pig).

I decided to ask if I would hear from a friend in the next 7 days.  This is a friend I normally don't keep in close contact with, though we've known each other for many years, and it's been more than six months since our last conversation.  Now I felt that this would be an obvious "no." So I asked a formal yes/no question: "Will I hear from this friend within the next 7 days?" I shuffled and cut and…

Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza - US Games 2008
...the first card I pulled was the Magician, upright. Well that certainly looked pretty "yes-ish." I peeked at the next card, which was Strength, also upright.  Hm. Another strong "yes" card. Just to be absolutely SURE, I looked at the card below Strength, which was the King of Swords, upright.  Really?  I glanced at the card at the bottom of the deck: King of Wands, upright. Well okay, apparently my cards were saying - no, screaming - YES!!!! But I didn't feel like it would be a yes.  So I thought, "This will be a showdown between my reason and my cards. Let's see what happens!"

King of Wands - Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza - US Games 2008
So I put my cards away after having documented those that I'd drawn and my thoughts about the whole thing.  And I went to bed.  I woke up the next morning at 6:30am and grabbed my phone for my morning ritual of Facebook-News-Weather-Time, and noticed that I had an email, too. When I opened my inbox what did I find?  A message from my friend.

So what did I learn from this?  Just maybe I can use my cards for yes/no questions after all.  Now if I'm going to be sciency about it (which I am) I'll be doing many more of these little experiments to see what happens, how things feel, how things turn out, what subtle nuances come across, and how to understand and interpret them in the context of this sort of concrete, straight-forward question. I'm not going to take this show on the road anytime soon, but I am at least open to exploring this "other" reading technique….. :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Best Way to Learn Tarot?

I read a series of comments on a Facebook forum the other day where this was the topic of debate: "What is the best way to teach or learn Tarot?"

The funny thing is that each person has a different way of learning, and I truly don't believe that there is only one, best way to do anything at all, really.  The only thing that I do feel applies to all things one might learn in life, is that to truly understand it, you have to do it.

When I learned Tarot I studied the cards incessantly for quite a long time. I approached it almost as if I were taking an independent study course. I thought that I needed to memorize all the potential card meanings, and I took the "flash card" approach which I know that many people tend to do.  I used a deck that had unillustrated pips (Minor Arcana, excluding the Courts) so I had no images to help me understand anything at all.  I kept detailed notes, I went through the Minors by number (first all the 2s, then the 3s, etc). I would randomly quiz myself to see how many keywords I could remember for each card.  Later I did something similar when I decided to study reversals.

Now this is not a "bad" way of learning, but I don't think it's the best way either.  Tarot as flashcards don't give depth or breadth to a story, and are rather sterile.  It takes experience doing many readings to learn how to weave a story together, and understand the subtle ways that card meanings change depending on context.  Later I read a book called Psychic Tarot, by Nancy Antenucci, and her first step to learning the cards was not to study the meanings, rather to sit with each card and figure out what it means to *you.* How does it make you feel?  What do the images and details say about what the card might signify?  Not having "book meanings" stored in your mind allows so much more freedom when it comes to exploring your personal relationship with Tarot - it's much more organic. And each reader truly has their own, unique, highly personal relationship with the art of Tarot. I found myself wishing that I hadn't memorized all the meanings, and felt I'd robbed myself of this potentially very rich way of starting the learning process. By starting with memorization, it was more of a challenge to let my intuition "speak," because if it was telling me something that didn't jive with the traditional meanings, I hesitated to give it credence.

Later I took an Intuitive Tarot course which was invaluable to me.  I brought my Rider Waite deck because, knowing nothing about how Tarot courses run, I assumed it would probably be best to bring the old traditional stand-by, even though it's not my go-to.  The instructor surprised me in a very pleasant way, and said "if the deck doesn't speak to you, don't use it."  Why bother working with a deck that you don't connect with?  Now I do read just fine with my Rider Waite, but no, it's not my favorite.  The images can be pretty, but they don't necessarily touch those deeper chords in my soul. She also said "if you want book meanings, use the internet. This class is about developing your intuitive understanding of the cards. So no notepads are necessary - we won't be covering anything traditional."

**So what's the point of your Tarot journey?  Do you want to take an intellectual approach? An intuitive approach? Do you want to become a Tarot scholar? Do you want to simply give accurate readings for other people or for yourself?**

One of the women in the course I took was terrified of learning the cards. She had purchased the Rider Waite out of the assumption that it would be required (much the same reason I had brought mine to the first class). She felt her memory was poor and didn't think she had what it would take to be able to work with alllll those 78 cards.  She *almost* quit after the first day, but decided to give it one more chance, and by the end of those six sessions she was giving wonderful, accurate readings.  Had she memorized meanings? No. Did she study the deeper significance of Rider Waite symbols?  No. What she was doing was using a deck that appealed to her, that drew her in, that "spoke" to her, and that engaged her intuition (like the instructor, she was using the Halloween Tarot by Karin Lee and Kipling West).  It was wonderful to observe, and made me, yet again, wish I'd done things the other way around.

Once you learn the meanings, you can't unlearn them.  And truth be told, I'm glad I know them.  But I  had to work harder to detach from book meanings in order to let my intuition tell me what it needed me to know.  Fortunately I now feel I have a great balance between the two styles, and feel comfortable working in this manner.

Regardless of why you want to learn Tarot, I think a great way to start is to leave the books alone, and start by developing personal meanings based on your own feelings about the images and colors in each card, and by using a deck that you love.  You can, indeed, perform excellent readings based only on your intuitive connection to the cards in your deck.  Later, of course you can deepen and expand your knowledge by studying what the books have to say, and learning about traditional symbols that are featured in decks like the Rider Waite (and as this deck is the focus of so many books, you don't have to own the deck in order to learn them - it still provides background knowledge that can influence your own readings with a non-Rider Waite deck). That said, there are so many Rider Waite clones out there, you may well find a deck that you absolutely love that reflects many of the scenes and symbols in the Rider Waite deck, but that at least features a theme or world-view you hold sacred, or that you simply like to look at.  So if you like fairies, go for it!  If you're into vampires, I'm sure you can find something that sits right with you.

Tarot never stop teaches you new things, and there is never a lack of other people's material that you can peruse.  You experiment, read books, find out what you like and what you don't, what works for you and what doesn't.  What decks you like and which you don't care for. You read, and read, and read the cards more, which is the only real way to integrate your understanding, and to open new doors.

There's no "best" way, but the way I would recommend is to start off intuitively. Spend time feeling out each card using a deck you adore, and try giving readings to yourself/friends/family based on what the cards say to you, before you know what they are "supposed" to mean, and see how you do.  Later on you can dive into more formal study, and explore the millions of avenues of esoteric learning that are available to you, per your interests, desires, and motivations.