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.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Spirit Conversations

The other day a Tarot friend from across the globe asked me about some experiences she’s been having connecting with her father-in-law in spirit, who she had never met in the physical.  (You can read about Joanna’s conversation with her father-in-law here).

What is interesting is that for the past couple of weeks I’ve been connecting with my own father-in-law who I’d also never met.  Jose passed very quickly of cancer when my husband was barely 21 years old, and it left a deeply painful mark on him, which in many ways he still struggles with.   I never had the opportunity to know Jose, and I have often felt sad about that, so having a context in which to interact with him (in this case, via mediumship) has been a very important and special experience for me.

My first foray into connecting with spirit was when I connected with the energies of Jorge’s (my husband) brother Manuel, who also died of cancer far too young. My thought at the time was: if I can connect with living energies, why can’t I connect to the energies of those who are no longer in physical form?  I’ve often felt Manuel’s presence in and around us.  In fact he came to Jorge in a dream to inform him of my pregnancy with our daughter Lourdes, the day before I decided to take the pregnancy test.  The two of them had a very strong tie, and his death also took a major toll on Jorge.  So I decided to tap into Manuel’s energy, and found that I could, and I was able to pass on a message to Jorge via a combination of clairsentience and the tool of Tarot.

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

Jorge was touched by that, and eventually asked if at some point I could try to connect with his father.  One evening after I put our youngest child to bed I sat with my cards and closed my eyes, and invited Jose to connect with me.  I felt him surprisingly quickly, and his energy was very strong.  I felt him, his face, his neck, his being, very near to my own face, and it almost tickled, and it made me laugh out loud.  I had the sense that he’d been keeping his distance, observing from afar, for quite a long time, and he was happy to have received an open invitation to be present and to interact.  I also felt that he really didn’t feel like “talking” with me via Tarot.  He just wanted to “be.” He passed to me the feelings he experienced at the time just prior to his death, when he was in the hospital.  I knew that Jorge had told me that his father glared at his grandmother during this time.  He could no longer speak, but his eyes conveyed a strong message, and Jorge’s grandmother told him later, “Your father died hating me.” Their relationship had not been simple.  So I wasn’t surprised to feel anger, but the complex combination of feelings was striking.  He felt anger, and sadness, yes.  But there were a host of other feelings that took me by surprise.  Eventually I persuaded him to allow me to use cards to provide a somewhat more tangible message for Jorge, and while reluctant, it worked out okay.  It was interesting, that reluctance, because when working with Manuel and even my own grandmother, there had never been any issue with using the cards.  But for some reason Jose didn’t want to bother, it was like it was an annoying hassle or something.  So he did pass a message to Jorge, recognizing some of the current hurdles that my husband is facing, and also expressing a regret at not having been as communicative as he wished he had been with his son. (An afterthought: according to Jorge, his grandmother had a strong connection to spirit, and also worked with cards.  Thinking back on that, I wonder if his reluctance to "speak" via the cards was a reflection of the difficult relationship he had with her.)

When I was ready to close down communication, I found that Jose was not.  This was also a surprise. He seemed so happy to have made the connection that he wasn’t quite ready to be done with it yet.  So we went together into my daughter’s room and I silently introduced him to her (she was reading and I didn’t bother her).  A short time later I was chatting with Jorge and I just burst out laughing.  I had the strangest sense of viewing Jorge from the angle of his father, and even had the feeling that Jose was looking at Jorge through my eyes.  That has happened a couple of times since, and I’ve come to think of it as borrowing someone’s binoculars; it’s entirely unobtrusive, but the sensation is unique. It was so funny, so odd, so new that I had to laugh.  Jorge looked at me strangely, wondering what was up, and suddenly said, “My dad’s still here, isn’t he!”  And I said that yes, he was.  Jorge said that he could feel his dad’s energy.  He seemed both annoyed and at the same time happy that his father was “there.”  Later I had to tell Jose “Okay listen, I’m ready to go do normal things like eat some food and watch T.V.”  I went about my business and he eventually faded.  I asked my mentor about this and she said that sometimes passed loved ones just want to be a part of the family, and hang around with us.  Okay. Cool.

So last night I connected to Jose’s energy again and we had a nice “chat.”  I will say that we aren’t so much “talking” – it’s more a strong sense of his reactions, emotions, and sometimes an image flash, or a brief phrase that comes more as an imprint than an utterance.

Halloween Tarot
Karin Lee, Kipling West
US Games, 1997
I like Jose’s energy, it feels good.  Since that first, intense connection, things have mellowed, and I’m enjoying learning a little more about him.  I asked him about his relationship with Jorge’s mother (they were never married, but had six children together – later on they split up). I pulled the King of Cups and the 6 of Cups reversed.  I sensed that he had loved Irma, and always had caring feelings toward her.  That they may have been soul mates of a sort, but the romantic aspect to their relationship simply ran its course.  They remained friends, but couldn’t stay formal partners.

I told him about his grandchildren.  Isa, our oldest, is my child from a former relationship, and Jorge legally adopted her.  I told Jose that although Isa is mine from before I met Jorge, she really needs both Jorge and Jose, and I felt Jose’s sense of pleasure and willingness to be present for her.  I told him that his grandson, Gabriel, is very precocious, and we call him a “true” Destrades because his personality is so closely tied to so many of the men from the Destrades clan. I immediately felt a very strong sense of fierce pride and happiness, and I pulled a card and it was the Emperor – the over-arching patriarch of the family.  I smiled.

I asked Jose to tell me something about his relationship with his own mother, and I pulled the Justice card.  It was a relationship with a profound theme of fairness (and consequently unfairness) that deeply impacted their ability to love each other.

Halloween Tarot
Karin Lee, Kipling West
US Games, 1997
Finally I asked how Jose felt about us finally communicating, and what he felt the benefit was, and I pulled the 3 of Wands – the beginning phase of a journey, a new, energy-based relationship.  The three brought to mind me, Jose and Jorge.  Interestingly, the card that represents my own role as a Tarot reader (and perhaps budding medium as well) is the Page of Wands: the mediator between worlds, the messenger, the gatekeeper, the guide, the facilitator.  So seeing the three wands builds on that, and it represents my role as the go-between.

I hope that my husband will be able to connect directly with his own father some day.  He deeply appreciates the fact that his father is able to be present with us, but his pain is keen, and setting up a direct line would be ideal.  Fortunately Jorge has those sensitivities, and I expect that he’ll be able to accomplish that at some point.  The last time I connected with his father, I had failed to mention it to Jorge.  Suddenly he walked into the room where I was sitting and said “I hate it when that happens! I just saw something or someone in the hallway standing there!”  And I said “Oh!  It was probably your dad!!”  That was surprising, and also really nice.

So this journey is interesting, touching, wonderful, kind of crazy, and very humbling.  I’m grateful to have a way to develop a relationship of sorts with Jose, and to be able to provide a link between him and his son, who desperately needs him. Last night Jorge told me, “If I had gone to some stranger and they’d told me that they were able to sense my dad, and send me a message, I’d say it was cool, but I wouldn’t be as moved. I love the fact that the person receiving messages is you.”  That filled me up to the brim, I’ll just put it that way. <3

The Devil and the "Lost" Girl

Two nights ago I was working with my cards when my girls were getting ready for bed, and I had them pick a card for their day ahead.  They were excited about it. I asked them to tell me what they saw in their cards, and then helped them to interpret it, as necessary.  Mostly we focused on what the pictures meant for them, though I also did bring in the traditional meanings for Isa since she’s in middle school and there is a bit more going on in her world.

Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza/US Games 2008
Lourdes picked the Devil from the Deviant Moon, and I just had to laugh.  It was clearly *her* grinning impishly, prancing away from a trick she just played on someone. She’s really our little devil, in the most loving way possible.  She even has a little cackle she uses when she’s brewing up some fun trap for her older sister.  In that way she reminds me a lot of myself when I was young – I used to play jokes on my own older sister all the time, some comical, others perhaps a bit less fun (for her, anyway!).  So I loved that she was not at all put off by this potentially scary image – she thought it was hilarious, and very fitting for her.  Yesterday evening I was sitting on the couch and caught a glimpse of her doing the “Devil prance” in the other room.  I think she liked the Devil card a little TOO much, haha…

Isabella picked the 7 of Wands, which features a girl running along a path in a wood at night.  She seems anxious and has her hands up as if in defense.  There’s almost a feeling that she’s lost in a forest, except that she’s moving onward on a clear, bright path that keeps her from truly losing her way.  The traditional meaning relates to having to defend your position, stand firm in your ideas, and know that, even though at times there may be a lot of obstacles in the path ahead, with effort and determination comes success.

Deviant Moon Tarot - 7 of Wands
Patrick Valenza, US Games 2008

So I told Isa that one of her teachers may ask her an unexpected question that would put her on the spot, but that she’d probably find herself able to answer the question when all was said and done.  She said, “Good to know!” and went to bed.

Yesterday afternoon when she got home from school she was so excited to tell me that in science class her instructor had suddenly picked on her randomly to explain the benefits of “green” energy to the rest of the class.  She was nervous and surprised, but gathered her thoughts and gave the best answer she could.  When she finished, her teacher said, “That was a great reply – almost textbook!”  So she was relieved and also very pleased that she was able to perform well under pressure.  Above all, she was excited that her card draw from the evening before had been so relevant to her day.  It made me smile, too ☺

Monday, November 11, 2013

You Will Rest!

In September I started pulling a monthly forecast, with one summary card for the month, and then a single card to represent the major energies of each week.  The card I pulled for this week was the 4 of Swords, from the Deviant Moon deck (Patrick Valenza/U.S. Games).  I love this card.  I mean, I normally enjoy the energy of this card – its meditative feel, the aspects of introspection and rest that are associated with it.  But the version from this deck is just…. pretty.
Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza
U.S. Games/2008
I like the fact that she’s underground.  It reminds me of how frogs hibernate under the mud during the winter.  It’s dark, quiet, imbued with the deep peace of solitude.  It’s like she dug a hole and jumped in because it was the only way she could ensure that she would be left alone.  I like the roses, little pleasant, fragrant blooms that to me indicate that though she’s underground and quiet, she’s very much alive and internally aware and active. Perhaps they also give the idea, similar to Death, of a life cycle on a smaller scale – renewal.  The flowers are the bright spots amid an otherwise very muted color scheme. One eye looks at rest, while the other looks a bit concerned.  She may not be acting on anything, but she's definitely pondering some important matters! The fact that one sword is pointing up toward her gives the impression that she’s being strongly encouraged to relax for her own good.  It reminds me of when my husband says, “Put that book down and go to sleep already!!” He knows I’m exhausted and need to sleep, but I just. can’t. put. it. down.  Sometimes we need stern reminders to take care of ourselves.

I do feel I could use some extra sleep, but with a 2-year-old who still hasn’t found the pleasure of staying in bed all night long, that’s not bound to happen.  I could certainly use a break from my job, where I’ve taken on extra responsibilities due to my program director leaving town on business.  Life is normally happily busy, but this week is definitely moving far beyond the average! So perhaps this card is simply letting me know that I need to be more conscious of the responsibilities and projects I’m juggling this week, and that I need to make rest a priority.  I’m grateful for that encouragement!  A soft couch, a cup of hot tea, and a T.V. show are calling my name!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Uniting Poles: Dragon, Cat and Sow

This year has been one of many changes, some of which I mentioned in my Samhain spread blog post. I sense the transition happening subtly (although sometimes it is very apparent, and gives me little surprises), under the surface, like an underground river flowing. In recent readings, the Lovers, Chariot and 2 of Cups have come up quite a bit for me.  What these cards all have in common is a sense of union between two aspects, or elements.  The Lovers and 2 of Cups relate to harmonizing those contrasting elements, while the Chariot is about harnessing that energy and bringing it forth into the world to achieve goals, and make things happen.  I've been sitting with those cards, pondering what those meanings might signify for me, and the truth is that that meaning has felt somewhat veiled, a little hazy and hard to put my finger on.

Last night I decided to forgo the Tarot and pull out my Druid Animal Oracle deck which I haven't worked with in a while.  I felt the desire to access the energy and wisdom of animals.  So I shuffled and cut, and laid out three cards: Air Dragon, Cat, and Sow.

Druid Animal Oracle
P. and S. Carr-Gomm/Will Worthington
Touchstone 1995
When I saw the Air Dragon I thought that was interesting, because I've never pulled that before, and lately I've been getting a lot of Swords (particularly the King and Queen) which are air cards.  While the Tarot swords are about intellect and decision-making, the Air Dragon is about spiritual journeying and spirit communication and, very interestingly, visitation.  It's interesting because this Dragon is also about flashes of insight, those lightening bolts that change the way you understand the world and the possibilities before you.  This reminds me of the Blasted Oak (from Wildwood Tarot) which has also been a significant card for me lately, because it also incorporates the idea of the sudden flash of insight that sparks significant change.  And the Blasted Oak/Tower has been meaningful for me in terms of my spiritual journey, so there were some synchronicities there.  

The Sow is a nurturing card.  The Sow is about connecting to the abundance of nature, the physical aspects of our nature as living beings.  The image shows a sow herding her group of piglets (is that what baby wild pigs are called??). The ground is strewn with morsels of food, and the background is lush with ripe wheat and vegetation.  As it relates to sensuality and fertility as well, this is like the Empress card in animal form. Very earthy and loving.

Finally, the center card was Cat.  Cat is considered to be an animal that connects to the spirit realm, and can see and communicate with both sides of the veil that separates the worlds. So it has one foot in this world, and one in the other. Another interesting element of the cat is its observation skills - it will sit and listen and watch quietly, only making its move when it's sure everything has come together in the right way. This also reminds me of the Wildwood Tarot Page of Stones (Lynx, which is also a wild cat). All of these meanings hold significance for me, and in fact the Page of Stones/Pentacles has also come up a lot lately in my personal readings.  I do feel I'm exploring a new wave of life, taking time to observe and learn about the best way to move forward in the material world with spiritual matters.

So after spending some time pondering this series of cards, I suddenly realized that it makes perfect sense! On the left the Air Dragon represents new insights and spiritual journeys, while on the right side the Sow represents our physical connection to nature and sensuality. The Cat is the bridge, the unifier, of both of these opposites.  And when I realized that, suddenly the Lovers and 2 of Cups and even the Chariot, made sense.  

When I was young I was very involved in spirituality and had a lot of meaningful experiences that have impacted me indelibly.  But as a child, spiritual experiences are ungrounded - in many ways you can't really live your spirituality in a balanced way until you learn how to live in the world.  And that's precisely what I did.  I had my first child, finished my college degree, got married, spent many years involved in developing a career, had two more kids (and few things are more grounding than having and raising babies!), completed my graduate degree. I distanced myself from more intentional spiritual practices, and really immersed myself in Life.  Six or seven years later (ending with this current year) I experienced a series of events that have led me back to spiritual practice and a renewal of my path, which has been wonderful and very much like "coming home." So I've gone through two major phases of life - one very airy/watery, and one very earthy - and now this year I'm learning how to integrate them so that both are equally important and balanced parts of my life, and who I am.  And that newly established and building inner-balance is impacting how I move forward in the world, and where my path is leading me.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Those Little Somethings

The Tarot deck that I learned on was the Golden Tarot by Liz Dean. The pips are not illustrated, in the Marseilles tradition.  At the time I really enjoyed that challenge - I couldn't rely on an image to help tell the story - I had to memorize the potential meanings in each card.  So needless to say I studied hard and really learned the "book" meanings (all 234 of them, if you randomly decide that each card can mean at least three different things - and of course there are more potential meanings than even that, so it's a tame estimate). Later I learned reversals, though in a slightly more organic way, bringing the total potential meanings to somewhere around 468.  Yes, what a rock star. :-/

Then I delved into the world of Tarot decks with full illustrations, and I opened myself up not just to commonly understood meanings, but to intuitive meanings, which effectively exploded my Tarot world, kind of like the Big Bang. Now, while I am happy to read with a deck without illustrated pips, I am truly "fed" by those that do have full images.

Why?  It's those little "somethings" in each card that spark my intuition, that bring amazing doses of clarity and insight, that penetrate to the heart of what's going on in a client's situation.  I love decks that have "a lot going on" because there is a lot there for my intuition to latch onto, and of course meanings then can change radically with the same card from reading to reading, which makes each card so incredibly rich (not unlike a living person, I suppose!).

When I do readings, I consider the traditional array of meanings (or sometimes I don't have time to consider, because the meaning is immediately apparent), but I also go further and see what the card art has to offer - and sometimes the art itself is more important, and I throw out the traditional meanings altogether. For instance, the other day I did a reading for someone who wanted to know where their new path was taking them.  I pulled the 10 of Pentacles from the Deviant Moon deck (Patrick Valenza) and the typical significance (a stable home, inheritance, marriage, security) was nearly meaningless.  It was the image on the card that gave me what I needed to pass on to this client, which was that he was currently in an apprenticeship period of his life, but he was heading to a time when he would eventually become the teacher.  The Pentacles were about spiritual riches, as opposed to material riches, and spoke more of grounding spirituality in the world, making it accessible to people.  In fact later, when I was doing a numerological assessment of that reading, the Hierophant showed up, which fit nicely, as the Hierophant is, in a sense, grounded spirituality - a bridge between the sacred and the mundane - and also represents teaching and learning. Now it may well be that his path will lead him to economic stability, but that was the least relevant element of the card meaning in this case.

Deviant Moon Tarot - 10 of Pentacles
Patrick Valenza/U.S. Games
My own mentor prefers the Halloween Tarot (Karin Lee, Kipling West) because there are so many little details that pop out at her.  I own that deck and enjoy it quite a bit, but I've been quite bowled over with the Deviant Moon so far, in this respect.  It's funny that I'd spent quite a period of time avoiding this deck because I felt it was creepy, or just not my style of artwork. And yet when I took the leap, I discovered yet another whole new, profound world of possibilities, filled to the brim with little somethings that speak clearly to me (all decks out there provide something valuable, and a little different - I guess that's partly why Tarot deck collections accrue!).  It's an amazing deck, I'll just say that :)

Alright. Time for breakfast.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tarot Alchemy - Triplicity of Card Meanings

I’ve been thinking lately about the dual (and triple, maybe even quadruple!) nature of some card meanings in readings. I'm not talking about the fact that all cards have multiple facets of meaning (which of course is true). I mean that one card may relate to more than one aspect of a reading. I will now attempt to make sense!

For instance, the other day I did a reading and the Queen of Wands reversed appeared as one of three cards.  The reading was about a familial (non-romantic) relationship between two people, and I felt that the Queen of Wands related to several elements: on one hand I felt it represented the first of the two people as being “unrealized” and even somewhat manipulative (though I felt that part was unintentional).  But on the other hand it struck me as also highlighting the feeling of powerlessness experienced by the second person in the relationship.  That second person also appeared as another card in the reading, so there were a lot of layers going on. So rather than the Queen representing one particular person or situation, it represented several facets of both people involved in the reading.

Deviant Moon Tarot - Queen of Wands
Patrick Valenza/U.S. Games 2008
I feel this can happen in readings where no spread is being used, because without positions, there is more flexibility and alchemy possible with card meanings and relationships between various cards.

This all brings to mind my thoughts on receiving “signs” from the Universe. I do believe that little, meaningful, symbolic things occur in our lives that can serve as catalysts for self-improvement, introspection, and even just the simple feeling that there is something out there that is powerful and beautiful, and mysterious. Sometimes these signs can take the form of synchronistic moments, or meetings, or interactions where we think, “If I’d been here just two seconds before, I never would have seen that!” Those “wow” moments that make you think, that put you in awe of the Universe we’re all a part of.  So a long time ago I remember thinking “Yeah, but if I see something that has meaning for me, there is surely someone else who also saw it, was affected by it, but perhaps in a different way.  So does it become meaningless, then?”  And I determined that in fact it doesn’t become meaningless at all, it simply means that one event can have multiple meanings and different implications, all equally important, for many different witnesses.  I see this as the Universe multitasking.  It's far too busy to provide unique signs and symbols for different people all of the time.  Instead of detracting from the power inherent in "signs," I feel it enhances it.

So I feel it works with cards in a similar way. The Queen of Wands represented different aspects of both people in the aforementioned spread.  In fact there were three cards total in the reading, and all of the cards had some kind of overlapped meaning for both people, respectively. Think of a Venn diagram, which I hope will illustrate my thoughts more clearly than my words probably are:

I sincerely hope that made the right kind of sense!  In the end there is just so much meaning, so many circles integrating, overlapping, weaving in and out, that it becomes almost dizzying.  But then, that’s the beauty of Tarot. ☺

Monday, November 4, 2013

November Begins with the King of Swords

I recently acquired the Deviant Moon deck (Patrick Valenza/U.S. Games).  This is a deck I'd seen many times, heard people talk about now and then, but I always thought it was a little too creepy, and definitely not my style of artwork.  For some reason it embedded itself in my psyche, and over time I began to think about it more….then look at its reviews online…then search for images of the artwork.  Finally I decided I needed to give it a try.  Lately I've been feeling a deep desire to work with decks that are outside of my usual interests as far as imagery goes, which is why I also recently purchased the mini Secret Tarot (Lo Scarabeo), and also why the Paulina Tarot (Paulina Cassidy/U.S. Games) is also on its way to me in the mail even as I type!  So the other night I ventured out to a local bookstore and found a dusty box of Deviant Moon and I brought it right on home with me.

Long intro, which thus far has nothing to do with the title of this entry.  So I'll try to get more to the point!  I've done a few readings with this deck, and it's really good.  It is quite elegant in its manner of speech (so to say) and I find that while some of the images can be a little creepy, I am really enjoying it, and the over all feel of the deck is not really creepy at all.  What I can say about it is that is definitely *different* and that may be what puts people off it sometimes (and what put me off originally).

So I've been using it exclusively for the past few days, and I did my November monthly forecast last night using it, and the card that came up for the first week of November wassssss……. the King of Swords, ta da!!!!!  I've finally gotten around to the true point of this post!

So here is the King of Swords from the Deviant Moon deck:

Deviant Moon Tarot - Patrick Valenza
Pretty sweet, right? This card came up in the past week in a reading done for me - this was the card that signified my obstacles to figuring out how to move forward with a new project I'm working on. So I'm hoping that by falling into the position of my first week of November, it means I'll be able to focus and find some clarity in the matter at hand.

So the King of Swords.  He's a clear-minded fellow who knows how to steer the ship.  He's a great leader in terms of having the ability to see the long-view of a given endeavor, though he isn't necessarily the most emotional kind of guy.  But that often serves his purposes just fine. He's very intellectual and reasonable, and he's a fine problem solver because he sees right to the heart of a situation and knows what stray threads need to be rewoven (and usually also knows how to go about it as well!).  He's a person with a well-developed sense of identity and personal ethics, and he lives up to his own code quite infallibly.

I tend to be rather emotional, and at best I have a strong practical streak that helps me to ground my feelings and desires in the world…but I've definitely never been very sworsdy. I am always thinking about how people feel, and how I feel.  But at this point in my life I think a dose of the King of Swords will do me good. I need to learn that there are certain times where it's necessary and fruitful to divorce feelings from reason so that decisions can be made.  Sometimes success requires a fair, clear-minded, business-like approach.

This King of Swords is a pretty interesting fellow.  The mix of red and gold in his clothing suggests the power to get things done combined with the elements of wisdom, success and prosperity, but all of this is filtered through his intellect and clear communication skills, represented by the blue shadow to his face. This is not a person who makes rash decisions. His sword is perfectly upright in a bold, sure position - he won't back down when he's certain he knows the right way to proceed. By his side is a little imp companion that looks steadily at us while resting its hands on a small Earth. To me this represents the global-thinking of the King of Swords.  He always considers the final destination, and each move he makes is done with that end-goal in mind.

This is the energy I need to bring into my life this week.  At the very least I will need to consider the decisions I can or should make, a bundle of action steps that can go on my to-do list for the next couple of months. I will need to keep the long-view in mind, clarify what I want things to look like when all is said and done, and create a plan to follow.  No time to be idle of mind!