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Thursday, March 21, 2019

For the Spring Equinox: A Reading with the Seasons Layout

The Runic Tarot

In celebration of the Spring Equinox, I am using my Runic Tarot by Caroline Smith and John Astrop (St. Martin’s Griffin) and The Seasons Layout provided in the guidebook that accompanies that deck.

My question is, “What do I need to understand about my mother’s adjustment to her new residence?”

For this layout, four cards are drawn to represent:
(1) Spring: the question’s starting point
(2) Summer: flowering or possibilities
(3) Autumn: appearance of fruits – the outcome
(4) Winter: benefits gained

The positions are arranged as if on a zodiac wheel:


My reading:

(1) Spring: the question’s starting point
Imbolc / 3 / INSIGHT

This card is linked with the third week of spring. Linked with the signs Aquarius and Gemini (3rd House), it points to shared thoughts, talking, communication, perceiving, and gathering information. Certainly all of those things have been going on in our attempt to get my 97-year-old mother moved into an assisted living facility where she will be safe and cared for. Interestingly, my husband is a Gemini and my sister is an Aquarius.

(2) Summer: flowering or possibilities
Samhain / 10 / LAW, RULES

Lots of Capricorn (10th House) linked with this card, which is also linked to the second week of January, the season Winter, and the element Air. This card points to adapting to rules as well as making sure things are fair and just. Learning, understanding, and abiding by rules is an important factor in any long-term care facility. My sun is in the Sagittarius/Capricorn cusp.

(3) Autumn: appearance of fruits – the outcome

The rune Ur is featured on this card, which is linked to the energy of both Aries and Taurus. The card represents a time of “great energy and health,” which is an excellent outcome to look forward to.

(4) Winter: benefits gained
Samhain / 4 / TRAVEL, FAMILY

Linked with Winter and the element Air, this card represents the 4th week of November and the zodiac signs Sagittarius and Cancer (4th House). I am pretty sure my mother will not be traveling, but there is the potential for a relationship with someone from “abroad” or perhaps a visit from relatives. These benefits are gained in part because of the “great energy and health” indicated by Card 3. Interestingly, my Sun sign is Sagittarius.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Animal Tarot Time: THE HERMIT

For this series, I am exploring the choices of animals made by various deck creators to correspond to traditional Tarot cards. My initial goal is to get through the Major Arcana using cards from seven different decks: 
  • Animal Tarot Cards by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine (Hay House)
  • The Animal Totem Tarot by Leeza Robertson; illustrated by Eugene Smith (Llewellyn Publications)
  • The Animal Wisdom Tarot by Dawn Brunke; illustrated by Ola Liola (CICO Books)
  • The Animal-Wise Tarot by Ted Andrews (Dragonhawk Publishing)
  • The Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Worldwide)
  • The Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung (Self-Published)
  • Tarot of the Animal Lords with artwork by Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo)

 To read my previous posts in this series, enter “Animal Tarot Time” in the search field on the main page of the blog or scroll down and click on Animal Tarot Time under CATEGORIES.

Let’s look at how THE HERMIT is portrayed in seven different animal decks.

Animal Tarot Cards by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine (Hay House)

FIREFLY (“Spiritual enlightenment. The spark of inspiration. The light within. Being a light for others. Believing in the magic of life.”)

The guidebook that accompanies this deck describes the firefly as “representing the light within and flashes of great spiritual insight and inspiration,” making it an excellent candidate to play the role of The Hermit. We often focus on the idea of solitude and introspection when we discuss The Hermit, but equally important is The Hermit’s willingness and ability to “hold up his lamp” to guide others through the darkness. On the card, fireflies have gathered “in great number in order to show you just how magical life can be.”

The Animal Totem Tarot by Leeza Robertson; illustrated by Eugene Smith (Llewellyn Publications)

MANTIS (“Sometimes waiting is the best way. Sometimes removing yourself, if only for a short period of time, is the best way. Then we turn and head to the light and step into its brilliance…”)

On this card, The Hermit stands in the light, holding the sun between his antennae. Knowing that the light (sun) will always rise again, we can look forward to the light’s return after time spent alone in darkness. Leeza Robertson mentions a story told by the Bushmen of the Kalahari, in which the Mantis puts himself to sleep in order to dream a solution to a situation or problem. By the same token, we sometimes need to allow ourselves the time and space to contemplate something so we can approach it with a clear head.

The Animal Wisdom Tarot by Dawn Brunke; illustrated by Ola Liola (CICO Books)

OWL (Keeper of the Light): “Peer deep; find illumination within.”

Brunke’s keywords for this card are “solitude, introspection, enlightenment, wisdom.” The owl’s ability to see in the dark creates a meaningful link between this creature and The Hermit, who holds his lantern aloft to help guide others. Owls are solitary birds – no noisy flock for them! They have long served as symbols for wisdom and the inner realms of our psyche. Like The Hermit, the Owl encourages us to explore the “darkness within” as well as the outer landscape.

The Animal-Wise Tarot by Ted Andrews (Dragonhawk Publishing)

OWL: “Silent Wisdom, Vision, and Guidance”

Ted Andrews refers to the Owl as a “creature of the night,” with night symbolizing the “darkness within – the places where great secrets and great treasures are hidden.” The fact that owls fly silently reminds us that there are times when we benefit from being silent and introspective or from being silent while listening to what is being said around us. Owls have acute hearing as well as keen vision both at night and during the day.

The Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Worldwide)

THE HERMIT / Cernunnos: time to reflect, contemplation, solitude

Cernunnos was a Celtic god also known as “the horned god.” He was typically shown with all kinds of forest animals, each of which symbolized some aspect of Celtic power. Hunt writes that when The Hermit (Cernunnos) appears, it is a reminder to “take the time to engage in quiet reflection… to learn more about yourself… to become more in tune with nature.” The goal is to “become more acquainted with a deeper aspect of your inner being.”

The Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung (Self-Published)

RED PANDA: “peace, knowledge, contemplation, solitude, discovery, adaption”

Of this card, Joanna Cheung writes: “He is in search of introspection, finding solace in solitude, away from society, away from culture, order, and custom as he travels on a journey of personal discovery.”

A quick internet search reveals that red pandas are solitary except during the breeding season. While it is fun to see this unusual choice for The Hermit, I have to say I don’t find much about the red panda that makes it a great choice for this card.

Tarot of the Animal Lords with artwork by Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo)

BLACK BEAR: “wisdom, spiritual search; abandonment, solitude, hidden enemies”

I think the black bear is a really great representative of aspect of The Hermit that deals with withdrawing, solitude, and turning inward, given that bears typically hibernate for several months during the winter.  Black bears tend to be solitary animals, with the exception of mothers and cubs.

To summarize, we have:
Firefly – 1
Mantis – 1
Owl – 2
Cernunnos – 1
Red Panda – 1
Black Bear – 1

In a way, I am a bit surprised that no one chose the hermit crab, but in any case, all of these are interesting and creative choices. Personally, I think I am leaning towards the Owl as the best choice.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Lovers Revisited

This "reprint" from my "Journey Through My Tarot Decks" series seems like a good one for today, which is, of course, Valentine's Day.


In this series of posts, I plan to discuss all of the Tarot cards in order, using a different deck for each card. This week's card is The Lovers from Tarot of the Cat People by Karen Kuykendall.

I love cats, and I was always drawn to this deck when I saw it in shops or on line. Even so, I didn't pick it up right away. To me, there was just something "creepy" about some of the images. However, over time, the deck convinced me that we really should be together.

Tarot of the Cat People is based on a fictional world called the Outer Regions, created by artist Karen Kuykendall (1928-1998). Renowned science-fiction writer Andre Norton wrote a two-part fantasy novel based on Kuykendall‛s world – Mark of the Cat / Year of the Rat -- which I highly recommend.

In Kuykendall‛s tarot deck, the five kingdoms of the Outer Regions correspond with the Major Arcana and the four suits of the Minor Arcana. Throughout the Outer Regions, cats are loved, honored and even obeyed (just like at my house!).

In Tarot of the Cat People the Major Arcana cards belong to Vapala (Va-PAH-la), The Diamond Kingdom. This is the kingdom of the Sky People. Associated colors are sparkling whites and pastels. Earth equivalents are the Grand Canyon, Arizona, and Kenya. The people of Vapala are "formal, proud, regal ceremonious, snobbish, reserved, subtle, conservative, conformist, class-conscious, austere." Prosperous, stable, and technologically advanced, The Diamond Kingdom produces the most renowned philosophers and scholars of the Outer Regions.

Kuykendall views the Major Arcana as "the synthesis of all the cards in the deck." On Trump Six, we see lovers "enveloped in a single, all-embracing drape, symbolic of a union and harmony that is both physical and mental. The drape is loose and carefree. . . It has a circle pattern, symbolic of eternity." (Kuykendall) At the feet of the human lovers, their companion cats "echo their feelings."

The DMs (divinatory meanings) provided by Kuykendall include "Love. Beauty. Perfection. Harmony. Confidence. Trust. Honor. Beginning of a possible romance. . . The necessity of testing or of subjecting to trial." Reversed, the card can suggest "Failure to meet the test. Unreliability. Separation. Frustration in love and marriage. Interference by others. Fickleness. Untrustworthiness. Unwise plans."

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day:The Hierophant (revisited)

Today I'm revisiting a long-ago "Card of the Day" from The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos).


The Sherlock Holmes Tarot (Sterling Ethos)

I am a huge fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories by A. Conan Doyle, but in  this deck, The Hierophant is linked with The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, a novel written by American writer Nicholas Meyer in 1974. Published as a "lost manuscript" of the late Dr. John H. Watson, the novel focuses on Sherlock Holmes’ recovery from his addiction to cocaine. The title of the novel (and the card) is a reference to Holmes’ use of the drug in a seven-per-cent solution.

Keys for this card, upright, are: “revelation, inspiration, insight, tradition, preservation of heritage, initiation, advice or counsel, transformation of the mundane into the spiritual.” Reversed meanings: “rigidity, giving away too much, depending on institutional ways.”

The book that accompanies this deck also provides interpretations for each card under the headings “The Game” and “The Fog.” The former elaborates on the upright keys, while the latter expands on reversed meanings. An example from “The Game” for The Hierophant: “By transforming the mundane into the mystical, you suggest new ways to live.” An example from “The Fog”: “Be careful of seeming too self-important.”

In the book accompanying The Sherlock Holmes Tarot, the creators of the deck write: “While we in no way condone the use of such stimulants, the effect of the drug upon Holmes is a perfect metaphor for the opening of the consciousness to deeper and inner levels offered by the Hierophant.”

As the Card of the Day, The Hierophant may be alerting me to an opportunity to use my insights to inspire others, to transform the mundane into the mystical, or to mentor someone who is young or inexperienced. I am cautioned to be careful that I don’t attach too much importance to myself, that I avoid getting bogged down in rigid procedures, and that I refrain from projecting my ideas onto others. I need to find a way to preserve and honor tradition or heritage without being a slave to them.