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Friday, January 11, 2019

Animal Tarot Time: JUSTICE

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.

As many of you know, the numbering of the Justice and Strength cards in the Tarot varies, depending on which deck you are using. For this post, I will be viewing Justice as Trump 8. Let’s look at how JUSTICE is portrayed in seven different animal decks.

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

(“Fair decisions will be made after all the evidence is reviewed impartially. 
Have compassion for others and try to see all side of a disagreement.”)

In this deck, the Elephant has been chosen to represent standing up for what we believe in as well as fighting for equality and fairness for all. To see this card in a reading suggests that if we are involved in a legal proceeding or situation where a resolution is required, we can be assured that a just decision will be made. Elephants symbolize strength, wisdom, longevity, and prosperity across a wide range of cultures and spiritual systems. It is also seen by many as a symbol of the qualities required for good government, such as dignity, intelligence, and prudence.

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

(“Balance is not just about being even. Balance is about finding the 
middle path or making it back to one’s center.”)

As you can see, in this deck, Justice is Trump 11. However, to be consistent with the animal symbolism, I will include it here. The red-capped Crane on this card is “standing his ground, wanting others to know that he cannot be swayed from his own mind.” Even as he does this, he keeps his emotions grounded and calm in order to continue to seek a balanced outcome, “a solution for the good of all and harm to none.” Like the Elephant (see description above), the Crane commonly symbolizes wisdom, fidelity, and longevity. Some cultures view the bird negatively (for example, in India, where it represents treachery).

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

(Bearer of Justice)
“Play fair, love true, live in harmony.”

As you can see, here we have another deck that assigns the number 11 to Justice. Keynotes for this card in this deck are “Balance, Truth, Honor, Integrity.” One argument for equating Justice (as key 11) with “Balance” is that the number 11 card is at the center of the Major Arcana, which consists of 21 Keys (plus The Fool, which is number Zero). Dawn Brunke writes that Justice suggests that “whatever is imbalanced will come to light. This could indicate legal issues, arbitration, or tough times if we ignore the call.” Brunke also notes that this card “advocates alignment between personal and sacred justice…”

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

“Ancient Powers of Justice at Work”

Another vote for Justice as Key 11. Oh well! In addition to the qualities I have already mentioned that are associated with the Elephant, Ted Andrews mentions the way a herd of elephants demonstrates “the ideals of true society.” He points to the Elephant’s trunk and its acute sense of small. He writes, “Those for whom Elephant has appeared would do well not to trust what they see, but what smells right – especially where important decisions are concerned.”

The Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Worldwide)

“judgement, balance, legalities, making decisions”

Well, obviously I should have done a quick check of these decks before going with The Animal Tarot Cards designation of Justice as Key 8. It’s Key 11 in The Animals Divine Tarot, and is represented (quite understandably) by Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice. She is not an animal, of course, but the animal standing beside her on the card is an Ostrich. An ostrich feather was the attribute of Ma’at, and it was the ostrich’s feather against which the hearts of the dead were weighed to ascertain if they were heavy with sin. One reason for using an ostrich feather was that the feathers are of even length. Also, it didn’t hurt that the Ostrich was (and is) Africa’s largest bird. As with the Elephant, it appears that size does matter when it comes to animals representing the Justice card.

The Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung (Self-Published)

adaption, objectiveness, awareness, 
compassion, honour, understanding

Of course, Justice is Key 11 in this deck as well. (I am no longer surprised, if I ever was.) The Chimpanzee is an interesting animal to choose for this card. Instead of balanced scales, we see what appear to be two identical chimpanzees facing each other, touching palms. The image does suggest the idea of balance, equal sides, cooperation, and harmony. Joanna Cheung writes that this card can be about “a time to right wrongs, a time for change and balance.”

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

“agreement, order; lack of freedom, prejudices and misconduct”

As in the Animal Tarot Cards deck, Justice is Key 8 in Lo Scarabeo’s Tarot of the Animal Lords. A female Barn Owl is featured on the card, holding scales in one hand and a sword in the other. This pose mimics the Rider-Waite-Smith card in that respect. The Owl, as most of us know, can symbolize wisdom and knowledge or it can have a sinister, even ferocious nature, as it did in many ancient cultures. Its association with intelligence comes from the Athenians, who made the Owl sacred to their goddess of wisdom and learning.

To summarize, we have:
Elephant – 3
Crane – 1
Ma’at (Ostrich) – 1
Chimpanzee -- 1
Barn Owl – 1

As I thought about the concept of “justice” in the animal world, I decided to do a quick search on line to see what I could find. I came across this _fascinating article_.

The article provides several interesting examples of how various animals have displayed “moral behavior, that they can be compassionate, empathic, altruistic, and fair.” I do lean towards the Elephant for the Justice card, but would love to hear what you think! Here are some photos I have taken of elephants on my travels.

Monday, January 7, 2019

New Year's Resolutions with the Oracle of Visions

For this spread, I am using the Oracle of Visions by Ciro Marchetti (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) Click HERE to visit Ciro's web site.

Do this more: Goals, Dedication, Process (card 8)

On this card we have a very serious looking alchemist, an appropriate symbol of someone who is “striving to achieve an end goal through study, experimentation, dedication and perseverance.” (Marchetti) I need to be even more dedicated than I already am to the things I want to accomplish, my passions, and my goals.
Do this less: Obsession, Delusion, Self-Interest (card 43)

That makes sense. I wouldn’t say I am really “obsessed” with anything, but I do tend to have a more narrow view than I could, thereby “deluding” myself about some things. When you think about it, being over “self-conscious” is very closely related to being “self-interested.”
Give this freely: Assistance, Help, Support (card 49)

I really love Marchetti’s final comment on this card: “The challenge now is to achieve a balance, to offer help but not reliance.” In other words, figure out ways to support and help someone without causing them to rely on me for “everything.” Perhaps some people thrive on feeling that they are indispensable to someone else, but that’s not for me!

Receive this gladly: Healing, Caring, Friendships (card 47)

On the surface, it seems unlikely that anyone would NOT gladly receive “healing, caring, friendships.” Yet we (or at least I) do resist receiving those gifts at times, either because we want to feel independent and self-sufficient, or we don’t feel we deserve those things, or whatever. Sometimes we need to make a conscious effort to notice and accept what is being offered.

Defend this: Flights of Fancy, Leap of Faith, Taking a Next Step (card 5)

Yes, I will defend attempts I make to step outside the box or take a next step that may seem risky or out of the ordinary. As the guidebook for this deck suggests, however, I can first assess the scenario, the dangers, and prepare. I don’t have to be foolish or careless.

Banish this: Letting Go, Offering a Way Out (card 24)

This is a difficult card to interpret in the position “Banish this.” Is it possible that I need to NOT let something go or NOT offer a way out? I will have to give this some thought.

Be this: Wonder of Creation, Protection, Destiny (card 12)

This card shows a guardian angel witnessing the birth of “the one whose life he will oversee.” Am I to be a guardian angel? Or am I to be the one whose life the guardian angel oversees? Once again, Marchetti’s comment at the end of this card’s description resonates with me: “A grand part of how this life will be lived, and what it will achieve will not be pre-determined by fate alone, but by free will and choice.” Perhaps I need to BE someone who understands and acknowledges the roles played by fate, destiny, AND free will/choice.

Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Reading with Tarot Familiars

I really love the spread Helen Howell designed for a New Year’s reading, so I am going to use it with my newest deck, a birthday gift: Tarot Familiars by Lisa Parker (Fournier).

Designed by Helen Howell

And here are the cards I drew:

Card 1: What appears to be the overall energy that surrounds you in the New Year?
The overall energy surrounding me in the New Year seems to be the energy of both cooperation and contrast. With the Two of Cups, I usually get a sense of connection at an emotional level between other people (or perhaps one specific person) and me. The Two can also represent opposing forces that need to be reconciled so that they balance and support each instead of pulling against each other. I can see where all of these interpretations could apply in 2019.

Card 2: How can you make this year successful for you?
I usually see this card as representing kindness and giving to others (charity). Certainly I will continue to give what I already give to charities, and perhaps there is a message here to think about doing even more than I already do.


How can you make the best of your:

Card 3: Health?
The messages of this card -- moderation, self-control, careful management, and balance -- all make a lot of sense in terms of making the best of my health.

Card 4: Career/work/job
I may be approaching a turning point in 2019 after a long journey on my way to meeting a goal or goals for my career/work/job. Certainly it has felt like an uphill climb much of the time. This card (from a different deck) showed up in this spread in the “Health” position last year. I cannot quarrel with the message that too often I carry more burdens than I need to or should, purely by my own choice.

Card 5: Romantic Relationships? (or Relationships in general?) 
Aces often suggest new beginnings or the start of a new phase or stage of something. The suit of Wands is typically about enthusiasm, optimism, passion, and forward progress. All of that sounds great when applied to relationships, romantic or otherwise.

Card 6: What one thing this year do you really need to change in your life? 
This card, to me, often conveys the message that “the worst is over” or “there’s nowhere to go but up.” It’s about disappointment, grief, misfortune, and trouble. It can be a point of view or state of mind (with Swords as the card of the mind), and that is probably what I need to change in 2019. It can be too easy for me to view setbacks as “permanent” instead of temporary and to bemoan a negative situation as something that “will never change” when in fact, it very well could.

Card 7: Based on the above cards, what is the overall outlook for the New Year? 
Another Ten! In the suit of Pentacles, the Ten is a wonderfully encouraging card, often representing security, family, and success. There is a sense of having reached a pinnacle after much effort and time spent building towards a goal. A very nice outlook for the New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Favorite Holiday Songs of Tarot Cards

For some reason, I felt inclined to discover the favorite holiday songs of various Tarot cards. I made a list of ten well-known songs and then drew a card for each. I am using the Cat’s Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin, DVM (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) The songs are not necessarily my favorites or my “choices” for the best holiday songs, or anything like that. They are simply the first ten titles that came to mind.

Angels We Have Heard on High is about the birth of Jesus Christ narrated in the Gospel of Luke, specifically the scene in which shepherds outside Bethlehem encounter a multitude of angels singing and praising the newborn child.

It is the favorite holiday song of the TWO OF CUPS because it celebrates harmony and a close connection between heaven and earth.

The Holly and the Ivy is a traditional British folk Christmas carol.

It is the favorite holiday song of the KING OF CUPS because it is about the birth of the King of Heaven and has a tender quality that speaks to his heart.

Little Drummer Boy lyrics relates how a poor young boy was summoned by the Magi to the Nativity of Jesus. Without a gift for the infant the little drummer boy played his drum.

It is the favorite holiday song of the SEVEN OF WANDS because the little boy who played his drum was doing what he did well, facing his inner doubts in the face of possible disapproval or rejection.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is sung from the point of view of a soldier stationed overseas during World War II, writing a letter to his family. In the message, he tells the family he will be coming home and to prepare the holiday for him, and requests snow, mistletoe, and presents on the tree. The song ends on a melancholy note, with the soldier saying, "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams."

It is the favorite holiday song of the NINE OF PENTACLES because she is self-confident and self-assured enough to appreciate nostalgia and dreams without losing her connection to reality.

Here Comes Santa Claus combines two veins of the Christmas tradition, the mythology of Santa Claus and the Christian origin of the holiday (most explicitly in its mention of the nativity promise of "peace on Earth").

It is the favorite holiday song of DEATH because sometimes you just need a jolly, happy song to get you through difficult times.

Jingle Bells was originally intended for the Thanksgiving season, having no connection to Christmas. It became associated with Christmas music and the holiday season in general decades after it was first performed on Washington Street in Boston in 1857.

It is the favorite holiday song of the KNIGHT OF PENTACLES because dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh sounds like the carefree, fun sort of thing he too often denies himself as he focuses on security and routines.

Jolly Old St. Nicholas originated with a poem by Emily Huntington Miller (1833-1913), published as "Lilly's Secret."

It is the favorite holiday song of the EIGHT OF WANDS because she marvels at the ability of St. Nicholas to remember and promptly provide all the different gifts requested by all those children – all in one night.

We Three Kings was written by John Henry Hopkins Jr. in 1857. At the time of composing the carol, Hopkins served as the rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and he wrote the carol for a Christmas pageant in New York City.

It is the favorite holiday song of the NINE OF SWORDS because she appreciates that the three Kings knew exactly what to bring to Bethlehem without hesitation or apprehension about whether their gifts were appropriate, whereas she would have been beside herself with anxiety about the situation.

Blue Christmas is a tale of unrequited love during the holidays and is a longstanding staple of Christmas music, especially in the country genre.

It is the favorite holiday song of THE WORLD because the person having a Blue Christmas is going to eventually realize that all things will balance out and they won’t be “blue” forever.

Good King Wenceslas tells a story of a Bohemian king going on a journey and braving harsh winter weather to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (December 26, the Second Day of Christmas).

It is the favorite holiday song of THE EMPEROR because, hey, it’s about a famous ruler who truly cared about his subjects and wants them to be safe and secure.