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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day: Dr. John Watson (Strength)

Before I discuss The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day, please indulge me as I cross-promote!

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And now, on to the Card of the Day!

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:
Trump 8 / DR. JOHN H. WATSON
(Strength)

In The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos), the Strength card is portrayed by Dr. Watson, originally portrayed in films as something of a bumbler, kind of a “straight man” to Sherlock Holmes. Upon closer scrutiny, however, it becomes clear that Watson is a highly intelligent man and able-bodied assistant to the great detective.

The Holmesian Wisdom for Strength is: “If I have one quality upon earth it is common sense.” This quote is from Watson’s diary, as recorded in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Keys for this card, upright, are: “self-discipline, enduring strength, balanced exercise of one’s abilities, health of mind, body and spirit, moral certitude without self-righteousness, courage to accept challenges, fortitude.” Reversed meanings: “reversal of fortune, delay and stasis.”

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 Strength: “the strength to keep going when the problem appears to have no solution. . . You are resourceful, but may need to tame the desire to meet opposition in a combative way. Strength held in check remains a reserve which you can tap into.” Examples from “The Fog”: “Weakness, an inability to grasp the problem or to find the energy necessary to combat the situation. An inability to master your fears. . . Feeding your fears gives them strength over you; acknowledging your limitations helps you survive.”

More recently, films have depicted Dr. Watson in very different ways. For example, in the television show “Elementary,” Dr. Watson is JOAN Watson, played by actress Lucy Liu. In the TV series “Sherlock,” Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes is accompanied by Martin Freeman as the good doctor. Jude Law plays Dr. Watson in the movie starring Robert Downey, Jr., as Holmes. I confess that although these Dr. Watsons are quite acceptable to me, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Nigel Bruce, who teamed up with Basil Rathbone for my favorite version of Sherlock Holmes.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Lenormand 3-card Line: New Apartment for Mom?

Back in 2016, I had some interesting results doing a series of readings with the Lenormand cards concerning the possible timing of the sale of my mother’s house. These days, my mother is looking at moving from her independent living apartment into assisted living in a senior living community. Right now, there are no assisted living apartments available in the community she prefers, but Mom is at the top of a waiting list. I have also looked at an apartment in another community.

So my question today is: Will an assisted living apartment become available for Mom within the next 30 days?

As you may remember, cards from a red suit indicate "yes", whereas cards from a black suit indicate "no.") Let’s see what the Gilded Reverie Lenormand by Ciro Marchetti (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) can tell us.



(1) CHOICE (22) – Queen of Diamonds (red) = YES
(2) KEY (33) – 8 of Diamonds (red) = YES
(3) MOUNTAIN (21) – 8 of Clubs (black) = NO

The answer appears to be leaning toward “yes” with one “no” vote – MOUNTAIN – which, appropriately enough, represents challenges and obstacles, blockages and resistance. In addition to waiting for an apartment to become available, we are also faced with the possibility that Mom might not like the apartment that is available or “resist” moving there for whatever reason.

The CHOICE card (aka The Crossroad) is interesting because it suggests that there are options or choices. Is it possible that more than one apartment will open up within the next 30 days? I like that idea!

The KEY is also an interesting card to see here, as it commonly represents discoveries and solutions, but also makes me think of having the “key” to an apartment. This card tells me that there is a way to unlock the solution to this problem. (I am also intrigued by the appearance of this card here because we recently attempted to get the keys to Mom’s current apartment duplicated so that my sister could have a set. Local hardware stores do not have the correct blanks for these keys, and we were told we needed to go to a locksmith. Since we really are hoping to move her sooner rather than later, we decided not to go to the trouble and expense of having a locksmith do the keys.)

CHOICE + KEY is a promising combination (I am picturing Mom being handed two keys from which she can choose the apartment she prefers). Another interesting things about these two cards is that according to Sylvie Steinbach in her book The Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle, both CHOICE and KEY are linked with the planet Uranus (the unexpected). Could it be that one or more apartments will become available “unexpectedly” due to a sudden, unanticipated development in the life of the current resident(s)?

KEY + MOUNTAIN suggests delays, possibly controlled by fate (no surprises there). CHOICE + MOUNTAIN also represents delayed outcomes.

I am left feeling hopeful that indeed, something will open up within 30 days, ideally something that Mom will want to move into. (I realize now that I did not specify which community I meant when I phrased my question, but in my mind I meant to ask if something would come open in her current, preferrred community.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

U.S.A. Birth Chart (another reprise)

The following is a post I originally made on July 4, 2014 to coincide with Independence Day here in the U.S.

It is about America’s birth chart and the Tarot cards that one could associate with that chart. Please note that I am not ignoring the fact that there were many nations on this continent long before the arrival of European settlers and the writing of the Declaration of Independence. I am choosing in this post to deal with the formal establishment of the United States of America in 1776.

After doing a bit of research, I quickly discovered that astrologers do not agree on the date and time (mostly the time) for which the birth chart of the U.S. should be cast. I won’t go into all of that here. You can do a search on the net and find out more than you probably want to know about it!

The two main variances seem to be the “Sibly chart,” originally published in 1787 by English astrologer, physician and herbalist, Ebenezer Sibly (1751-1799). Those who use this chart note that Sibly was alive at the time of the signing and therefore could have had access to information that is no longer available. The Sibly Chart, cast for July 4, 1776, 5:10 pm LMT (Local Mean Time), Philadelphia, PA, has Sagittarius rising.

In contrast, we have the “Gemini Rising Chart” for 02:13am, attributed to Evangeline Adams in the 1920s. This chart places Uranus (planet of rebellion and upheaval) exactly on the Ascendant. Some astrologers argue that this reflects the “birth” of America quite accurately, but opponents feel the chart does not depict the true nature of American character. Anthony Louis explained his support for this chart in a blog post in 2012: http://tonylouis.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/why-i-use-a-usa-gemini-rising-chart/

So… which chart shall I use for this post? In Tarot terms, using the astrological attributions developed by the Order of the Golden Dawn, I have a choice between Temperance (Sagittarius rising) and The Lovers (Gemini rising). I think I am going to go way out on a limb and not only choose the Gemini chart but use the Aleister Crowley Thoth deck (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) as my Tarot reference for this post.

This should be interesting…

Below is a chart for July 4, 1776, 02:13am LMT (Local Mean Time), Philadelphia, PA. I am using the Equal House System.


The Rising Sign, Gemini, is represented by The Lovers card. Because the planet Uranus sits on the Ascendant, I am pairing The Lovers with The Fool, which is linked with Uranus by modern occultists (Uranus had not yet been discovered when the Golden Dawn made its original astrological attributions, which attributed the element Air to The Fool).


In her book The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need (Taylor Trade Publishing), Joanna Martine Woolfolk writes, “Your Ascendant is the sign that reflects your outward demeanor and to a great extent determines how the outside world looks at you.” It often represents the “mask” we wear or the way we act when our defenses are up.

In the Thoth deck, we not only see “The Lovers” in Trump 6, we also see The Hermit officiating over the marriage depicted on the card between the Black King and White Queen. The Hermit (linked with the zodiac sign Virgo and the Hebrew letter Yod) contributes a creative, virile, fertile energy to this card.

Notice the white child standing with the Black King and the black child with the White Queen. These four figures together can be seen as representing the integration of opposites which, interestingly, is one of the themes of the Temperance card (Art in the Thoth deck), which is linked with Sagittarius, the rising sign in the Sibly Chart I mentioned earlier.

The Fool is commonly seen to represent birth, creation, the very beginning of something – perhaps a new idea, since the card is associated with the element Air by the Golden Dawn. On the Thoth card we don’t have The Fool gazing in the air as he steps off a cliff. However, the fact that The Fool on the Thoth card is being threatened by a tiger and a crocodile tells us that he is not in a “safe” situation, that there are risks involved, energies that may distract or block him from moving forward.

It appears that the colonies did try to reconcile the conflicting views held by the Mother Country and themselves. Indeed, before April 1775, many of the colonists hoped for reconciliation with King George III and Great Britain. But by the time the Declaration of Independence was signed, the relationship was damaged beyond repair and the colonies were ready to bring forth “a new nation conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” ~ (- Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863). That “new nation” is The Fool, independent, original, and ready to face an unknown future.

The Lovers card from the Thoth deck can be said to represent equality in that we see opposites being integrated or brought into balance. Neither the Black King nor the White Queen will rule over the other. To me, this actually foreshadows the argument of the abolitionists in the 1800s, who pointed out that the Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal” and that slavery was in conflict with that belief.

America’s Sun Sign is Cancer. In Tarot terms, this gives us The Sun and The Chariot.


In Astrology, the Sun in a birth chart represents our general character, our ego, our identity and sense of Self. In the Tarot, The Sun is a positive, strong card associated with freedom, happiness, and good health. In The Chariot we see triumph over adversity, self-control, moving forward and taking advantage of opportunities. Cancer is a Water sign known for being sensitive, nurturing, emotional, loyal, and protective. The connection between the sign and the card can be found in comparing the protective shell on the Cancer crab with the armor, helmet, and shield used by the charioteer. Also, Cancer is a cardinal sign, which gives it the qualities of action, leadership, and outgoing activity – all of which apply to The Chariot.

In The Chariot I see a “new nation” that is fortified, armored, and steeled for whatever lies ahead, determined to direct its own path and to remove any obstacles in its way. But the armor is only necessary because the creature wearing it is vulnerable and sensitive. Cancer is the sign of home and family, concepts Americans have always held dear. America will defend its homeland and its friends with armed force if necessary.

The Moon (The Priestess) is in Aquarius (The Star).


In Astrology, the Moon represents emotions, instincts, and the unconscious – the hidden aspects of the personality. In Astrology, the Moon rules the sign Cancer. The Priestess holds the Book of Mysteries on her lap, a book containing esoteric knowledge that can only be accessed using intuition, emotion, and the unconscious mind.

The sign Aquarius (which happens to be ruled in modern Astrology by Uranus) is known for innovation, humanitarianism, idealism, and intellect. Aquarians are often described as displaying rebellious, unusual, even shocking behavior.

The Star card in the Thoth deck features Nuith (Nuit) pouring the Water of Universal Life upon the fertile earth. Nuith is based on an Egyptian sky goddess, Nut, who was appropriated by Aleister Crowley for use in the Thelema pantheon. Crowley wrote: “Nuit is All that which exists, and the condition of that existence” and "Note that Heaven is not a place where Gods Live; Nuit is Heaven, itself."

To me, these qualities of Aquarius and The Star beautifully depict the inner spirit, emotions, and “unconscious mind” of the United States of America that was “born” on July 4, 1776 – the motivation and deepest emotional needs of the people who journeyed to and settled in the New World. What I am getting are the hope and faith and high ideals within so many of those who settled here: the sentiments that inspired the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Lovers (and The Fool) rising, The Chariot sun sign, and The Star moon sign together create a picture of this country that reflects the past, mirrors the present,  and offers hope for the future.



Happy Birthday, America!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Animal Tarot Time: The Emperor

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.

Now let’s look at how THE EMPEROR is portrayed in these seven decks.

Animal Tarot Cards (Virtue, Valentine, Hay House)

DEER MOUSE (“Structure and organization are important right now. Don’t be afraid to take on a leadership role, as you have much wisdom to offer.”)

An unexpected choice for The Emperor in some respects, the Deer Mouse does have that determination, focus, and appreciation for structure that one expects from The Emperor. Planning and responsibility are also key components here, and the illustration does convey a sense of being in charge of one’s realm.

The Animal Totem Tarot (Robertson, Smith, Llewellyn)

GORILLA (“Everyone says they want to be a ruler, but I wonder how many would last a day in my world.”)

A silverback gorilla does seem like an appropriate choice for The Emperor, a character known for great strength, with great responsibility. As the leader of his tribe, the dominant male gorilla must constantly demonstrate that he is in charge, protect the group, and defend his position. I am posting a picture I took of a gorilla named Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo. I love the expression on his face.

The Animal Wisdom Tarot (Brunke, Liola, CICO)

RAM (Earth Father): “Authority, Order, Structure, Rule, Control”

Great choice for The Emperor, especially given that the zodiac sign Aries (the Ram) is commonly associated with Key 4 in the Tarot. The attribution breaks down a little bit here with the title “Earth Father,” given that Aries is a Fire sign. The energy symbolized by the Ram – and The Emperor -- is that of authority, purpose, and leadership. Message: “Feel the support of Earth; direct your life with balance and integrity.”

The Animal-Wise Tarot (Andrews, Dragonhawk)

EAGLE (“Vision, Power, and Healing”) 
Ah yes, the Eagle. Long-time symbol of imperial authority. Ted Andrews points out that “there are four categories of eagles” (The Emperor is Key 4). I did a bit of research and found that these informal categories of eagles are: snake eagles, fish (or sea) eagles, booted eagles (these have feathered lower legs), and harpy (“giant forest”) eagles.

The bald eagle shown on the Animal-Wise Tarot Emperor card belongs to the fish (or sea) eagle group. I have taken a number of pictures of bald eagles. The photo shown here was taken with a web cam at explore.org.

The Animals Divine Tarot (Hunt, Llewellyn)

ZEUS (“the Father, leader, creating order and structure, the animus”)

For The Animals Divine Tarot, Lisa Hunt chooses a bull (“a solar masculine symbol signifying virility and power”) for The Emperor card. The Greek god Zeus, of course, took the shape of a white bull when he abducted Europa – and his behavior in that instance along with many others demonstrated the less appealing qualities of an Emperor personality. Even so, his qualifications for appearing on The Emperor card can hardly be disputed.

The Animism Tarot (Cheung)

KOMODO DRAGON: “strength, bravery, protection, wisdom, permanence, power”

What a marvelous choice for The Emperor! (Ted Andrews also respects the Komodo Dragon, naming it as his Knight of Ancients in the Animal-Wise Tarot). This deck doesn’t go into detail about the animal chosen for each card, electing to focus on the qualities or characteristics of the card. It’s up to us to see the connection. I will share that the Komodo Dragon is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of ten feet (3 meters) in rare cases and weighing up to approximately 150 pounds (70 kilograms. As a result of their size, these lizards naturally dominate the ecosystems in which they live, in true Emperor style. I snapped a few photos of a Komodo Dragon at the St. Louis Zoo on one of my visits there.

Tarot of the Animal Lords (Giannini, Lo Scarabeo)

LION: “Father. Authority, strength, safety, ineptitude, bad judgement.”

I know I heard a few of you muttering as you read through the previous entries, “What about the lion? The King of Beasts? Why not the lion?” Well, here you go! The Lion-Man who would be emperor. Instead of an eagle, this Emperor is shown with what I believe is a falcon or hawk. Symbolically, the falcon (like the eagle) represents victory and was considered “the king of birds” in ancient Egypt. I'm sharing one of my favorite photos of a lion, taken at the Peoria Zoo in Illinois.

I think this may be the first Animal Tarot Time post where no animal is shown on more than one of the cards: Deer Mouse, Gorilla, Ram, Eagle, Bull (Zeus), Komodo Dragon, and Lion. I have to give points for originality to the Animal Tarot Cards for Deer Mouse and The Animism Tarot for Komodo Dragon – but having said that, I love all of these depictions of Emperor-like creatures.