Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tea Leaf Fortune Cards

Today's oracle card is from a deck called Tea Leaf Fortune Cards by Rae Hepburn (illustrated by Shawna Alexander).

I was on vacation years ago when I came across this deck in a shop, and it charmed me right into buying it. I love the round cards (round, like a teacup!) and the simple illustrations and keywords. I also like the incorporation of the Months of the Year and Astral House cards. Unfortunately, this deck is out of print.

Rather than just providing a discussion of one card, I decided to do one of the readings from the book that accompanies this deck. It's called The Coming Week spread.

As I mixed the cards I concentrated on what is happening in my life, my wishes, hopes and fears. I then drew one card and placed it face down. I did this six more times. The book stresses that the cards do not apply one-on-one to each day of the week, but rather the group of cards applies to the week as a whole.

The cards are placed in a straight line, as follows:

(1)....(2)....(3)....(4)....(5)....(6)....(7)

Here are the results:


(1) SEA HORSE (family matters)
(2) SKULL (hidden secrets can harm you)
(3) HAT (You will be playing a different role.)
(4) FINGER (Warning you of a problem either now or in the future)
(5) WEDGE (Someone is trying to come between you and a friend or something you want.)
(6) BASKET (Recognition. Reward for merit.)
(7) FLUTE (Disappointment in a friend or lover)

I now need to look at connections between the cards. I feel inclined to group the cards as follows:

Skull, Finger, Wedge, Flute: Apparently there is something brewing in the friendship arena. This may be related to something I don't want revealed that is going to be revealed by someone I thought was a friend or by someone who wants to damage my relationship with a friend. I may need to be extra cautious about sharing personal information with others.

Sea Horse, Hat: I can't explain why, but I feel the "different role" referenced by the Hat is connected with "family matters" (Sea Horse). As the week unfolds, I may be called upon to "wear a different hat" from the one I normally wear in my family.

Basket: This strikes me as the most pleasant card of the bunch, and I'm looking forward to seeing what it means! Recognition and Reward are always appreciated!

It will be interesting to see what transpires. . .

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Journey through My Tarot Decks: The Empress

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 Empress (Trump III) from the Bruegel Tarot (artwork by Guido Zibordi Marchesi; idea and graphics by Pietro Alligo).


Keywords: "Rule with gentleness. Fertility."

Proverb: "More flies are caught with a drop of
honey than with a barrel of vinegar.

(A few just things are better than many wrong ones)."

The Little White Book for the Bruegel Tarot offers only a few lines about each card, including keywords and a proverb or saying for each.

Although The Empress in this deck wears a crown, it is a modest crown, and that is really the only thing about her that implies royalty. She is dressed more like a milkmaid than a sovereign. Between her knees she holds what appears to be a homemade broom B straw tied with red binding to a stick. This seems clearly to be a reference to male energy which, after all, is usually needed to create "fertility." A similar broom can be seen sticking out of a window in the upper left corner of Pieter Bruegel's famous painting Netherlandish Proverbs.

In her hands, The Empress holds a globe with a cross on it, a common feature of Bruegel's paintings. When the cross points downward, it can be seen as conveying "the world turned upside down" (everything is the opposite of what it should be). However, on The Empress card, the cross is pointing up. A saying that comes to mind is "to have the world on a string," meaning to have everything going your way. The planet Venus, associated with The Empress in Book T, is known as "the lesser benefic."

Beside The Empress sits a barrel, which could be viewed as another symbol of female as "receptacle" or "container."

Out the window on this card we see a couple of interesting scenes. In one case, two women both of whom appear to be pregnant, stand facing each other. One holds a circular object; the other holds a triangular object. On the ground in front of one is the symbol for male (or the planet Mars); on the ground in front of the other is the symbol for female (or the planet Venus). This emphasizes the association of The Empress with fertility. Also out the window we see a woman on her knees who may or may not be washing a man's feet.

The Empress wears blue (a color commonly associated with spirituality, the unconscious, tranquility, truth, thoughtfulness) and white (commonly associated with purity, healing, innocence). These colors of "Air" remind us that Venus rules Libra (an Air sign) as well as Taurus (an Earth sign). Brown Earth tones are also prominent in the card.



About Bruegel and the deck: Inspired by the world of Pieter Bruegel and his painting style, Guido Zibordi Marchesi created the images that appear in the Bruegel deck. Each card is given keywords as well as a popular saying or biblical allegory as a theme (a literal translation is provided "in order to let the reader sense and appreciate the connection between the words and the image.") Bruegel was born in Holland around 1525 and died in Belgium in 1569. He specialized in portraying scenes from nature and country life as well as Biblical scenes and parables.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Journey through My Tarot Decks: The High Priestess

In this series of posts, I plan to discuss all of the Tarot cards in order, using a different deck for each card. Although I originally planned to use my decks in alphabetical order, I have changed my mind and will proceed more randomly.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This week's card is The High Priestess (Trump II) from the Haindl Tarot created by Hermann Haindl. My study of this card is aided by Rachel Pollack's book The Haindl Tarot, Volume I: The Major Arcana. My study of this complex deck is ongoing, and my goal here is simply to provide what insights I have been able to gather on this card to date.

Pollack writes: "The central theme of the Haindl Tarot [is] the renewal of the Earth - not just the material resources, but the spiritual Earth."


Gimel, camel * Ur, U, Bison or Rain * Moon (Water)

Rachel Pollack writes that number Two "signifies the female principle. Just as one is phallic, so two, or II, suggests the vaginal lips."

The symbol in the upper left corner of the card is the Hebrew letter Gimel, meaning "camel." Indeed, we see a camel crouched at the feet of the woman (below her root chakra) on this card. The camel looks away, "into the past" (Pollack).

The rune in the upper right corner is Ur or U, meaning either "Aurochs" (bison) or "Rain." The dress of The High Priestess seems to pour down like rain on the camel and the land. As the bison, the rune connects to a primordial cow in the Norse creation myth, calling to our attention "the patterning power of the universe, giving form to basic energy." Pollack notes that the modern word Ur means "before all," and that this rune also refers to "the mythical lands of Ur, Thule or Avalon."

The Moon is the heavenly body associated with The High Priestess. As ruler of the zodiac sign Cancer (a Water sign), the Moon is commonly linked with the element Water. The High Priestess on this card is "a transfigured woman with a sphere floating before her." She has a Moon diadem over her forehead, with one horn bright and the other dark.

We see a "stigmata of light" in the High Priestess's palms, signifying "the life-giving energy within the unconscious."

Diviniatory Meanings suggested by Pollack are: A time for quiet, for looking inward. Seek peace. Use intuition and feeling. Peace and joy. Possibly a lover who needs solitude or is avoiding commitment.

Reversed DMs are: A time for action, for involvement with others. Commitment in romance.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Journey through My Tarot Decks: The Magician

In this series of posts, I plan to discuss all of the Tarot cards in order, using a different deck for each card. I am using my decks in alphabetical order.

This week's card is The Magician from Tarot of the Animal Lords (idea and graphics by Pietro Alligo; artwork by Angelo Giannini; published by Lo Scarabeo).

This unusual deck places the Fox on The Magician card. The author of the accompanying "Little White Book", Bepi Vigna, offers the following keywords for the card: "shrewdness, will to succeed, lack of prejudice, errors, lies." (The italicized words apply to a reversed or ill-dignified card.)

We can see that the fox on the card is doing some sort of "sleight of hand" trick for onlookers, including a plump red bird and a mouse.

The Fox's image as a sly, keen-witted trickster is almost universal, which ties in nicely with the Tarot Magician's relationship with Hermes (Mercury), described by Robert Place as "the god of gamblers, travelers, storytellers, dice, merchants, alchemists, magicians, liars, and thieves."

Ted Andrews, in his Animal-Wise Tarot, also puts the Fox on The Magician card, listing several Fox qualities that we might consider in our exploration of card: ability to conceal itself ("quiet invisibility"), keen sense of smell and hearing (heightening of all senses), awareness of possibilities and opportunities that comes from trusting one's instincts.

Andrews suggests that when The Magician (Fox) is reversed, we may need to examine how we are directing our creative, sexual energies. We may also need to find time to be alone for introspection "and not focus so much on charming others around us."According to Jack Tresidder, erotic associations for the Fox appear in Chinese folk superstitions.

So while this Magician departs from the Rider-Waite-Smith model, we still see vestiges of the oldest Tarot traditions in the "trickster" association.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Journey through My Tarot Decks

This is the first post in a series where I will eventually discuss all of the Tarot cards in order, beginning with The Fool, using a different deck for each card.

As I've decided to use my decks in alphabetical order, the first post will concern The Fool from The Ancestral Path Tarot by Julia Cuccia-Watts.


This was one of the earliest decks I acquired and it is still one of my favorites. I love the fact that different cultures are incorporated into the deck.

In the excellent book written to accompany this deck, Tracey Hoover reveals to us that she herself was the model for the diviner on this card. She also points out various symbols and symbology used on the card. The words in quotes below are from the book.

Purple cloth on the table: Purple is a "psychic color" (my personal keywords for the color purple are power, royalty, imagination, and mystery)

Pink sweater: "pure affection" (my keywords for the color pink are emotions, harmony, and sensuality)

Oval mirror: "meant to reflect the Seeker," also an "indirect allusion to the Fool's number, zero"

Jesters are carved into the back of the diviner's chair, and three dolls hang beneath them. One of these dolls is the Tarot Fool. Close inspection reveals that the scarf on which the cards are spread is decorated with the four Tarot queens.

Tracey Hoover notes that The Fool can be compared to the Sacred Clown of Native American tradition as well as to the medieval European fool or jester. The Fool in the Ancestral Path deck invites us to enter the world of the Tarot with a childlike spirit and open mind, without fear and without any preconceived notions about what we will or "should" find there.

As I face The Fool across her table, I stand on the brink of a new experience, leaning forward every so slightly with one foot lifted in preparation for taking that first step. I know nothing, yet knowledge is not outside my reach. It merely awaits my presence and attention.

To read about the astrological associations used for The Fool in various decks, click HERE.