Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Journey through My Decks: 5 of Cups (by Zanna)

In this series of posts, I plan to discuss all of the Tarot cards in order, using a different deck for each card. Today I'm exploring the FIVE OF CUPS from The Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson, with cards painted by Peter Pracownik, published by U.S. Games Systems.

In this deck, Terry Donaldson incorporates the legends of Dragons from around the world into a new world called Dragonland. He provides a guide "from travelers reports" which explains the setting, and invites us to journey through Dragonland. As Donaldson explains it, this deck approaches the symbol of the Dragon "not as an adversary to humankind, but rather as a challenge for us to discover our own boundaries, and think about going beyond them."


The suit of Cups in this deck (as in many others), represents the element Water, indicating feelings and emotions. From Donaldson, concerning the Five of Cups: "We see the great Water Dragon swimming along in a loch or fjord. She seems a bit lonely, but still swims along, with a strong purpose in her mind."

The full moon seen on the Five of Cups appears on all of the Cups cards in this deck, reinforcing the association of the card with Water. The Moon rules the Water sign Cancer, and is commonly associated with emotions and the subconscious mind. The inverted triangles in the lower corners of the card also represent Water and the Water signs of the zodiac.

Many of the cards in this deck do not readily lend themselves to interpretation solely from the image on the card. On this one, however, I really do get a sense of "alone-ness" as the dragon swims across the lake. She does indeed seem self-reliant as well.

Interestingly, all five Cups are upright, whereas in many decks, one or more of the five Cups are overturned on the Five of Cups. It is not clear whether the Cups on this card are empty or full or something in between. Perhaps we are being prompted to explore whether we see our own life or situation as "full" or "empty"?

In my tarot system, the number Five can suggest disequilibrium, fluctuation, struggle,  adjustment or adaptation, opportunity for change, or adventure. Our emotional state can determine whether this state of fluctuation is welcome or threatening.

DMs provided by Donaldson for the Five of Cups are: "The need for emotional self-reliance. Disillusionment, if you rely on the commitments of others."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Exploring The Wolf Pack "Tarot" Deck (by Zanna)

In addition to my 60 Tarot decks, I own a great many oracle decks. I love these decks, but don't use them as often as I would like. Every now and then, I am going to share a card from one of these oracle decks here on the blog. I hope people will enjoy seeing cards from various decks and will gain something from the interpretations of the cards!

For this exploration I am using The Wolf Pack Tarot Deck created by psychic Robert Petro and illustrated by Pat Morris I categorize this as an oracle deck rather than a tarot deck because although it contains 78 cards, they are not organized into a Major and Minor Arcana. It has no Fool, no Trumps, Pips, or Court Cards.

I acquired this deck because I love animals in general and wolves in particular, and because I really admired the artwork on the cards. Naturally I keep the deck in a special wolf-print bag. Each of the 78 cards in this deck has a title, a short paragraph describing possible interpretations of the card, and an illustration. The deck is available in both color and black-and-white versions.

One of the most interesting uses I found for this deck was a series of psychic readings I did for a client whose beloved pet dog had passed away. She wanted to know what I could tell her about the dog's welfare and his journey over the Rainbow Bridge.

I'm normally not comfortable trying to communicate with departed spirits. However, in this case, I felt a very strong connection to this woman and her pet. Using the Wolf Pack deck as an aid, I was able to accurately describe several specific occurrences from the dog's life. Encouraged by my success (as verified by the client), I felt led to use the Wolf Pack deck to try to gain some insight into the deceased dog's welfare. Over a period of several weeks, the cards gave us images of a spirit in transition from uncertainty and loneliness to confidence and assimilation into the next world. At about that time, I found I no longer felt connected to the dog's spirit. He had truly moved on.

I realize that many serious Tarot readers do not delve into mediumship, and for the most part, I am one of those. However, as Hamlet told Horatio: "There are more things in heaven and earth...than are dreamt of in your philosophy."  Sometimes we surprise ourselves.






The Wolf Pack Tarot Deck
Created by Robert Petro
Illustrated by Pat Morris
Published by Windspirit Productions, Inc.

Friday, March 25, 2011

REVIEW (by Zanna): Wizards Tarot

When I first heard that Llewellyn was publishing a deck called Wizards Tarot, I imagined that the cards would depict various types of wizards engaged in various wizardly activities. I thought that sounded okay, but not exciting. Now that I know what the deck is really about and have seen it, I'm excited!

Corrine Kenner (author of Tarot for Writers, Simple Fortunetelling with Tarot Cards, and numerous other books) begins the Introduction to Wizards Tarot as follows:
"Welcome to Mandrake Academy -- where you are the student, and tarot is the teacher. Sit down, unwrap the cards, and you'll discover a whole new world of magic and mystery."
FROM THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY:
"Step through the doors of Mandrake Academy . . . where you will don the robes of a magical apprentice and learn from your instructor—the tarot. Featuring gorgeous, intricately rendered digital artwork by John J. Blumen, this wonderfully unique tarot deck presents a full course in basic magic while teaching you the timeless art of reading the cards."
BASIC INFORMATION

The deck follows the Rider Waite model, with 78 cards, 22 trumps, and four suits.

The Major Arcana cards are not numbered, and some of the names differ from those in the RWS deck (for example, The Fool has become The Initiate, Death is Transfiguration, Temperance is The Alchemist, and The Devil is The Dark Lord). The Strength card appears in the Wizards Tarot Handbook as the 8th Trump and Justice is the 11th Trump.

The elemental associations for the four suits are: Wands/Fire, Swords/Air, Cups/Water, and Pentacles/Earth.

APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY OF CARD STOCK

The cards are a nice size for shuffling: 4-1/2 inches by 2-3/4 inches. The stock is a bit thinner than I would like but not atypical of Tarot decks. The finish is glossy. The backs of the cards contain gold scrolls and streaks forming intricate patterns against a dark blue and gray background. A matching 1/8-inch border appears on the faces of the cards. In my opinion, the borders are not so wide as to detract or distract from the images. Card titles appear in black against a narrow gold banner at the bottom of each card.

ACCOMPANYING BOOK

The 264-page Wizards Tarot Handbook (paperback) is a treasury of information and inspiration. Kenner's writing style is clear and concise, easy to read and understand.

Each Major Arcana card is represented by a Mandrake Academy professor. I find the assignments to be clever and appropriate. I love that The Star is the Professor of Astrology and that Strength is the Professor of Familiar Creatures. As you might expect, The Emperor is Headmaster of the academy. Judgment is Proctor of Final Exams, and The World is Queen of the Witches.

For each Major Arcana card, Kenner provides Key Symbols, Practical Magic applications, and a special tarot spread associated with the card (the spreads are listed on a separate page for easy access). Details are also supplied concerning the areas of expertise associated with each professor or administrator. For example, The Hanged Man is Professor of Runes. In that chapter, Kenner discusses runes in general and the Elder Futhark in detail.

At the beginning of her section on the Minor Arcana, Kenner writes: "Now that we've been through the major arcana, it's time to put theory into practice." We are then introduced to The School of Wands, The School of Cups, The School of Swords, and The School of Pentacles. We are given a quick course in Number Magic, One through Ten.

For each Minor Arcana card, Kenner provides:
  • a Magic Power (for example, "The Ace of Wands is a card of spiritual passion and enlightenment")
  • a Magic Charm (for example, "Focus on the Ace of Wands when you want to be inspired")
  • Key Symbols arranged in easy-to-grasp bullet points. 

Bullets are used throughout the book to organize the material, giving the pages an attractive, accessible appearance.

I particularly like the Key Symbols segments of this book. The information included in these sections applies not just to this deck but to any Tarot deck based on the RWS tradition. For example, in the Key Symbols section for Strength we see: "The professor's fiery red hair, like a lion's mane, hints at her connection to Leo. So does the ruby-red heart pinned to her blouse, and the giant glyph for the sun behind her. Leo rules the heart, and Leo is ruled by the sun."

In the Handbook, the Court Cards are grouped together in a section titled The Royal Families.  Kenner writes, "The court cards in the Wizards Tarot depict the elemental creatures that rule the natural world. . . They represent a daughter, a son, a mother, and a father." Each Page is called a Messenger (for example, the Page of Wands is Messenger of Fire); each Knight is called a Hero; each Queen is called a Guardian; and each King is called a Ruler.

The Wands court cards belong to the "salamander family." The Cups courts belong to the "undine family." The Swords courts belong to the "sylph family." The Pentacles courts belong to the "gnome family."

An excellent Recommended Reading list is provided at the end of the book, along with information on how to contact the author.

ART

The art on Tarot cards plays a huge role in whether I'm attracted to a deck or not. The artist for the Wizards Tarot, John Blumen, has created the sort of bright, compelling, evocative digital images that this deck deserves (and that I love). The level of detail in the images is impressive.

In an interview at http://wizardstarot.com/blumen.htm, Blumen explains that he got family and friends to serve as models for the Wizards Tarot cards. His son was the model for the Death card; Blumen himself modeled for the King of Swords, the Hermit, and the Knight and King of Pentacles. Blumen notes in the interview that the photos are just a starting point, and that often the finished image may not even resemble the model.

Whatever his method, Blumen did a fabulous job of capturing the spirit, essence, and tone of the Wizards Tarot. Because he used human models, I felt that I could relate to the characters on the cards. (I should add that I normally don't like decks that use human models. It's just a personal preference. However, I do like what Blumen has done with his illustrations for this deck.)

BOTTOM LINE

Here's what you get with the Wizards Tarot:
  • a beautifully illustrated Tarot deck
  • a collection of Tarot spreads
  • insight into symbology
  • insight into all kinds of occult subjects
  • specific suggestions for using the Tarot cards for meditation and magic

What's not to like?

I think that beginning Tarot students could easily use this deck. I also think that the more experience a student has with the RWS, the more he or she can appreciate and gain from the Wizards Tarot.

Wizards Tarot by Corrine Kenner
Illustrated by John J. Blumen
Llewellyn Publications
Product Page: http://www.llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9780738712857

Per the FTC regulations, please note that Wizards Tarot was sent for review by Llewellyn Publications at no charge to the reviewer.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Six of Cups - Astrological Associations (by Zanna)

Astrological associations for the Minor Arcana cards typically involve both a planet and a zodiac sign. The attributions established by the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD) are by far the most commonly used. However, some Tarot decks use a different set of associations. As a professional astrologer, I find it interesting to compare and contrast these associations from deck to deck. The use of astrological associations with Tarot is completely up to the reader. This is merely intended to be interesting and fun.

Credits for the decks and books mentioned in this post can be found HERE.


Six of Cups - Astrological Associations

Tarot Dynamics System by Anna Burroughs Cook
(illustrated in this blog by the Universal Waite tarot deck)

In Anna Cook's TD system, cards 2 through 10 are known as Subject Cards. They are viewed as having a strong impact on our immediate agenda, on situations, moods, opportunities or obstacles that pass quickly. The number on the card reveals the situation. The suit and definition suggest the reason for the situation, along with options and the most beneficial approach to take.

The suit of Cups represents Emotion, including dreams and that which gives meaning to your life. This is a fairly standard Tarot association. The astrological aspect of this system comes into play when we start talking about the number on the card.

To interpret the number Six, we can look at the astrological Sixth House, which is considered to be the house of service to others, work, and health. In a birth chart, this house helps us understand how we express our need to help others or to be useful. It also reveals information about our state of health and illness that is brought on by worry or emotional upsets. In keeping with this association, Anna Burroughs Cook writes concerning the Six of Cups: "The more challenging the situation or the other cards in the spread the more likely a past indiscretion, oversight or minor medical issue could resurface, to your disadvantage."

The Sixth House is associated with the zodiac sign Virgo (a mutable Earth sign known for being industrious, dedicated, discriminating, attentive to detail, logical, analytical, and critical). Virgo is ruled by Mercury (representing the mind). In the Tarot Dynamics system, Subject Card Six "challenges and rewards your willingness to keep matters running efficiently and harmoniously." The TD system's keyword for Subject Card Six is "Commitment".

As mentioned above, the keyword for the suit of Cups is "Emotional." Thus we arrive as "Emotional/Commitment" for the Six of Cups.

(Please note: There is more to the TD astrological connections than I have included here. My intention is to convey the basic flavor and tone. A much more detailed, comprehensive discussion will be provided in Anna Cook's forthcoming book, Advanced Tarot Dynamics.)

Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley

For Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD), the Six of Cups represents the energy of Sun (ego, individuality, power of self, conscious will) in Scorpio (a Water sign ruled historically by Mars and/or Pluto, for many modern astrologers). Scorpio is known as a sensual, secretive sign, intensely emotional and imaginative, and possessing psychic ability. Scorpio rules the Eighth House (house of sex, death, psychic powers, and the afterlife) in astrology. When we consider the association of Scorpio/Mars with the Six of Cups, we can understand Crowley's reference to this card as representing "fulfilment of the sexual Will."

Crowley titles the card "Pleasure." He notes that this means "Pleasure. . . in its highest sense: it implies well-being, harmony of natural forces without effort or strain, ease, satisfaction." Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "deep, self-renewing (Scorpio) joy of life (Sun)." As Crowley points out, "the Cups. . . are not yet full to overflowing, as they are in the corresponding card below; the Nine." Osiris Snuffin offers a modification to the title of the Six of Cups, calling the card "Beginning of pleasure. . . due to the harmony of natural forces and not necessarily the fulfillment of desire."

One World Tarot by Crystal Love

Crystal Love associates the Six of Cups with the second subdivision of the sign Scorpio, with Mars/Pluto as the natural ruler and the Sun as the subruler. She describes this energy as: "creative success, honor, and fame" but adds, "Those under its influence may be proud or even tyrannical in their methods." Love notes that traditionally, the Six of Cups has been said to represent "elements from the past working through the present to create a new future, especially with regard to relationships, friends, or lovers."

A.E. Thierens, PhD. (Astrology & the Tarot)

Thierens describes the Six of Cups as follows: "The Water of the soul on the house of Taurus, the Second, house of exaltation of the Moon." He goes on to write, "The latter is no doubt responsible for the addictions concerning memory and the past." In astrology, the Second house is associated with the zodiac sign Taurus, ruled by Venus. It is described by astrology.com as the house of "Resources and Values." Joanna Martine Woolfolk tags the Second House as the "House of Money and Possessions."

Thierens writes that the Six of Cups can indicate "Happiness, feeling of riches in oneself, joy, enjoyment, love of Nature and country life. . . Taurus, the everlasting, may indeed produce impressions of the past as well as of the future." (Note: The astrological system devised by Thierens is radically different from that of the OGD. I will not go into detail here, but will simply provide the astrological associations for the card under discussion. If you are interested in learning more about Thierens' system, I recommend his book Astrology and the Tarot.)

The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann

Like the OGD, Mann's deck associates the suit of Cups with the element Water. Mann describes Cups Five, Six, and Seven as "The Sea of Scorpio" and associates them with the time period from 23 October to 22 November. Cup Six is assigned to the Second Decan of Scorpio -- Neptune in Scorpio.

On the King Scale of Color, the color linked with Neptune is pale green. The color for the sign Scorpio is blue-green. Mann's keywords for Neptune are "divinity, idealism, spirituality, dreamlife, clairvoyance, sensitivity." For the sign Scorpio, his keywords are "death of vegetation; life of the seed; survival; endurance. Regeneration; passion; separation; emotional intensity; dependency; losses; inheritance; the occult." Mann's divination meanings for Cup Six include "intuition leading to separation, great emotional intensity and pressure creating tension in sexual life. . . depression caused by difficult and stressed mental states. . . but there is the potential for regeneration."

The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel

Liz Hazel's suit of Cups is the suit of the Water element, embodying "emotions, feelings, relationships, love, as well as the nature and consequences of emotional attachments." The Six of Cups represents Sun/Scorpio energy. Hazel's illustration depicts a swan carrying a suitor to a woman bathing in a lake. He offers her a chalice. She is surrounded by four more and examining one.

Hazel notes that this card can suggest "romance. . . memories of the past. . . things that evoke nostalgia. . . music, art, food, and clothing associated with sex and seduction." Ill-dignified the card can indicate "living in the past. . . mourning for lost relatives or friends. . . dubious motives in relationships. . .manipulating a lover with sex. . . lack of sex."

In general, I typically see the Sixes of the Tarot as representing reconciliation, reciprocity, communication, resolution of tensions, an understanding of what is real and what is illusion, morality, or social responsibilities. The idea of the Six of Cups as a "nostalgia card" relates well to the need for distinguishing reality from illusion. Sometimes our memories make the past seem better or worse than it actually was.

The systems described above vary widely in their astrological associations for the Six of Cups. Several link this card with Scorpio (Mars/Pluto) and the Sun. However, Anna Burroughs Cook directs our attention to the Sixth House (Virgo/Mercury) as well as the Water signs of the zodiac (Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio). Thierens proposes a link between the Six of Cups, the Second House, Taurus (Venus), and the Moon (ruler of Cancer). Then we have A.T. Mann with his Scorpio/Neptune connection (keep in mind that Neptune rules Pisces).

This is quite a confusing mixture of astrological associations to take into account, and I don't recommend trying to apply all of these associations every time you read the Six of Cups. I simply wanted to gather all of these references in one place to compare and contrast the ways that people have used astrology to help them interpret a particular card.

As always, I welcome your comments!

Zanna

Thursday, March 17, 2011

REVIEW (by Zanna): Tarot of Pagan Cats

First of all, I'd better make a confession: I adore cats. I have many cat-themed decks and I love them all. I was definitely predisposed to like Tarot of Pagan Cats, so you'll need to keep that in mind as you read this review!

If you'd like to read the interview I did with this deck, just click HERE.

PRODUCT SUMMARY FROM THE PUBLISHER
"Journey with the enlightened feline and welcome their unique secrets. Cats—cute, mysterious, mischievous, or aloof—seem to live in a world between worlds, a realm of magic and power. Access their unique wisdom with this beautifully illustrated deck, featuring traditional Rider-Waite imagery and Pagan symbols."

BASIC INFORMATION
The deck follows the Rider Waite model, with 78 cards, 22 trumps, and four suits.

Strength is Trump VIII and Justice is Trump XI.

The LWB that comes with the deck is translated into English, Italian, Spanish, German, and French. As a professional proofreader, I noticed a number of errors in the introduction printed in the LWB, usually in the form of missing words or the wrong form of a word. It may be that the original was not written in English, and the translator made mistakes.

APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY OF CARD STOCK

On the backs of the cards, the faces of two cats appear within the pagan triple-moon symbol. The buff colored cats stand out against a deep purple background. The cat is a Sphynx cat, and it also appears front and center on the Justice card. The use of a Sphynx cat on Justice is a well-placed reference to the Egyptian cat goddess Bast.

The front of each card features a subtle cream-colored border decorated with slightly darker paw prints. This allows the art to take center stage the way it should. (Can you tell I'm not a fan of ostentatious borders?)
Sphynx Cat

The font used on the face of the cards is somewhat playful and, in my opinion, very cat-like with its slim, curvy letters. Each card is titled in six different languages.

The quality of the glossy card stock is very good, as I would expect from a Lo Scarabeo deck. The cards are 4-3/4" by 2-1/2", a nice size for shuffling and pulling cards into spreads.

THE CATS

Lola Airaghi's art beautifully and realistically captures the mystery, dignity, and amusing personality of cats. We see the cats in scenes that strongly resemble those of the Rider Waite deck (the gorgeous reddish-brown Queen of Wands cat even has a little black cat companion), yet the cats are never out of their element. They perch on tree branches, lounge in chairs, stretch out in the grass, and climb the curtains. In short, they act like cats. The World card certainly depicts a cat's World, with a prey animal in each corner (a bird for Air, a fish for Water, a mouse for Earth, and a lizard for Fire). Cat lovers will see many different breeds represented in this deck, along with stray cats of every color and stripe. The other animals on the cards are also portrayed with great skill and admirable style.

PAGAN SYMBOLISM

The Christian symbolism so prevalent in the Rider Waite deck is not used in the Tarot of Pagan Cats. Instead, we find various pagan-related symbols such as cauldrons, grimoires, and magic circles. The stained glass window on the 5 of Pentacles features a cauldron plus images of a Wand, Sword, Chalice, and Pentacle.

I am no expert on pagan symbolism, so I'm sure that those who are more informed than I am will see even more references to paganism in the cards.

MY FAVORITES

I especially love the 10 of Chalices, which shows a white cat and a black cat intertwined in a manner that reminds me of the Yin-Yang symbol. Two black-and-white kittens play next to them. The Knight of Swords rides upon a huge snowy owl who grips a sword in its talons. A delightful picture of cats and kittens on a picnic graces the 4 of Wands. A cat sits across from a howling dog on The Moon, one paw raised and the other paw on the crayfish as it emerges from the water. I don't know whether it's deliberate, but the cat looks like it is preparing to testify in court, swearing on a crayfish instead of a Bible. On Strength, a white cat draped in a red and green garland places her paw on the head of a small dog.

BOTTOM LINE

It helps if you love cats like I do. But even if you're not wild about cats, the Tarot of Pagan Cats may awaken something wild and feline within you. The deck works better as Tarot than some of the other cat-themed decks I have seen, and I'm looking forward to reading with it.



-------------------------
Tarot of Pagan Cats by Magdelina Messina
Artwork by Lola Airaghi
Published by Lo Scarabeo, 2010 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Interview with Tarot of Pagan Cats (by Zanna)

"Just as the tarot illustrates the great journey of life, these cats all show different aspects of that journey." ~ Magdelina Messina
I have been looking forward to interviewing Tarot of Pagan Cats for quite some time using a set of questions I recently developed for this purpose. The cats, however, apparently operate on their own time table. They told me that they would prefer not to set a time or date for the interview, but would simply show up when they felt like it.

One sunny afternoon I opened my door and saw the Seven of Chalices napping in my front yard.

"Um... here, kitty kitty?" I ventured. The cat opened its eyes, yawned, stretched, and strolled into my house.

I quickly prepared a dish of cream and several sardine and cream cheese sandwiches. The cat ate everything I offered and then proceeded to meticulously bathe itself. I was very nearly asleep in my chair when the cat hopped onto the couch, sat up straight, and announced that it was ready for the interview.

I grabbed my questions and asked the first one:



1. How would you describe your essence or essential energy?
THE SUN
I am bright, strong, warm, and regal. I radiate the energy of Leo, the lion, ruled by the Sun. I am free-spirited, confident, and secure in my identity.

2. Which card do you feel reflects my essence or essential energy?
ACE OF WANDS
Like a cat in a tree, from a safe position, you survey all that is around you, looking for opportunities, ever alert. The energy of Fire shines in your Sun sign, Sagittarius. You are a first-born child, an Ace, adventurous, inquisitive, willing and eager to chart new territory.

3. What story do you hope to tell me?
QUEEN OF SWORDS
I hope to tell you a story of the spirit of independence, ideas, and sharp wits. This story cautions against self-criticism and a sharp tongue, whether it is used against others or yourself through negative self-talk. This story can lead you to master your own words and thoughts.

4. What should I not expect from you?
SIX OF WANDS
Don't expect me to hunt for your food. You'll have to do that yourself. Don't expect me to bring you success or good luck. You must create those things for yourself. I cannot give you special powers or magical abilities. When you look into my eyes, ultimately, you will see a reflection of your own spirit and nature.

5. Which card most closely represents us as a team?
THE MAGICIAN
As you probably know, cats are not typically "team players." We usually live alone, hunt alone, and keep our own counsel. The Magician is Trump 1, the number of solitude, beginnings, and individuality. Look at the cards that represent us, above. I am The Sun (Trump 19, which reduces to the number 1). You are the Ace of Wands (again, the number 1). If you seek unity with me, together we can operate as The Magician (One), bringing together the qualities of Fire, Earth, Air, and Water as we channel that which is above into our world below.

Having answered as many questions as it wanted to answer, the pagan cat stretched and hopped down from the couch. I opened the front door and it sauntered into the garden, where it stretched out to sleep, perchance to dream of possibilities and potential, wishes and hopes.

I was left to ponder the active energy, spark, and crackle I got from this deck. The Seven of Cups was deceptively tranquil and somewhat moody -- but the deck sprang into life with its answers to my questions. It's hard to imagine a more powerful pair of Trumps than The Sun and The Magician, especially when linked with the Ace of Wands. I am looking forward to reading with this deck and getting to know it better (not that we ever truly get to know a cat...)!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tarot of Pagan Cats by Magdelina Messina
Artwork by Lola Airaghi
Published by Lo Scarabeo, 2010 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Journey through My Decks: 4 of Cups (by Zanna)

In this series of posts, I plan to discuss all of the Tarot cards in order, using a different deck for each card. Today I'm exploring the FOUR OF CUPS from the Tarot of Color by Leisa ReFalo, published by The Tarot Connection.
"Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, 
and unallied with definite form, 
can speak to the soul 
in a thousand different ways."
~ Oscar Wilde ~

The cards in the Tarot of Color are not "mere colour." They include written attributions and associations based on the Golden Dawn system. However, color is a key element of each card's interpretation.

The deck uses the King Scale of Color. On the web site devoted to Tarot of Color, Leisa ReFalo discusses each color in detail, including the Qabalistic World, Meanings, Christian Iconography, Alchemy, Chakra, and Tarot Cards with which the color is linked. In addition, she provides keywords that describe characteristics associated with "too much" and "too little" of the color.

I am hoping that you can read the words on the above image of the Four of Cups, to get an idea of how much information and what kind of information is given. The downward-pointing, equilateral triangle shown on the Four is the astrological symbol for Water, which reinforces the connection between the suit of Cups and that element.

The designation "Lord of Blended Pleasure" comes from Book T*, which offers the interpretation: "Success or pleasure approaching their end. A stationary period in happiness, which may, or may not, continue. . . It is too passive a symbol to represent perfectly complete happiness." ReFalo includes the keywords "Love, Container, Emotions" on the Four of Cups.

The number Four, as noted on the card, suggests "Stability, Kindness, Grace."

The Four of Cups represents the energy of the Moon in Cancer. In astrology, the Moon, which rules Cancer, represents our emotions, instincts, sensitivity, and the unconscious – the hidden part of the personality. Cancer is a cardinal Water sign known for being imaginative, emotional, sensitive, loyal, and with a tendency to be moody. People with the Moon in Cancer in their natal chart tend to exhibit some of the Moon's most positive qualities: devotion, patience, and sensitivity.

The Tree of Life association on the Four of Cups is Chesed (mercy) in Briah." Chesed‛s virtue is obedience; its vices are bigotry, hypocrisy, gluttony, and tyranny. Briah (one of four levels of reality described in Qabalah) is The Creative World, associated with the element Water. One way of expressing the meaning of Chesed in Briah is "The Mercy of Creation."

Other associations shown on the Four of Cups include the planet Jupiter (exalted in Cancer), the color Blue, "World" (this appears on many pip cards of various suits), the directions South and West, Fall, and Twilight.

As someone who uses several Golden Dawn-based decks, I use the Tarot of Color mostly as an adjunct to other decks in readings, where it provides a handy reference guide and opportunity for enrichment.

About the deck: Tarot of Color is an esoteric attribution deck. Its correspondences are based on those of the Golden Dawn system. The colors come from the King Scale. Tarot of Color can be used on its own for readings, as flash cards for learning the correspondences, or to clarify a reading from another deck. 
-------------------------
*Book T - The Tarot, Comprising Manuscripts N, O, P, Q, R, and an Unlettered Theoricus Adeptus Minor Instruction. A Description of the Cards of the Tarot with their Attributions; Including a Method of Divination by Their Use. A public domain manuscript.