Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Journey through My Decks: 6 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 SIX OF CUPS from the Fairytale Tarot designed by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov, with artwork by Irena Triskova (published by Magic Realist Press).


Hansel and Gretel, one of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's Household Tales, can be read HERE. The tale is categorized as Aarne Thompson type 327A (a subtype of type 327: "The Children and the Ogre"), and includes an episode of type 1121, "Burning the Witch in Her Own Oven."

In her introduction to the Minor Arcana, Karen Mahony provides several keywords and phrases for the suit of Cups: emotions, inner feelings, creativity, aesthetics, love, affection, sensitivity, intuition, and compassion. The focus of the suit of Cups on inner experience can also lead to a tendency to be too fragile or sensitive, morose, or neurotic.

The story of Hansel and Gretel is a very familiar one to many people. Also known as "The Babes in the Wood," it depicts innocents surrounded by possible danger, unprotected by the adults who are supposed to care for them. Although the story ends happily (thanks to Hansel's cleverness and a kindly white duck), it is a harsh tale. Inexperience and naivety are presented as liabilities that can be exploited. The loss of innocence can be a traumatic experience that triggers lifelong cynicism and suspicion. Or it can simply make us wiser and more careful without destroying our ability to trust.

Keywords and phrases provided by Mahony: "Allowing yourself to be as open and trusting as a child. A period of nostalgia and sweet memories. Sharing and caring."

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About the Deck: Karen Mahony tells us that in creating The Fairytale Tarot, she and Alex Ukolov "wanted very definitely to make a deck for adults, a deck that acknowledged and appreciated these tales as they were originally told B complete with shadows and, sometimes, a dark sensuality." She writes that the cards are designed to "clearly relate to accepted tarot meanings, but in ways that are thought-provoking and expansive, and most importantly of all, transformative."

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Seven 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.


Seven of Cups - Astrological Associations (by Zanna)

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 Seven, we can look at the astrological Seventh House, which is considered to be the house of marriage, partnership, and "open enemies." In a birth chart, this house helps us understand our efforts to blend our personality harmoniously with another person, whether a husband/wife or business partner. Known adversaries are also included in this house.

The Seventh House is associated with the zodiac sign Libra (a cardinal Air sign known for being peaceable, socially adept, artistic, and able to see both sides of a situation). Libra is ruled by Venus (representing love, affection, art, and beauty). In the Tarot Dynamics system, Subject Card Seven "corresponds to your personal and professional associations." The TD system's keyword for Subject Card Seven is "Relationships".

As mentioned above, the keyword for the suit of Cups is "Emotional." Thus we arrive as "Emotional/Relationships" for the Seven 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 Seven of Cups represents the energy of Venus (love, affection, art, beauty) 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. Crowley writes: "Venus redoubles the influence of the number Seven" and points out that Venus is in its detriment in Scorpio. Crowley also notes that this card reflects "the invariable weakness arising from lack of balance." He titles the card "Debauch."

Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "depths (Scorpio) of desire (Venus), pleasure (Venus) that leads to dependence (Scorpio)."

One World Tarot by Crystal Love
Crystal Love associates the Seven of Cups with the third subdivision of the sign Scorpio, with Mars/Pluto as the natural ruler and Venus as the subruler. She writes that "Venus adds grace and charm, artistic ability, and sociability to the third subdivision of the intense, secretive and mystical sign of Scorpio." Love notes that traditionally, the Seven of Cups has been seen as 'a card of choice. . . alternatives that must be explored, though only one is of exceptional promise." There is a possibility of "deception in love and friendship, disharmony in marriage, or reliance on false hopes."

A.E. Thierens, PhD. (Astrology & the Tarot)
Thierens describes the Seven of Cups as follows: "The Water of the soul on the house of Gemini, the Third, the house of the changeful concrete mind and thought in which ineed nothing is permanent." He goes on to write, "There may come seductive and suggestive images, some of which may be realised, but others will remain just fancy." In astrology, the Third house is associated with the zodiac sign Gemini, ruled by Mercury. It is described by astrology.com http://www.astrologyzine.com/what-is-a-house-in-astrology.shtml as the house of "Environment and Perceptions." Joanna Martine Woolfolk tags the Third House as the "House of Communication."

Thierens writes that the Seven of Cups can indicate "Thoughts, intelligence, ideas, imagination, plans, suggestions, fancy, fantasy. . . Short travels, sight-seeing, impressions, views. . . Promise and surprise, but always much more promise than fulfilment." (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 Seven is assigned to the Third Decan of Scorpio -- Moon in Scorpio. It represents the time period from 13 November to 1 December.

On the King Scale of Color, the colors linked with the Moon are indigo, silver, and white. The color for the sign Scorpio is blue-green. Mann's keywords for the Moon are "soul, unconscious, personality, instinct, emotions, fertility." 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 Seven include "taking personal adventures and affairs so seriously that the resultant jealousy is dangerous. Need to balance psychic sensitivity with emotional stability through honest and truthful relationships."

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 Seven of Cups represents Venus/Scorpio energy. Hazel's illustration depicts a powerful wizard who "waves his hand, and seven cups appear in the clouds."

Hazel notes that this card can suggest "considering all possibilities, reflecting on options. . . caught up in fantasies of possibility and dreams of glory. . . the creative mind of the artist, musician, dancer, writer or architect. . . epic fantasy realms." Ill-dignified, the card might indicate "either too much or too little creativity and fantasy. . . wallowing in self pity. . . lack of sympathy for others. . . inappropriate disclosures. . . lack of social skills."

In general, I typically see the Sevens of the Tarot as representing mystic insight, being tugged back and forth between options, taking time to assess or evaluate possibilities, introspection, or solitude.

The systems described above vary widely in their astrological associations for the Seven of Cups. Several of the systems described above the Seven of Cups with Scorpio (Mars/Pluto) and Venus. Thierens proposes a link between the Seven of Cups, the Third House, and Gemini (Mercury). Then we have A.T. Mann with his Scorpio/Moon connection.

The suit of Cups is traditionally associated with Water, representing emotions, but I can also see the Gemini/Mercury (the mind) relationship in this card. Thoughts and emotions are closely connected, and certainly using our imagination involves a little of both. For me, the sign Scorpio does add an undercurrent of danger or at least potential unpleasantness here. There is a feeling for me of someone being "sucked into" something that might not turn out to be as wonderful as they expected it to be. When and if this sort of thing happens, Scorpio is not likely to forgive the disappointment as readily as other signs might.

As always, I welcome your comments!

Zanna

Monday, April 4, 2011

Interview with The Fairy Tale Tarot (by Zanna)

You can just call me "The Fairy Tale Kid." When I was a child, I read and re-read every book of fairy tales I could find. It got to the point where my school librarian insisted that I check out a biography once in awhile instead! When using a fairy tale theme Tarot deck, it is helpful to have at least a passing knowledge of lots of fairy tales. And it's always interesting to see how well the deck creator matches up the fairy tales with the traditional meanings of the cards.

My love of fairy tales coupled with my admiration  and appreciation for Lisa Hunt's art prompted me to acquire The Fairy Tale Tarot (published in 2009 by Llewellyn Worldwide). In the accompanying 300-page book, Lisa provides the name of the story each image is based on, the culture from which that story comes, keywords, the fairy tale itself, and a "Symbols and Meaning" section.

I received this deck for Christmas 2010. It has been trying to get me to interview it ever since I put it on my shelf (more than anything else, fairy tales want to be shared!). On the day scheduled for the interview, I was startled and delighted to see the King of Wands at my door in the form of Aladdin, with his lamp and his genie. I was a bit concerned that the dazzling, whirling genie would make a mess of my living room, but Aladdin coaxed him back into the lamp for the duration of the interview.

The King of Wands seemed like a good choice to represent the deck, given Lisa's keywords for the card: "risk taker, mental vitality, authority." In the collection of stories known as One Thousand and One Nights, Aladdin and the genie really do exhibit the energy I associate with the traditional King of Wands.

Let the interview begin!

(1) How would you describe your essence or essential energy?
SIX OF SWORDS

"Like the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, my essential energy is that of a journey from times of fear and trouble to times of joy and celebration. When it seems that the worst has happened, I can show you the way out of distress and help revive you, just as Snow White was eventually revived because of the care and concern of her dear friends."

(I was intrigued by the use of "Seven Dwarves" to represent the "Six" of Swords. When I turned to Lisa Hunt's book later, I found an explanation: "The number seven corresponds to the completion of a cycle. But my choice to designate this story for the Six of Swords exemplifies the journey one must take before arriving at the destination of higher consciousness.")

(2) Which card do you feel reflects my essence or essential energy?
TEMPERANCE

Wow. Not that this is my Major Arcana significator or anything... (with my Sun in Sagittarius). Well played, Fairy Tale!

The lovely woman on the card smiled. "Your essence is like the Spanish tale called The Water of Life," she said. "It is the story of a brave sister who rescues her three brothers. Your essential energy is that of the sister who reaches the magical-looking pool and obtains the water of life, a branch of the tree of eternal beauty, and a talking bird. Like her, you can learn to travel between the world of ego and drive and the world of deeper insights and inner calm."

(3) What story do you hope to tell me?
THE WISE OLD MAN (Trump 4)

"I hope to tell you about the value of wisdom, clear vision, and a rational mind and the importance of our conscious thoughts," said The Wise Old Man. "It was my judicious, fatherly advice that helped the woman in the Celtic tale discover that her twin babies were changelings. I can do the same for you when you need to hear the wisdom of experience and the voice of maturity."

(4) What should I not expect from you?
THE CHARIOT (Trump 7)
The Enchanted Horse (from the Arabian Nights tales) tossed his head and pawed the ground. "My energy can take you where you choose to go," he said, "but I cannot make choices for you. I will not tell you what to do. It's up to you to take action to pursue your goals, and you will need to maintain focus in order to succeed. If you allow the fear of change and challenges to restrict you, my powers of flight will not work for you."

(5) Which card most closely represents us as a team?
ENTRAPMENT (Trump 12)
"As a team, we can break the confines that limit you. However, this may require sacrificing familiar comforts and environments in order to take advantage of new opportunities. Like Rapunzel, you may find yourself sheltered -- yet trapped -- by your ideas and perceptions. You may have to risk the displeasure of your own private sorceress and risk being sent into exile, in order to eventually experience greater love and happiness."

Of these five questions, four were answered by cards from the Major Arcana. It seems that the journeys I take with The Fairy Tale Tarot are likely to be significant indeed, and perhaps life altering!

After Aladdin left, I noticed that his lamp was still sitting on my coffee table. "Wait!" I called after him. "You forgot the lamp!" Aladdin did not answer. I placed the lamp carefully on my fireplace mantle. Who knows what will happen next?