Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tarot Blog Hop - Imbolc 2012

Many thanks to ARWEN for organizing this Tarot Blog Hop!

Imbolc... Oimelc... Brigit’s Day... Groundhog Day... Feast of Flames... Candlemas... All different names for the day that marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox.

As a participant in Tarot Blog Hop, I am exploring the question: How can I be the best candle?

To answer that question, I must first answer another question: What is the purpose of a candle?

According to the National Candle Association, candles have been used for light for more than 5,000 years. The first candles may have been developed by the Ancient Egyptians, "who used rushlights or torches made by soaking the pithy core of reeds in melted animal fat. . . Romans are generally credited with developing the wicked candle by dipping rolled papyrus repeatedly in melted tallow or beeswax. The resulting candles were used to light their homes, to aid travelers at night, and in religious ceremonies." (History of Candles)

These days (again according to the National Candle Association), "candles symbolize celebration, mark romance, soothe the senses, define ceremony, and accent home decors — casting a warm and lovely glow for all to enjoy."

I decided to design a Tarot spread that incorporates several of these candle functions. I arranged five cards in the shape of a vertical, cylindrical candle:


(1) How can I illuminate darkness?
(2) How can I enhance a celebration?
(3) How can I encourage romance?
(4) How can I soothe the senses?
(5) How can I cast a warm and lovely glow?

For this reading Spirit has led me to use the Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti (Llewellyn Worldwide). Here are the cards that came forward for me:


(1) How can I illuminate darkness?

FOUR OF CUPS

I can illuminate darkness by being content with what I have -- or at least acknowledging and appreciating what I have, even if there are things I might still want to have, accomplish, or experience. I am fond of pointing out that if everyone were content with what they have, the human race would never make any progress! As Robert F. Kennedy famously said, "There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?" I realize that some of our so-called "progress" has caused more damage than we can ever repair. But many beneficial, useful, and beautiful things have been created because someone imagined something better than what he already had. So -- I can illuminate darkness by appreciating what I have and, as Leisa ReFalo writes in Gateway to the Divine Tarot (Llewellyn Worldwide), by looking "for ways to be reinspired."

(2) How can I enhance a celebration?

THREE OF CUPS

What a great card to pull in reference to celebration! I can enhance a celebration by expressing my joy in ways that are natural to me -- whether through music, dance, refreshment, entertainment, or some other means. Although I'm not about to dress like the woman on this card, I think it's important to note her colorful garb. Color has a significant effect on us, on our state of mind, mood, and even physical condition. I can enhance a celebration by "brightening the corner where I am" in whatever ways I choose.

(3) How can I encourage romance?

ACE OF CUPS

Another nice choice from the cards. I can encourage romance by connecting with the root of the power of water, by refreshing my emotional energy, and by fully expressing my feelings. The sensuous, receptive, nourishing qualities of this card offer an opportunity to begin a new stage or phase in the area of romance. I can encourage romance by tapping into my subconscious and allowing myself to be immersed in this life-giving element.

(4) How can I soothe my senses?

QUEEN OF CUPS

I can soothe my senses by being open to the gifts offered by this Queen and by seeking her most beneficial traits within myself. I love the sense of weightlessness and freedom I feel when I am in the water. Some of my most vivid, enjoyable dreams have taken place under water. I can soothe my senses by "going with the flow" and by allowing this soothing element to support me as I float peacefully in quiet waters. 

(5) How can I cast a warm and lovely glow?

NINE OF COINS

Another perfect card. The woman on the Nine of Coins certainly does "cast a warm and lovely glow." So does the bird of paradise perched on her hand! In fact, the "warm and lovely glow" seems to be made tangible in the golden coin arch. I can cast a warm and lovely glow simply by being in a warm, lovely place emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and/or physically -- and letting those qualities shine through me. Although I can't ignore the connection to material success and comfort represented by this card, I think it is about finding our place in life, a place where we feel secure and satisfied, a place where we *belong.* This is easier for some people than for others. It may take trial and error, as we attempt to figure out where we belong, who we are, what we need, and what we can give.


First, I have to comment on the fact that four of these five cards are Cups! It seems clear that being the best candle has less to do with Fire than with Water. As a Sagittarius-Sun, perhaps I have the flame "turned up too high" at times -- which can turn the warm glow of a candle into a raging inferno. It's as if the cards are telling me that if I want to be the best candle, I need to tone it down (water it down?) a bit. The fifth card is an Earth card, another passive element. I am getting the distinct feeling that I am being encouraged to "stop trying so hard," to "let go and let God" (as the saying goes).

Here, then, is my answer to the question: How can I be the best candle?


  • I can acknowledge and appreciate what I have.
  • I can brighten the corner where I am in whatever ways I choose.
  • I can tap into my subconscious and allow myself to be immersed in life-giving water.
  • I can go with the flow and allow water to support me as I float peacefully. 
  • I can find a warm, lovely place emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and/or physically -- and let those qualities shine through me.




Monday, January 30, 2012

REVIEW: Dream Fairies Oracle



R E V I E W

Dream Fairies Oracle
by Bianca Luna
Illustrated by Julia Jeffrey
Published by Lo Scarabeo
ISBN-10: 8865271108
ISBN-13: 978-8865271100



FROM THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

The Dream Fairies comprise a versatile and profound deck. During the night the cards shine, literally glowing in the dark. Connected with the wisdom of the zodiac, they come to our rescue helping interpret messages from our soul and our dreams. During the day the Fairies inspire reflection and share advice to help us deal with any situations and emotions that we encounter.

Zelda, the Fairy of Leo
BASIC INFORMATION

According to the guide that accompanies this deck, author Bianca Luna is a Pisces with a long-standing interest in Astrology, Tarot, Runes, "and anything to do with the magic of existence." She lives in the mountains of Italy, where she writes, cultivates a garden, and raises sheep. She also travels around Italy and Europe "to hold seminars of Evolutionary Magic."

The Dream Fairies Oracle boxed set includes twelve full-color, glow-in-the-dark cards and a full-color companion guide. Both the cards and the book are square, measuring 4-7/8 x 4-7/8 inches. The guide is 3/4 of an inch thick and 192 pages long, but that's because the text is translated into English, Italian, Spanish, French, and German. Still, it's a much nicer book than the typical LWB (Little White Book) that comes with many Lo Scarabeo decks.

As the publisher's summary describes, these cards glow in the dark. Another unique feature is the box which can be used to prop and display cards for meditation work, as a round-the-clock reminder of a fairy's message, or as a unique frame for the enchanting art. The guide encourages us to choose the fairy we prefer and insert it into the frame, perhaps keeping it on our nightstand during the night so it can illuminate our dreams while we sleep.

As you may expect, there are twelve cards/fairies because each fairy is associated with one of the twelve zodiac signs. 

Tami, the Fairy of Scorpio
Following the Index/Table of Contents, the guide gives us a two-page spread with small versions of each card, along with each fairy's name and the zodiac sign associated with her, in all five languages. Next we have an introduction, followed by a fairy tale, the purpose of which is to "break the ice and gain some self-confidence" with the cards. The tale explains how the fairies decided once upon a time to leave their constellations each night in order to enter our dreams to "help us, protect us, and advise us in every situation."

As we move on in the book, we are given suggestions on specifically how to use the cards to help us explore issues that are on our mind. After providing an example, the book introduces us to each Fairy and her gifts, beginning with Maya, the Fairy of Aries, and ending with Cloe, the Fairy of Pisces.

Next, we come to a section that contains examples of seven common dream scenarios and what each Fairy's message would be about that dream. For example: "If we dream about a HOUSE and we draw . . . Maya: It is time to renew the home, even with small changes, like rearranging the furniture or painting the walls a warm colour." By comparison, if we dream about a house and we draw Astrid, the Fairy of Taurus: "A beautiful moment in relation to the home, as we want to spend serene and restful moments there, improving our environment."

Cloe, the Fairy of Pisces
We are then treated to a "notebook" containing sayings and advice from each Fairy. For example, "Zelda [the Fairy of Leo] says:

Shine for as long as you live.
You must be your biggest fan.
There is no victory without overcoming your own fears.
The beauty you emanate is an infinite source of joy and energy for you and others.
If you give, your gifts will double; if you do not give, they will disappear."

Next we have two readings we can do with the cards. For the Twin Fairies reading, we draw two cards: One represents "the positive side of a situation that can be seen clearly; strong points to be developed." The second card is "the dark side of the same situation that cannot be seen or we refuse to see. The deceptions that we may fall for."

The Fairies' Cross spread has five cards:
(1) us and our dreams
(2) how we can make them come true
(3) obstacles to be overcome
(4) the advice of the Fairies
(5) the direction our dreams will take

Finally, we are given brief bios of the Dream Fairies Oracle author and illustrator.

the back
APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

The box containing this set measures 5 x 5 x 1.3 inches. It is very attractive and sturdy, with a glossy, almost "lacquered" finish. On the underside of the lid are "thumbnail" sized images from the cards with each Fairy's name, the symbol of her zodiac sign, and the name of the sign in five languages. The box does not latch or fasten in any way, so you need to be careful not to turn it upside down.

The cards are printed on fairly thin cardboard that would not stand up to a "poker shuffle" -- but then, the size of the cards really makes it impossible to do that type of shuffle anyway. Both the cards and the guide are square, measuring 4-7/8 x 4-7/8 inches.

Each card has a dominant color and each image is framed in complimentary colors. Interestingly, four cards feature green borders, four have reddish brown borders, and then we have one each of purple, gold, teal, and dark blue. These color choices do not appear to be related to the zodiac signs or their elemental associations. The images incorporate various colors, not limited to the color of the border.

The backs of the cards are illustrated with waves or ribbons of blue, green, and white against a starry sky, framed by a dark teal border.

And in case you are wondering, the cards really do emit a soft glow in the dark!

Liliam, the Fairy of Sagittarius
ART

Scottish artist and illustrator Julia Jeffrey studied painting at the Glasgow School of Art. According to the guide, "her main artistic aim has always been to capture feeling, as expressed through the face and figure." In my opinion, she succeeds brilliantly in the images she created for the Dream Fairies Oracle.

The essence of each zodiac sign is reflected in its Fairy's facial expression and body language. For example, Lois, the Fairy of Cancer, cradles a kitten and gazes upward in a dreamy fashion. A full moon glows in the sky over a body of water, perhaps a pond or lake. Zoe, the Fairy of Libra, sits in a library, her chin in her hands, lost in thought. Ariel, the Fairy of Aquarius gazes at a globe of the world, an impish expression on her face. Her hair is wild and uncombed; her clothing is in disarray. I love the Sagittarius card (my sun sign), which depicts a young woman with a bow and a quill of arrows on her back. Beside her is a white unicorn.

I find it easy to imagine what each individual Fairy might say to me -- her attitude, her perspective, her world view, her philosophy. The personalities of these characters really come through in the illustrations. To see more of Julia Jeffrey's art, you can visit her Etsy shop, Stonemaiden Art, at www.etsy.com/shop/juliajeffrey.

Lois, the Fairy of Cancer
BOTTOM LINE

I love astrology, so I love that these cards are based on the zodiac, yet they aren't overloaded with astrological symbolism. For example, the Fairy of Scorpio is shown with a black Great Dane rather than a scorpion; the Fairy of Pisces is shown with a frog instead of fish; and the Fairy of Cancer is shown with a kitten, not a crab. Color schemes do not line up with the traditional colors associated with each sign (or its element). Some people might see those sorts of things as flaws.

The cards are not particularly sturdy, and they need to be handled carefully, but I feel that is part of their charm. After all, these are Fairies -- delicate, ethereal, elusive creatures.  As I mentioned above, the artist has done a wonderful job of conveying emotions and personalities through facial expressions and body language. I feel as though I can get to know these Fairies as individuals.

Zoe, the Fairy of Libra
I am looking forward to consulting these cards for advice as well as for insight into the dynamics of situations and relationships. I don't know how much I will use the box as a frame on my nightstand, but I imagine I'll give it a try.

If you love fairies and/or astrology, this deck will probably speak especially clearly to you.







 In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cards and Quotes: Knight of Wands


Today's Cards and Quotes features the KNIGHT OF WANDS from The Mystic Spiral Tarot by Giovanni Pelosini and Giuseppe Palumbo (Lo Scarabeo).



"Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado."
Menander, Greek dramatist (342 BC - 292 BC)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Journey through My Decks: 3 of Swords

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 THREE OF SWORDS from The Wheel of Change Tarot by Alexandra Genetti (Destiny Books).




Three Blades in the Falling Forest


Alexandra Genetti tells us that in the Tarot, the Pips generally symbolize "the day-to-day events of life and the simple lessons we learn in our relationships and actions. . . Each number represents a particular stage in the growth process." She writes: "Three represents synthesis, the action that joins the opposites that were divided in the two." Genetti also views Three as "the number of action and change. . . symbolic of the initiating principle of God the creator or creatrix."

Genetti associates the suit of Swords with the element air, the direction east, the season of spring, and the dawn. The suit "signifies the evolution of the realm of humankind out of the animal kingdom represented in the watery suit of Cups." The Sword, like "our human capacity for individual thought," divides and separates us not only from the animals but from each other. It is "the symbol of the penetrating intelligence and the mental faculties, especially the creative capacity for new ideas." As a masculine suit representing "the active principle and direct movement in the world of ideas," Swords penetrate and make an impression on whatever they touch.

Symbols on the Three of Swords, as described by Genetti:

* Tree saws: the action of cutting through natural elements to build anew
* Fallen tree with exposed rings: dependent layers of life on earth; the body of the earth and our own bodies
* New fir tree springing up: the earth's ability to heal herself in the face of our destructive technology; the need to account for the time that nature needs to recover
* Clear-cut land in distance: what happens when we overstep our bounds and use the earth beyond its ability to return to a productive state

As a Daily Card, the Three of Swords from this deck prompts me to examine how I allocate my own internal resources and energy. For example, should I respond to criticism with argument or with reflection? This card also encourages me to evaluate my uses (or abuses) of my own natural resources (body, emotions, mind, energy).

I may also need to ask myself if I am *hearing* what knowledgeable people are telling me about the use of my resources. Am I carefully considering options and studying the facts before I act?

---------------------------
About the deck: Alexandra Genetti writes that the Wheel of Change cards "express the passion I feel for life, for the earth and her amazing living diversity. They are an expression of the hope I feel that we will one day be able to live immersed in the balance of the natural world." She notes that the deck is the result of ten years of steady work and study. Her goal is to "facilitate self-knowledge and sympathetic understanding of others and of the natural world of which we are a part."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

REVIEW: Tarot of the Mystic Spiral





R E V I E W   

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral
by Giovanni Pelosini
artwork by Giuseppe Palumbo
Llewellyn / Lo Scarabeo
ISBN-10: 0738732389
ISBN-13: 978-0738732381


 
FROM THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

"The everlasting search for knowledge and wisdom is represented by the spiral. It can be found in the galaxies and in DNA, the sacred geometry used in the construction of the pyramids and gothic cathedrals, mathematical constants, alchemist’s formulas, and art dating back to the Stone Age. This mysterious, cosmic symbol is also indicative of a journey, an evolution. Use the Tarot of the Mystic Spiral to help you on your own quest—whether you’re seeking personal growth, spiritual enlightenment, or a glimpse into the ultimate meaning of life."


BASIC INFORMATION

This boxed deck includes 78 full-color cards and an LWB (Little White Book / instruction booklet). As with all Lo Scarabeo decks, the LWB has sections written in English, Italian, Spanish, French, and German. Too bad they forgot to include Bassa. (I'm just kidding of course. Some folks really dislike the multilingual nature of Lo Scarabeo decks, but I kind of like it, even if it makes the LWB look like it contains way more information than it does.)

This deck is multi-cultural as well, incorporating "Gothic cathedrals...Dervishes and Maori...yogi...Vikings...dragons, unicorns, minotaurs, and sphinxes...Archangels...Knights Templar..."

Descriptions in the LWB are unique to this deck and provide helpful information in case you would like to further explore the characters or stories behind the images on the cards. For example, for the Eight of Chalices, we read: "The blind diviner Tiresias is transformed into a woman by the magic of snakes intertwined. Sacrifice and disappointment when faced with condemnation." For the Three of Pentacles we have: "The 'at' (@) sign on the screen of a computer in a fractal galaxy. The expansion of ingenious structures." On the Two of Chalices: "The cosmogonical dance twists the energies of the Shinto gods Izanami-No-Mikoto and Izanagi-No-Mikoto into a double helix. Fecundity arises from the encounter."

I like the way this deck encourages the reader to contemplate the relationship between the "traditional" card meanings and the images/stories chosen for each card. The correspondences are clearly appropriate in many cases.

In the LWB we are given The Oracle of the Hermetic Caduceous, a five-card spread with the following positional definitions: The Winged Wand (the roots of the past, the causes of the present), The Knot (the current issue and its potential development), The Black Snake (adverse conditions, obstacles, and blocks), The White Snake (favourable conditions, allies), and The Helmet of Hermes (summary, the final result).

 

Also in the LWB, each Major Arcana card and each Ace has a Latin phrase assigned to it. For example, The Moon is LUNA MENDAX (the deceitful moon). The Wheel is TERMINUS A QUO, TERMINUS AD QUEM (Starting point, ending point). Temperance is QUANTUM SATIS (just enough). The Ace of Wands is EN TO PAN (All is One).

Suit associations are standard: Chalices/emotions, Pentacles/matter, Wands/creativity, and Swords/the mind.

Many of the Minor Arcana cards feature characters whose names are written next to them on the face of the card. For example, on the Six of Wands we see George Gurdjieff dancing with the Dervishes. Pythagoras appears on the Knave of Pentacles. Our Knave of Swords is Archimedes. Although many male characters are thus identified, only one female character has a name next to her: British biophysicist Rosalind Franklin,  who is depicted with Francis Crick and James D. Watson on the Three of Chalices.

To learn more about Giovanni Pelosini, the author of the deck, visit his web site: http://www.giovannipelosini.com/. Google Translate will provide you with an English version if you need it.

APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

The Tarot of the Mystic Spiral cards measure  2 1/2 x 4 3/4 inches, an easy size to handle and shuffle. They are flexible but not too flimsy, and are printed on glossy stock.

Cards are numbered at the top in blue. The suit name of each card appears in white, in several languages, with English in the upper left corner of each card.

The backs of the cards are dark blue with two circular Celtic-knot style patterns in green, turquoise, and tan. The design incorporates spirals. The backs look the same whether the card is upright or reversed.

ART

Artist Giuseppe Palumbo has worked on various comic books including the well known 'Martin Mystere' series. His art also appears on the Afro-Brazilian Tarot by Alice Santana (Lo Scarabeo). In Tarot of the Mystic Spiral we are again treated to Palumbo's bold, angular (at times bizarre) drawings.

If you were to ask me if I like "comic book style" art, my initial response would be "Not so much." And, indeed, some of the illustrations in the Tarot of the Mystic Spiral turn me off. However, a great many of them appeal to me. As I may have mentioned before, my reaction to the art on a deck is probably the single most important factor in my decision to acquire or not acquire that deck. The images in this deck that put me off are few and far between.

The image from The World card is wrapped around the outside of the box, giving it a sort of "round and round" sensation when you turn the box over and over in your hands.

BOTTOM LINE

If you are a Tarot student who is trying to understand the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith symbolism and interpretations, Tarot of the Mystic Spiral is probably not the deck for you. Likewise, if you are a Tarot reader who prefers strict adherence to RWS style, this deck may not work well for you -- although someone who is well versed in the RWS can *see* references and resemblances in this deck.

I find the LWB descriptions, though brief, to be excellent in terms of describing what or who is shown on the card and in giving a clear idea of how the card might be interpreted in a reading.

One could argue that the diverse paths incorporated into this deck give it an inconsistent *feel* that could make it difficult to obtain a cohesive message from a reading. It could also be difficult to intuit what the card represents if you haven't studied the LWB. Whether this bothers me or not will only become evident after I do a few readings with the deck. In the meantime, I remain favorably impressed.

----------------------
In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cards and Quotes: 3 of Wands


Today's Cards and Quotes features the THREE OF WANDS from The Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti (Llewellyn Publications).





“A leader has the vision and conviction
that a dream can be achieved. He inspires
the power and energy to get it done.”
— Ralph Lauren

Friday, January 20, 2012

Words from the Wise: Ace of Swords

Today's Words from the Wise are delivered by the ACE OF SWORDS from The Wheel of Change Tarot by Alexandra Genetti (Destiny Books).


When presented with a new point of view, keep an open mind, but rely on logic and reason to  test its validity.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Death and Grief Reading


I recently experienced the death of a dear friend and colleague of many years. Her funeral is today.

In her honor, I am sharing a spread I adapted from one that was posted by Barbaras Ahajusts on Aeclectic Tarot Forum back in 2006. I hope this provides an example of how Tarot readings can help us cope with death and grief in our lives.

I am using Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela and Joyce Eakins (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)






Death and Grief Spread
(my version)

.........9........
.....7......8....
.....5......6....
.........4.........
.........3.........
.....1......2.....


1. The deceased:

EARTH MOTHER (Queen of Pentacles)

How true this is! My friend and colleague was a mother-figure to so many people, including and especially (of course) her own children. She mentored younger colleagues (and me, even though we were close to the same age), and her compassion, creativity, and joy in life were noticed by everyone who encountered her.

2. I (the bereaved):  

TEMPERANCE

An interesting draw, considering that this is the card associated with my Sun sign, Sagittarius. I really like what Pamela Eakins writes about this card: "The trials and temptations you currently experience will lead you toward integration, the 'middle way,' the path of moderation." That is a very accurate portrayal of how I have become the person I am. This card also suggests spiritual (inner) growth and "a period of profound realization."

3. What united us?  

WATER BROTHER (Knight of Cups)

Indeed, I believe we were linked through subconscious influences that brought us into a heart-to-heart relationship. The connection was deep and powerful.

4. Under which sign did our union stand? 

THE HIEROPHANT

I don't know for certain what the creator of this spread meant by "sign" but I am interpreting it as "zodiac sign." In the system I currently use, The Hierophant is linked with the sign Taurus (my Moon sign). Taurus is an Earth sign, which suggests an union in the physical, material world. We were brought together initially by our jobs in an institution ("the establishment" sometimes represented by The Hierophant). Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planet that rules relationships, love, and appreciation. Venus also rules Libra, my friend's sun sign. The Hierophant is sometimes associated with the astrological 9th House, the house of philosophy and religion (and the house linked with my sun sign, Sagittarius). All of this makes sense to me.


5. What is now gone?

DEATH

How would someone's death mean that "Death" is now gone? I am reminded of the Biblical verse that reads, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" The spectre of death that had hung over my friend since her diagnosis of cancer in April is gone. That threat, that uncertainty about the upcoming transformation is no longer of any concern for her. Her death is over.

6. What remains for me as the gift of our union? 

THE MOON

Here I also find myself turning to the words written by Pamela Eakins about this card: "At your darkest hour, you will find that you hold your own light. . . Shedding light on your fears will propel you toward self-understanding, strength and self-confidence. Through this process you will heal and move forward into happiness."

7. Which force is protecting and accompanying me during this period? 

THE HANGED MAN

The force that protects and accompanies me during this period is the power of retreat, withdrawal, and contemplation. I am called to enter a meditative state in which I will experience the silence I need to see and hear deeper truths.

8. Which force accompanies the deceased? 

SEVEN OF WIND

Titled "Many Tongues" in this deck, this card represents the importance of letting go of old systems or things in which you once believed. As the winds of change sweep over and through my friend, her spirit will learn to express itself in a new language and in new ways.

Edited to add: How interesting that the following lines were sung at my friend's funeral:

"Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above..."
(from the hymn Come Thou Font of Every Blessing by Robert Robinson)

Not only that, my friend loved animals, especially reptiles. During the funeral service, her husband shared more than one anecdote about her involving snakes.


9. Which force helps me to let go and to keep going, gives me new courage, and benefits me? 

THE SUN

A powerful force indeed, The Sun illuminates my path as I enter a new stage of life, one that my friend does not share. Unlike some Sun cards, this one has two people on it, holding hands. I feel this refers to a connection between my friend and me at a high level, under the Sun's brilliant light.

I am awed by the power and significance of these cards. I feel that the large number of Major Arcana cards (6 of the 9 cards) reinforces my belief that my friend and I had a soul mate or past life connection. The reading is a comfort to me. It helped me express thoughts and feelings, enabling me to come to terms with my loss.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Take a Number: Four!



Numerology and Tarot


I am working my way through the numbers, comparing the ways in which I have used them in Tarot readings with observations and comments from numerologists and occultists. I welcome your comments and observations about this fascinating subject!


My key words for the number Four: stability, security, hard work, stagnation

Tarot Cards: The Emperor, Fours of all suits

FOURS

Writing about the occult meaning of numbers, Paul Foster Case gives the following keywords for Four: "order, measurement, classification, recording, tabulation, and so on." Case goes on to write that "Qabalists make 4 the number of memory" and that "Beneficence ('good-givingness') is also assigned to 4." (The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages, Macoy Publishing Company)

In his book Numerology: Key to the Tarot (Whitford Press), Sandor Konraad writes that in divination, Four can represent achievement, marriage, and excessive concern with material things. In the Minor Arcana, Four is the number of Attainment.

Quoting from Numerology and The Divine Triangle by Faith Javane and Dusty Bunker (Whitford Press): "Four is stability, a 4-square consciousness, the symbol of law, system, and order. It is firmness, security, stability and conservatism. . . 4 is nature and relates to the earth." Key words for Four: "form, work, order, practicality, construction, stability, endurance, discipline."

 Gary Meister, CTM offers the key words "Reason, Practicality" for the number Four. He writes: "On a universal level, the creative process can be more or less automatic in its early stages. The beginning thought (#1) gives birth to a cooperation between your individual spirit and the Universal Spirit and creation is begun (#3). But without reason, without turning the creation into something practical (#4) the first three steps just keep happening, over and over, and never become a fully realized reality."

The web site Numberquest.com provides a longer string of key words for the number Four: "Practical, orderly, patient, logical, hard-working, loyal, builder, steadfast, frugal, responsible, earthy, planner, materially creative, green thumb, even tempered."

In Anna Burroughs Cook's Tarot Dynamics system (based in large part on Javane and Bunker): "Subject Card Four stands for incentive and security."

THE EMPEROR (Trump 4)

Concerning The Emperor (Card 4), Cook writes: "The Emperor intensifies your need to discover the truth in all matters . . . You're going to be a little more self-assertive and direct. Control." She notes that Card 4 means "a control issue, at work, home or both may bring your emotions closer to the surface, or cause you to be more protective about matters that impact your sense of belonging and security."

According to Javane and Bunker: "[The Emperor], ruling our conscious existence, represents reason, which is a function of the conscious mind. The Emperor therefore rules over and sets in order the reasoning, conscious elements of the material world. He supervises and controls through his ability to discern the truth in any given situation. It is his wisdom in handling affairs systematically that has placed him upon the throne."

In astrology, the Fourth House is known as the House of Home and Family. Ruled by the zodiac sign Cancer, known as a sensitive, self-protective sign. The house where Cancer appears on our birth chart indicates the area of life where we search for security.

Here are a few quotations about the number Four that I find especially relevant:

"Home is any four walls that enclose the right person."
~ Helen Rowland, Writer (1875-1950)

"Medicine rests upon four pillars - philosophy, astronomy, alchemy, and ethics."
~ Paracelsus, Scientist (1493-1541)

"I think getting beyond the four edges of an opportunity or challenge 
is one of the basic skills you need in business."
~ Thomas Kinkade, Artist (1958-     )

"The four cornerstones of character on which the structure of this nation was built are: Initiative, Imagination, Individuality and Independence."
~ Eddie Rickenbacker, American Aviator (1890-1973)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cards and Quotes: 6 of Wands


Today's Cards and Quotes features the SIX OF WANDS from Tarot of the Animal Lords by Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo).

Sometimes referred to as "the victory card," the Six of Wands usually depicts a conquering hero surrounded by fanfare and flags. Tarot of the Animal Lords offers a very different perspective on this card. The image makes me think of the expression "tooting your own horn" (as in being overly prideful). I am pairing it today with another saying that seems appropriate.


"You can be a rooster one day and a feather duster the next."
(One day cock of the walk, next a feather duster.)
~ an old saying, original source not known







Friday, January 13, 2012

REVIEW: The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards

R E V I E W


The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards
Author: Colette Baron-Reid
Artist: Jena DellaGrottaglia
Publisher: Hay House
ISBN-10: 1401927491
ISBN-13: 978-1401927493

FROM THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

"Imagine . . . between the visible and the unseen is a guiding force that some call Spirit, the Holy Will, the Divine, the Field, or Consciousness. Using this card deck by Colette Baron-Reid will connect you to that larger Consciousness and guide you as you travel along on the journey of your life...

...The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards were created in order to empower you to understand the story of your fate, destiny, and free will; and allow you to chart a course to live a life of deep purpose, true prosperity, and vibrant love."

BASIC INFORMATION

This set contains 54 cards and a 153-page Guidebook packaged together in an attractive, very sturdy box.

The Guidebook contains an Introduction by the author and a section on How to Use the Cards, which includes The Purpose of the Cards, How to Do a Reading, Sample Readings, an Explanation of the Positions for 1-card, 3-card, and 6-card readings, and The Soul's Intention.

Soul's Intention: The author tells us that each card "depicts the soul's intention as well as the other positional meanings discussed in the previous section." The Soul's Intention aspect of this deck could be used with any deck of Tarot or Oracle cards. In the author's words: "The soul's intention is for you to grow, and it will show you the lessons you must learn in order to evolve into who you're meant to become." The Seeker can either pull a card to answer "What is my soul's intention regarding the present situation?" or can contemplate the last card drawn in a reading for this purpose.

Following the introductory material, each card is discussed in turn. Instead of key words, the author provides a statement or affirmation that conveys the basic message of the card. For example, for Card 9, Storm Fields, the message is "This, too, shall pass." For Card 29, Coming to Life, the message is "Something beautiful is being born in your life."

The author gives Upright and Reversed meanings for each card. She writes that upright cards "represent the purest and most positive energy." About reversals, she notes: "Reversed cards are powerful and should never be seen as negative; rather, they serve to shed the most light on your areas of inquiry."

The text in the Guidebook is written in a conversational tone with a touch of humor, and is easy to understand. There is a sense that the author is speaking directly to the reader, one-on-one, which I find quite engaging. For example, under reversed meanings for Card 27, Home, we have: "If you don't feel at home, it's time to do a thorough and fearless inventory. What are you hiding from? Are you afraid of being yourself? Do you feel that you don't belong where you are? What if you choose another path?"

An internationally acclaimed intuitive counselor, Colette Baron-Reid is a motivational speaker, performer, and storyteller. She is the author of several other books and decks, including Wisdom of the Hidden Realms Oracle Cards, The Wisdom of Avalon Oracle Cards, Messages From Spirit: The Extraordinary Power of Oracles, Omens, and Signs, Remembering the Future, and The Map (all published by Hay House). I can tell right now that I want to read The Map (subtitled "Finding the Magic and Meaning in the Story of Your Life"), which should complement The Enchanted Map Oracle nicely. Find out more about Colette Baron-Reid on her web site: http://colettebaronreid.com/

APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

The Enchanted Map Oracle cards measure 5" x 3.5", an easy size to handle and shuffle, and are printed on sturdy, glossy stock. The edges are trimmed in gold, giving the deck an elegant appearance.

Cards are numbered at the top in white. The title of each card appears in white at the bottom, printed on what looks like a piece of ancient parchment or scroll. Each card is framed in a textured pale gold pattern.

The backs of the cards are pale minty green. A mirrored image of the compass (from Card 50) is placed in the center. The backs look the same whether the card is upright or reversed.

ART

I was unfamiliar with Jena DellaGrottaglia's art before receiving this deck. After seeing what she did with The Enchanted Map Oracle, I spent quite a lot of time viewing her work at http://autumnsgoddess.deviantart.com/ and http://www.fantasyartfanatics.com/jena-dellagrottaglia.html . Do yourself a favor and go take a look. Her art is mesmerizing, captivating, and any other high-praise adjective you care to apply.

For The Enchanted Map Oracle, DellaGrottaglia created a set of rich, vibrant pieces of art. They evoke a complete range of emotions.  Some are whimsical, like the illustration on Card 38, Heal the "Ouch," which features a raccoon in a Red Cross cap tending to a fox with an ice pack on its head. The background on the card is rosy pink and dappled, suggesting health and happiness to come. The author's message on this card is "Forgiveness is the healer of the soul."

Other cards that feature animals include Card 54, Encouragement, which depicts a mother giraffe and baby. On Card 53, Listening, an elephant with bowed head appears to be listening to musical notes that dance in the air. Card 25, Metamorphosis, features flamingoes with butterfly wings. On Card 28, Movement, an ostrich journeys across an open landscape, carrying a patch of ground with a windmill on its back.

The background for Card 50 -- Compass -- is painted in bright shades of turquoise, teal, and blue. The compass is rich gold, burgundy, and brown. A tiny frog perches on the edge. Zodiac symbols parade in a circle. In the center we see flames and smoke. There is mystery and power here, a feeling of uncharted territory ahead.

Some images are light and airy; others are dark and moody, in keeping with the nature of the card. Card 17, Ghostlands; Card 19, Dragon's Lair; and Card 26, Deep Freeze, send a chill right up my spine.

Whether the card features human beings, animals, or inanimate objects, there is always a keen sense of place -- appropriate since we are dealing with an enchanted map.

BOTTOM LINE

This is my first Colette Baron-Reid product, but probably won't be my last. I have not yet read with this deck, but I will soon, and will post outcomes here with a link under this review. I really like the author's tone in the guidebook -- straightforward, frank, and realistic. Don't expect empty platitudes or pats on the head with this book or deck. You're going to be encouraged to think, feel, analyze, and explore.

Thanks to Jena DellaGrottaglia's amazing art, each of these cards can serve as a meditation tool, leading the seeker into wondrous inner and outer worlds. I know everybody borrows Dr. Seuss, but I'm going to do it anyway: "Oh, the places you'll go" with The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards!

To see a reading I did with these cards, click HERE.


In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5W's and an H: THE HANGED MAN


Today's edition of 5W's and an H features The Dragon Tarot by Nigel Suckling, illustrated by Roger and Linda Garland (Cico Books).

To refresh your memory: For the 5W's and an H exercise, we use one Tarot card to answer the questions Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? As an additional requirement, each answer can be only one phrase or sentence. The idea is to respond intuitively, without a lot of description or explanation.


The card: The Hanged Man



Who? Someone who is taking time out to gain a fresh perspective.

What? Patience and sacrifice

When? When you are at a crossroads or decision-making point

Where? In a different mind set

Why? Because you need to look at things from a different point of view

How? Through genuine sacrifice and being open to change

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cards and Quotes: 6 of Cups

Today's Cards and Quotes features the SIX OF CUPS from The Ancestral Path Tarot by Julia Cuccia-Watts (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn." ~ T.H. White, The Once and Future King