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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Week at a Glance: 3 of Cups

The purpose of drawing a "Week at a Glance" card is to get a sense of the sort of energy, circumstances, or personal qualities I might need to be aware of during the upcoming week. I also use this opportunity to become more familiar with decks I don't work with a lot, so you will often see me quoting the creator of the deck or someone who has a closer relationship with the deck than I do at this time.

For the week of June 30, 2013 I am using the Haindl Tarot by Hermann Haindl (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

My card is the THREE OF CUPS, reversed.


We can look at the upright 3 of Cups as referring to great (perhaps excessive) feelings, creating intense experiences and reactions (in the Haindl Tarot, the card is titled "Overflowing"). So to my way of thinking, the reversed 3 of Cups is likely to be about containing, subduing, limiting, or controlling emotions rather than allowing them to "overflow." We all know that systematic suppression of feelings is not healthy. However, in some situations, the best thing to do might be to rein in one's emotions in order to behave calmly and rationally.

This week I will try to be aware of what I am doing with strong feelings I may have. Am I repressing them to an unhealthy degree? Do I need to exert more control over the expression of those feelings, at least temporarily, and find other ways to release tension?  What will help me remain stable and balanced in times of emotional stress?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Journey through My Decks: Queen 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 Fairy Tarot by Antonio Lupatelli (Lo Scarabeo).


The four suits in The Fairy Tarot are as follows:
  • Acorns - Air (problem to overcome right now, patience and focus required)
  • Hearts - Water (emotions, sentiments, affections, love B especially of a couple, maternal or of friendship)
  • Bells - Earth (practical abilities and solutions, manual capabilities, economic situation, work)
  • Leaves - Fire (thoughts, inner existential crisis and contemplation, psychic state in general)
According to John McLeod ("Games Played with German Suited Cards" ), these are the suits used in German playing-card decks. McLeod tells us that "the German suits of acorns, leaves, hearts and bells were established in the early fifteenth century . . . German suited cards are still the primary type of cards used in many parts of central Europe."

I have struggled a bit trying to decide whether Leaves are comparable to Swords or Wands, and I have the same dilemma when it comes to Acorns. The association of Hearts with Cups and Bells with Pentacles seems fairly clear to me.

Acorns are important to the fairies, offering sustenance throughout the winter. In The Dictionary of Symbols (Chronicle Books LLC), Jack Tresidder tells us that acorns symbolize fecundity, prosperity and "the power of spiritual growth from the kernel of the truth."

The Queen of Acorns has huge, glorious, yellow wings. (Yellow commonly symbolizes intellect, knowledge, and communication). Her expression is cordial and her posture erect, suggesting a mature personality who is self-aware and comfortable in her own skin. She rests her hands on the hilt of a long sword. Beneath her feet we see snow, and the falling leaves of autumn lay around her.

In the book that accompanies this deck, Helene and Doris Saltarini write: "If a card of Acorns is extracted it means that there is a problem to overcome right now and you must find the strength to resolve it: these cards require a certain patience and focus."

The Queen of Acorns can represent an individual, or she can indicate personality traits that the Seeker may wish to cultivate, strengthen, or subdue. In addition, the Queen of Acorns may refer to a certain type of friendship -- a relationship with someone who embodies the best qualities of the Queen. Her intelligence and cleverness are welcome qualities in a friend. She tends to be serious, though pleasant, and willing to fight for something she believes in.

Divinatory Meanings provided by the Saltarinis are "moral and practical help, spiritual support; well-aimed advice. A good choice for a partner." Reversed or poorly placed in a spread, the Queen of Acorns can indicate "your love is badly hidden; widowhood; a too authoritarian partner; an intriguing woman."

The Queen of Acorns offers me an opportunity to explore the ways in which I express or repress her qualities in my own life. She also alerts me to the possibility that someone with her traits may play an important role in my day, or perhaps that I should seek advice from a decisive, serious, self-possessed person.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Week at a Glance: Tattered Nomad Oracle

The purpose of drawing a "Week at a Glance" card is to get a sense of the sort of energy, circumstances, or personal qualities I might need to be aware of during the upcoming week. I also use this opportunity to become more familiar with decks I don't work with a lot, so you will often see me quoting the creator of the deck or someone who has a closer relationship with the deck than I do at this time.

For the week of June 23, 2013 I am departing from my single-card draw in order to spend some time with _Shaheen's Tattered Nomad Oracle_. These cards are designed to be read in groups, so I am doing a 3-card line in which the center card represents the "focus" for the week.

My cards are:
THE COFFIN (8) ...... THE GARDEN (20) ...... THE WOMAN (29)

My Focus Card is The Garden (20). I do not have a literal garden -- just not my thing -- so unless the cards are telling me I need to plant one, I'm going to view this card symbolically. Shaheen writes that this card represents "Gatherings, celebration, meetings, social events, public property, creation."

Let's see what connections I can make between this central card and the other two: The Coffin ("respite, ending, burial, death, life change, illness") and The Woman ("A woman or feminine energy").

What I get from Coffin + Garden is a funeral or some other social occasion where something is "laid to rest" or ended. Although this sounds depressing, that type of occasion is often beneficial to those involved in terms of feeling the support and solidarity of a network of people who are also affected by the ending or "death."

My understanding is that The Coffin can also refer to negative thinking or a person who is what we might call a "Debbie Downer." The appearance of The Woman with The Coffin here suggests a female who expresses negative attitudes and thoughts. At least I sure hope it isn't about a woman physically dying...

As far as I know, the coming week will involve one public occasion -- a dinner that I will attend with my sister and my husband. Other than that, I will be occupied helping my mother begin her move from her house into an apartment in a retirement community. I don't anticipate a large public "gathering" related to this, but you could say that quite a few people are "gathering together" to help Mom with this major life change.

The "negative thinking woman" could refer to my mother or to me, at any given time. She does tend to view things negatively or perhaps "critically" is a better word. And when she does, I become negative and unhappy that she is unhappy. Ah the mother-daughter dynamic -- nothing like it!

So I'm going to see these cards as representing the gathering/cooperation of a group of individuals whose intention is to ease my mother's major life change. I can't control anyone else, but I can do my best not to be negative -- publicly or privately! Ms. Merry Sunshine, that will be me!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

REVIEW: Shaheen's Tattered Nomad Oracle

R E V I E W
_About My Reviews_

_Shaheen's Tattered Nomad Oracle_
by _Shaheen Miro_
3 sizes: Poker, Medium (2.75×4.75), & Large (3.5×5.75)

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

I became aware of this deck when I read a blog post written by Chloƫ over at _Inner Whispers_.

I was immediately draw to the deck and had to find out more about it, which of course led to me purchasing the deck from Shaheen Miro, its creator.

There is something very special about the images that Shaheen chose for these cards and the way he talks about the images "taking on a life of their own" as he built upon the basic structure of the traditional Lenormand deck. Among my favorite cards are The Child (13), The Umbrella (39),  and The Familiar (41). Two of these (39 and 41) are "extra" non-Lenormand cards that Shaheen has included.

In place of a Little White Book, Shaheen has printed card interpretations and layouts on a sheet of paper that folds neatly into a "wrap" for the deck. So clever!


Before too long I will do a reading with this deck here on the blog, so I can share with you how it "drives." Meanwhile, I am going to enjoy contemplating and exploring the images on each card!

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION FROM THE ARTIST

"These cards are bohemian and wild. They are filled with interesting colors, and visuals. As you lay them out the stories come together in a tantalizing and clear way. . . Though these may be different than the traditional Lenormand I believe they will speak to anyone willing to listen. . . There are 43 cards in this deck. You will find the 36 traditional Lenormand symbols. Plus an extra man and woman card. You will also find five cards that are unique to the deck, which is why I have decided to call it an Oracle. The five cards came from personal stories in my own life that I felt had symbolic significance for others. You can decide to use the deck with all 43 cards or with the 36 traditional cards. Be a gypsy and do what feels right."

BASIC INFORMATION

Shaheen Miro explains the name of this deck by saying that the process of creating the deck was "nomadic" and the name "implies that the deck tells a story. It has a history. It is the accumulation of my story, your story and the story of all the images through the ages."

The deck comes in a white organza bag, wrapped in an approximately 8 by 11 inch sheet of paper on which are printed the meanings of the cards and instructions for how to lay out the cards for a reading. The other side of the sheet of paper features drawings of fantastic creatures and objects along with Shaheen's website address.

Shaheen includes the following "extra" cards (above and beyond the traditional Lenormand): The Seer (37), The Bats (38), The Umbrella (39), The Aura (40), and The Familiar (41). There are two versions each of The Stars (16), The Man (28), and The Woman (29).

APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

In the poker-size deck that I purchased, the cards measure 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches. They are printed on reasonably sturdy stock. The finish is what I would call "semi-glossy" -- not high gloss, but not matte. I am pleased with the overall quality of the cards.

The colors are rich and varied, from cool to warm hues. The images are digital collage. Card backs are indigo in color and feature the face of a person who is holding binoculars up to his eyes.

ART

Shaheen Miro tells us: "I wanted to do something that allowed me to express myself. I wanted to create a piece of art that gave life and energy to the free spirited and mysterious creature that lives within me. I have always found comfort in vintage images, the colors, expressions, and details. There is something magical about old empemera. So I began my deck by sorting through old public domain images. . . I trusted my muse as she whispered in my ear, guiding me to string images together, to form pictures and symbols. Each image emerged as a unique digital collage that built on the traditional Lenormand."

Personally, I am very much attracted to these collages. The card names and/or numbers are a bit difficult to read on some of the cards, but I don't think that is going to be a problem for me.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Week at a Glance: 6 of Wands

The purpose of drawing a "Week at a Glance" card is to get a sense of the sort of energy, circumstances, or personal qualities I might need to be aware of during the upcoming week. I also use this opportunity to become more familiar with decks I don't work with a lot, so you will often see me quoting the creator of the deck or someone who has a closer relationship with the deck than I do at this time.

For the week of June 16, 2013 I am using the Gill Tarot by Elizabeth Josephine Gill (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.).

My card is the SIX OF WANDS.

The Gill Tarot (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Titled "Victory," this card is bathed in rosy pink, a color that suggests love, nurture, and harmony. The center image, within the circle of the number Six, is a Star of David formed by six Wands. The star is formed by two triangles, one point up like an arrow, the other receptive like a cup.

Gill writes, "The star as a whole shows successful integration of aspiration and the reception of higher guidance." Certainly that integration would result in a state of love, nurture, and harmony. I look forward to seeking and hopefully experiencing some measure of this nurturing energy this week.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

REVIEW: Astrology for Writers

R E V I E W
 _About My Reviews_



Astrology for Writers
by _Corrine Kenner_
_Llewellyn Publications_
Paperback: 336 pages
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
ISBN-10: 0738733334
ISBN-13: 978-0738733333

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

As an astrologer and writer, I was eager to see what the talented and accomplished Corrine Kenner would come up with for this book. I have used astrology to create characters in the past and found it quite interesting -- although I also found that I tended to get a bit bogged down in the astrology part to the point where my character became much too complex. Characters need to be multidimensional, of course, but I felt that I was drowning in personality traits, motives, feelings, thoughts, and behavioral tendencies. I hope to try again sometime!

Anyway, Astrology for Writers is useful and instructive in many different ways. Kenner provides marvelous, detailed information about each planet and sign, also delving into the asteroids (e.g., Ceres, Pallas Athena, and Juno), the Black Moon Lilith, and the North and South nodes -- so the astrology component is well covered. In segments titled "Creative Guidance" and "Twenty Questions" we receive a wealth of insights, tips, and prompts that we can use in creating characters, plots, and settings.

I do think perhaps this book might overwhelm someone who has little or no knowledge of astrology before picking it up. The astrological information is so comprehensive and detailed. I think the ideal reader would be someone like me -- already familiar with astrology and writing, and interested in combining those fields.

PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

Enhance your storytelling with the cosmic drama of the stars!

The nighttime sky has inspired writers and astrologers alike to spin stories on the strands of starlight. Discover that inspiration for your own creative writing in Astrology for Writers, the essential guide to understanding the core concepts of astrology—the planets, signs, and houses—and discovering how they correspond to the elements of fiction.

Unleash your creativity with a wide range of ideas that help you add astrology to your writing practice. Learn how to use the planets for characters, the signs of the zodiac for plot and themes, and the houses of the horoscope for settings. Develop unique characters based on mythic archetypes, use astrological imagery and symbolism for your descriptions and dialogue, and put theory into practice with writing prompts and examples. Invite the gods and goddesses of astrology to enter your writing and share their stories through you.

Corrine Kenner
THE AUTHOR

Corrine Kenner specializes in bringing metaphysical subjects down to earth. Her work on the tarot is widely published, and her classes and workshops are perennial favorites among students in the Midwest. Corrine is a certified tarot master, and she holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from California State University, Long Beach.

Corrine is the author of Tall Dark Stranger, a handbook on using tarot cards for romance, and Tarot Journaling, a guide to the art of keeping a tarot diary. She was also the creator of Llewellyn's Tarot Calendar. She is a contributor to the 2005, 2006, and 2007 editions of the Llewellyn Tarot Reader. A former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, Kenner edited Llewellyn's popular Astrological Calendar, Daily Planetary Guide, and Sun Sign Book. She is also the author of Crystals for Beginners.

Corrine has lived in Brazil, Los Angeles, and the Twin Cities of Minnesota. She now lives in the Midwest with her husband Dan and her daughters Katherine, Emily, and Julia.

You can find her website at www.corrinekenner.com.



BASIC INFORMATION

Part I: The Planets (pages 9-152)
"We'll begin our study of astrology for writers by looking at the planets -- the major players in the drama of the night sky. In this section, you'll learn how to develop fictional personalities based on planetary characteristics. You can assign one planet to each member of the cast, or mix and match them, just like real life." ~ Corrine Kenner
In Part I we are given information about the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses who inspired the names of the planetary bodies in our sky. The Roman names (e.g., Venus, Mars, and Saturn) are the names that we readily recognize as applying to the planets. Beginning with the Sun ("The Star of the Show") Kenner provides several pages about each planetary body. We also learn about planets in aspect and other astrological information.

Part II: Signs and Stories (pages 153-250)
"As the planets revolve around the Sun, your characters will move through the signs of the zodiac, and their stories will unfold. We'll follow the plot, and discover what obstacles and conflicts keep them from reaching their goals. We'll also study the ways that the symbolism of the same twelve signs can be the foundation of story structure, theme, and symbolism." ~ Corrine Kenner
This section covers the signs of the zodiac, followed by a Mix-and-Match Character Creator, a section on the Twelve Labors of Hercules, and several pages about the Hero's Journey. We are told how we can use The Elements, Duality, and Modes of signs in story and character creation.

Part III: The Houses of the Horoscope (pages 251-296)
"The twelve houses of the horoscope provide a backdrop and setting for the drama of human experience. If you're searching for the setting of your next story or scene, you don't need to look any further than a horoscope chart." ~ Corrine Kenner
This part of the book contains a chart showing each house, rulership of that house, ruling sign, and ruling planet. Kenner also provides a couple of pages on each house, including how that the nature of that house could influence scenery and setting in a novel, story, or poem. A section on "How to Read a Horoscope Chart" is also included in this section.

Part IV: Quick Reference Guides (pages 297-313)
"Use this section to clarify concepts as you incorporate astrology into your creative writing practice." ~ Corrinne Kenner
At the back of the book, Kenner includes a Recommended Reading list.


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, June 9, 2013

Week at a Glance: High Priest

The purpose of drawing a "Week at a Glance" card is to get a sense of the sort of energy, circumstances, or personal qualities I might need to be aware of during the upcoming week. I also use this opportunity to become more familiar with decks I don't work with a lot, so you will often see me quoting the creator of the deck or someone who has a closer relationship with the deck than I do at this time.

For the week of June 9, 2013 I am using the Fantastical Creatures Tarot, illustrated by Lisa Hunt and written by D.J. Conway (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.).

My card is the HIGH PRIEST.

Fantastical Creatures Tarot

Right away, I am struck by the difference between the "energy" I normally get from a traditional High Priest (or Hierophant) card and this one. In most traditional decks, The Hierophant gives me a feeling of strong, steady, stern, serious energy. I typically don't pick up much (if any) emotion from the main character on the card. It's probably my least favorite card in any Tarot deck.

In the Fantastical Creatures Tarot, the High Priest is portrayed by the _Arabian Ruhk_, a gigantic bird that appears in the tales of Sinbad the Voyager and The Arabian Nights. Like the traditional Hierophant, this card can represent "an advisor or teacher of spiritual ideas" and the keyword for this card in this deck is "spiritual advice" -- but the energy I pick up from this version is active, aggressive, angry energy that suggests (to me) unpleasant consequences if that spiritual advice is not followed.

This week, perhaps I am going to be revisiting or reexamining (again) my spiritual journey to date, a journey that includes an effort to subscribe to traditional religious teachings as well as a rather dramatic departure from significant aspects of those teachings -- and a realization that I honestly don't need or desire to latch onto one specific approach or creed or dogma. (I am amused by the fact that I originally typed "Fanatical" instead of "Fantastical" when writing about this card...)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Free Cat-Themed Reading #3

This is the third reading request I received in response to my offer of three _free cat-themed readings_:

The Seeker asked: "Are there anymore babies for my partner and me?"

If you read Free Cat-Themed Reading #2, you may already know what I'm going to say about this question. I hope you will forgive me for repeating myself.

Let me begin by noting that this question is what we call a "yes-or-no" question. In other words, the answer can only be "yes" or "no" (or "maybe"?). Second, this question calls for a prediction of the future.

Now, I always caution my clients that I don't feel the Tarot does too great a job with yes-or-no questions. There is a 50-50 chance of being right or wrong. I also remind clients that the Tarot cannot predict the future with any certainty. There are simply too many variables, not the least of which is the free will of each person involved in a situation.

My years of experience have taught me that while I cannot predict the future with certainty or guarantee 100% accuracy on yes-or-no questions, I can at least provide a sense of whether the answer to the question is "very likely," "somewhat likely," "somewhat unlikely," or "very unlikely." And the client needs to understand that I am looking at trends or tendencies based on current conditions, not a future carved in stone.

Having said all that, here we go!

Spirit has led me to use the Cat's Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin, DVM (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) for this reading. While shuffling the cards, I meditated on the question, asking that only enlightened insight come through from the Highest Source. Next, I drew three cards, which I will read as a group rather than assigning positional definitions. Here are the cards that came forward for this Seeker to answer the question: "Are there anymore babies for my partner and me?"


KING OF WANDS, reversed
JUDGMENT
FIVE OF SWORDS, reversed

Beginning with elemental associations, we see that all three cards are from active, positive ("masculine") suits -- two Fire cards and one Air card. If we use the elemental method for answering this question, the answer is that it's "very likely" that there will be more babies for the Seeker and her partner.

At the same time, let's consider the fact that we have two Reversed cards in the set vs one Upright. That suggests the answer "somewhat unlikely."

So how might we use the meanings of the cards to help us understand?

The KING OF WANDS is typically viewed as representing big, bold, brave energy -- power, authority, and force. But the card was drawn Reversed. That suggests pessimism, lack of confidence, and ineffectiveness. Could this refer to the Seeker or the Seeker's partner? Or does it indicate an overall tone or energy that could delay or block the Seeker's desires?

JUDGMENT suggests to me the involvement or influence of a higher energy or spirit in this matter. I'm also getting the sense that a critical decision needs to be made that will have an impact on this matter. It is important that this couple consult their Higher Selves in order to make a careful, honest evaluation and decision.

The FIVE OF SWORDS, Reversed, may indicate a slightly softer or shorter-lasting version of the discord, defensiveness, and defeat the Upright card often represents.  There is a chance that self-interest will yield to mutual support, and that fear and anger will be offset by rationality. Yet there is still a feeling of antagonism in thought and word, if not in deed.

As I mentioned above, the elemental associations of these three cards offer a lot of support for the Seeker's desire for more babies. At the same time, there are factors that might cause delay or obstruction. If the Seeker and her partner want more babies, they will need to do whatever they can to address and overcome any potential problems or roadblocks.




 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Free Cat-Themed Reading #2

This is the second reading request I received in response to my offer of three _free cat-themed readings_:

The Seeker asked: "Will J---- and I ever work it out?"

Tarot of the White Cats by Severino Baraldi (Lo Scarabeo)
was requested for this reading.

Let me begin by noting that this question is what we call a "yes-or-no" question. In other words, the answer can only be "yes" or "no" (or "maybe"?). Second, this question calls for a prediction of the future (any question beginning with the word "will" is asking for a prediction of the future).

Now, I always caution my clients that I don't feel the Tarot does too great a job with yes-or-no questions. There is a 50-50 chance of being right or wrong. I also remind clients that the Tarot cannot predict the future with any certainty. There are simply too many variables, not the least of which is the free will of each person involved in a situation.

So what can I do for this client? My years of experience have taught me that while I cannot predict the future with certainty or guarantee 100% accuracy on yes-or-no questions, I can at least provide a sense of whether the answer to the question is "very likely," "somewhat likely," "somewhat unlikely," or "very unlikely." And the client needs to understand that I am looking at trends or tendencies based on current conditions, not a future carved in stone.

I think the best way to do this reading is to pull three cards and read them as a group, rather than assigning a positional definition to each card. As always, while shuffling the cards, I meditated on the question, asking that only enlightened insight come through from the Highest Source.

Here are the cards that came forward for this Seeker:


FIVE OF WANDS, reversed
THE MOON, reversed
THE STARS

First, let's look at the elemental associations for these three cards. We have Fire, Water, and Air. Using the elemental association method, the answer to the yes-or-no question is that it is "somewhat likely" that the Seeker and J---- will work it out. Another method uses upright vs reversed cards, and if we use that method, it appears that it is "somewhat unlikely." So we're not getting a strong, 100% endorsement of "yes" or "no" here. It's falling in the "maybe" category.

Now, let's see what else the cards can tell us. To begin with, two of the three cards are from the Major Arcana. This suggests a strong, deep connection between these two people -- perhaps even a soulmate or past life connection. Of course, that doesn't guarantee that the relationship will work out in this life, but it still represents a powerful connection.

The FIVE OF WANDS, reversed, suggests to me the end of conflict or competition, which leads to harmony and cooperation. A positive sign, to be sure.

THE MOON, reversed, can be seen as representing revelation, realization, and insight -- clear vision and an understanding of what is real and what is illusion. The question is: Will this help or harm the relationship? That depends on what is revealed or discovered, and what the Seeker and J---- decide to do about it. The card doesn't really tell us whether the truth(s) being revealed could be considered positive or negative.

Finally, THE STARS card is usually thought to indicate hope, including the promise of a new start that grows from a positive change of mind. I feel this card strongly supports the possibility that the Seeker and J----- will work things out.

If pressed to predict, I would have to say that the answer to the original question -- "Will J---- and I ever work it out?" -- is that there is a good chance that yes, you will.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Free Cat-Themed Reading #1

This is the first reading request I received in response to my offer of three _free cat-themed readings._

For this reading, the Seeker is looking for guidance and insight related to a friend's spiritual life. Spirit led me to use Tarot of the Pagan Cats by Lola Airaghi & Magdelina Messina (Lo Scarabeo) for this reading.

While shuffling the cards, I meditated on the request, asking that only enlightened insight come through for the Seeker from the Highest Source. I then drew cards to answer the question: What does the Seeker need to understand about this friend's spiritual life?

Note that I asked the cards what the Seeker "needs to understand" about the friend's spiritual life rather than asking the cards to grant me complete access to that person's mind, heart, and spirit. I typically avoid doing readings about people other than the Seeker. Rather than ask the cards to take me where I have not been invited, I prefer to let the cards decide what the Seeker needs to understand.

I am using a 3-card progressive (storytelling) spread wherein the first card sets the theme and the other two cards flesh out the reading.


(1) Theme: FOUR OF SWORDS
(2) QUEEN OF SWORDS
(3) FIVE OF WANDS

As a Theme card, the FOUR OF SWORDS offers a sense of respite or rest from challenging or draining thoughts, circumstances, and situations. In this situation, I am getting the sense that the Seeker's friend is learning or needs to learn how an appropriate amount of retreat and restoration can enhance his spiritual development. Notice I said "appropriate amount" -- not too little or too much. The number FOUR emphasizes stability and balance.

Let's see what the other two cards can add to this story. The QUEEN OF SWORDS offers a blend of emotion (water) and intellect (air). She could represent a person who is willing to help the Seeker's friend in his spiritual life. She might also represent aspects of the friend's own personality. Traditionally, the Queen of Swords at her best is seen as a skilled communicator who is usually able to contain or control her emotions, even though past and present sorrows weigh heavily upon her. It is important that the person represented by the Queen of Swords guard against being overly judgmental, critical, or even deceitful. The Seeker's friend may need to subdue his own inner critic and judge in order to make progress in his spiritual quest.

The image on the FIVE OF WANDS is a huge departure from the other two cards. The cats on the 5 of Wands represent conflict and hysteria, as opposed to the calm, contained feeling we get from the felines on the other two cards. The 5 of Wands is about competition, rivalry, and discord. This suggests to me that the Seeker's friend may be experiencing internal confusion or conflict about his spiritual life -- or perhaps there are people in his life who are giving him a hard time about spiritual matters, challenging him or contradicting him. Here we see the reason why the retreat represented by the 4 of Swords could be helpful. The Seeker's friend needs to withdraw from the fray, so to speak, to center himself and replenish his spiritual energy.

In this set of three cards we are dealing with Swords and Wands -- the positive, active, energetic, "masculine" suits of the Tarot. With the theme card and one other card being Swords, I feel the emphasis is on a reasoned, logical, cool-headed approach. The suit of Wands is about passion, but on the 5 of Wands we see that this can be taken too far, creating an atmosphere of conflict that may interfere with spiritual development.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Week at a Glance: 5 of Pentacles, Rx

The purpose of drawing a "Week at a Glance" card is to get a sense of the sort of energy, circumstances, or personal qualities I might need to be aware of during the upcoming week. I also use this opportunity to become more familiar with decks I don't work with a lot, so you will often see me quoting the creator of the deck or someone who has a closer relationship with the deck than I do at this time.

For the week of June 2, 2013 I am using The Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti (Llewellyn Publications).

My card is the FIVE OF PENTACLES, reversed.

Gilded Tarot (Ciro Marchetti / Llewellyn)
My experience with this card is that upright, it suggests hardship and need. The message is typically that help is nearby and available if it is requested. The Reversed position may indicate some relief, but usually doesn't suggest the complete opposite of the Upright position. When the card is reversed, help might not be readily available or it might be difficult to locate desired resources.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

SPECIAL OFFER: Free Cat-Themed Readings

Gizmo - age 8 weeks
PLEASE NOTE: All three free readings have been taken. Thank you for your requests!

_Free Cat-Themed Reading #1_
_Free Cat-Themed Reading #2_
_Free Cat-Themed Reading #3_

Some of you may remember the _reading I did back in November 2010 about my cat Gizmo's health concerns_.

We did finally discover that Gizmo's problem was caused by the herpes virus. After treatment, he recovered completely. I started giving him lysine treats to ward off any future attacks, and he remained free from herpes symptoms.

Sadly, over the past few weeks, at age 16, Gizmo began to decline dramatically in health. He stopped eating and grew very thin. We tried a number of solutions with our vet, but in the end, we made the extremely difficult decision to let Gizmo go.

Gizmo - age 16
I have four other cats, but Gizmo was truly my "baby." I found him as a stray when he was about eight weeks old. He loved to be held against my shoulder while I "tried" to work on my computer (holding him in place with one arm). He would purr and fall asleep and remain in that position for as long as I could hold him before my arm gave out. He enjoyed being carried around that way as I went about daily tasks. Often, I made my morning coffee with one hand while holding Gizmo against my shoulder with the other. At one point, I even considered purchasing one of those soft infant carriers you wear on your chest...

I have decided to express my gratitude for Gizmo's affection and my sorrow at his passing by offering three free readings using my cat-themed decks. My only caveat is that if you request a free reading, you allow me to share the question, the cards, and my interpretation here on the blog. Your name will not be used. Your question does not have to be about a cat or even a pet. It can be whatever you want.

To request one of the three free readings, email me at zannastarr@gmail.com and tell me:
(1) Your question
(2) If you have a preference for a particular deck

The decks you can choose from (linked to descriptions and sample cards) are: