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Friday, January 31, 2014

Year of the Horse

Welcome to the Chinese Year of the Horse! I dabble a bit in Chinese astrology but I’m no expert, so I won’t be offering an in-depth discussion on that subject. However, I can provide a little information to set the stage.

Chinese astrology, like Western astrology, is not just about the main symbol of a particular sign. Where Western astrology incorporates four elements into its zodiac signs (Fire, Earth, Air, Water), Chinese astrology incorporates five elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. The concept of Yin and Yang also affect these elements. Yin falls in odd numbered years and Yang falls in even numbered years.

Each month of the year also has an animal/element representative. Each segment of the day (in 2-hour increments) also boasts an animal associate. For more information, I recommend Susan Levitt’s web site: http://susanlevitt.com/astrology/horse-year-2014/

The Year 2014 is a Yang Wood Horse year. The Element of Wood is the East. It is associated with the season of spring and the color green.

In this blog, I will share some symbolism and imagery of horses from my oracle decks.

Druid Animal Oracle
In the Druid Animal Oracle by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Bill Worthington (Simon and Schuster), the Horse (Each – pronounced Ech) is a gray mare with the chalk hill figure of the White Horse of Uffington, Oxfordshire, in the background. Key words for this card are “The Goddess, The Land, Travel.” The Carr-Gomms write, “The horse-goddess is patroness of the complete life-cycle of birth, death, the afterlife and rebirth.”

A personal story about this card
When my father was diagnosed with lung cancer many years ago, I pulled a card from this deck to answer the question “What lies in store for my father?” The Horse came forward and I immediately thought, “He’s going on a journey.” I meant this in a figurative sense, although he did travel to doctors in different states seeking advice and treatment. He passed away within a year. The funeral home chosen by my mother was located on White Horse Road.

In the Animal Messages deck by Susie Green, with illustrations by Csaba Pasztor (Cico Books), the Wild Horse is “the epitome of male sexual energy and of the soaring spirit which dance sets free.” Advice provided by Susie Green: “Speak your passion aloud and defend those whom you love in word and deed.”

The Animal Powers Meditation deck by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner (One Spirit) gives the keyword “Strength” for the Horse. The card references physical strength, stamina, and dedication – plus the “uniquely human ability to harness great forces, natural and mechanical, to assist us.”  Farber and Zerner tell us that we should meditate on the Horse when we need the strength to stand up to those who are trying to break our will or keep us from being ourselves. The Horse also speaks to our spirit of adventure, to forging new trails and exploring uncharted territory.

Steven D. Farmer’s Power Animal Oracle Cards (Hay House) gives the keyword “Freedom” for the Horse, along with the statement “You always have a choice.” Additional associations are listed as “Integrity; Compromise; Speed; Agility.” Steven D. Farmer tells us that the Horse can encourage us to “let go of the illusion that you’re somehow a victim.”

Worthy of mention here is a white celestial cloud horse believed to be sacred to the Chinese Goddess Kwan Yin. This horse flies through the heaven, bringing peace and blessings.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Week at a Glance: Judgement

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 seem to have missed my usual “Listen to the Animals” entry, so I decided to use an animal deck for Week at a Glance this week! My choice is The Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung (Rainbow Crazy). To read my review of this deck, click HERE.

My card for the week is JUDGEMENT (XX).

The Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung

Well, a cat is appropriate for any week, given that my home has four feline residents. Here we have a Siamese cat perched atop a pedestal, regarding us with clear, knowing blue eyes. In the background a brilliant sun blazes forth, forming a glowing halo around the cat’s upper body.

Unlike the “Judgement Day/Resurrection” images that appear on Rider-Waite style decks, this image has a much more solitary, inwardly directed vibe. The cat seems to gaze into the mind, heart, and soul of the person looking at the card – very much a one-on-one experience. And I get the sense that if I gaze back directly into this cat’s eyes, I will see my own mind, heart, and soul reflected.

This week I have an opportunity to explore my inner thoughts, virtues, and transgressions – not so that I can pass some sort of “final judgement” but so that I can assess the ways I might go about healing, releasing, or changing. The keywords provided by Joanna Cheung can serve as a guide: “protection, fortune, freedom, observance, wisdom, healing.”

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Ring of Gollum Spread

I just got home from seeing the second Hobbit movie with my husband and felt inspired to do a reading with The Hobbit Tarot by Peter Pracownik and Terry Donaldson (U.S. Games, Inc.)

The Little White Book (LWB) that comes with the deck includes several spreads, including one called The Ring of Gollum Spread, which is basically a zodiac wheel spread where you draw a card related to each astrological house.

Let’s see what I can see!

1. Basic personality: QUEEN OF COINS / The Lady of Laketown / Earth / Sagittarius-Capricorn

A number of things resonate with me here. My Sun sign is Sagittarius. Also, Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) are prominent in my birth chart. I identify strongly with the practical, dependable, animal-loving nature of this Queen. The card asks me to explore my own sense of nurturing – of others and of myself. How can I put these characteristics to good use in my life?
2. Possessions: THE CHARIOT (VII) / Water / Cancer

Rather than a chariot with a single driver, this card depicts the Companions as they ride across open country on their way to the Lonely Mountain. They have a definite “one for all and all for one” vibe about them. In a way, they could represent the various aspects of my Self that need to work together to make progress. In addition to possessions, the Second House refers to values and resources. What I value determines the direction in which I go, driving me forward as I concentrate on my objectives.

3. Communication: QUEEN OF WANDS / Fire / Pisces-Aries

A woman of Laketown displays her wares to a passing customer. In the realm of communication I do have the ability/tendency to be enthusiastic, adventurous, and independent. My creativity is expressed through communication, and I am eager to share the fruits of my labors with others.

4. Domestic life: SEVEN OF CUPS / Water / Venus-Scorpio

Here we see Bilbo Baggins discovering the Arkenstone in the dragon Smaug’s lair. In the midst of overwhelming splendor and riches, he manages to find and focus on the most valuable item of all. I am reminded that in my domestic life, I need to focus and choose where to spend my time and energy.                                                                                                                                              

5. Love life: QUEEN OF CUPS / Water / Gemini-Cancer

How lovely! Among the qualities associated with this queen: unconditional love, empathy, and compassion. Anyone’s love life will be improved by letting go of resentments and being aware of emotional needs.

6. Work life: THE HIGH PRIESTESS (II) / Water / Moon

In my work life, this card encourages me to be guided by my intuition, secrets, and deep feelings kept hidden. It is important that I continually seek to get in touch with these deeper feelings and intuitive powers.

7. Partnerships: PAGE OF SWORDS / Air

Here we see Bilbo killing a great spider with a sword. Immediately after doing this, Bilbo puts on the Ring that makes him invisible. He tricks the spiders into leaving the area where they have ensnared his friends in their webs. He cuts his friends free. With respect to partnerships, I see the importance of forethought and planning. In the LWB, Terry Donaldson mentions “an ability or need to look beneath the surface” to explore and understand my partner’s motives as well as my own.

8. Changes: THE SUN (XIX) / Fire

The Eighth House could certainly be considered the house of “changes” but it is also known as the house of death, rebirth, and others’ resources. In any case, The Sun offers a sense of growth, harmony, and self worth. A positive omen all around!

9. Travel and learning: THE HIEROPHANT (V) / Earth / Taurus

Here Gandalf is shown communing with his higher self, accessing his powers and abilities. An owl gazes down upon him, signifying wisdom. I usually see this card as representing institutions, the status quo, or an accepted way of doing things. I may be in need of a guide who can show me the way to move forward in an acceptable manner, honoring tradition and the established way of doing things.

10. Achievements: SIX OF SWORDS / Air / Mercury-Aquarius

Here we see Bilbo escaping up a tree to get away from the Wargs (wolves). As in so many works of literature, wolves are depicted as bad guys in The Hobbit. They are in league with the Goblins, allowing them to ride on their backs into battle.  If we accept that somewhat unfair perspective on wolves, I see a need for me to move away from negativity, discord, or bad memories related to my achievements (or perhaps my ability to achieve in the future).

11. Social life: THE EMPRESS (III) / Earth / Venus

Unlike the traditional Empress card, this one does not feature a pregnant Earth Mother type character in a natural setting, surrounded by plants and animals. Instead, we have Bilbo, Gandalf, and their Companions who are joined together in a bond of spiritual and earthly love. My social life (which is virtually nonexistent!) comes across as harmonious, creative, and abundant. Perhaps I am being encouraged to “grow” or expand my social life a bit.


12. Inner life: EIGHT OF WANDS / Fire / Mercury-Sagittarius

Back to the Wargs! This time, we see a Warg and the Lord of the Eagles. In this part of the story, the eagle swoops in and carries Gandalf away. Other birds rescue all the Companions. Bilbo learns that Gandalf and the Lord of the Eagles are old friends, as Gandalf had once healed an arrow wound for the eagle. Sounds like my inner life is going to experience swift movement, hidden connections, opportunities, and doorways about to open.

Based on my feeling that Major Arcana cards confer an issue with particular significance, it looks like the following areas deserve extra attention: Possessions, Work Life, Changes, Travel and Learning, Social Life.

The elements are all fairly well represented: 4 Water cards, 3 Earth cards, 3 Fire cards, 2 Air cards.

Three of the four Queens are involved, along with The Empress, making sure plenty of feminine, receptive energy is present.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Journey Through My Decks: 5 of Pentacles

For this entry in my Journey through My Decks series I am using the Celestial Tarot Deck & Book Set, created by Kay Steventon, written by Brian Clark (US Games Systems, Inc.)

Celestial Tarot

The suit of Pentacles in this deck is subtitled "The Salt of the Earth." It is associated with the zodiac signs Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Brian Clark writes: "What was conceived in the imagination of Fire can now be incarnated." Here we are grounded in the present, realistic, productive, and structured. The element Earth relates to worth and value as well as the five physical senses and material substance.

The English idiom "salt of the earth" commonly refers to people who are decent, dependable and unpretentious. In the Bible salt signifies, variously, permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, usefulness, value, and purification.

The Five of Pentacles is linked with the second decan of Taurus, the planet Mercury (ruler of that decan), and the constellation Eridanus. Clark describes Taurus as "the fertile earth. . . the sacred ground we stand on and the patient effort to build our lives using the resources at hand. . . the resourcefulness, and willingness to share this wealth with others."

Described by Ian Ridpath (Stars and Planets /  Dorling Kindersley Limited) as a "long, straggling constellation," Eridanus represents a river in Greek mythology. As Brian Clark explains, Eridanus was placed in the heavens by Apollo as a remembrance for his son Phaethon. In an effort to prove that he was a worthy son of Apollo, Phaethon tried to drive the chariot of the Sun across the heavens. He had neither the maturity nor strength to control the chariot, and fell from the sky into the river.

Clark tells us that the Five of Pentacles can foreshadow a loss that results from our inability to handle the resources or talents necessary to accomplish a task or project. We may have "bitten off more than we can chew" in an effort to prove our worth. The card is seen as "the midpoint of a process of realignment with personal resources and worth, having fallen out of touch with what is of real value."

The involvement of the planet Mercury (named for the trickster god) alerts us not to be tricked by the "false comfort of possessions."

~

About the deck: In Brian Clark's introduction to his book Celestial Tarot, he writes: "Celestial Tarot embraces the ancient traditions of astrology, astronomy, and mythology to re-imagine the cards. . . Using the cards invites the individual into the ancient mysteries while simultaneously offering spiritual revelations, personal guidance, and psychological insight. . . Celestial Tarot invites you to participate in the mystery of the subconscious where linear time evaporates and the past, present, and future are fused together to allow greater meaning and understanding."

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week at a Glance: Gentleman, Fox, Sun

I had so much fun last week with the 3-card Lenormand Mystery Spread from Donnaleigh de LaRose’s website, I decided to use it again this week. This time, I’m using the Mystical Lenormand deck by Regula Elizabeth Fiechter, with cards painted by Urban Trösch.

For this spread, two cards are drawn and placed side by side. After reading this pair of cards, I will turn over the third card, positioned above the pair, for information on what the pair of cards relates to more specifically.

Gentleman (28) . . . . . . . . . Fox (14)

Mystic Lenormand
The Gentleman probably represents my husband. The Fox could indicate that something is wrong or that I’m being deceived – or perhaps that the truth is hidden, or my assumptions are false. It is interesting that the Gentleman holds a weasel, a creature who, like the Fox, has a reputation for cunning and sneakiness.

The card that tells me what this pair relates to specifically: Sun (31)
This is a card of courage, success, optimism, and overcoming adversity.

Mystic Lenormand
My husband and I will be meeting with his doctor this week to discuss the type of medication that is most appropriate for him to take to prevent future strokes (he had a stroke last month).

I am inclined to think that the Gentleman-Fox combination refers to a hidden or “sneaky” medical condition that the doctor is trying to treat. So much goes on inside our bodies and brains that we cannot see. We often have no clear warning that something is amiss. I feel that the Sun card is telling me the likelihood of treating my husband’s “sneaky” condition successfully is high, and the doctor will offer some encouragement.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Listen to the Animals: Elephant

For Listen to the Animals, I pull one card each week from a different animal-themed deck to represent an important message from that animal.

If you are interested in finding out who your own Animal Guides are, you can get an Animal Guides Reading through my _Etsy shop_ or my _Web Site_.

Today I am using a deck I recently acquired called _The Secret Language of Animals Oracle_ Cards by Chip Richards (Blue Angel Publishing).

My card is the ELEPHANT.


Most of us know a fair amount about elephants. We are in awe of their size and touched by their demonstrations of sensitivity and social connection to each other. As women, many of us are grateful that human pregnancy lasts only nine months instead of the twenty-two month gestation period elephants endure.

Symbolically elephants represent “good things” in many cultures: happiness, longevity, and good luck to the Chinese; good fortune, protection, and blessing on new projects to the Hindu (in the form of the god Ganesha).

Included among the many messages described by Chip Richards in the guidebook that accompanies The Secret Language of Animals are gentle power, cooperation, compassion, community, and higher purpose. Richards writes (on behalf of the elephant): “Honor the magic of children and the deep wisdom of your elders. Draw together those who are closest to you. . . Embrace your emotions and the full spectrum of your being – from joy and playfulness to sadness and deep reflection. Each has a part to play in your rich journey of awakening the divine blessing you are.”

My personal connection to elephants includes an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. I first became aware of the sanctuary through a video about elephants that described the reunion of two elephants who had once been together in a circus but had been separated for a very long time. It was clear, as shown in the video, that they recognized each other and renewed their bond immediately. Here is a link to the sanctuary website if you’re interested: http://www.elephants.com/

And here are some photos of elephants I have taken over the years…


 
 
 
 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

7 of Swords: Astrological Associations

Astrological associations for the Minor Arcana cards typically involve a planet, a zodiac sign, and/or a house. The attributions established by the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD) are by far the most commonly used. However, there are other associations out there. As a professional astrologer, I find it interesting to compare and contrast these associations. (The use of astrological associations with Tarot is completely up to the reader. This is intended to be interesting and fun!)

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

Thoth Tarot
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley

For Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn, the Seven of Swords is linked with the Moon (emotions, subconscious, deception) and the sign Aquarius (a Fixed Air sign known for being innovative, idealistic, humanitarian, and intellectual).

Crowley titles the card "Futility" and notes "The intellectual wreckage of the card is not so vehement as in the Five. There is vacillation, a wish to compromise, a certain toleration. But, in certain circumstances, the results may be more disastrous than ever . . . This card, like the Four, suggests the policy of appeasement.”

Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "Changeable, moody (Moon) theories and concepts (Aquarius).”


The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel

Liz Hazel's astrological associations for the Seven of Swords align with those of Crowley and the Golden Dawn: Moon/Aquarius. Hazel's DMs for this card include: "uncertain motives or strategies. Sneaking, lying, or evading. Secrets, information withheld, possibly to avoid hurting another or because one is uncertain of what response will be evoked by the truth." Ill-dignified DMs include: "An unsavory character with bad motives. Theft. Secret legal problems that are not divulged. A quiet battle or struggle for power. Lost or missing items or papers.”


One World Tarot by Crystal Love

Crystal Love associates the Seven of Swords with the third subdivision of Libra (natural ruler Venus; subruler Jupiter). She writes: "The harmonious nature of Libra coupled with the expansive and beneficent Jupiter promises a happy and successful outcome to ventures, a generous, well-balanced, and creative mind, a happy and successful marriage. . .” She notes the following "Traditional Interpretations": "Hope. Confidence. Intelligence. Powerful opposition. Confrontation that requires subtle ingenuity. Courage and perseverance. . . Reversed: Limited success. Over-confidence. Loss. Dishonor. Wasted opportunity.”


The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann

Mann associates the Seven of Swords with the energy of Venus (planet of love, beauty, art) in Aquarius and the third decan of Aquarius. Mann calls Swords Five, Six, and Seven "The Clouds of Aquarius," and links the Seven of Swords with the period between February 9-18. Green is the color associated with Venus and violet is associated with Aquarius on the King Scale of Color.

Mann's divinatory meanings for the Seven of Swords: "Unconventional and individual ideas about relationships bring enjoyment of social life but a continual need for independence. Partnerships are unstable, tending to begin and also end suddenly and without notice." Reversed: "Promiscuous and eccentric sexuality creates a joyful life fraught with uncertainty and emotional chaos."


The Tarot and Astrology by David Thornton
(illustrated in this blog by the Universal Waite tarot deck)

David Thornton associates the Seven of Swords with the placement of the planet Venus in the Eleventh House (House of Friends, Hopes, and Wishes). The Eleventh House in astrology is associated with the sign Aquarius.

Thornton's description of the energy of the Seven of Swords is: "Progressive views on marriage, peculiar plans or ideas, the enjoyment of social contacts and love of independence.”


Tarot Dynamics System by Anna Burroughs Cook
http://tarotdynamics.com/
(illustrated in this blog by the Universal Waite tarot deck)

Like Mann, Anna Cook associates the Seven of Swords with the third decan of Aquarius. In Cook's TD system, Subject Card Seven signifies "Relationships." The key word for the suit of Swords in this system is Challenging, which gives us Challenging/Relationships for the Seven of Swords. In astrology the Seventh House, ruled by Venus, is commonly known as the House of Partnerships and Open Enemies. The sign associated with the Seventh House is Libra. Cook notes: “Although the Seven of Swords can sometimes imply minor deception, it can occasionally warn you against outright thievery of an object, or from a source that you didn’t expect. More often, however, it warns you against stealing from yourself by wasting your time, effort, talents and emotion on non-productive endeavors.”


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

Thierens associates the Seven of Swords with "The element Earth on the Seventh house,” the house of Libra. He notes: “Owing to the diplomatic and fox-like qualities of the house of Libra, the querent may, by this card, attempt to steal the weapons of the opponent, as the figure rightly suggests: using the arguments and fighting with the weapons of the enemy.”

His keywords for this card include: "Meeting the opponent, perhaps some fighting, but more probably the strategy than the fighting itself is indicated. Using the weapons of the enemy. Practical ability. Tricks. A person of technical ability. Success by means of capability, combined with diplomacy. Scheme, design." He also writes: “Since the seventh house represents ‘the opponent’ as well, there may be something like quarrelling in this card, attempts to reach agreement with an opponent; this will be done in a practical, business-like way.”

(Note: If you are interested in learning more about this system put forth by Thierens, I recommend the book referenced above.)

In summary, for the Seven of Swords we have:
  • Crowley and Hazel with a Moon/Aquarius association
  • Mann with Venus/Aquarius
  • Love with Libra /Venus/ Jupiter
  • Thornton with Venus/11th House (ruled by Aquarius)
  • Cook with the third decan of Aquarius (subruled by Venus)
  • Thierens with Earth/7th House (ruled by Libra/Venus)
According to Arthur Waite (Pictorial Key to the Tarot / Weiser), the design of the Seven of Swords “is uncertain in its import, because the significations are widely at variance with each other.” If you read what I shared above, you’ll have to agree with that assessment!

The Rider-Waite-Smith card shows “a man in the act of carrying away five swords rapidly; the two others of the card remain stuck in the ground. A camp is close at hand.” (Waite) Some of Liz Hazel’s DMs for this card (“uncertain motives or strategies. Sneaking, lying, or evading”) certainly go with this image, and Anna Cook’s statement -- “it warns you against stealing from yourself”— fits perfectly.

From an astrology standpoint, I see the Moon as the most likely connection, as it is known for deception and illusion, a thief’s stock in trade. I like the idea of linking to the Seventh House – house of open enemies – as well. After all, the man on the Waite/Smith card is out in the open, even though he seems to be trying to avoid detection.

I struggle a bit more with the Aquarius/11th House association for this card. Perhaps after more thought it will come to me. Crystal Love’s interpretation *feels* to me like it’s out in left field (sorry, Crystal), and I have trouble with the whole Earth/Swords connection made by Thierens.

Pairing Crowley’s interpretation of the card with the Waite/Smith image, I kind of like the implication of “wish to compromise, a certain toleration.” Is the thief on the card compromising by leaving two swords behind instead of taking them all? Will his behavior be tolerated for that reason?

Too much fun!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week at a Glance: Meeting Place, Journey, Stars

For Week at a Glance this week I am using a 3-card Lenormand Mystery Spread featured on Donnaleigh de LaRose’s web site: http://www.divinewhispers.net/lenormandlessons.htm.

Two cards are drawn and placed side by side. After reading this pair of cards, I will turn over the third card, positioned above the pair, for information on what the pair of cards relates to more specifically. I am using the _Freshly Squeezed Lenormand_ deck by Jean Hamilton-Fford. I removed the cards labeled YES, NO, NOW, and LATER.


The Meeting Place, Card 20 (Park/Garden). . . . . . . Journey, Card 3 (Ship)

A gathering of people for business or pleasure involving travel or a journey, on my part or someone else’s part.

What is this about?


Stars, Card 16: This is about the spiritual realm, astrology, intuitive abilities, and self-understanding. The outcome of the gathering/journey is a positive, successful one at a high level.

Interestingly, I recently agreed to write a monthly horoscope column for the Magical Circle School newsletter. The deadline for the February installment is this week. This involves collaboration (gathering) of various people, and we are physically located in different areas of the country.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Listen to the Animals: Praying Mantis

SPECIAL OFFER: From now until January 15 I am offering an “Animal Guide for 2014” reading for just $5. You can purchase this reading on my web site, along with many other types of readings.
http://zannastarr.weebly.com/purchase-a-reading.html
I also offer several types of readings through my _Etsy shop_.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/zannastarr

For Listen to the Animals, I pull one card each week from a different animal-themed deck to represent an important message from that animal.

Today I am using Tarot of the Animal Lords by Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo). My card is the Queen of Swords, portrayed in this deck by a PRAYING MANTIS.

Tarot of the Animal Lords (Lo Scarabeo)

Mantis is from the Greek word mantis, meaning "prophet, seer." It’s not difficult to see how the “praying” portion of praying mantis came about. Its prominent front legs are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer. It would be equally appropriate to call it the “preying” mantis, as it is a formidable predator. The praying mantis eats not only moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects, but others of its own kind.

Occasionally, the adult female eats her mate just after—or even during—mating, but this seems to occur most commonly when the insects are being observed under laboratory conditions of bright lights and confinement. It seems ironic that this deck associates the praying mantis with the Queen of Swords, a card that is often thought to represent a widow. In the instruction booklet for Tarot of the Animal Lords, Bepi Vigna assigns to this card the keywords “widow, courage, melancholy, malice, desire for revenge.”

The praying mantis appears in the mythology of many cultures and is often credited with magical powers. In the oldest surviving Chinese dictionary (Erya), the mantis represents courage and fearlessness. The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert of southwest Africa believe the praying mantis is a divine messenger and when one is seen, diviners try to determine the current message.

As with all of the Animal Lords cards, the depiction of the praying mantis is quirky and fanciful. A real one looks more like this:



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Journey Through My Decks: 4 of Earth

For this entry in my Journey through My Decks series I am using Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela Eakins, Ph.D., and Joyce Eakins, M.F.A. (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)


In Tarot of the Spirit, the four suits represent the four major components of human life: spirit, emotions, intellect, and body. The suit of Earth (comparable to the suit of Disks or Pentacles) represents "Wood, Metal, Bone, and Stones; Celestial Orbs; Stars and Planets; Moons; The Body, Birth and Death; The Dark of Midnight; The Sacred Year in Winter's Dream; Browns, Russets and Green Things; Deer, Bear, Boar, and Bull; Burrowing Snakes making caverns in Earth. . ." (Pamela Eakins)

In the Tarot of the Spirit Companion Book (Samuel Weiser, Inc.), Pamela Eakins tells us that Earth is "inert form, female and receptive, providing a body for the forces of intellect, emotion, spirit, will and lifeforce." On the path through Earth, "we learn that it is mostly the structures we, ourselves, erect that fall down and hurt us when Earth quakes. We learn to building our foundation upon the most solid and enduring ground."

Astrologically, Eakins attributes the Four of Earth -- "Power" -- to the Sun in Capricorn. This attribution is also used in Book T*, which titles the card "Earthly Power." For Eakins, the Four of Earth signifies that "power is unfolding within you. . . you have the power to shut the door when necessary, you also have the power to open it."

The Four of Earth depicts four encircled pentagrams on a door which has been barred at the top and bottom from the inside. This is meant to give us the feeling that we are standing inside a room -- the room of material acquisition and success. Notice the radiating keyhole which leads "to the next level of development." The ten golden circles surrounding the keyhole represent the ten spheres on the Tree of Life.

This card asks us to examine how power affects us. Once we have gained power, we may find ourselves spending considerable energy protecting and maintaining it. Guarding against other people separates us from them, yet we need other people. Acquisitions can become a burden. We may lose our sense of what brings true satisfaction. We are encouraged to ask ourselves what reality we want to project out to the world, and to realize that we are citizens of the universe.

* * * * * * * * *
About the deck: In her Acknowledgments section, Pamela Eakins writes: "The Tarot of the Spirit is meant to pick up where other tarots leave off. It has come to us to aid serious students on the esoteric path of the Western mysteries. Its reason for being is to provide assistance for inner awakening and continued spiritual practice." She further states in Chapter 1 that "The objective of working with tarot . . . is to attain a sublime integration of internal contradictory elements in order to transcend conflict or conditioned response patterns and move into a state of inner peace and a deep awareness of our true identity."

* Book T, The Tarot, Comprising Manuscripts N, O, P, Q, R, and an Unlettered Theoricus Adeptus Minor Instruction. A Description of the Cards of the Tarot with their Attributions; Including a Method of Divination by Their Use. A public domain manuscript.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Week at a Glance: Ship, Anchor, Mountain, Stars

For my Week at a Glance this week, let’s see what we can find out using Tierney Sadler’s _Deck of Lenormand Houses_ with the French Cartomancy deck (Lo Scarabeo).

My two draws from Tierney’s deck will show me areas that may require my attention or focus this week, and the draws from the Cartomancy deck will provide additional information. I will also explore the interaction between the cards.

As suggested in Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin’s Learning Lenormand (Llewellyn Publications), I decided in advance how I would interpret the relationship between the two cards. I am reading the second card drawn as impacting the first card drawn.

From the Deck of Lenormand Houses:


In this pair, ANCHOR impacts SHIP. I see the Anchor exerting a stabilizing influence on the Ship, which signifies travel and movement. In a very literal sense, an Anchor holds a Ship back, keeps it in place, prevents it from moving forward. This can be seen as a handicap, yet also can be seen as providing needed security and safety.

Now let’s add two cards from the French Cartomancy deck:



THE STARS impact MOUNTAIN. In brief, optimism, clarity, and focus on the destination exert influence on obstacles to progress or thwarted ambitions.

Using Learning Lenormand, I explore the relationship between each Cartomancy card and the House in which it is placed.

The House of the Ship (Adventure) “is about your purpose and the processes you will go through to fulfill your true destiny.” To me MOUNTAIN in the House of the Ship suggests an obstacle to a departure or travel, an adventure curtailed, limited, or blocked in a discouraging way. I may need to “climb a mountain” in order to get where I want to go.

The House of the Anchor (Standstill) “is where the reading may be held firm or fastened, depending on the questions and the interpretation’s context.” To me THE STARS in the House of the Anchor suggests dreams, hopes, and desires being tethered, stabilized, or held back. It’s as if the Stars are held in place or “fastened” where they are. But isn’t it interesting that there is a ship at the bottom of The Stars card?

I find it fascinating that the relationships between these cards reinforce the same message, i.e., limitations or obstacles impacting travel, adventure, and the fulfillment of dreams -- and vice versa. I see both the Anchor and Mountain as representing steady, strong, secure energy as well as the concept of obstacle or limitation. Interestingly, if I can climb to the top of the Mountain, I will (in a sense) be closer to The Stars than before.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Listen to the Animals: Rabbit

For this Tarot Notes feature, I pull one card each week from a different animal-themed deck to represent an important message from that animal.

From now until January 15 I am offering an “Animal Guide for 2014” reading for just $5. You can purchase this reading on my web site, along with many other types of readings:
http://zannastarr.weebly.com/purchase-a-reading.html

I also offer several types of readings through my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/zannastarr

Using the Animal Powers Meditation Kit by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner (One Spirit), let’s see who my Animal Guide is for 2014.

Hopping into view is the RABBIT.

Animal Powers Meditation Kit

Monte Farber writes that he and Amy Zerner chose the Rabbit to represent “Opportunity” because “they are very quick – one second you see them, the next they are gone.” Farber also mentions the Rabbit’s legendary ability to escape danger in seemingly miraculous ways.

Traditionally, the Rabbit (or Hare) commonly represents fertility, libido, procreation, cyclic rebirth, cunning, swiftness, vigilance and magical powers. Linked with the moon by the ancients, the Rabbit is seen as an augury of good fortune in some cultures.

All that being said, the Rabbit is a prey animal who must learn to survive constant threats and attacks. The Rabbit’s only defense is flight, as it most certainly would lose any sort of fight with a predator.

As a messenger in 2014, the Rabbit seems to advise me to be alert for both opportunities and threats so that I can seize the opportunities and avert the threats. I need to be observant and sensitive to my surroundings, keep my wits about me, and trust my instincts this year.

Below are some well-known rabbits. The first person to identify all of these rabbits correctly in a comment on this blog will receive a FREE Animal Guide reading for 2014!

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review: Learning Lenormand

R E V I E W


Learning Lenormand:
Traditional Fortune Telling for Modern Life

by Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin
Paperback: 312 pages
Llewellyn Publications
ISBN 978-0-7387-3547-1
 


TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

I am a relative newcomer to the world of Lenormand. I do have several decks, and I am a member of the _Learning Lenormand Facebook group_. When I heard about the book Learning Lenormand, I decided it would be a good resource for me.

I love that the authors begin their Introduction with a reference to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. The Golden Compass is one of my all-time favorite books, but I had no idea that the _Alethiometer_ used by the heroine, Lyra, displays the same number of symbols as the Lenormand cards and that many of these are the same as or similar to the symbols of the Lenormand Oracle. (How cool is that?!?!?!)

My favorite sections of Learning Lenormand are:
  • Chapter One: A Tale of Two Cities – a fascinating history that includes information about Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand, the earliest Lenormand decks, the card games Piquet and The Game of Hope, and the use of cartomancy.
  • Chapter Six: The Houses – a description of the houses of the Grand Tableau, including the “Master Method” introduced by Foli in 1903.
  • Appendix One: The Game of Hope – description of a game published c. 1800 as a set of cards with instructions on how to play. A translation of the instructions is included in this Appendix.
I like the way the authors use exercises to gradually build toward the daunting Grand Tableau, which uses all 36 Lenormand cards. The book provides the individual meanings of each card, devoting up to a full page to each.

I enjoyed reading this book straight through, and I know that I will refer to it and use the exercises over and over again as I continue to explore my Lenormand decks.


THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

Read the Lenormand cards to answer practical questions about romance, career, money, travel, and important life choices. With simple instructions for beginning readers, Learning Lenormand teaches easily accessible methods for using this simple thirty-six card deck. Providing fascinating historical research and proven techniques, renowned instructors Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin reveal everything you need to know:

Card meanings • The Grand Tableau • Accessing your inner Sibyl • Sample readings Working with houses • Basic layouts • Deck recommendations • The significance of facing cards • Lenormand and tarot • Diagonals, reflections, zones, and shadows

With fewer complex symbols than traditional tarot cards, the Lenormand deck is a key that unlocks the secrets of the future and uncovers deep personal insights

Marcus Katz
THE AUTHORS

Marcus Katz (England) is a tarot teacher and the director of Tarot Professionals, the world’s largest professional tarot organization. He has studied and taught tarot for thirty years and has delivered more than ten thousand face-to-face readings. He is the co-founder of Tarot Town, the social network for tarot readers, with thousands of members worldwide.

Tali Goodwin
Tali Goodwin (England) is the marketing director of Tarot Professionals and co-founder of the Tarot Town social network. She maintains a popular tarot blog at TarotSpeakEasy.com.

BASIC INFORMATION / APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY / ART

This 312-page high-quality paperback book measures 9 by 7-1/2 inches. Illustrations are black and white.

Table of Contents

One: A Tale of Two Cities
Two: Getting Started
Three: The Cards
Four: Reading the Cards in Context
Five: The Grand Tableau
Six: The Houses
Seven: Knighting, Counting, and Diagonals
Eight: Zones and Shadows
Nine: Card Layouts and Sample Readings
Afterword: Lenormand for Tarot Readers
Appendix One: The Game of Hope
Appendix Two: The Game of Picket (Piquet)
Further Resources
Glossary
Bibliography
Endnotes
Art Credit List