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Order a Reading from Me

Monday, May 26, 2014

Using Tarot to Delineate My Ascendant

My Birth Chart

In today’s blog entry I am borrowing a page (literally) from Anthony Louis – specifically, page 68 from his book _Tarot Beyond the Basics_ (Llewellyn). This section of the book is titled “Using Tarot to Delineate the Ascendant.” Tony Lewis has posted an example of how to do this on his blog. Just click HERE.

Some of you may have read my previous analysis of my _Sun, Moon, and Rising signs_ using Tarot cards from the Major Arcana. I have also analyzed my _Mercury in Capricorn_ using The Magician and The Devil.

As Tony Louis points out, “The Ascendant is the most important point in the horoscope, as it represents one’s life force and basic motivations.”

My ascendant (rising sign) is Virgo, linked by the Order of the Golden Dawn with the Hermit card. That is the association I explored in the blog post referenced above. The method used by Anthony Louis to explore the rising sign incorporates the pip cards using Golden Dawn attributions.

First of all, rather than just saying my rising sign is Virgo, I need to specify which decan of the sign it is. (Each sign has three decans consisting of 10 degrees each, for a total of 30 degrees. Each degree can further be broken down into 60 minutes.) In this version of my chart, my ascendant is 21 degrees, 28 minutes Virgo (another version gives it as 20 degrees 52 minutes). Either way, here is how I figure out which decan of Virgo my ascendant falls into:
  • 0-10 degrees Virgo is linked with the 8 of Pentacles.
  • 10-20 degrees Virgo is linked with the 9 of Pentacles.
  • 20-30 degrees Virgo is linked with the 10 of Pentacles.
My ascendant is in the third decan of Virgo, ruled by Mercury and linked with the Ten of Pentacles (aka “Wealth” in Crowley’s Thoth deck).

The other card linked with the third decan of Virgo can be found on Paul Hughes-Barlow's site: http://supertarot.co.uk/astrology/timing.htm. On the chart provided there, you can see that the third decan of Virgo is also linked to the Knight of Pentacles. I now have three cards to consider: The Hermit, The Ten of Pentacles, and the Knight of Pentacles. Here are those cards as depicted in both the Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot (U.S. Games) and Rider Tarot (U.S. Games):

Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot
Rider Tarot
The Hermit suggests a contemplative nature, among other things. That's definitely me. I am not only contemplative, but I am literally something of a “hermit” in that I truly enjoy, appreciate, and need solitude. I am introspective (which has hopefully led to a certain amount of inner wisdom). In Tarot Beyond the Basics, Anthony Louis gives us several alternate names for The Hermit: Father Time, The Wise One, Aloneness (Virgo). We learn about Astraea, a Greek virgin goddess of justice, who "fled to the heavens as the constellation Virgo to escape human corruption and wickedness." Louis adds: "In his solitude, the Hermit partakes of the analytical Virgo archetype to help him discern what really matters."

And what of the Knight of Pentacles? In Tarot Beyond the Basics, we are given an "Elements and Qualities of the Court Cards" table, in which we read that the Knight of Pentacles can be seen as Dry, Dry, Dry, Hot, Hot, and Cold. (If you really want to understand what all of that means, you'll need to read the book!) Basically, the Knight of Pentacles has three of four elemental qualities. He lacks "wetness" which means that of all the Knights, he is the least flexible or susceptible to outside influence. I feel that I am quite flexible in many situations. However, I can readily identify with this description by Louis: "Being so 'dry,' he likes to prune things down to their bare essentials: 'just the facts, ma'am.'" Waite saw this Knight as slow, enduring, and heavy. I once had a boss tell me in a performance evaluation that one of my greatest strengths was my "absolute reliability." Sounds like the Knight of Pentacles to me! If I want to dig deeper into this card, I can look at the three pip cards associated with the three decans this Knight governs: 7 of Wands, (20-30 degrees of Leo), 8 of Pentacles (0-10 degrees of Virgo), and 9 of Pentacles (10-20 degrees of Virgo).

Now we come to the last card in the trio shown above: Ten of Pentacles. In Tarot Beyond the Basics, Anthony Louis devotes an entire page to each suit card, including a multitude of keywords and associations. I will focus on specific traits or keywords that stand out to me, personally. The keywords provided for the sign Virgo are right on target: “meticulous, orderly, modest, practical, analytical, critical.” Etteilla’s meanings for the Ten of Pentacles from the late 1700s include house, family, and dwelling; contemporary meanings include family and job security – I mention these specific references because in my birth chart, Mercury (along with the Sun and Venus) is in my Fourth House, the House of Home and Family. That area has been and continues to be significant for me. The Crowley/Golden Dawn meaning of “riches” applies on several levels.

Thoth Tarot
To further delineate my Ascendant, I need to look at the placement of the ascendant ruler (Mercury) in my birth chart. In my chart, Mercury is at 17 degrees Capricorn – the second decan of Capricorn, ruled by Mars. The Golden Dawn assigns the Mars decan of Capricorn to the Three of Pentacles (titled “Works” in Crowley’s Thoth deck).

So now we have The Hermit, the Knight of Pentacles, the Ten of Pentacles, and the Three of Pentacles as being significant indicators of my “life force and basic motivations.”

Let’s look at the Three of Pentacles (Mars decan of Capricorn). In Tarot Beyond the Basics, Louis talks about this placement in a sample ascendant delineation. He notes that Mars is the god of war, and that the man in question “had spent part of his career in the military and had a fondness for implements of war.” Those characteristics do not apply to me at all. When I look at the Keywords and Associations for this card, a few things do resonate with me. For example: security, stability (Earth); ambitious, realistic, disciplined (Capricorn); accomplishment, skill, artistry, craftsmanship (Contemporary Meanings). As I mentioned above, I really am something of a “hermit” so the idea of the number three representing “a group effort” doesn’t do much for me.

Rider Tarot
In my birth chart, Mars is in the Fifth House. Of all the keywords for that house, I think “creative self-expression” carries the most weight for me in this context. I see Mars in Capricorn in the Fifth House as combining tremendous energy and drive with discipline and a realistic viewpoint in the area of creative self-expression. Mars pushes and forges ahead, and Capricorn simply does not give up. I am a published author, jewelry designer, tarot reader, and astrologer – and all of these occupations have benefited from that Mars/Capricorn energy. The Crowley/Golden Dawn label “Material Works” could certainly apply to my creation of tangible materials such as jewelry (in the past, I enjoyed doing macrame and counted cross-stitch). My success as an author (I started writing stories and poetry in 4th grade) makes sense given the prominence of Mercury in my chart.

All things considered, I am willing to own The Hermit, Knight of Pentacles, Ten of Pentacles, and Three of Pentacles. It's no surprise to me that associations for my rising sign resonate with me. I first became interested in astrology when I discovered that our Sun sign is not the be-all and end-all of astrological study. I had always had trouble identifying with many aspects of the descriptions of Sagittarius, my Sun sign, but when I found out that I had Virgo rising and read the qualities of that sign, it was like looking in a mirror.

Naturally, with Virgo rising, I adore this sort of activity. Many thanks to Anthony Louis for introducing me to this technique! You can read my review of Tarot Beyond the Basics HERE.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Empress Necklace

I just added a new Tarot-inspired piece to my online handmade jewelry shop, Jewelry by Scotti. (Actually, there are two shops: one at _Etsy_ and one at _ArtFire_. Your choice!)

This necklace was inspired by The Empress card from Tarot of the Hidden Realm by Barbara Moore and Julia Jeffrey (Llewellyn).



This gemstone necklace features distinctive cream-colored carved jade beads, gorgeous olive new jade faceted ovals, and beautiful matte carnelian rounds, separated by decorative antiqued silver bead caps and barrel beads. The earthy colors are picked up by 5mm rounds in medium brown wood and faceted 8mm designer Czech glass beads in a pattern called spotted tiger. Finished with an antiqued silver lobster claw clasp, the necklace is adjustable from 16 to 20 inches in length.


Jade is said to generate divine unconditional love. It assists us in being in touch with our desires and with building the bridges to create dreams into reality. “New jade” is actually a form of serpentine, an exceptional meditation stone that helps us find inner peace. Carnelian is said to be a warming and joyous gem that facilitates concentration and opens the heart.





Monday, May 19, 2014

Review: Tarot Beyond the Basics

R E V I E W


Tarot Beyond the Basics
Gain a Deeper Understanding of the Meanings Behind the Cards
_Llewellyn_ (April 2014)
Trade Paperback | 9780738739441
408 pages | 8 x 9 x 1 IN


TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

First of all, you probably need to know that I have been a fan of Anthony Louis for a long time. Among my all-time favorites are his books Tarot Plain and Simple and Horary Astrology: Plain & Simple (both published by Llewellyn). However, that did not automatically make me love Tarot Beyond the Basics. The love affair began when I was barely into the book and could not resist immediately trying some of things Louis was showing me.

For example, “Using Tarot to Delineate the Ascendant” revealed to me that the Ten of Pentacles (Coins / Wealth) and Three of Pentacles (Coins / Works) are of major significance in understanding my life force and basic motivations (watch for a separate blog post on this!) The section on “Using the Tarot with a Horary Chart” motivated me to take a look at the Tarot implications of a horary chart I recently cast.

Even the appendices are fabulous. Appendix A -- “Keywords for the Suit Cards” -- offers so much more than the title suggests. It is followed by the equally fascinating and useful “Waite’s Original Conception of the Celtic Cross” (Appendix B) and “Elements, Timing, Pips, and Court Cards” (Appendix C).

The bibliography is outstanding. As a nonfiction author, I always try my best to give my readers a wealth of sources from which they can learn more about my subject. Louis does a fantastic job with this.

I imagine it goes without saying that if you are just getting started with Tarot or if you have decided you do not have any interest in incorporating astrology and/or numerology into your Tarot readings, this book is not a great choice for you. It is, however, the perfect book for someone like me – and I suspect there are quite a few of you out there!

THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY
“Take your tarot reading to a higher level. With an emphasis on tarot’s astrological influences and a number of detailed sample readings, Tarot Beyond the Basics shows the way to becoming an advanced practitioner. Here, Anthony Louis shares how-to instructions for working with reversals, number symbolism, intuition, the four elements, and the philosophical roots of tarot.
Explaining astrology for tarot readers clearly and in a way that makes sense, Louis shows how to use the tarot to give powerful readings that change people’s lives. The “real” tarot exists in the mind of each reader and is interlaced with his or her stories and experiences. The abundance of knowledge presented in Tarot Beyond the Basics is sure to make your readings come alive with meaning and significance.”
THE AUTHOR

Anthony Louis (Connecticut) is a physician and psychiatrist. Astrology has been his avocation for more than 30 years. He has lectured internationally on horary astrology and has published numerous articles and books, including Tarot Plain and Simple and Horary Astrology: Plain & Simple (both published by Llewellyn). Articles posted on the Llewellyn web site: Astrology and Tarot, A Meditation and Pythagorean Numerology and Tarot.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THE BOOK

“The cards themselves are simply pieces of cardboard decorated with evocative images, that stimulate the imagination. The ‘real’ tarot exists in the mind of each reader and is interlaced with his or her life history and repository of experiences, or better said, with the view of reality the reader has created from those experiences.”

“The origin of [the Celtic Cross spread] was neither Celtic nor particularly related to the cross that shares its name.”

“Most astrologers do not believe planets ‘cause’ events but rather that important correlations occur between changing planetary patterns and life events on Earth. Correlation is not causation.”

“Every so often a story appears in the media claiming that scientists have discovered a thirteenth sign, which is tantamount to saying that scientific research has recently discovered that thirteen items make a dozen. Poppycock!”

“Perhaps it is heresy, but I believe that the tarot does not always tell the truth.”

“Symbols can change in meaning over time. Their significance depends on the prevailing symbolic winds of the culture in which they appear.”

BASIC INFORMATION / APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY / ART

This quality trade paperback book has 408 pages and measures 8 x 9 x 1 inches. The glossy cover features images of Tarot cards from the Universal Tarot by Roberto De Angelis (Lo Scarabeo). Text is black on white paper. Interior illustrations are grayscale images from various decks. Charts and informational grids are printed in black text on light to dark gray. Layout is clean and clear with sufficient white space.

DETAILS / COMMENTS

Contents

  • Introduction
  • One: Reflections on the Celtic Cross
  • Two: Astrology 101 for Tarot Readers
  • Three: The Topsy-Turvy World of Tarot Reversals
  • Four: The Role of Intuition in Divination
  • Five: Number Symbolism and the Tarot
  • Six: The Four Elements
  • Seven: The Elemental Personalities of the Court Cards
  • Eight: The Major Arcana
  • Nine: The Anatomy of the Four Suits
  • Epilogue
  • Appendix A: Keywords for the Suit Cards
  • Appendix B: Waite’s Original Conception of the Celtic Cross
  • Appendix C: Elements, Timing, Pips, and Court Cards
  • Bibliography



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.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Journey Through My Decks: 8 of Pentacles

Let’s take a look at the Eight of Pentacles from the Fenestra Tarot by Chatriya Hemharnvibul (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Fenestra Tarot (U.S. Games, Inc.)

The Little White Book (LWB) for this deck tells us that the suit of Pentacles relates to the material world: possessions, finances and job. In my tarot system, the number Eight often suggests ambition, achievement, and power.

The Fenestra Tarot Eight of Pentacles depicts a young man working with chisel and hammer, creating a Pentacle. Seven completed Pentacles are displayed in the foreground and background. The young man wears a serious, determined expression as he focuses on his work. Outside a window behind him, leaves sprout from a tree branch.

Book T* calls this card "Prudence" and associates it with the placement of the Sun in Virgo, an Earth sign known for attention to detail, organizational skills, and keen perception.

Divinatory Meanings from the LWB: "Commission, craftsmanship, productivity, efficiency, expertise, profit, recognition." Reversed meanings: "Mediocrity, loss, slowdown, disorder."

As a Daily Card, the Eight of Pentacles reminds me to direct my labor with specific goals in mind, and to follow a plan that will lead to achievement.

About the Deck: The Fenestra Tarot is very much an RWS-style deck. As stated on the US Games web page, Thai artist Chatriya Hemharnvibul, the deck's creator, combines elements of Art Deco, Egypt, mythology and Japanese Manga. Fenestra is Latin for Awindow@ and all cards have window like frames.


--------------
*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, May 11, 2014

Mother’s Day Spread 2014

For Mother’s Day I thought it might be fun to create a spread based on the letters in the word
M-O-T-H-E-R. I decided to draw a card for each letter, and use my understanding of that card to come up with a mother-related word beginning with that letter. And what better deck to use than The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) I am choosing to use only the Majors for this activity.

Clear as mud? Here’s what I mean…

M: FERTILITY (The Empress / Estsanatlehi)

M is for Maternal (of or relating to a mother; denoting feelings associated with or typical of a mother; motherly).

In The Goddess Tarot, Fertility (Trump 3 / The Empress) is portrayed by Estsanatlehi, “the benevolent Navajo corn goddess who symbolizes the ever-changing, ever-fertile earth” who “appears as a young maiden for the spring and summer months; as the wheel of the year changes to fall and winter, she changes in age to a crone.” (Waldherr)




O: THE MOON (Diana)

O is for Occult (beyond the range of ordinary knowledge or understanding; mysterious)

The phases of the Moon – new, full, and old -- are likened to the three incarnations of the Triple Goddess: maiden, mother, crone. The regular twenty-eight day cycle of the moon is associated with the cycle of menstruation. The Moon reflects the mystery and fear within us, that which we cannot see or understand, that which mystifies and confuses us. The goddess Diana was known not only as the goddess of the moon but as the goddess of childbirth and women.

T: BALANCE (Temperance / Yemana)

T is for Temperate (emotionally calm and controlled; avoiding behavior that goes beyond what is normal, healthy, or acceptable)

Balance, harmony, moderation, and unity – how often do mothers seek to bring these gifts to their loved ones and to the world at large? Just as the goddess Yemana brings rain to nurture the earth, a mother brings her child what the child needs to survive, to bloom, and to grow.





H: JUDGMENT (Gwenhwyfar)

H is for Higher Calling. 

To be a mother is to respond to a higher calling, a calling beyond a basic state of self-preservation and self-containment. Necessity dictates that a mother use her best judgment, that she cultivate the desire and ability to atone and to forgive, and that she awaken to the power of her Highest Self.







E: THE WORLD (Gaia)

E is for Evolving (changing or developing slowly, often into a better, more complex, or more advanced state)

Motherhood, like life, has its stages and cycles. Mothers go through many transitions over time, often arriving at a feeling of accomplishment and achievement even as they step forward into unknown and uncertain territory on their journey. No mother is more familiar with this process than Mother Earth – or Gaia, as the ancient Greeks called her. Like the Earth, mothers do evolve into “a better, more complex, or more advanced state”. Note that it is possible to evolve into something that is “more complex” yet not an improvement over the previous state. Likewise, advancement may not equal improvement. Vigilance and wisdom are required.

R: POWER (The Emperor / Freyja)

R is for Revered (respected, honored).

The amount of power a mother wields is significant. Although individual mothers may not be revered, the institution of Motherhood certainly is. Kris Waldherr writes, “Freyja, the Norse goddess of creativity, love, and beauty, shows that true power lies in the ability to discriminate between aggression and passivity – and the ability to choose between them at the right time.” Mothers, like The Emperor, may automatically receive a certain amount of respect and honor simply because of their role and “title.” However, in order to be revered, they must exercise their power wisely and fairly, with kindness and humility.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

REVIEW: Mystical Cats Tarot

R E V I E W


Mystical Cats Tarot
ISBN-10: 0738733881 / ISBN-13: 978-0738733883
Book: 8.5 x 5.4 x 2.4 inches; 216 pages
Cards: 2-3/4 x 4-5/8 inches



TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

Yeah, yeah, I know. The cat lady has acquired another cat-themed deck and what do you know? She likes it! What do I like about it? Well, for starters, even though this is not what anyone would call a Rider-Waite-Smith clone, the situations and activities shown on each card do call to mind the comparable RWS card.

On the Nine of Sky (Swords), instead of someone in bed with nine swords hanging over her head, we have a sleeping cat tossing and turning, clearly distressed, as visions of a vicious dog, angry cat, sharp-taloned bird of prey, and firecracker do a frightening “dance” in its head. On the Four of Sea (Cups), an obviously bored or depressed cat totally ignores four capering lobsters in the background. On the Three of Fire (Wands), a cat gazes upward in a manner similar to that of the man on the RWS Three of Wands, who gazes out at the sea.

I also like the way Lunaea Weatherstone sets the stage for each card interpretation by bringing us into the situation depicted on the card – in other words, the cat situation – before moving on to explain how the card might reflect our situation and advise us on approaches we might take. Reversed meanings are right on target, offering useful and realistic suggestions.

The sketches and comments at the back of the book are truly a welcome addition, giving us insight into the thought processes of the artist and the rest of the team working on the deck.

Mickie Mueller’s art automatically goes in the “plus” column for me, and I love the way she captures the expressiveness of a cat’s face, eyes, and body language. I like that she incorporates many different breeds and colors of cats.

To see a reading I did with this deck, click HERE. I look forward to doing more!

THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY
"Anyone who has ever owned—or been owned by—a cat knows its wild and mystical nature. Open the door to a magical world of feline enchantment that offers eternal and ancient wisdom with the Mystical Cats Tarot.
Discover amazing artwork of various domestic breeds that look and behave like normal cats, but face many challenges, relationships, and life lessons that reveal the answers to our most important questions. Organized by elemental suits—Earth, Sea, Fire, and Sky—and cat-based court cards, this deck presents the descendants of the Cat Goddess in all their furry glory." 
ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lunaea Weatherstone is a priestess, writer, teacher, and tarot counselor who has been serving the Pagan community for more than twenty-five years, since her days as owner/editor of SageWoman magazine. As Grove Mother for the Sisterhood of the Silver Branch, she offers year-long programs in goddess spirituality. Lunaea has been working with the tarot for more than forty years.

Mickie Mueller is an award-winning and critically acclaimed artist of fantasy, fairy, and myth. She is an ordained Pagan minister and has studied Natural Magic, Fairy Magic and Celtic tradition. She is also a Reiki healing master/teacher in the Usui Shiki Royoho Tradition. Mickie enjoys creating magical art full of fairies, goddesses, and beings of folklore. She works primarily in a mix of colored pencil and watercolor infused with magical herbs corresponding to her subject matter.

BASIC INFORMATION

This deck follows the traditional Tarot structure, with Major Arcana cards, Court cards, and Pips.

Majors: Some of the Majors have undergone a “name change” in this deck. For example:

  • The Fool … The Cat
  • The Magician … Cat Magic 
  • Justice … Consequences
  • The Hanged Man … The Floating Cat
  • Temperance … Grace
  • The Devil … Demon Cat
  • Judgment … Good Kitty

Mystical Cats Tarot
Other Majors have traditional titles (for example, The Empress, The Lovers, The Tower).

Minors: The Minor Arcana cards have the traditional four suits but they are given the names Fire Clan (Wands), Sea Clan (Cups), Sky Clan (Swords), and Earth Clan (Pentacles). Court Cards are titled Kitten (Page), Tom (Knight), Queen, and King.

Sections in the introductory pages of Tales of the Mystical Cats (the 201-page book that accompanies this deck) address Mixing the Cards, Reading the Cards, About Reversals, Care and Feeding of Your Deck, in which we are told: “The ‘proper’ way to care for a tarot deck is whatever feels right for you. . . The important thing is always to treat your cards with respect.”

Each card receives a two-page spread, with a black-and-white version of the card on the left and a discussion of the card on the right. The material on the right includes a description of the card, The Cat’s Advice, and “If the card is reversed…”

In the section for each suit, we have a black-and-white illustration and a one-page description of the qualities of the suit and the cats that belong to that element.

Four spreads are included at the end of the book, each accompanied by a drawing that incorporates the layout. These spreads are titled At the Threshold (3 cards with the Two of Fire as the center card), Shield of Sekhmet (3 cards), Council of the Five Tigers (5 cards), and Nine Lives Spread (9 cards).

Following the spreads we have an Appendix containing “Sketches from Mickie Mueller’s Old Wooden Art Table.” This behind-the-scenes glimpse of some of the images in the deck are accompanied by annotated captions from Mueller herself.

APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

The cards are printed on typical Tarot card stock with what I would call a semi-glossy finish. They fit comfortably in my hands and are the right size for shuffling. The packaging includes a white cardboard box that is clearly meant to hold the cards, but it is really too big for them (4 x 5-1/4 inches). It’s better than nothing, but I would rather not use it.

Cards are borderless. Card backs are reversible.

Each card has the title of the card at the bottom in black ink printed on a dark gold banner. I found the titles a bit difficult to read, but that could be due to the age of my eyes.

Mystical Cats Tarot
ART

Mickie Mueller’s art is superb, as expected (I have long been a fan of her work!) As someone who has been owned by cats for most of my life, I recognize the feline expressions, body language, and activities that Mueller has been so successful in capturing. The colors are rich and vibrant. The coloring on the Minors expresses the nature of each suit’s element beautifully.














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.


Monday, May 5, 2014

REVIEW: 365 Tarot Spreads

R E V I E W


365 Tarot Spreads:
Revealing the Magic in Each Day Paperback
Paperback: 408 pages
ISBN-10: 0738740381 / ISBN-13: 978-0738740386
Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.4 x 1.3 inches



TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

‘Tis the season for new book releases and the next one in line for me is 365 Tarot Spreads by Sasha Graham. In her introduction, Graham tells us that after a bit of searching, she noticed that there were “a plethora of 365 books” on every subject imaginable – except Tarot.

I am familiar with several of these types of “365 books,” and I am truly delighted with what Graham has done to apply this format to Tarot reading. I wish I had thought of this idea! But if it couldn’t be me, I’m glad it was Sasha Graham. The concept is brilliant. The choices of occasions or events for each day are excellent. The information provided for each occasion or event is fascinating. Let’s see… what else? Oh, yes, you get 365 spreads that cover every subject imaginable, from Animals to Cinema to Finance and Legal Matters to Love and Romance to Self-Knowledge and Personal Growth to Work and Career. And the Index in the back gives you a way to look up a topic on which you’d like to do a reading.

This is just a splendid book all around. As a writer myself, it’s easy for me to see how much time, energy, research, and heart went into this work. Well done, Sasha Graham!

THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

A tarot reading is a quest for answers to your greatest questions, deepest desires, and most profound needs. The power of tarot lies in the questions, and now you can discern answers to those questions with fascinating and magical results 365 days a year. Explore a tarot quest on any topic with extensive spread categories, including:

  • Love and Romance
  • Money and Career
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Home and Family
  • Personal Growth
  • Astrology and the Zodiac
  • Multicultural Holidays
  • Rituals and Occult Studies
  • Grief and Moving Forward
  • Spirituality

Use 365 Tarot Spreads year after year with spreads you can apply anytime and in any situation. Each spread is based on a significant historical or magical occurrence on that particular day, and each one is accompanied by a detailed explanation and sample questions to focus on while reading. This wondrous guide provides a magnificent journey to achieve enlightenment every day.

Sasha Graham
THE AUTHOR

Sasha Graham was born in Saranac Lake, NY, to a free spirited hippie mother. She is the great grandniece of famous Chilean painter Alvaro Guevara and proud to descend from a long line of creative, outrageous women. Settling in Manhattan in the late 80's, Sasha acted in over 15 B-horror films, received a BA in Literature at Hunter College and began working with Tarot. Sasha now organizes tarot events, teaches tarot classes and provides tarot outreach to young people all over NYC. Sasha and her tarot work have been featured on various documentaries and media outlets including; The Wall Street Journal, The Daily News, CBS Early Morning Show, WPIX Channel 11, and recently she was featured on the cover of Crain's New York Business.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE SPREADS FROM THE BOOK

January 2: Speak with Ancestors Spread
(Ancestors’ Day occurs today on the tropical island of Haiti.)

February 16: Pamela Coleman Smith’s Synesthesia Experiment Spread
(Pamela Colman Smith was born this day in 1878. Smith had a high degree of synesthesia, a condition where one sense, like sight, is perceived with an additional sense, like hearing.)

April 10: Magical Trees Spread
(On this day in 1872, Nebraskans celebrated the first Arbor Day.)

May 1: Beltane Crossing Over Spread
(Beltane marks the second half of the Celtic year. . . Like Samhain, the veil between worlds is at its thinnest right now.)

May 2: The Loch Ness Magical Scotland Spread
(The first sighting of the Loch Ness monster was reported on this day in 1933.)

June 2: Circus Spread
(Legendary huckster P.T. Barnum began touring with his circus on this day in 1871.)

July 7: Houdini’s Transformation Spread
(Harry Houdini first performed a handcuffed escape from a nailed, roped packing crate lowered into the East River in New York City on this day in 1912.)

August 8: Should I Quit This Job Spread
(President Richard Nixon announced that he would resign from office today in 1974.)

September 30: Rumi’s Poetic Life Spread
(Rumi, the Persian Muslim poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic, was born on this day in 1207.)

December 5: Bermuda Triangle Lost Object Spread
(A training flight of five American torpedo bombers vanished over the Bermuda Triangle on this day in 1945, one of many strange, unexplained disappearances attributed to the Bermuda Triangle.)

December 31: World Card Spread
(Tonight’s yearly culmination is the perfect time to reflect with a spread based on the World card.)

BASIC INFORMATION / APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY / ART

This is a large, high-quality paperback book measuring 9 x 7.4 x 1.3 inches. Contents are printed in black on white stock. Layout is clean, inviting, and logically arranged. Dates are printed in white on a dark gray banner. Discussions of individual cards are printed in black on light gray.

Following seven-page Introduction are 365 pages of spreads. Each page has the calendar date, title of the spread, On This Day, Summation of Spread, and Cast Your Cards, which consists of positional definitions and the spread layout. For each day we also have a sidebar that contains “fun facts” or tidbits of information, along with a black-and-white image of a Tarot card from the Universal Tarot by R. DeAngelis (Lo Scarabeo), with a few words about that card.

The spreads Sasha Graham provides for each day of the week are not just random spreads. Each one relates to a specific event, holiday, or occasion that occurred on the date in question. For example, February 7 is the date when the tale of Pinocchio was released in 1940. The spread presented for that day is called Pinocchio’s Truthfulness Spread. Positional definitions “regard all areas of truthfulness in our lives.” The sidebar lists signs that indicate when a person might be lying, such as nose twitching, mouth covering, fidgeting, and tense lips. The Tarot card is the King of Cups, which is “connected to lying, fabrication, and tall tales.”

Placed throughout the book are spreads designed around Major Arcana Cards. The positional definitions for these spreads are based on various objects shown on that card. For example, the World Card spread has eight positions based on the Dancer, Magic Wands, Wreath, Androgyny, Head, Lion, Ox, and Eagle.
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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.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Lenormand Reading: The Answer Line

On the heels of my _REVIEW_ of Rana George’s book The Essential Lenormand, I am doing some of the readings presented in the book as practice and to familiarize myself further with the Lenormand cards. This one is called The Answer Line. It uses five or seven cards. Rana mentions two Options for this spread: (1) Choose a focus card in advance or (2) Let the deck choose the focus card. I am going to focus on a relationship and the question I want to ask is, “Will the negative aspects of the relationship ever improve?”

I have chosen the Cross as the focus card. Using the French Cartomancy deck published by Lo Scarabeo, I am placing the Cross face up and drawing four other cards, placing two on each side of the Cross. Let’s see what I get.

French Cartomancy

ANCHOR (35) + CROSSROADS (22) + CROSS (36) + CLOVER (2) + MOON (32)

Rana’s instructions are to read the focus card with the cards that are flanking it first as a three-card focus.

CROSSROADS + CROSS + CLOVER

The negative aspects of the relationship stem from doubt and uncertainty about which direction to take (CROSSROADS), yet there is a possibility of reconciliation and second chances.

Next, I am to read the first two cards plus the focus card as a three-card set:

ANCHOR + CROSSROADS + CROSS

Stability, commitment, and trust are the foundation of this relationship and will influence the direction taken in an attempt to improve the negative aspects.

Finally, I read the focus card with the last two cards as a set of three:

CROSS + CLOVER + MOON

Again, the reassuring implications of CLOVER suggest a possibility of reconciliation and second chances. The MOON speaks of attraction and affection, reinforcing that positive message.

I see a great deal of promise in the ANCHOR, CLOVER, and MOON. It seems that the relationship is at a CROSSROADS and that the negative aspects of the relationship may cause problems (CROSS). However, I feel the answer to my question -- “Will the negative aspects of the relationship ever improve?” – is Yes.

What do you think?