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Friday, December 26, 2014

Ghosts of Christmas: A Reading

As of December 25, 2014, I am the happy owner of the _Ghost Tarot_, with artwork by Davide Corsi (published by Lo Scarabeo). I was introduced to this deck by one of my Tarot students. As part of an assignment, she discussed her impressions of several cards, and I quickly decided I wanted to work with this deck. A little hint to Santa (in this case, my daughter) and here we are!

A thought came to me (which I’m sure has come to other people, so please don’t credit me with an original idea or accuse me of stealing yours) of drawing three cards to represent (1) the Ghost of Christmas Past, (2) the Ghost of Christmas Present, and (3) the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The positions are based, of course, on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Let’s see what messages the ghosts have for me…



(1) the Ghost of Christmas Past

The THREE OF PENTACLES speaks: “I am linked with the element Earth and the nature of material things. Roots. Security. Stability. A secure foundation was laid in the past  -- by others and by yourself -- on which you were able to build.”

My response: I know that everything starts small, but with dedication and sacrifice “on our part and by those who love us” (as it says in the LWB) there will be growth, expansion, and completion

(2) the Ghost of Christmas Present

The FOUR OF CHALICES speaks: “I am linked with the element of Water and to human emotions. Memories made today contribute to new emotions. Not all of this is happiness and light. Yet it is most important that you learn to see the hope offered to you, even if it seems to arrive from nowhere.”

My response: I know that at any given time, even at Christmas, it is all too easy to fixate on what feels wrong or sad in life. The key is not to get so bogged down emotionally that I cannot or will not look up and see the chalice of happiness and love that is offered to me.”

(3) the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

THE EMPRESS speaks: “I bring authority tempered by humility and grace, power infused with love and compassion. As The Empress, you must blend these qualities, being willing to both exert your influence and to step back and sacrifice for the greater good when necessary.”

My response: This is a high goal indeed, but one to which I can aspire.  I see The Empress as a card of fertility and of giving birth to new ideas, stories, and songs. Her importance as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come cannot be overstated. The possiblities and potential are there. It is up to me to bring them to fruition.


Wishing everyone many memorable blessings during this holiday season!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Old English Tarot: 6 of Batons

In today's blog entry, Helen Howell continues her exploration of cards from the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Old English Tarot
6 of Batons
by Helen Howell


The Six of Batons (Wands in more traditional decks) really does speak to me about progress. This card, like its more traditional counterpart the Rider Waite, also talks of victory, fulfilment along with recognition for past achievements.

In the Rider Waite we see the figure riding his horse and enjoying the acknowledgement for his past achievements. The horse is moving, symbolising that one must keep moving onto the next challenge if they are to remain successful. This whole image reflects the idea of victory and success.

The Old English Tarot’s depiction at first glance doesn’t speak as the Rider Waite one does of victory or the acknowledgement gained, as seen in the laurel wreath the rider wears. But what we do see is a ploughed field that is burgeoning with produce. A woman tosses feed to a hen and her chicks.

 So what does this image represent for us that fits in with suit of Batons/Wands and its energy of creative action? The fertile field along with its crop shows the success she has achieved. While the hen and the chicks could represent, in the form of the chicks, the next challenge. This could be the new potential that exists.

Both images show us the need to keep moving, the horse in the Rider Waite and the woman still working in the Old English. Although the Rider Waite card does have a difference, in that its rider on horseback seems to have time to enjoy a moment or two of acclaim. The woman in The Old English suggests to me that there is no time to sit back and enjoy what has already been achieved if the potential of one’s goals is to be reached. For her, the fertile field and its crop is her acknowledgement, but the card does appear to emphasise that one must keep working towards one’s outcome.

This idea of keeping moving fits in very well with the Wands suit, as it is a suit of fire and fire is never standing still, even if it burns in a fireplace. The field with the crops ready to harvest indicates, I feel, that one cycle has now been fulfilled and the hen with the chicks indicate the potential of the next one.

I really like this card’s imagery as it shows us that what has been achieved is worthy of note but that there is always more to achieve.

The LWB says:
Triumph, gain, provision, advancement, results of efforts.
Reversed: Indefinite delay, fear, apprehension.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Journey Through My Decks: 10 of Pentacles (Disks)

The Haindl Tarot
Ten of Stones


"Hermann Haindl has created a sacred Tarot, one which reaches back to 
ancient spiritual traditions of many cultures. 
The Haindl Tarot ... opens our minds. It leads us to see the world
 in a new way (or perhaps a very old way), 
as a vessel filled with spiritual power and truth."
~ Rachel Pollack ~

My study of this complex deck is ongoing, aided by Rachel Pollack's two volumes of commentary. My goal here is simply to provide what insights I have been able to gather on this card to date. The suit of Stones is associated with North America (west); Wands are associated with India (east); Cups are associated with the Celtic countries (north); and Swords are associated with Egypt (south).

Stones in general deal with work and nature. Indeed, the Stone is the only suit symbol in the deck that comes from nature (Wands, Cups, and Swords are made by human beings). Associated with the element Earth, the suit of Stones is considered "feminine" yet Pollack tells us that Stones (along with Swords) have a "dark" or "yang" quality (as opposed to Cups and Wands, which are seen as "light" or "yin.")

In her Introduction to her book on the Minor Arcana of The Haindl Tarot, Pollack notes that in many Tarot decks, the Minors refer to aspects of everyday life. The Haindl deck follows this pattern, but the Minor Arcana cards are also considered "communal." We are looking at the realm of daily life, work, money, and the physical world on a large scale. The suit of Stones teaches us how to create a new foundation for progress in our lives and encourages us to *work* not just for our own personal reasons but for the restoration of the world.

Titled "Richness," The Ten of Stones in this deck features ten stones that form the same pattern as the cups in the Ten of Cups card B titled "Success." In both cases, we are being encouraged to examine what constitutes true "riches" or "success." Pollack tells us that Haindl wanted the Ten of Stones "to go beyond the traditional meaning in order to show the richness of an abundant nature, a sense of both the world and the individual person healthy and alive."

The hexagram on the Ten of Stones reflects the spiritual origins of wealth. It is number 48, which Wing calls "The Source." In addition to culminating the suit of Stones, this card could be seen as the culmination of the entire Haindl deck. A transformation has been completed.  Pollack writes: "In a deep valley water rushes forth, white and foaming, like mountain snow melting in the spring. Above the cleft of rock we see a bright sky."

Pollack tells us that the Ten of Stones "refers to a good life, to health and a sense of solid reality. . . the materialization of the person's hopes and desires." Reversed, the card can suggest that "a potential good development has not yet occurred" or that "material wealth and security are there but the person does not appreciate their value."

-----------------------------------
Sources:

The Haindl Tarot. Created by Hermann Haindl. U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
The Haindl Tarot, Volume I: The Major Arcana by Rachel Pollack. Newcastle Publishing, Inc.
The Haindl Tarot, Volume II: The Minor Arcana by Rachel Pollack. Newcastle Publishing, Inc.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Old English Tarot: 6 of Cups

In today's blog entry, Helen Howell continues her exploration of cards from the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Old English Tarot
6 of cups
by Helen Howell


Now I had to study this card in order to get some sense of the meaning from it, as the Old English doesn’t automatically give out that feeling of nostalgia or memories as does the traditional Rider Waite card. However it does express a sense of happiness in its depiction.

Let’s take a closer look. We have six cups arranged in two sets of three, equally placed one set above the other on the card. Just looking at the cups alone gives me a sense of balance, as though the top set influences the second. What has gone before, now exists in the present. The cups seemed to be in harmony with each other. From this if we think of how the Rider Waite 6 of cups leans towards harmony and the past influencing the future, then we can see this symbolism in the placement of the 6 cups in the Old English.

The figure at the bottom of the card is a woman who looks almost as though she is about to dance while holding two bells. Bells tend to catch our attention and bring us to focus on whatever it is they are calling us to. The sound of bells can be a happy thing, and depending on the bells and their ring or chime, even an uplifting spiritual experience. Perhaps the lady in this image is celebrating because the effort from the past is now paying off. Or maybe she is remembering something that makes her happy.

I think the key to interpreting this card (and it’s only my opinion; you may or may not agree) is the arrangement of the cups, and how one set follows on or repeats from the other. This helps us to see that either something from the past is now influencing the future, or that they are in perfect balance and harmony with each other. Coupled with the figure, this indicates that perhaps something that has been long held and hoped for is now coming to fruition. Of course in a reading the cards that surround it will help you decided how to interpret it.

I admit that the symbolism in this card at first look is not so easy to interpret, but when you apply your knowledge of traditional meanings, you can see how it reflects those.

LWB says:
Memories, nostalgia, longing, past influences.
Reversed: Future, new opportunities.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Chatelaine Spread

The Chatelaine Spread
from the Vintage Wisdom Oracle 
by Victoria Moseley (U.S. Games, Inc.)

As promised, here is a reading with the Vintage Wisdom Oracle using The Chatelaine Spread, which appears on pages 78-79 of the guidebook that accompanies this deck.

To read my review of this deck, click HERE.

Victoria Moseley tells us: “The origins of the term chatelaine date back to Medieval times and referred to the person responsible for carrying the keys to the house. The chain on which the keys hung was also called a chatelaine and during the 18th and 19th centuries evolved into a pin from which all manner of practical household tools were suspended from chains.”


The Positional Definitions and the cards I drew into those positions appear below.

Card 1. The Chatelaine – Foremost issues of the wearer
FREEDOM

Such an appropriate card to draw, given that my Sun sign is Sagittarius, the foremost “freedom loving” sign of the zodiac. On the card we see castle walls, symbolizing austerity and containment, against a darkened sky. In the foreground, a dove (symbol of purity) is about to be released from the hand of a young maiden. Birds are well-known living metaphors for freedom of the soul. This card suggests that my foremost issues have something to do with feeling limited, held back, perhaps even victimized. Freedom may seem desirable, but I need to remember that “every freedom carries responsibility” and I need to use it wisely.

Card 2. The Scissors – The most effective way to release unwanted influences
PATIENCE

“Surrounded by a field of wildflowers, an exasperated fairy-child stands with her head buried mournfully in her hands.” When I first saw this image, I thought of a child playing hide-and-seek, counting to whatever number was decided upon before being allowed to seek the children who are hidden. It’s only a game, but it does require patience!

My patience tends to grow thin in the face of delays or obstacles that block my chosen path. Is this because I really am waiting an unbearable amount of time? Or is it because our society has conditioned us to expect immediate gratification? Impatience is the “unwanted influence” here, and in my search for Freedom, patience will be my ally.

Card 3. The Magnifying Glass – Hidden areas, which are either buried or in need of confrontation
AWAKENING

On this card, “a woman emerges from a bed of roses, symbolizing pleasure and pain. . . This auspicious card speaks of new light on your pathway.” It seems that this “new light” is hidden from me at the moment. Why? I may be tempted to blame others, but perhaps I need to “wake up” and own my part in a situation. Old fears may be buried so deep that I am not even consciously aware of them.

Card 4. The Needle Kit – Your healing strengths to the world
NATURE

This is one of the images in this deck that strikes me as just plain silly. We are supposedly looking at an exotic dancer holding a “rapturous pose.” I see the woman as artificial and self-conscious, and I have trouble equating her with the beauty of the natural world. However, the card also incorporates wildflowers, seed heads, sky, sea, fire (the sun), and earth. Red poppies loom large in the foreground, symbolizing death, remembrance, and renewal. My deep affinity with Nature could be seen as my “healing strengths to the world,” and it is important that I keep my energies aligned with that.

Card 5. The Notepad – The lesson
INNOCENCE

This adorable vignette shows two little children dressed in their Sunday best. To many people, the past does seem like a safe haven compared to modern-day realities, and a vintage picture like this really brings that home. Whether it’s 100% accurate or not, our perception of the past is often that it was a kinder, gentler time – innocent and decent – when we trusted each other. This, then, is the lens through which I need to consider my foremost issue: Freedom. How would I have defined Freedom as a child? How can I learn to appreciate the Freedom I do have in a child-like way? How will this change in perception affect feelings of judgment, guilt, or blame towards myself or others?

Card 6. The Key – The wisdom that opens your secret door to new possibilities
SURRENDER

Like The Hanged Man in the Tarot, the woman in this card is “caught in a poignant moment of realization.” Butterflies float from her open palm, and tiny seed heads are carried upward on a gentle breeze. The woman is letting go, releasing attachments that no longer serve her purpose. She relinquishes control, opening her heart and mind to a Higher Power. The butterfly is a symbol of transformation and renewal. To open my secret door to new possibilities, I need to “step bravely into the unknown,” embracing change, leaving behind whatever prevents me from becoming what I could become.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

REVIEW: Vintage Wisdom Oracle

R E V I E W




Vintage Wisdom Oracle
by Victoria Moseley
ISBN 978-1-57281-781-4
52 cards
Cards and Guidebook
measure 3.75" x 5.5"
Box measures 4" x 5.7"



TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

I confess that the art in this deck is not the kind I would normally be drawn to. Having said that, I also confess that I am drawn into many of the images – for example:

  • Protection (a “statuesque warrior goddess stands on the threshold between two worlds. . . Two regal swans, symbolizing the element of light, stand proudly at Protection’s feet.”)
  • Shadow Self (“Night has fallen and a young girl pauses beneath a stone portal, perhaps seeking guidance from the raven above.”)
  • Wisdom (“The last rays of the setting sun fall on this portrayal of mythic Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, and her wise protector, the Little Owl.”)

Some of the images, I also have to confess, strike me as just plain silly. It’s a personal thing, I know, and has nothing to do with the quality or talent obviously possessed by the artist.

There is a definite Victorian “feel” to these cards, and those who love that period will certainly notice and enjoy.

The more I wander through this deck, the more I understand its appeal. I am looking forward to doing one of the spreads provided in the guidebook and sharing it here on Tarot Notes! (And/or maybe a deck interview... hmmmm....)

THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

From the artist: “My hope, dear reader, is that the spirit that inspired this project from the start will breathe new light on your pathway, and that the haunting beauty of these iconic muses will speak as profoundly to you as they have to me.”

From the publisher: “Vintage Wisdom Oracle deck presents 52 lavishly illustrated oracle cards infused with the beauty and inspiration of goddesses, divas and muses from bygone eras. Rich in symbolic detail, these nostalgic montages have been artfully crafted from French vintage postcards and sepia family photographs, embellished with delicate flowers and lace. This exquisite gift set includes an 80-page guidebook filled with evocative insights and timeless feminine wisdom, as well as five custom card spreads.”

BASIC INFORMATION

The cards present such concepts as Abundance, Gratitude, Perception, Surrender, and Wisdom. Keywords are centered at the bottom of the cards in black, in a feminine, easy-to-read script.

The unillustrated guidebook begins with a long Introduction in which Victoria Moseley explains how the idea of creating this deck began to take shape when she was looking at postcards in a shop window. The guidebook presents each card in three or four paragraphs of text, and the entries are arranged alphabetically, beginning with Abundance and ending with Wisdom. The text is beautifully written in prose rich with imagery and depth of meaning.

The guidebook also contains five unique spreads: the Four-Leaf Clover Spread, the Spyglass Spread, the Penny Farthing Spread, the Walled Garden Spread, and the Chatelaine Spread.



APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

The 52 high-quality cards in this deck measure 3.75 by 5.5 inches. They are packaged in a sturdy cardboard lift-top box. The matte finish has a silky feel. Too large to be shuffled like a standard card deck (Tarot or playing card), they require a slower, more deliberate process that is very much in keeping with the quiet, feminine images.

Borders on the front of the cards vary in color from gray to brown to purple. Each image is set against a scrolled ivory background that is primarily visible at the bottom, behind the card titles.

Card backs feature a marvelous close-up of a woman’s face in the center, surrounded by curls and swirls, with flowers and a moth. The rest of the card back is brown with an ornate golden ivory design.

ART

After acquiring the postcards she admired in the shop, Moseley “began experimenting with the images and creating montages using my own watercolor paintings, pressed wildflowers from our local meadow, bits of old lace and embroidery, as well as contemporary digital elements from fellow crafters.” She also included elements from historic painters such as John Waterhouse and Van Gogh. The result is a series of gentle images with an antique Victorian style. Each image contains layers of symbolism that are well worth exploration through meditation.




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.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Old English Tarot: 3 of Coins

In today's blog entry, Helen Howell continues her exploration of cards from the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Old English Tarot
3 of Coins
by Helen Howell

I really like the illustration that goes with this card. We have a large castle which sits atop a grass mound. It could represent for us a goal or security, perhaps something we aspire to. Leading down from the castle to one side is a ploughed field in which it looks like something has been planted but has not yet fruited -- it reminds me in its layout of a vineyard. This could symbolise for us the potential of abundance. The figure is checking out the progress of one of the plants.

Now this card can be interpreted the same as the Rider Waite one, generally meaning, progress, focus, more work to be done but there is a difference between this card and the more traditional image, and that is it doesn’t speak of collaboration or teamwork, but shows that the individual is responsible for the outcome. It indicates that the results lie in one’s own ability to maintain a focus and effort towards reaching their desires. Both this and the more traditional images do both indicate that great skill and a desire to perfect something exist.

I like the Old English rendition, especially as it brings home that the end result really depends on the effort that the figure is willing to put in without relying on anyone else. It shows like its more traditional brothers, that one is on the way to reaching that goal, but more has yet to be done.

So it seems to me that the one singular difference in this card’s interpretation to other traditional images is that one must rely on their own imagination and skill rather than on a group or team to get things done.

The LWB says:
Great skill, mastery, artistic ability perfection.
Reversed: mediocrity, money problems, poor quality.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

When Are You Most “Yourself?”

I remember a conversation with my brother years ago, after I made a major, life-altering change in my life. He asked, “Are you happy?” I said, “I feel like I can be myself. And that’s really important.”

To one degree or another, I think we all play various “roles” during the course of our life. All of those roles are part of who we are, really, but I think most of us experience times or moments when we are truly relaxed enough to just “be ourselves,” without consciously (or even subconsciously!) thinking about any role we could be playing.

I decided to draw three cards to answer the question: “When am I most ‘myself’?”

For this reading I am throwing caution to the winds and using a new oracle deck (watch for my review in the near future): the Vintage Wisdom Oracle by Victoria Moseley (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) This deck consists of “52 lavishly illustrated cards infused with the beauty and inspiration of goddesses, divas, and etheric muses.”


And the winners are:



UNION 

On this card, “a tantric goddess sits within an ancient temple of worship. She is filled with the ecstasy of divine union, which permeates the room in a rainbow of hues radiating from her aura.”

“Union suggests the possibility of a new relationship, special friendship, creative project or meditation. The entwining of the divine energy of union seeks authentic expression. The heavenly energy represented by this card could also signify the answer to a prayer.”

DREAMS

On this card, “Isis, giver of life and diviner of magic, is depicted standing motionless in a haunting moonlit river.”

“The Dreams card signifies that now may be time to make a significant decision or to rethink your direction and make some changes, which, however small, could lead to larger things.”

DIVINE TIMING

“Portrayed on a fantasy landscape of clouds and falling stars, the mystyerious hand of fate writes scripture into the ether, as if recording the karmic destiny of a soul’s earthly sojourn. . . An angel leans nonchalantly against the clock, awaiting her next assignment. . .”

“The appearance of the Divine Timing card invites you to align with your intuitive nature, while being patient and flexible. . . Be ready for synchronous happenings, unexpected blessings, and sudden endings or beginnings.”



I relate to each of these cards at a deep level, and I have to agree that I am “myself” in situations and circumstances where I can experience the energy and gifts of Union, Dreams, and Divine Timing. In fact, I experience Union with many different spirits and symbolic representations in my Dreams, some of which do reflect a sense of Divine Timing. As a Sagittarius, I am most “myself” in a setting that represents higher thoughts, philosophies, and spirituality.