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Friday, January 30, 2015

Review: Art Through The Starstream Oracle

R E V I E W


Art Through The Starstream Oracle
Paintings and Text by Cheryl Yambrach Rose
Published by Dagda Vision
Distributed by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
ISBN 978-1-57281-795-1
Size: 52 cards measure 3.5" x 6" 
114-page illustrated guidebook


TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

The things I love about this deck and book set include the art, which is stunning, and the accompanying booklet, which contains information about a huge variety of mythological, spiritual, and mystical people and entities. I enjoyed reading the booklet from cover to cover, and I am now enjoying studying the cards individually and in the spreads provided by the booklet.

This oracle deck can be used with Cheryl’s preceding deck, “Art Through the Eyes of the Soul”. To read my review of Art Through the Eyes of the Soul Oracle, click HERE.

Among my favorite cards (along with their Expanded Meanings and a few lines from the booklet) are:

“Mound of the White Horse” Expanded Meaning: “Enough is enough. Have the courage to break free and create a new paradigm in your life. Leave the invalidators and abusive situations behind. No more sacrifices.”

“In County Down, Northern Ireland there is a large mound on the grounds of Narrow Water Castle near Carlingford Lough. It is called the Mound of the White Horse. In very ancient days, it is said the area was visited by Egyptians, Africans, Phoenicians, and Vikings…”

“Kivanga’s Journey” Expanded Meaning: “Magic and ritual can sometimes help to be able to act out a different scenario in another realm of existence. The use of mythic symbols and costumes allow you the freedom to recreate or ‘try it out’.”

“According to myth, a race of giants lived in the Congo. One of them was called Kivanga. He used sound, frequency and magic to pass through the veil to the underworld to rescue his twin sister who had been taken in marriage by a different tribe or race of beings…”

“Vimana Vision” Expanded Meaning: “Be happy. Unseen forces are at work. Stay on the positive timeline for best results. Many levels are involved and they are working in tandem for the most beneficial outcome.”

“Elephants are sacred animals. To the Hindus, they are the living incarnation of their God Ganesh. Each part of the deity has a symbolic function. . .”

“The Corn Goddess” Expanded Meaning: “Identify with and personify the Corn Goddess. She represents the balance of nature as the young girl, the life giver, and the wise woman.”

“I met the wolf people in Mexico. Called the Huichol or Wixaritari, they believe they come from wolf shamans originating from the dog star Sirius. . .”


THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

In every culture there is a story that leads back to the realm of the stars. This stunning 52-card oracle deck helps you reconnect with your origins in the stars, the source of all creativity. Through her artwork, inspired by mythology and history, Cheryl taps into insightful cosmic connections. Working with the Starstream Oracle can heighten your intuitive skills to discover positive solutions and outcomes. The deluxe boxed set contains 52 gilded cards and a 114-page illustrated guidebook.

Cheryl Yambrach Rose-Hall
AUTHOR/ARTIST

“My highest aspiration as an artist is the infusion of Spirit into matter.”
— Cheryl Yambrach Rose, 1989

Cheryl Yambrach Rose-Hall is a portrait painter, visionary artist and researcher. Using historical data along with her psychic impressions she creates empowered works of art based on sacred sites and their mythology.

Excelling in spiritual portraiture, Cheryl is collected by many discerning luminaries, including Gary Zukav, Neale Donald Walsch and Jean Houston. Her artwork has shown world-wide, including the Nelson Rockefeller Collection, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

Her work has been extensively published in a wide variety of forms — books, articles, magazines, CDs, Doreen Virtue's oracle decks — and has been featured on the Wisdom and Travel Channels.

In Prague, she is co-founder with her husband, of Daghda Vision s.r.o., a company dedicated to global cultural exchange, art, film and publishing.

She divides her time between studios in Mount Shasta, CA, England, and Prague. Having returned to her European roots, she is excited by the reawakening of ancestral resonances, which she weaves through her fine oil compositions.

Toby R. Hall of Daghda Vision s.r.o. writes: “Through intuition, history, myth and personal experience, coupled with a finely tuned psychic compass she journeys into each of the mysteries embodied in the work and weaves them into this interactive Oracle.”

BASIC INFORMATION

In addition to a truly stunning collection of paintings, the Art Through the Starstream Oracle includes a booklet containing information about a huge variety of mythological, spiritual, and mystical people and entities. Many of these are from the British Isles.

Each of the 52 cards in this oracle deck is designed to provide a message from a painting created by Cheryl Yambrach Rose. The publisher tells us that these images “are birthed from visions and experiences in both the inner and outer realms.” Combined with the text, they are intended to “serve as guides and stepping-stones” for our own research and reflection.

The 114-page guidebook has black and white images of each card, the card name, extended description and a story, plus a small photograph of a location or artifact related to the card. There are five spreads illustrated as well as instructions of how to use the deck. The spreads include a 13-card Starstream Portal Spread, a 4-card Prahna Spread, a 5-card Lemurian Dreaming Spread, a 5-card Through the Veils of Avalon Spread, and a 5-card Telos Spread.

APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

The set comes in a hard cover box with a lift-off top. The cover image for the box and the guidebook is that of “You are The Oracle”, from the “Avalon Starstream Oracle”.

Cards are made of sturdy card stock, with gilded edges. Card backs show a red-haired woman in a nature setting, with a stream and a forest animal that resembles a mink (correction: It's a river otter!) . Behind her we see waterfalls. Above her a branch with a hornet or wasp nest (correction: It's bees!) extends into the center-top of the card. Colors on the back of the card are earth toned – gray, brown, and green. There is a ribbony gold border surrounding the image. The backs are not reversible.

The card faces show a gold border framing a central image. For the most part, the deck is done in darker colors, with each card having a dominant color or color scheme. Card titles, key thoughts, and card numbers appear at the bottom.

ART

Cheryl Yambrach Rose tells us: “My work is done in oil on linen, but not in the traditional manner. I begin each painting with the eyes and spiral out from that focal point. . . Beginning with the eyes gives me a direct portal and connection to the person or entity I am painting.”



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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day - 8 of Swords

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:

EIGHT OF SWORDS

The Sherlock Holmes Tarot (Sterling Ethos)

In The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos), the suit of Observation (represented by an eye) is comparable to the suit of Swords.

This card is inspired by The Hound of the Baskervilles, specifically, an attack on Watson by the villainous Colonel Sebastian Moran. The scene on the card, showing Watson bound to a chair, is not recorded in the canon. However, the creators of the deck felt it very likely occurred as part of the whole ordeal. While reading the story, we know that Sherlock Holmes is close by and we have confidence that he will rescue Watson.

So here we have a situation where Watson is caught up in matters beyond his control, imprisoned, restricted, and unable to escape. The creators of this deck include the key words “fear of what others say, bigoted opinions, intolerance” – the idea of someone’s mind, ability to observe, or perspective being limited or inhibited in some way. It is important to escape or emerge from these limitations in order to see matters clearly and make a logical decision on what to do next.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Old English Tarot: 3 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
3 of Batons
by Helen Howell


Now you may take a look at the Old English 3 of Batons and wonder what on earth does a windmill and rabbits mean? But if we take a closer look and compare it to a more traditional card like the Rider-Waite, then it all becomes clear.

In the Rider-Waite card we see a man gazing out across the water towards some hills/mountains (these could represent his goals). Two wands are firmly planted behind him (representing the actions already taken) and one wand he holds steady with his hand (the future action to be taken.) The card is about future action, making the next decision, realising that although the first stage has been completed there is still more to accomplish.

But this message is not so clear in the Old English and that is because its image is not so much about thinking about the next step, but rather showing more about being enterprising -- symbolised here for us by those rabbits who seem to be taking over the foreground. Also it’s about being productive, which is maybe what the windmill stands for -- you know the blades turn and the grain is ground type of thing. The green grass as a colour indicates balance, but also adaptability, potential and expansion, which is the key to the next step.

So although it may not be as obvious in its message as the Rider-Waite card, it still indicates that in order to grow and expand one needs to keep focused on what it is they want to achieve.

This is a number 3 card and in the tarot sequence it often shows us the first stage of completion. As this is a Batons card (Wands in traditional decks) it indicates how the creative energy is used in combining different elements to achieve an outcome.

So when you look at the Old English 3 of Batons, and you see that windmill’s blades turning and those rabbits multiplying, remember the message in its simplest form is keep at it!

The LWB says:
Practical knowledge, business acumen, enterprise, undertaking.
Reversed: Ulterior motives, treachery, diminishing adversity.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day 1/24/15

I don’t plan on doing a Card of the Day (COTD) every day on Tarot Notes, but I thought that for a while, when I don’t have anything else longer that I want to post, I will share a card from one of my Christmas gifts: The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos).

So for today, January 24, the Card of the Day is:

THE HIEROPHANT

The Sherlock Holmes Tarot (Sterling Ethos)

I am a huge fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories by A. Conan Doyle, but in  this deck, The Hierophant is linked with The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, a novel written by American writer Nicholas Meyer in 1974. Published as a "lost manuscript" of the late Dr. John H. Watson, the novel focuses on Sherlock Holmes’ recovery from his addiction to cocaine. The title of the novel (and the card) is a reference to Holmes’ use of the drug in a seven-per-cent solution.

In the book accompanying The Sherlock Holmes Tarot, the creators of the deck write: “While we in no way condone the use of such stimulants, the effect of the drug upon Holmes is a perfect metaphor for the opening of the consciousness to deeper and inner levels offered by the Hierophant.”

As the Card of the Day, The Hierophant may be alerting me to an opportunity to use my insights to inspire others, to transform the mundane into the mystical, or to mentor someone who is young or inexperienced. I am cautioned to be careful that I don’t attach too much importance to myself, that I avoid getting bogged down in rigid procedures, and that I refrain from projecting my ideas onto others. I need to find a way to preserve and honor tradition or heritage without being a slave to them.

Friday, January 23, 2015

What / Why or Who / Best Response

I am using the Celtic Lenormand by Chloë McCracken and Will Worthington (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) to take a peek at this weekend. The quotations below each positional definition are from the booklet that accompanies this deck. This 3-card line is intended to answer:

(1) What may take center stage
(2) Why or Who?
(3) Best response to the situation



(1) What may take center stage: BOOK (26)

“Esoteric knowledge and other secrets may be revealed to someone willing to study its mystery.”

“It may take some study or research to clarify whether these secrets are positive or negative.”

“The Book may also represent a project you are involved with. . . something that takes time, training and sufficient information and expertise to bring to fruition.”


(2) Why or Who? BEAR (15)

“The bear’s appearance suggests someone who may be stocky, curvaceous, broad-shouldered or hairy. Additionally, this card can represent either a man or a woman, and is seen by some as a mother-figure, by others as a protective male…”

“This drive to acquire wealth that may not even be used can be likened to a person who works so hard that he may not have time to spend the money he earns.”


(3) Best response to the situation: CHILD-GIRL (13)

“sincere, honest, open, childlike”

“This young girl is learning tasks that will serve her well in later life. . . Beginning with small chores, she will gradually take on more. . .”

“There is only one cure for inexperience, and that is life itself. So, approach it playfully…”


Interesting! Can’t wait to see how this plays out…

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review: Celtic Lenormand

R E V I E W

Celtic Lenormand
Chloë McCracken (Author)
Will Worthington (Illustrator)
U.S. Games Systems Inc.
ISBN-10: 1572817550 // ISBN-13: 978-1572817555
45 cards; 187-page companion book



TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

As a follower of Chloë McCracken’s blog _Inner Whispers_, a fan of Will Worthington’s art, and a lover of all things Celtic, I was pretty sure I was going to like the Celtic Lenormand. As it turns out, I don’t just like it, I love it. The art is exquisite, as expected, and Chloë delivers much more in the accompanying book than I could have imagined. I am looking forward to trying some of the spreads provided in the book and sharing them here on Tarot Notes.

PUBLISHER’S PRODUCT SUMMARY

“Celtic Lenormand brings elements of nature-based paganism to the Lenormand divination system. This 45-card deck, with beautiful artwork by Will Worthington, provides additional tree, animal and people cards. In-depth descriptions for each card include spiritual messages, affirmations and suggestions for use in spells. The illustrated book also presents interpretations based on the phases of the moon and the Wheel of the Year.”

BASIC INFORMATION

In the Celtic Lenormand, the images are Celtic versions of the traditional Lenormand deck images. In addition, symbolism shown in the images is designed to represent important aspects of the pagan path and perception of the world. The eight sabbats are represented, as are the phases of the moon. Specific cards are included for the god and goddess, as well as suggestions for deities appropriate to the other cards. The deck contains two tree cards for the God (the Oak and the Holly), three different Birds cards that reflect the three aspects of the Goddess (Maiden/Mother/Crone), an additional snake card that reflects the more positive aspects of the snake; a cat card (cats are traditional familiars); and four additional “people” cards.

The 3 by 4-1/2 inch book that accompanies the Celtic Lenormand offers information about the structure and intentions of the deck, the spiritual tradition in Lenormand readings, The Wheel of the Year, Dark and Light, and Affirmations. For each card, the book presents the card number, card title, a small black and white scan, Keywords, Timing, Person, Playing Card Association, Description, Meanings, Spiritual Readings, Dark and Light, Spell Use, Affirmation, and Deity. A section at the back of the book provides information on combining cards, working with deity, using the cards in spells, and several card spreads, including a five card Lines spread, a five card Inner Cross spread, a nine card Mini Tableau, an eight or twelve card Paths spread, Dual and Triple Goddess spreads, a Moon Cycle spread, and a Year Ahead spread.

APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

The deck and book are packaged in a sturdy cardboard box with a lift-off top. The inside has an inset for the cards.

The cards are 2-1/4 by 3-1/2 inches and made of sturdy card stock. The backs are a medium yellow-gold, with a darker yellow-gold border on the two long sides. There is a dark yellow-gold circle in the middle. The result is a soft, glowing effect. Card backs are reversible.

The card faces are borderless. The card number, enclosed in a golden torc, is placed in the upper left hand corner. The playing card association appears in the lower right hand corner inside a solid gold circle.

ART

_Will Worthington_ is familiar to the Tarot community, well known for his illustration of such popular decks as The Druid Animal Oracle by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm (Touchstone), The Green Man Tree Oracle by John Matthews (Connections Book Publishing), The Wildwood Tarot by Mark Ryan and John Matthews (Sterling Ethos), and The Druidcraft Tarot by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm (St. Martin's Press).


The backdrop for the cards in the Celtic Lenormand is the landscape of Brittany, in the north of France. Chloë McCracken explains that “this area was populated by Celts for over five hundred years, and is still considered one of the six surviving Celtic nations.”

The colors are intense, expressing a variety of tones or moods. The images are sharp, clear, and realistic.


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, January 19, 2015

Old English Tarot: 5 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
5 of Cups
by Helen Howell

The Old English image of the 5 of Cups is so different from the traditional Rider Waite card. In the Rider Waite image it is easy to see the regret the figure is feeling as he faces the three upturned cups while he seems to be ignoring the two behind him, which represent future hopes.
As Cups is the suit where the energy is expressed through the Water element and is experienced through emotions, feelings, imagination and inspiration, we can then surmise that perhaps this card may well be talking about a relationship of some sort that has come to an end or changed in some way.

If we remember the meaning to the traditional card that can then help us interpret the image we see in the Old English. Lets take a look at the symbolism given:

We have five cups, three of which stand upright (this is the future hopes), one cup is starting to fall, and the last cup has completely turned over (this indicates the feeling of loss, of something changing from what it was.) In the bottom left hand corner we see a boy who has strapped to his back some drums. The grown-up figure behind him beats those drums as they move along together. For the boy this is not the best position to be in. Now this may be a partnership that he has formed with the drummer, but perhaps it was not all he bargained for eh?

I do get a sense from looking at this image that the boy may well regret this choice here and the relationship is not all he had hoped for. So like the traditional card we do have an idea that a relationship is changed or may well come to an end. But what of the cups left standing? Perhaps this also indicates that sometimes change can be hard but it can lead to another opportunity, so in the boy’s case maybe, this is just an apprenticeship he is undertaking and regardless of how hard it now seems, if he focuses on what it could lead to, the regret can be diminished.

I think it worth remembering that this is a number 5 card and in tarot that has come to represent for me conflict, challenge, opportunity for change and a turning point in life. So it can suggest a shift in direction and offers the freedom of choice. When I look at number five cards from a numerological point of view, it often seems to me to indicate that it’s how we choose to respond to the challenges life throws at us, as to whether it causes us grief or not.

I think the Old English just doesn’t speak of loss as does the Rider Waite card, but more of enduring a change in order to find yourself in a better position.

What do you think?

The LWB says:
Upright: Regret, empty relationships, imperfection, incomplete partnership.
Reversed: Hopeful outlook, new alliances, reunion

Friday, January 16, 2015

The High Priestess Times Four

This is the third entry in a series in which I share four versions of a particular Major Arcana card, and write a poem that takes us through all four versions. (Click _HERE_ to read my post about The Magician.)

To simplify the process for myself, I am going to go in alphabetic order by deck. In this post, representing The High Priestess, we have the:
  • Baroque Bohemian Cats Tarot by Karen Mahony (Magic Realist Press)
  • Beginner’s Tarot by Kathleen McCormack (New Burlington Books)
  • Black Cats Tarot by Maria Kurara (Lo Scarabeo)
  • Bruegel Tarot by Guido Zibordi Marchesi (Lo Scarabeo).


The Voice of the High Priestess
by Zanna Starr

The voice of the High Priestess is quiet,
A cat tip-toeing across a velvet carpet.
The voice of the High Priestess is firm,
A rock with its face hardened by the sun.
The voice of the High Priestess is Mystery,
Moonlight flowing through the night of the mind.
The voice of the High Priestess comes from within,
Using words we already know
In ways we have yet to learn.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Old English Tarot: 2 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
2 of Cups
by Helen Howell


In the traditional Rider Waite image of the Two of Cups we see a couple each holding a cup. The man reaches a hand out to the woman’s. The card therefore indicates relationships. Both stand beneath the staff of Hermes with two snakes entwined around the handle and a lion’s head with wings each side. It clearly shows us opposites in balance and harmony.

Now when we look at the Old English image, at first glance it does leave us wondering how to interpret it. What we see are two cups one above each other and a figure in the bottom right hand corner playing what I think might be a lute. How does this image speak to us of relationships or harmony and balance? Lets start taking it apart and looking at each symbol to see how this could be interpreted. Remember, though, this is just my opinion. You may well see something different to me.

The two cups sit opposite each other in perfect balance, each equal distance from the edges and sides of the card. The figure stands relaxed playing her instrument, a symbol here for us of the player and her music working together. So we have two symbolic images to work from: 1) the cups being opposites but perfectly balanced and 2) the player and her music working in harmony. Putting this together we can get two opposites coming together in balance and harmony. So even though the Old English doesn’t immediately speak of relationships it does indicate that aspect of the need to compromise or co-operate in order to unite two opposites.

It helps to remember that it’s a number 2 card and in tarot I have found this to represent union, duality, choice, co-operation and balance. When this numerology is applied to the symbols we see in the image of the Old English Two of Cups, it works perfectly and can be applied to not just romantic relationships but also working ones and even opposing forces that exist internally within oneself.

I sort of like the freedom of the image that the Old English offers, so that one doesn’t immediately think of relationships but rather more about bringing two opposites together so that they can work in the best possible way.

The LWB for this deck says:
Positive: Love, friendship, partnership, marriage, passion.
Reversed: False friendship, separation, crossed desires, misunderstanding.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mystical Kipper Reading

I’m ready to break into an oracle deck I was gifted for Christmas: the Mystical Kipper Fortunetelling Cards by Regula Elizabeth Fiechter, painted by Urban Trösch (AGM Urania).


According to the Little White Book (LWB) that comes with this deck, “the original Kipper cards came into being around 1900, but their precise origin remains obscure.”

Urban Trösch spent a year creating the paintings for this deck on small wooden plates that were first primed with chalk. He then applied egg tempera colors layer by layer. Regula Elizabeth Fiechter adopted the original names of the Kipper cards, even if some of them appeared outdated.

For this reading I am going to use a spread that is commonly used with Lenormand decks. It’s called 3+1.


The far left card gives background, the center card reveals the current situation, and the far right card is the probable future/outcome. The 4th card drawn is the Clarification card.

My question: What area(s) do I need to be especially mindful of this coming week?


(1) background: HOUSE (20)
Possessions, material values, stability, domesticity, family, need for security and self-confidence

(2) current situation: HIGH HONORS (25)
promotion, progress, new assignment, long-term success, long-awaited recognition

(3) probable future/outcome: PLEASANT LETTER (7)
Communication, documents

(4) clarification: RICH GOOD GENTLEMAN (13)
young man, positive news, finances, money, fast and good solution possible

I get a positive vibe from this set of cards concerning the upcoming week. I not only live at home, but I work from home – designing and making jewelry, writing books, and working with Tarot and oracle cards. I have a stable home and secure home life. The High Honors card looks great, as does the Pleasant Letter. I confess I am not sure what to expect with the Rich Good Gentleman card as “clarification.” But taken as a group, the cards seem to bode well.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Helen's 2015 New Year Reading

Let's see what Helen has in store for 2015...

2015 New Year Reading
by Helen Howell

I thought for my New Year Reading I would take Zanna’s ‘Quarterly Forecast’ Spread for a run. I like the idea of the cards indicating to me what opportunities the new year will offer me.
Just a quick reminder of how the Spread works. It’s a five card spread, one card to represent each quarter, read from left to right and a fifth card as the Quintessence. The Quintessence is found by adding the numerical value of the other four cards which you then reduce until you get a number that corresponds with a Major Arcana card. Zanna tells us that the “Quintessence card represents the overall influence, energy, or message for the year.

I decided on the Joie de Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy and published by U.S. Games Systems Inc. for this reading.



1: January- March - 3 of Coins

It appears that the beginning of the year is a time where I will or should be focusing my energy and talent towards creating something new. This may involve me in working with others and if so I will need to put strategies in place to ensure that this collaboration works well. I really like how the three creatures depicted in this card all hold a coin each and are giving it their full attention. The beginning of the year then offers me the opportunity to work with others and to produce something new that can become a reality.

It’s a number three card and it shows how the individual elements of an idea can be brought together and formed into something more tangible.

2: April - June - 3 Wands

This is the period where the cards indicate that it is those ideas that can now be taken and move one step further. The time for planning is over; the time for doing has arrived! The key to success is to allow one’s creativity to flow and their confidence to grow. Both these two elements are what will move me forward and bring these goals into reality.

Again another number 3 card showing how one can expand an idea and head towards completing it.

3: July - September - 9 Coins

The cards indicate to me here that it is through maintaining a confident outlook and determination, along with trusting my inner wisdom to make the right decisions, that my efforts will see rewards. This card suggests that this will be a period where I can enjoy and reap those rewards.

A number 9 card, in tarot often represents struggles, self-evaluation and final completion. It’s that last step before we move on again to something new. It’s through the struggles that we face and the self evaluation that we are enabled to make those decisions  that can transform life/a situation for us and help us to achieve our goals.

4: October - December - Justice

The cards seem to suggest to me that with the number 9 above one project/idea is brought to its final conclusion. This will now be a period where I must think carefully about my next move. There is a need to balance out all my options in order to arrive at a decision, but the underlying message here is honesty: Be true to myself and the best outcome can be achieved.

A number 11 card which breaks down to 1+1 =2 the number that often represents, duality, union, balance and choice, along with co-operation. Twos can often be about balancing out opposing forces in order to make them work together rather than against one another.

5: Quintessence - Strength

The overall message this year seems to indicate that by maintaining patience and a calmness and drawing on my inner strength, I can overcome my fears/doubts and come through any challenges that may arise. The key is to have confidence in my own abilities.

This year then seems to be offering me the opportunity to start something new. Also to work with others to see it through to its end and the possibility of enjoying the success of this achievement, but not without a certain amount of effort.

It appears to indicate that this is a year when I will renew my self confidence and determination — I may just start believing in myself again!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Old English Tarot: 4 of Swords

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
4 of Swords
by Helen Howell

The Old English Tarot’s 4 of Swords has a little more energy to it than the traditional image of the Rider Waite. The Rider Waite shows us a statue of a knight lying still on a stone tomb within a church, three swords hang over his head while a fourth is sideways along the coffin. It’s message is a clear one of rest. But the Old English image is different in that it does indicate rest, but not necessarily inactivity as the Rider Waite one does.

Let’s take a closer look at this card.


The image: We have four swords interlocked above the figures in this card. To each side of them is a colourful tent. Three knights sit at a table, holding what I assume is a wine goblet. They may be resting but they are definitely not sleeping!

The image of the interlocked swords could indicate here for us, that sometimes one gets locked into a thought pattern that will not necessarily help solve the issue or problem we may have to solve. The different coloured tents could well signify opposite sides. Those knights represent different houses that joust against each other. So that in turn could also represent conflicting thoughts perhaps. This lends weight to the idea that the interlocking swords (this being the suit of thought, mental activity and logic) show that the thought pattern we have is not serving us well.

The three knights sitting together, drinking and chatting, may be a symbol of resolving those conflicting thoughts by bringing them out and opening up to new ideas. The Old English 4 Swords shows us that it is in a relaxed state that we often find resolutions or a new way forward.

The card, like its more traditional brother the Rider Waite, does indicate that one needs to take time out to contemplate the alternatives - the need to call a truce with our thoughts in order to get them into working order or we will find we become trapped in that thought pattern. Also both cards indicate that it is a time to recuperate in order to renew ourselves both physically and mentally. But the one difference I see between the Rider Waite and the Old English symbolism is that although resting, one does not need to be inactive, but rather actively seeking a resolution in a relaxed way as opposed to total withdrawal.

The LWB says:
Replenishment, rest, rejuvenation, recuperation, seclusion.
Reversed: Activity, precautions, attempt to recover losses.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year Spread

It’s New Year’s Day here in North America, so I am going to celebrate with a spread for 2015.

I am using “Joanna’s New Year Spread” from Journey through the Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert (Llewellyn Worldwide). My deck is Tarot of the White Cats, with artwork by Severino Baraldi (Lo Scarabeo).

The Spread


The Positions

1. What do I leave behind in the Old Year?
2. What do I open up to in the New Year?
3. Key Opportunity of the New Year
4. Key Challenge of the New Year
5. Hidden concern (pull from bottom of the deck)
6. Deep Wisdom / Advice from God/dess (pull from middle of the deck)
7. Key Theme of the New Year

My Reading


1. What do I leave behind in the Old Year?

KING OF SWORDS – My impression of this King in this deck is that he is judgmental, stern, and inflexible. Kate Warwick-Smith describes the King of Swords using these keywords:

  • Advisor (“knowledge in its pure state”)
  • Dictator (“leaves out the human element when considering options”)
  • Pragmatism (“ability to focus, concentrate, and be mentally determined”)
  • Ruthlessness (“when we sell out our dreams and refuse to acknowledge our emotions, we deny a part of ourselves”

I am being encouraged to consider which of these King-of-Swords qualities I need/want to leave behind in the Old Year. The choice is mine.

2. What do I open up to in the New Year?

TWO OF WANDS – When I look at this card in this deck, I get a sense of patience, optimism, confidence, and receptiveness, along with the idea of a partnership or a balance between seemingly opposing energies (the number Two). The LWB suggests that I widen my mental horizons, act, learn, and experience new emotions.  Joan Bunning views the Two of Wands as a card of “personal power, boldness, originality.”

3. Key Opportunity of the New Year

TWO OF PENTACLES – Looking at this card in this deck, I get a sense of juggling or balancing two “sides” or two types of energy. The cat on this card does not have a happy expression on his face. To me, he looks a bit worried or perhaps he is just concentrating on his task. The LWB offers an interesting idea: “When everything is changing follow the favorable wind without, however, relinquishing morality.” Bunning offers the keywords “juggling, flexibility, fun.” Pentacles is the suit of Earth, representing the physical, material world, which suggests to me that a key opportunity of the New Year will be to maintain flexibility and balance among real-world needs, responsibilities, and situations.

4. Key Challenge of the New Year

THE MOON – The Moon could certainly be a challenge to keeping it all together in the physical, material world. From the LWB: “A fascination with mystery can lead to dangerous places. Unpleasing surprises can occur without necessary protection.” And from Bunning: “Fear, Illusion, Imagination, Bewilderment.” Perhaps a key challenge for me could be preventing my imagination from “going off the deep end” to the point that I do not see, appreciate, or take hold of what matters in the day-to-day physical world. In the pale, shifting light of the moon, I may think I see things that are not there or fail to see something that is very real.

5. Hidden concern (pull from bottom of the deck)

KNIGHT OF CHALICES – The Knight on this card looks at me with what seems to be a sensitive, caring expression. His horse seems spirited and restless. Warwick-Smith describes the Knight of Cups using these keywords:

  • Lover
  • Possessor
  • Desire
  • Rejection

The idea of this Knight as a fear of rejection – or a tendency to “reject someone or something we feel we cannot have or do not deserve” – resonates with me in this case. A hidden concern for me could be my relationships and the role(s) I play in each of them.

6. Deep Wisdom / Advice from God/dess (pull from middle of the deck)

STRENGTH – This card immediately reminds of one of the children’s books I wrote: Big Cat, Little Kitty. From the LWB: “Even the stubbornest people can be convinced through kindness and a touch of charm, but it’s best never to trust wild animals.” Bunning’s keywords: “Strength, Patience, Compassion, Soft Control.” From this card (which is usually one of my favorites in any deck), I always get a sense of being brave enough to approach a “wild beast” with quiet confidence and an unshakable belief that unity is with that untamed energy is desirable and attainable.

7. Key Theme of the New Year

THE FOOL – In short, this card suggests the theme “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” It refers to fresh beginnings, new adventures, and unexpected opportunities. Yet the messages “follow your bliss” and “trust the universe” are balanced by a warning to avoid being foolhardy or reckless. The key is to be open to taking a risk or stepping outside my comfort zone without throwing caution completely to the wind.