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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:

THE PRINCE-CONSORT
Trump 4 (The Emperor)

The Sherlock Holmes Tarot

In The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos), The Emperor is portrayed by Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819-1861), who married Queen Victoria when they were both twenty years old. According to Matthews and Kinghan, Victoria and Albert saw themselves as a modern incarnation of Arthur and Guinevere.

The Holmesian Wisdom for this card is “Now having secured the future, we can afford to be more lenient with the past.” This quote is from "The Adventure of the Priory School,” one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes himself makes this profound statement.

Keys for this card, upright, are: “leadership, fatherhood, authoritative energy, the wielding of power for good, willpower, organization, courage, responsible love, dynamism.” Reversed meanings: “stubbornness, misuse of power, failure, abduction and abandonment.”

The book that accompanies this deck also provides interpretations for each card under the headings “The Game” and “The Fog.” The former elaborates on the upright keys, while the latter expands on reversed meanings. An example from “The Game” for The Prince-Consort: “Masculinity, put to good use through leadership and fatherly wisdom. Authority and energy help organized force to move forward. Taking a more realistic attitude to life encourages a fairer structure in an organization, but always check that aspects of your leadership do not become domineering.” Examples from “The Fog”: “An immature approach weakens your authority and may lead to disorganization. If you defer control, you leave the field open to others.”

As a card of the day, The Prince-Consort encourages us to think about area of our life where we may be demonstrating too little or too much leadership, control, or authority. There is such a thing as being a “control freak.” It is important to determine what areas of life would benefit most from our leadership and a “take charge” approach.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Inspired by the Tarot: Haiku, Part 1

Once upon a time, when the earth was young, my best friend I used to write haikus “together,” meaning that one of us would write the first and third lines (5 syllables each) and the other would write the middle line (7 syllables).

Having noticed some of Helen’s wonderful haiku poems on her blog _Writing My Words_, I approached her about doing something similar based on the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

Here are the first five cards. We took turns choosing the deck and writing the alternate lines. I hope you enjoy these Tarot-inspired haikus.

THE FOOL

Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza
 (U. S. Games Systems, Inc.)
Seize the moment now 
Dancing, splashing, leaping – now!
The adventure starts.


THE MAGICIAN

Chrysalis Tarot : Paintings by Holly Sierra, 
Written by Toney Brooks (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)
Ravens -- magic, dark
jewels within your mind
Above and Below.


THE HIGH PRIESTESS

The Gendron Tarot by Melanie Gendron 
(U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)
Mysteries, secrets
you have the key to unlock
the door to a dream.


THE EMPRESS

The DruidCraft Tarot by Philip and Stephanie Carr Gomm, 
Illustrations by Will Worthington (Eddison Sadd Editions)
Potential fulfilled
Giving birth to the Future
The way forward clear.


THE EMPEROR

Napo Tarot Deck. Created by Betty Lopez, 
Designed by Napo (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)
Past forms the future
In order as he commands.
Be strong in your choice.




Friday, April 24, 2015

Interview with The Winged Enchantment Oracle Deck

(To read my review of this deck, click HERE.) 

Today’s deck interview takes place in a clearing in the forest, surrounded by trees of every kind. The song of birds dance up and down the scale, and the scent of lilacs, honeysuckle, and green leaves perfume the air. I quietly await the appearance of the card chosen by the others to respond to my first question.

(1) How would you describe your essence or essential energy?


FALCON (11) – “I am Falcon, the swiftness of change. I am the sun god, the solar emblem, and the renewal of fortitude. I am victory rising. I am the hunter. . . I am the arrow that hits the mark and will steer you ahead if you allow it.”

(2) Which card do you feel reflects my essence or essential energy?


FINCH (12) – “You  are abundant in curiosity. You are active change. You are blending experience.”

(3) What story do you hope to tell me?


CHICKADEE (4) – I hope to tell you the story of “pure thought and fearless truth.” This story reminds you that you have an irreplaceable role. “It is time to let your actions do the talking and finish what you have started.”

(4) What should I not expect from you?


HERON (16) – Do not expect me to help you dwell on movements already passed, to help you push something it is time to let go, or to cause you to strike too late. “I am the gift of concentration. I am the stillness that allows a greater purpose.”

(5) Which card most closely represents us as a team?


STARLING (33) – We are unity and wholeness, committed to sharing our work and our wisdom. We gather like minds in order to expand ideas. We act as a catalyst, bringing others together in meaningful ways.

(Words enclosed in quotation marks come directly from The Winged Enchantment guidebook written by Lesley Morrison.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: The Winged Enchangment Oracle Deck

R E V I E W

The Winged Enchantment Oracle Deck
by Lesley Morrison (Author), _Lisa Hunt_  (Illustrator)
_U.S. Games Systems Inc._ (March 10, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1572816732
ISBN-13: 978-1572816732
Cards: 3.5” x 5.75”



The Winged Enchantment Oracle Deck
TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

I’m not one who needs to be “sold” on Lisa Hunt’s art. I became a fan of hers a long, long time ago when I discovered her Shapeshifter Tarot (D.J. Conway, author; Llewellyn Publications). I find birds to be intriguing, often stunningly beautiful creatures, so I looked forward to seeing Lisa work her magic with them.

I was not disappointed. I quickly searched the deck for my favorite birds – Starling, Crow, Falcon, Hawk, Owl, Raven, and Seagull – happy to be drawn in by the images, symbols, and spirit inhabiting each one.

I really like the way Lesley Morrison wrote the accompanying guidebook, using first person to give us the feeling that each bird is speaking directly to us about itself. At the end of each bird’s self-description, the reader is addressed as “You,” encouraging us to identify with and own the qualities we have just read about.

One excellent way to get to know the deck is to study the card for a few minutes, then read the page in the guidebook, then study the card again, and read the guidebook page again. From Blackbird to Wren, you will see and understand something new and valuable each time. I will be doing a “deck interview” with this deck in the near future!


THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

“Inspired by the majesty and mythos of birds great and small, The Winged Enchantment Oracle invites us to spread our wings as we venture on our own soul journeys. Mesmerizing shape-shifter artwork beckons us to see multiple levels of meaning and new perspectives on our earthly experiences.”

BASIC INFORMATION

The set includes 39 oracle cards and a 48-page illustrated guidebook with custom card spreads, including The Single Card Draw, The Classic Three-Card Spread, The Hidden Influence Spread (5 cards), The Grounding Spread (6 cards), and The Bird in Flight Spread (11 cards).

Author Lesley Morrison (Vancouver, Canada) has studied animals within religious, spiritual, and multicultural frameworks for over fifteen years. She is also an avid bird watcher and wildlife rescuer. In the guidebook that accompanies this deck, she writes: “The companion booklet will guide you as you begin to see each bird as a conduit for expansive knowledge and perspective. It was our aim that the images and words would meld into a single expression of each creature’s spirit, but what truth is gleaned from this oracle will be unique to each reader.”

Each bird has a page devoted to it, incorporating an element from the card illustration in black-and-white, the number and title of the card, a description written in first person, and a message directed at the reader centered in italic type at the bottom of the page.

Here is the page for number 7, Crow:

The Winged Enchantment Oracle Deck

APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

The cards measure 3.5” x 5.75” and are printed on sturdy card stock. The front of each borderless card features an illustration that takes up the entire card face. At the bottom the number and name of the card appears against a parchment background enclosed in a golden brown oval with a feather design.

The reversible card backs feature a purple feathered background with a circular gold design in the the center.

Please note: The cards have rounded corners. I have squared the corners on my scans.

ART

“The watercolor paintings by Lisa Hunt capture humanity’s deep connection with the avian world, by presenting a visual blending of the two realms. Lisa Hunt is also the creator of Fantastical Creatures Tarot and the award-winning Ghosts and Spirits Tarot.” (U.S. Games Inc.)


Lisa Hunt’s artwork has been described in words such as “mystical” and “flowing.” She is a master at magically blending human bodies and faces with those of animals – without losing the unique qualities of either one in the process. Sometimes, the human presence seems stronger in the image, sometimes the animal seems stronger, and sometimes they seem perfectly balanced.

The Winged Enchantment Oracle Deck
On social media, I recently read the following comment by Lisa Hunt concerning the Hummingbird card from this deck: “A few years ago I sketched my friend Sivabruntha. She is an amazing musician who inspired me to play piano again. Later she became inspiration for the Hummingbird card in the Winged Enchantment Oracle. A lot of people have told me they really love this card.”

Be sure to visit Lisa’s web site to watch a time-lapse video of her creation of the _Chickadee-Shapeshifter_ from this deck. On her blog, she describes and illustrated the creation of the _Mockingbird-Shapeshifter_ card, _Ostrich-Shapeshifter_, and more.





Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day - 4 of Observation

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:
FOUR OF OBSERVATION
(4 of Swords)


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. The quotation chosen to represent the entire suit of Observation is from The Red-Headed League: “This is a time for observation, not for talk.”

The Four of Observation is taken from Arthur Conan Doyle’s book The Illustrious Client, in which Sherlock Holmes comes up against serial murderer Baron Gruner. At one point in the story, Holmes feigns illness to the point of death in order to catch the villain. On the card, we see an alarmed Watson tending to Holmes in his sickbed.

The Holmesian Wisdom for this card is “I have been using myself up rather too freely… Have you any objection to my closing your shutters?” This quote is from “The Final Problem,” a short story that was intended by Doyle to be the last of the Sherlock Holmes adventures. One gets the feeling that this is a veiled reference to Doyle’s own feelings of having “used up” his energy on the Holmes books. However, Doyle yielded to pressure from fans and brought Holmes back in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Keys for this card, upright, are: “respite, hermetic seclusion, meditation, convalescence, rest, replenishment of spirit, solitude, reassessment of your limitations.” Reversed, the card can suggest “economy, taking precautions, careful administration, greed.”

The book that accompanies this deck also provides interpretations for each card under the headings “The Game” and “The Fog.” The former elaborates on the upright keys, while the latter expands on reversed meanings. An example from “The Game” for the Four of Observation: “Convalescence or enforced rest. Self-exile or retreat.” An example from “The Fog”: “Feigning illness. . . A strike or unexpected event breaks your routine.”

As a card of the day, the Four of Observation gives a clear message about stepping back (or lying down!) either literally or figuratively (or both) in a deliberate effort to conserve or replenish energy and resources – mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual. This respite may also be imposed on us from an outside source. It’s up to us to use the time wisely.

Friday, April 17, 2015

“The Door” Spread

Today, Helen takes us through the "Door" spread using the Lo Scarabeo Tarot. Come along and see what she discovers!

“The Door” Spread
performed by Helen

Now this is a very interesting spread to do. It consists of eleven cards and it offers you a door to either walk through or not. Card No.1 - The name of the door -- shows you the opportunity that awaits. If you have asked a question, then this door shows you what might be gained. If like me you ask no question, then the door seems to me to present you with an opportunity of some sort.  As we look at this spread, it appears to me that one does not read it in order. You will see from the demo reading I have done how I think this spread works.

The Layout


The Card DMs are as follows:

1: The name of the door -- What door is this?
2: The keyhole -- First idea of what’s behind it.
3: The lock
4: The knob -- needed to open the door.
5: The path to the door.
6: The expectation of what’s behind the door.
7: Attitude towards the door.
8: What is actually behind the door.
9: Where the door can be found.
10: What will happen immediately after the door is opened.
11: The key that fits the lock.

I’m using the Lo Scarabeo Tarot by Mark McElroy and Anna Lazzarini (Lo Scarabeo).

Card 1: The name of the door -- What door is this?

Ace of Wands

The name of the door is Opportunity and it is a door that will enable me to move forward with my ideas. This card is telling me that the time is now right to take those ideas or projects I’ve put on hold and set them in motion. It suggests that this door holds the chance of a new beginning for me, but I’m the one who has to grab those ideas and now get the wheels turning to manifest them into something more.


Card 5: The path to the door

7 of Swords

A change in strategies. Look at the way I’ve approached what I’ve wanted to achieve before and see if there is a better way to achieve it. Now this is a Swords card and therefore relates to my thinking pattern. Maybe it’s telling me a change in attitude and perspective is what is needed to find this door. It also tells me that sometimes it’s better to keep things to myself and not share them until the time is right.

Interesting that the first card which shows the opportunity that exists is an action card and the path towards that action is a mental clarity card. Together they suggest that the right action coupled with the right thoughts is the way to go.





Card 9: Where the door can be found

Queen of Wands

The door can be found by me believing in myself and my abilities. Not being afraid to step out and try something new. It suggests to me that I should use innovative ways to meet the challenge and maintain a confidence in the way I approach my goals.

Again this card is reinforcing the first card by suggesting that one just has to have confidence in the action they take.

Card 6: The expectation of what’s behind the door

4 of Wands

This card shows us a celebration, a time of happiness, having achieved a goal. The card shows two figures holding up flowers and behind them is an abundance of produce. Perhaps this card tells me that my expectation is for success and a chance to reap the benefits of my efforts.











Card 7: Attitude towards the door

The World

It stands to reason that if my expectation is one of success then The World fits my attitude very well, as closing one cycle and beginning another. Hoping that the past is now left behind me and put to rest successfully and that all the disappointments I felt have now been laid to rest. This door then represents a completely new beginning and a chance to achieve what I desire.

Now if we look at the spread, the cards on my right as you look at the layout and photograph have all been read, and if we look down that line we have 4 Wands - The World - The Queen of Wands. This whole line seems to express the hope of something better and the reminder that it all lies in me believing in myself.

Card 2: The Keyhole - the first idea of what’s behind the door

10 of Swords

Now the image in the Lo Scarabeo deck is somewhat different to other decks, in that it doesn’t show a man maimed by the swords. No back stabbing going on here. But what I see through this keyhole as I take a peek is the promise of leaving behind me the disappointments and the mental attitude that have held me back. It’s a number 10 card and so it gives us endings and beginnings all in one card 1+0=1. Look how the figure walks away from those swords and towards those green hills. Green represents balance, growth, and expansion, and hills can represent the goal, so this image gives me a sense of reaching that goal. In case you’re wondering, I’m considering publishing another book and although I didn’t frame a question, the cards seem to have picked up on that goal.

Card 3: The lock

2 of Pentacles

The lock on this door is perhaps the inability to maintain a balance so that things can keep flowing without interruption. What keeps the door locked is not recognising that one doesn’t need to compare themselves with anyone else, as this only serves to stop the flow of ideas that can be manifested into something more tangible. The card offers the advice that in order to free this lock one needs to keep balance in their life and go more with the flow.

Card 11: The key that fits the lock

4 of Coins

You know, when I look at this figure I’m reminded that money is worth nothing if you don’t spend it. The key that fits the lock is not to be afraid to take the risk and go ahead with my ideas, nothing ventured nothing gained. It’s no good having these ideas if you don’t do anything with them. In order to make this key work, one has to stop being afraid in taking those first steps once more. This is a number 4 card and can symbolise stability and foundation, but it can also symbolise being trapped (four walls enclose) and stagnating.

Card 4: The knob - needed to open the door

The Moon

Okay, the message I get here is to confront my fears and face up to them. If we do this we can see that sometimes they have no real substance to them at all. So this card suggests that I put my imagination to a more creative outcome in order to open that door. By confronting my anxieties in turn I will illuminate them and see them for what they really are and allow the positive possibilities to emerge.

Card 10: What will happen immediately after the door is opened

6 Swords

I like that this image shows the swords in the sky like a big star, indicating at least to me, that one has understood how those thoughts can hold them back and finally can move forward. A change in attitude can now be seen and the ability to move out of a less comfortable space into a more positive one is now possible. So this promises that providing I understand how my thoughts can work against me, I can move away from any anxieties I have had about going ahead with my project and towards something that will bring me more joy and contentment.

Again all the cards on the left side of the spread as we look at it have been read. These seem to point very much towards a change of thoughts and a realisation that those things that one fears are not to be afraid of. All that is needed is a change of strategy and the ability to maintain a balance so that things can keep moving forwards.

Card 8: What is actually behind the door

10 of Wands

Here again we have a card that numerically represents endings and beginnings, but it also tells me that it will involve some labour and not to overcommit myself but rather to work within my limits. The image shows me that the goal is in sight and that one just has to keep working towards it. So the card suggests that it can be achieved but not without some hard work ahead.

Now the middle set of cards have all been read. As I look at them, I see that the opportunity to manifest my goal is there as long as I work within my limits and do not overburden myself. I need to move myself away from any negative thinking patterns and be prepared to do something with my ideas, or I devalue their worth.

This whole reading speaks of what I hope for in the cards to the right, as we look at the spread, and what needs to be changed as we look to the left and what can be achieved as we look to the middle set.

I hope you enjoyed this reading using The Door Spread and I would be interested to hear how any of you got on if you decide to try it for yourselves.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Special Offer: Five-Card Reading

SPECIAL OFFER

I am offering FREE “Star” readings with the Otherworld Tarot 
(like the reading below)
to two people who comment on this blog post between now and April  21. 

If you want to be considered for a reading, please provide an email address 
where I can contact you. Or – if you are on Facebook – 
just provide the name you use on Facebook and I’ll find you.

* ~ *

For the Basic Tarot class I teach over at the Magical Circle School, the textbook is the Complete Book of Tarot Spreads by Evelin Burger and Johannes Fiebig (Sterling). While grading a student’s work, I was reminded of how much I like many of the spreads featured in this book.

So guess what? I’m going to do one of them for the blog today. This spread is in the section of the book titled “Searching & Finding” and it’s called “The Star.” The layout looks like this:

……. 1 …….
2……5……4
……. 3 …….

I am reading for an imaginary client using the Otherworld Tarot by Alison Williams, with artwork by Sarah Nowell (Schiffer). I have chosen not to use reversals for this reading.

(1) Where you are: FIVE OF PENTACLES (Poverty)

Otherworld Tarot (Schiffer)
This may not feel like a good place to be, and it isn’t. Something has been lost, most likely related to the physical, material realm. This could refer to finances, possessions, or even health. You may be so focused on this hardship that you don’t realize that help and support are available – perhaps from an unlikely source. While you are in this difficult place, focus on what is truly important in your life and what is not. You can free yourself and move on to a happier place.

(2) Your task: TWO OF WANDS (Opportunity)

Otherworld Tarot (Schiffer)
Your task is to find the opportunity (or opportunities) that might be available. The most likely place to find opportunity is currently in the area of business and work/career. The number Two  tells us that you do not have to perform this task alone. In fact, it may be necessary for you to join forces with someone else to do it. Will power, action, and optimism will take you a long way.

(3) Your difficulties: FOUR OF SWORDS (Recovery)

Otherworld Tarot (Schiffer)
As you pursue your task, you also need to resolve inner conflicts and restore balance. Recovery is best achieve through rest and relaxation, peace and quiet. It may seem difficult to you to make time for this rest and relaxation, so that is a challenge you need to address. Re-examine your priorities and give yourself the gift of regular “downtime.”

(4) Your strengths: THREE OF CUPS (Celebration)

Otherworld Tarot (Schiffer)
It appears that you are one of those people who can and do see the Cup as half full instead of half empty. You have the ability to celebrate the little things, the day-to-day delights and pleasures that are yours, free for the taking. If you can find something to celebrate every day, even during difficult times, you are much more likely to meet and overcome challenges that arise.

(5) Your goal: STRENGTH (Courage)

Otherworld Tarot (Schiffer)
This Major Arcana card is your ultimate – and very fitting – goal. Strength is about taming your inner “beast,” which can refer to bad habits, lack of self-control, impulses, negative attitudes, and any tendency to allow your baser nature to take charge of what you do and the choices you make. The key with Strength is not to do this in a forceful, aggressive way. Instead, acknowledge and accept your baser nature or inner “beast” – and enlist its help. This does require courage and determination, and a willingness to listen to your innermost needs and wants. Repressing or denying that these exist will not work. It done gently yet firmly, you can transform negatives into positives, leading you towards a happier, more successful life.

It is interesting to see that all four elements are represented in this set of cards: Earth (Pentacles / Physical and Material), Fire (Wands / Will), Air (Swords / Mind), and Water (Cups / Emotions). Strength, as a Major Arcana card, suggests powerful spiritual energy. You clearly have many tools available to use in your efforts to improve your situation.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day - The Lovers

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:
Trump 6: MR. & MRS. J.H. WATSON


In The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos), The Lovers card honors Dr. Watson and Mary Morstan. Ms. Morstan was Holmes’ client in The Sign of Four, and the object of Watson’s admiration from that point forward. She and Watson eventually married.

The Holmesian Wisdom for this card is “She is the daintiest thing under a bonnet on this planet” from A Scandal in Bohemia. *

Keys for this card, upright, are “marriage of minds and hearts, love (sexual and spiritual), the vision of inner beauty, emotional ties, trust, platonic friendship, fulfilment of desire.” Reversed, the card can suggest “poor choices, broken promises, disillusionment, immaturity.”

The book that accompanies this deck also provides interpretations under the headings “The Game” and “The Fog.” The former elaborates on the upright keys, while the latter expands on reversed meanings. An example from “The Game” for Trump 6: “The way you explore or fail to register loyalty and commitment defines your relationships.” An example from “The Fog”: “You are likely to engage in a struggle for dominance. Unrequited love may dominate your life.”

As a Card of the Day, Trump 6 encourages us to look at unions of all kinds and the choices we make about potential relationships or partnerships. We need to be on the lookout for jealousy, possessiveness, and poor choices that can endanger stability.

* The quote is not Watson talking about Mary but Holmes talking about Irene Adler. Holmes follows his comment with “So say the Serpentine Mews, to a man,” making it clear that he is repeating second-hand information rather than expressing his own personal opinion.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

9 of Swords: Astrological Associations

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

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

NINE OF SWORDS

Thoth Tarot
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley

For Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn, the Nine of Swords is linked with Mars (representing passion, force, and aggressiveness) and the sign Gemini (a mutable Air sign known for being intellectual).

Crowley titles the card "Cruelty" and notes "It is agony of mind. . . crude rage of hunger operating without restraint; although its form is intellectual, it is the temper of the inquisitor.” He also writes: “There is the acrimonious taint of analysis; activity is inherent in the mind, yet there is always the instinctive consciousness that nothing can lead anywhere.”

Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "merciless harshness (Mars) and heartless calculating attitude (Gemini).”

Whispering Tarot
The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel

Liz Hazel's astrological associations for the Nine of Swords align with those of Crowley and the Golden Dawn: Mars/Gemini. Hazel's DMs for this card include: "fear, danger, disasters, attacks. Mental torment and terror. Nightmares, haunting visions. Physical pain from injuries, surgeries." Ill-dignified DMs include: "Mortal wounds. Death immanent – for a person or situation. No help in sight. May indicate the imminent collapse of a physical structure, especially from above.”

One World Tarot
One World Tarot by Crystal Love

Crystal Love associates the Nine of Swords with the second subdivision of Aquarius (natural ruler Uranus; subruler Mercury). She writes: "The inventive genius of Aquarius is given intellectual capabilities by the presence of Mercury. . . Math, astronomy and occult research are indicated.” She notes the following Traditional Interpretations: "Success and gain after persistent effort. Cruelty, unreasonable passions, anxiety. Misery. Quarrel. The card of the martyr.”

Mandala Astrological Tarot
The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann

Mann associates the Nine of Swords with the energy of  Venus in Gemini. Mann calls Swords Eight, Nine, and Ten "The Vibrations of Gemini," and links the Nine of Swords with the period between June 1-10. Green is the color associated with Venus and orange is associated with Gemini on the King Scale of Color.

Mann's divinatory meanings for the Nine of Swords: "Desire for variety in social life and work can be unsettling. It is necessary to be accommodating and open with friends, but feelings of loyalty should be sustained." Reversed: "Despair caused by inconstancy or resignation in affections, and bizarre values in emotional contacts.”

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

_David Thornton_  associates the Nine of Swords with the placement of the planet Venus in the Third House (House of Environment and Perceptions, Communication, Siblings, Short trips). The Third House in astrology is associated with the sign Gemini.

Thornton's description of the energy of the Nine of Swords is: "Charm, courtesy, a cooperative attitude, the ability to accommodate oneself to circumstances. Superficial love contacts can lead to conflicts.”

_Tarot Dynamics System_ by Anna Burroughs Cook
(illustrated in this blog by the Universal Waite tarot deck)

Anna Cook links all Nines to Astrology’s Ninth House (Sagittarius), representing the philosophical and the foreign, higher education, religion, spirituality, long-distance travel. She associates the Nine of Swords with the second decan of Gemini. In Cook's TD system, Subject Card Nine signifies Understanding. The keyword for the suit of Swords in this system is Challenging, which gives us Challenging/Understanding for the Nine of Swords.

Cook applies the keyword “Worry” to this card, noting: “Whether you have a strong desire to go into seclusion to escape the confusion in your life, or feel overwhelmed by a burning desire to be the best or first in everything, or you’re allowing other people’s opinions, problems (or both) to consume your life, your preoccupation is doing you more harm than good.”

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

About the Nine of Swords, Thierens writes "On the house of Sagittarius, the Ninth, the element of Earth must of course relate to the earthy side of religion, i.e. the material expressions of it, to the more heavy, earthy, materialistic mind and its ideas about religion, ethics, etc.” He goes on to state: “It is not very flattering for priesthood in general. . . It is fairly sure, that from the essence of this card arises inquisition and every sort of intolerance, religious intolerance above all. . . so this card may also indicate all sorts of hard judgment, rigid attitudes of mind, orthodoxy.”

His keywords for this card include: "Dogma, scholastic mind, creed. . . The ‘fear of God’ may well be turned into hatred of mankind."

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

Speaking strictly in astrological terms, for the Nine of Swords we have:

  • Crowley and Hazel with a Mars/Gemini association
  • Mann with Venus/Gemini
  • Love with Aquarius/Uranus/Mercury
  • Thornton with Venus/3rd House (Gemini)
  • Cook with the 2nd decan of Gemini, also referring to the 9th House (Sagittarius)
  • Thierens with Earth/9th House (Sagittarius)

Clearly Gemini dominates the associations made by these various Tarot writers. I tend to identify with Mars as the planetary association, and I particularly like Crystal Love’s inclusion of “unreasonable passions” among her “Traditional Interpretations.” I get a strong sense of the passion and aggressiveness of Mars playing havoc with Gemini’s ability to be reasonable, logical, and rational (qualities linked with Air signs). “Unreasonable passions” also applies to the idea of the Nine of Swords as a “nightmare card” or case of anxiety and worry that may or may not be justified. In the Rider-Waite version of the card, the Swords hang above the woman but do not touch her, suggesting a perceived threat that might not be real.

“Cruelty” resonates with this card in my mind as well, for we all know what lengths people can go to when gripped by “unreasonable passions.” I am fascinated by the references to “inquisition” and Thierens’ comment that “the ‘fear of God’ may well be turned into hatred of mankind.” This makes a great deal of sense when we acknowledge the relevance of the Ninth House to the Nine of Swords.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Journey Through My Decks: Page of Pentacles (Disks)

Tarot of Northern Shadows
Bube der Scheiben / Page of Discs


In this deck, the Court Cards of the suit of Discs feature Irish Celtic personalities. Howard Rodway tells us that our Page of Discs is Daoine O’Sidhe, an heroic Irish faerie.

According to Edain McCoy in her book Celtic Myth & Magick (Llewellyn Publications), “Daoine Sidhe” (pronounced Deeny Shee) is a label or name generically applied to all the faery races of Ireland and Scotland. Other names include The Little People, The Wee Folk, The Gentry, and Them That Prowl. The original word sidhe meant “peace.”

The face of this Page was inspired by a young friend of the artist who described to her a series of visionary dreams. In honor of the boy’s 18th birthday, Sylvia Gainsford depicted the imagery of these dreams in the card. In the background we see the youth’s red-haired spirit guide, dancing with upraised arms. The symbol on the spirit guide’s shirt is the _Othila rune_, emblem of home, inheritance, parents, experience, fundamental values, and spiritual heritage.

Dangling from the Page’s right hand is a cord with three spheres on it: red, blue, and yellow. These are the primary colors from which all other colors are created.

The Page’s shield bears five symbols which express the cycles of nature and life:

  • Symbol of the Horned God (top)
  • Cycle of nature (life, death, rebirth) - upper right
  • Essential balance of nature (lower right)
  • Four cyclic seasons (lower left)
  • Raw forces in nature - perfection, simplicity, cyclicity, infinity (upper left)

And yes, those are little horns forming on his head!

Ambitious and opinionated, the Page of Discs has a strong to desire to learn. He is serious and scholarly and has great respect for knowledge. In keeping with the association of the suit of Discs with Earth (material or physical world), this Page is focused on following a path that will lead to the finer things in life. Concentration, meditation, and reflection will serve him well as tools along the way.

Reverse meanings: “A person with unrealistic and illogical views. Failure to recognise the obvious. Luxury. Dissipation. Prodigality.”
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Tarot of Northern Shadows (deck) by Sylvia Gainsford (Illustrator). LWB by Howard Rodway. AGM AGMüller. 
Tarot of Northern Shadows (book) by Howard Rodway, with illustrations by Sylvia Gainsford. AGM AGMüller. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Yes or No? Should I? What about the Future?

In the Celtic Lenormand section of her _Inner Whispers_ blog, Chloë McCracken recently offered suggestions on using the Lenormand to answer Yes-No questions.

For one of the systems Chloë describes, we use the playing card associations that are often printed on Lenormand cards. We might arbitrarily decide that reds are taken as a yes, and blacks as a no – or vice versa.

Or we might use a method proposed by Lisa Frideborg over at _Tarotize_ : For each reading, flip a coin to decide if red or black (or odd or even numbers) will provide you with yes or no. Heads means that odd numbers are 'yes' and even numbers are 'no.' Tails means that odd numbers are 'no' and even numbers are 'yes.' (Of course, you can reverse that as well, depending on your whim.)

Okay, moving right along… I am using Chloë McCracken’s Celtic Lenormand deck, with artwork by Will Worthington (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) I’m not going to flip a coin this time, but will simply declare that reds will be taken as a “yes” answer and blacks as a “no.”

What will the question be? There is a lot of discussion among tarotists about Yes-No questions – whether they should be asked at all and if so, what guidelines we should follow? Some readers feel you should not ask “Should” questions, as in “Should I” do this? Others avoid questions that call for a prediction of the future, as in “Will I get the job?”

Personally, at this point in my Tarot reading career, I view the cards as offering an indication of whether current energy supports or does not support a particular answer.

For a “Should I” question, the answer might be “The energy surrounding this situation indicates support for taking that action” or “The energy surrounding the situation does not indicate support for taking that action.” The cards would then reveal more about why or why not.

If the question is future-oriented, the answer might be “The energy represented in these cards suggests that it is likely / not likely to occur.” Again, the cards themselves can reveal why or why not. If it sounds like I’m hedging my bets, I am. The future is not written in stone. There are lots and lots of variables that come into play, including the free will decisions of everyone involved in a situation.

After that rather lengthy preamble, perhaps we can finally get to the reading! My question is: “Will we get an offer on Mom’s house this month?”

And the answer is:


Snake - Shedding (Queen of Clubs) - black
Birds - Songbirds (7 of Diamonds) - red
Lilies (King of Spades) – black

So we have two cards that indicate “No” and one that indicates “Yes.” To me, this suggests that there is a very slight chance, but it is unlikely that we will get an offer on Mom’s house this month.

How interesting that Snake – Shedding can represent a woman (including a mother) making changes in her life. The Affirmation for this card is “I shed that which no longer serves me.” And so we have my mother “shedding” her house, which she put up for sale almost two years ago now. She is more than ready to let it go, having already moved into another place. However, the Snake card can also indicate difficulties or disappointments, perhaps even lies or deceit.

The Songbirds can represent siblings, and interestingly, there are three birds on this card. I am one of three siblings helping Mom sell her house. Yes, there has been and continues to be communication among us about this issue. We recently agreed to lower the price on the house and to take steps to “spruce it up” and make it more attractive to buyers.

Snake plus Birds often points to negotiations or compromises. Perhaps more of that will be necessary before we see an offer on the house.

Finally, the Lilies can represent (among other things)“family,” “elders,” or “parents.” The card is often said to refer to an “older man.” I am not getting an obvious association for that. My 61-year-old brother could fit the description, as could my 65-year-old husband. Our realtor is a woman. The Lilies card suggests a slow pace – and heaven knows, being on the market for almost two years, the pace has been (to say the least) slow. Perhaps we can expect more of the same. I hope not.

Birds plus Lilies may indicate a senior-level person, perhaps a consultant, or possibly serious discussions. That makes sense, too.

So not this month, then. And maybe not very soon at all. Concerning timing, in some Lenormand systems, the Snake (7) is linked with the month of July, the Birds (12) with December, and the Lilies with the season of winter. So we get a similar message to the one delivered by two black and one red: Not likely to be this month.