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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Animal Tarot Time: The Fool

Hopefully this isn’t one of those things I begin with great enthusiasm, only to let it die before it gets very far along (a typical Sagittarius trait, by the way).

In any case, I am beginning a new series here at Tarot Notes called “Animal Tarot Time.” For this series, I will be exploring the choices of animals made by various deck creators to correspond to traditional Tarot cards. My initial goal is to get through the Major Arcana using cards from seven different decks:
  • Animal Tarot Cards by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine (Hay House)
  • The Animal Totem Tarot by Leeze Robertson; illustrated by Eugene Smith (Llewellyn Publications)
  • The Animal Wisdom Tarot by Dawn Brunke; illustrated by Ola Liola (CICO Books)
  • The Animal-Wise Tarot by Ted Andrews (Dragonhawk Publishing)
  • The Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Worldwide)
  • The Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung (Self-Published)
  • Tarot of the Animal Lords with artwork by Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo)

And…. big surprise! I’m starting with The Fool! Let’s see what “Foolish” animals we can find.

Animal Tarot Cards (Virtue, Valentine, Hay House)
SHEPHERD PUPPY

Titled THE DREAMER rather than The Fool, Key Zero in this deck is represented by a “shepherd puppy.” I love how this could easily have been the little dog shown on The Fool card in the Rider-Waite-Smith and other traditional decks. Here, the dog is on his own, chasing butterflies. We do see a knapsack on the ground nearby, and an angel observing in the background.

Keywords from the Guidebook: “Excitement. Joy. Following your heart even though you may lack experience. Playful innocence and the belief that you can do anything.”

I also like that the shepherd breed was chosen for this card because this is one of the most intelligent dog breeds, very quick learners, with many natural abilities. So although this puppy may appear to be “throwing caution to the wind,” we can be sure that it is very much aware of its surroundings and ready to meet challenges that might arise. And the puppy does have an angel looking out for it.

The Animal Totem Tarot (Robertson, Smith, Llewellyn)
GRASSHOPPER

As I understand it, the American television show Kung Fu is the source for the use of the word “grasshopper” to designate a neophyte or trainee who is learning a skill or discipline. That usage seems quite appropriate for “The Fool,” whose lack of experience and training makes him an innocent at the beginning of a journey. Grasshoppers leap – and then, based on conditions they feel or smell, decide the next place they might want to land. Notice that they do not simply jump without any reason or purpose for doing so. It may not be evident on the surface, but The Fool, like the grasshopper, has inner instincts and intuition that play a part.


The Animal Wisdom Tarot (Brunke, Liola, CICO)
COYOTE: The Trickster

I normally think of The Magician as being “The Trickster” character in the Tarot, but the free-spirited, adventurous coyote isn’t a bad image for Key Zero. Coyotes are known for being adaptable, willing and able to adjust to conditions and circumstances in order to survive and even thrive in spite of obstacles they may face. The Fool, too, trusts in his ability to meet an overcome challenges that might arise when he ventures into unknown territory. Far from being a “blundering idiot,” the coyote (and The Fool) tend to be sharp, observant, and willing to take a chance.

Keynotes from the Guidebook: “Originality, Humor, Unconventional Wisdom, Freedom”


The Animal-Wise Tarot (Andrews, Dragonhawk)
COYOTE: Wisdom and Folly

The coyote was chosen to play “The Fool” in this deck because of its reputation as “an extremely gifted animal, embodying intelligence, playfulness, adaptability, and loyalty.” Once again, we see that The Fool is not expected to be a foolish, mindless character. The balance of wisdom and folly is at the core of this version of The Fool. There is a knack to being just foolish enough to take a chance and just wise enough to know why and how to do it. As Ted Andrews puts it, “Even if wrong decisions are made – you will quickly recognize them and have the instinct to correct them.” The Fool reversed brings in the ideas of being inflexible or taking oneself too seriously OR being reckless and careless.


The Animals Divine Tarot (Hunt, Llewellyn)
COYOTE: Native American

Surprise (or not)! It’s the coyote again. Hunt’s card shows us a coyote on a rocky path covered with entwined roots. He is not leaping into the air, but he still must navigate and negotiate the earthly protrusions in his path. As Hunt points out, in Native American traditions, the Coyote plays “the fool, the teacher, the traveler, the transformer, and the trickster.” Sometimes his brazen self-confidence leads to a positive result; other times, his impetuous behavior creates terrible trouble. But the coyote’s zest for life is unquestionable. He teaches and guides us to “adapt, change, and grow as new situations present themselves to us.” (Hunt)

Meaning from the Guidebook: setting upon a journey, adventurer, inexperience


The Animism Tarot (Cheung)
CCARA LLAMA

Joanna Cheung describes the llama on this card as “barreling along without a care in the world.” While we may worry that he is naïve and impulsive, we have to admit he is also confident, positive, and full of potential. Once more we see this balance between folly and wisdom mentioned by Ted Andrews. There is a sense that it is not in The Fool’s best interests to completely give up either of those qualities. I love the rendering of the llama on Cheung’s card – a nice departure from the coyote.

I did a bit of research and discovered that llamas can be divided in two groups according to the length of their fur: short coated called Ccara, and the medium coated called Curaca.

Keywords from the Guidebook: tenacity, curiosity, steadfastness, joy, fortitude, impulsiveness


Tarot of the Animal Lords (Giannini, Lo Scarabeo)
BADGER

An interesting choice here for The Fool in this deck. Badgers have rather short, wide bodies, with short legs for digging. They shelter underground, living in burrows called setts. Their behavior doesn’t really seem to go along with the idea of The Fool, in my opinion, as badgers seem somewhat stodgy and definitely down-to-earth, unlikely to take a skipping leap off a cliff. (Ted Andrews place the badger on hit Four of Pentacles card in the Animal-Wise Tarot.) However, the badger-man on this card seems carefree and jaunty enough, carrying a puffin under one arm for reasons perhaps known only to Angelo Giannini and Lo Scarabeo.

Keywords from the Guidebook: “Spirit of initiative, desire to travel; Reversed: thoughtlessness, madness, slavery.”

(Interesting side note in light of the prominent coyote-Fool cards, Wikipedia tells us: “In North America, coyotes sometimes eat badgers and vice versa, but the majority of their interactions seem to be mutual or neutral. American badgers and coyotes have been seen hunting together in a cooperative fashion.”)


THE FOOL: Shepherd Puppy? Grasshopper? Coyote? Llama? Badger? 
What works best for you?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Week Ahead Reading with Mystical Wisdom

This 3-card spread looks at the week ahead, with one card pulled for each of these positions: (1) beginning of the week, (2) middle of the week, and (3) end of the week. The purpose is to reveal “what will present itself for the coming week or what issues you need to focus on.”

I found the spread in the guidebook for the Mystical Wisdom card deck by Gaye Guthrie, with art by Josephine Wall (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) I am using that deck for this reading. To read my review of this deck, click _HERE_

(1) beginning of the week

UNICORN - Invite Serendipity

We start the week with a Unicorn – always a nice beginning! In the Mystical Wisdom deck, this card advises us to “invite serendipity,” with serendipity being defined as “the occurrence of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” I will do my best to invite serendipity early this week, with the goal of having good luck in making “unexpected and favorable discoveries.” I expect magic to happen!

(2) middle of the week

LETTING GO – Learn to Let Go

In this deck, “letting go” is about freeing myself from “situations that no longer serve me.” This is a good thing to do from time to time all through one’s life, I think, and perhaps there is something specific I need to let go of around the middle of this week. Is there an unhealthy attachment or bond that no longer serves me in a positive way? I need to find the courage to acknowledge the situation and welcome change.

(3) end of the week

FRIENDSHIP – Nurture Your Relationships

A lovely card that actually appeared the last time I did this spread with this deck. Clearly an ongoing theme for me. I have an opportunity to focus on how to be a good friend, how to enhance existing relationships and/or develop new ones. There may be an opportunity to offer understanding, compassion, or comfort to someone, or to show someone that they can trust me to be there for them.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Court Case - A Lenormand Perspective

I did a reading about a court case/lawsuit back on November 8 using the Tarot. To read it, click HERE.  

I have decided to do a reading today on the same matter using one of my Lenormand decks. In keeping with Lenormand tradition, I will read a line of cards rather than using positional definitions.

I am doing a Lenormand line of five, where there is a central focus card, plus the following steps:
* The heart of the matter (2+3+4)
* 1+2
* 4+5
* Reflect 1+5 and 2+4

My question is: “What do my nieces and nephews need to expect or understand about the hearing on December 19?” 

I am using the Mystical Lenormand painted by Urban Trösch (AGMÜLLER). Here is the line:

CHILD (13) …........ MICE (23) …....... PATHS (22) …... ANCHOR (35) ….. PARK (20)

The Heart of the Matter: MICE + PATHS + ANCHOR

Guidebook: Loss, sorrows, theft PLUS alternatives, decision PLUS work, job, training, stability
This does describe the situation. The court case stems from a loss (death) and therefore sorrow, plus each party in the lawsuit considering the other to be a “thief,” taking things that belong to them. Both parties are seeking stability (Anchor) for themselves.

Regula Elizabeth Fiechter describes the combination of MICE and PATHS as “all ways blocked at the moment.” PATHS combined with ANCHOR = “way with a lot of work.” ANCHOR combined with MICE = “unemployment, difficulty at work.”

I get a sense of delays, blockages, or obstacles at the heart of this court case, that may make a resolution difficult and time-consuming. The Anchor can indicate being “stuck.”

1 + 2: CHILD plus MICE

Guidebook: Children PLUS loss, sorrows, theft
A very appropriate reference, as the children of the person who died (mentioned above) are on one side of this lawsuit, in danger of losing what they feel rightfully belongs to them.

4 + 5: ANCHOR plus PARK

Guidebook: work, job, training, stability PLUS public places, many people involved
There is a possible connotation here of a profession that involves working or contact with the public. Certainly that would apply to the attorneys and the judge in this situation.

Reflect 1+5 and 2+4:

CHILD plus PARK: If we take the “Child” as a reference to the children of the deceased person, we see them here in a public setting (the courtroom?).

MICE plus ANCHOR: Can suggest loss of a job, which could refer to any number of things here. Perhaps one of the parties will fire their attorney(s)? Perhaps the judge will be replaced? It is also interesting to consider that both parties are petitioning to be named “personal representative” for the deceased. One of the parties will be given that job officially by the court; the other will "lose" that job.

I can’t help thinking that things may not be completely resolved on December 19. There may be delays, perhaps due to a change in attorneys or judge or something being “stuck” in place causing a postponement or delay.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Loved One on the Other Side - Tarot Reading

Today I’m doing a reading that I came across on Jeanne Mayell’s website at https://www.jeannemayell.com/

This spread is designed to explore a possible connection with a loved one who has passed on. It's called _LOVED ONE ON THE OTHER SIDE_.

It seems appropriate to use David Corsi’s Ghost Tarot (Lo Scarabeo) for this reading.

Jeanne Mayell does not provide a layout, so I decided to use a simple “diamond” shape, as follows:

…………….1………………

2……………………………3

………….…4………………

(1) How is my loved one doing?
(2) Anything my loved one wants to say to me.
(3) What's it like on the other side?
(4) How can I best support you?

Let’s begin…


(1) How is my loved one doing?

THE CHARIOT: I get the sense here that my loved one is moving forward towards a destination. I am not certain if he is the driver of the chariot or a passenger, though. The driver guides the horses along the road, sure and steady. This is such an interesting image. The “death coach” is part of the folklore of north western Europe. It is particularly strong in Ireland but is also found in British and American culture. It is said to warn of imminent death or, in some cases, to collect the souls of the dead.

(2) Anything my loved one wants to say to me.

TEN OF SWORDS: There are thoughts, conflicts, and perceptions that I need to release, to let go. I may need to even “let myself go” in the sense of focusing less on my own anxieties and insecurities. My loved one has let go of his earthly form and existence, and perhaps I need to release some of the things that tie me down or limit what I can do and what I can be.

(3) What's it like on the other side?

THE LOVERS: On the other side there is union and harmony. I get the sense here that those who have passed make choices or decisions about where they will go and what they will be on the other side.

(4) How can I best support my loved one?

THE STARS: I can look towards the sky and keep hope always in my heart. I can seek the world of the spirit, of “the heavens,” to maintain a link to my loved one and to all who have gone before me.  In a way, it is strange to think about “supporting” someone who has passed, but that is what we need to do in order to smooth the way for them – as opposed to refusing to let them go or causing them unrest with our attitudes and actions.

This is a compelling group of cards, with three from the Major Arcana – appropriate when dealing with such a substantial subject. The Ten of Swords also has a lot of meaning and weight here.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Court Case / Lawsuit Reading

First of all, I need to make the usual disclaimer about Tarot readings and legal matters. I NEVER recommend using a Tarot reading for legal advice. There are experts in that field called lawyers or attorneys, and they are the ones who need to advise you on legal matters.

The reading I am doing today here on the blog relates to an upcoming court hearing that involves members of my family (not me directly). Lawyers are already involved. What I want to do is ask the cards: What can you tell me about this court case?

To do this, I am going to create positional definitions that will hopefully shed some light on the energies and “possibilities” or “potential” for this hearing. Before pulling cards, I decided, in my own mind, who is “Petitioner #1” and who is “Petitioner #2.”

The positions:

(1) Petitioner #1
(2) Petitioner #2
(3) True nature of the conflict
(4) Lawyer(s) for Petitioner #1
(5) Lawyer(s) for Petitioner #2
(6) Judge scheduled to hear the case
(7) Chances that Petitioner #1 will win
(8) Chances that Petitioner #2 will win
(9) Dominent energy surrounding this matter
(10) Possible Final Outcome based on current conditions

Layout:

…………..10………….
……………9……………
7……………………….8
……..…….6……………
4……………………….5
…………...3……….….
1……………………….2

For this reading I am using Tarot of the Mystic Spiral by Giovanni Pelosini, with artwork by Giuseppe Palumbo (Lo Scarabeo).

(1) Petitioner #1: FIVE OF SWORDS

This is a card of conflict and self-defense, a clash that results in victory for one side and defeat for the other. I can tell you that Petitioner #1 in this case sees herself clearly as being in a position of self-defense, fighting to get what rightfully belongs to her (in her mind). She must prove not only her point, but herself during this process.

(2) Petitioner #2: KING OF SWORDS

A card of patience and endurance, the King of Swords is known for being fair, logical, analytical, just, and honest, capable of clear thinking and clear expression. Petitioner #2 comes from a position of strength and power, justice and fairness. The key is to remain alert and to stay the course.

(3) True nature of the conflict: ACE OF SWORDS


With Swords being the suit of the mind, we can see that the true nature (or root cause) of this conflict lies in the perception and point of view of each party – the way each party thinks about this situation. The outcome of this court case will determine a “new beginning” for both parties at many levels. They are fighting over their different ways of perceiving and interpreting that which is basic and fundamental. 

(4) Lawyer(s) for Petitioner #1: KNAVE OF CHALICES

The Knave of Chalices represents Petitioner #1 (Five of Swords). The Knave ( also known as Page) suggests the possibility of youth, inexperience, or immaturity. There is a focus on emotions (Chalices) that may not be helpful in this court case. From an elemental standpoint, we have Air (Petitioner #1 / Swords) and Water (Lawyer for Petitioner #1, Chalices). These two elements are considered “somewhat friendly” or “neutral” – suggesting that the relationship may not be productive or have the desired effect. On the other hand, the Knave of Chalices could be the “cooler head” that prevails over the client’s aggressive, fiery nature.


(5) Lawyer(s) for Petitioner #2: ACE OF WANDS

In general, I would say having an “Ace” as one’s lawyer is a positive sign. From an elemental standpoint, as the lawyer for Petitioner #2 (Swords/Air), the Ace of Wands (Fire) offers moderate mutual support – not the greatest or most powerful (which would be if they were the same element), but the next best thing. Fire and Air are powerful allies, both active and action-oriented. The Ace of Wands is often viewed as a card of opportunity.

(6) Judge scheduled to hear the case: THE HIGH PRIESTESS


How appropriate is this? The only Major Arcana card in the reading and The High Priestess, no less. This is a highly intuitive judge, one who can be trusted to make wise, knowledgeable, illuminated decisions. This is someone who can find the middle path between extremes, someone who looks beyond the obvious.

(7) Chances that Petitioner #1 will win: SEVEN OF WANDS

Once again we have a card of self-defense for Petitioner #1. This card is about defending one’s position, protecting one’s turf, and holding one’s own against adversaries. To me, this card suggests that Petitioner #1 will be left feeling that they did not win, that they did not get what they want, deserve, or need from this case. Backed into a corner, they are left continuing to defend themselves, whether by appealing the decision or some other approach.

(8) Chances that Petitioner #2 will win: SIX OF WANDS

It’s hard to find a more “victorious” card than the Six of Wands. Triumph, victory, and a joyful conclusion to a situation are all standard interpretations of this card. Good news, success, achievement. I am going to say the chances are very strong that Petitioner #2 will win this case.

(9) Dominant energy surrounding this matter: TEN OF WANDS


I usually interpret this card as being about burdens, being overburdened, stretched too far. There is no question that both petitioners in this case must be feeling this way. The energy for both is a continuation of stress, heavy spirits, and exhaustion. Both parties have many other responsibilities in their lives, and the added burden of this court case is wearing them down. This situation is heading swiftly towards a climax or turning point.

(10) Possible Final Outcome based on current conditions: KNAVE OF WANDS


The Knave (Page) of Wands is often about official communications: news of a decision or conclusion to a matter. I think we can see this as the judge’s verdict being communicated fairly quickly (Wands/Fire). As an outcome, I am not getting a clear sense of this card being favorable more towards one petitioner than the other. Both petitioners are represented by Swords cards, which are mutually supportive with Wands. We might say that a Wands card favors the lawyer for Petitioner #2 (Ace of Wands) more than the lawyer for Petitioner #1 (Knave of Chalices / Water). Not only that, the caduceus symbol is a central image on both the Ace of Wands and Knave of Wands in this deck. Perhaps the outcome will favor Petitioner #2, thanks to their lawyer?

Lots of Wands in this reading – certainly appropriate given the type of energy dominating this situation. We have boldness, ambition, drive, competitiveness, and initiative. Actions are being taken or suggested; change is in the works.

The judge (High Priestess) is a Water card, which could suggest sympathy or support for Petitioner #1’s lawyer (Knave of Chalices), but perhaps not enough to affect the ultimate outcome.


I do think that, overall, things look more positive for Petitioner #2. Time will tell.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Listen to the Animals: KIWI

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

If you are interested in finding out who your own Animal Guides are, you can get an Animal Guides Reading through my _Etsy shop_ or my _Web Site_.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/83334186/animal-guides-reading
http://zannastarr.weebly.com/animal-guides.html

This time my deck is Steven D. Farmer's Messages from Your Animal Spirit Guides Oracle Cards, illustrated by Bee Sturgis (Hay House).


Our animal today is the KIWI, a flightless birds native to New Zealand. For those of us on the other side of the world, who may never have seen or heard of this creature, the kiwi is approximately the size of a domestic chicken. Fun fact: Kiwis are by far the smallest living ratites (which also consist of ostriches, emus, rheas, and cassowaries).

Photo by Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust
For this card, Steven D. Farmer has chosen the message, “Do a walking meditation each day for the next week.” Farmer describes “walking meditation” as a slow, thoughtful walk for ten minutes or more, preferably in Nature, with your goal being to stay present and aware of your steps and contact with the ground while also being aware of the sights, sounds, and smells as you walk.

Farmer’s “Associations” for the Kiwi card: “Grounded; Nocturnal; Survival; Flexibility; Fatherhood; Innocence; Earthiness; Ancient Wisdom; Inspiration; Saftey; Speed; Quickness; Detection.”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

All-Around Advice Spread with Hidden Realm

Today’s offering is an “All-Around Advice Spread” from the book Journey into the Hidden Realm by Barbara Moore. This book accompanies the deck Tarot of the Hidden Realm, with art by Julia Jeffrey (Llewellyn). I love these cards and I wanted to spend some time with them today.

I am not thinking about any specific “situation,” just taking the spread for a trip around the block, so to speak.

The layout for the “All-Around Advice Spread” looks like this:


Court Card represents me in this situation (what aspect of me is most 
present and reacting to what is happening). 


KNIGHT OF PENTACLES: The aspect of me that is most present and reacting to what is happening in this situation is the practical, physical, material, determined – and perhaps stubborn – aspect. I have this “in Spades” (so to speak), thanks to Virgo rising and a Taurus moon, with my sun in the Sagittarius-Capricorn cusp. This Knight is known for a quiet demeanor that helps him maintain a high level of awareness. Solid and watchful, he can sometimes be seen as dull or lazy, but his dedication and determination cannot be overestimated. I am responding to the situation with a balanced, down-to-earth, steady, careful approach.

Major Arcana card represents the lesson that is woven into this situation.


THE MAGICIAN: The lesson woven into this situation relates to personal power and the skillful use of force of will, the heart, the mind, and physical resources. There is an opportunity to learn how to control and manifest internal power to create a solution or path in the world.

Wands card represents something I can do to help the situation.


TWO OF WANDS: To help the situation, I can look at the pros and cons of various approaches and decide where and how best to invest my energy. I can balance conflicting ideas or approaches so that they augment or support each other instead of competing against each other. I also see this card as perhaps suggesting that I can help the situation by combining my energy with that of another person – two heads are better than one.

Swords card represents something I can say or communicate to help the situation.


FOUR OF SWORDS: I can say or communicate the need for stability and analysis rather than “knee-jerk reactions” to the situation. I can express the importance of quieting the mind in order to reflect and discover a reasonable approach that will help solve rather than intensify any problems.

Cups card represents a feeling to encourage or express that will help the situation.


NINE OF CUPS: I can encourage or express feelings of satisfaction or contentment experienced in the past and upon which the present has been built. The positive feelings associated with past success and achievement can keep emotional responses to the current situation from overwhelming me or others involved. Life is made up of patterns and cycles, and we are strongest when we accept and value not only the joys and laughter, but the hurts and regrets, as part of what makes us whole.

Pentacles card represents something I can create or give that will help the situation.


EIGHT OF PENTACLES: In this situation I can create or give a sense of commitment and discipline that will help me (and others) make progress in dealing with the situation. This card reinforces the message of the Knight of Pentacles by emphasizing the importance of Earth qualities in addressing the situation.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

REVIEW: Tarot Plain & Simple by Leanna Greenaway

R E V I E W

Tarot Plain & Simple
The Only Book You’ll Ever Need
Copyright 2005, 2017 by Leanna Greenaway
Hampton Roads Publishing, Inc. (October 1, 2017)
Distributed by Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC
ISBN: 9781571747709
Book (Paperback)
5 1/2 x 8 / 176 pages / Line art



TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

Seasoned Tarot readers may well question the need for “yet another Tarot book,” and indeed, Tarot Plain & Simple does cover much of the same territory as countless other books on the subject.

However, I like the way Leanna Greenaway breaks up the text for each card into “Traditional Meaning” and “Modern Meaning,” followed by Reversed Meanings and Key Points. Occasionally there is a “Tip” as well, and these are quite helpful. She does a great job with the Court Cards, offering possible interpretations of them as a “Personality” as well as a “Situation.”

The use of subheads enhances the value of this book as a quick reference for any particular card. Another plus with this book is the presentation of exercises that encourage the reader to explore how combinations of cards can be read, in addition to giving meanings for each individual card.

I can highly recommend Tarot Plain & Simple by Leanna Greenaway for beginning Tarot students (it would make a great textbook for a class) and yes, even if you have been reading the cards for a while, you can find some useful, thought-provoking information in this book. I feel that Greenaway has achieved her stated goal of encouraging the reader “to learn, use, and enjoy the Tarot.”

PUBLISHER’S PRODUCT SUMMARY

Tarot is a popular form of divination that has been used for centuries. By following the guidelines set out in this book, you will come to understand how easy it is to master the art of reading cards. Many people struggle with the many different tarot books available today—they can be difficult for the novice to follow, and many present differing interpretations of the cards. This guide brings tarot into the 21st century, making the card meanings relevant and easy to understand and follow.

Tarot Plain & Simple offers modern and up-to-date interpretations for all 78 cards. Once you know these basics, you'll be able to easily branch out into more advanced and complex tarot books. Throughout this plain and simple book, the author discusses various card groups for interpretation, focusing mainly on the Celtic cross spread.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leanna Greenaway
Leanna Greenaway has her own monthly column in Take a Break’s Fate & Fortune magazine. As their resident witch, she answers reader's questions and offers quick and easy spells to combat problems. She is the author of Practical Spellcraft and Wicca Plain & Simple and the cofounder of the Psychic Study Centre. She lives in the south of England. You can visit her website here: http://www.leannagreenaway.co.uk/

BASIC INFORMATION / APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY / ART

Measuring 5 1/2 inches wide by 8 inches high, Tarot Plain & Simple is 176 pages long. Illustrations are black-and-white line art with Tarot card images derived from the Waite Deck created by Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. Text is black printed on white paper. Font size and style are easy to read. White space is used liberally, adding to the pleasant reading experience.

In Chapter 1 – First Steps on the Path of Tarot – Greenaway discusses her approach to the study of Tarot (“modern and up-to-date translations for all seventy-eight cards”). Contrary to some Tarot teachers, who insist that your first deck should be a gift from someone else, Greenaway’s view is that choosing your own deck is preferable. She provides very specific instructions for storing the cards (wooden box, wrapped in silk). She then proceeds to discuss what it means to be “psychic” and how the Tarot “is the key to unlocking the psyche.”

Other topics covered in this first chapter are “How Does the Tarot Work?” and “Upright and Reversed Cards.” Also included are “A Few Tips to Help You Along the Way,” including such advice as “Only read for the same person once in three months. Too many readings may confuse the querent” and “Always keep a list of useful phone numbers on your table – therapists, doctors, prevention hotline numbers. With the best will in the world, you will not be able to help everyone – nor should you try…”

Chapter 2 covers “Basic Card Facts.” The Major Arcana and four suits are covered in chapters 3-7. Chapter 8 is titled “Reading the Cards for Others,” and the last chapter is “Answers to the Exercises.”

For the Majors and Pips, Greenaway provides the following:

  • Card number
  • Traditional Meaning
  • Modern Meaning
  • Reversed
  • Key Points

For each Court card, we are given:

  • Card number
  • Traditional Meaning
  • Modern Meaning
  • Personality
  • As a Situation
  • Reversed
  • Key Points

Occasionally, a “Tip” appears at the end of the other subheads for a particular card.

EXERCISES (ten in all) appear at the end of some of the card descriptions. These are intended to be performed as you go through the book, reading each page in order (as recommended by Greenaway). The exercises focus primarily on reading a set of cards in a group. For example, following the write-up on the Justice card, Exercise Two gives examples of how to read Strength + The Empress and The High Priestess + Justice. The exercise then asks the reader/student to describe how they would interpret other combinations (The High Priestess + The Empress; The Hierophant + The Fool; Strength + The Lovers). Answers to these exercises appear at the end of the book.

In the chapter titled “Reading the Cards for Others,” Greenaway offers a Basic 9 Card Spread and “The Sun Dial,” a spread that provides a general 12-month reading.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE WORDS OF WISDOM FROM THE BOOK

“If you are female and reading for clients in your home, never let a stranger into your home without someone being there. However “spiritual” you may feel about reading the Tarot, it is just common sense to take social precautions.”

“Sometimes clients visit Tarot readers because they have problems that make them unhappy. They are looking for answers. Your main goal is to guide these people and to lighten their load. Always bring about a positive outcome without making things up.”

“A good approach at the beginning of the reading is to tell the querent that the Tarot cards show overall situations and that they do not always give dates and times. This means that the querent may not understand everything that is contained in the reading, but assure her that it will make sense later. Tell her to keep an open mind because some of the things that appear in the cards may take six to twelve months or even longer to come about.”

OTHER DETAILS / COMMENTS

Two things struck me immediately when I saw the cover of this book:

(1) TITLE

The title is the same as a book I own by Anthony Louis (Tarot Plain and Simple, Llewellyn Publications, Third Printing, 1997)

As far as I know, it’s perfectly fine (i.e., legal) for this book by Greenaway to have the same title as the book by Louis. It could be confusing for some of us, so I think I would prefer a different title, but as an author myself, I know how difficult it can be to come up with a title that no one has ever used before. (An earlier edition of Greenaway’s book was published as Simply Tarot.)

(2) THE “ONLY BOOK” ?

The subtitle “The Only Book You’ll Ever Need” reminds me of the first book on astrology that I ever owned: The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk (Taylor Trade Publishing, Copyright 1982, 1990, 2001, 2006, 2008 by Joanna Martine Woolfolk).

As for “The Only Book You’ll Ever Need” designation, I didn’t care much for its use on the Woolfolk astrology book, and I’m not wild about it on Greenaway’s book either. It’s not a big deal at all, just my personal resistance to a claim that I feel would be difficult or impossible to live up to. I still own the Woolfolk book (I even teach a class with it), but is it the “only book” I ever needed in my study of astrology? No.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Situation and Advice Spread with The Playing Card Oracles

I was in the mood to do a reading with two decks – not two different decks, but two copies of the same deck. One reason I like to do this occasionally is that the same card can show up more than once, which can give an interesting slant to the reading.

For this reading I am using the Playing Card Oracles Divination Deck by Ana Cortez and C.J. Freeman (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) To see my review of this fascinating deck, click HERE.

I have this deck in two different sizes, so I am using the larger size for the odd-numbered card positions in the spread below, and the smaller deck for the even-numbered positions. (Keep reading. I promise it will all make sense.) 😊

I am using a spread created by “Lunakasha” and posted on _Aeclectic Tarot. _

Layout:

**********9*10*********
***********************
****3*4***1*2***7*8****
***********************
**********5*6**********

Positional definitions:
1. Current situation……… 2. Advice
3. Internal Obstacles/Fears……. 4. Advice
5. Subconscious Desires/Hopes……. 6. Advice
7. External Obstacles/Challenges……. 8. Advice
9. Outcome……. 10. Advice

I am using my larger deck for the odd-numbered card positions (1,3,5,7,9), representing the current issue for that position. The smaller deck is used for the even-numbered card positions (2,4,6,8,10), representing advice on how to deal with that particular issue.

1. Current situation……… 2. Advice


GAWAIN (9 of Diamonds) …….. LIVIA (Queen of Diamonds / 12)

My first reaction when I saw these two cards was that they could be mother and son. Gawain (9 of Diamonds) typically symbolizes a “changing dynamic” or “energy that is here and then gone.” He rides into a situation, fixes things to his satisfaction, then rides off again. Here he represents the “Current situation,” which suggests to me a situation that is in flux, that changes often with ups and downs, with wrongs that are made right and errors that are corrected. But things are not settled, by any means. In the role of “Advice,” Livia (Queen of Diamonds) is known as one who is “hospitable and kind” as well as honest and trustworthy. She seems like a very steady influence, someone who doesn’t get all bent out of shape or out of sorts, and that is the energy that will be useful in dealing with a fluctuating situation.

3. Internal Obstacles/Fears……. 4. Advice


MARDOC THE HEARTLESS (King of Spades / 13) …….. EAST WIND (4 of Clubs)

Internal Obstacles and Fears are represented by Mardoc (King of Spades), known for being stubborn, skeptical, cold, and unforgiving. These traits can act as obstacles in any situation, especially if they are rooted deep within us. If this is the case, the East Wind advises us to think carefully, be patient, and take slow, deliberate action.

5. Subconscious Desires/Hopes……. 6. Advice


LEAH (Queen of Clubs / 12) …….. ETHRA (Ace of Clubs)

Leah (Queen of Clubs) is a very appropriate card to represent “Subconscious Desires/Hopes”, as she is known to be an intuitive, imaginative dreamer and visionary. She is certainly in tune with her deepest desires and the thoughts of her unconscious mind, but if she dwells too long in those realms, she can become delusional. During the fluctuating situation represented by Gawain (9 of Diamonds), it might be all too easy for Leah to lose touch with what is realistic or practical. Ethra (Ace of Clubs) also represents a connection to another, invisible world, where dreams, ideas, and creative impulses exist. Ethra is a moth, a creature who “lives between imagination and reality,” and we might deduce that Ethra’s advice here would be to explore and understand our subconscious desires and hopes, while at the same time making sure we take care of what is needed or desired in the physical, material world.

7. External Obstacles/Challenges……. 8. Advice


FORTUNA (10 of Clubs) …….. SOUTH WIND (4 of Diamonds)

As an External Obstacle/Challenge, Fortuna (10 of Clubs) is described as “here and gone” (very much like Gawain, the 9 of Diamonds)! Amusing and light-hearted, Fortuna is also known to be fickle and flighty. It appears that the fluctuating nature of our original Current Situation is only made more changeable by external influences. What advice, then, will the South Wind (4 of Diamonds) impart? Good question! The South Wind is viewed as the source of mischief and mayhem, unplanned circumstances, confusion, and misunderstanding. Perhaps the advice is to expect those things, and try to “roll with the punches” and maintain a sense of humor.

9. Outcome……. 10. Advice


SWORDS OF ENCHANTMENT (7 of Clubs) ……..THE BRIDGE (6 OF Clubs)

The Outcome seems rather glorious as we behold the Swords of Enchantment (7 of Clubs) whose motto is “Believe in me.” Another motto assigned to this card is “Positive thoughts attract positive circumstance at the moment we need it most.” Having faith in a shining, magical outcome will go a long way in making that outcome a reality. The Advice here seems appropriate, as the Bridge (6 of Clubs) refers to “safe crossing over troubled waters” as well as “newfound perspectives and newfound hopes.” The card points to surmounting and overcoming obstacles and finding peace of mind.

Looking at all of this, I get a sense of a tumultuous, changing, fluctuating situation that is exacerbated by internal “bad attitudes” and a tendency to focus too much on fantasies. External influences aren’t much help, and it may seem to those involved that everything is going to crash and burn. However, if they can remain steady and hospitable (Leah), patient and thoughtful (East Wind), and if they can maintain a sense of humor as they roll with the punches (South Wind), a magnificent Outcome is a strong possibility.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

"Tarot Magic" with the Wonderland Tarot

Today, in honor of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, I am using The Wonderland Tarot, created by Chris and Morgana Abbey (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) to do a series of two-card readings based on the spread “Tarot Magic” featured in the Complete Book of Tarot Spreads by Evelin Burger and Johannes Fiebig (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.)

I am going to explore four basic areas of life:

  • Myself
  • Home and Family
  • Relationships with Others
  • Career or Vocation

The positional definitions for the two cards in the Tarot Magic spread are:
(1) Choose this card. It represents your conscious attitude.
(2) Pull this card. It represents your unconscious attitude.

The process for this is to pull two cards from the deck, turn them up, and select the one that draws me the most concerning the subject in question. Make a note of that card. Then, return the cards to the pack, shuffle, and draw one card. This will represent my unconscious attitude about the subject. I will be using this process to pull a pair of cards for each of the areas of life listed above.

MYSELF


First two cards: SEVEN OF HATS (Cups) and JUDGEMENT. Of these two, the one that draws me most with respect to my conscious view of “Myself” is the Seven of Hats. I identify with the wide array of possible choices, dreams, and visions available to the rabbit on the card. I do see myself as someone who has many options, interests, and abilities – lots of ways to look at things, lots of opportunities.

I return both cards to the deck and shuffle. Then I pull a card to represent my unconscious view of Myself. Oh look, it’s THE EMPEROR as portrayed by The Cheshire Cat. This is too perfect, really. Very funny and astute. For one thing, The Cheshire Cat is my favorite character in Wonderland. Of course my subconscious would truly love to believe that I am The Emperor of my own life, wise and confident, stable, a born leader. I also would like to be able to master teleportation like The Cheshire Cat!

HOME AND FAMILY


First two cards: THREE OF FLAMINGOS (Swords) and SIX OF PEPPERMILLS (Wands). Well, I do have to take into consideration that I am on my third marriage (THREE of Swords), and the separation and pain aspects of the Three of Flamingos most certainly apply to some of that. However, if I focus on the here and now, the Six of Peppermills is closer to how I view “home and family” consciously. Everything does feel quite successful these days, with expectations rewarded. So Six of Peppermills it is.

Let’s see how I view “home and family” unconsciously… THE HERMIT. I like the fact that once again, I have pulled a Major Arcana card to represent my unconscious perspective. I tend to think of the subconscious or unconscious as being close to those deeper universal truths and lessons that the Majors so often represent. I am a bit of a recluse who enjoys staying at home, occupying myself with my favorite studies, entertainments, and activities. As the eldest of three children, I can also see myself, to some degree, as a “teacher” or one who guides or leads my younger siblings in many ways.

RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS

First two cards: NINE OF OYSTERS (Pentacles) and TWO OF FLAMINGOS (Swords). When it comes to relationships with others, I am drawn more toward the idea of balance and harmony suggested by the Two, plus the mental compatibility we might infer from the suit of Flamingos (Swords). I’ll take the Two of Flamingos here.

Unconscious view: TEN OF OYSTERS (Pentacles). At an unconscious level, I see relationships with others as something that fills my life with feelings of prosperity and security, a larger “family” that includes many actual family members.

CAREER OR VOCATION


First two cards: SEVEN OF HATS and THE STAR. The Seven of Hats resonates with me here for the same reasons it drew me in the “Myself” position – many options, opportunities, interests, and abilities are involved in my career/vocation choices. At the same time, however, The Star – wishes and dreams – seems relevant. From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a writer. That was my dream or wish all my life. I envisioned that being my only career, for life, and yes, I imagined myself as becoming a “star” in that field. But that is simply not how things worked out, for many different reasons. Even so, I am going with The Star for this one.

Unconscious view: THE STAR. Well, that settles that!

I have to say that I did not experience any shocks or unexpected developments concerning my unconscious views of these four areas of life. This has been a fun and informative reading for me. I hope you enjoyed following along!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Oracle Reading with Earth Magic

It’s been awhile since I consulted the Earth Magic Oracle Cards by Steven D. Farmer (Hay House). To read my review of this deck, click HERE.

Today I am doing the “Landscape” reading from the booklet that accompanies the deck. The layout is three cards in a row, numbered left to right (1, 2, 3). This reading is designed to offer a broad picture of the most critical factors involved in a question or concern.

TSUNAMI (Wake-Up Call)  ....... CAVE (Sanctuary)  .......  NEW MOON (Promise)

(c) Steven D. Farmer
Like The Tower in the Tarot, the TSUNAMI card is unsettling no matter how you interpret it. It represents something scary, destructive, or disturbing that we would rather not experience. The card points to a significant loss or dramatic event, typically unexpected. All we can do when this happens is trust our instincts and seek “higher ground.”

(c) Steven D. Farmer
It is reassuring to see the CAVE in this set of cards, reminding me that I have a sanctuary available to me, even if it is only a quiet, still place inside of me. There is a sense of safety and security here, protection from the turbulence and danger indicated by the Tsunami.

(c) Steven D. Farmer
Finally, the NEW MOON appears, a card of promise and the start of a new cycle following the full completion of the previous cycle. Whether this promise is one that I make – a commitment or guarantee to myself or someone else – or something promised to me, there is a sense of fulfillment and hope for the future.

This is really quite a lovely story being told by these three cards: from Wake-up Call to Sanctuary to Promise. Very reassuring and comforting in spite of the feelings of alarm initially delivered by the Tsunami.