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Sunday, April 25, 2010

An Interview with my Shadowscapes Deck

An Interview with the Shadowscapes Tarot


a deck interview with my cards (spread by FireRaven) - seen at Acelectic Tarot Forum (Spreads Thread)

The Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law is without a doubt one of the most beautiful decks I have ever seen. The art is exquisite. I confess that I am often drawn to decks based on the art rather than on how similar they are to the RWS in terms of scenes and symbolism. That propensity of mine set me up for a challenge when I decided to interview the Shadowscapes deck.

I am looking forward to reading the Shadowscapes Companion, written by Stephanie, along with Barbara Moore, but I wanted to try to experience this deck from my own perspective first. I want to thank Stephanie Pui-Mun Law for giving me permission to post images from this deck here on the Tarot Notes blog.

Initially, I almost expected the deck to decline my request for an interview. It seemed to be a sort of "look but don't touch" deck, so beautiful and refined that my attempt would be clumsy at best and offensive at worst. So I was surprised when the deck's booking agent responded to my inquiry by asking when and where I wished to do the interview.

For refreshments I decided on rainbow sherbet punch and lemon coconut cookies. At a few minutes after the appointed time, I heard a light tapping at my door. As I opened the door, waves of lavender, rose, and honeysuckle drifted over me. The room was filled with transparent ribbons of gentle violet, saffron, turquoise, and mauve. The Shadowscapes Tarot had arrived.

I took a moment to savor the scents and colors, then started the interview. Somehow, I was not surprised when the cards chose to respond in a series of blank-verse poems.

1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?

Like the spider weaves its web
I weave a world of pictures, stories, and dreams.
My threads are delicate yet strong.
To be caught in my web is to be transformed,
To be shown that creating the life you desire requires
Diligence, a love of beauty, and a willingness to persevere.

2. What are your strengths as a deck?

In a single, simple circle
Are both Yin and Yang
Swirling, curling, giving and taking from each other.
I share with you the power of opposites perfectly balanced,
Of dragons blue and yellow,
Mixed and mingled,
Flowing into a lavender sky.

3. What are your limits as a deck?

All around me and within me,
Foxes leap and dart and prance.
I see and smell and hear and move
In all directions at once.
If you cannot decide which fox to follow,
Perhaps that is your limitation, not mine.

4. What do you bring to the table -- what are you here to teach me?

I bring azure and sapphire and Persian blue,
To teach you how to feel, how to contemplate,
And to show you what lies within.
I bring jade and moss and sea green
To teach you how to heal, how to grow,
And to show you harmony in the midst of discord.
I bring three golden chalices
To teach you how to drink deeply of love, joy, and beauty.

5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you?

When your spirit, the swan, lies on a slab of stone
Pierced with the swords of sorrow, shame, and suffering,
You can learn from me that your spirit will rise again,
Swim again, fly again.
Join forces with me and I will lift you up.

6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

Together we are like the lion
Powerful, regal, courageous, proud
Like Leo, ruled by the Sun
Certain of who we are,
Confident in our knowledge and strength
A creature of Fire blazing a trail,
Warm, bright, alive.

I thanked the Shadowscapes deck for providing these thoughts. Lovely colors and scents washed over me once again and swirled out the door. It's obvious that this deck is more than just a pretty face!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oracle Card

Today’s oracle message comes from a deck called Messages from Your Animal Spirit Guides Oracle Cards by Steven D. Farmer. I like the fact that this deck includes quite a few animals that aren’t often included in animal decks, for example, the Meerkat, Kiwi, Platypus, and Pueo (Hawaiian Owl).

I pulled the
PANDA from the deck. Each card has a message at the bottom. For the Panda, it is: “Create a sacred space for yourself in your home and/or place of work.”

In the book that accompanies the deck, each card also has a list of Associations. For the Panda, these are: “Rarity; Vegetarianism; Polarity; Willpower; Solitude; Privacy; Sacred Space; Intuition; Perspective; Gentleness; Strength; Flexibility; Modesty; Economy.”

From what little I know about pandas, the message and Associations seem appropriate. Pandas are generally solitary animals that spend most of their days feeding. Their diet is almost all bamboo. Female pandas do not permit other females to violate their “space.”

These days it can be especially important to create a private spiritual sanctuary for yourself. We seem to be constantly connected to other people by computer, by telephone, and so forth. How can we hear our inner voice if someone else is always talking in our ear or sending messages to us to read on a screen?

For the sake of our emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health and balance, we need to have a place where we
can contemplate, meditated, or just exist for a moment without any agenda or demands.

In addition to my 60 Tarot decks, I own a great many oracle decks. I love these decks, but don't use them as often as I would like. Every now and then, I am going to share a card from one of these oracle decks here on the blog. I hope people will enjoy seeing cards from various decks and will gain something from the interpretations of the cards!

Friday, April 2, 2010

What's in Zanna's bag?

As my co-host, Helen, mentioned in her recent post: Barbara Moore wrote a great article for April Fools' Day on her blog at Llewellyn and included a fun spread. You can read Barbara's post here: http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/1849.

Barbara says this about the spread: “What if you are embarking on a journey or adventure of your own? As we noted, most Fools carry something, a bag or pack of some sort. People speculate a lot about what is in that pack. This spread is about what is in your bag as you begin walking down your path, whatever it may be. Keep in mind, this is not necessarily about actual stuff you are bringing (although it can be). It is more about attitudes, beliefs, and energy with which you are approaching the journey.”

For my reading, I am using James Ricklef’s Tarot of the Masters (I have a personally signed copy! I love this deck!)* Thank you, James, for giving me permission to include images of the cards in this post.

In this reading, I’m not going to discuss the paintings on which the card images are based, but I encourage everyone to visit the web site that James has set up for the deck at http://www.jamesricklef.com/ToM_INTRO.html.

This is the layout:




Like Helen, I shuffled the cards while meditating on the question "What do I have in my bag with me on my journey at the moment?"

The first thing I notice is that I pulled two Earth cards, two Fire cards, and one Major. Interestingly, my birth chart is strong in Fire (my Sun sign) and Earth (Moon and Rising signs). It is as if the cards are pointing out that my astrological makeup is indeed “in my bag” on this journey. It is part of who I am.

1. This will be very useful. This card shows something that will serve you well; you’ll be glad you have it.

KNIGHT OF COINS: Ah, the good old reliable, persistent, single-minded Knight of Coins. I identify readily with James’ comment that the painting – as well as the Knight of Coins in general – embodies a sense of “serenity and subdued power.” Here I see my Earth signs at work – Virgo rising, Taurus Moon. On my journey at this moment, I will be glad to have my sense of commitment, patience, and even stubbornness – a refusal to back down or give up.

2. This will come in handy. This card is something that you may not use often, but there will come a time when you’ll be very happy you have it.

TWO OF WANDS: James explains that this card departs significantly from the Rider-Waite imagery, and I find that I really like this alternate imagery for this reading. The “gritty realism” (as James calls it) in this card will come in handy on my journey. It is one thing to be inspired and enamored with a dream, and quite another to put one’s nose to the grindstone and make something happen. There are so many sayings that come to mind. For example, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Planning and envisioning a goal are important, but equally valuable is taking the necessary steps to win over challenges and adversity, whether they come from without or within.

3. This you won’t need. This is something you think you’ll need but probably won’t use. You’ll probably carry it along more as comfort or security, and that’s okay. It won’t hurt.

FOUR OF WANDS: I typically think of the Four of Wands as a card of celebration, particularly a shared celebration in which people express their appreciation for each other and their achievements. Can it be that I think I need this sort of celebratory environment but, in the end, I really don’t? I have a tendency to feel inferior when others are praised, endorsed, or celebrated. I automatically think: “No one ever says all that great stuff about me. I guess it’s because I don’t deserve it.” Intellectually, I realize that this is an unhealthy, unhelpful response. At an emotional level, however, I continue to react this way. So perhaps the Four of Wands here is telling me that I am placing too much importance on public displays of appreciation, ascribing great meaning and significance to them when it is not deserved. I can still look forward to experiencing a celebration without depending on it for my own personal satisfaction.

4. This will weigh you down. This card is something that is like emotional baggage. It will get in your way and cause problems. Definitely unpack this and leave it behind.

THE CHARIOT: Like Helen, I have pulled a Major in this position. I am being instructed to sit up and take notice! It seems to me that what will weigh me down might be both the inability to understand and balance opposing forces in my life (note the dark and light-colored horses) as well as wearing various masks or personas instead of allowing my authentic Self to be revealed (look at the bottom, and you’ll see the masks of Tragedy and Comedy). This assumes, of course, that I can even identify my “authentic Self” under the masks I have collected over the course of my life. We start wearing masks at a fairly young age, you know.

5. You forgot this!


And we return to Earth! James points out that the coins are arranged in the pattern of the Qabalistic Tree of life, representing “the Higher Power out of which all wealth arises.” Wealth. Ah, yes, how do I define Wealth . . . or Success, for that matter? Is it time to do a recap, a recount, or a reconsideration? Have I forgotten how to enjoy the “fruits of my labor” – no matter what form they take? What exactly is the purpose of being reliable, persistent, and single-minded like the Knight of Coins in position 1? What is it I hope to accomplish with commitment, patience, and stubbornness? Will I know it when I see it?

Like all good Tarot cards, these have brought me more questions than answers, and much to contemplate and consider. I want to thank James Ricklef for creating such a “masterful” set of cards, Barbara Moore for sharing this wonderful spread, and “Fair Helen” for inspiring me with her reading!

* Tarot of the Masters is copyright © James Ricklef; all rights reserved." Webpage for the deck: http://www.jamesricklef.com/ToM_INTRO.html