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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Covering All the Angles for 2012


With the Year 2012 fast approaching, I thought I would share a reading using a spread I created called Covering All the Angles. You can read more about this spread HERE.

Because this particular reading looks ahead into 2012, I changed the positional definitions slightly from the original. I am using the Mystic Dreamer Tarot by Heidi Darras, with its companion book by Barbara Moore (Llewellyn Publications). I am also incorporating key words and input from Tarot Dynamics by Anna Burroughs Cook (Kima Global Publishers).


1. Self - what may work in my favor in 2012
Tarot Dynamics: card 34 - Changeable / Renovation
Eight active, enthusiastic, optimistic Wands all point in the same direction, appearing to shower their energy over the woman on the card. The woman herself is poised to move. The dynamic energy of this card may work in my favor, perhaps by propelling me towards greater self-awareness or a closer relationship with my highest self.

2. Self - what may work against me in 2012
Tarot Dynamics: card 55 - Crisis or Reward
On this card, the single Sword suggests single-mindedness, and the ornate crown and hilt suggest a well-established, dominant energy. The masculine suit of Swords emphasizes rationality and reason. I get a sense of a new point of view that may inhibit self-development and growth. Tarot Dynamics mentions the possibility of "an unhealthy mix of ego, temper, and principle."

3. Self - advice/forecast
Tarot Dynamics: card 6 - Harmony
Here I get the sense that there will be a decision or choice that may impact my self-development or self-awareness. In making that decision or choice, I will want to examine my reasons and motivations. I will want to try to bring my conscious thoughts and subconscious thoughts into balance, and seek input from my higher self. As a result, I may gain a better understanding of myself.

4. Home and Family - what may work in my favor in 2012
Tarot Dynamics: card 70 - Ambitious/Interaction
An ability to juggle multiple tasks in the area of home and family may work in my favor in 2012. The emphasis with Pentacles is on money, possessions, health, and values. At any given time, I may find myself balancing my time and energy among such things, whether they relate to me personally or to a family member.

5. Home and Family - what may work against me in 2012
Tarot Dynamics: card 2 - Passion
This card suggests that concealing knowledge or "keeping secrets" could work against me in the area of Home and Family. Whether I am withholding information or someone else is keeping something from me, the effect is likely to be injurious. The High Priestess may also indicate that harm could be caused by a failure to understand and trust my intuition, an inability or unwillingness to seek wisdom within myself before taking action. Tarot Dynamics mentions that "relationships will experience some degree of reconstruction and re-evaluation."

6. Home and Family - advice/forecast
Tarot Dynamics: card 47 - Emotional / Relationships
This card usually represents being emotionally attracted to many different choices, unable to choose which one(s) to pursue. I get a sense that I may have to discern which of these options would be beneficial or wise. All that glitters is not gold. I can reduce confusion by eliminating choices that are superfically appealing but not really in my best interests. Tarot Dynamics mentions uncertainty and the possibility of overestimating or underestimating something or someone.

7. Relationships and Partnerships - what may work in my favor in 2012
Tarot Dynamics: card 41 - Crisis or Reward
This feels like an encouraging, promising card to see in this position. The energy here is loving, joyful, and fulfilling. Being open to this abundance and willing to embrace it will work in my favor in the area of relationships and partnerships. Tarot Dynamics mentions working constructively with emotions to make the time period productive and rewarding.

8. Relationships and Partnerships - what may work against me in 2012
Tarot Dynamics: card 17 - Hope
It appears that what may work against me in the area of relationships and partnerships could be an inability or unwillingness to receive the transformative, uplifting, hopeful energy manifested by this card. If I allow everyday trials and tribulations to distract me or weigh me down, I will not be able to enjoy the powerful blessings The Star conveys. Tarot Dynamics mentions the possibility that an overabundance of any emotion could cause me to misinterpret my intuition.

9. Relationships and Partnerships - advice/forecast
Tarot Dynamics: card 11 - Balance
The theme of "choices" or "decisions" in this reading continues in the area of advice/forecast for relationships and partnerships. Justice advises me to rely on logic and reason rather than emotions when making choices in this area. Ultimately, fairness is key. There is a need for balance and an even hand, as opposed to knee-jerk reactions or irrational responses. 

10. Career - what may work in my favor in 2012
Tarot Dynamics - card 27 - Crisis or Reward
As a card of creative opportunity, the Ace of Wands bodes well for career matters in 2012. My career development is supported by fiery, active, optimistic energy. Tarot Dynamics mentions major changes as circumstance and personal aspirations require me to harness my willpower with a positive attitude and blaze my own trail.

11. Career - what may work against me in 2012
Tarot Dynamics: card 56 - Challenging / Interaction
Conflicating ideas or perspectives may work against me in the area of Career. I may further compound the problem by refusing to face this challenge. Even if I do acknowledge the conflict, I may find it difficult to be rational. Tarot Dynamics mentions the possibility of irrational fears and anxieties that arise when I least expect them, and the potential for allowing impatience and frustration to control my behavior.

12. Career - advice/forecast
Tarot Dynamics: card 25 - Changeable Adventure
In this position, the Knight of Wands offers great support with his generousity and ambition. He can also cause trouble by being impetuous or impulsive. There is a caution here about losing patience with some aspect of my career, and dashing off to pursue something new. The key is to channel this Knight's fiery energy, while curbing any tendency to make grand but empty gestures. Tarot Dynamics mentions the importance of staying flexible and going with the flow when prudent.


I notice that MAJOR ARCANA cards appear in all segments except the Career segment. This could suggest that I will be affected at a high spiritual level in the other three areas of life, but perhaps not Career.

The reading contains three ACES -- one for each segment except Self. Sounds like a lot of new opportunities will be offered.

EARTH appears less than any other element in this reading. This could suggest less activity or impact in the material and physical realm.

There are five AIR cards, indicating that thoughts, ideas, perceptions, and communication are likely to play a significant role in 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Take a Number: Three!

Numerology & Tarot

I am working my way through the numbers, comparing the ways in which I have used them in Tarot readings with observations and comments from numerologists and occultists. I welcome your comments and observations about this fascinating subject!

My key words for the number Three: creativity, synthesis, initial completion, expansion

Tarot Cards: The Empress, Threes of all suits

3 of Wands
Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

Writing about the occult meaning of numbers, Paul Foster Case gives the following keywords for Three: "multiplication, development, growth, unfoldment, therefore expression." (The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages, Macoy Publishing Company)

In his book Numerology: Key to the Tarot (Whitford Press), Sandor Konraad writes: "Three is a number of self-expression, creativity and sharing."

Quoting from Numerology and The Divine Triangle by Faith Javane and Dusty Bunker (Whitford Press): "Three combines the qualities of 1 and 2. . . carrying the qualities of manifestation and self-expression. . . If any of the numbers could be called happy-go-lucky, it would be the effervescent 3." Key words for Three: "expansive, sociable, dramatic, communicative, diversified, creative."

Gary Meister, CTM offers the key words "creativity, expansion" for the number Three. He writes: "[Number Three] is the creation itself; the expansion of the original idea into concrete form.  . . Three means either use your creativity or expand upon what you have been doing."

The web site Numberquest.com provides a much longer string of key words for the number Three: "Trinity, Union of Divine plus Human, Manifestation, Positive, Negative and Neutral, Expression, Subconscious Mind/Imagination, Creative, Optimistic, Enthusiasm, Expressive, Charming, Humor, Fun, Attractive, Friendly."

In Anna Burroughs Cook's Tarot Dynamics system: "Subject Card Three is for thinking and networking."

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

Concerning The Empress (Card 3), Cook writes: "The Empress can help smooth or improve your communications and develop new or better connections."

According to Javane and Bunker: "The Empress is also an aspect of the subconscious mind. While the High Priestess, number 2, is memory, in number 3 we find the subconscious response to that memory which produces growth through the imagination. . . The conscious mind, key 1, cannot produce; the subconscious mind, key 2, cannot reason; it takes a combination of 1 and 2 to produce manifestation, or key 3."

3 of Cups
Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot
The number Three is sacred to many spiritual paths. One of my favorite possessions is a pamphlet called Druidic Triads by W. Faraday (Sure Fire Press), organized by subject. For example, one entry under the heading "Of the Rewards of Virtue" reads: "Three things which the humble will gain: plenty, joy, and the love of their neighbours."

Here's a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: "There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self."

For an interesting list of quotations and sayings related to the number Three, click HERE.

DeckThe Rider Tarot Deck, also known as the Waite, Rider Waite, and Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) deck, designed by Pamela Colman Smith under the direction of Arthur Edward Waite. Published by US Games Systems, Inc.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

REVIEW: Woodland Wisdom Oracle Cards


Woodland Wisdom Oracle Cards
Author: Rev. Frances Munro
Illustrator: Peter Pracownik
U.S. Games Systems, Inc. / 2011
ISBN #978-1572-816916


"Elves and fairies share their Woodland Wisdom to help you move your life forward in positive ways. . .


The Woodland Wisdom Oracle deck consists of 29 illustrated cards, including 24 Working Wisdom Cards for inspirational guidance and 5 Gold Power Cards to reinforce the power delivered by these messengers. The 48-page LWS (Little White Booklet) provides a description for each card, along with a special inspirational message, and sample readings.

Rev. Frances Munro tells us in the LWB that her spirit guide has been her inspiration since 1999. Rev. Munro's Spirit Guide was involved in every aspect of the creation of the Woodland Wisdom Oracle Cards, from the number of cards included to the characters depicted on each card to the colors that were used.

Rev. Munro uses her writing and workshops to help people connect with their own spirit guides and live more enlightened lives. She encourages us to work with our feelings when we read the cards, "because your logic can be in conflict with what your soul tells you is right, and that will impede your growth if you allow it." She also states: "Always remember that you have free will and that the outcome of your reading depends entirely on the actions you take."

The Working Cards are:
  • Butterfly Fairy
  • Corn Fairy
  • Cornflower Fairy
  • Dragonfly Fairy
  • Elm Tree Elf
  • Fairy of Dawn Awakening
  • Fairy of Evening Dusk
  • Fairy of Golden Light
  • Fairy of the Woodland Realms
  • Foxglove Fairy
  • Grass Fairy
  • Holly Fairy
  • Leprechaun
  • Lily Fairy
  • Oak Elf
  • Orchid Fairy
  • Primrose Fairy
  • Snowdrop Fairy
  • Snow Goose Fairy
  • Spirit of the Mighty Oak
  • Sycamore Fairy
  • Tortoiseshell Butterfly Fairy
  • Willow Fairy

The Gold Power Cards are:
  • Elfin Duke
  • Elfin Princess
  • Fairy Princess of Summer Flowers
  • Fairy Princess of Winter Flowers
  • Tree Fairy
Detailed instructions about what to do when reading these cards are provided in the LWB. We begin by placing ourselves in the most relaxed state possible. Rev. Munro recommends that only three cards be chosen from the 24 Working Cards for a reading because "picking more than three cards will only confuse you rather than bring clarity."

Reversed cards are read as emphasizing the message and showing its importance to the situation being explored. If you pick two cards at once by mistake, use them both, even though you will end up with more than three cards total in that reading. A Power Card is drawn at the end to bring the reader greater awareness of the power within and how it can be developed further.

The message for each card offered as a direct quote from the character on the card. Rev. Munro also gives us a paragraph explaining who each character is what his or her gifts are. Sample Readings "from two very different and real people" are provided at the end of the LWB.


The Woodland Wisdom Oracle cards measure 3.5" x 4.75", an easy size to handle and shuffle, and are printed on sturdy, glossy stock.

The cards are not numbered. Each card has a white border, and the images are framed in lime green. Titles are printed in black on lime green at the bottom of each card. The backs of the cards feature a mandala of mushrooms and dragonflies set against a lime green background. The images on the fronts of the cards are alive with many vibrant colors and shimmery areas of light that convey the magic of these woodland residents.


I have long been an admirer of fantasy artist Peter Pracownik's work, particularly in The Dragon Tarot (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) He also created the artwork for the Imperial Dragon Oracle and The Lord of the Rings Tarot, both published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

The female characters in the Woodland Wisdom deck have long, flowing hair, with the exception of the Willow Fairy, who wears her hair twined with flowers and piled on top of her head. The females wear purple, white, pink, orange, blue, and many other colors. The males (somewhat underrepresented at 6) are all dressed in green. Everyone has shimmery white gossamer wings. Pracownik has given the characters distinct personalities that we can see in their faces and their poses.

One card is very different from the others. Spirit of the Mighty Oak features a "green man" face surrounded by branches and leaves. No wings in sight. This card encourages us to attune ourselves with the trees.

Birds, butterflies and other insects, fish and/or mammals are found on almost every card. Other details include beautiful flowers of many kinds, mushrooms, trees, rocks, bubbles, and bodies of water.


I see the Woodland Wisdom deck as a soothing, supportive deck that offers a great deal of encouragement and gentle advice intended to make our lives happier and more satisfying. With the deck being titled "Woodland Wisdom," I thought perhaps there might be a greater variety of magical woodland creatures depicted. This deck has fairies, elves, and a leprechaun -- but lacks a sprite, pixie, or gnome. On the other hand, the amount of detail encourages meditation and careful exploration of each card, which I like in a deck. Among my favorite cards are the Snowdrop Fairy with her bunny friends, the Fairy of Evening Dusk stretching luxuriously in the moonlight, and the Fairy of Golden Light with her unicorn.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cards and Quotes: Justice

Today's Cards and Quotes features JUSTICE from the Bruegel Tarot (artwork by Guido Zibordi Marchesi, published by Lo Scarabeo / Llewellyn).

“Justice is truth in action.”
Benjamin Disraeli
(British Prime Minister and Novelist. 1804-1881)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

In the Spirit of the Season
Happy Holidays
from Tarot Notes

This collage was created using The World cards from the following decks:

Celestial Tarot Deck and Book Set
Created by Kay Steventon, Written by Brian Clark
US Games Systems, Inc. 

 Animals Divine Tarot
by Lisa Hunt
Llewellyn Publications

The Dragon Tarot
by Nigel Suckling
Illustrated by Roger and Linda Garland
Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Mandala Astrological Tarot 
by A.T. Mann
Thorsons, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

 The One World Tarot 
by Crystal Love and Michael Hobbs
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

 Hanson-Roberts Tarot Deck
Illustrated by Mary Hanson-Roberts
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Hudes Tarot Deck
by Susan Hudes
U.S. Games Systems, Inc. 

Legacy of the Divine Tarot
by Ciro Marchetti
Llewellyn Publications. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Words from the Wise

Today's Words from the Wise are delivered by THE CHARIOT from The Ancestral Path Tarot by Julia Cuccia-Watts (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Feel free to look to the left and right as you travel. 
But if you choose to turn from your path, be sure to 
align divergent energies so that you can navigate 
your new course with confidence.

Please note: The interpretations provided in Words from the Wise are my own interpretations of the card, not quotations or excerpts from material written by others.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tarot Dynamics: Personal Enlightenment Reading

I love learning new methods of reading the cards, and Anna Burroughs Cook's Tarot Dynamics approach is one of my favorites. I'm still learning this method, but one way to learn is to put it into practice.

To increase my understanding of this system, I decided to do the three-card Personal Enlightenment spread that Anna provides in the back of her book, Tarot Dynamics (Kima Global Publishers). Anna graciously agreed to review and comment on my interpretation of my reading.

I used the Universal Waite deck (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) Below are the positional definitions for the spread, the cards I pulled, my interpretation, and Anna's comments:

(1) State of Affairs / Hindsight: CARD 74 - SIX OF PENTACLES

Representing Ambition (or Ambitious Initiative) in Anna's system, Pentacles are usually associated with financial and professional advancement, material acquisition, material rewards and/or material crisis. This suit is commonly about "reaping harvest, breaking new ground, or planting new seeds."

The key word for the number Six in Anna's system is Commitment. Sixes deal with "your general health, your daily routine and your willingness to make whatever changes may be necessary to keep matters running more smoothly, efficiently and harmoniously."

Anna's key words for Card 74 (Six of Pentacles) are Ambitious/Commitment. In her Introduction to Tarot Dynamics, Anna recommends developing your own key words for each card, based on what you "feel" when you see that card. My key words for Card 74 (Six of Pentacles) are Generous Nature.

To me, this card in this position represents certain elements of my past that continue to influence the present. These elements that play a significant role in who I am and the path I am on today. Ambition, Commitment, and Generosity are interwoven into the fabric of my current life. Interestingly, the Golden Dawn astrological association for this card is Moon in Taurus, the location of the Moon in my birth chart.

(2) Self / Insight: CARD 10 - WHEEL OF FORTUNE

As a Major Arcana card, the Wheel of Fortune is a card of Personal Transformation in Anna's system. It tests, rewards, and replenishes my strength of character. A Major Arcana card here suggests that I am grappling with matters that are karmic in origin.

ANNA: Ah, but what IS Karma Zanna, if not cause and effect, - as simple as knowing when to leave well-enough alone, or finally stepping up to the plate to confront a matter we’ve been avoiding. 

Anna's key word for this card is Opportunity. My key words are Inevitability of Change. To my mind, "Opportunity" puts a more positive spin on the Wheel, whereas my key words could go either way. In any case, I feel this card in this position is about the internal ups and downs I experience, and reminds me that just because an opportunity escapes me today, it doesn't necessarily mean it's gone forever or that another opportunity won't arise.

The Wheel of Fortune is also one of my birth cards, the other being The Magician. Card 10 is associated with the planet Jupiter in the Golden Dawn system, and Jupiter rules my sun sign. So -- it just seems appropriate that this card would show up in the Self / Insight position.

(3) Challenges / Foresight: CARD 23 - KING OF WANDS

Anna defines the word challenge as "a matter of circumstance that requires our immediate attention."

Representing Change in Anna's system, Wands can promote changes that lead to personal renewal by helping me accept the necessity of making some changes and adapting to others.

In Anna's system, all Kings "trigger or enhance your personal initiative." Her key words for Card 23 - King of Wands are Changeable Initiative. My key words are Confident Leadership.

To me, the King of Wands suggests a formidable challenge, so I'm grateful to be given the foresight to know that such a challenge may arise. I get the sense that I may be challenged to demonstrate Changeable Initiative and/or Confident Leadership. I will need to avoid being too impulsive or impatient in this. Alternatively, a challenge might come from a person in authority who takes the initiative to create change that I do not desire. There is a feeling that I may have to act under pressure or "fight Fire with Fire." 

Based on Anna's Tarot Dynamics method, my Personal Enlightenment reading has an interesting mix of Ambition/Commitment, Opportunity, and Changeable Initiative. It feels like a natural progression from establishing a foundation, to being presented with an opportunity, to exercising the initiative to take advantage of that opportunity.

ANNA: Dear Zanna, I would like to add that (from Page 79 in your present copy of TD) like Fire, Wands are all about new growth and new opportunities to “blaze your own trail – which IS exactly what you’re doing now. Not to mention how many other ideas you are going to come up in this next year concerning your present writings..I’m certain that you’ll be ”blazing  your own trail” in more ways than one.

Monday, December 19, 2011

2 of Swords - Astrological Associations

Astrological associations for the Minor Arcana cards typically involve both a planet and a zodiac sign. The attributions established by the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD) are by far the most commonly used. However, some Tarot decks and Tarot readers use a different set of associations.

As a professional astrologer, I find it interesting to compare and contrast these associations from deck to deck. The use of astrological associations with Tarot is completely up to the reader. This is merely intended to be interesting and fun.

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

Announcing a couple of changes to my series on Astrology and the Tarot:

(1) With the Two of Swords, I am adding the astrology-tarot associations favored by David Thornton. To learn more about  David, visit his BLOG  or his WEBSITE . You can download his ebook, The Tarot and Astrology, HERE.

Concerning the associations he uses, David notes: "I owe a lot to the GD for suggesting that there were strong links between the tarot and astrology - although I disagree with them, almost entirely, in my attributions. I owe a huge debt to A.T.Mann and his works on astrology - although I disagree with him on a number of counts too. I guess I can claim a moral right to call this my system of attributions. However, I must also express gratitude to those students of tarot and astrology who have gone before me: A.T.Mann, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Reinhold Ebertin, Robert Hand, Robert Pelletier."

(2) From this blog entry forward, for purposes of organization, I am going to begin each post with the OGD/Crowley associations, followed by Liz Hazel (The Whispering Tarot), Crystal Love (One World Tarot), A.T. Mann (Mandala Astrological Tarot), David Thornton, Anna Cook, and A.E. Thierens.

Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley

For Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD), the Two of Swords is linked with the placement of the Moon (emotions, the subconscious) in Libra (a Cardinal Air sign known for being peaceable, artistic, and socially adept). Crowley titles the card Peace. He writes: "The Moon is change, but Nature is peaceful; moreover, Libra represents balance; between them, they regulate the energy of the Swords."

Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "Balanced, peaceful (Libra) feelings (Moon); need (Moon) for harmony (Libra)."


The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel

Liz Hazel's astrological associations for the Two of Swords align with those of Crowley and the OGD: Moon/Libra. Hazel's DM related to the Moon include "Hidden or unknown information; choices obscured and require patience to sort through all possibilities. . . Information that may not be true." Libra's influence is seen in the DMs, "Sitting on a fence about a decision. . . Refusal to settle on a choice because of a conflict of interest in the matter."

One World Tarot by Crystal Love

Crystal Love associates the Two of Swords with the first subdivision of Gemini, along with its natural ruler, Mercury, and subruler, Jupiter. She writes: "Jupiter adds a thoughtful and expansive tone fo the Mercurial Gemini. It gives a kind and generous disposition and adds self-confidence.  . . However, a profusion of ideas requires sound judgment through which to filter the numerous impressions that pour in, and a misuse of faculties should be avoided at all costs."

The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann

Mann associates the Swords Two with the energy of Venus in Libra. Mann calls Swords Two, Three, and Four "The Winds of Libra," and links Sword Two with the period between September 23 and October 2. The color green is associated with both Libra and Venus on the King Scale of Color.

Mann's divinatory meanings for Sword Two: "A harmonious relationship is founded on art, love and perfect balance." Reversed: "Scattered affections created by overidealizing the loved one."

The Tarot and Astrology by David Thornton

Like A.T. Mann, David Thornton associates the Two of Swords with the placement of the planet Venus (planet of love and appreciation) in the Seventh House (House of Marriage and Partnership). As David explains: "Each of the minor cards is attributed to a decanate -- a 10 degree division of the zodiac. The 2, 3 and 4 of Swords are attributed to Libra/7th house. The 1st decanate is ruled by the ruler of the sign -- in the case of the 2 of swords the ruler is Venus. Venus is sociable, friendly, cooperative and accomodating. The 7th house is the house of partnership, relationships and marriage."

Further connections that come to my mind include the fact that the Second House in astrology is associated with the sign Taurus, ruled by Venus, and the fact that the Seventh House is associated with the sign Libra, an Air sign (in keeping with the association of the suit of Swords with Air). Libra is also ruled by Venus, which gives an overall harmonious vibe to the Two of Swords. David Thornton's description of the energy of the Two of Swords is: "Friendly, obliging, a time to enjoy social engagements and pleasures, to express good taste and artistic skill, scattered emotions or affections."

Oh, and look at how the figure on the card below is holding the two swords -- in a V shape. My first reaction is, "V for Venus! David is right!"

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

In Anna Cook's TD system, Subject Card Two signifies Interaction. The key word for the suit of Swords in this system is Challenging, which gives us Challenging/Interaction for the Two of Swords. In astrology the Second House is commonly known as the House of Possessions. Lest we think this applies only to material possessions, I will quote the gurus at www.astrology.com: "We own our feelings and emotions, as well as our inner selves, abilities, needs and wants. When we own up to something, we are in fact claiming ownership of our greatest possession, our self." Ultimately, we're talking about values. What we "possess" and what we do with those "possessions" has a powerful effect -- for better or worse -- on our Interactions with other people.

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

Thierens associates the Two of Swords with "The element Earth on the Second house." He writes: "By virtue of the Venusian qualities of the Taurus-house, this Saturnian and Martian element, as will easily be understood, leads up to the magnetic affinity of the sexes, consequently to intimacy, attraction, affection, etc." Thierens points out that the less desirable attributes of the sign Taurus may also make themselves known in this card: "We see in such cases the possibility of stupid resistance, dullness, cruelty, relentless opposition and recreation, passive obstruction, perhaps silent, unforgiving hatred."

(Note: The system devised by Thierens is radically different from that of the OGD. I will not go into detail here, but will simply provide the astrological associations for the card under discussion. If you are interested in learning more about this system, I recommend the book referenced above.)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cards and Quotes: 4 of Pentacles

Today's Cards and Quotes features the FOUR OF PENTACLES from the Fenestra Tarot by Chatriya (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

"They measure their esteem of each other 
by what each has,
and not by what each is.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

REVIEW: Joie de Vivre Tarot


Joie de Vivre Tarot
by Paulina Cassidy
Published by U.S. Games System
ISBN-10: 1572816627
ISBN-13: 978-1572816626


"Tarot artist Paulina Cassidy has filled the 78 cards of the Major and Minor Arcana with charming new characters that bring their inspirational messages of joy to everyone. Those who take a journey through this wondrous realm will rediscover their own child-like spirit."


Paulina Cassidy is the creator of several decks, including the Paulina Tarot (U.S. Games Systems Inc.), the Joie de Vivre Tarot, and two new decks for 2012: The Witchlings deck of spells (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) and The Faerie Guidance Deck (Llewellyn Worldwide).

The name of this deck -- Joie de Vivre -- means "joy of life" in French, although I am told that the English translation doesn't really convey the irrepressible spirit inherent in the expression. As the Introduction to the LWB for this deck puts it: "The Joie de Vivre tarot deck is designed to access the child-like energy in each one of us to help stimulate, enhance, and inspire joy in our own lives."

As a Sagittarius, I'm all for "child-like energy." According to the attributes developed by the Order of the Golden Dawn, my Sun-sign card is Temperance, and Paulina Cassidy does not disappoint with her depiction of Lady Temperance. I love that one side of her hair is fiery red and the other watery blue, and that she has the Sun on one side of her belly and the Moon on the other. She has four arms and is thus able to hold a tragedy mask in one hand and a comedy mask in another. In her third hand, she holds a beaker into which she pours liquid from the test tube in her fourth hand.

The deck has the standard 78 Tarot cards, with the Major Arcana, Court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, King), and pips (Wands, Swords, Cups, and Coins).

The artist has given each of the cards in this deck -- Majors, Minors, and Courts -- a name. For example, The Fool is called Jaunt; the Four of Cups is Melancholique; and the Queen of Swords is Queen Tenacious.

The 59-page Little White Book that comes with the Joie de Vivre deck provides Keywords for each card, a description/story about the character on each card, interpretation/advice offered by each card, and Reversed divinatory meanings.

For example, in the entry for The Wheel (Wheel of Fortune), we have:

Keywords: Change, revolution, cycles, movement, fortune

Then we have a paragraph that begins: "Juggling the moon cycles, Orbit embodies the spirit of constant change, infinitely setting a new tempo in life's heartbeat as he shifts forward from season to season..."

Next is a paragraph of interpretation that begins: "Your actions have a direct correlation to what happens in the future. Seek and recognize the cycles of life, for every turning point effects a personal transformation in circumstance and perspective..."

Finally, we have "Reversed: Missing opportunities. Resisting change. A bad run of luck."

A 6-card spread called "Spreading the Joy" appears at the end of the LWB. Unlike most spreads, this one has a "card zero" (the Fool's position). I'm looking forward to doing this reading with the Joie de Vivre deck and sharing it here on Tarot Notes.

The last page of the LWB is a brief bio of Paulina Cassidy.


The 2.75 x 4.75 cards are printed on quality card stock with a slick, glossy finish. They are packaged with the LWB in a snug-fitting cardboard box.

A white border frames the images on the card fronts. The titles are at the bottom of each card, printed in an attractive, easy-to-read script font.

The reversible backs of the cards are shades of yellow and gold with vines that curl and twist in all directions.

I have heard some Tarot readers complain about the slick surface of these cards, which apparently makes them difficult to riffle shuffle. I don't ever use that type of shuffle with my cards. I found it very easy to do a push-pull shuffle with them. It was also easy to lay them out on a table and mix them up.


Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, Paulina Cassidy began illustrating editorial cartoons for local newspapers at age 14. At 18 she began illustrating for various magazines. I would describe her illustrations in the Joie de Vivre Tarot as fanciful, beguiling, quirky, and whimsical. I want Cassidy to illustrate Alice in Wonderland! Her style is perfect for a book like that.

Generally speaking, the colors are soft and muted. Although there are exceptions, blues and greens are emphasized in the Cups cards; the Wands feature gold; Coins cards have a lot of brown and green in them; and the Swords cards have quite a lot of blue and lavender. Cassidy has included the perfect amount of detail in these cards, just enough to contemplate.


I confess I am utterly charmed by this deck. Every one of these cards makes me smile and tilt my head to one side like a curious cat. Some of them have a deliciously sinister undertone that only makes them more compelling to me. The characters are unique in appearance, yet clearly connected to traditional Tarot card meanings through their names and the symbolism incorporated into each card. However, if you prefer a stricter adherence to the Rider-Waite-Smith imagery, you may not appreciate what Cassidy has done with this deck.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Queen and the Sow

Two of my favorite decks are The DruidCraft Tarot and the Druid Animal Oracle. From time to time, I am going to do a two-card reading with these two decks.

(Please Note: I am aware that the DruidCraft deck is not strictly a "Druid" deck. The word "Craft" in the title alerts us to the fact that this deck incorporates both Wicca and Druidry.)

For this reading, I simply asked the cards what I need to be aware of today.

The positional definitions are:

(1) Not only... (2) But also...

Ready? Here we go!

Not only... but also...

Not only...  QUEEN OF WANDS
Key Words: Dynamic, Confident, Strong-willed

With my Sun in Sagittarius, I often view this lady as my significator. All Queens in this deck symbolize "Creativity, Compassion, Awareness, Nurturing." The suit of Wands is the suit of Fire: "intuitive and dynamic."

But also... SOW
Key Words: Generosity, Nourishment, Discovery

Like all the Druid Animal Oracle cards, this one is rich in detail and symbolism. In addition to the sow and her piglets, we have fields of wheat and barley, the Hill of Tara (Pig Island), sow-thistle, and deadly nightshade (which pigs can supposedly eat without harm). In Druid lore, the pig represents the Goddess. Druids were referred to as "piglets." The Sow is linked with the element Earth and has the gifts of Fertility and Creativity.

My Interpretation:

These two cards complement each other very nicely. Both clearly depict "mothering" or "nuturing" qualities; both the Queen of Wands and the Sow can be strong-willed and "pig-headed" at times. I had to laugh at this part of the description of the Queen of Wands in the DruidCraft book: "If she or a friend is attacked, she can be ferocious in defence." I haven't actually seen a sow defending her piglets, but I suspect she can be quite formidable when doing so.

What I take away from these two cards is the importance of balancing strong willpower and ferocity with compassion and creativity. Before I leap into attack mode, I need to make sure I am actually being attacked, or that I actually need to defend someone or something. The Sow, with its strong Earth energy, can help balance the sometimes overly fierce reactions and responses exhibited by the Queen of Wands. The Queen's passion and confidence can be channeled in a productive, beneficial direction.


The DruidCraft Tarot (deck and book set). Text copyright 8 Philip and Stephanie Carr Gomm 2004. Illustrations copyright 8 Will Worthington 2004. This edition copyright 8 Eddison Sadd Editions 2004. ISBN 0 312 31502 3.

The Druid Animal Oracle by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm. Card Illustrations by Bill Worthington. Fireside: Simon & Schuster, Inc. Text copyright 8 Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm 1994. Card illustrations copyright 8 Bill Worthington 1994. This edition copyright 8 Eddison Sadd Editions 1994. ISBN not known.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Astrology and Tarot: A Demonstration

I have been asked to demonstrate or give an example of how I use astrological associations when interpreting a Tarot card. Let's go with a simple one-card reading to answer the question: "What do I need to be aware of today?" I'm using the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Deck.

Before I continue, I want to mention that I am not locked into the astrological associations that I currently use, which are basically the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn associations. If you are interested in astrological associations other than those suggested by the OGD, you may want to read the posts in my Astrology and Tarot series on this blog.

The NINE OF WANDS delivers my message for today.

One of the first things I look at is the elemental association. The suit of Wands is associated with the element Fire. My key words for the element Fire include passion, enthusiasm, confidence, action, will, courage, impulsiveness, and aggressiveness. So those words are in the back of my mind as I continue to interpret the card.

According to the system I currently use, the 9 of Wands is associated with the placement of the Moon in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is a Fire sign. The Moon typically represents emotions and the subconscious. So I'm going to incorporate that into my interpretation by noting that there is an emotional or subconscious component to this card, as well as the influence of Fire.

I also consider the possibilities from a numerological perspective. I view Nines as relating to endings, growth through experience, and transformation.

The man on the Nine of Wands looks tense and wary to me. He seems to expect an attack of some sort, and is keeping his guard up. The white cloth around his head could be a bandage, indicating that he has been injured or wounded. Perhaps he has already been attacked, and anticipates more of the same.

I have asked the cards what I need to be aware of today. In my experience, the cards usually bring to mind more questions than they answer, but that can be quite useful.

I look at the Nine of Wands and ask myself what I have in common with the man on the card? Am I expecting adversity today? Have I overlooked something that I need to be prepared for? Am I in danger of being blindsided by an attack or challenge I don't expect?

I might also ask myself if I am hurting emotionally from something (the Moon) and therefore wary of being hurt again? Am I feeling vulnerable (the Moon), or do I feel confident that I can handle whatever comes my way (Sagittarius)? Do I need to explore or identify subconscious fears and suspicions (the Moon) that may affect my self-confidence or optimism (Sagittarius)? How will today's experience help me grow, allowing me to end a current cycle and move forward (Nine)?

As the day unfolds, the precise meaning of this card may become clearer to me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cards and Quotes: 4 of Cups

Today's Cards and Quotes features the FOUR OF CUPS from The Whispering Tarot by Elizabeth Hazel.

"Sadness does not inhere in things; 
it does not reach us from the world and
through mere contemplation of the world. 
It is a product of our own thought. 
We create it out of whole cloth."
- Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
considered by many to be the Father of Sociology

Friday, December 9, 2011

REVIEW: Voice of the Trees


Voice of the Trees: A Celtic Divination Oracle
by Mickie Mueller
Published by Llewellyn Publications
ISBN 978-0-7387-1554-4
Boxed kit includes a 25-card deck and a 288-page book


"With a rustling of branches, a whisper on the wind, the wise old trees of the Celtic world share their secrets with those who seek counsel. This beautifully crafted oracle sheds light on the mysterious teachings of the ogham, the sacred Celtic tree alphabet."


The creator of this deck is Mickie Mueller, an award-winning artist of fantasy, fairy, and myth.  You can see some of her artwork on her website at www.mickiemuellerart.com . To read my interview with Mickie here on Tarot Notes, click HERE.

In her Introduction to the 288-page book that accompanies the deck, Mueller tells us of her long-standing spiritual connection to trees. She writes that her purpose in designing the Voice of the Trees oracle "was to share the Celtic tree ogham with modern practitioners of various earth spirituality paths and cartomancers, as well as those who wish to more deeply explore their Celtic heritage."

I especially like the part where Mueller talks about the pronunciation of the word "ogham." She writes: "augum, oh-am, oh-gum, oh-yam, and ach-ham, among others; all are valid, depending on whether you ask someone from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, or the many regions therein." Before, I was always worried that I was pronouncing it "wrong." Now I know that's nearly impossible to do. No matter how I pronounce it, it will be "right" to some and "wrong" to others.

The Voice of the Trees book contains the following sections and chapters:
A Note on the Art
-    The Celtic Tree Connection
-    How Stands the Forest?
-    What Awaits You on This Journey
How to Use This Oracle
-    Reading the Messages of the Trees
-    Dedicating the Cards
-    Making and Dedicating the Crane Bag
A Field Guide to the Cards
A Passage Through the Grove: Ogham Tree Devotionals and a Meditation
Ogham Tree Magic
Card Layouts
-    Dragon's Eye Spread
-    Oak Tree Spread
-    The Newgrange Spread

A card is provided for:
  • Birch
  • Rowan
  • Alder
  • Willow
  • Ash
  • Hawthorn
  • Oak
  • Holly
  • Hazel
  • Apple
  • Vine
  • Ivy
  • Broom/Reed
  • Blackthorn
  • Elder
  • Silverfir/Elm
  • Gorse
  • Heather
  • Aspen
  • Yew
  • Grove
  • Spindle
  • Gooseberry
  • Woodbine
  • Beech

The Bibliography in the back of the book provides a long list of resources that can be used to learn more about Celtic lore, mythology, and history. At the very end, Mueller directs us to the website for Trees for Life, a charity working to help restore the Caledonian Forest.

In the Field Guide section, we are given a great deal of information about each of the 25 ogham fews (letters, symbols) that Mueller has chosen for this oracle. For each we are given a Celtic Name (with pronunciation!), Letter, Status (Chieftain, Peasant, or Shrub), Divining Charm, Divinatory Meaning, Reversed Meaning, Symbolism and Lore, and a Field Guide describing the tree in detail.

The cards themselves have the name of the few at the top and key words at the bottom. The images incorporate human beings and animals as well as trees. In Mueller's words, "In doing this, I wanted to show that our interaction with the trees is important, and also to make each card more intuitive so that when you look at each one, the image triggers an emotional response, telling you the story of what the card means."

For example, the keywords for Beith / Birch are Growth and Beginnings. On the card we see birch trees and "a boy of a Celtic tribe, his pony packed with birch saplings." The boy wears "green and yellow, the colors of spring and growth." He is heading out to plant the saplings. The keywords for Saille / Willow are Intuition and The Unseen. On that card we see a priestess blessing a scrying bowl of water beneath a willow tree on a full moon night. The owl flying by is "a sacred symbol of the wisdom of the White Goddess."

In the chapter on Ogham Tree Magic, Mueller includes spells for healing, finding the answer to a question, protection, bringing love, prosperity, unlocking your success, and healing the earth.

The final pages of the book include write-ups on three related  Llewellyn books: The Healing Power of Trees by Sharlyn Hidalgo, Flower and Tree Magic by Richard Webster, and Whispers from the Woods by Sandra Kynes.


The 4-1/2" by 2-3/4" cards are printed on laminated, typical Tarot card stock. A tan border runs around the cards, and on that border are printed the name of the tree and the key words associated with that card. Those who like to remove the borders from their cards will lose the tree names and key words.

On the backs of the 25 cards we see a circular figure known as Fionn's Window or Fionn's Shield, surrounded by a Celtic knot tree depicted in its four seasons.

Fionn's Window is a mandala-like diagram found in the Book of Ballymot, from the 14th century.

The 288-page book is a 5" x 8" paperback, with full illustrations of the cards in black and white. I like the way the book is organized and appreciate the wealth of information therein. On the front of the book, a female Celtic warrior poses with Fionn's Shield.


Mueller works by hand in a mixed media of watercolor and colored pencil. You may have seen her art before in divination decks (The Well Worn Path, The Hidden Path) or in Llewellyn's Magical Almanac, Witchcraft & Wicca Magazine, The Witches' Voice, and Magickal Light Magazine, and on the covers of various new age and occult publications. The art on the Voice of the Trees cards is realistic, colorful yet soft in tone.

Mueller tells us that for each card, she used "a bit of a botanical sample from the corresponding tree. . . in a magical infusion" that was then mixed with her watercolor paints.


This deck and book set makes a good showing alongside similar decks such as Liz and Colin Murray's Celtic Tree Oracle (St. Martin's Press) and The Green Man Tree Oracle by John Matthews and Will Worthington (Barnes & Noble Books). Of the three, Mueller's is the only deck in which the art features human beings and animals as well as trees. This is not ideal if you prefer to meditate strictly on the image of a tree. However, I really like this aspect of the Voice of Trees cards. I am looking forward to using my tree-only cards to augment readings with the Voice of Trees.

The background material in the 288-page Voice of the Trees Companion is impressive and, as John Michael Greer has said, "capably researched and sensitively rendered." I have not personally tried the Tree Magic spells described in the book, but I like the idea of using the cards in rituals such as those included by Mueller.


In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Take a Number: Two!

Numerology & Tarot

I am working my way through the numbers, comparing the ways in which I have used them in Tarot readings with observations and comments from numerologists and occultists. I welcome your comments and observations about this fascinating subject!

My Keywords for the Number Two: relationships, harmony, unity, balancing polarities

Tarot Cards: The High Priestess, Twos of all suits

Writing about the occult meaning of numbers, Paul Foster Case gives the following keywords for Two: "duplication, reflection, receptivity, dependence, alternation, antagonism, and the like." (The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages, Macoy Publishing Company)

THE HIGH PRIESTESS (Trump Two): In his book Numerology: Key to the Tarot (Whitford Press), Sandor Konraad writes that Arcanum II, The High Priestess, represents our attempts to cope with the duality in our nature, a conflict between masculine and feminine drives or between reason and emotion. Notice that on the Rider-Waite-Smith High Priestess card, we see two pillars behind The High Priestess: one dark and one light.

TWOS: In the Tarot, Twos combine the numerological meanings of the number Two with the characteristics of their suit or elemental association.

Konraad writes that in the Minor Arcana, the number Two represents Conflict. He notes that the Two of Coins represents "Conflict in money matters."

In general, I find that limiting the suit of Pentacles (Coins) to money matters is a bit too restrictive. Using my keywords, the Two of Pentacles suggests relationships, harmony, unity, and/or balancing polarities (Two) in the physical, material realm -- including finances, values, domestic life, work, and health (Pentacles).