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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Update

Time flies when you have a major health scare in the family! I spent most of my time from December 19 to December 23 at the local hospital with my husband. He had a stroke and suddenly lost his peripheral vision and some of his forward vision in one eye, with minor vision impairment in the other eye.

Let's just say I think I now know the meaning of the Snake card that I pulled in my Lenormand line of three on December 16...

The oracle also held true in that my husband was discharged from the hospital on the 23rd and thus able to celebrate Christmas Eve and the rest of the holiday with our family. My husband's vision seems to be improving somewhat. Doctors say it may or may not return to normal in the future. But all things considered, the damage could have been much, much worse.

I hope to get back on track with Tarot Notes on January 1, 2014. Until then, I wish all of you a happy holiday season. Enjoy your friends and family!

Best wishes and brightest blessings,
Zanna Starr

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week at a Glance: Garden, Snake, Bouquet

Last week’s Lenormand pair – Choices (22) + Rings (25) – did not seem to relate to any actual event in my life, at least not that week. As an author, I do have book contracts with publishers, and I am married, so there is that “contract.” But I was not aware of any decisions or choices that needed to be made.

This week I am continuing my exploration of Lenormand style decks using Shaheen Mirro’s Tattered Nomad Oracle. (My spellcheck program insists that his name should be "Shaken Mirror"…)

I am drawing a line of three cards this time.

THE GARDEN (20). . . THE SNAKE (7). . . THE BOUQUET (9)

Okay, my very first reaction to the first two cards has to be the story of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, and the Snake (serpent)! Then we add The Bouquet, which goes very nicely with The Garden. Yet there is that Snake in the middle. I get a sense of a lovely setting filled with flowers in which something false or deceptive hides, waiting for a chance to cause trouble. Instead of a “snake in the grass,” it’s a “snake in the garden.”

Let’s see what Shaheen says about each of these cards:
  • The Garden (20) – gatherings, celebration, meetings, social events, public property, creation
  • The Snake (7) – deception, attach, difficulties, envy, wisdom, bad omen
  • The Bouquet (9) – gifts, offerings, affection, encouragement, happiness aesthetic
Well, here we are in the holiday season, with Christmas just ten days away, certainly a time of gatherings, celebration, gifts, etc. A lot of that going on all around me. But there’s that Snake. What is he up to, exactly?

In The Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle, Sylvia Steinbach offers similar interpretations of my three cards:
  • The Garden (20) – the general public, groups and crowds, parties, meetings, social activities
  • The Snake (7) – difficulties, disappointments, jealousy, manipulations and tricks brought on by familiar people
  • The Bouquet (9) – beauty, grace, joy, gift, strong positive vibrations
Sylvie also provides possible interpretations for card combinations:
  • Garden + Snake = trouble makers, disturbances, gang
  • Snake + Bouquet = positive turnaround, repairs, corrections
  • Garden + Bouquet = happiness, contentment, bliss
I like the overall “vibe” of these cards because they give me the sense that even though trouble may lurk, it is not likely to overthrow the happiness and beauty of the week, and that any damage is probably going to be repaired.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Listen to the Animals: Unicorn

For this Tarot Notes feature, I pull one card each week from a different 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_.

This week my deck is one of my oldest and beloved decks, the Beasts of Albion by Miranda Gray (Aquarian). This deck uses ancient British animal guides for self-development.

My card today is the UNICORN.

Beasts of Albion
In the Beasts of Albion deck there are three Kingdoms, each represented by a Spirit Animal. The Unicorn is the Spirit Animal for the Kingdom of Purity. Miranda Gray describes the Unicorn as “a creature of the moon – wise, graceful and beautiful,” representing “purity, chastity and gentleness.”

In legend, the Unicorn becomes meek and gentle in the presence of a maiden, which proved to be a fatal weakness in many cases.

Similarly, the purity and innocence symbolized by the Unicorn can be a strength or a weakness, depending on the situation. The Unicorn also has a wild side that is kept in check but can be released when the creature is threatened.

I have not ever seen a live Unicorn, but I will share a picture I took of a close relative, the horse.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week at a Glance: Choices + Rings

This week I am continuing my exploration of Lenormand style decks by using a pair of cards from the Freshly Squeezed Lenormand by Jean Hamilton-Fford.

CHOICES (22) + RINGS (25)

Traditionally, card 22 is called Paths or Roads. Jean Hamilton-Fford calls it Choices because the main theme of the card is about needing to make a choice about which way to go. Of course we all make many choices every day, and perhaps this card is simply alerting me to pay attention to choices that come up this week, as they may be more important than I realize at first.

The Ring is about partnerships, including marriage. Hamilton-Fford added red and white roses to this card – the red for desire, the white for knowledge.

CHOICES plus RINGS could mean that I am likely to face a decision concerning a partnership or agreement this week.

From The Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle by Sylvie Steinbach:
The Crossroad (22) = choices, decisions, serious evaluation, exercising free will
The Ring (25) = contracts, agreements, committed relationship, satisfying solution (full circle)
The Crossroad + Ring = commitment, settling down, agreement, reunion

I would love to hear your thoughts on how these two cards might be interpreted as a pair.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Listen to the Animals: Wolf

For this Tarot Notes feature, I pull one card each week from a different 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_.

This week my deck is The Magical Menagerie by Mike Leslie, illustrated by Eric Hotz (Llewellyn). This deck blends ancient Greek and Celtic systems with modern magic and psychology.

My card today is the Wolf.

The Magical Menagerie

The subtitle for this card in this deck is “Teacher.” Keywords are “learning, communication, sharing” and reversed, “hoarding, miscommunication, isolation.”

As an astute blog follower pointed out a couple days ago, the wolf is a pack animal and as such, can symbolize “group support.” We also hear about the “lone wolf” whose isolation is referenced in the keywords for the reversed meaning of this card. Wolves can work alone, but typically the fruit of that work is shared.

Linked with all four elements in this deck (Fire, Water, Air, Earth), the Wolf is associated with developing self-knowledge and cultivating intuition. Yet there is also the sense of functioning successfully within community structures and group life.

Most of us realize that historically the wolf often represented such undesirable traits as greed, ferocity, cruelty, and evil. In European myth, folklore, and fairy tales, the “big bad wolf” was known as a predatory, demonic creature who struck terror in the hearts of innocent children.

We can idolize or demonize the wolf but those extreme points of view really make it impossible for us to learn anything from this magnificent wild creature. One of my favorite quotations about wolves comes from Amaroq Weiss, Defenders of Wildlife: “The wolf is neither God nor Devil; it’s a wolf.”

Edited to share a picture I took of a beautiful arctic wolf named Shadow at the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Treasure of the Stones Reading

Today I am using a fascinating reading method developed by _Jordan Hoggard_, creator of Tarot in the Land of Mystereum (Schiffer Publishing). Inspired by a simple and familiar scene on a daily walk, The Treasure of the Stones Reading Method uses cards from stacks of cards called Stones.

The Treasure of the Stones Reading Method is available for $3.99 USD at _The Divination Studio_. It includes a pdf instructional file and an editable Word doc you can copy to take notes on for each of your readings, plus a spread diagram with card stack Height Reading tips. If you are interested in this reading method, I encourage you to purchase the document to receive the full benefit.

To use this method, first hold your cards just above your altar cloth, deck wrap, or table. Next, close your eyes and meditate on your question. Then with your eyes still closed, drop your deck into three “Stones” or stacks.  The top card of each Stone (stack of cards) is called your Stone Card.  The bottom card of each Stone (stack of cards) is called your Treasure Card.  Your current situation as it stands will be represented by your Stone Cards.  Your Treasure Cards show you something new, and allow the Stones of your situation (familiar things) to be seen and made workable in a new light. 

Jordan tells us: “The intent of your Treasure of the Stones Tarot Reading is to inform you and ease your stresses so you are better able to make informed decisions for yourself in your life. Stress is simply a force applied, and this method can help you direct and resolve your stresses so they all work together in harmony much like the stresses resolving forces in a building or structure . . . . Your magical house of cards!”

The Wild Wood Tarot* jumped at the chance to participate in this reading, so I followed Jordan’s instructions and created three “Stones” with the deck.

Stone 1: The Hooded Man (Trump 9)
Treasure: Page of Stones (Lynx)

Current situation: The Hooded Man (aka The Hermit) stands before an ancient oak in Midwinter. By the light of his lantern we see a wooden doorway in the trunk of the tree. Linked in the Golden Dawn system with Virgo, an Earth sign, The Hooded Man seems to integrate the outer, physical world with inner knowledge and communion with the self. I identify with this card in many ways.

Something new: The Page of Stones (Earth element) appears in the form of a lynx. According to Jack Tresidder (Dictionary of Symbols / Chronicle Books), the lynx is a symbol of vigilance and the sense of sight. Unlike The Hooded Man, the Page of Stones gazes directly at us. On the Wheel of the Year, which underlies the Wild Wood tarot, this card represents departing Midwinter, moving towards Imbolc. With The Hooded Man linked to midwinter on the Wheel, the Page of Stones seems to call my attention to the idea of emerging from a “midwinter” state of mind and moving toward a spring-like rebirth. Seen in a new light, reflection and meditation still hold value for me, but I am aware that there are also new things to be explored and learned.

Stone 2: Seven of Arrows (Insecurity)
Treasure: King of Stones (Wolf)

Current situation: The woman on the Seven of Arrows (Air / the mind) is immobilized and speechless. The card reveals ungrounded fears and confusion that can lead to instability and panic. I do have a tendency to revisit past mistakes and worry about future ones, and I do not forgive myself easily.

Something new: The King of Stones (Earth) appears in the form of one of my totem animals, the wolf. This card conveys strength, power, confidence, security, and achievement. These are the qualities I need to embrace and manifest whenever I am feeling insecure or worried. That is how I can move beyond the past and my fears, and forge ahead.

Stone 3: Queen of Arrows (Swan)
Treasure: The Woodward (Trump 11)

Current situation: Although the swan is known for grace and power, the Queen of Arrows can also represent being bound to past losses and strife. Old bonds may be holding me down, restricting my ability to be what I want to be.

Something new: The Woodward (aka Strength) symbolizes “the inner power that comes from facing fear and understanding the nature of darkness.” The message this hunter demonstrates is “I am not a victim. Treat me with respect. Do not mistake my passivity for weakness.” I need to adopt this attitude when I am tempted to dwell on past losses or sorrows. Calm, resolute strength will serve me well. I find it interesting that a lynx is featured on this card (as in the Page of Stones, above). The message of vigilance and keen sight is reinforced here.

In general, I see the current situation (Stone) cards as depicting withdrawal, introspection, timidity, and insecurity. In contrast, the Treasure cards, as a group, give me an impression of strength, confidence, courage, and action. The key is to find the Treasures under the Stones and bring them into the light.

* The Wild Wood Tarot by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, with card illustrations by Will Worthington, published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Listen to the Animals: Birds

For this Tarot Notes feature, I pull one card each week from a different 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_.

This week my deck is Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards (Pomegranate), with paintings by Susan Seddon Boulet. These lovely cards have amazing artistic renderings of animals on one side and detailed information on the other side, including symbology and cultural connections, written by John Nagiecki.

My card today is Birds.

Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards

In the painting on this card we can see many different types of birds: snowy owl, swan, dove, heron, pelican. They are woven into the hair of an aged man to denote wisdom and a connection between earth and spirit.

For most of us, the image of a bird in flight gives a sense of freedom or liberation from earthly bonds. My favorite dreams are those in which I fly over huge cities and vast, seemingly empty foreign lands. Because I do not have wings, even in dreams, I use my arms in a swimming motion to remain in the air and to move forward. Actual swimming in water gives somewhat the same sense of weightlessness and freedom that I feel in flying dreams.

I feel a connection with ravens and owls more than other birds. Which bird(s) do you feel drawn to?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Journey through my Decks: 3 of Coins

In this series of posts, I plan to discuss all of the Tarot cards in order, using a different deck for each card.

For this entry I chose to use The Fairytale Tarot designed by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov, with artwork by Irena Triskova (Magic Realist Press).

The Fairytale Tarot (Magic Realist Press)

"And as they sat thus, behold, a peal of thunder, and with the violence of the thunderstorm, lo there came a fall of mist, so thick that not one of them could see the other. And after the mist it became light all around. And when they looked towards the place where they were wont to see cattle, and herds, and dwellings, they saw nothing now, neither house, nor beast, nor smoke, nor fire, nor man, nor dwelling; but the houses of the Court empty, and desert, and uninhabited, without either man or beast within them. And truly all their companions were lost to them, without their knowing aught of what had befallen them, save those four only." ~ The Mabinogion*

This event, as reported in the Welsh Mabinogion, sets the stage for the fairytale on which this card is based. The tale, called "The Escape of the Mouse," also appears in the Lilac Fairy Book. Following the loss of their farms and possessions, the four friends decide to learn a trade. They learn to make saddles. However, they prove so good at it, that the local saddlers plan to murder them. They flee to another town, where they learn to make shields. The same thing happens again. In a third town, they make such exquisite shoes that no one will buy from other shoemakers. They are run out of town again.

This is the part of the story that relates directly to the Three of Coins, a card about "skill, hard work, and the recognition and admiration that come with such abilities." (Mahony) The number Three typically suggests a team effort or the involvement of more than one or two people. Mahony notes that this tale also calls our attention to the "problematic aspects" of becoming highly skilled and masterful at something. Such an achievement attracts admiration, to be sure, but can also engender jealousy and hostility. 

Divinatory Meanings provided by Mahony: Mastering a skill or craft # Becoming known for what you do # A justifiable pride in your attainment # Creating a masterpiece # Understanding that "overnight success" takes years of work.

If you are interested in reading the rest of the tale, including the part about the mouse, click _HERE_.

*The Mabinogion, translated by Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones. Translation and introduction copyright Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones, 1949. Revisions and additions, Gwyn Jones and Mair Jones, 1974. Revisions, additions and Index or Proper Names, Gwyn Jones and Mair Jones, 1989. Revisions, Gwyn Jones and Mair Jones, 1993. J.M. Dent, Orion Publishing Group and Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc. ISBN 0-460-87297-4.

About the deck: Karen Mahony tells us that in creating The Fairytale Tarot, she and Alex Ukolov "wanted very definitely to make a deck for adults, a deck that acknowledged and appreciated these tales as they were originally told B complete with shadows and, sometimes, a dark sensuality." She writes that the cards are designed to "clearly relate to accepted tarot meanings, but in ways that are thought-provoking and expansive, and most importantly of all, transformative."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week at a Glance: Sun + Ring

After a busy weekend, I am finally able to draw cards for Week at a Glance! This week I am continuing my exploration of Lenormand style decks by using a pair of cards from my French Cartomancy deck with instructions by Laura Twan (Lo Scarabeo).

French Cartomancy (Lo Scarabeo)
SUN (31) + RING (25)

Sun = Use your talents and trust yourself
Ring = Before accepting a concrete offer, demand clarity from yourself and others.

The Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle by Sylvie Steinbach:
Sun = success, happiness, victory, fame, ego
Ring = contracts, agreements, committed relationship, satisfying solution (full circle)
Sun + Ring = happy marriage, powerful partnership, successful contract

All of this sounds very nice! I am celebrating Thanksgiving this week with family, including my mother, brother, sister, nieces and nephews and their children. As the descendants of my parents’ committed relationship, we form a powerful family circle that continues a legacy passed down through generations.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Listen to the Animals: Crane

For this Tarot Notes feature, I pull one card each week from a different 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_.

This week my deck is Nature's Wisdom Oracle by Mindy Lighthipe (Schiffer).

Unrelated Animal Dream: In my latest animal dream, I am visiting some house or facility somewhere, surrounded by a lot of land, upon which roam two kangaroos and a cougar (mountain lion). They are allowed to run free. I sit on the grass out in the open. The kangaroos hop by, doing their own thing, not interested in me. The cougar, however, slowly approaches me, gazing at me with golden eyes. When it gets close enough, I carefully extend one hand and touch its tan fur. The coat is short and coarse. The cougar permits me to do this, but it turns and strolls away right afterward. I hear someone say that this cat never lets anyone touch it, so I feel very special.

Nature's Wisdom Oracle incorporates both plants and animals, so I separated out the animal cards and drew a card from those. My animal for this week is the CRANE.

Nature's Wisdom Oracle

The attribute associated with this card is Hope. Mindy Lighthipe offers this Special Meaning fot the card: "The crane comes to you in a time when you need to realize that your situation is not all doom and gloom. It represents a form of healing and hope during challenging times."

Well, I am personally feeling good about things at the moment -- no gloom and doom whatsoever. Disappointment or frustration at times, sure, but nothing more. In any case, healing and hope are always welcome!

In his book Dictionary of Symbols (Chronicle Books), Jack Tresidder tells us that the crane represents "vigilance, longevity, wisdom, fidelity, honour -- a symbolism particularly important in China and Japan." The crane pictured on the Nature's Wisdom Oracle card is a Grey Crowned Crane, native of Africa. I took a few pictures of one of these beautiful birds on a visit to the St. Louis Zoo.

photos copyright Zanna Starr

I like these photos because they show this bird's regal bearing and impressive appearance. Tresidder writes that in Africa the crane was linked with the gift of speech. Speaking through this lovely oracle deck, I feel the crane is perhaps turning my attention to the past, to periods of "gloom and doom" that are over but still prey on my mind, pushing up like stubborn weeds through cracks in concrete. Certainly healing is still needed there, and I can hope for a time when I no longer feel the pain of those times.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week at a Glance: Owls & Lilies

The purpose of drawing a "Week at a Glance" card is to get a sense of the sort of energy, circumstances, or personal qualities I might need to be aware of during the upcoming week. I also use this opportunity to become more familiar with decks I don't work with a lot, so you will often see me quoting the creator of the deck or someone who has a closer relationship with the deck than I do at this time.

This week I am continuing my exploration of Lenormand style decks by using a pair of cards from the Mystical Lenormand by Regula Elizabeth Fiechter, with pictures by Urban Trösch (AGMüller).

OWLS (12) + LILIES (30)

Owls = nervousness, mad rush, sorrows, telephone calls, two elderly women
Lilies = family, family life, harmony, support, sexuality
The Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle by Sylvie Steinbach:
Birds (12) + Lily (30) = seniors, experienced consultant, serious discussions
Birds (12) -- winter, December or Sagittarius/Capricorn cycle, Mercury (communication)
Lily (30) -- winter, Capricorn, Saturn (wisdom), weeks or years in development
In view of the fact that the Mystical Lenormand uses the more specific "Owls" instead of the general "Birds," I looked into the symbolism of owls using the Dictionary of Symbols by Jack Tresidder (Chronicle Books). These days, we tend to think of owls as representing wisdom, but many ancient cultures viewed the owl as sinister, even ferocious, linking it with death and occult powers. It was the bird of death in numerous ancient cultures, but also seen as a guardian of the night or guide to the afterlife. The "wise owl" image comes from the Greeks, who made owls sacred to their goddess of wisdom and learning, Athene Pronoia.

As a side note, Tresidder refers to the Lily as "one of the most ambiguous of all flower symbols," simultaneously representing purity or innocence and erotic love. The white lily can sometimes symbolize death as well as purity. The Mystical Lenormand Lilies card depicts purple flowers. Purple is the traditional color of royalty and dignity. Because the person and the setting on this version of the card are clearly Japanese, I did an internet search for "Japanese purple lilies." I learned a little about Hanakotoba, the Japanese language of flowers, but nothing about purple lilies specifically.

This is all very interesting when you consider that I pulled the Lilies and Birds for my Nov. 3 Week at a Glance. I think it very likely that the Lily (Lilies) card refers to my elderly mother and her care, which at this stage is pretty much ongoing. She is independent to a degree, but often needs assistance, usually for health reasons, as she did this past week and into the weekend and beyond.

It seems clear to me that the Lenormand cards may or may not limit themselves to the week ahead. Although I think it is very possible that something relevant to the weekly cards is going to take place this week, I also get a sense of messages that relate to situations down the road. The emphasis seems to be on my mother and clear communication with her, my siblings, her doctors, and so forth.

Follow up on _Nov. 10 reading_

Based on last week's draw -- the Scythe and the Lady from Ciro Marchetti's Gilded Reverie Lenormand (U.S. Games) -- I was on alert for the possibility that I would need to "make a decision this week, a decision that could lead to 'cutting something away' or 'cutting through something'" or possibly (as suggested by Ellen) "decision making with a female soft touch to prevent hurt and soothe the disappointment." I don't recall any specific incidents or situations this past week that seem to relate to these cards.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Listen to the Animals: The Llama

For this Tarot Notes feature, I pull one card each week from a different 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_.

This week my deck is Dawn Brunke's Animal Wisdom Tarot, illustrated by Ola Liola (CICO Books). To read my review of this deck, click _HERE_.

On a side note, in my latest animal dream, I was swimming around under water in a very large swimming pool (like the one at Sea World) and I saw this immense, shadowy shape passing over me. Of course, I'm thinking "shark"! Somehow I could talk to people up on the side of the pool and I said, "What is that, exactly? Is that supposed to be in here? Do I need to get out of the pool?" The shape moved away, toward the other end of the pool, and I saw my chance to get out. I swam over to the side, came up and started to try to pull myself out -- but the shadowy shape, now submerged, was closing in! Suddenly up popped its head. It was a manatee. In fact, there were two of them and they were adorable and very friendly. A little bit later one of them spoke to me in a soft, small voice, asking me to see if the trainer/owner (or whatever) would bring him some food. I told the person in charge, and he said the manatees had just eaten, but they could have a snack.

Okay, now let's see which animal has a message for us this week.

The LLAMA has come forward.

The Animal Wisdom Tarot

This card is subtitled "Seeker of Fossils." In The Animal Wisdom Tarot, this sweet child is comparable to the traditional Knight of Pentacles and is given the elemental associations Air of Earth. Dawn Brunke writes that this "suggests a grounded ability to understand abstract, metaphysical concepts," helping us to "stay centered and connected even as our minds open and our thoughts roam far." I love that idea!

Qualities assigned to this card (as we might expect from the Knight of Pentacles) are "steady, patient, practical, receptive."

In South America, llamas work as pack animals and are used for food. I recently attended an animal fiber event here in the U.S. where people exhibited llamas and alpacas, and were awarded ribbons like horses or dogs. Here are some photos I took of some of the llamas.


And here is an _article_ about the popularity of llamas as pets:

The message of the llama in this deck is: "Center your body; free your mind."

Sound advice, I think!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Native Glyph Reading

I was surprised and pleased recently to receive a special offer in my email from none other than _Jordan Hoggard_. I subscribe to one of his blogs, The Land of Mystereum. This qualified me to receive -- absolutely free -- my choice of a spread from Jordan's _78 Imagin-Action Spreads Collection_. (The entire collection is quite affordable. I may find that I cannot live without it.)

I requested a spread called the Native Glyph spread. True to his word, Jordan speedily transmitted the chosen spread to me by email. Now you get to see it in action here at Tarot Notes!

The Ancestral Path Tarot by Julie Cuccia-Watts (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) jumped out at me as I scanned my shelves looking for a deck to participate in this introspective reading.

The purpose of the spread is to help the Seeker better understand his or her living history. The layout is shown above in the awesome image provided by Jordan.

(1) How does flair affect your enthusiasm?

On this card a Buddhist monk meditates in a peaceful garden. In the background, a ship sails into the rising sun. The monk faces away from the ship, eyes closed, his thoughts turned inward as he leaves the troubles and limitations of the physical, material world behind. This card is about a journey, about traveling toward or away from something, often a journey of the mind, although a physical voyage could be indicated.

I am being asked "How does flair affect your enthusiasm?" I would have to say that my enthusiasm for travel of any kind is influenced quite a lot by the "flair" (stylishness, originality, style, class) with which the journey is presented. It can be argued that flair is mere window dressing, superficial and unrelated to value. Even though I know that, I respond to it. As has been said, sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. My mind needs to be intrigued, tantalized, or impressed for my interest to be at its peak.

(2) How passionate are you about keeping your environment healthy?

This card suggests that I am VERY passionate about keeping my environment healthy. At a very personal and literal level, I have changed my behavior where the sun is concerned. After many years of sun bathing and tanning, I was diagnosed with melanoma and had to have malignant tissue removed. These days, I am passionate about using sunscreen if I have to be exposed to the sun. If possible, I avoid subjecting my skin to exposure.

As for my environment in general, I don't know if I would say I am passionate about keeping it healthy. I take reasonable precautions and remove hazards when I can. I drink filtered or bottled water. I live in an area with relatively low air pollution, surrounded by trees and plants. I recycle.

(3) How important is your posture to you?

Okay, I had to smile at the image on this card as it relates to the question. The Princess of Staves appears to balance a basket on her head (a well known technique for improving posture), and indeed, her posture is excellent. However, the word "posture" also means "a particular way of dealing with or considering something; an approach or attitude."

In more traditional Tarot decks this card is the Page of Wands. I am intrigued by Kate Warwick-Smith's description of this Page in her book The Tarot Court Cards (Destiny Books). As a Supporter, the Page of Wands can be described as a Child (youthful attitude, idealistic, wise). As a Detractor, this Page can be viewed as a Puer (one who refuses to grow up and accept responsibility). As a Resource, the keyword for this card is Play, and the Challenge is Immaturity.

How important is my posture to me? It is important to me that I manifest at least some of the childlike qualities suggested by this card, including an active imagination, being able to see the truth at the heart of things, a playful spirit, and a zest for life.

(4) How important are the feathers of accomplishment in your cap?

Here we have Morgana (aka Morgan le Faye), half-sister to King Arthur, and purported student of Merlin. This is one of my favorite cards in this deck. Morgana captures my imagination, and I love the way Julie Cuccia-Watts depicts her on the Princess of Cups.

To gain additional insight into how this card might relate to the question "How important are the feathers of accomplishment in your cap?" I turn again to Kate Warwick-Smith, who assigns the Page of Cups the roles of Idol (supporter) or Narcissist (detractor) and the qualities Harmony (resource) and Jealousy (challenge).

In light of all this, I must admit that the feathers of accomplishment in my cap are very important to me. I find that I "idolize" (admire) those who are far above me in their achievements, but feel jealous of those who have achieved "somewhat more" than I have in my various fields of endeavor.  Their level of success is within my reach, yet I have not achieved it -- so I am jealous, although actually it's more of a disappointment with myself for falling short.

I identify strongly with my accomplishments, and my feelings are hurt if those accomplishments do not receive sufficient acknowledgment or credit.

Thank you, Jordan! This has been a valuable introspective activity.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week at a Glance: Scythe and Lady

Follow up on Nov. 3 reading

Click _HERE_ to read last week's post if you wish.

My cards for the week of Nov. 3 from the Gilded Reverie Lenormand by Ciro Marchetti (U.S. Games) were LILIES (30) and BIRCH/BROOM (11). I also drew a clarification card: BIRDS (12). From my own interpretation combined with the comments on the blog entry, I watched for an argument [Birch/Broom] or misunderstanding [Birds] with someone I consider to be wise or perhaps an older person [Lilies].

The only incident that I see as possibly related is a very minor disagreement I had with my elderly mother about whether she should be trying to push a large couch across the garage floor by herself. (She wanted to sweep the floor -- hahaha -- BROOM, get it?) I live three minutes from her house and would have been happy to come and help her (something I have told her many, many times). So this type of conversation has occurred before, with me scolding Mom and her arguing that she doesn't want to "bother" me. Interesting.

Reading for Nov. 10

Now, let's see what the Gilded Reverie Lenormand says about the coming week.

Gilded Reverie Lenormand

We have SCYTHE (10) and LADY (29).

Like the suit of Swords in the Tarot, the SCYTHE cuts "both ways." It can be used as a tool or a weapon. Ciro Marchetti notes that it can represent "a call to action."  The LADY could represent me or a woman I am going to encounter or interact with. In her book The Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle, Sylvie Steinbach writes that "Scythe + woman = decisive person, surgeon, leader."

It is interesting that based on the placement of these two cards, the Lady is gazing at the Scythe with a contemplative expression on her face, as if considering what she might do with that particular tool/weapon. I think perhaps I am going to be faced with the need to make a decision this week, a decision that could lead to "cutting something away" or "cutting through something." How will I choose to wield the Scythe?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Listen to the Animals: Walrus

For this new Tarot Notes feature, I am planning to pull one card each week from a different 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_.

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

Before I draw a card, I want to share a wonderful dream I had last night (or early this morning). In the dream, I was introduced to two large owls and two tigers. All four creatures were basically tame and affectionate with humans. I learned a command (which I cannot remember) to call the owls to me. The dream was vivid and realistic in a tactile sense when it came to the softness of the owl's feathers and the tiger's short, somewhat coarse coat.

Let's see which animal comes forward for me in this one-card reading.

It's the walrus, the perfect animal to lead off this series! This creature has long been one of my totems and favorite animals. I even have a collection of walruses of all kinds. Here are a few of them:

If you can read the card, above, you will see that it says:
"Remain vigilant about the current situation;
pay attention to signs and omens, and let
them dictate your choices."
I confess that I do not strongly associate "vigilance" with walruses. What stands out with them for me is the fact that they are clumsy and awkward on land, but very graceful in the water. Symbolically, this may refer to the importance of being emotionally "fluent" with less (if any) emphasis on physical or material skills.

Here is a picture of a walrus I took gliding on his back through his "swimming pool":

Although adult walruses have few predators, they still need to be vigilant just as any animal needs to be vigilant. A young, weak, or sick walrus can easily fall prey to a killer whale or polar bear.

According to _Wikipedia_, in an article that boasts a great many credible references, the walrus appears in several myths and stories of the Arctic peoples. I especially like the story of the old walrus-headed woman who rules the bottom of the sea, who is in turn linked to the Inuit goddess Sedna.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

6 of Swords: Astrological Associations

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

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


Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley

For Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn, the Six of Swords is linked with the planet Mercury (thinking, communication, the mind, logic, reason) and the sign Aquarius (a Fixed Air sign known for being innovative, idealistic, humanitarian, and intellectual).

Crowley titles the card "Science" and notes "The perfect balance of all mental and moral faculties, hardly won, and almost impossible to hold in an ever-changing world, declares the idea of Science in its fullest interpretation."

Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "Innovative (Aquarius) thinking (Mercury) and philosophical, scientific (Aquarius) perceiving (Mercury)."

The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel

Liz Hazel's astrological associations for the Six of Swords align with those of Crowley and the Golden Dawn: Mercury/Aquarius. Hazel's DMs for this card include: "display of talents and knowledge; clever resourcefulness; a proclivity for science or art; moving up on the ladder of one's profession; travel for intellectual purposes; messages share with public; advertising." And those are assigned to the well-dignified Six of Swords. Ill-dignified: "a plan gone awry because of misunderstandings or garbled communications; overconfidence in abilities; efforts derided by one who wishes to undermine capacities or prevent progress."

One World Tarot by Crystal Love

Crystal Love associates the Six of Swords with the second subdivision of Libra (natural ruler Venus; subruler Saturn). She writes: "Saturn brings grief and trouble to this subdivision but promises success after obstacles and difficulties have been overcome, or toward the latter half of the life. Difficulties may be many and may relate to marriage or partnerships in general..." She notes the following "Traditional Interpretations": "Moving away from imminent danger. Travel or a new home. Success after anxiety."

The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann

Like Crowley and the Golden Dawn, Mann associates the Six of Swords with the energy of Mercury in Aquarius. Mann calls Swords Five, Six, and Seven "The Clouds of Aquarius," and links the Six of Swords with the period between January 30-February 8. Yellow is the color associated with Mercury and violet is associated with Aquarius on the King Scale of Color.

Mann's divinatory meanings for the Six of Swords: "New experiences and progressive thinking in group situations must be judged quickly and then stabilized for maximum effect. An awakening of the conscious mind inventively." Reversed: "A tendency to be too idealistic when confronted with reality leads to loneliness and isolation. Unconventional behaviour can lead to antagonism and chaos."

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

_David Thornton_ associates the Six of Swords with the placement of the planet Mercury in the Eleventh House (House of Friends, Hopes, and Wishes). The Eleventh House in astrology is associated with the sign Aquarius.

Thornton's description of the energy of the Six of Swords is: "Progressive thinking, an interest in invention or reform."

_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 Six signifies "Commitment." The key word for the suit of Swords in this system is Challenging, which gives us Challenging/Commitment(s) for the Six of Swords. In astrology the Sixth House, ruled by Mercury, is commonly known as the House of Work and Service (among other things). The sign associated with the Sixth House is Virgo. However, Cook uses the second decan of Aquarius (subruler: Mercury) for the Six of Swords.

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

Thierens notes that Mercury is lord of the Sixth House. He associates the Six of Swords with "The element of Earth on the Sixth house, and the Virgo-particulars expressed in 'earth' become the 'ways' that carry the message from the centre, the heart, to the parts of the system." His keywords for this card include: "route, way, canal, conveyance, nervous system, a course, a voyage to be made, a cure or even emigration." He also writes that the Six of Swords can represent a vision or materialisation from the "other side" and may also refer to "the passing over to that side, the crossing of the Styx, which seems to be indicated by the picture of this card. The cusp of the seventh house in the horoscope is 'the end,' in the same way as the ascendant is 'the beginning.'"

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

In summary, for the Six of Swords we have:
  • Crowley, Hazel, and Mann with a Mercury/Aquarius association
  • Love with Libra /Venus/ Saturn
  • Thornton with Mercury/11th House (ruled by Aquarius)
  • Cook with the second decan of Aquarius (subruled by Mercury)
  • Thierens with Earth/6th House (ruled by Mercury/Virgo)

According to Arthur Waite, the Six of Swords refers to a journey, route, or way (especially by water). The Rider-Waite-Smith card shows a ferryman carrying passengers, with rough water shown to the right of the boat, and smooth water ahead. Taking into account the prevalent astrological association of this card with the planet Mercury and the Air sign Aquarius, I do get a strong impression of mental "travel" or perhaps a "journey" using some form of electronic communication. Aquarius rules electronic devices.

At the same time, this card (from the RWS) has always made me think of "ferrying dead souls across the Styx" as Thierens points out. I am also fascinated by his comment about the cusp of the seventh house meaning "the end" and the possibility of "a vision or materialisation from the 'other side.'"

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Week At a Glance: Lilies and Birch/Broom

First, allow me to follow up on my Oct 27 Week At a Glance reading.

Looks like I need more practice with the Lenormand (not surprising, as I've only just recently started trying to read with it). I say I need more practice because not much that happened this past week seems to relate to the cards I drew on the 27th (at least not to my knowledge).

I'll go through and make a few comments. If you want to read everything I wrote about these cards, the original post is _HERE_.

1. Someone I will meet, what comes out of that meeting.
Book (26) + Rider (1)
My interpretation: I am tempted to take the Book card literally, as I expect my first self-published book to be printed this week -- or at least to come very close. However, this could refer to any of my previously published books and someone I might meet related to one of them. I hope the "unexpected situation" is pleasant rather than unpleasant.

Although I didn't actually *meet* anyone new or have a *meeting* per se, I did receive unexpected, unpleasant news concerning my self-published book. Fortunately, the problem was relatively minor and the illustrator and I figured out a way around it. But it was disappointing nevertheless, and time was lost.

6. Something that will help me.
Bear (15) + Anchor (35)
My interpretation: Being in a financially stable, secure position will help me.

This is pretty much true every week of my life but this past week I did something really stupid to the car that required expensive repairs, and being financially stable and secure certainly made that experience "bearable." (Get it? LOL)

9. Something nice.
Fox (14) + Child (13)
My interpretation: Since this is supposed to refer to "something nice," perhaps my suspicions about someone being "tricky" or "deceptive" will turn out to be wrong, and I'm being encouraged to believe the best and stop looking at things with a jaundiced eye. I also have plans to go to a restaurant called "The Fox" with my sister this week, where we will sing karaoke and presumably have a nice time.

I think this definitely referred to singing karaoke with my sister at The Fox. The Child card is perfect, since our connection naturally goes back to childhood (she is 7 years younger than I, so I remember her clearly as a very young child). Singing together also brought out the "inner child" in both of us, and we had a very nice time. I was also introduced to a song that is apparently an internet sensation, though I had never heard of it: _What Does the Fox Say?_

After giving the other cards and their interpretations a lot of thought, I don't see a connection to the events of the past week for me. Perhaps I am just not seeing something that is there, or perhaps more practice with the Lenormand will sharpen my interpretation skills so that I can deduce what the cards actually refer to.

So.... not to be defeated, I am going to do a smaller Week at a Glance reading with the Gilded Lenormand (Ciro Marchetti / U.S. Games Systems Inc.), using just two cards. I am asking the deck to show me what sort of energy, circumstances, or personal qualities I need to be aware of during the upcoming week. Here we go!

My cards are LILIES (30) and BIRCH/BROOM (11)

From a personal perspective, I associate lilies with death and rebirth or resurrection. I can relate to the interpretations I have seen elsewhere that include peace, contentment, satisfaction, purity, and nurturing. This card can also be seen to represent a "father figure" or even an older woman or "mother figure." The Lily can represent sexuality. Astrological references are Saturn (wisdom) and the sign Capricorn.

Personally, when I see Birch/Broom (traditionally known as The Whip), I think of sweeping or cleaning (with a broom), tidying things up, and/or punishment or an attack (the birch whip). Traditionally, this card tends to represent conflict, strife, arguments, violence, exercise, or sports. Apparently it is also seen to represent sexual power and possible misuse of that energy. Astrological references are Mars (sex) and Pluto (deviance) and the sign Scorpio.

These two cards seem to me to represent opposing energies: peace vs. conflict, nurturing vs. abuse, calm vs. agitated, and so forth. In her book The Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle, Sylvie Steinbach describes this card combination as "passive aggressive, stubborn pain, yoga, tai chi."

I think I can rule out yoga and tai chi here, as I have no interest in either one. It seems that both cards are associated with sexuality, but I honestly don't see that as a primary focus for me. Perhaps this pairing simply alerts me that there are likely to be ups and downs this coming week, "a time for war and a time for peace" and all that. Perhaps I will need to be a "lily" that diffuses a "birch/broom" moment, or maybe I will need to wield the whip myself to address an undesirable situation?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week at a Glance Lenormand Style

The purpose of drawing a "Week at a Glance" card is to get a sense of the sort of energy, circumstances, or personal qualities I might need to be aware of during the upcoming week.

For the week of October 27, 2013 I am doing something a little different, using the Gilded Reverie Lenormand by Ciro Marchetti (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) The spread (available in the Little White Book that comes with the deck) is called The Fortune-Telling Day Spread by Tali Goodwin. Of course, in this case, it becomes The Fortune-Telling Week Spread.

The first step (after shuffling) is to lay out the top nine cards in a row facedown from left to right. Next, we lay out the next nine cards one at a time on top of each of the laid out cards, making nine piles of two cards. Starting from the left, I will read each pair together as a divination for the following aspects:

1. Someone I will meet, what comes out of that meeting.
2. Someone I care about, what they will do.
3. Someone who annoys me, what they will do.
4. Something that will happen to console me.
5. Something that awaits me.
6. Something that will help me.
7. Something that will happen, which is a surprise to me.
8. Something that I desire, whether it will happen or not.
9. Something nice.

Let's see what I get!

1. Someone I will meet, what comes out of that meeting.
Book (26) + Rider (1)
My first impression: news about a book or learning something new about news I have already received
Sylvie Steinbach*: "revelations, additional facts, new unexpected situations"
My interpretation: I am tempted to take the Book card literally, as I expect my first self-published book to be printed this week -- or at least to come very close. However, this could refer to any of my previously published books and someone I might meet related to one of them. I hope the "unexpected situation" is pleasant rather than unpleasant.

2. Someone I care about, what they will do.
Choice (22) + Flower (9)
My first impression: choosing which direction to take (which door to open), wishes for well being and happiness
Sylvie Steinbach: "multiple hobbies and interests, large network"
My interpretation: Someone I care about -- perhaps someone I know through my hobbies and interests -- is trying to make a decision or choice. I can offer my support and encouragement.

3. Someone who annoys me, what they will do.
Scythe (10) + Letter (27)
My first impression: cutting to the essence of a communication with precision, slicing a document open to reveal the core
Sylvie Steinbach: "request, notice of action, divorce papers"
My interpretation: Someone who annoys me may make a request or give me notice of something that cuts to the core to reveal the truth.

4. Something that will happen to console me.
Key (33) + Moon (32)
My first impression: finding an answer (the key) to something that has eluded or confused me
Sylvie Steinbach: "prophecies, predictions, psychic messages, apparitions"
My interpretation: Consolation may come through dreams, reflection, or intuition that leads me to an important discovery.

5. Something that awaits me.
Clover (2) + Dog (18)
My first impression: happiness and beauty related to a close friend or pet
Sylvie Steinbach: "good friendships, helpful people, positive influences"
My interpretation: Opportunities to experience happiness and pleasure with close friends or pets await me.

6. Something that will help me.
Bear (15) + Anchor (35)
My first impression: powerful protection, security, stability
Sylvie Steinbach: "financial stability, long-term financial goals, planning"
My interpretation: Being in a financially stable, secure position will help me.

7. Something that will happen, which is a surprise to me.
Man (28) + Tree (5)
My first impression: my partner or other important male figure in my life, putting down roots, growing, healing
Sylvie Steinbach: "religious or spiritual, health conscious individual"
My interpretation: Something surprising may happen related to a male friend or relative who is digging deep into his inner Self as well as reaching upward in search of spiritual freedom.

8. Something that I desire, whether it will happen or not.
Clouds (6) + Lilies (30)
My first impression: an unhappy, "stormy" time followed by healing and renewal
Sylvie Steinbach: "senior dependants, mental confusion, meditation"
My interpretation: An encouraging message concerning a desire to emerge from uncertainty or confusion (or to help someone else do so). Healing and renewal are possible.

9. Something nice.
Fox (14) + Child (13)
My first impression: trickery and innocence, a manipulative child
Sylvie Steinbach: "childcare provider, school employee, nanny"
My interpretation: Since this is supposed to refer to "something nice," perhaps my suspicions about someone being "tricky" or "deceptive will turn out to be wrong, and I'm being encouraged to believe the best and stop looking at things with a jaundiced eye. I also have plans to go to a restaurant called "The Fox" with my sister this week, where we will sing karaoke and presumably have a nice time.

* from The Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle by Sylvie Steinbach

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Journey Through My Decks: 2 of Pentacles

For this entry in my Journey through My Decks series I chose to use the _Psychic Tarot Oracle_ by John Holland (Hay House, Inc.)

Two Physical
Movement, Choices, Decisions

The Psychic Tarot Oracle is not -- strictly speaking -- a "Tarot Deck." It consists of 22 Major Arcana cards (numbered 0 to 21) like a traditional Tarot deck. However, the Minor Arcana consists of 36 cards divided into four categories: physical, emotions, mental, and spirit. These are numbered 1-9. Finally, there are no Court cards. Instead, deck creator John Holland provides 7 Chakra cards.

John Holland writes that The Psychic Tarot Oracle deck "was created with a broad understanding of the teachings of the traditional tarot." From what I've seen so far, this is clear.

The suit of Physical in this deck represents "business, finances, money, prosperity, earthly possessions, material gain or loss, and security." As such, it corresponds nicely with the suit of Pentacles (Coins, Disks) in many decks.

The Two Physical card -- Movement, Choices, Decisions -- is at least compatible with the Two of Pentacles in Book T* -- "Harmonious Change." As Holland puts it, "Significant changes and choices must be made. . . The changes that are emerging aren't some random acts or coincidences -- they're all part of a positive and larger scheme."

The Psychic Tarot card depicts doorways which could be seen to represent the four elements: Earth (coins), Water (a heart and wedding rings), Fire (growth), and Air (sky). The figure standing before the doorways is faced with a choice. At the same time, it seems clear that a balance among these elements is needed. We may choose to emphasize one area of life more than another at any given time, but we cannot afford to completely neglect any area.

* Book T   The Tarot, Comprising Manuscripts N, O, P, Q, R, and an Unlettered Theoricus Adeptus Minor Instruction. A Description of the Cards of the Tarot with their Attributions; Including a Method of Divination by Their Use. A public domain manuscript.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

REVIEW: Gilded Reverie Lenormand


Gilded Reverie Lenormand
by Ciro Marchetti
  U.S. Games Systems
ISBN-10: 1572817542 / ISBN-13: 978-1572817548
36 cards; 48-page guide booklet
 _About My Reviews_

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

Taking into account my increased interest in the Lenormand system and my love for Ciro Marchetti's art (I own his Gilded Tarot and Legacy of the Divine Tarot - Llewellyn Publications), I was pretty sure I would find a lot to like about Marchetti's Gilded Reverie Lenormand. I was right.

Whenever I attempt to describe Ciro Marchetti's art, I immediately choose such adjectives as "exquisite," "dazzling," and "entrancing." I won't be changing my adjective choices for this deck. To add to my enjoyment, the quality of the box and cards is exceptional.

This is a treasure/jewel of a deck, and I am excited about reading with it. So stay tuned!


"Acclaimed artist Ciro Marchetti has transformed the traditional Lenormand cards with a rich, new aesthetic featuring gilded edges and accents. Gilded Reverie Lenormand remains true to the iconic 36-card oracle system made famous in the 19th century by Mlle Lenormand, the fortune-teller to Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte. Recently, there has been a groundswell of renewed interest in reading with Lenormand decks. Gilded Reverie’s elaborately detailed images in vivid, jewel-toned colors render the 36-card Lenormand system more appealing and accessible than ever. A 48-page booklet provides insightful interpretations and instructions. "


Ciro Marchetti is an award-winning artist who has designed five tarot and oracle decks including Tarot of Dreams and Oracle of Visions. Prints, puzzles and other items featuring his artwork are popular around the world. Originally, he self-published the Gilded Reverie Lenormand in limited quantity as a collector's edition. The set included lots of extra "goodies" and consisted of 40 cards. Each set was unique with different versions of the cards made.

The U.S. Games Systems mass market version is a 36-card standard Lenormand deck. Ciro originally decided to not include the extra cards in the USGS edition, but after hearing so many people say they want them, USGS decided to publish them as a separate mini 8-card pack. 

In the Little White Book (LWB), card meanings are provided by Rana George, with additional descriptions by Tali Goodwin. Ciro writes, "In the Reverie, we explain each card in its most generic manner, allowing some play of meaning for you as a reader, based on experience of a number of traditions and actual practice." He tells us that in some cases, he edited the text to "better reflect a personal take on the image."

The LWB features not only 2-4 paragraphs of interpretation and discussion for each card, but a special (sometimes rhyming) paragraph written in first person, as if the card itself is talking. For example: "Birds (12) - A phone call, a text, or a date; that is how I communicate. I am in meetings, or interviews, and I like to negotiate. I can be your sibling, lover, or mate. Couples is what I indicate." The LWB brings the Lenormand into the 20th Century by adding, "This too is the ever-growing world of Facebook, and Twitter communication. The card may mean literal 'Tweeting.'"

The LWB also includes three introductory Card Spreads: a Simple Nine-Card Spread, The Fortune-Telling Day Spread (both by Goodwin), and The Chocolate Bar Spread by Rana George. Sample Readings are provided for all three spreads.


The box for the USGS edition of this deck measures 3.125” x 4.125”. It is a compact, very sturdy, high-quality hinged box that folds over and closes with a magnetic strip. The front features the image from Card 12. Lettering, borders, and various details on the box are etched in gold foil.

The cards measure: 2.75” x 4.125”. The images are printed on glossy stock with feathered edges that melt softly into black borders. Card numbers are printed in red and placed in a gold circle framed by gold scrollwork in the upper left corner of each card. In the bottom right corner the corresponding traditional playing card number and suit appears in gold, in a rectangle outlined in gold, accented by an etched gold design. The cards are gilt-edged.

Card backs have a black and red checkerboard pattern with gold scrollwork in each corner. In the center is a solid gold ball (it reminds me of a gazing ball) in which cloudy images seem to be trying to form. The ball is framed by scrollwork "corners".


Rich, vibrant colors (along with the glossy stock) make the images pop. Details add meaning without overwhelming the central image.

Ciro adds his own special touches to many of the cards. For example, in traditional Lenormand decks the Rider (1) is a man on horseback, whereas the Gilded Reverie depicts a woman on a merry-go-round horse. The Gilded Reverie Heart (24) incorporates two white swans facing each other, their necks forming a heart that frames a red and gold heart. Instead of a key alone, the Gilded Reverie Key (33) shows an ornate, bejeweled key superimposed across a bird cage containing a red rose. Letter (27) features actual correspondence written (in French of course) by Mlle. Lenormand.

If you're not already familiar with Ciro's art, this deck is a perfect opportunity to experience it.

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.