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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Helen's Easter Egg Spread

I am delighted to share a little spread for Easter created by Helen Howell. She even painted a lovely watercolor egg to accompany the spread, followed by her reading with the _Joie de Vivre_ tarot by Paulina Cassidy (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Easter Egg Spread
by Helen Howell
copyright Helen Howell

Easter is a time of renewal, a time for new beginnings. So I thought I would share this little three card spread that tackles what new beginning you should introduce into your life.

The layout is a simple horizontal three cards in a line.

1: Undo the Bow: This is the potential that exists for me.

2: Peel off the wrapping: The new beginning that I hope for.

3: Break into the chocolate: The first step I must take to manifest this goal.

I'll take this spread for a run for you and as Easter is a joyful time, what better deck than the Joie de Vivre!

Ah it seems from the cards I have draw that the Joie de Vivre wants me to have a new emotional beginning:

1: Undo the Bow:  This is the potential that exists for me.
Queen of Cups reversed

The potential that exists for me is to release those thoughts that still creep into my emotions and feelings and hurt me. The potential here is to not allow these things to interfere with my emotional well being, but to take a hard look at them and free them and myself from their influence.

In this position the soft yellow sky with its tendrils of grey is foremost in the image and this tells me that I can really take the opportunity here to balance out those opposing forces  thoughts/feelings (grey is made from black and white) and bring them together so that they work for me not against me. The yellow indicates mental activity.

Queen of Cups is a number 13 which breaks down to 4 and is the number of stability, structure and foundation - coupled with this card in this position it indicates the potential is to create a structure from which a better foundation can be formed and in turn will provide stability.

2: Peel off the wrapping - The new beginning that I hope for.
The Hanged Man

The new beginning appears to be a new perspective that standing back and reflecting on various situations will give me.   I hope my new beginning will give me the quiet balance I need. That in surrendering those thoughts and feelings that hurt me, I will gain something far better. A peace of mind and an ability to find a new way of dealing with them.

The Joie de Vivre's HM is surrounded in purple but those swirls of grey are still there. This indicates to me the wisdom, and self knowledge that can be gained from balancing out those things that tend to tear one apart or make one feel less than others.

The HM is number 12 and this breaks down to 3. It's a number associated with bringing things together, perfect example would be mind, body and spirit.  When we see three we see creative energy working to combine various elements together.  In relation to my HM in this position it tells me that taking a step back and reviewing how I look at things will help me balance out those various elements so that they work together.

3: Break into the chocolate - The first step I must take to manifest this goal
The Devil

The Joie de Vivre has been very clear in what it wants me to do - take responsibility for my own thoughts. I can be in control and I do not have to let them overtake me if I don't want them to. It's telling me that I have the freedom to choose how I will or will not think about those things. As the image shows— I don't have to let those thoughts pull my strings!

From the image grey plays a predominate role in the colour scheme again, thus confirming it is the balancing out of opposites that is the key. In the upper background there is green and yellow again indicating positive mental attitude (yellow) with the potential to expand, adapt and grow (green).

The Devil is a number 6  card, a number which often in tarot represents harmony or respite, and appears to be a number that can signify realisation, communication and balance.

In relation to The Devil and its position in this spread it does indicate realisation and balance. It shows that when we realise how things really are and how or how not they can affect us, then we can move onwards and upwards. 6 in the tarot sequence can often represent that time when we stop and see the good things around us and learn to appreciate them.

Well the Joie de Vivre this Easter along with the Easter Egg Spread has delivered the message to me that its time to not allow my negative thoughts to control me or influence me and what I attempt to achieve any longer. But rather take another look and see it all from a difference perspective.

I hope you have a Happy and Safe Easter!  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Week at a Glance: Honeysuckle

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 March 24, 2013 I am using the Celtic Tree Oracle by Liz and Colin Murray, illustrataed by Vanessa Card (St. Martin's Press).

My card is UILLEAND (Honeysuckle).

The ogham symbol for Uilleand, as shown on the Celtic Tree Oracle card, looks like this:

Also shown on the card is a lapwing (or peewit), which the Murrays tell us is connected to Uilleand.

The keyphrase provided for Uilleand in this deck is "hidden secret." Specifically, we are talking about "the labyrinth of inner knowledge. . . where the fertile secrets of the soul lie waiting." (Murray)

This week I need to be aware of the potential for discovering inner truths and distinguishing false from true on my spiritual journey. The Murrays write that these "hidden secrets" are not as difficult to understand as I might think, once I develop the ability to pick them out "from the background noise."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lenormand Line of Five and Tarot Cards

I found out about this fascinating spread over at Inner Whispers, where Chloe directed me to the Seer Pathways site and Lisa Frideborg Lloyd's "Who Am I" spread. From there I traveled over to Neopagan Priestess to see what Kerry did with it.

Now I am ready to try it myself!

I am using the French Cartomancy deck (published by Lo Scarabeo) with the Shapeshifter Tarot by D.J. Conway and Sirona Knight, with illustrations by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Publications). The Shapeshifter deck is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and I wanted to see what it would say about me!

In the future, I will try to develop my own "Lennie and Tarot" spread, but for now, I am going to use Lisa's "Who Am I" spread, with the five Lenormand cards representing my personality and the two Tarot cards representing "Lesson to Learn" and "Soul Card."

COFFIN (8) ~ TOWER (19) ~ MOON (32) ~ GARDEN (20) ~ DOG (18)

All of these cards seem to have a lonely or moody tone to them. Even the typically gregarious Dog is alone on his card. I do see two people on the Garden, peering into the fountain.

Coffin suggests "death" to me, which can either mean the need to let something "die" (let it go) or perhaps the "death" of an expectation, hope, or dream. Both of these interpretations resonate with me.

Tower suggests that I need to face and accept the truth, even if it is unpleasant. Coffin plus Tower gives us "morgue, hospice, prison" according to Sylvie Steinbach (The Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle). This makes a lot of sense to me in a figurative sense. All three of these have to do with deprivation, restriction, or punishment.  I get a mental image of being confined in a coffin inside a tower. Talk about being closed off! I admit that in many ways I have a depressed or repressed personality (I was clinically diagnosed with depression 20 years ago). I tend to bottle up or suppress things. I dislike confrontation so much that I often choose not to express myself when I am hurt or disappointed.

I feel that Moon represents the importance of intuition, dreams, and illusions (for better or worse) in my life. Interestingly, Tower plus Moon can be seen as a reference to the entertainment industry -- and the fact is, I do like to entertain (maybe that doesn't make sense for a depressed personality, but then again, a positive audience response to an effort to entertain can certainly improve one's mood).  All my life I have enjoyed acting in plays and performing music (singing, guitar, piano).

Garden suggests planting and nurturing, encouraging things to grow. Moon plus Garden makes me think of a garden party in the moonlight, surrounded by flowers and trees bathed in soft light. In general, this is a joyful combination. The keyword "entertainment" comes up again here (Steinbach).

Dog is often about trusted friends, loyalty, and support. Garden plus Dog is a card of celebration, reunion, and gatherings (Steinbach). I do maintain links to my past, with people and places I care about and value. I enjoy revisiting these people and places (reunion), blending past and present into a rich tapestry of memories and emotions. I value my family and friends who have stood by me during difficult times.

Lesson to Learn:

In this deck, the Warrior of Air is comparable to the Knight of Wands. He is represented by Taliesin, the Celtic Welsh bard of legend and history. The card focuses on guidance, changes, movement, and creative inspiration. Taliesin knows that all of this comes from the spiritual plane, and that is the lesson I am meant to learn. This applies whether I seek deep wisdom, magic, or growth and expansion in any area of my life.

Soul Card:
TEN OF CUPS / Happiness (10)

It's hard for me to imagine a more appropriate Soul Card for myself. In addition to representing contentment, success, and happiness, this card relates to spiritual energy and psychic talents. I am somewhat amused to see that the woman on this card is shapeshifting into a lizard. I personally don't feel particularly drawn to lizards on the physical plane, but I do feel a connection to dragons and lizards at some level, and that has come out in much of my writing.

Lots to think about here! Thank you, Chloe, for calling my attention to this spread -- and thank you, Lisa, for creating it!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

High Priestess Necklace

As many of you know, when I'm not reading Tarot, doing Astrology, or writing books, I design and make jewelry. Every now and then, I am inspired by a Tarot card to create a special piece of jewelry, which I share on this blog.

Way back in 2011 (has it really been that long ago?) I created a necklace that was inspired by _The Emperor_ from Ciro Marchetti's Legacy of the Divine deck (Llewellyn).

Today I'm sharing a necklace inspired by The High Priestess from the Crystal Visions Tarot by Jennifer Galasso (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.):

For the necklace, I chose oval and round glass pearls and pearlescent white seed beads to represent the Moon. I then picked up the lovely blue-periwinkle color in the gown of this particular High Priestess, which also serves as a reference to the element Water. I chose an antiqued silver bail, bead cones, spacers, and bead caps to simulate glimmering silver moonlight and stars. To see more pictures or to purchase this High Priestess inspired necklace, visit my _Etsy Shop_, _ArtFire Shop_, or _Jewelry blog_.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Week at a Glance: King of Wands, Rx

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 March 17, 2013 I am using the Dragons Tarot by Manfredi Toraldo, with artwork by Severino Baraldi (Lo Scarabeo).

My card is the KING OF WANDS, reversed.

In this deck, the King of Wands is "a great Masai chief of the past, unknown but powerful...a chief between legend and reality." The card is said to represent "fulfilled commitment."

But note that it was drawn reversed. To me, this usually suggests delays or obstacles that block the energy represented by the upright card. Frankly, I'm getting a little annoyed by the predominance of reversed cards in my Week at a Glance. When do I get a week that's all sunshine and flowers?

Oh well. It looks like I'm going to experience some turbulence again this week with the reversed King of Wands. First of all, Kings represent authority, command, control, and that sort of thing. There may be something taking place this week that I cannot control, over which I do not have authority or command. The suit of Wands, to me, represents will, action, creativity, and career matters (among other things). So perhaps the delay/obstacle relates to that area of life.

With Court Cards, I often like to consult _Kate Warwick-Smith_ and her archetypal patterns. Here's what she has for the King of Wands:
  • Supporter: Spiritual Elder
  • Detractor: Zealot
  • Resource: Spiritual Vision
  • Challenge: Illusion

At the risk of oversimplifying, I am thinking the reversed position of my King of Wands suggests that I look closely at the "Detractor" and "Challenge" aspects of the card. Warwick-Smith writes: "Wand detractors create illusion and demonstrate how our ego can manipulate our sense of reality."

Taken all together, the vibes I get from the King of Wands, reversed, give me a sense of delayed or blocked achievement and control, along with possible delayed or blocked career advancement. I feel that I need to take this into account, but not let it deter me from pursuing my goals. I just may have to deal with some roadblocks or resistance along the way. And perhaps I will benefit from the reminder that I am not (and cannot be) in control at all times.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Reading with the Deck of 1000 Spreads

Now that I have done a _REVIEW_ and a reading for a client using Tierney Sadler's Deck of 1000 Spreads (Llewellyn), I am going to indulge my wild, spontaneous, take-a-chance Sagittarius Sun by choosing cards at random to determine the positional definitions (and perhaps the question) for a spread.

As Tierney puts it in Chapter Five of How to Use Your Deck of 1000 Spreads: "Choosing a topic or an entire spread at random may seem so. . . random. But choosing cards this way not only lets the universe decide what the querent needs to know, but it also removes any reader and/or querent bias that might come with consciously creating spreads."

At Tierney's suggestion, I first removed the green Card of the Day, the green Significator card, and the blue Clarification card from the deck. I then separated the cards into five piles, arranged by color, backsides facing up. I shuffled the first pile (green topic cards), asking Spirit to give me a suitable topic.

The result: MIND (your current mental or emotional state)

Well, that's usually a pretty good topic. I now get to choose as many cards from the other piles as I like. I'm not a huge fan of huge spreads, so I am going to go with a simple 3-card spread. Rather than leave the remaining cards in color-coded piles, I shuffled them together and drew three cards from the stack. All three are blue Influence cards:

CONS (consequences, effects, or downsides of a particular choice or action you may take in regard to the spread's topic or other relevant spread positions)

CROWNING INFLUENCES (the known influences that are helping or hindering this reading's topic)

SURPRISE (an unexpected plot twist or turn of events you don't see coming in regard to your question, situation, or topic)

Tierney advises us to switch the order of the cards if we feel they make sense in a different order. I am going to place Crowning Influences first, followed by Cons, and ending with Surprise.

The "Cons" card is typically paired with the "Pros" card, so I am going to pull the "Pros" card from the deck and add it to this reading. My reading now looks like this:


(1) Crowning Influences
(2) Pros
(3) Cons
(4) Surprise

My instinct is to arrange these cards into this layout:


I suppose I could put position 4 at the top and position 1 at the bottom, but "crowning influences" just sounds like it should go above.

The Druid Craft Tarot (by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington / St. Martin's Press) responded loudly to my call for volunteers, so that is the deck I am using for this reading. And the winners are...


(1) Crowning Influences: PRINCE OF SWORDS (Knight of Swords)

Initial Impressions/Intuition: aggression, force, determination, forward motion, on the attack, charging ahead.
Suit of Swords: the mind, communication
Characteristics: cutting, argumentative, analytical, intelligent, sharp-tongued, articulate, cynical, sarcastic, clever.

I can certainly own this Prince as an influential part of my mental make-up. The cards seem to be telling me that this part has an especially strong influence at the moment, for better or worse. I think I am being encouraged or challenged to emphasize or cultivate the most helpful aspects of this Prince's nature and minimize the most harmful aspects.

I also think this Prince may refer to another person in my life who embodies these characteristics, and who most certainly has a strong influence on me.


Initial Impressions/Intuition: solitude, self-reliance, grace, self-assurance, safety, set apart, independent
Suit of Pentacles: the physical, material world

The "pros" of having the Prince of Swords as my crowning influence include a certain "peace of mind" in the sense that I do not feel threatened, weak, or vulnerable. It is almost as if the Prince protects this lovely lady in her garden with her companion falcon. The Nine of Pentacles typically represents success in the material world but can also refer to the affirmation of  one's values in one's lifestyle. In other words, I can live the life I desire to live -- settled, secure, and private.


Initial Impressions/Intuition: solitude, contemplation, dissatisfaction, brooding
Suit of Swords: the mind, communication

The "cons" of having the Prince of Swords as my crowning influence include a frequent need or desire to withdraw or retreat into myself -- perhaps to escape from the Prince's sometimes overbearing, contentious, aggressive energy. The man on this card does not look like he is "resting." To me his expression seems troubled, as if heavy thoughts weigh on his mind. When one retreats or withdraws, stagnation can result -- an inability or unwillingness to take action or advance toward a goal. If this happens too often or goes on too long, it is counterproductive.

(4) Surprise: FIVE OF WANDS

Initial Impressions/Intuition: conflict, debate, competition, test of strength/ability/skill
Suit of Wands: will, action, creativity, ambition, expansion

What strikes me most about the image on this card is that the expressions on the faces of the boys are clearly not angry or serious. They are having fun, enjoying the struggle, knowing that the purpose of this activity is not to hurt or destroy but to test and strengthen. The "Surprise" card refers to "an unexpected plot twist or turn of events you don't see coming." Perhaps the influence of the Prince of Swords will lead me into creative conflict or competition that I am meant to enjoy and benefit from, if I allow myself to do so. In general, I don't like to "compete" with other people. I find it stressful and anxiety-provoking. I would indeed be "surprised" if I actually enjoyed a competition.

Wow, lots to think about in this reading. And I love the way Tierney's cards set the stage for this "story." I think my Deck of 1000 Spreads is going to get a lot of use!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week at a Glance: The High Priestess

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 March 10, 2013 I am using the Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann (Thorsons).

drawn on its side with the title to the left.

Before I continue, I need to explain that these are square cards, and their meaning can differ based not just on the reversed (upside down) position but on the placement of the upper title to the left or right. When the card is draw like this one, the quality of the card is carried in the personality and acted out.

So this week I am likely to experience the energy of The High Priestess in my personality (or someone else's personality?), and acted out.

A.T. Mann writes that "The High Priestess is the potential uniting intelligence of subconscious memory. . . The truth is hidden and may be discovered only through intuition, divination, feminine wisdom or revelation." Artistic and psychic abilities are emphasized.

Like the Golden Dawn, Mann associates The High Priestess with the Moon, representing emotions, intuition, and the subconscious in astrology. Mann includes a crab on his High Priestess card because the Moon rules the sign Cancer. Mann also includes the sign Taurus on his card because the Moon is exalted in Taurus. This is especially interesting to me, as my natal Moon is in Taurus. We also have the Hebrew letter Gimel, meaning camel (a lunar symbol according to Mann).

This feels like a highly personal card to me, and I feel that I need to be aware and open to an important revelation or unveiling of some sort that could be provided by my subconscious through dreams or meditation.

Friday, March 8, 2013

REVIEW: The Deck of 1000 Spreads


The Deck of 1000 Spreads:
Your Tarot Toolkit for Creating the Perfect Spread for Any Situation
by Tierney Sadler
Llewellyn  Publications
59 labeled and 6 blank cards
137-page paperback guidebook
ISBN-10: 0738733393
ISBN-13: 978-0738733395

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

I loved the concept of this deck the minute I heard about it. With Virgo rising, I'm always drawn to systems and methods and things that organize and arrange the pieces of things. As a "woman of a certain age" I appreciate memory assistance. Tierney Sadler's Deck of 1000 Spreads does both. And the real beauty is that it also works if you prefer to be spontaneous and intuitive with your readings.

My little Virgo ascendant was immediately attracted to comments such as "A spread...provides the structure and context that string a collection of symbols and meanings into a story" and "without some sort of organization, it's all just a random pile of words and information" and "The Deck of 1000 Spreads' sixty-five cards...are broken down into five colored sets of cards, each representing a different part of the reading's story."

My free-wheeling Sagittarius Sun loved to read about "The Fully Divined Spread" and the "Extreme Spreadcrafter Variation" and comments like "Using the Deck of 1000 Spreads, you may come up with all sorts of spread combinations that don't fit the guidelines -- or exceptions -- noted in this chapter, and that's okay. There is no right or wrong way to construct a spread."

[This paragraph added later because I forgot to include it.] The other thing I love about this deck is that I don't have to remember the positions when I do readings with a large number of cards (like, more than 3). Instead of glancing back and forth at a layout on paper, I can see the positional definition right there above the card I drew into that position.

I did a 3-card reading for a client just now using the cards "What to Leave in the Past", "What to Use in the Future," and "Resolution." It worked beautifully! The client described the reading as "incredibly accurate." I will be sharing readings with these cards here on the blog soon.

Whether you're a beginner or Old Tarot Soul, I'm convinced that you'll find this set of cards entertaining, useful, and surprising. I truly do wish I had thought of this idea and, more importantly, that I had taken it from idea to publication!


"The Deck of 1000 Spreads is an utterly unique spreadcrafting tool for tarot readers of all levels. Each oversized, color-coded card features a spread position (such as "situation" or "outcome") and a description of this position. Mix and match the cards to customize a spread for any tarot reading imaginable—or retool the classics. Crafting an infinite array of spreads is easy with this groundbreaking system that can be used with any tarot deck."


Tierney Sadler is a tarotist, mystic and a career writer, having worked in the advertising industry for more than 25 years. She's worked with tarot nearly as long, first as a hobbyist, then as a professional reader and now as a teacher and author. Tierney is currently working on writing her first spiritual book based somewhat on the teachings at her blog _The Daily Draw_. For tips on how to use the Deck of 1000 Spreads, visit _Deck of 1000 Spreads_  or "like" the deck on Facebook's Deck of 1000 Spreads page.


This boxed set consists of a paperback guidebook and 65 cards measuring 3 by 9 inches. Printed in white at the top of each card is a Spread Position (such as "What to leave in the past"). In the middle, also in white, is a more detailed description of that position. At the bottom is the title of the category in which the card belongs. They are color coded by category as follows, using an analogy that compares a Tarot reading to a novel:
  • Green : Topic, Theme, or Plot
  • Blue : Influences, Story Elements, or Plot Twists
  • Orange : Characters or People
  • Purple : Timing
  • Red : Outcomes or Endings

For example, one of the purple cards is titled "What to leave in the past." In the center of the card are the words "An attitude or situation it's time to let go of in regard to the spread's topic. Usually placed somewhere to the left of the topic card." At the bottom is the category: Timing. Six of the cards are blank so you can write your own titles or categories on them (or use a sticky note to label them temporarily).

The guidebook includes the following sections:
  • Basics (Getting a Feel for How Spreads Work; Getting to Know Your Spread Cards)
  • Spreadcrafting (Retooling and Revisioning Classic Spreads; Creating Original Spreads; Combining Divination and Spreadcrafting)
  • Sample Spreads (Having Fun with Traditional Spreads; Inspired Spreads)

In her Introduction, Sadler presents the four elements that contribute to every reading:
  • The Cards
  • The Reader
  • The Querent
  • The Spread

By now you are beginning to see why my Virgo ascendant takes great delight in this system. But wait! What's this? A subsection titled "Breaking All the Rules"! Sadler writes: "As my confidence grew with the cards, so did my desire to question the status quo. . . I encourage people first to know the rules; second, to question the rules; and third, to rewrite the rules if they find a better way." (At which point my Sagittarius Sun is leaping about and cheering.)

Sadler tells us that her purpose in creating this Deck of 1000 Spreads was to help readers do the following:
  • Lay out spreads you get from books, then put the books down and focus on your reading
  • Craft your own spreads
  • Discover new spreadcrafting strategies
  • Collaborate more closely with your querents on readings
  • Divine spreads for the first time ever

I'm here to say that by the end of the book, you'll understand how to do all of the above, and be ready to choose the approach(es) that work(s) best for you. To see a reading I did with this deck, click HERE.

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.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Week at a Glance: 8 of Wands

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 March 3, 2013 I am using the Elemental Tarot with artwork by Marco Turini (Lo Scarabeo).

My card is the EIGHT OF WANDS, reversed.

I associate the suit of Wands with the element Fire, representing inspiration, passion, will, optimism, and action. In my personal system, the number Eight is a number of ambition, achievement, and power. Certainly those qualities are evident in the illustration on the Eight of Wands in this deck! The Golden Dawn links this card with the placement of the planet Mercury in the zodiac sign Sagittarius, which makes a lot of sense to me.

With the card being drawn reversed, I have to look at the possibility of delays or obstacles related to the upright meaning of the card. I get a sense of being held back, lack of movement (at least temporarily), stalling out, or losing momentum. This could be due to my own internal state or to outside influences, or a combination of both.

If I don't like the idea of this happening, I need to be on the lookout for ways I can turn things around through my own actions and decisions. If delays or obstacles are coming from other people or events, I may just have to make the best of it for the time being. But looking again at this card, I can see that turning this guy on his head is not going to stop him in the long run. He is going to bounce back more determined than ever.