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Monday, September 30, 2013

Week at a Glance: The Star, 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 September 29, 2013 I am using The Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot by Karen Mahony (Magic Realist Press). My card is THE STAR, reversed -- the same card I drew on _September 8_ from Tarot of the Origins.

The Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot

On this card, we see a garden at twilight. All is quiet and peaceful. A white cat pours water from two vessels. One streams into a pool, the other onto the ground. As Karen Mahony puts it, this can represent bringing hope or optimism where there was none before ("watering the dry land") and/or "adding to a general pool of love and charity." The cat is white, suggesting light, purity, healing, and spiritual strength.

With the card being drawn reversed, I get a sense of being reluctant or unable to do either of those things -- possibly because of fear, anxiety, or insecurity. I see this card encouraging me NOT to lose hope, not to give in to uncertainty. Whatever has happened or will happen, I need to rise above any tendency to under-value what I can be or what I can do.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review: The Animism Tarot


_The Animism Tarot_
_by Joanna Cheung_
_Rainbow of Crazy_

_About My Reviews_

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

Back in 2011 on Aeclectic Tarot Forum, artist Joanna Cheung introduced some of the images from what she hoped would one day be a Tarot deck. At that time, she did not have a title for the deck yet, but referred to it as an Animal/Nature deck. That might not have been a bad title, as someone in the forum noted, but I like Animism Tarot much better.

As Joanna herself explains in the guidebook for this deck: "The term 'animism' has many definitions. In the essence of this tarot, it is the belief that everything in this physical world – animals, plants, everything that surrounds us – has a spiritual center, and that these forces have their own influences on the universe itself." The name is appropriate because you can sense/see/feel the soul of the creatures pictured on these cards and meditating on them will connect you to the spiritual center that animates them.

From the samples I saw of these cards on line, I knew I would. I love the art, and I do. The biggest question that might arise for some prospective buyers is "Does it work as Tarot?"

Although Joanna writes that the cards are "based on traditional Rider Waite meanings," I feel I need to say that this is not a Rider-Waite-Smith clone. The specific symbols and images from the RWS are not typically present in this deck. If your purpose in acquiring a deck is to learn how the traditional Tarot "works," this may not be the deck you need right now.

A guidebook is available for the deck in PDF form. I like that Joanna does not try to provide "a tutorial on how to read tarot." Instead, she offers "short stories describing the brief encounters in each tarot painting along with helpful key words associated with each animal." The descriptions are brief, poetic, and evocative -- very nice indeed!

(from the artist)

"Blending both tarot symbolism and animal symbolism with every card, The Animism Tarot represents the beautiful merging of both worlds, bringing a fresh yet familiar take on tarot reading.

Each card showcases a unique animal, combining its own individual strengths with each tarot card meaning to create a deck that's vibrant, charming, and above all, easy to connect with and easy to read. This deck was designed so that it can be read using traditional Rider Waite meanings while also offering familiar symbolism with each image to inspire more intuitive readings, offering something for both beginners and seasoned readers alike.

The Animism Tarot is a collection of 79 fully illustrated tarot cards. These cards were originally designed as a series of paintings, created with acrylic paint on beautiful watercolour paper, giving each image a unique feel and texture. The Animism Tarot includes the traditional 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana, and also includes the infamous Happy Squirrel tarot card for a bonus dose of Happy.

This 79 card deck comes in its own tuck box and included is a free PDF guide to the Animism Tarot world.

The Animism Tarot has taken me on one of the most fantastical journeys over the years leading to its completion. It has been a tremendous learning experience and each card has had something to offer that I will greatly cherish. Painting these images has been a joy and every word of support has been invaluable. If it wasn't for the amazing support and feedback of this deck over the years, it might not have been here today; so a huge thank you to those that have helped me along this journey!

It brings me great joy to finally be able to share this journey with you. Let the animals be your guide!"


If you are already familiar and comfortable with the RWS, you will notice hints of that tradition in these cards. For example, on the Three of Cups, three dolphins leap and splash, clearly expressing the joie de vivre we typically associate with that card. On the Six of Swords, a parent penguin sits with its chick on a chunk of ice in sea. There is definitely a sense that the chick is contemplating a journey, perhaps following the direction of the swords that point toward a hilly landscape in the distance. The Hierophant is a stoat standing on its hind legs before two presumably "lesser" stoats, who gaze up at their spiritual leader. Temperance is a Liger, created by breeding a male lion and a female tiger, thus representing a "blend" or "balance" of two different animals.

Many animal decks attempt to group animals by suit -- for example, using water creatures for the suit of Water and birds for the suit of Air. Each suit in the Animism Tarot contains a variety of creatures. Some we would typically associate with the designated element; others we would not.

The Major Arcana

0. The Fool: The Ccara Llama
I. The Magician: The Coyote
II. The High Priestess: The Striped Owl
III. The Empress: The Golden Tiger
IV. The Emperor: The Komodo Dragon
V. The Hierophant: The Stoat
VI. The Lovers: The Long-Snouted Seahorse
VII. The Chariot: The Horse
VIII: Strength: The Lion and Carmine Bee-Eater
IX. The Hermit: The Red Panda
X. Wheel of Fortune: The Orb Weaver Spider
XI: Justice: The Chimpanzee
XII. The Hanged Man: The Opossum
XIII. Death: The Raven
XIV. Temperance: The Liger
XV. The Devil: The Brown Hyena
XVI. The Tower: The Scorpion
XVII. The Star: The Ibis
XVIII. The Moon: The Rabbit
XIX. The Sun: The Rooster
XX. Judgement: The Siamese Cat
XXI. The World: The Asagi Koi Fish
XXII. The Happy Squirrel: The Little Pyromaniac

(Did you notice the extra Trump? Cute!)

Minor Arcana

Ace of Wands: The Ram
Two of Wands: The Giraffe
Three of Wands: The Cougar
Four of Wands: The Hummingbird
Five of Wands: The Wild Boar
Six of Wands: The Caracal
Seven of Wands: The Hedgehog
Eight of Wands: The Black Mamba Snake
Nine of Wands: The Asian Elephant
Ten of Wands: The Bactrian Camel
Page of Wands: The Chinchilla
Knight of Wands: The Cheetah
Queen of Wands: The Red Fox
King of Wands: The Highland Bull

Ace of Cups: The Otter
Two of Cups: The Seal
Three of Cups: The Dusky Dolphin
Four of Cups: The Sloth
Five of Cups: The Marbled Salamander
Six of Cups: The Deer
Seven of Cups: The Polar Bear
Eight of Cups: The Magpie
Nine of Cups: The Asiatic Black Bear
Ten of Cups: The Mute Swan
Page of Cups: The Platypus
Knight of Cups: The Hippopotamus
Queen of Cups: The Leatherback Sea Turtle
King of Cups: The Humpback Whale

Ace of Swords: The Bald Eagle
Two of Swords: The Panther
Three of Swords: The Bleeding Heart Dove
Four of Swords: The Koala Bear
Five of Swords: The Mako Shark
Six of Swords: The Adélie Penguin
Seven of Swords: The Raccoon
Eight of Swords: The Octopus
Nine of Swords: The Flying Fox
Ten of Swords: The Bearded Vulture
Page of Swords: The Cayuga Duck
Knight of Swords: The Greyhound
Queen of Swords: The Osprey
King of Swords: The Gray Wolf

Ace of Pentacles: The Scarab Beetle
Two of Pentacles: The Kangaroo
Three of Pentacles: The Hazel Dormouse
Four of Pentacles: The Skunk
Five of Pentacles: The Kiwi
Six of Pentacles: The Alligator and Plover
Seven of Pentacles: The Peacock
Eight of Pentacles: The Beaver
Nine of Pentacles: The Moose
Ten of Pentacles: The Zebra
Page of Pentacles: The Chipmunk
Knight of Pentacles: The Black Rhinoceros
Queen of Pentacles: The Alpine Cow
King of Pentacles: The Silverback Gorilla


The deck is packaged in a standard-size Tarot card box. Since the stock is not very thick and there is no LWB enclosed, the box seems slightly too large for the deck. However, I much prefer this to decks that are crammed into a box just barely big enough. The stock used for the box itself is lightweight and needs to be handled carefully.

The cards measure 2-3/4 inches by 4-3/4 inches. Card faces have pale-colored, marble-patterned borders that are wider at the top and bottom than on the sides. The colors of the borders do not appear to have any relationship with the suits or arcana status. Likewise, the colors used in the images do not have a uniform relationship with suits or arcana.

Card backs are reversible, although Joanna writes that this deck "was not painted with reversals in mind."


The art is realistic yet whimsical. Animal personalities really shine through.

Concerning the art on the back of the cards, Joanna Cheung writes: "The skies have played a big part in the images of this deck; so it seemed fitting that night and day would be the focus of the tarot back. And with animals being at the center of it all, it was perfect to have the animals in the moon and the sun tarots take their place on the back."

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week at a Glance: King of Cups

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 September 22, 2013 I am using _The Animism Tarot_ by Joanna Cheung (Rainbow of Crazy). My card is the KING OF CUPS.

The Animism Tarot

A humpback whale plays the role of King of Cups in this beautiful deck (watch this blog for my upcoming review). In addition to being a huge, powerful creature (48 to 62.5 ft long, weighing 40 tons), the humpback whale is known for its complex "songs," which are believed to be a method of communication.

It appears that the personal qualities I might need to be aware of this week include gentleness, patience, serenity, and harmonious communication. I must remember to play one of my whale song CDs while I'm in my office this week!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Review: Cartomancy with the Lenormand and the Tarot


Cartomancy with the Lenormand and the Tarot:
Create Meaning & Gain Insight from the Cards

by Patrick Dunn
Llewellyn Publications
Trade Paperback | 9780738736006
English  |  264 pages | 6 x 9 x 1 IN
 _About My Reviews_

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

From the title of this book, you might expect it to be primarily a collection of spreads that use the Lenormand and the Tarot in combination, or a list of interpretations for each Lenormand card when paired with each Tarot card. You would be wrong. Although Patrick Dunn does include spread ideas and card interpretations, this book is devoted much more to theory and concept. As Dunn puts it in his Introduction: "This is a book about types of knowledge and ways of listening... This book is only secondarily a how-to book."

This book definitely makes one think, contemplate, and learn -- all of which I find most enjoyable. I came away with a clear appreciation for how the Lenormand "works" when compared with how the tarot "works" and why understanding the history and purpose of both decks can result in "richer, more personal readings." And there's an Index. Win!

Here are some of my favorite quotations from the book:
  • "A panpsychist believes there is a mind underlying all of reality. . . I'll call it by the name the ancients gave it: the Anima Mundi, or 'soul of the universe.'"
  • "The questions most suited to divination are those that uncover meaning rather than data -- that put together stories that relate to the readers rather than give them disconnected bits of information."
  • "Lay out the cards in a single row of three cards. . . What card leaps out to you, without your necessarily realizing why? That card is salient. . . In seeking salience in your readings, trust is paramount. Let your eye roam over the card or the spread until it 'sticks,' and then trust that this sticking place is relevant to the reading."
  • "Every card of the major arcana echoes the everyday concerns of the Lenormand, which means most cards in the Lenormand have a major arcana card (sometimes several) that rules them."
  • "We are all a lot closer to bourgeois eighteenth-century French women than we are to Renaissance scholar-monks, who wrote the allegories the tarot images are based on."
  • "If anyone dares say, 'Well, Dunn says this card means...' I shall be very, very grumpy."


"Combining the simplicity of the traditional but little-known Lenormand deck with the familiarity of the tarot, Dunn creates a unique learning format blending these two powerful systems. Sharing his vast knowledge of symbols and symbolism, he introduces the Lenormand cards and even shows you how to make your own deck. Then he compares this with the tarot and teaches numerous spreads—to be used with either or both decks—in addition to methods of intuitive and collaborative readings. This introduction to the Lenormand will help any reader discover and use this deck, while adding insights into tarot interpretation and even magic. . . Working with the Lenormand and the tarot, you can collaborate with the Universal Mind and enhance your meditative and magical work for life-changing results."


Patrick Dunn (Chicago, IL) is a poet, linguist, Pagan, and a university English instructor with a PhD in modern literature and language. His understanding of semiotics and the study of symbols arise from his training in linguistics and literary theory. He has practiced magic since childhood. He is also the author of Postmodern Magic: The Art of Magic in the Information Age, and Magic, Power, Language, Symbol / A Magician's Exploration of Linguistics (Llewellyn).


This quality Trade paperback is 264 pages (including the Index). The book measures 6 x 9 x 1 inches. Interior illustrations are black-and-white.


In Chapter 1, we have a discussion of Mademoiselle Marie-Anne Lenormand and the deck that bears her name, making sure we understand that "this was not the deck that Mlle. Lenormand herself used." We are advised that the best results from this book will come if we use a Tarot deck with Rider-Waite imagery with a Petit Lenormand deck (36 cards vs the Grand deck which as 54 cards). In Chapter 2, we are encouraged to make our own Lenormand deck and given "meaning starters" (suggested keywords and questions) with black-and-white illustrations for each card.

In Chapter 3, Dunn turns to the Major Arcana of the Tarot, providing a brief history followed by interpretations and black-and-white illustrations for each Major.

Subsequent chapters discuss Occult Symbolism and the Anima Mundi; The Symbolic Structure of the Major Arcana (or, Throw Away Your Little White Book); Getting in the Mood and Getting Ready to Read; and Preparing to Tell the Story. We are then introduced to some Tarot spreads and some Lenormand spreads, with sample readings.

Chapters 10-12 address The Grammar of Symbols, Intuitive Reading, and Collaborative Reading. In Chapter 13 Dunn delves into Symbolic Interaction Between the Lenormand and Tarot. Chapter 14 -- Synergy -- explores how the Lenormand and Tarot decks differ and how they complement each other. For example, "If the tarot is a calligraphy pen, a Petit Lenormand . . . is a ballpoint." Dunn notes that "The Lenormand. . . offers archetypes from the perspective of a person living an ordinary life. The tarot sees these archetypes through a magic mirror; the Lenormand, through the mirror over our bathroom sink." Another example: "I have heard several readers of both systems say that the tarot is like talking to a philosopher, while the Lenormand is like talking to a friend."

Finally, Dunn provides commentary on divination and magic, including "how to scry a card."

Appendix I is titled "Okay, Fine, a List of Meanings for the Cards, if You Insist." Dunn notes: "It is, in one important sense, unnecessary, even harmful, to create formulaic interpretations of the Lenormand cards. Yet I'm aware that some readers will insist on it. . . They're my meanings, gleaned from several sources and my own experiences with the cards."

Appendix II provides a Lenormand Keyword Table. The Bibliography offers an excellent list of resources for further understanding and study.

You can learn a lot about Patrick Dunn's approach by reading his article _"A Deck in Each Hand: Reading with the Lenormand and Tarot"_.

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, September 18, 2013

Helen's Interview with the Vampyres

I am pleased to welcome Helen Howell and her new. . . um. . . "friends". . . to Tarot Notes.

Interview with the Vampyres
by Helen Howell

A new deck came to stay at my place this week: The Tarot of the Vampyres by Ian Daniel. I couldn’t wait to interview it and immediately sent an invitation up to its room. Would you believe it made me wait for a couple of days before saying it would grace me with its company tonight. Tonight! Oh my goodness that’s short notice. I sent a message back saying couldn’t they come tomorrow afternoon? I got a rather terse reply saying they never rose until the sun had gone down and it’s tonight or never. Pfft, who do they think they are— of course, silly me, it’s a Vampyre deck, when else would it come out except at night. (hurries away to get ready)

Okay the room’s tidied up and I got some blood oranges for the refreshment. Well it was short notice and the blood bank was closed. Besides, they always look so pale, a bit of vitamin C will do them good. I glance at the clock. It’s really late. I wonder when it will come down and who will be its spokesperson?

A gust of wind blows the door open and two bats flutter through and fly to the top of the window, where they settle. The air feels algid as a cloudy haze floats into the room. I hold my breath as I watch it take the form of the Empress. She’s beautiful. She glides across the floor; the rustle of her skirt is the only sound to be heard.

“Welcome. Come in. Sit down.”

She moves to the chair opposite me. I notice her eyes are dark, alluring.

She stares at me. Shall we get on with it? Ask your questions I will do my best to translate my brother and sister cards' replies.

“Yes, of course. But would you like a blood orange before we start?” I hold the plate out with the ruby segments.

She wrinkles her nose. Fruit, are you mad?

“But they’re blood ora........” I never finished my sentence before she holds up a hand adorned with pointed red nails.

Enough. Ask your questions.

I feel her eyes wash over my neck. My heart skips a beat as my hand touches my throat. “First question:

1: Use one word to describe yourself - The Star

“Ah, yes I understand why you would choose that. Perhaps you see yourself as a means to liberate the questioner from their situation?”

Is that the next question? She glances up to the top of the window. Come here darlings. The bats descend to rest one on each of her shoulders.

“Oh no, I was just thinking aloud.”

Question number 2:
2: What would you say makes you different from other decks? - The Priestess

Ah that’s the secret isn’t it, the difference I mean. I encourage you to create your own outcomes by helping you to accept the multitude of possibilities that exist. How do I do this? Rather than tell you what will be, I help you to unlock that inner knowledge that resides within you, so that you too may become the Magician in creating your own new beginnings. I do not just show you what alternative possibilities or potential exists, I show you that you are the writer of your own story.

“Wow. So you don’t just predict, you encourage us to make our own decisions about things. I like the idea of being the Magician.”

Aren’t we all magicians in our own way? She leans forwards and spears two segments of blood orange with her nails, and hands one each to the bats.

“Oh my god they’re fruit bats.” I watch the two small creatures nibble at the segments.

Why, were you expecting something different? Her lips curl into a smile and the tips of her fangs glow in the soft light. Nature is a wonderful thing is it not. Next question, and hurry up it’s past my supper time.

Question number 3:
3. Why should I work with you? - The Hierophant

Simply because I’m here to teach you some important lessons that need to be learnt and understood in order for you to grow. I will be the link between your earthly existence and your spiritual one. By working with me I will instill within you a greater amount of trust in yourself and open your eyes to the bigger picture. I will urge you to find your own truth rather than follow the truth of others. Work with me and you will learn that knowledge is what gives you freedom of choice.

“That seems an excellent reason to work with you. Emm, would your bats like another piece of orange?” I hold the plate out but she brushes it away with a flick of her hand.

Are there any more questions? Her nails rattle on the wooden arm of the chair as she drums her fingers.

(Maybe she’s more than a tad hungry - I should hurry up.)

Question number 4:
4. How do you see me? - Lord of Sceptres Reversed.

I see you as one who has creative ideas and the will to set goals but at the same time you can lack structure and that holds you back from meeting the challenge of completing those goals. I’m here to help you form those structures so that you may follow your vision and bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. 

“Well, I suppose I do think about things a lot longer than I should, and yes I’m not necessarily interested in leading others, but more happy just jogging along. I guess you’ll gee me up in this area. I have one more question for you.

Question number 5:
5. What is to be gained from working together? - Two of Grails

That’s very simple to answer. Together we will be able to reconcile any opposing forces that exist, so that instead of working against you they work for you. It will be a new and fresh relationship that over a time will grow into something deeper. A relationship that is built on trust and honesty. I will always be honest with you. By working together we will forge an understanding that has the potential for a lasting friendship. This will form a union between us based on a greater understanding of not just yourself, but also me as your deck of choice.

“I shall look forward to that. Thanks for taking the time to come down and speak with me. I guess you must fly now as it’s gone midnight.”

Before I go, do you think I could have a small drink?

“Of course. What can I get you?”

Your wrist would be perfect.

“Eeek!” (holds out wrist and closes eyes)

Phantasmagoria (Tarot of the Vampyres) by Ian Daniels
Published by Llewellyn

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Week at a Glance: Ace of Cups

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 September 15, 2013 I am using The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery by Robert M. Place (Hermes Publications). My card is the ACE OF CUPS.

The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery

On this version of the Ace of Cups, I am drawn first to the central window at the top of the castle, and secondly to the waves of water below. This week, I will be working with a creative team to bring a chapter book I wrote further towards publication. There is a castle in that book and, specifically, an upper level window that figures prominently in the story. It is interesting that there is a bird on the card, as a bird also plays an important role.

The waves speak to me of deep emotions and the subconscious -- sources for many a good story, I think. As I enter this new phase of development (Ace) with my book, I will want to listen to my subconscious and follow my intuition. The water in this image is not flat or calm, so I think there may be emotional turbulence or uneasiness involved in some way.

Those are my first impressions. It is possible that the card refers to some new opportunity or path I may encounter in the area of emotions and relationships. My reaction to the window at the top-center of the castle may represent a new lens or filter through which I experience that area of life.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Another Reading with the Deck of 1000 Spreads

I had so much fun doing a reading with Tierney Sadler's Deck of 1000 Spreads (Llewellyn) _back in March_, I thought I'd do another one.

To refresh your memory, this spread asks us to let Spirit choose the topic via Tierney's deck. First, I 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.

(Addresses the current state of your creative energies.)

Nice! Most of my time these days is spent in creative pursuits of one kind or another, specifically, writing,  jewelry making, and tarot/astrology.

I am going to go with a 4-card spread, drawing one card from each remaining pile.

From the orange pile I drew PARTNER (Your partner or potential partner and the energies they bring to the topic. Can also indicate the influence they have on you, or vice versa.)

From the blue pile, WHAT IS HIDDEN (A circumstance, helping hand, or consequence that you may be unaware of. May indicate something intentionally going on behind your back.)

From the red pile, ADVICE (Used as an outcome card or elsewhere in a spread, this is the advice you need to follow to solve a challenge or achieve your desired outcome.)

From the purple pile, PAST (Usually placed to the left of the topic card in a spread, this indicates a recent or past situation or state of mind that affects the 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 Partner first, followed by Past, What is Hidden, and Advice. I am arranging the cards thusly:

Topic: Hobbies and Talents


(1) Partner
(2) Past
(3) What is Hidden
(4) Advice

This time I am using The Wildwood Tarot by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington (Sterling Ethos).

(1) Partner: TWO OF VESSELS (Attraction)
Initial Impressions/Intuition: two forces in balance, intuitive interaction, complementary energies, union, two entities becoming one force
Suit of Vessels: water, emotions, relationships

What a perfect card to see in this position! It is certainly true that my relationship with my partner fosters and supports my creative endeavors. I could not do what I do without him. Our relationship forms a solid foundation from which I can explore, experiment, and experience the satisfaction of allowing my creativity to flourish.

Initial Impressions/Intuition: my affinity with and interest in wolves, my book One Wolf Howls, a position of power or authority, strength, wisdom
Suit of Stones: earth, achievement, possessions, security, practical skills

I wrote my first children's book One Wolf Howls following a dream I had back in 2003. Although I had written other books, when One Wolf Howls was published in 2009, it was the first published book that was 100% my idea from start to finish (as opposed to books written "on assignment" for a publisher). For me, it was the first real-world, tangible evidence of my creative spirit.

(3) What is Hidden: KING OF VESSELS
Initial Impressions/Intuition: dignity; ability to fly; comfortable in water, in the air, and on land;
Suit of Vessels: water, emotions, relationships

How appropriate to see the heron here, a creature reputed to be gifted with psychic perception and reflection, and who is said to stand at the gateway between life and death, acting as mediator on the soul's journey to the Celtic underworld and reincarnation. I get a sense that great power and depth are hidden, yet to be explored and expressed in my creative endeavors.

(4) Advice: THE ARCHER (7)

Initial Impressions/Intuition: aiming for or targeting something, strength, determination, taking the initiative, capable, skilled, trained
Element of Air, creative energy and inspiration

Quoting the book that accompanies this deck: "The dawn of a new adventure, folded in the web of universal potential, waits for you to string the bow of your imagination and loose the arrows of creativity. . . Take careful stock of what you want to achieve, why, and how you will go about it. . . It is time to let your soul take flight."

I can't improve on that! Is it a coincidence that my Sun sign is Sagittarius, the Archer? I think not.

Another fabulous reading with the Deck of 1000 Spreads!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

5 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 Five of Swords is linked with the placement of Venus (love, affection, art, beauty, esthetics, pleasure) in Aquarius (a Fixed Air sign known for being innovative, idealistic, humanitarian, and intellectual).

Crowley titles the card "Defeat" and notes "The intellect has been enfeebled by sentiment. The defeat is due to pacifism. Treachery may also be implied."

Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "Willful, unpredictable, frosty (Aquarius) conduct in relationship (Venus)."

The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel

Liz Hazel's astrological associations for the Five of Swords align with those of Crowley and the Golden Dawn: Venus/Aquarius. Hazel's DMs for this card include: "calamity, danger, explosion, damage, accidents and injuries." And those are assigned to the well-dignified Five of Swords. Ill-dignified: "catastrophes on a large scale. . . death and destruction. Loss of reputation because of a critical mistake in judgment. . . Mental or physical breakdown."

One World Tarot by Crystal Love

Crystal Love associates the Five of Swords with the first subdivision of Libra (natural ruler Venus; subruler Moon). She writes: "The rapidly changing face of the Moon gives a restless and weak nature, easily influenced emotionally in this first subdivision of Libra." We may see "extravagance and unreliable habits, with a characteristic indecisiveness."

The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann

Mann associates the Five of Swords with the energy of Uranus (planet of change, originality, upheaval) in Aquarius. Many astrologers view Uranus as the ruler of Aquarius or as a co-ruler with Saturn. Mann calls Swords Five, Six, and Seven "The Clouds of Aquarius," and links the Five of Swords with the period between January 20-29. Pale yellow is the color associated with Uranus and violet is associated with Aquarius on the King Scale of Color.

Mann's divinatory meanings for the Five of Swords: "Original thoughts combined with eccentric actions begin and end relationships suddenly. Progressive attitudes attract indirect help from others." Reversed: "Unreliable and unpredictable. Irrational feelings and rebellious behaviour are exaggerated and magnified."

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

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

David Thornton's description of the energy of the Five of Swords is: "An innate knowledge of human nature which supports collective and cooperative work, a trouble maker, rebellious behavior, the tendency to exaggerate or magnify everything."

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 Five signifies Conflict (Tarot Dynamics) or "Conflict and Speculation" (Tarot Dynamics Unleashed). The key word for the suit of Swords in this system is Challenging, which gives us Challenging/Conflict (or Conflict and Speculation) for the Five of Swords. In astrology the Fifth House, ruled by the Sun, is commonly known as the House of Pleasure, Creativity, and Sex (among other things). The Sun represents the ego and conscious will. The sign associated with the Fifth House is Leo. However, Cook uses the first decan of Aquarius for the Five of Swords.

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

Just when we think we are safe with an "Air" association for the Five of Swords, we read that Thierens associates it with "The element Earth with its influence of Mars and Saturn on the Fifth house." His keywords for this card include: "affliction, crisis, morose disposition, bitterness, impotence, lack of self-respect." He writes: "Enterprise or expansion is impossible or not advisable. Things indicated by this card may indeed be bad-looking or unpromising. There will be a question of a loss in most cases."

(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 Five of Swords we have:
  • Crowley and Hazel with a Venus/Aquarius association
  • Love with Libra /Venus/ Moon
  • Mann with Uranus/Aquarius
  • Thornton with Uranus/11th House (ruled by Aquarius)
  • Cook with Aquarius
  • Thierens with Earth/5th House (ruled by Leo/Sun)

With the exception of Thierens, the common factor in all of these is the element Air, whether represented by Aquarius or Libra. Planet-wise we have our choice of Venus, Moon, Uranus, Sun.

It is difficult for me to go along with the association of Venus with the Five of Swords. Venus is known in astrology as "the lesser benefic" which tells us its energy or influence is generally good-natured, beneficial, and pleasant. The Five of Swords is none of those things.

I have an easier time with Uranus as the planetary association for this card, simply because the card certainly has a feeling of upheaval and rebellion. When you put Uranus in the 11th House, you can easily have a falling out or conflict with friends, associates, or society at large, as we see clearly depicted in the traditional RWS Five of Swords. However, if you give Uranus rulership over Aquarius, then that same upsetting energy would have an impact on the normally pleasant, sociable nature of Venus.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Week at a Glance: The Star 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. 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.

For the week of September 8, 2013 I am using Tarot of the Origins by Sergio Toppi (Lo Scarabeo). My card is THE STAR (Key 17), reversed.

Tarot of the Origins

This is the second week in a row I am getting a super-positive Major Arcana card -- reversed. (Last week it was The Sun, reversed.)

The LWB that comes with Tarot of the Origins does not interpret reversals. Manfredi Toraldo offers this interpretation of the upright Star: "The primordial spark rediscovered. Represents a Wish, the Dream, a Direction."

The dominant color in this card is blue, which I view as representing spirituality, the unconscious, tranquility, truth, and thoughtfulness. In numerology, the number 17 reduces to 6, which I view as representing adjustment in thoughts or attitudes, peace, harmony, and balance.

In the upright version of this card, two large hands coming from above break open a rock, sending a shower of sparks downward, where they seem to burst into a large star. When we turn the card upside down, the hands rise up from the bottom of the card, and when the rock breaks, the sparks fly upwards, bursting into a star high above.

To me, this suggests a "wish, dream, direction" being released into the heavens, becoming a starburst in the night sky. (Wish I may, wish I might... have the wish I wish tonight.) Yet this is more than a mere "wish." With the upright card, it's as if a superior being is showering us with magic from above. Reversed, the hands could be my hands, working to break open the rock to release the magic, to create a shining star -- symbol of wishes come true. I find the reversed position of this card to be quite inspirational!

As I work on various creative projects this week, I will visualize my energy opening the treasures that lie within, sending them upward and outward into the stars.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cards and Quotes: The Fool

Cards and Quotes! Long time no post!

Today's Cards and Quotes features THE FOOL from the Osho Zen Tarot (published by St. Martin's Press. Illustrations by Ma Deva Padma).

"Walk on air against your better judgement."
_Nobel Lecture, Dec. 7, 1995_

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Week at a Glance: The Sun 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. 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.

For the week of September 1, 2013 I am using Zolar's Astrological Tarot (U.S. Games Systems, Inc. under exclusive license from Zolar, Inc.)

My card is THE SUN (Key 19), reversed. Key phrases are printed on each card in this deck. For the reversed Sun, these are: "Broken engagement. Canceled contract. Loss of valuables."

Not exactly great news! Here's how I am going to interpret this: I need to be especially aware and alert this week to the possibility that something may not work out as I intended or hoped. The Sun is a Major Arcana card, so this could refer to a significant situation or relationship. The atmosphere surrounding me may contain contrary, difficult energies swirling about at one level or another -- clouds obscuring the face of the sun, if you will. I might be able to prevent or at least mentally prepare for the "break," "cancellation," or "loss" suggested by the card. In any case, I know that I can eventually overcome any challenges that arise this week.