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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.