Order a Reading from Me

Order a Reading from Me
Please send relevant information to zannastarr@gmail.com.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Old English Tarot: 7 of Cups

In today's blog entry, Helen Howell continues her exploration of cards from the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Old English Tarot
7 of Cups
by Helen Howell

Now the Old English Tarot’s depiction of the Seven of Cups at first had me wondering how one would interpret it. Unlike the obvious depiction in the Rider Waite and many other modern decks of seven cups all holding different things, the Old English has none of that. We know from, let’s say, the Rider Waite deck that depiction speaks of imagination, or too many choices or even fantasies.

As I look at the Old English card I’m suddenly reminded of the famous dialogue about the “vessel with the pestle, the chalice from the palace” that appeared in the 1955 movie starring Danny Kaye called The Court Jester. (You can find the dialogue HERE.) It was all about choice.

Here in this depiction we have seven chalices spread evenly across the card. To each side of the middle chalice stands a figure playing an instrument. Each plays something different to the other. They obviously chose their instruments. However, even though there are seven cups for them to choose from, right now they both choose to stand by the same cup. Is that a wise choice I wonder? Are they under some illusion that they can both have the same thing?

I admit that with the visual of this card it’s not so easy to see what it may mean, but I definitely feel that choice is the fundamental meaning. So when it comes down to it, it really doesn’t differ too much from the meanings associated with the Rider Waite card. If the figures are not focused enough to see the reality of their situation and each chooses a cup that will work for them, then perhaps the card tells us that their desires and goals will just remain a fantasy rather than something real.

The LWB says:

Fantasy, out of touch with reality, imagination, foolish whims, illusionary success.
Reversed: Desire, will power, a well-considered choice.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

REVIEW: Lojong for the Layperson


Lojong for the Layperson
by Beverly King
self-published / 2014
Cards: 3.5''×5.75"
Booklet: 8.5” by 5.5”

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

First, I really do need to place blame where blame is due. In this case, it falls squarely on the shoulders of Sharyn Mallow Woerz over at _Quirkeries_. Sharyn recently did some daily draws using the Lojong for the Layperson deck, and that’s where I saw it. I loved the cards she shared, along with the slogans and interpretations. Soon I was poorer in one sense, but much richer in another sense!

Anyway, I invite you to visit Beverly King’s _Lojong for the Layperson blog_, and if you find that you do have an interest in Lojong, I recommend this deck. The photographs are lovely and appropriate for the slogans, which are quite thought-provoking and meaningful. I am looking forward to using the deck a lot!


On her blog, Beverly King describes herself as “A student of Earth and all her inhabitants. Walking a spiritual path that has no label.” For about a year, she took photos to go along with her lojong (Buddhist 'mind training') practice. This resulted in 59 pictures for each slogan along with her personal notes on each one. A friend suggested that she turn them into a deck with a Little White Book for those who are interested in this practice.


(from the LWB) “Lojong is a mind training practice in the Buddhist tradition. Brought to Tibet from India by Atisha (982-1054), it was originally a secret teaching given only to a select group. Geshe Chekawa (1102-1176) wanted to open the lojong instructions to other people. As a result, he wrote The Root Text of the Seven Points of Training the Mind, based on the slogans of Atisha. Lojong is a way to learn how to see things from a larger, inclusive perspective rather than a self-absorbed one. The seven points of mind training are comprised of fifty-nine slogans. Their purpose is to change the way we think, what we think about, and how we manage our emotions.”

The slogans are grouped into seven categories:
I. The Preliminaries (Slogan 1)
II. The Actual Practice (Slogans 2-10)
III. Transforming Adversity (Slogans 11-16)
IV. Maintaining the Practice (Slogans 17-18)
V. Evaluating the Practice (Slogans 19-22)
VI. Commitments of the Practice (Slogans 23-38)
VII. Guidelines for the Practice (Slogans 39-59)

The LWB is in the form of half-sheets of white paper fastened together in the upper left corner. Beverly King used buttons tied together with elastic to fasten the pages. Printing is black type for the text with blue for headings and green for photo descriptions. At the end, King provides a list of Sources.


The cards were published using printerstudios.com in a 3.5''×5.75" size using their linen card stock. Card numbers are at the top of each card in bold white type and underlined. The cards and LWB are shipped in a sturdy clear 6.5” x 4.5” plastic box with a latch for safekeeping.


Card backs feature are green with a leaf pattern. The photographs are colorful, crisp, and clear, incorporating a variety of textures. It is easy to imagine touching the items shown in the photos – the rough bark of a tree, the prickly blades of grass, smooth stones, silky flower petals, satiny leaves.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Old English Tarot: 2 of Batons

In today's blog entry, Helen Howell continues her exploration of cards from the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Old English Tarot
Two of Batons 
by Helen Howell


The Old English Two of Batons (Wands in other decks,) is totally different from the  better known image of a figure holding the world, etc. In this image we have two batons that are equal distance apart. The figure below walks in front of two horses that pull a plough. He looks back and holds a stick that waves in the air as though commanding the horses to obey.

Now, particularly in the Rider Waite image of the Two of Wands, we see a man who holds the world and looks out across a river/lake towards the mountains on the other side. From that image we can draw the interpretation of someone who is considering his options, his next move. But in the depiction in the Old English Tarot, it doesn’t give us that sense of contemplating his next move. He is already making it happen.

What we’ve got in this card is someone who is in control and who is ensuring that what he wants gets done. So it indicates a person who might be strong willed or dominating, but also it indicates someone who can and does take control of a situation and makes sure he gets the end results.

It is similar in a sense to the Rider Waite card, as both card images show us the potential of succeeding. Providing the energy is put into the outcome, then the rewards can be reaped.

I would say then from what I can see of the Old English card, that it lies more in getting on and doing it rather than thinking about it. It’s an action card, which of course is typical batons/wands.

In a reading it might suggest that the person needs to harness their confidence and get on with their plans, and not to be afraid of the hard work it may take to achieve their goal but to remember that they are in control. Of course, on the negative side, this image also shows us someone who can and will dominate those around him, whether it be beast or man!

The LWB says:

Ruler, attainment of needs, boldness, dominant personality.
Reversed: Sadness, trouble, loss of faith, unexpected surprise.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Elemental Tarot General Reading – Part 5

To read Part 1, click HERE. 

To read Part 2, click HERE

To read Part 3, click HERE

To read Part 4, click HERE

In Part 1 of this General Reading, we covered “Overall Focus.” Part 2 was about “Drive, career, or work (Wands).” Part 3 focused on “Communication and understanding (Swords).” Part 4 looked at “Relationships (Cups).”

The last part, Part 5, is about “Physical world, manifestation (Pentacles).” The cards are:

Physical world, manifestation (Pentacles): 9 of Pentacles
energy helping/opposing: The Hermit
advice: 4 of Swords
potential outcome if advice is followed: The Magician

By design, the top card was chosen from the suit of Pentacles, the suit associated with the element Earth, growth, and potential, particularly on the physical plane. This is potential energy that is always moving toward manifestation. The NINE OF PENTACLES came forward to represent the suit for me.

All of the Pentacles cards are given titles that include the word “seed.” The Nine of Pentacles is called “Contemplating a seed.” On the card, a cow grazes in the foreground as Earth elementals cavort on a ridge in the background. The LWB states that even the simplest things can baffle many – yet the earth and her creatures don’t worry about it. So perhaps the message for me here is “Go ahead and contemplate, but don’t worry.” Easier said than done, especially when we consider that the Nine of Pentacles is linked with the sign Virgo by the Golden Dawn. My rising sign is Virgo, and I can tell you that telling Virgo “Don’t worry” doesn’t have much of an effect.

Energy helping/opposing: THE HERMIT

As with all Major Arcana cards, The Hermit suggests the involvement of a “higher,” very powerful energy. In this deck, the card is titled “Guidance” and we are told in the LWB that the Universe will always guide us, if we ask. Like the Nine of Pentacles, The Hermit is typically seen as an Earth card, specifically related to the zodiac sign Virgo (Golden Dawn system). But I can see The Hermit as pointing to a “higher vibration” of Virgo (for lack of a better expression), where one rises above the often miniscule or petty concerns that frequently plague Virgo by seeking a connection with and guidance from the Universe. The Hermit can also represent withdrawal or solitary contemplation, and this can either help or oppose the fulfillment of the potential for manifestation represented by the Nine of Pentacles. The number Nine gets a double hit here as well, since The Hermit is trump Nine. My keywords for the Number Nine are “basis for completion, endings, preparation (for new cycle), growth through experience, perfection, integration, and fruition.”


Looking at this card next to The Hermit, it’s as if the figure on Trump 9 has turned around and is walking towards me. The suit of Swords is associated with the element Air, communication, understanding, and truth. It is the suit of the Mind. It is also considered to be an “active” suit. In the Elemental Tarot, the Four of Swords is titled “Everyday guidance.” In the LWB, we are told that the Universe leaves signs and symbols to guide us along the way. This complements the message of The Hermit on that subject. However, whereas The Hermit is outside in the wilderness, the person on the Four of Swords is inside a massive, secure, safe structure (reflecting a common meaning for the number Four). I think the advice to me in this reading is that it is safe to “come out” to face forward and venture forth, following the everyday guidance the Universe provides (perhaps represented by the fairy-type creatures, the cat, and the raven on the Four of Swords card).

Potential outcome if advice is followed: THE MAGICIAN

Notice the progression? We start with The Hermit, facing away from us, wandering in a wilderness. We move to a figure striding purposefully towards us within a protective structure, and then we come to a lively woman who seems to be dancing out in the open, in the midst of the four suit symbols (Sword, Pentacle, Cup, and Wand). The Elemental Tarot subtitles The Magician “Doing something well.” The LWB offers this description: “The energy of the Universe surrounds you, skills dwell within you. Be bold and use what is available.”

The Golden Dawn links The Magician with the planet Mercury, which rules the zodiac signs Gemini (an Air sign) and Virgo (remember Virgo?) I had to smile at that.

This collection of cards overall seems to suggest using the energy of Air and Earth together – the mind and communication manifesting itself in the physical world. Ideas become physical realities. However, they can only do so if I bring those ideas forward, if I “come forward” and express myself outwardly in my creations, if I translate that which is “above” (or inside?) to the world “below” (outside?)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Old English Tarot: 9 of Swords

Today I am pleased to introduce a new series of posts by Helen Howell, former co-author of Tarot Notes. Helen will be exploring cards from the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Old English Tarot
9 of Swords
by Helen Howell

In this series I’m going to be taking a look at the Minor Arcana of the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen, published by U.S.Games Systems Inc. I’m going to attempt to look at the symbolism and see how we can interpret these cards for not just how the four elements are arranged by also by the small depictions that accompany each of these cards.

I will pick the cards randomly but over a course of time hope to cover all the cards in the four suits.

My first card is the Nine of Swords:

Old English Tarot (U.S. Games)

In the Old English we see eight of the swords woven together with the ninth sword  pointing directly down over the head of the figure, who is tied to the stake and stands on a pile of kindling.  It’s an interesting depiction, because it differs from the traditional image which often gives us the interpretation of impending doom but from a mental point of view. That is to say the person in the image is thought to be overwhelmed with doubts and fears.

This image also gives us a sense of impending doom, but more from a physical aspect. Yes, the Swords still do represent mental activity, but we see the figure actually bound to the stake with no means to free himself while the sword hangs like a heavy weight above his head. He’s not imagining this; he is actually in that situation.

The way the swords are locked together, seems to me to symbolise that those thoughts he may have are trapped within his thinking pattern and he is helpless to free them, because he is tethered and cannot move away. But more than symbolising that he has troublesome thoughts, this card also indicates for us that he is in an unhappy situation, one that probably causes him mental suffering as well as physical.

How did he end up like this? Who tied him to that stake? He must have had a disagreement with someone for this to have happened, and so another aspect of this card could be that he has come out the worse for wear from a quarrel and now he is suffering for it.

I think the Old English depiction of the Nine of Swords gives us that extra element of of physical suffering as well as mental, whereas, for instance, the Rider Waite depiction tends to indicate that it’s all in the mind.

I particularly like the way the swords have been placed in an interlocking pattern with one that hangs free in a threatening position. It enhances the idea that one can get locked into a train of thought that you can allow to loom over you so that it threatens your physical well being.

So if you draw this card in a reading, depending on the surrounding cards, just remember that the message it may be trying to impart could be more than a mental fear or anxiety. It may well be telling you also that the person feels isolated, trapped, threatened or locked even in an unhappy situation. The very act of being tied to the stake is a shameful position to be in and could indicate that the person concerned feels shame for something they may have done or are thinking of doing.

You may or may not agree with my interpretation of this card, but I hope that some of it will be useful to you.

The LWB with this deck says:
Misery, suffering, unhappy situation quarrel
Reversed: Slander, doubt, shame.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Magician Times Four

This is the second entry in a series in which I share four versions of a particular Major Arcana card, and write a poem that takes us through all four versions. Click HERE to read my post about The Fool.

To simplify the process for myself, I am going to go in alphabetic order by deck. In this post, representing The Magician, we have the Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Publications), the Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung (Rainbow Crazy), The Arthurian Tarot by Caitlin and John Matthews (The Aquarian Press), and the Art of Life Tarot by Charlene Livingstone (U.S. Games).

The Magician
by Zanna Starr

Animals Divine Tarot
“I am The Magician,”
says the Celtic goddess Cerridwen.
“I reach up and out,
Into the branches of trees,
Into the souls of all creatures,
Animism Tarot
Into that which is Above
And that which is Below.”

“I am The Magician,”
says Coyote.
“See how I become one
With earth and air and fire and water.
See how I transform all that I touch,
Then disappear as if I were never there.”

The Arthurian Tarot
“I am The Magician,”
says Merlin.
“Was there ever any doubt?
Who else has inspired as many dreams?
Who else commands the mountains, the wind,
The flaming sun and endless sea?”

“You are The Magician,”
says the man with the beard
And the top hat
And the walking stick.
He holds out a flower...
Art of Life Tarot
And as I take it, the world
Begins to spin, tossing wild colors
Here and there
Stripes swirls stars.

I am The Magician.

Friday, November 7, 2014

In the Dream: Let It Be

I don’t know if this will be a “series” here on Tarot Notes, or if this is a one-time effort, but in any case it’s called “In the Dream.”

Instead of pulling a Tarot card and writing a poem about it, I wrote a poem about a dream fragment from last night, then asked the Dreaming Way Tarot by Rome Choi, illustrated by Kwon Shina (U.S. Games) for a card that represents or relates to the dream/poem.

First, the poem:

In the dream
In a darkened room
Four people stand around a microphone,
With no audience but me.
In soft, wise voices
In the deep darkness
Of the dream
They sing “Let It Be.”

~ Zanna Starr

The card that came forward is:

Dreaming Way Tarot (U.S. Games)


From the LWB by Rome Choi: “Taking the time to reflect on what you have and what you need, questioning your choices.” Reversed: “Wanting to have attractive things but not doing anything to obtain that.”

Concerning those things described by Choi, I believe I simply do need to “let it be.” All is well and as it should be.

(And for those who might wonder, at least one of the four people singing was a woman, so... probably not The Beatles!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Elemental Tarot General Reading – Part 4

To read Part 1, click HERE 
To read Part 2, click HERE.
To read Part 3, click HERE

In Part 1 of this General Reading, we covered “Overall Focus.” Part 2 was about “Drive, career, or work (Wands).” Part 3 focused on “Communication and understanding (Swords).”

For Part 4, we are looking at Relationships (Cups). The cards are:

(Part 4) Relationships (Cups): 6 of Chalices
-- energy helping/opposing: Justice
-- advice: Queen of Chalices
-- potential outcome if advice is followed: Death  

By design, the top card was chosen from the suit of Chalices (Cups), the suit associated with the element Water, emotions, the subconscious, and relationships. This is the type of energy that connects and binds. The SIX OF CHALICES came forward to represent the suit for me.

Sometimes called the “nostalgia card,” the Six of Chalices is perfect for me on several levels. I have been married to my current (third) husband for 14 years now, but we first met each other when we were both in elementary school. We were high school sweethearts, but went to different colleges and married other people. The traditional Six of Cups card typically shows two children, a boy and a girl. In the Elemental Tarot, the card is subtitled “Experienced Love.” You can see why this applies to my situation! The relationship is founded on past connections as well as experience in other relationships over the years.

Energy helping/opposing: JUSTICE

When referring to relationships, I often view Major Arcana cards as indications of a past life or soulmate connection. That connection could be certainly seen as “helping” the present-day relationship. Justice represents, to me, the concept of karma, of give and take. The subtitle given for Justice in The Elemental Tarot is “Law of reciprocity.” It’s not hard to see how this applies to a relationship. If the flow of energy is balanced, that helps the relationship. If it is out of balance – if one person gives or takes much more than the other – that opposes or harms the relationship.


How perfect is this? The Elemental Tarot LWB simply states: “Recognizing that you have much love to give is a form of empowerment.” I am indeed the Queen of Cups in all my relationships, especially my marriage. I am responsible for how I deal with my emotions, my subconscious activity, and my behavior within the relationship. The advice is to cultivate or maintain the best qualities of this Queen. In The Tarot Court Cards (Destiny Books), Kate Warwick-Smith talks about the Queen of Cups as “Confidante,” as someone who displays “Compassion.” Her negative qualities can include playing the “Victim,” and she sometimes suffers from “Depression.” I can easily identify with all four of those aspects of this card.

Potential outcome if advice is followed: DEATH

As a Major Arcana card, Death reinforces the “past life or soulmate connection” seen in Justice (above). If the advice is followed, the relationship will evolve and transition from one form to another, moving over a threshold into a new phase or stage of existence. I think this is what happens in any successful relationship. People change. The relationship changes. But if the two people can maintain balanced energy, express compassion, and use their experiences wisely, their connection evolves and matures, forming something stronger and more precious with the passage of time.