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Monday, September 28, 2015

Weekly Planner - 28 Sept 2015

I decided to try my hand at a “Weekly Planner” type spread using seven cards (for seven days in the week, of course). To the best of my knowledge, this is an original spread created by me and not a duplication of anything already presented by anyone else.

For this week’s advice I am using the Otherworld Tarot by Alison Williams, with artwork by Sarah Nowell (Schiffer). The layout is left to right, like squares for the days on a weekly calendar. Below are the positional definitions:

(1) Take a closer look at this.
(2) Don’t worry so much about this.
(3) Beware of this danger.
(4) Hold tight to this.
(5) Learn to appreciate this.
(6) Stop pursuing this.
(7) Seek this.

(1) Take a closer look at this: FOUR OF PENTACLES (COMPLACENCY)
I need to take a closer look at areas where I may be overly possessive or greedy or selfish, especially with regard to the physical, material world. At the same time, I may also need to consider if I am not being careful enough or not guarding/protecting an important physical or material area enough.

(2) Don’t worry too much about this: THE CHARIOT (DIFFERENT ENERGIES)
This week, I am encouraged not to worry too much about about whether I am in complete control, steering unerringly my life in the direction I want. There will always be struggles and conflicts between opposing or contrasting forces in life. While achieving a balance is important, I do not need to obsess over it this week.

(3) Beware of this danger: THE HIEROPHANT (SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE)
Oh my. That card – the one that represents (to me) organized religion, dogmatism, and oppressive spiritual structures.  Perhaps I need to beware of allowing myself to become, in some way, the very thing I abhor – hypocrisy can develop and grow insidiously, becoming well developed before becoming apparent. Or perhaps I am being warned to beware of rejecting or dismissing all organized religions and their practitioners?

(4) Hold tight to this: THE EMPEROR (CLARITY)
I need to hold tight to any clarity I manage to achieve in chaotic situations, viewing things rationally rather than emotionally, using my natural inclination towards order and organization.

(5) Learn to appreciate this: TWO OF CUPS (BALANCE)
This week I need to learn to appreciate relationships with the people in my life, treasuring balance where it is found and seeking balance where it is absent.

(6) Don’t pursue this: THE FOOL (LEAP OF FAITH)
It seems that something may happen this week that will make me want to behave impulsively or even recklessly, perhaps out of boredom or feelings of stagnation. This is not the week to pursue whatever it is that calls me to exhibit such behavior. An opportunity that seems too good to be true just might be exactly that.

I am encouraged this week to seek and celebrate  joy and emotional well being, and to live in the moment.

My inclination is to pay particularly close attention to the positions where Majors appear in this reading. There may be special significance or long-reaching effects. Two cards from the suit of Cups call attention to relationships and emotions, and I have a lone Earth card to direct my focus to the physical, material world.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day: 6 of Deduction

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:
6 of Pentacles

In The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos), the suit of Deduction (represented by a question mark) is comparable to the suit of Pentacles. The quotation chosen to represent the entire suit of Deduction is from The Sign of Four: “So much is observation. The rest is deduction.”

The Holmesian Wisdom for this card is a quote from Silver Blaze. “The horse is a very gregarious creature.”

Silver Blaze is about the disappearance of a famous racehorse and the murder of the horse’s trainer. Holmes investigates and arrives at the correct conclusion, but does not reveal his insights immediately. The horse, meanwhile, has been disguised by painting over the white blaze on his forehead. He wins the Wessex Cup, which Holmes may or may not have bet on.

Keys for this card, upright, are: “material success, winnings, good fortune shared, generosity, charity, patronage, gifts, the great work, the exchange of matter and spirit.” Reversed, the card can suggest: “passion, desire, lack of balance, selfishness, ambition, injustice.”

The book that accompanies this deck also provides interpretations for each card under the headings “The Game” and “The Fog.” The former elaborates on the upright keys, while the latter expands on reversed meanings. Examples from “The Game” for the 6 of Deduction: “generous gifts and sponsorship. . . acts of kindness. Job-sharing, working in harness or mentoring others. . . Rewards and dividends.”

Examples from “The Fog”: “being unable or unwilling to receive. Denying your personal needs. Taking things for granted. . . . Individual or national jealousy.”

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Reading with the Ghost Tarot

The Ghost Tarot (Lo Scarabeo), with artwork by Davide Corsi, called to me from amongst my collection of decks, so I thought I’d spend some time with these delightful cards.

The Little White Book (LWB) that comes with the deck provides a spread that seems perfect to me. It was not given a name in the LWB, but it is a variation on the Past-Present-Future idea:

(1) Collective memories and those of our ancestors
(2) The present and the challenges we are experiencing
(3) The obstacle and the “ghosts of the past”
(4) The invisible allies, virtues and great talents that we have and that we must exploit
(5) The future, what probably awaits us, but that we can improve upon or worsen depending on how we relate with the forces represented by the other cards.

Let’s see what the ghosts want to tell me!

(1) Collective memories and those of our ancestors

JUSTICE (Trump 11) – Fairness and Firmness

The LWB (written by Pierluca Zizzi) states: “Justice, even when imperfect, is the foundation of human society.” That seems like a very appropriate statement with regard to collective memories and those of our ancestors. Over the course of human existence, people have carried out much justice and injustice in various names and for various reasons. Only recently have we begun to acknowledge some of the injustices committed by our ancestors. Memories can be selective, and only a truly “collective” memory (representing everyone involved) can hope to determine what is just.

(2) The present and the challenges we are experiencing

SIX OF WANDS – “Willpower can achieve the impossible, and can remain strong when everything else has collapsed” (LWB). The suit of Wands in this deck represents Fire, with the “passions and energy that bring man to life.” The key is to use my willpower, passion, and energy constructively to overcome challenges and move onward or upward. Fire can be destructive, and using it in that manner will not help my cause in the long run.

(3) The obstacle and the “ghosts of the past”

THE HIEROPHANTThe Sustenance of Faith

Well, yes, my long-time struggle to explore, understand, and describe the roots or source of my “faith” (spirituality) continues to haunt me. Ultimately, I have had to reject the sort of mindless faith I tried to embrace in my younger years – a faith that seemed to exclude rather than include and to punish rather than reward, a faith that somehow believes there is a God who is intimately and directly involved with every single activity and event in this world. I was brought up a certain way, and that upbringing prompted me to take a path that turned out to be a very wrong one for me. In my Tarot journey, The Hierophant has always been “off putting” to me, probably because the image on the card so often reminds me of the religious institution(s) in which I mistakenly immersed myself.

(4) The invisible allies, virtues and great talents that we have and that we must exploit

THE LOVERSAn Embrace that Unites

What a lovely card to see here. Unity with other spirits and within myself can help foster wise decisions and choices when faced with a fork in the road.

(5) The future, what probably awaits us, but that we can improve upon or worsen depending on how we relate with the forces represented by the other cards.

TWO OF CHALICES – “Love is for always.” (LWB) This card echoes the message and imagery of The Lovers while incorporating a reference to human emotions: “Emotions are born of the soul and to the soul they return, an eternal mystery of human nature.” (LWB) Certainly this is a future I can happily embrace, so I need to be alert and aware of how my relationship with the forces represented by the other cards might affect that desired future.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Attaining Your Goals

I came across the following spread at www.crystal-reflections.com and decided it was a good one to use with one of my animal oracle decks. I am going to go with the Animal Dreaming Oracle Cards by Scott Alexander King (Blue Angel).

Layout and Positional Definitions:
Issues to Address……………………………………..Issues to Address
Primary Strength………………………………………Primary Weakness

Primary Strength: MAGPIE (Balance / Water)
I can’t complain about that! Balance is a good thing to have as my primary strength. The deck’s creator, Scott Alexander King, writes that Magpie heralds a “confrontation of fears, the reshuffling of thoughts, review of values and a loosening up of everything that has offered sustenance and strength up until now.” And so I read my Primary Strength as being able and willing to seek and achieve that poise or balance – “the embodiment of ‘the opposites that are equal.’”

Primary Weakness: BAT (Rebirth / Air)
It seems that my Primary Weakness is that I have difficulty undertaking the preparations that are necessary for rebirth of any kind, including discarding old practices, consciously facing emotional issues, removing obstacles that are preventing my life from flowing smoothly, and/or cutting out dead wood and removing garbage. This weakness makes it hard for me to renew emotional, physical, and spiritual energies.

Goal: DRAGONFLY (Illusion / Air)
My goal needs to be to break through self-endorsed limitations that hinder development and growth. This involves seeing through illusions I have woven around myself as a form of protection. The danger is that I may start believing my own deception or falsity that I have created to protect my own sense of security or self-esteem. These illusions may be reflect values, beliefs, or traditions I was taught in the past that are no longer relevant in my life. I have accepted them as my reality for so long, I have trouble seeing what is real and what is not. My goal is to gain a clear, truthful view of myself and my world.

Issues to Address: WOMBAT (Gentle Aggression / Earth)
My reaction when I feel threatened is an issue to address. Do I speak with assertiveness or do I irrationally “hit the roof” when I feel threatened? Can I learn to speak up and confront perceived wrongs with confidence, without being excessively violent or rude?

Issues to Address: BUSTARD (Confidence / Fire)
Where does confidence come from? How do we become confident? The Bustard’s appearance in this position indicates that I need to address how, why, when, and where I can build and maintain my confidence. I need to understand that confidence arises out of a strong relationship with Spirit and a belief that I will be protected, nurtured and encouraged to live a prosperous life.

Outcome: DOLPHIN (Breath / Water)
This card is about exploring and seeking to understand our life before we took our first breath. It is about reviewing our life in that context in an effort to understand how that experience may have affected who we are today. The details of my life before birth that I may remember through meditation can provide a foundation on which I can re-map my journey. As an Outcome card, I think the Dolphin suggests that I will be open to gaining new insights and learning new truths about myself.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Will they marry each other?

In this post, Helen Howell and I present comparison readings using the Under the Roses Lenormand by Kendra Hurteau and Katrina Hill (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) and the Joie de Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

The matter being considered involves two people who have been dating for some time and are moving into an apartment together.

The question for the cards: Will they marry each other?

First, I will share the answer from the Under the Roses Lenormand deck.

The Ring (25) – Ace of Clubs (black / No)
The Gentleman (28) – Ace of Hearts (red / Yes)
The Clock Tower (19) – 6 of Spades (black / No)

With two black cards and one red, the short answer from the Under the Roses Lenormand appears to be “probably not” or “not likely.”

Having said that, I have to pay attention to each card. “The Ring” is an obvious symbol of commitment and marriage or partnership. As per the LWB for this deck: “Contracts or long-term commitments such as marriage.”

The Gentleman typically refers to a male, man you are close to, partner, friend, etc. His link to the Ace of Hearts suggests an emotional connection, very possibly a romantic relationship.

The Clock Tower, in contrast to the other two cards, can be seen as a card of separation or alienation, as well as objectivity, analysis, and discovery. It can represent an institutionalized perspective (and marriage is, after all, an “institution”).

Among the possibilities I see here is the chance that marriage will be proposed and perhaps an engagement may even be announced, but marriage is not guaranteed. Something is likely to get in the way and present a challenge that could be difficult to overcome.

* * * * * * *

Now, Helen shares her answer to the same questionWill they marry each other? – using the Joie de Vivre Tarot.

“Well, I shuffled up the Joie de Vivre Tarot and got Ace of Coins, Death, King of Swords.  The tarot seems to think that they probably will not get married, from what the other two cards indicate, there is going to be a change, hard decisions have to be made, but in the end the right one will be acted on and this will bring about a change in circumstances. The Tarot indicates that this relationship will come to its natural end, nothing will change that, and the King of Swords tells me that the decision that brings this about, has been well thought out.

If we look at the Ace which is Coins this reinforces the other two cards, regarding change by indicating that a new beginning and growth will be embarked upon.  When you look at the three cards together, notice how the Ace of Coins figure faces Death, but Death is flying away from her, and towards the King  of Swords.

It appears then that in the system I use, the fact that there is only one Ace indicates that probably (not definitely) they will not marry, and the death card particularly in this image, indicates moving on from one situation to the next. Death does tell us not only is there change in the air, but that something is coming to a natural ending, the King just tells me that the hard decisions will be made in order to get the best result.

Remember though the cards are saying probably not, they are not saying a definite no.”

* * * * * * *

Helen and I have reached similar conclusions about this matter, with the cards stacked 2 to 1 against the likelihood of marriage.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day: 7 of Observation

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:
7 of Swords

In The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos), the suit of Observation (represented by an eye) is comparable to the suit of Swords. The quotation chosen to represent the entire suit of Observation is from The Red-Headed League: “This is a time for observation, not for talk.”

The Seven of Observation is taken from The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, in which (to our eternal astonishment and dismay) Sherlock Holmes actually “gets it wrong.” His attempt to burgle the house of the master blackmailer results in the death of his client.

Dr. Watson, in an effort to conceal the blunder, changes the date and certain other details of the case so that the actual events and participants cannot be identified. However, in The Yellow Face, Holmes reveals that if he ever thinks too highly of himself, he knows that Watson will remind him of “Norbury,” the setting of his failure.

On the Seven of Observation we see Holmes as he becomes aware of his mistake. He scatters his newspapers in his haste to set matters right.

The Holmesian Wisdom for this card is a quote from Silver Blaze. “I made a blunder – which is, I am afraid, a more common occurrence than anyone would think.”

Keys for this card, upright, are: “unstable effort, self-deceit, plans fail as a result of unclear thinking, passivity, over-defensiveness, the need for better conceptualization.” Reversed, the card can suggest “advice, warning, prudence, slander.”

The book that accompanies this deck also provides interpretations for each card under the headings “The Game” and “The Fog.” The former elaborates on the upright keys, while the latter expands on reversed meanings. Examples from “The Game” for the Seven of Observation: “Little progress. Mistakes are made. Quick thinking, decisive action or improvisation. . . Spying on your partner. . . Strategy may win the day.” Examples from “The Fog”: “Fear of being caught out. . . Feeling vulnerable. . . Regretting lost moments. Getting someone to spy for you. Trying to discern the hidden agenda in a friendship.”

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Old English Tarot: 9 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
Nine of Batons
by Helen Howell

At first look the Old English 9 of Batons had me wondering how to interpret it. Its traditional brother the Rider Waite’s image is far easier to read, in that the figure of a man wounded and yet still standing guard tells us a story of inner strength and courage -- courage and determination to face one’s enemies, even if they are hidden.

So how do we interpret the image of the Old English?

What is depicted is a haystack of sorts. The bundles of dried wheat etc. are piled together, some on top of the others forming a tightly packed stack. Now, alone each sheaf would be weaker but together they have strength, both from the outside and inside. Perhaps this is the equivalent to the Rider Waite inner strength image. We can’t see inside the stack, so again we don’t know if something is hidden within, something that could harm us maybe? This depiction therefore does tell us similar things to the Rider Waite interpretation. But another way to look at this card is also that the sheafs are harvested and now await the next stage, so indicating a small break from the routine around them.

From what I can see the Old English card does speak of inner strength, and also of things hidden but adds that dimension of temporary relief, a chance for a break from the everyday routine or situation you might find yourself in.

What I find of assistance in interpreting these minor cards from the Old English is a good understanding of the basic meanings of the Rider Waite deck, which as we all know is the mother of the modern day clones.

LWB says:
Difficulties expected, anticipation, hidden enemies, a temporary break in the struggle.
Reversed: Delays, barriers to be overcome.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Is Valerie Still Alive?

If, by any chance, you are planning to read the novel Last Seen Wearing by Colin Dexter or if you watch the Inspector Morse television series, you may not want to read this post, as it reveals the ending of the story!

I have been experimenting with oracle cards lately by doing Yes/No spreads. On a couple of occasions, my friend Helen has pulled Tarot cards to answer the same question, just to see how similar the two readings might be. We decided to team up again and share the results here on Tarot Notes.

This time, I am using the Mystical Kipper fortunetelling cards by Regula Elizabeth Fiechter (AGM Urania). My question comes from a novel in which a teenage girl named Valerie disappeared about six months ago. The police had been treating it as a runaway situation, but as the novel begins, a new detective assigned to the case is convinced that Valerie is dead, even though her parents recently received a note signed by her, telling them that she is fine and not to keep looking for her.

So the question is: Is Valerie still alive?

Before reading any further in the novel, I am drawing cards to answer that question.

In the method I am using, even-numbered cards represent the answer “Yes” and odd-numbered cards are “No.” Let’s see what answer the Mystical Kipper gives to my question.

Bereavement (19) – Wow. Being an odd-numbered card, this one suggests that No, Valerie is not still alive. And it’s called Bereavement. Can we get any more direct, obvious, or on-point?

A Journey (10) – An even-numbered card, which suggests the answer “Yes.” An appropriate card for Valerie’s situation, as she disappeared from a small town in England, and the note her parents received was postmarked from London – which does indicate that she went on a journey, traveling away from home.

Military Person (22) – Another even-numbered card, suggesting a “Yes” answer, and also intimating that perhaps a military person is involved or was involved in Valerie’s disappearance or in her current life away from home. Regula Elizabeth Fiechter tells us that this card “has the quality to emphasize and underline a fact that shows in the card’s layout. It tells you that this particular matter is to be expected just so.” But which of the two other cards is the “fact” of the matter?

Let’s see what Helen’s cards can tell us!

Helen writes:

“I am using the Hanson Roberts Tarot by by Mary Hanson-Roberts (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) and my Yes/No spread that works this way:

- Deal out cards until either you get an ace or get to the 13th card, then start a new pile and repeat once more
- You should end up with three separate piles either consisting of 13 cards each or stopping at an ace before the 13th card.
- 3 Aces = Yes, 2 Aces = probably yes, 1 Ace = probably no, No Aces = No

The cards seem to think that it’s probably unlikely that Valerie is still alive.  In this line up of three we have The Emperor, Wheel of Fortune, and Ace of Cups. What does this tell me?

Well, the Wheel of Fortune seems to indicate that things are not as balanced as one may hope, perhaps for Valerie they have taken a down turn. There is a person who’s in control. He’s strong and cannot be manipulated and he’s the one that calls the shots. I think that the Ace represents Valerie and shows the overflow of emotion that she felt/feels. I think she may have known her kidnapper. The Ace indicates that she panicked, acted on a rush of feeling, and her actions may have backfired. The wheel may have turned in the wrong direction for her. However it is the Wheel of Fortune and there is just a slight possibility that she may be alive. The Emperor is not a forgiving  man, he does what it takes to stay in control.

In these cards we have a number 4 which in tarot can represent stability and structure but also if you think of four walls it can indicate entrapment. The Emperor I think represents what is holding her where she is. The wheel is number 10 (1+0 = 1). It’s endings and beginnings all in one number and also the Ace is a 1. 1 is the number that  indicates a new beginning, now, for Valerie, whether it is in this world or the next, we’ll have to see.

All in all the cards seem to offer no real hope for her survival and they think that the odds are against her.”

Now for the reveal!

Ultimately, near the end of the novel, we learn that Valerie is alive. However, over the course of the story, the author cleverly flips readers back and forth, up and down, so that we think for a time that she must be dead, then we are certain she must be alive, and then back the other way again.

The detective in the novel starts out being certain Valerie is dead. At one point, he decides she is alive but Valerie herself tricks him into thinking he is wrong. Eventually, he does confirm that she is living under an assumed identity, but she vanishes again, having committed a murder in the meantime for which she does not want to be arrested.

Both Helen and I drew a card representing authority and control (Military Person for me, The Emperor for Helen). I see this as perhaps referring to the detective in the novel, an authority figure who wants and needs to have the situation “under control.” A quote from the book: “Morse slept fitfully that night. Broken images littered his mind, like the broken glass strewn about the rubbish tip. He tossed and turned, but the merry-ground was out of control.”

Helen’s Ace of Cups does reflect Valerie’s emotionally motivated actions throughout the novel (most of which we only learn about late in the story).

I now see the Bereavement card as referring to the murder that Valerie commits. Morse expects to find a dead body – namely Valerie’s – but when a body does turn up, it is that of someone he considered a suspect in Valerie’s disappearance.

The Journey, as I mentioned before, shows how Valerie traveled far from home – first to end an unwanted pregnancy, and later to escape being arrested for murdering someone who had wronged both Valerie and her mother.

Helen’s Wheel of Fortune card seems to apply quite well to the ups and downs of the detective’s efforts to solve the case, as well as Valerie’s own “ups and downs” in her life and the decisions she makes. One reviewer described the novel as a “spiralling and dizzying collection of dead ends, mistakes, and good fortune.”

The “entrapment” suggested by the number Four in Helen’s reading seems to be of Valerie’s own making. By trying to hide her identity and then murdering someone, she paints herself into quite a corner! As to the number One, Valerie did try to make a new beginning under a false identity, and at the end of the book, she flees the country in hopes of starting over again without paying for her crime.