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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Month by Month 2017 Forecast

Here in the United States it’s New Year’s Eve, so I decided to usher in the New Year with a reading for 2017. There are a lot of spreads out there for this sort of thing, but I wanted to try to create something of my own. I doubt very much that I am creating “something new under the sun” (as that is impossible), but let’s just say I developed this from what is in my head rather than doing an internet search.

I am going to do a month-by-month forecast in which I ask the cards for two things: a “heads up” for that month and a “heart to heart” for that month.

For the purposes of this reading, “heads up” represents something I need to be on the lookout for, a possibility I need to be aware of, something that will require my brain or mind, objectivity, and analytical skills. “Heart to heart” refers to how things might unfold at an emotional level or an area that would benefit from me following my heart (or at least consulting my heart).

Next I need to choose a deck. Will it be Tarot? Oracle? Lenormand? Kipper?

Since this reading is about a New Year, I am going to use a new deck that I have not read with before, gifted to me by my daughter for Christmas: The Animal Totem Tarot by Leeza Robertson, illustrated by Eugene Smith (Llewellyn). Here we go!

Totems: Capybara, Dragonfly

Heads Up: FIVE OF CUPS / Capybara
The capybara thrives in water (suit of Cups), giving this card a link to emotions and the subconscious. There is a sense of loss or a “death” that threatens to blind me to a chance for a new beginning. I need to use my intellect/conscious mind to resist the temptation to dwell on loss or failure, guilt, shame, or ghosts from the past. I have to say, I don’t like the image on this card at all. I hate seeing the poor capybara wounded and dead, lying on the shore. It’s disturbing to me.

Heart to Heart: SEVEN OF CUPS / Dragonfly
Although it could be seen as a creature of Air, dragonflies are often found near water. Several years of their lives are spent as nymphs living in fresh water. The Seven of Cups suggests that I may be emotionally attracted to so many different ideas or dreams, that I have trouble accomplishing any of them. I need to explore which of these ideas or dreams are merely illusions and which have the potential to be realized.

With two CUPS cards, WATER (emotions, subconscious, relationships) is the key element for January. Both the Five and the Seven can suggest instability or change. Seven can also suggest spirituality as well as learning from one’s mistakes.

Totems: Tortoise, Elk

Heads Up: NINE OF PENTACLES / Tortoise
I see an emphasis here on what I have built and what I am still building, bit by bit, step by step. The suit of Pentacles is about the physical, material world, and the number Nine speaks of a cumulative effect over time, even as I move into a new phase or stage of development. I need to use my intellect/conscious mind to see the bigger picture, to understand the value of stamina and the “long haul.” Slow down. Stop and smell the roses.

Heart to Heart: SEVEN OF PENTACLES / Elk
The young elk on this card is “too young to mate and too old to play with the younger elk.” Emotionally, I may feel I am in limbo or a holding pattern, but that’s okay. It may take time to reach my goal(s), and I need to focus on what I am becoming, the process and the progress. I need to put aside my doubt and trust that things are moving forward whether I can see it or not.

The theme for February is PENTACLES/EARTH, the here and now, real-world situation and the importance of determination, patience, stability, and security.

Totems: Squirrel, Cow

Heads Up: FOUR OF PENTACLES / Squirrel
The Pentacles theme carries over into March in the form of the squirrel, a creature famous for planning ahead, gathering and hiding food to sustain it during harsh winter months. I find it interesting that the card is showing up for “March,” a month that announces the approach of Spring. Could this be advising me to use my intellect/mind to view my physical, material needs objectively, to realize that I may be holding onto or even hoarding *things* emotionally when there is really no need to do so. Winter is not approaching, and perhaps it is appropriate to give something away or let go of something I have been clutching close to myself.

Heart to Heart: THE EMPRESS / Cow
The Empress card is linked with the planet Venus, which rules the Earth sign Taurus, the Bull. In this case, I think the card is encouraging me to nurture or nourish someone or something at an emotional level, to bring something to fruition through my guidance and care. Venus is the planet of love and appreciation, and what better way to nurture than through the use of love and appreciation? The involvement of the element Earth indicates real-world implication and results from my emotional involvement.

The EARTH theme is prominent again in March, encouraging me to be aware of my physical, material world and how I operate within it.

Totems: Eagle, Blue-Footed Booby

Heads Up: KING OF SWORDS / Eagle
The suit of Swords, representing the element Air, is a great suit to apply to matters of the “head.” The Eagle advocates a point of view that is broad, stretching far and wide, capturing the bigger picture. By allowing my mind to soar above the mundane matters of Earth, I can gain a truer, more complete picture of what is going on. Then, like the Eagle, I can swoop down to claim what I need. At the same time, the card warns me against spending too much time “in my head” on mental pursuits. I need to be present in “real time” in the “real world” as well.

Heart to Heart: KNIGHT OF CUPS / Blue-Footed Booby
The Knight of Cups is commonly known as more of a dreamer than a doer, a romantic who obsesses over things, a writer of poetry, a lover not a fighter. As my Heart-to-heart card for April, this Knight cautions me against wallowing in wishes and fantasies. If I really do have my heart set on something, I need to take action to get it. The blue-footed booby’s magic lies in his feet, specifically, in the color of his feet. A bright, intense blue attracts a mate. We can imagine that, as the Knight of Cups, the bird might focus obsessively on his feet, to the exclusion of other things that could be equally important.

AIR and WATER line up nicely in April, with an Air card for “Heads up” and a Water card for “Heart to Heart.” However, both of these card depict birds, so I get a sense of how “flying above the earth” might be important. Two court cards suggest that other people or perhaps my own personality traits play a large role in how the month evolves.

Totems: Swan, Alpaca

Heads Up: THE LOVERS / Swan
The Lovers card can be said to be an Air card, as it is associated with the zodiac sign Gemini, an Air sign. Swans, of course, are most commonly seen on the water, but they can fly, and are most impressive to watch when they do: Click HERE to see a low-flying swan. Ultimately, The Lovers card is about two halves (perhaps with opposing energies as seen in the black swan and white swan) creating a whole, whether in reference to a relationship or to other energy we want to partner with. Traditionally, in Tarot, we also have the “choice” interpretation for The Lovers. I may need to make an important choice this month and, in addition, demonstrate a commitment to that choice.

Heart to Heart: PAGE OF PENTACLES / Alpaca
The alpaca on this card is young, not yet able to give of her gifts to the “family business.” She needs to take the time to grow and mature. It’s human nature to want to rush forward into something we perceive as desirable. The message to me here is that even if I am strongly drawn to something emotionally, it will not be wise to hurry things. I need to “grow into” things and accept that the timing is not right just now for me to leap forward, no matter how badly I want to see my dream become a reality.

As a Major Arcana card, The Lovers dominates, while the Page of Pentacles urges restraint and patience, emphasizing the need to learn and grow.

Totems: Capybara, Roadrunner

Heads Up: FIVE OF CUPS / Capybara
I wondered if any of my cards would appear for more than one month and, sure enough, we have a repeat performance from the capybara. It would have to be the card with the image I dislike so much, wouldn’t it? Probably that means I need to pay special attention to it. As I wrote above, “The capybara thrives in water (suit of Cups), giving this card a link to emotions and the subconscious. There is a sense of loss or a ‘death’ that threatens to blind me to a chance for a new beginning. I need to use my intellect/conscious mind to resist the temptation to dwell on loss or failure, guilt, shame, or ghosts from the past. Perhaps this refers to the same issue or issues referenced in January, or maybe it’s something else.

Heart to Heart: PAGE OF SWORDS / Roadrunner
The appearance of yet another Page reinforces the idea of “learning” or “growing” that is needed. However, the Page of Swords has a fleeting quality and suggests a message or flash of inspiration that is here one minute, gone the next. I am being put on notice about a message to be received at an emotional level, a message I may not hear or understand if I am not alert. One example that comes to my mind is the fact that I often have strong emotional reactions to the lyrics of songs. Perhaps instead of simply reacting, I will need to quickly (roadrunner) seek a meaning at an intellectual or mental level.

WATER and Air team up again, this time with Water serving as the “heads up” and Air as the “heart to heart.” It occurs to me that I have not yet seen a Fire card in this reading.

Totems: Giraffe, Mantis

Heads Up: THREE OF PENTACLES / Giraffe
I love this! For “Heads Up” we have a giraffe lifting his head via his long, long neck to nibble on vegetation above him. Keywords commonly linked with the Three of Pentacles are teamwork, resources, and manifestation. Pentacles (Earth) provides a physical, material context. I am encouraged to use my intellect/mind to explore and discover people, places, or things that I might enlist to further my goals. The giraffe “reaches up” and I am being advised to “reach out” and bring in assistance in whatever form I need it.

Heart to Heart: THE HERMIT / Mantis
A contrast and comparison can be made here between the “reaching out to others” message of the Three of Pentacles and the introspection and solitude typically referenced in The Hermit. Possibly I am being told to withdraw emotionally for a much-needed rest. I can travel into the darkness of my subconscious and bring what I discover into the light. This will be especially helpful if I have a tendency to feel only gloom and doom and fears of a negative outcome.

EARTH dominates the month of July, with the suit of Pentacles and The Hermit, which is associated with the zodiac sign Virgo, an Earth sign. The contrast between “reaching out” mentally and “drawing inward” emotionally is interesting.

Totems: Lemur, Bison

Heads Up: THE SUN / Lemur
Heads up, indeed! Like the giraffe in the July set, the lemur on this card lifts his head upward. Something I did not know about ring-tailed lemurs is that not only are they NOT nocturnal like other lemurs, they literally thrive by turning their faces to the sun, basking in its light for as long as possible every day. Seen overall as a highly positive card, The Sun tells me to take a positive, optimistic view of things, to cultivate positive thoughts, to try to look for the bright side in any situation. Our perspective, attitude, and way of looking at things have a tremendous effect on our general well-being. Let the sunshine in!

Heart to Heart: KING OF PENTACLES / Bison
Another down-to-Earth card serves as advisor to my emotions and subconscious in August. With this card, we are told, “The secret is to stop looking at what is around you and start focusing on what is inside of you. For it is the condition of the inner landscape that determines the outcome of your physical world.” It can be all too easy to make excuses or succumb to laziness, when I would be much better served by following up leads, taking one step every day toward my vision, goal, or dream.

Finally we see a Fire card in the form of The Sun, linked with the astrological sign Leo. I am reminded that my intellect/mind benefits from exposure to light, to a chance to see clearly and absorb nourishing energy. Emotionally, I am again encouraged to remain down-to-earth instead of drifting along on illusions or fantasies.

Totems: Tortoise, Pig

Heads Up: NINE OF PENTACLES / Tortoise
Looks like the cards think I will need a recap of my February message in September: “I see an emphasis here on what I have built and what I am still building, bit by bit, step by step. The suit of Pentacles is about the physical, material world, and the number Nine speaks of a cumulative effect over time, even as I move into a new phase or stage of development. I need to use my intellect/conscious mind to see the bigger picture, to understand the value of stamina and the long haul. Slow down. Stop and smell the roses.” (Oh, and notice that the tortoise appears to be demonstrating a “heads up” position.)

Heart to Heart: QUEEN OF PENTACLES / Pig
I understand that in China, people plan years in advance to have children in the Year of the Pig. The Celts also considered the female pig (sow) to be auspicious. With Pentacles as the suit of Earth – time, resources, money, energy, health – the Queen encourages me to focus on myself for a change. Self-care is important, including the celebration of personal victories. In modern western culture, we tend to associate the pig with greed or sloppiness. It’s possible that at an emotional level, I might accuse myself of having those qualities when it’s simply not true.

Another EARTHY month for me, with the suit of Pentacles and the energy of the tortoise and pig in charge.

Totems: Dragonfly, Otter

Heads Up: SEVEN OF CUPS / Dragonfly
Another repeat performance, this time in the “heads up” position instead of the “heart to heart” position: “Although it could be seen as a creature of Air, dragonflies are often found near water. Several years of their lives are spent as nymphs living in fresh water. The Seven of Cups suggests that I may be emotionally attracted to so many different ideas or dreams, that I have trouble accomplishing any of them. I need to explore which of these ideas or dreams are merely illusions and which have the potential to be realized.” And in this position, I am encourage to use my intellect/mind to determine the validity of these various ideas or dreams.

Heart to Heart: SIX OF CUPS / Otter
“Playing with others” is a theme expressed by this card, which is sometimes referred to as the “nostalgia card.” There is a simple, childlike energy here, an emotional openness and freedom that we tend to lose as we grow older, as emotional burdens add up and weigh us down. I am being encouraged to “lighten up” and rediscover some of the joyful, innocent feelings I had as a child, or perhaps to encourage others to express those feelings. The number Six often represents peace, harmony, and reconciliation.

Double the CUPS, double the Water in October, bringing a focus on emotions and the subconscious. While encouraging my “inner child,” at the same time I need to take a more adult view of childish dreams and ideas that might be too fanciful or illusory.

Totems: Grasshopper, Wilson’s Plover

Heads Up: THE FOOL / Grasshopper
In the Kung Fu television series, we were introduced to the term “grasshopper” as a reference to someone who is a novice, a greenhorn, a student/disciple, a subordinate, or just simply ignorant. This certainly can apply to the Tarot Fool, but The Fool is also seen as being guided somehow by a more powerful force, which allows him to take leaps of faith and risks that just might turn out fine. The key is not being afraid to proceed without knowing everything there is to know in advance, without having total control. In November, I am encouraged to set aside the part of my intellect/mind that wants to have everything nailed down before trying anything new. Instead, I am advised to follow my gut or instincts to make a change. The Fool card is associated with the planet Uranus and/or the zodiac sign Aquarius. Uranus is the planet of change and upheaval, a rebel, planet of the unexpected.

Heart to Heart: TWO OF SWORDS / Wilson’s Plover
The Two of Swords can represent the need to decide between going with one’s head or with one’s heart. Should we use logic or intuition? Will be be content to stay on dry land or dip our toes in the water? Will I be content to sit on the fence, refusing to decide between two options? As the heart-to-heart card, I think the Two of Swords is saying that I need to think about an emotionally charged issue, in other words, bring my mind into the decision-making process to contribute logic and reason.

Both The Fool and the Two of Swords are linked with the element AIR, suggesting intellectual or mental challenges or opportunities for November.

Totems: Ferret, Tortoise

Heads Up: SEVEN OF SWORDS / Ferret
“Heads up” seems like a good caption for this image of a ferret popping its head out of a hole. The Seven of Swords is sometimes called “the thieves card,” but that is a limited perspective. When we think about it, being tricky, sneaky, or deceptive can sometimes be not only necessary but desirable. It might not work very well if we were all 100% transparent all the time, revealing everything to everyone. So let’s look at the ferret and how it uses stealth as a form of protection, as well as a form of play. At the same time, this card may be telling me that in December I will need to come to terms with a deception or “cheating” of some kind. I may need to examine an area where I am being sneaky or sly, to determine whether my behavior is really justified or necessary. And there is always the possibility of self-deception, especially since we are talking about the mind in this position.

Heart to Heart: NINE OF PENTACLES / Tortoise
The tortoise appears for the third time, this time in the heart-to-heart position: “I see an emphasis here on what I have built and what I am still building, bit by bit, step by step. The suit of Pentacles is about the physical, material world, and the number Nine speaks of a cumulative effect over time, even as I move into a new phase or stage of development.” It looks like I will need to *feel* as well as *think* in terms of the value of slow-moving progress, stamina, and patience. It’s one thing to understand the need for such an approach intellectually, and quite another to *feel* comfortable and satisfied with that approach.

Once again I get a sort of “simmer down” message for the emotional, subconscious part of my Self, with more of an active, go-get-em energy applied to the intellectual, mental part. I don’t consider myself to be an overly emotional person, in fact, probably the opposite. But perhaps that is only because I don’t tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. The expression “still waters run deep” often applies, and if emotions are allowed to run rampant, they have to express themselves somewhere, somehow, in ways that may not be helpful or desirable.


I am deriving the quintessence cards for this reading by adding the numerical values of the card numbers that appear in the “heads up” position and, separately, the numbers that appear in the “heart to heart” position. I will then reduce those numbers to the number of a Major Arcana card. This will give me a pair of totem animals for the whole year.

Heads Up: 81
8+1 = 9

Heart to Heart: 104
1 + 0 + 4 = 5

The Mantis (Hermit) appeared for the month of July in the Heart-to-Heart position. I wrote about travelling into the darkness of my subconscious and bringing what I discover into the light. This could be for my own edification and use, or to help others see into their darkness. It’s not about introspection and solitude for their own sake; it’s about sharing what we gather from introspection and solitude with others in ways that might help them find their way along their path.

The Hierophant is often said to be about faith in a larger plan that we cannot see. The Polar Bear is seen as one who keeps ancestral knowledge and tradition safe and sound – a keeper of acceptable ways of being and doing. This is an interesting card to see as one of my “quintessence cards” for 2017. First of all, I don’t actually believe that there is a “larger plan.” Or, to be more precise, I don’t know whether there is one or not. I choose not to worry about it. I do not subscribe to the belief that “everything happens for a reason.” That sort of thinking does not comfort me in the least. I don’t claim to know what, where, or who the “god” or “goddess” or “God” is. I do not relate at all to The Hierophant card in traditional Tarot decks. I actually dislike it. So… perhaps there will be a lesson I need to learn about this matter in 2017, a truth I need to see revealed, or an insight I need to acquire. Time will tell.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Stones and Treasures Reading

I recently went surfing through my Tarot Blog files and came across a spread I used in December of 2013. Actually, it’s an entire reading method developed by Jordan Hoggard.

To use this method:

  1. hold your cards just above your altar cloth, deck wrap, or table
  2. close your eyes and meditate on your question
  3. 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 Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans (Harper Elixir) offered to accompany me on this particular journey. I am creating three “Stones” and “Treasures.”

Stone 1: THREE OF SWORDS – Betrayal, Heartbreak, Turmoil
Treasure: EIGHT OF WANDS – Sudden Movement or Change

With this pair of cards, I get the sense of leaving behind or overcoming a negative, troublesome, or sad situation. One day I’m bogged down and “tied up” by problematic or hurtful conditions, the next day a big change creates movement and progress toward a new goal.

Stone 2: THE CHARIOT – Strong Will, Triumph
Treasure: FATHER OF PENTACLES – Steady, Entrepreneurial

I have created a current situation with my own confidence, will, and “inner warrior.” I need to acknowledge this and build on it. The Father of Pentacles offers his support in the form of stability, calm spirit, and diligence.

Stone 3: DAUGHTER OF WANDS – Visionary, Passionate
Treasure: SEVEN OF SWORDS – Secrecy, Self Interest

I see this pair of cards as perhaps advising me not to undermine or restrict my vision and passion by concealing or deceiving, keeping secrets or avoidance. I think this has more to do with the potential for self-sabotage than with another person deceiving me. The energy of the Wands suit can be freed to accomplish more if I make an effort to be straightforward and sincere.

Friday, December 9, 2016


I call this spread / exercise “When, Then.” It is designed to explore what our actions, reactions, or responses could or should be to situations that might arise.

Four cards are placed in a line: 1…2…3…4. Positional definitions are:

(1) When this happens…
(2) Then it’s time to…
(3) Instead of…
(4) Because…

Let’s take it for a spin! I am using Tarot of the Pagan Cats by Barbara Moore (Lo Scarabeo).

(1) When this happens… THREE OF SWORDS
When I experience sorrow, disappointment, or pain…

(2) Then it’s time to… THE HIEROPHANT
Then it’s time to turn to the guide and guardian of my personal beliefs…

(3) Instead of… KING OF SWORDS
Instead of becoming detached, authoritarian, and severe…

(4) Because… THE FOOL
Because that is the only way I will free myself to move forward without fear.

When I experience sorrow, disappointment, or pain … Then it’s time to turn to the guide and guardian of my personal beliefs … Instead of becoming detached, authoritarian, and severe … Because that is the only way I will free myself to move forward without fear.

Wow, I have to say this worked really well! I will be using it in the future. Please let me know if you try this spread and what your results were.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day: Ace of Analysis (Cups)

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:
(Ace of Cups)

In The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos), the suit of Analysis (represented by a magnifying glass) is comparable to the suit of Cups in traditional decks.

The quotation chosen to represent the entire suit of Analysis is: “There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically” from A Study in Scarlet. This comment is made, as you might expect, by Sherlock Holmes himself. It is prefaced by the following: “In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practise it much. In the every-day affairs of life it is more useful to reason forwards, and so the other comes to be neglected.” I love that.

The Holmesian Wisdom for the Ace of Analysis is: “I can see only two things for certain … It’s the chain between that we are going to trace” from The Valley of Fear. The card shows Sherlock Holmes contemplating a slew of papers that holds the answers to a puzzle. His analytical mind detects a pattern which only he can see.

Although “analysis” may seem more like a Swords/Air quality than Water/Cups, the creators of this deck refer to the “leap of intuition” that often enables Holmes to “connect one detail with another.” Intuition is very much a Water quality, and it can add much to our efforts to interpret something logically or mentally.

Keys for this card, upright, are: “abundance, clarity, nurture, healing, gladness, emotional faculties, fertility, restoration from barrenness.” Reversed meanings: “change, instability, exchange, bartering, false-heartedness.”

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 Ace of Analysis: “piercing the mystery… intuition… healing a rift within a group, family or nation… responding to hidden factors.” Examples from “The Fog”: “a lack of understanding holds you back… an inability to express your feelings… a blockage or misunderstanding leads nowhere… forgiveness is required.”

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Past Lives Reading with Tarot of Reincarnation

I have been wanting to do a reading with the Tarot of Reincarnation by Massimiliano Filadoro (Lo Scarabeo), and now is the time!

First of all, I want to talk about this deck a little bit. After doing a quick search on line, I see that many people feel this deck “has nothing to do with reincarnation.” I wonder if they bothered to read the little White Book that comes with this deck.

I do realize that there are MANY interpretations of reincarnation, so perhaps those who don’t see this deck as having anything to do with reincarnation are simply not seeing a connection with their own personal definition.

However, following an informative discussion of the concept of Reincarnation, the booklet goes on to state: “The Reincarnation Tarot is a mirror that we can use to look inward and communicate with our ‘inner animals,’ all of those psychic forms produced by millennia of evolution that still live inside of us. . . In a certain sense, we are all of the creatures of the past and the seed of future ones so that the single individual contains a continuously evolving universe.”

Let’s zero in on this statement from the booklet: “. . . thousands of organisms that came before us. . . still live in the profound unconscious of our soul.”

I decided to create a spread that responds to the question: Which of my “inner animals” have messages that I need to heed, and what are those messages?

I am using a 5-card circular spread design.

(1) A message from a far, far distant past life
(2) A message from a far distant past life
(3) A message from a distant past life
(4) A message from a more recent past life
(5) A message from a very recent past life

One other piece of information: The Reincarnation Tarot follows the French model for the four suits. Hearts correspond to Cups or Chalices (Water); Clubs correspond to Wands (Fire); Diamonds correspond to Pentacles or Coins (Earth); and Spades correspond to Swords (Air).

(1) A message from a far, far distant past life


This message comes to me from the marine turtle, who brings a sense of emotional stability, security, and inner harmony. To me, this card can also refer to emotional stagnation or apathy. Turtles are famous for moving very slowly and deliberately, which makes sense with the “stability” and “stagnation” traits of the card. I can see where I might have this type of energy from a far, far distant past life playing a role in who I am and how I approach life. This card also advises me not to “rest on my laurels.”

(2) A message from a far distant past life


The cock-of-the-rock brings a message about intense mental activity and mental clarity that may or may not be accompanied by emotional stress. This large bird, which is native to South America, is known for being wary and cautious, but the males are colorful and flashy. When I look at this image, the phrase “bright idea” comes to mind. This is energy I can use in my work in my present life, which requires creativity and being open to new ideas.

(3) A message from a distant past life


In a distant past life, I experienced a connection between my “inner essence” and the “collective psyche.” A profound spiritual rebirth and transformation occurred, and that experience informs my outlook and behavior in this life. The Butterfly is a powerful symbol of transformation, metamorphosis, and resurrection. It is not surprising the the effects of this distant past life carry influence even today.

(4) A message from a more recent past life


My initial reaction to the frog is the idea of being comfortable on both water (emotions, subconscious) and land (physical, material world). Like butterflies, frogs also represent transformation and change of form. Here I sense many emotional attachments or experiences that I have had. In general, these have led to optimism and high spirits, a feeling of renewal and good fortune.

(5) A message from a very recent past life


Earthy energy here in the form of the flying squirrel – although the “flying” part certainly implies Air, doesn’t it? The LWB for the Reincarnation Tarot says: “The secret vital spirit of our soul, the inner child that never tires of playing and exploring. Need for new things, new friendships and loves. Desire to travel.” I do feel the effects of this ‘very recent past life’ very keenly in this life. The flying squirrel is alive and well!

I like these creatures as components of my current energy and life. They all have meaning for me and I can sense their presence in the who, what, and how of me. None of them are what you would call “exciting,” dramatic or impressive creatures. They are small but powerful, emphasizing Air, Earth, and Water.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What Now? An American Election Follow-Up

Well, here we are a few weeks after the Presidential election in America, and things are in as much disarray as ever. Reactions to the President-elect and his choices of advisors range from horror and depression to jubilation and dismissal of any and all concerns on which horror and depression are based.

I find that I vacillate between the horror/depression stage and the “surely it won’t be as bad as we fear” stage. Meanwhile, the jubilant folks are crying out, “Get over it!” and “Stop being whiny snowflakes!” etc.

So I am asking a few of my decks for some straight answers that may (or may not) help me cope. As I did back in August in my reading about the two Presidential candidates (click HERE), I am using five different decks, with each one answering a question. Once again, I am doing this in a spirit of fun – because I’m tired of feeling so down.

Read on!

(1) Something I must learn to accept
from Tarot of the Gnomes by Antonio Lupatelli (Lo Scarabeo)

CAV. DI BASTONI (Knight of Wands / Career)

“Ambition can lead ahead along the chosen path.”
I need to accept that the President-elect’s ambition, determination, and force have taken him where he intended to go, and he is going to continue to push his agenda and purpose as long as he can. Time marches on. And you know what? I see a resemblance...

(2) Something I should not ignore
from Tarot of the Cat People by Karen Kuykendall (U.S. Games Systems)


“A man proudly shows off his wands, each of which is the symbol of a goal achieved.” This is a card of conquest, triumph, gain, victory, and advancement – the results of efforts. Although I may have to accept certain things, I also have a responsibility not to ignore how things go from here, the implications and effects of the candidate’s success.

(3) Something I need not fear
from Tarot of the Animal Lords by Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo)

THE HERMIT / Trump 9

I need not fear retreating for a time, if necessary, to seek wisdom and spiritual meaning in this situation. I am not and will not be completely alone in my thoughts and concerns. The Hermit in this deck is a black bear. Now, one common symbol for the country of Russia is the bear. However, this is a black bear, from North America. Am I somehow being told not to fear the influence or involvement of the "Russian bear" here in North America?

(4) Something I need to think about
from The Fantastic Menagerie Tarot (Magic Realist Press)

SIX OF COINS / The Benefactor

This card often represents generosity or the flow of resources between people (money, help, ideas, etc.) I think perhaps I am being advised to think about how, why, and when I should be “generous,” with an eye to mutual respect, fairness, and equality. If I exchange ideas with an air of condescension, as if I am superior, I will probably not achieve the result I desire. And there are times when withholding generosity is the best course of action. I may also need to think about the purpose of someone’s generosity towards me or others. A gesture that seems benevolent may have a sinister motivation.

(5) Something that I can hold onto
from the Shapeshifter Tarot by D.J. Conway and Sirona Knight, illustrated by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Publications)


Um. Let’s see what I can do with this. In traditional RWS-style decks, this card often depicts destitute people, often outside a church or other place where they might seek help. In that case, I can see the card meaning that I can hold onto help or assistance if I need it. I just need to look around and see where it is available.

However, I have to share with you the “Prophecy” for this card written by Conway and Knight: “Be aware of your words and intent when disagreeing with others, for you may well create an unpleasant, long-term rift.” The authors also caution against being stubborn and clinging to negative thinking and action. The tiny porcupine in the image of snow and ice on this card reminds me that I may create or contribute to “prickly” situations, and it will be up to me to learn discrimination and to change what I have created, if necessary.

This is all very interesting, with the Wands (energy, force, aggressiveness) in the positions of both “what I must learn to accept” (Knight of Wands, Fire of Fire) and “what I should not ignore” (Jupiter in Leo). I glanced at the President-elect’s natal chart recently, and he has fiery Leo rising, which should surprise no one. He also has Mars (planet of war, aggression, energy) in Leo.

The other three positions are filled by Earth cards (I associate The Hermit with the Earth sign Virgo). This suggests patience, determination, and quiet persistence over a long period of time. I think this is a fairly good description of what I will need to do to get through this.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Old English Tarot: 8 of Coins

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
Eight of Coins
by Helen Howell

Today’s Old English Card is the 8 of Coins and I’ll be comparing this to its more traditional brother, as usual, the Rider Waite deck.

The Rider Waite 8 of Pentacles, as you probably know, depicts a young man working studiously on each pentacle. Here he strives to improve with each one he makes. The card’s fundamental meaning is commitment to a new form of skill. It’s a card that can translate into indicating that hard work will get you where you want to be and an ability to stay with the project in hand. As this is a Pentacles/Coins card, we are looking at the material world and so the other message from this card is: Take a practical approach.

Now it is easy to see and translate the meaning of the Rider Waite image but not so easy with the Old English 8 of Coins. Let’s take a look at the symbolism contained in the Old English depiction of this card.

We have have eight coins arranged in two lines of three with two in the middle - a perfectly balanced arrangement. Beneath this is what looks like a wine barrel, grapes to the back and grapes to the forefront of the card, two jugs of varying sizes, and two bowls. How do we translate this to mean similar to the Rider Waite?

At first look it’s not so obvious, but then we start to ask ourselves some questions: Why are there two jugs with different patterns carved into them and of varying sizes? Why two bowls that differ? What do the grapes stand for? Wine? Maybe, but I think they may mean something a little more deeper.

I’m going to list what I think these symbols might mean for us.

Grapes: Abundance, reaping the fruits of one’s labour. Achievement through care and attention to the plants. Hard work to gain a good crop.

Bowls & Jugs: If we look at the progress of the carving from the bowls to the large jug with the more elaborate design, then we see a progression of skill has taken place.

So it does appear that the Old English 8 of Coins does have a similar meaning to the Rider Waite 8 of Pentacles - perfecting skills, practice makes perfect, achievement through hard work.

It is the symbols that speak to us within the image of a card, and each modern deck will have its own variation of the core meanings of the Rider Waite. When you see the Old English 8 of Coins in a reading, somewhere in its meaning it’s going to suggest commitment  to gaining an end result.

LWB: Apprenticeship, craftsmanship, learning, effort, handiwork.

Reversed: Lack of ambition, vanity, disillusionment.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ancestral Lineage Tarot Spread

Inspired by Monica over at Tarot in a Teacup, I am going to try her Ancestral Lineage spread using the Haindl Tarot. To see Monica’s blog post about the spread and her reading, click HERE.
Here is the 10 card spread below:


Cards 1, 2 and 3: What is my ancestral lineage?

PRINCESS OF SWORDS, Daughter of Swords in the South, Isis, Egypt
Unfortunately, these days, I flinch and cringe whenever I hear the word “Isis” (for reasons I probably don’t need to explain). But the Princess of Swords in this deck is the goddess Isis, mother of pharaohs. Rachel Pollack writes that she is “a powerful figure, confident and dynamic… devoted to her family…” and that she “combines sexuality with motherhood and devotion.”

PRINCE OF STONES, Son of Stones in the West, Chief Seattle, America
This card gives the sense of someone who is close to the Earth, aware of how the actions of the current generation affect people for generations to come. There is a sense of responsibility and the importance of making positive changes. The highly stylized orca painted above the chief’s head represents the spiritual relationships formed between Native Americans and animals sacred to them.

The woman on this card is Gaia, the Mother of Life (in German, Erda, the Earth, the Ur-Mother, origin of all things). In Greek myth, Gaia is the first divinity. As she washes her hair on The Star, she demonstrates a unity with Earth, her hair blending into the water. The ragged hem on her dress suggests age. Other symbols on the card refer to the Hebrew letter Tzaddi, fish hook; the Rune Eh, E, horse; and the western zodiac sign Aquarius, The Water Carrier. The Star radiates optimism, hope, and openness, but also a cleansing or renewal, a chance to start over in a situation. It emphasizes the importance of humility, recognizing ourselves as part of something greater.

I love the blend of cultures here – Isis, Chief Seattle, Gaia -- Egyptian, Native American, Greek. My ancestral lineage has deep and powerful roots. I can draw from key elements of masculine, feminine, and universal energy. The connection to Mother Earth is strong in all of these cards.

Cards 4, 5 and 6: What gifts do my ancestors offer?

No small “gift” is this, The Universe! Incorporated into this card are the Hebrew letter Tav, signature; the Rune Gebo, G, gift; the planet Saturn (limitations, restrictions). At the top we see the bottom half of the Earth, shown encircled by a dragon, “the grand serpent of the imagination” (Pollack). Pollack writes that “the serpent’s breath burns away illusion.” The gift here is that of release, a better life ahead, moving beyond previous limitations toward new ideas and opportunities.

ACE OF STONES in the West
On the card an eagle comes down to a huge rock, like God descending from air to earth. In keeping with the association of the suit of Stones with Native America, the eagle is an aspect of Wakan-Tanka, usually translated “Great Spirit.” Pollack writes that the Ace of Stones is “the gift of the Earth” and “the gift of vision.”

The hexagram for this card is 35, “Progress.” The spears move upward, suggesting spiritual development. Pollack notes that the spears cross a diagonal line made by the rock, forming eight X’s or gift Runes. Swiftness, progress, and spiritual development are the gifts this card represents.

What a marvelous collection of gifts this set of cards has unwrapped for me! Release, a better life ahead, moving beyond previous limitations toward new ideas and opportunities; the gift of the Earth and of vision; swiftness, progress, spiritual development. I love that the Rune for The Universe literally means “gift” and the spears form “gift Runes” on the 8 of Wands.

Cards 7, 8 and 9: What lessons do they need me to learn?

PRINCE OF WANDS, Son of Wands in the East, Krishna
The suit of Wands is linked in this deck to India, a region whose culture and spiritual paths have long fascinated me. The Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna, an Indian mystic and yogi during the 19th-century, was my introduction to the fact that Christianity did not have a monopoly on spiritual truths. The Son of Wands in the East is Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, playing his flute. Pollack describes the Son of Wands as “someone who loves life, especially its sensual sides. . . has a great interest in the arts, and may be a performer of some kind.”

On this card we see a broken city, a scene of despair and destruction. But if we look closely at the top of the card, we can see a clear, blue sky. The hexagram on this card is 29, titled “Danger” in one system and “The Abysmal” in another. Negativity, weakness, gloom and doom. Pollack comments that “the Ten of Swords draws on prophecies and apocalyptic visions. But these visions also lead to a restoration of ancient values.” Hence the blue sky in the distance.

SIX OF CUPS, Happiness
Offsetting the despair of the 10 of Swords, the lesson of the 6 of Cups is balance and peace. (Pollack comments that the balance shown by four cups on one side and two on the other is more subtle than that achieved with a rigid three plus three.) The hexagram is number 58, titled “Encouragement” in one system and “The Joyous Lake” in the other. Here there is success, joining with friends, serene moments – yet the card has a dark side as well, reminding us that “happiness needs an awareness of sadness” (Pollack).

These lessons run the gamut from Ruin to Happiness, with Krishna added into the mix. A spiritual, philosophical approach seems to be indicated when dealing with the best and worst life has to offer me.

Card 10: What do they help me to develop and become in this lifetime?

ACE OF SWORDS in the South
We return to Egypt for this last card for a glimpse at a “primordial creation scene of Egyptian myth” (Pollack). Pollack summarizes this Ace as intelligence, the ability to think clearly, to analyze and separate a problem into its parts. Swords is the suit of Air – intellect, logic -- but this card also features Water – emotion, imagination.  In the picture on the card, the sword stirs up the water into waves, creating something real out of potential. Powerful emotions and powerful ideas can combine to create a masterpiece in whatever area of life they are applied.

This last card deserves some contemplation on my part. My astrological birth chart is heavy in Earth and Fire, which suggests to me that the Ace of Swords, with its tip in the water, encourages me to make more and better use of the energy of Air and Water in my life.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Samhain Spirits Spread 2016

[Samhain is pronounced sah-win]

I really enjoyed doing this spread last year at this time, so I’m giving it another go. To set the stage, I am quoting from The New Encyclopedia of the Occult by John Michael Greer (Llewellyn Worldwide):
“Samhain. The beginning and end of the year in the old Celtic calendar, falling around the beginning of November in modern terms. Samhain is the oldest documented festival of Celtic Paganism. . . Samhain was traditionally associated with the spirits of the dead, who were believed to walk the world at that time. After the arrival of Christianity, the feast of Samhain became All Hallow’s Day. The evening before it, the modern Halloween, retained much of the same symbolism.”
The positional definitions for this spread are inspired by the hauntingly beautiful song “All Soul’s Night” with words and music by Loreena McKennitt. You can listen to the song HERE.  You can read the lyrics of the song at this link.

This year, I am using the Ghost Tarot by Davide Corsi (Lo Scarabeo). The layout is in the shape of a pentacle.

I stand in darkness at the entrance to the graveyard on All Hallow’s Eve, on Samhain, when spirits walk the world…

(1) This Spirit dances around and around


Well, I have to say if I were going to list possible cards that might “dance around and around,” the King of Pentacles would probably not be one of them! He strikes me as stable, steady, and secure. I think of the planet Saturn when I see this card, a “father” symbol with an energy similar to this King. However, perhaps at Samhain this Spirit of the Father – provider and caretaker – lets loose and kicks up his heels for a change. Good for him!

(2) This Spirit brings a hidden memory


This hidden memory seems to involve conflict but also negotiation and taking different viewpoints into consideration. The spirit on this card seems to stand on her toes atop a body of water, splashing the water but not sinking into it. This hidden memory involves a time of reliance on intellect or rationality, of touching the surface of deeper emotions but not surrendering to them.

(3) This Spirit carries a light in the distance


With Judgment representing “In the End, the Beginning” the light this spirit carries could be seen as “the light at the end of the tunnel.” Although something is ending, something else is being born as I move toward the light.

(4) This Spirit waits for me on the bridge


For this card, the booklet for this deck says: “Freedom is born from within.” The spirit is blindfolded and her hands are bound, but the wings on her shoulders tell us that once she removes the restrictions and hindrances that constrain her, there is no limit to the places she can go or the things she can experience. She waits for me to cast off whatever I have allowed to blind or bind me and take flight with her.

(5) This Spirit passes by the bridge and me


The spirit on this card raises his hand in farewell as he passes by the bridge and me. He represents emotions that need to be released, set free, or abandoned if I am to experience the freedom of flying with the angel from the Eight of Swords. Three cups lie on the ground, empty, but two remain upright. These I will carry forward on my journey.

Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain to all!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Oracle Card: Oracle of Visions

It has just come to my attention that I have not done a write-up on a single oracle card (with the exception of the “Listen to the Animals” series) since 2010.

Better late than never! My oracle message today comes from the Oracle of Visions by Ciro Marchetti  (US Games). To read my review of this deck, click HERE.

Today’s message is delivered by Card 36: Entrapment, Limitations, Restrictions, Complications. 

(Interesting side note: After shuffling the cards, while cutting them to select a card, I was staring at the cover of the guidebook that comes with this deck. I drew my card, which turned out to be the one on the cover!)

Ciro Marchetti provides the following quotation for this card: “We have more ability than willpower, and it is often an excuse to ourselves that we imagine that things are impossible.” – Fran├žois de la Rochefoucauld

The angel on this card cannot fly because her wings are entangled by red ribbons symbolizing troubles, obstacles, and fear. Overwhelmed by her feelings of entrapment, she does not notice the nearby sword that could be used to cut her ties and set her free.

In my birth chart, the planet Saturn (planet of lessons and limitations) is in my First House, the house of the Self. People with this placement of Saturn tend to be serious, shy, and cautious, with a strong desire for stability, predictability, and structure. We are seen to be limited, not willing or able to express ourselves openly. Our self-confidence tends to be low.

I am sharing all of this because, to me, Card 36 of this oracle seems to be calling my attention to a part of my basic nature that could affect what I do with the troubles, obstacles, and fears I face. The key is for me to acknowledge the Saturn-First House connection, but not to blame it or allow it to control me or blind me. Anxiety comes naturally to people with Saturn in the First House, but that doesn’t alter the fact that we have ways and means to liberate ourselves from a negative or self-limiting mind set.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Past Life Relationship Reading: Dreaming Way Tarot

Back in August I did a Past Life Relationship Reading for a friend (click HERE to see this reading).

Today I am doing the same reading for myself and my husband (in honor of our 16th anniversary). The layout is from Sasha Graham’s 365 Tarot Spreads (Llewellyn). I am using the Dreaming Way Tarot by Rome Choi, illustrated by Kwon Shina (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

One difference between this reading and tha last one I did: I am pulling a card from The Phoenix Cards by Susan Sheppard, illustrated by Toni Taylor (Destiny Books) to get some insight into the place and/or time where this past-life relationship might have existed.

From The Phoenix Cards

Place: Ancient Egypt
Time: This Buto design dates from around 1567-1085 B.C. 

* * * * *
If you would like me to do this reading about you and your partner,
just purchase a 7-9 card reading using the drop down menu 
in the top of the left column of this blog. 
Specify in a message that you want the Past Life Relationship Reading.

* * * * *



(1) Who was I in a past life?
(2) Who was he in a past life?
(3) What was our relationship?
(4) Was it a stable relationship?
(5) Did we have children?
(6) Were we together a long time?
(7) What lesson did we learn together in our past life?
(8) What lesson are we learning in this life?
(9) Are we evolving and moving forward?

The reading:

(1) Who was I in a past life?

STRENGTH (Trump 8)

I was a person with an inner core of strength and power, able to exercise that strength and power gently and compassionately, with restraint, rather than forcefully. I may have had a special rapport with animals, or may simply have had a mutually respectful, beneficial relationship with my own inner “beast.”

(2) Who was he in a past life?


He was someone who was perhaps so focused on his own emotional disappointments or misfortunes that he was unaware of other people or had trouble engaging with them. It was difficult for him to share with others, to listen to their advice, or to become involved with them. The number Four suggests stability and/or conservatism, possibly stagnation.

(3) What was our relationship?


The suit of Cups (emotions) suggests a close emotional connection, and the King typically represents authority, power, or control. I would describe the relationship as strong and loving.

(4) Was it a stable relationship?

THE WORLD (Trump 21)

Typically, I see a Major Arcana card as a “Yes” answer to a “yes-or-no” question like this. The World card also suggests accomplishment, completion, and fulfillment at a high level. I think stability would very likely be an aspect of that.

(5) Did we have children?


The suit of Wands is the suit of creativity and as a “masculine” or active suit, I see it as offering a “Yes” answer to a yes-or-no question like this. Both of those factors suggest that we did have children, perhaps three of them, or perhaps one, making us a family of three.

(6) Were we together a long time?


The passive/feminine suit of Pentacles (Earth) sometimes represents a “No” answer. This card can suggest insubstantial or temporary benefits. Perhaps we were together for three years?

(7) What lesson did we learn together in our past life?


We learned how to use all the tools at our disposal to achieve what we wanted to achieve, perhaps at a very high level. As partners we learned to be confident and efficient, to achieve our ambitions with skill and talent.

(8) What lesson are we learning in this life?

THE TOWER (Trump 16)

We are learning that abrupt change will not destroy us, even if we didn’t see it coming, because fundamentally we brought that change about through our own actions and decisions. What might appear to be disastrous to others can be handled and worst-case scenarios can be avoided.

(9) Are we evolving and moving forward?


The answer here seems to be “Yes,” not only because this is a Major Arcana card but because The Emperor is typically about being mature, responsible, and capable. He protects and values what he has, takes charge, and is confident of his own authority. Now, this could suggest a tendency to become “stuck” in one place (number 4), preferring the security of the status quo to changes that come with moving forward. However, I also think of the astrological association of The Emperor with the sign Aries, first sign of the zodiac, an active, motivated Fire sign.

The abundance of Major Arcana cards (5 out of 9) gives me a sense of a strong past-life and/or soulmate connection. The past life relationship seen in these cards may not have lasted a long time by some standards, but it does seem to have been productive.