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Friday, September 30, 2016

Review: Fin de Siècle Kipper

Fin de Siècle Kipper
Guidebook: 83 pages
Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 1 x 4.6 inches

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

I dipped my toe in the Kipper pond awhile back with the Mystical Kipper deck by Regula Elizabeth Fiechter, with images painted by Urban Trösch (AGM Urania). Since I love Ciro Marchetti’s art, I was delighted when I heard that he was doing a Kipper. I enjoyed following along on Facebook as he shared the process, and I have no problem testifying that the end result is stunning!

I love how the image on 5-Mature Man immediately reminded me of “The Most Interesting Man in the World” (Dos Equis commercials), and how, as I looked more closely, I saw that the man’s gaze is directed at the globe, his eyes seeming to express many different things at once.

How intriguing that the man on 22-Official Person immediately reminded me of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (1868-1918), even though he does not have the Tsar’s distinctive hair line. Number 37-Poverty makes me think of Oliver Twist, the main character in the novel of the same name by Charles Dickens (1812-1870), while 24-Thief brings to mind the Artful Dodger from that same book.

Marchetti tells us that he wanted to provide a “more realistic perspective” of the era instead of an idealization or “social propaganda.” The cards do indeed offer that realism, but they also evoke the charm of that more romantic perspective we have developed over time.

My favorite cards include 36-Distant Horizons, with that glorious wooden ship sailing over the clouds, its multi-colored sails billowing; 35-Pathway, with a setting that draws me in to the point where I can feel the ground beneath my feet; and 10-Journey (in my mind, I hurry to join the man standing by the train – surely one of those bags belongs to me!)

Guidebook / "Little White Book"
And it’s not just a bunch of beautiful cards. The guidebook is a true treasure, containing an impressive amount of information and insight -- historical, personal, and divinatory.

I completely agree with Fortune Buchholtz, who writes, “Overall, I see Ciro’s Kipper as a fun, complex 19th century novel. Like a Dickens work, it’s replete with adventure, travel and personalities, a work touched with nostalgia, romance, social life and a sense of drama.” With all that gorgeous art. Win!


“Ciro Marchetti has situated the traditional German fortune telling deck at the turn of the 19th century in Victorian England. In this expanded gilt deck with three additional cards, rich images tell the stories of the workers as well as the wealthy during the Industrial Revolution. Using augmented reality, via the Aurasma application, Ciro has brought the Fin de Siècle cards to life in stunning, new ways. Guidebook with interpretations by three expert contributors. Includes 39 cards.”


The Kipper cards (Kipperkarten) may seem like a “new idea” to many of us, but they have been known and loved in Germany for generations. It is believed they came into being around 1900, but their precise origin remains obscure. One hypothesis involves a woman named Susanne Kipper from Berlin. The second theory connects the cards with the Kipper (Wipper) people, who traveled across the country much like the gypsies.

The title of this particular Kipper deck is “Fin de Siècle,” which in French means “end of century.” The term can be used to refer to the end of any century, but is most commonly used in reference to the 19th century, also referred to as a Victorian/Edwardian setting.

Like the Lenormand, the Kipper deck has 36 numbered cards depicting scenes from 19th century daily life. Points of difference between the Lenormand and Kipper include the Kipper having what Fortune Buchholtz calls “profound human and interior cards not found in Lenormand.” The Kipper cards do not contain references to playing cards.

Here are the standard titles on Kipper cards, with the titles from the Fin de Siècle Kipper in parentheses where different. Also, notice that the Fin de Siècle deck has 39 cards rather than 36:
1) Main Person/Male
2) Main Person/Female
3) Marriage
4) Meeting (Courtship)
5) Good Lord / Gentleman (Mature Man)
6) Good Lady (Mature Woman)
7) Good/Welcome/Pleasant Letter (Message)
8) False Person
9) A Change
10) A Journey
11) Winning/Gaining a Lot of Money (Sudden Wealth)
12) Rich Maiden/Girl (Privileged Lady)
13) Good Rich Lord/Gentleman (Wealthy Man)
14) Sad News (Message of Concern)
15) Good Results/Success in Love (Lovers)
16) His Thoughts (Thoughts)
17) Receiving a Present/Gift (Gift)
18) A Small/Little Child (Child)
19) Death/Bereavement (Coffin)
20) House
21) Living Room (Family Room)
22) Soldier/Military Man/Person (Official Person)
23) Courthouse/Court
24) Theft
25) Reaching Great Honor/High Honors
26) Great Luck/Happiness (Great Fortune)
27) Unexpected Money (Unexpected Income)
28) Wait/Expectation
29) Prison (Imprisonment)
30) Man of the Courthouse/Court Person (Judication)
31) Short Illness (Bad Health)
32) Sorrow/Grief and Adversities (Despair)
33) Nagging or Sad/Gloomy Thoughts (Concern)
34) Work/Occupation
35) A Long Way/Road (Pathway)
36) Hope or Great/Big Water (Distant Horizons)

Fin de Siècle Kipper Only:
37) Poverty
38) Toil & Labour
39) Community

Marchetti added 37, 38, and 39 to flesh out the deck.

Following a lengthy and detailed Introduction by Marchetti, the Fin de Siècle Kipper guidebook offers commentary by Fortune Buchholtz and Stella Waldvogel. Descriptions of the cards are written by Buchholtz, Waldvogel, Susanne Zitzi, and Ciro Marchetti (the writer’s initials are indicated at the end of each interpretation, so readers know who is providing the information).

Each card description has several paragraphs of information, explanation of symbols, and possible interactions with other cards. A black-and-white thumbnail version of the card appears next to its entry.


The cards are printed on high quality stock with a glossy laminate finish and silver-gilt edges. At 4-1/8 inches by 2-3/4 inches (my measurements), they fit nicely in my hands. I am able to poker-shuffle them, but I don’t recommend it with this deck. I want to keep these cards in their current, beautiful condition.

Card fronts feature a black background with a silver frame enclosing an image. The card numbers are silver and centered in a circle at the top. The titles, also silver, are centered at the bottom in capital letters. The nonreversible card backs have an ornate frame within a frame against a black background. Centered against a purple diamond-pattern is a jester’s mask (I have seen this diamond-pattern referred to as black and gray, but in my deck, it is most certainly a dark and light purple).

The sturdy, attractive box measures 4-1/2 inches by 3 inches and fastens with a magnetic closure on one side – top-notch quality. The cards and guidebook fit perfectly.

The 83-page guidebook (2-3/4 x 4 inches) is a high-quality version of the standard “little white book” often available with Tarot and Oracle cards, bound in a stiff cover that features the 4 - Courtship card in color.

Printing inside the booklet is black and white, with tiny greyscale images representing the cards. In addition to the card descriptions, the guidebook includes a Triple Pyramid Spread by Stella Waldvogel and Susanne’s SOS Spread by Susanne Zitzi.

An added bonus with this deck is the interactive system developed by Marchetti – a set of augmented reality videos referred to as “Auras,” created to work with a free application called Aurasma. Using this app, you can point your device’s camera at any card. The app will recognize the card and play the associated video, providing information about the meaning of the card.


The Fin de Siècle Kipper presents Ciro Marchetti’s scenes from the Victorian/Edwardian time period in rich, glossy color. His goal was to incorporate “the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of human social interaction” in contrast to the original Kipper style, which depicted “cozy, domestic scenes” – “an idealization also projected in much of the art of that period.” The images are realistic and detailed, with that special glow we have come to expect from a Marchetti deck. People’s faces and eyes are expressive, and the colors and lighting speak volumes.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Shortened Celtic Cross with Marseille Trumps

Marseille Deck – Trumps Only
Shortened Celtic Cross Spread 
from Tarot Triumphs 
by Cherry Gilchrist (Weiser Books)

Cherry Gilchrist recommends a clear, succinct question and/or specific inquiry for this spread, as it is useful for “pinning things down.” Gilchrist has no use for “hypothetical” readings, where the reader invents a situation and querent. She also recommends against reading “for self-analysis or prediction for oneself” because a Tarot reader “needs a degree of initial detachment, which is almost impossible to have.”

However, she does realize that there are times when we are learning or “practicing” our Tarot reading skills, and at such times reading for ourselves may be the most appropriate choice. In that case, she recommends asking a simple question about something that is not very important.

Another option she offers is inquiring about an outside situation or even about another person who is not present. I have been somewhat conditioned NOT to do this (for various reasons), but it is good to know that an experienced reader sees it as a viable option.

For this reading, I am using only the Major Arcana (Triumphs/Trumps) of my adorable mini-Marseille Tarot (Lo Scarabeo)

All of that is simply to explain what I’m doing in this reading, and why. I have decided to ask about another person and a relationship she is in.

My question is simply, “What is the energy surrounding this relationship?”

Significator: THE MAGICIAN

(Just so you’ll know, this card flew out of the pack while I was mixing the cards. When that happens, I often just replace the card into the pack. However, this time, I decided it was the Significator, representing the person whose relationship I am reading about.)

Yes, this person does have strong will power and spirit, an ability and willingness to make use of any and all tools she has at her disposal to solve problems or create what she desires. She has a lot of control in this relationship, whether she realizes it or not.

(1) Predominant feature of the situation: THE HIEROPHANT

From an astrological sense, The Hierophant is linked with the zodiac sign Taurus, an Earth sign known for being practical, dependable, stable, and secure. This card also often carries the idea of established ways of looking at things, whether religious, political, or other. There is a sense of “The Establishment.” The relationship has this energy as a predominant feature, suggesting the couple is taking a traditional, well established approach.

(2) challenge or obstacle facing the person: JUDGEMENT

This card seems to suggest that our Magician needs to examine or question her judgment in this relationship, but finds it difficult to do so. She may not trust her judgment, or may not be willing to *see* everything about the relationship, a “total picture” that would help her make the best decisions or choices in this situation. Her judgement may be “clouded” or based on incomplete information. She may need to “wake up” to something she has not be willing or able to acknowledge.

(3) goal or high point of the situation: THE DEVIL

Well, that’s a fun card to see here! This card can represent sexual attraction, enchantment, or charm. But there is an undercurrent of possible deception, especially in the sense of deceiving oneself about something. Since this is supposed to be the “goal or high point” perhaps we are being told that the relationship is actually avoiding (or the two people are determined to avoid) traps and deceptions represented by The Devil.

(4) basis of the situation: THE WORLD

At its base, this relationship is surrounded by the energy of success, completion, and fulfillment. Trump 21 is certainly a positive sign to see as the “basis” of anything. It not only indicates the successful completion of a cycle or stage in life, but also a turning point, the start of a new cycle or stage, a firm foundation moving forward.

(5) recent past: THE EMPRESS

In the recent past, the relationship was surrounded by the energy of nurturing, understanding, receptiveness, and beneficial influence. The two people seem to want to take care of each other, to be supportive and to help each other and the relationship grow and flourish. This card’s association with the planet Venus gives a strong sense of mutual affection and appreciation.

(6) near future: THE LOVERS

Well! As we know, The Lovers can indicate that a choice has to be made. On the Marseille card, a man stands between two women, and it is often thought that he is trying to decide between them. It may be necessary for one or both of the people in this relationship to make a choice in the near future that impacts the relationship. However, we can also look at this as simply representing Love with a capital “L”, fostered by Cupid himself.

From what I know of this relationship (not much), these cards make quite a lot of sense. It will be interesting to see how things develop…

Friday, September 23, 2016

Death and Grief Reading for Helen and Mr. White

Today I am sharing a spread I adapted from one that was posted by Barbaras Ahajusts on Aeclectic Tarot Forum back in 2006. I am doing the reading for my dear friend Helen, whose cat Mr. White recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. White when I traveled to Helen’s home in Australia a couple of years ago.

Mr. White
Here is the layout, with positional definitions.


1. Mr. White
2. Helen
3. What united them?
4. Under which sign did their union stand?
5. What is now gone?
6. What remains for Helen as the gift of their union?
7. Which force is protecting and accompanying her during this period?
8. Which force accompanies Mr. White?
9. Which force helps Helen to let go and to keep going, gives her new courage, and benefits her?

I am using the Cat’s Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin, DVM (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

1. Mr. White

NINE OF SWORDS (Worry, Guilt, Anguish)

This card does seem to relate to Mr. White’s life for some time before he crossed the Rainbow Bridge, as he was in poor health and it had been decided that there was nothing else that could be done for him. We can’t know what he experienced for certain, but it is not hard to imagine a state of worry or anxiety might have accompanied his illness and approaching death. An animal knows when things are not right in his physical body. Cats are quite stoic. Their instinct is to maintain a strong appearance to keep a possible predator from seeing any weakness. We would not necessarily see any obvious indication of worry or anguish.

2. Helen

(Enlightenment, Greatness, Vitality, Assurance)

Even though she mourns the loss of Mr. White, Helen embraces and expresses the Sun’s positive qualities. She feels sorrow and loss, but is not devastated beyond repair. The core of her bright personality and warm nature are still strong. She knows that the sun will shine again even after the darkest, stormiest night.

3. What united them?

EIGHT OF WANDS (Quick Action, Conclusion, News)

What we see in this card is not simply “quick action” but a mother cat saving her kittens from a fire. It is Helen’s nurturing, “mothering” quality towards Mr. White that united them, along with her desire and willingness to help him with his health issues as much as she could, for as long as she could.

4. Under which sign did their union stand?

TEN OF SWORDS (Bottoming Out, Victim Mentality, Martyrdom)

I wonder if perhaps this points to a situation or circumstances that Mr. White was in before coming to live with Helen? Perhaps he was a stray or neglected in some way. Another possibility is that the card refers to ways in which Helen lifted Mr. White out of a bad state or what would have been a hard life had she not been involved.

5. What is now gone?

THE STAR (Hope, Inspiration, Generosity, Serenity)

It is true that with Mr. White’s passing, we do see an end to hopes and wishes for his recovery. This would have been especially keen as his passing drew nearer and became unavoidable. It is also true that whatever inspiration or serenity that Mr. White brought to Helen while he was alive is now gone or, at the very least, changed to a different form.

6. What remains for Helen as the gift of their union?

TEN OF CUPS (Joy, Peace, Family)

This is where we see that the loss of “The Star” is temporary, as Helen retains a beautiful gift of her union with Mr. White – fond memories of experiences and perhaps even an otherwordly connection that transcends physical existence.

7. Which force is protecting and accompanying her during this period?

SEVEN OF PENTACLES (Affluence, Permanence, Convention)

This card conveys a sense of security, stability, and well-being, the fact that Helen continues to live her life much as she did before Mr. White departed. She still has much in her life that brings her joy and contentment.

8. Which force accompanies Mr. White?

FIVE OF CUPS (Loss, Bereavement, Regret)

I think this is about the separation of Mr. White from Helen, a loss that they both felt (and still feel) keenly. We cannot know what Mr. White feels or experiences on the other side, but I don’t find it impossible to believe that there is a remnant of sorrow or regret that remains with the spirit of one who passes on. I have no trouble believing that Mr. White misses Helen, just as she misses him.

9. Which force helps Helen to let go and to keep going, gives her new courage, and benefits her?

QUEEN OF SWORDS (Honest, Astute, Forthright, Witty, Experienced)

Well, it is very interesting to me that the Queen of Swords is often interpreted as a woman who has experienced loss and grief but remains strong, allowing her experience to further strengthen her. If we pair this with The Sun (position 2, above), we get a picture of someone who can weather loss and disappointment and emerge with dignity and grace intact, and wisdom gained.


Thank you for this reading Zanna, all the cards express my relationship with my lovely boy. The Ten of Swords is spot on, Mr. White was abandoned and not in a very good state when I took him in. Of his 16 years he has spent 10 of those with me. The pain of losing him is great as he spent a lot of time by my side, but I know that as your cards express, in time the pain will dull and the memories will make me smile again. 
~ Helen

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

REVIEW: Tarot Triumphs by Cherry Gilchrist


Tarot Triumphs:
Using the Marseilles Tarot Trumps for Divination and Inspiration
Weiser Books

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

In case we had any doubts about the value of Tarot Triumphs, we are given two pages of praise in the front of the book from such Tarot notables as Caitlin Matthews, Robert M. Place, and Thalassa, among others. Their observations are spot on. I completely agree with Place’s assessment that Tarot Triumphs is an excellent choice for beginners wishing to use the Tarot of Marseilles and for experienced readers as well. I fall into both of those categories in a way, being an experienced reader in general but having almost no experience with Marseille-style decks.

Early on, Cherry Gilchrist tells us that the book “is mainly about Tarot divination: that is to say, using the Tarot Trumps as a means to gain access to knowledge that is normally beyond our conscious grasp.” She succeeds in delivering exactly that, page after page, while focusing very specifically on the Marseilles Tarot, in her case, the Grimaud deck (republished by J.-M. Simon France-Cartes in 1969).

Not only did I learn things about the Marseilles deck from this book (which one might expect, since I had never studied them), I also learned new approaches and information about the Tarot and Tarot reading in general.

I particularly liked Gilchrist’s section on the simplified version of the Celtic Cross Tarot layout. She reduced the number of cards from 11 to 7 because it made less of a “leap” for the reader of this book to go from 3 cards to 7 cards, and because she feels the shorter version works better when using only the Tarot Trumps, which is Gilchrist’s preference.

As someone who is intimidated by the 11-card Celtic Cross, I confess I come close to being mind-boggled by the 22-card Fool’s Mirror spread. Gilchrist does a great job of explaining and giving examples of how to use the spread, and I may yet attempt it.

Although I disagree with some of Gilchrist’s views (for example, that Tarot is not suitable for self-analysis or prediction for oneself), I appreciate her sharing those views and challenging my perceptions.

To those of us who shy away from prediction with Tarot, she simply says, “If you are drawn to Tarot, or indeed any form of divination practice, you already accept the idea of looking ahead.” Good point.

Her advice to readers is sound (for example, “Try not to worry about the reading later, and wonder whether you said ‘the right thing.’”)

I do think that an Index would have been a great idea for this book, making it even more useful as a reference book. Also, I had the feeling while going through the book that quite a few things were repeated, but I realize that repetition is a useful tool that can help people retain a message.


Focusing on the major arcana, or trumps, of the Marseilles Tarot, the aim of this book is to encourage the reader to experience the tarot in a direct, fresh, and uncluttered way.

This exploration of the major arcana includes “The Fool’s Mirror,” a new method for laying the cards out, as well as hints for using the tarot to gain deeper levels of awareness. Cherry Gilchrist offers ways to approach each card, absorb it, and understand its essence. Readers are encouraged to relate this essence to personal experience as the most enduring and rewarding way to prepare for reading the cards.


Cherry Gilchrist wanted to be a writer from the age of four. While still at school, her work was published in a variety of places, ranging from teen magazines to the prestigious 'Poetry Review'. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, diversity continued: she worked in publishing and at running a vintage clothes shop, while practising as an astrologer and bringing up two small children. She then settled down to authorship in the field of creative non-fiction, and has published steadily ever since. Her themes cover alchemy, inner traditions, family history, mythology, life stories, social history and Russian culture. Over the years, she has also become established as a lecturer and tutor, and currently teaches creative writing for the Universities of Oxford and Exeter. Cherry loves travel, especially countries with rich cultural traditions; she has visited Russia many times, plus Easter Island, Burma and Uzbekistan. Every journey is an excuse for a book: see 'Stories from the Silk Road' and 'The Soul of Russia'. Cherry is married to artist Robert Lee-Wade, and they live in Exeter, Devon UK.

“A Tarot master is, I suggest, someone who acts either as your first true point of contact with Tarot or as a teacher of Tarot at any given moment along the way. Maybe the person is an expert, maybe not.”
“… divination is not necessarily the perception of a fixed future. The diviner should give the person somewhere further to go; the aim is that by seeing the situation more clearly, choices also become more apparent…”
“Divination is linked to time. We ask a question at a particular moment in time, and the answer that comes emerges from that moment.” 
“The way we perceive the Tarot is…a mix of personal response and an understanding of its cultural and mythical content. So overall, Tarot reading offers a chance to practice a balance of intuition and learned information.”
“A woolly approach to divination is likely to produce a vague answer.”


This 295-page quality paperback book features a sturdy multi-color cover designed by Jim Warner, with interior black-and-white illustrations by Robert Lee-Wade. The text is easy to read and separated frequently by heads and subheads to further ease in reading and digesting the information (kudos to Maureen Forys of Happenstance Type-O-Rama for the interior layout). The book measures 9 by 6 inches and is 1 inch thick.


  • Introduction
  • Enter the Triumphs
  • The Tarot as a Method of Divination
  • Taking On the Tarot
  • The Wandering Fortune-Teller
  • Becoming the Diviner – Grasping the Fool’s Mirror
  • A Search for Order and Meaning in the Fool’s Mirror
  • The Fool’s Mirror Layout
  • Managing the Reading
  • The Fool Leads Us Further
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Glossary


Cherry Gilchrist begins Tarot Triumphs by asking us to imagine “The Pageant of the Trumps,” a triumphal procession like those that were popular in 15th century Italy, around the time that many believe the Tarot was born. Gilchrist also notes: “There’s no attempt on my part to say that the Tarot set as we know it is derived from a ‘lost’ triumphal procession. . . but. . . it may be a link to how Tarot itself was first conceived.”

Gilchrist uses the terms “Triumphs” and “Trumps” interchangeably throughout the book when referring to the 22 cards of the Tarot Major Arcana, noting that the words are linked linguistically: “the Italian word trionfi translates into “triumphs” and “trumps” in English.” Although the terms have acquired different meanings over time, Gilchrist combines them, also pointing out that “triumph” is something that Tarot is and does. . . “It triumphs through its powerful images, its persistent survival through the centuries, and its capacity to instruct and illuminate those who study it.”

The nine chapters in this book provide a comprehensive account that takes us from studying the history of and symbolism in the individual Major Arcana cards (Marseilles-style) to reading the cards in small layouts, to larger layouts, with references to “Preparing for Your First Reading,” “Whom to Read For,” working space, rituals, and “Ending the Reading.” Gilchrist also addresses the idea of whether we tap into our own unconscious when we read intuitively, or whether we are actually tapping into a greater form of consciousness – a “basin of mind” or “common mind” or “the mind of mankind.”

The chapters that focus on The Fool’s Mirror contain a wealth of information that is helpful to readers no matter what type of reading or layout they choose. Gilchrist learned about The Fool’s Mirror from one of her Tarot teachers. She tells us: “The Fool’s Mirror is a symbol of divination, a means of capturing the impressions that we hope to interpret.”

The book also includes information on Gilchrist’s personal history with divination in general and the Tarot specifically, her first two decks being the Marseilles and The Rider-Waite-Smith. She shares with us her views on commonly discussed Tarot issues such as
third-party readings, storing the cards, reversals, reading for oneself, dummy readings, accepting payment for readings, and prediction.

Throughout the book, Gilchrist documents her sources and elaborates on comments using numbers that correspond to a “Notes” section at the back of the book. The Glossary following the Notes is an extremely useful aid to further understanding the history of the cards along with various terms that are frequently used.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day: 5 of Deduction

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:
5 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 The Empty House: “Ah! …there we come into those realms of conjecture, where the most logical mind may be at fault.”

Holmes and Watson use a scenthound to
find "The Missing Three-Quarter"
1904 illustration by 
Sidney Paget
The Five of Deduction relates to The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter, in which Holmes is called in to discover the whereabouts of a star rugby player who was last seen leaving rapidly with a mysterious bearded man after sending a telegram to an unknown source. On the card we see Holmes and Pompey, a talented hound sometimes employed by the detective, as they discover the rugby player at the bedside of his deceased wife.

The association with the Five of Pentacles comes from the story’s tragic outcome, along with its connection to money and inheritance.

Keys for this card, upright, are: “adversity, insecurity, loneliness, strain, barren prospects, destitution, the need to be firmly grounded.” Reversed, the card can suggest: “re-acquiring self-worth, gaining perspective, new friendships, difficulties begin to abate, learning to give generously.”

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 5 of Deduction: “things take a turn for the worse… feeling inadequate or impotent… a prevailing sense of misfortune or destitution.”

Examples from “The Fog”: “persisting through difficulties, you win out… blaming your misfortunes upon others… charitable support relieves the need for better resources.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Eternal Crystals: Lapis and Jasper

I love lapis lazuli (lazurite), an intense dark blue stone made up of several different minerals, including lazurite, sodalite, hauyne, calcite, and pyrite. Minor patches of white calcite and brassy yellow pyrite indicate the best quality.

In her guidebook for the Eternal Crystals Oracle Cards (Blue Angel Publishing), Jade-Sky associates Lapis Lazuli with the throat and third eye chakras. As such, it helps us communicate clearly and use our intuition more effectively. Jade-Sky also notes that Lapis Lazuli helps us resolve problems by giving us a surge of transformative energy.

In The Tarot of Gemstones and Crystals (AGMüller), Lapis Lazuli is The Hermit. According to the LWB with this deck, “This stone of wisdom brings clarity to thought, calms the mind, and allows easier perception of your task in life. As a meditation stone, it guides us to our inner being and brings new inspirations, as well as strength of faith and kindness.”

In the jewelry pieces below, I have combined Lapis Lazuli with a rich, caramel shade of jasper, a fine-grained, opaque variety of chalcedony, believed to protect against sight defects and drought. Neither the Eternal Crystals Oracle nor the Tarot of Gemstones and Crystals include jasper. My information comes from the Dorling Kindersley Handbook on Gemstones by Cally Hall.

All of the items below are available through my

Jasper Lapis Necklace
Click HERE to see more photos or purchase.

Jasper Lapis Bracelet
Click HERE to see more photos or purchase.

Silver Lapis Earrings
Click HERE to see more photos or purchase.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Planetary Spread with Faery Wicca Tarot

As promised, I am sharing with you The Planetary Spread from Jonathan Dee’s book Tarot Mysteries (Hampton Roads). To read my review of this book, click HERE.

The spread can be used to answer specific questions, but I am using it today as a weekly forecast.

I am using the Faery Wicca Tarot by Kisma K. Stepanich, illustrated by Renée Christine Yates (Llewellyn).

My first task is to choose a Significator for myself. As I went through the deck, I felt equally drawn to the Ainnir of Domhan and the Ainnir of Tine, so I decided to have a pair of Significators for this reading. In this deck, “Ainnir” represents pure feminine energy. Domhan is Earth. Tine is Fire. As my true fans will remember (ha!), I have a strong Earth presence in my birth chart, but my Sun is in Sagittarius, a Fire sign. Both elements resonate strongly with me.

My Significators
Okay, here we go. For this spread, we draw 7 cards into the following pattern:

The positions for a weekly forecast reading are as follows:

1) Moon / Monday
2) Mercury / Wednesday
3) Venus / Friday
4) Sun / Sunday
5) Mars / Tuesday
6) Jupiter / Thursday
7) Saturn / Saturday

Let’s see what the week ahead looks like. My innate sense of organization wants to see these cards in the order the days of the week occur, so I am reading them that way, beginning with Monday.

1) Moon / Monday


The “motto” for this card is “Show me how to think with my heart.” In general, Water (Uisce) is linked with the heart, emotions, love, and good feelings, relationships, psychic experiences, and inner pilgrimage. With the Ace, we see birth and beginnings. Combined with the suit meaning, we can add pleasures, home, nourishment, satisfaction, caring. The card can represent new love or the way love can help us bear troubles and get through difficult situations. Any or all of these meanings may apply to me on Monday, a day associated with the Moon, ruler of Cancer, a Water sign. I love the illustration on this card, showing a rainbow path to the sea and a faery castle on the rocks in the water.

5) Mars / Tuesday


The Ard Ri is a High King of the Emerald Isle. Tine is the element Fire. The Ard Ri of Tine is “Fire of Fire; exalted willpower; ego in full action; Spirit in battle…” With this card, I have the ability to overcome adversity due to my superior strength, as well as the ability to listen to Spirit to hear the ancient voice of wisdom. “Lamhfada” is another name for the Irish god Lugh. This is a very different energy from Monday, more action-oriented, passionate, and even aggressive, especially since we are linking the card to the planet Mars here.

2) Mercury / Wednesday


This card belongs to the group called The Ancient Ones in this deck (traditionally known as the Major Arcana). The border of each card in this group features an ogham in each corner, representing the four seasons. So for Wednesday I have a card titled “Strength of Will” or “Rundaigne Banba” (Banba's Strength). In Irish mythology, Banba is a patron goddess of Ireland. Like the Strength card in traditional Tarot decks, this card refers to our inner light, with which we can tame the wild beast within us. It’s about facing my fears with grace and dignity, not fighting and scratching but with tolerance and understanding. As a Major Arcana card, this indicates that Wednesday carries the potential for a significant event or realization in my life.

6) Jupiter / Thursday


The suit of Aer can indicate “danger, warnings, frustration, sorrow, depression, death, accidents, hostile forces, and setbacks.” However, it is also about how the mind and our ways of thinking dictate our attitude, which in turn dictates action, which dictates life. The number Five is typically a “difficult” number, indicating conflict. There is a warning with the Five of Aer not to fight a no-win battle, but to rely on patient endurance and passive courage to weather the storm.

3) Venus / Friday


The suit of Aer can indicate “danger, warnings, frustration, sorrow, depression, death, accidents, hostile forces, and setbacks.” However, it is also about how the mind and our ways of thinking dictate our attitude, which in turn dictates action, which dictates life. The Two of Aer is called “The Path of Discernment” in this deck, and it refers to two forces against each other, which sounds negative in a way but can also represent balance and can be a reminder that “what goes around comes around” in a karmic sense. Another message from this card is “Know thyself.”

7) Saturn / Saturday


Uisce is Water, the element dealing with the heart, emotions, love, relationships with self and other people, nostalgia, and inner pilgrimage. With the Seven of Uisce, I am looking at the potential for inspirational dreams, visions, and fantasies along with feminine spirit and poetic sensibility. I may have many options from which to choose in a situation, or I may need to “wake up” from a dream state in order to deal with reality in a pragmatic way.

4) Sun / Sunday


This is one of four “Gift of Faery” cards in this deck. They are unique, not found in traditional Tarot decks. Kisma Stepanich tells us, “If the Holy Stone card is pulled, your journey will begin your apprenticeship in our world.” What an interesting card to pull for Sunday, the traditional Christian Holy Day! Stepanich also calls the Holy Stone “the Spiritual Benefactor” and “Earth fairy ally,” who will help me “understand symbols, codes, or puzzles that may be encountered when traveling in the OtherWorld.”