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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Old English Tarot: 4 of Batons

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

Old English Tarot
Four of Batons
by Helen Howell

Today’s comparison of the Old English and the more traditional Rider Waite is  between the 4 of Batons or Wands if you prefer. The images on both of these cards have a good feel about them. Certainly the idea of completion is portrayed in both of these.

Let’s look at the Rider Waite first, and I choose the Rider Waite first in all my posts, because it is the Mother of all the modern decks that followed, in that they are based on the Rider Waite tradition from what I can see. In the RW image we see four wands support a flowered garland, a crowd gathered to one side, a couple in the centre with their arms raised, holding bouquets of flowers and to the other side a bridge. This is definitely an image of celebration. It’s a card that tells us you have completed the first round. The bridge indicates that you still have further to go, but right now it’s time to relax.

I love the image in the Old English. We see lush trees, green green grass and what appears to be a peacock or maybe a very colourful turkey? If we look closely we also see four baby chicks in the grass. Mama has hatched her babies and that is one cycle complete. That’s a reason to celebrate and to enjoy the achievement after all that hard work sitting on those eggs! But they are just chicks and that reminds us that there is still a new cycle to begin.  When we look more deeply into the image, we see it speaks to us of harmony, prosperity (those green trees are growing well), and the results of hard work (hatching out the eggs). It says take the time to enjoy where you are, but it also reminds you that you cannot stand still forever. Chicks have to grow up!

Both cards deliver the same message, but with very different images. The meaning of the Old English is not always immediately obvious, but if you just take the time to study the artwork you’ll see the message is very clear.

Positive: Romance, harmony, peace, prosperity, fruit of labor.
Reversed: Tarnished beauty, loss of tranquility.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sacred World Oracle Reading #2


Facebook has informed me that today is Kris Waldherr’s birthday. I am a huge fan and enjoy working (and playing) with her wonderful creations, including The Sacred World Oracle, The Goddess Tarot, and the Doomed Queens Playing Cards (all published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

You can learn more about Kris Waldherr on her web site: http://www.kriswaldherrbooks.com/site/

Today I am using The Sacred World Oracle with a 5-card spread presented in the guidebook that comes with the deck. Kris tells us that this spread “was created by Thalassa of the Daughters of Divination’s San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium (BATS). It was inspired by the ballet Swan Lake.” Its purpose is to help us “explore our blind spots – those pesky obstacles we can’t, or don’t want to see.” (In searching Tarot Notes, I discovered I did this reading once before, in 2014: http://tarotnotes-majorandminor.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-reading-with-sacred-world-oracle.html )

Step One -- Lay out four cards to represent:
(1) The Black Swan (what you need to see that can get in your way)
(2) The Magic Feather (what to do about it)
(3) The White Swan (what you need to see that can help you)
(4) The Magic Feather (how to use the solution presented in the second card)

Step Two – Lay a fifth card across the top of the previous cards to symbolize the Swan in Flight. This offers an overview of the situation for additional perspective.

And now for my reading. (The keywords following the name of each card are provided by the author in the guidebook.)

(1) The Black Swan (what you need to see that can get in your way)
PHOENIX: Rebirth. Resurrection. Immortality. Hope.
One sentence in the description for this card struck me: “What appears to be gone will return again if we are patient.” What I need to see is that it is unhelpful to dwell in sorrow on the loss or decline of something. Instead I need to life my eyes and watch for its “resurrection.”

(2) The Magic Feather (what to do about it)
RAM: Moving forward. Birth. Fearlesslness.
With its link to the zodiac sign Aries (Cardinal, Fire), the Ram is about taking action based on my belief in rebirth or resurrection of things that appear to be gone. There is no place for fear and trepidation. It might be wise to avoid being impulsive or careless, but there is nothing to be gained by sitting still, afraid to make a move.

(3) The White Swan (what you need to see that can help you)
SNAKE: Worldliness. Duality. Desire.
The Snake in this deck is not viewed as a symbol of fertility, birth, and regeneration. Instead, we are asked to focus on the idea of the Snake as a representation of duality – the dual expression of good and evil, creation and destruction, temptation and desire. An increased awareness of duality and where it can be found can help me.

(4) The Magic Feather (how to use the solution presented in the second card)
WATER: Emotions. Psychic energies. Empathy. Intuition.
I can use the message about action and fearlessness (Ram) by seeking a psychic or spirit-world connection for my actions, along with intuitive and emotional support for those actions. An interesting suggestion that Water will help me use the “Fiery” solution of the second card.

(5) Overview of the situation for additional perspective
CAT: Fertility. Beauty. Magic. Independence.

Very nice. It is within my power to express my individuality in magical, beautiful ways, ways that help me expect or anticipate the “resurrection” of that which appears to be gone, and ways that help me perceive and understand the dual nature of many aspects of life. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Making Love Better - A Reading

Today I am doing a Tarot reading for a friend of mine and her husband about some issues they are experiencing in their marriage. I am not a professional marriage counselor or psychologist, and my friend knows this. However, she and her husband are interested in seeing what insights the cards can provide.

I am using the “Making Love Better Spread” that appears in Barbara Moore’s book Tarot Spreads (Llewellyn Worldwide). The deck I am consulting is the Mystic Dreamer by Heidi Darras  and Barbara Moore (Llewellyn Worldwide). I like this spread because it doesn’t try to go into “what he is feeling” or “what she is feeling” but instead focuses on the relationship as a whole. The positional definitions and descriptions are direct quotes from the book Tarot Spreads.

“(1) Strength: The most significant strength of the relationship to draw on at this time. This is active energy that you can use.


My first impression: Stability, security, grounded energy, material or financial matters

Barbara Moore: “Unlike in other aces, the woman here is far away from the pentacle. Why?”

Thoughts: The significant strength of this relationship is rooted in the physical, material world. There is a strong foundation on which to build, along with a sense of security and stability (Earth). Barbara Moore’s question causes me to wonder if either or both of the people in this relationship have distanced themselves or might be feeling “distant” from the core strength and foundation of the marriage.

(2) Lasting: The element of the relationship that has lasted and will continue to last. This is solid energy that you can count on.


My first impression: authoritative and rational (King), yet also emotional (Cups); body language and position seems “inward” or “closed” in some ways.

Barbara Moore: “This king is peaceful, sensitive, affectionate, and calm. He is generally friendly and caring, a very nice man to have around.”

Thoughts: With Cups being the suit of love and relationships, I see that area as being a “lasting element” of this relationship. Although the King can be overly sentimental or overly sensitive (Cups), generally he is in control of his feelings and genuinely supportive of those around him. The Golden Dawn assigns 20 degrees Libra to 20 degrees Scorpio to this king, which gives us a combination of somewhat detached yet cooperative and hospitable energy with keen sensitivity, strong passions, and a tendency to bear a grudge. This interesting mix is the energy this couple can “count on.”

(3) Weakness: The weak point in the relationship that could cause a problem or needs extra attention. This could drain energy.


My first impression: impulsive, heedless, reckless, sharp-tongued, charging ahead, communication problems

Barbara Moore: “This knight is single-minded and intensely focused. . . Do not, however, go to him with problems of the heart; he is generally impatient in the face of emotions.”

Thoughts: I was not surprised to see the Knight of Swords in the position of “weakness.” It seems that an unwillingness or inability to deal effectively with emotions is a problem for this couple. It is too easy to charge forward on a desired path or in a desired direction without noticing or respecting the feelings of one’s partner. Perhaps both partners are confident in their opinions and beliefs, expressing them often and firmly, without realizing how that affects the other person.

(4) Do: What you should do – something that will use the positive aspects in your life and relationship to their best advantage.


My first impression: compassionate, caring, nurturing, introspective, emotional, intuitive

Barbara Moore: “This queen likes to make a pleasant place for people to gather and wants everyone to be comfortable and happy. She is very sensitive to others’ feelings. . . She is kind, gentle, and nurturing.”

Thoughts: Along with her partner, the King of Cups, this Queen reinforces the importance of feelings and sensitivity to others. It is easy to see how actions based on this Queen’s characteristics could go a long way towards creating a happier environment.

(5) Stop doing: Something you should not do or stop doing. It may be something that seems right but is actually not best at this time.


My first impression: Strong, stable, secure foundation (Four), optimism, enthusiasm, passion (Wands); celebration, marriage.

Barbara Moore: “If reversed, this card warns you not to celebrate too soon. Things appear very fine but you need to wait a bit to make sure.”

Thoughts: I did not use reversals in this reading, but in order to interpret a card that represents “Stop doing” I thought it would be good to consider reversed meanings for the card. The fact is, I was stumped initially, unable to understand why a card that is normally so positive would appear as something the people in this relationship should avoid doing or stop doing. The only thing I can come up with is that perhaps the cards are telling them not to take the relationship for granted, not to assume that issues will “resolve themselves.” Problems in the relationship need to be addressed and challenges overcome in order for the relationship to succeed in the long term.

(6) Guiding Star: Your highest and best hope for the situation, which can guide all your steps. If something moves you closer to this, then do it.”


My first impression: Nurturing, generous, growth, creation, cycles and seasons of life

Barbara Moore: “This card shows a time of natural growth. Your role is to nurture without forcing or neglecting your project. . . There is great potential for abundance if good care is given.”

Thoughts: Like the Queen of Cups, The Empress is nurturing and caring. The Golden Dawn assigns the planet Venus, planet of love and appreciation, to this card. If seems appropriate that a Major Arcana card would come forward in the position “Guiding Star – your highest and best hope for the situation.” With the help of the energy represent in The Empress, the relationship can continue to grow and flourish.

I am struck by this comment from Barbara Moore: “Your role is to nurture without forcing or neglecting your project.” If I had to give one piece of advice to this couple about their relationship, this would be it. I realize that striking a balance between “forcing” and “neglecting” is not the easiest thing to do, but it does hold a lot of promise if it can be done.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Relationship Potential: Lenormand Five Card Line

I am really enjoying browsing and reading information about the Lenormand over at http://www.annak-tarot.at . Anna K is bringing out her own Lenormand deck this summer (can’t wait!), but in the meantime, I decided to use a method she shares on her web site with one of the decks currently living with me.

I am using Shaheen’s Tattered Nomad Oracle (Lenormand style cards) for this reading. To read my review of this deck, click HERE.

I have a relationship in mind that I am interested in exploring, so my question is: “What is the potential future development of this relationship?"

A bit of background: These two people are in their 30s. They have been living together for a couple of years. He has expressed interest in getting married, but she is not sure that is what she wants. She has been married before; he has not.

Using a total of five cards, I am combining each card with its neighbor to the right and interpreting the last card individually, too, as a Peak. Lastly, I am discussing the center card as a potential Pivotal.

The Cards:
The House/4…..The Woman/29…..The Bouquet/9…..The Clover/2…..The Tree/5

Stage 1 (House + Woman):
Security, family, and home are keywords for The House. The Woman typically represents a woman or feminine energy. This combination gives me a feeling that the woman in this relationship has been the primary contributor to a sense of “security, family, and home.” It is possible that the man’s “feminine side” also is involved in creating this homey atmosphere they share.

Stage 2 (Woman + Bouquet):
The Bouquet suggests gifts, affection, and encouragement. Here again, it seems that the woman in the relationship offers (or feels that she offers) most of the affection and encouragement, or works hardest at bringing those things to the relationship. The man’s “feminine side” may also be involved, as with House + Woman, but I just get the feeling that the woman sees herself as the primary source for these things in the relationship.

Stage 3 (Bouquet + Clover):
The Clover can represent new beginnings, luck, or opportunities. In “stage 3” of the future development of this relationship, it looks like perhaps the provision of gifts, affection, and encouragement could be more equally distributed between the man and woman. Or, at the very least, the man is likely to have an opportunity to contribute more in that area.

Stage 4 (Clover + Tree):
The new beginning, luck, and opportunity of The Clover can contribute to the health, growth, and progress represented by The Tree. One leads to or naturally evolves into the other.

The Peak: The Tree
Certainly the qualities represented by The Tree are desirable in any relationship, and this card as “The Peak” tells us health, growth, and progress are indeed possible for this relationship in the future.

The Pivotal: The Bouquet
As the Pivotal, I see The Bouquet as reinforcing the message that if the provision of “gifts, affection, and encouragement” can be more evenly distributed between the couple, that will make all the difference in the outcome.

When I look at this line of cards, The Woman stands out, positioned between The House and The Bouquet. She seems to be (or at least feel) responsible for creating/maintaining the home and for giving affection and encouragement – and frankly, she doesn’t look happy about it. Perhaps one of the reasons she is not as keen on marriage as he is, is that she currently feels her partner does not “pull his weight” in areas that are important to her. She wants a more equal distribution and to be on the receiving end of some of the gifts she has been giving before she commits to a second marriage.