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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Past Life, Present Influence with The Celtic Dragon Tarot

A student in one of my classes at _The Magickal Circle School_ recently mentioned The Celtic Dragon Tarot by D.J. Conway and Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Publications), and that made me realize that’s it has been a long time since I did a reading with that deck. It was one of the first Tarot decks I acquired long, long ago, and I’ve always loved it.

Today, I’m going to use a spread provided in the guidebook that came with this deck. This 9-card spread is called “Past Life, Present Influence,” and its purpose is to explore how traits or conditions from a past life or lives may have affected my present life at physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional levels.

The layout looks like this:

I did not ask a specific question for this reading. Instead, I am looking more at my overall state in general, past and present.

(1) Present face the inquirer shows to the world: FIVE OF WANDS

The “face” I show to the world is that of a person who is experiencing obstacles or opposition from within or without, someone who is struggling to get past obstacles or opposition to a place where I no longer compete with others, no longer feel the need to defend myself, and no longer resent someone else’s success.

(2) Past physical state affecting the question: KING OF WANDS

In a past life or lives, it appears that I was physically quite strong and powerful. I may have actually been a king or, at the very least, someone who could take command of situations and forge ahead with vigor.

(3) Present physical state: THE SUN

This card also suggests power and strength, but in a little bit different way from the King of Wands. My present physical state is such that I am able to enjoy life, feeling free to experience positive happenings. At my age, I do have my share of physical problems, but The Sun card indicates that I am far from “weak” or vulnerable physically.

(4) Past mental state affecting the question: FOUR OF PENTACLES

In a past life or lives, my mental state apparently consisted of a focus on material or financial matters and security. I was very “money oriented” or oriented towards the material world. This sort of mental state is quite limiting and confining, not helpful to stretching or expanding the mind.

(5) Present mental state: THE STAR

In this life, my mental state is oriented towards the spiritual aspects of life, towards things that cannot be grasped in the hand or hoarded like money. I am therefore more likely to be aware of opportunities and possibilities, the effects of unseen energy and universal power.

(6) Past spiritual state affecting the question: QUEEN OF CUPS

In a past life or lives, my spiritual state was psychic in nature, highly sensitive and in touch with my subconscious and linked closely with intuition.

(7) Present spiritual state: THE MOON

With some of the same energy at the Queen of Cups, the Moon represents spirituality in tune with dreams, intuition, and psychic experiences. However, there is also the chance of creating or believing in illusions or deceit. My dreams may have no foundation in reality; my imagination may be running wild.

(8) Past emotional state affecting the question: THE TOWER

In a past life or lives, my emotional state was apparently chaotic, discordant, and even destructive. I went through a process of breakdown and rebuilding due to a shocking event or catastrophe.

(9) Present emotional state: TEN OF PENTACLES

In this life, my emotional state is much more stable and secure – almost the opposite end of the spectrum from The Tower. The suit of Pentacles does represent the physical, material world, but can also refer to values in general and resources such as time and talents. I am at the peak of emotional health, confident, stable, and happy.

Let’s look at these cards in two sets: past life (lives) and present. Three of the cards (King of Wands, Four of Pentacles, Queen of Cups) represent to me a state of being in control or wanting to be in control at a physical, mental, and spiritual level. The Tower, in stark contrast, is about loss of control, chaos, and “falling apart” at an emotional level.

In the present, the face I show the world is affected by obstacles and opposition, forces competing against each other, a lack of coordination and cooperation. In contrast, my physical, mental, and emotional state (Sun, Star, 10 of Pentacles) all seem positive and solid. The Moon (spiritual state) does suggest the possibility of deception or illusion, not seeing things clearly, being fooled by my own imagination.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Animal Tarot Time: The Hierophant

For this series, I am exploring the choices of animals made by various deck creators to correspond to traditional Tarot cards. My initial goal is to get through the Major Arcana using cards from seven different decks:

  • Animal Tarot Cards by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine (Hay House)
  • The Animal Totem Tarot by Leeza Robertson; illustrated by Eugene Smith (Llewellyn Publications)
  • The Animal Wisdom Tarot by Dawn Brunke; illustrated by Ola Liola (CICO Books)
  • The Animal-Wise Tarot by Ted Andrews (Dragonhawk Publishing)
  • The Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Worldwide)
  • The Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung (Self-Published)
  • Tarot of the Animal Lords with artwork by Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo)

Let’s look at how THE HIEROPHANT is portrayed in these seven decks.

Animal Tarot Cards by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine (Hay House)

UNITY / POLAR BEAR (“Embrace this time of deep spiritual growth.”)

As someone who (childishly, perhaps) dislikes The Hierophant card in many decks, I am mollified somewhat by this use of the polar bear. Powerful, beautiful, and potentially deadly, polar bears rule the ice kingdom where they live, a kingdom of snow and freezing temperatures and – oh yes – the astonishing and breathtaking aurora borealis (“northern lights”). The tiny butterfly shown on the card hints at transformation and “eternal life,” while the polar bear facing us appears quite friendly and wise. I like the “Unity” title, which manages to expand the traditional “Christians-only” message of many Hierophant cards to include other spiritual paths.

The Animal Totem Tarot by Leeza Robertson; illustrated by Eugene Smith (Llewellyn Publications)

POLAR BEAR (“I have faith that I am being who I was always meant to be, doing what I was destined to do, in the right place, in the right time. And so too should you.”)

On this version of the Polar Bear/Hierophant, we see this majestic creature with a “northern lights” backdrop, along with two keys, said to symbolize a balance between the conscious and subconscious minds (the inner and outer worlds), the keys to heaven (Keys of the Kingdom), heaven and earth, and so forth.

The Animal Wisdom Tarot by Dawn Brunke; illustrated by Ola Liola (CICO Books)

BULL / KEEPER OF SACRED TRADITION: “Honor the wisdom of experience.”

I like this choice for The Hierophant, which reflects its astrological association with the zodiac sign Taurus, the bull (according to the Order of the Golden Dawn system). Even though spirituality is above, beyond, or “outside” earthly matters, there is perhaps still a need to be grounded in some ways. In this deck, the Bull is seen to mediate between heaven and earth, serving as “oracle and guardian of temple entryways.” Here we see value in finding truth and inspiration through tradition and the guidance of elders, while avoiding the traps of rote patterns or fixed dogma.

The Animal-Wise Tarot by Ted Andrews (Dragonhawk Publishing)

WHITE CRANE: “Longevity, honor, and spiritual justice.”

Ted Andrews points out that the crane, being a wading bird, “moves between water and the land, earth and sky. . . between worlds, between realms, between times…” What we have here is not just “longevity” but ancient knowledge and teaching that dates back to the beginnings of spiritual experience.

The Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Worldwide)

THE HIGH PRIEST / GANESHA: “teacher, greater awareness, education”

In the Hindu faith, Ganesha is the god of wisdom, knowledge, and the arts. He typically represents good fortune. His presence at the threshold of houses and sanctuaries is said to impede potential obstacles.

The Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung (Self-Published)

STOAT: “purity, focus, truth, loyalty, understanding, knowledge”

Although Cheung does not explain her choice of the stoat to represent The Hierophant, it is interesting to note that stoats – similar to weasels, ermines, minks, and ferrets – are known for their stealth, cunning, cleverness, and keen observation skills. I confess I am struggling to sync this up with traditional meanings for The Hierophant, but Cheung writes that the Stoat/Hierophant “is the link between realms, able to bring worlds together in harmony… the vessel of knowledge and the keeper of order and peace.”

Tarot of the Animal Lords with artwork by Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo)

REINDEER: “Modesty, religiousness, wisdom, grievance, intolerance, broken promises.”

This deck does not explain the choices made for each card or other symbolism on the cards. Deer in general are well-known symbols of spirituality, regeneration, and creativity. The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols tells us: “The role of the reindeer is nocturnal and funerary and that of conductor of souls.” In the physical world, reindeer survive in a brutal environment, which speaks to their hardiness and strength.

To summarize, we have:
Polar Bear – 2 decks
Bull – 1
Crane – 1
Ganesha (Elephant) – 1
Stoat – 1
Reindeer - 1

Which one do you like the best? Which one do you think works best as “The Hierophant”?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Animal Guides for Zodiac Signs

I believe that people usually have at least one primary animal guide, spirit animal, or totem animal whose spirit is with them throughout their life, as well as many secondary animal guides that come forward as needed during specific situations or stages of life. It occurred to me that I might be able to identify an animal guide or animal totem for each of the zodiac signs.

I will be doing this from time to time, with the intention of sharing which animal is acting as a guide or totem “right now” for each sign. For today’s reading I am using Steven D. Farmer’s Messages from Your Animal Spirit Guides Oracle Cards, illustrated by Bee Sturgis and published by Hay House.

One, two, three, go!

ARIES.............................................. TAURUS.....................................................GEMINI


Dear Aries, your totem or spirit animal right now is the CHAMELEON. If you are a typical Aries-Sun person, you may not think this creature could possibly be of any use to you. After all, Aries Rams are the last ones anyone would expect to “blend into the background.” As an active, cardinal, fire sign, Aries usually tries to lead the charge or, at the very least, make their presence known to one and all. But maybe, just maybe, right now you need to hold back a bit, dear Aries. It’s not about being passive. It’s about waiting, containing yourself until you know it’s the right time to step up and be noticed.


Dear Taurus, your totem or spirit animal right now is the DOG. You already exhibit the characteristics of loyalty and faithfulness, but in this case the Dog may be calling your attention to the need to decide whether you are trying to serve too many masters. Not only that, dear Taurus, but you may need to ask yourself “why” you are trying to serve those people or things. The Dog may also be encouraging you to think about whether all of these “masters” really deserve your loyalty and faithfulness. You may wish to honor someone as your teacher without obeying them as your “master.”


Dear Gemini, your totem or spirit animal right now is the SEAGULL. This is certainly a fitting creature for an Air sign, don’t you think? In this case, we are looking at a bird flying over a large body of water. Since the element water represents the emotions or subconscious, the Seagull may be trying to help you express your emotions, whether by sharing them with another person, recording them in a journal, or simply paying closer attention to how you feel about something. Your sign ruler, Mercury, is the planet of the mind and intellect, so the Seagull may be encouraging you to bring your head and heart into balance.

CANCER.............................................. LEO.....................................................VIRGO


Dear Cancer, your totem or spirit animal right now is the ZEBRA. It is not unusual for someone with a Cancer-Sun to be fearful. As a water sign, you are highly sensitive and easily hurt, retreating into your shell when threatened. The Zebra reminds you that when you feel afraid, dear Cancer, it can be helpful to consider whether it is your thoughts about circumstances or events that are frightening you rather than the circumstances or events themselves. The Zebra offers you his alertness, sure-footedness, and confidence to help you determine if a threat is real or imagined, and if real, protection and guidance to help you feel grounded and centered.


Dear Leo, your totem or spirit animal right now is the ROADRUNNER. As the “King of Beasts,” you may wonder what a Roadrunner has to offer you. Well, as a fixed fire sign, dear Leo, you may have a tendency to take things very seriously or to become defensive and combative when challenged. Roadrunner encourages you to keep a sense of humor about your experiences if at all possible. Speedy, agile, and adaptable, the Roadrunner advises you to take a deep breath, lighten up, and appreciate the absurdities and ironies in almost everything.


Dear Virgo, your totem or spirit animal right now is the MOUNTAIN GOAT. This may seem a more appropriate guide for the sign Capricorn, but like that sign, Virgo is an earth sign known for steadiness and reliability. If you feel that some of your steadiness or reliability is in danger of slipping, dear Virgo, the Mountain Goat is here to help you get back on track. If you have the perfectionist tendencies of many Virgo-Suns, you will feel much better when the various elements of your life are balanced and mutually supportive. Let the Mountain Goat help you get your bearings and correct anything that is “off.”

      LIBRA................................................. SCORPIO..............................................SAGITTARIUS


Dear Libra, your totem or spirit animal right now is the SPIDER. With your sign ruler, Venus, being the planet of beauty and art, the creative spark offered by the Spider is sure to be welcome. You may or may not appreciate actual spiders, dear Libra, but you can’t help admiring the intricate, delicate, and highly useful webs they create. If you are like many Libra-Suns, you may be easily distracted or have trouble focusing single-mindedly on one issue or project. The Spider is here to loan you some of its ability to connect, communicate, and focus on a creation.


Dear Scorpio, your totem or spirit animal right now is the TIGER. With Scorpio being the sign of power and control, you may feel that you do not need the leadership skills offered by the Tiger. However, dear Scorpio, you may also share the typical Scorpio-Sun tendency to be somewhat suspicious and less than transparent about your own agenda. These characteristics can impair your ability to lead successfully, but with the Tiger’s assistance, you will be up to the challenge. As a water sign, you are sensitive and may doubt your own proficiency. The Tiger can help you out there as well, inspiring self-confidence and self-awareness.


Dear Sagittarius, your totem or spirit animal right now is the WOLVERINE. This tough, fierce, resourceful creature is a very nice match for the typically adventurous Sagittarius spirit. As an active fire sign, you probably have plenty of self-assurance and assertiveness, but unexpected events can shake even the Centaur’s confidence. If you are feeling that some adversity or challenge is getting the better of you, call on the Wolverine to stand beside you. Remember that persistence and endurance are at least as important as brute strength and flashy, courageous behavior.

        CAPRICORN...................................... AQUARIUS.................................................PISCES


Dear Capricorn, your totem or spirit animal right now is the MOUSE. Like most earth signs, Capricorn is usually no slouch when it comes to attention to detail, determination, and orderliness and in Capricorn’s case, it doesn’t hurt to have a sign-ruler like taskmaster Saturn. But the Mouse is here for you anyway, dear Capricorn, encouraging you to use caution and to be thoughtful in your decisions and actions. In your commendable pursuit of some over-arching life-goal, you may be missing some important details that truly matter to the outcome of your efforts. It won’t hurt to pay closer attention to what’s going on.


Dear Aquarius, your totem or spirit animal right now is the POLAR BEAR. If you’re like many Aquarius-Suns, you’re no stranger to the truth, and you don’t shy away from defending it. The Polar Bear reminds you that you are a force to be reckoned with, dear Aquarius, capable of fearless leadership, self-control, and even nobility. Your compassion and care for others will come across loud and clear. Though you may or may not get what you want, your chances are far better if you do ask. No matter how things turn out, you will make the decisions and taken the actions that express your power and wisdom.


Dear Pisces, your totem or spirit animal right now is the HONEYBEE. Of all the zodiac signs, Pisces is one of the most compassionate, forgiving, and cooperative. Your heartfelt empathy and concern are legendary. The Honeybee is here to prompt you to manifest those qualities in a particular situation or relationship. If you feel critical of another person, take a moment to go inside yourself and look for that part of you that is exactly like what you are judging in that other person. Whether you see that sort of connection or not, this is a time for a community effort, working together with others towards a common goal.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Lenormand 5-card Line: New Apartment for Mom?

Today I’m revisiting the question of when an assisted living apartment might come open for my mother. I did a reading in July that you can see _HERE_ .

It appears that my Yes-Yes-No response from the Lenormand cards in that reading turned out to mean “NO.” (At least as far as I know… and I don’t know what might have been going on behind the scenes. It’s possible that something “almost” became available.)

Let’s see what the Dreaming Way Lenormand (artwork by Kwon Shina / U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) says in answer to the same question today: Will an assisted living apartment become available for Mom within the next 30 days?

Instead of a 3-card line this time, I am going to use a technique I saw in Sylvie Steinbach’s book The Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle. For this technique, I decide which card represents the issue being explored. The HOUSE card is typically used for issues related to moving or changing residence. I choose any card, at random, from the deck and turn it upright. I keep doing that until I pull the HOUSE card. I keep the two cards I pulled immediately before I drew HOUSE. Then I turn over two cards after that to create a 5-card line with HOUSE in the middle, and the two cards drawn immediately before and after HOUSE on either side. Here is the result:


The SUN card is always nice to see, as it typically represents optimism and success. Taken as an individual card the ANCHOR suggests to me that Mom is likely to be able to stay in the retirement complex where she currently lives, that it is her home. Therefore, if she needs to have an assisted living apartment, one will become available there.

Sylvie Steinbach interprets SUN plus ANCHOR as “legacy, long-term success, empire.” Her keywords for ANCHOR plus HOUSE are: “family estate, inherited family home, final residence.” That makes sense, and is also encouraging.

The LADY card, I think, probably refers to my mother. In fact “mother” is a keyword that Sylvie Steinbach offers for that card.

The RIDER card often suggests positive news and change, movement, and opportunity. Notice that the horse on this card is going in one direction, while the Rider faces the opposite direction. In the booklet that accompanies this Lenormand deck, Lynn Araujo writes: “Though the Rider looks back, she trusts her horse to carry her eagerly forward toward her destiny…” Both the LADY and the RIDER are looking “back” at the HOUSE, but the horse carries them forward, onward, and into the future.

Sylvie Steinbach’s keywords for HOUSE plus LADY: “housewife, landlady, real estate agent.” When asked her “occupation,” on a form, my mother always answers “housewife.” And, yes, she is very particular about how her house looks, the decorating, and so forth. It is much more than a “place” to her. It’s a very personal space.

And for LADY plus RIDER, Steinbach writes: “new relationship with an attractive man.” Well. I’m not so sure about that. Although, it doesn’t say “romantic relationship,” so perhaps this is another type of relationship, and the man just happens to be attractive. It will be interesting to see how that might develop.

If I use the formula I have used in other Lenormand yes-or-no readings, this group of five cards consists of three red (YES) answers and two black (NO) answers. Once again, a mixed bag, as if the cards are hedging their bets.

I have to say that I find it interesting that the question specifically mentions “the next 30 days,” and I pulled cards numbered 29 and 31. I don’t know what that means, it’s just interesting.

It’s time to admit that before I did this 5-card line, I did the same 3-card line I did a month ago to answer this question. I’m not going to share the whole thing here, but the yes-no ratio was two NO to one YES. And the ANCHOR was one of the three cards. I have to think it has special significance for my mother’s situation.

If I wanted to be whimsical, I would speculate that since it is card number 35, an assisted living apartment is likely to become available in 35 (not 30) days. But more importantly, I feel that this is telling us that Mom is likely to be able to stay where she is – in that retirement complex – rather than facing the need to move to an assisted living apartment in a completely different facility. (She and the family would prefer that she stay where she is.)