Friday, 18 April 2014

Overview of the Tarot de St Croix

Having said on Monday that one of the cards which originally put me off the Tarot de St Croix (self-published, 2013) was the Fool, wouldn't you know it popped out to show its face in this brief overview!  As ever, though, reading the companion booklet makes sense of this stripy Fool, and makes me like the card better than the image alone.  The artist explains that this is based on "the Pueblo Indian sacred clown Koshare."  This Coyote-masked trickster reminds us to be playful and look beyond our fears.  Lisa tells a story of a time when she played the unwitting Fool in a Zuni Indian ceremony, with a reminder to laugh at ourselves.

This is a fair representation of what is found in the description of all the Majors: culturally varied and interesting takes on archetypal ideas, with personal anecdotes and interesting key meanings.  There are plenty of insights, too, into the inspiration behind the cards, from everyday experiences to different artistic masterpieces.

Although I normally see the King of Wands as quite dynamic and charismatic, and generally associate him with a younger figure than that shown here, I like this Magician-like character.  This King is good at getting things done, whether through enthusiasm, his own skills, harnessing those of the people around him, or a combination of these and more.  Lisa de St Croix chose to base this card on a marble "pavement" showing Hermes Trismegistus, who is used for the Magician in a number of other decks.

Moving on to the Aces, the Ace of Cups shows a perfect wave cresting in the background, with a champagne flute spilling over in the foreground.  I love this variation on traditional Ace of Cups imagery.  To me, it speaks of the sometimes overwhelming nature of love, and also of the joy and celebration it encompasses.

Finally, we have a regular Minor, the Seven of Wands.  This card clearly indicates the multi-cultural nature of this deck, which is another aspect that appeals to me about it.  I guess California is as much of a mixing pot as my home city, London.  So, it's good to see different ethnicities and cultures represented.  In this instance, the card shows Brazilian Indians marching to defend their land.  I like Lisa's keyphrase: stand up for what you believe in!   I sometimes see the Seven of Wands as fighting enemies that are more in your mind than truly around you.  That could also be read here, in the sense that challenges to traditional ways of life may or may not be a bad thing, depending on your perspective and the context.  So, the card is open to many interpretations, always a good thing in my eyes.

Altogether, this deck has already become a firm favourite.  It ticks so many of my boxes: beautiful, well-executed artwork; a thoughtful, varied take on traditional meanings; diverse cultural elements; and a well-written companion booklet.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Tarot de St Croix Weekly Reading

I saw this deck a while back, and wasn't sure about it, put off slightly by the orange borders, and the stripiness of the Fool.  Yet, something drew me back to the Tarot de St Croix (self-published, 2013), and I ended up clicking to buy it.  I'm very glad I did, I can see this becoming a regular reading deck!  Anyhow, more about that on Friday.  For the moment, here's this week's reading.

Body - Two of Pentacles

A woman stands on a dark/silver pentacle, and reaches her arms up to a gold/white pentacle above her.  She is naked, back to us, with energy pouring like a cleansing shower from the pentacle above her.  A lemniscate of energy flows through her, and the background is a starry sky.

How can you help your body be more balanced this week?

Mind - Ace of Wands

A wooden wand burns at one end, while little white and pink flowers bloom along its length.  There is both energy and growth here, a card full of potential.

What new project will you put your mind to this week?

Spirit - Six of Wands

Three women stand together, lighting the candles of those who come to them.  In unity is strength and the ability to share that passion, that light, with others.  Looking in the companion booklet, this is Brigid in her triple goddess form, lighting the candle of inspiration in those who come to her.

How can you inspire others this week?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Overview of the Spirit of Flowers Tarot

As I mentioned on Monday, this deck, although pretty, does not really cut it for me as a reading deck.  It has clearly been well researched, with meanings given for every flower.  And yet, the flower meanings don't always match either the stated card meaning or any traditional notion of the tarot meaning.  Furthermore, all the cards show a flower and a fairy, with little or no additional symbolism other than for the Majors.

Temperance, for instance, has some of the traditional symbolism you'd expect: an angelic-looking fairy dressed all in white and pouring liquid from one container (a jug) into another (the 'cup' of a pink/red flower).  The jug/flower work to suggest the combining of different elements, the notion of balancing, and the sense of healing often found in this card. 

As for the LWB, I find it more bizarre than helpful: "Temperance: Lily
In the language of flowers: innocent love.
Recovery, readjustment, peace, harmony, cooperation, frugality, friendship, study, chastity, friend, young man."
"Young man"?!  Really?  And "friend" also isn't something I've ever connected to this card.  I guess I can see the links to recovery, peace, harmony, frugality and even chastity, but overall this is one of those rather useless Lo Scarabeo LWB's.

The Courts work rather less well as cards in my eyes than the Majors, given they all show pretty, young fairies.  Take the Queen of Pentacles.  Her earthiness comes across a little through the choice of colours (yellow, green and brown), and the location.  Though given the flower theme, all the scenery is 'outdoorsy'.  However, other than that there is nothing to symbolise her practicality, her nurturing or ability to make the most of what she has to hand.  She's just a pretty, yellow, butterfly fairy with a pair of yellow flowers behind her :(

I quite like the Aces, though once again, if you see them in the context of the rest of the deck they are more of the same: pretty fairy with a flower.  Still, if we take the Ace of Wands, the choice of shape and colour works well for me.  She seems to be emerging, somewhat prickly, and full of fire and enthusiasm.

The number cards are the weakest of the deck, in my opinion.  As here, with the Ten of Swords, there is nothing in the symbolism to suggest endings, pain, overkill, or drama, any of which I would expect to see in this card.  While the LWB does give pain as one keyword, it also states that the Hawthorn represents hard-fought love *confused face*  And the picture just has a pretty blonde fairy under a bow of hawthorn blossom, looking happy as can be - bah!

For those who read purely on the basis of suit and number, this would still be a readable deck.  However, if you like to actually look at the card images, or have prompts from them, then this probably isn't a deck for you.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Weekly Reading With The Spirit Of Flowers Tarot

I ordered this Lo Scarabeo deck, the Spirit of Flowers Tarot (2014) because I thought it looked cute.  I am often a fan of Antonella Castelli's artwork, and Laura Tan has authored a number of good decks. Unfortunately, this is one of those Lo Scarabeo decks that gives the company a bad name.

The LWB gives meanings for all the flowers on the cards, and for the cards, which seem barely related to each other, and not at all to traditional meanings.  For example, for the Two of Pentacles we have:
"Calendula.  In the language of flowers: relief from worries.
Difficulties, obstacles, emotions, worries, anxiety, fears, delays, debt, bills of exchange."

On top of that, all the cards basically have a flower and a little fairy on them.  A lot of these give little or no symbolic or postural clues to the card's meaning.  So, I will basically read them using numerological and suit associations, or based on traditional meanings.

Body - Two of Chalices - What kind of partnership do you have with your body?

Mind - The Tower - Which of your thoughts could do with shaking up?

Spirit - Two of Pentacles - How might you prioritise your spiritual needs this week?

Friday, 4 April 2014

Overview of the Petra K Tarot

I still have strangely mixed feelings about this deck, the Petra K Tarot (Piatnik).  Some of the cards just don't make sense to me, others fascinate me, and all are definitely beautiful.  So, let's take a closer look at a cross-section of the cards.

The Star card is one that is generally joyful and beautiful, and Petra K's version is no exception.  It is unusual, though, in having a palm-tree-like trunk rising up, with a naked woman in an extreme backbend at the top, haloed by a six-pointed star.  The colours are warm and joyful, the idea of vulnerability is definitely there, and yet also a sense of dedication and enlightenment.  While not a typical take on the card, and without such a clear sense of external guidance, it is still quite readable, I think.

The Knight of Disks is far less typical still.  The Knight's helmet is a lovely gold, and he seems supported by brown rocks, which are appropriate to the earthiness of his suit.  Yet, he needs that support as his head appears to be floating on a pool of water, with a purple sky in the background.  This is a rather watery image for this normally down-to-earth chap, and suggests more wisdom coming from emotional depths than the practical stolidness I associate with this archetype.

Likewise, the Ace of Disks is very beautiful.  The colours are warm, full of reds, golds, greens and browns, with a tree below a golden disk, and red leaves above.  And yet, the whole thing appears as though reflected in water, swimming uncertainly across the card's surface.  The sense of a seed planted that can grow into something material is there, but the wateriness of the Knight is there, too, detracting from the groundedness and practicality of the card.  It is more like the dream of material possibilities, rather than the possibilities themselves.

I do adore the last card drawn, though, the Two of Cups.  The warm peach of the bowls of the cups suggests a loving energy, and contrasts nicely with the watery turquoise around them.  Altogether, the card has a feeling of coming together in unity and difference both, with love and clarity of communication - lovely!

I'm not sure I'd use this as a regular reading deck.  It's one that is more about getting to know the deck and how you respond to it than being a "plug'n'play" type.  Yet, the beauty of the imagery would certainly make it a joy to spend some time with...