Saturday, 31 December 2011

Changes Spread

Sara Donaldson, TABI Ezine and Tracker editor extraordinaire, came up with a spread for the December issue of Tracker that seems very appropriate to look at the energy around the New Year.  So, I thought I'd use it to do a reading for TABI.  It's called the Changes Spread (Sara Donaldson, 2011) and you can see the layout below:

Please excuse the dubious photography!
The positions are:

Card 1 - represents the old TABI - VII - The Chariot

Card 2 - represents TABI now - Six of Cups

Card 3 - represents the TABI to come - Ten of Swords

Card 4 - what facilitated the change from 1 to 2 - Ace of Wands

Card 5 - what will facilitate the change from 2 to 3 - Seven of Wands

Card 6 - the positives of the change from 2 to 3 - IV - The Emperor

Card 7 - the negatives of the change from 2 to 3 - X - The World

Card 8 - the positives of the change from 1 to 2 - Five of Pentacles

Card 9 - the negatives of the change from 1 to 2 - The Hanged Man

Card 10 - what TABI needs to know right now - Two of Pentacles

So, TABI was guided clearly in the past (Card 1 - The Chariot), with the occasional tug in different directions by people with conflicting ideas about what they wanted from the organisation.  Now (Card 2 - Six of Cups), it has the potential to move in a new direction, fulfilling people's desire for enlightenment and a sense of connection with like-minded others.  There is a renewed sense of hope and joy here.  As for what is to come (Card 3 - Ten of Swords), there is perhaps the need for the end of the old era, a sense of closure and change allowing movement towards something new.  Only by clearly finishing one thing can we move with clarity towards a new path.

What facilitated the change from how TABI was to how it is now (Card 4 - Ace of Wands) was an injection of creative new ideas and enthusiasm.  It's not just about having a new Chair, but about lots of people thinking about what needs to change and how they can help this process.  The positives of this change (Card 8 - Five of Pentacles) can best be seen in the way that people have pulled together to support both TABI and one another through this transition.  The negatives of this change (Card 9 - The Hanged Man) are that TABI is still somewhat in limbo.  Hence the 10 of Swords as where we're headed - we need that clarity.

What will facilitate the change from where TABI is now to where it will go (Card 5 - Seven of Wands) is a willingness to take action to defend the seeds of change sown by the Ace of Wands.  A certain dynamism and protectiveness may be required, standing up for what TABI has the potential to become in the face of people who are comfortable with the status quo, or in the face of outside influences.  The positives of this change (Card 6 - The Emperor) are to be found in the creation of new structures to support this new direction.  These are already being worked on in the form of groups looking at how to improve the webpage and forums, as well as looking at the rules and processes in the statutes and how these can be streamlined.  The negatives (Card 7 - Wheel of Fortune) are that change is always a bit of a scary prospect, even if it is change for the good.  So, people may need to be encouraged to see that this is a natural part of the life cycle of TABI.

Finally, what we need to know right now (Card 10 - Two of Pentacles) is that TABI can weather these changes with poise and aplomb.  There is the potential to find a new balance that will be empowering and enjoyable for the membership.  This is a path to a new dawn, and though the road may not always be easy, it's a good route to travel, with lots of jewels of knowledge and friendship to be garnered along the way. 

I really enjoyed this reading, and hope it will prove useful to TABI in the year to come...

Just a reminder that Tracker is TABI's monthly newsletter, but anyone can subscribe without having to be a member.  Just follow this link and sign up in the box on the left.

Environmental Metamorphosis

This week we see the change from 2011 to 2012.  So, I decided to draw from the Tarot of Metamorphosis (Lo Scarabeo, 2005) which is all about change and transitions.  It's a fairly non-traditional deck, a strange fantasy/sci-fi hybrid which is quite surreal.

On this New Year's Eve, the card I pulled is the Two of Wands.  Rather than someone contemplating the world from on high, here we have a rather gentle-looking swamp man.  Flowers, grass and foliage grow from his hands and hair.  An iguana sits on his head, looking rather worried, while a hummingbird sups from a flower growing from his left index finger.  His expression is beatific: calm and meditative.

What I see here is a suggestion to examine what is around us and how we fit into the world.  A reminder, too, that no man is an island: we are always part of the web of life, connected to the other beings on this planet.

Who and what do you rely on?  And what do you contribute to the web of life?  What can you commit to doing that will make your local area or community a better place?  What change would you like to see in 2012?  How can you help make that change happen?

Friday, 30 December 2011

Crystal Castle

What a beautiful way to end this week with the Crystal Visions Tarot!

Here we have a woman sitting in the crook of a tree, with a wolf beside her and a deer to one side and a little behind her.  There are also female figures carved into or growing out of the two branches that rise to either side of the main figures in the tree crook.  By the roots of the tree, clear crystals sprout from the ground like flowers.  Ten pentacles decorate the tree, six below where the woman and wolf sit, four more to the side and above them.  The pentacles are golden disks with large crystals of varying hues in the centre and six smaller crystals surrounding them.  In the background, a beautiful castle with high turrets is bathed in a radiant light. 

Instead of a traditional family, as seen in the RWS version of this card, here the family is one of the woman's own making: the wolf who leans against her and the deer who gazes up at the two of them, unable to climb the tree.  Although they may not be all the same, they share a bond of friendship that runs deep and true - a family of the spirit, rather than of blood.  The wisdom of ancestors, often depicted by a grandfatherly figure, here takes the form of the wood sprites looking down from the branches that hold the woman and wolf.

Who are the family you choose, the family of your heart?  Have you told them lately what they mean to you?  What knowledge or skills have you gained from ancestors, be they in the form of family, mentors, or even authors?  How could you use that knowledge or those skills today?  What and where are "home"?  And what can you do to make where you live more homely?  What wealth surrounds you that you may not always notice and appreciate?

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Yule Ezine Out

One of the member's only perks of TABI is a quarterly Ezine, the Yule edition of which is now out.  If you're a member, head on over to the Forum to download your copy.  If you're not, here's just some of what you're missing:

A fascinating article by Bonnie Cehovet about working with the shadow using Tarot birth cards.

A review by Emma Sunerton-Burl of the Xultun Tarot and companion book, giving insight into Mayan history and mythology, as well as looking at the psychological work of C.G. Jung and the writings of Carlos Castaneda.

A look at the Sustain Yourself cards and handbook by James Wanless, written by Alison Cross.

A review by Bonnie Cehovet of the Tarot of Holy Light.

An interview with Robert Swiryn, author of "The Secret of the Tarot".

TABI membership is only £10 a year - a bargain!

Crystal Change

The Crystal Visions Tarot continues to show a gentle face, today, despite this being a "challenging" card.

In this version of Death the inscription reads "Vita mutatur non tollitur" which translates as "Life is changed, not taken away".  This message of transformation is emphasised by the butterflies gliding up on beams of light, and the very angelic Death figure holding an ankh, symbol of eternal life.  A woman's form seems to blend into the rock on which she lies, making us question whether she is a corpse or a stone effigy.  In either case, she seems to be becoming a part of her surroundings.

Nevertheless, even a change may lead us to grieve.  Knowing that we will never be the same again, or experience the same things or see a particular person, are still reasons to mourn even if the change has positive elements, too.  The angel reminds of this, with downcast head covered and hand held out in blessing.  The angel says goodbye and acknowledges the sadness of this transition.

Is there something or someone in your life that you need to let go of?  Would thinking of this as a change rather than an ending help make it any easier?  Sometimes we just need to allow ourselves to feel the pain of loss, rather than fighting or denying it.  How can you support yourself to experience your grief?

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Crystal Water

Today, the Crystal Visions Tarot offers an interesting take on the King of Cups.

I like the fact that he is sat on a boulder by a pool, instead of on a throne.  Still, he has plenty of insignia of his rank - a trident wand, a trident crown, a golden cup, a huge red crystal over his sternum, gold armbands around his upper arms, and a gold necklace at his throat.  Behind him, a full moon shines between overhanging foliage, while in front of him is the pond.  One foot rests on a rock in the pool, the other foot resting in the water.  Lotus flowers bloom in the pool in front of him, and reeds sway behind him.

The symbolism feels quite different to traditional versions of this King.  For one thing, the water around him is calm and still.  For another, it is just a pool, rather than the churning ocean.  And then there's the fact that, rather than sitting on a plinth out of the water, he is actually getting one foot wet.  These things suggest to me that this King is willing to allow himself to experience his emotions while still keeping a sense of perspective.  He is in control, but not by holding himself rigidly.  Years of practising inner calm and mindfulness mean that he knows and is undaunted by his emotions, and is able to tune in to his intuition. 

What helps you remain calm in emotional situations?  When do you trust your intuition and what can you do to check it from some other perspective?  What do you find meditative: walking in nature, gazing at the stars, visualisations, listening to music?  Can you take some time today to do something for your own peace of mind?

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Crystal Wand

I am delighted by the vibrant, passionate colours of the Crystal Visions Tarot.  Today, these are show-cased in the Ace of Wands.

A cute little pink dragon twines around a ruby-encrusted wand, with a crimson sky in the background, and pink flowers growing around it.  A couple of bubbles float near the base of the wand, and the huge ruby at its tip shines brightly.

I get a real sense of passion, power and potential from this card.  There is nothing heavy-handed here, nothing bullying or forceful, despite being powerful.  The dragon is fiery, yet with beautiful translucent wings.  And the flowers and delicate bubbles suggest this is not an enthusiasm and fire that will destroy, but rather that have creative potential, with an emphasis on the aesthetically pleasing.

However, not everyone is an artist who can paint or draw or sculpt, or even knit or sew.  Yet there are so many ways to express our inspiration.  Cooking, writing poetry, singing, devising that perfect outfit, or even bringing some creativity to a work presentation...

What would you like to create today?  How can you express your vision?  What seed can you sow to create a more beautiful world?

Monday, 26 December 2011

Crystal Strength

Today, the Crystal Visions Tarot offers us another card from the Major Arcana.

There are many traditional elements in this Strength card: from the main characters being a woman and a lion to the lemniscate (infinity symbol) which graces the crystal-topped wand the woman holds, to the way her hand rests on the lion's jaw.  Yet the wand itself is something different, as are the eagles that fly above and the sunflowers around them, as well as the fact that woman and lion sit on a rocky plinth.

To me, this card suggests that part of inner strength comes from being able to get perspective on a situation (the eagles), as well as being able to control our inner urges and use their energy in a productive way, without self-recriminations (the woman gently controlling the lion).  There is also a suggestion of the power of intent and will in finding our inner strength (the wand), and a potential for growth through illumination (the sunflowers) if we manage this act of taming our more brutish aspects.

In this festive season, are there any base urges you would like to gain control of?  What might best help you with this?  Do you need to get a different perspective on the situation?  Would some kind of talisman or ritual help you focus your intent?  Do you find communing with nature helps you to clear your mind and connect with your Higher Self?  Bringing good cheer rather than self-criticism to any situation is likely to allow us to deal with it more effectively, so what can you do to foster a happier outlook today?

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Crystal Clear Queen

On this Christmas morning, the Crystal Visions Tarot offers us a Fairy Queen, the Queen of Swords.

I love this version of the Queen of Swords!  Probably because I often associate myself with the Queen of Swords, being a double Gemini woman.  And some versions show her as a bitter, old harridan, which of course she can be: with a sharp wit and sharper tongue, and not being one to suffer fools gladly.  However, on the more positive side we see here her potential for transformation, for following ideas as they lead her towards brighter paths, and her willingness to leave behind pain and allow her spirit to soar on the breath of life.  Having experienced some of the pain of life, we can allow it to turn us sour or we can allow it to open our hearts to ourselves and others.  In this I see the shadow and the light side of the Queen of Swords.

What difficult situations have you been through lately?  Can you learn from these?  And did these situations make you feel bitter, or will you let them help you be more empathic?  Can you communicate with kindness and respect for what others have been through?  If you could choose to transform one thing in your life, what would it be?  What ideas might help you on that path?

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Crystal Sunrise

For this Christmas week I decided to use the recently released Crystal Visions Tarot (U.S.Games, 2011) by Jessica Galasso.

What a lovely way to start, with this beautiful version of the Fool.  When I looked at it today, it brought the phrase "To fly beyond the sunset" to mind.  I was sure it came from something, and when I googled it I realised my mistake - I was thinking of To Sail Beyond the Sunset.  Anyhow, Galasso's Fool looks like she is about to take flight and join the flock of butterfulies that flit around her.  One foot is already stepping off the rocky ledge on which she stands, wrapped around with a ribbon, while other ribbons fly in her hair and from her clothes.  Will these transform into butterfly wings as she transitions to the air?  Or will the butterflies take hold of the ribbons to bear her upward?  Or is she stepping off, to plunge into the pool below her?  It feels as though, one way or the other, a change is coming, something that will start her on a new path.

I see here a willingness to be open to new possibilities and opportunities, to not pre-judge what we see or hear.  The Fool often brings Beginner's Mind to a situation, an openness to experience and a lack of preconceptions.  In itself, this can be transformative, allowing us to see a situation from a wholy different perspective.  It makes me think that this is more about sunrise than sunset - the dawning of a new day, with all the possibilities that offers.

Is there a new opportunity opening up for you today?  Or could you use this energy to look with new eyes at an old situation?  What would support you in taking the plunge into something different?  This energy today makes me think of the book title: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.  What would you do if you could approach life with confidence and trust?

Friday, 23 December 2011

Cat's Truth

For my final draw with the Cat's Eye Tarot, the Ace of Swords has come out to play.

In this deck, all the Aces show a cat's paw reaching out to a symbol of the suit's element.  Here, a dainty siamese paw stretches to catch a loose feather from a white cockatoo.  The cockatoo looks on from its window-side perch with some trepidation. 

A feather, like an idea, can be hard to get ahold of: it can easily float away, eluding our grasp.  Likewise, our words often tumble about, skittering here and there despite our best intentions.  And the truth, well, does it even exist as a single thing?  Or, like a feather, is it made up of many other smaller bits?  And, if looked at in one light it may seem one way, while if seen from another direction it may take on a totally different?

Words and ideas aren't always innocent, either.  Even if they are not ill-intentioned, someone else may see them that way, just as the cockatoo here may see the cat's playful batting of a floating feather as a potential threat.

What truth do you need to examine today?  Is there a new idea on your horizons?  How do you choose to communicate with others?  Can you be gentle as well as incisive?

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Cat Methodicalness

The Cat's Eye Tarot is certainly giving us the opportunity to look at quite a few Court cards, which many find the hardest to read in any deck.  Good practice, then :)

A young male tabby cat lies in the grass, looking relaxed but alert.  He isn't ready to pounce or swipe, to hunt or chase, to prowl or stalk.  In fact, he doesn't look like he's doing much of anything except enjoying the day, the soft grass under him, and the entertainment offered by watching life go by.  A far less dynamic energy than the other Knights, then, but still very aware and engaged.  He is on the ground, representing the Pentacles connection to the element of earth, and his colouring shows this, too.   He may not be about to leap into action, yet there is a feeling of preparation here.  He's not just taking it easy, but looks like he's checking out the situation so that when he does decide to act he'll have everything under control.

This the kind of methodicalness I associate with the Knight of Pentacles.  He's not the romantic type to sweep you off your feet like the Knight of Cups, nor the charming, passionate firecracker who leaps in feet first like the Knight of Wands, nor the hot-headed, intelligent and scheming Swords Knight.  He's more of the "slow but steady wins the race" type, who may not seem as exciting as the others, but who still has a lot to recommend him.  Determined, loyal and methodical, he is likely to achieve what he sets out to do, and is a good friend to have.

Is this energy one that comes easily to you?  If not, what could you do to encourage it in yourself?  Do you know anyone who is like this?  Could you try to model yourself on them a bit today?  What situations might call for slow, steady dedication?  What do you need to prepare for?  Might it be that this card is encouraging you to appreciate someone in your life who expresses these characteristics?  Even if that person is you?

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Cat King

I have to say, the Emperor is not normally a card I'm very keen on.  All that structure and sense of knowing what he wants and how to get it.  I often see Emperor energy as a bit domineering, though I acknowledge the positives to order and building something lasting.  The Cat's Eye Tarot has a rather cute take on this archetype, yet I still see the same fundamental energy here.

A regal-looking fluffy black-and-white cat sits on a chair by the hearth.  He turns to look down at a ginger kitten trying to scale the chair.  It's funny, at different times I get disparate feelings from this card.  Sometimes, it seems the Emperor is looking down at this young upstart, saying, "Don't you know your place?"  As though the Emperor has a very clear idea of what he considers right and wrong, and who should do what and when, and this little kitten hasn't gotten the memo!  Other times, I see him as a more benevolent Emperor - this little kitten is learning the ropes, and that's something the Emperor is happy to help teach.  "A cat's place is on a comfy chair by the fire." I hear him saying to Ginger.

How do you feel about order and structure?  Do you see them as supports or as boundaries, or something else entirely?  What limits and/or authority do you fight against?  Which patterns and routines do you find helpful?  Can you find a good balance between these?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Cat Break-Ups

The Cat's Eye Tarot doesn't pull its punches with today's card!

Left on a pier, with a cage and an "Alley Cat" bowl, this black-and-white charmer's luck seems to have run out.  A woman walks away, taking another cat with her.  Who will the remaining cat miss more, the human or the other cat?  And what were they to one another - siblings, parent and child, friends, lovers?  The cat's pose speaks of despondency and mourning.  Does the cat left behind live on the houseboat with the woman's ex?  Does this mark the end of more than one relationship?  If that's the case, I guess the equivalent of the ignored upright cups in more traditional versions of this card might be the fact that the cat and the houseboat owner still have each other...

Is there a situation in your life that leaves you feeling sad and regretful?  Or just plain lonely?  The end of any kind of relationship can be painful, be it a friend or lover, a family member you no longer talk to or someone who has died.  This card reminds us to ask: who is left in my life?  Who can offer me support and solace?  Or how can I help myself to let go and move on?  Can you think about what else in your life you are grateful for, even now?  What might distract you, even for a little, from these emotions?  Breaking the cycle of sadness, just for a moment, can help bring a different perspective, and reconcile us to where we are now.  What can you do today to bring a smile to your face?

Monday, 19 December 2011


Another Swords Court card wants to have its say today.  The Knight of Swords from the Cat's Eye Tarot is full of attitude.

An elegant siamese, his mouth is open to hiss or yowl at whatever poor unfortunate has aroused his wrath.  At any moment he might turn and pounce, or just take a swipe with a seemingly dainty paw that hides strong, sharp claws.  Woe betide any bird who comes to taunt him, for he is agile and fast, willing to take risks in pursuit of his goal.  He won't just defend his territory, but is also quick to go on the offence.  He stands on a wooden deck, with a view out over the surrounding landscape - a good vantage point.

Would this energy be useful to you today?  What situations call for quick thinking and action?  When is a willingness to charge into something a positive?  Can you defend yourself verbally, and will it benefit you to do so?  How can you get a better perspective on what's going on to help you decide how to react?

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Cat Wisdom

There are very few human's in the Cat's Eye Tarot, and all the Court cards are represented by different cats.  Today we meet the King of Swords. 

This Himalayan tom looks out at us with wise eyes.  He's big and fluffy, but that doesn't diminish his experience and intelligence.  Coming originally from the mountain range between India and China, home of the Dalai Lama, these cats have many strengths.  What I see here is an ability to survive hardship, a deep spiritual connection, an open mind, and ultimately a willingness to make tough decisions.  His eyes are blue, colour of communication.  The way he stands in the cat flap, neither out nor in, speaks of being able to see different perspectives.  It also suggests a willingness to defend a point of view, and that ultimately he can and will choose.  He has a certain gravitas, too, I think.

Is there a situation in your life where people hold different views, and you need to make a choice?  Or where you have several options available, which are hard to choose between?  Can you take the time to look at the options objectively?  What would help you make the decision?  How can you communicate what you want clearly?  What would be for the highest good in this case?

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Cat Call

This week I will be drawing from the recently released Cat's Eye Tarot (U.S. Games, 2011).  I've been waiting impatiently for this deck since I first saw images of it on Aeclectic back in 2006!  It's been a long time coming, but definitely worth the wait :)  And I was fortunate enough to join a group order through TABI, so we got the deck for a very good price - another perk of this lovely organisation.

So, for this first draw we meet the Lovers.  Two beautiful, fluffy tabby cats sit cosily together indoors.  However, the tom has his eye on a cute little black cat outside.

All about choices, then!  Do we choose love, even if it sometimes involves mundane and run-of-the-mill everyday stuff?  Or do we choose passion and adventure?  Of course, this isn't just about relationships.  It might be that we face a choice between playing it safe in a job we know, or taking a risk with a career change, or just a new employer.  Or maybe we need to choose between sticking to a diet we know or radically changing the way we eat.

What choices do you face today?  Do you have any assumptions about which choice is "right" or "good"?  How else might you look at the different options?  Is there a way to reconcile them?  If you create yourself each day through your choices and actions, who do you want to be today?  Could you allow yourself to be someone different?  What choice will you make?

Friday, 16 December 2011

Whispers of Learning

For this final draw with the Whispering Tarot, I received the Hermit.

Once again, this deck offers a slight twist on the traditional RWS interpretation of this archetype.  Here, we see a young person standing on a path that passes into a tunnel leading up a mountain. He wears a red tunic, colour of passion, and a green hood, colour of growth.  Inside the passage is a lamp, already lit, waiting to be picked up.  And above, on a high ledge, we see an older Hermit dressed in the purple of wisdom, who has already reached the summit on this path to learning.

I like this reminder that we all have to start somewhere when we want to learn something new, or go deeper in our studies.  The fact that we don't know much should never stop us from making a start.  It also suggests that the path is not always easy, it may be dark and steep - we may feel confused and that it is hard work.  Yet the outcome is a new perspective on life, a better understanding of ourselves and the world.

What would help you make a start on something you would like to learn?  How do you best process new ideas and thoughts?  Is meditation what you need today, an inner vision, rather than book learning?  What is is that you want to know and experience?  Taking things to a less esoteric level: could it be that today you just need a bit of time to yourself?  Can you allow yourself that?

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Whispers of Change

Today, the Whispering Tarot offers us a chance at renewal.

The eponymous Tower here is actually a three part building, sitting on a little island.  Fierce waves rise up all about, as though trying to reach the building and suck it in, their power shown by the shipwreck in the background.  Air elementals blow fiercely at the Tower, and a bolt of lightning strikes the highest roof.  Despite the onslaught and desolation, the Tower still seems to stand tall, though there is a fire burning inside the section where the lightning struck.

My sense here is of a situation where there is outward calm in the face of difficulties.  Yet there is transformation going on internally, a reaction to the circumstances which cannot be fought or denied.  Old patterns and structures will eventually have to give way, but something new will be forged in the process.  And perhaps not the whole structure needs to go, though still the largest part of it.

In some ways, this seems quite a positive version of the Tower.  I like that all the elements are involved, though it does suggest a broad set of challenges.  Still, the Tower isn't totally destroyed, and there is the potential for a cleansing flame that will leave behind something new.

What forces around you are driving you towards change?  Do you find it hard to contemplate change?  How can you alter things in your self or your environment to take account of new circumstances?  What parts of yourself are still useful to you, and which might you be better off letting go of?  Are you being exposed to new ideas which affect how you think of yourself?  Is there a new focus that could inform you in choosing a new direction?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Whispers of Passion

Another chance to think about strong, active energy in our lives today, with the King of Wands from Liz Hazel's Whispering Tarot.

This King holds an orb-topped sceptre, an instrument to manifest his will, and which shows a certain foresight.   A green and yellow dragon with white wings wraps around him, symbol of life energy and swift decisiveness.  His robe is red with a purple pattern, indicating his passionate aliveness tempered with wisdom.  His belt is blue, suggesting he talks from his gut - with conviction.

Do you recognise these traits in yourself?   Or is there someone in your life who you associate with this King?  Is this passionate sense of knowing what is right something you approve of, or do you see it as being pushy and opinionated?  What would be the benefits of bringing this energy into your life today?  What do you really believe in and what are you willing to fight for - home, family, religion, politics, justice, friends... yourself?

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Whispers of Movement

Finally we break the spell of emotion, moving out of three days of Cups cards.  The Whispering Tarot offers up the 8 of Wands today, with warmth and movement aplenty.

Two people, one in pink, one in blue, fly on the back of a white-winged dragon, with a blue crest and brown body.  Above them the sun shines as though it were a whirlpool of light.  Below, eight trees stand in the foreground of a valley, through which a river runs, bridged near a small town.  In the background, purple and lilac mountains dominate the skyline.

I have the sense that this movement could take us anywhere - to the mountains, symbols of wisdom and truth.  To the town, symbol of community.  To the trees, symbols of nature and growth.  Or to the sun itself, symbol of warmth and energy.  There is enormous potential here, if we can but harness and direct it.

Is there something that you want or need to focus on right now?  What draws you most - truth, community, growth, illumination?  Where would you travel to, if you could?  If you feel full of energy today, how could you best put it to use, where would you direct it?

Monday, 12 December 2011

Whispers of Equanimity

Today's card from the Whispering Tarot is another Court card, the King of Cups.

In contrast to yesterday's Queen, this chap isn't even getting a toe wet.  Borne along by undine's this King travels safely in his boat.  Two swans fan their wings behind him - perhaps part of the boat, perhaps real birds.  On his head, a shell-like crown, and in his raised left hand a golden cup.  His clothes are green, with a yellow over-tunic.

This feels like a good depiction of the King of Cups: he controls sentiment rather than being controlled by it.  He hears the call of emotion, but can rise above it.  He is guided by it, without being overwhelmed.

What helps you stay calm in emotional situations?  Are your coping strategies helpful, or part of the problem?  How can you stay in touch with your own emotions, and still be fair to others?  Can you find the edge of growth in a particular relationship?  Is there someone in your life who can help when you feel emotionally overwhelmed?  How do they help?  Can you learn from this to empower yourself?

Sunday, 11 December 2011


Louise "Xara" Underhill of Priestess Tarot is now officially the new Chair of TABI.  Please join me in congratulating and thanking her for taking on this thankless task rewarding challenge ;)

Louise was Treasurer of the Association for several years, and has always been an active member, helping out in ways too many to mention.  Good luck with this new role, and remember to have fun, too!

Suits You Spread

©Sara Donaldson, November 2011
As many of you, TABI-members and non-members alike, may know (and if you didn't, you do now), TABI publishes a monthly Newsletter, Tracker, as well as a quarterly Ezine.  Both are edited by the talented Sara Donaldson.  While the Ezine is a members-only perk, Tracker can be subscribed to by anyone (and if you'd like to join the list, click here and sign up in the box on the left).  

Tracker is full of interesting bits and bobs, including a Card of the Month from decks both published and unpublished, snippets of Tarot in the News, and a Spread of the Month.  These spreads are designed by Sara, and are always interesting.  Sara is hoping to publish an eBook of all her spreads in the future, so keep your eyes peeled! 

Another thing you may or may not know is that this evening TABI is holding an Extraordinary General Meeting.  In part it is to ratify some of the reports from last year which were delayed and couldn't be dealt with in the AGM back in November.  The other main point on the Agenda for tonight is confirming our new Chair!  When it is official, I will post the news here ;)

In the meanwhile, I thought I'd use Tracker's Spread of the Month, The Suits You Spread (©Sara Donaldson, November 2011) to do a reading for TABI itself, as we move into this new phase.

Whispering Tarot - Justice, 4 of Wands, 10 of Cups, Ace of Pentacles, 9 of Cups, 3 of Swords - Click to enlarge

Card 1 - What is TABI missing from the suit of Cups - Justice

In the arena of emotions, it seems TABI could do with having people focus on being balanced, measured and fair.  A bit of strategic thinking - weighing up the pros and cons of a suggestion, decision or statement - would not go amiss.  In the foreground, a cat catches a mouse, suggesting that bullying tactics should not be allowed.

Card 2 - What is TABI missing from the suit of Wands - 4 of Wands

Interesting to have a Wands card to represent what is missing in the suit of Wands.  I see a couple of things here.  Firstly, this version shows a pagan handfasting celebration, presided over by the Green Man.  This speaks of celebration, ritual, and commitment.  Given that TABI has been without an official Chair for over a month, this may speak of the need to "make things official" and then celebrate, which will happen tonight :)

Secondly, this idea of celebration brings to mind another item on tonight's agenda - TABI's conference plans for 2012.  Commitment and enthusiasm are also necessary there - it's a lot of work to organise a conference, but the benefits for the members are great!  A coming together and celebrating of all things tarot!

Finally, as the suit of passion and action, the four is actually one of the happiest, most grounded cards, as well as suggesting committment.  So, with any new plans, a structure needs to be put in place and committed to.

Card 3 - What is TABI missing from the suit of Pentacles - 10 of Cups

Pentacles is the suit of material manifestation.  In this depiction of the 10 of Cups, I notice the little hamlet in the background.  Yet in the foreground are fairies in bubbles floating up from the ten cups.  What this suggests to me is that in trying to create a solid basis of community, TABI sometimes forgets the magical aspect of what goes on.  For example, we can take the forum for granted, forgetting the work that needs to go on in the background to keep everything running smoothly. 

There may also be a reminder here to keep the playfulness, joy and fun in doing things - it shouldn't all be just hard work.  We mustn't lose the magic of tarot for the sake of professionalism, otherwise we risk burnout.  

Thinking about the traditional meaning of the card, perhaps this card recommends keeping the "family" feel to TABI, too.  It is a friendly place, and though like any family there can be disagreements, if we remember why we are all here we can hopefully pull together and help each other out.

Card 4 - What is TABI missing from the suit of Swords - Ace of Pentacles

Ha, this certainly seems like a call for the new Chair, as well as everyone else.  We need new ideas that have the potential to create something lasting and nurturing, as well as fun.  One idea from last year which is being put in place now is that of the TABI Bursary.  This may become a yearly thing, offering a helping hand to the tarot community.  However, the call is to come up with other new, practical ideas for this new phase of TABI's life...

Card 5 - What can help TABI balance itself as a whole - 9 of Cups

We had the 9 of Cups come up yesterday, too.  What I see here with regard to this question is firstly the idea of supporting one another - having each other's back.  This is not just about the committee members, but that everyone can add in their tuppence worth, in whatever way feels best to them.  Be it posting a comment of support, or offering to help out in one of the volunteer roles, working together can be emotionally satisfying.

It also speaks of playfulness, of soul-searching and exploring within an emotionally nurturing context.  So, more lively discussions of esoteric subjects on the forum, please :)

Card 6 - What doesn't TABI need at this time - 3 of Swords

Well, although I don't see the 3 of Swords as being all bad, in this reading it's what we don't need, so I'll highlight the more negative aspects.  We don't need to cling to ideas that are selfish.  We don't need to be individualistic.  We don't need to allow external forces to push us about.  We don't need to allow ourselves to feel hurt or hard-done-by when clear and friendly communication could resolve the situation.

I think all the cards suggest things we can manage, individually and as a group.  

Here's hoping you found this reading interesting, and I'd love to hear if you have any different interpretations to add.  Also, feel free to post a link if you use this spread yourself, or just tell us about your reading in the comments section.

Whispering Queen

The Queen of Cups from Liz Hazel's Whispering Tarot floats into view today.

This watery queen wears a five pronged crown on her head, with a flower tucked behind her left ear and a dangling earring hanging from her right.  In her right hand she holds a golden cup, in the other a white orb, while behind her a full moon glows, shedding light across the ripples of the water surrounding our queen.  Two swans can be seen behind her, symbols of beauty, love and defence, while lotus pads, one with a frog, one with a bud and one with a blossom, float in front of her.  She looks completely in her element, her shoulders and head emerging from the water, with no land in sight.

What a positive version of the Queen of Cups!  I see here symbolism of magic and intuition, spiritual growth and enlightenment, beauty and passion, romance and strength.  She seems to suggest that swimming in the realm of emotions can be a powerful learning experience, rather than leading to emotionality or wishy-washiness.

What can you do today to get more in touch with your emotions?  Can you take some time to connect with your intuition?  How does it feel to acknowledge the love in your life in whatever form?  What role do you play in keeping that love afloat? 

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Whispering Mermaids

This week I will be drawing from a little self-published gem, by Liz Hazel of Tarot Decoded fame.  The Whispering Tarot is a delightful deck, with mystical creatures and magic galore, yet without falling into excess or triteness.  Only 1000 were published, and some got damaged in transport and so were removed from sale.  The remaining copies are all signed and numbered by the author, and there just happen to be some in the TABI shop :)  You don't have to be a TABI member (or live in the UK) to use the shop, so if the deck takes your fancy...

For this first draw I pulled the Nine of Cups.  Two mermaids sit together, back to back, while another stands behind them.  They each hold aloft a cup, and six more cups surround them, overflowing with water.  Five little fish jump playfully from one cup to another.  The mermaids look entirely happy and in their element, enjoying each others' company and the play of the sea creatures around them.  Emotional fulfillment and joy!

Who in your life has your back?  Who supports you wholeheartedly, and who do you support?  What activities bring you emotional fulfillment?  What can you do today that would feel playful?  Or perhaps this card is about socialising and having a good time on this Saturday in the run up to Yule...  If so, can you open yourself to grabbing the opportunity for some fun?  As Arwen (of Tarot by Arwen) says: Seek joy y'all! :)

Friday, 9 December 2011

Resilience on the Journey

The Journey Oracle offers us a really cheerful and evocative image today.  I'm often not a big fan of "landscapes" on their own in oracle or tarot decks, but this is definitely an exception to that. 

Titled "Resilience", this card makes me think of something Carl Rogers wrote.  He talked about aspects that others see as negative, even pathological, actually just being the best way we can find in the circumstances to cope and survive.  He likened this to a potato in a dark cellar sprouting anyway and sending up a weedy, white shoot, seeking the light.  While this looks deformed compared to a healthy plant, it's just the potato doing the best it can.  Likewise, here we see a tree that has been chopped down.  Still, a new shoot springs forth, life continuing despite the challenges.  And the little bird at the top of the branch suggests the possibility of getting perspective and being lifted up from these hard times.  Being the blue of communication, it feels even more strongly suggestive of the messages of spirit with which birds are, in any case, often associated.  If we can listen to spirit, we will find growth potential in the face of adversity.

What adversities have you weathered?  Can you allow yourself to move on from them now?  And what helps you foster resilience?  Is it a particular person or people, an object, a connection to the divine?  How can you bring that support into your life?  What message do you most need to hear in this moment, and can you be open to hearing it?

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Beautiful Journey

While the colours are girly, and the sentiments are fairly New Age/Spiritual, some of the cards of the Journey Oracle are quite challenging, and open to multiple interpretations.  At least, I find that the case with today's card.

Like the bionic woman, with a mechanical eye and arm, this Beauty has been altered, improved?  Some might see her as being ugly and deformed, but others would see her as stronger, more able, gifted even.  I note, too, her clothes, which seem to be made of metal - armour to protect her, or another sign of things that are unnatural?

While the companion book talks of appreciating our own inner beauty, I am left with the question of whether she chose these changes, or whether they were imposed on her.  Either way, appreciating our inner core is clearly relevant, but how easy or hard that is may vary greatly. 

In many ways, this card feels like a continuation of yesterday's card.  Not feeling beautiful is often to do with the messages we receive from other people in our lives.  It can be at the cultural level - "Men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses" or the Annie Lennox song "Keep Young and Beautiful" - or at a more personal level - people who tease us about a particular feature or aspect of ourselves.  In the face of all this, doing things that others may see as ugly can actually be our way of asserting our own choicefulness and beauty.  It makes me think of a friend of mine who had a tattoo twenty years ago or so, which her father still doesn't know about - lol!

What can you do today to feel beautiful?  How would it feel to look in a mirror and say "I am beautiful?"  Or is it easier to break things down - my hands are beautiful because they allow me to type and stay in touch with people, my legs are beautiful because they allow me to take a walk in the park, my nose is beautiful as it lets me smell flowers, my mouth is beautiful because it can kiss and say "I love you".   Would smiling at a stranger help you appreciate your beautiful nature?  And is there someone else in your life you could help make feel beautiful today?  What would it be like to try to come up with a compliment with everyone you meet?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Journey on a Fragile Thread

The Journey Oracle offers us another beautiful card today, with an air of sadness to it.  Though it's still far more cheerful than yesterday's card!

The Fragile Thread shows a woman holding a heart on a string, the heart pierced by a small hole in one side.  The woman's clothes are seductive, softly flowing, a combination of blue and green, with a red ribbon.  Stars seem to spring from her cheek, floating away in the air like a trail that would lead someone to her.  All in all, it feels to me like she is someone who is offering herself, seductive and enchanting.

This card reminds me of the risks we run when we offer ourselves to others.  The risk of being hurt, taken for granted, or rejected.  And a heart really isn't a toy to be given away to win another's approval.  It reminds me of a Dory Previn song my mum used to listen to when I was little called "I Dance and Dance and Smile and Smile".  OK, the title isn't exactly catchy, but it still resonates with me - a song about loving too much, trying too hard to please.

That's what I see in this card today, someone who doesn't see what a wonderful child of the stars they are.  And so she offers her heart on a fragile thread, trying to win something that she already deserves, if she could only trust in her loveableness.

What would it be like not to be the perfect mother/daughter/sister/girlfriend/bff/wife (or male equivalents)?  To just be you, and say what you really want?  What can you do today to show loving kindness to yourself?  How about a candlelit bath, or a manicure, or an hour to read/walk/practise yoga/paint/sing?  Could you look in a mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful? 

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Torn In Two?

Journey Oracle - Torn
This card from the Journey Oracle (Schiffer, 2011) reminds me of the Three of Swords.  It even looks similar to that card from Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe, in a much more girly way.

Still, the feeling here certainly isn't girly!  Talk about having the heart ripped out of you, being all cut up, feeling empty!  Unsurprisingly, it makes me think of the Natalie Imgruglia song of the same name.

In the moment, this is one of the worst feelings in the world.  Yet I have always felt that the Three of Swords has a positive side, too, and the same goes here.  Living through this, working through the pain and rebuilding your sense of self, is hard.  Once you've achieved it, though, you're stronger for it.  It makes me think of Joanna Powell-Colbert's recent post on being a member of the Scar Clan... I think many of us can empathise with that title.

Tarot of the Sidhe - Dreamer Three
Sometimes, though, we don't manage to work through it all, and are left feeling vulnerable.  We might create a false armour to protect ourselves from the outside, rather than re-growing a strong centre from the inside.  That kind of armour protects us, but also locks others out.  And it can crumble unexpectedly.

Today, then, perhaps take a moment to think about the emotional scars you have accumulated in your life so far.  Have you been able to move on from those pains?  Is there a situation at the moment which threatens your sense of self, your joy in life?  Or are you perhaps torn between two competing people or ideas?  If any of these are the case, can you use some of the wisdom gained from past experiences to help you now?  How can you best support yourself in any emotional situation?

Monday, 5 December 2011

A Fleeting Journey

I am charmed by the very different faces and feelings of the cards in this Journey Oracle.

Here, we are offered something fleeting.  Is that the woman's fleeting glance in our direction, or the brief blooming of the blossoms over her head?  Is it the passing attention of another, or the more enduring and cyclical changing of the seasons and cycles of life?

Either way, I guess this card calls on us to appreciate the moment, with all its joys and lessons.  I am reminded, too, of the sand paintings created by certain American Indian tribes.  These masterful artworks are designed to be enjoyed in the creation process, and seen briefly, but not to endure - that is part of their charm, that you must experience them in the moment.

Do you sometimes find it hard to take pleasure from what is happening because of thoughts of when it will end?  Can you take time today to just enjoy the moment, to smell a flower, make something beautiful, or spend time with a loved one? 

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Adventurer's Journey

I just love this very Steampunk-esque Adventurer from the Journey Oracle.  She looks ready for anything, like she'll gladly take on the world and any adventures it tosses her way.  Whether floating off in a hot air balloon, firing up the engine of a small plane, or jetting off planet in her spaceship, it is having a spirit for new exploits and discoveries that leads her onward.

Sometimes, though, we don't have to leave our own homes, instead exploring ourselves - body, mind or spirit.  We can take our body on an adventure by trying out a new yoga pose, or new hair colour.  Our mind can explore new ideas, or its own boundaries.  Meanwhile, our spirit can journey to other dimensions, be uplifted in prayer, chant or meditation, or melt into the flow of the universe.

Are you open to trying new things?  What adventures might today hold for you?  And what tools do you need to help you face them?  

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Top Ten Tarots of All Time

Forums are funny things, and TABI's lively forum is no exception (you can visit some sections as a guest, I believe, so why not check it out).  Anyway, a little while back one thread got me thinking.  It's called "Top 10 Tarots of All Time".  What would yours be?  And how different do you think your answer would be next year, or the year after?

The reason I wonder about that was because, when I went to look at the thread I realised that it wasn't something new.  In fact,  I have been a member the whole time this thread has been going (since May 2008), but have never posted to it.  Not because I don't think the question is interesting, but because I just couldn't decide!  If you asked me my top ten decks this year that'd be fairly easy.  But my top ten decks ever?!

Where decks are concerned, I'm a serial polygamist :)  At the moment I use one deck a week for blogging.  I tend to use another deck for my personal readings, and flit between a few decks for professional readings, depending on the querent, my own mood, and the question.  Still, a few decks do stand out as ones which I still value and go back to again and again over time.  And those are probably the ones I'd choose for my top ten of all time.  But I think at least one or two would have to be my current loves, and those change.  Fairly regularly.  OK, at least once a month!

I also thought, my top ten decks ever would be different to a list of what I think are the Top Ten most influential and innovative decks of all time.  The Transparent Tarot would go on both lists, for example, but I'd have to put the Original Rider Waite on the more objective list, while my personal preference lies with the Radiant Rider Waite.  Likewise, the Thoth has been hugely influential, but I just don't like it, personally.

So, this thread got me thinking not just about which decks I most love, but also about the influence of particular decks, as well as my relationship to tarot decks more generally.  I know some people have a favourite deck they've had and used for years, but I find I get a bit stale with a single deck.  It's probably to do with me being a double Gemini (ascendant and sun sign). 

How about you?  Do you have a different favourite deck every few days/weeks/months, or are you loyal to just one or a few decks?  Can you easily name your "Top Ten Tarots of All Time", or would you rather stick to the Top Ten for 2011?  And which decks do you think have changed the history of tarot?

The Journey's Guardian

I'm going to try to do a regular Card of the Day post here on the TABI blog.  This week, my deck of choice is the Journey Oracle, a 46-card feminine deck created by Adrienne Trafford and published by Schiffer.

There are several cards in the deck which are horizontal, rather than vertical, and as I shuffled I hoped that one would come up some time this week.  No sooner wished for than materialised, as for this very first day I drew the Guardian.

I notice the large egg cradled protectively in her arms, with a crack in it as though it is about to hatch.  Behind her, the clouds seem to form castles in the sky.

What wishes and dreams do you have, that you might be able to materialise today?  Do you feel safe, and if not, is there someone or something you can call on to help?  Or can you be the support for someone else in a time of difficulty?

Friday, 2 December 2011

New Kid In Town

Wildwood Tarot
Change is afoot in TABI!  During the AGM in early November Alison Cross stepped down as Chair, without a successor.  However, hopefully we will have a new Chair as of next week - there's an EGM on the 11th of December that any TABI members can attend to have their say and place their vote.

The change will also affect this blog: there's a new kid in town!  And who am I, you may well ask?  Well, I'm Chloë: Chloe on the TABI forum, @ChloeTarot on Twitter, and Inner Whispers here in the blogosphere.  I can't promise the wit and humour that Alison offered, but I'll do my best to make this a lively and interesting blog to read :)

The blog will still focus on all things tarot, and on TABI in particular, of course.   With that tarot focus, I'd like to start with a little reading, a card each for the old and new.  I drew from the Wildwood Tarot, as I know that both Ali and I love it.

Alison's card is the Nine of Stones, titled Tradition.  And Ali has certainly become an institution in TABI.  Not only did she set up and run the @TABITarot Twitter account, as well as this blog, but she was also, I believe, the longest running Chair of the organisation in its ten years so far.  She instituted some amazing changes, making TABI far more transparent and democratic than ever before.

Not to worry, though, we're not losing that wealth of experience and knowledge.  Ali is still going to be running the video chat forum that she was instrumental in setting up.  She'll be bringing great tarot peeps from around the world to our computer screens for workshops and chats.  If you're not yet a member, this would be a good reason to join ;D

And perhaps this card suggests, too, that now she'll have some more time to focus on her own pursuits, to meditate and grow and learn with renewed enthusiasm.  

As for me, I drew the King of Arrows, the Kingfisher.  Funnily enough, this is actually my birth card according to the Golden Dawn attribution system.  Anyway, what I see here is my willingness to take over, and bring a new perspective to this blog.  Like everyone else who helps keep TABI going in one way or another - from the Chair to the Mentors and Tutors for the endorsement and training programmes, from the Treasurer to the Membership Secretary, and all the other roles that keep the Association on track - we are all volunteers who offer our time for the love of tarot, and this friendly organisation that we're a part of.  This is just my way of doing that.

Another thing I see in this card is the reminder that my role will be to communicate.  This blog is another way to interact with TABI, and to find out some of what is going on.  As with the recently announced TABI Bursary, my role will be to try to keep people apprised of what's new, important, or just plain fun.  So, expect to read about our new Chair as and when!

The Kingfisher's bright colours bring to mind my love of pretty cards, and there'll be plenty of those here, too ;)

So, I hope you'll enjoy the new voice of the TABI blog, and feel free to let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like to see on here.  Or if you'd like to contribute a guest post :)

Thursday, 1 December 2011

TABI Bursary - How to apply!

It's been a long time in the discussion stage and also held up because of a few communication blips, but here is the final document relating to the TABI Bursary.  We sincerely hope that if YOU'VE got a project that fits the criteria, you'll consider the bursary!

In 2011, The Tarot Association of The British Isles (TABI) decided to create a bursary of up to £1,000 for a Tarot-related project. We hope that this Bursary will be an annual event....