Saturday, 31 March 2012

Steampunk Justice

The Steampunk Tarot. Text by Barbara Moore,
artwork by Aly Fell. © 2012, Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale
Drive. Woodbury, MN 55125. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the
For this first daily draw from the Steampunk Tarot (Llewellyn, 2012), Justice comes to call.

In a scarlet dress, with a silver and black corset, a red choker, and a clockwork crown, she stands between two pillars.  In front of her is a mechanical scales, with jewels on one side and a single feather on the other, perfectly balanced.  Instead of a sword in her hand, tarot cards fall from it - the Justice she metes out is not cutting, but still decisive.  Karma determines the cards we are given, the hand we have to play.

What is in the cards is often influenced by what has gone before, as any card sharp can tell you.  Or as Barbara puts it: "You play the hand that you were dealt.  The way you play it will determine your next hand."  And so, in Justice, we are often asked to weigh up the past in order to decide how best to move forward, and to consider the consequences of our actions.  Sometimes the weighing up is done by some force or institution outside ourselves - law courts, or life itself...

How has the past influenced the situation you now find yourself in?  What can you do to help balance the scales of life?  How will you play the cards that life has dealt you?

Friday, 30 March 2012

Maat Princess

Today, we meet another of the Courts from the  Maat Tarot (Julie Cuccia-Watts, 2006).

The Princess (Page) of Cups shows what Julie describes as a young bride on the way to her wedding.  She is emotionally committed, but not yet experienced.  What I see here, too, are multiple symbols of Eostre, or Ostara, the Goddess associated with Easter.  To the left of the Princess on her white horse, we see a hare, a nest of eggs, and the first spattering of blossom on a tree.  Even the palm branch that Julie states is traditional for brides makes me think of Palm Sunday, part of the Christian Easter festival.  To her other side, and further back, is an empty grave, marked with lamb's blood.  This is to indicate the need for new life, to bring fresh beginnings to what has been dead, just as spring follows winter.

What are you willing to commit to emotionally today?  How can you bring freshness to your life and your sentiments?  What new seeds can you sow, and what do you hope to reap?

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Maat Search

The Maat Tarot (Julie Cuccia-Watts, 2006) offers a somewhat different perspective on the Eight of Cups.

For one thing, the main figure feels female to me, though we can see nothing but her hand.  She sweeps along, black cape flowing behind her, headed towards the light that shines through the trees.  On her shoulder, a raven rests, whispering wise counsel in her ear.  I find this card stunningly beautiful, from the bright flowers to the lush foliage, from the dark cloak and raven to the piercing, enticing sunlight.  Behind her, filigreed cups are stacked neatly yet with a gap to the woman's side, giving the sense of an emotional situation which is tidy, but has left her feeling incomplete.  Hence the figure's spiritual quest, moving away from the everyday. 

Something about this card makes me think of Sarah McLachlin's song "Into the Fire".  Although the element seems wrong (fire instead of water), the sentiment feels right to me - a quest for spiritual enlightenment, for a feeling of oneness.

What do you need to let go of, or walk away from, today?  Where is your spirit guiding you?  How can you best listen to the messages of spirit?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Maat Goddess

Once again, the Maat Tarot (Julie Cuccia-Watts, 2006) offers us a quite unusual depiction, this time of the High Priestess.

Here we have the Maiden aspect of the Goddess: dormant, fertile earth as yet untilled.  She is asleep, not yet awakened to all the potentials of life, with choices still ahead of her that only she can make.  In her sleep, she is in touch with her dreams and intuition. 

The spiralling milky-way behind her also makes me think of Hathor, the mother aspect of the Goddess still ahead of her.  The censor at her side is a reminder of the role of the High Priestess as voice of the oracle, avatar of the Goddess.

In the book, Julie also talks about a site in Malta where a huge temple-mausoleum was built and a sleeping Goddess statue was found.  She suggests that, in her dreams, the Priestess could commune with the ancestors.  

Today, can you listen to your own inner wisdom when faced with choices?  What messages do your dreams (whether sleeping or waking) offer you?  What wisdom of the ancients can you tap into today?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Maat Emperor

The Maat Tarot (Julie Cuccia-Watts, 2006) has quite a different perspective on many of the Majors.

In the case of the Emperor, instead of him being a rather distant figure on a throne, with symbols of authority in either hand, instead we meet a Green Man.  Around him grows an abundance of grape-bearing vines, and he leans against a tree which seems to already have lost it's leaves, or else be dead.  This symbolises the fact that this Green Man is in fact dying, transitioning into the Lord of Shadows as the days draw in after the Autumn Equinox.  Still, he has a great deal of strength, wisdom, and an enduring connection with nature - helping manage the last of the harvest, the storage for winter, and the allocation of resources needed to husband them through the dark times.  This is the aspect of rules and boundaries that may seem authoritarian, but is done for the best of everyone involved.

What boundaries do you need to enforce today, or which do you need to stick to yourself?  It is spring rather than autumn (at least in the Western Hemisphere), but what limits does the season itself establish?  How can you create greater stability for yourself and those around you?

Monday, 26 March 2012

Maat Protector

What a very dark and forceful card for a sunny Monday morning!  Today we meet the Prince (Knight) of Swords from the Maat Tarot (Julie Cuccia-Watts, 2006).

Although he may be well-built, I can't say I'd like to meet him much!  This Prince is cutting in the extreme, quick to anger and rather vengeful.  If he feels he has been slighted, or his ideas challenged, he can easily explode.  And he has a cruelty to him that I find scary.  He has clearly been hurt himself, but rather than learning compassion from his pain, he has learnt only aggressiveness and rage. 

This is quite a negative take on the Knight of Swords, who I would traditionally see as someone who leaps in where angels fear to tread.  Bounding ahead with his ideas and judgements, he is commonly impatient, but not necessarily cruel or vengeful.  On the positive side, he is someone who is full of ideas, and not shy about sharing them.  He can also be a great protector due to his willingness to jump into even challenging situations at the drop of a hat.

Who or what do you need to protect today?  How can you best respond to any challenges to your ideas?  Can you harness the positive energy of this Knight, tapping into a place of bountiful ideas?

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Maat Work

I love the depth of this card from the Maat Tarot (Julie Cuccia-Watts, 2006).

In traditional versions of the Seven of Pentacles (Coins) we see someone waiting for plants to grow.  Here, this idea is taken several steps further.  In the background, people harvest golden fields of wheat.  Closer in we see a woman baking bread in an oven, and in the foreground sit both a loaf of fresh bread and a bunch of corn sheaves.  Overlaid, we see seven coins, which represent the seven sacred directions of Native American (and pagan) tradition - North, East, South, West, Above, Below, and Within.

What I see here is the process of converting hard work into something not merely financially rewarding, but more deeply nourishing.  Part of that is a recognition of the different parts that make up the whole of any system.  Another part is about the time and patience that this may require.  Finally, Julie also says that it's about the sacredness of everything, work included.

What in your life needs some work dedicated to it to bear fruit?  What is your role in creating abundance in your life?  How can you honour the sacredness of what you do?

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Maat Faces

This week I will be pulling my daily cards from Julie Cuccia-Watts' stunning Maat Tarot (self-published, 2006).

For this first draw, the Seven of Swords shows its faces.  This fits well with traditional interpretations of trickery and deceit - the question of which face we choose to show to others - but has other layers, too.   For one thing, Julie talks about the ultimate thief being time - which steals away our youth and our sense of self.  Another thing she mentions is the idea that the facades we show to others are not just empty masks, but about actually being different - others can bring out the best or worst in us.

What face do you choose to show others today?  How do you feel time is stealing or being stolen from you?  What can you do today to align your soul with your outward actions?

Friday, 23 March 2012

Fradella Quandary

For this last day with the Fradella Adventure Tarot (U.S. Games, 2002), I have drawn the Two of Swords.

A woman kneels, two wavy daggers held in either hand, her arms crossed and her feet likewise.  She has raven-black hair, suggesting Asian origins, and the room she is in makes me think of Japan - simple, minimalist, possibly paper walls, the only visible furnishing a cushion on the floor.  Outside, a pool is encircled by trees, and a quarter moon shows in the sky, waning.

My sense here is of tying yourself up in knots through your own thoughts and doubts.  That being said, it feels like there's a great potential for decisive action, once that uncertainty is overcome.  The pool suggests that it is through connecting with our emotions that we can move beyond our confused thoughts.  Perhaps, too, it is simply a question that the time is not yet right - once the dark of the moon arrives, new movement will become possible...

What are you in a quandary about?  Can you hold the uncertainty for a while, and allow the deep wisdom of your soul to speak to you in the silence?  

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Maat Tarot App Review

Julie Cuccia-Watts has been a long-time favourite tarot creator of mine.  Her first deck, the Ancestral Path Tarot (U.S. Games, 1996, sadly OOP), was the second deck I bought myself, after the Radiant Rider Waite (U.S. Games, 2003) which I got when I did an introduction to tarot course.  And her Maat Tarot (self-published, 2006) is another amazing, innovative and totally beautiful piece of work (or 78 of them, to be precise).  I am also eagerly awaiting the publication of her Journey Into Egypt Tarot, due out in 2013.  So, imagine my joy when I discovered that Julie had released an iPhone app of the Maat Tarot!

Not only is this a very affordable way to get access to the Maat Tarot, the quality of the images is exceptionally good!  The app also includes detailed information on every card, including a description of the image, an interpretation, and an explanation of the timing, season/day, and moon phase based on Julie's application of the lunar calendar to the tarot.  While it doesn't have as much information as the book that accompanies the card deck, it is still very informative.

A nice touch is the fact that you can choose whether or not to work with reversals, negative cards (not sure what exactly that means - Death, the Tower, and the Ten of Swords?), and whether to use all the cards, or a selection from the Majors, Courts and Pips.

I also really like the spreads that you can choose from: a single card draw, 3 two card readings (self/other, appearance/reality, if yes/if no), 2 three card readings (past-present-future, situation-action-new situation), a five card reading (past-self-present-suggested action-possible outcome), and the celtic cross.  While this app doesn't offer the flexibility found in Ciro Marchetti's apps, where you can design your own spreads, this is still a pretty comprehensive selection.

Another thing which this app lacks compared to Ciro's apps is the ability to email a reading to yourself or someone else.  However, it's understandable that the app creators don't want to give unlimited access to these high res images, given piracy concerns.  Less understandable, though, is the fact that, while you can save readings, you can't give them a title or add any notes - a serious failing to my mind.  Another minor quibble is that the menus are a little clunky - for example, you often have to press the menu icon to be able to go backwards a page, and then have to press it again to go back again, making the process a little laborious.

There isn't yet a version specific to the iPad available, however the iPhone version works perfectly well on the iPad.  In fact, the image resolution is such that they still show up beautifully at twice the size, though the menu text looks a little pixelated.

Overall, I give this app four out of five stars.  The images are fabulous, the text is informative and easy to access, the spreads are very useful, and I just adore being able to carry this deck around with me wherever my phone goes.  A very reasonable price for a wonderful app,  I highly recommend it.

Fradella Justice

The Fradella Adventure Tarot (U.S. Games, 2002) is a very masculine deck in many ways, based as it is on comic book heroes.

That can be seen in today's card, Justice, which in many decks shows a female figure.  Here, though, it is a male who stands, with scroll in one hand, and scales in the other.  The backdrop is a courtroom, with American flags flying, a motif echoed in our hero's clothes.  He wears a blindfold over his eyes, and seems to weigh up his options: the letter of the law, or what feels truly just and balanced.  This certainly says something about how, in comic-book-land, it is often a lone, male hero who takes justice into his own hands!

This card fits nicely with traditional interpretations: a situation involving legal matters; questions of justice; weighing up what has gone before.  I like the symbolism of the bound eyes - not letting yourself be swayed by appearances - and also of acknowledging that the letter of the law does not always match the spirit of it.

In any dispute that arises, can you try to imagine the other person's perspective?  Which do you value more, strict rules, or an innate sense of fairness?  What can you do today to act with honour?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Fradella Queen

Today we meet one of the Court Cards from the Fradella Adventure Tarot (U.S. Games, 2002).

This Queen of Blades (Swords) is beautiful, but also wise.  She holds one arm out to a snowy white owl who brings messages to help guide her choices, while in the other hand she holds a blade-tipped spear, symbol of her authority and ability to make decisions.  She wears a (rather revealing) purple dress, colour of spiritual wisdom.  Sitting in a colonnaded structure, she makes me think of an amazon queen, as portrayed in films from the sixties and seventies. 

Altogether, I see decisiveness tempered with wisdom and kindness, an ability to listen, and a willingness to help those around her.  This is a far more pleasant face to the Queen of Swords than we often see, highlighting her good qualities, rather than focusing on the sharpness of her tongue or her embitteredness.

How might you best channel some Queen of Swords energy today?  What decisions do you need to make, and what information would help you choose well?  Can you take some time today to listen: to spirit, to yourself, and to those around you?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Fradella Green DragonFly

Yesterday, for the Ostara Tarot Blog Hop, Arwen of Tarot by Arwen wrote about having the super power to trail flowers wherever you go :)  Bizarre super powers definitely come to mind with today's card from the Fradella Adventure Tarot (U.S. Games, 2002)!

This mini, green superhero flies up, lifting two dragon-fly decorated golden orbs.  Are these super-high-tech flower pollinators?  Or insect repellant?  Or at a more complex level do they symbolise the balance required for an ecosystem to work; the many variables from sun to rain, to plant and animal life, with nutrients and the vagaries of butterfly's wings thrown into the mix?

What aspects of your life do you need to balance to promote growth?  Are there any things you need to let go of?  Others you need to nourish?  How well do you fit in your environment?  What can you do today to feel more at one with life?

Monday, 19 March 2012

Paint a Journey with New Life

©Maria Caratti & Antonella Platano
This is part of the second Tarot Blog Hop, this time organised by the wonderful Donnaleigh Delarose.  Welcome to those who have come from Anna's blog.  If you got here some other way, I hope you'll consider following the blog hop train around the many lovely bloggers taking part.

For the last Blog Hop, I created a spread and then used it both for my personal reading at Inner Whispers and for a reading for TABI. However, I find it quite difficult reading for an entity rather than a person.  So, when I started to think about this Ostara Blog Hop, I wondered if I should do something different, and if so, what?

To help me decide, I drew a card from the Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011).  What I got was the Tower.  Well, if ever there's a card that says, "Shake things up!" the Tower is definitely it :)

It also felt like a pretty good answer to a question about new beginnings.  After all, Ostara is associated with the new life that blossoms in spring, after the challenges of winter.  And the Tower, with its destruction of what was, allows room for that new growth.

That is particularly apparent in this depiction of the Tower.  We see a tree struck by lightning, yet at its base are some apples, the seed-bearing fruit which, now that their light won't be blocked by the old tree, have a chance to take root and grow. 

To me, this says that TABI needs to let new ideas and structures in.  This is something which, as is often the case with Majors, does not happen overnight.  In November TABI elected a new Chair, and she's bringing some changes ;)

For one thing, work is going on to revamp the website, not only in terms of what is visible, but also in terms of the "back room" information and structure that supports the different sections of the organisation.  For example, there are plans for a built in database of members, to make the join-up process smoother.  It would also help with the administration of the endorsement program, which is a great way to train and practice as a tarot reader. 

The Tower says that to bring new colour to TABI may take quite a lot of work, and it may not all be easy.  Completely new structures are needed, with all the disruption that any major change risks.  Perhaps more change is needed, as yet to come.  Still, there is a huge potential for growth and renewal here.

Many of us could perhaps do with a bit of a shake-up.  Like the old saying that you can't fill a glass that is already full, we need to empty out our accumulated baggage to let in new colour.  What changes could you make this Ostara?

Perhaps we'll find some other suggestions further along the Blog Hop route.  Next stop is Koneta's blog.

Fradella Rescue

The Fradella Adventure Tarot (U.S. Games, 2002) takes us on a journey today.

In this version of the Six of Swords, a masked hero guides a boat out of a dark, defended building, and into the light.  There is definitely a sense of moving out of danger towards a better place, as the boat is steered towards a walled building, with green trees growing all around and open to the sky.  A place of security and comfort after a time of difficulty.

So, who are you in the boat: the rescuer or the rescuee?  Is there someone you can help out?  What trouble are you ready to leave behind?  How can you make your future feel safer and more comfortable?  

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Fradella Liberty

Today's card from the Fradella Adventure Tarot (U.S. Games, 2002) is the powerful Ace of Staves (Wands).

I love this Lady Liberty, with her flaming torch!  This speaks so well to the aspect of this Ace which is about the passion to fight for what we believe in, to follow our bliss, to dare new places and experiences.

What project or passion calls for an injection of energy from you today?  How can you ignite your enthusiasm?  Where might you explore, and who do you want to share those explorations with?

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Fradella Hermit

This week I will be drawing from the Fradella Adventure Tarot (U.S. Games, 2002).  Although it's been out for nearly a decade now, it's still widely available, and a really fun, quite masculine deck.

For this first draw, the Hermit comes to visit.  What I notice about him above all is that he is young, quite different from the traditional "wise old man" archetype.  He makes me think of a Kung Fu hero, a Shaolin monk in the Tibetan mountains.  He walks far and wide, alone, but not holed up in a cave far from civilization.  Instead, he is part of the natural world and does not shun others, being apart from them but not distant.

Can you take some time for yourself today?  How best can you keep your distance without totally separating yourself from others?  What do you need to learn right now?  Who will you share your learning with? 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Temple of Spirit

Once again, a beautiful card to end our week with the Temple of Balance Oracle Cards by the talented Lee-Anne Peters.

This is one of my favourite cards in the deck, both because of the image and colours, and because of the message.  There is such a feeling of balance, growth and beauty for me in this card.  Illumination, creativity, and a connection with the divine, all encompassed in a simple yet lovely picture that speaks of the divine source, the nature of duality, and the ultimate oneness of spirit.

How could you be more balanced today?  Can you make some time to commune with spirit?  What could you do to seek joy, even in the most mundane of situations?  

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Temple of Messages

Today we meet Hawk from the Temple of Balance Oracle Cards (©Lee-Anne Peters).

For me, this card's caption fits perfectly with my associations to the bird depicted.  Eagle-eyed, with a perspective that allows an oversight of any situation, and bringing messages from spirit, Hawk flies high, then dives down to share experience and whispers from around the world and from the spirit realm.

The message for today, then, is to pay attention to everything around us, and to be open to spirit speaking to us.  This makes me think of the wonderful spiritual mountain walks which Emma Sunnerton-Burl organises.  If anyone is lucky enough to be in Wales...  However, even if we can't be led by someone to explore nature, perhaps we can take the time to listen to spirit in our own way, whatever that may be.

Can you make time today to go into nature (be it out in the wilds, or just in your local park) to listen to spirit?  How can you best hear messages from spirit today?  What situation do you need advice on?  What does your heart tell you?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Temple of Hibernation

Today another animal guide comes to speak from the Temple of Balance Oracle Cards (©Lee-Anne Peters).  This time it is Bear.

I find the message associated with this card a little unusual.  Perhaps because I don't really associate Bears with much in the way of planning and accomplishment.  They hibernate in caves, rather than digging buroughs as rabbits do.  They live off the land, rather than farming as some ants do.  They don't work as a team, which some monkeys do, nor do they create beautiful, decorative mating places as some birds do.  Although they must eat enough to have reserves to hibernate over winter, they don't transform in the way that caterpillars do, moving to a different stage of their life.

What I see in the bear is a great deal of strength, and a shamanic connection to healing.  They have a lot of discrimination - choosing only the best if they have enough, but making the most of whatever they can get.  Bears are also very similar to humans in terms of size, sometimes walking upright, and in their expressions.  They are native to large areas of the world, and have been important in the mythology of all of Europe, and the Americas.  We have many common phrases that include bears - "like a bear with a sore head" "bear hug" "bear market" - and there are both male and female names in all European languages that reference bears - Ursula being just one example.  Bears are also smart - they will lay down false trails and double back on hunters tracking them.

For me, then, this card represents being strong and smart, as well as protective of your family, and possibly a healer.  It might indicate the need for a time out, as in hibernation, being similar in that way to the Four of Swords or the Hanged Man in tarot.  I wonder what bears dream about while they hibernate...

Do you feel the need for a change in direction?  How can you best plan for the future?  What have you accomplished that you are proud of?  Would some time out help you today?

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Temple of Nurturance

After three "people" cards from the Temple of Balance Oracle Cards (©Lee-Anne Peters), today we receive wisdom from an animal spirit - Wolf.

The caption speaks of nurturance and protection, and of wolf sitting by our side.  For me, the wolf as a pack animal also represents support and having a place in the world, the companionship of shared interests.

This card came up in the weekly video reading I did last Friday.  One aspect that reading raised was the question of why we might need nurturing?  For example, those who nurture others often seem to forget that they also need nurturing, and need to nurture themselves.  When we care for others, we can sideline ourselves.  Whatever the situation, though, the message is clearly one of getting support in whatever way we can and need.

Who is your pack?  Who can you rely on, and who relies on you?  What challenges do you face?  What kind of protection and nurturing might you need today?

Monday, 12 March 2012

Cosmic Temple

Another spiritual teacher from the Temple of Balance Oracle Cards (©Lee-Anne Peters) comes to share his wisdom: today it is the turn of Aryon.

The caption suggests we may receive messages from our dreams or while meditating.  What I notice, though, is the blossoming of galaxies around him.  It makes me think of this amazing simulation of the cosmos created by the Max Planck Institute.  A version can be seen on Youtube here (the other requires downloading) or a Discovery Channel clip explaining and then showing it.  That is certainly something worth meditating on!

The vastness of space is so much more vast than we had realised, far more than I can comprehend.  And so incredibly beautiful!  For some reason it makes me think of a silly quote from a yoga teacher whose DVD's I have enjoyed: "Angels fly because they take themselves lightly." (Baron Baptiste)

How can you take yourself more lightly?  Can you appreciate the web of interconnection which surrounds you?  What would help you open to messages from the stars today?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Temple of Healing

The Temple of Balance Oracle Cards offer us wisdom from spirit teachers in both human, animal and plant form.  Today's card is one of the former, Leiah - Healing Priestess.

The card caption speaks of cycles of change, magic and healing.  I really like the purple bird beside her, as well as the matching colour in her hair and dress.  I notice, too, the conchshell on a necklace right over her throat chakra, which seems to glow, and the shining crescent moon at her third eye.

What all this suggests to me is that healing comes through speaking our emotions, and that to do so we first have to be able to open to the magic of our intuition: to understand what is going on around us and how we are reacting to it.  Wisdom comes from listening to the messages of spirit, and with it comes healing at a soul level.

What changes are happening in your life?  How can you best use your intuition to adjust to them?  What part of you needs healing?  Will you allow some magic into your life today?

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Amethyst Temple

This week I will be drawing from the Temple of Balance Oracle Cards, by Lee-Anne Peters.  If you like the look of them, you can see all the images in this video review.

A clear quartz crystal grows from the figure's ajna chakra (third eye), while more grow from her head, and all around her.  Surrounding her head is an amethyst-coloured aura.  The caption says we can't rush this situation.  Amethyst is a crystal that aids creative thinking and spiritual awareness, as well as acting as a protection from psychic attack.

Bringing all these elements together, I see in this card a suggestion of putting creative thought into a situation, while recognising that the creative spark is just the start of any project.  It also requires structure, like a crystal, to manifest.  So, while this may be a good time for seeing beyond the everyday of a situation, the final result of our ideas may take a while.

Is there an aspect of your life where you may be rushing things?  What would happen if you slowed down?  What creative ideas can you fan to life today?  How can you best plan some structure for them to grow? 

Friday, 9 March 2012

Mystic Star

What a lovely way to end the week!  Today's card from the Tarot of the Mystic Spiral (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) is the Stars.

In this version, two waterfalls pour over a mountainside, one clearly falling into the pool where a blonde woman stands, naked and sylph-like.  The other seems to flow into the earth itself.  Around the woman fly two butterflies, or maybe fairies.  I also like the arrangement of the stars - seven smaller stars off to the right - perhaps representing the Pleiades or Seven Sisters - and a single, large star to the left - Venus, maybe, representing beauty, love and femininity?  Including the mountain peaks (representing higher truths and enlightenment) the fossil shell in the rock (representing the passage of aeons) and the flowers in the foreground (passing beauty) there is plenty of symbolism here.

The woman's nudity is an important element of the card, for me.  It represents our willingness to be open and vulnerable.  Probably the most traditional interpretation of this card is Hope, and I think that hope requires a willingness to risk.  If we are closed and armoured we are safer, but do not allow joy and possibility in.

What do you hope for today?  How open are you to what the Universe may send your way?  In what way can you let more love into your life? 

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Mystic Eternity

Another highly unusual Minor from the Tarot of the Mystic Spiral (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) confronts us today.

In this version of the Five of Pentacles I see an infinity sign around which five ants trek, coins held in their mouths.  The whole thing hangs over what looks like it is either a black and yellow yin-yang sign, or possibly a yellow ladybird.  Behind, a starry night sky twinkles gently.

The traditional meaning of going through a time of material hardship does seem traceable here.  The ants struggle up and down a track without end, all for the sake of some coins.  Yet there is also spiritual redemption there for the taking, if they would release their eternal toil and turn either to the starry sky or to the balance of life offered by the yin-yang.

Do you sometimes feel as though you are on a treadmill, working with no clear end in sight?  What difference does your environment make to how you feel about your work?  How might you be stuck in a loop?  What could break you out of that situation?  Or do you enjoy what you do, finding it satisfying at a spiritual level?

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Mystic Web

The premise behind the Mystic Spiral Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) is that through the ages the search for knowledge and wisdom can be represented by the spiral.  Found in nature - from galaxies to DNA - in mathematics and sacred geometry, it represents eternal truths.

In today's card, we see someone caught up in watching a spider hanging from a thread, in a web between two branches of an olive tree.  I wondered if this could have anything to do with competition - two scientists from ancient times trying to solve a particular riddle and the winner finding their inspiration in a spider's perseverance and amazing web.  There are plenty of tales of that sort, and spider's webs are astonishing in their design and structure. 

To my surprise, this card does have links to competition, but of a very different sort.  This is Athena watching Arachne, who she had turned into a spider.  Arachne was extremely proud of her weaving skills, to such a degree that she challenged Athena to a tapestry-weaving competition.  Athena became enraged and tried to instill guilt in her competitor.  Arachne ended up shamed and depressed, and committed suicide.  Athena had not wanted this outcome, and brought Arachne back to life as a spider so that she and her descendants could impress people through the ages with their skills.

This card, then, can speak to the question of playing fair, as well as to competition, and the unforeseen consequences of our actions.  I remain, too, with the idea of the incredible skill and perseverance of the spider, something we should heed if we want to succeed in a competition, if only with ourselves.  And finally there is the wonder of nature in creating such intricate and beautiful objects.

What projects are you working on at the moment?  Are you in competition with anyone?  Can you take the time to appreciate them and their work?  How committed are you to what you are doing?  What would help you achieve more?  Is your focus on practicality or beauty?  Would it be possible to bring both to bear?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Mystic Monster

Today's offering from the Mystic Spiral Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) raises lots of interesting questions, to my mind.

A huge, tentacled sea monster tries to engulf a ship.  The crew beat at the purple tentacles with their oars as the red-and-white-striped sail flaps uselessly in the wind.  The water around them is choppy from the battle between beast and boat, and the sky echoes the bloody fight.

The difference between traditional Five of Wands and Seven of Wands cards is an interesting one.  The external nature of the competition is obvious in the Five, whereas in the Seven (in the RWS) all we see are the up-lifted wands, but no actual aggressors.  This, plus the numerology of the card, leads many to see it as an image of challenges which we perceive, but which may not be "real" in the sense of coming from outside ourselves.  It may be more that we feel defensive, or are trying to figure out our values and beliefs compared to our received wisdom.

There is certainly an aspect of that here, too.  The monster from the deep can easily represent our own doubts, sedimented beliefs and emotions, while the boat stands for our conscious selves.  Yet, whether the threat comes from the outside or not, we can still feel embattled.  This struggle, though, can help us to define ourselves, and can lead to the clarity of purpose and rapid change of the Eight.

Is there something you feel defensive about?  What part does your own mind play in that feeling?  What fixed ideas or beliefs could you challenge today? 

Monday, 5 March 2012

Mystic Moon

On this grey and dreary Monday, the Moon from the Mystic Spiral Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) shows her face.

The Majors are, for the most part, fairly traditional in this deck, as shown by this card.  One difference is that in traditional versions we see a path leading off towards the moon between two towers.  Here, though, it is natural rocky outcroppings that frame that stellar body, and the path is one traced in moonlight on the water below. 

The path the moon draws for us is not an easy one to follow.  It is full of deep emotions and undercurrents, and the rocks to either side may catch us unawares, shadowed and uneven as they are.   Even when we think the path is straight, we may find that as we follow it we get turned around, and end up somewhere other than where we thought we were going.

What fears and doubts surround you?  How can you shed some light on them?  Where might you get tripped up?  What can you use to help you move forward?

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Mystic Pyramid

The offering from the Mystic Spiral Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) for today is the Four of Pentacles.

This has some elements of the traditional meaning of the Four of Pentacles, though also a lot of alternate symbolism, too.  The pyramid is similar to the miser holding his pentacles close, in that the Egyptian Pharoahs were buried with huge amounts of treasure and physical property of all kinds, as well as food, and even slaves.  On the other hand, here the man in front of the pyramid seems to be tossing coins onto the reed mat beneath his feet.  I notice, too, the bright light of the sun shining off, or peeking over, the tip of the pyramid.

One possible interpretation is that he is tossing coins as a form of divination, using the start of the day as a propitious time.  This could tie back to Four of Pentacles ideas in the sense of trying to divine how best to guard and multiply his wealth...  I think I would stay very open with this card to interpreting it in light of the question and context.  Could be that some divination is necessary, that we aren't seeing clearly, or a recommendation to get advice from someone.  Another interpretation would be that it is time to let go of the material to move towards a more spiritual path.

This is one of the things that I like about non-traditional decks - they open up the possibility for novel interpretations.  That's always possible, just a bit more likely if the imagery doesn't throw us into set ideas of traditional meanings.

What is your relationship to material things?  What can you allow to fall away from your life?  What resources do you have to get information about a current sitution?  What can you do today to see your situation a little more clearly?

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Mystic Contemplation

This week I will be drawing from the recently released Tarot of the Mystic Spiral (Lo Scarabeo, 2012), a rather non-traditional deck.  That can certainly be seen in this first card!

Today we have the Eight of Wands.  Instead of a sense of speed, movement and messages, here huge wooden columns arch up over a green field.  At the top of the highest arch hangs a ginormous white rose, while underneath a monk-like figure walks.  Some of the meanings associated with white roses are purity, silence and humility, adding to the sense of a place for spiritual contemplation.  This image really gives me that sense of awe and wonder that churches so often inspire with their larger-than-life proportions.  I love, though, that it is all outdoors - a temple to the spirit of nature.

Can you take some time today to allow nature to inspire you?  If you can't get outdoors, what about meditating on a plant or flower?   How about spending some time cloud gazing? 

Friday, 2 March 2012

Eternal Choice

For this final day with the Vampire's Tarot of the Eternal Night (Lo Scarabeo, 2009) the Two of Pentacles comes to visit.

With his head bowed in thought, this figure tries to choose between two pentacles.  To my eyes, both are the same.  This says something about how we choose between things which really, from an outside perspective, are no different from one another, yet often the difference may seem incredibly important to us.  I also notice the window behind him, dark on the left, and light on the right (I think that's a full moon shining in over his shoulder).  A balance, then, is necessary in making this choice.  We need to think about the consequences of our choice, and examine which calls to our shadow and which to our higher self.

What choices do you face today?  What is the shadow aspect of each choice?  Can you balance your needs and those of others?  What will help you make the final decision?

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Eternal Tower

Once again, the Tower comes to call!  In the Vampire's Tarot of the Eternal Night (Lo Scarabeo, 2009), the image is fairly traditional at first glance, but with a few interesting twists.

I notice, for example, the juxtaposition of church-like arched windows with this very square tower, that looks a little like stacked boxes.  Also the fact that there are no windows on the side we can see, only on the front.  Thirdly, we cannot see the top - whether it has been struck by lightning or not remains hidden.  Finally, rather than having figures falling from a damaged building, we have two figures who seem to be flying quite happily around this apparently untouched edifice.  Perhaps the flying creatures are the attack on the Tower normally represented by lightning...

All this leads me to a sense of excessive rigidity and dogma.  Perhaps this has developed precisely because of the sense of danger from the flying monsters.  Still, being locked in a rather lifeless Tower, do we really want that?  It makes me think of kids hiding under the covers for fear of the bogeyman.  It's fine for a night, but not as our everyday existence.  This speaks, then, to the fears that block us from taking part in life to the full.  A bolt from the blue can help pull us out of this place, even if kicking and screaming.  Or we can choose to walk out by ourselves.  This takes a lot of courage, but I think it's generally true that when we do, we find the demons aren't as fearsome as we had come to believe them to be.

Are there any fears that have been keeping you locked in place?  How have you defended yourself from those fears?  What would support you in braving the world without all the defences you have surrounded yourself with?  What small step could you take today towards a freer experience of life?