Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bird God

©Nozedar & Sutton
The ever thoughtful and generous Alison Cross, after writing an interesting and useful post on the unusual Court cards in the Secret Language of Birds (SLB) Tarot (Schiffer, 2012), was kind enough to send me the deck to feed my addiction ;D Thank you, Ali!

It took me a while to decide which deck to pair it with.  I wanted something in some way related, like an animal deck, but preferred not to use a deck I'd blogged with before.  Then I thought the fact of having semi-illustrated pips is a major feature in choosing an appropriate match, as is the fact that the Courts are Queen, King, God and Goddess.  And so I finally landed on the Haindl Tarot (U.S. Games, 1990).  It's not a deck I've gotten on with much before, but I notice that I'm changing in my appreciation of, and how I read, decks.  Time to give it a go...

For this first daily draw, I pulled XIII Bastoni, or the God of Wands in the Secret Language of Birds, traditionally the King of Wands, and in the Haindl the Father of Wands in the East (Haindl states his Courts are ordered Son, Daughter, Father, Mother).  Despite the familial names, all Haindl's Courts are associated with deities (another reason these decks seemed a good match), and here we see Brahma.

The SLB God of Wands is handsome and young, looking up at the stars as he embraces a Hindu firebird, the Gandaberunda.  Flames shoot up behind him limning his crown in burning red, indicating his "passion, inspiration and spiritual knowledge".  I also see in this card an ability to reinvent yourself: to look to the stars for guidance and then move towards your dreams.

Haindl's Brahma sits in front of a fire.  He has four faces that blend into one another, with five eyes, four noses and four mouths.  He also has four hands, one holding a parchment, another a censor, a third holds a wand in the flames before him, and the last is in a prayer mudra.  He wears a white loin cloth and a golden cape, as well as an enormous crown.

For me, this card speaks more of wisdom and authority than the SLB God.  Still, the emphasis on spiritual connection is still clearly there: all he does is related to the gods, and reminds me that the Hindu Brahmin class are the priests of society.

How do you connect with the divine?  What can you do today to feel spiritually renewed?  What dreams can you aim for, and wha actions can you take to move towards them?

Friday, 29 June 2012

Faery Boat

©Beth Wilder
For this last day comparing the Twilight Realm (Schiffer, 2007) and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007), another Swords card takes its turn.  The Six of Swords is generally one of the less troublesome ones, let’s see if that holds true here.

In the Twilight Realm, a woman sits in a boat that seems to glide of its own accord across the still waters.  She sits with one hand on the side of the boat, and her right resting on the hilt of a sword that is point down in front of her.  It almost looks as though she is using it to steer by, as she moves smoothly away from a jagged coastline littered with swords.  On the opposite side of the water are more jagged peaks, but with green light shining from them, suggesting life-giving truths.  The woman, however, appears to be sailing away into the open water between these two shores, out into the unknown where the waters are calm but dark.  Stars shine brightly in the sky, and the woman seems calm and determined, clear and focused.

My sense is one of leaving behind ideas that no longer serve us, or communications that do not feel helpful.  Taking with us a single, guiding focus, we can move towards something better.  What it is may not yet be clear, but we trust in the guidance of the universe to take us safely where we need to go.

©Nathalie Hertz
The Faerie Tarot feels a little less clear, it must be said.  Two figures (a man and a woman?) sit in a green boat with a strange raised section at the back which may act as a shelter from the worst of the weather.  They leave behind a cold and snowy landscape, but their journey looks like it’s starting to get bumpy.  The figure with its back to us wears royal purple and a gold circlet around his brow, while the woman wears an orange dress with a red collar and a red pattern of seven-pointed faery stars.  She has small, golden wings, a blue stone held by a black cord at the top of her forehead, and purple pom-poms in her long, golden hair. The six swords of the title hang in the air around them.

Based on the colours, green for new growth and regeneration, orange for sexuality and status, and purple for wisdom, they are making a new start, trying to prove themselves.  However, it feels like they have neither left old ideas behind, nor incorporated them enough to use them for their journey.  Perhaps that is why the waters around them are turning choppy - too many unprocessed thoughts.  Or perhaps the swords represent messages from other people flying around, muddying the waters (to twist the metaphor slightly). 

This card makes me think that we need to be clear on what to take with us and what to leave behind when embarking on a new start.  Otherwise, we may run into trouble once we are already too far to turn back.  Our desire to move forward must be supported by the wisdom to understand the past but also look to the future.

What do you want to leave behind?  What lessons from the past serve to help you in moving forward?  How can you best plan where you want to go?

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Faery Knight

©Beth Wilder
Another Court Card comes to visit from the Twilight Realm (Schiffer, 2007) and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007).  This time it is the Knight of Wands who comes to light our way.

The Twilight Realm Prince (Knight) of Wands has extremely pointed ears emerging from his flowing brown locks.  He seems to look out at us from the corner of his eye, checking whether we are watching what he’s up to.  He wears a green tunic, colour of new life and growth, with diamond patterns of various colours around the neck and upper arm, and under this he wears a red-brown shirt, colour of passion and enthusiasm.  In his right hand he holds a quite delicate wand with a small, diamond-shaped crystal glowing brightly at the tip.

He seems a bit of a showman to me: checking if we’re impressed by his magical display.  He acts confident and cheeky, glancing at us from the corner of his eye.  And though his will does light the way, showing his energy in the wand, he holds it quite delicately still, perhaps not as experienced as he would have us believe.

©Nathalie Hertz
As for the Faerie Tarot Knight of Wands, he sits astride a dun-coloured horse with a blond mane and blue tack.  He, too, wears a green tunic, though this time with a yellow cape with red trim, indicative of enlightenment that is firmly grounded.  He also wears a purple shirt and trousers, suggestive of wisdom, with brown boots, connecting him to the earth.  On his head is a helmet with a sharp point topped with a red dot, and his pointed ears peek through his long, dark hair.  His wings give off bright white sparkles, while his wand gives off red sparkles to match the red fruit within green leaves topping the wooden staff.  His horse carries him through an autumnal landscape, with the sun low in the sky behind him.

To me, he seems somewhat weary, though his steed looks calm but interested.  Yet the sparkles around his wings and wand suggest he does have plenty of energy at his disposal.  Perhaps he just hasn’t yet decided where to channel it.  This can certainly be a problem for the Knight of Wands; full of enthusiasm, but without a clear goal, so his energy may be dissipated along the way, with little to show for it.  The sun behind this Knight appears to me to be setting (though perhaps on another day I would see the sunrise here), which suggests he may have already expended much energy.  His clothing makes me think he may be a little wiser than some brash young knights, so perhaps he is tired after a hard day, leaving behind a job well done.

How can you gain a little focus for your energy today?  Would having an audience help or hinder you in your projects? 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Faery Moon

©Beth Wilder
Today, the Twilight Realm (Schiffer, 2007) and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007) offer us the opportunity to get moonstruck ;)

In the Twilight Realm, two ethereal, grey, female figures peer up at the moon from inside grey veils.  They are surrounded, almost enveloped, by verdant leaves, and one of them has some white flowers with her inside the veil.  On the one hand, the veils seem almost as though they could be made of the women’s own hair, while on the other they seem rather like cobwebs - insubstantial, yet effective to trap the one caught by them.  The moon which shines down on them is full, but with three dark shadows like a screaming face. 

Overall, the effect is one of being trapped in a somewhat nightmarish situation.  It makes me think of being stuck in a dream, unable to get out, lacking control, and with nothing as it seems or as it should be.

©Nathalie Hertz
The Faerie Tarot’s depiction couldn’t be more different.  A smiling moon looks down from a purple-tinged sky on a calm lake.  The lake is bordered by verdant banks with friendly yellow flowers gaily waving their heads.  The light of the moon forms a clear path across the water.  I like that there are more moons, both waxing, waning, happy and sad, around the card’s border: it gives the sense of cycles and change.

My feeling with this card is one of deep emotions, but that our dreams can give us a path to navigate those emotions.  Things may take time, we may not always be happy, but overall there is a feeling of purpose and hope here.

Do you remember your dreams?  And if so, what did you dream last night?  How might it relate to your current situation?  What stage of a cycle are you in?  How might you connect with your unconscious feelings about this situation?

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Faery Bagpipes

A very strange pair greet us in this comparative draw with the Twilight Realm (Schiffer, 2007) and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007).  Two versions of the Page of Swords, yet very different, and somewhat challenging to traditional ideas of the card, too.

The Twilight Page is fairly “normal” - a young,  probably male figure holding a sword, which he seems to caress with his rather pink-tipped nails.  He looks at the sword as though assessing its heft and sharpness, still getting to know this weapon.  His clothes are elegant - a pleated, bright white shirt, a deep red over tunic, and a gold and red-jewelled chain across his chest.  A young noble, then, learning the crafts of war, strategy and arms, not yet experienced, but willing to learn.

The Faerie Tarot Page, on the other hand, is a rather amusing, pot-bellied little chap.  His beard is grey, suggesting age, his nose is red (too fond of faerie wine, perhaps?) and he stands in a snow-clad landscape playing bagpipes.  His clothing is rather florid - a purple cape with orange and pink patterns, a lilac skirt, orange leggings, a red shirt, and a brown hood.  Even his bagpipes are bright - green and red checks - and his wings are turquoise with purple markings and black tips.  Behind him, a sword stands, tip down, in the snow, while above him five birds fly high up in the air. 

He seems a far cry from the normal idea of Pages as being young and inexperienced, but perhaps this is to remind us that the important part is to be young at heart?  Or maybe he is just starting to learn to play the bagpipes (so raucous that he has been banished to the countryside, with only birds to scare with his croaking, groaning sounds), and so, though old, he is starting fresh in this regard?  Or could it be that his age is a faerie glamour, just to confuse us?

Learning something new, in either case, can be seen, though other interpretations are certainly possible.  If I did not look at his title, I could imagine the Faerie Page of Swords as a chirpy reaper, playing a death knell on his instrument.  The Twilight Page also has a rather macabre bent to him: “Is this a dagger I see before me?”  Or maybe that’s just me... ;)

What can you learn today?  How can you best get to grips with a new idea?  How might you have been overhasty in your communication, and perhaps not been as clear or as kind as you could have been?

Monday, 25 June 2012

Faery Fox

Here, in this third comparative draw with the Twilight Realm (Schiffer, 2007) and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007), we meet the warm and passionate Queen of Wands. 

The Twilight Realm’s Queen of Wands faces us calmly, her red hair shining in the light of the wand held to her right.  On her left arm, a crow or raven (help me out here, folks) sits, glancing back at us over its shoulder.  Her shirt is a red-brown colour that echoes her hair tone, while she wears a green cape or shawl draped over it.  A grounded passion that moves her to action, bringing growth and life.  The black bird suggests a connection with the divine, receiving messages from spirit, and getting perspective.  It is through these that she becomes clear about her purpose, channeling her energy creatively.

As for the Faerie Tarot’s version, she is rather more foxy!  She wears a green, sleeveless dress with paler green trim and a belt to highlight her narrow waist.  She has a blue cape falling alluringly off one shoulder, and behind her are faery wings dotted with red, and red flowers adorning her hair.  To her right walks a red fox, with a jaunty white-tipped tail with a black stripe.  Her long hair flows around her, a subtle warm shade of red-brown.  The trees in the background are leafless and brown, yet to her left is a wand bearing green leaves and red fruit - close to her, new life blossoms.

To me, the Faerie rendition implies greater sensuality, and perhaps a native cunning, rather than a more spiritual bent.  Still, in both cards there is the emphasis on life and new growth.  I like the fact that both have the Queen accompanied by an animal guide - after all, one of the strongest qualities of faeries is their connection to nature.

What in your life could use some passion to bring it into bloom?  How can you channel your creativity or sensuality in a way that feels spiritual?

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Faery Battlefield

Today, another swords card greets us from Twilight Realm: A Tarot of Faery (Schiffer, 2007) and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007).  The Ten of Swords is rarely a pretty card, and that holds true for both of these versions.

In the Twilight Realm, we see a battlefield scene of death and destruction.  Corpses are littered about, all with deep, blood-red gaping wounds.  They lie on rolling hills that are brown and barren, watched over by a crimson sky.  Overhead, a skeletal faery flies with a red banner, proclaiming the victory of death over life.  Certainly, the card is heavy on drama, and “takes no prisoners.”

The Faerie Tarot, on the other hand, shows a single, blonde faery woman huddled down with her arms wrapped around herself, and tears streaming down her face.  Two blades pin her cloak to the ground, while eight more loom over her threateningly.  Her cloak looks like a night sky, with an indigo background illuminated by stars, and a couple of verdant green swatches to either side of her.  She wears a dress of lilac, with purple patterning.  One interpretation that springs to mind is of a “lady of the night” under attack from harsh tongues.  So, the death is one of her reputation, or maybe her livelihood, rather than necessarily of her body.

A situation that risks wounding, then, be it of body, reputation, or emotions.  Yet, the absolute drama of each card, in different ways, does beg the question of whether the situation is really as bad as it is painted.  After all, the end of the swords pips simply makes way for the beginning of another suit.  Unless there is actual physical death (and even then if you believe in an after life or reincarnation), there will always be something new to follow any destruction.  And who knows, the next go round may be a bit smoother...

What in your life is coming to an end?  Do you feel wounded by someone?  How can you reconcile yourself to a situation not of your choosing?

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Faery Treasure

©Beth Wilder
This week, I want to try a variation of last week’s comparative draws.  This time, though, it isn’t two versions of the same deck (given there aren’t that many of those around, though I may pull some others out), but rather two decks of the same genre.  In this case, faery tarots.  The two decks for this week are Twilight Realm: A Tarot of Faery (Schiffer, 2007) by Beth Wilder, and the Faerie Tarot (U.S. Games, 2007) by Nathalie Hertz.

For this first draw, the Three of Swords rears its ugly head.  In the Twilight Realm we see a dragon jealously guarding its treasure, a pile so large we can barely make out individual items as they merge into a sea of gold.  Meanwhile, another dragon flies off into the night, in the sky beyond the cave mouth.  Has the main dragon we see chosen treasure over love?  And which of the two will end up more heartbroken in the long run?

©Nathalie Hertz
The Faerie Tarot, on the other hand, offers us a pretty, blonde faery who seems to have been gathering wood.  She looks downcast, though.  Is it because she has to complete this task alone, with no companion to  make the time pass faster?  Did she maybe have a boon companion, who is no longer with her for some reason?  Her dress is pink, colour of romantic love, while her sleeves are red, colour of passion, and her shawl is purple, colour of wisdom and royalty.  I read her as seeming romantic and demure, yet sometimes her actions reveal her depth of emotion which, in her wisdom, she may try to keep under wraps.

Interestingly, despite being very different, in both of these I see the idea of regret for actions which have distanced us from a loved one.  Being the suit of swords, the suggestion might be to try communicating to resolve the issue.

What action do you regret?  Is there anything you can do to remedy the situation?  How can you make time today to communicate with someone you have been distanced from?

Friday, 22 June 2012

Gilded Dancers

For this last draw comparing the Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004) and the Gilded Tarot Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012), we have a great card for a Friday :)

On both cards, three woman strut their stuff above three cups.  The top two cups pour their contents into the third, which overflows into the endless body of water around it.  As for the women, they seem almost ecstatic.

The Royale shows the women in red, blue and orange, each with matching ribbons flowing out around her, a matching mask-cum-headdress, and matching ballet shoes.  Sparkling trails highlight the flow of their movements, which seem balletic: legs held high; arms out flung; full of energy, but also a feeling of precision.  They could be a troupe practising for a performance: enjoying the dance, the emotions depicted, but still with control, with awareness.

I can well imagine interpreting this card as being about emotional support from a group of work colleagues, or people who share a common interest.  There's fun to be had, but it doesn't feel debauched or wild.

The Gilded, on the other hand, shows the women in green, red and blue dresses, and both green and red ribbons float around all three of them.  Their faces are uncovered, and their feet are bare.  Sparkles twinkle around one hand of each of the three, and they are closer together, dancing in a single space, rather than each taking up her own area.  This has more of a party feel to it: less planned; more spontaneous; with the magic that comes from being completely in the moment!

This definitely feels like a great Friday night out with friends, of the kind I haven't had in a long time!  Would I still enjoy that kind of party?  Maybe it would depend on the company :)

What are your plans this fine Friday?  Will you party like it's 1999?  Or will you spend some quality time with people you have a lot in common with? And which would you rather do?

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Gilded Dove

The Ace of Swords flies into view today, from the Gilded Tarot Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012) and the original Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004).

In theRoyale, a sword with two blue jewels in its pommel floats with its blade pointed down at a slight angle to the right, while its sheath floats behind it pointed slightly to the left.  Two golden chains dangle from the sheath, with Ciro's initials hanging from them.  The incorporation of his initials into all the cards is a new element in this revisioned version of the deck (have you spotted them everyday so far?)  Behind the sword and sheath, a white dove is caught mid-flight.

A blue thread seems to tie a purple and indigo ribbon to the sword's hilt, and written on it in orange is "A bon droit".  This translates as by right, lawfully, or with good reason.  For example, in the tale of King Arthur pulling Excalibur from the stone, these words may have been used in some versions to say that whomever pulled the sword from the stone would be the rightful King.

This card suggests to me a new idea, and that with good reason we should take it up.  In modern terms, you've had a thought, at it's a doozy :D  The dove, with the connection to messages both mundane and spiritual, implies communication.  Perhaps a time to say something straight up, but in a way that will keep the peace?

In the Gilded, the two main differences are the lack of dove, and the fact that the floating ribbon is longer, plain blue, and with no writing on it.  The way the ribbon flows suggests movement, and blue is the colour of the throat chakra, also linking it to communication.  The new idea or communication is still there, in a simpler (purer?) form.

Today, can you open yourself to new inspiration?  Is there a relationship in your life that calls for a new start, with clear, kind communication?

Celebrating the Sunrise

Image from The Russet
Time for another Tarot Blog Hop!  If you've just jumped in from the Seer's Cave, glad you made it.  And if you found your way here some other way, welcome :)  If you get lost anywhere along the way, you can check here for all the stations on this blog hop journey.

For this Summer Solstice, the theme is celebration - today is the longest day of the year, when the sun shines for the most hours (at least in the Northern Hemisphere, and if it isn't grey and gloomy as it has been for much of the month).  What this put me in mind of is to think about what we have to celebrate now at the brightest time of the year, and also what we need to prepare for as we move gradually towards winter.

So, I decided to draw two cards for TABI (my Litha Celebration Spread), using the Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011):

©Maria Caratti and Antonella Platano
1)  What is at its high point right now?  Queen of Wands

I love this card - both this version, and the Queen of Wands in general.  To me, she represents warmth, sociability, hospitality, passion and experiencing life fully and enthusiastically.  The Queen of Wands is full of passion for life and for her pet projects, and likes to include others in that - both drawing them into her plans, and coming up with projects that will benefit them.

In terms of TABI, what I see here is the preparations that have been going on to get ready for the annual Conference!  If you haven't checked it out yet, click here to take a look at the line up.  The Conference is TABI's chance for wonderful socialising with loads of fellow tarotists, as well as people getting passionate and enthused about new ideas, spreads, reading tips, and other tarot wonderfulness.

In this Queen, I also see both our intrepid Chair, Louise (though she sees herself more as a Knight of Cups, but in this instance I'm sticking to my interpretation), and our keynote speaker, Theresa Reed (AKA The Tarot Lady).  Both are extremely enthusiastic about tarot in general, while Louise is keen to make this a great Conference, and Theresa is passionate about her subject of becoming a successful tarot pro.  I'm sure they are in the thick of working to ensure the Conference is an inspiring, fun and companionable experience.

©Maria Caratti and Antonella Platano
2)  What do we need to prepare for?  Six of Pentacles

This card is traditionally associated with generosity and sharing, and that's also something I think of when the Conference is in the offing.  It's a great opportunity to share thoughts, ideas, tips, and deck preferences.   I've always learnt loads from all the lovely tarot people at the Conference, be they speakers or attendees!

Perhaps, too, in this card there is the suggestion of needing to prepare so that we can become the generous merchant.  And what better way than by improving our business skills with Theresa ;)

Seriously, though, whether you want to become a better tarot pro or not, I see in this card the suggestion of being open to both giving and receiving.  Even without attending the Conference, TABI is a great place for this kind of interchange: from the forums with threads about all manner of tarot stuff - different cards, decks, reading methods - to the Facebook page where people chat about tarot and share their favourite blogs and cards, there are plenty of ways to learn and share your knowledge and delight in tarot.

I'd love to hear if you try this very quick spread :)

In the meantime, next stop on the Tarot Blog Hop is Jordan Hoggard's funky and informative blog.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Gilded Blindfold

Interesting, we've had mainly pips, and lots of small numbers at that, so far this week.  That continues today, with the Two of Swords from the Gilded Tarot(Llewellyn, 2004) and her younger (and prettier? What do you think?) sister, the Gilded Tarot Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012).

In the Royale, a woman's face emerges from clouds above a bright, full moon over which two swords cross.  Two feathered wings cover her eyes like a blindfold, joined at the third eye by a blue, diamond-shaped jewel and two smaller stones.  The sky around her is tinged with purple, and even her hair and skin tone seem to reflect it.

The feathered blindfold reminds me of Maat weighing up people's hearts against a feather, suggesting karmic justice.  The fact that the blindfold is connected with a blue stone at the third eye point speaks of seeing with truthful clarity that pierces the superficial, perceiving through psychic vision.  The moon emphasises this connection with the deeper flow of reality and with psychic understanding.  The purple tone of the card suggests that this way lies wisdom.

The main message, then, might be one of taking time to assess the situation from all angles, looking beyond the obvious, before trying to make a decision.

Comparing this with the original Gilded, what first strikes me is the change in the blindfold.  In this version, it is a glowing golden band that seems to float in a ring around her head.  While I think this was attempting the same sense of deep illumination as the more modern version, what it often makes me think of is 1980's disco dress and music videos (but maybe that's just me).  In that sense, I often have quite a lively soundtrack going on when I get this card ;)

The moon is less obvious in this version, not being picked out with reflected light at the top as in the Royale.  Also, the overall tinge of the card is turquoise, more suggestive of healing than of wisdom.  Here, then, I get the message that time is needed to heal before a decision can be made.

Today, which do you need more, wisdom or healing?  What decisions await you?  What information do you need before deciding?  What is stopping you from moving forward?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Gilded Pier

For this fourth comparative draw with the original Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004) and the Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012), another Wands card comes to call.

In the Royale, a man stands on a brick pier, looking out at a ship riding the calm waters in front of him.  Above, two seagulls fly, while a third sits to his left, and a rat scurries past his right foot.  He wears a green cape with purple trim and a gold embroidered pattern above the hem, coupled with a purple hat.  The sky above the ship also glows purple in the twilight. 

This card is often seen as one where effort has been made in a project, and now things are in motion, but perhaps not quite so under our control as they were at the outset.

Other than much greater detail in the man's clothing, and less ornateness in both the ship and the wands, the two things that most strike me between the original and the Royale versions of this card are the animals close to the man and the more constructed nature of his environment. 

Having one (exquisitely detailed) seagull by his side, suggests something around keeping an eye on your projects, even after you have sent them out into the world.  Keeping tabs on things, rather than passively waiting... 

The rat makes me think about the small details that can bring a project down, gnawed to destruction from the inside or through "minor" issues.  Similarly, there is the saying, "Like rats leaving a sinking ship".  These creatures have a strong survival instinct, so the rat being on land, rather than on the boat, may not bode well for the project - it all depends on what catches our eye in a given reading.  

Finally, the man-made environment suggests a rather more professional approach to a project, with good infra-structures or support.

Do you have any projects that are ready to be put into action, be it in business or anywhere else?  What small details do you need to attend to?  How can you keep watch on your progress?  What support can you call on today?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Gilded Pain

Today's card from both the Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004) and the Gilded Tarot Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012) is the Three of Swords, a card of painful emotions be it heartache, jealousy or sorrow.

In the newly revisioned Royale, we see a large heart, pierced through with the eponymous three swords.  In its centre is a radiant sun design, and around it flames flick out, burning brightly.  Meanwhile storm clouds fill the air with a foreboding gloom.  I notice that, although we see the points of the two crossed swords emerging from the heart, the blade of the sword pointing down is completely enveloped by the lower part of the heart.

The sense I get here is of our own thoughts stabbing us painfully.  Be it self-doubt, recriminations, or jealousy, it is less about the emotions per se, and more about our thoughts and responses to the situation.  For example, if a partner leaves us, we could feel relief, we could feel angry, or we could feel jealous thinking about the new person in their life, or think we are a failure for not being lovable enough.  It is not the situation that hurts, but what we think about it: those thoughts can fill us with burning, painful emotions!

In terms of differences, the two things I notice in the earlier version of the card are: firstly, that the downward pointing sword was plunged less deeply into the heart.  Secondly, the whole heart was lower in the image, whereas in the Royale the heart is almost centred on the card.  One thing this brings to mind is the idea that, just as we can plunge a sword into our own hearts, so too can we pull it out.  In the Royale, the image feels more balanced, but it may not be a very happy balance.  Rather, it is one where we keep hurting, equally cut by a number of different thoughts. 

Looking to the positive, though, the burning flames in the Royale can be cleansing, just as in other decks there is sometimes a cleansing rain falling around the heart.  Difficult situations are also some of the most powerful ones for our personal growth, which isn't easy to remember in the moment, of course.

Are there any situations causing you pain, heartache or jealousy?  How might your thoughts be influencing how you feel about this situation?  What could help you approach it differently?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Gilded Warrior

What a lovely, restful card for a Sunday!  Here we have the Four of Swords from the Gilded Tarot Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012), and further down from the original Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004).

A bearded knight lies, arms crossed over his chest, in front of a stained-glass window.  He wears plate armour, with a red cape over the top, and his head rests on a red pillow.  Three swords seem to float above him, two crossed with points down, the third pointing straight up.  Below him is an etched stone plinth, with another sword lying horizontally across it.  Purple curtains with eagles on them hang to either side of the window.

The sense of resting up and preparing for something is certainly apparent here, as is the idea of feeling secure.  The latter comes both from his armour - you don't get much safer, even in Kevlar ;) - and from the red of his cape, colour of the base chakra which links to our feelings of security. 

©Ciro Marchetti
Three things strike me in particular as being different between the Royale and the original.  The first is the position of the floating swords, the second is the location, and the third is his armour. 

In the original, the three swords are all pointing down, none of the blades crossed.  The newer arrangement makes me think of the way being barred, but our knight dreaming/planning a way to cut through the obstacles. 

Secondly, there is the fact that in the original he seems to be almost buried, surrounded by bricks.  In the Royale, there is a greater sense of having a perspective on the world.  The watery view outide the window makes me think, once again, of dreaming, as a way to connect with our unconscious and tap into its potential for creativity.

Finally, there is the armour.  He goes from chainmail to plate-armour - so more protected, but also more rigid.  Perhaps it is, in part, because he is so rigidly defended that he needs to seek creativity and renewed energy in sleep and dreams...

What do you need to prepare for?  Do you find inspiration in your dreams?  How can you feel safe today?

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Gilding the Lily

This week I have decided to do something a little different.  Having recently received the beautiful Gilded Tarot Royale, Ciro Marchetti's self-published re-working of his much acclaimed first deck, the Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004) I thought it would be interesting to do a daily draw with the Royale, and compare it with it's older sister deck.

First up is the Seven of Wands.  A man stands, as though protecting the doorway behind him.  The doorway is open with just a trellis in the top quarter, and radiant sunlight shines from it. Above, through the trellis, blue sky can be seen, and the near pillars are decorated with flower symbols, while the far pillars sport a diamond pattern.  In front of the man are six raised wands, the last of the seven being clasped by him in both hands.  His costume looks very renaissance, with purple tights, a billowy red shirt, and an over tunic in blue green and purple.  He also sports a purple-brimmed, red floppy hat.

As with traditional versions of this card, there is a sense of defensiveness, yet it is also true that we see no attackers, just the wands.  So, this can represent self-doubt or feeling defensive about projects we aren't currently taking care of.

©Ciro Marchetti
Comparing this card with the original Gilded Tarot, the main difference that strikes me is the fact that there is a partially open door inviting us through, rather than an open doorway bright with sunshine.  The Royale gives me a more spiritual sense - defending one's sense of self, as the sun is sometimes equated with our own inner light.  There is also a greater sense of perspective and depth in the Royale, the idea of an inner sanctum leading to the open doorway.  This gives greater three-dimensionality to the card, as well as reinforcing the idea of the gateway leading somewhere special, rather than just to a balcony, as seen in the original Gilded.

It's interesting, I'm not sure I have ever thought of this card as feeling defensive about projects left uncared for before.  Of course, the association of wands with projects is one I've always known, but I've always tended to see this card as feeling defensive, though the attacks may be more in your head than external.  That can still be the case with this interpretation: it is me who is attacking myself for not staying on top of all the projects I have taken on. 

What are you feeling defensive about?  How can you spend more time on the things that really matter to you?

Friday, 15 June 2012

Zombie Justice

Good dental hygiene is not a notable feature of Zombies, at least according to the Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012).  Why one of the hardest parts of our body should degrade faster than skin or muscle is anyone's guess, or perhaps just because it's easier to fake bad teeth than muscle detaching from bone...

In any case, today's gentleman represents Justice, or perhaps the reverse side of it.  Wearing an orange, prison-style jumpsuit, he seems to have landed on the wrong side of the law.  Was he innocent and does he blame his lawyer?  Is that whose brain he would first like to suck? 

For me, this card is often more about weighing up our own actions, looking for the fairest course of action for all involved, and admitting if we need to make changes, rather than those things necessarily being imposed from the outside.  Of course, it can also represent being involved in some kind of legal turmoil, but for most people that is, fortunately, not a frequent occurrence.

Can you take some time today to assess your role in a difficult situation?  What could you do to improve the situation for all involved?

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Zombie Welcome

Well, we've certainly been given the opportunity to explore Court cards from the Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012).

Today is the turn of the Queen of Wands, and despite there being no obvious suit markers in this card, I rather like her.  There's something about her crazy but enthusiastic gaze that seems alive and almost welcoming, and red is definitely a Wands-y colour :D  The way she turns to look towards us over her shoulder, as if inviting us to join her in some exciting pursuit, speaks to me of Queen of Wands sociability and enthusiasm for life.

What are you excited about today?  Who could you include in your plans?  How can you express your passion today?

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Zombie Devil

Today's card from the Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012) is a particularly gruesome one!

This Devil is very dark and fearsome, representing more the terrors that control us than materialism or consumerism.  There is little of the temptation of sensuality or the joy in giving in to being "bad" to be found here.  Instead, it truly is the shadow side, the things we fear and cannot admit, even to ourselves, that I see in is card.

What demons torment you?  How can you face your fears today?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Zombie Biker

Another Court card comes to meet us from the Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012).

I rather like this Knight of Swords.  He looks appropriately angsty, or perhaps that is angry.  Either way, he seems willing to move fast and not shy of getting into it, being a biker.  His bellowing face gives me the same feel as a Knight riding full pelt towards battle, and his badges are a nod to knowledge and information.  Not really someone I'd want to meet in a dark alley, but then, being a Zombie, that would be the case with most of these characters ;)  There is something sharp and spikey about him (maybe it's just the hair), but I feel this card is a good fit.  What do you reckon?

Can you be clear without being cutting, firm without being aggressive?  How can you stand up for yourself or someone else today?  What battles do you face?

Monday, 11 June 2012

Zombie Who?

Today, the Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012) offers us a Court card to ponder: the Queen of Pentacles.

In my review of this deck, I mentioned that few of the cards have obvious suit elements in them, a fact explained by the deck being a montage of community commons photos around the Zombie theme.  However, it does mean that sometimes the cards aren't very obvious in their attributions - one zombie dude can look a lot like another zombie dude.  Certainly, that's a problem that I see with today's card. 

A zombie woman stands with flowers in her windswept hair.  A line of blood drips down from her mouth and over her chest.  Her eyes look directly at us, but glazed as though she doesn't see us.  Behind her we can make out parked cars, and what may be the beach.  The flowers and the sea make me think of the Queen of Cups, while the windswept hair and high up vantage point could suggest the Queen of Swords, but I see nothing of the Queen of Pentacles here.  

Nothing suggests being grounded, or focused on the material, or a family maker, or entrepreneurial, or any of the other things I associate with the Queen of Pentacles, but perhaps someone else will see something I don't....

What can you do today at a practical level to make your life, or that of someone else, a little better?  How can you be more grounded? 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Zombie Defeat

A somewhat more bloody image today from the Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012). 

In this version of the Five of Swords, we see a Zombie couple.  He strides purposefully towards us, while she seems to struggle to hold herself together, yet drags herself after him anyway.  What I see is the kind of humiliation apparent in abusive relationships.  Traditional interpretations of this card include humiliation, defeat, and the question of whether winning at any price is worth it.  What I see is the kind of humiliation apparent in abusive relationships.  She will follow him through anything, including rotting and dropping body parts, it would seem.  And I imagine him feeling a victor, yet all he has won is an eternity with someone who doesn't respect herself, or him. 

Is there a situation in your life where you feel you are making too many concessions?  What can you do to feel more respect for yourself?  How can you stand up for yourself and your beliefs today?

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Zombie Sun

Today begins a week of draws with the dark yet humorous Zombie Apocalypse TaROT (Joe Frost, 2012).  This self-published deck is available through Game Crafter, and would be a good deck for extremely creepy Hallowe'en readings :)

This card, the Sun, is quite subtle.  There is no gore, just a rather tattered, dehydrated-looking Zombie stumbling along under the burning sun.  The sense I get is that of the Sun reversed, drawing into focus the possibilities of burnout, feeling overwhelmed, or drained by too much of a good thing.  When we are in a weakened state, or in poor health, then having fun, acting happy, and new beginnings generally, can feel more of a challenge than a pleasure.

How can you husband your inner resources today?  What do you need to be able to enjoy some light-heartedness?  How can you protect yourself from burnout?

Friday, 8 June 2012

Fifth Firebird

For this last day drawing from the Fifth Tarot (Blue Dolphin, 2010) we meet another Court card, the Initiate of Fire (Knight of Wands).

I love the energy and dynamism of this card.  It also puts me in mind of the S.J. Tucker song, Firebird's Child: come join the dance, and make it wild!  I definitely see that wildness, energy, movement and passion in this card, and it fits well with traditional ideas of the Knight of Wands, too.  A desire to fly high and far, to explore and adventure, to keep moving, are all traits I associate with this card.  The old Russian fairytale of Ivan and the Firebird fits with this archetype, too, speaking of a young man who goes off on a quest for the firebird, facing down danger and finding love and wealth - everything that a Knight of Wands wants.

What are you questing for?  How can you bring some adventure into your life today?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Fifth Strength

©Martien & Teressena Bakens
The Fifth Tarot (Blue Dolphin, 2010) offers a very different depiction of Strength.

A woman sits cross-legged, meditating.  She is attuned to all the elements - a conch shell (water) by her right knee, and hawk feather (air) in her right hand, a stone (earth) by her left knee, and a thunderbolt (fire) in her left hand.  Two lemniscates, symbols of infinity and of healing, intersect around her.  One is centred on her belly, her womb, from which she draws her strength and creativity.  The other rises up from her crown chakra, signified by the lotus blossoming above the top of her head.  In the waters in front of her, a baby floats, linked to both lemniscates.  Her calm decisions birth new projects and ideas, bring them into manifestation, in a way that draws on the Source, and then transmutes that energy through her own inner power.

I love the way this card implies inner strength as coming from our centre but aligned with spirit, and her absolute calm and control.  From a place of strength, anything becomes possible.

What do you want to create in your life?  Which elements do you need to bring into play to achieve your goals?  How can you make decisions from your centre, both calmly and with passion?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Fifth Universe

Another card from the Major Arcana of the Fifth Tarot (Blue Dolphin, 2010) graces us with its presence today.

Here we have the Universe (World) card, with a radiant spirit rising up from the centre of a ring of ten standing stones, holding a shimmering sphere.  Around the figure is a golden glow, shading into sunrise colours.  The stone circle is ringed with grass, and then with crystal formations on one side, and bushes and hills on the other.  I can certainly see the ideas of completion, perfection, endings and beginnings, and deep spirituality here.  The ten standing stones represent the wisdom of ages, as well as being the number of endings and completion.  The crystals represent vibrating at a higher frequency, as well as healing.  And the angel-winged figure in the centre dances with the light of the Universe.

The Majors in this deck also have glyphs in the four corners.  Top right is a planetary or astrological sign (here Saturn), top left a star symbol (Future Sight), bottom left a Mayan glyph (Cosmos) and bottom right a symbol of MU (Universe).  Descriptions and explanations of these are given in the appendices of the companion book.

What can you complete today?  How can you feel fulfilled?  Are you open to the future?  What can you do today to bring some light to your life?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Fifth Spontaneity

Having had a Court card and a Major, today the Fifth Tarot (Blue Dolphin, 2010) shows us a Minor.

The Three of Fire (Wands) is titled Spontaneity.  Although overall the deck is quite non-traditional, I think it is possible to compare the images of the four normal suits to their counterparts.  Certainly, here I see a similar sense of reaching out into the world as that found in the RWS-type decks. 

The plant shown is a fire bush, with thorns that are barely hidden.  These add a prickle that wakes us up, bringing our spontaneity forth.  I really like the rolling countryside, golden with corn, which gives a feeling of growth and abundance to be harvested, matching well with traditional symbolism.  There's also something here for me about reaching for life, making the most of it...

How can you express your spontaneity today?  What do you want to reach for?  How can you make the most of what life offers you?

Monday, 4 June 2012

Fifth Magician

The Fifth Tarot (Blue Dolphin, 2010) offers us a card from the Major Arcana today.

I love the way, with several of the Majors, we get a sense of the character being a part of the landscape.  Here, for example, with the Magician, his cloak is both a starry sky (air) and also the edge over which a waterfall pours (water).  His left arm, which holds a crystal-ball-topped wand (fire), seems to blend with the cliff face (earth), or with the wand itself.  His beard is just another flow to match the lava flowing from the volcano (fire), and the waterfall.  Smoke also rises from the volcano, adding some more of the air element to the card, and he holds a shining cup (water) with hebrew letters engraved on it.  To his side a raven sits, curved beak arcing towards him, as though ready to whisper secrets in his ear.  Altogether, he has a real Merlin/Gandalph vibe going on ;D  Certainly, I imagine him connected to all the elements, able to manifest his will, and with a far-sightedness and wisdom that make him much respected.

How will you connect with the world around you today?  What change would you like to bring to your life?  What can you do today to be the change you want?

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Fifth Meditator

The Fifth Tarot (Blue Dolphin, 2010) doesn't just add in a fifth suit to the tarot.  It also renames all the Courts, which become Seeker,  Initiate, Apprentice and Elementor.  This card, the Initiate of Stones, would be equivalent to the Knight of Pentacles. 

A monk-like figure sits in a cave, with stalagtites and stalagmites all around.  He sits as though meditating and seems to glow from within.  What I see here is someone who can draw on the wisdom of the ages, and who is whole unto themselves.  Also, perhaps, a recommendation to spend some time in meditation, or at least in some activity that makes us feel connected and calm.  I can see here, too, a suggestion to spend time getting to know the element of earth - a long walk in the countryside, doing some gardening, meditating with stones in your palms.

As an initiate, this person knows they are comfortable with the energy of the element of earth, with being grounded and practical, with connecting with mother earth.  The initiate is still close close to the beginning of his journey, still needs to practice such skills as meditation, and does so with a good deal of enthusiasm.  Yet, he is far calmer than Initiates of the other elements (other than ether).  It takes a good deal of energy to get him in motion, but once he does move, he'll keep going!

Can  you take some time today to meditate?  What project could do with some slow and steady energy?  How can you feel more grounded?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Fifth Joy

©Martien & Teressena Bakens
This week, I will be drawing from the Fifth Tarot (Blue Dolphin, 2010).  This is a deck with an extra suit to represent ether, and named "Lotus", bringing the card count up to 92.  When I first saw it, I wasn't sure.  It's a very non-traditional deck, created by an intuitive visionary artist.  I also wasn't convinced of the need for a fifth suit - after all, aren't the Majors to do with spirit?  Still, when a fellow TABI member put her copy up for sale, I decided to offer it a good home ;)  And I like it far better than I expected to.  Perhaps because I am more open to non-traditional decks these days...

For this first draw, we actually get a card that came up in the video reading I did with the deck yesterday.  The Five of Feathers (Swords) is subtitled "Joy": indicating just how far this deck strays from traditional RWS interpretations!  I notice the way the birds mirror each other.  Part of what brings us joy is to feel we are validated by others, which we often feel when we are mirrored by them.  This can be at a postural, physical level, or at a deeper level when someone really "gets" us, reflecting our self back to us as we perceive it.

I also notice the movement of the inner purple shape, with feathers drifting out from it.  Purple is the colour of spirit, and green the colour of growth and life.  This pentagram shape makes me think of the course of atoms, of the ever-moving flow of life, and how finding a calm centre within ourselves from which to navigate this flow is the goal of meditation.  Rather like the way hummingbirds beat their wings incredibly fast, just to hover as though motionless.

Who will you spend time with today?  Will you do something meditative?  What brings you joy? 

Friday, 1 June 2012

Angel Page

To end this week with the Angel Tarot Cards (Hay House, 2012) we have the Page of Water (Cups).

A mermaid rises up from the depths, accompanied by whales and a dolphin.  Somewhat confusingly, she holds aloft a shining, crystal-topped wand, while a golden cup floats in the foreground, surrounded by a number of colourful fish.  In the background, majestic, craggy mountains rise steeply from a palm-filled waterfront, a warm brown in the light of the sun.

I like the adjectives given for the Page: intuitive, sensitive, artistic, friendly.  The key phrases chime less with me, though I can see where they are coming from.  All in all, it is certainly an upbeat reading of the Page, and I like that it also offers a suggestion of how the card can be interpreted in terms of situations, rather than just people.

How can you explore your creativity today?  What situation calls for an intuitive approach?  Which emotions could you playfully tap into today?