Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween Imps

©Kipling West
Today's card from the Halloween Tarot (U.S. Games, 1997) is rather different to traditional depictions of the Eight of Wands.

Here we have eight Imps flying around in the broad night sky.  A somewhat spooky house sits off in the distance by the side of a stream, and there's a little hill on the opposite side of the card to balance it out.  Still, the landscape is more like a footnote, as the sky and the imps dominate the majority of the card.  What I notice most is that, unlike the neatly lined up wands of traditional images, here the imps are flying all over the place, in every direction.  Several of them brandish arrows, giving them a cupid-like feel.

There is a sense of chaoticness to this card's energy.  A lot of movement, a lot of messages perhaps, but little order or clarity.  And made worse by heightened passions, perhaps...

How can you get your projects and desires lined up?  Might a bit of chaos actually be productive in some way?  What messages are you sending out?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Halloween Blog Hop

Halloween Tarot ©Kipling West
Welcome to the Halloween Tarot Blog Hop!  You may have jumped in from Inner Whispers, or found your way here by some other route.  Whatever the case, I'd recommend following one of the links in this post to explore more Blog Hop insights.

For this Tarot Blog Hop, our inestimable wrangler is Amethyst Mahoney.  She proposed that we take a look at our shadow, and write about that, or else about what tarot spread we used to look at it.  When I read this brief, I was fascinated at a personal level.  However, I wondered what I could say about TABI's shadow...

Not that this lovely organisation doesn't have a shadow - anywhere that you get a group of people coming together, you will also get disagreements and negativity, as all their individual shadows bump up against one another.  But I don't feel well placed to talk about TABI's shadow.  So, I decided the best thing I could offer would be a spread for shadow work :)

Mini RWS
This is based on the inner part of the Celtic Cross.  The positions are:

1) What is my shadow?
2) Where did it come from?
3) What deep energy fuels it?
4) What wisdom can I learn from it?
5) What can I do to work on it?

I hope you'll find this spread useful, and let me know if you give it a try.  Next stop on the Blog Hop is Kerry at Neopagan Priestess.

Happy Halloween! :D

Halloween Ghosts

©Kipling West
The Halloween Tarot (U.S. Games, 1997) renames all the suits, as you've probably noticed the last few days ;)  Wands become Imps, Cups are Ghosts, Swords transform into Bats, and Pentacles grow into Pumpkins.  That makes today's card the Five of Cups, in traditional parlance.

I find this a fascinating take on the card: four ghosts and a pumpkin man watch with unhappy expressions while a fifth ghost pours water from a bucket into a river.  Even the orange-eyed cat is gazing up at the water-pouring ghost.  Meanwhile, five stars twinkle overhead, and another bucket stands unheaded behind the pumpkin man.

What this card says to me is that focusing on the ghosts of past relationships, past experiences, is like pouring all our emotional energy down the drain.  We do not see the guiding light that surrounds us, nor the emotional strength we still have.

What past relationships or experiences do you need to let go of?  How can you open your eyes to what is in the present?

Monday, 29 October 2012

Halloween Inspiration

©Kipling West
I like today's card from the Halloween Tarot (U.S. Games, 1997), too :) 

This Page has long hair and a rather androgynous look - could be a girl or boy.  There are red salamanders on hir tunic, and s/he gazes up at the bright flame of hir torch.  A little red imp looks out from behind hir, also seeming intent on the flame.  Perhaps wondering what the Page is going to set fire to :)  Likewise, the black cat who graces every card also stares curiously up at the flame.  I like the ghosts on the Page's boots, showing s/he's prone to emotion, as well as passion and enthusiasm.

It feels like this Page has a new inspiration, a guiding light, something to feel excited about.  S/he may not act very wisely, though, too caught up in this new passion to see any of the consequences attached, or anything else at all, for that matter.  Still, a little enthusiasm can go a long way :)

What inspires you today?  How can you use your enthusiasm productively?

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Halloween Farmer

©Kipling West
The Halloween Tarot (U.S. Games, 1997) is pretty much a RWS clone, particularly in the Minors.  Yet I still find it delightful, and there is often a different feeling to the cards despite the similarities.

Today's card is such a case, I think.  The look on the pumpkin-headed farmer's face is so peaceful and hopeful!  He doesn't look stressed by the work he's put into his pumpkins, he doesn't look worried about how his harvest will turn out.  He appears to just be in the moment, enjoying being outside and looking at those beautiful pumpkins :) 

Yes, we may have to wait and see, we may have to reassess whether the seeds we've sown need more watering, or whether we need to weed some out.  Still, this card reminds us to stay present with what we are doing, in the moment.

What might you need to reassess?  Where do you need to put your effort?  What do you hope to reap?

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Halloween Rest

©Kipling West
In this week that encompasses Samhain, what better deck to dig out of my box than the Halloween Tarot (U.S. Games, 1997)? 

Today's image is rather reminiscent of yesterday's Moon card!  Here, the moon gazes down through a stainglass window at a pumpkin-headed Knight on a tombstone.  I love the ever-present black cat, here curled up on the Knight's lap.  I wouldn't mind napping with a cat snuggled up to me, that's for sure :)

This card depicts well the idea of taking some time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Of resting up to prepare ourselves for the next big push.  Though I wonder how comfortable it would be to sleep in armour...

How can you take some time out today?  What do you need to prepare for?  Is a change as good as a rest?

Friday, 26 October 2012

Absurd Moon

©Jessica Shanahan
I am sad to see this week with the Tarot of the Absurd end!  There is something really warm in these images, despite them being black-and-white. 

For our last card I pulled the Moon.  This is a very sweet, gentle version of this archetype.  A person sleeps curled up with a couple of dogs (or maybe the traditional fox and dog).  All three lie on a bridge over a stream, with four trees that seem almost like pillars supporting the corners of the bridge.  The trees are bare-branched, and with curly roots digging down into the dark soil.  Above it all, the Moon beams down, eyes gently closed, a soft smile on this otherwise impassive face. 

To me, it feels as though everyone is asleep - the person, the animals, the trees, even the Moon.  Perhaps, though, the Moon is just gazing down, wryly thinking about being the only one awake. 

I wonder what they are all dreaming about.  Curled up together on the bridge, it feels like a precarious place to sleep, unsheltered from the elements and the moonlight.  And yet, being curled together would feel cozy and secure.  A strange mix, then.  Do they dream of being in a happy place, or of being pursued by demons, or of entering a strange world where rooms change shape as you walk through them?  Or do they perhaps dream of flying?  Maybe the Moon is dreaming them, creatures to keep him company through the long night...

How can you feel more secure in the face of uncertainty?  What secrets might your dreams reveal of you, or to you? 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Absurd Happiness

©Jessica Shanahan
This is another lovely card from Jessica Shanahan's Tarot of the Absurd

A family sit together, lovingly close.  The child sits in between the man and woman, gazing up adoringly at what I assume to be his mother.  His little hand reaches out to pat her face, while her arm wraps around her man's back.  They are all sat on a chest, with coins floating around them. 

They seem so secure, with each other and with their chest of stuff.  They have all they need for their happiness.  Not a huge house or a fancy car or an expensive suit.  Just what they need to get by, and each other.

What is your idea of happiness?  What do you feel you need?  Who matters most to you, and have you told them that today?

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Absurd Chariot

©Jessica Shanahan
Today's card from the Tarot of the Absurd definitely offers us a quite different perspective.

Here we see a bull and a lion harnessed to a chariot.  The angles are all strange, though.  The lion looks like his tail has been caught under the chariot and he's not happy about it.  The bull is arching back, as though about to tumble and crush the lion or the charioteer, or both.  And the chariot stands on it's tailgate, facing straight up.  Perhaps that matters less, as the charioteer has strong-looking angel wings that echo the eagle on the chariot's axle.  He also has a flaming torch above him.

You couldn't get much more disparate mounts for the chariot, and it seems the charioteer has his work cut out for him if he wants to make his way in the world.  And yet, his angel wings suggest an almost godly determination, and the support of spirit for his endeavours.  It feels a little like Ra's chariot, driven through the sky each day carrying the sun.  Such power will overcome any obstacle!

What drives you today, and what do you want to achieve?  How can you harness your energy to your purpose?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Absurd Love

©Jessica Shanahan
Don't you just love this card from Jessica Shanahan's Tarot of the Absurd?!

In this version of the Two of Cups, a man and woman dance together, each leaning on the other.  They would both fall over if the other wasn't there.  Yet they dance and trust, and do it with such looks of bliss on their faces :)

To me, this is the very essence of a loving relationship.  Trust, joy, sharing, being there for each other, and doing it all with a smile.  Of course, we don't always manage that balance; sometimes we fall over and there may be tears, or other spilled emotions.  Still, it's worth the effort, because loving and being loved is a beautiful thing!

Have you told anyone you love them today?  What can you do to express your caring?  Who can you lean on?

Monday, 22 October 2012

Absurd Page

©Jessica Shanahan
Today's card from Jessica Shanahan's Tarot of the Absurd is also the card which graces the front of the packaging the deck comes in: the Page of Blades.

Somewhere on her site, Jessica comments that she doesn't know why she put a crown over the Page's head - perhaps a Thoth Princess influence.  I rather like it, to be honest.  Especially in this card, it suggests a certain illumination or wisdom, small now, but that will grow.  I also like the way this Page stands on books, as though absorbing their wisdom so that she can reach a little farther than those she learns from.  She can also back up any argument, from the books behind her.  It's only a small bookshelf, though, so there is still a world of wisdom waiting to be discovered.

An enthusiastic student - sharp of wit, full of confidence - who may not yet understand just how big and wide the world is: that's what I see in this card!

How can you best defend your point of view?  When might it be better if you didn't?  What would you like to learn today? 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Absurd Gentlemen

©Jessica Shanahan
Today's card from Jessica Shanahan's Tarot of the Absurd (2012), is the Three of Sticks (Wands).

Three very different characters stand together.  One looks like a priest, another seems like an old but nimble archer, and the last a "fat cat" business man.  Each holds a stick, but all three sticks are somewhat different.  Are these three fellows working together on a project?  Or all waiting for something to happen?

The two on the outside look towards each other,  while the small man in the middle seems more focused on what he holds in his left hand.  I also like the way he delicately holds his very fine stick with one finger, as though balancing it.

Somehow, the message I get here is that the more lightly we can hold a project, the healthier for us, and the less stressed we will be.

How do you feel about the people you are working with?  What projects are you waiting to mature?  How can you take life lightly today?

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Absurd Alchemist

This week, I'll be blogging with Jessica Shanahan's Tarot of the Absurd.  When it arrived, it looked like this:

The cards are all black-and-white, with very unusual and striking designs.  You can maybe get a feel for that here:

©Jessica Shanahan
So, what does this deck have to say to us today?  The first card I pulled is the Alchemist (Magician).

There is a genie-esque quality to this card, the Alchemist seeming to emerge from the upper tip of the crescent moon, which seems to make up the body of some sort of alembic.  Yet, the Alchemist also holds the top of the alembic, as though controlling the flow from it, of spiralling gases, or maybe pure magic.

I see the Alchemist as a she, though it isn't overly apparent.  She wears a floppy hat with a star on it, which is echoed in the base of the alembic, and a single high heeled shoe.  Also a pair of glasses - for short-sightedness or to enhance vision?  She holds some kind of wand in her left hand, with which she seems to poke herself.  Either that, or it's aiming down beneath her, perhaps to where she is emerging from the moon - willing herself out?

The sense I get here is firstly of willing herself into existence, creating herself with a wave of her wand.  What else might she control, if she has such power?  She seems very intent on what she's doing, that's for sure. 

It's curious how, with nothing but black on white, the artist has created such a happy, magical feel: like everything is possible.  I also love the feeling of dancing in this image, like all of life is set to music, a graceful flow of movement: which at a quantum level it is...

What do you want to create today?  How can you direct the flow of life to suit you?

Friday, 19 October 2012

Touchstone of Spirit

©Kat Black
For this last day with the Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009), we have what is probably my favourite card this week: the Hermit.

I love the way he looks as though he's moved by spirit, swaying to a rhythm only he can feel.  He is surrounded by animals: a wise owl, an independent, protective stag and a playful cat.  They remind us that we can learn through play as much as through study, and that what we learn we then offer up to others.  His light swings with his movement, casting its beam in all directions, just as we can shine our inner light in many different ways.

How can you listen to spirit today?  What wisdom can you share with others?  Would some alone time be good for your soul?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Touchstone of Daring

©Kat Black
Our second-to-last day sees an unusual perspective on the Nine of Wands from the Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009).

A woman stands in old-fashioned but rather fancy dress in front of a wall.  We can see eight wands poking up from behind the wall, and she holds the ninth in her left arm.  She also seems to have some kind of bandage across her forehead, though it's not terribly clear given she's wearing an elaborate hat.  It also doesn't seem to match well with her square-necked dress and gem-heavy necklace.  Not exactly ideal fighting apparel, is it?

I imagine her walking the dangerous streets at night, having left the safety of her walled home, wand in hand in case she has to face any brigands.  What a well-to-do lady would be doing out on her own, though, is less clear.  Rather daring, really! 

What might you dare today?  How can you support yourself in doing something challenging?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Touchstone of Wishes

©Kat Black
Today's card from the Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009) seems a little dark for the Nine of Cups...

A well-to-do man in a black, fur-lined coat sits at a table with a bowl of some red fruit in front of him.  He wears a ring on one finger, and a black hat with a gold brooch at the front.  Behind him on a shelf are nine gold cups, lined up in an ellipse.

The fruit in front of him (I think it's tomatoes, though it may be cherries) seems like a colourful delight.  Certainly, what many of us wish for is some kind of life-enhancing, different experience, something to bring a bit of colour to our existence.  He seems to have all he could desire - what is left?

What do you most wish for today?  What would bring colour to your experience of the day?  Where do you feel satiated?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Touchstone of Restraint

©Kat Black
Today we meet another Major from the Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009).  This time, it is Temperance who faces us, somewhat dourly.

This woman makes me think of women who go veiled.  She wears a scarf that covers her chin, neck and upper chest.  A bizarre hat a bit like a pointy marshmallow covers her head, so no hair can be seen.  Her dark dress covers all else, down to her wrists.  She appears to sit at a table, or perhaps stand at a window sill, pouring some fluid from a jug into a cup.  Her gaze seems to drift over to a bird standing on the table or sill, perhaps wondering at its freedom to fly.

This Temperance feels so restrained to me.  Caught in a room, trapped by her clothes, limited to the small movements she can make and what she can see from her window.  I guess moderation can be enforced from outside, or can come from an inner force.  And perhaps she chose those clothes, that room, for just that reason: to create some boundaries.

How do you limit yourself?  What might be the advantages of those limitations?  In what ways are you free?

Monday, 15 October 2012

Touchstone of Purpose

©Kat Black
On this Monday morning, we meet the Seven of Pentacles from the Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009).

A woman stands, watering a pot with a slightly wilted pink flowered plant in it.  She wears a green cloak and a dusky rose blouse and scarf over her head - reminding me of the Girl with a Pearl Earring.  Over her head hangs a vine with seven coins.  There are more flowers in other pots, red and white.

It's interesting to have a woman in this card, and one in an indoor setting.  This speaks of the variety of ways in which we can nurture something for the future.

During one of her talks, Rachel Pollack discussed the notion of our Life Purpose.  She said, what if we don't even know what our life purpose is, what if it has nothing to do with our life or what we think is our purpose?  She gave the example of Paul Foster-Case, the founder of BOTA.  Before he founded the Builders of the Adytum, he worked in vaudeville.  One day, someone back stage wondered in passing where playing cards came from.  It was a question that was to lead Foster-Case to explore cards, the tarot, and much other esoteric knowledge, and then offer that wisdom up to the world in the form of a correspondence course.  So Rachel said, perhaps that casual commenter's life purpose was just to ask that question of Foster-Case!

I see things somewhat differently.  At another point in time, Rachel talked about hating the question: "When will I meet my soul mate?"  She said: what an amazing assumption.  Not just assuming that you have a soul mate, but that you will meet them, that it's just a question of when.  Now, I'm with Rachel on this one - I don't believe in "The One".  I think that love is what we make of it, and that we might have a soul mate or twin flame relationship, but that this kind of deep connection is no guarantee that we'll wind up with that person.  Or that we might have more than one soul mate, or none at all (or at least might not meet, or not recognise them).

What has this got to do with the question of life purpose, and our woman in the Seven of Coins?  Well, I think we don't necessarily just have one life purpose.  Yes, maybe the most historically significant thing that person did was ask a random question of Foster-Case.  That doesn't invalidate, though, all the other things that he did in his life.  It doesn't mean that the purpose he saw in his life wasn't valid or worthwhile.  Maybe he also made a sick child smile, reminded a man why he loved his wife, and wrote a really funny song.  Maybe he went on to be an insurance salesman and saved some poor widow from starvation.

We may water many plants in our life.  Some will flourish, some may die.  Only time will tell.  And even then, just because one plant goes on to be a famous ribbon winner, doesn't invalidate the other plants we watered, even if they don't go down in history.  We might be most proud of the one that didn't make it, but from which we learnt how best to nurture the ones that came after...

What can you do today to make a difference?  How can you appreciate your past experiences?  What would it be like not to know what others will see as your greatest achievement? 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Touchstone of Emotions

©Kat Black
Today's card from the Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009) is the Page of Cups.

During the UK Tarot Conference, Rachel Pollack mentioned this card as part of her talk about one of her recent books "Tarot for Magical Times".  She said (I'm paraphrasing), "What if we take this image literally.  After all, just about every culture in history but one has believed in talking animals.  That one is ours.  What if he has that fish there because it is talking to him?" 

What would that fish be saying?  "Hey dude, get me away from that cat, she's just faking sleeping!"?  Or maybe, "Wouldn't you rather be out swimming naked in the ocean, feeling the water against your skin, seeing the horizon disappearing out ahead of you?"  Yeah, I can get with that.  Well, maybe not the English channel in October, but you know what I mean. 

So, rather than the traditional ideas of soul-searching or messages of love, I see this card today as being about the emotions we can open ourselves up to if we allow ourselves to experiment, to feel, to be.

What would your soul say to you today if you gave it voice?  How can you be more mindful of your own emotions?  Can you open up to experiencing?

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Touchstone of Success

©Kat Black
This week I'll be blogging with the sumptuous Touchstone Tarot (Kunati, 2009) by Kat Black.

What better way to start the week than with the World?  A male figure holds two wands, one above his hed, the other pressed to his left hip.  His decency is protected only by the drape of a red cloth around his hips.  Encircling him is a laurel wreath - symbol of victory - and in the corners we see a woman, an eagle, a bull, and a lion.  So, there is a slight gender twist here: a man in the centre, and a woman instead of the apostle St. John in the top left corner of the card.  Still, the sense of success, completion, and being watched over are still clearly present.

What project is coming to an end?  How can you feel fulfilled?  What would help you feel protected at a spiritual level?

Friday, 12 October 2012

Book of Lammas

©Moore & Krysinski & Gabrielli
For this last draw with the Book of Shadows Tarot, As Above (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) we meet another Major.  Once again, this one is from the Wheel of the Year section, representing Lammas, or Loafmass, the time of first harvest on the eve of August.  In traditional decks, though, it is the Devil!

A male figure clothed in brown stands beside a table with loaves of bread and bottles of beer.  He holds a rough, wooden staff in his left hand, and looks either at the staff or out beyond it.  Behind him is a field of wheat, and a dramatic skyscape.

What does this pastoral scene have to do with the Devil?  Barbara Moore puts it succinctly: "As the end of the growing season draws closer, there is an air of celebration and wild abandon."  She links this to the acknowledgement of the price to be paid for the harvest, with the death of the Oak King and the work that goes into reaping what has been sown.  At this point, the focus is still on enjoying what is being harvested, rather than on putting aside for the winter, making preserves and so forth.

What will you reap today?  What temptations lie before you?  Where might you give in to wild abandon?

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Book of Lakshmi

©Moore & Krysinski & Gabrielli
Today, the card I pulled from the Book of Shadows Tarot, As Above (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) is from the suit of Water.  In this deck, that equates to aspects of the Goddess.

Here we see the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess of Abundance.  It's interesting, unlike the other suits in this deck, I can really see a connection between the Water cards and their RWS cup-cousins :)  The Nine of Cups often speaks of wishes being granted, of having an abundance of emotional satisfaction.  While Lakshmi is somewhat more focused on material abundance, there is still that sense of overflowing happiness.

What would you ask of the Goddess today, to increase your happiness?  How can you share your own abundance with others?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Book of Trees

©Moore & Krysinski & Gabrielli
Today we meet a card from the Earth suit of the Book of Shadows Tarot, As Above (Lo Scarabeo, 2012): the Six of Earth.

The suit of Earth in this deck has us meeting and learning from the physical beings of this beautiful planet, and from nature herself.  In this case, it is trees that we are called on to learn from.  Trees link the otherworld, the upperworld and the underworld.  So, they act as portals to the different spirit realms.  Their life cycles remind us, too, of the turning of the Wheel of the Year.

Forests are strange: they can be a place of refuge, from weather for instance.  And yet they can also be fearsome places, where shadows make us jump and we sense the unknown.  Here, we see both sides of the forest: a well-lit glade that invites us in, and the dark, shadowy side, where gnomes crouch as though hiding.

When could you spend some time with a tree today?  What can you learn from being in nature?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Book of Spells

©Moore & Krysinski & Gabrielli
Yet another Major card from the Book of Shadows Tarot, As Above (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) today.  This one, though, is part of the "Pagan Experience" section: Spellcasting.

Equivalent to Strength in a traditional deck, this is another card that I really like.  A woman draws in energy, and then directs it in a focused way from within the safe space of her circle.  The hem of her dress, and one of the pieces that flows from it, create the traditional lemniscate symbol around her.  And while there is no lion or other fierce beast in sight, there is a little white bunny almost hiding under her skirt ;)

To me, this card speaks of how we have to channel our energy and not allow distractions from our emotions when working magic.  It is about taming our inner beast in order to have that focus that we need to be able to effect our will.  As Barbara puts it: "As humans, it seems that part of our lesson on earth is to muster up and properly channel our will, which sometimes seems too weak or too strong." 

What do you want to achieve today?  How can you best muster your will to the task?

Monday, 8 October 2012

Book of Spring

©Moore & Krysinski & Gabrielli
Today we see another card from the Wheel of the Year series in the Book of Shadows Tarot, As Above (Lo Scarabeo, 2012).  In Barbara's system, Temperance is equated with Ostara, both the Goddess and the time of year :)

The Goddess-as-Maiden stands next to a pond pouring rainbow-hued water onto a bowl of eggs.  She wears a flower crown and a pale lilac gown, and fluffy white pollen dances around her: the air is literally alive with new potential.  At her feet is a brown bunny, and in her arms a white one.  This holiday falls on the Spring Equinox, so it's a time for balance, as well as fertility.

I like the idea shown here of imbuing life with colour and joy, while still maintaining balance.  It highlights that equilibrium doesn't have to mean boredom or stagnation!  We can find a dynamic balance even at our growing edge, where everything we do means we have to adjust a little bit and we are constantly exploring and developing.

Where can you bring some vibrancy into your life?   And how can you still maintain your balance and inner harmony?

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Book of the Year

©Moore & Krysinski & Gabrielli
Today's card from the Book of Shadows Tarot, As Above (Lo Scarabeo, 2012) is one of the renamed Major cards - XIII Yule.

Normally, this is the Death card, and there is still something of that here.  Yule is the winter solstice, the time when the Winter God dies and the Summer God is reborn.  On the card, that is shown by the old, bearded and antlered green-and-red Holly King passing rulership back to the Oak King, a young hunter in green.  Of course, in pagan tradition this is the time when the Goddess actually gives birth to the Sun God - graphically illustrated in the Maat Tarot (you can see the card here).  There is a hint of that with the Book of Shadows card, too, with the rabbit in the background and the sun peeking out from behind the symbol of rulership as it changes hands.  A time of darkness and death, then, but with the promise of light and rebirth. 

I like the way that Barbara Moore has incorporated pagan holidays into the Majors, along with other pagan concepts like the God and Goddess, and steps along the pagan path like initiation and creating sacred space.  It's an interesting idea, and I think will still work for readings, too.  May have to test that out later this week...

What is ending today, and what new doors are opening?  What do you need to let go of?

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Book of Cows

©Moore & Krysinski & Gabrielli
This week, I will be blogging with Barbara Moore's latest addition to the world of tarot: the Book of Shadows Tarot, As Above (Lo Scarabeo, 2012).  This is a very unusual deck, which is designed as a tool for learning about and using pagan beliefs and magic.  Many of the Majors have been renamed, and have quite unusual associations to deity, the Wheel of the Year, and elements of the Pagan path such as initiation, transformation, and sacred space.

The suits are given elemental titles, and are also unusual in their associations.  For instance, the suit of Fire (Wands) is connected to astrology, with the cards Ace to Ten representing planets and constellations.  The suit of Air (Swords) shows different forms of divination, and the suit of Water (Cups) talks of the feminine aspect of the divine.  The suit of Earth (Pentacles) explores the natural world as a source for sacred insight.  The Courts have been totally revisioned and renamed - Elementals, Maiden, Mother and Crone.

©Moore & Krysinski & Gabrielli
For this first draw, the card I pulled is one that is normally a favourite - the Nine of Pentacles.  This is a very unusual depiction, showing a cow in a meadow with other cows, sheep, and little white-bearded, purple-hatted gnomes all about.  There are trees in the distance, and soft, pillowy clouds in the sky.

This is a far cry from the traditional woman in a garden, surrounded by luxury and with a hawk on her wrist!  Still, I love Barbara's description: "this cow, standing solidly in her field, contentedly munching her grass, is the epitome of being present...  It is a state that is both sensual and spiritual, knowing that one is exactly where one should be and is enjoying it to the fullest."

What in your life do you most appreciate?  How can you stay present today? 

Friday, 5 October 2012

House of Dynamism

©P & J House
For our last day with the Tarot House deck, another Knight rides into view.

This time, we meet the Knight of Wands.  He rides a pure white stallion, and wears armour that looks almost white, though I think it is silver.  His helm has an open face, with just a nose bridge as protection.  The dual colours of his shield and feathers are yellow and red, like twin flames, and he has a red saddle blanket, too.  The road he follows is almost black, and the land to either side is a bright green in contrast, with small yellow flowers sprinkled about.  This Knight has fine blond hair, and looks slightly to the left.

Altogether, he strikes me as quite unusual for the Knight of Wands.  Not quite colourful and dramatic enough, somehow.  Though I like those flaming feathers on his helm, and the fact that his helm is fairly open - he's a straight-talker, after all.

Where might you need a bit of a leg-up today?  How could saying things as you see them help or hinder you?  What will help you feel like you can take on all comers?

Thursday, 4 October 2012

House of Stars

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Ah, what a lovely card to get as this week with the Tarot House deck draws to a close!

A blonde woman in a diaphonous white dress sits on a dark, rocky outcropping, and pours water into the river beneath her.  The blue waters of the river flow between dark rocks limned by the light of a brilliant star which shines above.  And the star's reflection glows in the waters beneath the woman's feet.

Normally, I feel that the nakedness of the woman on the Star card represents her vulnerability.  This card still gives that feeling, but through her position on a dark and rocky ledge above fast-flowing water.  The idea of generosity is also still present.  Although she doesn't pour water onto the earth, she presses her hand into it, connecting to the earth and the water both. 

I get a sense of being guided by the star's light, but more than that, of that guidance being available to us in many guises.  It is not just a beacon of hope "out there", but something which is reflected in every aspect of our lives, if we are willing to take the time to look for it.

In what way do things feel dark for you today?  What light might be hidden, waiting for you to let it shine?  How can you give of yourself today?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

House of Armour

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Two Court cards in a row, I wonder what the Tarot House deck wants to share with us today?

Here we have the Knight of Cups.  I am straight away struck by the golden helm he holds.  If he were wearing it, we wouldn't be able to see the real him at all: it's a very full and rigid mask!  Yet, he isn't wearing it.  Instead, we can see his auburn hair, his face turned to the right.  He looks pensive, and certainly doesn't seem to be focusing on where his horse is taking him.  So, someone armoured, and yet who has a softer side.  Someone who can be very active, and yet who is also thoughtful.

Overall, I rather like this Knight of Cups.  The gold of his armour makes me think of wisdom, and the green of the feather on his helm and the opposing quadrants on his shield suggests growth and nature.  I also like his horse, with a warm, brown coat, golden mane and bright, white diamond between the eyes.  I think it was Alison of This Game of Thrones who suggested a lot could be told of a Knight by his mount.  Which makes this Knight a stable, gentle, wise fellow, with a touch of flair in his appearance :)

Today, do you need your armour, your self-protection, up or down?  How could you bring a bit of flair and emotion to your day?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

House of Luxury

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Today's card from the Tarot House deck amuses me, for some reason.

Here we meet the Queen of Pentacles.  This fine lady sits on a chaise longue with a red velvet cover that matches the curtain behind her, and also the foot stool on which she balances one red shod foot.  Her dress is of golden cloth and her crown echoes this, gold embedded with red stones.  On the grey rock wall behind her hangs a shield, with tripartite crimson, gold and brown segments and a golden pentacle centrepiece.  The pentacle is echoed in the front of the chest that sits beside her chaise longue.

Altogether, there is a feeling of almost decadent wealth here.  I imagine that those perky red shoes are just one pair among many, a collection Imelda Marcos would be proud of :D  She is a woman who loves luxury, and who feels she deserves it.  I see her, too, as someone who has earned it: she works hard for what she has.  Though she looks like a delicate blossom, she knows how to make the most of what she has, in every regard.

What little luxury might you allow yourself today?  How can you make the most of what you have?

Monday, 1 October 2012

House of Balance

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Today's card from the Tarot House deck is one of the lovely, semi-illustrated pips: the Two of Pentacles.

Here we see a tree, with its roots in thick, dark soil.  It's trunk and two branches are a lively green.  Both branches hold golden pentacles, though the shorter, lower branch holds a smaller pentacle than the taller, longer branch.

As well as traditional interpretations such as needing to juggle different things and having to find some balance, I also see the suggestion that what we are creating is not yet complete: there's still room for growth.  There may be one aspect of our material or physical life that is stronger, better developed, and another which could do with more work.

What area of your physical or material life would you do well to devote more resources to?  How can you balance different aspects of your being?