Monday, 31 December 2012

Dreaming Way King

©Choi & Shina
What a lovely card to pull for New Year's Eve!  This King of Pentacles, from the Dreaming Way Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012), sits on quite a plain throne, with a cute, green-roofed, turreted castle behind him, and other green-roofed houses in the distance.

Despite the plain throne, his robes are rich with grapes on the vine, and he holds a large, golden pentacle, as well as wearing a large, golden crown.  There are spurs on his brown boots, and his hair is curled in a fancy style.  He also has a thick beard, and rather red cheeks, as though from overindulgence.

He makes me think of enjoying good food and good company - he's definitely someone who is happy to party!  And that's certainly the order of the day today :)

How can you best enjoy tonight?  Who do you want to celebrate with?  And what rituals will you do?

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Dreaming Way Shopping

©Choi & Shina
Today's card from the the Dreaming Way Tarot (U.S. Games, 2012) once again has a strange edge to it.

In this Seven of Pentacles, we see a young, somewhat disgruntled-looking woman, red in the face from carrying shopping bags.  As if that weren't unusual enough for the Seven of Pentacles, there's a pentacle flying in the sky above her.  Is it floating around following her?  Or is it, boomerang-like, swinging back round to smack her upside the head?

I guess I can see the traditional idea of putting in work and hoping it'll pay off over time, in her bag carrying.  Perhaps that randomly flying Pentacle is a reminder that we can never be quite sure what will come of our hard work - we have to wait and see whether or not the harvest is good...

What do you need to get done today?  What harvest do you hope to reap?  What can you do to ensure a successful outcome?

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Dreaming Way Justice

©Choi & Shina
This week, it's back to tarot, with the Dreaming Way Tarot by Rome Choi and Kwon Shina (U.S. Games, 2012). 

When I first went through this deck, this card grabbed me straight away.  So, I was glad to see it pop up in my very first draw ;)

A young woman with long, dark hair stands in a pouffy-sleeved white shift dress.  Her bare legs, with knock knees, show beneath the hem.  In one hand she grasps the blade of a sword, just below the hilt, while in the other, twisted upward, she holds a scales.  Her eyes are bound with a white ribbon, under which blue make-up seems to leak, and her lips are also painted blue. 

What is it about this image that I find so intriguing?  I think part of it is the juxtaposition of this innocent-seeming girl with the idea of justice - bringing purity to the weighing up of all that has been.  There is also something about the way she holds the sword - not ready to strike with it, but rather holding it as though making a pledge, taking an oath to see justice done.  She seems less wise, less Goddess-like, than many traditional Justice depictions.  Yet, for all that, innocence may also be a good quality to look for in justice, a willingness to look for the best in any situation.

How can you bring a fresh perspective to an existing conflict?   What would help you take a step back to see the situation with greater clarity?  How can you be fair to all involved?

Friday, 28 December 2012

Lennie Week 2 - Chronata's Minute Lenormand

For this last day of Lennie Week, one more lovely self-published deck!  This time it's the turn of Robyn Tisch-Hollister's Minute Lenormand.

Today's cards are Paths, Clover and Fish.  

Fortuitous choices lead to money.
Lucky decisions lead to things multiplying.
A stroke of luck is a turning point in business.
Some small luck guides you to greater freedom.

One of the things I often wonder with luck is how much we make it, and how much it just comes to us?  Then there's the question of whether it will whisk us towards something, or whether we have to actually grab the opportunity?  I'm rather more of the make your luck and seize the day inclination, overall... 

Certainly, this reading seems to suggest that it is through our choices that the most can be made of any opportunity that comes today.  And whether it leads to a good shopping choice, an improvement in a business, or just a greater sense of freedom, the outcome seems pretty favourable. 

What goal would you like to move towards?   How can you make the most of any opportunity that presents itself today? 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Lennie Week 2 - Off-Center Lenormand

For this Thursday of Lennie Week, we have one of the delightful creations of Marcia McCord, the Off-Center Lenormand, available only through the Tarot Garden.

Birds, Rider, House

So, the cards for today are Birds, Rider, and House.  Don't you just love these quirky cards?  Budgies, a rider on a camel, and a charming, misty, country house.  Anyway, riffing on the keywords gets me:

Dynamic conversations lead to a sense of homecoming.
Active talk makes for a happy home.
A quick chat about a house.
Moving nervously around family.

What is your relationship like with those you live with?  How could you take a more active approach to communicating with family?  

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Lennie Week 2 - Gilded Reverie Lenormand

It would be hard to deny that one of the most stunningly beautiful, independently published Lenormand decks to come out is Ciro Marchetti's Gilded Reverie.  Not surprising, then, that it's about to enter into its third print run!  And a number of lucky TABI members got in on a group order, to reduce costs and lay their mitts on this beauty in time for Christmas :)

Gilded Reverie Lenormand
Today's cards are the Rider, Dice (one of the additional cards Ciro created, based on other decks made around the same time as what has come to be known as the Petit Lenormand), and the Tree.  Sentences inspired by these are:

Daring action brings health.
Fateful movement leads to a sense of rootedness.
Gambling enthusiastically with your inheritance.
Choosing movement aligns us with our spirituality.

What gambles do you take with your health?  What action can you take to align yourself with your spiritual purpose?

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Lennie Week 2 - Palimpsest Lenormand

The idea behind today's deck is an innovative one.  The Palimpsest Lenormand by Bertrand Saint-Guillain, now in its second edition, takes the idea of a palimpsest - a scroll where you scrape off the original text in order to write something new - and applies it to the creation of a Lenormand deck.  So, a regular playing card deck was taken and tippexed/scraped, then the Lenormand symbols were drawn onto the deck.  It gives the whole thing a vintage feel which is appealing and interesting.

Child, Coffin, Cross
As for today's draw, we have some difficult cards in there.  Brainstorming on this I get:

New beginning ends in sorrow.
Sick child is a burden.
Death of a new project brings sadness.
Death of an opportunity challenges faith.

For some, suffering seems to bring them a greater sense of faith, while for others it makes them question.  I wonder where the difference lies?

How do you deal with challenging situations?  What new hope is not working out?  What can you do to move forward?

Monday, 24 December 2012

Interview With Kendra Hurteau

Under the Roses Lenormand
Hi Kendra

Thanks so much for agreeing to answer some questions about your decks and creative process.  You will have brought out three Lenormand decks in the course of this year. That’s a phenomenal creative output! Could you say a little about what inspired you? 
Katrina and I had thrown around some ideas for working together for some time, including the possibility of her illustrating a picture book I’ve written.  Originally, I had an idea for a tarot deck but the deck I’d written up was very detailed and seemed a huge undertaking.  I belong to the Detroit Area Tarot Guild and there I was introduced to Lenormand by a friend.  It was love at first sight.  As my love for Lenormand grew it seemed a natural fit.  In addition, I love old mysteries and secrets, so the theme emerged.  After the first draft and images were created for Under the Roses we started discussing creating decks for the holidays.  We both enjoy the fall and winter holidays and they are a big part of our family traditions.  After all that we’ve accomplished, that tarot idea doesn’t seem so overwhelming now. 

Katrina loves art.  She is now a mother herself, but she has been drawing since she was young.  As she grew up her pages were filled with designer dresses, faeries, and animĂ©.  She has a degree in computer animation and currently works as a graphic artist doing both graphic design and animation.  The idea of creating something people would love was enough to bring her joy and inspiration. 

Our decks were released in September, October, and November.  When I reflect, I can hardly believe it myself.   The Tarot and Lenormand communities have embraced us with so much warmth and we are very grateful. 
Under the Roses Lenormand
Under the Roses is a quite traditional Lenormand, very appropriate for beginners with its keywords. Your other two decks, though, seem to challenge tradition as much as possible, renaming every single card and representing them in very different ways. Can you tell us a bit about the choices behind that?

Under the Roses Lenormand was designed for everyone, while our holiday decks are geared toward collectors and/or holiday enthusiasts. 

Our intention with Under the Roses Lenormand was to make the images vibrant while making the keywords available.  The keywords were chosen from various traditions and styles.  Seemingly random, they were laid out so that the novice could select which words make the most sense to them or the experienced reader might feel challenged. 

While we wanted the traditional Lenormand to stay intact, we did change some card titles to enhance the theme and understanding of Under the Roses.  For instance, the traditional Heart card has become The Locket. 

After our first project was underway, we gave a lot of thought and discussed several ideas for our next adventures.  We knew we would have to dedicate a lot of time to put out the holiday decks in short order but we really wanted to put out Lenormand-like decks for the Holidays. 

Whether we could produce holiday Lenormand decks and still be true to the traditional style was a question we took seriously.  I pondered if we could remain true to the Lenormand simplicity and still make it work.  However, that would have only lead to cute borders and color appropriate backgrounds.  It came to a decision between creative license and not doing the projects at all.  In fact, there was a public discussion at the time we were working on the Halloween Lenormand that mostly argued against taking such liberties.  While I agree that the original idea of a deck still needs to remain intact, I also think that some evolution happens with divination decks.  Our holiday decks aren’t meant to do that, they are meant for holiday enjoyment.  The images do seem very different in the holiday decks but there is something in every card that relates to the original image and meaning, for instance the Witch card being the Whip and Broom card.  In order to make the cards work we found images that had the same sort of meanings and characteristics as the original symbols.  The decks still read as Lenormand decks do with the meanings the same or similar.  The images are suited to something more appropriate for the holiday. 

Halloween Lenormand
Our shenanigans with the Halloween Lenormand deck were in the spirit of the holiday.  It was meant to be a parody and downright fun in that cheesy sort of way Halloween can be.  That being said, research was not neglected, the images (loosely based on Lenormand) were not selected at random.  Personally, I was nervous about how the community would receive the deck and whether they would take it in the spirit it was intended.  As I shared images for the first time I remember saying out loud, “Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m sharing this.”  We’d seriously considered skipping the Halloween deck because, frankly, we were worried about how it would make us look.  It also caused time restraints with the Yuletide deck and we weren’t sure we could get it done in time.

The Yuletide Lenormand has many renamed cards as well.  In addition to the traditional card titles that wouldn’t work for us, we were faced with making a universal holiday deck.  Can you imagine four-leaf clovers sprinkling the holiday dinner table or a Snake in the snow?  Incorporating traditional cards into this project just didn’t make sense for us.  Hopefully, you all will find the images appropriate when you see them. It was actually a complicated process to put it together as a whole. 

For the most part, with some exceptions, people have embraced us and understood the spirit in which the holiday decks were intended. We in no way want to disgrace the Petit Lenormand or upset its readers.  We only wish to provide a variety and some holiday enjoyment. We hope the holiday decks bring more fun to card reading.  One of the great things about Lenormand is that it can be read lightly, such as at parties.  People might ask things like “If I buy that boat…”  Their questions may not have life altering answers.  I love that about Lenormand, it can answer the serious and mundane. 

Under the Roses Lenormand
With these decks, you worked together with Katrina Hill, who is your daughter. What was it like working together, and how did the creative process actually look?

We communicate within the process.  Any hiccups are due to lack of communication, usually on my part.  We both have roles, Katrina’s is mostly art (she’s the one with the pencil, pen or tablet in her hand) but she has a say in all aspects of the deck.  I write, present, research, network, give the intuitive input, and guide the images and theme.  Throughout the process we discuss what is working and what isn’t.    We keep a schedule to get hours in and a spreadsheet to tell us where we are at in the process - boring but it provides workability for the project when we already have full lives.  We were blessed enough to see two visions become one and then actually manifest into something tangible as a result. 

Yuletide Lenormand
Which card/s was/were the hardest to give birth to, and why?

The Whip, The Mountain, and The Grave.  We found that during the process of creating the Under the Roses deck that the meanings on some of the cards were manifesting in our work and relationship.  We get along well, but every time we’ve done the Whip card there has been tension between us.  Every time we’ve done the Mountain it has hung us up for hours when we’ve thought it should be an easy process.  Fortunately, the positive cards have had similar effects, especially the Stars. 

As far as artwork goes, The Gentlemen were the hardest for Katrina to create because they required her to grow as an artist.  Most of her work has been of women and she actually did some studying while doing the Under the Roses deck to improve in this area.

In the process of creating, it was definitely the first two cards of Under the Roses Lenormand.  It took some effort to get both our visions of the deck to blend.  We started with The Lady and The Gentleman but as the deck evolved those first images did not get included in the finished product. I cherish those first images because it was watching our vision become reality when they were made.  We’ve put them in The Lenormand Shop at if anyone would like to take a gander. 

Yuletide Lenormand
Which card/s do you have a special fondness for, and why?

As difficult as it was, we both love The Whip from Under the Roses.  It was a big challenge and turned out better than we had expected.  Personally, I think the woman in the picture is probably my favorite character that Katrina has created to date.    

It’s hard to choose favorites in the Yuletide Lenormand; we are both fond of so many.  Father Time is high on the list; I love how mischievous he looks.  The Child has to be one of our all-time favorites because she is actually Katrina’s daughter.   She is older than that now but the joy that she expressed when I took that picture compelled us to pull it out and use it as a reference.  It reflects her personality and her personality reflects the Child card.

In both the Under the Roses and the Halloween Lenormand, you have renamed the Tower the Clock Tower. What is it about this card that you wanted to highlight with that?

I typically read the card as perspective or a structure.  When we created the first one the idea was to enhance the possibility that the card could speak of perspective (the deck theme is about things hidden after all).  It seemed the perfect structure for Under the Roses Lenormand when we designed the card.  We liked it so much in Under the Roses that it found its place in both of the holiday decks. 

Your Yuletide Lenormand should be ready just in time for Christmas ( What plans, if any, do you have for after that?

We plan to take a creative break over the holidays and then select from a list of projects we’d like to accomplish.  We still need to narrow down our options as we have several to choose from.  We’ve been throwing around ideas for another Lenormand, a tarot deck, an oracle deck, a picture book, and a greeting card line. Yep, we’ve got some decisions to make.  Where’s The Crossroads card?

Under the Roses and the Halloween Lenormand are now OOP. How do you feel about the way they were embraced by people, and do you think you will reprint them in the future?

The second edition of Under the Roses Lenormand is now available both with and without keywords.  There is also an option to purchase a custom Lady or Gentleman card or our original Concept Art cards until December 10th.  I don’t know if we will issue a second edition of the Halloween or Yuletide decks, if so I imagine it will be a small batch. 

Clearly, to have dedicated so much of your energy to creating Lenormand decks, these are something you feel passionate about. What is it that makes these cards so special?

Divination cards of any kind are magical to us.  Lenormand is pin-point accurate and it brings a tremendous amount of clarity.  Its simplicity allows the beginner to pick up the basics in one sitting.  I am usually showing people how to use it as I give them readings.  It’s amazing to watch the resurgence of the Petit Lenormand and we wanted to be part of it. 

What else would you like to share with us?

Creating Petit Lenormand decks has been an amazing and rewarding experience.  We encourage others that use divination decks to explore creating their own, even if it is only for personal use. 

I'd like to thank Kendra for taking the time to answer these questions.  I love this insight into three amazing decks!

Lennie Week 2 - Yuletide Lenormand

Today is the day my family and I celebrate Christmas, as my mother is German.  So, as we prepare to roast a goose and enjoy red cabbage and our brightly lit tree, I chose to draw from the Yuletide Lenormand.  This is another fun collaboration between the mother/daughter team of Kendra Hurteau and Katrina Hill, who also brought us the Under the Roses and Halloween Lenormands (all published in 2012).

Stork, Polar Bear, Goldfish
This is a lovely combination for today.  Brainstorming keywords:

Dietary changes cost money.
Nurturing changes bring wealth.
Managerial transitions disperse wealth.
Strength in movement brings increase.

What changes could you make to how you nurture yourself and others?  How would you recognise plenty and success in this?

P.S. If you want to read an interview with Kendra Hurteau, check out the TABI Winter Ezine, or else pop back here later today.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Lennie Week 2 - Alice In Wonderland Lenormand

Today's cards are drawn from the Alice in Wonderland Vintage Lenormand by Pepi Valderrama (The Gamecrafter, 2012).  Here we have the Lady, the Letter and the Scythe. 

Woman, Letter, Scythe
Keywords give the following sentences (the ones starting with I are, of course, if you are a woman):

I receive a painful letter.
A superficial woman is cutting.
I need to let someone know about a separation.
A sudden end to a correspondence with a woman.
A woman writes about making a break.

What might you write today that would bring you closure? 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Lennie Week Two - Lenormand Revolution

This week I will once again be drawing three cards each day from different Lenormand decks.  And this time, they are all lovely self-published offerings.  Today, we start with the Lenormand Revolution, by Carrie Parris and Roz Foster (2012).  It's a beautifully put together deck, which also has a lot of depth.  It unites themes from the French and American Revolutions, and is extremely well-researched.  It has also just started it's second print run, so get them while they're hot ;)

The cards I pulled are Ship, Anchor and Mice.  Brainstorming quickly from keywords gives:

A business trip brings losses.
Travel brings eroded stability.
Work on my soul's journey is tainted.

Where might you travel today, either literally or metaphorically?  How can you guard against losses?  What helps you feel more stable?

Friday, 21 December 2012

Yule Blog Hop

courtesy of
Happy Yule!  Whether you’ve just hopped in from Joanne's ever insightful blog, or found your way here by some other route, welcome :) And if you should happen to get lost along the way, here's a link to the Master List.

In case you didn’t realise, this post is part of the Yule Tarot Blog Hop, where bloggers from around the world all write on the same topic and post at the same time.  It’s always a gift to see what other people make of the same subject - a delightful panoply of ideas and spreads - so I hope you’ll hop on round.  For this post, our wrangler, Alison Cross of This Game of Thrones, gave us the title “Christmas Present”.  She said we should make what we liked of that, and I’m sure we all will. 

TABI’s present to you, dear reader, is a little Yule-themed spread, based on the idea of the Christmas tree which many of us are used to as a symbol for this time of year.
Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011)


TABI's Christmas Tree Spread

       5      6
   2      3      4

1) What will support me during the holidays?

2+3+4) Presents: What are the gifts of this time?

5+6) Baubles: How can I bring colour and brightness to the festivities?

7)The Angel - What pure intent should I hold onto?

©Caratti & Platano
I am supported by nurturing and abundance, by both giving and receiving (The Empress).  The gifts available to me this Yule are firstly, that of remembering not to go to excess with food, alcohol or chocolate, tempting though that may be (Temperance)!  I’ll feel better for it after the holidays are over.  Secondly, to remember that it’s not about the actual gifts, but about sharing and generosity - no Scrooges here, thank you (Four of Pentacles)!  Finally, the gift of connecting with friends and family - Christmas can act as a reminder to make contact, to reach out to others (Princess of Wands).

As to how I can bring colour and brightness to the festivities: through dedicating my energy to doing what needs to be done, supporting the abundance of the season (Two of Wands).  Also, through taking time to sit back and enjoy what we just did (Three of Wands)! ;)

Finally, the pure intent I should hold onto is that of nurturing the future (Seven of Pentacles), which brings me right back to the Empress we started with.  No short-term expectations here, what we are nurturing may be the future relations with friends and family.  It is a time to set my intent for what is to come over the next year. 

I hope you’ll let me know if you give this spread a whirl, too :)  Now, for more Yule delights, please hop on over to Mercuric Aludel.

Steampunk Cyborg

©C&J Matthews & W. Kingham
For this final day with the Steampunk Tarot: Gods of the Machine (Connections, 2012), we have yet another Major.

Titled Cyborg, this is an interesting take on the Devil.  In the foreground, we have the Cyborg, a clockwork creature with gears showing at his neck and spikes protruding from his skull.  He holds a mask with goat horns just in front of him, while a tear rolls from the one blue eye we can see.  In the background is a red-headed woman, naked and bound to a wheeled chair, with a chain attached to it that leads to the Cyborg.

That tear rolling down an otherwise expressionless face is striking!  Is the Cyborg holding the woman captive, or is he her mechanical slave in a twisted play?  Or could he be someone else's tool in this game of cat-and-mouse?  Who is trapped, and what binds them?

What temptations face you today?  In what ways do you feel trapped?  How might the bindings be of your own making?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Steampunk Horologer

©C&J Matthews & W. Kingham
Another interesting Major from the Steampunk Tarot: Gods of the Machine (Connections, 2012) greets us today.

Here we have the Horologer, equivalent to the Hierophant in traditional decks.  He stands in front of two huge spheres that dangle from a contraption attached to the ceiling, which makes me think of the mechanism of an old grandfather clock we had when I was a child.  Above that, three clocks tell different times, while further in the background are a huge variety of clocks, both wall-mounted and on pedestals. 

In front of the Horologer is a glowing, blue, multi-petalled flower, which seems to be part of a smaller clock, judging by the bits and bobs scattered around it.  He studies it through a pair of tinted goggles with various lenses and attachments.  There is also a small hourglass to one side, its sands slowing draining down.

This reminds me of the fact that the Industrial Revolution introduced clocks as a means of controlling people, institutionalising how we live by controlling when we do things: get up, go to work, have lunch, clock off...  That same kind of rigidity and control is something I often see as the dark side of the Hierophant.  However, the more positive side is, I guess, a striving to understand time, the nature of the universe, and our role in it.

What ideas might open up new possibilities for you today?  Which ideas have passed their time?  What would you like to understand better today?

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Steampunk Tower

©C&J Matthews & W. Kingham
Ha, after having done a reading on the Tower as my stalker card, here it is again!  This version, from the Steampunk Tarot: Gods of the Machine (Connections, 2012), shows a very interesting perspective. 

We look down on the Tower as though from a helicopter flying above and to one side of it.  From here, not only can we watch as the Tower is struck by lightening and two figures are flung from it, but we can also see the base of the Tower.  Which in this case is a glowing circle of purple energy, with pale spokes leading to the outer circle.

This suggests the Tower was almost defying nature, setting itself up for the shock that came.  The very way it was constructed led to this situation...

What shocks or changes might you be setting yourself up for?  What might you learn from your experiences today?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Steampunk Lady

©C&J Matthews & W. Kingham
Today's card from the Steampunk Tarot: Gods of the Machine (Connections, 2012) is another Court card, and another card from the suit of Leviathans!  The Universe must have heard me saying I found them a bit tricky, so it's giving me a chance to work at improving my understanding ;)

This Lady of Leviathans pores over some rock plants she has uncovered, the lights on her goggles illuminating her discovery.  She seems very intent, wanting to understand what she has found, perhaps to find a practical use for it, or simply to nurture a new species.  Behind her we see the Leviathan, which has brought her to this spot.  It's unclear to me whether she is underwater.  She has no obvious breathing apparatus, but the Leviathan is theoretically a waterborn vehicle, and the way it's parked, screw up, suggests it is half floating, resting on the seabed. 

Still, I can get behind the idea of the Lady of Leviathans (Queen of Pentacles) being someone who is focused and loves nature and the environment.  Someone willing to explore and nurture these things, and with the staying power to do so.

What aspect of the natural world could you nurture today?  How could you devote some of that same energy to nurturing yourself?

Monday, 17 December 2012

Steampunk Leviathan

©C&J Matthews & W. Kingham
On this rather cold and cloudy Monday morning, the card we have from the Steampunk Tarot: Gods of the Machine (Connections, 2012) is the Four of Leviathans (Pentacles).

This suit had me rather confused when I first went through the deck.  After all, these Leviathans (originally a sea monster or large aquatic creature) seem to be a means of transport across water, so, Cups were my first thoughts.  However, it is less the location and more the size and the approach of those in the Leviathans that seem to count. 

Here, for example, the leviathan sails blithely past a downed airship, distress flare blazing bright blue in the foreground.  The Captain of the Leviathan would rather look out for his own people, resources and profitability than help out strangers.

How can you balance taking care of yourself with being kind to strangers?  When might your own resources need looking after first, and when might you be able to be generous?

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Steampunk Gauge

©C&J Matthews & W. Kingham
Today's card from the Steampunk Tarot: Gods of the Machine (Connections, 2012) is one of the Majors, the Spirit Gauge (Temperance).

We find ourselves in a huge room.  In the lower half, two brick arches look out onto a rainy, blue, cog-filled landscape on the right and lightning in a dark sky on the left.  Above the arches, two figures stand on a walkway. One is a person, the other a robot. Between and below them is a metal wheel, while above them is a far larger, red wheel, both reminiscent of the wheels you see in submarines to open and close air locks.  Above that is a circular window, through which we see two intertwining flows of both white and blue light or energy.  There is also a gauge, like a pressure gauge, below the red wheel, and springs above the window where the energies combine, ready to harness and channel that energy.

In the companion book it says: "The Spirit Gauge...maintains the balance of nature with the man-made world and the mechanical... When you learn to adapt and negotiate, you can find the balancing point."

As so often with Temperance and its variants, I see a message not only of needing to combine and balance different elements or aspects, but also that this balancing is multi-dimensional, an on-going process.  The gauge seems designed to assess how the balance is doing, so a wheel can be turned to alter the mix, or release some of the pressure.  It is not just about the mix itself, but the timing of when we add this or that, or when we let things carry on without any additional input.

What different variables do you need to balance today?  How can you best assess the situation?  What can you do to intervene in the most useful way?

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Steampunk Captain

©C & J Matthews & W. Kingham
This week I'll be blogging with the recently released Steampunk Tarot: Gods of the Machine (Connections, 2012).  Although it is a standard, 78 card tarot, and follows RWS notions, all the suits (leagues), the Courts and the Majors have been renamed.  So, we find Engines for Wands, Submersibles for Cups, Air Ships for Swords, and Leviathans for Pentacles.  And for the Courts we have Messengers, Navigators, Ladies and Captains.  Today's card, then, is the equivalent to the King of Pentacles.

The Captain stands, legs akimbo, part way up a red staircase.  He wears a brown jacket, boots and hat, black-tinted goggles, and tan trousers.  In front of him mill some people, also in Steampunk costume - plenty of flying goggles and hats to be seen here! 

The companion book says this stalwart chap is giving a rousing speech, practical and inspiring, to the crew of the leviathan.  With the bright skylights above him, this card feels a little less grounded than I would expect for this suit, normally associated with the element of earth.  Still, the Captain himself does seem strong and determined, and has an earthy feel to him in the colour of his clothing.  Someone who can get things done, and keep others calm, focused and working hard :)  He won't stint on the work himself, either, willing to shoulder whatever job needs doing, in a pinch.

What do you need to get done today?  How can you best go about it?  Who can you enlist to help?  What can only be done by you?

Friday, 14 December 2012

Wyrd Selflessness

For this last day with the Tarot of the Wyrd (The Game Crafter, 2012) we have a card from the suit of Watches (Pentacles).  I found this a very strange change to make.  I suppose that clock-watching is very much a work attitude, practical and rigid.  Clocks were first brought in for things like train timetables, and of course "clocking on and off".

Here, then, we have the Six of Watches (Pentacles).  However, there is no traditional image of a merchant dispensing alms to the less well-off to be seen.  Instead, we have a bespectacled nurse with a nun-like headdress and a watch pinned to her pure white apron.  Around her float five more pocket-watches.  A nurse as archetype for caring and compassion, of tireless work for others, has a rather different feel to it than the normal depiction, it must be said.

The keyword for the card is Selflessness, which doesn't quite jibe with my normal take on this card, either.  For me, there's an aspect of give and take, of generosity maybe, but also the ability to receive.  Perhaps, too, a suggestion of getting what we deserve, and giving what we can.  Selflessness, on the other hand, seems to suggest giving beyond what is necessarily healthy for us.  And I think we see that with the high rate of burnout suffered by people in caring professions, and the institutionalisation which can lead to a loss of human kindness, if we aren't careful.  Maybe that leads us back to give and take - we have to make sure to take care of the carers, if they are to continue caring...

What selfless act could you do today?  How might you need to nurture yourself before caring for others?

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Wyrd Foundation

In the Tarot of the Wyrd (The Game Crafter, 2012), the suit of Wands retains its name.  Still, many of the cards in this suit show alternative kinds of sticks.

We see that in today's card, where the three Wands are in fact parasols.  A young woman stands before the ocean, her sun dress blown by the sea breeze.  She holds a parasol, as she gazes out across the sunset-reddened waters at the numerous boats.

The keyword given is Foundation, which I associate more with the Four of Wands.  Still, after the choices of the Two, by the Three a basic foundation has been built, and our lady watches to see what will come of the projects already begun, the seeds sent out into the world.

What projects have you set in motion?  How will you assess their success?  What needs to happen next?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Wyrd World

Today, we explore another of the Majors from the Tarot of the Wyrd (The Game Crafter, 2012). 

An interesting take on the World, this.  At the centre we have a photo of the earth taken from outerspace.  Around it, there are a number of different creatures and people.  In the bottom right we have a whale, highlighted in blue.  Further around to the left is another type of fish, a tuna maybe.  Right above it we see a barn owl, it's heart-shaped face turned towards us.  Over that, a wolf looks out at us from the shadows.  In the top left corner we see a drawing of a female acrobat doing an intense backbend, wearing pink tights and golden ballet shoes.  More acrobats swing around the top of the card, leading us across to another acrobat in the top right corner.  Above the world itself, in the centre, we have both an elephant and a golden eagle.  Then, over to the right, there is what might be a wren, as well as a couple of butterflies.

Altogether, it is a quite busy, detailed card, which acts as a reminder of the wonderful diversity of the world we live in.  From the deep seas to the soaring heights, through night and day, and in amongst the extremes of human capabilities, we see a slice of life.  This is the World in its current state of completion.  It will change again, develop, evolve, but for now, what a wonder!

Can you take some time today to appreciate the wonder of life?  What in your life is drawing towards a state of completions?  How might the next step look?

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Wyrd Unity

Today, the Tarot of the Wyrd (The Game Crafter, 2012) offers us a card from the suit of Cups, the Three, with the title Unity.

I think I'd probably prefer the deck without the titles, to be honest.  Not that they are bad keywords, just a little distracting sometimes.  For me, the Three of Cups is more about celebration or friendship, sisterhood even.  Maybe that's where the idea of unity comes from, a banding together.  We see that in the woman dancing together above the cups.  They also give a sense of celebration, of joy in life, which does fit well with my sense of the card.

The cups themselves are blue, flowery things.  Two are stacked inside each other, while the third is on its side next to them.  It looks almost as though it is helping support the other two, stopping them from falling.  Once again, the support of others who are like us :)

What do you have to celebrate today, and who will you celebrate it with?  How can you support others today?

Monday, 10 December 2012

Wyrd Disillusion

The Tarot of the Wyrd (The Game Crafter, 2012) keeps the suits of Wands and Cups as normal, but renames the other two suits: Swords become Cutlery, and Pentacles become Watches.  So, today's card is equivalent to the Ten of Swords.

That is fairly apparent from the image.  We see a woman lying in a pile of autumnal leaves, in a darkly wooded landscape.  The sky above looks cloudy and grey on the card, though in the scan we can see a rainbow in the background.  The woman is pierced by what look like giant-sized fancy table knives.  Yet, amongst all the darkness and sharp implements, the woman wears a white, sleeveless blouse, and an almost blissful expression.  And a colourful butterfly sits upon one of the knife handles.

This card, then, speaks of the new beginnings that follow endings, the transformative power of pain, and the ability of the human spirit to grow and seek joy, no matter what the circumstances.

What do you need to let go of today?  What can you learn from the experience?

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Wyrd Chariot

Today's card from the Tarot of the Wyrd (The Game Crafter, 2012) is the Chariot.

I love the simplicity of this image. In the foreground we see the heads and necks of a black and a white horse. Behind them is the intimation of clockwork gears.  To me, this speaks clearly of our drive and energy, and the fact that we need to harness it for it to do us any good. Like with a car, if we're in the wrong gear we can work as hard as we like, but we won't get very far, and we'll wear ourselves out in the process!

The horses also look in different directions.  What that makes me think of today is the need to decide where we are going before we set out. Otherwise, once again, we may exhaust ourselves and still not have reached our goal.

What would help you channel your energy today?  Do you have a clear goal? If not, how could you set one?

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Wyrd Security

This week I'll be blogging with another indie deck, the Tarot of the Wyrd (The Game Crafter, 2012).

This deck, created by a fellow Brit, describes itself as a mix of Victorian Gothic and magic.  It certainly has a rather Steampunk feel to it, which I love :)  For today's card, we have the Nine of Cups.  Here, an old gentleman with glasses sits in a formal parlour, with a large teapot beside him and nine teacups stacked a little precariously in front of him.

At first glance, I was suprised by the keyword given here: "security".  The cups don't look all that secure, and security isn't something I normally associate with the Nine of Cups, so often described as the wish card.  Still, if it's emotional security we're talking, I guess I can get behind that.

It seems like this old gentleman has had a variety of emotional experiences, which allow him now to sit back and feel happy, content, at peace.  Sounds like a good place to be!

What do you wish for that would bring you greater emotional security?  How can you encourage a sense of peace in your life?

Friday, 7 December 2012

New Zealand Naturally - Star

©Angela Oliver
For this final day with the New Zealand Naturally Tarot (Angela Oliver, 2012), we are greeted by another lovely card: the Star.

A rather strange-looking bird, the White Kiwi, has been chosen by the deck creator.  It is white (obviously), with no apparent wings, a very long beak, and a blue and red eye.  Well, presumably both eyes have that strange colouring, but we can only see one :) 

The bird sits, with its own shell to its left, and a little pond to its right.  Behind it, a small, spiky bush reaches up into a sky graced with five stars.  The five stars glow, with purple or red aureoles around them.

The LWB says that the White Kiwi "is considered a sign of good omens and new beginnings", and that is beautifully illustrated here.  The hatchling is a new beginning, the stars good omens.  I also like the symbolism of the eggshell and pond, as though leaving behind a time of restriction, and moving towards a time of greater emotional openness.  Of course, leaving our shell, being emotionally open, can be a vulnerable place to be.  Still, without that, we can never let ourselves be touched by the beauty of life.

What new beginnings might you embrace today?  How can you be a little more open to life?

Thursday, 6 December 2012

New Zealand Naturally - Fool

©Angela Oliver
Today's card from New Zealand Naturally (Angela Oliver, 2012), is the Fool.

Here, we see a Weka bird chasing after a butterfly.  So intent on this intriguing, fluttering presence is the bird, that it's about to run right off a cliff!  Still, it's a bird, so it shouldn't come to much harm, right?  Its instincts will kick in, and it will take flight.  Except that the Weka is a flightless bird!  This card, like traditional images, is still a reminder to temper our curiosity with our natural instinct for self-preservation.

What risks might you take today? What do your instincts tell you about what lies ahead?  How could you be more spontaneous today?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

New Zealand Naturally - Page of Coins

©Angela Oliver
Isn't this puppy cute!  Here we have the Page of Coins for the New Zealand Naturally Tarot (Angela Oliver, 2012) :)

After I stop squeeing over the cute little black-and-white puppy with his big, brown eyes, what I notice is the fence behind him.  He is young, full of enthusiasm, and wants to get involved with taking care of the flocks.  He might not be very good at it yet, but he'll watch carefully to see how the older dogs do it, how they herd the sheep and listen to commands, and respond to all that's going on.  And he'll learn, so that one day, he'll be really good at it!

How can you start to husband your resources?  What new thing might you work on improving at today?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

New Zealand Naturally - Six of Peaks

©Angela Oliver
Today's card from New Zealand Naturally (Angela Oliver, 2012) is from the suit of Peaks (Swords), the number six, to be precise.

A Black Mountain Ringlet butterfly flies over six jagged peaks, a cold and rocky blue sheen to them.  Around and somewhat behind the butterfly are the threads of a spider's web it is moving away from.  Out in the distance, the sky is a lighter blue, offering new hope. 

This is a lovely depiction of the traditional idea of moving away from something difficult, towards a brighter future.  There is the added implication that we may have felt trapped in the past, but that we are shaking off the ties that bound us.

What sticky situation could you leave behind today?  What would you like to move towards?

Monday, 3 December 2012

New Zealand Naturally - Chaos

©Angela Oliver
This is one of the two extra cards in the New Zealand Naturally (Angela Oliver, 2012) deck - Chaos.

Oh, isn't this little creature cute?  With a bushy tail and big, pink ears, this possum reminds me of a squirrel - one of my favourite animals.  However, the LWB (a single sheet) explains that while the Brushtail Possum was introduced to New Zealand to encourage a fur industry, it just caused chaos and destruction, especially to the native bird species.

What we have here, then, is something which may seem like a good idea.  Yet, there is a warning of unforeseen consequences that come to bite us in the backside.  We can't avoid chaos, but we can take a step back before we act, to try and spot any pitfalls.  Also, I'm guessing the possum itself is pretty happy in New Zealand - a reminder that there are always two sides to any situation.  What may seem like disruption and annoyance from one perspective may be life-affirming from a different point of view...

What mechanisms do you have in place to deal with chaos?  How do you cope with unforeseen events?  What might help you deal with any crises that could arise today?

Sunday, 2 December 2012

New Zealand Naturally - Creativity

©Angela Oliver
It was pointed out to me yesterday that I had failed to give much information about this lovely deck, New Zealand Naturally (Angela Oliver, 2012).  The suits have all been renamed: Trees, Waves, Peaks and Coins.  There are also a couple of extra Majors - The Wyrd, and Chaos.  Overall, though, the system is RWS-based.

Today's card is the Ace of Trees (Wands).  I really like the bright colours of the Southern Beech tree branch that reaches for the sky.  It is the "mast seeding", the once-in-a-lifetime creative push by that tree!

This card, then, reminds us to be creative, to try to spread our ideas and our passions far and wide.  It suggests that even if it is hard work, it is worth the effort :)

As a seed card, it might just be the first glimmerings of an idea, a plan, that we see here.  Yet, the important part is to grasp the opportunity that is presented to us, the opportunity to make things happen in our life that inspire and energise us.

What new idea or project do you want to breathe life into?  What small step can you take today?

Saturday, 1 December 2012

New Zealand Naturally - Defences

©Angela Oliver
This week, I will be drawing from a little, self-published gem, New Zealand Naturally (Angela Oliver, 2012).  This deck is RWS-based, and all the cards show vibrant wildlife scenes from New Zealand.

Today's card shows an owl  swooping down on a couple of little, black birds.  Based on the RWS idea of fighting off what seems like overwhelming odds, the most obvious interpretation is that the predatory owl is hunting the smaller birds.  Still, there are two of them against the single owl, so perhaps the owl feels its territory is under attack. 

This confusion leads me to another idea often seen in traditional images: that the threat may be more perceived than actual.  Perhaps the owl is really swooping down towards a mouse on the floor beneath the black birds.  Perhaps the birds eat such different things that they are no challenge to the owl.

In what aspect of your life are you feeling defensive?  How can you take a step back to see if the threat is real?