Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Fante di Denari — Il Tarocco Bizarro



Artist: Franco Bruna

 

“It is practically impossible to use Tarots in order to know what the future holds before-hand. If this was not so, this crazy, mad world would be even more insane and frightening than it already is. Maybe this is the reason why the journey into the Tarots begins with The Fool… At the end of this journey it will be easy to use Tarots to better understand the reality that surrounds us and to see what could have been clear, but, clearly, [was] not…”

 

[In other words, it is easier to read the past than to read the future. Still, we refuse to learn.]


*     *     *

 

A student with new and brilliant ideas needs guidance.

Act on those grand ideas, but keep your feet firmly planted on the ground.

The page of coins asks us to grow in a way that generates wealth for the future. It indicates the energy to begin the process of bringing dreams into reality. This card encourages us to begin actions that will ultimately lead to the achievement of goals. Be clear on what skills and resources are required in order to get closer to the goal. Putting theory into practice will lead to finding a solution that actually works.

The page of coins has the desire to learn all things. Instead of getting carried away with more ideas, remain focused on the practical elements of what is realistic and achievable: remain focused on tangible outcomes and results.


Der Worte sind genug gewechselt,
lasst mich auch endlich Taten sehn!
Enough words have been exchanged;
now at last let me see some deeds!
Shall I ever pass the page of coins
and move beyond the prologue in the theater?
My kings! My kings! I need to draw my kings!
Friday, December 30th, 2011

Page ~ Princess of Wands — The Renaissance Tarot

[I forgot to ask a question again.]

Illustrator: Helen Jones
Author: Jane Lyle

 

Interpretation: “Ability. Creative beginnings. // …an upsurge of the pace in everyday life. Original ideas, intuitive guidance, a desire to make new friends— all these may spring from inside ourselves. Outer events mirror this energy; there is often an increase in conversations, letters, invitations, short trips and social events.”

 

How about: I would like an increase in conversations (with friends), letters (from friends), invitations (to visit friends), short trips (with friends) and social events (at my house).

 

Is grocery shopping or a trip to the doctor’s a short trip? Is traveling to Quebec or Syracuse for the weekend or week a short trip or a long trip? Perhaps the length of the trip is determined by how long the trip feels. “Short trip” is supposed to seem positive whereas “errand” generally seems negative.

 

Maybe “short trip” means “brief psychedelic experience.” From the on-line urban dictionary: “An adjective meaning cool, freaky, groovy, amazing, or all of the above, depending on the context in which it’s used. …the root word, “trip,” refers to soft psychedelic trips and has been in use since the 60’s.”

 

When I wanted Martin to consider home birth, I didn’t try too hard to be convincing. I handed him my only book on birth— Ina May Gaskin’s book Spiritual Midwifery— where the natural birthing experience, as described by the husband, is always trippy, other-worldly, and extremely spiritual. After he’d read a bit, he said, “I’d like to experience that kind of energy.” I was happy.

 

The short trip of birth (as opposed to the long trip of raising a child) will indeed herald new beginnings, an upsurge in the pace of life, and the need to come up with original ideas to solve every-day problems. It will necessitate following my intuition. I hope to make new friends who can help me with these things.

 

I could, perhaps, have picked another aspect of my life to relate this card to. I’ve used pregnancy a number of times. However, that’s what gets my attention right now. Louann Brizendine, MD, director of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco explains pregnancy brain, in part, like this: “There are 15 to 40 times more progesterone and estrogen marinating the brain during pregnancy, and these hormones affect all kinds of neurons in the brain.” And, “You only have so many shelves in your brain so the top three are filled with baby stuff.” Good enough for me.

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

The Faeries’ Oracle — 41. Ilbe the Retriever

Artist: Brian Froud

Author: Jessica MacBeth

 

“Office of Unclaimed Property, Hopes, and Wishes. Loyalty.”

 

Oracle decks are different from tarot decks in a number of manners. Mainly, there is no predetermined pattern to the deck,  there is no history behind the cards, and the cards are not used for games.

 

Oracle decks are similar to a ‘book with all answers,’ where opening a page answers your preset question. In this case, drawing a card tells you which page to open to.

 

Oracle decks often originate from the author’s passionate belief in one particular area. Some decks, as this one, marry existing imagery to suitable meanings. In general, these cards spring from a desire to tap into the spiritual world to find “insight, wisdom, and joy,” as this deck states.

 

The author says, Don’t read someone else’s definitions of the cards until you already have some idea of what they mean to you. This is good advice for any work of art, literature, poetry, graffiti, kitsch, tarot card, or ancient spiritual text. Don’t let someone tell you what it means. Figure it out yourself, then listen to others’ opinions. You will gain no insight if you do not allow your inner eye to open. You will gain no wisdom if you always only listen to the words of others— perhaps knowledge, but not wisdom. And joy? What truly gives you joy?

 

To me, this card looks like an old-man-puppy begging at the table. I used to love Froud’s dreamy images when I was a little girl. As an adult, that which I see in reality is more fantastic than any faerie he could ever dream. I want to tell the card “grow up” and will not let the deck “speak” to me. A few things may be happening: self-censorship, lack of interest in oracle decks, and refusal to assimilate anyone else’s vision of faerie.

 

Nonetheless, I admit Jessica MacBeth gives good instructions on how to get to know a card. In part, she asks a series of questions which I answer here*:

 

The creature seems selfishly immature. It is wanting something, whining, trying to make me feel guilty if I do not give what it wishes. This beast has a certain slowness about it. It looks spiritually incomplete, grasping to the leadership of others. I find its wings appealing, because I like wings. I find the tilt of its head unappealing. It makes me want to wring its long neck, but the neck seems rubbery and I get the feeling that if I tried to choke it, the creature would laugh. I find myself fixated on wringing its un-wringable neck and hypnotized by its maniacal laughter into continuing on and on into insanity. It is frustrating. I come across as cruel and crazy—

 

but this is how we sometimes seem
in both reality and dream.

 

*Question summary:
1) What is the emotional atmosphere of the card?
2) What might the physical manifestation of this card’s symbols be in someone’s life? What aspect of life does this card symbolize to you?
3) What do you see in the card’s symbols that might represent the card’s mental characteristics?
4) What are the spiritual characteristics of the card’s symbols?
5) What do you find most appealing or comforting about this card?
6) What do you find most unappealing or uncomfortable about this card?
7) What other ideas or impressions do you have of this card?
And she says: if you fail to answer any of these questions, take a break until you can.

 

The following terms must be defined by YOU: symbol, spiritual & mental characteristics, comforting & uncomfortable, appealing & unappealing. These are opinions and reflections of experience.

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Page of Cups — The Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg

Artist: Yuri Shakov
LWB*: Stewart Kaplan

 

Interpretation: A studious and intent person. Reflective. Meditative. Loyal. Willingness to offer services and efforts toward a specific goal. A helpful person. Trustworthy.

 

[I think, from now on, if the LWB is completely at odds with how I generally view a card and has nothing in particular to say about a deck itself, as in this case, I shall cease to quote it, as it adds little to my insight.]

 

Yuri ShakovI love the Page of Cups. When my mom saw the image I drew for the card, she said it reminded her of Alice in Wonderland. Wonderful! The Page of Cups is my not-quite-rational, dreamy inner-girl-child. She reminds me: Be open to the unexpected. Listen to your intuition. Never cease to dream. And she reminds me to take a fresh perspective— a child-like view— when faced with difficult issues.

 

A couple of days ago I told my Big Sister I am going to have a baby. Six months is rather far along for just telling her, but we don’t talk often. I didn’t know how to bring it up sooner. I was afraid of feeling judged in one way or another. When I told her she said something like, “WHAT? Now you’ll be Mom’s favorite forever and ever.” Which is silly and she knows it isn’t true: I’m just Mom’s most huggable child. I will have Mom’s favorite grandchild by default: there are no others.

 

Having a child sets my sister and I down incomparably different paths. She is on the successful-career path and has succeeded, whereas I never quite tried hard enough. I am suddenly, after many years of much goofing-off, on a path of motherhood.

 

Today when I pulled a card, I remembered to ask a question: How does [my Big Sister] really feel about me having a baby? The answer is: the Page of Cups. Keep an open mind. If I expect a certain reaction, I am more likely to get it. If I expect to be judged, I will feel it. On the contrary, if I am able to be playful, to be open to unexpected feelings, to admit the possibility of a positive change in our relationship, I am more likely to be pleasantly surprised.

 

*LWB= the little white booklet that comes with most tarot decks
and tells, quite briefly, what each card is about
Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Six of Blades — Tarot of the Absurd

Jessica Rose ShanahanArtist: Jessica Rose Shanahan

 

Interpretation: Leaving a storm for calm waters. Change of thought or place. A journey through the watery mind. Attempt at harmony. Finding understanding. Rite of passage.

 

A man in a boat on stormy seas has lost his oars. He surfs a great wave as daggers fall from heaven. But it is not a hopeless situation. His eyes are the eyes of a fish, eyes that see through confused waters. His hands are webbed, like fins. On his head he has a swimming cap, and on his arm, the tattoo of a blade. These blades are nothing new. He is prepared for this and knows more than he thinks he knows. He will not sink. And when he swims, he’ll find a message in a bottle.

 

The only thing that could hinder him is baggage. One cannot swim with too much baggage. A stubborn, clinging mind will never change. To swim, he needs to let his boat go, to let his baggage go, to keep his mind clear, to keep his aim focused. To read the message in the bottle he needs to use both hands and leave all else behind. It is easier to find harmony in simplicity than in chaos.

 

The purpose of this blog is to gain a better understanding of the cards
that I might better be able to explain the images in my deck
and someday write a little book.
Monday, December 26th, 2011

Knight of Wands — Pearls of Wisdom

Roxi Sim[My brother Dan picked this card. He pulled it upside-down.]

 

Artist: Roxi Sim
Booklet: Caeli Fullbrite

 

Interpretation: “The journey is begun. The knight follows his inner promptings and advances into the unknown. He acts as a messenger bringing very good tidings. He loves adventure and finds it difficult to stay in one place very long.”

 

If the knight of wands loves adventure, than he is certainly stymied being upside-down. He is stuck. Life feels meaningless. He is frustrated about factors over which he has no control. How does he turn himself right-side up?

 

There are things he can change; there are things he can control. Maybe they are just different things than he wants to change, or different things than he is focused on. Maybe the only things the knight of wands can change are things he doesn’t want to change. Who knows?

 

People seeking help to try to change their lives are often taught this prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

 

It takes more work to flip a life around than it does to simply flip a card around. Sometimes it seems impossible; a dream. Use your imagination and your skill at creation. Draw doorways where you see walls. Make this dream a lucid dream.

 

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

18. The Moon — Sakki-Sakki Tarot

Artist: Monicka Clio Sakki
Author: Monicka Clio Sakki & Carol Anne Buckley
 
Interpretation: dreams, unconscious, inner-self, confusion, deception, mystery
 
“The landscape that the Moon’s light reveals is a complex one. Along with its power to fascinate, the Moon arouses disturbing feelings, even madness…. The Moon provokes a psychic awakening, and lights our escape into the domain of our imagination.”
 
I am driving to Syracuse today. It usually takes me about six hours because I drive 55-60 mph, take the occasional accidental detour, have to pee a few times, and maybe nap. My goal is to leave before noon. Despite my love of the moon, I hope not to drive by its light, lest I succumb to shadows one after another. Confusion leads to deception, letting me be overcome by the mystery of what I see as I drift into the land of the unconscious dreamer where there is nothing left but inner-self.
 
I will not deceive myself: these blog entries often take quite long to write. I have yet to pack. The truth is, I must leave by the light of day if I am to sleep in my parents’ house tonight. My inner-self is not licensed to drive a car without the full awareness of my outer-self. I would like to arrive at my destination intact.

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

11. Strength — The Shakespeare Oracle

[One well versed in Shakespeare could use this deck to learn tarot and never need to look up a meaning in the book.]

Artist: Cynthia von Buhler
Author: A. Bronwyn Llewellyn

 

Interpretation: “This card suggests fortitude, confidence, and command. This isn’t the raw courage and endurance needed to leap into battle, but the inner strength to do what has to be done, no matter how difficult or long it takes.” Etc.

 

I keep forgetting to ask a question. I have no idea what this card answers other than the eternal question “Who am I?” This is not a bad thing. Ramana Maharshi tells us:

 

“Who am I” is not a mantra. It means that you must find out where in you arises the “I”-thought which is the source of all other thoughts. [AND] Self-enquiry is certainly not and empty formula and it is more than the repetition of any mantra. If the enquiry “Who am I” were a mere mental Questioning, it would not be of much value. The very purpose of self-enquiry is to focus the entire mind at its source. It is not, therefore, a case of one “I” searching for another “I.” Much less is self-enquiry an empty formula, for it involves an intense activity of the entire mind to keep it steadily poised in pure Self-awareness.

 

Unfortunately, the simplicity of meditation is more complex than the complexity of reading tarot:

 

To enquire “Who am I?” really means trying to find out the source of the ego or the “I”-thought. You are not to think of other thoughts, such as “I am not this body.” Seeking the source of “I” serves as a means of getting rid of all other thoughts. We should not give scope to other thoughts… but must keep the attention fixed on finding out the source of the “I”-thought by asking, as each thought arises, to whom the thought arises. If the answer is “I get the thought,” continue the enquiry by asking “Who is this ‘I’ and what is its source?”

 

Each tarot card answers “Who am I” in a different way. Each card shows something different in myself. At any moment, I embody every card. When I pull a card with no question in mind but “Who am I?” the answer is always, “You are this.” Then I find the part of me that the card speaks of and how I currently embody that aspect.

 

I pulled the Strength card and thus ask, “How am I Strength?” I see that I embody many aspects of strength in its positive attitude. Although often I am uncertain of what I am doing, confidence in my self and my world-view gives me strength. I admit I pulled the card upside-down, and seek meaning there. It tells me to watch for self-doubt and lack of faith. These are things that weaken me.


you are strong: be strong be strong
Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Nine of Wands — Tarot of the Immagination

Artist: Frenec Pinter

 

I have neither Little White Book nor box for this deck. As with all cards, different people interpret the nine of wands in different ways. This reading is my feeble attempt at art interpretation, which is what I am left with when no one tells me what to think.

 

The man in the foreground is fishing at the edge of a canal. It looks like he is wearing fatigues and a Russian army hat. He is sitting on a poster of Lenin. Is this image during the war years, when Lenin, standing for maximum working-class democracy, lead the workers of the Tsarist Russian Empire to revolution? Or is it afterward, when the Stalinists, calling themselves Leninists, cut away at everything Lenin had worked for and adopted anti-working-class policies? I never paid attention in history class. There were too many wars and dates and dead white men.

 

Inner strength, stamina, and the will to go on despite impossible odds are at the center of the Nine of Wands. I would like to say, the man is a revolutionary. He sits on the ideals of Lenin, protecting them, making them his own. But the revolution is going on forever. So many people he knows have died. Will the war never end? It is so dark! If only he can follow the light of his inner strength, it will lead to glory.

 

The twist: there is glory for the Bolshevik Party, but all too soon their ideals are crushed and twisted. The revolution is stolen from the hands of the revolutionaries. The struggle of the working class has never ended. Only in heaven is there a chance for the light of inner strength to close its eyes in sleep, just for a moment.

 

This card shows that if we search deep inside ourselves, we will find the strength to endure.

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Three of Pentacles — New Age Tarot

[NOTE: Notes within brackets within quotes are my notes, not quotes.]

Artist: Walter Wegmüller

 

Interpretation: “Symbolic of a profitable training course or experiences. [Knowledge as wealth.]

 

“The Three of Pentacles also represent the three time references where money is concerned: savings (past), use (present), and investment (future). [These numbers may be negative or positive.]

 

“In yet another sense, it also stands for coined money [most often fiat money, without intrinsic value yet endorsed by the government], toy money [unendorsed, legal money: virtual money; Monopoly money; money from another country] and counterfeit money [unendorsed, illegal money: stuff that seems real but isn’t; something too good to be true].”

 
The oldest decks depicting little round discs with symbols on them used the term “coin” to denote the suit. “Pentacle” is a later term, associated with tarot after the deck took on occult meaning. Technically, a pentacle is an amulet used in magical evocation on which the symbol or spirit or energy being evoked is depicted. In tarot decks, a pentacle it is usually denoted as a coin with a pentagram inside.

I like how the author/ illustrator of the deck calls the suit “pentacles” without illustrating the usual pentagram. Instead, he fills his coins (and his cards) with magical images from around the globe. However, his use of the term “pentacle” conflicts with how strongly he relates all his pentacles to actual money instead of to more general, practical, earthy and material matters. Money is a societal convention. It is not the most important form of wealth at all. Our society is too focused on money money money.

 

I leave money out of the suit of pentacles— tho I do call it coins. The three of coins reminds us that one form of wealth is the skill necessary to accomplish a goal. Good planning and organization are necessary to succeed and to improve the quality of life. Learn well, work hard and stay on top of things. With a little luck thrown in the mix, you will succeed.

 

Now I need to tell that to myself and get a move on finishing this deck.