Monday, February 13, 2017

Sherlock, the character and the deck

One of TABI's free-readers has been posting recently of her work with John Matthews' and Wil Kinghan's The Sherlock Holmes Tarot, and her work is so literarily beautiful and evocative that I'm all stirred up about this body of work that belongs to Sherlock. The 'canon', as she calls it. And about this deck, which I purchased when it first came out in 2014 but haven't used because I felt inadequately informed, Sherlock-wise.

A call to my local used-book store produced a GIGANTIC 2-volume set of the complete works about Sherlock with annotations and maps and pictures and what-not, more than I can ever absorb in five lifetimes. Must admit that I'm excited about delving into it, even if I'll never be an expert!

So this is not an article about or review of this deck - not yet. I haven't a clue (ha! unintended) about it, and am not about to insult it or massacre its meanings until I've better acquainted myself with Sherlock and his stories.

What I would like to do today is use this week's cards to offer their opinions on how I'll fare with the Sherlock Holmes Tarot.

Shuffling the Whimsical Tarot ... Seven of Cups... perfect!
So many literary destinations on offer, so many delicious stories and characters. Just where I am at the moment, poised at the taking-off point with Sherlock and John Watson. Each path and story has its own particular charm and appeal.

Here's a similar-looking design from the Minoan Tarot. Choose one of the paths, grab hold of the little suckers so you don't fall off, follow it through to the end. Then repeat, using a different leg!

'Yes, the task may appear daunting at first!' says the Universal Fantasy Tarot. 'No, the books you've purchased only seem to be this big.'

It's true, everything may initially seem a bit fuzzy. You'll find your focus. Margarete Petersen Tarot 

Just choose a story, start reading, and it will slowly become clear. The Elora Tarot

If the Lady of Shalott is too distracted by all the mirrors and illusions around her, she'll never weave any yarns across the warp threads of her tapestry, and she'll make no progress whatsoever. Chrysalis Tarot

One final piece of advice from the Haindl Tarot. Have no illusions about this. Success can only come from attempting, not merely dreaming about it.

And now, hailing a hansom cab to 221B Baker Street!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Downsizing, writing by hand, and of course the cards!

First: downsizing.

Next: writing by hand (a nod to International Correspondence Writing Month, or InCoWriMo).

And now, the cards!
All three of these cards were chosen simply because I like looking at them. They come from the latest batch of twenty-one Fours of Swords, or Air, or Sky. The suit of the mind. The number of staying still.



Every morning, a one-minute video lands in my inbox from nature365. There are often wolves, so my attention was drawn to this card.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Back to some comfort decks this week, and the word 'nice'

Since September, I've been working with unfamiliar decks, hoping to becoming conversant with more of what's on my tarot shelves.Twenty-three of them in the Fall and twenty-one this Winter. That's a LOT of new artwork to absorb. My head is reeling.
(Sorry about this annoying picture. Keep scrolling and she'll go away)

So this week I'm reverting to three old favourites: the AnnaK, the Victorian Fairy, and the Tarot of the Sidhe. Like mac 'n cheese, mashed potatoes, and pancakes, only tarot. Except that none of these decks is bland like my food choices!
I've asked them to tell me something nice, since it's winter and there's not a lot of sunshine and most of the political news is yucky and my Chicago mix popcorn is all gone. 

AnnaK popped up the Knight of Cups. His personality looks soft, quiet, patient. He's not running around all preoccupied and busy. His head is definitely NOT reeling. He's smiling and he brings flowers. Nice.

His message to me?
Stop and smell the roses. Look how beautiful the stars are. Clear nights and sunny days will come; be patient. Visit a kind and gentle friend. Life can be more simple if you stay away from those Facebook rants. Remember to breathe. Hole up in your cozy house and enjoy a glass of wine. Take a nighttime walk and gaze at the sky. Count your blessings - maybe your Cup runneth over and you don't even know it!

Aahh, feeling better already. What's next?

This card jumped while I shuffled the Tarot of the Sidhe. The Elder V (aka the Hierophant)
Beautiful! Mother Nature at her finest and wisest. I can't do better than to quote directly from Emily Carding's poetic companion book to this deck.
(sides trimmed, which they didn't like at first, and stopped speaking to me for a while)

Here is a portion of what she says about Elder V:
'...I am the sage that listens deeply and I am the ancient tree that speaks. I am the serpent wisdom that seeks the cunning secrets of old in the hidden places. I am the apples of the tree of knowledge and I am the seed that dwells within. I am fixed and sturdy as the roots, but as reaching as the highest branches, still growing to the sky.
     Much has passed before me and I have seen all. I would teach you some, if you would hear me. Sit a while and listen. I am tales of giants and a far gone age. I am truth of ancient gods. I am that which is fixed, yet ever growing and my trunk is old and strong.
     Join me, and see the pattern of life unfold. You may learn, yet you may teach. Take the spiral path of aged rings, and find your sacred elder within...'

I'm currently re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring, and the language, style, and sentiments are so similar to Emily's thoughts and images of this card. They both transport me to a magical place. Mmm.

Moving on to the final card.

Four of Summer from the Victorian Fairy. This is often called the Four of Cups, and at first blush doesn't seem all that cheerful. We do know that Fairies can be tricksters; is this their idea of a joke?
I ask for something nice, and they send this sad young man? Gee, thanks.

Well, it is a reminder of how beautiful are the Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer, I suppose. And it's always fun to hear Nat King Cole. But there's got to be more to it than that.
Are the clever Fairies reminding me (through another song - they're in a musical mood today!) that these are the good old days (words appear at the 2:00 mark in the video) so quit moping and wring every bit of enjoyment out of them that you can! Reflection is all well and good, but sometimes you've just gotta get up and do something!

When I was seventeen I spent two months with my Mimi and Pipi while my family's new house was being completed. These grandparents were huge proponents of rise 'n shine, day's a-wastin' - all those energetic adages. If I slept in too late (and at seventeen, that's all I ever wanted to do) they would both come upstairs, banging pot lids and singing some corny old song that I can't remember now but quickly grew to despise. Maybe Mim and Pip, both long gone now, are in cahoots with the Fairies? I love that idea! This memory brings with it a big smile, so I guess the Fairies sent something nice after all.

I hope you find something nice in your world today!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Doing the impossible: NOT commenting on the new US president

There is SO MUCH disagreeing, dismay, disputing, dissing, dismissing, disrespecting, divisiveness, doubt, discouragement, direness, doomsaying out there. Ugh.

It feels like living in this:

I'm craving lightness, sweetness, silliness, goofiness, nonsense. So that's what I'm dishing up today, via the... (shuffling the Whimsical Tarot, a card sticks up, it's...what the heck?) Nine of Swords!
The exact card that feels just like the foggy black cloud hanging over me! Very funny, Tarot.

Pulling a dismaying card often happens when reading tarot. Oh brother, how do I work that into the reading?
Well, what's its context? What is the spread position? How can that card have a glimmer of good in it? What positive can be sucked from it? How can it be put to use?

Alright then, I'm building a post about sweetness and light out of a dark and discouraging card. I extend a sincere apology to all the decks whose Nine of Swords I'm about to malign, make fun of, misuse and abuse. Please take it in the spirit of fun in which it is intended!
A few years ago, at the Readers Studio, Ferol Humphrey introduced us to a warm-up technique she calls 'blurts'. It means exactly that. You flip over a card and blurt out the first thing that comes into your head: stupid or sassy or silly, doesn't matter. Ferol provided us with a prompt, something like 'I love it when...' but I've omitted that and just blurted right out onto this blog, un-prompted.

First up, the Whimsical Tarot and Rapunzel.
Don't worry, it'll grow back.

Next, the Xultun Tarot.
Where the hell is that good-for-nothing caddy?

Elora Tarot, from right here in Ontario!
Coaching the synchronized swim team

The Chrysalis Tarot (cropped)
I know that recipe is here somewhere!

The Modern Spellcaster's Tarot.
She'll never get a fire started that way...

Shakespearian Tarot
Anti-aging creams - yeah, right.

English Magic Tarot
AAAHHH! Ant hill!

The Minoan Tarot
I pick Door #3.

Deirdre of the Sorrows
I sure hope you're the Tooth Fairy...

If this silliness lightened your heart and lifted your spirits even a little, I'm glad!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Live your life while it's still your turn. With the Strength card lending a hand.

There are so many of these encouraging instructions floating around the internet on how to live your life fully. Of course there's the always-entertaining Maxine.

Here are my two favourites.

The sublime, from Mary Oliver.

 “Tell me, what is it you plan to do 
with your one wild and precious life?” 

Her choice of words, so breathtaking, so glorious and magical, makes me believe, if only for a moment, that I too might be magical and wild. It makes me want to copy it out with shimmery gold and purple and turquoise inks and stars and swirls onto crackly crinkly paper and line my living room walls with it. It makes me want to wear velvet capes for everyday. It makes me want to ride on an elephant through India and Africa and sway on a camel through the lands of Marco Polo. It makes me want to...
And then I fall back to reality, exhausted from trying to leap so impossibly high.

I fall back to what I, plain old me, with more of my life behind me than ahead, might actually be able to do with the time left to me. And it's to this much more mundane and practical quote, from where or whom I don't remember, that I gravitate.

"Live your life while it's still your turn."

I can do that! It bolsters me, but is not a burden. It energizes me, and I don't quail at its simple advice.

And which card should come along this week, to stride along with me as I live out my turn? The Strength card! I smiled when I saw it! For living life, my own, whatever that might turn out to be, does take Strength. OK, Life, here I come!

I made a list of what I'll need.
1) Help with fear. I'm emotionally a coward, and go to great ostrich-like lengths to avoid confronting difficult issues.
Yes, you will feel vulnerable and exposed at times. Not much choice. You can do it. 
Haindl Tarot

You won't always know where you're going, how to get there, or what you'll face. Comes with the territory.
Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights

What if whatever I'm afraid of needs my help? That's possible, isn't it?
Vikings Tarot

What if it/she/he is afraid of me? I hadn't thought of that.
Margarete Petersen Tarot

2) Help with thinking outside the box. These two Strength cards are way outside the standard RWS-based tarot box. Umm...
Life is a mix of flowers and thorns; you want one, you'll have to accept the other.
You need to have your roots firmly planted in the earth to stand tall and blossom.
If you drink too much, you won't be able to stand up straight and flourish. 
Think sunny thoughts and ideas will begin to sprout.
Bloom where you're planted.
Want to see one of these in the wild? Plan a trip.
Xultun Tarot

You don't know anything about Papa Legba? Some research may be required. Perhaps you need to learn something or lay something to rest before moving ahead on your next great adventure.
Chrysalis Tarot

3) Help with accepting and welcoming a balance of the ordinary and the magical.
The magical bits are not the problem. I hope there will be a few of these WOW! moments.
Modern Spellcaster's Tarot

Hm. Love the tulips. OK, Google... badger on the kitchen table...
Elora Tarot

That's it for today from Strength!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

A fresh calendar, light, and wisdom of the Empresses

As a photo, this picture is a blurry dud. I was trying to capture individual fat fuzzy flakes flurrying outside my front door, and it didn't turn out as I imagined.
BUT as a symbol of the beginning of a new calendar year, where we don't yet know anything with clarity, it's a good image. And there's even some golden light ahead - I like that! Of course, the situation in the US has us all wondering what on earth will unfold there, since it will eventually impact all of us up here in Canada, and folks around the globe. I'm clinging to this image of light and hope!

My second pull from the new batch of 21 decks for Winter is III The Empress.
I thought that this card from the Shakespearean Tarot asked the perfect question for my (and our) world as we step into 2017. "What wisdom stirs amongst you?" indeed. And the Empresses told me.

By all means, continue to nurture and hold dear your families.
Whimsical Tarot (trimmed)

Golden Tarot

Cherish our Earth, use its resources wisely, and preserve it for future generations.
Chrysalis Tarot (cropped)

Vikings Tarot

Elora Tarot

But make no mistake. This is no wishy-washy tree-hugging flower child. Rattle the cage of a sweet-looking Empress, scratch the surface of that nature-loving woman, and you get a queen, a ruler, a boss, a person to be reckoned with. She won't be pushed around. This is no wimp who caves at the first whisper of opposition. Nuh-uh.
The Shakespeare Oracle

Golden Botticelli

Xultun Tarot

Returning now to the original "What wisdom stirs amongst you?" This is a question for all of us. If we give our collective wisdom a stir, what rises to the surface of the Empress' calm demeanour? A fighting spirit, that's what. If the people and ideals that we hold dear are out! We're ready to do battle. You can depend on it.
Golden Tarot of Klimt

Haindl Tarot

The English Magic Tarot

Modern Spellcaster's Tarot

Universal Fantasy Tarot

Look out, World. The Empresses are on the march!