Sunday, July 23, 2017

NEVER EVER expected to do this...with commentary by the Tarot of the Crone

From grade one right through until university I went to an all-girls' convent school, yet despite that daily dose of Catholicism never ONCE gave a thought to becoming a nun. I've since moved way far out from any kind of religious belief, but even in my unlapsed Catholic grade school years I was anti-missionary.
We'll build you heathens a school and teach your kids lots of great stuff, including our particular brand of religion to replace the inferior beliefs you now hold.
No, thank you.

Why am I yakking about this now? 

Because, in the space of a single week, I have gone from:
1) holding the opinion above
2) meeting a remarkable nun who has worked at her order's mission in the Dominican Republic for 60 years
3) booking a flight to spend nine days living in the convent where she lives and maybe helping out in their music program.

What the heck???? Maybe even WTF????

I feel oddly compelled to do this. It tugs at me (dangerous undertow or excited child - I don't know).
The adventure-seeking mindset of the newly retired?
It happened so quickly that I didn't have time to change my mind?

I'm going to the Tarot of the Crone for this, since both the sister involved and I are pretty old and crone-y. (not cronies, but who knows?)
What on earth possessed me to do this? (Or maybe the impulse is not of this earth?)

You've got to see these 3 cards side by side.
The Tarot of the Crone is a colourful deck, yet these three cards have only black/white/red/purple.
(This reminds me of that poem by Jenny Joseph:
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.)
There's just one person, centred on each card.
Has the woman in Eight just emerged from the water in the Witch card? Is that why her hair and tunic fall so straight, weighted by water?
Look at the legs in the Eight and Death - the same.
Look at their arms - mirror images.

These three cards are kin.

1. First thought out of the gate - Witch of Cups

Go with the flow.
       Don't be afraid to put your head under water.
              Have you ever tried floating in salt water? It's pretty cinchy.
                     Relax. Let your body stretch. 
              Sea and sky together - a magical combination. 
       When was the last time you experienced the ocean? Too long.
Feeling buoyed up.
       Look up!
              It's OK if it feels like your feet aren't on solid ground.
                     The ocean is swell. (ha - couldn't resist)
              Swim with sea creatures. (but not sharks)

2. On second thought - Eight of Cups

More cups. As in "I feel oddly compelled to do this."
I could use some opening up to new experiences.
Facing ahead to the great exciting unknown.
What's out there? I dunno.
Mind-bending. Body-bending.
Do they do Tai-chi in this convent? 
Who is this mysterious person I will meet?
Why won't she show me her face?
Is this me, looking back at me?
Is this person luring me on?

3. Finally - Death XIII
Luring me on death? Certainly hope not!
Spread word - Finally - and the card that responds - Death. Hm.

The image on this card disturbs me. The little patch of red seems sexual. I went to Ellen's LWB for some clarification: "A little red passage of potential rebirth is at Death's groin." OK, good.
I do like what she wrote later: "Deny what is passing and you may never be free, dragging a corpse along with you into your future."
I'm grabbing the idea that I have a future, and running with it!
What, then, is passing as a result of my accepting this unsought opportunity?
  • some preconceptions? misconceptions?
  • my life as a mission-hater?
  • a need to slot ideas into little boxes?
  • my insistence on slamming religious beliefs? 
  • tightness of thought?
  • a tendency to judge? 

In neighbourhood news

Our reporter has been too busy reading The White Magic Five and Dime to go outside and look around the neighbourhood. She says that this book is a fast read, fun, feisty, full of tarot, and she recommends it!

Mackenzie Hall's packet of brochures arrived yesterday. In it was an invitation to learn the Bachata; my curious friend (who'd learned of my impulsive trip only the previous evening) looked it up and it is...wait for it...a dance from the Dominican Republic! As she says, "Spooky."


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Reversals bug me, and the BKTYCS

When I read tarot, I mostly look at the pictures. And this is hard to do when they're upside down.
I feel the same way about novels - I don't read them upside down either.

And let's not forget the BKTYCS (Be Kind to Your Cards Society). Really, how nice is it to expect a card to hang around upside down while you hem and haw about what it might be saying? (The exception is the Hanged Man, who would LOVE to be reversed so the blood could finally flow out of his pounding head and back into the rest of his body.) See?
Aaaaaaaahhhhh😊 (the Siamese Tarot)

I get it, I understand it - the argument that reversals can expand the range of meaning for the cards. I just don't want to do it. So how can you streeeeetch the span of possibilities for a particular card if you're too kind and considerate to make it stand on its head while you read it?

1) Well, you can ask it to hold out its arms to see how far it can reach in either direction.
What would more of its energy look like? Less of that same energy? Too much? None at all?

Here's the Five of Pentacles from the Everyday Witch Tarot. She's on the move.
More of that energy might take her to the door of the cozy building with the lit windows.
Too much of that same energy and she'll sail right by it and be out in the boonies somewhere.
Less moving energy and she might pace out front all night, never getting into the warmth.
Zero of that will to move, and she and the kid are frozen lawn ornaments. 

2) Or bring in some friends to stand with it for comparison's sake.
A little less energy, and she's doing nothing, bemoaning her fate. The Druidcraft (fully trimmed)
A little more, and she's found at least some temporary shelter. Ancestral Path (trimmed)

Still less energy, and her mind is a blur. She has no clue what to do. The Good Tarot
A dollop more energy and she's out of the shelter and asking for help. Ma'at Tarot

Zero energy, and inertia sets in. We get the frozen lawn ornament effect. Tarot of Prague 2016
Too much energy and she's ridden right out of town, going around in circles on an overladen donkey. Animal Wisdom Tarot

Note: these are decks that just happen to be out on my tarot table right now. You can compare energies with any decks you have lying around. If expanding the range of a card appeals to you, you'll find an assortment of other posts about this very thing.

In neighbourhood news

The doorbell rings. Probably someone trying to sell me a more efficient water heater. Can you come into my house and take a look at my gas bills? No thank you. I save what's on the computer and go downstairs. My lovely new-ish (it's their first summer here) next-door neighbour is on the porch with a WHOLE BOX of produce from her garden: salad greens and basil, washed, bagged, and labelled, and cucumbers. Ain't life grand!


Sunday, July 09, 2017

Vacation planning with the tiny Tarot Nova

Serious tarot folk ~ leave now. This post is a light silly summer thing, best suited for this kind of mindset:

At first glance the Tarot Nova looks too simple to be any good for readings, and there are some pretty dismissive reviews out there. But I like its folk art look, and the pared-down drawings seem just right for what I'm doing today: getting straightforward vacation suggestions from a tarot deck. It comes in a slip-cased box along with a tiny book on reading palms. The whole set-up is sturdy and undeniably cute!

It's getting hard to find, alas.

OK, little Tarot Nova, what are your suggestions for my Summer of 2017?

1) Most extravagant ~ Zero The Fool

Take off for parts unknown!
Go on a safari
Ride wild beasts
Track down the bluebird of happiness
Sign up for lion-tamer school
Grab your knapsack and ride the rails cross-country

2) Cheapest ~ Ace of Cups

Stay at home and drink tea!
Invite a friend to join you
Enjoy the fruits of your labours
Plant some annuals
Sit under a grapevine
Love what surrounds you
Make sangria

3) Most unusual ~ Knight of Cups

Ride a dolphin!
Ride a dolphin while playing a drum
Join a circus
Start training for a part in Cirque du Soleil
Try jet-skiing
Ride a horse bareback
(Ride a horse any way you can)
Ride your bike with no hands

4) Easiest ~ II The High Priestess

Do nothing in particular!
Commune with yourself
Look at the Moon
Let your mind float
Look at a flower
Look wise
Try a new hair style

5) Top recommendation ~ XVII The Star

Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!
Be happy with whatever you choose
Water your dreams
Be the star of your own life's story
Feel the breeze in your hair
Go barefoot


Sunday, July 02, 2017

Canada 150 and the completion of what's behind Door #1

This week has been all about Canada's 150th birthday as a nation in its own right, not as a Dominion of the Crown of Great Britain. We're awash in red! Parades, flags, bands everywhere, red everywhere, iconic Canadian songs and artists on TV and radio, maple leaves on...well, everything! And maple bacon everything as well, from perogies to doughnuts to burgers to chips.

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Tarot content this week appears behind Door #1, up top. There you'll find the exciting conclusion of The Seasonal Check-in Phases of the Moon Spread, Summer Edition!

In neighbourhood news

At the Canada Day Parade here in Windsor, granddaughter Emily, suitably attired in red dress with a maple leaf decal on her cheek, discovered that the walkers on the edges of the parade, doling out candy etc. were FAR more riveting than any floats, bands, horses, or dancers that the parade had to offer. Only the Shriners, tooling around on their tiny motorbikes, even came close.
We almost lost her at one point, before she got the hang of getting her hand out in the right place at the right time. She took off, determined, following a guy dispensing sweets to the crowds, and soon her tiny body was lost to sight in a noisy sea of red moving down the crowded street. Dad high-tailed it to the rescue.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cutting your deck into small square tiles

This great idea isn't mine. I got it from a super-enthusiastic and creative Readers Studio newbie this past April. She is Veronica Jude, and her video about cutting a RWS deck into small square cards is here

I'm not a big fan of the Waite-Smith's artwork, but feel like I should be, and keep buying different versions in case one of them will appeal. I had one with borders already cropped - perfect for this experiment.

My cards were already cropped right back to the image edges along the sides; all I had to do was square them up and re-round the corners. I made a cardboard template so I could slide its window over each card to decide which 6 cm. square (or 2 3/8") section I wanted to keep. That was fun! and brought new life to some of these oh-so-familiar images. It was an entertaining little craft project, and the cards now make a delightful snap as you place them on the table. (I admit to overdoing it a bit because I like the noise.) 

I've been making nine-patch squares with them - 3x3x3 - like a quilt block. I don't normally use reversals, and this is a hoot! There are SO MANY choices when deciding how to read them. Here are just a few, and they change every time, depending on which cards come up in which directions and which patterns your eyes pick up. Here's what I noticed in this particular layout. (These scans were a pain in the butt, btw.)

1. Which suit predominates, or has less representation?
There are two each of Majors, Cups, Wands, Swords. Only 1 Pentacle, and it's upside down. I'm deeming the Pents least important here.
2. Is there more action going backwards (tops of cards facing left) or forwards (heads to the right)?
Three face left and two right. Slightly less forward motion?
3. Any Majors?
Yes, two, and both facing the same way. Significant? I don't know!
4. Any upright? 
Two of nine. There's a lot of opposing or undercutting energy, and some of it comes from the two Majors.

5. Do any of the lines (across, vertical, diagonal) connect with each other in some way?
a) All these have their card tops facing left, and both Majors and the driving Wands 8 are in this line. Perhaps this powerful row is pulling backwards: to slow us down, or to ask us to have another look at something that's already happened?

b) This row contains the only upright cards, and the numbers are all the same! Wands 5, Cups 5, and Temperance XIV (14 reduces (1+4) to 5. Another strong line-up. Temperance's water is pouring diagonally; is she draining some of the heated excess energy from Wands 5 and feeding it to Cups 5?

6. Do any of the cards cancel each other out, or support each other? (For this one, I just play around with pairs, keeping their directions intact, to see if some visual connection appears.)
a) I can't decide if this feels like one cancels the other, or if reversed energy from Cups 7 has produced the regrets in Cups 5, or if the images below are a mirror of Cups 5's thoughts.

b) The two Swords, both tops leading to the right. Has the Ace boosted (goosed?πŸ˜‰) the Knight's energy?

Dealing sets of these tiny cards is a fun activity to practice while watching TV.
It's more like playing than thinking!

In neighbourhood news

1) Solstice drumming circle (yup, that's my white head, right foreground)

2) First ever karaoke singing! at a friend's retirement party.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

A very big week for me, and a new door opens

Twenty three years of students' piano recitals in this historic courthouse - and last night was the final one.

Each spring we have returned, hearts fluttering in anticipation, to climb the majestic staircase and face the regal (the kids would no doubt say scary and daunting) grand piano.

My final six students came out with their families in tow, including parents, siblings, and three sets of faithful grandparents. What I wasn't prepared for were the dozens of others, students and families from over the years, who also came to share in the evening. 

SO MANY unexpected joys - reunions, hugs, presentations, gifts, reminiscences, former students offering to play and sing - and SO MUCH GRATITUDE for the good and loving (and sometimes goofy) folks I've had the pleasure of working with over the years. My heart is full to bursting.

So which tarot deck? My newest one, as I set out on my newest path - that of a retired teacher. For sixty-two years I've either been in school, married to a school teacher, back in school, or teaching in school or at home. My year has always run from September through June, then there's the summer, then there's September again. That's how it works for me. Until now.
This is going to take a while to sink in.

Here's the card the Everyday Witch Tarot offered up ~ the Page of Cups ~ how perfect! Yes, I am going back to the beginner's mind of a Page, to learn how to handle the new feelings this next phase will bring with it. Yes, back to the drawing board indeed! This will take some practice, and it might get messy!

Here's what I chose for myself ~ The Fool ~ I might get myself some of these cool witchy leggings, now that I'm officially an old crone and don't have to dress responsibly!

The two butted together ~ the waters of life flow on from one phase to the next. Yay! says the Fool.

In neighbourhood news

First firefly sightings of the season. LOVE THEM!
First (I hope last) centipede squashing. (shudder)

and before you leave, check out door #1 at the top of the page!
(If you want to, that is)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A posse of Nines of Wands, and Door #1

I'm painting Door #1. It will be dry next week.

And now, fifteen takes on the Nine of Wands.

We have these that are standing guard. Are they asking us to exercise caution because danger lies ahead, or are we within while they protect us? Are they keeping us out, or keeping us in? Good question!
Bohemian Gothic
Tarot of Prague

Victorian Romantic
Tarot of Paris

Tarot Illuminati
Fantastic Menagerie

Here are some that look ready in case a fight is heading their way, but they're not entirely sure in which direction the danger might lie. Is the threat from without, or is the fracas an internal one?
Alice Tarot
Goddess Tarot (Waldherr) trimmed

Wizards Tarot trimmed
Siamese Tarot

Baroque Bohemian Cats

The last batch is a mixed bag.
In the first two, there are fun and games on one side of the story, and real danger on the other.
If you're the Stone Giants, hurling humongous boulders is a blast! But earthlings below - beware of the fallout!
The Hobbit Tarot trimmed

The Twelve Dancing Princesses think it's a lark outwitting their guards and slipping out every night to dance their shoes to tatters. But the prospective suitors stand to lose their heads (literally) if they can't figure out the princesses' secret. In the wily old soldier they meet their match, and so does the eldest of the sisters when he claims her as his bride!
The Fairytale Tarot

All that Fire! Will it burn or illuminate, or maybe both?
Raven's Prophesy Tarot

And finally - holy cats! The threat to your cheese (and your rolled up contract) is real, and furry, and underfoot! Do you save the scroll and sacrifice the food, or guard the cheese and give up the paperwork?
The Cook's Tarot

In neighbourhood news

I subscribe to this author's newsletter. His mum is a friend of mine, and while he doesn't live in my neighbourhood (or province, or time zone), he did grow up in a town nearby.
If you scroll down past the picture of his wife hugging a rain barrel, past the New York Times mini-crossword (short & sweet, I recommend it) you'll get to a section labelled STORY.
In the story there's a cello teacher referred to only as Mr. W______. I'm reading away and realize that I know the mysterious Mr. W______! I taught all six of his kids! So you could say that I almost made it into the newsletter too, right???