Sunday, October 16, 2016

Getting to all my decks in turn. Impossible?

There's been a thread on Aecletic Tarot recently, asking people which decks they use in the winter. I had a look, and to me, most of those mentioned weren't particularly wintery, although I didn't give it much thought at the time.

In keeping with my current house-tidying theme, however, I began (or more accurately re-began) thinking about how one (me) can possibly do justice to (as in: become thoroughly acquainted with) over 200 decks. Those that I bought early on and used as daily draws are like old friends. A handful are my go-to decks reading for TABI. The majority, however, have been briefly perused at their arrival, and shelved.

Does this mean I need to cull them to a manageable number? I don't know yet; current purging involves piano books to give away or sell (300 and counting...).
Would some type of seasonal (or other) rotation bring each of them in turn to the tarot worktable? This idea feels worth pursuing.

From this point on, I'm thinking/typing outloud and subjecting you to it. Sorry about that.

OK, Autumn decks. Halloween ones, of course. Are there any particularly Thanksgiving-y decks? None come to mind.
Well, what do I love about the Fall?
Changing trees. Cool crisp weather. Re-energizing for a new school year, and with that - paper, pens, rulers, books. The foods of fall - apples, squash, and for some reason roast pork, which goes so well with apples and squash. The end of the air-conditioning season, but not yet the furnace season. Start-ups of activities that cease over the summer: choir, Scottish Country Dancing. Low season for travel pricing. Late-blooming roses and the colours of mums. Spectacular moons.

That's a good start. What decks?
All Hallows and Halloween Tarot* for sure.
A few whose names are ghostly or spirit-filled, for this time of the year when the spirit realm seems closer:

  • Ghosts and Spirits
  • New Orleans Voodoo
  • Tarot of the Dead
  • Tarot of the Hidden Realm
  • Ancestral Path

The moon figures in a lot of skyscapes at this time of year:

  • Wicca Moon
  • Deviant Moon
  • Daughters of the Moon
  • Tarot of a Moon Garden

Magic, forests, fairies
I have many fairy decks, but Fairy Lights seems more connected to Autumn, for some reason. (Hang on, it's my list - I don't have to justify anything!)
  • Mibramig Magical Tarot
  • Badgers Forest
  • Fairy Lights

Changing leaves, trees
  • Tarot Leaves
  • Tarot of Trees

Fall foods
  • The Cook's Tarot

Changing seasons
(There are so many of these - I don't know which ones feel like they belong to a particular season.)
  • Wheel of Change
  • Wheel of the Year
  • Victorian Fairy*

Travel (low season pricing begins - I'm contemplating a trip to the UK or Ireland next fall). This brings in all the Celtic decks, British fiction and lore. Heavens!
  • Celtic Dragon
  • Celtic Wisdom
  • Druidcraft*
  • Glastonbury
  • The Hobbit
  • Tarot of Jane Austen
  • The Shakespeare Tarot
  • Legend - Arthurian Tarot
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Tarot of the Sidhe*
  • Wildwood Tarot

Holy black cats! 31 decks!
The 3 marked with an * are already in use all the time, so I won't have to include them. Well then, a mere 28. My daily draw would look something like this:

Bit daunting. It would take all my allotted tarot time just to pull the cards!

A few years ago, when I first started to dig seriously into tarot, I wanted to learn what the differences were between decks. So every day (well, most every) for a few months I shuffled one deck, pulled a card, and found the same card in 20 or so other decks. How did the 5 of Wands, say, differ from one deck to another? What did most have in common? Which decks stood out from the crowd? Was one deck always different? Were the colours ever similar? That kind of stuff...

I think I'll try that again, with a whittled-down list of the above decks, and see how it feels. There! I have a plan. I'll report back with pix of my chosen decks.

P.S. If you love this time of year, you might like this post from October 2013.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Bossy decks and the life-changing magic of tidying up

In yet another attempt to ditch excess stuff, uncover more floor, enjoy my house, and not be embarrassed when someone drops by unannounced, I bought yet another 'clean up your act' book. (This time I might even read it. The previous buying-and-burying-it-under-a-pile-of-other-books method didn't yield great results.) Turns out it's a pretty famous bestseller: the life-changing magic of tidying up.

Into the category of Cool Coincidences comes my experience in the check-out line at Chapters yesterday.
It's not Christmas, no Harry Potter books are being launched, and it's a school day. So why is there this huge line-up and what the heck are all these elevenish kids doing all over the place? I struck up a conversation with the woman ahead of me in line; we were going to be there a while.

She suggested we were surrounded by a field trip. And we were; their bus was waiting outside when I left the store, and the students boarding said things like Thanks, Mrs. Something-or-other, it was fun. And Thank you for planning it for us, Miss Whosits.
Isn't a book store a BRILLIANT place for a grade school field trip? I heard one of the teachers say: 'So-and-so, you need three more books.' I don't know whether they were spending fund-raised monies for school library books or what, but WOW! Sure did love hearing those words!

And then the young woman looked at the tiny tome in my hand and said 'I loved that book.'
I was taken aback. 'You've read it?' What are the odds of that happening?
'It came out when we were building our house and getting ready to move. I recommended it to all my friends.'
We yakked a bit more about the book and her favourite sections in it.

Now I'm pumped about this little hardcover, and I've asked two sassy opinionated decks, plus one dark one, to answer this question:
What's your advice on cleaning up my pack-rat-y house?

Tarot of the Sidhe ~ Earth, the Maker (aka Ace of Pents - sides trimmed)
Time to get down and dirty, lady.

Tarot of the Burroughs ~ Page of Cups
Make a list and stick to it. No cheating! No getting side-tracked!

Dark Grimoire Tarot ~ Knave of Wands
You know that dark and scary room? The one you avoid? We're goin' in!

There you have it! House clearing advice from the tarot.

This Monday, October 10, is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada. So much to be grateful for!
(And even more when my house is tidied up!)

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Breaking news...tarot predicts future!

Lang Lang playing Beethoven with the Detroit Symphony while I shuffle the Osho Zen Tarot.

Lang Lang, the 34-year-old piano-whiz-kid-turned-legend in the music world, played Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto with the DSO last night (Saturday, October 1). And they live-streamed the whole show. What a gift! There were cameras picking up his hands and facial expressions from all angles. I'm sure I had a better seat than the paying patrons at Orchestra Hall (although they experienced the electricity of a live performance, feeling the vibration of that astonishing acoustic through the soles of their feet!).

Lang appears to genuinely LOVE every note that the composer wrote, and invites each of them up through the keys as a gift to us, his audience. He seems completely at ease and at one with the instrument (if a person can be "at one" with a thousand-pound contraption of cast iron and wood whose lid could kill you if you happened to be under the hood when it fell).

So there I was, feeling so lucky to be seeing this incomparable artist close up, for free, shuffling the Osho Zen deck because my hands felt like doing something. Why the Osho Zen? I don't know. I've had a yen to work with the Zen for a few weeks now.
Every once in a while a card would jump out of the deck as I watched the Beethoven unfold on my computer screen.

Guidance of Rainbows popped out twice. This is the 3 of Pentacles in most decks. We all need guidance, of course. And the DSO relied on the guidance of its conductor, Leonard Slatkin, to pull off this intricate dance between soloist and orchestra. It was the stuff of angels.

Politics of Clouds, usually the 7 of Swords, jumped up next. I'm sure Beethoven dealt with politics in his day, just as we have to. I'm Canadian, watching a US station. Well, we all know what kind of politics are going on down there these days...

No-Thingness, the fifth trump, better known as the Hierophant, flipped onto the floor. What an interesting card, I thought, as the performance moved into the third and final movement of the concerto. It was dancing in Lang's hands; he smiled up at Slatkin as they tossed the music back and forth and then...
the screen went blank. There was no-thing but a little spinning "I'm thinking; you'll have to wait" circle. Huh. And there it stayed, through the entire last movement (my favourite of the three, by the way) and Lang Lang's encore.

The card that hopped from the deck as I waited, hoping that the next moment would bring everything back?
Moment to Moment of Rainbows, aka the 2 of Pents.

Postscript: the DSO apologized for the interruption to some of its viewers, and will have the entire broadcast up on its Replay page soon.

The End

Monday, September 26, 2016

Testing, Testing: Dreams of Gaia Tarot

I've been stalling writing about this one.
I loved the pictures of the Dreams of Gaia Tarot on Aeclectic, announcing its upcoming publication. But I apparently failed to read the deck description and review, so when the book&deck set arrived I wasn't prepared for its differences, and there are a lot of them. The Majors are more like an oracle deck, with little resemblance to tarot. If the Majors aren't really the Majors, is it really a tarot deck?
I just don't know.

There are 25 Majors. This in itself isn't too unusual; we sometimes see one or more additional cards for extra inspiration. With this deck, however, just a few of the Major Arcana are what we expect, or appear where we usually find them. The Trumps have been renamed, re-ordered, replaced, and re-grouped. Ravynne Phelan, the deck's creator, has divided the 25 into:
  1. Choice (replacing the Fool)
  2. Stages of Life (8 cards)
  3. Reason for Being (8 cards)
  4. Influences (8 cards)

Perhaps I'm being too dramatic.

It is fairly common to unofficially divide the standard 22 Majors into four categories, showing us the Fool moving through life's experiences. The words are from Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom.
  1. The Fool
  2. Growing up (7 cards)
  3. Self-knowledge and transformation (7 cards)
  4. The cosmos beyond our narrow goals of self-improvement (7 cards) 
The Minors in Dreams of Gaia are in the usual four suits, named for the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and each suit has the usual fourteen cards. Nothing un-navigable structurally, although many of the key words are, again, not traditionally RWS in their suggestions. I'm reminded a bit of the Mary-El Tarot.

What questions does one ask a tarot deck that isn't truly a tarot deck? I don't know, which is why I've been putting off this review. I feel about as competent to write this post as the babe above!

Don't be such a chicken. Quit stalling and just do the damn thing.
OK, OK, I'm going already! And I'm doing the whole interview using only the Majors!
Suit yourself.
Is that your idea of a card joke? Very funny.

1. Why do you call yourself a tarot deck when you're really not?
In my heart I am a tarot deck. My creator intended that I be a true tarot, and has birthed me with love and heart, on the wings of imagination. If love be the intention, then surely the outcome will be wise and true, whether or not my outward appearance always conforms to your expectations. The tarot world is a kind and inclusive one, is it not?

2. What happened to the Fool's Journey aspect of the cards? There's no Fool.
Are we not all fools at some point in our lives? Especially as we grow up and learn the ways of the world. One of the wonders of youth is that it is constantly testing, erring, learning. Youth is the time of life for that. This deck has a special section for making fools of ourselves, picking ourselves up, and carrying on. So although we have no Fool card per se, the journey is here.

3. Can I read from the images as I usually would, or must I refer to the guidebook to make sense of things?
I am one of the easily recognizable images from most tarot packs, although I'm usually named The Hermit, and given the number IX. You are in familiar territory here! Wisdom is wise, no matter its number and name. If reading intuitively from the images on the cards is your strength, then you will soon find your way around my deck. Together, the art and the card titles will guide you. However, please do peek into my guidebook for a treat. You may find fresh thoughts to add to your tarot arsenal.

4. Are you insulted by my questions?
Do I look insulted? Of course not! Questions are the very heart of tarot, and where would this great evolving tradition be without them? And now I have a question for you, Teawoman. Is it possible that your self-image as a tarot reader is shaken a bit by my outside-the-norm appearance? Are you fearful that your experience will not be up to the task of reading with me? I hope you are not insulted by my question! And be assured that your skills in digging into an image and winkling out ideas will stand you in good stead with me. I look forward to working with you! 

Whew - done! ✔

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I give up! The Moon moves too quickly for me.

I heard a lot of moon stories from my Mom. My favourite comes from her family's cottage on the bluff overlooking Lake Erie, where she, her three sibs, and assorted cousins idled away their idyllic summers.
The cottage upstairs was divided into two main sections. One side was my Mim&Pip's bedroom. The rest of the second floor was curtained off dormitory-style, into four 'rooms', one for each of the kids.
Mom and her sister had the two cozy alcoves at the front, each with a double window facing the lake. There was barely space for a three-quarter bed (do they even make those anymore?), a dresser, a chair. And the MOON! It bloomed in the sky, danced a diamond swathe across the lake, poured through the windows and dazzled my Mom. She never got undazzled.

I had a few chances to experience that moonstruck time during summer sleepovers at Mim&Pip's, in that same bedroom overlooking the lake, in that same 3/4 bed. There was magic in the slightly musty dampish distinctly cottagey tang permeating the air.

The upshot is that I love the moon; always have, always will. But here's the thing: by the time I get out there to see it full, or waning or waxing, or new, it's already been there done that.
AnnaK Tarot

So, dear Moon, I'll still revel in your astonishing shadows - if I'm outside when you're full. I'll still be amazed at how like a giant peach you are when you first clear the horizon - when I remember to look. I'll do my level best to notice and appreciate you.

But I GIVE UP trying to track EACH phase, EACH month, EACH bit. I QUIT!
I love ya, moon, but I just can't keep up!
AnnaK Tarot

Here's my pledge:
I will do a stellar job of noticing the four turnings of the year. I think I can make a success of that.
Gaian Tarot

There's one coming up soon - the Autumn equinox, on September 22 - and already I'm out of sync.
When I was a kid we learned that the seasons changed on the 21st of the month, and I'm sticking to it. Accuracy be damned!
Victorian Fairy Tarot

Happy Equinox to you ~ whichever day you celebrate it!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Cookbooks and Tarot Telesummit 3

I don't actually use them much, but I love reading them. Especially if the author has included stories with some of the recipes: memories of growing up, unusual local specialties, fiascos and flops, peculiar dinner parties and weird guests.
If a cookbook contains two or three recipes or tips that become a regular part of my food life, I figure it has earned its keep. This one was a gift, years ago. I buy buttermilk just to make the Irish Soda Bread on page 571!

One buttermilk adventure leads to another. (Don't you just love it when that happens?) My newly-turned-five granddaughter and I have made the very first recipe in this newer book at least a half-dozen times. Buttermilk pancakes, page 13. Mmmm.
Except for the time I'd thought I'd be so smart and make them by heart, and used 3x the amount of salt. Emily didn't seem to mind (saved by the maple syrup!), but they were truly gross.
She's learned to drift flour into a measuring cup so it doesn't pack down, pour salt into the palm of her hand before dumping it into the mixture, whisk an egg, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and scoop batter. If making those memories with her isn't worth the price of a whole bookshelf full of cookbooks, I don't know what is!

The same thing applies to a workshop or class. Recently I signed up for the third Tarot Telesummit, put together and run by Kim Wilborn. I didn't listen to all the interviews; of course some topics appealed more than others. Same principle as which chapter to read first: cake versus salad dressing - no contest.

I enjoyed many, found them interesting, but alas much of what I heard fell out of my sieve-y brain right away, while other ideas were stupendously mind-grabbing. Little gems, keepers for my tarot practice.

You just need one or two lightbulbs going off for your brain to get all excited!
Bright Ideas Deck (card back)

Monday, September 05, 2016

Using tarot and an oracle deck, side by side

There are many oracle decks that I love - it's the artwork that persuades me to buy them. But I don't really use them for anything.
Why not?

This past week, I've been experimenting with mixing
Housewives Tarot
  • one question
  • one tarot card
  • one oracle card

I decided to use the oracle's image to be the other end of the tarot card's teeter-totter. Its container, its descriptor, its parameters; the direction in which the tarot would be directing its gaze; something sucking the tarot's meanings over to it.
Inner Child Cards
Then smushing their meanings together into what I hoped would be a cohesive new 'thing', perhaps taken in an unexpected direction by the influence of the non-tarot card.

I chose my new (April 2016) Tarot of Prague, and an oracle deck called Earth Magic to partner up.

Butting and overlapping the two cards together in a way that seemed to blend their landscapes made it easier for my eyes to see how one flows into (or out of) the other.

Here are the pairs that came up in answer to a few questions.