Monday, August 31, 2020

Testing, Testing: Dark Wood Tarot

🎵 "If you go out in the woods today..." 🎵

Well, I am heading into the woods. The Dark Wood, to be exact. A new deck from Sasha Graham and Abigail Larson
As always, I'm not checking the companion book. Just winging it. 

At Readers Studio 2019 in New York last year, Sasha Graham gave each of us this large postcard:
I was hooked!



OK, Dark Wood...are you ready?
By all means, let's get going! The wait is nearly killing me. (See, even dark decks have a sense of humour.)



1. Almost all your depictions are of beautiful young women. Some of us who are neither young nor glamorous may find this off-putting. Your thoughts?
As you can see, I am not a beautiful young woman, and while I do enjoy working with them (and let's be frank here...admiring them) they do not always share my world view or opinions or values. Which enables me to catch a glimpse into another mindset, another thought process, the flip side of the coin. And sometimes a different world altogether. 
As I grow older, I expect that the strong young women in this deck will help me keep an open, youthful perspective. 



2. The artist has chosen a somewhat limited colour scheme for this deck. How do you like it?
If you take a spin through our images, we think you'll find that when brighter colours are used somewhat sparingly, their appearance really stands out. Perhaps that's a spot on the card that is meant to be a focal point? Or maybe it will jumpstart your intuition or remind you of something?
Or could it be a deliberate distraction that asks for more concentration on the rest of the card? A little trick of the dark? 



3. In this time of COVID, the whole world seems to be in somewhat of a dark place...a Dark Wood, if you will. How do you think you can help?
We are going to need ideas - lots of them - to get through this time, and all times, of trial and peril.
Our ideas might spring from a darker, deeper, less obvious place than those of a more jolly deck. 
Perhaps, because they hail from the dark, they will be unusual. Not the more common chin-up, smile, tomorrow's-another-day, everything-will-be-fine sort of platitudes. Which have their uses.
Just not here.



4. Why do you feel many people are so resistant to even acknowledging that they have a Shadow, let alone looking into it and working with it?
Let's face it...no one wants to be upended, suspended, hung out to dry. All the blood rushes to one's head and it's damned uncomfortable. Looking into our own shadow side is a bit like cleaning out a damp and mouldy basement cupboard. Of course you don't want to do it. And you're afraid of what might jump out at you, or crawl over you. 
And yet...
So much good can come from a time of looking into what's buried, into what lives beneath us while we stomp around, oblivious, in our daily lives. 
Once you get started, acknowledge that you won't love everything you'll find (and may positively despise some of it) and pitch in, it's not so bad. 



5. Tell me what you feel is your genius. 
The element of surprise. Bet you didn't expect to find a card like this in here, did you?
This one shows us the bit of dark in an otherwise sweet picture. And that's what the dark is all about, really. The bit of sad/bad/mad that coexists alongside the sunny/funny/honey part of us.


Thank you, Dark Wood Tarot! 


🌘 🌲  🌳  🌲 🌳 🌲 🌳 🌲 🌳 🌲 🌒






 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Too Many Decks?

Just how many decks is too many, anyway?
For some, it might be two.
Others would begin feeling overwhelmed when they hit ten decks.
Many collections house around fifty.
And mine? Well...see for yourself. This was taken in June 2018, so there are now two more years' worth of deck acquisitions on these shelves!

Needless to say, it's a challenge getting 'round to 250+ decks and giving each some attention! Don't want them to get cranky waiting around for their turns, so at the moment I'm working with 5 of them at once.

These are the prompts I'm currently using for 6 cards, and some of the results are below.
If...and If...  Then...and Then...  So...and So...

The rules?
No overthinking allowed, no musing or mulling, no changing your mind, just GO!

Sorry about the wonky pictures! Both Blogger and the photo program on my computer have made changes (without my permission!). That's my excuse.

Cards:
The Moon...IF you blend the qualities of sunlight and moonlight
2 of Swords...and IF you weigh out their differences
The Wheel...THEN your turn at the top of the wheel will come

10 of Swords...and THEN you'll be fortified for any trauma to come
The Judgment...SO accept the judgment of others
Knight of Cups...SO you'll be ready for the arrival of love.



Cards:
Knight of Cups...IF you spend too much time star-gazing
Two of Wands...and IF you decide to head toward danger
Ace of Wands...THEN you might be in for a heated time

King of Wands...and THEN you might run into some scary types
The Magician...SO plan first
Ten of Cups...SO you may live to tell the tale to your friends!



Cards:
King of Rods...IF you think about it
Page of Discs...and IF you see its beauty
Ten of Discs...THEN others will join you

Knight of Cups...and THEN an offer may come
The Hierophant...SO go ahead, with blessings from above
The Empress...SO the nourishment can begin.



Cards:
Three of Cups...IF you appreciate the natural world
Five of Pentacles...and IF you keep on trying
Nine of Pentacles...THEN some measure of success will follow

Queen of Pentacles...and THEN your wisdom will grow
Seven of Pentacles...SO harvest before it's too late
Devil...SO when the trial time comes, you'll be ready.


Cards:
King of Rods...IF you are forthright in your dealings
Page of Rods...and IF you remember what it was like to be young
The World...THEN the world will seem a kinder place

The Chariot...and THEN headway may finally begin
Ace of Swords...SO think, and be sharp
8 of Coins...SO that what you build will last.


No way would I actually read the cards for someone in this blunt and blurt-y fashion. 
But it's doing two things for me:
Allowing glimpses into a lot of decks in a short amount of time
and
Honing my think-fast-don't-hesitate-just-say-it skills.

And bonus! All this artwork flying by!

💙💚💛💜💝💙💚💛💜💝💙💚💛💜


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Testing, Testing: The Shadowland Tarot

Today I'm grilling the cute and quirky Shadowland Tarot, a creation of Toronto's Monica Bodirsky.
As always, I'm keeping the companion book closed for this interview, even though its generous size and glossy full colours are tempting.

OK, creatures of the Shadowlands, you're thoroughly shuffled. Are you ready?

1. You look a bit like a cartoon strip. Are you sure that people can take you and your observations seriously?
THE TOWER 16
Oh, yes! We are ready to topple all your notions about our abilities. And upend any ideas you may have regarding our seriousness as a valuable tool in the tarot world.
Make special note of our kindness as we allow the falling man an umbrella to soften his landing. (He will, however, have to turn it right-side up for it to be most effective at breaking his fall. We can't be expected to do all the work!)



2. Shadow work is sometimes thought to be a scary and challenging pursuit, even something to be avoided. Is that how you feel about the shadow side of things?
JUSTICE 11
We see that there are two sides to every story. And we would like to be fair. While we acknowledge that some humans shy away from looking at their shadow side, or try to ignore what lurks within them because they would rather it weren't there, we also know how healing that can be. What a relief to finally bring that something into the open, where it probably won't be as terrifying or awful as imagined.
We strive to help, with care.
As you see in this card, we are taking great pains to keep safe both the parent bird and the eggs, even while leaving open the possibility of a much larger creature nesting nearby. We trust they can work it out.



3. Your characters don't have any irises or pupils, only blank eye circles. Why is that?
THE STAR 17
That is a very good question. We've sent our Star to reply.
Well, let's face it, we're most of us monsters in this deck. People can be afraid of monsters (especially the ones under the bed or in the closet). If you think about sketches of faces, much of the expression, be it mild or menacing, comes from the eyes and eyebrows. We have neither. 
So that does, in my opinion, three things:
a) It makes us benign - sweet rather than scary. More lovable than leering.
b) It gives us an air of neutrality. We don't judge, we don't lecture, we don't tell people what to do. We merely impart our thoughts on the subject and leave them to draw their own conclusions.
c) Rather than have readers or querents be distracted by our expressions, we free them to focus on the bright ideas washing over them from the stars above. 



4. What do you like to do in your spare time, when you're not being shuffled and used as a working tarot deck?
KING OF PENTACLES
Oh, how delicious! Well, after making sure that my finances are in order and my ledgers up-to-date, as befits any King, I head out into the Barren Lands at the edge of the mountains for a bit of time to myself. As you can see, I have a collection of crystals, and I love to see them reflect and refract in the light. This usually happens at sunset, after my day's work is done. Not that a King's work is ever truly done...
I also enjoy a bit of carpentry (the ingenious portable folding table you see here is my own design) and I have recently taken up stone rubbings. There are tablets from antiquity buried in the Barren Lands and I am cataloguing them. So many projects, so little time!
And sometimes I just rest, and allow my creative juices to replenish themselves. Do you do that too? 




5. What is your special gift? In what way are you a genius?
THREE OF CUPS
We are so very friendly! Come on in, and join us with a cuppa of your choice!
We welcome all types: green ones, purple ones, tall ones, aquatic ones; those with suckers, those with boots. Bejewelled or bespotted. We like questions with teeth or those tied up with bows.
All come to us as strangers but once. After that, we meet as friends!




Thank you, SHADOWLAND TAROT. It has been a pleasure!



Sunday, April 12, 2020

Gatherings...alas, not

This weekend is would have been a big one for family get-togethers in many religions and across cultures. The card is the Ten of Cups, traditionally a big group happy-happy card.

Here's what these five decks have to say about our current state of COVID19 lock-down. In keeping with the physical distancing rule, each card is coming here alone with a brief comment. They all have ZOOM appointments and have to hurry off. I'm sure you understand.

From least to most encouraging, by appearance only, without consulting their guidebooks:
Are you feeling at sea?



No, I'm sorry, there won't be any group gatherings this year.



And your kids and grandkids can't come over, either.




You can, however, enjoy the company of the inhabitants of your own house. 
(I've started hugging my stuffed animals in lieu of people. It's surprisingly satisfying.) 



And just look at all the dishes you won't have to wash!



I'll leave you with this bit of loveliness.

from Anthem by Leonard Cohen
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in

🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔



Monday, March 23, 2020

Edge Day

It's been a while since I've been here. Seven months and 20 days, to be exact. But a card turned up that flicked on the light bulb. You know, the aha bulb.
Here it is:
Everyday Witch Tarot


































It happened to arrive on what I now call my 'edge day'. The day at the cusp - when all the days stretching before were absolutely regular, and then, suddenly, those on the road ahead weren't. The Coronavirus was re-shaping our days. But you already know that.

This sweet card happened to arrive on the very day when people were setting their creative brains to work on the issue of physical isolation. And, just as it looks on this card, ideas were flying around about how to help: concerts being broadcast live, free of charge; people posting art ideas to keep marooned kids happy; neighbourhood groups were taping artwork in their windows for walkers-by to enjoy; businesses were offering free delivery from books to groceries. Everyone was pitching in. Ideas were swirling around, connections were being made. It was beautiful!

My current tarot project practice activity is to pull one card from the Everyday Witch, and bring out the same card from 4 other newish decks that I'd like to become familiar with.
They are:
The Cat Tarot
Forest of Enchantment Tarot
Light Seer's Tarot
and
Stolen Child Tarot (trimmed)

Then I play!
Here they are, arranged by colour (sort of)



Arranged by the way the figures are facing



Most straightforward to read, all the way to what on earth do you mean, Cat?



If I'm stumped, or just want to read the artist's own words, I check the book. Maybe jot down a new thought from one of them.
Sometimes cards want to lay out from most serious to least serious. Or by the intensity of their expressions. Or by least scary to most scary. Or most jolly to least jolly.

It's fun, it keeps my tarot work rolling, and the visuals are gorgeous!

Bye for now. I wish you well with your cocooning in these unusual days. 

💙💚💛💗💜💙💚💛💗💜💙💚💛💗💜




Saturday, August 03, 2019

Testing, Testing: Crow Tarot

I like sassy birds. Loud squawky birds. Seagulls, crows, feisty little sparrows.
That doesn't mean that I don't love the sweet songbirds, or the long-legged water-standers like herons and egrets, or soaring birds of prey, or brilliant parrots. Or ducks and geese. Or loons! And mourning doves. Love love love them. And all the other wonder-birds that grace the world.
But there's just something about the loud crabby grabby ones that makes me smile.

Crows. Soooo smart. I didn't realize just how smart until I read a book called Bird Brains, by Candace Savage.
The colour black. One of the first outfits I made for myself as a young teen was a black corduroy jumper. Then at University, black Crimplene bell-bottoms and vest (yes, I go way back!) that were practically my uniform for a couple of years. 

So it's no surprise that the Crow Tarot was on my must-have list from the moment I heard of it. And I grabbed a copy from Tarot Garden's table at Readers Studio last April before they'd even finished unpacking all the rest of their wares.

OK, Crows, gather 'round, please. I've got questions, and I know you've got answers! 

1. I'm predisposed to love your deck, because I love crows. Will this hamper my reading or my impartiality because I'm all ga-ga over you guys? 
VIII of Cups
Gah, woman! If you think we brilliants over here in Crowland would put together a deck
that would allow that, you are sorely mistaken. Put that notion right out of your head;
with it you tempt me to flee and leave all my good works behind, untended and unexplained. 



2. What if someone who doesn't like big loud maybe-scary black birds tries to read with your deck?
Will you still talk to them? Will they be able to hear you?
IX The Hermit
We say this: "Come, fearful one; let us walk together in the quiet of a snowy night and share our thoughts. I shall bring my lamp to light our way among our protectors and friends, the Trees."



3. Your deck is, like all others, just some colourful pieces of card stock. Is crow wisdom powerful enough to cut through the ink and laminate?
King of Swords
Can we cut through? Do you jest?
I, the King of Cutting Through, am here to tell you that our wisdom, although ancient, is cutting edge and current. We are among Earth's great innovators. We invent, we improvise. We communicate. 



4. We humans tend to think of you as raucous and yes, even pesty (I'm thinking of farmers and their Scarecrows here). Is this a deck that shouts at us, or do you have a softer side?
Ace of Pentacles
Yes, of course we do. How else could we build and maintain our strong communities?
We choose our partners wisely, build secure homes, nurture our young ones, teach them the ways of adulthood, and send them out when they are well-prepared. Can you humans truthfully say the same?

Point taken.



5. Last words to you, Crows. What would you like to say to us as we embark on our work with your deck?
Ace of Cups
We extend a welcome to all, to share in the cup of our communal wisdom.
It overfloweth with ancient knowledge and adaptations for today's world. 
Come sip from the Cup of the Loud Ones!


Thank you, Crows! I look forward to hearing more of your bright voices in my neighbourhood.

🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷




Saturday, July 13, 2019

Can centipedes really save the world?

Centipedes.
If you'd asked me a week ago, I would've said I hate them. Revile them. I want to kill them.
Strong words.
I shudder just letting the thought of one cross my mind, let alone my naked foot.

'Tis the moist season for finding them in the basement. I gird my loins and check that I'm wearing shoes going down to switch laundry into the dryer. And always, I smash them if I can, by stomping on them or taking off my shoe and thwacking it on the wall. Or the ceiling (what if it fell down my shirt? what if a half-dead one was squirming on me? omg).

Then last week - the big epiphany. The first centipede of this summer season, coarse and disgusting with its way-too-many legs, hung there looking at me from the laundry room wall.
It froze.
I froze.
I realized that it wasn't doing me any harm, and for all I know might be a good creature to have around. And it was sitting there terrified, waiting for me to kill it.

"You know what?" I told it. Was it listening? Could it somehow understand my intent? "I'm not going to kill you. I'm calling a truce."

Next trip downstairs it was gone.

Can I stick to my non-killing truce? I hope so. And it feels good.
Although I must admit to crossing my fingers that it's not down in centipede central somewhere deep in the damp bowels of the earth, telling its catrillions of relatives that my basement is now a no-kill zone...

But here's the important thing: the sequence of feelings.
I fear. It feels akin to hate. So therefore I want to eradicate.

If I'm like that with centipedes, why not bigger things? Like rats. Now I've moved to mammals.
Victorian Fairy Tarot

If rats, then why not hyenas?
If hyenas, then why not...

AnnaK Tarot


And from here it's a very short step to the Holocaust.
And Japanese interment camps.
And refugees in leaking boats.
And migrant children held in camps.


Barbara Kingsolver's latest is called Unsheltered.

It has her usual magical mix of relationships you can buy into, perfectly crafted phrases, and respect for flora and fauna. (Note: spoiler alert.)
The book is based on a true story.
The year is 1868-ish, the setting Vineland, New Jersey, billed as an enlightened utopian city.
The controversy? Charles Darwin's work, and how much it shakes up the established notions of human superiority on the planet. 
The fear - hate - killing connection? Charles Landis, revered founder of Vineland, is so incensed by Darwin's suppositions that he shoots and kills the editor of the non-Landis-authorized newspaper for daring to publish this new and blasphemous theory.
Landis' reason? The article was upsetting his wife, and consequently making him crazy. Therefore he had no choice but to walk into the newspaper office and shoot the guy in the back. And that was OK, because no one in Vineland should be subjected to that godlessness. 
The newspaperman's family? Wife and five children, now destitute. Oh well.

The Five of Swords is probably my least favourite card, and I've blogged about it before.
If ...we shut people out because they feel unlike us for whatever the reason,
Tarot of the 78 Doors


if...we look at the world around us with mistrust,
Tarot of the Moors


then...the emotional landscape of our world narrows, becoming more frigid, more bleak.
Tarot of the Sidhe


Sometimes it's easy to jump on a popular bandwagon without thinking it through.
Whimsical Tarot


And the crazy thing is that, under the superficial differences, we're all pretty much the same.
Tarot of the Zirkus Magi


The fear-turns-to-hate-turns-to-killing sequence has been with us forever, I suspect. The question is, what can we do about it?
Dr. Seuss had the right idea in The Sneetches.


Me? I'm going to start by not killing centipedes.

💙🐛💚🐀💛🐍💜🐙💗🐛💙🐀💚🐍💛