Monday, June 30, 2014

What do you post when your thought bubble is empty? Trifles.

I remember a book from my long ago past about Rupert Bear. I don't know who gave it to me (maybe Santa), but I loved it.
It had comic-strip-type pictures with short rhymes, and the longer story at the bottom of the page.
I always meant to read the full deal, but somehow never got past the two-line verses.

There was one story about a girl named Tiger Lily. I think it was in this tale that Rupert was supposed to come up with an idea, but his thought bubble was empty. No matter how hard he tried - nothing.

This week I'm just like Rupert Bear. What to write about? No idea. Not even a trifle of an idea.

So here instead of a tarot post is an outstanding trifle that my clever cook daughter assembled!
She was experimenting with curd - lemon, of course, but also blackberry - and had them on hand.
Alas, most of us don't just happen to have an assortment of fresh fruit curds in our fridges, awaiting inclusion in some delectable dessert.

The layers went something like this:
lady fingers
tangy little dollops of lemon curd and blackberry curd
fresh raspberries
clouds of whipped cream folded with cream cheese 
Savour throughout the day as needed.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Energy Extensions Part 2: holding the middle ground

This week I've been listening to Andrew McGregor's and James Wells' excellent discussion on Trump XX, Judgement - one of my least favourite cards. It's the word Judgement itself that I don't like, with all its connotations of narrow-mindedness, rigidness, better-than-thou-ness. Their conversation roamed over many angles from which to view this Trump XX, including other names by which the card is known in various decks (Time-Space, Liberation, Examination, Awakening, Rebirth, Aeon, to name a few) which considerably soften the judgemental impact of the card.

So for this Part 2 of Energy Extensions, I decided to use Judgement as the guinea pig card.
I've chosen Robert Place's Trump XX to represent the "middle of the road" or somewhat standard image, with an angel blowing his horn to call forth or resurrect the dead.
Alchemical Tarot: Renewed

Moving to the left, the judgemental energy decreases.
The AnnaK's angel stands on earth with those emerging, rather than holding himself aloft and above them. And instead of trumpeting at them, he welcomes them with open arms. So we see less of the judgemental energy here.
AnnaK & Alchemical Tarot: Renewed

To the left again, in the Art of Life tarot the assessment is coming from oneself, not another. And it's more about crafting our best selves than judging whether or not we measure up.
Art of Life & AnnaK & Alchemical

Now we head in the opposite direction, where the judgement energy increases as we move to the right away from our Alchemical centre.
The Elora Tarot's Judgement shows a tangle of desperate souls clamouring to be chosen. Who will be lucky enough to be lifted skyward? There's an impersonal, almost random, feel to this version of Judgement.
Alchemical & Elora 

And last we have the Tarot of the Burroughs' take on the Judgement card. GUILTY AS CHARGED! This is the most here-on-earth version of Judgement in these five cards. I can almost hear that gavel thumping down its verdict.
Alchemical & Elora & Tarot of the Burroughs

I found all this variation in the span of energies for Judgement XX, and was only as far as the letter E in my deck files!
Here's to S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G the possibilities!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Strawberries and the Three of Cups

The Strawberry Moon is a full June moon floating up when the little red beauties are ready to be harvested. This year it's extra special falling as it does on Friday 13th - a bit of a rarity since we won't see another June full Friday 13th moon until 2098. The last one occurred in 1919. So we're lucky!
(It's also called the Honey Moon because of its golden cast arising from high sun/low moon concurrence but I'm ignoring that fact because it doesn't fit into my strawberry theme.)

The Strawberry Fest in Lasalle, ON is a celebration of the new crop, strawberry shortcake, music, families, early June weather; a peek into full-fledged summer.

Strawberry Fields Forever (Beatles 1967)
Confession #1:
This morning I baked a cake and layered it with last year's strawberry jam. It's been downstairs patiently waiting while I've been hunting up images of strawberry confections.
Its wait is over. One large slice - aahh - the perfect bridge between breakfast and lunch.

Confession #2:
I'm not sure what any of this salivating over strawberries has to do with tarot.

I'm off to search out a card that has strawberries on it.
Googled tarot cards with strawberries and there was one very cute hit from the Animism Tarot. Alas, one card doth not a blog post make.

Back to the strawberries.
During a beautiful two weeks in 2006 touring tiny perfect Prince Edward Island, the home of red ocean cliffs and Anne of Green Gables, I drove my little blue rental car to the Rossignol Winery. It's a small friendly place, the day was sunny breezy July, and they specialize in vintages made from fruits grown on the Island. I wandered among the vines, admired the oceanside view, and tasted wines. Blueberry, Strawberry-Rhubarb, Maple, and Strawberry.

Art of Life Tarot

The link to tarot is a bit tenuous, but I'm choosing to believe that where there are goblets in these Threes of Cups, people are toasting each other with Strawberry Wine.
Cameraderie, good friends, sharing, celebrating.

Gaian Tarot
Victorian Fairy

I'm not sure where the strawberries come into these next Threes. Do otters eat strawberries? I don't know, but they are surely relishing their summer waterplay.

And I'm surmising that the fairies have already feasted on tiny wild strawberries before flocking to ye olde swimming hole with their feathered friends.

A light-hearted look at a few Threes - Cups, Water, Summer. 
And a Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Testing, Testing: the Buckland Romani Tarot

As a kid, my favourite outfit in the dress-up trunk was a "Gypsy" skirt - swirling tiers, colourful, dramatic. There's something so appealing about that vagabond way of life with its campfires and sobbing violins, painted caravans, freedom.
I know I know, that's the romantic rose-coloured-glasses version of the Gypsy existence.

Rumer Godden's novel, The Diddakoi, tells of the travails of a young half-Romani, half-Irish girl named Kizzy, and the taunts and injustices she encounters when forced to go to the village school.
The boat-dwelling travellers who arrive in the movie Chocolat, are abhorred and feared by most of the townspeople. (But let's be realistic here. Who would turn away Johnny Depp?)
The days of horse-drawn wagons (or vardos) are all but gone, and life on the road for the Romani is vastly different than it was.
And yet the allure remains.

I bought Raymond Buckland's deck, the Romani Tarot, with art by Lissanne Lake, years ago and never really bonded with it. But this week I found myself drawn to that dark red box, and pulled it off the shelf. The stories in the companion book about the Rom way of life are interesting, and I'd like to get more comfortable with it as a reading deck. So it's my current card-of-the-day deck, and I'd like to present it to you here. I think you'll find that it stood up very well to my devil's-advocate questions!

1. How can a deck featuring the Gypsy way of life from the 1940's speak to me, a city-dweller in 2014?

O, the Fool, steps out to answer this one.
(The Majors in this deck are numbered but unnamed.)

I don't mean to be impertinent, but you must be a very foolish reader indeed if you think that no knowledge can be gleaned from another era, a different lifestyle, beliefs other than your own. 

Take this leap of faith and join me in the wisdom of the Romani. Our way of life is ages-old and colourful. We live on and with the earth.

Point taken. Thank you, and I welcome the opportunity, young Rom.

2. Gypsies don't always have a great reputation. Am I being snobbish?

3 of Chivs (Knives), turns up.

Hearts are hearts the world over. Knives cut, no matter the race or creed. So yes, you are being snobbish.
Are you usually this critical?

I think my questions were influenced by the attitudes of others that I've been reading about or seeing in movies. I was reacting to common prejudices. 

The mind can sometimes be a confusing and contradictory place.
I think the fresh winds of our deck can help blow away confusion. 

3. What's your best feature?

2 of Bolers (Wheels) is here to weigh the possibilities.

A balance between the dark side of human nature, and the light.
Seeing two sides to a story.
Keeping things simple.
Attending to the task at hand.

Thanks for your patience! I look forward to working with you, and learning more about your unique way of life at the same time.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Decluttering and the Ace of Swords

There's an artist in Wales whose blog I follow; he talks about working creatively in small increments of time, about Gladstone's Library (I so want to stay there sometime), about kitchen timers shaped like tomatoes, about steeping tea, and about cake. It's the cake that lures me in, especially when he gives the recipe. His name is Michael Nobbs and you can find him at Sustainably Creative.

A current topic is decluttering: The 10 Things Declutter, which my house could desperately use.

So which tarot card is about decluttering? Maybe an Ace.

Fresh start, clean beginning. The number 1; a single decisive pen stroke.
It's hard to think clearly when everything around is a disaster. And yet, I'm often surrounded by a jungle and don't even notice. What starts as a mess soon becomes an accepted part of the domestic scenery.

Like the morning I was stepping over piles of unshelved books and homeless paperwork on my bedroom floor, trying to get to my underwear drawer. Absently stretching my stride to straddle the obstacles, I happened to look down.
I'd been climbing over The Clutter-Busting Handbook for days, perhaps weeks!
I might have dusted it once or twice - who knows?

Ace of Swords: Air, thoughts, communication, clarity, the written word (check your floor; there might be important ideas down there), uncluttered cutting-through-the-crap thinking.

Many decks have gorgeous Ace cards.
Because this is a post about unclutter, I've chosen some of the simpler designs.

First up, two that show the traditional sword image - clean, clear, straightforward.
One with the blade pointing up; the sky's the limit, an idea taking off.
The other piercing rock with its deadly aim and focus.
The Alchemical Tarot: Renewed
Intuitive Tarot

Now some featured creatures: 
a solitary badger contemplating her/his next move in the clear air,
and a bat, arriving courtesy of an elegant hand, enjoying a little downtime before a night flight.
Badgers Forest Tarot
Halloween Tarot

Gaian Tarot

An owl's penetrating gaze, challenging us to hone our thoughts;
and a monarch butterfly enjoying its first ever taste of air. It doesn't get much newer than this hatchling drying its wings in preparation for an inaugural flight.
If you get this card, prepare for a brand new idea to fly in!                                                         
Shining Tribe Tarot

Finally, a small deadly-accurate knife to place your cutting-edge focus right where you want it.
And a witch's journal, or grimoire, to chronicle inspirations and learnings via the written word.
Tarot of the Burroughs
Dark Grimoire

Here's to uncluttered minds and houses (well, mine anyway!).