Friday, October 31, 2014

Testing, Testing: The Halloween Tarot

October 31
Ghosts traipsing the sidewalks, witches clinging to parents' hands, kid traffic shuffling through fallen leaves way past dark. The out-of-the-ordinary becomes ordinary.
And so it was this morning when I looked out my bedroom window and saw - five months after its time - a solitary white lilac riding like a ghost of spring atop a bush intent on shutting itself down for winter. Impossible. Definitely out of the ordinary.

Last year at this time, I posted using the All Hallows Tarot. This year, the Halloween Tarot is clamouring for a turn. Far be it from me to mess around with anyspirit's sense of fairness at Samhain.
Out of your tin, Halloween Tarot! Here we go.

1. Your images seem very cartoon-y. Do you expect to be taken seriously as a reading deck?
The Hierophant V
Well, that answers that question!
You've sent the tightly-wound wrapped-up-in-traditions teacher to have a talk with me about how serious this deck can be. Layers and layers of meaning to unravel, access to the wisdom of the ages, and glimmers of new ideas peering out the mask. Traditional meanings with a bit of green cat humour.
I'm sold !

2. Do you work well all year round, or only at October's end?
Queen of Ghosts 
This gracious queen will obligingly swim ashore whenever her wise, watery advice is needed. She can't remain aground for long, however, so have your questions ready. As soon as she's balanced her tail and wrung out her cape, she'll be open for business!

3. What do like best about yourself?
Death XIII
Any skeleton who waters the pumpkin patch but is careful not to dampen a moth's fuzzy fragile wings gets my vote. This gentle Death figure, in her thriving multi-creatured community, embodies (if one can say that about a skeleton) a congenial collage of death and regeneration. Whimsy and good humour shine through even the scariest of images in this deck. Serious messages served with a side of smiles!

Thanks, Halloween Tarot!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Energy Extensions Part 4: one question & five decks!

In the previous three instalments on Energy Extensions, I've talked about extending the reach of an image's energy by taking a longer view, choosing a single guinea pig card to hold the middle ground before adding more cards on either side of it, and using a spectrum of colours to represent the energies or emotions in a card.

Today I'm consulting Bill Tarot's carefully thought-out Dynamic Spreads Deck for a question. I've chosen one from the EXPLORE CONSIDERATIONS section,
and amended the question to read
Who or what is making writing this post more difficult than it should be?
No need to pick a card; the answer is...I am! Stalling, procrastinating, changing my mind. But I'll pretend I don't know that and proceed. Working backwards (it seemed only fair to start at the other end of the alphabet for a change), I chose the last five of my scanned decks.
Wizards Tarot                 Witches Tarot 
Wild Unknown                           Wild Spirit 
All begin with W, and I'm doing this on a Wednesday. Cool. Since it's October, I'm choosing the 10th card in the shuffled Wizards deck. The clock on my computer says 10:05pm ~10th card, 5 decks.
I love number niceness.

The Page of Cups arrives. Here are all 5 Pages, side by side.
A range of things is getting in my way. I don't feel particularly fresh or shapely or cute or innocent or enthusiastic or alert or awash in youthful energy right now. I'm tired, grumpy, need a haircut, feel more like an ugly duckling than a swan, and have little faith in my intuitive skills. I'd rather sit around, chin in hands, and stare out the window at the changing leaves.

All the spruced-up energetic youth juice has drained out. Like this.

Well, that explains it. Thanks, Pages!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Loss: a remarkable Mom, with the AnnaK

My darling Mom died last week. She graced the world for 91 vibrant, loving, creative years.
Here she is at her 90th birthday party.
Last Mother's Day I wrote a tribute, so thank goodness she knew how I felt about her in life; one less regret.
Today's post reflects my feelings of loss. Few cards, little writing; I'm spent.
All cards are from the AnnaK, my comforting go-to deck.

I feel lost. Emotionally frozen.

I'm not a daughter anymore. I'm not one of the kids anymore.

I've lost her comforting presence. She made me feel like a champion.


I'm forever grateful for hers. 

And mine.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

A Look at Five Round Decks

What do I love about them?
  • My eyes like how they look.
  • My brain seems to think they're more complex and interesting than rectangular cards.

What is challenging about them?
  • Shuffling! Pretty much have to do the smush-around-on-the-table method
  • Cutting off borders is well nigh impossible unless you're willing to have slightly uneven edges, or just happen to have a die cut exactly the right size hanging around.
  • Scanning them in straight! You'll see what I mean.

Which ones do I have?
  • Motherpeace 
  • Circle of Life
  • Songs for the Journey Home
  • Daughters of the Moon
  • Tea Leaf Fortune Cards (not a tarot deck but too interesting not to include here!)

How did I choose which cards to feature here? Purely selfish.
I've experiencing a lot of stress right now, so they needed to be:
  • soothing
  • visually unchallenging
  • possibly humorous

1) The Motherpeace is the mother of all circular decks, co-created in 1981 by Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble. It's published in two sizes; I have the larger 4.5" deck.

It can be called a "feminist" deck in that it uses more female images than the earlier somewhat white-European-male decks. It's not in any way anti-male, however.

It's also more inclusive of various body shapes, ages, and colours.
The court cards are Daughters, Sons, Priestesses, and Shamans. The suits are the usual Wands, Cups, Swords, with Discs instead of Pentacles.

2) The Circle of Life (2007) is a beautiful and unusual deck drawn by Maria Distefano which could really use a companion book (I think) to explain some of the more mysterious images.

Maria's images are often crammed with tiny details, such as the beetle on a string here in the 7 of Pents. Because I'm going for the most restful images in this post, some of her more complex compilations aren't here. Sorry about that!

Colours are luminous without being gaudy. I must admit that I'm smitten by the artwork!

The suits are standard except for Chalices sitting in for Cups.

3) Songs for the Journey Home hails from New Zealand and is the work of artist Dwariko von Sommaruga and writer Catherine Cook. It first came out in 1993.

The colour intensity is slightly muted, giving the deck a feeling of gentleness. I was lucky enough to find the larger cards (4"); only a smaller size is available now.
The suits have been renamed to align with the four elements: flame, wave, wind, and earth.
The courts move from Innocence to Awakening,
Creating, and finally Resolving.

The Minors are referred to as"Songs", like the 4 of Flame Songs here. They're singing us home, wherever that may be.

4) Daughters of the Moon by Ffiona Morgan and other illustrators is a self-published deck first offered in 1984 and reprinted several times since then.
She's changed many of the Major Arcana names, like The Dreamer here as the Fool card.

We see Maiden, Mother, Crone instead of the more common four Courts.
With saturated colours ranging from bright to darkish, these are the largest of my round decks at over 5" wide.

Her suits are Flames, Cups, Blades, and Pents. As the title implies, this is a deck using mostly female figures.

5) Tea Leaf Fortune Cards (2011) by author Rae Hepburn and illustrator Shawna Alexander is a whacking big pile of 200 cards! Although I don't use oracle decks for reading, I do find many of them attractive and intriguing. Besides, there's the obvious tea connection here!
The pictures are uncomplicated and cute. Round like a tea cup, the cards are pretty small at just over 3" wide.
Visually it reminds me of a Lenormand deck, and some of the card names are the same as well.

This week I just want to pack up my tent and a case of wine, and watch the sunrise from my trusty hammock!