Saturday, January 24, 2015

The generous world of tarot

There is a well-respected tarot practitioner in my city whom I've wanted to meet for several years, but our schedules never meshed... until last night. What ensued was an evening of wide-roaming conversation, good food, and the easy camaraderie of common interests.
And also with it came the discovery that our tarot worlds are as many miles apart as it is possible to be.

Can two people, whose approaches are oil and water, have a respectful tarot conversation and share readings with each other? Indeed they can. Chalk it up to this remarkable tool. Tarot can build bridges.

Keep in mind, however, that some crossings will be more comfortable than others!

I've invited three dissimilar decks to answer some questions about working with each other.
They are A) the Maat Tarot  B) the Gaian Tarot  and C) the Victorian Fairy Tarot

1. How do you feel about sharing a blog with these other decks?
A) Maat ~ 10 of Cups
Welcome to the blog! You can park your goose in our yard if you like. Want to come in for a cup of tea? I've just taken a raspberry pie out of the oven.

B) Gaian Tarot ~ Eight of Air
You're just in time - we're sitting down to figure out what we'd like to talk about on our blog. There are many opinions to share so we'd best get started. Have you worked with a talking stick before? No? It gives the holder an uninterrupted time to speak. Have a seat; you'll catch on in no time!

C) Victorian Fairy ~ Two of Autumn
Whew, give me a sec to catch my breath! This is the third blog I've helped with today, and my legs are wobbly from all the cycling. I'm not a Spring chicken any more! Have some apples - there's plenty. I hope I haven't missed too much? Excellent - thank you for waiting!

2. What will be your main contribution to the group? 
A) Maat ~ 4 of Swords
I'm good at seeing the different angles and shades of an argument, and helping fit together diverse pieces into a cohesive whole.

B) Gaian Tarot ~ 17 The Star
I'm a peacemaker. I help soothe ruffled feathers (can you see the small kingfisher beside me?) and offer the balm of cool evening's water to overheated mid-day tempers.
C) Victorian Fairy ~ XX Awakening
You'll notice that we've renamed what is usually called "Judgement" because we don't like the sound of that at all! Doesn't "Awakening" seem more productive?
I try to look at myself first, before seeing the flaws in others. I'll try not to judge your opinions harshly, and I'll count to XX if I'm tempted to make a snap judgement.

3. Would you be willing to co-write with these or other decks again?
A) Maat ~ 3 of Coins
I would be willing to work at it, even when my vision of how to proceed may not be the same as the others'.

B) Gaian Tarot ~ Seven of Fire
I'd be honoured. I work hard at my chosen tasks, and would aim all my focus onto our project until we'd hammered it into the shape we chose.

C) Victorian Fairy ~ Two of Winter
In theory, yes. It depends on the outcome of today's work. If I don't survive this experience, then I'll not be available for future blogs.
We fey folk are usually pretty good at resolving our differences without bloodshed, so I'm optimistic.

Many thanks to my three guest decks!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Secret Life of Bananas

The banana. Bland, commonplace, simple, taken for granted, adaptable, little thought required.

You can hold it in your hand and chomp away at it. Mash it up. Slice it onto something. Flame it into Bananas Foster (it needs a lot of help to arrive at this level of sophistication).
Leave it on your counter until it turns to black mush and then throw it out. Put it into the freezer for future baking and find it two years later and then throw it out.

But the lowly banana has hidden depths. Inside, a banana holds a secret. (I was pretty sure I'd discovered this until I found all kinds of references to it online.)
Test it out for yourself, if you don't believe me.
Take a firm banana (one that's too mushy won't work), peel it, break off a piece, gently push around on it and it will start to separate itself into three. Never four or two. Three distinct tidy sections. Amazing!

What has this to do with tarot?
Some decks look plain and simple at first glance, but yield more with some patient experimentation.
In honour of the threeness of the banana, I've chosen three decks to illustrate this.
To represent its colour, each card contains yellow.
Bananas are silent. I will be too.

1) The Wild Unknown ~  IX of Wands

2) The Rabbit TarotThe Sun XIX

3) Tarot LeavesSix of Cups

Bananas and tarot. Fine companions indeed.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Eating Crow in January, with the AnnaK

Who on earth would want to eat crow? Probably no one, and that's why the expression refers to swallowing something you'd rather not.
I wonder if crows are particularly bad-tasting in January because of all that rotten leftover turkey they searched out at the city dump. Beware the post-turkey crow roast. It reminds me of the old advice that fish are only good eating if caught during months with an 'R' in them.

I love crows. They're brilliant! It's common knowledge that they are superb mimics. They use tools cleverly, and know how to select appropriate mates. In this latter category they are one up on humans.
They've even figured out how to handle their sassy adolescents and train them up to be responsible adults.
When the parent birds are getting nest fever and want a night out, they get the teenage crows to babysit the young nestlings. Then the adults all roost together in the party tree! (Maybe they have cawktails and play cawds.)
Bird Brains by Candace Savage

So why am I eating crow this month? Because I just posted that January is NOT the start of a year, but rather the middle of one. And yet there are so many appealing spreads asking New-Year-type questions. They're hard to resist - so I didn't.

This one is from the deep thought-pool of James Wells, an empowering tarot consultant in Guelph, Ontario. I chose it because of its added twist: not only leaving behind and bringing forward, but also adding to. I like that.

by James Wells
Use your favourite divinatory/symbolic tool with this spread to help you transition from one year to the next.

1        2        3

  1. What to leave behind in 2014.
  2. What to take forward with me into 2015.
  3. What to add to my life in 2015.
I'm using my comfortable AnnaK tarot. Let's see what its images suggest.

1. What to leave behind in 2014 ~ The Magician I

Thinking I'm magic.
Trying to be a miracle worker.
Wanting to be more brilliant than most people.
My beard.
Playing with fire.
Assuming there's a quick fix for everything.
Wearing clothes that are too big for me.
Trying to be Number 1. 
Thinking I have to be "on" all the time.
Buying too many tools (as in tarot decks).

Life is not a performance.

2. What to take forward with me into 2015 ~ Death  XIII
You'd think Death would be more apropos for leaving behind. And yet, here it is.
This has to be about Mom. She left us in 2014.
What to take forward?
Her memory, her legacy, her impact on my life.
The knowledge that, even though her death looks like it's blocking the way forward, she's offering a tool from her beloved garden for me to use in clearing my own way.
My path is cut into two segments: with Mom, without Mom.

Beyond the darkness lies light. Healing. Peace.

3. What to add to my life in 2015 ~ Six of Cups

Hm. Traditionally nostalgia, perhaps wistfulness about the past. What can I add from this Six of Cups?

I tend to look down when I walk around. (My Dad used to say I was looking for money on the sidewalk.) Maybe more looking up, more star-gazing, more paying attention to the wonder of the night sky.
Find more occasions to get dressed up. Go to more concerts. Buy tickets to Cirque du Soleil when it comes to town.
Since Cups are the element of Water, emotions, feelings, relationships, look for ways to interact more often with my family and friends. 
More wine glasses. 
More smiles, more poetry.

Get out of my head and listen to my heart.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Testing, Testing: The Ghosts and Spirits Tarot

I've had The Ghosts and Spirits Tarot for a while but haven't really worked with it much. That's what happens when one's deck-buying zeal exceeds the time available to peruse all those purchases.

Aghast interviewer: "Did you just say you have 149 decks?"
Sheepish me, mumbling: "Uh...yes. I finally got around to counting them."
Interviewer: "How are they organized?"
Me: "Like this, but with considerably less charm."

This time of year seems ideal for exploring the Ghosts and Spirits Tarot. The nights are long and dark, and we've just come through Winter Solstice, the mystery and magic of Christmas, and all those ghostly versions of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. We're primed for the otherworldly realm.

1. You look scary. How are you going to help me?
The High Priestess 2
Don't be daft, Woman. Have you not enough tarot savvy and just plain brains to figure out a great image when you see one?
Will you allow yourself to be put off by a few skulls?
Remember Ebenezer Scrooge. He was initially terrified of the ghosts but in the end learned great things about himself and others.
Are you not at least as smart as that old codger?
Let go of your fears and hear my wisdom.

2. You sometimes wander away from the RWS tradition. Are you readable without your Little White Book?
Five of Wands
My ideas are SO BIG that you will be bowled over by them, despite their otherworldly slant and occasional unusual configurations.
They are accessible, even when your energy is at low ebb and you might be feeling a bit down. Don't give up, and we'll come through for you.

3. What is your best feature?
Ace of Wands
My brilliance!
You'll find my ideas are all around you. Just when you think you've exhausted the possibilities, more will stream toward you in a veritable parade of light.
I have an excellent balance between dark and light; you could say that my yin/yang is alive and well. (Pardon my little ghost joke - alive - get it? We spirits enjoy a laugh now and then.)

Welcome to my world, Mortal!