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?

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.



Sunday, June 23, 2019

Three cards, three decks, three slants

You know I collect decks. And now that they've all got homes, it's time for some previously buried ones to come out and play! (I just love looking at these shelves - thank you, Becca!)

I'm asking a general career question:
What can Lulu do to move her chosen career forward?

The spread
1. Have you tried this?
2. Maybe not so much of this...
3. What are you afraid of?

First deck up is the AnnaK, one of my go-to decks.
Shuffled it, and used every 21st card (I'm writing this on the 15th of June, 15 + 6 = 21).

The cards
Card one: Judgement (ugh, this word turns my innards cold)
Card two: The Tower
Card three: Ace of Swords

The other decks
Motherpeace Tarot (hardly ever used at all)
Somewhere, in that stash of books and decks pictured above, is a tiny passage about a young woman at Catholic boarding school whose unhappiness and loneliness were noted by one of the nuns on staff. This kindly Sister gave the girl a copy of the Motherpeace Tarot. Although I can't find where I read it, or who wrote it, it sticks in my mind. Such an unlikely beginning for one's tarot studies, and such an open-minded (and open-hearted) nun.
The Motherpeace is one of my "should" decks. I should love it, I should read with it, I should learn about it. It's quite an old deck now (1981) and is the first one to take out the patriarchal aspects we see in most decks prior to that time, and apply a more goddess/feminine/earth-centred approach. I love all that it stands for, and yet...

Tarot of the Journey to the Orient (used a lot early on, but not recently)
In the early days of my tarot curiosity, I worked quite a bit with this 2002 deck by Lo Scarabeo. The "journey" refers to Marco Polo's long travels to the East, and his book chronicling (with some artistic licence!) his adventures. In grade five I remember spending what feels like the entire year on Marco Polo as a history project. Of course it couldn't have been that long (my favourite teacher, Sister Joan, would never have done that to us!) but it looms large in my memories of that year, and the exotic-ness of those tales has stayed with me. 

So now we've got the cards and the spread questions.
Keep it short, Decks. There are three of you sharing this soapbox today!

1. Have you tried this, Lulu? Judgement

Have you been hiding your light under a bushel?

Don't be afraid - come on up and show us what you can do.
We're not as daunting as we look.

And maybe lighten up a bit;
a little humour might not go amiss!


The world is becoming a more and more inclusive place. Is there potential worth in exploring areas of society other than your own?
Or markets other than those you're familiar with?

Is your current workplace a kind and generous place to be? Maybe there's a better fit out there for you.

Journey to the Orient

East meets West in this version of the Judgement card. What a great opportunity to grab new ideas!
How about a brainstorming session with a mix of your friends?

Are your plans too high-falutin'? Too up in the air?
Get your feet on the ground and think practical.

How about ideas from the older crowd?
Or some kids? Their minds aren't cluttered with a lot of no-you-can't-do-that.

And how about a bit of tasteful tooting your own horn! Be plucky! (Sorry, couldn't resist the harp joke.)

2. Maybe not so much of this...The Tower

Are you trying to bust down the doors of the establishment? That might not be the way to go, Lulu.

Burned out with climbing the career ladder? Take a break.

Are you thinking that putting down competitors ups your status?
Nope. You'll go down in flames too.


Are you taking un-
necessary risks in your climb to the top? Watch out you don't get burned.

Experiencing burn-out? Frying your brains thinking up how to further yourself?
Burning the candle at both ends?

Journey to the Orient

Be careful whom you ally yourself with, Lulu. They may not have your best interests at heart. Or they might be working to pull down the whole structure, and you along with it.

Are you working somewhere that's too top-heavy? Too many top brass, not enough people doing the actual work? Check out the organisational structure.

3. What are you afraid of?  Ace of Swords

Afraid of coming across as too sharp? Too smart? Too brainy?

Or maybe not being sharp enough?

Afraid of facing things all on your own?

Afraid of going out on a ledge with your ideas, and not being able to safely retreat? Or of falling flat on your face?


Afraid your ideas won't fly?

Afraid of showing your true colours and feeling naked and exposed?

Afraid that you are aiming to be a high-flying kite but are really a soft and fragile butterfly?

Journey to the Orient

Worried that your gifts are useless in a patriarchal career choice?

Is the gulf between what you see needs doing and what is possible to do too wide?

Fretting that you might need to relocate to achieve your goals?

Do you fear that your office culture isn't a good fit?

And there you have it. Same cards but three different sets of thoughts and suggestions.
That's why I love working with multiple decks!

In neighbourhood news 

My grandson's first impression of bagpipes.


Sunday, June 09, 2019

Welcome to the other side of my life!

Six years ago today, on my birthday, I trepidatiously published my first blog post. Most people in my actual real physical day-to-day life didn't know anything about it, nor about my interest in tarot. And they still don't.
So today, 246 blog posts later, on my 70th birthday (oh crap, I'm OLD!) I've decided to remedy that.

If you've arrived here from today's link on my Facebook page, this tarot stuff may be a surprise to you.

You may think I've fallen down the slippery slope to the devil and the dark side. Well, it hasn't happened yet (as far as I know) and it's been more than 25 years!
Here are my thoughts on tarot and fortune-telling

You may wonder why any sane person would pay attention to pictures on little cards.

Here are some of my reasons for working with the tarot.

I love the artwork! Every deck is a miniature gallery of 78 works of art.
Because you may not know or care anything at all about tarot, I will hold off showing you ALL my favourite cards from ALL my favourite decks. It was a massive exercise in restraint, but here, in no particular order, are just 10 little pieces of art.

Victorian Romantic Tarot

Tarot of the Sidhe

Art of Life Tarot

Zillich Tarot

Circle of Life Tarot

Druidcraft Tarot

Fantastic Menagerie Tarot

Victorian Fairy Tarot

Bohemian Gothic Tarot

Chrysalis Tarot

Tarot has broadened my horizons - and lengthened my bucket list!

Siamese Tarot

Tarot of the Moors

Tarot of Prague

Sacred Sites Tarot (Ganges River, India)

Romantic Tarot (Venice)

The Ancient Egyptian Tarot

I have a raft of new friends, from all over the world, who are fellow practitioners. Having opportunities to meet them in person is something I'm so grateful for!
Gaian Tarot

It's easier to think outside the box with fresh ideas from someone else's head. As my darling open-minded Mum said, somewhat surprised (and relieved about the fate of my soul) after seeing what a tarot reading is all about, "It's like having another person at the table." I love that observation.
And she was absolutely right!
Bright Ideas Deck

Sometimes a card makes me smile, or even laugh out loud - I love that!
Cat's Eye Tarot

AnnaK Tarot

The Housewives Tarot

I can help people out using the tarot, and I love that too! 
Perhaps give them some new ideas for tackling a problem -
Bright Ideas Deck

Suggest alternative ways of looking at the situation -
Gaian Tarot

Maybe just cheer them up -
John Bauer Tarot

or renew the wind in their sails.
AnnaK Tarot

Actively listen - that's a rare gift to give a person -
Gaian Tarot

And then there are the crafting opportunities!
Trimming intrusive borders from decks.
Making boxes for decks that either came without one, or with a really flimsy one.

And that's it! Thanks for checking out my small corner of the tarot world. 🌎
Yes, there's even a Game of Thrones Tarot!