Category: Tarot

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Loneliness in the tarot

Over the weekend, I had a conversation with a lonely person. I was chatting with a friend outside a pub when he approached us and struck up a conversation. He tried to make a connection with us by sharing stories about his expensive homes and cars, but unable to impress, he awkwardly retreated back to the bar. Later at home, I started thinking about that man and looked him up in the Tarot, as I do sometimes with people and situations. I found him (can you guess which card?) and then I sorted through and found seven other cards where I saw loneliness indicated. The more I looked at the cards, the more I found they fell into two distinct groups. This is how loneliness shows up in a tarot reading, by shutting down and building walls, or by retreating inward and away.

This post is a monster, so grab a cup of coffee before you continue! 😉

Read more…

Video review: The Dark Goddess Tarot

I was happy to be on the gifting end of a copy of the Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi Prince. When I originally saw the images of the cards online, I didn’t feel drawn to them, despite the appealing subject matter. After having a copy of the cards in my hands though, I must admit to being a little more than smitten.

The deck has a deep, moody appeal−similar to how I feel when I have my much loved Mary-el in my hands. The card art is just lovely and the grey borders aren’t overwhelming or intrusive like the Jolanda Tarot (which I trimmed).

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the companion book too—and I’m so glad I did, because this meaty deck offers a LOT to chew on with just one or two cards. Each draw deserves it’s own bit of introspection and reflection—and research, yes. Volumes could be written about all the dark, feminine energies represented in this Tarot, and the companion guide offers a jumping off point for going deeper, digging in, and expanding awareness, not just of the self through the lens of the reading, but also of the history, cultural context, and broad appeal of goddess lore from around the world.

This wouldn’t be a deck I would recommend for a student getting started in the Tarot, but for a dedicant of the Goddess, in all forms She takes, the Dark Goddess Tarot will be a much beloved withmate.

Overwhelm and the Ten of Wands

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The 10 of Wands starring the Sassy Sibyl with her OSU sock hat because winter is relentless.

I can’t think of a single card in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot that fits my life any better than the 10 of Wands.  What do you see when you look at the card? Yourself? What do you feel? I feel tired. The way I feel after working in the office all day and then cooking dinner, running around to playdates and baseball practices, before coming home to clean up and do laundry while the rest of the world is tucking itself into bed.

And all while Mercury is retrograde!

I’m not complaining. I love the work I do. And I love my kids. But dang, I’m overwhelmed.

There are some ways to think about the Ten of Wands that may help, if you’re feeling the same kind of pressure to DO IT ALL (if I ever write a memoir, I’m going to call it, How to do it All). Pixie (or Art, maybe it was Art, who can know, really?) dropped key clues in this card to help us out.

First of all, 10 of Wands dude is CUT. Look at those biceps! He’s built for this kind of work. And you don’t get that by sitting around and then suddenly having the world drop into your arms. He’s been preparing for this moment for a long time, all his life maybe. And now that he’s got an armful, he’s able and determined to not drop anything.

Those sticks are sprouting. Look! Little green shoots. It’s not like he’s carrying this stuff for nothing. These are going to grow into something amazing. The effort put into the long haul is going to pay off.

He’s going somewhere. Not only that, he’s going to what looks like a castle. I don’t know about you guys, but if I get to go to a castle, I’ll carry some pretty heavy shit. Let me re-illustrate for you so the goal is more obvious:

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Worth it, right?

But the last little thing I’ll point out about the 10 of Wands is that our heavy lifter picked up this burden deliberately. There was a method to the madness—see how the wands are crossed so they don’t slip out of his hands? It’s hard as hell, sure, but attacking your to-do list with a sense of intention and an outlook for the bigger picture makes the load seem a little lighter.

Not convinced?

I know, you’re thinking, “But Mel, I don’t want to be overwhelmed. I don’t want to carry heavy crap around all day long! I’m a delicate Dowager Countess!”

I hear you. And that’s the other side of the Ten of Wands. This card is about commitments—and while running around and picking up sticks, one of the things we might have inadvertently committed ourselves to, is being overwhelmed.

When you draw the Ten of Wands in a reading, consider:

  • What am I carrying? Just how much am I weighed down?
  • How have I prepared myself to handle this? (Don’t worry about how you’re not prepared, that’s not helpful. Besides, you can make it up as you go along, so long as you keep going.)
  • What’s the end goal? Why am I doing all that I’m doing?

You’ll have a pretty good idea by that point if you’re actually working out of steadfast determination, or over-committed to goals that won’t serve you. That happens to me sometimes. A committee, a book club, or even a new job sounds really good in the moment, but if I’m not careful to examine my motivations and intentions, I can easily overstretch myself. Then the card becomes about setting boundaries and knowing when it’s appropriate to say, “No thanks!” and walk away.

Luckily the Tarot has a few examples we can follow down that route too, which I will present here without further commentary at this point (I’m sure I’ll circle back to these cards later). Feel free to use these mantras as needed.

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Let’s talk in the comments:
How do you handle overwhelm? When you’re in a Ten of Wands situation, what’s your coping strategy?

How do you keep overwhelm at bay?

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Tarot Tuesday – February 25

One way to bring your tarot readings (especially when they involve those tricky Major Arcana cards) down to earth, is to pair them with a few Lenormand cards. Here I have Temperance from Robert Place’s beautiful The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, along with the Scythe and Fish cards from my 1860 Dondorf Lenormand.

The message I’m getting is that I need to use my discernment specifically when it comes to investments. Should I consider cutting loose from unprofitable projects?

What do you see in these cards?

How to use tarot to know what your lover is thinking

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Short answer:

Nope.

Long answer:

Last week I was approached by a fellow reader (not a professional, but a devoted cartomancer) with a question. She said that when she read for other people, she felt her intuition was spot on. No question too big, no spread of cards too small. But when she read for herself, about other people, she found the cards gave her muddled, confusing and sometimes contradictory messages.

You can imagine me cocking my head to the side. Reading for yourself, about other people, eh?

I’ll give you three guesses as to the nature of these readings. You don’t need three though, do you. Of course, she was reading about a love interest.

It’s so tempting to go to the cards when you’re crushing on someone. What does he think of me? I get this question all the time. And if only we knew, really knew what other people were thinking of us. Open up their heads and poke around in their mind a bit. Divination would revolutionize dating. No more second guessing. No more awkward friend-zone-or-more conversations. Or sitting up all night clinging to the hope of a drunken sext.

The issue really breaks down into two parts. Ethics and Practicality.

In terms of ethics, how much into someone else’s future is it permissible for us to peek? Is it ethical to ask what someone else is thinking?

I’m in the camp that we don’t exist in a vacuum, and the Tarot specifically, is set up to acknowledge our relationships with others (Lenormand too, for the record, and perhaps to a larger extent). I think it’s unavoidable to read about our relationships when we’re reading about ourselves—as other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions affect us every day in every way. But do I want someone opening up my head and poking around in my mind? Hells to the no. It’s really uncool.

On the practical side of things, is it useful to ask what someone else is thinking about you? Or are there better questions?

I try to guide my clients in asking the best possible question for whatever conundrum they find themselves in. And sometimes just knowing the question is enough of an answer. To this end, I often counter their questions with:

Why do you need to know?

If you knew, how would that change the course you’re on?

If you knew what your lover was feeling, would it change the way you feel? The answer to that is usually no. So some more useful questions might look like:

  • Why do I feel anxiety about his feelings?
  • How do I channel my insecurities about this relationship?
  • How should I communicate the doubts I have to my lover?
  • How should I initiate a love-relationship with this person?
  • What should I be aware of when interacting with my love interest?

Can you ask the Tarot what someone else is thinking? Absolutely you can. Should you? That’s questionable. Is it the best course of action for a healthy relationship that’s based on mutual trust? Probably not. IMG_3021-002

Love is patient, love is kind, sure. But sometimes love is messy and makes you feel like you’re going to hurl. Not knowing is part of the fun of uncovering a new relationship. The best use of the tarot in these situations is to help you understand these feelings and give you direction on how to work with and through them.

Hello Kitty Tarot redux (or if you dream it, it will come)

You know the one. You wait for it to come around. Thinking, once I’ve found my IT deck, I’ll finally be able to read cards.

The IT Deck is sort of a myth, I’ve discovered. I didn’t actually take to the cards until I spent a great deal of time focusing on ONE tarot deck for awhile — that was the Morgan Greer. The Aquarian is a very close second, and I recently was able to procure my optimum version of that one — the Morgan Press edition with the orange Ouroboros backs (I see a new horrible tattoo in my future…).

Tarot people look out for each other. That’s one of the biggest advantages to networking in this field. My beautifully aged Morgan Greer was a gift from someone who knew of my tastes. My dream Aquarian came from a dealer who had caught wind that I was stalking around for this particular edition, found one and gave me a deal. People begin to learn your tastes; even your BAD ones. Actually, I’ve been sort of infamous for my bad taste in most things most of my life anyway (music, men, tattoos, tarots…). So it’s no surprise I get sent a great deal of adorable kawaii stuff.

I’ve posted on this subject before. Somewhere in the late 90s or early 00s (I couldn’t track down an exact date, though I found a review by Wicce on archive.org that was dated May ’00), an artist named Joe Rosales drew and printed up a 78 card Sanrio-themed tarot. I can’t imagine what the reception for the cards was like (I was only vaguely aware of the internet in 1999). Eventually, from what I gather, Sanrio shut down sales of the cards. The bootleg was bootlegged and you can still see clones floating around etsy.com and ebay from time to time.

I was gifted one of these clones, a colored, highly laminated version from etsy.com probably four years ago. It was so awful (organza bag. Pointy corners) that I deemed it unusable. Highly indestructible though, I gave it to my then one-year old daughter, who eventually gummed it into oblivion.

Freyja’s First Tarot Reading

Shortly thereafter, another tarot-friend in Japan sent me a copy of the official Sanrio-produced Hello Kitty Tarot. Though overjoyed I was, I do admit to a bit of disappointment about the size, stock and imagery selected for the cards. To say nothing of the fact that it was Majors-only. And try as I might, to this day I still can’t get anything good out of a Majors-only reading. These decks were obviously not designed by tarot readers for tarot readings though. They were created by marketers and hired illustrators to move HK merch. If you’re a collector of Hello Kitty Krap though, you may be interested in adding this to your collection (I also have the Little Twin Stars Majors set that Sanrio did — it is equally disappointing and equally precious).

Which brings us to last week, when an art student in Utah of all cute-forsaken places, emails me. Turns out she found a bootleg copy of Joe’s deck, redrew and recolored the cards and had some copies made at her university print shop and would I be interested in one? It’s in a shimmery purple bag, she mentioned.

Hello, you had me at shimmery purple bag.

Compared to the official Sanrio cards — well, there really is no comparison.

Because aside from the Majors, this deck has 56 minor cards, beautifully rendered and totally usable.

Bootleg of a bootleg aside, the deck is lovely and I finally have in my hands a working, 78 card Hello Kitty deck. Brittany, the artist behind this version of the cards, says she used her Thoth tarot as inspiration for coloring — which is apparent in a few cards (the High Priestess especially) and may be the best thing to come from the Thoth EVER (I’m expecting hate mail now from you Thothy-types now!). The cards seem bigger than the other bootleg HK deck I had and the paper is a lovely, UV coated stock that shuffles like a dream.

IT Deck? Hard to say. While it’s perfect size for my purse, I’m having a hard time imagining myself sitting across from a sobbing querent, spilling the contents of her tormented soul and begging for divine guidance, and then busting out some Hello Kitty on her.

How happy am I to have it though?

 

The Tarot Lovers

In which I sound like some kind of professional intuitive instead of the Sassy Sibyl you all know and love… This was written last year for Flock. I’m sharing here now, since I’m no longer there. 🙂 I’ve updated the post with some photos of different Lovers cards from my collection. I purposely chose some lesser known and strange ones. What is the oddest Lovers card you’ve ever seen?

February is the month of Lovers. Well, it’s the month of Valentine’s Day, and for a tarot reader, that means being inundated with questions about couplings. Does he love me? Will she marry me? Will we end up together? What kind of love will I find? What kind of love do I need? How do I attract a lover? I don’t mind answering these kinds of questions; the desire to find and maintain fulfilling love-relationships is one of the human experiences that we all share in common. It’s so big in our lives, that the Major Arcana of the tarot has a card devoted specifically to it.

The Lovers card from the Victoria Regina Tarot

The Lovers card in a tarot deck is the sixth card in the Major Arcana. In the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, which is arguably the most common tarot in the Western world, the card is illustrated with the archangel Raphael bestowing a blessing of prosperity over a nude couple (presumably Adam and Eve). Behind the woman is the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil and the snake – which persuades the female to choose her own destiny. Behind the male is the Tree of Life, set aflame with twelve leaves, which represent the signs of the Zodiac – which he uses to make informed decisions. The woman looks to the angel for divine inspiration, while the man looks to the woman. They are partners, two halves of a whole, but they play very different roles in their relationship. The card is commonly illustrated with two or more figures, embracing or reaching out to each other. Some decks include the third figure (or snake) to introduce the aspect of choice in union – that is to say, the innovators of the tarot understood that the relationships that we enter into are by choice, and that our choices have the power to hurt others.

The Lovers from The Prairie Tarot and the Bohemian Gothic Tarot

When the Lovers card comes up in a reading, it can be interpreted as an external relationship – one that is either romantic or platonic, depending on the context of the card in the reading – or it can refer to dualities within the sitter (the person whose cards are being read). Often the card refers to two opposing forces at work operating within our lives and the card directly speaks to our interactions with other people.

The Lovers from the Deviant Moon Tarot and the Paulina Tarot

I have been long fascinated with the masculine/feminine duality/opposites aspects of The Lovers card. In the tarot, “masculine” cards tends to exert outward influence on their environments. They deal in the conscious, practical, the mundane, and the theoretical. While “feminine” cards in a tarot focus on the unconscious, internal, intuitive, emotional, whimsical or dream realm and the possible. Both of these forces are present on this one card.

The take away lesson of The Lovers card though, is that balance is needed in order to achieve harmony. For example, we fall in love based on feelings, but we enter into relationships consciously. Relationships can be messy, hurtful, or divinely blissful – but if they’re going to be successful, they come with the understanding that there’s compromises and choices to be made and maintain. We can embrace the differences between us and be lovers, or we can ignore or fight about it. And everyone knows that in order to love fully and in a way that will satisfy the emotional needs of any other person, we must first learn to love ourselves.

The Lovers card from the Fantastic Menagerie Tarot

Let’s spend some time examining the dualities we find within ourselves and in our interactions with others. Try these exercises:

1. Ask yourself: if I were a pack of tarot cards, which aspects of me would be “masculine” cards? Which aspects of me would be “feminine” cards? For example, I tend to dominate in personal relationships, but I have a very deep, strong, intuitive well that I draw from when I need to make important decisions.

2. What is your intuitive sense about what kind of energy you will need to invite into your life in order to bring balance to your life right now? Look through a tarot deck and find a card that you feel is representative of that energy and use it as a jumping off point for journaling or meditation.

3. Imagine yourself if your perfect relationship. What do you bring to the table? What does your ideal partner bring to the table? How do you two balance each other out? What compromises does the balance require? What choices do you need to consciously make in order for the relationship to work? Try this five-card spread when working with the tarot to discern the nature of personal relationships:

1. the signifier (choose this card intentionally to describe the nature of the relationship)
2. Person A – what is conscious | 3. Person B – what is conscious
4. Person A – what is unconscious | 5. Person B – what is unconscious

Love should be cultivated in all corners of our lives – romantically, platonically and within ourselves. While love may be based in what we cannot understand (the unconscious), true, lasting and satisfying relationships are formed when we carefully cultivate an understanding and acceptance of the true nature of ourselves and others. Using the tarot is one way to arrive at that kind of understanding.

If you have questions or get stuck with your interpretations, feel free to leave a comment here, on facebook or send me an email!

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Contemplative vs. Predictive Divination

I want to make a confession. Until recently, I almost never used spreads[1. For the n00bs out there, a tarot spread refers to the arrangement of the cards on the table. Placing your cards in a specific layout will give each card significance based on the meaning assigned to the spread position. For example, you might do a 3-card reading, laying the three cards in a row on the table. The first card refers to bodily matters, the second card refers to matters of the mind and the third card would refer to spiritual matters. This is a common 3-card spread — body, mind, spirit.] in my tarot readings.

I would throw spreads, such as the Celtic Cross, when a client would request one. In all other circumstances, I would either line up seven cards to read as a line, put nine cards in three rows of three, or simply draw card after card as I was speaking (in which case my experience was more akin to channeling than reading cards). I could never get comfortable reading the Celtic Cross because, as a spread, it sends out mixed messages.

My clients either want a spiritual tarot experience, or they want answers to whether or not they’ll get the business loan. Rarely do the two mix. But the Celtic Cross, and many other tarot spreads out there, mix contemplative tarot with predictive tarot. Does my client who wants to know about her business loan care about subconscious influences; how she views herself in the world? Does my client who wants a general reading, interested in the spiritual insights that they might garner from the cards, care about the problem/outcome cards dangling at the top?  My problem with tarot spreads is that I often felt like my predictive readings were getting cluttered up and unnecessarily complicated and long-winded because of all the insightful self-reflective stuff. And my contemplative readings were being convoluted and overshadowed by that tiny bit of prediction, often out of context, at the end.

I’ve come to accept two precepts about divination:

  1. Predictive divination is best accomplished by reading in lines or blocks.
  2. Contemplative divination is best accomplished by setting aside the expectation of future prediction.

Predictive divination is best accomplished by reading in lines or blocks.

Ok, I admit. I read tarot like a Lenormand reader. Or I read Lenormand like a tarot reader… I’ve been told both by different people ;). I guess I read cards the way I read cards and this is what works best for me.

Explanation: My son, who is four, has started to tell stories. He tells his sister stories now. His stories begin, “Once upon a time, this happened. Then this happened. Then this happened. The end.” Try to recall everything that happened to you this morning. You probably recall it like, “This happened. Then this happened. Then this happened. The end.”

Now I want you to make predictions about what will happen to you tomorrow morning. Think about it a minute, then come back… I’ll wait right here. 😉

Ok, so it probably went something like, “I will wake up. I will drink coffee. I will eat an omelet. The end.”

Clear narrative is the key to powerful predictive divination. I could write a whole book on this topic, but for now I’ll just promise to touch upon it in a later blog post. 😀

Contemplative divination is best accomplished by setting aside the expectation of future prediction.

This didn’t occur to me until I was writing in my journal one morning. See, I’m a compulsive journaler. Journaling, for me, is a totally indulgent experience. I write all about ME ME ME. I write about my deepest, darkest, inner desires, dreams, impulses, fantasies… In my journal, I’m really a 14-year old girl – because that’s about how much awareness of any world/connection beyond my self makes it to the pages.

And then one day, I thought it would be fun to mix that up a bit — and combine one of my Goddess-care routines with something a little more “Godly” — that is to say, I yearned for an exercise that would prompt me to dig deeper in my journaling. So I picked up my cards and sat around trying to fathom a way to use them. It occurred to me to try a tarot spread! Ah, finally, a use for that pesky Celtic Cross! But then, when I was working through it, I got to that pesky problem/outcome at the end and it suddenly made no sense in context of my reading.

To that end, I started collecting and creating tarot spreads to use in my journaling. And starting later this week, I’m going to be sharing some spreads I’ve created for contemplative divination with you. Wait, it gets better! The spreads I’m going to be sharing with you are Halloween themed! And wait, wait it gets even better!!! I’m illustrating it with an adorable little Halloween tarot I’ve whipped up for just the occasion (preview at the left)!!!! Just because I love Halloween that much! Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!! (*dies*)

I’ve already written six entries for the series, so there will at least be that many posted before the end of October, but perhaps more, since I have a grand total of 28 Halloween-themed spreads in my notebook at last count… 😉

You can treat this series as a free e-course, because that’s really how I’m writing it. And you won’t want to miss it. So if you aren’t subscribed via RSS in some reader already, do that now. I’ve also set it up with my new mailing list provider to send out blog updates once a week via email. If you want to subscribe to the blog by email, fill out the form below. NOTE: this is a different list than my email list — this form is for blog subscription only, and you will ONLY get blog updates via this email. If you’re not on my regular mailing list, you’re also missing out — and you’ll want to subscribe in the sidebar of my blog. 🙂