November 27th, 2009 § § permalink
Staying bright in the winter is a challenge for me. When 3 degrees above freezing is considered balmy, and the sun starts setting just after 4:15, I can’t help but get a little gloomy. But, since this is going to be the situation for at least another four months, and I don’t want to be miserable that long, I thought I’d ask my cards for a little ‘how to get through the winter’ coping advice. Here’s what it said:
In the position describing the general energy surrounding my question, the Knight of Swords appeared. In the RWS version of the card, a young knight is travelling at top speed on an energetic white horse. His sword is in the air, his red cape and feather plume are flying behind him, the clouds are ominous in the sky. Is that me!? It’s certainly how it feels outside today.
The Prince of Swords
This figure seems to be charging into the storm. He’s not afraid of the wind or the snow. He’s got things to do and he’s moving so quickly he’s probably not cold at all. ‘Don’t coddle yourself’ is what I’m hearing. ‘Move fast and face the weather head on! ‘
The second card drawn represents the suggested attitude to take during this cold, dark season. The card in this position is the 2 of Wands. A man in a stately cape and tunic stands holding a wand in his left hand, a globe in his right. He looks out across a gorgeous landscape of lush trees and ocean. Another wand is securely fixed to the balcony wall beside him.
2 of Wands
Whenever I see this image I think of California – the sky has a soft haze (smog maybe), the ocean, the mountains, a celebrity mansion. It could be many places, but my deck knows me well. It’s almost a cruel joke that it gave me this card. Is the recommended attitude to be as I am when I’m in one of my favourite places? Maybe.
I think the card is trying to say that whether you’re in the light or the dark, the cold or the warm, it’s up to you to decide what you want your world to feel like. The fire is inside, not out, as is your perception of the universe.
And another thing …. if you hate it so much in the cold, you can always go find a warmer place. But if you decide to stay where you are, that’s your choice too. It’s about actually making a choice, accepting that choice, and moving forward with positive action. One thing this card is definitely not saying is to wallow around and complain.
And in the final position, the Emperor card appeared. Its placement describes the physical behaviour recommended by the deck. My first thought when looking at the image is that this guy has on a really warm outfit, and he’s wearing amour under it. I also notice he’s got long hair and a beard to keep him toasty. And what’s with that orange glow on the mountains? Is it the sun or a giant fire he’s built for himself?
#4 The Emperor
Like the 2 of Wands, this card is about taking command of yourself and your own physical environment. But it’s taking the message to an even higher level. This is the Emperor we’re dealing with here, a Major player. What he decides is what happens.
This card asks us to take our world in hand and make it what we will. The Emperor is all about practical physical action. If you want to stay warm, put on a good coat. And if it’s illumination you’re looking for, light a fire or turn on a lamp. If the snow buries your car, dig it out. The message is straightforward – determine what you want and make it happen.
So that’s the answer. No sugar for me. There’s work to do, and no time to waste on whimpering. Step up and face the season. Make my own warmth and sunlight. And maybe a trip south sometime between February and April is in order as well. We’ll see.
Till then, I’ll enjoy the relative mild outside right now, and this weekend I’ll get my winter wardrobe together. The snow will be here soon and I’m going to be ready.
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November 22nd, 2009 § § permalink
My friend Mean Jean Brophey collects playing cards. Not such an unusual hobby except that she does it one card at a time. Some years ago, she started noticing individual cards lying on the street. She’d see them here and there and wonder how they got separated from their decks. After a while, she decided to start picking them up (for some reason always hoping for a 9 of Spades).
Today she’s got over 90 cards and is just 10 shy of a complete deck of 54 (if we include the Jokers). Of course there are duplicates and triplicates. She’s got four 4 of Spades and 8 Jokers. And some cards aren’t even from regular decks. There’s a property card from a Chinese game of Monopoly and a somewhat creepy one labeled ‘blowjob’ discovered on the floor of a strip club in BC. But most are your everyday Bicycle brand red or blue with diamonds on the back.
Mean Jean's Found Deck
Mean Jean’s method of deciding whether or not to pick up a card is quite specific. If she comes across an entire deck or extremely large cluster of cards somewhere on the ground, she ignores them all. It’s primarily the lone wolves she’s looking for. The single 4 of Hearts laying on a sewer grate or an 8 of Spades beside some paint buckets in the alley.
There have been the odd exception to the lone card rule. For instance, once she and a friend were walking along an empty beach and came across what looked to be an entire deck floating on the ocean. In that case they plucked just one from the water – a Jack of Hearts. It’s a particular treasure.
Word has spread about Mean Jean’s collection and other people have started keeping an eye out too. I’ve personally added a few cards to the deck. It’s rare that I see a single playing card lying around, but unless it’s covered in something too disgusting to be involved with, I pick it up and bring it to my friend.
Though it’s not a Tarot deck, Mean Jean’s Found Deck loves giving advice. Its cards come from all over North America, and it enjoys sharing its unique perspective with anyone who cares to ask. So … in anticipation of the coming holiday season, we decided to ask Mean Jean’s Found Deck what it advises to make the most of this (potentially) wonderful time of year.
Mean Jean herself drew the cards. She pulled one to describe the spirit we should bring with us to our holiday activities, one for an emotional attitude to take, one for a positive direction of thoughts and finally, one about how we might physically behave.
Remarkably, all the cards she pulled had red backs (her eyes were closed while she was drawing) and red fronts! They were diamonds and hearts. Red and white just like Santa!
Back of Mean Jean's Draw
The first card drawn, representing the spirit of the season, was the 5 of Hearts. My take on this card is to turn it into the 5 of Cups and say that the spirit of the season is to forget all the sadnesses, fights, disappointments and other displeasures we’ve had with our family, friends and strangers and look at the healthy love in all these relationships. If it’s hard to find – look that much closer. There’s gotta be something.
5 of Hearts
But since this isn’t a Tarot deck, and we’re actually reading playing cards – I thought I’d take a peek in a book dedicated to just that. It’s called It’s All In The Cards by Chita St. Lawrence. Chita says the 5 of Hearts means: “small token/gift/little attention/a pleasant telephone call/surprise.” Apparently this card is all good and suggests a short period of time when gifts, visits and surprises abound. Couldn’t be more perfect for the holidays!
The second card in the spread represents the emotional attitude recommended by Mean Jean’s Found Deck. The card she pulled was the 4 of Diamonds. As a Tarot reader I translate that into the 4 of Wands. The emotional attitude suggested by this card is enthusiasm and celebration! Laughing, dancing and enjoying everyone you meet. Sounds good.
4 of Diamonds
But Chita’s message is a little more somber. “decision/four corners” is what she says. There’s a suggestion of being at a crossroads, about ready to make a choice. The choice has a lot to do with the surrounding cards, in this case two rather happy ones. Maybe the choice is to be happy or not. Enjoy this time with your family and friends or be cranky at having to spend so much time and money on people you usually avoid. It’s up to you how you want to look at it. Sounds a little like that 5 of Hearts in the Spirit position – at least as interpreted from a Tarot perspective.
In the position of mental attitude, the card that appeared was the 6 of Hearts. Could it be more sweet? The 6 of Hearts in Tarot would be the 6 of Cups – a card of unbounded loveliness. It’s all about gratitude and sharing, letting those you love know you love them and appreciate them for all they are and all they’ve shared with you. There could hardly be a more beautiful mental attitude to take with you to every holiday gathering you attend.
6 of Hearts
Chita agrees. The book says “very nice trip or path”. It goes on to describe a time of pleasant passage, well-being and very enjoyable ventures. Highlighted are family, friends, personal trips, dates, parties. Even excursions to the mall!! “Any steps taken are pleasant.” If we can pull off this mental attitude, the holidays will be fantastic!
And finally, in the physical position, Mean Jean pulled the 10 of Hearts (I’m starting to think she’s not so mean after all). The 10 of Hearts would be the 10 of Cups in Tarot, a card typically pictured with a happy family enjoying life under a rainbow. The suggested physical behaviour to engage in this season is loving and enjoying your family and friends. Could the message be hitting home any harder?
10 of Hearts
Apparently it can. According Chita, the 10 of Hearts means “great joy”. In playing card speak, this card is a straightforward positive representation of exceptional happiness and well-being.
That about does it then. “Joy, Happiness, Gratitude, Love and Good Will to All” is the message from Mean Jean’s Found Deck. Whether you read them as Tarot cards or playing cards, the message is the same. Love as much as you can!!
Start this Holiday Season right and listen to a deck that’s really been around. I think it knows its stuff.
Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans!! And thanks Mean Jean for sharing your cards with us.
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November 20th, 2009 § § permalink
As if I wasn’t lucky enough last month to be on the Storm Cestavani Show, but as a bonus ‘guest’ prize, Storm gifted me the delightful new All Hallow’s Tarot by Robin Tisch-Holister. It took a while for the deck to make it all the way to Canada but I got it this week – and I love it!
Not only did it arrive in a most beautiful bag stuffed with magical toys and candy (thank you Leisa!), the deck itself is fabulous! Hand-drawn, contemporary images mixing themes of Halloween with modern urban living. It’s small, easy to shuffle, great fun to look at and gives an excellent read.
#3 The Empress
As I do with most new decks – my first reading was a ‘get to know’ you type deal. In this case, I asked the deck to tell me how it typically looks at issues of the spirit, emotions, intellect and body (at least while it’s talking with me.)
The card that came up for the Spirit, representing the fire or particular passion of the deck, was #3, the Empress. She’s a sweet figure in a red hat and purple dress. She wears a green snake like a shawl and stands with her familiars, the owl and the cat.
I interpret this card to mean that the core spirit of the deck is compassion, nurturance and love. It’s striving to help readers find transformation in the darkness, and connect to the grand-mother. Creativity, expansion and love are what matters most.
King of Wands
In the position focusing on the emotions, or the water element, I pulled the King of Wands. Not a lot of water in this card. In the picture, a serious, somewhat tough looking man sits watching, a skull in front of him to his right. In his left hand is a wand/bat and above his right shoulder a sword. Apparently the emotions in this deck can run a little high, but they get things moving.
The themes that jump out for me here are spirited rebellion, mastery of emotional transformation by fire, and a willingness to burn through soggy feelings that inhibit our growth. The deck is reminding me that power is derived from the conscious direction of our emotions, not by letting them rule us.
The position of the Intellect was filled by the 5 of Cups. In this lonely-feeling card, a woman looks sadly in front of her at three smashed pumpkins. Two others are behind her seemingly fresh and bright, but she’s paying no attention to them.
5 of Cups
From an intellectual perspective, this card might at first seem out of place. But looking more closely, I think it fits well with the last two. Emotions like sadness, disappointment, and self-pity need not overwhelm us. It’s where you place your mental focus that counts. If you want to dwell on sadness, that’s what you’ll feel. But you don’t have to.
And in the position of the Physical, the earth card, I pulled the 3 of Swords. Another unexpected card for its placement. In the picture, a person looks troubled, holding their face in their hands. A large tattoo on their left bicep shows the traditional RWS sorrow image, a heart struck through by 3 swords.
3 of Swords
The message here feels similar to the one above. Emotionally painful thoughts can really slow us down, not just mentally, but physically as well. If issues surrounding loss, betrayal and/or sadness are getting in the way of physical well-being, this deck wants to help.
Very interesting …. at least for me, it looks like the All Hallow’s Tarot would especially like to be used for questions of the Heart. Even when they’re tough questions. Emotions are its specialty and it promises to look at them with compassion, clarity and no-nonsense good humour.
Sounds excellent! I can’t wait to play with it more. Thank you Robin, Storm and Leisa!! I really like it!
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