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Book Review – Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down Advice by Janet Boyer

November, 2018

Book Review

Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice

by Janet Boyer

 

 

I am so excited to share Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice by Janet Boyer with you all. Naked Tarot is published by Dodona , Winchester, UK and Washington, USA, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing LTD., NO 3 East Street, Alresford, Hampshire S024 9EE, UK. It is available in paperback and digitally, and since I am reviewing a digital version, I can’t describe the physical book. But no worries, Naked Tarot has 451 pages chock-full of valuable insights into the Tarot cards, all presented in an easy-on-the-eye typeface in a style that is irreverent and fun!

I read the Forward, written by Craig Conley, author and creator of the Tarot Of Portmeirion, and instantly smiled. Eight Implications of Nakedness lets us know what we are in for, and it’s all good, even if you are squeamish about getting nekkid. The Introduction, written by Boyer, gives the framework of the book and some biographical information. Boyer, who also has an incredible amount of Tarot knowledge and experience, holds true to the title of this book and presents herself and her life experiences without shields, and with naked honesty. The book continues with an overview of the Tarot and of divination. Boyer also talks about ways to use the Tarot, methods for reading the Tarot, reversals, correspondences, Tarot suits/elements, and even things to consider when choosing a deck. I love her description of the Tarot as offering Who (the Court Cards), What/How (the Minor Arcana), and Why (the Major Arcana) with regard to our readings and the messages of the cards. All of this information without a single image, just lots of easy-to-read and understand text.

The section devoted to each card contains a Stripped Down Overview (describing the personality of the card), a whole paragraph of Keywords, several Personifications and Embodiments (OMG, one suggested personification for the Page of Wands is Tigger; how perfect is that?!), as well as a Quote, a Challenge, a Gift, suggested Occupations/Vocations, a list of correspondences, a Writing Prompt, and on and on. Then there is the Naked section, which contains Career, Romance, Parenting and Spirituality interpretations, as well as a list of Recommended Resources, and a suggested spread. In her card descriptions and extensive correspondence lists, Boyer uses current and up-to-date movie and book references and people, both real-life and imagined, who we all know well.

I particularly like Boyer’s treatment of the Court Cards. She treats each of the 16 Court Cards like individual persons, and even offers Nicknames for each, and the way to His/Her Hearts and MBTI/Keirsey personality descriptions.

At the end of over 400 pages of useful and fun information about each of the 78 cards of the Tarot, Boyer offers six sample spreads with interpretations, as well input and comments from some of the seekers. The book ends with an extensive bibliography, and a list of recent bestsellers from Donona .

Naked Tarot is a must-have, whether you are a new reader just dipping your toe into the Tarot ocean, or an experienced reader with a lot of esoteric information and reading experience in your tool box, or if you fall somewhere in between those extremes. This is not a dry list of correspondences and brief descriptions of interpretations that don’t seem to relate to current life. There is nothing stuffy or intimidating about this book; it is accessible to all and full of lots and lots and lots of useful information offered in a manner that is easy to connect with and remember, even though there are no card images.

I never expected to recommend a digital book on the Tarot, but this is one that you absolutely must have on your e-reader. Get the paperback too if you need to work with paper; you won’t be sorry. You will use this book, again and again, and the thoughtful insights and reader-friendly card descriptions and information will bring a new spark to your work with the Tarot, whether professionally or personally.

Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice on Amazon

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About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

Tarot Talk

August, 2018

The Nine of Swords

(The Nine of Swords card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

We haven’t talked about the Minor Arcana Nines for quite some time. This month, we will examine the Nine of Swords. Comparing cards and their individual meanings is valuable throughout the study of the Tarot, but this process is particularly useful when looking at the Swords cards. If you remember, I stated in past columns that in my opinion the Five of Swords and Seven of Swords are sometimes not easy to tell apart. Understanding these two cards and their differences helps us in part to understand the Nine of Swords and all of its potential effects within a reading. You know by now my method for dealing with this issue: break the cards down to their most basic ingredients. Let’s get started.

The traditional image of the Nine of Swords shows a person sitting up in bed, appearing to have been woken from sleep, with hands over face, ears, or across the chest; sometimes the person appears to be in agony. Above and behind the person are nine Swords, sometimes arranged like a wall or blind, sometimes all pointing toward the person or away from the person, sometimes crossing each other. I saw one card image that showed the points alternating, one to the right, then to the left, then to the right, and so on, cancelling each other out. No matter where those Swords are arranged, they at least appear threatening to the person in the image. The traditional images on the Five and Seven of Swords show Swords being held in the hand, or grounded (point in the ground); while there is still a bit of an appearance of threat, the figure in each of those images has at least partial control over the Swords, unlike the images from our Nine of Swords.

The suit of Swords corresponds with the element of Air, the Spades of playing cards, the direction of East and the color of yellow; Swords cards usually tell of some focused intent to bring forth a manifestation, or a struggle and then an outcome. Swords cards are about purposeful and deliberate actions and the thoughts, intentions or beliefs behind them. Swords cards and the effects they describe are sourced from within us; they teach us that we create our own reality from our expectations. The Swords cards give hints as to our mental state, the beliefs we have, and actions we take in response to effects around us. A Sword has two edges, a perfect metaphor for this suit, which can represent attacking or defending, logic or aggression. The Swords cards also represent an opportunity to feel more empowered; self-empowerment happens when we successfully deal with challenges, but self-empowerment can be dangerous if it is not balanced with a bit of humility.

The element of Air corresponds with truth, clarity, and our capacity to analyze or apply logic. Air also represents the intelligence that clears away the fog of ignorance so we can clearly see and understand, and it supports communications and sounds of all kinds. Air allows both expression (out from within us) and hearing (in from outside of us) to happen. This information applies to all the Swords cards in the Minor Arcana, including our Nine of Swords.

Astrology is a tool that can offer subtle differences for us to consider. The Nine of Swords brings us to consider Mars (action, spontaneity, aggression, drive) when it is in the astrological sign of Gemini (“I think,” curious, talkative, social, dual).

Gemini is about communication of all kinds, and about collecting information and stimulating the mind. Geminis are a mix of yin and yang, and they can easily see both sides of an issue. They are very practical; they are adaptable and flexible but they can also tend toward being wishy-washy, and they are not always good at following through to the end of a project. Gemini is all about the intellect, the mind, and the thinking process. They think clearly and make use of logic, and they can be real good at seeing the big picture. Gemini rules the nervous system, and calmness is a quality they need to cultivate. They love to play, love to share their fun and their ideas with others, and they love adventures that stimulate the mind.

Mars is known as the “Red Planet,” and is about energy, passion, drive and determination, all fiery personality traits. Mars is associated with confidence and self-assertion, aggression, sexuality, energy, strength, ambition and impulsiveness. Mars governs sports, competitions and physical activities in general. Mars is commanding, confident, and powerful, asking us to stand up and be noticed without fear. Ambition and competition are also associated with this planet; Mars encourages us to face challenges and to be our best with honor. Mars rules our sexuality and sexual energy, and governs weapons, accidents and surgery. It’s important to note that Mars’s energy can be constructive or destructive; the key is to use the energy of Mars in a proper manner.

When Mars is located in the sign of Gemini, the drive and passion of Mars can get a bit scattered due to the influence of mutable Gemini and its duality. When there is a long To-Do list of things to be done, this combination can be effective and enthusiastic, but with not enough to keep busy, the energies of Mars in Gemini create lethargy, restlessness, and boredom. Words, the power of words and the effects of words, are a focus, tool, and sometimes a weapon. This combination creates enthusiastic communication, and perhaps angry and hurtful statements. These energies are good at multi-tasking, dealing with change, and manifesting new and exciting ideas into reality, but you may need to depend on others to help bring projects to completion.

The Tree of Life offers further insight. All of the Nines of the Tarot Minor Arcana correspond to the sephira (or sphere) of Yesod (which is known as “Foundation”). Yesod is the first sphere out of (and the last sphere into) the sephira that represents the physical world, Malkuth. Yesod is about things such as emotions and feelings, which are directly connected to our physical existence but are not actually physical themselves. Yesod is the home of our life force, our personality, and the Self; it is also the home of the Dark Night of the Soul and all of its doubts and challenges. It is only above Yesod that the Tree begins to branch out. This reminds us that emotions and feelings and an awareness of our life force and our personality are natural effects and experiences, and that exploring them and understanding them is an important part of our own evolutionary process.

When dealing with the Minor Arcana, perhaps the most important ingredient besides the suit of the card is the number of the card. In the Tarot, the number 9 tells of completeNESS (not compleTION or the winding up of a cycle). The number 9 represents our perceptions as we reach the limit of our understanding of or experience of a situation, just before we wind up the process and take another step up the ladder, in order to begin the whole process again. In our spoken language, we say that we are going to “go the whole nine yards” when we intend to experience something to the fullest, and that is what the number 9 can tell us in the Tarot. This will not necessarily indicate to us that we are done with the experience, but rather that we are at the “peak of the wave” just before the wave tips over and disseminates its energy onto the shore.

All of the Tarot Nine cards offer this concept of completeness of manifestation or full and material impact of all the previous cards. We have the necessary focus and discipline over the long term that is needed for success (Pentacles), we have the satisfaction that comes when we obtain what we think we want (Cups), and we have the knowledge that our learning and our ability to survive life’s challenges will be enough to bring us across the finish line (Wands). In the Nine of Swords, we have the illusion that all is lost and it is all our fault.

The Hermetic Tarot Nine of Swords is a nightmare; every part of this image is distorted or decayed. Eight of the Swords in the image are rusted, distorted, bent or broken each in its own way, and the flower has become 12-tentacled monster. The ninth Sword rises up from the bottom of the card, wickedly curving and coming to a sharp and deadly point. Called the Lord of Despair and Cruelty, the name of this card describes perfectly its meaning. It tells of loss, misery, and suffering, burdens and oppression, and lying, slander and dishonesty. There is an obedience laced through this card, as if we can’t help but continue the despair and cruelty that is manifesting.

The Shadowscapes Tarot Nine of Swords shows a young winged man, a black crow on his shoulder, looking anxiously upward into a swirling vortex of storms above him while clutching a sheathed sword to his breast. He is filled with unnecessary anguish. He is a being of Air and should feel free to take to the skies and escape. He is carrying a Sword that could light the way to freedom, yet he lacks the courage or the skill to wield it. This card tells of inner turmoil, guilt, and vulnerability, and of our soul being laid bare to our own demons.

The Thoth Tarot has a name for the Nine of Swords: Cruelty. This card represents the “agony of the mind,” and the poison created by this agony can kill the day. Here is the hangover and all of its discomfort: dizziness, nausea, and an ugly taste in the mouth, all created by our own actions. Within this degeneration of the suit of Swords, we need to remember that we do have the ability to control what our mind focuses on. This control might be difficult to achieve under the circumstances, but we must not succumb to despair.

The Llewellyn Welsh Tarot Nine of Swords shows a traditional image, and tells of nightmares, suspicion and insecurity. Here we have the weight of depression upon us as we are eaten up by worry and delays, longing and misery. This card tells of distress, injustice, loneliness, and the haunting of past hurts, all of which indicate a debilitating and unhealthy situation of our own creation.

The Legacy of the Divine Tarot Nine of Swords shows a woman in bed but not asleep. Her head is resting on her pillow, but her eyes are turned upward toward the nine Swords hanging overhead and the phantom ghostly hands she imagines are reaching for her. The image shows us what happens when stress and worry push our imagination into overdrive. This card represents the loss, suffering, doubt, and pain that we inflict upon ourselves as we second-guess our choices during the dark wee hours of the night.

The Nine of Swords represents brooding and worrying, usually self-caused, and usually unproductive. Often the worrying attached to this card is connected to insecurity or suspicion, or it is connected to things that are over and done with, and thus unchangeable no matter what we discover during our late-night ponderings. We may seem to need seclusion in order to be safe and survive until dawn, but in the end we are allowing ourselves to become a slave to our own anxiety. Until we realize that our preoccupation is becoming dangerously unhealthy, we will not find the peace and clarity we need in order to thrive.

To me, the Nine of Swords shows us what happens when we allow the element of Air and its use of only logic and information to exist without such concepts as feelings, intentions and emotions (Cups/Water), safety, security and comfort (Pentacles/Earth), and courage, personal power, and the influence of Spirit (Wands/Fire). The complete manifestation of the effects of the suit of Swords can create a sense of paranoia, helplessness, guilt, and despair. Perhaps bringing in influences of outside recommendations or counseling will balance things out in the end.

** We Feature the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk.  You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/ .

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding

Post Winter Solstice Blues

January, 2018

 

*’Knackered’ is a British slang term meaning ‘extremely tired’, in this context anyway.

 

Put away the crackers,

Can’t you see I’m knackered*?

Too many ‘small’ sherries

So many Holly berries!

It isn’t Solstice any more

So clear the fake snow off the floor

Sweep the hearth and lock the door.

No more carols, no more knocks;

No more callers: check the locks!

Pull down festive Solstice Socks.

But leave the ivy, leave the oak

Leave the promises we spoke

To truly honour Sol’s return

To let the midnight fires burn

To cherish love and cherish hope

Even though right now I just can’t cope

With sales and queues and counting cash

January’s cold, mad dash…

Banish the blues, dare to smile,

After all, ‘tis Imbolc,

In but a little while.

 

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

For Amazon information, click images below.

 

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

Rebel Rede

May, 2010

A Rabbit of Doubt

We all have doubts. We all have those times in our lives when we are down, depressed, and just plain tired. It is during these dark times that we usually start to have doubts about our beliefs and our chosen paths. This is not only normal it is completely healthy. Paganism does not have the rules and regulations that the Judeo-Christian religions do. This aspect of Paganism is a double edge sword though and can work both for and against us. One of the reasons it is so easy for a Pagan (or Wiccan) to “lose” their faith is because we do not have any higher authority pushing us not to fall. We do not have a bible or a pastor who holds us to a strict way of life. We do not have the fear of being sent to hell or the fear of a God-sent punishment. This lack of fear is what makes it so easy for us to fall. On the plus side though, we also do not have any forced guilt when we finally do fall. There is no higher authority yelling at us for making a human mistake. We do not fall before our Gods in fear and beg them for mercy. As Pagans we do not generally believe in the concept of sin or hell. We do not believe that we have to earn the right to an afterlife. We can be human and still be Divine. We can make mistakes or have serious doubts and still be a good person! It is okay to change your spiritual beliefs. It is okay to rename or re-categorize your beliefs and path. You might go from being a Wiccan witch, to a Hoodoo practitioner, to an Atheist, and back to a Wiccan witch all in the same year. The important aspect of doubt is that is helps us to grow. It helps us to clearly define what it is we believe and why. Our belief systems and faith are not perfect. That is alright though because perfection should never be the goal. We should always be striving to grow and learn as people, as witches. Our beauty is in both our humanity and our divinity! Don’t be afraid to fall friends!  Don’t be afraid to follow the rabbit of doubt down the hole to see where it will take you! Wonderland is never far away!