reading cards

Seeing the Signs

July, 2018

The Appearance of the Jack of Clubs

I have been living in this current apartment for over a year now. I am a neat freak – not because I really want to be – but I have three cats and I am allergic to their fur so I am always dusting and sweeping up so that I am not sneezing all the time. And cleaning the house is a way to get up and moving when I am writing – I don’t want to sit all day – so doing a few chores around the house takes care of that. Plus, I just like to have a neat and tidy home.

My son just moved back in with me so I had to move a bunch of things around and of course that meant another bout of cleaning. Not that I mind – a lot of stuff went out to the curb just in time for the “big” garbage pick-up that the City of Buffalo has twice a year. I had to make room for my son’s furniture and housewares that he had collected in the two years that he had lived on his own. So I spent at least two weeks rearranging and cleaning my entire apartment. I even put up new curtains and repotted and hung more plants in the windows.

My point is that given all these facts, I am thoroughly acquainted with every inch of my home.

So I was really surprised to see this sticking out of the molding the other day:

(I added the red arrow so you would see it easily)

I was like – where did that come from? And – how long had it been there? And – what made it move so that it stuck out – just enough – to get my attention? The recent movement of boxes and furniture in and out of the apartment? Or something more esoteric and spiritual? And then I wondered – was it a note? A love letter, perhaps? Or a poem someone stuck into the wall? Or maybe it was something more mundane, like a list of items for the grocery store. I decided to pull it out of the crevice between the moldings and see what it was.

I almost pushed it back into the space between the molding and the door trying to get it out but I did get it. It was a playing card! I set it on my desk and looked at it. It was the Jack of Clubs. A rather ordinary Jack of Clubs. The kind you’d see at any poker table. Its backing said “Stardust”.

I have to say that this has never happened to me before. I have moved as many times as the years of my life and I have found all kinds of things in the places I have lived – strange and mundane both – but never has a playing card appeared from the cracks in the wall. I have to say that I was glad that I was sober when I noticed it!

Even though I am not a gambler, I recognized the Stardust name on the back of the card immediately. The Stardust was a legendary casino in Las Vegas – it opened in 1958 and was renovated in 1964, 1977 and 1991 before being closed in 2006. It was imploded in 2007. But during the 1960’s and 1970’s, it rocked. It was a favorite hangout of the Rat Pack. Siegfried and Roy got their start there. The casino and the events that happened there were the subject of the movie “Casino” starring Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone. Although I never gamble and my shadow never darkens the door of any casino, I am fascinated by the history of this now-defunct party palace.

I have never – and I mean never – wanted to go to Las Vegas but in the past few years I have acquired a few very good friends that now live in the Sin City and I think I am going to have to take a visit to that sparkling town. I am told that there are many things to do and to see that have nothing to do with gambling or seeing shows and I could have the time of my life without ever setting foot in a casino. So maybe this card – with the name of a casino that was blown up eleven years ago – is telling me to take a trip. Maybe not today – but soon.

Now – the Jack of Clubs. I have always like the suit of Clubs. I don’t know why. When I was a little girl, it was my “favorite” suit – in that irrational way that children have of picking favorites. I think I thought a particular Queen of Clubs of a particular deck was especially pretty – or her dress was pleasing in some way – I remember that my grandfather had a deck of cards which depicted the court cards of the Clubs in glowing green costumes – the Spades were dressed in blue and the Hearts were dressed in red – I do not remember the color of the Diamond court card’s costumes. Perhaps orange or maybe white? I really can’t remember.

Even when playing any silly card game as kid – Rummy or Go Fish – I thought of the Court Cards as people and they often had conversations in my hand. The numbered cards had personalities too but not as vivid as the Court Cards with their pictured faces. But still – a 3 of Hearts had a different voice than a 7 of Spades, for instance. I always thought that all cards should have pictures on them. I was really happy when I discovered the Tarot and all the pictured cards.

The Fortune Teller’s Workbook: A Practical Introduction to the World of divination by Sasha Fenton has a wonderful chapter on playing cards. It is my go-to reference – the first place I look – when I am using playing cards, at least. Her definitions of the cards are short and to the point. I almost always find them applicable to my uses. Although she links the suits of the cards to the suits of the Tarot and to their corresponding elements, the definitions of the cards read more like definitions of Lenormand cards. With that in mind, I have started using the various reading techniques that I have been learning in Caitlín Matthew’s The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards – “The Line of Five” spread most often but also “The Ladder Layout”. Learning how to read the Lenormand Oracle has enriched all my divinatory skills.

For the Jack of Clubs, Fenton writes, “Traditionally, a dark-haired young man. A reliable friend who will help the Questioner.” (Fenton, page 182).

This could be my son who just moved in. He is – as the saying goes – tall, dark and handsome. He is also young – only twenty-five – but of course he thinks he’s all grown up. He’s a Jack – not a King.

Clubs correspond to Wands and Jacks are equivalent to Knights. If I found the Knight of Wands floating free in my house, I would immediately think that I was going to move soon – or that someone was going to move in or out of my house. Of course – my son recently moved back into the house – so that covers that. But – this is just temporary. He has a plan. He wants to go to Colorado when he finishes college. There’s more movement here – this is a busy Jack.

The Stardust was out west and that’s where this Jack wants to go. Not to some stupid casino – but to a place where there’s a million stars in a desert sky. Somewhere far away from this rust-belt city.

Meanwhile, we’re staying here for a while. I put the card on my wall by my desk to remind me that things are going to change. That change has already come, honestly. The appearance of the card says that.

Until next month, Brightest Blessings.

References

Fenton, Sasha. The Fortune Teller’s Workbook: A Practical Introduction to the World of divination. Wellingborough: The Aquarian Press, 1988.

Matthews, Caitlín. The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards. Rochester, VT: Destiny , 2014.

Wikipedia. “Stardust Resort and Casino”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stardust_Resort_and_Casino.

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About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Book Review – Instant Tarot: Your Complete Guide to Reading the Cards by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner

November, 2017

 

Instant Tarot: Your Complete Guide to Reading the Cards by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner, published in 2017 by Weiser , Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, Newburyport, MA 01950, soft cover, 259 pages. Instant Tarot is published as a paperback, with a color cover printed on typical soft-cover stock, measuring 8 ½ by 5 ½ inches. The interior pages consist of black and white card images and nicely-sized typeface printed on white paper.

Instant Tarot is different from most of the how-to-read-the-Tarot books available to students and enthusiasts of the Tarot. This book uses a system for understanding and interpreting the cards in a traditional Tarot deck that is based on the card positions of the Celtic Cross spread. This system is generally described in the Introduction and the Frequently Asked Questions About Tarot Readings sections at the beginning of this book, written by the authors, and in more detail in the Three Step Process following the Introduction. The Celtic Cross spread is also explained, and each card position of the Celtic Cross spread is given a keyword or key phrase and a description. A sample reading is offered showing actual card images in the eleven positions of the spread, along with the seeker’s question and interpretations of each card in the spread.

Like other books that focus on understanding and exploring the cards of the Tarot, the main part of this book showcases the individual Major and Minor Arcana cards, beginning with an image of the card (based on a traditional Rider Waite deck), the name and number of the card, and a keyword. But the similarities end here. Instead of upright and reversed meanings, explanations of symbolism, and lists of correspondences, the reader is given eleven interpretations of each card based on the meanings of the eleven card positions of the Celtic Cross spread as explained in the beginning of the book.

Instant Tarot provides interpretations for every card in a traditional Tarot deck in every position of a Celtic Cross spread. If you would like to become comfortable with the Celtic Cross spread, this book is for you. Each of the card positions in this spread are explained via each of the cards in the deck, offering an in-depth tutorial for what for some Tarot readers is an intimidating spread. If you feel frustrated by card descriptions that seem difficult to adjust to the focus or style of your readings, the multiple focuses offered in Instant Tarot could allow you to see each card in a fresh new way. If you understand the cards themselves but are having trouble telling the story of a spread, the multiple interpretations could help lace together the meanings of the cards. The book is easy to use, the cards in the sample spreads are all cross-referenced with their individual descriptive sections, and the instructions for use of the system are clear and easy to understand.

Also included in Instant Tarot are some suggestions for performing one-card and three-card readings using this Celtic Cross system, as well as some suggested questions for one-card and three-card readings that are easily personalized or adjusted by the reader.

This book is well-named for it does provide a system that allows a novice to provide an instant reading. Instant Tarot does not offer a detailed history of the Tarot, or detailed description of the meanings of the individual cards, and it does not make reference to the multiple disciplines, such as astrology, numerology, or suits and the elements, that are some of the foundations of those card meanings. If you are looking for that kind of background information, you will not find it here.

What the system found within the pages of Instant Tarot does provide, however, is a method for creating smoothly flowing interpretations of the multiple card positions within a classic Celtic Cross spread. For many aspiring readers, it is the combining of the cards and their meanings into a coherent story that is the true challenge of a Tarot reading. If this is your challenge, Instant Tarot could be the answer you are looking for.

 

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

 

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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 Journey 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.

For Amazon information, click image below.