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Review: Greek Mythology Reading Cards by Allison Chester-Lambert & Illustrations by Richard Crookes

October 1st, 2018

Greek Mythology Reading Cards

by Allison Chester-Lambert

Illustrations by Richard Crookes

112 Cards

I have many, many decks of Tarot and Oracle cards and am always on the look-out for those that will enable the reader to connect in their own style using imagery that resonates with their spiritual practice and philosophies. The Greek Mythology Reading Cards fill those criteria very nicely; offering a visual that most people know a bit about, regardless of religious or spiritual practice.

To clarify, these cards fit in the category of oracle cards, rather than Tarot. I’ve been asked when teaching what the difference is and by way of brief explanation, oracle cards fit nicely into whatever package or presentation that is offered and do not follow a prescribed 78-Keys of Wisdom format. Any deck of Tarot captures multiple layers of hermetic and esoteric inroads and so the traditional 78-card deck is prominent. Now, this is not to say that one is better than the other for divination or receiving guidance and answers. My thought is that any system or format you choose that will open you or the person you are reading for to a receptive state and enable the information to flow is valid.

Greek Mythology is a topic that everyone encounters during the course of their childhood education. The media is filled with movies, music, books and more that make use of the Greek Pantheon and principles to tell their stories and to stimulate the imagination. So, with this oracle deck, you already have a baseline of information about the imagery and the possible meanings of selection. The cards are beautifully illustrated by Richard Crookes and are printed in natural earth tones, the edges strewn with vines and offer the notion that you are looking in on a columned Temple and witnessing a very personal and intimate depiction of whatever theme the card is offering.

The Key Words of interpretation are printed at the bottom of the card, so it is not necessary to refer to the accompanying small booklet unless you wish a more in depth understanding. The Trojan Horse relates to Trickery, Aphrodite to Attraction, Perseus to Gifts and Ares to War Mongering, to name a few. And, if you follow a Hellenic tradition or use this Pantheon for your personal work, the layers of meaning will deepen to reflect the mysteries you’ve already revealed on your path.

All in all, I think this is a beautiful addition for use in readings, meditation and deepening your understanding of a civilization and its work that has laid the foundations for much of modern society.

 

Greek Mythology Reading Cards

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About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Book Review

Tarot For Your Self, A Workbook for Personal Transformation (Second Edition)

by Mary K. Greer

To me, any Tarot book written by Mary K. Greer needs attention, and Tarot for Your Self, 2nd Edition: A Workbook for Personal Transformation is no exception. Tarot For Your Self is published by New Page Books, a division of The Career Press, Inc, Pompton Plains, NJ; it is a 7”by 10” paperback with a glossy color cover and contains 298 pages of nicely-sized typeface printed on white paper.

This is not a typical how-to-read-the-Tarot book. Tarot For Your Self does not only present card images, keywords and sample interpretations. Not that there are no correspondences or meanings offered at all (Appendix A has all that great Little White Book information, with upright and reversed meanings, an affirmation, and questions to be answered for each card), but rather the meat of Greer’s workbook offers great suggestions, explanations, and exercises focused on learning to integrate crystals, pendulums, visualizations, affirmations, numerology, astrology, self-exploration, rituals and meditations into our Tarot practices.

There is a chapter that offers new ways to get to know the cards of the Tarot, and new ways to use the cards for personal exploration. There is a chapter that focuses on getting to know and understand the personalities of the Court Cards. Another chapter takes familiar spreads and breaks them down so that a Tarot reader can make use of useful variations of even a simple three card spread. Greer even addresses yes-no and either-or questions in this chapter.

Throughout the book, along with the many charts and correspondence lists, meditations and visualizations, images and descriptions of a myriad of spreads to fit any circumstance imaginable, are valuable exercises that help a reader to see the cards in new ways and experience how the meanings of the cards can directly connect to and explain our own life experiences. Like any workbook, there is space within each of those exercises for us to record results and descriptions of experiences we may have while doing the exercises. At the end of each chapter is a list of suggested reading connected to the information provided in that chapter.

Besides the information about the individual cards in the Appendix, there is also a history of the Tarot and some theories regarding its origin, and a very useful correspondences chart.

What I like about Tarot For Your Self is that it offers many useful tools that allow us to use our Tarot cards for self-discovery and self-healing. There are exercises for dealing with depression, clarifying relationships, and clarifying money issues. There are meditations for relaxing and grounding. There are descriptions of rituals for purifying your cards, and descriptions of how to formulate a question and how to interpret reversed cards within a spread.

In Tarot For Your Self, Mary K. Greer has created a book that can help new readers to get a glimpse of how much information a Tarot card can offer, and that can help more seasoned readers to tap into the personalities of the cards in order to tell the story of a spread. Here is a workbook that does not require us to memorize keywords but rather encourages us to do the exercises and journal our own unique experiences in order to become personally acquainted with the cards of the Tarot. This is a classic that has stood the test of time, and has something to offer to new readers and longtime Tarot enthusiasts alike.

Tarot for Your Self, 2nd Edition: A Workbook for Personal Transformation

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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

The Lunar Nomad Oracle: 43 Cards to Unlock Your Creativity and Awaken Your Intuition”

 


by Shaheen Miro

Published by Weiser Books

Published: 2018

Pages: 146-page Guidebook + Deck of 43 Cards

 

In his first deck, Shaheen Miro presents a set of 43 keys that tap into your lunar self and unlock the unfolding mysteries of life. Based on the symbols in the Lenormand deck, he has added more cards as well as more layers of meaning to all the cards. While still serving to understand the mundane circumstances of our daily lives, these cards delve deeper into the creative and intuitive self – the lunar self.

The solar self is logical, analytical, realistic and reasonable. Adult. Safe. It often overpowers the fluid, mystical, passionate, wondrous lunar self that longs to fall in love with the world. This deck got me in touch with, as Miro prefers, “the path of the self-expressive, soul-seeker, the mystical traveler who treats the world like a great canvas of adventure, expressing and exploring. Cultivating vibrance and buoyancy.” The liberation he speaks of comes from bringing the lunar self forward and letting it speak.

And speak it does.

I had never used a Lenormand deck before, so this set of symbols was new to me. I found them powerful. From the first time I used them, they drew information out of me I didn’t know was there. If these cards are meant for you, I trust they will awaken your intuition and tap into your inner wisdom, freeing you to become a nomad on a lunar path. Approaching them with a sense of wonder, the symbols trigger universal, general and personal interpretation, allowing you to tell a story.

My journey with the Lunar Nomad Oracle began when I was gifted a deck of “gypsy” fortune telling cards,” said Miro, an intuitive reader, energy worker and artist. “It was an old deck of 36 cards, each with its own symbol and illustration. There was no name or association to Lenormand on the deck, just these simple cards with a profound and uncanny wisdom about them. They reminded me of old dream symbols or tea leaf reading emblems; tea leaf reading is one of my favorite forms of divination.”

It was the perfect framework upon which intuition could unfold.

Something in me felt prompted to explore these symbols through my own psychic lens. I wanted to see how the energy of the symbols moved me to create. I felt like I channeled the deck into creation. I would allow the energy of a symbol to enter my awareness,” he said.

I would contemplate a symbol, letting it fully wash over and saturate my awareness. Then the energy of that symbol would begin moving me, almost like I was translating the energetic signature into something visual. I am a mixed-media artist, so I work in layers, combing illustrations, textures, colors and washes together. With the Lunar Nomad Oracle these resulted in these fascinating illustrations… each one seems like a little dream being cracked open and spilled out for us to wander through.”

The cards are rich with imagery and symbols that provide clues and prompts to the intuitive self. There are no suits and no linear structure, leaving the reader great freedom to add personal interpretations and insights. Each card is a word that, together with other words, forms a sentence. The more cards and the deeper you go, the more sentences become paragraphs that become stories.

It was affirming to find the way I have come to read cards is how he explains it to his readers – that it’s not about memorizing meanings, it’s about looking at the cards and making up a story. There is no right or wrong interpretation. Next, you’d review the keywords for each card, adding to the story those that resonate, thus allowing you add more to your story.

Although Miro offers a simple three-card layout of obstacle/focus/outcome, he also states these oracle cards do not need a spread with assigned meanings. Nine cards (typically three rows of three) make for a detailed story.

The oracle can be used to diagnose a situation, to look into the unknown; to explain or deconstruct an experience or memory; or to help create something. Cards are drawn differently depending on the intention.

Of all my decks, about 75% are tarot and 25% oracle. I find myself using tarot cards 95% of the time, and the ones I turn to most have a strong feminine energy (two are round, one is dreamy). This is the first oracle deck I have used day after day for most of the month rather than just pulling one out for a reading here and there. Working with three a day, the more familiar I became with the cards, the more I was hooked.

The artwork has somewhat of a Victorian, steampunk look to it. Some of the cards look dark – not in a sinister way, but more like how things look after the sun has set and the colors are swallowed by the night. The cards also have multiple layers. Mountain (pictured above), for instance, is more than a high green hill that presents an obstacle as well as a peak presenting another perspective. Lunar Nomad’s mountain card has geometric drawings superimposed on it, assuring me there are solutions to the seemingly insurmountable situation. For the key card (pictured above), an open hand holds a translucent key. Other than being offered the key to open all doors, the fact it does not appear as a three-dimensional solid key reminds me that my mind forms my reality. For you it might have a different message.

No matter what you see in the cards, or what story you weave, as Miro states, “Remember, the magic is in you, not the cards; they are only keys to unlocking your inner wisdom and magic.”

The Lunar Nomad Oracle is all my own,” Miro said. I created the card artwork and wrote the guidebook. This is my invitation for people to open the door to a new life where magic is real. The guidebook is my personal take on what the images convey to me, and how the process unfolded in my life. But there is nothing set in stone; I encourage people to use this oracle and the information in the guidebook as a platform to discover their own inner wisdom it’s right there under the surface just waiting to be found.

Working with oracles, and the Lunar Nomad Oracle specifically, has become a way of life for me. I do not see divination as predicting the future, to me it is a deep and sacred communion with our own inner magic and the limitless possibilities in the Universe. Everything is made of energy, we all tell an energetic story that is generated from our thoughts, feelings, ideas and beliefs and that energetic story becomes the narrative of our lives. If you make conscious your personal energetic story you have access to all the possibilities around you. You can shift the energy, change the narrative and create a whole new future. That’s the magic I share with my clients, and anyone who joins me on the Lunar side.”

He has a new book coming out next year.

For information and articles on magical living, intuition and self-empowerment, visit Shaheen Miro’s website and his Instagram where he encourages people to join him to learn about the oracle and other mystical work as well as to share your own readings with the cards by tagging him.

The Lunar Nomad Oracle: 43 Cards to Unlock Your Creativity and Awaken Your Intuition

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About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Five of Cups

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

Last month we talked about the Two of Cups. This month we will talk about another Cups card, the Five of Cups. This one, like the other Five cards, appears sad on the surface but we will look for the silver lining.

The Five of Cups is a Minor Arcana card, so we know right away that the message offered by this card will most likely be more immediate in nature, or will most likely be connected to more day-to-day issues. Remember, while on the surface a Minor Arcana card can appear insignificant or mundane, it can also possibly be a symptom of a deeper or wider issue. Nothing in the Minor Arcana is in any way minor in nature.

We already know that the easiest way to get a decent understanding of a Minor Arcana card is to examine its number, or in the case of Court Cards, its rank, and to examine its suit. In this case, we are dealing with the number 5, and the suit of Cups, and just examining these two ingredients could actually give you enough information about this one card to offer a useful interpretation to a seeker. But we have even more to consider, so let’s get started.

We talked about the suit of Cups in detail last month, but let’s go over it all again. Many Tarot decks use images of cups or chalices and water on their Minor Arcana Cups cards. The traditional image on the Five of Cups shows a person facing away from the observer dressed in a long, flowing dark blue robe, head bowed downward and seeming to emanate grief. The person is looking at three toppled Cups lying on the ground before him, their contents spilled out, and sometimes the Cups are broken. Often there is a river flowing nearby and in the distance beyond the river are rocky hills. Behind the robed figure and out of his view are two other Cups also on the ground, but these two are upright and undamaged.

The suit of Cups corresponds with the cardinal direction of West, the color blue, the playing cards of Hearts, and the element of Water. In its natural state, Water is cool and wet. Water has weight; picking up a gallon of water proves that. Water tends to gather into or flow to the lowest place; it will use already-in-place channels to get there if it can, but will create its own roadways or channels if necessary. Water is used for cleaning and purifying, and Water can be a carrier for other substances. For instance, we can dissolve salt or sugar into warm Water, and use that concoction for other things. A body of Water can be calm and deep, or it can be dangerously churning and filled with powerful currents.

The element of Water corresponds to our feelings and emotions. Emotions flow and have currents and eddies, and a powerful wave of emotions can be cleansing. Emotions can be hot and expanding or they can be bubbling upward, like steam, or cold and contracting and heavy, like ice. Our emotions can affect our physical bodies (which contain a lot of Water) and our health. Often, tears appear when we feel things strongly, as physical manifestations of those emotions.

Water also represents the Inner Voice and the mysteries of the subconscious. That calm body of water can reflect the trees and hills, and even the clouds and the sky around it, on its still surface and hide from our view the dark and cold depths inhabited by mysterious creatures. In order to explore those silent depths and discover the mysteries there, we must break the surface and enter this quiet and hidden realm.

Astrology is a tool that can offer subtle effects for us to consider as we analyze this card. The Five of Pentacles corresponds to the planet Mars (action, aggression, drive) when it is in the sign of Scorpio (“I desire,” intense, controlling, mysterious, obsessive).

Mars is known as the “Red Planet,” and this makes sense because Mars is about energy, passion, drive and determination, all fiery personality traits. 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 remember that Mars’s energy can be either constructive or destructive. In the end, however, the energy of Mars can be quite useful if used properly.

Scorpio is a fixed Water sign. In Astrology, Fixed Signs are associated with stabilization, determination, depth and persistence. For Scorpios, these traits are found through achievement, and through going deep into the timeless mysteries of the imagination, dreams, and passions. Scorpios are powerful and willful in all they do; they stick with a task to the end, often achieving much more than Cardinal and Mutable Signs. On the other hand, they are also inflexible, rigid, stubborn, opinionated and single-minded. Scorpios are extremely loyal and will always remember a kind gesture. They love to learn about others; the curiosity of Scorpios is immeasurable.

Mars and Scorpio have a connection (Mars is said to rule Scorpio), and thus they support each other. Together they create a greater ability to work through difficult times. These energies are not about compromise but rather about finding a way to get the job done. These signs are not afraid of looking under the surface or exploring the dark corners, and together they have the endurance to bring about a major transformation. The down side of this combination is the potential for passion to slide into obsession.

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 5 is seen as adding motion to the depth and stability of the energy of the number 4 card, often toppling or destroying that depth and stability in order to prevent stagnation. If we look at the card right before the Five of Cups and follow it through to our card, we can gain some insight into the effects of the number 5.

The Four of Cups is about visualizing goals and dreaming of the future, however it also warns us that too much dreaming of the future can cause us to miss opportunities that present themselves in the present. The number 5 adds Motion to the potential for distraction from reality that is the Four of Cups, kind of like a tap on the shoulder to wake us up. All of the Tarot Fives are uncomfortable mainly because of this added Motion. In the other Minor Fives we have the need to control others (Swords), the lack of possessions and support (Pentacles), and ideas moving in random and unorganized directions (Wands). If we dream of pleasures and become addicted to those dreams, we will end up soft and weak with deadened senses, but if we find a way to counteract our tendency to indulge ourselves, we can be awakened to the possibilities in the outer world and the present moment. This awakening is the job of the Five of Pentacles.

The Tree of Life offers us further insight into this uncomfortable Motion that is causing our troubles. All of the Fives of the Tarot Minor Arcana correspond with the Sephira of Geburah (which means “Might”), the fifth Sephira on the Tree, the second on the Pillar of Form/Restriction. Geburah is also known as Judgment, and Fear, and its effects and manifestations can indeed be difficult. To some, an easy life is an ideal situation, but in the end the easy life offered through never experiencing any true tests lacks the opportunity for growth and evolution, and growth and evolution are the purposes of living.

Geburah is about courage and power and invincibility, and these things can bring us true fulfillment, or they can help to release our cruel side. But unless we are exposed to these temptations, we will never know if we have the will to set them aside when they become unbalanced. Believing that we have the power and authority to make decisions for others is often a recipe for disaster.

That is a lot of information to consider!! We are dealing with a Five card, so we know that it will present some discomfort. This is a Cups card, so we know the discomfort will be connected to our dreams, visions, feelings, emotions, and the actions and effects of the subconscious and the Inner Voice.

The Hermetic Tarot Five of Cups shows plant growth, yet no flowers. The five Cups in this image are empty, and the plant stems look a bit leggy to me, as if they had water but no sunlight. In the Hermetic Tarot, the Five of Cups represents partial loss, and the death of pleasure (indeed the card is named “Lord of Loss of Pleasure”). The key here is that while we are losing something, we can go on and perhaps have a happy ending. The reversed pentagram in the middle of this image hints at what needs to be corrected: we are focusing too much on strong feelings and physical pleasures, without allowing the mind and the feelings and the Higher Self to have a voice.

The Thoth Tarot Five of Cups, named “Disappointment,” also has flowers in its image, two lotus blossoms that appear to be drooping and losing their petals. The five Cups are in the shape of an inverted pentagram, similar to the Hermetic Tarot, symbolizing the triumph of matter over spirit. The beautiful sea of the Four of Cups (named “Luxury”) has turned stagnant. Here we can see a clear progression from Love (the Two of Cups) to Abundance (the Three of Cups), which brings Luxury (the Four of Cups); the next step is boredom, frustration, and decadence, and the Disappointment of the Five of Cups!

The Llewellyn Welsh Five of Cups has a traditional image. It tells of unfulfilled dreams and the difficulty of accepting a loss. Here is the spilled milk that we are not supposed to cry over. This card also tells of being limited by the memory of a past pain, and of being manipulated by emotional strings. “Suffering over one’s suffering” is a great description of this card.

The Gateway to the Divine Tarot Five of Cups shows a woman huddled against a wall, face filled with distress. Before her on the ground are three shattered glass Cups; she holds an unharmed Cup in each hand. She is not looking at those two intact Cups, but instead focuses on what might have been, symbolized by the broken Cups before her, rather than accepting what has happened and moving on with the two remaining Cups. Her loss is probably connected to something that was expected to bring pleasure, such as a loving relationship.

When the Five of Cups shows up in a reading, we are being told that our discomfort and dismay are valid and painful, but they are also a wake-up call telling us all is not lost. Our vision is focused narrowly on the spilled Cups and the loss and disappointment they symbolize, but if we could tear our eyes from the destruction and look around, we will find that all is not lost. There, behind the cloaked figure bowed in grief shown on the Five of Cups, are two intact Cups, filled to the brim. He has only to take his focus away from the lost potential and what could have been, and instead look around him at what he still has now and he will see that happiness is still available to him. This could very well be an opportunity to leave behind what has hurt him and turn to a different and more fulfilling direction.

** This year we will be featuring the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk.  You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/ .

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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.

Click Image for Amazon Information

Notes from My Lenormand Journal

Thirty years ago, when I received my first set of Tarot cards, I read the cards nearly every day. I didn’t have a separate journal for my Tarot readings in those days – I just put the readings into my regular day-to-day diary. My life was very melodramatic in those days and the various readings reflected the histrionics of my daily life. Mostly I used the Celtic Cross spread but I would try out any spread that I discovered in my study of the Tarot. I was sure that I would eventually find the answer.

Well, here we are all these years later and I am still looking for the answer – or maybe it would be more correct to say that I am looking for answers in general. Naturally some of the questions have changed radically in the past thirty years. But some questions – really, the most important and vital ones – have not changed at all. They have only become more critical and far-reaching.

In the mid-1990’s, a very dear friend gave me a beautiful bound journal with a marbled cover of a glorious royal blue. That was the start of the separation of my Tarot journal and my day-to-day journal. There are pros and cons to this. I like being able to see the divinatory reading in regards to what happened that very day – having the two posts side by side can be very instructive. But having all those Tarot readings – or any kind of reading – broke up the diary’s natural prosaic flow. I have maintained two journals to this day.

These days, I do a three-card Tarot reading and then a five-card Lenormand reading. While I am focusing on the Lenormand in this essay, I must say that I am constantly amazed at how the two systems reinforce the same message. Sometimes I pull a Rune from my bag and nine times out of ten, whatever Rune I pull has the same divinatory message! Somedays I go through all my various means of divination to see if I am getting the same vibes from all the sources! And sometimes they all add up to the same one message. BUT – sometimes it’s just a big fucking jumble of nothing. It’s really tempting to say, the hell with all of this, and not write it down in the journal. I mean – that all takes time and time is not something I have a whole lot of nowadays. The thing is – just because you can’t see the message today doesn’t mean you won’t see the message tomorrow or next week or next year. Or even five or ten years from now. It can be argued that being able to “see” a divination five years after the reading is dubious at best but on the other hand, it’s all a learning experience, isn’t it? And sometimes the cards are talking about events far in the future. It’s human nature to see everything in the here and now.

The past several weeks, I have been pulling these cards over and over again:

Of course, these five cards were pulled with other cards. These cards are just showing up more often in the daily 5-card spread than the rest of the cards in the pack. And given that in the Lenormand, card relationship – the combination of cards to create a single meaning – is more important that a card landing on a certain point, just looking at these cards in and of themselves really doesn’t say very much. For instance, the 5 Tree 7 of Hearts card has come up fifteen times in the last twenty-two days, which is a pretty good percentage. But that doesn’t say anymore than I have been concerned with family and health issues, which are paramount right now. It’s the combination of the tree card with the surrounding cards that enhance and define its meaning. On July 5, the 5 Tree 7 of Hearts card was winged by 8 Coffin 9 of Diamonds and 36 Cross 6 of Clubs. Given the state of my father’s health on that day, this was a totally apt reading – his bad health and the feeling that no matter what happened, it was going to be difficult for all of us in the family.

26 Book 10 of Diamonds has been paired with 21 Mountain 8 of Clubs seven times in the last two weeks. I think this is pointing to the various problems I’m having with my writing – not a writer’s block per se – although that would be the obvious idea. But in my case, it’s not so much that I have writer’s block but I am so horrendously busy that I don’t have the time to write – the mountain is keeping me from my book. Again – the tree is another modifier – it’s family issues that are pressing on me. My father’s ill health – my son, who recently moved back home and now I have triple the housework that I used to have – and sibling drama that doesn’t really concern me but is nonetheless part of my life.

Isn’t 32 Moon 8 of Hearts a beautiful card? Caitlín Matthews says that this card is a “false friend” from the “Tarot World”. She writes,

“In Tarot, the Moon means illusions, mutability, or anxiety – words that are better expressed in Lenormand by Clouds. Stork, and Birds,

respectively. Lenormand Moon is about work, honor, recognition, and creativity. This is because Moon governs the sublunary regions

and is symbiotic with the life of our planet. Everything that the Moon shines upon is under its influence. Beware of assigning disordered

emotions to the Moon, which has more to do with the emotional satisfaction arising from the act of our hands.” (Matthews, 83-84)

But again, in context of my personal life right now, the Moon card in its Lenormand aspect is perfectly apt. I am concerned with issues of work – writing, specifically – but also my collage work – and of course the additional housework with my son now living here!

Naturally, of course, 25 Ring Ace of Clubs represents my commitment to all of the above – my son, my family, my work and my divinatory studies. This card has been paired with each of these cards more than once in every way imaginable.

Do keep a Divinatory Journal? What methods do you use the most? Do you use the Lenormand Oracle? What cards show up the most often? What relationship do you have with those cards?

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards

References

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

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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.

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/ .

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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

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