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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Old English Tarot: 4 of Cups

In today's blog entry, Helen Howell continues her exploration of cards from the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Old English Tarot
Four of Cups
by Helen Howell

Old English Tarot

I have to say that if I didn’t know the traditional meaning from the Rider Waite deck for the 4 of Cups I would be totally stumped with the image shown on the Old English Card. All we have are four cups and beneath them a figure playing two flutes.

Rider Tarot
The LWB tells us that the meanings attributed to this card are: Weariness, disappointment, a bitter experience (Reversed: Fresh possibilities, new relationships.) Well, I guess if we look at the figure having to play two flutes at one time, we could assume that he would become weary of this and maybe disappointed that the other flute player didn’t turn up!

Its more traditional brother, the Rider Waite, gives us more to get our teeth into and we see a figure sitting under a tree, arms crossed and eyes looking downwards. In front of him are three cups and a fourth is being offered as a gift, but alas he sees none of these things. Yes, our figure is bored with life and discontent with his lot so that he misses the opportunity of what is available to him.

Now, I supposed our flute player could also get bored having to play those two flutes all by himself; however, as I said, if I didn’t know the basic meaning of the Rider Waite card I would certainly have had trouble trying to decide what the Old English card was representing.

You’ll have to make your own minds up about this one.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Week Ahead Reading with Mystical Wisdom

As promised in _my review of the Mystical Wisdom card deck_, written by Gaye Guthrie with art by Josephine Wall (U.S. Games Systems Inc.), I am doing a 3-card reading described in the guidebook that accompanies this deck.

This spread looks at the week ahead, with one card pulled for each of these positions: (1) beginning of the week, (2) middle of the week, and (3) end of the week. The purpose is to reveal “what will present itself for the coming week or what issues you need to focus on.”

1..............2..............3

(1) beginning of the week: GRATITUDE

“Be grateful for all you have.”

Such a nice way to start the week! I do believe that I am constantly grateful (and a bit awestruck) by all that I have in all areas of my life. That said, I don’t feel it is a crime to have ideas about things I might like to be different in some way. The advice from this deck is: “First, you have to ask what it is that you would like to receive or change in your life. Believe it is possible, then let it happen.” The mantra for this card: “I am grateful for life’s gifts of peace, love and joy.”

(2) middle of the week: FRIENDSHIP 

“Nurture your relationships.”

A lovely sentiment for mid-week. In this age of the internet, there are people I haven’t even met who *feel* like friends to me. We have connected in some area at some level, and I enjoy their “virtual company.” I have never been one to cultivate a large group of friends. I am most comfortable interacting one-to-one with individuals, having a few close friends. I have made a point of nurturing friendships that go way, way back to my childhood as well as forming new relationships. The mantra for this card: “I love and appreciate my friends.”

(3) end of the week: DRAGONFLY

“Live life to the fullest.”

This piece of advice may seem simple on the surface, but I think each individual really has to explore what it means to them. Some people might interpret it to mean that you should throw caution to the wind and jump with both feet into anything and everything that strikes your fancy or piques your curiosity. Don’t think about health or safety or other people’s feelings or anything but enjoying the moment. Personally, if that is what living life “to the fullest” means, I do not want it. The guidebook for the Mystical Wisdom deck points out that dragonflies are one of the only creatures that can fly up, down, sideways, and backwards. The booklet also tells us that living life to the fullest involves living “your truest life. . .knowing who you are and what you want…” as well as making “informed decisions.”  The mantra for this card: “I am emotionally strong and live my life without regrets.” (Well, that’s easier said than done!!!!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Review: Mystical Wisdom Card Deck

R E V I E W

Mystical Wisdom Card Deck 
by Gaye Guthrie (Author)
Josephine Wall (Author, Illustrator)
46 cards; 64-page guidebook



TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

Using the word “Mystical” or “Mystic” in the name of a product pretty much ensures that I will want to take a close look at it. (Observe my Tarot/Oracle card collection featuring such titles as Mystic Dreamer, Mystic Faerie, Mystical Cats, Mystic Spiral). I’m not big on “Angel” oracles, so I was delighted to see that in addition to angelic influences, the creators of the Mystical Wisdom card deck incorporated gods, goddesses, fairies, and animal spirit guides. (My favorites are the animal spirit cards, but you probably already knew that!)

I’m also not a big fan of saccharine messages and affirmations, especially when paired with airy-fairy art that is somehow supposed to make everything okay (it doesn’t), so I am pleased to note that the Mystical Wisdom cards (while certainly inspirational and uplifting) allow for awareness and exploration of life’s complexities. As I mentioned below under “Art,” the depth of color, detail, and imagination in each of these cards is truly satisfying.

This deck is a wonderful choice for a daily card draw – either for inspiration or to answer a specific question. The deck creators also suggest a 3-card spread that would cover the beginning of the week, the middle of the week, and the end of the week. The deck also works well with Past-Present-Future-Outcome readings and the Celtic Cross. Watch this blog for a reading with this deck to appear soon!

I also appreciate the following comments, found in the guidebook: “The cards offer you choices and options. It is up to you or the seeker to determine what is right for you at the time of the reading. The universe works in mysterious ways so the timing of indicated events may occur either sooner than predicted, or you may have to wait a little longer…” I tell my clients this with every reading I provide.

THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

“Featuring the enchanting artwork of Josephine Wall, the Mystical Wisdom Deck provides guidance for the present and inspiration for the future. Archangels, goddesses, spirit animals, fairies and wonderful, mystical creatures deliver uplifting messages and gentle advice to help you get past all of life’s challenges and get back to joy! The Mystical Wisdom Deck includes 46 cards with a 64-page illustrated guidebook full of hope and wisdom.

Other decks with artwork by Josephine Wall: Nature’s Whispers Oracle Cards and Whispers of Love Oracle Cards.”

BASIC INFORMATION

The Mystical Wisdom card deck in intended to “provide a form of divination inspired by the gods, goddesses, angels, and animal spirit guides.”

The 64-page guidebook includes a section on How to Use the Mystical Wisdom Cards (three angel cards for guidance and protection, eight animal guides, and 35 other cards for insight and inspiration); a section on Reading the Cards with 1-card, 3-card, 4-card, and Celtic Cross spreads; a page About Gaye Guthrie; and a page About Josephine Wall. The middle of the booklet consists of a page on each card that provides the title of the card, a keyphrase (both of which appear on the cards themselves), a description of the card meaning, and a Mantra.

For example:

Card Title: GOOD FORTUNE
Keyphrase: Invite Magic In
Card Meaning: “Welcome to the magic of life! All good things are coming your way. You deserve your heart’s desires, so allow yourself to feel good now. When you send out positive energy and are ready to receive, providence gets into action. You don’t need to understand how this happens, just trust that the universe is at work and will rearrange itself to make the right things happen for you. After you have asked for what you desire, give thanks and trust that it will occur.”
Mantra: “I trust in the magic of life to fulfill my desires.”

The guidebook tells us that reversed cards or cards that fall out when shuffling “mean that you need to pay more attention to the issue connected to the message in the card” and adds, “It does not automatically come with a negative interpretation.” (emphasis mine)


APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

Printed on sturdy stock, the cards measure 3-3/4 x 5-1/2 inches – too large to “poker shuffle” (which I don’t recommend anyway) but easy enough to shuffle using other methods. The artwork benefits from this size, as well as from the lack of borders.

Card backs are pink and yellow design, reversible except for the publisher's stamp, which is barely noticeable along the side near the bottom of each card.

The booklet is sturdy, with a lovely full-color glossy cover. Illustrations inside the booklet are grayscale. Text is black on white stock, serif font, easy to read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a Lifestyle Coach and Psychic Medium, Gaye Guthrie is no stranger to the world of magic and miracles, and she is well qualified to inspire hope, comfort, and the courage to believe in yourself and follow your dreams. She is the founder of _Angel Power Exclusive_, whose mission it is “to inspire, uplift, nurture and empower the human spirit through the medium of Angels.”




ART 

Quoting from Josephine Wall’s web site: “From childhood Josephine has had a passion for light and colour, fantasy and visual story telling. . . Much of the inspiration for her mystical images comes from her close observation of nature and her interest in its preservation. Though she often strives to impart a message in her scenes, she also hopes to inspire in her audience a personal journey into the magical world of their own imagination.”

The art is almost always a make-or-break feature for me when I look at decks, and Josephine Wall’s artwork is gorgeous and so much more than “a pretty face.” Each card provides a wealth of detail, color, and imagination. From the rich, moody purple, blue, and indigo of the “Moving Forward” card to the cheery gold, yellow, and green of the “Vacation” card, Wall uses her palette with great skill, weaving into each image a story worth meditating upon.

To see more of Josephine Wall's art, visit her web site: http://www.josephinewall.co.uk/


In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

In the Dream – Reading Tarot in a Church

For this series here at Tarot notes, I describe a dream I had recently and devise a Tarot spread to explore possible interpretations.

Here is a description of a recent dream:
I am in a church building, where preparations are under way for a large event, with a lot of different activities for people to do. As I walk through the building, I happen upon a man and a woman talking about reading Tarot cards at the event. I recognize the woman as a well-known Tarot reader. I know her name, and repeat it to myself several times so that I can look it up on the internet when I wake up (so in some sense, I am aware that I’m dreaming).
I am surprised that Tarot readers are being featured at a church event, as many churches consider Tarot cards evil or, at the very least, inappropriate for a church setting. I want to talk to the woman Tarot reader about possibly participating in the Tarot reading, but she is focused on her discussion with the man, and then turns and leaves the room without noticing me.
I follow her, still hoping to speak with her, but when I find her, she is standing on a small stage or platform at one end of a large room. She is chanting or singing in a language I do not understand. As she chants/sings, her voice separates into two or maybe more notes at once, creating beautiful harmony. She seems to be consecrating the space in which she stands, to prepare it for the readings.
I am amazed, and I realize that she must be at a much higher level in her spiritual journey than I am, and that I am not at a level where I could "share the stage" with her at the event.
Just then, a priest (judging from his attire) enters the church through the front door. He crosses himself and murmurs religious phrases that seem designed for protection against the energy invoked by the Tarot reader. As he enters the building, the Tarot reader hurries out. It is obvious they do not want to be in the same space together, yet they don’t appear to be enemies or interested in keeping the other one out. This intrigues me. I wonder how this is going to affect their ability to both be involved in the same event in the same place at the same time. 
I wake up.

Below are the layout and the questions I will be asking the Mystic Dreamer Tarot by Heidi Darras, accompanied by The Dreamer’s Journal by Barbara Moore (Llewellyn Worldwide):


1) What type of energy will help me interpret and utilize the message(s) of this dream?
2) What might the church building represent in this dream?
3) What might the male Tarot reader represent in this dream?
4) What might the female Tarot reader represent in this dream?
5) What might be the purpose of her chanting/singing in the dream?
6) What might the priest represent in this dream?
7) What might it mean that I don’t have a chance to talk to the Tarot reader in the dream?
8) What message might the dream as a whole have for me?

And here is my understanding of what the Mystic Dreamer Tarot has to say:


1) What type of energy will help me interpret and utilize the message(s) of this dream?
FIVE OF PENTACLES – The suit of Pentacles usually points to energy of a physical or material nature, but can also refer to values, security, and power. On the Five of Pentacles, we see people outside a church door – fascinating, given the setting of my dream. Fives often represent difficulties, struggles, and hard times.

The people on the card linger outside the door, unable or unwilling to seek help that might lie within the church. They seem to have given up, to believe that nothing they do will improve their situation. One may be injured or ill. The other’s posture suggests pride or an attempt to shut people out. This is the image I need to keep in mind to help me interpret and utilize the message(s) of the dream.


2) What might the church building represent in this dream?
SIX OF WANDS – The central figure on this card is a somewhat bedraggled, armor-clad knight on horseback. (When considered as a reference to “the church building,” I immediately think of The Crusades --  a series of intermittent Papal sanctioned military campaigns beginning in the late 11th-century.) Although he has been through a tough fight, the knight on the Six of Wands has emerged victorious, which should result in satisfaction or happiness. Yet the card seems dark and heavy to me in general rather than joyous or triumphant. The color black can symbolize mystery, grief, justice, absorption, death, or emptiness.

The raven perched on the back of the horse is associated with death, loss, and war in western Europe, but widely venerated elsewhere. Perhaps the card is saying that the church building (or the Church in general) is viewed differently (negatively or positively) by different cultures and groups. Similarly, opinions concerning the conduct of crusaders have varied from laudatory to highly critical.

3) What might the male Tarot reader represent in this dream?
THREE OF WANDS – Interestingly, this card features a woman rather than a man. The energy of the suit of Wands, however, is masculine or active. In addition, the Three suggests the completion of an initial stage of something, which required action. A crescent moon, mostly hidden, hangs low in the sky, reinforcing the female energy of the card. In the dream, I am not especially impressed by the male Tarot reader. There is a sense that he may be more advanced in the craft of reading the cards than I am, but he is not the equal of the woman Tarot reader in the dream. In the Three of Wands perhaps we see that he represents the initiation of the first stage of something – Wands are symbolically masculine – with the understanding that female energy is also needed to move toward the next stage, toward completion, even as the crescent moon “evolves” into a full moon over time.

4) What might the female Tarot reader represent in this dream?
THE HIGH PRIESTESS – This is the first card in the reading that makes obvious, immediate, and absolute sense to me. Clearly, in the dream, the female Tarot reader is of “Major Arcana” importance. If I were to choose any one card to represent the female Tarot reader in my dream, it would be The High Priestess. I think what strikes me most at this point is that The High Priestess is often about one’s own spiritual journey, searching within oneself for wisdom, using one’s intuition to gain understanding. I feel this card is telling me that not only *can* I be like the woman in my dream, I am already like her. She is already a part of me, a part that I need to explore and comprehend.


5) What might be the purpose of her chanting/singing in the dream?
THE DEVIL – Wow. This one, I didn’t see coming. One thing that strikes me right away is that when people chant or sing, we are releasing something, sending something out into the world, setting something free – not just notes or sounds, but feelings and other aspects of ourselves. The Devil card is often about being enslaved or held captive, or certainly believing that we are under someone or something else’s control. I am encouraged here, I think, to explore what I am holding back or keeping inside me, trapped, when I need to set it free, thereby setting myself free. What restricts and restrains me? Why and how have I allowed that to happen?

I notice there is a raven on this card. As I mentioned before (when discussing the Six of Wands), ravens often represent death, loss, and war in western Europe, but are widely venerated elsewhere. Perhaps there is something in my life which I have been viewing in a negative or oppressive way, when I could just as easily consider more positive connotations and meaning for my life. Two ravens represent “mind and memory” in Norse mythology. Ravens are seen as solar, oracular symbols, as guides who warn of danger, and as gods.

6) What might the priest represent in this dream?
TEN OF WANDS – My first thought upon seeing this card is that the priest represents the burdensome nature of organized religion – or, I should say, my experience with organized religion. The figure on the card struggles to carry his large bundle of wands as he staggers across a field, probably unaware of his surroundings, totally focused on keeping himself upright and moving. Yet the Ten of Wands also represents the imminent end of a burdensome journey, a victory or achievement of a goal, a time to put down the burden and “lighten up.” Certainly that resonates with the priest’s belief in salvation at the “end of the road.”

7) What might it mean that I don’t have a chance to talk to the Tarot reader in the dream?
PAGE OF SWORDS – Curious and sharp thinking, this Page has lots of questions and doesn’t hesitate to ask them. She would certainly want to ask the female Tarot reader (The High Priestess) many, many questions and be disappointed if prevented from doing so. I have a mental image of the young Page of Swords sitting at the feet of The High Priestess, eager to learn anything she can. The fact that I don’t get to talk to the woman in the dream suggests that I remain a “Page” (inexperienced, young, immature, not fully informed or developed). This Page is persistent, however, and I think I will continue to learn and seek resources for the answers I need.


8) What message might the dream as a whole have for me?
PAGE OF PENTACLES – Another Page, perhaps reinforcing the idea that I am still in a learning or “student” role, reinforcing the message that I need to continue in that way along my path. Here we return to the suit of Pentacles, where we began the reading, focusing perhaps on the physical, material world but also on values, security, and power. I think perhaps this suit also reminds me that in addition to mental and spiritual activity, I can pursue the knowledge and experience I seek in the physical world (the guidebook by Barbara Moore mentions “structured learning, classes, workshops, and programs”). Because the Page can represent “someone in a position of servitude or under someone’s control” (Moore), I also need to ask who or what I serve in this life and who or what might control me (a question also prompted by The Devil card).

* ~ *

I came to this reading with some preconceived ideas about what the dream might mean. I was raised along traditional Christian religious lines. Although I entertained a few questions and felt open to other spiritual paths in my teens, I became heavily entrenched in the beliefs instilled in childhood in my twenties and continued to try to fully embrace those beliefs into my mid-thirties. I say “try” because internally I struggled and questioned and was dissatisfied with what I had been taught and told.

From my late thirties to the present day, I have been open to a wide range of possibilities in terms of spirituality. I don’t feel a need to label or “pigeonhole” myself, or to sign on for a complete set of anyone’s religious tenants. I am one of those people who exemplifies Tolkien’s words: “Not all who wander are lost.” Upon awakening from the dream, I thought it probably represented the mix of spiritual notions and possibilities swirling inside me (with the church building representing my spiritual or religious foundation in this life). Within me, ideas and beliefs that are barely compatible (or downright incompatible) surface, subside, and resurface. Clearly the dream shows me the importance of the Feminine in my life (the female Tarot reader).

The question is: Can I reconcile or at least permit these factions to coexist at my “church-based event”? Or are they mutually exclusive? How does any attempt to reconcile them affect my own spiritual path and the possibility of growing and maturing along that path?