Thursday, February 11, 2016

Chinese Year of the Fire Monkey

Chinese Year of the Fire Monkey
February 8, 2016 - January 27, 2017


Here at Tarot Notes, I often write about astrology, another keen interest of mine. Mostly I write about Western astrology and the zodiac signs in that system. However, since the Chinese Year of the Fire Monkey began on February 8 of this year, I thought it might be fun to look into that a bit.

Unlike Western astrology, where we have twelve zodiac signs each year, in Chinese astrology we have just one sign that covers a 12-month period. Notice I didn’t say it covers “a year.” You see, the Chinese New Year does not start on January 1 like the Western New Year. It can begin anywhere from late January to mid-February – so people born in January or February need to be extra-careful about determining their Chinese zodiac sign.


In other words, those placemats you see in Chinese restaurants can be misleading for people with January or February birthdays. And it’s not 100% correct to say that 2016 (the entire year) is the Year of the Fire Monkey. This year (2016), the Chinese Year of the Fire Monkey begins on February 8 and ends on January 27, 2017. Therefore, only people born during that time frame are Fire Monkey people. A baby born between February 19, 2015, and February 7, 2016, is a Wood Goat (or Sheep or Ram, depending on what you decide to call it), NOT a Fire Monkey.

photo by Zanna Starr
Now that we have that straight, let’s look at how these signs are derived.

In Chinese astrology there are five elements: jin (metal), mu (wood), shui (water), huo (fire), tu (earth); and twelve animal signs: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

I’ve already explained that the animal signs cover a 12-month period beginning in late January or mid-February. Each animal sign is further divided into the five elements. Here is the breakdown for Monkey years:

Metal Monkey (1920, 1980)
Wood Monkey (1944, 2004)
Water Monkey (1932, 1992)
Fire Monkey (1956, 2016)
Earth Monkey (1908, 1968)

There is a whole lot more to Chinese astrology than this, but my purpose here is simply to give a very rough, broad overview to help my readers understand a little more about it.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cycle of the Year Reading

One of my Tarot students over at _The Magical Circle School_ used this spread for an assignment, and I realized that I had never done it for myself. With my interest in astrology, I knew I would enjoy the zodiac sign designations for the twelve positions.

The spread is called “The Cycle of the Year – Variation 1” and it can be found in the Complete Book of Tarot Spreads by Evelin Burger and Johannes Fiebig (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.) The positional definitions in this spread are based on the Sun Sign “Mottos” used by many astrologers, they are as follows:

  • Aries: I AM
  • Taurus: I HAVE
  • Gemini: I THINK
  • Cancer: I FEEL
  • Leo: I WILL
  • Virgo: I ANALYZE
  • Libra: I BALANCE
  • Scorpio: I DESIRE
  • Sagittarius: I SEE
  • Capricorn: I USE
  • Aquarius: I KNOW
  • Pisces: I BELIEVE

For this reading, I am using the Elemental Tarot with artwork by Marco Turini (Lo Scarabeo) Here is the layout:

Positional Definitions

(1) The Aries in me. What I am and how I am.
(2) The Taurus in me. What I have and how I own it.
(3) The Gemini in me. What I think and how I think.
(4) The Cancer in me. What I feel and how I feel it.
(5) The Leo in me. What I desire and how I choose it.
(6) The Virgo in me. What I analyze and how I resolve it.
(7) The Libra in me. What I balance and how I balance it.
(8) The Scorpio in me. What I demand and how I demand it.
(9) The Sagittarius in me. What I see and how I see it.
(10) The Capricorn in me. What I gain and how I benefit from it.
(11) The Aquarius in me. What I know and how I know it.
(12) The Pisces in me. What I believe and how I believe it.

I shuffled the deck thoroughly, then drew 12 cards in a row right off the top. Here we go!



(1) The Aries in me. What I am and how I am.
JUSTICE (Trump 8) – Very nice. Look at that fiery red dress and confident posture. The woman on this card is quite sure of what she is and how she is. What I am and how I am reflects the Law of Reciprocity – as I give, so I receive, always maintaining a balanced flow of energy. Through my actions, I am in control. This is a very “Aries” attitude, I must say.

(2) The Taurus in me. What I have and how I own it.
SIX OF CHALICES – In this deck, the Six of Chalices is the card of “Experienced Love.” In my past and present (and hopefully future) I do have love (experienced love) and I own it by practicing it and dedicating myself to constant improvement.

(3) The Gemini in me. What I think and how I think.
SEVEN OF PENTACLES – My thoughts and manner of thinking involve a quiet, steady “nurturing” quality that allows me to think carefully and evaluate things without rushing. This card is called “Protecting a seed,” and that is what I do with ideas that come to me.


(4) The Cancer in me. What I feel and how I feel it.
FOUR OF CHALICES – A deeply “feeling” card comes forward in this position, one that is called “Searching love” in this deck. There is indeed always a sense of “searching” for me when it comes to what I feel and how I feel it. It’s a process, a journey, a voyage for me. The woman on this card holds a flame in her hand, and the Little White Book advises, “Trust the fire of your spirit to lead you to the fountain that will fill your heart.”

(5) The Leo in me. What I desire and how I choose it.
THE MAGICIAN (Trump 1) – A very nice “take charge” kind of card that fits well with that Leo energy. I have to quote the LWB again on this one: “The energy of the Universe surrounds you, skills dwell within you. Be bold and use what is available.” No matter what I desire, I can choose to pursue it, knowing that I have what is needed to succeed.

(6) The Virgo in me. What I analyze and how I resolve it.
QUEEN OF PENTACLES – I tend to analyze that which exists in the physical, material world. I resolve such matters by using a practical, down-to-earth approach. I study how something works or why it works the way it does, in an effort to make it work better or to improve my situation (or someone else’s). Interestingly, Virgo is the sign of Health and Service. In this deck, the Queen of Pentacles is not alone. Her companion is there to emphasize the effectiveness of sharing. I think perhaps this references the way I like to exchange ideas and possibilities with other people as part of my analysis and resolution.


(7) The Libra in me. What I balance and how I balance it.
JUDGMENT (Trump 20) – It seems that I balance things based on whether I receive a “clear call from the Universe“ to do so. I seek balance at a higher level, in a broader sense than what many people might consider doing. I use my own judgment to bring things into balance, in a way that makes sense to me.

(8) The Scorpio in me. What I demand and how I demand it.
NINE OF SWORDS – What I demand is wisdom. I want to know and understand the meaning of things, the purpose of things, the whys and wherefores. The LWB for this deck tells me that “Wisdom must be earned. It is a reward, not a right.” I must “demand” wisdom only after  I have earned it.

(9) The Sagittarius in me. What I see and how I see it.
NINE OF WANDS – What I see is that I can only achieve change through perseverance through adversity, by standing firm and staying the course. I see this through the eyes of one who sometimes feels like I stand alone against forces that want to prevent me from achieving my goals or finding what I seek. I cannot relent or retreat, but must keep my eyes focused on the destination I choose.


(10) The Capricorn in me. What I gain and how I benefit from it.
KNIGHT OF CHALICES – The Knight of Chalices indicates that I can gain something that “thrills my heart,” that quenches my thirst and satisfies my emotional hunger. The benefits are obvious. I must make my way through rivers or lake of emotion if I want to gain that precious result.

(11) The Aquarius in me. What I know and how I know it.
THREE OF PENTACLES – What I know is that our spirits need nurturing and care just as the fruit and flowers of the earth require nourishment in order to grow. I know this because three little Earth elementals whispered it in my ear. Or perhaps because I have seen enough of life and the world to know this is so.

(12) The Pisces in me. What I believe and how I believe it.
TWO OF SWORDS – What an interesting image on this card: Two Air elementals hover on either side of a pendulum, possibly to help someone who has a question. What I believe is that we can receive clear guidance from Spirit when we are faced with choices and decisions.

This has been quite enjoyable for me and has given me a lot to think about!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Old English Tarot: Ace 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
Ace of Cups
by Helen Howell


The Old English Ace of Cups is not unlike its traditional brother the Rider Waite as they both show us a cup that is overflowing. If we remember that the Aces of the suits are just the beginning, they signify the potential of what the suit is about. Cups of course are the element Water and expressed through emotions, feelings, imagination and inspiration.

In the old English we see a cup that is full with ripe grapes, some dangle over the edge. There are also green leaves nestled in between the grapes. Green is a colour that often signifies expansion, growth, potential balance and creativity. The grapes, being fruit also symbolise for us abundance, but the pips inside which are the seeds, go on to represent new beginnings, the potential of something to become more.

When we look at this depiction then and keep in mind what the suit represents, then it gives us a message of a fullness of emotions and feelings. It indicates to us that a joyful time could be ahead, or it could simply be saying that one needs to understand the way they are feeling about something because those feelings are filling us right now. Because of the potential aspect of this card along with the colour green, it can indicate that a creative time is about to emerge that is full of potential.

All in all the Ace is a nice card to have especially from its positive point of view, as it tells us that a good time is ahead.

LWB says: Abundance, perfection, joy, fullness beauty, favourable outlook.
Reversed: Change, instability, unrequited love

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lenormand Horoscopes for February 2016

As I mentioned before, I know I’m not alone in doing Lenormand “Horoscopes,” but I do hope these will be fun and perhaps even useful for you!

This time, I am using the Freshly Squeezed Lenormand by Jean Hamilton-Fford (self-published). To read my review of this lovely deck, click HERE.

I realize that the Lenormand cards are meant to be read in “sets” rather than single cards. However, I am going to proceed, just to see what comes of it. The “Significant Numbers” listed at the end of each Horoscope are based on the numbers on the cards. These could refer to dates within the month or something entirely different.

I shuffled the deck and then drew cards 1-12 off the top.


Aries: MESSENGER (1)
In February, a messenger (probably a man) brings news to you, perhaps delivered by Air Mail. This message may give you pause for thought, so take time to think and reflect before reacting or responding. Significant number: 1.

Taurus: MESSAGE (27)
A letter, email, or fax arrives this month, requiring your attention and deliberation. The overall effect on your life depends on how you handle it. Significant numbers: 27, 9

Gemini: BLOCKS (21)
This month you are confronted by a significant obstacle or “block” in your path. It’s likely to be bigger or meaner than you imagined. Rely on your friends to make the best of a difficult situation. Significant numbers: 21, 3

Cancer: ANXIETY (12)
See that loud wallpaper? It represents the way that worries or anxieties can overwhelm us. Have you done something wrong? Do you fear that you have? This month, you are being challenged to see the positive side of things that seem to go wrong. A telephone call may play a role in this. Significant numbers: 12, 3.


Leo: MISFORTUNE (7)
Oh my. This card shows a black cat under a ladder, reaching for a magpie; a cracked mirror (7 years bad luck); an upside down horseshoe; a fallen broom; a snake crossing over the broom; and the number 13. Clearly, this is NOT your lucky month. Don’t place any bets or tempt fate, if you can avoid it.  Significant number: 7

Virgo: CHILD (13)
In February, your focus is likely to be on a child or young woman. It’s time to free your inhibitions and enjoy life! A new beginning is on the horizon, and you can proceed with confidence. Significant numbers: 13, 4

Libra: CLOUDS (6)
Simon and Garfunkel said it best: “Cloudy – the sky is gray and white and cloudy”. What does it mean? The key is to “look at clouds from both sides” (like Judy Collins) and evaluate your situation accordingly. Significant number: 6

Scorpio: WOMAN (29)
If you are a woman, this card could refer to you, to your own status as wife, mother, daughter, or sister. For both men and women, the month of February brings an emphasis on what it’s like to be female or perhaps a need for attention towars a specific female in your life. Significant numbers: 29, 11, 2


Sagittarius: RINGS (25)
A partnership is front and center this month, whether it involves marriage, a business arrangement, or friendship. What you do and how you act will have a bearing on whether you experience happiness or disappointment in this area. Perhaps it is time to make a commitment to a significant other? Significant numbers: 25, 7

Capricorn: LOSS (23)
Whether the loss occurs in the area of health, finances, or property, it may be hard to take. Along with loss, however, you have an opportunity to experience a transformation this month – to leave behind one stage or phase of your life and begin a new phase or stage. Significant numbers: 23, 5

Aquarius: MEETING PLACE (20)
In February, a gathering for business or pleasure takes center stage for you. This is a place of possibilities and opportunities, friendship and love. It’s group activity at its best. Significant numbers: 20, 2.

Pisces: FISH (34)
Well you have to love Fish showing up for Pisces in February! And success and good fortune sound good any time of the year. Accept the fact that some of the success implied by this card may not be immediate. Even so, there should be clear signs of it this month. Significant numbers: 34, 7