Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Reading

Decided to do a simple little spread reading for the end of the year/start of the new year. Short and sweet is all you really need sometimes. (That and limited time but you know, details details.)
So two cards: the first in reflection on 2011, the second in anticipation of 2012.

So in reflection on 2011 we have here the Knight of Coins. In a lot of ways, this makes sense. The coins suit tends to reflect on the material, the physical, the external and concrete, and on this aspect of things at least, 2011 was a pretty good year, a year of some movement and progress, which is what Knights tend to represent. I did some traveling, I started graduate school, I moved to a new city, and I changed as a result my  living situation from one I didn't particularly enjoy to one I feel quite good/free/comfortable in. I even managed to find myself a part time job towards the very end of the year. So comfortable, yes, calm. The end in ending well in that regard at least. The city in the background, this new continuing chapter in my life.

And overall too, thematically - the knight of coins represents, to me at least, a kind of solid, enduring if not particularly exciting progress. The card of trudging on through life even if it isn't particularly exciting, of yes go on move forward, reliability and responsibility on going on because you should, you must. This knight isn't ruled by impulses, emotions, whatever is going on with all that. His feet are firmly rooted to the ground. His armor is well made and appropriately. He grasps that pentacle coin, props it up. He make progress because he knows its the reasonable thing to do, because he follows through on commitments. And again, on that level...I went from living with my parents (a situation not at all to my liking) and working full time in a job I didn't like and feeling intellectually unchallenged and frustrated, to starting grad school, moving to a new city, succeeding in my first semester of that, own apartment, etc etc. Not that this year has been good on all levels but...looking at it from this perspective...cannot say progress has not been made, of a sort. A reminder, this, to look on that positive side. What I have managed to do. For me personally, this card very much has that as an underlying meaning: that you can keep trudging on forward even when so much within you is screaming that you cannot, that it is too hard: back straight, one foot after the other, forward motion, slowly perhaps, with difficulty but nonetheless: forward motion.

Now in anticipation of the next year we have another coins card - seven of coins, an obelisk standing firmly in the ground. The suit of the material, and this card - the foundation is there. No need to make drastic changes, but rather focus on working on what you have started, on what you have. The obelisk is covered with coins, each representing various alchemical metals. As they go upwards they increase in purity, until at the top you have gold, considered to be the purest metal in alchemy, the goal, success, and wreathed with laurels. This is what you are aiming for, as you grope your way higher and higher, clawing your way up that obelisk. Transform, transmute, change. Distill away the imperfections, problems that weight you down. Aim higher yes, aim for better, improvements. Not radical changes, again, but small and steady, improving on what you already have. The same outdoor landscape, the same physical background, but try to have some goals, that laurel-wreathed golden goal to aim for, to grasp for. Try for positive changes, realistic ones, a progression, a ;adder, upwards movement, building and building on what you have. Especially physical realm, material realm: improvements here are concrete and inarguable - they can give you something to hold onto when other, more tenuous things fall apart. Concrete improvements and the promise of more. Career wise, school wise, living situation wise - how can you move forward even more in the new year? Get better. Aim for something and work for it. Successes here, even small ones, give you a reason, forward momentum overall.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Favorite Majors: The High Priestess

So, on to the third of the majors, then. In many ways, the High Priestess is for me quite the opposite of the Magician - visually, its often on of the most striking cards in the deck, a card I check out almost as soon as I open a new deck. Many, many decks I have include a high priestess card I quite like. But in readings...this one is often tricky. I sometimes still struggle to make sense of it in context.

I guess, really, my relationship with these cards is very much connected to the meanings...the Magician I understand intellectually. I can look at a card an appreciate how the symbolism connects with the meaning, explain various aspects of the card, analyze, synthesize, etc etc. With the High Priestess...visually, intuitively, instinctively I KNOW what this card is about, but when I try to organize those thoughts into words I...struggle. Resort to keywords, base meaning's harder, to really...quantify a gut level feeling.

For that reason, my explanations for these favorites will be briefer, I think. My favorite High Priestess cards are very much cards that just...I look at them and say Yes, Yes this is IT exactly.

II. High Priestess

Again, I must refer to the Sun and Moon tarot. That deck really just is full of delight for me. This High Priestess...It's just perfect, as far as my conception of this major is concerned. It has the basic traditional symbolism...the book, the pillars, the water of intuition swirling at her feet. I love the gauzy dress, and the facelessness really adds to the effect of the card for me. But the dusky background is what seals the deal. I just love love love the black silhouetted palms and the crescent moon against that beautiful purple-pink dusk and...yeah. This card really speaks to me.

Runner Up: 
I'm trying very hard to be disciplined with this favorites exercise and really stick to one favorite and one runner up for each of the majors, but in this case...I really just couldn't choose. These two are quite different - the Victorian Romantic (Russian, in my case, but same image) has a well, romantic mystery to her, with the roman columns and the smoke and just such a...classy old world feel to it. Whereas the primal, ancient, spooky even (the eyes...) and yet so appropriate. I just can't choose between them as a runner up.

So yeah, in this case, the basics stick to traditional, but visually, instinctively these cards just speak to me.
And in the future I will try to stick to the only two cards rule better :]

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My most favorite Deck!

So...whether you are a tarot collector/enthusiast/reader with 2 decks, or 20, or 200, when it comes down to it, everyone has to have a favorite deck, right? The one that calls to you just a bit more than the rest; the one that gives you the really great readings; the one whose art just utterly enchants. For me, that deck, the most favorite of favorites, the one that I did indeed grab before anything else when firefighters broke down my door due to a fire in another apartment on my floor a few months ago is... Tarot Nusantara!

Not everyone has heard of it. It is, sadly, not so easy to get ahold of, and certainly not published by any of the major US or European publishers of tarot decks.

It's a pretty straightforward RWS clone designed and published in Indonesia and not so easy to get outside of Indonesia. I was lucky enough to find a fellow Aeclectic member from Singapore who was willing to sell me a copy. It was, at the time, the most I'd paid for a tarot deck, and to me at least, worth every penny.

I simply ADORE this deck. I've never been a huge fan of the standard old RWS. It's growing on me, I admit. Planning on getting a Pamela Coleman Smith Commemorative deck eventually, and also hopefully the Hoi Polloi but...for a long time I didn't like it at all, didn't connect with the images, just found it...boring, compared to so many other decks out there...

This clone, though? I really cannot express how deeply it appeals to me. The Indonesian art? The colors? The textures of the clothes? The awesome backgrounds? The way it reworks each RWS image in the new style but keeps them properly recognizable, takes out all the Christian symbolism which, while I intellectually get the importance of, intuitiveness has always been a turn of?

There is just so much for me to love about this deck.

I love the size of it. It's more or less playing card size; a bit bigger. Actually a bit bigger than the Silicon Dawn, so really not that small. For me, ideal-size. I'm of the camp that prefers smaller decks that are easy to handle than larger decks that are 'easier to see' but unwieldy...

Not that it is ALL quite...ideal. I wouldn't quite complain about the card stock. It feels really nice in the hands, and shuffles well. Certainly preferable to the super stiff lamination of some USG decks...

However, it is, I would say...delicate. The fronts are thinly laminated...the laminate actually has a really interesting/nice texture. But the backs are un-laminated. Which is a bit...concerning, shall we say. A spill on this deck would be a disaster. Creases easier-than-average to obtain. I've been careful as can be but...I like to carry around whatever deck I'm currently working with in my bag most of the time, because hey, you never know, but this does make me nervous.

But yeah. It's quite easy to read, being a RWS clone and all, and I'd imagine quite easy to learn with - by the time I got it I was well beyond that initial learning the meanings of cards phases, but yanno.

It also came with a nice book, of which I can understand none because it is all in Bahasa Indonesia, lol. Nice novelty item, though.

The titles on majors and courts are also in Bahasa Indonesia, which is a definite plus for me because, language-obsessed thing that I am, I just love it when my decks have TITLES IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES, and especially LANGUAGES I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

So yeah. This is hands down most treasured deck in my collection. It makes me sad that it is so hard to get because uh, I think it totally should be widely available for all!

That would also make it easier for me to procure a much-desired second copy, lol. I live in fear of the insanity that would ensue if anything happened to the one I have :D

repeating message

It's funny, really, the way tarot tends to tell you exactly what you need to hear. This is one of the reasons I actually find doing general/non-specific readings and draws to be an interesting/worthwhile exercise. When you ask a specific question, you get a specific answer (assuming the question was appropriately phrased and answerable, that is.) When you just let the cards say what they will...they do, haha.

Sometimes what they tell you isn't what you want to hear. Sometimes, you're fine with hearing it, and you can recognize the rightness of the message. But...follow through? Not so much.

Like good advice from a well meaning friend. Thank you, I appreciate your input you say, nod, mean it. And then you just...continue on as it were.

And then the message shows up again. In another deck, and another, months later, somewhat differently 'phrased' but the same basic meaning, yes.

Like this, last night, was trying to draw cards for a random tarot-based creative writing exercise idea I had and yet these were so very clearly a message for me I couldn't do anything else with them. I love this Judgement card, by the by. The universe is playing her jazz, calling you up - look at all those souls listening, following the rhythm, making the choice to move on, move forward move upwards toward bigger and better things and where are you, exactly? Listening to those notes on the ground but not feeling them in your bones, your soul, not really. Ignoring because its easier. Because to listen to the call you have to make a choice. You already know what's working in your life and what isn't. Judgement is CHOOSING to do something about it. Choosing what to take with you in that climb higher and what to leave behind.

What could you have in this life, if you were willing to make that decision, to take that great leap, to strip away everything that bogs you down, that smothers you under a thick heap and just climb, naked, the essential soul-you, beyond it? What could you do? What could you attain? Who could you be?

Anyone, anything, everything. Whatever you could hold in your grip, whatever you wanted to pursue - well, within reason of course, but the possibilities, comparatively speaking.

It's all a matter of potential, isn't it? How much potential do you have? What could you accomplish if you had the energy and motivation and power and confidence to really grasp at those opportunities, those maybes, those dreams?

And in whose power is it to change all that, to start something new? Who can make that decision? Who?
You, always you, only you. It is in you r hands, your clutched fingertips the coins, to have, to hold, to drop. You ears listening, your hands trembling and what will you do? How long will this go on for? You, you, you. No one else can do anything for you here - it is all YOU and you know what's called for.

Repetitive messages...
But now shrinks the place where you stand:
Where now, stripped by shade, will you go?
Upward. Grope your way up.
Thinner you grow, less knowable, finer.
Finer: a thread by which
it wants to be lowered, the star:
to float farther down, down below
where it sees itself gleam: in the swell
of wandering words.
*poem excerpt from Speak, You Also by Paul Celan 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

christmas rumination

So put away the Spanish tarot for now, still working with Silicon Dawn and now also with Robert Place's Alchemical Renewed. A friend from tarot group lent me the book that goes with it (since I bought it deck only) so I can actually study/understand all the alchemical symbolism now and thus get all the cards, so that's what I'm doing over the holidays.

Anyway, drew a card today. A message, a thought, something to ponder and meditate on this Christmas. What should I keep in mind What should I think about?

Interesting card to draw, and not necessarily expected. It makes sense, though. Food for thought on two levels. On the one hand, more broadly/generally speaking - this holiday has largely turned into, in our society, a holiday about gifts and food, about unwrapping presents and stuffing faces and dinner tables with families we may or may not love or be able to stand spending time with and this is like...yes, of course, enjoy that, but keep in mind those who...may not have that much. The privileged of a warm place to stay, family that cares/they communicate with, money for gifts, etc. Perspective. Holiday charity giving. All that. A good reminder, sure.

For me personally, I also see in this card...well let's just say holidays, and this holiday specifically, is not something I am terribly enthusiastic about. I don't like Christmas music or decorations or seeing Santa's everywhere, I have a small family and we don't do very much which is a relief because I have no enthusiasm for holiday festivities and...I have a tendency to just grumble and whine a lot, at least in my head (because I have the good sense to spare people my nonsense at least, LOL). So I find things wrong: I am bored, I want to go back to my place in DC, these lights are annoying, this and that is tedious and blah blah. But really, there is so much that could be worse. Worse for me personally. Health-wise, money-wise, social-wise...there is so much that I could have less of, so many ways this holiday could really be bad. I personally know several people who, objectively, have much less of a nice holiday than I; there are so many people I don't know in life circumstances, for whatever reason, that make today...well. Perspective. Perspective. Keep it in mind.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Favorite Majors: The Magician

So continuing on with this whole little excercise/series thing. Next up is the Magician, card number one in the major arcana. Funny thing about this one: in going through my decks and trying to decided which cards to choose...I realized that, though this is actually one of the majors I feel most comfortable with, it's not a card that tends to stand out. Like, none of the Magician cards in my most favorite decks tend to stand out to me, and it actually took me a lot of browsing through my decks to find the two Magician cards I thought best represented the concepts and appealed to me visually...

Without further ado/tl;dr then...

I. Magician

I made a very concerted effort to procure this deck when I was in Sweden, as I'd admired the art for a while and the chance to have a real Swedish edition with Swedish language subtitles certainly appealed. To be honest, other than giving it a much-needed trim, haven't gotten around to reading much with the deck yet. However, be that as it is, this Magician really really does appeal to me. I love the art style of this deck overall, and I feel this card does a great job in incorporating some of the traditional RWS aspects of the Magician card (body position, alter etc) with its own style and just...the lightening, the animal symbolism, the pentacles on the garment, just the general atmosphere of this card...

I look at it and I can FEEL the power of this Magician, that sense of taking control, getting things done by force of will, self-realization. It's really a great representation of the major, methinks. Also, the colors and just the exotic feel of this, which is really this deck throughout...very nice.

Runner Up:
I kind of suprised myself in choosing this as the runner up best Magician. The Fey is another deck I've gotten, trimmed, but haven't worked with much yet. I like it: it's light-hearted, fun, pretty. But...I really didn't expect it to be the source of a FAVORITE card, to be honest. This one though...It's not super traditional, to be sure, but...that's kind of what makes it work so well for me. It's a bit of a different aspect of the Magician: here he is, confident in his powers, his showy ability, look what I can do - that kind of arrogance that comes with precociousness. He's experimenting on mice, living creatures, and while yes, it does show how talented he also shows the limitations of the Magician. It is, after all, number one in the arcana, the begining of the journey. There's a certain selfishness to this card, the charlatan aspects, willingness to decieve, a self-centered outlook that limits what he can achieve: he isn't thinking about the effect of his magic on the mice, doesn't consider whether what he is doing is ethical. He just goes. Has he considered all the consequences, what could go wrong?

In other words, this could open up a lot of deep/interesting interpretations in a reading. Also, the art, like the rest of the deck, is quirky, fun, appeals to the childish fantasy-lover in me, so yes. This be my second pick. :]

Monday, December 19, 2011

pondering self-perception...

So this card was drawn as part of a larger reading i did while killing some time in a coffee shop the other night, but it was the part that stuck with me most, so figured i'd post about it a bit here.

It came up in a spread, in the position with the question of How do I see myself?

The funny thing is - well, Silicon Dawn is an interesting deck, in that it comes with 99 cards rather than the standard 78, and there is lots of room for a reader to decide what to keep when reading with it and what to take out. For me, being a bit conservative with such things...I kept the three fools and, after some consideration, the 99s, but nothing else. Even these I almost took out also but...there was just something about them, especially this one that asked to be kept in...

And the first time one comes up in a reading, it's this one, and for...well, this.

I knew immediately that it was appropriate though. Almost laughed. This deck, in fact, has a very remarkable ability to make me laugh by being so bluntly on-point.

Yes, yes this is me in so many ways. Perhaps that's what drew me to the card when I first saw it, subconsciously. First consider the figure: a little black creature thing, young-looking, odd. There are times, moods when...if you asked me to visually represent how I felt about myself/experienced my interaction with the world...this would be
a good approximation of that indeed. Means well, harmless, but not quite appropriate, or proper, void of color, stark contrast and...

Then there is the balloon, the longing focus on things lost, floating away, things that are gone let go of accidentally, focus on the past, on losing more, and more. It's actually been a weird thematic thing in my thinking lately...

       The art of losing isn't hard to master;
       so many things seem filled with the intent
       to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

       Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
       of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
       The art of losing isn't hard to master...

And then of course there are the rockets, the sense of impending doom, disaster, the sense that no matter what you do it isn't good enough, doesn't matter in the end, the tendency towards fatalism, towards seeing everything in the worst possible light, and especially everything relating to my own actions...

Story of my life, much? In many cases, at least. And the connection to the swords suit is obvious: its over-thinking everything that gets you in such funny situations, mentally.

Finally, the wide gap between the girl and the balloons and the rockets and the rest of the world. The sense of isolation? The fact that yes, indeed, it is all IN YOUR HEAD dearie.

Touche, deck. Touche.

*Poem is excerpt from One Art by Elizabeth Bishop. A lovely villanelle.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

3 Day Draw

So I'm really not the type of person that does daily draws. Too much...routine and habit required. Also for me at least, I don't find it necessary to reflect on a card every day. Some days I need a reading, much longer than a card, some day I need nothing, etc.

Got the idea for this, though, so decided to give it a go. 3 day draw spread/reading. Why do three days of daily draws when you can get em all out of the way at once? Essentially, this goes:

Yesterday - Today - Tomorrow

With a card for each to give you something to reflect on, some advice, perhaps some predictive tidbit, perhaps not, whatever. So here it goes, using the Spanish tarot again:

Yesterday -
When I think about it, yes, there was kind of a bunch of Magician type themes to things yesterday. I had an Arabic exam in the morning which I hadn't properly studied for so had to wing it with my pre-existing abilities, knowledge, skill etc (think I did ok with that xD). Then later got called out (though at what I in retrospect think was a bad time and context, thus ineffective/counterproductive) on the degree to which certain issues of mine are me not trying, not having enough will to change/take action, etc. Good question to ponder, overall/nonetheless, and this card came up reversed in another interesting reading just recently in future position so...yeah. Finally, had a funny conversation at night with roommate, at her instigation, in which I (with some reluctance) discussed a certain aspect of my life in this funny which I didn't say anything at all that wasn't perfectly true, but presented it all in such a way that the reality of what happened/how I went about things/who I am in that regard came of QUITE differently than is actually the case. Charlatan magician indeed... Also, Magician, with that ONE number, has always struck me as alone in the I don't need anyone I can do this all on my own way in one aspect of things and during the convo that was also a theme. You see, apparently it is unsafe to go out with people you dont know well/to places you are unfamiliar with and not tell anyone where you are going. To me, though, I VERY much prefer things that way. It feels free, life as an adventure, not tied down with oh by the way i am going here...and yeah, that's probably a mix of Fool and Magician tendencies but, yanno.

Today -
Interesting that this comes up again. Have my final exam to take, essays by email, at ten this morning. And here a card of synthesis, of needing to pull things together - pull myself together, pull my thoughts and ideas together, perhaps pull ideas together from two or more of the readings to answer whatever the prompts will be.
Also, after that...have been leaning towards excepting someone's offer to uh...spend time together later today. Seeing this as a go ahead card for that idea. Why not? Shall see how that goes then...
The two bird heads at the top of this card do look less than pleased with each other. I wonder what that could mean...

Tomorrow  -
Free, free at last! Of school stuff that is, of the obligation hanging over head to be good studious girly, study work hard page. Doing something perhaps unwise, impractical...though not sure if this is a warning or advice to let loose. Perhaps a bit of both. Do something silly, but not too much so. Mary K Greer's Tarot Reversal, which I just consulted, also mentions health...less than healthy actions, less than healthy mental or physical states...which wouldn't surprise me either. So basically both a warning, advice...balance of the positive and negative to keep in mind.

Shall see how things play out, I guess. Also interesting to look at these three as a whole. Interesting times theme to the weekend indeed...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Favorite Majors: The Fool

Ok, so as one of those kooky folks with an ever-expanding collection of tarot decks which, when you think about it, is far more decks than i'll ever really NEED... one of the major draws to this particular brand of madness is the art, for me. Collect decks because they are pretty, because each artist has different take on those same images, and you really to learn more about tarot when your mind is challenged is this card same/different in this deck than that one and so on.

Now, I have my favorite and less favorite decks to be sure, but I thought it would be an interesting excercise to try to force myself to pick a favorite CARD, of each of the major arcana, from among my deck collection. As a way to make myself think a bit more about individual cards, what makes me choose this or that as the best, etc. So, a favorite, and runner up.

Since this would make an over-long and probably tedious both to write and to read single post, shall do as a series or whatnot. So, without further ado...

0. Fool                                                                                           
Before getting this deck, I really hadn't given the Fool all that much thought, honestly. It wasn't one of my most favorite majors in just about any deck, but it wasn't one of those that often gave me trouble reading either. The idea of doing three fools in the style of Crowley's three magi, though? BRILLIANT. The more I work with this deck and think about this idea, the more I love it. And unlike the Thoth, this isn't about aesthetics...the whole maiden/mother/crone fool thing...conceptually awesome, awesome.

I especially adore this, the Crone Fool. She's done this before, this walking off the cliff thing. Perhaps its inevitable. Perhaps she's still expecting something new to happen. Perhaps she doesn't care anymore. Perhaps she KNOWS now, all about those barely visible (especially on scans! UV effect in this deck is awesome) wings, there. I just love the nuance and depth of interpretation here, the expressiveness of the fool, her dog...and especially the color composition of this card. Visually it's amazing. I could really just stare and stare at this card all day. Really hands down, for me personally, best Fool card in any deck that I own.

Runner Up:
And this is, also easily, my second favorite. I love the Sun and Moon tarot. It's such an underappreciated little thing - a lot of people take issue with the cardstock, it seems which...ok, yeah, it wouldn't win any ease-of-shuffling awards, to be honest. But nonetheless that is so worth dealing with for the amazing images. I love the facelessness of the little 'potato-head' people, the universality of their forms, and the color again in the deck is so...bold, strong, compelling. And it has a multi-ethnic feel to it I really enjoy as well.

The simplicity of this fool card, the way it so easily embodies the essential meaning of the card...the bright blue sky, the shining sun, the way a TIGER is trying to stop him and a crocodile waits below the clifff, the swirling of the butterfly, his staff...the energy and optimism and potential but also the danger, thoughtlessness, blindness, all so easily interpretable...and aesthetically, the getup of this fool makes me smile every time, ha.

Trying out "5W's and an H"

So before even creating this here blog, while lurking around the various corners of the internet, sometimes I'd run across cool exercises and activities to do with tarot...

This one, called 5W's and an H is from the lovely Tarot Notes blog of Zanna Starr. I love experimenting intellectually and engaging with tarot in different ways, so this was def one I've been a wanting to play with. Zanna gives the directions as this:
"For the 5W's and an H exercise, we use one Tarot card to answer the questions Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? As an additional requirement, each answer can be only one phrase or sentence. The idea is to respond intuitively, without a lot of description or explanation."
For my purposes, because I am verbose, I'm giving myself permission, this time, to go on longer than just the phrase or sentence. Also, because I like using it, this shall all be in the second person :0

Silicon Dawn - The Magician

You are fucking READY. You can do this. Take over the world. You have all you need: the suits for working your magic; the masks for telling the lies you need to tell; your keyboard, because where else would you start but online, that vast kingdom of incomprehensible power; and sweet, sweet coffee. You'll have your way soon enough, because you have vision, because you are perfectly comfortable with yourself, because you KNOW exactly what you want and how to get it, and if anyone disapproves of your methods or goals - well, that's silly sad for them, now isn't it?

Working your magic. Gathering up the tools of your trade, the things that make you powerful. Channeling your energies, channeling your wants into concrete things. Using the things you are so good at to achieve. Not letting anyone or anything get in your way - obstacles, after all, can always be outsmarted. Your own ability, skill, talent, and drive. A focus on you, you, you - center of everything.

Whenever you want. When you feel that the time is right. When you are ready. No need to rush things, to be premature, to start before you have everything you need. Make yourself that cuppa first, dig through your closet to find that perfect hat. But once it is time, once you start, do not lift those fingers from the keyboard - do not hesitate, go as far as that momentum will take you, allow the magic to flow out into the world.

In your little corner of the world, the place you call your own, where your trinkets are, where your powerful things are set up, the place you know every inch of as well as your own body. And also, in turn, everywhere - that ephemeral network of digits and code, waves of sound or light or energy or data spinning through the air unseen, taking your words in an instant to someone halfway across the world, pervading everywhere you go and yet unseen, invisible. Work your magic here and watch the effects unfold in a place you've never been and will never go to.

Because it's what you want. Because you have the power, and what exactly would be the point of developing all that skill if you aren't going to use it for something useful. Because sometimes the little deceptions and obfuscations just roll of the tongue without you realizing it. Because this is who you are. Because you have something to prove to yourself, and the world.

With a smirk and a grin and a cheeky sarcastic comment as your go. With supreme confidence and a steely grit, sipping that coffee and typing and typing however long it takes. With the ability, the vision, the creativity needed to synthesize everything: the magic of the swords and pentacles and wands, of chants, and the lies you can tell so well, the masks you wear anytime you need to without compunction, with technology and a shrug of your shoulders. Alone, because that is how you roll.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

something to hold onto

had to post this because it was just so...appropriate.

let us just say: a moment in time when you are so physically and mentally exhausted everything just seems so unbearable, and futile to because you've tried so hard, doing the best you could despite, despite...

and yet there is still so much you must do and so little time left to do it and after that even more

pause a moment. pull out a deck. please, whisper, give me something to hold onto. some advice, something to help keep me going, just something. please.

and then you draw these:

(again, no time to use nicer real-life card images, so from Egypt's website again)

And the message is just so...simple and clear and utterly appropriate for the moment you can't help but muster a little laugh.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


so, well - compartamentalization is one thing, but...i'm a graduate student and it is finals week. we all know what's on my mind. so why not read some more on it, eh? multi-tasking for the win, man :D

decided to have a go with the Spanish tarot this time. I must say, Fournier makes some nice card-stock decks if this and the Balbi are any indication. Also, can I say again, how much I love the colors on the Spanish? One of the main reasons I'm so averse to most traditional Marseilles decks is the very primary coloring of them. Some people see that as I plus. Me? Ick. The Spanish, on the hand, makes use of much more complex hues, and they just complement each other so nicely on the cards and...yeah. I do love this deck.

Also, one more related general note: I'm kind of in the process of settling into a good, workable style of reading unillustrated pips. My method has long been just...I lay down the card and an image or images of the card from other, illustrated decks comes to mind and the meanings come to me and I go from there. But after listening to a presentation by Lee Bursten about reading pips using trumps-based method, been experimenting with that as well. By and large, I think I'm settling into kind of...using both. Either. Complementary. Nuances and so on.

so yeah, - two sets of pairs:
The first pair general advice: I have a second paper to do, research and analysis heavy, which I only have an outline of and less than 24 hours to finish final draft. Advice for getting in done, for how to approach the situation, etcc.
Second pair a bit more experimental - insight, ideas, something to consider about the actual CONTENT of the paper which I am writing.

this was an interesting pair as advice because at first it seems more like...disheartening description of my situation than advice. reversed strenght - the feeling that things are out of my control, out of my hands, unsure if I can handle this, if I can actually force out another paper of acceptable quality right after finishing the first. Combined with the more RWS based take on the 8 of Swords, the feeling of being trapped. I have to do this, because I am a student and that means that there are finals that are worth so much of your grade that you must do by certain deadlines regardless of what is going on in your mind or your life, That I must but I don't know if I can find it in myself to tackle that lion again. The swords entwined with each other like bars on a cage...

But of course there is that second layer of meaning to the 8 of swords, the fact that in the traditional imagery, the woman may be blind-folded, and she may certainly FEEL trapped between that cage-like arrangement of swords, and maybe her hands are even bound but: dude, if you are surrounded by frickin swords, you can totally cut away your restraints, sqeeze out in-between the things and you know, be on your merry way. It's only your mind, your own lack of confidence and sense of hopelessness/helplessness stopping you, when push comes to shove. Which takes us to the other way of reading this card, Lee's trumps method: in the Major Arcana, 8 in Marseilles tradition decks is associated with Justice. With equalization, balance, scales, making things right. Right-thinking, we could say, in the 8 of Swords.

So what is the advice here, then? To adjust my thinking. My mind. Organize thoughts, positive thoughts, pro-active thoughts, motivated thoughts, focused thoughts. Right-mindedness. The best way I can help myself is to find some kind of mental equilibrium in my approach to this.

now, not to tl;dr over-much on my very much non-tarot related paper here, but...I am writing about prospects for successful integration of Islamist groups in democratic political systems with focus on post-Arab Spring North African states, comparing Islamist groups in Algeria & Libya with those in Tunisia and Morocco...

and yeah, this is actually QUITE apt, haha. The two of cups represents partnership, doesn't it? Successful synergy of two forces, to people, two ideas, working together, cooperation, 'all you need is love'. This works very well with my basic idea/thesis that yes, it IS possible for Islamists to be part of and even at the head of a democracy without it turning into same crazy theocratic state in the mold of Iran. That events unfolding in Tunisia and Morocco (as well as the exmple of Turkey) show that Islamist and Democracy are not inherently incapatable. Also my secondary idea/thesis, that the degree of extremism and violence espoused by Islamist groups and individuals (ie. progessive radicalization of Qutb, for example) is very much a reflection of the degree of repression and marginalization they face from the state, ie being treated like a partner, cooperation, tends to lead to more moderate stance as seen in Ennahda today...

as for judgement reversed, yeah, just kind of backing that up. Rejecting the widely held auto-assumptions that Islamist groups must be inherently bad, inherently anti-Western and anti-human rights and threat to US security and that repression (or support of repressive allied regimes) is the only option. Also, I think, good to point out the non judgement idea in that like...I'm essentially arguing that Islamist groups should be given a fair chance to peacefully particupate in legitimate political processes. Do I personally believe the ideas they espouse? Well, I'm an atheist and a feminist, really least on the less-moderate end of things, very much no. But the thing about freedom of speech, democracy etc. is...for it to be REAL everyone has to have a chance to have their say and make their pitch, regardless of whether you agree with the ideas they are arguing for.

So yeah, actually that helped me a lot in organizing my core idea :0

Yay to multi-tasking tarot fun times!
(this is kinda like the time I wrote my grad school application essays based off a tarot reading, haha...)

Monday, December 12, 2011

First Post!

So yeah. Another blog o' mine. Because uh, neat compartmentalization of life has its advantages...

Anyway, yeah, I've felt more and more an urge to blog about random tarot related things, and wanted a place to it that doesn't have other/unrelated content so I could fully share this as just tarot stuff, and so here we go.

This is going to be brief, because I am still in a mad desperate jumble of a mess of panic to finish a paper within the next very few hours, and so.

Last night there was much panic and anxiety over not having made much progress at all, not knowing how to start, even, etc etc. My head is in that kind of place.

Working with my Silicon Dawn and Spanish tarot decks currently, both fairly new acquisitions, a nice mix of the historic and the modern and both kind of funky and different and awesome...

So I did a quick draw with the Silicon Dawn. Two cards: what should I do, and what should I avoid.

(the actual cards look nicer, but don't have the time/energy to take a picture so using older version from Egypt's website)r

I thought this was really succinct, really useful advice. Focus on what you CAN do, not on what you feel that you CAN'T. Don't sit there, stuck, obsessing over how stuck you are, how you can't move. Just try. Do it. Create something. Allow something, no matter what you think of its quality, to grow. Just DO it.  Sit down at that keyboard and allow your fingers to type down word and keep typing, and keep typing don't think about how you feel you can't breath you are so anxious, how little progress you are making, just KEEP GOING, channel the energy of growth, GO.

I've been glancing back at those cards all last night, all today as I keep forcing myself to plug along,'s something I guess. Progress, if not good progress, take what you can get in life, I guess. At times like these.

Also, I'm still kind of on the fence about how I feel about the whole wands-earth pentacles-fire switch in this deck, but I must say...that Ace makes perfect sense to me :0

Off I go to try to...finish this in time not to fail.
Inshallah :D