Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Favorite Majors: The World

So, here we are: end of the line, last of the majors to pick favorites for. I've really enjoyed going through each of them one by one, picking the cards I liked most from my collection, pondering why it was that those were the ones I enjoyed most. Also, interestingly enough, posts from this series seem to be, by far, the most often viewed ones on this blog :0

Anyway, yes, the World - a card of success and completion and fulfillment, journeys coming to an end. A lot of decks tend to hew to the same basic concept illustrated in both RWS and TdM, though with their own various takes on it. In general, its not a card I have many qualms with in most decks, though also...rarely a favorite.

I had trouble choosing two out of the three I narrowed down my selection to - and well, since this IS the last card in the series, figured what the hell, I can break my two card rule for a second (and last!) time ;]

XXI. World

Of all the many deck-variations on the traditional image of the woman inside the large wreath of accomplishment, I've long been very much partial to this one. I love the dynamic, sensual energy of it: the woman here isn't just standing there, but rather, seems to be dancing, celebrating. The feeling of acceptance, of confidence, of completions, success - all of that seems to be here, much more so than in other cards with similar imagery. Looking at this card, I can feel the meaning it is supposed to be representing.

Of course, the lovely use of color here certainly doesn't hurt. As my previous posts in this series probably have already made clear, I am very much a color-oriented person. The use of the yellow-gold as a background here works really well especially. Love the details in the wreath, the animals, and of course those pillars which surround all of the majors in this deck. Stained glass effect works wonderfully here.

Runners Up:
As for these two, I couldn't quite decide between them because...they are so very DIFFERENT, and yet, both have aspects to them I really like. For the Aquarian World card - well, it definitely does not have the kind of wild, dynamic energy I see in the other two, but makes up for that with...well, I must admit, I have long been very much a fan of art-nouveau and art-deco, and the application of those to this card, done so thoroughly, with such lovely thematic consistency and attention to detail...I just love it. The color scheme is lovely too - not one you see very often, but more striking because of it. I particularly enjoy how it has all the basic aspects of the RWS, re-imagined, stylized so nicely.

As for the Thoth...I've written about this World card before, more than once. I really do love it. Naked woman of gold dancing with a snake and all that it can represent - oroboros, beginnings and ends; she is dynamic, the universe opening up quite literally behind her, intimate and public all at once. Stars, the outline of ancient structures...and that, all of that, is only the surface level of the card, my own intuition - how much more to read about, dig deeper in the other layers that the Thoth deck has to offer...yes, a worthwhile take indeed.

Friday, September 28, 2012

the falling away of dreams

Funny that these would be the cards that come up for me today...

We have two dragons in this seven of cups, unreal creatures having a tea party, giggling, dreaming impossible things - stars around them, seedlings growing out of the teacups even as they play...

Impossible dreams. I have a good friend. We met in college - she was one of the few people who bothered to really draw me out, to get beyond those walls I build up around myself socially, especially back then. We became friends in large part because, for a couple of semesters, we were basically in all of the same classes - we had remarkably similar interests and yes, dreams, things we wanted to do, work in, achieve...

For me, even back then...the awareness that the highest of those dreams would almost certainly only ever be pipe dreams...too many factors, many out of my control, standing in the way... With her though, it was different. I watched her over the years pursuing those dreams, better-suited to it than I could ever be...and recently, especially, she was awarded an opportunity, one that would put her on a near-certain track to...doing it, getting there. And I was so proud of and happy for her, because I know her, know how good of a job she could do, how her amazing people skills and charisma and compassion would be great for that kind of role.

Last night, I ended up spending quite a while on the phone with her, listening, trying to be supportive. She just got some news, a decision that might...make all of that impossible. There is still the chance of an appeal, but...whether that would work is highly uncertain, to say the least. And she is so upset, afraid, angry at herself for small mistakes made years ago. It's hard to know what to say: I could try to tell her that even if the worst happens, it's not the end of things, that there will always be another beginning, something else to pursue; that life will fall into place somehow, that she can pursue other routes. And yet, I know how hard it is to hear that - not to mention actually believe it - when you are so distraught, so focused on the one disaster unfolding in front of you now. It is hard to see the other possibilities you might still have to grow, to learn, to become a better version of you, when you are so viscerally experiencing your dreams spilling and leaking away all around you...

You keep going. You keep going and you wait for the disappointment to mellow out into a kind of indifference, a resignation you can live with. You keep going and you laugh and joke about pipe dreams, about a younger, sillier you.

I look at the last card and think that maybe I should send her something - a card with a book or a poem of some sort. Will have to think a bit, about what might be appropriate...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Remember this; remember this:

You may lose things left and right - possessions, people you once knew, bits of yourself that once seemed important - but in the grand scheme of things, nothing is truly over, done with. Not as long as you can still run; not as long as there is still breath in your lungs, and thoughts in your mind, the possibility of movement.

You can always, always still move forward, seek a new spring, the green of new beginnings tight across the crags and crevices of your body. You can seek another adventure, a new quest, a new focus, something to seek. Seek to get higher than you are now, to rise.

See the world in spirals that rise and fall and rise again. Always, at the very least, possibility - run and leap and perhaps even fly, freed by air, weightless. Airy dreams: less than half a century ago men from two sides of the globe launched themselves into the stars, into space because they refused to believe that doing so was impossible.A bit over a year ago you drove with your cousin to an air field outside of Stockholm and allowed yourself to be pushed out of a plane, to plummet madly through air, laughing, to feel the sharp tug of an unfolding parachute pulling you up again.

That momentum, to launch into new things, to mix and concoct and try again and again, to discover. As long as you remember the attitude of the Fool you will always have at least that: possibility, the seed of swiftness and maybe one day, some day, flight.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

academic overview

I thought it would be interesting to turn the tarot-thoughts on a subject I haven't really touched on that much with them in a while - my academic life. Today's cards seemed to agree with that vague intention/seem to speak to that, and so...

This four of cups cards brings to mind my Arabic class, on several levels. I've been feeling rather physically tired overall lately - and mentally too for that matter - and the fact that this class, unlike all my other ones, is a morning class does not improve my enthusiasm for it. I've never been great with morning classes, and one of the thing I love about my grad program is that everything is in the evening. I CAN drag myself to class or work in the morning when I must, sure, but my performance is rarely what it could be later on in the day...

More significant here though, is the mood of the card as a whole, the tired sleepy posture of the figure on the chair and the studied apathy of the one standing up. Dissatisfaction - a why bother type of attitude? I am indeed, I must admit, rather disatisfied with the class so far. Over the summer, in Tunisia, I LOVED studying Arabic. It was challenging, interesting - we got to learn the patterns of the structure of the language, engage with reading and listening to apply that the teacher, even though his English wasn't as great as this new professor's is, could explain things really thoroughly...

As for her...she is a lovely person and, in my opinion, a rather terrible teacher. She doesn't explain things well at all, the haphazard way she assigns homework means I always struggle to remember what I am supposed to do, and really - I just don't LEARN anything. Fortunately most of what we are doing, I learned over the summer, and yet nonetheless - it isn't even a good review. Feels like tedious busywork and a waste of my time. But well - I am financially constrained by the language scholarship to stick with the class until the end of the semester and to, at the very least, do well enough to past with a decentish grade and so...a kind of tired apathy indeed :/

The ten of swords is a bit of a funny card to get in this context, but it does make a kind of sense. It's interesting that here the figure is...dancing among those swords, perhaps a bit melodramatic in posture, surrounded by so many dangers and yet, nonetheless, that graceful movement...

In my other classes, I find myself with a stack of reading to do each week, as always. And what do I read about? I read about the crimes and violence perpetrated by criminal groups, insurgents, terrorists, armies and militias. I read about these from an economic perspective, with complicated equations; with a security studies focus; from a humanitarian and human rights standpoint. Switch between reading about Sicilian mafia bombings to reading about LTTE suicide bombs and PLO hijacking, to all kinds of war crimes. The other week we watched an incredibly graphic documentary in my human rights class about the war crimes perpetrated against Tamil civilians in the final months of the war in Sri Lanka in 2009. And certain images stick in your mind afterwards, as you walk to the bus. The knowledge that people can do these terrible things and walk free with so much impunity because it is so much easier all around to just pretend...that did not happen. And so what if it did, over there, so far away...

I am also a but fearful of the kind of...difficulties that the 10 of swords can represent. I have a lot of papers and presentations due in rather narrow timeslots later on in the semester. I am hoping to get my act together a bit more and get a head start on things but...have been having some trouble focusing and doing that and last time I had multiple long papers and presentations all due within the same week or week and a half it was...a less than fun experience shall we say. Perhaps this is a warning to me in that regard, something to help me get properly motivated. Procrastination does not lead to great things, on the whole.

Monday, September 24, 2012

nifty deck, introvert paradox

So about a week ago or so I got my copy of a deck I've been eagerly looking forward to since I first saw scans of it online before it was fully complete ... the Tarot of the Absurd. I've always loved the idea of a black and white tarot, having a bit of a *thing* for monochrome, and the decks out there, few and far in between, that fit that description...all are lacking a certain something. Light and Shadow is the closest I've found to what I'd been wanting, and lovely though that one may be image-wise...the size and highly mediocre cardstock prevent it from ever really becoming a favorite. This...well, lovely quirky artwork that stretches you in reading and as for the execution? I keep wanting to TOUCH these cards because they feel so nice.

So some work with it, since I got it a nice bag to live in and got myself a phone again to take pictures with until I figure out the camera situation...

I'm reminded by these two cards of one of those paradoxes that come with being an introvert - very much so in my case. When I was younger, I used to have a lot of issues with social anxiety, with thinking that I wasn't 'good with people', In truth, social skills are in large part something that can be learned and improved on and, while speaking will never be my strong point and I doubt I'd ever win any charisma awards, I really am not any worse than the average person at socialization and getting along with people.

The thing about being an introvert is that you don't necessarily WANT to be alone all the time. That gets lonely, and everyone can use someone to talk to, to engage in activities in, to give and get support from. At the same time, being around people can just get so...draining, sometimes. The talk talk talk, the noise, so much going on, different motives and approaches and sometimes maintaining that necessary inner barrier between yourself and the world...tiring, yes.

Yesterday I went with a friend to the National Book Fair and it was a lovely time, listening to some fantasy/sci-fi authors talk and sign books and yet...standing in long lines, sitting in a large crowd of people...always sets me on edge to some degree. So much noise, so much going on. I only grudingly and occassionally use facebook, and avoid other social networks by and large because...they are too overwhelming. Too much going on that I don't want to deal with. There are better things to do with my time.

The feeling when a stranger or acquaintance insists on striking up a conversation when you are in no mood to talk. Listening to other people talk in the library when you just really, really want to work on your own things *silently*. Being obliged to go out and deal with the world on days when you really would just like to hole up by yourself at home.

You don't dislike people or social contact, not at all, and you feel blessed to have as many wonderful people in your life as you do, and yet...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

moving forward, walking away

So some more experimenting - this time, an attempt to do a reading combining tarot and lenormand. Basically, draw one tarot card and have that serve as the overarching 'theme' of the reading, and then a string of three lenormand cards as the message for/response to/clarification of the tarot card. Basically the tarot still gets read as tarot and the lenormand cards still get read together, as lenormand cards ought to be.

In terms of over-arching theme, we have the eight of cups. A man stands in a body of water, his back turned towards the future, the sky. Above the water he is attractively-built, strong; below it, a kind of tentacled creature, bizarre, flexible and yet so...intangible, difficult to describe. The contrast between how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves, in our heads? Ever since I was a small child I have always had this odd feeling that my body wasn't; not the way my mind was, my thoughts.

Anyway, he faces away from the cups, the things he has, the place he has been, the past. Instead he looks up, towards the sky, the stars, hopes and dreams and the intangible - all the things you must work for, grasp at if you ever want a real chance at having. Turning away from the status quo to pursue more, the new. Letting go, being willing to reach. Knowing when to walk away, and what to walk away from.

Then, to take a look at the lenormand cards and see what they have to say about that...We have the crossroads, which is about making choices, and decisions, being forced to figure out which road you will take, what sacrifices to make doubts; and the coffin which speaks of difficult things, depression and illness and death, of endings; and the stars, of hope and creativity and imagination, of renewal, inspiration.

Given the cards around in, the coffin in this layout seems to hold a meaning quite similar to that of the Death card in the tarot. Particularly striking in this image is the ritualized, stylized nature of the thing - it isn't just death, it is death, decay preserved, romanticized, all that energy and cost gone into preserving something gone, over...reminds me of Lenin's tomb for example - quite disturbing and unnecessary, if you think about it. Better off to kill those things for good, let them go, choose to walk down the path of separation that would take you into the future towards far better, healthier, more productive and fulfilling things.The star at assures that it is possible, that you have in in you to heal, to fulfill those dreams, to do so many better things if only you could make that decision to let the negative coffin things really go.

How much energy goes into maintaining that elaborate coffin, dealing with it? What kind of starry things could you accomplish if your focus could be fully turned elsewhere, if like the man you could walk away from those tired old cups?

For me, this message is utterly applicable. Things that have gone on for ten years now... I truly do not know how to even try anymore and yet, the cards remind me, that I must; to not give up when I just feel so tired of the inevitability of it all. You can never get unstuck if all you do is muddle about and dwell on how stuck you are. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

addiction metaphor

Maybe for you it comes in bottles, or neat little pills, or injections; maybe you smoke it out of packs with the large cancer warning labels plastered on the front; maybe it is too much or too little food, or both, by turns; maybe it's the way that you treat your body, hurt it, undermine it; maybe it's the way you let others take advantage of you.

Whatever it may be - the pull, constant, and the weight of that pull, comfortingly familiar and yet so damned heavy. Maybe there was a thrill of excitement once, at first, when you were younger, when the effects where still abstract, easily pushed aside, ignored. Maybe once you were impressed by your own cleverness - that it was different for you, not nearly so difficult or dangers as people were saying.

How easy it is to be fooled, by others or by your own mind, bit by bit. The puppet strings that bind you, the chains, grow tighter slowly. Patterns develop over years, habits that become so ingrained that it becomes near-impossible to remember how things were before.

You drag yourself forward through the grass, back aching, balancing that burden that is yours to bear, always. Do you see people standing upright in the distance? Yes, you can see them running and laughing wildly and you wonder how that can be, how they can move so quickly with so much energy when it takes so much determined effort for you just to crawl. How can they be so free?

How? You grow so tired of it. You tell yourself that enough is enough - today will be different. This time, I will stop, I will do something different, I will refrain, take control of myself, my life. You tell yourself and...hours, days, a few weeks and...there it is, that devil, attractive as always. You know damned well by now whats behind that handsome facade - the shame, the dozens of tiny humiliations that slowly wear away at your soul, the things you'd once have sworn you'd never do that now you brush off with a certain nonchalant air because what else is there to do, what choice do you have. You see and yet drawn you are all the same.

The devil you know. He crushes you - you body, your soul, your mind - in tiny increments that add up to so much over years, and long after you know damned well what he is all about, long after you grow so sick of the same, miserable repetition day after day...break away for a few moments and return. Do it again. Dance away from the big changes, breaking that chain for good because...the devil you know. That pentacle glow, that dazzling, false light which familiar.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lenormand dabbling

So yes, after long-resisting the idea of branching out into anything but tarot (too many decks already!) I first got an oracle and now...a lenormand, too. Pixie's Astounding Lenormand, in the 2nd edition, specifically. Confronting a whole new system of's comforting to have the familiar art style, which funny enough I actually appreciate more in this than in the actual RWS...

Anyway, a sample of the dabbling -

So, to go by the lenormand style, which seems to be much more about reading the cards together in string rather than individually, and then make connections, the way one does in tarot...

The ship and the moon together seem to reflect the way my mind is right now, moving about, unfocused, now daydreaming this and that, distracted by anything - I should be cleaning! Studying! Instead I am playing with Lenormand cards, flitting from this and that, anxiety and feeling adrift, yes. Aimless, foggy mind-sailing.

Which is in fact interfering with my studies, the books and readings I need to be doing, the learning I ought to be absorbing - as the book and the cloud together right there indicate. Of course this ship-moon-book combination, this lack of focus, only make me feel more stressed, the clouds thus forming a bridge between the book and the stars, the whole cycle of stress and anxiety making me feel worse which makes it even harder to do anything useful and yet...

The reading ends of the stars, the card of hope, inspiration, imagination in the Lenormand as well as the tarot. Stars, the awe of looking up at a perfectly black sky and seeing those pinpoints of light...hope, need to focus on that, finding the motivation behind the clouds even in times like this...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

tricky balance - logic and intuition

So to be honest, much as I love it overall, the court cards are my least favorite part of this deck, and really, excepting the knights, possibly among my least favorite of courts in general. There's just something about the people in them that...doesn't do much for me...

That said, we have the Queen of Swords and the Moon. The Queen is bathed in a kind of blue light, illuminated from the crown of her head, her mind - she is of course ruled by logic, the element of air.  Sharp-minded, perhaps a bit of a cynic, perhaps molded in some ways by past suffering, willing to be ruthless when necessary, the fan in her hand made up of daggers... And what does such a queen do when confronted by the kind of situation represented by the Moon card? So much uncertainty, fog, indecision, muddle-mindedness, deception, lies, mental many questions and so few clear answers...

On the one hand, logic can be useful, a knife to cut through that fog with, to organize a response, make some kind of path to follow. Logic can give you something to ground yourself with when emotions feel like something too tricky, something you cannot trust. Subjective-you feels so confused, upset, scared - so fine, do the objectively logical thing, whatever that is, yes.

That can be a weakness too, though - sometimes our gut instinct, our emotional response, is just as valid as any attempt at logic...not least because no one, no matter how much they may say they identify with the queen or king of swords, is really divorced from their feelings. Actually, looking at these two together, I'm reminded of a certain book I haven't read in its entirety but have read various parts and excerpts. It's called The Gift of Fear and basically the author's assertion throughout is that sometimes, some situation just instinctively feels wrong. Something scares you, makes your feel uncomfortable, creeped out, whatever. And in the moment, there may not be ANY logical reason you can think of for your feelings - that logical part of your brain simply cannot work quickly enough to catch up to what your intuition already feels. Yet, if you allow yourself to 'logic away' those negative emotions...well, in worst-case scenarios, can lead to some major danger indeed...

Even in less extreme situations, sometimes your intuition, emotions, instinct, have important messages that your really should listen to. I think that more logic-inclined folks sometimes have this tendency - which I certainly have been guilty of - of believing that that 'logical' approach is [almost] always superior. After all, logic is clear. You can lay it out, explain, draw on external validation whereas 'this is just the way I feel' can seem so...insubstantial. And yet...time and place for everything; how you feel about something IS important, too.

So yes, drawback and benefits both, to the Queen of Swords approach. Worthwhile to keep that in mind...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Starry Memory Exercise

Realized I hadn't done one of my memory exercises in a bit of a while. Seems a good way as any to start off a week I plan to spent with another of my most favorite decks...

Considering how much I like astrology, it's a bit funny how infrequently I actually pay attention to, or take time to really look at, the stars in the sky at night. Perhaps this is only natural - I have always gravitated towards and felt most comfortable in cities - NYC, Boston, DC...places where, well, at the best of times it isn't so very easy to see the stars clearly, the way that they are meant to be seen. Most of my closest friends in New York work in the vicinity of Times Square, so I find myself there at night quite a bit when I am back in that city and much flashing light, bill-boards, advertisements, even pharmacies with huge colorful flashing signs and the stars, ha, what stars, there...

When was the last time I really...looked up and appreciated the stars, in all their natural glory? The second weekend of August, the Saturday when our Arabic teacher took three of us in the car with him on a day trip to see Dougga, his native city. We spent the day-time walking around old roman ruins and then in the car, being given a kind of tour of his early life. This is where my parents live and this village is where I went to primary school and this town is where I went to secondary school and that land belongs to my uncle and that store belongs to another uncle and so on. Mostly in Arabic, for practice.

Later, at night, after we had the iftar meal at his parents' house, we took a walk around his hometown. Rural, small, no streetlights, rudimentary paving in the streets. We went to the cafe in the center of the town, which was really a field that they brought out tables and chairs for you when you arrived. There were several dozen people there, and I was one of two women, the other a foreigner as well, sitting several tables away. We had dark, strong coffee served in little cups. They smoked unflavored shisha and cigarettes, the scent of the smoke strong, curling around everything. After a while our teacher left to go pray, leaving us with his cousin, who spoke very little English, and we with not much Arabic - and certainly not enough dialect Arabic - and me with some French but not enough confidence, and so.

I looked up at the sky then, really looked. It was so clear, so inky black, so many bright pinpricks of light. I could make out whole constellations, easily. The sky was almost always cloudless in Tunisia, but now, at just looked so amazing. Sitting in a rural cafe at night, after a day of ancient ruins, of farms, fields, cactus fruit, cows and goats and sheep and even camels seen up close or from afar, of eating fresh makrouch that made fig newtons taste like a joke and grapes fresh off the tree and now, the brilliance of the stars right above was one of those moments where you are fully, acutely aware of the wonder you feel, the privileged of what you have been allowed to experience, the terribly temporary, fleeting nature of it all...

Moments like that, and you can understand why the Star represents what it does in the cards. It stops being an abstract concept....rather, a truth; something that makes sense in your gut, your soul.

Friday, September 14, 2012

One Art, Indeed

One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

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.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like a disaster.

Today, a cell phone - another unexpected expense; a bunch of pictures from Tunisia - my last day, last sunset, the women's protest, gone. Possibly also my camera's memory card - the vast majority of the pictures I took there, had not gotten around to backing up because I kept ability to take pictures with aforementioned camera until I spend yet more money on a replacement...

And once, long ago there was a medical professional who actually listened to me and said, agreed, that there really might be something with my brain, the constantly forgetting, losing things, losing track of thoughts mid-sentence, frequent lateness - how many missed buses, hours spent hanging about in bus stations waiting for the next - difficulty with simple things like how to deal with too many things that need cleaning in a small room... There was once a prescription that, for a brief time, made life feel like so much less of a jumbled mess... That too, gone, lost.

So it goes, loss. Sunsets and sunrises: the destitution may be real, and final in and of itself, but it isn't final in the wider sense. Regardless of how grim a ten of swords may be, it is rarely an endpoint. You move on. You get up and move forward, deal with the loss, adjust, put it behind you, for better or for worse. Things are very rarely, in retrospect, the kind of disaster that they feel like in the moment...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Favorite Majors: Judgement

Wow - up to the second-to-last in this favorite of major arcana series. What shall I follow with once this is through? Shall have to ponder that a bit...

Anyway, onto the card at hand. This one, I must admit, is funny in its own way in that...the message of the card, once I got the nuances relatively straightened out in my mind (such as Judgement vs. Justice, Judgement vs. Tower, etc), resonates quite strongly with me, and yet the actual IMAGERY in most decks does nothing for me, one of the most blah cards in the deck. This is likely to do with the fact that both the RWS and TdM traditions rather strongly reflect christian archetypes, particularly those to do with the afterlife and morality (ie. last judgement [for sins]) which, given my personal belief system, really don't do it for me at all. So in many ways and in many decks, reading this card comes down to reading despite the card image rather than through it.

There are of course, a number of exceptions, and these tend to be quite lovely. Was not too hard to pick my two favorites this time. I do realize that this series has a lot of repetition in terms of the decks that my choices come from but...what can I say? My favorite decks are favorites for a reason.

XX. Judgement 

I must say that really, I just LOVE the colors in both of these takes on the Judgement card. Nothing blah about these from an aesthetic perspective - quite the contrary really, the bright blue and orange jumps right out at you, demands some attention. The colors feel so alive, and I love the way that the sun illuminates the people at the bottom of the card in the Nusantara tarot. Speaking of those people - I've said it before and I'll say it again...I just adore how this deck manages to hew so closely to the spirit of the RWS, quite close enough to be considered a clone, and yet has its own take on everything, completely removed from the traditional western-centric christian-inspired aspects of the imagery. Instead of creepy zombie people crawling out of graves we see a group of various genders and ages rising up out of water, which to me encompasses the idea of listening to a call, reaching up for a new start, so much better. You have the trumpet metaphor, the higher being, angel, the rolling water - yes, listen, yes, it is time, yes choose, yes rise. The card speaks to me. The composition works really well too, and yeah. The colors...such eye candy for me....

Runner Up:
First of all, I know I've written a bit about my take on this card in past posts and don't want to repeat myself too much, but it really is one of several of the majors where...I so, so much appreciate and agree with the Crowley Thoth's take as opposed to the RWS...just makes so much more SENSE to my mind.  The ancient goddess nut stretching out over the world, the bold colors (interesting how closely these two cards mirror each other in color scheme!), the astrological association with pure elemental fire, renewal, the burning away of the old, new wild energy. The symbolism of the old god, the old ways, sitting static and tired in the background, small. And in front, the new god, young still, transparent, the coming of a new age, Aeon, transformation, deliberate, and you stay mindful of the old, the way that you can see through him, but that isn't you anymore, shouldn't be; time to leave it behind, listen, judge, choose what to take with you in the future, deliberate. Symbolism-rich and aesthetically stunning - what's not to love?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day reflection exercise

I can't quite recall if I've done this kind of exercise here before but basically...the idea is to pull a card or two at the very end of a day with the intention of reflecting on what has happened/what you experienced, rather than pulling it earlier for prediction/advice. More for perspective and whatnot...

We see two figures in this card, the one above on the dias and the one laying on the carpet before, The title, dominion, suggests one particular scenario: that of the master and the slave, dominance and submission. But what of the traditional meaning of this card, of doorways and opportunities, potential? The way that the top figure holds those wands is still very suggestive of a door, a passage.

Perhaps the figure at the bottom is in fact there by choice - after all, he is positioned quite comfortably, quite casually, all in all. Perhaps there is some advantage in giving in, to a point, to that authority, domination, external discipline and self-discipline, assertion...

I did gather up my courage and do a few things today that needed some assertiveness, minor in the grand scheme of things - a phone call, a knock on a neighbor's door, a vaguely awkward conversation with a friend - but ones that had been hanging over me the last day or two.

And, speaking of positions, the positions of the two main figures in this image are particularly striking to me, in the context of reflecting on a day because...they remind me of yoga poses. The red carpet could, from a certain perspective, even be seen as a mat. In following up on previous reading, I did in fact go through with signing up for a week's trial of Bikram yoga classes at a studio nearish to my school. Poses in a heated room, trying to find some kind of dominion over my body, my breathing...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

You Only Live Once Spread

Ran across this lovely tarot spread by Yineth on the Aeclectic forum and decided it'd be nice to give it a try, especially since there seems to be a lot of...difficult energy in my life right now that I cannot seem to quite get on top of as well as usual.

Position 1: Y- "You" 
The subject (You) in the situation. A snapshot of your life, a summary of current events, where you see yourself in your life, etc. An overview of what is occurring currently. I've considered this position being allowed to be a "significator" position also. 

The Knight of Cups rides, in this deck, upon some quite turbulent waves. The appearance of chaos here, in many ways: bits and pieces of his armor falling off of him, the cup barely in his grasp, the horse beneath him in constant motion, trying to gain stability by holding onto that black water-spout, a thing so inherently unstable?

And why does he go on, keep trying in such circumstances/? Conviction, emotional conviction that this is worth doing, that this is right, the constant juxtaposition of emotion and logic, air in water, yes no yes no yes. And yet, he isn't without his resources, the stable, loyal horse beneath him which keeps on going, unbothered by the turbulence. And perhaps getting rid of some of that stiff, stern armor has some advantages to make up for the loss of protection?

Quite on point, this. The feeling of too many moving pieces, instability, loss perhaps good, perhaps bad, perhaps both, things falling away, so much effort and focus seemingly needed just to keep minimally on top of things and yet conviction, some semblance of it, keep on going because I am committed to things, must...

Position 2: O- "Only"
The absolute focus/distraction that is deterring any change to occur currently. For example, a workaholic's drive to provide for their family while overlooking everything else that matters.

Velocity, momentum, moving swiftly forward, always toward toward something. The figure is bright orange, full of energy, fire, running with all those lit torches, needing to get them somewhere, accomplish something, the dog nearby, willing to help his master but also expecting this, the chase, the progress.

I have mentioned before, and I do realize it is mostly deliberate, on my part but...this year as a whole, life has been very much rapid, mad movement. Some kind of intense personal things happening, nothing major but enough to throw things off balance, and the rush of so much schoolwork to do, and then mad planning and packing for the trip, and that whole experience - wonderful, amazing, and yet not exactly a quiet time to relax - and then getting back and a mad rush to find somewhere to live, to move, which is followed now by mad schoolwork rush and...

Yes, I don't feel I've really had proper chance to devote much mental focus to dealing with some of the background issues, problems, things that need work and change, and that all piles up with the new, and everything just keeps rolling forward what feels like far too quickly and yet - how can I take a real break when there are all these obligations, external deadlines, always pushing me forward?

Position 3: L- "Live"
How is the above/previous/before subject affecting you now? How will it impact you in the long run?

Discontent, that apathetic kind of dissatisfaction in which you are well aware that things are wrong and yet it seems so much easier to just wallow in it than to DO something to change the situation. Through the metaphor of the poppies, which the rower in the boat seems to be bringing over to the figure in the forefront, who has clearly used them before, the metaphor, if not precisely apt, of using various not-so-great coping mechanisms, forms of escapism, ways to distance yourself from the world around you.

The mood of this card is so...cold. The figure in standing in front of that chilly marsh, not alone in the image, and yet might as well be. Detached, removed from each other...actually, for me personally, this brings to mind a certain kind of intense dissociation I seem to experience when my mood gets low for longer periods of time. I can still function and do things fine, keep up with the motions of that velocity, the movement of the previous cards and yet, that's what it feels like really...apathetic, discontented, disconnected keeping up with the motions.

And the distancing, the decay of friendship that the book mentions around this card...I have a number of friends who are all trying to get in touch with me, make plans for spending time together...and I am having so much trouble motivating myself to sort out my schedule, return their calls, not because I do not want to seem them but because doing so just feels so...overwhelming; they seem so far away, that water between the figures so murky...

Clearly, given the metaphor of the poppies in this card especially, this is a situation that really does have the potentially to continue to decline. Four of cups is always about well, sitting around feeling miserable gets you nowhere at all, nowhere good, long or short term.

Position 4: O- "Once"
What you could/can do to change things or be better made aware of.

What strikes me about this spread as a whole is the theme of friendship, companionship, connection - the knight has his horse, the rapid runner his dog, the miserable figure his misery loves company friend, and these two of course, materially comfortable, still nonetheless rely on and support each other. A message perhaps, for me to continue to challenge my natural instinct to isolate myself when I'm not feeling so great, to try to do everything on myself, to insist on not 'bothering' or 'burdening' others. The exchange - both giving AND receiving help and support - can be hugely beneficial, in all kinds of circumstances.

This card also shows a kind of ascent, the pentacles moving up a path from the earthly to the higher up. Focusing not only the immediate, here and now issues but also on the higher things, mental health, inner work, nurturing creativity and inspiration and all of that.

Affluence comes in many forms, and by only focusing on trying to keep things afloat in one aspect, it undermines the whole, and as a net result I find it harder even to keep up with that one main thing. Making some time for the others in spite of the momentum and pressure I feel to keep moving might be a rather good idea.

I have been thinking that vaguely already actually...doing something for my holistic health...perhaps signing up for some yoga classes or some such to get started. I keep thinking I don't really have the time, it seems like a waste of money, etc but....maybe I should just do it anyway, to help get out of that apathetic rut.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

forming a firm foundation

Foundation, needing to establish a firm foundation, something to build on, something to work and to live upon with some sense of stability...

This card has such a modern vibe, the artisan working not at the stones of some ancient cathedral but at a computer, at a desk; the tools are not grand but compact - a little box, circuitry, a kind of modern magic, toss it in your bag and go. And yet it holds so much, doesn't it, allows you to do so much.

Labor of love, working at that computer, creating, learning, studying, reading until your eyeballs hurt; of love perhaps, but a labor nonetheless. Labor that needs foundation for focus, for sticking to it. The suit of pentacles is earthy...what is needed now, for this to work, is not the ideas, not the inspiration, the creative drive; no what is needed is concrete focus, wellness, comfort, a safe place (that rich, purple color; the spirals of light - growing brighter, or dimmer?) to settle into - physically and especially mentally.

I have been trying, to get into the right mindset for focusing on my studies again, properly, for looking for work, everything - this card both an image of where I want to be and what is holding me back. Foundation - needing to put your house in order, metaphorically speaking. A little bit of mess and crazy is comfortable - too much chaos and it becomes so, so much more difficult to be any kind of productive...

And how to go about with that? The King of wands, carrying the burning torch, trumpet-shaped, full of creative impetus, energy. Restriction seems like a funny title for this card, but the book provides some great clarification: look at the background, the desert, and beyond that, what, a mushroom cloud, yes. The metaphor of nuclear testing, nuclear bomb development - how much brilliance went into that particular innovation? And how much destruction can come from its use, unmoderated? How many decades have we spent carefully trying to restrict nuclear weapons use. Bolts of lightning, the potential for so much disaster...

Needing to harness the energy of the King of Wands not just to DO, but also to NOT DO. Time to get a grip on certain self-destructive tendencies of mine that have been given far too much free reign as of late. Everything has a price, consequences. If you are unwilling, at this time, to make the big, Tower-sized changes, then at the very least...restriction, carefully harnessing of resources to create at least that much stability, foundation, needed to focus on those things that matter most.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

getting back into the swing of things

 So, it's been a bit of a while. Things have been rather busy/stressful in many ways, and I ended up taking a bit longer of a break from tarot and blogging than I had expected to. Have started working with the cards a bit more again, not so much deck-hopping at this point as just sticking with my Navigators of the Mystic SEA deck...

I really enjoy working with this deck, especially using the accompanying book for clarification/deeper explanation of the images. Today's draw, like many I do with it, really got to the crux of things in terms of useful insight. See, I've been telling myself that the card break was because I was too busy, too stressed, to overwhelmed to stretch my energies to keep doing this, too. But that wasn't the entire truth. The fact is, busy as I have been, I still found time to do other things...lose myself in fiction books, watching episodes of newly discovered TV shows online, sleeping too much or too little...certain oher less positive coping mechanisms... gratification, in-the-moment self-indulgence, escapism, all those things that the moon so speaks to, as a concept...

What particularly strikes me in the image here is the harp at the forefront. Like the tarot, a harp can be seen as an instrument, a tool, something meaningful, something that can make beautiful music or messages, something that allows you to, at times, transcend mundane reality, search for something greater...and here it lies cast aside, choked even, gasping. And does the figure, lying surrounded by wine glass, poppies, dream-creatures, look better for this lack? No, not at all.

Time for some fortitude again, then. I have found time for tarot in times even more busy and stressful than this last weeks have been, and have been better for having something to ground me. Time to light the torches, blow the trumpets, and face whatever waves - internal or external - that may come crashing towards us. Time for facing reality head on, without illusion, without hiding or sticking head in sand or focusing on anything but the things that need to be dealt with most.