Saturday, May 2, 2009

on following your dreams

I thought I'd try another sample reading using the Tarot of the Master.  This reading uses three cards as follows:

1. What is my dream?
2. What action do I need to take?
3. Where will it lead me?

What is my dream? Regina Di Denari (Queen of Coins)
Well, this is an interesting card to get in this position and I can read it in quite a few different ways. Astrologically, I link this card to the sign Capricorn. To me Capricorn represents striving towards goals, success, career, recognition, and the whole concept of climbing to the top of the mountain, being committed to reach the summit. The keyword on the card is wealth, which is interesting because that’s probably the one thing I don’t really dream of. Money never seems to be a factor for me when I’m considering my options, although, I do know that security is important to me, just not necessarily the need to be wealthy. I really love this Queen. The loom is in the background showing that she has been hard at work. She hold up the coin as if to say, ‘look what I have achieved through all my hard work’, as if it is indicative of the rewards for hard work. So maybe my dream is that all my hard work will pay off. Or that all the energy I have put in to my studies will lead to some kind of financial reward (ie. an income) and maybe even recognition of my abilities.

What action do I need to take? Il Matto (The Fool)
Another interesting card. Clearly the message for me here is that I need to actually begin something. Take that first step along the path. The keyword for this card is ‘madness’ which is amusing. I guess I need to act a bit ‘mad’ or a bit ‘crazy’ and perhaps take some risks. I think this is a sign for me that I need to accept that all my hard work and talent is meaningless if I just sit and do nothing with it, the Fool may be saying I need to pack up what I have and take it out to the world. The leopard in this card is quite a curious change from the normal cat or dog that accompanies the fool. I keep thinking of the leopard not being able to change his spots, and I wonder what this means for me? Perhaps by taking my stuff out to the world I often fear that I will compromise my values or beliefs and maybe the leopard is reminding me that I can do this and still be true to myself.
Where will it lead me? X Bastoni (Ten of Batons)

Well, the keyword here is ‘solidity’ which matches well to the Queen of Coins in the first position. It is important for me to have that solid, stable base. I really love this rendition of the Ten of Batons. The structure is there but the card has an almost magical feel, with all the creatures making a home for themselves on the crossed batons. It’s as if the card is telling me that once the structure is in place then I’ll have the freedom to really enjoy my life.

So, I guess the message for me is that my dream is to be appreciated, and recognised for my gifts/talents, and to be able to earn an income from them. The only way this can happen is if I actually take a risk and share what I have with the world. Once I do this I will gain stability in my life which will enable me to feel more joyful and free.

Monday, April 27, 2009

on working with Master Vacchetta

This week I thought I’d do a reading using the Vacchetta (Master) deck to see how it performed. When reading some blogs of fellow AT members I came across a great spread for discovering my highest potential. Thanks to RC and SherryZoned for bringing it to my attention.

The spread:
Shuffle the cards and ask "Where do my highest potentials and abilities lie? Cut them into four piles; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Search to see which pile has The Sun. That realm is where your highest potential lies. Shuffle just that pile and lay out three cards as follows:

1. What aids me in developing my highest potential?
2. What hinders me in developing my highest potential?
3. A possible outcome once you have formed and developed your highest potential.

I first went through the physical pile knowing the Sun wasn’t going to be there and I was right. I expected the Sun to be in the Mental pile and I was right again. I spend most my life running around in circles in my mind so this is certainly no surprise. Now, if only I can find a way to use my mental potential effectively…

The three cards I drew from the mental pile were:

The Hanged Man
Six of Cups
The Moon

1. What aids me in developing my highest potential? The Hanged Man

So I read this to mean that it is my challenges and trials in life that help me to develop my potential. The sacrifices I have made and the difficulties I have had in my life obviously contribute to who I am today. Also I think that it could be about my ability to look at things from different perspectives. The keyword on this card is ‘agony’ which says to me that it’s the most difficult stuff that contributes to my potential. I wonder if it’s also a reminder that I need to be patient. As far as the mental side of things go I tend to be very ‘full-on’ with things. If I have a new idea I have to fully research it immediately, I can’t just take my time. I go through life thinking ‘there is so much information, and so much to learn, and yet so little time’. Maybe I just need to take it easy.

2. What hinders me in developing my highest potential? Six of Cups

This is an interesting Six of Cups. I spent some time on the weekend looking at this card and working out how the keyword ‘memory’ fitted with the image. I read this card as being very much about past-present-future and how the three link together. I see the card in three levels with the two animals at the bottom being the past (cat representing the actual past and bird representing the perceived past, which are often two very different things), the middle layer with the three cups being the present and the top layer with the two smaller cups and the larger more elaborate cup, being the future. It’s interesting how the middle level seems to be dragged down towards the base (the past). I read this card to mean that if we want to move towards our future, our aspirations and our dreams, then we need to release our tie to the past, especially things in the past which cause us pain. That’s not to say we sever all ties with the past, but we need to reconcile our issues and then let the issues go, let the pain go. I think often our ideas and goals seem fanciful and unrealistic because we are still carrying limiting beliefs formed in our past. So, the message for me….let stuff go. Accept that painful incidents in my past have helped me become the person I am, and that they have served me well, but it is also time to let them go so I can focus on the future and achieve my potential.

3. A possible outcome once you have formed and developed your highest potential. The Moon

This seems quite a strange card to have in this position. It’s probably my favourite card in the deck, and possibly my favourite ever moon card. I guess the moon can mean quite a few things. It can indicate confusion and so perhaps the message for me is that now is not the right time to be trying to have a concrete outcome in mind. Perhaps I just need to ‘go with the flow’ and see where I end up. It could also indicate that the outcome would involve using my intuition. Another thing I think of in relation to the Moon is motherhood. My highest potential could be linked to my role as a mother and so perhaps I should be concentrating on being a good mother to my girls rather than worrying too much about the future. The Moon can also symbolise dreams and so it could suggest that I need to focus on my dreams and work towards making them a reality. Cycles are another thing represented by the moon, and mystery and magic. No wonder I feel confused.

After looking at the three cards for awhile it suddenly struck me that the Hanged Man has his head down the bottom (obviously) which links to the past in the Six of Cups, and the Moon has her head up the top, linking to the future in the Six of Cups. Perhaps this is the message for me….to stop hanging around in my thoughts of the past and looking for reasons as to why things are the way they are, and to simply flow with life and live in the present with a view to the future and the realisation of my dreams.
Now I just need to work out exactly what those dreams are.

Friday, April 3, 2009

on meeting the master

Inspired by my reading earlier this week I’ve been working quite a bit with the Tarot of the Master. The Seven of Batons struck such a chord with me and I’m feeling more and more drawn to working with this deck. For those who are not familiar with the deck, it was created and published in Turin in 1893 and originally called ‘I Naibi di Giovanni Vacchetta’. The edition I have has been republished and coloured by Lo Scarabeo in 2002. The original was black and white. Because Giovanni Vacchetta was known as the "Master of Design’ at Albertina Academy in Turin, the deck has been titled ‘Tarot of the Master’. I’ve always been attracted to some of the historical decks, in particular the delightful Ancient Italian tarot, but have struggled with the non-scenic pips. What I love about the Vacchetta deck is that the pips are illustrated, not in the modern RWS style, but they are quite elaborate compared to some of the other historical decks, and provide enough symbolism for me to really connect with the images. It’s quite different to any deck I’ve worked with in the past….and that is just what I need right now.

I thought I’d have a little bit of a ‘chat’ with the Master and see if the two of us should work together for awhile.

So, what do you have to offer as a deck Master Vacchetta? Eight of Coins (Denari). This tells me that the deck will be great for helping me to make connections between things. The keyword is ‘writing’ but I see this card overall as being able to bring together information from different sources in order to make sense of things. It’s as if the thread connecting the coins is alive with energy and excitement. I feel really excited when I see this card. So perhaps Master Vacchetta can offer me an exciting way to deepen my knowledge of tarot.

What can you help me to learn about tarot? Caval di Bastone (Knight of Batons). The keyword on this card is ‘travel’ and so immediately I get the sense that I can learn that tarot is a learning journey. This deck may help me to accept that it’s not about the destination but rather the journey, that I’ll never ‘master’ the tarot, rather I’ll be a student for life. Also, given that the knight is dressed as a jester I think it could be a reminder to have fun with the tarot, not to take it all too seriously and make it all academic. Perhaps this deck can help me to have more fun with tarot.

How should I approach using this deck? Ten of Cups. This is an interesting rendition of the Ten of Cups. My first thought is that the Master may be a little possessive of me. I get the suggestion from this image that he would like me to put all my other decks away on the shelf and use him alone. What I think he’s saying is that he is, after all, the cup with the most to offer. Why would I need any other decks? The keyword on this card is ‘order’, which also says to me that I need to actually work with this deck and systematically go through the cards and focus on all the details, rather than just skimming the surface. I feel like there are definitely treasures to be discovered in these cards.

Should I use this deck when reading for others? Seven Bastoni. Here is the card that inspired me to be having this ‘conversation’ with the Master. So, is it my destiny to be using this deck to read for others? I get a sense that working with this deck will help me to give readings that are more in line with what I believe tarot to be about and in some ways, to be more true to myself. I also think it could be saying that my readings for others with this deck can help them to realise their own destinies….which kind of fits in with some ideas I was having… very interesting!

Not to be negative, but what are your limitations as a deck? Fante di Coppa (Page of Cups). You’ll just tell me whatever I want to hear. A bit of a romantic hey? You just want life to be beautiful and happy and filled with love…….well, I think I can live with that.

Finally, can you give me a card that will sum up our relationship of working together? Four of Batons. Well, it looks like it’s going to be very fruitful. We’ll have a secure base and then from that we can grow. The keyword is ‘patience’ so I guess that’s a good reminder that I’ll need to be patient with you as we begin working together……and you’ll need to be patient with me as well.

Any last thoughts….? Temperance. Wow, this is just about my favourite card in this deck. The keyword is ‘moderation’ which reminds me to take it easy and not overdo things. Sometimes when I discover a new deck I work with it so much I end up feeling sick of it. This card is a good reminder that although I’ll use this deck for my PDR’s and even for readings, I need to not overdo things and keep using my other decks as well. I love the way that the figure on this card looks back over her shoulder at the water. It says to me that while it’s fine to reflect on things and look within, you still have to make sure that the day to day stuff of life is getting done too….like feeding the kids and cleaning the house. The key I expect is in finding a balance between both.

OK, so I’m very excited. I’ve also discovered a colour-in version of this deck which will be a great way to spend time with the cards and really discover all the details. So, from now on I’ll be working primarily with ‘The Master’ but still using my other decks as well. I’m certainly looking forward to the journey.

Monday, March 30, 2009

on destiny

I often find it helpful to draw one card while asking the question – what should I be focusing on? This is especially helpful if you are considering the future, or having trouble making a decision.

So the card I drew was the Seven of Wands. I really, really don’t like this card. I seem to draw it a lot. Last year I spent quite a bit of time focusing on this card. In the RWS style decks (see Hanson Roberts and Nigel Jackson below) this card generally portrays someone defending themselves. My first reaction when I see the card is that I’m too defensive, or always needing to defend my actions. I’m sick of seeing this card and I have no idea how it can be the answer to my current dilemma, or how it can answer the question ‘what should I be focusing on?"

So, I decided to do a bit of a comparative study to see if I can work it out.

In the Alchemical Tarot, which I love, the image represents the negative side of competition. Ironically this is the only card in the Alchemical deck that I DON’T like. I like it even less that the RWS depiction. Moving on then….

Looking at the Thoth and Liber T, the theme seems to be about courage, valour, bravery, defending one’s convictions. I guess this makes a bit more sense to me. It’s certainly more positive than being defensive. I like the idea of standing up for what I believe in. And I actually like the Thoth version of the card, it's one of my favourites.

In the Celestial Tarot the LWB has the following to say…. "The task of the Seven of Wands is to reclaim the erotic impulse, the poetic inspiration and the internal Muse through the battle of everyday life. When the card appears, the individual needs to remain heroic in facing challenges and disruptions imposed upon the creative life."

I kind of like this explanation. I’ve had a ‘challenging’ start to the year (and that’s putting it mildly) and so the idea of facing the challenges and disruptions with courage and valour makes sense to me.

Finally I got out some of my historical decks, firstly the Ancient Italian.

In the Classical Tarot, which is another version of the Ancient Italian, the keyword is ‘outcome’ which is interesting. I see the image in the Ancient Italian as also representing defending myself somehow, even though it only shows the seven batons. It is still six batons in front of the one single one standing at the back. I still get the feeling of the 'world is against me' type of thing. I guess to be more positive it could be about protection, or feeling secure.

But the real revelation for me was the Vacchetta (or Tarot of the Master) rendition of this card.

The keyword is ‘Destiny’. The card, titled ‘VII Bastoni’, shows seven different types of staffs. In front of them is a scroll which translates to "born from a single tree but with different destinies". How wonderful! To me, this seems like a far more positive way of depicting the idea of standing up for what we believe in. I guess this may at times mean we deal with conflict, and certainly at times I feel like the whole world is against me and often I even feel ‘attacked’ for standing up for my principles. But I guess this is my destiny. I need to remember that we are all here to do different things, and we are all very different. If I remember to just be true to my own nature then I can forget about being ‘defensive’ and just be me. I also love that in this card the single upright staff is in front of the others, not behind. It feel much more confident, like the courage depicted in the Thoth version has now paid off.

So, I should return to my original question….what should I be focusing on? This reading has reminded me that when I make decisions in life I need to consider what path will help me stay true to what I believe. If I stay true to myself, my ‘destiny’ as such, or my path, should become clear. Also, I guess that it's just a reminder that life's challenges are an opportunity for us to grow and become the people we are meant to be, and as a result come closer to fulfilling our destinies.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

on feeling stuck

The last week or so I’ve felt an unbearable sense of being stuck as well as a glum feeling that seems to just surround me. This of course is not helped by the oppressive humidity of the season, something my body seems physically unprepared to deal with effectively, and with no respite in sight for at least another week according to the weather bureau. Not that I’m complaining. Logically, I know I have a good life with nothing to feel glum about. And yet, I feel stuck. Everything I started in the New Year, from ideas, to projects, to plans, have all come to a grinding halt. I feel unmotivated to do anything. Even tarot, which is usually the one thing that is a constant, has lost interest for me. I just want to hide away from it all.

I thought perhaps drawing a card might be in order and so I got out my Hanson-Roberts deck. The Fool pretty much jumped out. I’ve no idea what to make of it so I’m just going to start typing and see where it leads me. I’ve included an image below.

To begin I must say that this particular fool in this deck is one of my least favourite ever. The face annoys me. I kind of want to knock him over, but perhaps that’s just my current state of mind. At first when I got this deck I didn’t even notice he had legs and it was almost as if it was some kind of midget fool. This deck incidentally annoys me a lot but it reads so well and particularly when I read for myself, so I’ve decided to overlook the fact that the style of illustration is not to my usual taste. So, back to the Hanson-Roberts fool:

His shirt is red, perhaps indicating that he is grounded, rather than being tied up with ideas and plans. Although the Fool is generally aligned to air, this fool is perhaps more grounded, not that we can see his feet on the ground though. He is looking upward rather than straight ahead. I get a sense that he is looking for a sign from above. His posture would indicate movement and he seems packed ready to go, albeit lightly packed.

I usually associate the fool with the excitement of new beginnings, the ability to leave your cares behind and move forward fearlessly, and to take risks, and this card stay true to most of that sentiment. And yet what a strange card to draw when I’m feeling so stuck and weighed down. Because I didn’t ask the cards ‘what should I do?’ which would have made the Fools appearance understandable, rather I asked ‘why am I feeling so stuck?’ This makes the fool much more confusing to me.

I’m determined to limit my readings to one card only; otherwise I go off from card to card and never get to the bottom of the real meaning/issue. So as tempting as it is to draw another card I will not. What does this fool have to say to me now? Am I stuck because there is no new beginning in the near future? Not really, lots of changes and things happening right now for me. So, am I feeling stuck because there are lots of changes, perhaps too many? Am I trying to resist an inevitable change or an inevitable movement forward? Do I have my head in the air because I don’t want to focus on the reality of the moment? I do tend to go from one thing to the next as often as the wind changes. Perhaps I’m feeling stuck because I’m waiting for some kind of sign. This fool looks upward, not straight out to the future, but upward to the sky, perhaps looking for a sign or some kind of spiritual guidance or connection with the higher self. Is that what he’s moving towards? I’m no symbolism expert but I’m guessing the white rose is somehow linked to pure love, or pure heart. Maybe that’s my issue? I’m not even looking at that (well, the fool in the card isn’t anyway). Maybe I’ve just been wandering aimlessly like the fool for too long. Maybe for me, the risk, or the new beginning, is just to stand still. Maybe my stuck feeling is from feeling like I’m stuck walking around in circles, making the same ‘new’ starts over and over again. Perhaps if I just stop and have a look at where I am, I’ll see a view that I’ve never noticed before and feel a new sense of freedom. Perhaps for me, I don’t need to take a leap at all, instead, maybe I just need to stay still for awhile. Now that is risky.

Incidentally, if I compare this fool to the Fool card in the Celtic Wisdom deck, known as ‘The Soul’, the difference is quite interesting. In the Celtic Wisdom deck the Fool is taking an inner journey. Could this mean that all my ‘busyness’ and constant movement and change, especially my levels of mental activity, is what is proving to be a burden for me. Perhaps the key is to just lie down and take a rest and see what’s here for me now. Perhaps looking upward for a sign or guidance is futile and what I need to do is to slow down and look within.

Friday, January 16, 2009

on writing again

It feels good to be writing again. I know this blog is no masterpiece but just putting my words down into some kind of order feels strangely satisfying. So, I’ve decided to draw a card from the Celtic Wisdom deck to shed some light on this feeling and what might be behind it….

I have drawn the 8 Elopement of Knowledge (8 of Disks). The story linked to this card is that of Ceridwen and her cauldron of wisdom. In order to give wisdom to her less than beautiful son Afagddu she intends to boil the brew for a year and a day and puts Gwion in charge of tending the cauldron. He accidentally tastes a drop from the cauldron and so gains all the wisdom intended for Afagddu. Ceridwen, less than impressed, begins the chase that results in them both changing into a sequence of animals. Gwion becomes a hare, Ceridwen a greyhoud, he a fish, she an otter, he a bird, she a hawk, he a grain of wheat and she a hen. After she ingests him she gives birth nine months later to the poet Taliesin.

Caitlin Matthews, in the companion book, gives the following as the soul wisdom; "For us to attain any mastery in any area of learning, we have to engage and connect with the knowledge already within us." She also asks the question "What needs to be assimilated still?"
Traditionally the 8 of Disks speaks of study or apprenticeship or learning. This is also the divinatory meaning given for the Celtic Wisdom deck. Looking beyond that to the story of Ceridwen and Gwion, I’m interested in how this applies to my current enjoyment of the writing process. It is a story about learning and about transformation but also about applying our wisdom. For me, I see this as saying that I need to be flexible and to adapt to the situation at hand. Perhaps this format of writing allows me to do that. I can work hard at what I’m doing, practice the craft of writing, with the only goal being to gain wisdom and insights. How exciting to know that at the end of the story the great poet Taliesin awaits me.

Still struggling with committing to the Celtic Wisdom deck I decided to draw a card from the Hanson-Roberts as well, seeing as though it’s placing itself as a contender. I drew the Ace of Cups.

I am immediately drawn to the water overflowing from the cup, the open flowers and the bird in the sky. This card gives me a sense of relief. It’s as if I’m able to pour out my emotions with my writing. The bird to me symbolises my intellectual engagement with the process, but if this card is answering my original question as to what lies beneath my joy of writing, I’d say the answer is that it provides me with an outlet for my creativity and emotions. No wonder it feels good.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

on changing my mind

Over the past few days I’ve had a whole sequence of events that has led me to question my choice of the Celtic Wisdom deck for this PDR exercise. It can be a frustrating deck, primarily because the divinatory meanings given seem to have little (or in some cases absolutely no) connection to the story or myth attached to the card. I know the deck probably holds great wisdom and the artwork is divine, but I’m questioning how working with the deck will increase my understanding of tarot in general.

This has raised the issue for me of how often I tend to change my mind about things. I do change my mind A LOT. Where once I saw this a major character flaw, I’m beginning to understand how it can also be a gift. I say ‘beginning’ because for the most part I still see it as a flaw.

I decided to draw a card from the Celtic Wisdom deck to see what might underlie this constant mind-changing I experience. The card I drew was 10 Quest of Battle (10 of Swords). After spending some time with the card I became even more frustrated with the shortcomings of the minor arcana in this deck and now feel like it simply isn’t the right deck for me.

Last night I had a session reading for a friend. I read using the Hanson-Roberts deck and drew one card only. We also looked at her natal chart and astrological transits. The reading was fantastic. I’m no big fan of the Hanson-Roberts deck. I don’t particularly like the artwork, or the whole RWS clone thing, but I have to say it gives me amazing readings. To test it out as a possible contender for the PDR exercise I asked the same question….."What is behind my constant mind-changing?", and would you believe the card that came up was….the Ten of Swords!

Time to start listening I thought. So, in both decks these cards deal with an ending. In the Celtic Wisdom it is the story of rescuing Branwen and the ensuing strife and heartbreak that follows. The general divinatory theme is that the worst has been realised and everything has its season. Now we have experienced the end/pain/death, we can move on and start afresh. The Hanson-Roberts deck image has always been one card in this deck that I do really like. I mean, it’s not a great card to get, but I like how the theme is portrayed.

The first thing I notice when I look at this card is the string of red beads. Three beads remain on the string over the person’s head and one is at the end of the string while the other is loose on the ground. In the very foreground the earth is cracked and it would seem as if the beads could roll into the cracks. Obviously this card deals with the death or end of something. That’s VERY clear. But what remains? The sky is menacing, the tree is spookily bare, we can’t even see the face of the figure on the ground. Now, if I were to enter this card, I’d want to pick up those beads. I have no idea why, but to me they symbolise something. If beads are worn around the neck then perhaps they deal with the throat chakra, our means of expression. And given they are red, then perhaps we are dealing with expressing ourself in a tangible way. So if an idea or an interest of mine ‘dies’ and I choose to move forward, is this card saying I need to pick up what’s left (the knowledge perhaps) and take it with me in my next idea/quest/or whatever I begin?

Maybe the message in this card for me is not to focus on the end or the loss when my interest in something dies, but rather, to hold on to what I’ve got OUT OF that interest and move forward fearlessly knowing with each change I add more beads to the string, creating as time passes a necklace that expresses who I am. So in the interest of becoming interesting maybe it’s actually my ability to take on many and varied interests and ideas that will be what serves me well in the end.

I still need to decide on a PDR deck though, but this time I’m going to do that knowing that I’ll work with it only as long as it feels right, and then I’ll move on.