Tuesday Tarot – Late Again!

The last three days has been intensity in motion. So again, I am late. Thus is life, it is merely peculiar in that my busyness has actually been semi-priestessy in nature instead of mere mundane hectic.

But I now will focus and calm myself continuing the viewing of Laura Perry’s Minoan Tarot!  Again, this week’s selection begins with a card I ADORE as an “instead” of the traditional representation of a Christian devil.  I love the Major Arcana card

#15 The Minotaur – the operative phrase assigned to this card is “I fear.” and the Linear B inscription reads “bindings/ties.”  What more poignant representation of captivity/enslavement/a state of being trapped than the Minotaur?  If the Major cards suggest things that come from outside ourselves, at least partially, or through poor choices that we DO participate in?  Well, the Minotaur – cursed from birth to terrify and horrify, so thus finding himself confined and confused and left to become a monster in his lonely rage and impotence – is there a better image.  It is not about evil; we need no Christian devil (that often demonized the image of older gods).  It is about the darker self, the denied self, the neglected self — the vampire times starved self that we all might lock away in shame.  It is about obsession, fear, addictions, compulsions – it is about material affairs denied spiritual outlet.  This card shouts of the need to embrace and rehabilitate the darkness within so it serves you as your inner ally.  Reversed, it warns you of projecting your darkness onto others and attacking THEM, instead of facing your own rejected self.

This card reminds me of the last three days.  Sunday we attended what was called a “celebration of life”; in other words, a funeral/memorial service.  For a tiny baby girl who had one normal month of life before she was battered and assaulted so viciously that the next two months were spent dying.  It was like being immersed in fire to sit through Disney montages and music amidst bright balloons and an insistence upon forced jollity.  Some bereft mourners fled to the parking lot to weep without breaking the rules of this celebration.  When did we become so ashamed to be justifiably angry and to mourn with understandable tears?  When did we become bound to a convention of pretending there is joy instead of deep sorrow?  Monday, here, we slept — exhausted with anger and grief for those forbidden to show their grief.   And today, we dressed and left to go escort a tiny white casket to the crematorium.  This was no celebration of joy and blessedly private.  There were muted tears, and hands clinging to each other.  This brief all but silent affair felt real and genuine – but it certainly was not public, but hidden.  Are we, as a culture, locking our most serious innermost moments away in a labyrinth with NO public exit?

#16 The Tower – has the phrase “I collapse.” and the inscription “Palace” and portrays  a Cretan palace overwhelmed by a tsunami such as destroyed at least one coast of Minoan Crete when the massive volcano on Thera exploded.  Perry attributes this card to upheaval, crisis, ego destruction and revelation.   She credits it to a “force majeur” beyond personal control.  It has links to the 10 of daggers and 5 of horns — cards I personally prefer to never see in a spread (and yet had both of those in one spread together this week).  What she doesn’t say in her book, is what some more traditional mythos attributions do — the “tower” in question is NOT the “house of god” or a palace, but the walls of hell, which Christ allegedly broke in his three days buried and vanished from this world.  In other worlds — this breaking is a necessary, a good breaking.  I think either definition suffices — because no matter how needful, it isn’t going to feel very good while it happens to you!  The reversal means you are clinging to something fallen, and the harder you resist the more you will lose in energy wasted holding up something that needed knocking down.

 

#17 The Star – I always like to see this card, but this image doesn’t much move me, I admit.  The phrase is “I hope” and the inscription is “everyone/thing” — light at the end of the tunnel is good thing, yes.  Inspiration and a change of heart is a good thing.  But I somewhat dislike it being equated to “hope” as that follows on the oft quoted word “faith” — which I have none of and want none of, either.  Hope can be a poison, keeping you from seeing just HOW dark something is, keeping you in a position of subservience that needs to be over.  The reverse, Perry insists, is clinging to fear and doubts.  I would suggest it means maybe the light at the end of some tunnels is a train.

 

Tuesday Tarot -Majors 12, 13, & 14

The Minoan Tarot images lure me from the everyday. Even in the currently busy and hectic days, I want to sit down and stare at them. I suspect this is because they contain potent “headology”.  My favorite witch is not one of the classics like vengeful Medea or the pig-making Circe.  My favorite witch is Diskworld’s Granny Weatherwax who says it isn’t about spells and sticking pins in things — it’s about “headology.”  To me, this speaks a real truth about magic and enchantment — the one we usually must enchant is ourself!  Or sometimes the need is to disenchant someone.  I think the images of the Minoan Tarot have the deeply woven clues and hints to do both!

I am pretty sure Major Arcana card #12 – Sacrifice – will upset somebody with the somewhat graphic image of an animal awaiting getting its throat cut.  The card usually called The Hanged Man seemed more upsetting to me because although it had connotations of making sacrifices for future good as well; it also had meanings related to betrayal and treachery – and of being left, somewhat literally “twisting in the wind.”  This card, like most of the ‘big 22’ is more existential with the phrase “I surrender” and the Linear B for “olive tree” – long a symbol of peaceful endings.  This card hits me hard personally; there are things I need to surrender right NOW, for instance.  There ARE patterns in my life that need to dissolve.  Reversed, it suggests that refusing to sacrifice what needs to be offered up for the future results in losing control of it all.

#13 – Death – is likewise unsubtle.  An open tomb instead of a skeletal figure, with the phrase “I transform” assigned, and Linear B for “divine” suggests that our deepest fears and the change we really cannot see the other side of are right there in the NOW where we must grasp till tiller of our lives (and very rarely, our actual physical demise).  Perry insists this card does NOT mean physical death.  I beg to differ with her; while it usually means the death of something, not us – that doesn’t mean it cannot.  Reversal indicates refusing transformation, holding on to something in need of release and increasing personal pain.  Drop the hot rock, Pal, and move on!

#14 – Balance – is a card I much prefer to the usual deck!   “Temperance” always had a bit of a preachy vibe to one raised on stories of Carrie Nation bashing in barrels of whisky or beer!  Besides, who could resist that lovely young man vaulting that beautiful bull — nobody dies, everything is handled!  It IS about balance and focus to achieve and maintain towards a goal; avoiding extremes IS key.  Reversed. the card warns against over focus on only one area – over specialization, perhaps?  Or being all take and no give?

Tuesday Tarot – Majors Six, Seven, Eight

Will this be the last public Tuesday Tarot?  If not, it nearly is; I admit, I’ve not found the nerve to click the “private blog” button just yet!  But when I do it, I may copy and paste these posts over at Herlander Walking for anyone still interested.  These cards, and the layouts I will be doing as part of the work for the Magical Battle of America, are one of the reasons for going private.  I want to discuss those with trusted others I’ve known online for some time.  But I don’t want to put it out there for just anyone to read.  But enough – on with the Major Arcana of the Minoan Tarot!

I am still not weary of the color scheme, tho’ I did not expect that to be one of my favorite parts.  It appeals to my Elemental Magic affinity!  Also, I am just now beginning to attend to the color backgrounds on the Major cards — emotive blue, for instance on the Loves and the Chariot; but airy yellow on Justice.  I could see this deck being excellent for intuitive readers, in spite of the simple format of images.

So, the Lovers #6 –  The operative phrase is “I choose.”   I really like that one; I have ever been a nay-sayer about the old saws about “not being able to choose who you love” – calling that nonsense and existential bad faith!  The Linear B designation means mother/father — perhaps a none too subtle reminder of the results of one sort of love?  Perry defines this card as a union of opposites, a definite choosing and a consequence for every choice.  That sounds a mite preachy, maybe?  But in some ways, it is a useful warning; even NOT choosing is actually a choice, simply an unacknowledged one.  That is the gist of the reversed meaning, too: avoidance of responsibility for choices.  And I have to admit I giggle at this card – isn’t the guy angsty?  Fist to forehead?  The woman’s fist to chest, too?  Wait — is she saying men decide with the head and women with the heart?  Laura, Laura, Laura — you little sexist, you!  I hope she just ripped random images from murals and combined them withOUT that idea.

The Chariot #7 – The phrase is “I control.” and the Linear B means “wheels”.  One certainly hopes to control; I admit the image of a flying courser on the chariot gives pause.  This card is all about taking charge, direct honest action, not manipulation — that said, would not a fiery red background been better than emotive blue?  This card, Perry says, means success by controlling OTHERS.  Ouch.  Not so much my reading, but possibly one to keep in mind.  I’d look at other cards to see if he/she you read for IS into controlling others by some force majeur?  I’ve ever read this card as self control and focus to maintain one’s own course in life.  The reversal connotes a lack of self-discipline and blaming others, flailing and drama, upon losing control.  (Gee, who does THAT remind me of?  Is there a trend here in my reminded-ofs?)

Justice #8 –  I find this card peculiar.  Most of my decks make Strength the 8th card, since multiples of 4, in numerological symbolism, connote stability and strength, I get that.  But #8 and #11 are often switched about in tarot decks; it is the image that confuses me.  The image dilutes this card for me — four guys stomping grapes?!  “I evaluate” is the phrase and the Linear B inscription is “must” — meaning unfermented grape juice.  Perry attributes this card as meaning cause and effect shape your life.  That is a pretty dilute meaning for “justice”, don’t you think?  I think I will consider that line from the Battle Hymn of the Republic about ” trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored” to give it back some vigor!  This card, for me, is always more about a can of whup-ass being opened, not making unfermented grape juice.  Perry gives the reverse a bit more punch – but still leaves it a very personal card, saying “you” might be the focus of injustice, or your own bad act chickens could be coming home to roost.  That can be so, of course – but I’d find that more the meaning in something like a ten of swords/daggers.  With the Major Arcana, I tend to think it is less personal and more archetype-related: bigger trends/beings beyond yourself or your actions and desires.

To me the 22 major cards symbolize the forces outside your own sway to a certain degree.  So while I find a sort of existential satisfaction in Perry’s definitions; I also find it waters down the concept we are all (be honest!) completely uncomfortable with — some things in life do simply NOT respond to OUR cause and effect.  I use a layout with eleven cards; if I find half or more of them are the Major Arcana cards I read that as a time to buckle down for a ride.  A ride in which you are likely NOT driving!

Anyhow, that is it for this week.  If you are a reader who gives a hoot about still seeing these Tuesday Tarot posts?  Let me know in comments, and I will then make the decision whether to post them over on ever-public Herlander Walking!

Tuesday Tarot

On with the twenty two major cards of Laura Perry’s Minoan Tarot!  I am still loving the colors!  They speak to me of the way I visualize the Elements — yellow for Air (damn, what a comment on air pollution, eh?!), red for Fire, blue for Water, and green for Earth — the white for me would be that exciting, intangible fifth thing — spirit, that thing that enlivens.

The Empress card has “I connect.” as the key phrase and the Linear B word for “community”.  Other than the silly side-saddle riding position, I have no particular issue with the image.  “I connect” is about adequate for the female political power this card represents to me.  Perry sees it more as a feminine force of Nature – something nurturing, I’m not sure I would word it that way.  The reverse would be a rejection of connection and interdependence, an insistence on going it alone and losing, she says.  Hmmm, I wonder if anyone ever told Elizabeth I of England that; or Catherine of Russia?

The Emperor – apparently just a man and his kitty cat pal – has the key phrase “I order.” and the Linear B inscription for “direct/command.”  Did some man potty train Ms. Perry at gunpoint?  Again, she feels these are cards representing masculine forces in Nature.  Not sure what that would be, after all we used to name storms with female only names!  I always view these cards as being about political nature — and thus this card of authority and self control means plans carried to completion.  The reverse?  A lack of that control, self inflation and bullying.  Gee, who could that possibly remind me of, eh?

The Adept – I rather like the card most commonly called the Hierophant or the Pope to be portraying a female figure instead.  Goodness knows after #3 and #4 being so not gender neutral, I needed SOMEthing.  The phrase given this card is “I learn.” making the bare breasted lady more of a scholar than authority.  Perry wants this card to speak of the human creation of religions – with all the possible errors that includes – but also of the good to be found IN those religions.  I prefer to think of it as connoting a balance of intellect and spiritual pursuits AS a human, not sacrificing pragmatism or experimentation.  The reverse, somewhat obviously, signals a slavish attachment to dogma and fundamentalism.

Luckily, once I get done with the card descriptions here that include Perry’s particular emphasis?  I will go back to seeing my OWN meaning and ignore most of the heavy handed gender assignments.  I do like the images, but I wonder if Perry missed the conclusion of many who studied Minoan Crete — that of an incredibly egalitarian society?

 

 

I Dream…

feather-fortress…again, of military camps.  For decades, my nights left me exhausted in the morning because all night long I worked setting up mess halls and beds in my sleep.  My muscles ached in the dawn, as if I’d been at hard real work.  My skeptic’s mind fought the idea promulgated by more “pagan place” minds that told me about astral planes and work there by night.

But for over half my adult life, several nights a week – my dreams were full of busy activity in a war “we” were certain of winning, but one that never seemed to end.  With the building of the Walk of the Fallen Memorial Labyrinth in 2003, however, those dreams slowed (but didn’t completely stop) – as if my work in the here and now on the stones in my back yard took precedence.  But a few months ago, the martial midnight images returned.

Last night, I was again at work in a vaguely military uniform.  My Minotaur was there with me for the first time ever.  And another man, younger and full of vitality – pursuing me with an odd romantic fervor.  He would rub my aching shoulders and fetch me warming blankets.  I was never one to dream of (even would-be) lovers, so this was a peculiar change.  The other change was less charming and more alarming – gone was the certainty of winning.  A bitter desperation and a grasping after any sweet solacing moment was a theme in the dream.  Thus, I suppose, the romantic against the grinding labor in which my husband and I were engaged?

Do I believe in the astral plane, that “other where” out there?  Let’s say I wonder if it is more than a mental state.  It often seems to me there is a substrate of reality we somehow miss with our ordinary every day perceptions.  I speculate that it is where ideas come from or go to – those curiously contagious ideas that suddenly manifest in four places at once around the planet – as new inventions.  I can’t know this, of course,  I can only wonder as I wander.

But it feels like it would be a sort of dishonesty and cowardice to completely discard the idea as impossible.  Because I can’t prove to myself that it does not exist either.  Perhaps that is what age is for?  Learning to live with unanswerable questions, with ambiguity?  Becoming comfortable with ambivalence?  In youth didn’t we all pursue certainty?  Wasn’t science a wonderful thing because you thought it always gave you that desired proof?

Except it didn’t always.  Sometimes scientists cooked their own books, played with data.  Some claimed they got repeat results that they did not.  Even scientists are humans with a burning desire to see their best hopes realized.  We all still play at least a mental/emotional game of alchemy, do we not?  We move the ideas, beliefs, facts around in our heads like a mental game of Tetris, trying to fill in the magic spots of  “don’t-bloody-know” to get the musical reward and sparkly answers that reassure us, comfort us, answer us.

But slowly, sometimes so very slowly, progress happens.  Science moves forward with truths from experimentation.  So, in the dark wintertime of my life?  I will experiment, since apparently I WILL dream, whether or not it is my desire.  After all, can I really risk losing a “war” because I won’t admit it exists?

Tuesday Tarot – Minoan Major Arcana

Having worked with this deck a few times since I dealt with a gender-role quibble, I am enjoying the deck if I don’t use/look at the most offensive (to me) cards!  So, let’s begin to take a look at the 22 Major Arcana cards, shall we?

minoan-tarot-ma-0-2As I mentioned previously, Laura Perry uses a key phrase for each card.  I find I rather like this for the 22 trump cards of the tarot deck.  I’m still a bit ambivalent about the Linear B phrase on each card – although some of them are a better “fit” on these cards.  Most of her images are adapted from actual murals found in the excavated ruins of Minoan Crete.  I greatly like the colored borders as well.  I find the color use makes for easier reading.  Females and youths have paler skin; the male figures are more sun-tanned.  While I don’t think Minoan women spent less time in the sun?  It is a useful device for rapid recognition.

Perry, working with a civilization that was pre-Christian, somewhat re-defines the cards, generally in ways that I like.  I can more easily ignore a bit of gender stupidity and re-define that for myself than I can constant monotheistic “demonize all else” images on more traditional tarot decks.

The Fool – a Minoan youth whose key phrase is “I am.”  Linear B proclaims “wild” – he doesn’t look wild to me!  Of course, as I type this, it is snowing — so I think he looks likely to chill in his nakedness!  Perry sees this card as a primal beginning, a self-discovery state.  Reversed*, she credits it with speaking of living a non-authentic, entirely too-tamed “playing the crowd” of  “shoulds” life.

I have some issues with this card in any deck; while it is meant to suggest a primal innocence, I suspect it can also mean a willful idiot. In an America where people proclaim a pride in their ignorance, as if there is value in being an intentional moron — someone should explain that ignorance is NOT the same as innocence.  While innocence can lead one to make errors, only willful ignorance can lead to the special kind of harm we see on the news practically daily.

The High Priest – The key phrase is “I act.” and the Linear B is the word for priest.  Perry attributes this to outward action (animus and intellect) – finding one’s abilities and what to most fruitfully do with those strengths.  Again, the reversal of this card speaks of inauthenticity – trouble being other than you are told to be.  I’m sensing a trend in the reverse meanings!  Oddly, the image of this card almost calls to mind something Aztec. — I think it is all the feathers on his head.

This replacement name for the” Magician” works for me; it avoids the problematic idea of trickery and slight of hand.  You see the four representations of elements/suites: dagger-fire, rhyton-water, labrys-air, horns-earth.  I have a feeling my efforts to not be insulted by this “acting” figure may not entirely decline with time.  Of course, Perry would never suggest that her card is gender determinant — insisting it is a “characteristic” available to all.

The High Priestess – “I perceive” is the key phrase and the Linear B says “priestess”.  I still feel there is a bit of gender delineation here, but that could just be my usual contrary nature?  The traditional meaning of this card does speak to anima/intuition and internalization of “mystery” and hearing the inner promptings of spirit/mind.  Perhaps had I not taken such offense to the court cards, this would not be a nagging little bit of bitchery in my head?  It does not help that historically, possibly for every era SINCE Minoan Crete (or Catal Hayuk?) women’s “powers” have been relegated to the “inner mysteries” for the same reason women were known as witches and poisoners — women were denied other outlets of power.  The reversal again connotes being inauthentic — not hearing the inward voice because you fear it brings bad news.

With that in mind, I note to myself that the gender bias I find in the cards is also a reflection of history and FACT.  Just because it hurts me to look at it doesn’t mean the card attributions are wrong.  We don’t really know enough about life in Minoan Crete to know if the bare-breasted beauties of the murals there were so fully circumscribed as later Hellenic matrons and maidens – but I surely doubt it.  I think interpreting the images still vivid on volcano/quake/tsunami battered walls within such limits is an error.  My reading style will evolve beyond those definitions rather rapidly, I suspect.

Designers of tarot cards are human (alas, like designers of religion?) and thus bring their flaws to their design.  Even reading cards even more psychologically than psychically is more like poetry than prose.  So, for the sake of beautiful cards devoid of monotheistic images, I will cope with the perceived flaws in the stated definitions of the designer.

*I admit, I struggle with the issue of reversed cards.  I’ve been told in many books to cut the cards and reverse one stack.  I find this so artificial as to be impractical.  But with this deck, I did take about 1/4 or 1/3 of the deck at random and so turn it.  But my more usual method is to look at the card in the layout and if it makes no bloody sense at all, I try reading it as reversed even if it is upright.  If it makes more sense, I simply turn it in the spread at that point.  I’ve had much more luck, sense, and accuracy with that method.

After Action Report: Summing Up My Fears

Keep CalmI did the first meditation for the Magical Battle of America, as devised by HecateDemeter. Conscious “traveling” as it is called is not amongst my strong points. I struggle with it as my skeptical mind froths and fights with diversions and objections. I will repeat the exercise daily this week. Do I believe a scattered group practicing the same exercise can effect a change, create a mental meeting place?  In theory, yes.  Have I ever experienced it?  Well, sort of, just once — and it was ephemeral and difficult to maintain.

It was the night after my working that disturbed me.  I woke from a dream of trying to enter Washington D.C.  This is, after all in a sense what IS being worked for – to counter the negativity and destruction of what America stands for coming from that city.  In my dream, I was blocked at every juncture — whether by car or afoot, by towering figures in silvery knights’ armor.  They were huge and holding massive double handed swords — to stop me they would step forward holding said swords like a barrier in front of me: one hand at hilt, the other at blade’s end.

Is this the face of the enemy?  Automaton-like giants dressed in spotless silver, but acting perfidious?  Or are they merely an archetype coughed from my bitter and frightened subconscious mind?   Are they both? Can they be both?  Do I simply need a visual representation of what it is I confront?

That is what I settle on, in the calmer morning light with some sustaining food on board.  And so it goes, I will continue to attempt to “shape the invisible” — and therefore, the visible as well.

Wednesday Woo – and Tarot Bonus

Some years back, after President Obama’s second election victory, but after it became clear that a terrible racial and political backlash was threatening all progress, I engaged in something risky and foolish.  I tried to launch something akin to what Adept Dion Fortune did in Britain in WWII– launch a sort of magical counter-movement.  I got no takers and much criticism for the very “presumptuous” idea.  Nonetheless, I (in this case unwisely) persisted.  First, I experimented with astral travel to explore the “temple” built by Fortune’s group of occult workers.  I found enough with my sparse energy and skills to convince me it did exist, that it was real.

Why was I wrong?  Because at the same time in my life, I was challenged with a foundering marriage and PTSD issues of the mate AND my own.  I was at the low point of my adult life and I still wanted to play white magical knight?  Yes, yes, I can be a totally moronic idealist at times.   I learned much.  My efforts were not so much a failure as inadequate to the need; after about four months, I fell ill.  I sporadically kept up the effort for another year, and then; due to other physical issues not related to my energy work, I got REALLY ill.  I quit and put aside the book in which I kept track of my efforts.  It really was a sort of a Don Quixote mode, and I should never have taken it on all solo.

fullsizerenderToday, I got that book out again and wrote out notes on a tarot spread done to determine the needs of a new effort.  At last, not feeling completely alone and also in good health – mental, emotional, and physical – the Magical Battle for America is to be joined.  I am not sure quite how this will be done yet, but I have chosen to go with this, secrets in the open perhaps for those with the ability to read?  I began with a tarot spread to determine my needs in my effort to join with other practitioners to mount a magical resistance to preserve America from a crowd of venal, greedy, racist, misogynistic, religiously biased, spiritually constipated AMATEURS who are the current Administration.

I used my new Minoan Tarot deck and a Tree of Life spread.  It told me much I needed to know, but did not tell me to not try it.  Briefly, below, my read of the cards — not entirely analyzing all the linkages here, but hitting the high points of the new government Administration setting off my mental alarms, demanding I take action on every front:

#1 The Query’s Reason – (why I am asking).  Youth of Labryses, reversed. A card signifying lies for approval and as foundation, telling me of an amateur who lies to gain place and power – I think this card represents Steve Bannon.  The “fool” line connects to

#2 -Forces at Work – the Major Arcana16, the Tower also reversed, signifying a holding on to that which is already hopelessly fallen – in this case, old white guys demanding the past “good old days” be revived for their profit and comfort, regardless of the cost to the rest of the world. The “empress” line (female political power)crosses to

#3 Deeper Query – the Youth of Horns – and here is the President, not young, obviously — but a youth in experience of government, another amateur; this one financially motivated and inexperienced and connected to the card connoting Bannon by the “magician” line — signaling in this case an unhealthy “follower” relationship to the “idea man” Bannon.

#4 Projected development – the Maid of Rhytons – since this reading is to show me where I want to go, this card talks for first time of how to get there.  It suggests I must be guided my my own oft-mistrusted intuition and empathy, using my own inner voice as guide.  The “strength” line connects to card

#5 -Energy of Querent (me) – Major Arcana 9 Labyrinth (Hermit) – reinforces command to go within and mayhap USE my own Labyrinth in my efforts.  So, even as one of a group, I suspect I may be rather solitary?

#6 Saving Grace – Ace of Labryses – a new beginning needs logical rational work, and a willingness to examine and shake up not only ideas, but ideals in my tasking.  The “death” line of transformation connects to card

#7 Relationships encountered – Seven of Rhytons – suggesting I reward of emotional drive and operative pipe dreams, not only in others I suspect, but in myself.  The “Tower” line crosses to the next card, with a hint of knocking down those emotive drives for a colder rationality.

#8 Feelings of Querent – Lord of Labryses – telling me I feel deciding and active, my opinions here have knowledge to back them up; so I am not all fluffy bits of dream.

#9 Thoughts of Querent – Ten of Horns – an admission of my need to count on a sturdy physical base of operations, financial security and a home to operate from safely, securely.

#10 Physical Manifestation – Major Arcana #5 The Adept – (The Lady) I will seek knowledge – arcane/occult at need to re-create balance and harmony that seems to be draining out of America right now.  I must become adept….

#11 Secret Knowledge Needed – Major Arcana 13 Death – Ok, I admit it, I took a deep breath seeing this card as the secret.  Some, yes, would read it as a direct warning that I could be risking my life.  But I’ve see the Death card in so many layouts in my life and I am still here!  It really IS the card of transformation — I am seeing this working to EFFECT transformation; one should expect personal transformation in the process.  BE the change you wish to see in the world!

So, onward, braced and informed of what I need to pay attention to as I go forward…here we go.

 

A question for others?  Do you, if you do energy/magic work, do tarot before a working to get a forecast of how your planned action will go?

 

 

Tuesday Tarot

minoan-tarot-ma-backplateI have been excitedly awaiting the Minoan Tarot. I studied the book, which I often do not do, to be honest. Because this deck uses images from a pre-Christian period of history, I thought it was my best bet of getting a deck without the whole original sin/judgement day mentality of many traditional decks.  I was not wrong and this delights me!

However, as I mentioned last week, this deck has some different court cards — and the precise import of those cards also made me study the book Laura Perry includes with her tarot deck.  Most decks have face cards titled something like knight, princess, queen, king – four face cards per suite.  This deck has youths/maids, lords/ladies, and priest/priestess – six face cards per suite.  I find the youth/maid cards much like the more usual knight/prince/princess cards and those are more or less acceptable.

The real issue is her “defining” phrase – something she assigns to every card.  Perry goes to a lot of work explaining what an egalitarian culture Minoan Crete was in history — one of the things that has always appealed to me.  But with the court cards, her chosen phrases raised my hackles and the final pair?  The priest/priestess set really just jangled my nerves enough that for now I removed them from the deck completely.  So let’s get that roadblock out of the way at once, before going over the deck as I usually do — from Major to Minor Arcana portions.

There are slightly different images and I am at peace with the four suites  as Perry represents them.  Daggers equate to swords, but interestingly, are assigned to the element Fire, which has long been my personal instinctive preference. This is at variance with most tarot attributions.  Rhytons are Watery/emotional cups, Labryses are not Fire, but Airy/mental wands, and the Horns are Earthy Discs/Pentacles.  I like the color assignments as well – it gives a nice immediate image in the layout of what is most prominent.

minoan-tarot-court-priestsHere are the priests.  I like Perry’s use of color.  Male figures are rather more darkly complected than female figures – useful in images where both might have long hair and robes!  The little almost pictogram like figures printed on each picture are Linear B – the written language that archeologists DID manage to decipher.  (It is not, as first assumed, a real language of Minoan Crete – but an adaptation later by the Mycenaean Greeks, unlike the apparently unbreakable Linear A in the lost language of Crete.). Each card has one of these inscriptions meant to be significant to the card.  Some of these get very awkward, indeed – but that is a minor quibble.  The priest of Daggers, for instance, has a word meaning “leader” – but she doesn’t tell what it is, exactly, for it is a title, not a mere description.  But that does bring me to the deal-breaking quibble.  Each set of four cards has a descriptive phrase, you see?  The one for the priests is “I lead.”

minoan-tarot-court-priestess

Here are the priestess cards.    So, what would you think this most prominent female imaged court card might represent?  What might the important operative phrase be?

I embody.”

Mind you, the other court cards had this, to me, disturbing dichotomy for an allegedly egalitarian cultural milieu, too.  Maids merely “consider”, while Youths “explore.  The Lord “reacts, but the Lady “emotes.” (Emotes?  For fucks sake, emotes?!)  Perry does say a “Lady” can represent a male — one that emotes, apparently?  But the whole division of labor/effect bothers me.  The feminine faced cards of the court all seem relegated to passive roles.  Maybe with time, I will get over this quibble.  Maybe not.

But thus far, this is the only thing that gives me pause.  It seems rather grating to have masculine and feminine roles defined so narrowly.  Gender reinforcement is not what I expected of the alleged egalitarianism of Minoan civilization!  I greatly liked everything else about this deck as I went through it.  I may just decide to ignore her choice of phrasing.  Time will tell.

Tuesday Tarot – From Silly to Sublime

dragon-tarotI am NOT a collector of tarot cards. That said, I admit I have eight decks.  They range from curiosities that are rather silly, like a deck with dragons on every card.  I wish I had not somehow lost the wee booklet that came with this, it detailed where each mythical beast came from in culture/history!  I’ve never read a single spread with this tiny deck of brilliantly colored cards.  The reason is, I rarely use tarot for divinatory purposes.  I use it to get a psychological compass “fix” on where I am in my own head.  These images are not evocative of anything so personal.

walker-tarotNo, for the old unsubtle head-slap of self-awareness, I rely on more obvious images.  My oldest deck of cards is the “Barbara Walker Tarot.”  I don’t care for her revisionist history, although her knitting books were quite good.  Her cards, are for me more like the knitting books — direct and unmistakably punch-to-gut effective.  I admit, I use them less frequently these days – only when so emotionally roiled that nothing except a direct zap would get through my drama!  To this day, these are the cards I read most instinctively.  They are full of mythological characters and dire images.

cirqueThe prettiest deck I still own is the Gateway to the Divine Tarot.  I call it my “Cirque de Soleil” deck!  The “Hanging Man” looks like he is silk dancing.  The face cards are mostly stultifyingly boring.  The 15th Trump, commonly called the Devil, is SO mouthwateringly handsome that he would tempt anyone!  Apt, I suppose, for a card signifying addictions and compulsions!  The King of Wands looks like Elrond.  This is a nice “public” deck for people ooky-spookied out by tarot readings because it IS beguilingly beautiful.  For me, while it can be evocative, my mind makes a needle screeching on record (sorry, whippersnappers, if you don’t know what that is!) sound when I hit cards like “Judgement” with obvious  angels of Christian derivation.  (But I promise you, the “Devil” in this card is very much the son of morning, not Old Scratch!). Still, since most of the “public” one might conceivably read for likely IS nominally Christian — that would not bother them.  Thus, I keep this artful deck for parties and the public.

A word about that mental screech, ok?  Yes, I know the cards were developed in the Middle Ages when Europe WAS Christian, and likely as a sort of portable paper “Mystery Play” about how fallen man could resume a heaven-bound existence….there IS that theory.  For MY purposes, however?  That means diddly to me.  So I have tried numerous decks seeking to find one not so monotheistically inclined.  Even one purporting to be a  “Pagan 2000” deck failed utterly, with a very scary Devil and bodies rising from graves on Judgement.  I cut the prettier cards of that deck up to use in crafting projects!  

steampunkOne of my longtime favorite decks is Barbara Moore’s “Steampunk Tarot” – other decks of hers have left me cold in the over-artsy approach; but these are amusing.  They are also astonishingly non-sexist to look at; female trumps and face cards have a beautiful efficacy to their appearance.  The only Christian bit IS Judgement with a metal-winged angel.  The Devil is a horrific looking war machine, which certainly is a valid comment on modern life and death and addiction!  I always enjoy reading this deck.  Some of the cards are astonishingly lovely – like the Moon (upper right hand of photo) and black-winged Death with her Scythe!

vicsteamNow, a recently (last year) acquired novelty deck that is curiously neutral and takes a bit of getting used to is the Victorian Steampunk Tarot.  As you can see, the four Minor Arcana suites are using insects to represent the elemental values: Dragonflies for watery Cups, Moths for fiery Wands, Bees for airy Swords, and Beetles for earthy Coins.  The Major Arcana are more traditional with some pretty steampunk additions; Death is Poe-ish with a raven and skull with a ruby eye, the Hanged Man is a upside-down moon-faced clock pendulum.  The most overt Christian bit IS the Judgement card with a stone angel.  But over all, it is a nice novelty deck that would also be a great party deck — interesting, but not terrifying.  I do use it now and then, but admit to still stumbling over wanting to make Bees into FIRE, not Air because of those stingers I encountered SO often as a beekeeper!

prophecyAnother deck I got very recently, and that I’ve guiltily ignored in hectic life ever since, is the “Illuminating the Prophecy” deck.  It is possibly the most artistic deck I own, beautifully evocative and frankly pagan.  The Judgment card is a fallen crown, the Devil is a leering malevolent mask.  The Cups are represented, oddly, by corvid birds, which I frankly would have assigned to something Air-ish!  But crows and ravens ARE emotional creatures rather like us, so I get the attribution. Coins are plant based — mostly roses, so since I adore roses, that is a sweet softening of Coins for me.  Airy Swords mostly feature images of human HANDS; how is that for owning responsibility for our mental actions?  She gives Wands to Fire, not only in elemental attribution, but in much of the imagery.    No suite imagery is absolute, however — you go reading along and there, suddenly is a traditional Cup, or Sword — or marvelous things like the head of a ten point buck deer sporting lights for the ten of Wands!  This is one of the decks I must work with this year; it is beyond the beauty of the Cirque deck and is a very feeling deck.  This is one of the sublime examples, for me!

soulI also have a deck that is not tarot at all.  It is the Soul Cards (I) deck.  Mine was a sample deck being sold off cheaply and is missing one card.  I don’t care.  I use these rarely and I usually don’t do a tarot style spread.  These, for me, are to be read only by the evocative images — I most often select three cards and meditate upon them for quite some time.   I consider these my most therapeutic deck of cards.  Even just holding the deck and looking through it brings you to focus upon how you feel, where your reactions are coming from, and such.  The same card might get a different reaction on different days – and this in itself is revealing, don’t you think?

boxes-of-secretsBut finally?  I DID say I had just gotten what would likely be my last* tarot deck, didn’t I?  That deck is ensconced in the lovely round lidded chest carved with a tree.  That box was my first Yule gift in 15 years from my youngest son, upon his return home in 2014.  It has sat empty since then awaiting the new deck with EIGHT extra cards ever since!  Yes, at long last, The Minoan Tarot Deck (by Laura Perry) is here!  I am studying the book by its designer and finding it, since images are based on a long pre-Christian society in Minoan Crete, FREE of Christian images.

My only gripe thus far is that young male face cards are labeled with things like “I explore” and “I react” and female face cards do things like “I consider” and “I EMOTE” — for pity’s sake?!  Hmmmm?  But I think I am going to like it more than dislike it.  I like that most of the images are from actual historical art.  “What,” you say, “no pictures of the cards?”  Nope.  Not yet.  (Oh, fine – a sneak peak.) I will do this deck in detail beginning next Tuesday.    Then I have the Steampunk Victorian and the Illuminating the Prophecy decks to detail.

What a relief – at least one day of the week to read cards NOT news – to go inward and not outward!  Such a GIFT!  Oh, and that other box with the big “X” carven upon it?  That is where the Soul Cards live, because they ARE a gift of a sort — very hard to find these days and very evocative and clarifying!

*Unless I also wind up with THIS Minoan Tarot.  But that would mean some other deck would have to vacate it’s carved wooden box!  And looking at this deck feels like something “pumped out” — not something meticulously researched and thought through.