Thursday, April 29, 2021

April 29, 2021: VI The Lovers and the V of Earth

My cards in today's pair from The Wayfarer Tarot are VI The Lovers and the V of Earth.

The Lovers is a beautiful card.  The image on The Lovers card  of The Wayfarer Tarot shows an elderly couple sitting on a bench under an arbor in a beautifully flowering garden.  Behind the couple is a lush green lawn, stretching to the mountains in the distance; above them is a beautiful blue sky.  The flower blossoms are vibrant and lovely:  red roses for deep love and affection, purple pansies for beauty, nobility and loving feelings, red and orange zinnias for endurance, friendship, and long lasting affection, alongside green leaves, stems and vines. Winding its way through the flowers and leaves is a serpent representing temptation, the flow of energy, and the shedding of the old self. They are holding hands and looking at each other, as if blind to the beauty around them and only able to see each other.  He looks like he is talking and gesturing to her, telling her some story, and she listens attentively, enjoying his enthusiasm.  

The image on the V of Earth shows a man and a woman struggling to carry huge and heavy stones in the middle of a pelting rain storm.  The woman holds three huge stones, and is facing the viewer; the man is bent over with two stones on his back, holding a wooden cane with both hands to support himself.  Behind them is a tree covered with pink blossoms.  This image shows weight, pain, struggles, sadness, and maybe even injuries.  Every step is a challenge, and there is no end in sight.  

Yes, The Lovers of the Tarot Major Arcana represents love of all kinds, including romantic love, but this card has other meanings as well.  It can represent the effort to find a partner, the difficulty of choosing between several potential partners, consciously and deliberately chosen connections, and meaningful relationships.  It can have a more general meaning as well, indicating cohesiveness, or the meshing of complimentary energies or balancing forces to create something greater than the sum of its parts.  All of these things can be seen within the image of this card.  The couple are older, and have been together for a long while, standing the test of time.  They have created and maintained a beautiful, healthy and fertile world for themselves, no small task.  Despite their age and the years they have been together, they are still comfortable with each other, and enjoy each other's company.  This card is reminding me of the support, nurturing and understanding that can come from a long term relationship, a relationship that is cared for the way the couple in this card image have cared for their garden.  This kind of relationship requires work, understanding of differences, forgiveness, and joy; it is worth every effort.  

The V of Earth can represent some situation in the mundane or physical world that feels overwhelming. Dealing with heavy weights in the pouring rain with no end in sight can cause us to believe that we have no help and that we are wasting our efforts in trying to succeed.  The exhaustion of struggling can feel never-ending and our energy supplies can feel depleted, but the couple on this card are still standing, despite the heavy weight they both carry.  Often, this card reminds us that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.  It also reminds us that if we feel overwhelmed, we need to look around for assistance.  This couple are so focused on their burdens that they do not see that tree covered with springtime blossoms behind them.  Perhaps just seeing that beauty would help them endure.

Having someone to share burdens with, someone with whom we have had a long and evolving relationship, makes struggles a bit less burdensome.  I'm sure the loving couple in the image of The Lovers have sometimes felt like the couple in the image of the V of Earth, but they stayed together and endured.  That is my message for today.  

For card images, head over to my Instagram account, orange-dancing-sparkles.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

April 28, 2021: VII of Water and the Queen of Air


Still working with the lovely Wayfarer Tarot (by Salipero-Babb and Shipman); today's pair is the VII of Water and the Queen of Air.

The image on the VII of Water shows a person sitting on a beach with legs folded; he appears indistinct and I am guessing that he is meditating.  Floating in front of him are seven boats; each boat contains an object: an airplane representing adventure, a house representing stability, an open book representing learning and wisdom, a heart representing love, a cobra representing power and danger, a tree representing having roots in the ground, and jewels and money representing potential distractions.  The element of Water is about dreams, visions and imagination and the number 7 tells of a pause and assessment before choosing the next step.  The image on the VII of Water hints at possible choices, any of which could be beneficial or dangerous, depending on how they are used.  

The Queen of Air is feeding corn to several ravens, wearing a smile on her face.  The ravens are not afraid of her at all because she has done the work to create relationships with them.  Our Queen knows what to do in order to create relationships, and she has the courage and patience to make those relationships happen, focusing her mind on the task at hand.  Like the ravens she feeds, this Queen is cunning and wise, and can escape any cage.  

The VII of Water has a kind of dreamy or hazy feel about it, as if it is difficult to focus on one thing.  Being distracted by many choices could prevent any choice from happening.  The Wayfarer Tarot Guidebook states that the VII of Water is connected to The Chariot, one of the cards from my last entry.  That card reminded me to pay attention, too.  The VII of Water offers one example of meditation, with its indistinct figure viewed from the back.  It is not uncommon to work through choices while meditating, but we need to remember that what we see in our mind's eye could be not quite clear.

The Queen of Air tells me that I will need to use my wits, the things I have learned, and the wisdom I have accumulated, in order to move forward.  I've survived many challenges and I need to remember that those challenges have made me stronger and more skilled, so I should have confidence in my abilities.  The Queens of the Court embody their suit in an inner manner, so this Queen has a penetrating mind, independence, a skill for organizing, and she analyzes before she chooses.  She may be unsettling to some, but that could be because of her honesty and adherence to truth.

Focus and courage, choosing wisely even if that choice is not to choose (as long as not choosing is a deliberate action and not caused by indecision) are the messages of the day.

You can find images of these cards on my Instagram page, orange-dancing-sparkles.

Monday, April 26, 2021

April 26, 2021: X of Air and VII The Chariot


Continuing with the powerful Wayfarer Tarot (by Salpietro-Babb and Shipman), today my cards are the X of Air and VII The Chariot.  Nice that I have a Minor and a Major to play with today.

One of our Pages yesterday was of the suit of Air, and we already learned that the raven symbolizes the mind and thought, as well as learning through both an active search for data and the use of the intuition to receive messages and direction.  The image on our X of Air shows a raven sitting in the branches of a tree, with his mouth open as if he was calling out.  One nearby branch is covered with large thorns, and a part of that branch is wrapped around the raven's neck.  

My other card is VII The Chariot, and this is one of the cards that drew me to this deck.  The image is of the space shuttle, arriving to its orbital position above the atmosphere of our world thanks to the hard work, skill, and direction of the Charioteer.  This particular representation of the Major Arcana card really shows the momentum, power and force that is offered by this card, should we have the skill and courage to access them.  

The ten cards of the Minors tell of completion (as opposed to the nine cards, which tell of completeNESS), so the X of Air is letting us know that we are at the end of a cycle (also validating the new possibilities hinted at by my Page of Air yesterday).  Dealing with the ten numbered cards of the suit of Air can be quite challenging; each card presents a new obstacle to overcome, kind of like going to the gym and working out the different muscles in the body.  Dealing with each obstacle can bring pain and bruising and tears, but in the end we are made stronger by what we overcome.  This card is telling me that while I may be battered and wounded, I've succeeded as well.  There may have been times that I have wanted to give up, but I didn't do that; I hung in there.  This final challenge is not as difficult as it appears to be, and I have the skill set to extricate myself from the thorns without getting scratched.  

To me, The Chariot of The Wayfarer Tarot offers a modern metaphor for the more traditional image.  This Chariot is not propelled by wheels but rather, by burning fuel.  Travel has become commonplace in our modern world, whether by car, train, airplane or jet.  I am being told to examine where I am going, because the possibilities are truly endless, like the Universe around me.  The key is to plan carefully so that I know what direction to aim for, and so I know how to focus my aim so it is effective.

The digital Guidebook for this deck states that the X of Air is connected to The Magician and The Wheel of the Majors.  The Magician works within the element of Air, and he is a personally significant card for me so the message of the X of Air is also personal.  The Chariot refines the message of the X of Air by reminding me that for a successful space launch, preparation needs to be careful and timing needs to be perfect.  My own leap into space needs to take into consideration the other larger forces that could have an effect on the launch and the space ship's trajectory.

Interesting.  Card images can be found on my Instagram account, orange_dancing_sparkles.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

April 25, 2021: Page of Earth and Page of Air

Things have been busy for me, but I finally have time to begin working with The Wayfarer Tarot.  I shuffled these lovely cards and threw my first card pair.  Very interesting way to begin working with this deck, a pair of Pages.  I like it already!

Generally speaking, the Pages of the Tarot Court are seen as representing a youthful manifestation of the suit, however that does not have to mean young in years.  A senior citizen could certainly be seen as a Page if that senior has the outlook of a youth, free from pre-conceived expectations, open to new ideas and experiences, and eager to share his or her ideas.  

Pages are messengers or attendants to higher-ups, waiting on or serving as well as learning.  They are still developing the perception of who they are, their place in the world, and what they are becoming, and thus they enthusiastically embrace new experiences and opportunities to practice new skills.  Because they have no prior experiences or expectations, they are open to receiving the more subtle messages of their suits.

The image on The Wayfarer Tarot Page of Earth shows a young boy standing before a large tree with a dark opening at its base, holding out an apple to the viewer.  Earth is the suit of manifestation, and this Page is offering a message: things are just about to happen in your physical world.  His message could be specific, regarding a career change or new health insights, or he could just be saying, "look at me, watch how I move through the world, and be the same."  The Page of Earth is about beginnings and about what is just starting to manifest, so in a way he is sharing a possible future. If we choose to listen to the Page and hear his message, we have the power to understand the possibilities available to us right now and change our trajectory in accordance with those possibilities.

The image on the Page of Air shows a young girl in pigtails and an ankle-length dress holding a raven in her arms.    The element of Air represents the mind, the intellect and wisdom, and the message presented by this Page is connected to those things.  This Page is cradling a raven in her arms; the raven represents the mind, thought, and a two-prong method for learning: the active search for information and the passive use of the intuition to perceive information.  The Page of Air may be at a basic or early stage of learning, but she is courageous enough to take her own path forward.  She will do the work to research, to read, to indulge her endless curiosity and she will end up startling you with her knowledge (which is beyond her beginner status).

The Page of Earth reminds me that I already know what the "now" looks like, so I should shift my focus to what could be coming toward me in my physical world.  "Appreciate where you've been," he tells me, "and see your Path thus far as a blessing filled with gifts that you can use moving forward."  He tells me to be practical and flexible, but also to jump in with two feet and embrace the world of nature around me, my own body and its abilities and strengths, and those who travel through life with me.

The Page of Air is telling me that now is not the time to be satisfied with basic and more general knowledge.  The process of learning keeps the brain alive and keeps the mind strong and adaptable, which will allow me to not only survive the winds of change that are beginning to blow, but to thrive within them.  Everything manifested in the physical world begins as a thought or an idea, and new thoughts and ideas are the realm of the Page of Air; I should open my mind without expectations, and enjoy what is coming.

Well, I like this deck already!!  I will post images of the cards on my Instagram account, orange_dancing_sparkles.  

Monday, April 19, 2021

April 19, 2021: A new deck to explore: The Shadowland Tarot

It is time to begin a new exploration of the Tarot, and this round we will dive deep into The Shadowland Tarot by Monica Bodirsky.  I just love the artwork of this deck!  The Shadowland Tarot uses a combination of whimsy and monsters that are spooky but not scary to perceive traditional Tarot symbolism in a new way.  The images of the cards are quirky and playful, but they draw from the traditional archetypes and imagery symbolism we have all come to know and love.  

The Shadowland Tarot does focus on shadow work, but the theme of this deck seems to be very accepting of our differences rather than seeing those differences as an indication that we are broken and need to be fixed.  This is an inclusive deck that celebrates the unlit corners within each of us, and shows us how to face the skeletons, mummies, bats, ghosts and spiders that live there and accept them as maybe being peculiar, but not frightening.  

I did a more in depth review of The Shadowlands Tarot in the July 2020 issue of PaganPages.org. You can check out some of the card images on the author's website (https://www.monicabodirsky.com) or her FaceBook page at Monica Bodirsky Design.

My next post will begin our exploration by comparing two cards.  

Friday, April 16, 2021

April 16, 2021: The Decameron Tarot, a review


I have now looked at all of the cards of the Decameron Tarot, and I've gotten to know this erotic and very non-traditional deck. The Decameron Tarot is created by Giacinto Gaudenzi and Luciano Spadanuda, and was published by Lo Scarabeo in 2003.  It is a 78 card Tarot deck with the traditional Major Arcana card names, a Minor Arcana with four suits, Wands (Fire), Swords (Air), Chalices (Water) and Pentacles (Earth), and with a Court consisting of Knave, Knight, King and Queen.  The cards themselves are 2 5/8 inches by 4 3/4 inches, with color images in a Medieval style, with a smooth glossy finish.  The guidebook that comes with the deck is a traditional "LWB" (Little White Book) guidebook that contains a basic description of the focus of the deck and suggested key phrases for each card.

The Decameron Tarot is based loosely on the book, The Decameron, which is a work by Giovanni Boccaccio written between 1348 and 1358 that contains a hundred tales supposedly told over ten days by a group of ten people who fled from Florence to the countryside to avoid the Black Death.  I was able to get a really nice translation of the Decameron Tarot by Wayne A. Rebhorn and I'm glad I took the time to read the book.  While the book is not written in an erotic style, there is certainly a lot of sex and romance within the stories themselves.  Through reading The Decameron I was able to understand the woman's place in this culture and time, and this helped me to more easily accept a few of the card images which as a woman were very uncomfortable for me.  

This is not a good deck for a beginner who is still learning the traditional meanings of the Tarot deck or who is looking to learn how to interpret the cards because the majority of the card meanings are non-traditional.  However if you have a good solid base in the symbolism of the Tarot, this deck can encourage you to look at some of the traditional interpretations in a new way.

I will continue working with this deck, and I will post my Wheel of the Year readings using the Decameron Tarot on or near the first of each month through 2021.  In the mean time, I will be choosing another deck to explore, so stay tuned!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

April 15, 2021: The Knave of Pentacles and the 2 of Swords


My Inner Focus card for today is the Knave of Pentacles.  The image on this card shows a lower-level room with a stairway upward and a slit of a window in the background, and a pillar with arched supports just beyond a naked woman and a man in a friar's garb having sex on a fancy table painted with images of people with halos above their heads.  We are seeing them from the rear; the woman is naked except for her head piece and she is kneeling on the table, facing away from the viewer but her head is turned back to face us.  Her eyes are closed and she appears to be smiling.  Behind her is a friar with his robes hiked up in the front and sandaled feet on the floor, penetrating the woman from the rear.  Besides his lower legs and feet, the friar is completely covered by his hood and robe.  Beneath her knee on the desk is an open pouch; on the floor below the pouch are coins that have apparently spilled from the pouch.  Her dress is laying on the stairway at the rear of the image.  The key phrases for this card are: distrust of those who appear wearing deceiving attire and offering false modesty, and honor is at risk.

My Outer Focus card is the 2 of Swords.  The image on this card is of a woman laying on her back on a bed, with pillows behind her head and wearing a head piece and a mask. We have seen this woman before, in the image of the 6 of Swords, where she is wearing harlequin clothes and a belt as well as the headpiece and mask, and in the image of the 9 of Pentacles, laying on her back on a bed on top of her harlequin clothing wearing the same headpiece and mask, with a smile on her face.  In this image she is facing us with her feet flat on the bed and her knees wide.  Between her legs is a man who is kneeling on the floor and has his head in her groin with his arms wrapped around her hips; he appears to be wearing that dog or wolf mask that we have also seen before.  The key phrases for this card are: the animal within us is showing itself, and everything will balance out. 

The Knave of the Decameron Tarot is similar to the Jacks of the playing cards deck.  I am seeing the Knaves in this deck as representing a Prince or a young man of high birth who has authority and privileges  ascribed to him, but who might not be mature enough to wield that authority and those privileges in the best interest of everyone, not just himself.  In the Knave of Pentacles, our high ranking man is of the church, and it certainly appears that he is not ready to embrace his vows of poverty and celibacy or respect the sanctity of his religion.  

The suit of Swords is about the element of Air and the thought process and workings of the mind.  It is in the mind that we determine what is acceptable behavior and what is not.  Perhaps this 2 of Swords is telling us that all austerity all the time is not healthy for the human spirit, and  indulging in a bit of wild play every now and then can act as a release valve so we are more able to toe the line at other times.  

Together these cards warn me that I need to be careful about who I am looking up to, who I am choosing to see as a role model to emulate.  Even the person who outwardly appears to be most dedicated to a religious, spiritual or ethical culture is still a human being.  I need to find ethical outlets for my needs that are within my own code of ethics, keeping Harm None in mind, always.