Many thanks to Bree Ferguson, from Nym's Divination, for orchestrating this blog hop! For a Master List of entries in this hop, please visit Falcon Cloak Tarot.
I've collected by means of both giving and receiving readings through the years. And how suited to me this card revealed itself to be, as I had promised myself months ago that 2017 would be a year of expansion!
I realized, upon reflection, that I see this card in stages: the horizons ahead, preparing for the journey and the required determination to achieve ones goals. The Three of Wands represents a journey within the journey; it is layered, multi-faceted and full of possibility.
It is the recognition that there is untapped, perhaps even unlikely, potential within reach. Unrealized, yes, but ready for action. These horizons... these possibilities... are real. They are tangible. These aren't the errant dreams of The Fool, but the attainable goals of the Magician.
And, as with any action, we must utilize our resources, reach out to partners, develop a plan and then dream beyond it. We must store our energy and reserves for the challenges ahead because there are always challenges.
But the beauty of this card is the recognition of our vision, to see beyond the challenges, to see the goal and the path necessary to navigate our way towards it, and then let loose the arrow
"The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun." Christopher McCandless
So the Three of Wands manifested for me as a creature of magic and will and purpose, a fledgling magician perhaps, who has set her sights on all possible futures and who has determined the steps necessary to see her towards those possibilities. She has realized that the wind has been lifting her up for some time now, eager to carry her forward. And then forward again. And even further than that. Because when one goal is met, another awaits. And she has seen them all or has seen, at least, the infancy of them all.
She has not limited her goals to next week, next month, that next promotion or completion of that next project. No, she has set goals for herself limited only by the years allowed to her in this life. And even still... that limitation be damned. She may find a way yet to embrace the immortal presence of persistence and push forward beyond every challenge.
If you enjoyed your stop in this journey through tarot, I encourage you to visit with Vix (New Age Hipster) for the next installment in the 2017 tarot blog hop!
Brightest blessings until next time!
ineptitude that we lose a sense of objectivity. But this card tells us that our fears are a child of our own anxiety, are not founded in the reality of actionable worry, that we are only a prisoner to our self-doubt, and these are chains we can break.
"If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles." - Sun Tzu
The power we have, that we all inherently possess, is one of self-discovery. By recognizing there is a journey in which we are eternally a part, we can begin to assess our fears through the lens of discovery. We can see each fear in the light of a new perspective... that of traveling through a phase, and embrace the lessons which result.
Once we pluck from our hearts the false reality our fears create, we can use that energy to strengthen our own resolve, to build up our confidence, self-worth, and rejoice in change and evolution. Fear breeds shadows. But where there are shadows, there is also light. And light, my friends, breeds hope.
"Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark", written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell, holds a remarkable place of regard in my life. These books were the foundation upon which I built, from my childhood, a love of horror, of writing and of art. Though the imagery accompanying these stories were, well... to be blunt... horrifying, it was also liberating to my creativity and imagination. They inspired me to write and illustrate my own collection of horror stories at the young age of 11 years. My elementary school teacher was so impressed by my attempts that I was invited to participate in writing workshops, and was encouraged to develop my voice and style through all the years that followed. As a result, I became a published poet who, to this day, draws on the memories of my relationship with these stories to write my incredibly self-indulgent contemporary free verse.
So, when I discovered the Ritual Abuse Tarot, illustrated by Ryan Sheffield as an homage to Stephen Gammell, I knew I had to have it. I knew I had to re-invite my childhood inspirations back into my life and embrace their message. As Ryan states in the small accompanying guide book, the deck was originally constructed as a satirical look at the inconsistencies of tarot, but became it's own creature, with its own voice. He embraced this strange dichotomy between his own disbelief and lack of knowledge regarding the tarot, and how the cards can still provide a meaningful message, by stating the following:
"Chaos and contradiction are the heart of this deck, so take it seriously and have a laugh. Follow this guidebook to the letter and make it up as you go along. Just do me a favor an enjoy yourself. Or don't."
And it's not tied down by the artists insistence on pushing a prescribed meaning with each image. In fact, you are encouraged to stretch these cards beyond the imagery and traditional meanings and simply have an experience... whatever that means.
This deck also proves that an artist or deck creator doesn't need a life-long relationship with tarot him or herself, doesn't even need to believe in it at all, in fact, to create an effective tool for established readers. Though much of the artwork does embrace traditional imagery, there are cards that seem to step away and carry their own story, their own way, and that's been an amazing discovery these last few days.
I've had a truly visceral reaction to this deck. At the risk of sounding absurdly emotional, even my inner child squeed with delight upon its arrival, and I have since been immensely satisfied by my growing relationship with it.
The imagery may be too dark, too disturbing, for use with clients. I imagine you'd have to understand your client well, or allow them to chose the deck themselves, before venturing forth with the surprisingly deep messages this deck reveals, in a dark but cheeky way. Perhaps, even, you might consider this deck too dark for you. However, I urge you to embrace the imagery for what it is... an artist appreciating the art of another, and sharing that appreciation with you. It is this appreciation that happily reveals a truly joyful relationship readers can have with these cards.
Brightest Blessings! And, should you brave the darkness and shadows of your own stories, I hope your journey is as joyful as mine!
I will admit I have a fascination with all collage decks, all digitally modified decks, and all decks that touch my inner painter by utilizing pre-existing art and incorporating new art, and The Distant Past Tarot, created by Jeri Totten, seems to check each of those boxes with aplomb! It is a beautifully rendered combination of images from a combination of existing and new art, using techniques that result in a flawless, soft deck that echos through time.
This deck is poker size (though more sizes may be available soon), and after serious frustration with large decks, I appreciate the break. The card stock is fairly standard, but shuffles beautifully, and the deck arrives shrink-wrapped, without a box. The pouch displayed is purchased separately, and well worth the investment. It's slightly padded interior hugs the deck perfectly and the zippered closure allows for ease of use. There is no accompanying book, but there are extra cards with very brief keywords listed, and standard spreads explained.
"Images from the Past to guide you into the Future."
- Jeri Totten
It's lack of nudity makes this deck especially appropriate for public events, and the soft artwork is great to put nervous clients at ease. The borderless imagery will also tickle the fancy of many readers who find borders limiting to their intuition. And, with it's small size, it makes the most of the card's surface as possible, creating artwork almost as large as those on bordered standard tarot decks, but without the added bulk.
I can honestly say I find everything about this deck perfect. Though the backs are not exactly reversible, it's close enough for those who care, and this little gem tucks beautifully in any purse or bag. And, most importantly, the customer service was amazing. Jeri was very pleasant to converse with, and seemed humbled by the praise I had for this amazing creation.
You will not be disappointed with the addition of this deck to your collection.
The Cosmos Tarot: Light Grey Labs
Isn't it strange (and rude) when decks tell us exactly what we'd rather not hear?
The Devil card, in any tarot incarnation, has a habit of pointing out to us our own misplaced obsessions and how deeply they transform our worlds, irrevocably even, if we aren't careful and observant enough to break free from their pull.
Today, this card reminds us to be mindful of habits, thoughts or actions that tie us to unhealthy situations. In this card, expressed by the story of Andromeda, we see she is pulling free from the chains, pushing herself from the rocks to which she was bound, and reaching out to the leaping fish, plunging freely in and out of the water. She is working towards releasing herself from her own captivity. Captivity enforced as a result of the prideful boasting of her mother. Pride is, after all, a hobby of the Devil.
And, though it breaks from traditional imagery and interpretation, this card is positive in that it encourages our forward momentum by the very assurance that we are capable of that momentum. That we are no more bound to the Devil than a wish is bound to reality. It is an unforgiving reminder to get off the hamster wheel of bad habits into the freedom this implies.
So how do we know when we are obsessed? I read a beautiful quote a while back (the originator escapes me) that was something along the lines of this: Don't think too much or you'll create new problems. And when you have an obsessive tendency, thoughts are often our own worst enemy. We think about the money we don't have, the money we do have, the money we'd like to have, the perfect lover, the perfect body. We think about all the things we want and how to get them. And not getting these things can have devastating effects on those whose thoughts are filled with them.
This devil is giving us permission to free ourselves from the meaningless habit of thinking ourselves into sadness, greed, need or self-pity. Free ourselves to move towards a better, healthier version of ourselves. Just, you know... don't think about that version too much!
This card felt particularly useful today, and resonated with my mood, which was rather deprecating and self-defeating. Its message came to in a moment of self-doubt and I thought I should share it with you.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha
This card reminds us we are worthy of love, of our own love. That we have to love ourselves before we can expect others to love us. That it doesn't even matter if others love us, because their love neither defines us nor justifies our own confidence. This message is a gentle push towards a self-kindness and an understanding that we can love our own imperfections, not to spite them, but because of them and the person in us they help to manifest.
Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Take a moment and appreciate your own worth.
I ran across the Spirit Cats deck, illustrated and authored by Nicole Piar, while stumbling my way through Kickstarter campaigns, ferociously looking for inspiring decks to back. And, though the campaign was over for this deck, she was selling pre-orders on her website, at a ridiculously affordable price, for what amounts to 48 square prints of her ridiculously adorable art.
I gave up sugar ten months ago (we'll talk about that journey another time). Decks are now my sugar (but better for my soul) and this deck was like powdered sugar on sugared donuts on a sugar cake. I couldn't pass. Which makes eight (ahem) cat-themed decks in my collection now.
The deck did not arrive with a book, but was housed in a beautiful, sturdy hard cardboard box. A book would have been redundant because each card has corresponding text on the back, featuring the cat's name and its message. Featured above is Snugpuff, Stargazer and Chanti (left to right), with their own inspiring tidings to share. The card stock is matte and thick and easy to either riffle or overhand shuffle
I do, however, adore the cat names: Shrine, with its "cozy home" message; Sage who sits at a threshold; Silvio Silvermaw, sharing with us the road less traveled. Each cat reaches out to you with the loving, wild and unpredictable nature of our own house cats but without a litter box to clean.
You can almost hear them purr.
And as I slowly walked through this garden of cats, introduced myself to their personalities, and was greeted warmly by each, I realized how perfectly suited this deck is to a daily draw, meditative or journaling practice. And how healing some of my interactions with these cards have been.
Did you know science has discovered the purr of a cat has tangible health benefits for their owners? This deck is like 48 cats purring at once. Imagine how good you'll feel!
And... it's cat-approved! They each picked a card and tried to carry it off to their respective perches!
I have to admit, I didn't resonate with much of the description of this card in the Animal Kin Oracle Guidebook, when I pulled this card today. It's a stunning image in its simplicity, and the provided interpretation is uplifting. But, for me, it seemed to only graze the meat of the message.
Dragonflies are a beautiful, but predatory creature, feeding almost exclusively on mosquitoes, moths and other small dragonflies. They are delicate but agile, capable of spanning oceans and tolerating sudden changes to their environment. They are territorial but adaptable and can even camouflage their flights patterns to confuse an enemy. Resourceful would be an apt word to describe this amazing creature.
So how does this translate to our daily draw and the concept of imagination, manifesting and living our dreams? I believe it's a beautiful narration on the power of predatory wishful thinking, and on losing ourselves in a bubble of fantasy. Probably not at all what the artist had intended but I find myself, of late, focusing on the shadows of each card I pull.
life we have. The dragonfly warns us not to fall into the confusing flight of our dreams but to formulate real, tangible plans around which to build our own successes. This beautiful creature implores us to unravel the mystery of our own adaptable natures. To build lives, not wishes. To span oceans if we must, but to fight for our goals.
And though I may not agree entirely with the interpretation supplied by the Animal Kin Oracle, I will leave you with this:
"Combining our powerful mind's eye and emotional intelligence, we can dream up the wildest most mystical ideas and then dig deeper from the surface and find innovative ways to bring it into reality"
Animal Kin Oracle Guidebook
I don't wanna.
Not only do I refuse to define my spiritual practice, I believe entirely that it would be detrimental to my practice to do so.
Spirituality is, let's be honest, a subjective word with an elusive indeterminate meaning. We might be able to come to the same table and agree that, for the most part, spirituality is an understanding that we are connected to something larger than ourselves. How we define that "something", however, is where the differences abound. These differences are sometimes expressed with interest, acceptance and understanding or, if we're unfortunate, a dithering, angry mass of judgments and denials.
Let's just skip the reactions entirely and live our spiritual lives the way we chose without the need to validate it to others through the box of definition.
"The new spirituality is that it will produce an experience in human encounters in which we become a living demonstration of the basic spiritual teaching 'We are all one.' "
Neale Donald Walsch
I am monotheistic. Some days, I'm loosely agnostic. Others, I'm a non-theist all together. I don't prescribe to a pantheistic idea of deity, and I've never believed in or utilized the energies of fairies or dragons, not literally nor as an archetype. I love the pomp of ritual but rarely practice it. I do not recognize the standard Wheel of the Year (or recognize it when it suits me) and find terms like "pagan", "wiccan" or "witch" to be self-defeating and limiting. I believe magic happens by the power of personal will, and has nothing to do with what herbs or stones or moon phases our spells employ.
And you know what? That is all okay. If you believe I am wrong, or you practice a different way.... that's okay too. None of those things define me nor my practice, nor what spirituality means to me. They are not each independent of one another and each adds a page to a story in which my journey continues. None of these things validate nor invalidate my practice. They do not, by themselves, illustrate anything about me but my undeniable curiosity.
If your practice is specific and defined and that works for you, then I applaud you and your spiritual life. I appreciate your journey, your courage in taking it... whatever the specifics may be. We should all strive for what fills our hearts and souls with purpose, with what meaningfully and beautifully moves us forward on our paths and hope that, occasionally, we may bump into one another during the journey and smile in our knowing and understanding that there is beauty in our uniqueness.
Be unique. Be you, unapologetically. And be bright and bold and ignore the use of alliteration. I'm a slave to cliche and all forms of literary devices.
"When we commit to any number of self-love and self-care practices they become threads, woven together, to create a net of support for our strength and well-being."
The Moon Deck Guidebook
I ran across this gem of a deck while continuously clicking whatever recommended video YouTube sent my way (as one does after falling down that rabbit hole) and what a pleasure the discovery has been! The Moon Deck, created by author Aarona Ganesan, artist Andrea Keh and strategist Ashley Bruni, embodies an empowering message wrapped in holistic ritual and healing meditation. If you are looking for a deck that offers insights to help transform a wounded soul, to learn the healing art of ritual or to embrace positive daily affirmations, then this is the deck for you.
Let's get the basics out of the way, shall we? The deck arrives in a sturdy wooden box with a wood-burned triple moon design across its lid. The box is valuable for storage but not so great for convenient carry. I recommend a nice pouch (which the box can accommodate). The guidebook is the same size as the cards, so will also travel easily in a pouch, and stores nicely in the box. The 44 oracle cards are slightly larger than standard tarot size, but still quite comfortable in small hands while large enough for requisite eye candy during readings for oneself or others. The card stock is on the thicker side, while allowing the inner riffle-shuffler a pleasant handling experience. The card backs are not exactly reversible, but I admit I've never seen the point of that emphasis anyway, and the artwork is lovely regardless. The guidebook is, for its size, quite meaty, with beautiful interpretations and meditative or ritual practices to incorporate during daily draws.
truly insightful when we allow ourselves the freedom and gift of committing to the message and involving ourselves in our own spiritual progression. I urge you not to seek out images of the cards as I'd hate to deprive you of the experience and joy so immediately accessible when opening and viewing this deck for the first time. There is a love that radiates from these messages and, dare I say, recognizes your spirit immediately as something kindred.
I sometimes tend to find key words and phrases a distraction, but the imagery is inviting enough and the messages kind enough that together they form a very cohesive whole. But, it's not all light and goodness. There is a depth to the messages in this deck that encourages the reader to tackle the shadow, to dive into the darkness then open up and let the light in.
And while I haven't had the opportunity to try it for myself, the Moon Circle details provided in the guidebook are beautiful and such a wonderful addition to the already fulfilling experience this deck provides. I definitely suggest you give the guidebook its due diligence. And, most importantly, "open new channels for meaningful creation" (The Moon Deck Guidebook).