Monday, April 17, 2017

A Few of My Favorite Things Spread

A couple of weeks ago, Ellen of Greylady's Hearth shared this spread on her blog. She picked it up from Magpie Tarot. I felt it was a spread worth sharing further. And, feel free to continue the chain of sharing, or try the spread in private.

You need to separate the cards into piles: Wands, Cups, Swords, Pentacles, and Major Arcana. The fifth position is optional, but it does pull the spread together nicely. Shuffle each stack and pull a card for the following questions:

Wands: Where does my confidence shine?
Cups: What brings me joy?
Swords: Where do I feel wise?
Pentacles: What makes me feel safe & secure?
Major Arcana: Which underlying energy will make it all possible?

For an additional bonus: the Quintessential Card - Overall Theme of the Reading - You can visit an earlier post for a more detailed explanation on how to do this. Basically, you add the numerical values of the cards, reduce to a number between 1-22, and match the number with its Major Arcana Card.

My Results:

Wands: Where does my confidence shine? Queen of Wands - When I'm in control of my circumstances and aware of the next action which needs to be taken. Totally me. As long as I know what I'm doing, why and when, I can do just about anything I go after.

Cups: What brings me joy?  6 of Cups - Sharing knowledge and skills obtained in my past with others. Love this. When I write a story, my past is right there with me, between the lines, within the words. Not enough to be a biography, but enough to give it direction, a little spice.

Swords: Where do I feel wise? Knight of Swords - When I am active and committed to a concrete goal. If you can see it, you can be it. So, true. If you can put the flag post in the ground, all you have to do is work as hard as you can to reach it.

Pentacles: What makes me feel safe & secure? 3 of Pentacles - Using my skills, talent and knowledge to create, with the chance to share with others. True. There's no safer place to be than lost in your own creations, as long as you remember to come up for air every now and again.

I love how all four of these seem to sync with who I am and what I want to do with my life. It also gives me a needed push to get back on track. All I've ever wanted to do is write and share my creations, my novels and stories with others. So, I need to get committed and in control. :)

Major Arcana: Which underlying energy will make it all possible?  Justice - Balance, maintaining a proper balance and calmness in my commitments. Most of you are aware of my many interests. Between those and normal day to day obligations, I find it difficult to establish a good balance. Perhaps that should be my first goal: to establish a balance, create boundaries.

Quintessential Card - Overall Theme - Lovers - Choice - a life decision - deciding which path to follow. All of it comes down to picking the path I want to take. Where do I want to be in a year? Or, 5 to 10 years down the road? That is the question which needs answered, and then the goal will be clear and the balance will come.

Hope you all don't expect me to answer that here and now, lol. I have a vague idea, but it's not clear enough to narrow it down to a single goal. Guess I need to work on that.

Hope you enjoy the spread.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April Theme - Face Your Fears

Rider-Waite Tarot
As we leap into April, you may find yourself coming to a standstill after your March successes. Isn't it crazy how we second-guess ourselves the closer we get to triumph, the closer we get to being happy?

Notice, the woman is not bound at the legs and the swords do not cage her in. She can leave this situation any time she wants. The problem is she can't use her eyes to see, or her arms to help guide her out. But, if she really wanted to leave, she would find a way - tiny steps forward, or even a shout for help.

"The clue to this card is the blindfold - symbolizing confusion, oppressive ideas, isolation from other people in similar situations; what political liberations call mystification' - keeping people down not by direct force, but by training them to believe in their own helplessness." ~ Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack

The bondage in this card is self-imposed. Your own thoughts are confusing and trapping you in a situation, in which you see no apparent way out. In order to move from this situation, you must face your fear, see things clearly, and make decisions based on an understanding of what's really going on.

"Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it." --Judy Blume

Some of us spend so much time looking into the past, readjusting it to what should have been that we fail to see today. A paralyzing fear takes hold when we try to adjust what we do today, and what that action will bring tomorrow. The fear of the unknown brings us to a standstill, so instead of moving forward and being present, we feel stuck in one place, in one routine.

In March, we focused on starting something, striving toward success. We found success, along with failure, but we kept going. You may have hit a wall, realized what success might bring, uncovered a fear you wasn't even aware of. Don't stop, push past the fear and keep achieving and failing.

April brings us the energy of fear, but it doesn't have to stop you in your tracks. Identify the fear, give it a name, and face it head on. Always remember, fear is usually of something of which does not exist at that moment. Our imagination creates the worse possible scenario in order to keep us safe. This is an automatic action of the brain, but you can adjust it, reinvent its reaction, and remove the feared scenario. Imagine something wonderful developing from your action.

"Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones." --Thich Nhat Hanh

Activity for April: Write about your fears, about the imagined scenarios which stop you in your tracks, and delve into why you may be creating such scenes. And then, write about what you started in March, why you began, and what you hoped to accomplish. See your fear for what it is, your imagination, and continue toward success.

Good luck in your journey.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: The Empath's Quest: Finding Your Destiny

The Empath's Quest: Finding Your Destiny
Author: Bety Comerford and Steve Wilson
Schiffer Publishing, 2016

Description: 112 page hardback book

"There's a method, a plan, a synchronicity to the universe that all falls into place when one understands how the plan works."

"Understanding the love and energy behind your destiny, acquainting yourself with your own personal timeline, releasing the geometry that moves you forward on that timeline, and knowing how it all works together will assist you to make better choices, to overcome the difficulties in life we all experience, and live the life you were meant to live.

The title, Finding Your Destiny, gives the reader false hope of finding a step by step method within the covers of this book. But, with that said, I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I have a better understanding of the energies around us and the possibility of a timeline, a plan we set before birth.

"Everything that is described in this book has happened to one or both of us. Nothing is made up. The realizations, the lessons, the situations are those we have lived through in our own personal journeys."

The Empath's Quest: Finding Your Destiny is a creative non-fiction featuring Alex and three woman of differing experiences with spirituality and energy, along with extra inserts by the authors exploring the lessons further.

The journey begins on a plane and follows the group during a trip to Arizona. From the moment the engines start, Alex reveals realizations of past experiences and new lessons learned by the group.

With each of his revelations, a spark jumped within my soul. I have gained a better understanding of my own experiences. I often feel the need to block the energies swirling about me, but after reading this, I now understanding it is better to manage the chaos and learn lessons from the experience.

Throughout the book, the authors share more knowledge on the lessons revealed by Alex, such as the Higher Aspect of Manifestation, the Higher Aspect of each element - air, fire, water, earth, energetic exposure, Surrendering to Your Timeline, and more.

"You know you've reached the higher energy when things in fold without effort on your part."

I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about energies, manifestation, and your destined path. No matter where you are in your own journey, you will find something here to help you move through your day, through your life.

Grab your copy at Schiffer Publishing.

(Review Product supplied by Schiffer Publishing)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Theme - Strive Toward Success

Today's Journey Tarot

As we step into March, we find ourselves filled with ideas and hopes of finding success. You may have decided to try something new this month, take a class, write a poem, or maybe you are nearing the end of a long project. The Six of Wands (Fire) brings with it the energy of likely success. No matter where you direct your energy the possibility for success is high this month.

Success is the sum of small efforts - repeated day in and day out. ~ Robert Collier

In the Rider Waite Tarot version, a man celebrates his victory with pride, while a crowd cheers him in his accomplishments. In the Today's Journey Tarot version, a runner is supported by a crowd, urging her toward the finish line.
Rider-Waite Tarot

Some see the Six of Wands as the card of Success, but notice the runner has not yet made it to the finish line. The rider may not be returning, but headed out to begin his journey. 

The Six of Wands is more of beginning, of continuing, than it is of completion. You've set upon the right direction, but there is work to do to actually arrive at success.

Think of the young scholar on his graduation day. Yes, he's achieved success and is recognized for his accomplishments, but this is only the beginning of a long journey set toward a larger success, a larger recognition.

Action is the foundational key to all success. ~ Pablo Picasso

So, as we step into this new month, expect success in your tasks and goals, but remember you must put in the work and sweat to make it to the finish line. Raise your arms in victory at each small breakthrough, but then gather your energies for the next step, and then the next.

Good luck in your journey.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Review: Today's Journey Tarot - A Traveler's Guide

Today's Journey Tarot: A Traveler's Guide
Author: Expanding Dimensions
Expanding Dimensions, 2013

Description: 183 page companion book

"Open yourself to the Tarot and allow it to be your guide on Today's Journey."

The Today's Journey Tarot was published in 2011. My review of the deck appeared in October. Years later, the authors decided to create an expanded companion book. I received a complimentary copy in 2014, but never got around to reviewing it. So, here it is, my review of Today's Journey Tarot: A Traveler's Guide.

Today's Journey Tarot: A Traveler's Guide takes this updated version of the Tarot to a new level. While the little white book included with the deck gives you plenty to get you started, the Traveler's Guide gives you a more in-depth journey.

Key 0 Beginning - The simplest action can lead to the most profound discovery.

The bulk of the guide gives detailed explanations of each card, giving equal attention to both the Keys (Major Arcana), and the Minor Arcana. The card sections include a black and white card image, followed by the card Name, a short phrase of wisdom and its primary concepts (keywords). The authors give a detailed description of the card and a commentary on the card's meaning, colors and symbols. A suggested interpretation is given, followed by a meditation statement, and a daily reading phrase.

The rest of the guide is divided into sections on spreads, answered question on the Tarot, a Tarot Reader Code of Ethics, Meditation, and Numbers, Colors, and Symbols. The guide closes with biographies of the members of Expanding Dimensions.

Key 21 Completion - Every ending is a new beginning.

A Traveler's Guide is a great addition to the Today's Journey Tarot deck. I recommend it to anyone who loves this deck and wants to explore it a little deeper from the viewpoint of its authors. If you are just getting around to grabbing this deck, I suggest the purchase of the companion book. It will be a great tool to get you started and further explore your journey.

Grab your copy at Amazon.

Further explore the Deck and its Authors at Today's Journey Tarot.

(Review Product supplied by Expanding Dimensions)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: Tarot by Design Workbook

Tarot by Design Workbook
Author: Diana Heyne
Red Wheel/Weiser, 2017

Description: 176 page coloring/workbook

"Color and Learn Your Way into the Cards"

Adult Coloring books have become a huge trend over the last few years. I guess it shouldn't surprise anyone to see one set to the theme of the Tarot. But, Tarot by Design is much more than a coloring book, and it's not just for adults. The Tarot by Design Workbook is designed for anyone interested in the Tarot, whether beginner or novice.

"Geared toward an enjoyable and intuitive understanding of the basic meanings of the tarot through coloring, brief word prompts and short rhythmic phrases, Tarot by Design Workbook aims to make the foundational learning of tarot a pleasurable task for beginners and others who would like to deepen their connection with the symbolic images."

Tarot by Design features original color-in images of all 78 Tarot cards, each accompanied by a unique learning page. The learning page contains the card title, keywords for upright and reversal meanings, and a section for your own notes and personal doodling's. For the Major Arcana cards, the page also contains a short phrase to help in the learning process. At the end of the book, there are ten blank pages for your own personal journaling or collaging, with a framework art piece provided.

Keywords: "Disaster, Calamity, Emotional Upheaval, Disruption, Sudden Change"

Reversal: "Fear of Change, Lies, Imprisonment, Narrow Avoidance of Disaster"

Phrase: "A storm came out of nowhere and tore our stronghold down, in fear & lamentation we tumbled to the ground..."

Keywords: "Happiness, Wishes Fulfilled, Comfort, Luxury, Satisfaction, Getting What One Wants"

Reversal: "Dissatisfaction, Greed, Materialism, Poor Lifestyle Choices"

Blank pages for your own personal journaling provide a creative area to do readings, focus on a single card, or even design your own version of a particular card.

"Unlock the mystery and magic, secrets and symbolism of the Tarot through this informative, yet fun teaching tool that engages both intuition and intellect."

I recommend the Tarot by Design Workbook to anyone who enjoys coloring and has an interest in the Tarot. I can't wait to get some color on these pages. What fun!

"Don't feel bound by any set of rules for making your color choices."

I would like to add to the author's words stated above. Don't feel bound by any rules at all. Have fun and play with this workbook. Allow your intuition to flow as you set upon this wonderful journey. If something pops into your head as you color, write it down, sketch it out. You will find a new world of possibilities within the pages of this workbook.

Grab your copy at Red Wheel Weiser.

(Review Product supplied by Red Wheel Weiser)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: Body Cards

Body Cards
Author: Courtney Putnam
Schiffer Publishing, 2016

Description: 35 cards and a 95-page guidebook in a sturdy cardboard box, with magnetic closure.

Card size: 4 x 6 inches

"Your body is your map your muse and your medicine."

"We hold deep wisdom in our bodies-in every muscle, bone, blood vessels, nerve fiber, and cell."

The guidebook begins with an introduction on the body, chakras, and the art. There's a section on how to use the body cards, which includes relating to the cards, selecting the cards, four spreads, and interpreting the cards. The bulk of the book covers the cards and closes with a bibliography and list of the cards by associated chakra.

Body Cards offer you a tool to check in with your body. Some believe, when your body aches, it is trying to reveal something to you. The migraine, the aching shoulder, the upset stomach - these may all be more than physical conditions. They may also be messages regarding your emotional state, stress levels, and overall well-being. Start listening to your body. Use Body Cards as a guide to reveal more about what it is saying to you.

The first card in the deck is the Amygdala. You may be wondering what this is, but the guidebook supplies you with this information, giving you location, function, and a unique fact about the body part. The area of the body the card is exploring is often marked by a pattern. In this case, you see a heart at the area above the center of the eyes.

"Location: The amygdala is a group of nuclei located deep in the brain in the temporal lobe. Function: As part of the limbic system, the amygdala is involved in emotions and decision-making and is linked to our pleasure and fight-or-flight responses. Unique Fact: When the amygdala is not functioning well, we may experience depression, PTSD, anxiety, phobias, and aggressive behaviors."

The guidebook also covers: the artwork title, an art meditation, the associated Chakra, and what the card means in a reading.

"If the amygdala has arrived in your reading, pay close attention to your relationship with inner peace." "The message of the amygdala card is this: when you cultivated peace within yourself, you radiate that message of peace to the rest of the world."

To heal or improve the function of the body part, activities are provided: working with color, essential oils, and creative projects.

"Create a collage in which you explore the nature of bother inner and outer peace..."

"The lesson of the pituitary card is all about taking a burden off your shoulders by asking others for help."

"If the stirrup bone is appearing to you, this may be a sign to take your fingers out of your ears."

Body Cards will help you listen to your body, but will also set you upon a journey of creativity with its activity suggestions.

Body Cards is a great deck to do a quick body check after a full tarot reading.

Grab your deck at Schiffer Publishing.

(Review Product supplied by Schiffer Publishing)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Review: Gaian Tarot

Gaian Tarot
Author: Joanna Powell Colbert
Schiffer Publishing, 2016

Description: 78 cards and a 184 page guide book in a sturdy cardboard box, with magnetic closure.

Card Size: 4X5¾ inches

"Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves"

This is not a new deck to the Tarot world. When it first came out, I itched to order, but never got around to it. So many decks!

The Gaian Tarot first appeared in 2010 as a self-published deck. Its popularity drew Llewellyn into the scene, but then the deck disappeared. Schiffer Publishing has brought it back. I'm not sure if there are any differences between the published versions. Excited to see this deck arrive in the mail, I'm pleased with the product. Not only are the card images intriguing, but the guidebook puts a slightly different light on the Tarot, as the author looks through the perspective of Gaian.

The deck is a traditional 78-card Tarot deck, with a few changes of card names, image perspectives, and a different shade on the interpretations.

In the Major Arcana, the name changes include: the Fool is the Seeker, the High Priestess is the Priestess, the Empress is the Gardener, the Emperor is the Builder, the Hierophant is the Teacher, the Chariot is the Canoe, the Wheel of Fortune is the Wheel, the Hanged Man is the Tree, the Devil is Bindweed, the Tower is Lightening, Judgment is Awakening, and the World is Gaia the World.

In the Court, the Pages become Children, the Knights become Explorers, the Queens become Guardians, and the Kings become Elders. "Instead of reflecting the class-based society of Renaissance Europe, these cards correspond to the stages of life: childhood, early adulthood, mid-life, and old age."

In the Minor Arcana, the suits correspond to their elements and are represented by alternative images. The changes include: Air (Swords) are represented by feathers, clouds, birds, butterflies, flutes, pens, and books; Fire (Wands) are torches, candles, bonfires, and hearths; Water (Cups) are rivers, fish, rain, beaches, shells, boats, and wells; and Earth (Pentacles) are gardens, forests, mammals, crafts, and drums.

"When used for divination, the Tarot can be viewed as a spiritual weather vane. It can tell you which way the wind is blowing in your life at a given moment. But only you can set your sail and choose your course."

The majority of the guidebook covers the cards, divided into two sections: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.

The Major Arcana begins with a brief overview and then dives into the cards. Each card is presented by its title, which is followed by the traditional name if the title has been changed. Then, you have the soul lesson or the theme of the card. A brief description of the card is given, along with what the card means in a reading and its shadow side (or reversal meaning). Headlined as Deepen Your Understand, the author covers themes, symbol meanings, journal questions, and an affirmation.

The Minor Arcana begins with a brief overview, which includes Elements, Numbers, and People. The number or court groups are also given brief overviews. Each card is presented by title, a card description, the card in a reading, the shadow side (or reversal meaning), and an affirmation.

The guide closes with a section on Working with the Cards, which includes short sections on reading the cards intuitively, a card a day, the art of asking questions, reading the shadow side of the cards, variations on the three-card reading, and ten unique spreads.

The guidebook alone is worth the purchase of this deck in my opinion.

I loved the sections on symbols, which cover the majority of the items appearing in each card. In the Gaia the World card, a halo surrounds Gaia's head. "Halo: In religious iconography of many cultures, a sacred or holy figure is indicated by a radiant or bright circle around the head and shoulders. Some say it is a depiction of the aura, or energy field that emanates from the being."

The journal questions are also a wonderful part of the Major Arcana section. The Gaia the World includes: How am I blessed?, What cycle is reaching completion in my life?, and more. But, these could also be used as questions for tarot readings, a springboard in the creation of your own spreads, and/or even the beginnings of freewriting or mind mapping activities.

I found the short section on Numbers in the Minor Arcana intriguing. "The Gaian Tarot's number system was inspired by Teresa Michelsen's work. She views the minors as containing three sets of three-card mini dramas, with the 10 as a card of transition." The author goes on to explain these sets and how they correspond with the Seeker's journey as he grows and matures.

As with most guidebooks, this one touches upon many areas, but doesn't necessarily dig deep enough, but there's only so much room in these guidebooks. I would love to see this author put out a book of more in-depth on her views of the Tarot, but there's plenty here to spark your interest and get you going with the Tarot.

The cards in this deck are gorgeous and amazingly detailed. "Many of the scenes in the deck are based on sketches from my nature journals and photos I've taken of local landscapes."

While the cards are almost too large for my hands, I believe smaller would have taken away from the images. If it becomes a huge issue, trimming could be done. As you can see the blue boarder could be taken away to rectify issues of size. But so far, I'm able to manage the cards while shuffling.  And, the energy emitted from the deck is amazing. I'm extremely happy with my overall experience with this deck.

9 The Hermit: He sits at a stone table, journaling by the light of a lantern, while sage burns by his side. He gazes up at the wise owl, while experiencing a vision, which he collects in his journal. The vision almost seems to be produced by his connection with the owl. The image is a wonderful scene of reflection. The author gives this card the Soul Lesson of Sacred Solitude.

Card description: "The Hermit retreats from the company of others to replenish his soul in solitude as he communes with the natural world. He listens to the calls of the birds as he writes and sketches ..."

In a reading: "Your spirit is crying out for a time of sacred solitude. You need to withdraw..."

Shadow side: "Some people are afraid of being alone, fearing what they might do or not do if left to themselves. ..."

Themes include: Solitude, Withdrawal, Silence, Guiding light, etc.

Symbols include: Lantern: Light of wisdom and knowledge; Journal and pen: Reflection, introspection, knowledge, learning, wisdom; Owl: Strength in silence (noiseless flight), night vision, guidance, wisdom; and more.

Journal Questions include: How do I feel about the aging process? What are the elements of a great retreat? What kind of healing does the Hermit offer me? and more.

Affirmation: "I retreat from the world in order to refresh my spirit."

In the Ten of Fire, "a forest fire is raging, the smoke and ashes released into the air. To our "civilized" minds, a fire is terrifying.... But forest fires are a natural part of the cycle of life..."

The ten themes are transitions, transformation, endings and beginnings.

In a reading: "Does it feel like your dreams have gone up in smoke? Are you overwhelmed or burdened by loss? Remember that new seedlings grow and flourish in the ashes of a spent fire. You must release your passions and your energies, whether; or not you want to, worthier or not you think you're ready. It's time."

Shadow side: "You can only focus on the devastation and loss, and see no hope for the future...."

Affirmation: "I release what is finished, and clear the way for rebirth."

The Gaian Tarot is a wonderful deck for any tarot enthusiast, from master to beginner.

Grab your copy at Schiffer Publishing.

(Review Product supplied by Schiffer Publishing)