Saturday, 18 August 2007

Simply Divine!

I have read tarot cards for many years now. My first deck, bought impulsively as I was just stepping onto the Pagan path (about 20 years ago now), was the Tarot of the Witches. It sounded impressively mysterious and magical, and I couldn't wait to start working with it. Unfortunately, I hated it from the minute I got the cards out of the box. I hated the artwork for a start, and then found they were hard for a beginner to learn as the Minor Arcana cards were just 'pip' cards rather than the type which have pictorial representations of the meanings (so much easier to learn!). The final straw came when I discovered the deck had been designed for use in a James Bond film - I loathe James Bond films! I quickly gave them away. Good lesson in buying any magical tool: shop around and check how it 'feels' before taking the plunge.

Luckily, I had a friend who read tarot cards so I was aware that there were pictorial decks out there. Next time around I was more picky, and looked at lots and lots of decks before I chose again. This time it was the 'Morgan Greer', based on the classic 'Rider Waite' (which I believe was the original pictorial tarot). The 'Morgan Greer' is clear, and I find it easy to use. It gives me great readings for others, though I've never been able to read well for myself.

I've also had other decks over the years, the 'Rider Waite Tarot', 'The Tarot of the Old Path', Kris Waldherr's 'Goddess Tarot', and non-tarot decks like 'The Druid Animal Oracle' and 'The Green Man Tree Oracle', to name a few (yes, I'm a bit of a card junkie!). Some of them I still have, and some I've passed on to new homes.

This last week at the Summer Gathering I attended two tarot workshops and had my tarot read by the wonderfully talented Diego. I think it's true to say I'm feeling more enthused than ever by tarot right now, and there's another reason too.

These are my new tarot cards. It's a deck called 'Songs for the Journey Home' that T bought for my birthday in July. And I am just in love with them! (if you click on the photo you should get a bigger image to study)

I love the artwork for a start. The arrangement I've laid out here is a selection of my favourite images from the deck. I actually had a hard time choosing! I find the artwork deceptively naive in style. The images look fairly simple, but the more I study them, the more I see. I also like that they're round - having never been a fan of reverse meanings for cards (too complicated!), it's great to have some that can't really be reversed.

The deck seems to be pretty earth-centred too, which of course appeals to me! And the little booklet that comes with the cards, whilst not shying away from the fact that Shit Happens, does somehow manage to mostly find a constructive message within the Shit. As a glass-half-full kinda gal, this echoes my preferred world-view.
And these cards seem to really know what is going on with me - leading up to the Summer Gathering I often pulled a card, asking 'What do I need to know about this situation?'. Though I shuffled the cards well each time, still I pulled the same card over and over - the 'Sixth Wind Song'. Look at the photo - it really expresses how I felt! Yet notice that as well as the clear image of feeling distinctly pressured, it also has a flock of birds flying freely above. The booklet says, '[this card] depicts the experience of being under a tremendous amount of pressure. If you are able to focus on trust, rather than on fear, you will rise above the turmoil of the mind. This is a time to rise above the gentle winds of change.' How on the nail is that?! Even more amazingly, since returning home I haven't pulled the card once, and actually had to look quite hard for it in order to take a photo.

Having never been able to read the cards accurately for myself before, I am very happy with the way these seem to work with me. I used to think there was something wanting in my card-reading skills, perhaps a lack of objectivity that stopped me being able to read my own cards. Now I think perhaps I just hadn't met the right deck yet!

It's still early days in our relationship, but I feel like these cards and I are currently having a great conversation, getting to know each other. I think we will be good friends.


miss*R said...

I am fairly new on my path and have no idea how to 'read' tarot, however, I have quite a few oracle card decks, including the Green Man tree lore pack. I also have a flower faery deck which are gorgeous but are difficult for me to understand... but I guess I will learn as I go..
I love your new cards, they are gorgeous!

Reya Mellicker said...

My first deck was the tarot of the witches, and just like you, I hated them, couldn't read them ... I quickly bought the Thoth deck which creeped me out for several years. The Rider Waite deck, in all its forms. works extremely well for me, though I now also use the Thoth deck - it reflects (for me) elemental energies while the Rider deck shows the human storytelling aspect of the world.

Your new deck is beautiful! It's not a classic deck with correspondences to the usual sequence of cups, wands, swords and pentacles, and major arcana, yes?

I definitely can relate to the 6 of winds card. Yikes!!

Reya Mellicker said...

Miss*r - Mary Greer's workbook, "Tarot for Yourself" is an excellent way to learn tarot.

Aidan said...

I wandered here from stace's blog. I cant stand James Bond either, you dont need to do a tarot reading to predict what is going to happen there.

I have only ever had one reading done in my life it was quite accurate, but i was never quite convinced that it wasnt my own mind looking to make the connections.

This may sound like an odd question, but from where (source?) do the cards recieve or interpret the information?


Leanne said...

the ones you didnt get along with was 'tarot of the witches' by Stuart R. Kaplan or 'the witches tarot' by Ellen Cannon Reed? I have the second set but I usually use my basic rider waite set. I have several other sets, and oracle cards too.
your new set looks fab, I will look out for those.

leanne x

Tori said...

Happy very belated birthday!
I would love for you to read my cards sometime.

deborah oak said...

I love the Rider Waite deck,because I continue to see new things in it, even after 30 years. Anne and I are going to be teaching a divination workshop in mid September. The last time I taught one, I had the participants create their own system. I got a reading from a cook that I will always remember. A three card spread of past/present/future. The cards were: lemon/baking soda/sugar.
I'm hoping that someday I'll be using a deck with Magda's tarot images. It could happen!

Moonroot said...

miss*r, my best tip for learning the cards is to just study one or two a day to 'get' the symbolism. To practice reading them you could just pick one a day for guidance, or try a three card spread past/present/future as Oak suggests.

Reya, my new deck is not exactly classic, but the suits are wind songs/ fire songs / wave songs and earth songs, which correspond to swords, wands, cups and pentacles respectively. It has normal(ish) major arcana and the court cards are not 'people' cards in the normal way.

Aidan, I haven't yet figured out where the info actually comes from. Sometimes I think it's an 'outside' source (deity? spirit?) and sometimes I think that the cards act as a focus for my own psychic antennae/intuition. What I am pretty certain about is that the reading usually tells you what you already know, at the deepest level of yourself - although you may not be aware of it. It brings that information to waking consciousness so you can decide how to act on it. And I definitely don't believe in predestination. I think the cards tell you what is likely to happen based on all the information available at the time of the reading; but we have free will and can change the outcome according to our actions.

Leanne, the deck was the Stuart Kaplan one.

Tori, thanks for the birthday greeting! I would be happy to read your cards. I will email you to arrange it.

Oak - on the subject of creating new decks, I am still musing on the 'Northern Exposure Tarot'! And I would also love a deck with Magda's images. They are amazing - she's very talented (Magda, hope you see this!).

Aidan said...

Predestination/ fatalism conversation we may be here a while.... I made the change from determinism to existentialism earlier this year... I feels great to know we can change the outcome:)

"usually tells you what you already know, at the deepest level of yourself - although you may not be aware of it. "

Or more like not wanting to see it, but cant ignore it when it stares you in the face...