Weekend Reading

To keep up with my Marseille practice I decided to do a little 3-card draw for my weekend and pulled the Nine of Swords, Death and the Three of Cups.

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I usually pay attention to directionality when I read tarot, but I find this is amplified further when I am using Marseille. As the only (somewhat) human figure in this storyboard, I wonder if Death is my significator here, what am I reaping?

The Nine of Swords tells me that my weekend is focused on an introspective and assessing/reassessing state of mind, and considering how much time I spend actively thinking about something specific, particularly now that I am trying to master the Marseille and Lenormand, this is of little surprise. But what am I turning my back on here?

The nurturing and growth of my relationships.

I spend a lot of time, most of it in fact, with my family, and while I am always attentive, half of my mind is often off doing its own little thing, exploring ideas and pondering various subjects, meaning that while I am technically ‘here’, I am not always 100% present with my husband and kids.

So today, Death is telling me to cut it out, to get out of my own head and be wholly present for the ones that I love.

 

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Lenormand 9 Square reading

Unsurprisingly, our move to the US and all of the upheaval that comes with it is still at the forefront of my mind, and my main concern is the work I will be doing when I get there to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. I mentioned before how I am strongly considering going into the medical field at entry level and have been mulling over a number of training courses, options and specific areas of interest, imagining myself working in different roles and asking, what would I find the most fulfilling?

Of course, I can’t really know until I do it, so I decided to get back to basics and created this Lenormand spread to explore the core of what I can do and what I have to offer at this time. The first horizontal row represents my talents, the second is my skills (things I can also build upon) and the bottom is advice about how to put them to best use. I had quite a lot of fun with this spread because I made it in such a way that I can focus on those main three questions, then see how they intersect and interact with the bigger picture of our move by reading vertically and diagonally.

9 square

My talents – Key + Stork + Crossroads

Discovering adaptable solutions to various situations and conundrums; a specialty in knowing when it is time to move-on to a new path; unlocking numerous options to pursue when facing transition.

My skills – Birds + Fish + Snake

Talking through numerous complexities; going with the flow in times of trouble and anxiety; tempting talk of money – in other words, a good sales pitch; complex discussions about cash-flow – smart banking? Vicious talk of money – hard bargaining?

Advice – Clover + Child + Bear

Be resourceful with even the smallest opportunity; resourcefulness brings new opportunities; be protective of new opportunities; find joy in the smallest of resources; look for opportunities in new management; build strength through small opportunities; protecting my children brings luck.

How they interact/intersect – vertical line reading:

Key + Birds + Clover

Unlocking multiple opportunities; the key to opportunities is talking (networking and interviews, perhaps).

Stork + Fish + Child

New fiscal transition; moving to find new abundance; relocation brings slight affluence.

Crossroads + Snake + Bear

Manage complex choices; path of wise resource management; diverse and complex management of resources; protect against bad choices; boldness in the face of winding paths; empower biting discernment.

How they interact/intersect – diagonal line reading:

Key + Fish + Bear

The key to affluence is resource management; unlock financial reserves; the solution is multiple jobs; the answer is to protect your finances.

Crossroads + Fish + Clover

Diversifying your finances brings luck; taking short-term financial decisions; opportune financial decisions.

Corner cards:

Key + Crossroads + Bear + Clover

The answer is to diversify your resources and opportunities.

 

It is interesting that both the Stork and Fish appeared, reflecting my concerns about a relocation and our financial situation, and the fact that the whole spread is kicked off with the Key just reminds me again why I’ve fallen in love with Lenormand – straight down to business, here are some solutions. Pragmatism at its finest.

Overall I am seeing from this spread that to best utilise my talents and skills during this move it is important that I  diversify my plans. My possible ‘calling’ can wait, the specificities of which job or career are unimportant for now, first I must focus on seizing as many opportunities as possible to increase our cash flow and build up our reserves. I need to be adaptable, weigh up my options and just get talking to people about what opportunities are out there.

Marshmallow Marseille – deck interview and first impressions

Before I left for the UK I decided I couldn’t part with Le Tarot Noir and wanted to start learning Marseille style reading in earnest, and of course, as I was searching around the net for info and good resources I stumbled upon this beautiful little deck, the Marshmallow Marseille, and decided I had to have it. My excuses for this purchase are that, unlike the humongous Tarot Noir, this deck is poker sized – exactly the same size as my Dreaming Way Lenormand – and very easy to handle and lay out to explore suit progressions…mostly though it is because it’s pretty and has a warm, inviting feel I don’t get from the aesthetic of ‘true’ Marseille decks.

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The colours, are, as the name would suggest, a palette of marshmallowee pastels and absolutely beautiful. The card stock is good, not too thick, not too thin, it is easy to riffle shuffle, a bit slippery but nothing ridiculous (looking at you Llewellyn). And it is just so damn cute, without being cutesy, if that makes sense?

marshmallow swords Continue reading “Marshmallow Marseille – deck interview and first impressions”

Spread for Spiritual Gifts

Over at the 3 of Cups Tarot Community we have started doing weekly buddy readings and this week my buddy asked for a reading about her spiritual gifts. I couldn’t find any spreads online that really fit the bill and creating new spreads is something I love doing, so I got to work and came up with this. It came out with some interesting insights so I decided to try it for myself. [Sorry about the terrible picture quality, the lighting in my house is terrible and my phone camera is just not having it.]

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I used a mix of oracles and tarot that I felt best suited to answer the positional questions, of course if you decide to use this spread yourself, follow your gut on which deck/s to use.

The top row of cards are from the Celtic Tree Oracle and represent three spiritual gifts that you may or may not be aware of, but are the most accessible to you at this time. The row of tarot cards beneath, here from Raven’s Prophecy, are drawn from the Major Arcana and read together with the gift cards to show where you are with that gift right now. Continue reading “Spread for Spiritual Gifts”

5 Card Lenormand Practice

I really enjoy general readings with Tarot but I am finding that a lack of clear direction or intent in consulting Lenormand doesn’t work so well, and without the context of a question the readings are confusing and unclear. I’m not used to asking cards super-mundane questions, but I have found it necessary to go to them with any old thing in order to get enough practice in.

Earlier this week some friends and I arranged to get together for lunch and the night before I asked the cards, ‘how will the meet-up go?’ and received Heart+Stars+Tower+Cross+Ship

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The Tower had me a bit stumped first because I wasn’t thinking literally enough and kept wondering what a coffee date could have to do with isolation or authorities. Until the morning of we still hadn’t settled on a place to go and my friends suggested a place I hadn’t been to before. The meaning of the Tower didn’t hit me until I sat down for a coffee in this newer cafe which is located in a large (by Palestine standards) multiplex. And there it is, simply a large building that houses a number of businesses and offices.

I expected to see Birds as there would be a lot of chatter, but I think Stars covered this instead. In addition to clarity and inspiration Stars can represent dissemination or something getting out there, and mirrored with Cross it showed us expressing and sharing the challenges and issues we are all facing at the moment. The friends were represented by Heart, and Ship added the detail that we are all foreigners here and each from a different country!

Not a hugely insightful or detailed reading, but then I didn’t have a particularly insightful question. I’m increasingly seeing that with Lenormand you get out exactly what you put in and not a hint more.

The Tower as a welcome sight

After enjoying my little random three card draw with Le Tarot Noir earlier this week, I decided to pull it out again for a little play… I think I’m trying to talk myself into keeping it and properly learning Marseille.

Anyway, I previously asked the Lenormand to tell me about my upcoming and very short trip back home to the UK, and I asked Le Tarot Noir the same thing. I’m not particularly stressed about the trip, but I was honestly lacking in imagination and couldn’t think of what else to ask.

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The Chariot, yep, there will be forward motion, a destination clearly in mind, the harnessing of will and endurance to cope with various unruly forces like navigating my way through multiple borders and airports while keeping all my shit together and not getting lost or missing a connection. Next, The Lover. I don’t think I will be facing any major decisions while I am there (you never know though) so I take this card simply as arriving at a place of love, my mum’s home.

Aaaand The Tower. Oh f*%#

Stop. Switch off Waite-Smith brain. This is Marseille we’re talking to here, and luckily for me, it is nowhere near as dire and can actually be a very welcome sight. Breakthrough, freedom from confinement are just a few of the TdM Tower key words, and looking at the card, really looking at it, that bolt blowing off the top looks rather revelatory and benevolent, it even looks like there’s confetti! But what structures of confinement am I breaking free from?

I go outside to have a ciggie (yes, yes, I know, filthy habit) and ponder where this great sense of release could come from. Standing on my front porch my gaze falls where it usually does, in front of me to the military checkpoint and watchtower.

The watchtower.

I am so used to seeing it and feeling all that it stands for that it has become part of my daily landscape – so very ordinary. Deep down I always know that the soldiers can watch us, see through our windows, heck, even shoot through our windows if the mood takes. Deep down, I also know that this isn’t ordinary or normal, I’m simply numbed to it, and soon, for four whole days, I will be blasted free from its constrictive and constant intrusion.

Above and Below Lenormand Spread

I’m currently reading Caitlin Matthews’ The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook, which I highly recommend for fellow beginners, and what is really nice is that she includes spreads and exercises to practice your reading skills.

To lay the Above and Below spread you shuffle the cards while focusing on your question, next you cut the deck into 3 small piles, taking one card off of the top of each pile to make your first line of three, then one card from the bottom of each pile to make the second line of three underneath the first.

Because of complicated life/visa stuff I have to make a short trip back to the UK in a couple of weeks, so I asked the cards to give me a little snapshot of how the trip will be.

above below

It’s amazing that both the Ship and the Rider appeared and they are a nice confirmation that the journey will happen and I will arrive. The Ship and Snake also seem pretty spot on as the journey is complicated. What would for others in a less politically loaded situation be a 5-hour direct flight, for me involves 1 (deeply unpleasant) land border, an airport and a stop-over, totalling over 18 hours in transit. Snake indeed. Or perhaps there will be complications with my tickets or I’ll be sat next to a biter…. SNAKES ON A PLANE. Only time will tell!

A couple of the combos with Bear made me chuckle as I do intend to pretty much hibernate on this trip. Once I arrive at my mums I want to get into pyjamas and stay in them for four days while I sleep, laze about, catch up on movies and eat all of the foods I have been missing for the past 2 years. I also haven’t shaved my legs in about a gazillion years so the top line could also be speaking of a hairy person arriving from overseas…

I am really intrigued by the appearance of tree, other than a long journey, it could mean that my health will be impacted by the trip, but what resonates more with Birds+Snake+Tree is that I plan on chatting with my mum about our ancestors (a few of whom did range from difficult to toxic) and hopefully pick up some more pictures for an ancestor altar I’m trying to build.

above below journal

I combined the corner cards but missed a message about Bear+Birds before photographing my journal notes, where I also see ‘anxious mother’. This could be referencing my mum as she is worrier, but I have a strong feeling it is more about me. I certainly can be overwhelmed by stress, but I am not a worrier by nature, however this trip will be the first time I have ever been away from my children. The longest I’ve been away from my eldest was 3 nights while I was recovering from an emergency c-section delivering her brother, and even then she came for visits every day. One part of me can’t wait to have my first night’s uninterrupted sleep in 4 years, to be able to wake up and go to bed when I want, to shower, read and watch a film in peace, but whenever I look at them now and think about leaving my stomach clenches into a thousand knots.

Zigzagging Rider+Snake+Bear seems to hint that an overbearing woman will be arriving, and since I am the only one arriving, I guess the overbearing woman is me! Cheeky. And Birds+Ship+Tree suggests a long and stressful journey, which all sounds about right.

I’ve been continuing my pair and 3-card practices multiple times a day and this week I experimented with a few 5 card strings and had a crack at my first 3×3. I’m still trying to find the best approach with 5-card strings and, as every Lenormand expert says, consistency is key, so I need to dedicate some time to working out whether I want to go for a narrative, near-far, closest significator or central-card focus methodology when deciphering them.

I really enjoyed this spread though and found it gave detailed information without being quite as overwhelming as the 9 card (the thought of a Grand Tableau gives me brain  ache, but I’ll get there one day) and I definitely plan on using this spread more, maybe for month-ahead type readings or for any more specific questions I might have.

What to leave in 2017

One of the admins of the Lenormand Cards Study Group on Facebook asked members to post a short three-card reading asking what thoughts about ourselves we should leave in 2017. I pulled House+Mice+Book

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I ended up finding two relevant messages in these cards, the first, an idea about myself I need to drop (and something I have written about a couple of times here before) for 2018 is that being a stay-at-home mum somehow depletes my intelligence. I don’t actually believe that staying at home with my kids makes me dumb, but, as stupid as I know it is, I still worry that people look down on me and assume I must not be smart or driven because of it, and this can negatively impact how I feel about my home life.

Another message I see here more generally about something to ditch for 2018, is to stop letting anxiety about the unknown nibble away at my sense of safety and stability.

Le Tarot Noir – The Great Balancing Act

I’ve been thinking about selling or trading Le Tarot Noir, it is by far one of the most stunning and classy looking decks I’ve ever seen, but I am not sure I have the patience for learning Marseille style reading at the moment and the cards are just. so. large. Trying to read with even five cards feels cumbersome and takes up so much space that I hardly ever read with them unless I’m just looking for a tiny snapshot. I suppose I could use it as a Majors only deck, but that seems like such a waste of a visually stunning deck.

As I was flicking through the deck pondering whether or not to keep them, I decided to draw three cards from the Majors. I had nothing in particular in mind and the draw is not intended as any sort of personal reading, I just wanted to see what the cards came up with for consideration today.

le tarot noir

I don’t usually post my more aimless readings, but I loved the striking juxtaposition of the cards that appeared. In the middle we have Justice, the great equaliser, and on either side, The Pope and The Fool. Here I see the beautiful but delicate balance between two very different approaches and experiences in life: teacher and student, wise and foolish, predictable and spontaneous, knowledgeable and ignorant, responsible and free, old and young, solemn and blasé, traditional and pioneering, establishment and rebel, weighed down and weightless, the sacred and the profane.

Justice demands that we be vigilant and choose wisely in which role to play at any given time, for they both have their virtues and their vices.

I’m now having second thoughts about letting this deck go….

Exploring Tarot and Runes: 16 – Sowilo

Sowilo [pronounced so-EE-lo] means Sun and is one of the simplest runes to translate into tarot. Before I get on to explaining the obvious connection between Sowilo and The Sun in tarot, one thing that is important to note is that the sun in Norse pagan tradition, unlike modern esoteric constructs, is coded as female. Furthermore, a number of archaeological finds point strongly to the preeminence of sun worship in Bronze Age Scandinavia.

sowilo

Elements of the sun-cult appear to have survived in the myths that have been left to us in the Goddess Sol, also known as Sunna. In Snorri’s Prose Edda, Sol is not a personification of the sun, but the charioteer that drives the sun across the sky, chased by the wolf Skoll (which may also be another name for the great wolf Fenrir) who is fated to devour her and the sun at Ragnarok. Her brother is Mani, the charioteer of the moon, and she is wed to an otherwise unknown figure known as Glenr (whose name means Gap Between Clouds – if that’s not poetry, I don’t know what is).

trudholm sun chariot
Trundholm Sun Chariot, Denmark, dated approx 1400 BCE  

Some evidence does however point to the idea that the sun was a personified goddess to Bronze Age Germanic peoples, and there appear to be some surviving pieces of this tradition in later Norse myths. The existence of Thor long predates the rise of Odinn, with his mythology dating back to Proto Indo European myth, and while common Viking and post-Viking age stories hold Odinn as the All-Father and progenitor of Thor, there is ample suggestion in older sources that Thor was the first god, born not from Odinn and Jord (the Earth personified), but from Sol and Jord, two female deities. Considering the short-circuit this could have caused in the brains of Christian writers such as Snorri and Saxo, it is little wonder scant evidence of this myth and origin story survive.

Anyway, without rambling on too much, the all-encompassing importance of sun worship in Bronze Age Scandinavia changed over the centuries and appears to have lost much of its popularity, however there are more inklings of its importance amongst later pagan worshippers than much of Norse mythology initially suggests, and the Norwegian rune poem sums it up perfectly, “Sun is the light of the world; I bow to its holiness“.

the sun

Much like The Sun in tarot, Sowilo speaks of illumination, brightness and victory. It is the bringer of great joy, light and truth; the shadows have been chased away and the cold, harsh need of previous runes like Nauthiz, Isa and Hagalaz are melted away.

The Icelandic rune poem states, “Sun is the sky shield, and a shining radiance, and the nemesis of ice.” This idea of the protective power of the sun as a shield also echoes in the Anglo-Saxon rune poem, where we see the sun as a vigilant guide for those at sea, “The sun guides seafarers who ferry across the fishes bath until the seahorse [ship] brings them to land.

 

empressThis idea of protection and guidance has a very different feel to the protection of our attending, ancestral spirits seen in the previous rune. While Algiz represents a protector not quite of this world, existing in liminal space between this and the otherworld, sometimes seen but most often not, the protection of Sowilo is shining and all-apparent. It is in this vein, along with the sun’s holiness expressed in the Norwegian rune poem, that I also feel hints of the power of The Empress. She is life itself, nurturing, protective, abundant and generous, she brings fertility and growth to the land, much like the sun’s rays; she, like Sowilo, is a shining beacon of life that warms her children and promises prosperity.

 

Sowilo, like other runes, cannot appear merkstave (reversed), but in this singular instance I will not be exploring the shadow meanings for this rune (although others do). For me, Sowilo is as good as it gets, it has the power to blast away the negative energies of any number of the more challenging runes – or all of them combined. No matter how dreary a rune-casting may look, the presence of Sowilo gives strong cause for optimism, and the promise that regardless of the difficulties you face, there is a bright, shining, all-encompassing light at the end of the tunnel – life will always prevail, you just have to hold- tight long enough for sunrise.