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.
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.
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.
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?
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.]
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”→
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
This is one of my favourite spreads to do for myself, I find it maintains simplicity whilst still giving a good overview of where I am at. Here I am using my beloved, forever-deck, The Tarot of the Hidden Realm by Barbara Moore. I feel so attuned to these cards and they always hit it out of the park in both accuracy and insight. This is pretty much the only deck I feel I can’t live without and am thinking about buying duplicate copies just incase my toddlers or cats get a hold of them and destroy them.
Anyway, the spread is read left-right and represent the primary concerns bubbling beneath the surface, on the surface and up in the air.
Bubbling beneath – The Magician
My inner realm is currently concerned with ruminating on all of the new possibilities I am faced with. It is putting the feelers out there for how all of this potential pairs up with my innate skills, ambitions and (often conflicting) desires. I also see the Magician as representing a level of anxiety that has been niggling at me about picking the wrong career path when we move and worrying about feeling like an imposter. I keep getting these little waves of doubt that I am kidding myself wanting to go back to school, that I can’t study science and medicine, and I would be a fraud for even attempting it. And how long would I be able to keep up this slight-of-hand before it all comes crashing down around me, anyway?
The surface – Ace of Pentacles
At the most mundane, grounded level, I am all about sniffing out opportunities, gauging the environment and seeking a path forward that would bring material security. I am trying my hardest to be practical and pragmatic, I have my spikes up to repel any serious knocks, but I still feel very small in the face of this challenging move overseas.
Up in the air – King of Wands
The part of me that aspires and daydreams is currently concerned with leadership. Away from the practical, I can feel this loftier part of me that wants to prove myself during this move. I want to demonstrate that I can take the lead and protect my family effectively, that I can forge forward in a position of power, creating success and make them proud of me.
The modern tarot world has been greatly influenced by New Age movements and concepts of spirituality, and one theme you’ll see pop up time and time again is the importance of intention, even amongst those that do not subscribe to the Theory of Attraction (myself included). There is the idea, also I believe in modern Wicca (feel free to correct me!) that intent is the bedrock of magic, that if we set our minds and will to something, it is achievable. While I don’t doubt at all that setting intent is a powerful motivator and influence in bringing things into – or banishing them from – our lives, I am also reminded of an oft-used phrase in social justice circles: intent isn’t magic. Which means to say that no, while you did not intend for your words or actions to be problematic, they in fact are, that despite your best-intent someone was harmed or affected by the things you did or said. Shit definitely did not go down as expected, and while intentions may have been good, or at least ignorant, recompense and apologies should be forthcoming without defensive reactions like, ‘But I didn’t mean it!’, because it doesn’t matter, you did it.
While unrelated directly to cartomancy, mulling over these ideas of intent got me thinking about the differences between Tarot and Lenormand, two wonderful, beautiful card traditions that have the power – if you let them – to instigate change in your life and you perceptions. While Tarot can and frequently does reflect back the blatantly obvious, its power to me lies in its ability to push you head first into the sub-conscious waters of your expectations, motivations, hopes and baggage, it shows what things mean to you on a symbolic level and why, and it reveals your intentions and deepest held desires (especially the repressed ones, boy howdy). Continue reading “Intent Isn’t Magic: The Appeal of Lenormand”→
I’ve been feeling in a bit of a funk recently. In the past month I’ve been hit by two viruses (cold or flu or a combination of both, I’m not sure) and the reality of our possible move to the US is really starting to sink in. I have so many mixed emotions I don’t even know what is going on anymore, so I decided to ask Dame Darcy for a bit of a check-up to put the main issues into size-manageable pieces. This is an open reading and the only card that has any sort of positional meaning is the last one.
While my first instinct is to start off reading chronologically from left to right, the Empress feels like my significator card here. Her purview, like my concerns at the moment, is all about nurturing, comfort and abundance, and right now I feel caught in between all of the new possibilities, opportunities and encounters a move to the US could bring us and the very real knowledge that we will have very little money to live on. How will we survive? How much are we, and my kids particularly, going to go without as we scramble to find our feet? Will the whole thing fail?
This seems to be a pretty accurate representation of the situation at hand so I decided to pull one more card for advice. The Four of Pentacles – solid, practical, stable and my good ole reliable stalker card. It tells me to keep my shit together and find a balance between hopes and fears. No one ever grounded their feet in the air or water of cups and swords, so it’s time to come back to earth, to give the dreams a rest for a while and try and ease up on the anxiety by simply taking it one sensible, solid step at a time.
I took the outline of this spread from Barbara Moore’s Tarot Spreads book, which is packed with plenty of layouts that go well beyond your basic three-card and Celtic Cross.
This spread was originally designed as a seven card affair, with positions based upon the gods and goddesses of the ancient Greek pantheon. To increase its resonance with me I decided to use the gods from my own pantheon, adding two cards (the number 9 is highly significant in Norse myth) and amending some of the positional meanings to better represent the scope and character of the Northern gods.
Tyr – The role will and determination play in your life
The High Priestess – My will and determination play an integral yet somewhat secret and hidden role in my life. From the outside, I am aware that I do not appear to be a particularly ambitious person, but it is there, quietly bubbling underneath, informing and driving my actions and desires. These things do not manifest loudly in what I say, but quietly in what I do and how I choose to live my life.
Odin – The role learning, knowledge and wisdom play in your life
The Fool – New beginnings, always new beginnings. I try to approach life as a perpetual student, always learning something new, something challenging. The Fool shows not only how unwanted ignorance plays a role in my quest for wisdom, it also reminds me that the things we do not know in life will always outweigh those that we do. Regardless of how stern or studious a face we put upon ourselves, there is always plenty of room for humility, humour and the ability to laugh at our own foolish ignorance with lightness rather than embarrassment. The Fool says, relinquish pride and never be afraid to admit what you do not know, it is only in this admission that you will ever be able to learn anything new.
Frigg – The role that sensitivity and intuition play in your life
King of Swords – My sensitivity and intuition shape how I plan my approach to life, events, challenges and people, they are the primary tools I use to make sense of the world. The mind and rationality are important to me, but it is my intuition that leads my thoughts to places where they then seek to create some semblance of structure of order. Furthermore, taken literally from the card image, my intuition and sensitivity inspire my desire to write and share my thoughts on the stranger, and often stigmatised, things in life like divination and alternative spirituality.
Freyja – The role spirit, mystery and magic play in your life
Eight of Wands – In any other deck this might be quite an odd card to pull here with it’s swiftness and speed, in Ceccoli however we see a doll like girl holding twinkling fireflies on strings like balloons that gently illuminate her face. She looks as though she’s listening to their messages and seeing them through her mind’s eye. It’s a beautiful image and I can see myself tethered to spirit and magic in such a way, letting it softly guide my thoughts and illuminate different mystical possibilities.
Freyr – The role that sensual experience, pleasure and joy play in your life
Page of Swords – Yep, totally inevitable that I should pull a Sword here. I often get so wrapped up in the pleasures of my mind – reading, learning, thinking, playing with ideas and communicating them, that I feel quite out of touch with my body. My joy comes from acquiring new knowledge and playing in the mental realms of imagination and I often feel that were my character understood elementally, I would be all Water and Air with a dash of Fire, but very little Earth (do you see any Pentacles in this spread?). Much of my relationship with my body is perfunctory, treating it more as a vehicle for my mind and soul, and I am prone to neglecting its needs and pleasures. Freyr reminds me that I must make changes in this area and do more to enjoy and appreciate my body.
Thor – The role of friendship and family in your life
Seven of Wands – Quite a funny looking card to show up here, but what I think it is saying, quite simply, is that friendship and family keep me in check – they ground me in reality and challenge any tendencies towards selfishness. They give me a reason not to partake in destructive behaviours because I know the consequences will be swift and undesirable – I do not wish to disappoint or lose face in front of those I care about and have a responsibility to protect.
Heimdall – The role of observance, listening and receptivity in your life
Ten of Cups – I find this a really interesting and apt card here, as much as I like to write and create output, what gives me that Ten of Cups feeling of fulfilment is the opportunity to absorb. Spending time people-watching, reading, seeing films and generally observing all of the peculiarities of humanity and nature helps me to feel like a part of it and emboldens me to explore even further.
Saga – The self-constructed narratives at play in your life.
Five of Wands – I think because of where I live and the difficulties I have faced to remain with my family, I have built a narrative of us against the world. I have dreamed of living a life of radical action, but there is no magic flaming sword to defeat this dragon of bureaucracy and violent state politics, so I begrudgingly appease it with my compliance to maintain the status quo. The narrative then is one, not of victimhood or rebellion, but pragmatism, and the knowledge that some dragons cannot be slain.
The Disir – A message from your ancestral mothers on how you can improve your approach to life.
The Magician – Don’t fear the unpredictable, wear the masks you need to wear, use your skills and know your worth. Have magic and be adaptable, know your surroundings and know your audience, these things will serve you well in life. Despite what they say, it is never too late for a leopard to change its spots.
*Warning – this post contains card images that portray full-frontal male nudity*
Here are the results of my own Divine Masculine Mjolnir spread (which can be found here).
[For anyone unfamiliar with the Mary-El Tarot, the creator Marie White’s card interpretations vary significantly from the established traditions of the Rider-Waite-Smith, Thoth and Marseille, and it is a deck that inspires intuition over wrote-learning, so if the meanings seem a little out there, that’s why!] Continue reading “Exploring the Divine Masculine – Part 2”→