First Impressions & Deck Interview: The Isis Oracle by Alana Fairchild and Jimmy Manton – the bones made me do it!

isis box setIt’s taken me a long time to jump on the Alana Fairchild bandwagon and had you asked me a year ago if I would ever own one of her decks my answer would have probably been a pretty snarky ‘no’. I’ve always loved the artists she is teamed up with, particularly for the Kuan Yin and Sacred Rebel oracles, but whenever I read any samples of her guidebook my eyes would roll…hard.

You see, I don’t believe in a Divine Plan, or that the universe loves me unconditionally. I find the universe pretty ambivalent and see chaos everywhere. This idea that “everything happens for a reason” takes me beyond eye rolling into ragey territory because it seems like the sheltered worldview of someone who has benefitted from a number of geographic, ethnic, racial and class privileges. With the people of this world being attacked with chemical weapons, bombed, starved, oppressed, abused and trafficked, it is hard for me to see some grand scheme and work, and if it is, it’s a shitty one I don’t particularly wish to “surrender” to.

So, why the hell am I now sitting here with a brand spanking new Alana Fairchild deck? Well the weirdest yet most honest answer is this: the bones made me do it. I’ve been working on incorporating the skull I found into my meditation and divination practices, both as a memento mori to help me deal with my phobia of death, and as a tangible link to nature and animal spirits. After meditating a few times with the skull I asked it which deck it would like to work with. The Wild Unknown tarot and Animal Spirit Oracle seem like the most obvious fit for the divination aspect, and they have worked well together so far, but I felt I needed something more, a bit deeper and focused specifically on personal spiritual development.

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Exploring Tarot and Rune Correspondences: 10 – Nauthiz

nauthiz rune

Nauthiz [pronounced Now-theez] translates directly to ‘need’ in Old English with the same meaning in Old Norse, with the added nuance of ‘constriction’. This rune along with the preceeding rune, Hagalaz, and the following rune, Isa, form a trinity of the most challenging runes.

Although not attested to in any ancient sources, many scholars believe that these three runes relate to the Norns – Urd (became), Verdandi (becoming) and Skuld (become), similar to the Greek Morai – who carve the fate of each infant in runes at the time of their birth. In many ways they represent the inevitability of difficult times in human experience and the events that hold within them the potential to either destroy us or set us on a more enlightened and emboldened path. It is in this sense, the ups and downs of life and luck, that all three runes can be seen inextricably tied to the Wheel of Fortune.

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Exploring Tarot and Rune Correspondences: 9 – Hagalaz

hagalaz pic

Hagalaz [pronounced HA-galaz] means ‘hail’. A less than welcome rune, Hagalaz refers to the ambivalent forces of nature. Not just an inconvenience from which shelter is sought, a hailstorm to the ancient Norse could spell the destruction of entire fields worth of crops and a destabilising of their homes and animal shelters or perilous trips at sea.

In our modern times, this rune represents an outside power that disrupts your potential or assumed success. Plans or projects have been implemented and suddenly a big spanner is thrown into the works, grinding everything to a halt. In its most archetypal context, Hagalaz can be seen as the downturn of the Wheel of Fortune. Everything was going so well, until it suddenly wasn’t, and now nothing feels like it is going your way.

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In the Three of Wands we see the initial stage of achievement, the ships and their cargo have set sail and a new dawn is beginning in the life of the figure before us. Imagine then, a vicious hailstorm raining down upon those ships that have just left the harbour. The sails are ravaged and the ships are wrecked onto the rocks. In this context, we can see Hagalaz as representing a reversed or shadow aspect of this card, where carefully orchestrated plans are scuppered by ill luck.

Similarly, in the Eight of Wands, we see swiftness in action, where everything is heading towards its intended destination with speed and accuracy. Hagalaz then, can be seen as a reversal or energy-blocked expression of this card, where plans are beset by delays and nothing seems to be remaining true to course.

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You may be glad to hear that Hagalaz cannot appear merkstave, so this is as bad as it gets. In fact the Anglo-Saxon rune poem ends its stanza with a ray of hope, promising that the hail now raining down upon you “is tossed by the wind and turns to water”. This Suggests that there is not only the potential for this energy to dissipate quickly, but that what finally results from those hailstones, water, can in fact nourish your plans in the long-term. It is here that we can see a suggestion of the Ace of Wands, where unexpected disruptions actually spur on and revive your efforts with renewed enthusiasm, problem solving skills and creativity. These interferences on the one hand humble you to the forces outside of your control, and on the other, force you to think and act with greater ingenuity.

Animal Spirit: Free Week Ahead Reading 12-18 August, 2017

It’s been a while since I posted a free reading, and while I unfortunately don’t have the time to start doing them again on a regular basis I’ve really missed them! I got the itch this week to dip my toe back into the Animal Spirit deck which has been sitting somewhat neglected, and thought a week ahead reading would be a great way to have a little explore with it.

I’ve decided to try something a bit different from my usual 3 card freestyle reading and instead focus on elemental energies.

animal spirit week ahead elements

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July Deck Bond Challenge – Faerie Enchantments by Ian Daniels (days 13-16)

Things have been piling up this past month and I am so behind on this challenge! In the interim though I have stolen a few odd moments of peace and quiet to explore this deck more doing personal readings and I must say that my initial trepidation of not really knowing how to use this deck has vanished. The readings I have done so far have been insightful and, a bit to my surprise, very straightforward and to the point, I thought I might have to contend with the wily riddles much loves by the Fair Folk.

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Day 13 – The name your deck wants: Elan – This kinda feels like cheating as the challenge is intended for tarot decks, which unlike this deck don’t already come with names! Elan of the Ways is an elusive and mysterious goddess with a broad spectrum of influence, including but not limited to kingship and sovereignty, the Sacred Marriage, pathways, and forests. One particularly distinguishing characteristic is that she is the only horned goddess known in the Celtic pantheon.

Day 14 – Bluest card: This deck is very sepia toned and lacks any vibrant colours (other than a very clever use of white) and the most visually blue card I could find was in the cloak of Gwydion, who presents as a powerful leader, sorcerer and arch-druid standing over a steaming cauldron with glowing red eyes. The image just radiates the feeling of a timeless cosmic power, with the god seemingly manipulating the position of the stars between his firm-held spears.

Day 15 – Card with most red: Kerridwen – an odd choice I’m sure, but for me the intense redness of this card derives not from a visible depiction of the colour, but lies in the red we don’t see but is strongly implied in the scene. The woman here has fangs and I wonder if this image was originally intended for Daniels’ Tarot of Vampyres or was created especially for this deck. With lips stained and canines delicately bared, I can only imagine how full her chalice is with the rich red of blood.

Day 16 – Darkest Card: Habondia – This card has a very shadowy feel to me with the twisting vines, a tomb like monument and a female figure with hollowed cheeks and a death-like pallor that reminds me of the Goddess Hel in her realm of the dead. The view is through an archway, overlooked by the bust of a horned head. In the distance bright light is peaking through the overgrown trees and a pathway paved with tree roots draws our eyes down a tunnel like passage. At first glance, I assumed this card would correspond to Death in tarot, so I was quite to surprised to discover Daniels chose the Wheel of Fortune as its correspondence. Of course, the forces of life outside of our control throw both good times and bad at us, nonetheless this card still gives me the feeling of some sort of finality rather than the cyclical ups and downs of life, particularly with the implication of multiple thresholds contained in the image.

faerie enchantments 13-16 rverse

July Deck Bond Challenge – Faerie Enchantments by Ian Daniels (days 9-12)

faerie enchantments

Day 9 – Your favourite card: I ended up selecting two cards for this day because I love them both so much, and what’s the point of having your own blog if you can’t bend the rules a bit?

First up, Tailtiu [Tal-tee-oo] – This was the card for me. When I was looking through the gallery of this deck on Ian Daniels’ site it was this card that took me from ‘ooh this is a very pretty deck’ to ‘I have to have it’, swiftly followed by a click on the pre-order purchase button. There’s a strange and beautiful remoteness and otherness to this woman, and while this deck is focused on Irish and Welsh mythology, she instantly made me think of the Norse goddess Freyja in both her sorceress/seiðkona aspect, and her Valfrejya (chooser of half the battle-slain) role, whisking the dead warriors off to her hall in the fields of Fólkvangr. Much like Freyja, the namesake of this card, the goddess Tailtiu, was also associated with agriculture and community abundance. According to Daniels this card corresponds to 2,3 & 4 Wands.

And Brighid, *sigh* this is such a breathtakingly beautiful image, I wish my crappy phone camera could do it justice. The whites of her fur, wings and the flowers in her hair actually glimmer with light and the subtle red ascents of the jewels on her arm rings, necklace and crown are simply perfect. I could stare at both these image for hours.

Day 10 – Your least favourite card: Avallach [Ah-val-ack] I don’t have a strong dislike for this card, it just doesn’t really speak to me and seems to lack the polished beauty of the other cards in the deck. The landscape of grassy hills and waterfalls are lovely, but I see something off in the proportions of the figure’s head on the left, it looks too small to me and visually bugs me a bit.

Day 11 – The deck’s favourite card: Avallach – Hahaha, well. The deck and I seem to have had our first disagreement with its favourite card being my least! Perhaps it is the spirit of the card that it favours above others? Corresponding to The World card in tarot, its meaning certainly has everything going for it in terms of feelings of completeness, completion and attainment.

Day 12 – The deck’s least favourite card: Arianrhod [Ar-ee-an-rod] – Another interesting draw, this card also appeared in response of day 5’s question regarding the greatest weakness of the deck. So is it self-aware and disliking of its weakness? Well that’s a bit of ‘woo’ to consider 😉

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July Deck Bond Challenge – Faerie Enchantments by Ian Daniels (Days 5-8)

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Day 5 – Greatest weakness of the deck: Arianrhod [Ar-ee-an-rod] – This deck is many things, an oracle, an enchantments and spell book, a portal to the Otherworld and a modified tarot deck. According to Ian Daniels, Arianrhod corresponds to the Chariot. This tells me that one of the weaknesses of this deck is its lack of a defined or strictly outlined use. For me, being used to the structure of tarot and runes, I sometimes feel at a bit of a loss as to how I’m supposed to use it or in which guise we will work best together. The deck cannot tell me in which way it will function best, it is up to me to hone my focus and direct my usage for a hopefully fruitful relationship.

Day 6 – Nature of our Collaboration: Druantia [Dru-an-tee-ah] – I live in and operate very much from the airy realms of my mind, and this card tells me that in our collaboration, this deck can bring me back down to earth and re-wild me. I see an activation of my lower chakras and an opportunity to learn how to revive my passions, fire and creativity and build a closer connection to nature in all of its untamed beauty and fierceness. (Corresponds to The Devil in tarot)

Day 7 – Read with this deck for others?: The Beloved – I’m taking this card as a big YES to that question. The Beloved represents one’s spirit guide or avatar in this deck and acts as a personal bridge between the conscious, sub and unconscious mind and the Otherworld. In regards to the question, I see this card as saying that this deck is open to assisting any soul that comes to it ready to delve into the realm of the Fair Folk.

Day 8 – What the deck thinks of you: Modron [Mod-rohn] – Modron is the divine mother and represents new beginnings and the seedlings of potential. It’s really interesting to me that this card came up here at this time as I have, for the first time and very recently, had a palpable experience of the Mother Goddess, and I was able to recognise her for what she is. I am still very new to my current spiritual path (which is still as yet very eclectic and undefinable) and it seems this deck knows it and comes with the message that I have all the capabilities within me to grow into spiritual practice, learn and flourish. (Corresponds to the Ace of Pentacles)

days 5-8backs

 

This beautiful deck can be purchased here