Royal Advice from Dame Darcy’s Mermaids

I got a bit carried away with Dame Darcy. Seriously, it’s kind of an addictive deck, so I decided to do another quick reading with it.

The Tao card I drew on my birthday (you can see the post here) for this upcoming year is ‘Discipline’, and I wrote up a little to-do list of things I want to learn and achieve in the coming 12 months. At the top of that list is re-starting my business. As this deck has identified itself as pretty sensible and sharp, I decided to try out one of Barbara Moore’s spreads from my new copy of her Tarot Spreads book, called the Royal Advice Spread, using just the courts. It’s pretty snappy and straightforward and will hopefully give me a nudge in the right direction about where to hone my focus and the energies I need to channel to start working my way through my list.

The courts are divided into four piles of Kings, Queens, Knights and Pages, with one card drawn from each.

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Dame Darcy’s Mermaid Tarot: Deck Interview & First Impressions

I thought it was about time to introduce some of my new deck arrivals, so first up we have a deck interview and first impressions with the Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot, which I purchased from Little Red Tarot (Beth’s shop is fabulous for more unusual decks, so I highly recommend taking a look).

dame darcy interview

Tell me about yourself, what is your most important characteristic?

Six Pentacles – In this card we see a ship emblazoned with pentacles on its sails, coins are piled up on the deck and pouring into the sea from its gun ports. This deck is all about cultivating feelings of abundance and generosity.

What are your strengths as a deck?

Queen of Swords – This is such an awesome looking card, her tears are flowing and yet in her eyes we see a cool determination and sharp intelligence, she’s not going to be crying for long… or is our clever Queen shedding crocodile tears?

I see that the strength of this deck lies in its pragmatic approach. It won’t drown me in esoteric symbolism, just straight up tell it like it is and push me to be stronger in the face of any challenges or setbacks.
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Shiny New Toys!

It’s been ages since I last posted and I’m missing it so much! The past 2 weeks have seen an influx of family visitors and unfortunately a nasty stomach bug that I can’t seem to shake, so my poor little blog has been quite neglected.

Anyway, with the arrival of my mum comes the stash of wonderful decks and other goodies I’ve been purchasing for the past year; and all hail her packing skills, she managed to get everything, including the behemoth of a book, the Holistic Tarot, in her suitcase without going over the airline’s weight limit.

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“As you are now, So once was I, As I am now, So you will be” – memento mori and incorporating bones into spiritual practice

About one year ago my family and I moved from the centre of town to my husband’s village on the outskirts of Bethlehem. The village is small and everyone is family (although not all happily related!). The community is comprised of second and first generation permanently settled Bedouins. Although most of their grazing and agricultural lands have been taken away, many families keep their traditions alive by keeping donkeys,  goats, chickens, some vegetable crops and trees, like olive and almond.  There are quite a few animals roaming around, including wild dogs and cats, snakes, lizards, a large number of crows and much to my surprise, foxes, porcupines and small gazelles.

As someone who has lived predominantly in suburbs and cities, I have learned so much just by observing the land and creatures around me, the seasons are so much more distinctive to me now that I can witness the cycles in more natural surroundings. I feel more connected to the earth and inspired to go out and learn about all of the life, animals, wildflowers and trees in my surroundings, and I am hoping to one day contribute to it by keeping bees.

With all of this wonder of life there also comes the inevitability of death. If you walk around any of the small surrounding fields for long enough, you will happen among many remains of the animals who walked there before. Most that I have found are old, smaller fragments that are difficult to identify.

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The Woods are Lovely Dark and Deep…

After writing up my deck interview with the Mary El I just couldn’t stop thinking about the wonderful wolf in the 7 of Wands, it reminded me of something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I sat with the card for a while and soon realised what it was: there is a poem by Robert Frost titled Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening, which ends with the lines, “the woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

In full, the poem reads:

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

 

Remembering those last lines I realised that this Seven of Wands feels like an embodiment of those words. This wolf can hear the call of the woods on this darkest night of the year, she feels the pull of a forest full of prey and indulgence in her wildest side, but she directs her will towards her task and continues running down her path, she will not be distracted, for she has promises to keep.

mary el 7 wands

According to the more traditional tarot systems, the Seven of Wands is all about taking a stand for an idea or belief; it’s protective and unafraid of confrontation and unpopularity, it is squaring up to a mob mentality.

It’s speaks so highly of Marie White’s imagery that all of this can be conveyed in the close up of a single white wolf. In those fierce green eyes we can see that determination, steadiness and an unwavering dedication to what it is she has to do; she believes in something and you can see it written all over her face. This belief in something greater than herself is what drives her to stay out of those oh-so-tempting woods, and to find the strength to act according to her highest ideals.

Naturally, this got me thinking about the black wolf in the Seven of Cups where we have another wolf close-up, but a completely different energy. Conversely, this darker wolf has unleashed herself into the wild and runs deep into those woods, lit by a full moon. She has broken her promises, discarded her beliefs and chosen to indulge in all of the things those wild woods – and her darkest self – have to offer. She won’t even look you in the eye, so lost is she in some other realm of shadow fantasy.

7cups mary el

 

I find this juxtaposition between the two cards fascinating, and I think it taps into something interesting about the cards’ meanings. On the one hand, we have a deeply held belief that drives one to protect and defend, and on the other, a belief in absolutely nothing; a cynical dulling of all else but the indulgence of ones darkest desires and hedonistic pursuits.

After mulling these cards over for a bit I decided to check out the Chariot – the only other card that contains wolves – and read a little bit about what Marie White had to say about them. As card number seven in the Major Arcana, the Chariot also corresponds to these two cards numerologically – something that White was clearly cognisant of, as she does in fact relate the wolves of the Seven of Wands and Cups to the wolves standing on the far left and right of the pack being guided by our Chariot woman. In the guidebook she (as many tarotists do) utilises Plato’s metaphor of the chariot (also influential in Freud’s theories of the Id, Ego and Super-Ego); the hypothesis that the conscious mind (specifically, the ego) operates as a charioteer, harnessing two horses, one black and one white, representing the darkest and highest aspects of ourselves, finding moderation and right action in the middle-ground, neither too dark or too light.

chariot wolves cards

I must admit, I usually only utilise some basic numerology in my readings, most often to find the quint card (where you ad up the numerical total of a spread and reduce it until you have a corresponding Major), and if you’d asked me before how the Chariot related to the Seven of Cups, my answer would not have been very heartfelt or particularly concise. I’d never really thought of the 7 of Cups as the antithesis of the 7 of Wands before, but now that I think about it, it makes sense, particularly as they correspond to the opposing elements of water to fire. It just took this imagery, the black wolf to the wands’ white, the broken promises to those kept, for me to see it.

I’d like to explore this relationship further by viewing each number as a spectrum of experience with its numerical Major in the centre and the elemental opposites on either end and see what other juxtapositions I can dig up. Yeah, duh. Why haven’t I thought of that before?! The Two of Swords and Two of Pentacles spring instantly to mind…off to investigate!