Intent Isn’t Magic: The Appeal of Lenormand

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.

016

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).

012

 

Lenormand on the other hand (in my admittedly limited experience) shows you where your motivations and intent aren’t so magical, it is a reflection of the ‘real world’, glaring back at you, with crystal clarity. It shows the actual obstacles you face, how life and external forces affect your intentions and the consequences, intended or unintended of your actions or inaction. It’s like the I-didn’t-mean-it-but-it-happened-anyway of cartomancy.

004

Ultimately, I see Tarot as a mirror of what life and situations feel like on the inside, the cards show you how to affect positive change from within, purifying and honing your intent and intuitive instinct. Lenormand, conversely, shows a reflection of what life or any given circumstances look like, the essence of their appearance and being, their concrete reality, including all of those little things out of our immediate control. It can guide us in how to act and think with precision, while cleaning up the clutter of woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Any other Tarot reading Lenormand newbs out there? What are some of the differences you have experienced in working with these two deck styles so far?

 

Advertisements

Dame Darcy Reading

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.

dame darcy 2

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.

 

Pantheon of Your Life Spread

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.

ceccoli pantheon
The spread is read clockwise from the top center card

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. For the outside, I am aware that I do not appear to be a particularly ambitious person, but it is there, quiety 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 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.

 

Exploring the Divine Masculine – Part 2

*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”

The Divine Masculine in a Time of Toxic Masculinity – A Norse Pagan’s Perspective + New Spread

*Trigger warning for mentions of misogyny and assault*

This isn’t the easiest time to talk about this topic and I keep putting it off. Laptop open, fingers poised at the keyboard and…nothing. Nothing that feels quite right. But I know that if I put it off one more day I’ll never get around to it.

With the floodgates opened by the Harvey Weistein revelations, the seemingly never-ending list of abusive men in power revealed, followed by this constant barrage of #metoo, and I’ve spent much of the past few weeks feeling sick and miserable for all of my sisters out there who have been raped, assaulted, abused, harassed, gaslighted, belittled, degraded, silenced, shamed and victimised at the hands of entitled, misogynistic men void of compassion, empathy, respect or even the most basic fundamentals of human decency. I’m hurting. And I’m fucking angry that our culture not only allows silence around abuse to hold for so long, but that it actively fosters it and seeks to humiliate those that break it.

I can’t say any of it has come as a surprise, if anything I’m surprised it is still getting any media airtime. And while every story shared breaks my heart that bit more, leaving my chest tight with a feeling of anger and bewilderment at the cruelty of people, it is almost a relief that they keep coming because each new testimony proves that no, we haven’t been “hysterical”, “delusional” or “overly sensitive” all this time, there really is a big fucking problem with masculinity. Continue reading “The Divine Masculine in a Time of Toxic Masculinity – A Norse Pagan’s Perspective + New Spread”

Walking the Path of the Major Arcana – The Journey Ends

This post is a continuation of a month-long challenge hosted on Tarot Rebels. As I can’t commit to daily draws at the moment, I am following along at my own snail’s pace here. The concept of the challenge is to see the ways in which the energies of the Major Arcana are affecting and manifesting in my life at the moment. *

Third Path Completed: What am I most grateful for this Fall season?

rebels path ends

One of the main areas I am currently working on in my Norse pagan path is learning about the spirit mothers and guardians that attend each person and ancestral line, the disir, nornshamingjur and fylgjur. In Norse lore, the term fylgjur was also used as a name for one’s animal spirits, and the roles of these creatures and beings often overlapped with one other. (These souls and soul-aspects share some common ground with old Irish folklore of fetches.) Continue reading “Walking the Path of the Major Arcana – The Journey Ends”

Walking the Path of the Major Arcana – The World

This post is a continuation of a month-long challenge hosted on Tarot Rebels. As I can’t commit to daily draws at the moment, I am following along at my own snail’s pace here. The concept of the challenge is to see the ways in which the energies of the Major Arcana are affecting and manifesting in my life at the moment. *

The World: What goal am I ready to achieve?

rebels world

I see the Prince of Swords’ appearance here as linked to one of the main messages of the ancestor reading I did for Halloween – I am ready to start chasing some ambition, to begin fighting and striving for my place in this world and proving I have something worthwhile to contribute.

If we do move to America, I am going to have to start earning an income, and I feel ready to cut through the old bonds of restriction I’ve sometimes felt after four years as a stay-at-home-mum. I don’t yet have a specific goal in mind that I wish – or am ready – to achieve, it is something broader than that, I am ready to step out of the same-ol’, same-ol’ and start setting goals I can pursue with the full force of my mind.

Walking the Path of the Major Arcana – Judgement

This post is a continuation of a month-long challenge hosted on Tarot Rebels. As I can’t commit to daily draws at the moment, I am following along at my own snail’s pace here. The concept of the challenge is to see the ways in which the energies of the Major Arcana are affecting and manifesting in my life at the moment. *

Judgement: Where in my life can I offer resolve to my judgements?

rebels judgement 2

This is now the fourth question in a row that I have received a Cup card as an answer, so there seems to be a broader message emerging that the final stages in the Major Arcana themes in my life right now revolve around emotion, intuition and spirituality.

I came to the realisation a while ago that I had for too long seen the rational and logical as the only legitimate approaches to life, emotions and spirituality. But I knew I was missing something and eventually decided to stop prioritising the judgements of my rational brain over all else.

This was a big moment of Judgement for me, the realisation that I had been approaching life and mystery all wrong, that I was making my life hollow and so many things felt meaningless. In these cards I see the message that I must maintain the resolve to build my intuitive muscles and continue to dedicate myself to understanding the mystical and hidden elements of the universe.

Halloween Ancestor Reading

I found this great ancestor spread on the blog Tarot in a Teacup and thought it would be the perfect reading to do on Halloween. Since I found the Wild Unknown Tarot and Animal Spirit Oracle work so well together, I decided to use both for this reading.

ancestor spread

Top Row: What is my ancestral lineage?

Gazelle, Panther and Lizard – The first thing that caught my attention with these cards is that all three are designated as Fire animals by the deck’s creator, Kim Krans. A few people in my family have done some work on our family tree and both my maternal and paternal lines are populated by immigrants, and I see the fire of these cards characterised by this heritage of wanderlust and questing for a better life.

In Gazelle and Lizard, I see two creatures of acute observance, aware of their surroundings and always attuned to any change in their environment – the slightest movement, the faintest breeze or a new scent. There is astuteness in this lineage, attention to detail and a hint of vulnerability too.

In the little paper fold-out of card keywords, Krans defines the Panther as representative of “annihilation of the unnecessary, purging”, which is a wonderful precursor for the following three cards. Continue reading “Halloween Ancestor Reading”

Walking the Path of the Major Arcana – The Sun

This post is a continuation of a month-long challenge hosted on Tarot Rebels. As I can’t commit to daily draws at the moment, I am following along at my own snail’s pace here. The concept of the challenge is to see the ways in which the energies of the Major Arcana are affecting and manifesting in my life at the moment. *

The Sun: Where does joy live in my life?

rebels sun 2

I’m a big fan of the Tarot of Vampyres (just look at that sexy Sun card), although like with most decks, I do have a few little qualms and the depiction of the Lords (Kings) in the Court is one of my biggest. They all just seem very same-y to me: a large, hyper-masculine, warrior sort of figure is helmeted on a horse. For me, this imagery works for the personalities of the Lord of Scepters (Wands) and Knives (Swords), but for the Grails (Cups), it falls flat. There are no intuitive hints or signs of this Lord’s immense emotional intelligence or gifts as a healer, and as these two aspects are what I relate to in today’s questions, the absence of any visual depiction of these traits bugs me especially!

I recently read this wonderful article on the art of hearth-keeping, and it reminded me of the King of Cups, a man of frith, never afraid or too detached to roll up his sleeves and get down to the emotional labour that keeps kin and community together. My joy lives in the idea that I can fulfil a similar role, that I can provide safety and support to those in need and bring unity and healing to my family and the communities I am a part of.