If you visit our Snowland Deck Facebook page here, you can click on the image, have it "stop" on a card--and I'll interpret it for you in a mini-reading (if you leave a comment there and tell me what you got).
If you visit our Snowland Deck Facebook page here, you can click on the image, have it "stop" on a card--and I'll interpret it for you in a mini-reading (if you leave a comment there and tell me what you got).
What a lovely, heartfelt Instagram post by my friend and Tarot colleague Amanda Donnelly (who drew our Snowland Deck's Director Emoting card today). She's a gem. (And, obviously, a great photographer, too!)
Although Christmas is either far in the past or far in the future, depending how you look at it, Father Christmas has made an appearance today as I pulled the Snowland Deck out to enjoy with my Colorado blizzard.
I have an awkward relationship with receiving gifts and compliments, although I love to give both. It may be a side effect of having too many "gifts" come with strings attached, or it could just be an extra dose of ego in that area. Sometimes I see receiving gifts as creating a power discrepancy, and I hate being beholden to anyone.
A few weeks ago, I prayed an earnest prayer that God would make me a better person. That is a work in progress and part of my healing and growth comes from recognizing unhealthy and unworthy thinking patterns. Mistrust of gifts and compliments is one that I need to work on. Of course there will be people who give them with ulterior motives, but I would not want to hurt even one genuine person in order to protect myself from a hundred disingenuous people. Besides, I'm smart enough to know the difference now, and if I fail, I'm strong enough to keep moving.
Thanks heaps for sharing, Amanda. You're a shining example of the King of Cups. (Visit Amanda on her Facebook page 78 Whispers at this link).
Water, water everywhere!
Snow, ice, frost—this element is a big component of the Snowland Deck, especially since the white stuff underscores every image. Seems especially fitting, considering both my husband and I have our Sun (and significant planetary placements) in Scorpio (a water sign).
In our deck, we associate the Emoting (Cups) cards to the water element—the nebulous, feminine suit of feelings, moods, aesthetics, relationships, love, yearning and emotional nourishment.
Like all Aces, our Ace Emoting card presents an invitation—a window of opportunity. Depending on our receptivity to things new or surprising, we can choose to accept, reject or ignore the Divine offering.
A dapper snowman sits at a table covered with a checkered tablecloth—a pattern symbolizing the contrasting (and sometimes, contradictory) forces in life. Will our snowman be influenced by external forces or a “checkered past”—or will he welcome the strawberry milkshake with joy? He’s holding a menu in this Ace: did he “order” this cosmic gift via the menu of attraction or prayer—or is a gift from (and on) “the house"?
Make no mistake: past conditioning can, and does, influence our reactions to the Gift from the cloud.
When our heart is open and joy fills our cup, we’re ready to share our love with another. In 2 Emoting, a snowman and snowwoman reach beyond the borders of their mugs, ready to exchange intimate feelings and notions in front of the fireplace. Although coffee and cocoa are two different beverages, at core, their energy (when balanced and reciprocated) serves to warm and soothe the soul.
In our 3 Emoting card, fond feelings have bubbled over into leisure and camaraderie. How liberating to be comfortable among friends to the point where you can talk about anything, have a few drinks and let off a rip roarin’ fart without embarrassment (as one of our Japanese snow monkeys has done!).
Moving on to 4 Emoting, the emotional waters form a stable pool, so to speak, but without the ability to see—or a willingness to see—beauty, stagnation results. Two celebrated paintings surround the museum security guard—Dali’s “Persistence of Memory” and Wyeth’s “Christina’s World”—yet, he fails to recognize their magnificence (not to mention the snow leopard leaping out of the frame).
The 5s in Tarot tend to bring some type of instability, challenge or moral question to the forefront. In the 5 Emoting card, a tear streaks down the face of a woman clothed in Edwardian garb. She holds part of a broken necklace, while the other half lies in the snow behind her. Further back stands a snow-covered gravestone and a heart-shaped tree absent of leaves. Is she sad? Anxious? Angry? Relieved? We leave that up to the viewer to decide…
A pet peeve of both mine and Ron’s involves yet another Rider-Waite-Smith clone hitting the market, laden with cards that are supposed to indicate one thing…but portray something altogether different (or, not much at all). One such card is the 6 of Cups which, in most RWS-style decks, shows an elfin figure giving a goblet of flowers to a child in a courtyard, while a man ascends a staircase behind them. One of our goals with the Snowland Deck was to actually portray a card’s common interpretation. So, if the 6 of Cups usually means nostalgia, a walk down memory lane or a “blast from the past”—why not illustrate it outright?
So our 6 Emoting card depicts a grandmother showing her grandchild a family photo album, including pictures of the old farmhouse she grew up in, as well as her first car.
The 7s usually bring analysis, evaluation, strategy and the clarification of values. In our 7 Emoting card, a woman stands in a curio shop, debating on which item to purchase—an eagle statue, a mug, a porcelain snowfamily, a cityscape snow globe, etc. Each piece of merchandise symbolizes a state of being, goal or feeling. But, with every choice, there is a price. What is she willing to pay for what she wants—or thinks she needs?
The 8 of Cups often suggests walking way from a perfectly good situation in order to follow a higher calling or alternative soul path. But it can also indicate a sabbatical, retirement or temporary leave of a successful, emotionally satisfying circumstance. What better way to show this, we thought, than an unbuttoned snowman relaxing on the deck of a cruise ship (500 SP sunblock nearby, of course).
Too much of a good thing can lead to stomachaches at best—and dangerous health risks, at worst. Our smiling teenager dips his hand in the cookie jar yet again, while numerous bitten-into cookies lay strewn across the table. Is this a one-time occurrence—perhaps after celebrating some type of holiday or achievement—or is this a patterned behavior? And what if he takes this habit into adulthood? Sometimes what we wish for (or think we want) isn’t in our best interest, no matter how deliciously the cookie crumbles…
The end of our numbered cards brings us to “The Happy Family”—10 Emoting. This card is one of the most personal in from our Snowland Deck because Ron painted us—as well as our son, Noah, and our kitties. This image is especially poignant for us because these two cats were born under our bed, part of a litter birthed by a stray we adopted. While our orange tabby, Stewart, is still with us, his black shorthair brother, Neo, had to be put to sleep Christmas Eve 2012 after a sudden (and devastating) kidney disease. Even being a “happy family” full of joy, respect and laughter doesn’t shield the heart from the grief of loss. Yet, it’s a blessing to be surrounded by love when a cherished family member passes from this life to the Other Side.
We’ve dispensed with the medieval (and largely irrelevant) Court Card designation, favoring instead to name these sixteen cards Youth, Quester, Nurturer and Director. I delved deep into Nordic mythology, Germanic lore and snow-themed literature for our Approach Cards (as we call them).
Both our Youth and Quester Emoting find their inspiration in stories by Hans Christian Andersen.
The Snowdrop, our Youth Emoting card, prematurely heralds the coming spring, connecting to early blooming, precociousness, emotional sensitivity, fragility and naiveté. To quote from Andersen’s story of the same name:
"And the snowdrop was put back in the book; and it felt both honored and happy to know that it now was a bookmark in a volume of poems written by a poet who was the first to write about the snowdrop; a poet who, like the flower, had stood in the bitter, winter weather with a dream of summer in his soul: a summer fool. The snowdrop interpreted what she had heard her own way, as we all do."
Quester Emoting, our equivalent of the Knight of Cups, depicts the infatuated, quixotic energy of the hopeless romantic. The Snowman, also based on an Andersen tale titled "The Snow Man", shows a dog and snowman yearning outside a window. One desires to be back inside its master’s house in front of the blazing stove (with bone firmly between the teeth), while the other pines for an object of his affection that, if attained, would essentially destroy him. For you see, when the neighborhood boys constructed the snowman, they used the stove’s poker to help him stand upright. Thus, the snowman wants what he can’t have because he’s, at core, formed around one of the stove’s necessary tools.
Our Nurturer Emoting is Berchta, a Germanic goddess of abundance that watches over souls in transit—especially ones from unbaptized babies, stillbirths, miscarriages, abortions, those who’ve not received proper burials and those driven to suicide by broken hearts. As a double water card (Queens/Nurturers preside over the water element, as do the Cups/Emoting suit), Berchta’s compassion and gentle watchfulness serve as a touching portrayal of this energy.
Lastly, we come to our Director Emoting card. Who better to illustrate the nature of giving gifts, delegating blessings, avuncular kindness, tender fatherliness and lavish benefactor than Father Christmas?
I hope you enjoyed a tour of our Snowland Deck’s Emoting suit. With all the blues and greens in our color choices—and as I mentioned, the aqueous foundation of our theme—it could be argued that these cards are especially suited for those born or influenced under water signs, as well as those wanting to add the energy, and gifts, of the water element to their divination or meditation practice.
The Snowland Deck is the co-creation between the husband and wife team of Janet Boyer and artist Ron Boyer. Ron painted each image on specially prepared, hand-cut, sanded wood boards using gesso, then acrylics. To find out more information about the Snowland Deck, including how to order it, please visit SnowlandDeck.com. Don't have yours yet? Visit SnowlandDeck.com to get one in time for the winter holidays.
It's been awhile since I've posted a card combo! (Do you like them? If so, I can start posting more.).
Here we have Ace Mental (aka Ace of Swords) and 5 Emoting (aka 5 of Cups) from the Snowland Deck. What do these cards say to you? Do share your interpretation, a story, haiku--whatever you think encapsulates this combo. Have fun!
It's here! It's here!
That's right: our Snowland Deck is now an app from WizardToo, available in the iTunes store at this link. (WizardToo is headed up by Ron Leong, former Marketing Director at U.S. Games Systems, Inc.-- and my former boss.) The app is free and comes with two decks for you to use. Additional decks are available to purchase.
This Tarot eCards app 2.0 is a new, improved version for a better user experience, including:
• Full overhaul of the user interface and app functionality
• New Decks (including our Snowland Deck!)
• High Resolution Images
• Database driven; reduced file size for faster download and less memory usage
• Revamped user interface
• Improved readability by enlarging or changing font Image Magnifier Tool for studying card image details
• Resolved issues and bug fixes
For now, Tarot eCards is available only for iOS Apple devices, but they will be releasing the Android version in a month or so.
Don't have an actual Snowland Deck in-hand yet? Well get thee over to SnowlandDeck.com to check out all the cards and see the purdy fabrics for your bag.
The universality of Tarot never ceases to amaze me. Ron just did a quick reading for me using our Snowland Deck and drew these cards. I know exactly what it means (as did Ron)--and I'm grateful that our creation has not only blessed others, but also has encouraged, informed and illuminated our own lives.
Out of curiosity, how would YOU interpret these two cards? (By the way, 8 Material is equivalent to the 8 of Coins in the Snowland Deck.)
I'm thrilled to introduce you to New Zealander Davina Powell, who's the author of this guest post. Davina began dreaming about her "perfect" Tarot deck--and went on to create a patchwork deck, with the permission of various publishers and artists. Is this a cool idea or what? I've admired Davina for quite awhile, because she is a dedicated Tarotist. She studies the cards, writes profound insights about them (for her personal use) and supports many Tarot artists. Without further ado, here's Davina!
How many of us have struggled to find THE perfect tarot deck, regardless of how many years we have been searching for that elusive grail?
How many times have you found what was CLOSE to the perfect deck, but there were a still a few cards that were more than a little... blurgghh?
And how many of us have now amassed a bit of a collection, knowing we only use a small percentage of decks on a regular basis?
I am one of those. (Do we need to start a support group or something? :) )
Well, I came up with the thought of creating my own, one of a kind, personal reading deck using images from across my collection. I know I have favourites which could be put together to create, in effect, a personal patchwork deck. This surely would be the closest I could get to owning THE perfect deck, at least according to my tastes. I have spoken to an established tarot author who has also thought of doing something similar. He would call it the Salad Bar tarot..... and you can see why. (I do wonder though which card would represent the coleslaw, and which would represent the tomato). There was also an important aspect to consider - I had to already own them. If I was to show any integrity, I wanted to have this as my first stepping stone.
Then I came across a fantastic site that prints cards, mouse-mats, journals and a whole lot of other stuff that is likely to get you itching to create something personal. Reviews were good, and I tested the water on a freely offered set of cards available for free download. Wow. Quality was excellent, price as good and I had the choice of finish - either plastic or linen. I already own a linen tarot deck and the sensation in the hand when shuffling is to die for. Honestly if it is akin to sipping red wine with a chunk of Belgian chocolate whilst listening to LinkinPark. In other words, delightful.
Now, the linen finish for this deck was not quit the same, but I liked the texture. That was promptly out done by the plastic finish also offered by the same printing company. I liked how it stayed totally flat, was robust, didn't feel anything like plastic but is so durable. The colour was vibrant, and quality overall was incredibly high. I even tested it by running a card under the tap and then drying it off. It was still in mint condition. Phew. So, there you have my choice. Plastic (safe to have around that red wine or a cup of coffee), in bridge size. (So I can slip it into my handbag and have it with me everywhere I go).
Then came the second test - I could not knowingly use this without getting permission from publishers or creators. What followed was a flurry of emails to various people around the planet. I have known many through FB and Aeclectic tarot which may have helped in some way. Suffice to say I was so humbled by the response. One publisher who has been burned in the past with out and out pirating gave permission. I would have totally understood if they had declined, so I was more than pleased when I was given the go-ahead but with provisos. Another of the creators went one step further, and actually emailed to me original jpg's so that I could have high quality material for uploading.
In all, I was touched by the generosity by those I contacted. There was an instance where the deck concerned was out of print, had been for some time, and the original publishers were no longer in business. This was a bit of a quandry, but I did my best by contacting a company who may have taken them over, outlining my intent. After two emails, I received no response and decided to go ahead, based on the assumption I had made clear my intent and had given them opportunity to decline. They probably had no idea what I was on about...LOL.
I had also researched the copyright law for NZ. This always seems to be an area of confusion, as it appears laws vary depending on where you reside. The fact it was one copy at a time, for private use etc I was okay. So, my conscience felt clear. I had the green light for 'go'.
Then came the time consuming part. I took out all my decks and went through them all, choosing cards that sang out to me. I was hoping to find in particular cards that were meaty, pleasing to the eye, told a story, had a few layers/angles going on, and were somewhat different to the RWS but within the system (if that make sense). I have often groaned at how poor most court cards are. I have had more than enough of seeing a few people sitting on thrones holding the suit indicator - and that is about it. Come on now. If these characters have personalities how about showing that aspect? Get them doing something in keeping with their character. Oops, just realised I have quietly got my soap box out. Best put it away again, but before I do so, can I use it to say the same applies to a few of the Major Arcana. Give me a decent World card please. Surely someone has imagination to show some of these bland cards in a better light?
So, I now have my cards. I also have a few extra. Because I am aware some cards can go in different directions. For example: Hanged Man. He can ask me to see things from a different perspective, or he may be indicating a sacrifice is needed. Then again, he may be advising me that things are on hold for a while. So who says, in my own personal deck I can't have all three depictions, but on different cards? So if he turns up I am not scratching my head as to which way I should go. My deck, my rules - right?
So I have my selection. Now for the scanning phase. Wow, does that take time. And patience. Each card is scanned at a high resolution, and is trimmed to fit the ratio of the eventual upload. That is easier said than done. Do you lose a little bit of detail in order to keep the ratio? Or is the pay off to have a slightly out of ratio card (width vs height) so that all the detail is kept? Decisions, decisions... As long as they don't look like they have been stretched or shrunk I have at times had to tweak the ratio in order to keep an important detail on the card.
Then the upload. Now that is fun - not. Once you have the size right it is quite a quick process. But hang on - what about borders? You see, they cannot guarantee cutting the card exactly centred. They warn they may be out by a few pixels. Which means I could lose some detail after all. Arrghh... so back to the drawing board (well not for me obviously - I didn't draw the cards) whereby I re-enter the cards in the GIMP program and add a border. That way if they do come down with a wonky blade, the border bites the dust, not the image.
Then everything is re-uploaded. The online preview screen looks quite cool. And it is a waiting game of approximately 10 days before I all but rugby tackle the postie to wrestle the box away from them. The cards arrive shrink wrapped and well packaged. And the end result? I am happy. The cut was actually very good. No obvious off-centred borders. It is a deck of 84 cards and is a little chunky compared to most decks but I have to say - I love it.
Do I have any particular favourites? Well, even though it is a definitive deck I have a soft spot for a few. I did have an attempt at creating my own deck a few years ago, but sadly the artist who came on board as a partner (I paid for his boards and pencils to help him) just disappeared after a year with no warning and no further contact. I was left with 26 images and some of those have made their way into my patchwork deck. So they for sure are favourites. I do have others though:
Emperor (Snowland Deck). So square in his thinking (no grey areas with this guy).
Death (Snowland Deck). I love how the snowman is smiling down on his changed form.
Hermit (Snowland Deck). I think the artist just did a great job on this card. As an airbrusher myself I really appreciated how the Aurora Borealis was captured.
If I had my arm twisted and had to name a favourite deck, it is the Zombie Tarot; I have a couple in particular that make me smile. Actually make that three. There are more but I was being strict with this précis.
Queen of Swords. Granny with an uzi is a granny with attitude. Love it.
Knight of Pentacles. Slow and steady, so a car accident results more in dented pride than dented bodywork.
10 of Cups. Shows the zombie with a swim cap. Genius. But still a traditional portrayal of the 10 of Cups. The zombie adds a bit of ... something though.
6 of coins from the Deirdre of the Sorrows deck. Showing a pregnant woman giving money to a vagrant really makes you think of who has the real need. The scene is set outside a charity shop which again - adds a new aspect to give pause for thought.
10 of swords from the Tarot of the 78 Doors. Pulling the plug. How many times have we had that option to alleviate stress and cannot pull ourselves away from the screen and the cause of upset?
7 of swords from the Granny Jones Tarot. Now this is a great deck and I love the different takes available in one simple image. In fact this describes my favourite style of artwork:
Simple, hand created, tells a story, has loads going on and is modern. I like using decks that anyone can look at and not feel intimidated due to it being a bit too esoteric, or too heavy on symbolism.
Then I have the 8 of Coins from the Bright Idea Deck.
One of those incredibly underrated decks. Mark McElroy has the rights reverted back to him and I hope he can do well with any future release. This makes you consider what is the best approach - taking time to create something as a one off that is special, or creating the same thing over and over in mass quantities.
So there you have it. The why, the how, and a bit more.
Oh of course I didn't just have cards. Oh no. The journals looked awesome too. So permission was requested for use of some really beautiful images for the cover and rear. Permission was granted and I am now a proud owner of a couple of personalised journals. Just perfect for writing up thoughts regarding my readings, musings and other general tarot stuff.
What kind of plans are you making for the New Year?
In the video below I share some tips for surrounding your space with empowering words, creating a Blessings of Ideas Jar, coming up with your "3 Words" for the year (ala Chris Brogan's Brave New Year) and more (including a tour of my Zen Room, where I broadcast from during radio shows).
I admit, I had to consult the Tarot to help me with my 3 Words for 2014--but Commitment came up anyway!
I'm sure Mr. Ron will be thrilled that I toured his bathroom, too... (Sorry I tilted the camera at the end. Brand new Christmas gift and I'm trying to get used to it. Teehee!)
I had so much fun on the Angels Monday Radio Show today with Dax, Maria and Mary! They asked thoughtful, considered questions about the genesis and production of our Snowland Deck--as well as the inspiration around some of our cards. They also asked what it's like to create an entire Tarot deck--a 2+year project--with your husband.
Did you miss it? Never fear--you can hear it below. (I came downstairs halfway through the show and had Mr. Ron come on the air to talk about his creative process. Teehee!). I have to say--I think this was the most enjoyable interview I've ever had.
I'll be on two radio shows this week talking about our Snowland Deck and doing mini-readings!
First up, tomorrow at 4 PM EST (12/16/13), I'll be on the Angels Monday Radio Show with Maria Maas, TarotDactyl (Mary Brown) and Dax Carlisle. Click here for the show page to listen live--or in archive (in case you miss it).
Then, on Thursday, 12/19/13 at 6 PM EST, I'll be on The Psychic Connection with Heather Woodward. Click here to go to the show page (which will also be archived, in case you miss the live show).
Can't wait to be on with these soulful folks to share about the creation, process and publication of our Snowland Deck!
After our son Noah's piano lesson, we all hung around and talked to the guy behind the counter (who happens to be the mayor of the town and a former pro musician in LA). We talked about music and theater and dance (his wife is an opera singer/teacher)--especially as it relates to kids.
Turns out that he, too, has a son named Noah--who also turned 15 this year (just a few weeks after our Noah). Anyway, I happened to have Noah's copy of our Snowland Deck in my purse, and I showed it to the guy. As he was looking through each of the cards, he remarked "Hey. There's two of the same card in the deck. What does that mean?"
He flipped over the card--and it was 8 Material (aka the 8 of Coins). Immediately, I blurted out "You're working overtime". (The 8 Material card can indicate "work", among other things. Two "work" cards? Overtime or double-time.)
He said "Yeah, I've been working a lot, alright." Then he grew thoughtful. "Wait. I'm working overtime tonight." (He works in a coalmine and was working an overtime shift that night.)
I chuckled and said "Tarot has a sense of humor like that, sometimes. It's waving at you!"
But then it hit me.
If Noah's deck had two 8 Material cards...then where did the extra come from?
We do readings for each other here at home and, sometimes, Ron and/or Noah shuffles my deck between readings. (We each have our own deck). I checked my working deck--and (you guessed it)--I was missing the 8 Material card! Somehow, one of us accidentally put that card back in the wrong Snowland Deck.
I've been performing dozens of Tarot readings the last few weeks--and have no idea when that card was misplaced. (I will say the 8 Material card never showed up in the last month--at all--so it may have been missing for some time!)
And yet, all my clients responded that my readings were amazingly accurate and helpful.
Even, apparently, without the 8 of Coins card.
So it begs the question: can a Tarot deck be accurate without a card? Two cards? Five cards? When would it stop being a solid, working Tarot deck? (But then, wouldn't it just serve as an oracle?)
In my opinion? Yes--a Tarot deck can still work brilliantly, even with a missing card (or two or three).
Well, psychic Tarot readers can pull on other visual and intuitive clues to get the same information. Or, another card hinting at the same (or a similar) theme will come up (or a combination of cards).
The funny thing? The card below kept showing up in readings. I even mentioned it on my Facebook page, it was so uncanny.
And what does it picture? Why, a Tomten at work...of course.
Not only do you see the Card-of-the-Moment image, but also a "secret" and the keywords from my Snowland Deck Intuitive Workbook that goes along with each card.
Click here to visit the page, get your free Snowland Card-of-the-Moment reading and bookmark for daily use (or whenever you need an inspirational dose of snowy wisdom).
Love the widget so much you want your very own to place on a blog or website? ::tosses magic snowflakes:: Guess what? You can have that, too! Designer Aaron Bradley loved our Snowland Deck so much, he created a widget for everyone's free use. How cool is that? Click here to snag the code so you can share the Snowland love.
I'm running a design contest! The most excellent news is that our Snowland Deck will be added to the Tarot ECards: Universal Tarot App lineup in ::drumroll:: JANUARY 2014! YAY! (And it will be available for Android in February 2014.)
But I'm not happy with the "box" design to go on the shelf.
I designed one sorta like the image below (I lost the original in the PC crash a few months go, but the CEO of Tarot eCards has it, I think), except, it said The Snowland Deck by Ron and Janet Boyer. I think I may have used the Strength card, too.
Here's where you come in, design wizards! Using any Snowland card (or set of cards) from our Facebook album (or if you want to use the final images with titles, get in touch, and I'll invite you to a special DropBox folder), please design a virtual Snowland Deck box that has The Snowland Deck and Ron and Janet Boyer somewhere on it. Make it look attractive, wintry, shiny and inviting.
Submit your image to me via email at email@example.com and we'll pick a winner.
What do you get? Your very own Snowland Deck with a bag and the digital companion book! Or, if you have one already, you can have a Snowland bracelet, a private reading with me, a private consultation on any topic, most of my eBooks--whatever you want from (within reason, of course LOL). And, I'll post the entries on my blog with your personal URL and/or bio with it (if you have one and would like some business).
By the way, you can find out more about Tarot eCards at TaroteCards.com. You even get a free Tarot deck with your app purchase!
The Temperance card in Tarot, especially as portrayed in our Snowland Deck, asks us to ponder:
How might you create alchemy today?
What do you bring to an equation?
Where is the middle path?
What needs melted in your life?
Where is the art in your life?
What do you hope is at the rainbow's end?
Do feel free to share your answers to this question, or your impressions about the Temperance card. I'd love to hear about it!
For the Snowland Tarot version of the Ace of Cups, Ron suggested a red bird delivering a cherry to place atop the milkshake.
“A Cardinal!”, I exclaimed. After all, the ever-present Northern Cardinal dots the landscape in our home state of Pennsylvania, looking particularly striking against the snow.
He agreed, and sketching the Ace Emoting (aka Ace of Cups) card commenced.
Now, in the Rider-Waite-Smith version of this card (and many Rider-Waite inspired decks—which is the majority of the Tarot market), a white dove (representing the Holy Spirit) delivers a wafer (Eucharist) to an overflowing cup. This cup has an upside down M on it, supposedly connecting it to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Thus, there’s a definite connection to Christianity in many renderings of the Ace of Cups or, at the very least, “communion with the Divine” (however one may experience that).
As I was researching the Cardinal, I was fascinated to discover that this delightful red bird also has connections to Christianity (or Spirit, depending on how you want to look at it). In fact, that’s how the Cardinal got its name: the scarlet plumage resembled the bright red robes of cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church.
In the Tarot, the Cups suit is one of two feminine (receptive) suits (the other being the Coins suit). Connected to the element of Water, the Cups suit correlates to emotions, relationships, intimacy, love, compassion, spiritual devotion and intuitive impressions.
In his wonderful book Animal Speak, author Ted Andrews says this of the Cardinal:
“The cardinal has a loud and clear whistle. Whistles are often reminders to listen closely—to pay attention to what is blowing on the winds. In the case of the cardinal, the female joins in on the whistling, which is unusual among birds. This reflects that we should be listening to the inner voice (the feminine) more closely for our own health and well-being. Since most female birds are quiet and camouflaged, a cardinal totem almost always reflect a need to assert the feminine aspects of creativity and intuition more strongly.”
So the Ace of Cups version of the Snowland Deck reinforces (and expands) upon the traditional meaning of this card with the Cardinal symbol, reminding us to be receptive to love, spiritual replenishment, intimacy, emotional currents, grace, positive vibes and goodness.
Cardinal with cherry (and Ace Emoting) painted by Ron Boyer for our Snowland Deck deck. The Ace of Cups on the left is from the Universal Waite Tarot. To get your very own Snowland Deck, please visit SnowlandDeck.com.
Since it's All Saint's Day, I thought I'd introduce you to one of my favorite saints--and the inspiration behind our Nurturer - Energy (aka Queen of Wands) card from our Snowland Deck. This is an excerpt from the Snowland Intuitive Workbook, which includes information about her legend, associated symbols (especially eyes), keywords, intuitive questions for journaling, wring prompts, affirmations and a "secret":
Description: Also known as Saint Lucy, Lucia stands at the center of several official stories and unofficial histories. Most of these say that Lucia was set to be wed in an arranged marriage, but because she didn’t want to, her eyes were gouged out— either by her own hand, or by others in torture. In all cases, her eyes were miraculously healed. Thus, Lucia is associated with healing and averting all eye disease. In fact, it’s reported that the poet Dante Alighieri credited Saint Lucy with healing his eyes that were damaged after crying when his beloved Beatrice died (Lucy appears in his masterpiece Inferno).
Other legends surround Lucia, including attempts to burn her alive because of her refusal to marry (the flames spontaneously died out) and her accompaniment to Father Christmas on gift-giving rounds. According to The Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints & Sages by Judika Illes, “Before the Gregorian calendar reform of 1582, the Feast of Saint Lucy fell on the shortest, darkest day of the year, the winter solstice. The name Lucy derives from a Latin word meaning ‘light’. Lucy the Lightbringer rules that longest night. It is considered an optimum time for magic spells, divination and spiritual activity. In Austria, Lucy’s Light is a folk name for second sight—psychic ability.” Her feast day is December 13.
Eyes are one of the main symbols associated with Lucia. She’s often shown carrying a plate with her eyes on it, and captains of Mediterranean fishing boats sometimes paint her eyes on the prows so the ships can “see” as they navigate the water. There are even eye-shaped amulets called Los Ojitos de Santa Lucia, which are reported to ward off the Evil Eye, and are often given as gifts to babies and children. One of her sacred botanicals is the golden trumpet tree (Tecoma stans), also known as Saint Lucy’s Eyes, which is a plant containing psychoactive alkaloids.
Perhaps the most familiar representation of Lucia is during the Feast of Saint Lucy in Sweden where households designate one girl to embody the saint (usually the family’s eldest or youngest daughter). The girl gets up before sunrise and prepares breakfast and coffee for the rest of the household while wearing a white dress and a crown of lit candles.
Keywords: Purity; Virginal; Overcoming Darkness; Clairvoyance; Light Worker; Second Sight; Sixth Sense; Avoiding Envy; Way Shower; Clarity of Vision; Seeing Within; Inner Eye; Eyesight
How can I enhance my psychic sight?
How does intuition speak to me?
What makes me envious?
What is my “inner eye” seeing right now?
How might I avoid envy?
Who am I jealous of right now?
In what ways can I take care of my eyes?
An Evil Eye talisman that works
“The eyes have it”
A story/poem containing the following words: Eyes; Light; Psychic; Candles; Amulet
Breakfast on St. Lucy’s Day
A ship that “sees”
I see clearly.
I honor my Sixth Sense.
I remain pure.
Secret: Valuing our Inner Sight helps others to see clearly, too.
Well hi! If you've read this blog or have followed my work for any length of time, you know about our Snowland Deck and its special 4-card significator system that I call "Soul GPS". You can read a post about it here, which shows all four cards, gives instructions on how how to use the system and provides key words and emotional states for intuitive readings for yourself or others.
I have seven sets of these four special Snowland Significator Cards, with seven more sets on the way.
I had the idea to offer these cards separately for several reasons:
1. It's a system unto itself
2. They can be used with any deck
3. You get to keep all 78 cards in your reading (should you prefer to use significators)
4. You get to try out the look and feel of our Snowland Deck
Snowlander Samantha says of the Snowland Significator System:
Once again, the GPS Significator system works! This time I randomly drew the Snowflake. My last reading I was an Icicle. Both times that I've done readings for myself with this deck, the significators have been accurate!
Note: Although I designed the system for conscious use, some are choosing random selection--with excellent results for both.
The price for the four special Snowland Significator Cards is $9.95 anywhere in the contiguous U.S. and $14.95 elsewhere.
Would you like the full 83-card deck in time for the winter holidays? Visit SnowlandDeck.com for more information (the price has been drastically reduced--and includes a hand-sewn bag available in three different fabrics handpicked by yours truly).
In the meantime, enjoy this video of our cards!
Although snow, ice, frost, frigid temperatures and Northern Hemisphere winters underscore our Snowland Deck, make no mistake: there’s some heat in this deck!
Such heat manifests in a steaming train funnel (The Train, aka The Chariot), bright theater lights (The Sun), a fiery arm melted through truce (10 Mental, aka 10 of Swords) and the cozy fireplace behind two intimate mugs (2 Emoting, aka 2 of Cups).
Yet, the churning heat that fuels passionate action, ambition, self-propulsion, vocational fervor and willpower resides most powerfully in the Energy Suit of the Snowland Deck (aka Wands), which I associate with the element of—surprise, surprise—Fire.
In the Snowland Ace of Wands, no mere stick is offered to our snowman cowboy. I mean, what can you do with a mere stick? No siree, a bona fide lighted match extends from the cosmic cloud. Even better, the cowboy has a tidy, prepared circle of stacked wood, ready for a bonfire—as well as a bag of marshmallows, with one already on the stick, just waiting for roasting!
Aces favor the prepared and ready.
If not, the hand from the clouds extending a gift is usually met with surprise, doubt and fear. The hand retracts, the potential is lost, and you don’t move onto the 2s.
Speaking of Tarot’s 2s, our Energy 2 card depicts the numerological effect of when the “other” is introduced to the single. In combination with the fiery, willful Energy suit, we see a literal “butting of heads”—in the Snowland Deck’s case, two macho, albeit purely instinctual, bighorn sheep. During mating season, the strongest, most dominant males vie for the right to the females. These aggressive rituals find the rams charging at one another at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. In fact, the resultant clash may be heard up to a mile (1.6 km) away from the clash site.
As humans, when faced with an aggressive other—or, perhaps, with interested onlookers rooting for a fight amid a proving ground—what do we do? How do we engage the “other”, while still maintaining our sense of Self? What might happen if we lock horns? Will there be collateral damage…and at what cost?
Moving on to the 3 Energy card, we chose a different take on the “waiting for your ship to come in” theme—although it’s still present within the ship in a bottle. Inspired by the song “Message in a Bottle” by The Police, Ron painted a bass player singing at the North Pole, aided by a magical amplifier. The 3s of Tarot are an amplifying, multiplying energy. Beyond the clash of the 2, the energy has successfully mated into a new creation. Unlike the rams in the 2, this musical artist doesn’t need an audience to belt out a tune or showcase his talent.
The masses tend to reward art when the artist isn’t paying attention—or when rewards don’t matter. And so, thousands of messages wash upon the North Pole shore. Many heard his broadcast…and responded.
Numerological, the 4s are stable, even sedate. The number 4 corrals, fences, organizes and subdivides. So what happens when you combine the harnessing of the 4 with the vigor of the Energy suit? Contained heat! The most obvious symbol of contained heat (and light) is a house. When we put a bunch of houses together, we have a community. This microcosm serves as a playground for personality clashes, neighborly intrigue, warm greetings, holiday gatherings, social events and more. Thus, we chose a rustic, old-fashioned town for our 4 Energy card.
Moving on to the decidedly unstable 5s, I’m reminded of a familiar saying here in the United States: “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” This phrase points to the fine line between horseplay—rambunctious fun—and injury, offense and hurt feelings. The Snowland Deck’s 5 Energy card takes place in Japan, and depicts a snowball fight in progress. Looking closer at the image, we see a snowball headed right for the ear of an unsuspecting boy who’s loaded up with his own about-to-be thrown snowballs. In the workplace or at school, the equivalent of this image might be good natured teasing, practical jokes and repartee that, if not kept in check, could quickly escalate into embarrassment, intimidation or even bullying.
The 6 of Wands card often translates into victory and triumph, so for our 6 Energy card, we chose a triumphant gingerbread man, thrilled to bits that his gingerbread house has won first place in a competition, signified by a blue ribbon. In modern times, we don’t often have victorious leaders parading into a town with laurel wreaths atop their heads—but winners and champions? Ah, yes…that we recognize!
A fierce-looking blue Yeti towers above a cliff, while a hapless hiker holds on for dear life in the 7 Energy card. Brutal winds and snow buffet him, and the rock he’s clinging to is breaking. Is the “abominable snowman” a friend or foe? After all, his hand is extended. The hiker experiences a literal Catch-22: he’s caught between a (crumbling) rock and a hard place! Will the hiker trust this creature, despite appearances? Could he be a “friend in high places”? How much of our struggle is a matter of perception and assumption?
In the Energy 8 card, Ron decided on a young Buffalo Bill during his Pony Express years. Because the 8 of Wands often indicates speed and quick messages, what better way to depict these meanings for the Snowland Deck than via a dedicated young rider delivering mail during the mid-1800s in wintry conditions?
The Energy 9 card was inspired by a true story of prisoners escaping the horrific Soviet Gulag in an arduous trek spanning from Siberia to India (and the movie The Way Back). It’s a card of grueling circumstances, survival, endurance and perseverance. Life hardships may “beat” us in various ways, leaving us rough for the wear. Out of sheer survival instinct, the passionate desire for something better, or because of the encouragement of other travelers—we make the final push. Yet, we’ll never be the same as we were going in.
The 10s indicate the fulfillment of a suit. When pairing the 10 with the powerful Energy suit, we become overloaded. Burdened, tired and stressed, we face a choice: carry that bundle of sticks to our destination…or just dump them on the ground, counting our losses. In the Snowland Deck version of this card, we chose to embed several hopeful symbols in an otherwise “maxed out” card. A Tibetan woman is greeted by a boy with a prayer wheel. Is he praying for her? Offering her the prayer wheel? Is prayer and appropriate response to her burden when he could just as easily grab a few of those sticks off her back? On the other hand, why doesn’t the woman just add her load to the yak’s? Perhaps she’s made a special pilgrimage and the wood signifies far more than “just” a bundle of sticks.
So it is when faced with our own workaholic tendencies, shouldering of burdens and need for blessed relief.
In our Snowland Deck, we decided to call the Court Cards “Approach Cards”. Depicting figures from history, mythology and literature, these ones exemplify a specific approach to life. The Pages become Youth, Knights become Questers, Queens become Nurturers and Kings become Directors.
The Youth Energy card shows the Little Match Girl, the character from Hans Christian Anderson’s heartbreaking tale of the same name. This is a card of optimism, hope and innocence—of looking towards the light and longing for heaven. Although the girl perishes in the story, she is ushered into the Other Side—finally reunited with her beloved grandmother and freed from the cold, abusive environment, stepfather, society and peers that shamed, hurt, taunted or ignored her.
For our Quester Energy card, we chose Australia’s Sir Hubert Wilkins. Although New Zealand’s Sir Edmund Hillary may be more familiar, we chose Sir Hubert Wilkins as our fiery “knight”, largely because he was more accomplished. A true Renaissance Soul, Wilkins was a photographic correspondent, an aeronautic pioneer, naturalist, polar submarine explorer and consultant on arctic problems for the U.S. Army. He was knighted in 1928 for making a 2,100-mile flight from North American to the European Polar regions—largely over unexplored Arctic waters.
Lucia, also known as St. Lucy, graces the Snowland Deck’s Nurturer Energy card. Her tale is one of internal power, self-trust and clarity of vision. Dedicated to a virginal life, she refused to marry her unwanted suitor. Differing legends surround Lucia, but the one we chose to depict involves her gouging out her eyes as an offering. We see this as symbolic of a more powerful sight: that of the “inner eye” or Third Eye. Appearing to be made of flames, Lucia is a Way Shower that overcomes darkness, encourages purity and trusts clairvoyance. In many ways, she exemplifies the power of a Light Worker.
Lastly, we come to our Director Energy card, the literary great Charles Dickens. What some may not know is that in addition to being a renowned storyteller, Dickens was also an orator, publisher, social activist and philanthropist. When the Directing energy combines with the fiery Energy suit, we have a self-made person who channels passion into the arts, as well as towards the betterment of humankind’s state. Dickens did those things not only in his stories—that highlighted both social injustice and humanity’s capability for extraordinary kindness—but also through his public speeches, activism and philanthropy.
I hope you enjoyed this tour through the Snowland Deck’s Energy Suit, and found yourself warmed by the thought, attention to detail and passion we’ve put into our cards.
The Snowland Deck is a co-creation between the husband and wife team of Janet Boyer (Back in Time Tarot; Tarot in Reverse; Naked Tarot; 365 Tarot) and Ron Boyer. Ron painted each image on specially prepared, hand-cut, sanded wood boards using gesso and then acrylic paints. To find out more information about the Snowland Deck, including how to order it, please visit SnowlandDeck.com.
I’ve never really felt a personal connection to The Empress (mommy issues!) until we re-cast her as Mother Nature in our Snowland Deck. As I pondered the 78 Snowland cards, I realized that—at this season of my life—I’m definitely Mother Nature.
At the time of this writing, it’s the height of summer in the Northern Hemisphere where I live. Regular rain and consistent temperatures of 85 F have encouraged crazy growth from trees, grass and our gardens. (As synchronicity would have it, my husband, Ron, is sitting across from me on our porch—and just jabbed a fork into a bowlful of blackberries, resulting in purple juice squirting all over my writing paper and hand. Mother Nature is messy!)
Early this morning, Ron and I strolled about our backyard. I marveled at the many dewdrops dotting the honeysuckle leaves—tiny, glistening jewels! We then picked green beans, zucchini and cucumbers from our vegetable garden. I fried the zucchini for breakfast, and Ron later made a cucumber salad.
Noticing our birdfeeders were empty, Ron filled the plastic containers with seed while I packed greasy, corn-laden suet in a wooden feeder. I was literally acting out our Mother Nature card (sans the snow)!
Upstairs, in my Zen Room (i.e., writing room, which Ron affectionately calls my “woman cave”), several dozens wasps are tending to eggs lain on the outside of my window. We don’t try to get rid of them; after all, they’re not harming us. (Well, at least, not yet!)
Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped Down Advice and 365 Tarot: Daily Meditations).
Writing books is a lot like human conception, gestation, birth and motherhood. Having pass the conception stage (writing the proposal and signing the contracts), I’m now gestating two books. Some days, it’s easy breezy—words flow from my pen like milk from a mother’s breast. But other days? Gah! Morning sickness! Dry heaves! Exhaustion! Fuzzy head and clumsy movements!
Thus, I look to nature for solace and support (not to mention my husband and son!): just as a garden takes months to go from seed to harvest, so it is with “growing” a book. And although I already have several under my belt, the process from conception to birth (and then “raising” the baby upon publication via publicity efforts) is still an arduous journey taken mostly alone—just like an actual pregnancy.
Rather than rushing the books—get these babies outta me!—I’m (trying) to embrace the entire process. Even if I’ve walked this path before, the scenery has changed—I have changed—making for a brand new creative experience.
Now if I could just get this darn blackberry juice off my fingers… (A mother’s work is never, ever done…)
What about you dear reader? If you could be a Tarot card right now, what would you be? Why?
Note: This spread can be used with any Tarot or oracle deck, as well as runes.
No one likes to experience rejection or deliberate exclusion. When it happens, we often feel so wounded that we sit paralyzed. Our trust and confidence in humanity becomes shaken and, at times, we may even wonder why we bother trying to forge connections with others.
I’ve created the Snowland Lone Wolf Spread for those times you may experience rejection. I sincerely hope that such occurrences are rare for you. I’ve recently experienced this (yet another Facebook group, apparently comprised of Tarot’s “cool kids” as someone called them, won’t allow me entrance) and, frankly, it stings. So I made this spread, performed it with the Snowland Deck, and received amazing insights and comfort (thanks, in part, to my husband, Ron pointing out some things I may have missed). Well, he’s the artist…it makes sense he’d have some surprising additional insights!