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March 2011

Live Decorah Eagles Cam

Check out this live in-nest stream of Decorah Eagles awaiting their egss to hatch, brought to you by the Raptor Resource Project. The nest sits 80 feet above the ground, with the male and the female bald eagles sitting on the three eggs during the entire incubation period. One of the parents is protecting the eggs almost 100% of the time. You can even hear the wind blowing, traffic flowing and other birds whistling in the U-stream!

Isn't this amazing?


-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013).


What's in the Tower?

Tower 390 Pondering my Tarot birth cards of The Chariot and The Tower, I wondered: “What’s in the Tower?”

Immediately, an answer sprang forth in my head.

Before I get to that, though, let’s explore what’s NOT in The Tower.

Crusty, worn, outmoded beliefs that no longer serve us are not inside The Tower. No, that would be the brick and mortar that makes up the fortress.

And no, it’s not the façade of wholeness, integrity or permanence, because that’s the scaffolding of The Tower. In fact, in The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, Arthur Edward Waite called the Tower “The House of Falsehood” (stemming from the scripture “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain to build it”). In this light, The Tower’s structure could be connected to the Tower of Babel.

So when the lightning bolt strikes The Tower—whether you consider that a zap from God, a wake-up call from the Universe, an “aha moment” or a summoning of energy via The Magician—and the lid (crown) flies off…what’s inside?

Not the people.

Noblet La Maison Dieu They’ve either bolted in fear from the noise or light, or because the sudden explosion of energy throws them from their encasement, suggesting that the plummeting figures represent arrogance or egotism. Some have correlated the two falling people with Adam and Eve’s banishment out of Eden.

So what’s inside The Tower? Well, the answer that immediately came to my mind was, of all things, the Ace of Cups!

This made sense to me, because one of the earlier names for The Tower was La Maison Dieu, or House of God. But like many “houses of God”, institutions set up by man, this structure is enclosed—which, unfortunately, often results in the energetic and spiritual parallel of “closing out” undesirables or “keeping in” the “special” or “pure”.

In many renderings, especially Rider-Waite-Smith variations, The Tower stands on high, removed from the landscape, suggesting isolation and the sense of being separate.

But take a look at the earlier versions of the Ace of Cups! There, too, is a structure right on top of the chalice! But unlike the fortressed Tower, this structure is an open temple—quite the opposite, wouldn’t you say?

Ace of Cups Noblet When a temple is “open”, all may come and go freely…exchanging ideas, love, camaraderie and possessions. There are no “citizens” versus “outsiders”, “holy” versus “unclean”, “members” versus “non-members”, “accepted” versus “rejected”.

No, all are welcome in the Ace of Cups! Ego has no place, and all are seen as brothers and sisters, equals. In the book The Way of Tarot, Alejandro Jodorowsky writes this about the open temple on the Ace of Cups: “This humble and vast sentiment of giving supports the body of the cathedral. All human wisdom is based on love. As Walt Whitman put it so well” ‘And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral dressed in his shroud.’”

Does The Tower experience hurt? Oh yeah, it certainly can. And the best explanation of WHY it almost always hurts can be found in the section on The Tower in the book Meditations on the Tarot, specifically a quoted portion of Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross:

“The dark night is a certain inflowing of God into the soul which cleanses it of its ignorances and imperfections, habitual, natural and spiritual…The soul, by reason of its impurity, suffers exceedingly when the divine light really shines upon it. And when the rays of this pure light strike upon the soul, in order to expel its impurities, the soul perceives itself to be so unclean and miserable that it seems as if God has set Himself against it, and itself were set against God.”

Med tarot cover 250 The anonymous author of Meditations on the Tarot goes on to comment: “The thunderbolt which blasts is the divine light which dazzles and bears down; the blasted tower is what the human powers of understanding, imagination and will have erected, which find themselves confronted with divine reality; the constructors who fall represent the ‘school of humility’ for the human powers of understanding, imagination and will.”

School of Humility! Isn’t that the truth? You can’t be touched by a true Tower experience and NOT become humble in its wake (otherwise, you haven’t experienced The Tower, you’ve merely experienced the juggernaut of The Wheel).

The Ace of Cups, for me, is a card of spiritual solace, Divine connection, and intuitive contemplation. It’s a “well that never runs dry”, nourishing the soul by drinking from Spirit. It’s beholding our “face before we were born” in the glassy mirror of its still waters. It’s Being and Knowing. It’s All That Is, in a teacup. The Whole, in a bowl. Infinity, in a droplet.

Jod tarot small But in order to truly experience the Ace of Cups at this depth, I suspect that one must pass through a Tower experience first.

Consider this additional insight on the Ace of Cups from The Way of Tarot: “The mind has crossed through suffering, and there it is vanishing in the white light that surrounds the cup like a purified atmosphere. This cup, this temple that is so full, has value only if it pours itself into the world. At the base of love is the desire to give away everything that it has collected.”

And so, dear readers, I offer you my perceptions of what lies within The Tower…and within our very Being.

Images: The Tower from the Universal Waite Tarot published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.; The Tower and the Ace of Cups from the Jean Noblet Tarot by Jean-Claude Flornoy.


Wizards Tarot Review

Wizards Cover 250 “Welcome to Mandrake Academy—where you are the student, and tarot is the teacher. Sit down, unwrap the cards, and you’ll discover a whole new world of magic and mystery. Mandrake Academy is an old-fashioned school, nestled in a rolling wooded plain. Here, where the four seasons move gently and distinctly through their cycles, modern professors train a new generation in the ancient arts of witchcraft and wizardry.” – From the companion book to the Wizards Tarot by Corrine Kenner

Several years ago, an online buzz swept the Tarotsphere: A Harry Potter-esque deck, set in a school much like Hogwarts, was under production. Created by Corrine Kenner and illustrated by John Blumen, early Major Arcana images of this deck, called the Wizards Tarot, were placed upon a special website dedicated to this special academy.

I couldn’t wait to know more, to see more! To get this deck in hand!

Wizards Hiero Being a fan of the Harry Potter books (which were still in progress at the time the Wizards Tarot was announced) I was stoked: A Tarot realm akin to J.K. Rowling’s magical world? A Mandrake Academy populated with seers like Sybill Trelawney, potion masters like Severus Snape and instructors like Firenze the centaur? Count me in!

You’ll find those kind of knock-offs in the Wizards Tarot, to be sure, but, unfortunately, the Wizards Tarot doesn’t dazzle, reveal or present anything special. As soon as this deck and book set was available for order, I plunked down my money at Amazon, but now that I’ve had it in my hands, buyer’s remorse gnaws at my stomach.

Here are but a few things that bother me about with this book and deck set:

• Other than the Five of Wands showing five arms, wands extended, towards a conjured fire and a student asleep on a bench in the Four of Swords (and the kids in the Four of Wands getting ready for a hoe-down) there is nothing fresh in the Minors. Most images are essentially a poorly replicated Rider-Waite imitation—right down to the student in the Four of Pentacles sitting in a chair with a huge coin on his head, in his arms and under his feet.

• The Minor Arcana figures look static and staged. There’s no sense of movement in most of the cards. The Six of Swords, for example, show two bored “students” sitting in a boat on calm water.

• It appears there were only a few models used for this deck, especially the Minors, so there’s a drab sense of sameness with the cards...students wearing the same bland, blank look on their faces.

Wizards 16 • The poor Pentacles suit gets the royal shaft with their Court Cards, each “gnome” looking like dull-witted, grumpy, fat and lazy oafs. Can you imagine a person with an Earth Sun sign identifying with those images? The Courts give us an opportunity to see ways of doing and being, approaches that may, or may not, be working for us…and need modified, changed, or emboldened. But the expressionless salamander creatures of the Wands Court, the “let’s bring back the 80s hair!” Cups Court, and the constipated looking Swords Court? Yikes! And doesn’t anyone smile in this deck?!

• Some of the Major Arcana cards are neat, like the old man standing in front of rows of books for The Hermit card (tons of books always look good!). I love The Hanged Man who has an upside-down version of the card on his wall. The Runic stained-glass windows and the one-eyed professor, an obvious nod to Odin, is brilliant. Death is re-named Transfiguration, and a figure begins to morph into a moth, which is very cool. However, the heavy-handed placement of Hebrew letters and astrological symbols often distracts from the image (case in point, the huge curtain tie emblazoned with Tzaddi in The Emperor card).

• The updated “Samantha on a broom” ala Bewitched looks pretty as The Chariot, but there’s no sense of the determination, will and power of this archetype; in fact, the blonde ingénue atop the broomstick looks scared, unsure and lost. And The Sun? There is no playfulness in this card, nor the vibrancy or virility of masculine energy. What you have is yet another bored-looking figure, staring at a metallic wheel with blooming sunflowers towering behind him and a white horse outside the window.

• The borders are too busy, but since there’s not much too look at in most of the cards (Minors and Courts), I guess that’s a moot point.

Wizards Moon The Wizards Tarot may have worked pre-2004, before the dawn of Ciro Marchetti’s best-selling debut of the CGI Gilded Tarot and during Harry Potter madness, but in 2011, the deck feels dated. The imagery feels sterile, staged and devoid of emotion. Hardly anyone smiles, and the range of most of the expression goes from sleepy to apathetic.

The 239-page companion book contains a lot of great information connected to the Major Arcana—explanation of the Runes, interesting spreads, a crash course in astrology, charts of Greek and Roman pantheons, Court Card decans and so on. But most of the card explanation, especially the Minors and Courts (which have very little written about them compared to the Majors), are merely bullet points describing every color, detail and symbol and what each card should, and does, mean.

Which begs the question: To whom, exactly, is the Wizards Tarot geared? If newbies, as the introduction suggests, then the assault of esoteric information will overwhelm, and likely discourage, a beginner. The Tarot is an already-difficult system of study if you take esoterica and symbolism into account, without adding all the extras that a Tarot reader doesn’t need to understand (or use) the cards effectively out of the gate. 

Wizards 9 So, then, is the Wizards Tarot for intermediate or advanced users? Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think the market needs another Rider-Waite replica…especially one that’s so down-to-the-details faithful to the original poses with the Minors, yet staged like mannequins on display (and, of course, devoid of Pixie’s artistic talent for rendering a wide-range of human emotion).

Most readers and practitioners falling into the intermediate and advanced categories already know that Jupiter means “luck growth and expansion” and that Justice’s imagery is associated with Ma’at, the goddess who weighed men’s heart against a feather.and that the Four of Swords can mean rest and recuperation.

If you have Kenner’s latest offerings (Tarot for Writers and the largely re-hashed version of that book in the form of Simple Fortunetelling with Tarot Cards), then you’ve already read her litany of regurgitated, common associations…which is largely found in the companion book to the Wizards Tarot.

While you may enjoy looking at most of the Major Arcana cards, the imagery breaks down at the Minors and Court Cards. Had the Minors had more of a sense of “story”—and the Courts more approachability—this deck might have worked. If you’re not familiar with Kenner’s last two books and you’d like to bolster your Tarot knowledge with Runes, mythology, astrology, numerology and the like, you’ll get great tidbits (and spreads) in this book.

But if you’re a beginner, you’ll likely be overwhelmed by the book, and if you’re a seasoned Tarotist, you may wonder how such a static RWS clone made it to the market.  (And the box? This flimsy container came unglued right after opening it, after minimal handling!)

Note: if you desire a gorgeous CGI Rider-Waite clone, try the Pictorial Key Tarot by Davide Corsi instead.

To see 16 more images from the Wizards Tarot, click here.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013).


10 of Swords and the Origin of Tarot

RWC 300 In her lively Living Tarot group on Facebook, creator and moderator Ferol Humphrey asks daily questions of the group, probing the Tarot--and our minds--for associations, answers and insights.

A few hours ago, Ferol asked one of her "big questions" of the Tarot: What is the origin of Tarot?

She drew, of all cards, the 10 of Swords.

Now many get spooked by the 10 of Swords, even calling it a "negative" or "bad" card, but I truly see all 78 cards in the Tarot as having a Light/Shadow continuum. The supposed "positive" cards have a detrimental or extreme side and the "negative" cards have a redeeming, helpful side.

In answer to Ferol's question What is the origin of Tarot?, I wrote:

The pain of being human forces us to look for answers and solace wherever we can find it. Tarot, filled with symbols and meaning, became what is is because of humanity's need.

Tarot is often used in the "bad times"--when seekers need insight into heartbreak, strife, loneliness, confusion and boredom. We may ask "Is there all there is?" or "Why do I seem to run into this relationship dilemma on a recurring basis?"

And Tarot is always there to answer. To be sure, its answers aren't always clear or straightforward. But that's when we dig deeply and begin to connect our own innate answers to the image on the cards--a partnership replete with an ongoing dialogue of symbols, phrases, motifs and messages.

PK 300 This conversation reminds, surprises, reveals and comforts us in both "good" times...and the not-so-good times.

One of the messages I relate to the 10 of Swords is "it can only get better from here"; after all, in the Rider-Waite-Smith version, there's a sunrise in the distance. It's a "bottom of the barrel" place where we turn to something greater than ourselves--or, at least, something/someOne with a higher perspective than ourselves--for a bird's eye view of our condition.

Tarot has the amazing ability to serve both the macro and the micro. We can use the cards to get "above" our situation, enabling us to see patterns or discover clues to navigate life's mazes and forests. On the other hand, we can also zoom in to the tree itself, examining the bark, moss, leaves and critters that populate this beloved, and living, metaphor.

The 10s are "the end" so to speak, before we spiral back to the Ace of promise. But at that place between the 10, and before the Ace, ah...that's the crucible or fullness where we experience some of life's greatest burdens and pleasures.

And before The Wheel turns to another season heralded by the Ace, the Tens may very well be the origin of humanity's yearning for meaning and belonging.

Card images from the Smith-Waite Centennial Edition Tarot (published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) and the Pictorial Key Tarot (published by Lo Scarabeo).

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot 


Rush and Tarot

Beyond_the__Lighted_Stage__RushCanadian trio RUSH have been thrilling fans for over 30 years with their unique blend of prog-rock and cerebral lyrics.

In a year's time, drummer and lyricist Neil Peart suffered dual tragedies: in 1997, his only daughter, Selena, died in a car wreck on her way to begin college; a year later, his inconsolable wife, Jackie, died of cancer.

Many RUSH fans wondered if Neil would ever go back to making music--and if RUSH would continue.

Fortunately, Neil returned in 2002--penning both a memoir detailing his healing journey and the lyrics to the CD Vapor Trails.  In his memoir Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road, Neil relates his 14-month, 55,000 mile trip on a motorcycle in search for a reason to live. Interestingly, Neil describes an accurate Tarot card reading he received in California, even using Tarot himself while reading Tarot for Dummies--with equally good results.

The liner notes to the Vapor Trails CD features thirteen Tarot card images--one card to each song:

VT1 • One Little Victory - Knight of Wands
• Ceiling Unlimited - The Star
• Ghost Rider - Wheel of Fortune
• Peaceable Kingdom - The Tower
• The Stars Look Down - The Chariot
• How It Is - The Hanged Man
• Vapor Trail - 6 of Swords
• Secret Touch - The Hermit
• Earthshine - The Lovers
• Sweet Miracle - Ace of Cups
• Nocturne - The Moon
• Freeze (Part IV of Fear) - 8 of Swords
• Out of the Cradle - The Fool

Peaceable Kingdom is especially replete with Tarot imagery, as you can see with these lyrics:

PeartGhostRiderJustice against the hanged man
Knight of Wands against the hour
Swords against the kingdom
Time against the tower

All this time we're shuffling and laying out all our cards
While a billion other dealers are slipping past our guards
All this time we're hoping and praying we all might learn
While a billion other teachers are teaching them how to burn

Dream of a peaceable kingdom
Dream of a time without war
The ones we wish would hear us
VT2 Have heard it all before

A wave toward the clearing sky
A wave toward the clearing sky

The Hermit against the Lovers
Or the Devil against the Fool
Swords against the kingdom
The Wheel against the rules

I found it odd that the liner notes attribute all "art direction, paintings, and portraits" to Hugh Syme (the artist who has done all of the RUSH album covers except one)--especially since Pamela Colman Smith's initials are still imbedded in the images! (Don't tell Stuart...)

Vapor_Trails One of the Vapor Trails tour shirts features a large image of the "face in the Moon" (found on the Rider-Waite-Smith Moon card) encircled by T-A-R-O-T (Wheel of Fortune card) . Fortunately, I snagged a red one a few years back--and it's a good thing I did, because I can't locate these T-shirts anywhere on the web right now.

I don't believe I've ever heard Tarot references in RUSH's other CD's (I have 15 of their CDs and 3 DVD compilations), but I will say one thing: every time I listen to their music, Tarot cards dance in my head! I've been known to spend hours writing in my Tarot journal while listening to their music, specifically correlating lyrics/songs to the cards.

What Tarot cards do you "hear" in Rush lyrics? Has Rush inspired or informed your Tarot practice? Have you gotten into Tarot because of Neil's experience? I'd love to hear about it!

-- Janet


One Woman + 1,186 Reviews + 2 Book Deals

PTB I need your help, friends! I submitted my reviewer/author story to Seth Godin's Initiator Domino Project and it's a finalist! If I'm one of the winners, I'll end up in Godin's next eBook project (powered by Amazon.com).

Please vote 10 Stars for me! (No registration required...just click the 10th Gold Star!) You only have until 5 PM EST tomorrow (March 23).

One Woman + 1,186 Reviews + 2 Book Deals http://vote.thedominoproject.com/nomination/one-woman-1186-reviews-2-book-deals THANK YOU SO MUCH! The shortened link, if you'd like to pass it around for me, is http://bit.ly/VoteJanet

I am so excited, everyone! You can read my story on there, too, before you vote. You only have to click the 10th star...no registration or anything. Please pass this along on YOUR blog, Facebook page, Newsletter list or Discussion Board if you've enjoyed my book, deck and other reviews!

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your support over the years--and especially your 10-star vote today!

If you'd like to have some background on what the Intiator Contest is, just click here to read the announcment at Seth's blog.

Freaking out,

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot 

Domino 100 


Crustless Ham and Mushroom Quiche

CrustlessQuiche Last weekend, we had an awesome honey-glazed smoked ham from, of all places, Wal-Mart!

We had a lot left over, so I modified a Crab Quiche Bake recipe, added some mushrooms (and left out the crab and red pepper) and came up with a delicious Crustless Ham and Mushroom Quiche.

It’s super-easy to make, and would be a great way to use leftover holiday ham for brunch or “breakfast for dinner” suppers (don’t you love those?!).

Enjoy!

Crustless Ham and Mushroom Quiche

8 eggs, beaten
2 Cups half and half
Cooked-Ham-Sliced1 1-2 Cups of ham, chopped
16 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
1 Cup (4 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 Cup (4 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 Tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13 x 9 baking dish (I use glass). Sauté chopped onions and sliced mushrooms in butter until onions are soft and clear (not brown!), about 10 minutes. Drain off liquid. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients with the mushroom and onion mixture. Pour into greased dish and bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let it stand for about 10 minutes before cutting.

-- Janet 


Faulkner Tarot Review

Faulkner Cover “The idea of talking to spirit, guides and deceased loved ones is frowned upon by so many people in this day and age and particularly using the tarot is seen as a way of dancing with the devil. I want to change this way of thinking and bring tarot into the modern world. I believe in God, I have a very strong faith but for some reason I have been given the gift of clairvoyancy and the determination to prove that this does not make me a bad person.” – From The Faulkner Tarot companion book

Because Rhiannon Faulkner chose to create the Faulkner Tarot as a modern form of self-help or practical counseling, she removes frightening, confusing or complex imagery in favor of down-to-earth snapshots. This is quite literal: the cards in the Faulkner Tarot depict actual black-and-white, slice-of-life photographs.

Faulkner 4 Quite brilliant, actually, since many Tarot enthusiasts provide their clients (or themselves) with modern shortcut phraseology anyway, no matter how esoteric or intricate the actual card illustration. For example, we often say that The Star represents “hopes and wishes”—a perfect card for literally “making a wish”. So how does Rhiannon translate this sentiment in the Faulkner Tarot? Why, with an actual wishing well, of course!

And the Ace of Wands, sometimes known as the “aha” or “light bulb moment”? You guessed it…Rhiannon provides a snapshot of an actual light bulb! The Chariot as a car or travel translates into an actual highway, while “Death’s door” or a “mere transition to another room” finds a darkened room opening up to a lighted hallway in the Faulkner Tarot Death card.

I mean, this is where we live, right?

We don’t exist among festooned Pages, a relaxed Hanged Man, the cloaked Hermit or an actual horned Devil. No, we live among ATMs reflecting a lack of funds (2 of Pentacles), a woman gazing fondly at a grouping of family pictures (6 of Cups), a mountain of undone paperwork (7 of Wands), and empty pockets (5 of Pentacles).

Faulkner 8 Where we love, work, play and celebrate finds expression in the Faulkner Tarot among a proffered bouquet (Knight of Cups), a signed contract (2 of Wands), a piggybank (4 of Pentacles), a newborn babe (9 of Cups) and a first-time skydiver (Ace of Swords).

Talk about taking Tarot into the 21st century!

Clean, simple and clear, the Faulkner Tarot expertly translates decades of esoteric thought, archetypal symbols and common associations into a contemporary, accessible and accurate deck. I’ve used this deck for months and appreciate a Tarot deck that finally cuts-to-the chase—reflecting where we live, how we function and what we face in this modern world.

Faulkner Tarot Companion Book Review

“When used in the correct manner, your tarot deck can help you find answers to all problems in your life and others. It can advise you of what is about to happen, what choices you will have to make and help you understand the underlying cause of reoccurring problems or the lessons you are here to learn in life.” – From the companion book to the Faulkner Tarot

Faulkner 12 Rhiannon Faulkner set out to create modern, accessible Tarot deck that portrayed familiar, everyday settings so that anyone can pick up the cards and begin reading them comfortably. She succeeded with the Faulkner Tarot, a contemporary deck featuring black-and-white photographs.

Aiming to teach that Tarot can serve as a form of self-help and practical counseling, the 120-page companion book to the Faulkner Tarot introduces the cards with an explanation of basic Tarot structure. She then launches right into the meat of each Tarot image, with one page devoted to each card.

Not only does Faulkner offer keywords and card interpretations, but also probing questions and journaling prompts. For example, under The Emperor, she asks, “Is it the man that you first notice in the picture? This would say that you are talking about an actual person. Is it the road—perhaps saying that he is on the right road to success. Is it the building, indicating contracts and material success.” She then challenges the reader to “Write down who your emperor is in life, your father, your husband, your boss. Try and say why you look up to them and what you admire.”

Faulkner 13 In the Faulkner Tarot companion book, the author also provides brief essays on reading as a professional, reading the cards together in a group (and how order affects the interpretation), and the “people cards” (Courts) in a reading. She also provides three spreads, including the Celtic Cross, a 10-card Looking for Love Spread and a 15-card Relationship Spread. When I read for clients, I rarely use formal spreads, but the last two from Faulkner are so succinct yet comprehensive that I plan to add them to my romance reading toolbox!

Minor grammatical errors aside, Faulkner’s companion book to her deck gives voice to the “everyman” in both imagery choice and card commentary. Thus, you won’t find a Tarot expert writing bloated, didactic annotations nor flowery, labyrinthine prose.

No, what you will find in this book is a woman in the trenches, a Tarot reader and clairvoyant channel who happens also happens to be a mother, widow, writer and businesswoman. The scope of her experience finds expression in both card imagery and her observations on each Tarot archetype, making both the deck and book supremely accessible.

Faulkner 15 Faulkner pulls no punches, and sometimes, her card interpretations may be a bit narrow in scope. However, this basic yet elegant approach makes the Faulkner Tarot companion book a fantastic primer for those new to the cards. Yet, even seasoned Tarot readers will find gems prodding us to look deeper and ask the tough questions for both personal growth and client counseling.

If you’re looking for a Tarot book that translates archetypes into updated expressions and abstract ideology into “where the rubber meets the road”, than the Faulkner Tarot companion book is a modern manual you’ll want for understanding and reading the cards “where you live”.

To see 13 more images from this deck, click here.

Note: The Faulkner Tarot does NOT come with a LWB. However, a companion book is sold separately. You can purchase the deck here and the book here at Amazon, or directly from the creator at this link.10% of proceeds go to cancer charities.

Deck ISBN: 978-0955190230
Book ISBN: 978-0955190247

Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot 


Sun and Moon Tarot Review

Cover 180 “Tarot is a powerful tool for gaining access to deeper layers of the subconscious, and to learn from the immense knowledge of the collective conscience [sic]. The Sun and the Moon Tarot considers universal archetypes and cultural symbols, and also incorporates the artist’s own personal symbols.” – Vanessa Decort, creator of the Sun and Moon Tarot

Like the Universe itself, much of the card imagery from the Sun and Moon Tarot depicts “empty space”. But “empty” doesn’t mean without beauty, especially within this deck.

In fact, in those cards where 75% of the image is softly hued blankness, this artistic choice serves as a focal point—a visual rest stop before the eyes drop down to the “meat” of the Tarot image.

Sun Moon That “meat”, while not bulky, consists of minimalist depictions of animals, insects, suit symbols and motifs that often illustrate the bottom quarter of the card. Along with the faceless people dotting this Tarot landscape, the spare details are nevertheless telling.

Measuring approximately 4 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches, the cards of the Sun and Moon Tarot feature white borders on the front, with a reversible black-and-white lotus symbol on back. Various alchemical symbols and Hebrew letters are painted within the imagery (Minors and Majors respectively), with the Courts following the Princess, Prince, Queen and King designation.

The playful illustrations are almost childlike, with the canvas showing through in many of the card images. Some people may not like that aspect, but I think it adds an underlying softness to the depictions. Another detail that some may find off-putting is the inclusion of keywords on the Twos through the Tens. (I’ve always found them limiting, no matter what the deck.)

Sun 7 W Replete with astrological, mythological, Kabbalistic, alchemical and archetypal considerations, the Little White Book provides more depth than the typical LWB, but it’s not geared to those new to Tarot, so actual interpretations and practical applications of the cards are pretty much nonexistent.

Intermittently, I’ve used the Sun and Moon Tarot for months now, and while I don’t find it a chatty deck, it does deliver a clean, concise and accurate message. However, if you want an actual “conversation”, you may need to draw three or more cards!

Unusual and refreshing, the Sun and Moon Tarot will appeal to enthusiasts who appreciate uncluttered, low-key, straightforward decks. Its non-scary illustrations would also serve children well, not to mention the client or Tarot newbie who gets spooked by some of the traditional Tarot imagery.

(Note: It has one of the best Death cards EVER!)

To see 18 additional images from the Sun and Moon Tarot, click here.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot 


Four eBooks by Janet Now on Kindle

Hi all!

Just wanted to let you all know that I have four eBooks that are now available via Kindle. Two of them involve Tarot/divination, and the other two involve energy, balance, wellness and stress-relief.

You can click on each title for the Table of Contents and to get a sample sent to right to your Kindle. Don't have a Kindle? No problem! You can order any or all of these directly from me on my website at this link and I'll send a .pdf to you via email.

Prices are super-affordable, too: $1.99 for Tarot Basics, $2.99 for The Chakras, $4.95 for Divination: History, Methods and Uses and $5.95 for Peace, Balance and Harmony. I've gotten great feedback on all of them, with readers saying they are engaging, helpful, informative and practical. I trust you'll find that to be true, too.

As always, thanks for reading!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot 


Interview with Lisa Finander Author of Disneystrology

Lisa-disneystrologypg-photo I was so happy to have the opportunity to interview my friend and fellow author Lisa Finander!

We talked about her book, Disneystrology, as well as writing advice for breaking into Mind/Body/Spirit publishing, igniting passion and staying the course. Here's our chat for your enjoyment:

Janet: Lisa, I can't imagine how many hours you had spent watching Disney movies and taking notes for creating Disneystrology. Any estimation? Has the intense scrutiny of your research detracted from your ability to experience the "magic" of certain Disney films?

Lisa: Imagine many, many hours encapsulated into a five-month period. If I had to guess, it would be something like 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week for five months. However, I loved every single minute of it!

Disneystrology In truth, I enjoy the movies more now, because I investigated the history of what went into making them and can appreciate all the people it takes to make a great film. In the case of The Princess and the Frog and Toy Story 3, I was able to read about the movies before they were released making them more enjoyable for me to watch later.

Janet: Enchanted made it into Disneystrology, which included human characters within it. Was there ever a consideration of other Disney live-action movies for the book--Mary Poppins, The Love Bug, Pete's Dragon, etc.? Or was the idea to fill the book with 100% animated characters from Disney movies?

Lisa: In the beginning, yes, but we decided to use only animated characters which I believe was the right decision, because it makes the book more cohesive.
 
Toy story 3 Janet: Bonnie from Toy Story 3 made it into the book. By my calculations, you would have written about her before the movie was in theaters. How did you know about Bonnie? Were you allowed to see the movie before its release?

Lisa: Not the movie, but I received a PDF of the story to review. That was a fun perq to get a behind-the-scenes peek into how a story turns into a movie.
 
Janet: You factored in Astrology, Numerology and Tarot in your character-to-birthdate match-up. How did this work? Did you start out with a master list of characters and their traits, or did the 365 astrological/numerological profiles serve as the starting point for matching a character with a day?

Disney may Lisa: I started by building a huge database of Disney characters that I updated daily. It contained the names and movies of over 400 characters. Then, I researched each character diligently by watching movies, clips, reading books, searching online, and viewing images. As I added bits of dialogue, the movie’s back-story (the behind-the-scenes making of movie), and any prominent personality traits to the database, I additionally noted my impressions of where they might fit in the book.

For every month of the year, I printed out a sheet of paper where I made hand-written notes about the astrology, numerology, and tarot card associated with each day of that month. This is where I kept track of which dates were filled and which ones where still available.

Next, I used the two databases simultaneously to determine which characters I would use and assigned them to a specific day of the year. Many people have asked me if I wrote the book in chronological order. I didn’t. Instead, I started with the character and then chose the birthday that they would preside over. In the beginning, it would take me hours to match up a character with a certain day of the year.

Disney2 As I wrote Disneystrology, I considered so many things—the making of the movie, it’s animation history, and the people drawing and providing the voice of the characters along with their stories.

In addition to holding the astrology, numerology, and tarot associations mostly in my head, I had several Disney books spread around me, my notes, the character image on my screen, and the movie in the DVD player. I would analyze each character movie by movie and see where they would fit, while being cognizant of how many male and female characters each month had and what astrological signs I had assigned to other characters in the same story

Janet: Whew! You put so much work into Disneystrology! But you know, it really shows. In fact, the "Magical Gifts" and "Keys to Your Success" parts are brilliant, making Disneystrology not only a fun book, but also one that is relevant and empowering because of the esoteric correlations. How did you come up with those?

P frog Lisa: You are sweet to say that. Because Disneystrology is a book based on Disney characters, I wanted to write it in a style that resonated with the magic of Disney. In my opinion, Disney movies are playful but also convey a deeper meaning like the importance of friendship and love. By examining the character’s role in the movie and considering how they were uniquely special, I chose highest attributes and abilities that fit both the character and the day. Besides, what could be more fun than knowing your magical abilities and discovering the secret to your success? 
 
Janet: Numerological and Astrological considerations aside, which Disney character do you associate most with right now? Why?

Sleeping Lisa: As I wrote Disneystrology, I thought of the characters as fairy godmothers and magical guides for that particular day. When I look through the book, I remember what I was thinking as I wrote about each one and treated every birthday as my own. For that reason, I have associations with all of them. I really don’t have a favorite. 
 
Janet: What are your favorite Disney movies of all time? Why?

Lisa: As a child, I remember The Jungle Book and singing “The Bare Necessities.” I love Fantasia for the magic, visual appeal, and the music. Brother Bear is another favorite. It speaks to my appreciation and respect for nature. Lilo & Stitch makes me laugh. I like the quirkiness of the characters and the Elvis music. The movie Bambi breaks my heart, but I love the characters. Ratatouille, WALL-E, Mulan, Finding Nemo, Up… there are so many.

Brother bear Janet: What has surprised you the most about writing Disneystrology and its subsequent publication? Do you have any memorable interactions with readers that you’d like to share? 

Lisa: I am excited and surprised by the synchronicity between the person and their Disneystrology character. People tell me that growing up they had a picture of their birthday character on their bedroom wall or that the character is from their favorite movie.

The positive response from children and young adults delights me. I love the story about a teen who kept sneaking  her giftwrapped copy of Disneystrology from under the Christmas tree, unwrapped it to look up her friends’ birthdays, and then re-wrapped the book and placed it back under the tree. She did this several times.

Nemo Moms tell me how much their young child loves reading the book and looks at every page. One young girl held her 10th birthday party at the bookstore where I was doing a book signing. Her mother bought Disneystrology and had all her friends sign the book by their birthdays. I thought that was a brilliant idea. Now, I bring my personal copy of Disneystrology to all my events and have people sign by their birthdays. It is a wonderful keepsake chronicling all of the people that have shared this experience with me.

Janet: That has to be so incredibly gratifying! Wow. What would you say are your biggest hopes for Disneystrology, Lisa?

Lisa: My hopes are that Disneystrology will be around for a long time and that when people read their birthday entry, it sparks their imagination and makes them smile!

Up Janet: Disney is all about magic. What enthralls you right now in life? What do you find magical?

Lisa: The process of creation is magical to me; you start out with a vision and the finished product is better than what you originally imagined. It doesn't matter if I'm writing, cooking, gardening, or painting; my passion has always been to create things.

Janet: What’s next for you in terms of writing?

Lisa: It’s a secret right now, but I’m having fun writing and researching the project!

Books Janet: Look at you being coy! You're acting more Scorpionic than a Scorpio, you Virgo. *laughs* Seriously, though, Lisa, you’re also a developmental editor and writing coach. How do you help burgeoning and established writers go from inspiration to page to publication?

Lisa: The biggest issues I see for writers are deciding and organizing what their books are about and then, defining their audience. I start by helping authors find ideas and subjects that ignite their passion. Writing a book takes a lot of hard work and discipline, and if you don’t love what you are writing about, chances are you won’t enjoy the editing and revising process.

Authors also need to think about the reader when they are writing a book they hope to publish. Sometimes writers believe they are not being true to their craft if they think in terms of marketability and sales. I disagree. In my opinion, a book is a gift an author gives to the reader. You are asking the reader to support your creative efforts by buying your book. In return, you are giving the person an experience, information, and entertainment. Even though I work with authors that write for a niche market, there are ways to broaden your scope and appeal to a larger audience.

Disney3 Janet: Thank you so much for answering my questions, Lisa! I love Disneystrology and recommend it all the time (my birthday profile is Manny from A Bug's Life!).  Personally, I think every doctor's office and hospital room should carry it; heck, I can even see it alongside Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms, although your book is so entertaining and colorful, I’m sure theft would be a huge problem… 

Lisa: Thank you, sweetie!

Janet: You are most welcome...and you know I'm totally serious! :oD

Lisa has appeared on Twin Cities Live several times. Click here to see her discussing Tropical vs. Sidereal Astrology--and how these two approaches relate to the "new" 13th Zodiac sign. You can visit Lisa online at LisaFinander.com

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot


One Word Tarot

Skeptic A recent Twitter conversation:

New follower: I always thought that Tarot is Devil's tool...?
Me: Who told you that? A minister?
He: Well, what can a deck of cards tell about a life? :)
Me: Everything. :o) 78 pictures filled with the whole spectrum of life experience...friendship, love, regret, competition, hope
He: hmmm, does that cover an entire life?
(Snarky) Me: The only thing that covers an "entire life" is, well, a life. Do you have one? :o)

His post got me thinking, though: Could I encapsulate the range of life found in the Tarot...using just one word?

Here's what I came up with. I'd love to hear your thoughts and the keyword you might use for any or all of the cards. (Note: I didn't include the 16 Court Cards for this challenge because they are "people" cards, and you know how people are: complex!)

1 One Word Tarot

The Fool - Childlikeness
The Magician - Manipulation
The High Priestess - Intuition
The Empress - Propagation
The Emperor - Authority
The Hierophant - Morality
The Lovers - Commitment
The Chariot - Ambition
Strength - Finesse
The Hermit - Solitude
Wheel of Fortune - Change
Justice - Justice
The Hanged Man - Sacrifice
Death - Transformation
Temperance - Moderation
The Devil - Bondage
The Tower - Destruction
The Star - Hope
The Moon - Mystery
The Sun - Vibrancy
Judgement - Karma
The World - Completion
Ace of Wands - Virility
Two of Wands - Launching
Three of Wands - Anticipation
Four of Wands - Ceremony
1 again Five of Wands - Competition
Six of Wands - Victory
Seven of Wands - Defense
Eight of Wands - Speed
Nine of Wands - Weariness
Ten of Wands - Burden
Ace of Cups - Contentment
Two of Cups - Intimacy
Three of Cups - Celebration
Four of Cups - Boredom
Five of Cups - Regret
Six of Cups - Sharing
Seven of Cups - Options
Eight of Cups - Abandonment
Nine of Cups - Saturation
Ten of Cups - Bliss
Ace of Pentacles - Welfare
Two of Pentacles - Juggling
Three of Pentacles - Collaboration
Four of Pentacles - Thrift
Five of Pentacles - Forsaken
Six of Pentacles - Dispensing
Seven of Pentacles - Assessment
Eight of Pentacles - Work
1 thrice Nine of Pentacles - Poise
Ten of Pentacles - Legacy
Ace of Swords - Courage
Two of Swords - Blindness
Three of Swords - Grief
Four of Swords - Recuperation
Five of Swords - Gloating
Six of Swords - Evasion
Seven of Swords - Stealth
Eight of Swords - Victimhood
Nine of Swords - Anxiety
Ten of Swords - Overkill

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot 


Tarot 101 - What is Tarot?

Q bubble Sometimes I get a Facebook message or Tweet asking basic questions such as:

What is Tarot?

Isn't Tarot "spooky"?

I heard Tarot was "evil"...?

What are the cards like?

Must my first Tarot deck be given to me as a present?

Do I need to do anything special before opening my new deck?

How do I shuffle the Tarot?

Lost For those of us immersed in the world of Tarot, we sometimes forget that absolute Tarot beginners--or the merely curious--have no idea about the cards...what they are, how they can be used, what they look like and so on.

So Gina and I will be making Tarot 101 posts to help demystify the Tarot and bring clarity for those wanting to know more about the cards.  Below is the first in our Tarot 101 series.

What is Tarot?

Tarot eBook smallTarot, pronounced "tah-ROW" or "TARE-oh", is a set of 78 cards long associated with turban-clad fortunetellers or gypsies. However, in addition to divination, modern practitioners use Tarot for brainstorming, counseling, meditation, affirmations, creative writing and inspiration. Some Jungian psychologists even use the cards as a part of therapy.

The Tarot is made up of three distinct parts:

The Major Arcana: These 22 cards, originally called "Triumphs" in medieval Italy where they were used for a card game called Tarocchi, reflect universal archetypes. The Fool, The Magician, The Lovers, Wheel of Fortune and Death are some of the most recognizable cards of the Major Arcana. ("Arcana" is a word meaning "secrets"; thus, Major Arcana can be interpreted to mean "big secrets" or "large mysteries"--cycles and themes common everyone.

PCS 13 The Minor Arcana: These 40 cards mirror the numbered cards of a regular playing card deck. Instead of clubs, diamonds, spades and hearts, the Tarot Minor Arcana ("lesser secrets") suits often adhere to the corresponding suit pattern of wands, pentacles, swords and cups. The Minor Arcana cards reflect the everyday occurrences in our life--both the joyful and the sorrowful. The Wands are usually associated with the element of fire and passionate action, the Self and vocation. The Pentacles suit, associated with earth, covers the material world--money, health, home and possessions. Swords reflect the element of air and the realm of the intellect (including thoughts, judgments, decisions and conflict). Cups is the emotional suit, a world of dreams, notions, feelings, values and relationships.

The Court Cards: Similar to the face cards in a regular playing deck (minus four), these 16 cards are usually known by the page, knight, queen and king demarcation. Pages are youthful, Knights are energetic, Queens are nurturing and Kings are governing. Some Tarot readers interpret the court cards as actual people, while others feel these cards reflect facts of our personality--with several "faces" presenting themselves within a day.

To recap:

PCS Fool The 22 Major Arcana cards deal with the larger, univeral themes common to everyone--regardless of time, place or culture. They are:  The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement and The World.

The 40 Minor Arcana cards mimic the Ace-10 number cards of a regular playing card deck. In Tarot, the suit translation is: Clubs=Wands; Hearts=Cups; Diamonds=Pentacles; Spades=Swords.

Wands deal with vocation, calling, issues of the Self (self-esteem, self-regard, self-assurance, self-propulsion, etc.) and have a fiery, extroverted energy. Taken to an extreme, this enegy can be rambunctious, impetuous and aggressive. This suit may also be called Staves, Batons or Rods.

Cups deal with relationships and matters of the heart, as well as intuition and dreams, and have a soothing, calming energy. Taken to an extreme, this energy can be melancholic, escapist and pining. This suit may be called Chalices or Vessels.

PCS Wands Pentacles deal with the physical world of our bodies, environment, routine, tasks, possessions and money. Pentacles is a solid, stable energy. Taken to an extreme, this energy can be lethargic, sheltered and dull.This suit may be called Coins, Stones or Crystals.

Swords deal with the intellect, thoughts and communication. Swords energy is sharp, clear and straightforward. Taken to an extreme, this energy can be cutting, blunt and solemn. This suit may be called Blades, Arrows or Spears.

The 16 Court Cards are the "people" cards of the Tarot, usually named Page, Knight, Queen and King. However, these may be renamed, too--for example, Pages=Daughters, Knights=Sons, Queens=Mothers and Kings=Fathers. They can represent actual people that display the traits of the card, facets of personality or approaches.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot

Card images from the Smith Waite Tarot Centennial Edition deck, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.


Earth Magic Oracle Cards

Earth magic “We’re intimately connected with every aspect of Life, yet it has become clear that our relationship with Earth has gotten seriously out of balance. By activating and awakening a deeper memory of our inter-connectedness with all of the beings on this planet, we can renew and restore this balance and come to know our Earth Mother and all of her children as profoundly related, both physically and spiritually. As we integrate this knowingness into our being, the many realms of Spirit make themselves available to us in a variety of ways…and one way is through using these Earth Magic Oracle Cards.” – Steven Farmer

From clouds to crystals, DNA to deserts, fairies to fire, Milky Way to meadow, shamanic teacher Steven Farmer arranges and offers 48 tributes to Gaia in his Earth Magic Oracle Cards.

Earth Magic 2 Arguably the most artistically stunning and consistent oracle decks ever produced from Hay House, the Earth Magic Oracle Cards presents 48 different cards for accessing grounding, healing, earth-based guidance. Here are but a few cards from this gorgeous deck:

• Spring Equinox - Rebirth
• Cave – Sanctuary
• Forest - Breath
• New Moon – Promise
• Wolf – Instinct
• Tsunami – Wake-Up Call
• Dragonfly – Emergence
• Whale - Breach
• Iceberg – Submerged
• Stone People – Vigilance
• Winter Solstice – Reflection
• Green Man – Synergy
• Rain – Purification
• Eagle – Communication
• Wind – Activation

Accompanied by a 160-companion book, the Earth Magic Oracle Cards provide luminous portals for everyday guidance, environmental awareness and spiritual insight, encouraging seekers to pay attention to signals from flora, fauna, weather, volcano, landmasses, bodies of water, physical sensations and natural cycles.

Earth Magic 10 Farmer’s wise, gentle, earth-based insights offer a balm to the hurried, hassled, and wired, encouraging us that transformative guidance swirls around us, above us and below us if we but take the time to listen—especially outdoors.

I’ve been using the Earth Magic Oracle Cards for several weeks and absolutely love them. It would be worth having this deck just for the artwork (which can be used for meditation, contemplation or ritual), but Farmer’s accessible teachings outline the intricate, delicate connection of all things—a crucial, sensible reminder in these tumultuous, uncertain times.

Highly recommended!

To see 16 more images from the Earth Magic Oracle Cards, click here.

Janet Boyer is the author of Back in Time Tarot (Hampton Roads) and Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer Books, 2012). A prolific blogger and reviewer, as well as a Social Media Maven for publishers and authors, Janet’s main website is JanetBoyer.com.