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September 2011

Grandpa Snowman Marionette - Poem by Jo Ak

8 of Swords 300 Here's a lovely poem written by Jo Ak, one of Snowland Tarot's delightful Facebook friends and blog visitors, based on Ron's 8 of Swords image:

Grandpa Snowman Marionette

Here I sit on a wooden sill
I dream of what it's like to be real
My eyes might blink a thousand times
No longer hiding the pain I feel deep inside
Unblocking icy tears that longed to flow
On to frosty cheeks that are white as snow
Nimble fingers would release my restrictive ties
That held me captive for all my life
Capable legs would carry me out the door
Never to come back to this store
If only my heart once so cold
Would allow me to let my dear friends go

Not only is Jo's poem an imaginative take on what's going on in the image, but it's also an apt encapsulation of the challenges inherent in the 8 of Swords card.

Thank you, Jo, for allowing us to post your wonderful poem!

Do you have a story, poem, caption or other artistic take on one of Snowland's images? (You can see them all in miniature at SnowlandTarot.com, or larger versions at our Facebook page). If so, feel free to drop us an email, make a blog comment here, post to our Facebook page or Tweet us at @TeamSnowland.

-- Janet


Insane Checks Unlimited Online Coupon Code

Checks unlimited If I can help it, I never pay full price for anything.

As I was finishing paying bills, I noticed that only two packs of checks were left.

Yikes!

So I went online to Checks Unlimited to see how much checks were running these days (usually, I just order via phone).

Blow me over to discover that 4 boxes of checks (what I normally order) run $59.96! Add to that $8.95 shipping and handling, plus $2.00 if I wanted custom lettering, and then $6.95 for address labels.

Uh, no way. (But I really loved and wanted those new Peace designs…)

Peace checks 
I ran straight to my favorite online coupon place, RetailMeNot.com (this place has saved me hundreds of dollars over the years) and discover there’s a coupon code for:

• 50% off a box of checks (I saved $30.00!)
• Free custom lettering (I love Enviro!)
• Free self-stick labels in the design of your checks (Woohoo!)
• Free shipping and handling (make sure you look for “standard”)

I ended up saving $46.90!

You can save, too. Just go to ChecksUnlimited.com, look through the check designs, decide what you want, then put 8839 in the box where it says Enter Offer Code (don’t forget to click Apply Offer Code when you’re ready to move on to personalization).

Enjoy! (P.S. The Peace designs are here.)

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)  


Tarot and Astrology by Corrine Kenner [Review]

“For centuries, the art of tarot and the science of astrology have been closely linked. Now, with the help of Tarot and Astrology, you’ll master the connection between astrology and tarot—not as two separate fields of study, but as a seamless, integrated whole. If you’re a tarot reader, this book will help you learn astrology. If you’re an astrologer, this book will help you learn tarot. And if you already use the two arts in combination, Tarot and Astrology will help you master both specialties.” – From the book

Tarot astrology cover 300 If you’ve been into Tarot for any length of time, you’ve no doubt seen the astrological correlations bandied about in books and on blogs. For the well versed, this fluidity between two arcane disciplines generates great insights—not to mention a communication shortcut to doubled esoteric treasures.

But what if you’re new to Tarot? Or, what if you’re familiar with the cards, but you’ve learned them on your own terms or from someone who doesn’t use astrological correlations in card interpretations, nor in their metaphysical practice or teachings?

Not only can the mere mention of Astrology in conjunction with Tarot cause fledging (and intermediate!) Tarotists to get the vapors, but it also may discourage readers from going further with the Tarot—precisely because they assume that astrological fluency among some Tarot enthusiasts means all must be fluent in order to be a good reader. No so!

However, Astrology brings its own rich storehouse of symbolism and archetypes, which means by becoming familiar with the secret of the stars, if you feel drawn to do so, you can only expand your cache of associations and, arguably, become a more knowledgeable, skilled tarot reader.

And this is where Corrine Kenner’s new book Tarot and Astrology comes in. I don’t know how she managed it, but she not only gives Tarot readers a solid introduction to Astrology, but also explains why in the world astrological correlations make sense through the lens of each card.

So when discussion The Emperor, for example, Corrine explains this card’s connection to Aries—including behavior patterns, attitude and the ram symbol. That would be adequate, but then she explains how Aries rules the head (yes, every zodiac sign is connected to body parts, if you can believe it)…and what that means for a “head-based” leader with other “head” associations (issues?).

Tarot astrology woman But my favorite part of Tarot and Astrology is the Minor Arcana section. Corrine ably explains the astrological decan and placements of each Minor card, and how that energy correlates to Qabalistic spheres on the Tree of Life. For example, I love how she explains the 7 of Cups in connection to Venus (which connected to the sphere Netzach and the watery realm of Briah):

At the moment, the seven Cups are still in the process of manifestation. Their shape and structure hasn’t yet materialized. For the time being, they offer nothing but promise and possibility—along with tantalizing options of perfect happiness and joy. Think of them as unborn children: when women are pregnant, they dream of all the love and success they’ll share. Before those infants actually emerge, squalling and demanding to be fed, those children are perfect and unblemished little people.

Wow, isn’t that the truth when faced with enticing options of the 7 of Cups? And, really, only a mother could make that brilliant connection in my estimation (meaning, Corrine also brings her life experience and wisdom to this book, as well).

Now, if this is all that Tarot and Astrology contained, it would be well worth paying retail. But the author doesn’t stop there. No, Corrine provides charts for court card and elemental associations, as well as the Wheel of the Year and zodiac houses. She even takes us through an actual reading with the Horoscope Spread (one of my favorites).

And then there’s the accessible but thorough crash course (with images) explaining house opposites (e.g. Taurus and Scorpio) and how they energies play out in the corresponding Tarot cards (Hierophant wants to maintain status quo, Death wants to shake it up or take it away).

Tarot astrology instrumentsBut she’s not done! She actually shows reader how to read a horoscope chart (think The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need…but more succinct and with Tarot flair), providing several famous examples with complete astrological breakdown (Prince William, Marilyn Monroe, Dali, etc.). Topping it off? A nine-page glossary of astrological terms!

Throughout the book are grayscale images of the recently released Wizards Tarot, co-created by the author, so readers can track the symbols and stances as she discusses them.

I am thoroughly impressed by Tarot and Astrology. If you’ve ever been interested in the crossroad, and meeting, of the stars and the cards, you’ll find this book informative and engaging. If you’re a Tarot reader, your knowledge will increase exponentially by studying and using this book (and its revealing spreads). If you’re an astrologer, you’ll gain a unique backdoor perspective on Tarot, which will no doubt enhance your practice, too.

Click here to get your own copy of Tarot and Astrology from Amazon.com.

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)  


Impermanence (But I'll Be Back Again...Today!)

Impermanence 400 In the beloved TV cartoon of the same name, Frosty the Snowman sings, "I'll be back again some day..."

Even though the Snowland Tarot card Impermanence (at right, painted by Ron Boyer) shows a melting snowman, it appears that he is already back...in the form of a winking cloud and running brook!

This gentle image replaces the scary-titled Death card in the Tarot, helping both kids and adults deal with the circle of life...including impermanence.

-- Janet


Impermanence - Thoughts on the Tarot Death Card

Impermanence 400 In Tarot, nothing scares the shit out of people more than the Death card.

Well, maybe The Tower or The Devil, but still….Death’s the favored heebie-jeebie inducer.

And it’s a shame, really, because Death—associated with the powerfully intense, deep and transformative sign of Scorpio—offers us a profound perspective on impermanence and the circle of life.

That’s why we named the Snowland Tarot’s version of the Death card Impermanence, to better reflect this card’s energy and remove the intimidation. (And this is also why we’ve renamed The Devil Trapped and are renaming The Tower card Removal).

The snowman, comprised of water molecules, melts. But is he really dead?

A moose drinks from water fed by the melted snowman. Evaporated water turns into clouds and—what’s that I see?—a winking, smiling snowman. And a bluejay is about to eat a bug…

Nature is an incredible teacher, no?

I’ve always felt that Death was an ill-suited name for this Tarot card. Death, in terms of the dictionary, means the permanent cessation of life. The end.

But Death, or in Snowland Tarot’s case, Impermanence, doesn’t reflect permanent endings in the least. The 10 of Swords does, yes, because it’s a part of the Minor Arcana which not only reflects daily living, but also the limited perspectives humanity brings to the “big stuff”. If there’s an “ending” card in Tarot, it’s the 10 of Swords, in my opinion.

Melted Snowman 200 And the “big stuff”—those universal patterns reflected in all countries, cultures, eras—they are reflected by the Major Arcana, which Death is among (Trump 13 to be exact, which is yet another superstitious reason that people great freaked by this card).

So I don’t see the Death card as a permanent ending. A change has taken place, but it’s more than that (change is most reflected in The Wheel of Fortune, from my perspective). There has been an actual transformation (which is why Death has been renamed The Phoenix in other decks, better showing this card’s energy), one in which a passing of one thing has led to the generation of another.

Take reading a book, as an example.

Yes, when I’ve reached The End, it’s, well, the end! But is it really? Of course not! The images stay in my mind! The lesson, message, or storyline has become a part of me!

And if the media gets hold of it, it’s will remain in posterity in the form of a movie, merchandising, sequels, video game, interactive website, fan discussion boards, FB post, Tweet, Amazon review, book club and so on.

If you subscribe to life after death, then you’re already comfortable with the idea of our spirit outlasting our earthly form. But even if you’re an atheist, our life still survives our earthly termination!

Winking Snowman 200 How?

We survive via our family, friends, children, creative projects, conversations, interactions…

So Death isn’t an ending, nor is it necessarily a beginning (think of a caterpillar and a moth). Rather, the energy of Death in Tarot is regeneration. It’s movement, not stagnancy (reversed, however, it is!).

For example, consider these wise observations on the Death card by Lon Milo DuQuette in his book Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot:

The Death card of the Thoth Tarot is the antithesis of those found in traditional packs. This is no stiff grim reaper standing on the Earth, indiscriminately mowing down people, young and old, humble and highborn. This Death is vivacious and flexible. He wears the crown of Osiris and dances madly on the bottom of the sea. Instead of mowing down the living, he uses his scythe to stir up bubbles of new lives from out of the seemingly dead and decaying sediment.

What we term physical death is, indeed, inescapable (much like taxes, another part of the astrological 8th House ruled by Scorpio!). Like the Rider-Waite-Smith version, death does “mow down” everyone, regardless of status.

That perspective a mere earthly take on this card, one not worthy of a Major Arcana key.

No, Death, or what I love to call Impermanence, reminds us that we “die daily”, and anything we see is a mere passing snapshot. How we survive our death, our legacy, is up to us.

But survive, we will.

Have you "liked" the Snowland Tarot on Facebook? If not, here's your own personal invitation! Just visit our Snowland Tarot Facebook page to see sketches, in-progress images, and final cards--or to chat with us or win some Snowland swag in a giveaway. We're also on Twitter at @TeamSnowland. And don't forget SnowlandBlog.com! To see all completed cards, in miniature, take a looksee at SnowlandTarot.com.

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)   

We Are All Weird By Seth Godin

Weird Today (September 21, 2011), Seth Godin's latest book via the Domino Project comes out.

Titled We Are All Weird, this book has a hardcover print run of only 11,000 (so get it while you can from Amazon here). You can get the Kindle version at this link.

Seth says of this book: If the hardcover is gone by the time you read this, I apologize, we did our best to guess how many would satisfy the first wave of interest. I think it’s inevitable that publishing is going to move in this direction–hardcover collectibles for those that want them, digital for those in search of the ideas.

[Interesting aside: the scarcity of the book is changing the way I'm interacting with it. Usually, I hand out books like candy, because I can always get more. I'm feeling mysteriously scrooge-like now, though, wondering if someone is hardcover-worthy. Just like concert tickets to a sold out show, things feel different when there's a limit.]

You can read a bit more about We Are All Weird at the Domino Project Blog at this link.

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)   

Book Gems #11 - The Myth of the Great Ending by Joseph M. Felser

Book Gems #11 is from The Myth of the Great Ending by Joseph M. Felser, published by Hampton Roads. This particular excerpt is called Psychic Politics. Enjoy!

Myth ending 300 Some observers associate the drive to control and gain mastery of time or nature with what they view as the historical development of the human ego, arguing that this was somehow a necessary evil, an inevitable step in the ‘evolution’ of human consciousness. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, after all. This view is itself a manifestation of a faith in linear progress.

On the other hand, there are many spiritual teachers who maintain that the ego is just evil, the source of all our problems, and that we should strive to ‘erase’ or ‘annihilate’ our individual egos if we hope to make true spiritual progress and achieve lasting happiness and peace. Such ideas are even part of some religions.

The problem, however, is not the ego itself, but rather our attitude toward it and our use of it. It is as if a member of a basketball team were to get the urge to play all the various positions—forward, center, guard. Or as if one member of a family suddenly decided to take over all the roles: mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter. That would be madness, a kind of unchecked psychological imperialism. And make no mistake: World domination is a delusion, not just a ‘stage’ little Johnny has to pass through on his way to well-adjusted adulthood.

The ego is part of a family or team of the total self, just as the self is a part of larger and greater totalities, all the way on up to All That Is. Each must play its part cooperatively, as best it can, in concert with all the others doing the same. There is no evil, even of the necessary kind, in the ego and its functions—including and especially that of reason, which is an essential check against the very real dangers of uncritical awareness. Unquestioning acceptance is the ticket to Jonestown.

Thus, beware of all self-proclaimed “spiritual teachers” who insist that their followers erase their egos in order to find bliss. You can rest assured that those ‘egoless’ Ascended Masters are busily pocketing the ego-shavings of their flock and selling them at a heft profit in order to grab their own fat piece of the pie. There is no surer sign of an imperialistic ego than the immodest claims of its detractors.

But what is the imperialistic ego trying to conquer if not the very nonrational, intuitive, imaginative aspects of self that create and maintain those invisible bonds with its kin—the other group members ‘within’, as well as the greater reality ‘without’? This bloated ego run amok is acid to the glue that holds our selves, and the world, together; it is this ego that seeks to control time at all costs.

To purchase The Myth of the Great Ending from Amazon.com, click here. To get the Kindle version, click here.

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)   

Taking the Averages (Baby Out with the Bath Water 2)

Averages Years ago, I belonged to a church with a dynamic pastor. His sermons were engaging and practical, mostly empowering and uplifting.

One of the sermons stuck with me, a homily dealing with “averages”.

The minister, speaking from a rather traditional stance mind you, said that God doesn’t measure our lives by a few instances…but rather, “averages”. And, he encouraged the congregation not to judge their life based on a few acts, either, but rather, how they lived “on average”.

What a fantastic concept, especially for those with extreme inner critics that like to cut off at the knees!

The point being that we’re all human, we all make mistakes, and we all have quirks that may not “measure up” to either our own standards or values, or those of others. (After all, in the Greek, the word for “sin”—hamartia—is an archery term that merely means to “miss the mark”).

I’ve found that this “taking the averages” approach a great way for choosing whose ideas, teachings or influence permeates my boundaries.

Cheer However, as a public figure, I’ve found it interesting to witness how easily some—especially in the insular (incestuous?) online Tarot world (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re not a part of it, so no worries!)—throw the “baby out with the bath water” (see Part 1 at this link).

For example, some have fawned all over me, Ron, and Snowland Tarot on our Facebook page. They call the images “brilliant”, “innovative”, “inspired” or “extraordinary”. They take time to share how the images affects them, or connect to esoterica or the “down and dirty of life”.

But then, a few join an online Facebook group I was a part of…and see the 5 of Wands or 7 of Swords or Magician part of Janet (as an example). Janet, when in groups, is prone to “shakes things up”…on purpose. Why? Because nothing grows in stagnant pools or manifests without contrast to “goody two shoes light and love”. Because she serves Trickster for a greater cause. Because innovators and pioneers don’t fit snugly among groupthink.

Brilliant Mask Forgive me for slipping into 3rd person there, but who I am—my soul, spirit, the part without the human trappings, whatever you want to call it—isn’t my earthly persona(s) nor the roles I play. The archetypal masks I don as service TO my soul, and as service for others and the higher good, are not ME. Likewise, the archetypal patterns that YOU play out on a frequent basis. (See, that’s where we get tripped up: confusing our archetypal patterns with Who We Are or what Someone Else Is).

So, I’ve noticed how people have “unliked” the Snowland Tarot Facebook page, or unfriended me on Facebook, or blocked me on Twitter. Interestingly, some of these were the same ones that have gushed over me, my books, my reviews, Ron’s art, the Snowland Tarot concept and so on.

What changed?

These ones—and I’m assuming they’re not just sycophants—loved a large body of work (whether reviews, one of my books, my blogs, Ron’s images, etc.). But something they witnessed, a small snapshot of behavior, caused them to “throw out” the majority of what (they said) they loved.

Interesting, no?

Someone reads a post or Tweet or review that upsets them and—POOF!—their fandom ceases.

Imagine a scale, if you will.

On one side is all the good, desirable, appreciated, stimulating, informative, fresh, agreed with, helpful, beautiful, fill-in-the-blank things that make them “fans” or “likers” or “followers” or even “friends”. Looks pretty darn heaping, that side of the scale.

Snowland Scale On the other side of the scale, toss one or a few incidents, comments, reviews, or observations that generate discomfort, disagreement or conflict. Small pile, if that.

But somehow, in the eyes of a viewer, that small pile somehow outweighs all the “perceived good”. Thus, I, my work or Snowland Tarot or whatever…gets tossed out. Janet is now a pariah—excluded, blocked, banned and ignored or, worse, stalked, harassed and slandered.

It’s not just me or my work, either.

How many times have we admired, enjoyed, praised or benefited from someone or his work and, he makes a misstep or says something we don’t like or does something we disagree with and—POOF!—we effectively erase him and his influence out of our lives.

What does this say about us?

How do we grow when the people we admire or respect do what we like or want 100% of the time? Where is the learning through contrast? And what if that admired one eventually screws up (in our eyes)? Says something that upsets us?

Are we then off to the next person who will stroke our egos or make us feel fuzzy or tell us what we want to hear or ensures we stay in our comfort zones?

You tell me.

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)   

New Releases September - October 2011

Below are just a few of the New Releases for the months of September through October 2011:

To see the rest of the goodies, please visit my main website at this link. Enjoy!

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)   

Did You Know? Using Amazon Links to Support Writers (Like Me!)

Did you know that you can support writers and reviewers like myself...at no extra cost to you?

Here's how: I happen to be an Amazon Associate, and as such, I have a unique Amazon associate ID when I generate links to Amazon products.

Amz log small 

By using any of my book, deck or product links (unobtrusively embedded in my blog posts, website reviews, FB posts or Tweets--or my monthly New Releases page at JanetBoyer.com) as a portal to get to Amazon.com when you're shopping, Amazon recognizes my Associates tag (janetboyercom-20).

Thus, when you check out--even when you don't order the item whose link you used to get to Amazon--I get a small percentage kickback JUST because you ordered something via  link that I posted!

Here's a few examples: Let's say you ordered The Healing Drum Kit through the highlighted link. As an Amazon Associates, I would make about $2.50 just because I referred you. Or maybe you want to get a copy of Ciro Marchetti's Legacy of the Divine Tarot. At no extra cost to you, if you use that embedded link, I earn $1.20.

However, if you use one of those links just to GET to Amazon, but only want to get a Peek-a-Prize Cat Toy Box or maybe Rush's Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland DVD...well, guess what? I still get the kickback because you used a link that has my tag on it (and Amazon happens to "remember" it).

Or, you can even use the search box below or on my main site and--you guessed it!--I get a commission on anything you buy.

So if you'd like to support me and my work, all you have to do is one of the following:

1. Bookmark this blog post and use one of the links to get to Amazon.com when you go shopping
2. Use any of the embedded links in my reviews, posts or New Releases page when you go shopping
3. Bookmark JanetBoyer.com to use the search box right on the main page when you go shopping

And that's it! It doesn't cost you any extra at all, but helps me pay for blog hosting, site hosting and more.

Thanks so much!

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)   

Playing with Images - Grandpa Snowman Marionette and the Snowmonaut

I'm excited to share a new feature here at Snowland called Playing With Images! These interactive creative games are geared towards fiction writers, poets, storytellers, artists, musicians, Tarot readers--anyone inspired by imagery in their work (or play!).

The first one involves a conversation between Grandpa Snowman Marionette and the Snowmonaut:

Grandpa 350 Snowmonaut 320 

What do you imagine the Grandpa Snowman Marionette saying to the Snowmonaut? What would the Snowmonaut say to the Grandpa Snowman Marionette? What advice would each give to one another? What encouragements? Warnings?

To take this a step further (for those of you up to an artistic challenge!), write a story, poem or song involving these two characters. If you're a Tarot reader, the Grandpa Snowman Marionette is the 8 of Swords card from the Snowland Tarot, while the Snowmonaut is The Star card. How might those cards or associations interact given these images?

8 of Swords 250Stars 250 

Have fun, and I can't to see what you come up with!

-- Janet


BIT Tarot Snapshot: First Trip to Walt Disney World

The BIT (Back in Time) Tarot Method is a technique created by Janet Boyer for examining events, people, stories and memories, and is the basis of her book Back in Time Tarot  (Hampton Roads Publishing).

“What a celebrated symbol that Star is! So many stories, poems, songs about a falling star, a lonely star, a twinkling star, a shining star, wish upon a star, you are my star, written in the stars, star wars, and so on. Such is the power of a Star, but what makes it so? A Star can convey our wishes to eternity.” – From Playing with Symbols: The Essential Companion Book to the Sakki-Sakki Tarot

Disney 1 “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you…”  From the Walt Disney motion picture Pinocchio, this lilting, magical song won an Academy Award for best song in 1940. Still readily recognizable by young and old, When You Wish upon a Star captures the childhood nursery rhyme “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight…I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.”—a rhyme of longed for hopes and dreams.

One of my fondest wishes was to visit Walt Disney World (WDW) in Orlando, Florida. Well, in May of 2006, an unusual dream filled my sleep, one where my family and I were at WDW. When I awoke, a strange feeling overcame me. I felt that I was supposed to go to WDW—that year.

Not expecting an enthusiastic response (let alone in the affirmative), I awakened my husband and told him of my dream. I asked him point blank—can we go to WDW in August for our anniversary?

Imagine my surprise when he was quite open to the idea! In fact, I started planning the vacation that day—and we celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary at WDW.

Disney hatStar – I chose this card to represent the childlike longing I had in my heart to visit WDW. No one I knew had ever visited the parks, and I’m not sure where my desire originated—except, perhaps, my love for Disney movies and their celebration of the Magical Child archetype.

Queen of Wands – Was it the Queen of Wands-like power of persuasion that convinced my husband to agree to a rather spontaneous vacation? While that could be true most times, I can’t help believe that my dream—and our vacation—was something planned beyond this earthly realm…

The Fool – Although I expected a Knight of Pentacles response (or perhaps even the Four of Pentacles!) from my husband, he got in the spirit of the trip much like The Fool. He was willing to take the financial risk, willing to go on a (probable) once-in-a-lifetime vacation and excitedly joined in on this unexpected whirlwind—based on a dream.

Eight of Wands – I see this as a “smooth sailing” card and everything about our flight to Florida was smooth and enjoyable. We didn’t have to wait through security lines at the airport, and although it was the first plane trip for my husband and son (and only my second) we weren’t nervous at all.

Cirque 300 Four of Wands – One of the first things we did in Florida was attend La Nouba, the permanent Cirque du Soleil shows located at the Downtown Disney area. This energetic acrobatic circus group performed astounding feats of agility and daring, while live musicians and interactive clowns accompanied the highly skilled dancers, gymnasts and cyclists. This amazing show reminded me of the Four of Wands card in the Victorian Romantic Tarot by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov, which depicts traveling performers on an outdoor stage.

In the companion book to this deck, Karen writes of this card, “The Four of Wands is about the joy and sense of freedom that comes from taking time out from the usual routine. Nowadays carnivals, parades and rock festivals are often the events that allow us to be a bit outrageous, do something daring, have fun and just forget work and responsibilities for awhile.” She notes that in the nineteenth century, it was more likely circuses and traveling fairs “that provided this temporary social liberation.”

Six of Cups – Every “Cast Member”, as WDW employees are called, was extraordinarily kind. One time, we were trying to figure out how to get all of us in a picture, and a Cast Member—not even on duty, just walking through the park—stopped and cheerfully asked if she could take our picture for us. The proactive kindness of WDW employees reminded me of the benevolent gift portrayed in many versions of this card: the gift of flowers.

Disney 5 Six of Wands – One of the many highlights of WDW is the amazing parades held in the various parks. From the brightly lit SpectroMagic parade held in the dark of night to (my favorite) Share a Dream Come True parade featuring spectacular snow globe floats, glorious music and over 100 performers, the gleeful anticipation of beloved Disney characters arriving in fantastical fashion encapsulates a primary energy of the Six of Wands card.

The World – At one point, we were in Epcot and struck up a conversation with a gentleman from Syria. My favorite park in WDW, Epcot features pavilions, entertainment and restaurants from around the world. During the informative conversation, he mentioned that another family from Pennsylvania once talked to him and they were from a “sister city” that shared the same name of his hometown in Syria. Interestingly, my husband once lived in this very town in Pennsylvania! “It’s a small world after all…”—indeed!

Your Turn

• Recall a favorite vacation destination, trip or outing you’ve experienced. Which Tarot cards would you select to represent what you saw, felt and heard during that time?

• Whether on TV, in person, from a book or during a movie, have you ever witnessed what can only be deemed a “spectacle”? Re-create the scenario using Tarot cards.

• Think of a Disney movie, TV special or character that enjoys enduring popularity or currently seems “everywhere” these days. Choose Tarot cards that you feel captures the essence of the character, show or related accoutrements.

Yes, those are actual pictures of our first (and only) trip to Walt Disney World!


Mystery Murders: Jack the Ripper PC Game

Mystery 7 I’ve played a handful of PC games claiming to be Tarot-related, but the new Mystery Murders: Jack the Ripper is the first one to not only include actual Rider-Waite card images, but actual Tarot explanations and spreads.

Even better, this is one of the better PC Hidden Object/Puzzle games I’ve played (and there’s been dozens!).

Set in England (natch), Mystery Murders: Jack the Ripper features Emma de Ville, a clairvoyant receiving startling, gruesome visions about a killer at her home in Piccadilly Circus.

The hidden object parts are actually quite challenging, even in casual mode (I’ve had to use the hint button at least once in every scene), and while the puzzles aren’t too difficult (like those in Mystery Case Files: Madame Fate and subsequent MCF games), they’re still engaging. There are also clever, original matching games I haven’t seen before in a PC game of this stripe, so it’s nice to actually be surprised when playing one!

One scene even featured a Celtic Cross layout, and the journal explains Tarot and the terms Major and Minor Arcana (how cool is that?)

I’m only 45 minutes into it, but I can say that, so far, this is a very well-done Hidden Object/Puzzle game with attractive graphics and easy-to-use interface.

Go try it out yourself for free for 60 minutes at Big Fish Games. After that, you can choose to buy it for only $6.99 (BFG is where I buy 98% of my PC games).

Below are some screen shots I took. Nice eye candy, huh?

Enjoy!

Mystery Murders Jack the Ripper 1 SMALL 
Mystery Murders 2 SMALL 
Mystery Murders Jack 3 SMALL 
Mystery Murders 4 SMALL 
Mystery Murders 5 SMALL 
 -- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)   


Tarot in Reverse Update

Reverse Book Janet 300 Big news from my publisher, Schiffer Books!

My Editor loved my manuscript of Tarot in Reverse so much that she lobbied for it to be in full color, on glossy pages...and the publishing team agreed to it! I am blown away, and humbled, that Tarot in Reverse will be getting such special treatment!

Because it will now be a bigger book, I also have an extra 10,000-15,000 words I can write, so I plan on including sample readings using reversals from my own case files.

The sorta bad news, though, is that they nixed Ana's cover, saying it lacked continuity (since the interior imagery will be Universal Waite). But we'll still get her lovely design in there in the back of the book, with a write up on her and her art!

Is this good news or what?!

Because Schiffer Books is so collaborative, they asked for my input on the cover. I came up with a mock-up to inspire them using the Universal Waite images they required. (And a huge thanks to U.S. Games Systems, Inc. for giving me permission to use their images throughout Tarot in Reverse and on the cover. They rock!)

I'm so excited because I know this will be a beautiful book, and because I know you'll find Tarot in Reverse (only the 3rd book on the market to address reversed cards!) an informative, entertaining and enormously helpful read. Coming Spring 2012!

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)   

Cold Sauce with the Christmas Pudding from 1894 Issue of The Century Magazine

Our steadfast and fearless Snowland historical scholar Craig Conley has dug up yet another treasure from bygone days! This image comes from from a 1894 issue of The Century Magazine:

Century 1894 Cold Sauce 500 
Beautiful, isn't it?

If you haven't already, you really must visit Craig's site at OneLetterWords.com! He's one of the most original, fascinating and entertaining guys in the world...I kid you not. Thanks again, Craig, for providing Snowland with these wonderful images!

-- Janet


Snowland Tarot Artist Journal #1

Ron Painting Ron says:

I was always drawn towards more sophisticated, adult-oriented art and design. At age 5 or 6, I remember being completely entranced by the simplicity, elegance and functionality of a Zippo lighter. I had seen these lighters somewhere and I tried to recreate the shape out of aluminum foil. I also remember being fascinated by small electric motors at a young age—a penchant for gadgetry that remains today.

-- Janet


Fearology

I'm pleased to bring you this empowering excerpt from the book Beyond Human by Jaden Rose Phoenix, courtesy of Ruby at FSB Associates. Enjoy!

Fearology

 Excerpt from Beyond Human: Claiming the Power and Magic of Your Limitless Self by Jaden Rose Phoenix

Beyond Human One of the biggest limitations we all face, as we try to find this point of power, is fear. No one escapes this limitation in some form or another. Once, early in my consciousness studies, I was ruminating on the idea of power. I decided I would look for my power in a meditation. Once still and quiet, I looked around and saw a ladder leading up. I climbed for a very long time up beyond the clouds, and came to the edge of a wall. Over that wall, I knew I would find my power. I peered over that wall, and what I saw struck instant fear in my heart. My power, it seemed, went on for as far as the eye could see into infinity. I quickly climbed down that ladder, a bit awestruck. Awesome power does require an awesome responsibility. Was I ready for that?

Fear is something that I have studied very closely for some time; you could possibly refer to me as a "fearologist." Fear has attracted my close attention ever since an incident that occurred many years ago. A mentor told me that if I wanted to know what my destiny in this world was, all I needed to do was to sit in meditation and in that space, walk down a road, and meet my future self coming in the other direction. I could ask this future self what my destiny was, and I would get an answer. So I did this meditation and when I met my future self, I was told the following: "Your purpose is to lead people through their fear. Fear is the root of all the problems on your planet. Indeed the opposite of love is not hate, but fear. Hate is simply one form of fear. In fact, the reason we do not experience peace on Earth is solely because of fear."

When I first heard these words, I really didn't know how I would ever apply the concept of "leading people through their fear" in my life. But I walked away from that meditation with a firm knowledge that fear is simply an illusion. And because I "knew" that fear was not real, I was less affected by it in everyday situations. What do I mean by that? I mean that I understood that being afraid wasn't a valid excuse. This was the single most important idea that helped me move beyond fear.

Exercise: Fear-Busting Rehearsal

Continue reading "Fearology" »


Noah Sez: Meaning of Life

Noah May 2011 200 We were sitting on the couch at 2:40 AM, my son and I.

Noah was playing ATV Off-Road Fury 2 on PS2, and I was reading Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations.

In particular, I sat pondering quotes from Meister Eckhart, with commentary by Matthew Fox, especially on the topic of inner and outer work.

I thought I’d ask Noah the most profound, and common, question we humans tend to ask.

So as he’s navigating his tricked out ATV through Prospect Springs, eyes glued ahead on the TV, I put it to him:

“Noah, what is the meaning of life?”

Without missing a beat (er, jump) he replied matter-of-factly, “Doing the things you love most—with your friends and family”.

-- Janet (Mom to Noah, another Renaissance Soul Ablaze)


Ron’s Playlist (So What DOES An Artist Listen to While He Paints?)

Ron Wave 350 With over 500 songs on his Sansa Fuze, Ron admits that not every song sounds ideal when he’s in the midst of painting. Enjoying music while working more than not, Ron has a shortlist of songs that always feels like “soul grub” no matter what he’s painting (click on the links to hear the songs or watch the videos!):

Sixpence None the RicherANY song!
EnyaCaribbean Blue and Orinoco Flow
Jimmy HendrixAll Along the Watchtower
Olivia Newton-JohnMagic
PoliceBring on the Night; King of Pain; Message in a Bottle; Spirits in the Material World
Billy Joel Downeaster Alexa
Scorpions (With the Berlin Philharmonic, from Moment of Glory) – Send Me an Angel
Fuel Innocent
FridaThere’s Something Going On
Pat BenatarLove is a Battlefield
Madonna Hollywood
System of a Down Roulette; Hypnotize
EvanescenceTaking Over Me
EurythmicsSweet Dreams
Gary NumanCars
Ace of Base Cruel Summer
StingA Thousand Years
Tears for FearsShout
NirvanaMost of the Unplugged Album

Below is a super-cool version of Madonna's "Hollywood" (one of the songs mentioned above) that includes a video montage of Rider-Waite Tarot cards!

 

-- Janet


9/11 BIT Tarot Snapshot by Lon Milo DuQuette

Twin Towers In honor of the 10th anniversary of 9/11/01, I'm reprinting a BIT Tarot Snapshot from Back in Time Tarot penned by Lon Milo DuQuette--courtesy of my publisher, Hampton Roads Publishing.

Like all the BIT Snapshots in my book, there's a brief introduction, a deconstruction of the memory/story/movie/event and the pairing of Tarot cards with the various components--followed by my commentary and three Your Turn exercises for you to experiment with.

Among other things, the BIT Tarot Method can be used to make sense of difficult circumstances, bringing awareness, insight and healing to even the most devastating situations. While seemingly nonsensical, even horrendous, things happen in the world and to us, we can try to navigate troubling times by pondering the suffering of others, creating personal meaning and resolving to "play the card life deals us" with courage and grace.

9/11 BIT Tarot Snapshot by Lon Milo DuQuette

The destruction of the twin towers of New York City’s World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, was the seminal event of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Theories concerning what really happened abound, and nearly everyone, including me, has an opinion. Here’s what I see when I go “back in time” to view that terrible event and its aftermath through the magick lens of the Tarot.

Deck used: Thoth Tarot

The Moon: Two figures of the jackal-headed Egyptian god Anubis (guardian of the dead) stand before the dark twin towers of the Moon card. Drops of blood fall from the sky in the space between the two towers. All is not as it appears. Illuminated by the false light of the moon in her infernal aspect, the entire card is a glyph of madness and deception—the nauseating delusion of a nightmare.

Moon 200 

The Tower: This card is also titled “the Blasted Tower” and “the House of God.” The scene is dominated by a lightening-struck tower crumbling in flames as human figures plunge from the heights. The white dove of peace, olive branch still in her beak, soars toward the edge of the card as if to flee the horrible spectacle. (See Joan Bunning’s “The Struck Tower” and Lisa Hunt’s “The Year of the Tower Card” for their takes on the Tower card in connection with 9/11.)

Tower 200 

Eight of Swords: This card is also titled “Interference” or “Lord of Shortened Force.” Jet fighters that could have intercepted the hijacked commercial planes are occupied in a Vice President Dick Cheney–ordered and –supervised “exercise” many hundreds of miles away and unable to assist. Chaos on multiple communication levels ensues.

8 SW 200 

The Hanged Man: Television viewers around the world are helpless as they are bound to their sets as the scenes of horror unfold.

Hanged 200 

Five of Disks: This card is also called “Worry.” The large fragmented disks on the card suggest the breach in the wall where a plane or missile penetrates the building. When the Pentagon is hit, the nation worries that the White House will be targeted next.

5 Disks 200 

Death: The enormity of the death toll begins to sink in as reports of the building’s occupancy numbers are calculated. The day has become a grotesque dance of death.

Death 200 
Ten of Swords: This card is alternately titled “Ruin.” Shortly after Lady Harris painted this card on September 18, 1939, she wrote Aleister Crowley saying, “I have done the Ten of Swords & promptly Russia takes up arms.” (For more information on the artist for Crowley’s Thoth deck, Lady Frieda Harris, see the commentary for this BIT Snapshot and for Mark McElroy’s “Finding My Way Back to Faith” in chapter 3.)

10 SW 200 

The Emperor: Presidential authority gains near martial-law omnipotence. Congress becomes a rubber stamp to the build up to war. Habeas corpus is suspended. Phones and e-mails of an entire nation are monitored.

Emperor 200 

Janet's Commentary:

In his intriguing book Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, Lon had this to say about the deck he used for his BIT Snapshot, one of the most arresting Tarot decks extant:

When we ask what makes the Thoth Tarot unique, the first and most obvious answer is the artwork...The cards of the Thoth Tarot display more than just Lady Harris’s skillful execution of traditional tarot images, fine-tuned to reflect a more modern understanding of self and the natural universe...Harris exceeded Crowley’s wildest expectations by actually incorporating within the very fabric of her style the profoundly subtle essence of his spiritual doctrine. It was a supreme wedding of artistic technique and deepest mysticism.

Thoth cover 300 Some Tarotists associate the Emperor with the “long arm of the law” as well as all things governmental. On one end of the spectrum, laws can protect individuals and enable a smoothly functioning democracy. Taken to the other extreme, however, laws (or even unauthorized actions) can result in invasion of privacy, abuse of authority, and oppression.

Quoting Aleister Crowley in the Book of Thoth, Lon notes the following about the Moon card in Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot: “Upon the hills are black towers of nameless mystery, of horror and of fear. All prejudice, all superstition, dead tradition and ancestral loathing, all combine to darken her face before the eyes of men.” Indeed, as 9/11 was occurring, the public watched in helpless horror, not knowing what was happening as plumes of dark smoke rose upward and ash spread across New York City.

In the Thoth Tarot, six horizontal swords and two vertical ones form a type of lattice in the Eight of Swords card. Because the swords suit often relates to the realm of communication, the overlaying swords almost seem to form a wall—perhaps signifying blocked messages. In fact, in his book, Lon describes the complex Qabalistic and astrological associations with this card, noting, “Jupiter in Gemini indicates and element of luck in intellectual pursuits. Hod is the sphere of Mercury, who rules Gemini. As it does to the eights of the other suits, however, Hod’s imbalance and lowly position on the Tree of Life throws a wet blanket on what otherwise might have been a fortunate coupling.” If those jet fighters weren’t already engaged in military exercises hundreds of miles away, their presence would have indeed been advantageous and—just maybe—could have intercepted the second plane that slammed into the Twin Towers.

Hanged 350 In many Tarot decks, the Hanged Man—or Hanged One—is suspended from a tree or post. Most times, he appears content, even radiant. In other images, he appears trussed up against his own will. In the Thoth Tarot version of the Hanged Man, the figure is suspended upside down, the left leg attached to an ankh via a coiled snake. Phrases such as “hung up,” “hang on,” “hang tight,” “hang ten,” “hang in there,” or “hung in the air” all imply some type of fixation, cessation, or suspension—and on 9/11, many around the world suspended everyday life as they sat glued to their televisions in complete shock.

The Death card in the Thoth deck is truly a work of art—sacred geometry, in fact. Technically speaking, it’s one of the most striking renderings of death in the Tarot, especially with Lady Harris’s painted geometric lines emanating from the crowned ebony skeleton. I’m actually a bit surprised Lon picked the Death card for this BIT Snapshot because I’m familiar with his unusually positive take on this card. He writes: "The Death card of the Thoth Tarot is the antithesis of those found in traditional packs. This is no stiff grim reaper standing on the Earth, indiscriminately mowing down people, young and old, humble and highborn. This Death is vivacious and flexible. He wears the crown of Osiris and dances madly on the bottom of the sea. Instead of mowing down the living, he uses his scythe to stir up bubbles of new lives from out of the seemingly dead and decaying sediment."

10 SW 350 Regarding the Ten of Swords, Lon acknowledges, “It is difficult to put a good spin on this card” because “[a]long with the other tens, the Ten of Swords can’t degenerate any lower without completely changing suits.” Quoting Crowley, Lon says the creator of the Thoth Tarot intended the Ten of Swords to represent the “ruin of the Intellect . . . and even all of mental moral qualities.” For eons, humanity has speculated if any “good” can come from violence and war. Just as many lives, families, businesses, and alliances were ruined on 9/11, violence continues to ripple outward from the fateful day.

Your Turn

•  The worldwide impact of 9/11 was huge. Where were you when the Twin Towers fell? What were your thoughts and feelings? How has your view of America changed? Your view of the world? Choose cards that represent your attitude, surroundings, and reactions at the time and at present.

•  How did your friends, family, coworkers, teachers, or community react to 9/11? Were there blood drives, appeals for donations, or recruitment for volunteers to help at Ground Zero? Which cards do you feel best represent what was going on around you at the time?

•  If we were to believe the news, the world’s opinion of a post–9/11 United States has shifted dramatically. How do you feel other countries view America? Select cards to represent the actions taken on behalf of the United States, as well as the attitudes and perceptions of the world at large.

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)