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July 2012

Rabbit Symbolism in the Tarot

Bunny Q P

If ever there were a “breeder” card in the Tarot, it would be the Queen of Pentacles.

You know, women like Michelle Duggar and the Octomom?

Of course, The Empress could technically be a breeder, too…but she doesn’t have an important symbol that the Queen of Pentacles card contains: a bunny.

Because female rabbits bear up to five litters a year, each producing three-six bunnies—and with a gestation period of only four weeks and being able to mate again two weeks after birth—these animals are synonymous with fertility.

While the Empress governs creativity, how she expresses her energy in the every day world manifests in the Queens. The Pentacles suit deals with the material realm—body, health, money, property, food, home, environment and so on—so when coupled with the Queen, we have a character who nurtures, supports and connects in the physical world.

Of all the Queens, the Queen of Pentacles is the most physically productive, whether via childbearing, crafting, cooking, baking or “making things”. Thus, it makes sense that Pamela Colman Smith, under the direction of Arthur E. Waite, drew a bunny in the lower right-hand corner of the Queen of Pentacles card for the Rider-Waite Tarot deck.

Q P 350Note, however, that quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality. 

It’s the Queen of Swords who swoops in with incisive gaze and flashing exacto knife for precision and quality control.

And quantity doesn’t necessarily mean innovative or charismatic. 

You’d have the Queen of Wands prancing in with her colorful caftan (or power suit), adding verve and pizzazz to any project.

Lastly, quantity doesn’t necessarily mean soulful or joyful. How many harried moms do you see in the grocery store toting four or more kids? Nah, you’d need the Queen of Cups to infuse patience and gentleness to the situation.

OK, so we get that bunnies symbolize fertility. And that the Queen of Pentacles is the only Rider-Waite Tarot card featuring the rabbit. You can now view this card, and the other Queens, in a fresh, fertile light.

But wait! There’s more to the bunny symbol than meets the eye!

According to The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images by Taschen, the rabbit also connects to:

  • Lunar energies
  • Life cycles
  • Seeing both forward and backward (eyes on the side of the head)
  • Ability to run at high speeds with erratic shifts in direction
  • Sudden “freezing” as a survival instinct
  • Using sharp claws and teeth when cornered
  • Emerging in the “soft light” of dusk or dawn (thresholds of transition)
  • Unscented baby rabbits (difficult to detect)
  • High fat content in mother’s milk (enabling her to be away from her litter for long periods)
  • Lively antics (embodiment of alchemy’s Mercurius)
  • Soft fur, long ears and pink eyes endear and invite touch
  • Sexual cavorting in the moonlight (Playboy bunnies, anyone?)

White rabbitAnd let’s not forget about the White Rabbit (Alice in Wonderland), Donnie Darko, Harvey and the Easter Bunny! (Well, the Easter Bunny is yet another nod to fertility via the fertility goddess Eostre, especially with that “basket” and all those “eggs”…)

So how might you apply the above rabbit connections to the Queen of Pentacles card? What could it mean in a reading?

And that’s just the Rider-Waite Tarot!

Hundreds of Tarot decks are on the market, and many of them incorporate the bunny. Look through your decks. How many bunnies do you spot? What cards are they on? What do you think the bunny symbol could mean on those cards in light of what you learned in this post?

I’d love to hear what you discover!

 -- Janet


Forget the Self-Publishing Stigma and GO FOR IT

WritingI'm twice traditionally published, right?

Hampton Roads published my first book, Back in Time Tarotwhich was chosen by the OneSpirit Book Club as the #8th best title released in 2008...alongside titles by the likes of Deepak Chopra. 

Schiffer Publishing released my second book, Tarot in Reverse, a few months ago. And, we're contracted with them for our Snowland Tarot deck/book set.

A few weeks ago, I decided to do a book tour for Tarot in Reverse (don't know what possessed me...I don't really like doing them, despite having a gregarious personality).  So I'm on the phone with the manager of Books-a-Million--a very nice man--who's ready to schedule me for a signing and talk.

He says rather haltingly: "Well, I can get your first book here in the store...but not your new one. You can sign for Back in Time Tarot...?"

"What? But...Tarot in Reverse is available on the Books-a-Million website!". 

"Yes, I realize that", he says. "But we have two warehouses: one for online orders, and another for stocking our brick-and-mortar stores. The latter doesn't carry titles from Schiffer Publishing".

BAM noYou read right. A major book chain NOT carrying a traditional publisher's books.

Ron's 60 cards into painting Snowland...and we find out that BAM won't even carry it when it arrives in 2013.

Color me regretting signing that deck/book contract (well, I was already regretting it for other reasons, but...)

Why? Oh, not just because I've never actually seen a Schiffer Publishing book OR deck in any brick-and-mortar bookstore (which doesn't help).

It's because I make hundreds of dollars every month on my self-published eBooks...that I barely promote. Enough to pay my mortgage and then some. (And royalties for Back in Time Tarot? I haven't even earned back my advance, so I haven't seen a royalty check from them for years...)

If I would focus on putting my hard-earned knowledge in more eBooks, rather than wasting my time with traditional publishing, I could make some (more) serious coin. 

I'm writing a cozy mystery right now and thought I had to get an agent in order to pitch to NY (is it wrong to wish to have a title among the Berkley Prime Time Crime line...you know, with the little handprint on the spine?).

But like the extraordinary Kristen Lamb stated in her latest blog post How Self-Publishing Has Helped All Writers: Welcome to the RevolutionIt seems any 24 year old with a degree from NYU can hang up a shingle and call herself a literary agent and suddenly she is “real.”

2013 agents magWhoa. Never thought about it quite like that. (And if you're a writer of any stripe, you really need to read her blog post...) And she's right: authors are Googling and investigating agents these days...and wondering if we're better off without them.

Back to the point of this post: I'm here to tell you, as a traditionally-published author, that it's not all it's cracked up to be. Don't think the grass is greener here; it's not. We have to work just as hard as you for publicity and marketing (especially those of us who have publishers that don't even have a blog or tweet).

Oh, don't think self-publishing is any easier, though. (Well, maybe it is...if you count not having to deal with inept publishing staff). I've worked damn hard to build up a platform (a decade's worth), so those who buy my eBooks are largely doing so because I've established myself as a trusted reviewer, knowledgeable teacher and entertaining writer. 

You'll have to do the same if you want to make it as a career writer.

But shake off that stigma of being a "self-published writer". Yes, it's true that most self-published stuff is utter crap (sorry, but hey), and I won't review 98% of it for this reason. 

However, if you've studied the craft for years, read extensively and write lots of stuff...you have a chance.

More than just a chance, really.

Write nowA very good chance, especially if you seek the advice of other writers, push yourself and welcome honest critiques.

There's no better time to be a writer, especially if you've been at it for years and have a following (not matter how modest). Amazon's CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing (to name but a few options) are more than levelling the playing field. 

In fact, they've busted it wide open for those who have the talent, perservance, vision and enthusiasm to go after their writing dreams. 

A writer is a writer is a writer.

Wait...you're still here? Go get writing already!

-- Janet


Death Sitting on a Snowcap

Death_at_Klondike

 

Gold was discovered in large quantities in the Klondike on August 16, 1896, triggering a stampede of prospectors.  The journey was arduous and involved travelling long distances and crossing difficult mountain passes, frequently while carrying heavy loads.  Hence, this illustration from Punch, 1897, in which gold fever leads to Death.


High Priestess eBook - Tarot Explorations Card-by-Card Series

Explorations HP 400I'm thrilled to announce that the third eBook in my Tarot Explorations Card-by-Card Series is now available!

In The High Priestess eBook, you'll discover:

• Over 2,800 words, ¾ of the information not found elsewhere

• Phrases and Keywords

• People and Archetypes

• Characters, TV and Movies

• Places, Objects and Actions

• Quotes

• Songs

• Extensive Symbolism (Number 2; Black and White Pillars; B and J; Headdress; Equal-Armed White Cross; Yellow Crescent Moon; Blue Robe; Scroll; TORA; Water; Veil; Pomegranates; Date Palm Tree)

• Esoteric Correspondences

• Investigating with the 7 Clue Method

• 5 Affirmations

• 8 Journaling Questions

• High Priestess Spread with placements and image (created just for this eBook!)

• Light/Shadow Continuum and Reversals

• Link to special Pinterest board featuring images of the High Priestess from over 40 Tarot decks, curated by me


I've worked very hard on The High Priestess eBook, especially the symbolism section. Rather than regurgitate what other Tarot writers say on the subject (as many writers do), I've independently research the symbolism of the equal-armed cross, veils, pomegranates, date palm trees, yellow crescent moons and much more. 

I hope you enjoy it! The rest of the Tarot Explorations Card-by-Card Series will have this same level of scholarship combined with relevant modern applications. 

Below is the special 7-card High Priestess Spread I created exclusively for this eBook (you have to read the book to know what the positions mean, though!) ;o)

HP Spread 300

To show your support of my work, I'd greatly appreciate it if you "liked" my eBook on Amazon (near my name)--and, of course, if you'd purchase it, too. Reviews on your blog and Amazon are also very welcome. Thank you!

-- Janet


Whatsa Matta? Spread

Sometimes, you just don't know what's the matter...or what needs to matter, or even if YOU matter. Well, here's a spread for you.

Amend the words, and you can use the Whatsa Matta? Spread for your friends, family and clients. Let me know how it works out for you when you use it!

What Matter Spread 300
1. What's the matter?
2. What needs to matter now?
3. How can I best focus on that?
4. Where do I matter most?
5. How can I best remember that when the going gets rough?

-- Janet