Would you rather be hot or cold? Cold! My nickname at home is ‘the hot water bottle.’
Mountain, beach, desert or forest? Coastal, but not lying on a beach - I’d rather be beach-combing!
Favorite color? Raspberry/burgundy.
Best movie line: From The Red Shoes by Powell and Pressberger: Boris Lermontov: Why do you want to dance? [Vicky thinks for a short while] Victoria Page: Why do you want to live? [Lermontov is suprised at the answer] Boris Lermontov: Well I don't know exactly why, er, but I must. Victoria Page: That's my answer too.
Boris Lermontov: Why do you want to dance? [Vicky thinks for a short while] Victoria Page: Why do you want to live? [Lermontov is suprised at the answer] Boris Lermontov: Well I don't know exactly why, er, but I must. Victoria Page: That's my answer too.
Last thing you splurged on? Some lovely clothes.
Bonus Q: Favorite book/deck you've created or co-created (or are most proud of)? The Celtic Devotional, now sadly out of print.
About Caitlín Matthews: I have studied and taught many aspects of the Western Mysteries for over 30 years, including ancestral ritual, shamanism, and divination, whether it be reading the omens in nature, to the many kinds of early cartomancy, and also tarot and Lenormand. I am the author of over 60 books which include Enchanted Lenormand Oracle (2013), The Complete Lenormand Handbook (2014,) and have created four tarots and five oracles. I also teach all over the world. Together with John Matthews & Felicity Wombwell, I am the co-founder of The Foundation for Inspirational and Oracular Studies (FIOS) which spotlights the oral and sacred arts that often become sidelined as unimportant: we annually host exemplars of these sacred arts to teach in UK. Supporting traditional skills and methods of divination is very important to me and I am very fortunate in having so many colleagues throughout the world who share this interest. For my general website, listing books and forthcoming events, see www.hallowquest.org.uk; to see my myth and divination blog go to www.caitlin-matthews.blogspot.com.
What kind of plans are you making for the New Year?
In the video below I share some tips for surrounding your space with empowering words, creating a Blessings of Ideas Jar, coming up with your "3 Words" for the year (ala Chris Brogan's Brave New Year) and more (including a tour of my Zen Room, where I broadcast from during radio shows).
I'm super excited to tell you about a brand spanking new recurring feature on my blog called 10 Questions for Tarotist _________.
This fun, short interview will include 10 non-Tarot questions--plus a bonus question unique to the individual. I guess you can say this is my version of James Lipton's questionnaire at the end of every Inside the Actors Studio episode.
I'll be interviewing Tarot authors, bloggers, artists, deck creators, store owners, scholars, podcasters, teachers and professional readers. Woohoo!
Here are the Qs!
What’s your favorite breakfast food?
Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)?
What makes you laugh?
Song that never gets old:
Drink of choice:
Would you rather be hot or cold?
Mountain, beach, desert or forest?
Best movie line:
Last thing you splurged on?
Guess who my first interviewee will be? None other than the incomparable Caitlín Matthews!
Who else is jazzed about this new neat-o feature on my blog?
Laura and I are grateful that so many of you are enjoying our Tarot Bitches Radio show. Thanks so much for your encouraging emails and taking the time to listen! Below are the shows for December 2013. Here's to a great year in 2014!
Guilt By Association? Schoolyard Antics of Tarot Professionals (Audio Only)
I had a fabulous time on air with Heather Woodward, host of The Psychic Connection radio show. We talked about the genesis of our Snowland Deck, our favorite cards, intentions for the upcoming year and more!
My Back in Time (BIT) Tarot Method (as featured in my 2008 book Back in Time Tarot, published by Hampton Roads) shows how anyone can use--and learn--Tarot just by associating the cards with memories, songs, historical events, stories, fairytales, TV shows and more. Here's the chapter on Songs from the 80s--complete with videos to go along...and questions for further exploration.
Arguably one of the best eras for music, the eighties were a time of big hair, fluorescent colors, leg warmers, upturned collars, stonewashed jeans, and banana hairclips. Madonna began her reign as a pop goddess; synthesizers replaced disco beats, and glam metal found dudes raiding their mom’s makeup bag. Surprisingly, some successful acts from the 1980s are still around making music, but they’re sporting a lot less hair and mascara.
Wheel of Fortune: “Changes” by Yes - There’s only one constant in life, and that is change. The capricious Wheel seems to dump fortune in one person’s lap, while robbing another blind. Some people believe that a petty God lives upstairs, ready to deliver a toasty lightening bolt to those who are bad and luxurious rewards to those who are good. Others believe it is the Law of Attraction serving up whatever a person happens to be “vibrating.” One thing is for sure: the Wheel brings frustration and delight, luck and disaster. How you interpret the source of the cycles is entirely up to you.
The Emperor: “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears - Bureaucracy, gridlock, and insane pressure. While many of us don’t want to rule the entire world like an emperor, we certainly want to rule ours. What happens when the energy of rules, boundaries, and calling the shots butts up against another’s desire to do the same? Compromise would be one solution, but you’ll have to look to another card for that.
Seven of Cups: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by the Eurythmics - “I’ve traveled the world and the seven seas—everybody’s looking for something.” Because of all the intriguing choices offered in each of the seven cups in the imagery, I consider the Seven of Cups to be the “life is a buffet” card. Fame, fortune, identity, knowledge, truth, achievement, love, peace, meaning—yes, just about everyone is chasing after something. Every dream, even crazy ones, begins with a healthy dose of imagination, so is it possible that believing is a precursor to seeing?
Two of Swords: “I Know There’s Something Going On” by Frida - One-fourth of the seventies group ABBA, the attractive red-headed Swede, aided by tons of reverb, sang this haunting refrain. More often than not, many individuals do, indeed, know when “something” is going on because they’re equipped with gut feelings. However, like the blindfolded lady in the Two of Swords, they choose to “see no evil” (or, better yet, refuse to address it), so they go on pretending that nothing is going on.
Ace of Cups: “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood. When I think of the Lovers, arranged marriages and fitting partnerships come to mind. The Two of Cups, for me, is the deep connection of soul mates and close friends. What exactly is a “higher love” than that? Well, I see the Ace of Cups as a pure heart, communion with the Divine, and unconditional love.
Five of Pentacles: “Jeopardy” by the Greg Kihn Band - Admittedly, “Weird Al” Yankovic’s spoof of this song has tainted my memory a bit (“I was on Jeopardy . . . baby”), but when lead singer Kihn asks, “Where were you when I needed you?” I think of the Five of Pentacles. I can totally see the two huddling figures in the foreground as individuals who helped others in their time of need, only to be abandoned when they were in jeopardy.
Five of Cups: “Tainted Love”by Soft Cell. Speaking of tainted, I just had to include my absolute favorite song from the eighties! “Take my tears and that’s not nearly alllll, tainted love . . .” Although the tossing, turning, and not sleeping at night would be more akin to Nine of Swords, I’ve always gotten a weird vibe from the Five of Cups. The figure cloaked in black—what’s going on behind the robe? I swear, every time I look at the Universal Waite version of this card, I think I see some peeking. “Boo hoo! My feelings are hurt!” Call me cynical, but I suspect they’re crocodile tears, and if that’s the case, there’s probably a manipulator under that cloak. “Once I ran to you, now I run from you.” Indeed!
Six of Cups: “Don’t You (Forget about Me)” by Simple Minds. In one Tarot tradition, the Six of Cups is associated with the sun in Scorpio. One thing is certain about Scorpios, especially low-level ones: they never forget—especially injury and slights. However, this lovely croon tune refers to looking to the past with fondness and longing, another meaning often associated with this card. “Hey, hey, hey, hey . . .”
Ten of Pentacles:“Our House” by Madness - “Mother wearing her Sunday best”—never a good sign in song or movies. Oh, it sounds so 1950s perfect, but behind closed doors, there’s probably spousal abuse, child neglect, Internet-porn addiction, and alcoholism. But golly, I bet the linoleum floor sparkles! If the Ten of Cups is the truly cohesive, loving family, then the Ten of Pentacles may very well be the ones who pretend to be such because, for them, appearances are everything.
Four of Cups: “I Don’t Care Anymore” by Phil Collins - Whether jaded by experience or disappointed by expectations, the bored-looking figure in the Universal Waite version of this card seems to exude an “I just don’t care” attitude. Like the lyrics of this song, he just sits there “and bides his time.” But what is it that he’s waiting for? A hand emerges from the cloud, bearing a cup—what might that represent to the central figure in this card? We can only speculate, but his obstinate body language seems to indicate that he needs to deal with whatever is in those three cups before him in order to be open to the offered chalice floating in the air.
Temperance: “Send Me an Angel” by Real Life - I admit it: I made this choice because I saw it in a dream. No, I’m totally serious. I woke up one day, the dream world trailing ether as it went back from whence it came. In my head, I heard this song and saw the Universal Waite version of Temperance. The lead singer pleads, “Don’t give up . . . don’t give up . . . I’ve never been lucky in love.” Well, I believe in healing and hope, so let’s hope that angel in the card brings some measure of peace to the troubled waters of lonely hearts everywhere.
The Devil: “Witch Hunt” by RUSH - “Quick to judge, quick to anger, slow to understand. Ignorance and prejudice, as we walk hand in hand.” The Devil can be an ignorant son of a bitch, quick to call “evil” what he doesn’t know or understand. Perhaps if he’d go beyond the surface with his eye (the Hebrew word ayin, meaning “eye,”is associated with this card in Qabalistic tradition), he’d realize that we’re far more similar at core than different.
Songs convey stories, emotional content, concepts, and messages, which make them perfect catalysts for stimulating memories and intuition. Symbols are shortcuts, and like the Tarot, songs are often full of them. Thus, both can deliver a wide range of information for those who are paying attention.
For those born after 1985, “totally” was an oft-used term originating with the “Valley girls” on the left coast, but it eventually worked through the entire United States. (Don’t believe me? Look up the lyrics of the song “Valley Girl” by Frank and Moon Unit Zappa. Yes, Moon Unit is her real name. If that’s not bad enough, she has a brother named Dweezil!) Like, anyway, I’m still not done with the word “totally,” so please excuse the multiple uses in this particular BIT Snapshot. I’m not trying to gag you with a spoon, honestly.
Make a list of your favorite songs. Consider the lyrics and beat, as well as any memories or emotions evoked. Which cards would you choose to pair with the associations that arise.
Eras and cultures often have distinct musical flavors--medieval chants to doo-wop, surf music to klezmer, and so on. Bring to mind a particular culture, era, or style of music and come up with some examples. Then go through a Tarot deck and select cards that you feel represents those songs.
Recall a famous singer who made history, went far past their fifteen minutes of fame, or often lands in the headlines. Which cards seems to embody their personality, songs, reputation and personal life?
-- Janet(P.S.Back in Time Tarot was voted one of the Top 10 Best Spirituality Books of 2008 by OneSpirit Book Club--along side Deepak Chopra and other Self-Help luminaries.)
I had so much fun on the Angels Monday Radio Show today with Dax, Maria and Mary! They asked thoughtful, considered questions about the genesis and production of our Snowland Deck--as well as the inspiration around some of our cards. They also asked what it's like to create an entire Tarot deck--a 2+year project--with your husband.
Did you miss it? Never fear--you can hear it below. (I came downstairs halfway through the show and had Mr. Ron come on the air to talk about his creative process. Teehee!). I have to say--I think this was the most enjoyable interview I've ever had.
I'll be on two radio shows this week talking about our Snowland Deck and doing mini-readings!
First up, tomorrow at 4 PM EST (12/16/13), I'll be on the Angels Monday Radio Show with Maria Maas, TarotDactyl (Mary Brown) and Dax Carlisle. Click here for the show page to listen live--or in archive (in case you miss it).
Then, on Thursday, 12/19/13 at 6 PM EST, I'll be on The Psychic Connection with Heather Woodward. Click here to go to the show page (which will also be archived, in case you miss the live show).
Can't wait to be on with these soulful folks to share about the creation, process and publication of our Snowland Deck!
As some of you know—especially those of you involved in the online Tarot world—the last two years have been especially difficult for me because of an organized blacklisting and boycotting of me and my work.
Unfortunately, the behind-the-scenes antics went beyond just the blackballing of me, personally.
My “friends” were threatened by these people—put on notice that if they didn’t unfriend me on Facebook, they would be unfriended and marginalized in the little Tarot pond.
Many succumbed to this juvenile style of peer pressure, resulting in unfriending and blocking of my social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Google+). Even a glowing LinkedIn endorsement was removed by one of those who caved.
The most recent incident—just a mere week ago—involved my friend and colleague, Laura. You can read (and hear) about it here.
They picked on the wrong person this time—and ballsy, fabulous Laura spoke out about the discrimination and spiritualization of such behavior.
Anyway! This post is about friendship. And I thank you, Laura, for being such an intelligent, passionate, articulate and funny colleague. You rock!
But I also want to thank three other women who have been instrumental in my healing, recovering and comeback this year.
Amanda Donnelly – Amanda, you were one of those threatened for associating with me or daring to support my work. Yet, you refused to kowtow. Not only that, you wrote a blog post about feeling guided to gift someone with a rare, out-of-print Tarot of the Cloisters (a deck I’ve pined for). My spidey-sense joked with you in the comments “Hey, thanks, I’d love to receive it!” (Sorry for being a Scorpio spoiler!). And here, I guessed right: you wanted to gift me this deck. I still haven’t taken it out of the box after the initial look-through because it feels like a sacred object. (I know, I know…decks are for using! I promise to bring it out soon—especially for meditation and journaling work). I appreciate your friendship, kindness, wisdom, discernment and honesty more than you know. I'm sorry it took me 1 1/2 years (!) to pubicly aknowledge your treasured gift...but I was still processing (and healing).
Lisa Frideborg Lloyd – Lisa, your courageous public apology on your blog started the process. It let me know that, yes, other people see what’s been going on (including the lies and deception)—and that I wasn’t alone (even though it felt like it). You weren’t trying to be spiritual or “enlightened” by making such a post; in fact, I wouldn’t even have known about it if it weren’t for my blog trackbacks. You were living authentically and honestly. I thank you.
Tierney Sadler – Tierney, one day, when you’re a rich and famous spiritual guru ala Wayne Dyer—I’ll say “I knew her when!” (Yeah, when she ran the Friday night confessionals on FB. Ha!) You were one that was also threatened with “unfriending” and blacklisting. You refused to play the adolescent schoolyard games—and was locked out of a (small) “cool kids” club because of it…even when you had a deck/book about to be published. It’s one thing to stand strong when you don’t have something to “lose”—but quite another when you’re about to make your publishing debut. Your blog is my absolute favorite; it brims with spiritual wisdom that is clear, bright and true. Thank you for the spiritual smack-downs, detached perspective, humor and equanimity you bring to our friendship.
Also, huge thanks to my Facebook posse who’ve stood strong with encouragement and kindness—Angie (girlfriend!), Samantha, Peter—there are many of you, and I’m afraid I’ll miss someone if I try to list you all. But your public and private notes of love kept me going.
And, thank you to my new friends who I’ve connected with this year (especially as a result of my appearance on Coast to Coast AM); you are amazing individuals—creative, heart-based, wise and inspiring folks! I’m blessed to know you.
In closing, I thought I’d provide you with some information about the Bully archetype—what it is…and what it isn’t. Read my post about the Bully/Coward dynamic. I also encourage you to read this article (it's about workplace and organizational bullying). Sound familiar?
Also, did you know one of the hallmarks of a bully is the attempt to isolate and humiliate via gossip, slander, intimidation and threats? It’s not always about vocal, public abuse—especially among females, who tend to prefer are more insidious, back door approach.
After our son Noah's piano lesson, we all hung around and talked to the guy behind the counter (who happens to be the mayor of the town and a former pro musician in LA). We talked about music and theater and dance (his wife is an opera singer/teacher)--especially as it relates to kids.
Turns out that he, too, has a son named Noah--who also turned 15 this year (just a few weeks after our Noah). Anyway, I happened to have Noah's copy of our Snowland Deck in my purse, and I showed it to the guy. As he was looking through each of the cards, he remarked "Hey. There's two of the same card in the deck. What does that mean?"
He flipped over the card--and it was 8 Material (aka the 8 of Coins). Immediately, I blurted out "You're working overtime". (The 8 Material card can indicate "work", among other things. Two "work" cards? Overtime or double-time.)
He said "Yeah, I've been working a lot, alright." Then he grew thoughtful. "Wait. I'm working overtime tonight." (He works in a coalmine and was working an overtime shift that night.)
I chuckled and said "Tarot has a sense of humor like that, sometimes. It's waving at you!"
But then it hit me.
If Noah's deck had two 8 Material cards...then where did the extra come from?
We do readings for each other here at home and, sometimes, Ron and/or Noah shuffles my deck between readings. (We each have our own deck). I checked my working deck--and (you guessed it)--I was missing the 8 Material card! Somehow, one of us accidentally put that card back in the wrong Snowland Deck.
I've been performing dozens of Tarot readings the last few weeks--and have no idea when that card was misplaced. (I will say the 8 Material card never showed up in the last month--at all--so it may have been missing for some time!)
And yet, all my clients responded that my readings were amazingly accurate and helpful.
Even, apparently, without the 8 of Coins card.
So it begs the question: can a Tarot deck be accurate without a card? Two cards? Five cards? When would it stop being a solid, working Tarot deck? (But then, wouldn't it just serve as an oracle?)
In my opinion? Yes--a Tarot deck can still work brilliantly, even with a missing card (or two or three).
Well, psychic Tarot readers can pull on other visual and intuitive clues to get the same information. Or, another card hinting at the same (or a similar) theme will come up (or a combination of cards).
The funny thing? The card below kept showing up in readings. I even mentioned it on my Facebook page, it was so uncanny.
And what does it picture? Why, a Tomten at work...of course.
Not only do you see the Card-of-the-Moment image, but also a "secret" and the keywords from my Snowland DeckIntuitive Workbookthat goes along with each card.
Click here to visit the page, get your free Snowland Card-of-the-Moment reading and bookmark for daily use (or whenever you need an inspirational dose of snowy wisdom).
Love the widget so much you want your very own to place on a blog or website? ::tosses magic snowflakes:: Guess what? You can have that, too! Designer Aaron Bradley loved our Snowland Deckso much, he created a widget for everyone's free use. How cool is that? Click here to snag the code so you can share the Snowland love.
When the weatherman tells you it will rain, you're forewarned--so you can bring an umbrella. Perhaps the perky weathergal tells you that there will be snow with icy roads. Aha! You can stay off the roads and choose to go shopping another day. Or not. With free will, you get to choose what you want to do--forecast or no.
My New Year Forecasts are a lot like a weather forecast. Using my intuitive gifts and the Tarot, I draw a card to give you the "psychic weather" for an entire year--month by month. In addition, I also give you insight on what you most need to release from the previous year (you don't want to bring unnecessary baggage into the New Year, right?)--as well as what you'd benefit from embracing in the upcoming year...along with a helpful, personalized affirmation to keep you on course.
Please note: Each and every New Year Reading is unique! This is not a "one-size-fits-all" pre-written Forecast. This is a Forecast specially crafted for you for the upcoming year.
Ready to get your sneak peek into what awaits you for 2014? How about at $40 off the regular price? That's right: Instead of $115, you get my customized New Year Forecast for only $75. (Yeah, I know...a crazy good deal. This is less than I charge for my Whole Enchilada Tarot readings!).
Awesome! I'm ready, too. Click here to visit my New Year Forecast 2014 specials page on JanetBoyer.com.
EDIT: Apparently, Marcus Katz is so upset at being unmasked, he not only had my blogs shut down temporarily (including TarotBitches.com), but somehow got Blog Talk Radio to take down the show. Fortunately, I had already downloaded it as a mp3, so you can listen to it below. That's right: full access to the show he does not want you to hear!
What happens when the behavior of Tarot professionals...aren't so professional? My colleague Laura Brown experienced a recent incident at the hands of Marcus Katz that will have you shaking your head at best and dropping your jaw at worst.
Her "crime"? Co-hosting the Tarot Bitches Radio Show with me, being my friend, and publicly supporting my body of work.
Boycotting, blacklisting, defamation, guilt by association, harassment, stalking, marginalizing, intimidation, elitism, vindictiveness, pettiness, immaturity, the spiritualization of unsavory practices--we cover it all in this provocative show.
I'm running a design contest! The most excellent news is that our Snowland Deck will be added to the Tarot ECards: Universal Tarot App lineup in ::drumroll:: JANUARY 2014! YAY! (And it will be available for Android in February 2014.)
But I'm not happy with the "box" design to go on the shelf.
I designed one sorta like the image below (I lost the original in the PC crash a few months go, but the CEO of Tarot eCards has it, I think), except, it said The Snowland Deck by Ron and Janet Boyer. I think I may have used the Strength card, too.
Here's where you come in, design wizards! Using any Snowland card (or set of cards) from our Facebook album (or if you want to use the final images with titles, get in touch, and I'll invite you to a special DropBox folder), please design a virtual Snowland Deck box that has The Snowland Deck and Ron and Janet Boyer somewhere on it. Make it look attractive, wintry, shiny and inviting.
Submit your image to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll pick a winner.
What do you get? Your very own Snowland Deck with a bag and the digital companion book! Or, if you have one already, you can have a Snowland bracelet, a private reading with me, a private consultation on any topic, most of my eBooks--whatever you want from (within reason, of course LOL). And, I'll post the entries on my blog with your personal URL and/or bio with it (if you have one and would like some business).
By the way, you can find out more about Tarot eCards at TaroteCards.com. You even get a free Tarot deck with your app purchase!
You don't need to discard, fix, or hide from the pieces that are less than perfect. Notice them, see how they've served you, and give them thanks, or at least a bit of compassion. Then use your courage and creativity to live close to your values, to accept what is and create the beliefs that empower you to find meaning and sacredness in the moments of your life.
Go on now. Pull on those sweats and your favorite old T-shirt and go forward with awareness and curiosity. Connect to your spirit. Tap into your divine energy. Be all that you are, and know that that is enough.
Next summer, Doreen Virtue will be coming out with "the definitive guide to the mystical art of tarot"--titled The Big Book of Angel Tarot. The Amazon.com description goes on to say "By removing the fear, worry, and secrecy, Doreen and Radleigh have reintroduced the world to this language of the Divine without diminishing any of the amazing accuracy and detailed information that tarot is known for."
Thoughts about this? Do you feel Doreen is qualified to write a "definitive" book on Tarot (consisdering she just entered this genre last year)? Did her Angel Tarot "re-introduce the word" to Tarot--or have others already been doing that? Or has she tapped the angel market dry...and now wants to get in on some Tarot action?
For the Snowland Tarot version of the Ace of Cups, Ron suggested a red bird delivering a cherry to place atop the milkshake.
“A Cardinal!”, I exclaimed. After all, the ever-present Northern Cardinal dots the landscape in our home state of Pennsylvania, looking particularly striking against the snow.
He agreed, and sketching the Ace Emoting (aka Ace of Cups) card commenced.
Now, in the Rider-Waite-Smith version of this card (and many Rider-Waite inspired decks—which is the majority of the Tarot market), a white dove (representing the Holy Spirit) delivers a wafer (Eucharist) to an overflowing cup. This cup has an upside down M on it, supposedly connecting it to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Thus, there’s a definite connection to Christianity in many renderings of the Ace of Cups or, at the very least, “communion with the Divine” (however one may experience that).
As I was researching the Cardinal, I was fascinated to discover that this delightful red bird also has connections to Christianity (or Spirit, depending on how you want to look at it). In fact, that’s how the Cardinal got its name: the scarlet plumage resembled the bright red robes of cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church.
In the Tarot, the Cups suit is one of two feminine (receptive) suits (the other being the Coins suit). Connected to the element of Water, the Cups suit correlates to emotions, relationships, intimacy, love, compassion, spiritual devotion and intuitive impressions.
In his wonderful book Animal Speak, author Ted Andrews says this of the Cardinal:
“The cardinal has a loud and clear whistle. Whistles are often reminders to listen closely—to pay attention to what is blowing on the winds. In the case of the cardinal, the female joins in on the whistling, which is unusual among birds. This reflects that we should be listening to the inner voice (the feminine) more closely for our own health and well-being. Since most female birds are quiet and camouflaged, a cardinal totem almost always reflect a need to assert the feminine aspects of creativity and intuition more strongly.”
Wow! Talk about dovetailing (or would that be cardinaltailing?) nicely with the Cups suit! And, the Aces in the Tarot are much like the number 1—heralding beginnings, new opportunities and seeds.
So the Ace of Cups version of the Snowland Deck reinforces (and expands) upon the traditional meaning of this card with the Cardinal symbol, reminding us to be receptive to love, spiritual replenishment, intimacy, emotional currents, grace, positive vibes and goodness.
In the traditional rendering of the Tarot, the Magician is male, the High Priestess female, followed by the female Empress and male Emperor. There is a balance that many consider necessary. The Tarot of Delphi reminds us that we all have masculine and feminine qualities, and how we express these characteristics is not defined by gender.
Medea is, in fact, a prototypical (if misunderstood) capital-M Masculine force, the consummate Magician. She exhibits all the characteristics of a Classical Greek hero like Odysseus: well-traveled, cunning, favored by the gods. And she aces Janet's Permutations of the Magician Archetype qualifications: shaman, communicator, provocateur, illusionist.
As a shaman, Medea is a talented herbalist, potion-maker and prophetess. She revives the dead, cures the mad, and makes the infertile virile. As the Magician in the Tarot of Delphi, she is casting a spell, accouterments arranged before her. A red string tied to a flaming cauldron encircles a three-eyed toad, a fruiting laurel sprig, a shell of blood and a mummified bat.
Medea commands the elements of magic as adroitly as she directs people. As a communicator, she advised Jason and the Argonauts, orchestrating their success. She tells Jason how to acquire the Golden Fleece (while also providing the potions), outrun her father’s pursuing ships, and even regain his throne. On the Magician card, her victories are displayed behind her: the ship Argo, the Golden Fleece, the hide and horns of fire-breathing ox.
A brilliant strategist and fearless adventurer, Medea makes kings and breaks them, making her an accomplished provocateur. When the Argonauts cannot pass a monster, keeping them from lifesaving water, she kills it. When a foreign king threatens to send her back to her father, she arranges her freedom. When the Argonauts cannot muscle their way to triumph, she singlehandedly procures success. When Jason cannot retake his kingdom, Medea strolls into the palace alone, handles the matter, then signals to Jason that he may safely return.
Throughout her adventures, Medea displays her skills as an illusionist. To escape her father, she tricks an apprehensive king into protecting her interests over her father’s, quite unconventional in the ancient world. To retake Jason’s throne, now her husband, she tricks the princesses into killing their own father, the usurping king, by making them believe she can make the old young again.
In this portrait of Medea, there is tension in her hands, a distant look in her eyes. The intensity of her spellcasting, her concentration and absorption reveal the Magician’s recipe for ambition. Medea sees something “out there,” and by her magic she is bringing it closer. This is what people who shape the world do. This is what Magicians do. They create opportunity. They draw the dream closer, so they can capture it at precisely the right moment.
Medea did not blow in the winds, carried from shore to shore and lover to lover. She saw, she desired, she strived, she attained. Repeatedly and confidently she walked down the more difficult road. She did not take the easy way. She did not go quietly when dismissed. She did not resign herself to her fate. Like anyone who makes a mark on the world, she was an extraordinary creator of her own fate.
The Tarot of Delphi is a fine art deck curated by Janet D.H. Hinkel and illustrated with Neoclassical Victorian artworks from 1838 to 1913. The painting illustrating The Magician is “Medea” (1868) by Frederick Sandys. A 2-minute video and more information about the deck are available on Kickstarter at this link.