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July 2016

10 Questions for Tarotist Donna Hazel

Donna Pic

1. What's your favorite breakfast food? If I'm in America (I went once!) then definitely waffles, pancakes, maple syrup...the works. Here in the UK it's scrabble about making burnt toast or, preferably, get a Full English in a cafe (I'm no cook!)

2. Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? This is the hardest question for me. Where to start? I guess as I have a PhD in philosophy and taught and published in this field I would ideally wish everyone would read more philosophy. It shows where you're coming from, what's involved in formations of self-identity, and where the logic of a certain way of thinking will take you. When I'm relaxing (no, philosophy is not relaxing), then I love the horror novels of Peter James. Then again, that's not always too relaxing either. But any book will do. I will read anything, even the back of the cereal box.

3. What makes you laugh? Oh, anything that strikes me as absurd.

4. Song that never gets old: No. This is the hardest question as I'm not a fan of music. But I do have favourite sounds - birds singing, the wind in the trees, grasshoppers in meadows, the sound of rain...anything natural.

5. Drink of choice: An easy one! Cappuccino.

6. Would you rather be hot or cold? Definitely hot.

7. Mountain, beach, desert or forest? Yes please. All or any of those.

8. Favourite color? I love all colours! If pressed, red and green.

9. Best movie line: It's a cliche now but it has to be, "Go ahead, make my day"; the brainchild of Charles B. Pierce and uttered by Clint as Harry Callahan in the 1983 film Sudden Impact. This is my favourite response to anyone who comes at me with an "if you don't do what I want, or agree with me, then this will happen".

10. Last thing you splurged on? Raffia nibble mats and de luxe rabbit mix for my house rabbit. The nibble mats are a futile attempt to stop him turning the house into a pile of matchwood (precious books are all out of reach of the razor-blade teeth until I try to read them).

11. What's your most embarrassing experience? It was my first class and I was teaching Thomas Hobbes to a lecture theatre full of avid undergraduates on the qui vive for a trip-up. Nervous, I began, "Hobbes was born in 1588 and died in 1979". Silence. Then, this from one of the bemused students, "blimey, Hobbes lived a bloody long time, didn't he?" I had of course meant 1679 but failed to take into the theatre a memory-stabilising decent cup of coffee. I can still be found absently muttering, "Hobbes lived a bloody long time, didn't he" at moments of distraction or abject confusion. Although actually he did live a bloody long time (he died aged 91 although aged 391 would have been even longer). 

Donna Hazel first started getting interested in the tarot at the age of 17 when chancing upon the Balbi tarot deck. Although busy with studies she returned again and again to the tarot and filled out her remit with classes, books, practising, and reading at psychic fairs together with email readings. Whilst it may seem incongruous set alongside an academic background, Donna has had a lifetime of ghostly encounters and remains fascinated with and open to anything Other. Her blog is a mixture of the serious and the fun. She believes that learning tarot should never be a drag and her blog incorporates many fun ways of learning for the tarot novice. Visit Donna at her blog here.


Sweet and Sour Tarot - The High Priestess

I'm so excited to present the first post of my Sweet and Sour Tarot series, featuring the "sweet" Snowland Deck by moi and hubby Ron Boyer--and the "sour" (not really, but you know) Twisted Tarot Tales by Christine Aguilar and James Battersby.

(Why am I getting the sudden urge to intone "And in THIS corner..." Ha!)

Behold, I give you The High Priestess Tarot card from each deck:

Sweet Sour HP 600

Interestingly, both cards feature oracular tools used by divinators and fortunetellers. The top of each image shows a sense of movement--the Aurora Borealis and flag in the Snowland Deck version--and the flying hair (and body!) of the medium.

The colors blue and green figure prominently in both cards. Blue connects to the Throat Chakra (5th), the energy center of communication, self-expression  and choice. The power of divination or spirit communication, as I see it, is informed choice. Yes, we may receive helpful information that confirms our intuition or additional revelations to aid our decisions but, ultimately, these must be balanced with logic and common sense--and, most importantly--the conviction that we steer our destiny by our free-will choices. 

The color green connects to the Heart Chakra (4th)--the central "powerhouse" that connects the lower and upper chakras. It's the energy center of the heart, governing love, forgiveness, hope, trust and compassion.

Both High Priestess images also feature an open hand, which is interesting--especially since this card is usually associated with secrets and hidden knowledge. However, The Magician, with his sleight-of-hand, keeps things concealed from the viewer--which can result in outright deception and trickery. Yet, once you get past the veil of the High Priestess, the curtain of initiation or "paying your spiritual dues"--you can be sure that the information offered, while often esoteric and mystifying, will be displayed in plain sight. (It's up to us to decode the information and then make a conscious choice. Or, we can always choose to completely ignore what she's offering.)

Also appearing in both cards: The Sun and The Moon. Both are powerful symbols that could have an entire book dedicated to them! Suffice to say that The Sun represents Yang energy, the solar principle connected to daylight, pro-activity, passion, consciousness and waking activity. (For more information on Sun Symbolism, read my post here.) The Moon, usually connected to the High Priestess in most decks, connects to reflected light, passivity, receptivity, the subconscious and nighttime dreams. I love it that the "sweet" and "sour" cards embody the necessity of including BOTH sides of the brain for this card--the need for both masculine AND feminine energy when receiving esoteric knowledge, spiritual wisdom and messages from the Divine.

Also, there are letters of the alphabet on both cards: the entire alphabet on the Ouija board in the Twisted Tarot Tales card...and two runes in the Snowland version.

How many other similarities can you find between the cards?

Now, let's examine the cards individually for contrast and comparison:

Snowland Deck Oracle Card (aka The High Priestess)

HP Jumbo 500
Art © Ron Boyer

From our Snowland Deck companion book:

Description: A mysterious igloo sits under a flashing Aurora Borealis. Six divination symbols surround the entrance: coins for the I Ching, cards for Tarot, a hand for Palmistry, Futhark stones for the Runes, a book for Bibliomancy and a pendulum for Dowsing. An eye representing Clairvoyance (“clear seeing”) gazes from the top middle. Inside, a crystal ball sits on top a table covered in a green cloth. A warm glow emanates from within. On top of the igloo flies a flag bearing the symbols of the Sun, Moon and Stars. (Note: The runes are Mannaz, meaning “human” and Perthro, meaning, “casting lots”, “chance”, “pawn”, “the unknowable”, “secret” and “fortunetelling”).

Keywords: Internal Guidance; Esoteric; Advanced Wisdom; Library; Bookstores; Sanctuary; Sacred Sites; Seeking Answers; Prophecy; Divination; Accessing Intuition; Hidden Knowledge; Know Thyself; Privacy; Secrecy

Twisted Tarot Tales High Priestess

Twisted HP 500
Art © James Battersby

 From the Twisted Tarot Tales Companion Book:

The medium channels spirits from the afterlife for those in search of spiritual wisdom, knowledge and messages from the spirit world. She serves as a conduit between the earth and spirit planes, communicating messages from the other side to dear loved ones remaining in the physical realm. We chose this image of the High Priestess using the infamous Ouija board because of the board's long association with spirit communication. Traditionally, the High Priestess represents intuition, secrets, higher powers and lifting the veil beyond everyday awareness, as well as penetrating the mysteries of the subconscious mind. -- Christine Aguilar

Keywords and Phrases: Mystery. Intuition. Pay attention to messages in dreams. Inner awareness. Esoteric knowledge. Female principle. Solitary woman. Sibyl. Secrets. Hidden knowledge. The power of the unconscious mind.

Thanks so much for joining me at this inaugural Sweet and Sour Tarot post! We'd love to hear your observations and comments below. And do tell us which card you'd like to see us explore next!

To learn more about the Snowland Deck, please visit SnowlandDeck.com. Find us on Facebook here. To learn more about the Twisted Tarot Tales deck, click here

-- Janet


10 Questions for Tarotist Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Rosemary Pic

What’s your favorite breakfast food? Fish

Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche

What makes you laugh? Seinfeld

Song that never gets old: "The Soft Parade" by The Doors

Drink of choice: Champagne

Would you rather be hot or cold? Hot

Mountain, beach, desert, or forest? Desert

Favorite color? Blue

Best movie line: “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!” (Blazing Saddles)

Last thing you splurged on? A hand-carved wooden statue of a green alien holding a sign that says “Welcome Earthlings”

Bonus Q: What is your favorite paranormal topic to write/lecture about? Hard to pick one subject out of the many that I follow. Top ones are ET contact, afterlife communications, vampires, demonology, the Djinn, and psychic and spiritual development (including the Tarot and black mirror scrying).

Bio: Rosemary Ellen Guiley is a leading author, researcher, and investigator in alternative fields, including paranormal, metaphysical, and ufology. She has written more than 60 books on a broad range of topics, including The Visionary Tarot and The Mystical TarotShe collaborated with artist Robert Michael Place on The Alchemical Tarot and The Angels Tarot. Rosemary hosts a weekly radio show, Strange Dimensions Radio on KGRA, and runs an independent publishing company, Visionary Living, Inc. Her website is VisionaryLiving.com.


Coffee Tarot Update

Hello there!

Ron is chugging right along with our Coffee Tarot: Grande Edition, working nights and weekends to complete the cards. Fortunately, watercolor pencils take a LOT less time than acrylics (the medium our Snowland Deck was painted with).

You've already seen the Ace of Fire and Ace of Earth, so here's the completed Ace of Air and Ace of Water cards for our Coffee Tarot:

Ace Air Font 400 Ace of Cups 400

Below is the Six of Air. We decided to go the "Science" direction. Can you guess what formula it shows?

6 Air 400

And Ron just drew, transferred and colored the Two of Cups today (as you can see, he's a huge Art Nouveau fan!):

2 of Cups 400

If you've missed seeing our Court Cards, the Fire and Earth cards are here, while the Water and Air cards are here.

To keep track of our progress, visit and "like" our Facebook page at Facebook.com/CoffeeTarot

-- Janet


Introducing Sweet and Sour Tarot

Hi all!

I'm thrilled to introduce a fun new feature on my blog: Sweet and Sour Tarot!

What the hell is that?, you may be wondering.

Well, I'm anticipating a brilliant (albeit, dark) new deck from my colleagues James Battersby and Christine Aguilar called Twisted Tarot Tales. This colorful horror comic deck recently finished a successful IndieGoGo campaign (124% funded!)--and I'm eagerly waiting my copy to arrive in the mail (any day now...any day).

Twisted James and Christine

One thing that strikes me a bit funny about my tastes in decks: I tend to gravitate towards "uplifting" decks that could be described as "positive"--even child-friendly. After all, I co-created the Snowland Deck with my hubby, artist Ron Boyer, right? (I even have an aversion to Tarot images that portray nudity and violence. Ha!)

And yet...I'm completely enamored with Christine and James' vision for their Twisted Tarot Tales deck. It's so...twisted! So wrong! But, so hilarious! So brilliant! And, by God...still readable

Twisted Banner

As I was chatting with James on Facebook one day, I had an idea: Why not do a Sweet and Sour Tarot blog feature comparing the same cards from our Snowland Deck with their Twisted Tarot Tales Deck! You couldn't find a more different set of decks, and yet, discussing how they differ and how they similarly represent traditional Tarot themes and archetypes would be a fun, illuminating exercise on how the cards apply to myriad life situations and questions. 

Snowland banner

I'm excited to bring this new feature to you, and I hope you'll get a kick out of it as much as I know I will. Mostly, though, I hope you benefit from seeing how two very different decks tap into the universal archetypes and motifs contained within Tarot--thereby enhancing, expanding and informing your own Tarot readings and personal set of meanings.

-- Janet

P.S. You can "like" our Snowland Deck Facebook page here. Our website is SnowlandDeck.com. You can "like" the Twisted Tarot Tales Facebook page here. The Battersby Aguilar Tarot site is here.


10 Questions for Tarotist Deborah Blake

Deborah

What’s your favorite breakfast food? Bacon. Also, bacon. With a side of bacon. (And no, that’s not what I usually eat.)

Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? The Circle Within by Dianne Sylvan

What makes you laugh? Silly cat videos. Silly cats in real life. The Princess Bride.

Song that never gets old: "Blackbird"

Drink of choice: Organic wine

Would you rather be hot or cold? Hot

Mountain, beach, desert, or forest? Beach!

Favorite color? Black

Best movie line: “She turned me into a newt.” “A newt?” “I got better.” (Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

Last thing you splurged on? Books. Always books.

Bonus Q: What’s the most important thing Tarot has taught you? To have faith that the universe would work out the way it is supposed to.

Deborah Blake is the author of eight non-fiction books on modern witchcraft from Llewellyn and the Baba Yaga series from Berkley Romance, including Wickedly Magical (novella), Wickedly Dangerous and Wickedly Wonderful.

Deborah lives in a 120 year old farmhouse in upstate NY with four cats, and runs an artists' cooperative shop when she's not writing. She believes in magic, laughter, chocolate, and wine. The order may change depending on the day. 

You can visit Deborah online at DeborahBlakeAuthor.com.

Non-Fiction:

Deb NF

The Witch’s Broom: The Craft, Lore & Magick of Broomsticks
Everyday Witch Book of Rituals
A Witch’s Dozen
Witchcraft On A Shoestring
Everyday Witch A-Z Spellbook
The Goddess Is In The Details
Everyday Witch A-Z
Circle, Coven & Grove
Everyday Witchcraft

Fiction:

Db Fic

Dangerously Charming (Coming October 2016)
Wickedly Dangerous
Wickedly Wonderful
Wickedly Magical
Wickedly Powerful
Wickedly Ever After
Veiled Magic