Grammar Feed

The Energy Suit of the Snowland Deck

Although snow, ice, frost, frigid temperatures and Northern Hemisphere winters underscore our Snowland Deck, make no mistake: there’s some heat in this deck!

Train Cards CroppedSuch heat manifests in a steaming train funnel (The Train, aka The Chariot), bright theater lights (The Sun), a fiery arm melted through truce (10 Mental, aka 10 of Swords) and the cozy fireplace behind two intimate mugs (2 Emoting, aka 2 of Cups).

Yet, the churning heat that fuels passionate action, ambition, self-propulsion, vocational fervor and willpower resides most powerfully in the Energy Suit of the Snowland Deck (aka Wands), which I associate with the element of—surprise, surprise—Fire.

In the Snowland Ace of Wands, no mere stick is offered to our snowman cowboy. I mean, what can you do with a mere stick? No siree, a bona fide lighted match extends from the cosmic cloud. Even better, the cowboy has a tidy, prepared circle of stacked wood, ready for a bonfire—as well as a bag of marshmallows, with one already on the stick, just waiting for roasting!

Aces favor the prepared and ready.

If not, the hand from the clouds extending a gift is usually met with surprise, doubt and fear. The hand retracts, the potential is lost, and you don’t move onto the 2s.

Ace of Wands Jumbo FONT 400
Speaking of Tarot’s 2s, our Energy 2 card depicts the numerological effect of when the “other” is introduced to the single. In combination with the fiery, willful Energy suit, we see a literal “butting of heads”—in the Snowland Deck’s case, two macho, albeit purely instinctual, bighorn sheep. During mating season, the strongest, most dominant males vie for the right to the females. These aggressive rituals find the rams charging at one another at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. In fact, the resultant clash may be heard up to a mile (1.6 km) away from the clash site.

As humans, when faced with an aggressive other—or, perhaps, with interested onlookers rooting for a fight amid a proving ground—what do we do? How do we engage the “other”, while still maintaining our sense of Self? What might happen if we lock horns? Will there be collateral damage…and at what cost?

2 of Wands Jumbo FONT 400
Moving on to the 3 Energy card, we chose a different take on the “waiting for your ship to come in” theme—although it’s still present within the ship in a bottle. Inspired by the song “Message in a Bottle” by The Police, Ron painted a bass player singing at the North Pole, aided by a magical amplifier. The 3s of Tarot are an amplifying, multiplying energy. Beyond the clash of the 2, the energy has successfully mated into a new creation. Unlike the rams in the 2, this musical artist doesn’t need an audience to belt out a tune or showcase his talent.

The masses tend to reward art when the artist isn’t paying attention—or when rewards don’t matter. And so, thousands of messages wash upon the North Pole shore. Many heard his broadcast…and responded.

3 of Wands Jumbo FONT 400
Numerological, the 4s are stable, even sedate. The number 4 corrals, fences, organizes and subdivides. So what happens when you combine the harnessing of the 4 with the vigor of the Energy suit? Contained heat! The most obvious symbol of contained heat (and light) is a house. When we put a bunch of houses together, we have a community. This microcosm serves as a playground for personality clashes, neighborly intrigue, warm greetings, holiday gatherings, social events and more. Thus, we chose a rustic, old-fashioned town for our 4 Energy card.

4 of Wands Jumbo FONT 400
Moving on to the decidedly unstable 5s, I’m reminded of a familiar saying here in the United States: “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” This phrase points to the fine line between horseplay—rambunctious fun—and injury, offense and hurt feelings. The Snowland Deck’s 5 Energy card takes place in Japan, and depicts a snowball fight in progress. Looking closer at the image, we see a snowball headed right for the ear of an unsuspecting boy who’s loaded up with his own about-to-be thrown snowballs. In the workplace or at school, the equivalent of this image might be good natured teasing, practical jokes and repartee that, if not kept in check, could quickly escalate into embarrassment, intimidation or even bullying.

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The 6 of Wands card often translates into victory and triumph, so for our 6 Energy card, we chose a triumphant gingerbread man, thrilled to bits that his gingerbread house has won first place in a competition, signified by a blue ribbon. In modern times, we don’t often have victorious leaders parading into a town with laurel wreaths atop their heads—but winners and champions? Ah, yes…that we recognize!

6 of Wands FONT 400
A fierce-looking blue Yeti towers above a cliff, while a hapless hiker holds on for dear life in the 7 Energy card. Brutal winds and snow buffet him, and the rock he’s clinging to is breaking. Is the “abominable snowman” a friend or foe? After all, his hand is extended. The hiker experiences a literal Catch-22: he’s caught between a (crumbling) rock and a hard place! Will the hiker trust this creature, despite appearances? Could he be a “friend in high places”? How much of our struggle is a matter of perception and assumption?

7 of Wands Jumbo FONT 400
In the Energy 8 card, Ron decided on a young Buffalo Bill during his Pony Express years. Because the 8 of Wands often indicates speed and quick messages, what better way to depict these meanings for the Snowland Deck than via a dedicated young rider delivering mail during the mid-1800s in wintry conditions?

8 of Wands Jumbo FONT 400
The Energy 9 card was inspired by a true story of prisoners escaping the horrific Soviet Gulag in an arduous trek spanning from Siberia to India (and the movie The Way Back). It’s a card of grueling circumstances, survival, endurance and perseverance. Life hardships may “beat” us in various ways, leaving us rough for the wear. Out of sheer survival instinct, the passionate desire for something better, or because of the encouragement of other travelers—we make the final push. Yet, we’ll never be the same as we were going in.

9 of Wands Jumbo FONT 400
The 10s indicate the fulfillment of a suit. When pairing the 10 with the powerful Energy suit, we become overloaded. Burdened, tired and stressed, we face a choice: carry that bundle of sticks to our destination…or just dump them on the ground, counting our losses. In the Snowland Deck version of this card, we chose to embed several hopeful symbols in an otherwise “maxed out” card. A Tibetan woman is greeted by a boy with a prayer wheel. Is he praying for her? Offering her the prayer wheel? Is prayer and appropriate response to her burden when he could just as easily grab a few of those sticks off her back? On the other hand, why doesn’t the woman just add her load to the yak’s? Perhaps she’s made a special pilgrimage and the wood signifies far more than “just” a bundle of sticks.

So it is when faced with our own workaholic tendencies, shouldering of burdens and need for blessed relief.

10 of Wands Jumbo FONT 400
In our Snowland Deck, we decided to call the Court Cards “Approach Cards”. Depicting figures from history, mythology and literature, these ones exemplify a specific approach to life. The Pages become Youth, Knights become Questers, Queens become Nurturers and Kings become Directors.

The Youth Energy card shows the Little Match Girl, the character from Hans Christian Anderson’s heartbreaking tale of the same name. This is a card of optimism, hope and innocence—of looking towards the light and longing for heaven. Although the girl perishes in the story, she is ushered into the Other Side—finally reunited with her beloved grandmother and freed from the cold, abusive environment, stepfather, society and peers that shamed, hurt, taunted or ignored her.

Youth Energy 400
For our Quester Energy card, we chose Australia’s Sir Hubert Wilkins. Although New Zealand’s Sir Edmund Hillary may be more familiar, we chose Sir Hubert Wilkins as our fiery “knight”, largely because he was more accomplished. A true Renaissance Soul, Wilkins was a photographic correspondent, an aeronautic pioneer, naturalist, polar submarine explorer and consultant on arctic problems for the U.S. Army. He was knighted in 1928 for making a 2,100-mile flight from North American to the European Polar regions—largely over unexplored Arctic waters.

Quester Energy 400
Lucia, also known as St. Lucy, graces the Snowland Deck’s Nurturer Energy card. Her tale is one of internal power, self-trust and clarity of vision. Dedicated to a virginal life, she refused to marry her unwanted suitor. Differing legends surround Lucia, but the one we chose to depict involves her gouging out her eyes as an offering. We see this as symbolic of a more powerful sight: that of the “inner eye” or Third Eye. Appearing to be made of flames, Lucia is a Way Shower that overcomes darkness, encourages purity and trusts clairvoyance. In many ways, she exemplifies the power of a Light Worker.

Nurturer Energy 400
Lastly, we come to our Director Energy card, the literary great Charles Dickens. What some may not know is that in addition to being a renowned storyteller, Dickens was also an orator, publisher, social activist and philanthropist. When the Directing energy combines with the fiery Energy suit, we have a self-made person who channels passion into the arts, as well as towards the betterment of humankind’s state. Dickens did those things not only in his stories—that highlighted both social injustice and humanity’s capability for extraordinary kindness—but also through his public speeches, activism and philanthropy.

Director Energy 400
I hope you enjoyed this tour through the Snowland Deck’s Energy Suit, and found yourself warmed by the thought, attention to detail and passion we’ve put into our cards.

The Snowland Deck is a co-creation between the husband and wife team of Janet Boyer (Back in Time Tarot; Tarot in Reverse; Naked Tarot; 365 Tarot) and Ron Boyer. Ron painted each image on specially prepared, hand-cut, sanded wood boards using gesso and then acrylic paints. To find out more information about the Snowland Deck, including how to order it, please visit

Commonly Confused Words Part 3

Q MarkIt's time for another edition of Commonly Confused Words!

Prophecy vs. Prophesy

I see these two confused in New Age and Christian books, as well as paranormal fiction.

Prophecy: Pronounced proffa-SEE, prophecy is a noun. It's the message a prophet declares.

Nancy heard the prophecy about the apocalypse from the oracle in the woods.

Prophesy: Pronounced proffa-SYE, prophesy is a verb. It's the act of giving a prophecy.

In the middle of the woods, Nancy heard the oracle prophesy at the top of her lungs.

Callus vs. Callous

Callus: Noun. Hardened or thickened area on the skin.

The farmer had a callus on his thumb.

Callous: Adjective. Indifferent, hardened, unsympathetic.

The teacher's treatment of the grieving student was callous. 

Advise vs. Advice

Advise: Verb. To offer counsel. (ad-VIZE)

"I advise you to stay silent", said the lawyer.

Advice: Noun. Opinion or recommendation. (ad-VICE)

You want my advice? Walk away.

Feel vs. Fill

Feel: Verb. Awareness of touch. To have a sensation.

I feel ill.

Fill: Verb. To make full.

Allow me to fill your glass with water.

Site vs. Sight

Site: Noun. Position or location. Or, short for website.

The construction site is on the north end of the campus.

Sight: Noun. Vision. Act of seeing.

Boy, are you a sight for sore eyes!

Horde vs. Hoard

Horde: Noun. A group or swarm.

Stella was chased by a horde of bees.

Hoard: Verb. To stockpile.

What a packrat! She hoards every piece of junk she can find.

Hoard: Noun. A guarded supply.

The dragon guarded her hoard of jewels. 

Secrete vs. Secret 

Secrete: Verb. To discharge by secretion. (sa-KREET)

The pimple secreted yellow pus.

Secrete: Verb. To conceal. (sa-KREET)

The dog secreted dozens of bones in the back yard.

Secret: Noun. A mystery. Something hidden. (SEE-krit)

Tom has a secret and he's not telling.

Secret: Adjective. Secluded, sheltered, withdrawn. Done without the knowledge of others. (SEE-krit)

The superhero lived in a secret location.

i.e. vs. e.g.

i.e. Latin id est. That is. (Interchangeable with in other words).

The lead singer of Iron Maiden is a gorgeous renaissance man (i.e., Bruce Dickinson).

e.g. Latin exempli gratia. For example.

I love 80s metal bands (e.g. Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Judas Priest).

-- Janet

Commonly Confused Words Part 2

Hello fearless writers! It’s time for another episode of Commonly Confused Words. Believe it or not, I come up with each episode’s words based on reading incorrect usage on the web or in print. Especially egregious when the fallacious swap out occurs in print, in my opinion, but it happens.

Without further ado, let’s dive into nine sets of words that are commonly confused:

Chord vs. Cord

The most common misuse of this set occurs with the phrase “struck a chord”, when the correct “chord” is swapped out for the incorrect “cord”.

Chord: Two or more musical notes struck or sung together producing a pleasing harmony. Thus, when something “strikes a chord”, it resonates.

Since my kitty just died, the author’s memoir on pet loss struck a deep chord.

Cord: A thick string, thin rope or cable.

If I set the lamp on this table, the electrical cord won’t reach the outlet.

College blocksCollege vs. Collage

Unless you’re pursuing higher education in scrapbooking or found art, you’re not going to collage (pronounced cole-LAHJ)…you’re going to college (COL-lehj).

College: Institute for higher learning.

After High School, Jen is going to college.

Collage: Sticking a hodgepodge of photos, paper, found art and other items together to form a picture.

I’m collecting old newspapers and vintage photos to make a collage piece.

Moot vs. Mute

Unless your plea is falling upon deaf ears, your point is moot—not mute.

Moot: Doubtful, debatable, unresolved or unlikely.

Arguing whether reptilian creatures are guised as political leaders seems a moot point in reasonable debate.

Mute: Unwilling or unable to make a sound or speak.

Helen Keller was born both blind and mute.

Roll vs. Role

If you’re listing your favorite sites on your blog, it’s a Blog Roll—not a Blog Role. Unless, of course, your favorite sites are vying for some kind of acting award…

Roll: An official list (in this case)

Excellent grades secured her place on the Honor Roll.

Role: A specific function or acting part.

It’s probably easy for Meryl Streep to get choice movie roles.

Alley vs. Ally

If you’re walking down a dark alley (owl-LEE), you had better hope you run into an ally (owl-LYE). But don’t walk through an ally, lest you lose the friendship.

Alley: A narrow passageway.

Don took a shortcut down the alley on his way home.

Ally: A mutually supportive person or group.

In WWII, England, France and America were allies against Germany.

Perk vs. Perq

I’ve seen this confusion a lot. In fact, I’ve seen it in a both book about writing and a novel! In short, I’ve seen this confusion from writers who should know better. Writers don’t get “perks” unless they’re females walking out into frigid temperatures or males running into bodacious babes.

Perk: To stick up or become lively. Or, short for percolate (to drip or filter).

When she heard the name of her favorite band mentioned, her ears perked up.

Perq: Short for perquisite. A bonus, extra, freebie or advantage.

One of the perqs of being a baker is sampling raw cookie dough.

Two vs. To vs. Too

Most people use “two” correctly. It’s to vs. too that gets confused the most. To remember which is which, consider the extra “o” in too as a hint to the word’s meaning: “in addition to”.

Two: The number 2

Joe thought he danced as if he had two left feet.

To: A preposition indicating direction, destination or position.

Mary needed to walk to the market to get some milk.

Too: As well. Extremely.

Tina, if you’d like, Katy can come, too.

You’re vs. Your

This is a sneaky pair. More than once, I’ve caught myself typing the wrong word, especially posting on Facebook when I’m in a hurry—even though I know better. So keep an eye out for this easy-to-do switcheroo! If you’re not sure which is correct, see if you can substitute “you are” for the word. If you can, and it still makes sense, you’re is the correct word. If not, use your. NB: Do not trust MS Word grammar check to catch mistakes when it comes to “you’re” vs. “your”! There have been times when Word suggested the wrong word for this pair.

You’re: Contraction of “you” and “are”.

You’re such a kidder, Jack!

Your: Belonging or relating to someone.

Don’t forget your coat, Linda!

Pseudo Name vs. Pseudonym

OK, this is a crazy one…but I saw it on a blog recently and thought I’d set the record straight. Since “pseudo” means false or fake, calling a pseudonym and Pseudo Name is, I guess, technically correct (even if it’s not really a word). But if the blogger meant to use the word pseudonym, another word for nom de plume or penname, then it’s a faux pas.

Pseudonym comes from the Greek pseudōnumon ("false name") and the French pseudonyme.

Alrighty, kiddos, I hope you enjoyed Commonly Confused Words Part 2. If you have any questions about proper usage or notice some confused words in the wild, by all means take a moment to comment here or email me at synerjay (at) atlanticcbb (dot) net.

-- Janet

Plural S vs. Possessive S

It drives me crazy when I see the wrong use of "s".

Thems smallerLook at the poster on the right. 

Now, we know that "thems" isn't a word. But if it were, as the creator of this poster intended, then it would be written just like I did: THEMS.

Why? Because it's intended as a plural. More than one "them" equals "thems". 

Now, if "them" owned something, or had an attribute, it would be "them's". 

Here are some examples:

1. There were three cats on the fence.
2. Hey, look at that middle cat's white tail!

Number one is an example of a plural "s"--more than one cat. Number two is an example of a possessive "s" that shows ownership. 

When you're confused, ask yourself "Is there more than one thing I'm talking about here?" If yes, then add an "s" without an apostrophe because it's a plural usage. 

Here's another example:

1. I found two coins in the couch.
2. The coin's date was completely rubbed off.

Another way to tell the difference is to ask yourself if the sentence can be reworded using "of the". The date of the coin was completely rubbed off. (Tips you off that it's possessive).  And, "Hey, look at the white tail of the middle cat!"

-- Janet

Commonly Confused Words

Just in the last week, I've come across these seven word groups used incorrectly.

It drives me nuts! 

Four of them were used by Tarot "professionals".

C'mon, guys. The world already thinks we're nuts. Let's not have them think us illiterate and stupid, too, m'kay?

Here are some commonly confused words, all cleared up for you.

Pouring vs. Poring


Unless you plan on pouring coffee or some other drink over your client's "business plan" (which I don't recommend), you will, instead, be poring over their business plan.

Pouring - To send liquid or loose particles falling or flowing. The waitress poured me another glass of sweet tea.

Poring - To read or study with earnest attention. I'm poring over my checkbook, looking for mistakes.

Peek vs. Peak vs. Pique

This week, I received a Tarot magazine from Down Under that promised a "sneak peak". Well, unless you're going to unveil a secret mountain top, you mean "sneak peek". 

Peek: To sneak a look. Imagine the two "e"s are eyes looking at you. The boy peeked in the closet, looking for his Christmas presents.

Peak: Top of the mountain or the highest point. My energy peaks around 10 PM.

Pique: To excite, arouse or sharply irritate. When her husband promised a surprise, Linda's curiosity was piqued.

A lovely friend of mine referred to our Snowland Deck's Life Themes Edition as "Life Themes Addition". No, no, no, no, no.

Edition vs. Addition

Edition: A version of something. You can purchase our Snowland Deck Life Themes Edition here.

Addition: The process or act of adding. 2 + 2 isn't 5. You need to check your addition.

Raise vs. Raze

Raised: To lift up or elevate. The partygoers raised  their glass in a toast.

Razed: To tear down or demolish. Because of the fire, I'm not sure if the entire home will need to be razed.

Threw vs. Through

Threw: Past tense of "throw". The quarterback threw the football.

Through: To go in one end and out the other. Robert Frost famously said "The only way out is through."

Roll vs. Role

Roll: To turn over and over (verb). Or, a piece of baked dough (noun). You gotta roll with the punches

Role: A part that is played. Joan of Arc was her role model.

This last example is courtesy my adorable husband. Yeah, he rocks. Seriously. Even when he mixes up big words.

Permutation vs. Permeation

Permutation: To alter, transform, change or rearrange. Mash-ups are permutations.

Permeation: To penetrate or saturate. Grammar faux pas and rife misspellings permeate Tarot blogs and publications.

Don't mix these words up again. You are without excuse.

-- Janet