Tarot Feed

Nicola Tesla as The Magician

Noah thought Niocola Tesla would make a wonderful Magician card for the 2017 International Tarot Day Deck--and I agree!

400Magician Font
 Noah's explanation: I chose Nicola Tesla to represent The Magician because this extraordinary scientist and inventor helped usher in the electrical revolution, including A/C (alternating current), VTOL military aircraft and radio waves. His theories were revolutionary, and unfortunately, Thomas Edison received much more credit, renown and money than Tesla. Tesla formulated his theories, produced sketches and, in some cases, built actual working prototypes (unlike Edison, who was more physical in his approach, favoring a trial-and-error method).

A voracious reader his whole life, Tesla was a brilliant man who spoke eight languages and used botanical discoveries as inspiration for some of his inventions. He was a bon vivant who enjoyed spending money on stylish clothes and rich foods. Tesla also loved pigeons, feeding them from his hotel room and at parks.

In this image, Tesla stands like many Tarot Magician images, except he's harnessing natural resources and pointing them towards the world: he knew wind and solar power could perpetually fuel the globe. In fact, because the earth is surrounding by electromagnetic fields, Tesla wanted to harness it using his World Wireless System via the Wardenclyffe tower. After construction started, investor J.P. Morgan realized that free energy wouldn't bring any profit to himself, so he stopped funding the project.

To represent the four elements/suits often found on the Magician's table, I chose:

Swords/Air = Tesla Coils. These are narrow, vertical cylinders that conduct electrical impulses, and are found in radios from the 1920s and 1930s. Nowadays, they're only used for demonstrations and exhibitions.

Disks/Earth = Metal Sphere. Tesla held one of these spheres in the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago where he allowed millions of volts to course through his body (he wore a rubber suit). The sphere prevented burning on his hands.

Wands/Fire = Glowing Fluorescent Bulb. Tesla invented this omnipresent light source.

Cups/Water = Beaker of Water on the Bunsen Burner. When Tesla viewed tap water under a microscope, he was horrified and disguted at the sight of all the microbes. After that, he became a germophobe--boiling all water before drinking. He was also a compulsive hand-washer, especially after mingling with crowds and shaking hands.


The Tower (Naked Tarot Book Excerpt)

Hi all! I'm thrilled to be taking part in the very first International Tarot Day Blog Hop! I trust you enjoyed Trivia at The Crossroad's article on The Devil, and now, we're tackling another challenging Tarot card: The Tower. Below is The Tower chapter from my upcoming book Naked Tarot (NakedTarotbook.com)--out from Dodona Books early 2018. Enjoy!

Tower Montage
Images from the Universal Waite, Snowland Deck and Coffee Tarot

Stripped Down Overview: Your house burns down. Your partner loses her job. The accountant ran off with your life savings. A Hummer totals your Prius. We’re rarely prepared when the lightning shitastic strikes our lives. These bolts don’t always arrive on the wings of material destruction, but rather bloom in our psyche like a mushroom cloud, evaporating worn-out beliefs, demolishing shaky structures and re-routing our trajectory. One thing’s for sure: when this baby blows, there’s no going back to the way things were. The good news is that the destruction of faulty structures you’ve built—either with material goods, misplaced values or incorrect assumptions—leaves a foundation for you to rebuild upon. Make sure that bolt from the blue isn’t in vain by accepting its resulting illumination.

Keywords: Shock; Collapse; Sudden Illumination; Crisis; Disaster; Release; SNAFU; Sideswiped; Godsmacked; Shit Hitting the Fan; Obliteration of Faulty Beliefs; Leveling of Man-Made Structures

Personifications and Embodiments: Tornados; Twin Towers; Father Mychal Judge; Natural Disasters; Lighting Strikes; Demolitions; Dynamite; Dennis the Menace; Tasmanian Devil (Cartoon Character); H-Bomb; The Titanic; The Hindenberg

Quote: The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Challenge: Evaporation

Gift: Release

Occupations/Vocations: Pyrotechnics Specialist; Stunt Person; Electrician; Demolitionist; Lightning Rod Manufacturer; Telephone Lineman; Crisis Hotline Operator

Disney Totem: Wreck-It Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph)

Animal Symbol: Scorpion

Flower Essences: Rock Rose (Bach); Star of Bethlehem (Bach); Fringed Violet (Australian); Waratah (Australian)

Crystal/Stone: Fulgurite (Sand Tubes Formed by Lightning Strikes) – Fosters awakening. Eases stress. Provides impetus. Helps pull one out of emotional lows. Promotes agility of action and mental acuity.

Aromatherapy: Tarragon

Body Parts/Systems and Health Issues: Seizures; Migraines; Epilepsy

Mystical Messenger – Saint Barbara

Sabian Symbol: Aquarius 2 – An unexpected thunderstorm.

Writing Prompt: At a nighttime carnival, an electric pole crashes.

Affirmation: I can withstand any shock or surprise.

Naked Advice for The Tower

Career: If you don’t get a pink slip first, you may find yourself singing “Take This Job and Shove It” over the company intercom system. Quit now or forever hold your peace, because if you’re looking for a permission slip to burn a bridge, this is it.

Romance: Your husband asks for a divorce. You catch your boyfriend in bed with the landscaper. Your wife announces she’s a lesbian. Cue “The Break Up Song”. But if you happen to be single and unattached, Kundalini lightning will rip from your groin to your crown in a flash of mind-blowing sex.

Parenting: Expect the unexpected when it comes to your offspring. School expulsion, a report card littered with Ds, truancy—if you’ve been embroiled in your own earth-shattering dramas, shockwaves will cascade down the DNA ladder. When grownups play the game of upheaval, it’s the kids that pay.

Spirituality: When a forest fire ravages the land, the intense heat sears open seeds that would otherwise stay sealed and sterile. If there’s a silver lining to this shitty cloud, it’s the flowers that will rise out of the ashes.

Recommended Resources: Lightworker by Alex Grey; Joni (the life story of quadriplegic artist Joni Erickson Tada); Inferno (Movie); “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot

The Tower Card Layout: Smash, Grab and Release Spread

  1. What outmoded belief needs dismantled?
  2. What did I gain from my last Tower experience?
  3. How am I prepared to handle the unexpected?
  4. What needs immediate release?

I hope you all have been enjoying this very first International Tarot Day Blog Hop! Please visit Victoria (Eternal Athena Tarot)'s blog at this link next for some illuminating information about The Star. Thank you for reading!

15 Ways to Celebrate International Tarot Day

How can YOU celebrate International Tarot Day? Click here to discover some ideas!


Witches&Pagans Magazine Issue 33 Tarot and Divination

If you haven't yet snagged a copy of Witches&Pagans Magazine latest issue (#33 Tarot and Divination), you really must. I hear it's one of the most popular issues ever, and it really is great reading. My pal Judika Illes is interviewed in this issue (YAY!). Plus, you can get a taste of what this fab mag has to offer to those of alternative/pagan spiritual paths. My article "78 Shades of Tarot" is in there, where I address that there is no "good" or "bad" cards in the deck. Here's some snaps:

WP Crop WP Crop 2 WP Crop 3 WP Crop 4WP Crop 5WP Crop 6
And there was even a lovely black and white ad for our Snowland Deck in this issue!

WP Crop 7

Yeah, you could say I'm a bit proud. ;o) I've been published in other magazines before, but am really honored to be in W&P; I love what Publisher/Editor Anne Newkirk Niven brings to the table via her magazines and the PaganSquare.com website.

-- Janet


Personal Stamp Tarot Spread

I'm hard at work on Naked Tarot (only 19 cards to go!) and recently finished the 8 of Coins. Here's my Personal Stamp Spread for that chapter (I'm creating a layout for each card). It not only addresses procrastination, but also how we each have a particular, distinctive hallmark to our work (and how to find/enhance it).

Personal Stamp Spread 600Card used is from the fab MidCenturian Tarot by Madam Clara. Do let me know if you try it and how it works for you!

-- Janet


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


Tarot Look-a-Likes - CONFUSION (Moon + 7 of Cups)

Hey there!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my little family of creatives have a Patreon page where you can support our artistic endeavors and get exclusive goodies in the process.

One of these goodies at our Patreon home is my Tarot Look-a-Likes videos (something no one has done before--and will be the basis of a future Tarot book of mine). Below is a mini-video contrasting The Moon and 7 of Cups Tarot cards in light of the keyword CONFUSION. What makes them different--and why do some deck creators/authors give the same keyword (confusion) to them? To find out, watch below! 

 

Want to see more exclusive videos like this? Become my Patron at http://Patreon.com/JanetBoyer We'll have a blast!

-- Janet


Here Comes the Sun - Sun Symbolism, Solar Magic and the 3rd Chakra

A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows. – St. Francis of Assisi

Lately, I’ve been pondering the Sun symbol.

A lot.

I think it started a few weeks ago, as I was working on—and finished—The Sun chapter for my upcoming book Naked Tarot.

Sun-Symbol-BIT

The funny thing about writing a book, especially a non-fiction one, is that you get quite intimate with your topic. Fascinating and surprising information turns up during research and contemplation.

So it has been with the Sun symbol.

In the past, I wasn’t a fan of the Sun—or The Sun Tarot card. Because I fare much better in cooler weather—and have adverse reactions to extended sunlight exposure and hot temperatures (thanks to medication)—my husband often jokes that the only Sun Tarot card for me is the one below from The Vampire of the Eternal Night!

Vamp_11And he was right…until now.

Meditations on The Sun card, the spread I created for my book and the hot star itself—not to mention associations like sunflowers, shade, golden yellow, vibrancy and radiance—revealed important aspects I’d been missing by avoiding things connected to the solar realm.

It didn’t help that I was in a bit of creative funk, feeling a bit of the “Van Gogh blues”…

I felt to actively meditation on the Sun symbol and related correspondences, especially when I wanted to remain positive, hopeful, confident and energetic towards my creative undertakings.

This has been a surprising development on my spiritual path because as a confirmed night owl, recovering Hermit and quintessential Scorpio—I tend to prefer things dark, cold and mysterious.

With the Sun, there’s none of that.

Night is usually associated with passivity, the feminine, the unknown, the unconscious. It’s the dark Yin that defines the light, active, masculine energy of Yang. The Yin/Yang interplay—a whirlwind and counterbalance of opposites—produces perpetual motion and metamorphosis. It fuels the Universe, incites growth and engenders progress.

One without the other leaves a static, barren, changeless landscape.

Sure, there’s a time to submerge into the dark, watery depths of the subconscious, entranced by the dreamlike state of reflective Luna—or to bury ourselves in the moist coolness of the feminine Earth.

Just as important, though (especially for women), is setting our faces towards the Sun, rising up in confidence—willing to become our own hero, our own savior—asserting our right to create, to shine, to achieve.

Instead of fighting patriarchy (real or perceived) and gender imbalances in the social sphere, we can internalize the male principle. We can become our own protectors, our own promoters, our own validators—and do the same for our sisters, everywhere.

Fast forward to a few days ago, when Philip Carr-Gomm posted a guest blog by Maria Ede-Weaving titled “Are You Your Biggest Fan?”. This, too, was a revelation for me, especially concerning the Solar Plexus Chakra. Normally, my 3rd Chakra is quite strong (arguably, a bit too robust)—but this last year, it’s really taken some hits—energetic “hits” that I didn’t realize were hijacking my creativity, undermining my self-esteem and perforating the usually solid “lining” of my Solar Plexus Chakra.

3rd chakra

No wonder I’d been inexplicably drawn to (enamored with?) my former quasi-foe!

So if you happen to need a boost from (or an entire season in) the bright, active, energetic, passionate, courageous and confident Sun symbol, here are some ways to welcome and incorporate its energy:

1. Surround yourself, or meditate upon, the color yellow—especially golden, bright hues (as opposed to washed-out, pale or muddy ones). Hang up curtains or art featuring brilliant yellows (like a print of Van Gogh’s Vase with Twelve Sunflowers). Paint your walls, tape yellow cellophane over a window (that, preferably, allows in a lot of sunshine), add decorations—anything to add a punch of brightness to your personal space. Don’t forget clothes and jewelry—scarves, shirts, socks, hats—or even sun-themed bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings.

2. Eat yellow fruits and vegetables like bananas, lemons, spaghetti squash, Golden Delicious apples, star-fruit, peppers and pineapple. Imagine the vibrant, healing energy of the Sun infusing every cell of your being as you chew, savor and swallow.

3. Look through your Tarot, Lenormand or oracle decks to locate The Sun card or anything associated with solar energy. Use the card for meditation on traits associated with “sunniness”, vitality and self-propulsion. If a companion book/let to your deck exists, consult what the author or artist wrote about that card—and feel free to incorporate the wisdom in your contemplations. (Below are yellow-hued cards from The Secret Language of Colour Cards)

Gold oracle cards

4. Keeping a vase of fresh flowers on a table, planting a “solar” garden (a bed with all-yellow blooms) or installing a flower box filled with flora like sunflowers, dandelions, honeysuckle, buttercup, marigold, St. John’s Wort, daffodils or chrysanthemum supports joy, optimism, personal authority, vitality and the power of the 3rd Chakra. But planting, smelling or displaying lovely blooms aren’t the only way to use “flower power”. In her book The Magic of Flowers, Tess Whitehurst offers that we can use sunflower (aka Helianthus, named for the Greek God, Helios) to boost solar energy and its related traits by cultivating them, eating sunflower seeds, sprinkling their petals in a bath or adding sunflower essence to drinking water. Any of these—or even utilizing a small image of a sunflower—can be incorporated into rituals, spells or contemplative practices. Interestingly, St. John’s Wort is used to treat SAD (Season Affective Disorder—the kind that descends in cold, snowy weather) in capsule form.

5. Listen to songs that mention the sun, sunshine, yellow or anything related to the solar traits you wish to promote. My personal favorite is “Life is a Flower” by Ace of Base, but you could listen to songs like “Ray of Light”, “Walkin’ on Sunshine”, “I Can See Clearly Now (The Rain is Gone)”, “Mr. Golden Sun (Please Shine Down on Me)” and “Lithium Sunset”. 

 

6. Work with yellow crystals or stones—especially citrine. In their book Healing with Crystals & Chakra Energies, authors Sue and Simon Lilly have this to say about citrine:

Whatever its origin, citrine quartz is invaluable as a healing stone…Citrine is gently warming, soothing and integrating. Working in harmony with the Solar Plexus Chakra, it is effective at increasing self-confidence and the achievement of personal goals. This crystal smoothes away areas of irritation and friction, creating more optimism and relaxation through the body, emotions and mind….The Solar Plexus chakra, with which yellow stones work so effectively, is the seat of our sense of personal power. From this centre arise our beliefs or doubts in ourselves. From here, confidence or anxieties, optimism or fear modify all our beliefs and our behaviour. Working with yellow stones like citrine can be an effective way to strengthen the positive aspects and release the fears within the body.

7. Invoke and work with solar deities. Most are connected to resurrection (since our ancestors likened the rising and setting of the sun to death and rebirth)—Ra, Khepri, Helios and Jesus are but a few. Other solar deities are associated with the arts (Apollo), healing (Belenus), physical strength (Kalvis) and purification (Silibo). See Judika Illes’ excellent book Encyclopedia of Spirits for an in-depth overview of hundreds of gods, goddesses, fairies and genies—some that can help you support your connection with the Sun.

8. Draw images of the Sun on your body—two inches above the navel (site of the Solar Plexus Chakra), on your palms or the soles of your feet. Or, paint or draw images of the Sun—finger paints, watercolors, crayons markers—on pieces of paper that you can stick on the wall or mirrors, place in your wallet/purse, use for rituals or to decorate an altar. You can also carve images of the Sun on yellow candles for rituals or spells (or use white or orange candles if you don’t have any yellow around). When cooking soups, stews or sauces, “draw” the image of the Sun as you stir to imbue your food with solar energy (even better if you use a wooden spoon emblazoned with images of the Sun). Creating and/or coloring mandalas—especially with hues of red, yellow and orange—will help strengthen your lower (survival) chakras, which in turn supports the “bridge” Chakra (Heart Chakra) that connects the lower and upper energy vortices.

3rd chakra

9. Focus on directly visualizing and balancing your 3rd (Solar Plexus Chakra). Below is an excerpt from my eBook The Chakras:

The Solar Plexus Chakra is associated with the color yellow and its Sanskrit name is Manipura. Its symbol is represented by a lotus of ten petals. The 3rd Chakra takes us further into the individuation process. As a result, this chakra deals with issues of personal power and self-esteem. What accompanies issues dealing with self esteem include the fear of rejection, and how we handle criticism. This is the realm of self-understanding and self-acceptance—as well as the realm of the “inner critic”. If we do not truly like or accept ourselves, we can “give our power away” in many areas. For example, if one is concerned about image, decision-making power is essentially “given over” to what others think about us. We define ourselves by others. As a result, our self-esteem suffers, and we can find ourselves in relationships that devalue us. When we don’t really like ourselves, our decision making capabilities are affected. We have a dense set of nerves in our solar plexus that serves as a “belly brain”, or lower “gut intuition” (which is later refined in the brow, or Third Eye Chakra—the 6th Chakra). The more we follow our gut instincts, the greater our confidence and sense of personal power, because it governs how we relate to the world.

Location: Solar plexus

Body Parts: Digestive system, liver, gall bladder

Glands: Pancreas, adrenals

Malfunction: Digestive troubles, chronic fatigue, and hypertension

Lesson: Related to the ego, personality, and self-esteem

Mental and Emotional Issues: Trust; fear and intimidation; self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect; care of oneself and others; responsibility for making decisions; sensitivity to criticism; personal honor

Orientation to Self: Self-definition

Sacred Truth: Honor Oneself

Primary Fears: Rejection; criticism; looking foolish; failing to meet one's responsibilities; fears related to physical appearance such as the fear of baldness, obesity, or aging; fear that others will discover our secrets.

Primary Strengths: Self-respect, self-esteem and self-discipline; ambition; ability to generate action and handle crisis; generosity; ethics; courage to take risks; strength of character

Gemstones: Amber, topaz, citrine and apatite

Incense: Ginger, woodruff

Element: Fire

Planet: Mars (also Sun)

Affirmations sun
Sun Card from the Affirmations for the Everyday Goddess Deck

Affirmations to Support the 3rd Chakra: 

  • I release all fear to God [or Universe or solar deity of your choice].
  • I am strong.
  • I am confident.
  • I have what it takes to make my way in the world.
  • I respect and care for myself.
  • Judgments from others say more about them than me. I release all critical judgments placed upon me.
  • I am able to make decisions, and choose with awareness. I can always choose again.
  • I trust the Divine in me.
  • I release intimidation.
  • Courage flows through me.
  • I can stand on my own two feet.

Egg yolk10. Egg-centuate the positive. A simple meditation and form of practical magic involves the humble egg. Crack a raw egg into a clear or white bowl—or onto a clear or white plate. Gaze at the bright, golden center, contemplating the life-giving energy of both the egg before you (micro) and the larger archetype of the Sun (macro). Say:

Egg before me, like the Sun,
Allow your energy to make life fun.
Give me hope and joy today,
Let vitality and courage light my way.

Then, scramble or fry the egg—or incorporate it into a recipe. As you eat the final product, contemplate the meditation above. After eating, say the meditation again. You have consumed the power of the Sun, and will allow it to nourish, support and transform you. (If you're vegan, bless the egg and the chicken who gave it bury it in the ground or within the soil of a yellow flower. Or, use it in egg tempera paint to create sun-based art).

It’s been a surprising few months, working with the Sun symbol and its companion energies. I’ve more than made peace with the Sun: these days, I call it Friend (although, admittedly, I still prefer his presence in either symbolic form—or when it’s 70 degrees F or below outside!).

 

Suns cards 500
Sun Cards from the Coffee Tarot and the Snowland Deck

 

-- Janet


Wizard of Oz Tarot Spread

Over on my Witches and Pagans PaganSquare Symbolically Speaking blog (gosh, say that 5 times fast!), I share my Yellow Brick Road to Awakening Spread. Click here to read all about it (plus some insight on Oz symbols). 

Oz spread banner 500

The spread can also be used with Runes, our Boyer Charming Oracle, oracle cards or other random draw tools. I created it specially for Illogical Associates and their Shadow of Oz Tarot deck (it's in the LWB). Enjoy!

-- Janet


How to Do a 3-Card Email Tarot Reading

When reading Tarot, the layout of the cards is called a spread. In a spread, each position has a pre-determined meaning—either created by you or another. The nature of the pre-determined meaning is important because it modifies the interpretation of the card.

A 3-card layout is a simple spread that can yield a lot of information in the hands of an experienced reader. Some examples of 3-card spreads include:

  1. Past, Present, Future
  2. You, Significant Other, Together (The Relationship)
  3. Mind, Body, Emotions
  4. Pro, Con, Advice
  5. Sun, Moon, Ascendant

For example, here is an actual 3-card reading I’ve recently done for a client (used by permission):

Should I Buy a Bigger Bike?

Context:   I’m 41 yrs old and recently purchased a small Yamaha Zuma scooter.  I’m having a blast but now want to also purchase a larger Honda 1100cc motorcycle that reminds me of one I had in my younger days (I’m calling it my mid-life crisis mobile).  This is something I really enjoyed in the past and would like to start riding again.   I’m concerned primarily with my safety.   I have a 5 yr old son and don’t want to get killed on it.   My wife always stresses about money no matter how much we have, but this is something I can easily afford in addition to saving for college and other stuff.  

Question:  Are there any issues that I need to be aware of before making my decision to purchase a new motorcycle, or will I be happily enjoying my purchase well into my old age?

My reply:

Here’s your 3-card reading about whether or not to buy the bigger bike:

3 card reading snowland smaller

Pros: Knight of Coins – You’re a careful and conscientious driver. You don’t, and won’t, take risks.

Cons: 4 of Coins – This is the “miser” card. We know who this refers to. LOL! Seems like the only drawback is just your wife’s financial protests.

Final Advice: Ace of Cups – In our Snowland Deck, which I used for your reading, this image shows a hand coming out of the sky, offering a huge, delicious milkshake. It’s a card of joy and an emotional upsurge of positive feelings.

I think it’s pretty clear that the cards advise you to “Go for it!”...and enjoy your mid-life crisis mobile.

Here’s another actual client reading (used by permission):

Should I Pursue Personal Training Certification?

my situation is, should i add to my life a personal training certification. (for more credentials)

I already am certified to teach group fitness yoga, pilates boot camp, and a massage therapist and also doing facials.

I am graduating with a degree in health and wellness next week.

somehow i feel i need personal training cert although do not want to be necessarily a personal trainer in a gym environment, hence the hesitation.

Im more a piscean mystic and healer.

so im torn of the pro and con, I'm leaning toward con but theres a reason, however, what is it that im supposed to focus on at this point to further my life that will bring me financial benefits. 

your guidance is treasured!

and thanks again.

(Yes, some client readings come in this jumbled!)

My reply:

Here’s your 3-Card Reading for pursuing personal training certification right now:

3 card reading snowland 2 smaller

Pro: Quester Mental (aka Knight of Swords) – This Knight is often impetuous, wanting to go full speed ahead without much forethought. It’s a card of mental stamina, aiming for a goal, and hitting the mark. You’d have no trouble getting the certification, and you could certainly add it to your aesthetic/healing work. The certification would be swift and easy for you.

Con: Inversion (Hanged Man) – In this position, this card tells me that a major drawback would be lack of integration of what you’ve already learned this year, as well as the spiritual growth that comes from such absorption. Metaphorically, the Knight of Swords “gobbles things up” based on mental machinations, while the Hanged Man absorbs what he’s learned—taking time to digest, see things in a new light, then integrate and “upgrade” his spiritual operating system. If you pursue getting the certification now, you’ll be glossing over the process and lose many of its nourishing benefits that will aid you in the future. Knight of Swords is short term benefits, but the Hanged Man—being a Major Arcana card—signifies long-term benefits directly related to your life purpose.

Final Advice: Director Emoting (aka King of Cups) - As an approach card, this card advises governing your emotions and directing your creative urges in spiritually beneficial ways. Although pursuing certification at this time may have some material benefits, it won’t be adding to your deep identification as a Piscean Mystic/Healer. So, your choices in the near future should reflect the values treasured by the Mystic/Healer archetype (rather than, say, the Entrepreneur, Athlete or Aesthetician). In our Snowland Deck, which I used for your reading, this card is Father Christmas; for your clients, focus on offering services that make them feel blessed, pampered, joyful and excited about their lives—many of the feelings and sentiments we associate with Christmas and the receiving of gifts. 

Deck 1000 Spreads 300You may notice that I color-code either the actual card title, or the text. This is because color is powerful and symbolic and, in larger readings, can show the client (and myself) which elements/suits are most represented in reading. What doesn’t show up in a reading often tells us as much as what does.

And, as you can see from both of these readings, some are quite straightforward: the cards speak clearly (sometimes, in one sentence!)—and, at other times, the same cards, in a different reading/spread, may have a lot more to say. Readings are as varied as the clients who receive them and the readers who perform them.

Personally, I’m not a fan of pre-formed spreads (even popular ones) because I feel they give too much unnecessary information that doesn’t really help or empower a client, so apart from 3-card readings, I usually make up my own spreads based on the client’s issues, questions and needs.

Do you have our Snowland Deck? Find out more at SnowlandDeck.com (it comes with a bag and .pdf companion book, too!). Want to book a reading with me (3-card or otherwise)? Visit my readings page on my site at this link.

-- Janet


The Emoting Suit of the Snowland Deck

After covering the Energy Suit of our Snowland Deck (gosh, has it been over a year already?), it's time to explore the Emoting Suit. Enjoy!

Water, water everywhere!

Snow, ice, frost—this element is a big component of the Snowland Deck, especially since the white stuff underscores every image. Seems especially fitting, considering both my husband and I have our Sun (and significant planetary placements) in Scorpio (a water sign).

Snowland Emoting Montage

In our deck, we associate the Emoting (Cups) cards to the water element—the nebulous, feminine suit of feelings, moods, aesthetics, relationships, love, yearning and emotional nourishment.

Like all Aces, our Ace Emoting card presents an invitation—a window of opportunity. Depending on our receptivity to things new or surprising, we can choose to accept, reject or ignore the Divine offering.

Ace of Cups Jumbo FONT

A dapper snowman sits at a table covered with a checkered tablecloth—a pattern symbolizing the contrasting (and sometimes, contradictory) forces in life. Will our snowman be influenced by external forces or a “checkered past”—or will he welcome the strawberry milkshake with joy? He’s holding a menu in this Ace: did he “order” this cosmic gift via the menu of attraction or prayer—or is a gift from (and on) “the house"?

Make no mistake: past conditioning can, and does, influence our reactions to the Gift from the cloud.

2 of Cups Jumbo FONT

When our heart is open and joy fills our cup, we’re ready to share our love with another. In 2 Emoting, a snowman and snowwoman reach beyond the borders of their mugs, ready to exchange intimate feelings and notions in front of the fireplace. Although coffee and cocoa are two different beverages, at core, their energy (when balanced and reciprocated) serves to warm and soothe the soul.

3 of Cups Jumbo FONT

In our 3 Emoting card, fond feelings have bubbled over into leisure and camaraderie. How liberating to be comfortable among friends to the point where you can talk about anything, have a few drinks and let off a rip roarin’ fart without embarrassment (as one of our Japanese snow monkeys has done!).

4 of Cups Jumbo FONT

Moving on to 4 Emoting, the emotional waters form a stable pool, so to speak, but without the ability to see—or a willingness to see—beauty, stagnation results. Two celebrated paintings surround the museum security guard—Dali’s “Persistence of Memory” and Wyeth’s “Christina’s World”—yet, he fails to recognize their magnificence (not to mention the snow leopard leaping out of the frame).

5 of Cups Jumbo FONT

The 5s in Tarot tend to bring some type of instability, challenge or moral question to the forefront. In the 5 Emoting card, a tear streaks down the face of a woman clothed in Edwardian garb. She holds part of a broken necklace, while the other half lies in the snow behind her. Further back stands a snow-covered gravestone and a heart-shaped tree absent of leaves. Is she sad? Anxious? Angry? Relieved? We leave that up to the viewer to decide…

6 of Cups Jumbo FONT

A pet peeve of both mine and Ron’s involves yet another Rider-Waite-Smith clone hitting the market, laden with cards that are supposed to indicate one thing…but portray something altogether different (or, not much at all). One such card is the 6 of Cups which, in most RWS-style decks, shows an elfin figure giving a goblet of flowers to a child in a courtyard, while a man ascends a staircase behind them. One of our goals with the Snowland Deck was to actually portray a card’s common interpretation. So, if the 6 of Cups usually means nostalgia, a walk down memory lane or a “blast from the past”—why not illustrate it outright?

So our 6 Emoting card depicts a grandmother showing her grandchild a family photo album, including pictures of the old farmhouse she grew up in, as well as her first car.

7 of Cups Jumbo FONT

The 7s usually bring analysis, evaluation, strategy and the clarification of values. In our 7 Emoting card, a woman stands in a curio shop, debating on which item to purchase—an eagle statue, a mug, a porcelain snowfamily, a cityscape snow globe, etc. Each piece of merchandise symbolizes a state of being, goal or feeling. But, with every choice, there is a price. What is she willing to pay for what she wants—or thinks she needs?

8 of Cups Jumbo FONT

The 8 of Cups often suggests walking way from a perfectly good situation in order to follow a higher calling or alternative soul path. But it can also indicate a sabbatical, retirement or temporary leave of a successful, emotionally satisfying circumstance. What better way to show this, we thought, than an unbuttoned snowman relaxing on the deck of a cruise ship (500 SP sunblock nearby, of course).

9 of Cups Jumbo FONT

Too much of a good thing can lead to stomachaches at best—and dangerous health risks, at worst. Our smiling teenager dips his hand in the cookie jar yet again, while numerous bitten-into cookies lay strewn across the table. Is this a one-time occurrence—perhaps after celebrating some type of holiday or achievement—or is this a patterned behavior? And what if he takes this habit into adulthood? Sometimes what we wish for (or think we want) isn’t in our best interest, no matter how deliciously the cookie crumbles…

10 of Cups Jumbo FONT

The end of our numbered cards brings us to “The Happy Family”—10 Emoting. This card is one of the most personal in from our Snowland Deck because Ron painted us—as well as our son, Noah, and our kitties. This image is especially poignant for us because these two cats were born under our bed, part of a litter birthed by a stray we adopted. While our orange tabby, Stewart, is still with us, his black shorthair brother, Neo, had to be put to sleep Christmas Eve 2012 after a sudden (and devastating) kidney disease. Even being a “happy family” full of joy, respect and laughter doesn’t shield the heart from the grief of loss. Yet, it’s a blessing to be surrounded by love when a cherished family member passes from this life to the Other Side.

Snow Courts

We’ve dispensed with the medieval (and largely irrelevant) Court Card designation, favoring instead to name these sixteen cards Youth, Quester, Nurturer and Director. I delved deep into Nordic mythology, Germanic lore and snow-themed literature for our Approach Cards (as we call them).

Both our Youth and Quester Emoting find their inspiration in stories by Hans Christian Andersen.

Youth Emoting

The Snowdrop, our Youth Emoting card, prematurely heralds the coming spring, connecting to early blooming, precociousness, emotional sensitivity, fragility and naiveté. To quote from Andersen’s story of the same name:

"And the snowdrop was put back in the book; and it felt both honored and happy to know that it now was a bookmark in a volume of poems written by a poet who was the first to write about the snowdrop; a poet who, like the flower, had stood in the bitter, winter weather with a dream of summer in his soul: a summer fool. The snowdrop interpreted what she had heard her own way, as we all do."

Quester Emoting

Quester Emoting, our equivalent of the Knight of Cups, depicts the infatuated, quixotic energy of the hopeless romantic. The Snowman, also based on an Andersen tale titled "The Snow Man", shows a dog and snowman yearning outside a window. One desires to be back inside its master’s house in front of the blazing stove (with bone firmly between the teeth), while the other pines for an object of his affection that, if attained, would essentially destroy him. For you see, when the neighborhood boys constructed the snowman, they used the stove’s poker to help him stand upright. Thus, the snowman wants what he can’t have because he’s, at core, formed around one of the stove’s necessary tools.

Nurturer Emoting

Our Nurturer Emoting is Berchta, a Germanic goddess of abundance that watches over souls in transit—especially ones from unbaptized babies, stillbirths, miscarriages, abortions, those who’ve not received proper burials and those driven to suicide by broken hearts. As a double water card (Queens/Nurturers preside over the water element, as do the Cups/Emoting suit), Berchta’s compassion and gentle watchfulness serve as a touching portrayal of this energy.

Director Emoting

Lastly, we come to our Director Emoting card. Who better to illustrate the nature of giving gifts, delegating blessings, avuncular kindness, tender fatherliness and lavish benefactor than Father Christmas?

I hope you enjoyed a tour of our Snowland Deck’s Emoting suit. With all the blues and greens in our color choices—and as I mentioned, the aqueous foundation of our theme—it could be argued that these cards are especially suited for those born or influenced under water signs, as well as those wanting to add the energy, and gifts, of the water element to their divination or meditation practice.

The Snowland Deck is the co-creation between the husband and wife team of Janet Boyer  and artist Ron Boyer. Ron painted each image on specially prepared, hand-cut, sanded wood boards using gesso, then acrylics. To find out more information about the Snowland Deck, including how to order it, please visit SnowlandDeck.com. Don't have yours yet? Visit SnowlandDeck.com to get one in time for the winter holidays.

-- Janet


A Tour Through the Coffee Tarot

At last, our Coffee Tarot Limited Edition (Majors only) deck is done!

We’re so happy with how it came out.

Coffee Tarot Montage

Ron and I have conceived many decks over the years, but this will probably be the last one we’ll bring to fruition in the material world.

In Chez Boyer, we’re huge coffee lovers—the smell, the taste, the mugs, the flavored creamers…

Ahhhhhh.

There’s nothing like it.

The idea for Coffee Tarot bubbled up when we were out on the porch, drinking java and having one of our impromptu Coffee Creative Calypso gatherings. (Our 3C catchphrase refers to our family brainstorming sessions, where we sit around a table to discuss art, philosophy, writing and music—and, sometimes, pull out the MagPo for spontaneous poetry or story ideas).

Calypso 2 500
A Coffee Creative Calypso Session

I said to Ron: “We should do a Coffee Tarot. Try using watercolor pencils on paper, instead, so it’s not as time consuming as our Snowland Deck” (which utilized specially cut wood that was sanded, gessoed multiple times and painted using acrylics).

I don’t know…” he wavered. “I like the detailing that acrylics afford.”

Yes”, I conceded, “but watercolor pencils would be so much faster. And, you can do it in a limited color palette! Primarily coffee and creamer tones—browns, white, ecru…maybe some gray and black for shadow or metal renderings”.

Hmmm”. Ron wasn’t convinced.

Yet.

Oh, come ON”, I pleaded. “It will be fun! We can do a Majors-only deck, as an experiment. That way, it’s only 22 cards instead of 78. If pre-orders are brisk, to our liking, we can expand it to a full deck. But no pressure! Plus, pencils will be so much faster. You’ll be done in a few months, rather than several years.”

Coffee Tarot Palette 500
Ron's Limited Color Palette for the Coffee Tarot

I admit to having selfish motives.

I wanted a Coffee Tarot…badly! After all, it combined two of my loves. And, I’d never seen a Coffee Tarot suggested as an idea, let alone pulled off (one of my criteria for pouncing on a new project). 

We started getting ideas right then and there for cards. Because we collaborated before with our Snowland Deck, Ron was familiar with the process: have a unique rendering that still reflected a common or sensible meaning for a particular card.

He became convinced we had something here, getting really jazzed as the image possibilities flowed fast and furious between us.

The process began in late May 2014 and ended September 21, 2014—the day the final card was completed (appropriately, Blending—our version of Temperance).

I thought I’d give you a brief tour through the Coffee Tarot to give you an idea of our inspirations and reasoning for each card.

Without further ado, let’s get brewing!

The Bean 400

The Bean – Every good cup of coffee started off with a bean. The “beans” of a coffee plant are actually seeds—the perfect personification for The Fool in our Coffee Tarot. Just as The Fool starts out his journey (or life) with fresh-faced potential, so does The Bean. Will he be cast off as “undesirable”? Fall off the plant unnoticed? Left on the shrub to rot in the sun? Picked to be roasted as a chocolate covered treat or for the eventual elixir of the gods—possibly traveling thousands of miles to parts unknown? Will the final result be welcomed, enjoyed and celebrated? Rejected, poured down the drain and vilified? Just as The Fool doesn’t know what or who he’ll encounter on the path to experience, so, too, the humble Bean from the coffee plant. For more thoughts on The Bean, see my post "The Evolution and Reinterpretation of Symbols (Or, the Coffee Tarot Leaves Me Cold)" at this link.

Magic 400

Magic – Here at Chez Boyer, coffee + creamer + sugar + creative tools = magic! Sure, we could’ve taken the easy route for this card, portraying a wizard pointing his wand to make the perfect cup of coffee. But, in our artistic household, the wand of creativity begins with tools: pen, pixels and paper for me; paints, pencils and canvas for Ron; piano keys for Noah. Yes, mostly fueled by caffeine via coffee (ha!), but we still must pick up and use those creative tools for true magic to manifest. Fuel isn’t enough for a car to go, after all: the driver must put the key in the ignition, shift gears and put the foot to the gas pedal to move. So for our Coffee Tarot, a hot cup of joe is surrounded by four symbols correlating to those on the Rider-Waite-Smith version’s table (which correspond to the four elements): Fire/Wands is represented by the rising steam forming a lemniscate above the cup (the heat igniting our imagination); Earth/Coins is represented by the clay bowl of sugar and metal spoon (all harvested from the earth); Water/Cups is represented by the container of liquid creamer (hazelnut half-and-half for me, please!) and Air/Swords is represented by the pen—a tool for communication (and often mightier than the sword)—and a blank notebook, a place for words to find expression via ink.

Secret Recipe 400

Secret Recipe – Echoing the two pillars in the RWS High Priestess card, one cylindrical storage shelf is made of dark wood, while the other is light. The checkerboard patterned floor also reflects the black/white duality theme (to learn more about the High Priestess symbolism, see my post here.) Instead of a pomegranate veil, however, our barista enters a curtain made of another type of seed: the coffee bean!  What kind of fruitfulness hides behind that beaded curtain? Is it a stockroom? The roasting area? A place for storing secret recipes? That’s the rub: like the High Priestess, she tells us nothing. Whether her lips are sealed or she has our back to us, we don’t know the secret she holds…or guards. Either we become initiated into the cosmic coffee shop to find out for ourselves—or we decide that some mysteries are just not worth the effort to pursue, let alone fully understand.

French Press 400


French Press – Our version of The Empress, The French Press card not only depicts an actual French press—but also a French (em)Press. Can you guess who she is? ::wink:: Surrounded by pots, Coffee Tarot Empress Button SMALLERpans, utensils and finished sweet treats, our Queen of the Kitchen envisions, nurtures and produces life-sustaining goodies. A copper mold on the wall forms the shape of a rabbit, a symbol of fertility and productivity (click here to read my post on rabbit symbolism in the Tarot). Her badge of honor reads L’Emperatrice, the French name for this card. (To read more about the Symbols in the Empress card, click here).

Emperor 400

The Emperor – Director of trade routes (as seen on the back of his solid, square, imposing throne), overseer of quality control, decider of import/export agreements and ruler over an organized coffee kingdom, our Emperor functions much like the traditional renderings of The Emperor card—except his domain is java! Most cards depict The Emperor face on, but we decided that showing him from behind—actually governing and interacting with people—told more of a story than a static figure. Plus, we get to guess what The Emperor’s facial expression and reaction is to this excited man presenting a full bag of coffee beans. (Coffee beans decorate the flag, the emperor’s cape and the diamond motfis on the throne).

Tradition 400

Tradition – Our version of The Hierophant, Tradition replicates one of the oldest forms of storytelling, as well as the transmission of history, tribal mores and spiritual mythos: the cave painting. Ron decided to go a surrealistic route on this card, portraying the hunted horned animals as coffee bean creatures. Two hunters in the lower left corner wonder WTF is going on when a third lays down arms to chase the caffeinated beast, cup outstretched, no doubt suffering from withdrawal! A common motif among cave paintings, Ron included the red outlined hands on the wall, except they reach for a steaming mug of joe in the upper right—not only attempting to make their mark on the clan’s dwelling, but also showing the central role that coffee plays in their world.

The Lovers 400

The Lovers –The Lovers is oh-so-much more than just meeting someone, falling in love and declaring undying devotion. It’s also a card about commitment, vows, choice and sharing (sometimes, uncomfortably, to those with untamed egos). As our lovers share a single hot cup of coffee with dual handles, each reaches for the last biscotti. Will they beak it in half? Will each insist that the other eat it? Will one say “Dibs!”—grab it, nibble and giggle in sugary glee? Perhaps they’ll feed each other, taking bites in turn. Or maybe they’ll touch hands, smile warmly—and decide they’d rather have some hot sex right now instead of eating another sweet treat. One thing we know about our Lovers: they’re into each other (and coffee!). (Joined coffee beans decorate the center of the mug, and the woman wears a coffee bean bracelet).

Fuel 400

Fuel – Our version of The Chariot, we decided to call this card Fuel, which enables our percolator rocket to get off the ground—indicating propulsion, high energy, advancement, confident forward (or, in this case, upward) movement, busting through barriers and public achievement. Once again, we wanted to capture the energy and meaning of The Chariot, rather than show a static Rider-Waite-Smith style image that usually portrays none of the steel will, dynamism, harnessed energy and progress embodied within this archetype. Ron had the idea of a rocket taking off, which beautifully reflects these card meanings. And for those of us who rely on java to start our day (let alone get anything done), we know coffee is our fuel—and, sometimes, an impetus for greatness!

Strength 400

Strength – Ron came up with this innovative image, which perfectly illustrates two components of Strength: the delicate balance of grace under pressure, and actual physical strength. Can you imagine the finesse required to balance a hot cup of coffee on a bulging bicep while opening (then pouring) a packet of sugar in the steaming cup? Wow! And the Juan tattoo? My idea—an homage to Juan Valdez, an iconic fictional character popularized in coffee commercials.

The Seeker 400

The Seeker – Our version of The Hermit, we spent many hours debating on this one. Ron wanted to do an old prospector in front of (or inside) a cave, holding up a lantern. But how to incorporate the coffee element besides having him hold a cup of coffee? Make the cave entrance look like a coffee bean? I just couldn’t get on board with that idea. When we reach an impasse with a card, Ron and I let it “brew” in our subconscious—sometimes, for days—as he works on other cards or projects. “What about a library?” I suggested, “populated with books bearing coffee-related titles? You could paint a lamp, maybe an old-fashioned gas one, representing illumination. Hermits are often wisdom bearers, as well as guides to knowledge for those hungry for information or truth”. Ron got excited about the idea—and came up with all the titles on the books. Below is a close-up. Too funny, huh? My favorite is Baby’s 1st Cup: Tips on Serving Coffee in the Crib. (LOL!)

Seeker Coffee Books

Roasting Wheel 400

The Roasting Wheel – The Roasting Wheel is our version of The Wheel of Fortune card. Round and round the wheel spins, tossing the beans to and fro as they’re made ready for either chocolate covered candies or brewing. Those closer to the outside are more likely to get tossed overboard, never making it to their intended destinations. In life, we’re thrown around, too, by the unexpected vagaries of life. The closer we stay to center (our center), the better our chances of making it to our destination, intact. All humanity shares the churning wheel archetype, collectively and individually, and each of us has been “roasted” (burned?) in myriad ways. Makes you feel a bit more compassionate for your fellow human beans, doesn’t it?

The Scale 400

The Scale – Our version of Justice, The Scale depicts how we weigh goods, values and experience. Do we judge with our heads (or pockets)—or our hearts? In the Coffee Tarot, coffee beans outweigh precious gems, jewelry and gold coins (natch!). Ron enjoys including a “little man” motif in at least one of his cards (in our Snowland Deck, he’s hiding amid the Commander’s spiked icicle crown), and he’s clearly on the side of coffee in this image (with two cups in hand). The twining vine shows how our judgments and estimations can grow over time (hopefully, evolving in proportion to objectivity, gathered facts, open-minded inquiry and a thirst for truth). The playful swirls, reminiscent of the luxurious aroma of hot coffee, reminds us that our preferences and tastes may color our judgments—and, on a grand scale, those things we deem so terribly important, may in fact be “small beans”…so lighten up!

Hanging 400

Hanging – My original idea for this card was to show an elaborate kinetic sculpture hanging from a large tree branch, made up of various sizes and shapes of ceramic mugs. Yes, it was rather abstract, I admit, but I thought it connected to the tree of Yggdrasil, as well as “seeing things differently” (I mean, who would think of ornamental hanging mugs akin to homemade wind chimes? Oops. Me, that’s who). Ron couldn’t catch a vision for it, feeling that it didn’t tell enough of a story. So we sat on it for awhile, and he came up with a cowboy relaxing (“hanging out”) on his porch, watching his young boys play in the yard (they’re reflected in the window behind him). A coffee mug dangles (hangs) from the man’s gloved hand. One of the sons trusses up his brother to a tree, hanging him from the ankle. What a new perspective—hanging upside down in the backyard, at the mercy of your sibling! And, perhaps, the dad is reflecting on his own childhood—or how far he’s come as a father. Or maybe, he’s silently thanking his Deity or communing with nature at his rural homestead. We’ll leave that up to you, the viewer, to decide. (A coffee bean band encircles the father’s hat).

Out of Business 400

Out of Business – Death can be a tricky card to depict, especially if you eschew Rider-Waite-Style iconography (a skeleton on a horse or the grim reaper)—and if you happen to illustrate upbeat, gentle decks. Ron conceived the Out of Business card rather quickly, and I loved the idea. I suggested a flower pushing up through the concrete outside (bottom left) to hint at life struggling against the elements (and hard times), yet preserving among harsh environs. And, although the cloth awning is tattered and litter is strewn on the sidewalk, the “For Sale” sign also offers hope: the promise of a new owner who will revive and refurbish the Coffee Shop, reborn as a thriving business that will bless the local economy—and the java-craved palettes of the community.

Blending 400

Blending – The Thoth deck calls Temperance “Art”, and it wasn’t until I was writing this "Tour Through the Coffee Tarot" post that I realized our version’s resemblance to the imagery of Crowley’s deck (at least, in terms of pouring two different liquids into one receptacle). Although I’ve owned the Thoth Tarot for years, I never get it out, so most of the imagery isn’t in my conscious memory. Anyway, I thought Blending would be a great title for this card, especially when it comes to combining opposites. The blender at left echoes this “mixing it up” theme. Just like some baristas love to test out flavorings and ingredients to make new, sensuous elixirs for customers, so, too, does the figure in the Coffee Tarot’s Blending card. She doesn’t aim for perfection, for her quest is experimentation—and so her countertop is a messy one. Will she add cocoa from the sifter? Whisk in some other ingredients? Adjust the amounts of her flavorings? Decide the espresso base could do with some steamed milk? Add a dash of cinnamon or vanilla to her mocha surprise? Blending invites us to artistry—to experiment with unique combinations--harmonizing sweet and salty, dark and light, hot and cold, spicy and earthy, masculine and feminine. What could we do with our life if we weren’t afraid to experiment—to try unexpected combinations? To allow more Yang if we’re mostly Yin…or Yin, if we’re mostly Yang? (Initially, Ron had the Yin/Yang symbol on the cup, but I thought it would look better on the apron. Then, we could yell out “Coffee!” on the mug. Just in case you forgot what our deck was about).

Caf~fiend 400

Caf~fiend – Who’s The Devil in a Coffee Tarot? Why, the shakes—the kind that comes with waaaaay too much caffeinated coffee. Our rattlesnake sports a vibrating tail made up of coffee beans, as does his distinctive diamond-back skin. Look closely at the handle on the mug at right, and you’ll spy a handcuff— symbolizing the chains and self-made prison of addiction. With no thought of personal cost (even if it’s a poisonous snake bite!), the coffee “fiends” still reaches for another cup. Addicts know all about the “just one more” mantra, and for these fearless (or foolish) java junkies, another cup could come at a very high price. (Huge thanks to Sylvia of Dunedin Tarot in New Zealand for providing the clever name for this card!).

The Rip 400

The Rip – Although Ron suggested a rather conventional image for our version of The Tower (a building hit by lightning, albeit a fresh rendering), I had a flash of inspiration: a tall burlap bag! Filled with coffee beans! With a rip! “Hmm”, considered Ron. “It’s rather simplistic…” “Well, yes”, I countered. “But it’s a cool image! And we can have mice gnawing on the bag, representing the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs that no longer serve wellbeing and which can eventually undermine (or destroy) a person’s life”. And so it is.

The Star 400

The Star – Coffee is obviously the star of our deck! And since I’ve been watching one of my childhood idols on DVD, I had the idea of a Wonder Woman-inspired card. The emerging stars resemble those in the 70s TV show intro, and the coffee bean motif in the background mimics the pixel dots in old-school comic books. The base of the mug is Wonder Woman’s tiara, while the handle is a nod to her golden magic lasso. Wonder Woman  was (is?) the ultimate feminist icon, promoting and defending Aquarian values like compassion, unity, sisterhood, equality, diplomacy, technology (used mindfully), world peace, innovation and respect for the individual—as well as some of the more New Age ideas of animal communication, telepathy, superhuman skills, psychic ability, immortality, Atlantis, goddess worship and alien contact. Much better at capturing the ideal and import of The Star card than a naked woman pouring liquid from a jug beside a stream, in my estimation… (Interestingly, two fascinating books about Wonder Woman came out in 2014: Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World's Most Famous Heroine and The Secret History of Wonder Woman). 

Moon 400

The Moon – Ron and his love for space travel! Our winter-themed deck depicted a snowmonaut for The Stars card, and Mr. Ron revisits the idea with a surrealistic javanaut on what looks to be the Earth's moon…but is it? After all, instead of our blue planet reflected in the visor, we have a huge floating coffee bean. And the coffee poured from the thermos? It’s floating. Where the hell is he, anyway? And so it is with The Moon. We’re never sure of our footing (or location) when this card comes up, because it’s fraught with mystery, concealment, shadows, reflection, subconscious symbols and—sometimes, deception (including self-deception). Looking closer, we see several super-cool motifs embedded by Ron: JAVA (instead of NASA), a coffee bean flag (instead of the U.S. flag), the number 18 on the badge (the traditional numerical designation of The Moon) and a metallic mug on the javanaut’s suit. (When hard pressed, Ron admits this is his favorite card in the Coffee Tarot, with World Café a close second).

JavaNaut Close Crop

The Moon 400

The Moon (Bonus) – I asked (begged) Ron to do a second Moon card, because I really liked one of his ideas: to depict the “Hey, Diddle Diddle” nursery rhyme, but have a cup (instead of a dish) run away with the spoon. I love the surprised expression on the moon as a cow attempts to jump him. A surrealistic nod to a beloved children’s song, as well as the fantastical imagery that often populates our dreams and intuitive vision.

The Sun 400

The Sun – At first glance, this appears to be a simple rendering. Some may even call it “cute”. But I’ve deconstructed its symbols (including the heavy eyelids, the rooster and Styrofoam cup) that are so unconsciously imbedded; you may not have given them second thought. Click here to read that post. I love the idea that the sun needs java to start his day just like many of us mere mortals!

Wake Up Call 400

Wake Up Call – In the Coffee Tarot’s version of Judgment, the angel doesn’t blow a horn summoning the dead to a final reckoning, resurrecting dead flesh into glowing spirit now unfettered from mortality. No, in our deck, a helpful angel pours from a carafe (whose trumpet emblem “blows” coffee drips) into a mug—held by the outstretched hand of a corpse. Coffee zombie, indeed! A supernatural resuscitation totally believable for coffee lovers… And the mounded dirt around the grave? It looks just like coffee grounds!

World Cafe 400

World Café – Initially, this card began as Ron’s idea for Justice (scales were depicted in the upper left, with three additional symbols in the other three corners). When I first saw the sketch, I thought it was The World card. Until he told me, “No, that’s Justice”. Hmm. “No, I don’t like it as Justice. It feels like The World. Let’s play with it.” Ron had the brilliant idea of portraying the four senses involved in enjoying a cup of coffee as the four corner symbols (traditionally occupied by the four symbols of the Fixed Zodiac signs—Aquarius, Scorpio, Leo and Taurus). So we have sight (eye), smell (nose), taste (tongue) and touch (hands around a steaming mug). A coffee bean serves as the man’s Third Eye (of course!), and he balances the spectrum of coffee—from bag to silver flagon—in his hands. The concentric circles surrounding the man go from dark to light—symbolizing ignorance evolving into illumination, The Bean’s inexperience expanding to wisdom gained from worldly experience. Interestingly, World Café turned out to be one of Ron’s favorite images from this deck. (The central figure wears a necklace adorned with coffee beans).

Coffee Tarot Back 400

The Backing – A slew of roasted coffee beans seemed like the perfect backing for a Coffee Tarot! We were going to do a second backing for a full, mass-market edition—reversible coffee cups—but when pre-orders for our Limited Edition deck didn’t meet our expectations, we decided to forgo doing a full deck altogether.

Backing Exacto
Ron Colors in the Backing

Because watercolor pencils crumble rather easily, Ron must sharpen almost all of them using an exacto knife rather than a traditional sharpener. Yes, he sharpens most of them by hand. Whew!

You may wonder, “Janet, what are your favorite cards in the Coffee Tarot?”

Ack.

Janet Faves Coffee Tarot

It’s a difficult question to answer, truly. I really love Tradition and Fuel, as well as The Rip. I find Out of Business quite touching and expressive, too (Noah says that’s his favorite). And you can probably tell how much I love The Star. But if I had to pick one, at gunpoint, it would be Wake Up Call. It cracks me up. I love the luminosity Ron achieved with the glowing angel (hard to believe it’s watercolor pencils!), as well as the emerging sunrise. Very appealing both compositionally, as well as symbolically.

Sketches, Poses and Ron’s Studio (Oh My!)

Ron’s a stickler for authenticity, so he stages almost all of his paintings involving humans using a timed camera. When we’re up, Noah and I also serve as models, too (we’re usually on a night schedule while Ron, having a full-time day job, is a morning person), but Ron does most of the modeling. When need arises, he even makes props for card imagery—like the “French press”. (We’ve since gotten a French press, but haven’t tried it out yet). Below are some of his reference photos:

The Moon (Javanaut) Model
Modeling for the Javanaut
Secret Recipe Model
Modeling for Secret Recipe
French Press Model
Modeling for The French Press
Ron Noah King
Ron and Noah Setting Up for The Emperor (Yes, Ron Has Blue Hair!)
Ron Noah King 2
I Snapped About a Dozen Versions of The Emperor. This Was My Favorite. Ron Made a Paper Backing for the Chair, Including a Map
Lovers Biscotti Model
Modeling for The Lovers. (Not Biscotti...But a Tube of Paint!)
Hanging Model
Modeling for Hanging
 
Wake Up Call Model
Modeling for Wake Up Call

Some sketches don’t meet my approval—or we end up coming up with a better idea in the interim. Why don’t all of Ron’s sketches meet my approval? Well, first, I need to have a “That’s it!” feeling about an image. It must reflect one or more of the traditional meanings of the particular Tarot card, as well as include an obvious nod to the theme. Both Ron and I want each card of our Tarots to tell a story, so that those completely new to Tarot can weave a yarn about a particular image (including children). For us, the storytelling component is a vital link to intuition and the ability to mine symbolic associations for personal insight.

And, sometimes, I just don’t like the way an image is posed. For example, after seeing his staged photo of Wake Up Call, I suggested that a hand could be thrust up through the grave dirt. For Blending, the last card Ron completed, I wasn’t happy with the arm positions, the size of the blender and the Yin/Yang symbol on the cup. So he erased some elements, and began sketching some corrections:

Ron Sketching Blending
Ron Re-Sketching Blending (Note My Cup of Coffee in the Foreground!)
Sketching Blending Close Up
Fixing Blending Per My Suggestions

For The World card, Ron’s initial idea was to put “the world” in a drop a coffee. He’d show the different activities made possible by a caffeinated high (exercise, writing, running after kids, playing an instrument, chores, work, etc.), connected by lines—as if diagramming a molecular structure—all depicted inside The Drop.

The Drop 500
The Drop (Ron's Initial Idea for The World Card)

Ron woke up from a dead sleep with The Drop idea, hatched in is dreams in the middle of the night. Noah accompanied him to the studio to watch the idea unfold.

Noah Ron in Studio
Ron with Noah in the Art Studio, Sketching The Drop

As much as I loved the idea—I mean, really loved it—a card’s image must fulfill two purposes above all else (in my creative direction handbook, anyway): 1. Serve the Tarot (including reflecting one or more traditional, practical meanings for a card) and 2. Serve the theme in a obvious way.

While The Drop was clever, the drop could be liquid anything. We assume it’s coffee because it’s from the Coffee Tarot—but could the image stand on its own? Would someone think of coffee as the first (or even second) choice for the liquid? And, the activities were a result of coffee—but, again, the theme wasn’t obvious enough to my liking.

Below is a picture of Ron at work in his art studio, complete with some labeling (ha!). Click on it for a larger version.

Ron's Studio 800

Our local seamstress just finished eighteen of the fifty bags she’s making (I handpicked the fabric—it came all the way from England!), as well as the satin cording. Ron and I sewed on the special café au lait bronze charms on each of them (no two are alike). Below are some pics:

Coffee Bags 1 500
Yes, I'm Addicted to Starbucks! My Favorite Mug (Snowman!) Is At Left (Bought for Me by Mr. Ron Many Years Ago)
Coffee Bags 2 500
Closer...
Coffee Bags 5
CLOSER!

 It just so happens that the supplier of the fabric above (in the U.K.) no longer carries this print. But the good news is that I've found another cute fabric:

New Fabrics
Adorbs!

EDIT: Jamme asked in the comments below how the paintings go from canvas/paper to cards. Great question! Here's my process:

  1. I take Ron's completed work (either canvas or paper) and scan it.

  2. I then design borders for the image. (For Snowland, it was white borders all around. For Coffee Tarot, it's the brown strip at bottom).

  3. I choose what color and font I want for the titles, and add them to the image.

  4. Using a template provided by the printer (The Game Crafter)--we use the Jumbo size for our decks (but there's lots of types to pick from)--I overlay the image onto the template. This took a LOT of trial and error for Snowland! 

  5. I the create a special title card featuring the deck's title and our names (so we can sign them and, in the case of Coffee Tarot being a Limited Edition, number them).

  6.  I create a "game" at the printer's, and upload each card. It "proofs" to see if there's any size errors.

  7. When all cards have been proofed, I order a test deck to see if everything came out the way I envisioned. If not, it's back to the drawing board until I get a perfect deck.

  8. When a test deck turns out perfect, I then place a bulk order with the printer.

  9. When the decks arrive, I go through every one, making sure all cards are there and that there's no printing/ink errors (it happens). I then put the deck in order. (For Snowland, it was title card, the 4 Special Significators, Majors, Energy suit, Emoting Suit, Material Suit and Mental Suit. For the Coffee Tarot, it will be title card then the Majors Fool - World).

  10. We then place each deck in a bag, tuck in a Thank You card and/or business card, package it up and send it somewhere in the world! :o)

I hope you enjoyed my intimate tour of our Coffee Tarot, including some behind-the-scenes snapshots of our workspaces and creative process. We’re only printing fifty of our Limited Edition Coffee Tarot, and thirty are already spoken for (which leaves only twenty left). To order your deck, which comes with the charmed bag, please visit Tarot.Coffee.

Thanks for reading, for your interest and for supporting our work!

-- Janet


Kosmic Koffee with Kooch Interview

On Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 4 PM EST, I'll be on Kosmic Koffee with Kooch chatting about our Coffee Tarot and Snowland Deck and my upcoming Tarot books Naked Tarot and 365 Tarot. I've told  the wonderful Kooch to ask me anything. Listen live at this link.

Kooch and me 500

-- Janet


Tarot's Roasting Wheel

Sometimes, life feels like a Roasting Wheel!

Coffee Tarot Wheel 600

Here's the latest completed card in our Limited Edition Coffee Tarot: The Roasting Wheel. It's our version of the Wheel of Fortune. It's when life turns up the heat that our essence comes out. We mature (or not), become perfected (or not), give off a mouth-watering aroma (or not)--just so we can get ready for the grinder. 

Ha!

Seriously, though, how we react when life turns up the "heat"--throws us curve balls or otherwise spins us off our center of gravity--determines whether we increase our rigidity, or become more flexible. I know one thing: when a windstorm hits, I want to be the flexible tree (to mix a metaphor)!

It just makes future tumbles in the Roaster Wheel easier to bear.

And the smell's not to bad, either!

Silly jokes aside, there's only four more days left to receive the $6 discount and bonus goodies (3-card reading from me--$35 value--biscotti, fortune cookie, chance to win a custom woodburned box from Mr. Ron and more). And, we're only printing 50 copies of the deck--and over half are already spoken for. When they're gone...they're gone!

Click here to see all the images completed thus far and reserve your Limited Edition Coffee Tarot--and lock in all those bonus goodies that will vanish on August 1. 

-- Janet


The Coffee Tarot Leaves Me Cold

Coffee Tarot HP Sketch 300My artist husband, Ron, and I are creating another Tarot deck. As avid coffee drinkers (especially me) who enjoy the creative benefits of the caffeine rush, we decided to bring to fruition an idea whose time had come: The Coffee Tarot.

Within 12 hours of launching our Facebook page, we had over 100 fans. But not everyone was thrilled with a java deck…

Read the rest of my post on the evolution of symbols--including deconstructing The Bean (The Fool), Secret Recipe (High Priestess) and The Sun from our in-progress Coffee Tarot--on my PaganSquare Symbolically Speaking blog here.


Tarot Card Combos - Knight of Cups + 10 of Pentacles + 10 of Swords

3 card combo cropped
Photo by Sue Cowie

In the spread above, Sue has drawn three Tarot cards:

Knight of Cups + 10 of Pentacles + 10 of Swords

What could they mean? Well, my initial take includes:

Sencario One: A boyfriend (Knight of Cups) goes to a family reunion with his girlfriend (10 of Pentalces) only to have her break up with him there (10 of Swords).

Scenario Two: A guy goes to propose to his girlfriend (Knight of Cups), asks her parents/family for her "hand in marriage" (10 of Pentacles) and one or more throws a fit, refusing to give the couple a blessing. Adding insult to injury, the girlfriend sides with her family, and breaks off the relationship (10 of Swords).

Some of you new to the cards may be wondering "why?". Here goes!

The Knight of Cups often indicates a "hopeless romantic", but also suggests someone who's head over heels in love OR about to "pop the question" (propose) to his girlfriend (or boyfriend).  Now, as I mention in my eBook Tarot Court Card Revealed, Knights are NOT necessarily males--just as Queens aren't necessarily females or Kings, males.  However, this archetype is usually portrayed by males pursuing (or deeply in love with) females (or an ideal, such as Don Quixote), which is why I deemed the Knight a male in both scenarios.

The 10 of Pentacles not only indicates "legacy", but also extended family. And where do extended family often congregate? Family reunions! (It could have just as easily been a holiday gathering, but I'd view that more as the 4 of Wands. But that's just me.) When I see the 10 of Pentacles, I think of grandparents, uncles, cousins--the ties that "bind" (in more ways than one!). In an online Tarot group, I saw someone glibly say "Oh, the 10 of Pentacles. That's a good card."

WRONG-O! As I mention in both my Tarot Detective eBook and my Snowland Deck Companion, all card in the Tarot are on spectrum. This continuum ranges from helpful to detrimental for each card in the Tarot. Yes, every one! The 10 of Pentacles is no exception. Below is a video I made talking about the "negative" spectrum of this card.

Now, the 10 of Swords in Rider-Waite-Smith style decks looks pretty bad, right? It, too, is on a continuum (and can have beneficial import given the question/surrounding cards) BUT, in this case, it doesn't look too good. Based on the visuals alone, it shows a man "stabbed in the back", or "gutted" or even "betrayed". This is why I ascribed a public humiliation and/or break up with the Knight of Cups in a familial surrounding (10 of Pentacles).

However, what if this spread was drawn to answer THIS question:

I'm drawn to a creative endeavor. How will it pan out?

Then, I'd interpret this 3-card spread something like this:

You start out enamored with the creative idea (Knight of Cups), and receive positive reinforcement from your family (or "substitute" family, e.g. writer's group or artist collective). In fact, you may even receive some financial assistance from them or a grant (10 of Pentacles). But something happens that causes you to feel betrayed or severely anxious (10 of Swords).

Now, I'd have to draw more cards to reveal the exact nature of the 10 of Swords because it could mean:

  • Debilating anxiety/panic attacks (10 is the full expression of a suit; coupled with the "mental" swords, this could mean anything connected to the mind or nervous system)
  • Migraines
  • Idea theft (Ideas are also in the realm of the Swords, but I'd ascribe "theft" to the 7 of Swords UNLESS the swiping occurred from a close friend, partner or lover)
  • Actual betrayal/"back stabbing" of an uknown nature
  • Back injury/pain

The 10s of any suit are saturated. As such, they're almost on the "tipping point" of something entirely different. Think of them as "ready to burst". This can be beneficial or determimental, but when it comes to the masculine suits of Wands and Swords--and, in some cases, the feminine suit of Pentacles--the result is ususally undesirable. 

So, dear readers, how would you interepret these three cards? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below! (And huge thanks to Sue Cowie for allowing me to use both her image and her example). 

-- Janet


The Devil Made Me Do It

Hoffman

As most of you probably know by now, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died February 2, 2014 as the result of a drug overdose.

It’s reported that he was found with fifty bags of heroin.

On Facebook, I saw someone post “Philip Seymour Hoffman, I’m sorry that addiction took you away from your life, your family, your art and us.”

This is a beautiful sentiment. And I’m one of those who think Hoffman was an extraordinarily talented actor But let’s be clear: Addiction didn’t “take” Hoffman away from us. Addiction isn’t some conscious, evil entity that lurks in alleyways, hotel rooms, bars or dance clubs.

To think this way is akin to saying “The Devil made me do it”. You know, blaming some dark, malevolent, “out there” energy for temptation at best and possession at worst.

No, Hoffman was “taken away” from us by…Hoffman.

He chose to use drugs.

Heroin 500

In fact, unless a person is forcibly restrained and forced to snort, smoke or shoot up at gunpoint (or some other lethal threat) and becomes addicted—it’s a choice.

It all starts with one pivotal choice.

I am not judging Hoffman or his choices. And he is certainly deserving of our compassion, our sympathy for his loved ones and our grief that he will no longer entertain us with his acting brilliance.

But to ascribe his death to the consequence of his choices—in this case, addiction—as if it were an external, self-aware predator not only excuses dangerous behavior, but removes personal responsibility.

I mean, when Hoffman (or anyone) wins an Oscar, we place the accolades at the actor’s feet. When Hoffman (or anyone) is nominated for a Tony, we sing the praises of his talent.

If Woody Allen proves to be the child molester that most of us think he is, and ends up incarcerated (or perhaps commits suicide), would we say “He was taken away by his addiction (to underage sex)"?

Regardless of what precipitated the first injection, it all began with a choice. Hoffman’s choice.

UW Smaller31

And with Oscar season fast approaching, you can bet that Hoffman will be celebrated in memoriam during the ceremony much like Cory Monteith was “honored” at the Emmys after his drug overdose.

Which sorta sends the message that if you go out via addiction, you’ve earned eternal rock star status—not for your accomplishments, but by the way you left this Earth.

Someone else posted on Facebook about Hoffman, “Unfortunately, if you have lots of money it’s easier for your demons to get you.”

I find this interesting, because The Devil in Tarot is often associated with materialism and consumerism, as well as addiction. It’s akin to “mammon”, aka “dirty money”.

But I disagree with this sentiment. It’s yet another excuse, or bogeyman by proxy: “Money made me do it”.

Then, a doctor was quoted on the AP as saying that Hoffman was the “epitome of addiction victims”. Which brings up another dynamic: the abuser and the victim.

Can a consequences of choice be an “abuser”? Or is the “abuser” and the “victim” one and the same

There is no prowling red devil named “Satan” ready to ensnare you (regardless of what fundies tell you), nor is there a big, black monster called “Addiction” lying in wait to trap hapless passerbys.

Devil Snowland 400No, The Devil begins with a choice—a human choice—which leads to bondage, torment, addiction and (possibly) death.

What do you think, dear readers, about symbols of “evil” (including “demons” and “the devil”) used in association with drugs and drug addiction?

Does wealth make individuals more susceptible to addiction or poor choices? What is a “victim”—and do those who OD qualify as such? Is addiction a part of the creative temperament? Or, a result of a weak mind…or self-contempt?

Would love to hear your thoughts on addiction, The Devil card, symbols of “evil”, the term “victim” in relation to street drugs, the influence of money (or lack thereof)—or all of the above.

The Devil from the Universal Waite Tarot. Chains from the Snowland Tarot.


Philip Seymour Hoffman in Tarot in Reverse

I was a big fan of Philip Seymour Hoffman's acting.

So much so, I included two of his acting roles in my book on upside down Tarot cards, Tarot in Reverse. In his memory, here are the brief excerpts:

The Hierophant, reversed

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One of the most profound accounts of the The Hierophant reversed occurs in the memoir The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd. Living a conventionally religious life with a successful career as a Christian author, Kidd began to question what it meant to be a woman—in church, within her family, and among society. Her soul-searching found her clashing with patriarchy and awakening to the divine feminine, fundamentally changing her view of God and her place in the world. In darker expressions of The Hierophant reversed, we find examples of famous ministers who proclaimed the need for purity and righteousness behind their pounded pulpits, only to find out that these married men were sexually involved with prostitutes, secretaries and masseuses. A fascinating study of The Hierophant reversed occurs in the movie Doubt starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. This film examines religious obligation, propriety, tradition, progressiveness, the quest for truth and spiritual hubris—all themes that The Hierophant wrestles with whether right side up or upside down.

Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul. – Mark Twain

Advice: If you’re lost, my map can help you find your way. Once you’re familiar with the territory of your soul, toss my map and make your own.

Wheel of Fortune, reversed

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A consummate example of The Wheel of Fortune reversed occurs in the movie Owning Mahony. Another role superbly played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, a gambler desperately tries to control his addiction, going so far to tell a friend “do not lend me any money, no matter what I say”. But the heady high of risking and hoping to win overwhelms any common sense, turning him into a desperate, pathetic compulsive gambler. Poker, slots, blackjack, roulette, 21, lottery tickets and other games of chance lure millions to spend a little in the hopes of winning big. Astrologically, Jupiter—the planet of expansion, giddiness and luck—correlates with The Wheel of Fortune card. The Wheel reversed, however, pushes individuals to “press their luck” or tangle with the one-armed bandit “just one more time”—a cycle leading to full-blown addiction and its devastating effect on finances, career, family and health. On a lighter note, the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell highlights an extreme version of déjà vu when a weatherman (played by Murray) keeps reliving the same day—February 2. Sometimes, the proverbial wheel of time seems to play the same old scenarios in work, school or home—and we just want to “stop the world” so we can get off from a merry-go-round that begins to feel like a rut.

I can’t believe God plays dice with the universe. – Albert Einstein

Advice: Roll with the punches, roll the bones, where it all stops, no one knows. Hang on tight, but bend in the wind, change is inevitable, so put your bets in. 

-- Janet


How Do You Do Email Tarot Readings?

When people find out I peform 99% of my Tarot readings via email, most tend to be floored.

How can you read the person's "energy"?

How can you read without seeing a picture or knowing a birth date?

How can you read accurately with so little sensory data?

Well, I'm one of those Tarot readers who happen to be psychic (most don't claim to be, if you can believe it). But I also feel that if you ask detailed questions, you get detailed answers. That's why I'm not a fan of pre-formed Tarot spreads like the Celtic Cross (I feel they're too general, and provide too much useless information).

Also, I'm a firm believer in the 3-card spread. So many think "bigger is better" when it comes to spreads, but I feel that the opposite is usually true.

I thought I'd share two readings from my case files (used by permission) to give you an idea of how I read via email, and to show you  the value of 3-card readings.

Should I Buy a Bigger Bike?

Context:   I’m 41 yrs old and recently purchased a small Yamaha Zuma scooter.  I’m having a blast but now want to also purchase a larger Honda 1100cc motorcycle that reminds me of one I had in my younger days (I’m calling it my mid-life crisis mobile).  This is something I really enjoyed in the past and would like to start riding again.   I’m concerned primarily with my safety.   I have a 5 yr old son and don’t want to get killed on it.   My wife always stresses about money no matter how much we have, but this is something I can easily afford in addition to saving for college and other stuff.  

Question:  Are there any issues that I need to be aware of before making my decision to purchase a new motorcycle, or will I be happily enjoying my purchase well into my old age?

My reply:

Here’s your 3-card reading about whether or not to buy the bigger bike:

3 card reading 1

Pros: Knight of Coins – You’re a careful and conscientious driver. You don’t, and won’t, take risks.

Cons4 of Coins – This is the “miser” card. We know who this refers to. LOL! Seems like the only drawback is just your wife’s financial protests.

Final Advice: Ace of Cups – In our Snowland Deck, which I used for your reading, this image shows a hand coming out of the sky, offering a huge, delicious milkshake. It’s a card of joy and an emotional upsurge of positive feelings.

I think it’s pretty clear that the cards advise you to “Go for it!”...and enjoy your mid-life crisis mobile.

Here’s another actual client reading (used by permission):

Should I Pursue Personal Training Certification?

my situation is, should i add to my life a personal training certification. (for more credentials)

I already am certified to teach group fitness yoga, pilates boot camp, and a massage therapist and also doing facials.

I am graduating with a degree in health and wellness next week.

somehow i feel i need personal training cert although do not want to be necessarily a personal trainer in a gym environment, hence the hesitation.

Im more a piscean mystic and healer.

so im torn of the pro and con, I'm leaning toward con but theres a reason, however, what is it that im supposed to focus on at this point to further my life that will bring me financial benefits. 

your guidance is treasured!

and thanks again.

(Yes, some client readings come in this jumbled!)

My reply:

Here’s your 3-Card Reading for pursuing personal training certification right now:

3 card reading 2

ProQuester Mental (aka Knight of Swords) – This Knight is often impetuous, wanting to go full speed ahead without much forethought. It’s a card of mental stamina, aiming for a goal, and hitting the mark. You’d have no trouble getting the certification, and you could certainly add it to your aesthetic/healing work. The certification would be swift and easy for you.

Con: Inversion (Hanged Man) – In this position, this card tells me that a major drawback would be lack of integration of what you’ve already learned this year, as well as the spiritual growth that comes from such absorption. Metaphorically, the Knight of Swords “gobbles things up” based on mental machinations, while the Hanged Man absorbs what he’s learned—taking time to digest, see things in a new light, then integrate and “upgrade” his spiritual operating system. If you pursue getting the certification now, you’ll be glossing over the process and lose many of its nourishing benefits that will aid you in the future. Knight of Swords is short term benefits, but the Hanged Man—being a Major Arcana card—signifies long-term benefits directly related to your life purpose.

Final Advice: Director Emoting (aka King of Cups) - As an approach card, this card advises governing your emotions and directing your creative urges in spiritually beneficial ways. Although pursuing certification at this time may have some material benefits, it won’t be adding to your deep identification as a Piscean Mystic/Healer. So, your choices in the near future should reflect the values treasured by the Mystic/Healer archetype (rather than, say, the Entrepreneur, Athlete or Aesthetician). In our Snowland Deck, which I used for your reading, this card is Father Christmas; for your clients, focus on offering services that make them feel blessed, pampered, joyful and excited about their lives—many of the feelings and sentiments we associate with Christmas and the receiving of gifts. 

You may notice that I color-code the actual card title, or the text. This is because color is powerful and symbolic and, in larger readings, can show the client (and myself) which elements/suits are most represented in reading. What doesn’t show up in a reading often tells us as much as what does.

I'm happy to say that both clients reported that these readings were helpful, insightful and accurate. (Whew!)

So how would you have interpreted these cards, dear reader? How have 3-card readings worked for you in the past? Do you prefer them...or larger spreads? I'd love to hear of your experience!

-- Janet


10 Questions for Tarotist Ron Boyer

Ron Cropped

What’s your favorite breakfast food? Eggs, easy over.

Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? Journey of Souls by Dr. Michael Newton.

What makes you laugh? Comedies, especially ones starring Jim Carrey or mockumentaries by Christopher Guest.

Song that never gets old: Any Police song (especially “Bring on the Night” and “King of Pain”).

Drink of choice: Iced Distilled Water

Would you rather be hot or cold? Hot.

Mountain, beach, desert or forest? Forest.

Favorite color? Sky blue.

Best movie line: “Back away, Paddock.” (from A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey).

Last thing you splurged on? A bass amp.

Bonus Q: Favorite smell: Coconut.

Ron Boyer is the artist for the Snowland Deck that he co-created with his wife, Janet. He's currently working on the Cosmic Flux Tarot--a Majors-only deck.


Tarot "Be" Attitudes

Be Attitudes smaller

The word beatitude means "a state of utmost bliss" (Merriam-Webster). Some of you with Christian backgrounds may recognize the word as describing the Sermon on the Mount teachings by Jesus (Blessed are the...)

I got to thinking: what if every card in the Tarot--yes, all 78--contained a "Be" attitude? A short, empowering directive that can help us "find our bliss" (or, better yet, live our bliss)?

Next time one of these cards comes up in a reading--or you choose one consciously for contemplation or affirmation--consider you may be getting some empowering marching orders from the Divine.  

Major Arcana

 The Fool – Be playful.

The Magician – Be focused.

High Priestess – Be silent.

The Empress – Be creative.

The Emperor – Be organized.

The Hierophant – Be teachable.

The Lovers – Be committed.

The Chariot – Be driven.

Strength – Be brave.

The Hermit – Be alone.

The Wheel of Fortune – Be capricious.

Justice – Be fair.

Hanged Man – Be still.

Death – Be transformed.

Temperance – Be balanced.

The Devil – Be hedonistic.

The Tower – Be subversive.

The Star – Be hopeful.

The Moon – Be mysterious.

The Sun – Be authentic.

Judgement – Be awake.

The World – Be whole.

Wands Suit

 Ace of Wands – Be inspired.

2 of Wands – Be challenged.

3 of Wands – Be expectant.

4 of Wands – Be connected. 

5 of Wands – Be confrontational.

6 of Wands – Be successful.

7 of Wands – Be defiant.

8 of Wands – Be quick.

9 of Wands – Be resigned.

10 of Wands – Be released.

Page of Wands – Be inquisitive.

Knight of Wands – Be aggressive.

Queen of Wands – Be resourceful.

King of Wands – Be influential.

 Swords Suit

 Ace of Swords – Be original.

2 of Swords – Be decisive.

3 of Swords – Be healed.

4 of Swords – Be mindful.

5 of Swords – Be compatible.

6 of Swords – Be adaptable.

7 of Swords – Be strategic.

8 of Swords – Be free.

9 of Swords – Be peaceful.

10 of Swords – Be forgiving.

Page of Swords – Be disciplined.

Knight of Swords – Be blunt.

Queen of Swords – Be exacting.

King of Swords – Be competent.

Coins Suit

Ace of Coins – Be comfortable.

2 of Coins – Be flexible.

3 of Coins – Be cooperative.

4 of Coins – Be frugal.

5 of Coins – Be charitable.

6 of Coins – Be generous.

7 of Coins – Be discerning.

8 of Coins – Be consistent.

9 of Coins – Be extravagant.

10 of Coins – Be content.

Page of Coins – Be diligent.

Knight of Coins – Be careful.

Queen of Coins – Be protective.

King of Coins – Be productive. 

Cups Suit

Ace of Cups – Be compassionate.

2 of Cups – Be intimate.

3 of Cups – Be sociable.

4 of Cups – Be invested.

5 of Cups – Be grateful.

6 of Cups – Be retrospective.

7 of Cups – Be choosy.

8 of Cups – Be progressive.

9 of Cups – Be satisfied.

10 of Cups – Be harmonious.

Page of Cups – Be surprised.

Knight of Cups – Be romantic.

Queen of Cups – Be dramatic.

King of Cups – Be supportive.

What about you, dear reader? What "Be" Attitude would you assign for one or more of the 78 Tarot cards? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

-- Janet


A Mantle of Stars: A Devotional for the Queen of Heaven

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I have an essay in a new anthology called A Mantle of Stars: A Devotional for the Queen of Heaven, and Ron's paintings of Lucia and Hulda are in there, too. It's published by Neos Alexandria/Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and edited by Jen McConnel. You can get it on Amazon at this link. (I just ordered four, and will be giving one away on my blog sometime in January.) Here's a summary:

Peel back the layers that comprise the Queen of Heaven. She is Mother Mary weeping at the cross, and Hathor dancing in the sky. She is Freyja with her wild eyes, and Frigg with her open arms. She is Yemaya, keeper of the sea; compassionate Kuan Yin; and she is winged Isis. Her starry body stretches across the sky in the guise of Nut, and she is Saraswati’s gentle song. She is Juno, and Hera, and Tanit, and a thousand forgotten names, and she is Inanna, descending to the underworld to be reborn.

The voices in this anthology are as diverse as the different goddesses who have claimed the title Queen of Heaven, but each sparkles like the stars in Our Lady’s mantle.

My essay is called "Queen of Swords, Queen of Heaven".

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Below is an excerpt:

When it comes to the Tarot, authors spill the most ink on the 22 Major Arcana cards. The 40 Minor Arcana cards—Aces through Tens—are lucky to get a handful of keywords ascribed to them. Getting the shortest shrift of all are the 16 Court Cards, often relegated to assignations of mere age, gender, eye color, hair hue and elemental Zodiac group.

Many authors explain such emphasis on the Majors for archetypal reasons. They maintain only the Fool through the World reflects the universal “big” picture themes within Tarot. In fact, according to some, the Majors should be more heavily “weighted” in a reading—overshadowing the messages of the number cards (Minors) and face cards (Courts). Minor Arcana cards signify “just” daily minutia, while the Courts represent individuals weaving in and out of our lives.

Allow me to disagree with my colleagues by saying that every card in the Tarot—all 78 images—reflect archetypal motifs found in myth, folklore, religion, literature and song, spanning every era and culture.

Viewed through this expanded cosmic lens, the Minor Arcana and Court Cards shine magnificent, begging for closer examination, deeper exploration and—more importantly—broader application to our earthly journey and nagging questions.

This brings me to the theme of this anthology: the Queen of Heaven.

Of all the cards in the Tarot, the one that best embodies this theme (in my estimation) is a Court Card—the Queen of Swords.

Can't wait to read what the other contributors have written for the A Mantle of Stars: A Devotional for the Queen of Heaven!

-- Janet


Remember the 80s? Tarot Tunes!

BackinTimeTarot_200My 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.

Commentary

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.

Your Turn

  • 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.)