I finally did it and bought an oracle deck to go with my growing tarot deck collection - The Enchanted Map Oracle. I'd seen pictures of some cards from the deck and really liked the artwork - all of it digital collage, but very well done and enhanced. I find the art to be beautiful, evocative, and imaginative. I debated about using an oracle, as I find tarot usually gives more than enough information on any question, so why bother with anything else I reasoned. However, after reading countless postings on Facebook from tarot people who also use oracle decks, I decided to give this deck a try.
I haven't been disappointed; in fact, I've been pleasantly surprised at how well the deck reads and so far, the similarity of some of the cards to tarot in their imagery and meanings. True I've only so far used this oracle for daily one-card draws and as a complement to a daily tarot draw, but I'm finding it to be spot on positive and thought-provoking, just as I find tarot to be. I really like the absence of keywords on the cards; instead, there's only the card number on the top and its name on the bottom, allowing the viewer to take in the imagery intuitively, though there is a pretty good LWB accompanying the deck for reference as well. I think I'll be using this deck as an accompaniment to tarot readings, both for myself and others - possibly as an end draw, for additional advice. It's certainly works well for single card draws, as mentioned above. I haven't yet tried it for spread work, so I'll be getting back to you all with my verdict on that. But for now, I love this oracle!
Trash Walking to the Divine
Went to BATS (Bay Area Tarot Symposium) last weekend for the first time - actually, it was the first time I'd been to any Tarot conference, and I loved it! Of course, what is there not to love? Lots of interesting workshops, people, goodies to look at and buy, and fun! Took two classes with Mary K. Greer - one on Lenormand, the other on the history of the High Priestess in tarot. Great stuff. Interestingly, I learned that Mary K. Greer has something called a "Trash Walk," which simply involves walking and noticing trash and putting it together as an oracular message. I love the idea! I tried it a bit today, though the message was a bit sketchy. Saw a shopping card containing one paper cup with a straw (Ace of Cups perhaps?); saw some torn papers strewn in one area (didn't count the number - but what would the tarot equivalent be?), then gave it up for the moment as I was walking with someone and couldn't focus enough. I'm game, though, to try it again!
Guess the point is that anything can tell you something - it's usually not so much the object or image itself, but its meaning to us - as with Tarot when used in a free-association way (as in Tarot Counseling). It's our inner universes corresponding with the outer universe, sending us messages specific to ourselves and our own experiences. In other words, what has a particular meaning for me, will probably have a completely different meaning for you. I realize this isn't, at its base, the way Tarot works as a divining tool. Each card does have its set meaning - The Tower, for example is pretty clear - usually foretelling a sudden and unexpected end to something, a purging, a big, and often unpleasant change. However, after we get that, our intuition must step in when reading for someone and make it relevant to that person's situation - maybe we get specifics when looking at the surrounding cards, maybe we understand it differently than the pat meaning for that person, knowing their story or question to some extent. So there's always, to a degree, some free association going on anyway. The cards act as a trigger, just like many other things, even trash, to our own inner knowing. The information is always there, within.
One of my favorite quotes (though I don't remember who said it): "Imagination is the doorway to the psychic." Put another way – daydreaming, fantasizing, seeing faces in clouds, noticing patterns in trash etc. are not wastes of time, but a way to hear the messages of our Higher Selves, The Universe, Spirit, The Goddess, All That Is - whatever your particular belief/image is. Imagination (and the willingness to be receptive) is the Stairway to Heaven, so to speak.
Science has also shown through Quantum Physics that what we think effects our environment, as our environment effects what we think. It's a symbiosis, a back and forth, a flow, a definite connection. So, next time you're out walking, take a good look around – that McDonald's wrapper and cigarette butt may be trying to tell you something!
I've been so enamored by Chrysalis Tarot for so long now that I've hardly worked with any other deck. Part of my reasoning (if indeed I did reason at all on this) was that the more I work with any deck, the more I'll connect with it and it with me and the better the readings I'll get - and I think this is true. I certainly feel a stronger understanding/connection with Chrysalis than I did initially, when its deviations from RWS at first put me off for the learning curve I foresaw until I could confidently and comfortably use the deck. I'm still learning the deck, but I think now is the time to open up space for another new deck that I like but have hardly used since I got it at least 6 weeks ago – Tarot de St. Croix.
I really love the warm orange color throughout - it's a warm, inviting deck and though the artwork is a bit on the "primitive" side (which I usually don't care for), it works for me. There is a haunting quality to some of the images, and others are just really affirming and bursting with bright energy. I was initially particularly drawn to The Sun card - it's a very joyous card; I also love the Nine of Pentacles - showing a figure holding nine sunflowers (with Pentacles drawn in each center), sitting under a bright sky in a red-earth background. The Knight of Pentacles is sitting under a tree amidst a field of sunflowers, (again with Pentacles in their center) - very beautiful. Now, The Sun is my symbol, Personality card, and just all-around favorite card of Tarot (I even have a small sun tattoo!) and I used to be a sun worshiper (spending far too many hours baking under its soothing rays), and the themes in the imagery of Tarot de St. Croix are definitely heat, sun, sunflowers, expression, creation, illumination, joy, movement - everything we might associate with The Sun.
There's a lot to be said in favor of this deck and it reads remarkably well! I tried a new 5-card spread today using Tarot de St. Croix (found on Facebook, posted by Brighton Tarot School) called Snapshot and got a spot-on result and I'll share the spread here with you:
Card 1 - What do I appreciate about my life at the moment?
Card 2 - What issues/difficulties do I have at the moment?
Card 3 - What needs do I have that are not being met?
Card 4 - Where do I want to be in the future?
Card 5 - What's the catalyst / step I need to take to get there?
Needless to say, whatever I needed to see was there in the cards I drew and amongst them was The Magician - who's sitting on a wheel pulling down floating (Tarot de St. Croix) tarot cards from the air with a fiery sun shining in an orange background. Love that! I also love the aforementioned Knight of Pentacles and Nine of Pentacles with their sunflowers (oh did I mention it's probably my favorite flower too? ). So, in short,Tarot de St. Croix is an unusual, friendly, and upbeat deck with delightful and interesting artwork. Stay tuned for more on it in the future, right here!
CARD(S) OF THE DAY: Four of Mirrors (Cups) & Golden Flower (Temperance)
KEYWORDS: Detachment & Harmony
THOUGHT: How can I bring more harmony into my world?
I pulled the Four of Mirrors again today, so I know the message was important! A "jumper" also visited today – Golden Flower, or Temperance – and it couldn't have come a a more propitious time. It fits well with Toney Brook's important blog post today about letting go and transformation.
We've all had our fill of troubling news lately - too much to list here. It's enough to send us into a downward tailspin of despair at worst, or perhaps a listless apathy of emotional protection at best (indicated by Four of Mirrors) - both coming from a similar place of overwhelm. The Four of Mirrors and Golden Flower today are urging us to take time out and go within to reconnect to ourselves.
The Keywords for both cards show us the way: Detachment and Harmony/Meditation. If you're on overwhelm - whether it be situational or a response to the bigger picture, these cards, and especially Golden Flower offer us a path to a place of peace. The importance of this is obvious, as we all know that peace begins at home - literally at home within ourselves.
Golden Flower is a Mandala – an image to aide in meditation and focus. Its beautiful bright sunflower center can guide us into our own still, radiant center where we find balance and harmony. It aides us in stepping back from the frothing currents of emotions and thoughts that keep us from our deeper, truer, naturally radiant selves. Today, accept Golden Flower's invitation and find peace amidst the storm - then carry it back into the world.
Here is a quote from one of my favorite spiritual/Buddhist teachers, Ezra Bayda, which fits into this discussion:
"Life's wonder and mystery can be discovered as easily at a traffic light as on a mountaintop."
So what are we waiting for? Now is it!
Chrysalis Tarot, 3-Card Spread
Three of Spirals (Wands); Two of Stones (Pentacles); Nine of Mirrors (Cups)
Early Week - Three of Spirals Keyword: EXPLORATION
Plans you’ve put into motion are moving ahead, but the Three of Spirals invites you to step out into new territory with a wider, and bolder vision! Possibilities are endless if you don’t allow limiting thoughts and beliefs to confine you. Move your gaze out to the horizon by taking a wider view of situations and allow your visions to guide you. Have confidence that you have the ability and confidence to get others behind your vision and lead the way forward to success!
Mid-Week – Two of Stones Keyword: BALANCE
You may feel like a juggler this week with all those competing projects and demands, but as long as you keep your eyes on the balls, none will get away from you! The Two of Stones is letting you know that you are the star of your own show and have everything you need to catch every ball and jump every hurdle. Flexibility is the name of the game, so be aware of what is needed in each situation and move with the current rather than sticking to any preconceived plans of action. Enjoy this high-energy time and you can’t lose!
Late Week/Weekend – Nine of Mirrors Keyword: JOY
After this active week, joy and happiness await you this weekend! Now is the time to enjoy life in all its manifestations and brings the promise of wishes fulfilled. Seek out the pleasures you love and kick back savor it all! Peace, balance, harmony and joy are yours and your only task is to delight in it!
Magic is afoot with this Wish card’s appearance, so look into your heart and choose the wish that shines the brightest. The clearer your vision and the stronger your desire, the more likely will be its manifestation. Choose wisely, though; be sure you’re ready for all your heart’s desire may bring as you just may get it!
Synchronicity at Work, Again!
Yesterday I pulled Wheel (Wheel of Fortune) from Chrysalis Tarot for the Card of the Day. The Wheel usually indicates good fortune, and success (depending on the cards around it if used in a spread). It can also indicate ups and downs – a period of instability, or change on the horizon. Another meaning is consequence – and it’s this interpretation that Chrysalis Tarot (in the LWB) highlights. Consequence means result, and can be loosely viewed as Karma or Fate, but a Karma/Fate created by our actions, not foisted on us by something outside. It is an empowered Fate, one we create by our choices. Whatever we choose sets a path that leads towards a particular direction, so we want to be careful what we choose. Having clarity in our choices, then, is of the utmost importance.
I was at first a little puzzled as to what message I should take from The Wheel. Initially, I thought it might be the usual – good fortune up the road, etc, but felt there was more for me, so I thought about it throughout the day. Later, I pulled another card from a different deck – Tarot de St. Croix, (which I'd gotten recently and hadn't worked with much). It was the Seven of Pentacles and shows a figure in leopard skin reaching with both hands towards star-like pentacles in the sky. The brief explanation in its LWB (this deck has some slightly alternative interpretations to the standard) reads “Pause and evaluate your goals before unleashing energy to achieve them.” Bingo – I got the clarity I needed. It pertained to the lack of clarity in goals I was aiming towards with all my study and writing and setting up my consultation service, and meanwhile trying to also create art, always feeling I never had enough time to do everything. I hadn’t been setting priorities or focusing on creating a clear path – or a clear goal. The Wheel is telling me I have the power to manifest what I desire, but I must be clear what it is or I get what I actually don't want and waste a lot of time/energy on the way too! So, I turned back to basics and square one and got down to details. I’m still musing on this today.
Then today there was more. With the previous two cards still visible, I pulled a third card, this time from Vision Quest Tarot and got Ace of Water (Cups). This deck, like Chrysalis, is especially good for providing a spiritual perspective (see my review), and it didn’t disappoint; the card I drew was in perfect harmony with what was on my mind. Cups signify the realm of emotions and the unconscious, and the Ace of Cups usually heralds good news, happiness – anything that brings joy and an open heart. In Vision Quest’s LWB description, it’s all about opening channels to the heart and letting energy flow. Now it just so happens that I’d been planning to go to a yoga class this morning – something I hadn’t done in quite awhile (I used to do yoga regularly, then got some injuries and mostly stopped). I missed the peaceful balance I experience from regular practice – and the harmonious flow of energy. I decided recently that in order to become more attuned to non-physical energies, I needed to do more things to aide relaxation and balance (see my posting below). Yoga is one of those things – and it certainly gets the energy flowing! So another spot-on draw.
So, synchronicity is at work. In yet another development, I’d recently seen a discussion on Facebook and elsewhere about 11:11 and 12:12. I went through a period a few years ago when I frequently found those number when I happened to look at a clock. The period lasted a few months, then inexplicably stopped. It’s started again, however, in the last few days. I find this meaningful since I’ve put my intention on expanding my awareness to synchronicity and a wider reality. I suppose this is a goal in itself and the reappearance of the synchronicity of the numbers seems to be a confirmation it's working. What do you think? Have you had any experiences with these numbers, or any favorite synchronicity experiences you'd like to share? Please share them either in comments, or email me – I'd love to hear them!
Well it goes to show - what you put your attention on comes to your attention. I take all my Card of the Day lessons to heart, bringing the Thoughts of the Day to active contemplation as I go about my daily life. Yesterday's card (found on my Facebook page) was the Eight of Spirals (Wands) from Chrysalis Tarot (of course!). Now this card indicates speed, with unexpected news possibly showing up, increased momentum with plans, projects, etc. However, as Toney Brooks points out in Chrysalis' LWB, it can also mean answers to questions you've put out there appearing in the form of sudden intuitive hunches, inspirations, synchronicity, and even stray thoughts.
So recently I'd put an intention and question out to myself and the Universe - How can I strengthen and further open up my psychic awareness/connections/abilities? With the message of the Eight of Spirals in mind, I set out for my daily workout at the local gym. The cardio machines there each have a small TV screen attached and as usual, I flipped it on as I started the workout. Well the Long Island Medium was airing which features psychic medium Theresa Caputo as she travels around communicating messages from the non-physical world. In one part she talks about getting a massage and how relaxation really increases her psychic sensitivity. Just then, I heard over the gym's PA system that there was one massage slot left beginning in about an hour for a greatly reduced fee if anyone was interested! Now, this is the very first time I'd ever heard them announce anything like that; in fact, it's a rare occurrence for anyone there to make an announcement at all! Well, believe me I caught the message and seriously considered booking the massage, but I realized I had an appointment a bit later and would be quite rushed if I did the massage before it - sort of defeating the purpose. So I contemplated the message some more and realized it didn't necessarily refer to just this massage, but was referring in general to what I might do in answer to my question above. Relax! It's not the first time this thought has filtered through my mind, but it was the first time it hit with a jolt and I listened with attention.
Later, after my workout, I was walking home while listening to my ipod (also something I don't ordinarily do) and a song started playing with words about "taking it easy," repeating and repeating. At first I wasn't paying any attention, but then I was and it suddenly hit me with the same jolt as Theresa - with the same message! Ok, I've got it now! And you have to understand that I tend to be more like the racing side of the Eight of Spirals - ready, set, go sort of person. I do try to meditate every day to even out, but don't always succeed. Obviously the message is I need to focus less on doing and more on being/relaxing if I want to increase my psychic sensitivities. Love the synchronicity!
I also later had a small confrontation with someone which probably could have been avoided if I'd followed the message coming at me earlier and relaxed before writing the email that set it off. That was probably the Eight of Spirals at work again, in it's unmindful manifestation. Words can turn to swift-moving arrows (as some decks depict) if you're not watching! So there it is - the positive and the shadow side of the Ace of Spirals. Generally, its appearance is suggesting the wind is in your sails and it's full speed ahead - but be careful where you're heading and take note of the scenery!
Chrysalis Tarot/ 3-Card Spread
The Illusionist (Knight of Pentacles); The Lovers; Elpi (The Star)
Early week – The Illusionist: Contrary to the traditional meaning of the Knight of Pentacles, Chrysalis’ Illusionist brings excitement and is a call for go-for-it action! Early week could bring an invitation, possibility, or even some out-of-the-blue idea requiring you to step outside your comfort zone. If something off your beaten track is calling your name, The Illusionist is telling you not to over-think, but dive in and take the leap. Spontaneity is the name of the game here - be bold and take the chance – the opportunity may not come again!
Mid-week – Lovers: The focus moves to the heart midweek with The Lovers bringing attention to relationships of all kinds. It may be a romantic relationship has moved into a new, deeper level, bringing stronger commitment and future plans. Or it could signify establishing bonds with others; a creative or business partnership could take off, or a collaboration involving an event or group may evolve. The Lovers can also be about connecting with your own heart. It may indicate the necessity to look inwards and sort out and stand up for your personal beliefs and values – for the truth in your heart – though it may go against the outer currents. Whatever it is, the heart will be center stage.
Late week/weekend – Elpi: There’s almost nothing better we can wish for than Elpi, or The Star, to make her appearance just in time for the weekend! You may find yourself claiming center stage when deserved recognition comes your way at week’s end! Her radiant light is definitely shining on you, so if you’ve been struggling with something, Elpi brings reassurance you’re on the right track and success is just around the corner! If there are choices up ahead, keep your heart open, ditch any fear and doubt and let her light guide you to find the most positive direction. Her presence is also an encouragement to spread a little light to others around you and light up the world!
Today's card from Chrysalis Tarot (posted as usual on my Facebook page) is the Ace of Spirals, (Wands) – chock full of energy to round off a very energetic and positive week. Wands are all about energy - creative, manifesting energy, excitement, enthusiasm, drive - all dynamic positive stuff. The Ace in particular is pure energy at its nascent beginnings – the spark that lights the fire of movement, that drives the dream, that heats the soul.
So, this morning I'm working on my computer when it happens - I lose at least an hour's worth of work because of a glitch - mostly my fault. Boy did I feel the energy of that frustration - and immediately! I shouted at the wall, said a few expletives, moaned and carried on for a few minutes until I dove back in and tried to resurrect what I had lost in the glitch - with focused intensity. I managed to get most of it back eventually (though maybe not as perfect as the first draft), but not before more moaning. In fact, I continued to complain and bitch (to myself) on the way out the door, on the way to my destination, experiencing the discomfort of annoyance and anxiety as a result. Now anxiety- that's a funny thing - what is it really? Well, at its base it's energy - and lots of it that has nowhere to go except around and around and around again. It needs direction, a harnessing, a use to be constructive and helpful; if it doesn't get that guidance- if we don't move it along in the direction we want it to go, it becomes a destructive tempest, bouncing off our mental and physical walls to our own detriment. What a waste, huh?
So I began thinking, after my complaining finally receded into a faint echo and my anxiety quieted down, what I could be doing with all that energy instead of driving myself nuts. I thought of the message of the Ace of Spirals today - Energy directed into Manifestation and Growth – creating plans, manifesting visions - acting with the fire of inspiration and passion. So where do I want my fire to burn - how do I want my passion to manifest? Certainly the fire of anger and dissatisfaction is one way to go, but it's not really getting me anywhere fast. Focusing my energy on something I can't do anything about – the past is gone – is a waste, plain and simple. The Ace of Spirals with its strong Ram/Aries energy is a reminder to water the seed, actively cultivate the garden of possibilities, focus, and focus some more. This card is letting us know we have the energy and power to manifest our desires – and the time is now – but we must also be mindful what it is we are manifesting every moment. Our fire is a gift not to be wasted.
Today the card is (or was, at this point) the Three of Mirrors (Cups) from Chrysalis Tarot. I wrote about it on my Facebook page, so do follow the link if you haven't read it. The point I want to make here is the synchronicity with my own experience. The Keyword I used in my posting is Celebration, and the Three of Mirrors indicates celebrating is in order today - either just for its own sake, or mostly because something good has come to pass. In my own life, the final step in the sale of my partner's house (after being on the market for way too long) was a definite cause to clap today. I couldn't have been more relieved and my sigh was audible. So, I took this card's advice to heart and consciously applied myself to enjoyment today - and then my partner and I celebrated at a nice restaurant this evening. But the point I want to make is how I celebrated earlier in the day.
My Thought of the Day in my FB posting was "What can I celebrate today?" I went out to another glorious morning here by the Bay in California and made a conscious effort at appreciation and joy. Not that it's so hard, but sometimes, no often, I rush through my day, pausing only a little to experience the beauty and glory abounding around me. Today I savored it. I took my time walking to the gym I work out in most mornings, feeling the warmth of the sun, the breeze, the scents in the air. I took my time throughout my workout instead of rushing through it so I can get out that much sooner, as I often do. I was consciously methodical, feeling my muscles, my body, being there. It was calmly enjoyable. I felt grounded, here, and happy to be so. This is a switch from my usual caffeine-fueled manic routine, all rush, rush, and rush. So I was celebrating. Celebrating being alive, in this beautiful place, on this beautiful day, just being.
The thing about the Three of Mirrors is it's not just about partying with friends and/or family to acknowledge some success or good fortune, though it can be that. It's also about partying with ourselves - that is, being happy with ourselves, in ourselves, in our own company. Loving and accepting and appreciating ourselves first and foremost, before we can offer that love to others. Being happy in our own company, with ourselves. If we don't have love for ourselves, then we really don't have love to give away to others either. So, the Three of Mirrors indicates it's time to enjoy and celebrate, but the real party starts right here, right now, within us. Go for it, I say~ get that party started! Celebrate everything, don't wait for a reason or excuse. Just do it! Life is short and there's so much to enjoy! Look around - it's all there waiting for us. And joy is most contagious!
I am an intuitive counselor and visionary artist who has studied and worked with Tarot for over 20 years. I am an avid collector of tarot art, as well as a creator. I am the creator of four oracle decks. I also have an extensive collection of tarot art images on Pinterest.com which you can enjoy.