Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Here Comes The Sun!

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Welcome to another Tarot Blog Hop!  Our wrangler this time around, Morgan Drake Eckstein, set the topic on which all of us hoppers will write as follows: Junk Mail Tarot, a "Tarot art project for non-artists."

We were tasked with creating a tarot card from other bits and bobs, in whatever medium.  And I thought, well, an art project for non-artists, I sure fit the bill ;)

What card to create, though, and how, given my lack of artistic skills?

The first thing that sprang to my mind was the Sun card.  After all, we are at the summer solstice (in this hemisphere at least), the time when the sun shines for the longest number of hours in the year.  Traditionally, it is a time of warmth and energy, the beginning of summer, a time for joy and playfulness before the harvest must be brought in.

And like an inverse of Edmund Zebrowski's Pixie's Astounding Lenormand (U.S. Games, 2015), which used elements of the Pixie Colman Smith's artwork to create a Lenormand deck, I decided to make a tarot card out of elements of the images from the Celtic Lenormand :D

I was guided both by imagery which would fit (thinking of the Thoth Sun card) and by the meanings of the Lenormand cards.  So, I melded both Child cards (the Boy and the Girl), for innocence and new beginnings, with the Flowers, for creativity and beauty, and the Sun card, for energy and joy.

Hope you like my Sun card, and enjoy hopping around to see what my fellow tarot bloggers have come up with!

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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

What Does Success Look Like?

We all have different things going on in our lives, different notions of success.  And yet, one of the beauties of spells is that they can speak to many different desires.

Take the spell above.  I created it because I have a contract to sign this week.  It's a big contract, important to my future, and I want it to be a positive force in my life.  Combining documents, commitment, and success (Letter, Ring, Sun) seemed like a way to keep it simple and express exactly what I am working towards.

Keeping it simple is actually another part of what I want for this contract.  Not always easy when lawyers get involved!

And yet, despite its simplicity, or perhaps because of it, this spell can be used for so many situations: buying a home (you could add in the House); signing a new work contract (add the Anchor, or your preferred work card); journaling; tracking a daily commitment like exercise (add the Rider or the Birch Rods); writing a letter of intent; renting a car (add in the Ship); it could even be used by a writer to help them with something like NaNoWriMo, where they commit to writing a certain word count every day!

How about you?  Do you have something you want to commit to in writing?  A spell like this could help you keep on track or help remind you to negotiate the best possible deal :)

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A Lenormand Spell For Integration

Within the tarot, many writers see integration - the balancing of different aspects of self and/or the alchemical marriage - in pretty much every card of the Majors, if not the whole deck.  But what of Lenormand?  

Clearly, in the Lenormand system there aren't loads of esoteric connections and so forth.  Nor are there lots of different people and symbols on the cards to become integrated with one another, like on the Lovers, the Devil, or even with the pillars of the High Priestess, the Hierophant, Justice and the Moon.  However, integration is still a fundamental need for many people in our modern, fragmented world. 

Any yet, I love using Lenormand cards for spell work, and that can often be about having to integrate different aspects of life and self.  So, what to do?

For me, the answer is the Lily card.  Keywords here include purity and sexuality, innocence and maturity.  It is a card of finding harmonious balance.

You can think about what elements of your life you want to balance at this time, and place the corresponding cards around the Lily card.  For instance, the layout to the right is to integrate work life (Anchor) and family life (House), well-being (Tree) and energy (Sun). 

Of course, you can pick whatever cards feel most relevant to you at this time, whatever you want to integrate.

A beautiful part of Lenormand spells is that they can always be read several ways.  Here, I also see a message that stabilising my energy will bring me healing of family troubles.  That's something else I could well do with, both at a physical and emotional level. 

At a physical level, my toddler has done me an injury, and I need to be careful about how I interact with him while I heal.  At an emotional level, my partner and I have a big change on the horizon, which while joyful could also be a bit destabilising.

What aspects of your life would you like to bring into a more harmonious balance right now?  And, once you've chosen those, what other messages might you find in your spell...

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Reading the Future in a Grand Tableau

Some people suggest that everything in a Grand Tableau represents the current situation, and where things are moving to over the "reasonable" timeframe you set for such a reading (say 3-6 months).  This is generally my favourite way of approaching a Grand Tableau, given that my readings aim more at empowerment than at fortune telling.

Another very traditional approach that I learned when I was first starting out with Lenormand was that all the columns "in front" of the person card represent the future.  Equally, all the columns "behind" them would then represent the past.  Most often, in front is seen as reading to the right.  However, because some of the people cards face different directions, many readers will choose the direction the Lady/Woman or Lord/Man is facing to define what counts as "in front".  For example, in the image below I have left clear the columns that are "in front" of the Woman.

A different approach I was recently introduced to struck me as quite interesting, too.  In this way of reading, you normally treat the cards laid out before you reach the person card as being the past, and the cards laid out after them as the future.  So, laying out the cards in lines, all the rows before you get to the person card will be the past, all the rows after (below) the person card will be the future.  Equally, this can be turned around depending on the direction the person card is facing.  For the GT used here as an example, that would mean that the future for the woman would be just the cards shown below:

For the Man, though, his future would be all the cards in the clear here:

Obviously, these different approaches can give quite different results!  For example, in the GT shown next, applying the "traditional approach" would give an equal distribution of past and future to read for the Lady.  On the other hand, applying the second approach would give an almost entirely past-oriented reading, with only the final four cards as her future...

As with any technique, it may be useful in some readings, not in others.

What reasons can you think of to prefer one approach to the other?  What are the situations in which one might give more useful information than the other?  Or is it just a case of doing what you were first taught...

Sunday, 1 May 2016

What Gifts May Flowers Bring

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Karen Sealey is a playful person and for this hop asked us to think about May and let that take us where it may.  I imagine we'll see a fascinating variety of approaches and takes as we hop around what this global community of bloggers makes of that!

For myself, thinking about the Celtic Lenormand and Beltane always brings the Flowers card to mind.  It's the card that seemed most appropriate to represent this turn of the Wheel of the Year.  It shows the beautiful blooms we find (at least in this part of the world) in May.  And it's also one of the most lovely cards in the deck, indicating gifts, invitations, beauty and creativity.

All this got me thinking about what gifts we are offered now.  So, I threw a Grand Tableau with that in mind.

Looking at the cards around the Flowers, we have the Anchor, the Dog, the Snake, the Ring, the Cross, the Tree, the Rider and the Coffin.  That leads me to the following questions to help think about the gifts life is offering right now:

What in your life provides you with stability?

Who can you depend on?

What boundaries help you maintain your sense of self?

What commitments bring you joy?

What life lesson/s do you feel you are finally mastering?

What aspects of your health do you give thanks for?

What messages is the universe sending you?

What ending are you currently grateful for?

Another technique, which I used last week, is to get a "final message" around a subject by counting around the Grand Tableau.  This isn't restricted to the "significator" cards, but can be used from any card of interest.  If you start at the card before the card you're interested in, and count around 7 each time, you end up with a line of five.  For the Flowers, that gives us:

Lady, Ship, Mice, Dog, Bear: A final message around the gifts life is currently offering is that nostalgic passivity undermines resourceful dependability.  If you want to make the most of what is being offered, you need to look to the future, be active and resourceful, and keep on with things even if the going is not always simple.

Now, I wonder what other gifts this blog hop will offer us...

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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Hidden Motives and Messages

Following on from the Learn Lenormand training going up online, I've had some questions about knighting and other 'advanced' techniques.  This week, I give thanks to a client for permission to demonstrate a couple of techniques used in her reading.  I won't go into the whole reading, just wanting to flag up a couple of ways of getting extra information from the cards.  We threw a GT, and the result is shown below:

Knighting - looking at motivation

One of the things that the client wanted to look at was the question of underlying motives, her own for the most part.  The knighting cards can give information on this, and were quite enlightening.

For one thing, the Lord and Lady cards knight to one another.  Part of the reading was looking at her new relationship with a man she has known for decades.  I suggested she might have had her eye on this man for quite some time, and she agreed that she had always thought him attractive, though while she was married it hadn't been a consideration (she was widowed fairly recently).

The other cards the Lady knights to are: the Ship, the House, the Moon, the Fish, the Lord and the Paths.

The Ship and the Paths on the same row suggests she is being motivated by a choice she has to make regarding a new venture, and that there may be some nostalgia involved in that decision.  This is the case, as she is deciding whether or not to go ahead with a big project she and her husband had talked about a lot before he died.  Between the Lord and the Lady, the Scythe and the Hill Fort (Tower) suggest the need to cut institutional ties.  This is something that has been making their relationship more difficult - they both work for big public institutions in their local area.  She has been considering resigning.  The cards point out that not only does the job get in the way of her relationship, but that she also has this other venture that she hasn't yet spoken about, but feels quite passionate about.  Recognising this was helpful for her.

The House and the Lord point to some concerns over how her family will look on this new relationship (she has grown kids).  That matches the fact that she has been trying to figure out how to tell them about it (they live quite far away).  The Letter and the Meadow (Garden) next to the Lady (and between her and the Lord) suggest that writing a letter to "go public" with the relationship might work well.

The Moon and the Fish made me ask if she has a particular reputation with money.  She seemed uncertain about this, but said she had married into money.  She is unsure what her new partner thinks of this, and it does worry her somewhat.  She is also personally worried, because if she remarries it may affect her pension, and if she is to retire from work that will affect her finances too (Mice are in the House of Fish).

Some people prefer the 8x4+4 layout of the Grand Tableau, and one reason for that is the 'destiny line' at the bottom.  However, another way to get a final message is to count around the GT, taking every seventh card, starting from the card before the subject you're interested in.  We did this, starting from the card just before the Lady herself.  The line that came up is shown here:

Book, Mountain, Storks, Scythe, Flowers:  Secrets block change, make a creative cut/shocking invitation.  

The client agreed that she has been stressed about keeping her intention to retire a secret, and about not knowing precisely where she stands with this new man and how her family will respond to the relationship. 

She said that writing a letter to invite her kids over to actually meet him (looking back at the Meadow, which can also represent hospitality), and telling them then might work well.  They might be surprised by the invitation, but she felt that would be better than the shock of spilling all over such an impersonal medium. 

She also said that she definitely wants to leave her institutional job, to do something that feels more creative.  She wondered whether she could do something creative or organise an event as part of her goodbye.

Next week's post will also be on reading Grand Tableaux.  It will be out on Sunday, 1st May, as part of the Tarot Blog Hop.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Transformation Time?

Having just opened up a free Learn Lenormand online resource, I have had many people tell me they feel nervous around larger Lenormand spreads, especially the Grand Tableau.  While I plan to focus more on the Grand Tableau a little down the line, my two main responses to this are:

a) You don't have to read the Grand Tableau, or even a Nine Square, if you don't want to!

You can get really helpful answers from just a three or five card line.  If that's what you want to do or feel comfortable with, that's fine.  I sure don't have time to throw a GT everyday, either, so for my daily draw I normally stick to three cards :)

b) It can be helpful to work your way up to the bigger spreads.  That's why I've posted a lot of Nine Square readings, and for those that want to go a bit bigger yet, I recommend the 5x3, an example of which you'll find below...

I asked about something I have been working on for a while, which I would like to focus on more now that I have finally finished the Learn Lenormand training.

At the centre of the spread is the Shedding Snake - oh yes, this is about transformation and helping people to shed their old self!  And I might need to do that, too, in order to make it happen.

Looking at the corners, Key, Scythe, Flowers and Holly: insightful sorting leads to creative growth.

Looks like I still need to do some clarifying around exactly what to put out there and how.  This is a long term project, so there's time to be creative and let things grow as they need to.

Treating the columns in a past-future flow:

Key, House, Flowers - part of that sorting is recognising where my creative comfort zone is.

Storks, Birch Rods (Whips), Dog - progress required faithfully clearing out what wasn't working, no matter how painful that process.

(Oak) Tree, (Shedding) Snake, Woman - now, I'm in a process of transformation that holds a lot of growth potential, but which may take some time.

Letter, Moon, Girl - moving forward, I need to do some journalling/list-making to figure out the new way to present this.

(Holly) Tree, Ship, Scythe - a harvest in this venture may take a while to come, I need to cut the nostalgia in favour of growth.

Looking at the rows as thoughts, situation and actions, and combining cards through mirroring as well as side-by-side connections:

Key, Storks, Oak, Letter, Holly - changing insights bring growthful progress needing written roots for long-term evidence.  My thoughts are in flux, which is why there's a need for me to write things down, both to root out what I'm really getting at, and to get longer-term insight.

House, Birch Rods, Shedding Snake, Moon, Ship - cleaning house is a transformative process that brings new recognition to this venture.

Flowers, Dog, Woman, Girl, Scythe - invite the faithful to enjoy this new harvest.  Edit creatively with the help of new friends.

These suggestions for actions to take both make sense to me.  On the one hand, make an offer to my list, those people who I have connected with already.  And on the other, I'm doing a "business challenge" this week, organised by Amethyst Mahoney, that is giving me the space to figure out what I need to cut out, what I need to change, to make this project more viable.

Obviously, there is more that could be mined from this spread.  For now, though, I think there's plenty for me to think about and work on...