My sweet addiction
Stripping away my resolve
No will left but yours
The other day I pulled these two cards as my cards of the day. I found myself looking at them from a different perspective because of past readings and exercises. It suddenly struck me that my antipathy for change has an almost addictive quality to it. I’m addicted to the past because of the memories (both real and rose-colored) I have. The “good old day” were never always good but time has washed them in a patina of gold and rose.
The truth is who the hell wants to sit around and remember lousy times? Who wants to dredge up unhappy, painful memories? That’s what therapy is for not reminiscing. Unfortunately reminiscing can also become problematic when it becomes a crutch, an addictive behavior that allows us to avoid facing current realities. Of course this also creates problems down the road because if I’m so focused on the past then I ignore the present and in the future will have fewer good memories from which to reminisce. It’s a vicious cycle! It’s like plowing and sowing seeds in the same field because they’ve proven fertile in the past but not giving them time to rest and regenerate. Eventually your harvest will become smaller and smaller before the field becomes barren. I don’t want my life to become barren.
So, how can I combat this? It’s not easy simply because I am in a nice rut and feel so little motivation to get out of it. However I have noticed that taking the time to consider the things I’m grateful for in my life can help. I did keep a gratitude journal at one point but it just became one more thing I had to do so I let it lapse. However that doesn’t mean I can’t take a few minutes every day and focus on areas of my life that are good. My life doesn’t suck. It may have sucky moments but overall it truly does not suck. What I need to do is find ways to keep this uppermost in my mind, especially when things really do seem pretty sucky.
Hobbies, friends, books and escapist television programming all help but at the end of the day it’s my choice, my decision to focus on the positive. I know it’s not easy because I seem to go through this cycle every few months but I like to think I’m getting closer to shortening my “life sucks” cycles. Coloring, Tarot cards and music help me de-stress too and that definitely helps elevate my spirits. I know I can do it, I just have to keep trying and not give up. I will not be defeated even by me and my inner demons and self-doubts and moments of wallowing in self-pity. I’m stronger than that. I just need to remind myself of this fact sometimes.
Traditional Meaning: The Devil represents being bound by our own desires and shadow. We could easily free ourselves from these bonds if only we stopped and thought about it. It’s almost like the novelty toy called Chinese handcuffs – two people put one finger in each side of the object and the harder they pull away from each other the tighter the bond grows. It is only when they work together and move towards each other that they are able to break free. The Devil reminds us that is we don’t work with our shadow side, we are doomed to remained chained helplessly chained to it.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card speaks of facing your shadow side, that dark, “evil”, primitive side of ourselves which we would prefer to deny even exists. Psychology has many terms for this side of human nature – the id, the anima/animus, etc. At first glance this card seems somewhat dark. The presence of the winged woman, reversed pentagram, the goat-headed female and the green demon all suggest the struggle between good and evil, between right and wrong, between heaven and hell. But if we look closer we see signs that all is not quite so gloomy. Yes, there is a darkness inherent in this card. But there is also a sign of hope.
The flaming torch may be the gift of the shadow side – enlightenment and illumination. Once we have faced the darkest side of our nature we are freed. We acquire knowledge and wisdom about ourselves and about the world. In many ways it reminds me of growing up and realizing that the world is not all sunshine and rainbows. That our parents are not perfect and don’t have all the answers. The Devil is a reminder that the challenge is not in being able to face this dark side, it is in being able to incorporate it into our being without becoming lost in it. Losing ourselves in addiction or mental illness or unhappiness means the shadow has taken over. We have the ability to face the evil in humanity without losing sight of hope and the good things. ‘
Sometimes when watching the news there is such a focus on negativity that it’s easy to forget about the positive things. This card reminds me that there are millions of ordinary, every-day people who face this darkness each day and are still able to emerge hopeful and triumphant. They can embrace, accept and forgive this darkness and not lose themselves within it. This is something we should all aspire to achieve in our lives.
Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
The Book says: The Challenger of Will makes the soul question what is accepted and find true release from fear. He speaks words of liberation and wisdom to those who can hear them. Those who hear only what they want to hear, and demand that others obey them, petrify the living stream of tradition into dead formulas. How are you listening to yourself?
Fear, bondage, extreme challenge, misery, obsession, resentment, role-playing for effect, dependence, manipulation, humorlessness, self-sabotage, inability to realize goals.
REVERSED: Understanding, release, breaking the spell, respite from fears, obsessions or worries, recognition of the true self, challenges are opportunities for growth.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: It’s interesting but when I see this card the first thing that crosses my mind is the phrase “dialing for destiny”. The Cernunnos figure seems to be frozen, trapped for all eternity in his familiar pose. While above him the larger figure – human or god, seems to be working a cosmic telephone and dialing some sort of code. Will the code offer freedom to Cernunnos, freeing him from his frozen state? Why is he holding onto the serpent and the torc? If he releases them will he be able to free himself from his prison. Or perhaps Cernunnos is the guide, leading us through the hedge of leaves in into the heart of yourself. Maybe he knows the code for the larger figure to dial to free himself from his familial bondage, his ancestral expectations.
It brings to mind the adage about the “sins of the father”. Are they the chains that bind this figure – the “sins” of his ancestors? Certainly we have all experienced the prison that is our family’s hopes and expectations for us. How much more prevalent was this attitude in earlier societies? Everyone had a place and a task. But what if you didn’t wish to follow other’s plans for you? Then they became an oppressive prison, a burden and an obstacle. So the challenge to us may be to break free of these expectations and obligations and listen to our own desires and dreams.
Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997
The Book Says: When the Devil is a part of your reading; you are in the midst of an intense situation. Perhaps you are experiencing (possibly in excess) the pleasures and pains of living, in yourself or in those around you. Possibly, when you draw the Devil, the situation calls for more emotional engagement. Maybe it is a time to examine your attachments and learn the lesson of moderation. Look around you and really see the part you play in the natural world.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card explores the wildness and untamed energy of The Devil. This is the god of the wild woods who invites us to come dancing beneath the brilliant moon. His wicked grin promises fun and merriment, freeing yourself from the strictures imposed by society and everyday life. His drum will transport you to another place and time; a world free from the expectations of others and daily responsibilities. But be warned because once you have “danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight” you will never be the same. It may become easy to walk away from life’s burdens and lose yourself in his wild dance.
Think of Dionysus’ Maenads and their divine madness. They would lose themselves in the worship of the god and attack any who invaded their revels – be it son, husband, father or lover. For this god of the wild wood is a demanding and possessive god. He can take over your life and you can lose your will in his celebrations. He can liberate your spirit or enslave your soul. He is one of the guardians of the mysteries of drunkenness and madness. It is in his honor that rebels and pioneers in the 60s explored mind-altering, psychotropic drugs and how they affected their perceptions of the world. But we must be cautious of crossing that point of no return and losing ourselves in the heart of madness. This Devil is our guide to the brink of self-revelation and freedom, but if we are not careful we can become prisoners of his revels.
For some reason the other day I found myself pondering the sin of envy. I’m not really big on thinking about sins but the more I thought about it the more convinced I became that envy might just be the worst of the batch. When I think of the acts that envy has caused individuals and societies to commit, it reinforces this perception. I suppose none of the seven deadly sins are especially pleasant, sloth, gluttony, pride, and wrath don’t seem to wreak the havoc that greed, lust, and envy do. To me, greed and lust seem to be different shades of envy. We become greedy because we envy what others have and we don’t. Lust, although often sexual in nature, is also a sin triggered by what we see others have and we envy and lust for their possessions or relationship. In fact in many situations we use lust almost interchangeably with envy.
I also think envy has grown more predominant in our society lately. As television, social media and a 24-hour news cycle makes the world a smaller place, we are also more aware of what we don’t have in our own lives. Beginning with shows such as Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous and continuing with such media darlings as Keeping Up with the Kardashians, we are continually exposed to lives which can most likely never achieve ourselves. At the same time we realize that these people are not better than us. This may result in feelings of envy because we find it difficult to accept that they deserve what they have and that we deserve to have more. Instead of being satisfied with our lives and what we have, we grow envious. We lust for what we see others have and become greedy to have more “things” in our own lives.
The term consumer society is often tossed around to describe our current society. It is predicated on the need to generate envy, lust and greed. We won’t buy new things if we don’t feel these emotions driving us to do it. How many of us must have the latest, greatest thing? Every time a new iPhone is released, people line up, sometimes for days, to be sure they’re among the chosen few to be blessed with this latest technological innovation. I can count the people I watched get rid of televisions that worked fine in order to acquire the latest in flat screen technology. People update their computers for no other reasons than a new model is available. Many people no long own cars, they lease them and upgrade them every two years.
It’s as though we’ve been primed and programmed to be dissatisfied with our lives. We’re told the only way to heal this dissatisfaction is to buy new things. We let envy, greed & lust push us to spend more than we can afford in pursuit of an illusory goal. I am as guilty of this kind of behavior as anyone else but my envy, greed and lust are focused more on books and Tarot decks. I see images of other Tarot reader’s decks and am suddenly filled with lust to own a copy for myself. Then once I get it, I rarely work with it. The lust, greed and envy overwhelm me and once they’ve been satiated, I no longer have an interest in the object of desire.
Much of this reminds me of The Devil card. We are chained, trapped and imprisoned by envy. We allow our greed and lust to control our behaviors and then try to project them on an external source. We keep reaffirming our addiction by falling into the same pattern of conspicuous consumption and consumerism.
In an effort to kill this particular devil and break free of these chains, I’ve decided to change my pattern. I’m going to commit to making September a no purchase month. Instead of purchasing anything new during the month of September, I am going to “shop my closet”. I’m going to look over what I already own – books, Tarot decks, clothing and actually put them to use. Rather than add to the mess of my already cluttered life, I’m going to start paring back. I’m going to review my possessions and either use it or prune it. I’ve had books in my collection for 15 years and I haven’t read them yet. If that’s the case then I have to assume I’ll never read it. If a Tarot deck does not ignite a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart, then it needs to be released to find a new home. Clothes that no long fit or were never really “me” will be given or thrown away. Once I get rid of the extraneous things that envy, greed and lust convinced me to buy, I can get to the core of who I truly am and what I really want to do with my life. Somehow I doubt buying more stuff will aid this process at all.
Okay – I want to start off with full disclosure, I received a copy of the Minoan Tarot from Ellen Lorenzi-Prince for the purposes of writing a review. I consider Ellen a friend but don’t think that will impact my review, I just want readers of this blog to be fully informed.
So, I first got a glimpse at this deck when Ellen brought its prototype to a past Readers Studio. I remember looking at the deck and feeling that it wasn’t one I might feel compelled to add to my collection. The art was lovely but I’ve never felt a real attraction to Minoan culture. In fact what I know about Minoan culture can probably be counted on one hand:
I hope that working with this deck will give me a greater appreciation for and knowledge of Minoan culture.
The deck is packaged in a sturdy cardboard box with an accompanying companion booklet. The booklet offers a brief introduction to Minoan art, civilization and culture as well as information about the origins of the artwork incorporated into each card. There is a lightheartedness and joyfulness to many of the images, giving me the sense that Minoan culture didn’t take themselves too seriously. I don’t get the sense of pompousness and elitism that I often feel from Greek & Roman art – as though they’re above human frailties and emotions.
According to the companion booklet, “The suits of the Minor Arcana, Earth, Sea, Sky, and Art, illustrate the great powers present in the lives of the Minoans. Earth shows children of the Mountain Mother, Sea for companions of the Ocean Father, Sky for the Lady of Heaven and Art for their own expressions of humanity. Sea and Sky are used rather than the more abstract Water and Air because these represent realms of the divine rather than elemental concepts.
The number cards for Earth, Sea, and Sky portray living creatures of those realms, as one of the hallmarks of Minoan art and religion is their exuberant embrace of the natural world around them. The number cards for the Art suit show Minoan people engaged in everyday activities.
The Minoans had no known numerology. The images are assigned to the cards by the correspondence of their energies alone. Also, they do not represent a progression of quantity , but rather stand for the selected qualities, no one of which is greater than another. The key concepts for the Ace through Ten are:
Ace – Individuality
Two – Sensitivity
Three – Creativity
Four – Practicality
Five – Adaptability
Six – Harmony
Seven – Spirituality
Eight – Power
Nine – Consciousness
Ten – Transformation
The Court Cards in the Minoan Tarot are Worker, Priestess, Master, and Mistress. The Workers relates with the energy of the suit in a physical and practical way. The Priestess expresses spiritual direction and action. The Master and Mistress are aspects of the God and Goddess as represented in the realm of Earth, Sea, Sky and Art.”
As an introduction to the deck, I asked “What will this deck teach me?” I drew Art Five, Visionary (Hermit) reversed and Earth Seven reversed. Before looking at the book, my interpretation is that working with this deck will be a struggle but it will be a fun, playful one. It will help me explore areas within myself and connect with my inner spirit but it will be an uphill climb inward. If I want to get the most from this deck I will need to be persistent and stubborn to receive the maximum benefit.
For each card, Ellen offers a background on the symbolism and what it is believed to have represented to the Minoans. She also explains the origins of the artwork as well as three messages from each card. Here are the messages for the three cards I drew:
I think each of these messages fits with my take on the card, which means that while these card meaning might not be standard RWS, they are somewhat intuitive.
A few other favorite cards I pulled from the deck include:
Art Eight, Earth Worker, Sea Ace, Sky Ten – these cards give you a taste of how Minoans viewed the world around them and their connection to it. They seem to play with the bulls rather than trying to dominate and control them. There is a lightness and playfulness to the art that vibrates off the cards. I want to dance and play with these charming people and the creatures that inhabit their world.
I especially love the images on the Oracle and Earth Priestess because they show two different aspects of the Snake Goddess, one of my favorite goddess images. She touches my heart with her serenity and simple strength. She has no fear of the snakes and wears them as ornamentation to show her connection with them. I don’t get a sense of domination but of collaboration and cooperation. I can almost hear them whispering secret knowledge in her ears as she nods her head in understanding.
Ecstasy also makes me smile. The dancing priestess is lost in her groove. I feel a sense of ecstasy and pure joy shine through this card. It reminds me of a line from a 70s song Magnet and Steel, “You’re a woman who’s lost in your song.” She has surrendered to the rhythms coursing through her body and celebrates them. She is not truly lost forever but is in a moment of trance, of divine connection. She reminds me of a Sufi dervish, using her dance to create an ecstatic trance state that connects her with the sacred; with the Universe.
There are many lovely cards in this deck all offering glimpses into Minoan art and culture but does that make it a good Tarot deck? I’m sure we’ve all had experiences of purchasing a deck that looks lovely but doesn’t speak to us (I’m something refer to this as a dumb ditz deck). If a deck is lovely to look at but has no depth or character then I often find them useless. I don’t feel this way about this deck. In fact I’d describe it as just the opposite – I think this deck will prove to have quite a learning curve because there is so much meaning and symbolism to be unearth and teased out from each card. This deck strikes me as one that will lead its users down the path to learning more about Minoan culture so that you can acquire greater depth of understanding the symbolism and meanings of these cards. Of course I also think it’s entirely possible to work with this deck and use the imagery to develop your own intuitive meanings without any further knowledge of Minoan culture. It’s a matter of preference.
My biggest complaint about this deck is it’s size. They are the same size as the Dark Goddess Tarot which means the deck will be difficult to shuffle for someone with small hands. I consider myself to have medium-size hands and I find them a challenge. So I will give the deck a borderectomy (I have grown to dislike borders on my Tarot cards) and that should make shuffling the cards easier. Oh and I would love it if Ellen created a longer, more detailed companion book but I digress.
So, to wrap it all up – do I recommend this deck? It depends. If you find yourself drawn to ancient cultures I think you will find much in this deck to feed your interests. If you are interested in learning a bit about an ancient culture that was less aggressive and misogynistic but no less cultured and civilized than Mycenaean Greece, this deck will intrigue you. If you seek decks that challenge you to expand your horizons and explore new perspectives and meanings for the cards, this deck will enthrall you. If you want to support privately printed, small batch published decks then this will fit your bill.
I will admit that prior to actually seeing this deck I was on the fence about acquiring it. The likelihood is that I would have purchased it to support Ellen if for no other reason. Now that I’ve played with it a bit and explored it energies I am eager to give it a longer test run and see where it takes me. The artwork is lovely and calls to something within me I wasn’t even aware existed. It tantalizes me like sunlight sparkling across a still lake. It shimmers and dazzles but in a quiet, understated manner like a classic beauty who is at first overshadowed her her more showy, extroverted sisters but whose true value is soon acknowledge and honored.
So if you haven’t already done so, get your copy of the delightfully delicious Minoan Tarot here
And if you’re still up in the air about purchasing a copy, you can read additional reviews here
“Ceirt, along with h-Úath, is one of the most challenging ogam feda. Its meaning of a rag or a shrub links it in my mind with the practice of tying rags to clootie trees in Ireland and Scotland as an appeal for healing (McManus uses the “shrub” or “bush” definition, while Meroney suggested that the word was translated as “a rag”. I found the connections between both of these suggested meanings useful enough that I have chosen to use both, though Meroney’s definition is probably not correct.). These trees are often found at sacred wells or on fairy mounds, and are significant for being very much associated with Otherworldly beings and energies that can be fickle and unpredictable.
The complex of meanings surrounding this fid often point to intense frustration and even self-destructive activity. When it comes up in a reading, be careful of sudden changes in fortune or capricious individuals. It’s associated with bad luck and with psychological problems, but because of its linked association with clootie trees, there can also be an element of hope to this fid that h-Úath lacks. In divination, it can point to a situation of poverty or illness that is temporary, or to setbacks in a person’s life or situation.
Linked Concepts: Poverty, illness, fleeing, retreat, madness, insanity, ill luck without total loss, psychological issues and problems, the hope for healing from illness or madness.” (Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie)
After reading these passages, I realize it’s time to face some facts. Engaging in self-destructive behaviors as a way of dealing with my current situation is pointless and harmful. It improves nothing. So I asked the Tarot :What traps me in cycles of self-destruction?” I drew Cernunnos R, 10 of Wands R + 8 of Swords R (DruidCraft)
Okay, I’m getting it. It’s my own fault. Well fault is too harsh a word but this feeling of being trapped is because of how I’m approaching this situation. I’m limiting myself and binding myself to certain pathways. As a result I am narrowing options that might be available to me. As a result I become frustrated, feel trapped and become self-destructive. The fact that I feel trapped is because I feel certain obligations to carry this burden (10 of Wands R) and I’m doing it the hard way rather than exploring other options or resources that might be available.
I think Cernunnos is reminding me that I am a traditionalist. I like holding to the old ways. In this family, that means the elderly and infirm are cared for within the house. Of course when that was the tradition there was a much larger familiar circle to rely on for assistance. Now it’s all falling on the hubby and me. It’s too much for just too people. Looking at the shadowing horned figured watching over the naked couple sleeping in the forest, I was struck by the sense that I’m being watched and judged by our ancestors and they strip us bare. They can see beneath the platitudes we tell ourselves and see our true feelings; the good and the bad. They know that we’ve done the best that we can. They also know that we are worn out.
The 8 of Swords reversed is telling me that I’m not facing my own bullshit here. If I believe I’m trapped and restrained it’s because I’m not being realistic and seeing things as they are; all the possibilities and permutations out there.
Yesterday a friend pointed out that maybe I keep drawing reversed cards because I’m not really listening to their message. I think she’s right. I’m blowing smoke up my own ass and it’s starting to irritate. If I truly want to change this situation then I need to stop lying to myself about what I think about it and how I’m viewing it. Yes, I can keep going in this same direction. If nothing else, my maternal line are quite good at carrying burdens long past the time when common sense tells you to let it go (10 of Wands R). I think we have a bit of a martyr complex in our blood. I don’t want to continue that pattern.
The bottom line is that if I want to break this cycle of self-destruction I need to change my attitude and mindset. I’m my own worst enemy because I can find ways to justify, rationalize and intellectualize pretty much anything. What I’m not good at is listening to my heart, trusting my emotions.
I’m still working on improving my relationship with Cups and with myself for that matter. It’s been so long since I’ve known the secrets of my own heart that I almost forgot I had any. I think that was part of the Princess of Cups message to me yesterday. I need to do more spiritual and healing work so that I can reconnect to that aspect of myself. I’m not just a brain with a love for shenanigans and burst of creativity and energy. I am a physical being whose body deserves love and appreciation. I am an emotional being allowed to cry, become angry and feel betrayed and forgotten. It doesn’t matter how much I try to claim otherwise, even I know I’m just fooling myself. It’s time to face some facts and make some changes. Then again I’ve said that before too but I like to think each time I state it I’m taking a step closer to manifesting it.