CotD – 3 of Wands (Arcus Arcanum)

Your hand upon mine

Concentrating energy

Creatively joined

Over the last few days I’ve reconnected to a creative outlet that I had allowed to become dormant – coloring! As a child and adolescent I adored coloring. If I wasn’t nose deep in a book then I was energetically putting my box of 64 Crayolas to good use. One of my strongest sense memories is the smell of a box of Crayola crayons. No other crayons have that same aroma. I would recognize it anywhere. I still remember picking up two Dover coloring books from the gift shop at the Museum of the City of New York during a class trip. One was Geometric Designs and the other was Visual Illusions. The optical illusions were mind-blowing and it was a fabulous change from my usual Barbie coloring books (although I still have several of them too). There is something so engaging, relaxing and just plain fun about coloring. Over the years I might not have used those coloring books but I always made sure to have a big box of Crayola crayons – first a 64 count, then a 96 count and now a 200 count!

Why am I talking about coloring? Because for many, many years I believed I was not a creative person. I cannot draw much beyond stick figures. I may enjoy singing but I doubt anyone will ever pay to hear me or even volunteer to listen. I love to dance but will be the first to admit my skills are amateurish at best. The most creative thing I do is write – and even that I tend to blow off as not especially creative as much as it is technically skilled. Beginning to color again has changed my attitude about all of that. Perhaps I don’t have the eye or hand for painting but that doesn’t make me non-creative. Watching a line drawing fill in with colors I’ve selected, creating patterns within the pattern, has proven fulfilling and satisfying. It has also helped me to see other ways in which I am creative.

I see patterns and connections between disparate elements. I’ve noticed that when I read the Tarot I often find connections between the cards that are not obvious. The better I know the querent, the more effective and interesting the connections I make. I’m like a conspiracy theorist – seeing connections that aren’t immediately apparent to the casual observer. I love writing – not just blog posts but Tarot card haiku. I love making up stories using the images on Tarot cards as a starting point. I may not be a technically proficient dancer but I put my heart and soul into it. I can shake my moneymaker like nobodies business!

Dark Goddess Witch of Water

Today I asked Sekhmet for some insight into continuing to explore my creative side. She sent me Haya-Akitsu-Hime/Witch of Water, the Shinto goddess of the sea. Her salt waters purify and transform. As I’m writing this I had an insight – Haya-Akitsu-Hime is telling me that my emotional connection to coloring is also a path to purity and transformation for me. It will allow me to purge the impurities and emotional baggage that often distracts me from what makes me happy and what I love in life.

Pearls of Wisdom 2 of Wands Pearls of Wisdom 4 of Swords

For additional insight I pulled two cards from the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot. In response to my query about blending my creative energies in a way that will bring radiance and healing in my life I drew the 2 of Wands reversed and 4 of Swords. With a little help from the companion book, I took this to mean that I’m on the right path; I’m moving in the right direction. Combining meditation and modified mini-retreats for myself will allow me to move forward, explore new horizons and continue on this path of wellness and wholeness I’ve begun. Coloring is one method of meditation and creativity that can aid me in my quest.

So my advice to anyone out there who sees themselves as uncreative is to keep looking; find the right avenue for you. We are all creative in different ways. The key to healing and wellness is to find the path that fits you. Perhaps you are a mathematical genius and see connections between equations and real life applications. Maybe you look at the stars and see a panoply of amazing bodies of celestial beauty that connect to Greek myths and life on Earth. Maybe you’re a history buff and love seeing the connections between past actions and current events. Perhaps dancing is a balm to your soul or singing at the top of your voice brings joy to your heart. As Karen Carpenter once sang “Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing, sing a song.”

Here comes the Sun – Sekhmet!

Dark Goddess Sekhmet

Starting today I am beginning my Dark Goddess labyrinth work with The Sun aka Sekmet. I have to admit to an enduring fondness for The Sun’s energy. Even from my earliest childhood I felt a much stronger connection to the Sun and daylight than I did to the Moon and nighttime. This is ironic considering I am a confirmed night owl but what can I say, I’m nothing if not inconsistent about some things. I have also long felt an affinity for Sekhmet’s energy. She is assertive, aggressive and energetic; roaring out her anger and affection with equal measure. This confident lioness could only be stopped in her destruction by blood colored beer. I gotta love a goddess who can only be slowed down by an alcoholic beverage.

Dark Goddess 3 of Air

To start off our relationship, I asked Sekhmet for a message and she sent me Blue Dakini/3 of Air. This goddess reminds me that in order for something new to bloom, I must excise what is dead and outworn. This is often a difficult process because there are times when what is apparently outdated and work out can carry great sentimental value. Although as I am learning, clinging to the past can often blind us to what promise lies ahead.

The appearance of the Blue Dakini also reminded me of another aspect of The Sun’s energy can be overlooked – the sun’s light is a purifier. It bleaches away stains and destroys bacteria. It’s a powerful source of energy, light and warmth. It is what allows life to exist on Earth. All of these are amazing gifts but they can also have harsher aspects. Too much light or heat can blind or dehydrate. Too much energy can be exhausting. If we destroy all bacteria then we risk killing off the good ones too. So it is clearly a question of balance. The destructive aspects of the Sun are essential and necessary but they certainly should not overshadowing its more beneficent ones. During the journey ahead I’m sure I will find harsh light shed on areas of my life I’ve preferred to avoid and at the same time once I clear away those hidden, shadowy areas I’ll be making room for more creative projects and radiant energy.

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:

  • Minoan culture thrived on Crete and Thera before the advent of Mycenaean Greece
  • It was severely devastated by the volcanic eruption on Thera
  • It’s where the myths of the Minotaur and his labyrinth are centered
  • Among other artistic and athletic endeavors, it celebrated bull leapers (or is it bull dancers) – youths who trained to leap over bulls and display other acrobatic prowess not necessarily related to competitive endeavors.

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.

Minoan Art Five Minoan Visionary Minoan Earth Seven

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:

Art Five

  • Do it. Show people what you’ve got
  • Respect your rules but push your boundaries
  • Your struggle will make you stronger. Consider if it will make you wiser.

Visionary

  • Seek the thousand inner senses
  • What shines cannot be seen at noon
  • Give yourself time for wisdom to grow

Earth Seven

  • Leave the crowd behind to get a clearer look at the whole
  • Have no fear of a challenge, you are up to it.
  • Take the path a step at a time. Make each step sure, strong and agile.

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:

Minoan Art Eight Minoan Earth Worker Minoan Sea Ace Minoan Sky Ten

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.

Minoan Oracle Minoan Earth Priestess

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.

Minoan Ecstasy

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

I have been in a black mood for the past few days, maybe even weeks. I’ve been moody, bitchy, angry and resentful. Don’t get me wrong, I can slip into moods like this for brief periods of time but they don’t tend to last longer than a day or two. I’ve explored different options to get to the bottom of these moods. None of them felt right or entirely accurate. They each show a piece of the puzzle but I still wasn’t seeing the whole picture.

Then while I was emailing a friend it hit me like a bolt of lightning – it was my old seasonal affective disorder kicking in. In reality I don’t think I have true seasonal affective disorder but what I do have is a black mood that settles over me when it’s “back to school” time and I’m not returning to school. I can sometimes alleviate it by buying myself new notebooks, pens and other school-related items but that only works when I realize that I need to do it. This year I seem to have missed a step. Instead I was blaming my mood on other factors.

Now that I have a clearer view of what is causing this mood I can create a game plan to deal with it. I need to find ways to fill the need I have for structure learning experiences I also need to work on reducing my reliance on external validation and motivation. It’s time to be more internally motivated and validated. In this current situation in my life opportunities for external validation are rarer than hen’s teeth so I need to find another way to maintain my sanity. I know what I should do, now it’s time to start actually doing it.

My mojo is gone. I don’t know where it went. Did I misplace it somewhere and it’s just sitting there awaiting my return? Did someone else snatch it away? Did it run away after feeling neglected for too long? I have no idea but I know that I’m going to work on finding it/re-acquiring it again.

Life without mojo is quite bland and boring. It’s rather colorless and unexciting. You make it through the day but I have to admit but sometimes I wonder “what’s the point?” I feel like Austin Powers when Dr. Evil stole his mojo – a reverse Frog Prince.

So what can I do to regain or reignite my mojo? Based on the readings I’ve been getting for myself, creativity is the key. That’s ironic simply because I’ve never considered myself an especially creative person. I’m a good student but that’s not the same thing.

Music helps. I find that putting on a great song and just moving around the house helps me feel better and seems to get my energies flowing. Great funky 70s songs like Boogie Wonderland and Fantasy help with that. I can’t listen to those songs and not feel the desire to move. Donna Summer and even the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack help gets things moving too. Maybe that’s the key – I’m too damn sedentary. I do things around the house but it’s not quite the same. I think I need to give myself 30 minutes every day to dance like a fool and get back in touch with my body. If that doesn’t re-ignite the mojo, nothing will.

Wheel of Change Empress

Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997

The Book says: In the lives of women we can see five distinct phases: birth, the onset of menstruation, motherhood, menopause, and death. The Empress represents the middle of this pentad; she is the nurturing mother, who is the fertile and creative queen of the world. She is also the down-to-earth version of the cosmic World card, which also symbolizes the creative mother in the maiden-mother-crone triad of the Triple Goddess. In interpretation this card represents elemental creativity and the actualization of creation. It is birth and creativity in every realm of life. Thus it represents feminine creativity, symbolized by pregnancy and birth and by growing things: flowers, eggs, and an abundant harvest. The Empress is symbolized in every good meal and happy home; she is evident in artwork and music. When this card is a part of your reading it symbolizes love and joy in life, and in the process of creativity. It symbolizes the healthful nurturing we must put into our creative actions. It is a card of being with children and in mothering or nurturing them and the joy we feel in their independent creativity. It makes a good time to focus on projects that require creative solutions. Projects that are begun under the tutelage of the fertile Empress are likely to success, just as she bears fruit out of her own body.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This Empress is the embodiment of fertility, fruitfulness, growth and the cycles of life. The green hills and pink tree speak to me of Spring and life just beginning to awaken while the yellow hills and fields suggest Autumn and the time of harvesting and preparing for the cold, dark times to come. The Empress reminds us that she rules over both these cycles. She nurtures us and supports us through the good times and the bad. Her breasts provide nourishment and her body is the source of new life and new growth.

The Moon overhead reminds us of the connection many peoples see between the Moon and women. The eggs in her basket remind us of the potential for new life and the waters dividing around her reinforce its connection as the source of life on Earth. This card speaks of the bounty offered to us in our lives as well as reminding us that there are cycles that we all follow. And we are all connected to the Earth, the waters and the stars. She is the mother of us all. If we honor and embody these traits we will find the way to bring these energies into our own lives; to enhance our fruitfulness, prosperity, creativity and nurturing.

This card is not just about nurturing others but about embracing and nurturing ourselves as well. When I see this card it reminds me of the wonder I feel when I look at mountains and lakes as I drive passed. I am awed by their beauty and majesty and feel the connection to Mother Earth. I want to honor her and allow myself to fall into her embrace, knowing that I am safe, protected and loved. As someone who has often lacked this type of nurturing in my life, I sometimes have difficulties connecting to this card. I do not see myself as an Empress (at least not in the traditional way of being a mother). But then I realize that this card is also about nurturing the creative energies of others and helping them to grow. It is about nurturing my own creative side and allowing myself to explore alternative outlets for this creative energy.

Many people believe there is a Great Mother in the Universe and whether you honor her as Mary, Queen of Heaven, the Corn Mother, the Lady or as Danu, she represents the same type of energy and nurturing support in our lives. The Empress is seen every day in the bounty of the Earth and the gifts she offers us. The Empress nourishes everything and everyone around us.  This makes it easier for me to connect with this card. It is not just physical motherhood but spiritual motherhood as well. Being able to offer our bountiful gifts to ourselves and others and being able to accept the gifts others offer to us.

Dark Carnival Empress

Interesting, this is the second time this week I’ve drawn The Empress.  So for two days in a row I’ve drawn a card I drew earlier in the week.  Obviously there are some messages I’m either not getting or meant to share.  My relationship with The Empress has been a relatively cantankerous one.  In the past when I’ve drawn her my response has been a groan or a rant.  Over the last few years we’ve come to terms with each other and I’ve come to appreciate her unique strengths and gifts.

Considering that much of my time is spent in the role of traditional caregiver lately, The Empress is certainly appropriate. in response to my query.  I need to learn to be more comfortable with this side of my nature; to embrace this aspect of my personality.  Like an unused muscle, that aspect of my personality has atrophied over the years but lately it’s been getting quite a workout.  This gypsy-like wild child with a smirk on her face lets us know that although she may be engaged in traditionally “women’s work”, she’s no pushover.  This ain’t Beaver’s mother.  Gazing at her I can hear the song from the old Enjoli commercial playing in my head “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never, ever let you forget you’re a man ’cause I’m a woman.”  She may raise a family, nurture loved ones and be generous and caring to those she loves, but she also gives off a vibe fierce independence and strong will.  She may not try to dominate you but she won’t be dominated either.  I like that in an Empress.

On another level she’s telling me that I am still not making the effort to carve out some time for myself.  I may be engaged in caring for others but if I don’t make caring for myself a priority too I’m going to burn out and be miserable (well more miserable).  I have to find the way to nurture and care for myself or I’ll be of no use to anyone else.  Maybe I also need to become more comfortable letting others nurture me.  I tend to resist efforts at mothering, comforting or nurturing from others.  I shrug it off or make a joke.  Maybe I need to be more open to those hugs and efforts at consolation and comfort.  I don’t have to do this all on my own and it’s not week to sometimes need a shoulder to cry on.  It’s just ridiculous for me to keep trying to be a “rugged individualist” in this situation.  That way lies madness and that’s what the smirk on this Empress’ face is telling me.  I may be crazy but hopefully I’m not stupid.  I need to start heeding her message before she slaps me upside the head with that plate she’s washing.

Taort of the Mastesr Wheel Tarot of the Masters King of Swords

I love this answer!  Things change, there are cycles to life and I’ll eventually be able to connect with my inner King of Wands – master of my own creativity and energy.  Sometimes I draw very smart ass responses from the Tarot and others I get a kind kiss.

The Wheel of Fortune reminds me that life is full of changes and cycles.  I’m often very clear about my resistance to change but in this instance I’ll make an exception.  I think I’ve been viewing the bottom of this wheel for several years now.  It would be nice to finally get a view from the top again.

The King of Wands seems a victorious and confident figure; one who attracts other with his charm and energy.  He can also be a bit pompous and full of himself but is willing to laugh at these foibles.  I think these are traits I possess too and this card suggests that as the cycle represented by the Wheel of Fortune changes perhaps I’ll find myself reconnecting to this energy once again.

I see the King of Wands as a externally focused figure.  His power is in his ability to interact with the world around him; to charm, persuade and lead those around him.  I’ve been so inwardly focused over the last few years, honing my skills as a nurturer and caregiver.  I think the King of Wands may be reminding me that I will eventually re-enter his realm so keeping those skills alive will prove beneficial.

Old Path High PriestessOld Path Lone Man

Fascinating!  I think maybe things are starting to turn around a bit for me.  Maybe this is what the cards were trying to tell me.  I need to share my story, tell my truth to others.  It’s time to explore the inner me, the hidden me and my unique and different perspective on the world.

There is something very powerful and empowering about these two cards in response to this question.  They are both Major Arcana which to me suggests this is has the potential to be a major, life-altering event for me.  If nothing else it can help shift my perceptions in a way so that I start to consider the value I can bring to whatever endeavors I pursue.

The High Priestess shows me that I have the ability to tap into my deepest self, my true nature.  I can re-connect with my instinctual side and learn how to channel that in a way to benefit me and others.  I love the image of the High Priestess walking in a woodland surrounded by wild creatures.  She is part of this natural landscape.  She is the guide, the interpreter between human’s wild nature and our civilized side.  She can help us reconnect with our wilder, more instinctual selves but only if we are truly ready for it.  I have often had a resistance to the High Priestess and now I think that might be due to the fact that I wasn’t ready to work with her energy.  Perhaps now I am ready.

The Lone Man with his closed eyes and emptying purse reinforces that sense of being in tune with one’s deepest self, one’s wild essence.  He too is framed by a natural landscape with various wildlife visible.  His eyes are closed so he cannot see the butterfly, bird or hart but I’m sure he senses them.  His eyes may be closed but his other senses are more open and aware.

The combination of these two cards tells me that I need to open myself up to exploring my other senses, getting more in-tune with my intuitive side.  I am very left-brained and that served me well up to this point.  Now it’s time to let the right-brain come out to play.  I have to be willing to let go of the need for perfection or being able to objectively verify my experience or knowledge.  It’s time to learn to trust my instincts and listen to that inner voice.  Perhaps once I am able to feel more confidence in this area I can help other similarly challenge left-brained thinkers explore this path too.  That’s the story I need to share.

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