Monday, 28 May 2012

Significators | Finding The One

I've already written at length (ad nauseum?!) about various methods of finding a Significator for your sitter (or yourself) and in one of the resulting blog post comments, Chloe McCracken mentioned a way to use them that I thought was GREAT and am going to share with you here.

By the way, if you're not familiar with Chloe's work, please check out the @TABITarot blog where she tirelessly blogs for TABI and also manages to find the time to write her own blog, Inner Whispers.

As with all the best things in life, it's really simple to implement:  You chose your significator, insert it back into the deck, let your client shuffle and chat about their issue......then you carefully go through the well-shuffled deck and read the cards either side of the significator.

Here's a worked example:

I chose the Queen of Wands for myself because of the lions on her throne and me being Leo *tosses mane imperiously, sits with knees apart*.  I slipped the card into the middle of the deck and started shuffling, thinking all the while about how I could Improve Things.....

Once I was satisfied that I'd shuffled sufficiently, I inched through the cards until I found the one I was looking for, the Queen of Wands.  The card before her was the 2 of Pentacles and the card after her was the 8 of Swords.

The first thing that struck me was that she seems to have turned her back on the dancing Pents dude and has turned her head towards the sword-hampered figure in the 8Swords.  She is inclined towards the Swords.

Mind you, that guy's hat is a bit strange.....

Anyway, although she is inclined towards the Swords, she IS still looking out at us - and her cat is certainly not side-tracked by the show on either side of the cards.

I see water in both of the cards either side of her.

So, here's how I interpret these cards for the query: How I can improve things:  I am naturally inclined towards the self-limiting behaviour of the 8 Swords.  Sometimes my emotions/hormones (I'm at a funny age!) DO whell up and I feel overwhelmed (see the puddles of sea-water around the Swords gal's feet? - and let's not forget that this queen embodies Water and Fire - not always comfortable bedfellows), but that feeling of restricction is ENIRELY avoidable (that Swords girl can easily shirk off those bonds and get off her blindfold - if she wants to.  And she's not trapped by swords - the whole front of the card is sword free.  She just THINKS she's stymied. *I* just think I'm stymied.  And that's wrong-headed thinking.

Instead the Queen would do well to take a better look at the juggling Pentacles chappie.  Strange hat notwithstanding, he's managing to juggle his disks - and rides out the waves. He's on one leg.  He's got balance.  He is not subsumed by the waves/emotions/hormones.  Once I get a metaphorical boat, I'll be fine.  I've maybe even already GOT the boat :-)

Have you tried Chloe's idea? How did you get on with it?  What would you add to my interpretation?

Deck: RWS Centenary Edition, published by US Games - words, A E Waite, artwork Pamela Colman-Smith

Friday, 25 May 2012

The Wild Ones!

This week my blog posts have focussed on animal court cards - the Rabbit Tarot, the Ferret Tarot and now, the daddy of them all, the Wildwood Tarot Courts - every one of them a stunningly represented animal native to Northern Europe.

The deck, created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, is a reimagining of Ryan's earlier and (these days!) hugely sought-after Greenwood Tarot, with Chesca Potter.  In this new deck, the artwork is by Will Worthington (Druidcraft Tarot, Greenman Tree Oracle, Druid Plant Oracle, Druid Animal Oracle).

We have the standard ranks of Page, Knight, Queen and King - but the suits themselves have been renamed - Bows for Wands, Arrows for Swords, Vessels for Cups and Stones for Pentacles.  That 'Bows' association may stump you for a moment until you remember that bows are not just for firing arrows, but also used for making fire and turning wood.

Having your entire court comprised of animals can be wonderfully freeing - you are not limited by those old associations for physical attributes, but, on the other hand, you need to do a certain amount of anthropomorphising to help you to apply them to living, breathing people.

The entire Wildwood fits into a complex Wheel of The Year layout (which you can see in the accompanying LWB and the watermark image on the Wildwood Tarot website (  All we need to know about it here is that, unlike the Thoth family, even the little Pages have their place in the grand scheme of things.  Which is nice because they tend to miss out on all the fun, yet they're allllll about the fun!

Lets look at the Arrows (Swords) first - each of the courts is represented by a bird - which ties in nicely with the element of Air.  But don't go fooling yourself that all birds = Arrows.  Birds appear in other suits too.  The accompanying book attributes these cards to the season of Spring

As you can see, the Page is a tiny close-to-the-ground bird, the Hawk represents the fast-moving Knight, the regal Swan represents the Queen and the vibrant fisherman Kingfisher represents the King.

Bows, or Wands as they are traditionally known, are represented by land creatures.  This suit is associated with Summer and the element of Fire. The Page is represented by the close-to-the-ground Stoat, the wily Fox as Knight, the fertile Hare for Queen and the fast-moving adder for King.

Here we have the Vessels family and as you can see they are all associated with water - which is handy because that's the element associated with them too!  We have the playful Otter as Page, the speedy, slippery Eel as Knight, the instinct-driven Salmon as Queen and the patient Heron as King.  The Vessels are associated with the mists and mellow fruitfulness of Autumn.

Stones, representing Pentacles, has land creatures - and is associated with Earth and these characters occupy the Wheel of the Year around Winter.  The shy Lynx is our Page, the wild Horse is our Knight, the protective Bear is our Queen and the leader of the Stones pack is the Wolf.

For some excellent information on how to work with the Court Cards of the Wildwood, please visit their Wildblog where Caitlin Matthews has created some unique exercises and insights to these fascinating, but tricky courts.

You can keep up to date with what's happening in the Wildwood by visiting their blog or their website - .

What do you think of the Wildwood Courts - like 'em? Love 'em? Loathe 'em?!

This deck is published by Eddison Sadd (Connections publishing).  Created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, artwork by Will Worthington

** EDIT** Eddison Sadd is now known as Eddison Books 20/4/17

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Amplifiers | The Rabbit Tarot

King of Tulips - sweeeeeet!
Each of us has our own ideas about what kind of character a particular court card represents - whether it's Pages representing tentative beginnings or whether they urge us to develop a lighter and more playful approach...well, it's up to you.

And sometimes, no matter how deft our character studies are, no matter that you explain that the Queen of Wands is really Jolene (as sung by Dolly P), your sitter cannot not acknowledge or recognise the person or those traits within themselves.

Something that you can do that can jolt the matter into a different orbit is introduce a card from an Oracle to act as an amplifier for your Court Card.

This week we are looking at Animal Courts and here we have the King of Tulips from the Rabbit Tarot by Nakisha VanderHoeven (Tulips equating to the suit of Cups in this deck).  While I love the artwork in Nakisha's deck, it is not really terribly heavy on the symbolism to help us with this King's characteristics.

I really need to dig in to what I know about the King of Cups in other decks here - so the King of Tulips is someone who understands someone's emotional make up, but he himself is not driven by his emotions - so he's diplomatic. An unhealthy King of Tulips (ie in reversed position) may possibly even manipulate people's emotions to get what he wants. 

Of course, what you say in your actual reading will be affected by the surrounding cards.

Now, if your Client hasn't recognised the King of Tulips as being significant to the question under consideration, and everyone's a little stumped as to what in the heck he's doing in the reading, you can pull on your Big Girl Pants and add an amplifier card from another deck. I know, it's risky!

But when you're at this point in a reading, with a client shaking their head in confusion, you have nothing to lose and simply surrender, giving yourself over to the cards and what they say. 

One of my favourite non-Tarots for using as an amplifier card is the Dreaming in Colour deck by Mindy Summers - a luminous deck where the lush fractal images vibrate with colour.  Each card is allocated an concept - from Aggression through Family and Passion to Temptation and Withdrawal.

By adding one of these cards to your Court Card in question, you can add an additional interpretative layer to your work.

As you can see, the card drawn to act as amplifier for the King of Tulips is Withdrawal.

To me it looks as if the image is sinking into the sea, like a sunset....

Have failures in diplomacy led to this character trying to take a back seat.  Has it all become too much for him to handle? Whomever he is, he is withdrawing either into himself, or from the situation, or from the client. Maybe that's why your client doesn't recognise these energies? The King has pulled back or disengaged in some way?

When I select an Oracle to work in this way, I'm looking at the qualities of both cards and figuring how they would interact with what I already know about the Court Card in question.  Is it typical behaviour? Is it unusual behaviour? What else is the amplifier adding to what I know?

We know that the King of Tulips does have a significant emotional component, but is able to over-ride his watery Cuppy influences for the sake of being a successful (and fiery) King.  Is he withdrawing either his Cups energies (his caring, altruistic side) to allow his more dynamic Kingly energies to suffuse the situation to help move things along - or vice versa?

And what of the idea of sunset - we know that the sun will rise again tomorrow, will the King of Tulips try again? Probably ;-)

Y'see - it brings another set of qualities to the table and stops Court Card interpretation from becoming stale and one-dimensional.

Have you used an Oracle card as an amplifier? What do you think of the idea? What Oracles do you recommend for this approach?

Monday, 21 May 2012

Say hello to.....The Page of Pentacles | Ferret Tarot

So the moon has just gone dark which is my regular cue to pick a Court Card that will represent the incoming energies, or energies that I would do well to embrace, until the moon becomes full in June.

This week I'm devoting my blog to Court Cards that feature animals (I've already had a Page of Swords from the Baroque Bohemian Cats Tarot published by Magic Realist Press) and there are lots of lovely animal-orientated decks out there!

The card drawn for the coming period is taken from the Ferret Tarot by Elaine Moertl (they do a Majors only Chat Du Marseille Tarot too.  Features cats.  Obviously.  I don't have one *sigh* <- hint)

Here we've got the Page of Pentacles.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Comparative Tarot | The Prince of Cups

The first time I encountered the comparative method of looking at cards was via Valerie Sim's deck, the Comparative Tarot.  The cards in this cleverly designed deck have not one image, but four different images of the same card.   It was one of the first decks that I bought and I still regard it fondly.

Not familiar with the Comparative Method? Here's the skinny:  You don't just interpret ONE card, you interpret the others on the card too - each one adding depth and colour to the over all 'character'. 

So I thought we'd try it here with The Prince of Cups - just comparing three images - but you can do it with as many cards as takes your fancy.  Or you can fit onto your table top.  Or bedroom floor.

I chose the Prince/Knight of Cups from the outrageously stunning Mary El deck by Marie White; the Prince of Cups from the Transformational Tarot by Arnell Ando and the Knight of Chalices from the Breugal Tarot by Guido Zibordi Marchesi.

First of all, although one of these is a Prince, he DOES fill the Knight's role in the deck.  He's not a Thoth Knight

click on image to enlarge.  I think.

Arnell's Prince (left hand card above) perfectly captures that romantic, self-absorbed feeling that comes with the Prince of Cups. It shows the youth Narcissus gazing ito his own reflection by the pool.  Poor old Narcissus was so wrapped up in himself that he drowned trying to embrace his own reflection.  I've had boyfriends like that.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Significators | Where to stick them!

Don't sweep me under the carpet!

Back in April, I ran a little poll asking YOU whether you'd consider using a significator in a reading. As I expected the majority of you said that you never used it in a reading, but an encouraging 20% said that you might consider using one now.

I may run the poll again at a later date and see whether that percentage goes up.  I promise that I won't cry if it doesn't :-)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Court Couples | King and Queen of Swords

The Fey Tarot published by Lo Scarabeo is one of my favourites, even though it's jam-packed with fairies, I confess.  I find that it's a great deck to read with, especially if you're a RWS devotee.

Today I'm presenting the King and Queen of Swords to you *sweeps a long, low bow*.....

I'm a little bit in love with this King of Swords, if I'm honest.  

Even though the wind buffets him relentlessly, blowing the autumnal leaves hither and thither, he remains at his post.  The scars of battle (life? love?) have marked him and even on his throne he is clad for conflict.

His hands are encased in armour- even his finger tips - can he no longer feel anything (emotionally? physically?)  Does he need to remember that you don't need your armour at all times, that sometimes it's safe to let yourself be exposed? Even if it leads to more wounds?

His consort is the Queen of Swords.  Her hair tumbles around her face and shoulders like water and she gazes out at us with a serious demeanor.  Unlike the king who is in some desolate wilderness, she is in a built-up area - civilisation.   And indeed this Queen is erudite, witty, clever and - I suspect - an excellent dancer and chess player. 

If the eyes are windows to the soul, what are the windows in this card? The eyes of the soul?  Although she is beautiful, her blue lips and skin tone make her chilly-looking - 'Noli Mi Tangere'

Does she look like the sort of woman that the King needs to cuddle up to?!

Maybe her sword, emblazoned onto her third eye, cuts her off from the King.  Introspective and thoughtful, I can imagine the verbal traps that she could set for him ('what do you mean my bum doesn't look big in THIS? Are you saying that it looks big in other things?')

Even when you switch the King and Queen around, there's not much change in the tension between them, is there?

The Fey Tarot has colours allocated to the suits and Swords are allocated red - something that I associate more with Wands, to be honest.  The passion of red doesn't really suit the cerebral approach of the Swords family - but here, I think it works on these two cards.  I think their love of order and of duty - doing The Right Thing, just because it IS the right thing - doesn't mean that they don't have strong passions - far from it.  And the red border reminds me that they are passionate people.

But I wonder where that leaves them? 

Perhaps if I got into full Queen of Wands mode, I could persuade him to come down from that throne and step out of his armour?!

btw - you'll not see any more little box links with the deck details at the foot of my blog posts.  No siree, I embraced my King of Pentacles (yeah, I know I'm supposed to be letting him go - but heck, they're only 78 bits of card with pictures on them - I don't need to follow their advice slavishly, and neither do you!).  I built myself an amazon store - look at the tabs at the top of the page and you'll see one for my Tarot Superstore!

New stock being added daily lol!  

The Fey Tarot is published by Lo Scarabeo,  accompanying book by Riccardo Minetti, artwork by Maria Agham.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Meet the Thoths!

Got that tiger by the tail?
I'm sorry, but in my head the theme from the Flinstones started playing as I typed that blog title! And it is deeply inappropriate because the elegant Thoth Courts are about as far away from Barney and Betty Rubble as you can get!

The Thoth deck, created by Aleister Crowley (rhymes with Holy) and Frieda, Lady Harris*, is one of the most beautiful and well thought-through decks in the Tarot universe.  Crowley was a Golden Dawner - and one of its most colourful characters.  Once referred to by the press as 'the wickedest man in the world' he was, I think, just 50 years ahead of his time.  Today he would be hanging out with Lady Gaga and regularly papped for all the Celebrity pages in newspapers.

Prince of Wands
F1 Champion
But for all his over-the-top antics (chiselling off a discrete fig leaf from Oscar Wilde's tombstone, for example), he was utterly sincere in his Great Work.  Cajoled (and paid) into creating a Tarot by Lady Harris the two of them hammered out this magnificent deck.  If you get a chance to read their correspondece, please do.

In line with Golden Dawn thought, we see a change in the Court Card structure.  There are no Pages and Kings in this deck, instead we have Princesses and Princes.

In the RWS we have a court that is structured like this:  The Page is the lowest rank....then Knight....then Queen....then King.  The story *I* tell myself about them is that the King and Queen have two children - the Knight is older and taking on some of The Firm's responsibilities and the Page is really just learning her place in the world.

She can pack quite
a punch with that Wand!
Other people have a slightly different story - the King and Queen are right up there at the top of the pack, the Page is not their child, but just a Page, a little servant; the Knight is not their son, just a courtier.  A very FLASHY courtier though.

But the structure is the same - Page, Knight, Queen, King.

Not so in the Thoth.

In Crowley's story, the Knight is the Consort for the Queen.  The Queen being the old King's daughter. The Prince is the Son of the Queen and the Knight.  The Princess is won by the Prince and set upon her mother's throne. Crowley says: 'She thus awakens the Eld of the old king, who becomes a Knight and so renews the cycle.'

Explosive Knights!
'She is not only the perfect maiden,' continues Crowley 'but (also) the lamenting widow'  of the Prince.

I know.  It's like an episode of the real Game of Thrones.

This transformation of King into Knight, Knight and Queen unity, the production of a Prince, the son's union with his Princess sister, his transformation itno the Knight, her morphing into's hugely dynamic and exciting, much more so than the static positions of the RWS, don't you think?

What makes it so hideously confusing is that the Knights are on horseback - just as they are in the RWS - and it is SO easy to lapse into thinking of them as Ye Olde Waite Knight.

The Prince is the son of the Knight and Queen.   A Prince is ALWAYS a Queen's son - that's one lynch-pin that will keep your Thoth Tarot Arcana from tumbling into mental disarray when you start to use it!

The Knight and Queen of Cups
Prince and Princess of Cups
*Calling herself Lady Frieda Harris was just a little affectation that she took for herself.  According to Lon Milo DuQuette in his book Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot (and I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you are planning on a bit of Thoth Dabbling) the correct way to address this estranged wife of a Baronet is Frieda, Lady Harris.  She should only have been calling herself Lady Frieda Harris if her father had had the title.  Debretts? Who needs it. You're welcome :-)

Knight and Queen of Disks

Princess and Prince of Disks

Can you spot Tyrion Lannister?!

Look at the colours in these cards - aren't they magnificent?  These colourways didn't just happen by chance....but that's a story for another day :-)

Knight and Queen of Swords

Princess and Prince of Swords

All images from the Thoth Tarot, published by US GAmes Systems, words - Aleister Crowley, art Lady Frieda Harris.

Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot - Lon Milo DuQuette

All the Thoth resources on Amazon UK

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Competition Winner!

At the beginning of April, I ran a little competition for a Robin Wood Tarot (well, a giveaway more than a competition).  To enter all you had to do was comment somewhere on this blog and become a follower.

The competition closed at the end of April, but because of the Beltane Tarot Blog Hop, I have been a bit tardy in finding the winner.

A free online randomiser smooshed them around.  The winner is:.......

Monday, 7 May 2012

Say toodle-pip to......The King of Bells!

Well, I don't know about you, but the supermoon played havoc with my dreams!  I slept with the curtains open so that I could see the transit of her celestial silveriness as she walked the night sky......

I took a great deal of care to select which deck I'd be using to receive the message about whose energies would be receding from me at this full moon because I knew it would be delivered IN CAPITAL LETTERS.

Using a pendulum, I dowsed over all my decks to find which one I should use.  The pendulum started to swing in a to/fro motion over the Fairy Tarot by Antonio Lupatelli (published by Lo Scarabeo).

TADAAAH!  The card drawn was the King of Bells.  This is the guy whose influence will be receding from my life from now until the New Moon.

I have to admit, this is a deck that I don't often refer to - it was gifted to me as a memento after a lovely TABI member died unexpectedly.  I shall never part with it, but in all honesty, I never read with it either.  It is a semi-illustrated pips deck - there are pips, but also a tiny vignette on each pip card.  I'm trying to get more into semi-illustrated pip decks, so maybe's a good time to try harder with this deck - because it IS cute.

The King of Bells is a glum-looking character, seated on his throne with his great sword pointing straight down.  Bells equates to Coins in the traditional suits and according to the LWB, he represents 'the richness aquired through intelligent work.  Fairies', says the book, 'are rarely able to commit themselves to one single activity; but when they do, they often succeed - and  become rich men of property'.

Well, it's not just Fairies that have troubles with that! Here's his non-Fairy counterpart!

That's  why he looks so glum - he'd rather be doing loads of other things, rather than amassing wealth!  But well done to him for sticking at it :-)

Maybe it's just as well his influence is receding because I am not the sort of person who does well when stuck at the same thing day-in, day-out.  Well, there's FACEBOOK of course - but that's hardly work.  That's LIFE!

The single-pointed concentration of the King of Bells is never going to be my forte (or my fifty) and a little bit of me is relieved that I no longer have to try to shoe-horn myself into that particular high-heel.

I'm a multi-tasker and I'm proud to have interests in lots of different fields - from designing and building websites for a wide variety of clients (from authors and artists to wedding planners and marinas!) and am working my way through a Wikipedia entry for a client,  to doing all the stuff required to run a home (albeit badly!) and attending art classes...... being interested in different things keeps me sparky!  And to be perfectly honest, I'm not motivated by the quest for the Mighty Dollar (Mighty Pound Coin doesn't sound right) and this is the point where I have to admit it, I think.

So I say, huzzah to the end of the King of Bells!!! Sure, I might not become rich doing what I do the way that I do it....but I am rich in many other respects - and feel blessed to be so!

What about you - Are you happy multi-taskers or can you pull-focus down onto one area and master it like the King of Bells?

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Page of Swords | The Lost Tarot of Nostradamus | John Matthews

The Page of Swords
AKA The Postulant of Stars
Continuing my regular blog theme of having authors or artists talking about the Page of Swords in their latest or yet-to-be-published decks, nothing could be hotter off the press than this card! It's so HOT that the image isn't even completed yet!! Say hello to the Postulant of Stars from the forthcoming Lost Tarot of Nostradamus by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan.

John Matthews took time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions about this card and the new deck:

What inspired you to create this particular deck?

Finding out about the manuscript discovered in the Rome library. When I showed the images to Wil we both said, almost in one breath, it’s a tarot….then we started researching the MS and what the illustrations might mean and found that it really was a tarot – a lost tarot indeed.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Beltane Tarot Blog Hop | Fire Tends To All

Hello and welcome to the OTHER Game of Thrones!  This blog focuses exclusively on the Court Cards of the Tarot deck - hopefully making the Courts seem a little more fun and a lot less daunting!

Today you may be here because you're a regular visitor or because you've hopped here from Arwen's Blog or backwards from Aisling's blog through the Tarot Blog Hop - either way, I'm very pleased to see you :-)

If you want to join in the Court Card chat here on the blog, you can sign up to follow - just there to the right or you can friend up with me on facebook, twitter or add me to your google + Tarot circle!

Arwen's blog!

Aisling's blog!
Now you can hop backwards to Arwen's blog or forwards to Aisling's blog - enjoy your day! And come back and see me and the Tarot Courts sometime, won't you?  *flutters hankie in farewell*

Will Worthington's work on
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