Sunday, 21 December 2014

Yule Blog Hop | The Joy of Gifting

Welcome to the Yule Tarot Blog hop!  Before we go any further, this is your navigation link to the blogs that flank me for this hop *waves to Mary and Stella*

Our blog wrangler is the lovely Arwen Lynch and she set us the following questions which we are to answer through a Tarot spread:

  • Card 1:  What gift would you give the world if you could?
  • Card 2: What gift would you want from the world?
  • Card 3: What gift have you gotten that has brought you joy?
  • Card 4: What gift have you given that has brought you joy?
  • Card 5: What is one last thing you would like to share about this season?

Because is all about the court cards, I decided that my answers would have to come from the Court Cards.

Since I have not managed to sneak in another blog post using Alexander Daniloff's amazing Tarot for aaaaaages, let me take this last blog hop of 2014 to use them one final time!

I have removed the 16 Court Cards from the deck and will now shuffle the Courts only, asking each question and drawing a card as an answer to that question.

No fancy layout required for this one!

Card 1:  What gift would you give the world if you could?

The King of Swords

As a blend of Fire and Air, this guy's actions and thoughts must be consistent in order for him to be healthy.  He likes to know everything about what he's involved in so that there are no nasty surprises.  Clarity and honesty are watchwords with him.

This King will organise everything, from the multi-million pound company take-over strategy right down to the family picnic, to the finest detail. All this thinking (he's a person of lists - pros and cons) can slowly paralyse him and that's when the King of Swords starts to become unhealthy.

He also has high personal standards and expects other people to live up to them. When people fall short, he can be scathing in his criticism. However he is equally tough on himself when he too fails to live up to his own standards.  And since none of us are perfect, he often makes himself unnecessarily miserable.

But in a week where we have experienced the horror of the school massacre in Pakistan and the Sydney Lindt Cafe seige, the gift that I would give the world, if I possibly could, is the discernment and wisdom of the King of Swords.

Card 2: What gift would you want from the world?

The Page of Pentacles

This is the first of THREE of the four Pages in my spread! The Page of Pentacles is Earth of Earth.  This Page begins new experiences.  This could be in health, in wealth or in the home.

What would I like him to bring me healthwise? I'm too heavy for my height and a nice gift would be to start taking better care of my health.

Wealthwise? I could do with bringing in more money in 2015 and am hoping that my Year in The Wildwood Tarot e-book will still be able to go ahead, despite the changes to tax on digital products in Europe.

Homewise? Perhaps I could do with being more present at home, rather than living most of my life virtually?  I could start focussing more on the modelling that I'm doing for my son (stuck in front of a computer, messy desk, lack of interest in keeping home nice.  I am not overly keen on house-work, what can I say?)

Card 3:  What gift have you gotten that has brought you joy?

Page of Wands

Ah this can only be my own little Page of Wands!  Fourteen years old and obsessed with Minecraft and Kerbal Space Program (don't ask) he is a ray of sunshine in my life.  He is sunny-natured, always walks with a bounce in his step (as a child he skipped everywhere!), developing a nicely warped sense of humour, creative (you should see the space ships in Kerbal and the palaces in Minecraft!) and keen as mustard to grow up!

Please don't be sick, but the gift that the world has given me that has brought me the greatest joy is my son :)

Card 4:  What gift have you given that has brought you joy?

The King of Pentacles

I try to give people practical gifts and (typical Leo) I am prone to spending too much money!  Money and generosity - King of Pentacles!

For example, this year, my mum is getting a water floss (like a toothbrush, but for flossing).  Hubby is getting a cover for his Kindle.... and, no doubt, brake pads or a suspension-enhancing kit for the car.  Not mentioning anything about my son.  Just in case he reads this...

The gift that I have given that has brought me greatest joy, ever?  The actual wrapped-up-you-shouldn't-have pressie? I honestly can't think of anything specific.

But, want the schmaltzy answer? Giving my old racing greyhound a home and the gift of life to Sonshine were pretty unbeatable as far as bringing myself joy!

Card 5:  What is one last thing you would share about this season?

Page of Cups

Gentle and affectionate, the Page of Cups comes up to show us the last thing that I would share about the season.  He is as open-hearted as his Cup.

This Page, whose tender feelings and flights of imagination are so easily bruised and battered by cynicism, ridicule and downright cruelty deserves to be the standard bearer for the season, just as much as his suit.

Ignore the Scrooges, says the Page of Cups!  Wear your Christmas sweater with pride!  Kiss beneath the mistletoe! Call out 'Merry Christmas' to strangers in the rain!

His message is the title of the biography of one of my favourite comics, Bill Hicks:  Love all the people.

Have a lovely time!


Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Knight of Cups | Movie | Terrence Malick

Well, it's not every day that someone takes their inspiration for a film title from a Tarot card - especially a Court  Card.  And obviously, as a Tarot blog that focuses on court cards, I couldn't let it pass.

What do I think of the trailer?

I have to say, the trailer contents look a bit more Knight of Wands - Someone who doesn't like to hang around in the same old relationship. He's constantly questing looking for New Stuff - new sexual experiences, new conquests.  

Who is the Knight of Cups?

The Knight of Cups is someone who is into romance and the idea of love, not the blood-and-guts hard work of a real relationship.  He's on a quest to find the Holy Grail - in the case of this film - his Grail is the man that he should have been. 

He stands and sings love songs (self-composed) beneath your window at 2am and then taps you for cash because he's forgotten to fill his car up with fuel.

He's Orpheus who theatrically turns back to look at Euridice at the last moment, consigning her to Hades for eternity, but getting himself a ton of great material for songs in the process.  It's all about him and how HE feels, not about you.

But trailers can be misleading and so the main Christian Bale character might be a perfect Knight of Cups.

I'm sure that I'll watch it on Netflix.

One of the review sites, Inquistr, illustrates their review with this guy:

Whom we all know and love.

US Games could do pretty well out of this movie if this guy becomes the image associated with the title!   

What do you think of the Knight of Cups as a person?

Friday, 12 December 2014

One singer but which court?

Just before we get started, there is a parental advisory lyrics thing on this one.  But Paolo Nutini is Scottish, so you might not necessarily pick it up. I'm Scottish and I don't know where they are either.....

So here we have National Treasure Joanna Lumley playing a fading star, who has needs that only her side-kick can fill.  The whole thing is vaguely Let The Right One In.

Which Court Card could represent the Cabaret Singer and which Court card does her bidding? 

There's no right answer, so don't be afraid to chip in!


... did I tell you that I MET the divine Paulo Nutini? One of the UK's most eligible bachelors apparently!

Yeah, that's NEVER going to get old for me, NEVER :-D

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Tarot of Delphi | J D Hildegard Hinkel | Review

Another beautiful Tarot birth, midwifed through the process by the astute backing of many Kickstarter supporters!  The tag line for this project was 'Know Thyself' which is inscribed in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, but it could just as easily be 'Know thy Neo-classical artworks'!

This is a 79-card deck (with an additional card permitting a choice between two Empress card styles) based on the sensuous and sumptuous classical visions of Victorian and Edwardian artists.  The card-stock (and lift-top box!) is of excellent sturdy quality and the glossy cards slip over each other beautifully.  The deck measures 3.07"w x 5.04"h and comes with a small accompanying book 66 pages long.

Looking first at the 22 Major Arcana cards, we mostly have the traditionally titles with five exceptions:

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Kings of Shoes

Let it not be said that I stooped to sexist lows and only gave you the shoes that the Tarot Queens might wear.  Let's take a look at the shoes that the Kings might wear.  This blog post has the potential to save you from many insufferable dates....*

Since all the Kings are Active in the world - walking their talk - I felt that they would all wear fairly stand-out shoes. Stand-out shoes do exactly that - make you stand out and so people will NOTICE the Kings and that's what ALL the Kings (yeah, even the sympathetic and helpful King of Cups wants to be spotted in a crowd)

The King of Swords

This guy is a sharp dresser, so I picked these.  Brogues are trustworthy and sensible shoes and so are Swords.  However, the pointed toe adds an additional little Swordsy frisson, yes?  And the monochrome colour-scheme? What other suit likes to see things in black and white?

King of Swords - sharp and sees things in black and white!

The King of Wands

If anyone wants to stand out from the crowd it's the blazing King of Wands with his expansive, passionate approach to life.

Gucci, darling
Appearance is important to the King of Wands - after all, when he bursts into a room he's pretty magnetic.  So I figured that he would want everyone to SEE that he is the top dog and thus picked Gucci shoes with the iconic Gucci colour bar that will make him instantly stand out from the rest of the room.

It's got the look of a driving shoe with that pebble sole, automatically making me think that he's got a red Italian soft-top taking pride of place out front of the hotel!  Exactly what the King of Wands would want you to see :-)

And it's a slip on shoe - something that he can kick off or pull on quickly, if his passionate nature results in a hurried rendez-vous in a cupboard somewhere (Boris Becker, I'm looking at you).

Ladies - if you meet a man wearing these shoes, be wary - you'll never be as important to him as he is.  And if he's not wearing socks  either just..... RUN!

The King of Cups

Watery and empathetic, the King of Cups needs something that shoes he's connected to his emotions, but knows how to manage them - what better than a deck shoe?!  Worn on all the finest yachts, dontcha know?  Need to control your craft on the water - get deck shoes!

I would have picked a flipper, but thought that it was toooooo obvious!  I thought that this was a 'friendly' looking shoe.  THIS one can be worn without socks without you needing to be worried - he'll need to be out and in the surf with these and you don't want a water-logged white M&S sports sock to ruin the image, do you?

The King of Pentacles

Mr Practical is also Mr Money and I was torn as to whether we would see him in a Birkenstock or a power shoe..... and went with the Birkenstock as you can see.

comfy and right on, man

These are comfortable, practical shoes - but also VERY identifiable too - and fairly 'spensive.  So you should get a fair idea of this guy's earthy connections and also perhaps that he likes his comfort and has got the cash to spare for the best footwear.

Of course, he would wear a welly - but the BOOTS of the courts are for another blog post.

What sort of shoes would you have the Kings wearing?

*a guy wearing a slip on shoe without a sock is to be avoided at all costs. Unless he's got a yacht.  Avoid any man not wearing a sock with his shoes.  Just take my word for it.

But a man that can handle a lace-up can handle putting up shelves.  This is my 'suitable boy' advice to you. You are welcome :-)

Friday, 5 December 2014

Full Moon | Gemini | Knight of Swords

The sun has swung into Sagittarius, so the silverly light of December's full moon falls on the glinting armoured outline of the Knight of Swords, Gemini.

I haz serious hat envy for this Knight of Swords.

That's peacock feathers by my reckoning and just the thing to be seen in around town this Christmas.  Also, you won't need an umbrella with a hat brim that wide.

One high wind, however, and you will end up in the next county...

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Wicked Queen | Snow White | Villains in the Court

'Bring me back a Crunchie and a 99 cone'
In Walt Disney's 1937 classic 'Snow White' the wicked Queen is the young princess's step-mother.  Beautiful - in a glacial Hollywood Bitch sort of way - the Queen erupts into a jealous rage when her magic mirror tells her that she is no longer the fairest in the land.

Raven-haired step-daughter Snow White has become the most beautiful in the land! Which can only be bad news for Snowy.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Tarot in Art | Besancon Tarot

Again I have been dusting in the vaults and stumbled upon this jewel lurking in a darkened corridor, the Besancon Tarot.  Reader, there should be a cedilla underneath that 'c', but my keyboard won't let me insert one *ashamed of uncouth keyboard face*

This French Tarot by Guillaume Mann has some interesting omissions - from this image we can see that the King of Cups and Queen of Swords have had their titles removed and also their crowns, thus ensuring that this is a politically astute deck for Revolutionary France!  Better their crowns and titles swiped than their heads :-D

Interesting to see that Major Arcana V is named  Jupiter and not The Pope.  This change wasn't so much brought about by the Revolutionary attitude towards cutting links with the church as much as it was the church itself having been quite keen on getting rid of the figures of the Popess (Juno) and the Pope (Jupiter) from the deck - it's not terribly dignified having the Pope as a trump in a card game that was no doubt played in inns and brothels all over Europe and goodness knows what the blessed cardinals thought of the mythical Pope Joan as the Popess!

Created in 1795 in the town of Colmar in Alsace, this particular 78-card deck sold for £2,375.00 in November 2013.  The Besancon Tarot was a fore-runner for the IJJ Swiss

Monday, 10 November 2014

Meet the Family | Dame Fortune's Tarot Wheel

A while back I was enthusing about this Dame Fortune deck because it had a ready-made significator which absolves you of appropriating another Tarot card to use as the significator for your client.  At the time, I said that the Courts of the deck were worth a post on their own, so here they are.

A year later.

What can I say? I'm in a Pentacle-type sloooooooow state of mind :)

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Full Moon | Taurus

As we creep towards Yule, the nights here in Scotland are definitely chillier. I've unearthed my bed socks for another season and the central heating has been turned on*.  For us at Tarot Thrones, November heralds the full moon in Taurus.

In Tarot, Taurus is represented by the King of Pentacles, so for 6 November, here's how he will be influencing us all!

In the Druidcraft Tarot, we see an older man who sits in his great hall in front of a roaring fire upon which a boar is roasting. I love how the carved points of the pentacle behind him look like horns!  Perched in the window is a little red-breasted robin.  The sky is darkening.  As the Stark family in that OTHER Game of Thrones might say... 'Winter is coming!'

Pentacles is the suit governed by the element of Earth and this, coupled with his Fiery Kingly energy tells us that the Full Moon in Taurus is a very productive time (think of how fire and elements from the earth come together to make pottery, ceramics, glass etc).

This is a very sensuous character - he's all about the experiencing (Pentacles/Earth) through the doing (Fire).

He is very much at home with the finer things in life (just look at his fine robes and surroundings!) and while we may not all have the wealth that the King of Pentacles clearly enjoys, we can make the most of all the wonderful things that we DO have in our lives. Yeah, this is where I get all mushy and point out that even the dog lying snoring gently by your desk brings wealth of a sort to your life.

Maybe not his in-sleep farting though.

The King of Pentacles enjoys great wealth, but he is no risk-taking gambler.  His approach is steady and responsible and if you are in business, his influence shows sustainable progress.

This full moon, he tells us:

Be productive!
Slow and steady wins the race!
Enjoy life!
Be generous!

* How do you turn on your central heating system? Simple. You just say 'hey baby, you are the sexiest heating system that I've ever seen.'  Old jokes.  Golden :-D

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Heroes | Warriors |Worthies

A long time ago,  I promised to show you the Court Cards from the Dame Fortune's Tarot Wheel deck (by Paul Huson) because they are REALLY interesting: They are all named after well-known characters from classical literature and the Bible.

I know.  CLASSICAL LITERATURE!!  THE BIBLE!!! Here on m'blog!!!!

Before we meet those Court families, I thought that it made good sense to take a look at just why these cards bear the names that they do.

*does the wobbly hands time thing*

Back in the 1400s in France, it was the custom to pop names onto the face cards of the standard deck of playing cards. Two groups of names were common; one that became known as the Paris pattern and the other, the Rouen pattern.  These patterns, or lists of names,  have quite a bit of overlap and it is the Paris pattern that we are interested in today because this is the design that influenced early Tarot decks, such as Etteilla's Tarot in the 1700s. And it is Etteilla's deck that forms the basis for The Dame Fortune's Tarot Wheel.
The Paris Pattern

                   Hearts         Spades            Diamonds          Clubs
Kings          Charles       David              Caesar                Alexander
Queens       Judith         Pallas              Rachel                Argine
Knaves       La Hire      Ogier               Hector          Judas Maccabeus *
                                                                                   Judah Maccabee

Although we're not talking about them today, here are the famous stars of the Rouen Pattern.
The Rouen Pattern

                   Hearts          Spades    Diamonds    Clubs
Kings         Alexander     David        Caesar          Charles
Queens      Rachel           Pallas        Argine          Judith
Knaves      La Hire          Hector      Ogier            Judah Maccabee **
                                                                             Judas Maccabeus
Info from the International Playing Card Society website                                                                
You will have noted, because I know that you are a clever and discriminating personage, that there is a Tarot rank missing - the Knights are not included in either the Paris or Rouen Patterns.  There's nothing sinister about this, just that in ordinary playing card decks (where these patterns come from) there were only the three ranks of King, Queen and Knave.   We'll be talking about this again when we get on to the Sola Busca Tarot in a week or so, because it's contrary!  I know, it's almost like I've PLANNED these posts.

13th century 'Nine Good Heroes'
(City Hall, Cologne)
It was also suggested to me that the Nine Worthies (Neuf Preux) play a role in the names selected for the Paris and Rouen patterns.

These Worthies were famed rulers of the Christian, Jewish and Pagan worlds and were first mentioned in a chanson de geste (a type of epic poem), 'Voeux du Paon'  ('The Vows of the Peacock') by Jaques de Longuyon around 1312 - all about chivalry.

It seems likely that similar chivalric tales (which were all the rage) influenced the naming of the cards in both the Paris and Rouen patterns.  

The Nine Worthies 

Pagan         Hector, Alexander and Caesar
Jewish        Joshua, David, Judas Maccabeus
Christian    King Arthur, Godfrey of Bouillon,  Charlemagne

I've highlighted the overlapping names in the Paris Pattern with the Worthies in red.

* Edit:  Paul Huson very kindly commented on this blog post and provided the following correction:  "Judas Maccabeus was one of the Nine Worthies but his name was never attached to the Knave of Clubs. From 1490 the Knave in both Rouen and Paris patterns bore the name "Lancelot" (of Camelot fame) although the name "Roland," another name from French legend, was briefly tried but didn't last". 

In the late 1300s,  Lists of 9 Lady Worthies were created, but only Judith seems to be an overlapping name. However, the Lady Worthies seem to change depending on who is creating the list!

So while the Worthies must have influenced the naming of many of the male characters in the Paris system for playing cards,  the sources of the Lady Worthies just seem to be sourced from the Bible (Judith and Rachel), Argine isn't a name that I've managed to find as a heroine anywhere (but it means 'dam' or 'bank' in Italian) and Pallas will be referring to the Greek goddess, Pallas Athene.

King Arthur and Lancelot need no introductions from me but some of the others might need a Big Up:  La Hire was a French military commander during the 100 Years War and comrade of Joan of Arc and although Ogier (The Dane) was one of Charlemagne's Knights, he became more widely known as a subject of European literature.

Anyway, now that we've cleared all that up, I hope that you're all geared up to meet Dame Fortune's Monday's post!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Courts in Court | Crime Families | Corleones & Krays

He's going to make you an offer
you can't refuse......
My good friend Viv had another stroke of genius the other day (to see previous strokes, and stitches, visit her blog!) and suggested that m'blog would be a great place to discuss the Courts and chat about their various criminal inclinations.

And it's an INSPIRED idea!

So who do you think are our Corleones? our Sopranos? our Luccheses? our Krays?

And let's not forget those dastardly Partridges (for crimes against music, of course).

Let's set the mood.....

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Full Moon in Aries | Queen of Wands | October 2014

*claps hands* bring this woman a thermal vest!
In October the silver light of the full moon falls on Aries, or as we know her Royal Highness here at Tarot Thrones, the Queen of Wands.

Since this is also a lunar eclipse, that silver light will turn a dark and earthy red as the shadow from our own little rock falls across the face of the moon.

Technically, the moon is full at a whisper off midday on the 8th of October, so celebrate it when you can!  If you live in Western North America, you lucky things get to see the full lunar eclipse Here in the UK, we'll see nothing! PAH!

Not only will this be a lunar eclipse, it will also be a SELENELION.  Which is NOTHING to do with sealions and everything to do with fancy-pants atmospheric conditions.

You can read about it here.

Anyhoo, to mark the lunar eclipse and the marvellousness of the Selenelion we witness the appearance of the Queen of Wands energy in our inner lives.  Here's the Enchantress of Wands from the Tarot of Delphi, resplendent in her diaphanous red robe.  I think it may be time to send a Page down to the boiler room to instruct the ceremonial turning on of the central heating here at Thrones or she's going to catch pneumonia.....

So what is the Queen of Wands saying to us this Full Moon?

Friday, 3 October 2014

Tarot in Art | Queen of Pentacles | Visconti

"Here, you take it, my arm's getting tired!"
On my frequent forays into the dusty art vaults at Tarot Thrones to bring you something lovely to see, I found this gem tacked on the floor behind the door behind an ancient pile of Radio Times magazines.

This is the Queen of Pentacles, or 'Reine de Deniers' to give her her sale title, who was sold at Christies in Paris back in 2005.

It is attributed to The Master of the Visconti Tarot (mid 15th century) and is gouache on board, with gilded highlights.

Seated in front of a draped blue banner, we meet the red robed Queen.  She wears a golden crown to denote her rank and is depicted with her Coin held aloft in her right hand. Although she looks a bit pregnant, I suspect that is just the fashion of the frock.

Just off to the left of the card we an see another figure who is either handing the Queen her Coin or receiving it from her.

It's a beautiful little image that measures 168mm x 63mm

The card was estimated to sell at $33,549-$46,968

It actually sold for $376, 817!

Am I the only woman who wishes that Empire line frocks would come back into fashion so that we too can sit and let our tummies relax like the Queen of Pentacles.

Also crowns.  I would like a crown......

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Knights of Wands | Annoying little gaming dudes

Forget the bare arms -
pull on a sweater, woman!
So, it was Sunday.  I am alone in the house.  I am luxuriating a la Queen of Pentacles mode on the sofa with the soundtrack from Gypsy playing discretely.  Well, as about discretely as you can have Miss Mazeppa and her bugle,  a pot of posh coffee on the go.....the Sunday newspapers....I was in heaven.


My son and his equally computer-mad friend arrive at the door, asking whether they could just have 'an hour' playing a game on line.

Don't ask me what it was.  They tell me that it's building space-craft but there seems to be a LOT of shooting involved in building spacecraft the way they do it.

Anyway, I acquiesced, determined to keep my Sunday Morning Pentacly Vibe going for as long as possible.

And so I read the paper, ignoring the explosive noises coming from next door and supped at my coffee and let Ethel Merman do her lung-busting thang.

And the house got colder.

And colder.....

And colder......

Until it was colder than a nun's, erm, HEART.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Full Moon in Pisces | Knight of Cups

In September, we celebrate the Full Moon in Pisces, or, as we prefer to refer to him here in Tarot Thrones Towers, The Knight of Cups.

Alexander Daniloff Tarot

The Moon, in Tarot, is associated with imagination, dreams, subconscious and illusions.  If there is one Knight who knows all about THAT stuff, it's the Knight of Cups.

The Knight of Cups is very much a Grail Knight to me, so expect to find yourself caught up in a new quest or challenge.  Yes, the Knight of Cups will have you all fired up and trotting off to fight for a cause - or at least taking part in the ice-bucket challenge.

But, like the ice bucket challenge - you might be getting involved in something that you don't really know a heck of a lot about.  Do your homework before you ride off into battle to make sure that you are not under any illusions about what you're doing!

The Knights represent polar opposites, so if he sees himself as a Righteous Warrior For The Cause it's likely that other people will see him as something entirely different - at worst he'll come across as an Evangelical Know It All (who really doesn't know terribly much and who hasn't got a huge amount of experience) and at best others will consider him a half-assed meddler, a romantic dilettante.

As Air of Water, we do have a lot of fizz in our Knightly chalice but, like fizz, the bubbles won't last terribly long, so if you spend too much time gazing at your cup, you'll find that you never actually DO anything other than day dream.

Air and Water can lead to quite a lot of turbulence - strong emotions, grand gestures.....but rooted in what kind of reality.  He's in love with the idea of love, not the nappy-changing, smelly reality of it all.

This is Petrarch and Laura - loads of adoring poetry, but not much in the way of an ACTUAL relationship.

If you are planning any new project or job that requires imagination and creativity he's very auspicious! However, don't get caught up in just dreaming about what you'll wear on the red carpet when you go to pick up your Best Actress Academy Award - you need to get your booty down to the community acting class first!

Don't be caught up in the dream, get out there on the Quest.  And when you're out there on the Quest, when you spot the Grail don't just sit in admiring silence - Go. For. It!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Blog Hop | Lammas | Queen of Pentacles

Welcome to Tarot Thrones - where the best Tarot card is always a Court card!

You may have hopped here from Joy's site or from Mary's site.  Or even just happened here by chance! It matters not a jot - you are very welcome!

Previous | Next | Master List

Our Tarot Blog hop wrangler, Joanna Ash from Sun Goddess Tarot set the Lammas challenge: write about the Queen of Pentacles.

Since my blog is alllllll about the Tarot's Court Cards, there was no WAY I was going to be left out of this particular round of the blog hop!

The suit of Pentacles is associated with our physical world - our health, our homes and our wealth.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Tarot in Art | Vanitas | Sebastien Bonnecroy

St James of Morrison once said, 'No one gets out of here alive,*' and he was quite right, of course.  Since 17th century Dutch painters didn't have The Doors as a reference point, they created Vanitas paintings - the purpose of which was to remind us, basically, that no one gets out of here alive.

This particular painting, attributed to Flanders-based French artist Sebastien Bonnecroy, features the usuals suspects - a hollow-eyed skull (to remind us of our mortality) surrounded by temporary things - the cupboard decorated by a skeleton holding an hour glass, the candle that burns down, the pipe that breaks, the clock that ticks out the hours of our lives (I actually typed 'cock'), and a whole load of other symbols that trumpet the painting's purpose:  YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.

Holding the thought that your end was looming at the end of any given sneeze... or pustulant boil, people would then gaze blearily upon their Vanitas paintings and rush out into the world to do good works and lead spiritual lives.  Also, infect people.

In this particular oil painting,  nestled in the middle of the arrangement of symbols is a set of Tarot cards.  The inclusion of Tarot cards may show the fleeting pleasure of gaming, alongside the fleeting pleasure of music (as shown by the musical instruments)...or does it indicate that by the time this painting was produced, 1663-ish people WERE using Tarot for divination and the exploration of our fates?

The painting was in auction at Christies in 2009 for an estimate of £10,000 - £15,000, but I'll be danged if I can see what it actually DID sell for.

What do you think - gaming or divination?!

* Five To One, Waiting for the Sun (1968)

Update - appears to have been sold for $58,941

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Prince George | Queen of Cups | King of Wands

You would need to be living beneath a rock not to realise that the Magnificently Coiffured Duchess of Cambridge and the slightly less magnificently styled Duke of Cambridge have had a BABY!!!! Yes, I know Prince George was born last July, but hey, I like to be UNPREDICTABLE and fashionably late to parties.

Of course,  I'm very pleased that the Little Prince is here, healthy and breaking hearts all over the world - he did an outstanding job in Australia - but I'm more interested in him from a purely Tarot Court Card point of view.

 Tragic and worryingly obsessive, I know.

Monday, 30 June 2014

How to interpret | The Page of Pentacles

From my earlier post on Pages, we know that they can stand for:


Minor (as in relatively unimportant)




Child at heart



Thursday, 26 June 2014

AniaM | Tarot Bags | Alexander Daniloff

So this technically isn't a court card blog post, but I HAD to share the beautiful gift that arrived for me in the post this morning: a magnificent custom-made Tarot bag from AniaM.

You may have twigged, dear reader, that one of my very most favourite decks is Alexander Daniloff's Tarot.  It has been in a bag, of course, to keep it safe, but I REALLY wanted a custom-made bag to store it in the regal glory that it deserves!

And here it is - ivory velvet, lined with gold.....

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Tarot in Art | Visconti Sforza

Has your biro just burst in your handbag?

What about splashing out on this as a replacement?

This is a fountain pen from the pen people at Visconti.

To mark the creation of Lo Scarabeo's Visconti Sforza Tarot deck, they created four designs from the Visconti Tarot for very limited edition pens (each has a run of 78 - what else?!)

Visconti commissioned artist, Soukou Oshita, who is an expert in Maki-e artwork (where images are created from sprinkled precious metals, no less!) to turn some of the Major Arcana images into artwork for the pens.

It has an 18 kt pen nib and a double resevoir.  If you're thinking of replacing that Biro.

These Visconti folks undoubtedly create magnificent artworks. Visit their site and FEAST YOUR EYES, people!

Their pens have been used, for example, to sign the NATO-Russia Summit in 2002, which marked the end of the Cold War and Visconti pens were also presented to the 25 signatories of the European Constitution in 2005.  See? Classy.

But you will STILL absent-mindedly leave it lying on the counter in the bank........

Soukou Oshita at work

The topmost image depicts the Chariot and Wheel,  but you can check out the others here.

Fancy it? Well, just mortgage the children for £9,800 and one of these really gorgeous pens can be yours!  *wonders whether she should ask for one to use as a promotional item and decides that the answer will be hysterical laughter*


You could just buy a copy of the Visconti Sforza deck and a packet of Bic Crystals and spend the rest on a luffly holiday!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Blog Hop | Midsummer | 16 Things that bring me joy

Welcome to the Summer Solstice Blog Hop!  If you have arrived here by happy accident and are intrigued by this Blog Hop thing, you can find out more about it here.  If you've hopped here from Olivia's blog (our wrangler for this blog hop - thank you, Olivia!) or from Chloe's blog, I hope that you enjoy the 16 things that bring me joy!

Our theme for this blog hop is: joy!  We are asked to write about what brings us joy, what brings light to our heart and how we spread that joy to others.  And all with a Tarot or divination slant to it!

In the non-Tarot world, looking after animals gives me great joy.  I have a rescued greyhound called Nero who is the light of my life (not counting my son, of course!) and the other day I looked after a little blackbird who had been struggling in this really hot spell we're having. He's now returned to the garden and I spotted him about an hour before I wrote this, up a tree.  So that's looking good!

But this post is about TAROT and I appreciate that you've got a lot of posts to get through today, so I'll keep it brief - and true to the court card theme of my blog!

This deck has brought me huge joy since I bought it - here are 16 reasons why:

If you struggle with your court cards, please bookmark me or sign up for my newsletter!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Which Tarot court card hand-rears baby birds?

No, it's not a trick question, but a genuine one because as of yesterday afternoon, I am guardian to a baby crow which is FAIRLY close to 'black bin bag' territory, if you catch my drift.....

I was weeding in the greenhouse (in a foul mood actually because 24 hours earlier I'd planted a rather 'spensive clematis in the front garden and discovered today that Tartarus has joyfully weed-killered it). Reader, I was attacking those tiny green unwanted SOBs with GUSTO (imagining each one of them to be a tiny husband).

A shadow fell across the doorway:  Tartarus.

'I suppose you'll be wanting to try to save this one too then?'  I turned round expecting to see another weed-killered plant, but instead it was....

Monday, 16 June 2014

Tarot in Art | The Tarot Card Reader | Artist Unknown

We find ourselves in a kitchen where a young woman stretches out on a chair as the Tarot card reader explores her fortune.  It's funny, isn't it? No matter how many centuries separate us, the pose for expansive day-dreaming remains unchanged!

This particular illustration of Tarot in art is by an unknown artist (well, there is a very indistinct signature down in the right corner, apparently).  It dates back to the 1800s and was sold at Christies in New York for £1,500.

I wonder what the Tarotist is telling her - perhaps how strong and handsome will be her husband? How happy they will be - will he bring her lots of money and fine things? Or lots of glorious children to hug and kiss?   Is that an empty bread basked lying on the floor behind her? A pot boiling un-watched on the stove? Is she neglecting her household chores in favour of a day dream?!

And what of her card-reading friend?  They do say that one of the signs of lying is fiddling with your ears - what is she doing with that right hand as she points to the cards with her left?

I think of Cinderella dreaming in the kitchen when I see this image, what about you?

I can't zoom in on any of the detail of the painting (and, of course, I am typing without my specs on - oh vanity, you are a terrible mistress!) but if YOU can, I'd love to know what else we can see in the painting?

Thursday, 12 June 2014

How to Read Reversed Tarot Court Cards

If a court card coming up in a Tarot reading can present a reader with a tummy-flipping moment of panic, then interpreting a reversed court card can engender a fully-fledged head-between-the-knees (your own, silly!) brace position.
But it needn't be so!

Any card coming up as a reversal is basically calling your name and telling you to pay special attention to it.  Why does it need your attention? Well, because it means that the interpretation of the card won't be straightforward.

The most common ways to interpret any reversed card are:

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Paolo Nutini and I!

So, I'm out having a totally 3 of Cups moment with two girlfriends - celebrating my friend's 60th birthday and having a jolly nice time at a discreet and 'spensive restaurant.  We are just perusing the extensive menu when I happen to glance over the balcony (that's how posh it was, it has a BALCONY) into another part of the restaurant below.

Oh. My. God.


Paolo Nutini was standing chatting to some friends, well within hormone-affecting distance.  PAOLO NUTINI!!!!! Don't know who he is?

Not bad for a wee lad from Paisley!

And now, three albums later, the boy is well into his stride:

To cut a very long story short (and that's a LONG story that I will NEVER get fed up of repeating to my long-suffering friends, I can ASSURE you!) he looked up at us on our balcony and I just blurted out  "can I take your photo, please?'

"Wouldn't you prefer to come down here and have your photo taken with me?' he smiled up at me.  Cue melting heart and middle-aged lady googley-eyed adoration.

WOULD I?!  Is the Pope a Catholic?!  Does a bear shit in the woods?! With my knees knocking and my heart pounding I ran down the stairs two at a time.  Dignity.  Always dignity.

And lo! Out he unlocked the private dining room door and emerged into the restaurant hallway, slender, floppy haired and cute as anything! He kissed me on the cheek, shook my hand, snaked his arm around my waist (I sucked my tummy in for dear life!) and my friend snapped us on her camera phone.

As per all situations that make me nervous, I began to get the ol' verbal diarrhoea: 'I bet you hear lots of people saying this," I wittered, 'but I AM a big fan and I was really disappointed not to get tickets for your Glasgow gig before they sold out.'

Then he said these immortal words: "Want me to put you down on the guest list for the Edinburgh gig?"

Reader, I might actually have let out an involuntary little 'squee' at that point!  And so it was that he took my name and scribbled it on a sheet of A4 from the goggle-eyed receptionists and stuffed it into his suit pocket.

But now, here's the challenge - can I turn this into a lejit court card blog post?!  Let me try!!

Court Card insights:

On that Saturday I would say that he was a Cup or a Pentacle:  Family relationships are clearly important to him - he flew in from Germany for the party and would be flying back out there directly afterwards to continue with his tour.  

He was also exhibiting Queenly behaviour Cup or Pentacle - it was his idea to get together for the photo and to offer the tickets - caring about his fans and nurturing them too.  

But he was also very Wandsy.  Sex on legs if truth be told.  But of course, HE didn't see himself that way in this situation; he was just being very sweet to a fan.  The Wandy thing was simply this poor old Queen of Wands getting stirred up!   So that was entirely my projection onto the situation.  A woman can dream, can she not?!

Update:  I didn't go (I was going to see Wicked in Glasgow the following night and it was going to be a logistical nightmare, plus I didn't think that the bit of paper would make it out of his suit pocket).  On one hand, I feel sad about missing out on the gig, but yanno what? It doesn't really matter for "I too had my hour, one far fierce hour and sweet, there was a Nutini by my side and shaking knees above my feet."

*apologies to G K Chesterton's The Donkey for bastardising its lines :-D

Monday, 9 June 2014

Two Singers One Song | Which court cards? | The Beautiful South - A Little Time

Not done one of these for a while and thought that this one by The Beautiful South would be a great tune to jump-start things again.

Having a think about the behaviour of characters in books and films can help flesh out your court cards - so why not songs too?!

Back to the days of bubble perms and big earrings for this one!

Which court card do you think best represents the man in this song? He's clearly getting cold feet and wants a little time to think things over......

And which court represents the woman in the relationship who, instead of hanging around waiting for him to make up his mind whether he wants to be with her or not, does her own thing and makes her own decision ......

If you've got a favourite story song (regardless of decade or genre!) please let me know and I'll happily include it here :-D

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Meet The Families! | Golden Tarot of Renaissance | Estensi Tarot

Another Renaissance deck for you to drool over!

The majority of cards in this deck have been lost and the surviving cards - 16 Major Arcana cards and a Page of Swords - can be found in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.  There they are attributed to Jacquemin Gringonneur as 'The Charles VI Tarot', which would make them an exceptionally early deck indeed (late 1300s).

However, as with so much in Tarot, the origins of the cards are less clear cut! Tarot Historian, Giordano Berti, who was commissioned to design a complete 78-card deck by Lo Scarabeo, attests that they are more likely to be from the mid to late 15th century and from either Venice (Tarot Encyclopedia Vol 1) or the nearby city of Ferrara (deck's LWB also suggests 1470).

I asked Giordano which city was more likely to be correct and he said: 'A lot of scholars have demonstred that the dress of the characters of the so-called Charles VI Tarot, that inspired the Major Arcana of my deck, is the same of the nobleman at the Estense court of Ferrara during the years 1470-1480.'

Wherever they were created, this must have been a magnificent set of cards when it was originally painted.  The cards were hand-painted in tempera and decorated with a delicate gold-leaf filigree - the filigree being a feature carried over in the reproduction of the deck.

Of the originally commissioned cards, only 16 Majors remained plus a tenacious Page of Swords.

The original Page of Swords
When Giordano Berti was commissioned to design a complete 78-card deck by Lo Scarabeo,  he decided to draw on existing Trionfi cards from Ferrara from the late 15th and early 16th century, to ensure that the style matched contemporary artwork from the deck's region of origin.

The courts warranted some inspiration and the existing blondie-bobbed Page of Swords was abandoned and a whole new set of courts was created, based on the magnificent frescos from Hall of The Months at the Palazzo Schifanoia, built for the Duke d'Este at Ferrara.  The frescoes were created between 1469 and 1471 - perfectly in synch with the original card paintings.

The artist behind the orginal frescoes was Pellegrino Prisciani and Jo Dworkin is the contemporary artist behind the finished Lo Scarabeo Golden Tarot of the Renaissance deck.  The deck is a Justice VIII/Strength XI,  fully-illustrated pip deck, but be warned,  the images don't always readily associate with the meaning of the card.

Before we delve in, can I just point out that the 'black' background in the cards below IS actually gold foil.  My scanner can't cope with gold foil!

Let's look at the Swords family first:

Page: Message
Knight: Alliance
Queen: Widowhood
King: Administration

All the Pages from this deck carry some sort of sword or knife, except than the Page of Cups who prefers to go in for a full-on Barry White Walrus of Lurv experience. Here in the suit of Swords, our Page blows on a long horn (check out that ever so correct raised little pinkie!) and holds his sword aloft, wind catching at his tunic.  The Knight appears on a white horse (how Rider Waite!) along with some knightly cohorts (which strengthens this idea of 'alliance' as an interpretation for the Knight).  The poor Queen of Swords looks as though she needs a fortnight's stay at a luxury spa somewhere and I allowed my self a wry snort when I read that she also stands for 'divorced woman with emotional problems'.  That's pretty much all of us then, right? Or is it just me? The King is very youthful (perhaps her son, seeing as how she is a widow?) and tugs his cloak somewhat suspiciously over his groin.... hmmmm let's not go there.

Let's move onwards (hastily!) to the castle of the Wands family:

Page: Open to new ideas
Knight: Adventure
Queen: Confidence
King: Authority

The Wands are a busy family. The Page is out in the garden, just about to chop down a branch to whittle into a Wand. The Adventurous Knight has a very excited horse (which we luff in a Knight of Wands, do we not?).  The King is a very youthful looking chap who holds his wand, entwined with a snake (thereby turning the Wand somewhat bafflingly into a Rod of Asclepius) and what can only be described as a ukelele.  I'm not fond of a ukelele.  *hideous memories of George Formby records*  However, clearly the Queen of Wands is - look at those little twins at her feet.  I don't know where she finds the time to read that book!

Let's meet the Cups!

Page: Young Seducer
Knight: Preaching
Queen: Ideal companion
King:  Mature man who helps

Aside from the Page grappling with a less-than-enthusiastic-looking lady-friend, the first thing that I notice about the Cups family is that the King is a pretty old looking dude to have such a lovely young wife.  And what's that? The Queen is holding her cup aloft in the company of a young knight? Well, it could almost be a scene from a Jackie Collins novel: 'Ye Olde Lucky Santiago'.

Shall we pop round to the Pentacles' place and see whether they'll invite us in for tea?

Page:  Lover of mysteries
Knight: Consultancy (expert from far away)
Queen: Entrepreneur or heiress
King:  Unscrupulous business dealings

Gosh, I'm not sure that I want to eat anything in there after looking at the Page energetically hauling a bone from a Knightly skeleton!  As a 'Lover of Mysteries' perhaps he's working his inner Columbo here and working out Whodunnit.  Not so keen on the alternative titles for the Page of Pentacles - spy and thief.  Page of Swords perhaps, but not our earnest little Pentacle!

I love the pose that the Queen strikes here, with her robe caught upon a breeze or carried by two invisible putti! I can see how she could be an heiress, that could almost be Tamara Ecclestone sitting there.  Minus the skyscraper heels.

Again we have a very youthful King and one whose weapon of choice seems to be a long bow.  I usually see the King of Pentacles as a Gordon Gekko sort of a guy - prepared to do what it takes to get what material goodies he needs, even if a little on the shady side. But the alternative interpretation for the King feels slightly schizo as a 'bold but honest dealer'.

What do you think of these Courts? Not one of them hails from the surviving cards, but they do dove-tail nicely into the Major Arcana cards that still exist.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Salvador Dali | Tarot in Art | King and Queen of Swords

I first fell under the spell of Salvador Dali via his magnificent Christ of St John which was bought (amidst great public hooha - petitions and irate letters to the newspapers) for Glasgow City Council's Kelvingrove Museum in the 1950s.

I regularly visit the museum to visit the quiet and contemplative little space they have created for the painting.

From there I was entranced by soft watches that melted like plasticine on a radiator and spindly-legged creatures that roamed fantastical landscapes.  And amidst the hurricane of clever visuals that appealed to children and art collectors alike, he created a set of Tarot cards.

And no, I don't own a copy...... *weeps sadly into her morning coffee*

......YET *flicks gaze sideways to make sure hubby isn't listening*

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The King of Cups | Art | Visconti Sforza

From the workshop of Benifacio Benbo, 
Il Re di Coppe, 
Visconti Sforza Tarot

Yeah, there's so much of the figure missing that when I looked at this image I thought the King was actually lying in a box with only his legs sticking out.  As if he had been SLIGHTLY overusing his Cups.

And here's what The King of Cups looks like when he's not lying in a box.

The top image was sold in 2008 at the Milan auction house for Christies for a jaw-dropping 19,500 Euros.

So the next time your other half rolls his/her eyes at your frantic late-night, wine-fuelled ebay bidding to procure YET ANOTHER tarot deck, you can point out that it's AN INVESTMENT.

That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

What's been the most expensive Tarot deck you've ever purchased?

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Queens of Shoes

If a picture is worth a thousand words, why not use images to help secure the meanings of the court cards in your head? To this end, I thought we could KICK off today (see what I did there?!) with an exploration of the Tarot Queens through the medium of HIGH-HEELED SHOES!

*very scholarly face on*

The Queen of Swords

Clever, sharp, possessed of a razor wit and allergic to all sorts of flattery or bullshit, the Queen of Swords needs something suitably spiky as her footwear.  I picked this because of the fantastic spiked heel, airy cut-out feel and butterfly motif!

The Electra by Sophia Webster

The Queen of Wands

She helps us handle everything in our lives with passion - if you're not going to do it REALLY WELL, why bother? says the Queen of Wands.  Mediocre isn't a word in her vocabulary and she likes to see every challenge as an opportunity.  She can be relentlessly upbeat - very tiring for the rest of us! She is also passionate about passion, hence I chose something really stand-out-sexy for her - tadaaaaah!

Leopard-print Louboutins, of course!

The Queen of Cups

This Queen is focussed on relationships and is very much in touch with her emotions - and helps you get in touch with yours too.  The power of emotions help us to create  - and experience - our inner world, regardless of whether we make love, make oil paintings, make music, make friends or make peace.

I wanted to find something that was 'of the sea' so chose shoes with pearls!  And since she is all about relationships, what better than a pair of lacy wedding shoes?

Yes, she would rather be wearing flip flops - but one needs to SUFFER for one's high heel

Queen of Pentacles

This Queen's power is related to home, health and wealth.  She appears if we need to ground ourselves  - a spot of gardening, meditation, physical activity, care of your health, redecorating the spare room etc. But if any Queen was going to extoll the virtues of a the wellington boot, it would the the Queen of Pentacles.  But since there's no such thing as a practical high heel..... I had to do a powerful lot of googling. Googling shoes.  What hardship.  But the struggle was worth it, for I found this: 

Grrrr - have lost the source link for this image, sorry!

But shhhhhh, don't tell the other Queens or they'll want them too!
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