Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tarot, Lottery and Fractals

A question I encounter a lot, on occasion asked seriously, is "do you have the winning lottery numbers?" The short (and not sarcastic answer) is no, I don't. But doesn't the Tarot predict the future? Well, yes and no. Consider why this may be the case. What are we dealing with in the future? We have a great potential- the future is not yet defined until we actually settle down and make a decision. Those familiar with Erwin Schrodinger's famous hypothetical cat will realize that this is, in many ways, why the future is probable but not a given. There are no such things as zero probabilities (that is, in the combined lifespans of this and all universes, something that will never occur, not once) and absolute givens (that which in that same time span will always occur without exception.) Now back to Schrodinger's Cheshire cat- it's alive and dead until such time as it is observed; it goes from a possibility to a concrete reality. There are an incredible number of variables to calculate, even in such an insular and small example as this one. The fact is this- of course there are mathematics that exist to define such a scenario. But that being the case, we simply don't have the calculating power, either in our own marvelous brains or in that which our marvelous brains have constructed, to even approach this kind of calculating power. There are just too many variables. We just don't know which variables are going to be ruled out and which are not.
Going back to the mathematics involved for a second, let's consider that the world is indeed defined by mathematics; simply put that which can be quantified (given numbers) can then be understood in terms of how those mathematics work. The resulting equation then defines how a given phenomenon, event or what have you works in the real world. These mathematics are not nice neat little linear equations, however. They are big, funky nonlinear equations, and are the very same ones used to create fractals, which are trippy artistic renderings of the same equations. One of them is the Mandelbrot set. These equations do not, as the name suggests, resolve into a nice neat little line. They go everywhere, producing complex patterns that nonetheless have at their heart the same equations. Here is an example of a few points plotted with a nonlinear equation- the line through them produces a rough approximation of how the points behave, but is not a perfect fit.
What about those points way out there on their own, on the left side of the curve? Surely the line will not account for them. However, keep in mind this is on a small scale. What happens when we plot millions and millions of points, creating a pattern? Ah, then things get trippy and artistic:

Basically, what's going on here is that on a larger scale, such as one we encounter in the real world, and especially in our lives, we find that things fall into a nice neat little pattern. In terms of our human experience, we find that there are a lot of little variables that cancel each other out. Hold a pencil up in the air as a for example. Let go. I'll use my incredible psychic powers and say the pencil fell towards the earth, courtesy of gravity. But consider again all those variables- isn't it possible that just one of them could have set up a chain reaction of even more variables, and the pencil could have, say, grown wings, caught fire, embedded itself in the wall, or any of a number of possibilities, albeit slim ones. The fact is, these smaller variables cancel each other out on a scale as large and complex as dropping a pencil.
So isn't the lottery equally a complex system? Indeed, it is. However, predicting one specific number is much more difficult, again because of these variables. Predicting a range of numbers, say between 1 and 5, is perhaps not as difficult, though still a daunting task. Lottery balls are generally numbered on a much broader scale than 1 to 5, and with this larger scale we are faced with increasingly complex numbers of variables. The question really being asked when someone asks for the winning lottery numbers are is rather what is the probability of any given number coming up? And this gets pretty difficult to predict.
Tarot in turn relies on predicting more of an overall pattern- variables, as we can see, on a larger scale tend to fall into more predictable patterns, and keep in mind that this in essence leaves out a whole lot of variables that again, simply cancel each other out. So we're left with the more likely outcomes, which of course are affected by the choices we make.
Perhaps most importantly, keep in mind we are not simply Fate's puppets, without control over our own destinies. The choices we make are always ours, and it's these same choices that affect what comes next- from one set of choices, we are led to another, and so on down the line. Tarot is most useful in examining what the outcome of a given choice may be- not making that choice for you, and allowing you an edge in understanding what your options are, and how best to utilize the resources you have.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tarot Of Terror: Kirsty Cotton

The idea for this came from first, the fact that I have too much time on my hands, and second, I'm sure I'm not the only one who wonders "What happens next?" when horror movies end. Do the bad guys survive to terrorize another day? Well, I decided to find out. This worked well not as a practical reading but rather as an exercise in the mechanics of Tarot reading. I'm hoping to find other horror movie scream queens, villains and others to examine.
  Our first stop on this odyssey of oddity comes to us from the Hellraiser movies, and focuses on the main character throughout several of the films in the series, one Kirsty Cotton. She later appears in the Hellraiser comics, where her story continues. So to begin, let's provide a brief synopsis of Kirsty's life and times as it relates to the movies. When we first meet Kirsty, she is in the process of moving out of her father's house and striking out on her own. Her mother is, at this point, deceased, and Kirsty has previously lived with her father Larry and stepmother Julia. Kirsty seems to be on the manipulative side, and there is obvious tension between her and Julia- long story short, Kirsty doesn't like Julia, and Julia seems at best uncertain how to deal with Kirsty. Kirsty likewise has a tendency to play her rather clueless dad like a harp at times, yet her leaving the house seems to be considerably less about manipulating anyone as it does about seeking a degree of independence from an overprotective father.
Kirsty as she appears in the movies, holding the Lament Configuration.

 Enter into the mix Frank Cotton, Larry's brother and Julia's onetime lover, who has previously opened a puzzle box, summoning the Cenobites, who work for and in Hell, dragging people bodily off through the rift between our world and Hell that is created when the box is opened. It's referred to variously as Lemarchand's Box, after its creator, or the Lament Configuration. Larry and Julia move into the house Frank previously owned, and where he opens the box, and is subsequently dragged to Hell. Larry manages to cut himself, and having a severe blood phobia, manages to bleed on the very same floor of the room where Frank exited our world. As a result, Frank is able to return (well, most of him, anyway) to our world, where his presence in the house remains a secret. Julia discovers him, and agrees to supply him with fresh blood to revive him fully, and the two of them begin to plan an escape- Julia from her dorky husband, Frank from the Cenobites, who continue to chill in Hell, unaware of Frank's escape. Kirsty then discovers Frank, and begins to grasp what's going on. This obviously comes as a bit of a shock, however she manages to escape the house before collapsing from shock in the street. She then is taken to a hospital and placed under observation, where she is once again given the box. Being the curious soul she is, she solves the box and is greeted by the Cenobites, ready to add to their collection of Cottons in hell. Here Kirsty really shows her mental prowess by bargaining with the Cenobites, thinking on her feet and wondering why, if Frank has been captured by them, he is hanging out with her family. The Cenobites agree to let Kirsty lead them back to Frank in exchange for her freedom. Off she goes, and delivers Frank to them. However, the Cenobites have other plans, and Kirsty is able to close the box and dispatch the Cenobites back to Hell before they take her with them.

The original group of Cenobites who greet Kirsty
After escaping from the house, Kirsty then is committed to the Channard psychiatric institute, where she tries to convince the staff that she's telling the truth. As it turns out, Dr. Channard, the head of the institute, has long been studying the Cenobites, and revives Julia in the same way that Frank was returned to this world. Another patient, a puzzle savant, solves the box and once again summons the Cenobites, who do not meet Channard- Julia, however, guides him into Hell, where he later joins the ranks of the Cenobites. Kirsty, convinced that her father is in Hell, sets out through Hell along with Tiffany, the young girl who solves the box, to retrieve her father. Once again, Kirsty meets up with the Cenobites, and attempts to bargain for her father's life, and hers. Nothing doing, say the Cenobites, but feel free to check the place out, now that you're here you're certainly not going anywhere. Kirsty once again meets up with both Frank and Julia, and Kirsty manages to trick Frank until Julia shows up, less than pleased about Frank betraying her and leaving her to the Cenobites. Kirsty manages to escape Hell with Tiffany in tow, and settles down to a more or less normal life, later getting married to a man named Trevor Gooden.
Trevor is less than faithful to Kirsty, and at one point, seeking to get rid of her so he can get on with his womanizing, presents her with, yep, you guessed it, the Lament Configuration. Kirsty, it turns out, has honed her manipulative abilities, and once again bargains with the Cenobites- she turns over Trevor and his mistresses to the Cenobites, again in exchange for her own life.
As time goes on, Kirsty's tale is picked up in the comics, approximately 20 years later. She has formed a group of people called the Harrowers, kind of a support group for people who have had run ins with the Cenobites and had their lives destroyed by them. Kirsty then meets up with the head Cenobite, known as Pinhead (for obvious reasons, in the photo above he's the tall fellow with pins in his head). Once again Kirsty strikes a bargain with Pinhead, who wants his human life back. The only way to do this is to find a replacement- someone willing to take his place. Kirsty realizes that this is an opportunity to be reunited with her family, and basically to govern Hell in any way she sees fit. Pinhead is kind of Hell's go-to guy, right hand man to Leviathan, a huge entity who governs over Hell's Labyrinth, where Kirsty and friends wind up when they travel to Hell through Dr. Channard's passageway. Kirsty accepts, and assumes Pinhead's position.

From Boom! Studios, Kirsty taking over Hell one cool outfit at a time. 
Now, on to the reading. For this task I chose a Celtic Cross spread, and picked up where Kirsty left off, in charge of Hell. The first card, the Present situation, was the 2 of Cups. In this we see that Hell has not so much gained a new recruit as Kirsty has gained Hell. Leviathan seems to adopt a very laissez-faire attitude towards Hell, and overthrowing the man in charge is certainly not unheard of. Kirsty now is able to use her powers to govern however she wants, and being in this position, there's not really anyone who can stop her- the 2 of Cups tells me that from this union, something more will come. Kirsty is indeed reunited with her loved ones, and I'd expect to see a "New, Improved Hell!" in the works here.
Covering this and indicating main influences at this hypothetical present is the Hierophant, indicating not so much that Kirsty will keep with the traditions of Hell, but rather that her experiences will result in a greater sense of justice and letting the crime fit the punishment in Hell. Whereas previously the innocent are not exempt from the VIP treatment, so to speak, Kirsty retains throughout her mortal life a strong sense of justice and mercy, although she can also be extremely vengeful, as shown by her treatment of Trevor; we get the impression that she was all too happy to be given such an opportunity to deliver Trevor to the Cenobites. Kirsty very much develops throughout her life, becoming more intelligent and cunning, and learning to turn that intelligence into a lethal weapon against her enemies.
Interestingly, the Past position held the High Priestess, indicating hidden answers. The fact that Kirsty becomes the "High Priestess" of Hell is significant, as well. But here, the card tells us that Kirsty has the power and ability to get through just about anything, and her considerable mental agility is the answer to her problems. We could say she was destined for the throne, and that her life has led up to assuming leadership of Hell.
This is likewise indicated by the next card, the Foundation card. Here was the 9 of Cups, indicating that the events in Kirsty's life have led her to Hell, reunited with her family, and in a position to dispense torment and justice as she sees fit. The 9 indicates things being set up, events merely waiting for her to come into her position. Though we learn that changes in leadership are not uncommon in Hell, Kirsty certainly has the cunning and foresight to retain power there for a long, long time.
On to the Near Future position, and here we see another Major Arcana card, the Judgment card. This is an indication that in fact all that Kirsty has been through has prepared her for this- every experience and every hardship, every terror she has faced and thought her way out of, will now serve as valuable experience.
The last card in this first "cross" section is the Aspirations card- what the best we can hope for is, and here was the King of Swords. The suit of Swords is tied to intelligence and analytical thought, and this is what Kirsty excels at. Her sharp wit and cunning will serve her well as she rules Hell, and will ultimately lead her to develop more and more fitting torments for the deserving souls downstairs.
Now, the 7th position, which also deals with the future- here the card is the 6 of Pentacles. Pentacles here indicates resources, and being in Hell, there is by and large a different definition of material resources. She certainly isn't in Hell by herself, and we learn that those Leviathan (or presumably his ministers, in this case Kirsty herself) deem worthy are offered a position in the ranks. Hence, also, the power grabs and infighting that Hell experiences. However, the 6 of Pentacles has two aspects- one is philanthropy, giving to advantage of all, and second, using resources to benefit everyone, including oneself. Kirsty, remember, is in a position of power. Will she exploit everyone around her, or will she, tempered by her experience, realize that she can do better with others on her side? The card here indicates that her best bet is to make friends, not inspire fear. In Hell, these may well be one and the same, but Kirsty will need to rely on that intelligence that is so much a hallmark of her time on Earth and in her dealings with the Cenobites. A master of the art of the deal, Kirsty can certainly reinforce her standing in Hell with this skill.
Next is the 8th position, holding hopes and fears. Here the card was the Lovers- Kirsty may not have a boyfriend in Hell, (we can see how well her last marriage went) but can be reunited with her family, and a part of the Lovers is indeed a joining of forces. Here, this provides powerful and lasting motivation for Cenobite Kirsty- she is motivated to retain her power because it allows her to take care, so to speak, of her family and friends in Hell.
Next, the 9th position deals with hidden influences. Looking back to the High Priestess, it seems there are things that even Kirsty doesn't foresee, and here the card is the 8 of Pentacles. The Pentacles that appear in this reading are telling in that they point to Kirsty being able to strike a balance between self interest and working for the benefit of others, and throughout her time on Earth this is a lesson she comes to learn- her time with Trevor certainly teaches her vengeance, but she also develops a sense of fairness, if not compassion, in Hell. Kirsty is able to change things in Hell, and, as the comic emphasizes, rule it however she chooses, and the 8 is a card of new endeavors and new uses for existing resources- Kirsty can and more than likely will shake things up a bit in Hell. At one point during the movies the previous Pinhead meets a demonic female named Angelique, and we learn that this has happened before, as he explains to her that "Hell is more ordered since your time, princess... and much less amusing." Kirsty, it seems, will bring her own brand of Hell to bear on the souls therein.
Finally, the Outcome. What can we expect for Kirsty? The card here is the 7 of Pentacles- another Pentacles card! It looks like Kirsty has a long time to re-order Hell according to her own designs, as the 7 is a card of patience, waiting for the seeds planted to come to fruition. Yet Kirsty is not going to be idle, it seems, and with her strong motivation and sense of family, will no doubt be able to make this happen.
To sum it all up for this first installment, Kirsty is a born leader, and Hell is where she's meant to be- things are not always cut and dried in Hell- sometimes people slip through the cracks, sometimes things go awry, even with powerful entities like Leviathan running the show. But Kirsty aims to change that, and is not out to win any popularity contests. Being of a single mind and purpose will help her stay focused and determined, and finally to bring about the changes she wants to see in Hell. We can expect great things from her- perhaps not necessarily good ones, but definitely far-reaching changes.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Deck Review- The Vertigo Tarot

I think everyone has their favorite decks, or favorite types of Tarot decks- either the more traditional ones, or more abstract designs. The Vertigo Tarot, published on the Vertigo/DC Comics label, of many graphic novels fame. Art in this deck is by Dave McKean, and tends towards the abstract. The Majors are linked to many of the Vertigo comics characters, and fans of the genre will no doubt see familiar faces, though some of the assignments are abstract, like assigning long-time demon hunter John Constantine to The Fool. However, the assignments are valid ones, though it may not at first be apparent.

The Hermit, depicted here as the Phantom Stranger
The Minor Arcana cards tend towards the abstract, too, and overall the deck has kind of a dark, gloomy and brooding feel to it, for those who like that in a deck. Personally, I do, but again, not for everyone. The reissued edition (the deck was re-released in 2008) comes with a companion guide with somewhat small print, but otherwise interesting and insightful. It's difficult to assign this deck to a particular tradition, (i.e. Rider-Waite, Thoth) as it seems to borrow elements from both of these, and what it doesn't borrow comes from original interpretations. This is often a tough aspect of reviewing and recommending a deck, as there are often two aspects to Tarot decks- there's the "little white book" interpretations, which are more traditional and straightforward, but not in-depth, and the artist's take on the deck, which in this deck plays a prominent role. 
Case in point, who could say no to that face?
So all in all, this is a great deck for those who are more familiar with the more traditional layout and design of the Tarot, and are looking for a new take on an old favorite. However, these cards are very symbolic and abstract- this is for some a plus, for others not so much. Again, personally speaking, I would recommend this deck for readers with a fairly solid background in the Tarot- for those just starting out, you may prefer a more traditional route. The abstract and often odd imagery of the deck are certainly thought-provoking, but at the same time could prove a bit overwhelming to someone first starting out. In the hopes that doesn't sound patronizing, I think we've all been there at some point! 

A good example of this comes from the Devil card, whose image comes from the Sandman series- Lucifer Morningstar eventually retires, giving up rulership of Hell, and here's the interesting part- because he's tired of people blaming the Devil for everything, when his only crime was rebelling against Heaven. So he leaves Hell for retirement- hence the beach chair. Comparing this to the Devil card's own story, we see that often it's not the Devil making us do it, but rather our own actions- we hold ourselves in the Devil's chains, not the other way round. This is just one example of the stories you can find in this deck. Couldn't you argue that the Tarot is meant to be a model of the world around us, and within us? If that's the case, the all-too-human characters we encounter in our own lives, either real or imagined, are bound to have their parallels in the Tarot. 
Summing up, I use this deck on a fairly regular basis, and it's a favorite precisely because it tends towards the odd and abstract. The companion book provides a good deal of insight as to where the images came from and what inspired them, so it too is worth a look. In reading through other reviews, many have noted the unusual Zodiac associations the Majors are given, and this too prompts me to put it in the "more experienced readers" category. But if you're a fan of Vertigo comics, you'll definitely be in familiar territory. While the cards are a little gloomy and abstract, I'll leave it up to you to decide if this is a positive or a negative- as before, not for everyone, but overall this deck gets the Horse's stomp of approval! I'd recommend this for any reader who has a familiarity with the basic layout and workings of the Tarot. It's a well thought out and well-executed concept deck, and its layers of symbolism often get your mind working, developing sometimes surprising connections between the cards.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Star Spread

The Star card is numbered 17 in the Major Arcana, and is often called the "wish card"; it's often an indication of good fortune and being on the right path. There is also the aspect of direction to this card- think of the stars used for navigation. Seeing the Star in a reading indicates that finding good fortune and opportunities is an indication of being on the right path- follow the signs, it says, and find what fate, destiny or whatever higher calling you may embrace awaits you. This spread is in many ways less specific than other layouts, and can be useful as a starting point for further readings. The spread deals with multiple levels- first, your highest ideals and hopes, second, your spiritual path and influences, and below this, your conscious thought and deliberations on the matter. Finally, the 7th card points to what you do about this- what actions you take, and how those actions manifest in the world around you. These levels can be expanded upon, and the last card can form the basis for another reading, perhaps more specific to an issue or concern raised in this initial reading. 
Follow the star, and find your blessings!
In this spread, the cards form both positions and levels of influence, in terms of where they influence you, and how that influence is felt. Laying out the cards, the pattern forms an arrow and points downwards- from the higher levels and first causes to manifestation on the bottom of the spread:

                                                2             3             4

                                                           5        6


The first card indicates the starting point, what sets this whole thing in motion. Here are the root causes; possibly your deepest desires, thoughts, fears and hopes for the future, or some higher purpose to your life. This may be a dream or hope for the future, a long term plan or goal, or an influence or prompting from the world around you. What do you want to be when you grow up is a good question to ask here. Seeing a Court card here can indicate those characteristics you need to bring to the forefront of your life, or those things you're capable of but not currently using. In another sense, this is your ideal, your higher self- not what you currently appear to be in the world, but what you want to be and what you can be. 
Below this is the emotional, intuitive and psychic level- as your connection to the world around you provides these hints and clues, the second level (cards 2, 3 and 4) indicate how you react to these promptings. Do you react strongly and tend to run away, or do you embrace them enthusiastically? If you shy away- how come? What fears and worries are here? Interpreting this spread is not as much a matter of individual positions as it is looking at the relationships and dynamics at each different level. Here are your more subconscious factors and "gut reactions"- first impressions. Also, look for the influence of others here- their thoughts and communications, either real or perceived. 
Next, cards 5 and 6 mark the transition point between conscious and subconscious levels. This third level becomes more intellectual and analytical, and contains your conscious thoughts about the matter at hand. Also significant in this level is the development of those previous, more subconscious influences into conscious thought. And thought forms the basis of action, which in turn leads to manifestation, on the lowest level- the 7th and final card. 
The 7th card represents the manifestation of this first card, and how the first card finally becomes manifest in the world around us. Here we see the results of actions, and the probable outcome when all these factors are taken into consideration. 
The spread basically begins and ends with the querent; in the upper two levels, look for conflicts or correspondences, and as the spread develops and unfolds, look for trends and persistent influences across the cards. This spread can be useful for seeing underlying problems or unresolved issues- often this isn't quite the huge obstacle it may appear to be, and gaining a better perspective of it often reveals a way around it! And as before, this can be an inroad to deeper understanding and insight, as further readings can be used to better understand the issue at hand. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

October Tarotscopes

  October means we're firmly entrenched in fall, and winter is on its way- a time of harvests, pumpkins, apple cider and cooler weather! Looks like Mercury is going retrograde for the last time this year, from October 21 until November 10th. Now, this is certainly not the end of the world, though it tends to give us a somewhat contrary influence on occasion. At any rate, remember that the planets can influence- not compel. So let's take a look at the month ahead:
Aries (March 22-April 20)

October looks like a busy month for you, Aries- the Hierophant is joined by the 9 of Pentacles, indicating that though you're working hard and driving onwards in typical Aries fashion, don't neglect what is important. Although your natural tendency is to be stubborn, don't let this stand in the way of both seeking out and offering guidance. The Hierophant is definitely a two-way street for you. The Hierophant represents, if you'll pardon the Tarot pun, a wealth of knowledge and experience. You've come a long way, so don't quit now, and don't let impatience stand in the way of helping someone else along. You may find you have the same goal, and in helping someone else, you help also yourself.
I know that Mercury retrograde is on the minds of all those astrologically inclined, and will say that things are not that bad; the worst thing you can do at this point is go it alone, and to reiterate, that's very much a two-way street. You never finish learning, Aries, as do we all. Your experience, as well as what you can learn, will help you this upcoming month.
Taurus (April 21-May 21) 
This harvest month brings with it a change of perspective for ever-practical Taurus: the World promises that same stability and reliability that this sign is so comfortable with. But at the same time, don't let that fear of change keep you from making some much-needed renovations. The 5 of Swords warns against being too... bull headed. (Is this a month for terrible puns or what?) What is it that's no longer working for you? What is it that you're continuously butting your head against? Don't be afraid to make changes this month, and remove what is obsolete and just in the way for you. Take a new perspective, which is not always the easiest thing to do, but take a step back, and see what you've held onto out of either stubbornness or simple habit. Out with the old and in with the new is the theme for this October in Taurus. It's natural to want to fear change- but don't. Change is not your enemy this month, and can very much work in your favor. Why not make yourself comfortable? Sometimes that means stepping out of your comfort zone and going somewhere new. At first it seems strange, but in the long run, it's to your benefit.
Gemini (May 22-June 21) 
It looks like a focus on finances this month for Gemini, as here we have the 3 of Pentacles and the Knight of Pentacles. The 3 shows your hard work and creativity has not been lost on those around you, and creative projects really are taking off! You may not see the immediate results, but it's sure as anything there. But this is only the beginning. The Knight, ever the practical figure as he moves along his way, indicates new opportunities. Look for more projects, and there's a very real possibility of a little extra green coming your way! It's up to you to use this wisely, and keep a practical head on your shoulders. Mercury going retrograde in the last two weeks of the month may throw you a curve or two, but just take a step back, take a look around you, and you'll be just fine. Remember, the forces around you can influence- they cannot command.Often that retrograde Mercury can bring about change- and again, is change really that scary? You know what to do, so don't hesitate to do it. Those born in the sign of Taurus are reliable, true, but at the same time often slow to change. Don't hesitate to change this month- this stability means you command a great deal of force behind the changes you make.
Cancer (June 22-July 22)

The natural tendency for Cancers is to cling to relationships and things they love. This evaluation is certainly not intended as a criticism, and this is in fact highlighted this October. We see the Queen of Wands and Justice, an interesting mix. People born under the sign of Cancer may sometimes have a little insecurity inside, though at the same time their naturally caring and sensitive nature often makes up for it. This month you'll have plenty of opportunities to display that charm and sensitivity, and to build lasting relationships.Look for a balance, and bring that balance to bear. There's a good indication of an opportunity to guide things this month; if you're feeling out of balance, like things aren't quite the way you want them, well, you know what to do. Set it right, take the initiative, and go for it. This may not be a natural tendency for you, but nonetheless, you can make a positive impact. There's a sense of worry there, like the planets aren't quite right, and it's true that you may tend to take a backseat to forces you consider out of your control. Well, they're really not out of your control! Step up and take the helm this month, and make those things you wish to see a reality.
Leo (July 23-August 22) 

When does a Leo do anything halfway? Just about never, is the answer. This is both a strength and weakness for Leos. The 8 of Swords and the 2 of Wands this month point to a period of rare uncertainty and indecision. Where to go, and what to do? You'll be faced with an interesting challenge this month, and opportunity is knocking. But which way to go? Instead of charging forwards with your usual optimism, you might feel uncertain. But this is a question of the grass always being greener on the side of the fence you didn't choose. Weigh your decisions carefully, and stick to it. When you doubt, you doubt with every ounce of your being. But on the other hand, once you reach that decision, know that you've made the right decision for you. Don't let that bad case of the "what-ifs" get to you- it's true that self-doubt is something of a stranger to you, but in the long run thinking out this decision you'll be facing this month can only make you stronger in the long run.
Virgo (August 23-September 22)

There's a strong focus on relationships and development this month, with the 6 of Cups and Page of Cups cropping up. Virgos tend to idealize, true enough, and remember things the way they wanted them to be rather than the way they actually were- but from this, it's a way to take the positive and learn from the negative. It's a great month to make full use of that curiosity and desire for knowledge as well. None of us are perfect, but the dedication and hard work that mark a Virgo are coming to prominence this month. However, be on the lookout for retreating into memories, or becoming overly withdrawn this October. Don't hesitate to get your hands dirty and dig for what you want, and let your idealism guide you. Not always the most practical approach to a situation, idealism is often a gift. Don't lose it this month, and don't lose sight of the way you imagine things could be. Keep chasing that dream is the theme for this month.

Libra (September 23- October 22)

October is often a good month for Libras, as the Sun is in your house, bringing energy and drive to put that analytical and thoughtful mind to work. And you'll have plenty of opportunity to improve this month, as Temperance points to a month where introspection and improvement are favorable, and the Empress points to lots of "good vibes" coming your way. There may be a tendency this month to become too engrossed in your own mind, and to lose perspective. Don't stand on the tracks, Libra- you might not hear the train until it's right on top of you. The Empress points to positive energy, and this can be very useful during this time, but don't get too complacent, and don't coddle yourself this October. Despite Mercury's retrograde in the second half of the month, there are opportunities to advance this month- be sure to make use of them!

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) 

You'll be feeling attractive and upbeat as the Sun heads your way, bringing with it good fortune. Now is the time to lay plans for the winter, and further down the road. You've heard the phrase "make hay while the sun shines"? Well, now is the time to do just that. The Ace of Cups promises a great start to the month, and with it the 2 of Swords warns of questioning your decisions. There's also a message here that if you don't use it, you may lose it! Look for opportunities earlier in the month, and take advantage of them. Don't let uncertainty and doubt stand in the way of getting stuff done this month, and don't wait too long. Not to worry, trust your own judgement this month, and don't second-guess yourself. This isn't a natural way to feel for self-confident Scorpio, and you may feel uncertain of how to proceed. But rest assured, that understanding you have will get you through.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) 

Single? Looks like romance will be in the air this month for you! In a relationship? Look for a deepening of that relationship, and drawing closer to your partner. This fall looks like a good season for you, rounding out a productive year. Now's a great time to get ready for the future, and look for new opportunities this month. The Page of Pentacles points to new opportunities, and employment looks favorable this month for you, taking you in new directions and finding you learning new skills. This will spill over into all areas of your life, improving as it goes. Prepare for the future, and let your natural optimism lead you to what you might even think impossible.

Capricorn (December 22-January 20) 

This month promises to be one of hard work and ambition, something Capricorns are no stranger to. The Knight of Wands points to swift, determined motion. Where do you want to go today? Keep this in mind, and avoid rash actions- don't make a decision solely to get out of a point of uncertainty. Thinking through the decisions you make this month can make all the difference in the world, and sticking to the decisions you have made will make all the difference in the world this month. As time goes on, you may find things weighing on you, and find yourself seeking out a break from the battle. Though practical, even hard working Capricorns need a break once in a while. The 10 of Wands tells us that if you're not happy with the decisions you make, well, the power to change that situation is with you this month. Avoid going in too many directions this month, and avoid trying to take on too much; your thoughts are sometimes bigger than your abilities, and an occasional reality check may be needed this month. But never fear, as always it's up to you!

Aquarius (January 21-February 21) 

Things are looking up this month, as the work you've done this month will begin to pay off. Going your own way and blazing your own path has resulted in a good foundation this month. Stability and staying the course are in the cards for you this month. With a tendency to go your own way, look for returns and developments in investments coming back to you this month. Don't be afraid to go out on a limb for someone, or to take a chance on your future this month, Aquarius. With a firm foundation underfoot, begin to expand and head outwards, looking to that far horizon. The 4 of Wands indicates that you've come this far, and things are fairly stable- a good balance that's easy to maintain! So move forwards from there, and build on that stability.

Pisces (February 22-March 21) 

The influence of Mercury's retrograde might be felt this month, Pisces. Naturally sensitive, you have a tendency to avoid conflict. However, once in a while you need to step back and take a look around. You may feel on top of the world this month, but don't let those good feelings go to your head. With a vivid imagination and a tendency to daydream, you might be missing something right in front of you. The Magician points to great dreams and great designs, and success can sometimes go to your head. So from that success, don't get too comfortable. Instead, make sure your foundation is as stable as it seems. Watch out for gossip and jealousy, which you can sometimes overlook. Everyone likes to have their ego stoked, but beware of any ulterior motives. Is everything as it seems? There are two things to keep in mind- one, have a clear goal in mind, and two, make sure you really reached that goal.

So overall, it looks like a mixed bag this October. But remember, it's always what you make of it- not where you start from, but where you go and how you get there!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

September Tarotscopes

While this certainly isn't an idea I can claim credit for creating, Tarotscopes are an interesting and often helpful take on horoscopes. And so, here's my take on a time-honored favorite. I'm considering expanding the readings, and further research into structuring the Tarotscopes is in the works- for now, here we go!
Aries- (March 21-April 20) Two Of Pentacles:
Things are looking up this month! The 2 of Pentacles indicates change on the horizon. Keep your eyes open for new opportunities, especially in the field of your career and work. Things may not be ideal as of yet, but change is on the horizon, Aries. Be ready, and perhaps most of important, know what you want to do. An impossible dream may become a little more possible this month- so don't miss the boat!
Taurus (April 21-May 20) Two Of Cups
This month looks lucky in love for Taurus. Eminently practical and trustworthy, those born under Taurus tend to be reliable, patient but determined, and that patient determination will be met with appreciation this month. Look for a new partnership, friendship, or if you're single, maybe a new relationship! Taurus is ruled by Venus, so embrace that love for comfort and happiness, and let that combination of reliability and enjoyment lead you this month!
Gemini (May 21-June 20) Three of Cups
Geminis tend to be cheerful and outgoing, and love to try new things, and this month will give plenty of opportunities for that. As Geminis also tend to be flighty and easily distracted, the advice this month is to stick to it. What you've been working on and cultivating is coming to fruition, both in your personal life and in the lives of those near you- don't get distracted now! There's great things on the horizon, and cause for celebration at present. Don't let it go to your head, though. Enjoy a month that will have cause for celebration, but at the same time don't overindulge- in ego, in success, or in seeking out gratification.
Cancer (June 21-July 21) Temperance
Ruled by the Moon, people born under Cancer's influence tend to be more introspective, and have great insight into their own conditions and limitations. The message this month is balance, balance, and balance some more. An introspective personality may tend towards moodiness, or even obsession. You need to strike a balance this month, between looking within and looking without. Focus and determination are never a problem for a Cancer, but at the same time, don't let that rule you; be aware of what's going on around you, and what you can bring to the situation at hand- it can make all the difference!
Leo (July 22-August 22) The Emperor
If there's one Tarot card that sums up Leo, this might well be it. Ruled by the Sun, Leos are charismatic, natural leaders, and love to be the center of attention. So this month, Leo, time to step up! The Emperor promises that you'll be where you love to be best- in the driver's seat. Don't hesitate to move forwards and set in motion any longer-term plans you may have. September looks like a good month to start something new, or to revitalize an existing project. Do what you do best, and lead the way.
Virgo (August 23-September 22) The Hierophant
The Hierophant signals that this month might be a time to seek outside advice. Virgos tend towards self-examination and analysis, and this can lead to self-doubt and uncertainty. In this case, this month may bring with it a sense of not being sure which way is up; you may feel like you can't break out of the mental or emotional gridlock you're in this month. But never fear, because you're not alone. Don't hesitate to ask someone, and gain a little perspective on the situation- ask someone who's been there and done that, and can provide the insight you may be lacking. Don't take that lack of perspective personally, as it's not so much a shortcoming as the tendency of Virgos to over-analyze.
Libra (September 23-October 22)  The Sun
Librans, like Virgos, tend to be introspective and analytical, often their own worst critics. Well, never fear, the Sun is here! Your biggest challenge this month, Libra, will be to put aside doubts and realize that yes, everything is just as it seems. Again, like Virgo, don't miss out because you're not absolutely certain. There are a lot of good forces going on around you, and now's the time to tap into that energy. Have a clear purpose in mind and go for it.
Scorpio (October 23-November 22) 9 of Swords
This month may bring some new information for Scorpio, and a bit of a surprise. Tending to dislike conflict, you may have overlooked something you didn't want to see. But nonetheless, being often imaginative, things are not as bad as you imagined them to be. Simply put, don't make a mountain out of a molehill. The key to September is that though life has its storms, we can weather them. Birds sing after a storm, and so should you.
Saggittarius (November 23-December 21) 10 of Wands
This month may be a month to examine what's going on. Saggittarians tend to be the most optimistic sign in the Zodiac- a definite positive, but this month is a good time to examine what you take for granted. Are you certain you need to do it all by yourself? Saggittarians likewise tend to crave adventure, and though this is the case, September is a month ripe for self-examination. Don't take on more than you need to, and let someone close to you know what's going on. You think you can take on the world, Saggittarius- and you may well be right. But don't disdain help where you can find it!
Capricorn (December 22-January 19)   4 Of Wands
This month is another good match for structure-loving Capricorn, as the 4 of Wands indicates a time of stability and development. Knowing what you want to do this month is important, and with this you can definitely make that a reality. The 4 of Wands is a card of foundations and building upon those foundations. Take what you've already worked to build and keep working on it. You're on the right path, and in this case a somewhat stubborn nature works in your favor.
Aquarius (January 20-February 18)  King of Swords
For Aquarius, the King of Swords means an opportunity this month to put a dream into more practical terms, and begin to work on the nuts and bolts of making what they imagined a reality. Not always the most practical, tending to rely more on emotion and intuition than cold hard facts, nonetheless now is a great time to start using those very same facts, and develop a plan for what you want to do. Combine lofty goals with practical planning, and success is yours this month.
Pisces (February 19-March 20) 3 of Swords
While the naturally caring and sensitive nature of Pisces makes them gentle and genuinely warm people, you may be looking at a little difficulty this month here and there, and may feel unusually down about it. Perhaps it's just a series of small things piling up. The main thing to do this month, Pisces, is to set some time aside for yourself. You want to save the world, and you want the world to be happy. Very admirable, but nonetheless, strike a balance. Don't let the weight of the world rest on your shoulders, and allow yourself time to take care of you. Doing this will allow you to reach out to others.
Well, that's the scope of things for this month. I hope you found it informative and helpful, and look forwards to continuing this next month!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What Not To Worry About In Terms of Tarot

It's good to be back! I have to admit to being in a little bit of a creative slump over the past few months, and wondering if in fact the blog had reached the end of its useful existence; nothing left to add. Like it says in the Bible, nothing new under the sun. That may be the case, but can I really say I've plumbed the depths of experience and understanding?
So I decided to put my own spin on a common theme among Tarot readers- the timeless FAQ section (that's frequently asked questions, by the way.) I've heard a lot of people express the same concerns or thoughts, and figured I'd do my own part to address them here.
1. I don't believe in that stuff/You need to convince me you're genuine.
While this second part actually is fair enough, if you don't believe in the Tarot, why are you coming to me for a reading? While I'm of a somewhat empirical frame of mind, either a thing is or it is not, I also know that having a confrontational or negative outlook and approach to the reading will make it a lot harder than it needs to be. If you have an open mind, and are willing to listen and share your own thoughts, the reading will be much more successful, and you'll gain much more from it.
The second part of this is somewhat subjective. If you're absolutely convinced that I'm a con artist, I doubt there's anything I can do to convince you otherwise; everything will usually have an explanation, be it coincidence, trickery or the like. Let me emphasize at this point that yes, I am aware of the tricks that con artists of this stripe use. And the reason I'm aware of them is that I make it a point to avoid them like the plague. I don't do these things, and it's my firm belief that neither does any other reputable Tarot reader. But again, if you have an open mind, and are willing to see things objectively, I trust in my own abilities and talents to convince you.
2. I'm afraid of finding out bad news/trouble/death if I get a reading.
If you're that afraid of trouble, ask yourself, why do you feel that way? What makes you think trouble is just around the bend for you? If it's something you're doing, or not doing, remember that it's never too late to change the path you're on. There are consequences, sure, but it's always what you do in the present that determines what's to come.
If you are worried about trouble, well, yes, once in a while life deals us a crappy hand. But the Tarot is not about doom and gloom- when we see trouble, us readers will then examine what can be done about that. Tarot is not about the problem, it's about developing a solution, and uncovering solutions and resources you may not have known were there.
3. Asking the same question over and over until you get the answer you want
Putting it bluntly, this won't work. The cards don't tell you what you want to hear, they tell you what's going on. Believe me, I'd be much happier if I had every reading I do for myself or someone else come up roses. But the thing is, when the cards show trouble, there's usually a reason for it, and usually a way through. This world is not meant to make us fail, but rather to reveal in many cases a higher purpose and direction.
4. I'm afraid to ask questions that may seem stupid or make me seem like I don't understand.
Never, ever be afraid to ask a question. Part of our jobs as Tarot readers is to make sure you understand and are able to take away something from the reading. A good reader (and, I might add, an effective reader) will not belittle clients or discourage dialogue. Believe it or not, we can't read your minds. Well, maybe some people can, but I'm not one of them. And that's probably a good thing! The point is, a reading is all about you. Ask questions, give your impressions of an image or card (this has on occasion opened up some great dialogue about the reading, and brought new aspects of the reading to the forefront, which proved very useful). Tarot readers are not like the Oracle of Delphi- you shouldn't need to puzzle out our mysterious utterances.
5. What if I get bad news?
Again, it's your decision to have a reading done, and as a client, you get to stop it at any point if you're feeling uncomfortable, or there's something you don't want to know, or are not ready to face. That's fine, and it's not my place or my concern to judge you. No one is perfect, and us readers are just as human as you. But again, remember that with bad news, there's not a message of "you're screwed", but rather "Here's what you can do in this situation." A Tarot reading should encourage positive action, not reaction, and especially not buckling down and expecting the worst. Storms come in this life, but they also pass. Trouble comes, but often we can learn from it.