Friday, October 30, 2015

November Tarotscopes

Happy (slightly early) Samhain everyone! I hope you have a great one. I decided to knuckle down and start getting some work done, and to bring back the monthly Tarotscopes. So here goes, I hope you fnd them enlightening and helpful. I chose to use the decan system, which works a bit like this: There are 12 houses of the Zodiac- therefore, when the houses are superimposed on the sky, you get each house taking up 30 degrees. Decans subdivide that into 10 degree segments, each with a corresponding group of dates. For a more in-depth look at this, we thank Maria Macario over at Darkstar Astrology- check out her work with decans here.
Now, on to the Tarotscopes! Look for your sign and birthdate to see what's in the cards for you:


Decan 1: (March 21-March 30th)
From the Tarot of Dreams
The Devil
Naturally self assured and confident, your challenge this month with the Devil is to see with unclouded eyes. What's in the way that you're not seeing? You're doing all right, but how can you do things better? Don't take criticism as a blow to your ego, though your ego may well get bruised in the process. Instead, see where and how you can improve. Are you holding back, or are you holding onto something in your life out of habit? Don't be afraid to step out on a limb- let's see some of that legendary Aries confidence!

Decan 2: (March 31-April 9th)
Use the Force, Aries
Ace of Swords
Your card deals with new ideas- you're not there yet, but the spark is certainly there. Keep that spark alive, and work with ideas that are cropping up this month. Where are the bits and pieces around you, and what do you want to do with them? While you may not be into the building phase just yet, it's a good time to brainstorm and to start planning out any projects you may have in mind. Look to other people for input as well, and let your creativity flow! Take your time and be thorough, and you'll see success as time goes on.

Decan 3:  (April 10-April 19)
3 of Pentacles
Thanks to Ally Fell- from the Steampunk Tarot
Whereas your friends in the previous decan are all about ideas, you're at the put it all together phase. Go for it! Be generous with giving credit to others, but don't hesitate to enjoy the limelight yourself. But at the same time, don't let that adulation go to your head- there's more to come. Keep up the good work, and now that you're beginning to see returns on your investments, both of money and of time and effort, keep up the steady, solid work- a tweak here, an adjustment there. Slow and steady is winning the race this month.

From the Mystic Dreamer Tarot

Decan 1: (April 20- April 30)
4 of Pentacles

Use it but don't abuse it is the theme for this first decan. Know when to let go, and know when to hold on. Taurus folks can be leery of change, but don't be too afraid of it. Move slow, figure out what you want to do, and then put your resources towards it. There is a chance of missing opportunities if you're too over-cautious. The suit of Pentacles tells us that yes, there's the opportunity for growth and change there- but if you try to hold on too hard, you can smother any new growth that may be in the works. Look carefully, and act with discretion- but do act! Better to have had your wish than to wish you had, a wise man once told me.

Decan 2: (May 1-May 10)
"Come at me, bro!"
7 of Wands

You're in a good, defensible position this month, and any conflicts or trouble you face can be met head-on. Stay confident and fight for what you want this month. The Seven indicates that the fight is not a new one- but also, not an impossible one. Think like a General, and move like a ninja this month; find opportunities and use them. You have what you need, but may need to prove your point to the world around you. Defend your position, and don't waver. Communication is open, and don't interpret this Seven as entirely hostile when a win-win scenario is certainly possible.

Decan 3: (May 11- May 20)
Watch your step- or learn to fly. Or both!
The Fool

This is going to be an exciting month for you! The Fool marks beginnings, but also returning. A great month to undertake new plans and make changes as the year begins to draw to a close- but at the same time, you're seeing a lot of longer-term chickens come home to roost. The world is waiting for your word this month. Step up and move out, great things are on the horizon, and hard work is rarely a problem for you, Taurus!


Decan 1:  (May 21- May 31)
The Sun

Good news and bad news here- The Sun is a card of raw energy, and that energy needs direction to be effective. With Mercury and the 8 of Swords governing your decan, you can tend towards indecisiveness on the one hand, but on the other, great insight and cleverness. Be patient and be thorough this month. Avoid rushing into any decisions, but at the same time, don't get bogged down in the what-ifs; don't over-think your plans. Keep an eye out for positive changes around you, and give some thought to how you can make use of these, both in November and in the coming months. The potential is there, but don't let it slip away, either by a hurried judgment or by waiting too long. The conditions will never be perfect, but you can start moving things towards that ideal this month.

Decan 2:  (June 1-June 10)
9 of Wands
Going into this month, things seem solid. Now's a good time to relax a little and slow down. Pressing forwards can bring frustration, but that doesn't mean sitting idle. Take a day or two off when you feel overwhelmed, but more than action, this month is about planning the next step. The course ahead seems clear, the road seems pretty smooth. But don't forget to stop for gas and coffee along the way to avoid falling asleep behind the wheel, and to avoid getting stuck out in the desert. Think ahead, make contingency plans, and think where you want to be by the end of the year. Creativity and ideas are waiting to be found, so get out and enjoy the last of the fall weather before winter sets in.

Decan 3: (June 11- June 20)
From the Aeclectic Community Tarot
Ace of Cups

Two tasks await you this month, Gemini, so use those two minds to get cracking! Look for good fortune and success around you. You'll enjoy a good month, but at the same time, don't become complacent. What can you do with this, and where is it leading you? Your journey is not over this year, and the good fortune you enjoy has some hidden meaning. Not to worry, you're not finding yourself in any trouble, but rather listen for direction. Does it seem things are pointing you in a particular direction? Follow that direction, though the end of the road may not yet be in sight. It's leading you somewhere good, so go with confidence and an open mind.


Decan 1 (June 21-July 1)
From the Artist's Inner Vision Tarot
5 of Wands

Should you press forwards, or should you stay where you are? What to do is the question facing you this month. Out of conflict and uncertainty comes a decision, however. Your tendency to rely on intuition serves you well. Look beyond and underneath conflicting ideas, especially when you're met with two opposing viewpoints on a matter. Is there a compromise possible? Look for this within yourself too- this is a month of middle ground. When you have a thesis and antithesis, find yourself the synthesis and go with that. Also important this month is standing your ground. Don't let anyone push you around or make your decisions for you. No one knows you better than you do, and that makes you eminently qualified to take charge of important things close to you.

Decan 2:  (July 2-July 12)
From the Druidcraft Tarot
7 of Swords

Redirect your focus this month. Don't be paranoid, but rather keep an eye on things around you so as not to miss anything. There's a tendency to daydream, to be lost in your own world. While this can and often does produce great things, this month your focus should be on the world around you. Think of it as taking inventory on the past year. What did you accomplish, what did you not accomplish that you wanted to? What are your resources, and what are your weak points? Much as the image suggests, sit down and, if it helps, write it out. Then come back to it later on this November- what ideas does it give you? Follow up on those and the winter can be a good, productive time for you.

Decan 3 (July 13-July 22)
Thanks for playing, better luck next time!
5 of Swords

Are you victor, or vanquished? You can be both, as this month marks an end to things that have previously held you back. Look for new routes in previously blocked areas. This isn't always the way you had intended, but despite occasionally being a bit of a detour, it'll get you there. Be flexible, not frustrated. Your element is Water, and your card is the 4 of Cups. Use Water's flexible, adaptive and clever nature to help you find a way around, through, over or under any obstacle this month. While meeting with some resistance this month, this is simply the universe's way of pointing you down another side passage towards the goal you want. Adopt, adapt and improve- but don't give up.


Decan 1 (July 23-August 2)
Ace of Wands

It looks like there's plenty of Fire around you this month, and lots of optimism. You'll be getting the attention you're looking for, but this isn't an end point. There's still more to do, so stick to it. Don't let ego stand in the way, either. Though you can certainly enjoy some well-deserved praise, don't get too distracted. Stay focused on the longer term- November is if anything an interlude for you, and with that, a boost of energy to drive you on. It seems you're doing well, and the way you're headed is the right one. Things look pretty solid, and Leo is very much in his or her element this month. Go for it, you wild lion you. You're being handed the tools you need- make use of them in accordance to your own grand design here. Look to others for new ideas. Though you may be tempted to work alone, don't neglect the advice and strengths of others.

Decan 2: (August 3-August 12)
The sun is shining, it's a new morning...
10 of Cups

Look to other people this month. You have an opportunity to do good, not only for yourself, but for others, and everyone can enjoy the benefits. There's a focus on family and close relationships, and November is a good month to work on those. Tell people how you feel, and tell them what you really think- you may be surprised to find mutual feelings where you hadn't expected them! As always, to thine own self be true, and stay optimistic. Withdrawing into yourself is not the way to go this month. If you have an issue, don't retreat from it, but sit down and talk to your loved ones. You may take things for granted, but relationships can change, and the stars seem right for them to change for the better.

Decan 3:  (August 13-August 22)
7 of Cups

This month is a time to challenge your own assumptions. Though often confident, perhaps sometimes to a fault, you may find your confidence being shaken a bit this month. But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. How will you react to this? Don't take it personally, and don't respond with hostility or anger. What can you learn from this experience? Prove that you're the better man, or better woman, whichever the case may be, this month. You'll have an opportunity to shine, though at first it may seem more like a difficult task. You can rise to it, or you can be goaded into a knee-jerk reaction. Stop, think, consider. Avoid ruminating, turning the same things over and over in your mind. If it's not getting you anywhere, take a different approach, but do keep on it. Sometimes the battle goes not to the hardest head, but the one that gets used the most.


Decan 1: (August 23-September 2)
2 of Swords

Two roads diverged in a wood- will you take the one less traveled, or stick to what you know? The month of November is one of initiation. With a focus on Earth across the board, realize that some fields need to lie fallow while others are planted. Don't be indecisive, but do commit to a path of self- improvement. What else can you do with your time and energy? There's a strong trend to look inwards, and focus on yourself rather than others this month. And remember, the best way you can support other people is to be solid yourself. If you're tired, worn down, stressed out and overwrought, you can't do much good for yourself or others. Look to your own needs this month, and take good care of your health. It's a good month to start a new exercise plan, or to start working on some new creative endeavor you might be considering.

Decan 2: (September 3-September 12)
9 of Pentacles

Also from the mind of Ally Fell
You can enjoy some R and R this month, and perhaps just as important a break from the drama in your life. While your natural tendency is towards theatrics, this month is a quieter time, and a time to reflect on the past year. It's about shifting things around, and making room for what's really important. Though it's outwardly quiet, inwardly it's a good time to take inventory, and to look fearlessly at yourself. Are there any relationships or behaviors you want to change? This is the time to do it. Focus not so much on yourself, but on self-improvement. Strengthen relationships rather than look for new ones, and work with what you've got. You may be surprised to find there's much more than you might first think. Look and see what you can do. It's more than you might think, and others are certainly willing to help you uncover your potential this month.

Decan 3: (September 13-September 22)
From the Deviant Moon Tarot
6 of Pentacles

Much like your neighbor, this month is about changing yourself. Events around you are putting you in a new situation, and many of your existing assumptions will be called into question. Though challenging, don't fear change. The world around you is re-balancing and re-organizing itself, and this calls for you to make changes and adapt to a new set of circumstances. However, this isn't a hardship. If anything, on the physical comforts side, things are looking up! But just remember, it does bring new demands. These new demands can shake your assumptions. Keep your eyes and mind open, there are new horizons to be seen!


Decan 1: (September 23- October 3)
Queen of Wands

Libras in this decan tend to want to avoid conflict and arguing, and try to generally be supportive of others. Your card, dear Libra, is the Queen of Wands. With cardinal Air as your element, this looks like a good fit. Keep an eye on relationships this month. Single? Look for that special someone. But don't let this complementary opposite push you around. If it's going to be a healthy, balanced relationship, you need to give as well as receive. Let your mighty roar be heard! If you're in a relationship, likewise this month is about balance. Find your better half, and acknowledge your own more troublesome aspects, as well as your partner's. You may find yourself here and there in an uncomfortable spot. But don't retreat. Rather, learn to get comfortable where previously you shied away from. The support of other people can help you do that, but at the same time, they won't hold your hand forever, and that's not a bad thing at all! Sometimes you need to stand on your own.

Decan 2: (October 4-October 13)
4 of Swords

It's a good time to think. Swords are a strong suit for you, and it seems imagination and ideas are running at full steam this month. However, you tend to have more ideas than time, and it's best to go slow this month. Don't rush into a whole lot of plans. Some ideas, difficult though it may be, need to go on a back burner this month. Pick and choose what to focus on. Don't let yourself be talked into too many commitments, and don't try to talk your way back out. Rather, be straightforward this month if you start to feel like you've taken on too much. You can be your own worst critic, but others may be a good deal more forgiving than you are of yourself. Use this as an opportunity to plan while you take the rest you need. You may need to spend a little extra time relaxing, and turning off your brain once in a while, as it tends not to do this on its own.

Decan 3: (October 14-October 22)
Happy days just might be here again!
4 of Wands

Things are looking up this month for this decan. The Four of Wands indicates a good sense of purpose and direction, and generally a positive mood. People will want to be around you, and you might well be enjoying some time out on Cloud 9! Keep things in perspective, though. It's a good time to enjoy the company of others, but remember that it's not all about you. The way to go this month is to share your good fortune with others and to build them up instead of tear them down. You may find a change in the way other people see you. Show them what you're really made of, and enemies can sometimes become friends. Of course, false friends can become enemies just as easily- but the truth is always a better way to go in the long run.


Decan 1: (October 23-November 1)
Page of Swords

Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel, as Jim Morrison once famously sang. This month you'll be met with a lot to take in. Naturally intuitive and sensitive, you may feel a little bit overwhelmed, so take your time to process everything. This isn't a tactic to stall, but rather to adequately take in things that others may have missed. You'll be a valuable asset to the team this month. But don't give in to peer pressure, and don't settle because of the same. You can do better, though finding your footing may take a little time. Don't get too fascinated with the details- there's a big picture hanging over the whole month, and you'll need to be watching for your cues. You're going from potential to actuality in a big way this month, so more than anything else keep a level head. Others may try, intentionally or not, to bring you down. Stay true to your course!

Decan 2: (November 2-November 11)
The Magician

You're still waters running deep this month. The Magician suggests there's a lot going on, and you'll be able to keep a handful of irons in the fire. You can seem mysterious, but don't let other people get to you- most of those around you will enjoy the intrigue and wonder what you're up to next. For your own part, rely on yourself and press forwards. It's ok if you don't take the time to stop and explain everything to other people, but at the same time a simple "trust me on this" will give you a lot better results than simply brushing past others, intent on your own quest. Don't be an island, though you may have your own thoughts and ideas. Connect, network and reach out to others, especially in the sense of career advancement. Work with others, but don't use them. You may find yourself running a risk of taking advantage of others- be sure to stop and consider their feelings, and perhaps most importantly, ask others- don't assume everyone is on your wavelength this month.

Decan 3: (November 12-November 22)
From the Vertigo Tarot- I always
liked this image! 

Death is bringing a welcome change this month for you. While you may have a tendency to watch from a distance, you may find yourself in new circumstances. Death represents, more than anything else, an opportunity. It's up to you what to do with it. Do you want to remain in the shadows, with a handful of close friends? Or would you rather step into the spotlight and stand out for a bit? The choice is up to you this month, and there isn't a right or wrong answer. Others may notice a change in you, and you may find yourself with changing relationships. If someone is moving away from you, perhaps it's best to let that person go. Death is not about loss, but rather changes. Don't worry, it's nothing to be afraid of- matter can be neither created nor destroyed, and all that. But it does change form. What do you want to change into this month?


Decan 1: (November 23- December 2)
4 of Cups

Naturally restless, you may be feeling a little more so this month. With a great deal of energy, you may find yourself in need of a creative outlet, but at the same time may find difficulties concentrating and following through. It's a mixed bag this month, as you may find a surplus of energy but a shortage of sticking to it. Pick a project and go with it this month. Stick to your first plans- the grass will always seem greener on the other side of the hill, and once you get there, you may find it's not what you wanted, either. Know yourself, and know what you want to do. Avoid a tendency towards impulsiveness and snap decisions this month. While restlessness can be useful, don't let it get the better of you and lead you to a dead end.

Decan 2: (December 3-December 12)
The World

The World points to a fairly grounded month for you- everything is fairly balanced, and knowledge is close at hand. The World is the last in the sequence of Major Arcana cards, but also bears with it a message of continuation. Curiosity and the drive for understanding are strong with you this month, and there are new facets to your life to explore. This month continues rather than initiates. Keep working and building up- you'll see improvements with consistent and continued effort this month, with little standing in the way to occupy your attention and energies. Stress is fairly low, and the challenges you encounter are well within your range of skills and strengths.

Decan 3: (December 13-December 22)
From the Crowley Thoth Tarot
8 of Wands

This month, the question is, what does your first impression tell you? Intuition runs strong in your suit, and this month you have an opportunity to bridge the gap between thoughts and words. You'll find yourself in a good position to communicate and plan with others, and take on a leadership role. You're clearly understood, and have a great deal of support. Others begin to see things your way this month, and to realize what you already knew. Try to avoid an "I told you so" attitude towards others, and instead lead by example. You have an opportunity to inspire others and to enlist them to your cause this month. Others will start to see things your way, and will look to you for guidance. But remember, not everyone sees things as you do. Be patient as well as passionate!


Decan 1 (December 23-December 31)
Knight of Pentacles

The Knight of Pentacles points to a month of affluence for you. Expansion is on the horizon, and make sure every business deal you broker is on the up and up. Your thoroughness and dedication to detail pay off this month. Things are running smoothly, and you'll find it fairly easy to assist and guide. Take it easy this month, and keep an eye to details. Other people may be providing you with the "big picture" ideas, and will rely on your valuable services in planning out the details. Your natural talents are what's getting you noticed this month, so be sure to demonstrate them and let others know where your influence is to be seen. It's a good month to build up your resume and to gain career experience, and to put that experience to practical use.

Decan 2: (January 1-January 10)
5 of Pentacles

This month is about examining your assumptions about other people- prepare for a surprise! While admitting you were wrong can be difficult, you'll benefit from a deepening friendship and expanded understanding in the future. Use this month to look at things in a new way, and be open about what you see. Don't expect harsh criticism from others, and don't be too harsh on others yourself. Rather, be honest, and you may find yourself surprised by the common ground you have with other people. This month will be one of new beginnings and new starts. It's a good time to patch up old hurts and clear the air with others. Are you holding a grudge? This is the month to put it down in, and the time to bury any hatchets, either your own or someone else's.

Decan 3: (January 11-January 19)
"We'll leave the light on for ya!"
9 of Cups

Things are looking up! You will be surrounded by a much-needed tranquility. Others who may have been stand-offish before will now approach you, and you'll find that other people may not have been what they appear! Your own motivations, as well as those of others, become clearer this month, and you find a common bond and common purpose with others. No need to be alone this month, and no need to avoid other people. Charm and wit are your constant companions, and you'll find it easy to gain the support of others. Now's a good month to pin down any issues you have been losing sleep over, be they personal or financial. You'll find that when you really get down to it, it's not as bad as you had feared. In fact, you may well find that what you had feared is just your own worries. Don't remain aloof from others this month- come on in and join the party!


Decan 1: (January 20- January 29)
The High Priestess

Are you feeling stuck? Writer's block, or just flat out frustration? What you do have is insight into where you are, and what's already around you. Are you completely wrapped up in your ideas and not making progress? Maybe it's time to take a walk outside, break your routine up a little bit. Things are waiting to be seen and waiting to come together. Think of the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Perhaps not an entirely flattering example, but you know, sometimes the jawbone is right in front of you, and all you have to do is use it in a new way. Look for innovations and breakthroughs this month. You get shown the road, but only you can walk along down it and see where it leads. Don't be afraid to take advice, and don't be afraid to listen. The pieces are all around you, and they want to come together.

Decan 2: (January 30-February 8)
2 of Cups

Your faith in others seems well-placed this month. Look to other people to work with you and challenge you. There isn't a lot of hand-holding this month, because that's not what you need, Rather, others inspire and challenge you, and at the same time draw you closer together. Let your wild side out with a loved one or significant other this month- don't hide the real you. Are you looking for a relationship, or feeling the absence of someone else in your life? Again, don't hide yourself, and don't put on a facade to attempt to impress another. Being genuine and true to yourself is the best way to go this month. And don't worry about looking silly or being judged. Other people are glad to see you out of your shell.

Decan 3: (February 9-February 18)
8 of Pentacles

This month's keyword is discipline. Work hard and stay focused! But at the same time, know your limitations, and take a breather when you need one. But beware of becoming a dilettante, flitting from task to task or goal to goal without really making a commitment. Your inquisitive nature can really be of benefit this month, but don't let yourself become bored too easily. Instead of looking for constant new stimulation, find out everything you can. Master one task before jumping on to the next one. Though you may find new opportunities, you need to choose carefully and think it through. Work hard and play hard this month. Set yourself goals and benchmarks, and allow yourself rewards when you reach them. But don't sell yourself short- work hard and master your chosen vocation, then sit back and enjoy the rest you've earned.


Decan 1: (February 19- February 29)
Page of Cups

This first decan is the coffeehouse of the Zodiac this month, and creative impulses are running everywhere. And there you are, notebook in hand, taking it all in. Get into the mix and see what inspiration strikes you. It's a good month to be creative, and a good month to listen to your emotional side. There's no need to run and hide, or to retreat into daydreams, as things are looking rosy for you this November. You'll find plenty to occupy your mind and your time, so you'll hardly have any time for daydreaming. Ideas and inspiration come fast and heavy all around you, so sit back and take it all in; worry about sorting it out later. For now, just enjoy the sights and sounds, and see where it leads you. Direction and what you're using these things for is really up to you; think of a buffet. Take what you want, and be sure to try something new.

Decan 2: (March 1- March 10)
3 of Wands

Now's the time to get serious. Your neighboring decan is finding their footing, but you have all the direction you need. Now's the time to look to the world around you for the materials you need. Don't get too distracted, and let the first returns on your work and efforts fill you and guide you. Keep looking up, and be optimistic, as you have good reason to be. As always, there are potential distractions. Keep them in mind, but don't let them rule the day, and don't let their clamor drown out direction and guidance, or you risk undoing what you've accomplished so far. Stay the course, and wait for the reactions to roll in. You've got the actions covered, and now let those first rumblings guide you on a good, steady path. This model of cause leading to effect, and in turn to new cause, is what to look for this month.

Decan 3: (March 11-March 20)

Over in the Thoth deck we have Adjustment, and that seems to mark the next phase of your sign. Think of this as the logical extension of the previous two decans. You're on the right course- stay on it, and follow through. No need to question your judgment as to where you're going and what you're doing, you're getting good feedback and things will be rolling along pretty smoothly. Avoid rash movements or decisions this month, as there is an emphasis on cause and effect in this decan as well. Your big focus this month is on tangible or clearly visible results- this is your guidance, so don't hesitate to trust it. Wait and see is often the order of the day this month. What areas of life are panning out for you? Invest more time and energy in them. What areas are turning into dead ends? It's a more productive use of your time and resources to put those towards your known winners. As time goes on, you'll find a shift in focus. Go with this too, but don't force it, as it will happen in its own good time.

Wishing you all the best this November! The stars may predispose you towards certain things, certain strengths and certain outcomes, but remember that ultimately you are the single strongest force for change in your life.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Five Habits of Highly Ineffective Tarot Readings, Or, How To Get The Least Out of A Tarot Reading

When I first sat down to write this, I was afraid it would come across as bitter and snarky, instead of how I actually intended it- as a satirical look as to what can go wrong in a reading. This has been covered before by other readers, so I figured I’d give it my own treatment. But before we get into it, I’d like to point out that the vast majority of people I’ve encountered, read for, corresponded with and otherwise engaged, have been great. It’s been an incredible and fascinating time, and taught me many lessons, along with bringing a great many laughs and the occasional sigh. Well, here goes.
How do you get the least out of your Tarot reading? What habits can you, the client, adopt to make sure your time is put to as little use as possible, with the maximum amount of time backtracking, with maximum difficulty? There are five steps you can take to ensure that your reading consumes time and energy with no real productive ends met.
First, be sure to bring as much of a closed mind into the reading as possible. Remember, you’re here to be told what you want to hear, and what you already know. Be sure to seek validation for what you already know and have decided to do regardless. Whatever your experience level with the Tarot, you can absolutely read into it. Try to twist everything discussed into your prefabricated model of what you, the client, want to hear or have decided on already.
A closed mind can also prove effective in establishing an unbalanced, hostile and negative environment right off the bat. There are two ways to do this. First, be sure to point out how you don’t really believe this, and how you’re not convinced. You took the time out of your day and paid the fee, so why not act like it’s a waste of your time? Next, be sure to ask tons of questions. But be careful here, questions and interaction with your reader can turn a seemingly non-productive reading into an effective and dynamic dialogue with tremendous results. When you ask questions, make sure the answers fit the conclusions you have already drawn. Otherwise, simply push past them and ask a different question. Feel free to ask the same question a number of times, until you are satisfied you can bend the answer to fit the aforementioned conclusion you jumped to. Some clients like to consult multiple readers or multiple sources until they get the answer they want- this can be a fun way to take up your time and resources.
A second approach is called the Brick Wall. Does your reader have a confidentiality policy and code of ethics? (Most readers do, and will make it available upon request). Completely ignore it. Assume that this person is constantly judging you, and will record your every utterance for a good laugh with the general public later on. If the end result is that your reader feels like they are trying to hear a whisper through a brick wall, you’re on the right track. Much like an ER nurse, readers love to take time to discern just why you’re there. Remember, nurses have years of training to figure out what’s wrong with you- you shouldn’t need to point them in the right direction by providing any indication of what your ailment might be. The same thing is true of readers. Be sure to throw in passive-aggressive insinuations when the reader is thrown by your complete lack of information.  This too can help contribute to a tense, uncomfortable environment for both you and your reader. And remember, you as the client are not the expert on the life you’ve lived, and not the expert on the mind you possess. No, you the mere mortal cannot hope to attain the insight into your own life that the reader can.
"Can you hear me now?"
"OK good."

The third thing you should keep in mind is that you, as a paying customer, are always right. Don’t worry about the reader’s feelings, as before be sure to hear only what you want to hear (it is, of course, up to the reader to figure this out) and generally be as obnoxious as you want. Remember, a Tarot reader, like any psychic professional, is simply a machine that shuffles cards and spits out answers. Emotions, intuitions, the energy in the room- all these things are meaningless to a reader, and not worth your consideration as a client.

"Wow, he's so lifelike!"

Number four on our list of ways to make sure you don’t get your money’s worth is to keep in mind that you are a completely passive recipient of some impartial and often cruel Fate, Fortune, Sky God Who Doesn’t Like Me, or anything like that. While chance and luck certainly do play a role, be sure to rule out any of your own actions. Be sure to come in looking for a magic pill that will solve all of your problems in one dramatic flash and cloud of purple smoke.  Work and patience are for chumps, not for you, who will instead simply have the reader wave a magic card and wait for a solution that requires no effort on your part to appear. Remember what we said about jumping to conclusions? Here’s a great chance to put that into practice.

Finally, if you really want to take up time with as little practical result as possible, make sure to be as stand-offish as possible. Don’t provide any information to the reader. Don’t bring up any concerns you may have. Sit in a stone-faced silence that would be the envy of any Vegas poker pro. Keep any thoughts, comments or questions to yourself. Again, much like a nurse, your Tarot reader will automatically know why you’re there without you so much as having to utter a sound.

Well. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s be serious for a moment. Most, in fact all but a very few, clients I’ve encountered over the years don’t do any of the things I listed above. Most of them are insightful, interested and ask me challenging and intelligent questions. So for the vast majority of clients, here are some things you absolutely should do:
-Interrupt me and ask questions. Believe it or not, I’m not actually in love with the sound of my own voice. Your input is often interesting and helpful! The cards have pictures for a reason. Feel free to comment on what you see!
-Feel free to go back over a point you don’t feel you grasp fully, or that is not entirely clear. I’d rather take a little extra time and explain something in more detail than have you leave with unanswered questions.
-If you’d like, write down a few questions beforehand and bring them with you. If you don’t have any particular focus in a reading, or can’t formulate it, that’s fine too. The key in either case is interaction. Get into the mix, ask questions, even offer possible interpretations. You’d be surprised what comes up when you have a good rapport with your reader!
-Keep an open mind. If you find the cards leading you in a particular direction, why not go with it? There may be some new perspective to be had, or some new insight to be gained- often the value of a Tarot reading lies not in what you already know, but rather a new perspective on an existing and known matter.
-This last might be the most important- relax! We readers are not the spooky old Gypsy women you see in the movies, foretelling doom and the curse of the werewolf, or that you’ll be the one who was foretold, who would awaken the ancient evil. And if there are any issues, well, let’s sit down and look at them together. Remember, a Tarot reader is there to help, not to scare you. I can assure you of confidentiality. Anything you say and anything we discuss will be held in confidentiality. This is why you have the option to record a session- I myself don’t record them, and don’t keep records of what we discuss.

So to close, let me say again that most clients are a pleasure to work with. There are so many incredible stories out there, and each one of us has a unique and epic story to tell! Thank you to everyone who has shared their story with me, and I’m glad I could be of assistance! I hope this helps you out, and perhaps maybe even brings a smile here and there. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Plato's Chariot and the Tarot

The Allegory of the Chariot is one coming from Plato, and appears in the Dialogues (in Phaedrus) and later in the Republic, though it's thought to predate Plato, possibly having Egyptian or Mesopotamian origins. Basically, Plato regards the human soul as a kind of composite being, made up of three parts, and he uses the symbol of a chariot to show how they operate. There's a big division here between the higher and lower natures- Plato regarded our own world as flawed and imperfect, and believed an underlying, unseen and more perfect world existed also. Humanity is perhaps unique in that they can move between these two halves, and Plato regarded them as in opposition to each other, curiously. So let's look at the Chariot:
There are two horses, one white, the other black. Notice also that the horses seem to be looking in opposite directions. The chariot driver represents reason and consciousness- the "I", in essence. The white horse represents the pull towards higher, more spiritual things, while the black horse represents an opposing pull towards more earthly, mundane things, with their accompanying dullness of senses and appetites. When the chariot driver lets the black horse dominate (the chariot, according to Plato, is located in the air-from there it can ascend up to the heavens, or down to earth) the soul is given an earthly body, and there we are.
Regardless of which horse the charioteer listens to for direction, that same charioteer remains in control, calling the shots. If the charioteer relinquishes control to one of the horses, the effect is largely the same- the charioteer can either take command, or let the horses do their thing.
Where, you may be thinking, have I seen that image before? I'll use the Radiant Rider-Waite image here, as it's pretty close to Plato's description:
But there are a few differences. Here, the Chariot is pulled by sphinxes, not horses. Is that just to make it look all cool and metaphysical? Not entirely. Sphinxes are themselves composite beings. Here the sphinxes appear to be composed of two animals, man and lion, though interestingly the original sphinxes were composed of four animals, bearing the head of a man, the foreparts of a lion, the hindquarters of a bull, and the talons of an eagle. Each of these animals appears in a couple other places throughout the Majors, representing the four faculties of man as well as the four elements. To borrow a page from Eliphas Levi, we find the four animals represent the four aspects of working one's will:
Man- To Know (Air as the corresponding Element)
Bull- To Will (Earth as the corresponding Element)
Lion- To Dare (Fire as the corresponding Element)
Eagle- To Keep Silent (Water as the corresponding Element)

Back to Plato. He doesn't disparage the role of the black horse, nor that of the white horse. The white horse, left to its own devices, will simply fly upwards, regardless of whether the chariot comes along or not. The black horse will head down to earth, again regardless of whether the chariot comes along or not. It's up to the chariot driver to keep the two in check and moving in the same direction. Let's go back to the Chariot Tarot card for a moment. Looking at the driver, we see that there are no reins on this chariot- all he's holding is a wand, similar to those we see in the World Tarot card. The Magician holds a similar one, and in all three cases, the meaning is the same.
The wand here is a symbol of will- whereas the Magician exercises his will over the four Tarot suits, the charioteer exercises that same will and purpose over the two sphinxes, with their similar natures to the horses in Plato's example. Though energetic, the black horse can pull us down, distracting from what we're trying to do, and as a result, we lose focus and end up wasting energy on impulsive pursuits without a clear direction or focus. Likewise, if we let the white horse have free reign, the result can be restriction, direction without energy and ultimately, thought and ideas without action and manifestation. The key to this is not just will, but rather will that can balance out these opposing forces. Notice the sphinx in the Wheel of Fortune card- its appearance is similar to that of the two pulling the Chariot, but here the sphinx has a sword. The card indicates favorable change, but we see again the need for rational planning, expressed by the sword. In the Tarot the suit of Swords relates to thought and reason, and indicates here a need to plan- to respond to change to make it as advantageous as possible.
It should be clear from observation that we encounter both these black and white sides in everything- in ourselves, and likewise in the world around us. Wait for the perfect set of circumstances, and you'll be waiting a very, very long time. Try to construct and engineer the perfect conditions around you (or within, for that matter) and you'll be running yourself ragged trying to stay in the same spot! So the answer is in that wand- will. Use what you've got, and go for it! Will is a determining factor, and can bring conditions under one direction. Doing that means though you may encounter resistance, you'll still be moving. The World indicates a balance of these things- as the last card in the sequence of Major Arcana, it points to the experience and knowledge of being able to pull all these things together and keep them in balance.
Now, let's take a look at these black and white beasties in a different light. More often than not in the Tarot what we deal with is not good and evil, but rather protagonistic and antagonistic energy- what drives us towards a goal or higher calling, and what pulls us away from that. Self understanding and awareness is key to this, and from there, we can find a higher calling- a direction and purpose in life. Will, once again, is the force that drives us towards that goal and that end. Protagonistic energies and efforts bring us closer to that goal, whatever it may be. Antagonistic energies draw us away, into distractions. But these antagonistic energies are not necessarily bad; just misdirected. Going all the way back to Plato, he doesn't disregard the value of either horse. The energetic nature of the black horse needs simply to be redirected towards a goal, rather than left to its own devices.
Looking at this another way, we find the two horses representing two opposite but complementary principles- expansion and restriction. This too forms a consistent theme in the Tarot. The first place we see this dichotomy is in the High Priestess, sitting between her two pillars.
 It's no coincidence that the two pillars are black and white. The letters B and J refer to the Temple of Solomon, where they were named Boaz (Strength, in a rough translation) and Jachin (Established, in an equally rough translation). In other words, expansion (in the form of strength) and restriction and direction (in the form of established plans). The High Priestess appears early on to clue us in that we need both- the path is between them, not around one or the other. When these two are in balance, we can use both in proportion, and as needed.
Moving along, we see the same pairing in the Empress and Emperor, appearing just after the High Priestess. The Empress represents expansion and nurturing, while the Emperor represents guidance and restriction of that expansion. We need these two together, the Priestess reminds us. If we have just expansion, chaos results as that expansion goes every which way, lacking form, cohesion and direction. If we have just restriction, we have sterility and a crushing of that expansive principle. But put the two together, and we find expansion in accordance with a pattern, and direction- will, in other words.

This duality is also present in the Kabbalah, and is illustrated in the Tree of Life- it shows aspects of manifestation, once again in accordance with will. Here, the will comes from the Divine, and the world is thought to unfold according to a Divine plan. The two extremes on this Tree represent the Empress and Emperor, respectively- these two are likewise mirrored in the High Priestess' pillars. In the diagram, we have two pillars. The left hand pillar is called the Pillar of Severity- restriction and structure. The right hand pillar is the Pillar of Mercy- expansion and growth.
Way down at the bottom in the last circle there we have manifestation- notice that it falls between the two pillars- not on one or the other. The conclusion is that we need both, in proportion. Not all restriction, constantly fighting to keep that white horse in charge, and the black horse subservient- not only will that consume all our energy, but will get us nowhere. Nor is it constantly letting the black horse have free reign- that will drive the chariot all over the place, following every last whim and impulse, without any definite direction or larger goal. And likewise, it won't get us anywhere. So the long and short of it is this- we need that energy, and we need direction, if we're to go anywhere. Life is about balance- yet at the same time, we simply can't just accept whatever comes. Will drives us on, will serves as a road map and guiding star to bring us beyond where we are, and turn potential into actuality.
(images courtesy of the Radiant Waite Tarot)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tarot Of Terror- Laurie Strode/Angel Myers

For this installment, I'll be looking at the remake of Halloween, directed by Rob Zombie and released back in 2007. Comparisons between this and John Carpenter's original 1978 release are inevitable, but I thought the remake was not without its own merits. In this, we see a different portrayal of Laurie Strode, and although a director's cut of the sequel to this film gives us a different fate (Laurie doesn't make it) her psychological state and the series of events she goes through make for an interesting story.
A background on Laurie is needed to really understand the whats and whys of what happened to her, and perhaps to provide us with some hope for her future. Laurie Strode was born Angel Myers on or around 1990 to Deborah Myers and an unknown father. She was the youngest of three children, suggesting that her father had been around during the lives of her two older siblings. Judith is her older sister, and is in her teens. She seems to be the only Myers sibling with a clear memory and attachment to the unknown father. Michael is Judith's younger brother, whom she regards as something of an annoyance, but generally has little to do with. Angel is the youngest of the three, and is less than a year old when Michael is taken into psychiatric custody. Michael displays hostility towards Deborah's live-in boyfriend Ronnie White, who is unemployed and has at best a tense relationship with the three Myers children, as well as Deborah herself. Deborah is the only person with a job in the Myers house, working at a local strip club despite the reputation this earns her around the town. Money is a little tight at chez Myers, and this adds to the ever-present tension in the home. Though Michael's teacher suspects something is very much amiss with Michael, Deborah is both unwilling to acknowledge Michael's disturbing behavior both in and out of the house, and too harried to really be able to do much about it. Nonetheless, Michael seems close to his mother, and she does her best to provide for the family.
Michael and "Boo"

 That Halloween, things come to a head. Michael murders Judith, Ronnie and Judith's boyfriend. Deborah is out for the evening, and Michael deliberately spares his sister Angel. Deborah comes home to find Michael calmly waiting on the porch of their home, holding Angel, whom he refers to as "Boo", an affectionate nickname. Michael is taken into psychiatric custody, and continues to deteriorate.
It's interesting to examine Michael's pathology, as it provides a great deal of insight into Laurie's own life. Michael displays symptoms consistent with Type 2 schizophrenia, and the fact that Laurie later develops similar symptoms, albeit later in life, also suggests this. (Schizophrenia is thought to be at least partially genetic). While in the psychiatric hospital, Michael occupies his time making masks, which, as he puts it, hide his "ugliness". He later finally lapses into catatonia, though occasional violent fugue states are present as well.
Deborah later shoots herself, unable to cope with the stigma of being Michael's mother, and the trouble of now having to raise Angel herself. Responding to the emergency call, local law enforcement officer Sheriff Brackett finds Angel alone in the house with Deborah's body, and the baby Angel is later put up for adoption. She is adopted by the Strodes, coincidentally friends of Brackett. Angel's records are sealed by Brackett, and now-Laurie Strode grows up without any knowledge of her biological family.

Michael remains in custody, and finally, when Laurie is in high school, comes back to the town where Laurie now lives and attends school. Laurie does not recognize him, and has no memory of ever being Angel Myers. She is attacked by Michael, who attempts to communicate their relationship to her, but she ultimately escapes.
At this point, Laurie takes a turn for the worse. The Strodes unfortunately did not survive Michael's return to town, and Laurie now begins to develop signs of PTSD stemming from her encounter with Michael, and she becomes increasingly moody and withdrawn. She has moved in with Brackett, and sees a psychiatrist regularly, as well as taking medication. However, lacking any knowledge of her past, what is highly likely a developing schizophrenic state goes largely unnoticed, as Laurie's therapy focuses much more on dealing with her trauma than any underlying psychological condition. A year later, Michael comes back, at which point Laurie's PTSD and nightmares are getting extremely troubling, and she begins to dream of Deborah, indicating some residual memories of her former life. Laurie ends up stabbing and killing Michael, though at a tremendous cost. Prior to killing him, Laurie acknowledges Michael as her brother and tells him she loves him. Laurie ultimately survives, but enters a catatonic state not unlike her older brother, and continues to hallucinate young Michael and Deborah. Whether or not this is actually Deborah, or if a psychic connection exists between Michael and Laurie, remains speculative.
Still adorable, even after a psychotic episode

The reason I chose Laurie for a reading is that it's not impossible she can recover sufficiently to live a more or less normal life. There are a number of factors against her here- inherited mental illness as well as circumstance-generated mental illness. But Laurie does not have the early onset that Michael does, indicating that the malady the Myers kids share is partially triggered by stress. Schizophrenia also manifests most commonly in adolescence, though it seems Laurie is highly responsive to a supportive and nurturing home life. The Strodes appear to be great parents, though they are unaware of Laurie's past, as she herself is until much later in life.
So on to Laurie's reading. At the time of the reading, she's sequestered away in a psychiatric facility, and prognosis is unknown. Has she been traumatized beyond hope of recovery? That, dear readers, was the question I sought to answer. I saw two halves to Laurie- the well-adjusted, intelligent and generally optimistic student and the scarred but still tough person she became after her first encounter with Michael.
Circumstances very much factor into her life- first, she has clear-cut PTSD, and finding out she was in fact Michael's sister takes a tremendous toll on her psyche, and we are left hoping that her natural resilience can make a difference. The reading seemed pretty consistent with this- Laurie is not beyond hope, and though there's a lot of work for her to do, I wouldn't call recovery impossible.
So to start off, I decided on a 14-card Celtic Cross spread. The first card that came up for her was the reversed 6 of Wands- the interesting thing about reversals here is that in some cases reversals indicate the energy of this card may be present, but is blocked or muted by something else. This seems to be the case here, as the 6 indicates victory and strength of will, but Laurie simply can't do it on her own.
See what I mean? 
Covering this card and indicating main influences at present was the Ace of Pentacles- Laurie is not without resources, and here this card brought to mind its aspects of Earth, and with Earth, a support network. Laurie is considerably less socially and mentally isolated than Michael was, and in his case, lacking any other relatives to consult, it's entirely possible his underlying issues went unnoticed. Laurie, however, has strong connections to her friends and loved ones, and though she often feels isolated, seems aware of the support she has, and perhaps more than this, remembers a normal life.
The Past position for Laurie held the 9 of Wands, and it seems again much like the image above- Laurie feels overwhelmed by the task she's met with, and unable to cope with all that's required of her on the road out of the hospital and back to some semblance of normality. Nonetheless, Laurie seems aware of having come a very long way under very adverse circumstances, and though she really lacks the means to communicate her feelings and ideas to others, she may not be an entirely lost cause.
The Foundation position here held the Strength card, which, along with the Aspirations card, is an interesting take on her psychological and emotional state. The Aspirations card, which addresses the best outcome of the situation, was the 10 of Cups- a strong indication of family. Ah, but which family, and how does that family affect her? Is it coming to terms with her past, and the fact that Michael is her brother? It seems she has already come to a fatalistic acceptance of that, though whether or not she realizes that her past is just that, past, is not entirely clear. The Foundation card here, where she is coming from, so to speak, is the Strength card. Again, what aspect of Laurie are we looking at here? Is it her ties to the Myers family, which she seems to regard much as her mother did, a stigma to be concealed and avoided, or is it a chance to move beyond that, and prove to herself and others that she's not just a serial murderer's baby sister?
Moving on to the 7th position, and Laurie's future, it's a mixed bag as well. Here the cards were the reversed 9 of Swords and the 4 of Swords. Laurie, it seems, is no slouch mentally, but has a lot to deal with here. I wouldn't expect a quick recovery at all- she has a great deal of underlying issues, but the 4 of Swords tells me that given time, she can gradually come to terms with them. The question is whether she can address and move past her hurt and trauma and come through this storm in one piece, or sink into despair.
The 8th position deals with Laurie's own state of mind, and here was the Page of Cups and the Wheel of Fortune. Again, there's some hope there for the future. The Page of Cups, appearing here with the 4 of Swords previously, gave me a strong sense of her trying to come to terms with having her world turned upside down. I tend to think the hospital environment may be beneficial to her, as much of the stress has been removed from her life, and she can focus on her own thoughts and coming to terms with them. However, there's a danger here also that these thoughts will just tend towards rumination and drive her further down the spiral she seems to be trying to shake free of. The Wheel tells me that it's not impossible that Laurie ultimately will indeed move beyond these things, though the scars, both physical and mental, will always be with her as a reminder of what happened. And therein lies Laurie's challenge- to accept these things and move beyond them.
The 9th position deals with influences, and here was the reversed Hierophant and the 6 of Pentacles- Laurie seems to be a study in contradictions. The reversed Hierophant can be interpreted as her traumatized, scarred state, or her dismissal of the therapy she received- at several points prior to her hospitalization Laurie questions the value of her therapy, expressing frustration at a perceived lack of progress. This frustration no doubt has increased, and Laurie may well be at the point of giving up- it's just too much of a burden for her to try to hang on to the life she once knew. But on the other hand, the 6 of Pentacles points again to the fact that Laurie is well aware she doesn't live in a vacuum. She knows there are people who care about her, and she cares about them too. Although these connections to others are not in and of themselves sufficient to motivate Laurie to shake off her issues and move on, (again, this will be a lengthy and difficult process for her) they are definitely in her mind and definitely leave an impact on her.
Finally, the 10th position provides an outcome. And ultimately, it seems things have a very real possibility of turning around for her. Here was the Lovers and the 10 of Pentacles. Throughout this reading, Pentacles have referred to Laurie's support network- friends, family and perhaps even the psychiatric care she receives. The Laurie we will see on the other side of all this is not the same Laurie that went in, as the Lovers indicate- here, it's a joining together of Laurie's past and present- she can learn, it would seem, to accept the fact that she was once Angel Myers, but is her own person. Her past does not define her, though it does continue to make itself felt, and a big part of Laurie's recovery will be admitting to herself that she needs help with this- she can't just sweep her mental issues under the rug. On the other hand, she doesn't have to go it alone, and seems aware that there are other people who care about her and are willing to help. Looking at the 10 of Pentacles, I see that this goes two ways with her- she wants to be well for them as well as for herself, and the pain she causes them, albeit unintentionally, leaves a mark on her as well. She doesn't want to go back to that state, and though the task is a daunting one, a part of her wants to keep pressing on.
So in the end, Laurie is something of a mixed bag. On the one hand, she feels completely overwhelmed by everything that's happened to her, and despairs of ever getting over what has happened. She feels like she will never get past the part of her that she knows to be Angel Myers- blood relative to a psychotic murderer, and fears the same fate for herself. However, another part of her remembers happier times, and this has left her with a degree of natural optimism and hope. The final scene in the sequel, where Laurie is sitting in her hospital room, shows Michael and Deborah appearing to a smiling Laurie. What does this mean to her? Has she given up and decided to follow in her older brother's bloody footsteps, or does this mean something else entirely? It would seem from the cards that Laurie needs to address these specters and find meaning in them- they represent something to her, and that something may well be where she does not want to go again. So given time and sufficient interaction with others, I think Laurie might well one day put the past behind her and move on with life, perhaps even being the stronger for it.