I’m proud to announce that The Tarot of the Magicians by Oswald Wirth (RedWheel/Weiser), with an extensive introduction by me, won the Award for the Best Book of 2012 from TarotProfessionals. This is a classic work by one of the great French occultists of the late 19th and early 20th century that should be read and re-read by all serious Tarot students. The book also contains the first reproduction of Wirth’s original 1889 Tarot (only 350 produced), on fine card stock—ready to be cut out and used. If you get only one tarot book in 2013, it should be this. Please share your impressions of this outstanding book.
Join me for a two-part webinar with Global Spiritual Studies
Live: January 24 and 31, 2013 or available to view later or purchase as a DVD – info here.
Who actually designed the Rider-Waite Tarot cards? Did A. E. Waite unfairly take too much credit for the deck illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith? In this two-part webinar we’ll examine the evidence. It seems pretty clear that Waite had something very specific in mind for the Major Arcana, so are the Minors exclusively Smith’s?
It turns out there may have been a specific purpose behind the illustrations to the Minor cards. We’ll closely explore a couple of stories that show an uncanny resemblance to Smith’s Minor Arcana and determine where the Minor Arcana images and meanings came from. But mostly we’ll see how the stories behind the Waite-Smith Minor Arcana can inform your own readings and card interpretations.
Join me for a bit of historical detective work as we seek to make the cards richer and deeper. This pictorial journey through the cards and peek into the lives of Waite and Smith will increase your own appreciation of the deck and enhance your work as a tarot reader.
Have you ever noticed that after seeing some films you are snappish or silent, yearning or ponderous, giggly or jumpy, and that the affects can last for minutes, hours or even days, abducting us from our normal means of perception?
I was reading one of my all-time favorite books Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology by David Abram and came to the part where he describes his own growing awareness that certain movies and books would “surreptitiously enter into my bloodstream, like a contagion . . . a curious spell that my organism was under.” He further characterizes these effects as a “capacity for being drawn, physiologically, into the terrain of certain stories—abducted into another landscape that would only belatedly release me back into the palpable present.” His description is reminiscent of being stolen away into the land of fairy.
I recently experienced such a state after going to see “Beasts of the Southern Wild”: my friends noticed that I couldn’t speak after the movie and that I refused their ride so I could walk home alone. I realized that Abram’s insights provided a second part to my established practice of active reading and movie-viewing, in which I draw cards before partaking of the work so as to sharpen my perception and enrich my understanding and appreciation of the work. Based on Abram’s commentary I’ve designed a spread that assists us in seeing how a work ensorcells us, temporarily coloring our perceptions and feelings and even influencing our actions.
Place the first six cards in a clockwise circle, beginning at the top, with the seventh card in the center.
1. What feeling tone colors my general outlook after seeing the film (or reading the book)?
2. How does this influence my immediate approach or response to things?
3. What fears does it stir?
4. What longings awaken?
5. What shifts do I perceive in my immediate surroundings? How do I see things differently?
6. What do I need from those around me? And, once I’ve answered that: How can I give this to myself?
7. What is the major lesson that this work offers me?
I went to see this movie because some friends had invited me, based on the recommendation of another friend. Before going I knew nothing about it and couldn’t even remember the title. So, I thought I’d try out the Petit Lenormand cards as a prediction of plot. I got Lilies-Clouds-Snake-Scythe-Whip, all of them Court Cards. Turns out it was pretty darn accurate for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” It’s a coming-of-age mythic fable about a little girl, Hushpuppy, and her father who live on a fragile island, the Bathtub, south of the Louisiana dikes in the Gulf. It also features other people who exist in these unbelievably harsh conditions (all the Court Cards). There’s the dying father, a huge storm, a wise female teacher (as well as a dream-like encounter with a mother-figure), the poisoning of the creatures on the island, breaking through the dike, lots of arguments, and the inhabitants battle with the authorities. It’s an emotionally wrenching film with incredible acting – especially by the young girl and her father.
I drew five cards:
- Lilies -Family (also innocence and Father)
- Clouds – the Storm
- Snake – Poison/Wise Woman (at the center)
- Scythe – Decision to stay on the island; Death and Destruction
- Whip – Arguments, violent activity
An even better way to read Lenormand is in pairs:
- Lilies+Clouds – disfunctional family or problems with the father.
- Clouds+Snake – bad mojo, lack of clarity regarding a woman.
- Snake+Scythe - cut off from a woman; a treacherous decision; a poisonous death.
- Scythe+Whip – violent cutting, a decisive battle.
I was prepared for what could be a very dark, tragic film. It almost was, but something else broke through. My strongest thought during the intermission (they have to change the reels at our local art theatre) was, I couldn’t live like that! Several people left.
I later did a reading with the Mary-El Tarot to help me explore my conscious and unconscious reactions, responding directly to her images. I’ll only mention a few brief highlights of what I saw.
1. What colors my general outlook? 5 of Wands. First thought on looking at the growling red lion: “red-in-tooth-and-claw”. I had a very visceral reaction that touched on my most primitive fight-flight-freeze physiology.
2. How does this influence my immediate approach or response to things? 10 of Wands. This shows a warrior with bow and arrows on a horse. Flight. But I also wanted to be a defender of the movie to those who were repelled by it.
3. What fears does it stir? Page of Disks. This image of a sleeping baby with marks like nails surrounding it arouses my protectiveness. I fear that something primally innocent – the exquisite nature of the sentiment in the film – might be harmed. I also fear that I might slumber when I should awaken.
4. What longings awaken? Knight of Disks. The next stage of maturity: Knight as protector of the Page/Baby of Disks. This immediately reminded me of the scene shown in the lead photo above. I long to stand up for and to what might otherwise overwhelm us.
5. What shifts do I perceive in my immediate surroundings? How do I see things differently? 7 of Disks. I see a split, like two separate meteors. I am aware of the lack of words when I feel drawn out of myself.
6. What do I need from those around me? How can I give this to myself? The Tower. Strong words and opinions. Instead, both I and my friends retreated into silence. I can give myself the words, the surpressed fury, the burning to act on this film in some way.
7. What is the major lesson that this work offers me? Ace of Wands. That some creative spark can be birthed out of this fiery angelic torment. The reading is all Fire and Earth.
Words still fail me. Please let me know what you thought of the film and/or your experience in reading cards for enhancing your experience of films and books.
Barbara Moore, Steampunk Tarot, Tarot Spreads, Tarot for Beginners
Mary K. Greer, 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card, Women of the Golden Dawn
Carrie Paris, Santa Fe Tarot & incredible teacher of Tarot
Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, Tarot of the Crone
Robert M. Place, Alchemical Tarot, Tarot: History, Symbolism & Divination
Marcus Katz, Tarosophy, Around the Tarot in 78 Days (with Tali Goodwin), Tarot Professionals
with even more – we will be offering many additional evening Tarot workshops by:
*NEW* Rana George on Lenormand Card Reading
Dr. Art Rosengarten
and others …
and deck presentations/classes by many Tarot artists
GUEST M.C. Dan Donche (“Inappropriate Tarot” & new Darkana Deck)
After-Dinner Speaker James Wells!
This PPT talk and presentation is now available as an online recording or a DVD. It’s excellent for those who are wondering what all the excitement is about regarding the Lenormand cards. Additionally, it goes into the surprising history and origins of the deck. It demonstrates several ways of reading the cards, with an exciting example of how a Grand Tableau spread saved me from a major travel disaster that would have cost thousands of dollars and no end of troubles. Purchase info at Global Spiritual Studies.
Here’s an interesting video on different methods of fortune-telling found today in Taiwan. The bird technique is found all over the world and is sometimes used with tarot or cartomancy decks in which case the bird picks the cards.
2012 Tarot Omega Tarot Conference - July 27 – 29th - the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY.
Featuring Caitlín Matthews, Robert Place, Joanna Powell-Colbert, Rachel Pollack and Mary K. Greer
This conference brings together an extraordinary group of tarot readers and tarot deck creators for a wonderful weekend of readings, art, and practical skills. This year’s conference features three tarot artists plus two deck conceptualizers. Discover what inspired them to “dream the tarot onwards,” creating new images and ideas deeply rooted in the tarot’s ancient traditions.
No matter what your level as a reader or your knowledge of tarot is, learning directly from deck creators will help you develop you own natural abilities. Discover what inspires a new deck and what goes into the making of cards that really work. Guided by this passion and knowledge, we do readings—for ourselves, friends, and complete strangers.
but don’t plan on going home after that – because Mary and Rachel continue on with five fabulous days of Tarot Magic -
In this tarot workshop with masters Mary K. Greer and Rachel Pollack, we work with the evocative images of the tarot to gain insight and wisdom for ourself and others, and to create the changes we want personally and globally. We learn how to read for others in ways that honor the natural wisdom within everyone and that turn the act of choosing a future into a magical experience.
This tarot workshop supports beginners while offering new ideas and techniques to seasoned professionals.
Click on the links for more information!
I have a webinar coming up this Thursday. Please join me. It’s for everyone who wonders what learning about Tarot history can do to improve their readings. I’ll be illustrating the changing perceptions of the Lovers card from ancient Greece to modern Wicca; it is far more complex than you might have thought. Journey with me in living color through pictures depicting the origins of cards and cartomancy and learn how to add depth to your readings.
Improve Your Tarot Readings Through Tarot History - a webinar through Global Spiritual Studies