What this is all about...

This blog describes my journey with the tarot. Here you can find articles, spreads, deck reviews, tarot fiction, practice readings, exercises or get readings (see tabs above).

TIP: You can navigate the categories on the right to find Spreads, "Dear Satu" readings for fictional characters, Deck Reviews, Exercises and more.

Sonntag, 27. Januar 2013

Deck Review: The Haindl Tarot - my verdict

I have taken some time to try and test the Haindl Tarot by painter Hermann Haindl (Lotos)  and this is my verdict on the deck.

The cards are rather big, with a matte finish and well-rounded edges. The size is not really good for shuffling or riffling the deck, which is a bit of a pity as that means it will probably not make it into my standard decks. I tend to get annoyed with cards I cannot shuffle properly. The back shows a non-symmetrical human eye, so it's perhaps nothing for people who put a lot of weight on reading reversals. 

The pip suits were superimposed on paintings and I'm not sure they always fit the meaning of the card but in most cases they do. The colours are muted except for some of the fundamental colours (red, blue, yellow) that appear a bit brighter, which gives the deck a bit of a serious and sombre quality. 

The imagery is clearly influenced by Crowley's Thoth deck but not a Thoth clone or derivate, Haindl has developed imagery of his own using mythological images from various cultures, occult systems and religions (Norse, Hindu, Egyptian, Native American, I Ching, Runes, Alchemy....), which makes it a bit of a deck for the advanced reader. I find it hard to interpret the pips without any prior knowledge of tarot, the suits and the progression within the suits. So it's clearly not a deck I would recommend for total beginners. Haindl uses different names for some of the Majors (e.g. Transformation/Death, Alchemy/Temperance, Pan/Devil) and for the Courts (Mother/Queen, Father/King, Son/Prince and Daughter/Princess) and he follows Waite's numbering of the Majors (XI=Balance, VIII=Strength)

The imagery and style reminds me a bit of the Petersen deck. I think it's a bit of an acquired taste. Either you like it and it "talks" to you - or you don't and it doesn't. Personally I found it quite interesting to work with and got very clear and good results in my readings. I would have instant associations with most card images and the key words and references helped, too. 

The LWB gives you very little to go on, there's a description of the card and a very short and somewhat limited explanation of its divinatory meaning. Again, I'd say that makes it an "advanced readers' deck". 

There are a number of cards I like especially in the Majors, for example The Hermit, The Tower, Strength, The Lovers, Two of Cups, The High Priestess and the Magician. My least favourite card is perhaps the Queen of Wands depicted as Kali as it stresses only the dark side of this card (makes me wonder if Haindl is scared of strong women). 

As I already said in the deck interview this deck somehow had an "old wise man" feel to it. It's a rather serious deck with a distinctly sombre quality. Not necessarily dark but perhaps a good deck for serious questions, meditation and shadow work. I quite liked it but it will probably not become one of my standard decks in use. I still have to test its use in creative writing and there was a spread suggested in the LWB I have yet to try. In any event, this one is a definite keeper. Beautiful artwork and rich symbolism. Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea...but mine. 

Freitag, 25. Januar 2013

Dear Satu - Yours Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In my deck interview with the Haindl I picked up the idea that it could be worthwhile asking the deck about matters concerned with creative projects. So I thought I'd combine that with a decision-making spread and do a reading for a historical figure. Here goes...

Dear Satu,

for about six years now I have been very successfully writing detective novels using the same protagonist. Somehow I feel that I have hit a dead end. It's very lucrative but if truth be told, I am getting a little bored with writing about the same character all the time and writing about him doesn't leave me enough time to work on other projects. 
So I have been thinking about having him die in the next novel. It's a difficult decision and I don't know if it's a wise move to kill off a character that's so popular. My mother has been trying to convince me not to - she's a big fan of my detective apparently. 

What advice can you give me?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


if I am not mistaken you are talking about your world-famous detective Sherlock Holmes? I feel extremely honoured and flattered that you are turning to me for advice in this matter and hope that I can help you with your decision. 

I used a decision-making spread I made up for these occasions. It's a 7-card spread using the following positions:

1: Your attitude/feeling concerning option A
2: Your attitude/feeling concerning option B
3: Cons of choosing A
4: Cons of choosing B
5: Pros of choosing A
6: Pros of choosing B

7: General advice on this matter

I used the Haindl Tarot to answer your question and the cards were as follows:

1: Your attitude/feeling concerning option A - Ace of Swords
2: Your attitude/feeling concerning option B - Princess of Disks
3: Cons of choosing A - Four of Swords
4: Cons of choosing B - Seven of Swords
5: Pros of choosing A - Ace of Pentacles
6: Pros of choosing B - XIII Death (Transformation) reversed

7: III The Empress

You have thought a lot about killing off your famous detective, you find it hard to do so but somehow feel it could be an act of liberation that is necessary. You feel something like a parent's responsibility towards Holmes and allowing him to live would mean you put your own interest behind that of our famous protagonist.

The negative aspects of allowing him to die would be that it could mean a period of standstill or rest in your work, possibly a creative pause of some kind in which you need time to refocus. The Four Swords could also stand for stalling sales of your work, so it could very well be that for a while there will be no or considerably less money to be made with your other projects. 
Seven swords shows me though that simply carrying on with your Holmes series is not really an option for you as you feel it would be dodging the issue and doing something futile or useless. Your heart would not be in it. 
Ace of Pentacles tells me that allowing Holmes to die is a chance for you to focus on "real life" projects, on building something lasting and more solid. Death reversed could point to the fact that you would feel like you are "riding a dead horse" if you continued writing your Holmes story even though you feel your passion for it has gone. 

There are only Swords, Pentacles and Majors in this spread which tells me you see the problem chiefly in rational and financial terms. Would it be a wise move to keep writing Holmes for the money? The cards suggest your mind is already made up as you feel it would be "dishonest", non-productive and like trying to avoid the inevitable. Your interest has turned elsewhere and though I am sure as a skilled writer you could still produce wonderful Holmes novels, you would do so without passion and love. 

The Empress reminds you that creativity is a natural process, you have to go with the flow, make the best of what's there, be prepared for surprises. Allow for natural rhythms and follow your own creative path. If you feel you don't want to write Holmes anymore, perhaps you shouldn't, no matter what people say. It probably depends on how important financial success is to you in this matter. The card shows an open door in the background with a diffuse source of light. Perhaps you could leave a loophole, not shut the door on Holmes entirely.

For the time being, however, it seems you have grown fed up with him and it would make little sense to just keep going if you ask me. 

Quintessence of this reading: VIII Strength (in the Haindl) - You should follow the path that makes the best use of your energies and your strengths. It's okay that you didn't give in to your first impulse but took the time to think about this properly but since you describe your feeling as having hit a creative dead end, I think you should do what you feel is necessary to free your creative passions that have been domesticized for six years. Sure, (financial) success is nice but it's not everything. 

I hope I could help you with this and wish you luck with your writing and other projects, no matter what you decide about Holmes. 


Montag, 21. Januar 2013

Don't be afraid of the dark: What are you afraid of?

Now that my Haindl Tarot told me it was not the right deck for lovey-dovey girlie questions and trifling matters because of its depth and sophistication, I think I could use it for a spread I found over on Aeclectic Tarot Forum. It was created by Sammie.

Here’s how it works:

The title of this spread reminds me of one of my favourite films ever, a German tv production („Schwer verknallt“) about a young woman called Alma who has a wonderful voice and is very pretty but overweight. In an online forum for Japanese films she gets to know a man who shares her passion for these films and they talk for hours on the phone. It turns out, he is the man she had been swooning over from afar and she is the voice he thinks is so sexy that announces the trains at the central station.
Eventually they meet and get along very well but of course he only likes thin women. He has a band though that is looking for a singer and his best friend thinks Alma would be perfect. But the band thinks they need a thin lead singer, so the guy she has a crush on doesn’t invite her to the casting at first...anyway, I’m giving away too much. It’s a film about hiding in the dark because you feel insecure or inferior and finding your way into the light, which of course Alma does. So I think it fits this spread perfectly.

Here’s the theme song on YouTube

And here goes my reading with the Haindl Tarot:

11)   What are you afraid of?
22)   What will turn on the light?

11)   Ace of Swords
22)   Two of Swords

1) My first thought was: harsh or hurtful criticism. While I thought about this  today I suppose it works both ways. I am afraid of criticism that hurts me. I’m okay with being criticized usually as long as it’s constructive but criticism about my personality or other touchier subjects scares me.
The other thing ist hat I don’t like criticizing people either though as a teacher it is often part of my job. I don’t like hurting people and I shy away from confrontation sometimes. It has become a bit better recently but still, it’s one of my major problems.

2) The two of Swords in this deck shows two swords parallel to each other suspended between two rock formations. There’s a red moon and one of the rocks has a red glow to it while the other is icy blue like the background. Probably I have to bear in mind that criticism is only ever one opinion, one way of seeing things, never totally objective, especially if it is not constructive but bent on hurting somebody. So if one person criticizes this or that about me, another person might view it differently. It would probably help me not to take matters to heart too much and see them as ”possibilities” that I can either accept (and change) or ignore. 

Sonntag, 20. Januar 2013

New Deck Interview - Six Questions for the Haindl Tarot

After my disastrous start with the Golden Rider Tarot, I'm hoping for better luck exploring another deck from my collection I have so far hardly worked with: The Haindl Tarot by the painter Hermann Haindl. 

Image: Hermann Haindl - Der Haindl Tarot, Lotos: "XIII Transformation (Der Tod)"

Here's my six questions for the deck:

1) What adjective do you think describes you best?
2) What will you help me with?

3) What would you rather not be bothered with?
4) What lesson can you teach me?
5) Your message for me?
6) What would you like to ask me?

1) The Chariot
2) Nine of Cups
3) Knight of Cups
4) Death
5) Three of Swords
6) Three of Stones (Pentacles)

Q: What adjective do you think describes you best?

A: Fearless

All right...that sounds good and scary at the same time.

Q: What will you help me with?

A: I'll allow your emotions to flow freely, I will help you have breakthroughs in your readings. 

That sounds very promising to me. I am looking forward to that. 

Q: What would you rather not be bothered with?

A: Questions about where/when/how to find Mr Right, they insult my intelligence. I have the gift of sight and don't like to be trifled with!

Okay...a deck with an attitude. 

Q: What lesson can you teach me?

A: I can teach you to look truth in the eye, even if it's not pleasant. I can teach you that all is one as are life and death, to understand life's endless cycles of becoming and dying. I can help you let go of old and received beliefs and give you new insights. I'm an expert at showing you ways of letting go on a number of levels. I can show you how energies can be transformed. Is that nothing?

So I understand you are more the deep, philosophical type and you don't want to be bothered with girlie stuff, okay. I respect that and I'm looking forward to learning from you.

Q: What is your message for me?

A: Cleansing is often painful but necessary. I can help you deal with difficult situations and sorrow.

Q: What would you like to ask me?

A: What about your creative projects? When will you get on with those? Do you think you could use me for that? Would you like to try?

I'm not sure as I'm currently working on a children's book and a novel for teenage girls, so that might be too trifling for you. I'll still keep you in mind for creative writing processes. We'll try, okay?

Interesting interview. The deck feels like an old wise man to me. I think I'll have a great time exploring this deck. I'm not sure the deck and I will "click" but at least it promises to be a lot more insightful than the Golden Rider. 

Deck Review: The Golden Rider Tarot

I think I can keep this short and sweet. This deck is just not my cup of tea. It's a Rider Waite clone and uses slightly the slightly altered images of the Waite deck. To me it looks as if someone took a RWCS deck and some oil paint or acrylic paint and painted over the original images. 

The images are cruder and the colours darker and in some cases brighter. Backgrounds were added (for example a pink/purplish background that looks like sunrise/sunset on the Five of Cups). I'm not sure these alterations make sense. At least I don't see the sense. The original deck works better for me even though it has its limitations, too.

I quite like the artwork of Pamela Colman Smith even though it is rather simple but there's a rather simple colour code to the cards, they work a lot with blue sky/grey sky, red garments, yellow, white, for me it's very easy to read the colour symbolism (which is a strength and a weakness of the deck at the same time). This I find distracting. 

The coppery-brown-gold colour that gave the deck its name is too dominant in my view, it's used as a border and has been used extensively on most of the cards. 

This deck just didn't really speak to me as I didn't see a reason for the alterations to the original deck. There's for example the Vice Versa Tarot which uses the RWCS images but shows them from a point of view in the background of the card, so you get to see what the figure on the card sees - you get to see something that is not on the original card, something that adds to the original card meaning or twists it. THAT to me is interesting and plausible. This is just...I don't know...confusing and seems superfluous to me. 

No, definitely not a keeper for me. Me and the deck, we didn't do well during our interview and I didn't like it any better when I browsed through the cards again. This one is not for me. 

Samstag, 19. Januar 2013

New Deck Interview: The Golden Tarot

My first impression of the deck is that it is simply a RWCS clone with no real surprises. The images are the same as in the RWCS deck, the colours are sometimes a bit darker, a bit brighter on occasion with lots of pink and gold. Not really my taste, I have to say. But we'll see what the deck has to tell me.

Here's my questions for the deck

1) What adjective do you think describes you best?
2) What will you help me with?
3) What would you rather not be bothered with?
4) What lesson can you teach me?
5) Your message for me?
6) What would you like to ask me?

1) Nine of Pentacles
2) Judgement
3) Six of Wands
4) The Chariot
5) Ace of Swords
6) Four of Cups

? What adjective do you think describes you best?

! This is the card of wealth, so I would say "golden". ;-)

? What will you help me with?

! Starting over, doing something completely new.

? What would you rather not be bothered with?

! Your arrogance in this interview. 

? What lesson can you teach me?

! To have clear goals and set out into that direction immediately.

? Your message for me?

! Cut it out!

? What would you like to ask me?

! Why are you so sulky and not willing to accept what I have to offer?

Okay...I think this says it all. Me and the deck, we don't do well at all. I just don't like the images. It looks as if it has been painted over the original Rider Waite images. It doesn't really speak to me. 

I suppose the interview showed it's time for me to choose a new deck and part with this one. Not a keeper for me. I'll have a thorough look at the other cards again and then I'll post the review in the near future. 

As new decks the random generator suggests: 
The Bohemian Gothic Tarot, Haindl Tarot, Sharman-Caselli Tarot - I will choose the Haindl as that is a deck I'm very curious about. 

New Deck: The Golden Rider: testing phase starts now

Image: The Golden Rider, Francois Tapernoux, AGM

I'm a collector and over the years I have accumulated 80 tarot decks (which is probably not much compared to other tarot enthusiasts' collections). However, I mostly work with three or four decks that I like. 

At the moment my "standard decks" include the RWCS, the Thoth, the World Spirit Tarot, the Golden Tarot and the Victorian Romantic Tarot, which are the decks I usually do readings with. 

So I have loads of interesting decks in two plastic boxes under my desk and I think I should start exploring them. I like the idea Cat uses in her journal. She draws three random numbers, picks the decks from her list accordingly and chooses one of the three as her "Deck of the Week". Knowing my discipline and my work schedule I will never manage to do that on a weekly basis, so I'll just do it whenever I have the time. 

The random generator suggested The Housewives Tarot, The Tarot of the Cat People and the Golden Rider. As I have so far never worked with the Golden Rider, I'll pick that. I'll do a number of readings and a deck interview and afterwards give my opinion on the deck as a deck review. 

Here's to working with the Golden Rider. 

Mittwoch, 16. Januar 2013

Deck Review: My verdict on the Cat's Eye Tarot

So after trying and testing for a while, here's my verdict on the Cat's Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin (US Games)

The cards are glossy with a white border and show realistic water colour images of cats. The title is shown at the bottom of the card in a pastel yellow box. The size is ideal as they are not too small but not too big to shuffle. The pack came in a cardboard box with the LWB (little white book) and two title cards, one with a spread suggestion (9 lives spread). 

What I like about this deck is the realism of the cat images. The cats are just plain cats and are shown doing cat things. They are in natural cat poses, have cat body language and cat facial expressions. This is probably owed to the fact that the artist is a vet. So in contrast to other cat decks that put cats in human clothes and human poses, this one is actually all about cats. Still, the deck is recognizable as inspired by the RWCS. If you know your way around cats, their body language and behaviour, it is relatively easy to make the transition if you are familiar with the Waite deck.

The scenes on the cards are relatively plain, the cats and what they are doing is definitely the central focus. There's little else to go on which is both a weakness and a strength of this deck in my view. It takes some practice and you need to look closely in order to get the idea of a card image, on the other hand, there is not much to distract you and nothing too obvious that would push you into a certain direction.

The suits are marked by a particular breed of cat, for example you have ginger tabbies as wands and siamese cats for swords. I think that is very fitting as siamese are said to be very "verbal" and "talking" more than other breeds and they have this air of sophistication and aloofness I would associate with swords. 

My favourite card in the deck is either the Three of Cups or Temperance (a card I usually am not on such good terms with, see here). The Three of Cups shows an old lady in her garden. There's a rose trellis in the background and the lady is crouching down stroking three purring cats that are twining around her legs and rubbing up against her. Temperance shows a black and a white cat curled up to form the yin and yang sign. They are lying on the stone rail of a balcony or gallery overlooking a calm bay. A very peaceful  and harmonious scene. 
My least favourite card is the Ten of Swords, which shows a bunch of abandoned cats in a totally messed up kitchen. There's dirty dishes and trash everywhere, the window is broken and there's cat poo on the floor. Yuk! Makes me feel for the poor cats. 

As I'm very familiar with the Waite deck and an experienced reader I didn't have to refer to the LWB much. On those occasions I did I found the explanations there plausible and helpful. 

To sum up: This is a lovely deck for cat lovers, it's great to work with, relatively self-explaining and easy to read because of the realistic imagery and the close link to Waite. You can see that a lot of thought, knowledge and love went into this deck. The results I got were quite clear-cut and straightforward, so it was good for less complex questions. I'm not sure about in-depth readings. It's a nice deck for a change, fun to work with and it's certainly good if you would like to actually do readings for cats or other pets. It would, however, never become my standard deck as it's too particular and would probably not be easy to understand for a querent who's not a cat enthusiast. 
Definitely a keeper for a collector and cat lover like me.

Montag, 14. Januar 2013

Reading for a Cat - Cat's Eye Tarot

I know there are tarot readers who specialise in reading for pets. I've never really done readings for mine even though I have always looked on my cats as real family members. We used to have three cats. One died in November 2010 at the age of 13, the older one died last May aged 18. Now we only have the "little" one who will turn 9 this year. I didn't want new cats as long as the children are still so small. I think Raven is coping quite well with our son who is now 21 months old but I'm not sure how she will like the new baby that's coming in spring. Yet another strange, noisy, hairless "cat" to deal with...

As I'm testing the Cat's Eye Tarot at the moment, I thought I'd do a reading for Raven to see how she's doing. I used a simple three-card-spread, the positions and cards were:

1: The cat's current state of mind - Ten of Wands
2: What the cat most needs right now - Judgement (reversed)
3: What I can do to make her feel comfortable - Page of Pentacles (reversed)

1: The cat's current state of mind - Ten of Wands

The card shows a ginger cat walking up the stairs to its home carrying a snake. It glances back watchfully, maybe for more snakes.

The cat appears to be protecting its territory. It appears self-confident and courageous and takes on this difficult task all on its own. Perhaps Raven feels that now she is alone, she needs to protect her home more than ever, she is a little adventurer and loves being outside. There are no snakes here of course but there's mice and birds and she loves hunting. The card shows that she feels she's the real home owner and head of the family and as the only hunter she's responsible for protecting us and maybe even feed us. ;-) 
(Sometimes she leaves gifts on the doormat). It's a rather positive card in this context but maybe it also means there's a lot of "weight on her shoulders" so to speak. 

 2: What the cat most needs right now - Judgement reversed

The card shows a ledge on a building, probably a church and a stone statue of a winged cat. Two young cats are sitting at its feet. The sky in the background looks as if it is dawning. The reversal tells me it's about her inner balance and state of mind. What she needs most is a retreat high up where she feels guarded and protected. A place removed from the world below. 
She has that upstairs in the office. There's a sofa bed up there and the amount of cat hair on it tells me, Raven has been sleeping there a lot recently. There are baby gates on the stairs and we removed the lower part of one of the bars so Raven can slip through. So up there she knows she is safe from curious "men cubs". 
I'll just have to live with cat hair on the sofa bed as I think she definitely needs that retreat.

3: What I can do to make her feel comfortable - Page of Pentacles reversed

I described the card in one of the earlier readings. There's a small cat sitting on a hay bale and three mice playing at the bottom of it. The cat has one paw lifted and is watching the mice but there's a playful quality to this and the mice don't appear to be scared. 
I have read once that domesticated cats stay in a kitten state of mind acting as if their human was a parent. That's what keeps an otherwise solitary animal close to us, it's what binds the cat to its human. They like being stroked and they "knead" when they sit on your lap. So apart from being the proud hunter Raven is my "kitty" who needs to feel safe and warm and needs a lot of TLC. Pentacles show stability, reliability and comfort. 
I need to see to it that I can still provide that even when the new baby is around. That will be difficult as "lap time" in the evening might be cut short by a crying baby. I'll still try and take good care of my "kitten". 

Quintessence card in this reading: 3 The Empress
How fitting. :-) I'll just have to be a good mother to all three of them. Human and feline babies. 

Freitag, 11. Januar 2013

Learning the language of Tarot

Image: The Rosetta Stone at the British Museum - this stone inscribed with basically the same text in three different scripts provided the key to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs.

The other day it occurred to me that learning to read the tarot is a lot like learning a foreign language. Fortunately that's something I've always been good at. I started with English, Latin and later French in secondary school, learned Spanish later and am able to understand a little Dutch, Italian, Finnish and other languages. I love how they are related, how you can see parallels between languages that have common roots. I've always enjoyed that.

Also, in language learning, books will only get you so far. You can learn the basics but you need to get immersed and develop a "feeling" for the language. In English, half of the time I know something is wrong but it would take me a while to come up with an explanation as to why it is wrong. It just sounds odd. 

That is something that comes with practice and experience and I think the same goes for tarot reading. Sometimes you just "know" which aspect of a card is relevant in a particular reading. It just feels right. However, sometimes I find it hard to trust my first impulse as I'm very much in my head and have a strong inner censor (very much a swords person in that respect). 

When I started studying the tarot, I mostly relied on books. They were very useful and insightful books, especially those by the late Hajo Banzhaf, a German tarot expert who had a wonderful way of explaining things and had a very scientific, down-to-earth, no-mumbo-jumbo approach to the tarot I can very much relate to. But most of the time there was no common thread running through my readings at that time, they were a bit like patchwork quoting bits from the books about card meaning but I wasn't able to weave a story so to speak. Pretty much like when you're starting out learning a language. You manage to produce phrases, sentences, communicate the general idea but you could probably not sustain a real conversation and you lack a certain idiomatic level. It takes a lot of experience and practice to really become fluent and spontaneous. Now, after a journey of more than 20 years with the tarot I suppose I'm relatively fluent and know my idioms. But like a language, you need to keep practicing the tarot. If you don't use it regularly, you'll forget so much so quickly. (Like my French!)

These days I have a totally new language learning experience. I'm learning a language for which there are no books. It's my 21-month-old son's personal language. I can only rely on context, close observation and trial and error. It's not easy but it's fun as it feels great when you have finally worked out what he wants to express. Some words and expressions are pretty obvious of course, others take a while to work out like "kee kee" for horse (don't ask why). A while ago he started saying "ohne das" (="without that"). For example at the breakfast table..."ohne Butter" (="without butter"). So I didn't butter his bread. There were wild protests. After some time I had worked out that what sounded like "ohne" (without) was actually an odd way of pronouncing "und" (="and"). Sometimes tarot reading is like that, too. A card comes up in a context where you can make no sense of it and it takes you quite a while to work it out. Often I find that it happens when I have too firm ideas about what a card means. I need to "unlearn" parts of it and see that my first assumptions about the card were wrong, change them or add new aspects. And that is fun.

 As my understanding of the cards broadens, it becomes easier to read and more interesting at the same time. Just like using a foreign language becomes more and more enjoyable and more effortless the more practice and experience you have. 

The good news for those of you who have always hated foreign languages at school is that tarot is a lot more intuitive and has your right brain hemisphere involved much more than classic foreign language learning. Sure, you have to know your vocabulary and some "grammar", too but the imagery helps you a great deal, it's a bit like a cheat slip in a vocabulary test. It's a lot easier to understand the "grammar" and logic of this language as it works on the basis of images and pictures that we can link to experiences and events in our own lives. 

And once you're relatively fluent, it's such a useful and enjoyable tool that can enrich your life in so many ways. So it's well worth studying. 


Dienstag, 8. Januar 2013

Dear Satu, Yours "confused cat owner" - Putting the Cat's Eye Tarot to the test

Dear Satu

I am the youngest of three brothers. When our father died recently, my oldest brother inherited my father's mill, my second brother inherited the mules and I was left with the cat. I have to say, I'm a little disappointed. How am I to make a living with such an inheritance? I wonder what got into my father. Did he prefer my brothers? I never had that impression. 
But that is only half the actual problem. You will think me crazy but this cat I inherited started to talk to me the other day. It can actually talk, like you and me. And it asked for a pair of boots. It promised it could make me a very rich man in return.
I know this is probably a very unusual question. But somehow I feel almost tempted to fulfill the cat's odd request and spend my last money on that pair of boots. 
So my question: do you think I should give it a shot? Will the cat actually be able to make me rich?

"confused cat owner"

Dear confused cat owner

This is really an unusual request. Being a cat-related question I thought I'd give my Cat's Eye Tarot a go and used Ginny Hunt's Decision Analyzer

The cards and positions were as follows:

1: Page of Pentacles (reversed)
2: Six of Wands 
3: Six of Swords
4: Nine of Cups

1: What your mind says: Page of Pentacles (reversed)

The card shows a young cat sitting on a hay bale, three mice are sitting on the floor and don't seem to see the cat as a threat, one of the mice even starts scaling it. The cat's paw is lifted, he knows he is a hunter and knows what he should do but there's still something playful about this gesture. 
The reversal to me points to an inner attitude of yours. The Page of Pentacles is realist enough to know he will have to make a solid living sooner or later. You know what would be sensible to do - deny the cat its wish and save the money, maybe invest it into something that seems a little more reliable than the cat's offer. On the other hand you are still curious about life, willing to play with your options. You have a good instinct and it will probably kick in and guide you in this. The question whether the feline Page of Pentacles will pounce and hunt the mice is probably a question of how hungry he is. So from a rational point of view you are thinking about how precarious your situation is right now and whether you can still afford an experiment like that. 

2: What your heart says: Six of Wands

The card shows a ginger cat (looks more like a tom to me) walking very erect with a number of other cats in the background looking after him. He seems proud, territorial and seems to be saying: "Hey, look at me!". 
In your heart you really want to be somebody, respected, maybe even feared, you want to achieve something in life, something to make you proud and you have the courage to take risks and ignore gossip or other people's advice. You feel you deserve some respect and attention and feel your father should have left you a little more than just a cat. Probably this is why you have the feeling there is more to this cat than meets the eye. And given the fact that the animal actually talks to you, I would agree it is not merely an average cat. Your heart tells you, you are somebody very special and you deserve better.

3: What you want: Six of Swords

The card shows a cat in a pet carrier looking sceptic. The door is still open, so the cat could still run. It seems to be in there voluntarily. Where will the trip go? Someplace nice? Or horror of horrors - to the vet's?
You are curious and would like to leave the trodden path. Even though it scares you and you have mixed emotions about this, your mind is already half made up to give this cat thing a try. After all, you don't have that much to lose anyway. The six of swords shows departures. Often departures out of necessity and with apprehension and mixed emotions but with hope - hope of finding something new and better. Crowley called this card "Science" in his Thoth deck. In science people also try new paths without any certainty as to where they will lead them. Scientists ideas have often seemed crazy at the time, so there's the risk of becoming people's laughing stock but there's also the hope and promise of detecting something important and worth knowing. So I would say, your curiosity will probably get the better of you anyway. 

4: What you should do: Nine of Cups

Nine of Cups is the card of "wish fulfillment". In this deck it shows a cat in front of its food bowl and a human hand holding a tin of kip straining the liquid into the bowl. The cat is licking its lips in anticipation. 
On the one hand this could mean you should give in to your heart's desire, do what you would enjoy most, on the other hand in your case it could literally mean "give the cat the desired treat". Both would - in your case - probably have the same result. 

I'm not sure about the outcome here but perhaps that is not important. You are curious and you are ready to take risks to receive what you think you deserve - namely something a lot better than inheriting a cat. It would probably kill you not to know what would happen if you actually had the boots fitted for the cat even though it appears a crazy idea. Your gut feeling tells you there's something to be won in it and you have more or less taken the decision anyway. My guess is you're too curious to pass up the offer. And frankly, you don't have that much to lose. How long will the boot money feed you? You will have to come up with a plan B for when that money is used up anyway. And the page of pentacles, six of wands and nine of cups constellation tells me you have the realism, determination, business sense and courage to be successful either way. 

I hope I could help you with your decision. 

Yours Satu

New Year's Competition 2013: Win a free reading with Satu

All you have to do is leave a comment here or send me an email at satu.gustafson@googlemail.com including your question and your email address.

At the end of this month I'll draw a winner and do your reading as soon as possible.

Good Luck!

Montag, 7. Januar 2013

New Deck Interview - Cat's Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin

Yesterday I did a bit of tidying and - among other things - reorganized my tarot collection putting all the decks into two large see-through plastic boxes (they were in cardboard boxes before). Now I can see at least a part of the decks from outside and know in which box to look. ;-)

So I stumbled across a number of decks I have hardly used so far but am very curious to try out. One of them was the Cat's Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin (US Games). The artist is a feline veterinarian, the drawings very realistic, so a deck with "real cats". 

I would like to work with this deck for a while and sum up my experience as a deck review later. So to start out, I interviewed the deck to see what I can expect. 

1: What is your main characteristic as a deck?
2: What is your greatest strength?
3: What are your limitations?
4: What can you teach me? What can you contribute to my tarot experience?
5: How will we work together?
6: Shadow Card: What else do I need to know if I would like to work with you?

Image: Cat's Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin (US Games)

1: Knight of Pentacles

The card shows a tabby cat stalking its prey in the hay. The cat seems calm and focused on his task. He's determined and knows what he's doing. As a deck characteristic I think it means that the cards focus on the main idea, the deck is very down-to-earth, realistic and there are no surprises as it is based mostly on the RWCS. It may need some work and training to get used to the imagery as there is very little detail apart from the cat as such. So it may cost some effort but get you solid results. 

2: Page of Swords

The card shows a young siamese cat balancing on what looks like a wooden fence (the LWB says it's the back rest of a porch chair). From its elevated position it can scrutinize things. The cat looks apprehensive and careful.
As a deck quality I think this means the deck is good for getting an overview of a situation from a different perspective, with a little distance. It will probably be good for learning new skills, questions about learning and education, questions which require a little emotional detachment and analysis, perhaps it's good for decisions as it gives a rather rational and clear-cut insight.

3: Judgement

The card shows two young Siamese cats sitting on a stone ledge, perhaps of a church or similar building. There's a stone statue of a winged cat, much like an angel that seems to be sheltering them with its wings. 
I think this could mean the deck is not so great at the "big" life issues, life-changing decisions, at times of profound change and/or for questions concerning spirituality as it is so straightforward and down-to-earth.

4: Queen of Swords

A Siamese cat is sitting very erect, gazing ahead from its clear blue eyes. The black and white areas in its fur are very clearly defined and there's not a lot of detail in the background, no "props" or embellishments, just the cat, the blue background and the white wood that she is sitting on. 
I think it means you can focus on the important things, you have to work with very scarce imagery and read a lot into the expression and body language of the cat depicted. This is different from other decks and may teach you to look closely. The queen appears to be cool and clear-cut, so maybe it can teach me to give short and precise answers. 

5: Knight of Wands

A ginger tabby is perched on a tree, the tail looks as if it's moving, it's a slightly belligerent stance, as if the cat is about to pounce. In any event, he's watching and prepared to jump. The sky looks dusky, so maybe he is getting ready to hunt. 
This could mean that perhaps sometimes I will get angry or impatient with the deck as I'm used to having a lot of detail and imagery to work with. It could also mean that I will develop a passion for it. I also associate a bit of superficiality with this as the cat looks impatient and restless. It's probably not a deck I could use for in-depths analyses, more for quick, clear and pragmatic answers. 

6: Shadow Card: Five of Cups

I'm not too sure what to make of this. The card shows a black and white cat looking in the direction of a woman who is walking away with a cage that probably contains her kitten/s. 
This indicates loss, grief or sadness. Perhaps because some of the images will remind me of my cats that died? We used to have three, now we only have one (8 years old) and we decided not to take another (at least for the time being). Perhaps seeing so many cats will make me melancholy. At least that was my first idea when I saw the card. 

Sonntag, 6. Januar 2013

Dear Satu - Yours Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan: "Is he/she the one?" spread

Dear Satu

I have a question regarding a man who has recently entered my life and has - I have to admit - shaken me up quite a bit. Even though he has rescued me in a life-threatening situation I am not sure he wasn't just in it because he hopes for a big financial reward. He has been involved in smuggling and that kind of criminal activity. He's a bit of a scoundrel, pretty scruffy-looking (even though in a handsome kind of way) and so macho and alpha male it makes me furious. 
Still, if I'm very honest with myself I have to admit that I feel strongly attracted to him. The question is: could a man like that actually be in a relationship? Wouldn't he just hurt me? Or maybe he just needs someone level-headed at his side to make a decent guy out of him? I can't shake the feeling that deep down he has a good heart and probably even has feelings for me, too.
I feel silly asking about this in a way as I have a lot more serious matters at hand that I should be dealing with as I'm leading a rebellion against the Empire but this really keeps bugging me and I feel I can't think straight if I don't get this off my chest soon.

Leia Organa of Alderaan

Your Royal Highness,

I'm honoured you should turn to me with your question and I think I have just the right spread to assess this relationship and whether it is worth taking it any further. 

It's a four-card spread that in addition makes use of the shadow card (the card that is at the very bottom of the pack after you deal the cards). I dealt them in a diamond shape 1 at the bottom 3 and 4 in the middle 2 on top, the shadow card placed to the right of the "diamond". 

I used the "Joie de Vivre" deck by Paulina Cassidy and the cards and positions were as follows:

1: What you think about this relationship - Page of Cups
2: What he thinks about this relationship - Eight of Wands
3: What factors act in favour of this becoming a serious relationship - Ten of Cups
4: What factors oppose this becoming a serious relationship - Judgement (reversed)

Shadow: What needs to be brought into the light before this can become a serious relationship - Strength 

First of all it is a good sign to have two cups cards in a relationship spread. There is certainly something there. The Major Arcana are in the positions that signify obstacles to the relationship which shows that there are still serious issues that need to be resolved before this can become something stable and reliable. The Page on your end is still a very young, unshaped energy and the eight of Wands on his end shows things happening quickly and a lot of movement, so this is still developing.

Your Page of Cups shows that you have butterflies, it's fun to be around this guy, no matter how infuriating you may sometimes find him. There could be playful banter and flirting going on that you enjoy, in any event there is chemistry and you could imagine falling in love with this person. 
His Eight of Wands shows he has been taken by surprise. Things happened quickly and he kind of rushed into it without being able to think things through. This may be how things usually happen for him as by your account he seems a restless person who is always in motion. However, he has been a bit overwhelmed or surprised by how he feels about you. It seems you have probably shaken his cool macho alpha male image a bit. 

Ten of Cups promises that you are right about your intuition. Deep down he is a relationship guy, he can commit once the right person comes along and secretly he dreams of a quiet, settled life, maybe even a family. Perhaps not right now but it's not an idea he feels threatened or appalled by. So there is potential and underneath the surface there is more than just hormones and sexual attraction. 
What speaks against a relationship with him is Judgement, one of the highest Arcana so it is not to be taken lightly. It seems a major obstacle. Judgement is all about closing the door on something in the past and beginning something completely new, renewal, transformation, liberation. I think it means that this is a pretty final decision for both of you. Entering into a relationship you will both have to change profoundly. You mentioned the rebellion against the Empire that you are involved in. It could be that Judgement in this respect means that you need to bring actual liberation and renewal to the world before you two can concentrate on your budding relationship.

Strength as the shadow card shows that there are inner forces at war that need to be reconciled. The scruffy-looking scoundrel lion that is to be tamed by the level-headed maiden. You will need to show strength but also allow yourself to show weaknesses (he probably needs to feel that you "need" him and need to be protected from time to time, so no matter how tough you are, perhaps sometimes you should leave the poor chap his illusions). However, his passion, courage and adventurousness can also help you and inspire you. It actually seems you are a good counterbalance for each other. 

So all in all I would say, you should give it time but stay open to the possibility that deep down he is a good guy with a heart of gold. Perhaps you need to go through with your mission and along the way you will notice that he changes and/or your perception of him changes. 

I wish you luck with the rebellion 
May the Force be with you!