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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in tarot

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Deck Review: The Herbcrafter's Tarot

As a long-term fan of The Gaian Tarot, I eagerly awaited receipt of the new Herbcrafter’s Tarot deck illustrated by Joanna Powell Colbert and written by Latisha Guthrie. I knew from the first card that I was in b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_8376.jpglove. The illustrations for the Herbcrafter’s Tarot are exquisite and breathtaking. Even the precise detail of the illustration on the back of the deck as a whole is enchanting. It has become my favorite card-back illustration of all time, the little tincture bottles, butterflies, and sprigs of herbs prompting a sense of discovery and joy every time I touch one. Instead of immediately shuffling the deck and drawing a card, which is how I usually approach a new deck, I made the decision to approach The Herbcrafter’s Tarot card by card, day by day, even (mostly) resisting the urge to peek ahead at the cards to come. It is truly a deck to be savored and I knew from the third card that I could recommend it wholeheartedly to others.

Drawing inspiration from the shared Celtic heritage of the authors as well as from Latisha’s Mexican-American heritage, The Herbcrafter’s Tarot is a sister deck in many ways to The Gaian Tarot. Like a traditional tarot deck, it includes 78 cards. The 22 cards of the Major Arcana follow an herbcrafter’s journey. The Minor Arcana cards are divided in four suits, aligned with the four elements: Air (Swords), Fire b2ap3_thumbnail_66007504_2368806219998253_6388625486133592064_n.jpg(Wands), Water (Cups), and Earth (Pentacles).  Each card contains a detailed colored pencil drawing in photorealistic style. Each card is alive with vibrant detail and thoughtful connection, most of the illustrations containing very subtle nods to the original major and minor arcana cards of traditional tarot decks. Depending on the suit and type of plant, some of the herbs are shown in the act of being prepared or harvested, in use in baths or teas, or in their native environment. The People cards for each suit, depicting the hands of women healers at work, have been titled according to the archetypes each woman embodies as she “matures into her craft from wonderer to warrior to midwife to teacher.” The skilled, creative, intuitive hands of Hijas (daughters), Adelitas (warriors), Madres (mothers), and Curanderas (healers) are represented in the People cards. Accustomed as I am to the faces and personalities of the people depicted in full in The Gaian Tarot, I did find myself sometimes missing that human component and wanting to see who is “behind the scenes” of the beautiful herbal layouts, nature mandalas, works in progress, and the gnarled hands at work in The Herbcrafter’s Tarot. The inclusion of scenes, plants, and hands rather than faces is intentional, however, because the primary perspective of the deck is from that of the plants.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    What a wonderful review, I love this deck, too!
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    I'm really in love with it! I keep thinking of more things I should have added to the review--it is visually "nourishing," I find.
The Magick of Speaking About Tarot

Over the years, I’ve noticed that when we tarotists speak together of tarot, whether in a class, a meetup or casually, we often seem to speak the cards into being.

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Tarot Elements: The True Meaning of "The Star"

The Star of Tarot is a very watery, spiritual and high-vibration card, the only other one as supremely watery being the Ace of Cups. Predictably, both are among my top favorites.

It is also probably one of the most popular images of the Major Arcana, (particularly the Waite-Smith version, which I refer to) yet also one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted.

The Star is frequently interpreted with keywords like “hope”, “renewal” and “inspiration”. While inspiration may at least come closer than any other term to the true meaning, Arthur Edward Waite himself described the most commonly attributed interpretation of hope as “tawdry”.

Frankly, I have never understood how or where anyone ever got “hope” regarding the Star, even in my earliest days as a Tarot novice. It has been the repetitive insistence from countless Tarot teachers and “experts” that the Star means hope, combined with my repetitive intuitive suspicion that this can’t be correct, that led me into an extensive search and analysis of just what this card really means.

It was a great “I knew it!” moment when I finally read Waite’s Pictorial Key to the Tarot and his explanation of the Star, especially his calling out of the old “hope trope”. It was an even more enthralling and enlightening moment when astronomy and chemistry played a part in validating what I understand to be the real meaning of this card. But we’ll get to that.

The Star, according to Waite, is Sephirah Binah of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life; the Great Mother who gives and who is supernal understanding. He says the mottoes of the card are “Waters of Life freely” and “Gifts of the Spirit”.

So, people very ironically misunderstand the card that is about understanding. A lot. Is there maybe a lesson or message here?

He describes the female figure in the card as expressing eternal youth and beauty. The number of the card is 17, which reduces to 8 - the symbol for infinity or, more poetically, eternity. There are also eight stars on the card, the large one in the middle being surrounded by seven others.

The number 8 – as a lemniscate or infinity symbol – appears on only two other cards of the Major Arcana: the Magician and Strength. I think there is a clue here and a relationship between these cards and the Star.

The Magician, who most basically represents manifestation, is pointing a wand towards the heavens and his finger down to Earth, representing “As Above, So Below”, as well as a conduit between the two planes.

The suggestion throughout is therefore the possession and communication of the Power and Gifts of the Spirit,” Waite says of the posture and action of the Magician. So there is that key phrase that directly ties the Magician to the Star.

Supernal means “pertaining to heaven or the sky” or “celestial”…the stars. The Magician bears another symbol of eternity – the ouroboros, or the serpent around his waist eating its own tail.

This is familiar to most as a conventional symbol of eternity, but here it indicates more especially the eternity of attainment in the spirit.” (A.E. Waite)

In Strength we see a young woman taming a lion with ease. The lemniscate floats above her head just as it does the Magician’s. What do these cards have in common that may be indicated by the presence of this symbol? She too has a similar additional symbol of eternity around her waist, like the Magician.

However, in Strength it is a vine of blossoming greenery tying her to the lion, at least in early printings of the deck. In later reproductions it is unfortunately not illustrated as joining her to the lion though this is significant. I believe it symbolizes, among other things, a natural link between humans and animals. Ultimately we are animals ourselves and Strength conveys the necessary control over certain baser animal instincts.

Waite elaborates however,

[These higher meanings] are intimated in a concealed manner by the chain of flowers, which signifies, among other many other things, the sweet yoke and the light burden of Divine Law, when it has been taken into the heart of hearts.”

The flower chain around her waist very curiously resembles the flowering boughs over the Magicians head, perhaps a further representation of the feminine spirit and understanding being poured down on him from Above?

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Looking to the Stars

It was a silent, windless night far north, beyond the harsh lights of city and suburb. I was lying belly down on a dock, staring into utterly still water. The diamond splash of stars above was reflected perfectly beneath me.

 

I was rapt, drawn out of myself by the strangeness of finding stars above and below. With a slight shift in perception, suddenly all was space and points of light. I was falling, floating in this wondrous, mesmerizingly unfamiliar space. I was suspended, lost in an ocean of stars. 

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  • Kari
    Kari says #
    Loved it! Brilliant as usual.
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    You are too kind! Thank you!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
2018 In The Rear View Mirror

I have been wanted to do a 2018-year reflection post. There was a lot to reflect on. I'm going to keep this to the personal rather than the political. Otherwise, we'd be here all day.

I've had some ups and downs this year. More ups really, so that's good. Since I am a professional Joy Seeker, I will focus on the ups. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_WinterCover2018CartomancerSMALL.jpg

The biggest thing is moving into my role as the owner of

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Arwen, congratulations, lady, you accomplished a lot on various fronts. Be proud of yourself. I love this article. You’re sharing
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Thank you. I appreciate that.
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer says #
    Hello! So happy to "meet" you! I, too, seek joy and I am new to this site and hope to make many like minded friends. I enjoyed you

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Justice Symbolism

According to the Merriam-Webster website:

Our Word of the Year for 2018 is justice. It was a top lookup throughout the year at Merriam-Webster.com, with the entry being consulted 74% more than in 2017.

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  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite says #
    In the case of confusion over Justice vs. Judgement, I have found a strong hint in both the order of the cards and of course the v
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Wonderful insights, Meredith! I love your last two sentences, especially. To what card/s do you attribute legislation and law enf
  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite says #
    Why thank you! I'm rather partial to them myself, especially as I realized, right after I posted it, that those last two sentences
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Totally agree. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Stolen Heart's Shadow

Stolen Heart's Shadow

Glimpsed it just there in the small stream of sun

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  • Pam S
    Pam S says #
    Hi Arwen! I love the poem, and it suits the card beautifully.
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Thank you so much, Pam.

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