Out of the 36 spots for our Gaian Tarot Retreat in October, seven spots are already taken. Wow, people are fast!
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Posted in Uncategorized on January 31, 2011| Leave a Comment »
A few days ago, I received my copy of the Tarot of the Sidhe, a pack of cards by Emily Carding. Sidhe (pronounced Shee) is a Gaelic word that refers to the realm and beings of Faery/Spirit/Otherworld and this deck of radiant images conveys that flavour.
The Tarot of the Sidhe is structured traditionally: 22 major cards and four suits of 14 cards each. Justice and Strength are numbered in the continental manner with Justice as VIII and Strength as XI. The Hierophant or Pope has been renamed the Elder and the Devil has been renamed Pan since, in most pagan worldviews that I’ve encountered, there is no ultimate earthly spiritual authority and there is no such thing as an ultimate source of evil. The majors’ numbers appear at the top of the card and their names appear at the bottom.
Court/People cards are called Princess, Prince, Queen, and King. The four suits are named differently in accordance with a Knowing that Carding received one day in her kitchen. The Air suit is called Dreamers instead of Swords. The Fire Suit’s name is Warriors in place of Wands. Dancers, rather than Cups, make up the Water suit. And Makers, instead of Pentacles, carries the Earth energy. At the top of each minor card is the card’s name and on the bottom is a key word or phrase.
Executed in ink and watercolour, the Tarot of the Sidhe‘s pictures swirl with multiple hues and visionary themes. They are immediately appealing and engage my imagination, intuition, and creativity. This deck is most definitely NOT a Rider-Waite-Smith wannabe. Each image is framed by a black border, providing (for me) a sense of focus, a sort of doorway through which one can enter the scene. There’s a sense that the artist really entered the Sidhe and imported some pictures back with her.
The backs of the cards are black with a white spiral known as the Great Glyph of the Sidhe, itself a potent tool for reflection and discovery. This symbol also appears in every major arcanum. Last night, I took a shamanic journey with the intent to find out what the Glyph can teach me. I was told that it can be a portal to my multi-dimensional self/selves and multiple dimensions. It’s also a pathway to the centre of my soul, a route to my Core True Self.
The accompanying booklet is extremely helpful. It’s not the usual collection of blather that one sees about “this card means that”. For each card, Carding provides a poetic oracular utterance before one even reads a single card meaning — beautiful! These prophetic phrases can act as divinatory messages or the starting point for spoken ceremonial text. Each major arcanum is also given an Artist’s Note that describes what the image is about and even a bit about the process of drawing and painting. Useful layouts are also contained in the booklet (thank Life that the celtic cross spread doesn’t rear its head here!). There’s also a section on meditation and other uses with the cards.
I asked the Tarot of the Sidhe a question about itself: What is your true purpose? After I mixed the cards, it responded with the Warrior Ten (its traditional equivalent would be the 10 of Wands).
The Warrior Ten tells me that the Tarot of the Sidhe’s purpose is to be a bridge between the realms of the seen and unseen, sleeping and waking, night and day, dark and light, the unconscious and the conscious. It’s a tool for those who walk between the worlds and a means to honour the ancestors who have paved ways that allow us to be who we are and to do what we do. Part of the deck’s purpose might be to be under-appreciated so that it may subtly infiltrate the vapidity of our culture and prevent us from falling into its alluring pit. Its purpose is to serve the Greater Good, no matter what. The oracular message in the book reads:
Who thinks of the sacrifice as they cross?
Who weeps for knowledge of the bridge’s loss?
He knows the task is worth the pain,
His suffering is for a greater gain…
I heartily recommend the Tarot of the Sidhe as a tool for deep divination, personal discovery, and making dynamic shifts. If you enjoy using the tarot and feel a pull “to the waters and the wild” (Yeats’ words) of Faery, you’ll want to own a set of these cards. If you’d like to try them during a consultation with me, I’ll be very happy to pull them out and use them for your session.
Today, I received the Stylish Blogger Award from Janet Boyer. What a delightful surprise! Heartfelt gratitude to Janet for this.
The guidelines for accepting this award are to:
*Thank and link to the person who awarded you this award
*Share 7 things about yourself
*Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers
*Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award
About me (James):
1. Began to use the tarot at age 12. It’s a key tool in my life and work.
2. I LOVE circle process and ways that are rooted in it.
3. Cooking is a relaxing pastime for me (and eating!).
4. I live in a lovely tree-filled neighbourhood in Toronto, ON.
5. My Tarot for Manifestation book is due to come out from Tarot Media Company very soon.
6. I’m a openly man-loving man.
7. I derive great satisfaction from writing blog entries and reading people’s comments.
I’d like to pass this Stylish Blogger Award to:
1. Mary K. Greer of Mary K. Greer’s Tarot Blog
2. Christina Baldwin of StoryCatcher
3. Joanna Powell Colbert of Gaian Soul
4. Judy Nathan of Divining/Designing
5. Beth Owl’s Daughter of Owl’s Wings
6. Andy Matzner of Tarot Bomb
7. Lunaea Weatherstone of At Brigid’s Forge
8. Deena Metzger of Ruin and Beauty
9. Andrea Mathieson of Raven Essences
10. Andrew McGregor of Hermit’s Lamp Tarot Blog
There are many more wonderful bloggers out there. Thank you all for keeping the web of connection vibrating.
On this multi-stop journey through my spiritual practice, we now encounter the Seven Whispers. These are seven phrases of grounded spiritual wisdom that came to author and PeerSpirit circle process co-founder Christina Baldwin. She turned these into a lovely book, bite-sized and portable, that I read at least twice a year. The Seven Whispers are part of my morning recitations and they are:
Maintain peace of mind
Move at the pace of guidance
Practice certainty of purpose
Surrender to surprise
Ask for what you need and offer what you can
Love the folks in front of you
Return to the world
There is so much to these. They, like so much else that I recite, are a way of life, not just words. They are so rich that I encourage you to read the book. Christina even has a free downloadable study guide available for groups ( http://www.peerspirit.com/gifts/Seven-Whispers-StudyGuide.pdf ). So please gather your fellow journeyers and explore these subtle yet powerful phrases together.
Another of my morning utterances is
BE PRESENT; CHOOSE CONSCIOUSLY.
This phrase came to me as a result of several influences.
First, my primary “serious” tarot book, back in the 1980s, was Choice Centered Tarot by Gail Fairfield. Not only did it teach me about tarot, it opened up a way of life to me that was about living by choice rather than by fate. It’s a book that’s less about predicting a set outcome and more about noticing what’s here in the moment so that one can be aware of the options that are present. When one can see the options, one can make cleaner, healthier choices, should one choose.
Second, reiki is more than a hands-on energy modality, although that’s a part of it. It’s a way of life that includes living “for today only” — i.e. in the present moment — as much as possible. If we’re living in the now, we’re less likely to get attached to what has been and what has not yet happened (and probably won’t happen); therefore, less stress and more health.
Third, participating twice in a study circle about The Seven Whispers by Christina Baldwin brought me to a realisation that what many practices are about are staying in the moment and being conscious of what’s here now. From that place of awareness, we can create our lives rather than wait for them to happen and we can choose our responses to the unexpected rather than react to them.
All of this isn’t to say that I’ve perfected presence and consciousness. Note that I still recite, “Be present; choose consciously” every day as a reminder to self.
Posted in Uncategorized on January 19, 2011| 15 Comments »
Another component of my morning recitations is this:
O Infinite Mystery;
may all that I do today
and all that I am today
contribute to the healing of our world,
and may I be open enough today
to allow the world to contribute to my healing.
These words invite a flow of healing thoughts, words, and deeds from me to Earth and all of her inhabitants. They also remind me to be open to whatever life-giving things are available to me in every moment. They’re not just words, they’re a practice rooted in being part of the council of Life. This reciprocity is delicious and enlivening.