Monday, April 29, 2013

A Little Tarot Deck History

Arthur Edward Waite
October 2, 1857  -- May 19 , 1942

Pamela Coleman Smith
I've been participating in Aine O'Brien's, Black Crow Tarot Course, over at her blog, the deepest well ,and  I am really enjoying the experience.
I came to the course after the start date, which has been a good thing for me. 
I can study at my own rate and take the time I need to really address the exercises that Aine has at the end of each card's tutorial.
I was ready to do Lesson Nine when I hit a small stumbling block. The Strength card was being presented as number 8 of the Major Arcana.   Aine did inform us that she would be using the Rider-Waite Deck.    
Being very new to Tarot study I had purchased a Liz Dean deck. I consulted with Aine and it was decided there shouldn't be a problem  with using my deck. 
 In Lesson Nine , Aine gives instruction and interpretations for the Strength card  which is numbered as the 8th card.   In my deck the Justice card is number 8 and it made me wonder why.  
It was time for me to do a little research. I have always wanted to know the" why" of things. Doing research is like unraveling a mystery for me, I savory the adventure.
In my book The Secrets of the Tarot, Origins, History, and Symbolism by Barbara G. Walker ,she discusses the possibility that due to the fact that similar symbols show up on the Strength and the Justice cards maybe the  reason  the Golden Dawn Society transposed them.
Okay, what is the Golden dawn Society? I wondered.  It  was a magical order active in Great Britain during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
It's system was based on hierarchy and initiation like the Masonic Lodges with the exception that women were allowed and had equal footing with the men. One of it's members was Arthur E. Waite, 

Arthur E. Waite was a member of the Golden Dawn Society who co-created the Rider-Waite tarot deck and composed its companion volume, the Key To The Tarot published by the Rider company in 1911. Mr. Waite was a scholarly British mystic and a prolific author. Mr. Waite's name is known because he was the first to attempt a systematic study of the history of western occultism,viewed as a spiritual tradition.
A.E. Waite hired, Pamela Coleman Smith, an artist and member of the Golden Dawn to fully illustrate all of the 78 cards.
In numbering the deck, Strength is traditionally the 11th card and Justice the 8th, but in making the deck, Waite switched their positions  so that they would better fit the astrological  correspondences.
The eight card  is associated with Leo and the 11th with Libra.
I've written the information I've found concerning the Rider-Waite Deck into my notebook and I will print out the photos and add them as well.

Because my deck has the Justice card as the eighth, I will study it next. I'm grateful that Ms. O'Brien has already lectured on this card. I can jump ahead and then return to the original Lesson plans.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Threefold Wisdom of The Tree

Beech Tree
Leaf Wisdom- of change, ever releasing
Branch Wisdom- of growth, ever reaching
Root Wisdom- of endurance, ever deepening

     Rediscover the majesty of trees and appreciate the wonder of these magnificent giants.
In the woods one can't help but feel part of the natural world. And with these feelings comes the self realization of returning to Source, to the Divine.
    One comes to know that the integrity of ones spiritual life is intimately bound to the integrity of the natural world.
     Trees provide a gateway into a wider world of Spirit and magic. Like music trees speak to something deep and primal within us. They can help us open our souls to the power and spirit of Earth's rhythms.

A walk in the woods makes it easy to understand the awe and reverence our ancestors had for trees.
We humans share a symbiotic relationship with trees. As we breathe , we take oxygen into our bodies and it becomes a part of us. Trees produce the oxygen we take in.
We breathe out carbon dioxide; the trees take it into their beings and it becomes a part of them. Through this biological connection of breath, humans sense the spark of life that we hold in common with the trees.
Trees became part of the human spiritual and cultural traditions, as well as one of  the most powerful symbols that embody life.
Trees are constant reminders of the cycle of life, death and rebirth. They seem imbued with magic because they simultaneously dwell  in the three realms of heaven, earth and underworld.

As I study Sandra Kynes book, The Lore & Magic of Trees, Whispers from the Woods, I felt the need to create a working notebook. I like using the good ole standby composition notebook. It's sturdy and the pages are sewn into the spine. Plus the price is right.
 I covered my book with cotton cloth that I sun printed using leaves as my  printing objects, acrylic painted and hand stitched.

I have saved paper clippings and scraps with tree and leaf images that I thought I would use in my collages.  Instead , I'll be using them in my Tree Notebook.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beltane... Musings From a Still Somewhat Beginner

There is so much to learn and absorb when one begins to follow the Path and study the Craft.
I'm still learning how to celebrate and honor the solstices and the Sabbaths.
 Being a Solitary, its not like I have a Teacher or Mentor, other than my books so it takes time some time to acquire the needed knowledge.
As a child I always loved the idea of celebrating the first of May with flowers and a joyous nod to Springtime.
 Now that I know the true knowledge of the Time. I'm gathering altar ideas, recipes and rituals.
Scott Cunningham's Book , A Guide for the Solitary practitioner has a recipe for Crescent cakes( almond butter cookies) I'll be baking.
 Beltane Eve we will be hosting our neighborhood's annual homeowners meeting. I'll have white and green candles burning on the mantel over the fireplace, white and yellow fresh flowers in vases sitting about and I'll be serving the cookies.
Anyone have any ideas for anything else I might want to do?
I'll take all and any suggestions.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Trees, Myth and Magic-A Study Course

Cotton Wood
Ponderosa Pine
Spring is in the air.
 The trees are dancing shaking off the sleep of winter; exercising their limbs to get their sap moving.
The wind swirling through their branches creates whispers, lovely whispers from the woods. They call to me. I find myself aching to take  walks in the woods, to see what's growing and coming alive and to touch and commune with the trees.

I purchased this book last year with the intent of doing some  magic tree study.
The time has come. I invite you to study along with me.

The author of the book is Sandra Kynes. She is a member of the England-based Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids. She is a certified and registered yoga instructor as well as a Reiki practitioner. 

Information comes softly from the natural world.
The seeker must listen carefully to hear the many voices that call.
Listen for whispers from the woods, and wisdom will come.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Chariot Tarot Card-Lesson Eight

The Chariot card in a reading lets the seeker know that he/she is in the driver seat and can succeed if he/she is determined enough. The card doesn't insure that the journey will be smooth and uneventful, but as long as the seeker keeps their hands on the reins and keeps the horses on course, the seeker will end up at the desired destination.
Classic Rider Image

The classic Rider image shows a man dressed in armor riding in a chariot of sorts. In front of him are two sphinx, one black and one white. The man stands tall and in his right hand is a scepter or wand.

In most decks the animals are horses, but there maybe dog like animals and sometimes a strange two headed creature with four fore legs and no hind legs, facing in opposite directions like a pushme-pullyou.
The horses pull at the reins and each horse appears to be headed in a different direction.
Here is the idea of control.
The man must control two opposing forces. He uses not only his physical strength but his strong will too.
The colors of the horses indicate opposite forces at play. This can be anything from points of view to good and evil. This card shows that in order to achieve one's goal one must master the two forces and harness the combined strengths towards the goal.
From a simple aspect this card along with others can indicate literal travel.The seeker may be physically traveling or the seeker may be moving on in their life or moving towards something new.

  When the Chariot card shows up in a reading it's likely the seeker has a goal that may not seem easy to achieve but yet the cards appearance assures that it is within their control despite the odds.

 In thinking about the Chariot in your own life, can you remember any time when you felt the need to combine seemly opposite forces?
What were the forces?
When have you experienced success through shear determination and will?

Remove the Chariot card from your deck and lay it down face up. Shuffle the deck and pick another card to clarify the Chariot's meaning to you.
Use any reference material to interpret this, or you can give it a try using your intuition.
Ideally, try using your intuition first, and then look up meanings in a book, online etc. and note any similarities.

 Black Crow Tarot

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Catrina Cavalres, A Quilted Canvass

A couple of years ago I participated in The Day of the Dead  Celebration at the Art Center In Indianapolis, In. I created this Studio Art Quilt to hang above an altar I set up in honor of  Jose Guadalupe Posada.

It was an amazing adventure to study another country's culture and holiday traditions. I have decided I like  the idea of seeing skeletons depicted in a lighthearted but practical view. Catrina in her flowered and feathered hat is a very festive lady!
 And I love all the colors , decorations and the idea of one celebrating  the life of one's ancestors in the traditions of the holiday. 
The quilt is created in a whole cloth manner. I drew my design free hand on  white cloth with pencil. I sandwiched, hand quilted the design and bound the quilt in the traditional manner. Then went back in with  acrylic paints and painted in the picture.
I call my creations Quilted Canvasses.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Little Bone Poetry and A Little Past Due Recognition

Close up of  Catrina Cavalres, Studio Art Quilt
By R. Paulette Lancaster

Phyllis McGinley
( 1905-1978)
There are some poems that when you read them they engrave themselves on your heart.
I recall sitting in my eighth grade English Literature class and reading this poem:

Sticks and stones are hard on bones,
aimed with angry art.
Words can sting like anything but
Silence breaks the heart.

Now  most every school child gets to know the classic version,
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But words will never hurt me..... followed by one sticking out one's tongue at the offending jerk.

I was touched to my core with the truth of that little poem. Being a teenager at the time, one sometimes comes to know the peer pressure of being ostracized and or given the silent treatment for what ever reason happens to be handy.

I also recall that there wasn't an author's name given for the poem, the tried but true anonymous had been trotted out as author.
Thinking on bone subjects I remembered this poem and was curious to see if I could find it and possibly the author for it as well.
And I did!
Her name was Phyllis McGinley, an author of children's story and poem books.  She was the copywriter and poetry editor for the prestigious Town & Country magazine.
She also won the Nobel Pulitzer Prize  for Poetry in 1960!

So my question is why in the hell wouldn't a school text book know who had written that poem, considering Ms. McGinley was a Noble Prize winner for Pete's sake!

I have read that Anonymous is a woman
 I truly believe that now.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Lovers/ Lesson Six

Jean Dodal Tarot( 1701-1715)
of Lyon- a classic Marseilles deck

Rider Tarot

Liz Dean , Art of Tarot Deck
Adam and Eve stand in the Garden of Eden. Above them an angel sends its blessings suggesting a spiritual or karmic bond between the couple. Adam looks to Eve , who looks to the angel. The mountain stands between the Lovers suggesting that there are conflicts or differences that could become issues in the relationship.

The Lovers card is about choice, not quite apparent in the Rider Tarot deck. Older versions of this card shows a man standing between two women. One woman looks older and quite matronly so most see this image as a maternal figure.
The man looks to his mother, who looks to the young woman, who's eyes are downcast. This suggests the man is seeking  his mothers approval.
Symbolism comes into play in readings regarding love and they could suggest the man has to chose between his mother and his lover.  Or the man compares his romantic interest to his first love, his mother. He may be comparing the positive attributes that he associates to his mother with his lover.
This card could also be suggesting that a mother has to much control in the relationship or that the man is to attached to his mother and may not be able to form a relationship with his lover.
  There is always the possibility that a choice must be made between an older woman and a younger one suggesting an indiscretion.
The Lovers card does not have to address physical love concerns. It can also appear simply when a choice has to be made. And to guide the seeker to listen to his/her heart when making the choice and avoid letting others interfere or get involved.
One must consider the surrounding cards before an interpretation.

Study the Rider and Marseilles cards. Which figures do you most closely associate with?
What choices have you had to make in the name of love?
Did you discover after the fact that you had chosen a mate with qualities like someone else you knew in life?
Have you found yourself in a relationship with "your mother or"your father"?

Do you look to others to help you make choices?
What do you base your decisions on ?

 I found these questions to be quite challenging to articulate answers while addressing them.
 What choices have you had to make in the name of love?
          Not to long after graduating from High School, I married my childhood sweetheart mainly due to religious pressure and the need to escape parental pressure.
 The marriage lasted less than two years. That relationship was very abusive for me in more ways than one.
And I learned the hard way, two wrongs don't make a right.
       I met the man to  whom I have been married to for  the last 38 years while I was married.
 Meeting my husband was like discovering the second half of myself.
    When I went for a job interview, I felt an instant connection to the Boss who was interviewing me.
The best way to describe the feeling is, for you to imagine that a very close friend and yourself are pretending that you have never meet before and are playing a role as interviewee and interviewer. The situation seems  very funny and you can hardly keep from laughing but you know you have to keep a straight face and play out the scene.
 Since we were both married to others at the time, there was a lot of opposition against our divorces from   from both sets of parents.
    That sentence doesn't do justice to all the drama we both had to endure.
 I had to find the courage/ backbone to go against everything I had been raised and taught concerning religion and parental authority to be with the man I loved.
I was only nineteen at the time.  I look back now and realize just how young I was; still a teenager  who had to make some very grownup decisions that were going to effect the rest of my life!
After we married it took some time for the parents to feel comfortable with our marriage.

My husband has been the person I have turned to in when it comes to making good choices. I greatly value his opinion and his insight.
As far as finding myself in relationships that echo either parent, I don't think I have. I consciously try to think what would my parents do or act in any given situation and then I usually do the opposite.

Black Crow Tarot course,Black Crow Tarot Course

Astragalus bones-

astragalus bones

Knuckle bones is very ancient game of chance used for gambling, magic and divination. These bones are the small ankle bones of sheep and or goats.
The origin of knucklebones is closely connected with that of dice, marbles and the children's game of jacks.
Sophocles ascribed the invention of the game to Palamedes, who taught them to his Greek countrymen during the Trojan War. Both the Iliad and the Odyssey contain allusions to games similar in character to knucklebones.
In ancient Mongolian cultures a larger knucklebone acquired from a cow would be used as a shooter in order to move the smaller bones in the game, very similar to the large ball used in a game of marbles.
Later metal was applied to this larger bone in order to give it weight. Molten metal was poured over the bone. The shape the metal formed from the holes in the bones is very similar to the present day metal jack.
Witches in Fiction 2013 To The Bone