Tuesday, 25 July 2017

For study - The Three Steps playing card spread

'The Three Steps' Dawn R Jackson - White Knuckle playing cards
In this blog entry, I'm just working my way through Dawn R Jackson's example of her playing card layout, The Three Steps. This spread is laid out 1-11 on the bottom row, 12-18 on second row, 19-22 on the third row, and 23 on top. It is read in trios, by counting off in sevens, with the seventh card in sequence serving as the middle card of the trio.

Okay, so counting forward from the first card, the first trio is Jack of Hearts - 3 of Spades - 3 of Diamonds. They follow thus:

First Ascent
Jack of Hearts - 3 of Spades - 3 of Diamonds (6 7 8)
Queen of Spades - 6 of Hearts - 4 of Spades (13 14 15)
10 of Diamonds - 4 of Clubs - 2 of Hearts (20 21 22)

Second Ascent
5 of Clubs - 2 of Diamonds - Jack of Hearts (4 5 6)
8 of Hearts - 7 of Spades - 6 of Spades (10 11 12)
10 of Spades - Jack of Spades - Ace of Hearts (17 18 19)

Third Ascent
10 of Hearts - Jack of Diamonds - Queen of Diamonds (1 2 3)
3 of Diamonds - King of Hearts - 8 of Hearts (7 8 9)
4 of Spades - Ace of Diamonds - 10 of Spades (15 16 17)

'The Surprise' 
2 of Hearts - 9 of Hearts - 10 of Hearts (22 23 1)

When reading the trio, you can seek clarification on it by viewing the card above the middle of the trio.

Dawn R Jackson's interpretation:

There doesn't appear to be a question in this reading (something I personally never do - no reading without a question is my policy.) The first trio is Dawn trying to figure out the subject of the reading. She says the seeker is interested in dating someone and getting closer to that person but has not been very successful (6 of Hearts above informed of the love interest). Apparently a date has been broken.

Queen of Spades is interpreted as the love interest - she's got a lot of problems and while she may not be uninterested in the seeker, she's just tired and consumed by the crap going on in her life at the moment.

The third trio is seen as advice - don't give up, the desired deepening emotional bond might be achieved with persistence. 4 of Clubs being a place, combined with 2 of Hearts, a museum or theatre is indicated. Combined with 10 of Diamonds (a lot of money), Dawn decides it's a theatre, and suggests inviting the love interest to a show which is part of package deal included transportation to an out-of-town theatre. (Two 10s in close proximity indicating a journey). An alternate or additional reading of this trio is that the financial deal the seeker is working on is stable and will work out harmoniously.

The second ascent, first trio, sees the seeker heeding the advice to keep plodding away, and he will keep asking her out, and keep getting turned down, though with the occasional acceptance.

8 Hearts - 7 Spades - 6 Spades is interpreted to mean that the seeker's thoughts of love get more and more negative. He is ready to walk away. She's giving too many mixed signals. The mystery behind this is solved, says Jackson, by the Jack of Spades above 7 of Spades.

The primary concern of Queen of Spades is her home and child. She is worried about him because he is feeling depressed and lonely. She believes that he is hiding something (7 of Spades below) and it may be failing grades or other bad thing (10 of Spades). A new relationship (2 of Hearts above Jack of Spades) is not the best idea right now, she thinks. However, this trio is red, showing a light at the end of the tunnel for the seeker. Things will get better.

As the Jack of Spades' outlook begins to improve (a red card above him), the Seeker's emotional situation will grow more fair. The Queen of Spades has become the Queen of Diamonds, and Jack of Spades improves to Jack of Diamonds, showing more sociable and better outlooks. The bodes well for the seeker's happiness (10 of Hearts). An alternate or additional reading of this trio is that the seeker will be invited to the wedding of a younger couple.

With his relationship in hand, the seeker is next confronted with lack of stability in a new financial venture which will become of great concern. There will be a lot of delay and worry and possibly a lawsuit. Travel plans (two 10s) should be carefully made. A secondary reading is mentioned from Ace Diamonds -10 Spades  -- a destructive fire! It's not a house fire (Ace of Hearts is not over the Ace of Diamonds), but still. That's a heck of a thing to report!

The 'surprise' is a fair one - his wish is granted and he enters a harmonious relationship and is married.


This was a lot to take in, which is why I decided to talk my way through Dawn's interpretations first. It's an interesting story she weaves. 

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The devil his due

Fournier Tarot de Marseille
Funny I should draw this card this morning, as I was just reading about it in Tarot Triumphs by Cherry Gilchrist before I logged on.

You may notice the TdM Diable is not particularly 'Satanic', as you'd see in some later decks, such as Morgan Greer or even Rider Waite Smith. Neither is he the 'misrepresented Pan' figure of natural carnality seen in decks such as Druidcraft or Tarot of the Hidden Realm. Here, Diable is a 'squat, hairy creature' based on 'a stock type devil originating with the Persians or Egyptians and reach us via Byzantine art', according to Gilchrist.  She says the traditional TdM Devil is a 'stupid, comic type devil,' because mocking him reduces his power, and this technique was widely used by medieval monks in their illuminations.

Gilchrist gives what I consider a contemporary interpretation of the Devil. In some instances, we spend so much time giving the devil his due, we forget he's actually not a very nice guy at all. Gilchrist does not fall into this trap. 'People or situations that are diminishing our capacity to act, think, or feel...to have a chance of becoming free, we must first recognise that we are enslaved...a situation of very limited choice.'  She says nothing about carnal appetites being neither good nor evil and how misunderstood the Horned One has been. Thankfully.

I wonder what the Devil card signified to 15th century folk who saw it either in a tarocchi game or in divination. I wonder what it meant to readers down the centuries, before Golden Dawn and other 'esoteric' schools latched on to Tarot.

But these are just idle thoughts, because our minds are not the minds of 15th century folk, and it would be silly to think that Tarot interpretations that meant something to them would mean anything to us. Our life experience and the way we find meaning in it are really entirely different. (Notice I didn't use the word 'resonate'. Shudder.)

So I guess today I need to be aware that there may be unpleasant choices to be made, and there will invariably come a time to pay the piper.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Times they are a-changing

I've got my collection down to 30 tarot decks and 29 oracles. This is down from a peak collection of around 200 decks total. There are still several decks I could get rid of that I never use.

Most of the money raised from the deck collection have gone into the board game collection, which has gone from 0 in February to 37 (45 if you include expansions to base games). We're very much enjoying our new hobby. It's nice to have something we can do together.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Decorating update

The dining room is nearly done. Here you see the new colours of yellow and orange, and I've added a new second-hand dining set and some white Ikea shelving units. 

Those doors that I was going to paint green you'll see are now both gone, and I've hung a groovy bamboo curtain over the cupboard door so I could place a shelf unit in that corner. 

I bought some little feet to go on the shelves to give them more of a finished look, and also so they can be adjusted to make up for wonky flooring (80 year old house). 

You'll also note the 1930s mirror and the Staffordshire dogs I got for my birthday! 

There's a bit more decorating to do in there, but that's pretty much it. :) 

Friday, 30 June 2017

COTD - Four of Wands

Golden Tarot, Kat Black 
Domestic bliss today. I can see that. I know I have to go to work to earn my living, but I do so love being at home, and I love it even more now that I finally have my own house. I see this as the opening to my weekend, and also a review of the last week. I'm going to be home all weekend, enjoying the newly decorated dining room and just being comfortable and happy here.

Also, we have started going to a board game group on Wednesday nights at a local pub and it turns out two of the members of the group live on the very same street as me! So perhaps this points to fun and games as well.

I'm also looking at the fruit draped across the top of the card, which of course symbolises bounty, but I'm taking literally. I see fruit and water in this image. Last week when it was so very hot, we didn't feel like eating much and we ate salads and fruits and drank lots of water, but this week, I've had a rebound effect with the chocolate, and it's not a good thing. So I'm reminded to eat better today and over the weekend as well.

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

COTD - Queen of Wands

My first card of the day in ages and I pull the Queen of Wands from Golden Tarot by Kat Black. It has been a bit fiery around here lately, not because of anything volatile but because I've had the dining room painted yellow and orange! It isn't quite finished yet, but it's pale yellow walls, white gloss trim and the chimney breast is a deep orange called 'spicy sandalwood 3'. There are two doors in the room that I'm staining with a translucent stain to a Wedgwood jasper ware green, or a kind of sage green.  I bought a 1930s mirror, one of those kind that have scalloped edges and hang from a chain, and that's going over the mantel. And over the weekend, we found a Nathan teak dining set at a secondhand furniture shop and it's being delivered this morning. I may post a photo when it's all in place. :) 

Other ways I can be the Queen of Wands today is to get through my to-do list with gusto (which might not be easy as I seem to have left my diaries at my other work base, but one must soldier on!) 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Tarot Games -- Shahrazad and Stones of Fate

So far I've bought two games that involve Tarot in some way, so I thought I'd do a little review of them. :)

Shahrazad, Osprey Games 2017

The first is Shahrazad, published by Osprey Games. This game is based on the Tarot majors, with each card assigned a thematically linked world fairy tale. In the game, you are Shahrazad, stringing together the fairy tales in order to survive another day. It was originally published as Tarot Storia in Japan, printed on cardstock. Shahrazad is the US/UK version, leaving out any mention of Tarot on the box and instead focusing on the fairy tales. In the new version, the cards have become tiles.

Cards or tiles, neither the fairy tales nor the Tarot carry a whole lot of weight, as the object of the game is to arrange the cards in columns in numerical order. You do this by drawing cards one at a time and placing them in offset columns of four cards each.  When you've finished laying all the cards, you then score based on how many contiguous cards of the same colour you have, after eliminating any cards that cannot be connected first to last column and that appear out of numerical order. This does not sound particularly challenging, but it is! This game is recommended for solo play, and it is a quiet, meditative game, particularly if you let your mind wander over the fairy tales and how those fit in with the Tarot card meaning whilst you are placing the cards. Two players can also play, taking turns and working collaboratively.

I bought this game at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham and paid £13, only to come home and find it on Amazon for £5.99. The dirty robbin' bastards. :)

Stones of Fate, Cosmic Wombat 2014

The second game I can share with you is Stones of Fate published by Cosmic Wombat Games, which was apparently formed in order to publish this particular game.  I don't think they've done anything else.

Stones of Fate contains the 78-card Tarot deck, art work by Ciro Marchetti. Tarot plays a stronger role in this game, with each card even getting a few lines of text explaining the card meaning. However, game play does not really involve Tarot meanings. It turns out this is a memory game!

Each player is given a set of 4 coloured tokens and the object of the game is to collect cards by placing the stones in the proper places above, below and/or left and right of the face down cards. Here's how it works:

Cards are laid out face down in 3 or 4 columns of 3 rows. (To its credit, the rules book calls this a 'spread'.) The cards are turned over so that players can examine the card placement in the spread. On each card, there are markings at top, bottom and sides indicating how many stones must be placed there in order to claim the card. Then all the cards are turned face down again. On your turn, you can either peek at a card, place a stone, or try to claim a card by turning it over. When you turn it over, if you have the proper number of stones on each side, you can claim it. If you don't, it goes into the discard pile and is replaced. This carries on for 78 cards. You keep all the cards you've claimed and at the end of the game, points are added up to see who wins. Some cards have special powers based on their Tarot meaning, such as Queen of Coins, 'This card represents the 'motherly' aspect, the desire to care for and nurture your family. Choose a card from your collection and give it to another player.' Or The Fool, 'The Fool represents a new journey into the complete unknown. Each player must remove all of their fate stones from the spread.' Or The Tower, 'The Tower represents a time of great turmoil and insecurity, shaking foundations built on naivety. Each player must discard at random one card from their collection.' Which is all well and good, but it's the memory aspect that is the big challenge here for me. I found myself getting so confused and grumpy that we decided we should play it with a timer set and then count up points after 15, 20, 30 minutes. When we played it recently, I found myself getting very upset with myself for not being able to remember where to place the stones! Funnily enough, improving my memory is one of the main reasons we started gaming. But memory games! Oy!

I think either of these games would make a nice addition for a Tarot group that might want to try something a bit different.