The Winter of 2020 was a particularly harsh one. The use of divination by cards was not needed as the focus was more on dream symbology.
Yes, there are similar rites and similarities but the use of a deck to “see” seemed to be a bit of a chore as there was so much glorious darkness to travel in and on.
Spring is arriving slowly and with night chills in the Northeast. More light is available, longer days and oddly enough longer dreams, so into the labyrinth the Soul travels. The Bright Mirror scrys just as well as the Dark and the ways of seeing in day and night are many.
In Regula Elizabeth Fiechter’s Mystical Kippers drawn by Urban Trosch the 17th card is aptly called in English, Receive A Gift. It perfectly sums up the flow of the spiritual current at the Yule season.
In reading Kipperkarten via the traditional methods, Card 17 brings the energy of the card above it down to the card below it. It is a vertical card, much like the Tree many decorate. The Star topper on the tree above shines on the earth allowing one to see the presents below.
In a mystical sense the questions /seeds which were asked or planted at the 2020 Mid-Summer’s Solstice are answered or made manifest as Epiphanies. The gifts wii receive from Dec. 25th – Jan. 6th are symbols of a spiritual harvest or of Gnosis made flesh.
Many things have changed since the Pandemic. Most people in the realm of Cartomancy, Spiritualism, and other energy based sciences have NOT changed their approach. The amount of people who are in this arena has increased ten fold from the time of my introduction in the 70’s.
The 70’s had a different energy configuration. It was easier to establish connections with humans, spirits and other dimensions. However, this has been altered due to the introduction of electrical frequencies into the atmosphere which are modifying organic structures including the brain.
Today is a reflection of a reflection of a reflection in a hall of mirrors. Mankind has many different views to espouse all of them in mental realms. The triggers which herd men this way or that are the emotional prompts or the triggers as they are called now. These are the strings in “string theory” that make men dance to the tune of the collective mind.
In the hyperreal realm that is our Earth, fortune-telling is not accurate for the past is unreal, a tall tale told full of glory, guilt and trauma and the future is illusionary as there is only now – replayed over and over until it stops.
Divination however remains as a way of reading signs from the realm of the divine. Readers will find signs are cast from the Fates realm into the physical as coincidence, apparition, deja vu, or so-called paranormal phenomena which enter one’s life or their client’s as humanity walks towards the real Earth.
More to come,
Many practitioners of initiatory ATR’s such as Ocha, Haiti’s Rada Rite, and Candomble are often reminded that these are religions anchored in community settings. In other words they are not solitary practices. ATR’s are based on the family structure just as Christianity is.
Today, the religions which came to America with various tribes are TIED to Christian theology by traditions. Originally, it is said this was done as a cover, but now it is an embedded tradition which is clung to. Religion doesn’t have updates.
The High Priest of a religious community is a shepherd of that flock. He may be a diviner, teacher or a counselor but he is also a representative of a priestly lineage and or a higher power.
The Pope or Hierophant card is shown with the symbols of the higher power (his scepter). He is an intermediary between heaven (his 3 tiered crown) and the lower realms. The Pope is positioned between the visible and invisible worlds (the pillars). He passes on his knowledge and raises up those who will follow him. This is why he is shown with disciples or acolytes.
The Tarot card which represents the solitary practitioner is the Magician. This is obvious in the card. Here is an ordinary man. He has assumed a firm stance on the earth. His tools are simple. The table before him has on it common items. His hat shows he works with the seasons or cycles of Nature. There is no pomp or ceremonial bling in his working. He holds a simple wooden wand and he looks away from it – off to the opposite direction of the Pope.
The Magician may also disguise what he does but this is done to make sure his message reaches the people. Entertainment is often a Magician’s ruse. They are tellers of tales, showmen, tricksters or even at times charismatic runners of a confidence game. The Magician doesn’t give his work fancy titles. As the Kikongo saying goes: “Ndoki can’t say what they are,” more than likely he or she will assume many different aliases on their journey.
Though the Magician seems to work solo he/she is not bereft of community. While the community of the Magician is not obvious, they are ever present. His or her relationship is with Spirits or Daemons. It is familial as well, it is just beyond 3D and corporal forms.
In terms of inquiries about the ATR’s the Magician card would appear with individuals whose practices are not as closely linked to Christian principles such as Palo Mayombe, the Congo & Petro Rites of Haiti or Brazilian Quimbanda. So when looking for the cause and effect of certain phenomena or what a person really is “into” or using, keep the graphics of these two Major Arcana cards in mind.
“Have a care, will you? ” An old line from a time of black and white mysteries comes to mind when wii think of the year 20 and 20. The front and the back of it, the Light and its Shadow, Judgment as the 20th Trump or Major Arcana is called in Tarotic notation.
Gabriel’s Horn is being blown. The Dead jump up from the crypt as the Horn and the Prayers of their anxious descendants disturb their long naps. Once again it seems nothing is right with the world.
Judgement as a year doubled is a time of back and forth finger pointing, of accusing and being accused. It literally is like an old “whodunit.” Who is wrong and who is right is all a matter of perspective and how much cake is in your bag!
However, when you bump into someone in the street, “have a care” and say pardon me. Take at least some responsibility for your actions. It is a start – if you want to survive.
In a time where one may casually hear any means of divination referred to as Tarot, which type of deck a full size 78 card true Tarot or an oracle deck of various sizes from less than 36 to more than 52 cards is the best to select for your client’s reading situation?
Having started out with a full sized Tarot deck of the Marseilles style where the minor arcana or pip cards are numbered this deck is the one which is most familiar to me.
An oracle deck for me is a deck which is visual having pictures and geometric symbols not numbered or in suits like playing cards. This style of deck works for me to trigger messages from the shared subconscious levels between myself and the client. Most oracle decks were not numbered individually and the number of cards in the deck varied. A personal favorite was the 1997 Vertical Oracle by Antero Alli using 52 images created by Sylvie Pickering.
In the last 10 years learning the European style of fortune telling decks of 36 cards was a major change and challenge. Having started with Lenormand from a French perspective study proved in was indeed a German concept. Moving into the Kipperkarten the benefits of using the 36 cards began to show themselves in ways that Tarot did not.
Tarot I have found reads the internal aspects of the person in their environment or inside to outside. Oracle decks read all the energies in an environment or situation using symbol language. Fortune telling decks of 36 cards seem to deal with the energies in the outer world and how the person is handling them or from the outer to the inner.
Clients in general want to deal with the latter how to handle the outer environment wanting to know what is coming down the pike. The 36 card decks excel at this. So it would be good when you don’t know the client at all such as an outdoor fair or doing online services.
Initiates and people working in aspects of magick or the occult want to check their energies and balance so the 78 card Tarot is able to show them an internal blueprint. The Major Arcana dealing with outer phenomena, the Minor Arcana with the 4 element balance in their own system and the Court Cards with their psychological interface. One would have to know the client’s interests to select this method.
Artists, creative people and those of a mystical mindset fare well when read with a symbol-visual dominant oracle. Again this works for people whose interests you know or repeat clients.
Just my take on the various tools. Try them out!
What happens after you open the box on a new deck of cards be they Tarot, 36 card fortune telling decks or any oracle on cardstock?
Most folks like to do an unboxing or write a review for their blogs and then the new deck gets to join the others on a shelf if they are a collector or to wait until a mood strikes if they are a dilettante . If the person is a regular card reader then the deck gets placed in the rotation to be used if the energy is good. If the energy is good means in most cases if the buyer/reader “feels” a connection to the images of the deck. This is why theme and concept decks are often relegated to a certain time of year and the user never gets familiar with their cards.
How does on get to know a deck of cards? My first act is to open the deck. This requires a thorough shuffle to break up the pre-formatted order of the cards. The goal of opening a deck is to get a message from the deck about what it brings to you -as a tool of divination. This ritual first act allows the deck to make the first move and speak to you. No question is needed other than your intention.
The opening card is recorded.
After opening the deck if it is a 78 card Tarot the layout is always the Pentagram Spread as it tells me if the energy distribution of the deck. This spread is also recorded. The first spread used varies with 36 card decks and other oracles but it is basic in all cases which means not more than 5 cards.
Then what? If the deck is a good energy fit, it is time to move beyond the LWB or the guidebook which came with it. A reader has to discover what the symbology and the scenery on the cardface mean by direct experience. Reading is personal. It uses the treasure house of the Reader i.e. the contents of their subconscious (aka personal unconscious) to interpret the situation of the client.
What the symbol means to a client means absolutely nothing. The layout is arranged in front of the Reader and INVERSE to the client across the table. It is the reader who functions as interpreter. A spread is a mirror. The client is the face in the mirror which momentarily looks back at us which is not our own.
This is why a professional Reader immediately takes up the cards and puts the deck back together to end the session before a client rises from the chair. They may use some additional ritual techniques to “clear” each face to face reading session which ensures all the client’s energies go out the door with them.
The Santa Muerte Tarot finally arrived from Book Depository in the UK who as always has the best prices! This 2017 Lo Scarabeo deck was drawn by Fabio Listrani.
It came in the standard box which is quite sturdy. The cards are glossy and the stock makes it easy to shuffle them. The colors are vibrant and the scenes are not quite RWS in format.
There is not a one on one correspondence to basic Tarot meanings. As a “concept” deck the subject matter “flavors” the brew so to speak. Therefore the action on the cardface is important not a rote response. The LWB gives a short blurb called Advice of the Dead for each card. It would help to look at each card as you read the notation when working with the deck. It is not for those new to Tarot, no concept deck is.
The opening card for me using this deck is the Knight of Pentacles which is not shown here. The Knights are mounted on dead steeds. The Knight of Pentacles is shown in a lime green hue and has a full sack of burlap slung across his back which indicates he brings lots of information.
The first layout done with the deck was a Pentagram Spread to inquire about the deck itself. This is shown in the first photo. The first card was the 10 of Wands which is a red butterfly.
The butterfly is the form taken by women warriors in the Toltec-Aztec culture. They are of course women who die in childbirth and in battle who transform in Spirit and do not enter into Mictlan or the Underworld. The artist has drawn the butterfly wings of the 10’s in this deck as stylized sternums or breastbones,i.e. the bones which protect the heart. Male warriors return as hummingbirds. The concept of to “die in battle” or “warfare” can be extended in modern times to those who die a violent death.
The colors and the directions are key factors in the Aztec codes used to map the world. There is some variation from Olmec to Mayan to Toltec to Aztec to Mexica but in this deck it appears that Red is the color of the West/Wands; Yellow the color of the East/Sword; Blue the color of the South/Cups. The traditional color of the North or Mictlan is white but since the Land of the Dead is where the scenes take place Green/Pentacles becomes the Earth above, the land of the living which is engaged in a reciprocal relationship with the dead.
Bones are seeds in the Aztec Underworld. After the creation of the Fifth Sun the cosmovision of Mesoamerica says bones were required to repopulate the Earth with human beings. The bones taken from Mictlan were then fed the blood of the Gods in order to bring them and mankind back to fleshy life.
In light of this one can see why the phrase “Memento Vivere” or remember to live appears over the Sugar Skull on the deck box. Just as trees, vegetation and flowers come from seeds so does mankind come from seeds of bone.
The High Priestess card connects to one’s dream life. As the scenario shows she has a key to their understanding. In fact she may have a hand in creating them. Her open book has drawings in it like the Codices of the Aztecs not words. A codex is shown again closed in the 6 of Wands also in my Pentagram Spread.
The High Priestess is one of the few cards in the deck with lit candles. The Magician, Hierophant have candles as does The Queen of Wands. The Hermit of course took his lit lamp with him into the grave. The Five of Wands shows a lit match with an empty candle holder. All of these candle/light cards are part of a larger story of the absence or presence of light as awareness in the dream and death worlds.
So we see a slice of “activity” in the Land of the Dead, a land both North and below our feet. Do not place westernized limits on when to use this deck. It is not just for Halloween or the Days of the Dead. Everyday the two worlds of the Living and the Dead intersect with each death and birth; with every sunrise and sunset.
Working with your Ancestors is not a requirement for this deck. The Dead are the dead. They are simply people who have passed on- not just your kin but every dead man and dead woman. They are not Spirits as the Spirit of a dead man having wings flies away and cannot be confined in the Land of the Dead .
Waiting for the arrival of a new deck is a practice which develops one’s patience. Ha! I am in the process of doing some looking into a Tarot deck based on an indigenous American folkloric tradition, albeit a modern one. I ordered the 2017 Santa Muerte Tarot deck standard edition by Fabio Listrani. It will be my next blog review.
The card that first caught my attention is the one pictured at the left, Temperance. Just one look and I was off searching for the other images of the deck. The minors have some scenes which adhere to the Rider-Waite format, while others show images based on the theme of the deck.
Not being involved in the cult of Santa Muerte, the upcoming review will focus on how indigenous American cultural symbology works in divination.