Priscilla Queen of Cyber Space as she became known did a world tour in 2007 – 2008, crossing the USA, Western Europe and spending time in the United Kingdom. Her mission was to help patrons of the Soul Food Cafe, which I created and operated between 2000 to 2010, learn about blogging. She has spent many years since, living quietly in a regional Australian time but is gearing up to enjoy the annual, much loved Spooky Season.
A Three of Wands Moment
All-Hallows Eve, All Saints’ Eve, or Halloween is affectionately known as the Spooky Season. It is a much loved time of the year for many and the build up through October can be a lot of fun. It is Spring here in Australia but that will not stop us from joining in the fun and games.
Priscilla is joining forces with Rosie the Redback Spider and Skellie Stan (who you will know if you follow us all on Instagram) for a season of Halloweeen fun. They are plotting and scheming all sorts of fun from graveyard readings to Halloween themed spreads.
Fun Fact: Did you know that According to the History Channel, the name jack-o’-lantern is rooted in an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack who fooled the devil and in turn was forced to walk the Earth with only a burning coal in a hollowed turnip to light his way. The Irish began to call him “Jack of the Lantern,” and then just “Jack o’Lantern.”
A writing challenge is a foolproof way for a writer to practice the discipline of writing on a daily basis. A Tarot Writing Challenge provides a list of words and encourages you to shuffle, let a random card/cards appear from a deck and then write spontaneously. Initial writing can obviously be edited and used to contruct poetry, fiction, drama or whatever takes your fancy.
These are just two examples of challenges that I have engaged in that have been featured for August 2022. My responses varied but I found myself having the most fun using a combination of an Oracle, Tarot Deck and Storytelling Card Deck. This was completed in stages and is rapidly becoming a work in progress.
Word Prompts – Tell – Live – Ancestral Animism – Mysterious Ruin – Lost Memories
She followed the birds through a wasteland, trusting that they would lead her to crystalline waters where could quench her thirst for something more.
It felt like she had been journeying forever. She was old and tired of this life now. She yearned to know where her spirit would go, if she could return to the old world and fly with her flock again, if she could live a truly wild life
She called upon the reflective water to tell the complete truth
and was more than a little surprised when an awe inspiring magician appeared before her. She blinked! Could this really be true? Was this really she who had grown so weary? Did she still have the power to manifest the change she had been been yearning for.
She held her treasured ally and loyal friend, the Raven wand as tightly as she could in her gnarled, arthritic hands, casting a spell she had read in in an old alchemists book of secrets.
Everything went black and when she regained focus
she found herself being guided by a Ferryman who ferried her across the lake where, according to the Ferryman, live intelligent crustaceans who see out their full 140 years and more.
At the shore she paid the Ferryman his due and was met by a Raven who had clearly feasted on the skull of a predator. The Raven simply said “You can hoard your breath. You can breathe in after you have breathed out. It is really as simple as that” and pointed to a path.
The path wound through a darkened forest, full of mysterious ruins. As she walked, firmly gripping her treasured, carved stick, she shuddered, was more than a little unsettled by the breathless panting of a ghost, rambling in her ear about not being able to find her lost memories.
Blocking her ears she walked on, reaching a stone staircase leading to an arched doorway. Unlike the naive woman associated with Bluebeard she heeded the wand that was jiggling frantically in her swag and approached tentatively.
The dying woman lying just inside what had clearly been a foyer wasn’t making much sense. The barely audible words she kept uttering repeatedly were ‘hunter gather’.
As the dying woman’s spirit drifted away she heeded her wands timely caution. She knew she couldn’t stay in this place, knew not to interfere, too risk reprisal if she moved the lifeless body. Others would claim it. It was time to move on to a new place.
Leaving nothing to chance she pulled some dice from her swag to help determine which direction to take. She had come to trust these cubes, made from the same sawdust as herself. This was a very different, yet similar world to the one she had fled from and, as she followed the path the dice pointed to she knew she had to be careful.
As she tried to stay with, fully absorb the images that made up this environment, it appeared that she was in a loop, walking the same path. There seemed to be no real destination, no escape. Was this some interconnected set of pathways that kept bringing her back to the same place?
But then she came into a clearing and came face to face with death herself. She had no fear of death but rather welcomed her presence, suggesting that they scoop up some of the water of life itself, boil a Billy over a campfire and have a quiet cup of tea together.
The Art Oracles: Creative and Life Inspirationfeatures 50 artists with corresponding oracular messages inspired by each artist’s point of view. The deck was created by Katya Tylevich and Mikkel Sommer Christensen and published by Laurence King Publishing.
Are you suffering from creative block? Struggling to make a difficult life decision? Find out what Picasso, Pollock, Kahlo and other great artists would have done. Simply select an artist’s card from the Artist Oracle pack and take in the oracle’s advice on life, work or inspiration and any obstacle becomes surmountable.
Some 200 children were buried at Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery between 1852 and 1857, during the height of the Australian gold rush, and not much has happened here since. There have been no more burials. There’s no garden to tend to. No fresh flowers. But you will find small offerings from children who leave toys on the graves.
In a post Tania Braukamper notes that “Aside from those few with markings, the babies and children buried here are voiceless, nameless; nothing but soft bones and dust crushed beneath anonymity and piles of arid earth. The tiny mounds are even sadder because they are mute: the dead are always silent, but the unmarked dead are the quietest of all.”
Skeleton Stan and I doubted that these children remain voiceless, agreeing that it is just a matter of listening.
Stan, being a dead dude, is the perfect conduit to communicate with the tiny residents of this place so he and I agreed to go and try listening.
We took some Inner Child Cards out with us and visited an unmarked grave. We waited quietly to see if the resident had any message for us.
It was very moving when the card that emerged told the story of Peter Pan.
The story of Peter Pan begins in the nursery of the Darling household in London, where Wendy, John, and Michael are going to bed when they are surprised by the arrival of Peter Pan and the fairy Tinker Bell. Peter is a little boy who lives in the faraway world of Never Never Land who has come to retrieve his shadow, which he had previously lost there. Peter reveals that he lives in the Never Land as captain of the Lost Boys, children who fell out of their baby carriages when their nurses were looking the other way.
As a young mischievous boy with the power to fly, Peter Pan sweeps Wendy into his world and takes her to the promised Never Land. It is there that the pair encounters friends and foes alike, ranging from the loyal Tinker Bell to the antagonistic Captain Hook.
Neither Stan or I felt a shadow emerge from the grave but we both heard voices calling us to come again but we agreed that if these children are residing in a place like Never Never Land, telling stories, having adventures and living in a big hollow tree, this is a comforting thought.
You really get into the picture of the card and observe the details of that image.
You can really internalize each and every aspect of the card’s picture.
You can get creative and let your imagination run wild while writing the story.
Imagination and Intuition mix really well together – you never know which aspect of the story will suddenly appear like an intuitive notion while you do your reading (and you’ll be surprised at how accurate you are!)
Let Me Show You
Once upon a time, only yesterday, there was a Crow who was the familiar of a Hermit who lived in the a long abandoned Travellers Inn deep within the Hollow Woods ….
Over to you! You might continue the story or get out some of your decks and play with them.
In this case I have pulled out my Writers Emergency pack for some additional ideas to keep the whole thing going. I will set a timer for 20 minutes and just keep writing whatever comes into my mind.
Lady Astral Tarot provides two outstanding videos in which she demonstrates how you can make your own Tarot Spreads by using individual cards from RWS and RWS Clones to help frame questions.
To test run this concept I pulled a card from the Tarot of Curious Creatures by Chris Anne. This six of swords is quite unique. By contrast the image in the RWS Six of Swords shows a woman and a child in a boat being rowed in the water to a land that is on the other side. We can gather from the images that the woman and the child are leaving something behind, as their backs are faced towards us. The woman’s head is covered with a cloak – perhaps she is fleeing something, and must go without others knowing her true identity.
Here the Hare sits on what appears to be luggage, waiting to leave. As she waits a tortoise approaches.
Using Anna’s approach I take the time to take in all the details in this image but my focus is on the approaching tortoise and the story of the Tortoise and the Hare comes to mind. The moral lesson of this story is that you can be more successful by doing things slowly and steadily than by acting quickly and carelessly.
Seeing the Tortoise approaching makes me wonder if the Hare has thrown in the towel too quickly. I also wonder about what assistance may come from an unexpected quarter and I frame a question around this.
From what unexpected quarter may I get support?
I shuffle and draw another card. It is the Four of Pentacles depicting a Pig protectively keeping her gold to herself. Initially it is not clear how this provides any support.
However, in a general context, the message from the Four of Pentacles Tarot card could help the Hare by demanding she consider if she is are holding too tightly on to people, possessions, situations or past issues.
The Four of Pentacles tarot card may also be an indication that there are deep seated issues affecting the Hare that she needs to process and let go of. Perhaps the Hare has only been valuing things for their material worth, is trying to hard to control her life or is holding back. It is possible that she has become too greedy and needs to be reminded that money works best when it can flow and exchange, not when it is being stashed away in her luggage.
Certainly, as the Hare sits on her luggage waiting to leave, she is given things to think about.
Mouse symbolism is centered on the idea of having the ability to accomplish anything in life regardless of your size. It is a spirit present in many tales and myths and has various positive and negative meanings.
Wary of the Deviant Moon Fool, unsure about following such a renegade, I turned to the Northern Animal Tarot. I figured I might get the best guidance from an animal. I didn’t need to do a spread to decide whether to accept a date with this young fellow.
Mouse reminds me to go slow and to tend to the smaller details. Mouse spirit signifies a time when you need to take a closer look at your life and scrutinize the details that you may have missed. As a big picture person this advice seems very timely. I am guilty of overlooking detail.
I pull two more cards to guide me, to help me see what I may have overlooked as I embark on this project. I realize that the seed I have is going to need to be nurtured if it is to flourish and that while I have a rich bounty already there are many more cups to fill along the way.
But I am tired now. The negative noise that has permeated everything for the past two years feels overwhelming. It is ridiculous to imagine that anything really changes on the last day of a year, that everything will be transformed at the dawn of a New Year, but the prospect of more of this is relentless stress is daunting. Earth feels like a very crazy place to be at the moment and I wonder what is going on out there in the galaxy.
Mouse looks through his contacts in the deck and suggests that I really need to find the Knight of Swords.
When I come upon this fellow, striding forward, wielding his sword, his ferocious energy is daunting. I am just plain weary and my intellect feels blunted. I recall my High School Principal telling me that “worry is rust on the blade” and I am sure Marcus Aurelius would have some sage advice. Obviously I have always taken things way too seriously and this has blunted my sword.
I choose to simply watch as this energetic warrior struts his stuff, hoping for some of his enthusiasm to be infectious.
What about addressing the difficult topic over tea and biscuits? If tea’s not your drink, do a little online search for alternatives. Lots of cultures have versions of hot beverages to try. Try them! Go on a tea/coffee break adventure and create space for sharing.
I invited the very youthful Anna K Fool to take a moment, before leaping off that cliff face, to have a cup of my tiny tea. Despite being in a hurry to go wherever she was going she agreed to take a few moments to talk to me.
As we sipped tea, and ate some of the Christmas shortbread, I remarked that my daily life has come to feel like a rubber band, that despite wanting to start afresh, I slip back into old ways of doing and being.
“This is not how it has to be! Your spirit is every bit as young as mine” proffered the Fool.
I all but choked on my tea and spluttered as I considered this. The saying that we are only as young as we feel went through the replay screen in my brain and I conceded that she might just be a very old soul in a young body.
“What about I lay down a couple of cards” suggested the Fool. “I am sure there will be a message for you”.
We contemplated the cards together. I suggested that I might position myself at the top of the wheel and dance joyfully like the figure shown there.
“Rather than hanging on to an established pattern of thinking about the ending before you begin” said the Fool “what about you focus on climbing up from the hub? The project you have so publicly been talking about will not materialize overnight. It will quite literally take a significant amount of time to wrangle. It will be awhile before you can really celebrate.”
With that the Fool drained her cup, put her swag back over her shoulder and leapt into some new world leaving me to ponder whether, at my age, after having responded so often to the call, if I have the energy to do it again.
Consider what might happen if you:
For more than 25 years Noriko Morishita studied and practised the intricate ceremonies of the famous Way of Tea, attempting to learn its complexities and achieve a perfection of movement and mood that few can master. In The Wisdom of Tea Noriko describes her gradual discovery of freedom and insight within the very rules that once seemed so constricting. Looking back across her life, Noriko illuminates the real teachings of the Way of Tea: to live absolutely in the moment, to notice and delight in the smallest of details, to embrace the vital skills of patience and perseverance, and to allow yourself to be.
made tea and sat chatting with one of the Major Arcana
added tea to a meeting with a client,
poured a cup of tea and brought it to a disheartened friend,
set up a tea service for an imaginary friend on your back deck.
bought yourself a child’s tea service and made tea for the nature spirits in your garden
called in and had tea with an isolated elderly or disabled person and encouraged them to share stories about their life.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 American science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg that captured the imagination of the world at the time of its showing. It tells the story of Roy Neary, an everyday blue-collar worker in Indiana, whose life changes after an encounter with an unidentified flying object (UFO). Richard Dreyfuss stars as cable worker Roy Neary, who along with several other stunned bystanders experience a close encounter of the first kind – witnessing UFOs soaring across the sky.
During this holiday period it is as good a time as any to watch an old favourite movie or to have a close encounter with someone less like an alien – a Tarot Archetype.
When I take the time to study the Fool I invariably think in terms of the Pied Piper who is constantly enticing me to throw it all in and follow him.
Indeed, many of my personal drawings and courses that I have run have been influenced by this character. As an artistic midwife I have had many encounters with him. It is the Piper who encourages me to lace up my Cyber Boots and head out on yet another creative journey of imagination. It is the Piper who lures me away from conventional thinking and encourages me to inhabit a world of childhood imagination.
In her book ‘Jung and Tarot’ An Archetypal Journey Sally Nicholls makes the point that studying specific cards help unlock hidden stores of creative imagination enabling sudden insights and ideas burst forth into the consciousness, seemingly from nowhere. I am determined to have some close encounters with prominent Tarot characters.
Given that these wispy characters can be as illusive as butterflies, who flit away without warning, I plan to step into their world and interview them. I am anticipating that this will take most of 2022 to complete but I am in no hurry as I really want to really get to know some of these characters.
I plan to adapt some of these spreads as I begin to communicate with each character. I will lay the card down and either draw more cards or see what spontaneously emerges using a stream of consciousness approach.
Some More Questions to Pose
One of the things I do love about the Show Me Cards is that I can use them to ask questions but here are some more that might be useful.
Tell me about yourself!
How are you helping me?
What should I know about any message that you bring?
The moon is an integral part of our lives. Whether it is celebrating a festival or starting an auspicious task, or meditating, we consider the movements of the moon.
The moon is your old friend, when you understand it and know how to lean on it, it won’t let you down.
In this universe, every object has an impact on the other. The full moon as well as the new moon are thought to have an effect on the body and mind to some extent. But practicing pranayama, yoga and meditation can help counter these effects.
A Guided Meditation
Layout some Moon cards and spend time meditating on them. It may help to play this Guided Meditation or another imagery, like this, that you can find online.
A Full Moon Spread
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon, The moon, The moon, They danced by the light of the moon
The energy of the moon has an undeniably powerful influence—on people, on plants and animals, and on the cycles and rhythms of the world. These tarot spread may help you manifest the changes you want for yourself and your community. Whatever! They will provide fodder for journal keeping.