I think I am not the only one intrigued by the picturesque of early Tarot cards. What do they really represent? Who drew them? Who put all these icons together?
Then I saw Dario Fo, the great Italian comedian of Comedia dell Arte, play writer and Nobel Prize winner, acting on stage playing the hilarious figure of a barbarous Pope (I cannot recall who). and I thought that something of the medieval feasts, mysteries and banquets were radiating from the stage… from Origins of the Tarot Cards from Medieval Mystery Plays
I spied with my little eye the Magnetic Play Theatre that I obviously kept, which belonged to my daughter when she was little.
It only took a moment to find out about the connection between Tarot and Medieval Playhouses and for my inner child to point out that this would be a fun way to play with Tarot and write all at the same time.
So I set up my Rose and Swan Playhouse and called upon the Fiddler on the Roof Matchmaker to make me a match. The Lions Gateway Tarot by Jessica Henry was the obvious choice and I have to say it was love at first sight. These two may have quite the romance as they bounce off one another.
As I laid down the card that emerged from Henry’s beautiful deck I thought of fairy stories and the Canterbury Tales. Given Tarots power to teach about morality, I might even be happy to write a scene for a morality play.
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After The Village Tarot Witch did some Past Life Readings for me and a character I am working with I asked her if she would be willing to help me kick start my Tarot Community Interviews by answering some questions.
Through techniques of pathworking (guided meditation), your imagination can shine a magic mirror on your personality. This inner landscape reveals your world as your unconscious sees it – a perspective that enables you to make dramatic changes.
Make an appointment to write! Join me, read Tarot over Tiny Tea and spend time working on your journal.
Joseph Gill’s The Gill Tarot, first published in 1991, is a beautiful deck to work intimately with and provides amazing imagery for those wanting to journal or path-work.
A pathworking takes you on a journey through an inner landscape. Path-working as a technique is derived from magical uses of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. In that system, a path-working is a journey along one of the 22 paths of the Tree of Life, each of which has a specific set of landscape and symbolism associated with it (and corresponds to one of the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana of the Tarot).
Alternatively you can engage in a visualisation by focusing on the specific images in front of you; sometimes the image tells a story or involves travelling through a landscape (real or imaginary); sometimes it is intended to bring about a specific result.
At other times you may dialogue with a aspect of your personality as represented by someone like Gill’s Queen of Cups.
A sheep with a drawer in its stomach, a chair that wears heels, these truly surreal works of art could only come from the mind of Salvador Dalí. Pioneering, avant-garde provocateur, Surrealist, as famous for his personality as his work, a true icon, his legacy remains unrivalled in the current century.
On the basis that there is not really an original idea and the reality that we all stand upon the shoulders of others, I regularly have participants shuffle and choose an art oracle card.
With everything closed my most recent class went online and we have been meeting using Zoom. I drew cards for each of the participants and asked them to spend some time contemplating what they could learn from their artist.
Heather was confronted with Dali and, in response to the idea that to be Dali would provide more than enough inspiration, she spent some time considering how he would react to Covid 19 and being locked down.
She decided that, given that he pursued his interest in the 4th dimension and immortality, she imagined that Covid 19 might have tested his convictions. She wondered if he would have laughed the virus off and continued with his life or if he might have questioned his ideas and, along with the rest of the world, isolated himself and painted with new energy.
Finally she decided that he liked life too much to test his ideas about immortality and that Covid 19 would have been an exciting stimulus for him to paint in his Surrealist style.
He would very likely have emerged again, as the painter who in the 1920s, excited the art world with his works.
Inspired to walk briefly in Dali’s shoes she had fun playing and produced this delightful piece of art.
This is the second part of a series where I follow the lead of Tracy @becoming_temperance who also makes videos about Tarot on YouTube. In this video she responds to a series of questions about her passion and since I am not into making videos I have decided to respond using WordPress, the internet medium I am most familiar with.
Show us your recent deck, Tarot, Oracle and Crystal.
Between December 2019 and February 2020 I went on a bit of a buying spree and bought a range of decks that I felt I simply had to have. I purchased the most recent, the Lions Gateway Tarot, by Jessica Henry, after seeing a walk through on Tracy’s Video Channel.
The most recent Oracle Deck that I acquired was the Sacred Sites Oracle. I confess that I have not worked with it much but it is a very interesting deck that will enable me to travel at a time when the pandemic is restricting all travel.
Since February I have stopped buying because I have enough decks for the moment and I need to take the time to work more closely with the ones that I have.
If you could share a tip with someone learning Tarot for the first time what would it be?
I am only interested in reading Tarot for myself and using it as an activator in the writing classes I run so I decided that I was not going to try to ‘learn’ Tarot or rely on standard interpretations.
When I stumbled upon The Art of Intuitive Tarot, a course that Gina Spriggs offers on Daily Om, I decided that this was a good place to being my journey. This course involved working with one deck and I used the Cosmic Tarot to complete the exercises she suggested.
Aside from this course it was venturing into the world of the Tarot Tuber Community that really spurred my interest. I found the deck and Tarot resource recommendations that these YouTube videos provided to be really fantastic. It is a great place to become familiar with what Tarot has to offer.
Above all I adhere to the notion of simply having fun and being playful with Tarot.
The first Tarot Tuber who I followed.
The first Tarot Tuber I followed was Simon Harrison. He describes himself as a professional Tarot Consultant based in Nottingham with over 30 years experience of reading the tarot.
He believes (through lived experience) that the tarot is a tool that can help provide us with insights and clarity to identify areas for improvement, find solutions to difficult decisions and arm us with additional information so that we are able to make more informed choices in various aspects of our lives.
There are a host of Tarot Tubers in the Tarot Tube Community. Another early favourite was Kasia at Tarot Map.
What was life before Tarot for you? Where did you come from?
I am an Australian who grew up in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. If you put Heather Blakey – Daily Writing into Google you will learn more than you need about my online history as a Web Publisher, artistic midwife and purveyor of creative stimuli. Working with Tarot feels like a natural extension of my work with creative stimuli.
I ran the Soul Food Cafe for over ten years but stopped working it after compounding losses silenced me and took a toll on my capacity to be creative. I walked away from my former life, moved to regional Victoria from Melbourne and reinvented myself. Soul Food is now well archived in the Way Back Machine.
Favourite go to spread
My favourite go to spread is one that I use when I meet for an appointment to write. It is based on three cards. The first card identifies the issue we want to explore, the second sheds light on what may not help and the third offers a way forward.
For myself I like a deck to offer one message for the day.
Most anticipated deck of 2020
I eagerly anticipated the arrival of a number of decks and Tarot books early in 2020. One that I really looked forward to coming was the Sakki Sakki Tarot. I ordered it late in December and it seemed to take ages to come. I was thrilled when it, along with the companion book ‘Playing With Symbols’ arrived. This deck is now out of print. I regret not ordering the colouring book as well because I would photocopy some archetypes for participants in my classes.
What is on your Tarot Wishlist?
It is not surprising that Raecine (Owlmoon), a Tarot Community Tuber, has a huge following. She has an amazing collection of videos and her professionalism is outstanding. I trust her recommendations. She frequently makes reference to the Tarot of the Vampires and the dark imagery not only appeals but provides a contrast to decks I have in my collection.
“The writer of any first person work must decide two obvious questions: what to put in and what to leave out.” — Annie Dillard
I have been a ‘gleaner’ online since 2000 and I have fond memories of early blogs that quite literally shared things that could be found online. We tapped on one another’s doors and celebrated the brave new world we had discovered.
Over a ten year period I worked the Soul Food Cafe and created a vibrant communal space in the blogosphere where there was a free exchange of ideas. It has been said that I wove technology, community, and writing together long before blogging was a verb. At the time I was creating and managing this site it was not all about turning a dollar and filling our pages with advertising. It was about more simple things like sharing ideas with a community of likeminded spirits, being inspired by others and having a readership for our work.
Life circumstances took me away from the world of Soul Food and online communities. When I finally emerged from the fog of compounding loss and grief I found a very different online landscape to the one I had been so familiar with. Having had my day as an ‘influencer’, long before that term came into everyday language, I am very happy to take a back seat now. I am not interested in writing the book everyone tells me I should write either. There are plenty of books out there about the craft of writing and I am not inclined to add to them either.
For now I am happy to forage, find treasure and share what I find. Here are two recent finds in the Tarot Community. They are about conversational Tarot Reading and having conversations with your Tarot Cards.
Fire of Transformation shares her Conversational Tarot Reading, a technique I also use when I am working with writers
Victor Pitisci has a video about how you can have conversations with your Tarot cards and bring out a personality to each of the cards not seen before.
For something so universally recognizable, most people know little about the tarot outside of its supposed ability, with the help of a skilled reader, to foretell the future. Tarot cards are very rich in symbolism and occult significance. With their mysterious illustrations and buried meanings so open to interpretation, it’s hardly surprising that a number of sci-fi and fantasy books have incorporated the Tarot into their world building. If anything, it’s surprising there aren’t more of them: staring into the Tarot is like staring into a ominous mirror-world. Source: Barnes and Noble
“The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life” by Jesse Crispin is a manual intended to show that the tarot deck, primarily regarded as belonging to the domain of the esoteric, can be useful for anyone engaged in creative pursuits.
Like Crispin, at the risk of being deemed a “weirdo mystic”, I am prepared to publicly come out of the spiritual closet and promote the benefits of turning to a deck of cards for inspiration for fiction and art. Aside from the fact that I have seen the benefit of using cards in writing classes, I am in esteemed company. Many respected writers have made use of the tarot: Yeats, Italo Calvino, Salvador Dali, and even Charles Williams, a novelist and theologian who belonged to the Inklings literary circle, have drawn on the cards for inspiration.
Given that many Tarot cards actually depicted imagery of Medieval Dramas that took place in Italy it is not surprising that the cards, which feature characters from those plays, offer a springboard for aspiring wordsmiths. In a post entitled Tarot Fairy Stories I presented a case for using the Cosmic Tarot to help generate a fairy story set in a fantasy world. Needless to say there is a lot more that can be done.
When I found Tribu Arcane, a set of playing cards, in a second hand book shop I couldn’t help adding it to my collection. This deck features a different, traditional image on each card.
In a writing session I laid out the suit of hearts and we spent time considering what story is being revealed. We discussed what ideas might be researched and to kick start discussion I suggested that we could write something about a vibrant dancing troupe who travel, presenting spontaneous performances under sprawling Marula Trees. It is always inspiring to hear other ideas that come forward from the group.
Pull out a deck and experiment! Feel free to share any ideas in the comment section!
The upaguru is anyone who teaches us something, which, when we are truly open to recognizing the good in all, is literally every one.
So upaguru can mean both assistant teacher, or a teacher who is next to you
This video involves communicating with the ant. In this instance the ant is an example of a small teacher. At the end we hear the plea! It is plaintive really! The narrator doesn’t want to turn to dust knowing nothing at all. If someone would please tell him, what is all this for?
What! No answer! Perhaps we can get more sense from another Upaguru, one of my Tarot decks! Perhaps Tarot can come marching in on a Chariot, come to the rescue.
So, as I shuffle I go all quiet and ask very politely, very seriously – “So what is it all for?”
And guess who emerges? You got it! None other than the Devil!
I am not sure how much sense I am going to get out of this guy! He doesn’t get a very good wrap! This guy is all about illusions, bondage, addiction, opposition and personal demons.
But, perhaps something can be salvaged. The Devil might just come good and shed some light on how to overcome personal demons or even direct us to the costume joint he got that cool purple number from!!!!