Preparing for the Spooky Season

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.”

Here is a spread by Daily Tarot Girl to get us in the mood. And seriously! Check out the spreads on Interrobang Tarot

Tarot Writing Challenges

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.

Murder of Crows Tarot

Word Prompts – Tell – Live – Ancestral AnimismMysterious RuinLost 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.

to be continued.

78 Australian Women Open 78 Tarot Doorways

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are advised that this site contains the names, images, and voices of people now passed and resting in the Dream

just keep filling our lives with truth,
reading more exciting than fiction,

the Duuran

Examining Tarot through the Aperture of Significator Cards and Real Life Stories

Every Tarot or Oracle card has its own story to tell, and every card is open to one’s personal interpretation. Despite what purists might have you believe, no matter what “meaning” experts or books may ascribe to a particular card, no one definition is correct for everyone or every situation. Tarot cards may help to explain a situation or describe a person. In this case a significator Tarot card has been consciously chosen to represent an individual and pick up on an energetic of a woman who has made a significant contribution to Australian culture. The cards chosen for these women seemed appropriate at the time. The reader may well differ and dispute the connection being made and suggest alternatives.

The Fool – Germaine Greer
The Magician – Elizabeth Blackburn Scientist
High Priestess – Baranagaroo
The Empress – Catherine Helen Spence
The Hierophant – Two Extraordinary Women
Lovers – Aunty Oodgeroo Noonuccal
The Chariot – Judith Durham
Justice – Elizabeth Andreas Evatt
Strength – A Test of Endurance
Death – Lets Talk Death
Temperance – Women’s Christian Temperance Union Australia
The Tower – Ultimate Tower Moment
The Star – Fay Catherine Howe
The Moon – Joan Lindsay Picnic at Hanging Rock
Judgement – Annie Lock Missionary
The World – Nancy Bird Walton


Cups
associated with the emotional realm. Connection, love, dreams and wishes. Happiness as well as sorrow and vulnerability.

Ace of Cups – The Promise of Happy Ever Afer
Two of Cups – Soulful Connections
Three of Cups – An Artistic Collective
Four of Cups – Ash Barty
Five of Cups – Red Flags to Address
Six of Cups – Custodians of Memory
Seven of Cups – Smorgasbord
Eight of Cups – Picking up the Pieces
Nine of Cups – Dame Nellie Melba
Ten of Cups – Miles Franklin Award
King of Cups – Sandra Pankhurst Trauma Cleaner


Pentacles
associated with the material realm. Physicality, the body, work, environment. Abundance as well as scarcity and greed.

Five of Pentacles – The Lady of the Swamp
Six of Pentacles – Ruby Hunter
Eight of Pentacles – Productivity
Ten of Pentacles – Mary Reibey
The Page of Pentacles – Teal Independents
Queen of Pentacles – Margaret Fulton


Swords
associated with the mental realm. Rationality, logic, communication. Useful thoughts as well as anxieties and fears.

Ace of Swords – Catherine Hay Thomas
Two of Swords – Julia Gillard.
Three of Swords – Grace Tame
Seven of Swords – Christina Macpherson
Eight of Swords – Lindy Chamberlain and Schapelle Corby
Nine of Swords – Trails of Trauma
Ten of Swords – Catherine Folbigg


Wands
associated with gusto and life force. Excitement, exploration, creative pursuits. Passion as well as grandiosity and impulsiveness.


Ace of Wands – Tilly Aston
Five of Wands – Warrior Spirit
Ten of Wands – Charlotte Allingham
Page of Wands – Inventive Creatives
Queen of Wands – Margaret Throsby
King of Wands – Margaret Olley

The following is a directory of alternative responses to some of the cards presented here.

Directory of Additional Posts

Marking Sahmain – Southern Hemisphere

“In ancient times, Winter Solstice festivals were the last celebrations held before the deep, hard winter began. There was plenty of food and wine, for now, – and hopes that all would survive the coming famine months until spring arrived again.”

On May 1 it is Sahmain in the Southern Hemisphere. It is not Winter Solstice but ‘Winter is Coming’.  As the days shorten our thoughts turn to life and death, to the past and the future, to what we’ve lost, what we’ve gained and what we are yet to do with our one wild and beautiful life. It felt like the right time to spend a few moments in quiet reflection in a cemetery.

Take the time to pick up the energy of the Cemetery you choose to visit. Find the grave that calls to you. Shuffle and lay out some cards and then spend quiet reflective time journaling.

Busting Creative Block

The Art Oracles: Creative and Life Inspiration features 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.

In writing classes I suggest that participants draw a random card and then spend some time researching this artist, hunting for clues about how they have been able to combat creative blocks.

Any one who suggests that when authority says to be quiet, get a loud speaker, has my attention. Go online and find out more about this amazing artist.

Voices May Be Heart At Pennyweight

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.

This remarkable 320 page book & 78 full-color tarot card set is a perfect gift item for someone you love, including yourself! The book . . is a small masterpiece in itself.” “The art on these cards places this deck in a class by itself compared to other decks. The scenes are simple yet highly evocative and magical.

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.

Tarot Storytelling

As this article points out there are many advantages to telling stories using Tarot.

  • 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.

Decks Used

Note that I am not an affiliate for any of these sites.

78 Possible Spreads Using RWS

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.

Saving Sorrento – Literature Study

Literary Studies is the study of written works of the imagination, of which poetry, drama and narrative fiction constitute today the most familiar types or genres. Most students and teachers of literature, however, see it as a more complex matter. It might be more accurate to describe it as a set of methods for examining the richness and diversity of experience through unusual uses of language, through a language that we recognize as different from everyday language and that thereby aspires to produce a reflection of and on the world not available to us otherwise. As such, literary works are also primary documents for investigating national histories, world events, the individual psyche, race, class, gender, science, economics, religion, the natural world, leisure and the other arts. Because literary studies engages with countless other disciplines, it is among the most interdisciplinary of any field of study.

Saving Sorrento by Monika Roleff is available at Amazon.

Back in the day, when I was teaching Year 12 Literature and English I applied some interesting techniques to draw out responses but I cannot deny that it never occurred to me to use Tarot or any other cards for that matter. Yet it was the Head of English at Monash University who gave a lecture about the Tarot and their relevance.

Whatever! Time has passed and it has become clear that exploring the insights cards have to offer can prove very illuminating.

When I drew a card to see what the White Numen Deck thought about the idea of working with Saving Sorrento by Monika Roleff (available at Amazon) out popped the Ace of Wands.

They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The Ace of Wands tarot card carries a similar message, representing a bold step toward a new beginning. The first card in the Suit of Wands, this Ace is full of energy, a creative kind, that breathes life into things that did not exist before.

According to Labyrinthos “Wands symbolize creativity, and the Ace of Wands is the boldest among the cards in the suit. It is not the kind of creativity that you learn from school or as a hobby. It is bravely finding your own voice, it creates a place where you can develop your own vision. In other words, it is associated with willpower, and creativity in the cosmic sense.

When you draw the Ace of Wands, it is an indicator that you should just go for it. Take the chance and pursue an idea that you have in mind. Take the first steps to start the creative project. The Ace of Wands calls out to you to follow your instincts. If you think that the project that you’ve been dreaming of is a good idea, and then just go ahead and do it.

Initial Character Study

One way to reflect upon characters is to do a spread like this. It enables us to put in an anchor and glean what forces are impacting on our primary protagonists. In this instance I used the Margarete Petersen Tarot.

The cards that appear for Isabella suggest that when she first meets the stranger on the beach she is threatened by his demeanor. On a conscious level she knows she needs to bring a halt to these unbecoming, fickle and shadowy thoughts. She has experienced fear before and understands she can leave such fears in the realm of the past. By contrast Alexander is unsettled by the appearance of this woman at his makeshift camp. He has good reason to be wary of seemingly attractive women. He is bereft and tries to hide it. However he has the gift of sensitivity and knows his feelings have been blurred by the events that bought him to this space. He senses that he will melt into what awaits him.

A Small Fool’s Guidance

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.