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.

Tiny Tea with The Fool

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.

Applying Bibliomancy

Bibliomancy is one of many divination practices found around the world, and involves the use of books—typically sacred texts—as a method to foretell the future and find guidance. There are many different techniques of bibliomancy that can be used, and a practitioner’s own belief system often informs the way in which results are interpreted.

All the Tarot, Oracle and Lenormand readers I have come to know are constantly updating their knowledge. Inevitably, most folk who collect decks also collect reputable resources to further their knowledge. I know my shelves are literally full of resources about Tarot and the art of writing in particular.

In his book, A Healing Space, Matt Licata specifically says that his book is not one to be read from cover to cover in one sitting. He expresses the hope that a reader might take his book out into nature, sit on the earth and ask to be directed to a passage. What Licata is describing is the art of bibliomancy.

  • Bibliomancy is often used with sacred texts to divine the future, but can also be performed with fiction.
  • The tradition of bibliomancy is found in religious practices all over the world.
  • To practice bibliomancy, you can select any book that is important to you, and focus on finding an answer to your question.

Now this got me thinking! It is true! The Jury is back in! I am guilty, as charged, of being critical of myself for not reading all the pages of the countless books that I have gathered over my lifetime. But I am confident that I could establish a simple Bibliomancy practice using the Tarot books, and other resources that surround me.

To test drive the process I pulled Mindful Tarot by Lisa Frienkel Tishman. PhD off the shelf and called upon this book to show me something I needed to know about Tarot and my specific practice.

Remarkably the page that opened talked about the Hangman and how the earliest decks called this the Traitor, in reference to Judas! This may not be news to you, but it was news to me.

I sat quietly with the whole notion of the Judas archetype and the provocative argument presented by Jorges Luis Borges, that without Judas we would not have Christ saving us all.

I pulled out the Hangman from the Cosmic Tarot and drew in the image! I considered how once in awhile someone comes along who, by the way, is not thanked for turning everything upside down. I remembered a moment in time when I turned everything upside down.

Curious? Perhaps it is best that I keep that memory to myself for now.

Over to You

What reference beckons you? What do you learn? Will you try this again and again?

Tarot Memoirs

Writing an autobiography enables the author to claim their rightful place in history. Moreover, the author can tell their story in their voice. As a result, autobiographers plant flags that no one can remove. Future generations can then take these flags as the roadmap to a brighter tomorrow.

Writing an autobiography is a process that requires the author to explore their emotions at various junctions of their life. However, the autobiographical process reviews the author’s life with the benefit of hindsight. Hence, the healing process can consequently emerge.

As a renowned writer and journalist Graham Greene put it, “Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic, and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”


The Tarot cards Old Memories promotes itself as the way to open a secret meaning encrypted in your thoughts, and suggests that this deck of cards is will help to open memories. Lisa Papez has a whole series of Tarot Memoirs on her YouTube Channel which will help inspire you.

Lay out some cards that speak to you, check out this post about Autobiography as a Tarot Practice and spend some time drawing upon the well of remembrance.

Alternatively, grab your favourite deck and systematically go through the cards, drawing on the memories the cards invoke.

Kindfulness Warriors

To actively bring attention to being kind to oneself, as an act of self care and self awareness; a hybrid of kindness and mindfulness.
Bright Blue Day

Dalai Lama: “Kindness is my religion.”

My mother always said “kindness doesn’t cost you anything”.

“Often it is the simplest things that mean the most. Small gestures of love that remind us someone cares. A word, a smile, a gift. There is so much power in kindness, it is a true force.

The Six of Cups celebrates acts of kindness and generosity. It encourages us to bring more of this into our lives and to focus on what really matters. What use is wealth, nice clothes, a big home, if we can’t love each other or share what we have? Meditate on this simple lesson. Look for ways to live a kinder life, encourage others to do the same”. Little Red Tarot

Bright Blue Day outline the significant benefits of Kindfulness while Carrie Mellon writes about Infectious Kindness and the power of the Six of Cups. Kiki Dombrowski is another writer who reflects on generosity in tarot.

Rather than being strung onto a Christmas Tree and living in a box for eleven months of the year this Angel is committed to working with Kindfulness. She, and some of her kin, are going to be actively involved as we examine cards and begin to manifest a practice.

Pull out your favourite Six of Cups cards and consider simple, mindful actions, rooted in compassion that you can take that can change the world. To prepare you might take advantage of these Self Compassion Exercises.

Think about how you can become a Kindfulness Warrior and help change the vibration and energy through small, everyday actions.

Use this Manifestation spread to help set some goals. What steps does a deck suggest that you can take to become a Kindfulness Warrior?

Self Compassion Tarot

Most people don’t have any problem with seeing compassion as a thoroughly commendable quality. It seems to refer to an amalgam of unquestionably good qualities: kindness, mercy, tenderness, benevolence, understanding, empathy, sympathy, and fellow-feeling, along with an impulse to help other living creatures, human or animal, in distress.

But we seem less sure about self-compassion. For many, it carries the whiff of all those other bad “self” terms: self-pity, self-serving, self-indulgent, self-centered, just plain selfish. Even many generations removed from our culture’s Puritan origins, we still seem to believe that if we aren’t blaming and punishing ourselves for something, we risk moral complacency, runaway egotism, and the sin of false pride.
Read article by Kristen Neff

Kristen Neff breaks down some of the myths that prevent us from caring for ourselves in the compassionate way we often care for others.

Jen’s Science to Soul Tarot and Transformation initiated a seven day YouTube challenge this year. Having run a seven day Gratitude Challenge she invited participants to engage in another 7 day program.

You will find her initial video and the responses under the tag #SelfCompassionwithTarot.

I doff my hat to Jen because my years of experience working with creatives has demonstrated how shit we all are at being compassionate and supportive towards ourselves. The internet is awash with sad stories about the damage wreaked by the inner critic who sabotages any attempts to be compassionate.

Sites like Mindfulness Org provide free material and provide great support for those wandering down this path to learn what we could have been taught at school. On the page I have linked to Mindfulness Org they say that

“This practice is a way to help remind ourselves to apply the three core components of self-compassion—mindfulness, common humanity, and kindness— when difficulties arise in our lives. It also harnesses the power of soothing touch to help us feel safe and cared for. It’s important to find language that is effective for you personally—you don’t want to have an internal argument about whether the words make sense. For example, some people prefer the word struggle to the word suffering, or prefer the word support or protect to the word kindness. Try out a few different variations and then practice what works for you”.

Mindfulness Org

So how can we use our Tarot or Oracle Cards to practice some Self Compassion?

Option One

One way is to take the lead from Brian Cormack Carr, who created a spread based on the work of Kristin Neff. He presented this helpful Self-Compassion Tarot Spread on one of his videos. I found the link and this image on Tarot Whimsy who used Carnival at the End of the World for the first six cards, and Antique Anatomy Tarot: Ephemera Edition for the last two cards.

Option Two

Watch Jen’s video, choose a deck and pull one card each night, reflect on the card during the following day and keep a journal or Instagram record using both her hashtag and #yuleadventure2021

Other Ideas?

  • Pull a card! Share a bit of self loathing with the figure and dialogue as they respond to you over the subsequent hours. A scene I loved in the final episode of Season 3, Succession was when Kendell confesses and his siblings. Shiv and Roman, who have never shown a shred of kindness throughout the three series, actually show some authentic compassion. So even the Devil may have some reassuring words for you.
  • Christine Gaudet writes about the Twelve Tarot Cards the Teach Compassion. Spend some time meditating and dialoguing with some of these cards.
  • Test run this spread
  • Or try this spread that is in the Guide Book of the Gentle Creatures Wisdom Deck, a deck I have bought specifically to do self compassion work with.
Spread from Gentle Creatures Wisdom Deck by Arwen Lynch-Poe and Dan May

Gratitude Tarot

What is gratitude? Gratitude is being grateful for all of the things in your life. It’s being grateful for all of the wonderful things that you have, but also of the things that haven’t quite gone so right, because of the lessons they brought you.

Let’s be honest. Life can be difficult. It can be a roller coaster. Sometimes we get a run of wonderfully memorable days. Some days it seems we are stuck in an endless cycle of days we’d rather forget.

Gratitude reminds us to keep bringing our heart back to what matters most. Not just in the good times, but the bad times too. Gratitude isn’t about having a positive attitude. It’s about finding the things that can comfort or warm us, despite what else might be happening in our lives.

What matters most to you?

Who matters most to you?

Seven Days of Gratitude and Gratitarot

Watch these three, highly individual videos and be inspired to make tarot based expressions of gratitude a daily practice. The first, by Jen, sets up a seven day challenge that was very successful this year.

Describes a simple process of expressing gratitude.

Some Gratitude Spreads to Work With.

Hygge for Cartomancy Addicts

Winter and Yule is the most hygge time of year but Nordic Winters were not always so cheery.

Now it is candles, nubby woolens, shearling slippers, woven textiles, pastries, blond wood, sheepskin rugs, lattes with milk-foam hearts, and a warm fireplace. Hygge can be used as a noun, adjective, verb, or compound noun, like hyggebukser, otherwise known as that shlubby pair of pants you would never wear in public but secretly treasure. Hygge can be found in a bakery and in the dry heat of a sauna in winter, surrounded by your naked neighbors. It’s wholesome and nourishing, like porridge; Danish doctors recommend “tea and hygge” as a cure for the common cold. It’s possible to hygge alone, wrapped in a flannel blanket with a cup of tea, but the true expression of hygge is joining with loved ones in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

Of course it is easy to get carried away with this Hygge thing. It is a bit like Catnip to those selling socks and all the other items associated with Hygge! Everyone has such brilliant suggestions about how to get into the mood. For example, Moody Moons offers some ideas about how to Hygge like a Witch.

The bottom line is that Hygge is all about self nurturing and it is no state secret that many of us are not so good at caring for ourselves.

The internet is, quite literally, awash with ideas about setting up the perfect, nurturing, safe space. However, if you are reading this I am confident that you know what to do.

This post is all about ‘the deck’ that is the one you will turn to when you need to self soothe.

So pull out the comfie socks, set yourself up by the fire place, toast some marshmallows and Chill It with your most soothing decks.

Try doing a Self Love Spread – there are tons of these to be found on Pinterest.

The deck I will turn to is a recent acquisition. It is Into the Lonely Woods by Lucy Cavendish and Dan May. But others that always offers comfort are The Arboridium and the Oracle Deck I created using images from fantasy magazines and second hand children’s books.

Over to You

What is your reliable self soothing deck, the deck you turn to when you need to be comforted or cheered up? Share photos of your deck and your Hygge space.

If you don’t have the right Hygge deck get out the craft supplies and spend quiet time making one for yourself

Anchoring an Archetype

2 : someone or something that provides strength and support He is the family’s anchor. anchor. verb. anchored; anchoring. Kids Definition of anchor (Entry 2 of 2)

anchor something to fix something firmly in position so that it cannot move Make sure the table is securely anchored. [transitive, usually passive] anchor somebody/something (in/to something) to firmly base something on something else Her novels are anchored in everyday experience.

a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; mainstay.

Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist from the 20th century, was the first person to bring the application of archetypes into modern psychology. Jung noticed that people and life situations are marked by primary patterns reflected in symbols, images, and themes common to all cultures and all times. We see archetypes as recurring images in art, literature, myths, and dreams. Mother, Father, Home, Stranger, Betrayal, Anger, Love — these are all archetypes expressed in characters, stories, images, and symbols in all cultures and all times, and, these are all universal experiences in human life.

Identifying which archetypes are influential in our lives can thus lead us to self-discovery, self-awareness, growth, and self-actualization. Consciously choosing the right archetype for each chapter in our life story can create a more fulfilling, successful life, where we use our archetypes instead of being controlled by them.

Reasons to work with archetypes

  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Finding greater fulfillment and meaning in life
  • Improving personal, family, community, and workplace relationships
  • Expanding abilities, perspectives, and options
  • Helping people to escape habitual archetypal patterns that have become limiting ruts rather than empowering paths
  • Enabling people to be actively engaged in charting the course of their journeys

Aside from checking out the archetypes in the Tarot there are specific decks which help us work with these aspects of self. Two decks that come to mind are the Archeo by Nick Bantock and the Archetype Cards by Carolyn Myss. These are a fantastic resource for personal reflection or for working with characters if you are writing or making art.

Nick Bantock provides a number of spreads and ideas for working with Archetypes. Here is just one of those.

Another way to work with Archetypes is to ask a Show Me Deck what one needs to consider. My extension deck which includes Shadow Cards called on me to work with a ‘bad trait’. Now I don’t happen to believe any trait is completely bad and so it was no surprise when the ‘Eccentric’ emerged. It is not bad to be eccentric but it can alienate us from others.

So I decided to explore a simple Past, Present, Future spread using my most eccentric deck and low and behold its all there to show me how ingrained this archetype is.

Danse Macabre

In 2018 I did a ‘Danse with the Macabre’ when I visited Sedlec Ossuary (aka Kostnice Ossuary Beinhaus). It was one of the highlights of my week long stay in the Czech Republic.

“Known to most as “the Bone Church,” it displays some of the world’s more macabre art. In addition to a splendid bone chandelier composed of almost every bone in a human body, the ossuary displays two large bone chalices, four baroque bone candelabras, six enormous bone pyramids, two bone monstrances (a vessel used to display the Eucharistic host), a family crest in (you guessed it) bone, and skull candle holders. Festively looping chains of bone are hung throughout like crepe paper at a birthday party.”

Atlas Obscura

In the Danse Macabre, or Dance of Death, skeletons escort living humans to their graves in a lively waltz. Kings, knights, and commoners alike join in, conveying that regardless of status, wealth, or accomplishments in life, death comes for everyone. At a time when outbreaks of the Black Death and seemingly endless battles between France and England in the Hundred Years’ War left thousands of people dead, macabre images like the Dance of Death were a way to confront the ever-present prospect of mortality.

Though a few earlier examples exist in literature, the first known visual Dance of Death comes from around 1424. It was a large fresco painted in the open arcade of the charnel house in Paris’s Cemetery of the Holy Innocents. Stretched across a long section of wall and visible from the open courtyard of the cemetery, the fresco depicted human figures (all male) accompanied by cavorting skeletons in a long procession. A verse inscribed on the wall below each of the living figures explained the person’s station in life, arranged in order of social status from pope and emperor to shepherd and farmer. Clothing and accessories, like the pope’s cross-shaped staff and robes, or the farmer’s hoe and simple tunic, also helped identify each person.

The Death card is one of the most feared and misunderstood cards. Spread by movies trying to sensationalize drama and abused by the occasional unscrupulous reader, the Death Card strikes fear into the heart of anyone who doesn’t understand it. The Death card frightens many people, for they think it means that they, or someone they love, is going to die — although when they hear it signals great change, they can become frightened of that, too, even if they need it.

Rather than fear the Death Card embrace it by taking a deck of cards and visiting a cemetery like the one I visited in my region.

I stopped at the headstone, erected for Pte Alfred Frederick and contemplated the impact of his death at just 20 years of age, the utter waste of war. All around me was evidence of change, which is actually what the Death Card is all about.

Over to you

Lay out some Death Cards and meditate on the message

Consider taking the opportunity to ‘Danse Macabre’ by visiting a cemetery with a deck of cards and doing this spread.