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.

A Tarot Based Play

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 Play

Whether you are an experienced Tarot reader or a beginner there is no doubt that lovers of cards love to play with their cards. This Advent Calendar is primarily about spending time with and playing as though you are playing with a good friend.

Hudson explores, in some detail, the history of Mystery and Morality Plays

As early as the 14th century artists were painting the heroes of Miracle, Mystery and Morality plays on to cards. In his book, Mystical Origins of the Tarot, Paul Hudson explores the ancient roots that lie within these plays.

Typically, Morality plays, for example, tried to teach through a theatrical point of view. These plays were allegorical dramas that personified the moral values and abstract ideas to teach moral lessons. The plays were used to educate the masses on Christianity.

A unique dance production featuring the deck of 22 cards, in their traditional order, is just an example of how artists make use of the Tarot.

Here is a setting for a Medieval Style Play using a Magnetic Theater my daughter had as a child.

Imagine you are writing for a Medieval Theatre Troupe. What cards would you choose to use for a play set in a Royal Court or conversely for a Chaucer, Canterbury Tales style character like the Wife of Bath? Check the link to be reminded of the characters that peopled Chaucers work.

What will your play be about?

Experiment! Be creative!

Reconnecting With A Deck

All Tarot and Oracle Deck collectors will have at least a couple of decks that they have disconnected from. Yule is the time when many people reconnect with friends and family. If we think of a deck as a person who we have a relationship with it might just be time to reconnect. It may sound slightly crazy but you can take the time to hold the deck and explain why you’ve been out of touch. You might briefly describe what has been going on with you if you must explain your disappearance, but don’t put yourself down. No mea culpa about how bad or shameful you are. Just reconnect — don’t try and solve all the relationship issues of the past.

Engaging in the challenges that appear in the Instagram Community is a great way to reconnect, build a relationship with your deck and develop your tarot reading skills all at the same time. There are a vast number of challenges to choose from and most can be done at your own pace.

Two that have caught my eye this month are Deckember 21, which encourages participants to showcase their favourite Majors and Inner Landscape of the Dark which provides a way to mine your inner landscape.

Personally I love to work with Josephine Hardiman’s Challenges. She consistently posts thought provoking work which you commit to doing every second day. Her latest is the Goodbye to 2021, which is very appropriate for December.

Over to You

The Lions Gateway Tarot by Jessica Henry who has a new edition available.

The Lions Gateway Tarot is a beautiful Indi deck which I ordered in 2020 before the cost of postage spiraled out of control. I was very excited to get it but it has languished as, like a Wattle Bird I have taken off the feed on what has appeared to be juicier nectar.

I am not in to making New Year resolutions but I am prepared to adopt a different view with the decks I have in my collection and commit to building a closer relationship with them.

Identify a deck you are prepared to reconnect with and spend some time completing a challenge with this one deck.

Captured and Imprisoned – Meeting a Major

The King and Queen of Hearts were seated on their throne when they arrived, with a great crowd assembled about them—all sorts of little birds and beasts, as well as the whole pack of cards; the knave was standing before them, in chains, with a soldier on each side to guard him; and near the king was the white rabbit, with a trumpet in one hand and a scroll of parchment in the other.
Alice in Wonderland

As the Moon rose, casting its light on the world of the Weasels Pond there was a sudden noise behind us. A small infantry, comprising of all sorts of wildlife, surrounded me, demanding to see my passport. When I couldn’t produce one I was unceremoniously marched off to the Royal Palace and chained up in a dank cell. I remembered Gulliver, who was imprisoned by the Lilliputians when he first reached the island because they were frightened by his massive size. I hoped things here could be quickly resolved. However, the Weasel, who was supposed to help me squeeze out of sticky situations, had been charged with being an accomplice, was no where to be seen.

Bereft I sobbed and wailed at the indignity of it all, at my stupidity. What fool encouraged me to clamber into this alien world? I could be tucked up in the safety of my home, but no, I had decided to join what was promoted as an adventure. Shivering and shaking in a dank prison is certainly not my idea of an adventure!

The Hanged Beast from the Northern Animal Tarot

Suddenly the silence was broken by a gruff voice who literally yelled out demanding that I get a grip and shut the horrible wailing noise.

Startled I looked around to identify who was reprimanding me so harshly. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness I spied a beast hanging upside down in a corner.

Now some folk would stain their underwear when finding themselves confined with a Hanged Beast, but not me! I was relieved to find I have a companion, even if that companion was decidedly gruff.

I thought of the Guided Tarot imagery that I sometimes listen to and I decided that I could interview this creature and glean some advice. A Hanged Beast was sure to have some timely suggestions for me about what kind of energy, what kind of action is needed to extricate myself from this prickly situation.

As the Hanged Beast took in my overtures he barely moved. He seemed completely at ease hanging upside down.

“Why don’t you use that new deck, the Archeo, to determine what kind of energy you actually have that you need to manifest” he dryly suggested.

I was confused! This deck was back at home in my work space there.

The Hanged Beast smiled a knowing smile. “This is a magical place. We can beam it up for you” And with that I found the Archeo sitting next to me.

I drew a card! It was none other than the Sage who reminded me to pause and quietly meditate upon my situation.

Over to You

Christopher Vogler has written in depth about the stages of the Hero’s Journey, which is what we have probably embarked on. Every traveler is invariably confronted with a number of challenges. Tarot decks take us on these archetypal journeys and have become invaluable tools for writers and artists alike. Then, of course there are some outstanding Archetype decks like Archeo by Nick Bantock and Archetype Cards by Carolyn Myss.

Choose a deck from your collection. Enter it and wander for awhile.

What challenge are you faced with?

Which Major or Archetype helps you shift your perspective and move forward?

Drink in the Vista

Unhurt, Alice gets up and catches sight of the White Rabbit as he vanishes around a corner. Alice approaches a long corridor lined by doors. The doors are all locked, so Alice tests them with a key that she finds on a glass table. After searching around, Alice discovers a small door behind a curtain”.

Within moments of deciding to join this Yule Expedition, seeking the creative grail or elixir of creativity, you pass through a special portal and enter an imaginary world.

Back in 2006 pilgrims who joined me on an Advent Calendar Grand Tour, documented their first impressions of the world beyond the portal.

The door opens and a vista spreads before you.

As you step into this new world you are greeted by a figure who gives you a special bag filled with talismans for your journey. In your bag you will find a packet of dream seeds, spectacles, a candlestick, a tiny anchor, a medallion with the imprint of the Unicorn and a set of wings. Each bag contains something that has been chosen specifically for each recipient.

Do not misplace this bag or let anyone take it from you. Keep it with you at all times.

Establishing Your Personal Setting

Most of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe takes place in the fantastic land of Narnia, which Lucy and her siblings reach through—you got it—a magical wardrobe.

Narnia is everything we’ve come to expect from a fantasy novel. It’s a vaguely medieval place in which people live close to the land, fight using bows and arrows and swords, and are ruled by kings and queens who live in palaces. Mythical creatures populate it – not only the stock characters of today’s fantasy world like centaurs and dwarves, but more Greco-Roman-feeling characters too, like minotaurs and dryads.

A master class writing website explains that as a writer, you might be tempted to dive right into your plot and start giving detailed character description of the figure who gave you the bag of talismans. Such a character and this story “needs a space in which to exist—that space is the setting. Taking the time to properly describe your setting will give your book more vibrancy and keep your readers engaged”.

So many of the tarot and oracle decks that we love provide us with rich setting. I look at the pile I have bought with me and I know that I can apply path working, meditation or guided imagery techniques with either the exquisite Arboridium Oracle or Tarot of the Sweet Twilight. I know that these decks will ignite my imagination and help me describe the world I have entered.

Choose a pictorial deck to spend some quality time with. You literally wander inside the image and drink in as much detail as possible.

Using scrap paper get down as many ideas about the environment you find you in as possible. Keep it simple, don’t set unrealistic expectations, include sketches and experiment with using all your senses.

Make this world come alive through writing or your favorite artistic medium. Share with us what you see, hear, smell, sense, taste, feel or simply make a card depicting the world you are entering.

You have permission to do whatever you like.

What Others See

When I stepped through the portal I found myself in a Gypsy encampment (Gypsy Palace Tarot) and was greeted by some very colorful characters.

I stopped to listen to a poets reading.

Like you, I can remember other days,
The early morning air so fresh and clean,
Caravans as bright as popinjays,
Moving through a world forever green.
They called us vagrants in those days, my friend,
And what were we but entertainers,
Travellers on a road that has no end.

Like you, from crossroad dance to county fair,
I followed the road wherever it might lead,
From country byways to the city square,
From lake to shore, and always we were free.
They called us vagabonds and rogues, my friend,
And what were we but entertainers,
Drifting in an ocean without end.

That’s why we thought we knew each other well,
Even though we’ve never met before;
What you and I know only we can tell,
Of days of freedom lost in gypsy lore.
The world may change, but we do not, my friend,
For what are we but entertainers,
Voices in a song that has no end.

In the distance you hear the sound of their laughter,
Of tales told and of drink and of dance,
It lures, entices and enchants you
In to the heart of the gypsy’s night camp.

Far away from the crowd are hung blankets
a small fire burns bright on its own
Shadows of a woman are seen clear in the night
As she holds herself and she dances alone

She steps toward the light of the fire,
To reveal such a haunting, pained face
How sad is this woman called Sadie
Dancing alone in her black satin and lace

In her tent she reads cards for the strangers
As the candles burn dim on the shelf
Black Sadie sees into their futures,
She helps others but can’t save herself

The pain buried so deeply inside her
Makes her live in a world all her own
Where she feeds it and nurtures it lovingly,
She can heal it, but won’t leave it alone

She falls to the ground crying into the night
For the girl who once danced not alone,
For what she once was, before pain touched her heart
For the man, and the life she had known

Her silenced soul screams at the tools of her trade
Telling fortunes, for her, hold no place
The crystals and tarot are just symbols of fate,
Not the real, not the pain she must face

She backs once again into the shadows
Where no one can reach her dark place
She hides in the folds of her dresses
And tears soak her black satin and lace.

by Bobbi Fetterly
© 2005

Setting Out: Yule AdvenTURE

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice `without pictures or conversation?’

So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.

There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, `Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!’ (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoatpocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.

In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again. Chapter 1 Alice in Wonderland

The door may appear locked but if you say the right words it will magically open and you can join a Yule Adventure.

It is recommended that, unlike Alice, you spend a little time thinking about what you are going to need. Think about what you would pack in a creative medicine bag to carry, to protect you as you wander in strange new worlds.

A Native American medicine bag or medicine bundle, upon which this idea is based, is a container for items believed to protect or give spiritual powers to its owner. Varying in size, it could be small enough to wear around the neck, or it could be a large bag with a long strap called a “bandolier.” The size of the bag is determined by how many items need to be carried.

In historical times, medicine men and shamans generally carried a large medicine bundle that could hold numerous items such as seeds, herbs, pine cones, grass, animal teeth or claws, horsehair, rocks, tobacco, beads, arrowheads, bones, or anything else of relatively small size that possessed spiritual value to the bundle’s owner. Warriors also carried bundles that included important items, such as rattles, animal furs, special stones, or anything that meant something to the owner.

Packing to Go.

Check out some comments by people who Packed to Go back in 2005.
Share an image of the bag you pack to come on this Yule Adventure.
What will you pack? Tell us what you are putting in it and how you feel about heading out during this festive season.

Some Creative Medicine Bags

Trick for LearningTarot

Far too many people worry about reading tarot cards the “right” way. There are actually far more helpful reading techniques, depending on the situation. It is also believed that when reading for others the reader must do what the client expects. This all too often means to predict the future and tell people how to obtain their desires. Is the job of a foot doctor to cure lung cancer? As readers we have a right, even an obligation, to discover what we do best and to offer that in readings both for ourselves and for others. The task becomes learning what we do best and offering that with clarity and confidence.

One of the tricks I have found to be very successful is to regularly complete challenges and by using the cards to kick start story telling.

Recently I have been working on a project helping Aussie Wildlife learn about tarot and I have found that drawing Australian wildlife in tarot settings has helped refine my knowledge of the cards

Big Red is the King of Wands

For example, in response to the Tarot Storytelling Spread I drew the Big Red Kangaroo as the King of Wands.

Kangaroo’s are herbivorous. They reside throughout Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. Kangaroos have powerful, long hind legs and feet for leaping and jumping with. Their long tails thicken at the base to help them balance. Each of their hind feet has 4 toes, this number represents foundations.

This big Red Kangaroo, proudly wearing his crown of authority, has the power to create a safe and secure environment for his mob. The Red Kangaroo has an innate capacity to adapt to new situations and environments. Kangaroos are extremely focused beings, with their energy fields tightly woven around them with no room for distractions. 

If hunted by a Dingo, human or a rare Tasmanian tiger, the Big Reds are very fast and hop effortlessly to safety without a moments thought about where they are going. They use their strong instincts to guide them.

For us humans, there is a great lesson to be learned from this – instead of thinking about every single, most minute step we take we must let our instincts guide us.

The Spirit of the Fungi

I pause to commune with the serene spirit of the Fungi. She may live in darkened places but her light shines brightly and she is full of wisdom. 

“For millennia, western thinking has been dominated by the idea that we are separate from, and superior to, the rest of nature. Plants and fungi are seen as dumb, mechanical processes that we can plunder for materials and chemicals without considering how we relate to them. Other cultures see other lifeforms as peers. They are viewed as creatures deserving of respect and from whom we might be able to learn something. 

From our human-centered perspective, fungi seem rather inert and unimpressive. They don’t move much and seem to be uninteresting passive objects rather than intelligent beings. Just because they don’t move, however, doesn’t mean they don’t have behavior”. 

Life as we know it would not exist without fungi. They are the critical link in the biological cycle of life and death. 

Fungi are the great recyclers. They play a major part, with prokaryotes such as bacteria, in breaking down organic matter. Without them we would soon be up to our ears in dead plant matter and animal carcasses. Worse still, we would be surrounded by mountains of dung that would not rot. 

Plants would soon run out of fresh nutrients. Animals in turn would go hungry. 

There would be no forests. Few people realize that trees rely on networks of fungi working in partnership with their roots. Without fungi to make nutrients available, trees would be unable to survive. Consider the many roles trees play in supporting life on earth and you’ll realize the importance of this union. 

Reference: The Fungus Amongst Us