Monthly Archives: May 2012

After the first date (reading with Shelley)

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This is the second of three readings with Shelley, Bride of Frankendecken Tarot that I got permission to post here. Again, the special feature of these readings is the inclusion of the card backs. Click on the pictures to see bigger versions of the cards.

This reading is for TM. She has this question:

What happened to N? We went on our first date [three days ago] and I have yet to hear from him. I haven’t called/text/email him and neither has he. Is he waiting for me to contact him? Or is he not interested? The date went well (or so I thought). Would like a little insight.

So, what do you need to know about N’s expectations of you? And what else do you need to know about the situation? I think that’s two cards.

1. What do you need to know about N’s expectations of you?Six of Wands (Mythic Tarot)

N seems to be a bit of a show-off. He likes to be admired for his achievements. What he doesn’t realize is that people are a bit intimidated by him and tend to keep their distance if not explicitly invited. So he may have wanted you to contact him and tell him that you enjoyed the date (if in fact you did enjoy it, of course) but he didn’t realize that you wouldn’t do so without an explicit invitation.

There’s also a sense of him being occupied with getting something special (the golden fleece of Greek myth depicted here), so he may be waiting to contact you until he has something special to offer. He might want to get tickets to a special event, or a table at a special place, or a special gift, or even just enough money to take you out again (special doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, just hard to get for him). That mean that you shouldn’t get in touch, only that he isn’t initiating it at this point.

And finally there’s this group of people in the background. I’m not entirely sure who they are – his friends, teasing him or egging him on? Other people who also would like to spend more time with him? Or people who try to keep him away? At any rate, something is happening in the background that distracts him. Which, again, doesn’t mean he’s not interested, just that he’s busy with something else at the moment.

All in all I would say he wouldn’t mind if you contacted him, even if he has reasons not to initiate contact himself.

2. What else do you need to know about the situation?King of Swords (Feng Shui Tarot)

The first thing that stood out about me from this card was the glitter and nail polish that has been added to it by the card’s previous owner. It certainly creates an interesting contrast to the serious king and his white tiger! It also adds emphasis on places that aren’t necessarily the focal points of the card (e.g. the king’s robe, the tiger’s nose, the hills in the background). However, it also makes the sword stand out very much.

To me, this means that things have more than one layer to them. What you see on the surface isn’t identical to what’s below. Things may look more “shiny” than they actually are.
At the same time, I get a sense of a challenge (or even a mild threat) from the way the sword is placed (as if someone else put it there). Something isn’t quite out in the open here, just like the tiger is half hidden behind the king’s sleeve.

N may have some reservations and may want to think about things a bit more before he makes a decision about whether or not to let you look behind the curtains. I get a feeling he isn’t quite sure how much he can trust you.

I have a feeling you may need to bring some patience to this if you’re interested in peeling away the layers. You would also have to show (not tell) that you’re trustworthy. But even then you may not find what you thought you’d find.

The backs of the cards are very different in color, but they are both very reduced in their imagery. The first one is a deep blue with a yellow meandering border made out of tiny square spirals. The second one is a red circle made of four spiralling parts on a parchment-like background. I find it striking that a squarish spiral pattern appears in both of them! This suggests there is a common thread for the two of you, even if it’s expressed in very different ways and even if it’s not immediately obvious. If you manage to find that common thread, you may just have a really good beginning for something more.

I really hope this reading is useful to you. I don’t usually do readings that focus so little on opportunities for action, so I would like to add a bit of a disclaimer: I may have gotten it all wrong, so please don’t base your decision entirely on this reading! :)

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Stuck on a project (reading with Shelley)

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I’ve gotten permission from three sitters to post the readings I did with Shelley, Bride of Frankendecken Tarot here on my blog. I will space them out a bit so the other two will be visible in a day or two. Thank you to all my sitters!

Edited to add: The special feature of readings with Shelley is that I include the card backs in the readings. After all, they’re all different, so they probably have something to add.

The first reading is for G. She asked:

What is holding me back in the project I am working on?

Two cards for you.

1. What is holding you back?Nine of Wands (University Books Rider Waite Tarot)

You have just realized that things are not as tidy as you would like them to be. Perhaps you haven’t planned as carefully as you could have, or maybe you only now see how things should fit together. You probably blame yourself for not getting it right from the get-go. And now you hesitate to invest even more energy because you’re frustrated that it didn’t turn out the way you wanted so far.

Maybe you also worry about what others will think about you because of the way your project appears. Especially in terms of drawing lines between here and there. Are you being too unconventional and fear you won’t be understood? Too suspicious of others who may set foot into your territory?

At any rate, something is giving you a headache and making you feel uneasy and defensive.

2. What can help you move forward?The Lovers (Victorian Romantic Tarot)

Sharing. Having someone else look at the project with fresh eyes and point out its wonders to you. Perhaps they will even lend a hand? Or maybe you need some guidance by someone more experienced/knowledgeable?

Getting into the middle of it, surrounding yourself with it, immerse yourself in it. Not considering anyone else’s opinion. (Yes, this is almost the opposite of the bit before. I believe there is a time for both.)

Remember (or imagine) how you want the project to look when it’s done. If it’s too far away from what you are able to make with your current resources (because a fence of irregularly hammered-in sticks will never miraculously transform itself into a Roman-esque stone railing), consider adjusting your expectations to what’s possible – or decide to abandon it altogether. In other words, be realistic about your capacities. Irregular wooden fences can be very charming in their own way…

Whatever you do, it’s time to make a decision. Are you going to move forward with it? Or are you going to let it go? Staying in limbo between these two choices won’t make things magically solve themselves.

A quick look at the first card back shows an ankh symbol (Egyptian for life) on what looks like drifts of sand (like in a desert). The other is a very busy, very detailed arrangement of women, vases, and vines surrounded by red squares. Tiny red hearts stand out in pairs of two.
To me, this emphasizes the need to get the “life force” of the project going again, and the hearts tell me that there are two things you could do to make that happen:
1. Find someone to support you and maybe even practically help you.
2. Determine why you wanted to do the project in the first place and try to find something about it to love. Even if it’s just the prospect of being done with it eventually (and a potential lesson in patience and endurance). ;)

I got a strong sense that this might indeed be about a project related to the outdoors (garden?) of your house. Or something else that’s practical and not so much a matter of mental activity. Also, it’s not some very itty-bitty detailed kind of project that would require a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers.

Well, I hope this is useful and I’m curious to read your feedback! :)

Shelley rules the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2012

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On Saturday, Shelley slept most of the day and only stirred when it was time to go visit our friends to watch the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). I’ll explain everything about it for you in a minute.

First, you need to go and buy lots of junk food: chips, chocolate raisins, chocolate cookies, peanut curls, malt beer (without alcohol), etc. Shelley insisted on riding a bit on the conveyor belt but I snatched her off again before the cashier tried to scan her…

Then you take the subway over to your friends. Shelley was rather confused, though, because the subway ran above ground for the biggest part of the trip. She said it was highly illogical but jumped up to look out of the window nonetheless. When she finally sat down, she complained about the pattern of the seats. I believe she felt it clashed with her bag-dress, so I’m being nice and don’t show you the picture (it’s blurry anyway).

Then you arrive at your friends. It’s imperative that they have a big monitor (because who has a TV anymore?) and a big bed to fit 4-5 people and a cat. Then, of course, you throw out the cat because he can’t resist going at the plastic wrappers of the snacks and we’re not sharing.

Of course we needed to predict the winner, and Shelley gave us the Page of Wands from the Karma Music Tarot. I then urged everyone to draw another card for our own favorites. You have to know that all of us never liked the winning song best, so Europe clearly has some catching up to do to match our exquisite tastes.  The card Shelley gave me for my favorite was the Oito de Paus/Eight of Wands from the Tarot Atalla. At this point I should probably mention that none of us had seen any of the performers before because we only ever watch the finals. So basically we had no idea what any of this meant at this point. I confidently assured everyone it would all make sense in the end…

Onward with crucial facts about the ESC. It’s the biggest music TV show in the world, being broadcast live to 42 countries at the same time with 100 million viewers. All of which send a musical representative to the two semi-finals, during which 26 participants are selected for the finals (selections are made by a combination of a jury vote and viewer televoting from each participating country). The great thing about the ESC is that it’s a crazy hodgepodge of musical styles, mad outfits, involuntarily funny performances and general accidental high camp. Which is probably why it has a history of being especially popular in the gay demographic, although I’m not sure that’s still true today. But the queer connection has stuck with me, so I watch it. And because I get a kick out of dissing the costumes, cringing at wrong notes (singing has to be completely live), and boggling at the altogether weirdness of it all.

After all this dry explanation you’re probably dying to know what Shelley had to say about the whole thing. Her favorite group were the Russian grandmothers (who had the oldest ESC performer ever) because they wore patchwork dresses. For the full-immersion experience you can watch their performance here (song starts at 0:20). Shelley posed with them for a quick shot.

My own favorite turned out to be the all-girl slightly Sapphic schoolgirl burlesque performance of a catchy little pop song from Cyprus (watch it here, song starts at 0:50). It had everything: odd hairstyles, amusing choreography with girl-on-girl lifting, queer subtext, dancers who didn’t look anorexic, kneesocks, and a dancing platform made of books. What’s not to love? By the way, I think Shelley did a great job of capturing the colors of the costumes and the style of the dance moves in the card she gave me to represent my favorite!

But what’s with the winner, you ask? We’re not quite there, yet. First, there is the voting component of the ESC, which is completely ridiculous and boring, except that it’s not. Every country calls in live to give its votes (yes, every single country of all 42 participating ones). First they give their points from 1 to 7 all at once, then they individually announce the recipients of their 8, 10, and 12 points. This is done in both English and French. You really need to watch at least one example of this if you don’t know the procedure. Really.

So, what about the winner? Well, based on it being a duet of a blonde woman and a slightly darker-haired man and having some red-pink-orange light at the end, we thought it might be Iceland. However, the winner was a Björk-esque barefoot singer from Sweden. No duet, no pink sphere, no desert, no dress with a ripped seam, nothing. I sadly concluded that Shelley had gotten it all wrong this time.

Until a few minutes ago.

Because I kept wondering about how the Page of Wands from the Karma Music Tarot could match the winning song. Fire? No, there wasn’t anything particularly fiery in the performance. Someone young? No. While the singer did have a kung-fu fairy-like girlishness and wasn’t very tall, she definitely wasn’t the youngest participant.

And then it hit me. Shelley was made from cards sent by people from all over the place, right? So, where did that particular card come from? I quickly looked up the list of contributors on Aeclectic and saw that it was indeed a member from – wait for it – Sweden(!!!) who had contributed the card. I mean, what are the odds?!

So this goes down as another smashing success for Shelley. Even if it took me a while before I understood what she had to say.

New Deck: Shelley, Bride of Frankendecken Tarot

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Today, I got a visitor. She’s been to a lot of places already: U.S.A., Australia, Japan, Germany, and after her stay with me she will travel on to Sweden, the U.K., Canada, and Brazil. After that, she will decide where to settle down and make a new home. Could be in any of these places! She travels with a patchwork sleeping bag doubling as a coat and speaks several languages (mostly English, but also a little bit of French, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, Latin, Italian, German, and Portuguese). To be honest, she’s something of an oddity, but she’s really nice as well.

What on earth am I talking about? Why, Shelley, Bride of Frankendecken, of course!

Who’s that Shelley? Well, let me explain.

First, about two years ago, Frankendecken: Tarot of 78 Spares was created in an act of collective madness. He was thrown together from 78 cards from 78 different tarot decks by some 37 members of Aeclectic Tarot Forum. He was given a lovingly handmade patchwork bag. And then he went on a tour around the globe to visit his many, many parents. After that, lots were drawn, and one of us was selected to have sole custody of him for the future.

Then of course there were several people who also wanted to be co-parents of a crazy patchwork deck like that, and others wanted a second chance at getting sole custody of a mad deck-child of this kind. And so Shelley, Bride of Frankendecken was born. Like her monstrous groom, she was also made of 78 cards from 78 different tarot decks. She took a lot longer to assemble, but then she was a Bride, so that was to be expected. She ended up with with a few extra cards, but then you can never have enough spare parts when you’re going on a trip around the world, right?

So, now she is here, and she is to accompany me for a week. I’ll be doing all readings of this week with her, and I’ll take her with me wherever I go so she gets some more pictures for her travel journal. I’ll be sure to share some of these adventures here!

P.S. Please note that the bag has a silver, wavy line along the top, as per a special request from me. I believe that this is a wonderful way for Shelley to carry on with her line of fabulous ancestresses.

Sunshine at the edge of the forest

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A majors-only deck seems to lend itself to smaller questions and bigger answers than a regular 78-card deck to me. And the Wild Green Chagallian Tarot in particular makes me wonder about small plants and big healing effects. So this is my first question to this deck.

What’s the “medicine” I need to give myself most today?

High Priestess

A blue-skinned, black-haired woman kneels in the half-shade betweentwo young trees, one of them an apple tree, the other a birch. She is surrounded by violets whose leaves and flowers have melted into the fabric of her white dress. She is reaching up to the one red apple hanging from a branch. In the background, there’s a yellow unicorn galloping along cheerfully, with a black-and-white bird on its back (that bird is a magpie to me, although it’s too small to really see any characteristics).

To me, this is a very peaceful and happy image. Despite the red apple, it’s late spring or early summer to me, as indicated by the flowering violets and the bright green light. This is at the edge of a forest (or a clearing in the forest), and there aren’t any other people around. I’ve been to places that felt like that, like the edge between the everyday world and another, more mysterious/fantastic one where there may indeed be unicorns (or fairies).

Those are places where something happens to your mood and mind, where everyday burdens fall aside and curiosity, wonder and delight sneak in and then tackle you until you find yourself lying on the back in the moss, grinning a little stupidly and sighing contentedly. It smells warm and a little damp and the perfume of forest decay tickles your synapses, the sun makes tiny bubbles of intense red swim around behind your eyelids, and you feel yourself sink into the ground a centimeter or two.

Your fingertips magnify the flat, spined coolness of a blade of grass, the rolling crunch of a pinch of sand, the layers of temperature as you stroke little burrows into the earth. Through the quivering shadows of your lashes you see gigantic moss trees rising up next to you and shiny ants climbing around between the grasslands of gently swaying hair on the mountains of your flesh.

Eventually, something starts buzzing around you and you open a third of an eye, trying to lift a hand to wave it away but all that really happens is a bit of finger twitching because your arm is still melted into the ground. Or maybe it grew a bunch of thin, white, fuzzy rootlets already? In any case, the line of separation between you and the ground isn’t that clear anymore.

Your mind has started swaying gently, too, and sometimes, just sometimes, in the middle of the bliss of being right where you are with nothing to do but be right there, right now, an insight ripens and waits for you to pluck it from its branch, to dig your teeth into and get sticky with its juices, later. Later. For now, there is nothing else to do but slowly blow a tickling hair from your nose and wish you could become small enough to make your home in a cave below the roots of a nearby tree. And then you close your eyes again and your mind goes back into its woven hammock of neurons to once again start swaying gently.

Aaaahhhhhh.

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Indeed. A mix of sunshine and shade. Rolling around words in my mind until they are not only functional but also interesting to look at in that combination. Taking time to be and not rush anywhere else. I think I shall take a small walk and sit somewhere nice now.