Tag Archives: classic

Looking back on five months of “decks of the week”

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For my 100th public post on this blog I’m going to look back on the “deck of the week” project that was the reason I started blogging here again pretty much exactly five months ago. So far, I have used 21 decks in 22 weeks (17 of them have been tarots, the remaining four were oracles, one of which was a non-card oracle). I think this is totally worth a toast!

Those have been 22 very different weeks in terms of my tarot-related activities.

Sometimes, I did a lot of readings in one week, like with the Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA, Waking the Wild Spirit, or Deviant Moon (unfortunately, I can’t show you most of the readings here so you just have to believe me). The one thing I’ve stopped pretty soon is doing daily draws/readings. I just don’t have that many questions. As a result I currently don’t participate in exchanges all that much, and I also don’t read much for myself. I’m also doubting that readings are as interesting to the readers of this blog as they are for me (and hopefully my sitters). I may eventually go on to borrow the idea of Tarot Bonkers to read in second person or the one of Sharyn’s daily draws with more or less “impersonal” associations (and an interesting quote). Or I may try and read for fictional/historic characters that are somewhat well-known like Satu did a while ago (I especially liked the ones for Eve and Voldemort).

In other weeks I felt more like contemplating a certain aspect of the deck as a whole (e.g. gender in the Deviant Moon, flora and fauna in Waking the Wild Spirit, Hubble space telescope photos that have been used in the Quantum, the Classic suits, or relationships between men during the Renaissance inspired by the Da Vinci Enigma). That has always been fun, especially since all of these studies happened because I suddenly got curious about something…

In yet other weeks I’ve done experiments or exercises with the respective deck (e.g. rearrange furniture and write a Halloween story with the Margarete Petersen, read about Star Trek episodes with the Balbi, do a reverse tarot reading with the Songs for the Journey Home, try out unusual reading methods with the Da Vinci Enigma, chat away with the Silicon Dawn). I’ve also enjoyed those a lot, mainly because I like trying new things. I’ve come across several other great ideas for future experiments on other people’s tarot blogs, so I may use a few of them eventually.

Sometimes I read a lot of background material (like with the Discordian Deck and a little with the Da Vinci Enigma), and sometimes I read nothing but the cards. Often, I just explored individual cards and decks on the side while I was doing a reading (usually for myself). I’m aware that combined readings/card reflections aren’t the best way to present insights, so this is another aspect of this blog that may benefit from some changes.

And sometimes I just blinged the hell out of a card or two (Deviant Moon, Thoth [not a “deck of the week” yet], International Icon Tarot). I’m sure there will be other candidates for that approach.

I was surprised to discover that I wasn’t as happy as I thought when I had the chance to reconnect with old favorites (e.g. Housewives, Ironwing). This led me to the decision to focus mostly on my (nearly) unused decks in my selections for this project. I was also surprised – once again – how well I could read with non-scenic pips (Balbi, Classic, Oswald Wirth, and also the Discordian Deck), and how much I enjoyed that. Finally, I was surprised by how much I liked decks that I felt hesitant about at first (Balbi, Discordian), and how right I was about thinking I’d enjoy others (Key to the Kingdom cards, Silicon Dawn).

I once used two decks in one week (Discordian, Fantastic Menagerie) because I feared one of them (the Discordian) wouldn’t read well enough for me, but quickly noticed that not only had I erred in my assessment of this deck, I also didn’t have the time to look at two decks in just one little week. I also used one deck for three weeks (Silicon Dawn) because I had been looking forward to exploring it during my holidays and then extended the exploration for the entire duration of my time off work. I don’t plan to repeat this with another deck, but the Silicon Dawn was definitely worth it.

The main “trick” for me with this project was not to allow myself to use a different deck just because I don’t like the one I’ve picked for the week (exceptions were my short interlude with the Story Cubes, going back to the tarot deck of the previous week to fulfill an exchange agreement that I couldn’t do with an oracle, or one reading with an erotic deck for an exchange where only those decks were allowed). I found that I can get along with nearly every deck for a week (the Celtic Wisdom Sticks  were the disastrous exception, closely followed by the mess of the Northern Shadows – but I still stuck with each them until the week was over).

I have decided to let go of four of the decks I’ve used (Waking the Wild Spirit, Quantum, Celtic Wisdom Sticks, Tarot of Northern Shadows). I most regret not clicking at all with the Northern Shadows, but pretty pictures really don’t make up for incredibly sloppy research and egomania. I’m actually really glad that I managed to pick some decks for the trade/sale list since I don’t consider myself a collector for collecting’s sake. My idea still is to have a library of working decks, and I’d rather have a small one of tried and tested ones than an ever-extending one of decks I barely get out in a year. I have also acquired seven new tarots/oracles (most of them from fellow Aeclectic members) since I started the project, three of which I’ve already used.

The most-clicked post (excluding the Pagan Blog Project ones) was Bling the Deviant Moon! and the least-clicked one was Why “Deck of the Week”?. The Deviant Moon is one of the most searched-for decks, closely followed by the Margarete Petersen. Most people come here by way of a Google image search, but I hope that some of them also stay around for some of the text.

So far, the project has been totally worthwhile. It kept me using my decks and it made me explore new ones that I hadn’t used before. A week seems a good time to get at least a basic idea of a deck and its compatibility with me, so I’ll stick to that schedule. Anything less would be stressful, and anything more would make me procrastinate because there’d always be next week… Since I’m easily bored, a good deal of variety is key to sticking with something for an extended period of time. I’ve found a lot of interesting things to do with a tarot (or oracle) deck, and I’m sure I won’t run out of ideas anytime soon.

I also have a question or two for you readers (feel free to answer any or all of them):

  • What kinds of tarot/oracle posts on this blog do you like best? Why? (Excluding the ones for the Pagan Blog Project, because those are a completely different category of writing for me.)
  • How do you feel about the posts from the “reading” category, especially the ones that aren’t also “experiments”? Do you like them? Why (not)?
  • Would you like to see some other kind of tarot or oracle-related posts that I haven’t written so far? (I’m not saying I’ll fulfill any wishes but you may just inspire me!)

Please feel free to add any other comments you’d like to make about this project and my way of blogging about it. I’m very curious! I’d also like to get a better idea of your interests and preferences so I can better judge what of my writing is of public interest and what is better kept behind the scenes. After all, I don’t want to bore you!

And now all I have to say for today is: Good night!

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Classic suits

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On my final day with the Tarot Classic, I decided to do some actual study again. I’m closely following the suggestions to look at the suits that were given by Sherryl E. Smith on her website “Tarot Heritage”. I hope she doesn’t mind me paraphrasing or quoting some of her prompts – they are just so good (and the post makes more sense with them than without them)!

First, I picked four cards of each suit, always including the Ace, and laid them out in a row each. Then I looked at the actual suit symbols and wondered who would use them, where, when, and for what purpose.

Ceremonial maceWands

The Ace shows a cut off piece of wood with two cut-off branches. The rest of the wands are green staffs with decorations on both ends. They all have red “knobs” at each third. I actually have no idea who would use these kinds of staffs. They don’t seem to work well as (defensive) weapons due to these knobs (I imagine that would hinder other staffs from sliding off). They are arranged in straight lines that form a weave pattern. The many leaves in several of the cards and the green color make the wands feel very alive and earthy.

After I’ve looked around on Wikipedia a bit, I can now say that the wands of the Tarot Classic are most similar to ceremonial maces – a symbol of political, clerical, and/or royal authority (derived from what used to be weapons earlier).

The Ace of Wands feels alive, like a freshly cut branch, which is underlined by the fruits and flowers surrounding it. The hand holding the club seems disembodied, which I take to mean that this energy isn’t very grounded, yet (despite my initial impression of the Wands as the suit of earth). It is clearly only a part of the whole we get to see here. The beams of light emanating from the cloud also feel very dynamic, which fits well with the association of Wands with fire (then again, earth and what grows in/from it also is pretty dynamic). The way the flowers and fruit fall from the sky makes me think of ideas “falling” into one’s head, which finally makes me understand why Wands are often associated with inspiration. Either way, we are clearly getting some gifts here.

Coins

The coins look like golden disks with a stylized floral pattern stamped onto them. The one on the Ace is a lot bigger and decorated in much more detail. It also has blue added as a second color. The flowers on them almost seem like little pinwheels, and the spiked circles around them make me think of cogwheels. The idea of cycles is definitely emphasized, although my association with industrial work is a bit a-chronological. I would not be surprised to see these coins associated with air instead of earth (I have no idea if there are any elemental associations attached to this deck’s suits). I’m also noticing that the coins have a lot of ornamentation going on which seems only vaguely plant-like compared to what can be seen in the wands.

The Ace of Coins has me thinking of jewelry, more specifically a bracelet of which we see the central decoration. It could also be a clockwork. The blue and yellow decorations feel heraldic to me, official, and rather solid. Even the flowers come with thick stems and are well-attached to the arrangement. The energy is rather slow. I’m not quite sure where there is up or down with this image because there is no ground or direction to this image. Despite all the cycles, that makes it feel rather timeless.

Swords

The swords are red and black, with yellow accents. Definitely fiery colors to me. Some of them (the Ace and a few of the “extra” ones in the other cards) look like antique but functional swords (weapons). The other ones are more stylized, bent, and much, much longer than would be practical to use. They always make a sort of frame that is woven together at each of the ends. These frames seem to both open a space and contain it.

The Ace of Swords also has a crown with a branch of laurel (for victory) and olive (for peace) each (I had to look up the latter one). Another piece of an olive branch is falling down, which I take to mean that some peace has been lost, some injury occured. The sword is a double-edged one (like all of the functional swords here), which underlines the message of war and peace, of victory and injury, winning and losing. The hand holding the sword seems to come out of the cloud (which could also be a very puffy sleeve). To me, that means that we have a choice what to do with the sword, and that our actions are tied to a larger scope than we might currently see.

Chalice + ciboriumCups

The cups confuse me a bit because none of them seems to be open. They all appear to have some kind of lid (unless someone was really, really bad at drawing shadows). Their colors are blue and gold and they are all decorated with patterns and ornaments. The biggest one is the one on the Ace, which is also the one with the most detail. The only element left over by now is water, and I think it’s a good fit for these cups.

Another explorational tour through Wikipedia tells me that there are indeed chalices (for holding wine) without a lid and ciboriums (for holding bread/hosts) with a lid (can you tell by the way I have to look these things up that I haven’t been exposed to much Christian ritual in my life?). However, a ciborium always seems to have a cross on top of its lid (for easier lifting, I suppose) and the ones in my tarot deck don’t. Curious.

The Ace of Cups depicts a huge cup, or make that ciborium (because this lid has a grip). The two upper corners of the card show waves of red and yellow, which makes me think of fire and also of a curtain. The patterns on the cup could also be a mouth with big yellow teeth. And what happens if we don’t keep a lid on it? This is the most msyterious of suits to me, the one revealing the least about itself.

There are more questions about the suits but I will save those for another day. Nevertheless I heartily recommend these exercises for any deck with non-scenic pips. I’m already looking forward to coming back to them in greater depth!

Reading for someone else (Tarot Classic)

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Someone I recently read for gave me permission to post this reading here on the blog – thank you!

She asked about any insight the cards could give her about a male person named “N” she met last week. I did a freestyle three-card reading for her. This is it.

Tarot Classic: Page of Swords + Eight of Cups + Page of Coins
Page of Swords – Eight of Cups – Page of Coins

This looks like a pretty equal, balanced situation. Two Pages and a very symmetrical Eight of Cups. But let’s look at the details for some further insight.

The Page of Swords looks a bit shy to me, even guarded, whereas the Page of Coins holds his one coin as if it was a ball he is about to throw into the other one’s court.
Since you’re the one asking the question, I’m tempted to say that you’re the Page of Swords here.

The Eight of Cups show two rows with three cups each at the top and bottom. Two more cups stand in the middle, surrounded by deep red flowers.
To me, this is about the situation where the two of you met. I believe you were in a public place, surrounded by friends/like-minded people. But for some reason, the two of you stood out to each other. You were (and are) definitely drawn to each other, and something between you blossomed right from the get-go. I assume this is a romantic/erotic connection, but it could also be a platonic one with strong feelings.

Speaking of plants, I’m struck by how each of the Pages has plants in the main color of the other one growing at their feet. To me that symbolizes how you complement each other. There’s also a single red plant in the Page of Swords which I take to mean that you may be the one who is a bit more baffled by the whole thing. N seems more confident and seemingly unaffected – but the way he weighs that ball (coin), I get a sense that he’s trying to decide how much to risk with his next step, if this is too early, too much. But I also sense his desire to provoke you a bit more, possibly because he enjoys seeing you blush and lose some of your composure. ;-)

The Page of Swords (you) seems torn between the sword and wand he’s holding. Right now, the sword of rational thought is up as a barrier between you. It seems you’re telling yourself to get a grip, and not to rush in head over heels. But you’re also contemplating the wand of passion in your other hand… All in all, I have a feeling you may need a little time-out to get used to the situation. And I get a feeling that N is sensing that.

Maybe you were the one to take the first step (both “balls” are in his court, after all), and have surprised yourself with your courage. At any rate, I believe you need to send a signal that the next step is welcome – if and when in fact it is. That Page of Coins isn’t going anywhere so fast, so there’s no need to rush anything. His attention is on you, and he seems content with giving you some time.

New Deck: Tarot Classic

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By way of the randon number generator: the suggestions for next week.

This is the second time that the Elemental Tarot was suggested, and I still don’t want to use it – I have no time for diving into a completely new system next week. I rejected the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot for the same reason: it’s a deck that needs more time than I can offer the coming week. That leaves the Tarot Classic, one of two Marseille reproductions I own.

Yet again, it’s deck I never read with before, but at least I already took the time to shuffle it a bit at one point. I don’t really like the color palette (too cold for my taste – I’m more of a Hadar-Dodal-Noblet type), but I’m interested in exploring another deck with non-scenic pips. I hope I’ll be able to make time for some of the exercises suggested by Sherryl E. Smith on her great website! I may or may not sneak a peek into the historical forums of Aeclectic Tarot; I may get bitten by the research bug, or I may end up exploring the deck on my own for now and saving the research for later.

The first question that popped up when I just very quickly looked through the deck was this one: Why do the Chariot, the Knight of Swords and the King of Swords have faces as epaulets on their shoulders? My answer (or the attempt thereof) will have to wait until a later date, though. Right now, I need sleep…

Tarot Classic - Faces on shoulders