Tag Archives: songs for the journey home

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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Songs of the Journey Home: impressions so far

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Here are some impressions (and a few more images) after spending considerable time with the Songs for the Journey Home Tarot this weekend.

The roundness of the cards is something I like in theory but not so much in practice. It makes for awkward shuffling, disorientation while quickly going through the cards, and – at least in this deck – makes it so much harder to even see what’s on a card if you don’t take the time to put it the right way up and then focus clearly. Which is a pity because these images are really interesting for the most part.

The companion book is by far not as preachy as the one for the Wheel of Change Tarot but it still has a noticeable agenda. (Although, to be fair, even the notes by Chesca Potter to one of my favorite decks, the Greenwood, come with something like an agenda.) I’m also not so sure how I feel about the fact that both creators of the Songs for the Journey Home have once been disciples of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later known as Osho) back in the 1980s as they say in the book. Maybe it’s because I don’t really understand what Osho is/was all about. Or maybe I just distrust any kind of organized spiritual practice.

But for the most part I like the actual cards, and that’s what counts most for me. Many of the images are collage-like drawings and some have pretty interesting spatial perspectives. The art is often amateurish in terms of proportions/anatomy (that means, I believe most deviations from realism aren’t entirely on purpose) but it’s effective nevertheless. And the colors are very nice indeed.

My favorite major so far is the Hermit who regards her reflection in a quiet pool under two palm trees. I also enjoy many of the Earth Songs (7th, 8th, 10th, Innocence/Page and Creating/Queen) as well as the 9th Flame Song, the 3rd Wave Song, and the 2nd Wind Song. The new names of the minors seem a bit unwieldy to me, but that’s probably just lack of habit (Three of Cups isn’t necessarily “easier” than Third Wave Song, after all). But I like the renamed courts (Innocence, Awakening, Creating, Resolving) as a welcome deviation from the Page/Knight/Queen/King model.

Right now I’m thoroughly unsure if this will end up being a keeper, especially since so many people seem to want this deck so much (or is that just because it has become unavailable through the creators?). I don’t think I’ll give the deck away immediately, but I also don’t see it becoming one of my main go-to decks due to the roundness and resulting shuffling difficulties and space requirements for readings.

Reverse Tarot reading (inspired by the “10th Flame Song”)

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Today I discovered that the 10th Flame Song depicts two people at a table, one of whom is doing a tarot reading for the other. The deck in use is the Songs for the Journey Home, and the spread is a Celtic Cross.

I identified the cards and recreated the spread in the card (picture below) for a “reverse reading.” That means, I did this reading to see if I could get an idea what the question of the person in the card may have been and what the reader may have said to them. The positional meanings for the Celtic Cross are the ones given in the companion book.

—————-10
——3———9
5—1/2—6—8
——4———7

1. Essence of yourself, deepest motivating forceSun

Your deepest desire here is to shine, to be visible with all your strength. This reading could be about a creative project (all the Flame cards underline that).

2. This is creating a disturbance, a blockStrength

You are reigning in your power/creativity too much, even though you think you’re just making some very small concessions. They are still too big. Maybe you also don’t trust your own abilities to be as strong as you dream of?

3. Thoughts you are aware of (often logical ones)5th Flame Song (Five of Wands)

You are aware that you are currently cut off from your creative power, that you’re in a time of dormant potential. You may worry too much about the seeming lack of (academic/rational) “wisdom” of your project. Maybe you feel out of touch with an important outside source of energy/inspiration. Still, you keep dreaming you could release all your creativity…

4. Message you need to see/hear more clearly (often beyond logic)High Priestess

You need to listen to the wisdom and the fire within yourself. It’s perfectly fine to withdraw from the world a bit to grow what needs to grow within you. Dormant doesn’t equal dead!

5. This is holding you back, needs to be released; past gifts/talentsChariot

Remember how you used to be able to fly your vehicle across that abyss? You managed to bring beauty and force together so both were bringing you closer to your goal. Don’t be afraid to be unconventional!

6. You are moving towards this, need to be open to encountering this4th Flame Song (Four of Wands)

Again, this is an image of looking within. You need a different perspective on something familiar, you need to pull up the blinds and just see and appreciate what’s already there. And you need to be ready to support yourself instead of waiting for someone else to do that for you.

7. How your personality is respondingLovers

You don’t want to do this alone. Okay, then, take your imaginary friend and jump into the abyss. You’ll find that it leads you to a source of great beauty and even more potential.

8. Current environment (physical and/or emotional)Star

You feel as if this is encompassing your entire world, and it is – but in a good way. You are blessed and protected, so what can really go wrong?

9. Hopes and fearsRenewal (Temperance)

You both hope for and fear success and the changes it would bring. You hope your project will get you more in touch with like-minded individuals, possibly for future collaborations. You fear that you’re going to be left out in the cold while everyone else has a good time.

10. Outcome if you proceed as beforeLuminary (Hierophant)

Ultimately, you may find yourself showing others facets of the world they hadn’t seen before. You take them with you on a trip through your own inner landscape and point out how your world looks to you. This may include some kind of teaching.

All in all it seems that all you have to fear is fear itself! The abundance of majors in this reading (eight out of ten!) certainly suggests this is something really, really big. I can’t see anything seriously negative in this spread except for some self-doubts, so I’d say, go for it!

This has been an interesting experiment! I was surprised at how short my interpretations for each of the cards were, but then my focus was on getting the big picture instead of zooming into a hundred details. Due to the masses of majors it seems highly unlikely that this has been an actual reading with the full deck (and how could it have been, when the card this is shown on is part of the deck?), but I’m still wondering if this is a reading one of the deck creators gave to the other at some point in the creation process (the majors apparently had been done by then), or why else she picked these cards to be in this image and not any others…

Late Chanukah Spread

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No, I’m not Jewish.Yes, I’m aware that Chanukah is already over for this year. Nevertheless, I liked this Chanukah spread (created by RedMaple on AT) so much and found it so appropriate for what’s on my mind these days that I decided to read with it today. The spread looks like this:


——————-9——————
8—7—6—5——-4—3—2—1

1. CH – Chaim – Life – How do you celebrate life?Wind Resolving (equivalent of the King of Swords)

Behind the blades of a windmill, a man sits at a desk and writes. It seems that right now, in reflecting upon life, I become most aware of it and celebrate it most. I also see this as life happening while I’m doing something else, which could either mean I need to pay more attention to life while it’s happening, or that I celebrate life by making time for solitude and reflection. Both ring true for me today.

2. A – Aysh – Fire- What is the fire that burns in your life? What candles need lighting?8th Wave Song (Eight of Cups)

A table has been set for eight people at the edge of the sea. After the meal at night, all of them have left the table, seven to walk up a hill, one to walk across the plains. One of the chairs is about to fall into the water. This is about the transience of community, and about celebrating togetherness while it lasts instead of focusing on how it will be over soon. I take it to mean that I need to look for the joys of community and togetherness without expecting it to be “forever.” The companion book adds this:

Are you continually moving on […] always hoping happiness will find you in some new place? If this aspect of the image rings true for you, recognise that this emptiness can only be completely filled when you come home fully into yourself.

Indeed.

3. N – N’Shama – Soul-bird – What does your innermost soul-bird sing to you?9th Wind Song (Nine of Swords)

“I’m caged and want to break free!” Well, that’s very literal: a bird sits in a small cage hanging from a tree that grows on the edge of a cliff. In fact, the bird does seem to have a way out of the cage, so all it needs is to gather up the courage to leave the cage and fly free even if the landscape immediately surrounding it looks rather bleak and uninviting. But there is a golden glow in the sky that promises better times and places are ahead. This is all very true: I desperately want to break out of some aspects of my current life – and really the only thing holding me back is my own fear. Time to get over that, I think!

4. Yod – Universe – Gift of the universe – What resource or strength do you have that is far more than you thought? 6th Wave Song (Six of Cups)

Water is flowing through a water mill. I’m not sure the mechanics of the watermill in this drawing are right, but it does seem to work just fine nevertheless. To me, this is about life’s cycles and about a force that keeps me going even if it all seems a bit impossible. It’s also about using resources and gaining energy without wasting anything. Actually, I have to correct myself here after learning about the differences between watermills, water wheels, and norias. What is depicted here is in fact a noria, which is used to scoop up water and transport it up into an aqueduct, usually for irrigation purposes. (Norias also make a fascinating and very unexpected sound that you can listen to on the Wikipedia page.)

So, back to the tarot card at hand (by the way, does anyone else get distracted by their research in the middle of a reading done for themselves?). Water is transported upwards to feed plants that feed animals and humans. The theme of cycles apparently remains. If I read water as representing emotions, it seems I’m able to “lift up” my emotions to feed my sou (and my surroundings?) in a way that I apparently underestimate. It’s true that I’m an optimist at heart, even though I occasionally visit very dark spots. But life goes on, and things get lighter again.

5. K – Kadosh – What is sacred to you? Sun

Well, this is another pretty literal card. The sun is indeed sacred to me, much more so than the moon (which I still enjoy as an “idea” but don’t feel as drawn to emotionally or spiritually). The absence and presence of sunlight affect me greatly, and I love basking in the sunshine, motionless like a snake. The sun for me represents a major source of life and energy, and speaks to me as the huge ball of fire it is. Maybe I need to explore sun deities and sun cults some more? Maybe I need to find a way that makes sense to me to celebrate the sun wheel of the year?

6. K- Kadosh – How can you participate in making the whole world sacred?Flame Innocence (Page of Wands)

A child sits on her bed at night, cuddling a teddy bear. A candle burns on a nearby table, and the full moon hangs low and orange in the sky outside, illuminating the house’s garden and the land beyond. Well, the moon is illuminated by the sun, right? Maybe that’s how I can learn to embrace it as well… But mostly this card speaks about becoming childlike and curious, knowing how/where to find comfort so I can face the wide openness of the world beyond my home. Bringing in a light to mirror the two big lights in the sky, which leads me to the idea of “as above, so below; as below, so above; as within, so without; as without, so within.” Rituals don’t have to be big and elaborate, what counts most is awareness. And, finally, this may occasionally be a bit scary, so take it one step at a time. Makes sense.

7. A – Aleph – The Sound of Silence – What do I hear in it? Or: How can I listen for it?Beyond Judgment (Judgment)

Two open hands, the sea, an achor, a flying seagull, an egg-shaped, red-rimmed opening. I take this to mean I need a place to put my anchor to use as a basis from where to fly free (this reminds me of shamanic journeys where the physical body remains anchored in everyday reality while the soul flies out into non-ordinary reality). The hands are about both receiving and letting go. At any rate, this is a moment of change. From the companion book:

The egg which contains the bird and anchor reminds us we are continually involved in a process of rebirth, breaking out of old and secure patterns when we have outgrown the limits of our previous ways of thinking, perceiving and valuing. […] We may need known boundaries and a time of emotional incubation before surging forward into new domains. Periods of reflection and assimilation are necessary safeguards in the process of transformation. […] We are able to see pain and beauty, loss and blessings, intermingle and interweave. We sense patterns we may not be able to name.

To me this ties in with the first card of the spread. Silence is necessary to digest, to incubate, to reflect upon what happened. By making room for it and anchoring myself in regular periods of silence, I will ultimately be able to see/hear the patterns of my life that (hopefully) lead me to fulfill my purpose in this existence — and maybe even teach me just what that purpose is.

8. H – Hay – The Sound of Being Present – How can I be more present in my life, to my family, partner, children, etc.7th Wave Song (Seven of Cups)

A person sits at the bank of a river and fishes. In a net above them hang a bowl of fruit, a shell containing an island with a palm tree, and a trunk full of treasures. To me, this is about someone not quite present with their current situation. This person is dreaming themselves away into a fantasy of a (mostly materially) good life instead of enjoying what they have. I’m taking this in several ways. First, there is the need for regular solitude again which affords a place to clarify my idea of what makes a good life after all (and how to achieve it once I return to company). Then there’s the idea of not focusing on what could be but on what actually is (namely, a beautiful sunrise) and enjoying that for what it is. Part of me agrees with that notion, but another part of me says we need dreams and fantasies so we don’t get stuck in accepting something not ideal just because we never dared to imagine anything else. Which may in fact just be the other side of the same coin. I believe the secret lies in combining them into what may well end up being the serenity prayer:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

9. Shammash – The flame that ignites all the other candles.2nd Flame Song (Two of Wands)

Two people are on a hill watching the night sky. One of them looks at it just like that, the other uses a telescope, the shape of whose legs remind me of the sign for Awen (inspiration). I take this to mean that both looking at the big picture and zooming in to look at the details are valuable and necessary to truly understand something. Around the scene there are representations of the zodiac, with the telescope pointing to the one for Sagittarius (my own rising sign). To me, this is about a constant drive to explore ever more of what life has to offer, mostly looking outside of oneself for inspiration and food for thought rather than within oneself. In fact, that endless curiosity and desire to explore is indeed something I perceive to be one of my very crucial personality traits which does inform and impact every area of my life. The same goes for my ability to accept seeming contradictions (illustrated by the juxtaposition of astrology and astronomy here) and to always look for way that allow for both-and instead of either-or.

Since the shammash candle literally means “serving candle” I also take this to mean that these abilities are not meant as an end of themselves but as something meant to be used to serve a greater purpose.

Interesting spread, and interesting reading! I mostly like how the deck often uses traditional RWS meanings but illustrates them in an entirely new way. The round cards do make for uncomfortable shuffling, though. And they require a surprising amount of space to lay out!

New Deck: Songs for the Journey Home Tarot

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Since I extended last week a little, I decided to pick my new deck a bit early, too. So, random number generator, what do you have for me this week?

I already spent some exclusive time with the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot a while ago, so that one’s out for now. The same goes for the Tarot of the Four Elements, whose intense colors also don’t seem such a great idea on a migraine day as today. That leaves the Songs for the Journey Home Tarot, which is fine with me.

I got the deck from a friend on AT, but haven only used it a couple of times so far. I really like the deck’s name, because I’m still looking for a place to call home without reservations. So having a handful of songs for the journey towards whereever home may ed up being sounds like a good thing to me. As does having a handful of songs in the first place because my life has been strangely devoid of music for several years now. I rarely listen to any music when I’m home because it distracts me from the things I do (mostly reading and sometimes writing), and I can’t sit still for even a song’s length and do nothing but listen to music. That used to be very different earlier in my life, and I couldn’t even say what caused this change. I can say that I miss music and dancing, though. Maybe I’ll ask this deck about this issue…

Songs for the Journey Home is my first and so far only round tarot deck. It’s a bit harder to shuffle than other decks, but that’s mostly due to its diameter which is at the limit of what my hands can comfortably handle (I usually shuffle my decks lengthwise, even the small ones). That slows down the shuffling process a bit, but that’s probably not a bad thing.

I’m not quite up to do a reading today, though, because I still have a headache (despite my migraine medication), so that’s for another day…