I wanted a little intuitive advice on Monday about how to help heal after the traumatic news from Orlando. I looked to my cards. I used the simplest of spreads because I wanted something simple and easy to understand so I chose a Mind, Body, Spirit spread and I used my Prisma Visions deck. What I got felt so right and so applicable that I knew I should share it in case it could help anyone else.
Emperor | Queen of Pentacles | Three of Swords
Mind: The Emperor
I’d been reading a lot of articles on Monday about the attack in Orlando and there was only so much information available, but that never stops the 24 hour news cycle machine from churning and re-churning information and speculating and just really over saturating us with coverage. The Emperor card told me that I needed to take back control for myself. In a situation where everything normal had suddenly been thrown into horrible chaos, this made perfect sense.
I’m taking a media break, only indulging in internet and media in places I know will be safe for me. For me, instagram is a comforting place and so I’ve been spending some time there. I’ve also been watching TV shows that are soothing and not upsetting (think cooking shows and How Things Work).
TLDR: control what you’re consuming, if the news coverage makes you too upset, it’s okay to disengage. You have to take care of yourself or else you can’t take care of anyone else.
Body: Queen of Pentacles
Nurture your physical self. Make sure you’re eating nutritious and comforting food. Get a healthy amount of sleep. If exercise is your thing head to the gym, get outside in the sunlight (where you’ve got it). Self Care. Self Care. Self Care. For me this looks like my Zumba class last night, knitting a rainbow shawlette, and an oreo milkshake.
It also meant a little witchy crafting in my house too. Little rituals and crafts help keep me centered and keep me from feeling completely useless when something terrible happens and I can’t be there to physically help.
Spirit: Three of Swords
Boy, this one looked appropriately dire. I think what the card is saying is that the hurt we’re all feeling is very real. People out there hate queer people enough that they want to kill us. It’s a frightening feeling. It definitely had me wondering if I should go to the Pride events coming up locally.
The message here in the three of swords is that we need to hold space for the feelings that we’re having. But the butterfly on the card reminds us not to let our sadness keep us from growing and recovering. Being queer is about building resilience and not letting hate tear us down. We must emerge stronger and more determined to live our truth and to keep supporting the most vulnerable parts of our community.
So choose what you take on right now, take care of yourselves, and give yourself time to grieve and then come back stronger.
In the wake of the terrible news from Orlando I’ve had to step away from media a little bit. I’ve allowed myself a few exceptions for places I thought would help. And Asali Earthwork had a beautiful helpful post yesterday about how to take care of yourself in the wake of something like this.
I’m resharing the post here, I encourage you to take a look at her blog. It was just what I needed.
Heart is still weighed down but here is some of what has been helping. I share it with you and hope you find some heart ease. Take care.
Today’s deck review is for the Prisma Visions Tarot by James R. Eads
This deck was another one that just grabbed my attention immediately. It’s beautiful. If you lay all the minor arcana out in order, each suit flows together into one long beautiful narrative. This is actually the first deck that I’ve owned where the Minor Arcana captivate me more than the majors!
In the wands suit you watch a meandering stream flow through the cards taking the reader on a journey. It begins with an explosion of stars in a supernova around a standing wand. It then moves through a dark night lit only by the stars. This scene bleeds into a fiery sunrise that in turn leads into a forest and culminates in a fearsome explosion of energy that envelops the figures in the court cards.
At first the energy of the wands seems to completely overwhelm the page, lifting them off their feet and high into the air as they reach through the energy. The knight can be seen directing the energy with their hands, but still caught up by it. The Queen figure draws the energy around her body and coaxes a flower to bloom. A vibrant shock of hair moves around her with the energy mixed in. Finally the king floats mid air, controlling the wands energy, relaxed and in control despite the whirling maelstrom of fire all around him. The wand energy has coalesced into a crown over his head. I love the story that those court cards tell, a progression over time from being the overwhelmed page to the mastery of the king. I find it echoed in the other courts as well. I especially liked the Cups court where they all interact with the same water as it flows from the King down to the Page.
The major arcana are set apart from the minors with a decorative borders around them.
As you can see from the cards shown, the art style of the deck is very Impressionistic, it brings to mind Starry Night in a lot of places. Each suit represents a season as well. The Swords suit is winter, Wands are Spring, Pentacles are summer, and Cups are Fall.
The art work is beautiful, but so are the cards. They’re a little bit thicker than most tarot cards, if you’ve ever used the Wild Unknown deck, they’re similar in weight. They have silver on their edges which is such a treat, it’s super reflective and shiny. I find them a little bit challenging to shuffle just because of their thickness and stiffness. A wash is easier than the shuffling in my hands. Although I’m sure the more I work with the cards the more flexible they’ll become.
Readings with this deck are just as wonderful as the cards themselves. There is so much to see in these cards, so many symbols and so much depth. I can absolutely recommend this deck, I’m looking forward to a lot of lovely readings with these cards.
Today’s card of the day is the Queen of Cups from the Universal Goddess Tarot
In the Universal Goddess Tarot the Queen of Cups depicts Yemaya, Yoruban ruler of the sea. She is the goddess of generosity, good feelings, love, tolerance, and fidelity. A very appropriate goddess for the Queen of Cups. There’s a very maternal energy in this card.
Yemaya sits on a throne constructed of seashells and what looks like octopus arms. Her hair also sort of echoes those octopus arms as well with her dreadlocked hair. Strands of pearls adorn her multi layered dress and her jewelry is made of more pearls and seashells. She is serene and in control of her surroundings. Even though the ocean is clearly moving around her, shown by the movement of her hair and the bubbles around her, She sits serene and untroubled.
When the Queen of cups appears in a spread she’s a calming and comforting influence. She has a very nurturing energy, someone easy to talk to who actively listens. She offers gentle but firm advice. She will comfort you when someone breaks your heart but she won’t enable you to go back to the jerk to let them do it again. She has mastered her emotions, but that phrase doesn’t quite fit. In our culture when we speak of mastering emotions the phrase tends to connote a stoic man who is unaffected while anger and grief rage around him, and that’s not this queen at all. She feels deeply and maturely, but she does not let her emotions destroy her. Instead she holds space to honor all the feelings of the Cups suit and helps others to learn to honor their own.
She may appear in a spread when you’re feeling overwhelmed. She can help you understand that it’s okay to cry when you need to and to help you ensure other people don’t treat your poorly because you feel. Trust her advice and honor your feelings, it’s much more healthy to give them the space they need than to just try to force them down. Let the water of her oceans wash and soothe you.
Today’s card is the Six of Swords from the Prisma Visions Tarot
This is a beautiful depiction of the Six of Swords. It shows a bridge of swords, spanning an endless dark chasm. The bridge is crafted from the blades of swords. It’s midwinter and everything is covered in snow, the wind is blowing hard, and it’s deep in the middle of a moonless and cloudy night. The only light comes from the stars. Crossing a bridge of swords under these conditions would be extremely dangerous.
This card represents a difficult journey, a transition from something bad enough to make you prepared to flee even when the travelling is through such bad conditions.
This card traditionally represents a listless and depressed person or period of life. In the RWS card a man struggles to propel a boatful of swords along. Here we’re missing the boat, but a long difficult trek can be imagined through the snow.
The butterflies give us hope though. Not only are they completely out of place in the dead of winter, indicating that the warmth of summer (and thereby a relief from the depressing winter) must be somewhere near, they also symbolize transformation.
There are few more potent and powerful examples of transformation that that of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. They wrap themselves up, dissolve into goo, and then become an entirely new creature!
Another interesting note for this card, the bending tree on the right side of the card almost looks like it has the face of an old man. He looks tired and grumpy as he looks back into the past. The butterflies are looking to the future, towards summer, and towards a way out of this slump.
When you see the Six of Swords take hold of hope. It’s showing you that the end is in sight. You can find a way out, but you do have some hard travelling to get there.
Before I launch into a post about choosing a tarot deck I have to make a small confession. I’m not super choosy about buying tarot decks. I have a small collection of them and I love to get new ones if one catches my eye. That said, despite owning a bundle of them, I always circle back to a small handful that I love working with.
But that’s absolutely okay. I don’t see anything wrong with collecting tarot decks; they’re beautiful art pieces, powerful tools, and great meditation aids. Like any kind of collection, as long as your bills are paid and it’s not causing you harm, you should feel free to indulge yourself. I used to feel guilty when I bought a deck that I didn’t use, but I realized that was a waste of energy. Your favorite deck may change over time and one that you used to use all the time might take a backseat as your life changes, your reading style changes, or your reading audience changes. I used to rely heavily on a Robin Wood Tarot deck, but as I’ve grown and changed I find that it’s too white and heteronormative to resonate with me anymore. I’m not saying it’s not a good deck, just that my needs in a tarot deck are different now.
So, how do you choose the tarot deck that’s right for you? In my experience it’s a bit of a trial and error process until you find a deck that really resonates with you. I want to tackle one stubbornly popular myth first.
Myth: You have to be given your first tarot deck.
This little story really annoys me. Firstly, it takes your agency away from you. You’re just
supposed to wait patiently for someone to magically guess that you need a tarot deck and then give it to you? So many people would never get a deck! This isn’t even considering people who might be living in situations where tarot is misunderstood and feared. Also, I think that choosing and buying your very own tarot deck gives you a leg up in working with your chosen deck. For me, tarot is about empowerment, and what could be more empowering than taking your own initiative and choosing your spiritual tools yourself? Of course, this isn’t a slight against people who did have someone else give them a deck. If someone gave you your first deck and you loved it and it’s perfect, that’s fantastic. I guess what I’m saying here is that there is no wrong way to get a deck. Except maybe stealing one. The energy of theft is probably not the best energy you want to introduce into your tarot.
Okay, so you’ve decided that you want to get a deck, awesome! But where do you even start? There are hundreds and hundreds of possibilities out there. You can find themed tarot decks on almost any subject you can imagine: Cats, Dragons, Aliens, or even Baseball. That almost makes it harder because there are so many options!
So here’s my advice: you need to find a deck that you’re charmed by. If you can, start by looking into Rider Waite Smith styled decks. A lot of the intro to tarot websites and books are focused around that style of tarot. That makes it easier to learn the meanings of the cards and you’ll have plenty of bloggers who use a deck similar to yours and lots of decks to learn from. I also echo the suggestion of lots of others who suggested that you get a deck of “dudes doing shit”. To be clear here, I don’t mean that you need a deck of men, but a deck with humanoid figures interacting with each other and the environment often makes it easier if you’re just getting started.
For me it’s really important that the deck be in an art style that I can connect with. The more you look at decks, the more you’ll get to realize things you like and things you don’t like. Personally, I’ve found that I don’t care for photo manipulated decks; I like drawings better on my cards. I also like decks that have some traditional RWS symbolism but aren’t re-drawings of the exact same images.
You should also consider what you’re going to be using your deck for. Do you want something to read spreads? Then you might want something that is clear and easy to
understand, something like the Happy Tarot, the Robin Wood, or something like it. Do you want something to help you connect with spirit? Something like the Universal Goddess Tarot might be perfect. I use my Universal Goddess deck both in divination and in goddess meditations.
Another thought I wanted to mention was that you can also consider oracle decks if they suit your wants. I know this post is about how to choose a tarot deck, but most of it can also apply to oracle decks. Obviously, with an oracle deck, the RWS advice about finding one with people doesn’t apply, but aside from that, look for something that you feel a pull towards and that you really like. Oracle decks are not the same as Tarot decks, but don’t let anyone tell you that they’re inferior. They’re just a different way of card reading. In case you’re not familiar with the difference between oracle and tarot decks, it’s that tarot decks contain 22 cards in the Major Arcana and 14 Minor Arcana (also known as pip cards) in four suits that make up the 78 cards in a deck. Oracle cards come in every flavor of the rainbow, and come in any number of cards, sometimes with a booklet for reading them and sometimes without so that you must rely on your intuition to decipher a spread of them. I enjoy both types of decks and I own an assortment of both. I do a lot more work with my tarot cards, but sometimes the simplicity of an oracle deck is too appealing to pass up.
I also want to point out that sometimes the really great decks will surprise you. I bought the Happy Tarot (see the Hermit card there?) because if was adorably sugar sweet and filled with cupcakes. I didn’t really expect it to be a deck I did serious work with, but I’ve been so wrong about that. The deck is great and I have found it to be wonderful to work with. Don’t discount a ‘cute’ or themed deck as a novelty item right away. Some of them are, but some will work just as well as a super traditional Rider Waite Smith.
The last piece of advice I have is that it’s okay to buy a deck and realize that it’s not the right deck for you. If you hold out for The One True Deck you could get paralyzed and end up never trying any at all. And here’s my second confession: part of the reason that I have so many decks is that it took me a long time to understand that I didn’t have to find the Perfect Deck. You might use one deck for a while and then ‘outgrow’ it and start working with another. And that’s okay.
So there you go? Shop around, find something you love, and know that it’s okay to change
your mind or pick more than one. I’ve found that Aeclectic Tarot is a great place to find information about different decks. They have reviews and purchase links for most decks. Also check out the Tarot blogs, I post reviews here on The Wooly Witch from time to time and so do lots of other Tarot bloggers.
It’s also totally fine to throw all my suggestions out the window and do things your own different way. That’s a big theme for me as I walk my spiritual path. Learn all you can, take what makes sense, discard what doesn’t resonate with you.
Happy reading! If you’re new I’d love to hear what your first deck was/is/will be. If you’ve been reading for a while, I’d love to hear how you picked your first deck. As you can tell, I love decks!
Today’s card is the Emperor from the Manga Tarot
I’ve always had a slightly touchy relationship with The Emperor. I don’t love patriarchal undertones that the card always seems to be associated with in the traditional RWS interpretations. It’s really mostly just that I’m pushing back against the archetypal gendered stereotypes. I think the first time I felt really good about the Emperor card was when I found my matron goddess, Athena, on the Emperor card in the Universal Goddess deck.
The Emperor stands for control, structure, fatherhood, and authority. It’s my ‘question authority’ mindset that tends to block my working with the card. What it was important for me to learn, is that the Emperor card doesn’t have to mean submitting to male control. It doesn’t even mean a man at all necessarily. It’s just talking about energies that were typically associated with men.
The authority in this card doesn’t have to be a toxic corrupt authority. In order for me to work with this card I had to recognize that authority isn’t a bad thing. Authority can be any respected source that you trust.
That said, this is one Emperor card that I really like. Although it depicts someone outwardly presenting as male, it doesn’t have any of that energy of autocratic dictatorship. This Emperor actually appears to be consciously rejecting that kind of leadership. You see the cracked and broken throne with a discarded crown behind him. He sits on the ground instead, meditating in a traditionally styled samurai suit of armor. The figure of this Emperor does represent authority. He is a warrior, and seated in front of the throne gives the implication that he is a leader. Maybe he defeated the corrupt ruler who used to occupy that seat, or maybe he was the ruler and he has come to understand that an iron fist isn’t the way to rule.
He also represents structure here. He is meditating, following perhaps a spiritual path or simply taking time to improve himself. He is recognizing the importance of time for quiet reflection and introspection. This Emperor isn’t raging around his throne room screaming at the court. When he speaks his words are soft and well considered. He has earned the respect of his peers through his actions and his philosophies.
You can see this Emperor representing ‘fatherhood’ here as well. Taking the gender out of the equation just leaves protection of his family/clan/people and safeguarding them.
He gives the impression of a calm well reasoned wisdom. You’d feel good asking his counsel and taking his advice. When this Emperor appears in your spread you can be sure that he’s carefully considered what to do and you know you can trust the authority he represents.