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Playing with a (New) Full Deck

A few weeks ago, after a lot of handling, a little humming and hawing, I purchased my first new Tarot deck in YEARS!  The beneficiary of my decision (other than our local Orangeville shop ‘Healing Moon’)?  The Wildwood Tarot.

It is this earth-based, wheel-of-the-year focused deck that eventually pushed me and my bank card to the point of no return. Since then, I’ve set aside time almost every day to go through the cards one at a time. I’ve grouped them by minors, majors and courts.  I’ve laid the deck out in ‘wheel’ fashion, (as suggested by ‘The Little White Book’ that accompanies this deck and pictured below) with the help of Merlin, our cat! 🙂

The art in the Wild Wood Tarot deck pictured above was created and copyrighted by – Merlin and the rug? Not so much.

I look to experience learning a new deck in different ways: visually, physically, intellectually and emotionally.  I shuffle the cards, ask a question, see what comes up. Sometimes, I go to the book, see what it says.  Other times, I want to connect them to previous knowledge of the other decks I use. I want to compare and contrast meanings and images. I want to feel the cards and look at them. I want to connect the deck’s  energy to my own. I want to ‘hear’ the cards as they speak to me.  By the end of the process, I want to know my deck. And I want to like it.

Eventually, I’ll do all of my ‘pagan-y’ deck prep. For me, that means I’ll cleanse the deck with a smudge. I’ll put it outside under a full moon.

But before I do any of that, I’ll play. A lot.

Which leads me to this question… How do you connect with a new deck?

Back at it: Exploring the Tarot with the Tarot

tarot spread - back at itIt has been roughly five years between blog posts in this space.

During that time I hadn’t stopped using the Tarot, but did so from a more private space. I became quiet in online groups, stopped client work, stopped teaching classes & leading workshops & shut down my website. In many ways, I tucked Peter White & White Sage Tarot into the back of the broom closet. 🙂

Recently, and within a short period of time, I had a renewed web presence when ‘Peter White Tarot’ came online. I joined a Tarot class. I attended a Tarot & Tea group. And decided to blog.

Thus reemergence seemed sudden and unexpected. I was curious. So, I turned to a familiar tool; a place I often go for guidance. I asked 4 questions. I drew 4 cards. And I decided to write about it.

Here is the spread I constructed and the questions I asked:

1. Why now?

This was the biggest question hanging over me. This resurgence in ‘public’ interest seemed to come out of nowhere. In response to this question, I drew the 8 of Swords reversed. It self a blindfold has been removed. Any restrictions that were binding me, however loosely, have fallen free. The signs leading me in a particular direction and may have gone unseen are now visible. Whatever was restricting me, for some reason, is no more.

2. What may support me?

First off, I didn’t feel the need to ask if this reemergence was a good idea. It seemed to be happening regardless. So the next 2 questions were of greater relevance to me. I wanted guidance around possibilities for support & opposition. I also placed these cards in an ‘above (support) & below (obstacle)’ configuration.

I drew the 9 of Pentacles first. Support will come from a place of hard work & discipline. It will also come from a place of abundance. The woman in her garden is enjoying the fruits of her labour. It looks like the fruits of my own may provide me with the support I’m looking for.

3. What may get in my way?

The 3 of Pentacles caught me a little off-guard here. Then I thought of my own creative work and my propensity to get stuck when things are not perfect. I can labour over the most minute detail instead of letting it go ‘as is’. This might be a reminder that good enough is at times good enough. Thanks 3 of P for the reminder! 😁

4. What may come of it?

The King of Pentacles, reversed…so it doesn’t look like becoming the Jeff Bezos of the Tarot world is ‘in the cards’. 😉 Non-material gains maybe? Leadership in other non-material areas, perhaps intellectual or spiritual. Or maybe this is an indicator of a more passive role. A more “non-King” like place. Or, perhaps the outcome of this journey is less positive and more likely to be unsatisfactory. In the end, not knowing is what makes the outcome of the journey interesting, isn’t it?

As always, the Tarot for me is never a tool of absolutes. It is instead a place for a perspective, drawn through the random process of shuffling and dealing a deck of cards, that I would not likely have come to otherwise. It is the food in my ‘food for thought’.

I’m glad to have re-embarked on my learning journey and to start sharing it again in a public space. Follow along, join me and participate in the comments section, if you like.


Peter White

The New Year and The Fool’s Journey

The beginning of the calendar is a time when we often start on a new path. It could be one of self-improvement, self-discovery or enlightenment. It may last a day, a week or a life-time but it is very common for people to pledge major change on January 1. It is also usually preceded by a planned night of unrestrained behaviour and planned excess. This beginning of the calendar makes me think of the Fool’s Journey.

The Fool

I found it somewhat coincidental that, just a few short days ago, while reading Alain de Botton’s “Religion for Atheists” that I came across a passage describing the festum fatuorum, or the ‘Feast of Fools’.  De Botton describes this as a medieval Church custom in which clergy acted in ways that were in opposition to their regular behaviour. Some of the behaviour he describes involved farting to hymns, speaking nonsensical sermons, attaching phallic symbols to cloaks and gambling on the altar. It allowed a letting go or cleaning of the slate. It acknowledged the playful, chaotic side of human behaviour. It made chaos and debauchery sacrosanct. (I think I’ve had a New Years’ party or two like that!) 🙂

The Fool is about beginnings but it is also about cleaning the slate. It is about jumping off the cliff and letting the journey take us where it may. When we jump, we take very little, if anything, with us. When teaching tarot classes, I often use the term tabula rasa to describe the essence of The Fool. She is associated with Uranus, and is thus the card of liberation, awakening and independence, characteristics often necessary for a successful new beginning.

And, as my Tarot focus shifts and I move into year four of ‘A Magician’s Musings’, so begins a new year and a new Tarot adventure. On a time frame that suits my schedule (very Fool-like), I am going to spend my blog posts this year exploring the Fool’s Journey. I will highlight some common knowledge around this often explored theme of the Tarot but also (hopefully) some new learning as well. I hope you choose to join me on this journey.

Mobile Tarot

I’m curious. I keep a RWS clone deck in my car. I draw a card from my ‘mobile’ deck almost daily. Since the card is still there, just below my console, at the end of my day, it allows me to reflect on several questions for that day. Where did I see the card? In whom did I see the card? How did I work around challenges? How did I support myself and others? I find it a simple tool that increases my practice of self-reflection.

Anyone else using a ‘mobile’ deck?

SOTA Astrology Conference – 2012: For those interested in astrology, tarot and other means of divination, check out both the astrology tracks and the new ‘Spirit’ track at this year’s SOTA Astrology Conference.  The conference takes place from October 18th – 21st, 2012 in Niagara Falls, NY.  I will be opening the Spirit track with a one-hour overview of the tarot on Friday, October 19th.  Hope to see you there!  More information can be found here.

Tarot and the MRI

Tarot and MRIs not related? I beg to differ.

On Friday, I had one. It was to further explore the recurrence of old shoulder injury. The doctor’s office and the hospital had given me a little overview of the process. When I arrived, I waited 90 minutes – they didn’t explain that part – and, upon registration, they informed that I would need to be injected with an X-Ray dye prior to the MRI. The fluid would be inserted directly into my shoulder joint, guided by an X-Ray and a 2 1/2 inch needle. They didn’t explain that part, either.  Understand that, although I am not claustrophobic, my greatest fear is being buried alive so I was already less-than-comfortable with the upcoming MRI experience. The X-Ray preparation did not help the situation.

I knew I’d need to remain still. That was explained ahead of time. No one mentioned just how still. My doctor knows that ‘idle’ is not a speed at which my engine typically runs. When the technician informed me that I’d need to remain perfectly still for 25 minutes, I smiled.  This could be a long afternoon. After the first few minutes, I could sense my muscles twitching. My need to take deep breaths increased. My shoulder began to throb. I became aware of my restricted mobility and wanted to do something about it.  “Stop moving, please!” is barely audible through the sound-blocking headphones she had placed on my head. Although I couldn’t feel myself move, I knew I was struggling and was strongly considering pressing the ‘panic button’ resting in my closed fist. Then I started to picture the four of Swords in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. The image came to me out of nowhere. It has been an image I’d conjure up if I was having a hard time relaxing but, as the length of time since my last post will attest, I haven’t made much time for the Tarot lately. I immediately entered the card in the same way I’d enter the home of a close but long-ignored friend. I looked around and took in my surroundings. I’ve been here before. My movement ceased almost instantly. A sense of calm came over me. Even the technician noticed and I heard a muffled “Thank you”. The rest of the procedure took place without difficulty.

I had forgotten the impact of those 78 little images I know so well. They have a place in even the most insignificant or unexpected situations; even after what seems like a significant amount of time away. On my way through Erin I stopped by Treehaven and bought the Llewellyn edition of the Gaian Tarot deck to complement my limited edition.

Welcome back, old friend. I’ve missed you.