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A New Deck – Aquarian Tarot

Did I really need another Tarot deck?  Since I needed to head in to T.O. anyways, I figured a little drive to the Occult Shop on Vaughn was warranted. I found David Palladini’s Aquarian Tarot for under $20. The last time I found a little Tarot bargain, I was wandering the streets of Orangeville and came across an as-yet-unidentified version of the Rider-Waite at a garage sale for one dollar. I’m nothing if not a sucker for a deck deal.

David Palladini’s deck intrigued me not because of its influence on the Tarot community (Tarosophist International v.5 has a great interview with David Palladini) but because of his artistry on Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon. I read this book when it first came out in 1987. I am a huge Stephen King fan. In my early 20s at the time, it was the first Stephen King book that I could remember that was illustrated. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered that the artist and creator or the Aquarian Tarot and the illustrator of my Stephen King book were one and the same.

Although the images don’t ‘grab me’ in the same way the Gaian, RWS or the Gilded Tarot do or inspire me in the way the Osho Zen Tarot does, I am nonetheless thrilled to add one more deck to my growing collection.

Personal history and La Fete des Acadiens

Acadian Flag
Acadian Flag

On August 15th, a ‘nation within a nation’ revels. Acadians in Canada (and, I suspect, worldwide) celebrate their ‘national’ holiday. Acadians are a cultural group of French-Canadian heritage.  Acadians trace their origin to Acadia, a colony that was settled in present-day Nova Scotia in the early 17th century. It grew from its original 60-odd families to perhaps as many as 18,000 by the 1750s.

Acadia was passed between French and English hands many times.  The last time was in 1713, when the French handed the English current-day mainland Nova Scotia as a result of the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht. The Acadians, because of the political ‘tennis game’ their colony experienced, had developed a philosophy of political neutrality, siding with neither the English nor the French in the conflicts and skirmishes of the 1600s and 1700s. However, in 1754,  with war looming once again between England and France, the Acadians were asked to forgo their neutrality and swear allegiance to the English monarch. They refused and, from 1755 to 1763, in one of Canada’s greatest historical tragedies, Acadian land was confiscated, homes were torched and 75% of the Acadian population was deported throughout the 13 British colonies and France. The rest fled or hid. This has become known as The Great Expulsion (Le Grand Derangement).

After the hostilities ended, many Acadians assimilated into their new homelands. Some also created colourful communities, as did the Cajuns (a variation of the would ‘Acadian’) of Louisiana. And still others returned to the old colony of ‘Acadia’ and joined together with those who remained in hiding to attempt to rebuilt an Acadian experience in northern and eastern New Brunswick. 

I cannot remember learning a single thing about Acadian history when I was in school, a tragedy when you consider I attended a French-Canadian school from the 2nd grade until I graduated high school. It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I began to get a better understanding of the Acadian experience. Since that time, I’ve studied, read and shared elements of the diversity and uniqueness of Acadian history with friends, loved ones and now blog readers :).  I have always felt proud of my Acadian heritage but also sorrowful and melancholic at the tragic experience of my direct ancestors, despite being over two centuries removed.

I drew one Tarot card from my Gaian Tarot deck focusing on the following: “What do I need to know today about being un Acadien”?

The Hermit – Gaian Tarot: Pursue the experience inside yourself.  Pause and reflect in solitude. Make your ‘tintamarre’ (the colourful Acadian parade that takes place on August 15th) an internal one. Take the time to listen to the voices of wisdom who whisper in your ear.

Everyone has a ‘history’.  What is your internal ‘tintamarre’? What voices from the past whisper in your ear?

And to Acadians everywhere, “passez une boune fete des Acajins!” 🙂

Note: Free Tarot Talk this Thursday, August 19th at 7:00 p.m. at my space in Orangeville. Please email me at whitesagetarot@gmail.com or call 519-217-SAGE (7243) for more details.

What I can see in tea

Tea Leaf reading
Tea Leaf reading

On Wednesday, July 21st, 2010, I attended a divination workshop at The Reiki Centre in Alliston, Ontario. It was led by Angel Lanthier, a local Raising Energy practitioner. She led an engaging workshop on different forms of divination. But more importantly, she gave us an opportunity to explore with Tarot cards, pendulums and tea leaves. Although I always enjoy Tarot activities regardless of the audience they’re geared towards, I really found the opportunity to play with tea leaf reading fascinating. As Angel explained it (and I am paraphrasing here), tea leaf reading explores the symbols that show up at the bottom of a tea cup after it has been drunk. It is helpful  to have the ‘imbiber’ focus with intent on a pressing question or issue.

And I find this to be the key.  Symbolism combined with intentional focus is also the key to working successfully with the Tarot.  I find time and again that symbols, wherever they may be, emerge when and where we need them. The images in the remnants of tea are not meaningful by themselves but, when they draw on the symbolic knowledge locked away in our subconscious, they can be quite powerful.  Symbols draw on our existing knowledge, be it individual or collective. Why did that bird at the bottom of a tea cup, in a cloud just over the horizon, in the folds and crevises of a crumpled piece of paper or in the background of the Rider-Waite-Smith Star card jump out at you today yet you missed it yesterday? Did you see it as a dove? Or perhaps a sparrow, an eagle, a pigeon or a vulture? Each of these birds brings significantly different associations to mind. Or why not just a meaningless smudge of tea at the bottom of a cup, wisps of water vapour against a clear blue backdrop or an insignificant image on the background of a printed card?

Food for thought: In what symbols can you find meaning today? When you see one, whether it’s the man who crossed your path who bears a striking resemblance to your late father, the way the dust bunnies you’re about to sweep up look a lot like an olive tree or the shape that colourful spilt liquid forms at the bottom of the Tarot card you just drew , take three breaths and ask yourself, ‘How can what I truly see in this moment be of assistance today? What is it that I need to know from what I’m seeing right now?’

I am hosting a Free Tarot Talk on Thursday, August 19th, from 7:00 – 8:30. It will be an open discussion. I will share some activities I learned at the Readers’ Studio 2010, talk briefly about my upcoming article but mostly give people a chance to play (so, as always, bring your deck if you have one) and ask/answer questions. Please RSVP at whitesagetarot@gmail.com or at 519-217-7243 if you have any questions or are planning on attending. Tea, coffee and snacks are provided. Although not required, a small donation to help cover the costs of refreshments is always appreciated.

Exploring the BIT method

Back in Time Tarot

BIT is a method of Tarot exploration outlined in Janet Boyer’s book “Back in Time Tarot”. When you use the BIT method, you explore your past through the Tarot. It is an excellent way to reflect on past events. It involves self-selecting Tarot cards and briefly considering  how they relate to past events. The selection can be based on a variety of elements: the meaning of the card, its number or value, a symbol contained on the card or the images contained in the chosen card.  The reflections need not be long or elaborate. This selection process can be a very powerful reflection tool.

I started my process chronologically. I also selected two cards for each event; the first often leading into the second. Most examples provided in Janet Boyer’s book use only one card. For this exercise, I used Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot.  I am in love with the images of this deck and cherish my limited edition. (I cringed a little as it was passed around at our housewarming party this weekend.) 🙂 In the past, I have drawn from many decks to complete a BIT exercise. Also, I have kept my reflections brief.  Feel free to use the BIT method any way you see fit. And please, use this forum to share you experience.

May-June in Sydney, Australia:  The Explorer of Water and the Three of Water – For me, the Explorer of Water is often “he-who-I-seek-to-be” but I selected this card for this exercise because of the literal meaning of ‘explorer’ and ‘water’. My trip involved a lot of visiting for two weeks on a large island continent in a major coastal city. The Three of Water symbolized the joyful sharing that went on as I spent time with my partner’s friends and extended family.

End of the school year and the preparation for 2010-2011: Eight of Earth and the Teacher – I finished the school year ready to embrace my role as both ‘master’ teacher and mentor. Several prominent staff moved on and will play different roles next school year and I was pleased to have played a role, however small, in their respective profession growth. I will devote time each week over the summer honing my skills in this area, something I haven’t done for quite some time.

The move and the purchase of our new home: The Five of Air and the Four of Air – Initially, the focus of ‘the move’ was, funny enough, the movement. It felt like everything was moving, often in multiple directions at once. The eagles in the Five of Air appear to be in ‘reckless’ movement. However, as symbolized in the Four of Air, keeping the goal of stability, safety and security in mind throughout the process was extremely helpful. After all, our purpose was not to buy a house but to create a home. This card from this deck was also prominent in a reading I received from Bev Haskins while at the Readers Studio in New York this past April. She pointed out the four robin eggs safely contained in their next and paralleled them to my own family of four.  

Ride to Conquer Cancer: Death and the Ace of Air – Taking part in a 200-kilometre (120 mile) bike ride was an incredible experience. The loss of my father and the toll that cancer takes in the lives of many remained front and centre all weekend.  The ride also gave me a sense of new beginning. I will complete this ride again and will expand my role in the future. Like the butterfly in the Ace of Air, I emerged from this experience transformed. I also met some amazing people during my journey.

Biopsy: The Five of Water and The Sun – It took everything I had (and was more draining than I expected it would be) to focus on what I held in my hand instead of focusing on the potentially bleak surroundings a negative result would bring. The Sun represents the inexplicable JOY of hearing the word “benign”.

 My children – Child of Fire and Explorer of Fire –  They are not the last BIP selection because they are least important (anyone who knows me personally knows how important my children are to me) but because, chronologically, spending time with my children is the most recent ‘issue’ upon which to reflect. Instead of focusing on the guilt of not having been able to be as available this week because of a busy work schedule (and they have headed off to their mother’s for a two-week holiday stint), I selected two cards that best represent my children’s potential. One child is discovering her creativity: writing diary entries, developing characters for her book and painting in her studio. She is not unlike the Child of Fire, who learns by doing. Like the Explorer of Fire, the other feels the heat of creativity and is often torn between taming his creative fire or unleashing it. Should he choose the latter; look out, World!

Intention setting: The final two cards I chose were the Ace of Water and the Star. I drew these two cards not as part of a BIT process but as part of willful intention setting. This process is particularly relevant during the time of the New Moon. For more information on this concept, see Kelly Surtees’ recent blog at http://kellysurteesastrology.wordpress.com.  The Ace of Water represents the flowing waters of new emotional realities. I’m looking at spending my next few quieter weeks re-connecting and re-kindling those relationships that are most meaningful.  The Star represents the hope and optimism brought about by this action.

Feel free to share your BIT experience here. Or, if you feel more astrologically inclined :), select a card or two and use your creativity to set your own willful intentions.

Neither sleeping nor gone… well maybe sleeping a little bit :)

Life has caused ‘A Magician’s Musing’ to take a brief hiatus. As ‘alt-ego’ work finally dies down for the summer, we begin to settle into our new place and the positive results of a recent medical procedure all sink in, I should be all prepped for the next blog in about a week.  I’ll explore the crazy month of June using Janet Boyer’s “Back in Time” Tarot method.

Feel free to explore some of the other posts on this blog. Or get your deck out and get ready to explore a hectic time in your life using the same method.