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    The cards are everywhere – the Eight of Coins

    There are times when life feels like one enormous to-do list. My quietness of late is because I am in exactly that phase and you find me knee deep in a house move. This morning I took up the old lino tiles in the kitchen and finally ruined my sparkly manicure. But even in the midst of that very sweaty and sticky job, I saw the tarot. The floor in the kitchen was like a spread, and as I pulled up each tile, it was like taking away those cards representing a previous bit of my life. They took a bit of shifting, and the remaining glue, as well as…

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    Et in Arcadia ego

    Whether one is familiar with the images of the Tarot or seeing the cards for the first time, Death stands out and demands attention. The word itself has power. The strange, whispering aspirate ‘th’ has an ominous feel. It is the last breath exhaled, suggesting that we dare not even speak Death’s name aloud for fear that it may bring on a direct, personal encounter with the Reaper. In the modern world, so deeply consumed by the fear of death are we, that it has become strange and alien to us. We spend huge amounts of energy and money avoiding it, fixating on the idea of eternal youth with our potions and…

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    Tarot Layers

      This is both an exercise and a way of reading the cards. As an exercise it is a very powerful way to learn to think about connections between cards and the way that influences meaning. As a way of reading the cards, this is particularly useful for large, complex and fluid situations where the questions can sometimes feel nebulous. I haven’t called this a ‘spread’ because the way tarot spreads are usually presented in books is quite rigid and fixed – this position is about such-and-such, and this one is about this other aspect. Some people might find it difficult for this reason, but part of the learning with…

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    Some Other Sphere – Podcast

    A few weeks ago I was thrilled to spend an interesting hour or so chatting with Rick Palmer for his podcast series, Some Other Sphere. We covered all sorts of things about the tarot and I’m delighted to share the episode with you here. Do let us know what you think, and get in touch with Rick via Twitter @Spherical_Pod or listen to the other interviews.  

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    The Descent of the Tree

    This is a short note to open up a thought about how we tell the story of the four suits in the Tarot. The Major Arcana are often described as The Fool’s Journey. It is a narrative which we can tell from the Fool setting off unheeding and joyful into the world, then having a series of archetypal encounters which lead, finally, to The World and a sense of completion and accomplishment. Each suit also has a narrative. It might not be as explicit as The Fool’s Journey but it underlies a lot of our thinking about the suits. From Ace to Ten, there is a sense of movement which…

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    Altered States – a tarot exercise

      We talk about altered states of consciousness a lot in the magical community and there is a tendency to assume that these are deep trances in which one is unassailable by outside world, or wild psychedelic trips brought about by heroic doses of psilocybin. The phrase ‘altered state of consciousness’ is, in fact, rather problematic: altered from what? And by how much? And what exactly is a ‘state’ when it comes to describing consciousness anyway? Largely we talk about altered states when we are looking for ways to get the mind to interact more intensely with the realm of the spiritual, the spirits, the imaginal, the archetypal. The tarot,…

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    The Mystical Tarot – The Devil

    Some tarot decks really don’t get the attention they deserve. I absolutely love the Mystical Tarot, published by Lo Scarabeo in 2017, created by Giuliano Costa and think it warrants study and use. It’s a rich, detailed and absorbing deck with so many layers to peel back. I spent a bit of time with it this afternoon, looking at how the artist has interpreted the cards. They are absolutely crammed with symbolism and whilst being recognisably in the spirit of the Waite Smith deck, they have a unique quality which is at once artistically satisfying and magically potent.   The Devil was first out of the pack today. There are…