Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Secret techniques for taking Tarot to an exciting new level.
It was nearly a year ago when Catherine first mentioned to me about a book she had written with Paul Hughes-Barlow and having long been a fan of Paul's website Supertarot and more recently of Catherine Chapman's excellent blog TarotElements, I eagerly awaited publication and I haven't been disappointed. I have never really been a fan of the Celtic Cross tarot spread although I can see that it is useful so I was interested to see what was beyond it, as this book promised. The technique described takes a Celtic Cross reading and then re-reads it using the card counting techniques which are adequately illustrated. I had tried several years ago to learn this technique but I couldn't quite "get it" but the way that Paul and Catherine talk one through the steps makes it much easier to understand. So I then tried this method with an actual reading myself. The Celtic Cross spread that I laid out was OK but a bit ambiguous in places and I didn't gain much insight from the interpretation. I then re-did the reading using the card counting technique and the reading came to life and made absolute sense - I was amazed and so pleased that it actually "worked" for me.

I was going to describe this book as not one for beginners but then I thought "why not". There is something for all levels of experience to learn in this book and a beginner could do a lot worse than to learn these techniques from the start of their studies. Also explored are the rules of Elemental Dignities, card pairing methods, Elemental bases and the power of the Aces.

The journey through this book opens up new experiences of interpretation and insight to take tarot readings to exciting new levels. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone wishing to further their tarot learning experience.

Winter Solstice

At the time of the Sun's lowest ebb, the shortest day, the dying sun sets for the last time - but no sooner has the Sun disappeared than the seed of coming life again grows. Tomorrow the Sun will rise anew. The cycle of life will begin again with the Waxing year.
The Child of Promise, the Sun is reborn,
Bringing hope to the Darkness of the forlorn,
Death has been and left its mark,
With winter's bleakness, cold and stark.
We look towards the promise of spring,
And make our plans for New Year to bring,
With joy in our hearts as the old year departs.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

London Tarot Conference 2009

This was the first time I have attended the London Tarot Conference and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to mix with other Taroists and like-minded people. On arrival we were signed in and given a name badge by organiser Kim Arnold's helpful husband Martin. I didn't attend the Friday evening workshops and Cocktail party so can't report on them. In the large conference room we choose our seats and received our goodie bags which included a pack of The Llewellyn Tarot cards - very nice. We had a short welcoming speech by Kim and then into a talk by Liz Dean who is a former editorial director in mind, body, spirit publishing, writer, editor and poet. Liz talked about the Major Arcana's dark beginnings in a brutal Roman festival and its first appearance as a hand-painted deck commemorating a royal wedding in 1441. We were taught how to play the card game of Tarot which was quite fun once we got the hang of it.
Following a coffee break there was the workshop, The Living Celtic Cross by Corinne Kenner the well-known tarot master and author of several books. Corinne gave us very large tarot cards and chose eleven people (yes, eleven) to arrange in a Celtic Cross spread whilst holding the cards. The "querent" asked their question and Corinne read the cards. Then it was the turn of the people holding the various cards to speak to the querent and give their version of the messages from the cards they were holding. Three readings were performed in this manner - the first with a relationship subject read by Corinne, the second with a money subject was read by Emily Carding and the third with a health subject was read by Corinne's husband, Dan.
We then had our lunch break and the optional lunch time workshops - Reading Professionally by Mary Collin, the Transparent tarot by Emily Carding and Tarot & the Creative Process by Kay Stopforth.
After lunch we were treated to an hour long talk by Richard Abbot showing us how to find and explore our Inner World using tarot as the link to familiar themes and anchors and finding out where common experience ends and personal experience begins. Richard runs a print and publishing company, organises festivals and events, has written six books and numerous magazine articles.
Another much needed coffee break brought us to the workshop: Hunting the Lady by Caitlin Mathews. Caitlin taught us how to discover where a querent's deeper issue is located in a Tarot Reading and using some intriguing spreads we hunted the significator and revealed the hidden agendas.
This was followed by a Tarot Meditation led by Emily Carding which was enjoyed by many and I overheard some positive feedback.
Kim closed the Conference by asking all the speakers of the day up to the front for a round of applause and a photo call.
A very enjoyable way to spend a Saturday and the chance to meet up with some more TABI members

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Magic of Twitter

I think it was two to three years ago that I downloaded some Tarot podcasts from the Tarot Connection to my laptop and MP3 player. I listened to these in the car, in the bath - whenever I could. The podcast contributors included Leisa ReFalo, Ginny Hunt and Bonnie Cehovet. There were others but these are the ones that stick more firmly in my mind. I marvelled at the knowledge and experience these people had but they were distant voices from another part of the planet and as much as I admired them, I had no real connection to them apart from an interest in Tarot. Until last week that is. I now find myself discussing mundane, day to day, household issues with.......Bonnie Cehovet! The distant voice from my treasured podcasts is now communicating with me via Twitter.
It seems such a bizarre situation that I had to blog about it. Twitter, for me, is a great equaliser of all people. The famous mingle and communicate with the everyday people at home. It does them good (I hope) and helps to keep them grounded and at street level and it does us ("normal" people) good to think that the people we admire are interested in what we have to say. Whether they are or not, I don't know but it's good PR for them. So it works for everyone and keeps us all connected. Perhaps a rather simplistic view and I know that Twitter isn't everyone's cup of tea but I find it fun and all the time it's fun - I shall be using it.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

UK Tarot Conference 2009

Less than a week to go now until the UK Tarot Conference 2009 on the 16th and
17th October. This is the 6th UK Tarot Conference founded by Kim Arnold who was also responsible for launching the Psychic Café in 2005.
Kim started the Tarot Conference in order to bring Tarot out of the shadows and into the 21st century. She had been intimidated in the past by members of a church, because of her work with the tarot, so decided to do something about it.
This will be the very first time I have attended anything like this and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about it. Having met Kim before, I have no doubt that it will live up to my expectations.
I can’t wait!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Happy Days

September already. Where has the summer gone? I seem to have had a non-summer this year. We had our holiday at Easter - to Malta, which was lovely and this was just as well because shortly after we came back my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had an operation to remove a tumour and then had to start a course of chemotherapy. He was also found to have TB and that's all on top of COPD. And that's where our summer has gone. Back and forth to various hospitals for test and treatments. I'm not complaining and the children haven't complained either. They are at the stage where they do their own thing and create their own entertainment.
I like the changes of seasons and I particularly like this one - Summer into Autumn. I love the Autumn colours and the feeling of the garden settling down into its Winter rest. This doesn't mean an end to gardening though. Autumn is as busy a month as any other. Lots of trees around us mean plenty of leaves to be cleared. There are Spring bulbs to plant, shrubs to be pruned, tender plants to be moved and wrapped up for the Winter months, the grass still needs cutting, final trims to the hedges, perennials to be divided and replanted, borders to be weeded and mulched - the list goes on and on.
I also look forward to Christmas - one of my favourite times of the year. I'm not sure why - I just love everything about it. Probably my inner child takes over at this time of year. I actually find myself getting really excited about present opening! I don't get quite as excited about buying and wrapping the presents but I feel this is getting easier now that the children are getting older. They know what they want usually months in advance. I also enjoy indulging in things that I generally deny myself at other times of the year - Cadbury's Roses, Turkish Delight and Fudge are several things that spring to mind.
The sign of Virgo - the industrious one - prepares us for the start of a new school term and year, not something that I enjoyed when young. "The best days of your life" we are constantly told by our elders. Right and wrong, I feel, depends on the child and the school. The best times of my childhood was when I wasn't at school - the summer holidays were always enjoyed. Especially the parts when I stayed with my nan and grandad in the country - a completely different way of life. Easier in some ways and not so easy in others but much, much simpler and one I often look back upon with great fondness. I would so love to be able to live those days all over again. Happy days.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Tribute to Michael Jackson

I never did write anything here about Michael Jackson. Not because I didn't care - more likely because whatever I wrote couldn't do him justice.
I was never a great "fan" but I did enjoy his music very much. I grew up listening to him and watching him grow and develop from being one of the Jackson 5 with his brothers to a unique individual who had a lifestyle like no other.
He was frequently in the news for various reasons - not always good but I do believe that underneath everything he was basically a good person. I'm sure he was misguided at times and sometimes his judgement was way off but we all make mistakes and Michael Jackson certainly paid for his. His children (does it matter whether they are "his" or not) seem to be remarkably well adjusted and "normal" and I feel that, as a father, he was second to none.
To say Michael Jackson was talented is a vast understatement. He wasn't crowned "King of Pop" for nothing and I doubt that anyone will topple him from his throne - at least not for a long time. Long Live the King of Pop.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Happy Mini Birthday

I haven't blogged here for ages for various reasons which I won't go into here but I am going to try to make an effort to do more.

I have recently achieved one of my ambitions. I have been saving hard and scraped enough money together to buy.... a Mini Cooper! I have always loved Minis and what they represent. A true icon of Great Britain, no other car has enjoyed such worldwide popularity and longevity. First built in 1959 (although considered an icon of the 1960s) - this year is the Mini's 50th birthday and this innovative, ingenious and distinctive design is instantly recognisable everywhere and anywhere. 5,387,862 Classic Minis have been built and a large proportion of these still survive despite the poor rust resistance (sadly true) of the bodywork.
Production of the "classic" mini ceased in 2000 when BMW, who had bought the ailing Rover Company, brought out the revamped, larger new Mini.

Lammas 1st August

Lammas marks the beginning of the early harvest - cereals, barley, wheat and oats. It was often celebrated with bonfires, once lit on hills and beacons all over Europe. This is also the festival of the Celtic God of the Sun Lugh, whose sacrifice in the harvest at Lughnasadh is made so that people may live.
The Corn King gives his life for the land,
We toast his sacrifice with ale in our hand,
And eat the bread, from the harvest made,
As sheaves of corn to the eath are laid,
May our well-earned bounty reward our toil,
As we harvest the seed and the grain from the soil.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Smurney's journey

Smurney and her sister Smudgie, came into our lives nine years ago when they were about five or six years old. Their owners couldn't keep them any longer due to an allergy and we took them home on the day before they were due to go to the cat rescue.

When I first saw them, they were curled up in a cardboard box together but soon after arriving at their new home with us their true characters started to show through. Smudgie turned out to be a hunter - frequently bringing in mice, sometimes dead and sometimes alive. Although friendly and affectionate with family members she wasn't keen on "alien" people that she didn't know. Her favourite place to sleep is in our bedroom and often shows off outside by racing around and climbing up trees.

Smurney, on the other hand, never caught or killed anything (that I am aware of) - she just never seemed to be interested. She would half heartedly watch birds but seemed to lack the killer instinct. She was always "top cat" and had first choice at the feeding station - not because she was bossy but somehow had an aura of superiority. She loved being outside in the garden and had several favourite places to sleep. When indoors she would often lie between the computer keyboard and screen - making sure she had full attention from the computer user by standing up and stretching from time to time. Smurney always had time for visitors and was loved by everyone.
When our latest arrival (To-to) came to us Smurney just accepted her as if she had always been there although To-to knew to keep her distance and that Smurney was to be respected, whereas Smudgie takes every opportunity to bully To-to.

When poor Smurney became ill we rushed her to the vets immediately. She was admitted for tests and the diagnosis was heart disease, complicated by thyroid problems, which led to a thrombosis resulting in her being unable to use or feel one of her legs. The care she received at the vets (Cathcart & Winn) was excellent and after 48 hours when there was no real improvement and after much discussion to decide the best course of action, we visited Smurney to say our goodbyes.

After lots of cuddles, stroking and comforting (amidst much weeping and wailing from us), the vet administered the lethal dose and Smurney quickly and painlessly fell asleep whilst on my daughter's lap. Once home, we buried Smurney in her final resting place - beneath her favourite bench in the garden she loved and knew so well.

Rest in Peace lovely Smurney and enjoy your next journey - we miss you so much.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Animal Communication - what is it?

I recently attended an Animal Communication workshop run by Oephebia of "Animals Can Talk2Me" and the following is a brief description, by Oephebia, of this amazing technique.

Have you ever wondered what your pet is feeling or thinking?
Animal communication can provide answers.

Animal communication is a very simple technique enabling the communicator to receive information telepathically from an animal. Information will be in the form of smell, pictures, words, sensation or thoughts.

The information gathered during a communication will be translated and then conveyed to the guardian of the animal.

Animals tune in to our moods or events with radar like precision because they tune in telepathically to us all the time. Any animal lovers will tell you stories about a dog knowing when their guardian is returning home, a cat being already in the kitchen when their guardian is thinking of feeding them, and the list goes on.

We can learn to use telepathy, which is dormant in most of us, to tune in to our beloved companions. Anyone can learn to communicate with animals; no need to be a psychic! It is not a gift but an acquired skill. The more practice a student of animal communication will do, the better and clearer the communication will be. No mystery or super power here, just an old fashioned learnt skill.
The ingredient for a successful animal communication is unconditional love for the animals, with no judgement. Just a genuine interest for their well being is what is required for animals to communicate.
For more information please visit http://www.animalscantalk2me.com

Saturday, 9 May 2009

BUDDHA DAY 8th May 2009

May 8 2009, Vesak (or Wesak) Day celebrates the birth, Enlightenment, and passing away of the Buddha Gautama. Vesak is an annual holiday observed traditionally by practicing Buddhists in many Asian countries like Nepal, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, and Taiwan.Vesak is an annual holiday observed traditionally by practicing Buddhists in many Asian countries like Nepal, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, and Taiwan.Sometimes informally called "Buddha's birthday," it actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment Nirvana, and passing (Parinirvana) of Gautama Buddha.

The exact date of Vesak varies according to the various lunar calendars used in different traditions. In Theravada countries following the Buddhist calendar, it falls on the full moon Uposatha day (typically the 5th or 6th lunar month). While the Vesak Day in China, it is on the eighth of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The date varies from year to year in the Western Gregorian calendar but falls in April or May.

On Vesak day, devout Buddhists and followers alike are expected and requested to assemble in their various temples before dawn for the ceremonial, and honorable, hoisting of the Buddhist flag and the singing of hymns in praise of the holy triple gem: The Buddha, The Dharma (his teachings), and The Sangha (his disciples).

Devotees may bring simple offerings of flowers, candles and joss-sticks to lay at the feet of their teacher. These symbolic offerings are to remind followers that just as the beautiful flowers would wither away after a short while and the candles and joss-sticks would soon burn out, so too is life subject to decay and destruction.

Devotees are enjoined to make a special effort to refrain from killing of any kind. They are encouraged to partake of vegetarian food for the day. In some countries, notably Sri Lanka, two days are set aside for the celebration of Vesak and all liquor shops and slaughter houses are closed by government decree during the two days. Also birds, insects and animals are released by the thousands in what is known as a 'symbolic act to liberation'; of giving freedom to those who are in captivity, imprisoned, or tortured against their will.

Some devout Buddhists will wear a simple white dress and spend the whole day in temples with renewed determination to observe the Ten Precepts.

Devout Buddhists undertake to lead a noble life according to the teaching by making daily affirmations to observe the Five Precepts. However, on special days, notably new moon and full moon days, they observe the Ten Percepts to train themselves to practice morality, simplicity and humility.

Some temples also display a small image of the baby Buddha in front of the altar in a small basin filled with water and decorated with flowers, allowing devotees to pour water over the statue; it is symbolic of the cleansing of a practitioners bad karma, and to reenact the events following the Buddha's birth, when devas and spirits made heavenly offerings to him.

Devotees are expected to listen to talks given by monks. On this day monks will recite verses uttered by the Buddha twenty-five centuries ago, to invoke peace and happiness for the Government and the people. Buddhists are reminded to live in harmony with people of other faiths and to respect the beliefs of other people as the Buddha had taught.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Full Moon in Virgo 11th March 2009

This is the ideal time to focus on our diet and eat more healthily.This is the Full Moon to take responsibility for our health and celebrate our bodies.

If you are dealing with a serious health issue just now, don’t take anything at face value.What are the psychic causes of physical illness? What are the spiritual implications of disease? What is my body trying to tell me about my life?

Become an active partner in your healing process. Read the research, ask lots of questions.Virgo wants to understand the mechanics of illness so that it can better affect a cure. This kind of questioning may include opening yourself to alternative treatments or new approaches.

Every Full Moon should be viewed as a golden opportunity to expand your consciousness, spread goodwill around the globe and learn more about your higher destiny. Don't succumb to the lower temptations to conduct a tug-of-war with significant others or bicker over trivial pursuits.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

ALONE - A poem by Pamela Colman Smith

Alone and in the midst of men,
Alone 'mid hills and valleys fair;
Alone upon a ship at sea;
Alone -- alone, and everywhere.
O many folk I see and know,S
o kind they are I scarce can tell,
But now alone on land and sea,
In spite of all I'm left to dwell.
In cities large -- in country lane,
Around the world -- 'tis all the same;
Across the sea from shore to shore.
Alone -- alone, for evermore.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Pamela Colman Smith - Happy Birthday

Pamela Colman Smith (16 Feb 1878-18 Sept 1951) was an artist, illustrator, and writer. She is best known for designing the Rider-Waite-Smith deck of divinatory tarot cards for Arthur Edward Waite.
P.C.S. was born in Pimlico, Middlesex (now London), England the daughter of an American merchant from Brooklyn, Charles Edward Smith and his American wife Corinne Colman. The family often moved around due to her father’s job with the West India Improvement Company and time was spent in London, Kingston, Jamaica and Brooklyn, New York.
Her mother died when she was just 10 years old, and due to the absence of her father because of his work, she was taken under the wing of the Lyceum Theatre group (London) led by Ellen Terry, Henry Irving, and Bram Stoker. Her later art work was much influenced by travelling around the country with the theatre group in her early teens.
By 1893, Smith had moved to Brooklyn, New York to be with her father and at the age of 15, she enrolled at the relatively new Pratt Institute and there studied art under the noted artist teacher Arthur Wesley Dow. Four years later she graduated and returning to England in 1899, she became a theatrical designer for a miniature theatre and an illustrator. She illustrated Ellen Terry's book on Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, The Russian Ballet, published in 1913. She joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1903 and met A.E.Waite.
In 1909, Waite commissioned P.C.Smith to produce a tarot deck with appeal to the world of art. The result was the unique Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck (Rider was the name of the publisher), which has become the world's most popular and well-known 78-card tarot deck. All of the cards depict full scenes with figures and symbols including the Minor Arcana, and with Smith's distinctive designs they have become the basis for the designs of many subsequent packs – commonly known as RW clones.
Pamela was also an author and wrote and illustrated several books about Jamaican folklore, including Annancy Stories (1902) which were about Jamaican versions of tales involving the traditional African folk figure Anansi the Spider. She also did a lot of illustrating for the work of William Butler Yeats and his brother Jack. Apart from the tarot deck, her artwork found little commercial success.
Pamela Colman Smith never married. After the end of the First World War (1914-18),she received an inheritance that made it possible for her to move to Cornwall, an area very popular with artists due to the quality of light and the lifestyle. She died in Bude, Cornwall on the 18th September 1951. After her death, all of her personal effects and belongings, including her paintings and drawings, were sold at auction to satisfy her debts which had mounted up.