TarotBlogHop: Tarot & Tea & The Dead

A spread to contact the dead for today’s #TarotBlogHop. Blessed Samhain, y’all.

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Tea time?! This is what we get for having someone from across the pond. That darned Louise Underhill is our wrangler. Here is what she wants us to chat about.

The topic of the Samhain Blog Hop this time, is to discuss or show, via the Tarot or any other oracle, who you would invite to an afternoon tea on the Day of the Dead. What do you imagine they’d be like? What Tarot card (or cards!) would represent them? What would you ask them? What would you like to learn from them? Your “guest” can be living, or dead, but imagine them there and then represent them in a Tarot card (or more). [Tweet “A spread to contact the dead for today’s #TarotBlogHop. Blessed Samhain, y’all. “] So this is a very challenging topic for me because I can think of a dozen or more folks that I wouldn’t mind having over for an afternoon tea. Um, first of course I’d have to research what time an afternoon tea is and what one serves at a tea. I mean I guess tea and crumpets? But what exactly is a crumpet? And why are cookies biscuits? And sweaters jumpers? And flashlights torches? Well never mind the last. I can see the logical progression from a real flaming torch to a mechanical torch. But the jumper thing? Yeah, that I don’t get. But I digress which means I am totally avoiding the subject.

Gaian Tarot Guardian of Air
Gaian Tarot

I guess, since I am fixing to dive into NaNoWriMo tomorrow, I’ll go with an author. Again so many to choose from. There is one that I keep circling back to. I read her when I was in junior high and high school. Loved how she swept me out of my world into hers. Then I learned that not only was she a good writer, but she was also a lesbian. And from her pictures, a very attractive one at that. At that time my personal id was lesbian so it was very affirming to me to know that a childhood favorite author was like me. For her card, I’ll have to go with the Guardian of Air from the Gaian Tarot. She is perched up on a mountain where she can do her work, get her messages in and get them out as well. I love the intensity of this card as well. Oh, who did I invite? Why none other than JFK’s favorite author, Mary Renault. I would want to ask her about her biggest personal struggle with writing. Then the conversation would just flow. By the way, if you are doing NaNoWriMo, come buddy up with me. I’m there as TarotByArwen. And check out my eCourse to help yourself get those fifty thousand words cranked out. This time of year I have a lot of conversations with the dead–my own and other people’s loved ones. I wanted to also share a simple spread with you that you might use when you try to contact your own dearly departed. The Veil Is Thin Spread 1. Who comes to me now? 2. What message do you want to give me? 3. How can I honor your message best? I would suggest doing this in a consecrated Circle for the best results. Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on!

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Queens in Disguise

Queens in Disguise: When queens don’t look like queens, how do we interact with them?

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Mary-El Tarot Queen of Swords
Mary-El Tarot

#affirmation Today’s card is from a deck that pretty much turns traditional Tarot imagery on its head. I doubt many of us would see the Queen of Swords when we look at this image.

Two ravens perch on a tree in what seems to be a war-torn landscape. One raven has an eye on it’s wing that looks out at you. It’s an obviously human eye. The ravens make me think of Odin’s two birds,Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory).

And those are excellent choices for the air queen. Yes, this is the Queen of Swords who rules thoughts and actions based on thoughts. She’s often seen as a widow as well.

I just read my friend Susan Franklin’s newsletter. She mentioned some mindfulness workshops and practices. I hope you read it as well.

Do you do mindfulness work? Do you meditate? I am pretty much hit and miss on that. I need to work on developing this habit. I really liked what she had to say about judgment when it comes to meditation.

So today’s affirmation is this:

I am enough. I am here. This is now. This is what is important for now. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am capable. Prosperity and abundance find me. I am open to the blessings of the Universe. Loved and loving, I love each of you.

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

Queen of Swords, Mary-El Tarot, Schiffer

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Revisiting: Cabbage, Mama and the Queen of Swords

She wasn’t the cookie-baking, soccer mom but…

CrystalVisions_13SwordsDay three of my wedding trip…not married yet! 😀

I’m sharing some favorite posts from my Tarot & Food entries.

Revisiting: Cabbage, Mama And the Queen of Swords

She wasn’t the cookie-baking, soccer mom but she was the take-you-to-the-library, defend-you-tooth-and-nail mom. I’m lucky to have had the time I did with her. So she is the Queen of Swords to me. more…

Get a free three card reading via email when you buy the download version of this workbook. Offer expires 1/30/204. All readings must be claimed by 2/7/2014.

Queen of Swords, Crystal Visions Tarot, USGames

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Dreams, Presidents + Roses

She understood and believed in the beauty of her own dream.”] I want someone to say that about me some day.

eleanorroosevelt100940So today’s card isn’t a card. It’s a quote + picture from one of my fave sites–Brainyquote.com

And it’s a quote from one of my favorite women. Eleanor Roosevelt had an amazing way with words (or her speech writers did but I’m pretty sure it was Mrs. Roosevelt.)

One of my all-time favorite quotes by her (because is shows her sense of humor)is:

“I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.”

Snicker. Funny lady, that Eleanor.

She also chided us to remember that “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

And isn’t that just the damned truth? With powerful words like these, she is my choice for the Queen of Swords. She knew how to slice to the heart of the matter. Her passion was for the communication of ideas.

[Tweet “She understood and believed in the beauty of her own dream.”] I want someone to say that about me some day. Maybe today. What about you?

What is your dream? Faltering isn’t failure. Stopping is. (bad paraphrase from the new Dracula series…with a Dracula who is so freaking sexy he ought to be called Crackula!)

Tell me your dreams. One of mine is that everyone who wants to write a book will be helped by my eCourse. Big dreams. Huge dreams. Amazingly beautiful dreams.

Right here.
Right now.

What about you?

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

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Feathers, Swords + Pens

guardian-airToday’s card is a reminder that communication comes in so many forms. In today’s world, we can phone, text, write, read in so many ways that it’s a virtual smorgasbord.

The Guardian of Air (Queen) is the woman who uses communication to her advantage. Interesting that yesterday’s card was another Queen of Air (Queen of Feathers from the Bleu Cat Tarot). We will see what tomorrow brings.

I’ve been remiss in not mentioning a Tarot app that’s out there. It’s now free and you can load it with decks (for purchase). It’s the Tarot eCards app.

I’ve got some mixed feelings about it. I love that I can have decks at my fingertips in one app. LOVE it. That’s the very best thing about it. It’s available for both Android and iPhone but I don’t know about Windows.

I am not thrilled by a couple of things. One is that the orientation is locked meaning I can’t turn my iPad into landscape mode to view it. The other is that some of the graphics of some of the decks are just not good.

I had a discussion with the owner who told me that was because of the images sent in by the artist. I have to be honest and tell you that I wouldn’t have published the decks as part of my app. The one that was the worst (and that I was told might be corrected) was the Whispering Tarot by Elizabeth Hazel. I love that little deck but on the app? I’m actually sorry I paid for it.

Other decks don’t have that problem. So check out the Tarot eCards app.

While you are checking out things, I’d love for you to visit with my friend, Jay Pryor. His 11/8 video chat is about Pronoia–a subject very close to my heart. This super short (less than two minutes) chat about the concept of Pronoia is one that I think everyone should hear.

Then, when you have more time, you can watch last night’s show. Yep, I didn’t pass out and made it through the whole hour. I did some free readings as well. I’d love to hear what you think of it. And mark your calendars for 11/18 when I’ll be doing it all over again.

Guardian of Air, Gaian Tarot, Joanna Powell Colbert

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on!

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Temper, Battles + Choice

I guess I’m committed to ending a relationship if no answer or an unsatisfactory answer comes.

BleuCat_13SwordsToday’s card urges me to think before I strike. It asks me if I know how to engage my reason before my temper. That can be a damned hard thing to do some days.

Recently an event caused a bit of a stir among my friends. I admit to have quite the knee-jerk reaction myself. But I managed to go to the source first. I asked my question in what I hope was a non-confrontational manner. Now I wait for a response.

Waiting for a response is hard. Just like our Bleu Cat Tarot Queen of Feathers (Swords) must wait for her butterfly to go out and come back, I have to be patient. I have a self-imposed timeline though. Similar to the Queen of Feathers, I will not put down my pen or sword. I won’t back off this information seeking trip.

I guess I’m committed to ending a relationship if no answer or an unsatisfactory answer comes.

And, yes, that makes me a bit sad all-in-all. But at some point a stand has to be taken. I guess only time will tell whether my Queen of Feathers will have to use her weapon or not.

In my Tarot for Writers course, one lesson is on the Hero’s commitment to the journey. It goes into the idea that there is a donkey moment where the hero solidly and sometimes loudly refuses to go “all in” on the quest before him (or her). This feels like that moment to me. I have my heels dug in hoping for a better outcome than I believe is coming.

Your journal prompt for today is, “How can I choose my battles more wisely? What are my personal emotional tells that let me know I must commit to the change?”

Queen of Feathers, Bleu Cat Tarot, Schiffer Books

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

Oh! Please join me tonight (or listen to the archives) for my inaugural Mistress of Mondays’ show on the ParaEncounters Network (PEN).

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Who Challenges You The Most?

ArrowQueen1Today’s card reminds me that I learn a lot of stuff on a daily basis. Sometimes I worry that I forget it just about as fast. And it is a piece of the Queen of Swords or the Arrow Queen as depicted in the Incidental Tarot. I’ll tell you a story about an amazing, if annoying, woman who was a major factor in my life.

My grandmother, Lucile aka Grannilu, scared the bejesus out of me. She was a high school English teacher who graded (and returned) letters from her grandchildren. If you did well, you got money (five buck for an A). If you did not do well, you were guaranteed red pen and comments.

And don’t think you could get away with not writing to her. That indiscretion garnered a letter to your parent that detailed her displeasure.

Now don’t get me wrong. Grannilu was no despot. She loved us all very very much. She was, I suppose, a Texas version of a Tiger mom. Her love was fierce and unyielding but so were her expectations.

When I think of her, I am reminded of the battle between Snow White and her stepmother. Did you know that it wasn’t her heart the Queen wanted in the original story? It was her lung. They couldn’t share the same air. Classic battle between mother and daughter–one for the room to grow, the other for the refusal to grow old. You can see my spread on this battle in my Fairy Tale Spreads e-Book.

I remember her testing me once. I didn’t know what it was for but I remember her handing me a Reader’s Digest. I was told to read a certain page. The instructions were to read and start over should I finish before she called time. I did as she asked but remember wondering why my mother looked a bit funny.

When Grannilu finally called time, she asked me how I had done. I told her how many times I’d read it (eight and a half if I remember correctly). She told me that was impossible. I vehemently told her I had. When she told me I had to be lying, I recited nearly word for word the information I’d just read.

My grandmother, never one to apologize, looked at my mother and said, “Well apparently she doesn’t need the Evelyn Wood course.” Then she looked at me knowingly.

“We will expect more from you.”

The Queen of Swords never had a better example than Lucile. She did expect more of me. Another conversation revolved around the correct usage of forte`. Did you know it is pronounced “for tay” only when you are using it in reference to music? According to Grannilu, “fort” is how you pronounce “forte`” when speaking of anything else.

Yes, I looked it up. I was about sixteen at the time. She was, of course, right.

She taught herself Esperanto just to keep her mind active.

When she became lost to us to the ravages of Alzheimer’s, I cried harder than when she actually died. It was hard for me to acknowledge that the fearsome woman was gone. In her place was a lost little woman.

Now that I am hitting that age where my grandmother first became real in my life (my mother was a late-in-life surprise), I begin to understand why Grannilu was so adamant about her word games and languages. It kept her mind active.

Every time I forget a word, I wonder if I am going to wander down that road like she did. That, more than just about anything else in this world, terrifies me.

So, because it scares me, I have begun to do the NY Times crossword puzzles–like my Grannilu. I have a language series from Rosetta so I can learn a new language–like my Grannilu. I do WordsWithFriends obsessively–I’m sure Grannilu would have loved having that app if there had been smartphones when she was alive.

Lucile, born in 1905, wouldn’t have been a technophobe. I know she would have dived into technology like any self-respecting Queen of Swords.

So your challenge is to think of a challenging family member. Someone who causes your back to go up when they speak your name.

Now think of three positive things about them–either ways you have grown stronger or ways they have caused you to improve.

Share it here if you like. I’d love to hear about it.

I’d like to also ask you a favor. Go to check this project out. If you love it as much as I do, pledge to support it. The way this works is you pledge a certain level. You pay IF the project gets funded. This is a small funding request (under 4K) for someone who is precious to me. I trust him to deliver. You just pick the level you are comfortable with then register. You will have to put in payment information. Personally, I use my Amazon account so my payment information is already there. I’ve done several Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects.

And, if you can’t contribute, would you please share that link? Tweet it. G+ it. Facebook it. Tumblr it. Whatever. Help get the word out, please. He needs a kiln to bring his art to life. Help me help Holden. Thank you so much.

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

The Arrow Queen, Incidental Tarot, Holly DeFount, 2012

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Right, Rules & Cops

What do you have to do that’s just right? What makes you just a bit uncomfortable because you want to be one of the gang, but can’t be? How do you handle your own Queen of Swords moments?

Today’s card is a reminder to do what’s right. Sounds simple, I know. But is it? Is it really that easy to do what’s right?

I work a job that puts me in a position where I have to tell my co-workers when they are doing something incorrect. It’s not easy. In fact, it pretty much blows because then I have to be the bad guy.

But it’s what *I* get paid for. To make sure things are being done the way they are supposed to plus help out whenever they hit a sticky situation or have an irate customer.

Do I want to have to tell them those things? Um, hell no. Luckily, the folks I work with are a bunch of those who get it. They get that they are at work to do a job. They get that they are bound by someone else’s rules. They don’t make me, or my counterparts, have to be the cops very often.

The Queen of Swords is, for me, the compassionate cop. She’s the one who leads the way by being precise and focused. I’m not a great Queen of Swords. I am more of the Queen of Wands type. This woman is a clear thinker. She’s ready to take decisive action for what is right in her world.

What do you have to do that’s just right? What makes you just a bit uncomfortable because you want to be one of the gang, but can’t be? How do you handle your own Queen of Swords moments?

However you do it, remember that if you keep joy as the underlying message for your own life, you will succeed.

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on!

Pssst! Once you get your workbook, lemme know! We’ve got the Facebook group set up.

Queen of Swords, Fenestra Tarot, USGames, 2005

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Religion, Family & Cabbage

So she didn’t make my religious choice a bone of contention. And she certainly could have. She was a strong woman from some very strong women. In my family, the matriarchs have always stood out.

“Our religion keeps reminding us that we aren’t just will and thoughts. We are also sand and wind and thunder. Rain. The seasons. You learn to respect everything because you are everything.” ~ William Least Heat Moon 1939-

I was blessed with a mother who wasn’t overly religious although she was a faithful woman. She grew up Catholic, then raised my sister and I in the Episcopal faith. She attended the Methodist church with her second husband while beginning her drift back to her childhood faith of Catholicism. She allowed me, albeit regretfully, to leave the Christian path without making it hard on me. She didn’t like it. I know this. I also know that she wanted me to be happy and secure. So she didn’t make my religious choice a bone of contention. And she certainly could have. She was a strong woman from some very strong women. In my family, the matriarchs have always stood out.

My Mama had a German-Scot Mama and a Scot-Irish Papa. While her mama, my Grannilu, was not someone I remember as a good cook, Mama said there were good cooks in her family. She passed her love of starchy potatoes and stinky cabbage on to me with this dish. It’s one she found later in life. Like her, I’m a collector or recipes. I even cook some of them. 😀 She made this for me for one of my homecoming meals and I loved it then as I love it now. Even die-hard cabbage haters will fall for this treat!

Because it’s something I closely identify with Mama, I knew this one had to be a Queen (the Empress was already taken, sorry Mama!). The Queen of Cups might seem like the perfect choice but my Mama was a sharp edged Scorpio. She was funny–brilliantly so at times and almost always pointed and sharp insightful humor. I knew her as a widow most of my life (she remarried when I was in my early 20’s). Her friends were classy, stylish women (when they weren’t being redneck haints). She was a a classy, stylish woman and I adored her. She wasn’t the cookie-baking, soccer mom but she was the take-you-to-the-library, defend-you-tooth-and-nail mom. I’m lucky to have had the time I did with her. So she is the Queen of Swords to me.

Queen of Swords Cabbage Au Gratin

1 head cabbage, shredded
4 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs (divided)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 beaten egg
1-1/2 cup grated cheese (divided)
1-1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 pound bacon

Brown bacon, set aside

Cook cabbage in water 10 minutes. Drain.

Beat egg, cream and seasonings together.

Layer cabbage in casserole pan with egg mixture and remaining ingredients,except bacon. Reserve some of the bread crumbs and cheese for topping.

Place chopped bacon on top of casserole, dot with butter and bake in a preheated 350° F. oven for 30 minutes.

6 servings

Arwen says: Mama didn’t do the bacon and I don’t either. Just a sodium overload!

I hope you will let me know if you try this. I think I’ll make some this week. If you are Catholic, maybe you’d like to light a candle at Mary’s altar for my mama. Her name was Marilu. 😀 I’ll light a candle on my own altar. Don’t let religion come between you and those you love. It’s really not worth it. Instead, share a meal and a blessing that you have friends and family who care about you enough to worry about you.

Here’s to all of us. We are blessed to have the ability to choose who we call family. “You learn to respect everything because you are everything.” Thanks to William Least Heat Moon for that.

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