Tarot From the U.K. to Sicily

CCI14052017I have never been a fan of Aleister Crowley, one of the big personalities in early 20th century tarot. However, I am grateful for his contributions. His was one of the clashing egos that led to the breakup of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an occult group that was active in England until the late 1800’s. The split of that group precipitated the unveiling of its Secrets — including tarot. Crowley wrote, taught, and eventually created the Thoth Tarot deck, which adds layers of astrology and Jewish mysticism to the standard tarot platform. Without Crowley and the undoing of the Golden Dawn, tarot might still be in the shadows today.

Version 2As I prepare for a trip to Sicily, I just learned that Crowley spent a happy decade in the North Sicilian town of Cefalu, before being driven out by Mussolini in 1923. He created a school of the occult and housed it in what he called the Abbey of Thelema, overlooking the sea. As it stands today, it looks more like a dilapidated crack house than anything else, and the stories I have found support that general impression. Still, I may seek out the abandoned building while I’m there. Wouldn’t you?

Pictured here are two of my favorite cards from the Thoth deck, which was painted by Lady Freida Harris over the course of many years. It was not published until 1969, after both she and Crowley had died.

I am excited for this trip! I’m flying through London where I will attend the London Tarot Festival of 2017. (Angling for a speaker’s position in 2018, doncha think?) Then to Palermo, where I will meet up with card-playing friends who have been practicing “Scopa!” and other games played with the Sicilian deck — an obvious derivation of 15th century tarot. While I explore catacombs and ruins, and keep and eye on the rumblings of Mt. Etna, I will be on the lookout for visceral connections to my own Italian ancestors, the Caiazzo family. More to come.

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While I am abroad, I am putting my readings on hold. But you can schedule ahead to mid-June and later by visiting my online scheduling software.

 

 

For the Father of a Teen

CCI16032017

“Help me understand how to relate to my kid,” a father said to me. “He’s a teenager, his lives with his mom, and I’m worried that he has no direction in life. He plays video games, is on his computer all the time, and gives me no reason to believe he’s got any thoughts for the future. I’m afraid that if I don’t teach him better, he’ll just drift through life and waste his potential.”

The most common advice he heard from his friends was difficult for him to accept. They told him, gently I imagine, to back off, cut the kid some slack, and recognize his actions as controlling. He suspected there was some wisdom in that advice, but he was not willing to surrender completely to their assessment. Regardless, he knew he and his son were stuck in an imperfect pattern.

Slide1 (1)What did the cards have to say?

He shuffled and cut the deck for a simple 3-card spread:

  1. 6 of Swords, upright
  2. 2 of Wands, reversed
  3. Page of Swords, upright

Version 3

The 6 of Swords as a covering card was a refreshing surprise for me. Rather than saying “back off,” this card validates the man’s role as a guide. It also acknowledges that his role is complicated, and that the journey is not simple. The 6 of Swords is commonly said to be about the journey from rough to calm waters. (I’ve written about it before). In the Golden Tarot deck, it clearly shows a trio. Examining their family roles would have been a bigger and different reading, but the important message for this reading was that his guidance IS necessary to help his child navigate his adolescence. He has a place in the boat. It saw it as a vote of confidence for him. He has a prominent place in this boat.

Version 2But the qualifying cards gave a slight twist. I felt that both qualifying cards referred directly to the teen. Card 3, the Page of Swords, was upright, looking outward. The words I connected to at the time were: True, Stalwart, Sincere, Healthy. The Page is a lovely teenager with great potential. In the same way that the first card was a vote of confidence for the man, I saw this as a tribute to this boy’s strength and curiosity. I let the dad sit with this image. Can you see your son in this card?

CCI16032017_2To the left was the only reversed card in the bunch: the 2 of Wands. In this card, a figure stands looking at the horizon with a globe in his hand. This card is about setting plans, seeing the big picture, and imagining the future. But the card was upside-down. Reversals rarely indicated a lack of something, but rather a presence that is qualified in some way. I read this as saying that the energy of the 2 of Wands was emergent in the teen. The skill was growing, but was not yet strong enough to be visible to others.

The message I left this client with was: “You are an important guide to your son. He is learning from you if he shows it or not. And, at the same time that you help steer the ship, you can hold steady to your belief in your son’s goodness. He has more going on inside than he is able to show at this time. In the same way that these cards validate your role as a guide, they also validate your son’s strength and developing maturity. Does seeing that in the cards make it possible for you to improve the dynamic that has been bothering you?”

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For more about Present Day Tarot and Yetta Snow, go to PresentDayTarot.com or facebook.com/PresentDayTarot. You can also book a reading directly online.

Press Release: TxROT WOMxN’s March

78,000 CARDS GATHER IN THE TXROT WOMXN’S MARCH SATURDAY

“There must be, like, a thousand decks here!” delighted organizers exclaim

THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS, January 21, 2017. — The Tarot’s Major Arcana, Royalty and Pip cards gathered in large numbers on the capitol this Saturday to speak out against what many call the Shadow Side of the Trump White House. When asked to comment on the size of the crowd, event organizer Henrietta Snow of Present Day Tarot explained: “We knew to expect the Pamela Colman Smith deck and her many derivatives. But what a delight to see so many decks of every shape and size, both mass-produced and independent. Look! There’s one of our most revered predecessors,” she said, pointing to a cluster of 15th Century figures waving a sign that read, “Now You’ve Gone and Pissed off the Grand Etteilla!”

In a pre-march rally, the High Priestess, wearing a Nasty Woman t-shirt, addressed the crowd. “The cards formerly known as ‘Trumps’ will herewith be referred to as the ‘Major Arcana’ – until we find a way to de-vulgarize our good name. Now put on your pussy hats, ladies, and let the march begin!”

The Star and The World cards led the way, holding banners that read, “Keep your laws out of my uterus!” and “There IS no Planet B,” respectively. Close behind The Devil card led Justice and Judgment in a chant of “Hell Toupee! Hell Toupee!” The Hermit card walked slowly to one side with cardboard sign that read, “Not usually a sign guy, but GEEZ!

Following the Major Arcana, the Royals mixed and mingled among their elements. The King of Cups, with a sign reading “Love makes us great,” held hands with the King of Wands. The Queens of Swords and Pentacles shared a banner demanding to “Keep it Intersectional.”  There were audible sighs at the sight of the young Page of Wands, toddling along with a finger-painted sign which read, “I [HEART] TRAINS.”

Pips of every size and suit followed behind, waving signs that ranged from snarky to somber. “I am so ready to move on!” exclaimed the 6 of Swords. “If this administration has done one good thing, it’s gotten us off our butts.” Walking beside her, the 8 of cups supported the sentiment, saying, “the future is female. Point us toward the moon!”

Bringing up the rear of the march was the 8 of Pentacles, with a sign that read: “Sisters and Brothers, this is just the beginning! There’s work to be done. You know what to do – Now do it!”

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For more information, contact Henrietta Snow: yetta@presentdaytarot@gmail.com

Images bases are from my favorite Rider-Waite-Smith deck printed by US Games.

2017 Raffle Winner

Happy New Year, Friends of Present Day Tarot!

The winner of the 2017 New Year Tarot Raffle is Anita U, as announced on my first Facebook video production (very fancy!), in which you can get a glimpse of my tarot studio and even meet my cat, Blue.

Anita will receive a full tarot reading with me, valued at $125. The reading will happen either in my South Seattle studio or remotely via Skype, Face Time, phone or email, as she prefers. I have contacted her directly to arrange the prize.

Raffles are a fun way for me to reach out, so please keep an eye on my Facebook page for more to come in 2017. In general, I make short-term announcements and event postings on Facebook, while reserving this blog for essays and more substantive writing. If you do not do Facebook, I applaud you and envy you your privacy! You are very welcome to join my email list (lightly used and never shared) by writing to yetta@presentdaytarot.com.

If you prefer not to leave tarot up to chance, you can always book a reading directly or contact me for information about parties, workshops, mentoring and more.

All the best to you for a wonderful 2017!

 

Earth, Fire, and Clear-Cuts

The first time I saw a fresh clear-cut I was 19 and exploring the Northwest with college friends. The sight of the sharp edge slicing through a crest of trees took my breath away. I had no context in which to place what I was seeing, and got dizzy just trying to make sense of it.

That memory came to me this morning as I walked through a formerly wooded area twenty-five miles outside of Seattle. The suburb is so young you can still see the edge of the clear-cuts surrounding the snapped-together malls and houses. In the misty November air, the former forest was palpable. I could feel it between remaining trees, see it in the carcass of a sunken cottage, and hear it in the bewildered pond behind a Gold’s Gym.

The tarot cards looming large today are the Eight of Wands and the Two of Pentacles. Fire and Earth. These two cards have shown a lot in my readings recently. Together they represent the upheaval and disorientation caused by rapid change. Pamela Coleman-Smith’s iconic drawings are easy to interpret. Notice the high seas behind the pentacle juggler. See the eight wands flying through the sky and feel a rug being pulled from under your feet.

Tarot helps us understand that energy comes in waves that are larger than the details of our lives. These two cards apply to current politics as well as people’s personal situations in love and work. Upheaval seems to be the energy wave of the day. It leaves people rocky, unsure, and sometimes whiplashed in its wake. When we experience this dynamic, the natural questions are: What can I do to find my equilibrium? How can I best cope? How do I stave off the most serious damage?

A good way to find advice in the Tarot is to look at the cards that sequentially surround the cards you pick. In this case, since we are all looking toward the future, I examine the next cards in both these suits: the Three of Pentacles and the Nine of Wands.

The difference between the Two and the Three of Pentacles is that the person in the first card is trying to handle things all alone. The Three reminds us to ask for help from the people around us. We are stronger and more stable together even if, like the people in the card, we need to confer and decipher clues before knowing how best to move forward. The Three of Pentacles reminds us that people in a group have a vast pool of resources – far greater than this ragtag group might seem to have at first glance.

While the Eight of Wands evokes a helpless feeling, the Nine of Wands is about personal protection. Some decks refer to this suit as “Staves,” which I love given that the energy in this card is staving off threats. He is suspicious for a reason, but has enough experience to be able to discern friend from foe. This card advises us to keep our guards up, to not minimize the threat, and to stay vigilant.

Although I didn’t know what a clear-cut was as a child, I’ve been living on top of them all my life. We all have. And while today’s scorched earth may feel like an impossibly deep wound, we have a say in how to heal it.

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On a very different note, it’s “What-On-Earth-Am-I-Going-To-Get-For-That-Person?” season again! Why not wow them with the gift of tarot? Give someone a reading, or have me read tarot at your holiday party (book quickly… my schedule is filling up).  Contact me for gift certificates, or book a reading directly online.

What to Do When the Election is Over?

I don’t know a tarot reader who hasn’t tried to predict the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. If only it were that easy! Beyond the curiosity and sport of it, most readers agree that that kind of prediction is a misuse of the Tarot. Unless you are miraculously able to get neutral about the subject, your reading will simply reflect your hopes and fears, making the message more about you than anything else.

The better way use tarot is to bring meaning to current events by framing your question around personal power – Tarot’s specialty. I asked, “What can I do to make this next year as positive as possible when the election is over?” I’m as anxious as anybody here on election eve, and my hopes and fears are ever present. This is what I got from my 3-card spread, using the Crowley-Harris Thoth Deck:

 

cci07112016Card 1: Ace of Swords, Reversed

This represents the situation as it is now, 24 hours prior to the start of election results. In general, the Ace of Swords is a bold new chapter with big ideas. The reversal reflects the timeline. The answer will come tomorrow at the soonest, and then again on January 20, 2017, inauguration day.

My hopes see my candidate in this: smart, straight and decisive. My fears see the other just as clearly: forceful, brutish and determined. The message I can rely on: It’s a new chapter for the country either way. We can depend on that. Suspense so thick you could cut it with a knife.

 

Version 2Action: Ace of Disks, Reversed

Two aces! The second one represents the action that will move the country towards our highest good. This card says to meet the new chapter with equally big energy, with a response on the scale of the Ace of Coins. Like before, the ace is abundant energy. But the disk is different than the sword. The earth sign disks represent actual, physical work – walking the talk in a big way. Putting money forward if necessary. My take on the reversal is that this energy will not be self evident at first, and will not be business as usual. Although I may not know the action required of me yet, this ace tells me to make practical.

 

cci07112016_2Outcome: Hermit, Upright

This is a Major Arcana card, but it is not apocalyptic in nature. It is not the Tower or the Devil, and it’s upright, which I find reassuring. I see no possible connection between this card and a future Holocaust or destruction on a global scale (which seems very possible when I talk to my fears). The Hermit says that, should the action in Card 2 happen fully, the result will be a profound and permanent change on our country. This is the kind of change that is precipitated by knowledge, insight, and evolution. For me, this card embodies the Dr. King quote, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Okay, so it’s not as sexy a prediction as: “Hillary will win in a landslide,” or “Trump drops out and moves to Mexico,” but it does leave me with something. It says:

  1. Acknowledge that you are living a monumental time in history.
  2. If you are happy with the leadership, support it. If you are not, help change it. You have as much power to affect change as anyone.
  3. This is part of our collective evolution and it’s not helpful to panic. Go watch the election results with friends, drink cocktails and eat some chocolate tart. (That’s my hope talking).

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Contact me if you’re interested in readings, mentoring sessions, parties, or any other Present Day Tarot services. You can book a reading directly to my calendar by using my scheduling software.