My New Favorite Deck: the Darkana!!!!

Six of Cups, Four of Pentacles, Nine of Pentacles, from the Darkana Tarot

Six of Cups, Four of Pentacles, Nine of Pentacles, from the Darkana Tarot

After working with the Janden Hale’s Darkana Tarot app on my phone for several months, I gave in and bought a copy of it. And it is even more wonderful in person!

For today, I drew the Six of Cups, the Four of Pentacles, and the Nine of Pentacles. To me, these three cards are about wanting, and control: wanting material things, wanting what we had as children (basically to be taken care of), wanting money, wanting money, though, actually not so much out of greed but out of wanting to be independent and autonomous. Which is not such a bad thing to want. For some people, though, the Six of Cups is about nostalgia, remembering good times from the past — but is that so different from what I just said? For many of us, childhood is a time when we are provided for. The Four of Pentacles, in some ways, is darker. It says we want to control that past — or its manifestation in our present. Maybe we even want to control our own families (sorry, but I have some family members who DEFINITELY want to control me!).

The Nine of Pentacles, though, says we will be able to be independent and autonomous. We will have what we need to do what we need to do — to complete our mission in life. How could we have a mission without the tools we need to complete it? I ask you. We want to control our lives, and our families, but the fact is, we can’t help but control our own lives, and as for our families, we can’t help but let them control their own lives. That’s their prerogative.

Finally, since this is the first time I’ve read in this space with the Darkana, I want to note that this is, without a doubt, the most accurate deck I have ever read with. It is amazing in its Android form, it is amazing in its hard copy form, it is simply amazing. And I love Janden Hale’s beautifully blunt interpretations of his cards in the little book that goes with them — I usually leave that book in the box, but not this one. I like to see what Janden has to say!

After a long hiatus…back to cards for the day! Taking control.

After a long hiatus from my cards for the day posts, I’ve decided to go back to posting — but hopefully, more briefly than before. I’m hoping that if I say less, I will be able to blog more regularly. In addition, I want to note that although this is a “daily” post, it’s NOT meant to be a predictive forecast for the day. Huh? Why not? Well, because people read these posts on days other than the day on which I pulled the cards, that’s why! These are three cards meant to represent a tarot insight that can be applicable at any time.

So, for today, from Barbara Moore’s Steampunk Tarot: The Devil reversed, The Emperor, the Knight of Cups.

Steampunk Tarot, The Devil reversed, The Emperor, the Knight of Cups

From the Steampunk Tarot: the Devil reversed, The Emperor, the Knight of Cups (sorry for the blurry image!)

To me, the theme here is control — and how to handle the problem of feeling trapped in a situation that is beyond your control. The Devil reversed so often represents feeling trapped: trapped in an addiction, trapped in poor lifestyle habits, trapped in an unfulfilling job, trapped in a dysfunctional relationship — there are many ways to be trapped. You may feel that you have to make a “deal with the Devil” to get out of there — but that is not the case. You might even think that getting out of the situation will require creative thinking, looking around to find the chink in the Devil’s armor or the door out that has been overlooked. As much as I love creative, out of the box thinking, I have to say that in response to a trap, waiting for an out of the box creative bolt of lightning to strike is still a copout. The way out comes when you take off your own chains and walk out of there. The Emperor’s response to the Devil is to just take control. Stage a coup.

What has the Knight of Cups come to tell us? I find myself reading my three-card spreads lately in a Lenormandish way, matching opposite ends of the spread together. The Knight of Cups, that drama queen, advises us that the Devil’s chains are an illusion — all smoke and mirrors — pure drama created by our minds. That’s why we can set them aside and walk away. They aren’t real. She also tells us that the way out involves the heart. The Knight of Pentacles might advise us to construct a pragmatic solution, the Knight of Swords might tell us to hurry, hurry, and the Knight of Wands is still questing for that out of the box creative solution. But the Knight of Cups, though headstrong at times, is our best advisor for throwing off negative habits. Don’t feel you have to wait for the practical solution. Have faith, follow your heart, and walk away. Take control. And the chains will vanish like the misty illusions they are.

Who cares about predicting the future? Not me!

High Priestess of Spirit, House of Night

The High Priestess of Spirit, from the House of Night cards

I don’t read tarot to find out the future.

The High Priestess, Universal Waite

The High Priestess, from the Universal Waite

Let me say that again.

I don’t read tarot to find out the future. Well, not usually. Not for myself, anyway.

Why not?

Well, I guess my attitude is, who cares about what’s going to happen in the future? We can always change that!

Because we can: the future is something we get to interact with and mix our labor with. Why on earth would you spend a lot of time worrying about it? Just act on it! Work to bring about your desired outcome. (Ask the tarot what you can do to bring about your desired outcome: that will be more productive than asking what will happen. Or, ask the tarot what you can’t do; that can be very interesting too.)

The past, on the other hand, interests me very much. And the past you can delve into and find things out about. It’s there to be found out about. It’s not this thing that is constantly in flux, that you can dance with, like the future is. We may think the past is known, and the future is unknown, but in fact, plenty of the past is just as unknown as the future.

The present is even MORE interesting, though. What could be more interesting than our present situation? The present is where everything magical happens. It’s where universal guidance comes through. It’s where miracles occur. It’s where WE ARE!!!!!

Yep, I MUCH prefer looking at the present.

Does the present contain the seeds of the future? Of course. And absolutely you can discern some of what may lie in the future by looking at the past and present. That’s the way cause and effect works: the things that happen earlier do affect the things that happen later.

If you really needed to know the future, though, you’d be in it. Instead, look at what seeds you are watering and nurturing. If it’s guidance you want, that’s where it’s to be found: right here, in the present moment.

The Priest, from the Samurai Tarot

The Priest, from the Samurai Tarot

Why Do Spiders Creep Us Out?

I know it’s not Halloween, but it’s really this time of year when we start to see lots of spiders, isn’t it? The weather has warmed up. It’s time. 

I’m not really an arachnophobe, but I used to be. And even now, I have to admit that spiders do not make me comfortable, although I appreciate all that they do (which is a lot, by the way). Although many people think of them as bugs, the truth is that spiders are out there on the front lines between us and true insects. That venom that many have is not meant for us, and we are far more frightening to them than they are to us. We know all that, if we’re at all rational, and we might even know that spiders in houses are thought to bring good luck, but still…

Why do spiders creep us out so much? In my opinion this is a great example of a perfect question to ask tarot. It’s open-ended enough to give the cards quite a bit of flexibility in responding. So I asked the Yoga Tarot, and drew the Six of Wands, reversed Emperor, and reversed Fool. 

In the Yoga Tarot, the Fool is associated with the keywords freedom and madness, while the Six of Wands has to do with freedom also, but connects it with communication and the ego. Is anyone else thinking of the story of Arachne yet? In the center of this spread, we have the Emperor, representing order and balance. 

To me, this is a fairly clear answer — the kind of surprisingly clear answer that often comes out when we ask a why or how question. We can’t easily relate to what spiders do. Yes, we can relate to spinning and weaving. But we can’t really relate to a spider’s way of life. Or, maybe we can relate all too easily, and that fact scares us. 

When we look at other animals, cute ones, like kittens and baby pandas, we relate in a comfortable way. We can travel out of our own minds in order to imaginatively enter the world of some other cuddly mammal, and still make it back again. But when we think of spiders, it’s perilously hard to fathom how we can relate to what goes on the arachnid brain and still ever be able to make it back home to our own bodies and our own ways of life. 

We’re not afraid of spiders because they are creepy. We are afraid because they are so different and we are afraid of getting stuck in that difference. 

Yet we have to try, because the world is full of difference. There are as many different beings in the world as there are numbers, and the vast majority are probably not that much like us. If there are any rules of nature that we really know we can count on, I think those rules would be things like impermanence, beginninglessness/endlessness (in other words, infinity), and diversity. 

And what if spiderwebs are precisely the bridge we need to help us connect to what is different and come back again to ourselves? What if these tiny beings that we are afraid will destroy our minds are actually the protectors of our sanity? 

Strategies for Spider-Friendly Living:

If you see a spider,

1. Bless it.

2. Thank it. 

3. Stay out of its way; it has stuff to do.

That is all. 

Money Blessing: A Mindfulness Practice

laughing buddha with money bagMany of us are familiar with Thich Nhat Hanh’s recommendation that we use everyday sights and sounds as “bells of mindfulness” that can remind us to return to the breath. I’d like to offer a related practice that we can do almost every day: blessing money that we send out into the world. I’m referring mainly to physical money, such as hard currency and coins, but it would be fairly simply to incorporate this practice into online bill paying as well.

Here’s an example: to do laundry, I have to put quarters into the washers and dryers in our building. One day I started blessing the quarters before sliding them into the coin slots. I hold the quarters in my hand, generate the intention that this blessing is meant for the sake of all sentient beings, but especially those to whom these quarters will eventually go, and offer gratitude to the Universe for allowing me to bless the quarters. Then I put the quarters in the coin slots, push the apparatus into the washer (or dryer) and go about my day.

Though I find it easiest to bless quarters in the privacy of the laundry room, it would be easy to bless all the bills and coins in one’s wallet at once, or to silently bless money while handing it to a cashier in a checkout line. It would be equally easy to generate the intention behind a blessing while paying bills online.

Do I really think that money can be a carrier for blessings to unknown people? Well, to some people, money is the best blessing of all! (I don’t agree, but it’s not for me to judge.) Whether or not blessings connected with money can actually reach their intended recipients through the exchange of random coins, taking time to generate the intention of sending a blessing is a way of bringing oneself into harmony and balance, potentially improving the harmony and balance of those around us and of our internal and external environments. It can be a lovely mindfulness practice.


Literary Lenormand: Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Series

Nine card reading on Hammered's ending, putting the man in the center at the beginning as a significator for Atticus

Nine card reading on Hammered’s ending, putting the man in the center at the beginning as a significator for Atticus

So, I’ve been obsessed with Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series for the past few weeks. Halfway through book 3, Hammered, I decided to draw cards on the ending of the book. (My notes from my Penzu journal that day, March 31, are below.) Though trying to foresee the plot planned by a fantasy writer is, perhaps, a fool’s errand. But I am nothing if not a Fool! :-)

First, I pulled cards to place around the Man, placing that card in the center as a significator to represent Atticus. Then, I decided to try letting the cards themselves randomly choose the significator, and got a slightly different spread. Both times the Heart, Lily, and Snake appeared. But in the first spread the Fox appeared, making me wonder if Coyote would have something to do with the outcome of this book (though it seemed unlikely given that Atticus had agreed to help several friends into Asgard — not really Coyote’s purview — so they could slay Thor). There is no Coyote card, so my thought was that the Fox was close enough.

Well — and I hope this is not too much of a spoiler for those of you who may not have read the book — Coyote does not influence the end of Hammered. But what’s interesting to me about my Coyote theory is that Coyote turns out to be central to the next book in the series, Tricked. It does make some sense that Coyote, as the Fox, because he has a personal connection to Atticus and not to the other allies against Thor, would appear in the spread that includes Atticus as the significator, rather than in the spread that focuses more on the mission of the book, travel (represented fairly well in the second spread by the Ship) to Asgard.

How do the spreads do otherwise, in predicting Hammered‘s end? Well, I didn’t foresee any of this, really, in my notes (which are copied below from my Penzu journal). If you look at the first spread, with the Man at the center, you can see the Book (diary or secrets). The central issue in this book is the secret stories that have been carried around by the individuals who want to take revenge on Thor, each for his own reasons. Then we have Letter and Fox, suggesting a message sent to Coyote, perhaps, but that had already happened in Hammered before I did this reading (I was 49% of the way through the Kindle version at the time). The center row suggests that Atticus has been or will be deceived (Snake) by someone he cares about (Heart). Well, he has been deceived by his friend Leif about the whole reason Leif is in Arizona in the first place. I could not have predicted that, but then, there is no vampire card in the Lenormand (a startling oversight! just kidding). The bottom row could relate to the story told by one of the allies, an older man (Lily), who goes to Asgard because he wants to take revenge on Thor for killing a water monster (Fish), but is killed in the process (possibly, Mountain). Or maybe the Fish here can be taken as representing the icicles (beardsicles!) on the Frost Giants, but that might be a stretch — or maybe it’s not as much of a stretch as it sounds, since the Frost Giants want to kidnap a goddess and have sex with her (Lily again, but Lily as sex rather than as an older man), but they are foiled (Mountain) in that as well.

2nd spread on the end of Hammered, with the significator in the center chosen randomly

2nd spread on the end of Hammered, with the significator in the center chosen randomly


Let’s turn to the second spread. As I noted before, the Ship at the center seems appropriate since the book is about planning for and taking a journey to Asgard. The ring is also appropriate — Atticus takes the trip because he has made a promise. First the promise (Ring), then the trip (Ship). And then love (Heart)? Well, yes, to some degree, as he becomes very attached to men who go with him (two of whom are already very good friends of his). But his love is taken from him (Mice?), as friends (I won’t say which ones!) die in the battle. The Mice could also reflect Atticus’ anxiety and growing fear that there is no likely happy (Sun) outcome. We also have the Snake (deception) connected with the Heart, as in the first spread, which makes sense given that Atticus finds out that a friend has been deceiving him for a long time. How about the Lily here? Connected with the Ring, a promise made to old men (chronologically old if not physically that old). The key? Yes, that promise is the key. The clover? A little luck with the friend who deceived him (in that he manages to save his life when it seemed that would not be possible). And a little luck in that Atticus himself manages to survive and get safely out of Asgard.

Could I tell you based on these spreads what would actually happen next in the book? Not a chance. However, they do make some sense in hindsight. All part of the learning process…and a good excuse to read an awesome series!

Penzu notes on these spreads: 

March 31, 2014

49% through the book at time of reading

For this reading, I pulled cards twice–once with Atticus in the middle using the Man as significator, and once letting the cards determine the significator. Both times certain cards appeared: heart, lily, snake. Heart and lily make me wonder what Atticus’ love life has to do with the outcome, while the snake is making me think that as usual, he gets through this challenge using his trickster abilities. In the second reading, we have fox (close enough to Coyote!) next to snake, making me wonder if Coyote is going to appear in Asgard or have something to do with what happens there. Could Atticus send a secret (book/diary) message (letter) to Coyote (fox)? [Full disclosure: Coyote has already appeared in the book, but I don't know yet if he will be involved in the outcome at the time of this writing.] We have the book next to the heart and mountain, but Atticus has already safely stored his books before this part of the book. Also wondering, does Atticus become romantically involved with someone who is a trickster? Seems like it wouldn’t be the first time…With the letter appearing in the middle column across from the fish, I wonder if Atticus will be sending messages to some kind of water elemental. Or maybe he just has to water some flowers…it does sort of look like things are growing, when you consider mountain, fish (water), lily…Also, through knightings of the letter, I’m wondering about messages sent to Gaia (mountain) re plants growing (lily) — but again, full disclosure, that has happened once already in this book. Knightings of heart: love leading to sex (lily), possibly with someone wily (fox)? There might also be secrets (book/diary and snake) connected with money and abundance (fish). Reading the diagonals: wiliness related to getting up a mountain or through one, secrets (or research?) related to sex?  We shall see…

Want to recommend a book for my Literary Lenormand series? Write to me at!

Two of Swords--Samurai Tarot

On Fairy Tale Endings and Why They Don’t Exist (And Shouldn’t)

from Facebook, today

from Facebook, today

“Heaven’s logic is not human logic.” –Caroline Myss*

“Your spirit guides will not protect you from your life lessons.” –Sandra Ingerman*

Three of Chalices -- Samurai Tarot

Three of Chalices, the wedded rocks at Futimagaura, from Lo Scarabeo’s Samurai Tarot. An ocean of love, and the sun rising. Will that ocean of love erode and shape these rocks over time? Of course.

The people who love us want us to be happy, of course. And so it’s out of good intentions that they try to steer us toward “good matches” in love, and away from those who they perceive to be “bad for us.” Our parents would like us to marry (especially if we are female) partners who are “good providers” and who are stable. In fact, all those who love us would like us to find mates who will not present us with any challenges — people who will support us in every possible way and take care of us in our old age. How lovely. And that’s what we see, and think of, when we think about fairy tale endings and Cinderella stories. The couple rides off into the sunset and they live happily ever after.

How boring.

Judgement, Samurai Tarot

Judgement, from the Samurai Tarot. The little white book that goes with the Samurai Tarot says this of judgements: “Look into the depths of your heart and do not conceal anything. The heart is a good judge.”

What if we weren’t put on Earth to live happily ever after? What if we aren’t meant to have lives that are as comfortable as possible? What if we are meant to face adversity and struggle and sometimes fail? What if the life partner who is right for us is the very person who will challenge us — the person who does NOT rigidly follow the same rules that we do — the person whose presence in our lives teaches us something? That something might not be, how to be just like him or her, but might even be something along the lines of how to be patient, how to be gentle, how to not judge, and also (because we were not put on this Earth to be doormats, I’m fairly sure) how to be independent and set appropriate boundaries at the same time that we gently refrain from judging. Over time, by the way, we may learn more than non-judging — we may learn that this person had something real to teach us that we could and should consider emulating.

Who did Jesus hang out with? The people who were “good for him”? Apparently not or he wouldn’t have ended up on the cross. But, do we disapprove of his choices, or do we think that he did what he needed to do in the life he had to do it in? Ask yourself, whether or not you are Christian (and I am not) whether you’d prefer Jesus to have made safer choices.

This is why, when I see relationship card spreads that indicate challenges and obstacles, I don’t immediately say, “oh, you should end this right now.” To me, that honestly seems a bit crazy — or at least very premature. There is no one on Earth, first of all, with whom you can have a truly non-challenging relationship that will never try your patience. But secondly, the person who tries your patience the most may be the very person you are called to spend your life with (or the current portion of it). If you are thinking of leaving someone, or conversely thinking of getting involved with someone, to my mind, the questions you should ask are:

Two of Swords--Samurai Tarot

Two of Swords, from the Samurai Tarot. “Keep your mind focused. Be peaceful even in the heart of battle,” the LWB tells us. Or, I would add, even in the heart of love.

  • is there love and commitment here?
  • is there a deep heartfelt connection?
  • is there a basis for a strong friendship that can withstand challenges and that can exist without the need for judgement?

These answers matter much more than the question of whether there will be obstacles. There are always obstacles, and life wouldn’t teach us anything without them. 

That’s not to say that there are not bad relationships that should be left. But those are the relationships in which there is no love, not the relationships in which there are no challenges, no obstacles, and no mountains to climb. Do you see the difference?

When I see a mountain, I don’t sigh and walk away. Instead, I sigh with relief. O Beautiful Mountains! Finally! I missed you! :-) But, I was raised by mountain climbers. Still, mountains, like life’s challenges and life’s challenging people, are gorgeous. They shape us and make us stronger, better people. They are not always insurmountable, and even when they are, sometimes it’s wonderful to live next to mountains — we don’t always need to be on the other side. 

*Quotes above are paraphrased–I heard them in audio format and can’t seem to find the original references.