Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Reading: The words of women and dreams gone off.

In his marvellous poem, The Tower, Yeats wrote that he had “prepared his peace with the remembered words of woman”.

He placed these words, remembered as they were, alongside learned Italian things, the proud stones of Greece, poet’s imaginings, and memories of love.

Now, I can’t speak to learned Italian things and the proud stones of Greece (we’ll leave aside for now poet’s imaginings and memories of love), but I do know that many of the most important words that have been spoken in my direction have been from the mouths of woman. It’s a fact.

A Reading

I was reminded recently of woman and the importance of their words when a man came to the cards wanting to know what it is that stops him from achieving his potential.

Here’s what followed:

The cards were shuffled. The cards were dealt. At the end, three sat on the table:

Flornoy Noblet Tarot de Marseille Empress Death Pope

The Empress / Death / The Pope

OK, the first thing to notice here is the Pope's appearance at the end of the line. His presence allows us to infer that the tone of the draw, and the outcome towards which the cards are pulling, is one of teaching and guidance. Notice also how the Pope blesses and points a way forward, gesturing beyond the confines of the cards and into the future.

At the beginning of the draw is the Empress, a lady who knows how to get things done. Her sceptre leans forward, mirroring the Pope's gesture and creating a link or affinity between the two cards.


Then death comes, swiping the woman out of the picture with its blade.

Thus we can say:

The woman in your life have much to tell you, they have knowledge in their gut. But you do not listen. You should. These woman can teach you how to plot a way forward towards this potential you seek to realise. They can point you in the right direction.

So far, so good.

But we (the sitter and I) would like to know what, specifically, it is that the woman have to teach in this instance.

For this we turn to the pip cards.

The cards were once again shuffled, and one placed on the Pope:

Marseille Noblet Flornoy 6 Swords
The 6 Of Swords.

Under this blogger's preferred system of reading, the 6 of Swords indicates a troubled path, a need to change course, or a process of discarding.

So, labouring under the context of what has come before, we can say:

They can teach you where you are heading in the wrong direction.

After all, a woman can be magnifique (I know from much experience) at telling you which aspirations to pursue and which need to be drowned in the pool of dead inspirations.  This is valuable information as nothing can sour a life like the pursuit of a dream long past its sell-by-date.


Thank you to the cards, thank you to the words of woman.

A note on interpretation: The above cards could conceivably be interpreted as: Stop listening to the Empress in your life (Empress / Death), instead, find a man of wisdom who will teach you what you need to know (Pope). But, remembering the question, any interpretation must deal with what is stopping the sitter from realising their potential, not what the sitter must do in order to realise their potential. This underlines the importance of always anchoring a reading within the limits of a question.

For more on the importance of questions, I would suggest the writings of Camelia Elias. One day, I suspect, she shall be known as the Saint of the question and we shall honour her on a feast day by asking questions that penetrate our assumptions. Hallelujah!

Yours in the drowning of dead inspirations,

Cards Used: The Tarot of Jean Noblet (Paris c. 1650) restored by JC Flornoy


Friday, December 7, 2018

Why Divination? (Everything moves)

Everything moves. Everything. Even the grandest mountain, viewed at the correct time scale, is a wave, a process, a becoming. 

The seed seeks to become an oak, the molecule seeks to bind and transcend itself, the planet grows, the psyche develops, the species evolves, the leaf unfurls, the river flows to the sea. Everything is in the process of becoming something else, of evolving. We too are in a continual flow of development – tomorrow we shall not be the same. 

Life is process, it is becoming.

It is trying to cope with and adjust to this process, to align ourselves with it, that is, to me, at the heart of divination. 

I wrote in my last post how all of existence owes its form to a countless succession of interactions – nothing in this world stands sufficient unto itself. In this sense, everything, and every moment, has the history of the world in its being. So, with this in mind, we can see divination as a method of gazing, with all its probabilities and relationships, histories and outcomes, into the totality of the moment.

We can then further define divination as an attempt to dip ourselves into the tremendous holy roar of life’s current. An attempt to pluck a revelation from the infinite fullness of the moment. 

It is important to remember that the goal here is not to discover some ultimate truth to which we can hold, or a concept to set in stone. Instead, through divination, we seek a revelation in how to live life better and more creatively in the humbleness of the present. 

Like everything else, insight is a process, it is continual and evolving – what is good for now is not necessarily good for tomorrow. 

The divinatory revelation is continual.

Everything moves.

A question 

What is divination’s greatest strength in helping us to live better?

CBD Tarot Marseille Yoav Ben-Dov Fool Magician Justice


It is when we are in danger of stumbling into illusion that divination comes into its own by providing us with a sharp and decisive insight with which to work.


Best of all, these sharp divinatory insights are often accompanied by a magical sense of recognition when we realise that, deep in our being, we knew it all along.


Yours in motion,

Cards Used: 

Header: Tarot de Marseille by Jodorowsky / Camoin
Reading: CBD Tarot de Marseille by Yoav Ben-Dov


Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Life of Relatedness – Tarot and the Art of the Whole.

Paul Marteau B.P. Grimaud Tarot Marseille
There is a habit among some readers of the Tarot to consider and read each card in a draw separately and sufficient unto itself. They sit, moving from card to card, attempting to gain insight from the static. And, to be fair, they often do gain insight – there are many a talented reader who works in this style.

Still, to regard each card alone is to deny it a chance to interact with its neighbours. And if denial of companionship and enforced isolation is recognised as a severe cruelty for both humans and animals to have to endure, why should we knowingly inflict it upon the Tarot?  Why limit a tool of such infinite use and usefulness?

Again, just to be clear, the point here is not deny that meaning can be found through the one-by-one approach. But for the wondrous mystical specificity of the Tarot to emerge, it seems to me necessary to read each card in a draw as a part of a whole, as a word in a sentence or a line in a poem.

For if the Tarot is a system of representation and analogy, a system of metaphor that allows us to gaze deeply into the waters of life, then it cannot stand aside from, but must embrace, the relational poetry of the world.

And the poetry of the world certainly is, without doubt, a vast and entangled enterprise of relatedness.

All of existence is a result of interaction, and anything that is alive today (or has ever lived) has been shaped by what it has had to endure, by what it has sought to repel, and by what it has sought to attract. A flower is a flower, and exists at all, because of millions of years of evolutionary interaction with a countless succession of beholding insect eyes.

Without an eye to perceive, there would be no flower. Without a world to navigate, there would be no eye.

As humans, we also are who we are because of the many ways the world has acted up us. It is our landscapes, our friends, our enemies, our lovers, and our responses to the demands of existence that have shaped us.

This is the flow and flux (the dance!) of life.

As with life, so with Tarot.

To separate each card from its neighbours, and to consider it individually, is cut it off from the nature of the world. And how can we hope to approach the Tarot with the greatest possible wonder and awe, allowing it to speak in its most powerful voice, when it is shorn off from the world that brought it into being?

I truly believe the magic of Tarot comes to the fore when we are willing to see the dance of interaction as it is presented before us in the lay of the cards (the taromantic tableau). It is where the figures are looking, what they are blocking with their body language, who their neighbours are, where they have come from and where they are heading that suddenly clothes the cards in a grand and beautiful complexity of inter-relational meaning.

This is when the poetry of the Tarot meets the poetry of the world.

A Reading

As human beings, how can we best play our part in the dance of life?

Flornoy Noblet Marseille Tarot Popess Moon Lover


Do not dwell or overthink, becoming bogged down in confusion, stuck between what was and what will be. The purpose of life is to move, so, let the demands of the moment guide you, and move.

The question to ponder is: What is life asking of me, right now?


Thanks to Michael Patterson of the Aspiring Animist for leading me to delve deeply into the related nature of the World. 

Cards used: 
Header: B.P. Grimaud (Paul Marteau)
Reading: The Tarot of Jean Noblet (Paris c. 1650) restored by JC Flornoy