10 January 2021

PCO ~ A Cat Spread for material concerns (Part 2 - The Future)

So, now we get to the future part of the Cat Spread I started in the last post. This one brings a shift, being a spread made of Diamonds and Spades—two very positive suits when it comes to money-making and material things. In comparison to the Present Spread, we have something definitely more active and energetic here.

First of all, let's calculate the timing of the reading. Before I reached the "cat" card—the card which marks the spot in the 52-card calendar—I had three piles of 4 cards and one pile 3 of cards. The reading was originally done on December 9th 2020. That gives me about 15 weeks... so I would guess the message of this Cat Spread should start manifesting around the second half of March 2021. I refuse to pinpoint specific dates because life is a process that doesn't follow our human right-brained time measurements.

Now, to the cards. The top cards, the 8, is called "The House of Good Fortune", and is considered the luckiest card in the deck. This already answers my question that, yes, there is likely to be an improvement in my material situation. Together with Gawain (9) there is a big possibility of receiving help when needed, and also of starting a partnership that brings benefits. Work, focus and ambition will all be highlighted, which also enhances the chances of getting good opportunities. 

The bottom half of the spread gives us two Spade cards, which gives a stable base for the Diamond cards to expand. Terrene (10♠) in the Foot position reminds me that I will have to pay extra attention to my body and its needs, since this period will consume a lot of energy and is likely to be demanding. The Lady of Spades is making here a strange pair with the 7♠—the "Sword of Destruction". I feel that both cards together are telling me I'll have to pick my battles and learn to cut away what is not nourishing me. In order to better use the energy of the moment, I also need to stay grounded and centred, as to not burn out. The 7♠ in the Heart position indicates a great amount of inner power strength, but that can turn into self-destruction if not handled with care.

09 January 2021

PCO ~ A Cat Spread for material concerns (Part 1 - The Present)

It's been a long time since I have done a Cat Reading using the Playing Card Oracles. But I decided to do one regarding my material situation... my question was when can I expect it to improve. The present spread is the one on the left. 

A very... Black spread indeed, indicating introspection, passivity and perhaps even some pessimism right now. We see one Club card surrounded by a bunch of Spades... It's as if ideas and imagination were "trapped" in an extremely concrete outlook. This gives me my first clue: it's possible that an excessive concern with materialistic issues is part of the problem. 

The 5♣ is the only non-Spade card. Also, it's placed in its own suit position, which dignifies it. So, the Wind Cape tells me that while ideas are available, they are now unable to manifest or evolve due to physical or "real life" constraints. Thus, they stay trapped in the mind, turning into confusion, anxiety and mental exhaustion. 

The 4♠ confused me at first because I often see it as a card of ruthlessness and power—which couldn't be further away from how I felt when doing the reading. But then it struck me that it could also mean being in need of security and protection. Pampero (11♠) and Mardoc (13♠) add to this feeling of being so focused on material security one loses all flexibility and starts focusing solely on the possible losses. Pampero in the Heart position suggests a lack of creativity and vision... it gives me the impression of a person merely enduring the responsibilities and challenges, and not seeing them as an important part of growing up and having freedom.

10 December 2020

WHR: To every thing there is a season

Today I did a reading using my new The Tree Spread with the Wisdom of the Hidden Realms oracle regarding my situation at the moment. Of all "fluffy" Hay House decks, the WHR still strikes me as one of the most profound, precisely because it allows every card to play either as an Ally or a Challenger, encompassing both the light and the shadowy aspects of a situation.

Just to give the reading a context, I confess that I have been feeling very stagnant over the last few months. Of course, 2020 has been a shitty year, to put it lightly, for most people. But I'm not talking only about the pandemic-induced doldrums. On a personal level I feel like I have reached a moment in my personal projects have died and try as I might I have no motivation to resuscitate any of them. Outwardly my life is moving – I continue to study, I am in a good relationship, I am about to actually move to my new place (finally!). But inside? I feel shrivelled up. 

It also appears as a sort of spiritual crisis for me. The recent explosion of people obsessed with esoteric and mystical things... this hazardous mix of social media, attention-seeking and spiritual hubris... it has suddenly made the whole realm of spirituality look like a desert to me. One day I will dedicate a more thorough post about this, but for now let's say that when a friend comes and says that I am "witchy", I am the first one to deny the title because it has lost all meaning to me.

So, amidst this drought of the spirit, this hambre del alma as Clarissa Pínkola Estés calls it, I did this reading to get a better view of what is the issue at hand and how can I improve it.

1. The current situation/issue – The Spiral Dancer
The Spiral Dancer shows up in the upright position, as an ally, to say that my problem is one of perception. Life moves like a spiral, in an apparent circular motion but always heading a little further... so even we when think we have gone backwards, we are not actually at that same place. This card reassures me that I am on the right path, even if right now it feels like I'm stumbling. "Destiny's true path is seldom straight" -  that is the Dancer's message.

09 December 2020

The Tree Spread

I'm a sucker for short card spreads.

In my 15+ years of practice, I have found that oracle spreads between 3 and 5 cards tend to yield the best results. They are not only more objective and less confusing, but they are also condensed enough so that it becomes easier to feel the "atmosphere" of a reading. The more cards you have, the more diluted this impression becomes.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the general crisis it has unleashed, I have been hearing many people say they feel as if they are not getting anywhere. To be honest, I often feel that way too, like all my struggle is for nothing because I cannot yet envision the results. But I also know that it is very hard to perceive a situation accurately in the midst of living it…. Only in hindsight we can have a proper idea of how much we have grown during a certain amount of time.

So I have created The Tree Spread as a way to help us understand our current situation more clearly and to discover how we can positively and actively grow from it. I was inspired by the trees that are constantly growing even though it is often imperceptible at a first glance.

My intention was to create a more optimistic spread, one that also gives us some agency over our own processes. We cannot always avoid the crisis, but we can attempt to put it within a perspective of evolution. And this is what The Tree Spread is for.

The cards are laid in a single column as shown here, to represent a Tree in an upwards movement. The positions are as follows:

1. The current situation/issue
2. The origin of the situation/issue
3. How to grow from or to overcome the situation
4. The outcome or future developments

Soon I will post some readings done using it, to illustrate.

I hope this spread may prove useful to others as well! Feel free to try it, share it and let me know the results if you feel like it!

07 December 2020

Weekly Reading: Pick your distraction

Water and Earth usually make a good pair in a reading. Water softens Earth, and Earth stabilises Water. In this reading, Nichomiah's festive presence surely eases a bit the impact of the dreadful 8 of Spades.

But you know, when the 8♠ shows up is because we need to stop. Look. Listen. Something's not quite right. The 8♠ is known as the unluckiest card in the pack (as opposed to the 8, which is the luckiest), so even though it has a water companion to dilute its effects, it still demands our attention.

Sometimes, we prefer to dawdle through shallow pleasures to keep our minds distracted, than to tackle what is actually bothering us. We know something is not right, but we focus on something else, kinda hoping that it will go away on its own. And this is what this reading reveals to me: there might be a feeling of unease this week, but we will be reluctant to look at it, to give it voice inside us. Like Nichomiah, we will pick our poison - whether it be work, sex, alcohol, Netflix, empty spiritual rituals, self-pity - and look the other way.

Now, I'm not saying that we have to focus on the problems all the time. Everything is about balance. Pleasures and distraction are healthy too, in the right dose. There are days in which we just cannot afford to look into the abyss of ourselves, it's not the right time. However, something darker is asking for attention. And as the Moon begins to wane, it may be the time for us to consider facing what we have been trying to avoid.

01 December 2020

A Full Moon Birthday

I turn 33 years old today. A good decade older than when I first started writing here.

It is funny though… I have moved a lot and have changed a lot in this last decade. I am not where I would like to be yet, but I like to think that I am going somewhere. Forwards, not backwards. 

And yet... there are many times in which it seems that no matter how much I struggle to progress, I am stuck. I look around and despite all the hullabaloos I am back to the same place, and things have shifted so slightly I cannot really call it an evolution. I try to stay positive and to count my blessings, as a good Sagittarian is wont to do... but despair is a siren song, one I feel undeserving of, considering there are so many others who are much worse off than I am.

Nature gave me the most beautiful birthday gift last night, a perfect Full Moon. So bright and magical, hanging high up like a pearl against the dark velvet of the sky. A jewel amongst the clouds.

It was around 2 in the morning here when I took the photo you see above this text. All was quiet. It was only me, the cats, the wind blowing against the leaves. All so, so quiet, as if the world had stopped at least so I could breathe. 

For a moment, things seemed simple enough. Everything was as it should be and I wish I could stay in the hazy embrace of the moonlight forever. Forever lost in this sweet nothingness, never having to endure the glaring light of the Sun—of reality—ever again.

Nature is peaceful not because it does not know violence. It is peaceful because it knows how to be by itself. To simply exist.

It’s we, humans, who have forgotten it.

30 November 2020

Weekly Reading: Dancing with the warm wind

Last month was so intense I barely had free time to think, let alone to read the cards for myself and post anything. My mother's surgery went well and, aside from one cut that isn't scarring very well, she's recovering without major issues. Of course, now there are the next steps of the treatment to consider but... we are taking that one step at a time.

Anyway, I was feeling rather low-spirited and tired today, so I reached for my PCO and decided to do a weekly reading. Fortuna (10♣) and the South Wind (4)—now, that is one unpredictable combo, if I ever saw one! Indeed, this week starts with a Full Moon in Gemini, filling the air with lively, changeable energy. Both 10♣ and 4 represent nicely this amplification of the restless Gemini vibe: one that sweeps you off your feet with new ideas, opportunities and events, but may also leave you a bit stranded once it's gone.

So these cards say that this week we should expect the unexpected and be ready to dance with whatever the wind brings. Now it is time to be adaptable and to take it as it comes. We must only keep in mind that Fire and Air together are not known for their, erm, firmness of purpose, so while you should enjoy the stimulating atmosphere, you should not make important plans or decisions based on it. Focus on the short term!

19 October 2020

Weekly Reading: Take a deep breath...

...and don't get carried away by the emotional tides!

Heart and Clubs together speak of time of acute sensibility, in which it might be hard to focus on practical things. The East Wind (4♣) is a card of slow developments and deliberate action... It tells me the rhythm of this week will feel slower than usual. Practical tasks will probably require more time and patience to get done. 

The 3 tends to be a more charged card, but being a low number and paired with the 4♣, I see it more inclined to mean that I can expect some small emotional drama and conflict, and that I will have to be patient when navigating through them. People and situations can rile us up, easily turning small ripples into a Tsunami... So, it's important to take a deep breath and not react immediately to every provocation. 

The Playing Card Oracles Alchemy Edition © Ana Cortez & C.J. Freeman

16 October 2020

New Moon Reading: It's a marathon, not a sprint.

It's New Moon and I have decided to give the Moon Oracle a go, since it seems to be the perfect deck to align with the rhythm of the moon. I've owned this deck on and off for years but never seemed to get off the ground with it. This time I had a surprise.

I asked about the coming cycle, which promises to be rather challenging. My mother is having a surgery next Friday to remove a breast tumor, and afterwards it'll be up to me to juggle caregiving at home with work and academic responsibilities. This year has been taking its toll on all of us, no doubt, and although I cannot even compare with what my mother is going through… sometimes, I am afraid to crack under the pressure.

So, I used a spread taught by the book that involves 5 cards, called "The Elemental Cross".

1. Current Moon Phase: New Moon in Air/Libra
This first card shows the current "atmosphere" of the situation. The New Moon in Air's keyword is Revision ("Revisão" in Portuguese, as my deck is the Brazilian Edition), which tells me that right now is a time to stop and reassess, and not to worry so much about what to do in a practical sense. I feel this card speaks of preparing a certain mindset to be able to face the challenges ahead. To avoid anticipating things and to let the events unfold before reacting to them. I am a rather anxious person, so I have this tendency to act preemptively in order to avoid this or that (often imaginary) trouble. This card advises me to stay put for now.

2. What is known about the situation: New Moon in Earth
I confess this position confuses me a bit, so I chose to interpret it as the past influences that contributed to make the situation what it is. Another New Moon tells me of something that has stayed in seed stage for a long time - it had not developed, or changed. This is true, considering that my mother got her diagnosis back in June, but due to the Coronavirus we were only able to schedule the surgery now. So for a long time, there has been this feeling of "getting prepared", of saving resources for this moment and being in a waiting mode, unable to sprout. I'll probably continue in this "economic" vibe during the coming cycle.

05 October 2020

Saturnatic Review: The Triple Godess Tarot by Isha Lerner and Mara Friedman

Oh, The Triple Goddess Tarot... this deck and I have a long story. It was one of my first oracles ever, purchased back when I was getting my BA in Journalism, circa 2005. I bought the brazilian edition of this oracle from a local shop that doesn’t even exist anymore, and I remember being awestruck by the sheer gorgeousness of the cards.

Back then, goddess-themed oracles were not as abundant as they are today, and much less so here in Brazil. The most popular one was (and I think still is) the famous The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky and Hrana Janto. Also, paganism and the sacred feminine were incipient at best.

Although my first contact with this deck was through the brazilian edition, I eventually got the original one published by Bear & Co, and this is the edition I am going to review here as I think it is most widely available. The brazilian edition has been out-of-print for years and it also does not have quite the same quality of the original one (see a comparision here).

The Triple Goddess Tarot was created by Isha Lerner and illustrated by Mara Friedman. The deck consists of 25 Alchemy Cards and 7 Chakra Cards, sized 9,5 cm x 13,5 cm. The cardstock is flexible but not flimsy, and the finish is matte. The colours are very vivid. Despite its size, the deck is easy to shuffle even for small hands (such as mine), because it’s not too thick. The Alchemy and Chakra cards have differently coloured backs. The book has 232 pages and dives extensively into the traditions and myths of the Triple Goddess.

Now, I cannot say I consider The Triple Goddess Tarot to be an actual tarot deck. Let me explain why. Although the first 22 cards do follow some of the Major Arcana logic, the symbolism has been vastly altered to make it a female-centred deck. The names of nearly all cards have been changed (check the list at the end of this post). Also, this deck has four extra cards in its Majors/Alchemy Cards, plus the seven Chakra cards… all these changes, for me, deprive it from truly having a “tarot” status. I consider it more a tarot-inspired oracle.