Needy Baby, Greedy Baby

Cups Knight2I used to hate receiving court cards, as many do, but these days, I quite enjoy them. This may have something to do with a shift in perspective after reading a book about them by Kate Warwick-Smith and from things said by Christiana Gaudet in her online videos. Both tarot authors made me look at the courts in a different way than I have before, therefore making reading them that bit more enjoyable.

Warwick-Smith looks at the courts in four different aspects - as a supporter, a detractor, a resource, and a challenge. She talks a lot about the different worlds on the kabbalistic Tree of Life in her book, but these four areas are her focus. The supporter and detractor are people external to us, who can help or hinder, where as the resource and challenge are things we  can be more personally responsible for. In the case of the Knight of Cups, as a supporter he is ‘the lover’ and as a detractor he is subtitled ‘the possessor’. My challenge with this card would be ‘rejection’ and my resource, ‘desire’.

The Lover (or Knight of Cups) is sometimes someone we have a romantic involvement with (even if only one-sided), but he can also be an abstract ideal or goal. Be it a romantic invitation or the desire to move mountains though passion and exuberance, his love is intense and usually full-on. As a detractor (when reversed or surrounded by less-cooperative cards), he can be self-serving and possessive, and in constant need of reassurance.

I met a guy from an online dating site in London many years ago. I think we had both initially hoped for a romantic attraction and potential, but from the moment we met in a packed Soho bar, we knew we’d only ever be friends. Even though good-looking and bubbly, I didn’t find him attractive in that way; besides, he’d just come out of a relationship with a guy and was still very obviously infatuated with him. I say infatuated, because for our one year friendship, he talked about little else. At first, I thought the guy he’d split with must have been a real jerk (and to an extent, he kind of was), but I slowly realised (after my new mate’s other friends began to disappear from his life, one after another) that I couldn’t dump all of the responsibility on the ex. My new friend was obsessive and needed constant emotional reassurance around every single move he made. He’d message me about his love-life (about the ex or new prospective partners) all the time and not really pay attention to my responses when I told him I how I felt. If he was like this with me, as just a friend, I could kind of see why his relationship with the ex had failed. He consistently trailed around after him, online and off, and eventually (like his other mates before me), I opted out gracefully and haven’t spoken to him since.

This guy was like the ‘lover’ (supporter) in many ways because he had so much love to give; so much so that it was bursting out of him uncontrollably. It wasn’t only his ex who he aimed it at, and with each and every new partner, his neediness killed all hope of a successful relationship. He quickly became the possessor (detractor), smothering and overwhelming his prey. My advice (which he consistently sought) did little to help; I even took him to a lecture about relationships at The Kabbalah Centre, which went in one ear and out of the other. The only thing I had any chance of remedying was our friendship, which was hopelessly out of balance, by ending it. Even though not my own romantic lover, he was smothering our relationship with only his needs. I tried to explain how I felt before dumping him, but he wasn’t open to hearing any more than the calling of his own heart. Even though I don’t see myself in the same way as this friend from the past, emotional possessiveness and being a needy baby is something we should all keep a check on in our relationships. This could easily be my message for today, even if on a less-extreme level.

Easter Sunday is dreary and rainy. I’m hoping we’ll finish our long weekend with something nice tomorrow, so today will probably be spent here. As an abstract ideal, today’s card might be a little preparation for more decoupaging and some craft. My boyfriend has some things to do for our mate’s wedding and I bought some new shoes and a handbag which need to be decorated for a forthcoming photoshoot.

Illustration from The Radiant Rider Waitebased on the drawings of Pamela Colman Smith and redrawn by Virginijus Poshkus

The Fool in her Veins

foolThe potential for yesterday, in the shape of the 10 of Cups, was just right. Picking up Charlotte and then heading down to Margate, we met Clare at an I love Vintage fair, held within Quex House and Gardens, which is the home of the Powell Cotton Museum of Natural History and Ethnography. Below whole walls of animal heads and rooms of taxidermied lions, people sold vintage clothing, homewear, accessories, and craft. Despite being chilly, the sun was shining, so after having a little brunch and a cup of coffee, we said goodbye to Clare and headed off to Margate.

I haven’t been to Margate in a long time and was unaware of its revival. I’d seen Mary Portas having a go at upping its profile [with a lot of opposition from the locals] but was surprised by the many retro shops and vintage boutiques which had popped up in lanes near the seafront. For Charlotte it was heaven, where as I still find it hard to get my head around people choosing to look as though time had stopped seventy years ago. I continue to tell myself that they’re not hurting anyone, but I still don’t get it.

While there, we visited the Turner Contemporary. It was the first time for all of us, but the current exhibition did little to arouse our creative interest. Aside from the Turners [which have never really done anything for me], there was several rooms of work by Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011), an American abstract expressionist. As large canvases of colour, blobbed here and there, I think that the three of us were more puzzled than anything else, wondering what everyone else could see in them that we couldn’t. Charlotte stood in one room, hands on hips, surveyed the paintings around her in silence and then turned to me and remarked ‘horrible’. Unsure whether we were ignorant or had just worked out that we that we were looking at the Emperors new clothes, I had to agree.

For today, we have The Fool. I can’t remember the last time he turned up. His is the card which has always reminded me of Kate; especially if you mix him up with the watery Queen of Cups. Currently staying in Thailand, Kate is the kind of woman who will book up a last minute flight for her and her daughter, travel around Indonesia, and find a spare half-an hour to have the bad juju bashed out of her by two princes with a handful of twigs. She adores experiencing different people and cultures and is the most spontaneous of my friends – she’ll have you booked in for a session of colonic irrigation before you’ve had a chance to work out what it is. I always liked to think of myself as being as free-spirited as she is, but next to her, she highlights my need for order, control, and knowing what I am doing. She has responsibilities now, but the essence of The Fool still runs intensely through her veins. She is less unpredictable than she was twenty years ago, but her enthusiasm for new sensations and a desire to not be tied down by expectation is still an alluring part of her personality. It is a nice twist to see someone who has grown up but has not grown old.

Illustration from The Universal Waite by Mary Hanson Roberts

Vintage Potential

Cups 10 1I always enjoy traveling up to meet my boyfriend on days like yesterday – the sun was shining, so after my bath and walk to the train station, I relaxed out in my seat and watched the landscape zip passed – eventually turning from fresh natural greens to the urban greys of South London and finally, Victoria.

I took my usual route through Charing Cross to Watkins. I always find it hard to not pop in and look there. In the good old days, I’d never leave empty-handed, but nothing even remotely caught my attention yesterday afternoon. There were new Lo Scarabeo decks piled in front of the book cases (such as the wishy-washy-looking Tarot of the Nymphs) but there was nothing with any original thought behind it. My tarot-soul was disappointed, even if my wallet was not.

With a few hours to spare, I ambled through the red-lights of Soho and up to The Kabbalah Centre in Bond Street. I’d only had just a fleeting visit last time, so was able to linger a little longer, browse the books, and talk to the guy working there, who is organising me a new tutor. I bought three small books from a series by Yehuda Berg. I have some of the set already and these were on special. As teachers, I think they help my tarot reading through the understanding of how we work as people, as much as being great tools for my own personal growth and correction. One is about the use of pain in our life. One day, I might summarise it here as an accompaniment to the more difficult cards in the tarot.

There were about fifteen or so my boyfriend’s work-mates out last night. We started off in a buzzing bar, where I was able to chat with a handful. I’d met some before and got talking to a few new and interesting ones last night. Because the whole thing was set to the tune of birthday celebration, just when we got comfortable, we  moved on to the next venue, where someone had booked us a booth.

If you’d suggested it, I’d have not believed that a niteclub could be in full swing at 8pm, so when I was taken underground (in what felt like the abduction of Persephone by Hades), I’d not expected to find what I immediately described to my boyfriend as hell. The place, with about five different large areas, was rammed – and I mean rammed. The majority of people there were in the 19-25 year old bracket, sprinkled with groups of office-40-somethings, dancing to Club Tropicana and trying their best to cop a feel of anything in a younger and tighter package. With the shots arriving on trays as frequently as tube trains in a station, it felt like a mash-up of an 18-30 holiday in Ibiza and a family wedding. My one saving grace was the booth which had been booked, which separated me from everyone else there, like the bars of a cage in the zoo. Being the only sober one, it was especially painful. Despite being unable to hear anything, I relaxed into it for a bit, but by 9, I was counting down the minutes until we could leave at 10.

For today, I have drawn the 10 of Cups. The sun is still shining and the sky is still blue on this Good Friday and we have planned to go to a Vintage Fair somewhere near the sea. Providing my boyfriend’s head is not too sore, we are picking up Charlotte in a couple of hours and meeting Clare there. Set in the grounds of a museum, I can see us taking a picnic in the gardens of the 10 of Cups, happy and content with friendship and our surroundings. As I write, this is the potential for today, whether it becomes a reality or not.

Illustration from The Rider Waite Tarot by Pamela Colman Smith

Rider of the Storm

Swords 12From the Page of Swords yesterday, we have the Knight of Swords today.

This card suggests movement. The guy on the horse moves at pace, not caring about the wind which counter-attacks from the opposite direction. His thoughts are pure, shown by the white horse (which isn’t particularly white in my deck), so with belief, he carries his words and ideas forward, intending to get his message through.

You could look at this card in two ways. This guy is either someone in my life who is pushing their ideas or opinions violently in my direction (yes, I can think of who that might be) or he is me, shoving back and not allowing others to blow me away, like the wind tries to force the rider off-course in the illustration. Because of his pure thought, this knight doesn’t necessarily mean harm, but his directness can smash the more sensitive of souls to pieces. In some ways, the card reminds me of The Tower. When he is in a future position, we are forewarned, but in the now, he might be unexpected critique, news, or close-to-the-grain opinion which could come as a shock to some.

I’m traveling out to meet my boyfriend later, so this morning is about tying up loose ends before then. I’ve not got the time to start on a new project. Can you believe that I made a nice skirt yesterday from my new comic-book fabric, fitted the waistband on neatly, but in the last few minutes had an accident and somehow snipped a hole in the back? It must have been when I cut a thread while taking it off the machine. It’s in the wrong place to cover up or shorten, disappointingly, but when I can face it again, I will probably take that section out and replace it. However, I can use it for photographs for now. Who ever let the Page of Swords loose with scissors, eh? It does look good, which made the accident that bit more annoying.

I haven’t been up to meet my boyfriend from work for a few years, so I am looking forward to it. The sun is shining and all feels ok.

Illustration from The Original Rider Waite Tarot by Pamela Colman Smith

Student of all things Sewn

Leg Swords 11I thought I would pull out the Legacy of the Divine Tarot today.

One thing which can make or break a deck for me is the court cardsI think I prefer the majority of these ones to those in the Gilded Tarot because they have that bit more personality. My only gripe here is with the kings. I can kind of get over the faceless knights (even if I would have preferred them to have faces) because they all have such a strong energy to thembut I was disappointed to find that the kings are not close-up shots like the pages and queens. Take today’s card, the Page of Swordsas an example. Not many decks have such intense and beautiful close-ups as this, do they? I only wish that the kings had been as up-close and personal as this one, even though I understand that Marchetti distanced them intentionally so we can see these men in their regal environments. It’s only a small gripe and I can live with them like this. As decks go, this is a good one. The good cards far outweigh those I am less keen on.

It’s actually noted in Ciro’s book that this Page is female. There may be times when this appears so for me in readings, but up until this moment, I always saw a boy looking out at me, so I will speak of him as such. He is an intense little chap, always thinking. I see those crossed swords as messages or questions brought to my door. I usually view the Page of Pentacles as a postman, so since these messages travel through the realm of air, it could be an SMS message or email of importance that this young man delivers today.

I recently spoke about the Page of Swords in relation to the Page of Pentacles - this guy is a student of information, where as his cousin learns with his hands. While I had my morning coffee, I watched videos about waistbands and elasticated skirts, finding the odd tip here and there. Even though I have a degree in fashion design, I feel like a lot of my real learning has come in the last year as I have absorbed theory and then put it into practice. I wasn’t that sure about what I was doing in the early days (probably because I was off-my-head most of the time) and lacked the confidence to try a lot of things. These days, I might only be taking baby-steps, but from going back to basics and trailing YouTube, I am learning a little at a time. I can see this student-of-all-things-sewn staring out at me from this card like a reflection.

Illustration from The Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti