The Prince of Bright Ideas

swords page 03I woke up before 6am this morning, unable to sleep, most probably because I have to go to the hospital for tests today. They want to look inside my stomach. The whole rigmarole of getting there, waiting, and being examined bothers me more than the worrying about what they might find. I’ve always been more comfortable with being examined emotionally and mentally than physically.

The Page of Swords came up last Wednesday; he depicted my thirst for knowledge, directing me over to YouTube to look at elasticated waist bands. Today, he is simply curiosity and the prince of bright ideas. I can kind of see this card reflecting the examination and a need to find out if everything is ok inside – it is as much for my parents’ peace of mind, as my own. The challenge for this card is confusion, which the tests aim to disperse, just like the sword cutting through the clouds around the young man.

Today’s card could represent ideas – I had a few this morning, which zipped through my mind while I was drinking my tea, unblocking a personal fog which still lingered from last night. I didn’t get much done yesterday. Well, if I’m honest, aside from knocking up a tarot website for professional reading, I didn’t do anything with my sewing and felt crappy for it. I sunk into a mood by the late afternoon and could feel myself falling deeper into doubt and self-critique. I had an idea for a project this morning and despite the fact that I have enough to do as it is, it struck me as being something I might enjoy working on. Whether my notes around this leave my personal paper journal or not, today’s Page could stand for these ideas (like the birds around his head), fluttering and enticing me to think, communicate my own thoughts, and learn more.

Illustration from The Rider Waite Tarot by Pamela Colman Smith


The Green Curtain

9 of CupsThe long bank holiday is over. It really was a good one, balanced with sociable drinks, trips out with our friends and my parents, and relaxation. It also involved a bacon sandwich or two, Easter cakes, peanuts, and some chocolate. Yeah, I feel like that guy in today’s card, the 9 of Cupssatisfied after a little indulgence.

I could concentrate on this being the wish card, thinking of the things I want to accomplish in the studio, but today, I think it has more to do with what I accomplished at the dinner table over Easter. I didn’t get any eggs, but I did indulge a bit more than I usually would. My waistline is not my biggest concern though, since I am neither under or over-weight. It is my cholesterol that is the problem, which was sky-high in January and flagged up by my doctor. I managed to get it down on will-power alone since then, but not enough to break my appointment with the specialist next month. There is satisfaction in the 9 of Cups, but at what cost? These kind of pleasures, without thought of the consequences, cease to be satisfying in the long run. Maybe the consequences of our wishes, indulgence, or the abundance bestowed upon us is what is hidden beneath that green curtain. At the moment, all we can see is the cups. There are repercussions to everything.

I’ve already lost a day to the bank holiday, have an appointment at the hospital tomorrow, and am travelling out to do readings on Friday, so I need to make today, Wednesday, and Thursday count. I’ve got shoes to decorate and skirts and bags to make. I kind of don’t know where to start and will probably begin with changing my bed (you might call that a diversion, but it needs it). I’ve been mentally turning what fabrics I have over in my head since I was barely awake and am trying to resist assaulting my bank balance by buying more. For today, creativity will have to be centred around making the most of what I’ve got.

Illustration from The Rider Waite Tarot by Pamela Colman Smith


Boats in the Distance

wands 03I find the 3 of Wands quite calming. I’ve always found it a very beautiful image, possibly because the guy is alone in his thoughts with only the breeze circling gently around him for company. His stance reminds me of someone holding on to a post on a tube train. Will I ever be able to erase that association now I have noticed it?

There is something nice about being alone in your thoughts here. It reminds me of when I first moved away from London at 17.  I’d left behind three very close friends and even though the new start was exactly what I needed, I was terribly lonely. I’d go and sit on a big concrete block by the river, watch the water pass, write poems in my notebook, and hope that someone would talk to me.  Nobody ever did. At that point, I couldn’t see the boats in the distance (metaphorically). I didn’t know that they’d bring new friends, opportunity, and a social life bigger than I’d either had or ever imagined.

Being reminded of this is a powerful thing. As I sit here, those ships (relating to the abundance of The Empress) could represent anything I’ve invested time into – they might be developments in my career, good publicity, new custom, or financial reward. This bloke may be up there on his cliff, able to see the bigger picture, but writing here from my living room, I cannot see them sailing towards me. This doesn’t, however, mean that they are not coming.

We were right to put off doing anything until today, since the blue skies have returned after yesterday’s rain. We caught up on our mini-series, The Bible, finding ourselves quite aptly at the episode where Jesus is crucified. It was pretty harrowing to watch and I was very close to tears, but as with the other stories we’ve seen already, was well done. I don’t think any other actor could have looked more like the Jesus we see in popular culture than this guy. For today, we are taking my parents to a garden nursery and are seeking out another boot fair in the nice weather. The long weekend has been good for both my boyfriend and I, since it has involved the right combination of socialising, being busy, and time to relax.

Illustration from The Rider Waite Tarot by Pamela Colman Smith

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