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five of wands

The five of wands disrupts the harmony of the four. On the surface, things seem calm and agreeable, but trouble is brewing beneath the surface. Things that should be simple get out of hands. Disagreements arise from misunderstandings or miscommunication. Decisions are made by committee, while people keep secrets to enhance their own sense of power.

If it is well placed, it may indicate an ability or an opportunity to delve deeply into the small differences in things that seem superficially the same, gaining better insight and knowledge before decisions are made. You may make great strides by using a talent you have overlooked or not thought worth developing.

You may find that deceit is being used against you, and if so, there is a great possibility you can channel that effect to your own good.

disagreeing, feeling everyone is at cross-purposes, dissension, quarreling, arguing and bickering, quibbling over details

experiencing competition, going against an opponent, rising to the challenge, looking for a fight, having a rival, being challenged by an upstart

needing to take care of details, being bothered by trivialities
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5 of cups, reversed

Reversed, the 5 of cups is a card of hope and renewal. It speaks of recovery, and of moving, purposefully, away fro loss or your sense of loss.

There will be unexpected rewards. You may be surprised - especially by the return of someone or something you believed was lost to you. You might heal a rift or learn to forgive, and thereby gain your own forgiveness for yourself. It may speak of messages from those who are dead, or from your own subconscious where they still dwell as alive. There will be alliance, affinity and connections and reunions.

this is for you, those of you who held my hand in the dark of december. you know who you are.
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The Emperor

Descent of the soul into matter. He is the ruler and master of the material plane. His will is law. He introduces rules and order and is the first to reveal to the soul on its journey the need for law and structure. He reveals the necessity of order and guidelines and balances the abundance of the Empress. He reigns-in chaos and teaches control.

Leadership, Authority, Self-Mastery, Government.

establishing a family line, setting direction and tone, emphasizing structure, being systematic. providing shape and form, being organized, sticking to a plan

exerting control, representing the establishment, regulating

Photo by Annaliese Moyer of nesting Rebus dolls Jim and I made for her husband Lee. Based on the character in Doom Patrol.
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Two of Cups

Love, Partnership, a spiritual union- (Soulmates, Anam Cara)
traditionally romantic, but can be any partnership based on deep mutual understanding. Cooperation and friendship as well as the harmonious union of masculine and feminine. Friendship, affinity, concord

making a connection, joining with another, celebrating union, working together, sharing

calling a truce, healing a severed relationship, declaring peace, forgiving and forgetting

acknowledging an attraction, recognizing a bond, letting yourself be drawn in

OK, this is not so very *found* since Jim drew it for me - it was our Solstice card for 1986. Mr and Mrs Claus seem to have a pretty good handle on expressing endurance without loosing child-like delight.

I spent tonight working with Jim on finalizing this years card, so I know I owe feedback and comments to many of you, and I hope to catch up tomorrow.
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The Star

regaining hope, having faith in the future, thinking positively, believing, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, feeling great expectation

being inspired, regaining motivation, realizing an inner strength, seeing the way clear, creating

being generous, wanting to give or share, opening your heart, giving back what you have received, letting love flow freely, offering with no reservations, holding nothing back

feeling serene, experiencing peace of mind, finding your still center, being tranquil amid trouble, enjoying harmony
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High Priestess

seeing life's threads weave together, finding opportunity in an accident, sensing the action of fate, witnessing miracles

being at a turning point, reversing, moving in a different direction, turning things around, altering the present course, being surprised at a turn of events, feeling movement, experiencing change, getting involved

having a personal vision, seeing how everything connects, becoming more aware, uncovering patterns and cycles, gaining greater perspective, discovering your role and purpose
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Nine of Pentacles

being disciplined, exercising self-control, sacrificing to reach a goal, taking a step-by-step approach, relying on yourself, acting on your own, falling back on your own resources, doing it all by yourself
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The Emperor

establishing a line, protecting and defending, guiding growth, bringing security and comfort

emphasizing structure, creating order out of chaos, being systematic, providing shape and form, being organized, applying reason, sticking to a plan

exercising authority, commanding, exerting control, representing the establishment, being in a position of strength, coming in contact with officials

establishing law and order, applying rules or guidelines, working within the system, setting standards of behavior, following a regimen
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The Hierophant

I can hear some of you wondering - why not the magician? While there are many fine strong images that come from The Hierophant, for me the basic difference in the two images is this: The Magician represents relying on your own spirit to understand your beliefs, The Hierophant represents relying on formula, ritual and rite (not a bad choice, as long as it does not keep you from examining your own "why."

having a belief system, sharing a cultural heritage, learning a tradition, honoring ritual and ceremony, following a discipline

conforming, following the rules, taking an orthodox approach, staying within conventional bounds, adapting to the system, going along with the program, doing what's expected, being part of the Establishment

identifying with a group, joining an organization, working as part of a team, feeling loyal to others, being in an institutionalized setting,getting an education, becoming informed, studying and learning
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I have been meaning to talk about the found tarot as a project, and why I have been collecting images for so long.

I have been reading and teaching tarot, and watching the birth of some very beautiful and meaningful decks within my own family. As I have often mentioned, it's a tough gig for me to be one of the few people in an extended family of artists with barely enough eye-hand coordination of my own to from letters - pictures are as far beyond me as corporeal flight. But image is as natural to me as spiritual flight.

Image has always been integral to who I am. Jim and I, though we both produce creative work on our own, have a collaborative place where true exchange occurs. I get to see images come out of my brain without struggling to force words to attempt to be paint. I am not as certain what he gets - but we could ask him. He has talked about the energy that comes from watching me struggle with words, and suddenly finding a picture coming out of my head through his hands. (It's ok, we're married.)

Some people look at the tarot as a divination device, and I have seen it work that way in the hands/brain of a skilled reader. Certainly Robin can do it. Can I? Well, you would have to ask the people I read for... The cards can also be used as a great meditation device, for focus, or to get people who are blocked to open up and tell you what the problem is.

There are two ways of thinking about using the images to see - you can learn the traditional meanings of the cards by rote, or you can relax, open your mind to the pictures, and let them flow into and out of you as a story. That is how I read, and how I teach my students to read. Over the years we have learned to see what the cards mean by collecting pictures, or music, that brings a card into focus.

I read the cards the way I write a story - especially the way I write a poem. I lay the cards out in different ways until I look down and see what I am after. Just as when I write, I am not always after a complete, rigid structure with a beginning, middle and end. I am after a concept, a new thought, a way to see and sometimes, with a blaze of joy - a phrase that wants to be featured, or joined to a fellow phrase.

The cards, as I have been offering them here, are stories - so I hope they are interesting to some of you. No knowledge of tarot is needed to play along.

I have been taking the most basic, traditional interpretations of the cards, and trying to join them to a picture that makes me say Aha! But I will be branching out soon into concepts I think are missing from traditionaly defined decks.

If the pictures make you see a different story, I hope you will share it with me. Everything I have *really* learned about reading the cards has come from those moments.


ending and begining, closing one door to open another, completing a chapter, putting the past behind you

going through transition, moving from the known to the unknown, being cast adrift, waiting in an in-between state, shedding old attitudes, getting back to basics

experiencing inexorable forces, being in the path of sweeping change, riding your fate, accepting the inevitable, embracing the turn of the wheel, reaching for the future with a reborn spirit
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The Hermit

being introspective, focusing inward, needing to understand, seeking greater understanding, wanting the truth at all costs, receiving/giving guidance, seeking solitude, withdrawing from the world, experiencing seclusion, retreating into a private world
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Ace of Swords

using mental force, being objective, thinking your way through, analyzing the situation, using your intellect, applying logic and reason

having fortitude, overcoming adversity, facing problems, resolving a situation, finding the strength to overcome, surmounting obstacles, being undaunted by setbacks

seeking justice, righting a wrong, championing a cause, doing what is right, establishing the truth, accepting responsibility, wanting what is fair

By now you know I use the pen for the sword quite a bit...
This picture is David Wenham's hand, writing on the tablecloth with a fountain pen in The Bank. If you have seen this movie, you will understand, even beyond this image, why it speaks to me of the Ace of Swords. It was also my pivotal Dave moment. It pushes every button I have...
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The Devil

Placing yourself in a situation where you are caught in a feeling of bondage, an unwanted situation, being obsessed, losing independence, allowing yourself to be controlled, being addicted and enslaved, submitting to another, not being able to accept what is given

focusing on the material, being caught up in appearances, believing only in the physical and forgetting the spiritual, overindulging the senses, staying in ignorance, operating within a narrow range, choosing to stay in the dark, fearing the unknown, being taken in by appearances

feeling hopeless, believing the worst, despairing, lacking faith, thinking negatively, foreseeing a bleak future, doubting, deluding yourself into believing that if you cannot have everything, you have nothing

This is not my final word on this card by any means - but I needed to get it out of the way... yeah, almost done with that story I've been hammering on...
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making a judgment, making a stand, making hard choices

feeling reborn, awakening to possibilities, transforming, renewed hope.
making a fresh start, seeing everything in a new light, discovering joy.
letting your soul take flight, emotional release

hearing a call, feeling inner conviction, feeling an impulse to act,
feeling drawn in a new direction, knowing what you must do

finding absolution, releasing guilts and sorrows, forgiving yourself and others,
unburdening yourself, feeling guilt washed away,
taking the opportunity to begin fresh in a new direction
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Page of Swords

Acting at speed; sometimes recklessly, feeling like you can fly,
using your mind, analyze the problem, think everything through, be truthful,
act honestly, face the facts, expose what is hidden, speak directly

Be Just, right a wrong, treat others equally, champion a cause, try to be fair,
do what you know is right, accept responsibility, have fortitude, face problems squarely,
refuse to be discouraged, keep a firm resolve, keep your chin up and head high, keep trying

This is Anwyn, the daughter of my friends Lee and Catherine, in (as her father says) her first T-38. Photo by her dad, Lee Goldberg
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The Tower

going through sudden change, experiencing upheaval, having plans disrupted, being surprised, undergoing a crisis, having everything shaken up, being in chaos

releasing, exploding, erupting in anger, breaking through pretense , letting everything go, falling down, being humbled, experiencing a crash, toppling from the heights, having a downturn in fortune, suffering a blow to the ego or spirit

having a revelation, suddenly realizing the truth, exposing what was hidden, having a burst of insight, seeing through illusions, seeing everything in a flash
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Knight of Cups

Romantic but overemotional, idealizes love, concentrates on the poetry of life, can be gushy and melodramatic, expresses sentiments, imaginative, can tap the fertile unconscious,indulges in daydreams,seldom takes the mundane path, spins tales, has an overactive imagination, is visionary, responds deeply to life, appreciates beauty in all forms, introspective, values the inner life, tries to understand why, looks below the surface

Let your feelings show, act on a hunch, remember your dreams, seeks intimacy, forgive, forgive yourself

This is Lightfoot, a Ranger from Pavis, and Thunderbundles, the most beautiful buffalo on the Plains of Prax.
Thunderbundles and Lightfoot by Robin Wood, 1984 - used sort of with permission!

Why is Lightfoot the Knight of Cups when, after all, Robin already has an entire deck?

Cups, because Thunderbundles has two feet off the ground, but two feet grounded, the traditional state for cups. And because Prax is the Plain of Storms, it is a Krater of Life Overflowing.

And the Knight of Cups - because many years ago, Robin and I were companions in a Glorantha campaign, and Lightfoot is my own character and avatar. She is the perfected caring ranger spirit I would like to have been, and it's my found deck so I get to choose.
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Three of Wands

exploring the unknown, seeking out uncharted areas, going in quest of new adventure,
expanding horizons, leaving the secure behind, tackling something different

having foresight, being visionary, getting a premonition, anticipating obstacles

showing others the way, taking the main role, providing needed direction,
rallying the group behind you, setting an example
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Ace of Wands

using creative force, inventing a better way, expanding your potential, conceiving a dream,
expressing yourself, stimulating your imagination, allowing a talent to unfold

showing enthusiasm, creating an aura of excitement, inspiring others, sustaining optimism

having confidence, believing in yourself, feeling assured of your abilities,
being sure of success, having high self-esteem, having faith in your path

proceeding with courage, tackling a challenging task, going beyond your limits,
being true to your beliefs, daring to take a stand, going for it

the award shown in this photo is a Juno - the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy. This one happens to belong to Stephen Fearing.
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Two of Pentacles

keeping everything in balance, coping with demands, getting people to work together, making sure all areas are covered, emphasizing all aspects equally, being flexible, feeling free to try new approaches, refusing to let change throw you, seeing the possibilities, handling challenges, doing something you enjoy, feeling in high spirits, whistling while you work


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March 2012

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