circlingin

A bunch of Tarot Enthusiasts on Facebook decided to have a Tarot Bag exchange, where people chose partners and made each other bags. This idea was the brain-child of the pixie-ish Gidget London, a lively and creative member of the group.
I knew it was a good idea the moment I read about it, and immediately jumped on the bandwagon. “I’m game!”
Almost as quickly, a friend in the group spoke up and said she’d love to partner with me, and we were off and running.

Jera-Babylon Rootweaver, aka “Andi” -my partner in this project, loves saturated, hot colors, and so I chose an iridescent fabric in a flame orange, satin ribbon in an intense deep red, golden beaded fringe, deep red eyelash yarn, and a deep golden, red and brown chunk of tiger’s eye for the proper juju.

I collected together some charms to also give the piece some…

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https://tarottaxi.com/2012/04/22/492/

To an Old Mentor, with Great Love and Appreciation


Just a bit less than one year ago, I posted this entry after finding out that a cherished mentor had left this plane of existence. I am re-posting what I wrote then, as his influence in my life is far from over. Every time I shuffle a deck of Tarot cards, I think of him, and bless the day he first singled me out and spoke to me. I can’t even begin to express the importance of what he did for me; words are insufficient.

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Dr. Richard Arthur George; Poet, Teacher, Mentor

This wonderful man was the very first person who read my cards for me, with a Waite deck that had belonged to his grandmother. He gave me an amazing reading, full of hope and validation, and told me that someday I would become a very fine reader myself.

I had the great satisfaction of returning to him some years later, and reading his cards- and to my immense gratification, he was very impressed with the quality and depth of my readings for him. Over time, we traded readings, and his accuracy was beyond compare! I have always aspired to be as good a reader, and as upright a human being as he was. He set the bar very high indeed!

I wrote this memorial in his honor, as I remembered all the many great and small gestures of kindness and support I received from him through the years:

Dear Doc-
I knew you had left this plane of existence on some level of my being- I could feel the absence of your laughter in the sudden stillness of the present day.
You probably had some small idea of how important you were in my life, but not the whole of it. In fact, you kept me alive. I would have slid into surrender, the rapid beating of my mind gone forever under the iron tide of aggressive conformity. It was you who first told me that I was special, and encouraged me to fight my way back to the surface again and again to light and air, until I could win my way free of the forces that held me down. You couldn’t know- I had no way to tell you- (I was a child still, and didn’t understand it myself)-  I didn’t know that I was drowning, even when you held my head up above the waves and shouted for me to
“Breathe, damn you, breathe! Don’t let the bastards win!”
Thank you Doctor George, for doing so much more than you ever knew. I will always treasure the friendship you gave so freely, without agenda, without thought of gain for yourself.

Love Always- Anita

Travel well, old teacher and soul-friend, into that unknown country were we will all someday follow.
I hope I am fortunate enough to find you there when it is my time.

 

Tarot Symbolism: The Long and Winding Path


by Anita Perez

For the purposes of this blog, I will be using images from the Universal Waite Tarot Deck. The RWS deck has become a Modern Standard; the Coloring used by Mary Hanson Roberts shows the detail admirably, and reproduces well.

The image of the path leading off into the distance is a key image in Tarot, even though most of the cards don’t show it. In some cards, it’s presence is implied rather than shown, (such as in the 10 of Wands, The Chariot, and even The Fool card itself).

ImageHis path may be invisible, be he has faith that it’s there.

Clearly The Fool is starting out on a journey; in fact many Tarot teaching traditions consider the entire deck to be stages in the Fool’s Journey. The presence of an obvious path may not seem necessary, since The Fool is creating the path by virtue of starting out on his journey, (even though the first steps seem to take the Fool over a cliff.)
I’m reminded of the invisible path in the Indiana Jones movie, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” where Indiana has to step out into what seems to be empty space, taking it on faith that he will not tumble into the abyss, and finds that he is supported by a path that he couldn’t see until he was actually on it. The Fool is just such a character- able to take it on Faith that the path is there, even as he steps out into thin air. The mundane world would call him naive and foolish (what better reason to call him “The Fool”?). The fact that he is the key character in the Tarot, and that the journey through all the other cards is his journey, makes it clear that he is right, and that in order to grow and evolve, he must take that chance.

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Let’s explore the images where the path is visible. Whether or not it indicates actual travel in the mundane sense, or represents an evolutionary process is up to the interpreter, and depends on the context of the reading.

Let’s begin with the Temperance card. A beautiful winged being with a shining face stands with one foot on land and the other in a pool of clear water. In older decks, this being is depicted as female, but in the RWS deck- the figure shown is androgenous.
A narrow well worn path rises from the water, leading toward the horizon. It meanders from the rocks at the water’s edge, through meadows and rolling hills toward lofty mountains that loom in the distance. A shining phantom crown hovers over those far peaks, seeming to beckon from the heights. The winged being pours fluid from one vessel into another. His  head is surrounded by a halo of energy. On his forehead is a bright yellow sun symbol that seems to add to the radiance of his golden hair and halo. A symbol of alchemy adorns the breast of his white robe.

Traditionally, this card represents moderation in thought, word and action, but it also has a deeper meaning, given by the root of the word itself- “temper”-ance. First, there is the quality of self-control, of not indulging in extreme demonstrations of emotion- either negative, such as anger- or positive, such as passion or euphoria. Also there is the process of tempering metals for fine tools and edged weapons, (very similar to the repeated steps of distillation in the alchemical process), where the metal is heated, worked and cooled repeatedly, giving it a superior tensile strength and flexibility.
In short, following a disciplined path while keeping true to a firm set of principles will bring you to heights where greater nobility of character is attained. The message also seems to indicate that it is more about experiencing the process of the journey than about achieving a specific goal. The process is what creates the changes, rendering you- the traveler- into a stronger, purer metal and an instrument capable of holding a sharper edge.

ImageA primitive creature crawls out of the primordial waters, seeking higher ground

The next card that shows the long and winding path is The Moon.

Again, it begins at the water’s edge, leading off into a mountainous distance. Two towers flank this path, as two animals- a wild wolf and a domesticated dog bay at the full moon shining above. A crawfish-like creature crawls up out of the water onto the beginning of the path. Yods- representing the gift of life energy- rain down from the shining moon.
Again, we have the indication of evolution- a journey that takes us from the watery realm of raw emotion and unconscious existence into the heights- a well worn symbol of enlightenment. The Moon, shining it’s yod-beams down upon the scene provides light for the creature to see the path it embarks upon.

ImageThe path here begins in a garden setting, but leads the viewer toward rocky terrain

Following this, we have the Ace of Pentacles- that most earthy representation of achievement. The scene is a garden of lilies bordered by a hedge of blooming red roses. In this case, the path starts out wide and smooth, leading to an archway that frames a view of a mountainous landscape. A hand offers a shining pentacle from a puff of cloud suspended in a pearl gray sky.

If we can tread the path from relative domestic comfort into the rough mountainous terrain, and not deviate from our purpose, the reward of earthly success is offered. Pentacles represent wealth and abundance, yet they also indicate the presence of creativity and the willingness to do whatever it takes to reach a goal. The fact that the path once again leads to the heights symbolizes that the reward will not just be a physical attainment, but also a refinement of character and spirit. Presumably, such processing will render the traveler more able to appreciate and manage the wealth that is gained with greater wisdom, creativity and fairness.

ImageIn this card, the path is shown behind the person in the card, at the lower left.

Finally we have the 8 of Pentacles.

A young man works diligently to create pentacles. He sits on his work bench, chiseling away at his current project, with a pleasantly absorbed expression. In the background, to the lower left hand side, behind the young man, a castle sits on a green slope. A yellow path partially hidden by trees leads up to the open gateway.
The process of perfecting one’s skills opens up the way to achieve many of the finer things in life. Becoming a competent and successful craftsman makes it possible to rise from your current position to the kind of person who could be invited to such a dwelling for commissions. Eventually, one could attain enough mastery of this skill to live in a place every bit as grand, and presumably support others in their quest for excellence in their turn.

ImageThe path leads to the castle entrance. The gate is open…

Becoming a master at one’s craft does not stop at making beautiful and useful things, and basking in the wealth one is able to earn. It also means that you attain a sense of self-respect because you are living up to your potential. When you know you are worthy of it, you can achieve wisdom and compassion as well, and can act as a mentor for others, who like yourself, start small and work their way up to mastery of their craft. What the master craftsman creates is not limited to finer and prettier objects; the finest product of this process is a finer self.

What more could The Fool aspire to?

Namaste.

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