An Anniversary To Remember

Published August 19, 2016 by Tarot By Elizabeth

Just one of 20 stones in commemoration of the Salem victims

Today marks a sad anniversary that most of the world has long forgotten. It is the 324th anniversary of one of the Salem Witch Trial victims, John Willard. 

John was only thirty five at the time of death and you are all probably wondering why I  focus on this specific day…I do because John Willard was my sixth Great Uncle.

Even in this day and age, as we think ourselves educated; intelligent and thoroughly modern individuals, religious tolerance has become an oxymoron. 

For individuals or groups that do not fit inside the little box of popular ideals, all nice and neat, there are many more hurdles to overcome…we can read about it or watch it on the daily news. It seems to surround us, despite our protests to the contrary.

I think a lot about August 19th, 1692 and the deadly mania that swept Salem back then, (since renamed “Danvers” in an attempt to distance itself from the horrible red stain in our history.)

You won’t find the true story of events that led up to this tragedy in the history books (1690’s law held that property and assets belonging to the convicted were forfeit to the leader of the community) and that’s a real shame because as George Santayana’s famous quote says: “Those who do not remember the past, are doomed to repeat it.” 


An epithet that is still being sadly repeated three centuries after the conclusion of the trials.

So, today, I thought this would be a great time to grab my Thoth deck and see what Great Uncle John had to say about the lessons we need to always keep in our minds and hearts.


The question: “What lessons do we need to learn from this chapter of American history, called The Salem Witch Trials?”



Now, keep in mind that when I asked my question, I was addressing my Spirit Guide that assists me while working with my cards….
 

You may notice right away that the second and fourth cards seem to pop out at you….the Knight of Disks and the Hanged Man… This was letting me know that my Spirit Guide had stepped aside and Great Uncle John was delivering his message personally!

The Knight of Disks is an Earth element as many readers will know, but a little known fact about my Great Uncle was that his birthday fell on  January 15,1657 …making him an Earth sign.

 (Ironically, the Tarot card representing his birth sign is the Devil)

In history, Knights often went out on missions to bring order and secure boundaries for the local King or rulers, no different than a Knight, Great Uncle John was a Constable for his township and took his task seriously.

 Not soon after the hysteria began, John Willard had gone to his superiors and protested the ever widening net of accusations and spoke for those that were being falsely accused. 

He stepped down as Constable saying that he was in no way, shape or form supporting or being party to the madness.

The Hierophant (Rev. Samuel Parris, Uncle to Abagail Williams,one of the original accusers) the Five of Wands (the hysteria) and the Chariot (the speed of wild accusations and the voracity of fear and ignorance unchecked) all tell the rest of John’s story….

Towards the end of April, after Willard had abandoned his post as a constable and publicly doubted the girls accusations, he was himself, accused of being a witch. 

Great Uncle John, (the epitome of Knighthood) continued to, from behind bars and even as he walked to the gallows that day, protest that he and all of the others accused, were indeed innocent and continued to plea for the return of sanity and order.

What is his message to those who have ears?  


Intolerance founded on fear based dogmatic beliefs and willful ignorance will continue to race on….setting a raging fire to all in it’s path, leaving nothing but ash unless we, as the whole of humanity, step up to stop it.



Sometimes I pull a shadow card, which I take from the very bottom of the deck, it was Adjustment, (Justice, in Rider-Waite-Smith decks)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  

Martin Luther King, Jr.
  

Book Review- The Tarot and the Magus

Published August 15, 2016 by Tarot By Elizabeth

After reading Tarot with the popular Rider-Waite style decks and numerous clones of such, I had reached a point in my life in which I could not shake an ever present nagging thought that there simply had to be more to reading the cards.

Time after time, shuffling, cutting and laying the tarot cards out in myriads of positional spreads year after year, I began my search for deeper meaning.

The Tarot and the Magus by Paul Hughes-Barlow caught my eye and I felt the first rush of fresh new inspiration.

Little did I know that his way of using the Golden Dawn’s OOTK (Opening Of The Key) method, that my love of Tarot would truly begin to transform myself and my ability to read for others.

With his no nonsense, tell it like it is style, the reader is drawn into an amazing experience of everyday twists and turns of ones mundane adventures to the realization of ones Spirituality and of the nature of the HGA (Holy Guardian Angel).

At this point, I must add that down through the ages, both the Thoth Tarot and particularly Aleister Crowley himself, have been maligned much to the detriment of true spiritually minded individuals looking for honest answers, leaving a gaping hole of knowledge that could have been acquired if not for misinformation and the pure guesswork of it’s critics.

The Tarot and the Magus is eleven chapters dealing with a range of subjects, starting with an introduction that includes his journey as he began writing this book.

Chapter one begins with the Fool, the Universe and the Aces, which concludes with the crowning glory of The Golden Dawn’s signature OOTK (Opening Of The Key) spread. Paul explains the basics of how to begin this spread so that nearly anyone can easily understand in this beginning of a magical operation.

Subsequent chapters cover both Major and Minor Arcana as well as the Courts and all of their correspondences needed to understand important sequences of events and their probable outcomes almost to the letter.

I was totally amazed at how accurate and detailed the Crowley Thoth is when using the elements, counting and pairing methods. I had struggled for years trying to get as in depth as I did in just a few days and using the techniques Paul teaches in this awesome book! It’s well worth it’s weight in gold!

The Tarot and the Magus also introduces Kabbala, the Tree of Life as well as subjects that show the reader how Tarot can be used with everything from mundane questions to magical operations alike, making this book appealing to novice or seasoned readers.

I’ve seen reviews stating that one must have some prior knowledge in these areas but in my honest opinion, a simple knowledge of basic tarot concepts and meanings are all that is really needed because after reading a few pages of The Tarot and the Magus inspires one to go deeper and further, thereby gaining a wealth of information that can transform lives.

I heartily recommend this book to any person who requires a rich and full world view!

ISBN: 978-1-90465-802-3.

Author: Paul Hughes-Barlow

Publisher: Aeon

Ghosts and Spirits Tarot Review

Published July 22, 2016 by Tarot By Elizabeth

From the amazing creatrix Lisa Hunt, (Fantastical Creatures; Animals Divine; Shapeshifter, and Celtic Dragon Tarot), comes her latest tarot creation… Ghosts and Spirits Tarot, a breathtakingly beautiful deck that utilizes tales and legends of ghosts and spirits from around the globe.


This stunning 79 card deck kept me on the very edge of my seat as I sat and watched it emerge card by card, on the Ghosts and Spirits FaceBook page and with each drawing Lisa posted I was absolutely blown away and I easily consider one of her finest works. 


Lisa, who makes her home in Boca Raton, Florida, is the creator/illustrator of numerous tarot decks, all of which are still in print and even been translated in many different languages. She has been a freelance artist for nearly twenty years and her intuitive connection with the spirit world shines quite brightly in her Ghosts and Spirits Tarot.


I was thoroughly thrilled when after receiving my deck, I found that there is a bonus card! I absolutely adore decks with extra cards such as the “Happy Squirrel” card found in Kat Black’s Touchstone Tarot and was even more blown away at the sheer depth of imagery found on this extra card which serves as a card for deeper reflections on the question asked.


The cards are beautifully bordered in a lovely parchment color with the title written in a gorgeous flowing script at the bottom of each card. The card stock is absolutely awesome, as usual with US Games decks, and it’s just the right size to be shuffled, even if you might have smaller hands. It has a wonderful glossy lamination and the design on the backs, which is pretty darned awesome in itself, features three swirling ghosts encircled by a ring of bones. The colors on the card backs are fantastically done and remind me of the beautiful patterns found on fine Batik fabric.


The LWB (little white book) accompanying the Ghosts and Spirits Tarot gives the story behind each ghost and where it originates as well as the definition of the card, although Lisa doesn’t give reversed meanings in the LWB, these cards can be read both upright and reversed. 


The imagery on the cards themselves are intricate and quite detailed and upon closer inspection, you can see faces and spirits reflected in the surrounding colors and patterns, such as the Fool, which details the Leshy (wood spirits that inhabit the dark forests of the Baltic’s) and all around this adventurer can be seen small sprites, stone creatures and faces peeking from the rocks and shrubbery. Such an awesome deck!


I usually look for my favorite cards when perusing a prospective deck but with The Ghosts and Spirits Tarot, there are just SO many wonderful cards I might as well admit that there is absolutely not one card that I do not connect with! The Ten of Cups pictures three figures from the festive Day of the Dead celebration that honors dead ancestors with feasts dancing and merriment. They are clothed in customary attire with blues, reds and yellows, surrounded by cups and faces reflected in Lisa’s surrounding artwork.


The Moon features the legend of Aeneus’ Journey to the Underworld and the imagery shows two figures, one of which Aeneus, who has come to search for his father in the mysterious and frightening underground passage that is symbolic of the unconscious and home to our greatest dreams and biggest fears. This card shows both the rich imagery of the rewarded as well as the torment and suffering of the punished, it too is among my favorite cards in the Ghost and Spirits Tarot.


This deck is simply too amazing and powerful that just descriptions alone do not come close to the wonder of holding this treasure in your hands and letting the Ghosts and Spirits speak to you in there own unique voice. I absolutely recommend this deck for both beginners and seasoned readers alike, it is truly a deck that one must have in their collection!


Publisher: US Games

Artist: Lisa Hunt

ISBN: 978-1-57281-661-9


images used with permission from US Games


Expanding Perspectives

Published July 19, 2016 by Tarot By Elizabeth

Sometimes when learning to read the tarot, some cards can be a little difficult to fully grasp what their essence is, leaving us feeling a bit foggy as to how to interpret what it may be trying to tell us. Here is a little trick I learned that not only brings clarification but also a deeper insight into how to truly connect and develop valuable insights that any given card is trying to express.

For several years, I’ve been attracted to the Crowley/Harris Thoth Tarot but always felt hesitant because I felt that it was a bit too advanced for me after years of study and reading with the Rider Waite Tarot. 

 I finally bought this wonderful deck a few weeks ago and am totally smitten with it. It isn’t nearly as complicated as I worked myself up to believe plus it’s an amazing deck for anyone who loves to delve deeply into spiritual and intellectual insights.

As I’ve been studying this deck, I began to notice that some cards seemed to be a tad hazy as to just how they fit into what questions or concepts I was asking about. 

The Six of Swords happened to be one of those cards that somehow seemed to elude me as to what exactly it was trying to impart. So, I decided to try this little trick in order to gain a clearer understanding of it’s message.

The Six of Swords, labeled “Science” by Crowley gives us the following information… “The search for truth; holistic thinking and the urge to communicate with others so that they too can share in this knowledge.”

Wow, on the surface that sounds pretty straightforward,  but what does all that really mean?  Deep down, how do I connect with the Six of Swords so that I can gain a deeper perspective of its message?

Okay, here’s that little trick I told you about….shuffle your deck while keeping in mind the question of how to fully understand the card you’re trying to connect with. Then draw three cards and place them below the card needing clarification, here’s what I pulled:

I pulled… the Prince of Cups; the Seven of Wands and the Magus. 

Now  Princes,  ( Knights in the Rider-Waite deck) I usually always see as acts of “doing,” meaning riding off in to the sunset in search of something, whether it be active or passive they all appear to be involved in some type of movement.

This Prince (Knight) is involved in the act of feeling, signified by his suit of Cups, which are the element of Water and deal with the realm of emotions and feelings. His message is one of connecting with our deepest emotions, the drive to reach out and experience our higher selves.

The Seven of Wands speaks about challenges and dedication. This card is about the element of Fire, that which drives us, in this case, we see that it is telling us there is a need to rise above intellectual obstacles and roadblocks such as limited thinking and restrictive ideas that must be overcome by thinking “outside the box.”

The final card, the Magus, being a Major Arcana card indicates a higher lesson to be learned. A lesson that the Universe is trying to tell us is important to understand.

The Magus (Magician, in Rider Waite) imparts several concepts that can be applied in context to the Six of Swords…

When we look at the Magus, the first thing we notice is that he holds all the symbols of the four elements, Wand (Fire); Cup (Water); Sword (Air) and Disk (Earth). Together, you might say he has a holistic view of his abilities and talents, he sees the whole picture because he has all the components that make up that picture.

Together, he has the tools needed to blaze the trail to self realization. In essence, in order to get an idea of the total concept, you must have the tools to see all sides. An elevated view of any given situation, in this case, it let’s us know that we are able to grasp the entire concept as well as the ability to explain it to others as well.

So now we can see the three cards that I drew, when applied to the need of a deeper understanding of the Six of Swords, gives us a richer, more rewarding connection.

 The drive to connect emotionally to our higher selves, thinking outside the box and taking in the whole picture are all facets of the true meaning of the card called “Science.”

Tarot Review: LeGrande Circus & Sideshow Tarot

Published August 31, 2015 by Tarot By Elizabeth

legrande-box

“Come one, come all… Step right up…Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of all ages! You are about to witness a daring Tarot deck of adventure and wonder…of excitement, guaranteed to delight! A deck that you will remember throughout your lifetime! Never before has anything so dashing been seen! I am privileged to introduce to you the star of the show…..(drum roll please)…..The LeGrande Circus & Sideshow Tarot!”

Created and illustrated by Joe Lee, a former professional clown with Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, this gorgeous 78 card Tarot deck with it’s bright colors and vintage circus styled posters is guaranteed to please almost every circus aficionado and tarot reader alike. After leaving the circus life, Joe moved to New York City where he studied and later taught art classes, now living in Indiana, he works as an illustrator.

The cards measure nearly 3 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ and are accentuated by a red line frame, with a colorful mirror image clown on the back that allows the reader to use reversals if so chosen. I had no problems shuffling and I have always loved U.S. Games Systems card stock because I am always able to mix the cards well without damage to edges or card stock itself.

Following the familiar Tarot Archetypes found in most traditional style decks, Joe Lee has quite successfully captured the unique flavor of circus sights and sounds without sacrificing the essence of conventional interpretations. The Major Arcana reflect the popular parade of archetypal characters with the exception of The Popess, replacing the accustomed High Priestess and the Pope filling in for the more commonly named Heirophant. Strength is enumerated 8 and Justice sports the familiar numeral 11.

Here you will find personalities such as quintessential fat lady (the Empress) the enigmatic Ring Master (the Emperor), a fearsome tiger as he leaps dramatically through a burning ring of flames (the Sun) and the ever popular tramp clown (as the lonely Hermit)

The Minor Arcana, a depiction of day to day life, reflects the quirky and unparalleled circus lifestyle with it’s high wire performers, juggling acts and cast of characters unique to this big top venue.

Each suit corresponds to an aspect of this colorful lifestyle. Wands, conjuring the backbreaking work of man and animal to raise the tent, Cups,the world of performance engaging it’s onlookers, Coins depicting the business of the show with its managers keeping the troupe on the road and the “butcher” hawking his “floss” and popcorn in the stands and the Swords, embedded deep in the bizarre and sometimes frightening heart of the sideshow like the sword swallower and knife thrower garnering wondrous gasps from their riveted audience.

The 60 page LWB (little white book) is comprised of both upright and reversed interpretations for each of it’s 78 cards, and includes a paragraph or two, explaining to it’s readers, the circus life and it’s characters. As an added bonus, the LWB provides a captivating spread named after this decks title, developed by Jody Boginski and my favorite lady, Lynn Araujo…kudos ladies for a truly awesome spread!

This is an absolutely delightful Tarot deck, one that even the newest readers can pick up and read straight away. I just can’t express how impressed I was as soon as I opened the box and began working with such a colorful cast of characters! I would urge readers both young and old, experienced or not, to add this to their collections!

Author/Illustrator: Joe Lee

Publisher: U.S. Games Systems

ISBN: 978-1-57281-731-9

images used with permission from U.S. Games

The Ripper Who…. Wasn’t?

Published December 28, 2013 by Tarot By Elizabeth

The Story

THE Jack the Ripper mystery that has kept the world enthralled since the killer first struck on the streets of Victorian London has been blown apart on the 125th anniversary of the grisly crimes by a former murder squad detective.

And the bad news for the countless millions of amateur sleuth who have spent years trying to identify the nation’s most notorious serial killer is that he never existed.

He was just dreamed up by a drunken journalist called Thomas Bulling who wrote a forged letter to Scotland Yard in 1888 pretending to be “Jack” so he could obtain a scoop.

More than 300 books and dozens of films and TV programmers have named in excess of 100 different men, often on the flimsiest of evidence, as the serial murderer who slashed the throats of five women who he then disemboweled, bringing terror to the gas lit streets of Whitechapel.

The suspects have included everyone from Queen Victoria’s grandson the Duke of Clarence to Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll.

Some even said a Sioux Indian warrior called Black Elk, who toured Britain with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the 1880s, was the guilty man. Others believed child charity campaigner Dr Barnardo was “Jack”.

But Trevor Marriott, a former murder squad detective with Bedfordshire police, has spent 11 years carrying out a detailed cold-case review of the killings, he has trawled Scotland Yard’s files and used modern-day police techniques backed up with state of the art forensic analysis.

“The facts of this case have been totally distorted over the years,” said Mr Marriott.

“The general public have been completely misled by any number of authors and publishers.

“Jack is supposed to be responsible for five victims, but there were other similar murders before and after the ones attributed to him, both in this country and abroad in America and Germany.”

jack the ripper, murder, Whitechapel Jack terrorized Victorian London

In total Mr Marriott has discovered 17 unsolved Ripper-like murders committed between 1863 and 1894. He believes a German merchant seaman called Carl Feigenbaum was responsible for some, but not all of those killings.

Feigenbaum was a crew member on ships that regularly docked near Whitechapel. He was executed in New York in 1896 after being caught by US police fleeing the scene of a Ripper-style murder there.

“The reality is there was just a series of unsolved murders and they would have sunk into oblivion many years ago, but for a reporter called Thomas Bulling,” said Mr Marriott.

Bulling was a drunken journalist with many police contacts at Scotland Yard, who in 1888 was working for the London-based Central News Agency. He was paid to supply crime stories for newspapers.

“Police got a letter that Bulling had written about the murders which he signed ‘Jack the Ripper’,” said Mr Marriott.

“It was the most ingenious piece of journalism that has kept this mystery alive for 125 years. Even now any modern-day serial killer is called a ‘Ripper’.

“You have to ask yourself if ‘Jack’ is an urban myth. Around 80 per cent of the books about him have a picture of a chap on the front stalking the streets of London in a long black cape and a top hat.

“They were the clothes of an upper class, wealthy man. But back in 1888 if someone dressed like that had actually walked around Whitechapel in the dead of night they wouldn’t have lasted five minutes.

“It wasn’t just one of the most crime-riddled areas of London, it was one of the worst areas in the country. It’s a false image that has been created by the likes of Hollywood film makers.

“New facts have come to light, we’ve now disproved the claim that the killer removed organs from the victims at the scenes of the murders, the organs were removed later once they were in a mortuary.

“There just isn’t a Jack The Ripper as such.”

But the interest in the Ripper murders is still so strong that just this month the East London Advertiser, the newspaper that covers the Whitechapel area published a 12-page souvenir pull out to mark the 125th anniversary of the crimes.

Meanwhile Trevor Marriott is mid-way through a 36-date theater tour of the UK with his one man show called “Jack The Ripper A 21st Century Investigation” in which he reveals the research he has done and the forensic evidence that he says finally reveals the real story about the killings.

Enter The Lenormand……

KIMG0022

The Significator:

Scythe
swift/cut/surgical/October

The Insert:

Jack of Diamonds

dark hair, violent,11,man

Fox + Garden +Snake + Birds
manipulation of the media (newspapers)/
deception by a public figure

(Sum)
Whip
violent, 11, successful, talented

Clarification=
Tower
company/newspaper reporter/politician

Now, all of this is purely speculatory…. But just “What If” said freelance reporter took it upon himself to perhaps…add to the mix and create a few victims himself?

I would LOVE to hear your interpretations!

Story courtesy of the Express online newspaper

Deck Review- The Gilded Reverie Lenormand

Published November 21, 2013 by Tarot By Elizabeth

Gilded Reverie Lenormand

I must admit, I’ve been quite curious about the Lenormand fervor that has been sweeping many folks off their feet but always hesitated because  I figured that it may be more complex that I wanted to try to figure out. Until I saw The Gilded Reverie Lenormand by one of my favorite  deck creator, Ciro Marchetti.

I was absolutely blown away by this Lenormand deck! I’ve always loved Ciro’s Tarot art with his use of rich colors and interesting images parading through his decks so when I saw that U.S. Games had published a mass market version of his Lenormand deck, I emailed Lynn right away.

The first thing I delighted in was the clever box that this Lenormand deck comes in. At first, it looked like it should slide out like a sleeve but to my amazement, it actually flips up and opens like a treasured book. The front of the flip lid is the beautiful picture of the Birds card, numbered 12 and is beautifully accented with gilded scrolling and highlighted imagery. This was my first hint of the absolute treasure inside!

The cards themselves number from ( 1. ) Rider, to (36.)  Cross, a standard number for a Petit Lenormand and have breathtakingly shiny gilded edging! The backs are a lovely dual red and burgundy checks with decorative golden colored scrolling and border effects. Unlike Tarot, Lenormand is not read with reversals so this would be an awesome Lenormand introduction for beginners to start out with. The card stock is the same high quality that sets U.S. Games decks apart from the all others. The deck itself is a tad larger than traditional Lenormand decks at  2.75” x 4.125”  and shuffles amazingly.

The one thing that I noticed is that when you have your question in mind and are shuffling and laying out two or three cards,  the answers you get are quite clear and understandable…as well as outright blunt, but I admire in the deck. Answers that are somewhat hazy as with some Tarot decks , are perfectly clear with gorgeous Lenormand!  For instance…(32.)Moon+(27) Letter can indicate that you will  get a letter of recognition or an award from your boss or a love letter from your sweetie arrives.

Unlike Tarot cards, these cards come with keywords, playing card inserts and can be learned in just a few short weeks. There are some wonderful Lenormand study groups and blogs out there to help if you want to know all the little tips and tricks. The Gilded Reverie can be read using the keywords for each card or along with the inserts as well to add a slightly different dimension to the answers that it provides. There is a LWB (little white book) that comes with this deck that gives intriguing insights into what the card means, layouts that you can try, and a brief history of The Lenormand as used as an oracle.

The Gilded Reverie has absolutely won me over and in just a week and a half, I was reading the image keywords and building sentences with lines of 3, 5 and block of 9 cards (so proud of myself!) I must say, this is an amazing deck and the way that Lenormand shows exactly what you need to do…no holds barred …It may just overtake my Tarot heart. I wholeheartedly recommend that anyone from beginner or seasoned reader, Tarot or Lenormand cards give this deck a go, it will definitely surprise you with it’s answers.

Artist: Ciro Marchetti

Publisher: U.S.Games

ISBN: 978-1-57281-754-8

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