Overview of the Ostara Tarot

I have had this on my wish list for some months, waiting for the mass market edition from Schiffer. The reviews mention the silver foil on the edges sticking together and missing cards or duplicates, so I was a bit worried about ordering it.

My copy is fine. You have to be careful pulling each card apart as the silver ink on the edges does stick. A few of my corners were slightly dinged but not too bad, and I have all the cards and no duplicates. Having overcome that hurdle successfully I wanted to discuss some of the cards.

There are so many, many cards in this deck that I like, but I edited it down to eight that seemed different. These two are from the Major Arcana.


Isn’t that Chariot different? What better way than chess to show a rider moving and having control? Self-discipline, practice but also the idea of strategy in that you have to think about the moves your opponent might make. I liked the wheels behind the figure of the rider and his hood, as if he was hiding his reactions, like a Poker face.

The second one that struck me was the Temperance card. She is holding a box that releases both predator and prey–that balance of the world. “Where something is taken, it must be given. Light is necessary to cast a shadow.” Very interesting imagery on this, it gives you a depth of meaning for those of us used to the conventional imagery.

Here are a couple of interesting ones from the Minor Arcana.


One of my bugaboos is the standard stabbed heart on the Three of Swords. Okay, it’s historical but it’s boring. Here we have that but we don’t. The tree and the ivy suggest growth from the archetypal heartbreak of this card. If you look closely you can see a frog in the ivy “relishing the rain” which again suggests nourishment and growth being available. That tree just stands there, is it misplaced stoicism or is it renewing itself and growing constantly? Terrific card, this is a favourite of mine.

The rabbit on the Four of Coins is priceless. The old miser has “…sucked every penny out of his family, his community…” He’s in his nice ship, getting cold and colder, have a nice trip you hero.

Here are two more that are quite different. I sometimes find it hard when there isn’t an obvious symbol, to tell which suit a card is from. These are both Wands and you can see little branches in the cards but they aren’t readily apparent so you have to get used to telling some of the cards apart. Well and good, it means using the cards and getting familiar with them, what could be better?


The Five of Wands is very striking with its two-headed snake. I liked the idea here of pulling in different directions. It’s not necessarily a group conflict, it could also be an inner conflict or change. Good point and well illustrated.

The Seven of Wands is a card that often seems to lack a fuller meaning. In the Rider-Waite tradition and man is often standing defending himself atop a hill or fortification. In this card the girl is guarding her perch on the floating island with a bow and arrow, but the other levels of islands and people below really speak to competition and the idea of “climbing the corporate ladder” and the advancement and defence that entails. She has a raccoon lying beside her which suggests masks and how competition can mean masking your true self. Yuck, it brings me back to my working days and all the drama of gossip and office politics. It also reminds me of course of the game Snakes and Ladders and zooming past your opponent on a ladder. So, all kinds of symbolism here that’s a bit different.

My favourite suit in this deck is the Swords suit. There are so many beautiful animals and a simplicity to some of the cards that is striking. These two are my favourite cards in the deck.


That whale on the Ten of Swords was the card that got me to put this on my wish list. Oh, such a lonely, beautiful, haunting card with the roiling sea and the whale under the stars, crying.

Having lived in Ontario for most of my life, I was used to the Blue Jay all around me, roistering and squawking in the garden and in cottage country, so I was surprised to see a Stellar’s Jay on the Two of Swords card. It was one of the first birds we saw in our garden in British Columbia, and I saw a Stellar’s Jay in the garden yesterday. The women who created this deck are from Vancouver, BC, so this was my first clue that they were Canadian, which was another reason I bought this deck.

The bird is blindfolded and that could mean not seeing or avoiding pain and difficult choices. I usually call this the “parlay card” because it is about that, or perhaps avoiding people as suggested by the loneliness of the path in this image. The other thing that struck me is the nest; you can’t fly out of the nest if you can’t see, so this could indicate someone who doesn’t want to grow up or is afraid to go out on their own, hemmed in by the Swords of fear.

The deck is all just a little bit different, which is what attracts me to decks these days. It has a freshness that I couldn’t pass up and I’m truly glad I purchased it and look forward to using it.




Dag Those Memories

Daily Draw February 10th, 2010

Oh-oh, the Ten of Swords. Well, she feels assaulted by daggers, which makes me think of the phrase “looking daggers at” someone. In this case, I just woke up from a dream about someone like that and started thinking about a similar person, which had me angry and babbling retorts to them as I got out of bed.

Silly really. I can only blame part of that on being half asleep, the other half is just silly patterns in the brain, much like the pattern of daggers around this lady, who is not looking, and thus making herself unhappy, imagining even more fearsome things.

The booklet says triumph over enemies and reconciliation which I think is easy enough to do–forget them. While I may not be able to control my dreams, I can control myself when I wake up from dreams.

A funny word “dagger”: it comes from the Middle English “dag” and is compared to the French “dague” for dagger in my dictionary. It sounds very Dutch or German to me, so somewhere in the mists of early Britain, it came creeping in like daggers in the early morning.

It can be a dang good day or a dag good day, depending on the mist in your mind. Yeah, there’s nowt like a good comparison in the a.m.

Tarot of the Saints – Tens


This is a card of materialism, which can be good, but it can be a sign of greed or prosperity without the spirit. You know what I see when I see those coins all lined up? Stasis. Rigidity.

We all know them, people that brag about the big house or the certain type of car they own. They buy these things not to enjoy them but to tell other people about them. Endlessly. Yeah, yeah I get it, the big car, the big house, the fancy job, the fantasy vacation, the parties, the one-night stands where you perform better than anyone else that has ever lived, and you once talked to Johnny Depp and know the Pope personally and toodle around with Madonna.

Then they start rabbiting on about their health and all the money they spend on treatment and spas and new scientific methods (which they helped develop with generous funding), and they personally advised global economists on several books, and have many successful investment ventures, and they also went to school with Anthony Robbins and play golf like Jack Nicklaus.

Not completion or satisfaction but excess. It’s all about them, a one-dimensional ride to boring self-involvement. See how fast people run from them.


This shows two putti holding a banner with symbols of the five wounds of Christ. Place says the symbols form a sacred quincunx, which is something I’m not familiar with. Here, the quincunx represents the cross and the four cardinal points of the Earth meeting the central fifth point, like Heaven and Earth meeting.

It was originally a Roman coin where the value could be indicated by a pattern of five. I was interested to learn that the quincunx pattern is used in sampling for anti-aliasing in computer programs. The pattern is also used in heraldry and echoes the crux decussate or the St. Andrew’s cross of Christianity. If you look on dice, the pattern on the five is a quincunx. Because it’s a geometric pattern, it shows up in Sacred Geometry and is a Celtic pattern and an alchemical symbol, similar to the image below, a quilt block pattern. The quincunx represent wholeness.

Martyrdom, criticism, this card often shows someone stabbed to death. Wounds take time to heal, and I also like the suggestion with this of a martyr complex, holding your wounds indefinitely instead of getting through them or past them. It’s that aspect of the mind again, holding ideas that aren’t valid, and inventing stuff that doesn’t exist.

Wholeness comes when you pull all aspects of life together. The 10 of Swords can shake you up and redistribute things evenly into balance, the balance of heaven and earth.


This shows Jesus blessing some children, and represents tradition and connections. I usually call this the Happy Families card. Shiny, happy people, doing well in life and living in stable, prosperous homes. This is a card of blessings. Think: “My cup is full.”


Interlocked staffs and the resurrected phoenix rising from the fire are depicted on this card, pointing to renewal and becoming unblocked. Sometimes this can also mean burdens or expecting too much. Renewal is renewal, it’s a new start, rebirth, all those life-changing things, but don’t overdo it, relax and enjoy life too.


This ends my study of the minor cards in the Tarot of the Saints. I have found them to be delightful with their semi-illustrated pips and hints and clues as to larger meaning. I don’t often hear people talking about this deck, even Robert Place seems more interested in talking about his newer creations, but I find it very solid in its meaning if you bother.

I still have four court cards and six Major cards to do, but I enjoyed the quiet exploration with these minors. They were worth a deeper study.