New Year with Mr. Bright

Steve Bright had a great 2-card draw for the New Year so I decided to try it.


Ace of Swords – Normally this is a great card for me, and it does represent good ideas and the power of thought and mental energy. I finished my hand-embroidered nightgown and my tree mural in the front hall and the rest of the year I felt dragged under by hopelessness, caught up in physical pain and depression. Part of that might have been because my Dad died, but still.

Instead of reaching for creativity I bogged down in painful, unhappy thoughts, my sword focused on whining words of defeat. I didn’t believe in myself, I let all that inspiration fizzle out, I didn’t carry through. What a horrible year it was.

The Chariot – Set out, guide my life, no one else will do it for me. This card of success and momentum carries me along. “The being is the doing” as James Ricklef says, describing how in the Being, we accomplish what we need. I like the focus and balance of the skateboarder in this. He’s racing along, unstoppable, yet enjoying the whole experience. It’s not a daydream of success that moves us along, it’s the small moments and acts, experiencing life and joy.




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.



Rise Along the Road Yon Blue-Robed One


31 – The Rubaiyat
Up from Earth’s Centre through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
And many Knots unravel’d by the Road;
But not the Knot of Human Death and Fate


I assume this is Apollo or Helios with the sun on his headdress, riding the Chariot of the sun using rams instead of horses because the horses were getting their manes braided this particular morning. If so, there is an interesting bit of history that in the ancient world, Saturn was once referred to as The First Sun, thus tying in to the card from The Mystic Rubaiyat.

If not, then perhaps Apollo commandeered a chariot to rise up and ride Saturn and maybe have a chat about logical positivism with the dead. As you do.




Blackie’s in a Snit About Perfection

Oh boy, I’ve been up since 3:30 a.m. Only three days to go until our move and trip and today is the day for last minute things. I am going to pack up my modem and send it back today as I’m only renting it now, so this will be my last post for a bit.



The obvious tie to travel shows up. Time to go, and moving forward successfully.

One thing about this struck me, the idea of pulling in opposite directions, which gives me thoughts about marriage and the way two people can diverge when organizing, planning and taking care of details while moving house. Mention in the book about “over-emphasis on power and control” makes me think I should rein in my perfectionistic tendencies.

Hahaha, like that’s going to happen. Where would the world be without the Listmaker urging the horses on?

“Cheerio, but be back soon.”

Forward Ho! with Focus

Ah yes, The Chariot, hurtling forward even though the path is long. You must maintain your focus on the goal.



A good card for today. We were getting a tad discouraged about selling the house and someone told me on the phone to not worry and just keep going.

Focus on your goal. Drive on, ride into tomorrow in more ways than one.



Leaping Harlequin Great Danes

THREE OF FIRE (3 of Wands)


I love those gambolling Harlequin Great Danes on The Chariot in this deck. I once wanted one of those dogs but they are not as long-lived as other breeds. I like that the one on the right looks bouncier, a bit ready to tear off, while the dog on left looks a little steadier. There is a nice black and white balance to that.

I don’t like the glow behind the cat on this deck as it seems to override all the other interesting things on the card, including the cat.

Focused attention and will, which is something I need to apply to a drawing but my arm has gone a bit kerflooey again. This guy though is in charge of his destiny, so no object (or ruined arm) will deter him!

I really, really like this new take on the Three. There is always some ambiguity to this card in that the classic Rider-Waite version shows a man looking at a ship out to sea, but you don’t know if the ship is coming in or leaving or what the circumstances are.

Similarly in this card, the cat has seen something and is ready to leap, but is he leaping into new adventures and creativity or leaping too soon without thinking it over? Risk and challenge can be good or bad. He says to me “Just paint the darn gouache on the paper Judy.”

I sometimes get the feeling that my cards get fed up with my dithering and perfectionism.



Ezra, Wolf, and Horse Remind Me Over a Cup of Tea

WOLF – NINE OF FOSSILS (9 of Pentacles)


I have not been sleeping well and this morning I just did not want to get up but I was fully awake. I finally decided to do something right away when I got up, so I considered what priority my tasks had and then showered and put on clean clothes, did the dishes, fed the pets, and cleaned that all up and washed the counters. Little things, but they gave me some momentum.

Then I washed some bed linens while checking my e-mail, and hung them outside to dry in the sun (always a cheery thing) and had some breakfast.

I ordered two books on inter-library loan by Ezra Bayda who writes on Zen. One is called Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment and the other is At Home in the Muddy Water: A Guide to Finding Peace Within Everyday Chaos. I know these things, these thoughts of Zen and meditation but a refresher is ever needed. Particularly when anxiety rears up or I have a day when I want to give up.

So I’m having a cup of tea and reading Ezra. It’s funny these two cards came up, almost like a nudge that says, “Get going, fly and you will feel better, you will feel freedom,” along with a nudge from the Wolf on enjoying the garden, smelling the laundry drying in the sun, hearing the birds.

It’s similar to that Zen saying on enlightenment: Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. The day to day grinds on, but it’s about finding peace within everyday chaos. Do those dishes, get into the shower and clean up, do laundry, all those things that ground us and can give us momentum and something to hold onto when our minds are spinning out of control.

Self-discipline, master instinct and impulse, release judgment and do what needs to be done. The Nine of Fossils is about that sort of thing, the maturity of commitment and yet enjoying what is, accepting what surrounds you. Both these cards speak of self-assurance, command, the kind of feelings I often don’t feel when I’m stuck in the house alone for weeks. And yet, commanding the everyday brings it back.

No need to force things, just sort of flow into and out of them, like a horse flying through air currents. I get scattered into several projects and then feel guilty so the Horse takes aim and goes, we are the vehicle, we decide.

It’s that kind of day, the kind of day where you decide what needs to be done and then you go through the tasks, one by one, peacefully, gently, no big angst, enjoying the doing.