Sunday, 13 September 2009
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Like many things here in the UK at least, there were explicit rules of falconry. For example, you were only permitted to fly the bird that corresponded correctly with your social rank. Kings could have the big guns, like eagles and ger falcons, priests could have sparrowhawks and servants could only have kestrels.
Monday, 7 September 2009
I wanted to celebrate the start of the cooler season with fruits of the earth. My favourite herb in anything Italian is fresh basil. Follow that with berries for dessert and I'm anyone's...
You know how sometimes you draw two opposing cards and they combine to make the most precious reading, as long as you add intuition? Well, combining basil and berries works in the same way... as long as you add alcohol!
Try this, chilled. I have named it 'The Queen of Pentacles' because it's earthy and bounteous in flavour:
5 fresh basil leaves
1 shot Grand Marnier
1 shot Chambord (or other berry liquor)
3 dashes cranberry juice.
Liani xo (on holiday in Stratford-upon-Avon!)
PS: This is way too much fun. There have to be other cocktails out there that you can link to tarot cards... Email your recipes to email@example.com, along with the card you are naming your cocktail after. The best entries will be published here on the blog and will receive a free 3 card email reading! Get out the blender...
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Saturday, 29 August 2009
Now, this bird that's in the background of the Star card...
Is it really an image of the sacred ibis?
...or the scarlet ibis?
Waiter, there's a bird in my Star card! There's an ibis perching on the tree in the background. Every writer I look to maintains that it's the sacred ibis of Egypt, representative of Thoth and Hermes, and symbol of the mind. The mind is coming to rest in the tree, symbolising meditation and the gaining of divine inspiration from the energy of the Star.
Ok. It's just that the sacred ibis is mostly white, and, well, the bird on my Rider-Waite Star card looks kind of red to me...
The scarlet ibis, and for that matter, the roseate spoonbill, are cousins of the sacred ibis. However, they come from South America, which could dilute the ancient Egyptian symbology somewhat. After all, most evidence suggests that the tarot did NOT originate in Egypt anyway, but in the courts of Milan! However, that's a subject for another post. (The Golden Dawn put the ibis on the Star card. There was definitely some ancient Egyptian influence in that society, but it wasn't the only form of mysticism they embraced.)
Nevertheless, if you're a cousin of someone, you share some of their DNA. So I see no reason why the scarlet ibis can't symbolise the mind like his cousin, if he wants to. All that remains is the question of his reddish tint.
Scarlet ibises are born white, but they get redder and redder as they grow older because they eat a particular type of crab, absorbing its colouring. Funny, isn't it, that the crab is an old symbol of the subconscious mind?
By eating and repressing the subconscious, the 'mind bird' has gone red, and needs to meditate in the tree to set things right again. He may not be the only one who'd benefit from a period of self-reflection, either. Perhaps Little Red Riding-Hood had more going on under that cape than we first thought...
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
What would you do if you were lying naked in bed and someone broke into your house? In my twenties, I probably would have charged out to tackle (or blind?) the offender. These days... well, I might just cower under the covers and hope they didn't see me.
I always thought that the fellow in the Seven of Wands has thrown on any clothes he can find, grabbed his weapon and raced out to defend the farm. After all, his shoes don't even match.
Then again, I haven't read for any people who've been placed under physical siege like that...
Maybe there's a more subtle meaning to the mismatched shoes, seeing that the majority of my clients who get this card are artists, not victims of farm raids.
Isabelle Radow Kliegman, in Tarot and the Tree of Life, writes:
'(The Seven of Wands) is the card that says, "I have the right to my eccentricities as long as they don't hurt anybody." As Alan Watts puts it so eloquently: "Everyone is entitled to his own weird." If I'm doing something that strikes you as very peculiar - back off.'
So, go forth, Tarot lovers! Fight for your own weird!
PS... Here are some great resources for those interested in connecting Tarot with fashion:
Did you know that over at Polyvore, people make collages of current fashion items and match them to tarot cards? Here's one that's all about the Seven of Wands:
Also, for those of you who like your Tarot in a bottle, there are five new fragrances from Dolce and Gabbana, each honouring a different Major Arcana card:
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
It's not possible to get far past the age of twenty without experiencing grief. For some, that loss comes much earlier. The pain is particularly keen when we lose a mentor, for we often feel unready to 'go it alone'.
Like many of us, my new friend Georgianna (of thetarotroom.com) had a rather unusual teacher when it came to learning the Game of Life. After 'going it alone' since his passing twelve years ago, she recently found herself catapulted into a mystical experience, thanks to a random Twitter post from her book club, urging her to 'listen to the ghosts of her own past'.
'In Kissing the Limitless by T Thorn Coyle (the book we’re reading for the book club), Coyle suggests we write a letter to our ancestors to ask for direction on our journey. I started writing a few letters but they were all too sappy. Al would have just laughed at them. So I decided to pull a card instead.'
I was overcome by the simplicity and emotional impact of Georgianna's ritual and decided to try it myself. My greatest teacher was a silvery, chain-smoking Irish fairy called Margaret. She was my surrogate mother, grandmother and Lord High Executioner. Maybe's she's in a bar with Georgianna's 'Al' in the afterlife, as she too would probably scoff at the notion of me writing her a letter.
I got quiet, lit a candle (instead of a cigarette, for, unlike Margaret, I don't smoke) and just asked her straight out: 'What would you tell me if you were here today?'
The card I drew was perfect. I think I'm going to need a new deck for readings, as I've taken to carrying just that one card around with me everywhere.
I hope you will take the time to try this profound ritual. Also, please visit Georgianna at the link below to read the full story of her unforgettable mentor, Al.
the tarot room: Al Rush and the 10 of Vessels