Decks that Intimidate Me – (non) VR to BoyDiviner

The BoyDiviner on YouTube did a video that, although it is not a hashtag, I really enjoyed a lot and decided to do a (non)VR to anyway.

This is about tarot decks that intimidate me in some way or another.  I don’t have many, but there are a few in my collection that fit the bill.  Here is an outline of what these decks are, and how I feel about them.


Secret Tarot by Dominic Murphy

I absolutely love the artwork in this deck.  I love the concept, the originality, the expressiveness in the cards.  I love it.

But, at the same time?  I find it very intimidating.  I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that after the major arcana, the deck is an entirely different structure.  I’ve had more luck with the Lost Tarot by the same artist, as there seems to be a bit more structure in that one than this one.

Still, I keep it because I love the artwork.  And, at some point, I plan on doing a depth study of this deck to help me (hopefully) become more familiar and comfortable with it and its unusual system.


Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley

I used to think that it was just the Thoth system that intimidated me, but after working with the Gill Tarot and a few others, I think in this case it’s the artwork, not the system.

Something in the artwork for the original Thoth deck just makes me want to ‘shield and retreat’ in much the same way that I feel when I come across someone radiating abusive vibes.   I bought this deck to delve deeper into the Thoth system, but every time I pick it up, it turns me off.   Not just emotionally or aesthetically, but even my intuition turns away from this deck and will refuse to speak.


Wild Wood Tarot by Mark Ryan, John Matthews, and Will Worthington

I genuinely adore this deck and its earthiness, although I find the energy of this deck just a but too heavy.   I love the artwork especially.  But, for some reason I have a hard time reading this deck intuitively, and many of the cards do not follow the RWS system, so I then struggle with reading it logically as well.

I did a depth study on this deck for an entire year, but I still find myself unable to read with it confidently, even after a year of serious study.


Dreams of Gaia Tarot by Ravynne Phelan

It’s the faces.   I mean, yes, it’s an entirely different system from any other deck out there, but I think I would be more inclined to learn that system IF it wasn’t for the FACES.  They just bug me for some reason.  I don’t like them.

That said, I do use this deck, but I use it as an intuitive oracle instead. Usually when harsh truths are required.


Spirit Keeper’s Tarot by Benebell Wen

This one is purely all about information overload.  I’m kind of wondering if this deck isn’t more suited to the logic-style of readers rather than the intuitive style?  I’m not entirely sure.   I just find there is SO MUCH information in each card that I feel overwhelmed by them when I try to read with them.

I think they’re amazing, and I think Benebell Wen (who drew each of these cards by hand) is brilliant.  I have the study books that go along with this deck and intend on doing a depth study with it at some point.  But, at the moment, I find it a bit too much and the cards make me feel like the crossed wires between my logic and intuition are about to blow a fuse.



The Happy Squirrel

Today’s meditation was ten minutes long and was a full body scan that started at the top of the head and finished at the tips of the toes, going through each body part individually before then expanding your awareness to the body as a whole, and then eventually to your surroundings and all you can experience in the now of that moment.

I enjoyed it, although my mind kept wandering today.  Not on any one subject in particular, just wandering to wander.  I, of course, brought my focus back each time, although I have to admit sometimes it can get a bit frustrating when that happens.

Today’s draw is another double without a jumper, as they both came out of the deck together.  The cards in today’s draw are the Six of Cups (the Deer) and the Happy Squirrel card, which is an extra card in this deck that has placement just after The World card in the Major Arcana.

Intuitively reading these cards, I hear a warning that if I am not careful, sinking into memories of the past can lead down a treacherous path.

I know you will think “how is this a positive”, but the fact that it is brought to the forefront and I have been given a heads up IS a positive, as it encourages me to mind myself and my self care, as well as to remember to keep my eye on the present instead of getting lost in reminiscing on the past.   The Happy Squirrel says that taking that primrose path at this time is a bad idea, as it will lead to somewhere I don’t want to go.

Traditionally, the Six of Cups is a card that deals with recollections, harmonious reminiscing, and that pleasurable glow that comes from good memories in relation to emotions, relationships, intuition, and creativity.   In the guidebook for this deck, the Deer has the keywords of innocence, compassion, insight, security, love, and wonder.

The Happy Squirrel card does not have a traditional meaning, as it is not a traditional card.   You can read more about the Happy Squirrel card here and here, though.

In the guidebook for this deck, the Happy Squirrel has no keywords, only question marks.

Deck Used: The Animism Tarot


Learning from the Past

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about… doing better?


Topic for the Week of 8/19:  “What can Paganism learn from the history of various (or specific) world religion(s) so we do not repeat the mistakes of the past and become and grow into a better religion in general?”

Like one of the hosts on Pagan Perspective replied, I think the idea behind this question is good.   It’s about how we (as a collective, or as individuals) can learn by example and do better.    I just don’t think that the phrasing is all that great, primarily because “Paganism” is a broad umbrella term instead of a specific religion.

Taken in its broadest term, it really boils down to what can people learn from the history of various religions of the world in order to become better people.

I don’t have a huge amount of knowledge on the history of religions, but I can say that the one thing I see the most that is needed in the religions I have read about and encountered is that an open mind is needed.  So many are so closed off and so closed minded.   You must do this thing, or think this way, or proselytize successfully, or whatever it is that is required of you to be considered a part of that religion.

IF this was about living an inclusive life and being a good person, then that would be great.  But what we see (or what I’ve seen) instead is that these requirements are impossible to achieve or require the smothering or outright cutting out of your inner-self to “serve the collective”.   This damages people and I think learning from this, everyone would benefit from remembering that individuality is a good thing, and very important.

Another lesson that I mentioned briefly above is the proselytization issue.  You recently said that you very much enjoy learning about my faith because I’m not pushing it on you or requiring anything from you.  I’m just sharing to share.

I think more people out there (not just in the pagan community but as a whole in humanity) need to learn this.  Forcing people into a faith that doesn’t fit them doesn’t benefit anyone or the faith as a whole.  This was true back in the Crusades (an extreme example, but it was at its heart an extreme proselytization campaign), and it is equally as true today.

Yes, putting your beliefs out there is a wonderful thing.  But trying to force (or trick) people into an ill-fitting box?  It is simply a bad idea all the way around.

I can’t say that I am much of a fan of today’s question.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s just because my experience with other religions, and the history of religions in general, is a bit limited.  I hope that what I’ve said at least makes sense though.


Needing a New Perspective

Today’s meditation was ten minutes and sixteen seconds, and focused on creating space and perspective in times of high stress and emotions.

The message outlined in this guided meditation involved talking a step away and disconnecting with the situation in order to look at it from an observer looking in. During this time you are encouraged to take deep breaths and seek a calm within, so you that you can return to the situation with calm and perspective.

Today’s draw is another double without a jumper as they both emerged together. TWICE prior to this it tried to give me four card readings that I returned to the deck with a request for fewer cards.

The cards in today’s draw are the Four of Pentacles (the Skunk) and the Hanged Man (the Opossum).

My intuitive interpretation of the cards is that they are telling me that in order to feel settled and stable in my life, sometimes it’s important to view the world from a different perspective.

As you know, I spent a HUGE amount of my time in the grip of that fear of losing what I have.  The stability of my home and finances especially.  In a very real way, this is what drives me to work so hard.  Yes, three is some leeway, as I also enjoy my creature comforts, but that just means that I push myself that much harder so that I can have both.

The cards in today’s draw are telling me that if I want that sense of stability, maybe it’s time to start looking for a different perspective (rather than, say, killing myself with work in my current one).

I don’t have a solution for this right now, but I do hear what they’re saying and understand, and it’s something I’m going to have to spend some time thinking about.

Traditionally, the Four of Pentacles is a representation of stability, shelter, structure, taking one’s time to reassess, and in some cases stagnation in the area of one’s resources, creativity, hearth and home, finances, and the physical world.  In the guidebook for this deck, the keywords for the Skunk are confidence, courage, self-esteem, contentment, discretion, and defense.

In the Major Arcana, the Hanged Man is the 12th card, and traditionally represents surrendering and letting go, taking a pause, or finding a new perspective.  Like all Major Arcana cards, this card deals with not one specific aspect of the human experience, but a “bigger picture” aspect.   In the guidebook for this deck, the Opossum’s keywords are patience, introspection, focus, courage, opportunity, and creativity.

Sometimes when I read intuitively, the meanings for the cards will deviate from traditional meanings, but in contemplation of the traditional meanings of the cards drawn to day, as well as the animal meanings provided for this deck, I find that it all is in line with what I’ve already interpreted through my intuitive reading.

Deck Used: The Animism Tarot



#7philosophicalreadings (non) VR to Benebell Wen

Recently, Benebell Wen did a video on YouTube that involved a challenge of doing 7 card readings for 7 classical philosophical questions.  I really liked this idea, and so I decided to give it a go.   Most of these questions I already have definitive opinions concerning, but the purpose of this exercise is to set the intention that the cards will know how you would respond deep down on a soul deep level, and thus communicate this in the readings.

I decided to do single card pulls for each question, but as you will see, I ended up with a few jumpers along the way.

The Seven Philosophical Questions:

1. The Trolley Dilemma: (I have linked the title to an outline of what this is if you are not familiar.)  Do you divert the course of nature and kill one to save five, or let nature take its course and let the five die.

IMG_9364The bell indicates I would try to warn all of them involved.  Although this is not something I could do verbally, I would definitely give my all to get the warning out there.  In the end, though, a difficult choice would have to be made.

This is where the spikes on the inside of the bell come in.  Either way, one or many will die.  I would choose the one, and my insides would be torn apart by this choice, probably forever after, just as those spikes are sure to scratch and score the inside of the bell.

I am that son-of-a-bitch that would kill five for someone I care about, though.  Just sayin’.

2. What difficult truth(s) about the human condition are you ignoring?

IMG_9365Sometimes I forget just how vulnerable people can feel.  Like so many, I go through life distracted by my own thoughts and issues and forget that others are dragging their own anchors behind them.  Some people’s anchors are heavier than others, but everyone thinks their own anchor is the heaviest.

In other words?  Everyone has burdens, and those burdens are entirely subjective.  That subjectivity makes it difficult to acknowledge other’s burdens, and impossible to see them in the same light as the one carrying them does.

3. What does it mean to live a good life?

IMG_9366Defeating your demons and protecting the security of your home, friends, and family (or your village of towers) from those demons hidden in the dark.

This boils down to valuing your personal “village”, and working on your shadows and demons so that they do not  crawl out of the dark and destroy everything you hold dear.  We all have deep dark shadows where monsters lie in wait, emotional demons and the creeping shadows of our darker selves linger there.

Unchecked and unacknowledged, these dark entities within ourselves surface and wreak havoc.  To protect what you hold dear, it is important to deal with these demons rather than trying to bury them into a hole they will then try to climb back out of again and again.

4. Where does your self-worth come from?

IMG_9367This card came with a twofold answer for me.   From within… and from the earth.  This is very fitting.

a) From within… I have never really been able to explain where my conviction of self comes from.  My father tried throughout my entire childhood to break me down and build me up into something different.  And yet it never worked.  No matter how hard he tried, I knew who I was and what I wanted, I knew what felt right and where my values resided.  From within, while not really speaking of “why”, does speak of where quite eloquently.

b) From the earth… I have always had a very strong reaction to the earth.  An instant communion with soil and sand, with trees and the green.  It is the balm of my soul in the way water is the balm of my emotions.  Being in nature among the trees and the soil, especially here in the rainforests where things are dark and moist and filled with green, has always been extremely restorative to me.  It lifts me up and centers me into myself. My self worth greatly ties into this, as it is a part of how I identify with my inner self (and the world at large, for that matter) on a very base level.

5. What had existed before our universe was created?

IMG_9368Okay, so this one totally made me laugh, and I think that was the entire point.

No, I don’t think that the card is saying that before the universe was created, angels resided on high.  But, I believe that before our universe was created there was still something greater at work.  An energy of creation, evolution, and balance that in the end gave birth to what we have today, much in the same way that melody is created by the creation, evolution, and balance of notes blending on the air.

6. Are you ethically obligated to improve yourself?


OOph… man.  The short answer?  Yes.  Look at those cards tho.  Wow.   They are so self explanatory, at least to me.

What I see here is the unpacking of one’s inner self (as life tends to do whether we want it to or not) develops into the discovery of one’s inner demons, and those demons being set loose out into the world.  And, when they are set loose, the world feels dark, and all those carefully erected pieces of your life that you value so much start to topple.

So yes. We are.  Because without self improvement, you are not just at risk of screwing over your own life, but the lives of everyone and everything around you (alllll those dominoes).

7. What is Divinity?


Divinity is the unlikely vessel that lifts you up and carries you when you are feeling vulnerable and small.  It is the light in the darkness that we must choose to accept or turn away from, and yet even when you turn away from it, it still glows to light the way.  It is the duality of right and wrong, good and bad, man and beast, feminine and masculine, yin and yang… always together, always in motion, always side by side.

Deck Used:  Dixit Expansion Pack #2 Quest


Let Go

Today’s meditation was ten minutes long, and focused on a recurring theme in these guided meditations, which is the ‘pause’ or ‘the gap’.

Essentially, it encouraged taking a moment in your day from time to time to “mind the gap”, which is to say to find that moment of stillness and quiet between bouts of chaos and cacophony.  These small gaps are moments of peace that can be used as a balm on one’s nerves and soothe the soul.

I like this recurring theme in my guided meditations, because they work as a reminder to something that I don’t always remember to do on my own.

Today’s draw is the Three of Swords (the Dove), and I will speak to the traditional meanings of this card after I provide my intuitive take.    When I saw the imagery on this card, the immediate response was “Let Go”.

The card’s appearance has to do with my hesitations in stepping forward with the new project that I’ve been working on.  I’ve had everything ready to begin for some time, but I’ve been hesitating to take that last step forward and begin.

Today’s card is telling me to let go of my doubts and fears and hesitancy, and step forward into  what I have been working toward.  To that end, I have done just that with a portion of my morning, and officially put the wheels into motion.

Traditionally, the Three of Swords is a representation of negative self talk, lack of optimism, sorrow or grief, inner pains, and (of course) heartbreak. Numerologically speaking, the Three of Swords indicates growing pains and small gains, communication among the group, and the “third wheel” mentality within the area of thoughts, logic, communication, instinct, and education.

In the guidebook for this deck, the is associated with the keywords of communication, sacrifice, truth, hope, release, and renewal.

Deck Used: The Animism Tarot