Deck interview: The DruidCraft Tarot


I’m using Katey Flowers’ deck interview spread.

1. What can you teach me? Princess of Wands

The Princess of Wands is energetic, confident, outgoing. The deck thinks these are achievable goals for me apparently!

2. Describe yourself? Queen of Cups

It’s funny, I think of this deck as being quite “masculine”, but this energy is very maternal and nurturing (which aren’t traditionally masculine traits). There’s also a lot of intuitive possibility with the DruidCraft.

3. Describe me? High Priest

I think the deck is acknowledging a few things here. First, I actually quite like The Hierophant because I have (generally) positive associations with organised religion. Second, I volunteer in a church environment. Third, I have a degree in theology. But it’s also acknowledging that for the time being, I’m forced to behave more conventionally than I otherwise would.

4. How can we work together? 9 of Swords

We can work together best by dealing with my “demons”, leading to a “brighter phase”.

5. Your strengths? King of Cups

The deck is tolerant, sincere and compassionate – not a cruel taskmaster, but a firm one, especially when it comes to emotions.

6. Your weakness? 7 of Wands

There’s a tendency to defensiveness. Perhaps it’s that maternal instinct shining through.

7. Our potential together? 3 of Swords

The DruidCraft has an interesting take on this card. Rather than showing a heart pierced through, the card shows three swords, pointing upwards, resting on a stone heart. The sense I get is that the DruidCraft and I can can turn heartache into wisdom and new strength.


Deck interview: The Fountain Tarot


The Fountain Tarot and I didn’t hit it off right from the start, but after doing a deck interview with it, I feel more confident about its vibe. I think, like me, it’s an introvert and takes a while to warm up to new people. I used Katey Flowers’ deck interview spread.

1. What can you teach me? Judgment

In The Fountain Tarot, Judgment is very closely tied to the concept of forgiveness and moving on from one’s past. The deck can help me to reconcile myself to myself – sort of like an armistice with my past, and letting the old be transmuted and transformed into something new. The artwork on Judgment is very “cocoonish”, and that image resonates.

2. Describe yourself? Ace of Coins

The Fountain’s Ace is abundance distilled: lush, nourishing and nurturing, hinting at the sheer abundance of creation and creating.

3. Describe me? 7 of Cups

Well, the deck has me down pat! I’m a dreamer and not a doer, but without actions my dreams will stay just that. I’m also going through a period where I feel very much stuck and like I’m spinning wheels.

4. How can we work together? 6 of Wands

The deck would like us to be a little more ambitious, please, and possibly more visible. Together, we can strive after success with hope and courage.

5. Your strengths? The Hierophant

The keywords in the LWB are literally “trusted advisor”, and the deck is telling me that it’s good in that capacity. TFT is a compassionate sharer of wisdom in the search for truth.

6. Your weakness? 3 of Cups

I said before that the deck is an introvert. Perhaps it’s one of those “one person decks” I’ve seen some tarot practitioners talk about.

7. Our potential together? 10 of Swords

The potential to move away from the 10 of Swords is there. This card resonates with the theme of “leaving behind the past” from Judgment. I imagine the man folded over in the artwork straightening up and discovering that the “swords” that had been causing him so much pain, are mere light and projection.

A PSA on abusers: they lie


Something I read on Tumblr recently put a wasp up my butt. I’m not going to link to the post, partly because I think this person already has enough to deal with, but also because this post isn’t meant as a criticism, just a rumination on the dynamics of abuse and a few comments on this person’s situation specifically.

The Tumblr post in question was a (pretty good actually) spell to stop people from being able to read tarot about you without your consent.

The spell itself isn’t the issue, and it’s too early in the bloody morning to get into a discussion about the ethics of reading for others without their consent or whether it’s even possible or whatever (for what it’s worth, I do think you can, and that you generally shouldn’t).

What caught my attention (and sent the wasp up my butt) (“bee in the bonnet” seemed too polite) was the situation that led to the creation of the spell. Basically, the person ran into their emotionally and spiritually abusive ex at a market, and the ex commented that they still read the Tumblr person’s tarot cards and what a “surprise” it was to see them there.

The Tumblr person also said that in the past, their ex had used the tarot to control and manipulate them.

It made me kinda sad to see the elaborate spell this person posted to stop their ex from prying into their affairs because it meant that the ex-had achieved exactly what they’d hoped to do when they uttered those words: fear, control, and manipulation. In setting up the spell, I personally believe this Tumblr person was giving their ex even more of their power because it showed that on whatever level, they still believed this person held power over them.

Let’s be clear (or as clear as one can be, operating on limited information): the ex was lying. I wouldn’t put it past someone like that to sniffle out someone’s location using mundane means, but tarot as much pointed them to that market than it launched the moon mission. Consider this a reminder that abusive people lie. They lie to you, they lie about you. They manipulate you into lying to yourself, about them. They are always at the centre of a conspiracy of lies and half-truths, like a spider plucking the strings of a web.

It makes them feel powerful. It makes them feel in control.

The thing is, once you start catching them out in their lies, once you become aware of what they are, it’s remarkably easy to unravel their web. It often doesn’t feel easy, it feels terrible. (I’m writing this out of personal experience by the way.) But their “control” is easy to dismantle when you stop believing that they have any or are allowed any.

Consciously untangling yourself from an abusive person’s lies, while hard and painful (and daily) work is, I think, more effective in the long-term than trying to hide from their “all-seeing” eye (which, emphatically, they do not have).

The thing about Death (most fowl) #WeeklyTarotFYI

A darkened room. Flickering candles. A bangled, bedazzled psychic. Red velvet drapes. A curl of incense and/or a mist machine on the “low” setting. The querent leaning forward, tense. The dramatic pause before, in a jangle of costume jewellery and a flurry of grey, curly hair, the psychic turns over a tarot card – Death!

It’s not really strange that even before getting within spitting distance of tarot, most people have at least some vague notion of the Death card. It’s a dramatic device par excellence, and why not? Most card imagery features a Grim Reaper of some variation. Coupled with the general misconceptions about tarot (for most people’s it’s something to do with “the occult”, which covers all manner of sin), Death is great for the cheap plot trick.

But here’s the thing: even after some time of knowing about and working with the tarot, Death still gets a nervous chuckle out of me whenever it shows up in a reading. Even precluding the common misconceptions about its meaning, it generally signifies that most uncomfortable of things to a two-times natal chart Taurean – change. And not surface change: it goes beyond externals and circumstance. It’s a change inside, a dying and a rebirth, often crucial, but almost always uncomfortable, disconcerting or downright unpleasant.

A few months ago, Death showed up in a daily draw I did for myself. I won’t say I shit a brick, but I spent most of the day on edge, expecting devastating news or some stark betrayal or the end of my life as I knew it. Very melodramatic, right? Of course, a piano didn’t fall on me, no dark secret of mine was revealed, and my world didn’t crumble down around me. In hindsight, I think Death meant the start of some long-ailing thing’s last slither from my soul, but to Past Me, doom was imminent.

That’s Death in a nutshell: it prompts a hell of a lot of self-reflection.


The #WeeklyTarotFYI card for this week is Death (no shit). Nervous chuckle begat, I reminded myself that I’d asked about guidance and had a bit of a stare and a ponder. What struck me most about Kim Krans’ The Wild Unknown version is that the card doesn’t actually portray death, just decomposition. The bird’s death happened off-screen or on Krans’ Hierophant, depending on your interpretation of that card. If the focus of The Wild Unknown’s Death card is decomposition rather than death itself, it waters down the “scare factor” of the card somewhat because it’s talking about something that’s already dead.

That gives us something even meatier to consider. When decomposition occurs in a field somewhere, in an open space, exposed to nature and the elements and the work of animals and insects, decomposition is “good” in the sense that the bird’s corpse goes through the natural process of breaking down. That process feeds and nurtures a whole array of critters as it occurs, and in the end little is left of the bird’s corpse. It’s only when decomposition is resisted – a dead rat in a crawl space, for instance – that it becomes problematic.

This week, Death’s asking us to “air out” the dead stuff we’ve left to rot in our minds, hearts and souls. It’s time for us to get out of the way of a process that is ultimately for our own well-being. The change has already happened; within us, something’s already died. Keeping it hidden away won’t bring it back. Rather than holding on to it, we need to trust that its breaking down will nurture something within us.

What to let go of, though? When we see the Death card in a reading, I think most of us instinctively think of one thing or another. Much like a dead rat left to rot in a ceiling, we know it’s there – we smell a rat! Well, it’s time to put a plastic shopping bag over our hands and go fish it out so we can send it to the Great Field Out Back in the sky. An unpleasant task, but a needed one.

What card/s did you draw for yourself this week?

Never trust men in tights (#WeeklyTarotFYI)


Friends, enemies, ex-lovers, lovers to be (*wink*), acquaintances and yes, strangers of both the daunted and undaunted variety: hello! Welcome to another #WeeklyTarotFYI, hosted, as ever, by your friendly closeted neighbourhood tarot reader, Thom Foole* and her trusty dog sidekick. This week’s sponsor is my jaundiced eye and the rage of the “second” sex.

The card I drew for this week’s #WeeklyTarotFYI (which I realise is the clunkiest hashtag ever, and not exactly taking off anywhere hashtags are used, but I’m apparently more hopeful than I realise) was the Two of Cups: a woman and a man exchange cups and vows under the watchful gaze of a winged lion. Beyond proving that tarot symbology has a lot in common with dreaming while drunk, the card obviously echoes The Lovers. This relationship is in its nascency, though, and everyone remembered to put on their clothes that morning. On the surface, it’s a very straightforward card, simple and romantic.

Closer inspection reveals that there’s a lot of underlying tension in the Universal Waite art, however. The man is reaching for a cup the woman is reluctant to hand over. Her cup takes all of her attention and focus. She holds it with both hands, arms raised as if to meet the man’s hand. She doesn’t want to let her cup go. But the guy in tights – intent on her face, and keeping a nice firm grip on his own cup – is stepping forward into her space, insistent.

I woke up this morning to the #MeToo hashtag trending on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Alyssa Milano started it, encouraging people to share their sexual harassment/sexual assault stories to try to bring to light the sheer scope and prevalence of this kind of assault. Unfortunately, it was a hashtag many – myself included – could participate in. The response was staggering.

But I wonder whether it will have its intended effect. The news has been full of Woody Allen – a paedophile, and dodgy person extraordinaire – cautioning people against going on a “witchhunt” against those who’ve made a habit out of sexually harassing or assaulting others. Sadly, a stubborn amount of people agree with him – acting like the women Weinstein abused (and Cosby abused, and Allen abused) are just making trouble or telling stories or looking for attention. After all this time, giving predators the benefit of the doubt (and victim blaming along the way) is still a thing.

I can’t help but feel that these people (many, if not most, of whom are male) are all the Two of Cups’ guy with his tights. They’re the guys who pride themselves on being “nice” guys; who stand too close, hold too tight, dismiss too easily; who “drunk too much” or “didn’t mean it” or “aren’t like that”; who say “smile” and are constantly reminding you in small ways that they’re being patient, but patience runs out, and after that…

They’re the ones who interrupt you, talk over you, say bad things and add “I’m just joking; can’t you take a joke?” Who think you, your presence and your body are open to discussion just because you happened to cross paths with them. They’re the guys who take ownership of things that aren’t theirs, all the while acting like you’re the crazy one for holding back, for saying “No”, for resisting, for existing without pandering to them or their egos or their ever-fragile toxic masculinity.

We are all the woman in the Two of Cups this week: trying to stand our ground, trying to reclaim our voices and yes, our emotions, and the right to have those emotions. The right to be outraged and frightened, defiant and proud, grief-stricken and strong, without being “called to order” by a (still very) patriarchal society who want to interject “Buts” and “Ifs” to stories and experiences that aren’t theirs. 

Friends, neighbours, strangers: the sad reality is that some asshole will try to take your cup from you, this week and all others. He’ll do it because all his life long, and the lives of the men and women before him, he’s been allowed to. But we don’t have to hand it over. Our experiences are just that – ours. As are our bodies and our voices. I find comfort in the woman in the Two of Cups’ stance. It’s firm. She’s fighting against the conditioning that’s told her all her life not to make a fuss, to be quiet and compliant, to be both beautiful and invisible, to “just let it go” or “don’t make it harder on yourself”.

She’s holding on to her cup. She’s not even looking at the man. He isn’t what’s important in this scenario. 

*A pseudonym

Housework won’t do itself (#WeeklyTarotFYI)


Image source.


Hello from the land of long to-do lists and tarot cards that don’t allow you to spiritualise mundane shit! I’m probably about to sprint out of the house to get the towels off the line before a spring storm soaks them through. Appropriately, the Weekly FYI for this week is the Ten of Wands. The LWBs throw around the word “oppression” a lot when discussing this card. My own interpretation is “thankless work” – the routine of day-to-day tasks, the mundane admin that simultaneously clogs up the arteries of life and allows you to have a roof over your head, a place to sleep, a stocked fridge, dog food and no red letters in your mailbox. It’s not hard to draw the connection between that and the LWBs themes of “oppression”, but I think a far more interesting question is why we see 90% of the stuff we do as slog.

Of course, I’m speaking here as someone who has an automatic washing machine and the luxury of appliances and enough free time to talk shit on the Internet. I wonder if this card’s biggest “issue” (it’s not generally seen as a positive card) isn’t the sticks but the downcast attitude of Monsieur White Tights? He’s so focused on his relentless game of “pick-up sticks” that he can’t see where he’s going. He’s not looking around at the lovely countryside or even looking forward to his destination: he’s got stuff to do, and he’s lost something of himself in their doing.

Yet those burdensome wands aren’t dead wood, they’re putting out leaves. The man carrying them isn’t lost in a desert, he’s in civilisation on his way somewhere. It’s the thankless work, the routine of day-to-day that gets us from one week to the next and some pretty interesting destinations along the way. My takeaway from this is to remember that even that kind of work is toward a fruitful purpose. It’s not empty work, though it often feels dull.

How to break free from experiencing the Ten of Wands as oppressive, though? It’s all fine and well until you’ve spent nine hours at work and your lunchtime queueing at a municipal office! It’s interesting that no one is forcing our Monsieur White Tights to carry his haul. There’s no one around bugging him about it. Any oppressiveness in the Ten of Wands, then, has us as its source. Our choices – our attitude – determines our experience. It’s a cliche, but while we can’t always change our circumstances, we can change our attitude towards them.

I’ll try to keep this in mind as I watch the overcast sky, wishing I’d left the laundry till tomorrow…

Have a good week!

Patrick Bateman is full of shit


Image source.

I’m pretty sure my intuition was just waiting for me to do the Weekly FYI to deliver these babies: the four of Pentacles with the Daughter of Wands as a jump card. I won’t say these two are diametrically opposed, but it’s as close to it as “Damn it!” is to cussing. They remind me of the yin/yang symbol: vitally different but for a kernel of similarity at their very cores.

The four of Pentacles is sort of the Patrick Bateman of the tarot. In the Waite we see a king using his wealth to literally isolate himself from the world around him. The Wild Unknown paints a more harmonious picture of a closed-off, self-sustaining system. It’s interesting how the lemniscate is layered over itself in the Wild Unknown’s four of Pentacles. For all that it signifies infinity, it seems almost…trapped. There’s nothing wrong with wealth or material possessions in and of themselves unless we use them in the wrong way; in this case, as building blocks for our identity. We can’t be looking for infinity in the finite.

Image source.

It’s into this hot mess that the Daughter of Wands whips. Like the four of Pentacles, hers is a journey fundamentally about self-definition, but the means are totally different. The king in the Waite four of Pentacles uses his disks to define himself. Outside of these, he thinks, I need nothing or no one! Except, of course, that material success is always about external validation. In contrast, the only yardstick the Daughter of Wands uses is herself: am I doing what I want or need to? Am I walking my path well? She curls eternally around a flowering branch. Her growth is potentially infinite and nourished by the world without being defined by it. But the four of Pentacles can never be more than what it already is because it isn’t rooted in anything.

I think the cards ask an important question: not what defines us so much as how we define ourselves. What, or whose, yardstick are we using? Do we use the external trophies of “stuff” to define ourselves, often stunting ourselves emotionally to do so, or do we pick the less straightforward but more rewarding approach of The Daughter of Wands, who follows the way of The Fool?


Image source.

Back yon when I was in school, one of the favourite topics in our “life science-y” classes was peer pressure and how not to succumb to it. And what a waste it was, because as it turns out the adolescent brain is wired just so to be vulnerable to peer pressure. The “Let’s be reasonable about this” and “You could get pregnant!” and “But it’s the same t-shirt just without the brand name!” part of your brain is literally lagging behind the rest of it, doubled over and out of breath as all the other parts race ahead. Adolescents are wired to make dumbass decisions, which is probably why we’ve survived as a species.

What they never tell you, though, is that despite the reasonable part of your brain catching up eventually in your twenties (!), peer pressure never really goes away. It just becomes more sophisticated and more subtle, which is why at this very moment there are people excited to pay $1000 for a phone out there (and God bless them).

I’d judge them, I really would – as a Christian I’m really good at it, too – but then I’d have to sit right down under the same censure. For example, I have a friend who is dear to me…except that she’s super competitive. A few months ago I picked up a second-hand book at an antique store for R20 (that’s, like, a buck and a half in American, or a pound if you’re British). It’s a reference book and very expensive new. Its cover was in a bad way, and it smelled a little odd, but I jerry-rigged a new cover and the book is perfectly usable, if not all that pretty. I’m two parts Taurean so the only thing I love more than potatoes is a bargain.


Image source.

A few weeks later, I noticed my friend now has a version of this same book on her shelf…brand spanking new, all glossy and gilt-edged. She never said anything, but then she didn’t really need to: in comparison to the new, shiny version of this book, my slightly smelly bargain paled significantly. And just like that, it had become a comparison: like that scene in American Psycho where Patrick Bateman is forced to confront a business card that’s better than his own…only, you know, with less misogynistic killing sprees.

The funny thing is if I hadn’t been competitive myself I probably wouldn’t even have noticed this tendency in Otherwise Dear Friend. But I am, and her insistence on outdoing me in the “stuff” department annoys me like only a water sign can annoy an earth sign. And so the tarot has set out these two cards and the tension between them like Nanny 911 giving pesky toddlers a choice between two outfits: the four of Pentacles and the Daughter of Wands. Which one do you want to wear?

I’m no expert, but when one of the choices is Patrick Bateman’s quintessence, you generally choose the other option.


Image source.