Sunday, 25 June 2017


Daily Draw: The Llewellyn Tarot, The Lovers

This card can mean being made brave with love. Indeed the word courage derives from the Latin 'cor' meaning 'heart'. Most people would recognise the experience of being made brave for one's nearest and dearest. But bravery on behalf of strangers perhaps less so? 

I like to look past the obvious connotations of romantic love in this card which is a bit of a challenge given the central image this particular rendition. So focusing on the colours instead...

The red drapes symbolise courage, action and initiative. It is no coincidence that red is often the colour of revolutionary social movements. Active mind is signalled by the orange hues, progressive change is well thought out. 

The yellow (and the candle) also picks up this theme of intellect and brightness although this colour also harbours the less desirable attributes of bitterness, deceit and cowardice. 

A good reminder that when we embark on any course of action we examine our motives for doing so. Back to love...

As Birdie MacDonald (foster carer of over 800 children) puts it so well: 

'Love is wholesome, love is power' 

Saturday, 24 June 2017


Daily Draw: The Llewellyn Tarot, Queen of Swords

Eschewing small talk and the niceties she sees as conversational 'fluff', Queen may not instantly connect with others. Here we see her up on a mountain with the air above providing the headspace that she so needs. Yet she is not cold as in some interpretations. Actually she is the only queen who reaches out with her hand. It takes lot for her to do this and that hand may not be offered twice. 

She is not the kind of friend who will call umpteen times a day or want to spend every weekend together. Respecting your privacy she won't turn up at your home uninvited and hopes you will respect her privacy too. Months may pass but when you do get together she will pick up exactly where you left off. She will listen quietly when you pour out your heart but she won't mirror those emotions. If she comments at all it will be to offer a logical solution. When someone is in a ditch don't jump in there and cry with them offer them a way out she says. 

I think she is more interested in ideas and theories than in understanding what makes people tick. Perhaps my similar tendencies explain why it has taken me so long to get to know the courts. I do find it a struggle but she has reached out her hand to me and I'd be a fool to turn down the offer of friendship from a kindred spirit. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Personal shopper

Daily Draw: Llewellyn's Classic Tarot, Page of Cups

I was reading today that this page is sartorially the most stylish. Whereas the Page of Pentacles wears expensive but practical clothes in fine fabrics his style is too safe and predictable for the Page of Cups who likes to be more creative.  

When he appears it can be a reminder to treat yourself to a new item of clothing. As a shopping companion he would say cheap throwaway fashion is a false economy for you and not good for the environment. Far better to spend a little more on something really lovely, that is comfortable, suits you and which you will wear often. 'Think cost per wear' he whispers in your ear. 

He would also encourage you to 'shop your wardrobe'. I can imagine him yanking out bright slacks, sequin tops, sparkly knits, rhinestone boots, handbags in their dustbags, all that stuff being saved for a special occasion and saying 'what are you waiting for?' Scraggy old leggings get 'the look' not because he's a snob but because he thinks you deserve better. Comfortable clothes don't have to be drab (back to the investment buys again). 

Of course this page may appear simply to acknowledge your love of fashion and dressing up. I might have more in common with the cups courts than I thought...

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Exceeding the brief

Daily Draw: Llewellyn's Classic Tarot, Three of Pentacles 

This is usually a favourite card however my immediate response to this version is that the sculpture is an unnecessary addition and the beautiful stone work at the top is enough. Why exceed the brief? Is he showing off or did he overshoot? Perhaps a lack of confidence that the stone work wasn't sufficient? 

Mused a little bit and maybe this is a metaphor for my PhD (or four PhDs as the case may be). It reminds me of what we were told at induction that the task was not to pursue a nobel prize and probably only two people would read the work...

A friend put it to me that writing a monograph on Mr Bourdieu is a life times work not a doctoral thesis the purpose of which is to demonstrate I can carry out a research project independently. On the other hand if you're going to be late be great... 

Future wise the two figures to the left hint at the importance of gaining feedback. I have just had some on a research paper which is that it is good enough to publish. If I hadn't forced myself to share the work I'd still be writing it now...

Deep breath, time to unveil the thesis for some feedback...

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


Daily Draw: Llewellyn Classic Tarot: Two of Wands

Whenever I draw this card I think of the song 'he's got the whole world in his hands...'. Second response irritation that it's a man owning the globe. Then again wands are traditionally thought of as masculine energy - sigh. If I was feeling political today I might write about climate change but having news binged for a week I'm a bit politicked out. 

The figure faces the opposite direction to the figure in the RWS who holds the free wand in left hand. This reminds me that the left has often been associated with evil. Our English word sinister derives from Old French 'sinistre' meaning left. 
Dexter is the opposite of sinister from Latin 'on the right'. Synonym of dexterity, adroit (skillful) comes from the French 'a droit' meaning according to the right'. These popular associations right/good left/evil were promoted by the church and the monarchy. 

Here the wand on the left is secured with a bolt symbolising a safer choice or opportunity. (I hadn't noticed there is also a bolted wand in the original RWS). The wand on the right is a riskier venture. So back to pondering politics again. This being a wands card passion and courage are foregrounded. When this combines wth the cool logic of the swords, the compassion of the cups and a pentacles concern for all living things the outcome could be tremendous. 

bolt and boots...

Sunday, 18 June 2017

and sprint

Daily Draw: Ace of Wands

An Ace of Wands in my Magician month offering a double dose of drive. I have been feeling a renewed sense of energy and purpose these past few weeks. 

The clouds remind me to use this energy wisely as eventually like all things it will dissipate. The wand as baton tells me I don't have to do this alone. If I work with others in a kind of relay race each of us doing a wild sprint the outcome will be faster and better. 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Harmless moon

Daily Draw: Llewellyn Classic Tarot, The Moon

I was reading on Tarotwikipedia that The Moon can show up when there are a lot of creative energies storing up inside the seeker. A good question to ask is what would you learn if learning was only to nurture your soul rather than to get a job or a pay rise. 

Someone asked me a similar thing today. I came up with a formula: What do I really want to do? Can I do it? Will the outcome be beneficial? I was talking about research but my partner in dialogue reminded me these are existential questions about life. 

My first response to the sketch of the man's face in the moon was irritation. Design wise it jars the overall style of the card. Made me think just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. On reflection things can look good and be injurious. This moon may be ugly but in practical terms it is innocuous. I can live with that. 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Virtue of necessity

Daily Draw: Llewellyn's Classic Tarot

The theoretical love of my life Pierre Bourdieu in a chapter entitled 'Sorcerer's Apprentices' (can you see why I like this guy) describes how in order to make it in academia the student's first and only task is to make himself disappear as a student. Which means to see and make his studentness as temporary a state as possible. 

As career routes are less certain for females (the blindfold) they are more likely to embrace the experience and identity of being a student and less likely to fake to make an academic identity. Thus they condemn themselves to being everlasting students. 

This work was written in the 70s and things have changed. Although I wonder if there are still echoes. 

One of the meanings of this card is 'insufficient data'. Story of my life. I could read and make theory for ever but have less than zero interest in doing empirical research. I am reminded by the card that equates to zero interest in my career. The two swords indicate choice and truth. Make a virtue of theoretical richness, make data out of it and allow the work to be what it wants to be. 

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Be fast or be faff

Daily Draw: Llewellyn's Classic Tarot, Knight of Wands

This knight has something very specific he wants to achieve. I could learn. 

I've spent the morning faffing around online. Discovered Bloglovin. Signed up and claimed my blog. Hence the weird preceding post which did not add bloglovin button here as promised. Anyhow sorted feed which should be good for following others but hardly life changing. 

What I've actually been meaning to do for months is sort out my Instagram but now I'm bored of passwords and instructions that don't work... 

So off to learn a few tarot lessons which was my plan for today. This is a new deck for me which uses traditional RWS imagery so should be good for connecting with the core meanings of the cards. Some online reviews of the book have critiqued it for being too basic. I actually like it especially as it provides a key to the main symbols. The introduction to the court cards (with which I struggle like many new readers) I've found useful also. Although I still don't know which queen is most like me. Probably the one that faffs around...


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Saturday, 10 June 2017

Saturday Magic

So inspired by Carolyn's post I went in search of a wand today. No luck yet. But I did find these beauties. Thanks to Carolyn for the reminder that we all deserve a little magic in our lives. 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Sun, moon, truth

Daily Draw: Spiritual Buddhist Cards, Sun, Moon, Truth

With eyes downcast this struck me as a sombre face but perhaps I am wrong. Reflexive philosophy alerts us that we view the world through lenses and filters which are the product of position and experiences within it. Putting reflexivity into action means both unsettling those assumptions including by considering alternative perspectives. 

With that in mind other interpretations of the card and verse are very welcome today.  

Three things cannot be
long hidden:
the sun, the moon, 
and the truth. 

- attrib Guatama Buddha

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Just be

Daily Draw: Spiritual Buddhist Cards, Just Be 

With right hand raised to shoulder height, arm bent, palm of right hand facing outwards with fingers upright and closed this is figure adopts the Abhaya Mudra hand posture. The pose symbolises protection, peace and the dispelling of fear. A couple of weeks ago  I may have overlooked this as 'just nice words'...

The verse on the back reads:

Do not dwell in the past,
do not dream 
of the future,
concentrate the mind 
on the present moment.
- Gautama Buddha 

A good philosophy for the weekend. The orange robes, green splashes and twinkling white lights suggest joy, hope and simplicity may be found by just being in the moment.