Desert Island Decks

When I first started using tarot I was looking for answers. A personal health crisis and news of a life-limiting illness within the family, coupled with mid-life transitions had me brim full of questions and eager for guidance as I navigated these previously uncharted waters.

I spent a long while buying decks. I think on some level I was looking for the one that would finally provide the missing piece (or is that missing peace?).

It was over two years into my tarot journey when a small voice spoke up, somewhere at the back of my conscious thoughts. Hold on a moment, she said, arms folded, what if the answer isn’t “out there”, what if you won’t find it in a tool or teacher…what if it’s inside you and you just have to give it time to get out?

I had been looking all over for my answer and found, like Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist, that it was right where I had been all along.

With this in mind I grew to realise that my decks were helpful allies in my inner quest, and for supporting me as I steered life’s oceans, but the answers were ultimately something I had to uncover within. I realised that on some level one well-known deck would be enough.

We’ve been having a discussion about favourite decks in the Tea Break Tarot group, and it inspired me to ponder this. If you were cast away on a desert island, which would be your desert island deck? Which one deck would you take for support and guidance? On the radio show they get eight tracks, one book and one luxury…what would this look like for your own magical and divination practice, what are the handful of tools that you really need?

In the run up to the festive season we can easily get caught up in purchasing and longing for “new” and while that can be fun it can also leave us tight and dissatisfied. Maybe now is a good time to take a step back to be thankful for what is here already, the tools which have brought us this far, to ponder whether new is going to bring what we are seeking or whether there is an ally in our existing supplies that we could get better acquainted with…rather than going further out, can we go deeper in?

Bright Blessings, Fiona x

Tea Break Tarot School live

At Samhain I went to Curiosity Coffee in Canterbury to host some ten-minute intuitive tarot tutorials. It reminded me how much magic exists in live teaching interactions, how sharing learning opens up new insights and possibilities.

With this in mind I’ll be opening the doors to the first live cohort of Tea Break Tarot School in January.

Back when I started this project the aim was to provide ten-minute lessons that could be accessed over a quick cuppa in the middle of a busy day; while the baby was asleep for half an hour, or the spuds were boiling…the materials will remain open access here.

The live class will be held over two years and includes:

A monthly live Zoom mentoring call (recorded for access if you’re not able to join live).

Peer pairings for practice and support

Regular reflective assignments to track your progress and map your learning journey

A certificate of completion detailing topics covered on receipt of your final reflective assignment.

Class will begin on Saturday 23rd January 2021 at 6pm GMT and the calls will be recorded for those who aren’t able to join live. Bookings are open now at the early-bird rate of £111, contact me if you’d like to discuss payment options.

I will be available to answer questions in the group, come and say hello 🙂

Counting down to Yule

We are beginning to think about our Yule preparations here. My children are grown up now, however the excitement of the festive season lingers. One of my favourite traditions is the advent calendar.

While advent calendars and candles are closely linked with Christian traditions, I was pondering how I could find a way to “count down” to Yule and celebrating the return of the light with a more witchypractice.

I am conscious at this time of year of reflecting on the months past and pondering intentions for 2021. With this in mind I’ve created 22 days of tarot prompts, following through the Major Arcana.

These will be posted in the Tea Break Tarot Group (which is free to join!) and on my Instagram from Sunday 29th November. A chance to reflect and regroup at the year’s close and connect the Fool’s Journey with our own lived experiences.

Brightest blessings.

Storytime continued

In the last post we looked at telling the story in one card, exploring colours, images, the characters and possibilities seen there.

In this lesson we’ll look at working with two or more cards.

Begin by choosing two cards at random and set them side by side. Now imagine that these are two images in a story book, or still frames from a movie.

Repeat the exercise that you worked with previously (here) working with both cards.

In the first frame the story begins in the second it continues or we see a conclusion. Remember this can be as creative as you like. Free associating with the words that the images inspire, or with quotations or songs that spring to mind, helps us to construct our own meaning, and a “reading” that is both unique and drawn from our own experience.

How would you tell the story of these two cards?

For me this carries the energy of Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed lovers blocked by parental disapproval.

If I take that tale further into a reading, I would get a sense, from my story, of passion blocked by structures. Perhaps the desire to create blocked by the “ought” of being sensible and plugging in to the 9 – 5, an either/ or dichotomy.

Once you feel confident with your two frame story extend it to three with a traditional beginning/ middle/ end format.

You can turn this into a tarot game with one or more friends, each picking a card and telling the next part of the story, like the game Consequences…let your imagination run free!

All of these practices help you to connect to your cards and to your own innate storytelling abilities, they break down the barriers we often live with around “getting it right” or the “true meanings” of things, and allow our intuition and creativity to flow.

If you’re enjoying these posts then please do come and join us in the Tea Break Tarot group. It is a safe and inclusive space run by a queer witch for tarot mavens and explorers alike. Looking forward to welcoming you.

Story Time

When I was a primary school teacher story time was my favourite part of the day.

We’d get the class tidy and the children would come and sit on the carpet and choose a story (or three) for me to read to them. It was a gathered moment at the end of the day, a space when we could all have a few quieter moments after the busy work of learning.

Stories are a core part of human experience. We have been telling each other stories for thousands of years, drawing them on cave walls and in temples. Stories allow us to weave our histories, shape our own stories and experiences. Folk and fairy stories speak of the unspeakable, capturing the longing for understanding of our origins and exploring the mysteries of conscious existence.

For me story telling is a core part of tarot reading. The cards are the pictures in a cosmic storybook encouraging me to weave a narrative. When we read cards it becomes an art, a craft. To read tarot in this way allows for the interplay, the interweaving, of creative flow and intuitive insights. It binds common human experiences together and anchors them in the specific circumstances of our question or our querent’s query.

Practicum:

I first found a version of this exercise first Mary K.Greer’s 21 Ways to read a tarot card. I find it a great way to start readings, the process of detailing the card begins to get the creativity and intuition flowing and paves the way for deeper insights and messages to come through.

Pull a card at random. What can you see? What objects are there? Describe them in as much detail as possible.

Who is in the picture? What are they doing? Why might that be? How might they be feeling?

What else is going on? For instance here I am struck by the waterfall in the background. What would that sound like? What does it suggest to you? How would it be to stand in the meadow with this Empress, what sounds might be around you?

Now tell a story from this one card you have drawn. Give the figures in the card names, describe the setting, describe the emotional colour of the card, explain what is happening and what they will do next.

Your story can be as silly or sensible as you like. We aren’t seeking to create a fixed “truth” but to explore the emotional and experiential connections that arise from this card. Allowing ourselves to tell stories plugs into a sense of creativity and flow which unpicks the ruled lines of our book learning and rigid education-system experiences and allows us to connect to older ways of knowing and understanding.

We will be exploring this further in the next “lesson”.

School’s out for summer

We have cleared the walls of our imaginary class. You have your books packed up and have swapped numbers and IG accounts with others from the class.

I am brewing us a final cup of tea.

Today we close this part of our work together.

During the past eighteen months (at the time of writing) we have considered what tarot is, how to create sacred space and daily practice, we have explored the elements and their connection with tarot and travelled through the Major and Minor Arcana together.

I intend to continue to post here occasionally moving forward. For now it is time for a well-earned summer break.

If you would like to come and join the group of “real” people in the Tea Break Tarot School Facebook group you would be most welcome.

And if you would like to take your tarot studies further you can join me on Patreon for the Diving Deeper tarot class.

If I don’t see you in person I wish you well on your tarot journey and look forward to meeting with you again soon xxx

Lesson 92 – King of Cups

Our trip to the beach is coming to a close. We are beginning to pack up our things, make sure all the rubbish is in the bin, try to get sand out of our toes.

Our final study of the day is the King of Cups. He is a male energy. He’s been back and forth to the shore all day, checking the Page is safe, showing an interest in her findings, or having a quiet word when the Knight is getting a little over-rowdy.

He is with the Queen now, smiling, like his partner he is a master of emotions. Maybe he is a psychology professor, a coach or a meditation teacher. He has achieved mastery and control of emotions. Perhaps we are watching him now as he works through T’ai Chi forms near the shoreline.

In a reading the King may represent someone you know of this type, or can represent a call to work with this energy.

Emotional “mastery” can seem like an oxymoron, emotions are by their nature fluid and like the waves we have been watching today ebb and flow.

We can support our own emotional life through practices like mindfulness or working with acceptance and commitment therapy. Using our thoughts to help us understand our emotional responses is a powerful practice.

We watch now as he finishes his practice and calls the younger members of the family out of the water. His partner is gathering her work things together and as they prepare to depart the sands so do we, our journey through the cards is coming to an end.

Exercise 92:

How do you “manage” the ebb and flow of emotion, what tools do you use to support you on a daily basis?

If you find your emotions can be a “rollercoaster” see if a mood tracker or moon planner are supportive in helping identify patterns.

Explore practices such as mindfulness as you connect and work with your emotional life.

If you don’t already see if journalling in some form (including micro-blogging and bullet point journalling) can support you.

Lesson 91 – Queen of Cups

Wow, it’s getting warm.

We are still on our imaginary seaside trip with the class. Some of us have been working on an epic sandcastle, while others have been collecting shells. We sent someone to get ice-creams and they dropped one and a seagull ate it.

Our next study is the Queen of Cups.

She is seated in a deckchair, sunglasses on. She is smiling as she watches the younger members of her family enjoying the water. She has been swimming earlier herself, like a porpoise, but now she’s got her laptop out and she’s getting on with some work.

I think she’s probably a counselor or therapist, perhaps she’s a psychic or an agony aunt writing a column for a magazine.

She is self-possessed and emotionally grounded. She has done the self-development work herself, she knows what makes her tick. She is compassionate and equally brooks no nonsense. She will listen with love in her eyes and then tell you exactly what game you’re playing and suggest tools to help you get out of your bind.

The Queen might refer to a woman of your acquaintance in a reading, or may be a call to embody this kind of energy.

She holds the energy of inner work, of self-knowledge and self-exploration. For those of us exploring a mystical path she is a great ally to support us as we strengthen our intuition.

Exercise 91:

Take some time to explore your personality type to connect with Queen of Cups energy; perhaps start with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or Enneagram; what does this bring up which resonates/ challenges you?

Seek to embody the Queen of Cups for others by practising active listening.

How can you fulfil the role of the Queen of Cups for yourself; how can you use your intuition to be your own guide?

Lesson 90 – Knight of Cups

How are you enjoying our trip to the seaside?

I hope you don’t have sand in your sandwiches; maybe later we’ll get ice-cream…

The Knight of Cups is the next member of the family who comes into view. He is a younger person. Likely in his teens or early twenties. He has brought some friends with him and they are out in the surf with body boards. Such larks.

There’s a feel of recklessness in this energy, a desire to be seen and also to push at boundaries. He looks like he’d be fun to hang out with, but maybe not always the most sensible of souls. He is John Cusack in the Sure Thing or Say Anything, hopelessly romantic.

As with the Page when you pull this card in a reading it could refer to someone of this age group in your life, or is a call to plug into this energy. In romance or relationships it could be a call to re-embrace the energy of young love, to be prepared to take risks.

It could also be a warning that someone you’re involved in is moving too fast, or throwing caution to the winds and a little temperance is needed.

If the Knight of Cups shows up in your reading you can be sure that things are going to get moving one way or another.

Exercise 90:

Watch a cheesy rom-com and see if you can spot the Knight of Cups.

Can you remember what it felt like the first time you fell in love, or discovered a passion in your life? Reconnect with that energy, feel how it moves through your whole being creating energy.

Write a dating profile for the Knight of Cups; who would they be looking for to partner with? What would be their key characteristics, strengths and weaknesses?

Lesson 89 – Page of Cups

Today our class is taking a trip to the beach. You hold the picnic blanket, I’ll bring the sandwiches. She has the chairs and he has the windbreak. It’s going to be epic.

To work with the court cards for the Cups we’re going to observe them on a family day out at the seaside.

The Page is the youngest. She is around four, or maybe seven. Not past the age of loving Christmas, not yet cynical. Full of energy, keen to explore.

See her now down at the shoreline with her toes in the waves, jumping over each as it comes in, then losing herself in collecting seashells or exploring rock pools.

The Page of Cups brings a child-like energy. We can read this card as referring to a child in our lives, perhaps we work with children, or have nephews, nieces or children of our own.

We can also read it as a call to embody and embrace this kind of energy. If we are feeling emotionally blocked or there is emotional heaviness this card calls us to reconnect with the spirit of playfulness.

Maybe we are looking for a new love, this card would suggest that we need to start by finding someone we can enjoy spending time with, someone who is happy to join us in a game of crazy golf or build a sandcastle with us.

When we are facing emotional challenges it asks us to keep it simple, remember what made us happy or brought us comfort when we were smaller humans and use that to get us through.

Exercise 89:

To connect with Page of Cups energy engage with any kind of water based activity; kayak, paddle, swim, take a bath with a rubber duck, have a water fight, go rockpooling, visit a local river or stream to watch wildlife, go pond dipping.