Welcome to Tarot Tuesday, a new series for the month of October. I have four very different and interesting authors sharing their knowledge and story telling about the cryptic and centuries old ability of card reading.
To start off the series is my friend and fellow author Maya Cointreau. With many years of experience with Tarot, who better to explain the mystery and
falsehoods of the more somber cards.
Without further ado - Maya...
Since we’ve just entered October and had a rare Black Moon last week, I thought we would keep it spooky and talk about some of the darker cards in the Tarot. You know the ones. The cards that make people gasp or cringe in movies. The cards that make you shiver in your boots and rethink that whim you followed to get a reading. The ones with images of death, fire and horned gods emblazoned upon them – the stuff that nightmares are made of.
Yeah, we’re gonna start with them. Because you know what? They really aren’t so bad. In fact, more often than not, they can indicate a very positive change coming your way. So let’s start with the top offender.
(Drum Roll Please)
The Death Card.
The thirteenth card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot, Death represents complete and total transfiguration. Everything is changing. Usually, this is a good thing, a positive transmutation. Ties with old patterns are being cut – time to turn over a new leaf!
In numerology, the number thirteen with its lunar associations is connected to the divine feminine, both the divine creator and the destroyer. It is a number signifying change and transformation, and is generally considered positive.
Sometimes, rarely, it indicates actual physical death, the most final and irrevocable of changes. In over thirty years of readings, I can count on one hand the times the Death card has come up in one of my readings and actually indicated a real, physical death. So if you pull this card, look at the cards around it. Do you see illness? Do you see danger? Do you see endings? Now check in with your gut, you intuition. Ask yourself, is this card about something physical or something more positive? Trust your intuition, and know that even if the card is about a real death, death is simply a new beginning. Where one door closes, another always opens.
Next, I’d like to talk about the Tower, the sixteenth card in the Major Arcana. Most people, when the Tower is drawn, they see the cracked building, fire and lightning and they tend to get nervous.
The Tower heralds sudden, often shocking, change. It often brings with it a breakdown of entire belief systems and lifestyles. Sometimes, whatever you thought you knew, you were wrong. This can be unpleasant. Most of us don’t really like change, or thinking we made a mistake.
In numerology, the number sixteen is about the destruction of physical reality. It is the fall of pride, of logic, of vanity. It removes the veil of illusion from over our eyes, falls dreams crumbling away, so that we can view the world with fresh eyes. It allows us to connect with our higher self and really see the right path for us.
The changes the Tower brings always (and I do mean always) usher in new opportunities for incredible growth. It’s the Universe’s way of answering your prayers, and giving you a chance at really reaching for everything you want. Instead of cowering in fear, be brave and go for it! You will be rewarded, I promise.
Finally, let’s talk about everybody’s favorite demon in the room. That’s right, the Devil, fifteenth card in the Major Arcana. He looks pretty scary in most decks, I’ll give you that. But the Devil isn’t really about Satan, or any biblical sort of figure. The Devil is a card of darkness and shadow, and it really refers to our own inner demons. The fears and beliefs that hold us hostage, snaring us, keeping us bound in chains, unable to act for our own highest good.
Sometimes, it may simply indicate a need to examine our hidden desires, our subconscious or shadow selves. What tempts you? Do you feel the need to break free from something, or someone?
In numerology, the number fifteen speaks to our destiny, and the fear that holds us back. If you allow fear to control you, you will miss opportunities – those fated, serendipitous moments that guide us towards the best life has to offer. Break your chains, and follow your heart. It’s the only way to find your true path.
Still nervous? Do you need a deck that puts kinder faces on these cards? My favorites in this regard are “The Wizards Tarot” and “The Gilded Tarot.”
Bio: Maya Cointreau has almost three decades of experience with the tarot. She is the author of “Tarot - A Complete Course in Basic Tarot Meanings and Techniques.” Available here on Amazon
Welcome to my annual rant on censorship. Banned Book week is celebrated the last full week of September each year. Founded in 1982 by First Amendment Activist, Judith Krug, it's goal is to highlight how important our freedom of speech and freedom of the press is to every American under the First Amendment. It's now sponsored by the American Library Association and the Center for Books in the Library of Congress.
Conservative and religious groups voice their strong opinions, but the number one group(s) who challenge books are parents and School Board members. Each year, PABBIS (Parents Against Bad Books in School) releases a list of books that don't meet with their approval. The reasons books are banned aren’t shocking: The top five are sex, profanity, racism, the occult and homosexuality.
It’s every parent’s right to monitor what their children read and decide what literature they deem inappropriate. I have no problem with that. I understand children are different. Personally, I've always loved good edge of your seat mystery and ghost stories and by the time I was twelve had found myself a horror fan. My friends, not so much.
But the question is, do those groups have the right to take certain books off library or bookstore shelves making it unavailable to the general population?
This year's theme is Diversity. The top ten challenged books for 2015-2016 is here. The characters in most of these books are either: transgender, Muslim, autistic, gay/lesbian, etc., all perfectly fine members of our diverse society, but make certain groups of people uncomfortable. So instead of talking to their children about it, they'd rather remove all traces of anyone different, which of course, they think is best.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon is about an autistic boy who tries to solve the mystery of his neighbor's dead dog. I read it when it came out in 2003 and loved it. This is one of the most challenged books for 2015 for offensive language, religious viewpoint, profanity, atheism and 'other.'
Also: unsuited for age group. This is the reason I have the most trouble with. It's told from a fifteen year old boy's viewpoint, so why shouldn't fifteen year olds read it? Do not think that these groups are just protesting children's book (they are) but a lot of opposition comes from parents of high school kids and even some college students. I'm sorry, but once you're eighteen (if not younger) you have the right to decide what you want to read. Example, in 2006, Texas, parents of a sophomore girl, worked hard to get Fahrenheit 451 off the shelves at the high school library and forbid her to read it "for the filth" that was included. Did they realize it was a story about book burning and censorship, everything they seem to agree with? Who knows, but that's a different post.
I'm sure you can guess quite a few of the Challenged Books. Fifty Shades of Gray. Plenty of classics, like Huck Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, and even The Bible.
It's always fascinating to me to read over the list and discover that so many people feel that if they are offended, then everyone should be offended and it shouldn't be read. But that's not the way America works. There are genres I don't particularly care for and don't read, but I would never ever think I had the right to tell someone else what they could or couldn't read. And neither should anyone else.
Another goal of Banned Book Week is to encourage people to read books the closed minded want shut. It may be a classic you've never read, or a favorite you haven't picked up in years. Find the list here.
Through the years, I've read most on the list, but this year I'm going to read one that I haven't and always wanted to. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. I've seen the movie and read excerpts, but never read the entire book. Which would have been hard to do, since the story was first published in a British magazine in 1891 and the publisher took out over 500 words without Mr. Wilde's permission or knowledge. Then Mr. Wilde added chapters and it became a novel. Once again, the publisher removed chapters and demanded Mr. Wilde change wording, etc. I read in one place that by 1930 The Picture of Dorian Gray was banned in the United States and Europe. But I haven't been able to confirm that. You can read the full article here.
Good news! In 2011, after being "condemned in the British press over 130 years ago as 'vulgar, 'unclean,' 'poisonous and 'discreditable,' an uncensored version of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray has finally been published" by Harvard University Press.
My feelings on censorship are across the board for the entire field of the arts. Paintings, statues, music, TV, movies, and books. If you don't like it, don't watch it, read it, look at it or listen to it and leave the rest of us to make the decision for ourselves and our own children.
What do you think? Do parents, religious groups, conservative groups and school boards have the right to censor what you or your child reads and even what sits on the public library shelves?
We had so much fun last year,
we're doing it again!
Five days of ghoulish author posts,
excerpts, flash fiction
Hosted by Clarissa Johal. Sign up here.
After a much needed break from blogging, I'm back. I have a lot planned for the upcoming weeks in celebration of Fall and Halloween, and celebrations should start with a toast from a good bottle of wine.
If this is your first time here, once a month I write a review for a bottle of wine that my husband and I have bought and drank, based solely on the label/and or name and nothing else. Sometimes they relate to writing, but most times they're quirky, funny, unusual or somewhat dark.
This month we chose a California red blend called BLACK INK. Oh, I thought, I can tie that into writing. An author's computer, old typewriter or an even older writing instrument, a pen, use blank ink. Then another thought popped into my head - Black ink equals tattoos. I love tattoos, I have one and it would be fun to write a post about it. But I'd soon find out I was wrong on both counts.
This is Babette, our French Maid. She helps us out each month.
I always go the wine's website to look up the vineyard, etc., but I do that after we drink it. But when we opened it, we discovered what the winemakers were referring to and I thought it was fantastic (the wine, too).
Yes, squid ink! Isn't that cool?
Here's what the vineyard's website says:
Black Ink is an ode to fantasy through the arts, portraying elegance with an edge. In a celebration of decadence, juicy blackberry cobbler meets smoky licorice with a hint of spice. The capsule is marked with the allusive squid in a nod to the deep dark red hues within the bottle.
One wine reviewer, Sherrie Wilkolaski said -
Black Ink is a cult wine for the masses. With the Halloween season upon us. what better way to celebrate than with a dark, sinister red wine with a dose of a secret component? I imagine a group of old witches standing over the cauldron, debating which ingredient they’ll blend in with this batch of red wine; something obscure that won’t be detected by the human eye, but on the tongue, will be noticed by the finest of pallets. “Why not squid ink?” one of the enchantresses suggests, and the rest is history.
My husband and I both enjoyed this bottle of wine. So much so, we've gone back and bought two more bottles. It went well with our dinner of baked pork chops, red roasted potatoes and zucchini. It's a deep, dark red wine, not to dry and not to sweet. A Goldilocks bottle for sure. It went down smooth and had a slight smoky aftertaste.
I didn't taste the licorice or blackberry cobbler and neither did my husband. Maybe we don't have a fine pallet the aforementioned witches were looking for. But I'm all of decadence!!
It's $9.99 a bottle and well worth it. It's produced by Black Ink Wines in Napa, CA.
"Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance."
-- Benjamin Franklin