The Fountain Tarot & Deck Interview

21 September 2017

The list of decks I like enough to buy is surprisingly short. Plus, I've tried not to rush into getting those while learning to work with my existing decks. However, the self-published* edition of  The Fountain Tarot was recently being sold off prior to the launch of the new edition, and I took it as a sign - the time had come. 

The Fountain Tarot by Jonathan Saiz, Jason Grubl & Andi Torado
This is the ONE deck that I have consistently coveted since I first started reading Tarot, but as a beginner I was put off by various reviews about it being 'difficult' to read, 'too masculine', 'hard to connect with' and so on. However, I kept looking at pictures online and felt drawn to the images. When it arrived in the beautiful box (grey AND holographic - what's not to love?) I was nervous to open it, incase it didn't live up to my expectations. Thankfully, as anyone who follows my Instagram account will know, I needn't have worried - it was love at first sight.

On first sight, these are a few of my favourites

I'm not one to put off using new things, and after looking through the deck, and giving it a good shuffle, I pulled a card for the day (Ace of Coins - spot on, following a conversation I'd just had) and wanted to get straight into a quick deck interview. My favourite is this one from Little Red Tarot, which I also wrote about here.

Below are the six cards I drew randomly from a very well-shuffled deck. It's interesting to note that they are mostly Cups and Coins, with just one Sword and no Wands at all - consequently, I don't think this is a very 'fiery' or action-packed deck for me, but it does seem to be concerned with the things that are important right now - developing my intuition, emotional matters and the practical / physical realm! (Note that all quotes are from the accompanying 'little white book'.)

Position 1: Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?
Nine of Coins - This deck is disciplined, hard working and accomplished. Incidentally, the card description says "through discipline and hard work, you have gracefully and independently crafted a cherished environment and a stable life, filled with unpretentious style and quality." This deck was independently published* and this seems to be a fairly good description of the way it originally brought to market.

Position 2: What are your strengths as a deck? 
Knight of Coins - Often seen as a boring person, this card actually represents a lot of the characteristics that I'd like in a deck - he's methodical, highly effective and stable. In the image, he is carefully regarding his coin and he looks very nurturing and trustworthy. In fact, the book says "gathering facts, details and strong rationale keeps the unexpected at bay." I'll happily take that.

Position 3: What are your limits as a deck?
Ten of Cups - Typically signifying the ultimate in emotional stability and harmony, this interpretation highlights the element of 'Loving Balance'. This deck will be great for emotional issues, spiritual and intuition, and questions relating to relationships between people. (This was already suggested in the overall spread, as mentioned above.) It's not so much about action, adventure or in-depth reasoning.

Position 4: What are you here to teach me? 
Four of Cups - The deck will teach me effective self-reflection and where I should put my focus, for the best outcome. "He waivers between self-reflection and disillusionment" - this is something I'd prefer to avoid, thank you very much, especially as he is "dangerously close to melancholy". Yikes! As I mostly use Tarot to read for myself and for daily journaling, this is another satisfactory answer.

Position 5: How can I best learn and collaborate with you? 
Three of Cups - I will be able to work most effectively with his deck by working very closely with it, to build shared experiences and points of reference. We should become like old friends.

This card "honours the bonds of family and intimate friendship" - in other words, by working together, and building a bond, I will be able to tap into the wisdom and knowledge that is accessed via the artwork. In the image, the three arms and cups are so entwined they have almost become one, with the water flowing freely between them. It is the same when you have an intimate knowledge of a deck. This might sound crazy to someone who hasn't experienced this, but when I've drawn cards for certain things from my favourite decks(in particular places or in relation to a specific topic), the contextual meaning becomes layered onto the artwork for that card and enhances my own personal understanding of it, enriching the meaning. It builds the private vocabulary I share with the cards and makes it easier to read with them.

Position 6: What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
Ace of Swords -  This card speaks of a revelation of truth, of sudden insight and "powerful clarity". A sword will cut through the veil of illusion but it's important to remember that it must always be handled carefully and with respect in order to avoid getting hurt or hurting others, but mastery brings the ability to protect yourself against pain and suffering. Again, that's a pretty much exactly what I'm looking for in a partner-deck.

Although I was looking at the cards on a fairly superficial level for this spread, the images are sufficiently familiar (from studying 'Rider Waite') to be able to do a quick-and-dirty reading without knowing the subtleties of the deck.

In the time between trying the spread and publishing this post, I've been using the Fountain Tarot for various exercises and spreads - I have no doubt these cards will be all over my blog and feed in the coming months. Have you tried it? What do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment to let me know.

*A mass-market edition of The Fountain Tarot is available to pre-order from Amazon (affiliate), and will be released in October 2017. 

Mabon Tarot Spread

18 September 2017

It's almost Mabon (here in the UK, it falls on Friday 22nd September) - traditionally, this is 'mid-harvest' when many of the crops have already been gathered and stored. The days are becoming noticeably shorter. After the long light days of Summer, this is the Autumn Equinox - when the hours of light and dark are equal. 

Click image to enlarge

We live in a small village, surrounded by farmland. There are lots of tractors on the roads, and the fields are looking decidedly bare. Before we moved to the countryside and got a dog, I wasn't really in touch with the seasons. Now I can't help but notice the smallest changes. Surrounded by old Oak trees, we can barely walk anywhere without the CRUNCH of fallen acorns underfoot, and although the leaves are only just starting to change colour and fall, there is a definite nip in the air. It makes me want to snuggle indoors with a mug of tea and a favourite Tarot deck. It's little wonder that in the Wildwood Tarot Mark Ryan describes this is "a period of inner reflection". 

With all of this in mind, I've put together the Mabon Tarot Spread (above). The positions are all self-explanatory, and you can pull as many cards as you like for each of them. If you enjoy the spread please let me know in the comments below, and if you post it on Instagram please tag me @thecuriouscardslinger and use the hashtag #tccmabonspread.

Further Reading: 

Deck Review: The Universe Has Your Back

30 August 2017

The new 52-Card Deck by Gabrielle Bernstein and Micaela Ezra has been all over my Instagram feed for the last few days, sparking a serious case of the 'wanties'.

I planned to pre-order The Universe Has Your Back* in time for the 5th September launch, but by some amazing synchronicity (amazing, because I live in the back-end of nowhere) my son asked to go to the only bookshop in the neighbouring town today, and lo and behold, there was a solitary copy sitting on the shelf! Clearly, I had to bring it home with me. 

Published by Hay House, the deck comes in their standard size (1.2 x 3.8 x 5.2 inches) within their typical sturdy two-part box. It includes 52 cards of key phrases and affirmations from Gabrielle's book of the same name - plus an introductory card - all beautifully illustrated by Micaela (I noticed that the book was also dedicated to her).

The blurb says the deck offers spiritual guidance, synchronicity and support, safety and joy in various circumstances and asks you to surrender to the guidance found within. In the introduction, Gabrielle states her own intention for the deck: 
My hope is that this deck will help you to deepen your connection to the innermost part of yourself and to the Universe. In that connection you will be guided to your true purpose: to be love and spread love

If you've read the book, you will recognise some of the phrases as chapter headings and lessons. If you haven't read it, you should find the words and images beautiful, regardless. You can use them in the same way as any other oracle cards; for daily inspiration, or just when you need some clarity or direction. They are nice enough to be used in frames or individually placed where you'll see the messages you need the most, if pulling a card from a deck isn't your thing.

The overall message of the deck is indeed one of love, however the cards are not all sweetness and light - they also address the presence of shadow - of fear, loss, pain, judgment and so on. For example, "I recognise that I have chosen fear, and I choose again. I choose love."
The imagery appealed to me from online previews, and as I already have the book in both Kindle and Audible format, I knew this was a deck for me. What I didn't expect was the lovely matte paper-stock. Most other decks I have from this publisher have a high gloss finish, which makes them difficult to photograph! (The exception being Crazy Sexy Love Notes by Kris Carr.)

This deck is lovely to shuffle, despite the cards being quite large, and can be photographed without glare - always a plus for us Instagram users. I think it will appeal to fans of Gabby Bernstein or Micaela Ezra, of course, as well as those who like the art on decks such as the Lumina Tarot and Wild Unknown. You can pre-order The Universe Has Your Back Deck via Amazon, Hay House and other booksellers. Let me know what you think of it. 

*Amazon affiliate

The Trip Tarot Spread

14 August 2017

Surrounded by fresh laundry, four different packing lists and copious suncream, you'd be forgiven for thinking I'm packing for our family holiday, but no. Instead, I've written a new Tarot spread in advance our forthcoming trip. If you're heading away soon, you might like to try it too. 
Click the image to enlarge, and as always, if you try the spread out, and post on Instagram, I'd love to see it -please feel free to tag me @thecuriouscardslinger and use #thetriptarotspread.

I tried the spread last night and made plenty of notes in my journal so I'll be sure to see how it compares when we get home. In the meantime, this blog will be quiet while I'm away but I'm planning to post on Instagram as usual. 

Now for the really tricky bit - deciding which decks to take....

On Wearing (Family) Life Loosely

10 August 2017

Over the 40-something years of my life so far, I've learned that when recurring themes appear, it's best to acknowledge them and figure out why.
The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards and The Map (book) by Colette Baron-Reid* are perfect for 'shadow' work
[W]hen you begin to observe cycles that seem to repeat in your life, they're invitations to do things differently this time around. - From 'The Map' by Colette Baron-Reid
Shortly after posting about my frustrations and the need to let go of my expectations (ideals) on a recent trip with the kids, I watched a video from Jessi Huntenburg in which she talked about our shadow aspects - the darker repressed parts of ourselves that we are uncomfortable about - being triggered, especially by our kids. There it was again, nudging me to delve deeper.

This triggering of old wounds (from the distant past) is not a new concept for me, it's something I've been working on (at some level) for most of my adult life¹, but never more so than since becoming a parent, and it's something I'm very much aware of at the moment. It feels as though our family is at a turning point as our oldest child is about to begin secondary school. My concerns aren't about the school or his education - I think they will be great. It's the process of him having a lot more freedom and me 'losing control' that has brought (dredged) up quite a lot for me. I worry about keeping him safe and what he'll be exposed to. How he'll cope. I feel that in some respects I am 'losing' him - the child I have nurtured, loved, and carefully watched-over for more than a decade. What might happen, without me doing that? 

My own early life was quite different to that of my children, and my husband. I was raised in a different place and time, and with a different set of circumstances. Not only have I not parented a child of this age before but when I was one (over 30 years ago) everything - the world - was very different! It's been shocking to acknowledge quite how much I need to be in control of things in order to feel safe. The issues and decisions I have to face, parenting our children, are unknown and challenging. And it's not just that, we all have certain expectations of one another, and all sorts of hormones are flying around from different sides.

Trying to be 'conscious' while dealing with all of this is not just difficult, sometimes it feels impossible. As much as I know it's illogical to bring old feelings based on childhood assumptions into my own parenting, that doesn't make it automatically stop. It a process - a constant and conscious decision that needs to be made to over-ride the hardwiring (in the way my brain/personality/ego developed). I try to remind myself that part of the human experience is the development of the ego and the suffering and separation that comes with it - it was for me as it will be for my children - all I can do is to parent as consciously as possible, and to work on my own 'shit' as it arises. It keeps arising.

Cards from The Wild Unknown by Kim Krans

Today I drew The High Priestess and the Ten of Swords for the Tarot Nerds Daily Draw Challenge, and posted the image above along with the following text on Instagram:

"Getting caught up in the mundane dramas and general craziness of modern life, and letting our thoughts focus on the things that are negative and anxiety-inducing, not only hurts us, but it blinds us too. We lose sight of what's important and our intuition becomes blocked. So it's also self-perpetuating, we can no longer see a way out. Stay calm, centred and grounded - live without attachment. To borrow a phrase 'Wear the world as a loose garment', to be in the world and not of it."

Now, it's one thing to post a picture of some cards and some words of wisdom which could apply to anyone who sees it, but the real transformative work comes when we delve deeper and look at how the message applies to our own lives. What we can learn from the cards and how can it help us to move forward? 

For me, I think the real message of these two cards, and the one I've written about in my personal journal, is how to wear family life more loosely. To be the observer of my own interactions and the way that my shadow is showing up in these new experiences, to listen to what my gut is saying and to follow my instinct accordingly. Funnily enough, when I was looking for the quote above in my book, I also came across this:
The voices of your thoughts and beliefs, which often become impassioned, can be so loud and incessant that they distract you from the quieter voices inside you. The greatest wisdom and most valuable insights and guidance are whispered, barely audible underneath the cacophony of your ego. - Page 60, The Map.
Like I said, a theme will recur when you need to hear it.

What themes are coming up for you? Have you been listening to the quiet voice that's nudging you towards something you need to see? Or are you ignoring it?

*Amazon affiliate links are included in this post. 

¹ I was fortunate to do the Landmark Forum (twice - with David Ure and Anny Zollinger) shortly after leaving University, and dealt with a lot of perceived "issues" from my childhood early on.

Letting Go of Expectations

7 August 2017

I spent the weekend visiting relatives in my home town (roughly a four-hour drive away) with my kids. It was really lovely... apart from the constant rain, the driving, and having to be confined to a single hotel room in the evenings. Don't get me wrong, my children are both great. Just not together. They don't get on especially well, and that's never more evident than when they are together for any length of time - in this case, for 48 hours. 

The Empress from the Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot* / US Games.
The Empress has been showing up a lot lately - I even wrote an Empress Spread. She popped up as my theme for the month of August too, so I was determined to harness her energy on this trip - to be a nurturing 'earth mother', to embody harmony and grace, with a peaceful and calm demeanour. Needless to say, this lasted about three and a half hours of driving through intermittent rain showers, on a busy motorway, with the kids arguing (over everything) in the back seat.

After dinner, we checked into the hotel for the evening and I pulled three cards from Healing Light Tarot. I chose them as the 'daily theme' but really it was just an excuse to shuffle, which I usually find comforting and calming. This card stock is a bit slippery and I'm a sloppy shuffler, so it wasn't quite as relaxing as I'd hoped, but I digress. The cards I pulled were very apt.
Page of Wands, Chariot & High Priestess from Healing Light Tarot by Christopher Butler / Lo Scarabeo.

Rather than being the Empress, I'd been the Chariot. Literally driving the car, but also being pulled between (and trying to steer!) my fiery temperamental/ hormonal son and my daughter, who is younger but much more worldly-wise and very emotionally intelligent.

For the rest of the weekend, I took a much more literal 'Empress' approach and got them outside as much as possible - between rain and hail showers. Getting outside gave the kids a chance to run around and let off some steam in the fresh air. It also gave me the opportunity to catch up on my studies and 'morning pages'¹. It was a shame I didn't have the Wildwood Tarot with me, as it would have been perfect for reading amongst the trees. 

Page of Pentacles from The Original Rider Waite Tarot / US Games. 

Being outdoors certainly helped a lot, but it didn't stop all of the conflict between the kids. By Saturday evening we were all exhausted and a bit fraught with one another. I vowed not to take them away together again without my husband, and started to fret about them being 'confined' together in the villa we've hired for our main family holiday later this month. I was feeling disappointed that I hadn't lived up to my parenting goals, something I'm definitely feeling more as the family grows and I'm less 'in control' of things. (Learning to let go is another recurring theme in recent readings.)

As much as I loved seeing my family, it was really good to get home and for everyone to have their own space again - a way to take a break from one another. With the kids both off doing their own thing, I put my feet up, my husband poured me a glass of wine, and I pulled the most perfect advice card from Wisdom of the Oracle.
Time for a Nap from Wisdom of the Oracle by Colette Baron-Reid / Hay House.
This is a time to step away and rest. Let the cares of your world go. Go into a state of non-action, and allow yourself to be free of the shackles of your goals, your lists, your desires. Nothing is as important as rest, detachment, and neutrality. The overly busy mind can block you from inner wisdom if you don't step back, take a seat, and rest. 
I don't need telling twice. Today, I shall mostly be pootling about the house and letting go of my expectations.
*Amazon affiliate links are included in this post. 
¹ A daily exercise from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron - read more here

Lammas Tarot Spread

1 August 2017

Lammas (or Lughnasadh) is a 'first harvest' celebration of prosperity and abundance. Here, in the Northern Hemisphere, Lammas falls on 1st/2nd August and is the mid-point between Summer solstice and Autumn equinox, when woodland creatures are being born and berries are abundant on bushes and trees.
Lammas takes its name from ‘hlaf maesse’, the Old English for ‘loaf mass’, and this is the time when the cereal crops are harvested. There are links to other cultures and religions too, notably Demeter and Ceres, also associated with crops and the harvest. There are many ancient customs involving the cutting of the first and last sheaf. The spirit of the corn, sometimes referred to as the Corn Mother, was the sacred symbol of this festival. Many cultures, including the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, held similar types of rituals where the bounty of the land was honoured. -
As well as using this as an opportunity to be grateful for our blessings, it's the perfect time to look at the things we have been 'sewing' in our own lives, what we need to nurture further, and how we can share our blessings with others. 

To mark the occasion, I made a simple 6-card Tarot Spread to use with The Wildwood Tarot* which based around the Wheel of the Year. You can expect to see a lot more of that deck as I become more familiar with it, as it's absolutely gorgeous! If you'd like to try it too, with any deck of your choice, click on the image above for an enlarged view. 

Lammas Spread using The Wildwood Tarot*, illustrated by Will Worthington

If you enjoy the spread please let me know in the comments below or if you post it on Instagram, please tag me @thecuriouscardslinger and use the hashtag #tcclammasspread.

Further reading: 
*Amazon affiliate

Media Preview Spread - GoT S7 E2

25 July 2017

*** Includes spoilers from the second episode of Game of Thrones Season 7 ***

Following the fun Tarot exercise I did last week (I 'previewed' the first episode of Game of Thrones season 7 via the Linestrider Tarot¹, referred to the accompanying book for interpretations, and after watching the show considered whether the cards were a good match), I couldn't wait to do it again.

As previously, links are provided to the GoT wiki pages for the characters mentioned although a sound knowledge of the show is presumed. Clicking on any of the images will enlarge them for detail.

For anyone who missed the spread in my earlier post, there are five positions - the first is about the main character, which I decided would be Jon Snow. Cards two through four are main themes of the episode, and the final card represents something interesting that happens. 


Card 1.  Something to look out for in relation to the main character - The Magician - When Jon Snow was murdered, the Red Priestess - Melisandre - resurrected him, so it was a fairly good bet that this related to her. Plus, red features prominently on the card. The only other person who makes me think of the 'Magician' archetype is Qyburn but he is still busy with his nefarious experiments at King's Landing so I couldn't imagine a strong connection with Jon is this episode. I felt sure the card related to Melisandre.
The Magician & Judgment by Siolo Thompson

Card 2. Theme - Judgment - This particular illustration shows Judgment as an angel whose mask is coming off. Last week we saw Arya Stark wearing, and removing, the former face of the deceased Walder Frey so I immediately thought of her. In the book, Siolo Thompson writes this about the card (on p. 89 of the book that accompanies the deck):
You must take stock of your life. It may be time to find new ways of living. You may be called to change your life or open yourself up to a new possibility...The Judgment card speaks of an epiphany, a realisation that you have not been living up to your potential or that you can do more for others. This card calls for a period of reflection and self-evaluation. 
Card 3. Theme - The Empress - The Empress is about femininity - creativity, fertility (of body and mind), passion and nurturing. The card made me think of Sansa Stark for a couple of reasons - firstly she is the only main female character who truly embodies these characteristics for me, and secondly because the image shows her protected by a tiger and with a monkey on her back. The monkey made me think of the master manipulator Lord Baelish aka 'Littlefinger', who stands behind her but is as tricksy as a performing monkey and just as likely to steal from her!

The Empress & Ten of Wands by Siolo Thompson

Card 4. Theme - Ten of wands - The burden of responsibility! Jon, as a reluctant 'King of the North' is carrying a huge burden he didn't ever want. The book's description for this card sums up Jon's feelings from the first episode (on p. 171) and which I suspected would continue in episode 2:
Success or investment in a project or period of life often brings heavy responsibilities and commitments. It may be time for you to move on to something new, but right now you are aware of all the weight on your back, the people who depend on you, and the community that supported you. 
Card 5. Something interesting to look out for - Ace of Swords - This would be something to do with truth, clarity of vision, deceit, or self-delusion. The crown and laurel leaves represent victory. I really didn't know what this might refer to.
Ace of Swords by Siolo Thompso


Here's my take on how each of these cards related to the events in the episode:

- Melisandre did indeed return, and began the process of getting Jon and Daenerys together. She also mentioned the prophecy of the Prince who was Promised - she believes this is Jon, but it could be Daenerys who (unknown to either of them) is his aunt. The Magician appears "when you need to channel the power of the universe toward your goals" and this certainly represents the Red Priestess in this storyline - her speech to Daenerys and Tyrion is instrumental in getting Jon to Dragonstone (which also holds the raw material he needs to defeat the White Walkers)!

- Arya did indeed have a Judgment moment - an epiphany! While talking to her friend Hot Pie, she discovered that (what remains of) her family are back at Winterfell and leaves her vengeful quest to head to King's Landing to return home instead. She has been fueled entirely by vengeance since her father was killed in season 1 so this is a remarkable change for her... although we don't actually know whether she will continue on her journey home following her encounter with the direwolf Nymeria!

- With Jon heading out to Dragonstone Island, Sansa was left in charge of the North. Yep, that's Empress, alright.

-  As expected, the Ten of Wands did relate to Jon's burden as King of the North. As well as dealing with the ongoing issues of the seven kingdoms, he's the only ruler who truly appreciates the threat from beyond the wall, so it's a heavy burden indeed.

- When I wrote last week's post, I (stupidly!!!) wasn't sure who the pirate in Seven of Swords referred to (this was last week's position 5 card). Even if a reader hadn't suggested it was Euron Greyjoy, I'd have been in no doubt after episode two. Euron's victory over his neice Yara's fleet, not only clarified his position as 'the pirate', but also seems to have been represented in this week's fifth card. 

- The Ace of Swords is "not always a gentle card; it often pushes you to set aside your idealism or fantasies in favour of a more analytic approach... Every indication is given that success is yours if you can clearly understand and assess the facts, be honest about your motivations, accept the truth of your situation, and take decisive action." It was Euron's truthful / insightful assessment of Theon as a "dickless coward" which prompted Theon to desert his sister (like a rat!) and leave her and her fleet to Euron's mercy at the climax of the show. I'd say Euron perfectly embodied the energy of this Ace! 

I really like this spread - I've been so much more invested in the show, sitting with my notes beside me each week. Yet again, the cards I drew were pretty good too! It's likely that I'll continue this exercise for the rest of the season. What do you think? Would you have taken these (book) interpretations and applied them to the same characters and events as me? Or would you have done it differently? 

¹ The Linestrider Tarot is by Siolo Thompson, published by Llewellyn. Amazon affiliate links are included in this post. Page references are for The Linestrider's Journey book which accompanies the deck.

Media Preview Spread - GoT S7 E1

18 July 2017

***Includes spoilers from the first episode of  Game of Thrones Season 7 ***

A few weeks ago, I came across a 'media preview spread' and decided to give it a try before the new series of Game of Thrones (GoT) aired here in the UK. I found this spread on Facebook, and it was listed as being from, although I couldn't find the original post to link directly. I'm assuming anyone interested in reading this is familiar with the show's characters, however links to the Game of Thrones Wikia website are also provided. 

There are 5 positions in the spread:
1. Something to watch put for in the main character - I decided this should be Jon Snow.
2 to 4. The Main Themes.
5. Something interesting to keep an eye out for. 

For this exercise, I chose The Linestrider Tarot¹ by Siolo Thompson and published by Llewellyn, because it feels like a great match for the show. I decided to take the meanings from the accompanying book, so that I couldn't simply apply my own card interpretations to try to make them fit - the meanings would be given and I'd see if they applied to the show, once I watched it. I pulled the following cards, which I digitally scribbled on with some initial thoughts to post on Instagram, before watching the show. I also made notes in my tarot journal which I've used for the points below.  

Click on any of the images for an enlarged view.  

Immediately after pulling the cards, I was interested to note the appearance of (1) Stags, which are the sigil of House Baratheon and also  (2) the Page of Wands, a young inexperienced, and quite erotic looking woman, pictured with a DRAGON - obviously representing Daenerys Targaryen, plus (3) the King of Swords as Jon. Here's why:

King of Swords, by Siolo Thompson
Card 1. The King of Swords - A perfect card to represent Jon Snow - it also looks a bit like a sword defeating a white walker. Check out this description...
The King of Swords is intelligent, truthful, and a strong ally. He believes in order, systems, and the value of following the rules. He is often a boss, employer, mentor, or community figure. His strengths are many; intellect, good judgment, a tactical mind. However he can also be cold, harsh and inflexible. This card may show up when you need to take your heart out of a situation and bring your intellect to the table instead... to cut to the truth of the matter. - Extract from The Linestrider's Journey, p. 226
It seemed that Jon Snow would need to make a logical decision in this episode, without his heart clouding his judgement. This is something he has had to do on many occasions, so there was nothing very surprising about that.

What about the main themes?

Card 2. Three of Wands - New beginnings, long term plans, opportunities for co-operation and partnership. And maybe something to do with House Baratheon, indicated by the stags on the illustration. There are no 'official' Baratheons left and Gendry's whereabouts are currently unknown - he's the bastard son of Robert Baratheon, and the only 'heir' that we are aware of.

Three of Wands and Five of Cups, by Siolo Thompson

Card 3. Five of Cups - This card indicates negative thinking, a focus on grief and trouble of letting go of the past. It can indicate "former hardship, pain, or heartbreak is a prime component of the person you have become"². So one of the themes would have something to do with this, but honestly this could apply to any one of the characters, so I was none the wiser.

Card 4. Page of Wands - As well as being depicted as a long-haired young blonde woman with a nest of dragons, this card represents 'energy, youth, new beginnings, loyalty, messenger, studiousness, childishness, new erotic adventure'³. This is a pretty good description of Daenerys. She is young and inexperienced and very passionate about following her calling to reclaim the throne. The Page can represent a new phase and in the book, Siolo Thompson says "this card may show up when someone young and dynamic enters your world and shake things up" - that's exactly what the Queen of Dragons is all about!

Page of Wands and Seven of Swords by Siolo Thompson

Card 5. Seven of Swords - As something interesting to watch out for, I'd scribbled the following words from the book in my journal "duplicity, secrets, sneakiness, hidden motivations". In a show like this, I really had no idea what it would refer to - it could have been anything. The card pictures a pirate, but that didn't help me. (EDIT: @anngirl on Instagram kindly pointed out something I completely overlooked here - Euron Greyjoy is a pirate and would fit in this position!)

So after the show, I came back to the notes I'd made and noted thing the cards were applicable to.

- Jon Snow had to make a plan for the defence of the North. He was totally King of Swords about it - under pressure to remove the families of traitors, he was resolute that the children wouldn't pay for the 'sins' of the fathers. He was harsh with Sansa, telling her not to question him in front of others, even though she basically saved his ass in the last season.

Dragonstone Castle was the seat of Stanis Baratheon when GoT started. With Stanis dead, and the castle deserted, Daenerys was able to take the castle - her ancestral home. It did indeed mark the beginning of her long term plans as per the Three of Wands, as she will be co-ordinating the various armies under her control from there. It is also a great vantage point standing atop an island, and looking out from a high point is a fairly typical depiction for this card.  (I'm interested to see if Gendry will turn up soon!)

- With the illustrated owls giving me no clue, I wasn't sure which character the Five of Cups related to until a classic Sandor Clegane scene - when asked why he was so negative, he answered "experience". Later, this seemed to be a key episode for this character - he was able to overcome his fear of fire (from having his face held into a fire by his brother) to look into the flames and receive a prophetic vision. He wasn't only looking at the past, but turned to the future. In the card, the owl could do the same. I googled 'Sandor Clegane Owl' to see if there was anything I'd missed, and interestingly some images did come up - of his brother.

- As already discussed, this was a big episode for Daenerys - the Page of Wands was spot on for her. She's back in the family home, which has Dragons everywhere, and marks her new beginning.

- The opening of the show was a Seven of Swords scene, if ever I've seen one! After killing him at the end of the last season, Arya Stark used Walder Frey's face to impersonate him and kill his many sons with poison, at a feast purported to be in their honour - you don't get much more sneaky and duplicitous than that. She's a total badass!

So this was a really fun exercise. When I started using Tarot (for my own personal development) I was clear that I didn't think I could predict things with it, but that any of the cards could apply to anyone or any situation you care to interpret them for at any time. The more experience I gain with it, the more 'synchronicities' there seem to be in the cards I pull such as the stag and the dragon references and the King of Swords as Jon Snow - they all seem quite relevant. See also this post. I'll certainly be trying this spread again.  Have you tried it? Let me know what you think. 

¹  Amazon affiliate links are provided for products used in this post. Quotes taken are from the book which accompanies the deck.

²  From p. 112 The Linestrider's Journey

³ From p. 174 The Linestrider's Journey

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