Posted in Tarot, Vampires, writing

Weekly Card – Judgement

I thought it was time to bring my beloved vampires out to chat. I use this deck more for readings that I don’t blog about, but it seemed like the right deck to use this week. I really love this deck, and the companion book is probably the best Tarot book I own. Besides, I bought a new Halloween decoration today and I’m feeling the call of the season. Vampires fit right in.

Judgement So here we have Judgement. Traditionally this is a card of being judged for our actions, awakening to a new life or new reality based on our actions. Kind of bleak, really. Who among us doesn’t sort of  cringe at the idea of being judged? Even if we’re not criminals or evildoers of any sort, we all have instances in our lives when we could have behaved better, been less selfish, been more willing to help someone, etc. Perhaps we judge ourselves more harshly than anyone else might.

I like the interpretations this deck gives. Judgement is associated with the element Fire, and connects Hod to Malkuth on the Tree of Life. It can be about being judged, but it can also be a sign of making your own judgement, taking a stand, making a decision and take action accordingly. It’s a chance to reassess things and move forward, freeing ourselves from something that may have been holding us back. Like a judge, it’s necessary to weigh evidence and facts before making a decision, but it must be done in a rational, clear-headed manner.

The Vampyre in the Judgement card has burst forth from his grave, renewed and powerful.

In a reading, the card commands us to follow our personal calling. We are urged to ignite our personal drive and unique quality of spirit to determine our path. With this comes salvation and a rebirth of our power. The past and its mistakes are behind us, and we are ready to begin fresh with a newfound vision.

Acknowledge your power, put the lessons of the past to use.

Posted in fantasy, film scores, History, Holidays, horror, movies, music, Tarot, Vampires, writing

Weekly Card, A Bit Late

Hermit The Hermit from Ian Daniels Tarot of Vampyres. I’ve felt like a hermit the last few days, locking myself in the house to get the revisions done on the vampire novel and sent off to beta readers. I’ve also been OD’ing on “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and its soundtrack while I write. Seems fitting on this Memorial Day. Even though it’s a fantasy/horror story, the scenes of the Gettysburg battle and Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg address choked me up. There’s a part of the battle scene that slows, focused on one Union soldier running ahead to engage the Confederate troops, and it’s really quite heartbreaking, nicely filmed.

And look, the card has a wolf on it, and the book talks about this card indicating being a ‘lone wolf.’ :::smacks self in forehead::: It’s a time for introspection, silence, going within yourself for the answers, being isolated. Vampires are outsiders, ‘others.’ What they seek is beyond the confines of everyday mass consumerism. The Hermit contains all four elements, fire (scepter), grail (water, the vessel containing the fire. Grails can hold many things), knife for air, and skulls for earth, all this gained by his journey to the Underworld. The wolf is there to guard the entrance. This is the time to complete a journey, a mission, a quest (the story?).

There’s a need to ignore the rest of the world, don’t be distracted by all the banalities of modern society. As they told the Tie fighters in Star Wars making their run on the Death Star, “Stay on target.” Well, I have one more day off before I head back to the grind. Head down, back to editing.

Enjoy some solitude and downtime this week if you can.

Posted in Tarot, Vampires, writing

I’m Death. Is Anyone Surprised?

I was reading James Ricklef’s blog the other day, and he mentioned his birth cards are Justice and the High Priestess. I’ve been aware of  ‘life’ cards, and ‘life numbers’ (add up your birthdate and reduce it down to a single digit. For instance someone born February 1, 1970 would add 2+1+1+9+7+0 which adds up to 16, then add 1+6, and the birth number would be 7). In this birth card system, though, you do it slightly differently, and you end up with two cards. The method is shown on The Tarot School’s Web site, and if you can’t be bothered with all that mathy stuff, you can just plunk in your date of birth and their little program will do the dirty work for you and show you your two birth cards.

So guess which two I am? Oh wait, I already told you one. So here’s an interesting mash-up, Death from Sarah Bartlett’s Love Tarot, and the Emperor from my beloved Bohemian Gothic. The Death thing I get, Scorpio is my ascendant in my birth chart, so this seems right.

Death - Love Tarot Emperor

The other one is my life number, 4 (13, 1+3, you get the idea), The Emperor.

I’ve known my life number since I was a wee lass, and was vaguely disappointed when I started studying Tarot to discover that meant life card was the Emperor. All that Mars and Aries stuff never seemed to speak to me, I’ve never felt much connection to the Emperor. But, there are Emperors, and then there are Emperors.

Emperor Vampire Tarot (Hertz)

On one hand, I am constantly seeking new things, starting over. On the other, I can be a creature of habit, and like order and predictability. Wow, talk about embodying a contradiction. Actually the breakdown of this pair on the Tarot School’s site is pretty good, calling them polar absolutes. Anarchy versus order. If I didn’t have that whole Death thing going on, things could stagnate. It forces me to kick things to the curb that run their natural course, and start fresh. I think it’s good to know when to throw in the towel, cut your losses, so to speak. I guess it could be a little schizophrenic, maybe it accounts for my tendency toward ADD.

Posted in Tarot, Vampires, writing

The Tarot of Vampyres (of Melrose Place)

Or maybe “Gossip Girl.” Because good GAD, they are all stunningly beautiful.

This one reminds me very much of Charlotte Wessels, the lead singer of a Dutch heavy metal band, Delain.

Lots of eye candy for the guys, not so much for the ladies, but there are a few. The book that came with it is far more substantial than most, but since it only arrived yesterday I haven’t had much chance to even flip through the pages. It’s 300 pages long, and not with the oversized print to simply take up space. It seems well-made, which is more than I can say for the box the whole thing was packaged in and is already falling apart. The glue on the side let go yesterday as I was trying to fit the cards and book back in. C’mon, Llewellyn, you can do better than that. They may have rushed this one to the store shelves, maybe the QC department didn’t have time to do their thing. Originally it wasn’t supposed to ship until mid-September, and then I got an e-mail about a week and a half ago saying it was going to ship much sooner, and lo and behold, it did.

Here are a couple paragraphs from the intro explaining the basic system behind this deck (and happily there is one, it’s not just a collection of pretty pictures. How deep, meaningful, or useful this system will ultimately prove I couldn’t say).

Mystical thought often views the spiritual and physical not as separate but as a series of layers, or dimensions. Our thoughts and feelings affect the subtle matter within us. A thought or feeling is a vibration in the matter, set into motion within our spirit, which eventually affects matter in the world around us. Thoughts affect our surroundings in a four-stage process: the thought has to be transferred from that creative, spiritual realm (the seed) into the ethereal realm of feelings (the womb) which will affect the subtle web of matter through vibrations (conception). A thought stimulates the subtle matter — the ever-forming blueprint for things emerging into solid matter — by causing sympathetic vibrations in it and therefore moving its development into denser physical matter (birth). This process brings about the desired influence of the original seed, even at a distance. The four elements of the suits and the Court Cards represent the four stages of this process. Drawing into our selves and then conducting these inner energies for our well-being and desires is a central concept within The Tarot of the Vampyres.

The Seed – Fire – Scepters – Lords

The Womb – Water – Grails – Queens

Conception – Air – Knives – Princes

Birth – Earth – Skulls – Daughters

I have to admit I was ready to write this deck off when I first heard about it as yet another collection of random paintings shoe-horned into the Tarot. I’m still not entirely sure that wasn’t the case, since despite the illustrated pips, not one of them actually depicts the sign of the suit in a corresponding amount on the card.  For instance, in the three of Wands above, there aren’t three wands pictured and on the Six of Knives, there is only one knife in evidence.  Each of the Major Arcana are associated with an element, zodiac sign, or planet, and in the case of The World card, it gets both a planet (Saturn) and an element (Earth, natch). Further they are associated with a Hebrew letter, although those don’t seem to have been worked into the paintings, while the zodiacal and elemental symbols are. I’ve never paid much attention to Qabalah, or the Tree of Life, so I tend to ignore those things even when they’re front and center on the cards, as in Crowley’s Book of Thoth deck.

The Majors are unnumbered, all of them, so you can put Strength and Justice where you like, I suppose. They appear to have arrived with Justice as the eighth trump, and Strength was between the Wheel of Fortune and The Hanged Man, making it 11.

The beauty of the figures depicted initially seemed a little off-putting to me, but I have to admit that the way they often stare straight at you out of the card, I am finding myself more intrigued than I expected to be. The art is lovely, no question there, and I have the haunted eyes of the gentleman on the Six of Knives, raven perched atop his shoulder, hanging out on my desk at work with me today.

The back of the cards shows a red rose (the symbolism of this is discussed in the book), and with the roses from my yard above, I think it makes a very pretty display. I think I can find some writing inspiration in these cards!

Addendum 9/7/2010: When I was putting the cards back in order the other night, the better to find one quickly that I was looking for, I discovered to my horror that the Ace of Scepters was nowhere to be found! Honest to god, I have no idea if I lost it, or if it wasn’t there to begin with and I didn’t catch it. After the momentary cardiac arrest, I boldly e-mailed Llewellyn’s customer service with my tale of woe, admitting I wasn’t sure if I had lost it, and asked if there was any way they could send a replacement card. I’m saved! I got a very nice e-mail back from them this morning saying they would be happy to send me a replacement card (and no mention of charge, so I assume it’s gratis). I know they had some quality issues with some of the decks so maybe they have a bunch of spares sitting around. Anyway, just wanted to mention how nice they were about it and got back to me so quickly (I e-mailed them last Friday night just before the long weekend so getting back to me pronto on Tuesday morning is quick in my book). I’m a happy camper!