Thursday, 31 January 2013

Do You Keep the Challenging Cards You First Drew?


9 Airships

The London launch of Steampunk Tarot: Gods of the Machine was held at Watkins last month.  You can view the talk that I gave with 124C and Major Jack Squares.

Several interesting questions arose during the question-time afterwards, including the challenge that some of the cards were somewhat dark in their subject matter. This is undoubtedly true as they depict the affairs of the Imperium where war and conflict have frequently arisen. 

In an era when tarot packs now depict topics as various as breeds of dogs to ghosts and spirits, there has been a steady trend for tarot art to become less challenging and more fluffy, comforting or psychologically supportive.   If we look at early tarots, like the Sola Busca or Tarot of the Emperors, the earliest tarot with a pictorial minor, we find quirky, macho images of men at war, serving men at leisure and martial rulers of nobility: they are pretty intimidating.  If we examine early tarot meanings, we find a variety of challenging cards that have become muted over time.  The Swords are largely challenging, the Wands can be disputive or oppressive, the Cups can have an emotional blight and the Coins can be downright hard work.

Every month for the last year, I have sat down and written this monthly blog, but each entry has received few comments and the followers have not been many. Part of this is about the fact that this tarot has not yet published in USA, and that people are as yet not familiar with it, yet I thought I would check this for myself. So I decided, as this is the challenging month February, time of Lupercalia, when cleansing and self-examination are necessary, to ask  ‘Why is no-one reading or commenting on this blog? ’

I drew three cards from the top of three pile cut to represent the answer to this question. These came out on top:

XX Regeneration reversed, Messenger Submersibles reversed, Messenger of Airships

Then I drew three cards from the bottom of the cut, to represent the teaching that guides the top three cards.

XV Cyborg, 3 Submersibles, 2 Airships

Messenger of Airships

The top three are undoubtedly challenging, especially with the first two reversed.  XX Regeneration reversed ( XX Judgement) shows two people emerging from their regeneration capsule, Messenger Submersibles reversed  shows a joyful messenger (Page Cups), while Messenger of Airships (Page Swords) shows the messenger daringly, knife in teeth, about the launch from the wing of her aircraft.

They are saying, ‘You could chose to abandon this association or transform what you have. The spirit messages at this juncture cannot be received while people are overwhelmed. Stay with the challenge of this and find intelligent ways through it.’

                      3 Submersibles

2 Airships

XV Cyborg (XV Devil) shows the part-human, part machine and his dilemma, 3 Submersibles (3 Cups) shows the meeting of three nations to make an alliance, 2 Airships ( 2 Swords) shows 2 rival craft having a truce or parley.

The teaching cards speak of not being limited by the shadow of this challenge. The way in which the Cyborg looks towards the two cards of reconciliation tells me what I need to know: a fruitful alliance is at hand where collaborative energy can meet. I am starting a dialogue which, currently is one-sided, but it won’t stay that way.

It’s interesting that both lines have a major, a cup and a sword. I also note that teaching cards have a 3 and 2, showing that this blog is young and in its fledging years. Cups and Swords say that this reading is about relationship with the principles and discrimination of this pack.


When you draw difficult or challenging cards, the temptation is to slide them back into the pack and reshuffle. But by staying with the cards  we first drew, we often find new illumination. So, in the interests of teaching how we might do this, I kept these same cards and reshuffled them, now setting them upright. I also chose, unseen, three new cards to mix into the shuffle. As you can see, the chief tool of this method of staying with your challenging cards is to ask the right questions. Questions are the key to everything.

This time I asked some relevant questions that had arisen from the previous spread:

1. How do I transform this blog?
2. What do the spirits have to say to those who are overwhelmed?
3. How do I stimulate the dialogue with my readers?

We now have three cards answering each question:

1. How do I transform this blog?

8 Leviathans reversed. XX Regeneration, 9 Leviathans

8 Leviathans

9 Leviathans

Two of the new cards are here; 8 Leviathans (8 Coins) shows a welder at work on a machine, while 9 Leviathans (9 Coins) shows two off-duty airmen enjoying their leisure. They show that the undervaluing I feel from doing repetitive work with no feedback is what needs to be transformed. Maybe I need to let go of it for a few months and have a break?

2. What do the spirits have to say to those who are overwhelmed?

9 Airships reversed, 2 Airships, Messenger Submersibles

9 Airships (9 Swords) shows the dreams of an airman of a dirigible disaster, but this card is reversed. Looking at fears and imaginings in the light of day, with the help of dialogue, enables the message to be joyfully delivered. While we entertain fears, we have no dialogue.

3. How do I stimulate the dialogue with my readers?

XV Cyborg, Messenger Airships, 3 Submersibles

Reclaiming wisdom from fear by dealing directly with the needs of the readers, so we meet on the same footing.

XV Cyborg


     So, if you have read this far, then may I request that you send in your issues for reading on these pages?  I can only do one a month. Answers will be publically shown here, but all  personal details will be unidentified. Please message me on Facebook or append your issue here. I will do my best to respond.


  1. Clymela-Singing ssparrow31 January 2013 at 16:35

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    I have retired now after years and years as a welfare worker in California. After getting the rest I needed I find myself lonely and too,too self-involved with pain medication for serious arthritis and struggling to accept multiple deaths that of course is part of life but I was so free until the 60's and now have lost several loved ones. So I am interested in celebrating my life, accepting that I am no longer young but I still have strength and power and creativity What should be my path out of this dreary Neptune reversed period back into the flow of daily life?

  2. Clymela-singing sparrow31 January 2013 at 16:37

    I thought that the comments would not be published!

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