Alchemical Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Tarot

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

This is my list of books that I reviewed on my blog, The Itinerant Librarian for the month  of October 2016. If you missed any of them, or you wish  to check them out, feel free to click on the links below. If you read any  of them, let me know in the  comments. Also, if you have any ideas for books you think I should read, you can comment as well.

  • I finally got to read Gaysia, which I have wanted to read for a while. Here is a bit of what I wrote in the review: “This is definitely a great travelogue and observation of the LGBTQIA experience in Southeast Asia. If you were to travel that part of the world, then Benjamin Law would make a great guide. He has a great ability to observe, which he combines with great writing plus a very descriptive and evocative style.”
  • For the most part, people tend to loathe meetings. But since we cannot totally get rid of them, you can at leas try to appear smart at them. To this end, I read 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings.
  • I needed some humor this month, so I reread Cable on Academe. I realized I had not written a review for it previously, so I finally wrote a review this month.
  • Finally for this month, I continue  my Tarot studies, and I read Barbara Moore’s Tarot for Beginners. I read this one as an e-book via my public library.
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A while back I came across a writing prompt I wanted to try out. The prompt was: if someone gave me a fully loaded gift card, which 10 books would I get right away. I thought this prompt would be easier, but after a bit of thought, I only came up with  three books. Those books are:

  • Ciaphas Cain: Defender of the Imperium. This is the second omnibus of novels in the Ciaphas Cain series. I have already read and own the first volume (link to my review).
  • Rachel Pollack’s Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom. I hear this  is a great resource for Tarot study, and I would like to own a personal copy.
  • War Against All Puerto Ricans (link to my review). I have read this, I would like to own a copy for my personal collection.

It is not that I do not read. Far from it. I read a lot. There are just not that many  books I feel I have to buy and own. I borrow a lot of my reading from the academic library I work at as well as my local public library. Plus, I also do a lot of reading through NetGalley. Many books I read I know are not keepers anyhow.

Now, give me that loaded gift card and ask me what 10 Tarot and/or oracle card decks I would buy, and I can make you a list pretty quickly. That is  a list I may write on my Tarot journal, and I may share it here later.

CuriousGeorgeReading

The list of books I wish to read some day keeps growing, but the time to read them does not always grow to match. Still, I do enjoy making these posts so I can keep track of things I find interesting. In sharing them, I hope it helps a bit in terms of reader’s advisory for folks looking for ideas on books to read.

Items about books I want to read:

 

Lists and bibliographies:

 

 

CuriousGeorgeReading

Welcome to another edition in this series of posts about books I would like to read some day. As always, if you read any of these, feel free to come back and comment to let me know what you thought of a book. Also, if you have ideas and suggestions for books you think I may want to read, let me know as well in the comments. Let’s see what we have for this week.

 

Items about books I want to read:

  • A former chief of police in Seattle, Norm Stamper was recently featured in Democracy Now! discussing police issues in the United States. He has a new book out on the topic, To Protect and to Serve: How to Fix America’s Police. It seems like a timely book that needs for more people to be reading it.
  • Because I find macabre things interesting now and then, I would like to read Beyond the Dark Veil, a collection of Victorian era post-mortem photography. Story about the book via Boing Boing.
  • These days, Jesse Ventura can have his entertaining and even thought provoking moments. However, him explaining why some are voting for Trump is not one of them. Moving along, this piece highlights his new book, which sounds like it could be an entertaining read. The book is S*it Politicians Say. Story about it via Esquire magazine.
  • Next we have a bit of dark humor with 13 Elegant Ways to Commit Suicide. The older book was highlighted at Dangerous Minds.
  • Another book discussing the issues of gun culture and the big business of selling guns in the United States. This time the book is The Gunning of America, and it was reviewed in a full essay in the The Times Literary Supplement.
  • Here is a book about books, or rather in this case about readers. The book is The Reader in the Book, and it was reviewed at Los Angeles Review of Books.
  • Via @TABITarot, a review of The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Spreads. This may be one to consider adding to my collection down the road as a reference source.
  • This is one of those books that I would enjoy browsing through as a child, the kind of book that has a little bit of everything. The book is Mann’s Pictorial Dictionary, and it was featured in Boing Boing.
  • And one more book via Boing Boing. It is a coffee book of what is described as brutalist architecture. The book is This Brutal World.
  • This book could be an interesting proposition. Basically, it can help explain why dumbasses in the poor states, like say the Deep South, take a ton of federal money and aid, and still hate the federal government (and usually vote Republican). The book is American Amnesia. The book was discussed at AlterNet.
  • Bill Moyers’ site has an article looking at class, politics and Trump while highlighting the recent book White Trash, which is a history of class in the U.S.
  • If you like works like Ambrose Bierce’s A Devil’s Dictionary, you may also enjoy Encyclopedia of Hell published by the folks at Feral House. It is sort of an invasion manual for demons to know what they will find when they get to Earth. The book was featured at Boing Boing.
  • I always find stuff on writing and specially handwriting to be of interest, so I am hoping this book will make for good reading. The book is The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, and it was reviewed at Inside Higher Ed.
  • I  am adding this one in part because I feel I should at least look at it. Honestly though, I do not give much of a hoot about student evaluations of their college professors, which for the most part can be petty and pretty meaningless when it comes to actual assessment. That is another conversation for another day. In the meantime, there is a new book highlighting such student comments. The book is To My Professor, and it was reviewed at Inside Higher Ed.
  • Only reason I am linking to this post from the Librarian Shipwreck blog is that  it mentions a book on  the concept of planned obsolescence (a.k.a. the  money grabbing move companies make of making shit products so you have to buy them again every few years, like Apple’s current fuckery regarding the iPhone 7 with  no headphone jack) that I think is worth  a look. The book is mentioned all the way at the bottom of the post, and the book is Digital Rubbish.
  • This book just sounded interesting. The book is Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, and it was reviewed at Rock and Roll Tarot blog.
  • Barbara Moore, one of the big gurus in Tarot, discusses the concept of reading Tarot intuitively on the Llewellyn website, and she also links to the book Tarot Fundamentals, which I may be interested  in reading.
  • Another Tarot book that I might be interested in reading down the road is Tarot Mysteries, which was reviewed at Tarot Notes blog.
  • Sean Gaffney highlights the fourth volume of the manga series Black Bullet. Sounds like one to try out, but I would need to start with the first volume.
  • The Lowrider Librarian reviews the  book The Other Slavery. If you think African American slavery was all there was in the United States, you need to read that book. I know I will be getting to it soon.

 

 

Lists and bibligraphies:

I saw this spread for the Full Moon in Pisces that took place this week at Ethony’s Tumblr blog here. I decided to go ahead and give it a try as part of my learning to read cards. Initially, I was going to do it with my Gilded Tarot deck, but I decided I needed something different. I went in a different direction, and I used my new Halloween Oracle deck, the one created by Stacey DeMarco. I wanted to get more of a fall season vibe. This oracle deck does have a lot less cards than a traditional Tarot deck. The traditional Tarot deck, like the Gilded Tarot I use, has 78 cards. This oracle deck has 36 cards. The reading experience was quite interesting, and in a way I felt the deck had to get to the point. After all, there are less cards to choose from, so being concise was part of the experience.

For the reading, I did my best to use my intuition, and it actually went a lot better than I initially thought it would go. Since this is a new deck to me, and it is an oracle deck, I did feel an initial need to rely on the guidebook. However, as I said, my intuition worked out a lot better than I initially expected. The images certainly helped me reflect on the questions of the reading, and I feel that I got some good insights and advice on things to work on during this season. On a side note, I did read the companion book previously, so down the road I will write a review of the Halloween Oracle over at The Itinerant Librarian and then crosspost it here.

For this post, I will simply share what cards I drew for what question. I am putting the card name, and in parenthesis after the name I am including the keywords the card provides. I am not sharing my reading reflections, as those can stay in my Tarot/oracle journal. Down below I am including photos of how I laid the spread before and after revealing the cards. If you wish to see the cards in more detail, you can click on the card photos.

  1. What energies are coming up from my subconscious?
    • Card: Forgiveness (Reducing burden)
  2. What is in need of healing?
    • Card: Joy (Rejoicing in the present)
  3. What message does my intuition want to deliver?
    • Card: Skull of Darkness (Blind spots)
  4. What am I being asked to dream (sleep on it, meditate, or lucid dream) about?
    • Card: Apple (Risk and reward)
  5. How best can I ride the waves of this emotional full moon?
    • Card: The Veil (The future)

 

Five card spread in slight circular pattern

This is the spread laid out before I revealed the cards for the reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five card spread, cards turned upside and revealed.

This is the spread, using the Halloween Oracle, now revealed in full.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My few readers may be aware that I recently started learning to use and read Tarot cards. These days, my learning deck is the Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti. I have been doing a little studying, reading, and working on my Tarot journal. One of the exercises I have found helpful in my learning is doing a daily card draw. After I do my morning writing on my personal journal, I shuffle the cards, and I draw a single card to get a theme and/or lesson for the day. It has helped me to gradually learn to read the cards and their meanings. So far, I had not done any spreads until I saw a couple of spreads on how to interview a Tarot deck as a way to bond better with it, so I went ahead and did this one. This is my first ever Tarot spread reading, and I think it turned out very well. I think I will keep doing this exercise, or ones similar to this one (there are variants), when I get a new deck added to my collection.

I did this spread on July 30, 2016.  The photos below show the spread as I laid it initially, and then revealed in full. If you click on the photos, you can see the details better.

Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?

Card XVII (17- Major Arcana): The Star. There is much hope and inspiration to be found in the cards. For me, this is a beautiful card, and it is one of my favorites in this deck. Maybe the deck is starting out making a good impression. The deck starts by telling me that I can find hope and inspiration in these cards. I can also find beauty and get in touch with emotions, imagination, and dreams. The water suggests emotions as well as fluidity. When things get dark, there is some hope and inspiration to guide me onward. This deck will also help me explore my intuition a bit more, something I could use some work on. This is also reinforced by the number 17, which is a number of intuition. For me, this definitely rings true. It is why I switched from the Marseilles deck to this one. The visual style helps my intuition and memory better. I may be more of a textual learner, but I can still gain benefit from learning visually and from exploring my intuition. The Star for me also speaks of beacons, guidance. Much as I learned about the North Star as a guide, this deck can provide a beacon of hope and guidance when needed. Overall this is a positive deck that can offer hope, enlightenment, intuition, and guidance.

What are your strengths as a deck?

Card XVI (16-Major Arcana): The Tower. I have to admit that my initial reaction to this card was “oh dear deity!” This is a strong card, and it startled me. But that is the message of this deck: this deck can and will at times startle you. It can shake your foundations. It can help destroy old misconceptions. It may shake you so you see things in a new light. A strength of this deck is that it can be blunt. It can help shake me out of routine and complacency. It make make fall, but it is also so I can learn once more to pick myself back up and rebuild. This deck says, “I’ll give it to you straight, and I will shake you hard if needed to get you to listen.” The deck also says, “don’t get too arrogant, or I’ll bring you back down to size and humility.” I found interesting that The Tower is the card that numerically precedes The Star, which is also the first card I drew now. It’s as if the message there may be need for disruption, even violent change, but this is necessary so that new hope and enlightenment can happen. Sometimes you have to shake things, and at times shake them hard, for change, learning, and understanding to take place. A strength of this deck is that it can startle you, but it is so you can see, learn, and grow towards enlightenment and wisdom.

What are your limits as a deck?

Card III (3- Major Arcana): The Empress. I admit that initially I am not sure what to make of this. Are there some limits in terms of feminine aspects? Are there limits in terms of reflecting on topics like sensuality, and not just sex and erotica but sensual elements? I am getting more questions than answers here. Maybe this deck at times may bring up those questions and other questions, but I may have to seek answers elsewhere.

The Empress is also associated with fertility and creativity. Perhaps there are limits to what the deck can offer in terms of creativity. It could be saying, “I’ll give the first steps, ideas, hints, etc., but you then need to expand.” You get the seeds, maybe the fertilizer too, but it’s  up to you to plant and nurture. This deck can inspire but you do the work of nurturing and tending the garden. Your mama will teach you, but she’s not doing it for you. For me, by the way, this is another favorite card in the deck: a strong woman who is seductive yet wise and motherly, also orderly.

What are you here to teach me?

Page of Pentacles (Suit of Pentacles- Minor Arcana).  Here to teach me to stay grounded, feet firmly on the ground, and to keep it real. But the deck is also here to bring good news and lessons. Sure, you can look up to the stars but remember to keep those feet on the ground, in reality. The page is a young man, a reminder that I still have much to learn both in Tarot as in life. The peacock indicates prosperity; I am not expecting literal wealth (but hey, if it comes I am grabbing it) but more prosperity in daily life through learning and growth. Deck may bring good news, but it will teach me to be realistic, remind me of staying grounded and humble.

How can I best learn and collaborate with you (the deck)?

Two of Pentacles (Suit of Pentacles- Minor Arcana). Well, this is interesting. Presence of pentacles continues. Being earthy as I am, a Capricorn, I see this as encouraging. It continues the idea of staying grounded and keeping it real. The man here also has his feet firmly on the ground. But there is also water, the moon, a ship, and even a dolphin behind him. Emotions, imagination, and intuition come into play as well. I can best learn if I work to juggle and balance all those elements. As the man juggles and balances the pentacles, a rainbow forms. Learn to keep intuition and emotions in a healthy balance with the ground and reality. Doing that may well be the best way to learn and collaborate with this deck. For me, the appearance of this card is additionally encouraging because for me it can symbolize instruction librarians and teachers who as performers often have to balance multiple things in our classrooms. So, keeping a sense of balance is the best way to learn and collaborate with this deck.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

Four of Cups (Suit of Cups- Minor Arcana). Well, this is interesting too. This goes back a bit to the prosperity theme in the Page of Pentacles. There are gifts I already have, symbolized by the three cups, but in studying and working with this deck I may gain new gift, new ideas, new inspiration (spiritual, divine, higher, what have you), symbolized in the fourth cup. In addition, some peace and calm may be an outcome as well. The setting in this image is a green, lush, peaceful field, forest animals and birds in the sky. It’s as if the deck is saying to drink from this gift and be inspired and at peace.

This is a card of re-evaluation. Look up, assess new opportunities. Sure, things may e good, but look up also, assess, and grow. An outcome may well be that at times I reevaluate, see things anew or in a different light, and hopefully learn some new lessons and gain new insights.

 

Tarot Deck Interview Spread. Cards facing down.

This is the spread as I initially laid it out after shuffling the cards.

Tarot deck interview spread. Cards revealed.

This is the spread with the cards all turned up and revealed.

CuriousGeorgeReading

 

Another post and another list of books I would like to read some day. One thing is certain. I will never run out of books to read, and that is a good thing. I also hope my four readers out there find something good to read from these lists once in a while. So, if you pick up a book from any of these posts, please feel free to leave me a comment and let me know. I would love to hear from you.

For anyone who has not read these posts before, this is about me listing books I would like to read. I include the source that gave me the idea about the book, say a review, an article, so on, in order to be able to remind myself why I included the book on the list. In these posts, I also include any lists and bibliographies on topics that may be of interest.

Items about books I want to read:

  • In the United States, and let us be honest, a few other parts of the world, poverty can be big business for the right people doing the exploiting. In the U.S., they raise that to an art form when it comes to taking programs meant to help the poor and those in need and trying to privatize them to make money for exploitative corporations while taking those funds away from those that need them. Via The Atlantic, here is a discussion of the issue and highlight of the book The Poverty Industry.
  • Thomas Frank, author of Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?, talks about what the hell happened to the Democratic Party in the United States. One of the things he argues is that “the problem with establishment Democrats is not that they have been bribed by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and others, but that long ago they determined to supplant the GOP as the party of Wall Street.” I would say in essence, the Democrats in the U.S. have become “Republican-lite.” Story via Democracy Now!
  • On a bit of humor along with eroticism, apparently at one point hipster erotica was a thing, and Hannah Wilde wrote a few books on it to the point she has a series of The Complete Hipster Gangbangs (link to Amazon on this one. I am sure you understand this will not be in WorldCat anytime soon). The story comes via VICE. Sometimes it amazes me the things I can find out there.
  • Here is a possible addition to my list of books for the 2016 Horror Reading Challenge, which I am doing this year. The book is Blood Related, and it was reviewed at Horror Novel Reviews. Here is a little something from the review: “We have a very rough-around-the-edges family. A serial killer for a father, drunk for a mother, and twin boys who witness more than any child should.”
  • Laugh now, but in some distant future, men could be forced to make love to beautiful women. At least that is how Pagan Passions would put it. You can download the book for free here (it is in public domain). And yes, a few libraries still have it too. The book was featured at the WTF Bad Science Fiction Covers blog. It is a pity the blog went on hiatus. It was an amusing blog.
  • Tarot with Jeff recently got a book as a birthday gift from a friend. I need to find more friends like he has. My friends do not get me jack and shit for my birthday. Anyhow, the book he received was Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot, and it looks like a good book for me to read to help along in my Tarot learning journey.
  • Speaking of Tarot, when I started my journey to learn how to read Tarot cards, I started it with a Marseilles Tarot deck. While I do like the deck for being a classic and bringing me some pleasant memories of youth, I could not do much reading with it because the Minor Arcana is not illustrated. I was just not able to develop my intuition enough, and I had to keep constantly turning to the book. So, I switched the deck I use now, the Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti, which is a modern, more visual deck. However, I do intend to go back to using my Marseilles once I feel I have learned the basic meanings well enough to need less visual prompts. Unlike the Rider Waite Smith Tarot system, there are not many books to help you learn the Marseilles deck. Well, lucky for me, The Moon Parlor mentions a book just for that: Marseille Tarot: Towards The Art of Reading. The other big author in learning Marseilles Tarot in modern times is Alejandro Jodorowsky, who is also mentioned in the post. His book is The Way of Tarot, a book that I have seen mentioned in a few other places, and I am likely to add to my collection. When it comes to learning Marseilles Tarot, I need all the help I can get.
  • Via Death and Tarot, a video highlighting the book 78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack. From what I  understand, this is considered a classic in Tarot studies.
  • Via Benebell Wen’s blog, a review of Foundations of the Esoteric Traditions. The book is a companion to the Tarot of the Holy Light Tarot deck. As it is self-published, just visit her post for links and details.
  • At the Eternal Athena Tarot blog they’ve been reading the book Tarot as a Way of Life.
  • Moving to other topics, Dick Gregory recently wrote an essay for college students about knowing when to pick your battles and what really matters in activism. He also mentions his autobiography, which he entitled Nigger, which the essay has inspired me to add to my reading list.
  • I find old paperbacks and their covers fascinating, including the so-called sleazy ones. Well, there is a book out on those covers highlighted at Bookgasm. The book is Sin-a-Rama: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties edited by B. Astrid Daley and Adam Parfrey. The book is also highlighted in this article from Dangerous Minds.
  • Like tacos? Want to learn more about tacos? Then maybe the book Tacopedia could help. It was featured at Wink Books.
  • The Library Juice blog points to a new journal in library science, the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy. Sounds like one to add to my reading list. Their first issue has a review of one of Library Juice’s books, which is of interest to me. The book is Where are all the Librarians of Color? The Experiences of People of Color in Academia.
  • The Rural Blog has a post on “Book about extended Appalachian family helps explain trials of the lesser-educated working class.” The book is Hillbilly Elegy.
  • Via Democracy Now!, a discussion on how Donald Trump made his fortune with public subsidies and political favors with a reporter who has tracked and covered Trump since Trump early days. That reported is author of a Trump biography: Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention. The book was published in 1991, but it has recently been released again as an e-book with some updates. For those wanting to learn more about the man, this book is a possibility, and in the report, the author provides various updates.

 

Lists and bibliographies:


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