In Love…with Stella’s Tarot!

VI. The Lovers ~ Stella's Tarot

VI. The Lovers ~ Stella's Tarot

 

Like most tarot readers, I love to collect tarot decks. I have lots. Every time I purchase a new deck for the collection, I silently say to myself …girl, you gotta slow down! You have so many decks! and then I try so very hard to not splurge whenever I set my eyes and heart onto a newly discovered deck that I just have to have. Yeah…it never works.   

Such is the case with my newest find…Stella’s Simple Tarot!   

When I first saw this amazing set of tarot images, it was digitally. The images are whimsical and transporting, taking the reader to another place – which to me is a quality ranking high upon the list of attributes a deck just has to have in order for it to work as a vehicle for visioning. The key to this is the journey that the images take you upon – it needs to be easy and essentially effortless. If you have to try hard or strain to get the process going, then the deck is probably not the right one. This deck effortlessly fits the bill, taking you on a magic ride, likened to falling down the rabbit hole, growing big one minute and then small.  Once you start, the rest is enchantingly thrilling. I just had to own this deck. Finding, however, was a journey in and of itself.   

The only description I had for my set of digital images was “AnAn Tarot”. I thought …this should be easy. This is such a great deck! It has to be out there still. I hope. Ha! It wasn’t long before I was eating my words and feeling that old familiar sensation of looking for a deck that is out-of-print or impossible to find for under a million dollars (Victorian Romanitc. Lenormand anything. Sola Busca.) So, out into the cyber-sphere I go, searching. I am the Fool.   

AnAn Tarot is an ellusive creature. After days of searching I find three sites that refer to AnAn. The first one is a Korean site, all in Korean. The second, Japanese. Also in  Japanese only. Darn. The third is a UK site, The Artwork of Modern Tarot – hooray! But, alas…no links. Just a name in a collection that is vast and nearly endless. And here I thought I had a huge collection of decks! This list was huge! There was the name: AnAn Tarot, but no link in site. Double darn.   

Always the curious, I decided to check out this collector’s list and started making note of names of decks  I have never seen and was not familiar with. It was an impressive collection to be sure. Then I started getting into the “S” category and spied a quaint little title: “Stella’s Simple Tarot”. I fed it into the web browser, hoping. Click. Gasp! I could here angel’s singing! There was my beloved AnAn disguised as Stella’s! Thank you, God/dess!   

I. The Magician ~ Stella's Tarot

I. The Magician ~ Stella's Tarot

 

Some lists and references consider Stella’s a Majors only deck, but this is simply not the case. Seems that Stella’s was dubbed “AnAn” after a special little deck – majors only – was enclosed within the popular Japanese fashion magazine of the same name as a promotional gift when purchasing the publication in 2008.  Upon learning this my heart sank, as such limited run decks are very valuable and ellusive and impossible to obtain. In fact, the original 78 card run is very easy to obtain through Amazon.com. Yay! I quickly ordered this prized deck and waited anxiously for it to arrive and when it did I was not disappointed! It is even more charming in person. The LWB is very interesting in that it has unique descriptions of the Rider-Waite style cards that waste no words on their meanings. What I really wanted to know more about was the author/artist of this imaginative set of cards. This has proved to be even more elusive than the deck itself. Everything I find is either in Chinese, Japanese or Korean and impossible to translate through Internet translators. What the LWB says is the most I have been able to dig up. The deck was conceived by and for Stella Kaoruko by Takako Hoei. Stella is a renouned authority on astrology and tarot in Japan. She received a vision of  the archangel Gabriel while viewing Frangelico’s “The Annunciation” at Italy’s San Marco Museum at the tender age of 22. The rest, as they say, is history, as she delved into an immersive quest for knowledge of the world’s religions, as well as astrology and tarot. She is credited for helping hundreds of people by giving right and loving advice worldwide with her uncannily accurate predictions, inspiring right change for the better. Takako created the tarot for Stella at her lake shore home. The two are very close. I find it interesting that the most beautiful and inspired decks in history are collaborations between two people… Aleister and Frieda. Pamela and Arthur. Alex and Karen. This union of artist and intuitive always lifts my heart. Stella’s Tarot is like that…heart lifting. Hope inspiring. Door opening.   

I hope you check out Stella’s Simple Tarot. It has a special place in my heart next to my other favourite deck, Lenormand. Please visit Stella’s Official Web Site to learn more. I encourage dialogue and discussion about this deck and any deck that you might fancy. Collecting is a passion and the cards are my muse, the indulgence my little vice.   

There. I admitted it.   

Until next time…

Flying South…

XX. The Sun ~ Fairie Tale Tarot

XX. The Sun ~ Fairie Tale Tarot

 

Well, as some of you may have heard, fir the last year and a half, I and my significant other have been working, planning and striving to make a move from Grand Haven, Michigan to the warmer climes of Florida. I am happy to announce that the move is almost complete! This whole project has been such an exercise in determination, it has brought to us a sense that we can do absolutely anything as long as we put our minds to it! We couldn’t have done it alone, however, and have had much needed and greatly appreciated help from some very wonderful and caring folks. 

First off, we have a couple of super-human real estate agents on both ends of the move. Both real estate agents have gone above and beyond the call of duty where coordinating our relocation is concerned, what with selling one house and buying another and all in sync with our busy lifestyles, is nothing short of a miracle. My daughter has been an extremely helpful life saving sort of angel where all of this moving business is concerned. Add to that the rest of our family and friends, well…I cannot express enough gratitude to make me feel satisfied that they have been praised sufficiently, but I can begin right here and now with this blog. 

The reasons for the move are many, but boils down to a couple of nutshells: the economy and the cold. Economy-wise, Michigan is in trouble. Hardly anyone in this state has any money and it makes them desperate and grouchy. Weather-wise, it’s just too blasted cold. The summer last year was so chilly that the lake never did warm up enough to actually be able to get in at all. Temps in the low to mid ’70’s all season was very depressing. Folks in Michigan wait a long and cold winter for a nice warm summer to play in. To be deprived of that is really a cruel joke of nature. And I always say: If ya can’t stand the frost, then get out of the freezer. So, I am following my own advice. 

 Another thing that I have found disconcerting is the lack of tollerance for alternative lifestyles and outside-the-box thinking in general in all but the extreme eastern part of the state (read Detroit area) which I really don’t have any desire to live there. Not knocking the Motor City scene, but it’s just not my cup o’ tea. 

It all started winter before last. I had just endured a harrowing trip through a raging blizzard to bury my older brother. I felt like a frozen popsicle for days, never really being able to warm up ever since. I said to my partner, “…we gotta get outta here!” And so we set forth and made a plan. We would save up our funds, put the house up for sale, and move about this same time next year. We weren’t sure how we were going to make it happen, but every journey starts with a single step. And so it goes. 

We started doing exploratory trips to the Sunshine State in October. Initially we were interested in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami beach area, but after spending a few days there, discovered that the area was nearly as depressed economy-wise as the Michigan area. So, we headed north. Now, my family is from the Ozark, Arkansas area initially. A dear friend of mine had mentioned we should check out the St. Augustine area, raving about how nice it is there. Needless to say, it took all of one day to realize how right she was! We fell in love with the oldest city in the country and the rest is history. 

Even though the housing market is severely depressed, we managed to sell our home in a near-record 18 days. And in the final hour we were fortunate to find and buy the Florida house of our dreams. We are so blessed in so many ways, I cannot even begin to count them all. If all goes well, we will be settled into our new house by the end of April at the latest. In the meantime, we have our work cut out for us in the form of moving one household to another across 1800 miles. At least we have motor vehicles to use and not covered wagons and mules! 

So…if you ever feel like life is out of control or that things will never go right or your goal is just too far out there to be touched…think again. Where there is a will there is a way. Just look at the Sun and believe…in the world and yourself.

The Good Devil…

Most of the time I hear all sorts of good things about the World of New Age and a lot about the inherent good of the Tarot, and how it helps people so much. But more than I would like to admit, I do hear some pretty bad things from people that usually don’t know much about tarot or what it really is. All the exposure that these folks have had have been through misrepresentation from the media, television or inadequate portrayals in the motion picture industry. Occasionally, and sadly, some people get ripped off by flim-flam charlatans and scam artists…you know the ones…they tell the person they are reading for that they have a terrible curse upon them and for a gazillion bucks the reader will remove it. Whenever I hear about this sort of thing going on it just really bugs me. I mean…really bugs me.  That is why I do a lot of free readings and don’t charge an arm and a leg for my services. I figure it all comes back around and so I don’t sweat the money part so much. 

The Stella's Tarot ~ XV. The Devil

Stella's Tarot ~ XV. The Devil

 

That is why whenever I hear of something really good coming from working with the tarot I just get so excited about it. And that is what happened in the case I am going to share with you now. 

There is a young man that I have been doing readings for for a little while now.  He has given me permission to tell his story as long as I change his name. So lets call him Murray. I think he’d like that name.

Murray has been coming to me for a little under a year. I never charge him for readings, as he really doesn’t have the extra cash to pay. So I don’t mind reading for him for free. Right off the bat I could tell that Murray had some issues in his life. Drugs, drinking, legal problems and hanging out with the wrong crowd were big ones. This all pretty much was getting him down, as his life was  just one big downward spiral. Nothing really good ever happened for him, and I felt bad for it. I had hoped that through my friendship and work through the tarot I could somehow get through to him and help him get clean and on the road to sobriety. I really worried about him when I didn’t hear from him for a while, and was so relieved when he would finally called me and touch bases, asking to get together for a reading. I guess it’s just the “mother hen” coming out in me where Murray was concerned.

What was really interesting was that  he would manage to pull The Devil card from the deck every single time without fail. I remember the first time this happened during his  first reading. It’s quite normal to have the querent raise an eyebrow when cards like Death, the Tower and the Devil show up in a reading. At first he was very concerned at seeing this card, but after explaining what it meant,  he would settle into a more calm and somber mood, nodding his head as I explained how this card reflected the vices and bad habits of his life and how he could break free from that and initiate change. After dealing with all sorts of substance abuse issues within my immediate family, I knew what those reflective nods meant. Quiting an addiction is easier said than done no matter how sincere or how hard one tries to quit. I never pushed him, but always tried to explain the positive side of The Devil card whenever he presented himself in front of Murray. I wasn’t going to hold my breath in anticipation of his getting clean any time soon, but I always hoped that one day he would tire of the party life and get his act together.

On a sunny afternoon, not too long ago, I heard a knock on the door. When I opened it there stood Murray. Would I do a reading for him? Sure.

He was unusually quiet and oddly lucid as he cut the cards after the usual shuffling. He picked his cards and sure enough…there was Mister Devil card as usual. We were doing a three card reading and I remember the cards he chose (which is unusual, as I don’t usually remember readings soon after I do them) – Temperance, The Four of Cups and The Devil. In that order. As his eyes landed on The Devil card he smiled, instantly knowing what that card meant from experience.

Tapping the Four of Cups, he said, “I think I know what this card means. The boy is refusing the cup. He doesn’t want it anymore.”

“Yes, that is one way to look at it.”

And then he tapped on Temperance, “What does Temperance mean?”

“Let’s look it up in the Dictionary,” I said as I pulled it up on my trusty iPhone dictionary app. As I read the meanings, his face grew entirely serious, and no sooner had I read the part about it meaning abstinence from alcohol, he stopped me.

“Oh my God.” His face was pale and he was so dead serious he was beginning to freak me out a bit. “I have to tell you something very important. I’ve been clean and sober for the last week. I have been seriously considering stopping everything all together.” He blinked. I didn’t know what to sa,y so I stayed quiet and let him continue. “…this is so weird. This is a sign!” Yes it is, I thought. Yes…it is.

There were tears in his eyes and soon there were tears in mine. To see this sort of break through for a person and all spurred on by a tarot reading was a wonderful thing to see. It did my heart good after putting up with so much flack from a very biased and ignorant public in the past few months and years. Here was a young person before me having a perfect “Ah Ha!” moment, all on account of the tarot cards. How could anyone think that such a good thing happening could be so bad?

Seeing the figure of the Devil enlightening a person to turn his life around instead of being used to scare the crap out of people and manipulate them for money and gain was an irony that was not lost on me that day! Murray wasn’t aware of my own little “Ah Ha!” moment, but that’s ok. I wasn’t going to steal his thunder. It was a very amazing afternoon for the both of us…one I will never forget.

So, the next time someone makes assumptions about the tarot in a negative way, just think of Murray. Last I heard he was still on the wagon and even bragging to his friends how he has quit the high life for good. He is so proud of himself and so am I. I didn’t need my faith in the tarot recharged, but the reboot didn’t hurt my feelings at all. Never underestimate the good in people when reflected in the cards…

Namaste everyone!