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Lapis Philosophorum » Tarot

Reading #11: Focus

Posted in Tarot on January 31st, 2010 by Kristine Gazel

My question this sunday is What shall I focus on in the coming week?

Again I turn to the simplicity of the little cross. I chose to read card 1 as the internal focus and card 2 as the external focus.

Card 1: Ten of Vessels. This card I have not seen before. A gigantic vessel or rather a system of ten vessels. Or actually I think it is a still. I guess this is about purification through destillation. In regard to my own wishes and plans about writing it has to do with letting the process take its own course, let it simmer for it self and thereby riping, like wine. 

Place calls this card the Still – and the keywords are connectedness, a network, the Internet. It makes sense, since much of my communication and writing takes place on the internet and – I hope – in connection with other people.

The Alchemical Tarot Study Group quoting from the companion book says:

An alchemical still is composed of ten vessels united into one still. In ten, the many come back to the one.

Tarot wisdom: No one is emotionally separate and alone. Harmony comes from recognizing your connections to others. Don’t isolate yourself–you need others to make your way in life. On a spiritual level, recognize your part in the greater whole of the divine cosmos, and know that the function of each individual is essential to the harmony of the whole.

As for creativity I guess this is about acknowledging that it all comes from and all goes back to the same source. Inspiration comes from the great Vessel, and is to be given back. Inspiration can not be held as it is in a constant flow or circulation.

Card 2: Lady of Coins. This Lady I’ve met one or two times before. Again she reminds me of my daily business and routine, and about continuely appreciating doing them, being in the now. Carpe Diem!

Images from The Alchemical Tarot, copyright Robert M. Place, are used with kind permission. Visit the Alchemical Tarot website.

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The Wolf

Posted in Alchemical Tarot, Meanings, Tarot on January 2nd, 2010 by Kristine Gazel

The Wolf

I’ve have met the wolf in my readings with the Alchemical twice. Actually it is a frightening card, and perplexing too, the Nine of Staffs. Which the discussion in the Alchemical Tarot Study Group at AT also points to.

Last time I read it as it meant that some part of myself has to be sacrifed, my egoism. But I have been doing some soulsearching recently and I have been working on my tendency to take upon my shoulders all kinds of responsibility and guilt that is not mine.

And that tendency is a like a predator preying on me and my relations with other people. Because then I’m not able to distinguish between my responsibilty and theirs.

I think that what must be sacrificed is my guilttrip, and my tendency not to guard my personal borders.  I’m working on that.

Actually I see my tendency to guard my borders as a dog, a border collie, tending to its herd, and all material coming in from others and from my self, from the unconsciousness, as a wolf.

It has to be dealt with. It has to be purified so that it can rise as something else, a greater level of consciousness.

I’m writing about this, not  because all of my previous  interpretations nor the general meanings, that Place has attributed to this card are wrong, not at all, of course.

But I realize that I have slowly started to really connect with this particular deck of tarot, on a personal level. The wolf means something specific to me, now.


Tarot in 2010

Posted in Tarot on January 1st, 2010 by Kristine Gazel

This is my tarot intentions for 2010:

  • I have joined the PDR, and will be writing about the Alchemical Tarot Renewed every sunday on this blog (yes – I’ve decided to try again).
  • I’ll write more about tarot on my danish blog.
  • I will get back to working on my take on the numerical value for the pips – working with the Marseille Fournier.
  • I have some books I will read this year, among them a Wicked Pack of Cards, A Cultural History of Tarot and Meditations on the Tarot.
  • I’ll continue to offer f2f readings, and read for whoever comes along. For this I’ll use The Universal Waite.

So I’ll only work with about three decks and hence realising that I don’t need that many;

  • There is only three decks I consider buying in 2010, and I guess I’ll stick to them, at least two of them.
  • In fact I’ve considered to trade some of my decks or simply give them away, but I’m not sure – yet.
  • Last but not least, I’ll be hanging around in AT.

– so I guess I’ll be quite occupied tarotwise in 2010.

What are your (tarot or other)  intentions for 2010?

Happy New Year!

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Death or Transformation

Posted in Meanings, Tarot on November 22nd, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

At the Aeclectic Tarot Forum somone asked how the renaming of cards is perceived. The discussion there inspired me to write the following:

The classic example is of course Death – often renamed as Transformation. I think this obscures the whole idea about what Death is about in the Tarot.

No doubt that Death in a actual reading can mean transformation, or letting things die, letting go, thus making room for change. But does not the Wheel of Fortune express this idea very well also? You know, the notion of  “what comes around, goes around”.

There is a tendency to think – and perhaps ensure the querent, that Death is not really about the real physical death, about dying. But about “Transformation” – whatever that may mean in the context. It seems to me that the grim urgency of the Reaper is somehow being denied and euphemized here.

In the “original” tarot – emerging in  the 15’th century Renaissance Italy – Death was quite literal and ever urgent. The Plague swept over Europe in the course of five centuries, came and went several times only to return again. You never knew who was next in line. Often young people and children died first, leaving no new generations so that cities and rural districts was almost void of people year after year.

Death from the Alchemical Tarot

Death from the Alchemical Tarot

We have the idea of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse bringing with them Pestilence, War, Famine and Death. And the motto Memento Mori  – Rememeber your Mortality. Actually we find this at the back of the beautiful and scarily intriguing Bohemian Gothic Tarot cards.

This is not to ruin your day, just to say that Death always has been ever present to the individual. But there is a tendency – whenever it is possible – to distance ourselves from this harsh reality. I guess that this “Transformation” talk is a symptom of this. The true is that Death is and will always be a something we human beings must be confronted with, no matter our life conditions, and no matter how nice these are to make us believe that Death is not an issue to us personally, to make us foolishly believe that Death is something that happens to somone else.

I think that Death in the Tarot – coming after the Hanged Man and before Temperance – is about accepting this and looking this fact of life right in the eye. Memento mori. I did not say anything about accepting it without anxiety or fear. Angst. I guess that is too much to ask for. But never the less.

When you have accepted Death, not as a abstract idea – like me dealing with it now (see I’m also fooling myself) – but after having been hanging upside down for a few days or weeks, you are ready to pursue. An maybe, just maybe, at this point you have the courage and peace of mind and knowlegde – to do as the Temperance Angel does. To mix.

But you are only able to do the Mixing, after having stepped over the treshold of Death, that is having accepted your very own, very literal mortality: That this very body, and this ego are dying and you can’t avoid it nor do you have not the faintest idea about what is going to happen on the “other side”. If there is an other side.

Having accepted this, you are ready to Mix Fire and Water. There is a lot of Power in Mixing, don’t doubt that. And this in turn makes you ready to deal with the Devil.

Images from The Alchemical Tarot, copyright Robert M. Place, are used with kind permission. Visit the Alchemical Tarot website.

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Posted in Tarot on October 31st, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

Being attracted to the Alchemical and the Vampire Tarots – as should be appearent by reading this blog – I started  wonder what it is about  blood and its symbolism, that so intrigues us?

I guess that blood has so many symbolic layers that you could write volume upon volume about it. And this has been done.

So now I want to turn my – and yours – focus on Blood and Redness as symbolizing Eros.

In the fairy tales three drops of blood can symbolize the defloration of the virgin, in a more unfamiliar freudian sense. This I choose to interpret as the point where the young girl become mature and able as a women to give herself to a man on the wedding night. The wedding symbolizes that there has been a true union, a conjuntion, between the man and the woman, the groom and the wife.

So, the mother in the fairy tale of Snow White cuts her finger on the needle, and tree drops of blood fall on the snow in the black wooden window frame and she says: “I wish that I had a daughter that had skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony”.

And then she concieves and gives birth to a little daughter, which the royal couple names Snow White, soon after which the good mother dies. We all know what then happens. Btw, I have always been more attracted to the cruelty and vile in the original fairy tales, as supposed to the cute Disney versions, which I do like, but it is not just the same (more about this in a later post, perhaps).

What I find interesting here is that the blood and the Redness is linked to the Blackness and the Whiteness. These are – off course – the three alchemical stages; the nigredo, the albedo and the rubedo. The rubedo is pointing to the culmination of the Opus, i.e. the Great Work, the red Stone, the conjunction, the fusion of opposites, and – yes – the wedding between the King and the Queen.

The World in the Alchemical Tarot, symbolizing the Great Work, The Red Stone

The World in the Alchemical Tarot (Courtesy of Robert M. Place),
symbolizing the Great Work,
The Red Stone

So – Blood and Redness, the beauty and brilliance of the colour red, then is about the pulse, the spark of life, love and passion, ripeness and maturity, the ability to be whole and united with the opposite, yet be differentiated.

We also have the virgin, the mother and the crone, as aspects of the goddess trinity, where the mother stands for the mature woman, representing the fase in a woman’s life, that is about love, passion and eros, and where she, being able to give birth and create new life, is bleeding on a monthly basis.

My husband had a more earth-bound approach: “Blood is what runs our machine – it is liquid, yet coagulates easily, it is thick and warm, it is sort of alive, a living organism in itself”.

And as the blood runs thin, we are embarking on its scarier implications, we are reminded of death; It is at this point that the Redness turns back into Blackness. And the circle comes full.

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Posted in Tarot on October 25th, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

Soon it is Halloween. It is not a danish, nor a protestant tradition. But in our house hold we are celebrating it with Jack- O’-Lanterns. Partly because my husband is American, partly because it is scary in a cosy sort of manner. So here is what he created today:



I have dug up my Halloween Tarot in a Tin, and will be using this deck for the next week, that is until Halloween. Look also at The Tarot Table Talk where Susan has this deck on her table this week.



Posted in Tarot on October 18th, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

First of all, Tarot Table Talk is back and I warmly recommend that you visit the site.

Today, I choose Fate, from Robert Place’s beautiful and intriguing Vampire Tarot, and therefore I would like to write about this card.

The Fate from the Vampire Tarot by Robert M. Place

The Fate from the Vampire Tarot by Robert M. Place

I think the idea is that even the vampire is subject to Fate, as we all are. In the norse mythology, the Norns spin and cut the threads of fate, and thereby determine our lifespan, as do the greek goddesses of Fate, the Moirae. When the scissors cut the life is irrevocably over, hence the blodstains on the blades.

I also like the way Place has used the alchemical colours for the Fates; black, red and white. As if to say, that these three (alchemical) phases are also integral parts of a life span; the blackness of death, the  unconsciousness and sorrow, the rednes of life, love and passion and the whiteness of enlightment, innocence and purity. Maybe to say that the Fates also determine how these things are mixed and blended into our individual lifes.  Also, the colours can symbolize the three aspects of the great Goddess; The Crone, the Mother and the Virgin, which the Fates represent.

Again thanks to Robert Place for his art and for Susan Gold for bringing this to my attention.

The card is from the Vampire Tarot, Copyright Robert M. Place.

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Symbolic Coach

Posted in Tarot on August 8th, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

I’m very interested in symbols – not only from Tarot, all though this is my main interest, but also from dreams, litterature, astrology, alchemy, mythology and other sources – and now I got this idea from this post about Tarot Pride at Evolutionary Tarot  to simply call me a Symbolic Coach – because that is want I want to: To help others be creative by understanding and interpreting symbols from tarot, writing, reading, dreams etc.  

Now I just have to figure out what to call this in danish …

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The Annotated Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery

Posted in Tarot on June 30th, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

There is a lot of great Tarot artists out there at the time being. Skilled and fabulous people who really add something new to the Art of Tarot. I’ve earlier mentioned Ciro Marchetti in this context. Another modern Tarot artist  is Robert M. Place. Actually – the beauty of his art of Tarot is that he is interpreting the Tarot by means of love, tradition and true knowledge of the origins of the Tarot. Thereby his Tarot Artwork becomes a true inspiration for all us Tarot lovers who are not exactly artfully skilled ourselves, but seems to be enlightened by his endeavour.

Recently the  Annotated Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery was released. It is so beautiful. There is a certain coolness and calmness to the pictures, that ask you into their realm, into their mystery. This is a Majors only deck, and the cards are bigger than an usual deck of Tarot. It is not really meant for shuffling, but rather for drawing one card for meditation and contemplation. They can comfort you, whenever you turn to them for advice.

Even Death does not seem frightening, rather focused and mild. This is something we all most go through. It is really the first Death that convices me that this is really “just” a transformation, a passover …

Death from the Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery.

Death from the Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery.

To me this Tarot is a puzzle, even with the annotations that  guides you towards the mystery. The thing is – you simply have to understand for yourself, walk the path yourself. I guess one could call this a map of gnosis for the modern spiritual seeker.

Images from The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, copyright Robert M. Place, are used with kind permission. Visit the Alchemical Egg website.

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Sadly …

Posted in Alchemical Tarot, Tarot on February 16th, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

… I had to accept  that I just can not do one reading per week. I simply do not have the energy or time for it. Therefore I decided to quit the PDR at the Aeclectic. But of course I will still be around at the Aeclectic Tarot Forum – my second home at the Internet, and I will surely continue using the Alchemical Tarot  for my own readings, some of which will still be posted here.