Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot

Anatomy of a Daily Tarot Draw

Recently, someone commented on my daily instagram Weather Report, and asked what question I ask when I do this draw each day (incidentally, do you follow my daily tarot draws on instagram? If not, come visit!).

You’d think that’d be an easy one to answer, but in fact I’ve been mulling that over for days now, and the answer is a little more… amorphous than you might expect!

First, though, what do I mean by a daily tarot draw? Well, a lot of readers like to pull a card each day. This ritual serves as many purposes as there are tarot readers on social media - some of us do it to practice our card interpretations, to get to know a particular deck, to get a feel for what to expect that day, to receive a prompt or idea for reflection or journaling, to connect with guides or ancestors… the possibilities are limitless!

If the intent of the draw is to check in with the cards about the day ahead, readers might begin with a question like, “What do I need to know about today?” Or perhaps, “What approach should I take today?” Or even, “What lesson is available to me today?” Or, “What archetype or idea should I tap into today?” Depending on your style and your desire, there are many questions you might ask.

Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot Australia Queen of Cups

A recent Weather Report photo, the beautiful Queen of Cups from Dame Darcy’s Mermaid Tarot.

When I pull a card for the daily Weather Report here at Two Sides Tarot, I pull it with the intention of receiving and sharing a message that’s useful to all my readers, not just for my own personal circumstances. With that in mind, I never approach the card as a prescription, but as a suggestion, or an idea to temporarily inhabit and play with. It’s loose, flexible, open to interpretation. A little nugget of advice, a provocation, an idea that anyone can chew on and use as a point of departure throughout the day.

Of course, none of that really answers the question: What do I ask when I pull that daily card?

Being asked this question prompted me to pay attention to what question I was asking each morning when pulling a card, and what I found was a little surprising, even to me.

I actually don’t ask a question at all. At least, not with words.

As it turns out, what I do when I pick up the cards and shuffle is generate a feeling of open curiosity. This is sensational, energetic, entirely un-verbal. At best I can describe this as an energetic opening that I feel in the front of my body, a sense of shutters opening out.  

I rarely think of it in words, and even more rarely do I say anything out loud. Instead, I come to my daily tarot draw with a feeling. When I open myself up to draw that card, what is held within that curious opening is all questions, any questions, no questions.

In my last post here, I wrote about interpreting tarot cards without using words. Perhaps before we even get to the point of interpretation, we can let our words go. Instead of naming and describing what we desire to know, perhaps we can access the feeling of curiosity. The feeling of being open to symbols, insight, information. No words needed. Just openness.

Openness to what the day holds, and what we might make of it.

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My Five Desert Island Tarot Decks

If you spend a little time in the tarot community on youtube, you may already be familiar with the gauntlet that Kelly Bear recently threw down before those of us with healthy (i.e., large and ever-growing) tarot collections. Kelly challenged her viewers to name the five decks they would use if they could only work with five decks for one year.

Although I don't have youtube channel, I just couldn't resist answering the question. You may notice, though, that although I said "recently" above, the date on that video is actually March 24th. This lil' post has been languishing in my drafts for that long because this question is TOUGH, y'all! The struggle is real. 

I'm no stranger to tarot deck overwhelm. I have a big collection, and even though my working decks only form a small proportion of that collection, I often feel like my attention is spread too thinly. This is particularly true now that I have decks in my shop, as I try to give a little airtime to all the tarot and oracle decks I carry in the store. Of course, having the means to build a large collection of tarot decks is hardly something to complain about, and I am gratefully that I'm able to pursue my passion in this way. Sometimes, though, all these deck options can feel like a double-edged sword.

Periodically, I think about using a single deck for all my work for one month... and then I break out in a cold sweat and try to pretend I never had the thought. Different decks serve different purposes, and each deck brings its own unique sensibility to a reading. Not to mention, at different phases of one's life - even different seasons - some decks feel more resonant than others. Decks that I thought essential to my tarot practice two years ago now don't speak to me at all. Decks that I thought would never ring my bell (like the Sakki Sakki Tarot) are now at the top of my reading rotation. 

Having said all of that,  it's a hypothetical question, so calm the heck down! But it does seem valuable to ask the question - what is essential to me in a tarot deck? Even if it's just at this moment that the answer resonates. What do I need out of a deck? And out of a group of decks, what sensibilities and styles would I want to capture? 

Ok, quit stalling. If I were going into tropical exile for a while, which decks would I choose to take with me?


1. The Spirit Speak by Mary Elizabeth Evans

Regular readers won't be surprised to see the Spirit Speak tarot at the top of my list. It's one of my favourites - deeply intuitive, deceptively simple, supportive, clever, clear to read with, and its images have a kind of bendable quality that really encourages personal interpretations. Something about the stark, symbolic style of the deck allows me, as a reader, to be more receptive. I like having those blanks to intuitively fill in!

(By the by, the pictured second edition of the Spirit Speak Tarot is on the way out, but Beth over at Little Red Tarot still has some copies in stock!)

2. Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot

It wouldn't be a desert island exile without the mermaids! Once again, if you're a regular around these parts, you'll know how I feel about Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot. It sticks quite closely to the symbolism of the Rider-Waite-Smith, but with sailors and mermaids and hot, seaside babes of indeterminate genders. It reminds me of the riot grrrl zines I loved as a teenager, so fresh and raw and beautiful. If any of that makes it sound like it's not a practical deck to work with, don't be fooled - these mermaids read well! And hey, if anyone is going to help me get back to civilisation (and the rest of my tarot collection), it'll be these seasoned sailors.

3. The Sakki Sakki Tarot by Monica Clio Sakki

I mentioned above that the Sakki Sakki Tarot was a slow grower for me. When I first became aware of it a few years back I was immediately certain it wasn't for me, but when our paths crossed more recently, something about it just clicked. Perhaps it's the emphasis on creative practice (this deck includes an additional trump, The Artist), which is increasingly what I use tarot for in my own life, or perhaps my taste has just lightened up, but I love this playful, colourful, and sometimes-abstract tarot deck. It has a kind and slightly silly vibe, and always gives supportive and practical readings. Definitely essential for lightening the mood when one's desert island exile is getting one down!

4. The Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans

At this point, The Wild Unknown Tarot doesn't require much of an introduction. It's one of my workhorse decks, ready to take on any and all types of queries, treading a perfect balance between the practical and the esoteric. I use it for clients and for myself, and thus far haven't read for anyone who didn't respond to its nature-inspired images. Somehow, The Wild Unknown never seems to run out of juice! Handy if we're spending a year together, trapped on an island.

5. The Dreaming Way Tarot by Rome Choi and Kwon Shina

The Dreaming Way Tarot is an old favourite of mine. In fact, it was one of the first decks I bought back when I started getting serious about tarot, and unlike some of the decks I've worked with over the years, the shine has never worn off. Like The Wild Unknown, it's a workhorse deck that reads well under practically all circumstances. Perhaps there won't be wifi on my desert island so I may not be doing many client readings, but this is one of the decks I use most frequently when reading professionally because it's very accessible, even to the casual user. And don't get me started on the outfits! With this as my inspiration, I'll be carving out a fine silhouette in my Ariel-style sail canvas island attire.

I ummed and ahhed over this list for weeks, knowing that whatever five decks I decided upon would be subject to change at a moment's notice! Who knows what five decks I'd deem essential in a week, a month, year?

For now, though, these are my picks. What are your five desert island tarot decks? I'd love to know! As ever, leave me a comment below or come and give me the lowdown on Twitter.

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A Love Letter to The Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune popped up as today's Weather Report, so it's on my mind today. In many ways, this card is always on my mind - it's my year card for 2016, so it bubbles away in the back of my consciousness at all times (by the way, if you wish you can find out how to calculate your card for 2016 here). 

The Wheel of Fortune from Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot, Second Edition.

I never used to like this card much. It used to feel like a dark card to me, risky, chancy, a portent of potential mess and chaos that no amount of planning or good intentions might avert. Sure, it governs good fortune as well as bad, but I've never been much of a gambler, and I feared any mechanism that might detract even as it was adding. 

I wish I could point to the moment when my relationship with the Wheel changed. Actually, I don't think it was a moment so much as a slow unravelling. Perhaps a credit to my spiritual practice, as I confront and unpick my need to know, to influence, to control, to have certainty of any kind. Perhaps it's a result of exposure, as the more I work with the cards, the more their nuances reveal themselves, their darks and lights flushed with a whole spectrum of grey. Maybe I'm just getting more chill, or a little wilder, in my old age. Whatever the cause, I'm grateful to feel less anxious, less desperate need to dictate the outcome.

These days, when I see the Wheel come up in a reading or in life, I feel a rippling thrill deep in my insides. It's a little flash of temptation, of warning. A reminder that anything can - and probably will - happen. It's a risk, a dare. That used to scare the pants off me, but these days, I'm suddenly inclined to chase that chancy, spinning feeling. 

Spinning is, after all, what the Wheel is all about. Cycles, seasons, twists and turns. Sweeps and cranks of fortune and luck. The Wheel tells us that things are motion, and we can't always know which way that momentum is going to take us. Perhaps we'll rise up, get a grand view of the landscape from the top, or perhaps we'll get a face full of dirt, squashed beneath the turning.

The Wheel is a rogue, a renegade, who gives zero fucks about pandering or pleasing. It challenges so many problematic paradigms in the current popular, Western, spiritual model. It is, frankly, a big middle finger to phrases like, "Do what you love and the money will follow", and to much of the law of attraction lite philosophy that gets thrown around in inspirational quotes on social media. You can do what you love, but you might never make a living out of it. You can try to raise your vibration, but it doesn't guarantee you'll get that job or find fairytale romance. This card is a challenge to entitlement, an honest and thus destabilising, anarchic force. 

The Wheel reminds us of the fundamental truth that no matter how well and how intentionally you live your life, you will probably face loss, confusion, existential doubt, illness, abandonment, and death. You will probably also experience love, curiosity, deep satisfaction, revelation, belonging, and untold physical, intellectual, and spiritual pleasures, whether you deserve them or not. The Wheel cares not for promises, compromises, worthiness, prayers, or pleading. It treats all outcomes as neutral, and possible. 

So, what do you do with that? What can you do, when circumstances and possibilities spin out of your sphere of influence? As I see it now, there are only two options when the Wheel appears. You can tap out, resist, petition your chosen deities, stay in bed and wait for it - whatever it is - to be over. Or, you can climb aboard the spinning carnival ride and try to laugh it up if you happen you puke your guts out (your chosen deities will probably be laughing along with you). Who knows, you might manage to keep your lunch down and have a good time. And even if you spew, it won't be too long before it makes good story. When it's over, all we can do is remind ourselves of this basic truth, and try to find the fortitude to get back on the ride. 

The Wheel says, climb aboard, take a risk, surrender control, accept the outcome. Or don't. Your call!

How do you relate to the Wheel of Fortune? I'm a little obsessed with this card, so I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment or come over and chat on Twitter!

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Tarot Decks Have Landed!

The day is finally here! We're under the Aquarius New Moon, the perfect time for declaring dreams and visions, and I'm so excited to announce that some of the best independently published tarot decks in the known universe are now available to peruse and purchase at Two Sides Tarot!

I'm so pleased and proud to say that my humble store is now home to such unique creations as The Wild Unknown Tarot and Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot. I feel I am in illustrious company!

I've been hinting at this new direction, and outright counting down for it for a while now. In truth, the notion has been months - maybe even a year - in the making. In the last year or two, it's been glaringly obvious that the most interesting and innovative work in the tarot world has been coming from enterprising artists, self-publishing and crowd funding. Without wishing to impugn to the wonderful works and illustrious histories of the big esoteric publishing houses, in my opinion, it's been many moons since a new deck from a traditional publisher has really pushed the artistic or philosophical envelope. Instead, we've been blessed with the outsider works of Kim Krans, A. L. Swartz, Dame Darcy, Mary Elizabeth Evans, Danielle Noel, to name but a few, and what blessings they have been! 

Some months ago, I had the thought, "Wouldn't it be great to collect up all these wonderful decks so they could be browsed all together? Wouldn't be good to make a little hub for great tarot art down here in Australia? We don't have anything like that! Don't as many people as possible deserve to have access to all of this amazing work? Shouldn't readers from all over the world be able to find the creme of modern tarot all in one spot? Shouldn't Australian tarot readers be able to enjoy local, or even free shipping for once in their damn lives?!" Of course, I immediately dismissed the idea as crazy, and got on with my life. 

Obviously, that niggling inspiration never went away, and my desire to do what I could to spread the word about all this unique tarot art only grew. After months of constantly recommending obscure or indie decks to my bookshop customers (that I then couldn't supply), to my friends and fellow readers, strangers on instagram, I thought, enough! Let's do this! 

So, here we are. I can't tell you how happy I am to see Dame Darcy, Kim Krans, and Mary Elizabeth Evans sitting side by side, in my little shop! I said a few weeks back that my vision for Two Sides Tarot is for it to be a conduit for goodness. I've been offering readings here to many happy clients for over two years now, and I'm so glad that the Two Sides Tarot goodness portal is now a channel for you to access some of the truly groundbreaking and beautiful tarot decks that I love to use in my practice. 

Head over this-a way to find The Wild Unknown deck and guidebook, and this-a way to find Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot. I'm excited to say, too, that my beloved Spirit Speak Tarot is coming soon, along with Mary Elizabeth Evans' intriguing new oracle deck, Vessel! Yay! So much yay. 

The Two Sides Tarot goodness portal ships to anywhere and everywhere - even the astral plane! Just kidding, although I'll do my best to transmit your purchase to you energetically. My fellow Australians, domestic shipping is free! Head over to the shop, have a stroll, take a look around, make yourself a cup of tea. You might find something you like!

Questions? Comments? Seen a great deck you think I should stock? Drop me a line, or leave a note in the comments below!

Deck Interview: Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot

The very luxe Gold Edition of Dame Darcy’s Mermaid Tarot is now in stock! Find it here.

If you follow me on social media at all, you may have read about my full blown high school crush on the Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot. Mermaid-themed tarot and oracle decks have never been my jam, so imagine my surprise when I first beheld this deck and just knew that I had to have it! Something about Dame Darcy's artwork takes me right back to cutting and pasting zines in my teenage bedroom, singing alone to Babes in Toyland, wishing I was Courtney Love and feeling really, really cool. Even at the age of thirty, who could say no to recapturing that feeling?! If you were a 90s right grrrl (and even if you weren't!), I think you're going to love this one!

Now that this salty sea lass has been in my possession for a month or so, I thought it was time to do a formal interview. Let's see what she has to say for herself (I've never gendered a tarot deck before, but I feel quite strongly that this one is a lady - just go with me on this)! Credit for this wonderful deck interview spread, as ever, goes to Little Red Tarot.

Finally, a use for that dried up old crab claw I've been hoarding.

1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic? Queen of Wands

Don't you just love this Queen of Wands?! She's a party monster, there's no doubt about it, and she says this deck's best characteristic is its passion for a good time! This deck is playful, silly, sexy, and unabashedly owns its quirkiness. Also, don't be fooled by the fact this deck takes its theme from a watery, seaside setting. There's plenty of fire here, too!

2. What are your strengths as a deck? XVII The Star

The Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot really knows her own mind, and isn't afraid to speak it. Don't worry though, The Star says this frankness will always be in service of the querent's highest good, and will be presented in a kind, nurturing, and soul-affirming package. This deck wants to go right to the heart of the matter, no disguises or double talk. 

3. What are your limits as a deck? VII The Chariot

I feel like this deck is an eager little imp, tugging on my sleeve and saying, "Come on, come on, come on!" and The Chariot certainly seems to affirm that! This deck is sometimes limited by its impatience, and eagerness to snap up an idea or issue and run with it. That passion is a wonderful tool to bring to a tarot reading, but I'll have to be mindful it doesn't knock me off my feet! As the reader, I'll have to learn to intuit when these plucky pink dolphins are leading me in a helpful direction, as in The Star, and when they might be dragging me off track out of sheer exuberance!

4. What are you here to teach me? Seven of Pentacles

This card suggests that, fun though it may look, this deck isn't to be taken lightly, and I will get the most out of it if I work with it attentively and consistently. Putting in the time to get to know it will yield rich results. I think this card is also saying that this deck will teach me to take even greater pleasure and pride in my work. Let's be honest, reading tarot is never a drag, but it can only be a good thing to look down at the spoils of your labour and see a reading peppered with mermaids, sailors, and pink seahorses! Sweetness and whimsy coupled with this deck's oceanic psychic depths suggest that with time and study, I'll be able to use it to give readings that I can really be proud of. Sounds good to me!

5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you? Four of Cups

Don't overthink it! Just enjoy the beautiful imagery, the playful characters, and the sand between your toes. 

6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? XVI The Tower

Phew! Big revelations could be the result of working with this deck. The Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot is promising total shifts in perspective, rapid changes of direction, and psychic upheavals! It might be fun and playful, but that doesn't mean it can't help instigate real change. I would be a little apprehensive about seeing The Tower here, but coupled with The Star as this deck's strengths, I think any cataclysms that result from reading with this deck will only be for my benefit!

I'm really excited by this reading, especially that Seven of Pentacles. I'm going to be going on a trip in September, and after umming and ahhing about what deck to take with me (as a chronic over-packer, I am determined to pick only tarot deck to travel with!), I decided that this one would be the perfect companion for a couple of weeks in sunny California! I think she's looking forward to spending some quality time together, too. 

What are your thoughts on the Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot? Has it turned you into a mermaid obsessive, too?! Let me know in the comments.