Tarot in Space!

All About Love: A Meditation on The Lovers

If you've been here before, you probably know that when it comes to writing, I like to follow my whims. If it's been quiet on the blog front, which it has, it's because at the moment I'm mostly sharing my writing in my occasional email newsletter (that's where this piece originally appeared). If you'd like to keep up with my latest tarot musings and news, you can sign up here

The Lovers from Tarot in Space! and The Wild Unknown Tarot.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about love. In a little over a month, it'll be a year since my last relationship ended, and throughout that time, I've thought a lot about what place love ought to have in my life. I also wonder what it means to love well, not just your lover, but your family, your friends, your community, your clients and colleagues, your work.

I recently devoured bell hooks' meditation on this subject, All About Love, and it left me with a lot to ponder. hooks borrows her definition of love from the psychiatrist M. Scott Peck (who in turn follows the work of psychoanalyst Erich Fromm), who describes love as "the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth." I haven't yet managed to fully understand and integrate that as a definition, but suffice it to say that lightbulbs are going off in the deep recesses of my mind! I hope this idea - one that seems simultaneously obvious and world-shaking - gives you pause, too.

hooks draws on Peck further, quoting that "love is an act of will - namely both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love." Again, this seems both obvious and revolutionary. What if we didn't think of love - in any of its forms - so much as a feeling that steals over us as a course of action we willed ourselves to undertake?

As it turns out, the trusty tarot already has this idea well and truly covered. Our friends in the Major Arcana, The Lovers, are all about helping to guide our choices. We're all familiar with the Rider Waite Smith Lovers, the union of a woman and a man presided over by an angel, but unless you're Marseille Tarot savvy, you may not have noticed that earlier iterations of this card depict a man, struck by cupid's arrow, choosing between two women (see Rachel Pollack's excellent book, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, for a more extensive history of both these cards). The notion of choice, particularly in matters of love, has always been at the forefront of this card's meaning.

The Lovers from the Smith-Waite Tarot Centennial Edition and the Tarot of Jean Noblet.

Here we have a marriage, ordained by spirit, freely entered into, of opposites, complements, chosen loves. Of course, when we look at the Rider Waite Smith's imagery, we must acknowledge that not everyone is straight, not everyone believes in marriage, not everyone sees their gender represented. As we get better at listening to each other and seeing each other's unique identities, we know that this isn't the best way to represent the choice to love and to commit. Nonetheless, the ideas here remain powerful. This is love in service of spiritual growth and inner unity, and when we draw this card, we're being invited to choose that path.

While this card is usually associated with romantic love, its lessons about choice have a much broader application. Just as The Lovers must choose the right partner if they are to reap the spiritual benefits of an angel-blessed union, so too must we choose what and whom we love, and choose again and again to love well so that our spirits - and the spirits of the people and places and projects we love - can grow and flourish.

What does this mean, practically speaking? I don't think bell hooks wants to make a prescription, and for my part, well, I'm still figuring that out. For now, though, let's chew on this idea that when we love well, we're striving to nourish each other's - and our own - spirits. And that it's through our will that we make this commitment. Every minute we get to choose to love, or not, and choose again.

What are your thoughts on The Lovers - or on love in general? Love it? Hate it? Been there, done that and bought the t-shirt? Leave a comment below or share your thoughts on Twitter. I'd love to hear your perspective!

Why Is This Tarot Card Stalking Me? The Seven of Cups Edition

It seems there's a stalker lurking outside our metaphorical window right now. If you follow the daily Weather Report, you might have noticed that the Seven of Cups has popped up three times in the last fourteen days. I'm not mathematically minded enough to say for sure how statistically significant that is (and I know it'll take me 5 years to begin to understand the google search results if I try to look it up, so), but I feel like that's of a frequency worth noting, don't you?

When a card appears persistently in the daily Weather, for the first couple of times I take it to mean we need to reiterate the original message. If it continues to appear, I start to wonder if it isn't time to delve into some of the dustier corners of a card's various meanings.

The Seven of Cups calls us to make choices with discernment. It also cautions us about flights of fancy and distractions that threaten to nudge us off course. It says that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is, and that our imaginations are wonderful tools when deployed in tandem with our capacity for critical thought. Like all the Sevens, it's a pause, a chance to get back on track or to tumble spectacularly off. The question is, which message do we need to heed right now?

When I draw a card for the Weather, I do so with the intention to get a message that's useful for anyone who might happen upon it. Sometimes the card will reflect what's going on in my life, but not always, and no doubt that's equally true of a subset of my readers each day. We're all in different places in our lives, and perhaps not everyone is having a Seven of Cups moment right now. Clearly, though, some of us need to think about fantasy and choice and discernment! 

Thankfully, we don't have to keep drawing the Seven of Cups and wondering why the heck we're not getting the message. Kristen, of Over the Moon Oracle Cards, is a bit of genius and has crafted a spread for figuring out what's going on with persistently recurring tarot cards. Phew! The spread is interpreted like a letter from the Seven of Cups to all of us. You can see a full explanation of the spread in Kristen's original post. Shall we try it out?

From the Small Spells Tarot by Rachel Howe

Bloody hell, that's a lot of Majors. The Seven of Cups is clearly not fooling around! 

Dear loyal readers of the Weather Report,

When I show up in your readings, I'm giving you a message about recalibrating and starting over (The Fool). I'm showing you that you're getting stuck because you're looking at things in the wrong way (The Hanged Man) and I want you to try to grow out of those old assumptions so you can approach this new beginning with a little more maturity and self-awareness (The World). When I appear, I'm asking you to release your knee-jerk desire to cling onto old beliefs (Strength) and embrace what's actually happening in the real world, outside your head (Queen of Pentacles). When you see me, it's time to cut through your own BS and see things as they really are (King of Swords).

Sincerely, 

The Seven of Cups

Ok, does anyone else feel a little schooled by that?! Ok, just me. Ouch! Clearly, the distractions and fantasies described by the Seven of Cups are born out of erroneous assumptions and attachments to old narratives. It's time to put those old tales to rest and allow ourselves to see things in a new and truer way. Less fantasy, more reality.

So, next time the Seven of Cups makes an appearance, ask yourself what story you're telling. Does it truly reflect what's in front of you? Chances are, it needs a revision! 

How do you feel about the Seven of Cups? And do you have a tarot card stalker right now? I want to hear all about it! Leave me a note below or come and share your tale on Twitter

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Tarot Goes Galactic! An Interview with Tarot in Space! Creator Laura Douglass

Today on the blog, we've got a visitor from outer space! Animator and artist Laura Douglass comes to us from another dimension via Savannah, GA, to talk about her forthcoming tarot deck, Tarot in Space. You can support the creation of this geeky awesome deck by sharing and backing Laura's Indiegogo campain. Now, from the interstellar traveller herself!

UPDATE: I'm so happy to say that Laura's crowdfunding campaign was a success, and Tarot in Space is now out in the world. Happily, it's also in stock here at Two Sides Tarot! You can pick up your copy in the shop

Hi Laura! Tell us a bit about yourself - as an artist, a tarot reader and creator, a human person, etc.

Hello! I’m a student of animation with an interest in spirituality and teaching. My primary goal is to empower and inspire people, to raise them to their highest vibrational level. I hope to accomplish this through accessible and fun art, animation, and writing. Humor and story telling are my favorite tools to use, people may remember stories well but they remember funny stories even better! I hope to attract people to meditation, deep thought, and raised awareness through characters and stories.

Creating a tarot deck from scratch is no mean undertaking - how did you find yourself inspired to create the Tarot in Space deck? What has the process of making the art and creating the deck been like so far?

My good friend and mentor Dame Darcy created her own Mermaid Tarot Deck in just 3 weeks so I thought, hey, can’t be that hard? Well here I am one year later eating those bitter, bitter words. Darcy is a maniac in the best of ways, because, holy hierophants! I can’t even imagine having done this in 3 weeks. It might have been easier if I didn’t have to take three 3 month long breaks over the year in order to focus on classes at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design). As for process, well I basically replaced my blood with caffeine on my off days and chained myself to a table in my favorite local cafe, Foxy Loxy for hours at a time. It’s all kind of a blur.

Looking at the deck itself, what can we expect to see from the Tarot in Space deck? 

Alright here we go. This is Rider-Waite-Smith meets Futurama meets the Jetsons meets She-Ra meets Hitchhiker’s Guide meets Steven Universe with a heavy sprinkling of my own brand of stardust. The main difference is that you’ll see recurring characters with names throughout this deck. Characters that you’ll get to know in depth and explore in different ways the more you use the deck. They bring a whole other level of story and meaning to the cards, when you’re connected to the character in the card you feel the emotion of the card and the subtleties more. This is why I’m writing up a pretty extensive booklet that goes along with the deck. So many stories to tell!

What kind of experience do you hope readers might have when working with the Tarot in Space deck? Any pro tips or advice to offer to users of this deck?

This deck wants to show you things, to help you look at your life through a different lens. Every card is eager to speak with you and has something to share. Though there is a good helping of mystery in the deck it really is an open door, simply open up to it and allow tradition to go out the window for a moment and you can explore so many new things! Pro tip (I do this with every new deck I get, honestly) look through the deck and find the card that really hits you hard. That one card that speaks to you. This is going to be your card. Whenever you are representing yourself in a reading find this card, it’s your compass. It’s you and what you have learned and what you will learn. It’s your soul card! And don’t worry, soul cards can always change over time as you change.

How can we help Tarot in Space come to life?

Ah yes, the call to action! Alright, so, as you now know I am a poor college student with two part time jobs and still no money (there’s this weird adult thing called rent and bills and I’m not sure I’m okay with it). Printing and shipping these puppies is going to get expensive. Like, thousands of packs of Ramen expensive. So I’m running the campaign in order to give everyone a chance to get a deck at base cost. No profit, no nothing. I’m literally just covering the cost of the deck and shipping it out to everyone who pre-orders! Any left over money (from people who donate but don’t get a full deck) will be spent on a small stock of decks that I will sell after the campaign ends for $42 (the answer to life, the universe, and everything). I never drew this to make money, I just really want everyone to enjoy it. I would give it away if I could afford to haha! Maybe someday I will :)

If you can’t buy a deck please do share the campaign with everyone you can. The more people who see it the more I can afford to purchase! I would so appreciate Facebook shares, twitter, Tumblr, whatever you can do to get the word out would mean a world of good for the deck <3

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Thanks so much for stopping by, Laura! You can find out more about Laura's work at her website, YoutubeInstagram, and Tumblr.

Good news! Tarot is Space made it into print and is now available right here at Two Sides Tarot. Grab your copy here