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TWO AMAZING TAROT DECKS
– Raising funds for cancer projects –
What an honor it has been to be invited to contribute to two Tarot card projects, both designed to support cancer research. Although I am not known for my artwork, it is a secret tool I use when creating my own projects, so I jumped at this opportunity to share my wares, so to speak. On a side note, I love the way our Tarot Tribe steps up to the plate and supports community projects like these, modeled beautifully by the two project coordinators and their cooperation with each other, far from the dominant capitalist model of competition and scarcity consciousness.
Please support both of these projects which have targeted specific cancer research programs to donate profits from sales of these products:
TRIUMPH OF THE TAROT project
First invitation came from Andrew McGregor for his Triumph of Life Tarot project, a complete deck with each card created by a different luminary in the Tarot world. I selected “V The Hierophant” because many Tarot people shy away from this card, although I know it carries a powerful message for those seeking to heal through a cancer diagnosis. My only condition for accepting this opportunity was that I be able to write my own text and attach my personal interpretation of the card to the project, for which I was given a green light…thank you!!
When designing a Tarot card, the process starts with meditating on the meaning of the card and the message it wishes to share. Often, as with my “Hierophant” card (see below) these messages come from my dreaming mind, as if the Divine is speaking directly to and through me. I sketch a mock card, sometimes adding the symbols and definitions that I associate with those symbols, until my internal picture has a simple representation for me to continue my research. My style is more photographic and montage, so my search for symbols and images that best represent the image in my mind takes me through hundreds of found and personal pictures, until I narrow the field to the ones that best match my internal design.
With the Hierophant, my dreaming mind clearly wanted to see Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvious Man” in the center of a tree. This reason was not clear to me until I started writing and researching the history behind this image, which I had recently viewed through the eyes of Salvador Dali’ at the museum dedicated to his work in St. Petersburg, Florida during my 2015 Tarot Tour (link to my blog post on this adventure). Of course, being a “Forest Mystic” and Petite Lenormand reader, the symbolism of the tree is very prominent in my mind and heart, just needed to find the best tree to match the guidance I received from the Divine.
Here is my “V The Hierophant” from the Triumph of Life Tarot Project, followed by an extended description of the meaning of this card:
Description & Dedication:
PURPOSE – life mastery
ARCHETYPE– teacher / student
ROLE – spiritual guide or authority
LIFE EVENT – education, school, training
SYMBOL – high priest, pope, spiritual teacher / PENTACLE – head, two arms, two legs = 5
NUMEROLOGY – “5” – challenge, opportunity to learn about life and grow
ASTROLOGY – constellation of Taurus; earth, fixed
ESSENCE – conduit for spiritual guidance. Receive, then translate and share with others
ENERGY – two-way energy – first the yin energy (feminine/receptive) receives guidance from a higher dimension/source, taken into the heart and meditated upon, then, the yang energy (masculine/projective) sends this guidance out to the world.
ENERGY – “Chakra” energy – the Hindu seven turning wheels of energy that correspond with major processes of the body, represented here by the seven colors of the visible color range, the rainbow. They have been linked to specific glands, nerve plexuses along the spinal cord, and function to vitalize the human body, from physical existence, through emotional connection, mental awareness, to spiritual merging. In Anatomy of the Spirit, Caroline Myss describes the role of chakras: “Every thought and experience you’ve ever had in your life gets filtered through these chakra databases. Each event is recorded into your cells…”.
IMAGERY “Tree of Life” – Petite Lenormand card #5 – The Tree is a symbol of health or things that grow slowly and are stable. It sometimes points to one’s “family tree” and genetic, social, or karmic issues that are passed onto the next generation.
IMAGERY “Tree of Life” – earthly level – trees represent growth and stability. The tree’s leaves absorb the energy/light of the sun, then processes it through photosynthesis, transforming this pure form of energy into life nourishing chemicals, dispersed through the release of oxygen in the atmosphere, and fuel to its roots. Oxygen is necessary for every breath of life we receive as human beings. The tree’s root system reaches deeply into the earth, creating stability while networking with life below the surface, communing with other trees and living organisms. We humans are also nourished by the communities we join, with mutual support benefiting all.
IMAGERY “Tree of Life” – metaphysical level – the World Tree is a sacred symbol that appears in many major religious and spiritual traditions. In Judaism and Christianity, it is the second tree in the Garden of Eden, representing our spiritual goal in life, the return to the Kingdom of Heaven. It is the Bodhi Tree under which Siddhartha meditated (yin – receiving spiritual guidance), reaching enlightenment as the Buddha, then sharing (yang – sending) the Four Noble Truths as a teaching to release us from suffering in life. In Norse mythology, Odin hung from Yggdrasil where he received the sacred alphabet, what are called Runes. In many Native American spiritual traditions we have “Grandmother Tree” who symbolizes life as the seven sacred directions: east, south, west, north, above, below, and within.
IMAGERY “Tree of Life” – universal level – in his biological-spiritual thesis, The Purposeful Universe, former World Health Organization biologist and cancer researcher, Carl Calleman, presents his understanding of our cellular connection with the universe. Just as we have a World Tree on Earth, there is a Universe Tree that represents the center of our universe from which signals are sent, then received by individual cells, specifically by the little understood centrioles, whose biological function is to trigger cell division. Calleman’s study of the Mayan calendar and vast knowledge of biology merged as a theory of evolution that is both Darwinian and Divine.
IMAGERY “Vitruvius Man” – intended meaning – Leonardo da Vinci drew his famous sketch of the Vitruvius Man as a study of the “Proportions of Man.” This Renaissance image blends art with science, in an attempt to connect humans to nature. Da Vinci believed the workings of the human body to be an analogy for the workings of the universe. Katrina’s note…this graphic came to me in a dream and informed me it specifically wanted to be in this Hierophant card for the Triumph of Life project.
IMAGERY “Vitruvius Man” – symbolic meaning – humans, with our head, two arms and two legs, are symbolized in the five-pointed star surrounded by a circle, the magic symbol of the pentagram, or pentacle. In Tarot, the pentacle represents the element of earth and speaks to material reality…the five senses. Traditionally symbolized by a coin, it is concerned with health and wealth.
STORY – The Hierophant in the Triumph of Life is a spiritual guide who draws from the wisdom of the World and Universe Trees. Once this wisdom is received, it is integrated, then wisely shared with others.
INTERPRETATION – Number five is a challenge, a lesson about life, which tends to appear in an uncomfortable package in order to demand one’s attention. This is an opportunity to grow, but only if one is willing to meet the challenge head on. Resistance to learning new lessons may be a source of pain. Buddha taught that all suffering comes from our attachment to specific desires and projections. If one approaches the Hierophant card’s lesson with an open mind and heart, the life lesson will be more easily accepted and integrated. You may benefit from seeking spiritual guidance from a hierophant, a spiritual guide or authority, or medical professional that you have researched and respect. You may embody the hierophant, being asked to step up and teach others what you have learned.
GUIDANCE – Seek a wise and spiritual guide from whom you can receive the life lessons you need to learn. If you are this spiritual guide, share your experience and knowledge with those who need your wisdom.
ACTION – Study the lessons you need to learn at this time to support your life in a holistic (body/mind/spirit) way. This may entail research on the issue, consultations with recognized authorities, guidance from spiritual or religious leaders, interviews with individuals on their success stories. Meditate, pray, receive guidance and allow it to challenge you to grow.
DEDICATION – Troi Tiberius (May 1, 1962 – January 18, 2012) was my dearest friend, a spiritual brother, and a true Hierophant. His sweet poems of the Beloved expressed the sharing of his soulful heart and Buddhist sensitivities. Troi was a Taurus, like myself, and embodied all the wonderful qualities of an empowering Hierophant, ready to share his spiritual wisdom with whomever was willing to receive. Being a fine cuisine “foody” and celebrated master pastry chef, a four-course breakfast was his favorite meal. I fondly remember him teaching me how to bake fabulous chocolate chip cookies, and the time he surprised me by creating a custom tofu lemon pie for my birthday, a significant stretch from his award winning triple chocolate cake extravaganza. Each morning I drink tea from my classic English china cup in honor of his dear spirit, which I carry, always, in my heart. Sadly, he died due to lack of proper treatment for his stomach cancer. His family and I shared a deeply meaningful ceremony, then buried his ashes on my land in the Earth Heaven Cemetery, surrounded by beautiful trees and colorful rhododendron bushes. My body looks forward to resting near his some day.
TAROT PINK FOR CANCER project
When Ron Leong reached out to me, personally, to contribute a card to his Tarot Pink project collective, originally meant to be a Tarot eCard app deck, I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to join his mission, which has now expanded to a printed deck as well. I latched onto my first pick, “XVI The Tower”, an archetype near and dear to my spirit. Kali is the Hindu goddess of Life-Death-Life and has a special place on my altar, covered with ashes of sacred pujas and the cremation ashes of loved ones. We commune daily about the beauty of life and the inevitability of death.
The word count limit to describe this complex image and its powerful message was too small for me, so I was determined to provide a more in-depth explanation here.
Published In-Depth Card Meaning:
Kali destroys the demon, but at a price…each drop of blood creating new demons. Shall she kill all in sight, including the innocent, or will she take a balanced approach, inspired by her husband, Shiva, prostrated in compassionate surrender to her rage? Transform or die now…fear or faith.
When facing adversity, as in the Tower card, Kali models two approaches. Initially, she intended to kill the demon, only to find that it had multiplied, much like cancerous cells that have spread. You may choose to stomp out the cancer (under right leg) by surgically removing the malignant tumor (upper right hand), poisoning it with chemotherapy (lower right hand), and/or eradiating the life force out of it (red flames in background). You may be victorious, if this does not kill you, the innocent in Kali’s path.
Shiva offers another path, where neither Kali, nor cancer, is feared, or destroyed. He “cools” his beloved’s rage (blue flames in background) with his dispassionate prostration (under left leg), and tames her blood-lust desire (cobra) with his complete presence, shocking her into a new, peaceful awareness.
Kali and Shiva remind us that we are meant to live in balance with all, including the demons of life. A body-mind-emotion-spirit approach, a radical new lifestyle where healthy and healing habits are established, keeps the cancer cells that are already present in every body in a cooler, less inflamed, state.
Loving and having compassion for the entire Self is the root of all healthy relationships. Old ego attachments about who you are or thought you should be are required to die, immediately. Time for a radical change. Whether you say goodbye to your hair, your breasts, or other parts of your physical body, your daily coffee, sugar, or other forms of desire, you are more than these parts or substances…you are a whole universal being. Bring faith, not fear, into making your lifestyle and treatment choices. Like Shiva, meditate upon life-sustaining options, yet like Kali, be ready to act on change now.
Description & Dedication:
PURPOSE – purification from materialist concept of life
ARCHETYPE – liberation – from the ashes, the phoenix will rise
ROLE – catastrophic transformer
LIFE EVENT – accident or disaster
TIMING – unexpected, sudden change, “transform or die…now”
SYMBOL – Lightening-struck Tower of Babel, Kali & Shiva, phoenix
DECISION – fear or faith
ASTROLOGY – planet Mars; rousing force, combative, action, self-defense, rules the head through Aries
ESSENCE – dissolution of old beliefs, patterns, surrender ego attachments for the liberation of consciousness
ENERGY – kundalini energy is driven up the spine to the head, for final illumination.
IMAGERY “Kali” – black = pure consciousness, all-embracing and transcendental nature. Says the Mahanirvana Tantra, “Just as all colors disappear in black, so all names and forms disappear in her.” Kali is the fearful and ferocious form of the mother goddess, called upon to do battle with evil forces. In the battle, Kali was so enraged in the killing spree that she got carried away and began destroying everything in sight. Kali’s garland of fifty human heads stands for the fifty letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizing infinite knowledge. Her girdle of severed human hands signifies how man creates karma, now liberated from the cycle of karma.
IMAGERY “Shiva” – consort to Kali, (Shiva is called Kāla— the eternal time — the name of Kālī, his consort, also means Time, as in “time has come” or Death (of the ego). Shiva has a meditative, calm, dispassionate presence, with passive engagement, yin to Kali’s yang energy. To stop Kali’s blood lust, Shiva threw himself under her feet. Shocked at this sight, she stuck out her tongue in astonishment, instantly cooling her rage, putting an end to her homicidal rampage.
IMAGERY “Raktabīja” – the demon, had an advantage that whenever a drop of his blood fell on the ground, a duplicate Raktabīja would be born at that spot (rakta=blood, bīja=seed; “he for whom each drop of blood is a seed”).
IMAGERY “sword” – used by Kali to remove the head of the demon, resulting in blood drops creating duplicate demons. The surgeon’s scalpel ready to remove the tumor, breast, or other body parts…but will the cancer spread like the drops of the demon, creating more cancer and tumors.
IMAGERY “chemo bag” – according to the Mayo Clinic staff…Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in your body. Chemotherapy is most often used to treat cancer, since cancer cells grow and multiply much more quickly than most cells in the body. Many different chemotherapy drugs are available. Chemotherapy drugs can be used alone or in combination to treat a wide variety of cancers. Though chemotherapy is an effective way to treat many types of cancer, chemotherapy treatment also carries a risk of side effects. Some chemotherapy side effects are mild and treatable, while others can cause serious complications. Explained on Cancer.net, there are common side effects of chemotherapy, some which may lead to death: fatigue, pain, sores in mouth and throat, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, constipation, blood disorders, nervous system effects (burning, achy muscles, loss of balance, headache, visual problems, difficulty hearing, etc.), changes in thinking and memory, sexual and reproduction issues, appetite loss, hair loss, and long-term side effects (permanent organ damage to heart, lung, liver, kidneys, cognitive functions) with a high risk of developing second cancers later in life.
IMAGERY “cancer cell” – Cancer.gov defines cancer cells…here is a summary: In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues. In general, cancer cells have more genetic changes, such as mutations in DNA, than normal cells. Many cancers form solid tumors. Cancerous tumors are malignant, which means they can spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. In addition, as these tumors grow, some cancer cells can break off and travel to distant places in the body through the blood or the lymph system and form new tumors far from the original tumor. Cancer is a genetic disease—that is, it is caused by changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide. Genetic changes that cause cancer can be inherited from our parents. They can also arise during a person’s lifetime as a result of errors that occur as cells divide or because of damage to DNA caused by certain environmental exposures (chemicals, such as in tobacco smoke, and radiation).
IMAGERY “red flame – radiation” – red~yang~rage, Cancer.gov explains that Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA. It can either damage DNA directly or create charged particles (free radicals) within the cells that can in turn damage the DNA. Cancer cells whose DNA is damaged beyond repair stop dividing or die. When the damaged cells die, they are broken down and eliminated by the body’s natural processes. Radiation therapy can also damage normal cells, leading to side effects.
IMAGERY “blue flame – calm” – blue~yin~cool, Shiva, in deep meditation, brings a calm atmosphere to the enflamed Kali, shocking her out of her rage by prostrating himself under her left foot, bringing balance back to the world. A cool body-mind-emotion-spirit is prepared to examine the imbalance of the system, be it physical or energetic, to address this issue from a holistic perspective.
STORY – XVI The Tower in the Tarot Pink for Cancer is embodied by Kali, the Hindu mother goddess of time & death. Just as the Tarot’s Tower card warns of immediate destruction, Kali’s blood lust rampage symbolizes the growth and spread of cancer cells. Left unchecked, they will destroy all life, indiscriminately. It is time to make an immediate change, either through the radical eradication process, popular in western medicine (surgical removal of tumors, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy) for treating the symptoms of cancer, or to make a complete lifestyle change, integrating holistic medical and health therapies that address the cause of the cancerous growth, life out of balance. Sometimes these two approaches or integrated quite successfully.
INTERPRETATION – immediate change is necessary, best addressed with fearlessness and faith. Fearlessness for you are ready to transform your life, making necessary improvements in the face of destruction. You now realize your old life is gone. To hold on to your old identity will swiftly bring you to death’s door. As the Tower cries, “Transform or die, now.”
GUIDANCE – Act now, be fearless, have faith, based on broad research and perseverance of spirit.
ACTION – Radical and complete change is necessary. In the case of cancer, whether you choose to remove a breast, or accept the chemotherapy/radiation treatment that will take your mane, immediate action is paramount. Isolating the type of cancer and finding the best treatment, perhaps combined with immunotherapy, has been found to support quick medical results in many cases. In the alternative, you may choose the other path, a body/mind/emotion/spirit approach. Be prepared to completely change your lifestyle, including the foods you eat, habits of mind, freeing up your emotions, and seeking medical solutions that are more holistic and specific to your unique physical needs. Why wait until you receive a diagnosis of cancer…make beneficial lifestyle changes now!
DEDICATION – Three dear friends in my small community have died from brain cancer. One has his cremated ashes upon my Kali altar. All three chose the western medical model of treating their cancer with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy…with no success.
DISCLAIMER – This page is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. If you believe you have any health problem, or if you have any questions regarding your health or a medical condition, you should promptly consult your physician or other healthcare provider.
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