Apr 25, 2011

Deck Review- The Journey Oracle

Developed by Adrienne Trafford, this deck was created at a time where she found herself wondering several deep questions about just where she was at and had she contributed or inspired others and through this very soul searching, we now have the wonderful little deck called The Journey Oracle.  

This 46 nicely illustrated deck measures 2 7/8" x 4 1/2" and is a great size for working with and it shuffles quite easily. The card stock is a perfect thickness and the lamination is glossy and makes the colors really stand out.

Each card is bordered by a different color such as lavender, light blue rich earth tones and other attractive pastel coloring. I love her artwork, the images are simple and lovely and speak volumes with their expressions.

This deck comes in a wonderful hard shelled box that you can keep them in and is accompanied by 95 page expanded LWB (little white book) that includes how to use the cards, what each card says and points to consider when working with any particular card.  Some of the cards include Appreciation, Luxury, Patience and Rebirth, there are also four Queen cards with the designation of Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds and Spades.

Along with the Journey Oracle, she has also created The Journey Coloring Book which features the images used in the deck. It is separate from the deck but provides hours of coloring fun with a theme of women making decisions. The pictures to color are full page illustrations and compliment The Journey Oracle fantastically!

The Journey Oracle
Publisher: Schiffer Books
Artist: Adrienne Trafford
ISBN: 9780764337833

The Journey Coloring Book
Publisher: Schiffer Books
Artist Adrienne Trafford
ISBN: 9780764337840

Images used with permission of Schiffer Books

Apr 24, 2011

Serenity Sunday

Deaf are they who do not hear me –
For my aria carries on the air with that of the mistle thrush.
My laughter’s in cool crystalline streams which wash the hills.
My whisper is found in rippling and rustling grasses.

Insensitive are they who do not feel me –
For mine are the soft fingers that brush your face
And gently tousle your hair on warming breezes.
It’s I who make the daffodils dance wildly to my tune.

Blind are they who do not see me -
Busily melting white snow on winter-worn hilltops;
Joyfully romping in the fields with the young lambs;
Stimulating new life, new growth and new hope.

Didn’t you recognize me in quiet woodlands and country lanes?
Or in ploughed fields, cottage gardens and on river banks?
Yet it is I who lengthen the days and strengthen the sun.
Think too, of me as the gentle rain falls on the good earth.

See me, hear me, feel my touch -


My List:

1.) My kids

2.) My pets

3.) Tomato starts

4.) Raised garden beds

5.) Sunshine

6.) Azalea flowers

7.) Easter egg hunts

8.) Lava lamps

9.) Good music

10.) Terrific readers

Apr 18, 2011

Deck Review- The Spiral Tarot

Dedicated to her Celtic grandmother, Kay Steventon has brought us the wonderful Spiral Tarot with it's magical images and rich coloring. Kay's grandmother instilled in her at an early age that life is like the ancient symbol the spiral, everything begins, runs it's course and ends only to begin again. This is a lovely deck  both intuitive and Mystical to work with.

The Spiral Tarot is a 78 card deck measuring about 2 3/4" x 4 1/8" and is just the right size to shuffle and hold in your hands. The cards have a nice glossy lamination that seems to make the imagery shimmer with life. All the cards are edged in a beautiful purple marbling effect that really is quite attractive.

The Major Arcana are quite lovely in their blue, gold and emerald hues, picturing traditional tarot images found in other Rider Waite clones. Each card has the element, Hebrew letter (Golden Dawn attribution) and astrological glyph among the images and if you look really closely each Major Arcana card you can see the the tree of life in the background

The Minor Arcana are also full of golds and blues and emerald tones that absolutely make them stand out fantastically, I just love the colors used in this deck. The Minor Arcana  are where all the action takes place and each Minor card is brimming with lively, active scenes. There is a companion book that goes with these cards that you can buy separately and I really wish I would have ordered that too, to gain a little extra depth and information on the cards.

This deck is a great deck for beginners and experienced alike as it's so easy to work with and it's answers are clear and a bit playful. I had a fantastic time working with this deck and would recommend it for anyone.

Publisher: US Games Systems
Artist: Kay Steventon
ISBN: 1-57281-097-1

Images used with permission from US Games

Apr 17, 2011

Serenity Sunday

A Kitten's Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep
The King-Size bed is soft and deep
I sleep right in the center groove
My human cannot hardly move!

I've trapped her legs,she's tucked in tight
And here is where I pass the night
No one disturbs me or dares intrude
Till morning comes and 'I WANT FOOD'

I sneak up slowly to begin
My nibbles on my human's chin
She wakes up quickly,I have sharp-teeth
And my claws I will unsheath

For the morning here
And it's time to play
Always seem to get my way
So thank you lord for giving me
This human person that I see
The one who hugs me and holds me tight
And sacrifices her bed at night!

written by Penny (Tibbyperry)

My List

1.) My kids

2.) My cat

3.) Great friends

4.) Rainbows

5.) Peaches and cream scented candles

6.) Great books

7.) Imagination

8.) Stop smoking patches

9.) Spring rains

10.) Fantastic readers like you!

Apr 12, 2011

Spring Rose Care

It's time to start caring for your roses this season. Getting them off to a healthy start includes removing the protective mulch that you placed around them last fall, pruning them and starting this year's fertilizer program.

I like to remove the mulch in two stages since the weather is still unpredictable. First, remove about half of the mulch, wait about two weeks and then remove the rest down to the two inches you will leave for summer. Clearing the mulch should expose the base of the stems at ground level to a width of about 3 inches beyond the stems all the way around. This will allow warming and sunlight at the crown so that new stems can develop for this year's growth.

When you prune, you'll be doing two things: setting the shape for this year's growth and effective disease control. Removal of some old stems from the center opens the plant to better airflow. Cut to just above buds that face the direction of preferred growth (usually to the outside.) This allows for better airflow and more rapid drying of the foliage for the rest of the growing season and helps to prevent or at least reduce fungal growth.

You should cut the plant to three to six of the largest, healthiest, best-space stems. If you want mostly color in the bed, you can trim stems back to six to ten inches in length and enjoy a shorter, bushier plant this summer. It you want to leave the plant taller for a background effect, and winter has been kind, you can just trim any dead stem tips so that new growth will start all along the old stems. This can give you some lovely flowering shrubs with much height and color for the summer. I have found this particularly effective with some of the old stand-by rose varieties such as Carefree Beauty, Betty Prior and The Fairy.

No matter what length of stem you prefer to leave, trim the roses to an outside bud - one that is forming out away from the center of the plant and will lead new growth in that direction. Trim approximately one-eight to one-fourth inch above the bud and at an angle with the bud, so as not to injure it. After pruning, be sure to dispose of all trimmed sections as well as undertaking a thorough leaf clean-up from last year's remnants to avoid any disease carry-over. A small dab of Elmer's wood glue on the cut end can help stop cane borrers from causing trouble.

As a last but important step, be certain to fertilize your roses. Use a rose fertilizer, available in both granular and water-soluble forms as well as in combination with certain pesticides. Check with your local garden center for suggested types. Follow the manufacturers' instructions on the package, and fertilize at the suggested rate and timing schedule.

It's best to wait until you are certain that spring is here before starting heavy fertilization. Otherwise, you push your plants into early growth, only to have them chilled by late freezes. (Nipped in the bud!)

Now, sit back and enjoy the blooms that are certain to burst forth in late May to early June.

Apr 11, 2011

Deck Review- The Haindl Tarot

First printed in Germany in 1988 and later by US Games Systems in 1990, the Haindl Tarot is truly a unique deck where ancient wisdom and modern thought meet. The Haindl tarot has been a popular deck for many years and is even printed in several languages throughout the world. I had been very curious about this deck and after seeing scans of it, I knew right away I wanted to review it. 

The deck itself is comprised of 78 cards measuring 2.75" x 5", a standard LWB (little white book) and the cards have a  light lamination, just right that they shuffle like a dream. This deck's imagery is strikingly beautiful and so richly done it's almost as if Haindl painted the images from the very earth herself. 

There are companion books written for this deck, an original two volume set by Rachel Pollack, one for the Major Arcana  and one for the Minor Arcana including the Court cards, which was later revised in 2002 and another book written for this deck, also by Rachel Pollack, called "Haindl Tarot: A Readers Handbook." I highly recommend obtaining the set or the readers handbook as it explains in great detail the rich symbolism found in this deck.

The 22 breathtakingly beautiful Major Arcana cards each have a Hebrew letter, planetary or zodiac sign as well as a rune incorporated into the artwork that gives each card layers upon layers of meaning that seamlessly blend together to form a magnificent tapestry. It is very easy to look at a card once and go back later to find something new that you hadn't noticed before. Around the border is a colored line representing the element to which the card is associated.

The Minor Arcana, Ace through Ten are a unique blend of beautiful artwork and traditional suit meanings. Included is an I Ching hexagram on each card and the cards are also bordered with a corresponding colored line representing the element. The I Ching hexagram serves to set a wider view of each card including social conditions, nature and what might be called "the mood of the cosmos." These hexagrams extend what the card has to say, sometimes balancing ideas that can become too extreme.

The four suits are organized with Wands (Fire) representing East, Cups (Water) representing the North, Swords (Air) representing the South and Stones (Earth) representing the West. Haindl's vision for this order was taken from the Native American concepts that saw the four directions as carrying special qualities, such as the dawn for the East, sunset for the West, cold for the North and warmth for the South, associating them with the seasons, particular colors and healing properties. 

Haindl took a different approach with the Court Cards, assigning each suit not from the royal court, often seen in most traditional tarot decks,  but from different spiritual qualities of the Gods and Goddesses from cultures of the four directions as stated in the Aces. This gives us a much broader understanding of the Court figures down to the very essence of personality and it's components and how they interact and not just the concept of the characters or their general appearance as defined with other decks.  

For the Wands Court and the direction of East we find the Mother, Father, Son and Daughter representing India with Kali, Brahma, Radha and Krishna. Haindl found the culture of India to be deeply inspirational and a place where religion and myth still play an important role in daily life.

The Court Card suit of Cups comes from Europe and the grail stories from the European culture. Here we find Mother of Cups the Venus of Willendorf statue, Father of Cups Odin, The Daughter of Cups Brigid and the Son of Cups, Parsifal. 

Swords Courts are inspired by Egyptian culture and it's mythology. These paintings were done in Egypt as he took in the temples, the land and the very people themselves. Here we find the Mother of Swords represented by Nut, the Father of Swords, Ra, the Daughter of Swords, Isis and the Son of Swords, Osiris. 

The Courts of Stones are the most beautiful in my opinion drawing from Native American traditions with the Mother of Stones, Spider Woman, the Father of Stones, Old Man, the Daughter of Stones, White Buffalo Woman and the Son of Stones, Chief Seattle.

By drawing upon all of these cultures and traditions in creating this fantastic deck, Haindl opens up a deeper understanding of the tarot and it's meanings. His artwork is simply beautiful and I found myself being drawn into the images and actually experiencing the cards themselves. This is a powerful, deeply spiritual deck in which Haindl took influences from many different areas to give the message of reconciliation between Earth, our first mother and of nature and man himself. 

Although I would not recommend this as a deck for a beginner it is certainly a deck for someone with a little more experience in working with the tarot or those who prefer to read intuitively. There is a shamanic quality to this deck and can be used for personal readings and meditation as well. I absolutely adore Haindl's vision of the cards and their symbolism. Not too long ago I did an article of "What makes a good tarot deck" and in my opinion, the Haindl Tarot far surpasses just a good tarot deck, this is truly a perfect tarot deck.

Publisher: US Games Systems
Artist: Hermann Haindl
Author: Rachel Pollack

Apr 10, 2011

Serenity Sunday

Candle Meditation is practiced as you would imagine by focusing on the flame of a candle. It can be done as a warm up for regular meditation, or it can be your entire meditation regimen. Candle meditation is something that you would want to practice if you would like to work on your concentration skills.

You achieve candle meditation by taking a candle, any type of candle, sit in front of it and stare at the flame. For this type of meditation, you would normally sit in the lotus position in front of the flame. You may choose to sit on a chair instead of the floor, but the candle should be eye level. Once you are seated and the candle is lit, stare at the candle flame. In staring at the candle flame, you will begin to think of everyday items; things that have to get done, schedules to be followed, and others. Eventually those thoughts will fade and you will be left with your freed mind.

When it comes to candle meditation, concentration is the key and the object that is improved upon. In staring at the candle, you allow your thought and contemplation to focus briefly on the every day concerns of your life before you return to your deliberate contemplation of the candle flame. In letting your everyday distractions go, and continuing to focus on the candle flame, your concentration becomes stronger.

My List:

1.) My kids

2.) My pets

3.) Trees in bud

4.) Garden centers

5.) Freshly cut grass

6.) Quiet time

7.) New books

8.) Destination Truth

9.) Plums

10.) Electric pencil sharpeners

Apr 4, 2011

Deck Review- The African Tarot

The African Tarot by artist Marina Romito and written by Denese Palm is a charming little deck published by US Games. Hailing from South Africa and inspired by the Shangaan culture, this brightly colored deck is both appealing and fascinating to work with.

Based on  Rider Waite imagery, this smaller than average deck (The cards measure 2.5 x 3.5") is perfect for smaller hands and a great deck for beginners to learn to read with. The vibrant imagery draws largely on the African experience, depicted in a primitive art style. Evoking universal childhood emotions, African Tarot can help you explore your true inner nature. 

This deck is absolutely adorable and surprisingly accurate to read with, it consists of 78 cards, the standard amount in a deck, and has a delightful image of a turtle on the back of the cards which can be read upright or reversed. I absolutely love the coloring used on the cards and the whimsical figures. This is a perfect deck for anyone and quite unique deck for any collection.

Publisher: US Games Systems
Artist: Marina Romito
ISBN: 1-57281-020-3

Apr 3, 2011

Serenity Sunday

I quit smoking this last Friday after having smoked since I was eighteen. I've tried cold turkey several times over the years with no success so I thought I'd try the step down method, progressively lowering my nicotine levels until I'm totally weaned off. I thought about using nicotine patches but the adhesive gave me rashes last the time I tried them so this time I'm trying something completely different. They're called e-cigarettes, it looks like a cigarette but it delivers the nicotine through a water vapor and when you exhale, it actually looks like smoke.

The filter part of the e-cigarette is what contains the nicotine and as I change the filter, the level of nicotine goes down just like it would if I were to use the nicotine patches but without the annoying rash. I have my mind pretty set on quitting, it's a pretty repulsive habit and it's high time I got healthy. The real test will be this coming week (Spring break for the kids) but I have some coping strategies set up and I think I'll do just fine, half the battle is reminding myself how much better I'll feel being a non smoker!

So, wish me luck and I'll do updates now and then just to keep myself accountable, I know it's going to be hard but I'm worth it!

My List

1.) My kids

2.) My pets

3.) Terrific friends

4.) Willpower

5.) Meditation

6.) Deep breaths

7.) Warmer weather

8.) Great books

9.) Smoke free clothing

10.) Spring flowers