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Monday, December 10th, 2007
1:25 am - Perfect!
In 2008, tarotbydiana resolves to...
Buy new postcards.
Get back in contact with some old grimoires.
Eat more essential oils.
Give some crystal spheres to charity.
Learn to play the handmade.
Spend less time on fey.
Get your own New Year's Resolutions:

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1:18 am - I did this last year and it's still fun!
On the twelfth day of Christmas, tarotbydiana sent to me...
Twelve candles drumming
Eleven cemetaries piping
Ten beads a-leaping
Nine bees dancing
Eight trees a-chanting
Seven cards a-reading
Six omens a-healing
Five bu-u-u-ulb flowers
Four wild horses
Three crystal spheres
Two lunar cycles
...and a soap in a positive energy.
Get your own Twelve Days:

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Sunday, December 9th, 2007
2:03 am - even in the silliest of quizzes, I never waver
Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

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Saturday, September 22nd, 2007
10:59 pm - worried about the kitty
I was hoping to collect Branwen from the street today and take her to the vet for vaccinations, feline leukemia & feline AIDS tests, de-worming medicine, anti-flea treatment, and possible ear mite cleaning. I hope it's clear why I didn't want to bring her in the house directly from the pavement especially having the health and safety of the other cats already under my care.

I fed her last night around 9:30 p.m. I woke up this morning and it was raining so she was no where to be found. I looked under all the cars on the block. I went outside every couple of hours to check and see if she had returned to no avail. All of the food was gone and so was she. I am hoping she found a place to hide and decided to sleep away the day.

I talked with one of the neighbors this morning and now the entire block knows I want to rescue the cat. When Charlie and I went out tonight a different group of neighbors yelled across the street to us that they hadn't seen the cat today and they were on the lookout for us.

I received the full story today from the neighbor across the street from where Branwen has been hanging out. Her former owner threw her out of the house and the little white cat has been keeping vigil on the pavement. When confronted by the neighbor, he told her he couldn't afford to feed the cat anymore. Don't even get me started! She also told me that other neighborhood cats have been bullying Branwen and she tries to get away but they attack her. I can't even express how guilty I feel for not bringing her indoors last night! We do have a back up plan which is to isolate her in the bathroom with food, water, and a litter box until we can get her to the vet for all the needed treatments. I'll have to pull out all the towels and mats and the fabric shower curtain to avoid infestation as I am pretty sure she has fleas. Potion did too when we brought her home and we were very careful and didn't have any problems. It's certainly not ideal, but I'm willing to do whatever is necessary to keep this cat safe.

I asked if I would be able to bring Branwen home.
http://www.lunaea.com/tarot/tarottour3/tour47.html

In light of the card, I am going to request that anyone who reads this would say a prayer or simply think positive thoughts that Branwen is safe and I can find her very soon.

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Friday, September 21st, 2007
9:03 pm - Sucker!
The people at the end of the block put their two cats outside permanently. I don't think they've been feeding them. I started seeing two white cats around the street a couple weeks ago. Now there's only one. She sleeps on top of trash in a patch of weeds that have busted through the broken pavement. When I've been walking to the coffee shop, she jumps up and meows at me and rubs against my ankles, purrs and cries at the same time. When I reach down to pet her, she looks up at my face and opens her mouth a little and curls the corners up just the way my cat Moon does. Then she follows me up the street prancing behind me. I try not to turn and look but my resolve fades in less than a minute. She's always there and she's always staring.

I've been telling Charlie about her and he's been dismissive. Today we parked the car and she ran out from underneath the car in front of us and started circling around Charlie and meowing. I called to her and she came right to me and seemed very excited to see me return to the street a couple hours after I left. She greeted me the way my cats do when I come to the front door. Then she ran up to Charlie and orbited around him while he was walking and cried for attention. I pet her again on the pavement and she sat on the sidewalk and watched as I walked into the house. She looked so hopeful. Charlie shut the door and closed the blinds.

I told him he was heartless. After dinner he suggested I put some food in my purse and walk it to her spot tomorrow because he doesn't think I should feed her in front of the house. (I'm winning.)

She's so filthy she looks light grey. I can feel her bones when I pet her. She has fleas and may need to be de-wormed.

I've named her Branwen.

Yep, this is what I do. I imagine in a week or two we'll have another cat in residence. I think she'll cooperate with me in making herself seem so pathetic that Charlie can't take it any more. Maybe I should just go ahead and make the vet appointment for next Saturday to make everything more convenient.

I asked if Branwen would be a good cat for me.

http://www.lunaea.com/tarot/tarottour3/tour49.html

Oh, this is really amazing. In the myth of Branwen, she is rescued by her brother Bran who is a warrior king. Branwen is being mistreated by her husband and his clan and once she sends word that she needs protection, he come to her aid. I guess in this sense I am The King of Fire (or Mel Gibson).

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Saturday, September 15th, 2007
1:33 pm - local excitement
I have very good news that will affect the quality of my daily life. Sounds dramatic? It is...sort of. A coffee shop run by people I genuinely like and respect is opening within a relatively close distance to the house. It's about a twenty minute walk for me, maybe twenty-five depending on my shoes. We clocked the distance while driving and it's just about a mile and half, which is nothing. Initially when I moved in there was a coffee shop a five minute walk from the house that closed the week I arrived. I have been feeling stranded.

I could go on and on about the bus situation around here and why it's prohibitive. I would have to wait next to a highway. The bus route begins at the stop...which is great if I want to go somewhere at 6:30 a.m. but the later it moves into the afternoon, the longer the wait is and the more unreliable transportation becomes. The stop is also between two very different neighborhoods. The whole thing is just not my idea of a way to spend my time. A taxi ride would be about $15 one way. How we have gotten around this is to have Charlie drop me at a favorite coffee shop in my former neighborhood on his way to work and picks me up at the end of the day. That means I get dropped off at 7 a.m. once a week and picked up at 6 p.m. Typically I meet a friend for lunch or go to the park, run errands, do some shopping, meet a client, get my mail... I also have my computer with me and a book. It's been a viable solution but I essentially crammed my every day city activities into one day, which though pleasurable, was exhausting

Having a coffee shop within a twenty minute walk is perfect. It will get me half way to where I would be dropped off usually so I can ping pong along my walking route and Charlie could pick me up anywhere on his way back from work. The one caveat is I don't think I would be entirely comfortable bringng a computer out with me, but it might honestly be refreshing not to have it. I haven't been writing since I've moved in. I love to write in coffee shops on tiny pieces of paper. I like the refill pages of a filo-fax because I feel like small pieces of paper equal less pressure. They are filled up quickly and they can be moved around so I can adjust the chronology if I want to.

I'll be going on Monday for the first time and I will report back with my experience.

I asked the Tarot: How will having a new coffee shop change my way of life: I pulled the Knight of Wands from the Victorian Romantic Tarot. http://www.victorianromantic.com/Courts1.htm/

How literal! The Knights typically denote a journey and yes, I will be walking. The Wands Knight has the most vitality and charisma of the four Knights. To me, this suggests a renewal of energy coupled with a willfullness to set out into life and see what is possible. The wands suit also brings passion and I feel for me this means rekindling some of my interests and independence.

Looking at the card the woman is carrying roses, my favorite flower, in the folds of her dress. Interesting placement too. They are gathered at the root chakra area. Thinking back to how sick I was earlier in the summer I can't help but see that as a chakra alignment. What does the root chakra deal with? Security. It makes sense because of how my home and my places of work were disrupted (in a Tower sense) this year. I felt I had lost my base, my community. The root chakra can also deal with passion which brings us back to the Knight of Wands who says journey outside yourself to ignite your passions in life. Well, you would think I would get a cups card dealing with beverages as another possible literal interpretation. It's good to keep in mind that wands is the fire suit and coffee is a hot beverage. ;)

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Tuesday, September 4th, 2007
6:35 pm - theater festival, garden, pic nic in an old cemetery
This weekend begins on of my favorite annual Philadelphia events: http://www.phillyfringe.org/2007/home.cfm The Phillly Fringe/Live Arts Festival.

Saturday night we went to see BATCH: An American Bachelor/ette Party Spectacle by http://www.newparadiselaboratories.org/home.asp New Paradise Laboratories. The piece examined the rituals associated with pre-wedding festivities with the theater company's trademark humor and discomforting eroticism. While I really enjoy seeing more classic plays performed, there is something to be said for watching a collaborative piece that is wholly experimental. It has a different energy than say, Shakespeare, which I also enjoy.

We went to a late showing on Sunday night of Flamingo/Winnebago by http://luciditysuitcase.org Thaddeus Phillips. It was a play about a road trip with two central characters. An Indian man in a Winnebago escapes his predictable life as a gas station owner in Northern NJ while an American born man employs various forms of transportation to find his way to Las Vegas. He searches for remnants of family history settled around a hotel with a pink flamingo. While this one was certainly more of a crowd pleaser (we all were asked to sport 3D glasses during a sequence), the whimsy and humor had substance. We still have a couple more shows left to see over the next two weekends and I'm excited.

Saturday afternoon, Charlie took me to an old cemetery that is about a twenty minute walk from the house. We brought a blanket, ate smoked tofu sandwiches with heirloom tomatoes, micro greens, avocado, and monteray jack cheese on grainy bread. For dessert: black cherries! Charlie read the New York Times and I was entertained by a fiction book about the real life coutesan Emma Hamilton. It was like we were sitting in our own backyard although we don't technically have one and if we did it would most likely not be an old cemetery. ;) What is nice for me is now that I know it's there I can bring a book and hang out on my days off.

Yesterday, for the holiday we went to http://www.longwoodgardens.org Longwood Gardens. It's really worth brousing through the pictures on the site. I was pleased the rose garden was still bright and perfumed so I could frolick about sticking my face in flowers. I was able to have a bowl of their famous Chester County Mushroom soup, which is filled with locally grown mushrooms and seasoned with tarragon. It's worth the hour drive for the soup alone. I was happy to see the bee population so lively. There was a particular grouping of flowers that was literally thrumming with the movement of bees and butterflies. The fountains were spectacular. There were horn players setting up in various sections of the garden playing patriotic standards to a cluster of smiling onlookers. We managed to avoid all contact. I walked off the path barefoot under a cluster of willow trees and rediscovered a small pond that had the most adorable grouping of snails with purple shells. There was a chatty, yet elusive, frog that we only heard but could not see.

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Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
3:08 pm - back from the Hermitage (post where I introduce being a bridesmaid)
I don't know what it is about summer, but I am not one with journaling. Maybe I prefer watching baby animals grow up in lieu of personal introspection. The temporarily cool weather recently is making me want to be one with my typing self and I got a couple nudges to return to lj. Voici! I am present.

The past couple of weeks have been a tornado of activity. I really wanted to be a part of my friend Erin's wedding in Maine. For those outside the US, Maine is about a nine hour drive from Philadelphia. With the Atelier where Charlie works changing its non-profit status and benefits being reformatted, we didn't know until two weeks before the date if he would qualify for vacation time that week. He had to make special arrangements since he was on the cusp of vacation status becoming available. I was struggling finding a dress. We needed a cat sitter to come into our home and watch our four cats. We also had an excess of tidying and rearranging to do before the house would be welcoming. The only thing I had two weeks before the wedding was a lovely present: a blue hand embroidered Indian wedding shawl that could be worn or elegantly draped over a piece of furniture. It's a modern heirloom piece and a fantastic find. If I didn't love the bride so much, I would have been tempted to keep it. I am thankful for chelsearoad coming along on that excursion and convincing me for certain it was as perfect as I knew it was.

Two Sundays ago, we managed to get everything together. We found a cat sitter through the yoga studio where I work on second saturdays. Charlie's vacation time was approved the week before our departure. I tracked down a dress in a wine shade at Macy's the day before we left. It was absurd. I found it the maternity department (I am decidedly not pregnant) on clearance for $14.99. It's a slinky fabric that would have been very clingy on a woman with child but had a flattering empire cut and an elegant swish on me. I found a square cloissonne framed pin with a plum colored glass center to replace the bow under the bustline. I let the fabric from what would have been the bow stream from the pin. The pin looked like it came with the dress. I found glass earrings with lovebirds on them and from the glass circle there are three faceted garnet drops. I have a really lovely piece of treated amethyst that looks metallic purple, set in silver, which I wore as a necklace. The bride wanted us to wear beaded flip flops since she was having a beach wedding, and I managed to pick up a pair of silver sandals with a flower made of silver leather set in the center of the foot. They have a Grecian look about them with a piece of leather winding around the toe and back to the flower and another piece that straps across the foot. I love them even though I was a little thrown off by walking in flats. I am accustomed to platforms high enough to facilitate cloudgazing.

The day of the wedding we drove by a group of bridesmaids heading into an old stone church. They were wearing sleeveless navy blue taffeta gowns that wound around their bodies from the bustline to just below the hip. The fabric tied in a gigantic bow at the center of the back. The fabric plastered horizontally across the stomach area and vertically along the thighs. The navy blue taffeta also shimmered. The unfortunate bridesmaids looked like a cross between electric eels and comforter covers. It was a tragic sight and it only reinforced the mercy of Erin, the low key bride, in letting everyone in her party choose their own dresses.

Charlie and I travelled up the New England coast from Monday through Thursday stopping off in Mystic, Connecticut and Salem, Massachusettes before heading to Portland, Maine. I am going to drop in this week with posts with tales from our vacation and the wedding. I promise some funny and poignant moments. I promise not to turn out the lights, fire up the projector, and make anyone watch vacation slides. I may actually do a Tarot post too now that I am home and feeling refreshed.

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Wednesday, July 18th, 2007
5:51 pm - I love it! (thieved from stellans)
<td align="center"> diana --
[noun]:

A master of storytelling

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com</td>


Wait...wouldn't I be a mistress of storytelling?

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3:59 pm
I miss all the lj folk.

I was sick for most of June with a very nasty urinary tract infection. I am not prone to them. The last one I had was three years ago (maybe four) and it lasted three days. This one lasted over two and a half weeks with active symptoms and then it took me a full week in addition for the residual exhaustion to abate since I wasn't able to sleep through the night while the symptoms were occurring. I still read Tarot for myself but I didn't have much energy to be writing posts. I think I spared you all in honesty. Every day I would ask the cards: What should I do for my health today? I would say the card that appeared for me the most was the Nine of Cups.

http://www.arnellart.com/tt-9-cup.htm

It was an interesting card thematically because it told me (repeatedly) that as long as I believed I would heal, and truly put my energy into that belief, I would. I honestly don't think I realized how sick I was until it was over. I was hovering on a scary edge for awhile there. Charlie at one point suggested (and not wrongfully) taking me to the ER. I can't explain it other than I knew if I rested and held on I would get better and I did.

I asked what I learned from the experience of being sick and I pulled the Page of Swords from the Victorian Romantic Tarot.

http://www.victorianromantic.com/Courts2.htm

I was certainly treading through an unfamiliar landscape as Pages often do. The typical optimism of the Page is a bit tempered here by the watchfulness of the swords suit. I did have to pay attention to my body and keep track of my feelings and symptoms to help heal myself. I also had to navigate between keeping a positive attitude and setting boundaries for myself and others without knowing day to day what those would be. My usual way of approaching life couldn't apply. I took refuge in quiet intellectual pursuits to not become too submerged in how I was feeling.

I read "The Golden Compass" by Philip Putnam. I have the next book in the series and I am itchy to read it. I became engrossed in a biography called "The Story of Chicago May" by Nuala O'Faolain about an young Irish woman at the turn of the last century who stole her family's money and sailed to America to become "The Queen of Crooks". It was fascinating to imagine life in this country 100 years ago as a thief and a prostitute and how the options for women were so limited that even such a harsh existence was more freeing than working in a factory, a farm or devoting a life to a husband and rearing children. While it's not a life I would want, I could see how easily someone could be swept into the movement of the period in history when choices during times of poverty had many unappealing elements and ramifications.

I am out today picking up birthday gifts for my nieces and am making myself at home in a coffee house. I'm watching the rain stream over the painted logo on the window. Good times.

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Saturday, June 2nd, 2007
12:56 pm - Update: with a little Tarot at first but mostly just me chatting with y'all
I had an odd but lovely day yesterday. I decided to spend the day in Washington Square West/Center City. I had to complete some errands: pick up packages at the post office, make a cash deposit at the bank, buy some loose powder mineral eyeshadow, and locate a book that intrigued me, the author and title of which I couldn't remember but I knew what shelf it was on at Robin's Bookstore. It was dreadfully hot in Philly, about 90 degrees but amplified by asphalt and car exhaust. Charlie wanted me to wait until Monday, but I insisted for no particular reason other than I knew I should go. I asked the Tarot to decide. I pulled these cards Thursday night before bed.

Should I spend the day out of the house?
http://www.lunaea.com/tarot/tarottour5/tour64.html

Should I stay at home?
http://www.lunaea.com/tarot/tarottour3/tour44.html

Both would have been good options for different reasons. The Ace of Earth was offering me opportunity (which felt like the unexpected kind) as long as I kept myself open and receptive. The Nine of Fire would give me the option to get back to the recently neglected house and to do the work I would more greatly enjoy than what I had been engaged in a couple of months ago. More decorating, less scouring. The Nine told me that I would have to overcome certain objections to be integrated into the process and align with my passion; I would need to connect with the joy of process and recognize it wouldn't be drudgery, which at times despite my will and enthusiasm in the past it sure felt like it. I went for the Ace of Earth option.

When I opened my e-mail in the morning, the creator of the deck I used for this spread contacted me and asked me if I wanted to swap bottles of rare BPAL perfume. She is sending me a full bottle of Hunter Moon from 2004 which is so elusive as to be the scent equivalent of the Holy Grail. Before I checked my e-mail I had put on a perfume I bought from her on ebay in November. It's a summer scent with rose, grasses, and citrus that needed to exhumed from my stash and given some wrist time.

I decided to try out a new coffee shop I had never been to before that is a few blocks from the location of my beloved and officially moved out Village Coffee House. The guys had to have the place cleaned out by May 31st. I found the inside charming but lacking in art. There were clocks close to the ceiling set to cities all around the world. Although they were labeled, I found it a little disconcerting when I wanted to consult the time. It had a cozy neighborhood feel and it was very quiet in the morning hours. Around 10:30 a.m., I was preparing to leave, but I kept dallying to the point where I recognized that a part of me was in conflict with packing up my things. As I finally decided to stop lingering, a young woman I read Tarot for a year ago walked in the door and said she had just walked past the Village and was disappointed it was closed because she wanted to get in touch with and lost my contact information. She had been thinking about me all week and wanted to make an appointment and was heading to the coffeeshop where I was sitting to see if she could find me on-line. Go Ace of Earth!

I am so glad we were able to find each other again in such a way. I never lose my sense of awe for such moments of connection. I read for her right then and we were able to do some really deep work for which I am thankful. It made me consider a situation in my own past that was needless and challenging and return to my belief that some of my own darker experiences have been useful in helping me to assist others in healing.

After the reading, I found the book I had been looking for, "The Nature of Monsters" by Clare Clark, and as I pulled it from the shelf a friend who I hadn't seen in a few weeks appeared unexpectedly from around the corner and offered me a hug and an apology for behaving in a way I will describe in Platonic terms as "Crankiness Itself". As a King of Swords type, http://www.arnellart.com/tt-king-sword.htm, hugs and apology are not usual faire. I was pleased and receptive and I got to experience the element of surprise that doesn't often accord with my profession. Had I arrived five minutes later, he would have been leaving for NYC.

I walked to MAC on Walnut Street to buy some powdered eye shadow pigment and was bemused at what lay in front of my field of vision upon coming through the door. Everyone was dressed in black. The interior was lit for backstage at a runway fashion show and no fewer than five women were getting attentive make overs with their faces being layered in color like a painting. I couldn't help but consider how they would melt like rainbow sherbet upon exiting the store. I was dressed like a hippie in the brightest patchwork dress possible and had a hot pink scarf from India thrown over my shoulders to keep the sun off my skin. After walking five blocks in the humidity from the bookstore I could kindly describe my complexion as dewy. Had D.H. Lawrence stepped out of the late 1800s or turn of the last century to describe me, I'm sure "dewy" would have been uttered. I'm certain there would have been something about my heaving bosom too, but we'll leave that alone.

I was helped by a very enthusiastically aggressive young man who really believed in primer as if it were holy in his eyes. First he layered a colored primer in peach on my hand. It felt waxy, like lipstick. Then, he brushed the powder over it. I imagined the bright, pure color on my eyelids and thought of a drag show, and made a mental note to recommend the primer stick to a few acquaintances. He asked me if I were wearing foundation and I said, I put a drop on at 8 a.m. and haven't thought or worried about it since (it was 3:00 p.m.). My main concern was sunscreen. He gave me a stern, unwavering lecture about the use of primer before applying foundation. I thanked him for the information and bought the pigment alone. I didn't want to argue with him about why I would never use a primer. It takes me two years to go through a bottle of liquid foundation. I buy the best and use a drop. My skin is typically clear (and dewy), which is the look people apply foundation to achieve. When the weather is above 75 degrees, less or no make up is the most favorable way to proceed. I checked the pigment in direct sun. The round container looked more like a gold coin than a peach, which would work for my purposes. Go Ace of Earth!

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Sunday, May 20th, 2007
7:43 pm - I am here: an update
I started my new Tarot reading job in New Hope after the most grueling interview process for any job I've ever had. I read for five people over two days and of course as gratis. The readings were untimed, which was positive because I had the opportunity to touch upon every issue the querants wanted me to address and challenging because the readings went on and on. The majority of the querants had been given a recent reading by one of the store owners, so there was certainly compare and contrast about whether the same issues were being addressed, similar advice given along with rating my personal style of delivery.

The first woman I read for prefaced the reading in this manner: "Hey, I just want to let you know that I'm really difficult to read for. Most people have trouble reading for me. I've been getting readings from Eric (the owner) for 15 years because he's one of the few people who can read me. Don't feel bad if you have a hard time. Most people do." Gee, no pressure. I calmly explained that I felt comfortable with her energy and that most likely Eric and I would be accessing the same information. I was really on target. I even got a hug.

I noticed a marked difference from reading for people in a metaphysical bookstore to reading in a coffee shop: these querants are prepared! When one of the ladies was waiting for her turn, she was taking notes of questions and topics to bring up in orderly columns in a steno notebook. After I was finished with her list, I asked her if she had anything else she needed me to explore. She came back with "How are my children doing? What should they keep in mind? How can I help be helpful to them? By the way, I have four children." I also got a hug at the end of that reading.

I can understand the store owners being cautious. The business has a reputation for having reputable readers. Typically they are members of the church run by the owners. As the manager put it to me: "It's been a long time, a very long time since anyone from out of the circle has worked inside the store." I will say that it was a good way to connect with my own confidence and ability because a reader who was not practiced and professional never would have made it through the group of querants assigned to me. There was a strong variance in age, background, types of questions, energy and personality. An intermediate reader would likely have floundered. I don't usually think of myself in any special category when it comes to reading Tarot. I go in. I do the work. I enjoy it and I find it rewarding. I try to keep my approach fresh by learning and sharing with other readers, trying new decks, and most importantly listening to my clients.

It was interesting to me driving home with Charlie last week because I was looking out the window and thinking how when I was a girl and first learning Tarot, I really wanted to read in New Hope and specifically at the store where I am working. How powerful those thoughts are, the dreams and visions we have when we're young.

I've had to change my sleep schedule majorly to be able to accept the job. Charlie drops me off on his way to work at 7:30 in the morning. We're about 45 minutes away, so that means I have to wake up at 5:30 a.m. If I go by my own natural body clock I would be up at 10:30 a.m. I've been adjusting and it's one of the reasons I haven't been updating my journal. Also, since I'm in New Hope on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for the summer, it affords me less time on the computer.

I don't start work until 11:30 a.m. and I end at 5:30 p.m. Charlie picks me up at 5:45 or 6:00 p.m. depending on traffic. The town is really beautiful. It runs alongside a river on one side and a canal on the other. I've been watching baby animals mature week by week. There are six baby turtles and three adults that sun themselves on the base of the bridge supports. I love watching the baby turtles paddle in the shallow area near the concrete pillars. There are hawks in the sky all day long, swooping low towards the slanted roofs of two story buildings and perching in the most elevated street trees. Goslings stomp up the canal embankment with their honking guardians trying to reign in their wandering.

I was reading on a bench near the community theatre and two pre-teen girls approached me and asked, "Are those your ducks?". I looked down and two ducks were resting a couple of inches from each foot. When I made eye contact, they quacked.

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Saturday, May 5th, 2007
12:33 pm - Good news!
http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/philadelphia/20070503_New_look_at_law_gets_city_to_toss_psychics_a_lifeline.html

I read for a client this week and had the experience of what it was like to do illegal dealings in public. We had a great reading and she was wondeful to work with as always. I am so glad I won't have to repeat the episode of having to leave the premises of the coffee shop where I was reading and receive payment outside on the street, like I was drug-dealing or turning tricks rather than cards.

What a stressful week!

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2007
5:46 pm - A Tarot exercise: deconstructing The Princess/Knave of Coins.
Deciding to check in with Tarot to ascertain how I'm handling the events of the past week, I pulled a card. While I would typically ask a more proactive question like "How should I handle the situation?", I felt I needed a card to reflect where I am before going forward.

http://www.arnellart.com/tt-princess-coin.htm

I have reacted to the legal issues surrounding reading Tarot with the practicality of the Coins suit. I contacted clients, set up a meeting with a person who will be helping me with web design, and arranged an interview. All of these actions I view as points of necessity.

I'm going to approach the card from the perspective of the image. It's a useful exercise to look at individual components of the card and how they fit a situation. Personal connection to the images are perhaps more important in this exercise than how they relate to the standard meanings of the card.

The Dog: Years ago, I had a dream that I visited the Norse underworld and the Goddess Hella, in the guise of an old woman, offered me a dog. I hesitated in the dream and let her know I would consider her offer and later searched for her. I walked up the steps of an old brownstone and found her picture pinned to a cork board outside of a room where a man was reading Tarot with the door open. When I looked at the photo, her face reconfigured to show me the development of the Earth from fiery liquid to the hardening of the soil, to the inception of plant life and the movement of animals across the land. For a moment in my dream I felt span of time from the creation of the planet until the present. I woke up screaming not because of visiting the realm of the dead but because I never fully understood just how new I am in comparison to existence of time. Even having an old soul just doesn't cut it. The dog in the card makes me think of Hella's hounds, which guard the boundaries between the worlds and also offer shamanic protection.

The poppies: I have a few responses to the flowers. First they make me think of the perfumery work I have done with my bath products. Since poppies also relate to sleep, they carry echos of the dream I described but also make me consider looking at my present dreams more deeply. On a earthly level, I really could use a day out in nature to renew my senses.

The hands: They rest close to the heart chakra and are situated protectively. I feel it's telling me to keep track of my heart center, shield the sanctity of my feelings, and endeavor not to be afflicted by the weight of the emotions. My tendency towards the practical is on target.

The golden attire of the woman: She looks small but solid. She reminds me of the Sun card and what is the Sun but a golden disc? There is a relation to the coins suit. Although she is alone in the frame of the card, her light is kindled. She is luminescent.

The gilded rose: I think of the rose in the RWS Death card, the symbol of life out of death. Here it is not exactly life but preservation since it is coated in gold, enduring and timeless. The rites of divination exist beyond cycles, just as the Fates that usher them. They inhabit the cycles without being moved by them. They are at the center of the Wheel.

The face of the female figure: It appears she is a sculpture and almost doll-like. The eyes suggest movement, and she is looking to the side. There is more to the image than is in frame, certainly a greater view that needs to be seen, making me think of how the Princesses are in the early stages of expansion. They embody potential.

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Tuesday, May 1st, 2007
5:25 pm - last day at The Village, sculpture in progress
My interview was postponed until Friday afternoon. The late arrival of beautiful spring weather set the store burgeoning with customers and made it unlikely that I would have been able to read for the manager and the owner as required. It was favorable that I called before Charlie and I made the forty-five minute drive because he needed to be at home for most of the day to work on the sculpture in progress.

I have learned a great deal about scuplture by watching my plasteline face metamorphize. One sixteenth of an inch can alter age, ethnicity, and expression. I don't think I understood just how close in measurement human faces are to each other; it's the minute alterations that make a portait resemble the living person. Right now, my head is Asian. I have been privy in the past week to what I would look like as an African woman in her early fifties, a teenage girl who reminded me of my niece Melli, an angry lesbian gym teacher (as if I frighteningly morphed with my high school phys. ed instructor), and a stout Ukranian housewife. It's made me consider perceptions of beauty and how certain types of faces are in vogue with symmetry being the one lasting standard throughout centuries. I have to say that Charlie has captured my nose perfectly and my other features are starting to resemble me. I need a little more volume in my cheeks to be caucasian again.

I hung out at the Village in the afternoon and ate vegetarian sushi with Charlie before he had to return to the studio space and work on multi-cultural head. People were generally much cheerier than they had been since the closing was announced last week. It was a bittersweet afternoon. Scott walked around grinning and shirtless, looking like a modern Hercules. Kaori chatted and filled the outdoor seating area with pealing laughter, a sound between a bell and an insistent bird. Brett and Gary were cordial and smoking, with old fashioned midwestern manners, coupled with a bit of flamboyance peeking 'round the edges of interaction. I alternated between cloud gazing, greeting my favorite neighborhood dogs, accepting condolences about my new joblessness and listening to anger about the state ban against Tarot and a shared feeling of homelessness with the Village closing. It felt like someone had sawed the living room off the front of my house. I think Gary had the quote of the day, "Diana, you were with us at the beginning and you are with us at the end...not that any of us are going anywhere". Then we both got teary.

http://www.arnellart.com/tt-princess-cup.htm
The Princess of Cups was so appropriate for the day. My emotions were shimmering at the surface and I had love for just about everyone. I probably could have set a new personal record for the number of people I kissed in the span of a few hours. I felt like I was inhabiting nostalgia for a part of my life I loved. Like the maiden in the image I was immersed in the beauty of the day.

current mood: Queen of Spades, Croquet

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Saturday, April 28th, 2007
5:05 pm - from worse to worst
As if I weren't upset enough by my beloved Village Coffee House needing to close down with almost no notice, there was more waiting for me on Friday...

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/20070427_Who_knew__Law_shuts_city_psychics.html

The powers that be resurrected a forgotten 30-year-old state law banning psychics, palmists, and astrologers from practicing for financial gain. This means I can read Tarot anywhere I want in Philadelphia, I just can't accept money for the service or I risk being fined or arrested.

So far, even though the law covers the entire state of Pennsylvania, it's only being enforced in Philadelphia. Before this article, my initial plan was to approach a few coffeehouses in the same neighborhood where I have been reading for the past few years and see if they would like to host a reading night bi-weekly. The closing of the Village coming at the same time as the old law being enforced is detrimental to my business. Because I don't have a longstanding, established relationship with owners of another coffeehouse, it will be very difficult for me to be able to read publicly even for clients I know well and who would pay me discreetly. Because of the legal issue, I would be putting the reputation of the business at risk by possibly drawing unfavorable publicity. I know Brett and Gary would have allowed me to continue reading quietly and without advertising until the law was challenged and revoked. As it is now, I wouldn't risk advertising and am so thankful I didn't update my fliers to show my new phone number. The undercover police could call me at any time and make an appointment. It's scary, unjust, and absurd.

I decided to explore my options for reading outside Philadelphia. I have a job interview for Tarot reading set up for Sunday afternoon at a metaphysical bookstore, though I may need to return later in the week because I will be required to read for at least two people at the shop. The store is located about an hour outside of Philly, though Charlie will be able to drop me off in town on his way to work if I gain employment. The store is in Pennsylvania and it is illegal for me to read Tarot there as well, but I feel the enforcement of the law isn't going to spread into that town anytime soon, since it has a huge metaphysical community. The town would suffer major fiscal losses if the community went across the bridge to kinder, saner, New Jersey (where Tarot reading is legal and gays can have civil unions).

http://www.arnellart.com/tt-8-cup.htm

The emotions of the cups suit is appropriate to my situation. I was indeed teary, but still I acted on my own behalf. The physicality of the image of the people leaving works with my endeavors to seek employment elsewhere and also conveys the speed and necessity involved. Shifts from the Rider-Waite-Smith standard can add a personal connection within a reading. The figure in the RWS image seems to be dragging along: http://www.learntarot.com/c8.htm . Arnell Ando's take on the card shows a more hurried transition.

A skull hovering above the grail is emblematic. Depicting a conclusion, what was previously life-giving and nourishing devolved into something potentially baneful. The skull not only marks the end of a cycle, it also makes me consider the symbol for poison when combined with the chalice. It is clear the water is not safe to drink. Best to seek sustenance elsewhere.

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Friday, April 27th, 2007
9:17 pm - totemic fun from superplin


How this works: If you click on prompts and enter your response, my animal might change. I started as a raven and moved into a wild cat and now I'm a ladybug...these are my actual totems so you all are choosing accurately.

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4:20 pm - rough
http://www.arnellart.com/tt-7-wand.htm

I received some difficult news on Weds. night that The Village Coffee House where I read Tarot will be closing this Sunday because of an inability to negotiate terms with their landlord for the renewal of their lease. The owners just found out as well because the landlord was agreeing to different terms verbally than what appeared on the paperwork at the time they were due to sign. I don't have any background in real estate but I can't imagine how trying to play hardball by adding new clauses to the lease with tenants who pay their rent makes any business sense. All I can say is I have met their landlord and I am not impressed. He's about as personable as a misshapen lump of concrete.

I've had a weekly reading event at The Village for three years and I've also met clients by appointment. The owners have been so supportive of me personally and have taken time to recommend me to their friends, family and customers. The community has been really wonderful, loving and gracious overall and I honestly can't imagine being able to find a similar situation. It was less like work and more like what family should be. Even people who came in skeptical left with understanding and appreciation for what I do. What I will miss the most is the ease and camaraderie of the community. Every time I walked in the door I would be hugged and kissed in greeting by the staff and customers. I even know the names of many of the people's dogs.

I spent the morning there yesterday and part of the late afternoon before Charlie picked me up. It was tough because customers were so saddened by the news. I talked with a writer who was working on a book with the coffee shop as a main setting and he said it was going to have to live in in his imagination through his characters. It felt similarly to being at a funeral with people trying to maintain a sense of normalcy amidst shock and disbelief.

I met chelsearoad for lunch in Rittenhouse and she brought me a present to cheer me up, along with her much needed company. http://www.croneways.com/pandora.htm. I have been wanting this deck for awhile but I didn't see the announcement it was available and thought I had missed out because the deck is extremely limited. The first edition was a small run of about 20 copies. My deck is from the second run. I am really excited because it comes from the same author as Tarot of the Crone, which is one of my favorite decks for personal readings. I'll be doing some majors only spreads with the cards and of course posting them here.

I stopped by the bookstore on my way home and talked with the person who is going to be helping me build the site for my bath products. We should be starting in about two to three weeks. Until then, I will be writing the text, making product, taking photos, and finding images for the site to have everything ready for him to code. Since timing is now more important, he is going to ready the site and teach me how to change the text so I can do some of the updating myself.

The appearance of the Seven of Wands was affirming that my energy is going in the right place. I was expecting a dreary cups card or a embattled swords card due to the emotional content and mental strain of the day but the Tarot seems to be telling me that I am restructuring even if it felt more like a breaking apart. The creative energy of the wands was afoot. Like the image of the woman on the card, I took the first step.

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Monday, April 23rd, 2007
6:26 pm - Tarot: Sunday, Three of Wands
http://www.arnellart.com/tt-3-wand.htm

I spent a good part of the day reading a book so as to be quite literally at hand for Charlie while he was finding my features in a block of grey plasteline. The color of the material reminds me of days of ongoing rain in February. It's the flattest grey imaginable, as even as a crayon. Clay from the earth has depth and richness, which reflects the light with more variation than factory produced material. It's interesting to see my silhouette frozen in a grey slab without the creamy, pink flush of life.

Because of the location of the studio in the house, taking up half the living room area on the first floor, I really couldn't be doing much in terms of unpacking and organizing as it would have been disruptive. I can't imagine trying to motivate my creativity to compete with the sound of tape being pulled from bubble wrap, so I went for courtesy over productivity. Besides it wasn't tragic to sit in silence and read a book with my head on display.

I am amused at how literal the Tarot can be. I read a book while wearing a dress and I smelled of fruit scented perfume. Never underestimate the image on the card. Keywords are accessories and sometimes looking at too many is like seeing an arm weighted with flashy bangles. It's hard to tell where to focus first and how to discern individual value. More importantly than an imagistic replica of your day is how the card evokes mood and experience.

When not reading, I made oceans of hot tea. Every time I walked past Charlie he was gazing at me with a craftsman's eye. He repeatedly tried to stop me to ask me questions so I would stand next to the sculpture so he could compare, he believed, without me noticing. In good humor, I pretended I had no idea and moved my face unnaturally close to the sculpture in progress. He kept measuring my ears and maintained a sense of awe all day long that my features are so tiny. His previous commissions had all been men, the larger mustachioed versions who wanted to sit their own distinguished faces on their mantelpieces flanked by antique candle lamps. He hadn't worked on a woman's life-size head since graduate school.

After doubting the second and third application of the ruler against my earlobe, hours later, he sat next to me and playfully tousled the hair near my ear. Since he has never in the history of my knowing him ever did that exact gesture, I was beyond suspicious. "You're measuring my ear against your pointer finger in the guise of affection!" I doubt many other women deal with these issues.

It was fascinating how the card worked for me on so many levels. I felt like Charlie and I shared the Three of Wands. Both of us are looking forward to the completion of our own projects and setting our wills and initiative towards what is to come.

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Sunday, April 22nd, 2007
10:10 pm - A little late but still hilarious
In 2007, tarotbydiana resolves to...
Find a new bpal.
Lose ten grimoires by March.
Drink four glasses of autumn every day.
Get back in contact with some old oracles.
Buy new peaches.
Start a charmed fund.
Get your own New Year's Resolutions:

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