Cartomancy Part III The Nature of a Deck

11:59:00 AM

 Sometimes, the tools we work with have their own natures entirely.  This is especially true in tools of divination and oracular arts.  While we typically ascribe personality and virtue to objects which are found whole in nature like plants, trees, minerals, bodies of water or even entire areas and entities such as mountains, we don't always give the same value or personification to the objects we create ourselves from the alchemy of human ingenuity. 

However, many readers will tell you straight up that our tools, our mediums or conduits not only can take on a power of their own through repeat use, they can be born with a specific influence, geared towards a particular kind of perspective.   For some, a rose quartz rune set may be naturally inclined to provide deeper insight into matters of love than say, wealth or business.  Likewise, a particular tarot deck may be better suited to readings of say, herbalism, than personal drama.

As you come to use new bone, rune, ogham, yarrow, tarot or other sortilege sets, you may find that some sets work better than others, some give better insight into some subjects than others.  The more I work with a deck, the clearer a picture I get of its gifts and its weaknesses.  I have cards I'd never read with because they exude emptiness.  Others, I only use to commune with death. Most are social decks and ready to simply be used by someone who conducts their own power.  Some decks... well, they make a bond, they carry an affinity for one thing and an aversion for others.

As of today, I have well over 30 decks, some are just for the sheer pleasure of ownership, some are gag gifts, others are valued sentimental family hand-me-downs, and others are keys to the paths I walk as a green witch.  I have seven decks which are for seven purposes, today I've chosen to highlight four; my white, green, black and red keys.  The other decks are used for love and sex readings alone and I'll get to those ones a different day...

 Just as my path is expressed in four divisions, four gardens in which I work, so are some of my decks specifically allied to these affinities.  There are the decks I read from on a purely social level, their natures being social or sometimes deeply empathetic, or even ambivalent, giving them the unique gift of being useful for general readings for anyone and in any situation. My Klimt deck is mostly for me and those I'm closest to, the Botticelli and Golden Waite, the Chelsea and Pixie Lenormand; these are for my parlor readings, the time I spend on the weekends or on some evenings giving readings in my dining room or studio.  These decks are just for divination and they don't serve a specific use in magic most of the time.  Then there are the decks that I have because they exude a particular otherness about them, an alignment and an affinity with a particular thread of the spirits.


  The Green path in the garden of verdant things is the journey, and the deck used for green magic is the Morgan Greer, used not just socially but to commune with herbal tarot alchemy.  The green way encompasses those arts of medicine and healing, folk arts and the natural sciences.  The Greer, with its lush herbal symbolism, was an ideal pairing when it comes to dealing with meditations on the choices I'm making with my central art; the core of all my paths along via viridis. The deck has this innate sense of balance, growth and honesty; it is clear sighted and rooted deeply in the subconscious interpretations of the world around us.

In my book, this deck has a decided nature and is allied with the moon and sun, the numbers 2 and 4, the colors blue and yellow, water, Orion's belt, artemesia vulgaris, vervain and wormwood and Brighid the Healer.

I think if you're going to use decks with a specific nature, you've got to feed that deck on that particular diet.  So the Greer is fed on seasonal foods, it is usually kept close to it's herbal allies and spends time in the light of day and the light of moon.  It may not be an ensouled object, but it has a way about it, and I respect that.


 Down the white path, in the garden of illuminations there lies the spirit of alchemy, purification, resurgence and fortification.  The white path is the way of the tonic that purifies the body and the alchemy by which strength is achieved.  For this purpose I use the Alchemical Tarot; its nature being extremely logical, considerate, high minded and heavenly.  It is allied with the colors white and red, salt, lead, gold, mercury and silver, peppermint and lemon balm, Libra or Aquarius, birds, Mercury and the number 1. When I first got this deck, it had such a clear purpose I didn't bother using it for anything else or reading for another person with them.  They're just for me and the work I do in the creation of practical workings, in the alchemy of the kitchen or the work room.  It is a deck of industry and so it only comes out when I'm feeling my most industrious.  Its nature prefers calm minds and logical questions, existential detours along the way.


Some decks are just for conflict.  They reflect the uncertainty we carry in us about others, they pry into our lies and our fears and they lay bare our passions.  This is true of the Etruscan tarot, which has been best suited only for the readings pertaining to deep struggle, conflict and generally bed news.  It's not that it's a bad deck or poisonous, it doesn't usher in negativity or bad omens, it simply holds the nature of revelation, competition, warfare and affairs.  The tempestuous virtues within the red path in the ardent garden are evident in every reading with this deck.  It is allied with Mars, Aries, fire and air, iron and horn, boars and bulls, midnight and starlight, cinnamon and pepper, storax and dragons blood, the letter S, the numbers 3 and 8.  This deck is perfect for whenever I have to face my anxieties, when I need direction.


 The Golden Thread is a popular up and coming deck that I got around the time it first came out.   it's been reviewed over and over, by myself included, so I'm not going to discuss its pleasant aesthetics and excellent artistry,  I'm going to discuss its  intense spirit.  The virtues of the Golden Thread are introspection, reflection, confrontation, power, the void, crossroads and the left handed way.  Its nature is to open doors or to take an intense personality.  I read for strong-willed individuals and hyper emotional people with this deck, because it can handle the burden.  This one is a doorway when it's in my hands; a deck for the black path, to the shaded garden.  In my work, the Golden Thread is allied with Scorpio, Saturn, dandelions and wheat, the number 5, yew,  locks and keys, fossilized tree (jet) and poppy and myrrh.

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