Tag Archives: Tarot

“Meet My Main Character” Blog Tour

OK I’ve been tagged by fellow author Maria Savva to take part in this blog-tour, about the main-character from one of my novels.

The character I have chosen is Miranda T Warren, from Taromancer.

© 2013

© 2013

1. Tell us a little about this main character. Is she fictional or a historic person?

Miranda is a forty-something single woman who lives alone with only her cat Nixie for company. To supplement her income from her not particularly well-paid job she works as a Tarot reader – a profession with which she is becoming increasingly disenchanted. Miranda is a strictly fictional character, although I do put a lot of my own words into her mouth.

2. When and where is the story set?

Modern day England, mostly in Miranda’s home-town which I left unspecified but for the fact that it is relatively near London.

3. What should we know about her?

Miranda was raised a Christian but lost her faith roundabout the same-time her mum died, when she was a child. In her teens she turned to paganism. Now however she is at a spiritual cross-roads – seeking idealism, but not sure how or where to find it.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

Her long-time frustrations about how her life has been diverging from what it ought to be come to a crisis point one fateful evening, when she finds herself staring over the edge of a bridge into the river beneath… As it happens, a crazy old man saves her from herself, and persuades her that to solve her problems she ought to go on a Spiritual Quest, which turns out to be even more radical than she ever expected.

5. What is her personal goal?

Her quest to re-kindle her interest in the Tarot comes to represent her quest for spiritual wholeness, and closure on all the negative issues in her life.

6. What are the titles of your novels, and where can we read more about them?

My novels are:
(The Magus Trilogy)
The Magus
Opus Secunda
Licence To Depart

(The Demon Detective and other stories)
A Fairy Story By Any Other Name

and Taromancer, which is a stand-alone novel in its own right. I also have written several short-stories and a novella in the “Demon Detective” series.

Full details can be found on my website: http://solascendans.com

The books themselves are all available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/alexsumner

7. When can we expect your next book to be published?

I have several WIPs – probably later this year.

OK, Tag time!

I may be taking a liberty in catching them unprepared, but nevertheless I’d like to shout out some authors I admire:

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You Will Not Believe The Advice This Guy Gives About Tarot Cards…

Pat Robertson, comedy televangelist

Pat Robertson, comedy televangelist

Tarot Cards are bad for your health and can give you violent stomach-ache! So you’d better stop eating them! Joking aside for one moment, that would actually have been far more sensible advice than that given by US Televangelist Pat Robertson to a woman who emailed into his show.

Apparently, a woman’s son experienced violent stomach pains when she prayed to him in the name of Jesus. She then emailed Robertson for advice. Now I am no Doctor, but I am a qualified First-Aider, and can tell you for nothing that if someone came to me with stomach pains I would firstly carry out a full Secondary Survey, and then – unless a specific medical condition indicated otherwise – call 111 (NHS Direct) or 999 (for an Ambulance) (i.e. in the UK) depending on how serious the patient’s condition apppeared.

Ah! But does Robertson do any of this? Does he even suggest getting checked out by a doctor at all? Erm no. He automatically assumes that it is caused by one of the woman’s ancestors having practiced witchcraft, or used tarot cards, and then recommends getting in an exorcist who really believes in spiritual warfare to sort this whole thing out.

Let’s just rewind for one second: it was when the woman prayed to Jesus that the boy felt sick. I suppose it would have been beyond Robertson to suggest, “Well stop praying to Jesus, then?”

Robertson is well-known in the USA as a particularly rabid right-wing televangelist. I have had to cause to mention his antics before on this blog in regard to his remarks on the 2010 Haitian Earthquake. Indeed, I noted at the time:

“Pat” apparently is not actually his real-name, but a childhood nickname derived from the fact that as a baby people liked to pat him a lot.

May I suggest that in the future he might consider changing it to Punch Robertson.


Alex’ own Tarot-themed novel, Taromancer, is now available in print and Kindle from Amazon.

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World Tarot Day II

This is a follow up post to my original blog World Tarot Day, which was first proclaimed in 2003 and is celebrated on May 25th each year. Since I first wrote that blog post, more Tarot decks have come into my possession, so I thought I would write a completely new blog post reviewing them as well.

The Babylonian Tarot

The Babylonian Tarot, by Sandra Tabatha Cicero

This deck was created by Sandra Tabatha Cicero of the Golden Dawn-fame. I once attended a public talk in London where she explained the complete background of this deck. It turns out that Tabby is a bit of a nut for Babylonian mythology! Each minor represents an aspect of ancient Babylonian folklore or mythology in general, whilst each Major is an actual Babylonian deity or pair of deities, apart from the “Wheel of Fortune” and “Temperance.” The former is “The Tablet of Destiny,” an artefact first mentioned in the Enuma Elish, whilst the latter is the “Tree of Life” – the point being that the Babylonian version is more primordial than that mentioned in the Book of Genesis, upon which the Qabalistic Tree of Life is based.

Unusually, this is an 83 card deck. There is an extra Major called “Genesis” which is without number or attribution. Tabby explained that she had created this card because in her view the Babylonian concept of the creation of the Universe was not well represented in the conventional Major Arcana.

The four other extra cards are additional Court Cards named “Kerubs,” thus allowing the five elements (i.e. Spirit in addition to the other four) to be represented.

IMHO, Tabby is to be congratulated for having created a truly original deck. It is completely unlike the Golden Dawn deck, a version of which she also created. Also, it has the distinction of being a completely illustrated deck which is not just another Rider-Waite clone or variant. Meanwhile, going through the meanings of the cards is a lesson in Babylonian mythology in itself.

The Tarot of Marseilles

The Way of Tarot, by Alejandro Jodorowsky

The Tarot of Marseilles is a classic deck, the original design dating from 1760, although cognate decks can be found dating from 1650. Nowadays there are many reproductions of the original version available – some good (e.g. the Jodorowsky / Camoin version), and some which are quite frankly cheap knock-offs.

Incidentally, in his book The Way of  Tarot, Alejandro Jodorowksy appears to have been labouring all his life under the misapprehension that the Tarot of Marseilles is the oldest known version of the Tarot, this due to the fact that Max Ernst once told him so whilst warning him against the Rider-Waite deck. Unfortunately, Max Ernst told Jodo a crock of shit! The oldest two decks are in fact the Visconti and Sola-Buschi, both mid 15th century… the latter of which inspired the artwork in the Rider-Waite.

The Sensual Goddess Tarot Deck

The Sensual Goddess Tarot Deck

This deck is essentially a variation of the Rider Waite, but with the key difference that that artwork consists of digital photography of the eponymous “Sensual Goddess” acting out the scenes depicted on the cards. As it happens, this Sensual Goddess is a buxom glamour-model (actually the photographer’s wife), often (but not always) in a state of undress.

Fortunately, however, the deck stays on the right-side of artistic nudity. Indeed, the creators make a point of the fact that they have tried to keep it glamorous without being smutty.

Nevertheless, this deck will not please those of a prudish disposition. This makes me wonder: this deck may be great for doing readings for oneself, but one would have to exercise a great deal of discretion if one wanted to give readings for other people. Even if the nudity did not bother them, it might still distract them from the seriousness of the Tarot reading!

That aside, it’s clear from the LWB that the creators know their Tarot, and have done their research into the subject. In this regard, I would like to relate a story: on receiving the deck, went through each card with the LWB. As I did so, I picked up a psychic vibe from the cards: that the whole project to create the deck had been a *magical operation* undertaken by the photographer and his wife (i.e. the Sensual Goddess), and that here I was, effectively participating in it down the line, as it were. So one could say that I am writing this review because I am caught up in the spell. 🙂

Other

Universal Tarot

Maxwell Miller’s Universal Tarot

Maxwell Miller, the creator of this deck, has not done himself any favours by giving it the exact same name as a number of completely dissimilar decks, (so says the author of The Magus – :::shudder:::). That being said, however, I must say how much I really enjoy the artwork in this particular deck, which contains Astrological, Alchemical, Qabalistic, Sufi, Hindu symbolism and more. In other words, it is “Universal” because it draws on traditions from across the globe.

This is a 74 card deck instead of the traditional 78: instead of having King, Queen, Prince (Knight) and Princess (Page), the court cards are simply King, Queen and Knave. But the quality of the artwork is almost enough to tempt me to overlook this detail.

Tarot of the New Vision

Tarot of the New Vision

This is an amusing take on the Rider-Waite Deck. It attempts to imagine what Pamela Colman-Smith’s artwork would have looked like if the scenes had been observed from the reverse-angle, i.e. behind the characters depicted in the cards. This allows for a scope of creativity… which is only realised in some of the cards.

So for example, in “The Magician” we find out that there is a cheeky monkey hiding behind the eponymous main character, thus pointing out the tricksterish associations of the card. In the 4 of Chalices (i.e. Cups), we find out that the thoughtful looking man is actually Bellerophon, awaiting Pegasus to come to him, whilst the King of Chalices is revealed as Noah – i.e. because he was master of the deluge.

Unfortunately, though, a number of the cards are no more than depictions of original Colman-Smith version, from a different angle but adding nothing new in the way of symbolism. Also, because many of them are facing away from the viewer, one cannot see the character’s facial expressions. Taken to the extreme, in the 4 of Pentacles the main character, by having his back to the viewer, conceals all of the traditional symbolism associated with that card!

The Archeon Tarot

The Archeon Tarot

I mention this because of the striking art-work (much use of Photoshop, methinks). Whilst visually this is an appealing deck (always an important consideration if you are doing Tarot readings for clients), in some cards it lacks some of the traditional symbolism.


Taromancer, the tarot-themed novel by Alex Sumner, is out now in both print and Kindle editions.

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Tarot card reader pushes to repeal town code – Local News

Nice news story about how a Tarot reader has been instrumental in getting an antiquated town ordinance reviewed. Today, Front Royal, Virginia. Tomorrow, “The Universe” ! (See what I did there? 😉  )

Full story:

Tarot card reader pushes to repeal town code – Local News.

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Book Signing in Manchester

Further to what I wrote about in the post New Beginnings I have spoken to my contacts in the Illuminati and I can confirm that I will be appearing at Salford Masonic Hall (click on the link for directions from Google maps) on Saturday 1st March 2014 (next weekend) – where I shall be presenting a talk and making myself available to answer questions thereafter. There will actually be several speakers that day – all taking part in a day of talks devoted to Tarot and Divination.

The fun starts at 10am! 🙂

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New Beginnings

Saturday March 1st 2014 is an auspicious date, astrologically speaking. The previous day, Mercury will have turned direct again after its most recent retrograde period. Whilst in the early hours of Saturday morning (GMT) is the precise moment of the New Moon.

Saturday 1st March 2014, the day of the New Moon and Mercury turning direct.

Saturday 1st March 2014, the day of the New Moon and Mercury turning direct.

What better day than to start some new adventure? Indeed, and I myself shall be marking the day by hitting the road to promote the print edition of my latest* book Taromancer. On that Saturday I shall commence my nation-wide tour of the United Kingdom with a book-signing / tarot-reading session in Manchester. The print edition is available from Amazon, although I will be bringing along a limited number of copies myself.

Please get in touch if you are interested in coming along and I will keep you informed as to the precise time and place!


* When I say “latest” I mean I came out with it on Kindle as long ago as December 2013. Yes! Believe it or not I am still on the promotional trail of the last book, unlike some writers I could mention! 😉

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What is your favourite non-divinatory use for the Tarot?

Taromancer, by Alex Sumner

You now have the opportunity to win a free print-copy of my novel Taromancer – which I am bringing out in March. This is my story of a woman who goes on a spiritual quest involving the twenty two major arcana. This has been available to download via Kindle up to now, but I will shortly be publishing a paper version as well. I will autograph a copy and mail it to the lucky winner anywhere in the world.

All you have to do is tell me your favourite non-divinatory use for the Tarot.

Most people are aware of using Tarot for giving readings, but I am here interested in all the creative and unusual ways it can be employed in addition. Magical, mystical, or otherwise. From the well-known to the obscure, and all shades in between.

To enter, please reply to this post in the comment section below!

"What do you mean I can't enter because I'm a cat!" :(

“What do you mean I can’t enter because I’m a cat!” 😦

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Why people rely on fortune telling

I have found that there is one common characteristic of people who often consult fortune tellers. They repeatedly go to these places until they are told good words.

See:

donga.com[English donga].

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Tarot and Spellcasting

Influential occultist in her own right Rihanna, who appears in the song “The Monster” by Eminem.

I’m just relaying what the voice in my head’s saying
Don’t shoot the messenger…

Eminem

So there I was, navigating some of the more recondite backwaters of the astral plane, when someone whom in waking-life I strongly suspect of being a Secret Chief gave me three new Tarot decks as a present. “Aha!” I thought, when I returned to this planet. “This gives me an idea for a blog post!” So here is a little magical technique which I have developed in my own practice, for incorporating the Tarot with Spellcasting.

Method

This is suitable for all general Magia spells. I have dealt at length with using Tarot for Theurgia in my book Taromancer. The principles are simple enough, although it does assume that one is already familiar with the basic techniques of ceremonial magick. It goes like this:

  1. Carefully form a clear idea of what it is you want to achieve with your intended spell.
  2. Perform a Tarot divination for yourself, using the following as the question: “I intend to cast a spell to…” [INSERT SPELL INTENTION HERE]. “What will happen if I do so?”
  3. Now as you are performing your Tarot divination, it will start to become obvious that at least one card is more important in the spread than all the rest – I shall refer to this as the “Key Card.” Now it could either be a Positive Key Card or a Negative Key Card, i.e.:
    • A Positive Key Card is the card that most points to success;
    • A Negative Key Card, on the other hand, represents the one thing that is most preventing you achieving success.
  4. Armed with this knowledge, you can now put together the magical ceremony to achieve your spell intention, basing it around either invoking the energies of the Key Card if it is a Positive one; or banishing if Negative.
  5. You may also consider that more than one card in the spread has the potential to be a Key Card, as it were, so it may be appropriate to do a more sophisticated ritual involving multiple invokings / banishings.

Now the GD system of magick has the advantage that because each and every one of the 78 cards in the Tarot deck can be related to the Qabalah, it is possible to formulate a very specific invoking / banishing ritual, to wit:

  • For the Major Arcana
    • For the elemental cards, i.e. The Fool, The Hanged Man, Judgement (both qua Fire and qua Spirit) and The Universe (qua Earth), use an appropriate elemental Pentagram Ritual;
    • For the zodiacal cards, i.e. the Emperor, Hierophant, Lovers, Chariot, Strength, Hermit, Justice, Death, Temperance, Devil, Star, Moon, use a Zodiacal Pentagram ritual;
    • For the planetary cards, i.e. the Magician, High Priestess, Empress, Wheel of Fortune, the Tower, the Sun, the Universe (qua Saturn), use a Hexagram ritual.
  • For the Minor Arcana, you need to use two rituals, i.e. –
    • the elemental Pentagram ritual corresponding to the suit; and either
      • the Hexagram Ritual of the Sephirah corresponding to the pip number of the card; or
      • another Pentagram ritual for the Court cards (i.e. Princess = Earth; Prince = Air; Queen = Water; King = Fire).

Remember, the Hexagrams for the Sephiroth are those of the corresponding planets, but with the Sephirothic names and attributions instead of the planetary ones. The Saturn Hexagram is used for the Supernals, whilst the Luna Hexagram is used for both Yesod and Malkuth.

Example from my own practice:

Some time ago a lady of my acquaintance had lost her job, and was getting quite desperate to find a new one. I therefore did a tarot divination for her, and came to the conclusion that her chances of getting a new job would be quite high… were it not for an awkwardly placed Five of Swords (Defeat) in the spread. I therefore performed a ritual (in private) to “banish” this card. This included me performing an opening,  the Supreme Banishing Pentagram of Air Ritual (for the suit of Swords); the Supreme Banishing Hexagram of Geburah Ritual (because it was a 5); and then closing.

Within a week, she had found a job, and texted me news of her “unexpected” good fortune. 😉

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Nixie The Cat gets her own Blog Post

OK, so tomorrow I will be in London doing research for the most awesome blog since Golden Dawn Manuscripts and Where To Find Them. This will probably be published in the New Year as it depends on the good offices of people who have already gone on the Xmas Holidays. *


* Update: actually I managed to get it out the day after. See here for more details.


In the meantime, here is a completely gratuitous series of photos in honour of the true star of my latest novel Taromancer, namely: Nixie The Cat, of whom Miranda is the human. 😉

"I read your fortune, but first: cross my paw with catnip."

“I read your future, but first: cross my paw with catnip.”

"You are going to have to sacrifice a lot in order to provide me with tuna."

“You are going to have to sacrifice a lot in order to provide me with tuna.”

carlandthewheel

“Your fortune will change for the better if you provide a black cat with a Forever Home.”

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December 18, 2013 · 6:29 pm