Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Star

The Star is one of my favourite tarot cards. It is beautiful and very optimistic and always a pleasure to draw in a reading. For eons mankind has looked to the stars for inspiration, hope and guidance. The Star offers us sustenance and the hope of better things to come. Rather than an immediate change or the attainment of what you are looking for whether that be love, promotion at work or spiritual enlightenment etc the Star indicates a time of peace and healing. The Star promises that that the future we want can exist but we must work our own way towards it. This card also reminds us of the star that lives in each one of us, that vital spark that we can reach for even in our darkest times. As Aleister Crowley rightly said "Every man and woman is a star".
I often like to match up tarot cards with songs and at the moment am compiling a play list to match the whole tarot deck. I came across this song today and think it sums the Star card up beautifully.
There is nothing special about me
I am just a lil star
If it seems like I'm shining brightly
It's probably a reflection of something you already are
I forget about myself sometime
When there's so many other around
When deep inside you feels darkest
That is where I can always be found
That is where I can always be found
That is where I can always be found

Just keep trying and trying
It's just a matter of timing
Though the grinding is tiring
Don't let 'em stop you from smiling
Just keep trying and trying
Sooner or later you'll find it
It's surprising how inspiring
It is to see you shining
Cause in the dark of the night you're all i can see
and you sure look like a star to me

There is nothing special about me
I am just a lil star
If you try to reach out an touch me
you'll see I'm not really that far
I may not be the brightest nor am I the last one you’ll
But as long as you notice, that’s just fine with me
Everything’s just fine with me
Everything’s just fine with me

Just keep trying and trying
It's just a matter of timing
Though the grinding is tiring
Don't let 'em stop you from smiling
Just keep trying and trying
Sooner or later you'll find it
It's surprising how inspiring
It is to see you shining
Cause in the dark of the night you're all I can see
and you sure look like a star to me

Saturday, 17 December 2011

234 Cats in one day!

My two Baroque Bohemian Cats Tarot decks (a standard deck and a mini deck) arrived this week along with my Cats Eye Tarot. That's allot of cats!

I am over the moon with these delightful decks and cant wait to have a play with them this weekend. If you are a cat lover then I highly recommend these decks which can be found here:

Cats Eye Tarot by Debra Givin

Baroque Bohemian Cats Tarot

Monday, 12 December 2011

Five of Swords and the Horse Whisperer

Having had a rather pensive weekend pondering a fight I witnessed on Friday I pulled a card from my Thoth deck. It was the Five of Swords – Defeat.

The etymological roots of the word ‘Defeat’ are "undo, destroy". The card seemed to have picked up on the conflict I had witnessed and the subsequent tension I was feeling as I tried to decide whether I should report it or not (it occurred at work).
On a deeper level the card reflected feelings I have been experiencing for the last week or so about defeat. Defeat is often perceived to be a bad thing, if you are defeated are you not also beaten? The answer is not always. Have you ever heard the saying that you must loose the battle to win the war? Sometimes defeat can be about letting something go and allowing something positive to emerge.
I recalled a scene from the film ‘The Horse Whisperer’ about a young girl who has an accident whilst riding her horse. They are both badly injured. She loses a leg and the horse almost dies. She learns to ride again but the horse seems to be ruined and beyond help. In one of the last scenes the Horse Whisperer brings the horse to its knees and then makes it lay down. He then makes the young girl stand on top of the horse. Sounds horrible doesn’t it? However it was for a purpose. It was to show the horse that he could still trust this girl, that he could let go of his fears and just be still and accepting. His fear in effect was ‘undone’. She spends only a minute standing on him and then she spends an age rubbing his legs, neck and body and the trust between them rebuilds. You could say that the horse was defeated and it would be true but in defeat both the horse and the girl were empowered and were richer and wiser for letting go of their fears together.

Saturday, 10 December 2011


I can’t believe that it is only two weeks until Christmas. Where has the time flown?

I have been busy with a new job and must confess to having neglected my tarot a little bit as time has been short. To make up for this I have decided to get to grips with my Thoth deck by enrolling on Emma Sunerton-Burls 'Initial Thoth Tarot Training' course. 

The course which can be found here http://www.tarot-training.co.uk/ has come very highly recommended and I am really looking forward to starting it in January. I have had this classic deck for some time but have yet to work with it in more detail.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, 7 August 2011


Death is card number 13 of the major Arcana and it is one that many people, often those new to the tarot, dread seeing come up in a reading. Death is arguably one of the biggest taboos of the Western world and is a topic that is often avoided. This death card (from the Tarot of Trees) would seem to echo this dark message. A tree lies forlornly on the ground having been felled. It is a dire image and can cause much initial sadness.

However, Death does not necessarily, or even usually, indicate physical death. In fact, in general, it is considered irresponsible for readers to predict physical death, as we are all creatures with free will, and such things are not written in stone. This card simply indicates transformation and change. This is definitely a time of deep transformation, likely to be both inner and outwardly in your life. Situations, things, and people that you have counted on or gotten used to may no longer be available to you in quite the same way as they once were, and this transition can be difficult for some people.

The more accepting you can be of change of all sorts during this time, and the less you try to "control" the better and the more comfortable this time will be for you. Often what you need to "let go of" is some sort of self-limiting belief or attitude. Sometimes we just can't see how our attitudes are hurting us, and when that is true, this time period can be a wake-up call. The energy of this time is not just change or destruction; it is change or destruction followed by renewal. Even though one door may have closed, another is opening. Will you have the courage to step through?

"What is death to a tree? A permanent change. Although the tree may no longer be growing outside, its wood is made into other objects that live on. Its existence altered, but not undone."

Monday, 1 August 2011

The Moon

The Moon indicates that things may seem somewhat confusing to you now. You may find it hard to understand where you are coming from, much less what others are thinking and feeling! You need to try to sit with the uncertainty, don't try to force things or people to do things before they are ready. This card is the "Pisces" of the tarot deck. You are definitely in a more psychic and intuitive phase than usual, so it will be important for you to trust your instincts and your impressions, even if you don't know where they are coming from. Also, not that you need to be mistrusting, but it will be helpful for you to realize that when this card appears, it's possible that all is not what it seems. If you feel you can't trust someone, then you probably can't. Go with your gut. If you are waiting on an answer from someone, it may, unfortunately, take longer than you would like for it to. Try to stay patient.

Monday, 25 July 2011

The Hermit

The Hermit (IX) is the ninth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks.

For me this is a card about stepping back from things and having some quiet time to myself to reflect and think. I often escape in to my garden to do this as I find it soothes and calms me. We have planted lots of trees since we moved here and I enjoy going around the garden 'greeting' each one and checking how it is. So often in this rat race we forget to take time out for ourselves, so caught up in the daily grind. The Hermit reminds us of the need for solitude and introspection. Time to be mindful of our inner selves and to step back from the chaos that can be modern life. 

It does however come with the warning that withdrawal may be for too long and be too complete. Once The Hermit has found solitude and had the time to reflect then he/she typically returns to share their knowledge with others.

The original vinyl album cover of Led Zeppelins hit album Led Zeppelin IV (as well as the liner notes for the CD release) contains a painted picture of the Hermit standing on top of a mountain peak looking down on a small village. The Hermit was the favorite Tarot character of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Todays tarot card is the Five of Cups

I have just bought the Radiant Rider Waite tarot deck and was shuffling it when this card caught my eye.

It is a bleak card at first glance. A figure gazes morosely at three spilled cups, his/her posture is hunched and defeated. He/she has their back to the two upright cups and is ignoring the bridge over the river.

There is however a positive message in this card and one that I have taken to heart. It is time to stop crying and being preoccupied with past wrongs (the spilled milk) and turn my focus on to what I still have (the two full cups and the bridge across the river). I can still get where I want to go but the path is a different one to how I had envisioned. This is a card that says stop dwelling on things you can’t change and concentrate on the things you can. Learn to let go of the things which aren’t making a positive contribution to your life, forgive and move on. Live life – that new beginning is just around the corner!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Sorceress

My tarot card for today is The Sorceress from Lisa Hunts Fairy Tale Tarot.

The Lady in the card is of the Lake Llyn y Van Vach who’s story is to be found in the Welsh tale ‘The Lake Maiden’. After the lady returned to her lake her sons often wandered about the lake and its vicinity, hoping that their mother might be permitted to visit the face of the earth once more, as they had been apprised of her mysterious origin, her first appearance to their father, and the untoward circumstances which so unhappily deprived them of her maternal care.

In one of their rambles, at a place near Dôl Howel, at the Mountain Gate, still called "Llidiad y Meddygon," The Physicians' Gate, the mother appeared suddenly, and accosted her eldest son, whose name was Rhiwallon, and told him that his mission on earth was to be a benefactor to mankind by relieving them from pain and misery, through healing all manner of their diseases; for which purpose she furnished him with a bag full of medical prescriptions and instructions for the preservation of health. That by strict attention thereto he and his family would become for many generations the most skilful physicians in the country. Then, promising to meet him when her counsel was most needed, she vanished. But on several occasions she met her sons near the banks of the lake, and once she even accompanied them on their return home as far as a place still called "Pant-y-Meddygon," The dingle of the Physicians, where she pointed out to them the various plants and herbs which grew in the dingle, and revealed to them their medicinal qualities or virtues; and the knowledge she imparted to them, together with their unrivalled skill, soon caused them to attain such celebrity that none ever possessed before them. And in order that their knowledge should not be lost, they wisely committed the same to writing, for the benefit of mankind throughout all ages. Her sons became the Physicians of Myddfai. The Physicians of Myddfai left a strong legacy, the most important being their manuscripts. Today we can look back at their teachings and remedies and apply modern science to start understand their herbal prescriptions and importantly establish the relevance of these in modern day Medicine, both Herbal and Orthodox.  

The sorceress can help you to become more connected with the rhythm of the cosmos. She is the female principle and reflects lunar mysteries. With her assistance we can start acquiring awareness if the greater forces that are at work in our lives.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Pulling the Covers Over My Head Spread

I have recently come across this spread by Glass Owl in the e booklet 'Personal Growth Spreads' from Aeceltic Tarot. I have found it to be a powerful spread which certainly makes you sit up and take notice! 

I like it so much that I intend to offer it on my website at www.beneaththeoak.org.uk


1 - The sleepyhead: You, in your current state

2 - A good reason for staying in bed: This is the problem you don’t want to deal with or the reason why you are feeling down
3 - A good reason for getting out of bed: This is your motivation for getting out of bed and facing the day
4 - The chicken noodle soup or cup of coffee: This is what will nourish your soul or help lift your spirits

What do you think?

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Tree Angel Oracle Card for the day - Cherry

We must practice loving ourselves unconditionally. Dispose of your fear of being judged or condemned. You don’t need to prove anything, do anything or be the best at anything. Your soul has always been perfect and it is the birthright of every being to be happy with just being.

Do not judge yourself
By your achievements
You have nothing to prove
You are already loveable
So love yourself, spoil yourself
Draw the nectar from the chalice to your lips!
Bliss is the birthright of all creation

Friday, 24 June 2011

Beneath the Oak signature spread

Introducing the Beneath the Oak signature spread

              3                   5
              2                                    6


1. Issue
2. Conscious
3. Unconscious
4. What to keep hold of
5. What to let go of
6. Direction to take

This is my signature spread of six tarot cards which gives a comprehensive view of your question and thoroughly explores the energies surrounding you at this time. Why not book yours today at www.beneaththeoak.org.uk?

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Its a kind of magic

Many clients ask me how the tarot works, usually after a reading when they are pleasantly shocked at the accuracy of it. My honest answer is that I don't know. There are many theories of course but to me its a kind of magic.

A case in point was a client who recently returned to me for a further three card reading. I laid the cards and two were the same as they had been in her first reading. The cards had not been listened to and here they were again to reiterate their message. The client advised me that she had not wanted to accept the message from the cards as to let go of a damaging relationship was still painful to her. With the cards coming up again she felt more confident in feeling strong enough to make the break that was best for her.

How does this work? The same two cards in two separate readings despite extensive shuffling of the deck? A kind of magic indeed and it will never cease to amaze me how accurate (and persistent!) the cards are.

Monday, 20 June 2011

How much information should you give a tarot reader?

This is something I have been pondering in recent times. I do not believe that the Tarot can predict the future. Humans are such dynamic creatures that one decision can change the life path and thus the future. I do believe that the tarot can thoroughly explore the issues surrounding a querent and assist them to make informed and considered decisions.

Many tarot readers pride themselves on asking just for a name and a question. Sometimes they may also ask for a birth date. Querents also tend to expect only to give this very basic information. It’s as if the tarot reader needs to ‘prove’ their fortune telling ability (assumed or otherwise) by having as little information about the querent as possible. I am asking myself now how helpful this really is.

Can you imagine going for therapy and just giving your name and birth date? Or going to a solicitor, doctor or citizens advice bureau etc and just giving this small amount of information? It wouldn’t work and it is my belief that it hampers tarot readings when the reader does not have more information. If a querent wants to get the most out of a reading then at the very least I believe that a summary of their situation is helpful to the reader. This enables the reader and querent to work closer together and more in depth.

Come and join the debate at http://www.tabi.org.uk/forum/index.php or post a comment here! I would be very interested to hear what others have to say about this. 

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Lines and Squares

 I came across this old favourite today and it really made me smile. How wonderful is the imagination of a child? Does anyone else remember avoiding the lines when walking on the pavement?

Lines and Squares by A A Milne

Whenever I walk in a London street,
I'm ever so careful to watch my feet;
And I keep in the squares,
And the masses of bears,
Who wait at the corners all ready to eat
The sillies who tread on the lines of the street
Go back to their lairs,
And I say to them, "Bears,
Just look how I'm walking in all the squares!"

And the little bears growl to each other, "He's mine,
As soon as he's silly and steps on a line."
And some of the bigger bears try to pretend
That they came round the corner to look for a friend;
And they try to pretend that nobody cares
Whether you walk on the lines or squares.
But only the sillies believe their talk;
It's ever so portant how you walk.
And it's ever so jolly to call out, "Bears,
Just watch me walking in all the squares!"

Fairy Tales and Tarot

One of my favourite decks is Lisa Hunts Fairy Tale tarot. I remember well my compendiums of fairy stories from when I was a child. I loved the rich illustrations that enabled my imagination to run wild alongside the words.

I am writing an article at the moment for inclusion in to TABI’s (Tarot Association of the British Isles) magazine regarding how Fairy Tales can inform and empower tarot readings. I hope that readers will find the subject as fascinating as I do!

Friday, 17 June 2011


My Tree Oracle Card for the day is Oak. This is a stunning card that I can really enter in to. The colours are the muted greens and browns of the depth of the forest. In the branches we see the head of the green man with his proud antlers beckoning you to come forward. His smile is enigmatic and mysterious. 

The message of the Oak card is:

The source of the life force
Nourishes your deepest roots
With vitality, will and power
Make the world your own!
But soft, hear the secret of success
Care for those in need
Bring tenderness where emptiness once ruled.

Oak brings us confidence and strength in body and mind. We can fight if we need to and also protect those whom we love. With the blessing of Oak we can do this with great integrity. Without the blessing of oak we are help hostage by fear, lethargy and exhaustion. If we are totally cut off from Oak, darkness and depression ensue: lies and betrayal follow.

Thursday, 16 June 2011


This is the first time I have used this deck and the card I pulled was Rowan.

Habit threatens
Social masks and routines paralyse
The River Dries up.
Listen! Do you hear the call?
Follow your inspiration
And day by day you will
Step in to the flow of creation.

I have a Rowan tree in my garden. I saw it on eBay years ago and when it arrived I did not think it would survive. I potted it up and took care of it. It is now over 6ft tall and thrives at the bottom of my garden. I always smile when I see it, my little waif tree.

I love the message of this card and it fits how I feel at the moment perfectly.

New Tree Angel Oracle

Its raining here thankfully - the garden was getting rather desperate and I know the farmers will be glad of it. So am sitting in my little office and the postman has just delivered the Tree Angel Oracle.

It consists of 36 illustrated cards, with written guidance, in book form, to accompany the cards. Each card depicts a particular species of tree. From a look through of the cards they are truly beautiful. The colours are vibrant and the images are powerful. I will look forward to getting to know this deck! 

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Hermit and 'standing in stone'

The tarot card I drew for today is The Hermit from my Tarot of Trees deck.

The card can appear at first to be very stark. The tree stands alone in a barren landscape. But to be alone is not the same as being lonely. This card reminds me of the need to step back inside myself and reflect on what it happening in my life. It reminds me to take time out to sort through my thoughts, feelings and emotions. The Hermit is a card that often comes out in a reading for me and I am not usually surprised to see it. It shows me that however confused things may seem that there is always a way forwards as signified by the lantern hanging from the tree. This enables us to value the wisdom of solitude when needed and to achieve ‘illumination’ regarding our situation.

So if you feel the need for some time alone, don't be afraid to take it. This could be anything from a quiet half hour in your garden or local park to a more significant stepping back for a period of time. You should find that having stood still for a while you will emerge refreshed and rejuvenated. A friend once referred to it as ‘standing in stone’ and I think this describes it perfectly. How about you?

The trees have faces!

One thing I love to do as I walk in the forest is to look for faces!

Some trees are just so full of faces and characters, with every expression you could ever hope to imagine. And not just faces but whole body forms, be it human or animal or sometimes even both!

Next time you walk among the trees see how many faces you can see. Children particularly love this game and will often win as their imaginations are not constrained by adulthood.

Happy spotting!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The night I saw a Dryad

I saw a Dryad once. That may seem quite an outrageous statement but it is true. It may be worth noting that I have been an engineer all my adult life and so have been trained to see only the ‘rational’, ‘explainable’ and ‘logical’.

Whilst on a working one night by an Oak tree I looked up and there she was looking at us loftily from the top of the trunk. She was not spiteful or threatening but she looked like one of those women who would meet with 'girlie' friends and say “Can you believe what she was wearing?!” Not contemptuous but direct and to the point. She was amazing and totally unfazed by our presence there. Its so hard to explain if you hadn't seen her.

I wish I could put in to words how I felt after this. I remember walking away from the working down the hill. Looking behind this oak tree was lit up from root to tip and yet no other light shone on nearby trees nor were there roads of houses anywhere nearby.

Of course after the event I tried to convince myself that I had imagined it, that llights must have been shining from a distant road or house. Yet I cant explain her no matter how hard I try. I know she was real.

It was an encounter I will never  forget for the rest of my life.

The Magic of Trees

I have loved trees since I can first remember. I grew up in Cambridge and we would often go and visit ‘The Gogs’ and Cherry Hinton Hall. The trees fascinated me and I well remember tracing my fingers over the bark wondering what they would say if only knew how to listen. I am now lucky enough to live near Weald park in Essex and there are some truly amazing trees there. My favourite is a stately old ok which was once struck by lightning. The trunk is almost hollow where it burned and yet the tree flourishes. You can stand inside it and just feel the power it emanates.

I have many tarot decks (yes, you could call it an addiction!) but if I had to pick one deck to take to a desert island it would be my Tarot of Trees. For those who love lots of symbols and detailed layers this may not be the deck for them. Its colours are simple as are the card designs themselves. Yet whenever I look at the cards they convey a profound message and some of my best readings are done with this deck. It is certainly the simplest deck I own and yet it speaks to me in a way that I have not encountered with any other deck.

I used to think “If only trees could talk” but now I am a little wiser I think “If only we could stop and listen to what they have to say”.

A new beginning

Just when I think I have got the hang of all this technical stuff I find I am wrong. This is my first blog post in the whole world ever!

Tarot reading is a passion of mine which is why I started Beneath the Oak (www.beneaththeoak.org.uk). As well as reading for other people I use the tarot as a self development tool and a very effective one it is too!

I will be posting my musings on tarot and life here as often as I can think of something to say! I hope that you enjoy my blog and thank you for visiting :-)