A rune set I painted on tumblestones
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I signed up for this May Day blog hop weeks ago, and then promptly forgot all about it. Suddenly, it’s the end of April and the post is due. Eek, what was the topic?
Oh yeah: “Do you combine Tarot with any other divination system? Why or why not?”
Well, that’s a big fat “Yes, cos it’s fun!” see you on the next hop…
In the beginning…
My first introduction to divination was in the form of coffee grounds and pendulums. My mum taught me to read them as a child. She also had tarot cards: three packs – RWS, Marseille and a Chinese Tarot – which was pretty impressive in the late 70’s! However, for some reason she didn’t want to share those with a sticky-fingered little girl 😉
In my teens, my best friend had a tarot deck, and we used to do readings together with that, but didn’t mix anything in.
Ralph Blum’s rune cards. He doesn’t know/honour the futhark order, but his was the first book and rune set I worked with, and these cards are gorgeous. Beware, there are two sets of cards with his name, the others are also lovely, done in pencil. These are mixed media, and my favourites.
Fast forward to when I was reintroduced to these things, while training as a yoga teacher after I’d just turned thirty. My best friend read the cards, tarot and angel, and I used pendulums and started reading runes, so as not to step on her toes. A few years later, I left Spain and decided to start reading tarot myself, no longer having her there to add their wisdom. And I soon started drawing tarot cards with runes.
I guess what I’m saying is, all these things were always divination to me, and I never really saw them as separate. Exploring life and reality through pictures and symbols, it kind of doesn’t matter which tools you use. Obviously, different systems have a different feel to them, but the reasons for using them are the same, to my mind.
For this post, I decided to return to my roots and draw a tarot card and a rune together to answer the question: “What is the best thing about combining different systems?”
The answer, drawn from my ‘deck du jour’, the Triple Goddess Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2017), and my homemade runes is perfect. Berkana and the Eight of Swords: creativity and growth come from feeling your way beyond a rigid system or set of ideas!
In 2006, I started reading professionally. And right from the get-go, I combined different systems.
I worked for a while on a tarot phone line. Yeah, there’s plenty of stories I could tell, but not today. What’s relevant here, is that I got into the habit of drawing an angel or other oracle card to round off readings. It’s a lovely way to sum up what’s been going on and end on an upbeat note.
Back then, I used a lot of Doreen Virtue’s early decks, but my favourite Angel deck since it came out has been the Angel Insight Pack
(Duncan Baird, 2008), now sold as the Guardian Angel Oracle (2012)
. I love it even more after having met Chrissie Astell, the author, at the London Tarot Festival
last year. She is an inspiring speaker, and very genuine.
I also sometimes used other oracles that had a similar upbeat feel, like Cheryl Richardson’s decks. They are not specifically angelic, but they are definitely love and light 😉
So, when I started my first website, I put angel card readings on the menu right away. I also offered Goddess card readings, my favourites being the Goddess Oracle
(U.S. Games, 2006). And, harking back to my phone line experience, I would often draw some kind of oracle card even when someone just ordered a straight up tarot reading.
In 2007, I bought my first Lenormand deck. While I didn’t start combining them with Tarot straight away, once I was comfortable with the system, the idea appealed to me. And when Kim Arnold approached me to speak at the UK Tarot Conference
in October 2013, it seemed the obvious choice of topic for a workshop.
TLC was a perfect moniker: Tarot and Lenormand Combined! If the subject interests you, this link will take you to all the blogs I wrote on the topic
! Using Lenormand cards in Tarot spreads, Tarot cards in Lenormand spreads, creating spreads that combine the two in a single throw, and reading tarot cards in Lenormand houses and vice versa, there’s a bit of everything to be found.
Here’s a combo spread: Theme at the bottom (Tarot), then Don’t and Do (Tarot), followed by practical implementation (Lenormand line of five), and Spiritual Insight at the top (Tarot). I had to pull out my favourite Tarot/Lenormand combo – the DruidCraft Tarot
(Connections, 2004) and my own baby, the Celtic Lenormand
(U.S. Games, 2014) 😀
The Theme is balance, so don’t walk away from emotional commitments. Instead, carve out some sacred space for yourself even within the bustle of the everyday. At a practical level, being adventurous with the messages you communicate is key to a healthy sense of energy. This is reinforced by the Knight of Swords: sometimes it’s important to charge in where angels fear to tread. Overall, there’s a sense of finding and speaking your truth, so that you can make space to honour yourself without deserting others.
The Why Of It
The I Ching Tarot, though it’s not a tarot
Part of the why I love different systems, and combine them, is that I love variety. I’ve said it before, and will say it again, I’m a double Gemini. There’s rarely such a thing as too much variety in my world, though my Capricorn moon does keep me emotionally stable 🙂
Of course, there are loads of different tarot decks: traditional, themed, pips only, fully-illustrated, and everything in between. And there are a great number of themes that bring room for experimentation and learning, such as the Crystal Tarot or the Herbal Tarot or the Babylonian Tarot. If you want to learn about some subject, there’s likely to be a tarot deck to help you on your way.
Still, there is also something wonderful about oracles, both traditional and modern. The different ways of divining – rocks, and twigs, and coins, and cards; faeries, and angels, and animals, and colours, and crystals, and runes, and astrology; more pictographic systems like Lenormand, and Kipper and Gypsy Fortune cards. And these different perspectives and approaches add a variety of ways of looking at the world, different nuances or emphases, alternative ways for your neural pathways to fire.
And yes, I could read them separately. Still, it’s like having a conversation with a group of friends, each one adding their perspective, their sense of humour, their wisdom. Sometimes I want a quiet chat with a buddy, and sometimes it’s beautiful to have a chorus of different voices chiming in.
So, I mix and match. Let’s go see what other folks do…