TemperanceA Great Blue Heron spends much of the summer cruising up and down the little creek that runs through our property. Sometimes it stops for a meal of small brook trout that spawn in a deeper pool upstream. I often see this serene bird perched along the banks in the motionless pose which it takes at quiet times of the day. It seems to be staring into the void, contemplating what treasures it might bring back, to bless the earth.

The Great Blue Heron graces the Temperance card in the Nature Spirit Tarot. This card speaks of learning to flow with the great stream of cosmic energy that is present behind all manifestation. It symbolizes the process of tempering the forces of personal will, and blending our polar aspects of masculine and feminine to reach a more balanced state. Through astute personal reflection, and striving to attune to the higher cosmic energies, we give ourselves the opportunity to discover inner treasures, and to release our gifts into the world.

The Cowslip and the Common Reed appear on the Temperance card. Fluorite crystals speckle the landscape. The auspicious goldfish also adds to the mystery. All of these elements are described in detail in the book that accompanies the deck.

As I traveled a difficult personal journey this year, I decided to hang a framed print of the Temperance card in my room. This magnificent bird, along with its special message, serves as a vigil. It stands nearby, reminding me to release all of the feelings of distress and anxiety into the waters of tranquility, to quiet my personal will, and to rest in the beauty and healing that exist within.

The Sun

Here in the northern hemisphere where I live, we The Sunare at the height of the summer season. It seems like a good time to talk about the Sun card in the Nature Spirit Tarot.

Like the Sun card in many decks, sunflowers play an important role. I couldn’t imagine a nature deck without these magnificent flowers, and so I, too, have included it in the imagery. Perhaps this is because the enormous blooms of the Sunflower resemble the full sun. Or, it could be because they are heliotropic, which means they turn to face the sun throughout the day. Symbolic meanings for this well-loved flower include seeking the light, illumination, and awakening to new horizons.

The bird on the Sun card is the Golden Eagle. I came upon this account of an ancient myth about the eagle. Its origin was not cited, but I liked it, and decided to share it. It is just one of the countless myths that surround the eagle, a bird which has inspired humanity throughout time.

In this ancient myth, when the eagle reached an advanced age, it was ready to pass from this world. Then it would fly high into the sky until it reached the sun. Now the eagle would fly into the sun, and merge with the solar flames. Finally, it would plunge back to earth and dive deeply into open water, emerging restored and renewed to the fullness of life. Perhaps myths such as this one explain why eagles are symbols of the sun and immortality.

The Sun card represents expansion and regeneration, and the awakening of the soul to full illumination.

Daffodils and Pentacles

7 of PentaclesThe daffodils were so radiant this spring, I decided to write about them, and talk a bit about the suit of pentacles in the Nature Spirit Tarot.

The glorious yellow blooms of the daffodil have inspired many poets and seers. The daffodil began its relationship with people long ago. There are accounts from the 16th century of avid gardeners collecting its wild ancestors and transforming them into the varieties we know today.

I have noticed quite a few reviews of the Nature Spirit Tarot mentioning the yellow flowers in the suit of pentacles. Some identify them as lilies, or other mistaken identities, and some just say yellow flowers. They are daffodils. I envisioned the daffodil flower as the representative of the pentacle from the very inception of the deck.

10 of PentaclesThe daffodil emerges from its bulb, which is deeply rooted in the ground. Plants that grow from bulbs have a close relationship to the energies of the earth, the element represented by the suit of pentacles. The bulbs are dormant for much of the year, and then burst into bloom in spring when the sun returns and nature awakens after a long rest. The daffodil is a robust, vibrant plant that represents sunshine, renewal, and the arrival of new possibilities.

When the pentacles show up in your readings, it is a reminder to observe the nature of your earthly experience. The events in your life reflect the energies you put into the world. I hope the daffodils, and the messages in the suit of pentacles, inspire you to walk through life with a loving and giving heart. As well, through a deeper understanding of their messages, you just may be blessed with positive changes in the world around you.

The Nature Spirit Tarot Takes Third Place

American Tarot Association Top Tarot Decks of 2015
Finest Reflections Reader’s Choice Award
The Nature Spirit Tarot – Winner of Third Place

The American Tarot Association held a competition this December for the best decks of 2015. From a large number of decks, tarot fans were asked to vote for their favorite.

The votes were cast and counted, and The Nature Spirit Tarot won third place! Since the deck only became available on the internet in September, and my advertising expenditure was a meager $50, winning third place was truly an amazing event.

Please accept my sincere thanks to all of you who voted for the deck. I am moved by how many of you have embraced the Nature Spirit Tarot, and are finding it special and meaningful enough to be considered your favorite. Each time I write, I like to share some card images. I chose these three cards because they express how honored and thrilled I feel to have your support.

The 3 of Cups is a card about celebration. It expresses the pleasure of sharing with others, acknowledging accomplished goals, and honoring the people who are always helping along the way.

The 4 of Wands acknowledges fruitful creativity, and the bringing of our vision into manifestation through dedication to the work. Thank you cards WEB 1

The 7 of Pentacles speaks of harvesting the fruits of our efforts. Parts of the task have been difficult and demanding, and now it is time to take a refreshing pause and reflect on our accomplishments.

Thank you for sharing in the journey of this deck, for making it a part of your life, and for helping me to send it out into the world.

The Star

“The Star emerges from the waters of life, shimmering, exquisite, Violet's Startranscendental, and full of hope. It bathes us in rays of deep mystery and higher wisdom. The Star invites us to cast our intentions into the watery depths and bring to the surface new guidance and restorative powers. The illumination surrounding the Star is a place of nakedness and innocence, where we present ourselves openly and connect with the radiating light within us. The Star is our guide to meditation, inner blessings, and rebirth, slipping us into the waters of serenity by encouraging the mastery of a quiet mind.”
from The Nature Spirit Tarot

The paragraph above is taken from the book which accompanies the deck. Additional information about the Star card includes descriptions and symbolic meanings of the White Tern and the White-topped Pitcher Plant, also featured in the card.

At this time of year, when the world pauses to contemplate the nature of giving  and sharing, studying this card might be a meaningful exercise. The Star expresses the Seed of Oneness within. It reminds us of the importance of making time to express and share our deepest treasures, which include understanding, caring, and good will.

This lovely image of the Star card, which also includes the 10 of Cups from the deck, is one of a series of photographs created by Violet Aura. The theme of this photograph is white birds. Her beautiful work is posted on Instagram. You can also visit her website at www.violetaura.com to learn more about her work. I am grateful for the interest and enthusiasm she has expressed in my Nature Spirit Tarot.

Tarot for Winter

The Hermit
Winter is nearly at hand in the northwest corner of the United States where I live. At this time of year I often begin to feel like a hermit. I don’t know about the rest of you, but Winter is my time for creative inspiration. The season compels me to move inward, effortlessly tapping into the natural flow that exists within each of us. This only happens, though, if we stop long enough to allow it to be.

The Hermit, who has withdrawn from the world, follows the inner teachings. The HermitHere is our luminary, who always seeks greater wisdom and remains true to a higher calling. This solitary figure lights the path for others to follow, and is always available as an inner guide.

As Winter approaches, nature gives us an abundant opportunity to experience what our physical senses perceive as death. We see the leaves change color and fall from the trees, leaving them barren and seemingly lifeless. All of the living world around us seems to be dying, as the mighty sun leaves us in the cold, long shadows.

But, we know better. Nature is gathering her resources for the long rest, after Deathwhich the world will burst forth with new growth and vitality. Death is integral to the experience of transformation. It is our challenge to see Death as a process, in which things fall away, making room for life to transform into a renewal which is filled with new opportunities.

This lovely arrangement of framed prints of the Hermit card and the Death card from the Nature Spirit Tarot was created by a wonderful friend. She encouraged my work with this tarot project from its earliest days, and has more “Jean Herzel art” in her house than any of my other supporters. I am very grateful for her kindness, warmth, and wonderful friendship. Thank you for letting me share this inspiring niche from your beautiful home.

The Aces

The Aces represent the foundational energy of each suit. Since they are the first number in each suit, they represent new and fresh beginnings. The Aces begin our path of development through the particular aspects represented by each of the four suits. They contain the seeds of our potential, which will unfold into realization as we progress through the Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles.

Ace of Cups

The Ace of Cups is the receptacle for our emotional aspect. It is a card of the heart, and speaks of peace, harmony, and most importantly, Universal Love.

The Ace of Wands is the card of inspiration. It represents the moment when we open the door to spiritual development through conscious thought, and by tapping into our inner spark of knowing. Creativity emerges throughout the Wands.

The Ace of Swords invites us to step out of life’s illusions, and heralds in experiences which are penetrating and direct. Here we are plunged into deeper concentration and focus, and confronted with the awakening of our individuality.

Ace of Wands

The Ace of Pentacles represents a new opportunity in our physical, earthly experience. Positive and exciting developments are now possible. Here we begin the lessons that teach us a great deal about manifesting higher goals in all of our worldly endeavors.

The Aces are our first glimpse into the deeper meanings represented by the four suits. These seeds of potential are the building blocks upon which all future experience will unfold. So, when we encounter one of the four Aces, remember, we are coming face to face with an invitation to develop emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual maturity. What a lovely opportunity!

The Chariot

The ChariotI find the Chariot to be such an interesting card. It always gives me pause when I come upon it while working with my deck. Here are some thoughts from my personal understanding about its depth of meaning.

The Chariot is the archetype which embodies our earthly manifestation—the experience of life in matter with its cycles of renewal and decline. Life in form is a life in flux.

The Chariot brings our attention to the many forces at play in our lives. Through the eyes of the Charioteer, we survey our karmic situation, our emotional state, our physical abilities, and our spiritual development. From this perspective, we have the opportunity to understand the influence these aspects have upon our experiences. Above all, the Charioteer recognizes our connection with infinite Universal forces. Here is the moment to open to the deeper realms within ourselves.

The Charioteer is the Soul, and controls the Chariot, which depicts our life in physical form. This is why reins are not required to control the vehicle. The Chariot is directed by the will, which is the master of mind. This is the call of the warrior, a call which compels us to recognize the unseen forces guiding us from the depths of our true Self.

The Chariot reminds us to reflect and turn inward for our direction. If we do so, who knows what great adventures and new revelations will appear. A richer, more complete experience may be at hand as we recognize all of these influences within our life’s journey.

The imagery on the card includes the Belted Kingfisher,  the American Alligator, the White Cypress Vine, and the Gladiolus. More detailed information about their symbolism, and other aspects of the Chariot, are available in the book that accompanies the deck.

The Show Was Well Received

My thanks to all who attended the Nature Spirit Tarot Art Show at the Old Church in Hope. A wonderful group of folks attended and expressed interest and enthusiasm. The weather was extremely hot, and surely those of you who ventured out are lovers of both art and the nature spirits. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing with all of you, and conversing about the creation of the Nature Spirit Tarot. I also learned much from your experiences. Your impressions of my deck, created entirely from elements found in the natural world, delighted me.

Tarot Art at the Old Church

The Tarot Art Show in June at the Old Church

Framed prints of the 22 major arcana adorned the walls of the Old Church in Hope, illuminating the spaces between the stained glass windows. An additional eight framed prints represented the four suits of the minor arcana. Large tables held box sets of the tarot cards and book, and one was open which allowed people to see and experiment with it. Other books and note cards were available as well. The many diverse elements of the show came together beautifully, nourished by the lovely energy of the Old Church.

On both days, CJ Rose was busy with readings in a quiet corner in a separate room. Many people were old friends and clients of hers and remembered her work from an earlier period in her life. Everyone commented that they found the readings to be enthusiastic, positive, and insightful. We were very fortunate to have CJ with us for the show.

I will keep you posted about future Nature Spirit Tarot art shows. In the meantime, I will continue to spread the word about the deck’s completion and its availability. In my next entry, I will discuss some interesting details about certain individual cards.

Thank you for visiting today.

Nature Spirit Tarot Art Show

The Nature Spirit Tarot is now available.

I am having an art show to celebrate the arrival of the Nature Spirit Tarot. After eight years in creation and working through the arduous development process, the deck and book are now available to everyone. If you have an interest in tarot and love nature, the Nature Spirit Tarot will appeal to you.

The Nature Spirit cards in the deck are over-sized, 4″ X 7″, to better enjoy the details of the artwork. The accompanying book interprets the meanings of the cards through the symbolism of nature. Thirty of the prints, created from the original artwork, will be on display at the open house throughout the weekend. The prints are the size of the original paintings, 6 3/4″ X 12 3/4″, and they are framed 11″ X 17″. All the images in the deck are available for sale as fine art prints.

The Old Church in HopePlease come and join us at The Old Church in Hope. I will be there all weekend to share insights and thoughts, and I am looking forward to hearing yours. Everyone is welcome, old friends and new!