For a very long time, I was against having too many decks. I figured that two/three working decks were more than enough for day-to -day practices and would allow a greater focus on understanding each deck, instead of just jumping around from one deck to another. However, this started to change a few years ago, when I bought my first deck mainly because I enjoyed the artwork. It was the Sakki-Sakki Tarot, a cute and playful take on the Rider-Waite Smith deck. There was something special about that deck. The cards were playful; the deck reeked of good vibes and well, even though I would take it and stare at it for hours, I just couldn’t bring myself to use it. It felt special. Way too special to be used in “common” readings and, God forbid!! on others. In fact, if I’ve used it 10 times, it was way too much. This deck taught me that some decks are not for day-to-day situations. Rather, they are to be appreciated and used only when the time is right. Or in a special occasion.
As the years went by, I ended up adding a few more decks to the group of “For Special Occasions Only”. Decks which I felt had such a personal vision or a special perspective. Decks that truly felt magickal in one way or another. And, in time, I learned to use those decks. Some of them, like the Tarot of the Crone, I have already mentioned in previous texts; others, like Emily Carding’s Tarot of the Siddhe, I’m mentioning here for the first time.
You see, there is a special game I do twice a year. Once in July, the Nativity Board, and once at Christmas, the Christmas Advent Board.
It’s concept is pretty simple and derives from the Card-for-a-Day concept: Starting at the beginning of the month in question, you build a board with as many cards as there are days to the actual events: in this case, 27 for the Nativity board and 25 for Christmas (and yes, I’m actually counting the actual day of the event). These cards are randomly picked from the deck and randomly placed on the table. Every morning, you turn a card at random from the board. This is your Card for this Day. Your Special Card. The objective here, is not to make a prediction. Rather, it is to take the card as a guide and try to do your best to do something that not only lives to your reading of the card, but also feels truly special. In short, this is your cue to a very unique and special day. An opportunity to make this day a special event as catalyzed by a reading from a deck you consider in someway special.
This year, I went with the Tarot of the Siddhe.
At the time of this writing, four days had passed, which means that four cards have already been turned. Day 1, Dreamer Five: Winter’s Bite (fifth card, fourth tier); Day 2, Dancer Eight: Escaping Stagnation (third card, fourth tier; Day 3, Dreamer Queen: The Gift of Reason (second tier); Day 4, Dreamer Six, Insight’s Voyage (third tier).
As an example of what this Board can entice, here is today’s card:
The two main elements which immediately struck my attention are the boat and the Siddhe who is blowing some air, in order to make the boat go forth. Her hand stands below the boat, as if to give it protection. There is an owl carved in the boat (maybe symbolizing wisdom) and a sword on the sail. We’re in reason’s domain here as air propels the vessel of knowledge to go forth. The card is colored blue and yellow (also colors pertaining to the elements of water and air). So maybe a beach of some kind. The sun seems to be setting, as it’s at almost the same level as the boat. And then there’s the title, “Insight’s Voyage”, which made me think of gaining inner knowledge. So, for the special day… a voyage to be had, probably starting or ending at the beach, which is meant to give a deeper understanding of something. Psychogeography, a technique for shamanically finding meaning in urban landscapes immediately came to mind. I would then start at the beach, near a statue of a man at the helm, conveniently placed near the see here in my hometown of Oporto:
The walk would then proceed randomly, letting fate or chance (or the winds of the card), carry me to my destination. I would turn when I was told to turn, eventually do tasks (there was a part in the walk where I had to throw a stick into a lake in order to see where next to go) and generally let the city slowly show me what I needed to know in its own time.
I passed through many of its landmarks connected, in some way or another, with freedom. There would be statues celebrating victories against invading armies and ancient prisons known for having, among others, people who dared to think for themselves. I ended up passing through streets with names like “Praça da Liberdade” (Liberty Square) or the the remaining defensive walls. And at every other turn, there would be a fountain or a lake or a view of the river. Water was always present, always reminding me of being fluid. Freedom and Fluidity. That sure seems like Swords to me.
In the end, I took the message to be something like “don’t get constrained either by what others expect of you or by your own sense of identity. Let yourself flow, like a river to the sea or, as I walked, like the sea into the river. Remaining true to yourself doesn’t mean stagnation but rather the ability to honor your essence at every single opportunity”
And that, my friends, is the Christmas Advent Tarot Board.