Tuesday, May 29, 2012

For June: The House of Your Life

Time flies, and coming up this Sunday, June 3rd, is my next tarot magic workshop at Triple Goddess.  The special activity for June is the Dollhouse Oracle.  By inserting tarot cards into the rooms of the pop-up dollhouses which I will be bringing along, you can see what’s going on in “the house of your life,” as so many metaphors for being are expressed in terms of living spaces and architectural features.  (For an article on the Dollhouse Oracle, go to http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/2044, or click on the link in the articles list in the left-hand column.)

We will also be doing the Tarot Round Robin, as I have decided to make this a monthly thing.  (For an explanation of this technique, refer to the post for March 26th.)  The Round Robin allows us to “crowd source to Spirit” by bringing our collective powers to bear on each individual in turn, and it also allows us to familiarize ourselves with a greater variety of tarot decks and other types of oracle decks.  Because we discuss the different cards for each Person’s reading, we also become more engaged with the cards, as well as with each other.

Going back to the idea of the house as metaphor of life: whether or not you’ll be doing a dollhouse reading, it’s interesting to think about domestic and architectural imagery in tarot readings in general.  The tarot decks in my collection actually have little in the way of domestic interior scenes or illustrations of architectural features—though the original Rider-Waite-Smith deck actually seems to have the most, (though more of them exteriors).  Since this is a theme that has not been over-worked, for anyone thinking of designing a new tarot or oracle deck, there’s no reason one couldn’t work in more architectural and domestic material symbolism.

Here are a few examples from card decks that do feature some household scenes:

-- In Ciro Marchetti’s “Legacy of the Divine Tarot,” the 10 of Cups portrays a dog and cat cuddled by the hearth-fire.  This card can hold special meaning for those of us with pet-centric households.

-- The “4” cards, being concerned with material foundations, can denote issues around house and home, so Martin Cannon’s and Ellen Cannon Reed’s “Witches Tarot” features a picture of two children running across the fenced grounds of a stately manor for its 4 of Pentacles.  This imagery recalls both the RWS 6 of Cups and 10 of Pentacles, and is less negative and judgmental than some other artists’ portrayals of the 4 of Pentacles.

-- Although Joanna Powell Colbert’s “Gaian Tarot” favors outdoor nature scenes, the 3 of Earth portrays women making herbal preparations in the kitchen, and The Emperor features a man carving a decorative post for his home.  Also, the 4 of Air features a bird’s nest with four eggs.  This catches some of the tension inherent in the 4 of Swords, because a nest is ephemeral and exposed to the elements, yet it is also a secure and cozy structure.

Collette Baron-Reid’s “The Enchanted Map” oracle has a card labeled “Home,” which is an exquisite illustration of a magically organic dwelling.


  1. For any readers in the Greater Lansing area (or beyond)Janina's visits to Triple Goddess are a high point in my month. Always lots of fun and lots to learn. The Dollhouse brings out the kid in me and has given me a few "Aha!" moments. So has the Round Robin. Janina's amazing knowledge of mythic folklore and Tarot is always a treat for me, and she is a warm and welcoming hostess. See you then, Janina! - Christine A.

  2. Thanks so much, Christine, for the kind comments! Hopefully this weekend we'll have some more ahas on the symbolism of the house!

  3. I *love* the idea of the dollhouse oracle! I don't have anything I could use for a dollhouse, but I thought I might take the rooms of my own house as inspiration, perhaps laying out a photo of every room and then placing a card on each photo. Thank you so much for this idea!

    - DancingOwl

  4. Hi Dancing Owl! Glad you like the idea of working with house symbolism. At the end of the Dollhouse Oracle article, [http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/2044], there is also a 10-card “House of Life” layout/spread that is done without a dollhouse, or without reference to any particular house.

    I think it’s a great idea you have, of taking pictures of your rooms and laying the cards on top. Of course, I’m sure you’ve also realized you can turn that into a tarot spell: Choose cards that represent things you’d like to materialize in different areas of your life, and then place them over the pictures of rooms with the appropriate metaphorical associations. For example, you could place the Three of Wands over a picture of your front door or entry way to denote that you are open to engaging in a creative exchange with the outside world, or The Star over your bedroom for spiritually inspired dreaming.