Greetings to whoever may still be following this badly neglected blog—along with my apologies for not having attended to it in several years!
As my day job is such that I can do most of my work from home during this COVID crisis, I had hoped that not having the daily commute would free up some time for writing, but it has not worked out that way. Unfortunately, also, I haven’t been able to hold my monthly Tarot Magic Adventures sessions at The Triple Goddess, as it would not be possible to maintain social distancing.
Because we are on the verge of a new year, I want to demonstrate how The Dollhouse Oracle can be used to foretell the quality of the year ahead, by sharing some insights into a reading I did for myself on New Year’s Day of 2020. Normally, I don’t bore people with the details of my personal life, but the 2020 reading was significant because it made associations with what was happening in my life in relation to larger society and the effects of the COVID pandemic, (especially since one of the cards that came up was the Death card).
But first to explain the technique: the Dollhouse Oracle is a technique that I invented, and it uses a pop-up cardboard dollhouse to serve as a layout for a tarot spread: you insert tarot cards into different rooms, and then consider the traditional meanings and graphic associations of the cards in relation to the symbolism of the rooms of a house, which serve as metaphors for different areas of one’s life. You can pose a question like, “Please show me what’s going on in the house of my life,” or “what will be going on” if you want to peek into the future, or “what was going on” if you want to contemplate the past. (To learn more about how to do a Dollhouse reading, refer to my online Llewellyn article at https://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/2044, or google the words “Dollhouse Oracle” to find your way to the article; also, refer to my posts for May 29, 2012 and June 9, 2013.)
So, when it occurred to me that you can use this technique for a New Year’s reading, I requested that the cards show me what would be going on in the “House of 2020.” (Also, I was using the Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert, which is an alternative deck that uses what might be described as old hippie lifestyle images, and uses elements like Fire and Water for the suits, instead of Wands and Cups.) Some of the cards that came up in association with different rooms were more striking than others, and some became more significant in light of the pandemic.
I drew the Death card for the upper hallway, and I use the hallway to signify one’s ability to get around in life, and how smoothly one can move between the different compartments of one’s life. When I pulled this card, I was necessarily concerned because I do have some elderly relatives with health problems—though of course, the Death card generally doesn’t mean someone’s physical death, but the end of some matter or way of living. Fortunately, I haven’t lost any relatives, and in retrospect, I relate the Death card to COVID itself, which has affected the way that all of us are able to get around. Even if we and our loved ones haven’t suffered the disease itself, we are still prevented from doing certain things and going places, and are having to make major lifestyle adjustments. Indeed, in the Gaian deck, this card is illustrated with an old, derelict boat, which is decaying alongside the shore—so nobody’s getting around in that. In more traditional tarot decks, the Death card features the Grim Reaper, and one can see COVID itself as a specter that roams the land, just as the Grim Reaper does in medieval paintings and woodcuts.
Another card that made more sense in the light of COVID came up for the kitchen, where I got “The Gardener,” (usually called The Empress). This card features an illustration of an Earth-mother figure surrounded by fruits and vegetables, and I initially thought it made a statement about the need for good nutrition. However, I must confess that I did get in on the panic shopping, and stocked up so well that I am still eating my way through my survival pantry. (I did buy a good deal of vegetable oil and pre-cooked bacon, because I figured that if I were reduced to eating the dandelion greens in my yard, I at least wanted to make a tasty salad of them.)
In the dining room, I got the “Elder of Water,” which would be the King of Cups in a regular deck. I couldn’t figure out what this denoted, until I realized I’m doing my most of my work from home by sitting with my laptop at my dining room table, and the Elder/King thus represents the authority of my good-guy boss, who is a Pisces, and who authorized me to do most of my work from home.
For the bedroom, I got the Nine of Fire, which corresponds to the Nine of Wands. Normally, this could denote multiple choices of projects and enterprises, (so not something one associates with bedrooms). However, the Gaian deck illustrates this card with a man whose chakras are lit up as he sits in meditation, and in fact, because I have a revived interest in altered states of consciousness, I take a daily break for meditation in my bedroom (on those days when I’m working from home).
In the bathroom, which deals with bodily concerns and issues around purification, I drew the Seven of Water, in which illustration a man is surrounded by a number of fancy blue vessels, and is chug-a-lugging the contents of one of them. I believe this points to a chronic sinus condition that I have, but didn’t give much thought to until my place of employment started requiring me to do daily health checks before letting me through the door. In an attempt at healing, I have been using neti pots, supplements, and other home remedies—though I haven’t been the best at sticking to a good regimen. It is concerning, because it’s a pre-existing condition that could make for a bad outcome if I got sick.
Of course, not everything in my reading can be related to COVID. I’m happy to say that in the nursery, which can represent one’s future hopes, I got the “Ten of Earth.” This is the Ten of Pentacles in a regular deck, and is often illustrated with an intergenerational family group, and can designate traditions and other values that are passed down through families. In the Gaian deck, it shows a man following a forest path, so the imagery isn’t too remarkable, but the card itself is significant in view of the fact that this year my first grandchild was born, so there is indeed a new generation, and new values and traditions to be passed down. (I spent my summer vacation helping with the new arrival.)
That leaves two other rooms. In the front entryway, I got the Ace of Water, which can denote new emotional experiences; as the entryway does signify how we open ourselves up to new things, there is some resonance between the meaning of the room and the meaning of the card—plus dealing with a pandemic and having a grandchild are new emotional experiences. The other card was the Two of Fire (Wands) for the living room, which is about lifestyle and life choices. I don’t have any especially relevant insights about that one.
I could say much more about the interrelation of symbolism between the rooms and the cards, and how these things have been manifesting in my life, (and also in our public life, in the way that tarot readings have a holographic quality). However, those are the highlights, and give you an idea of how insightful this technique can be.
2020 isn’t over yet, so I continue to be mindful of what the cards may be trying to say to me. It will be interesting to see what comes up for the House of 2021.