WRITTEN BY: Diana McMahon-Collis
The very consultant and writer for the booklet to Tattoo Tarot: Ink & Intuition – Diana McMahon Collis is taking us on a journey to explore the Tattoo Tarot Deck in great detail.
On this occasion the Tattoo Tarot card I have chosen blindly (ie face down, from the shuffled, fanned-out deck) is XVII The Star, from the Major Arcana. For anyone who doesn’t know, the term ‘arcana’ has roots in the Latin term arcanus, relating to that which is hidden or secret. Arcana is defined specifically, in the concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology as ‘mysterious secrets’, and, in modern parlance, these terms are related to the word ‘arcane’. The same reference book mentions it is partly formed from ‘arca’, meaning chest and related to an obsolete use of ‘ark’, meaning chest or coffer. I love the way that Tarot has this unique, added layer, to normal ‘playing cards’, through the Major Arcana and that they encompass hidden away, special, secret information. To me, when a message comes through from the Major Arcana, it is saying something about that which the universe has in store, or which we have an opportunity to understand about ourselves orour situation – maybe including others around us – at a greater depth.
The Star shows eight stars in total, seven smaller ones and one large one. In the Tattoo tarot one of the smaller stars sits above the head of the kneeling naked woman (whose points of modesty are covered via a swirly ribbon), almost like a crown or halo, giving the ideas of dignity and spirituality. Here we see a two or maybe even three-dimensional self, with an added quality of being connected to the greater forces of the Universe through the larger star to her right – also behind her.
For me, this card is a reminder to ‘look up’ – literally to the sky and the stars – noticing the sources linked to our weather systems, knowing we are part of a larger whole. In psychological terms, taking into account how the brain works, it is thought that raising the human gaze upwards helps to lift the spirits. That may be no bad thing at these gradually darkening times of year, when many people are affected by seasonal changes.
The stars can be viewed as a guiding light, for many of us. As someone who was always fascinated by the existence of astrology as a serious subject, studied closely by the Greeks and used as a system for understanding and guidance then and since, I feel the stars (and their meanings) offer understanding and hope. They shine a light in dark corners and can help us to see a bigger picture – if we are willing to look at life in that way.
Some of the booklet meanings I included for this card, when creating the booklet content, are: Hope, bright promise, faith, recovery, light of the spirit and a new dawn coming. These are very positive meanings and I find them uplifting words and phrases to focus on – feeling glad that this is the card I have picked, particularly at a time when a challenging situation has made me question what I have believed about and hoped for, in certain situations. There is one slightly less positive phrase, too: frustrated expectations. Less positive, yes, but also extremely enlightening. I remember, when I first looked into the subjects of anxiety and depression – because someone I cared about was suffering with these, apparently related, conditions – I read about them as outcomes, related to the gap between a person’s expectations and reality. That might sound simple and yet, through the years, I have noticed that levels of psychological pain – in myself and others – can so often be identified as the result of that gap. I know that, for myself, when I have become accustomed to believing that I will get Y result from X situation, person or pattern, if that doesn’t happen, I can get confused, upset, angry and deflated. And yet, life is seldom that simple! It does not always move us in straight lines. Are hopes the same as expectations? Maybe, maybe not. But I know that when my expectations have not been met and my hopes feel dashed, a card like the tarot’s Star reminds me that there is also hope for something else. Maybe what I believe ‘should’ have been the outcome that I got, will turn out to be less desirable, once presented with another, even better one! Finally, when I felt alone and sad in dealing with a frustrating and difficult situation recently. I heard a tap on the skylight window above my desk. I looked up and saw a beautiful dove, pecking at the droplets of water from the falling rain. It immediately reminded me of my sadly departed mother, who had strong beliefs around birds as omens (and who bought me my first book on tarot!) With the anniversary of her birth not far away, in that moment, I felt as though her presence was nearby. Whether or not anyone reading this believes in the existence of departed spirits in other forms, I was reminded, personally, of how my mother and I would sit and chat, putting the world to rights, especially on rainy days, or times when either of us felt a bit down. I felt as though she was reminding me of the light in life and the bright promise that things can be better – often quite quickly and in unexpected, almost magical ways. Not long after, a very good friend called me, and our cheery conversation made me feel so much more positive about so many things. Perhaps the light of these women’s spirits touched the light of mine, and ignited my own, inner light again – I like to think so.
The Tattoo Tarot: Ink and Intuition set, with its colour booklet, is available direct from the publisher, LKP at £14.99: https://www.laurenceking.com/product/tattoo-tarot/ To see plenty more images from the deck, and read about tarot myths, good uses of tarot and how to treat a new deck, you may also like to read the interview with Diana on LKP’s recent blog post on the Tattoo Tarot at https://www.laurenceking.com/blog/2018/08/20/top-deck/
Diana McMahon Collis has worked with tarot and astrology for more than thirty years, as a way of helping people connect more deeply and move forward in life; she offers deeply insightful readings with a practical focus, bookable via Email or Skype at: http://mindbliss.co.uk She also works as a professional writer in the Mind, Body, Spirit field; recent projects include consultancy and booklet writing for the newly launching Tattoo Tarot: Ink and Intuition set (Laurence King Publishing), and project management of the Book of Music Horoscopes (Flare Publications), which also includes her essay on David Bowie and Iggy Pop’s friendship (more details on her Author page at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07FK8896B). At The Mountain Astrologer she writes a bi-monthly lunation column on the New and Full Moons and eclipses, and, for The Astrological Journal, has written on subjects as diverse as music star Prince, ABBA’s Agnetha Faltskog, and the activity of the brain in divination. At https://Jerichowriters.com she works as an editor and author mentor, assisting other authors on their publishing path and, at http://celestialspot.blogspot.com/, posts reviews of tarot decks, astrology books and articles on celestial and symbolic themes. She can be emailed via (diana@) mindbliss.co.uk.