Excerpt from “To Weave a Spell”

Yena’s song stopped abruptly as Katora pulled the last strand from her fingers, and the sudden silence was followed by a loud shriek.

Katora grabbed her knife and crept around the edge of the rock. Two men approached Yena, who stood, one sandal clutched to her breast.

“Ah, a plump beauty, eh, Oneks?” The tallest one wiped his hands on his dusty loincloth as he advanced toward Yena. “What are you doing out here alone, pretty one?’

“She’s not alone.” Oneks kicked Katora’s basket, spilling its contents to the ground. “Two baskets — two women — one for each. Jangwu rewards us after a long hunt, Tekah.”

“Well, this one’s mine.” He grabbed Yena’s arm and pulled her toward him, knocking her sandals to the dirt. “When the other one gets back you can have her first.” Yena’s face went white as he ripped her blouse and pushed her in the dirt.

“You leave her alone!” Katora jumped from behind the rock and slashed at Tekah with her knife. Blood began to ooze from a long shallow cut on his shoulder and upper arm. He leaped away from Yena and turned to face his attacker. Katora moved back, keeping both men in front of her.

“You skinny little witch.” Tekah pulled his own knife and took a step toward her. “Watch the other one.”

Oneks grabbed Yena and twisted her arms behind her. “Don’t kill her yet.”

“I’m just going to cut her a little. Teach her her place. She’ll still be plenty lively for you.” He took another step and slashed at Katora, who jumped back and to one side.

“I know we shouldn’t have come so far.” Yena’s voice was thick with tears.

“Come, little stick-weed, come to me.” Tekah began to circle around her.

“Hurry up,” called Oneks. “Don’t play with her. “I’ll do that after you get the knife away.” He laughed.

Katora dashed in and out, slicing the inside of Tekah’s thigh. He staggered an instant, then continued his advance. “The more you cut me, the more I’ll cut you.” He grinned, flashing white teeth in his brown face, then lunged toward her. She took a step to the side and caught her foot on the edge of her long skirt. She tripped and her knife flew out of her hands.

“Wait till the Voynzi find out about this.” Yena yelled.

“Oh, Jangwu take the Voynzi.” Tekah placed one heavy foot on Katora’s skirt. She tugged at it, then turned her head away from the sour smell of his breath as he bent toward her. “Should I cut you now or later? Maybe a little now, eh?” His knife pricked the skin of her cheek. “And a lot more later?”

If I hadn’t been wearing that Jangwu-cursed skirt! Katora clawed at the offending garment. It would be easier to fight naked, than with….

A shrill hum pierced the afternoon air. Katora looked up to see a black void floating about six feet above the ground. Tekah gasped and backed away from her.

“Men should be careful of how they speak of Nyote’s priestesses.” Wanti’s quiet voice issued from the blackness. “And they should be very careful of how they treat those who are under our care.”

Tekah blanched and dropped his knife. “Oh, Voyni, we didn’t mean. . .”

“Of course you did. Men are creatures of Jangwu and can’t help themselves.” Her voice rose in pitch. “Now are you going to go about your business, or do I have to come there in person?” She began to sing.

“We’re leaving, Voyni.” Oneks had released Yena “Come on, Tekah.”

“I’m coming.” Tekah glanced at the disk, then bent and scooped up his knife. He scowled, then stalked away.

“Praise Nyote.” Yena bowed in the direction of Wanti’s voice.

“Praise She Who Watches Over all Life,” added Katora. And may She Choose me to be Hers so I’ll be able to defend myself with magic as well as with material weapons.

“Well, girls,” Wanti’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “Don’t you think it’s time you returned to camp?”

“Yes, Voyni. Just let me repair Yena’s blouse and gather our things, and we’ll start back.”

“Nyori wants to see you when you get back, Katorathe.” The black disk that marked Wanti’s presence dwindled and disappeared.

This is a work-in-progress, but close to being done.

What Does the Bible Say About Foreigners in Our Land?

Here are just a few quotes:

You must not wrong a foreigner nor oppress him, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.
Exodus 22:21, NETBible

You must not oppress a foreigner, since you know the life of a foreigner, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.
Exodus 23:9, NETBible

When a foreigner resides with you in your land, you must not oppress him. The foreigner who resides with you must be to you like a native citizen among you; so you must love him as yourself, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God
Leviticus 19: 33-34, NETBible

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who is unbiased and takes no bribe, who justly treats the orphan and widow, and who loves resident foreigners, giving them food and clothing. So you must love the resident foreigner because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 10:17-19, NETBible

Stop oppressing foreigners who live in your land, children who have lost their fathers, and women who have lost their husbands. Stop killing innocent people in this land. Stop paying allegiance to other gods. That will only bring about your ruin.
Jeremiah 7:6, NETBible

The Lord says, “Do what is just and right. Deliver those who have been robbed from those who oppress them. Do not exploit or mistreat foreigners who live in your land, children who have no fathers, or widows. Do not kill innocent people in this land.”
Jeremiah 22:3, NETBible

NETBible.org

Open my Heart, Open my Spirit

Dear Heavenly Father, Giver of all life and all abundance,

Please…
Open my eyes to the beauty of the world around me. Let me rejoice every day in what You have given us.
Open my heart to those in need and show me the ways in which I can help.
Open my mind to your holy whispers so i know the path You want me to take.
Open my spirit to Your boundless love and help me become a living example of that love.

My Daily Bible Study - The Books I use

For my daily Bible study, I read two Bibles and two commentaries, in this order:

  • The Devotional Bible, Experiencing the Heart of Jesus, Max Lucaco, General Editor. Translation: New Century Version
  • Eerdmans Handbook to the Bible, David Alexander and Pat Alexander, Editors
  • Nelson’s New King James Version Study Bible, Second Edition
  • New Bible Commentary G. Wenham and J.A. Motyer, Editors

The Devotional Bible is divided into chunks of one or more chapters each, with a short devotional message attached to each chunk. The devotionals are, for the most part, useful and uplifting, but sometimes I question what they have to do with the specific Bible passage.

I’ve been using The Devotional Bible’s daily readings as a guide for my own studies, reading the same passage in both Bibles and the associated comments in the other two books. I like to read The Devotional Bible first because the translation is in plain English and easy to understand. However, it does a lot of paraphrasing and misses out on some of the nuances that are found in more literal translations, like the NKJV.

I only have these particular commentaries because they’re what I had easy access to, so if you can recommend others, please do so.

Nelson\'s NKJV Study Bible

The Idea Tarot Spread

The Idea Spread is to be used when you’re trying to think of new ways to handle a situation, and nothing so far seems quite right. The point is not for the Tarot to tell you what to do, but to get your mind thinking in new directions (or perhaps, to point out that some of the ideas you’ve already had are better than you realized.)


3  4       5  6
      1  2

  • 1 and 2 are the idea.
  • 3 and 4 are how the idea could be carried out.
  • 5 and 6 are what could happen if you do carry it out.

I put two cards in each position because I thought it would give more information, without being overwhelming. You can, of course, add more cards if necessary.

You can lay out two or more ideas from the same deck shuffle, or you could return the cards to the deck and reshuffle for each individual idea.

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The Tarot Empress in the Whimsical and Fairytale Decks

In the Whimsical Tarot, the Empress is the Old Women in the Shoe. The card shows her sitting on the steps of her house, a baby in her lap. There are children playing beside her and looking out the windows. Flowers are blooming and everyone looks happy and content.

Af first glance, this seems like a good choice for the Empress, who I see as a warm and loving women in rich and abundant surroundings. However, consider the entire nursery rhyme:

There was on old woman
Who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children,
She didn’t know what to do.

She gave them some broth
Without any bread,
Then whipped them all soundly
And sent them off to bed.

The part of about having a lot of children fits my image of the Empress as fruitful abundance. But the rest? She obviously doesn’t have much food, or she could give them more than broth—that’s not very abundant. And whipping them all (for apparently no reason) certainly isn’t very loving. So she doesn’t make such a good Empress after all.

The Fairytale Tarot uses Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother as the Empress. In the book for this deck, Karen Mahony points out “she is totally unlike the rather capricious and unpredictable fairies of many stories, but instead is a wholly good, kind, maternal and protective spirit who guards over Cinderella.” I never thought of her that way before, but now that I think about it, she does have a lot of Empress qualities.

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother appears as High Priestess In the Whimsical Tarot. In my post on this card I said that she sounds more like the Magician to me, because she gets things done. Now that I’ve thought about it a bit, she probably isn’t quite right for the Magician because he has an element of the Trickster in him, and Cinderella’s godmother certainly does not. But it’s still a better fit for her than the High Priestess. (She’s also assigned to the High Priestess in the Inner Child deck.)

Now consider this bit about the Empress on Aeclectic Tarot:: “The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born.”

This is a slightly new aspect of these three cards for me and I’ll have to let the idea gestate a while in order to integrate it into my previous thoughts. The Magician as spark and the Empress as actual creator makes sense, although up to now I’ve been thinking of the Magician as a creator as well. But I’m not sure about the High Priestess as the one who gives form to the idea—like I said, I’ll l have to think about it for a while.

However, this idea does fit the numbers of the cards: Magician is 1, High Priestess is 2, Empress is 3. In Choice Centered Tarot, Gail Fairfield says that three takes the energy of the one and the direction of the two and puts them together to get results. Which is another way of saying what the Aeclectic Tarot item said.

The Fairytale Tarot: For a Happy Ever After

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The Encourage Discourage Tarot Spread

I came up with this four card Tarot spread a few days ago while riding home from work on the bus. I haven’t used it yet, so if you do and it’s useful, please let me know.


          3      4
             2
             1
  • Card 1 is the present situation as it relates to your question or concern.
  • Card 2 is what could happen in the near future if things continue as they are.
  • Card 3 is what you can do to try to discourage the events in card 2, or what not to do if you want them to happen.
  • Card 4 is what to do to try and encourage the events in card 2, or what not to to if you want to discourage them.
Power Tarot : More Than 100 Spreads That Give Specific Answers to Your Most Important Question Designing Your Own Tarot Spreads (Special Topics in Tarot)
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The Whimsical Tarot High Priestess

In the Whimsical Tarot, the High Priestess is represented by Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. Now, to me, the High Priestess is connected with our subconsious, our intuition. She’s the other side of the Magician. While he is active, she is passive. While he reaches up to grasp ideas and manifest them into reality, she holds on to what she discovers in the world of the non-physical, and will only reveal what she knows if you approach her in the right way.

Toni Allen has this to say about the Tarot High Priestess: “She is the mystery of life, the great unknown. She symbolises in life all that we are unable to perceive. She sits in front of the veil to the portal to all answers to the universe. She represents the cause behind all actions and all creations. When we fall still during meditation we are able to go beyond the veil and find answers to our questions regarding life and its meaning. Thus we gain insight and understanding.”

Try as I might, I can’t see what Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother has to do with this. She seems more like the Magician to me. Not because she actually does magic, but because she makes things (Cinderella’s dress, her glass slippers) mainfest in the real world. She’s active, not passive. Even the picture on the card shows this: she has the same pose as the magician, one hand reaching up, the other down.

I thought maybe I had trouble seeing the connection because I’m a beginner and don’t really understand the High Priestess that well, but then I found this comment about the Whimsical High Priestess by Lee A. Bursten: “Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t find any suggestion of the traditional associations of the High Priestess, such as mystery, hidden secrets, the unknowable, intuition, learning, withdrawal or meditation, in this description. In the ‘Advice’ section for the card, Morrison does tell us to ‘Look for information that is hidden from view … listen to your intuition.’ But those things are not (or at least not to me) suggested by either the picture or in Morrison’s ‘Description’ section.”

What fairy-tale character would make a good Tarot High Priestess? I can’t name a spercific tale, but in many stories there is a mysterious Wise Women the Hero must approach for advice. She usually lives in a hard-to-reach, isolated place and the Hero must meet certain qualifications or pass certain tests before she is willing to give him the knowldege he seeks. I think this character would make a good High Prestess, both becuase of her access to secret knowledge and because in order to gain that knowledge you must follow her rules and not the rules of the world.

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Whimsical Tarot Magician: Puss ‘n Boots

On the Whimsical Tarot Magician card Puss ‘n Boots stands proudly, his right hand holding a sword above his head, his left pointing down. This is the usual pose for the Magician; it symbolizes the connection between the spirit and physical worlds and the ability to take ideas from the realm of the spirit and manifest them in the physical.

As is also usual for this card, there is a lemniscate above Puss’s head (The lemniscate is a sideways figure 8. It is a symbol of mathematical infinity which can also stand for the infinity of possibilities.) He is surrounded by symbols of the four suits of the Minor Arcana: wands, swords, cups and pentacles. According to Gail Fairfield in Choice Centered Tarot, this symbolizes the idea that the processes of the Minor Arcana are the tools the magician uses to move between fantasy and reality.

In the story of “Puss ‘n Boots” a miller dies, leaving only his cat to his youngest son. The cat, however, has ideas. Through a variety of tricks and stratagems, Puss brings the young man to the favorable attention of the King and the King’s daughter, and eventually gets him a fine castle and the hand of the Princess in marriage.

I think Puss makes an excellent Magician. For one thing, he gets things done. To me, one of the key aspects of the Magician is his abiilty to make something out of nothing; his ability to take his thoughts, fantasies and dreams and turn them into reality. In order to do this, he must master his surroundings and his own skills and talents. This means that the Magician also implies this mastery and, I think, a knowledge of just what your talents and skills are. If you don’t know what you’re good at, you might waste time trying to use skills you don’t have. (Puss first gains the King’s favor by catching rabbits and other game and giving them to the him. Capturing game is obviously a “catly” skill and one Puss was very good at, so it was wise to use this method.)

Puss also embodies another aspect of the Magician, that of the Trickster. Fairfield, says “The Magician, familiar with tricks of the trade, can discriminate between illusion and truth while the audience may not know the difference.” This is also true of Puss, who is the only one who really knows what’s going on as he manipulates both King and his master to the desired end (which is a positive conclusion for all concerned).

I think it’s important that Puss does not do supernatural magic, but accomplishes his self-appointed task by using his intelligence, cunning and creativity. This reminds us that the Magician’s power comes, not from some special ability only a few of us have, but from the effort of concentrated will and determination.

Choice Centered Relating and the Tarot

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Symbolism in the Tarot and Elsewhere - You’re Reading the Symbolism Archive

One of the things that makes the Tarot so interesting to me are the many symbols it uses and the understanding you can gain from the study and contemplation of these symbols.
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