hello, hello, it's time for your tarot

suzi feay

Mystic Suzi says: divination ain't what it used to be. Remember the moment in old horror films when some beldame takes out her Tarot pack and turns up The Lovers (aaah!), the Devil (wooo!) then the Death card (aargh!) whereupon everybody starts muttering and crossing themselves? Aficionados have for years been saying smugly: "It means change, you know, it doesn't mean death - necessarily," but now all methods of divination have been blanded to the point of extinction. Even the really sinister occult packs like the Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot now come with accompanying feel-good affirmations so that you don't blub into your herbal tea.

Adam Fronteras has redesigned the classic Rider-Waite Tarot in a rather sweet little card 'n' book edition for Carlton. The tone is upbeat - in his introduction he observes that Crowley's Tarot painter, Lady Frieda Harris, was wife of a Liberal Chief Whip at the time of her collaboration with the Great Beast - and his explications have sweetened the original glosses by occultist Arthur Waite. Take the aforementioned card XV, the Devil. Waite: "Ravage, violence, vehements, extraordinary efforts, force, fatality ..." Fronteras: "The Devil card indicates that the person should be very careful in the future. He or she is being materialistic and may be excessively under the influence of others ..." XVIII, The Moon. Waite: Hidden enemies, danger, calumny, darkness, terror, deception, occult forces, error ..." Fronteras: "This card often comes up when someone is thinking of writing a book or taking up art as a full-time occupation ... It is a card about intuition, thoughts, and emotions." I can't see the point of looking into the future only to be told: "Hey! You're a fundmentally great person, y'know!"

The Eye of Horus: An Oracle of Ancient Egypt (Piatkus) comes with 25 "handcrafted stone tablets" carved with crude hieroglyphics, plus a little turquoise bag to cast them in. Here I get my first demonstration of true occult power: some mystic force has transferred each image right through to the reverse side of the stone! I shut my eyes, and have a go.

Crumbs, it's Osiris, who, you remember, was murdered and chopped up into small pieces, which were then painstakingly retrieved and reassembled by his consort Isis. Not an especially auspicious omen, you might think, but you'd be wrong. "This is a time of renewal and continuing life," I read. "The stone of Osiris augurs a time of fertility. Life is rich with opportunities, personal growth is available to you ... at this moment, you are particularly open to success." Any lingering doubts are dispelled by the accompanying affirmations: "My life gets better all the time. My body radiates life force, energy and vitality." This is chortlesome stuff, yet at least its creator David Lawson seems to know his Egyptology, guiding us past such obscure figures as Khonsu, Maat and Hapy.

I'm not sure how much useful information you could glean about the Druids from The Druid Animal Oracle. I thought that nobody knew much about what the Druids believed, but Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm assure the reader that "the knowledge of animal powers has by no means been lost - it has simply been neglected and forgotten ..." Their oracle is based on "the myths and stories, the folk customs and sayings, the stone circles and sacred sites, the Bardic remains and historical references ... pieced together and united with common sense and intuition". So they haven't just made it all up then. For all that, they seem curiously modest about their oracular powers. "An Oracle cannot predict a future event," they warn. "We should use [the animal oracle] to discover not what will happen in the future, but what influences or tendencies might exist in our lives..." Well, I suppose the next time you eat a bag of Skittles the first five colours you shake into your hand might represent your life's influences and tendences, with purple, perhaps, as the Sudden Death Skittle.

I can't help wondering why a couple based in Lewes refer to autumn as "the fall", and glean so much of their Druidic lore from the traditions of the Native Americans. Still, Bill Worthington's 33 mystic animals are so beautifully drawn - a wren nesting in a sacred oak, a salmon leaping for a hazelnut - that it's disappointing to draw a card bearing the image of a Sow, even if she does represent abundance, generosity and the love of the Goddess. I think I'll stick to the Skittles.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Midsummer swimwear season is well and truly upon us – but diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    BC2

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

    SAP Data Migration Consultant

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

    Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

    £300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

    Linux Systems Administrator

    £33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice