Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Latin paene, almost + Latin umbra, shadow
1)  A partial shadow as in an eclipse, between regions of complete shadow & complete illumination
2)  An area in which something exists to a lesser or uncertain degree
3)  An outlying surrounding region; a periphery
4)  Something that covers, surrounds or obscures, e.g, a shroud.

Today the moon slides thru the earth's pale outer shadow, penumbra, resulting in a penumbral lunar eclipse.  Most outside of Hawaii or Alaska won't be able to see it.  If you get up in the middle of the night in Australia or Japan you might catch it.  Little chance in France to see the Moon's underpants, I mean 5 o'clock shadow. Wave goodbye to the last eclipse for 2012.

Australian boy setting up to capture eclipse

Penumbral Moon
UMBRAGE--offense, resentment, from the Latin umbra, shadow--things don't work mostly because they don't work the way we expect them to.  Here, the horizon leaks orange and red while the moon sits farther up, deaf and blind.  Like it or not, light and shade, piano keys, everywhere.  Below there's a town just waking up. --  Stephanie Marlis, from Fine 

Here it is.  Full and small with penumbra chasing it to the dawn.  Gauze in trees and over water shining.  Where you are; is it situated between the Plane trees or found fellowship amongst those lovely persimmons that you sent that wait for the hardest time in December?
The moon thinks then, it is lovely yellow, pink orange.
            Kim Mott, Idaho Poet, Artist, Dreamer

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, Jeff Sullivan, Bay Area

Petignac Steinway Fete, June 2012, Jurignac, France

Tonight's full moon is in Gemini, my intrepid sign.  So now I've got the full moon with a 5 o'clock shadow to boot. An astrologer friend told me last week that if I come to a "fork in the road", go towards the light! Yeah, when "things don't work mostly because they don't work the way we expect them to,"  go towards the light, or  did she say "right?" or perhaps, I could just lower my "expectations!" No, not an option.  I think it is a time for more transformation, to go beyond limitations.  The moon clarifies, never mind the shadow...

Tarot de St. Croix -back of card
When I was on the Italy Tarot Tour last month (see Facebook, Tarot Art & History Tour of Italy with Arnell Ando & Friends or visit for info. on past years tours and upcoming tours as well as for just about any wonderful thing that is tarot related, like imaginative decks and miniature tarot worlds) some of our merry band gave out single tarot cards as totems when we got a spark of inspiration or vision for one of our companions.  

I was particularly lucky because my roommate, Lisa de St. Croix from Santa Fe, New Mexico is making her own deck and was in the process of sketching & painting cards while we were traveling through Italy.  One of my strongest memories and images is of Lisa taken by the "muse". 

Lisa de St. Croix

7 of Cups - Tarot de St.Croix

Lisa gave me her 7 of Cups card, and I've had it sitting on my desk next to the 7 of Cups from the 15th c. Visconti-Sforza deck replica that I obtained in Milan from the Meneghello shop.  The VS deck is the oldest existing deck and gives us a glimpse into the nobiliary life of the two families, Visconti and Sforza.  The cards were commissioned by the Duke of Milan and Francesco Sforza.  I think one would have to admit to the power of symbols that have survived for centuries and still carry a potency and a trigger for the imagination.

Visconti-Sforza - 7 of Cups

Some tarotologists suggest the 7 of Cups with its watery flow of emotions doesn't go well with the theme of action that we often associate with sevens.  Waite called the cups "strange chalices of vision".  Others say the card represents self-delusion, wishful thinking, choice or temptation.

Here's what I believe the VS 7 of Cups may be indicating:  the chalices or goblets are closed in at the top. I think the emotions represented by the liquid in the chalices were guarded.  The noblemen, royalty of those times, trucked in secrets, intrigue--keeping things under wraps.  And certainly there was self-delusion, temptation and always and forever:  "choice".

I like what Lisa says about her card: "The Seven of Cups asks you how you can take your fantasties and dreams to the next level and make them real." I also like the way her cups are open with possibility, and the way she painted the tea leaves into the cups to represent her visions.  We can't really take action unless we allow ourselves to fantasize and dream of what is possible.  So what we would want to look at in a spread is what the cards around the 7 of Cups say.  Is there a call to action?  perhaps it is time to allow ourselves to "winter over" with our dreams, hibernating till Demeter comes calling in the spring.  Let us think about the "penumbra"--

1)  Is there a shadow obscuring our dreams?
2)  Where does our imagination exist in its most most heightened state?
3)  What lies on the periphery of our fantasy world?  Can we see it, taste it, touch it?
4)  What things are covering, surrounding or confusing our choices?

Lisa's dreams and fantasies came to pass in a waterfall of opportunities to travel & present her work in Portugal among other amazing adventures.  You can find Lisa de St. Croix on Facebook as well as on  her engaging, informative site:, sharing her Tarot de St. Croix deck in progress with artwork and paintings as well. 

And for all of you out there on this side of the world (by which I mean France), I'll be reading at the March de Noel at Manoir de Longeveau in Pillac on Sunday, December 2nd.  It is quite special and one of the largest fetes in the region.  There may be a 7 of Cups or Lovers card waiting for you (certainly some chalices of mulled wine!).  Dress warm, it might snow.  You'll find me in the "Christmas Cottage".

Warm inside

Manoir de Longeveau 2011

Cartomancy - Michail Alexandrowitsch Wrubel

"Inspiration sparks love and ignites enchantment"

Chandra Grahan Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

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