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When the Tarot Trumps All

JodorowskyThis is from the New York Times. I applaud any article on Tarot. Notably, I prefer the Marseilles Deck and also like to use the Spanish Deck and the Swiss Deck.

IF you were to peruse all the decks of tarot cards listed on the Aeclectic Tarot Web site, you might want, in poker parlance, to fold then and there.

There are nearly 1,300, starting from decks rooted in the late-Gothic and Renaissance eras, when the playing cards arrived on the scene with special cards, like the Lovers, for trumps. There are modern-day mystic-occult decks to suit every spiritual bent imaginable (Buddhist, Wiccan, Toltec, Cat People). There are decks with a less devotional approach: Stick Figure Tarot? Hello Kitty? Star Trek?

Then again, why stop at 1,300? Why no Contemporary Art deck, with Maurizio Cattelan as the Fool and Urs Fischer as Death? Why no Fashion tarot, with Anna Wintour as the Empress and Martin Margiela as the Hermit? Why no 21st-century tarot, in which the more irrelevant cards — Temperance, the Hierophant, the Chariot — could be updated to familiar faces like Bikram Yoga, the Psycho Ex and the iPad 3?

According to the art-film director Alejandro Jodorowsky, though, all deviations from the Tarot de Marseille are nothing but inglorious bastards.

“I’m a purist,” Mr. Jodorowsky said this month, standing at a display of tarot decks in a Greenwich Village bookstore, dismissing them one and all. He was in New York to be honored by the Museum of Modern Art, which was screening a retrospective of his films, including “El Topo” (1970) and “The Holy Mountain” (1973). But he was equally thrilled to talk about his abiding passion and hobby, the world of tarotica.

Mr. Jodorowsky, 82, certainly devotes as much time to it as he does to film these days. In Paris, where he has lived for the last 20 years, he lectures on the tarot and does readings for strangers once a week. And he vividly remembers how, at 20, he first saw an old (and, he said, naked) woman in his native Chile give a tarot reading, and was instantly intrigued. He soon moved to Paris, where he joined the mime company of Marcel Marceau and began traveling with him. It was in Tokyo, Mr. Jodorowsky said, that he first bought a tarot deck. This became a habit. Every place they went, he would figure out where and how to buy a new deck; before long, he had a vast collection.

A decade or so later, in the 1960s, when he was visiting an early hero, the Surrealist writer André Breton, he took along an obscure tarot deck as a gift, having heard that he was a fellow fan. But Breton had a trump card of his own.

“He told me that the only good tarot was the Tarot de Marseille,” Mr. Jodorowsky said.

And so, he started all over. He got rid of his collection and began obsessively studying the Tarot de Marseille, a historic tarot family with roots dating from the 16th century. Over time, he became something of a black belt, to mix dark-art metaphors. But he was always frustrated, he said, at not being able to find the perfect Tarot de Marseille deck.

Then, in the mid-1990s, he contacted the last descendant of the Camoin family, who had printed the Tarot de Marseille since the 19th century. Together, they worked for the greater part of a decade to piece together the ideal 78-card deck, filled with a wealth of arcane detail and with 11-color printing.

He never goes anywhere without it in his chest pocket. At least not without the so-called major arcana: the 22 cards most often identified with tarot, like the Lovers or Death. (The other 56 are, in essence, a deck of playing cards, with four face cards instead of three.) “The whole deck is a little much to travel with,” Mr. Jodorowsky said.

To him, the tarot is such a constant companion that it has become all-purpose: a point of reference, of reflection, of divination. He has put it into his films, he uses it to communicate in a nonliteral way, and it is a simple pastime to boot.

“The tarot is sacred,” he said, adding, “It’s all a game.”

In short, Mr. Jodorowsky’s philosophy of the tarot (about which he has written a book, “The Way of Tarot”) is flexible and even slippery. But it does appear that tarot can be everything and anything you want it to be. Maybe the tarot doesn’t need to learn from the iPhone. The iPhone needs to learn from the tarot.


Horoscope for 2012, Month of January 2012 and week of January 2, 2012

Kanye westRing a few bells for the end of 2011 and for the expectation of a great 2012. And why not? The planets to watch are lucky Jupiter and inspirational Neptune as they change signs mid year and provide fodder for our future happiness. Drama becomes dramady and revolutions revolve and evolve. Not a moment too soon.

(Kanye West has Jupiter in Gemini )

Never miss your horoscope again -- free sign up here. Here is my favorite book on astrology and a "must" for anyone interested in learning more: Secrets from a Stargazer's Notebook: Making Astrology Work for You and here's a guide to the best books available this month. This column is (c) 2011 THE STARRY EYE, LLC., All Rights Reserved. For Entertainment Purposes Only. Madam Lichtenstein is the author of the best selling astrology book “HerScopes ” now in its 8th printing and available as an eBook

Secrets and behind the scenes romances fill your world. It is all at once delightful and somewhat stressful. How will you keep track of all of this hidden stuff? The answer is that you won’t. But then again there are some things that just need to be revealed. Learn to go with the flow in 2012. Aries sparkle in a crowd. All the better to showcase your assets.

What is it that you really want from the new year? Perhaps connection? Get out of your shell and mix it up with some platonic pals. The upcoming months will become increasingly socia-Bull with you in the epicenter of the action. Of course that means greater responsibility to help plan the goings on and the costs associated with funding good times. Start to save now....

What is it that you want out of your career? Are you content to be where you are or do you have designs on the executive suite? There is nothing wrong with ambition. In fact, ambition is what can catapult you upward. It is time to focus on your ultimate corporate game plan. Making the right moves now will help you slide into a cushy retirement later, Gemini.

Any long distance travel has its crazy and dizzy adventures, so be prepared to take the circuitous route to wherever. But that is what makes life so exciting! Cancers are naturally friendly and now your schmoozability glides you into various inner sanctums and cadres. Power is yours. Heh heh. Have you ever thought about becoming a spy? Or is it a snoop...?

Leos will sizzle in their own juices through the year. You are not only especially sexy and alluring, you are also intense, passionate and acrobatic. Whoo hoo. Get on your trapeze and see how you can trap ‘em with ease. Admirers arrive and beat on your door. The secret to your amorous success is to be choosy, discrete and discerning. Uh oh.

Although the temptation is to kanoodle with a bevy of love possibilities, the planets suggest that you focus on one in particular. If you are currently ensconced in a relationship, do what you can to make it even better. If you are on the prowl, expand your field and focus your hunt. I hear there are some pretty big guns in town. Let’s see your arsenal

Resolve to be more productive in the new year. Libras can be very efficient at getting small tasks out of the way. Now look at the big picture by working on projects that have long term impact and benefits. This can be job related but it can also involve health and diet. If you are going to be a corporate rat on a treadmill you might as well consider it exercise.

How much fun can a Scorpio have without getting into mischief? Ah there is always a catch! Eat drink and be very merry and see how far your good looks, talents and creativity can get you. For some it will be to the top of the party list. For others it may be in creating a personal masterpiece. Whatever it is, do it with flair... or fake it with fog and mirrors.

Plan some long deferred home renovations and overall improvements. You need to get your ship in ship shape for the hordes of expected and unexpected friends and family who cruise through during the year. For those Sagittarians who prefer to lounge around the house in peace and quiet, forgetaboutit. There are too many lounge lizards raiding your refrigerator.

If you have an opinion or five be prepared to blurt it out and explain yourself. Some of your more inflammatory ideas gain ground and take root. Suddenly folks are listening to what you say and follow your lead. A political reformer is formed. What will you do with this new found influence? Will you use it for goodness or nastiness. Oh, Capricorn, let’s just guess.

As thrifty as you strive to be, there will be some expensive temptations tossed in your path this year. Will you be swayed to spend? Loosening up your money belt and showing your green may not be a bad thing on occasion, Aquarius. You only live once, as far as we know. Why live it on yesterday’s chopped meat when you can afford today’s sirloin?

For those Pisces who agitate best in the background, be warned that this year all of your assorted antics are on full display and in public view. Anything you do or say can turn up on the front pages.. or the gossip column. So fine tune your personal message, update your “look” and adhere to the rules of press and publicity. Then stand back world.




Lucky Numbers for the Week of December 30, 2011

Lottery ads tell us you only need a dollar and a dream. But it is also helpful to have a list of lucky numbers to help spur the good fortune ... or fortunes.

So with that in mind, here are some lucky numbers that can be used in any helpful way. I gazed into a pool of water, Nostradamus-like, and contemplated the cosmos. Then I mixed the tarot cards and allowed the spirits to guide me to the cards that represent the lucky numbers for this week. Nothing is guaranteed but who knows ....?

I choose eight numbers because 8 is the number of wealth.

Here are the lucky numbers for the week of December 30, 2011-January 5, 2012:

8, 9, 27, 30, 33, 47, 55, 79

There are many ways to delve into your own consciousness to find luck and intuition. Try reading Dream Power/Improve Your Luck (Super Strength Series) and see if your dreams give you any clues and premonitions. Here's a guide to the best books available this month

New Age Ways to Lose Weight

I saw this on Yahoo and thought that these are great new age ways to lose weight - see how aromas (think: aromatherapy) can help, color (color therapy) can help etc etc. Not a bad thing to know around these holiday times.


1. Sniff a banana, apple, or peppermint
You might feel silly, but it works. When Dr Alan R. Hirsch of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago tried this with 3,000 volunteers, he found that the more frequently people sniffed, the less hungry they were and the more weight they lost - an average of 30 lb each. One theory is that sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking you're actually eating it.

2. Hang a mirror opposite your seat at the table.

One study found that eating in front of mirrors slashed the amount people ate by nearly one-third. Seems having to look yourself in the eye reflects back some of your own inner standards and goals, and reminds you of why you're trying to lose weight in the first place.

3. Surround yourself with blue
There's a good reason you won't see many fast-food restaurants decorated in blue: Believe it or not, the color blue functions as an appetite suppressant. So serve up dinner on blue plates, dress in blue while you eat, and cover your table with a blue tablecloth. Conversely, avoid red, yellow, and orange in your dining areas. Studies find they encourage eating.

4. Shoot your food
Rather than writing down every morsel, take a picture of it, and file the photos on your phone or computer by date. A visual account of your consumption may help you curb your intake. "Snapping photos and then looking back at them can make people stop and think before indulging," nutritionist Joan Salge Blake says. It needn't be a big production: your cell phone will do. Think about it: there you are at the salad bar, making a plate of vegetables. Don't pat yourself on the back quite yet, though. A simple snapshot of your heaping dish may "show your extra helping of cheese or deep-fried croutons," Joan cautions. A visual reminder might be just enough to give you pause next time before you ladle on the blue cheese dressing. -- Joan is a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Find other healthy eating tips in her book, Nutrition & You.

5. Tie yourself up
You could try fitness guru Valerie Orsoni's "Le Petit Secret": "A number of French women wear a ribbon around their waist and underneath their clothes when they go out for dinner. It keeps them conscious of the tummy-particularly if the ribbon starts to feel tighter as the evening goes on!"

Eight of the World's Healthiest Spices

SpicesOriginally published on Yahoo by Kerri-Ann Jennings, here is a great article on how the use of some common everyday spices can help improve your health. This is very helpful as we start our new years resolutions for better health.

Modern science is beginning to uncover the ultimate power of spices and herbs, as weapons against illnesses from cancer to Alzheimer's disease. "We're now starting to see a scientific basis for why people have been using spices medicinally for thousands of years," says Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D., professor at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and author of Healing Spices: How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease.

Aggarwal notes that in his native India, where spices tend to be used by the handful, incidence of diet-related diseases like heart disease and cancer have long been low. But when Indians move away and adopt more Westernized eating patterns, their rates of those diseases rise. While researchers usually blame the meatier, fattier nature of Western diets, Aggarwal and other experts believe that herbs and spices-or more precisely, the lack of them-are also an important piece of the dietary puzzle. "When Indians eat more Westernized foods, they're getting much fewer spices than their traditional diet contains," he explains. "They lose the protection those spices are conveying."

While science has yet to show that any spice cures disease, there's compelling evidence that several may help manage some chronic conditions (though it's always smart to talk with your doctor). What's not to love? Here we've gathered eight of the healthiest spices and herbs enjoyed around the world.

Chile Peppers
May help: Boost metabolism.

Chile peppers add a much-appreciated heat to chilly-weather dishes, and they can also give a boost to your metabolism. Thank capsaicin, the compound that gives fresh chiles, and spices including cayenne and chipotle, their kick. Studies show that capsaicin can increase the body's metabolic rate (causing one to burn more calories) and may stimulate brain chemicals that help us feel less hungry. In fact, one study found that people ate 16 percent fewer calories at a meal if they'd sipped a hot-pepper-spiked tomato juice (vs. plain tomato juice) half an hour earlier. Recent research found that capsinoids, similar but gentler chemicals found in milder chile hybrids, have the same effects-so even tamer sweet paprika packs a healthy punch. Capsaicin may also lower risk of ulcers by boosting the ability of stomach cells to resist infection by ulcer-causing bacteria and help the heart by keeping "bad" LDL cholesterol from turning into a more lethal, artery-clogging form. 

May help: Soothe an upset stomach, fight arthritis pain.

Ginger has a well-deserved reputation for relieving an unsettled stomach. Studies show ginger extracts can help reduce nausea caused by morning sickness or following surgery or chemotherapy, though it's less effective for motion sickness. But ginger is also packed with inflammation-fighting compounds, such as gingerols, which some experts believe may hold promise in fighting some cancers and may reduce the aches of osteoarthritis and soothe sore muscles. In a recent study, people who took ginger capsules daily for 11 days reported 25 percent less muscle pain when they performed exercises designed to strain their muscles (compared with a similar group taking placebo capsules). Another study found that ginger-extract injections helped relieve osteoarthritis pain of the knee. 

May help: Stabilize blood sugar.

A few studies suggest that adding cinnamon to food-up to a teaspoon a day, usually given in capsule form-might help people with type 2 diabetes better control their blood sugar, by lowering post-meal blood-sugar spikes. Other studies suggest the effects are limited at best.

May help: Quell inflammation, inhibit tumors.

Turmeric, the goldenrod-colored spice, is used in India to help wounds heal (it's applied as a paste); it's also made into a tea to relieve colds and respiratory problems. Modern medicine confirms some solid-gold health benefits as well; most are associated with curcumin, a compound in turmeric that has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin has been shown to help relieve pain of arthritis, injuries and dental procedures; it's also being studied for its potential in managing heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. Researcher Bharat Aggarwal is bullish on curcumin's potential as a cancer treatment, particularly in colon, prostate and breast cancers; preliminary studies have found that curcumin can inhibit tumor cell growth and suppress enzymes that activate carcinogens.

May help: Lift your mood.

Saffron has long been used in traditional Persian medicine as a mood lifter, usually steeped into a medicinal tea or used to prepare rice. Research from Iran's Roozbeh Psychiatric Hospital at Tehran University of Medical Sciences has found that saffron may help to relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and depression. In one study, 75% of women with PMS who were given saffron capsules daily reported that their PMS symptoms (such as mood swings and depression) declined by at least half, compared with only 8 percent of women who didn't take saffron.

May help: Inhibit breast cancer-cell growth.

University of Missouri scientists found that this herb can actually inhibit breast cancer-cell growth, reported Holly Pevzner in the September/October 2011 issue of EatingWell Magazine. In the study, animals that were given apigenin, a compound abundant in parsley (and in celery), boosted their resistance to developing cancerous tumors. Experts recommend adding a couple pinches of minced fresh parsley to your dishes daily.

May help: Preserve memory, soothe sore throats.

Herbalists recommend sipping sage tea for upset stomachs and sore throats, a remedy supported by one study that found spraying sore throats with a sage solution gave effective pain relief. And preliminary research suggests the herb may improve some symptoms of early Alzheimer's disease by preventing a key enzyme from destroying acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in memory and learning. In another study, college students who took sage extracts in capsule form performed significantly better on memory tests, and their moods improved. 

May help: Enhance mental focus, fight foodborne bacteria.

One recent study found that people performed better on memory and alertness tests when mists of aromatic rosemary oil were piped into their study cubicles. Rosemary is often used in marinades for meats and poultry, and there's scientific wisdom behind that tradition: rosmarinic acid and other antioxidant compounds in the herb fight bacteria and prevent meat from spoiling, and may even make cooked meats healthier. In March 2010, Kansas State University researchers reported that adding rosemary extracts to ground beef helped prevent the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs)-cancer-causing compounds produced when meats are grilled, broiled or fried.

Oreder your spices through the internet using this link.


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