The Three of Wands. Work, Baudelaire, Cats and home birth. Guest starring Richard Dawkins. And some Jaffa Cakes.

 The Three of Wands.  The Housewives Tarot.  A housewife pictured with cleaning implements. (Or homemaker, primary care giver or gender fluid cleaning consultant.)  Satisfaction in finished work. Pause before further progress


Baudelaire was a decadent French poet from when it was cool to self destruct young, in sordid if exotic poverty (Paris. late 19th century. Actually, it was rubbish even then. Much better to die of an overdose of Jaffa Cakes. In your 90s. Somewhere comfortable).

He is the Daddy of proto-Goth Emo romanticism. (a hotly contested title), also the inspiration for the poetic musings of Uncle Monty in Withnail and I. He probably would have liked the Tarot’s blend of Egyptian magic, gypsy legend and the rest of the rubbish, whoops, slightly speculative hippy nonsense which can be enlightening even if it isn’t strictly ‘true’, as in provable by science, mathematics or logic. However, he is just about relevant here as he wrote a brilliant poem about Egyptian deities in the shape of Cats. (This just in! He was interested in ‘Satanism’; as all occultism was termed at the time, one (duff) poem is called The Litanies of Satan, so he definitely would have seen Tarot cards. Look, Baudelaire is this week’s subject. C’est ca.)

It’s been a while since I bothered with him (who was quoted by T.S. Eliot who DID include Tarot in The Wasteland, I hope I have now established a connection between him and this week’s card and have covered up for not being that inspired by the Three of Wands, I never did like housecleaning. Which I probably don’t have to tell you). I now avoid anything to do with drunken excess or the outer limits. I’m more concerned with survival rather than emulating my earlier heroes such as Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation or other doomed romantics. As for Emo or the latest generation of bloodless dweebs with acoustic guitars, like that buffoon I played with at the festival: military service is the only solution.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find that dissolute dreamer Baudelaire wrote something that could have come from a business manual – perhaps The Effective Work Habits of Doomed Debauchees: ‘Inspiration comes of working every day’.

INSPIRATION COMES FROM WORKING EVERY DAY (which does tie in with the work theme of the Three of Wands.)

(He also wrote, ‘always be a poet, even in prose’. Very good, but poetry is only possible with a day job. There’s rarely any money in sparkling or elegant prose, in fact it gets on people’s nerves, as they want a chat with someone who’s had the same experiences as themselves, preferably in everyday language. Having said that, ‘Always be a poet, even in prose.’ Encore! ‘Always be a poet, even in prose.’)

Has my memory become so bad I don’t even notice repetition? No. THE BEST WAY OF REMEMBERING ANYTHING NEW IS TO REPEAT IT THREE TIMES. Which brings us back to:

The THREE of Wands. (A tenuous, indeed desperate, link.) The simple satisfaction of a job well done. A homemaker with his or her cleaning implements. A housewife, primary care giver, gender fluid cleaning consultant, pauses after housecleaning. Or perhaps after revising a first draft, perhaps before pruning the weeds that sprout alongside flowers.

Then it may be time to commune with household pets such as…

Cats                                        Baudelaire

They are alike, prim scholar and perfervid lover:
When comes the season of decay, they both decide
Upon sweet, husky cats to be the household pride;
Cats choose, like them, to sit, and like them, shudder.

Like partisans of carnal dalliance and science,
They search for silence and the shadowings of dread;
Hell well might harness them as horses for the dead,
If it could bend their native proudness in compliance.

In reverie they emulate the noble mood
Of giant sphinxes stretched in depths of solitude
Who seem to slumber in a never-ending dream;

Within their fertile loins a sparkling magic lies;
Finer than any sand are dusts of gold that gleam,
Vague starpoints, in the mystic iris of their eyes.

Card 8, Strength, usually has a strong woman holding the open jaws of a big cat, otherwise known as a lion. This is embarrassing to me now but I remember showing Mum this card just before Raph’s birth, (when I was a lot more new age than I currently am, having just given up drinking). At least it prevented me from running around shouting ‘Don’t PANIC!’ (They used to tell men to boil water, to get them out of the way.)

Mum was incredibly strong in both births, almost certainly without any mystical assistance. Unless I invoked Aslan and he was hovering discreetly nearby, like a leonine Jeeves. Actually, one of the beauties of the Tarot, and imagery in general, whatever effects it may have as an affirmation or a spell: it helps you remember stuff. And it’s good brain training to learn the 78 cards, their meanings, how they differ in various packs, how the spreads work etc so I should probably stop apologizing for my mystic hobby. I blame Richard Dawkins, the miserable bastard. Spoiling everyone’s fun.

Love, Dad

ps Baudelaire inspired an Anime and a Manga

I wrote about the excellent Housewives Tarot here


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The Five of Wands “World War. with all the expense and inconvenience THAT entails.”

To a young seeker.

The Five of Wands        Peril & Positivity

Fives are difficult cards. Challenges, learning opportunities – apparently we shouldn’t say problems…(As I may have said, and we also shouldn’t say ‘shouldn’t’, according to therapists. As what happens happens. Deal with it.)

The Rider Waite deck shows men fighting with staves (could also be Morris Dancers after a few too many ales,) The Housewives Tarot short definition is: Competition. Fighting. Inner Strength.

The positive from this card is: don’t fear conflict, focus on the inner strength you need to prevail, or, at least, compete to the best of your ability and keep victory in mind.

A positive attitude is more likely to help than assuming the worst will happen, which often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. A 1950s housewife might have said, ‘turn that frown upside down.’ Particularly useless advice if you’ve ever suffered from depression. However, sometimes we have to ‘fake it to make it’. Every cloud has a silver lining. Just cheery inanity? No, because optimism works. It leads to happier people. Even in the midst of a Five of Wands melee = or anywhere people hit each other with big sticks.

The Osho Zen Tarot calls this card Totality. (This is a pack best used for meditation or surprising your own subconscious, rather than reading for others, unless you’re among Zen Buddhists.) Three female trapeze artists about to clasp hands mid-air. If you’re a high wire act you must apply all your attention to the task in hand. Don’t let the mind cloud the issue. Too much thinking and you’re about as much use as Hamlet – where everyone ends up dead eventually, because an overgrown Kevin the Teenager couldn’t sort himself out.

‘Keep it simple, stupid’.

Which is some distance from the conventional interpretation of the Five of Wands: conflict, struggle, rivalry. A battle. War. A difficult card, indeed.

It can be read as a reminder that victory will require personal sacrifice – something Hollywood screenwriters are encouraged to include as nobody wants to see characters handed everything on a plate. It doesn’t match most people’s experience, which is that success requires a long, hard struggle. And courage and positivity. ‘Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!’ Henry V. Shakespeare. Or a quote that resonates better with me: ‘Or will there be a World War, and all the expense and inconvenience that entails.’..’ Money. Martin Amis, Written in the early eighties when a nuclear war remained a strong possibility, perhaps the final war, the end of the world as we know it.

It didn’t happen.  Our opponents even packed in Communism, an ideology that killed far more people than the Nazis, but is judged less harshly for some reason. Perhaps they ‘meant well’. ‘It hasn’t been tried properly yet’. Unfortunately there’s still a small but influential minority of do-gooding twits scattered throughout the BBC, The Guardian and throughout Academia, and in their American equivalents. I don’t mean ‘Liberals’, shock horror, but actual Communists who are hoping for the eventual triumph of Marxism. Fortunately we are more likely to see what evangelical Christians are hoping for: the end of the world as heralded by the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse. With all the expense and inconvenience that will entail…

War is damaging, even if you win. So even if you are good at fighting, or have a sharp tongue, a quick wit and a thick skin, the greatest martial art is to avoid a fight in the first place.

While staying as fit as possible. And ever vigilant.

But don’t be too anxious.

While the five of Pentacles, (Discs, Coins and other circular stuff,) denotes anxiety over money, the five of Wands, (Rods, Batons and anything else stick-shaped,) symbolizes anxiety over your own bad habits or past mistakes. Guilt helps no one, not even the people affected by whatever you did. Neither does criticizing yourself too harshly. ‘You failed, you always will, you never were any good’ and so on, till you’re running around beating yourself up like the five guys in the card. (‘Excuse ME! The five persons. Who may be transgendered’ Vital message from our social justice crusader there, fresh from a perma-froth rage on Tumblr.)

We need some fear to survive but most of us overdo it. The wise warrior does not dread a hypothetical future but deals with conflict as it occurs.

Positivity isn’t what I’m best at but I used to borrow Ricard Mayinger’s mindset for an occasional, perhaps irritating, pep talk, which you probably didn’t need anyway: ‘this is the best village, in the best country etc’. Which was and is true. We are in the warmest, wealthiest part of the country, which may not be as prosperous as Germany, but it’s much more interesting and there are very few guns, unlike America, and we have a free health service and a social safety net, despite the best efforts of the Tories. And it’s great you and Raph are doing so well,

Go us!



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Especially Auspicious – The 6 of Wands – Triumph

Rose’s Readings    letter to a young woman, wise beyond her years

As I donated half the Housewife Tarot pack to some lucky passenger on South Eastern Trains I thought the best solution was to get another pack and send you some cards with some background info as a learning aid. Maybe I’m a Tarot missionary… Well, teaching runs in my family – which is  how I met your mother.  In Ingolstadt, the birth place of the Illuminati. Which was also especially auspicious.  (Auspicious: conducive to success; favourable. And one of its synonyms is ROSY.)

I’m trying not to dwell on the loss of the cards, positive thinking, there are no problems, just solutions waiting to happen etc.  (BUT I MISS THOSE DAMN CARDS) Ahem.

You recently picked the Ace of Wands.. And now, using your magic wand/hockey stick, you impressed your teacher. You’re the Ace of Hockey. (Well done!) One way of using the cards is to remind you of goals, what you can achieve if you work hard. They can be visual affirmations. Meditations you can step inside. Dreams which may come true. There are many ways of using the cards in addition to fortune telling, which I see as the show business end of Tarot.  Which can be entertaining and indeed enlightening, as we all use stories to give shape to our lives. And, of course, show business needs to be taken as seriously as any other profession – it’s not called show fun but show business.

This time we have another fire card, the Six of Wands, from the suit of action.

Rose’s unique meaning: the six strings of your guitar. I think it’s brilliant you’ve stuck with it as playing music enhances its understanding, it trains the ear better than listening on its own. At the very least music is a hobby for life, it can also take you places. Even though performing is one of the most unreliable careers, teaching music is always in demand and writing music can be lucrative. Though it’s a massive gamble.


The hardworking housewife’s kitchen is spick and span, the wands manifesting as mops, brushes, feather dusters etc. The gleaming perfection is admired by her nosey neighbours. You will have noticed I’m not obsessive about cleanliness, preferring creative clutter, but those who are often have a cheery disposition from all that scrubbing, brushing and polishing (say hello to Mum…). The exercise does you good. You get a glow from achieving something.

Zen insight: (OSHO ZEN TAROT good pack, also online, highly recommended) Success comes and goes as waves do. (Although you’ll surf more peaks with PERSISTENCE, which often prevails over talent.) Most careers have highs and lows. Emotional states will fluctuate. It helps to remember: this too will pass.

As for my discarded cards…these may have been picked up by a fundamentalist Christian who sees black magic rather than pagan wisdom.  Or a ticket inspector who has seen many crazy passengers and can no longer be surprised. Or someone who is eventually maddened by acquiring only half the cards and orders a new pack. Another sale for the talented creators of The Housewives Tarot would be the best outcome of my carelessness. (It was very stressful trying to get through the floods to Raph’s Gold Duke of Edinburgh award ceremony although that’s no excuse. Although, if chaos is good enough for Mother Nature…)

Their Zombie Tarot is fun too…

Wishing them luck and you too, love Dad xxxx

Paul Kepple, Jude Buffum

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Two Long Thin Oven Chips. The Two of Wands in the Kitchen Tarot

Everyday Zen. (Especially good if meditation  makes your knees ache.).

Inspiration: two long, thin oven chips (French Fries). ,  escapees from the pack. Fugitives, for a day,  from  certain incineration. Next day at noon they were impossible to ignore.

Out of the window: two round fluffy clouds with their tops crimped like pasties, the two of discs – as I was still primed for potential portents.

Later, a big white dinner plate left on the counter by me for some forgotten purpose. More evidence of losing my  marbles? Round objects which are themselves reminiscent of the suit of discs? – enough!  Some things are just what they are. And three is enough to structure anything. I wasn’t going to wait for another 75 signs to go for a full pack reading.

Transposing the three signs to the Zen Tarot Pack for a past, present and future reading offered the Two of Fire: Action.   Possibilities.

An eagle soars over its domain. Don’t accept boundaries, there are more skies, limitless choices.  (My paraphrase and abbreviation. It’s worth looking at the original book or online version.  Three free readings a month at

Two of Rainbows  The Physical       Moment to Moment.

Surf the shifting waves,  here,  now,  unmindful of the past or or the future.

Ace of Rainbows   The Physical.               Maturity

Autumn dew on lotus leaves,  shining like pearls  in the morning sun. A transient beauty.  Mature wisdom is embracing permanent renewal. Keep an open mind.

And an eye out for stray chips.

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The Housewives Tarot – Utterly Delightful. Lovely to look at, fun-packed, easy to handle. Even smells good.

The Housewives Tarot
The Housewives Tarot
by Paul Kepple
Edition: Cards
Price: $15.25
47 used & new from $10.98

5.0 out of 5 stars 2014
Who can resist a Retro-chic pack which comes in its own recipe card box? Delicious art, a fresh concept, a charming little instruction booklet –  cards as cute as cupcakes and just as hard to put down.

The suits are Martini glasses for Cups (or dinky little coffee cups, eight of which stacked up beside a weary woman represent hard work on a project that hasn’t been rewarding. Time to start again). Wands, the suit of action, is represented by mops, brooms and feather dusters. For swords, the suit of mental challenges, we have scissors, knives and cocktail sticks. Pentacles are plates in a dishwasher, money growing on trees, mother’s little helper helping tidy up. (The Knave).

I really liked the huckster salesman in a seersucker jacket for The Magician – ‘Illusions – Deception – Charm’ – all of the cards have a handy three word summary in the attractively designed booklet. Among the more innovative Major Arcana choices are a mayonnaise bottle labelled Salmonella for Death. The Devil is a horned chocolate cake enjoying a cigarette and cocktail. Strong, determined women are of course first and foremost throughout.

The order at the start of Major Arcana is slightly different. The High Priestess, manifesting as a dark, feminine sauce bottle – The Secret Syrup. ‘The mysteries of the universe are sweeter than you know’ swaps places with the Empress, the nurturing Housewife and Mother, the Domestic Divinity who rules her domain. Otherwise, everything is in its rightful place, spick and span, easy to find.

The instruction booklet will guide any beginner from the one card virgin spread through vanilla, chocolate and strawberry (past, present and future) the Dinette, (reminiscent of the Celtic Cross), the Clothesline and the complex Martini form, which may indeed require ‘two very dry Martinis’, one if you’re reading your own cards.

The Court Card family member pictures instantly suggest a reading, not always the case in more traditional packs,
The overall ease of interpretation has helped me unlock further secrets in other packs.

Highly recommended, although those enraged by so-called gender stereotyping might perhaps prefer a ‘Primary Care Giver Tarot’? Where the King of Cups is a vegan, Feng Shui consultant. ‘We do NOT recognize a hegemonic, heternormative  ‘King’ perpetuating patriarchal opression and why are the Page cards all boys? Where are the daughters?’
Or you could cut out the baloney and follow the matriarchal 1950s path to domestic divinity. More Martinis. More fun.

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Dracula The Darker Passions Amarantha Knight,

Dracula (Darker Passions)
Dracula (Darker Passions)
by Amarantha Knight
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Prose. Hot Erotica. Very Good Indeed., 8 Nov 2012


“Dracula is a kind of incestuous necrophiliac, oral-anal sadistic wrestling match set in a homicidal lunatic’s brothel in a crypt.” A psychiatrist’s assessment of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Philip Larkin was a sad old perve, (I’m not being pejorative, it’s literally the truth). He loved Dracula movies, writing that he was ‘starved of tit and fang’. Fortunately we need no longer rely on sublimated eroticism. Amarantha Knight has written a brilliant erotic version of the Dracula legend, following Bram Stoker’s original closely with plenty of fetish and CP action. “Sparing the rod spoils the child of the night.” Ms Knight (who writes more respectable material as Nancy Kilpatrik) is a skillful evocative writer and she clearly loves Kink. If you liked A.N Roquelaire’s Beauty trilogy you will love this, which is also considerably filthier. Incidentally, A.N.Roquelaire is horror Queen Anne Rice, writing with one hand between her legs. Her work is easier to find than this book, of equal quality if somewhat darker. Highly recommended.

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John Cage’s Silence. No-thingness in the Osho Zen Tarot

A blank screen is going to say this better than I could. Or the plain black of Osho Zen Tarot Major Arcana card 5 – No-thingness.

‘Nothing to nothingness is the whole journey’ Osho Zen Tarot guide

In the Zen pack No-thingness takes the place of The Pope –  The High Priest in the Shakespeare pack or Melchizedek in the Grail Tarot, a Templar Vision. Not to mention The  Papess. (which I just did) or many other Trump 5 cards which represent (generally) religion, authority, inspiration or tradition. In a Zen context we have meditation. If we are exploring the arts we seek knowledge and growth. Wherever we find beauty and wisdom we should share it – without being a preachy pain in the nether regions.

John Cage was the Zen Boho who wrote 4′ 33″ a piece of silent music, the point of which being there is no silence. If you’re in an anechoic chamber you hear your heart beating, your lungs working and so forth.  While perfectly sincere about his thought provoking art he was also an American and having copyrighted silence it was probably his lawyers who sued Mike Batt for including some nothingness on one his albums. Cage was a funny guy, he instructed  the4′ 33″  pianist to move his hands three times in references to the three movements of sonata form – well, it’s the way he tells them, really – but there’s nothing funny about not getting your composing royalties.

While his music is thought provoking there is no particular need to listen to any of it: the ideas alone suffice. ‘I have nothing to say and I am saying it’ was one of his mantras. ‘I have nothing to say and I can no longer be bothered to say it’ is one of mine.

But I do know this:  ultimately,  (can I hear ‘At the end of the day’?) nothing’s nothing. It is where we start and finish. It is our potential and the vibrations we leave behind. So why worry?

‘”you come from nothingyou‘re going back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing!” .Monty Python. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

DISCLAIMER As a recovering hippy, sometime sceptic and occasional Occult Atheist I would like to register my (inefftectual) protest against anyone calling themselves a Guru, particularly anyone charismatic enough to persuade followers to buy him a fleet of Rolls Royces. As the gentleman is no longer with us I hope he won’t mind me sharing that I took the Osho guru card out of my pack.

I don’t even worship deities never mind human beings. Is this mean? Or just jealous? Am I a player-hater? I remember how groovy the Bhagwan’s dance music clubs were in Germany:  young, good looking healthy people having fun. They might even have been called Discos it was so long ago. They were probably fishing for potential converts but they seemed pleasant enough places. Without the negative baggage one associates with Sc—tology. While I would advise caution regarding any organisation that likes the boss to flaunt his collection of Rolls Royces, paid for by the underlings, I can wholeheartedly endorse his Tarot. Which you can consult online but it’s a very good looking pack which is a pleasure to use. You might even get enlightened. Although one shouldn’t strive for any such goal…s’ll illusion, innit?

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The EU Cinnamon ban – Ban THIS! Eurodweebs


High Priestess from Mark and Ruth Ramsden’s Dark Tantra Tarot

(which we probably should have called The Fetish Tarot, what it actually is, rather than go for a New Age veil of scented candles and incense. Although the original Dark Tantric Indian tradition of shagging in graves is pretty hardcore in iteself and…ENOUGH!)

Any more of this banning cinnamon and impeding the saving of millions of lives with E cigarettes and our Sorceress will formally CURSE whoever is responsible. Probably. You have been warned.

I’ve considerably narrowed my waistline with drastic carb reduction and copious quantities of fat burners like organic cider vinegar, green tea, lemon juice on everything and cinnamon. WHICH THE EU WANTS TO BAN. Will I have to buy it with Bitcoins? Score it on the street? (no doubt getting palmed off with brown sugar).

IS this a false flag operation by Nigel Farage’s UKIP? (I’m guessing not but it’s just as bizarre. LEAVE OUR CINNAMON ALONE.)

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Moonlit Glamour and Sinister Sleaze: The Favole Tarot

Got this lovely pack for Christmas from the even lovelier Ruth, full of moonlit glamour and sinister sleaze (the pack, although Ruth is, too, come to think of it).

With excellent illustrations by Spanish artist Victoria Frances, this is just right for an armchair Goth – especially one who doesn’t need black make up to look undead.

The Death card is a drifting woman reminiscent of Millais’ Ophelia which I’ve always felt drawn to. The Chariot is a Venetian gondola.  There’s strong vampiric topnotes of blood and absinthe throughout and plenty of corseted cuties and dashing young blades, some of whom may be existentially challenged but then, to quote Some Like It Hot, ‘nobody’s perfect’.

The suits are crosses for swords, black roses for cups, opera masks for wands and butterflies for pentacles. From a better reviewer than me, Irene Cunningham on Aeclectic, pondering whether butterflies should correspond with pentacles, (discs or money, the element of earth), ‘butterflies feed on excrement, and they are here today, gone tomorrow – a life as short as cash-flow’.

A perfect antidote to a Jolly Hockey Sticks Christmas with Miranda or whatever the BBC is offering.

December 25th A sizzling Saturnalia to you all! Plus complementary Nordic Hail from original gangsta Odin! (aka Santa)

keep the bonfires burning. Get the sun back where he belongs.

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Major Arcana card 13 Death ‘The end is where we start from’ TS Eliot


The death of imposed identity. Ultimate transformation.

Black jewels and belladonna. An effective dose could be fatal. Playing safe is a living death. Take the plunge. Into the depths. Where lies buried treasure.

From the Dark Tantra Tarot Mark & Ruth Ramsden’s Fetish Pack

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