Animal fabMinchiate Fiorentine:

5 of Swords

Struck in the head

This is a card that is had to look at for me:

4 swords suspended in mid air.

Below a horse resting on grass, but with the 5th sword stuck in his head.

This is the place, were the vet hammers in the ” death nail” when he needs to kill a horse. I know, I saw it, I grew up with horses and we raised racing horses at one time……

I am struck in the head today too – maybe because I just pulled this card. – probably….

It sure took away all my “Wind Horse – Hümorü Energy”

Struck, because I want to write, for these pages here, – but do not know, what

– or better, what first!

Toooo many thoughts sirrrrrseling through my head, fighting to come out first, turning my concentration to mush.

Above the swords – on the card, there is an anthropomorphic being sitting on a milk-stool reading a book

– or holding up his new ‘Kindle’ and reading – the New York times –  or my blog or yours – aside from the fact, that this here is Minchiate = AD1550-something and-  No Kindle!

–But books were new and putting ideas into people’s heads,

not only the elite, but also the people on milk stools – the you and me from way back then….

Struck them with notions, that some, mainly the church, thought were of the devil and would certainly kill you.

Why is this Being not fully human – or Animal? Is it a Bear? Is it a Cat?

In the times of Minchiate one could get away with expressing critical ideas and thoughts with Animal fables and caricatures of this kind. Everyone understood the meaning, but nobody could rightly be offended, because it depicted a critter of some sort and not a person.

Today I have to think long and hard to make out the intrinsic meanings.

Especially because this is not my culture and so I am working with “a deck missing quite a few cards”  😉


As a practicing shaman I am quite often dealing with questions of faith and with crisis of faith.

Faith and Fear are bed-fellows, you know.

They sit in client’s and patient’s  necks during the day-

Like: “I have Faith, therefore such and such will happen – or will NOT happen…..”


they REEEEEEALY come out at night

to play, to taunt and to fight!

This is the first time I am confronted with them – not intrinsic – through the imagery of a Tarot card, this time Faith is out in the open, her own card- and like always……..



….. waiting…….

Minchiate Fiorentine:

Card XVIII Faith

A card, that normally is not part of the Mayor Arcana

A middle aged female crowned by a yellow Dragon wing-like halo sits on a bench. She wears a blue (truth – at least for me 🙂 ) dress and has a red shawl draped over her hips and falling to the floor. I personally see red as passion, looking forward. She holds a spear in the left hand, ready to defend, what she beliefs in and with her right hand holds upright a yellow – -???? is it a lire or a book ??? or some form of board

She looks as if she is waiting – for something to happen – to her or for her. That IS the trouble with Faith:

In my shamanic practice I see it all the time. Passivity, passive expectancy towards deity. Especially from people raised in the christian religion. I pray and you do for me…..

OK, Faith is still better than fantasy

Fantasy involves a concept or belief people cling to in order to avoid reality

Faith however involves a concept or belief people cling to in order to face their reality.

Faith however relies on a power from the outside coming to the aid of the person. And then that implies dependency and an everlasting silent fear or uncertainly that that person, Being or deity will come through for them. And when thy waited long enough, or when they waited too long, this fear starts to eat them up from the inside. That is usually, when my phone rings and they are at the other end, looking for

A) me it intercede on their behalf, pray for them to “their” or another external entity, to please bring about what is needed.


B) try to find out “what they did”, where they digressed, committed a taboo, that made their external deity angry and unwilling to help. (Why is god punishing me with cancer?)

Then before me stretches the loooooooong road to mentor them towards the realization, that Spirit(deity) is NOT external, but is to be found within.

Within everyone and everything everywhere all the time.

And that this realization implies action:

The hands of the Goddess/ Creator…. …..are attached to your own wrists!

Do you have faith in yourself?

There are a thousand nasty things that shatter people’s faith.

A young lad, good student, at the beginning of his life – coming down with ALL….

A mother of 34 with 3 little ones dying of breast cancer…..

A soldier killed in the last days of the mission in Afghanistan…..

You all know many more of these scenarios.

Then people end up in a crisis of faith.

Then they need help.

Then I – with what I know and what I do can give them “a bigger boat” that will float them through the crisis.

Is this lady on this card waiting for bigger boat?

Are you?

Hung up

Minchiate Fiorentine:

Card XII

The Traitor or, as we later will get to know it: The Hanged Man

In the 15th and 16th century, Traitors were hanged upside down onto a Tree.

For a time, so they could be hazed by the passers by?

Pelted with stones, manure and rotten eggs, peed at and taunted….

Or sometimes they were to hang there until death – or the wrath of the public finished them. Often they were decked out with symbolic objects that told of the traitorous act committed. Here the Minchi- Traitor is holding up 2 bags: One yellow – probably coins. One blue, maybe a stand -in for truth? Or is that purely my personal interpretation of the color blue?

I had to deal with a traitor quite recently: The pagan community here is quite small and everyone knows everyone else – and often also their problems and vices. Sadly there is also at least one person, who on more than one occasion, has used this knowledge and – instead of keeping it to herself, could not resist to become the bearer of a juicy gossip story. 😦

I forgive her. She is lonely,at home, does not work, has limited contact, but a huuuuge circle of acquaintances. To “talk” and also to tattle tale puts her into the center of attention, into the limelight – for the shortest of moments. An addictive process for some people..

But this eventually hurts someone… and then again…..

Breaking trust, because whoever gossssips about others will also gosssssip about you…..

I had to make a decision: Simply stay away from that person.

This incidentally is in good keeping with the fundamental ethics of the Haudenosaunee Longhouse, of which I am a member: Do ignore and stay away from idle talk.

What this card is talking to me about today:

All the “gold of the moment” is not worth loosing the trust of a friend.

Do you know the person in the Mirror?

Card of the day:

Minchiate Fiorentine:  4 of Cups:

There are 4 identical elaborate cups colored red, yellow and turquoise /green aligned with the 4 corners of the card. In the middle however there sits a rather crudely drawn Monkey on a patch of grass. He is holding up a mirror and is looking at his own face.

Monkeys and most other Mammals have self-recognition.

This makes me think: “Know thyself”

Know the person in the mirror, the person others see, when they look at you/ me.

The way they see / perceive me, what they recognize is only, what they know of themselves.

How they react depends, if what they recognize is something they like in themselves or not. If it reminds themselves of something they do not appreciate or that makes then feel uncomfortable about themselves, that is, what will col lour the green grass they sit on = the position they take towards me, the behavior they exhibit.

In the eyes of many I am a strange Monkey. I knew that all my life.

I have a sort of mantra – to keep me aware of that:

“My life fulfilling truth is a philosophy, for which most people have no frame of reference”

By walking my path I can change that.

The Fox in the Hen House

Card of the day:

Minchiate Fiorentine :

5 of Swords

Oh, the Fox in the hen house!

5 blue swords with yellow ………………. and red…………………. are nicely arranged, suspended in mid air over a scene: 3 chickens – cockerels to be precise ,2 red and and one white are looking on as a rather simply drawn Fox – or Wolf is seen emerging out of a rather stylized cube-like edifice, that somehow reminds me of a guard house !!! that lets me think of another allegorical saying: It goes something like “When the Fox is guarding the hens” or “Look, who is guarding the fort!

From the RWS system we all know by heart, what the 5 of swords mean. But Minchiate is 400 years its senior , even older than the Marseille – I think- (and have to check -) So all these rules along which we navigate through Tarot do not apply. I actually like that.

For one I can read a card purely intuitively, but as an added bonus I can study and find out as much as I can about these early decks and their time and their correspondences.

To recognize allegories in the cards is fun! Some I know – like this one, Others I do not, because I did not grow up with a “white Western worldview” and so have not been exposed to many of its fables, folk songs, fairytale and legends. I am learning now, as an adult =via intellect and memory, but that is very different compared to growing up with it…..Many of he stories and fables of my childhood are quite different, from Siberia and then again, some of the western ones were mixed in with them…..

Back to the Fox in the hen house:

He is white!

Innocent looking = according to the ways of the people in 1550 Italy.

The 2 hens with the red wing feathers -?- are they sensing the danger?, the first on stretches out as if to get a closer look, or a whiff of the Foxes scent. Chickens are reported not to have good eyesight – I have never “been a Chicken” – in trance I mean, I do not know, if that is true.-

Somehow the color of the chickens reminds me of the French, that invaded Italy in1494. What did the players of the Minchiate game think, seeing this card. Especially during and after these times of peril

Did these chickens represent the armies of Charles VIII of France to them?

Ifffff, then the Borgia Pope – Alexander VI certainly was to them the Fox in his white papal robe…..

Well, I recognize, I am drifting here….

For today, this is another “watch out, be careful, not all is as it seems “card.

For me NOTHING is ever, as it seems.

It is, as it is.

The Money Hungry Lettuce Lion???

Tarot:Tarocco Minchiate Fiorentine

Card: Coins11 Knight/ Cavalier

The Money Hungry Lettuce Lion:


Don’t laugh!!

That is what I see in front of me this morning.

I know NOTHING about this deck – so far and this week I want to change that.

The Money Hungry Lettuce Lion may just be the ideal card to start with.

Who is he???

Today For us??

Waaaaay back when, at the time of the Minchiate?

An “anthropomorph” – that is what an ethnologist would call him. Part human, part Animal, part Plant – and holding up a shiny gold coin as if it was the sun – of his existence? He also could be part metal. All the stuff the world is made out of.. In my shamanic World view I see a rather sad and troubled Spirit. He is holding up his Sun, but his expression is sad, resigned. Is that his fate??

What does need to change, for him to smile again?

He is young. Is it difficult to be part of sooooo many different things but really neither?

He awakens the healer of sorrows in me. That is good, compassion is, what drives me, luuuuuures me, pushes me, guides me – in my life.

I also sometimes feel like him. ( Part human, part Animal, part Plant, part metal)

Part modern western educated middle-aged woman,….

Part child of the forests of Siberia, but transplanted to a world sooo similar to home, but yet soooo different……..

Part instinctual animal -Wolf Soul sniffing along the trail of my ancestry……

Part successful artist with a reputation for the “strange” and “tribal”………

Part reluctant healer, holding on to my drum for dear life, praying for Spirits like the The Money Hungry Lettuce Lion to appear and lead me to the roots of hidden ills hiding in the bushes of my clients Souls……..

OK! let’s go!

I am used to following Spirits like this one – out into the UNKNOWN and – hopefully returning with a little bit of knowledge……


I show the card to my husband Peter: “He has Wolf’s feet” he says.

I ask about Centaurs and mention our trusted Siberian Griffins – but a Lion and a Human???

What’s that called in myth??

We will find out.

Peter says: He looks like Atlas, carrying the world on his shoulders…”

The journey has begun…..

all about manticores: