SISTER MISFORTUNE TAROT            
Female history and the earliest mythologies were most often oral. Goddesses with no temples or priests were taken care of by a sisterhood. Women told each other stories and passed on their legacy through them. Sister Misfortune Tarot is one such set of stories that we can share and tell eachother.
PROCESS -
1. Shuffle and arrange or scatter cards with their facedown. 
2. Pull three cards and arrange them in their order they were picked. 
3. Reveal the cards and then refer to the readings and stories below. 
Sorry about the missing copy but the complete text will be updated shortly. 


AKKA MAHAEDVI

Everybody knew there was this another path to the divine. One taken by a community of mystics and scholars. Holding life with open palms, with their dissimilar gestures, actions and a distant skyward gaze, they formed a counterpoint to us. Renouncing the world, with all its pleasures, security and familial ties, like lone wolves these men would shed even the clothes on their back to walk away from the life they shared with their families and friends to an existence devoted to the divine. They were poets, philosophers and thinkers, mystic songwriters and singers. When they walked the earth naked, it was devoid of sexual meaning. But also, it was a male privilege. Akka Mahaedvi entered into this world, with powers that go beyond the earthly. Her transcendence and union with the divine was so direct, passionate, candid, strong minded and fearless, that she even now has a strong feminist appeal as does her contribution to the Lingayat tradition where, remarkably, daughters have the same religious rights as sons. One who thought herself to be without corporeal form, as natural as the flowers and animals of the forest with only her hair to cover her - thick black locks that fall from her head to her legs. She was a devotee of Shiva, the beautiful 12th century mystic and poet Akka Mahadedvi.
The Reading of Akka and the Hair card. 
To be fearless, is to be completely aware of one’s sacrifices and choices. To view those oblations as part of the path and not as a deal. Or, as difficulties taken on now for rewards to come later. This is to understand the path one choses and grasp the ultimate significance of our actions. To do so one must step outside our own minds so we might understand life ahead of us and our unique presence in the maze of existence. This is the card of awareness and mindfulness. Contrary to most beliefs it’s not just in the journey onto ourselves but also the fearless travels our existence demands of us. We don’t want to just exist but to be aware and take that step towards attempting to understand. For then we might truly create from the deepest part of ourselves.
Symbols : Hair — The significance of hair and how one wears it, has always held a special space for women. To tie one's mane or not used to be and still is in some communities, a very burdened choice. On one hand seen as sexual liberation or even as wild, it is an action that seems to provoke discomfort and judgment. As the fear of what was viewed as “excessive knowledge” or as seductive and sexual interest created upheavals in society as women simply tried to exercise their freedom. The freedom to untie one’s hair. A seemingly simple gesture was in-fact a brave and fearless one. To reimagine these contexts and exercise one’s own way of being instead of just being seen.  
Motif : Poet — 

APARNA

In their minds was born, that singular nucleus of heat, that they kindled and expanded. A force, a white light so powerful, it could absorb all of reality into itself. This was tapas, and the gods paid nervous attention to all who practiced it. A deep meditation, exercised in a man’s world. A culture that held nature as nothing more than a backdrop, an optional element that one could ignore and deem irrelevant. The gods were apprehensive of all the destruction a powerful mind in tapas could cause, but mainly they were worried about the accumulation of power greater than theirs. So, they sent women as sexual distractions. Beautiful creatures, to tease these diligent rishis, away from their meditations, and into pleasure. This was the reality that Aparna (still Parvati at the time) had entered into. Not as a puppet played by the gods, but as a young girl who had her own vision of her future. Through tapas she was to disrupt the world of the gods, because she was in love with one of them - Shiva, the greatest of all ascetics. The adventure was to happen within her mind. A journey that would take her into the unknown, where definitions do not hold, and everything recedes into the irrelevant, except for that single nucleus of heat.
It was the other rishis in the forest, who renamed her as Aparna – not even a leaf. For she had lived on nothing. No food, no water, nothing - not even a leaf. Disturbed out of their own tapas, by the growing force of her's, they had to recognise the power of this young girl, soon to be their goddess. She had sent an energy of ripples through all of reality. And as always the gods paid attention, and so did Shiva. Breaking his tapas and opening his eyes to acknowledge her. But, for an entirely different reason from the other gods. It was not to protect his power, but to give it to her. Restoring the place of nature above all culture, mind over matter and Prakriti (nature) over Purusha (man).
The Reading of Aparna and the Forest
In the darkness behind our eyes something appears: a lit up image and few words that reappear obsessively. All of everything we do, is to bring that image in our minds from behind our eyes to before our eyes.
The way of the world is based on ‘action’. Results one can show as proof of having earned your place in it.  All rewards and scales of comparison residing in the material world. But the power of inactions are often not discussed. The force in stopping or the power in silence. To think, or to attempt the impossible – to not think. The quiet that the mind needs to identify what is important. To observe before making one’s way forward. Introspection and the journey inward as an expansive and powerful experience, and the strength that comes from that is as real if not more than any action.  
The Aparna card expresses desire in a deep and silent form. The presence of love which grows inward to reach the loved one, is the most powerful form there is. It’s not a love that depends on the other, or leans on saving one another. This is the love of equals. The union of two powerful minds. Secure in themselves their desire for each other is pure. It's talks of connections that grow and strengthen in silence. The depths of this unknown world are far greater than the visible known one we experience every day. A card represents the ability and the strength of the mind to attain what one wants. The strength in silence and inaction and the potency of love in such an environment.
Symbol : The Forest — A quiet place that takes us away from the prosaic. A world that places us with all of creation. The ultimate reward is being recognised by nature and waking up to our true selves. The sign of the second awakening.
Motif : The Ascetic — All male rishis and ascetics view nature as a backdrop - an optional element, compared to the glory of their own minds. Aparna was nature itself. When she practiced tapas it was not to conquer mind over matter but to establish nature over all above things. She was Prakriti, and she triumphed over the mind.


BAHUCHARA MATA

The Bahuchara mythology is a tangle of ideas: goddess of nature, of fertility, of spiritual awakening and purity. But we are introduced to her at a pivotal moment – when life calls on her empathy towards the ones who had wronged her. At first, aggrieved and enraged, her anger and fury turned her into a goddess, but what made her truly special was her choice to protect and care instead of avenge and destroy. Most Devi stories are built around fear, but Bahuchara’s is one of deep empathy.
In her mortal form Bahuchara was an innocent, living the conventional life, and looking forward to nothing but marriage and children. Falling immediately in love with her husband, she looked forward to her role as a wife and eventually mother. Thus, a feeling of inconsolable pain when the simplest of her desires were not met. Her marriage from the very beginning was devoid of intimacy and love. Leaving her initially, surprised and confuse liked most beautiful women in the face of rejection. But even as time passed, her husband never explained himself. He would leave home every night, vanishing into a nearby forest. Hurt and frustrated and not willing to wait around anymore, she finally decided to follow him. A difficult proposition in the darkness of the night. A rooster (the bird that heralds the rising Sun) offered to help trace her husband’s path. They rode into the forest finally arriving at a clearing amongst the leaves and roots. Where, she found her husband among other transsexual and transgendered.  Seeing him liberally free with both intimacy and love, leaving her trapped in a marriage all by herself - made her rage in anger. The injustice fuelled the fury that transformed her into a goddess. Demanding an explanation, she soon realised that they and their community had a plight of their own – forced into marriages to continue the family name with no regard for their desires, an unaccepting world and a life of hiding having done nothing wrong. The world at large and the system of wedlock had let them both down. Rage turns to care and her response is not to destroy but to rectify - and to protect, by making herself the goddess for the transgendered. Learning from their community, transformation is central to the Bahuchara story. Even her own transformation, from innocence to anger and finally to protection. Her temple in Gujarat is said to retain the memory of a lake that transformed gender on both humans and animals. Transformation is a legitimate and critical stage in the process of becoming, while becoming itself may remain eternal. The world view that emerges is one that is fluid with endless horizons and possibilities. Bahuchara is a celebration and a part of the natural world’s vast and varied tribe.

The Reading of Bahuchara Mata and the Rooster 

As always the vision comes afterwards. First, one must arrange the happenings of life. Here, she represents the power of empathy that overrides pain, sorry, and anger. It refers to the strength required in transformation and also the ability to see that we are the only people who can heal pain, even if we are not responsible for it. The ability to view the world in a kind and constructive way. But more than anything, it refers to the clarity that enables us to see through the strict narrow constructs of society that are built on exclusion. Most of all, the goddess represents the ability to rise above one’s own circumstances.
She addresses the power of transformation. A pivotal point where one becomes and arrives. Inspired by the Trans’ community her narrative is one of - clarity in vision, clarity in emotion, clarity in strength and the faith and ability in righting a wrong. The power of protecting when we ourselves need protection. Transformation is a potent glow that resides in all beings and the strength it calls for us to be free.
Symbols : The Rooster — represents innocence and is also the symbol of the sun – the ability to view and understand with clarity and nurture life.
Motif : Transformation — Not only is this the symbol for the transgendered, the agency that allows us to be true to ourselves, and following through the journey that all growth requires, but also the journey from innocence to anger, and then from sorrow to love and ultimately to care.  


DRAUPADI

Sorry about the missing copy but the complete text will be updated shortly.
The Reading of Draupadi and Hair  
Symbols : Hair 
Motif : War 


DURGA

The Durga is fire. Precious and dangerous, a warrior mother who blazes forward. A dazzling light that darts ahead of us, wherever we are - and we follow.
Wielding the united power of all the gods, she is strong and wild with pagan roots, old knowledge and fearless strength. A goddess from the forest who fights for all of creation - gods and humans.  Emerging from ancient woods and riding to the battlefield, she stops by our homes. For she is also the mother goddess. Unlike Kali and Shakti (her other avatars), she shows a tenderness that leads to battling for us. Invoked by warriors and worshipped for an alliance, Durga indulges in our notions of good and bad, bravery and virtue. Riding in on her lion, she symbolizes her conquest over the ego – never to be consumed by her own importance, and the freedom from fear. An unstoppable force of strength, knowledge and wisdom. A warrior mother ascending from the orange fires into a cold blue thunder, she is eternally victorious. She is all that goes beyond us, darting ahead of us, wherever we are. Making that path that vanishes into the horizon. All of us are the little flames that mark her path across the earth.  
The Reading of Durga the Sward  
Fearlessness in the face of conflict and struggle. The need to protect and care with knowledge and wisdom. The ultimate culmination of the mind, body and heart – knowledge, strength and love. This card represents the Warrior Mother, the need and the situation in which we care and fight for our loved ones. An old form of knowledge and empathy that exists within each other. To be free from fear, so we may tap into our courage and insight. It’s beyond the call of duty - it’s an act of love that leaves us constantly surprised at what we are capable of.
Symbol : The Sward — Symbolizes fearlessness, and the strength in fighting for the ones we love.
Motif : Warrior Mother  — Maternal love in its more powerful form. The ability to risk all to care and protect the ones we love.


GANGA

The River Goddess
Ganga always longed to be here, where she is powerful, life giving, loved and worshiped. We visit her, step into her and feel her force go through us as she tells us her story. A story of her descent into our world.
Before Ganga came to us, she was a celestial river – The Milkyway – Akashganga - running her course from one end of the sky to the other. And then? Her voyage downwards to us. She was to descend where the land meets the sky – the highest peaks of the Himalayas where Shiva receded.
It’s not clear if she knew her strength, if she knew that the famine plagued world that desperately needed her, would not have survived the force of her arrival. An unimaginable flood falling from the heavens, as she who runs wild across the skies, would now devastate the only home we knew. The gods were moved into a state of panic when they were aware of Ganga’s journey. And so, they decided to once again bother Shiva, the ascetic God and the only one living in the high peaks of the Himalayas.
Just before she could touch dry land to fulfil her destiny to save us from a relentless famine, her fall was broken. It was Shiva – and thus, the meeting of an irresistible force and an immovable object. Suddenly she was trapped, in a forest of his hair, that he caught her in, and tied up quickly, pinning tightly over his head, with the crescent moon. In his maze of hair, she broke into smaller and smaller tributaries. Realizing very quickly that she might lose herself completely to him. She would have to persevere and push on insistently.  
And so she did, until finally and suddenly she could smell the fragrance of wet soil, a taste like the first rain. A few drops at first and then a gushing glorious river of turquoise and emerald green we know and love. She was home. 
The Reading of the Ganga and the Crocodile Makara
We are on a journey, guided by our aspiration. Goals that helps us realize ourselves or destinations that feel like home. Ganga and her crocodile draw our attention to the dream, the imagination, and the rigour of work that is required. But most importantly they talk of the obstacles we face. We imagine that all things that come between us and our goals, are a departure from the journey we are on. Elements from outside our lives. Annoyances that have little to do with us and have nothing to contribute to our lives. While in fact, these obstacles make the journey. Our final destinations or goals would not mean much without the learnings on the way. Art, empathy, knowledge, strength, all realize themselves in the conflicts we face within our imperfect lives. The inspiration is but a moment, while most of life is the struggle in our own minds. To know our obstacles and view them as an important part of our journey changes everything – defining the very nature of our goals and ultimately us.
Symbols : The Crocodile Makara —one of the eight symbols of prosperity. Keeping the evil eye away, it’s the force that aids us along the journey towards our final goals.
Motif : River — Symbolic of life itself, this card talks of an incredible force. An inner strength and power that is also both healing and caring as water always is. A card that talks of both power and nurture.  

GOPESHWAR 

Gentle and limpid, like a rivers’ flow, this languid female form is none other than the most masculine of gods: Shiva, appearing here as gopika or divine milk maid, ready to take part in Krishnas’ famed raas lila.
As always the myths beguile – seemingly simple tales are prismic gateways to a wonderland of symbolism.
The sublime strains of Krishnas’ flute stir Shiva into joining the raas lila or dance that Krishna, the god of love, enjoys with his bevy of gopis in Vrindavan. As no male can enter Vrindavan, Shiva dips himself into the waters of the Yamuna and emerges a beautiful maiden and the two gods dance. Radha, Krishna’s lover, points out a subtle otherness in the atmosphere and is told by Krishna who the new dancer is – “He is Lord Siva,”says Krishna, “my teacher. You wouldn’t want me to ask him to leave, would you?” In another variation, Kali has the urge to dance with the gopikas. Taking the form of Krishna, a fellow dark god, she has a wonderful time with the gopis. Siva, missing his consort, enters Vrindavan as Radha and dances with her.
What a wonderful world. A world of variation and abundance - for that is what Vrindavan means – a fluid, flowing world where gods slip in and out of different sexual forms, dance, love, celebrate pleasure, enjoy beauty. The gopis - no ordinary beings, are milk maids – nature herself, provider of the milk of life and Vrindavan – where all things exist is perceivable only to those free of familial ties, of outlandish moral constructs, of self – for only they are unburdened enough to live life in its fullness and multitude, and light enough to dance to its rhythms. Here Siva the Nataraj, the supreme dancer who dances the cosmos into existence and destruction dances or plays for that is what lila means - with the god of love and the cosmos is animated into being. 
The Reading of Gopeshwar and Trishul
As always, myths charm and enchant us. Seemingly simple tales, have in fact a spectrum of symbolism. This tale talks of this wonderland of variation and abundance that we can access, if only we find it in us to be truly free. To be unburdened enough to live life in its fullness and multitude. The ability to hold our familial ties ever so lightly. To not be governed by moral constructs that exist to keep us shackled. For only they are unburdened enough to live life in its fullness and multitude, and light enough to dance to its rhythms.
Symbols : The Trishul — Shiva’s weapon. Here Siva the Nataraj, the supreme dancer who dances the cosmos into existence and destruction. Here he dances or plays for that is what lila means - with the god of love Krishna, and the cosmos is animated into being.
Motif : Garden — A wonderful world of constant change and pleasure - for that is what Vrindavan means – a fluid, flowing world where gods slip in and out of different sexual forms, dance, love, celebrate pleasure, enjoy beauty.


GRAMADEVI

A head sitting upright on the ground, under a tree, outside, at the edge of a village. Her eyes appear through a coat of vermillion. Her body, (underground we assume), is the village - with its houses, fields and pastures, and her fertility, keeping them abundant.
With no temple or priest, the goddess is only tended to by the women. A sisterhood that celebrates their mother every day. She is not universal, but local, she is specific and personal. She is yours and she is mine and she lives outside our village.
But once a year she comes undone, for her forests have been burnt, to sow again, her weeds uprooted and body fenced up and owned. Wild and hungry she demands blood, and the village rushes to ease, quenching her thirst she is made whole again. Feasts are cooked and sacrifices made to replenish her wildness. Gestures repeated year after year to make her strong and blossom. An apology for killing her forest, and gratitude, for the gift she has given. A process by which we rewild our mother year after year after year.
The Reading of Gramadevi and Turmeric 
There is a cyclical pattern to our depleted sense of self and like homing pigeons we know where our strength can be nurtured. With or without, sanctuary or shrine, our bond with each other and nature is as old as mountains. Festivals celebrated over generations, where women come together, cover themselves in turmeric and remind each other of that bond. Lean on each other - so we can go on. Rewild - so we may become whole again.
Life inherently takes from us. Things to be done, places to go and an eternal line of duties. But, life also gives us relationships. Ones beyond the domestic lines of family. These bonds that hold us together cannot be explained. A select few who have always brought life, when we were spent. Our journeys might have aided us in different directions, and time, taken us far from each other, but we have always known what it means to reach out and hold each other again. Reach out and hold the ones who have never been tethered to us, but who have always been there.
Symbols : Turmeric — The color of a sisterhood and texture of a bond that holds us together. A line of yellow dust that travels, making patterns and spaces for us to play. The knowledge of female history wrapped up in song, dance and stories. And in there among them, their mother-  the village goddess, covered in turmeric, smiles as she sleeps.
Motif : Sistershood — is no ordinary kinship, thay are the relationships that secure you in the world. They are nature itself, provider of the force of life. They are symbols of a deep cconnection, coming together through music, dance, ritual, food and a special kind of love that remains free of all expectations.


KALI

Both suddenly and eternally she appears, as Adya  - The Primal One
A tornado made of all the elements at once, the angry goddess with unbound hair, from the oldest of forests - arrives with her wild justice. A justice beyond right or wrong, she is both the darkness and the light.
Quenching her blood thirst through sacrifices, and entertaining her with glorious and wild dances around colossal fires, her worshipers generate an immense energy – that reaches the heaves in all its turbulence. Kali has no interest in a dull and devoted believer. Her true worshipers are in nature themselves, and strong enough to understand what the authority of the wild means.  A cosmic force that has little to do with our selfish morality, badly disguising benefit and greed. A goddess who can’t be bought or flattered, looks to be appeased and celebrated by the brave and the aware. The ones who know that her justice is not built for them, and understand the complex meandering river that moves away from us back into the forest. Towards a breathing and alive darkness that one is never lost in. For the trees and animals there are not lost, and we can ask them assent to know and be known. For she is Yoga – Nidra, unwitnessed nature and unperceived reality and here we come upon a part of creation, not destined for us.  And in that stillness, a raging goddess, never consumed by herself, runs past us, naked as she hunts.
The Reading of Kali and Forest
The Kali card is one of power. She represents a way of life that is experienced, undocumented and beyond the narrow confines of human reasoning. An old and primal way of seeing that does not place us in the middle of all existence. The card speaks of a journey into the past or into the wild to understand where we are or what or even why we are. She connects us to the earth, to the forest and to world of wild animals now so distant from us. She can only answer the quest that must be born in our hearts. It’s a brave journey to move away from all that secures us in our spaces. Our sense of self will be placed in that dark forest where we will learn to see again. With new eyes that can now see on the dark, and we bring our inner light into the world. For that we need to put the fire out and walk into our second awakening.
Symbols : The Forest — represents an awakening, new beginnings or new perspectives. An arrival of a consciousness that dates back to a time before the mind.
Motif : Blood — The element of life and the core of female energy.



KAMAKSHI

Without desire all of creation loses its fragrance and the god of desire himself was enchanting. In Kama’s hands the sugarcane bow and flowered arrows are merely mischievous. And he paid with his life for playing with these wonderful weapons of desire. When he took aim, their effects were limited to passion, a trap that one falls into. In Kamakshi’s hands, desire is expansive. A landscape to walk in, eyes wide open, a choice that feels like destiny. A desire for the world and the pleasure of being part of it.
In sunshine and starlight, laughter and pain it grows, changing how we feel, what we see and the taste of everything we touch. Red is no longer alarming and blood changes meaning. In Draupadi’s hands it is revenge, in Kali’s it is destruction, and in Kamakshi’s, it is life. We are not hunted but adored by the flowered archer. For some she is a fertile womb, a cleft in a rock that bleeds, marking the coming of monsoon. A season for desire, wisdom and experience - only a life well lived can know.
The Reading of Kamakshi, Sugercane and Parrot  
This card represents love as knowledge. No longer a fool’s paradise but a space for growth. The love and passion that makes us better people. Not the kind of love that we are lost in or the kind that sweeps us off our feet. A love that helps us live, make sense of life and the kind that we walk into aware curious and excited. The kind that makes us choose each other instead of ourselves. An eternal flame that we can grow to our fuller selves in.  
Symbols : Sugarcane  symbolising the juice of life, pleasure and love.
Motif : Parrot — The symbol of Love and Passion.

SISTER MISFORTUNE TAROT              
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LAKSHMI & ALAKSHMI

The two sisters are seen together. Each, a reminder of the other. Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune and her twin Alakshmi the disturbing other – the goddess of misfortune.
Comfortably familiar with her space in our hearts, Lakshmi is light itself. In her riches: fortune, generosity, beauty, grace, charm and her twin on the other hand - the opposite force. Lakshmi is ever welcomed, desired and pursued. A playful, whimsical, spontaneous goddess, and like with money itself - a struggle to keep. She mysteriously arrives and around her lingers an uneasy suspicion of her departure. Although, the promise of pleasure, prosperity and power keep us thoroughly gripped.
Alakshmi on the other hand is the unwanted sister. She who is appeased with gifts of lime and chilies we often find hanging on doorways, are meant for her. To satisfy her, before she feels the need to enter our homes. While the sweets for Lakshmi are stored deep inside the kitchen, drawing her in, where she may stay a while.
The idea that one can attain Lakshmi, just by recognizing her value Is glib and naïve. For, one doesn’t exist without the other. To truly know them, is to understand that fortune and misfortune are inseparable sisters who travel together. Two sides of a coin. To favor one over the other and separate them, we do life (in all its shades) an injustice. Their beauty, intertwined, leaves traces of themselves in the other. Like the darkness of the night, that stays in the black of our eyes all day, or the lit lamp that holds the glory of the sun all night, they are like the summer and monsoon - neither special without the other. A difficult truth, but one that is ultimately and triumphantly life affirming.
The Reading of Lakshmi, Alakshmi and the Lotus
The twins represent the coexistence of opposites and the importance of duality. To separate the two sisters is to separate two sides of a coin. A wrench that results in an imbalance, inside and around us, - to constantly focus on our misfortune with no acceptance of the things that we do have, or to be so lost in our fortune that we have forgotten the existence of the other. Both, a clear separation of the self from reality.
The acceptance of the mixed cocktail that is life, is to be present, alive, curious and empathetic. It is to move the focus from misery or ecstasy to the clear blue sky, which is the true state of our mind. It is to reunite the twins who belong together.
To reopen the gates to wealth - a time that is rich with lessons from which we grow. A rare opportunity to be truly enlightened, as interesting times don’t come to all. The reward for the difficult choices one has made, and a time fertile and rich that we can harvest from. That mysterious line of time that runs between work and reward. A fork in the road that we choose from – to suffer or to suffer and grow so there might be true joy that one has earnt. A life that demands from us the acknowledgement of both sorrow and joy, our strength and weakness, the good and bad and finally fortune and misfortune. At the helm of that acceptance is eternal wealth.
Symbols : Lotus — symbolizes eternity, enlightenment and beauty. 
Motif : Twins — Two halves of a whole, these twins can be viewed as both ominous and auspicious. Although standing for opposite forces, they share a deep connection and represent the other half of the self.


MATANGI

How ambitious the young goddess was, before she was settled into less problematic identities. And there were many many such identities.The origins of this goddess is linked to her father Matang - a non brahmanical rishi who had one the most intelligent minds and a vision that was far beyond his time.
A rishi capable of extreme penance was awarded a boon as a reward by the gods. For which Ambaala (an avatar of Lakshmi the goddess of fortune) herself appeared. Matang was not interested in fortune, he asked to be recognised as a Brahma Rishi. When the boon could not be granted, he asked instead, that he be recognized as Ambaal’s father. Ambaal is reborn to Matang as a form of Saraswati: the goddess Matangi. With youthful innocence, an open gaze, an honest trust in the world and the determination to be able to change it.  
Also perceived as the Tantric form of Saraswati - she who kindles knowledge born of contemplation, mata or thought is shaped by Matangi into words and this articulation includes every form of art, music and dance. She also refers to our ability to listen, the origin of true understanding. Representing equality, she is accessible and worshipped by all casts, as no vows or ceremony are needed to ask for her blessing. She is also associated with forests and tribal communities who live outside the conventions of society. Hymns from Tantric texts talk of her – dwelling in, walking, knowing and relishing the forest.
Matangi is accessible to all as no vows or ceremonies are needed to ask for her blessing. She welcomes offerings of leftovers by unwashed hands. Caste thus becomes irrelevant to the seeker of enlightenment.
Matangi represents freedom - from the sanitized gated community of Brahmanical patriarchy.
Its walls of orthodoxy are built with caste prejudices and notions of clean and unclean. But life cannot thrive in a sterile environment. And Matangi ushers us out. Offering us instead the throb of life. In her open landscape there is darkness – and it provides the contrast we need to fully appreciate and celebrate radiance.
The Reading of Matangi the Parrot
This card represents the youthful energy to learn about the world and have the agency to better it. The dark emerald green complexion is associated with deep knowledge and the colour of Buddha. The parrot in her hands, represent speech that arises from thought captured by the visions of the third eye. As she is related to listening, she covers the whole spectrum from viewing and listening to the world, understanding it, converting it back to knowledge and thought and finally the ability to sending it back into the world, though text, music, art and dance.    
Symbols : Parrot —The symbol of Love and passion. Here, it was given as a gift to the new young godddess. The symbols of Matangi are the gifts the young goddess received from the other gods. The third eye and the crescent moon by Shiva , the Veena by Saraswati , Parrot by Kamakshi -  although here is not a symbol of fertility but of speech . These gifts were ways in which the other gods shared their power with her, and blessed and welcomed this young goddess into their world.
Motif : Youth — A young life force that is curious, and filled with ambition. Be it to change the world for the better, or one's own destiny.


PARVATI

The quintessential mother goddess of Indian mythology, wanted a child that she could call her own. Shiva, her husband (the god of destruction), didn’t see the point. Children as a legacy, was a preoccupation for mortals – not for immortals like them. Parvati did not see children as legacy at all, but as life itself. They famously made love for a thousand years - a union that aided all of creation, but it didn’t result in a child for them. Parvati, although completely in love, was now aware that she would need to make one on her own.  
While Shiva was away, she carved a perfect little boy out of turmeric, that she had rubbed from her own body. Breathing life into him she had brought Ganesha from the image behind her eyes to before them. He was entirely Parvati’s creation, and like all of nature – made from her soil.
Shifting rather abruptly from the poetic to the prosaic, shortly after being created by a goddess, the child was to stand guard while she bathed. The diligent new son did so with complete conviction to the task at hand.
So, when a strange little boy out of nowhere, denied Shiva entry into his own abode, the God of destruction with very little patience, decapitated Ganesha in anger. Parvati was horrified and appalled at what Shiva had done. He had killed her only child, and now, she (changing into Kali), was going to destroy all of creation. Brahma, the god of creation ran in its defence. Stopping the goddess, he pleaded with her to reconsider. And so she did - the world would be spared, only if the child was brought back to life, and was always worshiped first before any other god. Shiva now, less angry and more sympathetic, sent Brahma out with orders to bring back the head of the first creature he crossed, laying with its head facing north. Brahma returned with the head of a powerful elephant. Breathing new life into him, Shiva placed it on Ganesha’s body. In another version, it was Indra’s elephant. Either ways, unique and irreversible the elephant headed scribe was created. The birth of a new god willed into being by the goddess of all creation.
The Reading of Parvati and the Himalayas
This card speaks of oneness. The bond between the creator and the creation. It talks of motherhood but it also talks of all who bring their vision into existence. The creation of their own legacy. Something unique, linked forever to the magic of bringing into being.
The unstoppable, obsessive need to create and the desiring mind behind it is ever present regardless of what we do. The act of creation can be owned, but not the created – as that will only belong to itself. A gesture that changes everything, but does not belong to anyone.
Symbols : Himalayas — Himalayas are the holiest place on the earth and are believed to be the abode of Gods. To travel through them is a sign of strength and perseverance. The path is a spiritual pilgrimage, and the destination is to be one with the whole universe .   
Motif : Mother — Sorry about the missing copy but the complete text will be updated shortly. 


POULOMI

In a cosmos of affluent Asuras and entitled Devas, Poulomi moves. Paying little attention to their eternal combat, she chooses. She is Lakshmi the goddess of wealth, and like wealth, she is more desired than enjoyed. Her attention moves as she gazes over our small lives, with our slight victories and failures, only too aware of how little would survive us. From the ground, she had once risen, but only noticed in the skies, when her dazzle was in full bloom. We were made to understand, that this is how she always was - linked with our every swollen and unsatisfied desire. But as Poulomi, she reminds us of an earlier time, when she was a child, growing into a woman in her home, underneath the earth, hidden in the early hymns of the Vedas. A long age of both innocence and awareness, when Asura meant a divine being, still uncoloured by a later moral turn their stories took, spinning them into simplistic caricatures of demons and villains. An age for Poulomi, fathered, not just by one, but three Asuras. Varuna – the ocean, Puloman – the earth and Bhrigu – the teacher. Sharing her heritage, with glorious asuras – Balli, Virochana, Prahalad.An age of innocence that changed as did she, only coming into herself as she moved away from home. Suddenly, capturing our attention, she arrived in the world of the gods. Astonishing the heavens with her glamour, she chose to sit beside a thrilled and bewildered Indra. Still, she remained restless and uncertain. Surly, she thought, the heavens must have someone more worthy of her. Sometimes she is seen as Nidhi – the goddess of treasures, sitting by Kubera, and King of the Yakshas (the nature spirits), making him the god of treasures. Poulomi changes lives on a whim, leaving a trail of uncertainty. Nervous gods and humans, unaware of whom she will favor next. Indra suffered in his insecurity, never able to truly enjoy her, eternally balanced on a shaky throne. She seemed to have appeared with no particular reason and now might leave just as mysteriously. Tormented by the knowledge that he was king and his kingdom was heaven because of her. Proving him right, her journey continued, till she finally and ultimately met Vishnu. The one God who could love, appreciate and revel in her and her choices, that made them the queen and king of heaven.
The Reading of Poulomi and the Twin White Elephants 
Home can be very special but so is the journey away from it. This is the search for a new one - one you can call your own. The ‘home’ may be metaphorical but the crossing is very real. Bring your attention to the metamorphosis, as we change into our new lives, our new dreams or our new ambitions. How we merge the core of who we are with who we want to be. The adventure changes us, makes us shine in ways we never knew we could. A journey for that distant glimmer, that calls on you. And only starts when you step out of everything comfortable. This card represents wealth, the journey away from home that brings out the best in us and the ability to move and choose.
Symbols : Twin White Elephants  symbolize work, activity, and strength, as well as water, rain and fertility for abundant prosperity.
Motif : Voyage  A journey in search of a new life and the succccess that comes with that.

RADHA

Amongst the chime of bangles and anklets, rustling through the grass, across the gardens of Vrindavan, surrounded by divine milk maids, ready to take part in Krishnas’ famed raas lila, Radha mingles as she still stands high among the rest. Gentle and limpid, like a rivers’ flow, nocturnal and clandestine Radha and Krishna’s love is remarkable for so many reasons. The only way to engage with them is with comprehension and joy. Both childhood friends and lovers, their relationship is inherently powerful and erotic. Radha is often seen as a woman in her entirety – lover, friend, sister, daughter, mother. She is also a wife but not Krishna’s. Their love is such that it transcends both social requirements and human frailties such as marriage or jealousy. Radha is complete unto herself. And the love that radiates from her is equally complete.  
The less discussed detail of their epic love is Krishna's devotion towards her. We often hear of Radha’s unwavering adoration, but we don’t hear of her pride, her sense of entitlement, her demanding nature or that she was not an easy lover. Entangled and impatient, she was one that had to be pleased - and deeply invested in her happiness, Krishna did. Old miniatures show him washing her feet, or dressing in her clothes to entertain her. A special relationship of emotions churned together. When the time arrived for him to leave and fulfill his role in the Mahabharata, Radha was sad, angry and felt abandoned. She understood that he had to go, but also recognised her right to be upset. And still, their love is a celebration – asking nothing of each other, not marriage nor fidelity. It is love that is spiritually and physically full: unconditional, eternal and liberating.
The Reading of Radha and the Cow
The bond of love is larger than the signs we require from it. More often than not love is reduced to actions that are meant to prove its existence. But once we free love from these shackles we impose, the very nature of it changes. Something unusually powerful, that once it appears, does not belong to the ones who brought it into being. Simultaneously unique and repetitive, momentary and eternal, magical and real. A world of variation and abundance, where all things that exist are perceivable only to those free of familial ties and of outlandish moral constructs, of self – for only they are unburdened enough to live a love such as this. This card talks of a rare, uncommon and an unusual love, that will take us through the whole spectrum of human emotions. A love so special it's hardly ever understood. A reminder that love is not easy or convenient. It holds unfathomable joy and sadness in equal measure.
Symbols : Cow — a symbol of The Gopis - no ordinary beings, are milk maids – nature herself, provider of the milk of life.  
Motif : Love —The most beautiful and coveted of emotions, is a doorway that opens to both joy and pain. A sign of both vulnerability and strength.

RAJESHWARI

Not just a virgin mother, but an independent one. A kumari matha.
Mythology is filled with attempts made by male devas and assuras who tried to capture her. Dying or suffering consequences, they learnt, that nature will not be ruled by culture and the attempt, would lead to life lessons wrapped up in punishments. The mother goddess of all creation, she who holds the whip and the sugarcane. Punishment and Reward.
Arranging rivers, along the valleys, she watched us take our first steps into her world, where everything had arrived before us. She regarded us from a distance, through the eyes of animals, (all wild at the time), as she held in her womb, the three Gods who were to come. Brahma the god of creation, Vishnu the god of protection and Shiva the god of destruction - the son most protective of her.
In a world where volcanoes turn fire into stone, she taught us how to control it. Now, she is present in every temple – the Garbhagriha , the womb chamber, in which - sits the idol. Sometimes, even giving birth to herself. In the forest and the sea, in every seed and flower, the goddess of creation weaves life into a complex fabric. She is (Prakriti), and the mother of all nature and culture
An old goddess, from an old world, before life as we know it. She held the sun, and the moon, as he lured the ocean into an eternal tidal dance. There was no need to find reason, or enlightenment, inspiration or joy. The bare fact of being, was enough in itself. She belongs to a world before us. A world before the Gods.
The Reading of Rajeshwari and Sugercane 
Here we walk the line between nature and culture – between who we are and how we are perceived. To lose one’s balance is to be rewarded or punished. An old way of thinking, with a very clear notion of what is and what is not. This seemingly strict view of the world is still born out of freedom, with the awareness and the responsibility of independence. A card of formation and sovereignty, liberation and accountability. A mature vision that brings with it the ultimate power of life - to create the mechanisms of creation. A passion that is no longer a home project for self-joy but with the intention of releasing it into the world, with the hunger to be a part of that world and perhaps change it.
Symbols : Sugarcane — A source of fresh and pure sweetness, sugarcane is a symbol of reward and pleasure. An indicator of a victory and festive times. 
Motif : The Womb — The mother of the gods is the Garbhagriha. The space in temples that holds the deity. Pregnant with glory this is the time for creation.


SARASWATI

The oldest hymns were composed on her banks, a glorious beauty with her lilies and swans flowing through Punjab, Sindh and Rajasthan. A river of language, imagination and music she is Shatarupa – the goddess of infinite forms. All addressing the conception of creation – the one question –
Who am I?
In taking that step, from being wakeful to understanding, her unblinking eyes gather as her mind absorbs. For she, is the goddess, of all that is known and understood. She is knowledge.
Immersed in music and texts, she remains aloof, claiming the sovereignty of the mind over every other reality. Watching syllable by syllable appear she witnesses the construction of knowledge.
Despite all efforts to pair her with one god or the other, she remained distant. Interested in wisdom alone, calm and content in isolation, her journey was a solitary one. Her stories are sparse, In the pantheon of gods, who display power, looking for lovers, partners, wealth, or even for power itself, she stayed detached. A unique manifestation in which she needs little else but herself.
Although, as a river – she shatters the separation between Purusha and Prakriti, mind and matter, body and soul, and the strange belief that nothing in nature leads to the mind. Her state of being and the secrets she holds - keeps us from being paralyzed by wisdom. Despite all that is known, our world (once, with her river in it), pursues its course.
The Reading of Saraswati, the Swan and the Veena
Alone but not lonely, detached but not indifferent, at peace and still curious. This card is the journey for knowledge. For it is a journey that we take alone. The time to share will come, but the time to understand and learn is now. The solitary nature of this journey is intrinsic to the process of observing and understanding.
The world of our mind is but one component in the river of innumerable such realms. Entire worlds that don’t exist but help in understanding the tangible one we are in. A unique state where – what isn’t (thoughts in our mind) helps us understand all that is. Neither superior or inferior to the other. Our journey is down that river where thought gives birth to the world around us and the other way around.    
This rich world of the mind and our journey into each other’s internal landscapes – that is knowledge.
Symbols : Swan and Veena — Sorry about the missing copy but the complete text will be updated shortly. 
Motif : Scholar

SITA

We begin to comprehend Sita at the end. Throughout the epic Ramayana, Sita is the epitome of the devoted wife - Rama’s faithful, unquestioning consort. Without reference to Rama who Sita is in her own right is not immediately apparent. She is, of course, the daughter of King Janaka. But then we also learn she is adopted. Even her endless virtues refer to her relationship with Rama – her devotion to and patience with him. But in a thrilling denouement who and what she is becomes terrifyingly clear to all, especially to Rama, when after he demands a second trial by fire to prove her chastity, the obedient, silently suffering wife vanishes. Sita, the goddess, takes her place, was always there, but never comprehended. She is the daughter of the pagan earth goddess, Bhumi. She is the daughter of this land. And here she is depicted in her moment of truth, calling upon her mother to open her arms and swallow her, taking her back into her womb to return to her essence. What becomes clearer still is that Sita’s devotion, faith, loyalty, undying patience, strength of will were not mere abstractions, practiced by a woman exemplifying the dictates of tradition, but the gifts she gave.
The Reading of Sita and the Pomegranate (Earth - Bhumi) Sorry about the missing copy but the complete text will be updated shortly. 
Symbols : Earth 
Motif : Gift 


TARA

We leap into life, hoping to find the world, as she holds our hands, and helps us find ourselves. She is the Northern Star – a goddess for travelers, a leader for caravans in the literal. In the metaphorical, she navigates us through an ocean of existence. She warms our heart through the friends we make and fuels our courage to take unknown paths. A traveler between faiths, from Hinduism to Buddhism or the other way around, she crosses borders of every kind. We watch her light, traveling through diverse lands and various lives, as we hold on to a river of voices, with numerous stories of her origin. In one, she is born out of Kali’s third eye, a goddess for justice, in another she comes from a bodhisatva’s teardrop – so filled with pain, it created a goddess of empathy and compassion. In the white snows of Tibet, she is reborn as a princess from the vastness of China, and still another from the mountains of Nepal. She appears and reappears, always with the perfected wisdom to guide, and to eventually, be the mother of all Buddhas.
The Reading of Tara and the Himalayas
We are on a journey with the ability to heal and nurture. Travelers, literally or metaphorically, through life with the innate need for direction. The accidents are inevitable – good or bad. But, to be sensitive is to pay attention to what is around us. Not just taking advice or being shown the way – to be awake to all the numerous worlds around us. To remove the blinders that keep us focused, but also restrain our vision to a singular path.   
It’s a way of living, where we are conscious and aware of all the happenings around us. A vision that helps us read our way through life as though it were a map. Paths emerge, and forks in the road force us to choose. To be connected to the star is to know – first through viewing and understanding and then through instinct. The answers as moments and memories are all around us.  We must find a way to recognise and live amongst them. This moment right now is one such sign.  
Symbols : The Himalayas — Sorry about the missing copy but the complete text will be updated shortly.
Motif : Northern Star — Our compass in the celestial, that leads us to our destination. 


UMA

A goddess with many names and many lives  – Parvati, Gauri, Shakti, but it’s Uma who holds the mirror, changing how we view ourselves and the universe we live in. She is the creator of a new world order, where culture is born out of empathy. A distinctly feminine vision, in which our spirit is found in her matter, our soul in her substance. Even as we observe we realize that she is the observation. While awkwardly, we tussle with values, constantly making and breaking them, she is natural phenomenon.
Uma brings an air of expectancy, a preparation for a family as she arrives at her husband’s icy cave in the mountains. The hermit god Shiva, has known nothing else. – they make love for a thousand years, thinking of nothing but pleasure as she thaws the walls of his glacier and releases Shiva’s tapas into the world – rivers into the plains and life into the dry soil. Their home on the impossible peaks of Kalilash, her presence warming its core for she is also a daughter of the mountains. Their children will be either hers or his, and not the fruit of their union, but that, is another story. A love beyond the narrow understanding of procreation and family. As Kali she had danced on Shiva’s chest, but as Uma she sits beside him and on him when they make love. Ice and fire giving way to life and a unique shared vision of all creation.
The Reading of Uma and the Lion
The power of creation strikes us as always new and unexpected.
The desire to create, no matter what the circumstances are and ability to do so even in an environment that works against us. An inner force that forces us through obstacles, or an energy that can fight our own fear of failure. The card refers to that power of creation. The literal, would be family and children or the love between two individuals that aids this creation. In the larger sense we are talking about the birth of one’s legacy, no matter what it may be. A song, a poem, a painting or a recipe. The card represents that authority of creativity. To bring that idea from behind the eyes to before it.
Symbols : The Lion — Dawon, is a sacred lion (sometimes drawn as a tiger), and was later known as Gdon. In Hinduism, the tigerish Gdon was offered by gods to serve goddess Parvati (Durga) as a mount for rewarding her victory.  The Lion also represents strength and conquest over the ego.
Motif : Fire — Regarded as a protector of humanity, in particular, fire safeguards the home. A warmth that knows the thoughts of all people and is a witness to all important actions, hence the use of fire in many important Hindu ceremonies.


USHA

Dawn
Her name appears three hundred times, there are twenty hymns in her praise - the most written for any god or goddess in the Rig Veda, and apparently the most beautiful. She is not worshiped or celebrated, but she is sung for. Like the other early gods of her time, she is made of words, and the ones that created her are said to be the oldest. Finding form in poetry, Usha the new dawn floods the mind, as she looks into every opening eye, every morning. She is consciousness. And immediately dazzled, we blink – the first sign of a mortal. For Usha and her fellow immortals don’t. We are enticed out of slumber and into another day, as she passes an invisible line of time through us, counting our numbered mornings.
Brushing past and passing quickly, young and audacious, she takes many lovers. An adored bright beacon drawn by a thousand horses, in every shade of twilight, she remains the most desired and notoriously impossible to keep. To know her is to know abandonment, for she always rides past us, towards her sisters – Sandya and Ratri – evening and night. A goddess eternally connected to the future and the past. Eternally connected to her sisters. A bond made of time, so special it holds all of reality within it, and still, it holds them apart.
She is both, ‘to awaken’ and ‘the awakening’. Not just to enter consciences and make our way through time, but also the illumination that releases us from it. Moksha, vimoksha, vimikti, mukti – she is enlightenment. Bound by time and still timeless, she has looked at mortals, with the same unblinking eyes through eons. A gaze that talks of the existence of evil and the survival of hope, as she listens to our songs, sung to arouse her, so that she might revive us.
The Reading of Usha and the Horses 
The card talks of a very special sisterhood. One that runs through us, and is held in place by time. Generations holding hands as though, through a mirror. A strong kinship that responds to that deep isolation of existence. These sisters can see time like a range of mountains. The ones who made our lives possible and the ones we will make this world a better place for. The card also represents an awareness – be it to the passing of time or our own state of existence. It opens the door for a new awakening, freeing us from simply existing. This is the second awakening –  one that happens in our waking life. An awakening, of fresh perspectives and consciousness and of a sister hood that runs through time and reveals our role in it. 
Symbols : The Horses — is the symbol of loyalty, respect and power.
Motif : Dawn — The one who brings forth the sun. The one that precedes everything new.


SHAKTI

The very word for power lies in her name. Shakti is the female force that animates all mortal and immortal beings. If Brahma is the creator, Shakti is the source of his creative energy.
Yet here she is, relaxed and languorous, playing with her weapons as if they were instruments. It is a lyrical, balmy composition, lush with feminine details and in this soft, unassuming form, where potent power is to be found. We are reminded that soft is not weak and strength is not always displayed.
She is the energy from which all things arise. The elemental strength that powers all of life, mortal and immortal. Made of fire and blood she represents life itself. Without this feminine, life giving force the gods are impotent. Thus, making her one of the most fundamental symbols of Hindu philosophy and the source of all life and the life force for all creation.
What truly sets her apart from the rest and even from her other avatars - is in the way we are viewed by her. It's a subtle detail, but it changes everything. Shakti does not reserve a special consideration just for us. We are seen as part of all creation, and she in turn is not affected by the human gaze. Our acknowledgement of her, changes nothing. Her allies lie in nature within its intricate balance untouched by us. 
Shakti can surprise us, with her disregard. Her justice is larger, and it doesn’t place us in the centre of the world. She has the power to confirm our ignorance and fear. Gloriously free of our flattery, destroying our illusions of conquering nature – not regarding us either positively or negatively, we are seen as part of a whole.                   
The Reading of the Shankti and the Forest card.
The true manifestation of strength is when we feel it inside us. A source of energy that both liberates and connects us in a deep and authentic way to the world. An easy power that sets us apart but never isolates. This is not just the card of strength but also an empathetic and often misunderstood vision of justice. This awareness of the force that runs through us and into all that we create and love makes us strongly individualistic. An emotional intelligence that gives us multiple perspectives all at once. This process of creation with a unique vision and the most singular of visions is what sets us apart.
Symbols : The Forestrepresents an awakening and a searching. New beginnings or new perspectives and consciousness that take us back in time.  
Motif : Energy — The element behind of all life.
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