Triumph of Life Tarot – Ten of Cups

It has been such a long time since this project started! I am so happy it has finally come to fruition and that I have been able to participate with a card! Before I’d tell you about my story, this is what the Triumph of Life Tarot is all about:

Andrew Kyle McGregor of The Hermit’s Lamp had a simple idea: create a tarot deck that brings light and hope to cancer victims and survivors, AND that does something to stop this horrible disease.

Cancer and Cartomancy: The Triumph of Life Tarot

And this is how he did it:

First, get a bunch of people to contribute art to a tarot deck whose focus is the celebration of life. Make it as inspirational and life affirming as possible without denying the hardships we might face a long the way.

Each artist would strive create a card that answers the question “How does this image help us get from a place of loss and suffering to a place of joy and remembering?”

Second, print up the deck and sell them.

Third, take the profits and donate them to cancer research.

So 72 artists came together and made it happen!

This deck is entirely volunteer created.

All profits from sale 1, $13 per deck, will go to cancer research.

By February 2018, more than a thousand Dollars have been donated to the Terry Fox Foundation! Well done everyone, keep it going!!!

Now let’s talk about my card. By the time I found this project all cards were taken, so I just followed them and cheered from the background. Then, one day, Andrew announced that an artist had to withdraw. I jumped at the opportunity and got the Ten of Cups to make! How exciting! It was a very short time I had to finish painting but after a few days’ brainstorming (brain tsunamiing, hurricaning!!) my card was born. May I present you my Ten of Cups from the wonderful Triumph of Life Tarot!

Cancer and cartomancy: The Triumph of Life Tarot

The card shows a photograph hung on the wall, with ten cups raised for toast around it.

In India – where the person I dedicated the card is from – people hang the pictures of their passed away loved ones on the wall, with a garland of flowers around them. This is to show their love and of course to remember their dead. The Ten of Cups, this traditionally happy card advises us to keep the good times spent together in our hearts, and remember those who are not with us anymore with a nostalgic smile instead of tears. They are gone, and we can not change that. But a part of them, the amazing memories will stay with us forever, and that is what we need to celebrate. Raise your cups and tell a happy story when your loved one made you smile. Talk to your family and friends and share your grief with them. It is easier together. But most of all: smile.

Hindus believe in the process of reincarnation. In fact, their sacred scriptures advise us to think of our bodies not as a part of our identities, but rather as a coat that our soul, our real, immortal self is wearing. When a coat is too old and the wind blows right through it, you will change it for a new one, isn’t it? So why would a soul cry for a useless body? Our loved one’s soul hasn’t died; the soul is immortal.

In every religion people’s beliefs are similar: the soul has left the body, and it has transcended into another plane of existence, be it a new life here on Earth, in Heaven, at the side of Allah or in Nirvana… The thought that gives us hope is that we will meet again; it is only the matter of time. They are now in a better place.

Upright meaning: happiness; celebration; making the most of the time we have together; remembering the good times; taking the support of our family.

Reversed meaning: isolation; building up walls; inability to let go; the need to ask for our family’s help; the need to grieve together.

“As a man casts off his worn-out clothes and takes on other new ones, so does the embodied soul cast off his worn-out bodies and enters other new.”

– Bhagavad Gita 2:22

See you again soon, Didi! I wish you comfortable and sturdy clothes!


A reading with my Past Life’s Lesson Spread

I have been searching the internet for a spread on this topic for ages, but couldn’t really find what I was looking for. This is a spread I have made to look at past lives in a constructive way. What is the point of knowing who you were if you don’t learn anything, right? Now, this won’t give you your past name, but it will address some issues you might be facing in this lifetime.

Your positions:
1: The main characteristic of the previous life you have to know about right now – e.g. short, long, happy, sad, busy…

2: What kind of a person were you? – your main characteristics: kind, mean, optimistic…

3: What personality traits have you brought from that life to this that are hindering you now? – e.g. haughtiness or mistrust in people

4: Useful traits you brought into this life?

5: What is the lesson you had to learn then, and use in this life? – e.g. You had to learn to be persevering and you could use that trait now

6: What blocks do you have to release that stem from that life? – such as fears and dislikes

7: What karmic debt can you balance now that was made in that life? – e.g. If you were Emperor Nero then, you have quite a lot on your plate but most of us will have a lot less. 

8: How can you restore the balance? 

Let’s see a reading for me! Here are my cards:

Past life lesson and karma tarot reading spread
1: The main characteristic of the previous life you have to know about right nowThe High Priestess

On the card we see Devi Sarasvati, the goddess of Knowledge and Arts.

A scolarly life, quite lonely either because I have decided to be a nun or an ascetic, or because even if I had family around me I was living in my head. A life spent with studies. I was probably very proud of my knowledge too.

2: What kind of a person were you? Three of Pentacles

On the card we see Prince Siddhartha riding out from his palace, and being confronted with sickness, old age and death. He is deeply shaken and decides to start his journey to become Buddha shortly after this experience.

It seems I’ve been pretty oblivious to what was happening around me. Like, to really obvious things… sometimes I still am, haha! Also, the card means teamwork; I wasn’t such a loner after all? Maybe I’ve been a creative director or an architect, or a librarian… 

3: What personality traits have you brought from that life to this that are hindering you now?Ace of Cups

The card shows Lord Shiva in a meditative state as the source of spiritualism. The suit of Cups shows his evolution from an ascetic to a family person.

 I am way too emotional. I can’t handle stress and I crumble under pressure. I might also give too much attention to the ‘other side’ and not live in the ‘real’ world. I simply love to sit in one place and explore my imagination or do magick. That’s not very helpful when I should be getting about my daily routine… 😉 

4. Useful traits you brought into this life?The Fool

The card shows Lord Shiva’s Rudra avatar. Rudra (the Screamer) has jumped forth from Lord Brahma’s forehead and started breaking the half-made universe because he didn’t have a name or a purpose. When Brahma gave him the name Rudra and told him to do some creation, he calmed down and finished the universe. Yipee!

A useful trait I brought from that life is a faith in… faith. Whatever has to happen, will. Whatever had to happen, has happened. No use of being a five of cups and cry over spilled milk. Hakuna Matata.

The Fool is always ready to start on a new adventure and has complete trust in himself that he can do it. Or if not, there will be something else he can do. But there is no way he will be stuck for more than a short time.

5: What is the lesson you had to learn then, and use in this life?The World

The card shows Lord Shiva as Nataraj, the Lord of Dance – and the one who’s dance is the pulse of the universe. 

The complete opposite of the Fool! 😀 I had to learn to complete my projects, to follow them through even in the face of great adversity (the Fool has to reach the World by going through Death and The Tower and the Devil cards!) I wish I remembered this lesson earlier… I am not really good at finishing things. But I will remind myself now! 😉

6: What blocks do you have to release that stem from that life?King of Wands

Creativity, self-worth, confidence, loudness… something terrible must have happened because I have almost none of these things. I know I could be like the KoW but somehow I am afraid to be. I am afraid that my work will be misunderstood, that I will have to explain myself, I have impostor-syndrome… I’ll do a separate reading on this matter later on. It’s a lot. In a nutshell: I am afraid to be ‘out there’.

7: What karmic debt can you balance now that was made in that life? Queen of Pentacles 

Being a mom. Spending time with family. Being a family person, and enjoying it.

8: How can you restore the balance? 10 of Pentacles 

Well here’s to stating the obvious: have a happy family life without having a guilty feeling! Everything in my life led to the point where I am now: being a mom of two awesome boys and staying at home with them. The plan wasn’t exactly this; I have graduated from Uni and worked in an IT company. But when destiny/karma calls, there’s no whining about plans and expectations… Still, I do have a guilty feeling about sitting at home and not having a career. It comes with living in this era I guess. Homemakers are valued next to nothing. Big conflict between karmic balance restoration and expectations of modern society… Will work on this later on! 😉

So, what have I learned? To sum it up: I need to realise that this is a new life with new experiences and opportunities to get rid of some karma. I have to let go of the block on my Wands aspects (I will do a detailed reading on this later on); I also have to embrace being a mother and not let society’s expectations spoil the fun. And I have to make myself aware that I actually can finish projects and I know how to carry things through… just have to get the hang of it again! 

If you’d like a reading with this spread, drop me an email to katalin.patnaik at gmail dot com, or leave a comment and we’ll talk it through. The first person to write will have a free reading with it (because I am such a softy Ace of Cups… and because I feel that someone out there needs this right now). I will expect a detailed and honest feedback in return! 😉

Shuffle your cards in my name, and have a great day!


Cards are from the Sacred India Tarot by Rohit Arya and Jane Adams. 

Journey into Crowley’s Death

Crowley's Death from Thoth TarotThis is one of Crowley’s strangest cards. Unlike in the RWS or Marseille decks, here the skeleton turns his back towards us, and he wears the crown of Osiris, the Egyptian god of Death and Afterlife. He is surrounded by the creatures associated with the Zodiac of Scorpio, and instead of reaping  body-parts he is popping the bubbles of peoples’ lives with his scythe. It almost looks fun. Almost…

But what is really interesting about him, is the way he is holding his scythe. This is not how a farmer would reap his crops. This is not how it is supposed to be held. I have tried to read up on it, but I couldn’t really find anything. Of course, thousands of articles have been written on the Thoth, so maybe I just haven’t clicked on the right ones. Be as it may, I wanted to find out about this. I have journeyed.


I close my eyes…

Take a deep breath…


I am sitting on a hilltop. The wind blows lightly, but I can feel it is much stronger near the gigantic black skeleton some distance away. I can hear a constant murmur, like I am under water in the ocean, listening to currents moving above. There is another, eerie sound; just at the border of hearing, something similar to the screeching a stopping train’s wheels make. It comes from the scythe as it separates those souls from their bodies. It sends shivers down my spine.
The Hanged Man and Death from Crowley's Thoth Tarot
I look to my left and get a jump. A pair of upside down… khmm… body-parts hang just next to me! I remind myself where I am. This is the previous card, the one every querent wants to turn around at first. I look down, searching for his face but I find the features of a bird; or perhaps a robot.


“He looks majestic, doesn’t he?” The Hanged Man asks.

“Yes. He does.”

“I can’t wait to reach him at last! It will be such a relief.”

“Why are you hanging like this? And what happened to your face?”

“I have given up my attachments, only the holy Ankh, container of all Life Force keeps me pinned here now. While hanging here I have realized the difference between this body and me. The real me that is my soul. I am free from ego and so I don’t have a face.”

“Will He turn around or do you have to go there?”

“Let’s get closer, shall we?”
He floats towards the skeleton and I follow him.
“Why is he holding his scythe in such a strange way?” I ask.

“He is not reaping, he is not taking. He is not violent. He is offering his scythe to those who are ready to pass below it. He is kneeling down and makes this ultimate offering of kindness and mercy.”

“The mercy of death?”

“The mercy of release. Of change. Of evolution and progress. Yes. The Mercy of Death.”


Suddenly he is not there anymore. I am standing in front of the skeleton. He is even taller than I first thought. He looks down at me and gently shakes his head, then shoos me away with his hand. I understand. He lets me watch, but it is not my time yet.

I turn around and see an ocean of souls. I feel scared. I am terrified of ghosts. They swarm around me and I want to scream, but suddenly I feel a hand on my shoulder. Then on the other side. My grandfather and grandmother are standing behind me. They are giving me courage to see all those souls for what they really are: people, just like me.

I see them part and let a group of spirits through. I recognize my wife from a previous life. I hug her tight and she hugs back, and I am so thankful she is here! Then I feel a tug on my suit (when did I change from my night dress?) and my children are there, waiting for their turn. I am so happy and relieved; I was a horrible father and husband, I thought they hated me. But they smile and I know they have forgiven, if they were ever angry at all. I call them by their names and realize I know everything I thought to have forgotten about them. The eldest is wise beyond her years; the boy is a sweetheart; the youngest is a cheeky little girl… They hug me once more and I know it is time for them to go. They slowly dissolve into the sea of souls and I stand there in my nightdress, grateful and uplifted.

“So this is your mercy?” I ask Death. “You offer it to those who are ready for it.”

He doesn’t speak but I hear his voice in my head.

“This was not for you. This was mercy for them. To see that man you used to be without the hatred that tainted his memory. They are now released. Your turn will come too.”
I wake up, back in my room, emotional and a little sad. I decide that This card is going to be my safe place.



Have you journeyed into or meditated on this card? I would love to hear about your experience!