a ‘Deste’ Love Reading

I have been getting a lot of Deste-related questions recently from folks who want to learn the deck. The Spirit of Deste — and if you read Deste you know exactly what I’m talking about — has been quite pushy about wanting me to give it more attention. Although I am far from mastering this oracle, I thought it would be helpful sharing an actual reading I’ve recently done for a client. Luckily, the client was gracious and has given me permission to share her consultation with you.

In addition, I have a couple of important announcements tucked at the end of this post — so make sure to check them out before you click on and away from my blog 😉

To the Reading, then:

My client wanted to know about the prospects of her relationship with a colleague, whom she’s been involved with for several months now. I drew the Imperial Cross — thanks Dimitra for teaching me this technique. Essentially, it’s a similar layout to what we refer as the Celtic Cross, but Miss Meimaridi calls it the Imperial Cross.

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an Imperial Cross layout + a Djan for advice

Dare Reversed (Rx) in the center represents the man you are in a relationship with. By being reversed we see already that the situation isn’t ideal. The card in general foretells of reversals of fortune, and having to wait for what you want. Your situation is influenced by outside forces — it’s not in your own hands. Most likely it’s family issues that interfere with your relationship.
Clouds represent the obstacles. You want clarity, yet this desire isn’t possible at the moment. With the Anchor to the right of the Clouds, it seems like what you really want is clarity in regard to the stability of this relationship.
Gate Rx stands for the fear of the negative influence this relationship could have on your work / career situation. Also, if your guys was waiting for a promotion at work, Gate Rx below his significator card, Dare Rx, it doesn’t look likely.
Assyranta is a female in a position of influence. Is he married or in a committed relationship? It sure looks like that with Assyranta on above Dare Rx that is on top of Gate Rx.
In that case, she is in control of the situation, and he won’t leave her / divorce her.
~ after the reading the client had confirmed she is involved with a married man ~
Zara, the white horse of the diamond suit, shows the bright promises of the past; it looked like this relationship would blossom into a more fulfilling and easier to handle romance, and that the man you are dating would be a suitable choice for a partner.
With Anchor placed in the position of upcoming events, I don’t think you’ll be leaving him soon. Anchor is a card of stability. I do not foresee a major change in the status quo, so to speak, in the near future. It also shows that if he is in another relationship, he’ll continue going between both of you. Butit’s important to remember that the Anchor is a positive card. So it’s quite possible that your outlook on the relationship will become a bit more positive, and so you won’t want to make changes.
The Mice Rx tell us that you have hopes for this relationship to work out, and regain the things that were lost in the near past.
You have people around you that push you to stay in the relationship with him, while others sway you against it. This is shown the reversed Fish card. It makes you feel like others know better than you. You are stuck in the middle, unable to make a decision, and wanting others to decided for you.
Your own feeling is that you are willing to give him one last chance. The Tomb Rx states so.
For now, as seen by the Letter card, you will continue communicating with him.
Bedes Rx is the advice card. It doesn’t show great potential for the relationship because you have a lot working against you. Bedes talks about having to wait for a very long time, and be extra patient to get this relationship to a place that is truly healthy and good for you.

I hope this sample reading was helpful for you. Please feel free to respond in the comments about your experiences with the Deste, and how do you handle love consultations.

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Madame Pamita, Johannes, Madame Nadia, & Elvyra at the Hoodoo Heritage Fest 2013

As you may already know, I will be presenting two workshops at the Hoodoo Heritage Festival in California, in the first weekend of May. One of the workshops might be of special interest to you, and so I thought I’d share the details.

Beyond the Reading: Using Tarot, Lenormand, and Playing Cards in Rootwork is a workshop crafted to teach how to use Tarot, Lenormand, and Playing Cards to diagnose yourself or a client and decide which spell to use for any given situation, how to customize that spell for maximum effectiveness, and even how to incorporate your cards into hoodoo spells.

This workshop will take place between 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM, on Saturday, May 3, 2014.

You’ll even get to take home some awesome conjure goodies when you sign up for the workshop.

On another note, I will be on the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour, along with catherine yronwode and ConjureMan Ali, this coming Sunday, at 5 PM CST. I hope you can tune in, and join the live chat that’s always loads of fun. The show is also archived, and available for later listening.

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Your Destiny in the Deste

From left, top: Reuby of Fire, Emerald of Water; Diamond of Air; and Ebony of Earth

Gemstones / Elements

If you’ve been following me on Facebook or other social media in the past half a year or so, you know that I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the Deste. Besides the lovely aesthetic of the cards, the individualist (or the masochist) in me is impulsively drawn to things that are hard to come by. And the Deste is a pack that is not only hard to find, but it’s also difficult to learn to read — unless you’re fluent in Greek or Turkish, of course!

Four Djans - the Spirit Advisors

Four Djans – the Spirit Advisors

I first saw the cards on Chris’s YouTube channel. Chris is a young man from Greece, who often records cartomancy-related videos in English. And in one of Chris’ videos dealing with his fortunetelling collection he revealed the Deste — an oriental-looking (for a lack of better words) system of divination composed of suites / elements, courts, and ‘core’ cards that resemble the Lenormand. The deck also includes four Horses, four Djans  (magical spirits and advisors), and two matriarchal divinities representing the polarity of good and evil. Attart (also Attartee) is the energy of “light”, while Valide (Valinde) is the bringer of misfortune and doom.  The pack totals 65 cards.

Attart & Valinde

Attart & Valinde

This deck was created by Mara Meimaridi, who is a published Greek author and a hereditary psychic. Meimaridi claims to be a reincarnation of her great aunt, Katina, a powerful witch from the Greek town of Smyrna. Rising up from tragically humble beginnings, just like the famed Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau, of New Orleans, Katina became a force of magical influence in her own town. Guided by a pack of very special cards, the sorceress knew what spells to perform and what potions to use get all she desired. Can you guess what cards Katina had used? You’re right, the Deste!

Three out of four Horses of the deck

Three out of four Horses of the deck

One day, while staying in the house of her late great aunt, Katina, Mara Meimaridi had multiple revelations that led her to locate Katina’s hidden deck. Meimaridi knew how to lay and read these cards. What followed is numerous books chronicling the life and times of Katina, including a cosmology of Attart, Valinde, and other mystical forces influencing our world. In addition, Meimaridi owns a pricy cosmetic line attributed to Katina’s knowledge of magical herbology, while ruling a psychic empire of books, cards, and more recently a Deste-style Quija board. Katina’s adventures captured the Greek audiences so much, that a soapy TV show was produces about the witches of Smyrna.

On the left is the Greek edition, and on the right is the Turkish.

On the left is the Greek edition, and on the right is the Turkish.

Interestingly, the design of the Deste does not resemble Katina’s original pack. Claiming the cards to be too fragile, Meimaridi composed the aesthetic of her deck by using snippets taken from original, antique oriental art. The author published two versions of the deck: the Greek, which is more liberal looking; followed by a flimsily modest, Turkish edition.

After seeing Chris’ initial video about this pack, I spent many hours online hunting for the cards. Eventually I found a Turkish website that sold them. The cards arrived to the western suburbs of Chicago almost two months post ordering. However my excitement of finally having a copy of the Deste quickly turned into frustration. It all boiled down to being incapable to learn using the system because I don’t speak or read Turkish. And apparently Google translate doesn’t either because after typing in whole passages from the accompanying book, all I got was gibberish!

“How am I supposed to learn to read with these cards if I’m having a hard time translating their damn titles?”

Some of Deste’s characters

Some of Deste’s characters

My salvation came in the form of a Facebook Group, founded by Maree Bento, the creator of the Antiquarian Lenormand. Luckily for all of us, Dimitra, of Greek Tarot, who is also a professional translator with a perfect knowledge of the English language, also joined the group early on.

Dimitra has made a generous series of tutorials about the cards. She shared not only the meanings and the reading techniques, but also the back-stories underlying this particular method of divination. I must say that I absolutely adore Dimitra. Besides being a talented and knowledgeable reader, she is cool lady with a Mediterranean sense of humor — something I miss so much in my Midwestern hood. I am thrilled that she has recently agreed to formally teach the Deste. Dimitra’s seminars are accessible internationally. For more information please visit her website.

In the group Dimitra shared invaluable tips, like card combos and keys to understanding the complicated court cards reflective of politics of the harem structure during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. Other group members also helped tremendously by compiling and editing on card definitions, drawing from various sources like Chris’ videos, Dimitra’s translations, and the English definitions randomized by the card drawing application on Meimaridi’s site.

From left, top: Tower; Clouds; Moon; Fox — all of these cards have completely different meanings from Lenormand

From left, top: Tower; Clouds; Moon; Fox — all of these cards have completely different meanings from Lenormand

Even though a lot of the core cards resemble the Lenormand, it is a completely separate system and it would be a mistake trying to read these based on Lenormand theory. For instance, though there are cards with similar titles, like Child and Tower, many of these cards’ meanings critically differ from what we’re used to in Lenormand. For example, the upright meaning of the Clouds card is actually very positive — something along the lines of “the clouds are clearing above your head after a period of dark storms.” Additionally, the core division of the pack includes additional cards that the Lenormand doesn’t; like Camel, Nile, and the East Wind. It’s also important to note that Deste is read both, upright and reversed. It even has its own, unique method of shuffling and a special way of question-framing.

One of the things I particularly enjoy about the Deste is that it was made for spellwork. Both, single cards and card combinations can be applied for magical purposes. Here’s an example of a small beauty ritual I came up with using the cards.

From left: East Winds; Camel; Opium; and Nile

From left: East Winds; Camel; Opium; and Nile

Finally, I find this deck to be people-oriented, as opposed to the Lenormand that, in my opinion, is more event-based oracle. It’s not recommended to use the Deste for day-to-day readings (even though I do that all the time), but to keep its advice for more weighty concerns. Also, Fridays are considered a traditional day for Deste divination.

P.S.

Tomorrow, November 24th, 2013, I’ll be a guest reader on the Lucky Mojo Rootwork Hour along with Miss cat yronwode and Conjureman Ali. If you have a chance, please tune in. The show is always a lot of fun. And who knows… I might even pull a few Deste cards 😉

Deste’s Way

One of the things I find most fascinating and difficult while learning a new system of divination, is figuring out how it tells its stories. Are the answers figurative or direct? Is the advice practical or philosophical? Each system has its own language, approach, strengths and weaknesses. Though it takes a while even to start getting how it communicates.
Today was the first time I felt Deste’s vibe:

I pulled some cards to see how my workday is going to pan out. Today was important due to a meeting that made me quite anxious. So when I pulled 2 “court” cards — Gamhat (the achiever) and Tattaret (the wannabe wife)— alongside a reversed House, it didn’t make any sense. I wanted to know about my job, so what the heck it this family affair showing up in my draw?

 My advice card was Bedes; the Djan of harmony and courage, who encourages careful meditation before taking stands.
Even though I wasn’t able to predict much with this draw, I’ve decided to process the cards analytically and see how it all plays out in my day. However, I pulled another card for clarification…. and got another court card — Adhamdeva, the power-hungry and money-loving bitch of the deck.
“Great! Today’s just going to be fucking great!” I thought to myself, stuffing the cards  deep inside the gaping satin belly of otherwise pitch-black velveteen pouch where my Deste live.
Even though I was annoyed, I’ve decided to take the draw for a ride — I really wanted to see how Gamhat, Tattaret, and Adhamdeva are going to play house in during my workday. And to my amazement they all did.
So here is how it all played out:
One of my highest and favorite students (I work with children with special needs), Nicolas, had a very tough Labor Day weekend. Due to a fight with a cousin he ended up doing something dangerous and drastic. Luckily he wasn’t hurt, but it shook his family and him quite a bit.
Now, I am his case manager — meaning, my job is to make sure the rest of the team is informed in case something important is going on with a student. But, because I’m an artist and not a “therapist,” often times important information isn’t even shared with me. So Nicolas’ episode over the long weekend wouldn’t be even brought to my attention, if his Teacher Assistant wouldn’t share it with a good friend of mine, who also used to be Nicolas’ TA in the past.
You can imagine how I felt when I heard the story. I was shocked, worried for the kid, and then really upset because my position was undermined yet again.
I ended up asking his TA to come by my room, and got to hear the whole story from her, making sure the “important folks” are informed.
After she left I saw clearly what Deste was showing me earlier in the day:
Gamhat was Nicolas. I would never think of him as Gamhat, but it made sense because in a way he is the biggest fish in our small pond due to the fact he is quite higher and more able than other students.
Tattaret represented his TA. She has big dark eyes, and deep mocha skin. She is slightly insecure, which is somehow Tattaretish to me 😉
And of course, House Rx showcased the heart of the problem and the location where the event has taken place. It’s where the story was conceived — a story that continued to unfold during my workday, and now also included me.
So who is Adhamdeva you might ask? Well, the big bitch in disguise is Nicolas’ classroom teacher. She is a young, made-of-money, know-it-all, Capricorn. Today she made her hair into a ballerina bun, carefully pulled together on top of her head. And as I was waiting to meet with my boss after the students have left, on her iPhone she showed me a pair of boots she was planning to buy. That pair of boots looked gorgeous. It also equals about half of my paycheck.
Finally, although I wanted to explode all over her I’m-better-than-you face, and then rip her head off; I chose to fight my battle another day. After all, my buddy, Bedes, said not to shake the boat before I take some time to think and figure out the best way for doing so.
Nonetheless, this experience taught me a bit of Deste’s way to share information. It is the underlying tale — the bone — that was revealed to me. And then the events of the the day grew muscle and meat over the skeleton, flavoring the whole experience with a stink of self-interest.
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No worries, Adhamdeva, I might forgive but I won’t forget….