In the monthly column Artist’s Advice divination authors and deck designers give their reading tips, divination techniques or unique essays to share their expertise and showcase a new release. This issue:
Draco Advice Spread & Companion book(s) | Starlight Dragon Tarot |Steph Engert
“We created the Starlight Dragon Tarot (2016) to celebrate dragons as mighty, wise, challenging heralds from the dream- and astral worlds and as powerful transforming energies. Working with this deck in divination, self-development, ritual or story-telling unlocks their creative, magickal powers for you to draw upon. We were inspired by dragon images and strands of dragon lore from many cultures past and present, but each image is an artistic original creation, expression of layers of meaning in our own imaginative interpretation.
In my companion-book, Travelling with the Starlight Dragons (March 2018) I lead you deeply into various dragon worlds in a series of ‘fantasy travels’ – the four elemental worlds of Earth-Air-Water and Fire and the myths and high magickal realms of the Major Arcana.
These travels and the spread and ritual exercises in the practical section are meant to help make best use of the deck, but also as inspiration to find your own ways with this special, yet very versatile deck.
Flow of elemental energies in one glance: the deck
We chose our innovative format of square cards ‘standing on tiptoe’, not only to emulate dragon scales, but even more to enable ‘seamless’ spreads and layouts without people cutting off any frames. Therefore, we minimised the use of titles or symbols on the cards to the bare essentials. As a navigational aid, we added colour-coordinated ‘key-rings’, so at a glance the flow of the elemental energies in a spread can be discerned by the reader. The ‘key-map’ to unlock the specials of our design was included in the booklet coming with the deck, but also in the book. With this one image readers will quickly get their orientation with the cards:
◊Starlight Dragon Tarot in Action: Draco’s Advice Spread◊
Whilst my present Starlight Dragon book (TSQ: The companion Travelling with Starlight Dragons is just released) is focused on the elementary associations of tarot (Golden Dawn tradition) plus the grand mythic tales of great dragons, I am preparing another on a more advanced level with work on tarot correspondences to astrology, kabbalah and alchemy, which have been only touched upon in the first book.
As a very special and exclusive pre-taste
, I am sharing here my spread for Asking Advice from Draco.
The Mythic constellation Draco & kabbalistic inspiration
Draco is the name-giver of our deck and the image of its Star card (XVII). In the sky, it is a big Northern constellation and in the pyramid age (some 4500 years ago), the star Alpha Draconis or Thuban (arab.: serpent) was the Pole Star, which, due to the precession of the Earth’s axis, has since moved to our present day Polaris in the Little Bear. Draco and some of the other circumpolar constellations in the North play a role in many mystical teachings. In the Pyramid texts and their further development, such as the “Book of the Dead” this area is seen as the goal of the immortal soul and this was reflected also in initiation rituals.
My spread is inspired by the Sepher Yetzirah, the ancient kabbalistic Book of Formation. It speaks of the Hebrew letters, setting the three ‘Mothers’, Shin, Mem and Aleph, as the sources of Fire, Water and Air, ‘in the Teli, the Cycle, and the Heart’. The Teli, from a Hebrew word for hanging, has been equated with Draco, as the world axis, from which ‘hang’ the planets and the zodiac signs and by which they are kept in their movements. They form the cycle of time.
The spread is for advice on something important, for which higher guidance (from Draco) is sought.
How to do the Draco Advice Spread:
Shuffle your deck, while imagining you fly up to the sky to the two ‘eyes’ in the head of Draco. Draw 7 cards and lay them out as follow: 3 in a triangle form on top, 4 on bottom in a row and one in the centre beneath that (see IMG below).
First row, triangle: The left card looks skeptically (fire) and the right (water) benevolently on your question/problem, the third card (for Aleph and Air) above the two tries to balance them.
Second row, line: The four cards below form the ‘cycle’. I have kept it to 4 stages/seasons. To follow the Sepher Yetzirah more precisely, it would be 12 for the zodiac signs. As the cycle is time, you can read here what you should do in four stages.
My question is about how to go about important mundane ventures, without losing alignment to my higher paths.
EXTRA DEPTH with the Draco Spread
One can add another layer to the interpretation by reading the cards on the kabbalistic Tree of Life.
Kabbalistic work will be presented in my advanced book on the Starlight Dragons (planned for 2019/20).
My reading and interpretation for the Draco’s Advice Spread:
The triangle of Draco/Teli brings up X The Wheel and the King of Swords to be balanced by the Ace of Cups. I have to bridge clear mental decisiveness and the recognition of natural change rhythms by trusting the flow of intuition.
The time-line has the High Priestess – followed by the Ace of Coins, the Knight of Coins and the Queen of Swords. So, there will be a slow beginning and not yet everything relevant known, the real beginning of work and cultivation is on the second stage, with an increase in mundane dynamism in the third and drastic clear-sighted judgment before the release at the end.
My heart is in Strength, to bring in my full inner powers and will to these ventures.
The axis for the alignment I am seeking is from the Ace of Cup to Strength: openness to imagination and intuition linked to my inner strength and will.”
– Steph Engert
Steph Engert is an author, publisher, tarot reader and -teacher. Steph has worked with dragons and the tarot for about 4 decades. Tarot (and dragons) became the focus of her life starting 2011. She is running the tarot meeting & conference place Tarothouse in Solingen (2014) and started her publishing house Starlight Dragon Press a year later. The Press specialises in books of fantasy, re-imagined fairy tales and legends, as well as spiritual and occult topics, especially tarot. The Starlight Dragon Tarot, in cooperation with artist Nora Huszka, and her companion Travelling with Starlight Dragons are good examples.
Image credits @Nora Huszka and Starlight Dragon Press