Heart of Faerie: Exercise One


So as we assemble and get ready for our readings Le Fanu and I decided we'd like to post some warm-ups for all of us to try. These are just fun getting to know your deck exercises, nothing earth shattering.

I like to sift through the deck and create two piles. One pile is the cards I love. The other is of cards that confuse me or that I dislike.

Sort through the piles and find your favorite card and your least favorite card. Imagine these two Fae face to face.

What would they have to say to each other? Are they friends?

Are they enemies? Do they get along or do they fight?

What secrets do they know about each other?

Do they like you?

If they mention other fae from the pack, pull out that card and add it to the conversation...

If the fae that you dislike were to disappear and never again be seen or heard from again, how would that change the community/readings you might do with the deck?

Talk about how the exercise helped you, changed your mind about either fae, and if you would do this again with all the cards in the deck?

Share only what you feel comfortable sharing with the group.

Have fun!

Now off to find my own HoF fae. They seem to have hidden themselves from me...yes that is right, I can't find my #$%& deck. I'll be so ticked if I have to buy a new deck and then they suddenly appear.....sigh. Faeries.

Yes I just found my faeries. I pulled a card and said "who's idea was this little trick?"

I got: The Big Behind. Say no more, right? I see how this is gonna be....


Sort through the piles and find your favorite card and your least favorite card. Imagine these two Fae face to face.

Today, The Captive Man (10) stood out in the least favorite pile, and I picked that card for my least favorite at the moment. Usually, it's Shadows of the Past that gives me weird feelings, but today this card just creeps me out! It feels so menacing. For the favorite side, The Lady of Song (42) kept calling to me while looking at the cards. These two, face to face? Oh my...

Satori said:
What would they have to say to each other? Are they friends?

This lot friends with her? I doubt it. They seem to be looking at each other in an, "Oh, it's you..." sort of way. The Lady of Song seems particularly unimpressed.

Satori said:
Are they enemies? Do they get along or do they fight?

They feel like enemies, but I don't think they fight. More like they don't associate with each other.

Satori said:
What secrets do they know about each other?

They know each other's weaknesses. Never actively do anything to each other about it though.

Satori said:
Do they like you?

The Lady of Song feels like a protective, big sister kind of force right now. The fae on the Captive Man card feel as if they're trying to lure me in, a kind of "Come play with us!" thing. I'd say that means they both like me, but one feels genuine and the other feels like how a child is with a new toy.

Satori said:
If they mention other fae from the pack, pull out that card and add it to the conversation...
While I was deciding on a favorite, it came down to the Faerie of Growth (33) and the Lady of Song, and both seemed to be whispering about each other, "Choose her! You need her!" The Faerie of Growth was yelling louder and my attention kept turning to the Lady of Song, but after I made my decision, I still got, "You need her too." I've placed her beside th Lady of Song. She feels like a friend to the Lady of Song. The Lady of Song emits this energy of "freedom" and "expression" and with the Faerie of Growth, it's "nurturing" and "growing". Together, I see them as a self-expressive, creative duo. Friendly, but both more on the relaxed and independent side.

Satori said:
If the fae that you dislike were to disappear and never again be seen or heard from again, how would that change the community/readings you might do with the deck?

As much as this card is bothering me right now, I think my readings would feel a little less complete without them there. I see them as a warning, about allow myself to be trapped into something I don't truly want, needing to see what's really there and walk away before the illusion fades and I'm surrounded in an unfamiliar place. Being in that sort of state may be easy, and may seem nice, but freedom and real happiness is more important than letting myself waste away attached to other things and letting myself be controlled in exchange for an outside happiness.

Satori said:
Talk about how the exercise helped you, changed your mind about either fae, and if you would do this again with all the cards in the deck?

It's interesting to me that these two cards stood out so much for me today. The Captive Man isn't a card I particularly like, but I can see why it's necessary in the deck. The Lady of Song is a card I've often overlooked, thinking along the lines of "this is a pretty card" and nothing more. But today, I feel like I really saw the beauty of the card beyond the artwork itself, as if her message is something I've been taking for granted all this time. I feel like I've come ot respect each card a little more.


Nice Nami! You had some great observations. Interesting how you wouldn't want to lose Captive Man from your community.

Let me ask you something. In the Captive Man card there are lots of other individuals standing around. Who do you think they all are? Do they have a relationship to each other or just to him? Did any of them have anything to say to your lady? Maybe the ladies know each other in a different way?

Just wondering....

I call the community cards the troops. The fae that get pictured with all the extras in the picture....So Captive Man's troops....do they have names? Does he? What do you want to call the cards with a community within a community?

Go as far as you want with answering some of these questions. The deeper you go the richer your relationship with each character becomes. They already have so many symbolisms in their faces, their positions, their expressions, their manner. In a reading one tiny part of the card might pop. Not the main character either, but a little mouse in the corner might whisper to you a secret....

Le Fanu

This is such an interesting exercise to do because although there is much that is romantic and ethereal in this motley fairy troop, there are some cards I just don't like. Only a few.

I should like to propose a kind of "grace" when reading with this deck. I think we should be allowed to "banish" fairies; fairies we don't like. Not because they are "bad" cards in terms of meaning but because they just don't jive with us. Maybe one for each reading.

I really don't like that "boy" card (number 21). He just doesn't feel right and I would happily banish him. Too human and not fairy enough. Looks like a spotty teenager. I could easily do without this card and may well do so.

Of my favourites, there are many. I juxtapose The Boy with The Lady of Faith and feel I juxtapose silliness with wisdom. She reminds me of a silent movie star or an Art Nouveau siren. She has something of Greta Garbo about her, mysterious and aloof. They would not get along because she wouldn't have patience for his boyish antics. Nor would I.

I also love the Prince of Air as it is the only masculine representation of faerie that feels right to me. And it was with this card that I finally found a way into the deck.

I would love to juxtapose pairs of cards I like with those I don't like but to be honest, I think there are more I like so I'd end up coming up against a wall, but this is a deck where I would feel free (unlike tarot) to discard a few cards and not feel as if I have imbalanced the deck in any way. That's the good thing about Oracles, you can shamelessly tweak!


I love that. You are now banished from the realm dog! Go into exile and your name shall never be spoken here again! (Cue music....crescendo) I know what you mean about the Boy. But...I have to say I don't think he is what he seems. See his leaf shirt? I think if you poked at him a little...he would fall apart. I think the Boy is trying very hard to LOOK like a Boy. But I think he is Something ELSE. I find him terrifying. His teeth are too big, he is looking a little too chipper, his dress up outfit is a little too jaunty...his eyes...so cold. Where are his hands? What are his hands? I'm all shivery. This is the scariest card in the pack to me. I don't believe him for one minute. But I hear him whisper to my little nephew...."Let's play pirates......."
And behind him....

Okay...so some of the cards I dislike are for petty reasons.

I dislike The Shape Shifter because I feel like the face at the top is poorly drawn! Now I don't draw, but...I dunno, that face at the top bothers me a bit. Would I banish them? No.

Same for Paradox. I don't like the way it was drawn...it seems...too..sketchy, rather unfinished.

Now that said I'm gonna go into some of my "beliefs" about the fae, the stories I tell myself when I read the deck, when I play with this deck. I sort the cards into groups and the groups sometimes shift and change, but I have to say with HoF the groups seem pretty definite. I see lots of twins, I see older versions here of fae introduced in the Faeries Oracle, and I see entirely new species of Fae or other kinds of faeryland creatures that I don't as yet know the names of. This could be another exercise...oh there are so many I could post!!!! Sort your fae into little groups...sigh.

I think of these pictures as sittings. As if the fae allowed Froud to catch them and in some cases posed for him. So, the full faced cards, where there is usually one character shown, those are what I call The Portraits.

One of my least favorite cards, well no, most of my least favorite cards are Portraits. I don't like Prince of Shadows.

I have a problem with In Two Minds....they don't look like anything in either deck. They look....cartoony. So, sometimes I think maybe this is more like....something magical made manifest as a creature to depict an idea. Does that make sense? LOL.

Love the The Blessing. I think the Hero and the Magician are brother and sister. The Hero seems very male, the Magician seems female.

I think we need an entire exercise on the Queens and Ladies.

Who loves the Sorcerer? Oh. My. Gosh. Is he the most amazing critter you've ever seen? I have no idea what he means, he seems to change, but I love him.

Nuff said. Moving on.


I sort of challenged myself with the exercise to work with some cards that I don't see pop up so much for me.

My favorite for the exercise is The Blessing or B
My least fave is Prince of Shadows or Prince

I think that if B were talking to this Prince she would be very sweet, sort of coy and clever.

He says he is there in the shadow part of the blessing, that every boon carries with it a seed of destruction, a place of darkness.

Blessing smiles, she knows something about the Prince.

She points at his tattoo. She smiles and blows a ball of glowing light towards him, whispers....."Remember".

The Child emerges now....The Prince is a baby now, a child, and still the ball of light is there, in front of his eyes....and then the markings start to coil and grow upon him. The tender white flesh is marked now. The Blessing has given him a Gift....the spirals, the coils, that tattoo that is the heart of his power, she has Blessed him.

"Shadows are not all that bad, Prince" she whispers.

He feels the truth of it. He thinks of the times people have feared him just because of his name...and he tries to blot out the memory of his baby days, before he knew exactly what he would become.

His caretaker is still with him, watching over him, giving him Love. When the Prince turns his face to the light, and the shadows lift, he will remember this moment. Remember joy.

Wow that was amazing.
The critter in the Prince's arms is the same friendly face behind the Child. That was a surprise...a discovery.

I am definitely liking this Prince a lot more now. I love that Blessing says she gave him his Tatt. Cool.

I feel accepted by the fae, I think that they like telling me their stories. I think that Blessing and the Prince probably work together. All the fae have a foot in shadow, they sort of move in and out of light and dark, here and then gone....hidden, moving, sliding in and out of dimensions.

I think that Blessing seemed to know more about the Prince than he did about her. The exchange was me seeing Blessing bringing some peace to the Prince. So I got to see how blessing can work, how she can show people things, bring them a vision, like the Prince getting to see himself as a baby.

Also, he sort of saw himself as darker, maybe a little evil and she was all about showing him that he wasn't so limited, that she had gifted him his talent, job, essence. Or at least part of it...and it was a Gift. It was about how he saw himself and how he used the talent, power gift.

I wouldn't want to banish this Prince. ;)


Another example of the humand and fae worlds sort of intersecting:
58 The Shadow of the Past

I see the woman face as human and the fae behind her, well it seems that he must have glamoured her. Somehow she had some kind of relationship with him and it has left her....a little undone. Doesn't she seem glamoured? I think this another great card....because it shows the magic of faery being worked upon the human world, at least to me.

I feel like there was an attempt with some of these cards to show...faery magic happening, or the effects of faery.

I do also want to talk about the unnamed cards. I like the mushroom head card, or the Shrooms as I call them.

They look a bunch of Dead Heads to me! Where's Jerry??? LOL. Really this is a bunch of old guys having coffee at the Dunkin Donuts, wives at home thank you. This is totally a bunch of old guys, hanging out, chillin' talking about their glory days.

Can you see it???


Good questions, Satori! Don't have time right now to answer them. Just popping in to see what others have posted. I like your idea about the deck dealing with humans and fae intersecting. Sounds like an interesting theme to explore.

autumn star

I tried this exercise this evening - and I found it completely changed the way that I looked at a card that I disliked.

I made three piles - one for cards I really like, one for cards I feel neutral towards and one for cards I disliked. There were not that many in the pile of dislikes - The Rox, The Juggler, The Messenger all kind of annoyed me. I find the Boy & Pan to be too similar. The Captive Man & Prince of Shadows are dark - but I already knew that the card that I disliked the most was the Dreaming ....

I have drawn this card quite a bit in daily readings and I always overlooked it, never thinking it had any depth, or any kind of deeper meaning .... I thought it was superficial and that it could easily be banished from the deck and not be missed. The keywords from the book are creative thoughts - imagination - permission to dream. I never gave it any more thought. Until today.

Something always seemed wrong to me about this card so I took a long look at this card to figure out what it was, what I was missing. There had to be more to it than the book meaning. My eyes looked at the woman - dreaming, asleep - her eyes closed. The crown of roses in her hair - then for the first time I noticed the thorns growing aall around her - but does she notice the rose vines and thorns surrounding her? She needs to be very still or else she might get pricked ... no wonder she has to keep her eyes closed and dream, she might not be able to face what's around her. So, this card also has a darker side, if you dream for too long situations might overgrow around you, you might get stuck in situation you don't want to be in, 'every rose has it's thorn'. I felt like this card had a Sleeping Beauty aspect to it - the way that Sleeping Beauty sleeps for years and years and the thorny bramble grows up around the tower she sleeps in.

Now, that I can see another, darker apsect to this card I feel ok with it :) I can see another angle to it. But, I still haven't completely warmed to it ....

As for comparing this card to some of my favorite cards - Lady of Leprechauns & Queen of the Shadows or even the Challenge. The Queen looks straight at the viewer, she see's things the way that they are. I am not sure what she would make of the dreaming lady. I don't think they would be friends though. The Lady of Leprechauns has her crystal ball, she has her mask - she has tricks up her sleeve, none of which she will reveal easily.

Other cards that made it into my 'like' pile - Tink, The Magician, The Hero, Queen of Owls, The Hope, Lady of Faith, The Question, The Smith, Heartless Love, Lord of the Forest & Queen of Passage.

Le Fanu

Interesting posts. So many of other people's dislikes I share. It's as if we don't really like the cartoony comical ones and prefer the wistful, romantic, "truly" fairy ones. That's what I like most about HOF, it feels more serious, less goofy that the original FO. There really are very few "dislike" cards here for me though.

Maybe only The Messenger, the Juggler (too goofy), Rox (but I think I could learn to love this one), Fixer (more Sesame Street than fae) and In Two Minds (for the reason Satori says). The hair on the Magician and the Hero bothers me I have to say. Looks a bit too 1986 Bon Jovi. I have noticed the cards I like least are those that remind me of the real world. Those I love the most are those which are more forest fairy in style. I love the romantic ones like Heartless Love. I love the regal "fairy court" ones like The Queen of the Golden Bough.

I was looking at the back of the book while I was lunching in a restaurant today (too embarassed to get the cards out in full view of other diners. :D) The back depicted on the book cover is beautiful. It has a kind of Masonic eye (which the real card backs don't have) and Sun and Moon and other eerie details. That symbol of a tree sprouting from a heart is really inspired.

But really, there are very few dislike cards for me.


Responding to Satori's initial responde to my exercise. With the fae that are surrounded by many, many other fae, I tend to focus at first on the center, but my eyes typically will focus in on something else, or several things at once will get my attention. For example, in the Dreaming, I can't help but notice the little fae in the corner reading a book, who seems to be lost in a very different sort of dreaming than the lady wrapped in thorns. Sometimes, it's even the scenery the fae are in that seems to have a meaning to it. With the troops, it depends on the card whether or not I think they're connected to the main fae in the card. The Lady of Sorrows feels so guarded despite all those people around her, like she's passing all these people, but her mind is somewhere else.

With the Captive Man, the fae all around him are more like people who work in the same area. They're businesses are unrelated, but they've all got something the Captive Man wants, or at least, something that will keep him occupied. He's there, content with what's around him, appearing happy, even confident, but his eyes are empty. Not content with just the Captive Man, they're watching who might be coming next, thinking how to lure in the next person. The ones up front appear a little more inviting, more vibrant, as if to make it easier to lure you deep into the shadows.

Most of the fae don't have much to say to the Lady of Song. It feels like their dislike is a quiet, unspoken thing. The Captive Man himself thinks the Lady foolish for not wanting to tkae what's being offered, and she thinks he's foolish in return. The woman next to the Captive Man with the light hair is the only one who asks the Lady why she doesn't join in and do what they do, to which the Lady replies, "I already have everything I want". The sort of gain they get from the Captive Man is not the kind of gain that would satisfy her. Her way is about flowing, and there's is more about dependence. The fae need a captive. I see the captive man as a human who's indulging in all the fae world has to offer, and now he's forgotten who he is and where he's come from.

Reading over more of the responses, I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't like the more cartoony cards so much. When I first got the deck, Oh No! and In Two Minds were cards I seriously wondered why they were chosen to be in the deck. They look a bit silly to me, and unfinished. The Juggler looks goofy to me. I don't like the Thief so much either, and it's something about his face--it looks like something's off about it. I wonder, is that even his real face? I don't really have all that many dislikes for the most part though. I think I have less dislikes in this deck than I did with the FO.