Nosy Witch Questions: The High Priestess

Nosy Witch Questions (2)The High Priestess: How did you first discover your path?

That is an excellent question.  I’m not a hundred percent certain, discovering my path has been an evolving slow path of discovery over time.  And I expect that it will continue to be an evolving thing as I continue to grow and change.  My path is a meandering one and I can’t see around all the corners, and I’m happy with that.  It’s kind of like how my Tarot style isn’t predictive.  I don’t think I can see the future, but I definitely think we can get insight on what’s happening with ourselves in this current moment and how to take control of our destiny and help create our futures.

I was raised sort of generically Protestant, we would go to church on Christmas and Easter with the occasional detour to church on other random Sundays as well.  I went to a few assorted Sunday school programs, nothing too memorable.  And I had a youth group for… I don’t know maybe a few months?  Nothing that ever super impressed me.  When I got to college I started learning about other options, like agnosticism, and atheism, and paganism, and just about every other-ism there is.

I don’t really remember when pagan-y witchy stuff just clicked into place, but I like it.  I like the Wheel of the Year, I like the way we follow the rhythm of the seasons and I love Goddess thing just feels comfortable.

In my day job I’m a librarian and I love to do background reading.  At first it sort of drove me nuts that there wasn’t a central authoritative text that I could read and know everything I wanted.  So I read every book and website I could find, and you’ll recall the librarian thing, that means I found a LOT.  And I’m still finding witchy books that I haven’t read yet.  I haven’t yet read all of the ‘classical’ texts yet even.

It’s like that with Tarot (and with most things I get interested in).  I want to do all the background reading.  I think the best way to learn about something is to get a huge variety of thoughts and teachings on it.  No one person is going to have all the answers, and I’d be seriously wary of anyone who claims to.

These days I consider myself a pagany witch. I feel moved out in Nature or when I’m seeing people support and encourage each other.  I think we can find the divine in each other and in nature when we’re paying attention. I feel honored when people trust me enough to ask me to read for them and allow me to help them in finding their way on their paths.  It’s a responsibility that I take very seriously and I find it amazing to be a part of.

So that’s my path, so to speak, an evolving winding path that I keep discovering new parts of.  I’d be happy to help you take steps to find or move forward on yours.

Daily Drawing: The Devil Weilds Two Swords

the-daily-drawI’ve drawn the Devil several times recently, and that’s always a sign that I need to pay attention to something a little more closely.  This morning when I was shuffling for a daily draw two cards fell out and fluttered to land on my feet under my desk.  I picked them up and huh, there it was again.  The Devil.

The Devil usually talks about bondage and addiction.  I’ve seen it talked about representing drugs or abusive co-dependent relationships.  For me it’s not nearly so sensational.  The Two of Swords is all about making choices.

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The Devil and the Two of Swords from the Dark Days Tarot

My particular devil is food, sugary, salty, snacky, carb heavy food.  It’s my addiction and I have diabetes so I really have to work hard to keep that particular devil in check.  On Saturday I gave in a little too much, a lemon scone with raspberry jam, a Kouign Aman, a cheese quesadilla, pancakes, and too many triscuits.  Normally, what this would do is cause my blood sugar to go sky high.  And maybe it did and I just didn’t notice.

But what happened next really surprised me (sorry, too many click-bait articles).  I started feeling nauseous and shaky and I found myself sitting in the bathroom sweating buckets.  I had to text my wife to bring me my diabetic testing kit to check my blood sugar.  And it was low, really low.  The lowest low I’ve personally ever had.  Thankfully it wasn’t a “race you to the hospital” low, but it needed treating urgently.  My wife, because she’s AWESOME, grabbed my starbursts and brought them to me.  Starbursts used to be one of my favorite candies, but now they’re my blood sugar recovery tool.  I’m not allowed to just eat them anymore because they are straight up sugar and they send blood sugar racing skywards.  I had a bunch of those and after about a half an hour I wasn’t sweaty and shaky anymore and my numbers were where they ought to be.  And then I crashed and fell asleep in my easy chair for a while.  Bouncing back from a low like that takes a LOT out of me, I’m exhausted and zoned out for a while, and it sucks.

And then, these two cards literally fell out of my deck while shuffling.  They’re a little on the nose.  I’ve got an addiction and I’ve got two choices, I can either make healthy responsible choices or I can end up sick and weak and wasting my days.

So today I had a protein bar for breakfast, packed a healthy lunch, and I’m having Sriracha almonds as my mid morning snack.  And I’m feeling healthy and my numbers are good.

Thanks for the message, Tarot, I’ll try to keep it up.

Nosy Witch Questions: The Magician

Nosy Witch Questions (2)The Magician: Do you practice white magic, black magic, both or neither?

That’s a slightly problematic distinction, it ties too much into the white = good and black = bad thing and I try to reject that when I notice it because I don’t want to be supporting the perpetuation of racist dichotomies.  However, I will say that I focus on protection, healing, boundary setting and keeping and less on the hexing and binding side.  That’s in large part due to the traditions and culture of witchcraft I started learning.  I am casting no aspersions on my fellow witches who came up through different traditions than I did.  My witch craft is no better or worse than other witches.  And I have nothing but respect for other crafty folks.  You do you.

The aim of my practice is to help, I don’t call myself a healer because I don’t yet feel qualified to assume that title, but I want my work to be in helping people to be better and do better.  That’s why I always say that my goal in giving you a Tarot reading is that I want you to leave feeling more empowered then before you came to me.  I want you to leave feeling like you have agency in shaping your own life and that even in the really tough shitty stuff, there are things that you can do to empower yourself.

I’m working on this exercise wherein I envision my dream client and work towards serving them and I would love to work with activists who are supporting socially just causes.  I want to work with queer folks who need guidance to get through the shit that the world heaps on our doorsteps.  I want to work with people who feel lost and need a little help to sift through the complicated stuff that life brings us.

There’s a quote from Mr. Rogers that I love:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” — Mister Rogers

I want to help the helpers so that our activists can keep on going when it gets rough.  I want to help people do that self care that is so important.

And if I had to pick a color… I would tell you that I practice rainbow magic.  Because I’m cheeky like that.

 

Weekly Readings

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A beautiful little comic by Baopu about Therapy.  So much love for this.

The Spicy Knitter shares: Life lessons learned while knitting

In time for spring, a home renewal spell.

Today I planted some lavender that a friend bought for me.  It’s a little EcoCube planter and it’s adorable!  I’m going to grow it in the cube until it gets big enough and then plant it in my garden outside.

How to Love Yourself When Things Get Crazy.

Love this one: Can I be a Witch without Tools?  Spoilers: Yes.  Tools are just tools, they can be helpers but you can work without them.  I’m a huge proponent of witchcraft being accessible to everyone.

From Offbeat Home: An essay on “Bad Moms” and a great reminder to support the moms in your lives.

 New podcast I just started listening to: Nancy by Kathy Tu and Tobin Low.  About the show: BFFs Kathy Tu and Tobin Low are super queer, super fun and ready to take over your podcast feed. Join them for provocative stories and frank conversations about the LGBTQ experience today. Because everyone’s a little bit gay…

Little Fox Tarot proposes a Tarot Oath – and I’m down with that 🙂

How do you know if a Tarot reader is the right one for you: a guide from coming out Tarot.

It’s spring and I can’t stop thinking of flowers, so here’s a handy guide: 10 hardy shrubs you can’t kill.

Another reason to love the Fearless Girl Statue.

A beautiful post from the hilarious Bloggess about chronic illness and going home again.  If you don’t already follow her blog, do yourself a favor and follow her.  Also go buy her books, especially Let’s Pretend this Never Happened  And thank me later when your sides are aching from too much laughing.

And I’m so behind the curve on this but I finally subscribed to Tarot Bytes by Theresa Reed, the Tarot Lady.  And firstly, she freaking rocks, and secondly the podcast is great even if you’re not a newbie.  And SUPER fantastic if you are a newbie to Tarot.  Thanks Theresa!

Also from the Tarot Lady: an Interview with Cassandra Snow – author of the Queering the Tarot series.  Great reading and fantastic advice to prospective clients and other readers.

Maybe you are wearing the right bra size after all.  A lovely essay about inclusivity and undergarments.
“This proved one thing to me: The exclusion of nudes for women of color and the refusal to stock packing briefs and binders and trans-friendly fitting expertise was purposeful.
I say “purposeful” because exclusivity is a choice; it is always a choice. Silence is a choice. Doing nothing is a choice. It’s 2017, and even if it was 1952, excluding inclusive options for LGBTQIA+ folks and women of color would still be a choice.”

Loved this: Little Fox Tarot shared Q is for Queer.  A short piece about queerness in tarot reading.  I agree with her thoughts here.  Get comfy with us queers, we’re not going anywhere.

A wonderful article from Autostraddle about tabletop gaming and D&D.  I puffy heart love playing tabletop games with my friends and I recently started being a DM myself.  I can confirm, it is awesome. 🙂

What I’m reading: all the quilting books I can cram down my gullet.
What I’m eating: lots of this mexican quinoa salad that I made for game night last week.
What I’m knitting:  rainbow scrappy socks!  And a giant slanket (that’s a shawl/blanket mix)

Nosy Witch Questions: The Fool

Nosy Witch Questions (2) The Fool: Do you practice witchcraft openly or in secret?

I would describe my practice of witchcraft as open but not loud.  I’m an introvert and so my witchcraft (and tarot) practice is quiet but not at all in the closet.  It pretty closely mirrors my gayness when I think about it.  I am out to all my friends, family, and colleagues.  I have (lots of) pictures of my wife on my desk at work and I talk about her without hesitating in all but the most dangerous of situations.  I’m not about to head to a Trump rally and shout about being gay, I value my life, thanks!

I don’t wear all black and bedeck myself with pentacles, not that there’s anything at all mewrong with that, I know some witches who rock that look and more power to them, it’s lovely.  But it isn’t my witchy look.  If I’m being completely honest here, my witchy day-to-day aesthetic is a pair of comfy jeans and a nice shirt, a piece of knitwear, and a few pieces of jewelry if I’m not being completely lazy.  And two of those jewelry pieces are my medic alert bracelet and my wedding ring, which I would actually consider to be magical pieces of jewelry.  The medic alert bracelet is a protection spell.  Think about it.  It’s a talisman that I wear in case I am in need of help that can get me the care that I need.  It’s also a physical reminder to take care of myself and make the right choices to nourish my body.  And wedding rings are powerful magic in and of themselves as a symbol and as a piece of metal that I carry with me everywhere that reminds me of my love.  Mine is the simplest plain gold band that you’ll ever see but it is my favorite piece of jewelry.

If you come to my house one of the first pieces of art that you see is a little sign that says 30205042951_fb6e186e11_z“Stay for a Spell”.  I have a miniature altar over my stove, one in the bathroom, and half of my studio is my tarot working space.  We have witch related art on our walls.  A friend of ours has a lovely collection of happy witches, and I love that aesthetic.

I’ve read Tarot for my friends and some of my family.  The other parts of the family aren’t super interested in Tarot or else I’d have read for all of them.  I’ve gone back and forth over the years as to which flavor of witch I think that I am and I’ve sort of settled on no specific kind.  Well, other than Wooly ;).  I freely wander into the Solitary, Kitchen, Hearth, and Green Witch realms.  I like using crystals and candles and you’d be hard pressed to find a working of mine without some lavender in it.  I love representations of the Goddess and my practice is Goddess-centric, leaning a little more heavily into the Greek pantheons, but I’d love to broaden that.

I believe that spirituality and practice need to be about what works for you.  Like my favorite yoga teacher always says, “If it hurts, don’t do it.”  If it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it.  Your practice of spirituality has to work to guide you and if you feel like you’re just going through motions and mumbling magic words, it’s not going to do squat for you.  I struggled a great deal in my early days with spells that rhymed.  They drove me insane and I would chafe against them because they felt idiotic to me, more like some little kid playing at being a witch than some powerful magic worker.  And so I stopped trying to use them and I felt so much more centered and connected when I stopped trying to force things.

So, that’s me.  Out and proud, but not shouting at people on the sidewalk.  We have a rainbow flag in front of our house that we started flying after the election and I’m happy with our level of sound in our community.

But I do love me a witch hat!

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New Arrival: Dark Days Tarot

A Wooly ReviewMy copy of the Dark Days Tarot arrived and I couldn’t wait to open it up and work with it!   I backed the deck on Kickstarter and I’d almost forgotten about it.  That something I kind of love about Kickstarter.  I forget about them and then boom, surprise in the mail!

IMG_1736The Dark Days Tarot was created by Wren McMurdo.  The deck is beautiful and I’m just going to spam you to bits with a bunch of pictures.  This is the box that arrived in my mail box.  With that beautiful art on the cover and two mini cards along with it.

On her site Wren says that the deck “is inspired by the darkest days of the lunar cycle.”  She also says that in creating them she “channeled her connection to the moon and its phases, in congruence with pressing matters relating to the transition from Obama to Trump Presidential eras, in creating these cards. They are an offering to the healing power of darkness.”  And I freaking love that.  Also she’s queer, which is a double bonus 🙂

I also love how sturdy the box is, and what a beautiful presentation it has.  I’m including a bunch more pictures here.  I am really disappointed that it was printed on pretty flimsy card stock though, it’s thin, which means that it won’t hold up to really intense use as well as heavier cards.  It makes it too easy to bend the cards and tear them when they’re thin.

Major arcana come on white background cards and the minors are all on black cards, it IMG_1746gives them an immediate striking difference which I like.  I immediately liked The Fool card which shows a mother holding a small child.  I liked that it shows that the Fool can be both the start and the end of the Major Arcana cycle.  Each ending is a new beginning and they illustrate that beautifully.  And the Magician card shows the magician’s work space with a book and crystals and the magical workings coalescing in the aether above.

The card backs are completely reversible and as you can see the cards themselves are square which is going to make it extra interesting laying them out, not only can they show up reversed, but they can appear sideways as well.  I can see that leading to some really great nuanced reading situations.

IMG_1751One of the big things I look for in any Tarot deck is what is shown on the Lovers card, if it’s blatantly white cis and heterosexual I’m immediately turned off.  This deck takes a really unique approach.  The Lovers are human shaped mostly, but genders aren’t clear and they’re freaking mer-creatures.

There are a lot of mermaids in this deck and I love it.  The Two of Cups features two mermaids clasping hands and I love the queerness of it all.

Lots of the Wands cards depict the wands as growing and blooming plants and it’s so elegant and beautiful that I couldn’t stop staring at them last night as I sorted through my cards.

Oddly enough, and I imagine this is just some technical issues with the first printing, I got a handful of extra blank cards with my deck and three or four repeated cards from the beginning of the series.  Hopefully they aren’t missing from someone else’s deck because they were in with mine!  It’s kind of a nice bonus because one of them is the Fool and I love the imagery on that so I might put it on my altar somewhere.  I wouldn’t count on that though, as I said, I’m pretty sure that must have been a printing/packaging oddball.

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There were so many that I loved and wanted to show you that I couldn’t fit them all, so take a peek at this slide show to see some of the highlights.

Two more that I did want to single out though were The Star and the Eight of Pentacles.

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Just look at that Radiant Star card.  I love it.  I love the stars and the roses and the moons and just… I love it.  It’s jubilant and wonderful.

And the Eight of Pentacles was absolutely perfect and bang on the nose for me lately.  I cannot stop quilting and sewing, I’ve been at my machine almost every free moment lately.  And check this out.

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She’s creating a magical quilt at her sewing machine.  It’s exactly perfect timing and spot on for me.  One of the April Tarot Instagram challenges the other day was “What is your favorite Pentacles card” and I didn’t answer because I didn’t yet have a particular favorite.

Now I do.  🙂

I like this deck and I’m looking forward to trying some readings with it.  If you like what you see take a look at the website.  http://www.darkdaystarot.com/  And you can order your very own copy!

Wooly Wednesday with Gay Pancakes

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My entire knitting life is being taken up right now by making scrappy socks.

These socks are just socks I’m making out of bits and pieces of sock yarn left over from other projects.  And I cannot stop making them.

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This was the first pair.  And they have leftovers from a hat I made for my wife, socks I also made for her, a bit from a giant lace scarf, some from a hat also knit for my wife, and several socks I made for me.  Three of those are ones that I dyed myself too.  It makes me SO happy to look back at them and recall all the projects that I made with the rest of those yarns.

Right now I’m working on an obnoxiously bright pair.

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I worked on these neon rainbow socks during UNH’s 25th Annual LGBTQ+ Pancake Breakfast.  It’s this fantastic annual even that we hold to commemorate the first gay student organization at UNH which was started in 1973.

Back in 1973 the UNH students weren’t allowed to have any kind of gay student organization, the school didn’t allow it.  And those brave queer students fought that ruling all the way up the state supreme court where they eventually won the right to have that organization.

Part of their organizing efforts was trying to secure a meeting with the governor of NH.  He absolutely refused to meet with those students and so they found a very clever way to try to get that meeting.  New Hampshire Public Radio was hosting one of their annual fund drives and one of the prizes that you could win was a pancake breakfast with the Governor.  So the UNH students raised a ton of money so they could win that meeting.  The Governor still refused to meet with them, instead having a wealthy friend donate to win the pancake breakfast at the last minute.

Now UNH has a vibrant queer community, while we’re not without our problems, and we celebrate those brave queers by hosting our own pancake breakfasts and honoring those community members who have made a difference to our communities.

And one of the coolest things?  In 2013, 40 years later, we finally got the Governor to come and have pancakes with us 🙂

The Major Arcana as Nosy Witch Questions.

This comes from Noel Arthur Heimpel on his Tumblr and I loved it, so I wanted to take a stab at these questions.  I’m going to make them a wee mini series of posts, so keep an eye out for a series of Nosy Witch Questions.  And I’d love to hear your take on these too!

  • The Fool: Do you practice witchcraft openly or in secret?
  • The Magician: Do you practice white magic, black magic, both or neither?
  • The High Priestess: How did you first discover your path?
  • The Empress: Favorite time to practice your craft?
  • The Emperor: Favorite place to practice your craft?
  • The Hierophant: Best advice you’ve ever received from a witch?
  • The Lovers: Which sign or signs(zodiac or elements) are you most attracted to?
  • The Chariot: Favorite witchcraft tools to use?
  • Strength: Do you cast spells?
  • The Hermit: Are you a solitary witch or are you part of a coven?
  • Wheel of Fortune: Do you practice palmistry?
  • Justice: Do you work with plants and herbs?
  • The Hanged Man: Which area of witchcraft are you least familiar with?
  • Death: Do you believe in, or have experience with past lives?
  • Temperance: Which area of witchcraft are you most comfortable?
  • The Devil: Who is your closest witch friend?
  • The Tower: Have you ever cursed someone?
  • The Star: Which areas of witchcraft would you like to be better acquainted?
  • The Moons : Favorite thing to do during a full moon?
  • The Sun: Do you read tarot cards?
  • The Final Judgement: Do you work with spirits?
  • The World: What type of witch are you?

Where I Read

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One of the prompts in the Instagram this month was “Where you Read Tarot” and I loved this idea and I felt like sharing my space with a little more detail.  I’m kind of hoping that it’ll catch on because I would LOVE to see your spaces too.  I find it fascinating to get that kind of peek behind the scenes.

One more note, this is what works for me, for my practice, your space and your practice might look very different and that’s okay.  Even two people in exactly the same structured faith won’t have identical practices and it’s in those differences that we find the richness.  My practice works for me just as yours works for you (and if your doesn’t, that’s a big clue to change it up, you should feel empowered to adapt your faith so that it enriches your life).

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This is the birds eye view of my space.  I keep my laptop handy to one side because I like to type up my readings rather than hand write them because my handwriting gets worse the longer I write, and I tend to ramble on when writing about tarot cards 😉

The box in the window is a little Moon shrine I created from a Moon card and some mosaic stones.  One of my favorite things is the sunrise and rainbow stained glass piece hanging in my window.  My dad made that for me when I was a little girl.  It’s been cracked a few times, but I love it so much.  The statue is Athena, my matron goddess, and I keep some of my favorite crystals around her feet.

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I like to keep an assortment of colored candles on hand so I can match them to my readings.  Lighting a candle, for me, helps me to make a division between mundane and sacred space.  Little rituals to help get me in the right mindset to be open to intuition.  I keep essential oil sprays around so I can mist my work surface before I get started and wipe things down once in a while.  A little physical cleaning helps to keep the metaphysical space tidied up too.  My purple candle is from Witch City Wicks and it’s lavender scented.  Being the wooly witch that I am, lavender is my best friend, it keeps the moths away and it’s a major plant ally.  I always keep some on hand.

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The print of Strength is from the Dark Days Tarot.  Strength was a card that was a guide for me when I was just starting to learn Tarot.  The pillar candle is something that I made to help me grow in my Tarot practice.  I used a Star card from a deck that was deeply problematic and created a lovely reminder of what is possible.

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I like crystals.  I find them beautiful to look at and useful for charging up with intentions.  I also have a tiny deck of playing card styled major arcana cards that my mom bought for me in Italy.  She also brought back an “Evil Eye” protection charm from Greece for us that I keep over the main threshold in my kitchen.  Having things that remind me of my family around me when I’m working witchcraft makes me feel really happy.  You can also see one of my favorite tea mugs up there.  I love to have a cup of tea with me while I’m reading.  It’s another one of those lovely mindset changing rituals that helps get me in the right frame.

So that’s my reading space.  I’d love to hear about yours!

Sunday Sewing

wooly-thoughtsIt’s a quiet Sunday at our house, which is a nice change for us, these past few weekends have been sort of rough with all our plumbing nightmares and other assorted stresses.  Thankfully we’ve got all new pipes down in the basement, the toilet is flushing and everything is draining.  I never quite realized just how nice it was to have running water until suddenly we were without it.  Very first world of me, I know.  I’m just very grateful for the repair technicians and the new pipes, even if the bill is a little frightening.  I’m just going to make one more wee plug for my Tarot Bags that you can purchase or if you’d like some guidance you can book a reading with me!

gameI had friends over for game night on Friday night.  My wife and I are playing halfling identical twins and other friends are playing a druid and a giant bear.  We found some ancient ruins and a little treasure and then found a baby dragon that I tried to befriend.  It did not go well and a magical dragon lady took the baby dragon off with her.

It’s always such a fun time, relaxing time with friends where we laugh, kill monsters, and work together to solve puzzles.  I got to use my climbing skills to get our party across a pit with spikes at the bottom.

aaWe spent yesterday sewing, quilting, and baking cupcakes and filling them with lemon curd and then we drove to a cemetery a few towns over where the person my wife role plays for Strawbery Banke is buried.  It was pretty neat to find the headstone of the actual woman she’s portraying for work.

Later today we’re heading over to my wife’s parents’ house for dinner and this morning I slept in a little bit and hung some quilts on the walls at my house.  I worked on a post about my Tarot reading space (it’ll go up on Monday) and I did some laundry.  It’s been really peaceful and lovely.  And right now I’m sitting in my studio with a lavender scented candle that smells amazing.  Out my window I can see a gorgeous sunny day and our rainbow flag is billowing in the wind out in front of our cozy little house.  I’m feeling really lucky and happy.

I hope you’re all feeling the same.