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!

Tarot Talk: how to get started reading Tarot for yourself

tarot-talkI had a friend ask me recently if I would help her learn Tarot.  It was a happy surprise.  I wasn’t sure what I’d say at first because I actually haven’t ever taught someone how to read and use Tarot before.  But that old saying “the best way to learn something better is to teach it to someone else” is absolutely true.  So I said yes!

And we had a fun time the other night while I rattled on about suits and patterns and img_0429majors and minors with a tiny bit of history that I could remember.  We had a great time and I think it went pretty well.  And I’ve been thinking a bunch more since then about how I might go about the process in the future so I wanted to share those thoughts.

One note that I wanted to mention before I launch in:  I am not an expert, nor do I play one on TV.  I’ve been slinging cards for a while now, but I wouldn’t call myself a guru.  I’m just a person who reads intuitively and believes that there is always something new to learn or a way to improve.  While I wouldn’t be comfortable teaching a class or branding myself that way yet, I’m happy to help someone else take their first steps into Tarot.

Rules of the Road
My first and most important thing are my two rules of Tarot.  These are really the only things that I am absolutely firm with, if you want to learn Tarot here’s what you need to know:
1. Anyone can read tarot if they’re willing to learn, there is no specific set of faith guidelines or practices that Thou Shalt Adhere to.  You take your practice of tarot and make it work for you.  You do not have to be psychic or a witch or an insert-special-thing-here in order to use Tarot.
2. If there’s something that I say, or someone else is teaching you and it feels wrong to you, don’t do it.  I do recommend learning about the “rules” that are floating around out there, like the fact that you have to be gifted or steal your first deck (which every Tarot reader I’ve met agrees is total garbage), or that you have to wrap your decks in silk.  If you dig down into some of these so-called rules you can see what they were driving at.  Silk = treat your tools with respect and you’ll get more out of them.  The being gifted or stealing thing is the one exception, I’ve got nothing on that one.  Do not steal your Tarot decks, can you imagine the bad energy that would follow that around?

pentacles-07Finding the Right Deck
The next thing I recommend is that you have a good deck to work with.  My friend had a deck that she’d taken a first few tentative steps with but she wasn’t really connecting to.  I pulled out decks that I used in the past but have grown out of, and she flipped through my old Robin Wood deck and found that she liked it.  I’ve written before about choosing your first tarot deck.  I like a Rider-Waite-Smith deck or a RWS inspired deck when you’re just starting out because it’ll match a lot of examples you’ll see online.  Choosing a good deck can really be a huge help in learning to read.

Also know that there is no One True Perfect Deck.  You might love the first deck you see, you might buy several before you find one that resonates.  This is okay.  The decks you love with change and evolve as you grow in your Tarot practice.

If you can’t afford to buy a Tarot deck that’s okay, there are a number of aps out there that you can absolutely use to read the cards.  A few that I like are The Fool’s Dog Tarot Aps, the sampler versions are free and the entire deck ones are just a few dollars.  Another is the Golden Thread Tarot.  Personally, I prefer to have the cards in my hands, I like to feel the texture of the cards and the motions of shuffling and laying them out.  But if you can’t afford them or if you have mobility challenges and it would cause you pain, digital is absolutely fine!  That goes right along with the “If it feels wrong, don’t do it” rule.  I firmly believe that Tarot should be accessible and if an ap makes it open to you when it otherwise wouldn’t, an ap is great.

Clearing and Dedicating
If you’ve gotten a hand-me-down deck, or really any deck that you get, I recommend cleansing/dedicating the deck before you get started.   It’s a good way to clear out any old energies and to help you set some intention for your Tarot practice.  Some ways to do that: you can use sage to smudge the deck, you can leave your deck in full moonlight, or you can meditate with it.  I strongly suggest that you use a cleansing ritual that resonates with you, it’s all about the energy and if you think something feels ridiculous and fake it isn’t going to work for you.

Card Meanings
Your next step is going to be actually working with the cards.  There are 78 of them and IMG_0453they all mean different things.  Now, I’m not going to give you the 78 meanings here in this post, because there are lots of great resources out there that already do that.  Some places I’ve found fantastically useful:  Learn Tarot – This is Joan Bunning’s website and it has the same info that her published book has.  I own the book and I use the website a lot as well.   Another great course is Little Red Tarot’s Alternative Tarot Course.   As of this writing it costs $35 and is worth every single penny 🙂

Now that I’ve recommended some course options here’s a note that I wish someone had told me when I was starting out.  Don’t get hung up on memorizing every last detail and keyword of every single tarot card right out of the gate.  It’s perfectly okay to look cards up in the booklet that comes with most decks or on a website or the book you picked.  It’s more important to get comfortable working with the cards, examining them, meditating over the symbols on them, exploring your thoughts and feelings when you look at the cards.  The more you work with them, the more familiar they’ll start to become.

Trust your Intuition.
IMG_0561There was a card in one of my favorite decks that I struggled with for far too long.  All the books I read said that this particular card meant “X” and whenever I looked at that card I just knew that it meant “Y” instead.  I spent so much brain power trying to make that card mean “X”, trying to force a reading connection where there wasn’t one for me.  And finally I read somewhere that not every single tarot card reads the same way.  The Fool from one deck might read very differently from another.  And that’s okay.  I’m not saying race out there and make up entirely new meanings from every card (archetypes are archetypes for a reason after all), but if there’s one in your deck that you feel strongly about and it differs from the book, then go for it.  That’s your intuition talking to you.  Listen to it and let your understanding grow over time.  The way you read Tarot now will be different from how you read it next month which will be different from how you read it in a year.  It’s okay to grow in your understanding and to change your mind.  Even multiple times.  There are as many ways to interpret any given card as there are Tarot readers.

Last Thoughts

Just jump in and try.  Everyone has to start somewhere, everyone is a beginner at some point.  I encourage you to read lots of blogs about Tarot, you can see some of my favorite tarot bloggers on the right side of the site.  You can also check out the #TarotRap hashtag on twitter for some really great community Twitter chat.  Read. Read. Read.  I read every Tarot book I can get my hands on and the more you keep learning the better your skills will be.  Embrace viewpoints that differ from yours because in comparing understanding you can really grow in your confidence in your own reading abilities.

If all else fails, you can always Book a Reading with me 🙂

Tarot Talk: How to Ask Good Questions in a Tarot Reading

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So you’ve found the a reader who is a good fit for you.  Awesome!  Now how do you figure out what question you want to ask when you’re getting a reading?  Choosing the right question can be difficult.  So how do you figure out what to ask, and once you’ve decided on that how do you phrase the question?

First of all I’m going to spout that old adage that there are no stupid questions.  However, there are some kinds of questions that will get you more useful answers than others.  Some Tarot readers are happy to  work with yes/no questions and there are definitely spreads that offer to answer them, but I find that I get a much richer and more useful reading when I’ve crafted a more nuanced question.  For example: “Will I get a new job?”  The answer to that is pretty simple, yes or no.  Probably not the answer you were really hoping for.  It doesn’t give you any agency in your own future.  I’m sidelining the fact that I don’t read predictively so I don’t know that I could confidently predict something like that.

A better way to ask that question might be “What do I need to do to attract a new job?”  This puts the power back in your hands instead of just wishing out into the universe.  It’s always my goal for one of my tarot readings to empower you.  I want to give you the tools to achieve your goals.  Another way to ask that new job type question would be: “What things do I need to learn to improve my chances of finding the right job for me?”  Just like before, asking this question puts you in the driver’s seat.  It gives you homework to do as you search for employment.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the more open your question is, the more information you’ll be able to get back.  This is not to say you shouldn’t ask specific questions, but consider how you’re phrasing them.  Instead of asking “Will I find love?” you’d probably get more use out of the answer to “What energies do I need to cultivate in myself and my life to help me find my ideal mate?”  Or maybe “What issues do I still need to work through before I’m ready for a new relationship?”

If you’re working with a reader who is a good match for you they should be able to help craft the right kind of questions to ask so you can get the best information in your reading.  Feel free to ask them if you’re unsure about what to ask.  Another option if you’re planning on getting a reading is to ask for a sort of general check in.  Maybe you aren’t having a specific issue at the moment but just want some general insight into where your life is heading.  Those kinds of questions are absolutely okay to ask.  I wouldn’t want you to think that you shouldn’t ask for a reading if you don’t have a laser focused question.  I just want to ensure that if you do need something really specific that you’re asking the best possible question to get you your best possible answer.

And if you’d like to book a reading with me, feel free, I’d be honored to read for you.  head on over to my readings request page.

Tarot Talk: How to find the Right Tarot Reader for You

tarot-talkSo you’ve decided that you want to get a Tarot reading.  Awesome!  I admit that I’m a little bit biased, but I think Tarot can be a fantastic tool for helping to understand those difficult situations life can sometimes throw at us.  A good Tarot reading can be an empowering tool that helps you figure out what’s going on in your life and how to handle it when you’re feeling like you’re barely treading water.

But how do you find a good Tarot reader?  And how do you find the right reader for you?  Every reader has a different style and reads in a slightly different way.  Choosing the right reader is just as important as asking the right questions.  So where do you even start?

Start by visiting their website and doing a little bit of background reading.  OneIMG_0877 thing that I like to look for is a code of ethics (it could be called a statement of values or something along those lines).  Reading through that page can tell you a lot about a reader.  I always look for explicit LGBT inclusive language.  A note here to any other straight readers, if you’re welcoming to queer clients state that outright.  Inclusivity is not the default, so if you don’t say that you’re welcoming or say that you try to operate as a safe space we won’t know. If you want to be inclusive and supportive of queer folks (and other marginalized groups) then you need to say it.  And your actions need to reflect it, but that’s a whole other post.

Another thing that I look for in a reader is how they describe their style.  If you’re looking for a predictive Christian centered reading, I’m not the reader for you.  If you’re looking for a witchy intuitive reading, that’s more my bag and I might be a good match for you.  You want to feel comfortable with your reader.  If you feel weirded out or nervous you won’t get a good reading from them because the energy flow won’t be there.  The more engaged you can be in your reading the better it will be for you.

Another way to find a good reader is recommendations from people that you trust.  Bear in mind that what works for one person might not work for you, but positive reviews and recommendations are huge.

My last piece of advice on finding the right reader for you is to trust your gut.  If you’re corresponding with them and you get a feeling that something is ‘off’ trust that feeling.  If the reader is trying to up-sell you a bunch of other things (like spells and charms That You Must Have!!!) step away.  A good and ethical tarot reader won’t try to convince you that you need them or else, they’ll let the right clients find them.  Now, I’m not saying that if the reader you’re looking for advertises their services that they’re bad, that’s not at all the case.  What I’m saying is that if you have someone badgering you that you need to get a reading from them or bad things will happen or if you ask for a reading and they try to push other products onto you at the same time, that’s not a good sign.

If they promise you instant riches or fame if you work with them, use your common sense.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

In Summary, do your homework and background reading, find someone that aligns with your values and practices, trust your intuition, and don’t fall for scams.

And if you want to learn more about me and see if I’m the right reader for you you can view my About Me page, peruse my Code of Ethics, and if it feels right to you, consider Ordering a Reading.  I’d love to work with you to help you through whatever life has put in your path.

10 Questions

tarot-talkFrom Ethony, 10 questions every Tarot Reader should answer.

I love this exercise, and I’ve tackled some of them before in my learning of Tarot, but it never hurts to re-examine them as you grow as a reader.

I’d love to hear your answers, and I’d love to take your questions too!  What questions would you add to this and what else would you ask me?  Share your questions and thoughts in the comments!

1. Were you mentored, or were you self-taught?

It’s been a mix of both.  I’ve taken some courses and read some books.  But one of the IMG_0458clearest messages that I’ve gotten all through my studies is that I have to trust my intuition.

2. Are you a psychic or a Tarot reader?

I am a Tarot reader.  I think of myself as an intuitive reader, but I wouldn’t claim to be psychic.  I let the cards speak to me and share the messages that I get.  I like to invoke a deity or higher energy when I give a reading to ask that they help guide my ability so that I can offer the best advice possible to the person I’m reading for.

3. Are your predictions accurate, and is accuracy important to you?

In the majority of my tarot work I’ve dealt more with advice for situations and questions relating to what a querent needs to understand about a problem.  The feedback that I’ve gotten has been overwhelmingly positive.  The highest compliment that I hope for is that people found my reading useful and empowering.

4. Is there anything you can’t predict in a reading?

I don’t really read predictively.  I sort of thing that trying to read that way takes the agency away from my querent.  I can tell you what might happen based on the path you’re currently on, but the power always lies with you on your path.  I want a Tarot reading to empower you to take hold of the reigns of your life so that you’re directing it.  I aim to help you better understand yourself and your own power rather than trying to predict your future.

IMG_07025. Do you use only Tarot, or are you multi-disciplinary?

I use mostly Tarot decks, but I am very fond of oracle decks as well.  I’ve experimented a tiny bit with some runes and charm casting.  I also believe that there are signs out there around us if we can only remember to stop and look for them.

6. Is the message in the cards, or in your head?

I think that the cards help me to receive the messages that I pass on to the querent.  I think that Tarot reading can be a way to channel more divine or spiritual information if you take the time and space to open yourself to those things.  I’ve also just sat down with my cards to sort of talk myself through something, relying on the cards to help me change my perspective or to recognize something about a situation that I’ve been missing.

7. Are you a priest/ess or a fortune-teller?

I guess I haven’t really thought of myself as either one of these.  I feel like priest (or priestess) would be taking on too much authority (for myself, I’m not saying this for anyone else except me) that I don’t feel I hold yet.  At this point on my path, anyway.  And I feel like fortune-teller seems a little too gimmicky.  Again, I am speaking for myself.  If any of you embrace that label and want to share your thoughts with me, I would be honored to hear them.  I love to learn from my fellow readers.

8. Are you a fixer or a looker?

I think I’m probably more of a fixer.  I want to be helpful.  I want you to get something IMG_0568useful and empowering out of my reading.  I want it to bring you new information, to make you feel like you are better prepared to face the world.  That’s my goal.  To help.  So I think I would rather think of myself as a Helper.

9. Do you read for free, or for fee?

Yes.  😉  Okay, less cheekily, I have read for friends and family for free.  It depends on the situation.  If I am offering a reading, unasked for and unprompted, then I am offering a reading free of charge.  If someone seeks me out for a reading I would probably charge.  Right now I am lucky enough that I don’t have to depend on this for my livelihood.

10. Is there anything you won’t predict in a reading?

I won’t try to predict the actions or mindsets of other people.  Things like “Will they leave me?”, “Do they love me?”, “Where is X thing?”.  I’ve actually never tried a Lost Object reading, so I wouldn’t know if that would work well.  I won’t try to predict or read for something that I don’t think I could be helpful in.  It would be dishonest and that’s not what I’m about.

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