Weekly Readings

weekly-readings-from-wooly-witchy

From Lavender Moon: What to do when spirituality becomes a struggle.

From Northern Lights Witch: a glimpse inside her studio.

Make this Soup!  Seriously: Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea soup.  It’s vegetarian and you could easily make it vegan by omitting the heavy cream at the end.  And it was delicious.

 Check out the Fearless Girl Sculpture that just appeared on Wall Street.

A little late since it was Wednesday but: What to do if you can’t take off work for international Women’s Day.  I would have liked to call out of work, but since I didn’t hear about that idea until Tuesday I wasn’t able to.  I guess that means I need to get on some more mailing lists or something.

 What I’m reading: Big Magic – the title kept buzzing around me and I kept seeing it mentioned in important places, so I took the hint and I’m giving it a shot.
What I’m knitting: Pegasus Parade Socks
What I’m looking forward to: A local thrift store is having a 99 cent book sale this weekend, so my wife and I are going on a book date :3
What I’ve been up to: teaching a friend to wheel spin and playing a lot of Lego Jurassic World (we finally got a WiiU and the new Zelda game is on its way!)

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Weekly Readings

weekly-readings-from-wooly-witchy

I’m back from vacation!  It was tough to go from high 70’s and white sand beaches back to 20 degrees and windy in NH, but such is life.  I went back to work for Friday to get a handle on e-mail and all that rot, and then I had a weekend to get back into step with NH life.  With that, here are some things that caught my eye this week.

11 Crucial Organizations To Donate Your Money Or Your Time To.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese: I love mac and cheese so very much, but being diabetic I shouldn’t indulge quite s0 much, but if there’s a lot of veggie to balance it… 😉

And speaking of things I shouldn’t eat… unicorn hot chocolate.  I actually probably wouldn’t have that one though, I don’t like white chocolate, but with that many sprinkles, marshmallows, and glitter to eat how could I not love it?

An online discussion of the Pink Pussyhat thing is happening.

A little girl and her mother recreate famous images of black women for Black History month.  It’s pretty awesome.  And gave me some new women to learn about.

From Autostraddle: This Is a Nightmare and a Genocide: Jaquarrius Holland is the Sixth Black Trans Woman Murdered This Year.

A Primer on Women and Civil Disobedience.

From Lavender Moon: What I wish people knew about Tarot.  She talks about predictive readings and why she doesn’t love them.  I feel very similarly.  Predictive readings don’t put the power in the hands of the querent.  I feel very strongly that my readings should empower you to take control of your life.  ❤

Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors On Intersectionality In Activism: BUST Interview.

Bringing a little Woo into your workplace.  Love these ideas!!

I think I need to watch this:  When We Rise.

My wife and are participating in this #CreateThisOracleDeck challenge this month.  Are you?

Victorian Ladies Perfume Guide.

The FBI opted not to prosecute any of the Gamergate harrassers.  Shock, they decided it’s fine to threaten and harass women.  I mean, boys will be boys, right?  So funny when they threaten to blow up universities because women are speaking at them.  -_-

Nevertheless She Persisted tattoos.

from LRT: 10 ideas for your Tarot Blog/Journal – you’ll definitely be seeing my take on some of these ideas coming up 🙂

Weekly Readings

Weekly Readings from Wooly Witchy

This report shows that Girl Scouts is freaking awesome.  If you were wondering if you should sign up your daughters, the answer is yes 🙂  Being in the Girl Scouts did more for my self esteem and sense of empowerment than anything else in my life. – “These girls display more positive life outcomes compared with non-Girl Scout alumnae. These outcomes pertain to sense of self, life satisfaction, leadership, life success, community service, and civic engagement.”

Why the Resistance Must Be Accessible.

Saturday Morning Cartoons on Autostraddle: Finding your place at a protest and in the resistance.

Some self care that I’d like to indulge in – Make your own lotion bars.

Magic School Bus: Ms. Frizzle as a Queer Legacy.

Make your own Honey tea stirrers.

Worts and Cunning has a great tea recommendation for easy evenings and self care.  And I really loved, and needed to hear and share this advice:  “When I’m feeling out of sorts, my self-care reassessment includes the following: Acknowledge you’re probably running on some false narratives. Case in point – if I take 30 minutes to stretch and meditate I will let down the entire radical movement attempting to overthrow the patriarchy. Guess what? That’s just not true.”

And from that above link I came to this one:  The World is on Fire, but You Still Need to Eat Lunch.

4 Things Men Need to do Before Calling Themselves Feminists.

Weekly Readings

weekly-readings-from-wooly-witchy

Reclaiming Rainbow Brite: A beautiful essay on Tarot by Hilary on rainbow hair and being yourself.  And Oh My God, I so very much identified with this piece.  Take out the bit about being a teenage witch because I came to my witchy-ness later in life, but so much of her experiences rang true for me too.  Middle school hell, the tentative hair coloring all the while wanting more.  ❤

From Sheep to Shawl – Knitting as a Political Act

A New York Legislator Is Sticking It To Mike Pence With Proposed Law Banning Conversion Therapy.

Holiday Self Care.

Talking through Conflict: Communicating with Loved Ones over the Holidays

From Vellamour: Confessions of a Witch – this is a lovely essay about the illusion of perfection and how it’s absolutely an illusion.  This is another one where I identified.  My altar is almost always a mess and I struggle really hard with doubting my intuition and trusting in the magic that I create.  There’s this huge ‘rational’ voice that tells me constantly that I’m making it all up and it’s a bunch of hogwash.  ❤ this little piece.

Hosted by LRT – a Review of the Linestrider Tarot – I have this deck but haven’t yet worked with it much, but it’s so beautiful!

And older post that I came up again and I feel is very timely:  Asali shares her after work Monday night ritual and it sounds like a perfect and relaxing thing that a lot of us could really use right now.

Why feminists (and women) need intergenerational friendships.

Check out this new indie Tarot deck: Dark Days Tarot – and if it’s your jam, it looks like mine, back the project on Kickstarter!

Joanna Powell Colbert shares a lovely piece on Entering the Dark, Sacred Silence. Very timely for me as we’ve had overcast grey skies for days and it’s making me feel weighted down and tired.

A post on oracle decks from Lavender Moon.  I just added a bunch to my wishlist.

From Autostraddle: Some healing magic and spells

What to do when a Tarot reading confuses the heck out of you.

What I’m Knitting:  Technically this was crochet, but I made chair socks!   Also I’ve picked up my cross stitching again and I’m working on my Frosted Pumpkin Stitch Along from last year.  I’m so behind!

What I’m watching: the New Gilmore Girls Episodes!  I am 80% happy and 20% WTF.

What I’m eating:  ZOMG YOU GUYS, this Okonomiyaki recipe is something insanely delicious that I wasn’t expecting to taste that amazing.  And I’m not even a big fan of cabbage.  But just thinking about it makes me want to eat it again.  And I’ve made two batches of this Thai cucumber salad in the last two days.  And I still want more.

Weekly Readings

Weekly Readings from Wooly Witchy

I did a whole lot of reading this week, so strap in friends, this one is a big one 🙂

Beth at Little Red Tarot wrote a great post on where to start with Tarot if you’re a newbie.

Liz Worth has some thoughts on how to survive Mercury in Retrograde.

I read an article about the use of the racial slur Gypsy in Tarot and other spiritual practices and why it’s not okay to call yourself that unless you are a Romani person.  Rather than linking the article I prefer to share with you the actual Romani created posts about the topic in an effort to magnify those voices of color.  Big Gadje World, Gypsy Appropriations, It’s a Slur.

From Worts and Cunning: Three New Ways to Read Tarot.

South African school girls are protesting racism in their school.  You can get more information at #StopRacismatPretoriaGirlsHigh.

And more news in Policing Womens’ Bodies, French Police are forcing women to undress now with the ‘Burkini Ban’. From the article:  While the target of the laws has changed, the intent has not; women are being subjected to laws that control their outfits and bodies.

And something to make you chuckle:  The perfect response to random people asking you to knit something for them.

Not really news, but another article on how knitting can save your brain:  Knitting and Digital Overload.

From Lavender Moon: how to bond with a tarot deck.

Tips on cleaning your tarot cards.

The Price: a Queer Daughter of a Queer Mother.  I am doomed to die an ugly death or at least to be separated from my partner, probably violently. So is my queer mother and my partner and my cousin and many of my friends. We are all doomed, it seems, because this is the only story American media tells about queer women.

Augmented Reality Tarot Ap, if you work with a traditional RWS deck this might be for you.

Reading the 5 Stages of Grief in a Tarot Spread.

 What I’m knitting: a Turn a Square hat and a tarot bag.
What I’m watching: Still the West Wing on Netflix!  Although my wife and I watched Stranger Things recently too.  SO GOOD.
What I’m listening to:  My 90’s Pandora station.  So much nostalgia!

Tarot and Gender

As you may have noticed, I do my best to avoid unnecessarily assigning gender where it doesn’t need to be.  I like to remind people that just because the card the Emperor is a depicted as a man, that doesn’t mean the energy in the reading is coming from a man.  Men can assume the role of the nurturing empress just as women can assume the firm leadership role of the emperor.

However, I was working on a review of the Prisma Visions tarot deck (stay tuned for that at a future date) and I was writing about the court cards of the Wands suit.  They’re beautiful and the figures depicted in the court cards are androgynous humanoid figures without any obvious physically gendered characteristics.  As I was ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the progress of the wands energy in the Page and the Knight I simply referred to them as ‘they’ which is a gender-neutral pronoun that I’ve heard many gender nonconforming people use.  And that felt very correct for those cards.  But when I got to the Queen and started using ‘they’, it no longer felt correct to me.  Not because a queen figure has to be a woman, but because if I didn’t use she and her, it felt like I was stripping something away.  It felt like I was trying to erase women and that made me stop immediately.

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I wasn’t sure how I could balance those two desires.  I have no problem queering the figures in the tarot cards.  I do my best, and I know I don’t always succeed, to question the gendered assumptions I am making about my readings.  My approach, as an able bodied white cisgender woman, has a lot of limitations.  I’m trying my best to broaden my understanding and to make my tarot as inclusive and empowering as I can.

So, although I’m sure there’s plenty of room to grow in this interpretation, I think where that leaves me is that the Page and the Knight will be ‘they’ but I’ll talk about my Queens and Kings as “she” or “he”.  This doesn’t at all mean that women can’t be Kings and men can’t be Queens.  Because they sure as heck can be.  All I mean when I talk about these cards are the depictions on the cards and what I get from them.  The Queen of Wands in the Prisma Visions deck told me that she is a woman.  She didn’t flash her breasts in my face or talk about what was between her legs, because that isn’t what makes her a woman.  Especially when we’re talking about a representation of an embodiment of energies, her physical body doesn’t define her.

This is much more about the role that the card is playing.  The reading of these cards is also heavily steeped in gendered expectations of being too. Call into question the assumption that the empress is nurturing because she’s a woman.  The empress is nurturing because that’s the energy that the card represents.  Being nurturing and caring isn’t a gendered attribute, but that’s what our culture teaches us.  Our culture says women are caring and nurturing and it’s their job to raise children and manage the emotional soft side of things.  My job as a tarot reader, is to try to pull apart those gendered assumptions when I find myself making them.

The cards are representatives of energies.  These energies are not essentially male or female energies, they just are.  Assigning gender to them has helped us to conceptualize these energies and fit them into our framework of understanding.  The goal we should be striving for is that we create a more just and fair culture that serves the needs of all participants in it.

Working towards that goal, it’s very important to acknowledge that gender, like sexual orientation, is not binary, it exists on a spectrum and people can move around on that spectrum.  I want to make sure that the spaces that I’m in are inclusive and welcoming to everyone.  That means that I’m going to question the assumed gender of the figures in my cards and respect that traditionally assigned gender roles are hopelessly outdated and need not apply.  But, I need to make sure that I’m not erasing women at the same time.

Sound complicated?  It is, but that’s the reality if you want to be inclusive.  And that’s okay.

Want to read more about tarot and gender?  Check out this post by The Tarot Lady: Gender Bending the Tarot.  Also I completely recommend you spend some quality time with Beth at Little Red Tarot.  Her Alternative Tarot Course is an AWESOME resource for Queer tarot stuff.  And wander over to the Queer Tarot Project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!  Feel free to leave a comment or share an article or post you found useful on this topic.

 

Challenging the Rider-Waite(-Smith) Tarot

Arguably, the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck is one of the most famous and influential decks that still exist today.  I respect the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith deck because of it’s huge influence, but I have some issues with the deck as well.  My first thing is that I’m not a huge fan of the art style, classic and traditional though it is.  I need a deck that draws me into the visual style.  But that’s not the biggest challenge around this deck.

RWS_Tarot_00_Fool

What bothers me the most, and I do admit that I didn’t even learn about this until recently, is that for much of the deck’s history it was called the Rider-Waite deck.  The deck was designed by Arthur Edward Waite (also known as A.E. Waite) and then published by the Rider company.  So where is the problem?  The problem lies in the fact that all of the art for the cards was done by Pamela Colman Smith.

“Waite is often cited as the designer of the Waite-Smith Tarot, but it would be more accurate to consider him as half of a design team, with responsibility for the major concept, the structure of individual cards, and the overall symbolic system. Because Waite was not an artist himself, he commissioned the talented and intuitive Smith to create the actual deck … The Minor Arcana are indeed one of the notable achievements of this deck, as most earlier tarot decks (especially those of the Marseilles type) have extremely simple pip cards. One reason for the enduring success of the Waite-Smith deck may be the richness of symbolic signification that Smith brought to the Minor Arcana.” 01

Her name was left off the published work and she was largely uncredited for her revolutionary illustrations.  She was paid a flat fee for the design and illustration of the cards and didn’t receive any further compensation from the deck.  This further illustrates how she was not viewed as a true collaborator in the project, merely relegated to a role as hired help. 02

Swords13Had it not been for her work and creativity we might not have the wealth of beautiful and varied decks that we’re lucky enough to have today.  And it might be at least partly thanks to her interpretations that the women in the tarot decks are powerful in their own right. 03

You might be inclined to say, okay, so yes, that wasn’t cool of A.E. White, but is it really such a big deal now?  Many tarot readers today now refer to this deck as the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, which is the name I use as well.  I want to celebrate this progress.  Adding her name back onto the deck that she was so instrumental in creating is fantastic and long overdue.  Why this is still important is that it was just another slight in a long tradition of ignoring, overlooking, or just outright dismissing the work of women.  It is important to recognize the role of women in history and especially in influential works such as this one.  Calling the the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot is a great first step.

Do yourself a favor and go and learn more about Pamela Colman Smith.  While you’re at it, maybe take a gander at some other contributions of women in Tarot.

Images courtesy of Wikipedia
Footnote 01 – Wikipedia
Footnote 02 – Tarot Heritage – The Rider-Waite-Smith Deck
Footnote 03 – The Tarot Lady – Powerful Women in Tarot