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!)

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.

Deck Review: Rumi Oracle

a-wooly-review-1

Today I’m going to ramble on about the Rumi Oracle by Alana Fairchild with artwork by Rassouli.

When you move beyond consciousness, you caress the beloved.
When you move into the unknown, beyond everything, the beloved caresses you.
-Rumi

I got this deck as a gift from Katie’s mom for Christmas.  I learned about Rumi in a img_0441class called Mysticism and Islam when I was in undergrad.  When I saw that someone had created an oracle deck about him I was so excited.  I knew I had to have it right away.

Rumi, also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, was was a 13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic.  He was also queer.  He had a lover named Shams who he loved very dearly.  And in doing a little more refreshing reading about him to write this post it made me really angry to find out that Rumi’s queerness is totally absent from his wikipedia page.  It’s also totally absent from the book that comes with this deck.

img_0440It’s yet another example of queer erasure.  You see it over and over again, this awesome queer figure and the things you read about them talk about everything else, and completely fail to mention that they were queer.

I’m specifically disappointed that this guide book does not mention this.  Fairchild talks a great deal about sensuality and sexuality and awakenings and about Rumi’s great loves.  She speaks about his love for the Divine and his love for all of us, but conspicuously fails to mention his great love for Shams-e Tabrīzī, a man he met in a market and loved fiercely.  Rumi is perhaps most famous for his poetry, including the love poetry he wrote about his relationships both with God and with Shams.

I also found it really weird that there was so much Christianity talked about in a img_0439guidebook for an oracle featuring a Muslim.  While it is true that Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet, it still felt jarring.  And honestly it felt like pandering to the straight Christian demographic.  Why else spend so much time about Jesus in a book about a queer brown guy if not to ensure that your white christian possible buyers will feel comfortable buying your product.

I was, however, excited to see that in the interpretation for each card included there
is a translation of some of Rumi’s verses.  If I use this deck I think I’m inclined to toss the guidebook and just focus on Rumi’s poetry and the beautiful artistry of these cards.

img_0442Because these cards are really beautiful.  They come in a very sturdy and well made box, it’ll protect them quite well and it holds the book that comes with.  The deck contains forty four cards.  They’re large cards, 3.75 x 5.5 inches.  Each one depicts a different person or idea and each has a beautiful painting.  Some have human figures some don’t.  But they’re all beautifully painted in a rainbow of colors and shades each on inviting you to linger over the images, sometimes you see a woman dancing another time you might see the fins of some mythical sea creature.

I can see myself using these cards as meditation aids because there’s a lot you can mull over in them.

So yes, in summary, I love the art, I don’t love the book, I like the poetry.  I probably won’t use the deck for readings, but it’s not a total loss.

Weekly Readings

Weekly Readings from Wooly Witchy

Where the Love Light Gleams: a free digital care package for queers over the holidays.

And while I’m at it, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, Merry Yule, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, Festivus, and anything else you celebrate.  I wish nothing but love and light for you over the holidays and all through the coming year.  ❤

File this under “to watch over my holiday break”: The Other Love Story a web series about two Indian women falling in love.

Also from Autostraddle: Community Self Care

Asali Earthwork reviews the Slow Holler deck.

Okay, I loved this.  A “What the Fuck?” Tarot spread from Interrobang Tarot.  They call it a spread for “when shit is all fucked up.”

Beth on LRT shares a great post about why she follows the Wheel of the Year.  I echo a lot of those sentiments.  Happy Solstice and other holidays everyone 🙂

She also shared a post on Tarot challenges and resources.  Super helpful stuff!

This made me giggle, so I thought it might amuse all of you.  Snarky Tea!

A Gift Idea: Reproductive Rights Bandanas.

 

 

How to be a Better Ally to your Queer Friends

wooly-thoughtsDear Straight Allies,

I’m writing you this open letter because I know that you’re awesome people.  And I know that you want to be the best allies that you can possibly be.  But here’s one thing I’ve been hearing a lot lately from my straight allies and it’s making me want to tear my hair out.

When I confess to you that I’m afraid in the wake of this election (and let’s be honest, through the entire election process), here’s what is really not helpful to hear.

“Aww don’t worry, it’ll be okay, you just have to be strong/brave.”

Firstly, don’t tell me it’s going to be okay when I’m essentially watching my home catch fire.  Between promises to repeal a great deal of LGBTQ legislation, to appoint bigoted white supremacists to positions of power, and the fact that other less informed friends and family don’t have any idea that it’s all happening.  I actually had a family member try to tell me that Trump supports gay people, and they linked me to an article showing Trump holding up that (upside down) rainbow flag.  They honestly thought that seeing that meant Trump was an ally.  It made me feel so depressed because they are an otherwise lovely person, but they had NO IDEA what a Trump presidency could mean for me and my wife.  Because they didn’t have to know, it’s not a problem they have to deal with every single day.

Friends, your queer friends are feeling freaked out right now.  We have good reasons to be fearful of what’s coming at us.

Secondly, and more importantly, don’t tell me to be brave.

I am living in a country where HALF of the population thinks that I am less than human.  Thinks I should be given electrical shocks to cure my perversion.  Thinks that corrective rape is a perfect solution to my ‘problem’.  Thinks that I am the same as a pedophile or that I must be down with bestiality.

I live every day in this reality.  So I am brave.  I’m brave every single time I come out (which is a continual process not a one time thing) to someone and I wonder how they’re going to react.  I could tell you stories about sweaty palms and how I can physically feel my heart beat speeding up when I’m mentioning my wife to someone new.   I could tell you about the time I stood across from the Phelps clan while they shouted about how God hated me.

I could tell you about the very palpable fear I felt when my wife and I went to Pride right after the Orlando Pulse shooting.  I actually made a plan for what I would do if there was a shooting at the parade.  I planned how I would grab hold of my wife and pull her behind me, making sure to cover her head.  I made sure we had good sneakers on so we could run if we needed to.  While we marched in that parade, and in a rally downtown near home I watched every window in every building around us, I looked down every alley, just waiting for a sign of something wrong.

I am brave.

So, instead of saying that, what I’d love to hear is this:

Say that you’re sorry things are really hard right now and ask if there’s something you can do to help.  Don’t spout platitudes at your marginalized friends. Just be a friend, listen, and offer to help where you can.  And I mean actually listen, don’t interrupt with a story you heard from someone else or some queer news bite that you looked up.  Listen to us, and trust that we know what we’re talking about.  And when we say that things are looking bad for us, trust us.

And then get involved and take action.

Weekly Readings

weekly-readings-from-wooly-witchy

From the Southern Poverty Law Center: ways to respond to everyday bigotry.  I kind of want to make some of these a printable card I keep in my wallet so I can walk away from a bigoted exchange having said something instead of wishing I’d been able to think of what to say.

Benebell Wen shares how she journals and “documents her woo”.  There’s some beautiful stuff in there, makes me want to have a paper planner again!

Kelly Ann Maddox shares 50 Journal Prompts for Toughening Up and Getting Inspired in the Hardest of Times.  I could definitely use some of these about now.

How to support and Herbal call to action from Worts and Cunning.

Autostraddle shares 5 ways to stand up to Trump Tyranny right now.

How you can intervene when witnessing racist assaults.  Always make sure that you’re not putting yourself in physical danger too, but speak out where you can.

Here’s how to set up monthly recurring donations for a TON of great organizations that are fighting to help keep us all safe (Planned Parenthood, SPLC, NAACP, Trevor Project, and lots more).

A knitted garland made entirely out of mittens!  I knit this for my mom one year and it’s adorable and free!  And another garland made with stars.  Also free.

From Northwest Witch : What Now? a Tarot spread in the wake of the election.

Ethony shared 6 daily practices to improve your tarot journey.

Buddhists bring meditation to the streets and subways of NYC.

This is awesome: The Inclusive Local Yarn Store Initiative.

Tarot Talk: How to make your tarot practice (and your life) more queer inclusive and friendly

tarot-talkI work hard to try to make my Tarot practice more inclusive.  I’m a cis gender white person, so I know there are places that I fall short in terms of inclusion around issues of race, class, and ability (and probably other ways too).  But I always want to improve, so if you ever notice a place that I could use work or have a suggestion on how I can improve, I’d love to hear about it.  Please feel free to get in touch!  Leave a comment, tweet @woolywitchy, carrier pidgeon, I would love to hear from you.

IMG_0626One of the way that I get to improve is when people share how they’ve promoted inclusion and openness.  So this is my attempt to add to that dialog.

I identify as lesbian/queer (and lots of other finely tuned aspects of identity, but for the purpose of brevity I’ll leave it there for now) and here is my experience of how I promote inclusion in my tarot practice.  And how you can do it too!

The first step I encourage you to take is to educate yourself on some queer issues.  Are you familiar with the Gender Unicorn?  Do you know what terms like cisgender and genderqueer mean?  You’ll be better able to relate to queer clients if you’ve done a little background reading.

A second step is to consider where you use traditional gender roles in your tarot the_magicianreading and what assumptions are being made about the roles of different cards.  Yes, the Magician is pictured as a man in many depictions of the card, but does that energy necessarily have to be masculine?  Gender expression, identity, sexuality, all of these things exist on a spectrum and not just in a binary system.  The Magician could be a woman who embodies energies that have been traditionally associated with the masculine.  Reconsider where you’re using pronouns and assigned genders in your reading.  Maybe the Empress is a man, exhibiting nurturing and internally focused energies.

Instead of talking about masculine and feminine energies, talk about how those energies behave.  Instead of saying that it’s a masculine energy say that it’s forceful and authoritative.  There’s nothing about those traits that are inherently male.

For more reading and learning on this subject I highly recommend Cassandra Snow’s series Queering the Tarot.  She had a line in particular that I really liked in her latest post on the Ace of Wands:

“Really if people take one thing away from my entire series or need a single starting point for being a reader who is accessible to LGBTQ+ seekers it should be this: never assume someone’s gender, pronouns, or sexual identity, and ask respectful, relevant questions if any of it comes up in a reading.”

 

Bottom line, don’t make assumptions when you’re reading tarot.  Another way you can be explicitly inclusive to ask what pronouns a client uses for themselves (also note the use of ‘them’ as a gender non specific pronoun there) and then use those in your reading when speaking about them or to them.

My last piece of advice is to state, right out, that you’re welcoming to LGBTQ+/queerimg_0456 clients.  That goes a huge way to setting my mind at ease when I’m searching for a service.  It’s tiring to constantly have to wonder if my little lesbian self will be welcome in different situations.  Remember that for queer people, exclusion is the societal norm in most spaces, so if you don’t say you’ll be welcoming to me, I don’t know if I’ll be safe in your space.  Especially in this violently divisive election year when I’ve started seeing Trump campaign signs around my neighborhood, it’s so important to voice your support and acceptance of the marginalized communities around you.  Don’t make me have to ask, tell me right off the bat that I’ll be safe and respected in your practice and your group.  It’s a little thing to do that has a huge impact.

Be Excellent to Each Other!

P.S. If you’re looking for a specifically queer themed spread to try, check out my Pride and Love Tarot Spread.

Weekly Readings

Weekly Readings from Wooly Witchy

From Garden Therapy: How to make your own clay aromatherapy pendants

Photo series of Planned Parenthood Supporters along with why they support PP.

Autostraddle shares 35 Awesome ways to describe your gender!  I didn’t come up with it, but I’m totally #4.  And #34.  Also see wearing a plaid fleece lined shirt over a super girly v neck blouse with flowers on.  With jeans and busted ass sneakers.

From LRT: a ritual for saying goodbye

This came to me via Knitty.com – Ethical Fibre Choices Make All the Difference

An essay in support of tea being just as awesome as wine, also tips on how to get the best tasting tea without needing any special equipment.  I can completely agree.  Tea is Amazing!

 Autostraddle takes a look at some statistics about queer women on TV and just how many lesbians were murdered this year.  Spoilers: lots.  Damnit, media!

My Six Favorite video game wives: I can vouch for Mjoll the Lioness!   I married her in one of my Skyrim games.  Skyrim has some great GLBT integration in terms of romance (it’s not perfect, but they did well), but DAMN those Stormcloaks are racist AF!  I still enjoy and recommend the game.  I married a cool Ork lady in another plot line.  And a mercenary bard guy as my boy character.  Thieves Guild forever! Good times!

How to Hold Space – what does it mean to hold space for someone and how do you do it?

Tarot Exercise: What your favorite card says about you

tarot-talkI found this interesting little exercise on the Daily Tarot Girl blog about what your favorite tarot card says about you and I thought it might be interesting to try it and then share it with you.

I don’t entirely agree with one section of the exercise, but I’ll talk about that when we come to it.  The instructions say to flip through your tarot deck until you find your favorite card, or if you don’t have a favorite to find one that particularly calls to you.  I’ve already talked about some of my favorites (The Moon, The Star, The Hermit) so I decided to take a deck I use infrequently and flip through it until I found a card that spoke to me.

Using the Universal Fantasy deck I chose the Two of Cups.

2_of_cupsCard chosen I proceeded to the exercise.

Key #1: Color
What color is most prominent in your favorite Tarot card? This tells you what is most important to you right now.

Looking at this card my first thought was purple, secondary looking gives me gold and red, but I decided to go with my instant first impression of purple.

Purple – You are strongly focused on spirituality at the moment. You are in the process of getting in touch with your own divinity and connecting to spirit. You share many of the blue/green traits, but you are very interested in things like astrology, the cosmos, reading channeled books, ascension, hypnosis and activating your psychic abilities. Others may think you are weird – but you could care less!”

Hmm, I’d say partly true, and I do strongly associate the color purple with Spirit and I have been doing some work around intuition lately.

 

Key #2: Gender
If there is a figure on the Tarot card, is it male, female or androgynous?

Here’s where I differ a bit in the interpretation.  The exercise has this to say:

“This symbolizes the energy that you are most closely aligned with at the moment. If the figure is a male, you are probably quite focused on doing, whereas if the figure is female, you are likely more focused on being.”

Firstly, it doesn’t really take into account that there are two differently gendered persons on my card and I object to the active/passive characterization and having it tied to genders. So, well, that’s my two cents on the matter.  If I do this exercise again I would just skip Key 2.  Or work on rephrasing this or coming to a different understanding of a way to read the energy in the card that wasn’t tied to socially constructed ideas of gender roles.

 

Key #3: Action
Is there any action going on in your favorite Tarot card? Whats happening in it?

Let’s see, in my card we see a male presenting figure looking into a mirror and seeing a female presenting figure.  One of the things that drew me to this card was the fact that I recognized a possible trans narrative in it.  The two of cups can means a partnership or relationship, but it can also mean acknowledging a bond or coming towards acceptance of a situation and getting a positive response.  If I were reading for a gender variant person and this card appeared it would be extremely encouraging.

You could also read this as the fantasy world equivalent of Skype where two people are speaking to each other over a great distance.  Perhaps one is a warrior fighting in a distant conflict, stealing a precious chance to talk to someone back at home.  Or maybe it’s an arranged marriage and the two are meeting for the first time over magical Skype.

You could really go in a ton of directions reading this image.  I’m going to stick with my first and strongest impression, that of a trans person seeing their true self in the mirror.

That reading tells me that in the forefront of my mind are transformation and the struggle to speak and live our truths.  With all the hate for GLBTQ+ folks that’s been moving around that makes a lot of sense.  I also am reminded to try to be more inclusive of my trans siblings whenever and wherever I can.

 

Key #4: Symbols
Is there a particular symbol in the card that stands out to you?
Look into the spiritual significance of this symbol or ask yourself what you think this symbol means. Chances are it represents something you are desiring or something that is important to you.

Mirrors –  Seeing yourself reflected, self image, distorted perceptions of myself.  I’m dealing with some health things lately and I’ve been avoiding rescheduling a doctor’s appointment.  It could be a subtle dig at me to go do that.

Cups – The holy grail jumped to mind as I was thinking about this symbol.  The whole idea of a mythical holy relic that has been lost to time.  Something you’re always questing after that has mythical magical properties. Maybe it means that I’m searching for something that always seems just out of reach.

It’s an interesting exercise if you’re looking to deepen your understanding of a card.  It’s a decent way to do a little self reflective work.  What other keys might you have included?  What card is your favorite?  Let me know in the comments.

Weekly Readings

Weekly Readings from Wooly Witchy

I missed putting up this post last week, my Mom was out visiting and it’s always like a little tornado of productivity has swept through my life when she visits.  We re-did my side porch into a useful space instead of a pile of recycling and old shoes.  We built a beautiful raised garden bed where I planted lavender and hens and chicks and sunflowers.  We made so many delicious meals.  We went antiquing.  She bought us a new vacuum (a dyson! YAY) a new shelf to display our teacups.  And we made beaded bracelets and had dinner with Katie’s parents.  And she was only here for a week.   So now I’m exhausted and happy, but I missed last week’s post, so here’s an extra long one to make up for it 🙂

Shadow Work: Undoing White Privilege by Allison Carr

From Behati Life: a Guided Chakra Healing Meditation.

Something cool from NHPR: Foodstuffs: Portsmouth-Brewed Pint Raises Funds for Victims of Orlando, Dallas Shootings

Top Ten Cards for LGBTQ+ folks

Beth from Little Red Tarot shared what’s in her Tarot Box and it’s got me wishing I had such a cool box for mine.  I’ve got these visions of an old vintage suitcase.  Right now I just carry my tiny kit, such as it is (a reading cloth and a deck in a knit bag), in my backpack or purse.  Clearly I need (not actually, this is just a want) more tarot supplies 😉

And then other people shared their working spaces too!

What I’m reading: Hereafter by Marian Snowe.
What I’m crocheting: Mine Once More a summery shawl for my mom.
What I’m watching: Jane the Virgin and Grace and Frankie.