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?
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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 🙂

Weekly Readings

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How to be of Service  In spiritual communities, it’s often believed that at your lowest point, to be of service to someone else can turn your entire situation around. That looking past our own suffering for ways to alleviate the suffering of someone else is a key to happiness and fulfillment.
No time like the present to test the theory, right?

Use Your Words: how speech can shape the revolution.

A new tarot spread from Asali Earthwork about transitioning from Winter to Spring.

Also from Asali: Ritual and Honey for casting away.

What I’m knitting: Eternal Spring socks: because everyone needs some red lacey socks!
What I’m playing: Lego Jurassic World (SO FUN)
What I’m eating: I’m experimenting with meal replacement bars because I’ve been making lots of terrible eating choices and my health is suffering because of it.  These are helping me keep my blood sugar in check.
What I bought: All the unicorn related sock yarns!  From the Lemonade Shop and Sheepy Fibers.
What I’m learning: how to quilt!  I found a craftsy class I liked and I’ve sewn a simple patchwork quilt top!  Then I went on to make a wee pieced block.  It turned out all wrong and wonky, but I learned!  Who knew you had to add on seam allowances?   Well, I would have if I’d read the instruction section 😉  Sometimes I have too much Swords (I-know-how-to-do-it-already!) energy and not quite enough earthy Pentacles (let’s-read-the-instructions-first) energy.  I’m great at starting and less great at finishing.  Did I mention that my sewing machine wasn’t working and I figured out how to fix it all by myself?  Pretty proud of that little feat 🙂

 

 

Weekly Readings

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Adorable Baby Animals because it’s been a rough week.

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Tiny gnome.  It’s a Anna Hrachovec pattern from Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi – via GIPHY

From Jezebel: A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support.

Beth from LRT answers the question: Can you do Tarot Wrong?

Contemporary Norse Gods – a creative imagining way of the Norse Gods interacting with the present world.

A little Calm for Your Day a video of the history of handspinning.

Check out this adorable knit unicorn pattern!

8 Middle grade books with LGBTQ characters.

Ways to re-purpose tarot cards into craft projects.   I loved seeing this post.  I have a deck that had some seriously misogynist imagery on some of the cards and it really upset me.  I thought about reselling the deck, but I didn’t want to put that energy back out there, so I decided to keep it.  I held a little ritual where I burned the cards that upset me and I’ve kept the rest to create art.  One card now sits on a household shrine, one I decoupaged onto a tarot ritual candle I use when doing readings, one of them I put into a moon shrine.  There are infinite ways you could transform cards.

Some coping skills shared by Autostraddle.

Trump and the radicalization of young white men, scary stuff, but kind of know your opposition thing.

Why you might want to start wearing a safety pin.

10 Ways to use your anger against Donald Trump.

Photos from Anti-Trump demonstrations to inspire you.

A tarot spread about a card that keeps cropping up in your readings.  Warning: this spread uses the term ‘stalking’ to describe a card that keeps appearing and I’m not down with trivializing the use of the term stalking.  Because stalking is serious and it’s not a joke.

What I’m knitting: more hats!  A Norwegian Star Hat and an Ombre Hat.
What I’m eating: rainbow chip cookies – stress eating, blargh.
What I’m watching: Teen Wolf!  Such a great distraction of a show.
What I’m listening to: mostly nature sounds to help me sleep and unwind.

Weekly Readings

Weekly Readings from Wooly Witchy

As I mentioned before, I’m way behind so this one will be long as I catch up on a few weeks wonderful linking!

A Halloween Crocheted Wreath that anyone can make.  The pattern is even free!

From Lavender Moon: rebirth and renewal: a tarot spread for healing.

Ethony offers some advice on what to do when a Tarot reading goes all to crap.

Benebell Wen has created a downloadable set of RWS cards with keywords and planetary associations and some other customizable options for anyone wanting to learn their cards, or for anyone who wants to enhance their understanding.  It’s a pretty cool project!  Check it out!

Asali Earthwork shares some open readings.  It’s kind of just the right nudge that I needed to remind me to do the same.  I need to read more and share more.  She also created a lovely Two Waters Tea Spread, go check it out!

On Little Red Tarot: an interview with Brettley Mason about their Etsy shop Teal Pansy Jewelry.  My Etsy wishlist just got a little bigger!

Also on Little Red Tarot from Andi Grace: I believe you: a tarot spread for femme survivors.

And one more LRT, Asali shares an interview with Courtney Alexander, creator of the Dust II Onyx: A Melanated Tarot Deck.  You can support this deck creation by heading over to the Kickstarter!

Andi Grace again on setting boundaries and some wonderful resources (books and workshops) about helping you learn to develop and maintain your own boundaries.

Something that sounds fun: a webseries about queer ghost hunters!

Beth shares a Tarot reading for an anonymous querent over on Autostraddle.  I find it fascinating to see how other people read cards and see how I would read it and what I can learn from the difference.  Also, I think Beth, founder of Little Red Tarot, is way cool, as you might have noticed, I reshare a lot of her stuff.

10 Best Transwomen in Comics!

An article about the appropriation of Native culture in fashion and at the end there is a list of places where you can buy items from ACTUAL NATIVE PERSONS if you want to support the actual people who are from the cultures.

I was a Girl Scout for 13 years and my experiences were some of the most empowering and self affirming of my LIFE.  So I’m always down to hear about what fellow girls and women are doing, and this article made my day!  This NYC Girl Scout Troop Is Making Our Feminist Dreams Come True.  Also You can help Jenkins and the enterprising young ladies of Troop 3484 reach their goal by donating here.

Feminist Nuns Cycling Across Nepal to Protest Human Trafficking.

Emma Watson delivers a powerful speech about sexual violence.