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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Background Music: The Fool – Try Everything

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Welcome to Background Music: an occasional series where Wooly finds songs that remind her of Tarot cards.

It’s a new blog series I’m going to start working on.  As part of her Alternative Tarot Course, Beth asks students to “choose three cards and find three songs to match them or if you prefer, choose the songs first, then search through your deck to find a card that seems to match it.”  And by the way, if you haven’t taken her course, it’s fantastic and I highly recommend it.

I was sitting at my desk yesterday listening to my Pandora Disney station and a song that I love started playing and boom, I immediately knew it represented The Fool.

It’s called Try Everything and it’s by Shakira for the Zootopia movie (which was adorable).  It’s just this cute sugar sweet pop song about trying even if you might screw up.

It just rang so true to the Fool for me.

“I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
‘Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No, I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail.”

~*~

“I’ll keep on making those new mistakes
I’ll keep on making them every day
Those new mistakes”

Card of the Day: The Fool

S W I M I N T H E S E A

Today’s card is The Fool from the Manga Tarot.

IMG_0634This Fool card bears some of similarities to other Fool cards: it has a figure approaching a cliff, there’s a canine companion, and the figure doesn’t appear to be able to see the huge drop off right ahead.  But there’s a lot more about this card that reads very differently from most Fool cards that I’ve seen.

For starters, I think this is the least colorful Fool I’ve ever seen.  Often times the Fool is portrayed as a very festive, jester-like Fool, in the tradition of the medieval fool.  This card is nearly monochromatic; only a few details like the brown cast to the stone of the cliff, the skin tone, the trail of red under her feet, and the little pink tongue of the dog have color.

Also this fool doesn’t feel like the starting of a brand new exciting journey into the unknown.  It looks bleak.  The figure is covering her face, she looks depressed, and my first thought is that she’s walking to her death off that cliff.  Instead of a beginning she seems to be heading for an ending.  At first I thought the red color indicated flowers blossoming under her feet, but in the context of the card they sort of make me think of blood.

In traditional readings the Fool represents taking a leap of faith into a new an unknown situation.  The Fool doesn’t know what lies ahead, but they’re unburdened by worries and they skip happily down the path of life, footloose and fancy free.

The Fool in this card, shown all in white, carries a few other connotations.  Although this is the Manga Tarot, the deck contains some racial diversity, and can’t be read as being exclusively Japanese; however, since Manga is a Japanese art form, I can’t exclude those cultural influences without losing some meaning in the cards.  In the Shinto religion of Japan, white is the color worn by pilgrims.  It’s also the most common color for wedding dresses in Japan, and in many Asian cultures, white is the color of mourning.

In some ways, this Fool could be any of those people.  Whether going on a pilgrimage, getting married, or mourning a loss, all of these require stepping forward into the unknown, perhaps taking a leap of faith.

This Fool card is showing us a Fool who isn’t at the very beginning of her journey.  She has walked through the path of the Major Arcana already once, and now she has come full circle again.  In walking up to that cliff, although she is clearly afraid, covering her eyes, she is willing herself to take that leap again, fighting her instinct that tells her that she’ll fall if she takes that last step.  This Fool, more than any other I’ve seen, is urging you to be brave and to trust in the power of a new beginning, even if you’ve been battered and disappointed before.   It’s okay to be afraid of the fall, as long as you don’t let your fears trap you and keep you from moving forward.  She knows that even when it seems the most bleak and painful, we can always reinvent ourselves if we’re willing to take that risk and be vulnerable again.  It’s never too late for a new start.