Daily Draw: The Magician

the-daily-drawMy daily draw for today was The Magician.  Perhaps a reminder that I need to take external

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The Magician from the Universal Fantasy Tarot

action instead of getting lost in my head as I often tend to do. I’m reading it as a note to call my mom, and make sure not to neglect the physical aspects of self care.  Go to the gym, have the salad for lunch, and take a nap if I need one.

It might also be a kick in the pants to do some actual hands on magic.  Maybe a healing ritual for my mom or some charm crafting.  Something physical that I can send her that she can hold and touch.  Soak that thing with healing magic and mail it to her since I can’t be there.

Speaking of good self care and healthy eating, my wife and I made soup last night.  It’s a fantastic recipe called Soul Soothing African Peanut Stew and I can’t recommend it enough.  It’s from the Oh She Glows cookbook.  It’s a savory and spicy vegan soup/stew that is perfect for a chilly grey day (which we had yesterday and look to be having again today).

I hope all of you are having a lovely day as well.

 

Daily Draw: Seven of Wands

the-daily-drawI’m trying to get back into the habit of the Daily Draw.  Which, as every tarot course will

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Seven of Wands from the Universal Fantasy Tarot

tell you, is a fantastic way of learning your cards and even after you’ve learned them, of deepening your connection to them.

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Seven of Wands from the Shadowscapes Tarot

So I’m trying to do that.  And this morning I drew the Seven of Wands.  Which was the card of the day that I featured not four days ago.  And the really interesting thing is this: I’m away from my cards right now, but I forgot to draw one this morning so I went to a random tarot card website to have it pull one for me.

And it pulled the seven of wands again.

When cards repeat themselves it’s generally a good idea to pay attention to them.  Especially when they show themselves in such different ways.

As I talked about before, the seven of wands is about standing your ground, even when the odds seem stacked against you.  I guess I’ll need to look for an area where I might be baking down.  A challenge at work comes to mind, so maybe it means I really should write that email.

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.

Card of the Day: The Magician

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

Today’s card is The Magician from the Universal Fantasy Tarot.

I always think of Schmendrick the Magician from the book The Last Unicorn when I think of the Magician in the Tarot.  I like watching the progression of Schmendrick from his role asthe_magician Mommy Fortuna’s hired entertainer to a True Magician.  In the incarnation of the Magician in the Tarot we see a master of the magical arts.

The Magician is the first teacher that the Fool meets on his journey.  And what an awesome first teacher the magician would be.

The Magician represents a connection to the natural elements of the world.  The Magician is able to work with them and ask their help.  He doesn’t control the elements, but instead works with them as allies.

In this depiction you can see him making fire magic above an altar that has the four suits of the Tarot carved in it.  His expression is almost reverent, making me think again of Schmendrick’s “magic do as you will” style of spell casting.  Although this Magician is much less haphazard.  His incantation might be more along the lines of “magic, lend me your strength”.   The art work of the card evokes the elements of earth (the vines growing by the altar), air (the lines of air he draws from the fire), and fire (… the fire, she said obviously).  I find it missing the element of water though.  It’s shown through the cup on the altar, and you could sort of imagine that the blue along the bottom of the card is meant to be water, but it’s not quite as obvious as the others.  This could be implying that this Magician isn’t as in touch with that element as some others or that the other elements are more important in this reading.

How to Choose a Tarot Deck

Before I launch into a post about choosing a tarot deck I have to make a small confession. I’m not super choosy about buying tarot decks.  I have a small collection of them and I love to get new ones if one catches my eye.   That said, despite owning a bundle of them, I always circle back to a small handful that I love working with.

But that’s absolutely okay.  I don’t see anything wrong with collecting tarot decks; they’re beautiful art pieces, powerful tools, and great meditation aids.  Like any kind of collection, as long as your bills are paid and it’s not causing you harm, you should feel free to indulge yourself.  I used to feel guilty when I bought a deck that I didn’t use, but I realized that was a waste of energy.  Your favorite deck may change over time and one that you used to use all the time might take a backseat as your life changes, your reading style changes, or your reading audience changes.  I used to rely heavily on a Robin Wood Tarot deck, but as I’ve grown and changed I find that it’s too white and heteronormative to resonate with me anymore.  I’m not saying it’s not a good deck, just that my needs in a tarot deck are different now.

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Some of my collection, sadly unorganized at the moment because my studio is a mess.

So, how do you choose the tarot deck that’s right for you?  In my experience it’s a bit of a trial and error process until you find a deck that really resonates with you.  I want to tackle one stubbornly popular myth first.

Myth: You have to be given your first tarot deck.

This little story really annoys me.  Firstly, it takes your agency away from you.  You’re just

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Universal Fantasy Tarot

supposed to wait patiently for someone to magically guess that you need a tarot deck and then give it to you?  So many people would never get a deck!  This isn’t even considering people who might be living in situations where tarot is misunderstood and feared.  Also, I think that choosing and buying your very own tarot deck gives you a leg up in working with your chosen deck.  For me, tarot is about empowerment, and what could be more empowering than taking your own initiative and choosing your spiritual tools yourself?  Of course, this isn’t a slight against people who did have someone else give them a deck.  If someone gave you your first deck and you loved it and it’s perfect, that’s fantastic.  I guess what I’m saying here is that there is no wrong way to get a deck.  Except maybe stealing one.  The energy of theft is probably not the best energy you want to introduce into your tarot.

Okay, so you’ve decided that you want to get a deck, awesome!  But where do you even start?  There are hundreds and hundreds of possibilities out there.  You can find themed tarot decks on almost any subject you can imagine: CatsDragonsAliens, or even Baseball.  That almost makes it harder because there are so many options!

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Universal Goddess Tarot

So here’s my advice: you need to find a deck that you’re charmed by.  If you can, start by looking into Rider Waite Smith styled decks.  A lot of the intro to tarot websites and books are focused around that style of tarot.  That makes it easier to learn the meanings of the cards and you’ll have plenty of bloggers who use a deck similar to yours and lots of decks to learn from.  I also echo the suggestion of lots of others who suggested that you get a deck of “dudes doing shit”.  To be clear here, I don’t mean that you need a deck of men, but a deck with humanoid figures interacting with each other and the environment often makes it easier if you’re just getting started.

For me it’s really important that the deck be in an art style that I can connect with.  The more you look at decks, the more you’ll get to realize things you like and things you don’t like.  Personally, I’ve found that I don’t care for photo manipulated decks; I like drawings better on my cards.  I also like decks that have some traditional RWS symbolism but aren’t re-drawings of the exact same images.

You should also consider what you’re going to be using your deck for.  Do you want something to read spreads?  Then you might want something that is clear and easy to

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Witchlings Oracle Deck

understand, something like the Happy Tarot, the Robin Wood, or something like it.  Do you want something to help you connect with spirit?  Something like the Universal Goddess Tarot might be perfect.  I use my Universal Goddess deck both in divination and in goddess meditations.

Another thought I wanted to mention was that you can also consider oracle decks if they suit your wants.  I know this post is about how to choose a tarot deck, but most of it can also apply to oracle decks.  Obviously, with an oracle deck, the RWS advice about finding one with people doesn’t apply, but aside from that, look for something that you feel a pull towards and that you really like.  Oracle decks are not the same as Tarot decks, but don’t let anyone tell you that they’re inferior.  They’re just a different way of card reading.  In case you’re not familiar with the difference between oracle and tarot decks, it’s that tarot decks contain 22 cards in the Major Arcana and 14 Minor Arcana (also known as pip cards) in four suits that make up the 78 cards in a deck.  Oracle cards come in every flavor of the rainbow, and come in any number of cards, sometimes with a booklet for reading them and sometimes without so that you must rely on your intuition to decipher a spread of them.  I enjoy both types of decks and I own an assortment of both.  I do a lot more work with my tarot cards, but sometimes the simplicity of an oracle deck is too appealing to pass up.

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Happy Tarot

I also want to point out that sometimes the really great decks will surprise you.  I bought the Happy Tarot (see the Hermit card there?) because if was adorably sugar sweet and filled with cupcakes.  I didn’t really expect it to be a deck I did serious work with, but I’ve been so wrong about that.  The deck is great and I have found it to be wonderful to work with.  Don’t discount a ‘cute’ or themed deck as a novelty item right away.  Some of them are, but some will work just as well as a super traditional Rider Waite Smith.

The last piece of advice I have is that it’s okay to buy a deck and realize that it’s not the right deck for you.  If you hold out for The One True Deck you could get paralyzed and end up never trying any at all.  And here’s my second confession: part of the reason that I have so many decks is that it took me a long time to understand that I didn’t have to find the Perfect Deck.  You might use one deck for a while and then ‘outgrow’ it and start working with another.  And that’s okay.

So there you go?  Shop around, find something you love, and know that it’s okay to change

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Wild Unknown Tarot

your mind or pick more than one.  I’ve found that Aeclectic Tarot is a great place to find information about different decks.  They have reviews and purchase links for most decks.  Also check out the Tarot blogs, I post reviews here on The Wooly Witch from time to time and so do lots of other Tarot bloggers.

It’s also totally fine to throw all my suggestions out the window and do things your own different way.  That’s a big theme for me as I walk my spiritual path.  Learn all you can, take what makes sense, discard what doesn’t resonate with you.

Happy reading!  If you’re new I’d love to hear what your first deck was/is/will be.  If you’ve been reading for a while, I’d love to hear how you picked your first deck.  As you can tell, I love decks!

Card of the Day: Eight of Pentacles

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

Today’s card is the Eight of Pentacles from the Universal Fantasy deck

 This deck is fascinating. 8_of_pentacles Like the name says, this is a fantastical deck with an almost a little bit Sci-Fi feel to it.  It brings to mind alien planets far from our own with fantastic beasts and magical technology.  There are some cards that have a very Solarpunk feel to them.  I was flipping through my cards looking for which card called to me and this one just sang.  I love stars and trees and… well this one looks like a star tree!

This card raises a bit of a question.  The man, who reminds me a bit of the Lord of the Rings dwarves, is holding a hammer, and we can see what looks like a saw and some chisels near his feet.  Did he build this tree?  Is he repairing this tree?  Did he start building and the tree shot up around him, spiralling off into the stars?  He looks surprised, maybe even a little bit daunted.  Does he have to harvest the stars on the tree?  There’s a lot that could be happening in this card.

The Eight of Pentacles often has a practice makes perfect kind of message.  A craftsperson sitting on a bench hammering out pentacles is the classic illustration.  There are echoes of that here.  And the message is the same.  Whether or not he’s built the tree or is planning on harvesting the stars from it, the more often he works, the better he’ll be at it.  Also, the more he hones his craft the less concerned he’ll be about the outcome.

The Eight of Pentacles shows us that there is some hard work to be done, but that ultimately, if you put in the time and the practice, you can excel in your chosen pursuit.  Scaling the tree might not be easy, but when you can finally hold those stars in your hands it’ll all be worth it.