Nosy Witch Questions: The Magician

Nosy Witch Questions (2)The Magician: Do you practice white magic, black magic, both or neither?

That’s a slightly problematic distinction, it ties too much into the white = good and black = bad thing and I try to reject that when I notice it because I don’t want to be supporting the perpetuation of racist dichotomies.  However, I will say that I focus on protection, healing, boundary setting and keeping and less on the hexing and binding side.  That’s in large part due to the traditions and culture of witchcraft I started learning.  I am casting no aspersions on my fellow witches who came up through different traditions than I did.  My witch craft is no better or worse than other witches.  And I have nothing but respect for other crafty folks.  You do you.

The aim of my practice is to help, I don’t call myself a healer because I don’t yet feel qualified to assume that title, but I want my work to be in helping people to be better and do better.  That’s why I always say that my goal in giving you a Tarot reading is that I want you to leave feeling more empowered then before you came to me.  I want you to leave feeling like you have agency in shaping your own life and that even in the really tough shitty stuff, there are things that you can do to empower yourself.

I’m working on this exercise wherein I envision my dream client and work towards serving them and I would love to work with activists who are supporting socially just causes.  I want to work with queer folks who need guidance to get through the shit that the world heaps on our doorsteps.  I want to work with people who feel lost and need a little help to sift through the complicated stuff that life brings us.

There’s a quote from Mr. Rogers that I love:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” — Mister Rogers

I want to help the helpers so that our activists can keep on going when it gets rough.  I want to help people do that self care that is so important.

And if I had to pick a color… I would tell you that I practice rainbow magic.  Because I’m cheeky like that.

 

Weekly Readings

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A beautiful little comic by Baopu about Therapy.  So much love for this.

The Spicy Knitter shares: Life lessons learned while knitting

In time for spring, a home renewal spell.

Today I planted some lavender that a friend bought for me.  It’s a little EcoCube planter and it’s adorable!  I’m going to grow it in the cube until it gets big enough and then plant it in my garden outside.

How to Love Yourself When Things Get Crazy.

Love this one: Can I be a Witch without Tools?  Spoilers: Yes.  Tools are just tools, they can be helpers but you can work without them.  I’m a huge proponent of witchcraft being accessible to everyone.

From Offbeat Home: An essay on “Bad Moms” and a great reminder to support the moms in your lives.

 New podcast I just started listening to: Nancy by Kathy Tu and Tobin Low.  About the show: BFFs Kathy Tu and Tobin Low are super queer, super fun and ready to take over your podcast feed. Join them for provocative stories and frank conversations about the LGBTQ experience today. Because everyone’s a little bit gay…

Little Fox Tarot proposes a Tarot Oath – and I’m down with that 🙂

How do you know if a Tarot reader is the right one for you: a guide from coming out Tarot.

It’s spring and I can’t stop thinking of flowers, so here’s a handy guide: 10 hardy shrubs you can’t kill.

Another reason to love the Fearless Girl Statue.

A beautiful post from the hilarious Bloggess about chronic illness and going home again.  If you don’t already follow her blog, do yourself a favor and follow her.  Also go buy her books, especially Let’s Pretend this Never Happened  And thank me later when your sides are aching from too much laughing.

And I’m so behind the curve on this but I finally subscribed to Tarot Bytes by Theresa Reed, the Tarot Lady.  And firstly, she freaking rocks, and secondly the podcast is great even if you’re not a newbie.  And SUPER fantastic if you are a newbie to Tarot.  Thanks Theresa!

Also from the Tarot Lady: an Interview with Cassandra Snow – author of the Queering the Tarot series.  Great reading and fantastic advice to prospective clients and other readers.

Maybe you are wearing the right bra size after all.  A lovely essay about inclusivity and undergarments.
“This proved one thing to me: The exclusion of nudes for women of color and the refusal to stock packing briefs and binders and trans-friendly fitting expertise was purposeful.
I say “purposeful” because exclusivity is a choice; it is always a choice. Silence is a choice. Doing nothing is a choice. It’s 2017, and even if it was 1952, excluding inclusive options for LGBTQIA+ folks and women of color would still be a choice.”

Loved this: Little Fox Tarot shared Q is for Queer.  A short piece about queerness in tarot reading.  I agree with her thoughts here.  Get comfy with us queers, we’re not going anywhere.

A wonderful article from Autostraddle about tabletop gaming and D&D.  I puffy heart love playing tabletop games with my friends and I recently started being a DM myself.  I can confirm, it is awesome. 🙂

What I’m reading: all the quilting books I can cram down my gullet.
What I’m eating: lots of this mexican quinoa salad that I made for game night last week.
What I’m knitting:  rainbow scrappy socks!  And a giant slanket (that’s a shawl/blanket mix)

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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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?

Weekly Readings

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A spell to unblock your creativity.

Little Red Tarot shares: Five Do’s and Don’ts for beginner tarot readers.  I completely echo the don’t get too hung up on memorization part.  That was a big stumbling block for me and kept me from becoming the reader I am for a really long time.

Popcorn recipes!  Curried and Spicy Sriracha.

I started this HUGE knit shawl this week and I am loving it!  It’s called the Find Your Fade shawl.  It’s basically a socially acceptable way to wear a blanket around and I am 150% percent behind that idea 🙂  Mine is going to be blue and purple and grey and white.

There’s going to be another Yarn Love Challenge on IG this month!  I can’t wait!!!

Asali has a new tea blend in stock right now called Breakthrough and it sounds awesome!  Check it out.

What I’m eating: a crap ton of tacos!
What I’m watching: Supernatural again 😄
What I’m playing: Lego Jurassic World (SO MUCH FUN)
What I’m fighting: an asthma flare up.  booo.

Weekly Readings

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Punch more Nazis.

An article about why it is SO important to make the women’s march more inclusive.  Talking about issues of racial justice is NOT a distraction from the issues the women’s march was trying to raise.  Some thoughts from the black woman who had that viral sign with the white women on their phones.

Five things White People Need to Do right now.

I SO needed this:  On Being and Doing Enough for the Resistance.

From Autostraddle – ways their staffers are keeping themselves sane and active.  Downside – now I want a passion planner and can’t really afford it. 😉

Witches Resistance Action List

On Giving Up Multitasking.

Journalling 101

Cute Gay Mermen – because we could all use more cuteness!

Nine things you need to know about organizing a protest.

It’s a little early, but Imbolc is coming up and it’s a good time to plan:  Growing your own salad garden.

 What it means to be a secular witch.  She mentions that just because this is how she defines herself, it doesn’t mean every witch will.

Boy Scouts allow Trans kids to join.  FINALLY.  Girl scouts has been on that for ages, not without issue, but SERIOUSLY, guys, about time.  And this step isn’t perfect, but it’s progress.

Knitting as a Political Act.

Why Queer Advocates are worried about the Trump Administration.
“Trump talks a big game on his support for LGBTQ people, yet he has filled his cabinet with people who have literally spent their careers working to demonize us and limit our rights,” he said in a statement. “Claiming ally status for not overturning the progress of your predecessor is a rather low bar.”

What I’m knitting: Still socks, always socks 🙂
What I’m writing: intentions into my new journal, also postcards to my elected officials about things that are important to me.
What I’m eating: Soul Soothing African Peanut Stew.  So GOOD.

Deck Review: Everyday Witch Tarot

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The Everyday Witch Tarot by Deborah Blake and Elisabeth Alba.

I picked this deck up this weekend (because obviously I needed another deck after IMG_0431.JPGgetting two new tarot decks AND two oracle decks over the holidays ;3 ) at Barnes and Noble because I had some store credit burning a hole in my pocket and they didn’t have the Tarot Coloring book in stock.  I’m going to get the coloring one at some point, but I wanted some instant gratification.

So here’s my thoughts about it:

It comes in a nice sturdy box with a magnetized flip open cover, inside is a 252 page book and the deck itself.  The deck doesn’t come in a separate box or bag, which is kind of a bummer for me, I like my decks to have a box for JUST the cards so I can toss a deck in my bag.  I’ll have to get a drawstring bag or something like to store the cards when I don’t want the big box.

IMG_0430.JPGThe book is pretty nice, it’s full color and has glossy pages.  There’s a short standard introduction to what tarot is and what it does and how to use it.  Nothing revolutionary, but all decent as an introduction for someone who might be picking this up for their first deck.  There was one line about using a card that falls out while shuffling as a signifier which was something I hadn’t heard before, so that was a nice little gem for me.  It also had a little table that spelled out the number pattern thing for minor arcana (aces being new beginnings/opportunities) which I had been meaning to review.  Finding little synchronicities in something like this makes me happy.

As for the cards themselves I quite like them, they’re not perfect, but really I haven’t found The Perfect Deck ™ yet if it even exists.

I’m going to start with the things I didn’t like about this deck.  First of all, as I img_0429mentioned above, no box just for the deck.  Also the card stock that they’re printed on is pretty thin.  The cards aren’t going to hold up as a deck for The Ages, these are going to bend as I work with them.  My last problem with them is a big one, I still like this deck and I anticipate working a lot with it, but it’s got a real problem with lack of racial diversity.  It would have been so easy to add some witches of color into these cards.  There are a handful, I think I counted ten, that could be people of color.  Or they could just be Caucasians with a little bit of a tan.  I find that really disappointing.  Deck creators, please, diversify it up!  I want more people of color in my tarot decks.  Diversity is beautiful and awesome and it’s so important.  Representation is important.  There are a few hints of representation in here, but I don’t think it’s nearly enough.

img_0435This problem aside, there are a lot of things I like about this deck.  It’s witchy, which, spoilers, I’m definitely into.  😉  There’s a cat familiar on almost every single card (cards without cats: Three of Swords, Hanged Man, Six of Wands, Hierophant, and the King of Pentacles, in case you’re interested).  I’m a cat person who has a cat familiar so this scores big points in my book.  One of the first cards I always want to see when I look at a new deck is The Lovers.  I was pleasantly surprised to see two figures that could be easily queered.  There are no gendered markers (aside from possibly the long curly hair, but these days plenty of guys I know have long curly hair) on them.  I looked at a handful of other cards and I saw a handful more semi-androgynous figures.  Then as I was reading the book that came with the cards they said that it was intentionally done “in the hope that everyone will feel included and see themselves somewhere in these cards.”  Not to beat a dead horse, but it’s too bad we couldn’t get some intersectionality here with witches of color!  In other cat related stuff, did you see the cat tails and how they make a little heart!  I loved it!

I also love the way they depict the Hierophant in this deck as well.  This card is oftenimg_0428 shown as a Papal like Christian church man.  This obviously wouldn’t fly in a witchcraft deck so they had to go with something else.  So there’s a yoga instructor with two students.  I love the fact that there’s a woman instructor on this card.  I have often, in the past, struggled with a white Christian male as the authority figure when that’s so far away from my hoped for reality.  Ideally, seeing as the practice of yoga originated in India, I would have loved the teacher to be a woman of color so as not to continue white washing the practice of yoga, but this is progress.  It’s not to say that there isn’t more work to be done, there always is.  I also like that this card shows an ambiguously gendered person.

IMG_0427.JPGThe next card I wanted to share with you is another of my favorites, The Hermit. It shows a witch sitting in front of a crackling campfire.  I adore the change from the dark robed old man with a lantern, even though I really like that traditional imagery too.

Campfires are such wonderful places for recharging for me.  I grew up as  a Girl Scout and so I’ve been to a lot of campfires and I have such strong positive associations with them.  Meditating listening to the crackle and pop of that fire with a cat purring across fro me sounds like a little slice of heaven.  And I always love seeing an owl pop up in readings.  Athena is my matron goddess and seeing her symbol always gives me a little boost.

Overall, I like this deck a great deal.  I think it’s got some great symbolism, I love that it’s witch themed, and I like how easy it is to queer the cards.  I really like that they put those androgynous figures into this deck with intention.  I think this will be a great deck to read with and I’m looking forward to seeing what it has to teach me.

Deck Review: Universal Goddess

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I’m excited to be talking about one of my favorite decks in this post.  The Universal Goddess Tarot is one of my oldest decks; I think I’ve used it more than any other deck I own.  It’s not my oldest deck, because I have a Robin Wood deck that I owned before the Universal Goddess deck found its way into my life, but this beautiful deck of Goddesses is what really kept me moving forward in tarot.

IMG_0566Obviously, this is a goddess based deck.  There are a few nods to some of the classic Rider-Waite-Smith card designs: the Strength card still features a woman with a lion, the Chariot still has a chariot on it, but other than a few recognizable features the deck strikes out on its own, using goddesses from many different cultures as the central figures on the cards.

Their choice to feature Athena on the Emperor card really won me over right away.  I loveIMG_0570 any deck that can take traditionally male designated cards and spin that on its head.  Athena is my matron goddess, I’ve felt an affinity with her since I first read about her in my Edith Hamilton’s mythology book in middle school.  And what a perfect figure for the Emperor.  A warrior goddess who sprung fully formed from her father’s head, already clad in armor.  She is depicted here as a powerful commander of men.  It’s a nice reminder that women posses all the power and wisdom of men and are just as capable of leading.  This theme runs through the entire deck and is one of the things that I love the most about these tarot cards.

As a queer woman, one factor that influences my ability to connect with a tarot deck is how it handles male and female archetypes.  I look through the deck to find the Lovers card and
see what is depicted on it.  I don’t necessarily need all my decks to feature queer couples, but I find it easier to connect when they have more inclusive representation.  This deck comes through for me in that regard.  The Lovers card features Aphrodite, dancing in the ocean.  She isn’t shown with a partner, which I like here because it gives the card a reading that reminds us that it’s so important to love ourselves.  To quote RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else.”

Another rave that I have for this deck is how many goddesses of color are represented.  At IMG_0568least 30 of the goddesses on the cards are women of color.  I chose Pele to show here, since she’s another goddess that I am very drawn to.  Her depiction here on the Five of Wands is great.  As a Hawaiian volcano goddess, she is a powerful creative and destructive force, which is a great representation of the energy of the wands suit and the energy of fire.  The volcano can destroy everything around it, but volcanic ash is rich in minerals and can be an excellent fertilizer.  It’s a lovely symbol of the cyclical nature of life.

I also appreciate that the artists took time and care to create realistic women of color in these cards.  Pele’s face isn’t just a carbon copy of Athena with her skin tone changed.  They are real nuanced depictions of goddesses.  They also include a range of age in the goddesses depicted.  Hestia and Hecate have a more mature look, lines on their faces and wisdom about them, younger goddesses like Aurora fit the maiden archetype better and are shown as such.

Every reader can have a different experience working with a deck, for me this deck is very IMG_0561closely linked with my own spirituality work.  I use it mainly to read for myself and I’ve used it extensively in tarot self-development.  It has a very magical and spiritual energy when I work with it.    When I was just beginning to learn to use my intuition as a reader, I had some trouble reading with these cards and I found myself having to rely very heavily on my notes and the LWB that came with the deck.  There are some cards that don’t seem to fit with what I’d been taught that the cards ‘Had to Mean’.  I found myself stumbling over meanings and only getting half the meanings of cards.  This deck was trying to slowly and painstaking pull me forward into trusting in my own abilities and intuitions.  I owe a lot of thanks to the goddess work, and to the goddesses who guided me to where I am now.  I don’t know that I would have been able to hear their messages if not for these cards.

I love this deck so much.  It wasn’t until I’d been working with this deck for quite some IMG_0562time that I discovered a Tarot Deck Interview Spread on LittleRedTarot that has become my go-to spread any time I get a new deck.  I can’t recommend that spread enough to
anyone starting out as a reader or for a new deck.  Interviewing the Universal Goddess deck revealed to me what I already knew about it.  In this case, the interview just helped reaffirm that I could trust my intuitions around the deck and how we could work together.

It told me that it was a deeply personal deck for me, that it would help me connect with my higher self and to work with goddess energies.  It’s a fantastic deck to use as a meditation tool.  I use a Tarot meditation where you journey into the card and can interact with the figures in the card, and my handful of meditations have been affirming and humbling.

On a purely more physical note, I can recommend this deck as well. I’ve worked a lot with these cards and they’re still in great shape;  the cardboard flap top box shows some reasonable wear around its edges and corners, but the cards aren’t torn and they’ve help up well to lots of shuffling and handling.  I own a not inconsiderable number of tarot decks and this is still one that I come back to again and again.

Card of the Day: The Moon

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The Moon

Today’s card comes from the Wild Unknown Tarot deck (first edition).  When it was first coming out I knew that I wanted it right away but I couldn’t find anywhere local.  We were visiting Salem, MA to see this adorable little shop our friends recommended, Haus Witch, and boom, there it was.  Katie and I each bought one and we were scarcely out of the shop before we were shuffling through the cards.

img_0548The Wild Unknown has such a beautiful aesthetic and that’s definitely evident here.  One detail that you’ll often find the the Wild Unknown cards is watercolor rainbow look, it shows up here in the thin border around the card.  So, even if the Moon card is dark and shows only a sliver of the moon, you can see that it’s bounded by the entire spectrum of light.  This card is all about turning ideas about knowing, daylight ideas, on their heads.  In a sunset trees can look like black silhouettes against a brightly colored sky, but in this card the trees are starkly white against a black sky lit by just a fraction of the moon.

In some ‘traditional’ readings the Moon card can indicate fear and disillusionment and other negative things about operating in the dark, but as a witch and a queer person I find there’s a lot of meaning to be mined and understood in that dark.  The moon is a card that I am very fond of.   The moon is a huge symbol to witches, representing the goddess who is often associated with the moon, and huge volumes of moon magic as well.

In the dark we can’t see as we’re used to seeing in the day, we must rely on other senses, touch, hearing, and other methods for finding our way around.  That’s the message of the Moon.  Use those senses that aren’t made for the daylight.  Trust your inner wisdom and your intuition.  If you’ve ever been in a situation where you’ve felt like you’ve ‘just known’ something that you couldn’t rationally have known, that’s the energy of the Moon card.  Intuition, Magic, and Shadow Work are her hallmarks.  Rational knowledge isn’t what’s at play in this card.  It’s an intuition.  At the risk of going a little too Obi-Wan, trust your feelings.

The moon also represents that feeling of being lost in the darkness, where it’s all too easy to let fear of the unfamiliar take over.  This interpretation of the moon is very much about stillness, it’s the feeling of being lost in the forest on the side of a hill.  There’s a clear view of the moon and the comfort of knowing that if you can sit a while in that stillness and still your mind with all its racing thoughts, you’ll find that inner knowing and you’ll be able to find your way out again.

As a footnote, if you’d like to read more about queering the tarot, there is a fantastic series of posts by Cassandra Snow hosted on one of my favorite tarot blogs, Little Red Tarot.