divination, life

The Star

As much fun as last week was, at times, it absolutely kicked my butt.

I don’t know if you remember when our car got poisoned when we went on that road trip down south, but, between a clunking engine and a cracked windshield, we’d finally decided that it was time for Caliber the Undying to be put out to pasture.

(According to what the trade-in guy said, the pasture appears to be somewhere in eastern Europe.)

So, my S.O. had to get a new car — though by “new,” I mean more like “used, but clean and significantly less likely to turn into smoking rubble on the highway.” Couple that with some late work nights, getting handed a shovelful of writing orders, turning in the corrections for my Druidry coursework, and going out in a crowd for the first time in over a year(!), I’m a little drained.

Please, I silently begged as I shuffled my deck, please just not the Ten of Swords. Or Nine of Swords. Or any of the Swords, to be honest.

Fortunately, I lucked out. This week’s card is The Star.

The Star is a very positive omen — it’s a hope spot. A pause for breath. It comes after The Tower, a card of tremendous upheaval, so it’s common to draw The Star when you’re entering a time of peace, serenity, and optimism after a struggle.

I wouldn’t exactly call what I’ve gone through lately a struggle, of course. While it was a lot of work, and it wore me out, I was glad to do it. (I mean, I’m not exactly going to complain about having too many opportunities to help support my family!) Still, spoons are spoons, and it’s possible to wear yourself out doing things you enjoy.

The Star is a positive omen in virtually every respect, whether you draw it in a Love, Career, Spirituality, or just a general reading. As advice, it asks you to focus on rest and healing — The Tower has fallen, the worst has passed. Marshall your strength and go forward from here. Conditions are favorable, you’re on the right path. Don’t force anything, just let it guide you.

Right now, it’s guiding me to some magnesium oil, a heating pad, and a cup of marshmallow root tea.

divination, life

The Nine of Pentacles (Pretty Much Rocks)

Note: This post contains affiliate links to some of the items that appear in my pictures. These links allow me to earn a small finder’s fee, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for helping to support artists, artisans, and this site!

I love the Nine of Pentacles. In most Rider-Waite-Smith-inspired tarot decks, she just radiates peace and contentment. She’s in her garden, everything is lush and verdant, nobody’s bothering her, and the entire scene is the absolute distillation of serenity.

The Nine of Pentacles has big “The Merchant’s Wife at Tea” energy, and I am extremely here for it.

merchantswife
The Merchant’s Wife at Tea, painting by Boris Kustodiev.

I didn’t have anything weighing that heavily on my mind when I drew this week’s card — really, I just wanted to see what’s coming down the pike. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier.

In virtually every respect, from love readings, to health, to spirituality, the Nine of Pentacles indicates that a reward is coming. In the RWS tarot, the woman stands in front of what appears to be a garden, indicating that the blooming pentacles are the reward for her toil and tending. Since it’s a nine, it isn’t the ultimate culmination of the suit’s cycle, but it’s very close. The hard work is appreciated, the foundation is stable and the growth steady. The reward is on its way.

Processed with VSCO with  preset
Aura moon from The Promote Peace Shop. Big Herkimer diamond from The Elusive Herk Shop. Cards are the Crow Tarot.

Even in terms of advice, the Nine of Pentacles says to remember who got you where you are. You put in the work, and you reap the good that you sow. Your discipline, work ethic, and sacrificing is what got you to this point.

Lately I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of waiting again. My partner and I have completed a lot of writing, so now it’s up to editors and beta readers. I’m still waiting to hear back about my coursework. Other aspects of our lives are up in the air now, too, waiting on a rubber stamp or the stroke of someone else’s pen. The Nine of Pentacles is a sign that this waiting isn’t a waste of time — we’ve put in a lot of hard work, and the fruits of our labors are coming to us. That’s something I’ve felt, and something I’ve wanted, but didn’t really want to get my hopes up about. Getting a message that spells it out so explicitly is a really, really good feeling!

 

 

divination, life, Neodruidry

Turmoil and the Ten of Cups.

I’m not going to write on the state of the world right now. In the words of Dave Barry, “I don’t want to write it, and you don’t want to read it.” It’s impossible to create a picture of my internal landscape without looking at the externals, though, so suffice it to say that we’re on the brink of war, an entire continent is on fire, and to many things suck to even begin to list here. Worst of all, many of them are things that were predicted would suck in this exact fashion, so even just existing is a bit like being given the Ludovico Technique using a slow-motion train wreck.

Internally, I’ve been working on adjusting my dose of antidepressants. I’ve finished my Dedicant Path work, so all that remains is to have it reviewed and see what needs to be corrected or elaborated upon. There was another(!) leak, this time in the building’s gas room down the hall, and getting it fixed involved calling emergency maintenance in the middle of the night on New Year’s Eve, waiting, being not-terribly-surprised when no one showed, and then calling the gas company and hoping they’d be able to find a way into the gas room the following afternoon. They did, it’s fixed, and now all that remains is to wait and hope that the new management company will see fit to replace the ancient, inefficient, leaking fixtures and appliances.

With the oven and gas room fixed, I can finally cleanse and bless this place the way it should’ve been a month ago. Constantly smelling gas didn’t seem to be a super great omen for that, however, so I’ve been putting it off.

I’m getting stronger day by day. I’ve been able to do things I couldn’t before, and my physical endurance and mental fortitude are improving greatly. I will always have some degree of disability, but it constricts my world much less than it used to even just a few months ago.

I’ve been working on creating my own tarot spread, cobbled together from the spreads I most commonly use, and the kind of positions I inevitably end up tacking on for clarification. I like it so far! There are a few things I may change, but that’s for Future Me to worry about.

I’ve also been doing a small, meditative ritual every day, and regular trancework. Writing it down has been interesting — the way I usually receive and process information from these jaunts is generally very coherent and linear, even the metaphorical bits, so I never really felt the need to jot things down for further exploration. Journaling hasn’t so much changed how I receive or interpret the messages, but having a record of them makes it much easier to pick out sychronicities from journey to journey and elsewhere in my life. I’ve gotten a lot of water lately, but that’s a subject for another time.

So, amid this mix of good news and bad, I was a little hesitant to draw a card this week. I didn’t last week, for just this reason — there was too much unresolved, demanding too much energy, for me to sit down and put down a coherent string of thoughts about it. I think I’ve said it before, though I’m honestly too tired to check: Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to.

It’s a pitfall of reading for yourself, or even someone whose situation you’re very invested in. When we’re too emotionally bound up in the answers, they’re difficult to interpret truthfully. I don’t find this to be the case for a low-stakes one card reading, but, if something’s weighing heavily on me, I’m more inclined to ask someone else to read for me — or at least compare their readings to my own to find the commonalities. When I feel like this, highly invested in things that seem to be spinning out of control, it’s usually a challenging time for me to read for myself.

Anyway, without making a long story longer, I drew the Ten of Cups.

The Ten of Cups is one of the most positive cards in the deck. It’s come up for me before, when my S.O. and I finished writing a book. We just recently finished posting the first leg of Ane’s circus caravan’s journey on Phoenix & Rook, and I did also just finally finish my Dedicant Path work… So I’m really beginning to wonder if this card’s going to turn up for me every time I finish a big piece of writing.

No complaints here. I could some some peace and fulfillment — as could we all.

divination, Neodruidry

The Eight of Cups

The Eight of Cups shows a figure with their back turned to eight… well, cups. In Rider-Waite-Smith-inspired decks, it depicts a man hiking away and leaving the cups behind. Really, it’s a very simple, elegant way of portraying exactly what the Eight of Cups means: turning your back on something and moving on.

Few cards in tarot are entirely negative. Even The Devil can stand for earthly pleasure, and The Tower is the destruction that makes room for something new. The Eight of Cups is no different, really. It’s a letting go, but it’s a letting go of something that should be let go of.

I’m almost done with the Dedicant Path work that I’ve been working on for nearly two years now, delayed by a few health- and moving-related hiatuses, and further slowed by a self-imposed language study. Oddly enough, it’s not that I’m so close to finishing that I feel like I want to change direction. Not entirely, but enough.

My ethnic and cultural background is very mixed. (The only thing any of my ancestors have in common is that, from Russia to Canada, they all seemed to love the cold. When a handful of them ended up in Tennessee, the next generation wound up in New York. We are not a warm weather people.) I originally wanted to choose Ireland as my cultural focus, but began doubting myself — especially when it came to studying Gaeilge. So many other people focus on Irish paganism, and probably better than I. So, I changed. Now that I’m almost finished and ready to complete the writing assignment, I feel like doing that was a betrayal, of sorts. Is it dishonoring my ancestors to feel like it was too difficult, and I wouldn’t be as good at it as other people? How would I be bad at it, anyway?

So, after months of study, I’m changing my mind again. I don’t think I can confine myself to one cultural focus, though I need to for the purposes of finishing this right now. I might be terrible at remembering where to put the síneadh fada (counting Gaelige, only two of the languages I’ve studied even use diacritics — and I wasn’t much good at remembering the other one, either), but favoring the gods of some of my ancestors over the others would be a mistake.

You know, I almost miss the days when it seemed like I pulled nothing but Aces. They were less heavy.

divination, life

The Lion, The Fool, and The Devil.

First, I want to apologize for the brief hiatus I took a week or two ago. We received word that we could move into our new apartment on the day before Thanksgiving, and so we had to pack, clean, find movers, figure out why the toilet didn’t work, figure out why we kept smelling gas, yadda, yadda, yadda, nobody exploded and everyone is fine now.

Anyway!

During this time, I also didn’t do any tarot readings for myself. Didn’t really want to, to be honest — we’ve been unpacking, cleaning more things, calling the gas company, calling Poison Control because I accidentally had grapefruit this one time, it’s been a whole big thing. I’ve been too busy to really formulate questions to ask, and, of the questions I’ve had, I don’t really think I wanted answers to them.

(If I had to come up with one, I’d say the first rule of reading tarot is this: Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to.)

So, this week, I decided to draw three cards. I didn’t have a particular plan for the three — I didn’t intend for them to be explicitly Past, Present, Future, or Problem, Obstacle, Outcome, or anything like that. Just a three-card snapshot.

First, I drew Strength.

Strength is, much as its name implies, associated with strength. Inner strength, outer strength. Courage, bravery, confidence, and mastery over one’s emotions. All things considered, this tracks. I’m doing well with therapy, as far one can gauge that kind of thing. I’m being more active, albeit slowly, here and there. Strength. Booya.

Next, I drew The Fool.

The Fool is freedom and innocence, but also a fair amount of naive dumbassery. He’s youthfully spontaneous, but also… Well, foolish. He symbolizes new beginnings, often those that require a leap of faith, of sorts. While most readers interpret The Fool as a positive card, as cards that symbolize beginnings often are, I’ve always viewed him with a little suspicion — Aces are beginnings too, but they don’t have the same careless energy as The Fool. I’ve been taught that The Fool’s backpack contains all of The Magician’s tools, and he could use them to do and be whatever his heart desired, if he only knew they were there. To me, The Fool symbolizes a new beginning with a hidden element, something that needs to be sussed out before taking that leap of faith.

Last, I drew The Devil.

I was initially taught that The Devil signified a manipulative person, but I don’t generally get a big “person” energy when I read tarot. Few of the cards I pull really seem to stand for an actual individual, though it does occasionally happen. In most cases, I see The Devil as something that someone’s given away their power to — it could be an addiction, or even something less severe. People give away their power to things that offer the illusion of safety, even if that “safety” is purely because the manipulative person/situation would make it dangerous to leave.

There are a number of things in my life that could be The Devil. There are things I’ve given power to, or adopted in the name of safety. I don’t use anything stronger than herbal tea and prescribed Zoloft anymore, so it isn’t a substance I can think of. I’ve been careful to root out the people who were unhealthy for me, so it isn’t a person I can name. Manipulation isn’t always obvious, though. Neither are the ways in which we lose our power.

Look at habits. To call me a “homebody” is… euphemistic. I’ve spent a long time managing a chronic illness, so going into environments I can’t control is daunting. Will it be too hot? Will I be dehydrated? Will there be fresh air, or strong smells? Will there be a crowd, or bright lights? A chronic illness isn’t a thing that you really get to choose to give your power away to, but am I managing it in a way that’s really healthy, or just easier?

Or the internet. I’m trying to furnish a living room, a place for my S.O. and I to relax, something that reflects us and the things we enjoy. Do I really want that sofa, or do I just think I want it because it looks just like one from this Pinterest post that some influencer made, even though they actually hate it and would never have considered it if they weren’t being paid ten grand to pretend they don’t? How much of my power have I given away to shitty advertising?

Not every kind of manipulation is overt. Not every addiction is to drugs or alcohol.

Of course, maybe The Devil isn’t here in a negative aspect. Sometimes, he has a positive role to play — like a devil-may-care attitude. He can be entertainment, laughter, sex, and rock’n’roll.

I drew an extra card, just in case. Three major arcana cards is a pretty big deal, the majors carry some strong energy. I got the Two of Wands.

The Two of Wands shows up when two paths diverge in a wood. It can signify a lack of contentment, but cautions that the grass may not be greener on the other side. In the deck I typically use for myself, the Crow Tarot, it’s an urging to leave your comfort zone.

That… That makes sense.

A big part of why we moved is because having stairs to climb made things more difficult (believe me, my dudes, you don’t want to fuck with a tile staircase when you’re having vertigo and your vision’s gone all sparkly). Now that I’m here, I’m enjoying the comfort of more space, and a new, cozy living room… Which would make it very easy for me to do the safe thing, to succumb to the self-deception that tells me that I should make a comfy nest here to nurse myself, instead of using the tools I have gathered to actually help myself. Zoloft and therapy have helped me gain mastery over many (though certainly not all, of course) of my negative emotions, so there’s Strength. This is a new beginning I should embrace with enthusiasm, but not carelessness, so there’s The Fool. I want to stay here, where it’s warm, comfortable, and spacious, and enjoy myself rather than putting these tools to the test and embracing a much less comfortable freedom, and there’s The Devil. I’m not content right now, because illness has hampered my life. I have to use the gains I’ve made to leave my comfort zone, and there’s the Two of Wands.

Heck.

 

divination, life

The Page of Wands (flaps again)

During my last therapy session, my psychologist and I talked about the Wheel of Life exercise. It’s a relatively quick — yet surprisingly in-depth — bit of self-evaluation designed to help you see where you are in life, figure out where you want to improve, and design a plan to get there. Initially, I thought it felt a bit more “life coach-y” than therapeutic, but, having finished it, I can definitely see the value in doing so. I consider myself fairly introspective, but it’s still a valuable framework for translating self-awareness into action.

(I’m not gonna subject you to a point-by-point analysis of my answers and my action plan here, but, suffice it to say, it’s a worthwhile endeavor if you feel like your life could use a little growth.)

Anyway, all of this is to explain that I drew this week’s tarot card with the desire to get some further insight into my findings from the Wheel of Life exercise. I know where I’m satisfied, I know where I’m behind where I’d like to be, I have an idea of how I can get from point A to point B, what else?

Luckily for me, I drew the Page of Wands.

This card is all good news, inspiration, creativity, motivation, and youthful energy. It’s an exciting card, full of motion, ideas, and playfulness. In an advice context, the Page of Wands tells us to seek out the opportunity to learn, to seize the chance to discover things we didn’t know before.

The Page of Wands has come up before, you might remember him from my Libra new moon reading. There, he was something I needed to be open to. During that cycle, I had plenty of good news and opportunities to learn about myself, so I’m eager to see what this holds. Even though the Libra moon has come and gone, it may also be that his hour has finally arrived — new moons are when we sow the seeds we hope to harvest later, so this “openness” may be coming to fruition now. Great!

 

divination, life

The Seven of Wands and Wild Hares

When I draw cards for myself or others, I always read the “wild hares.” These are the cards that seem to slip out of the deck of their own volition — not through careless shuffling, but seemingly without provocation. You can be shuffling just fine, and still end up with a loose card or two… and sometimes they’re significant.

Some readers use the wild hare as the first card in whatever spread they’re using. Personally, I don’t. Rather than placing it in the spread itself, I set it to the side and use it for added context. These cards generally don’t change the entire tenor of a reading, but they’re often very insightful.

This time. I drew the Seven of Wands. This card generally signifies a struggle against some form of opposition, whether it be a competitor or a challenging circumstance. In the Crow Tarot, the Seven of Wands specifically indicates that though you might be on top of things at the moment, there are always forces ready to topple you.

Lately, I’ve been feeling it. Things are coming together for me, but I can feel physical and mental fatigue tempting me to rest on what I’ve already done. I should work on increasing my dose of sertraline, I need to keep on top of the exercises my psychologist has prescribed to me, but, since I’m feeling better (not well, but certainly much better), the temptation is always there to let myself become lazy. My shop exists now, but I should work on adding new things to it and helping more people find it. I need to keep working on shoring up my finances. There are plenty of places where I’m doing well, but I need to keep doing if I’m going to maintain that.

And, as I shuffled, the Nine of Cups slipped free. I have a bit of a history with Cups and Wands — tons of them have been appearing in readings for me, not that that’s really a surprise. The Nine of Cups is fulfillment, optimism, joy, and positivity. It’s a fantastic card to pull (whether you’re actually drawing one, or just have it sneak out at you).

In this context, it seems that things are continuing to look up for me. I am in a place of happiness and good things, but I’ll need to work to keep them. I’m not surprised. The kind of minor successes and small, comfortable miracles I’ve had lately are things that come with effort, and disappear with a lack of it.

divination, life

The Six of Cups (is Confusing and Full of Babies)

The Six of Cups is often read as relating to children — either revisiting memories of your youth, your “inner child,” or literal children around you. I confess, I’m not a big child person. I like other people’s children just fine, but that’s largely because I can give them to someone else when they get whiny. I’m more vodka aunt than wine mom, what can I say?

Cups06
The Six of Cups from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, artwork by Pamela Coleman Smith.

That’s why it surprised me to draw the Six of Cups this week. I didn’t ask anything specific really, just did my usual one-card weekly reading. It’s got me thinking, though.

One of the big associations with the Six of Cups is simplicity. We often speak of a “childlike simplicity,” and a number of things attend that: joy, innocence, creativity, a sense of playfulness. In this case, I’d be surprised if the Six of Cups referred to literal children. My S.O. and I have none, nor does anyone immediately around us, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

At least, I hope not. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t immediately open my calendar app and began doing some quick ovulation math. Fortunately, I think we’re in the clear.

One interpretation of the Six of Cups is a time of happy nostalgia and good childhood memories. It might indicate a trip to your hometown, reconnecting with people from your youth, and so forth. There’s a little irony here in the fact that I spent my last therapy session talking about how hard I worked and planned in order to escape my childhood home as soon as I was able, even to the point of avoiding close friendships and teenage romances in high school — what was the point, if they’d only make it hurt when I left? So I don’t think that’s it. Without any cards surrounding it, I also hesitate to assume it’s talking about child abuse.

There could be a connection to the Ten of Wands from last week, though. While the Ten of Wands speaks of taking on a burden and carrying it to the end (in fact, being very close to the end), the Six of Cups can also point to the need to release some adult responsibilities and enjoy being childlike again… At least, for a little while.

I have taken on a lot of new responsibilities recently, so that could be it. I don’t think I’m stressed enough to drop everything and let my (metaphorical) hair down, but it’s good to know the most useful way to unwind if I do.

 

 

 

divination, life

The Ten of Pentacles (goes cha-ching)

I’m not going to beat around the bush this week — I didn’t have any particular circumstance that led to me asking my deck for guidance, I just wanted to pull a card to tell me about the upcoming week. My S.O.’s back from a work trip, I’m feeling pretty good, I even did a small working to plant some seeds for the Taurus full moon we’ve got coming up. A little honey, a little sweet orange… It’s a good time for it.

Perhaps needless to say, I was pretty stoked when I drew the Ten of Pentacles.

Tens are the culmination of the Ace-Ten cycle in the pips cards. Pentacles are the suit of earth, money, foundations, and stability. Even without going into some of the more specific meanings of the Ten of Pentacles, it’s a very positive card in the realm of prosperity.

Pents10The Ten of Pentacles points to a home life that is happy, stable, and secure, both in an emotional and a material sense (though perhaps more material than emotional, as emotions are the domain of the Cups cards). It can indicate setting up something that will contribute to your financial security, like a business, a pension, or an investment. The energy’s right for creating long-term stability for yourself.

This comes at a really opportune time for me, especially today. The stars aligned for me to finalize some printing proofs and take some product photos, and my shop is up and running again! I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m happy to see that things are on my side. (More on that later, though.)

My S.O. just finished a week of work training, so this bodes well for him, too. While not strictly monetary, this investment of his time (and his company’s investment in him) still goes a long way toward establishing stability for us.

Things honestly couldn’t be better!

divination

The Magician

The Magician is resourcefulness. He means creativity, power, and the ability to achieve your goals. He shows up to tell you that you have the things you need to do the things you want.

In my case, I think he means serotonin.

It’s kind of funny, really. I’ve tried cognitive behavioral therapy, which had some success for some aspects of my anxiety. (What’s the worst that can happen if I embarrass myself in front of people? They get a cringy-funny story to tell, and, since I don’t mind laughing at my own dumbassery, so do I.) However, it did not work super well for others. (There’s a 99% chance I don’t have a heart condition, but, if I am wrong, I die and cats eat my face.) I already meditate, breathe diaphragmatically out of habit thanks to several years of singing class, and practice roughly seventeen different kinds of relaxation and mindfulness techniques.

I use aromatherapy — there’s a duke’s ransom in lavender, sweet orange, and ylang ylang oil in my bedside table. I use herbs, even though lemon balm mostly just makes me sleepy. I carry crystals, which helps considerably with the meditation and mindfulness. Even so, I still felt panicky.

It wasn’t until trying an SSRI that any of it really started to stick. Even though I’m on the tiniest dose imaginable, the difference is already noticeable.

There are a lot of witches who aren’t willing to do healing spells or health-related divination, and I can’t blame them. Magic works best when it’s focused on something — it’s why I don’t really hold with a lot of the pop-witchcraft ideas of doing things like enchanting your tea for prosperity. Nonspecific witchcraft brings nonspecific results. If you cast a healing spell, what should it do? If you ease soreness, you’re really erasing one of the body’s signals that tells you something is wrong. Ease inflammation, and you’re really altering a powerful mechanism for healing. Without knowing the root cause of something, without knowing what it is you’re really trying to change, it’s difficult, at best, to address.

The trouble with mental illness is that there often isn’t a simple way to diagnose it and figure out the root cause. I have intracranial hypertension, and I know this because a very nice team of doctors stared into my eyes, stuck needles in my spine, and ran more tests than I previously knew existed. I have anxiety, but there’s no blood test for that. They can’t stick me in an MRI and tell me why my brain malfunctions the way it does. The best tools I have right now are persistence and experimentation. They can’t tell me if it’s genetic, from some form of trauma, or has some as-yet unknown etiology. Fortunately, that experimentation is starting to pay off.

It isn’t that I was performing CBT wrong, or meditating improperly. It goes deeper than that, in ways diet and lifestyle could only help so much. I’m happy I’m closer to understanding my panic attacks and anxiety, and I can’t even tell you how happy I am that I feel like I can finally do something about it now.

I’m not one hundred percent where I want to be yet, but I know the way to get there.