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4 tips to read tarot cards in weird positions in a spread

Reading the cards when they throw you for a loop

If you are like me, you prefer to use set spreads to read the cards, for you or others. This is because a set spread helps me align the narrative with the cards, and gives me a foundation for reading the cards honestly and clearly.

However, even in specific spreads with specific positions, there can be cards that come forward that throw you for a loop. I know because it has happened to me often.

So, what to do about this surprising card in this position that now has you asking more questions instead of providing clarity. Here are the ways that I read the cards that surprise me, or throw me for a loop.

1.) Focus on the spectrum of the card

The Sun from the Herbcrafter’s Tarot

Let’s use an example:

Let’s say you are doing a simple two-card reading with the spread positions WHAT TO FOCUS ON and WHAT TO RELEASE. For the WHAT TO RELEASE position you turn over the Sun. The Sun is always a welcome sight in any reading, so what to do when it is in this position? I mean, who wants to release the energies of the Sun card? Go to the spectrum of the Sun card.

It isn’t saying you need to release your luminous light. It isn’t a bad omen. The Sun card invites needed illumination, and nourishment to feed your wild spirit and the growth you working through. So, in this position (at least the way I would read it), is to say that you have gained what you needed from the Sun. You have been given the clarity and the nourishment. You have fed your wild appetite. The burial part of the spectrum of the Sun would be to stay in this energy now could merge into complacency, or a comfortability that is no longer serving you.

Simply put, what you are releasing is the inclination to stay. You have gained what you needed. You have the clarity, the resources, and the strength. At some point, comfortability confines you to a space you have outgrown, and your spirit is ready to go forward.

2.) Look to where the card resides within the deck

Let’s go back to our previous example. Another way to read the Sun from the position WHAT TO RELEASE is to look at where the Sun sits within the deck.

The Sun comes after the Moon, and before Judgment. The Moon invites us to call in our wild magick, the Sun gives it nourishment, and Judgment invites us to take that wild magick and move into a position of purpose and interconnection with the world, or the bigger picture.

So, in releasing the Sun (again, how I would read it), it is saying that your wild magick and wild reclamation are ready to align into your devotion to yourself, and your bigger purpose.

The Sun has given you everything you need to take your wild and beautiful spirit into a position that expands to cosmic reclamation and sacred devotion. There isn’t any bad omen in that, is there?

3.) Look to how the cards interact with each other

From the Hush Tarot

I hate to depart from the example of the Sun, but for this section I have to highlight a real moment that happened to me, because it speaks to this tip perfectly.

For a little backstory, a little over a year ago I was looking at potentially renting office space with another person to do in-persons readings. I knew the person, adore and admire her still, the office was intimate, and was in a location that I loved (downtown Littleton to be exact). This little hamlet was my stomping ground since I was little, and I thought the location was a sure sign that I should sign the contract and get the keys.

I left the meeting with a lot to think about. Much of it seemed great, but I was also dealing with a lot of personal changes that could affect my decision, and before I make any big decisions like this, I consult my cards. So, I sat down when I got home and pulled three cards. These were the positions

Card for renting office space / Card for not renting office space / and a card for myself between these two huge choices.

The card pulled for renting the office space was the Page of Pentacles (not a bad sign). The card pulled for not renting the office space was the Queen of Wands (again, not a bad sign), and the card that represented myself was Strength. Look at how the Strength card is looking clearly at the Queen of Wands.

I had my answer. The Strength card was literally directing her focus, and mine, to the option that would best direct me. The Strength card was also looking away from a card that may have provided a lot of opportunity and growth, and I needed the strength to let an opportunity like that go.

I didn’t take the office space, and moved a few months ago to Conifer. The drive would have been over an hour if I taken the office and was committed to a lease.

So, look at how the cards interact together, or don’t interact. This isn’t about forcing it either. They may not interact, but you have the previous tips to help if there is no interaction to be had. However, if you look close enough, many times you will find interactions that you initially didn’t catch.

4.) Look to the symbolism in the card image

Sun Card from the Ostara Tarot. Perhaps my favorite depiction of this card

The final tip is to look at the symbolism in the card. Symbols speak to the unconscious mind, create depth outside the rudimentary understanding of what the symbol is, and encourage a deeper narrative and connection to occur within us. Most decks are stacked full of symbols.

The beautiful thing about this is that symbols create a very personal dialog within us to help take the invitations of the card and work them into the fabric of our lives. This is also subjective. I don’t connect in any way with the traditional symbol of the baby or the sunflowers in traditional depictions of the Sun card. I do, however, connect deeply with the beautiful warrior in the Sun card from the Ostara tarot.

The symbol of the wings, the armor, the scepter all speak to me on an unconscious level that the Sun invites us to take all we have, use it promote more light, protect what is sacred, and journey to the places that need our light and our fight.

So, use the symbols to create connections that transcend the spread position. Use what you see to create an internal dialog that helps build the foundation for the card energies to move from surprising to clarifying.

Certain cards can throw us for a loop in reading, but these are the tips that I have found to really help for my personal and professional readings. May they do the same for you. Thanks for reading!

If you like the way I work with the tarot, and need some guidance, check out my Store and Services page to see the spreads I offer!

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I embrace the spectrum of myself, and all my magick

Any purchase made with me by the end of the month will give you a sticker of this affirmation + a few others I have!

Working with the monthly cards and the affirmation

Hello my dear spirits!

Here is the blog post for the monthly cards + energies for October. I am trying to get into a habit of creating blogs, and tracking progress (more on that later….), but it is here.

The Magician

The first card that we are working with for October is the Magician. The Magician is a card that speaks to merging the magick of the self within the infinite magick of the life that abounds here with you. As the first card that initiates all of the Major Arcana, the Magician speaks to merging the self with the collective.

This energy, and this card, speaks to a shift in perspective. It speaks to a deepening of the self into the collective magick, and what a beautiful card to speak for the transition of October. We are moving from summer to fall (in the northern hemisphere). There is a palpable magick that comes with any sort of seasonal shift.

The Magician asks for you to consider the spectrum of life, harvest, and death within this month. We are seeing the slow death of summer green. We are experiencing the increasing cold set in. The Magician asks you to consider what within this seasonal shift is reminiscent within yourself. What is giving way to the transition of winter?

For me, I feel it in my body. I move from experiencing tons of energy in my body, to wanting to do nothing, feeling nothing, creating nothing. As with the Magician, the way that I try (keyword here) to honor that is with my presence. It isn’t always beautiful. It hasn’t been beautiful for a lot of this month, but as I was driving to look at potential house to put an offer on in Conifer, I saw a pasture of horses. The leaves on the trees were golden fire. The horses were grazing. That was a magick that brought me immediately into pure bliss. My magick was lifted from that sweet glimpse into a beautiful scene.

The Dragonfae of Rebirth (Whole Again)

This oracle card is an invitation to go into the darkness of the self. This could be going into the underworld of shadows, bravely embracing back in what has been rejected. It could be needed rest. It could be seed time, rooting into the darkness so that growth is not only a dream, but physically possible.

This card asks you to engage with this opening, and see what is calling you in. It could be all three things, but it is important to know the whens and wheres of these invitations. It would be incredibly hard to rest, work on the shadow-self, and nurture your planted seeds all at once. There is a need for discretion so that you don’t burn out, but you burn brightly.

Ways to work with these energies

One of the most immediate ways that I would encourage working with these energies is through tracking your habits. By tracking your habits, you begin to get a deeper perspective of what is working, and what isn’t working. You can see if you are avoiding needed collaboration with the magick around. You can see if you aren’t getting the rest, food, or water you need. You can also see if the daily journal pull, meditative walk outdoors, or working on your goals is finally starting to come to fruition.

Another way to work with these cards is through body movement. Whether you are an active person, or more sedentary, getting the body in motion is a great indicator of where stagnation, tension, or resistance lies. It can also connect to you the present moment, which is what both cards ask of you.

Finally, keep a dream journal. Both of these cards speak to the light and the darkness within. Both are valid voices of what is happening on the subconscious level that needs to come to the forefront. I can think of no better way that through dreams. Dreams are the invites that come forward when the brain is in a state of unbiased receiving. Track any major dreams, connect with the symbolism, and see what is trying to be heard.


I hope that these energies open you more to your magick, both in the darkness and in the light. If you want even more check out these offerings below.

Check out the podcast of these cards by clicking here.

My METAMORPHISIS spread goes into these energies in depth. Shop it here.

Become a patron here and receive more magickal resources for these cards + an additional card for the month.

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How to remain unbiased when reading your own cards

The cards provide beautiful invitations and considerations, and also accountability to truth.

It is true that reading your cards is one of the best ways to tune into yourself, your situation, your life to gain a deeper understanding. It is also true that the tarot can be used both creatively and analytically to engage this understanding. The tarot provides an outlook that, while scoffed at by many, can create an intimate moment of connection. All of these things are true, and yet, it is also true that reading your own cards, objectively and without bias, can pose an obstacle to an honest analysis.

I have been reading the cards for five years now, for myself, friends and family, and clients. There are still days that I have to really sit in my reading and make sure that I am not pulling a meaning out of ego, need for comfort, or an effort to assuage some deep feeling I haven’t fully worked through completely.

Over the years, I have found some tips and techniques that have helped me reach for an unbiased and honest understanding, no matter how uncomfortable or called out I may feel. I would like to make this a bit of a series, otherwise this would be a hella long blog post because your girl can write and talk about this until the cows come home.

Tip #1: Don’t keep pulling cards, clarifying or otherwise

The Wild Unknown tarot deck

This first tip comes with an asterisk. If your intuition is clearly saying that you should pull another card, honor that voice. Your intuition is paramount to any reading, and comes first. The reason that I place this tip at number is that it can be really easy to get sucked into what I call the pull-reflex (where something isn’t clear initially, or may present an edge, and another card is used to assuage the message, but it’s wrapped up in the context of clarity).

I have always said that more cards doesn’t mean a better, more clear reading. Some of the most profound readings are single cards. If you’re in a reading for yourself, pulling with a spread or intuitively, one of the most profound ways to have an unbiased reading is to the let cards chosen speak for themselves. It can feel easy when pulling the Tower or the 10 of Swords to reflexively pull another card for clarification, but that may diminish the biasness of the reading. Let the Tower talk to you. Let the cards that come forward be heard.

The reason I place this technique at number one is because it is important to get a connection with the cards that isn’t about what you want to hear. If that is what you are searching for, the tarot is not for you. Sorry, it just isn’t. Even cards like the Star, the 2 of Cups, the 4 of Wands can present an edge or challenge in reading. There are no good or bad cards. Some cards feel better than others, but that doesn’t diminish the nourishment that comes with each and every card.

Every card is of benefit, even when it feels heavy and hard to bear.

Going into the pull-reflex is honestly like fishing for compliments. It is an impulse reaction to ease the ego, or seek to gain comfort in some way. Again, if your intuition is knocking on the door, telling you to pull another card, than do so, but that presents the need to clarify if it is ego or intuition talking. This speaks to another tip that I will discuss at a later time.

The main point here is that no matter how you read, that you create a container, or a boundary around the reading. This means that your reading may go slower, may have fewer cards, or may take some time to really let the messages sink in. That is perfectly fine. I would wager that no one, myself included, always knows the deeper underbelly of a tarot analysis on every reading.

So, to sum up, the first tip that I can give you is to create a boundary so that you don’t get sucked into the pull-reflex. It is very hard, I know. However, the pull-reflex can diminish the capacity of the guidance of a card because it has been taken over by others. Let the cards pulled guide you towards creative and analytical observation and connection. Check back in for the next blog installment of tarot tips for an unbiased reading.

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How to Create the Perfect Tarot Spread

Write the spread that guides you home…

If you read tarot cards, chances are you know about the classic spreads. These are the spreads like the Celtic Cross, the Horseshoe Spread, Past / Present/ Future, and so on. These are the spreads that have stood the test of time. They are iconic because they are bring in and cover such a broad base of messages. When I first started reading tarot, I turned to these spreads, and any others that accompanied the beautiful books of my teachings. I felt these spreads would last with me through my whole tarot journey.

And, that hasn’t been entirely incorrect. Every now and again I will turn to one of these tried-and-trues, but to be honest, once I got a handle on how I read tarot, and what I want the messages in the cards to offer me, I stopped relying on most of these well-known spreads. The main reason is that I like spreads with a little more direction. To me, the Celtic Cross started to move me in circles. Like I was driving to a new location that I have never to before. I know the zip code. I know the general location I am in, but the side streets and landmarks are not leading me anywhere helpful.

I started to write my own spreads. It may seem easy to write a tarot spread, and there are days where the needed messages just come flowing forth, from somewhere within me that I cannot name, only feel. Other days, I feel like I am on the right track, but still getting nowhere. So, if you want to write the perfect tarot spreads for yourself, or for your business, keep reading!

Tarot lets you explore your reality, your possibilities, your elusiveness. What do you want your cards to say?

To make it easy, there are three key things that I feel should be considered when writing a tarot spread, so that it includes everything to make your tarot experience beautiful and empowering….

Those three key things are:

  • Knowing the insight or clarity you / your client’s need from the reading
  • Knowing what is reasonable (within your ability to ask)
  • Being mindful of receiving the whole truth

Let’s begin with needed insight or clarity. It is vital to understand and be able to articulate what is being asked of this spread. For a spread like the past, present, future, the insight being gained is an understanding of what has passed, what is coming in, and what is within the present moment. If the spread is stop, start, continue, the spread is giving insight into actions that help or hinder.

So, in writing your spread ask what and where you need insight. Do you want your spread more general or specific? Do you want options or choices in your spread, or are you open to receiving concrete messages from your cards? Are you looking for a more spiritual or a more psychological approach, or do you want both covered in your spread? Your spread can include anything you want, as long as it includes the second part of the key themes.

A great way to gain full clarity of what you need from your spread is to do a freewrite journal exercise. Write down whatever you are feeling, thinking, experiencing, or considering. Just write. After you feel you have written down everything that honors and captures your point of view or your needs, put it aside for a day. Let the words sit for a moment. Return to your writing and highlight what you feel the key words or key themes are within your words. These highlighted passages are the bare bones of what you can explore in your spread.

Use journaling as a way to see what themes, feelings, or thoughts keep coming up. This could become the structure of your spread.

Once you have decided what you need your spread to speak to, it is time to move on to the second key theme: what is reasonable to ask of the cards. This theme is open to interpretation, as everyone has a different style of reading. Your style of reading will dictate and determine what is reasonable to ask. For example: my way of reading is intuitive, but not predictive. Therefore, while I have spreads that speak to possible outcomes, I do not in any way instruct or inform my clients that a certain circumstance or series of events will unfold. If you read from a purely spiritual point of view, your spread positions will speak to spirituality.

Once you know your reading style, consider what is reasonable to ask the spread. It is reasonable for you to ask about 3rd party readings? Is it reasonable to ask about financial matters or health issues? Only you can answer what is right for you and your reading style. Once you have decided what is reasonable, your spread will reflect that truth. If you find it reasonable to read for others, include in your spread questions that speak to this. If you feel it unreasonable, keep all questions in relation to you, or whomever is the seeker.

After you have decided what is reasonable, or unreasonable to ascertain from your spread, we move on to the final key theme: honesty, brutal honesty. If we think about it a tarot spread as a dinner plate, the insight and clarity is the main course. It is what is going to probably benefit you the most because you are getting to the bedrock to what has been elusive. The ability to discern what is reasonable to ask is the side dish, which makes honesty the bill.

A needed exchange…

The bill (brutal honesty) is the exchange so you can have this glorious plate of energetic beauty. It is needed, but it may be hard at times to recognize that this exchange is paramount. Just as you could not have a lovely dinner at a restaraunt with paying the bill, you cannot have a truly profound spread that is of service unless there is an exchange. In all tarot spreads it is useful to have specific position that highlight the positives, the love and light if you will. These positions can include: strengths, resources, gifts and offerings to the world, lasting energy, and more. These positions are beautiful, and can highlight the beautiful nature of your / your client’s unique self.

However, it is also important to be willing to have a thorough exchange with the card and include positions that speak to the shadows. These can include: fears, weaknesses, obstacles, things to change, things to let go, and more. It is important to include spread positions like this because your tarot cards are your ally, and the spread is the conversation it is having with you / your client. It is important to go into not just the love and light, but also the shadows and the blockages, because that is how we grow. We don’t grow within the comfortable, we grow with the full spaciousness of possibility, which needs to include that which we may not want to hear.

Obviously, these three focuses are, in my opinion, needed to create a badass tarot spread. You may have a different take, and that is totally fine. You need to find what works for you. If willing, I invite you to utilize these focuses while writing your own tarot spreads. They have never led me astray, and I am confident it will be of service for you as well.

**One side note that I wanted to mention was writing a spread with a specific deck in mind. All tarot / oracle decks can be of service no matter the reading (unless there is an energetic block that has nothing to do with the spread), but sometimes it might be useful to write a spread with the focus through one certain deck. I love using my Mystical Dream Tarot deck for a more psychological, symbolic feel. If I want tangible and of this earth, the Herbcrafter’s Tarot has been it for me. For all things relating to spirit and wild reclamation, The Wild Unknown decks have never done me wrong. Again, all decks can be interchanged, no matter the spread, but if you are really struggling, or really wanting to connect to a certain deck, try writing a spread specifically for the artwork and themes of one particular deck.**

Many Blessings XOXOXO

Ashlie

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Reading the Devil Card

The Dragon Tarot (left) and the Ostara Tarot (right)

The Devil card is quite a loaded tarot card, in fact, the mere mention or turn of this card can change the whole tarot reading, especially for someone just beginning to read to tarot for themselves, or for other people, but this card doesn’t have to the dark little cloud that rains on a beautiful tarot reading. In fact, this card can be a wonderful, amazing teacher, if we are willing to shed the archetype as we have known it for so long. Many religious texts and teachings place Lucifer as the direct anti-thesis to God, to purity, to ascension. I believe that the Devil card can provide the space to create some great work in this world, and I wish to add new narratives to this card. If you view and work with this card in a different way, I respect, but if you are open to a different interpretation, I gladly invite you into this space. I also highly recommend that you look to Lindsay Mack’s Tarot for the Wild Soul podcast with the Devil as one of the great liberators of the tarot. I love her work, and this episode really struck me when I first heard it.

Let’s first get started by talking about the meanings of the Devil tarot card. The Devil card is all about finding your autonomous center, or your own autocracy. This means that the Devil card is all about responsibility, accountability, freedom, and spaciousness. When finding your autonomy, you step into your power. You are the creator of your life, free to make it what you will. That also means that you need to take accountability for actions and movement and choices. This is a not a card of bad omens or terrible evil. It is a card that is inviting the seeker into a space of rebirth, but requires that you confront this space with a willingness to move and shed the former self. You are being asked to be your own light-bearer, willing to step into the transformative fires.

The Devil card is about the cause, or the why, and not the what when it comes to circumstance. This is why I don’t read this card in relation to addiction, vices, toxicity, or attachments. Those are consequences of a deeper cause. It is within that cause, that why, that the Devil is asking for understanding and merging. For example, for two monogamous people who are in a committed relationship, an affair or adultery would not be the focus of Devil energy, it would be the why. It would be the trajectory off-course between these two that would be where Devil energy is.

Another meaning about the Devil is about finding freedom from expectations, dogmas, or external forces that do not serve you. The Devil as a means for rebirth means that the self needs to shift away from perceptions and energies that do not serve you. If you are not hurting anybody else, or forcing your will on anybody else, there is nothing you owe to anybody in terms of reasoning or explanation. Your body, your spirit, your personal light is yours and it is within you that balance and pleasure and indulgence and pain and understanding sit. What you promote within and outside of your body is your choice, again as long as it does not infringe on the autonomy of another person, or as long as it does not incite violence or promote harm to another person.

Now that there is a little bit of an overview of what the Devil card represents, let’s go to some key themes when reading the Devil card. When working the Devil card, I think there are three things that should be present in order to fully work with this card. These three things are:

  • Release judgment, for yourself and others
  • Let go of the need to see external proof of this card
  • Allow for the human space to be present, step into your creature self

I believe that the first thing when working with the Devil card is to release judgment. Judgment creates bias and a hierarchy that does not serve this card, or the reading. When the Devil appears, there is an invitation to move into the source so that great work can be done for rebirth. The card that immediately follows the Devil is the Tower. This means that by finding that autonomous center, and shifting attention to the cause and not the consequence of circumstance, you are creating the space for the Tower to fall, disintegrating that which does not serve.

This requires confronting the cause, finding understanding, and shifting perspectives back to self with honesty. This is not easy to do. The Devil may be one of the great teachers in the card, but it is not easy work. That is why it is important to remove judgment from yourself. If you judge what comes forth, you will be fighting an uphill battle. Judging what comes forward honestly and authentically will stifle growth and intuitive guidance. It will shunt what the Devil is asking you to do, which is to find your own power, take accountability, and move into a spacious freedom that releases external narratives.

The next thing I think is important when reading this card is to not try to find external proof of this card. This card, as mentioned, is often considered the card of addictions, vices, or toxic attachments. Those external manifestations further judgmental thoughts and behaviors. The need to see and point the finger to something external is exactly the kind of narrative that shifts the energy of the Devil away. It is within you to take control and accountability. It is within you to step fully into your beautiful power. It is within you that your autocracy lies. These energies do not always have an external shape or outline to point to and say, “there is the Devil.” They may, and it can include those listed entrapments, but it could also be found in so many other things, things that may be little and hard to miss.

So, when looking to Devil energy, it is important to remember that the Devil can be in the smallest of details and moments, and they do not have to be bad in any way. Coming into your autonomy, and creating a spacious space for freedom within you can be as simple, yet profound, as saying no to an energetic vampire. It can be in seeking answers, and doing the research, not believing everything that you are told. Devil energy can be found in taking accountability and apologizing. In reading this card, let go of the need to see or speak to external embodiments becauce Devil energy is so much more complex than that.

Finally, when reading the Devil card, let the space for the human-ness to come forward. To go back to the need to read this card in relation to addiction, vices, or toxic connections, if that is truly what the Devil card was about, it would be pulled every time. Why? Because we are all human. We all have bad connections within us. We all have vices and things that we can’t pull ourselves away from. Again, these can be related to a behavior or a state of mind. For a comedic metaphor of this, I recommend watching the clip of Jim Gaffigan talking about McDonald’s, and how everyone has their own form or version of McDonald’s. The point is: we all have things in our life that may not be the absolute best for us, but we are not perfect beings. There is no such thing. Let the Devil invite you into the human aspect. Let it provide you with the comfort and freedom to be a human in this world, with judgment or constant need to point the finger to something external.

It is important to recognize this especially if reading for someone else. When the Devil card is pulled, as a reader, it is important to recognize that what makes this seeker a human is based on their internal, core why’s, so let the space open for them to find their own answers instead of placing this card into the evil, bad, dark space. We all have been the toxic person at some point, so approaching this card and each reading where this card comes up as a space to step into internal power rather than see it as some bad omen will completely transform the reading.

I hope this was helpful for you and your tarot readings, for yourself and others!

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When wellness doesn’t work……

With all this time in self-isolation and social distancing, so many thoughts and themes have been running like a wild horse in my mind. Although I believe strongly that holistic health practices and wellness techniques can create a strong foundation, I feel the need to talk about, and pull some cards, on what happens when wellness techniques aren’t working. What do you do when the toolbox has been emptied and used, with little to no results? The hard truth is that sometimes, despite all our intentions to tend to our needs, there is a deeper wound that refuses to be well.

All things exist within the Wheel

I sat down to pull a card, and the feeling that kept coming up for me was disappointment. I have been working with my own toolbox of wellness, one that I have been fortifying for years, and yet it has been a true sore spot of me. Turning it over revealed the Wheel of Fortune, a card that speaks to interconnection, nothing is lost or out of place within the wheel. Within the Wheel of Fortune, all moves together or not at all. One strand pulled on the dream catcher could release a knot somewhere else, holding everything in place.

It is also the card of energetic balance and cause and consequence. This brings us back to reality of wellness not always being available, providing a gentle salve of healing. Sometimes, wellness is not available as a healer, not because we are not doing the practices right, or because we don’t care, or are unworthy. Sometimes wellness is not available to us because there is hole deep within the psyche, and the implementation of wellness techniques pokes at that hole, stimulating the trigger that we are not without pain and disappointment and worry and grief.

Sometimes, disappointment festers deep in the unconscious, not stirring or stimulated until we bring forth a practice that should bring us more into alignment. Think of it like an anti-placebo. Being so focused on constantly using wellness techniques to find balance can have an opposite reaction. Hello Wheel of Fortune…..

So much emphasis on one trajectory means that the trajectory we are trying to move away is also turning, and sometimes the dial flips. Now, I am not saying that this means that all wellness practices should be forgotten, or that something is wrong with you if you are finding yourself in this space.

I have been here in some capacity for months. If you find yourself here, you are not alone. If you find yourself feeling disappointment, trying to remedy it, and just rubbing a sore spot…you are not alone. The lesson from the Wheel of Fortune is that all movement, however well intended, often puts the spotlight and what we want keep in the darkness. We cannot move towards wellness without even subliminally or subtly shining a light on from that which we are moving away.

There isn’t a hard or fast answer to remedy this, it may just take some time. One of the only ways I know to confront disappointment or pain or negativity when I have tried other and failed with other factors is journaling. Journaling allows expression over anything-bad good, right, wrong. Journaling is the place to emotionally dump all your shit. It doesn’t always bring an answer, but it can feel good to just get it out. Other ways might be a mantra like: “I am allowed to feel this” or “This too shall pass.”

Other techniques may be watching comedy, reading books, or finding ways to alleviate the brain, and your brain’s chemistry. It may also just need to heal in due time. Disappointment, and a plethora of other emotions, almost have their own brains or personalities, resilient in their attempt to keep us within arm’s length. In the end, the Wheel of Fortune does tell us that this too shall pass, it just may be uncomfortable as hell in the meantime….

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The Herbcrafter’s Tarot deck review

The Major Arcana

I received the Herbcrafter’s Tarot as a birthday present last year, and I am so glad that this deck has come into my possession. I love this deck, and will take the rest of this blog post to break down all the key details about this deck. If you would like to purchase this deck or learn more about it after this blog post, you can click this link, which will take you straight to the Herbcrafter’s Tarot website (this is not an affiliate or promotional code or link). The deck was written by Latisha Guthrie, an herb / kitchen witch, teacher, and homesteader. The artwork is by Joanna Powel Colbert. She has created the Gaian Tarot, the Pentimento Tarot, and also teaches workshops and retreats related to the craft, the Goddess, and more.

What is immediately clear about this deck is that is created with a true knowledge and love of herb-crafting. You do not need a previous knowledge of herbs in order to use this deck. You will need to be invested in learning about the herbs. Each card in this deck relates to a specific herb (the one exception being the World card, which I will get into here in just a bit), so if you aren’t invested in learning about, or using herbs, this probably isn’t the deck for you.

The Herbcrafter’s Tarot is so beautifully made. The cards measure 5″ x 3″ which makes them a decent size. The paper has a nice glossy sheen which makes them easy to shuffle. The illustration for the back of the card has a very different feel than the front of the card. To be honest, I am not in love with the illustration for the back of the card. It feels disconnected from the gorgeous artwork of the cards themselves. The artwork is reversible if your cardback to match your reversal preference. I don’t mind if the image is non-reversible because I still don’t know the particular card chosen until I turn it over, but there many who want card-front and card-back to match.

If you choose to keep the deck in its box, the material has some heft, and will keep your decks well-protected. The green string allows for easy access of the cards, and the guidebook fits snug at the top, making a substantial tarot set. If you choose to put your cards in some other container or bag, I would recommend keeping the guidebook. Normally, I tend to forget the guidebook for my tarot decks, but this deck brings in so much more information, that I find it worthwhile to keep the guidebook on hand.

The guidebook is packed full of information that speaks to the formation of this deck, the intention of the herbs used for each card, and how those herbs are handled or grown in nature. These intentionally chosen herbs also relate heavily to a more numerology-based system of reading. As you can see in the picture below, the herbs chosen do not merely reflect the identity of their corresponding tarot card. They correspond to the numerology and to the herb in nature, and how it is used. Working with this deck and this guidebook will give you a good understanding of herbology, numerology, and tarot, all within one tarot deck!

The perimeters for the tarot, herb, and numerical correspondence in nature.

One of the other main differences is the titles for the Minor Arcana. Instead of staying with the elemental object (swords, pentacles, etc.) for each suit, the Minor Arcana are named in relation to the elements themselves: earth, fire, water, and air. The elemental token that is featured in the minors are:

Air/ bolines

Fire / mortars and pestles

Water / kettles

Earth / baskets.

Three of Earth / Raspberry, Eight of Fire / Ginger, Four of Air / Lavender, Two of Water / Mallow

Each of these tools are needed to participate fully in herb-crafting. The elements also take on an additional layer of understanding to help with learning and skill acquisition.

Air = learning, fire = creating, water = nourishing, and earth = giving.

This is somewhat similar to a more traditional understanding of the tarot and the elements.

Air / Swords = the mind: thoughts, brainstorming, ideas, and communication.

Fire / Wands= the spirit: creativity, ingenuity, perseverance, and ambition.

Water / Cups= the heart: connection, understanding, compassion, emotions.

Earth / Pentacles= the body: production, tangible, sensory, and environmental.

One of the final differences is the court card titles have also changed. Instead of Page, Knight, Queen, King, the court cards are now named Hija (daughter), Adelita (Warrior), Madre (mother), and Curandera (healer). Each of these titles bring similar energy to the more traditional court cards, but also represent the transformation of energy that comes from the different thresholds of the herb path. Each court card shows an image with outstretched hands, and shows how the herbs are handled differently as you progress through the court rankings.

Hija of Fire / California Poppy, Adelita of Fire / Cayenne, Madre of Fire / Thyme, Curandera of Fire / Damiana

The picture above has the four court ranks for the element of Fire. The Hija of Fire may be my personal favorite card of the deck. The Hija sits on her blanket, adorned with incense, costume jewelry, California Poppies, and she is both witnessed and protected by her stuffed tiger. She is undertaking the path in a way that is both playful and imaginative. The Adelita of Fire carries the tradition of her people’s medicine by crushing cayenne to make fire cider. The Madre of Fire keeps a whole-hearted and fierce spirit to create and use ingredients that fill her hearth and home. Finally, the Curandera of Fire teaches the power of love and intimacy, healers in their own way.

Speaking of the imagery, Joanna Powell Colbert’s artistic rendering of each card is simply stunning. Her images are so detailed and intimate, that it really feels like a part of time was captured, not just the herb. Each image feels so heavenly, that you can almost smell what’s on the stove, feel the sunshine, or test the nearby water. The artwork is so beautiful and important, but one of the other reasons I really recommend keeping the guidebook is because Latisha Guthrie’s description for each card is informative and easy to understand. Her writings detail how you can either begin or reinforce your herbal path with each herb, and benefit from each card you turn over. It is not a mere guidebook; it is an informative text for the herbal path.

If you have a decent understanding of herbs or numerology, this may be a decent deck to learn the tarot on. If new to all practices, I personally would not recommend learning on this deck, only because there is so much information that comes with this deck. By fully learning tarot through a more standard or straightforward deck, there isn’t a need to learn both herbs and tarot at the same time. However, that is merely my personal opinion, and I am sure that for many people, this deck would create full expansion in their beginning practice.

This deck has been a recent go-to for bringing in an understanding of garden magic and kitchen medicine. I would give this deck a 5/5, it is simply that beautiful, and that useful. I am getting loads of ideas for teas and tincture I want to create. I am gaining a deeper respect for the earth under my feet, and all that comes forth from its foundation. If you want to learn more about herbs, numerology, or gain more knowledge from the expertise of two powerful women who have walked this path for decades, this is a great deck to invest in.

The World begins a new chapter: awakened, alive, vibrant and gazing forward. There is a palpable readiness.
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Deck Forecast – 2020 (Wild Unknown Archetypes and Tarot)

The deck forecast begins at the very top of the table, with the Desert and the Hanged Man

For 2020, I am going to switch up the decks that I use. The Wild Unknown Archetypes decks is STUNNING. I cannot get over these cards. Plus, archetypes are meant to explored, discovered, understood, and utilized. This makes them the perfect deck for doing a monthly deep dive. The

Wild Unknown Tarot is the companion card, creating a layered message of what archetypal energy is present, and how to invite this potent energy into your life. Patrons will still receive a third card in their monthly card forecast. If you would like to become a patron, click the badge on the right hand side and join the dwelling!

For reference on how to tell upright vs. inverted, I pull every card with my right hand, and then turn each card over pulling from the left side. If I were to take these cards out of the circle, and place them in a straight line, I would then grab from the right side and move left if it’s on its side (horizontal). I hope that makes sense! It can be hard to tell when it is this kind of formation.

I tried to get a picture that did justice to the imags, while keeping the names visible. For clarity, here is the monthly forecast:

January: The Desert and The Hanged Man

February: The Shadow and the 8 of Swords inverted

March: The Eternal Child and the Tower inverted

April: The Poet and the Devil

May: The Castle and the 9 of Wands

June: Eros and the World

July: The Crone and the Mother (Queen) of Swords inverted

August: The Creator and the Ace of Cups

September: The Queen and Temperance inverted

October: Thanatos and Judgement

November: Aletheia and the 10 of Cups inverted

December: The Mirror and the Son (Knight) of Wands

So, that is the forecast for 2020. I am not going to lie, when I say the card pairings for January through April, I said to myself, “Here, we go….” That is not to say that the cards are bad or that I don’t like them. Cards like the Tower and the Devil have some of the most profound blessings, but they are not easy cards to grasp and hold. Those cards, and many others, can be incredibly daunting, and speak to growth in ways that are often uncomfortable or hard to bear at times.

Some things to note about the complete forecast: the year is divided into 6 major arcana cards, 4 pip cards, and 2 court cards. Major Arcana cards speak to great forces, forceful momentum, and encompassing shifts. When a spread, or here a forecast, is dominated by Major Arcana cards, that means that the year forecast is going to see a lot of transformation that is effective more on a grand scale of life, rather than dealing with the more minute details of the day to day. The Majors are archetypes unto themselves. They represent the macrocosm. Their energies are so large that, at times, it can be harder to feel their presence.

We have the 8 of Swords inverted, 9 of Wands, Ace of Cups, and the 10 of Pentacles inverted. With the majority of the pips and court cards falling to the Swords, we can safely say that the majority of the microcosm will be focused on the threshold of thoughts, communication, brainstorming, ideas, and narration. We will be looking into the mental faculties that gauge the energies, and how that logical clarifying accompanies the larger forces at play. The Court cards are the cards that speak to us between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Side note: I do not read Court cards as other people. I read them as the threshold between the majors and the minors. That means that July and December present invitations for a more intimate conversation about how to bridge yourself between the energetic forces and shifts available, and how to make energies available.

What are your thoughts on these card pairings? If you would like to download my free monthly ezines from 2019, do so by the end of the year. After that they will be getting deleted to make room for 2020 ezines. Much love to you!

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Approaching the end of the year

The end of the year is finally coming to a close. I feel the need to create a little time capsule of my year, and what better place than my blog? For me, this year was a rough one, but also an insanely beautiful one. There were so many things that happened, and many things I really had to confront and face. This was also the year that I really had to admit and confront where I was hurting myself, and my business.

Here were some of the major points of my year:

+My schoolwork consisted mostly of science classes (which is not my strong suit) to finish the requirements for my Associates in the Integrative Health program. Next year, I get to enjoy the Capstone, all about transitioning into the professional world.

+I got to see some whales and experience the beauty of Mexico.

+My cat was on and off sick for months. He was so sick that, at one point, Grizzly and I really thought we were going to lose him. However, my little Zombie survived, and I feel that experience in many ways brought Grizzly and I closer together.

+Some of the other classes that I got to take this year were amazing, including Medicinal Herbs in the Wild, where I met a dear friend, and fell more in love with herbs, and Colorado.

Towards the end of this year, my own health started to take a turn. What first started out as acid reflux, has turned into breathing issues that have persisted for about a month now. The shadow part of me isolated even farther, less willing to do things like see friends, run errands, or get motivation for the things I needed to complete. However, it also brought me closer to spirit, and to myself.

My year card was Strength, and I feel that after this year (I haven’t even mentioned the social injustices and headlines that have impacted and changed me), I have a better appreciation for that card. I also have had to take some time and reconcile with myself the fact that I have had to put myself on ice in regards to my business. I have had bitter moments where I have feel like I’m hitting a wall. I have had moments where it seems like I have been wasting my time. I had had moments where it has felt like no matter what I do for my business, it wasn’t good enough.

(If you would like to know your year card is, add up your birth month and day with the current year. If yours equals something like this (29), you would then add those two together, which equals 11. In the Wild Unknown deck, which is the one I use most often, the 11th card is Strength.)

It was like constantly hitting a wall. It took me a while to realize that I was the wall. My ego was needing certain boxes checked off to feel validated. My spirit just wants to express the tarot, and other modalities, with passion and authenticity. Going forward, I have recognized where I was placing expectations on the outside world, but I really need boundaries with myself. I also needed new projects.

So, come next year I am going to start a podcast. This is something that I am really excited for, and I have been toying with the idea for a while now. I am ready to try something new. I am also going to start putting up physical products, expanding my services, and establishing my platform a little bit more. I was not giving myself was the belief that I deserved a thriving business. I was not allowing myself to feel the confidence needed to thrive. That stops now. It is not welcome in 2020.

If you are feeling overdrawn, overburdened, or anything that does not register with your higher being, I ask to you to see where your beliefs or confidence or compassion for yourself is at. I am not saying that I found the formula for growth. That is a process that I look forward to learning more about as I discover more about myself. I simply ask you to confront and face. You can do it. You are strong. You are worthy. You are gorgeous. If you would like to go deeper into some energy, we can work together, and use the tarot to unleash some needed energy. Next post will be about the deck forecast for 2020.