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Challenges with the Page of Wands reversed

I am one of those tarot readers that rejects the idea of reversals meaning bad, no, or anything opposite of joy. In fact, some of my best tarot medicine has come from reversals, reminding me to tune into the subtle vibrations within me to elevate my heart and my spirit. However, I had an experience pulling a tarot card the other day that has not left me alone. When that happens, I know I need to give it a bigger and broader voice to let these messages be of service.

I have been slowly rebuilding my routine of pulling a tarot card every day. Actually, right now it is about every day, but what is one or two more days, right? I sat out in the suddenly chilly Colorado air Saturday morning, and pulling a card over, I asked for guidance. I pulled the Page of Wands reversed. Immediately, I felt a tightening and gripping sensation with this card. My intuitive way of confronting the challenge.

Tarot is NOT all rainbows and butterflies, and any tarot reader who tells you that is selling you a bill of goods. I am sorry, but it’s true. Tarot can be incredibly challenging, and also incredibly healing. With tarot, you are getting all the energies that come with the cards. Some days that energy is beautiful and radiant. Other days, it is a struggle to meet the energy on solid ground.

That is how I felt pulling the Page of Wands reversed. So, in the spirit of meeting this energy with grace and love and honesty, let’s dive into what challenges can come from the Page of Wands. First, a quick reminder about this card. The Page of Wands is the dreamer and initiator of spirit movement. The Page of Wands is the one who calls into being the outline and calling of spirit manifestation that the Son will then move and shake and stir into action. There is also the elements to consider.

These two elements come from the elemental association of the card, and the Court Title of Page. The wands represent fire. The Pages (as their own identity) represent Earth. These two energies stand at polar opposites in many ways, mostly in movement. Earth growth is often shockingly slow, with some exceptions. Fire growth burns hot and quick and it feeds. This means that the fire energy within wants to move, but the earth energy needs time to stir and dwell and hold.

Passion and growth are not on the same time table: My passion for tarot is a ferocious fire that will never go out. However, growing into this process is like the growth of a tree. It is happening, but it is hard to see or feel it in the moment sometimes. If there is something that you are passionate about, and you feel it so deeply in your bones that it almost hurts, but it is slow to rise towards the vision you hold within, that is Page of Wands energy in its shadow form.

One of the reasons that these two energies are so opposite of each other is that both passion and growth work with visions and dreams and wants. Passion sees everything through rose-colored glasses, while growth is met by the ego, who wants everything to be kept safe and comfortable and understandable. Growth needs time to stop, pause, reconsider, and thrive. Passion wants everything to unfold beautifully, organically, passionately.

This can be a huge challenge for the ego. It can be hard to remind ourselves that growth is happening, especially when it seems like it happens so quick for other people. Sometimes it does, and that is just the luck of the draw. Other times, it is important remember how you are seeing someone else’s growth. Are you seeing it through the lens of social media or a website, or are you seeing the real and raw energy that comes with growth?

When the pages are in their shadow element, and the dreams and visions become cloudy, it can be hard to keep your head above the metaphorical water. It can be hard to see the forest for the trees. It can be hard to hold the burning desires of the wand’s fire, while moving with the vibrations and rhythms of the earth. If this resonates with you at all, I invite you to take time to see where your passion can be directed, mindfully. Where can you place some energy so that it feels like you are merging these two elemental spaces?

One of the best ways I know, is that when I deeply feel the passion of the wands, but my growth is that of a tree, I tend to my physical space. I tend to my body. Movement, exercise, food, and tending are all beautiful ways to give your passion purpose. Move your passion back into alignment by redirecting it. Also, take a look at where you are putting your energy. Are you getting caught in the scroll-hole of comparisons? Are you getting caught up in drama because it’s exciting? See where your passion may be meeting forces that could compromise it.

Finally, remember that patience will allow this energy to pass. Practice patience and stillness. The Page of Wands never wants to be still. By practicing even a little bit of mindful slowing, you may be surprised how the pace that many people set for themselves is based more on output and expectation that need and control require. I wish you many blessings. If you would still like some help setting this space into alignment, consider my spiritual wellness coaching sessions. At $40 for an hour, we will look at how to use these confrontations and contractions towards your purpose and higher alignment.

Much Love!

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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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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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Book review: The Heart of Wicca by Ellen Cannon Reed

I intend to start posting more reviews on my platform: reviews of books, decks (a rare post as I am not a deck collector, but I do still buy the decks that really speak to me), podcasts, music, and more. If you have anything that you would like for me to review, comment below! My first review is going to be on a book that I just finished, The Heart of Wicca: Wise Words from a Crone on the Path by Ellen Cannon Reed.

I would first like to start by saying that I am not a Wiccan, and there may be themes or topics in this book that are over my head or beyond my comprehension because I do not subscribe to the path. I would also like to state that if I write something about this book, or about Wicca in general that is negative or a critique, I am not saying that you are wrong if you are Wiccan, love this book, or anything like that. This is simply a post coming from my personal insight and honesty as a new reader to this book, and these topics.

I picked this book up at a local store some time ago. As much as I know that I will ever become a Wiccan, I do want to learn and understand more about different religions and methodologies, Wicca included. That being said, I did not like this book. I found the tone to be off-putting, condescending, and elitist. The following paragraphs describe specifically what I did and did not like about this book, and why I only gave it a 1 out 5 stars on Goodreads.

First, the book is only 127 pages, which alone is not a problem. What irked me was those 127 pages read like a big condescending rant. The book is title The Heart of Wicca: Wise Words from a Crone on the Path, so I thought that this book was going to discuss some things that are paramount to the Wicca pantheon. Some of this was discussed, but not in any satisfying depth, which is not only disappointing, it is contradictory to the first paragraph. Reed states that other books often only skim the surface of Wicca, which is exactly what I thought of this book. (Reed 1)

One of the first things about this book that put me off was the constant contradiction. Reed would constantly state how other covens, or “new” Wiccans are doing things that irritate her, and then give one small sentence how her covens are not the only ones who do things right. I get the book is from her perspective and will obviously include her opinion, but it got a little tiring to read. From what I could find about the author, she walked this path for a long time before her passing, undoubtedly had a lot of wisdom about the path, and had seen how the path has morphed over time. From what I have heard from others who practice Wicca (how in depth, I do not know), the path is much more formulaic than others it seems. There are certain ways to do things, and ways to not do things. I do not have a problem with traditions, or Wiccans who use tradition in their magick or rituals. It simply read to me that those who don’t hold as much to tradition are doing it wrong, which I disagree with completely.

I was also not aware of how cutthroat the initiation process can be to get into a coven. Reed heavily emphasized that students who wished to be initiated into one of her two covens had to participate for a full year in rituals and traditions, and even then their initiation was not guaranteed. The coven goes off of gut feeling if a person will become an initiate into their coven. I am not saying this is right or wrong. I am simply saying that I did not realize that some covens were so selective. I can see the purpose, but all that did was emphasize why I have never been inclined to join a coven. I am a solitary witch anyway, but I feel like showing up should be organic and honest, a true statement of when and where they can be of service (which no human can always be of service 100% of the time). It should not be for mere attendance.

Again, I see the purpose of wanting a coven to be at its strongest. I can see why coven needs to be more than a social gathering. I can see why covens need to have a certain vulnerability to work through difficulties. Group magick won’t be as effective if some members are holding onto to old gripes, either petty or truly valid. However, I simply could not fathom being accepted or rejected from something I had invested my heart and time into based upon someone’s feeling about me. I also feel that accepting or rejecting someone based on gut feelings leaves room for human error and bias. I find it ironic that during much of the text, Reed makes it clearly known that both students and teachers will at times falter or stumble, as they are human. But, when it comes to the intimate process of bringing in a new and willing participant into the coven, that is left solely to gut feelings and bias.

Maybe that is just me…….

I also feel that people who say a coven always and immediately has stronger magic than a solitary practitioner are honestly just trying to recruit. As a solitary witch, I feel I enter a deeply intimate and magickal experience when I stand in my circle, my guides and the universe the only ones to witness me. I feel free and capable and empowered and deeply loved. No coven, no matter how established, can take that away from me. Reed did say that with the rise in popularity, there is no way that every single Wiccan could join a coven because there are not enough teachers to fulfill the needs of each new practitioner. With how cutthroat the initiation process is, I can see why……

The final point I want to make about snobbish and elitist mentalities come in the chapter about initiation, a chapter I find ripe with contradiction and looking down the proverbial nose on those who don’t follow the same path. Reed states there are two types of initiations: the one that comes from the coven, and the one that comes from spirit. The one that comes from spirit cannot come from a human, or from the self. It can only come from the Gods and Goddesses unveiling the mysteries to you in a process. Putting aside the fact that I disagree with that, I want to focus more on what Reed states about coven initiations. She makes the point that college degrees have fallen in strength, no longer holding the same weight as before, and that she does not want that to happen to her initiates. While I understand her wish for nothing but the best from her initiates, what I took from that is her saying that her coven members are more deserving of the magickal path, and stronger in their magickal creeds. This is simply not true. Credentials are great, but they don’t mean that someone is stronger, more pure of heart, or more deserving of the magickal path than a solitary witch, non-Wiccan witch, or anyone who isn’t in her coven. (Reed 58)

Okay, now on to some things that I agreed with Reed on: working with deities, and certain aspects of training and studying. In working with deities, I agree with her that it is important to treat it like any other relationship. It is not polite to call in a deity simply because you heard a friend or colleague say they did it. It isn’t polite to call them in to fulfill a need without doing some basic research or creating some respectful energy. Some deities will be lifelong influences. Other may be some that you work with on specific occasions. I don’t see a problem with any of that, as long as you approach the relationship with respect, and a willingness to engage in the process with this deity. Take time to read about them, visualize them, give an offering to them, or connect with them before simply asking for things.

I also agree that spiritual work does not, and should not, equal easy. Spiritual bypassing and a refusal to confront the shadow self in the end does more damage, and weakens the spiritual path. There is no race towards the other side of the darkness. There is no hierarchy for who has gone farther, confronted more, or overcome more. Please don’t feel like you taking the time you need to confront the difficult means your spiritual is lesser. In fact, you are doing what others refuse to do. I personally feel that we see this way to much with positivity culture. We need to be willing to share our hurt and pain and fear and dread. Those are just as valuable of spiritual teachers as any mentor or positive moment. I also agree with her that spells are a small section of a big umbrella called magick. I also agree that spell casting should be done wisely, and without vengeance in the heart.

Overall, this book did not pass the mustard for me, which I think I have made clear. Even Reed herself acknowledges on page 127 that the views of her and like-minded individuals may be seen as snobbish, old-fashioned, and elitist. Snobbish and elitist, yes. Old-fashioned, no. I actually wished that her book contained more of her “old-fashioned” views and tenets. I wish that she went more into specifics, and spent less time putting down anyone new to the path, or anyone who may stray from her opinion of how things should be done.

Reed, Ellen Cannon. Heart of Wicca: Wise Words from a Crone on the Path. Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 2000.

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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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My Spread Pricing and Why I Don’t Charge Per Hour

I wanted to do and write something a little bit differently today. More specifically, my intention is to show a little bit of my process behind certain aspects of my business. Many, if not most, tarot readers charge based on time spent for the reading. There is nothing wrong with this, but I personally have never liked to charge that way. A big reason why is because of my first reading as the client, not the reader.

I like to charge based on number of cards pulled as opposed to a set price per hour. Time can be a good factor to set the value, but I don’t personally like to be controlled by a timely starting and stopping point.

I went to see a tarot reader long before I knew how to read tarot. To be fair, I had not done my research into the type or reading, or reader, I wanted. I simply had some cash and showed up at a store in Denver. I also had not taken the time to consider what I wanted, and more importantly needed, from my reading. What was the underlying purpose? What would I do with the information given to me? How could I be vulnerable and hear both the good and bad the cards may bring forth? I asked myself none of these question. (I would like to spend a whole post on the etiquette between reader and client, but I digress….)

So I show up at a store, cash in hand, ready for my reading. I asked if anyone was available to read for me. A woman was, and although I do not expect or want an overly fluffy or lovey-dovey reader (that is not my style), this woman was cold and not very friendly. We went to a section of the store, that was separated by nothing more than a divider. This made my walls go up. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted or needed from my reader, but I knew I didn’t want every customer walking by to overhear what I considered, and still do, a sacred conversation.

I told her a little bit about what was going on with me, and she started to pull the cards. And she kept pulling… and pulling…. and pulling. She must have pulled over thirty cards from her deck. I say this not because I question or despise the way another reader works with her cards. (I also want to make it clear that many, if not most readers do not read this way. They are inviting, informative, and value the shared energetic experience.) I did not feel like this reader valued my presence. I say this because the majority of the reading was spent shuffling and looking and shuffling and looking. I could not tell you a single card that was pulled because she didn’t talk very much. The last five minutes of a fifteen-minute reading was spent with her asking a few more questions, and then giving some small suggestions, and that was it.

Those fifteen minutes cost me $20.00, and although I recognize that is not the most expensive reading ever, it was still a lot for me at that time financially. I left feeling overwhelmed, annoyed, and more confused than before. I would have preferred it if she had pulled one card for me and had deeply gone into the meaning of that card, and how it could relate to me and my situation. As a reader, I don’t not believe more is more when it comes to number of cards. As a client, I know it’s not. A couple of years later, when I started developing my website, writing spreads, and determining my prices, I knew that I didn’t want to make anyone as my blessed client feel like they had been overcharged and under-served.

My pricing starts at $10.00 for one card, and goes up in $5.00 increments for each additional card.

But, I wrestled with the way to price my services and my spreads. What was fair to the clients, but still honored and valued the heart and soul I put into my work? I finally decided that I wanted to charge based on cards that I pulled. This means that my one-card readings (still thorough and written with love) are not charged the same way that my five-card reading does. Here are some of the main reasons I decided to charge this way (I feel the need to preface here that this is what works for me and the way I operate as a tarot reader. I am not saying that others who price or charge differently than me are doing it wrong. Different strokes for different folks):

1.) I don’t like being rushed for / by time and numbers: By removing the constraint of time, I personally feel more free to spend as much time as needed going into the messages that I download from each card. By removing the layer of time from my readings, I feel less confined by time.

2.) Discussing the cards from intuition: I could take one hour to discuss one card if my intuition keeps downloading meaningful content. I could take less time with more cards. With no time limit, I feel able to discuss each download clearly and without rush.

3.) Gives you financial options: Because my spreads are based upon the amount of cards I pull, I have many different spread options available on my website. You can choose the spread that works for you and for your budget. As mentioned, I have been in the place where $20.00 was my grocery limit for the week. I believe tarot is medicine, but I also believe it shouldn’t put you in the red. No matter the spread you choose, you will get my soulful intention to provide the best tarot reading I can.

4.) Telecommute makes time commitment harder: Because I do readings exclusively out of my home right now, time commitment to readings is not so black and white. Often, during a reading I pull the cards, write down initial notes by hand, and then take some time (outside, in meditation, or by journaling) to really let my intuition start downloading. It doesn’t always get channeled so immediately. So, I don’t have to start a timer or take note when I started or stopped. This again makes me feel less pressured by time, and more able to just read the cards and write.

5.) Quality over quantity: More cards does not mean a better reading. More time does not mean a better reading. Say it with me: more does not mean better. As I said in my story above, I would have preferred a $20.00 with only one or two cards, as opposed to a reading that had half the deck, and little to no detailed insight from particular cards. One card can really anchor you into clarification, or speak to your needed questions. Throwing down card after card after card may not always provide the most insight.

No matter as a reader, or a client, the main focus is in the value of each energetic experience. If you do not see what you want or need on my website, reach out to me. My prices are set by the cards I pull, but we can collaborate to create something of utility that honors both energy and budgets.
Photo by Ikhsan Sugiarto from Pexels

Hopefully, this provides some clarity to the way my pricing is set on my website. If you have any questions, or if you have a certain price point but don’t see a spread that fully covers your needs, no worries, shoot me an email at teaandtombstones@gmail.com and we can get a spread that fits your price point and your needs. Thanks for reading. Much love to you!

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Working on the world, your visions, and yourself

Top (left to right): 3 of Swords, 3 of Pentacles, 3 of Cups. Bottom: 3 of Wands

The 3 of Wands is all about stepping into your present to forge your future. This means that you need to merge yourself with the larger energies also present. It is fair to say this is not an easy task when in creation. It can be easy to look on others both close to you or distant and see where their lives have stacked up in a way yours might not have yet. This is something that we often see talked about with social media. We should remind ourselves that what we see is a highlight reel, and not always demonstrative of someone else’s life as whole.

While this is a great point to make, it can be hard to times to remind ourselves of that when we are feeling buried under the weight of what we think must or should do to improve our lives, and the world. In order to engage with the world, work on the world, make a mark on the world, we must also engage with ourselves, work on ourselves, make a mark on ourselves.

For this reason, I think it is important to be reminded of the fact that in the traditional Rider-Waite Smith deck (and even here in my deck: the Ostara Tarot), the 3 of Wands is the only three to show a solitary figure. The 3 of Swords shows no figure, just a heart pierced through and through (worthy of its own post). This correlation shows that the 3 of Wands is often an isolated undertaking. The figure goes from the looking out of his balcony, to being in the action, adorned with a new vision, a new wand, new clothing, and a new headpiece.

So, what does this all mean? I think it means that when it comes to engaging your visions, making your mark on the world, and finding yourself in the process you have to remove the noise from others. That does not necessarily mean that you cannot heed any advice from someone you trust, nor does it mean you cannot ask for help when needed. What it does mean though is that at the end of the day, you have to rely on yourself and your skills. You have to be willing to trust in yourself, and when needed, to remove yourself from the constant chatter of society at large. The dialog with and from others is extremely important, but if it leaves us doubting and questioning the work that we do, it can lead to becoming a very toxic conversation.

Because the 3 of Wands is the card of the month, seek to deepen your own understandings of what is workable and do-able for you and your place in the world by creating some intentional silence. Work on what it is you want to see happen and remove your eyes from the google page to see if it has been done before, unless you looking to research, check facts, or give credit where credit is due. Work on your visions by acting as if you are in a relationship with them, because you are. Give them time to develop into something wonderful, or something no longer worth the effort. Trust that your needs can fit in there without too much force, and when needed your basic needs must come first from time to time. Work on the world by letting that silence be an invitation to listen to what the world needs. Let the work for the world be a resounding drum that comes from your own beating heart. At the end of the day, you and only you, can create your visions into something tangible and external. Only you can create that which you seek.

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Being Honest

9 of Pentacles from the Wild Unknown deck

If I could break down my thoughts this week regarding the 9 of Pentacles reversed, it would be this word: reveal. The word reveal in this context means to take time to reconnect and return to the things we love, or the things we love to do. The beautiful thing about the 9 of Pentacles reversed is that it shows us that we are capable of providing for ourselves the abundance we seek. We are capable of soaking in the sensuality of living in presence to our surroundings. That is not to say that we need to be like this all the time, nor does this card show that we need to relinquish all material possessions.

The 9 of Pentacles reversed is more about intention, and taking to time to find presence with the things around us we love, want, or need. There is a level of true honesty that comes with the 9 of Pentacles reversed. There needs to be honesty about what we have, what we need, and even what we want. There also needs to be honesty about how we reveal this physical abundance to ourselves, and how we use it.

When it comes to being honest about what we have, this means that we need to be able to identify our needs. Like in the picture, the nest may not be as grand as possible, but it is secure and made with love. It holds the precious state of creation without shape. It holds a vibrancy that could make the Sun swoon. Yet, these worldly treasures are so simple. It is about what could be, and how to get there. If the resources used are wrong, those fragile circles would succumb. If it was too grand, that may not have been a wise investment of energy. By naming our needs our needs, we recognize by default our time and space presence. We recognize that through our needs is a space for intention and construction.

We also need to be honest if we are buying, consuming, or using things because we truly cherish them, or simply because they were on sale, easy to get, or fulfilled an idea. We also need to be honest about we want. Do we want something in our home because it is pretty? Do we want to experience something that may be out of budget because we can’t stand the idea of not having the experience? Do we have the means to get that which we want? Again, it is about honesty and intention. If there is something you want, or something you want to do, that’s great. The 9 of Pentacles reversed is simply there to provoke and ask: how and why?

I mentioned in my free newsletter (which you can find under my FREE OFFERINGS TAB) that there is an element of sacrifice and surrender to the 9 of Pentacles reversed. Sacrifice is not a bad thing, but in our consumer-driven society, it is painted as such. Sacrifice here means reconnecting to purpose and priority. That means that perhaps you have something you really want, but you may need to sacrifice that morning cup of coffee, or that night out on the town. If your morning cup of coffee or a night out with friends beats what you want, there is nothing wrong with that.

The 9 of Pentacles reversed is simply asking you to be clear about what and where your values are. If you choose to create a budget so you can afford what you want, then great. Again, it’s simply about clarity. I recognize here that my examples are exceedingly basic. That is because I obviously cannot presume to know what sacrifice will look like to each person. I am therefore using basic examples here to merely make the point. I am also using examples that I know I have confronted recently. I am constantly drawn to buying a tea or snack from the coffee shop at my school. When I realized how much I spending each month, it revealed to me how much I took for granted how far a few dollars go every day.

In my personal opinion, the reason why sacrifice can feel hard is because it is uncomfortable to say no to things. It is uncomfortable to be honest with ourselves and say that we need to do better, make better choices, or find more presence with the things we have. It can be really uncomfortable to place boundaries around a lifestyle we have grown accustomed to. But if that lifestyle is luxury wrapped in debt, we may need to be honest about it. It can feel uncomfortable to say no to things we really want, including experiences, but if they move us out of alignment with our purpose and priorities, it is a needed no.

When thinking about the word reveal, this card really gets to the bones of our structures. Finding presence with ourselves will reveal a lot. Listing where our abundance is, and being honest about sacrifices and boundaries is going to reveal a lot too. It may change some things too. Only you, and each person, knows where those lines lie. No two people will create the same nest, and that is a beautiful thing. No two people will have exactly the same values and priorities. Again, it is all about intention. What you do intend to do this month? What is your purpose? What are your priorities? Start to look at resources you have that be of service to you. Start to be honest about some needed sacrifices that may need to be made. In the end, come back to intention, and you will stay in alignment.