Friday, December 23, 2016

Winter and Why I Think New Year's Resolutions Fail

For a while now, but especially during the past few days, all I've felt like doing is hibernating. It's Winter, and the Winter Solstice just passed, so that makes sense. But now is the time that people start planning for the new year, setting goals and New Year's resolutions. Typically, it's almost expected that people will fail at their New Years resolutions, and often this is true. The other day I got to thinking about why this tends to be true. I think it's because we're trying to go against the energetic flow of the cycle of the seasons. Yes, it's a new calendar year. Yes, even energetically it technically is a new year, with the passing of the Winter Solstice. Every day from now until the Summer Solstice the days grow longer. However, right now, it is still thoroughly winter. It is still a time of dormancy, hibernation, energy conservation, etc. It is still a more internal time of year, rather than an external time of year. I think this is part of why we fail in following through with our New Year's resolutions. Energetically, this is not a time of year for big change, outward expression, movement, achievement. So trying to make big changes now is in direct opposition to how things are energetically. I think it is this opposition that makes it difficult for us to follow through and achieve changes at this time of year, regardless of what the calendar says.

I think it is more realistic to start planning for the upcoming year. Start with more internal work, small changes. Think about what is happening in nature right now, obviously considering local, bio-regional differences. In general, the tiniest stirrings of awakening may be happening, but internally. The light is just barely making its start towards brightness. So we sense the change, the shift, yet energetically things are still moving very slowly, if at all. This is what we should be doing too. Start slowly thinking about what our goals are for the next year. Make the focus more internal, perhaps through journaling or working with some of the many resources for setting goals and intentions for the upcoming year. Don't push yourself. Respect that you may still be feeling the need to hibernate. Go easy, be gentle.

I'm thinking that while the calendar year has changed, we are fighting the flow if we try to make big changes too early, too soon. My goal is to start doing some thinking about the upcoming year, setting some goals and intentions over the next few months. Closer to the Spring Equinox makes more energetic sense for me to start planting the seeds and nurturing the growth of those goals and intentions. I'm going to try that this year and see if this will help me to be more successful in making the changes I want to make.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Darkness and the Winter Solstice

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. The Sun will be renewed, the days will become longer. The cycle of the seasons continues.

Winter Solstice Return of Light

I often will get a candle set up and ready and then shut off all the lights for a few moments. Then I will strike the match and light the candle to signify the returning light and a symbol of hope in the darkness. I think I'll consider the moment of darkness just a bit more...

Monday, December 19, 2016

Timing and Tarot

Just saw some interesting suggestions for timing and Tarot on a Tarotholics Anonymous group thread on Facebook. I’ve tended to avoid timing when doing Tarot readings. I’m gonna have to try these out though and see if they work. I have definitely found that trying to read for farther out than a year just ends up being entirely inaccurate.

• Choose a topic and lay out 1-3 cards for each month (up to a year) or seasonally (winter, spring, summer, fall), or maybe even related to the Moon cycle (if that’s how you prefer to look). Look for love or relationship related cards and see where they fall.

• Embed the timing in the question.
   Will x happen in y timeframe?
   (For example) Will I start a new romantic relationship sometime in the next 3 months?

Could be interesting to see if either work and if they’re accurate.

Friday, November 25, 2016

My Issues with the Law of Attraction

I'm seeing it again today... A person going through a rough time, lots of shit all happening all at once. They're at a low point and looking for help, only to be told that their current situation is due to negativity and poor thinking in the past. BULLSHIT!!!! And STOP saying that to people, especially hurting people!!!! This is victim blaming at its finest. You caused this mess because you allowed in negativity, weren't thinking positively enough, aren't right with god, didn't pray enough, etc, etc... Telling people this is upsetting at best, mentally and emotionally abusive at worst. This is just as bad as saying "God never gives you more than you can handle." FUCK THAT! Maybe we survived it, but it fucked us up for the rest of our lives... God (if you believe in him) doesn't do that, doesn't work that way. People who say this shit make me want to punch them in the throat, though I likely would never do so.

Shit happens. Sometimes it seems to be coming all at once. But life is way too complicated for a run of difficult times to be all caused by negative thinking. There are SO many influences that are outside of our control. The decisions, choices, and free will of others can and does affect us and influence the world around us. Of course how we think can and does affect the things within our control and how we handle the stress of difficult times. So addressing how we think can help us in how we cope with life. Our choices have consequences, so that affects things too. But it's not as simple as "negative thinking created our shitty current circumstances."

One way to help address how we're thinking is Mindfulness. It's about being in the present moment, experiencing what's happening, without judgement of the situation or yourself. An excellent resource for working with this is the book "How to Wake Up, A Buddhist inspired guide to navigating joy and sorrow" by Toni Bernhard. I probably sound like a broken record, as I've mentioned this book fairly frequently lately. I've just gotten so much help and comfort from it that I like to share it. It's available in print, ebook, and audiobook (on Toni Bernhard is also chronically ill. She's a great inspiration to me. Her other two books are excellent as well.

What resources have really helped you in coping with chronic illness? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Today I spent the day starting to get ready for Thanksgiving. With all my food intolerances, I have to make my own bread cubes from loaves of bread. Spent time cutting up loaves of bread into cubes and then drying them in the oven. I did a LOT of other things today too. I almost filled up my entire day's space in my planner where I write my got done list. I did a lot yesterday too. I'm going to have to be careful tomorrow. There's more to be done to prepare. I don't do well doing a lot multiple days in a row. I'll have to delegate some stuff I was planning on doing to the hubby tomorrow.

It's difficult trying to pace when getting ready for a big event like a holiday. Luckily it will likely only be me and the hubby, at home. We don't usually travel home to family for the holidays. We do a full Thanksgiving dinner for ourselves, but tend to spend the day cooking in our pajamas, vegging on the couch watching movies and TV. It's kinda nice and low-key.

How do you handle trying to pace before and during the holidays? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

The Should of Doing

I think I’ve put a LOT of pressure on myself to “do”, to accomplish. I wrote my daily “got done” list at the end of every day (most days) to show that yes, I’ve gotten stuff done despite dealing with chronic illness. I’ve worked with some goal setting tools this year that absolutely have helped me improve my mindset and my efforts. But now I wonder if I’ve swung too far in the opposite direction.

I feel an obligation to “do”, to accomplish, to get stuff done, despite dealing with chronic illness. Why, I’m not sure. Probably in part because my life is NOTHING like I thought it would be before I became ill. I desperately want to be useful, functional. I see others around me accomplishing so much and I’m so jealous. Though I know it’s not true, I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing and I’m going nowhere with my life.

But what if I could be content to just “be”? Can I be content and not worry about how much I did today, or yesterday, or how much I might do tomorrow? I know my worth isn’t reliant upon what I accomplish. But there’s so much I DO want to accomplish and feel like I can’t due to chronic illness. Maybe that’s why I’m grasping so tightly at what I do actually do.

I think I’m going to take the rest of the week off from doing my “got done” list at the end of the day. I think I’m going to try to not worry about what I think I SHOULD be doing. I’m going to try to be content and just “be”.

Do you worry about "doing"? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Spiritual Healing and Victim Blaming

I’ve been reading books on healing lately. I feel frustrated. I feel an undercurrent of victim blaming with chronic illness in many of the healing books, especially those with a more spiritual bent. It feels to me like they’re saying that if we just get our emotional issues and possible spiritual issues worked out then we should be physically healed too. Especially from the ones that say they used “x, y, z methods” and they healed themselves of their chronic illness. I’m just not so sure it’s that simple.

Oh, they always throw in the disclaimer that “your healing may not be the elimination of physical symptoms, but a healing of acceptance” or something like that. But the undercurrent feels like, “well, I was able to heal my chronic illness with this, so you should be able to also.” Sometimes it’s even more overt than that, with actual victim blaming of you’re still sick because you’re not right with god, didn’t pray enough or believe enough, are still allowing negative thoughts in/aren’t thinking positively enough…

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely believe in the mind-body connection. When my body isn’t doing so well my emotions are affected. When my emotions aren’t doing so well, my body is affected. But I’m just not sure every body can be physically healed. Sometimes the body just gets broken beyond repair.

But then I worry that maybe I’m wrong and I AM just not thinking right, doing enough of the emotional work, etc. You hear all the time about “blockages” and such. Is my “blockage” not believing I can get healthy? Is that what’s keeping me sick? Am I keeping myself sick? My biology background says no. My biology background says that body systems can be broken beyond repair and science can only do so much for them. But there’s always that little voice of self doubt in the back of my head. What if I’m keeping myself sick? What if the past nearly 20 years of chronic illness and disability HAVE  been all in my head? Not imagining it, but that I’ve somehow kept myself sick. It makes me feel crazy when I know deep down I’m not.

So I try harder. I push a little more. And I crash, physically and emotionally. It’s such hard work trying to find that oh so fragile and delicate balance of pacing and doing what you can without overdoing and triggering a crash/flare.

I guess all I can do is the best I can. All I can do is try to keep a balance of mind/body/spirit. I can do the best I can to address each of these to try to bring about the best I can. Maybe that will be full physical healing, or maybe just acceptance. I dunno. It’s a fine line between acceptance and resignation…

Oh, I highly recommend Toni Bernard’s books. She’s an amazing author who talks about her experience with chronic illness from the perspective of a practicing Buddhist. She’s still sick… I’ve read all 3 of her books. I recently finished her book “How to wake up, a Buddhist inspired guide to navigating joy and sorrow.” I found this one to be the most helpful for me.

Have you seen or experienced victim blaming in coping with chronic illness? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

When Mediocre is Enough

In dealing with chronic illness, hearing and reading all this stuff about doing more, more, MORE, and dreaming big and setting big goals feels so absolutely and completely overwhelming and unattainable and frustrating. I KNOW that big, huge goals just aren't realistic for what I can actually accomplish. But then it feels like I'm being made to feel like I'm limiting myself. I see all this stuff about removing blocks and "sure, you can do ANYTHING you want if you remove your blocks and put your mind to it." The reality is that's just not possible for me, given my current health issues and physical limitations. I HAVE to accept that or I'll drive myself crazy and probably make myself sicker. But I'm told that acceptance is resignation and I'll never move forward with that attitude.

This is where I've found so much peace in some Buddhist concepts. Mindfulness, impermanence, equanimity, these concepts are helping me to find peace with acceptance, not resignation. I've been reading Toni Bernard's books lately, which are about coping with chronic illness. Her book "How to Wake Up, A Buddhist Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow" has been especially helpful for me.

How do you find balance between accepting reality but still trying to move forward and set goals? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fall Days

Yesterday and today were recognizably Fall days. It was in the low 70's max during the day and 50's at night. For the first time in nearly a year I was able to turn off the air conditioner in the bedroom at night to sleep. I actually got cold last night and needed another blanket. That's optimal sleeping for me. Tonight will be the same. I'm loving it and so is my body. Today was a decent day, though I stayed at home. Cool, comfortable, I was happy and felt decent. Might not seem like a big deal to most people. When you're dealing with chronic illness that's dramatically affected by the weather, a good weather day that leads to a good physical day is heaven. I'll take it and hope for many more... :-)

What kind of weather helps you to feel your most optimal? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Clearing Up Merlinite Confusion

OK, I'm glad I read this article. I'm fairly pissed off to find out that Dendritic Agate is being called "Merlinite." What a scam to jack up the price on a simple but nice Agate.

My hubby recently bought me a piece of "Mystic Merlinite" or Indigo Gabbro. It is a nice stone, though I haven't worked with it much. I'll be calling it Indigo Gabbro. It reminds me a lot of Sodalite, though the color of my piece is much darker than the average piece of Sodalite.

I HATE when crystals and stones are given high fallutin' names just so the price can be jacked up. So ridiculous...

Have you bought a "fancy" crystal or stone with a fancy name only to find out it wasn't fancy at all? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Difficulties with Malachite

I've come to realize that though Malachite appeals to me visually, I don't react well to it at all. I'm not sure why. Every time I try to use Malachite I sink into a depression and feel shitty.

Malachite is considered toxic, especially in its raw form. I only work with it tumbled, but I feel awful every single time. It's especially bad if I try to use it in a grid or layout.

In The Crystal Bible, by Judy Hall, she talks about Malachite amplifying and bringing out both positive and negative emotions. Well, I must be dealing with more depression than it seems, cause that's how I feel any time I try to work with it. So I guess I'll skip working with it for now and try again at a future time.

Do you have any crystals or stones that don't agree with you? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Full Moon Tarot Reading

Today is the Full Moon. Apparently it's a super moon in Taurus (I don't really work with astrology...). Part of my honoring of the Full Moon is do a specific Tarot reading. I call it an Energetic check in.

Energetic Check-in Reading

  • What is fading away/do I need to release or let go?
  • What is fully present?
  • What is coming to be?
  • How can I most effectively let go of what's fading away?
  • How can I most effectively work with what's fully present?
  • How can I most effectively prepare for and embrace what's coming to be?
This Full Moon I did this reading with the Deviant Moon Tarot deck. While the artwork is kinda creepy and odd, the messages are quite straight forward. I really enjoy working with it.

I also did this reading with my Nature Speak Oracle deck. I haven't worked with this Oracle in a while. I'd forgotten how spot on it is for me. It's basically the only Oracle deck that works for me for answering questions. All my other Oracle decks don't seem to work for answering specific questions. They only seem to work for giving a general message or for my combo readings. I'm thinking I'll be able to use the Nature Speak Oracle for clients.

Do you have any decks you use for specific readings, like the Full Moon? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Visualization Difficulties

I started my spiritual journey after leaving Christianity by looking at Paganism. I continued to read and study more about spirituality and energetic/metaphysical healing as I was/am dealing with chronic illness. Virtually every book I read emphasized visualization. So of course I tried it. I experienced flares of physical symtoms and crashes virtually every time I tried doing the visualizations, even ones that were supposed to be healing. It was so frustrating. These things were supposed to be helping me. Yet every time I just felt worse.

Besides divination, one of the first practices I worked with was shamanic journeying. I connected with a shamanic journeying group and we met twice a month. I LOVED it! I loved the people in the group, doing the journeying, meeting with my guides and gaining insight. I found that after journeying I would crash physically. While it’s supposed to be healing, I would have significant flares of my chronic illness symptoms afterwards. I would rest for a few days and recover. I continued on because I loved the people and the experience so much. But each time the crash would happen.

I was so frustrated and confused. Visualization and journeying are supposed to help me and be healing. I found them to be quite the opposite. I just couldn’t understand. Was I experiencing some sort of blockage? Was I subconsciously keeping myself sick?

I started looking into this more. An article I was reading about chronic illness and pacing helped me finally understand. For people with chronic illness, any type of exertion can be draining to us. Exertion isn’t just physical. It can be mental, emotional, etc. So mental exertion can be just as tiring as physical exertion.

BINGO! Visualization IS exertion, mental exertion. Apparently, with my chronic illness issues, the mental exertion of visualization is just too much for me. It leaves me feeling drained and brain foggy. So I’ve gone against the “conventional” recommendations and I don’t work with visualization. It just leaves me feeling worse, rather than better.

I bring this up because I decided to try a shamanic journey not too long ago. It’s been nearly a year since I last tried. I used a 10 minute shamanic drumming track from Spotify, rather than actually drumming for myself. I got some interesting information. Unfortunately I experienced a significant flare/crash afterwards. I had to go lay down for a nap pretty much right after. I didn’t feel great after I woke up. The rest of the evening I felt weak, sore, and brain foggy. I didn’t start feeling improved until I did a personal crystal healing session before I went to bed. Even with that, it took me a while to figure out which crystals to use that didn’t make me feel worse and actually helped. That’s not usual for me.

So shamanic journeying is still out for me, along with visualization. I’ll keep on with Tarot/Oracles and working with my crystals and stones. I’ve also had some nice experiences lately with mindfulness and some concepts of Buddhism that I read in Toni Bernhard’s book “How to Wake Up, A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow.” I’m finding these concepts particularly helpful and comforting lately.

So don’t feel bad if certain techniques don’t work for you. Find what does work for your individual needs.

Have you found any healing techniques to be difficult for you? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

My Top 10 Favorite Tarot Books

Here's a list of my favorite Tarot books. They are in no particular order, with the exception of number 1.

  1. 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card by Mary K. Greer (probably my favorite book. So incredibly helpful.)
  2. Tarot 101 by Kim Huggens (Deeper than many 101 type books. A comprehensive course in Tarot with exercises and journaling.)
  3. Tarot Spreads by Barbara Moore
  4. Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen (This is a monster of a book, over 900 pages. I haven't  read it all yet, but what I have read so far has been incredible. A comprehensive reference for the serious Tarotist.)
  5. Tarot for Yourself by Mary K. Greer
  6. Who Are You In Tarot by Mary K. Greer 
  7. Tarot Tour Guide by Christiana Gaudet 
  8. Practical Tarot's Quick Start Guide to Learning and Reading the Cards by Barbara Moore (two short ebooks that are decent and inexpensive)
  9. Your Tarot, Your Way by Barbara Moore 
  10. A Magical Course in Tarot by Michele Morgan
What are your favorite Tarot books? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

What If You're Not Where You Thought You'd Be?

5 Questions to ask yourself if you're not where you thought you'd be

I resonate so strongly with this. Not because I had no direction. I've had direction since I was a teenager. I was going to be a veterinarian, period, end of discussion. So I did everything to prepare for that and move in that direction. Then I got sick and everything changed.

I did accomplish something major, which was graduate college. I remember days where I wasn't sure I was going to be able to walk across campus to get to my classes. But I did. I pushed and did it. Then I crashed, physically and mentally. I worked some vet and animal related jobs, but I always crashed. I was always fighting being sick.

Then I just couldn't work anymore. Pursuing spirituality really gave me something to focus on, an interest to pursue. And my marriage to my amazing hubby. And my animals. Any my family and friends. So I keep on, feeling behind, feeling frustrated when I look at the lives of others, where they are. And then I'm reminded of all the good things I DO have, the many things I have actually accomplished especially considering how long I've dealt with chronic illness, the many things I can be grateful for. It helps a bit. I just have to remind myself not to focus on others.

This week has been difficult for me. I'm having a physical flare/crash, and with that comes emotional difficulties. I'm working through another wave of grief over losing my physical ability to work with animals. It's just not physically possible for me right now and may never be again. But then I feel silly because I've been so happy working with Tarot and working towards setting up a Tarot reading business. Sometimes it just hits you... All you can do is ride it out. I'll be ok...

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dharma In Uncertain Times

Dharma In Uncertain Times (here)

I will try...

This is all I have to say today, in light of the results of yesterday's presidential election.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Self Care When You Feel Lost

This is an EXCELLENT article. I'm utilizing a lot of these in my own life now.

I'm having a few rough days, flaring and crashing with chronic illness stuff. Sorry this post is a short one.

What self-care rituals and techniques do you find most helpful? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

New Crystals and Stones

New Crystals and Stones:

  • Bumblebee Jasper x 3
  • Green Aventurine x 3
  • Dumortierite x 2
  • Apatite
  • Green Aventurine x 2
  • Aragonite x 2
  • Amethyst Cacoxenite x 2 (maybe, this is what it was labelled, but I'm not sure if that's what it is; but it's pretty and feels nice and I like it)

What new crystals and stones have you gotten recently? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Card of the Day Practice by Christiana Gaudet

Christiana Gaudet wrote an excellent technique here for a Card of the Day practice. I’ve been using it, albeit not every day. I’ve REALLY enjoyed this CotD practice better than any other one I’ve seen. Since I’m at home most days, with not a lot going on, predictive CotD practices don’t really work for me. They also have increased my anxiety on occasion. This technique works really well for me. This technique could also be used for Oracle cards, Runes, many different forms of divination, maybe even the day’s numerology.

“Simply choose a time of day (usually in the morning or evening) to pull one card. You can write about it or you can meditate on it, or just think about it.

Don’t think of it as predictive, as much as instructive.

How is this card currently present in your life?

Do you want it to be present it your life, or is this an energy you need to mitigate?

What advice does this card give you for the day?

Taking a few moments every day to be mindful with tarot will give insight and grounding, and will sharpen your tarot skills!” (By Christiana Gaudet)

As I really enjoy working with crystals and stones also, I thought it would be great to choose 1-3 stones to either support or mitigate the energy of the CotD when using this technique. A neat way to add some energetic support or mitigation for the energy of the day’s card (Oracle card, Rune, number, etc).

Do you draw a Card of the Day? Do you find it useful? What technique do you use? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Saturday, November 5, 2016

My Top 10 Oracle Deck/Tarot Deck Combinations

One of my favorite methods of doing readings is a combo method I came up with. I draw an Oracle card as a topic card, asking "What do I need to know right now?" Then I draw three Tarot cards to get more information about the topic or message brought up by the Oracle card. I also draw a Rune, asking "What else do I need to know?"

This combination method is really great for when you're not doing so great and need a message but aren't sure what to ask. Using the three different tools helps make sure you don't just see what you want to see, but see the actual messages. If the three tools are all saying similar or coordinating messages, then you can be sure you're not just seeing what you want to see.

This method really helped me a lot. Using this style of reading, I was able to get myself out of a very deep rut I had been in while dealing with coping with chronic illness.

I like to use decks that have similar or related themes. I looked at my collection of Tarot and Oracle decks and combined those that had similar themes and seem to work well together. Here is a list of combinations I really love. They are in no particular order.

  1. Witchlings/Joie de Vivre Tarot
  2. Oracle of Shadows and Light/Happy Tarot or The Deviant Moon Tarot
  3. Oracle of the Shapeshifters/Tarot of the Magical Forest or The Animal Wisdom Tarot
  4. The Faerie Guidance Oracle/Paulina Tarot
  5. The Ceccoli Oracle/The Ceccoli Tarot
  6. Earth Magic Oracle/The Gaian Tarot
  7. The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle/The Wild Unknown Tarot
  8. Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle/The Crystal Visions Tarot
  9. The Transparent Oracle/The Transparent Tarot by Emily Carding
  10. Oracle of the Mermaids/The Shadowscapes Tarot
Honorable mentions go to:

  • The Oracle of Visions/Legacy of the Divine Tarot or The Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore 
  • Froud's Faery Oracles (either/both)/The Wild Unknown Tarot or The Runes
  • Oracle of the Dragonfae/Fantastical Creatures Tarot
  • The Faery Forest Oracle/ The Tarot of Trees
Do you have any divination tools you like to use together? Feel free to share in the comments.

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Friday, November 4, 2016

My Top 10 Favorite Oracle Decks

The following is in no particular order, with the exception of number one.

  1. Oracle of Shadows and Light (It was a tough choice, but this is my favorite Oracle deck.)
  2. Oracle of the Shapeshifters
  3. Earth Magic Oracle
  4. Ceccoli Oracle 
  5. Witchlings
  6. The Faerie Guidance Oracle 
  7. The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle
  8. The Nature Speak Oracle 
  9. The Wild Wisdom of the Faery
  10. The Oracle of Visions
Honorable mentions go to:

  • The Transparent Oracle
  • The Faerie Oracle
  • The Heart of Faerie Oracle 
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Top 10+ Favorite Tarot Decks

This list is in no particular order, with the exception of number one.

  1. The Sun and Moon Tarot (This deck is the very first deck I ever learned Tarot with. It is the first deck I ever got intuitive hits with. This is my favorite Tarot deck.)
  2. The Happy Tarot
  3. The Joie de Vivre Tarot 
  4. The Gaian Tarot
  5. Tarot of the Magical Forest
  6. The Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore (cause there's more than one Steampunk Tarot)
  7. The Shadowscapes Tarot
  8. The Deviant Moon Tarot 
  9. The Ceccoli Tarot
  10. The Wild Unknown Tarot
  11. The Crystal Visions Tarot
  12. The Animal Wisdom Tarot
Honorable mentions go to:

  • The Transparent Tarot by Emily Carding
  • the Tarot of Trees
  • The Zombie Tarot
  • The Housewives Tarot
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

New Perspectives on the Tower Card of Tarot

Theresa Reed Guidance in Every Card-The Tower

This article was groundbreaking for me. It showed the Tower card not only as something that may be happening TO you in your life, but also that you can CREATE the Tower card's dramatic changes in your life. The difference being between passively accepting what's going on (which is sometimes, or even often, necessary) and actively being the one to create the changes.

Previously, I'd always looked at the Tower card as that cataclysm or dramatic change that was going to happen to me. While that definition and perspective still plays a role, it's not complete. Sometimes that dramatic change is going to happen to us, that it's unavoidable. We can also choose to tear down the Tower to its foundation, choose to make those dramatic changes, and rebuild from the ground up. Sometimes, that's the most effective and best thing to do, a total tear down and rebuild.

Has the Tower card manifested in your life recently? How so? Do you need to manifest the Tower card in your life? If so, what's stopping you? Please feel free to share in the comments...

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Pinterest app: @RenaraTarot

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Reflections on Halloween

I spent yesterday putting up a small setup of decorations and handing out candy to trick or treaters. I dressed up a little, kept it simple. I didn't have the energy to go all out with a costume, like the corset costume I wore last year. I was alone this year as the hubby was out of town for work. I rounded off the evening with eating dinner and watching Hocus Pocus.

I've thought about what Halloween means to me. Honestly, I'm really not that big on the whole ancestors thing. I know, how very un-Pagan of me... It just doesn't resonate with me. Not sure why, but it just doesn't. For me, Halloween seems to really ring in Fall/Autumn. Right now, we live in southern California. There isn't a ton of seasonal changes here, when you're used to four distinct seasons from having grown up in the Midwest. But at Halloween, I really feel Fall. The light has changed. Here, it starts to be much cooler more consistently. It really FEELS like Fall. So, that's what Halloween really means to me. Definite Fall, moving towards winter.

I know the veil is thinner at Halloween. I can feel it. "Activity" picks up around then. I'll often do divination on Halloween, though I didn't this year. I was too tired from all I did with getting ready for trick or treating and handing out candy for three hours. I don't mind a bit of spooky stuff, but I really don't like lots of gore or really scary stuff. I like black and orange and purple. I like the typical trappings of pumpkins, black cats, spiders, etc. I guess you could say I like my Halloween rated PG at most.

For me, I guess I tend more towards the secular of Halloween than the spiritual aspects of it. My spirituality tends to be more based on nature, rather than a specific spiritual or religious path. I love Halloween and the fun it brings. I honor it for being a harbinger of Fall and winter for me.

What does Halloween mean to you? Feel free to respond in the comments.

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

An Energetic Support Reading

An Energetic Support Reading

*What energetic support would most benefit me from the Full Moon to the New Moon?
    Opportunity-The world is full of opportunities waiting to be discovered.

 *What path would best serve me with the energetic support of Opportunity, until the New Moon?
     The Lovers-Follow your passion.

*What practice will best serve me to move along this pathway?
     2 of Cups-Choose what you love

*What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to me in undertaking this practice?
     Page of Coins-Learn or try something new in your daily life.

Crystals and Stones intuitively chosen to provide energetic support for Opportunity

• Carnelian (for energy and courage)

• Moss Agate (for abundance; I would have preferred Green Aventurine, but I couldn't find mine right now)

•Labradorite (for manifestation)

•Citrine (for energy, optimism, positivity, and abundance)

I just came up with the idea for this today. I combined two styles of reading I've been doing. I'm really looking forward to utilizing this more often.

Witchlings by Paulina Cassidy (c) 2014 US Games Systems

Joie de Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy (c) 2011 US Games Systems

Path, Practice, Posture spread from book accompanying The Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert (c) 2016 Schiffer Publishing

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

New Crystals and Stones from this Weekend

New additions from shopping this weekend.

Selenite, Pink Opal, Andean Opal, Green Calcite, Kambamba Jasper, Lion's Skin (Tiger's Eye and Quartz), Rhodonite, Yellow Fluorite, Ocean Jasper, 2 tumbled Orange Calcite, Mooakite Jasper

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Crystals for Transformation

Crystals for Transformation
Jet, Malachite, Smoky Quartz generator, Charoite, Labradorite, Banded Onyx, Moonstone, Iolite, Tree Agate, Peach Moonstone, Gold Sheen Obsidian 

What energetic support do I need right now?

"Transformation: Self-transformation is the evolving process of life that brings higher consciousness."

Jet, Malachite, Smoky Quartz generator, Charoite, Labradorite, Banded Onyx, Moonstone, Iolite, Tree Agate, Peach Moonstone, Gold Sheen Obsidian.

Witchlings by Paulina Cassidy (c) U.S. Games 2014

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And for those on the Pinterest app: @RenaraTarot

Saturday, October 8, 2016

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

13 THINGS to do to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

I really struggle with this. In dealing with chronic illness I feel so behind so many in my age group. But I've done a lot and have a good life. I have a LOT to be grateful for. I love the metaphor of a horse wearing blinders. We need to focus on our own paths.

Please also join me on Tumblr and Pinterest

Or if you have the Pinterest app: @RenaraTarot

Thursday, October 6, 2016

How to Work Out What a Crystal Does

How to Work Out What a Crystal Does 

(From the article) Using hardness, color, and structure and combining those 3 info threads to give you an overall picture of what that crystal does.

This looks absolutely fascinating! I’m SO interested in trying this with some of my favorite crystals especially. This really makes a LOT of sense to me. Crystal books are interesting and I like a lot of them. But sometimes the meanings don't really resonate with me. This system gives a way of figuring out what a crystal does, how it might work, without having to rely on book.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I'm On Pinterest Now!

I'm on Pinterest now. Follow me if you're interested...

For those on the Pinterest app, I'm Renara, @RenaraTarot

I'm back... Doing What Works for Me

I haven’t written much on Tumblr over the past week or so. That’s for two reasons. One, my hubby is out of town, so my schedule is off and I’m having to do more daily living stuff on my own. That takes a lot of energy. So my recent days have been spent feeding my critters, preparing meals for myself, taking care of some of the necessary household chores, taking a much needed nap, feeding the critters, preparing meals for myself, sleeping, you get the idea.

The other reason is I’m driving myself crazy with planning, or trying to plan anyway. I’m really working towards getting my Tarot reading business going. I’ve been reading lots of business resources towards that end. In doing so, I’m driving myself crazy, trying to create plans that end up just being unworkable for me.

I’ve learned the hard way that trying to set fixed routines and schedules and plans just simply does NOT work for me. My chronic illness symptoms are just too variable from day to day, sometimes hour to hour. Yet I keep ramming my head into a wall trying to create and stick to set routines, concrete plans, etc.

I also tend to overthink and over plan before setting anything into action. The problem of perfectionism and not wanting to do anything if it won’t be perfect…

I’ve come to realize that I need to let that go. But it’s SO hard. I want to be successful. I want to use the successful methods and techniques for blogging. I don’t want to make the same mistakes many before me have made. But I’m driving myself crazy and accomplishing nothing…

I need to do what works for me. If that means my blog posts aren’t formatted in the most “optimal” way, then so be it. Better for me to do and create SOMETHING rather than nothing. So I’m going to do and write and create the best I can. My goal is to write one Tarot based post and one Crystals and stones based post a week, both here and on my Tumblr blog. I’ll do my best with formatting and putting the business knowledge and resources into action, but I’m not going to drive myself crazy anymore. It gets me nowhere…

So I'm back. I'm going to work very hard on going with the flow and not getting wrapped up in over-planning. I started this blog with the goal of it being organic and enjoyable. I'm hoping to get back to that.

I also continue to find use and application of the quote:
     Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. ~Arthur Ashe

With trying to start my Tarot business, here is where I start. It's what I have. I will soon be posting a services page here on this blog. I'll be doing what I can. I look forward to working with many of you.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Change of Venue... Join Me!

Hey all! After some thought, I've decided to start on Tumblr and focus on blogging over there. It's a simpler and easier format for me. These past 2 months have been incredibly difficult for me. I pulled my back. Healing from that caused me so much physical and emotional stress that it triggered a CFS flare. I absolutely want to keep blogging. I'm just having to find some new and easier ways to do some of the things I want to do, with this latest flare. I'm having to find my new limits and do a lot more pacing.

With Tumblr, I can easily post from my phone, which is really good for me. I feel more comfortable posting shorter, simpler posts there. I can easily post pictures and share things. For now, Tumblr seems like a better place for me to work with. Even on my bad days, I can share things I've found, to keep the momentum going.

It's funny... I seem to be going a bit backwards from many people. Lots of people start on Tumblr and then go on to a blog or website. I'm going in reverse. But I need to do what works for me. I'm also hoping I'll get a bit more exposure, which will be very helpful once I get my Tarot business up and going. I won't forget about this blog. I'll try to post here when I can. But I'll be posting a lot more consistently on Tumblr.

I hope you'll join me on Tumblr. I look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Owl Sighting, Interaction, and Readings

The Initial Sighting
About a month ago, the coyote pack that lives around here came through one night. They were howling and yipping up a storm, really late. I got out of bed to look and see if I could see them. I saw something strange on our fencepost. In the dark, I just couldn't figure out what it was. I was worried it was an injured or harassed animal that was trying to avoid the coyote pack. I got a flashlight and shined it through the window to that spot. It turned its head and I could see it was an owl. Of course the light startled it and it flew off. I was happy to see it flew off normally, so I wasn't worried about it being injured.

Full Moon Interaction
A little over a week ago, the night before the Full Moon, I had an INCREDIBLE experience. I let the dogs out into the backyard to go potty late. While they were pottying I heard an owl hooting loudly, so from very close nearby. I was looking around to try to find where the owl might be. I looked up and directly over my head, on the peak of our roof, was a very large Great Horned Owl. I quickly and as quietly as I could shooed the dogs back inside. I quietly called to my husband to come outside as fast as he could, but to be quiet. I pointed up above my head and he too saw the owl. The owl hooted several times and we could hear a response coming back from his mate off in the distance. It was INCREDIBLE!!! To be so close and have the owl actually on our house! My husband got his phone out and took a picture. Unfortunately he didn't realize his flash was on. The flash went off and the owl was startled and flew away. I was SO disappointed! We said apologies and said we'd appreciate if the owl would return if he felt comfortable in doing so, that we would do our best not to startle him again. We saw that the owl hadn't flown too far off. We could still hear him and his mate calling back and forth to each other. We went back inside to feed the dogs their dinner.

Great Horned Owl on our roof, directly overhead
(camera flash on, unfortunately, which startled the owl)
After the dogs ate their dinner, we let them out again for their final potty break of the night, before bed. We heard the owl hooting again from closer. We looked and he was perched at the top of our neighbor's house, almost directly below the Full Moon. It was incredible! Again, we put the dogs away. My husband took some pictures (NO flash this time!) and video. It was just so amazing! We thanked the owl for returning, said goodnight, and went inside in the hopes that we wouldn't deter him from staying or coming again.

Great Horned Owl on our neighbor's roof
(the light dot is a plane flying in the distance)

Great Horned Owl on our neighbor's roof
(the light dot is a plane flying off in the distance)

I was absolutely so completely dorked out excited! To have such an amazing visit from an incredible animal in such an urban area was just so awe inspiring. I felt like it was a living manifestation of my spirituality, my spiritual path... I was excited and happy and awed and honored, a whole bunch of feelings all at once. Just an incredible experience...

Owl Card Reading
The next day I decided to do a reading about what message the Owl may have been bringing me. I don't do a reading on every animal sighting I have. Some sightings are just natural occurrences, because the animals live where I can see them. This visit from the Owl felt significant.

I did a reading with The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle and The Wild Unknown Tarot. I pulled the Owl card from TWU Animal Spirit Oracle as the topic card, rather than choosing a card at random. I read the book entry for that card and considered that as I drew 3 cards from TWU Tarot asking what message the Owl I encountered might be bringing me.

Owl Combination Reading
The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle (c) 2016 Kim Krans of The Wild Unknown
The Wild Unknown Tarot 1st edition (c) 2012 Kim Krans of The Wild Unknown 

The keywords for the Owl card are abundance, clairvoyance, treasures. Owls are about wisdom and knowing. This knowledge will help bring about abundance in your life.

My interpretation for the 10 Cups, 5 Swords, Judgement cards is that to achieve happiness you must break through challenging thought patterns. Leave the past behind. Let go of the past and embrace the present so you can move forward into the future. (The last sentence is a meaning for the Judgement card that I read somewhere and unfortunately can't remember where...)

Drawing Multiple Owl Cards
I also decided it would be interesting to pull Owl cards from various decks I have and read the meanings of those cards from their accompanying books, to add to this reading for myself.

Owl cards pulled from several decks
The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle (c) 2016 Kim Krans of The Wild Unknown
The Animal Wisdom Tarot (c) 2013 CICO Books
The Animal Wise Tarot (c) 1999 Dragonhawk Publishing
Oracle of the Shapeshifters (c) 2011 Blue Angel Publishing
Oracle of the Shapeshifters (c) 2013 Beyond Words/Simon Pulse
The Wild Unknown Tarot 1st edition (c) 2012 Kim Krans of The Wild Unknown
The meanings and interpretation are fairly detailed and personal, but here's a few keywords for each:

TWU Animal Spirit Oracle Owl-abundance, clairvoyance, treasures

The Animal Wisdom Tarot-Keeper of the Light (Hermit); Solitude, Introspection, Enlightenment, Wisdom; Illumination through direct experience

The Animal-Wise Tarot-wisdom, vision, guidance, silence

Oracle of the Shapeshifters-Wisdom as light as a feather; Gift of justice, wisdom, transformation, and the pure power of directed intention

The Wild Unknown Tarot-Father of Swords (Great Horned Owl)-corresponds to the King of Swords, taking charge of my thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, perceptions
     (I only included the Father of Swords in my reading, but am showing the others because they're all owls)

This all felt very meaningful and applicable to me. I will continue to explore Owl energy and correspondences until the next Full Moon.

Have you experienced sighting a wild animal and it felt significant? What animal did you see? What message do you think it was bringing to you? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Changing My Altar

A blah altar...
For a while now my altar has been kinda blah. It's just been sitting there, not quite functional, not quite right, just feeling a little dusty and off. Sage Goddess put out an article on setting up and changing your altar (How to Create and Refresh a Sacred Altar for your Magical Practice). I took that as a sign that I needed to refresh my altar.

Things have changed a bit in the focus of my spiritual practice since I last set up or changed my altar. I decided to sit down and do some brainstorming and brain dumping (a new favorite technique of mine lately) on what my current focus is for my spiritual practice. This way I could re-design my altar so it would be functional for my current needs and uses.

What I'm drawn to
This brainstorming was interesting. I realized that there are ideas and concepts I'm drawn to and feel a connection to, but they aren't related to what I'm actually doing and utilizing in my current spiritual practice. For example, I'm very drawn to the concepts of the Four Elements. Shamanic practices are still important to me, though I haven't been utilizing them lately. I'm also drawn to some of the concepts and cosmology of ADF Druidry like Land, Sea, and Sky and Sacred Tree, Sacred Well, Sacred Fire. I just haven't really incorporated these concepts actively in my practice lately. I LOVE the idea of candles, but in reality I haven't lit a candle in months and months.

What I actually do
Then I thought about what I ACTUALLY do and use in my spiritual practice, day to day. I came up with Crystals and Cards. That's my main focus right now, crystals and stones, and Tarot and Oracle cards. I've also been really drawn to the concept of Mind, Body, Spirit for healing and balancing (as opposed to the 7 Chakras, for example). Nature is also still important to me. Though in reality, this is a bit more theoretical than real. With my chronic illness issues, lately most of my experiences with Nature are me spending a few minutes outside each day in my backyard. I observe the weather and do my best to observe any obvious changes or unique animal sightings. Seasonal work is a big part of my Tarot work. I'm also drawn to the concept of the Moon cycle, though I'm still figuring out how best to work with that. So my practice lately has been fairly simple and focused, Crystals and Cards.

Cleaning and setting up
I set about clearing off my altar, physically cleaning the space, and thinking about how I could set up an altar to represent my current work with Crystals and Cards and Mind, Body, Spirit, preferably using the tools and items I currently have. I removed everything from the space on my dresser dedicated to my altar space. I figured having a fresh, clean, bare space to start with would be best. I looked at what I was currently actually working with, some crystal layouts and cards I had up on my altar along with a few other things. I moved my shrine to Epona to another place on my altar space and set things up according to some ideas I got while brainstorming.

The new altar

My new Crystals and Cards altar
The wooden bowl is for any crystal layouts I do
"Witchlings" used with permission U.S.Games Systems. (c) 2014. All rights reserved
My new Crystals and Cards Altar-front view
"Witchlings" used with permission U.S.Games Systems. (c) 2014. All rights reserved

The space looks a little bare. It's much more simple. It's VERY different from the way I've had my altar set up for a long time now. I think I like it, but because it's so different I think it's going to take some time for me to get used to it. The wall behind the altar space seems especially bare right now. I'm going to leave it as is for now to try to get used to it. I can always change things later if I feel the need to.

Using herbs energetically
While brainstorming I did get a unique idea about using herbs in a way I haven't before. Because of my allergies, in general I can't tolerate ingesting herbs and spices. They give me migraines. So I haven't really explored using herbs much. I also generally don't care for essential oils as the scents are too strong for me. I got some ideas related to using some teas that I really enjoy the scent of as loose herbal mixes on my altar. So instead of ingesting the herbs, I'd basically be utilizing them energetically. Their presence on my altar would contribute energetically while adding a small amount of pleasant scent. I haven't made a final decision on whether to use this technique or not, but I'll be thinking about it.

More cleaning and organizing
I also cleaned off my nightstand next to my side of the bed. I've had crystals and stones on there, ones I use day to day, since I do spend a fair amount of time in my bed. The whole top of the nightstand had just gotten completely cluttered and dusty and felt really stagnant. I took everything off of it, dusted and cleaned everything, got rid of the clutter, and set up my stones again. The Sage Goddess article mentioned a sleep altar to help with insomnia. That really drew my attention as I've been dealing with sleep disruption for a while now. I set up a small crystal layout for sleep on my nightstand in addition to my crystals and stones I use regularly and my other few essentials (glasses case, eye drops, pen, etc).

Cleansing without smudging...
After doing all this cleaning and rearranging I decided to use my singing bowl to do a bit of an energetic cleanse of the room. I know a lot of people use smudging for this. I don't, because I can't tolerate the smoke due to my allergies. Honestly, I also just don't particularly care for the smell of burning sage. I never have... I'll tolerate a brief smudge, with my breath held, prior to a public ritual, but I just don't use smudging myself. I have found that using sound to cleanse and get energies moving to remove stagnation works quite well for me. So I played my singing bowl as I moved around the room to get the stagnant energies moving again. Now the bedroom feels much lighter and much more pleasant.

Change is good
I'm feeling good about this "refreshing" of my altar. For a while now I'd look at my altar and feel that it just wasn't quite right. Not wrong, but that it needed something. That something was a change. I think it will take me a little while to get used to the change, but I'm happy with it. I looked over at my altar this morning and felt light and happy. I'm sure I have a few small kinks to work out, some small adjustments to make. I'm sure those will come with time. The change is a good one and had likely been long overdue. I'm glad I made the effort to make the changes.

Feel free to share
Do you have an altar? Does it reflect your current practice and beliefs? When was the last time you changed or refreshed your altar? How did it feel afterwards? Please feel free to share in the comments. I hope you'll join me in the future for more posts. :-)

P.S. A pet peeve of mine...
Ok, this talk about my altar reminded me of a pet peeve of mine. I absolutely CAN'T STAND when people misuse altar/alter. Altar is the sacred space. Alter means "to change." They are NOT interchangeable. So please make sure you're using the correct word. Maybe that sounds a bit bitchy, but it irritates me... :-)

Friday, July 15, 2016

I'm Back... Tarot Images Copyright Issue Resolved

I had to take a break...
Hi Everyone! I'm back. I took a break from blogging for a few reasons. First and foremost, an issue came up about Tarot images and copyright. I've been including pictures I've taken of Tarot and Oracle spreads and layouts I've done. I didn't know that some publishers considered that a violation of copyright protections. The issue came to a head online and I was following it through Facebook. The Tarot community addressed our concerns about this to the major deck publishers. Apparently, we weren't supposed to be sharing all the wonderful spread pictures and unboxing videos, and pictures we'd taken of spread and layouts to send to clients with their email readings. I didn't want to create any more blog posts that I might be required to take down until this issue was resolved.

Piracy and Fair Usage
There definitely have been ongoing issues with pirating of Tarot decks, especially out of Eastern Europe and Russia. Copying and selling decks that aren't yours is wrong, period, and a violation of copyright laws. But the Tarot community felt it was unfair of publishers to so strictly limit us in how we use and share images we personally have taken of spreads and layouts we've done, basically in the spirit of Fair Usage. Not taking pictures and selling them, but posting them on our blogs and social media, and sharing them with our clients in email and phone/Skype readings. Clients would see the layout if we were reading in person. To not be able to share a picture of a spread or layout we did with a phone/Skype or email client is unfair and basically penalizing readers who choose to not do in person readings, for whatever reason. We brought up these issues to the major deck publishers.

Major Publishers Policy Changes
I'm happy to say that the major deck publishers have clarified and even changed their image sharing policies. US Games was the first to change their policy and has been very generous in how they now allow usage. Llewellyn followed suit, after a little while, and after some confusing back and forth emails from members of the Tarot community as they worked to address the issue. Schiffer and Blue Angel have also come out in support of the Tarot community.

For more detailed information, please feel free to read this blog post by Tarot Association:

Tarot Association-Tarot Copyright

So now I'm back...
With that clarified and resolved I feel comfortable with blogging again. I also had gotten a little burned out, which I hadn't realized. I'm working to start a Tarot reading business, which I'm quite excited about. I've been taking a 21 day course by Fiona Benjamin, for starting a mystical business. Between that and blogging I'd let my self-care fall to the wayside. This all culminated in me pulling my back about 2 weeks ago. The first night was one of the most painful things I've ever experienced, and I've had abdominal surgeries before. I was literally forced to lay on my back for over a week, almost continually. Sitting was extremely painful. I was able to get up and walk a bit here and there each day, but spent most of my time laying down.

I realized that I'd gotten a bit burned out and needed to start back up on my self-care. I'd gotten so excited about starting my business that I forgot to take care of myself. So I started back on my self-care practices. I worked with my crystals and stones and did some personal Tarot and Oracle readings for myself. I'm finally starting to feel better and well enough to slowly start blogging and working on my business again. I've gotten some great ideas for my blog and my business from several resources lately. I'm excited about some upcoming improvements to my blog and blogging and hopefully getting my Tarot business started soon.

I hope you'll join me for future posts. I'm excited to share some new topics and even some new topic series.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Changes to my Personal Path

With my chronic illness issues, what I'd LIKE to do doesn't always mesh with what I'm actually ABLE to do, physically and mentally. So I've been doing some thinking about what's REALLY important to me in my spiritual path. I've read a LOT and have found some things that I'm really drawn to. Shamanism, Druidry, Tarot and Oracles, Crystals and Stones, candles, the Elements, Nature (of course!), etc.

I was exploring on the internet, or getting lost in InternetLand as my husband calls it, and I was reminded of the technique of "3 Most Important Tasks" for to-do lists. This led me to think more about simplifying and using the idea of "3 Most Important..." for helping me to clarify what's really important to me, on a variety of topics. Since my spiritual path was on my mind I decided to start there. I asked myself "What are the 3 most important things to me with my Spiritual path?" I wrote down the first three things that came to my head, without thinking about it too much. They were Tarot and Oracles (divination), Crystals and Stones, and Nature. Also, candles, the Four Elements, and reading/learning. I know, technically six things, but the way I thought of them was three and three.

I was quite surprised that shamanic journeying and Ritual weren't even a passing thought while I was doing this process. Shamanic journeying was a very important part of my spiritual practice for several years. Lately I've been having difficulty journeying... I've been really drawn to the ADF Druidry style of ritual lately. I have been wanting to incorporate this ritual style into my practices but hadn't really had the energy to do it. I've also been very drawn to the AODA Druidry Three Paths idea. The Earth Path is about spending time out in nature, at least 15 minutes or more a week in direct contact with nature. For me, Paganism is about Nature. Understanding the world around me seems to be an important aspect of that. I feel very drawn to understanding bio-regional and local (to me) aspects of ecology and Nature. The Sun Path is about celebrating a cycle of Holy days, like the Wheel of the Year. I've always felt drawn to the Solstices and Equinoxes, Halloween, and the Full and New Moons. The Moon Path is about practicing some form of meditation regularly, working up to a daily practice. Lately I've been having a lot of difficulty with journeying, meditation, and visualization. However Mindfulness has been a topic that has come up several times recently, leading me to consider its usefulness to me.

I feel like the AODA Three Paths is a decent structure for working a personal spiritual path for me. Plus, it's a "three" and that seems to be a significant theme for me right now. I decided to journal a bit, taking into consideration these themes of "three" that seem important right now. Doing this has REALLY helped me to clarify both what I truly want to do with my spiritual path as well as what I'm likely able to do, both physically and mentally, with my chronic illness limitations. I've decided to narrow my focus to what's working best for me right now. For me, this means:

  • A daily/weekly practice that includes: 
    • personal healing work with my crystals and stones, candles, colors, and the Elements
    • personal Tarot and Oracle readings using whatever methods I'm drawn to that day
    • divination practice and learning (for my upcoming Tarot business)
  • A seasonal practice that includes:
    • Seasonal observations and nature journaling on the Solstices and Equinoxes (chronicling the "Wheel of the Year")
    • Seasonal Tarot reading on the Solstices and Equinoxes (a way to celebrate/honor "Holy" days)
    • Full/New Moons nature journaling
    • Full/New Moons check in with the seasonal Tarot reading
I'll also be incorporating aspects of mindfulness including the Five Senses, the Four Elements, Breath, and Feelings/Emotions.

These practices incorporate and tie in to the AODA Three Paths as well as my Three Most Important Things in ways that are doable and interesting for me. I'm already doing a daily (at least most days) personal Tarot practice. I'm also working with my crystals and stones fairly consistently through the week for personal healing. I've already been working with doing seasonal Tarot readings using two spreads I found in Barbara Moore's Tarot Spreads book. Nature journaling would include aspects of the Earth Path in a way that's interesting to me, including aspects of mindfulness which is a part of the Moon Path.

These practices are all interconnected with each other, as well as being an interconnected way of utilizing the Three Paths. This gives me a focus and helps me to not be "distracted" by other interesting things that might not work so well for me. I can continue to explore and read/learn about other topics and practices. But I don't have to feel an "obligation" (my personal issue...) to try to incorporate them into my personal spiritual practice, at least right now.

What new spiritual practices are you working with lately? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Using Multiple Divination Tools With My Full Moon Spread

I LOVE using multiple divination tools! I find it absolutely fascinating to compare the messages I get using different tools. I just did my Fool Moon reading that I do for myself. I thought I already posted about it, but I can't see where I did. So, here's a spread that I came up with that I do on the Full Moons. It can be done any time, but I wanted something to use at the Full Moons for myself.
  • What is fading away?
  • What is present?
  • What is coming to be?
  • How can I most effectively let go/release what is fading away?
  • How can I most effectively work with what is present?
  • How can I most effectively prepare for and embrace what is coming to be?
This month I did this spread with Tarot cards. I got some excellent and very applicable answers. Sorry, it's personal, so I'm not sharing the actual reading. Then I decided to try doing the same reading with Oracle cards. It was SO interesting to see how the answers correlated. They were similar, basically like different perspectives of the same answers.

This isn't about doing reading after reading trying to get the answer(s) I'm hoping for or wanting. It's about using two different tools in the same way and seeing how the readings correlate and correspond. It doesn't matter what tools you use either. I chose Tarot and an Oracle deck. I could just as easily have chosen an Oracle deck and the Runes, etc. I write down the readings done with each tool and then compare them to each other. It's so fascinating to see how they correspond to each other. I also feel this is a form of validation. If you're using two different tools and getting similar or even the same messages with both when asking the same questions, it really validates the message you're getting and the fact that it really applies to you. On the flip side, if you use two different tools and get completely different answers, perhaps in at least one of the tools you're only seeing what you want to see. I feel doing this can help us stay honest with ourselves and be as unbiased as possible when reading for ourselves.

Have you ever done a reading using multiple divination tools? Which tools did you use? How did the readings go? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle Deck Interview Spread

The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle deck just came out. I literally ordered it the day it was released. I really love The Wild Unknown Tarot deck, so I KNEW I wanted this Oracle deck when I heard about it. I ordered the deck and book set and I'm glad I did. The deck comes in a very sturdy two piece box that fits the 63 card deck snugly. Also included with the deck is single sheet of card meaning keywords. The accompanying book is about twice the size of the deck. It includes an introduction with some information about the deck itself, using the deck, and a few spreads. For the listing for each card there is a full sized illustration, keywords, paragraph expanded meaning, listing for when in balance, when out of balance, and how to bring back in balance. This deck is divided into four "suits" associated with the elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. Each element has 14 animals in it, with the exception of Spirit which has 7 (associated with the Chakras).

As a person with a passion for animals, I really enjoy animal Oracle decks. This deck is no exception. Here is the picture of my deck interview spread for The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle deck.

Deck interview spread with TWU Animal Spirit Oracle

Tell me about your personality and characteristics as a deck.
Earthworm-shy, hesitant, intimidated, reluctant to share inner vision
     I found this card to be so interesting for this deck. This deck is quite literally brand new. It just came out a week or two ago. This card talks about being new and trying to establish confidence. I thought it was so interesting for a deck to describe itself as new and not feeling confident but working on it. Quite fitting, I think.

What are your strengths as a deck?
Bear-- waking up, beginning anew
     This card indicates that this deck excels at helping us with new beginnings, when we are working with new directions and personal transformation. It can help us work to overcome obstacles.

What are your weaknesses as a deck?
Butterfly-growing pains, transformation
     When reading the accompanying book, the thing that jumped out to me is relationships. This isn't a deck to turn to when you're needing to ask about relationships.

What types of readings do you prefer to be used for?
Vulture-purifier, essential re-balance
    This deck seems to be best for helping us move back into balance. It works well for clarification and doing the work that people prefer to avoid.

Anything else I need to know about working with you as a deck?
Panther-annihilation of the unnecessary, purging
     This deck won't stand by and see us stagnate. Though uncomfortable, it will help us move from disorder back into balance, basically whether we like it or not.

I'm looking forward to seeing if and how this deck might work in combination with The Wild Unknown Tarot deck.

I hope you've enjoyed this deck interview spread with The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle deck. Please join me in the future for more deck interview spreads.

Do you enjoy working with animal Oracle decks? Please feel free to share why or why not in the comments...  :-)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Don't Be Afraid to Use the Book

I woke up this morning feeling fairly discouraged. The weather is shifting here, so the past few days have been a bit rough for me physically. It is incredibly frustrating to have a bunch of relatively good days and then crash and have several bad days in a row. It frustrates me that the weather affects me so much physically. However I can't change that, so I do my best to work on acceptance.

Over the past couple of weeks, life has gotten in the way, so I haven't done much with my personal Tarot practice. I woke up today feeling quite discouraged. I decided that even though I was brain foggy and feeling yucky, I was going to do a reading for myself. I decided to do my favorite combo reading of drawing an Oracle card, three Tarot cards, and a Rune. I used the Oracle of the Shapeshifters and the Animal Wisdom Tarot.

The message I got was so uplifting it brought tears to my eyes. It confirmed that I need to keep things simple and do what's right for me and not worry what all the "experts" say. In doing so, I will be successful and happy. The Rune I drew, Laguz, reminded me that I need to go with the flow and for now, follow the easy path. I was getting so bogged down in the advice of others, trying to do things "right."

I'm so glad I did the reading, even though I was feeling crummy. It was just the encouragement I needed for today. Living with the ups and downs of chronic illness can be very difficult. It's nice to have tools to help me improve my outlook and move forward.

As for the title of this post, I was reminded of something else today. Don't be afraid to use the book for doing your readings. I have quite a few Oracle decks and Tarot decks. With most of the Oracle decks and a few of the Tarot decks, I still need to use the accompanying book to help me interpret the cards. There's nothing wrong with that. Oracle decks especially are so varied in their systems and meanings, it can be difficult to truly master each and every one. Working with the Animal Wisdom Tarot is new for me. The author has done an EXCELLENT job with choosing animals that support the more "traditional" meanings of the cards. But these are not immediately understandable to me. I utilized the book (also excellent) that came with the deck to help me interpret my reading. I'm so glad I did! Using the book helped me really understand the connection of the chosen animal to the more traditional/conventional meaning of the cards.

I've felt somewhat guilty about using the accompanying books with Tarot decks in readings for myself. I've felt that as an aspiring Tarot professional I shouldn't need to use the book to do readings. I have studied Tarot for a number of years now and have a handful of decks that I feel quite confident in using for readings without needing to utilize a book for interpretation. However, there are SO many different Tarot decks. There really isn't anything wrong with using the book that comes with these decks, especially for personal readings. The books give you insight into the nuances and unique interpretations of each deck's theme that the deck author has come up with.

I definitely believe in working on learning the "basics" of Tarot, especially if you'd eventually like to become a professional reader. It is my opinion that intuition is great, but can be even greater when it has more information to work with. Learning Tarot as a system helps give our intuition more information to work with and draw on to help guide our readings. So there's nothing wrong with adding to that well of information by using the accompanying deck books when you read, especially in the beginning.

Far too often I see the advice given to people new to divination "Throw the book away! Use your intuition!" Well, I tried that in the beginning and my brain just doesn't work like that. I ended up sitting there looking blankly at the cards and getting frustrated. It was only after reading some books that I began to have intuitive insights when reading the cards.

I also realized that with my brain fog from my chronic illness issues, there's days when I just can't process. My brain just literally doesn't work correctly. Some days that means I can't even attempt a reading. Other days it means I can do a reading, but I need some help in order to put all the pieces together. A quick look at the book or my collection of card meanings can be just what I need to gain insight and put things together. It's not about regurgitating stock meanings and cobbling them together. It's about reminding me of what I already know but my brain just isn't quite putting together because it's not up to par that day.

So don't worry about using the book. It's there, so use it! After a time, if you feel comfortable, set the book aside and try reading without referring to it. If that doesn't work, go back to using the book. There's nothing wrong with using the book for readings for yourself.

Are there any decks that you use the book with? Do you feel comfortable setting aside the book, at least some of the time? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Finding Balance and Simplicity and New Sparklies

Sorry it's been a while again. I was working on some stuff for getting my Tarot business going and got a bit bogged down in the planning. That's an ongoing issue I have, getting caught up in planning and not actually DOING. So I'm working on that. It's hard to find a balance between adequate planning so you can be successful and not using planning as procrastination due to fear of failure. I'm finding that that's an ongoing issue for me. I'm doing my best to work through it, though it's not easy. I'll get there though.  I'm working on starting, doing, and keeping things simple. I've been looking at some business resources and they're very helpful. A key message I keep seeing, that's particularly applicable to me, is to start and don't worry about having it all planned out. You'll make mistakes, fail even, and that's ok. But you can't ever succeed if you don't start. My goal is to start doing readings on Fiverr, to actually DO something to get started. Then I'm going to work on providing readings as my own business.

I'm getting a bit bogged down in creating my niche. I know how Tarot has helped me in getting unstuck and helping me cope with chronic illness. So maybe that's where I need to start. I keep seeing how you should create a narrow services niche for the most success. I'm just not quite sure what that should be yet. I'm doing some work to try to figure that out.

On a more fun note, I have a BUNCH of new crystals and stones! My husband brought most of them for me from a work trip he went on. I'm just LOVING them!

Here's what they all are, from top to bottom, left to right...

Top: Selenite wand

Row 2: Rough and tumbled carnelian, kunzite, moldavite, blue topaz, jet, fire Opal, fish fossil, fossil horse tooth

Row 3: Iceland spar/optical calcite, blue calcite, red calcite, orange calcite, green calcite, honey calcite

Row 4: Fuschite, green Opal, raw emerald, indigo gabbor/Mystic merlinite (a new find, never heard of it before), desert jasper, bumblebee jasper, yellow jasper, brecciated jasper

Row 5: Picasso jasper, red jasper, leopardskin jasper, hematite, desert rose selenite, fulgurite (created when lightning hits sand)

The Selenite wand is HUGE! It was only $10!!! The pen in the picture is a regular sized pen. The wand is 12-14 inches long!

Selenite wand size

All the pretty sparklies!!!  :-) Many of the pieces were on a list I gave my husband, but he chose some himself. He always makes great choices for me. He's not really into crystals and stones, but inevitably he chooses ones that are very applicable to my life. Now I just need to find space for these new additions on my already VERY crowded dresser top reserved for my crystals and stones.  :-) This just gives me the kick in the pants I've needed to dust and organize my stones.

So I'm back, and I plan to post regularly. I'm going to keep things simple and not get bogged down in planning procrastination. I'm going to DO!

Do any of you struggle with procrastination? Please share in the comments.

Monday, March 28, 2016

I Got A Bit Overwhelmed...

Sorry it's been a while... I got a bit overwhelmed. I'm really trying to move forward with everything, my life, my business. I've been using Leonie Dawson's Create Your Shining Life and Biz workbooks and I really love them. They are all about dreaming and goal setting. I started using them last year, though I didn't do much with them in 2015. I got them again for 2016 and I've been using them MUCH more this year. I've found them to be quite helpful.

I'm really trying to start a Tarot consulting business. With the Leonie workbooks package, those who pre-ordered the whole set of workbooks and diary/planner ended up being gifted a free enrollment in Leonie's Business Goddess 2.0 Business Course online. I figured since it was free, I might as well use it. I completed that course and got some excellent ideas. I also got Fiona Benjamin's 5 to Thrive email business course for signing up for her email newsletter. I completed that also and got even more excellent business ideas. I'm actually quite proud of myself that I completed two business courses online.

Then I got overwhelmed...  All this time I've been trying to keep my blogging fun and low key. I tend to get bogged down in over-planning and over-thinking. Then I get overwhelmed and I don't actually do anything. I also tend to procrastinate out of a fear of failure. I'm afraid to fail so if I just put stuff off and don't even try then it's not possible to fail, right? All this reared its ugly head as I was trying to figure out how I'm going to start my Tarot business. So I ended up doing NOTHING for a while. Not good, but it is what it is.

I did some Tarot and journaling work to try to work through this latest blockage. It was very helpful. In the meantime, my birthday and the Spring Equinox have come and gone. I did Tarot work on those days too, which will be shared in upcoming blog posts. Ultimately, I realized that I have to do what works for ME. That means trying to implement a few "business" things that might work, but also staying with my original primary goal of having blogging be fun, low key, and relatively spontaneous. It's about narrowing some of my focus down, but not too much. It's about finding the balance between some planning and utilizing some business tools for success without becoming so bogged down in the planning that I don't actually do anything.

So I'm back. I'm looking forward to writing some upcoming blog posts about some of the insights I've gained during my break. I'm looking forward to implementing some of the business techniques I learned from the two courses I completed. I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. I'm looking forward to starting my business. My plan is to get started on Fiverr, which I only recently learned about. I'm working on getting things set up so I can do that. I did some readings about getting started on Fiverr and they were quite favorable.

I feel excited again!  :-) I hope you'll join me here next time and in the future. I have some interesting stuff coming soon...