Seven gates. Seven gates and seven items. Seven gates and seven items surrendered as payment to pass through until at last the goddess Inanna stood naked before Her sister’s throne; no dress, no crown, no jewels to mark Her as the Queen of Heaven, just flesh and bone and bravery. Yet still She was Inanna, even crownless, even when Ereshkigal struck Her dead and hung Her corpse on a hook for three full days. She knew what waited for Her in the underworld and yet She went there anyway in order to know Herself better. To follow Inanna’s path I too must pass through the seven gates, and thus I too must relinquish the seven aspects of my identity with which I define myself. But what are those seven aspects, and who am I without them? Will I like the person I meet beneath the layers of armor and artifice? I do not feel nearly brave enough for such a confrontation, yet I am taking my first hesitant steps along that path all the same. The first gate approaches.
Tarot reading with Bast and Inanna because my brain has been in a semi-frantic state of wondering, “Am I witch? Do I want to be?? What does that mean???”. Introspection is great, but sometimes you need to get out of your own head by seeing what the cards have to say.
Question: What will identifying as a witch bring me?
Card: The Fool
Interpretation: I doubt I could have pulled a more archetypal card for this question. Clearly, choosing to identify as a witch will open up a whole new journey for me, hopefully one of adventure, personal growth, and satisfying rewards. The Fool in the Shadowscapes deck is a very joyous card, one that celebrates the possibilities inherent in any new venture even while acknowledging the hard work ahead. As a harbinger of how this choice may affect my life, I find The Fool to be a very positive prediction.
Question: What, deep down in my heart, do I truly want to do?
Card: Page of Wands
Interpretation: I have always identified most with the suit of Wands and so I wasn’t at all surprised to see a Wand card in this position. The Page of Wands indicates a desire to embrace creativity and confidence, to finally take action, and to delve within yourself to seek opportunities that seem frightening or otherwise impossible. The Page of Wands is comfortable in their skin and has almost mastered their craft, which allows them to meet new challenges with grace and intuition. I long to reach this stage in my spiritual journey and I think this card illuminates a desire inside me to learn more, to do more, that I haven’t acknowledged before.
Question: What advice does Bast have for me?
Card: 9 of Swords
Interpretation: Bast urges me to set aside the fear, doubt, and anguish that currently keep me from feeling worthy of the title witch. She reminds me that I am already a creature of spirituality and magic, and that the only thing holding me back is myself. If I want to walk this road, all I need do is take the first step and leave my uncertainties behind. This response is very in character with our relationship; a lot of Bast’s readings with me are basically, Stop worrying about the thing, honey, you’re fine. Still, the answer is comforting because I know that if She did see an issue with me delving into witchcraft, She would not hesitate to tell me. This card indicates not only Her approval, but also Her future support.
Question: What advice does Inanna have for me?
Card: Queen of Pentacles
Interpretation: The Shadowscapes Queen of Pentacles shows a naked red-headed woman emerging from the trunk of a great oak tree with arms outstretched. She stares directly out of the card at the reader, exuding pride and authority. When combined with this card’s meanings – security in material aspects of life, abundance, confidence, and the ability to help others – this image seems to indicate Inanna Herself. I believe She is telling me that She will be by my side for this journey, which supports the “witchy” (for lack of a better word) sense I’ve been getting from Her lately. This may be the natural extension of the path She wants me to walk; if so, witchcraft may play a role in my shadow work and self-care goals.
I get the feeling Inanna wants me to do some shadow work, so I used this tarot spread to see where I need to focus.
Question: Your current state of balance
Card: Page of Cups
Interpretation: You’re currently in a new stage of emotional development, one which strengthens feelings of sentimentality and romanticism and leads to a better balancing of your emotions. The Page of Cups especially indicates that you are partway through this phase and have made good progress on the journey of emotional connection and intuition.
Question: Your light side
Card: The Empress
Interpretation: Your light side is represented by The Empress, a card meaning great creativity, abundance, and confidence. Your light side assists in establishing and strengthening emotional connections, especially those that provide positive guidance or support.
Question: Your shadow side
Card: Knight of Pentacles
Interpretation: Your shadow side is represented by the Knight of Pentacles, a card indicating you can be stuck in your ways, rigid, apathetic, and either ignorant of or unable to read others’ emotions. Your shadow side is more concerned with physical reality and the issues of the day-to-day than dealing properly with your emotions or spirituality, which causes these to be pushed away when your shadow side is in control.
Question: How your light side expresses itself in your life
Interpretation: Your light side shows itself in sweeping change and dramatic transformations, in burning the old to make way for the new. Your light side helps you let go of negative influences in your life and grab hold of new, healthier ones.
Question: How your shadow side expresses itself in your life
Card: 10 of Wands
Interpretation: Your shadow side shows when you are overburdened but willing to bear those burdens in silence, when you refuse to complain or ask for help out of stubbornness or martyrdom. You feel weighed down by reality and its restrictions, unable to move or grow, and by necessity you forgo the creativity and transformation generated by your light side.
Question: Advice for balancing your light side
Card: 7 of Pentacles
Interpretation: To balance your light side, take the time to enjoy what your sowing has grown, to reap the rewards of your hard work thus far. You are making steady progress, so don’t get discouraged by what seems like too slow of a pace. Harvest is coming; give your seeds the time to grow and don’t rush what only patience and diligence can produce.
Question: Advice for balancing your shadow side
Card: 5 of Pentacles
Interpretation: To balance your shadow side, strive to see the good all around you; don’t get so lost in your own pain that you see only darkness. Ask for help, admit when you’re tired or sad, and keep moving so the thorns of stagnation and discontent can’t tangle your feet.
Other thoughts: Though three of the suits, both the major and minor arcana, and both pips and face cards are represented here, there are no swords. The spread is dominated by pentacles, which show up as my shadow side and as instruction for balancing the light and the shadow; given my struggle to identify with this suit, obviously some work needs to be done. The presence of cups and multiple pentacles is also in keeping with my other recent readings with Inanna.
Question: Where am I on my spiritual journey?
Card: Ace of Pentacles
Interpretation: You’ve planted the seeds and are working hard to nourish their growth. Many possibilities are open to you and you can achieve your goals if you continue to dedicate yourself to learning and expanding your practice. You’re still in the early stages of your journey, but that’s okay; it’s a journey that will last you a lifetime.
Question: What’s next on my journey?
Card: 3 of Cups
Interpretation: Slow down, daughter! Let yourself take a moment to review the work you’ve done so far and what work will be needed in the future. Celebrate the steps you have already taken; you’ve come a long way in the last three years. Use this time to also reach out to your community, to grow your connections with others who share your beliefs or practices.
– – –
One card reading with Inanna:
Question: What lesson do I need to learn from You next?
Card: Knight of Cups
Interpretation: You haven’t finished learning the first lesson yet, so slow down. You need to focus on building your intuition and through it your other psychic senses. You will need to hone all of these senses in order to continue down my path, and especially to acknowledge and accept the darkness you will find along the way.
I dreamed I was in a giant antique store which contained all sorts of pagan/witchy items. While I was walking around, a woman I did not recognize (either in the dream or in real life) found me and was convinced I was supposed to be her teacher; it seemed she had received a sign or some sort of spiritual message that I was the one to teach her witchcraft. I politely turned her down at first by saying I thought she had the wrong person, but she would not leave me alone. She stuck by her story and her certainty that I was the person she was told to find. At some point I became frustrated and snapped, “I’m not even a witch! I’m just a pagan who does some witchy stuff with my gods!” Yet something in my gut told me the woman’s certainty must have a bit of truth to it. I was even considering showing her my book of shadows, but the dream changed at that point. I woke from the dream feeling like I needed to listen to its message; while some of my dreams feel like random sleeping-brain entertainment, and others like memories of past lives, this one definitely felt like it was trying to tell me something. I couldn’t figure out what, though, so I turned to my tarot cards.
Question: What message was my dream trying to send?
Card: Ace of Pentacles
Interpretation: The Ace of Pentacles is all about prosperity. It can indicate financial security, a new financial or educational venture, or other forms of abundance – though it also cautions that patience and work are required to make these gains. Pentacles can also apparently refer to self-image, self-esteem, and the ego, as well as that which manifests itself in the physical world.
Question: What step should I take now?
Interpretation: Justice counsels the need to make a reasoned and thoughtful decision after having weighed all factors. It also urges you to admit and acknowledge the truth of a situation. Justice is not necessarily a mind-over-heart card, but it does emphasize balancing the two.
Question: Who sent this dream?
Card: Nine of Wands
Interpretation: The Nine of Wands is a lull, a little breathing-room amid the constant battles of life. It indicates someone with a core of inner strength, someone who won’t back down from what they believe is right; they might be called persistent or tenacious, or even stubborn, inflexible, or rebellious. This card is also associated with fire, and especially with the fire signs Aries and Leo.
After mulling over the cards and talking with my wife, I think I sent myself the dream – or at least some inner shadow part of me did. I think the woman in the dream was that part of myself trying to get my attention. It could be that I have focused so much on outward aspects of my spirituality, such as my gods, that I have neglected to nourish my inner spiritual aspects. Even with my new journey toward self-love, I’ve been focusing way more on Inanna, what She wants from me and what I can do for Her, than myself… which is kinda the opposite of self-love. I think I need to focus inwards and get to know my (witchy??) self.
Kneeling before Inanna’s altar I eat a pomegranate with my hands, bloody juice dripping down my fingers and chin. Sweet, bitter, I swallow seeds and spit out half-chewed rind. Inanna’s self-love isn’t all rose petals and bubble bath; it’s stained lips, sticky hands, the crunch of firm flesh beneath your teeth. Inanna’s self-love is red, raw, naked and proud of it. It is both the throne and the meat hook, the body and the spirit. She would have me know all of myself, especially those dark depths into which I am afraid to descend. There can be no self-love without acceptance, no acceptance without understanding, no understanding without recognition.
In my dreams I call myself witch.
Here’s what 2018 holds for me (spread from Tarot.com):
Question: A lesson learned in 2017
Card: 3 of Cups
Interpretation: This year I learned the value of developing community, in this case through the queer meetup I started early in the year. Through Queer Club I made several long lasting friendships that really encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and boring routine. I had no idea what kind of impact it would have on me to have queer friends in real life; while I love the connections I’ve made online, there’s something much more comforting and immediate about being in a room full of other queer folks. I found this to be especially important in light of the downturn my country, and much of the world, has taken in the last year. While I can educate myself about all sorts of issues online, and offer my support, sometimes what I need is to just get off my electronics and hang out with friends. I’m so grateful for the connections I made in 2017 and excited to see how they develop in 2018.
Question: What to expect in the next year
Card: Ace of Cups
Interpretation: The Ace of Cups is here to tell me I’ll be doing more emotional, intuitive, and psychic work in 2018. I suspect I may be doing a lot of this work with Inanna’s support, as She has recently taken to communicating through cup cards. In addition, a recent energy reading mentioned a “small white bird”, which made me think of a white dove. Doves are common symbols in the cup cards of many tarot decks, and are also one of Aphrodite’s/Venus’ symbols. With Inanna encouraging me to focus on Her aspect as a goddess of love, She’s been reminding me a lot of Aphrodite and Venus (who are considered connected with Her).
Question: A challenge you’ll face in the next year
Card: 10 of Wands
Interpretation: 2018 looks to be a big year for me – more responsibilities at work, this new journey with Inanna, and the continued development of my intuition and spiritual practice. In between all that I also need to find time for family, friends, my wife, our animals, and my hobbies. The 10 of Wands therefore warns me I’ll be juggling a lot of responsibilities in 2018 and will need to tap into my inner strength to make it all happen. The 10 of Wands also rightly indicates that I’m afraid to take on some of these responsibilities and challenges (especially at work), so I’ll struggle with that anxiety as well.
Question: How to harness your inner power next year
Card: Knight of Pentacles
Interpretation: The Knight of Pentacles urges me to be methodical, patient, focused, and goal oriented. Its motto could be “slow and steady wins the race”, and there’s a lot of truth in that statement. I have zero patience, after all, and tend to procrastinate boring or unpleasant tasks out of laziness. If I want to successfully juggle all these different responsibilities and goals in 2018, I need to have a plan in place and not let myself get distracted or discouraged.
Question: Some guidance for the year ahead
Card: 4 of Pentacles
Interpretation: The 4 of Pentacles says let go! In 2018 I should try to let go of my need to control everything because all it does is cause me anxiety, anger, and depression. I need to be generous in spirit and with my blessings, instead of hoarding those blessings against some hypothetical future disaster. Having a savings is one thing; refusing to spend a dollar now because I might need it in thirty years is another. I did work on this during 2017, so I think the 4 of Pentacles is indicating I’m on the right path and should continue that work.
Question: Your personal theme for the year
Card: 4 of Cups
Interpretation: 2017 was a year of apathy as armor – though I’m not proud of being apathetic, I think a dose of apathy was what kept me from sinking even deeper into the well of depression. The 4 of Cups indicates that the time for apathy and internal discontent is over; it’s time to learn how to look within and act without, to find balance between introspection and action. Basically, I need to get out of my head, which some emotional and spiritual overhauling should help.