Do you think I won’t drag your corpses behind me, one by each arm, through all the length of our shared Purgatory? I’ve dragged mine along for years; the added burden’s nothing to me. Though you be rot and bone, I will not ever let you go.
I go through the five stages of grief every time you leave; by now I’m such an expert I can pass through them in record time. Denial – I search for you in music, in books, in dreams, in words, but you are nowhere to be found. Anger – I think how dare you how dare you how dare you how dare you how dare you how dare you how dare you? Bargaining – I apologize profusely for imaginary slights and consider leaving you offerings of whiskey and cigarettes to curry your favor. Depression – everything goes gray and silent and meaningless, and I stop writing completely. Acceptance – I realize this is it, this is the end, there’s nothing more to fear because the worst has actually happened and there’s nothing I can do about it. And then without warning you return, acting as if you’d never left me to fend for myself, and I am expected to play along. And I do, because the alternative is to risk you never returning and I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.
sometimes i forget how i came to this place where the road eats itself in endless oroboros misery, my hair’s matted and my clothes are gray and i am old old old but i will always look for you, darling child of my ugly heart, if you don’t want me as sister or lover then what about mother, surely even you need a mother, mothers never cast you aside or judge you when you run away, they just wait for your return with ready arms so come find me sweet prodigal son, beloved birthed of my tainted virgin blood, come stay with me forever in our beautiful city of ash and devils where the air raid sirens’ lullaby will call your darkness home to roost
Question: Do this to be a force of good in the world
Card: The Fool
Interpretation: I’ve been pulling this card a lot lately, so I’m definitely not surprised to see it again. The Fool urges me to take chances, to be brave and optimistic, and to try to see the world in a new way. Dwelling on the past will only hold me down; if I want to do good, I need to let go of my (many) fears and anxieties and force myself to jump into the unknown.
Question: Stop doing this to be a force of good in the world
Interpretation: Cat Mom’s calling me out – I need to stop being the peacekeeper in tense situations and start standing up for the side that I know is right. My instinct is always to smooth things over, to avoid conflict or at least keep out of it, but that’s not always the right choice. It’s important, of course, to understand others’ viewpoints and the role opposites play in balancing out our world; however, hate and ignorance need to be met with courage, not neutrality, and there are plenty of situations where right and wrong are very clearly defined. As someone who is as non-confrontational as humanly possible, this will be… challenging.
Question: Remember this as you go forward
Card: 3 of Swords
Interpretation: There is a time to mourn and a time to heal, and I need to give myself the space to do both properly. Like pruning a tree, I need to recognize where branches have died and cut them away so new branches can grow. I shouldn’t try to ignore all the awful stuff happening in the world; I just need to remember to process my anger and sorrow in a way that helps me to take actionable steps to enact change.
my metaphors are ground up and mixed with bone meal and salt, a dash of graveyard dirt and a pinch of mausoleum dust, then left out overnight to bathe in the light of the absent moon, sit and think about what you’ve done, and in the morning i take whatever the fairies and scavengers left behind, wet it with water from the well, and smear a line over my forehead to mark me as the beast’s, you know they said he’d come for me at the end and yet here i am, all dressed up with nowhere to go, late to my own party, and i’m pretty sure the end is extremely fucking nigh so exactly how much longer do i have to wait, c’mon man
my mind’s a house full of hallways full of doors, etcetera etcetera, blah blah blah, you’ve heard this all before and so you already know how sometimes i go flying through like a poltergeist, tearing off picture frames and shattering mirrors, banging on the walls with my fisted hands, and other times i pace up and down the halls wailing like a banshee, pulling at my hair and rattling my chains, but nothing stirs, no one answers, it’s all just echoes down the corridor or in the empty rooms whose doors stand open wide ’cause they’ve got nothing to hide, after all there’s no one here to keep out or in, just me, just me to haunt this abandoned body
I suppose I should not expect the Devil to stay close to home, should I? He was a wanderer from the very beginning, proud and independent, and certainly I have pined a thousand nights over his absence in the past. Yet here I am ten years later having learned nothing, still hunched over the cavern in my chest, still seeking proof of divinity in languages I cannot even speak. Do I doubt because he leaves? Does he leave because I doubt? I am an old hand at this and yet still it feels like punishment, like purgatory, like an eternity spent scrabbling in the dust. I thought myself passed this particular trial and yet, and yet, and yet here I am smearing ash on my skin and tearing at my hair once more. What a surprise.
You know, you’re right – I’ve already
sold freely given my soul to the devil(s), I deserve to wear the title witch in return. The black candle burns hot and high, after all, and I’m slowly inking a book of shadows into my skin. I bear the knife, I wear the honor; I speak in riddles and channel prophecies in my sleep. I know intimately the Sun and Moon and I can tell you things about them no other witch could, so why not claim the word for my own? If I believe, then why not believe in myself? I have the tools, I have the ability, what besides uncertainty holds me back? Nothing, because nothing can bind a witch.
he tells only beautiful lies
and his words are sweet as honey.
Little girl, don’t sell your soul to the devil;
he tells only unbearable truths
and his words are raw as smoke.
Be sure, little girl, not to sell your soul to them both;
one in each ear, their words will intoxicate you
and you’ll never hear anything else.
give me bones of salt
that I may trap you in my arms
give me teeth of iron
that I may bind you with my words
give me a heart of stone
that I may seal you within me
so we can never
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.
I’m really struggling lately to focus while at work and I know it’s affecting my performance. After cleansing my cubicle to hopefully rid it of bad vibes, I did a tarot reading to learn more about this issue. You can tell from the “questions” I asked that I was in a particularly frustrated mindset.
Question: Why am I being a shitty employee?
Card: Ace of Cups
Interpretation: I am starting out on a new chapter of my spiritual and emotional journey, and this is understandably consuming a lot of my energy. This card may indicate that I’m unhappy because my job doesn’t nurture this growing part of me, and thus I’m putting energy in without getting anything in return. Yes, I recognize and am incredibly thankful for the perks of my job, but on a daily basis I’m not doing work that nurtures my soul.
Question: How can I stop being a shitty employee?
Card: 2 of Cups
Interpretation: I need to get out of my dumpy, isolated mindset and focus on teamwork. I like my job best when I’m able to take burdens or tasks off of my manager’s shoulders, so I should frame more of my day in that context. Fostering harmony among my teammates will allow me to see the daily impact of my work and keep me from getting lost in the weeds. This card may also indicate that I need to interact more with my coworkers, instead of just hiding in my cubicle. That’s probably very true… but ugh, human interaction.
Question: How can I prevent myself from being a shitty employee again in the future?
Card: 8 of Wands
Interpretation: This self-defeating mindset comes over me when I have too much time on my hands. Therefore, to avoid it I need to remain focused, energetic, and strive continually toward my goals. Instead of stopping at the base of every hill I reach, thus giving me time to see how tough the climb will be and psych myself out, I need to push on and use my momentum to carry me to the summit.
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.
I am no princess
but I spend each night in a strange land watching you dance
and wake each morning exhausted.
This is no fairy tale
but I would prick my finger on a thousand spinning needles
to lose myself in your curse.
We will have no happy ending
but at the very least we will be together
at the end.
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.
Inanna has been in my life for some time now, but I have yet to figure out why. I know She has plans for me, but I thus far haven’t been ready in Her eyes. I checked in with a tarot reading that gave me some unexpected answers.
Question: Where your path begins
Card: 7 of Cups
Interpretation: The 7 of Cups is a card of unlimited possibilities, fantasies, and paths. These endless choices muddle the mind and make it hard to act decisively. The head and heart may be at war, and the person may be tempted to eschew the inevitable choice for escapism or wishful thinking. I certainly feel like I’m standing in the intersection of a dozen different roads, and every direction I turn I see another option. In waiting for a strong sign from Inanna, perhaps I have lingered at this crossroads for too long. It may be time to close my eyes and trust my feet to take me down the right path. I have been trying to listen more closely to my intuition, after all.
Question: Where your path leads (the descent)
Card: 2 of Cups
Interpretation: Inanna’s path is a long and hard one, and I have feared where it might take me. I therefore did not expect to draw a card which signifies unity, relationships, understanding, and resolution or reconciliation. The 2 of Cups tells me Inanna’s path leads to an agreement or bond, or otherwise a harmony between two forces. I didn’t understand at first – was the card indicating my bond with my wife? With someone new? When I later pulled the Page of Cups, though, I determined that this card must indicate Inanna Herself.
Question: Where your path emerges
Card: Queen of Cups
Interpretation: I am so very fond of the Queen of Cups. She is a master of her intuition and subconscious, a fount of creativity, and exudes the peace needed for true introspection. She neither fears her emotions nor lets them subjugate her, but embraces and sets them free. She is everything I struggle to achieve; to know she lays at the end of this journey tells me Inanna’s path is the right one, wherever it leads me.
Question: What do you want from me?
Card: 4 of Wands
Interpretation: The 4 of Wands encourages celebration of an initial success to reward one’s hard work. Rest and relaxation have been well earned. This rejoicing can be but temporary, however, for there is much more work to come. Inanna wants to lead me to greater successes, and to celebrate those successes with me, but She also wants me to know my journey isn’t over.
Question: How will I know I’m ready?
Card: 5 of Pentacles
Interpretation: For the last two years, Inanna has been telling me I’m not ready for whatever She has planned. The 5 of Pentacles doesn’t feel like a very positive symbol of readiness, though; it’s all about feeling lost, faithless, and demoralized. You’re so preoccupied with practical difficulties and your personal sorrow that you can’t see the help that waits for you to just reach out. So what does this mean for me? Is Inanna saying that I will know I’m ready when I reach out on my own to her, instead of waiting for something to push me from behind?
I admit, I wasn’t sure what to make of this reading. I decided to draw a single clarifying card just to see if it could put things in perspective.
Question: Why are you in my life? (Asked with some exasperation… sorry Lady!)
Card: Page of Cups
Interpretation: Friendship, comfort, creativity, intuition, psychic ability, introversion and introspection. I am entering a new phase of emotional growth that requires relearning trust and embracing new feelings and attitudes. I must be still and look within, to listen to my inner voice and follow my intuition. Inanna will guide me on this journey, which will strengthen our bond and develop me spiritually in ways only She can show me. This feels like a very positive card.
Other thoughts: I pulled quite a few cups cards, so I know this journey is one of emotion. I pulled no swords, which is odd because Inanna usually uses swords to communicate with me. This reading makes me think I’ve been misinterpreting Her reason for being in my life – I thought She was going to lead me into some majorly dark stuff, because She always appears to me in Her war goddess form. But now I wonder… maybe She’s here to teach me to love myself. That will be fucking hard too, and it’ll require being tough and fierce, but it will also mean letting myself be soft and vulnerable too. I think I’ve been so focused on the Inanna of the descent that I overlooked Her other aspects. Still, it’ll be a hard journey…
Self-love in a woman is so radical it is akin to war. This is Inanna’s lesson.
The Queen of Heaven came to me painted in blood and exhaling ash; with every lightning crack the skull showed beneath Her proud face. She walked up out of the underworld carrying knowledge of life and death in Her curving flesh, and all the armies of man cowered before Her like dumb beasts before a lioness. I cowered too, for I was afraid of what She would demand of me. She is no gentle Aphrodite, no sweet-eyed Venus. She is Inanna, who dances on the battlefield, who strikes down mountains and laughs in Death’s face.
But, Stand daughter, She commanded and I obeyed. When I looked upon Her again, She was not half so terrifying. She wore red silk, not blood, and smelled of roses and myrrh. She was lovely as the dawn and dusk, and all the stars in the sky. Every gem has many facets, She said, and I will teach you to love all of yours. That is what it means to own yourself. That is what it means to fight back.
I begin to understand now. I ignored Inanna’s softer aspects, scornful of the vulnerability of femininity, and focused only on blood lust as Her mode of defiance. But men fear anyone with more power than theirs, and they gain power by making us hate ourselves. In this world, to be a goddess of love is as revolutionary as a goddess of war. Inanna does not rebel against patriarchal oppression with sword alone – She rebels by loving Herself, by taking ownership of Her body and treating it like the sacred vessel it is. Inanna shows us that all we need do to break our chains is embrace ourselves. Self-love is the shield with which we may protect ourselves as we walk onto the battlefield.
I do not know how to love myself. I do not know how to love this body. But if anyone can show me how, it is She who walked naked into the underworld, dressed only in Her self-love, and back out in triumph.
Hail to the Sun and Moon, lords of darkness and decay
Hail to the Sun and Moon, lords of light and love
Hail to the Sun and Moon, lords of my heart, lords of my life
Hail to the Sun and Moon, proud, cruel, fickle
Hail to the Sun and Moon!
In the dream I lay on my back, Daren straddling me so his knees pinned my arms to my sides. His hand clenched around my neck as he growled, “You are not just Elyssa”. He did not need to voice his unspoken threat: stop doubting us, you are not the only one who suffers from your lack of faith. Yet anger made me bold and I lifted my chin to spit back, “Prove it”. And so he kissed me. But it was a punishing kiss; his teeth tore into my lips, blood mixing with saliva, and his slender fingers tightened around my throat. His dominance promised to repeat that night beside their altar, though this time just the two of us, no gentle Tanim there to balance Daren’s rough embrace.
I woke in a daze, vision kaleidoscoping in the darkness as the dream dragged at my consciousness. I felt a hand between my legs and a presence beside my bed, yet nothing was there.
There’s a War on Christmas – In My Heart
Oh Christmas, what a strange holiday you have become. Some say you have your source in paganism, others in Christianity, and still others curse you as a capitalist conspiracy. Regardless, you have centered yourself in the American mindset as the most important holiday of the year, so important in fact that you overshadow your competitors – Hanukkah usually gets a polite nod, Kwanzaa the occasional tossed crumbs, and as for the rest, well, they have to be content with “happy holidays”. But I don’t hate you, Christmas. In fact, up until the last few years Christmas was one of my favorite holidays. I love how cheerful everything looks covered in evergreen boughs and twinkle lights; I love holiday foods like stuffing and pumpkin pie; I even love the old Christmas hymns like We Three Kings and O Come Emmanuel. This time of the year hearkens back to all those happy Christmases of my childhood, filled with choir performances, homemade decorations, and the nervous excitement of trying to fall asleep on Christmas eve. And yes, I’ll admit, I am certainly a fan of getting lots of gifts.
That being said, I’m just… not feeling it this year.
Actually, it’s more than not feeling – I’m downright bah humbug. I know my lack of enthusiasm is from a mixture of the usual reasons so many people hate the holidays: family drama; monetary stress; no two weeks of freedom like when you were in school. It can be hard to recapture the magic you felt as a kid when you’re unwrapping a tofu press instead of a new toy, or giving a gift to someone you are obligated to interact with but don’t actually like. It’s even harder when you’re in a committed relationship and either have to slight one family in favor of another or spend the holiday apart. So yeah, partly I’m being a grinch because Christmas as an adult isn’t nearly as easy and fun as when I was a kid. There’s more to it than that, though. I think. My feelings are very tangled right now, but when I try to work out the knots and get to the problem in the center I get the feeling it’s not just about family drama. It’s not just because I miss kid-Christmas. It’s because Christmas… isn’t my holiday.
Uh, DUH, you’re probably thinking if you know me. You’re pagan, of course Christmas isn’t your holiday. And yeah, there’s the rub. Up until 2015, I was a pseudo-agnostic content with celebrating a Christian holiday which has forced itself into the secular world. After all, almost everyone I know celebrates Christmas regardless of their spiritual beliefs, and in America it is very much assumed that you celebrate Christmas too. Sure, some folks go to church on Christmas eve, but many others just stay home and have cocoa. No one questions why you would celebrate this particular Christian holiday if you’re not Christian, and so you grow up not questioning it either. After all, most of us got baskets of candy on Easter, too.
But this year I find myself tripping over that “Christ” in Christmas. Despite how secular Christmas has become in our society, this year its religious connections seem to chafe me. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jesus was a great guy – but he’s not my savior. Why am I celebrating a Christian holy day? I’m proudly Kemetic, so isn’t that a little insulting to both Jesus and Bast? Somehow, celebrating Christmas as a pagan feels less okay than celebrating it as a maybe-agnostic, even though in both situations I’m still celebrating the secular version of the holiday. I feel like the guest no one invited to Baby Jesus’ birthday party, you know? Some friends dragged me along and now I’m standing awkwardly in the corner while Mary’s asking Joseph who the fuck I am.
To clarify, I don’t think I’m getting these vibes from either Jesus or the Netjeru. I don’t think anyone is angry or feels ignored, or is trying to push me into a decision I’m not ready to make. I think this is just the next logical stop on my spiritual journey; where I go from here is up to me. That’s kinda scary, though. What if I decide I don’t want to celebrate Christmas anymore? Does that mean I have to start explaining my religious beliefs to everyone who asks? Does it mean our family traditions have to change, or that I have to forgo seeing them on the holidays? What would my wife tell her staunchly Catholic family? What would I tell my fairly atheist family?
I know I have a lot of options no matter what decision I finally make, and Christmas 2018 is quite far away. Still, I think these feelings mark a turning point, and I’m both excited and scared to see where they take me. I’m pretty unapologetic about who I am – I’m fiercely queer, fiercely feminist, and fiercely geeky – but pagans don’t get a lot of respect in American society. People who embrace my queerness might mock my belief in Bast behind my back; people who support my rejection of Christian morals might draw the line at worshiping actual pagan deities. You just never know, and that unknown makes me anxious. Right now I fly below most people’s radar, even with my ankh ring and tattoos. Am I ready to be seen as pagan by everyone and to possibly defend my faith to family and strangers alike?
I did a tarot reading for someone who wanted to identify any deities or other entities in their life (for which I used this spread). With their permission, I’m posting it here because I thought it was a really interesting reading, and also what felt like my easiest/clearest reading yet.
Question: The deity or spirit
Card: 8 of Swords
Interpretation: Restraint, imprisonment, feeling captured or bound. I sense this indicates a deity or spirit who is sometimes seen as a villainous/chaotic/trickster entity like Loki, Lucifer, or Set (for some reason I get a very male energy from this card). They may be the bad guy of their pantheon, or otherwise a much maligned spirit whose negative traits overshadow their positive ones.
Card: Ace of Swords
Interpretation: Power and strength in adversity, discipline, justice, the element of air, cold hard logic. Again, this makes me think of someone who is seen as a darker entity, or perhaps a trickster – in general someone or something who has experienced adversity in their own pantheon, possibly for rallying against the rules set down in that pantheon. An air element could suggest an angel, as well.
Question: Omens and signs/manifestations to look for
Card: The Devil
Interpretation: While this card could be read as relating to vices like the seven sins, I don’t get that feeling. I think it indicates the more spiritual side of the Devil, and so will appear in omens/signs like keys, locks, chains, birds, and other freedom-related imagery. This could also literally mean that this entity will appear as the Devil himself, or in a form associated with him.
Question: What they want from you
Card: 9 of Pentacles
Interpretation: This entity wants to free you from your own bondage by teaching you self-sufficiency and to focus on caring for yourself; you are probably someone who puts others first, even to your own detriment. The entity’s help should eventually lead to much success and security for you, and bring you to a place of more stable emotional health. Despite their bad reputation, they are here to help you build your confidence and flourish.
Question: Things to know
Card: 10 of Wands
Interpretation: The 10 of Wands is all about willingly taking on a heavy burden or workload that feels like more than you can bear – but you do have the strength to carry it if you keep pushing yourself. This entity, and what they want from you, might intimidate you, and that’s okay. Their road will be long and hard, and they won’t lie to you about that. However, they want you to know you’re ready for this journey and that they will help you tap into your inner strength.
Question: Things to avoid
Card: 5 of Pentacles
Interpretation: The 5 of Pentacles says you can get lost in sorrow until you are unable to see the good around you and the people who want to help you. Fight this urge and keep your head above the water. If you need help, reach out – there will be a helping hand if only you let yourself take it. Look for the little bit of light in the darkness and have faith that you will reclaim your freedom.
Overall, I concluded that this spirit or deity is here to help this person take control of their life and to become more confident and self-sufficient. I got major Lucifer vibes from the reading, though that could be my own bias showing. Either way, it sounds like they’re on the precipice of a new life journey, and I wish them luck!
(Want a reading? Just leave a comment!)
I’ve been giving free tarot readings online to practice with my deck (just request one), and LadyMeowMix, aka Kat, was gracious enough to let me post the reading I did for her. She has been feeling a little lost lately, so I did a general directional reading.
Question: Where are you right now?
Card: The Hermit
Interpretation: Unsurprisingly, you’re kind of at a stand still. Not necessarily a bad one, but you’re definitely in a place of introspection and self discovery. That’s good! However, the hermit warns that you may get stuck in this period of inward focus and forget how to find your way back out of the metaphorical cave. Introspection is very important, but we can all get lost in the process and forget we need to actually act on our conclusions.
Question: Where are you going?
Card: Ace of Cups
Interpretation: An emotional journey is in your future. This may involve a new relationship, or perhaps the healing or evolution of a current one. Given some of the proceeding cards, this could also be someone from your past with whom you will reconnect.
Question: What advice can the cards give?
Card: 10 of Swords
Interpretation: You won’t be in control of this journey. You may feel like you’re free falling, or like everything is out of your control and crashing down. As hard as it will be, try to fall with grace and have faith that things will work out in the end. You probably won’t see this connection, or re-connection, coming and it may not be a welcome surprise for you. Keep in mind the greater journey and weather the hard times as best you can.
Question: What will happen if you don’t take the advice?
Card: 8 of Wands
Interpretation: If you don’t trust things to happen as they need, you will squander precious energy by putting it toward avenues where it will be wasted. You’ll act with haste and make rash decisions in order to protect yourself or others, and will only cause more harm in the long term.
Question: What will happen if you do take the advice?
Card: 4 of Wands
Interpretation: If you can trust yourself to free fall, you will eventually land in a place of temporary victory. You will have time to breathe and take stock of your life and the new changes which have occurred. Breathe, rest, and regain your strength. This won’t be the end of the journey, though, and much dedication will be required to continue to make gains. Your new, or old but improved perhaps, relationship will need nurturing.
Question: What will you learn from this?
Card: 6 of Cups
Interpretation: The past remains with us in the present, and influences our future. Broken relationships, old regrets, and unfinished business weigh on us until we deal with them fully and are able to heal and move on. By doing that tough emotional work, you not only free your present and future of those burdens, but also free your past of the dark associations you’ve been tagging it with.
“Then leave your schemes alone // adore the rising sun // and leave a man alone to his fate.”
We need no one’s pity, he sneers in my mind, nor did we ever want it. I remember how those lyrics fueled my indignation and anger – his indignation, their anger, I suppose – so many years ago. That anyone should suggest I change the story, or that I could even do so and thus apparently refused, offended me to my very core. I understand now, though, that I was even more so offended by the presumption that the story needed to be changed at all. Who are you to question the order of things?, I should have said. Who are you to question the necessity or fairness of another’s fate? I knew so much less then than I do now, however, and it had not yet occurred to me that most people will simply never understand what it is I record. All I knew was that I felt not comforted by their concern, but frustrated, disappointed, impatient. It’s an insult, he growls, and I nod in agreement. They do not need your pity. We do not need your pity.
What if the outcast angels didn’t fall at all – what if they were shattered? What if their clever minds and rebellious souls could not be trusted anywhere, even the pits of hell, and so instead God shattered them and scattered the shards of their beings across all of existence, that they might never be made whole again? Hence Lucifer and Satan, Hannibal and Will, Tanim and Daren; hence all the gods, all the characters, all the muses, all the stories so strangely, achingly similar. Hence the echoes through time and space, linking all us sad scribes together in our solitary duty. If so, God made a terrible mistake. Divide an angel and you do not reduce it to disparate, weaker parts of a greater whole. Divide an angel and you only replicate it a thousand thousand times, each new duplicate as complete, as complex, and as unforgiving as the first.
Every solstice someone dies. On the summer solstice, the Moon; on the winter solstice, the Sun. Each time is different, yet each time is the same. I spend the weeks leading up to the solstice imagining death after death, murder after murder, seeking the scene that will be chosen for this iteration. Will it be suicide or fratricide – premeditated or a crime of passion? Will it involve a gun or a knife, poison or illness, violence or mercy? The Moon prefers small, sharp things that bleed his lover out slowly, while the Sun prefers to leave bullet holes or bruises on pale skin. And where will it take place? In bed, where they are most vulnerable? The alley, hidden within a curtain of pouring rain? Or on the roof, with all the dark city laid out below as witness? I cannot yet say for sure. Right now all I feel is the thin blade in my hand and all I see is the night sky reflected in his unfocused eyes.
When I visited a psychic a few weeks ago, she told me I had the archangel Raphael with me. That seemed odd – shouldn’t I be a godless heathen in the eyes of the angels? – but hey, I’m not going to turn down spiritual help no matter what belief system it comes from. So for my most recent personal tarot spread, I decided to see what Raphael might want (assuming he’s still around, or ever was). I used a spread specific to him which is all about healing:
Question: Your ability to self heal
Card: Two of Cups
Interpretation: The thing that has the greatest potential to heal me and improve my life is my relationship with my wife. Our partnership is built on mutual love, trust, honesty, and genuine affection. Being with her has forced me to deal with a lot of my issues, which has lead to greater wellbeing on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level for me. Other close relationships in my life are important, of course, and probably factor into this card as well, but I think it’s primarily indicating my romantic relationship.
Question: What blocks communication (nature of the illness)
Card: Knight of Cups
Interpretation: The Knight of Cups says I am emotionally passive and non-confrontational, which leads to me being easily swayed or convinced to put my own emotions or needs aside. I can also be too kind or sympathetic, which also causes me to ignore my feelings. Wow. I didn’t come here to be attacked, man. …too bad it’s really, really accurate. I don’t like talking about my feelings, okay?! The universe doesn’t have to beat me over the head about it, sheesh.
Question: Factor slowing healing down (avoid)
Card: Queen of Swords reversed
Interpretation: Like the Queen of Swords, I can let negative emotions like pettiness, narcissism, bitterness, and loneliness hurt myself and my relationships with others. Likewise, I can let my fear of hurting someone else get in the way of resolution. I also fear leaving the past behind to move into the future, which obviously hinders my healing as well.
Question: This supports healing
Card: Ten of Cups reversed
Interpretation: I get it, okay? I’ve got some emotional work to do with regards to my family. Can we talk about something else now pls.
Question: Do this to heal (action advice)
Card: Ace of Wands
Interpretation: The Ace of Wands is a powerhouse of creative energy and possibility. It tells me to get going and do something creative; to take this spark of energy and excitement and use it to challenge myself and grow. I believe this card is referring in part to my current drive to become a better tarot reader, as well as to expand my psychic senses. I have been giving free readings on Tumblr (happy to do them here, too!), which is allowing me to get to know my deck better than when I only ask questions about myself. After my fallow spiritual period, the Ace of Wands encourages me to pick up the pace again.
Question: Outcome in the near future, provided advice is acted on
Card: Eight of Wands
Interpretation: The Eight of Wands is the natural progression from the Ace of Wands. With the ace’s energy harnessed and put to good use, the Eight of Wands promises productivity, success, and adventure. It’s motto could be “full steam ahead!”, and it’s a great card to pull for an outcome.
Additional thoughts: I found it interesting that the spread is dominated by cup cards, though wands dominate the right, or outcome, side of the spread. Considering wands are the suit I most identify with, and I struggle with accepting and expressing my emotions, this makes total sense. I don’t usually do such complicated spreads, so this was good practice for interpreting the layout of the cards, and not just the cards themselves. What is even more interesting, though, is that there are no major arcana present. Every single time I do a reading with Bast I pull at least one major arcana. Even when I do readings for other people, major arcana cards are pretty common if I’ve asked Her to help me. That there are no major arcana cards, or any other cards I frequently pull, tells me I definitely wasn’t communicating with Bast. I can’t prove I was communicating with Raphael, of course, but it was cool to see how the spread changed when I wasn’t working with my usual deity.
Dua Bast, Lady of the East, of the Flame, and of the Truth!
Dua Bast, Glorious Goddess and Protective Mother Cat!
Dua Bast, Vengeful Eye of Ra, Lady of the Ointment Jar!
Dua Bast, She Who Is Without Equal!
Great Lady, I ask You to protect this house and all who dwell within;
let nothing that means harm step onto this property
let nothing that means ill cross over this threshold.
This dwelling is a safe space for all who we welcome here;
may this place be sacred to You and all who enter be under Your protection.
Goddess of Family and Home, secure our borders with tooth and claw;
tear apart that which would harm us and let pass through only that which is good.
May this offering and my love bring You strength as You safeguard us
and may the family we create here bring You much joy.
Dua Bast, Lady of the East, of the Flame, and of the Truth!
Dua Bast, Glorious Goddess and Protective Mother Cat!
Dua Bast, Vengeful Eye of Ra, Lady of the Ointment Jar!
Dua Bast, She Who Is Without Equal!
After my Samhain ritual of remembrance for all the cats I’ve known and lost, I conducted an autumn-themed tarot reading (layout found here) with Bast. As you can see, She really does LOVE throwing major arcana cards at me. I usually pull at least one or two each reading, but four?!
Question: Harvest – What is one thing I should take with me into the upcoming season?
Card: The Fool
Interpretation: What a perfect card to pull for this question. The Fool is a card filled with wonder, adventure, and a willingness to learn. The Fool embarks on their journey with open eyes, leaving behind any burdens or preconceptions so that they are open to receiving whatever the world sends to them. Considering I’m just coming out of a long slump and am working to enhance my spiritual and psychic senses, this card tells me that I’m on the right path. I need to move forward with the courage and sincerity of the novice to continue my spiritual journey.
Question: Compost – What is one thing I should leave behind?
Card: The High Priestess (reversed)
Interpretation: The High Priestess is a card of magic, mystery, and intuition; reversed, it can represent being overly analytical, relying too much on external validation, and ignoring your inner voice. The High Priestess urges me to leave behind all of my self-doubt, fear, and need to understand and control everything in my world. Moving forward, I need to open myself to not only the messages being sent from the universe, but from within me as well. I need to trust my own experiences and beliefs, and stop seeking a “proof” that will never be good enough. Perhaps even more importantly, I must give myself what I need, not just what I think is necessary to look or be a certain way.
Question: Light – What is one thing I should take out into the world?
Card: Judgement (reversed)
Interpretation: For some reason, I have a hard time interpreting Judgement when I draw it. Reversed, it can represent upcoming consequences of a bad decision or negative karma. It can also represent an unwanted change, unhappy ending, or the necessity of hard choices. There isn’t anything in my life currently that could play out that way (that I know of) so I was drawing a blank. I thought maybe I would be called upon to help someone else through a rough time or to make a difficult decision. However, my wife pointed out that it could also mean giving others what they deserve, a sort of reversing of the object being judged. Either way, it sounds like I’m being urged to speak my mind truthfully and directly.
Question: Dark – What is one thing I should meditate on?
Card: The Emperor
Interpretation: I pulled this card last time, too. The Emperor represents order, control, responsibility, and rationalization. It can encourage creating order out of chaos by bringing structure and balance to your life. However, it can also represent the duality of logic and intuition; the Emperor is no dictator, but a ruler who understands how all things must balance each other. I think this card plays the same role as it did in my last reading, in that it’s reminding me to be diligent and study-oriented in this next phase of my learning.
Later I pulled one card to determine what kind of home our current foster kitten, Mitch, would go to.
Question: What kind of forever home will Mitch go to?
Card: 5 of Pentacles
Interpretation: The Five of Pentacles is a card about stagnation and sorrow. This card denotes someone who is drowning in spiritual poverty, who is feeling isolated and hopeless. The Shadowscapes version shows a woman loosely bound in thorns, her head bowed by her fears and worries. However, because she is so weighed down with her sorrow, she cannot see the butterfly right before her or the beautiful flowers that grow on the vines. Here, I believe this card represents someone (or perhaps an entire household) who is drowning in negative emotions and in desperate need of a light in the darkness. I think Mitch, with his playful attitude and sweet disposition, will be the companion this person needs to bring them out of their depression. After pulling this card, there was no way I could even consider keeping Mitch (though I wanted to!). He clearly has a very important job ahead of him, and I’m sure he’ll face it with the curiosity and courage he showed while staying with us.
Mother, if I stop to think how many of Your children are suffering or dying right now, right this very moment, I nearly drown. The grief is an unseen tsunami and the hopeless part of me wants to get it over with, let the wave wash me out to sea. How can I have any faith in this world when Your children are tortured, hunted, abandoned, experimented on, killed by a thousand different heartless methods every day simply because their lives are not valued? When they are born in cages and die in cages, having never once felt the sun? I want to reach out, to find and be with them in their dark places, their last moments, but their reality’s terror cripples me. I ignore the truth like an open wound I cannot tend – the only option is to keep going until it heals or hurts too much to move. All across the world Your children do the same and I am their sibling, after all, though unbelievably lucky to have been born in a body and place that ensure me basic rights. Your children have no rights anywhere. No right to live and breed freely in the wild; no right to be the masters of their own bodies; no right to be seen as a living creature at all, let alone an individual with wants and needs and a soul as valuable as every other.
People will say I’m exaggerating. I’m not. You know I’m not. Help me, Mother. Teach me how to shield my heart so I don’t have to harden it. Show me how to embrace the pain without making it part of myself. I refuse to be ignorant; I refuse to be uncaring; I refuse to be hopeless. But it’s so hard to face a future that feels inevitable and a truth that seems too heavy to bear. I have feared all my life that it would be my fate to watch Your children perish by the species, and thus far I have been given no reason to think it might be otherwise. So what do I do? How do I move forward? Help me, Mother.