Category Archives: Witchy

Tarot 101: Court Cards…

The Courts have special properties in Tarot. While every other Minor Arcana card does depict people, the Court cards depict one particular person.

The Court cars refer to the monarchy within each Suit. Each Suit has 4 court cards; page, knight, queen, and king.

Each card rules over a different aspect of the Suit itself. The King is the King of that particular Suit and so on. For example, the King of Cups is the king of emotion, which Cups represent.

From what I’ve read across the many forums and blogs, Court cards can be difficult to learn because interpreting what they represent in a reading can lead to difficulties. Many of these difficulties reside in how the Court cards are used to represent a person in the reading. For example, the reading may revolve around family issues and the Queen of Cups may represent a female figure within the family, like a mother or grandmother.

But some of the difficulties also reside when the Court cards do not refer to a person within the reading. When a Court card doesn’t refer to a person you can always check the LWB included with the deck, or you may have to use intuition to try to try to divine the meaning in relation to the question.

While Court cards can be difficult, without them however, the deck is incomplete. Perhaps they just need some extra study work to understand. Or maybe their point is to be a bit fluid, to allow them to fill the roles needed in a reading, whether that means portraying a person or sending a message.

Because of this difficulty with the nature of the Court cards, I’m going to delve into each individually when the time comes. Hopefully we can crack the code on these pesky cards.

Tarot 101: Basic Tarot Rules…

Let’s get right into the nitty-gritty of it all. Tarot has some basic rules that you have to follow to get any result. Like being on a diet; to lose the weight you have to follow some rules.

So what are the rules? Well, it kind of depends on who you ask. One tradition that many are choosing to ignore is that you have to be gifted your first deck. I think it would be a great tradition to uphold, but if you’re like me, then you don’t know any practicing witches yet. Especially within your family, like mine, a family of very white, Christian people. So it would’ve been a cold day in Hell before I received my first deck via gift. So many people who are starting out buy their own decks (or are forced to buy their own deck really).

So here are some hard and fast rules that generally do apply to Tarot.

  1. You gotta put some energy into your deck to get them to work. What does this mean? Well, you got to put some spiritual batteries in those motherfuckers for them to really start pumping out anything. So how do you charge the batteries? The most common way is to just handle them; shuffle them and put them back in order to get a feel of that specific deck and their own energy. Or put them in natural light, like moonlight or sunlight (i prefer moonlight so the colors don’t fade as fast, but if you’re going to be around a little sunbathing won’t hurt for a few minutes). Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘what the fuck do you mean ‘charge your cards?’ So the simple explanation is to think in terms of physics. Everything is made up of molecules which vibrate, so you have to use other forms of energy to get your card molecules to vibrate in a frequency your body and spirit can work with. This means using energy from the sun (solar power anyone?) or your own body heat (thermal energy?) to get in sync with your cards.
  2. You gotta store them right and treat them right. This is more of a common sense rule. Many people suggest storing your deck in a silk or cotton bag, sometimes with crystals to cleanse the energy (I’m not a big crystal believer yet, but I know there is a shit ton of lore behind crystals and the unexplained, so maybe something in there is true?). I personally store mine in antique headscarves from my great-grandma. Now, these are specifically cotton or silk (like everyone else says) but they are good quality and because of the age, help me to treat the cards with reverence and respect. If the deck comes in a sturdy box, they can also just be stored in the box, which will keep them safe from unintended damage.
  3. You gotta use them. Crazy idea I know. But think about it; the only way to get better with them is to use them. The only way to get used to a deck is to USE THEM. I get the whole appeal of buying like 20 decks, because there are so many with amazing art out there. I understand just wanting them for the aesthetic of the deck itself and maybe just keeping it for decor because it’s so damn pretty and you feel bad about using it. But think about all the nice things that will never get used because of this thinking; all the fancy dishes or amazing linens or luxury cars that sit around because people are afraid of them wearing out. But why have them just to collect dust instead of actually using them for their intended purpose and bringing a little bit of joy to your life with the beauty of the deck.
  4. You have to decide if you will let other people touch your cards.  This sounds like a weird rule but, hear me out. The actual rule is that you really shouldn’t let other people touch your cards at all because it will mess with your deck’s energy. Personally, I don’t mind if it’s someone I know personally (like my mom or my boyfriend) because I know, 1) where their hands have been prior to them touching my cards so I know they won’t get dirty, 2) I know them and their vibes, 3) that I’m in an intimate setting where I will have the time and opportunity to properly cleanse the deck’s energy after. I can understand why some people want no one else to touch their decks period. It is very intimate because of the time and energy invested in the deck, but also I can understand why you wouldn’t want strangers to touch your deck, especially when you don’t know their vibe or if their hands are even clean, or if you aren’t going to have the time to restore your energy or your deck’s energy (say running errands or back-to-back readings at your sister’s bridal shower). But in my opinion, this is a decision you will have to make based on how you feel about your cards. Maybe it’s a deck-specific choice or a blanket policy.
  5. Practice, practice, practice. This one is self-explanatory. You have to practice to get good at reading the cards. You have to practice to get a feel for the deck. You have to practice just as with any new skill or knowledge. You can’t learn advanced calculus overnight (trust me I tried and it didn’t work), so don’t expect to get the hang of Tarot overnight (unless you share how the hell you did it)
  6. You have to have a Space™.  Many people agree that you have to a space specifically for learning Tarot, a space you’ve cleansed with sage or incense and devoted entirely for your spiritual journey. Knowing that some people live in small studio apartments or are trying to hide their witchcraft from their family that they live with (or judgy roommates), I think you just have to be able to have a little corner you can slip into or even just a mental zone. I look at doing Tarot like a student; sometimes you won’t have the place to study and lay out all your materials, but if you have the time while you ride the bus or eat your lunch, then you can still study, or in this case, work with your deck. Maybe it just means shuffling the minor arcana while you ride the bus. Maybe it means doing one-card draws about the crime drama you’re obligated to watch with your significant other. Maybe it means waiting until the kids are in bed to pirate the kitchen table for your extensive spreads. I don’t think you have to have an actual corner to practice in, but definitely a mental corner.

These are just some of the rules I’ve seen floating around the witchcraft community online. Maybe there are others I just haven’t discovered yet. There are totally ones I’m going to ignore because I don’t see how they apply productively to me.

Let me know in the comments below some of the things you know or learned. Or to give me a written example of all the ways I’m fucking up.

Tarot 101: Finding your deck…

This is simultaneously the hardest and easiest part of Tarot.

Why is it easy? With all the resources available, it’s easy to find stores in your area that sell Tarot deck, as well as find them online. You also have the resources available to here what other people think about a certain from reviews and forums, which can help make you an more informed buyer, especially if you order them from Amazon or what not.

But now the process becomes harder. With all these resources at your disposal, it’s going to feel overwhelming just from the decks available at your local shops.

In this sea of beautiful artwork, differing content, different sizes, and loads of customer reviews, how do you know if you can work with this deck?

While this may be the right question, I want to elaborate for a moment on this particular question. If you’re a beginner like me, I wouldn’t worry about breaking the bank with the most beautiful deck you can find because your materialistic heart says you need it. I know this seems like a call out, but this is the main question I want you to focus on when you look at a deck, can you REALLY work with this deck? Can you picture yourself handling the cards over and over? Is the finish glossy enough for traditional shuffles (since if you’re like me, you haven’t quite picked up the hang of shuffling the standard sized Tarot which is larger than an average deck)? Is the deck a good size for your hands (I have very small child-like hands, which makes this an issue for me)? Can you imagine doing spreads and readings with these cards?

I know this seems like a lot to consider, but it’s helped me get two good decks off Amazon without ever touching them in person.

But my favorite little piece of advice, I found from Marie Kondo on her new Netflix series. Although her series is about organizing your home using the KonMari method, she asks her clients something very important about their stuff. ‘Does this spark joy?’ It totally floors me every time I use it, because some things you have to keep around (say a hammer for emergency repairs) but other things, you don’t have to hold onto (like a dress from your 8th grade Sadie Hawkins dance). So ask yourself this when you look at a new deck, especially if you’re online shopping. If you can’t see yourself holding this deck, working this deck, feeling joy and growth from this deck, then don’t bother to get it.

Unless you’re going to start an art collection of Tarot cards. Then go for it, I suppose.

I’m not trying to scare you off buying a deck. But I don’t want you to pick a stunning deck for you to work with it twice and realize it just isn’t for you. It would be like investing in a Ferrari for your first car only to find out you only like driving Civics (nothing wrong with either vehicle just a comparison of how even though the luxury is there, you may be comfortable with something that you can beat up a little since you’re still learning). But just take the time to research and investigate before you decide on a deck to save yourself from having decks piling up in your house, pouring out of cabinets and drawers, overflowing closets, spilling from under the beds and piled in the sink.

 

Tarot 101: The Basics…

So this is one of witchcraft’s more commonly portrayed aspects in modern media. Everyone knows of the crazy old gypsy woman reading Tarot cards and palms at her velvet-covered shop with a big ass crystal ball and jars filled with unmentionable items.

While some of this is true for witchcraft (looking at all those memes about mason jar hoarding), Tarot is way more basic than that.

Tarot decks are made up of 78 cards. These cards are split into two main categories, Major arcana and Minor arcana. Major arcana makes up 22 cards of the deck and have all the most famous cards, like The Lovers and Death. The Minor arcana cards make up the remaining 56 cards of the deck and are split into four suits, like a standard deck of cards.

However, the suits are different than a standard deck. Where a standard deck is made up of Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, and Clubs, a Tarot deck is made up of Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands. Now the Tarot suits do coincide with regular suits, so if you’re trying to be sneaky or looking for a new Tarot challenge, you can use a regular deck just as you would a Tarot deck. Cups coincide with Hearts, Pentacles with Diamonds, Swords with Spades, and Wands with Clubs.

An interesting note about the Major arcana is that although they are numbered, they are numbered from 0 to 21, instead of 1 to 22. We’ll go over more of the Major arcana later on.

Tarot is a form of divination magic, like reading tea leaves or casting oracle bones. Another form of card divination is using oracle cards, which are different than Tarot cards because oracle cards can come in different kinds of deck sizes and content, whereas Tarot is normally based on one set standard.

Tarot decks are usually illustrated and based off the Rider-Waite Tarot deck structure. Most decks use their face illustrations off the standard Rider-Waite deck that’s been in print since 1910 and are considered the standard for  Tarot decks. Nowadays, there are many illustrators creating their own stylistic face illustrations for their own Tarot decks, drawing from the Rider-Waite deck as the foundation.

Speaking of the Rider-Waite deck, many pros agree that to start learning with a deck based on the Rider-Waite deck since it is such a common and accessible deck. As well as being the most common deck available, since everyone uses it basically, the resources online are countless if you need help interpreting a card or learning a new spread.  Besides online, Tarot has been around since the Middle ages, meaning that there are books upon books you can reference, although some books reference how Tarot was used as a simple card game before it was used for divination purposes.

That’s just some of the basics involving Tarot. With a topic this old and rich, there’s always more to explore and discover and learn.

Intro to Witchcraft…

We all know about the witch hunts where many woman were burned at the stake or drowned for any reason at all. Witchcraft was more of a blanket term back them to describe anyone who wasn’t fitting in with societal norms.

But witchcraft itself has somehow persevered through the years and is seeing a resurgence of late as more and more women are delving into the history behind it and are finding that it is a much more open community than originally led to believe. Not only is it an open community where members are more than willing to teach and answer questions about witchcraft and wicca, but it is also becoming a more holistic approach to spirituality than other forms of organized religion.

Some of these benefits include worshiping who you want without any guidelines on exactly how you HAVE to worship your deity. You also can pick from across cultures all around the world to find a deity that actually suits you and your life instead of a monotheistic religion. Not only is the spirtuality aspect a major winner of why so many people are turning to witchcraft and wicca, but the fact that many attributes of spell work and witchcraft itself revolve around nature and appreciating nature.

So for some who are wiccan, a day at church could be hiking a local mountain and cleaning up litter, or taking a walk through the woods and appreciating the nature that surrounds their area, or maybe it means going down to a local park and sketching some of the squirrels and birds to give as offerings to a deity. I personally understand how any of these activities, done with the proper reverence, beat sitting in a musty old church all morning listening to a man try to interpret a book instead of doing so myself.

Now before I get carried away, let me make a disticntion.

Wiccan is the nontraditional belief system (however considering witchcraft has existed longer than organized religion, maybe this should be considered traditional) of worshiping Non-Christian deities and more than one deity. Most people refer to it as a form of paganism and I guess it counts on a purely technical basis, considering how the dictionary defines words.

Witchcraft is the blanket term for practicing various forms of magic, usually in correlation to a deity, but not always.

So you can be wiccan and practice witchcraft or you can be wiccan and not practice witchcraft, or you can practice witchcraft and not be wiccan. But that’s the beauty of witchcraft. It give you the options and choices to grow spiritually how you want to and with what suits you.

Does this make witchcraft evil? In the eyes of some of the more extreme Christian groups, yes. But for one group who believes that being gay is wrong and that vaccinating your kids is wrong and that divorce is wrong and that only one person has the answer and the other that appreciates other cultures and nature and works primarily to bring about positive solutions to problems… You can see where I’m going with this right?

So maybe you can see why I’m getting into witchcraft. I can do my own thing without have to play into the notion that only one god exists to try to explain the vast amount of uncertainties in the world. Or maybe I’m just an old-fashioned kind of girl 😉

Tarot 101: Overview…

To start off my new series of Tarot posts, I just want to go over some basic stuff with you.

For starters, this is more of a way to document my learning of the Tarot deck than to be used as an absolute guide. One of the best study methods is to teach the concept to someone else, so by writing it all down and teaching the internet about it, it should help me learn it all better too.

Secondly, I’m not claiming I’m an expert. Yet. So if you see something wrong, shoot me an email or comment on the post. I’m open to learning anything and everything.

Thirdly, I plan on posting every few days, so I’m not going all out all at once.

Any comments or questions, please let me know. This is definitely a group journey at this point!