Tag Archives: bitchcraft

Intro to Witchcraft: Incense…

God I love incense.

I feel like incense is one of those things that every witch loves passionately and lately, it’s been getting a bad wrap from those moms. You know, the ‘Gregory doesn’t need vaccinations, I have essential oils and gluten-free pasta’ moms.

But for witches, incense is like… my jam.

Incense is used to bring fire into a spell or ritual, safely (cause you can’t logistically have a bonfire in your living room). Then, the fact that each scent has it’s own alignments.

Like, every one secretly loves incense and lighting shit on fire. It’s something in our primal caveman brain.

So what do you need to get started with incense?

Nowadays, most stores are carrying incense (for those Karens out there).

So you can trek down to local grocery and pick up some sticks and light up.

Here are some of my go-to flavors I love to have around the house.

  • Lavender – I mean, duh. Any witch worth their salt keeps some lavender around the house in one form or another. Incense is one of the easiest form to keep around and light up when you need it. Lavender is used for promoting peace and calming, whether through aromatherapy or through potions (i.e. some Celestial Seasonings Lemon Lavender Lane tea, which is also my jam).
  • Sage – While not a traditional sage bundle, I keep a couple sticks around to help with quick, on-the-go cleanings. Like, when I need to sequester myself away and recharge, I can sit in my office space and light up some sage, and create a space just for me to recharge my energy.
  • Lemon – I just really love citrus. Citrus, especially lemon and orange, always makes me feel like something is clean and fresh and bright. Lemon incense is good for luck and success.

Now a few things you have to know about incense.

You can’t just light it up like a blunt and start smoking.

Okay, you can, but you need a little something extra.

Just like with candles, you have to watch incense around small children and animals, and you should never leave it unattended for extended periods of time (if you have to leave for a moment to get your cup of coffee, then cool, but don’t light it then go out partying with your friends all night).

If you do have to leave (emergencies happen, no biggie) then make sure to put out your incense. You can put it out by dunking the tip in water, wetting your fingertips and squeezing the tip (like an old-timey candle), or mashing the tip, like a cigarette butt, into an ash tray or the incense holder ash groove.

Lavender and cats don’t mix. If you have cats and want to burn some lavender incense, just be aware they cannot breakdown certain aspects of lavender and it can cause moderate health issues, like nausea and vomiting. When I want to burn lavender incense, I seclude myself in my office away from my cats and my cats’ food with an open window and the fan on. I make sure the room is completely clear of smoke before allowing them back into the room.

There’s no right way to pick incense. Of course, there’s some traditional flavors everybody swears by, but honestly, if a certain scent gives you a headache or brings bad memories to mind (cinnamon is my bane, if you know what I mean), then don’t try to make it work. There are always alternatives you can use, and you can always tweak a spell to work for you. Maybe lemon doesn’t bring to mind wealth, but pine does (you know, pine trees are green, money is green), then focus on the intent instead of the community.

So here’s a quick breakdown of the most common incense flavors.

FlavorAlignmentUses (rituals, rites, and spells)
AmberFire and Airwisdom, truth, love and desire
Cinnamonpersonal power, protection,
inflaming passion,
countering love spells
CitrusLemon for confidence, good luck and
goal accomplishment
Orange for joy, good fortune, prosperity,
and marriage happiness
Dragon’s
Blood
FireThe coffee of incense: because of the
rarity and power, it adds a kick
to any spell work, esp. useful in love
magic, protection, and oath-making
Evergreenwisdom, cleansing,
protection, money magic
FrankincenseThe stand -in: because of the commonality
works for most spell work, including
setting sacred space, offerings, and
purification
HoneyIdeal for works for drawing prosperity
wealth, and luxury
JasmineThe MoonFor New moon and Full Moon rituals,
encourages prophetic dreams and
spiritual magic
Lavendercleansing for the home, body and mind
useful for healing and meditation
Patchouliattraction magic, like money spells
Raincleansing, healing, relaxation,
esp. good for ‘clean slates/fresh starts’
and calming anger
(Fresh Linen scent can be used in a pinch)
RoseVenuslove incense: attracting and keeping love, usher in romance and self-love,
can also open the heart
Sandalwoodonly for benevolent works; cannot be used
to curse or compel, used to consecrate, heal,
removing negativity, , bringing peace,
wishes, bless altars and ritual spaces
Vanillacalming an area, promoting mental and
physical arousal, stimulate good luck
happiness, prosperity, and knowledge-seeking

Incense is a great way to jump feet-first into witchcraft. It’s pretty affordable, and even if you spend too much at first, there’s no way you’ll burn through 50 sticks of incense super fast.

Witchcraft: learning about the zodiac…

The zodiac has been really popular in meme culture of late. So your friends probably already forced you into looking into your sun sign.

But now you’re getting deeper down the witchcraft rabbit-hole, and you are getting left, right, and center about rising signs, your venus, houses, mars, ascendant…

Honestly, it really is a lot to take in. So take a deep breath.

First thing first, ask yourself if the zodiac is something you really want to learn about. If you don’t feel you’re a celestial witch, then don’t really bother. It’s like knowing your Hogwarts house. If you’re not a die-hard Harry Potter fan (and honestly, we all love the series but we’re not all die-hard), then you don’t need to know all the ins and outs of your Hogwarts house. Same goes for the zodiac. Maybe just pick up just enough to know yourself, but you don’t need to go in depth and learn something you have no passion about.

So let’s say you do want to learn anything and everything about the zodiac.

Then you need to decide what you want to start with. Which zodiac are you going to go with? The traditional zodiac (Aries-Capricorn), or maybe you want to learn more about the Chinese zodiac, or maybe your culture has some aspect of the zodiac you want to learn about.

Once you decide your focus, my only advice is start small.

Ignore all the memes you’ve seen floating around and dive deep into the internet for research. Learn about the differences between the signs, then learn about what moon signs are, then move on to the rising/ascendant signs, then the houses, until you can understand what a whole birth chart means.

So what do the basics mean?

Sun sign is the position the sun was in when you were born. It’s mostly described as the You of your self. Which makes no sense. I think of the sun sign as the canvas your entire personality is painted on. Each canvas is a little different, but each canvas has unique characteristics.

Moon sign is the position the moon was in when you were born. It’s been described as the emotional side of your personality. Keeping with our painting allegory, the moon sign is the middle ground of the painting. It’s what helps set up the painting and gives it some character . Like the landscape.

Then your rising sign (also called the ascendant) is the way you make a first impression on others. To me, it’s the detail in the foreground that draws your attention for the first time in someone else’s painting.

So what are the rest of the signs in your birth chart? Honestly, I never bothered to learn. They’re the little background details that fill out the painting and give it life. Sometimes it’s better to just better to appreciate the picture than dissect it.

So each sign corresponds to certain elements, fixtures, and colors. Out of teh twelve signs, each correspond into different categories.

Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are Fire signs.

Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are Air signs.

Scorpio, Pisces, and Cancer are Water signs.

Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo are Earth signs.

Each sign corresponds to different colors and characteristics.

So go forth and learn. Figure out who you are first if you’re interested in this.

Let me know in the comments what your zodiac sign(s) are. Personally, I’m a Leo sun, Sagittarius moon, and Aries rising,

Witchcraft: 5 things every new witch needs…

As a new witch, sometimes called a witchling or in the new hip kid phrases, a noob, I get to ingest all the good advice I get from everyone who’s been doing this a whole lot longer than me.

But if I had to give some advice myself?

There’s seriously only a couple items you need to really start practicing witchcraft.

  1. A couple of good playlists
  2. A good pair of shoes for walking in
  3. Passion
  4. A notebook
  5. Access to the internet

You don’t really need any of the fancy crystals or incense or candles to start practicing witchcraft.

Part of being a witch is learning about those who came before you and what they learned. It’s about teaching and growing and learning about yourself.

So let’s break this down.

1. Playlists

So why are playlists important? Music is incredibly important in every aspect of life; movies alone need soundtracks, let alone every aspect of life that needs music. Weddings, graduations, parties, funerals… Not to mention the pychology behind music and the way it helps your brain work.

So set up some playlists to help you get in the witchy mood. Playlists for meditating, happy playlists to help you manifest, hardcore playlist to help you banish, sad playlists to help you do shadow work, playlists for anything in between. Whatever pumps you up, or fills you with some emotion, put it in a playlist.

And the best part, playlists are basically free. Depending on what streaming service you use, it’s a relatively cheap option to help get started with your witchy journey.

2. A good pair of shoes

Why do you need a good pair of walking shoes? What could possibly be the point in a pair of shoes? Well, you need to ground yourself.

You’re thinking, okay sure, ‘ground’ myself. Haha. But seriously.

A good pair of shoes will take you on your journey, whether it’s a walkabout cross-country to find yourself, or a walk to the park to enjoy the sunshine before a thunderstorm.

Grounding is the simplest witchcraft you can do. I’ll post about grounding later.

3. Passion

This one is actually free. It takes just yourself. You need passion, in some way, for witchcraft. Maybe its a passion to learn about everything you can. Maybe its a passion to find a group of like-minded individuals. Maybe its just a passion to discover yourself. Maybe its passion to heal yourself in ways that modern medicine hasn’t quite discovered yet (I wholey endorse medical professionals for fixing physical illnesses, but we just haven’t found a cure for things like PTSD and depression).

Passion is what drives you down this path. If your passion is just to learn about this aspect of your culture, and find out why women were victimized for this lifestyle, then there you go, there’s your drive.

But take heed, this path isn’t for the fainthearted. It’s a path that will push you to see yourself and your place in the universe. But that’s why passion is important. You can turn away from this path at anytime, after you’ve found your answers. But your passion will keep you moving, keep you growing.

4. A notebook

This one is a gimme. I mean, come on. Why else do you keep notebooks around? That’s right, FOR NOTES!

Modern witches use notebooks all the time for their grimoires (aka the Book of Shadows or BOS). And as soon as you start taking notes, bam, you started your own Book of Shadows.

Witches take notes about their deities, their practice, their spells, and all sorts of information they find. They use their BOS for journaling, notes, sigil drawing practice, planners, etc.

A notebook of your choosing is the prefect way to get started. Just grab a $1 notebook from the local store, maybe a pack of pens (if you’re anything like me and lose yours all the damn time), and get started.

Take notes on cryptids from your area and culture, deities you follow or are fascinated with, colors and candles, sigils you find interesting, playlists you’ll make someday when you quit forgetting to actually make them, moon phases, notes on spellwork, etc, etc.

5. Internet access

This one also is a gimme. If you can access the internet, you can access the entire world of witchcraft (as well as World of Warcraft, which is completely different but also available online). You have access to all of the information available from different bloggers, different cultures, even actual books that have been digitized in archives.

The internet is your garden you can harvest information from. Back in the olden days, witches would form their covens to exchange information with one another about spellwork, sigils, and spiritwork (ya know, the whole dancing naked in the woods bullshit the pilgrims demonized, literally). But today, with the amazing interconnectedness of the world, you can log on to any social media platform and see people who have been doing this for years and people, like me, who are brand new and sharing their own journey. You can get the information you need from all across the world and learn everything.

You can still form a coven or join one if you want, and the internet has created such a wonderful platform for exchanging information with one another. Of course, you have to be careful about that information; sometimes people purposefully mislead or misrepresent information. So do your research and make up your mind about what information is relevant and what doesn’t apply to you.

For example, one area of debate within witchcraft is hexing. Some witches disagree with hexing, while some agree with the practice. So do your research, hear both sides of the argument, then decide what you believe in.

Witchcraft is a complex system. So don’t feel disheartened if you don’t know which way to go. There’s so much to unpack and learn about. That’s why it’s a learning process. Everyone out there will give advice and opinions galore about how to practice and what to learn about.

Maybe you feel a little late to this party and you didn’t bring any chips or dip. It’s okay. The party has been going on for years now and half the party goers will be happy you showed up (even if the half are mad you showed up without more salsa). And by years, I mean like hundreds of years.

So find your groove, your niche, and live.

Tarot 101: Ace of Swords…

The Ace of Swords start the last suit of the Tarot. Coinciding with spades, Swords represent thought and wind in Tarot. Connecting back to my previous post Ace of Wands, there’s a bit of confusion about common school of thought and some of the newer interpretations regarding how Wands and Swords represent elements of the Tarot.

Personally, I feel that Swords are connected to fire, but the common depictions in the Rider-Waite deck do have the feeling of Swords connecting to thoughts and the mind. So my interpretations may be a little off, but oh well.

Ace of Swords

In the Ace of Swords, we can see a sword, held above a mountainous terrain, ringed with a golden crown. So what can we divine from this? Well, Swords are connected with thought, and the crown sits on the head. Aces are beginnings. Perhaps the Ace of Swords is eluding to a new thought, or maybe a new mentality.

Ace of Swords Reversed

So what can we see from the Ace of Swords Reversed? Well, obviously, the sword is now upside down, like the sword is to be sheathed. Perhaps this is signifying the end of a mentality, or that certain thoughts need to be ‘sheathed’.

This card may come up with questions regarding what actions someone may be thinking of taking, or why certain situations may be coming up. So what about when it comes up for other questions? Remember the basics:

  • Aces signify new beginnings and new journeys
  • Swords coincide with fire (in my book) or wind (conventional thinking) and thoughts
  • In reference to time, Swords refer to day (fire burns very quickly, like a match) or weeks (air flows quickly) depending on which school of thought you subscribe to

Tarot: April Spread…

March has been a busy month for me so I decided to start doing monthly draws before the new month to see what I should maybe keep my eye open for, whether in ways I can change or factors I should pay more attention to.

Since this is the first spread I’ve gone over, I’m going to go over some of the basics of how I set up a spread, how I shuffle, and how to read a spread.

First things first, how do I shuffle my deck? I have small, dainty hands, which makes holding the cards difficult during shuffling, because the Tarot cards are so much larger than a normal deck of cards. So of course, I took to google and forums galore to find if there’s something I can do. The answer?

Do whatever feels comfortable to you. There’s no wrong way to do it. I’ll go into depth later on how to shuffle and all the ways you can read from just shuffling.

So what kind of spread am I using? It’s one of my own making. It’s a 4 by 3 spread. The rows represent the weeks and the columns represent 1) an overview of the week, 2) what to watch out for that week, and 3) what to look forward to each week.

Monthly Tarot Spread – April
Monthly Spread – April, revealed

So what does week one hold for April? The weekly overview is represented by the King of Pentacles. Since he is the top of the pentacle suit, he is in charge of the kingdom of wealth. Therefore he represents responsibility. Knowing that payday is this week, I can see why this card came up to be responsible with my wealth.

Week 1 April Monthly Spread

What should I watch out for this week? The Page of Pentacles comes up, which represents youth and materialism. Perhaps this means to watch out for frivolous spending or immature money handling.

What should I look forward to for the first week of April? The Ace of Swords comes up, and knowing the Swords represent thoughts and aces are new journeys, I think it means that I should keep my mind open this week to new thoughts and new focus.

Week 2 April Monthly Spread

Week 2 represented by the Knight of Pentacles. The Knight watches over the land of wealth, so this may be a warning to be cautious over the wealth I got in the first week of April.

What should I look out for in the second week of April? The Ten of Pentacles represents material wealth and fulfillment. Perhaps this means I should keep an eye open for easy money or maybe I’ll need to keep my eyes open for wealth coming my way.

What should I look forward to? The Chariot is a warrioress seated in a chariot pulled by two Sphinx. She represents victory. So I should look forward to victory in my life. Maybe a course of action will work out at work, or perhaps I will conquer old habits (from week 1’s reminder to keep an open mind).

Week 3 April Monthly Spread

Week 3 is represented by the Seven of Swords. The Seven of Swords represents strategy, and deception. Knowing that the third week of April prefaces Easter Sunday and that work will be very hectic, this makes sense that I’ll have to use strategy to complete my work for the week. But the deception? Only I know what I’m withholding ;).

What I should keep my eye out for is represented by the Ace of Pentacles. This represents new money or new wealth. Again, I have a feeling this is a forewarning of easy money or an easy money opportunity coming my way.

So what’s should I look forward to this week? The Six of Cups represents channeling your inner child and nostalgia. Maybe this means I’ll get to do something I haven’t done in years or walk down memory lane.

Week 4 April Monthly Spread

The fourth week of April is represented by the Three of Cups. The Three of Cups represents friendships and celebrations. Since Easter occurs this week, that makes sense, since I’ll mostly be seeing my friends from work as we all work on Easter Sunday.

What should I look out for this week? The Six of Wands represents victory and celebration. Maybe my victory from the third week will come back to bite me? Or maybe I’ll have a seemingly easy victory over something this week?

And finally, what can I look forward to the last week of April? The Hermit comes up. This card represents pretty much what it is; the Hermit represents solitude. So maybe I’ll get some much needed R&R this week before I start ramping up for my summer semester at school.

Want a reading yourself? Hit me up via my contact page. I can read your day, week or month.

Tarot 101: Ace of Wands…

The Ace of Wands is the start of the third suit of the Tarot. Wands coincide with clubs. Wands represent action. But…

Swords and Wands have a bit of a contradiction. It is commonly accepted that Wands coincide with fire and action and that Swords coincide with wind and thought. However some believe that Wands and Swords should be switched (i.e. Swords are fire and action and Wands are wind and thought). Based on the depictions of Swords and Wands, it’s easy to see the conventional thinking behind this.

However, I believe that Wands are more closely aligned with wind, but still represent action as action is what is mostly depicted in the cards. Therefore Swords coincide with fire and thought. It’s a bit backwards sure, but it’s what I feel when I look at the cards. Also some of it is my brain going ‘Sword made in fire, Sword=fire’.

Back to the card at hand.

Ace of Wands

The Ace of Wands upright represents taking action or taking a new course of action. The hand holds the wand/staff upright, as though ready to hit something. Or maybe to shake the stick at something, as a challenge or admonishment. The landscape in the card depicts a castle on a hill, surrounded by lush greenery and a flowing river.

Ace of Wands Reversed

Reversed, this card is bit harder to interpret at face value. Knowing that the Ace is a beginning, perhaps we can interpret the reversed form as maybe the failure of a new course of action, either as prediction or warning. There’s no obvious signs in the card against anything, just that the kingdom has been turned upside-down so to speak.

Some of the key points for the Ace of Pentacles:

  • Aces represent new beginnings
  • Wands coincide with wind and action (in my book at least; in the traditional school of thought wands coincide with fire and action)
  • Wands in reference to time coincide with weeks, since the air flows quickly (however if you believe that wands coincide with fire then the time frame is days since fire burns very quickly)

Tarot 101: Ace of Pentacles…

The Ace of Pentacles starts off the second suit of Tarot. It coincides with diamonds in a regular deck. Pentacles represent the opposite of Cups. So where Cups represents emotions, Pentacles represents materialism. The tangible and the intangible.

Below the Ace of Pentacles is pictured.

Ace of Pentacles

When I see the Ace of Pentacles, I see wealth and abundance. The coin is being held aloft of a well-groomed garden by a divine hand, in a clean blue sky. In contrast to the Ace of Cups, which can also represent abundance and wealth, Cups refers to emotional wealth, Pentacles represents material wealth.

Since Aces (ones) also represent new beginnings, the Ace of Pentacles can refer to new beginnings in business or new wealth.

Ace of Pentacles Reversed

Reversed, the Ace of Pentacles can refer to the falling through of a new business deal, as it looks like the coin is being taken away by a divine source. However, this doesn’t mean that the gods are against you, it could be just luck, as luck does not have a defined person. It could also mean a lack of wealth or abundance or that wealth is being taken away.

Perhaps it is a warning to watch your finances and spending. Or perhaps it is a warning about a deal going wrong.

Of course, each interpretation relies solely on the question being asked. But the key rule is to remember the basics of each card.

  • Pentacles relate to materialism and material wealth
  • Pentacles relate to the element of earth
  • Aces represent new beginnings
  • Pentacles in relation to time refer to years, (think of how the earth pushes forth growth year after year, but it still takes time)

Tarot 101: Ace of Cups…

The Ace of Cups is the first card in the deck that we’re going to go over.

Pictured below is the Rider-Waite Ace of Cups. Different decks may take artistic liberties and draw the cards in the style of their own particular deck.

Ace of Cups

There are many ways to interpret this card and every card. According to the Little White Book that came in my deck, this card can represent:

Joy, Contentment, Abundance, Fertility

When I look at this card, I see all the elements differently. Traditionally, the Ace of Cups represents beginnings, as any Ace in Tarot does. (which ties into the numerology of Tarot) I see the Ace of Cups as a cup literally overflowing. I feel this card represents:

Brightness, Hope, Peace, Abundance 

So there is some overlap, see? While I appreciate the LWB as being a great guide for helping memorize the cards, I feel that sometimes you have to read the vibe of the card within the context of the question/reading to really get an answer.

Ace of Cups, Reversed

Reversed, this card should represent:

Revolution, instability, mutation

When I see the Ace of Cups reversed, I see:

Loss of hope (or hope being taken away), divine intervention, difficulties, loss of abundance

So if this card is showing up in a drawing, remember some of the key points behind the Ace of Cups:

  • Cups relate to emotions and relationships
  • Cups relate to the element of water
  • Aces (ones) in Tarot signify the start of a journey or story
  • Cups, in relation to time questions, relate to months (think about how the tide ebbs with moon phases, which occur over a monthly period)

Tarot 101: Reversed Cards…

What are reversed cards in Tarot? It’s when the cards are upside down in a reading. Seems pretty easy right. You just interpret the cards as the opposite of the regular meanings right?

Let me stop you right there.

Reversed cards can present as many problems as Court cards. Unlike Court cards, reversed cards are completely optional and are added to a deck during shuffling (when you just flip some cards 180 when shuffling). So don’t feel too worried that the cards will come up reversed, and don’t feel pressured to add them to your readings before you’re ready. As much as it works in your favor to add those deeper meanings into a reading, it doesn’t work if something pops up and you can’t interpret it.

Reversed cards don’t mean that the meanings are completely reversed. From what I’ve read, a reversed card can be interpreted just as you would interpret an upright card in a normal reading. So break out your thinking caps and take a long look at the reversed card.

Take a look at the card like you would any other card. Read the scene, the people, the items present, the colors. Read the way the scene is playing out.

Let’s take our Ace of Cups example. Right side up, we can interpret the card as being full of emotion, or having abundance and fertility. However reversed, we see the cup spilling out, the waters running from the cup, so we can interpret the card as losing something or lack of something, like emotion (which is what cups represents), or fertility (which is present on the card face). So depending on the question and the context of the card in relation to the other cards in the draw, you can pick up a little clue here and there as to what a reversed card can mean.

While memorization is important, it’s also important to use your context clues for the question

Tarot 101: Tarot Journal…

When you first start reading Tarot cards, many people recommend starting a Tarot Journal.

So what is a Tarot Journal?

A Tarot Journal is basically exactly what is sounds like. It’s a journal where you write out things you learn about Tarot. Many use it as a daily journal, where they have a daily draw and interpret a card for the day, then journal about the day. Many use it as a reference for draws they have done, such as a draw done last week about their cousin’s wedding and referenced now a week before the wedding, to see what the cards may have referenced.

So what’s the significance in a Tarot Journal? Why should you get one?

Think of it this way; would you walk into school without a notebook to take notes about your classes? Would you go to a conference or a lecture and not take something to write notes with? Probably not. So give Tarot the same courtesy you would a teacher or a speaker at a presentation.

Maybe you won’t get anything from a reading, just like sometimes you walk into a class and it’s a movie day. And sometimes it’ll go over your head because you’re diving in too deep without understanding the basics, like trying to do calculus with only 3rd grade multiplication tables. But that’s where your journal comes in.

I been using mine for daily draws, to help interpret cards, to jot down interesting spreads I see on Pinterest, or to jot down notes on cards I haven’t drawn yet or difficult cards I’ve had to delve deeper into. And if nothing else, you can use your Tarot Journal just for the witchy aesthetic. Use it like a regular journal to help keep track of how you feel before and after a reading, to track which cards keep showing up for you, complicated spreads broken down for easy of use, deck you want to buy later, or neato little things you figure out along the way.

There’s no wrong way learn and Tarot Journals are a sure bet to help you keep your new knowledge in line and organized so you can actually reference later if you need to, or keep it around for friends or family to reference down the road. If you don’t know where to start, look into Bullet Journalling and just come up with your own spreads to suit your witchy needs.

Tarot 101: How to Read the Cards…

Reading the cards is the most daunting part of the Tarot. You can buy deck after deck and read book after blog after forum, but you have to actually pick up the cards to learn it.

Tarot is as much about feeling than it is memorizing the cards.

I like to draw back to all those years in school when your English teacher would try to get you look at a book and draw some kind of meaning from the book. The same is true of Tarot cards. Each time you look at the card you have to draw some meaning form it.

For example, if you read the Great Gatsby in school, you know that the central plot is about a man reconnecting with his childhood sweetheart that ends in a tragic fate for many involved in both of their circles, as narrated by the man’s neighbor. But with each reading and each critical analysis, you can draw so much symbolism and meaning from the scenes depicted within the book, like the famous symbol of the green dock light being a beacon of hope, or the symbolic line between old money and new money.

The same is true of Tarot cards. You can memorize that the Two of Pentacles is a man holding two coins with pentacles on them bound by a loop of rope. But depending on the context, this card takes on many different meanings, So not only does intuition play a a vital part of reading Tarot cards, but so does critical thinking to help delve into a card and it’s secrets.

But you still have to learn what the cards mean as well. You can’t dive into Harry Potter without having read Dr. Seuss first. You have to take baby steps first before you run a marathon.

So where to start?

Well, practice makes perfect. So all those blogs and books you’ve already read are great. They’re going to give you a solid foundation to start learning organically.

So start with Daily Draws, where you draw a card a day and interpret the card.

Learn how to do spreads and document how the cards and your results turn out. (I’ll talk more about Tarot Journals later)

And when you get stuck, turn to the handy dandy little guide within your deck. The Little White Book.

Now, I’ve come to understand from numerous sources that the Little White Book, or LWB, can be a handy guide for fresh-faced beginners like myself, but many advise that the LWB should be taken into consideration with a grain of salt. Many long-practicing Tarot readers swear by learning the deck from heart and allowing the intuition to grow with the deck as you develop your own meanings. But we’re not experts yet. So reference the book all you want until the card makes sense or reach out forums and ask others within the community what they see.

So to sum it all up:

  • Practice makes perfect
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance (this is a really nice community and people are ready and willing to help guide us young naive witches)
  • Write it down (look at some of my study tips in my student life category)
  • Use what you got and find what works for you

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!

My new thing: something spooky…

Since nobody asked, I’m going to tell you anyway. I did give you all enough time to vote and guess though 😉 My new thing…

So my new thing, hobby or what have you, is witchcraft and tarot.

I’m planning on posting some cool witchy stuff over the next couple of weeks, including run-downs of tarot cards, some basic witchy item stuff, maybe some lore and cryptids too.

So let me know in the comments below if there’s anything you’re curious about and I’ll see if I can answer your questions.