Tag Archives: Bitter

Witchcraft: horticulture for the black thumb…

Are you like me and kill every plant you come in contact with?

Tried literally everything from fake plants to cacti?

I am honestly the worst at plants. I think it’s because for most of us that grew up with pets of some sort, it’s easier to care for pets than it is plants. Pets move and will engage with you when they are hungry. Plants just sit there, converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.

So of course, I’m trying out growing plants once again to see if maybe as I’ve aged, I’ve gotten more proficient at caring for plants.

I can already see some of you going, ‘what does this have to do with witchcraft?’

So let me explain. Many parts of spell work rely on plants in one form or another. Some call for specifically grown plants that you ‘should’ have in your garden. So what do I do since I am 1) a poor college kid and 2) a minimum retail worker and 3) closeted witch?

I of course buy all my herbs dried from the seasoning section at the grocery store. Not only would I know that herb plants would die in my care, but I also know that the region I live in is very harsh on many nonnative plant species and those plants require a lot of dedication and attention. So if you’re a stay at home parent or retired, then go for the multitudes of plants all around your house.

Another issue I have is space and funds. I can’t afford to buy the things I need for plants and I have even more limited space for plants. Not to mention that any plants I bring into my house have to be both cat and dog friendly.

So what about my other witchlings out there with blackthumbs like yours truly? What advice would I give you, one beginner to another?

If you want to give growing your own plants a go, just take a few things into consideration; pets, plants, place and space. As in…

  • Do you have any pets that may have an adverse reaction to certain plants?
  • What plants are you specifically trying to grow yourself and do you have the skill needed to care for them?
  • Does the place you live have special requirements for growing season (how dry is it, how wet is it, will the plants need to be potted, is it too sunny, is it not sunny enough…)
  • Do you have enough space for that plant, whether in your apartment window box or your garden or your dorm room desk?

And for those like me who know that plants would be a bit of a waste of money and energy, what should you do?

I buy my herbs when I have some spare change, and if I have to, I’ll get the fresh stuff from the produce section. But honestly, most spell work is about intention alone. So if you can’t afford fresh cinnamon sticks harvested straight from the garden, then just use some off brand ground cinnamon you have in your spice rack.

Witchcraft is all about finding what works for you. If this means that maybe you have to cut corners to work within your limited budget (like me) then make sure you’re just not shortchanging yourself. Be thrifty with your spices but not your intention. And above all, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

And if you want to give indoor plants a go, there are tons of websites and blogs out there that have listed hearty houseplants that can stand up to a shitty plant parent.

Tarot: Questions to ask at a reading…

This is probably the most important step when consulting a deck.

What the hell do I ask?

First things first, are you asking for yourself, or are you reading for someone?

I think the easiest way to determine what questions you can or cannot (more like shouldn’t) ask is based off of what kind of reading is happening?

If you are the one doing the reading, then I would say, you can ask any question TO YOUR OWN DECK THAT YOU ARE READING FROM IF YOU ARE READING FOR YOURSELF.

If you’re the reader and asking for a client or someone else, then ask only questions you are comfortable asking.

Think of Tarot like a spiritual Google. You can ask Google whatever you want. However, there are some things you won’t get any answers for (like winning lotto numbers or when you’ll die). There are some things you don’t want to know from Google (like cheaters and such). So how do you know what kind of questions to ask then?

Easy. Ask questions about…

  • where is my career headed
  • is my life balanced between family and aspirations
  • what needs to happen from me for a certain result
  • what am I not seeing about a situation
  • what aspect am I not seeing in this relationship (can be romantic, familial, or platonic)
  • what do I need to move on from
  • yes or no questions (not in depth answers but easy enough to read)
  • where is my life going
  • what options should I consider
  • out of my options which is better
  • what do I need to focus on in my life
  • is this option a good option for me

The most important thing about a Tarot reading is that you’re not trying to get all the answers to the universe. You’re working on getting answers about yourself.

Remember that some things are left up to chance and shouldn’t be rushed. If you’re worried about meeting someone or if your wife is going to leave you or if you’re going to lose your job, should you really be getting a Tarot reading instead of fixing the problems you already know about?

Student life: Rewriting your notes…

So how do I study and stay on top of my busy schedule?

Most of the time, I don’t.

But what do I do when I try to study between working, commuting, and trying not to lose my shit?

I recopy my lecture notes. My handwriting is absolutely atrocious. So when I find the time, I sit down with a fresh notebook page and copy my notes down and make them readable. Then when I get time to study, I can review everything that the professor went over in lecture.

So how do I rewrite my notes to make sure all the viable content gets copied down?

First, I start with opening the lecture from the day and start writing the notes I copied down. Whenever I hit a snag from where my writing is indecipherable, I can reference the lecture slides and jog my memory.

So how do my reference notes and lecture notes differ?

In my refernce notes, I use different colors to help with memorization. For example…

  • Red is used for vocab words
  • Green is used to key concepts (either underlined or written in green ink)
  • Blue is used for chapter headings and to distinguish what will be on what test
  • Pink/purple (or another bright color) is used for chapter summaries and to summarize what will be on the test

Does this system really work? Maybe. I’ve heard many conflicting things on this way to study or that way to study. Honestly, this method helps me and that’s what counts. Maybe your method you develop involves making flashcards, or watching Crash Course videos or whatever.

There’s no right way to do anything and whatever works for you is what works.

Tarot 101: Two of Swords…

The Two of Swords is an interesting card. In Tarot, twos are used to represent choices and decisions. Swords, for me, represent fire and thoughts.

Two of Swords

So what can we see in the Two of Swords? A woman sits on a bench, blindfolded. Behind her is a sea or a very large lake, maybe. It is night time. She holds two swords upright. These are very large swords, as they extend past the border. She holds these very large swords easily.

So what does it mean? The blindfold reminds me of Lady Justice, who is blind but finds the truth. So she must being trying to find the truth or find an answer. Both swords like similar in size, color, and heft. If this card represents decisions, then the swords are the decisions or choices themselves, and they are similar choices.

But we have to remember that the setting is still night time. So perhaps these choices are not about the easy things in life, maybe these choices are more difficult.

Two of Swords Reversed

So what about when this card comes up reversed? The moon looks like it is just rising at this point, so maybe this is still about difficult choices, but it is the start of difficult choices. Both choices are still equally aloft, so both choices, while difficult, are both viable options.

Depending on the reading and the question asked, this card can mean weighing options carefully and determining whether the choices are equal or whether the choices available are difficult choices.

So when this card is pulled, remember the basics.

  • Twos represent decisions
  • Swords represent fire (air in conventional interpretation) and thoughts
  • In reference to time ,Swords refer to days (fire) or weeks (air)

Tarot Reading – 1 Card

A one card Tarot reading. Answers yes/no questions.

$1.00

Witchcraft 101: 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.

In traditional schools, Swords coincide with wind and thought.

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.

How to: make a relationship work through a full schedule…

I get this all the time when I tell people how full my schedule is with school and work. They all get this shocked little look and kind of stammer ‘wow, do you have any time for your boyfriend?’ And I want to slap them all each and every time they say some variation of that.

You want to know why?

Because my boyfriend is not a choice-maker in my life.

Even if he were my husband and all of our financial accounts were shared, he still wouldn’t be the decision maker. Because it is my life.

I understand these concerned people are more-so just because I do have a packed schedule and they’re trying to comprehend how I handle it all.

But how do I handle it? How do I handle being in school full-time, working full-time, studying full-time? By being a complete and udder dickhead.

I literally had to cancel every plan with my family over the summer. Seriously. In my family group chat last night, I had to tell everyone that I was too busy with school to come camping at all this summer.

I told my boyfriend that I’m going to have dedicated study hours and that I cannot break them. I also told him to figure out the 5 days he wants to see me all summer so I can use the only vacation days I have to see him for half the day instead of studying.

And when fall semester rolls around… I don’t know yet.

But managing a relationship inside or outside of school… That’s easy. Everyone makes it seem likes it’s hard, but so many couples (especially straight couples) forget about communication and commitment in a relationship. They forget that a relationship is a commitment you make ahead of time and that you have to make time and sacrifices for it, for those people.

So what are some tips I have to make a relationship last during hectic semesters?

  1. Have nights out with your SO every so often. Catch dinner and a movie and just talk. Not everything has to be about sex, not everything has to be about being a perfect couple. Just connect as friends would.
  2. Communicate as mush as you can what your school commitments are. Don’t blindside your SO when you have to cancel date night because a project group is running late. Communicate everything ahead of time, like what your week is going to look like and what your workload is going to look like. Let them know when your study hours are so they won’t be disturbing you during crunch time.
  3. Think of them as your break every week from studying. Maybe you facetime, or actually call each other, or it’s your date night once a week. But make time for them once a week as a reward for making it through another grueling week.

Does this always work? No, hell no. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for over three years and doing work and school in between all that. We’ve fought and screamed and had our bad days. Just like anyone. But we’ve worked through them.

So is there any way to really make it all work perfectly? No, and anyone who says otherwise is lying. Or trying to sell you something. Just TRY to make it work as good as you can. That’s all you can do.

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 Wands:

  • 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)

How to: Make it to the unavoidable 8am lecture…

We’ve all heard that advice for college: don’t take an 8am. But let me tell you something that no one else will; there will be a semester where that 8am is unavoidable. It’s going to be one of those classes offered only for spring semesters on even years that you absolutely need to finish your major and its only offered at 8am.

So how are you going to get to that class since you’re so used to getting up 10 in the morning? Here’s my tips for getting to that pesky unavoidable 8am.

First some prep work.

  1. Get used to getting up early. In that break between semesters or summer break, get used to getting up earlier. Start with getting up 15 minutes earlier each day until you’re up about an hour and half before 8. This will eventually give you enough time during the semester to get up, get breakfast, get ready, and get to class on time. It’s going to suck ass for the first few days but it’ll be worth it when the new semester comes and you’re not scrambling to get to class.
  2. Get used to doing something first thing in the morning. It’ll help you get used to going to an 8am. So if that means do some workouts or just going through emails first thing, just get out of bed and do something. Then when the new semester rolls around, your brain will be ready to go at 8am.
  3. Get used to coffee. I mean it. Get used to coffee if you’re not already drinking it. Why? Caffeine is what you need most to keep yourself up through those shitty mornings with 8am’s.

Now for game time. You’re used to getting up early now, you’re ready to go to class. So how to actually make it through the class itself.

  1. Get a travel mug, fill it with coffee, take it to class. Self-explanatory. Something hot will keep you up through a boring ass lecture. It’s hard to be completely awake at 8am and completely focused, even if you were looking forward to this class. So bring your coffee and be ready to learn. Or if you have time and money, just buy a coffee and take it to class.
  2. Don’t look at your phone. Don’t take notes on your computer. If you look at your phone even once during an early lecture, you’re going to lose focus on the class. Taking notes on your computer is going to tempt you to do something else. I have seem so many people in lectures just take a quick peak at Facebook or Messenger or their email and get sucked down a hole for 20 minutes.
  3. Treat this class like you’re spending $500 each class. Treat this class like it is make or break for your entire life. Act like your entire future is riding on this class. It will make you a bit more motivated to get to class and will reduce the desire to skip class for a few more minutes of sleep. Because once you break the habit of showing up, all the hard work you may have put in beforehand goes down the drain.
  4. Don’t fucking talk in class. I’m not talking about asking questions to the professor to clarify a point. I’m talking about ‘whispering’ to your buddy all through class about the party you guys are going to this weekend. Not only is it rude to the professor, it’s distracting to the people who can’t get away from you in a crowded lecture hall. Save it until after the damn lecture. Or if it’s a question about the material, pass a fucking note like in middle school, you heathens. There’s too much information going on in the class to try to pick out all the important stuff around what you and Lindsey are doing next week.

There’s going to be a day when you can’t avoid an 8am lecture. But take heart that it isn’t the end of the world. It’s just a dumb class you have to take for approximately 15 weeks then it’s over and done with.

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

Intro to witchcraft: Wiccan and paganism…

One of the core media beliefs of witchcraft is the infamous ‘devil worship’. Of course, this is a product of Christianity demonizing (ha, see what I did there) witchcraft, Wiccan, and pagan beliefs.

So what does Wicca and paganism have to with witchcraft? To begin with, it revolves around the tradition of witchcraft. Many witches of yore were not Christians because Christianity had yet to become an established religion yet. So of course, many of the cultures that witches and wise-women were from were polytheistic cultures (i.e. the Greeks, ancient Celts, ancient Egypt…). This is why many witches are seen as ‘devil-worshipers’ because as Christianity became the Thing, the powers that be decided that people going to the hedge-witches of the area where pulling away valuable worshipers (read: warm bodies that could pay for the church itself; looking at you, Catholicism with your ‘indulgences’). So they began to demonize witches every where.

Now, you’re asking yourself, and me, what the hell does this have to do with witchcraft now? Why am I going on and on about something that seems boring to your bright-eyed witchy interest?

Honestly, it’s partly because to know where you are going you have to know where you have been. You have to be able to look back at past struggles and understand how and why we are able to be where we are today. The other part is that you have understand other’s perceptive within the witch community.

Regarding Wicca and paganism in relation to witchcraft in the modern age, it’s become less of a requirement to practice and more of a choice. So you can practice witchcraft secularly, or under the guidance of whatever god you worship, whether it be one of the major religious figures or one of the old gods.

But that’s the beauty of witchcraft; it’s the best tool for spirituality outside of a traditional religious experience. Most witches worship whatever gods they please or if they’re Wiccan, it’s an environmental-based religion where you honor the environment and nature and hope to attune yourself to it.

So you don’t have to Wiccan or pagan to practice witchcraft. Witchcraft is just the acts associated with spiritual development, the occult, and understanding the mysteries of the natural world yet unexplored. Secular witchcraft is the practice of witchcraft without using spiritual means, such as not involving deities or religious aspects of spell work.

There’s no right or wrong way to practice witchcraft, and there’s no right or wrong way to investigate your own spiritual development, whether that’s with the aid of know gods or unknown gods, names lost to time.

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.

How To: Get your brain moving…

We all know what it feels like when you’ve lazed about on the couch for few days and your body feels like shit so you start doing stuff like exercise again. But what about when your brain starts feeling mushy and gross and uncoordinated? What about after you feel brain-dead after finals and have to get back into the right mental space for the next semester? What about after you finish a big project and your brain just wants to sleep?

However amazing these tricks may be, I’m not talking about clinical depression which can present some of the same symptoms of being ‘brain-dead’, so please take with a grain of salt if you do have depression.

Here are some tips that help me get my brain going again after a rough night or long break from school.

Step 1: Make some tea or coffee. Make whichever you don’t usually have, to switch it up. Once you have your cup of hot liquids, take a deep breath and just sit with your cup for a few minutes, 2-5 tops. Let your brain just relax for minute, don’t think about what comes next or what you have to get done. This is your break time, so take a real break.

Step 2a: If you’re still at work, make a list of every task you have to get done for the day. Include anything that takes over 5 minutes. Now, the list is not something you have to complete by the end of the day; it is something to get you focused for the rest of the day while your brain feels mushy.

Step 2b: When you get a period of extended free time, like after work or before bed, take a long bath (or shower if you don’t have a bathtub). Take the extra time for a face mask or exfoliating or whatever (no shame in face-masks if you’re a guy; every needs to take care of their skin properly). This is the time you use to be ‘brain-dead’. Most tasks in the bathroom should be pretty mindless by now, like brushing your teeth or hair. So let your mind have a little rest now that you don’t have any real pressing matters (we’re going to ignore our priorities for a bit right now).

Step 3: Now your brain has had a little break, get those juices flowing again. Jot in a journal or fantasize about an exotic trip you want to take some day. Get creative. Let your mind wander to all sorts of crazy things. You’ve probably quit imagining since you were high school. So let your mental legs stretch and think about something amazing or wild. Write or draw or color in a coloring book. Even if it’s super shitty.

Step 4: If your brain still feels a bit mushy and not quite refreshed, then make a list of everything you want to learn; a new language, or a new craft, or maybe you want to learn how something works, or maybe a new trade like electrical work or carpentry. Once you have your list, start working through it. Give all these things a chance and get excited about learning again.

Your brain is starving for something new and interesting and it wants to learn. You know that whole ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ thing is total shit, right? Get into something new and learn more. Even if it doesn’t pan out, or it doesn’t click. Have you always wanted to try baking wedding cakes? Take a class. Even if it doesn’t work out, your brain will feel better because you tried something new and you tried to learn something new.

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.