Saturday, June 12, 2021

Shabbat Community Tarot Reading #4

wow, what a crazy week it's been for me - how about you?  so much upheaval and emotional drama!  even though we're 'through' the eclipse, we're still feeling its energy, and will be for a few days (weeks, months), and as we all know, the cosmic reverberations just keep circling out forever...  

I'm not sure where to start this week, as the reading I did was very personal, and specific to my circumstances.  I feel like if I'm going to read for the community, I can't pretend to be 'love and light' all the time, and like nothing ever goes wrong in my life because I'm claiming to offer to help people focus on doing their own deep work, so I have to show how I do mine.  


so - let's just say my child needs their community now in the form of a strong support network to help them navigate away from their current situation into something healthier for them in the long run.  the evil rage monster that lives in me has decided it's time for them to be free, rip off the band-aid, they're ready, I've done my job of preparing for this day well.  why postpone the inevitable?  they've embarked on their own underworld journey now, plumbing their own depths...the astrology would blow them away if they cared to look.  it's not my job to tell anymore, it's my job to love and let go, now.  but they don't want to leave, is the thing.  they wants to make demands of me, threaten and lash out.  they want all the benefits I've always provided - few though they may be - and to act indignantly while taking advantage and bringing so much conflict into our daily lives, I've been triggered back to my father throwing the kitchen table at me when I told him I was moving out (with a great deal more resources than my child has at the moment, though his daddy certainly had a lot less).  

the running away started with the tenuous stirrings of what might become first love.  now that there's 'someone else', I've become obsolete overnight, and have been shut out, and shut down.  so the arguments have escalated to where we're both teetering on the edge of violence, neither of us wanting to cross that line, and for years now, I've been sending them outside to deal with those feelings to get them away from me - it's my house, I won't be disrespected - and get them moving to physically help cycle that energy through.  so we argued, I told them to get out, and they demanded a therapist, so I called in mental health.  they called in CPS.  so now I'm under investigation for abuse, exacerbating an already intense housing crisis (impending homelessness), and did I mention my mom died two months ago?  it's fine...I'm sure I deserve all that and more, don't I?  but the bottom line in my opinion is that they've hit their wall - as have I - and it's time to figure out how to get them what they need from the support network they will build with the help of the authorities they've called in.  we can't live like this anymore.  it would have been nice to have the clarity to handle it on our own, but...oh well.

yeah, it's time to get out of their way, and leave them to it.  I caught a bit of a reading a day or two ago (I wish I could remember where!) that spoke to a wisdom coming in from the side, somehow...that it was important to pay attention to snippets that may come from random sources, and that was the kid yesterday - three times in the midst of the chaos they spoke honest truth, though I doubt they recognized the importance of what they said.  and between my own shadow work, Lorelai Kude's talk of overwhelm, and protecting what you've mothered, and Sasha's speaking of needing to let go of something anything, and 'where do we go from here' energy aligning with true direction and drastic change that has been a long time coming...I'm hearing this message loud and clear.  as hard as it is to focus through all the emotional turmoil, miscommunication, power struggles/control issues, change/liberation/chaos cycles, I'm doing my best to simply survive each day, which in the moment mostly looks like me trying to drink enough water, and failing, repeatedly.

so some cards for me.  some wisdom on how to step out of this dance.  help the kid get what they need to move forward and move along.  there's no coming back...things are irrevocably different and damaged now, so it's time to change course, and let life flow on by without me.  for this reading I used my oldest deck,  and this spread Meg @3am.tarot posted for the New Moon & Solar Eclipse in Gemini (June 10).  here's what we got:


image shows an antler, a crystal ball, a small metal goddess figurine, three cards from The Tarot of the Witches tarot deck (The Lovers/The Magician/The Chariot), a quartz crystal, and a garnet on a pastel colored cloth with silver stripes.


reflect onThe Lovers - one rose reaching towards the sun, while a briar entangles the moon.  such a strange card...look at the two of them, dispassionate mannequins entangled in her weird hair, that half dead-or-alive hill they're standing on.  a meaningful relationship...aside from all the love, beauty, harmony, deep feeling, trust, honor, physical attraction, there's the dynamic of sacred vs. profane, and a testing of theories.  an expansion - taking what we've learned, and re-centering from a new vantage point in a spiral progression.  widening the heart.  coming out of isolation into exchange - an act of radical vulnerability; a moment of truth.

revisit & exploreThe Magician - creative Source.  imagination, self-reliance, skill, willpower, curiosity, cleverness, unity in thought and feeling.  deeply connected to, and aware of, the resources surrounding us as well as the magic within them.  an expanding sense of possibility, the first step in a journey - packing The Fool's satchel.  confidence, awake to possibility, throwing open the doors.  expansion, opportunity, courage, tapping into potential.  knowing we are the magic.

seek truth withinThe Chariot - as soon as that expansion happened in the The Lovers card, the fool on their journey recognized their power, and met adversity with resolve and determination.  alert and ready for battle - horses charging forward, his foot on the yoke, he's prepared to balance his mental and physical strength in working towards greatness, as soon as he can get his emotions under control.

there is great significance to me in these cards, considering where my teen is currently holed up, and with cards 6 & 7 - The Lovers and The Chariot - showing up together like that, with only the Magician's spark between them.  there's that pattern of being pushed into things too early, before they're ready, because I'm already holding more than I can safely handle, and something's got to give.  this is my child, born three weeks early.  this is my child sliding down my leg because they won't hold on, they simply trust that 'I've got them'.  this is my child selling off their trains to pay the car insurance that one time.  this is my child's path to freedom - their first steps out on their own.  I'm not going to read their birth chart, or check their horoscope or anything because they didn't ask me to, and I respect people's privacy...but I can see what I see, you know?  all that trauma I tried so hard to avoid passing on, that I made sure to pass on.  our ancestors' hard-won aspirations now crushed beneath my personal failures, and it hurts to live here.


thank you for coming along, commenting, and sharing - this reading is for anyone who wants/needs it!  as always, I hope there's something in here for you, personally, and feel free to contact me for a private reading.  





good vibes binaural beats

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Shabbat Community Tarot Reading #3

bur oak

hello my darlings - I'm enjoying doing these community readings, and I hope you are getting something out of them too.  this week, I didn't feel called to ask any specific questions, I just wanted to clear my mind, shuffle, and see what the cards themselves had to offer.  the deck asking to be utilized for the task was the Celtic Tree Oracle - interesting because they're not really cards I use, but cards I keep because they were a gift from a dear friend, and many years ago, a deck belonging to a different dear friend gave me some profound insights into my life at that time.  while there isn't a Celtic bone in my body (though there could be a past life...), I deeply respect the traditions of others, and love the natural connection these cards invite us into through the trees.  as it happened, I had the opportunity to do this reading outdoors, so I sat down under a bur oak, and enjoyed the scent of wild rose in the air while paying attention to the details in the images.  though there is a particular system which one is supposed to employ for their use, I know these cards well enough to know that they don't mind my freestyling.  so - let's see what wisdom they have to offer us:


image shows three cards from The Celtic Tree Oracle deck on a pastel colored cloth with silver stripes.  on the left we have 'Quert' (apple), in the center 'Muin' (vine), and on the right Ioho (yew).  each card has the corresponding Ogham lettering in the border on each side of the center tree image, a detail below, and intricate knotwork designs all  around.

Quert - Apple:  ah, the apple!  one of the oldest known cultivated fruits, it is associated with choice, possibly between similarly attractive options, though the options may matter less than the fact of a choice needing to be made.  in Arthurian legend, apples are connected to Merlin and Avalon - a secret mystical island where the uninitiated must not eat of the fruit, for it contains the Pythagorean pentagram (the seeds in the shape of a star, possibly symbolizing divine wisdom).  it was both where Excalibur was forged, and where Arthur was laid to rest, and said to come back from someday. I always think of the Greek goddess Eris in connection to apples, and the chaos she instigated with her golden apple for 'the prettiest one' that started the Trojan War, as well as the Garden of the Hesperides where that golden apple was grown.

from "How Merlin Dwelt Among His Druids in a Secret Orchard in Celyddon, in the Emperor Arthur's Time"

      Seven-core and seven most fruitful Appletrees

               E'en since the very dawn of the age, there

      Had made spring murmurous with bright small bees

      Crooning their tune i' the white bloom-laden air:

      And 'neath the flaunting skies of midsummer

   Had swayed green plumy jewel-luminous seas:

 see also Poem:  Avallennau Myrddin (Merlin's Apple Trees) over at Contemplative Inquiry

Muin - Vine:  this card is associated with Lughnassadh/Lammas, the August 1st Celtic beginning-of-harvest-season festival dedicated to the Sun.  grape vines - in the context of wine - speaks to the release of prophetic powers, letting go of logic and intellect, and letting intuition lead.  permitting instinct to show you what needs doing, allowing emotion to flow freely, and openly trusting your senses to act for you.  be open to noticing all the signs and omens.  *at this point in my meditation of the cards I kept noticing a heavenly scent of flowers which I couldn't identify, but oh, it made me look!  on my way out of the park I found the source - these wild roses in the image posted below.  intoxicating!  I used to work at an apple orchard, and one of the many things I learned from old Mr. Soons was that roses are in the same family as apples, as are peaches, pears, plums, strawberries and cherries.  also, there's a theory that the golden apples in the Garden of the Hesperides - the "nymphs of the evening" - may really have been oranges! (signs & omens)

wild roses!


Ioho - Yew:  several of the oldest trees on Earth are yews, and as such, are deeply sacred.  their branches grow down into the ground to form new stems and trunks, and when the old trunk dies, new ones grow from it, giving this tree the meaning of rebirth and reincarnation.  a new soul sprung from ancient roots in a new body.  that the eldest of the oldest yew trees (age estimates vary between 2000 to 9000 years old) stand in churchyards shows they were previously sites of ancient Bardic/Druidic groves; interestingly enough, in 2015, one of these appeared to have changed sex (the ongoing reemergence of goddess energy in the collective consciousness?)!  the longbows the Celts were known for their skill with were carved from yew, and while the needles were historically used to brew poison, it can be used homeopathically as well.  this card is direct contact with your past, spiritual strength renewed, a revivification - understanding through wisdom that was always there, which we may have forgotten, or ignored.  things that were, are, always will be ~ 

Ioho (Yew) card detail with intricate boarder knotwork, Ogham letter, center image of tree, and inset detail of trunk, needles, and berries, in muted colors.

look for an upcoming choice, which when paying attention to signs omens, calls for the possibility of a new life growing from the old one.  dive deep into the well of your own understanding, and trust what you find there!

thank you for coming along, commenting, and sharing - this reading is for anyone who wants/needs it!  as always, I hope there's something in here for you, personally, and feel free to contact me for a private reading.  



Avellenau (Appletrees) The Black Book of Carmarthen, XVII

The Theosophical Path, Volume 15 edited by Katherine Augusta Westcott Tingley 

 Mythology and Folklore of Yew from Trees For Life

 The Darkness of the Yew from The Hazel Tree

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Shabbat Community Tarot Reading #2

whew!  the energy has been really emotional, chaotic, and electric with the full blood supermoon eclipse leading into the Mercury retrograde we're currently experiencing, so I thought I'd take some time this week to address shadow work - what it is, and why it's important (the abridged version).  shadow work is (very basically) working with the parts of yourself that you don't identify with, or aren't fully conscious of.  your 'dark side', if you will...some say it includes not only one's personal shadow, but society's neglected and repressed values as well.  whatever you refuse to acknowledge about yourself, qualities you're ashamed of, impulses you deny but see clearly in others, takes courage and strength to confront and accept.  this is shadow work, and is a continuous process to engage in throughout life.

eclipse season tends to bring change and upheaval - all the ugly stuff (fear, old wounds, painful memories) comes up for us to reflect on, and release what no longer serves us with gentle kindness.  and Mercury retrograde, which generally gets a bad rap for screwing up communications in all forms, electronics, business deals, and more, adds to the cosmic flux.  mistakes will be made.  double and triple check Everything, and back up your data!  make copies.  make sure your email/fax/message was received.  be extra clear.  because Mercury is retrograde in an air sign (Gemini), assume a great deal of discussion will need take place.  on the other hand, it's a great time to work with the past, and words that start with 're' - reassess, revisit, readdress, redo, redesign, repair, redirect, and repeat.  so while the energy may be frustrating, it's highly useful, and reminds us to slow down, consider where we stand, and take a closer, deeper look at our plans.  it seems we find more time to get things done, too, so maybe work on getting your files and closets reorganized!

with all that in mind, I decided to ask "what neglected and repressed values should we be working to address as a collective?"  we all know the obvious answers - poverty, racism, erasure, climate change, and more, but I'm curious to see what the cards bring up.  from there, I thought I'd ask simply "are we making progress in a direction that will do the most good for the most people?"  which led to the third question, "what is no longer serving us that needs to be released?"  this sort of feels like a repeat of the first question, because while we definitely need to be letting go of all those negative aspects of our current experience, I was once again curious what the cards would bring up.  here's what we got:

image contains three cards from The Living Altar Oracle and Spell Deck:  Generosity, Choice, Emergence.  also quartz crystals, seeds, acorns, a seashell, a geode, and a salt crystal.

"what neglected and repressed values should we be working to address as a collective?" - Generosity - this card is water, and comes to us from the West; from sunset and midlife; it is Autumn, an ancestor, council and initiation.  it is speaking to us of power cultivated through wisdom, an openness, freedom to enjoy the dance of the, reflection, the nurturing of fruit to seed.  the message here is to pay attention to both our hard-earned lessons, and our curiosity.  I'm reading it as a reconnection - to ourselves, to our chosen families, to our communities...recommitting to the success of the larger collective rather than to individual desires.  that we should lean in to the tempered wisdom of our elders, while learning from the wide-eyed wonder of our children.   

"are we making progress in a direction that will do the most good for the most people?" - Choice - this card is air, and comes to us from the East; from sunrise and childhood; it is Spring, a promise, emergence, and rebirth.  it is speaking to us of presence, divine intervention, a path laid out before us like an invitation.  do we accept its offer, or turn away?  we are wild and meant to fly, hopeful, and show others that they can, too.  the message here is to pay attention to the wisdom we gain on our adventures.  I'm reading it as a relearning of how to lead - a new way of spreading our wings, influenced by our collective need for higher goals and purpose...seeing a better way forward, and embarking upon it with intention.   

"what is no longer serving us that needs to be released?" - Emergence - this card is air, and comes to us from the East; from sunrise and rebirth; it is Spring, creativity, inspiration, and intention.  it is speaking to us of the grace of innocence, wholeness, and an abundance of potential.  of being open, sure, and calling back our power with a renewed sense of wonder, purpose, and hope.  the message here is to gather up our knowledge of death and endings, and challenge ourselves to begin again, embracing and anticipating with excitement the wonder of the unknown.  I'm reading it as an indication that we need to give up any fear we have around reimagining our systems, and outdated ways of thinking and being, so that we may fully emerge into the next stage of who we can come to trusting and knowing that we have learned all our lessons from our past, and by accessing our potential to make better choices for our future.  

thank you for coming along, commenting, and sharing - this reading is for anyone who wants/needs it!  as always, I hope there's something in here for you, personally, and feel free to contact me for a private reading.  




Saturday, May 22, 2021

Shabbat Community Tarot Reading

Shabbat Shalom, all!  this week, while lighting my candles and sending out my prayers, there was a lot on my mind.  as the mother of a teenager, I know a few other mothers of teenagers, and it seems a lot of us are stressed to the max.  that's probably because our kids are stressed to the max, given the collective trauma we've all been living through, and even though my relative American poverty pandemic experience might look like paradise on a popsicle stick to someone in India right now, we've all had about enough of isolation and disconnect to last us a good while.  so I thought I'd do a reading for the kids, and by extension, for all the struggling moms (parents).

I didn't want to ask "how do we best support our children" because the answer to that is always "love them" (I mean, love is the answer to everything, right?).  so I asked "how can we best help our children learn to support themselves?"  and then for us, the moms, why ask what we need to survive, thrive, and lift up our families because the answer to that is also always "love" (and a robot slave).  so I asked "how can we best refill our wells right now as both caregivers, and bodies needing care?"  and finally, to tie the reading together (the way a rug can really tie a room together, lol), "how can we ensure we're doing our best to protect our Earthly legacy for the generations?"  here's what we got:

image shows three tarot cards - The Emperor reversed, The Hermit, 7 of Cups reversed - surrounded by a small metal goddess figure, quartz crystals, polished rose quartz, garnets, magnolia & wisteria seeds, a bear tooth, a large white feather, and a small red and green feather, on a light colored iridescent scarf with fringes, and a dark fuzzy blanket.

"how can we best help our children learn to support themselves?" - The Emperor reversed - well that message is pretty clear...Smash The Patriarchy!  The Emperor is a powerful leader representing authority and structure, who is focused and disciplined.  he's all about setting those firm foundations and boundaries, and standing in our power, but here he's in the reversed position, which speaks to an abuse of those powers...a sure sign that his rules and systems are no longer working.  a loss of focus in a bid to keep his tenuous control finds him failing those he swore to protect.  so the best way to help our children learn to support themselves could be through leaning into their creativity, teaching them to speak up and out when overreaching community leaders/teachers/parents/authority figures/clergy attempt to silence them, let them feel ALL their feelings (boys especially) and then rewrite the rules.  it's their world, now, and they have to live with the messes we leave them, so we should probably just get in the back, learn to trust their wisdom, and let them invent it all anew.

"how can we best refill our wells right now as both caregivers, and bodies needing care?" - The Hermit - I guess we all need some alone time, huh?  a cave to run off to where we can ponder the deeper mystery of ourselves, and plum the shadowed depths of our souls?  I know I've surely been doing this...have you found yourselves retreating from the world a bit to clean up your own head lately?  and doing your best to give those around you space, too?  it seems weird that in an almost-post-pandemic world, what we might feel a need for is more space, but I think it's a different kind of space.  space to do work in, to look at our actions and reflect on who we are and what we do; how we interact in the world, and in what ways we connect to our higher purpose. it's a place of contemplation and meditation, self-reflection and solitude.

"how can we ensure we're doing our best to protect our Earthly legacy for the generations?" - 7 of Cups reversed - this indicates coming back into focus after a period of confusion, or feeling hemmed in by a lack of options.  in the context of the question, I read this as we humans realizing we're at a point of no return with our environment/planet, and making some sound choices to change our behaviors to address those pressing issues rather quickly, out of necessity.  I wonder if many of those solutions will come from the minds and hands of those teenagers we'll be handing the reins to, after our period of retreat and self-reflection?  maybe they'll learn to integrate their various energies in ways that will help them work together, share intelligences, and build more collaborative and sustainable futures?  isn't that always the hope?  well, it's mine anyway, and maybe some of yours, too.

thank you for coming along, commenting, and sharing - this reading is for anyone who wants/needs it!  as always, I hope there's something in here for you, personally, and feel free to contact me for a private reading.  


Sunday, May 9, 2021


sometime after I turned 12, while rummaging around in my mom's little makeshift library in our large, well-lit basement, I came across a story she had written in the late 60's as a pregnant newlywed living on a kibbutz in Israel, while my dad was off fighting in the Six-Day War.  I think of her, painting the light-bulbs black and leaving only a small spot for the light to filter through, to conceal themselves as best they could, as some of the fighting was quite near the kibbutz.  how she must have looked, the anxiety she must have been feeling, and the hope she must have been trying to hold on to through those words.  I wish I had a copy of the story called "Sarah" where she began by recalled the story of the Biblical Sarah, watching her Abraham take her only beloved son Isaac to be sacrificed on the altar of this 'new god' he was communing with, and questioning what kind of god he was to demand such a travesty as tribute.  then there was a page break after which she wrote, "I am Sarah..." (it was her Hebrew name) and wrote about how so many of the women felt, watching their men go off to battle, wondering if they'd come back, and if they did, if they would come back 'whole'.  the story switched back to the Biblical Sarah's perspective - an anxious mother watching for her husband to return from the mountain alone, her heart deeply wounded, only to see two silhouettes on the horizon, and running to them filled with the highest joy and gratitude.  to conclude, she wrote about reading over the lists of names of the deceased, and her relief at not finding her husband there (though many other women did, and I don't wish to diminish the memory of those that we mourned), along with her elation when my father returned to her, safe and sound.


today is that dreaded stupid holiday I know I've written about on here before, though I couldn't find any of those posts in a quick search.  as a single mom, Mother's Day is just another day for me to do all the mom things, and get little to no appreciation for my efforts.  when my Teen was little, I'd get some cute paper projects that his teacher made all the kids do in school, and there was that one year when he drew me breakfast in bed - so cute!  there might have even been some cheap gifts that the wealthy school district donated for the poor kids to bring home, but that might have just been for Hannukah, I don't remember.  either way, my point is, today is a day for me to stay off of social media because seeing all the 'proper' families doing all the culturally acceptable things for the moms in their lives makes me feel inadequate on a good day, which is to say nothing of how it makes me feel on a day like today, when I'm missing my own mom, who passed away 6 weeks ago.  my day so far has consisted of the horrid odor of the septic tank being pumped, followed by the horrible smell of the bleach I used to clean the backed-up excrement out of my bathtub - though I am grateful that there's no longer human waste bubbling up from the drain, and that my toilet is once again flushing properly.  then I sat down to honor my mom by writing about her, and began to cry.  just now, my Teen woke up and emerged from his bedroom, mumbled 'good morning', made himself a bowl of cereal, and went back into his room to commence the day's video gaming.  yup.  that's it.  stuff that in your Mother's Day pipe and smoke it, because I have laundry to do, dishes to wash, paperwork to sort and file, etc, brunch and mani/pedi's here.  no champagne or flowers, massages, chocolates, what-have-you.


but the point here was to talk about my mom.  she was the ideal mother up until I hit puberty, and things went downhill for us from there.  even though we had a rocky relationship, she was my mom, and I always loved her, even when I hated her.  she drove 4 1/2 hours to the hospital in February - even though she hated Winter, and I lived in Vermont - when I went into labor, because she desperately wanted to see her youngest grandchild being born (she wasn't allowed in the room for my sister-in-law's three births, which I understand from my sister-in-law's point of view, though I can also understand my mom's disappointment).  she adored my son from the get-go (as she did all her grandchildren), even though she couldn't restrain herself from making some pointed comments about...ahem, the other half of his dna...when he was very little, which I immediately nipped in the bud.  we spent years on the outs, with a few good times here and there, but all in all, now that she's gone, those bad times hardly matter at all, and I just wish we had had more time to be friends, and keep making the good memories.  she spent two weeks with me before she passed, and I'm SO grateful we had that time together, for myriad reasons.  her death was unexpected, to say the least...and the hurdles that needed to be cleared in order to lay her to rest on our kibbutz in Israel, next to her beloved husband, during a global pandemic, were many - but it did happen.  


so yeah - I'm a big emotional mess today.  how to honor her memory?  she didn't like cut flowers, "because they were dead".  I do, so maybe I'll buy myself some.  she enjoyed being taken out for brunch by her grandkids, but I'm still estranged from the rest of my family, so that's not going to happen...perhaps I can cook up one of her recipes?  that's a possibility.  I can't visit her grave, as it's in another country...I'm not financially solvent enough to donate to a good cause like Miry's List, which helps welcome refugee families into new communities, or the National Bail Out fund, specifically for Black moms, but I can share the link, and maybe someone else who is, can.  I can visit the waterfall in Parksville where she spent childhood summers, and liked to go to honor her ancestors, watch a movie that she loved, or listen to music she enjoyed.  maybe I can even work on one of the several knitting projects I'm sure I have tucked away among my craft hoard.  I'm planning to do a tarot card pull and see if she wants to offer me any advice through that medium.  and - and this is big - I can mother myself.  that's right, I still need mothering, too (don't we all?  no matter how old we get?), and even though I've been working on that for years, I still need the reminder that I'm worthy of my own best mothering techniques, which include wrapping myself up in comfort, and making sure I feel nourished, whatever that might look like for me in the moment.  today, I guess that looks like doing dishes/laundry/paperwork and avoidance, but I may also take some time to lay up on the couch, and demand that the Teen cook me dinner - he's fully capable, and it's the least I deserve out of respect for all I do for him.  we'll see...(he made cheeseburgers and frozen French fries, yum!)

and not only that, let's take more than a moment to remember the Great Mother who gives life to us all, this amazing planet we live on!  here's a link to help find some ways to do that, if you don't (or even if you do) make caring for our Earth a part of your daily life.  



in honor of the mothers I've known, and the ancestors I didn't, today I remember Sue (Sarah), Ayala, Sapta, Sapta Liza, Grandma Mirjam, Little Grandma, Regina, and Estar.  thank you for everything ~ πŸ’–

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Deck Review: The Living Altar

The Living Altar, an oracle and spell deck for the radical witch by Kiki Robinson & Ylvadroma Marzanna Radziszewski, centers everything the entire world should be focusing on in this time and place, using the language necessary to accomplish transformation.  from the first "disrupt the status quo", to the last "ours is a zeitgeist of renaissance & reinvention", this deck is a learning experience for me that came through a moment of connection between myself, my heritage, and a tarot-fluent acquaintance.  for most of my almost 40 years of reading tarot I've used the same deck - the first one I got at the beginning of my journey - and recently, after being gifted several new-to-me decks, it only took a minute to notice how cis/heteronormative/eurocentric most decks are, and as those are ideas and a kind of ideal I'm doing my best to move away from in as many ways as possible, I decided I needed a different kind of 'new'.  so I went looking for decks that connect me to my traditional cultural heritage (which is rife with issues) and ended up being gifted The Living Altar deck by someone who thought it belonged more to me than to them.  I really appreciate the opportunity to work with Romani artists, businesses, and witches, and this deck is a true call to action. 


it's frankly a bit shocking how many decks and readers are out there, now...the whole discipline feels a bit saturated, but I must be getting old, because I find myself saying that about lots of things I used to be only one of a few people doing that's become more acceptably 'mainstream'!  it's good, though - we need it.  we need SO many more people to get in better tune with their cultural dynamic, and bring their magic into alignment with their own everyday rituals.  this deck, with its 52 oracle cards, 14 ritual activation cards, comprehensive guidebook, and an endless variety of entry points with which to approach the work, I honestly felt a bit out of my depth at first sight.  the nuances reminded me of the Enochian system, which I haven't worked with in a long time, and it definitely felt like approaching an intricate new tool as a beginner.  laying the cards out in the wheel pattern helped to see the deck as a whole, and to connect with it in full bloom, as it were - so pretty!



the cards are big, heavy, and there's so much going on with them visually.  I like how they feel, though my hands are small, so it's hard to hold the whole deck at once.  to begin, I did the Living Altar spread because it used the least amount of cards, is about struggle and the need for support, and was suggested as a ritual of self-devotion with which to draw courage and get hyped.  the cards I drew were all from the 3rd narrative arc, those spells having to do with elemental everyday practical magic moments on the cusp between the death/rebirth cycle.  here's a stripped-down version of my result ~ 

top card - creativity, card 2 - inspiration, card 3 - resource, card 4 - relationship


the top card - card 1 - is The Altar, a goal/skill/spell to nourish/honor/tend to/celebrate.  honoring inspiration by putting it into action.  creativity means transforming, trusting, letting go, stepping into the new.  it asks us (as all the cards do) "what wisdom is alchemizing within you?"

 card 2 - The Heart - how our hearts come to The Altar, & how best to nourish and access it.  inspiration says allow it to be undone, and moved through.  let it change us in the ways it's meant to. accept this invitation to begin that process.

card 3 - The Body - same question about how best to access and nurture, how is The Body showing up?  the way resource tells it, with age and the person I hope to become, the vessel I'll leave behind with as many gifts to offer those who come after as I can.

card 4 - The Ally - an invitation from the Wheel to access necessary resources to tend The Altar.  relationship tells us to get ourselves some spiritual community for that collective well-being, & true intersectionality.


radical indeed...I dig these cards, with their bold red edges, collage art, and textural allure.  I can feel how So Much went into creating them, and working with them, drawing energy through them, and capturing that moment in digital amber.  I look forward to spending more time with this deck, and getting to know all the myriad ways it can inform and enhance my practice, for and with the collective.  


Saturday, February 27, 2021

man crush

never having aged

          except in my bones

I want to do it


like teenagers

in an alley

          after the show

behind a dumpster

my stockings rip

as your hands clutch


at my thigh

god how I want him - want to get him alone, so I can seduce him into long kisses, groping at each other up against the car in the parking lot.  moaning hard into each other's mouths, sucking each other's air in with our breath on necks in the dark, the desperation of our advancing age forcing us to hurry, get it all in while we can - like teens holding off their parents call that it's time to come in.  can't sleep for thoughts of him - infatuation runs deep.

I want to run with you
                            fast as we can
            to nowhere
holding hands
laughing       screaming
with joy
at the thrill of being alive
with nothing else to do
but feel each other rising
in a world of possibility 

your electric skin
beneath my fingers
discovering worlds in our eyes
in the ocean
pressing against
my flesh
from inside
your lips
our hair
in the wind

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

New Moon in Capricorn

here's something I've been meaning to talk about for awhile - tarot, and my connection to reading cards.  I got my first deck 37 years ago at the (long since defunct) cool local head shop the OM where they sold silver jewelry, leather goods, paraphernalia, posters, groovy clothing, black lights, incense, tarot cards, and various 'adult' items I didn't yet know the use for.  of all the things I bought there over my teen years, I only still have this amazing deer suede shirt by Erda, and my Tarot of the Witches deck of tarot cards (scroll down at the link for a deck review).




where did I first learn about tarot?  in my mother's shelves of books which included Eden Gray's Tarot Revealed: A Modern Guide to Reading the Tarot Cards?  in the library stacks, where I discovered so much more?  in the music I listened to, the people I bonded with?  or was it in the head shop itself, the first time I saw that High Priestess image in her jewel tones, on the outside of the box, her cold stare beckoning to me from some weird, nightmarish, yet oddly comforting circus-world.  I learned many years later from some acquaintances who owned a bookstore that this unique deck by Fergus Hall was featured in the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die.  so weird!


Roger Moore as 007 & Jane Seymour as Solitaire

in a way, it's cliche to be (part) Roma and read tarot cards, and I did 'work' the exoticism many of my cousins complain about feeling targeted and harassed for before I understood the implications of that sexualized perspective to those without my privilege.  now, I feel like plenty of people capitalize on tenuous and non-existent links to marginalized cultures, so why should I feel bad about owning my own cultural heritage, especially when it has nothing to do with my interest in tarot?  how my father hated to see me dabbling in the occult; how averse he was to anything that might be interpreted as 'witchcraft' from growing up with a stigma about being Roma, as well as Jewish - a culture which abhors the witch.  I used to be the only card-reader I, or anyone in my peer group knew, ever since I started doing readings in the school library, though the folks I met later at Renaissance fairs, Rainbow gatherings, and pagan camp-outs had more of a connection to esoteric knowledge, and through them my understanding of tarot deepened and grew.  even though I've been drawn to other styles and types of tarot decks and spreads, I've mostly only ever used my own deck, other than a few reads with a friend's Celtic Tree Oracle (though there isn't a Celtic bone in my body), and had never read any minor arcana cards because in my deck, those cards are 'pips' - just a picture of the suit with that number of cups/batons/coins/swords on it - rather than the well-known picture cards imbued with symbolic meanings.


10 of cups on the bottom right is a 'pip' card.


during my last round of college I met a well-educated, forthright, outspoken, proud young Kale woman from a well-known Flamenco family who taught me what it meant to be an advocate for the Roma people, and through her, I became acquainted with many other Romani scholars, activists, and artists.  and wonderful as it was to finally get access to real and empowering information about Roma people and culture, it was just as hard to feel shut down by some of them because tarot card reading/belly dancing/poetry writing/white girl Roma who say G*psy and claim to have Romani grandmothers yet no tradition/language/community get told by more traditional Roma who know who they are and grew up in communities with shared languages to sit down, and stay in our lane.  sometimes they'll even call us 'gadje' (non-Roma), because they know how much it hurts.  now, I have a great deal of respect for those scholars, activists, and artists, but I also see that I can be proud of my Roma heritage, and still read cards, while being an active voice in the conversation to uplift our communities.  I feel that I have a responsibility to speak about Roma issues from where I stand, without what is considered to be a 'traditional' upbringing, and I have every right to do my work for financial gain, as well.  why waste my energy envying folks for doing the same work I've felt called to do for so many years, out of some sense of moral conscience, just because someone who doesn't know me said I can't/shouldn't?  now that I've had a few years of feeling badly for possibly misrepresenting my own culture in the past when I knew less about it, in a world where so many appropriators are out there doing it every day, and since I now know better and do my best to elevate the narrative, I honestly no longer see any problem with my engaging in a practice I've studied for decades, no matter what ethnicity, religion, or traditional folkways I come from


I believe in using the tarot as a tool to help clear your mind, to think deeply about the situations in your life, and help guide your decisions.  there are those who do less and claim more.

a friend of mine recently downsized their home, so they gifted me a number of different tarot decks, some of which I was able to pass on to other people who needed them.  soon after that, I felt a strong draw towards Katelan Foisy's P7:  Planetarium workshops she does with her friend Sherene, during which I really reconnected with that way of being 'witchy' - getting back to my cards, burning candles & herbs, charging and using crystals in ritual, working with the moon, engaging with astrology, sigils, goddess energy, chakras, was refreshingly inspiring.  during that time, I'd been seeing a flyer for Shea's tarot group at the library, and didn't manage to get to it in person before it went online for the pandemic - which I'm glad it did, as it's been great to have what amounts to a women's group to connect with regularly this past year!  so through that online group, I've been renewing my relationship with the major arcana from a more diverse and mature perspective, bringing in all I've learned through both my academic and independent research in family systems theory, mythology, folklore, ethnography, storytelling, and collective and personal experience.  I'm also learning how to work with the minors which obviously opens up a whole new level of understanding for me after all these years, which has been deeply gratifying.

the deck I've been working with the most right now is Tarot of a Moon Garden as it's the only deck I have that's based on Pamela Coleman Smith's artwork, though it's a bit fairie-cartooney for me, and...not quite right.  I've been wanting to get a deck that speaks to my newer understanding of what a deck can be - like the the Thoth deck I've been wanting to work with for at least 30 years, now - and I had recently become aware of The Hoodoo Tarot through Katelan, who I didn't at first realize had done the artwork, or had done a previous Oracle deck with Tayannah Lee McQuillar (the Sibyls Oraculum).  I didn't want to buy it, though, because something I read made me feel like the deck was only really meant for a certain population, and that as a non-white white person, it isn't a population I belong to, so I promoted it out of my love for it, but did what I thought was staying in my lane by not buying it.  


"The Hoodoo Tarot is a Gorgeous deck, and I keep going back to look at it! I was recently lamenting the lack of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color on tarot decks in general, and while I have no knowledge of, nor cultural connection to, Hoodoo (or Rootwork), I am still Very drawn to this deck, and would love to work with it!" - Oct. 2019


during a recent wander through Barnes & Noble, I was pleased to see The Hoodoo Tarot on the shelf with a few other forward-thinking decks I recently became aware of, and it occurred to me...first of all, right on Tayannah & Katelan!  and if they're selling that deck in Barnes & Noble, hopefully to enough people to earn them a good living along with the other work they do, then as someone who deeply respects the traditions and cultures of others stemming from a history of having my own misunderstood and disrespected, I can certainly work with this deck, too.  I didn't have enough in the budget to buy it right then, but after receiving some monetary gifts for my recent birthday, I excitedly went back for it.



I'm also learning to branch out from the classic 10-card Celtic cross and exploring different spreads.  the Celtic Tree Oracle uses a fairly elaborate 15-card set-up, and Froud's Faerie Oracle uses one and three card pulls for beginner basics, then encourages dabblers to use their intuition to draw cards about a situation or conflict, and formulate a series of deeper questions based on the number of cards drawn.  some of the folks I follow on instagram will posts links to different spreads from other readers, but I can't always tell what the source is, and as a librarian's kid who's spent time in academics, if I can't cite it, I won't reference it.  and though I'm not new to doing this work, I'm new to advertising online that I do it, and I realize that not only is there a learning curve, but there are SO many others out there with much more business acumen and advertising savvy doing the same thing, and it's rather daunting...and I certainly don't want to step on any toes! in that spirit, I'll share some of my favorite online resources:  Biddy Tarot is a cache of clear, concise card meanings, a variety of spreads, and on her instagram she posts daily/weekly/monthly card pulls (and more). the weekly readings from moonandcactus - also on instagram - are great, and I like 3am.tarot for spreads and card meanings.  Meg's (3am.tarot) seasonal tarotscopes on autostraddle are really meaningful for me, and her instagram crystal pairings make me really think about what I'm looking to clarify.  I've been doing full and new moon readings lately, and seasonal readings as I try to gain more understanding about astrology, which isn't a field I've worked with much past learning the basics of my own signs, stars, and planets.  


so, this is my way of saying that I am once again going to be offering tarot card readings!  the decks I currently work with are:  Tarot of the Witches, The Celtic Tree Oracle, The Fairy Oracle, the Lover's Tarot, and Tarot of a Moon Garden (I won't be using The Hoodoo Tarot for readings just yet as it's new to me, and I want to take some time to get to know it first).  get in touch with me so we can work together - and since I'm all about helping people connect with their own cultural heritage, I'm happy to help you figure out what that is, and which deck or decks would be right for you for a reading.  also, the best way for me to do this work is by giving something back to the various organizations that also seek to reconnect folks to their heritage/culture, and preserve it, so we can figure out how that might look for you, as well.  following is a list of organizations I believe in, and am happy to support, and please let me know if there's another group/organization you'd like to see on this list.  I'm looking forward to hearing from you!


5% of your reading fee can go towards:

Friday, January 1, 2021

Memory Jar 2020


wow, 7 years of memory jars!  I guess I'm getting pretty good at this 'creating traditions' thing...I wonder if it's something my son will carry forward with him when he starts his own family?  here's what it is:  over the course of the year, my son and I write down good/fun/happy moments we experience, on recycled slips of paper, and put them in our 'memory jar' (an antique Queen mason jar).  on New Year's Eve, we open the jar, and read the slips of paper to each other as a way to relive the best parts of our year over again.  it's a nice New Year's Eve ritual, and in this year of pandemic, when we won't be joining in any celebrations, it feels especially important, as we made a real effort to find moments in time to be grateful for in our relative isolation.



my son chose to go in to work tonight, so I'm currently home alone (unless you count my incredibly loud and annoying upstairs neighbors), and I plan to spend my evening indulging in an epsom salt bath, followed by lighting candles and reading tarot cards.  I considered getting myself a bottle of champagne, but since I renewed my commitment to bettering my health, decided alcohol wasn't a necessary component of my personal celebration, though I may choose to have a cup of hot chocolate, instead.  I also stopped at the store to pick up chocolate chips and eggs to make this 2 ingredient chocolate cake - courtesy of The B.U.F.F. Dudes - as a treat for my son when he gets home from work, because it's still a holiday, and a hard-working teen deserves a healthy version of chocolate cake after busting his butt working on New Year's Eve.



here are our good memories of 2020:

him ~ 

100 in English, lol

getting job at S-----


getting bicycle

MSI gaming z rtx 2060

getting monitor

finishing PC

finishing gaming setup

getting gaming chair

new mouse

joining Mumutopia

Doom Eternal



tricking mom into saying "underwear" by asking "what's under there?"

"Europe Who?" (knock knock, who's there, Europe, Europe who [sounds like 'you're a poo']) 

*high pitched* "eeh" "eeh" "mee-EEH"



so for him, this year was all about getting his first 'real' job (he worked last summer, but that was just doing lift & carry for a local yard sale guy), and enjoying the benefits of what earning decent money (for a teenager) can get him.  a new bike, a fancy computer set-up that I don't even know how to turn on, having good times gaming with his friends online - which is nice, since they haven't seen each other in person for forever - and watching shows that he enjoys while managing to keep up with his schoolwork.  the holidays were fun and he enjoyed the traditional foods we cooked together, as well as some of the everyday meals we made, and as always, he loves being a little joker and sharing our silly inside jokes, too ("eeh, eeh, mee- EEH" made my list, too).

me ~

D--- came to visit!

birthday buffet/chocolatefest 2020

game day party!

visit from S---- bearing lovely gifts

The Beautiful Bastards in Hunter

(Southern accent) "go to bed, y'all from Shreeveport?"

letting things go/leading with love

the 'rona lockdown, lol...not really.

Geezus Butlers at Oakley's

Teen doing so well at his job

a friend's newborn baby

High Holy Days/Sukkot

completing the Couch to 5k program

my first 5k, and every one since!

how proud I am of the Teen

latkes & suvganiot - it was a wonderful Hannukah

lowest blood sugar reading

art dates with L---

Teen doing well in school despite the terrible circumstances

squeaky peasant!

staying consistent with my goal of improving my health, and losing 40 pounds so far! 

for me, I enjoyed spending time with dear friends (when we still could), celebrating my birthday, seeing my friends' bands play live music (when we still could), watching movies with my son that we now have inside jokes about (the one about Shreeveport is from The Princess & The Frog, and the 'squeaky peasant' is from Ladyhawk, which made his list, too), being proud of my son, celebrating holidays and new life, and making the commitment to taking better care of myself by eating better and exercising.  so for a relatively crap year, we didn't do too badly...and the hard-working Teen enjoyed a piece of the cake I baked for him when he got home, even though it's a bit weird looking:


it just looked so plain by itself, and I decided it needed frosting, but I didn't have any powdered sugar because I don't tend to keep that stocked in my kitchen.  so I put some of the organic raw cane sugar I had in my mortar and crushed it with the pestle.  yes, I did.  I made just enough frosting for a thin layer over the top of the cake, then used a cupcake liner as a way to sprinkle silver 'shimmer sugar' into a random pattern of circles across the top...I don't know, I was experimenting.  who cares what it looks like - it's delicious, and the kid appreciated and enjoyed it!  I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday, whether you celebrate the New Year or not.  it seems a bit arbitrary to me at this point, but I do like and cling to my own traditions, so I try not to begrudge others sticking to theirs.  let's look forward to bright and beautiful new endeavors to embark on, and good times enjoyed with our dear ones coming back into our lives at some point, when it's safe again.  I wish all of you all the best in 2021!

check out our 'memory jar' posts from years past, below!

2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2017 - 2018 - 2019