On the other side of the cards

Although I perform divination for others, it might surprise you to learn that I have relatively few readings done for myself. I have a check-up reading that gets done every year or so just to see how I’m doing with the big picture; I had a local reader for minor check-ups but we sorta drifted apart when she moved her practice to another city. Most things I’m stubborn about figuring out on my own, or am uncertain whether or not a concern actually justifies divination. I talk myself out of way more readings than I actually end up getting.

The other night I received a reading as part of a trade. I was admittedly a bad client. I felt argumentative and pissy, wanting to hear something specific but not even being sure what that was. I took away the advice to not be such a goddamned drama queen (among other bits of guidance) and sat with that for a day.

I’ve been depressed – I’ve said as much – and that makes everything harder. I feel like I’m wading against a constant current, like everything is harder than it should be and doing even the most minimal of tasks is monumental. The only reason I’m not just constantly in bed is because I’m also very bored at the moment and keep looking for something to occupy my mind.

I did a small follow-up reading for myself using an oracle deck (the Ceccoli Oracle, if you’re curious) and was told directly that my problem was rooted in a lack of compassion for myself. This came up in a more circumspect manner in the reading I’d had done; seeing it twice made me take it a little more seriously.

See, I’d argue that I do have compassion for myself, but a toxic variety that doesn’t actually have the right results. I’m indulgent, I lack patience or perseverance, I have no discipline or follow-through or accountability. I’m messy and gross and kind of a weirdo, not to mention constantly grumpy and socially anxious. I’m a mess.

Compassion is able to identify shortcomings without transforming them into pathological mental baggage. Since my opinion of myself and assessment of my qualities is nothing but pathological mental baggage, I’m clearly failing to have any actual compassion for myself. This is part of what my single-card reading pointed out to me.

Honestly I have no idea how to turn back the morbid tendency towards self-recrimination and self-loathing. I’ve done it for so many years I don’t know how to stop it; even recognizing it is difficult and not always a sure thing.

It’s uncomfortable being on the other side of the cards. It’s uncomfortable to have severe truths pointed out to you. It’s uncomfortable to have no real tools at hand to address those truths. But I’ve taken the first step and acknowledged the problem, and I’ve taken the second step and expressed a desire to change.This is the work of a lifetime. Sometimes people talk a lot about spiritual advancement and it seems like they have a clear goal in mind, a thing they want to achieve. My goals are much more modest if only because I don’t much imagine that I can get very far. I’d like to stop hating this thing that the gods seem fond of. This seems like an advancement I must might be able to achieve in this lifetime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New divination tools available!

I’ve updated the list of decks on my Divination Services page to reflect some new acquisitions. You can now choose to receive readings from any of the following, or let me choose which one is best suited for your inquiry:

  • Tarot of the Sweet Twilight
  • Rider-Waite-Smith tarot
  • Dame Darcy’s Mermaid Tarot
  • The Ostara Tarot
  • Fenestra Tarot
  • Welcome to Night Vale Tarot
  • The Slutist Tarot
  • Ceccoli Oracle
  • The Earthbound Oracle
  • Arcane Bullshit Oracle

Tarot and oracle card readings are $40 and take typically 45 – 60 minutes to complete. You receive a report with a detailed analysis of your reading along with photographs of the spread so you can reflect on the reading for additional meaning.

I’ve been reading tarot professionally for 18 years and enjoy helping people dig deeply into complex spiritual concerns. I read frequently for spirit workers, witches, and others who interact with spirits on a regular basis; I’m equally comfortable reading about matters of love, career, relationships, and personal development. FOR JULY ONLY I’m offering a $10 reading special for confirmations and other small questions. You get a report and photos, and the satisfaction of helping me travel to Many Gods West. 🙂 My turn around time is usually less than three days; if more than 72 hours is required to complete your reading I’ll let you know.

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Slutist Tarot review and walkthrough

 

Hey, I forgot to announce this here! I’m finally dipping my toes into the world of online divination videos and I’m starting with deck walkthroughs and mini reviews. Truth be told, I own relatively few cartomancy decks; my collection has nearly doubled in the few weeks since I took a position as house reader at a local metaphysical shop (more about that in a second). I realized that my collection was rather inadequate to the needs of a professional so the number of decks owned has risen where for many years it had stayed nearly static.

I’m reviewing the Slutist Tarot first of all, a brightly colored deck celebrating sex-positivity, love, and lust. It’s a deck that goes right to my sweet spot – colorful, dynamic, and novel. Although I have some minor critiques regarding things like layout and shortcomings in the achievement of the deck’s diversity goals, overall I feel very positively about the deck. In many ways it takes tarot somewhere it hasn’t comfortably gone before – the Manara Erotic Tarot, beautiful as it is, is a very different animal – and for that reason alone it deserves attention. I hope that other people are inspired to use this project as a springboard towards even greater inclusion and diversity.

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As I was saying: I’ve got a gig as a house reader! This isn’t the first time I’ve been a house reader (someone who reads primarily in a storefront rather than in their own shop, their own home, just at parties, etc.) but it’s been more than a decade since I did this kind of work; the last time I read with a store was in…2006? Maybe even 2005. Anyway, it’s been a while. All the professional reading I’ve done in the meantime has been for parties, one-time gigs, via email, for friends, that kind of thing. This has been fun and I’ve learned a lot about who I am as a reader and about how this work, well, works but it’s time to make a change. I want to get better, which means that more practice is needed and specifically I need practice that is different from what I’ve been doing – it seemed natural to go back to house reading.

08e18e68297f132446bdab5760793958Instead of focusing on tarot or even oracle cards (both of which are thoroughly represented in the market) I decided to emphasize my tea leaf reading. Scrying was a skill I fell backwards into. I never thought I had the knack until I started working with coffee grounds and tea leaves. Tasseomancy, it seems, is something that works for me. So I’m marketing myself primarily as a tea leaf reader with cartomancy as a secondary offering. I’m excited! I like scrying. (I can also use mirrors and black reflective surfaces too but it gets intense and I don’t want to haul that in front of the public; cups of tea are more approachable. That said, it would be good to have an actual crystal ball to work with! Maybe someday.)

If you’re in the Salt Lake City area and would like to schedule a session with me, just email salinespirit at gmail dot com and let me know! I’ll be working in the Sugarhouse neighborhood at a location just off the S line (parking available too).

Shop updates

Yeah, I know I said I hated making shop updates here. Fact is that some extra cash would help me comfortably afford my plane ticket to Many Gods West instead of just barely affording it. I’ll be there, so I’m not exactly threatening to not show up. Just sayin’.

Altar cloths! I got a ton. I scored a White sewing machine at a thrift store and it’s seriously improved and increased the sewing I do. You benefit by getting loads of awesome altar cloths, spread cloths, crystal grid cloths, and even (gasp!) table cloths. il_570xN.1225799875_7982              il_570xN.1267368093_27i9

Blue and green tie-dyed altar cloth.                   Dark blue and green tie-dyed table runner.

All the altar cloths and table runners have been made with 100% cotton for easy care and keeping. I’ve left them minimally finished so you can easily attach trim, fringe, or beads. They also look nice as-is.

I’m still making the little necklaces that are perfectly suited for our favorite deity icons and idols. This is a personal favorite of mine; I love the bone-colored glass bead in the center. These are only $7 so they’re perfect for small offerings or seasonal gifts.

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My divination backlog is cleared and it’s a great time to schedule a reading with me. I have a few new tarot and oracle decks that I’m itching to use on clients – I’ve got the Ostara Tarot, the Slutist Tarot, the Wooden Tarot, and the Ceccoli Oracle ready to roll! Since I’m doing a bit of fund-raising, I’m taking simple questions and confirmation-style divination requests for just $10; these take around 15 minutes as compared to the 45 – 60 that my usual readings do. You can send me a message through the Divination Services page or email me at salinespirit at gmail dot com.

Speaking of tarot – I have my first deck walkthrough and review on YouTube! You can hear my tiny little voice and see my tiny little hands. Another video is coming next week; if you like this sort of thing, Patreon supporters get a first look at video content as well as all kinds of other things. I’ve been sharing previews of the in-progress Heartroad2 manuscript as well as coupon codes, printables, and other goodies on my Patreon feed. Or you can simply subscribe to the channel for monthly Virtual Temple Project releases and divination stuff.

 

 

The Names of the Gods Aren’t Their Real Names

This is an excellent blog post on a very complicated topic. Polytheist dialogue has long emphasized the distinctive nature of our many gods with the unspoken implication that They will always remain distinctive to our perception. So what happens when our most commonly used method of distinguishing Them – Their sacred names – get soft and slip away?

When I was in my mid-20s some ten-ish years ago I was forced to loosen my grip on the idea of convenient names and even forms. Although the One I loved remained as familiar as He was ever going to be (which is a doubtful matter even on good days) I learned that nothing about a category was truly fixed. There was no quality of a name that required it to remain fixed in the same place, meaning the same things, pointing in the same direction forever and always. Even the identity behind the name could be shaken to the point of becoming unrecognizable.

As I got older and read more and more accounts like this one where the sacred personality remained the same but all the assumptions the devotee held were torn away, I would wonder when that would happen to me – WOULD that happen to me? Then it finally occurred to me that it already had. But rather than losing Him, I lost myself – which turned out to be effectively the same thing, since knowledge of Him rested in me and if I was not who I thought I was, then who on earth could He be?

I spent many hard months wrestling with these questions that were all the time colored by this conviction that I loved Him anyway. Regardless of who He was or who I was or who I thought He was, I loved Him. Everything else amounted to unessential details and so, hard though it was, I stopped worrying about that and decided to make the fact of loving primary. The rest gradually fell into place but it has never stopped changing. I have no clue who I am and fear lying when I try to name particulars. I barely have any clue who He is except that He is the same – except when He’s not. There’s a name that we agree to use and it seems to be the same name that He agrees to use with lots of people – but there are other names, other forms, other ways of being that characterize the One I love.

There is a childish arrogance in thinking that because we know a Name that we know everything there is to know about the Named. A sacred name is merely a coordinate in space, a kind of astral address that (we always hope) will get us to the place we hope to arrive at. Outgrowing that arrogance is essential and, I always hope, an experience that will give rise to compassionate regard for other’s struggles and for their stubborn insistence that they possess all knowledge regarding Name, Form, and Fame. We should be humble in the face of this sacred mystery and know that a wealth of knowledge on our beloved gods exists inside each worshiper. From this respectful attitude sprouts a willingness to accept sacred mystery on its own terms – or so I always hope.

Foxglove & Firmitas

There is a phenomena that happens in the mystic sector of our communities that regularly drives a knife into the heart of the mystic – That of suddenly realizing that the Gods you are so close to are not who you expected them to be, which is the very foundation of mysticism. At first it is rending. Then it is uncomfortable. You begin the journey, diving into what we define as syncretism, and you’re met with mixed emotions. You mourn the loss of equilibrium. You fear uncertainty. You mourn what you’ve lost. You doubt your path or your sanity, sometimes both. Sometimes there’s the loss of community or co-religionist friends. It hurts. It’s excruciating.

Meanwhile there’s tickling excitement as you find spots where you discover the familiar in new faces and learn new things. You gain new tools for approaching your beloved Gods. You expand your community of like-minded, same-hearted…

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Blogging is hard

The many and complicated reasons that I began blogging haven’t changed, but my willingness to stick with this task has. I’m still here, I’m still interested in writing and sharing, but the things I want to write and share have become much fewer in number. I not only write for a living I try to write all my pagan stuff with the teaspoons left over – and there are fewer than ever. Therefore everything gets put before this poor blog.

I’ve rarely been someone to write walls of text and certainly not on a frequent basis; I’m impressed by the stamina of such authors and envious of their ability to resist eye strain. Sorry if you’ve been counting on 3,000+ word posts every few days but I don’t have it in me, less now than maybe ever.

goldpearlI am, however, fairly busy on social media because in some ways it’s easier. I don’t want to fill my blog with Etsy shop updates (but hey, there’s been lots and lots of updates!) but at the same time that’s often the biggest news. I’m trying to resurrect the Coffee At Midnight Facebook page and I’m busier than ever on my official author page. ‘Like’ either of these pages to stay up to date on the small things. I’ll try to share the big things here.

Oh! Speaking of big things, I’ve added some new content to the Virtual Temple Project YouTube channel. In addition to a playlist of monthly videos celebrating Loki Herself, there’s also a growing playlist of tarot/oracle deck walkthroughs and mini-reviews. (They’re probably not proper walkthroughs but they’re also not quite full reviews, so whatever.) I’m very excited to showcase some of my favorite decks and am using this as an opportunity to explore new decks that I haven’t gotten around to purchasing just for my own use.  The first publicly released video is a review of The Slutist Tarot, which I’m obviously enthusiastic about. Patreon supporters get first looks at all video content, including future deck walkthroughs and divination-related stuff, too!IMG_3087

Possibly the biggest upcoming thing is Many Gods West, which I’ll be presenting two sessions at. I’m excited to be part of this event for the third time. Both previous years have been highly positive and it’s been a good way to meet people I never would have otherwise. I have ambitions to release at least one of these sessions as a narrated slideshow video after the event but it’s going to take a while.

If you’re local to the Salt Lake City area, please stop by and see me at Elemental Inspirations in Sugarhouse! I’m the house tea leaf reader there two Saturdays a month or buy appointment. I do tarot and oracle readings, too. It’s been a long time since I was a house reader and I’m excited about the challenges that I’m sure to encounter. I want to get better at this craft, so I’m making it a more central part of my habitual practices – hence the growing collection of to-be-released divination videos. 😀

Thanks for reading and for sticking with me.

Blank witch

I’ve been listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and just doing a lot of thinking about magic. I wrote some entries last year about how I felt not just ineffective in my magical practice but downright broken – like I had no more magic in me and that I was fooling myself in the first place to have thought I did. I’ve been slowly coming out of that thanks to the material created by many other people (and by talking to my friends and peers about the whole mess). Along the way I’ve noticed that some people talk about being a “(blank) witch” – a light witch, a water witch, a stone witch, a plant witch, etc. etc. I definitely understand what they’re saying but this way of describing oneself and ones magic is not a familiar thing to me. When I was discovering witchcraft as a teen in the mid-late 90s, I don’t think I saw a lot of really specific self-identifiers like this. Oh sure we talked a lot about which of the four magical elements we were most aligned to and whether or not we were a textbook example of our astrological sign. Maybe I just ran with the wrong crowd for that sort of thing, I don’t know.

Although it’d be easy to scoff and say that it’s silly to pigeonhole oneself and one’s magic into one or two simple categories, I think that this particular development is a helpful way of articulating what approaches to magic one is likely to get results with. Like, this is is a way of expressing how a witch actually goes about getting the changes they want to see. When I was younger there was kind of an unspoken rule that a witch had to be good at all approaches to magic and had to be able to get their desired results regardless of tools, time, circumstance, etc. and while I think that flexibility with regards to practice is healthy and helpful, demanding that people be good at all things, all of the time is a little ridiculous. Of course people are naturally going to thrive in some contexts and not in others. So this got me to thinking: what approach to magic am I actually good at?

And I have no idea.

Sure, I can candle my way through a protection spell or mix up a bunch of herbs n spices to curtail gossip and I can say an effective prayer for prosperity…but what kind of witch is this? A kitchen witch? That doesn’t seem to fit the description or my approach to magic.

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I suppose I work a lot with energy – but who doesn’t, on  some level?

I do approach the creation of magical circumstances a lot through art and creativity and even through music sometimes – so maybe I’m an artistic witch? I made this little bag to the right and thought a lot about the mermaids I know and the merfolk I may someday meet. I thought a lot about the treasures of the earth and what mermaids might consider valuable that landmaids might not. I guess that’s sort of magic even though I didn’t really have a distinctive intention embedded in the process aside from the desire to make the finished item beautiful.

What about the kinds of spells I have a knack for or that I have good success with? I know what my job title in the Big Black Building is (which I won’t mention here). I’m also reasonably good with general protection and I’ve been able to kick the ass of any energetic nasty that got in my way. That said, I’m as prone to a decent whammy as most of us.

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I’ve always been pretty darn good at divination and fortune telling. Maybe I’m a divination witch? I haven’t tried casting spells as such with cartomancy items but I’ve thought about it. I can “read” energy fairly well – assuming that I’m willing to trust what I’m receiving which I don’t always. I’ve read professionally since I was 18 – nearly twenty years – and I’ve studied cards since I was 11 or 12. I’m decent at this kind of magic if for no other reason than I’ve been working with it for so damn long.

Then of course there’s all the spirit work skills which I’m not sure really count in this situation.

I dunno – have any of you ever thought about what kind of witch you are, or even if you like to call yourself a “(blank) witch”? How did you find your approach to magic?