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Does post-Halloween depression descend on you as quick as icy November wind?

Halloween roadkill breaks my heart. You’ve seen it. Discounted bat and skull decorations, neglected costumes, stale candy shoved onto back store shelves, making room for the green and red explosion of tinsel, elves, and Santas.

Doesn’t it seem like Halloween is cruelly ripped away? As if Halloween were a passing fancy, picked up, used and thrown aside like the crunchy leaves your dad used to rake into black garbage bags when you were done jumping in them.

But, I’m cheered by the fact that winter solstice and the longest nights of the year loom ahead. That the chilly nights of November and December are ripe for magic, meditation and reflection. That Charles Dickens’s best ghost stories are about Christmas.

Plus, it’s almost time to bring a live, living tree into the house. And what could be spookier than an evening visit from a mysterious man bearing gifts?

So, I ignore the crass commercialization and monetization of the season as the year winds down. I recall what ensuing holidays are really, truly and cross-culturally about. Darkness and rebirth.

And I reach for my cards … because the joy of reading tarot is that we peer behind the veil every time we flip a card. No matter the calendar date.

1. Trick or Treat with Your Cards

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~Shuffle your deck randomly and select any number of cards you like, face down.
~Imagine these are doors you will knock on.
~Say, “Trick or treat!” and flip the card as if the door were opening.
~Let the card answer you with a message.
~The message is your treat!

2. Perform Victorian Parlor Tricks with a Card

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~ An old Victorian divinatory game instructs a woman to walk upstairs, backwards, eating a boiled egg, without salt,and peer into a looking glass. There, she shall see the face of her true love.
~Do this very same thing but use a random tarot card instead of or in addition to a mirror.

3. Perform a Reading for a Dead Historical Figure

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~ Have you ever given a reading to a ghost? You might try it. Perhaps you’d like to read cards for Washington Irving, Ed Wood or Bram Stoker.
~ Communicate with them through your cards.

4. Dress as a Card

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~ You don’t have to wear an all out costume.
~ Wear a moon hair clip to connect to the High Priestess, a scythe necklace to connect with Death. A faux snakeskin belt to connect with the Magician.
~ Do so mindfully. Wear the symbol of the card, you also invoke the energy of the archetype.

5. Use a Tarot Card in a Magic Spell

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~ Tarot cards are powerful visual tools. Archetypes contain energetic reserves. Use both in spell work.
~ And if you’ve never cast a spell, perhaps it is high time you try…

I write books about tarot (here’s a pic of my newest baby) which means loads of tarot facts are thumping around between my ears. If you are reading these words, it means you love to study the cards as much as I do.

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Tarot students are often nervous to “get it wrong”  if they don’t know what a card means. What most new cartomancers don’t realize is that their so-called ignorance of the cards is really their strongest asset. The key is waiting for the information to come to you.

“Book knowledge” and vast arrays of esoteric theory are not necessarily helpful when it comes down to reading for ourselves. After all, we dive into the cards and visit psychics/intuitives for information we don’t know. If we knew it, we wouldn’t be asking in the first place.

When reading for ourselves how can we break out of the rut of what we know? How do we keep our personal readings fresh and insightful?

Simple.

Ask the cards what you don’t know.

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1). Clear your mind.

2). Sit with shuffled deck in front of you.

3). State out loud, “What I don’t know about the _____ card is that ________________.”

4). Fill in the blanks by selecting a card and finishing the sentence. Don’t try too hard. Let some aspect off card strike you and state it clearly and articulate it out loud or write it down.

Once you figure out why this particular answer came to you, discover why it is relevant to your situation.

You will know your information is good if:

1). The information surprises you or makes no sense.

2). Upon reflection, the information holds particular resonance for you.

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Personal Example:

Yesterday morning, I grabbed my tarot deck, thick with the humidity of summer. I said, “What I don’t know about ((randomly selected)) the Moon card is that…” I waited for it to come to me “… the brown dog on the left belongs to Gertrude Stein.”

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Hmmmmm, ok, that’s a weird piece of information.

But Gertrude Stein holds a certain amount of personal resonance for me. I googled “Gertrude Stein’s dog” to discover if she was indeed a dog owner/lover. She was. Even renowned photographer Man Ray photographed her beloved pooch. Here’s Ms. Stein is with her dog Basket and Alice B. Tolkas (pictured on the right):

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I understood why I received this random message and it was two-fold. First, it was a joy to discover that some random part of my consciousness picked up on a true fact. Two, and more importantly, I’ve been revising my first novel this summer and it has been a monster struggle.

Gertrude Stein was a mentor and guru to many of the 20th Century’s greatest modernist writers and artists. I went further in interpreting the message: “It is important to plod forward, just like the Moon’s crawfish crawling out of the water. Move forward, one word at a time. And passing the towers, braving the beasts and basking in mysterious moonlight confusion, the ghosts of artists past, present and future travel with you. While the road marked is your own, you are far from the first to travel on it.

Now how’s that for a message first thing in the morning?

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I hope you try this way of questioning the cards and I hope you find it fun and useful. It makes a great addition to your card-a-day practice.

Drop me a line or a comment if you want to share any cool messages that you receive by using this method.

Speaking of the Moon tarot card, enjoy tomorrow night’s Full Moon!!!

And check out this awesome recent review of 365 Tarot Spreads on Spirituality Today!

Today, May 22nd, is World Goth Day!

It inspired a spread from my newest book, 365 Tarot Spreads. 

 

Gothic Torture Spread

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Explore transcendent themes of darkness as expressed by gothic culture. Curl up in a castle, befriend the shadows, bask in the moonlight and embrace the gloaming of your soul with a sublime tarot spread:

 

1. Grotesque: What truth have I distorted?

2. Horror: What scares me?

3. Romance: What excites me?

4. Curse: What plagues me?

5. Ghostly: What haunts me?

6. Mysterious: What mystery must be unraveled?

7. Desolate: What makes me feel bleak and empty?

8. Death: What has been lost?

9. Angst: What hope fills me with the sense of overcoming the uselessness of this situation?

10. Creativity: What makes my darkness so beautiful?

 

Cast your cards in the shape of an ankh, an ancient symbol of life:

 4.

3.             5.

2.             6.

  7.

    1.                      8.

    9.

     1o.

Find this spread and 364 more in my new book:

365 Tarot Spreads

The image of the Lovers comes from Ian DanielsThe Tarot of Vampyres.

 

 

 

 

I was thrilled when Llewellyn asked me to contribute to their tarot blog. This article is a repost. Please find the original posting here: Llewellyn Tarot Blog.

Happy Spring!

Ace-of-Wands

“I want to do to you what spring does with the cherry trees.”

Pablo Neruda

Neruda’s erotically charged words perfectly describe what happens within the Ace of Wands, don’t they? Especially the RWS Ace of Wands. The ace is literally shuddering, shedding its leaves in excitement. The wand throbs with fire and passion, blooming like a woman in the throws of lust and abandon, pushed to her limits, filled by her lover.

This is the absolute essence the entire suit of Wands.

Spring wakes everything up, it pokes and nudges us. We feel it it the very recess of our bones as we find the sun, shed heavy winter clothing and bask in lingering twilight evenings. We notice the purple shock of a blooming flower, warm breezes tickle our skin, farmer’s markets buzz with excitement as early asparagus and sweet peas appear. Can we align our decks and our souls with the tremblings of Spring? Can we milk fire’s magic out of a tarot deck? Out of ourselves? I think we can.

Four-of-Wands

The shift of seasons are important, they keep us in touch with nature’s rhythms and remind us we are part of nature, not separate from it. Various schools assign different tarot suits to the seasons. But Wands and the element of fire are the power that germinates a seed to sprout. Wands are the voltage of true magic, the currents dividing the pentacle-like cells in within your body.  Wands, like spring, wake us up. But more importantly, they move us to action. Wands gets things accomplished.

It is important to differentiate between the desire reverberating inside Wands and the fluid emotion spilling out of Cups. They should not be confused. Desire and love intertwine like vines of woven wisteria and honeysuckle. But they are two distinctly different things. Desire requires action while love requires feeling. Love moves mountains but it can also be a passive experience. Desire and the suit of Wands always carry a physical, visible side effect. The spark of flirtation that brings people together. A flash of passion moving a person or crowd to action. The fire ignited when injustice is witnessed or experienced. And the element of longing, that sweet ache, painful deliciousness, toe curling, never satisfying, deep in your bones longing comes straight from Wands.

Eight-of-Wands

Become a consort to spring as it surrenders itself. Feel yourself melting and sliding into summer. Grasp the Wands of desire in your hands. Find what makes you quiver and embrace it every day. Give readings to lovers, then embrace your own infatuations. Toss imaginary tarot cards at everyone you pass. Cook a meal like it’s the last one you’ll ever eat. Dig up the garden just to smell the dirt on your skin. Find an old tarot deck and bury your favorite card to see what blossoms. Cast cards in the moonlight and charge your deck by day in the sun. Call forth the fireflies and take destiny into your own hands. Feel fortune rolling in your palm, throw it toward the stars. Let them shower back over you reflecting your own brilliance.

Spring clean with your deck, pull a card for each room. Dust off your Magician wand, polish the Hermit’s lantern and light a candle inside, fasten baskets of flowers to your porch like the Hanged Man, dip into Temperance’s pond, drive to work like the Chariot, be as brazen as Death and cavort with the Devil.

The torchlight of Wands helps me to see perfectly inside of you. I’m looking right now. You are beautiful. I see infinite winding roads, dark caverns waiting to be filled, and pages of life ready to be written. Just like spring, you’ve only just begun. And no one, not even I, know what you have in store.

So, on languid spring nights, when no one is watching and you sit alone, shuffle your cards. Let the Wands of tarot light a fire inside of you. Most importantly, let them spark you towards those untraveled places inside yourself.

Let Wands illuminate and warm you from within so as summer arrives, you’ll drip with magic, weave effortless enchantment and conjure your heart and bodily desire.

Cast your cards wisely…

The High Priestess is tarot favorite as she represents intuition, inner knowledge and the powerful hidden force of the female. Her connection to the moon and water, flow and magic make her an iconic soul sister and mirror to the spirit.

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Gazing at her image, I am reminded of invisible forces thriving deep inside. These unseen strains emulate via thoughts and actions. They become the gestures which ultimately create and determine our lives. What we turn into reality seems to spring from somewhere beneath her white robes.

Is your destiny written on her scroll? When you sense de ja vu, is it because she’s already whispered it to you? And where are the bubbling, rushing waters behind her leading you?

It is not her lunar energy or water connection I’ve been preoccupied with but the pillars she sits between.

Kabbalah study, in relation to tarot, is fascinating, yet challenging. How does this philosophical rendering relate to us on a personal level, let alone a reading?

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The High Priestess sits between two pillars as does the Hierophant and Justice. On a basic level, the two pillars represent opposite spectrums, dark to light, masculine to feminine, push and pull, creation and destruction. The middle pillar is the fleshy figure in the card and if taken literally, is YOU.

Understanding the nature of these pillars may unlock those special parts of yourself and give you fresh, unfettered access to the High Priestess.

New Age thought tells you to follow your passion and live your purpose. Good advice. However, I think true magic erupts when you work from a collision of opposites. Acting from the middle pillar, embodying the High Priestess.

A painter uses a collision of colors to bring a canvas to life, the composer uses the combination of unexpected notes to create a symphony, novels and films use the mash up of characters to create compelling narrative. In cooking, it is the salty and sweet, the creamy with smoky, the combination of opposites, that makes our mouth water.

New and unexpected are the hallmarks of creativity. Admittedly, the most creative thing each of us does every day is craft our own lives.

And isn’t this what makes the thrill of love and infatuation so exciting? The blending of the known (you) and the unknown (your lover). The uncovering of the unknown.

Lots of the things we want and desire, be they people, objects or passions, don’t necessarily come from the same place, nor are they compatible. They are from opposite pillars. We are often told by society and the “outside world” that they are unacceptable.

But it is inside the collisions and contradictions of you that makes you … well … you.

Complicated, deep, silly and profound. Unique among 7 billion people.

And isn’t the very nature of life itself made up of the collision/integration of seen vs. unseen? When you really think of it, the very experience of life wrapped and contained inside the interpretation of our own heads.

Seen (Pentacles)

Physical world, outward appearance, stuff we can see, feel and touch.

vs.

Unseen (Wands, Swords and Cups)

Passions, desires, dreams, plans, our perceptions of the world and events and imagination,  thought and most importantly emotion.

I’m paying extra attention right now to the HIgh Priestess see how the opposites in my life create interesting tension and frisson.

Do you have thoughts on embodying the middle pillar?

How you have successfully blended oppositional themes, aesthetics and desires in your life?

If so, please share them below. Would love to hear your thoughts.

tarotgirl:

Hi all. I was going to share a March spread from 365 Tarot Spreads but I see that this wonderful writer has already done so. Hope you enjoy the Wisdom of Minerva Spread and here’s to hoping there’s a lovely spring warm up in your part of the world!
And a huge thanks to Her Sixth Circle for this awesome post!!
Xo

Originally posted on her sixth circle:

In my other life, I read and review a LOT of books, which means I’m a member of NetGalley. When I saw this book come up in my radar, I couldn’t resist, and I requested a copy of this book. Thanks again to Llewelyn Worldwide for providing this galley free of charge, in exchange for my honest review.

This book was an excellent choice!

____________________________________________________________________________

365 Tarot Spreads: Revealing the Magic in Each Day by Sasha Graham365 Tarot Spreads: Revealing the Magic in Each Day
by Sasha Graham
Coming: May 8, 2014

My Rating: ★★★★★
[Add to Goodreads]
[Pre-order from Llewelyn]
[Pre-order on Amazon]

For many cartomancers, tarot is a hallowed daily practice. Now you can navigate important life choices every day, all year with 365 Tarot Spreads. Featuring spreads for multi-cultural traditions, holidays, rituals, lore, and magic, this daily guide explores a tarot quest for every occasion and helps you discern answers to any question with…

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Happy 2014! It’s a huge thrill to share the cover art for my shiny new book, 365 Tarot Spreads, Revealing the Magic in Each Day with you. Pre-order it right now on Amazon.

 

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Inside, you’ll find a tarot spread for each and every day of the year. Each spread is based on an event, holiday or historical occurrence on that particular day.

Discover answers to any question using:

love spreads

work and career spreads

goddess spreads

occult spreads

creativity spreads

abundance spreads

health spreads

home and family spreads

much, much more!

Spring into spring with me when Llewellyn releases 365 Tarot Spreads this May.

Looking forward to seeing you between the pages and over the cards.

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