Lamplighter Tarot Challenge Exercise #4

This is exercise four of the Lamplighter Challenge called Ashes to Ashes.

While the cards were moving nicely during the start of shuffling, they tightened up on me a fair amount when asking questions. To work past that, I kept shuffling and slowly began working my way through different versions of the question until I felt the flow come back. In parentheses is the the challenge’s originally worded query.

After posting the shorter version of this exercise on my IG, I’ve had a little while to think about everything written below. I know that I took a bit of a liberty with adjusting the scope of the questions for this exercise. Though the cards wanted to talk about what they wanted, there is an area of materialism that I need to address.

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I will say that in the past I have been reluctant to unpack out of fear (a-ha!) that something will happen and I’ll have to repack and move. There has been a lot of instability in the last dozen years regarding my family’s financial situation. Even before having to walk away from a house and being forced into giving up things that meant so much to me (eg: my grandfather’s desk, the china hutch and dining room table that was an anniversary gift to my grandmother that they worked on together), I had stepped into a lifestyle where I was living out of suitcases. The travelling back and forth was so frequent that the only time I really ever thought it was worth the time to unpack was to do laundry.

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Lamplighter Tarot Challenge Exercise #3

The Perfectionist’s Dilemma is the name of this exercise for Hermit’s Mirror Lamplighter Challenge entitled: The Perfectionists Dilemma.

Prior to beginning, I usually read through the exercise to make sure I understand the purpose and that I have everything I need. That knowledge then carries over into my pre-reading meditation where I give thanks, do a bit of praying, let go of things troubling me from earlier in the day, and just get centered. My prayer for this exercise was to learn how to find the balance between producing the highest quality work and also being in the moment and enjoying the process.

To add some extra information here, I took on a client a short time ago and recently declined the offer to come on-board full time as they had originally hired me only for a relaunch project rather than a more permanent management position. They exhausted their original retainer and a few days ago I sent them a follow up invoice billing the hours accumulated over and above the original amount. This wasn’t a surprise as they had asked specifically about paying for the time I’ve worked and whatever they owe. Typically, I receive payment within hours electronically. I know in my heart of hearts that not only was my rate and billing to them fair-to-generous (they are family friends), but I did excellent work even if they complained I was too detail oriented and working to far ahead.

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Unboxing: The Goddess Oracle by Marashinsky and Janto

Finally found some time to do an unboxing of The Goddess Oracle by Amy Marashinsky and Hrana Janto. This is my third goddess-focused deck with the other two being the Goddess Guidance Oracle and the Divine Feminine Oracle.

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Straight out of the gate there is one major difference between this deck’s guidebook and the guidebooks of the others. It’s written for an audience that wants to work with deity or already does. Now, this doesn’t mean this is a requirement to use this deck, but rather that there’s quite a large chunk of content that is ritual-focused. I mentioned this in my condensed IG post about this deck that I think anyone who is Pagan, Wiccan, a Witch, anyone who connects with or wishes to invoke Goddesses is going to really get along well with this set.

There are some ritual basics outlined in the introductory section of the book like casting a circle and getting grounded. I really dig the emphasis on exposing the reader to different elements and styles of ritual and then encouraging them to make their own, to individualize their rituals in general. It’s like Roger Horne said in his Folk Witchcraft book (paraphrasing here), magick and ritual that is not personalized can be rather hollow.

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Lamplighter Tarot Challenge Exercise #2

[Note: I rewrote this somewhat extensively compared to the original post on Instagram. Over the intervening days, I’ve given these cards and information additional thought. This is reflected in the revision published below.]

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Prudence, Gain, and Wealth are the focus of the second exercise from the Lamp Lighter Challenge hosted by Hermit’s Mirror. The three decanic minors for Virgo in the Osho Zen Tarot are Ordinariness (Eight of Pentacles), Ripeness (Nine of Pentacles), and We Are the World (Ten of Pentacles).

When I do these challenges, I cleanse the deck beforehand and turn the cards right way up. That way, if there are reversals that pop up, I know it’s from fresh energy on the deck. In light of seeing that all the response cards are showing up reversed or mirrored to the focus cards drives home to me the point that these answers are within the context of what’s going on inside of me.

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Bookshelf Review: Folk Witchcraft by Roger Horne

Folk Witchcraft: A Guide to Lore, Land, and the Familiar Spirit for the Solitary Practitioner by Roger J. Horne

This is not a book I would put into the hands of a young witch. And by โ€˜youngโ€™, I mean a few different sets of people. 1) Actual witchlets, pre-teens, and teens. 2) Witches of any age that are immature or reckless in their judgment. A nice way I usually say this is โ€˜young and impulsiveโ€™. And 3) those who are new to the path.

I put this warning of sorts here because depending on the readerโ€™s culture, spiritual background, and other contextual factors, some of the suggestions and workings offered here could get some people into trouble. A little bit of knowledge can be dangerous.

For the record, I come from a Christian religious family, but have had folk Catholicism, Santeria, Hoodoo, Voodoo, and similar practices around me for much of my childhood and they have shaped my personal practice. Witchy Floridians โ€“ and I would even venture to say Spiritually Aware Floridians โ€“ have not only a very interesting relationship with the magick and spiritual systems from a variety of cultures, but we also have a way of reconciling them with the heavy Southern Christian roots that grow deep around us.

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Lamplighter Tarot Challenge Exercise #1

Sun Lamp is the title of the first exercise for this Virgo Season’s tarot challenge hosted by the amazing Thomas of Hermit’s Mirror. I felt so drawn to participate in this because I have found my drive for perfectionism to be paralyzing. It’s good to want to be great. But when the self-criticism gets to be so loud that you can’t even hear yourself think and you’re up to your neck swimming in anxiety, it’s time to assess.

If I can get in touch with this energy and do some shadow work to repair anything that is exacerbating the negative sides of Virgo energy, I want to do it. I’m at a place in my life, both financially and professionally, where I really need to take things to the next level. This is why I’ve chosen to use the Osho Zen Tarot deck, which is my go-to deck for shadow work more existential insight. I’ve showcased it here a few times in the past. The artwork is so vibrant and inspiring while the guidance is focused more on emotions, psychology, mentality, persona. The italicized portions are quotes from the deck’s guidebook, which I feel are relevant to the subject matter.

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Journal: Making Room for Mabon

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Over the last year or so, I’ve infrequently posted status updates about my Book of Shadows as well as rearranging my furniture (and life) to make room for an altar. It’s become very clear to me that I need at least one day a week where I can be alone to focus on studying deities and spiritual systems, practicing my craft, connecting with ancestors, enjoying nature, etc. If I don’t take that time to recharge, I really get into trouble. Though I’m a Gemini sun who needs a bit of spontaneity, I really am at my best when there’s structured playtime, if I can call it that.

With all the reading I’m doing, I’m slowly identifying what I believe in spiritually so that I can build my practice up from there. Reconnecting to nature and wildlife, I really want to observe the wheel of the year as much as possible relating to the Sabbats. While I don’t identify as Wiccan, I very much desire to have a nature-celebrating practice and trend toward a panenthesitic view. That is to say, I believe the Divine, God, Spirit, is separate from us humans, but is very much in nature, the elements, and a variety of other experiences. Animism is also a big part of my belief system and I’m slowly feeling along those roots, if you will, to see where they go. Because of my love for nature and animals, I really want to incorporate as much of the Wheel of the Year as possible.

Coming up on Fall, I’ve decided that my first proper go will be for Mabon. At the end of this post will be the links (videos) I have been going through to put together my game plan for celebrating Mabon. Feel free to check them out as there is lots of information on lore and deities as well as activities like tarot spreads, crafts, and spell work.

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Journal: Affirming the Past

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When I began considering titles for this post my first inclination was to use the term “reconcile”, but in a context similar to reconciling one’s transactions in their bank book. Since this is going to be about a relationship, I don’t want the presumption to be that the relationship has been queued up for replay. A legal term popped into my head: Affirm.

Affirm (verb) to state or assert positively; maintain as true.
The definition of “affirm” according to Dictionary.com

A couple days ago, I saw on Instagram a snippet of a quote that really grabbed me: “I don’t regret the love I gave because you probably needed it.”

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First Divine Feminine Oracle Deck Reading

First Oracle Reading with the Divine Feminine Oracle featuring Freyja, Teresa of Avila, The Black Madonna, Catherine Laboure, Lakshmi, and Khadijah.
First Reading, Divine Feminine Oracle Deck.

Before diving into my first reading with the DFO deck (pictured above), I want to talk about Khadijah. While I make it very clear that I’m head over heels about the artwork in this deck, this card in particular is at the very top of my favorites. Her pose, her power, her style, her age. It fits so well with her story, but is also a perfect example of what I see in my mind’s eye when I think of an empowered, respected, successful woman. As a woman who not only has her own business, but comes from a line of women who have done the same, I find that Khadijah resonates deeply with me. Meeting her at this time in my life is really magickal, in my eyes, as there are still things I want to achieve professionally, but also desire to start a family of my own. While working on this unboxing post and the previous comparison post, her card was one of the first that stood out to me. She’s hard to miss! In fact, when I would shuffle, select, or arrange the cards, her card kept reappearing.

I honestly didn’t who she was prior to looking her up in the guidebook. It has inspired me to learn more about her though and I wish more people knew of her as I think that would really go far in combating discrimination and stereotypes. This, in and of itself, is one of the prime examples of why I believe in and support a deck like this that seemingly approaches these revered figures with tremendous love and respect.

The Reading

When I first began shuffling, it was a bit awkward as the matte finish of the cards forces a change in how my fingers need to work. Practice makes perfect and as time went on, I found the rhythm. Prior to this, I had cleansed under the moon the scarf you see beneath the cards and then slept with the deck under my pillow. A delightfully clean blend of Rosemary and Spearmint was burning through the evening and as I did this reading.

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Unboxing: Meggan Watterson’s The Divine Feminine Oracle

A selection of the Goddesses and Figures featured in the Divine Feminine Oracle by Meggan Watterson
A sampling of The Divine Feminine Oracle by Meggan Watterson

I was so happy to finally purchase The Divine Feminine Oracle deck. When it arrived on Tuesday, I couldn’t wait to unpack it and explore. This is such a grown up collection. That probably sounds really bizarre, but I feel it’s accurate. You have the deck you might get your kid or young teenager (though even then I might question that) to introduce them to different names and faces and stories. And then you have this one. I look at the quality of the imagery, the power of it. I examine the guidebook and read the care and consideration put into the entries. This is the deck you buy for seriously connecting with the spirit and knowledge offered here.

Unboxing of Meggan Watterson's Divine Feminine Oracle deck.
The Divine Feminine Oracle

These are not caricatures visually or contextually. The background and information provided hasn’t been run through a Disney machine to sanitize everything with rainbows and smiley faces. Each individual gets about a three page write up that includes a bit of background, symbolism, cultural impact, as well as a meditative phrase and intention. This is a grown up deck. Rather than classify this as a sunny-side-of-the-street deck, I’d rather say that its tone is inline with its purpose and overall it is very motivating.

There’s quite a nice age range featured here as well, beyond the big three of maiden, mother, and crone. A woman’s age and how that impacts her appearance is (unfortunately) such a large part of the psyche. It’s refreshing to see older faces glowing with vivaciousness rather than being so weathered and perhaps diminished in spirit. For me at least, I think a person’s inner vitality is reflected a lot in their expression and demeanor regardless of age. When it comes to artistic representation of that, society’s prejudices about women who are older can dim the glow or dull the magnetism. Happy to report that every Goddess here presents powerfully, however their definition of power manifests.

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Journal: By the Light of the Moon

Serene view at Smacks Bayou

The moon was in Aquarius for this photo. I can still feel that airy reflective detachment when I look at this.

During most of my drive last night the moon was concealed by this small cluster of clouds in an otherwise clear night sky. On a lark, I took a detour and wound up at this bench on the water with a dynamite view. I just wanted to sit there and think. The breeze was gentle and the rain was sprinkling here and there. Actually, I’m not sure thinking was really part of it as much as I just wanted to sit there. The moon was so big and bright and the ceiling so high. I just wanted to look at it.

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After that fight, everything is different. The shock has faded, sure. But the vibe is different. More than that. It’s off. I’m not interested in being in it, around it. It’s very clear that there is no undoing what was done. This kind of emotional emancipation is something I haven’t felt in a while. It’s the they-crossed-a-line-and-now-it’s-done feeling. No anger, no malice, not even really sadness. That’s gone. It’s like they took a sword and sliced through the ropes that moored us together. Like a cord cutting even.

The irony of this is I had a conversation about this mechanism with one of the family members maybe a week before the fight. They knew what I was talking about and understood. It was solely about the concept and not because anyone had done anything. We happened to talk about it. And now here we are. This divorcing of my feelings doesn’t involve this specific family member, but another — their life partner. This adds another complication to it.

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Women’s Empowerment and Divination: Comparison of Goddess Guidance and Divine Feminism Oracle Decks

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Last year, I purchased Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Guidance Oracle deck (GGO). Since then, I have done a few posts about it and occasionally a reading. It wasn’t long after that I made the decision to replace it with The Divine Feminine Oracle (DFO) deck by Meggan Watterson. While the cards I drew from the GGO resonated with me for those situations, I still felt put off by the guidebook. Even when I stopped bringing the book out altogether and started diving straight into my own research, there felt like this wall in between me and the deck.

The Back Story

I bought the GGO (and then decided to buy DFO) because for most of my life I haven’t had many positive female influences. The women who raised me were all powerful in certain ways, but very dysfunctional. Some were very much not who I should have looked up to as role models for how to function in relationships or even how to interact with my self. Through ancestor work and my love of learning about different cultures, I wanted a deck focused on feminine energy with deities, archetypes, and heroes that could help me grow in places that were neglected. Obviously, this is why I was so disappointed in how GGO handled introducing the strong female identities.

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Journal: Tongues

I’m a Gemini Sun with Mercury in Gemini as well. Writing is my passion. My career is all about words (the law, in fact). Being able to communicate and understand make up such a large part of what I’m about it’s not at all surprising that I’ve always wanted to be able to speak as many languages as possible. My Ascendant is Aquarius and my Pluto in the 8th house. Understanding how and why people think what they do about things is also fascinating to me as it can also be used to build stronger bridges when there’s a cultural divide. I want to swim through the depths of people’s minds because I find them fascinating. This does often help me with character development, but my interest in the who, what, why, and how of people has always been a focus of my curiosity.

I heard recently that people who are attracted to learning languages often also have an affinity for patterns. That was a real light bulb moment for me. It doesn’t just apply within the context of how I personally process and learn a new language (grammatical structure, spelling, usage patterns, mnemonics), but I also with my love of cryptograms, codes, and puzzles.

It is estimated that possibly 2/3rds of the world’s children are raised bilingual. Regarding the bilingual experience: “[It] not only changes the way neurological structures process information, but also may alter the neurological structures themselves.”

Also from the article linked above, here is an interesting excerpt about how the brain of a bilingual person processes language that is heard:

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