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.
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.
My first question was a bit of a dud. I asked what Goddesses should we, as a nation (The U.S.), look to for guidance in these times. Just like with my oldest tarot deck, it becomes pretty clear when I’m asking the wrong question. So, I relaxed, kept shuffling, and let my mind wander. My thoughts wound up settling on an evolving family situation.
These are the Goddesses who came to say hello:
- Freyja — Guidebook Excerpt: “She wants us to never, ever say yes to anything or anyone from a place of fear or obligation … It’s not your business to worry about those you might disappoint.”
- Nice to see Freyja again. I’m really exploring her decisiveness and thinking about why this had such an off-putting initial feel. Perhaps, it is rooted in the finality of it. Especially when it comes to discernment and people. When I make a decision about someone (trying to avoid the word judgement here) or I’m forced into it by the extremity of the behavior, I don’t feel like I can wind that decision back or change my choice once I do it. And I think because of that, I stopped making those decisions based on discernment. I got tired of losing people and being alone. The irony of it being that I’ve kept certain people in my life by avoiding that decision making progress and I feel more alone (and unhappy) than I ever have. Being able to have a list of people isn’t worth the toxicity and stagnation. I determine the value of the deal to stay in my life, this isn’t worth it. A very basic theme of this though is clearing room for abundance, creativity, love, and enjoyment. The only way to do that is release what doesn’t serve me on my journey, be it job, lifestyle, or person.
- Teresa of Avila — Guidebook Excerpt: “God dwells in our soul … but [Teresa of Avila] also instructed the sisters of her convent on how to discern the presence of the soul, or of a saint, or of a holy person that is giving us wisdom from within us.”
- After I started reading Teresa of Avila’s entry in the guidebook, I went to Amazon and picked up a Kindle copy of The Interior Castle. Though, I’m not sure if I picked a good translation. It would be nice to eventually read it in Spanish. Not to get even further down a side road, but Christian mysticism is a subject I’d like to learn more about coming from a Catholic background with exposure to Santeria, Hoodoo, and Voodoo. It has been a surprisingly difficult journey emotionally for me to fully embrace being a witch, my gifts, and everything that comes along with it. Growing up where one ear was a constant stream of propaganda from a rich, corrupt church and the other hearing nothing but damnation and misery from another equally corrupt and money-driven church, there are times I doubt seeps in. Are these cards, these words, these herbs, these stones, these dreams, the inexplicable knowing of something — are these things going to send me to an eternal furnace. Am I standing on the wrong side of this? The truth of the matter is, even if I were to have stayed in either church, the Bible is full of magick and miracles. There are witches in the Bible. Psalms play a big part in certain forms of folk magic. The syncretization of Saints, rituals, and other spiritual/magickal concepts cannot be ignored. From this I’m hearing a couple things: 1) Listen to inside. Another echo of the advice from Freyja. Listen to your gifts, your access, trust it. 2) You can receive advice and experience the knowing internally. So ask. Establish that connection, nourish it, and utilize it.
- Black Madonna — Guidebook Excerpt: “The Black Madonna is the cauldron that holds us steadfastly as we endure the alchemy of integrating more soul into our existence. She is the promise that what doesn’t survive the fires of suffering was never meant for us.”
- Looking at the imagery of Black Madonnas, I can’t help but think of Eirene from a previous Goddess reading. But my first knowledge of Black Madonna came during my research of Isis and Yemoja/Yemaya. For me personally, I have a very strong draw to both Isis and Yemoja for the same underlying reason (cleansing rebirth), but it manifests in different ways. Many times, I’ve talked about Isis and Osiris and how personal that is for me and a relationship I had. I love hard and perhaps even to a dangerous degree. Both Goddesses represent love in my eyes like the Black Madonna. The difference being that Yemoja is more maternal and I associate it with self and to a degree family as well. With Isis, I think of relationships and how I love others, especially romantically and sexually. For a while now, I’ve kept myself in a kind of box — or at least part of me. When I started losing people and making “bad decisions”, I stopped pursuing relationships. Not just romantic relationships, but new friendships and I think it would also be fair to say that I let some of my family relationships deteriorate also. Don’t forget about love, either kind. Love has a way of restoring and resurrecting the spirit. There’s also an accepting forgiveness (or forgiving acceptance?) that comes with it. Maybe refusing to start a journey knowing that it will likely end is also not the answer just as allowing myself to be consumed as my family’s caretaker isn’t either.
- Catherine Labouré — Guidebook Excerpt: “I am ready to heal. I am worthy of miracles meant for me … Suffering doesn’t glorify us or make us more holy … If we can hand over an attachment to what healing is going to look like, we can receive all the blessings waiting for us.”
- There’s a theme emerging here. It is one of self-care, self-support, and self-acceptance. I haven’t been too shy about venting about difficulties in my family whether it’s been over relationships or external issues like health and finances. As time ticks on, I do believe I am praying more and more, which is a positive in my mind. It keeps me from falling stagnant spiritually and magickally. Plus, my little family needs a lot of help. And I have accepted it needs more help that only I can give it. If I’m praying because something has happened (e.g. my relative going into the hospital last week) or just as a part of regular cleansing or pre-gaming before ritual and magick work, I am usually praying for other people. Of course, I ask for protection in all work I do, but normally my focus and intent turns toward the small circle of people I care about. What facilitates part of my cleansing process to release worry and micromanaging is to pray. Praying for the health, protection, abundance, whatever for my family gives me a way to set that concern down, at least for a little while. Like many people, I often find myself saying “As long as they are safe and health, I’m good.”, which, after reconsideration, sounds like I’m shutting the door on blessings set aside for me. I know what I’m doing — I think that if I shut my air vents, my family members will get more air through theirs. My portion divided to them. There seems to be two parts to that: 1) I know what I can survive and get through in the short-term and am willing to deal with that if it means making it easier for my family and 2) I was told so much that I didn’t value things growing up, that I was spoiled, and ungrateful. Add to that a suffering-obsessed Catholic upbringing followed by the life-on-Earth-is-sacrifice Evangelical view and I just think that there’s a large part of me that feels like it constantly has to prove dedication, loyalty, and love by sacrificing for family. My mother is excluded from this for many reasons, but I feel like my family allowed me to hand over a person’s most precious commodity: time. If they needed me, I dropped everything. Driving ten hours, lifting, cleaning, whatever they couldn’t (wouldn’t?) do. As a teenager and a twenty-something, I wasn’t aware enough to know what I was handing over. My inner dialogue with myself and also the conversation I have with God and Spirit has to change. Even the wording of my spells must change. It isn’t just about my family, my friends, the household, the vehicles, their job offers, their health, their relationship with self. I need to begin doing more magickal work focused on myself. I need to start talking about my dreams, my blessings, my creativity, my abundance, my financial security and growth, my love life, my goals for writing and motherhood. Most importantly, I need to work on my inner dialogue and come to accept that I am worthy of asking for and receiving good things. Instead of focusing on receiving confirmation, validation, and praise from others for what I’ve done for them, I need to look myself at those things and acknowledge that I’ve proven myself. I need to acknowledge that I have more than demonstrated my love and loyalty. I deserve peace, happiness, good health, professional success, financial wealth, personal fulfillment, life enriching love and experiences, a life full of abundance and wonder. So, it’s time to start asking, claiming, and receiving.
- Lakshmi — Guidebook Excerpt: “Lakshmi personifies the splendor and affluence that arrives when we align our every action with what the soul desires most for us … Her essence, then, is about understanding the goal in life: to realize the abundance of the soul.”
- Normally when something major happens to us along the financial front, my first reaction is to hit pause of the writing and “go get a real 9-5 job” for a steady paycheck. There have been a few major situations where I have had uninterrupted time to get my writing off the ground and circumstances arise where I have to make a decision about taking a job for the paycheck or continuing to write. I have always picked the job. I date every draft, every character roster, every piece of research for a writing project. I date every version of these documents after a major revision. At this very moment, I’m sitting on books now numbering more than half a dozen. Not short stories, and now no longer novellas. They are all novels with the least developed one in a major scene outline state (the skeleton on which to hang the meat of the story is established) and the most developed numbering into hundreds of pages (though arguably it’s finished pending editing). I would be lying if I said it wasn’t like an arrow through my heart when I have a break from work and flip through those documents and see dates from 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017, etc. I regret pushing my writing to the side, putting it off, relegating it to a hobby and not making it a priority. There is one comfort, I suppose, and that is most of the writing, the ideas, the characters stand up over time. Ten years later and the concepts in one project are just as topical and hard hitting. Creating characters, building worlds, and telling stories is something I’m really good at. As my harshest critic who has thought some horrendous things about myself regarding my capability, appearance, self-worth, etc., I can’t diminish my writing projects. That’s the one area that I can’t argue against because it’s in black and white. Writing lights me up. When I’m in that zone and things are coming together, the creativity is flowing, the mojo is there, it is such a spiritual experience for me. It feels so good. The emotions I feel when I am writing in the head space or reading back through something that was created in that mode is a lot like being a kid and having birthday cake and free reign at Disney. It is re-energizing, rejuvenating, restorative. It heals me, enriches me, helps me to grow. Through research, I’ve learned about so many cultures and places, not to mention the fact it has broadened my views on the world by introducing me to the perspectives of others and their journeys. My prayer always is that for every character I create and plot or story arch that I write it resonates and connects. It communicates and transcends beyond the first few layers to inspire or heal or comfort. Writing saved me time and time again when I was a teenager and really as an adult as well. This goes hand in hand with being open to, asking for, and receiving abundance, manifesting, creating, all of it.
- Khadijah — Guidebook Excerpt: “Khadijah represents the power and importance of knowing we can provide for ourselves. This power gives us roots and confidence and allows us to create relationships from a place of interdependence rather than co-dependence. We can cultivate the capacity we have to create more and more freedom for ourselves. And we can make choices for our life based on truth not just on survival.”
- Again with this card the narrative continues. Another goddess, another level to ascend to, to master. Financial co-dependence is an issue in my familial relationships and to a lesser degree the emotional type is as well. I’m slowly beginning to accept (without judgement) that I shouldn’t expect the emotional support and depth I need. A few weeks back, I ran the numbers and started putting a plan together to separate myself from my family. As long as I’m present and making myself available, they’re not doing to tell me to go live my life instead of running theirs. While I still intend on helping out and keeping them stable, it will be done at a distance and won’t involve the day-to-day running of their lives. It’s time for me to focus on my own. Part of my fear of commitment is being afraid of winding up trapped in a relationship because I don’t have the financial ability to get out, which is kind of how I feel right now. Money management is something I pride myself on. My credit is solid. The debt I’m paying down was generated from family problems, not because I continued school or went on shopping sprees or was in some way irresponsible. My first time ever getting approved for car financing was for a car for someone else. How do you say no to an elderly family member who needs safe and reliable transportation, you know? Khadijah kept it moving with her money and businesses so that she could provide for people she cared about. She cultivated her own influence and power via success and expansion. There’s a line within Khadijah’s entry in the guidebook that talks about the fairy tale of true love and being supported. This is why I won’t allow my children (when I have them) to watch traditional Disney movies. I don’t want to introduce them to and continually reinforce the financial gender roles of men being ATMs and women being incapable. The solution isn’t to marry someone in a higher tax bracket. The solution is to generate and amass your own wealth and security. When I have those resource in my pocket, then I have real options.
- Kali — Guidebook Excerpt: “Kali embodies the ultimate wake-up call to get us aligned as soon as possible with what we have come here to do. … [S]he can cut through illusion and grant us the reality our soul came to manifest.“
- With Kali, I think of the Death card and Scorpio and Medusa and Pegasus. Sometimes, you have to cut off your own head to transform. As a Gemini, I do find myself switching between twins depending on the circumstances I find myself in. Or rather, I did when I was younger. Whenever there was a major work thing, a relationship or dating situation, or trouble at home, I would step into the shoes of the other twin to access that extra power and fire. One is very cool and ground, methodical and stable. The other is fire. Good fire and bad fire. I have totally blown up my life before when I was younger and in relationships. As I’ve gotten older and found myself in financial situations that require me to play politics with family, I only really utilize the fiery twin for confidence in work and dating. I use her powers for good more or less. Kali resonates with me (and has manifested in my life) because truth and authenticity mean the most to me. I don’t need people’s admiration or even their respect, but I want the truth. When I was younger, I routinely looked at the people I was socializing with or the projects I participated in and evaluated whether or not they added to my life or were dragging me down. I often cut a lot of dead weight. This could range from cleaning out my phone and wiping the slate on social media to quietly making the decision to see certain family members less and avoid colleagues that weren’t on the up and up. If the problem was internal, I’d start with altering my appearance, new look, new style, new attitude. Make some changes in what I’m doing, what I’m eating, how I’m living. Dump sugar, dump boyfriends, dump the drama. But I think where I started to mess up was instead of transmuting the pain of growth and survival into energy to level up, I just sort of sat with it. Sometimes, I think of Michelle Obama’s quote about sitting in our pain. My fear of being alone, whether that manifests as being the last one alive in my family (a real possibility not far off) or seeing that my family is so toxic that I’m going to have to take drastic measures at least temporarily (also possible, but I think less probable with what I’ve been seeing lately), has stopped me from releasing people. It’s stopped me from getting rid of situations and individuals that weigh me down, drain my energy. Society is so dysfunctional and media (all forms) promotes such toxicity, it can be a very lonely road as there are a lot of cuts. But, the only way I’m going to have room for abundance and be able to attract positive people is if I sweep out the negative. This extends to thoughts, habits, behaviors of my own also. Sometimes, you have to blow up your life, clear the land, and rebuild. There’s a way to do this without being harmful in the demolition process. I think of that time in the shower when my grandmother’s spirit spoke to me about life. This is how it is, but I’m built to get through it. I am getting through it. However, rather than letting life and hardship kick me on down the road, I need to harness the momentum from those experiences and choose my direction, my trajectory, my path.
When I pull out a deck of cards, tarot or oracle, it’s usually because I need guidance. I need clarity. I need the truth. This deck and its guidebook were clearly created to meet these needs. When cards come out (or pulled depending on your own personal style), the images, thoughts, sentiments, words, all of it — present themselves to give the reader the best chance at honest insight and powerful motivation to back it up. The trials and tribulations of the individuals collected here are honored, not edited to fit an aesthetic or packaging.
This particular reading takes the form of a step-by-step plan to work on the issues that are holding me back. And I’m being honest here: the difficulties discussed in the entries above are absolutely the hardest issues I deal with. These behaviors have controlled a lot of my life, mostly because I allowed it. I didn’t know any better and then I didn’t know how to change it after I became aware.
This reading, this deck helped me. It helped me because the messages were carefully curated so that a variety of issues are covered here. It’s not sugar coated. It’s not patronizing. It’s not overly simplified. Life is conflict. Life is about navigating through difficult situations. The DFO deck is true to this objective. A by-product of this realism is that success, progress, however you want to describe it seems more attainable than the Disney-like love and light mantras of other decks.
Here’s what I’ll say about tone. It’s okay to use decks that are very clearly slanted toward the positive especially if life is kicking your ass and you need a pick-me-up. But, I would keep that in the back of my mind if asking for advice. Life is not a Hallmark movie. The real world has real problems that require real solutions. Positive decks are great for mindset and outlook. But for guidance and truth, a deck balanced in tone is a must. Unless the point is to keep avoiding being read by the cards you’re reading.
I have received The Goddess Oracle deck by Amy Marashinsky and I am hoping to get to the unboxing/review and first reading in the next week. There’s a backlog of content as I was dealing with an emergency health situation in my family over the last two weeks. Everything is sorted and I may post about it in the future as I had some interesting experiences during that time.