So, are you embracing or hating your home witchy space? Are you wishing that you had one?
Well, come on inside my doors for a glimpse at where I am spending a lot of time with the store currently, depressingly closed. I don’t usually share a lot of personal stuff, but it felt appropriate right now. We’re all missing personal connections.
So here goes: I am both loving and hating my space. I moved in December, and I did not manage to get my future special witchy space built out before the pandemic came to our attention. But I am trying to embrace the space I have as-is and do what I can until things can once again move forward.
Not that I am being great about it. I pretty much ignored the full moon this week. It’s hard to focus on much for long. And I still don’t feel “settled in” here. And I miss all of you guys! The Treehouse has an awesome little community around it, and I’m thinking about all of you.
I miss all of you guys, so come and visit me virtually for this little tour!
So, how are you all faring? Tell me about your witchy spaces, and where you feel comfortable at home!
Thank you for joining us for another of Jac’s reviews!
Today I’m reviewing the Tarot Art Nouveau, illustrated by Antonella Castelli. She was able to draw inspiration from the classic design of tarot to develop a flow of color that washes throughout her images. She keeps the focus primarily on human figure and their emotions in this deck.
I’m struck by the soft coloring contrasted with bold outlines to create a feel of watercolor that bleeds through every picture. Some of them are difficult to draw meaning from, however, even if you are familiar with tarot. While many reflect their inspiration from the classic design, others are too ambiguous to attach a clear explanation.
The Devil and the Two of Cups, for example, are clearly new creative visions of the cards. Far removed from Smith’s symbolism, these images still express the intent of tarot schema upon which concepts are built. The Devil looks devious, yet alluring, and the 2 of Cups shows a deeply close relationship.
In contrast, however, we have the Five of Chalices and Coins along with the Ten of Coins. Fives normally express hardship and loss in their extremes, where these women seem a bit downcast there’s nothing to suggest pain or despair. The joy and fulfillment of success is absent from the 10 of Cups, as well. She looks rather blasé instead of even expressing subtle emotions, like pride or contentment.
It is a Lo Scarabeo deck. These offer a multilingual review of the card meanings and a basic layout for readings in its manual. Additionally, every card has its name written in the corners so many people can use them. While all tarot readings should have a variety of interpretations, I’m amused by the more literal approach. The small booklet itself also provides a generally adequate explanation of what each card represents.
The full size deck and the mini deck both have a gloss finish which makes them slick to slide well across themselves for swirl shuffling. The card stock is comfortably thick, so I don’t feel as though I’m damaging them with every use. The back of the standard size deck has a bilateral image of The Fool, while the mini has a unilateral framing of Justice. The color seems a gentle wash in its larger form, rather than bold splashing in miniature.
The Art Nouveau style has always clashed with industrial design in favor of a organically inspired creation. The lines curve and flow, often blending nature and humanity. Within this deck you can feel the style held constantly. It does seem like the focus was more about illustrate a beautiful form over being able to express meaning behind the deck. Regardless, I don’t find it to detract from the cards usability and it’s a deck I have made great use of.
Like the look of this deck and want to try it for yourself? Click the links below to purchase!
Since so many of us are staying in our homes right now, I thought I might turn some of our focus to magic that can be found right near by. Chances are, if you have any yard at all, at this time of year, you have dandelions! Hated by some as weeds, popping up their cheerful yellow blossoms as a sign of Spring, and loved by kids blowing or kicking at the seed heads, there is tons of folklore around these common plants.
Dandelions are a remarkably resilient and adaptable plant, a quality we could all embrace. The bright yellow flowers are also associated with solar energy and vitality. As they appear in Spring, they are a great symbol for beginnings and creative energy. They are reminders of joy and whimsy.
Here’s a little fun folklore for you: the tallest dandelion flower a child found in the Spring was supposed to show how much taller they would grow that year! Or, hold the golden flower under a child’s chin: a golden glow indicates how rich they will someday be.
Most magic and folklore surrounding dandelions is focused on their wonderful puff ball seed heads. For example:
The simple childhood game: blow on the seeds and make a wish!
Count the remaining seeds after you blow on them. The number left is how many more years you will live.
To tell the time, blow on the seeds three times. The number left is the hour.
To send a message to someone you love, picture your message while you blow the seeds in their direction.
When you blow on seeds to make a wish, and left behind means good luck.
Dandelion roots have been used in teas to promote psychic abilities. Dandelion leaves make a good addition to a Beltane meal. You can also make dandelion wine. In fact, there are lots of ways to eat dandelion! I haven’t tried any myself, but I would love to hear your experiences with dandelion recipes.
Know any more fun dandelion folklore or good recipes? Let us know in the comments!
Well, I started to write this up for Tarot Tuesday, got distracted and now it’s Wednesday… but it is also April Fool’s Day, so this still works, right?
For a little change of pace, I thought you all might enjoy a dive into a single tarot card. And we might as well start with the very beginning, card 0 of your Rider-Waite inspired tarot deck, The Fool!
There are plenty of reasons to start with The Fool, aside from just his position as card 0 of the Major Arcana. If one is to look at the cards as a story, then The Fool is who we follow through it. He is young, naive, and about to step out on a journey into the unknown. The journey could bring him to wonders, or he may lose his footing and stumble, but right now at the beginning he does not care. He is moving forward, and that is what matters.
Let’s take a moment and look at just the image. A young man in a jaunty cap is off on a journey, his bag on a stick over his shoulder, and a rose in his hand. The sun is at his back, and he looks up, not noticing (or caring?) that he is about to step off a cliff. A small dog is at his heels, either a companion or about to warn him if he steps too far.
The Fool is a symbol of naive beginnings. Naivete is not in itself a bad thing. Being naive means going into new things without preconceived notions, which can allow us to see everything as wondrous and new. But there is always a balance to be struck between experiencing new things and being foolhardy about it. So go ahead – try something new! Do something you have never done before! But don’t have your head so far in the clouds that you don’t see the cliff in front of you. Pay attention to what’s around you and you’ll receive warnings when you need them most.
The Fool has no pretensions. The Fool does not know, and thus is open to knowledge. The Fool shows innocence and reminds us to embrace our inner child. The Fool reminds us to not overplan, not overthink, but to go with our impulses and do something new.
Now, a little fun: I delved into my collection and photographed all the Fools I could. Jac and I were having a conversation recently about how different decks interpret the same images, and I think these show that well. I have found in general, the farther the imagery deviates, the more the author has their own unique interpretation as well.
What do you think? Do you have a favorite fool? Let us know in the comments!
Considering the week we’ve all had, I decided to go lighthearted with this week’s “Tarot Tuesday.” So I turned to my collection and pulled out this old gem: Gummy Bear Tarot.
Gummy Bear Tarot is by Diermar Bittrich and was published by US Games Systems in 2005. And it has been sitting on my shelf for nearly that long. It was an early silly present from my delightful husband – and a solid example of the sense of humor in our house. Aside from taking it out to play around with a time or two, I had never used it for a reading before today.
So, on to the aesthetics first!
Gummy Bear Tarot is a smaller than standard tarot deck, close to playing card in size. This is actually really comfy in the hand for shuffling. It comes in a metal tin with an instruction booklet, making it a really nice deck for carrying with you as long as you don’t mind the silliness of gummy bears!
The images themselves are actually very simplified Rider Waite Smith imagery, replacing the main figures with stylized gummy bears. But it is not over simplified. While the more esoteric and symbolic imagery has been removed, the core needed to recognize and interpret the cards is still there. This does make this harder for a more intuitive reading – there is less on each card for the intuition to run off of, so I find myself mostly relying on what I have memorized of the cards from reading other decks.
That said, I almost did myself a disservice by not looking in the little white instruction book. The instruction book is actually thicker than others of its types, and it includes more information per card than I was expecting. I like that instead of the usual upright and reversed combination, this deck assigns each card a “strength” and “weakness.” I have not read through all of the meanings, but none of them jump out as glaringly off.
Overall, this deck is silly and cute… but if you actually do readings with it, and get past the silly, it has surprising depth.
Now, a sample reading!
I was thinking about various business concerns and choices when I laid out this spread.
Current Situation: Two of Pentacles: A bear stands on a beach, juggling two coins. This is a time for balance and trust. Trust that you can keep things balanced and moving. But make sure you aren’t just juggling out of habit or inability to commit. Let go of what you don’t need to balance.
Immediate Past: Eight of Cups: A bear sets off bravely into the world. There is a readiness to leave the old behind. Your horizons are broadening and you’ve found inspiration in spirituality. Make sure when moving forward it’s not to run away from what’s, or who’s, behind you. This is an experience of the unknown.
Immediate Future: Seven of Cups: A bear has a vision of wealth, power, and safety. The unconscious is full of strong, vital forces, energies we can use to achieve our dreams. An internal awakening is coming. But be cautious of being lost in dreams. Stay grounded. Concentrate on one goal.
Foundation Energy: Three of Wands: A bear looks over the horizon as he contemplates a coming journey. This card shows enthusiasm, creativity, and new ideas – certainly the energy behind many independent businesses. But beware grand plans and hectic activity that results in going nowhere.
Best Outcome: Ace of Pentacles: A hand holds a coin over a rose garden. This is a beginning of a time of growth. Have patience and trust in friends and you will be rewarded. But in order to keep things growing you must not give in to melancholy or set your sights too high. The time is coming to recognize your chance and seize it.
So, hope you liked my little foray into the Gummy Bear Tarot!
To help us keep doing these reviews, please consider buying this deck or others through our Amazon link or our web store, or share the image below and this review on Pinterest!
We sell it over and over again in our tiny witchy shop. We are drawn to it when it is time to make something with crystals. Whether it’s the beautiful purple colors or the magical and healing properties, we love Amethyst!
So, let’s take a look at this wonderful and beautiful crystal.
Amethyst is a common form of quartz found throughout the world. Its color ranges from deep purple to pale violet. The most common medium purple colored amethyst comes from Brazil. Manganese in quartz creates amethyst, and varying amounts of iron create the color variations.
Amethyst is an extremely powerful and protective stone. It helps protect against psychic attack. The energy of the attack is transformed into positive, loving energy.
Amethyst is a calming stone and excellent for the mind. It helps you to relax and become more focused, less scattered. It brings together common sense and spiritual insights to aid in decision making.
Amethyst helps transform lower energies into higher, aiding in spiritual growth and change. It enhances cooperation between the physical, mental, an spiritual self.
Amethyst helps you center by smoothing out highs and lows. It dispels anger, fear, anxiety, and helps you cope with loss. It aids in stability and peace.
Sleeping with amethyst helps open the third eye and brings psychic dreams. It has been used to aid with insomnia.
Historically, amethyst has been used to encourage sobriety.
Varieties of Amethyst
Chevron Amethyst – My personal favorite, this amethyst has distinctive pale chevron banding. It is an excellent stone for cleansing and examining the aura, and for evaluating and understanding the self.
Violet-Lavender Amethyst – Has particularly high vibrations. “Flower” style crystal formations bring light and love.
Pineapple Amethyst – Amethyst cluster with small nodules at the base of the points. Connects you with mythic realms and stimulates the imagination.
Want to add amethyst to your crystal collection? Here are some choices from our online store:
Thank you first of all to all of you who support our tiny hole-in-the-wall witchy shop! With everything going on with the current pandemic, I just wanted to update you on what this means for our physical shop, and what our plans are.
We are still open. As much as we might wish it was otherwise, the Boulevard has very little foot traffic in good times. We just about never hit a capacity that falls under current guidelines. If you come to the store, it will most likely be just you and one of us who runs the store.
We are doing extra cleaning. We will occasionally be closing early for our physical and mental health as well, but most days we will be open until at least 6pm.
We can bring your purchase to your car. Don’t want to come in? Pull up front and give us a wave and we’ll be happy to help!
We can deliver locally. Until any “stay at home” order is put in place, we can deliver in Eden, Reidsville, or Reedy Fork. Basically, along my route home. 😉 Feel free to message us on Facebook or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange this.
We can ship straight to you. Our web store is busily being added to, and we’ll ship anywhere.
We started this little shop as a place for local community, and we love all of you who have supported us and shared in that love. We expect coming times to be hard, but as long as we can keep paying our rent we will be keeping our business running, whether it is open for traffic or mailing things out. We’re sticking with this month to month as best we can.
Should a “stay home” order be issued for our state… well, Jac lives upstairs, so we can still ship! And I’ll be doing online support, communication, and blogging from home.
And I do also plan to do a lot of article writing! I know the boredom that can set in when stuck at home, so for those using this time to practice their magical studies I will be writing what I can. Even if you don’t have money to buy from us, reading our blog does help support our shop through our advertisers. So if you have any topics you really want to learn more about, let us know! Or, are you bored and want to write too? Catching up on your witchy reading? Make your own magical items? We would love to include your book or deck reviews, magical DIYs, or just pitch your idea to us! We can not pay for articles, but we will happily include any links to your blog or store.
Finally, just a little note for the health of us all: I have seen a lot of prayers, spells, and wishes for healing the world in the last week, and that is where we shine. I also know many of our readers and visitors are practitioners of or interested in alternative and traditional medicines. While I believe all of this helps us and helps our Earth, please do not ignore modern medicine during this pandemic. We need everyone to take proper measures in order to keep as many of us healthy as possible.
The Spring Equinox is here, and for those that are used to celebrating with friends this year it feels strange to be isolated. We were actually originally planning some activities for the store to try and bring the community together. Clearly, we are no longer planning that this year. But whether you are forced to celebrate alone this year, or you’re a solitary witch who usually celebrates the wheel of the year alone, here are some simple things you can still do to celebrate the change of season.
Go Out Into Nature
Enjoy this day where day and night are of equal length. If you can, get outside, away from people to experience the day. Especially if you can experience that transition, the sunrise, and think about the days growing longer as you greet the morning.
Even if it’s a container garden, the first day of Spring is a great time to plant something! I have my new herb garden started, so I’ll be taking some time to tend to it. Don’t have the space to garden? People may be hording toilet paper, but there are still flowers and plants at many grocery stores! Bring a little seasonal beauty home with you.
A symbol of the season, and delicious too! Whether it is eggs for breakfast or coloring hard boiled eggs, chances are you already have everything you need at home.
I know we’re only a couple of days from St. Patrick’s Day, but green is also a color of growth. Embrace spring with the color of new leaves!
For all of you stuck at home, looking to do something with your kids, or who just like to color, I’ve made you a little something to help celebrate the season. Click below to download our free coloring page, and enjoy a Happy Equinox and Ostara, however you choose to celebrate!
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With so many of us stuck at home right now, a great activity for my fellow witchy souls out there is to pull out those tarot decks and get in some reading practice!
(Or, if you are reading this article months from now, and are thinking about going to visit a local reader for a reading, or you’re connecting with a reader online, this advice is for you, too.)
For me, reading tarot is not about trying to predict or “read” the future. It is about the reader. It is about the one asking the question, the one who is seeking guidance. It reveals energies, influences, and patterns that are already at work in your life. I like to compare it to a friend without filters: the cards will often tell you things you already know, but don’t want to admit.
One of the most important steps to achieving a good reading isn’t about whether you have memorized all of your cards, whether you have finely honed your intuition, where and how you draw the cards, or even whether you picked the right deck. It’s in asking a good question.
So, what makes a good question to ask the tarot? Here’s my advice:
Don’t Ask Yes or No Questions
There are ways to tweak a spread or pull a card if you really want to do that, but you are missing out on a great depth of potential advice. Other options that work better include:
Ask about the outcomes of two different choices to compare. I.E. Instead of “Should I start a business?” try “Should I start a business now, or wait until I have more money saved?”
Ask about the actions or influences around a particular outcome you want to achieve. I.E. instead of “Will I get a promotion?” try “What do I need to focus on to get a promotion?”
Keep Your Questions “You” Centered
You are in charge of your own actions and emotions, not those of others. Unless they are active in the reading with you, focus on you in your readings. The advice received will be a lot more useful. For example, instead of “Does he love me?” try “What should I focus on to make this relationship successful?” It’s not a yes/no question, and it will give you advice you can act on!
Ask About Influences and Actions, Not Events
Trying for a clear “this will happen in the future” answer is not something tarot is really good at. Instead, it’s going to alert you to patterns in your life, whether they are ones you are already in, or ones you need to watch out for. So trying to nail down whether (or when) a specific event will come to pass will be frustrating, especially for a beginner reader. Instead, try asking about actions you need to take for a desired outcome.
Instead of “When will I get married?” try “What is standing in the way of me having a committed relationship?”
Instead of “Will I find my dream home?” try “What do I need to focus on to find my perfect home?”
Be Careful When Asking Health Questions
Just a note of warning when it comes to health readings. Reading to find ways to break unhealthy patterns or establish healthy ones is a great support. But the cards are not a doctor to tell you whether or not you have a serious medical condition. Don’t use them as a replacement for medical advice or regular check-ups.
Clearly Know Your Question Before You Begin
Okay, we’ve got some basics now. Take the time to really think out your question before you start your reading. Knowing clearly what you are asking will give you better results. Muddled questions get muddled readings. General questions get vague answers. Be clear and be specific.
Don’t Keep Asking the Same Thing, Hoping for a Different Answer
I feel like at a certain point, the cards become that bitchy friend. “You already know what you need to do; why are you asking me?” The temptation may be there, especially if you don’t like the answer you go, to reword your question and try again. It’s one thing if one reading is unclear – maybe that is a sign your question needed rewording. But asking over and over will just make your reading muddled and useless.
What do you think? Have any additional advice on good tarot questions and what has or hasn’t worked for you? Let me know, and let’s get practicing!
When it comes to what decks I actually read from, I tend towards relatively traditional tarot decks with lovely new artwork interpretations. But I can’t help myself: If I see a deck that is particularly odd, unusual, or even silly I will be tempted to buy it.
So, on a recent road trip, The Spells Deck by Cat Cabral, with illustrations by Kim Knoll, caught my eye and, well, I bought it.
I will be clear right off the bat: this deck is not a tarot deck and does not claim to be one. The back of the (rather nice, sturdy box) reads:
“Enhance your life with magic. This enchanting deck features 78 rituals, spells, and recipes for love, empowerment, healing, and so much more. Brimming with alluring illustrations and powerful practices rooted in ancient traditions, this illuminating deck makes it easy to infuse each day with the wonders of magic.”
Interestingly, the deck does have 78 cards like most tarot decks, but as this is not a tarot deck there are no suits or arcana. Instead, each card gives you a mini magical lesson and a small way to practice what you learn. The cards come in eight categories: Witch’s Tools, Language of Magic, Bonds of Love, Abundance and Good Fortune, Rites of Purification and Renewal, Fires of Passion and Creativity, Intuitive Awareness, and Witch’s Familiars. It comes with a small pamphlet with some additional magical basics and suggestions on how to use the deck.
The deck has a nice feel to it – standard size, with a satiny finish and a relatively standard weight. I did have a couple of cards get wrinkles through them apparently in the printing process.
I have to disagree with the assessment of “alluring illustrations.” The card backs are kind of mediocre modern art, with a different color scheme/swatch and line combo for each of the subject categories. Each card has an icon and title in a sort of gold/mustard yellow, and otherwise is very plain text. The simplicity is easy to read, and illustrations are not really needed for that purpose, but as a very visual person that description is deceiving.
The information here is basic, but it covers the basics well. This is an interesting way to present the magical learning I have read many times in an easily digestible format. Kind of like flash cards for the baby witch. And as someone more experienced, I am mostly pleased with the information they presented. I am particularly happy with everything they decided to include in the “Witch’s Tools” section. I am confused by what deities it chose to include: mentions of Greco-Roman gods and Orishas, but not really any other pantheons, strikes me as an odd choice and I honestly wonder whether that was consciously thought out or not.
Honestly, aside from the novelty of the deck that was the reason I bought it, I can see two solid uses for this deck:
A solid beginning for the new witch who wants to take things in smaller doses
A good daily practice deck for the witch who wants to make magic a better habit and can use the cards as a daily refresher.
This sound interesting to you? Use the image below to share this article on Pinterest or other platforms, and click on the link below to buy this deck from Amazon: