Tarot Mat with Pocket Crochet Pattern

Free pattern, bitches.

This is more of a recipe than a pattern, mostly because decks are all different sizes and people’s preferences and all that shit.

Anyway, this pattern is for a tarot case that rolls out into a little mat for a three-card reading. 

Now for this bullshit: This pattern is written using US terms. Do not try to sell this pattern, as I am posting it here FOR FREE on purpose.

Here’s what I have:

The deck I want my case to fit

Needle for weaving in ends

Worsted yarn

An H 5mm crochet hook

I recommend an H hook for this pattern, unless your yarn is a particularly thin worsted, then go down to a G. We want this nice and tight. (The ball band is long gone, but I’m pretty sure the yarn I have is Paton’s Classic Worsted.) 

The texture of this pattern is created by the sedge stitch.

Create a slip knot, leaving an 8 to 10 inch tail (for sewing up one side later).

Chain a multiple of three. (You want to have this be a bit longer than the long side of your deck.) Here, I chained 21.

HDC in the SECOND CHAIN from the hook. This one:

The chain you skipped counts as the first SC of the first cluster here and throughout.

DC in the same stitch.


*Skip 2 CH, SC HDC DC all in the same stitch.* Repeat until you have one chain left. SC in the final chain.

Your first row will kind of look like shit, as first rows often do.

CH 1 and turn. (This chain counts as your SC for the first cluster.) Then HDC and DC in the very first SC from the previous row.

*Skip two stitches and SC, HDC, DC in the same stitch.* Each cluster should be in the SC’s from the previous row. If not, you fucked up somewhere. Finish the row with a SC in the turning chain from the previous row. This is kind of a bitch to find, so I just stab it in there somewhere.

It will probably be 4 or 5 rows in until you really start to see the pattern.

Now just keep going, the sedge stitch is a one row repeat. 

Test it every once in a while to see how it’s coming along. Once it’s long enough to wrap comfortably around your deck once, you’re about half way finished with this part.

Continue until you can wrap your deck once in your piece and lay out three cards on it like this:

Just for reference, my piece is 17″ at this point. Now we’ll begin decreasing.

CH 2 and turn. Skip the first SC and next two stitches, then put your SC, HDC, DC in the next SC. Like this:

I basically skipped the first cluster of the row. We’ll be decreasing one cluster on each side each row. So continue with your clusters until you have two clusters left.

SC in the next SC, leaving the last cluster of the previous row unworked.

CH 2 and turn. Skip the first SC and the next two stitches. SC, HDC, DC cluster in the next SC. Put clusters in each SC until there are two clusters left, then place a SC in the next SC, leaving the last cluster of the previous row unworked.


Repeat decreasing rows until you’re down to either one or two clusters (this depends on how many you chained to begin with). Finish off.

Now, bust out your needle and attach it to that 8 to 10″ tail you left at the beginning. Fold up the bottom edge of your piece, using your deck to measure, and whip stitch along one side to form the pocket that your deck goes in.

Attach a length of yarn to the other side and whip stitch the other side of the pocket. Weave in all your ends. 

It should look something like this. From here, it’s just a matter of finishing touches. You could add a button closure, a long chain to wrap around it, beads, fringe, patches, appliques, whatever shit you want on it.

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The Mountain Path Tarot Spread

Here’s another tarot spread I created and have been using for a while.

The Mountain Path Spread
1. To Find a Trail or Forge One: follow others’ examples or not?

2. Machete: How to move obstacles on your journey.

3. Shelter: What to remember when times are tough.

4. Forked Road: Which way to go

5. Summit: What you need to remember when you succeed.

6. Descent: What’s next

I Used to Think People Like my In-laws were a Myth

I guess I was a dumb ass little kid.

The elementary school I went to was less than 10% white. It was also a magnet school for the more seriously disabled students in the district. The foundation on which I built my worldview was that this was the way the world looked. My middle school did nothing to discourage this worldview. My high school had a higher white population and the students tended to somewhat segregate themselves, but it was very liberal and we even had the good ol’ Westboro Baptist Church protest at it for our lgbt acceptance.

Let me tell you: I was not ready for the “real world.”

I was the kind of kid who preferred the company of the ESL kids (English second language). They tended to speak less and what they did have to say was interesting. Sometimes I sat at the “lesbian table.” (Which I didn’t discover that they were all lesbians until my senior year and which did not effect my friendship with them at all.) 

In high school gym class, there was a young man with facial tics. He was very quiet and people tended to talk at him more than to him. We hung out. His name was Tyler. We started dating. Then one day, he brought me to meet his family.

Up until this moment, I thought that people like his family were a myth. A gross exaggeration used as entertainment on tv. As it turns out, they are very real.

As I stepped through the door, his older brother turned and said, “Wow. You brought a Mexican?”

For the record, I am actually not Mexican.

Tyler froze in the doorway in terror. 

Tyler’s mother, noticing that there was a potential problem, interjected, “I think he just means that you’re not really the type of girl these boys usually bring home.”

This did not solve the problem.

Tyler’s father looked up from the tv and said to me, “It’s not a bad thing necessarily.”

As if I needed his reassurance that I wasn’t a bad thing. As if his graciousness assuaged my fears that, alas, even though I was a lowly, useless not-quite-white person, he would allow me into allow me into his home.

The problem continued from there. From confederate flag belt buckles to lifted trucks with smokestacks to spouted racial slurs and rampant homophobia, they were something straight out of an ugly fairyland. 

When Tyler proposed to me a couple years later, only my mother knew beforehand. His father was furious. His mother was disappointed. I settled in for a lifetime of telling them to fuck off.

I helped Tyler find a psychiatrist who diagnosed his Tourette’s Syndrome and prescribed him medication to help control his tics. His parents didn’t “believe in” things like that.

My in-laws are willing to help us when we need it, but delight in hating everything I do along the way.

A couple weeks ago, my car’s alternator took a shit. It was towed to the nearest place it could stay: my father-in-law’s welding shop. A couple days later it was brought to my in-laws’ house where Tyler fixed it.

When I got it back:

Naturally, I was liks, “Who the fuck wrote on my bumper sticker?”

It was either someone who worked for my father-in-law (which is basically just his sons and nephews) or someone at my in-laws’ house.

But since I pointed it out, of course, I’m the bad guy. I’m “starting a stink and it’s probably about time you take that bumper sticker off now anyway, don’t you think? I mean, he’s not President anymore and you can just peel it off.”

Excuse you, bitch? Maybe your stupid fuck nephew shouldn’t vandalize other people’s shit.

Pop Culture and the Tarot

I once heard someone say that they don’t “do pop culture in their tarot.”

It wasn’t necessarily snooty, but it got me thinking: fucking why?

Is the human condition so much less meaningful now than it used to be? Do our struggles only count if we shit in the gutter and die in our 14th childbirth but we only have eight kids alive? Our hard times and good times have changed as we’ve progressed as a species, but they’re still just as important. 

Old things hold magick, but so do new things. A new, wild idea is just as powerful as a tried and true tradition. 

Popular culture is a great way to make the ideas of magick, and especially tarot, real and relatable. 

Jesus and Odin made sacrifices, but so did Harry Potter and Gansey. 

Here’s an example: According to learntarot.com, the King of Pentacles is, “enterprising, adept, reliable, supporting, and steady.” Okay. Great. But what does that look like? What does a King of Pentacles look like in action?

 

But if I said Julian from Trailer Park Boys, bam. You know the kind of person I’m talking about. 

Or hey, remember that time Donald Trump became the President of the United States?

I drew the Seven of Cups…what does that mean?

There’s just so many options.

Hey, I drew the Seven of Wands, what does that mean?

Iconic.

See?

I will use my Legend of Zelda tarot deck until the day I die, because I see no difference between that and outdated versions of events and people.

Tarot Spread: Singing Over the Bones

Seeing as it’s the Autumnal Equinox/Mabon, I figure it’s a good time to share one of my tarot spreads. I make a lot of these and write them down, and I need to stop hoarding them.

This spread was inspired by the story of “LaLoba” in Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs. If you haven’t been reading this book, what the hell have you been doing?

Anyway, here goes:

1. You: Your present state.

2. Find the Bones: what have you lost/let die?

3. Assemble the Bones: Why did you let it die?

4 & 5: The Song: How to bring it back to life.

6. The Spirit: What will this bring to or bring back to your life?

The Magick You Get

Once, my brother said to me, “I’m pretty sure the sound of the universe is just mom saying: you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”

And I’m pretty sure he’s right.

While this applies to every aspect of life, I was thinking about it concerning the “types” of witchcraft available to a person.

When I first started on the “left hand path,” I was eleven. (This isn’t really when I started, but when I found words to apply to what I did and believed.) I imagined my basement bedroom as a dungeon, and I decorated everything in sun, moon and stars shit. My mother bought me A Witch’s Book of Divination (because my mom is cool like that), and I propped that bitch open on my music stand and lit candles and felt witchy as all hell. 

I would see photos of old-fashioned kitchens cluttered with bottles and jars and hanging herbs and I would think: that’s what real witchcraft looks like. I decided that, when I grew up and got my own kitchen, then I could be a real witch.

Fast forward 7 years and I surveyed the kitchen in my duplex. The light wasn’t warm enough and the floor was white tiles and the table I had was glass, not wood, and I knew this just wouldn’t work for being witchy. 

A year later,  I moved to another duplex that was a block from the cemetery where generations of my maternal family are buried. Ley lines converge there and the whole area is weird as fuck. By this time, I had decided that maybe “real” witchcraft was more of the Celtic variety. I needed lush greenery and damp abundance for witchcraft. Unfortunately, the Colorado ground was hard and dry and wasn’t good for growing shit. So I still couldn’t do “real” witchcraft.

During this time, the dead made constant contact. I had a very strange couple years there that were NOT GOOD for my mental health. When I found out I was pregnant, I decided that we needed to move. 

We moved to a house right in the middle of the city. Sirens blared down the street at all hours, shootings at the apartment building at the end of the street, neighbors that couldn’t mind their fucking business. Well, this shit wouldn’t do for “real” witchcraft. The chaos outside became chaos inside the house and my own head as I had two children two years apart, and then discovered I was pregnant AGAIN about a year after having had my second.

My husband lost his job and we ended up desperately renting out our house and moving into my inlaws’ basement.

At the time, I thought my Magick had died.

Moving in with the kind of people they are and just having discovered I was yet again pregnant, my magick reawakened. I was mean and vengeful with it. In an attempt to get a handle on it, after I had the baby, I enrolled in yoga teacher training to try and find a better outlet. I tried here. I really did. But the culture surrounding the yoga was not conducive to magick in any way. I decided I must have been doing something wrong because I wasn’t like them at all, and yoga people are magickal, right? Right? Maybe “real” witchcraft wasn’t even witchcraft as much as it was rose quartz and dreamcatchers.

I call this time the Dark Time. My magick had become something to be feared rather than something I celebrated. I never left the windowless basement and a suicide hotline was called and it was just overall a bad fucking time.

Then one night, it unravelled. It was like an ego death, except that I’ve never used any drugs besides weed in my life. It was a Kundalini Awakening and an instant of Enlightenment and all of those other names used for the same thing. None of this exists and this is all that exists.

The next morning, I told my husband that I was leaving with or without him. We moved back into our house (which had been all but destroyed by the tenants). 

Cramming together the pieces of my life and taking stock of what I now had, I discovered that I still had my magick. “Real” witchcraft was something that was going to have to wait because I had small children. We celebrated seasonal changes and started little traditions which, of course, wasn’t “real” witchcraft.
Finally, a few months ago, we bought a house in a rural area on an acre of land. I’m not going to lie: the kitchen’s witchy capabilities were what really sealed the deal. 

Right away, I started to notice things about the house and land that would prevent me from doing “real” witchcraft. This shit is straight-up desert. Where’s the magick in that? And the animals and kids take up a lot of my time. How will I have time for witchcraft? 

And then I realized:

It’s been witchcraft the whole time. 

“Real” witchcraft is working with what you have and the land you’re on right this instant. 

Musings on Magick and Money

I’m a naturally suspicious person. Some people mistake it for curiosity, but it’s generally rooted in suspicion for me.

That being said, so you ever get suspicious about why people in the tarot/magick/new age/whatever community are doing what they’re doing?  Do you ever suspect they’re only fucking with you because they want your money?

To be clear: I’m not saying in any way that everyone in these communities are out to gouge you. I, myself, run an etsy shop selling crystals and handmade jewelry. I do this because I like making things. Too many things. More things than I can keep and give away to friends and family. So I decided to sell some of it so that I can keep buying more shit to keep making shit. I love it and I hope it shows. But I’m not just trying to reach into your wallet.

Anyway, it has recently come to my attention that good ol’ Doreen Virtue has become Christian and denounced tarot. People are shocked and hurt and outraged. (I don’t give a fuck because I’m personally of the opinion that her damn angel decks are a slap in the face to serious cartomancers everywhere.) So what the fuck? I’ll tell you:

With the burgeoning tarot community in the last few years, people have been jumping in with all kinds of money-making ideas. Decks of all kinds for readers of all kinds. It’s a wild smorgasbord of decks. And yet, we’re a tumultuous customer base. We ebb and flow. We grow in ways people may not expect. The tarot community is growing away from Doreen Virtue’s work. So, having wrung all the money from this group, she changed tack at the speed of light, pandering to a different demographic, even if it meant denouncing the very people who made her.

But there are others. Many others. Slithering in the underbrush. I look out for things like certifications you pay good money for. I spent almost $3,000 for a yoga instructor certification, and I came out having learned that most yoga people are fucking annoying and very little else. I also look out for sudden appearances in the tarot community when previous products have been completely unrelated. 

There are always a million red flags in retrospect. The magickal tarot community draws new opportunities for businesses every day, just make sure you’re giving your money to legitimate situations.