Harry Potter and the Major Arcana, pt 1

Remember when I used characters from Harry Potter to describe court cards? Yeah, I’m doing that shit again. But this time, we’re doing the majors. 

THERE ARE A MILLION WAYS TO DO THIS. For this series of posts, I’m going to use Harry’s entire journey through all seven books. 

THAR BE SPOILERS AHEAD.
0. The Fool

Ready? I’m skipping the first book entirely. Harry’s not comfortable enough to even venture forth confidently until the Chamber of Secrets, so that’s where I’m going to put him for the Fool. The Fool thinks he’s got shit figured out. He doesn’t even know what he doesn’t know. Harry sets out with his faithful little dog (sorry, Ron) with his eyes trained so confidently on his success that he just might step off a cliff. I can guarantee you that Harry never once thought, “Wow, I sure hope there aren’t any enormous fucking snakes rampaging around the school petrifying people this year!” He didn’t even know this was a problem one could have. This isn’t, of course, to say that it will lead to his downfall (it didn’t), but that he simply wasn’t prepared for the kinds of shit he might run into. He thought he was ready with his books and quills and wand, but wizardy bullshit was waiting just around the corner to pry his world right the fuck open. 

1. The Magician

If I were to give Harry a significator out of the majors, I would give him The Magician. And no, not because of the whole magic thing, but because the Magician is about taking action and knowing how to use what’s available to you. Harry’s fantastic at scraping and scrambling and stabbing possessed journals with fangs ripped from a dead snake’s head because that’s all he had at the moment. But even before that, he had decided that he wasn’t going to stand by and wait for someone else to save Ginny when she had been taken to the chamber. Something needed to be done, right fucking now, so he gathered his little resources and set out to fix this shit himself.

2. The High Priestess

The High Priestess generally represents a kind of self-awareness. Often times, self-awareness involves realizing that shit is much bigger than you originally thought, and that your part in it may be smaller than you had been thinking. Remember in the Prisoner of Azkaban, when Harry is crouching under a table in the Three Broomsticks listening to Fudge tell Madam Rosmerta about how Sirius Black betrayed Harry’s parents and that’s what led to their deaths? His day had just gone from cheerfully sneaking out of the school to go to a candy shop to suddenly wanting to kill a man. The High Priestess had just revealed to Harry the scope of the problem, and leaned in to whisper, “You ain’t shit.”

Why I Don’t Seek the Light

If you follow me on Instagram or have read pretty much any of my other posts, you’ll know that I’m not your typical New Age mystic. 

I have unpopular opinions and harsh words and little patience for fake bullshit.

I do not walk a lightworker’s path. 

I once attended a Reiki circle. It may have just been this specific circle of people, but I have to say that it was the most awful, steaming pile of horse shit I’ve ever found myself in the middle of. I was told to hold their hands and “visualize a warm, pink, fuzzy healing light around the earth.” Um…no. Get your filthy, fuzzy-ass pink hands away from me.

The darkness is the work. It’s Kali and Baba Yaga and all those who came before and after, who toil away in the absence of light. It’s the place where the dead go, where things are mended, where new things begin. This is the place to be. The place where shit is going down.

There are people who say to acknowledge the shadow but walk in the light, but it doesn’t work like that. Shadows spill and press in, they grow and stretch and creep. 

If you went to a friend’s house and they insisted that their house was clean, yet you walk in and they’re standing in a two-foot square of clean floor with shit heaped all around them, that’s not a clean house just because they’re standing in a clean spot, right? It’s the same thing with darkness. I can see that shit. It leaks under closet doors.

Sitting down with the worst version of yourself is imperative. Serve that bitch a cup of tea and look her right in the eye. You cannot be too afraid to look at horrors full on. Do not leave monsters to run through your woods unchecked.

Your eyes will adjust to the darkness. You’ll find yourself organizing, discarding, sweeping up dust, setting out a saucer of milk for the monsters. You’ll hear the dead and the not-yet-living whispering through the groan of black tree branches overhead. Don’t be fearful. Listen. 

Establish your kingdom in the light, if you must, but your dark garden requires daily attention. If you walk out far enough, you’ll find that everyone’s darkness eventually converges in a clearing. This is the hollow of human nature, and there is no worse place than this. I’ve been visiting this place often lately.

Go there. See things you can’t unsee. Witness. Grieve. And go back home. 

There is nothing to be gained by hiding in the light.

Are You Ready for the Wildwood Tarot?

The Wildwood Tarot.

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This is not a deck for the faint of heart. Nestled among moss carpeted branches and partially hidden in shadow, its fearsome occupants don’t appear very friendly. And, according to the guidebook, they’re truly not friendly. If you’re going to ask them for the answers, you’ve got to be brave enough to tap these assholes on the shoulder and look them in the eye when you speak.

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This is not a beginner’s deck. BUT WAIT. If you’re a beginner and you have this deck, don’t get rid of it! Just store it away and you’ll know when the time is right. Just trust me.

Even aside from the somewhat sinister artwork, this deck requires some background knowledge. Do you know your Wildwood mythology? With Robin Hood and all of that? How comfortable are you with the Wheel of the Year?

You can flush your knowledge of your Rider-Waite style decks right down the toilet with this one too. Not only have the majors all been renamed, their meanings have changed as well. Many of the minors have nothing to do with their traditional meanings either (but they do have keywords).

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This deck has a sprawling, spiralling mass to it, almost similar to what I said about The Fountain Tarot. If the Fountain Tarot is “as above,” the Wildwood is, “so below.”

So how am I recommending to approach the Wildwood Tarot?

Have some basic knowledge of how cartomancy works. Know how big of an idea a single card can represent. It’s like jumping in the deep end when you don’t know how to swim. You’ll drown in the sheer size of this shit.

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Read the goddamn guidebook. Ignoring the reading material on this one is not an option. The sheer amount of posts online that I found about The Stag being “Strength” was appalling. It’s Justice, as Justice is 8 and Strength is 11 in this deck.

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Be ready to spend time with this deck. This isn’t the kind of deck you can open right up and start reading with.

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Personally, I tend to view the Wildwood Tarot as an oracle deck more so than a tarot deck. Don’t try to force your previous tarot knowledge on this, because it will refuse. This is its own separate world.

Have patience. Seriously. This deck is truly worth the time you’ll put into learning to work with it. Give yourself time for this. Anything worth doing takes time.

You’re fucking with slow, ancient things here. They’ve forgotten how to communicate with humans (if they ever knew how to in the first place). You’ll have to shut the hell up and listen.

Tarot of the Zirkus Magi Review

I’m finally sitting my ass down to write up my review of the Tarot of the Zirkus Magi by Doug Thornsjo of Duck Soup Productions.

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This is a deck unlike any other I’ve encountered. It’s got a slightly sinister vintage circus theme and I love it. There’s just something unsettling about those old-timey photos that lends itself well to the Tarot.

The suits have been renamed. Cups are Buckets, Wands became Batons, Swords are Blades, and Pentacles/Coins are Rings.

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As you can see, keywords are on the bottom of the cards, which is nice, unless you don’t agree with its interpretation. I happen to be just fine with them, personally.

While the change of the traditional suits to something a little more circus-y is cool, it weirds me out a little when everything is renamed in a deck. And I mean everything.

The Court cards have gone from Page, Knight, Queen, and King to Billposter, Rider, Duchess, and Governor.

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Now just because I have complaints about a deck doesn’t mean that I don’t fucking love it. The following four cards are really the reason I bought this deck. I just love them:

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I think The Solitarian might be my very favorite.

Which brings me right back to the renaming thing. The Majors have all been renamed and are not numbered.

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Here are the three most what-the-fuck renamed majors. The Leading Lady is the High Priestess, The Clown is The Fool, and I don’t remember what The Aeon even is. When I say it, it makes sense, but when you’re in the middle of a reading it’s a weird stumbling block. Especially considering that this deck doesn’t come with a booklet. There’s a guidebook you can purchase separately but…

Now I really fucking hate to bring this up, but I feel I must. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell an artist what their work is worth, but this was a damn expensive deck. While most other independently published decks seem to go for around $40, I paid $70 for this one. Seriously, that’s 75% more than other comparable decks. And then it doesn’t even come with a tuck box, just the cards wrapped in cellophane. And then the guidebook is additional.

The cardstock is okay. It’s a bit on the thin side but nice and springy. They almost have a waxy coating that makes them stay where you put them but somehow doesn’t make them stick to each other.

Unfortunately, again, I have a complaint. I take painstaking good care of my decks, yet look at it:

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I can understand the cards having a nice worn look after years of use, but considering I’ve only owned this deck for 5 months and only used it a handful of times, it’s a bit excessive.

To recap.

Pros: unique style, great theme, creepy.

Cons: price doesn’t equal quality, having to “translate” every card.

Final note:

It’s always important to me to see the Sun, Moon, and Star cards in a deck, so here you go.

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Do you need this deck? Depends on how much money is in your tarot deck fund.

Where can you get it? Right here.

 

 

 

A Real Life Example of the Empress and Emperor

Tarot card explanations can be shitty. They’re hard to learn and then, even once you learn them, they’re hard to explain to someone else. After a very long time of pondering this problem, I resolved to keep a look out for real, actual situations that embody the cards. As I come across them, I’ll share them under the “Tarot Cards in Real Life” tab here on my blog. In no particular order other than how I come across them.

This requires a short backstory: my husband is a Virgo and I am a Sagittarius. The more he insists I do things his way, the more I refuse, and it goes on and on.

The particular day that I had a clear vision of a real, relatable example of the Empress and Emperor, we were arguing over laundry. It usually starts out that way. He wants me to hang his shit in his closet organized by style and within that style properly colorized. So just to piss him off extra, I leave his clean clothes in laundry baskets. As well as my own. The shit’s clean, okay?

My husband tends toward drama, so he has to make a scene and say things like, “I go to work every day to put food on our table and all I ask you to do is take care of the kids and the house.”

(All he asks me to do. That’s a good one. He must think there’s a magical fairy that sneaks in at night and does fucking everything, because he’s under the impression that I sit on my ass all day.)

But this day, I thought of a comeback that’s actually ended the argument for the past few months, which is just stunning.

“You might bring home the money,” I said, “But who makes the grocery list with meals for every single day? Who goes to the store and buys the shit? Who cooks it? Who literally sits it on the table in front of you? Who cleans up the mess so it can happen all over again the next day? Fucking me.”

Silence.

Then he said, “Let’s go watch TV and order pizza.” His fury over laundry abruptly ended.

Stunned, I stood in the bedroom for a minute thinking about tarot cards (because obviously nothing gets through to me).

In this instance, the genders may be swapped, but this, right here, is the Empress and the Emperor.

My husband is the Empress. His paycheck is potential. It could be spent on anything. He spends all day working to build up this possibility.

I am the Emperor. I take that potential and focus it, funnel it into something concrete. Spaghetti tonight, tacos tomorrow, some rice shit for lunch.

Crystals and Tarot

There are 78 tarot cards.

Thousands of decks.

Billions of crystals.

So how the hell do you know what crystals to use with your tarot readings?

The short answer is this: you fucking don’t. Seriously. You just pick some and go.

All I can tell you about that is how I, personally, pick some and go. I go about it different ways.

 

Does the deck I’m using have a favorite?

That might seem like a crazy ass question, but…does it?

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My Deviant Moon deck won’t tell me shit unless it has its trusty little clear quartz point with it.

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My Antique Anatomy Tarot is a weird little magpie. It sort of collects odds and ends that it decides it likes to have close. Its current accessories are both of these quartz points, my solid copper pendulum, and this button. (I think the button is abalone.) Any time I use this deck, its shiny little stash is also present.

 

Is there a theme to the deck I’m using?

Another potentially insane question: is there an elemental (or otherwise) theme to my deck that crystals might be able to enhance?

Example one:

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This is the Cephalopod Tarot. Obviously, it’s watery as shit, so some watery crystals work great with it. Pictured are a blue fluorite point and a chunk of amazonite.

Or…

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How about the Wooden Tarot? Earthy as all hell. Here I have smoky quartz, petrified wood, and jasper with it.

 

What kind of a reading am I going to do?

Is there something specific you’re asking the cards that crystals might be able to help out with?

For a relationship/love reading, I would probably grab either some rose quartz or some green crystals to connect to Anahata (the “Heart Chakra”).

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Or a full moon reading might need some selenite or moonstone.

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Moon Phases Oracle

Is there anything you, the reader, need during this reading?

Is it Samhain? Are you trying to channel or connect with something? You’ll probably need some protection.

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Black obsidian, smoky quartz, hematite, rutilated quartz, and black tourmaline are all good crystals to use to keep yourself safe during potentially “dangerous” readings.

Maybe you’re working with the cards to try and hone your intuitive powers.

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I like to use amethyst, celestite, or sodalite.

This is a lot of bullshit and I don’t know.

Just use some damn clear quartz then.

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Brand Relaunch: Mountain Witch Offerings

I’ve been toiling away in secret.

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That’s right: brand relaunch.

As you may know (or maybe not) I have had a little shop on Etsy called The Aspen Grove. I have recently realized that I have outgrown this grove. Or maybe I was too big for it to begin with.

Different landscapes hold different magick, just as different hands and hearts and words hold different magick. And when magick is true and real, you’ll realize that you’ve already known how it works and how to make it happen.

Now is the time for my own brand of magick. I’m shifting my focus from polished pretties to reflect the mountain magick that whispers around me.

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From seasonal sets to themed kits, my upcoming offerings will be useful for everyone from novice witches to seasoned practitioners.

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My original intention for my shop was to share the magick I know and love, and somehow I got off track.

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Hopefully, my genuine love of these carefully chosen items will show.

I’ll slowly be transitioning Aspen Grove accounts to Mountain Witch Offerings, which I believe to be a much better representation of the magick here.

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I will be locally sourcing as much as I can. There will be smoky quartz and amazonite mined right from the Rocky Mountains.

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If you have any questions or comments, fire away.