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.

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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.

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.

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.