So How DO You Work with Shadow?

I’m always on here bitching about when people only focus on the light, but someone recently asked how to work with shadow then. That’s a damn good question.

As with all shit like this, I can only tell you how I do it, and I’m sure there are a million different ways and they’re all equally effective. 

Firstly, you’ll have to go out in the dark. Metaphorically. Leave your flashlight behind in the warmth of the kitchen. If you bring it, your eyes won’t adjust. Grab the shovel from the porch on the way. When you reach the edge of the woods, you’ll realize you’re not there alone.

It might look like a monster. But it might look like a friend, a family member, a teacher. They will make an attempt to stop you from entering the woods. You may have even come this far before, but decided to take the advice of what looked like your mother warning you not to enter. 

This is not your mother. Nor is it a friend. Smash its fucking face in with your shovel. These are woods you have to enter.

After this, leave your shovel there. Any digging you do will be with your bare hands.

In the dark, you’ll trip. You’ll trip a hundred times over a hundred different things. Now is that part that takes time: stop and find out exactly what you tripped over. Examine it in detail. It will be gross and sticky and all manner of terrible, but look at it anyway. Dissect.

Once you’ve discovered how it works, leave it there. It belongs in the dark. These are not the kinds of things you display proudly on your mantlepiece. 

Often, I trip over people I want to punch in the face. 

In middle school, I was strolling along and fell hard. Soil in my mouth, I sat up to see what was in my path. It was a stone statuette of a girl who had been in my history class. I spat out most of the dirt in my mouth and had to swallow some. It had been my fifth day at the new school, and a boy had loudly pointed out the fact that I had a Harry Potter book in my arms along with my world history book. His mocking tone had dared the rest of the class to disagree, and none of them did. But one girl in particular had stood out because I knew for a fact that she had a notebook that said Gryffindor on it. But she went along and laughed at me with everyone else, like it wasn’t right there in her fucking backpack. 

At first, it was easy to try and dismiss as hurt that the class had made fun of me, but the next night, it was there in my woods again. It wasn’t until I had tripped over the goddamn statuette several times that I realized it was more than that. It was deeper than that. There was a girl who obviously liked Harry Potter too, but she had been perfectly willing to denounce it to fit in. Her weakness bothered me. She didn’t do what I would have done.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Once I realized the underlying issue, the statuette lost its power. I buried it among the roots of a tree in the dark. 

Find. Dismantle. Understand. Repeat.

Every person you hate, every idea you revolt against, every irritation: look at it long and hard. It’s uncomfortable as fuck. But you have to do it. You have to.

Ask why over and over until you hit the very foundation. And then move into the next question. This is how you maintain your shadow. 

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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.

Arcana of Astrology Review (by BlackandtheMoon)

You really don’t need to know shit about astrology to use this deck, trust me. I don’t even know the dates for the zodiac signs and I glean clear, consice information from it. 

I almost don’t even know where to start when trying to convey my love for this deck. This is the Thneed of decks. It’s genuinely a “fine-thing-that-all-people need.”

First off, it’s an oracle deck with 42 amazingly illustrated cards in a gorgeous box. Don’t know what the fuck Hygeia means when you draw it in a reading? Never fear, there are three additional keyword cards. 

For anyone interested in learning astrology, these cards are a great jumping off point.

(This, by the way, is the second, expanded edition of the deck. If you have the original first edition, your deck will not have all the cards seen here.) 

This deck is made up of different groups of cards. Firstly: Zodiac signs and their constellations.

Isn’t that shit just to die for? I wish I could decorate my walls with it. Oh wait, you can. 

Next up: planet cards.

If you know your Roman mythology, you probably already have a pretty good grasp on these cards’ meanings, but again, if not: keyword cards.

There are the nine planets of the Solar System (yes, Pluto is a goddamn planet), the Sun, and the Moon. And speaking of the Moon…

There are eight different moon phase cards. I nearly always have at least one of the moon phase cards sitting on my altar (which is a fantastic use for any of the cards in this deck). It could be the current moon phase, a moon phase’s energy I’m trying to harness, or a reminder that I have some shit planned for a specific moon phase coming up. 

As I mentioned earlier, the second edition of the Arcana of Astrology has more cards than the first (as well as many of them reimagined), and these are the “new” cards: the asteroids and eclipses.

Also, have I mentioned that these cards are the exact same size as BlackandtheMoon’s other decks? Yep, these are perfect to shuffle into your Antique Anatomy Tarot or Oracle of Oddities for a little extra oomph in a reading. 

If you give a fuck, these cards also photograph beautifully. 

In conclusion, do you need this deck? Yes. Get it here.

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.

So You Want a Pet Piggy

You know you do.

You want to name it Peaches or Tallulah and dress it up in little outfits and carry that fucker around in a purse with the first letter of its name on it. Right?

Then get a goddamn Chihuahua, because this shit is not for you.

Look up “pet pig” on any social media site and there will be tens of thousands of photos of pint-sized piggies in tutus. But where are the adult pigs?

I’ll tell you where they fucking are: the lucky ones are at pig rescues. Overcrowded, underfunded pig rescues. Know why?

“MINI” PIG BREEDERS ARE FULL OF SHIT.

These people are the scum of the earth. They’ll lie about the size your pig will grow to be. They’ll tell you to starve your pig in an effort to keep it small. If you ask to see the parents to try and see how big they are, they’ll show you another piglet and swear it’s their mother. Then they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank with the $2,000 you just gave them.

But if you dare to say to a new pig owner, “Please feed your pig the amount stated on the bag of pig food,” they’ll flip shit.

“The breeder said Petunia will only grow to be 40 pounds and I’m feeding her three kibbles a day just like they said! I know she’ll stay little because I saw her mom!”

Sure, bitch.

Ah, the reality of pet pigs.

The reality is much less glamorous, I can assure you.

First of all, let’s talk about pig sizes. This seems to be the major reason that pigs end up in rescues or worse. For the most part, females reach 100 lbs or more and males can get up to 250-ish.

“Holy crap I thought you said you had mini pigs!” This is a common response I get from people who see my pigs. Reality: these ARE mini pigs. Regular-sized pigs are 700 lbs, people. Compared to that, this is mini.

But people think that because the babies are all they ever see.

And then there are the tragedies. Malnutritioned pigs show up at sanctuaries with underdeveloped legs they can’t walk on because their owners fed them according to what the breeders told them. There are pigs who, due to bad breeding, end up with skeletons too small to accommodate their internal organs, and they only live a couple of years until their own ribcage suffocates them.

Enraging, right? These are animals that have 20 year lifespans, and some of them only get a couple of disabled years or they get to live for 20 years unable to walk.

So what DOES it take to successfully keep a pet pig?

A lot. If you’re here, you’re already doing the right thing because you’re researching before buying.

Pigs ARE NOT like dogs. I will slap the next person who says that. They’re not any more like a dog than a cat is like a dog. You can keep it as a pet. That’s about as far as their similarities go. Dogs want to please their owners while pigs don’t give a flying fuck how you feel about what they’re doing. They have an emotional warmth about them more like a dog, but their nature is much more cat-like in that it’s all about them.

It takes a while to get to read their body language and oinks too. Is he wagging his tail because he’s happy or because he’s about to rip my calf open with his tusks? Is he head slashing at me because he wants to kill me or because he thinks I have food for him? Is he squealing because he’s scared or is he asking for a bite of my spaghetti?

Have you ever fought a miniature tank with your bare hands? If you haven’t and you’re not willing to, a pig is not for you. Dominance battles fucking suck. You have to be ready to push and shove and stare them down and not flinch when they roar and gnash their tusks at you. You have to growl at them and chase them and they’re fast as shit, but you have to be the alpha pig. Be ready and willing to engage in this fuckery.

Also, people love to say that pigs are clean animals. Hah! Everything about them is a mess. They tear their bed to shreds, they dig huge craters in the yard, they make messes with their food and water on purpose, and their annual loss of their hair is one ungodly fucking disaster.

People like tout their intelligence too. Yes, pigs are very smart. Too damn smart. They can open cabinets and refrigerators and drawers. Their iron strength makes little plastic “baby proofing” things irrelevant. They’ll also learn words you’ll wish they didn’t know, like “goldfish” and “graham crackers” and the names of all the fruits and “Chipotle.”

Lastly, vets are fucking hard to find. Seriously. There are “farm animal” and horse vets who will see them, but they usually do housecalls only and require a billion dollars just to walk through the door. Or you can take them to a regular vet (if you call first and see if they’re willing) who has no fucking idea what they’re doing. I had an emergency where one of my pigs climbed up things to get a bag of fertilizer and ate it. She threw up literally everywhere. Panicked, we had to take her to an emergency vet who had never seen a pig before. These people didn’t even know pigs got as large as she was. They didn’t have needles long enough to give her an IV and she ended up with it in her ear. Never having worked with a pig before, they were shocked when they walked away for 30 seconds and she had eaten the line. Luckily she survived that shit on her own.

This may have seemed like a negative article, but it’s not really meant to be. I love my pigs and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They’re hilarious and I wish more people had them. But the truth really needs to be out there. People need to know exactly what they’re going to have to do when bringing home a piglet.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

How I Made My Frame Loom

I’ve got people asking me left and right how I made the simple frame loom I posted on my Instagram account, and I’m happy to share.

This is not an original idea. I’m about 90% positive that other people have done this too.

Also, this is not a tutorial on actual weaving. I don’t know nearly enough about it to tell other people how to do that. Here’s what you’ll need:

A wooden picture frame

Small nails

A hammer

Ruler or tape measure

 

The loom I made:

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This bitch cost me $6.99. Mind you I already had nails and a hammer, but you get the idea. First, I went to a thrift store and looked for a wooden picture frame. I went with a larger one, but it’s up to you. Too small and it’ll be a bitch to work on though.

Here it is from the “front” side of the frame.

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The “front” of the picture frame is the “back”of my loom. Know why? Because the back side was lighter and flat and easier for me to fucking measure and write on. This shit doesn’t have to be complicated.

I took the glass and shit out of the frame (obviously).

I measured and marked the places for my nails on the shorter sides of the frame. I did mine 3/8ths of an inch apart because I’m a pain in the ass. If you do 1/4″ you’ll probably have to stagger the nails, and I felt like 1/2” was too far apart.

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That’s it.

Now as far as actual weaving and the tools you need for it, I’m not the person to ask. Google that shit.