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.”

Harry Potter and the Court Cards

Help, help, I fucking hate the tarot’s court cards! Sincerely, everyone.

Court cards suck. There’s no getting around that shit. Is it an actual person? Does it just mean traits I need to have to endure whatever’s going on? I don’t know how to help you with that shit. But what I can do is help you (and myself) remember what their traits are by describing them as Harry Potter characters.

IF YOU HAVEN’T READ/FINISHED THE HARRY POTTER SERIES, BEWARE: SPOILERS AHEAD.

Let’s start with Cups. Cups are all about emotions.

The Page of Cups: Ron Weasley

What? Ron? Ron embodies the Page of Cups shortly in the beginning of the series. On their first train ride to Hogwarts, Ron discovers that Harry doesn’t have anything to eat, and promptly shares his sandwich. Ron and the Page of Cups happily start their journey by following their feelings. From his kindness to his anger, his pride to his feelings of inadequecy, Ron is driven by his emotions.

The Knight of Cups: Also Ron

What? Ron is evolving!

Ron takes the natural step from the Page to the Knight throughout the series. Driven by his emotions, he eventually lets his feelings get away from him, causing him to make downright shitty decisions. He shows this very clearly in the Deathly Hallows when he allows his stress to make him snap and leave the other two in the woods.

The Queen of Cups: Hagrid

(Gender is irrelevant) Always kind and caring, sympathetic and loyal, Hagrid is the dad Harry never had and never really gets a credit for being. But he didn’t do it for credit, he did it because he gave a shit.

King of Cups: Severus Snape

Master of potions as well as his emotions, yet fiercely driven by them, Snape embodies both light and shadow aspects of the King of Cups. His love for Harry’s mother guides his bravery and sacrifice, yet his hatred for Harry’s father causes him to be unnecessarily cruel.

 

Next, we’ll look at the suit of Swords. Swords are all about intellect and conflict.

The Page of Swords: Hermione Granger

Hermione’s not here to fuck around, she’s here to learn. With sharp wit and an adventurous spirit, she’s just like the Page of Swords.

The Knight of Swords: Sirius Black

Bold and intelligent and always looking for the next conflict, Sirius Black serially makes rash decisions until one literally gets him killed.

The Queen of Swords: Luna Lovegood

She might be strange, but she’s generally right. Luna is fantastic at stating the stark, uncomfortable truth, even if it makes those around her cringe. But, as Luna said herself, “Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.”

The King of Swords: Albus Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort

Duality at its finest…or is it? Both cold, calculating, and logical, Dumbledore and Voldemort command respect and make great leaders. They are both highly intelligent and ruthless in their attempts to succeed.

 

Now we’re onto Wands. Wands represent passion, fire, and creativity.

The Page of Wands: Harry Potter

You knew he’d show up somewhere. Harry begins his journey wide-eyed and curious. In fact, he’s so curious that it constantly leads him into harm’s way. Fluffy, the basilisk, trips into the pensieve… And yet he always comes up with something to get through it. His resourcefulness is astounding.

The Knight of Wands: Tom Riddle

With too many ideas for his own good, Tom Riddle is a great example of creativity gone wrong. In his haste to be the best, he failed to pause and get a little perspective on his path.

The Queen of Wands: Ginny Weasley

Confident and daring, Ginny takes the role of the Queen of Wands. She’s passionate and creative in pursuing her goals.

The King of Wands: Professor McGonagall

If ever there was a woman to be assigned the role of king, it’s Minerva McGonagall. Her power may have been quiet and smoldering for most of the series, but by the end there’s no denying her fiery might. Warm and stable, she waits for the right time to give her wise council.

Lastly, the suit of Pentacles, which deals with the material world.

The Page of Pentacles: Dobby

Innocent and loyal, Dobby knows what having nothing feels like, and his big-hearted quest to make sure that others don’t suffer the way he did is a true Page of Pentacles journey.

The Knight of Pentacles: Fred and George

Fantastic businessmen with a flair for extravagance and a bad habit of questionable decisions, they know what they want, but their plan to get there was a bit rough.

The Queen of Pentacles: Molly Weasley

The ultimate mother archetype, Mrs. Weasley is kind and loving, providing everyone she can with her warmth and care. She’s a master of sharing whatever she can, even though what she has is little. She’s wonderfully nurturing and fierce as fuck.

The King of Pentacles: Narcissa Malfoy

Yep, Malfoy’s mother. She doesn’t get nearly enough credit. She has a background of wealth, and the ability to do what she needs to do to get what she wants. But at the end of the series, when she lies to Voldemort and says that Harry is dead, she shows that she truly knows the value of things, and not just their monetary cost.

 

Got ideas of your own? Toss ’em out there in the comments.

How I Prepare for the New Moon

I was asked this fantastic question on Instagram, and my answer is kind of long, so I figured I would answer it here.

New Moons are my shit. Full Moons are nice, but for me, they just don’t compare to those nights when you just can’t, um…see the moon.

The energy of the New Moon is deep and mysterious. It’s like a note played so low that it’s out of our range of hearing, but you can feel its vibration in your chest. This is the place after death and before birth, making it the perfect time to lay old things to rest and turn that energy to something new and more satisfying.

IMG_20160406_130143-1

So how should one prepare for it?

By “prepare” I mean “start thinking about it.” What do you want to start directing more of your time and/or creativity to? What do you want to pay more attention to?

More time for yourself? A project? A healthier lifestyle? The quiet of the New Moon is the time to begin these things.

I usually take the day or so before the New Moon to start thinking about what I’d like to start working on. Sometimes, I even save shit I think of other times to start at the New Moon.

This is also a great way to procrastinate. Damn, I really need to get on top of these dishes. I know! I’ll start in…16 days.

Working with the New Moon (or really any magick for that matter) doesn’t need to be complicated or stressful. If you try to make too big of a deal of the shit, you’re going to get burned out and end up dreading it.

After I have my intention, I think about ways I can start implimenting it regularly. Am I trying to cut back on soda? Great, let’s scale it down to two sodas a week. Am I trying to have more patience with my kids? At least once a day, I’m going to let something go that I would normally bitch at them about.

Usually, on the day of the New Moon, I set up a little thing on my altar for it. If you have an altar or a sacred space, good. If you don’t, don’t fucking stress about it. By “little thing,” I mean this:

1459972074855915124575

A black chime candle, my little obsidian sphere, and I like to use the New Moon card from the Arcana of Astrology. It’s not a big deal, so don’t make it one. And if you don’t have an altar or a sacred space, just carry a stone with you to remind you of the New Moon.

0406161324a-1

These are some stones I generally associate with the New Moon: black obsidian, labradorite, gray/black moonstone, black tourmaline, tektite, and iolite. Clear Quartz is always perfect too.

Or you could use a stone that corresponds to your intention. A green or golden stone would be great if you want to start saving more money. Or if you want to open the lines of communication a bit more with someone, grab something blue for your Throat Chakra.

Don’t have any stones? Good. You don’t really need them. Honestly, you just need your own thoughts for this shit.

Once I have my intention, how I’m going to go about actually making this change, and some sort of reminder throughout the day that this is the last day for my bullshit, a lot of times I just stop there. That’s it. You don’t have to do any more.

But if you want to…you could do some sort of ritual. I’m not one for fanfare, so if I do a ritual at all, I light some incense and a black candle and think about what I’m wanting to begin at this New Moon.

One thing I really like doing is a tarot spread. I don’t have a specific one, I normally get on Pinterest and search “new Moon tarot spread.” I’m serious. Then I fucking pick one and do that shit.

So…what do you do for the New Moon?

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.

The Labyrinth Tarot Review

I fucking love the Labyrinth Tarot by Luis Royo. Although there are strange and jarring aspects to it (which is normally a good thing, but not necessarily with this one) I have a very strong bond with it.

That’s right. I have a strong bond with a deck of cards.

0217161424

WARNING: Pips.

1455745172723-1154087489

Fuck.

 

Okay, so pips aren’t that bad, right?

So wands are medeval club-things, and they’re green.

Pentacles are gold.

0217161422a

Swords are blue.

0217161422b

Which I kind of thought was strange because I might have made Cups blue…

0217161423

Wait a minute. What the hell am I looking at right now? Why are the cups cards red and have fire in them?

I don’t fucking know. This shit is a mystery.

But sometimes, mysteries are good. Look at these mysterious ass knights. This deck has some of my very favorite knights.

0217161429

The major arcana are sepia-toned and just amazing. They’re kind of scary, which I like.

0217161429a

I really like this representation of The Fool. The Fool is usually depicted as a young kid happily skipping off on a new adventure, but this Fool is an older man with facial hair. He thinks he’s ready. He’s researched. He’s studied. He thinks he’s badass so he’s wearing some horns. Little does he know…he’s about to learn some shit.

The court cards are fully and richly illustrated. And if you like titties in your tarot cards, you’ve come to the right place.

0217161428

In fact, the Jack of Cups pictured there is the ONLY female in the deck with her breasts covered. Meanwhile, the King of Wands up there is only one of two men who are bare-chested. Do I have an issue with boobs? Nope. But it gives me pause because it just seems a little bit…

Anyway, the card stock is pretty standard. No complaints there.

They’re actually pretty small cards, which fit perfectly in my small hands. No complaints there.

0217161431

COMPLAINT: the borders. I am not a person who freaks out over borders. But with amazingly detailed artwork on already small cards, why the fuck is an inch of the card taken up by a damn border?

There you have my only two complaints about this deck: the color of the Cups cards and the size of the pictures vs the cards.

I think my very favorite thing about this deck is the people’s expressions. (When you can see them.)

0217161430a

The Empress might be your mama, but she’s not in the mood for your bullshit today.

If this deck were a person, it would be a quiet man who, when he does speak, likes to say shocking and disturbing things just to see how you’ll react. But regardless of how you respond to him, you’ll think about what he said later.

 

A NOTE ABOUT PIPS

Don’t be afraid of pips.

Seriously.

Unless you’re a novice tarot reader, try this shit. It won’t kill you to look one up if you have to.

Who the Hell is Ethel Jean? An Antique Anatomy Tarot Review

So who IS Ethel Jean?

Ethel Jean is my Antique Anatomy Tarot deck, by Claire Goodchilde of Black and the Moon.

To make a long story short, this is my second review of this deck. The first one only covered the Major Arcana (which was released separately first) and you can read it here. It contains Ethel’s origin story. Then, once the deck expanded into a full 78 card deck, her name expanded too, so now she’s Ethel Jean and she needs another review.

I’m just going to dive right in without repeating myself, so if you haven’t read my first review of majors only, go read that shit.

NOW THE MINORS.

The suits are Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. Here are the Aces for your viewing pleasure:

0120161547

 

I love these Aces. A single, skeletal arm reaching up, ready to pluck their respective element symbols right out of the air and start some shit. I like to imagine they’re poking up out of the dirt to grab your ankles.

There’s no shortage of unsettling shit. We’re at Ethel Jean’s house, after all, and one can never tell if she would like you to have a cup of tea or if she’d like to murder you and bury you in the overgrown flower bed.

 

0120161555

 

Just like in the majors, there’s a great use of animal bones as well as human. Ethel Jean doesn’t give a fuck what or who is in her Sunday stew, thanks.

0120161549-1

 

Ethel Jean may listen much more than she speaks, but that’s only because she doesn’t have to fucking talk forever to get her point across. She says what you need to hear and that’s that. Have a stale sandwich cookie from the clear plastic tub and get the hell out of here.

0120161547a

Who would have thought a toothless skeleton could be so goddamn cute?

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

0120161550

My very, very favorite thing about this deck is the way the pictures are so descriptive without having to be busy.

I use this deck every single day at least twice. Once at the ass crack of dawn when I have to get up to get kids ready for school, and once before bed. It’s always good to check in with Ethel Jean.

WHERE CAN YOU GET THIS DECK?

Get it here. Trust me, you won’t fucking regret it.

 

The Cultural Appropriation Frenzy and the Tarot

This is dangerous territory, guys. I feel like I’m swimming in alligator-infested waters.

Cultural Appropriation.

Some people wear feathered head dresses to Halloween parties and don’t give two shits about it. Some people make me feel guilty for even existing because human life first started in Africa and how dare white people steal breathing air and walking upright from them.

While we can all agree that shit like blackface needs to fucking go, the “spiritual community” is a very strange place for cultural appropriation accusations to fly. We’ve got white girls with cornrows and dreamcatcher tattoos standing in yoga studios bitching about some Chinese-themed Katy Perry shit. We’ve got black girls on social media telling white girls that they hope their dreads fall out of their heads while turning and smudging their room with a feather and sage.

So every time I light an incense stick, is that cultural appropriation?

Is using jade for its metaphysical purposes cultural appropriation of I’m not Asian? Is it cultural appropriation if I’m not African and I do energy work with spirit quartz? If I’m not Brazilian, can I use amazonite?

What about tarot cards?

Technically, tarot cards were a European card game, so how about cartomancy? Divination with cards started in Europe in the 14th century. Details seem to be disagreed upon, but the earliest documented tarot decks were from Northern Italy.

Are you Italian? Is it cultural appropriation?

Can I have a Celtic themed deck if I’m not Celtic? Are Egyptian themed decks okay? Am I allowed to have a faerie deck even if I’m not a faerie? What if I love the Ghetto Tarot?

Screenshot_2016-01-19-13-51-30~2

Is it cultural appropriation for anyone who isn’t Haitian to own this deck? (I plan on purchasing the Ghetto Tarot and anyone who doesn’t like it can kiss my ass.)

Anyway, I guess my point is this: either practice what you preach or shut the hell up.