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

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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. 

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.”

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. 

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.

The Fountain Tarot Review

This deck feels like a breezy, blue-skied day with freezing temperatures. It’s cold in that pure, clean way. Do you know what I mean?

I’ve been working with this deck for a while and the best word I have for its energy is “spacious.” Not like big echoing hallways, but like light years between planets. Fucking expansive.

I love this deck.

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The first thing I’d like to talk about is this deck’s extra card: The Fountain.

Unnumbered but for an infinity symbol, it’s the 22nd card in its Major Arcana.

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I’ll admit I was offended at first. I mean, who the fuck just adds a major? Who do these people think they are?

But then I read its description in the guidebook. It’s under and behind everything, that breath between The World and The Fool, the escape from the cycle, and now I wish all decks had it.

The artwork has a great style, combining organic human forms with hard geometrical shapes. It has a nice balance between light colored and dark colored cards.

There are too many decks out there populated by skinny blonde hipster humans, and thankfully, this is not one of them.

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Here are some of my favorite majors:

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While the images on the cards are very emotive, I would never use this deck for a relationship or “love” reading. Why? It doesn’t really give a fuck. It’s just so big and ancient that it’s not even that it doesn’t have time for your little bullshit, it’s that it doesn’t even notice it. This shit is a direct line to the Source, and you had better have one hell of an important question of you’re going to interrupt its work. It’s not pompous, it’s just busy.

Here are some of my favorite minors:

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The cardstock is good. Not too flimsy, not too hard, and the size is…normal. I don’t really know what to say about cardstock unless I have something to bitch about. The silver edges on the deck are a great touch.

So…do you need this deck? Yep.

Where can you get it? Right here.

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But your question had better be fucking important.

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.

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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:

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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.

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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?