A Samhain Spread + The Year Ahead

Yesterday I finished up that Instagram tarot challenge and for the last day I did a Samhain spread for the year ahead. I wanted to discuss and share it with those who might be interested in my method if they'd like to give it a try sometime. This spread isn't limited to any time of year I think, but it is geared towards seasons and the traditional wheel of the year. So, one could do this spread at the start or end of any season.

Samhain is also known as the Celtic New Year. Running with this in mind and the idea that we sort of descend into the underworld/underground for winter during this time, I wanted to map out the year ahead as this is the perfect time to do so.

For some reason, I already knew what the spread was going to look like in my head. It just sort of happened so I ran with it.

Three cards for each season: winter, spring, summer and fall. I chose Wildwood because of its connections to the wheel of the year, the cards and suits are all based upon elements and seasons. Being a very plant and nature oriented person, I gravitated towards this deck for that reason too. Earthbound Oracle (which I want to review soon!) came in to give the overall theme for each season, the main vibe.

Now, I read rather intuitively. I don't very often give each card placement a specific meaning. I find that with my brain and reading style, I just let the cards do their thing and then the story seems to weave together all on its own.

When I shuffle cards, I speak aloud my questions...

What is in store for me in the year ahead?

For each season, what should I focus on?

What should I be aware of?

What will I learn?

And of course, a card flew out as I shuffled. Or flipped, rather. When this happens, many readers take it as a sign to pay attention and run with it - I do this too, so I set the card down in the middle to represent myself and my "aims" for this coming year. Too funny it would be The Archer... a card that has been showing up for me frequently. The season associated with this card is the Spring Equinox, my season as I am Aries.

Card 7 The Archer, is akin to the Chariot in Rider-Waite systems. Here we see the practice of form and focus, before the arrow is set loose. This is the breath before the great strike. This is the culmination of practice, gathering of information and thoughts put into action. The Archer is backed by spirit companions, they are supporter of their cause, guides. The Archer has their eyes on a goal and they aim for it unfailingly. This is the energy I will carry with me into the following year. I do love how there is a cowrie shell dangling right above the sex of this individual.


I'm none too surprised here. There will be some struggling this winter, perhaps more of a mental struggle. It's odd, because as I am typing this I am feeling it. Highly introverted and a strange self-inflicted loneliness that in all truth, isn't really actually loneliness, but it feels that way. It's all in my head. The isolation, the cold, the depressing aspects of winter - it gets to me. It's pouring rain outside right now and while cozy, it has my moods dark and swirling. There's something reminiscent of the Hermit in this card too, the lamp a guiding internal flame and source of direction even in cold bleak times. Move forward...

The Kingfisher, it almost seems like he's smiling. He, like the Archer, knows his aim is focused. He does not cling to what doesn't serve him. He overcomes obstacles by sheer force of will and intelligence.

Oh the Mirror! This is a very wintry watery card of spiritual journeying, of surrender, of digging deep into oneself. This is not forced inner reflection, but one of acceptance, of knowing its coming. This is about messages and insights gained in dream and meditation.

The overarching theme for this season, is finding my spiritual voice, weaving song with it.


With the ruminating of winter behind me, it will be time to clear away the old and make way for the new. Clearance is about making that room, so that I can expand upon new ways and methods of doing things and allow growth to happen in those areas. A spring cleaning will definitely be scheduled.

Ohhh, some heart stings perhaps? Stinging the heart of another? Dealing with some relationships issues? This card, akin to the classic Three of Swords is called Jealousy. Feelings of resentment, emotions out of control ought to be checked and it will be good to be mindful of them during this period.

Mm, Ecstasy. I know what this means and it means the return of my feet back into the lush greenery of the forests here. If there is any time I feel most alive and stirred it is in my time, late April early May when everything is bursting with life and growing. This isn't about pleasures though, it is about ecstatic trance, a time of spiritual revelation and experience, which I know to be found readily during my "power" time of the year.

The theme of this season, is trusting my inner visions and being guided by them.


The path continues through the green mantle... a Reunion. A returning to place, while not maybe physical - it is spiritual. What also comes up is recognition that I spend a lot of time working on myself and in things in a solitary way... this could be a coming together with my people, my tribe, my kinfolk. The land is what brings us together. I should keep this in mind.

The Ancestor, the great call from within that is tied to my blood and my bones. This serves as a reminder to stay on the path, to stay the course of my spiritual journey and the call of spirit. Sometimes we really do need a reminder, because we get a little lost, we make pit stops, we take side trails... but always there is the path I know I must walk. It might change its shape and texture over the years, the landscape may shift, but it is always there and to stay upon it means everything to me. This also may be the start of a new spiritual cycle and beginning for me.

And speaking of path walking, there's the crossroads. This will likely be a transformative and fulfilling summer. This is about follow through and commitment to my goals, walking my talk and my path - in doing this I will find Fulfillment.

With the Ancestor in mind and the idea of new cycles and beginnings, it's almost no surprise to see this being the overall theme for summer time. Death is transformative and skin shedding is vital. This will be a very interesting time I think.


There will be some misses I think coming into this season. But that Archer, again! There will be a need for focus and determination. My job becomes increasingly stressful during this time of year and very often (as I found myself doing this year) I pile up too much on my plate and dilute my focus. I'm scattered and uncollected. I must be mindful of this.

Here is the first stones and earth based card to show up. This is something to note, there's a lot of air, water and fire happening, but not a lot of grounding earth. 10 of Stones, Home. This card is flanked by frustration and challenge, so the emphasis here I think is sanctuary creating. One thing I have always been curious about myself (astrologically speaking) is how very significant my home is to me and creating sanctuary space. A place to retreat from external pressures, stress, the elements. It is where love resides, I think. Building something. Growth is happening in this card, an apple tree reaches up and out of the roof. Sustenance, sanctuary and support are themes here and will be important during this time.

One cannot grow without challenge. The thing about challenges is to not become petty, or to act out of insecurity when enduring them and instead, to act of integrity and sincerity for best results.

Labor will bring in the sweetness and rewards. While working through frustrations and challenges can suck, one can definitely work them to ones advantage. This also touches on home and home base being a place to recharge and gain sustenance.

This is a big ol' spread! The biggest I have ever done actually. What I think I will be doing with this, is returning to it at each season and checking in. So, I think there will be subsequent posts about how all of this plays out into the coming year.

If you ever decide to use this spread, do share it! I would love to see others take on this, or how it might play out for them as well.

Many blessings to those making their wintry decent!

31 Day Tarot Challenge + Compilation + Card Nerding

It probably doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize I use the crap outta Instagram. When I got my very first smartphone, it was the first app I gravitated to and continue to use religiously. It's a little window world and you get to share with other folks, connect, make friends too! Of all the social media platform, this I feel is the most enriching and interactive in a positive way. I've made some great friends via Instagram. But little did I know it would actually have an impact on my daily reading practice...

I decided to participate in my first ever Instagram "daily challenge" put on by Claire Elizabeth of Black and the Moon (whose shop is amazing by the way). And holy crap did it ever touch on some cool shit! It was literally a tarot journey I unknowingly embarked upon for the entire month of October. It also got me wanting to be creative with sacred items I have in and around my reading space... I still haven't come up with a name for it yet, "divining table" or, also known as: the kitchen table that ain't a kitchen table (I suppose if you wanted to get down to it, I am indeed a kitchen witch).

It was fascinating to see patterns popping up in cards, responses to previous days pulls. Some of my decks got cheeky, especially Wildwood. It reinforced the belief that decks are like people, they have personalities too and I feel I always get a better read or interaction with my decks when I treat them as such. They contain a spirit to, you know!

It's really great to have these little daily prompts on top of just pulling cards for yourself, or doing readings for others. It gives you a chance to really explore a deck, or multiple decks. I think the next time I do something like this, I'll focus on one deck, to really dig into it and feel it out.

If you haven't done something like this before, do! I know I hesitated at first because I didn't know how it'd interfere with the vibe of my feed, or even just my daily card slinging practice. I was able to talk with other readers, discover new decks (oh the bane of my wallets poor existence) and check out others feels and perspectives on card meanings which is always refreshing. It was also cool to sync up card wise with other readers.

Anyway, go peep at Black and the Moons shop! I believe her Antique Anatomy Deck is currently sold out. Hopefully a reprint or restocking soon? And if her following prints don't tempt you, I don't know what will...

If you know of any good challenges coming up soon, do share! I think I will be rolling into the Modern Mystic challenge next.

Slow + Rushing

Wind was kicking up all sorts of leaves around my house this morning while I was laying in bed, in a weird way it felt like fall had finally kicked in this weekend. This October has reminded me quite a bit of last October, but only in weather... not my then circumstances.

I have been busy, busy, busy. It's like a slow rushing right now, I feel everything so acutely and I'm paying attention. Like each step being oddly and carefully considered before the next, but quickly. I drastically cut back on drinking and I quit smoking pot (which is legal here, by the way). I'm about three months in now I think, I can't remember exactly when it was I stopped. Being sober has been trippy in and of itself, but it's fantastic really. I dream deeply, much more vividly and the depressive side effects of alcohol are gone. Sadly, weed is a spiritual blocker for me. It closes up parts of myself that are very necessary for me to reach on a daily basis. I am relearning how to be comfortable with this level of sensitivity. It's wonderful, being very here and now. Being able to move outside of myself. Become an observer. It isn't easy and I watch myself do shit that makes me shake my head, or causes me to reassess other methods of doing things. It's all weird. Feeling feelings is weird. Being human is weird. Everyday is some strange experiment it feels like. An exciting, strange, titillating... experiment.

I really kind of wanted to focus on slowing things this fall and winter, and I think I am getting there. One lesson I have been trying to wrap my stubborn head around is: it's OK to give up on shit. It's OK to put something away, throw it away, wash it away, take it away and watch it drift far far down a river you set it in, never to be seen again. Giving up ain't bad. It's relieving sometimes to be honest, sometimes sad. But in my case these recent weeks, it's been good, great even. It's space creating for something else to expand or for something else to move in. I've been in favor of expanding upon things, digging deeper and not taking on things that perpetuate the burn out cycles I find myself in.

I've been drinking a lot of roots in tea and taking them as medicine. It's the rooty season. Right now, ashwagandha has been my slowing down, adapting to external pressures and stress plant. Which I think I will expand upon in another post...

I think, that is what this fall and winter will be about, because... I just pulled a card about it. Hah! Two of Cups. Amalgamation. Moving together parts that are separate into a whole and piecing together discombobulated bits. A uniting of polarities to create a whole.

Old man Hermit has been creeping around the periphery too, like always. The contemplation before the amalgamation. I think my extroverted summer tapped me out and now my bear-ness has arrived and I am ready to den these short days away. Undergo some processing... and meet spirit guides halfway, because 'tis the season! The veil is thinning and oh how spirit is on the loud speaker. Do you feel it?

So many signs pointing to dig into the earth, these days, or be swallowed by it. Like the Shaman, who makes their way into the otherworld by the roots of tree or being eaten by the earth.

Tilly Jane + Old Man Wy'east

The first week I had my car I left one of the doors open while it was parked off street by my apartment, like a dingus. Not a good thing as I live at a sort of sketchy intersection. My neighbor said, "hey! You left your car door open!" and I said, "oh shit, thank you! I'm still getting used to this car owner thing." You know, getting used to basic things like shutting the door and locking it when you're done with it. Anyway... I haven't done that again!

I am also very indecisive when it comes to any sort of adventure plans, now that I am basically able to get to any and everything. There's just too much to see out here! So I made a firm decision for Cooper Spur last weekend.

I have mixed feelings about adventuring around Mt. Hood. Firstly (and I am not alone in this), Hood puts off the feels. Like he's angry and shit. I would be too if people were trampling around on my slopes leaving all sorts of trash, lighting fires and being generally disrespectful. It's a high traffic area and I prefer less traffic. Being the animist that I am, I do my best to tread lightly and respectfully. I also bring treats, which usually wins some kind of favor. Just make sure it's the right treat!

When I reached the road to get to the trail head I saw another trail, the Tilly Jane ski trail. Not wanting to drive the 10 miles of switchbacks to reach the Cloud Cap campground, I took this instead as it eventually links up with the Timberline and then Cooper Spur. Overly ambitious, but whatevs. It totaled at I believe, 12 miles there and back with an elevation gain of something like 3000 feet. I stopped at the iconic stone hut, where there's the junction between Cooper and Timberline. There was a shit ton of people there and it was sometime after 4pm so, not wanting to hike in the dark I was quick like a bunny and went back. So in actuality I never did Cooper Spur, but this was nice.

This trail takes you through an old burn, back from 2008 I believe. The contrast of the silvery dead trees and plants moving into their fall colors were stunning to say the least. It always makes me want to paint.

Mountain yarrow! Some of the best yarrow grows along coasts, at higher elevation or rough wild terrain. Cultivated yarrow is considered inferior by some herbalists. When these little plants are exposed to harsh environments, like growing out of a rock on the side of a mountain, they're stronger for it and have much more potent medicine. You can actually smell the difference. Compare yarrow growing in a garden to yarrow on a windy, rocky slope and you'll smell it.

Little plant lessons: exposure to extremes can lead to strength, tenacity and potency.

Real Talk + Coming Full Circle + Vulnerability

Not love with another per se, but a union of polarity within myself, of coming to love myself. Breaking free, and shocks to the system. Rising from the ashes. Breaking old bonds and forming new ones.

Not love with another per se, but a union of polarity within myself, of coming to love myself. Breaking free, and shocks to the system. Rising from the ashes. Breaking old bonds and forming new ones.

On this day and at this particular hour a whole year ago, I was sitting in a bar with my then lover, drunk. We were celebrating the move into my new apartment. My first move out on my own after having been in a tumultuous 7 year relationship, which ended only four months before I moved out of the place we cohabited and into my new home. Literally, one relation to the next. Four days later, the then lover dumped me to return to his ex. It was an intense four month affair with him. We were each others rebound and hadn't really known it I think.

I was extremely isolated, in a new apartment, no friends locally to speak of, family clear across the country. My cats were unable to live with me, lover completely abandoned me. Save for the cruel texts about how he missed me and could still smell me on his bed... jackass. I descended into a manic depression. I think, it was at that time, that kicked off the real lessons of my Saturn return, in the sign of Scorpio no less. It wasn't just about him breaking up with me, it went far deeper than that. It was however, definitely a catalyst.

I coped with drinking and hooking up with random people. I neglected my business, family, friends and myself.

I desperately wanted to, but would not admit this to myself at the time, regain what I had lost. But it was gone gone gone and I was chasing after something ungrabable, smoke, shadows. I knew that even though I wanted to be loved so badly and to give love so badly, I wasn't even ready for it. I didn't want it but I wanted it. I wanted to be rescued, but no one was able to actually do it but me.

I have always been strong, adaptable, capable, resilient, independent. I have always prided myself in being the classic Aries woman. I was in the negative sense during this time: I withered, crumbled and was worked to ash by my own uncontrollable flame.

I had never thought myself capable of numbing and blotting out my own emotions with self-destructive behavior, that isn't me. Avoiding the truth of it all. I did it though and I did it through the latter part of 2014 and almost half of 2015.

When there wasn't random hookups, I dated some rather horrible and abusive people. I do not play victim here, I walked into these situations with my own self made blinders hiding the red flags. There were good ones too, but you knew in your heart there wasn't anything there. Or maybe you felt strongly the potential with someone, but knew it wasn't time yet.

It was all validation seeking in the wrong places. I sought it through attention from men, through meaningless sex. It left me with an intensely dull and hollow feeling. Like husks.

I knew it the whole time, what I was doing. Again and again the lesson would be taught. But oh! I only learn the hard way! I only learn through walking through fucking fire and ordeal. Ugh.

It came to a strange head about mid year, when I stopped dating and stopped with the hookups. A deep dreading and nagging feeling clung to me. Drinking and socializing continued and even in that there was a growing dis-ease with the amount of drinking I was doing. Hangovers were a constant depressive state. The realization of the validation seeking in all the wrong places was setting in... I knew it, but didn't want to face it.

I was avoiding me. Myself. Running, running, running from the elephant in the room. I was always able to call other people out for avoiding their own shadows, their bullshit, their own truth. Here I was this whole fucking time, doing just that.

Physician heal thyself. Or as I sometimes like to say, “Herbalist, heal thyself!”

I did it, I did it.

It required hermitizing. It required making myself poor and dumping all my saved money into a car and backpacking gear so that I could get the fuck out of this city and into the places my soul can expand in... be enriched by. Cutting off unhealthy relationships. Vowing to never again have Tinder on my phone. Back to the gym. Back to nutrition. Back to making art. Back to the plants and spirits that call... back to being happily, contentedly, alone. Back to real Britton, the root me.

I suppose, I had had enough of my own bullshit.

Do you know, I went a whole fucking month without drinking a cup of herbal tea? Oh I did. And shame on me. One strange and sobering night I was pulled to a jar in my cupboard filled with a bright green crushed leaf. I remember very distinctly the day I had collected it. The thought and intention as I plucked each leaf, talking to them as I went, leaving offerings as I went. I brewed it, cooled it enough to sip and I remember standing at my window watching a scraggly ass crow peck around in the street. I think it was very hot that day too... I sipped it. Boom! In that moment my whole mother fucking world crashed in around me. Like I was stuck somewhere up in the ozone layer and yoinked back down to earth. I cried and cried. It kind of went on like that for days, taking this tea, peeling back the layers.

The validation I was so seeking? I had to find in myself.

That little plant was vanilla leaf, an aromatic. I still haven't got a clue as to the how and why that plant and I have come to form a serious bond, I have simply always been very attracted to it. Very often the things that we are attracted to, are attracted to us, and for good reason. Plant gnosis is what it is. I owe that humble little dude plant quite a lot. No matter what, it's like they're always smiling back at me and reaching out to be touched. Nodding and waving in their low growing clusters through the woods. Like little forest foot soldiers.

Back in May, I sat in a lecture lead by a guy named Nome McBride, who was talking about restorative wildcrafting and he said, “sometimes you just have to go to the mountain and sit on a rock and cry.” He emphasized the (naturally) healing aspects of going to the woods and working with spirit of place and plants, developing and deepening those relationships. Internally that day, I went to my own mountain and cried. In his power point, he ended it with, “Rx of the day: Go to the mountain!” So now I can actually go to mountains! Sit on rocks and have a good cathartic cry with the acquisition of a motor vehicle. Plants can take us places too, but internally. Just like vanilla leaf did for me.

I cannot say, why, why I resisted what I know feeds me, what is right to me, my soul. Maybe it is the rawness of it all? The feeling of your skin being inverted and constant nerve exposure. Accepting the otherness of yourself. Sometimes you must be broken to be made anew...

The recent seasonal shift seems to be supporting my movements. Venus has been retrograde since July 25th and I can say, I wanted to utilize her dipping into shadow to get back to myself and I did. Interestingly, as she began to station retro I noticed the little rx next to my own Venus in Aries in my natal chart, something I somehow overlooked. I was born into this world with her in the underworld. A coming home time of sorts I think, back to home base and a familiar root. I have felt as though something has been building up to this month as she soon stations direct and begins a side by side transit with my own ruling planet, Mars. Power is building... and a lunar eclipse in my sign soon! Such good things. Supportive astrological aspects in my own shifting and skin shedding.

Took me a god damn year(ish) to come full circle, to be real with myself. All of that was necessary though and I cannot say that I regret the things that I did to myself. Because through all that bittering experience, it made the sweetness that much more sweet and soothing, opening. A balm to the soul. Hawthorn to the heart. Little vanilla leaf bringing me back to myself.

I would like to wrap this up with a shout out to Olivia at First Earth Tarot, who provided me with an amazing reading at a very rock bottom point. You're an incredible woman, thank you for your compassion.

And in all his cheese, this dude gets it every time. I actually watched this after I wrote this whole thing. Oh synchronicity!