Best Tarot Books for Beginners & Everyone

So, you’re looking for the best tarot books for your beginning or current tarot practice? I’ve created a list of some of my most treasured tarot books in my own practice.

best tarot books for beginners and everyone

I'm gunna start off light and easy here and cover books and resources because this is a question I get asked the most.

Since books, websites and resources are a huge help when getting started with your tarot practice, I want to do this first. This is by no means a super comprehensive list, but a great place to start. You don't need a lot of books on the tarot to learn how to read it. These are books I have read myself, know of through other folks who opinion or publishing I hold in high esteem.

This list is short and sweet, as too much will muddle your mind. Books and resources are great, because they can open you up to new ways of seeing the cards and diving deeper into mythological and historical meaning. That said, the best way to learn the meaning of the cards is so simple: look at the card and notice what you see and feel come up around your situation. There's your meaning.

THE BEST TAROT BOOKS

78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack

The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot - Ever! by Dusty White

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A. E. Waite

The Ultimate Guide to the Rider-Waite Tarot by Johannes Fiebig 

Tarot for Yourself by Mary Greer

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card by Mary Greer

Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen

The Game of Saturn by Peter Mark Adams

WEBSITES

Biddy Tarot  

The Tarot Lady 

Little Red Tarot (Queer friendly!) + Alternative Tarot Course! 

The Queer Tarot Project 

Learn Tarot (so simple and wonderful)

The Wild Unknown One by One 

And there y'all have it! Let me know if you have any questions at all, or if there's something very specific you'd like for me to cover around tarot for my next post. 

Blackberry + On the Work of Self Love and Our Bodies

Recently in an Instagram post, I wrote about struggling with my own body image and recognizing my relationship to my body and that it is time to mend it. I'm not an expert on this subject of being a woman and how I deal with my own body. Or maybe I am, because I am living and dealing with it just like so many other people. I also do not contain the eloquent politically correct language so many others posses, to express myself confidently. But you know, fuck it. Alas, my Mercury in Aries does its usual thing. 

Please, read through the comments. There are a lot of lovely and wonderful nuggets in there.

This is the body I wake up in every day. Lately, I have been having an increasing anxiety about my body and it's shape. It has been building up to an extremely uncomfortable anxiety ridden point. I have been fat and I have meticulously counted my calories and lifted weights until I had visible abs, which often only brought a superficial appreciation of my body. I mentally beat myself up when I skip the gym for a week, or when I decide to eat like shit for a day or two. When I don't move my body, or come into it I forget that I am in it. Which is strange to me as a highly physical Aries/Taurus person. Often I feel like a cloud of consciousness, just floating in the ether, with nothing to root me or ground me. I look at @bodyposipanda and so many other women in love with their bodies no matter the shape. I feel shame, envy, anger and self loathing that I can't seem to ever ascend into acceptance and even more than that LOVE for my self and mainly, my body. I know where the loathing comes from, but I cannot fend it off some days and some days it's really bad. The whole world can tell you you're beautiful but you'll never believe it until you come into some form of love for your self and body - until you do your own internal work. And I realize, that I need to spend time with myself and with my body more. It's time to do this work I have put off so long and ignored. To feel the shapes and roots of, "I'm not good enough" "I'm not lean enough" "I'm not as pretty as that person" "I am not worthy" etc. and treat them with compassion and understanding. To transmute that. Vulnerability, transparency and sharing in my community (all community) have been a way for me to heal parts of myself. Supporting each other in the struggle, as I know I am not alone. I know many of you feel this, I feel it too. We can unlearn what we have been taught is "beautiful" and stop hating ourselves for what we actually are. It's ok. We're ok. We are enough. . . . #bodypositive #bodyposi #bodypos #selflove #feels #thestruggle #curves #pcos #vulnerability #transparent #witchlife #transmute #unlearn

A photo posted by ♈️Britton (@archaichoney) on

It wasn't easy to put all of that up, but I'll say it again: fuck it. Because I know I'm not alone in the struggle. The shame that I am made to feel for my body, no matter its shape. I am three years out of an abusive long term relationship followed by a string of dating and relationships where 95% of the time I was purely an object meant to please and when I did not please, when I challenged, when I fought back against misogyny I was made to feel terrible and unwanted for it. I had no idea what was even happening at the time. I just felt like an unloveable, ugly, unworthy human being.

I know that is not true about me, or you or anyone.

So, as I sat looking over comment after comment, story after story I grabbed my tarot cards. Naturally. I wanted to do a reading for all of us as we recognize and begin to heal these thought patterns and how we view our bodies. This will be a lucid rambling of card reading, so thank you in advanced for following along.

The deck I am using is my beloved Pagan Otherworlds Tarot, created by the wonderful folks at Uusi

The first card was the most profound, and I almost just wanted to stop the reading right there but I pulled one more just to back it up.

10 of Swords - Queen of Wands

Being a plant person, the first thing I see here are the brambles and what looks like to me like the highly invasive Rubus armeniacus (Himalayan blackberry) that plagues my home in the Northwest. And how representative this plant can be of patriarchal and misogynistic values. As it creeps into our minds telling us how to live and how we should think of ourselves. It binds us and chokes the life out of all other living things. What seems most oppressive in this picture though, is the crushing weight of those swords. The whole thing, on the surface looks like a tangled mess of sharp painful objects and death. At the same time however, this plant provides food, shelter for small animals and even medicine.

Blackberry is in the Rosaceae family, placing it alongside other fruit bearing and thorn wielding plants such as Crataegus (hawthorn) and Rosa (rose). The lesson these plants often provide us is safe boundaries that protect the self and often help support love of the self. Bridging the wide gaps and disconnect we can often find between our spirit, mind and body.

It is worthy to note that in this card its rootball is exposed, where a good portion of it's medicine resides and in this state it is vulnerable. This is where my focus is being drawn.

Classically, the 10 of Swords is the end of the suit of Swords and the end of a cycle. The darkness before dawn. In this card, we see the opportunity of transmuting the roots of invasive and persistent thoughts about our bodies and our own worthiness despite the oppressive situation we find ourselves in. Do we use the swords in an aggressive angry act to hack away at something that will just spring back time and time again, offering only a temporary reprieve? Or, or, do we get our hands dirty and transform the mire of our thoughts about ourselves into a potent medicine that heals and teaches us? 

The work is not easy. The work does not come without getting scratched, or bleeding, or remembering and seeing just how far those roots go back.

Alongside this card was the witch of tarot herself, the Queen of Wands. With her cat, her secrets and her knowledge of positive growth. This kind of Queen can act as a guide and muse for those of us working on the struggle and our journey into a healthy and positive relationship with our bodies. Her focus is inward and yet she can turn that and radiate it outward as warmth, love and compassion for herself and others. A Queen is a Queen because of her experiences, both good and bad. If you have a tarot deck, find her and carry her with you. Put her in a place you will see often and be reminded of her energies. 

If you're reading this chances are you're probably a witch, right? We have the power and ancestral knowledge to turn something into another. To transmute and alchemize. To make a healing balm and find power and strength out of what would otherwise crush us and snuff us out.

Weekly Oracle: Vulnerability + Resentment + Healing

I'll be doing Weekly Oracles over on my Instagram account every Monday instead of doing them here. I'd like to focus on more quality vs. quantity writing here in this space. Also, in July I will be leaving for a month long hike along the Oregon coast. I'll be spending most of June getting prepared.

You ever feel like your vulnerability can lead you to a path of resentment? Confidently you start off baring your truth, only to recoil at yourself because seemingly, there is no reciprocity or care of this fragile thing you exposed - perhaps not the way you wanted it. Not the way you expected it. Once you've shown or exposed that soft spot, you suddenly feel shameful or too much. Maybe you gave too much. You cared too much. Always kind of echoing in the back of your mind, "why do I care so much, why do I care so much, why do I care so much?" starts forming like god damn bramble shoots, taking over everything. 

Then begins the slow construction of a wall. Laying it in front of yourself, brick by brick. But you build it about chest high, so you can still see the person/people on the other side and talk with them... but they can't completely reach you. You're protected yourself to the point of letting nothing in and nothing out. They can't see much, neither can you. You're able to dip down when you feel like it, to feel secure again and maintain your safe space.

This wall prevents full expression of my self, a compassionate expression. It's coming from a place of fear. Fear of loss and hurt. So when I act in the world, or with people I care about - it is distorted. It's laced with paranoia, anxiety, mistrust.

I roll my eyes into the back of my skull, I. Do. Not. Want. To. Look. At. This.

This is how I have felt the past few days, or several, really.

Annoyingly, I keep getting fours. Rest/withdrawal refusal/indignation. My deck knows me, the cheeky shit. It won't let me hide. Too many times I've pulled the same cards back to back the past few days. For me, this was the recognition and affirmation that I needed to get my head straight.

FOUR OF CUPS

Super fixed tepid water, this card. This outright refusal of an offering, a magic, magic thing just hovering right there. Too focused on the issue at hand to notice a way to solve it. An answer, a helping hand, a helping spirit, a helping cup of tea. Even the tree friend has this closed up persons back, if only they opened up. They seem to be content to sit with their problems.

Four of Cups - resentment vulnerability healing

Finally, it dawned on me...

How can I let go of my resentments and heal from my hurts?

Sometimes, when you're really in the thick of it, you can't see that helping hand, tree friend, person, spirit. All you can see is your sick vision. So, this is what I got:

Wild Unknown - Strength Ace of Pentacles and 9 of Wands

Here we have Strength. In this case, it is the willpower to calm those wild inner emotions with love and compassion and tame them. This doesn't happen through mentally whipping and lashing ourselves, but by caring for that hurt and pain. We're going to suffer in this life regardless, why create more monsters or feed those monsters by being harsh with ourselves? It takes emotional willpower and inner strength to turn and face these aspects of ourselves.  To cut through the fog and find that root cause of our reactions and resentments that we carry with us. 

Despite wounds, being cut or even say if it was a healthy trimming away and letting go, there's an abundance of growth to come from it. Healing is occurring with recognition of our hurts and resentments. If we can summon up that inner resolve to face them, heal and evolve from them, our inner core can shine brightly. We don't have to hide behind the wall we create any more. Safely, we can move about in the world in our true, raw brightest forms. The center of this cut tree is the heartwood, the very core of something living and sturdy. It shines on brightly, reaching through all layers of our life. An opening from the inside out.

Even with that burst of the Ace, it ain't an easy road doing this kind of healing work. Some days, it can seem like this is an uphill battle. Tripping and stumbling up the stairs. It's good to remember to be gentle to ourselves, especially if you're the type to suck it up, put on the blinders and plough on despite your hurting, lashing yourself along the way. There's a strength here though that goes back to the first card, as these aren't just nimble wands but great big sturdy logs. One foot in front of the other each day, slowly and steady. With perseverance, we can uncover what hides within us.

Much love to you all, as we tread our own crooked, twisting winding and brilliantly beautiful paths. 

Weekly Oracle + Guided by The Star & Away from Illusions

Over this weekend I was sitting at my table and my Wild Unknown deck (which I never use and bought for collector reasons) kept jumping out at me from the periphery. I have feelings about this deck which I hope to sum up in a later blog post. For this month and next month I am challenging myself to use it and see how we get along. You'll be seeing more of it here and in my instagram feed.

So, I don't know about any of you... but that full moon kinda sucked. It was rough, hard and heavy. I know I wasn't the only one in this camp of moon feels. It threw up a lot of insecurities into my face and I was, for a few days, sitting in a pit of despair and angst. I suppose when the light shines it reveals not the most pretty of things, but what we need seeing - even it it's not what we want to see and feel.

I think at the heart of this spread is the 7 of Cups. Emotional illusions based on some kind of conflict - inner or outer, that's where we're resting our cup. It can be hard to discern which is right, which is wrong because this overwhelming thing is at the very center of our attention.

Swirling all around is your hopes, dreams and desires though. Even though it can be hard to see past that cup, shifting focus back to your guiding star can help you break through the negative illusions that are not serving you. I mean, what are they really doing for you right now? Ask yourself.

What do we do when we gaze at the stars? We stop, we breathe we become absorbed by a celestial light. It can be opening and clearing for us. Even though the stars lie in the heavens they can bring us back to earth and instil a sense of calm and peace. It can help right us back on our course and set us forth in the right direction...

Through The Star, we can arrive at the Two of Cups. The manifestation of love in a multitude of forms and a connection to self isn't far away. We've just got to remember to look to the Star, remember, get back on course and not be caught up and derailed by those emotional illusions we can all create for ourselves. 

Spring Check In + Rein It In + Ground the Fire

In this post, I am digging back and checking into a year long spread I did for myself on Samhain of 2015. This has been an interesting process to see how things have manifested for me over the course of this year. You can read more about this elaborate spread I created, here.

The moment the sun moved into Aries I felt a fire lit under my ass. It was a very powerful time, full of energy, spring was unseasonably early (again). This has been a very, very good time for me and a lot happened. I felt like a thoroughbred, feelin' my oats at a full gallop.

7 OF BOWS - CLEARANCE

Back in... January, I cancelled my home internet. Best/worst decision ever. I feel like that was my manifestation of the 7 of Bows - Clearance. It cleared up a lot of personal space for me. Coming home from work was about reading, being quiet, sitting in the tub, journalling, cooking good meals for myself. It was awesome making that space for myself and I was able to do it for about 4 months. I just got internet about 2 weeks ago. It was a really interesting experiment. But ultimately, being a business owner without an active connection just isn't easy.

The reason? Well, it's really hard for me to get into any sort of blogging space. It was hard to do readings for folks. I wanted to work on labels for products I'd like to sell here. I wanted to do research, etc.

Let me tell you, it's really hard to get into any sort of creative mindset when you're sitting next to a woman who is wearing perfume that destroys your olfactory sense, hair metal is blasting and over all this in a busy ass coffee shop is a mother trying to read or rather, shout a book at her child. No thank you.

I kind of look at it as a detox. It helped reset my internetting habits. If you struggle at all with adult ADD, you know just what a devastatingly tempting mistress the internet can be.

Three of Arrows - Jealousy

Interestingly this had nothing to do with love, quite the opposite actually. I learned quite a valuable thing this spring: do not compare yourself to others. It sounds pretty simple, but it ain't. It's easy to look at what others are doing and wonder why you aren't doing the same, why you don't have the same, why you aren't as good, etc.

The grass is greener where you water it.

So, I was faced with insecurities, my fears, doubt, feelings of worthlessness. The best course of action during states such as that, is deep self-examination... find the source of those feelings and work on them, rather than complaining, lashing out, or making enemies. Also realize that what you have to offer this world is as completely unique as you are. The battle I think, is learning how to own that. And that's something I am working on.

Five of Vessels - Ecstasy

ec·sta·sy

ˈekstəsē/

noun

  1.  

    an overwhelming feeling of great happiness or joyful excitement.

    "there was a look of ecstasy on his face"

  2.  

    an emotional or religious frenzy or trancelike state, originally one involving an experience of mystic self-transcendence.

I think ecstasy is something we can work towards, or try to cultivate it into happening. It can be coaxed without the use of psychoactives. It can come when least expected too. For me, this was more about recognition, honouring and surrendering to this state. Recognition of greater forces at work in my own life, an opening up and receiving of this kind of joy and happiness. 

Spring has been fantastic so far, but fires can only burn for so long.

In the past few weeks while multiple planets were/are retrograde, I took that as an opportunity to pull back from all the intensity of sun in Aries. If there's one thing I've learned about my Aries self, it's that we can burn hot and not realize we're running on fumes, then we crash and burn and recovery can be a right bitch! Cultivating good earthy stillness, drawing up nourishment so that flame can be fed...

Vision

This is where the Vision card from Earthbound Oracle comes in. Note the blindfold. This is an inner vision and exploration within the self. A kind of turning inward to amalgamate and metabolize all the bursting forth and activity that occurred during spring, which is where I feel I am at right now. Not about seeing with my physical eyes, but my spiritual eyes.

So, that's my spring so far.

Moving into summer will be super, super interesting! I have a big trip planned for July that I will be talking about here soon I think...

It's a little weird to me, to think that come July I will be living in a tent for a month while I walk north to south down the coast 🤔🌊

A photo posted by Britton Periscope@archaichoney (@archaichoney) on

Earned, Not Given Freely + 5 of Blooms

I've been doing another tarot challenge over on Instagram, #tarotselflove. I chose the Wooden Tarot for this one, because I wanted to get comfy working with this deck. For so long it has sat on my wichin' table collecting plant and dust matter. While occasionally I would work with the major cards, I did not work with it in its whole form.

I have an interview I have done with it coming up soon, that I want to post here. Perhaps more too, because this deck is... different. It's a challenger and will shake up your tarot world once you start reading with it.

While I've been throwing daily draws over in my Daily Oracle section, I wanted to highlight this card here. It was a tough one. It not only gave me a powerful answer, but I learned a lesson in it too.

Ok, so you're sitting with your cards and you ask a question.

Shuffle shuffle.

You draw a card.

It makes no sense.

None.

No connection. It's not even relevant to your question...

STOP.

Now, dig. Dig deep down. There is an answer, there always is. If we aren't challenged, how will we ever grow?

This was the card I pulled for todays prompt: What should I be more grateful for?

When I looked at this, I almost reshuffled. What is even here to be grateful for? This is desolation, destruction. If you have ever stood in a clear cut, something is clearly missing. Those of us deeply connected to the land and its unseen and seen inhabitants knows this feeling of loss, anger, abuse, greed.

What is to be grateful here? I asked.

I dug, I searched.

It's about finding a way out of an ugly place, or transforming it.

You have to find your way out of it, or learn how to spur new growth. 5 of Blooms says, be grateful because the means with which to navigate those lands and make good on it requires finding your own tools. Be grateful for the experience of earning those abilities and tools, because they are not just given freely.

These tools are earned and learned through the experience of pain, loss and suffering. With them, we can move forward and face future challenges better equipped to handle what they may throw at us, with grace, understanding and compassion.

When you’re overwhelmed by despair, all you can see is suffering everywhere you look. You feel as if the worst thing is happening to you. But we must remember that suffering is a kind of mud that we need in order to generate joy and happiness. Without suffering, there is no happiness.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

This is why I love tarot. It really gives us the opportunity to learn and face aspects of ourselves that are not always in plain sight.

A Winter Check In – New Year, New Things

That strange year of 2015 is now fully behind me. A lot of destruction happened in order for new growth to occur. It was my year of the Death card and my Saturn return, which was in the sign of Scorpio, the sign that rules the Death card interestingly enough. '15 was rough and I was rough on myself, there's not much else to elaborate on. The end of that year was however, awesome. I got a lot of things in my life straightened out, mainly my health, finances and relationships. I am glad that I finally saw that rising dawn...

Before the new year came, I rid myself of all connection to past unhealthy relationships. Mainly this took the form of physical magical workings I had scattered through my house. I disposed of them in strategic spots, far from home. I refused to carry any of that business into the new year. Clean home, clean mind!

This year, my card is Temperance, which follows Death. It too has a rising sun on it's horizon and a path leading deep into the mountains. A foot in two worlds, while processing and amalgamating. There is a serenity and calm here I just love. Graceful movements. Lush growing things. Tempering myself and my actions so that I may find balance and wholeness in my life.

upload.jpeg
If you’re curious about your own year card add together these numbers: your month of birth + day of birth + current year = number, then you break that number down into smaller bits and add those together. Example for myself: 4 + 19 + 2016 = 2039 ... 2 + 3 + 9 = 14. Temperance.

Looking back on my Samhain reading, I can see the passage of Winter happening. I struggled, mentally … but I had that little lantern lit and I kept on going. I am not a winter person, I find it depressing and frustrating a lot of the time, but I know it's a necessary seasonal process. I've been enjoying hunkering down and getting very hermit mode. Like the little Kingfisher, I have been fairly focused on some very specific things. I've done some weeding and am currently still weeding out unnecessaries – this is helping my focus and aims. The Mirror is all mystery, reflection and illumination of the darker aspects of ones soul. A surrendering to that knowledge, a healing of wounds though guidance from the otherworld. Dreams are vivid these days, so I pay attention. My inner voice is being found on a multitude of levels, I am hearing her.

I feel like this year is taking the actions that will manifest dreams and desires into reality.

These desires require funds. So, I have done a few things this month.

  1. Canceled my home internet.

  2. Lowered my grocery bill.

  3. Canceled other luxury monthly expenditures

  4. Selling off a good hunk of my unused and unnecessary possessions.

For some, not having home internet might already be a thing and not a big deal. But for me it is. I have always had an internet connection from the comfort of my home since I was on my own at 18. I also run an online business as my primary means of income, so this was a difficult thing. Thankfully I have a separate work space, so yes, there's internet there for me to access obviously.

You know what though? It's awesome not having it at home. There is a brightness I feel like waiting for me there now, not a black hole. It means I can actually read the books I have instead of being distracted by the internet. I mean, how often do we discontentedly sit scrolling through our facebook feed feeling frustrated and pissed with the world? Yes, I could probably summon the willpower to have home internet and not waste time like that... but, that feels almost impossible! It's pulling and calling... usseee meee.

I'm not faced with a barrage of adds telling me how to look, what to buy. Or opinions of how I should live and what I should eat. That I need to buy this thing to feel complete. When I look at the internet too much, my mind is even more of a mess, my dreams become junk, I'm scattered and longing for... who knows what. Something I can't put my finger on. So, at 6:30am on Monday the 11th, I canceled that shit. Not a singular doubt in my mind.

I come home and I read books, conduct research and work on my own little projects. It's wonderful. Through this disconnect in my dwelling space, I feel like I've been better able to find my own voice through the internal noise that constant and chronic internet use creates.

If I need internet, I can walk to the nearest wifi spot two blocks away. If I really, really need something I have my smartphone.

Beyond that, it's just working on the tiny things to build the bigger things. Slowing down some processes to speed up others. Right now, I just want less, so that I can have more enrichment in my life.

Slowing down some processes to speed up other things in my life. It's a strange thing! But all of this feels like the right move. Hell yes to a year of learning the lessons of Temperance. I thought that this card from the Wooden Tarot pretty much embodied my choices lately. Slowing down, thinking about what home means to me, thinking about what I really, really need, what really matters. This snail dude is going places and growing things. Slowing down to speed up, in a strange manner of speaking. Look at the little dude! All confident and rolling right though it. This one knows where they're going.

This was my little New Years day road opening spell with Temperance as my 2016 card and the Sun as my randomly drawn card for the year as well. What good omens!

That's 2016 for me: taking actions and steps to making dreams become reality.

How I Choose Which Tarot Deck I Read With + Decks I Use

I was asked a question on how I choose which tarot deck I use for readings, which I thought was a great question because it isn't something I've really thought about doing, but just do. Short answer is: I go with my gut.

tarot deck collection

Currently I have about 13 different decks to choose from. Of those, I actively use three. Two traditional tarot decks and one oracle deck. I am a bit of a collector and prone to "shiny!" grabby-hands impulse tarot purchases, especially if it is an independently published deck. There are so many people out there creating really cool decks right now.

I have a very deep bond with my Smith-Waite deck. It was the very first deck I have ever owned and we have done some serious shit together. As a result, this is my default deck, the old trusty friend I can always go to and know I'll get a solid unwavering answer from and I know that when I read for others, the same applies.

The second deck I work with I feel is a more nature, pagan and witchy version of Smith-Waite, so the suits translate fairly well between decks. They're similar but not the same. I often go to this deck when I am dealing with more wild, green and witchcraft oriented situations. It's also a great deck for me to understand my dreams, as I dream often of plants, animal and wild places.

Third being the Earthbound Oracle. I really like this as a supplemental deck to draw on for tarot readings. To kind of back up another card or use as an action card, or energies surrounding the situation. A good example is how I used it for my Samhain spread.

Example of Earthbound Oracle supplementing the main reading. Basically it stepped in to tell me to stop being deceived by my own doubting mind, to really  see  what I have and trust my intuition.

Example of Earthbound Oracle supplementing the main reading. Basically it stepped in to tell me to stop being deceived by my own doubting mind, to really see what I have and trust my intuition.

When it comes down the choosing a deck for a reading it usually goes something like this:

*sits at table and stares at decks for a while, while contemplating an issue, question*

*knocks on table three times, has conversation with familiar spirits, gets feels*

*looks at decks again*

*picks deck giving good feels*

Hah. It really is hard to describe. But I feel that each deck contains its own spirit and depending on what I am needing to read about, or on, it will reach out to me. And they do, every single time.

So if you're all starry eyed and deck lusting as one does when one loves tarot, I would pick one deck that sits close to your heart. Study and work with it daily, then pick another deck that you're very attracted to to act as an alternative and go from there.

Another useful trick is the good ol' pendulum! I employ this when I am reading for clients. Actually, especially when I am reading for clients. I set both my RWS and Wildwood decks side by side and while holding the pendulum, I state, "who wants to read for Brunhilda Birchswitch?" (I made that name up, I don't know where it came from). And 100% of the time the pendulum swings one way or another and the deck is chosen. If you wanted to apply this to a personal reading just ask, "who wants to read for me?"

Another angle to approach this is knowing your deck. Decks have personalities of their own and I can tell you that I have experienced some decks getting snarky because I haven't used them in a while. Yes, I am looking at you RWS. Conduct yourself an interview! Ask your deck what areas of life it specializes in, what situations it works best in, how you can best read with it. That can help you in knowing when to choose the right deck for the right situation. Or just giving you a better feel for the appropriate time to use it.

Above all though, don't think too critically about it. Go with your gut feeling. If it feels right, it more than likely is! Trust the process.

A Samhain Tarot Spread + The Year Ahead

Yesterday I finished up that Instagram tarot challenge and for the last day I did a Samhain tarot 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.

wildwood tarot the archer

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.

Winter

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.

Spring

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.

Summer

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.

Fall

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.

samhain tarot spread wildwood

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.

Going It Alone: the Solitude of 8 of Cups.

I draw a card for myself every morning. Sometimes to help me better understand a dream, sometimes to guide me through the day... and sometimes they're just there. But sometimes, you see a card you haven't seen in a long time and it touches you. The 8 of Cups did that for me this morning.

Seeking solitude, going it alone. Those were the words that reverberated through my mind.

I think in this day of ever connectedness, smartphones, the internet, everything, true solitude is rare. Some of us seek it and some of us are totally bewildered by the idea. Solitude causes you to examine yourself. Looking within, good, bad, light, shadow is a scary thing. Something we all benefit from experiencing though.

As an introvert I gain much from solitude. It's there that my creativity grows and my batteries recharge. I get cranky if I overextend myself and I have found that, in not expressing my need for solitude misplaced resentment and anger towards those around me develops. It's a bad trait and I have to know when to give myself the time I need to regroup and collect myself. It's like loosing all my organized papers to the wind. It actually took me a long time to realize this. I'm learning how to balance this aspect of my life. This article, Why We Love You But Need to Get Away From You perfectly explains why introverts need to get away. Even if the door is shut, we can still feel you in the other room!

You think that I am impoverishing myself withdrawing from men, but in my solitude I have woven for myself a silken web or chrysalis, and, nymph-like, shall ere long burst forth a more perfect creature, fitted for a higher society.
— Henry D. Thoreau

The other aspect of this card for me is walking your own path. The person in this card is embarking on a journey, a pilgrim, a seeker. They do it alone. Recently in my life, I have had to leave some things behind... a dead co-dependent relationship. One of the driving fears of leaving was whether or not I would be able to survive on my own. 7 years is a long time to develop bad habits and grow lazy in knowing how to take care of some aspects of your life. I knew the day that I decided to call it quits, it would open so many cans, so many worms. But in the end I am better for it and through the suffering and throwing myself into the chaos I would gain more than ever from the experience.

So here I am staff in hand, going it alone.