Monday, December 30, 2019

Benefits of Daily Card Draws


As I prepare to suspend my practice of doing a morning daily draw for the year, I find myself reflecting on the benefits of this practice that has been my habit for over six years now so I thought I'd share my insights of what I've found to be the biggest benefits.

I never did any daily draws nor journaled my readings for the first decade of learning to read cards with the Tarot, I'd never heard of the practice and I've never been much for keeping a daily diary or journal. I started doing daily draws and journaling them for the first time when I was learning to read the Lenormand, following the advice of Donnaleigh de la Rose whose videos were my main source of education for it. She suggested it was a good idea as doing so would teach one the language the cards use with each of us, and I've found that to be very true and I added on to keyword lists to create my own with meanings that came up for me out of this practice. It also helped me to learn the language of the cards and how to read them in context with each other. The practice was to draw three cards in the morning, journal the cards drawn and your interpretation, then to look back at the end of the day to see how what happened was predicted by the cards.

I continued this practice when I returned to reading tarot again after a two year break of full immersion into Lenormand. Where I'd struggled to interpret the tarot before, now I found I was learning its language as well. It helped me greatly to get an easy grasp on the Thoth and the Tarot de Marseille as well, and to get up to speed quickly with using these systems professionally. However, using it as a learning tool over the past couple of years changed my practice from mixing my reading using tarot and oracle cards and a rune to get meaning into doing a 3-card draw and I'll admit that's not as fun and has started to make it feel more like a chore lately. 

If it starts to feel that way to you, find a way to get more creative with it and mix things up! Daily draws can be playful because we learn better when we play than when everything is serious study. This is what I'm planning to do when I return to doing daily draws in 2021, or even late 2020 after getting settled in to my new home and life. My best readings were those where I had a tarot card, an oracle card and a rune mixed together to give one prediction for the day, and those always felt fun and playful as I experimented with mixing the decks together and seeing what worked well together and what didn't. 

I've always asked, "What does today bring me?" You can use this or a similar question (for example: "What do I need to know about today?"), use a spread, or create a spread rather than asking one question. Again, get creative and make it playful and you'll learn a lot more than if you treat it as a serious study the whole time! 

The biggest benefits to doing a daily draw are to see how the cards are speaking to you and shorten your learning curve with them, as well as to provide a time of meditation and connection to spirit. You can do this at the beginning of your day or the end of it, or both as you draw your cards and interpret them in the morning then use some time in the evening to reflect on your day while looking at your cards to see how the events of the day were reflected in them. If the only time you have for reflection and meditation is at the end of the day, draw your cards in the evening for the next day, then reflect on how they played out before doing the draw for tomorrow. 

I highly recommend this practice to beginner and veteran readers for the insights such a daily exercise can give and I know that I'll miss it this year. It's been a habit that I enjoyed most of the time, and it's given some structure and discipline to my days as well. But taking a break will offer me a chance to come back to it with fresh appreciation for this time of my day, and a new sense of playful exploration.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Plans for the New Year 2020

I mentioned in a previous post that I actually celebrate the beginning of the new year at the Winter Solstice because that's the start of a new solar return in the northern hemisphere. It's the Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere and some ancient cultures celebrated it then. So, what do I do about the start of the new calendar year?

Well, I celebrate that as well in different ways. Some new habits began at the solstice, like finally sticking true to my paleo diet and lifestyle. Others will start at the beginning of the calendar year, like changing what I do regarding my daily draws with tarot. Why? Because those are something that I change monthly through the year as far as decks, and then major changes begin with the calendar year shift because that ends the month of December and begins the month of January. 

It's also when the decorations have come down from Yule/Christmas since it's the one holiday we do decorate for specifically for the sake of my husband. He really gets into it, and I have to admit that I like it a little bit too, it's cheery. But this year we're taking it down December 31st as we begin to prepare for our epic move to NH starting January 1st. We have cleaning, packing, decluttering and all to do before we list our house in February of this year. Small preparations started at Yule as I felt that energy come in, but the big changes will start in a few days. 

The other major preparation I'm doing this year is to suspend my daily card draw practice. I started doing a daily draw six and a half years ago when I started studying Lenormand, and continued it when I returned to tarot. I've focused the past two years on different systems, or dialects, of tarot and now I've changed my original plan for 2020 again to be a suspension of this practice because there will be huge periods of time that I just won't have time to do it, or doing so will be too much trouble. I'm too OCD to do daily draws parts of the year but not others, and I've been doing it long enough to have learned how tarot and Lenormand speak to me, so I feel comfortable just taking a break for a year instead. 

The calendar new year starts a new numerological cycle, something I'll be exploring for this year in my next post, so it's also a time for shifts and changes and that's the other thing I recognize, the shift from a 12/3 year to a 4 year (2+0+2+0=2+2=4), and after the year of death and loss we went through that started in early January 2019 when we lost our two senior dogs within six days of each other, followed by the deaths of Steve's parents within three months of each other, I can't wait to put this year behind me and usher in a new one! 

Sunday, December 22, 2019

What the Winter Solstice Means to Me

As the longest night has now passed and the first day of the new solar cycle is waning, I've been celebrating the start of a new year. This is, after all, the time our ancestors would have recognized as the beginning of a new year before manmade years following some nonsensical timing of there being a certain amount of days to a year, or even modern scientific timing as we began to track the orbit of our earth around the sun, and then start our year on an arbitrary day. 

Our ancient ancestors tracked things by what they could see with their naked eyes, and knew the timing of the solar and lunar cycles well. They would have tracked by how many moon cycles or solar returns had happened, and counted years starting on the first day after the longest night. So for me, this begins a new cycle in my life, a new year and a new chapter. Having the energy of the upcoming New Moon to work with amplifies this for me. And honestly, after what we've been through during 2019, I can't wait to start working on the changes we're making for 2020 and our new adventures. 

So, I wish you all a very Happy Winter Solstice and a Happy New Year as each day brings the return of the sun, and thank you to all of my readers, I appreciate you for wanting to read my musings.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

How Doing a Depth Year for 2019 Changed Me

I joined a majority of the Tarot Community on YouTube at the beginning of 2019 who were doing a Depth Year, inspired by Jessica Starr who was inspired by a blog post she'd read. In my case, it wasn't jumping on board of a ship, rather the ship was on the same course that I was already rowing as I'd done a year of going deep with the Thoth Tarot in 2018 and had already planned to go deep for a year with the Tarot de Marseille in 2019 as well as going deeper into my spiritual studies in order to get solid on my spiritual path, something I'd been struggling to have as a focus in my life. Narrowing my focus to two specific areas and going deeper into myself and my studies this way created profound changes for me this year. 

First, my spirituality changed as I let go of things that had never really resonated with me that I'd clung to just because "all" pagans followed them, like the Wheel of the Year and Sabbats, changing to following what's in the sky that our ancient, pre-agricultural ancestors would have followed: the phases of the Moon and the Solstices and Equinoxes. Rather than call them by special words, I just call them by what they are, for example we have the Winter Solstice coming up soon rather than Yule in my practice. I definitely consider it the beginning of the new year as well for our ancestors certainly would have started their year then since they didn't have the later manmade calendar dates to go by, their yearly cycle was more natural.

The second thing that changed drastically was how I read tarot. Learning to read the Tarot de Marseille the way it was read for hundreds of years before Tarotmancy was developed, returning instead to Cartomancy, was very comfortable to me because it allowed me to stop feeling like I needed to superimpose meanings that I didn't feel related to tarot and weren't part of how I read it like astrology and numerology, which I see as their own practices and not part of tarot. I've never really found tarot worked well for me in doing shadow work and spiritual insight readings, I've always found oracle decks to work better for those personally. 

So basically this Depth Year of 2019 allowed me to go deeper within to find what really works for me personally. In letting go of all that doesn't feel right to me, I was able to become more of my authentic Self, and in response to that I also left YouTube. I've found peace, and now all explorations I do aren't something I feel I need to share with the world, they're personal and for my own enjoyment and exploration and I like it that way. 

Exploration will be my theme for 2020 as I leave depth years behind and, after two years of focusing on specific decks and systems, bring out my other decks to play again to see if they can fit into my new way of seeing the tarot or not. Also, as we're moving to my home state of New Hampshire this year after I've been gone for over 30 years, it will be a year of exploration there too as we learn our way around and explore new trails too. I'll be exploring things I've wanted to do for a long time like refinishing furniture and making herbal salves, decoctions and tinctures along with new ways of gardening. I'm excited about the new horizons ahead of me next year! 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

What It's Like to Be An Online Tarot Reader

Almost everyone who becomes a tarot reader wonders at some point what it's like to be a professional tarot reader and many today do decide to become tarot readers online. From a profession that was shady and few sites were available with only a handful of psychics and card readers to a field where there are now a plethora of sites with more growing every day, many of which have hundreds of readers around the world, it's certainly appealing to anyone who has psychic abilities or can read tarot and oracle cards.

However it's not as easy as it sounds to actually do this work, and many don't realize just how different it is to work online than to do psychic fairs or read for private clients. People at psychic fairs are often just seeking entertainment, and those seeking a private reading want in-depth information or an annual check-in, but the online customer is someone in a crisis, often panicking, and most readers don't have the training and background to deal with them, nor are they prepared for this after reading for friends and family. I also see a lot now who enter this field, or try to enter it, after only a year or so of actually reading cards for themselves and very little experience reading for others at all. 

I'd been reading cards for over 10 years and had read them at a few fairs and other events when I started reading for my first online agency, and still it was a bit of a shock to realize how different it was even with warning from the friend who got me started so many years ago. Why? Because I had no idea people had panic attacks over whether or not someone was going to call them or what their boss might be thinking about them. It never occurred to me that people would call in asking about their exes' current relationships, pining over them still many years later and waiting for them to go back. Nor did I ever imagine anyone would want to know when someone they told never to call them again was going to call them. My jaw still occasionally drops, but less and less so. 

Then there are the truly painful situations of arranged marriages that people don't want to enter because they love someone else that's not approved of by the family, or those who are suffering from severe loneliness or a streak of horrid relationships and wondering when they're going to finally find true love with someone who really loves them and the sad stories of those who are in financial crisis and wondering when they'll find a good job again. I've been absolutely shocked to find out just how many men and women are cheating out there, and how often the "other woman" wonders when he's leaving his wife so they can be together (it rarely goes the other way in my experience). 

My worst experience was a woman who called and yelled vitriol in my ear for 14 minutes then threatened suicide as she hang up, and since we have no contact information and usually no idea even where they're calling from, there wasn't anything I could do and customer service for that company made it clear they weren't going to do anything for them either, though they had the information to reach out. People can and do get nasty and can leave you a bad rating because they didn't agree with your reading, whether it was accurate or not. 

If you pursue this as a career, you'll develop a thick skin. You'll also develop your skills faster and get more experience than is usually possible with a private practice, and get very fast at interpreting those cards. Speed is a necessity since you're usually being paid by the minute, so I've developed a faster shuffling method and can listen to a question, shuffle and lay down the cards and reply in two minutes for basic questions, it only takes longer if they talk longer before I get to shuffle. 

You don't have time for elaborate shuffling techniques or to wait for jumping cards, nor to meditate before the reading. You also don't have time to lay the cards face down and turn them over. I've learned to just lay mine down face up and start talking about my first impressions while I'm still laying down cards. This is also why I prefer cartomancy and reading in lines of cards over using positional spreads, though the basics like a Celtic Cross or a 9 Card (3x3) work well for fast reading and can be expounded upon with further questioning. 

I do love my work and I take it seriously, but it's not for everyone and I've burned out a couple of times myself only to return, the last time after a break of almost a year when I got laid off and needed a way to earn money from home again. The income isn't steady, so you need to have another steady source from a spouse or another job while you build your reputation and clientele, which is another reason I took that break, to allow my husband to build his own business while I provided a steady income for us.

I know many who have tried it and hated it, and I also know a few who treat it like a game because it's very easy to develop a very callous attitude when you find yourself dealing with the same people always asking about the same situations and not moving on or healing no matter what advice they're given. I've learned that most people seeking advice on the phone lines are rather like fast food customers, they've no interest in what's healthy, they just need a quick fix to soothe their anxiety, and they hope you're going to tell them what they want to hear. 

I've returned to it for the benefits of being able to work from home doing something that I do enjoy and having the flexibility to create my own schedule. This became exceptionally important as we had to go down to only one vehicle and we got a new puppy, so it was hard for me to work outside of the home or to work a fixed schedule this year. Like any job, it has its good days and bad days, pros and cons.

If you decide to give reading for an online psychic service a try, I wish you the best of luck. If you have questions or want some suggestions for good companies in the US to try, use the contact form and shoot me an email, I'll do my best to help you get started. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Reconnecting to My Primal Self

I've been very slowly unplugging from modern life as my 50s progress, including closing all of my social media accounts one by one so that I can read and study more. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate modern conveniences and technology, but I just feel we've gone too far with it and are causing ourselves health issues because of it from poor posture to a lack of social connection despite all of the "friends" we may have on social media, many of whom we've never met and never will. Without that, it's really just empty and leaves us feeling depressed and alone as we isolate ourselves inside of our homes in front of our TV, phone, tablet or computer screens.

This is part of what's driving my desire to move home to the state of NH where reforesting is happening because of the conservation mindset and regulations there that preserve the forests and waterways, bringing more wildlife there as well. My plan on going there is to be way from my computer more and off of my devices, running a business based more in crafts, skills and services in person rather than one done online. I want deeper connection to people as well as a deeper connection to myself as a human being. 

I'm also following some of the advice Mark Sisson gives in his book The Primal Connection like getting zero drop footwear for weather and places that don't allow my Birkenstocks or bare feet, going back to using incandescent light bulbs and even replacing some of those with bug lights to limit my exposure to blue light at night. I've used the settings on all of my devices to have warmer screens with lower light (night shift in your settings can be set for any 23 hour period, so choose an hour you're always sleeping for it to brighten and cool and you can get Flu.x if your device doesn't have those settings in display). 

My main plan is a lifestyle built more around what humans are meant to do: to eat more meat and veggies and a lot less sugars and refined grains, get out into nature more, to do work that requires skills and physical activity and less hunching over my desk, and rise and sleep with the sun. 

Even if you can't move to the country or quit your job, there are many things that you can do to counter the damage created by modern life in the 21st century. Start by getting rid of social media and instead fostering more local social interaction by finding a group that meets regularly around your interests, MeetUp is full of them. If you're physically capable, hit the trails in your area and find friends to join you. Go to bed earlier and dim the lights beforehand, using warmer bulbs. You can get yellow goggles for eye protection from any home improvement store for work if you're not allowed to adjust your computer screens. And start paying attention to what you eat, making healthier choices. The saying goes that life is short, but modern lifestyles are making lifespans shorter and it doesn't have to be so, you can be in more control. 

Monday, December 9, 2019

What You Need To Know If Your Gallbladder Has Been Removed

If you've had your gallbladder removed, there are some things you need to know that your doctor won't tell you. He may not even know since it might not be covered in medical school, which is run by Big Pharma. I know that like my appendix, I was told that this isn't a really necessary organ.

Here's what I've learned in the decades since living without mine, first and foremost of which is that there's no such thing as an unnecessary organ in the modern human body. The appendix is the first line of defense where your body releases the probiotics you need for healthy digestion, and the gallbladder is a control valve for the release of bile into your intestinal tract. The consequences of having both removed are horrendous for your digestive system and will leave you with many food intolerances, gut flora and fauna that's way out of balance, and not just leaky gut syndrome but an intestinal tract that's getting its mucosal lining eroded by the river of bile that will now pour through it. 

I'm going to put a disclaimer in here: I'm not a doctor and nothing I say is meant as medical advise, what I offer is a what I've learned from over a decade of research and more than two decades of living with the consequences of these two organs being removed, which were triggered by the second one after having my two children because apparently multiple traumas to this system add up to a lot of damage with sudden onset symptoms and gradual onset symptoms. 

The first was losing iceberg lettuce, followed shortly by all dairy products, then soy substitutes because lactose wasn't the issue, it was casein, another milk protein. We don't hear about casein as much as lactose and whey, but milk has three proteins, four if you split casein into A1 and A2, and you can have issues with both despite the ads now for A2 milk. I just avoid all dairy because if you're intolerant of one, then you're most likely intolerant of all, which will be discussed in a later post.

So what can you do? First, don't eat yogurt, it's nothing but milk curd with a lot of sugar added because no matter how many live bacteria they put in it, once it's heated for homogenization and pasteurization those are dead and useless. Kefir is a better option and may be tolerated even by those with dairy intolerances, but you can also get coconut or water kefir, and take a really good probiotic after doing diligent research and finding a good brand with at least 7 different types of bacteria because both your small and large intestines need it, and the more strands the better of healthy bacteria in your gut. 

Next, you need to take a mucilage because your mucosal lining needs to be protected and fed. Some examples are slippery elm bark, licorice root and marshmallow. I personally drink a cup of Throat Coat Tea by Traditional Medicinals, the original formula, which I buy in my local grocery store in the tea aisle because that formula has all three of those. I drink that after my liver-stimulating cup of coffee and before breaking my fast (which the coffee doesn't do as it's black, and I only drink the one cup for its liver-friendly bitter effect). 

Now why do I drink something to stimulate my liver in the morning if too much bile running through my intestines is a problem? Because what's needed is trying to control the release of that bile to time it for proper digestion of your food. Before breaking my fast I also take a digestive enzyme with ox bile in it, something that can be ordered on Amazon or found at your local health food store.  The one that I take is Nature's Plus Ultra-Zyme. Again, this is to stimulate bile release when you need it so it needs to be taken before each meal. 

The beauty of the growth of the internet over the last 20 years is that we have a lot more information available to us than what our doctors share and recommend, we just need to do the research. The information is out there from many really good sources. Honestly, today there's no excuse for not being more proactive in caring for your health, and I think doctors are also benefitting because they can also further their education outside of the box rather than just reading medical journals, and the better ones are doing so and recognizing us now as partners in our health. 

Monday, December 2, 2019

Book Review: Untold Tarot by Caitlín Matthews

I don't do a lot of book reviews unless a book is really outstanding in my opinion; mediocre and in-between just isn't worth getting excited about as far as I'm concerned, so that should begin to tell you how I feel about this particular book. Untold Tarot:The Lost Art of Reading Ancient Tarots by Caitlín Matthews is the book I most recommend to those starting out with the Tarot de Marseille, and I feel it's really the only one you need if your budget or space are tight. 

The only other books on this subject I recommend are by Camelia Elias, but she has a very specific style. What I love about this book by Caitlín Matthews is that it's all-encompassing, and yet it's so well-written that you enjoy learning while you read it and it's not a tome that will take up a ridiculous amount of space on your shelves either. 

Mrs. Matthews is well known in the world of cartomancy and divination, and her knowledge and experience are well-respected throughout the industry, and it shows in this book. She gives a very thorough but interesting history of the tarot, then the various ways one can read the Tarot de Marseille, including the "open book" method so favored by Jodorowsky, Ben-Dov, Enriquez and Elias by using the visual cues in the cards. 

She goes further than them by giving meanings in a couple of different ways, using keywords for the suits and numbers as well as actual meanings for the pip cards themselves. Most books on the Tarot de Marseille only give meanings for the Trumps, or Major Arcana, and then attempt to explain how to read the visual cues in the pips, but Mrs. Matthews gives meanings that have been handed down through the ages and are thereby historical meanings for the cards.

Throughout the book are various charts, graphs and pictorial examples of actual readings in color with interesting anecdotes. She has sections on the Trumps, the Pips, the Courts, and then also includes exercises, instructions on how to read the cards directionally and historical layouts used in cartomancy. 

Not only is what's written in the book outstanding, the construction of the book itself is of excellent quality as well. The cover is a soft cover, but sturdier and thicker than most with part of each folded back over like the jacket of a hardcover book, providing wonderful built-in place markers, and the paper is a very high-quality high gloss paper like a high end magazine. 

I consider Untold Tarot: The Lost Art of Reading Ancient Tarots by Caitlín Matthews to be a must-have resource for any serious professional reader or student of the tarot, especially if you're planning to learn and work with the Tarot de Marseille.