Lammas Reading & Reflections

Hello, everyone!

Since I don’t really know how to bake and August in Georgia feels more like the height of summer than the beginning of harvest season, I don’t usually do anything for Lammas. I thought about letting it go this year, too, but lately, I’ve been trying to be more active when it comes to my craft. I have this chronic issue with delving into things I’m excited about: I plan and plan and plan so that I know that I’m absolutely sure what I’m doing before I start, but then, I never get around to actually starting. I’m ready to start really chasing my goals instead of just constantly planning how to achieve them, and I thought I’d start by designing a ritual and a tarot spread for Lammas.

When I design spreads, I like to visually represent the topic in the placement of the cards, so my spreads tend to be larger and more complicated than the nice elegant ones I’ve been seeing around (like Little Red Tarot’s Lammas spread). I decided to create a Lammas spread that resembled a scythe, harvested wheat, and some crops yet to be reaped. Lammas spread

Cards 1 through 7: Each card represents an event or lesson I’ve learned over the past seven months that has helped me grow or succeed.
Card 8: Harvested bounty–what have these lessons helped me achieve this year?
Card 9: What are these lessons preparing me to face over the coming months?
Card 10: How can I use them, or what can I take away from them, that will help me when I take on that challenge?
Card 11: What could I still gain in the coming months by acknowledging and learning from the gifts I’ve been given?
Card 12: How can I use them, or what can I take away from them, that will help me achieve that goal?

My spread, laid out glamorously on my kitchen counter, looked like this:

20170801_161409 (2)
(Antique Anatomy Tarot by Black and the Moon)

For cards 1 through 7, I drew:
– The 10 of Earth; learning to exchange support with my community and with those in need.
– The 2 of Water; accepting new relationships and acknowledging that they can happen at any time.
The Magician; manifesting the path I want to follow.
Death; finding my own afterlife in the wake of sudden upheaval and learning to continue transforming my life.
The Star R; feeling too ungrounded to be a humanitarian.
– The 7 of Air; showing up to represent the change I want to see and learning to navigate subtleties in order to sway things in my favor.
– The 3 of Earth; checking in with people I know and agreeing to improve a situation for everyone’s sake.

For card 8, I drew the Tower. I’ve been blessed with a life generally free of crisis, and I always seem to land on my feet, but this year, I’ve felt like everything is falling apart in both my life and my country. The Tower has helped me find my strength this year by throwing me into situations where my only option was to be strong.

For card 9, I drew the 8 of Air R. I’m not surprised that this card showed up, since I’ve been struggling with a particularly bad bout of anxiety for the last few months. In this position, the 8 of Air reversed is telling me that I’ll need to buckle up and find the stability to work through my fears. Card 10, the 5 of Fire R, adds that I can help ground myself against my anxieties by choosing to reach out to the people around me and work together instead of insisting on pushing my own agenda and then feeling fragile on my own.

For card 11, I drew the 10 of Water–emotional fulfillment. I find this interesting because I did a reading for the New Year where I drew one card to represent advice I should follow each month, and the 10 of Cups came up for December. Here it is again, representing a harvest that hasn’t yet come in, but very well could. Card 12, the Page of Fire R, lets me know that I can start down that path by dialing back my tendency to dip a toe into every new activity that inspires or interests me rather than dedicating my energy to one goal. It makes total sense, after all, that the emotional satisfaction and happiness of the 10 of Water might only come my way if I’m willing to focus on what I really want.

My takeaway from this spread is that this has been a year of learning to understand the relationship between what I want, what’s good for me, and how I can help or accommodate the people around me. I’m grateful for the tough situations that have pushed me to find new solutions instead of comfortably accepting an unpleasant reality, and now, my goal for the rest of the year is to discover how to focus my energy toward improving myself in a way that benefits my community as well.

Starstruck

I’m still here, turns out! I’ve been doing daily readings, but I write so slowly that trying to journal them takes up more of my time than it’s worth, so I’m doing them on my phone with the Golden Thread Tarot app for the time being.

Last night, I did a reading for a friend of mine who’s found herself in a rough place regarding her living situation. I made up a spread for her that included one card for her, one card for the problem, and three cards each for the potential decisions she was considering.

mEJBLRXz

When I flipped the card that described her problem, we got the Star. I wasn’t really sure where to go with this at first, since the Star seems like a pretty clearly positive card, but it turned out to describe the situation perfectly. I came away from this reading with a perception of the Star that I’d never considered before: even positive inspiration can screw with you when it seems like everyone else’s dreams are coming true around you.

My friend is a creative person in an environment full of other creative types who, more often than not, have access to far more resources and connections than she does. Every day, she sees people doing what she wants to do for a living, and she learns a little bit more about how to succeed at it. She told me during the reading that this environment inspires her to try to succeed as well.

Her industry, though, is extremely competitive, and newcomers have a hard time breaking in. She sees other people in her field, who have more money and experience than she does, make their dreams come true every day while she struggles to get her foot in the door. As inspirational as it is for her to live in a place where she’s constantly reminded of her own drive to succeed and the possibility of her success, she told me that she feels pressured to keep up with them and drained because it seems like she can’t get there.

I’d never thought about the Star that way before. After all, the Star is inspiration and hope, and it seems like a given that an abundance of either of those things can be a good thing. I’m glad I got to do this reading, and I’m grateful for the new perspective and for the reminder that everything, even hope, is better in moderation.

Adventures in Hermitude

My mother recently gave me a book of what are essentially very fun, silly introspective exercises. About halfway through, I came to one that asked me to come up with a star sign that described myself–what the constellation would be, what the characteristics were, and stuff like that. After probably over half an hour of deliberation that was way more serious than it needed to be, I decided that I would be a lantern: sometimes a little loud, but ultimately meant to clarify things that would otherwise be left or lost in the dark.

Earlier this month, I found out that my birth card is the Hermit. I pulled the card and looked at it. Oh.

Read More »

Turning Inside Out

Hey, everyone!

I recently started the Alternative Tarot Course from Little Red Tarot, and I’m going to be logging my progress, ideas, and other thought droppings here. Daily readings will probably go here as well.

You also may have noticed (yeah, all, what, two of you) that the title of this website changed. I’ve been trying to figure out what to call my tarot…business, or blog, or whatever the hell I’m doing. Finding a name has been really difficult because I wanted something that would convey a really practical approach to reading but didn’t sound snide or dismissive to spiritual readers. I don’t believe in woo-woo, but my opinion is not the universe, and every one of the readers I admire has at least one toe dipped in the world of woo-woo, which doesn’t make them any less awesome.

For now, I’m going with Tarot Inside Out, because that’s how I think about reading: I am not reading the cards; I’m using the cards to read everything else. I’m not telling other people what the cards mean; I’m helping them see their lives in my spread and make connections. The cards aren’t the future, they’re a microcosm. The answers are already in and around us–we just need something to show us where they might be. It’s kind of like a cross between a prism, a translation, and a therapy session.

It’s also how I feel about being a tarot reader who doesn’t believe in fate, the law of attraction, past lives, or spirits (well, not in their objective existence; whether or not they’re ‘real’ is a matter of semantics and a horse of several different colors). I don’t know how I feel about reading tarot as a skeptic who does witchcraft and doesn’t believe in magic. It feels so backwards to me, and I have no idea why anyone who wants their cards read would come to me instead of someone more spiritual. I honestly believe I can help, but even I’m sitting here going, “Why? Why this way? Why do I not think this is stupid? How can I expect people not to feel judged by me?”

That’s where I’m starting from and what I’m trying to figure out: what am I doing as a non-spiritual tarot reader? How can I help both spiritual people and skeptics from my position? How can I relate to querents rationally in a way that will not make them feel judged, and how can I communicate how tarot is helpful in a way that does not misrepresent my feelings about divination? What even is my audience?

tumblr_mtsyxjt4651qg2nqto1_250

I don’t know. Let’s all keep checking back here until I figure it out.