New Collage Cards!

I know…

I’ve been WAY too absent, but life has been so hectic I barely been able to keep myself together. I’ve even had a few things I’ve wanted to to readings about but right now I can’t even remember what they are — only that I know they are still unresolved. Ouch.

In any case…

I’ve been in a bit of an artistic groove lately, which as been quite satisfying. I’ve got some new ideas for backs and additional textures for my collage cards. We’re starting a whole new round soon, beginning with The Fool! I’m excited to get a whole new start on a new deck, now that I’ve had over a year to practice!

On that note…

I’ve finally gotten off my arse and added a BUNCH of new cards to my collage page. When studying the pips, instead of focusing on one card each night, we studied each number and attempted to make all four of that particular pip in one night. The first few were easy — I got all four aces and all four twos in one night, but as things continued, that got harder and harder to maintain.

I also missed a few nights, so I didn’t get to make the fives or tens (even though I had some ideas for a few of those already), but I’ve added the ones I did make for the threes, fours, sixes, sevens, eights, and nines!

So without further ado…

You can see them all on my collage-my-own-tarot page, but here are a few of my favorites.

Six of Pentacles - 02/21/14 Seven of Cups - 02/28/14 Nine of Swords - 03/14/14

Five Months Later

Last September, my longtime friend and tarot mentor gave me the ultimate birthday gift: a tarot reading. It was full of all kinds of advice and wisdom that I knew I needed to take to heart. She made some fantastic observations and some great suggestions, so in an effort to be mindful of this, I set the spread image as my computer’s desktop wallpaper.

…Five months later, I still haven’t acted on it.

Sigh.

So today I decided to read back through her email again (I do this periodically, to remind myself of all the richness within), and discovered that I’ve been making some strides toward these things in any case, without even realizing it!

It feels like there is the strong possibility that you could really come into your own this year, however: the Actress needs to remove her mask first and let herself be her self.

The Actress - Journey Oracle

The Actress – Journey Oracle

And right at this moment of typing that, I’m reminded of the connection you felt to the sigil for desire -Is there something you’ve buried, or hidden? Something you’ve neglected because it wasn’t “important” enough? It might be time to grab a shovel or a dust cloth and re-examine those things to see what latent potential they might have, even if the only purpose is to bring you joy.

The thing is, when you starve one area, the rest suffer too – much like the Actress who hides her true self behind her mask, denying who she really is in order to play a role. How soon before she forgets who she really is? I get the sense, though, from the overall tone of the rest of the reading, that this is a card of change (as all 5s are). I think the situation here is one that is about to change, or _can_ be changed.

There a few key things that stuck out to me this time:

  1. The idea hiding my true self behind a mask, and needing to change this.
  2. Starving in one area of my life (due to focusing heavily on another one).
  3. Pursuing passions that I may have neglected or dismissed as not important enough.

All three of these themes have been moving toward the front-and-center area of my life lately, mostly all due to the same project! This year, I teamed up with two of my best friends and started a whole new online project, which has yielded a variety of interesting results.

1. I started using a real-photo-of-me avatar on the website and various social media sites tied to it.
This is something I hadn’t really wanted to do, but felt it was appropriate and almost necessary, because of the goals of the project (and to maintain a sense of cohesion, since both of my partners use real-photo avatars). Though the avatar I had been using for a long time was an artistic representation of my actual face, using a real photo is quite different.

The avatar I switched to was also a deliberate choice. It shows me in my natural state: dorky. (Honestly, I think it’s impossible for me to make a normal face in photos — I just can’t do it!) My husband doesn’t like it because he says it doesn’t represent the real me, but I argued him down. This shows me as I am, in a very candid way. While it would have been easier to choose a photo that just makes me look attractive and nice and pretty (which is certainly what my husband would have preferred), I knew that just wasn’t the route I wanted or needed to go.

(After a few weeks of using this new avatar, I have to admit that I am getting tired of seeing my goofy face, but I think this is important because it’s almost forcing me to become comfortable with the essence of who I am — and showing that to the people I encounter.)

2. I realized that I had been severely starved in the creative area of my life, and now that its being fed, I feel better in the other areas of my life, too.
The project I embarked on pretty much fell into my lap from the universe, like it was this gift from my muse, all packaged and ready-to-use. It has served as a conduit for many of the things I used to enjoy doing: web design, programming, graphic design, and personal expression. Working on it — and with two people who understand and motivate me in just the right ways — has been fulfilling and satisfying in a way that I haven’t felt in many years.

Thanks to this, I might spend a bit less time with my husband, but it feels like a necessary compromise. I realized I was spending too much time focusing on Work and Husband and not enough time on Creative Me. It’s amazing how much better I feel when I get to express my creative side on a regular basis — and how much it feeds me with even more creative juices!

3. I’ve begun (or have made plans to begin) pursuing other neglected passions.
Working on this project with these two friends has not only fueled my creative passions in that particular area, but each of these women has individually inspired me to get off my duff and start working on other things I’ve been wanting to do as well!

One of them keeps bombarding me with her mixed media art projects (pictures and descriptions of her processes) and it just makes me anxious with the desire to get back into that as well — and to try out new media that I’ve been daydreaming about for YEARS!

The other continues to hint at creative writing ideas that both of us have. We often tell each other about how we want to write stories/novels, but we don’t work on them for various reasons. We have now made it a goal to encourage each other to do this and share our writing with each other as a means of accountability and motivation.

Tarot amazes me.

You’d think by now that I’d be used to the cards being accurate and telling it like it is. But every time, I’m still just blown away by how complete and deep their messages are. I am grateful for every single reading I get, and I love the way that the cards’ advice just works its way into my spirit and helps me grow.

Irmata, if you’re reading this: thank you, so much.

365 Tarot Spreads (Review)

In my other life, I read and review a LOT of books, which means I’m a member of NetGalley. When I saw this book come up in my radar, I couldn’t resist, and I requested a copy of this book. Thanks again to Llewelyn Worldwide for providing this galley free of charge, in exchange for my honest review.

This book was an excellent choice!

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365 Tarot Spreads: Revealing the Magic in Each Day by Sasha Graham365 Tarot Spreads: Revealing the Magic in Each Day
by Sasha Graham
Coming: May 8, 2014

My Rating: ★★★★★
[Add to Goodreads]
[Pre-order from Llewelyn]
[Pre-order on Amazon]

For many cartomancers, tarot is a hallowed daily practice. Now you can navigate important life choices every day, all year with 365 Tarot Spreads. Featuring spreads for multi-cultural traditions, holidays, rituals, lore, and magic, this daily guide explores a tarot quest for every occasion and helps you discern answers to any question with interesting and magical results. Use 365 Tarot Spreads year after year with spreads falling on every possible calendar date. Each one is based on an important historical, magical, or fascinating occurrence on that particular date in history. This daily guide is concerned with the essential journey to find truth and answers, rooted in every spread with topics from love and money to career and life path. With an explanation of each spread and questions to focus on while reading, you’ll achieve your quest for answers every day.

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My Thoughts on the Book

This book is exactly what the title says. It contains 365 different tarot spreads, each one assigned to a particular date, from January 1 through December 31 (including February 29). At first I was a little surprised that they were assigned to specific dates, but once I realized the depth and care taken for each choice, it all made sense.

Continue reading

Daily Draw Stats for 2013

As a reminder from last year: I am a huge nerd and I am way too interested in statistics. I love compiling lists and spreadsheets and then collecting statistics from those lists and spreadsheets and then creating pretty-looking charts and graphs with the information. Since I’ve been tracking daily draws on a calendar since late 2011, I thought it would be a cool idea to compile some spreadsheets and charts and stuff, with which to see if any trends appeared.

Since I’d already created all of my spreadsheet and graph templates for the 2012 stats, collecting my information every day in 2013 was super easy! And at the end of the year, I had all my charts and graphs already made and waiting for me to put them in a post! Why did it take me so long to publish this post then? Well, you see. I am busy. And strangely, since there was actually less work involved this time, it didn’t seem quite as exciting. WEIRD.

First, some general observations

Page of Cups - 09/07/13

My collage version of the Page of Cups

  • Card drawn most frequently: Page of Cups
    • Drawn 12 times in 2013
    • Concentrated in September – December
    • Drawn mostly on Mondays, Wednesday, and Thursdays
  • Card drawn least in 2013: Four of Swords (I did not draw this card ONCE in 2013!)
  • There was not any card that appeared every single month.
  • There was not one card that appeared on every single day of the week at some point throughout the year.
  • There was not one weekday on which every single card of a particular suit was drawn at some point throughout the year.

Continue reading

True Stories of Tarot and Strangers

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to read cards for others a couple of times. It’s rare that I get to read for people other than myself, and even rarer that I get to practice on someone who is truly a stranger. Each time, it’s a test of my confidence and intuition, and each time, I come away satisfied and proud.

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I. A True Gypsy

One afternoon, I went out to lunch with a couple of friends (N & M). Of course I brought a couple decks with me because whenever N is involved, I know there’s a chance I’ll get to read! After lunch, we ended up moving from the restaurant over to a nearby Starbucks and set outside with our coffees so I could do a reading for each of them.

When we got out to the patio, it was empty, and I deliberately chose a table as far away from the door and the entry area as possible so we could have some measure of privacy. Shortly, however, a group of men came and sat the table right next to ours. My back was mostly to them, so I didn’t really catch sight of their activity, but both of my friends were making comments under their breath about the guys watching us, and joking that maybe they wanted a reading.

My new Light Visions deck!

My new Light Visions deck!

Sure enough, they finally caught my attention, and after some discussion about which languages I speak (English only, sorry), and where I’m “from” (I’m from here, but have ancestry in France/Europe and Africa),they asked if I could do a reading for them and one of the guys would translate. I said sure, and when I was done with my friends, we cleared a space for my new customer and he sat across from me.

This was an interesting experience because there had to have been like 8 guys in this group (all looking like some semblance of Italian mobsters), and they were all in the vicinity, watching with various measures of interest — interrupting to ask questions, or helping translate, or picking on the guy getting the reading. This was really my first time reading for a complete stranger, and the language barrier was another hurdle I had to cross.

In the end, I gave the guy the same advice about three times, using different cards and wording, and all of his friends seemed to know I was right. (The guy was a pickpocket in Europe and was trying to see if he could be successful with that in America. The answer was a very firm NO.) He paid me twice what I had asked for, and they all walked away happy.

One guy came up to me and explained how he’s traveled all over Europe, he comes from gypsies, and he can spot a fake from a mile off (I’m paraphrasing, but you get my point). And he said to me,

“But you. I can tell, you are a true gypsy.”

I took it as a high compliment, thanked him, as I tucked my *gorgeous Light Visions cards* back into their *fancy wooden box*.

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II. An Uncanny Resemblance

Two days after the gypsy adventure, I went over to N’s house for another reading. Her friend was in town for her birthday, and N wanted me to give her a reading as a birthday gift. I’d never met this girl before, or at least if I had, I didn’t remember. She was, however, nervous.

To warm up, I did a reading for N. This was a way to show her friend how it goes, and to get everyone kind of comfortable into the “mood” if that makes sense. This reading alone was interesting, because it mirrors a lot of what I read for her several months ago (it’s nice to know I’m being consistent!). Once she’d run out of questions to ask, we turned to focus over to her friend.

My lovely new Light Grey deck! (I didn't use it in this reading, but whatever.)

My lovely new Light Grey deck! (I didn’t use it in this reading, but whatever.)

For this reading, I decided to offer her the chance to use two decks at once. Usually I bring 3 decks with me and let them choose one, but I’ve really enjoyed doing dual-deck readings lately, so I though this would be nice here. She liked the idea and shuffled ‘em up. She asked question after question, in regards to her career, her relationship (her new boyfriend was there too, by the way), her relationship with her mother, where things were going with a new friend of hers, etc.

Where it really got interesting with the mother section. By this point, I was quite comfortable and letting my intuition flow freely. I got a very distinct impression about her mother and their relationship and I blurted it all out, having no idea if I was on the right track or not — and everyone was being so silent, I wasn’t getting any cues at first.

“It’s absolutely uncanny. My mother is exactly like that,” she told me once I’d spilled it all.

And when I read about her new friend… again, they gave me nothing to work with. When this happens, I sometimes feel bad when I give them negative feedback or advice to avoid certain people or situations. But again, apparently I was right on the money and was telling her exactly what her boyfriend and others had been saying about this friendship. Very interesting!

In the end, she was thoroughly satisfied. We were all having so much fun that we didn’t want it to end, but nobody else had anything left to ask, so eventually I packed up all my cards and it was over. (When I got home, I found that N had snuck a card into my tarot bag with a nice wad of cash inside that I wasn’t expecting! Twice in one week I’d made money from tarot readings — first time ever!)