Further Reading

Further Reading, October 2016

Another month gone by, another collection of excellent reading! Here's what got my mental and spiritual juices flowing in October.

Around Here

Things have been a little quiet on the blog of late. I oscillate between being furious at myself for not writing at all, and permissively accepting of fallow periods where nothing gets done. Some middle ground would be nice, but oh well! C'est la vie, and all that. I did manage to dive into why the Seven of Cups was appearing so frequently in the Weather Report, which yielded interesting results, and to answer 10 Questions Every Tarot Reader Should Answer about my approach to the cards. 

October was also an exciting month for new decks arriving in the shop. The Mayhem Tarot is keeping things creepily cool, while Tarot in Space! ticks all of your retro futurist boxes. The Small Spells Tarot has impressed me to no end with its clean lines and thoughtful symbolic cohesion, and of course, I'm besotted with Mary Elizabeth Evans' new oracle deck, Iris (pictured above). Also, after a period of absence, Vessel is back in stock. Huzzah! Watch this space, because there's more goodness coming soon. 

On the Bookshelf

As ever, I had a few books on the go throughout the month, but standouts include We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (who can pass on gothic familial horror about murderesses? Not I), and King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes. The latter was recommended to me as part of a truly excellent tarot reading from Jessa Crispin, and although the book served a purpose in my life last month, I think what I'm actually recommending here is a reading from Jessa, because she's great, and because the one thing I love more than a helpful tarot reading is a a thoughtful book recommendation, and she offers both. Book a reading with Jessa here (seriously, do it!).

The Best of Elsewhere

Ahh, the thorny question of questions! Sometimes I think half the battle of reading tarot is figuring out what you want to know and how to ask for it, so naturally I loved Hilary of Tarot by Hilary's suggestions for asking the cards good questions (you can also see my take on this topic here).

It may surprise you to know that I'm not overly fussed about rituals and consecrations of my tarot cards. When I get a new deck, I'm usually too excited to bust it out of the packet and play with it to worry too much about full moon charging or smudging or whatever. I like to think reverence and sacredness accretes with use! With that said, I'll always stop and listen when Mistress of Ceremonies, Briana Saussy, has something to say, and her guide to blessing a tarot deck is no exception. 

Sarah von Bargen's blog is filled with gems, but I particularly enjoyed these 37 blogging and business tips Sarah shared for her birthday. Whether you're curious about blog formatting or writing practice or networking, this list will have you covered!

Ever since Krista Tippett interviewed my most beloved poet, Mary Oliver, On Being has been one of my favourite podcasts. This week's episode is an interview with the Irish poet Michael Longley, and it had me laughing and crying in equal measures. 

Artist and deck creator, Rebekah Erev, has just launched Hebrew Priestess TV, where she'll be talking about, among other things, her beautiful and unique oracle, the Moon Angels deck. What can I say, I just love Rebekah's thoughtful, spiritual, and zero-bullshit approach to practically everything! You can buy the Moon Angels cards from Rebekah, or from right here at Two Sides Tarot

That's what I've been reading and loving. What about you? Leave me a recommendation in the comments, or come say hi on Twitter!

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Further Reading, August 2016

Happy new season! Happy new month! Happy new moon! Happy... Mercury retrograde? Maybe I'm going to eat my hat on this one, but I don't think Mercury Rx needs to be so tough. Let's petition for a little looseness, a little flexibility, a little go-with-the-flow-ness, even when it doesn't feel like there's much flow to be had. We can do this! 

Before I share my picks for good reading from the past month, I wanted to share a spread for this new moon in Virgo. The reading I did for myself (pictured above, with the delightful Circo Tarot) was certainly illuminating, so I hope you might find this spread to be so, too. 

Tarot Spread for the New Moon in Virgo

Card 1: Where am I standing at the beginning of this new lunar month?

Card 2: What do I need to release in the month ahead?

Card 3: What steps can I take in order to do this?

Card 4: What new energies and opportunities are available to me now?

Card 5: How can I best embrace this newness and bring it to fruition?

Card 6: A mantra for courage and comfort in the month ahead.

Now, to the reading!

Around Here

August was a little quiet on the blog. Partial disclosure, I've had some stuff going on. When one isn't in the right headspace to write, though, one is grateful to be able to count on one's visitors for entertainment, and I wasn't short of that this month. Animator and tarot creator Laura Douglass stopped by to talk about her forthcoming deck, Tarot in Space! If you're a bit of a nerd with a taste for retro futurism this deck is going to be right up your alley, so please do consider supporting Laura's Indiegogo campaign if you're able!

On the Bookshelf

I didn't get much writing done in August, but lordy, did I ever read. A few choice selections - 

The Dead Ladies Project by Jessa Crispin - one of that excellent variety books that's sort of travel, sort of lit crit, sort of memoir, sort of something else. Just the kind of non-fiction I like from one of my favourite writers and tarot readers. P. S., if you don't already receive Jessa's tarot newsletter, I very much recommend signing yourself up!

One of my bookshop colleagues gave me a pretty firm recommendation for Sarah Schulman's Gentrification of the Mind, and after finding it cited in one of my other recently beloved books, I thought I better pick it up. Schulman's searing and rageful accounting of the parallel gentrifications of the history of AIDS, queer culture and literature, and the city of New York is challenging and thought-provoking and in places, hard to take on. Schulman repeatedly dares the reader to drop their gaze away from truth and trauma. Not for the faint of heart, but then, who has the right to be faint hearted over such things?

If something a little lighter is more your cup of tea, Laura Ruby's gorgeous magic realist YA novel, Bone Gap, was a gift of pure light this month. I delight in a plot that defies my attempts to describe it, and it's so rare to find a novel that has me flipping back to page one upon finishing to start all over again. You could also try A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab, the charming first novel in a trilogy about four parallel, magical Londons. 

A couple of new tarot decks also popped onto my radar in August. Fast favourite The Circo Tarot (pictured above) arrived, and it was love at first shuffle. This deck is now available to order from the artist. I highly recommend it!

My Kickstarter copy of The Wanderer's Tarot also landed on my doorstep - just yesterday, in fact, so we haven't had much time to get acquainted. It'll happen, though!

The Best of Elsewhere

It wouldn't be Mercury retrograde without... incessant talking about Mercury retrograde? We all have our own ways of using this celestially wacky time so I won't labour the point, but here's a good'un from Moon+Quartz about how we might set intentions under this Virgo new moon, while Mercury does his thing.

Northern Lights Witch wrote so beautifully about her evolving relationship with tarot, inspired by the writer Jhumpa Lahiri's lifelong passion for learning Italian. I love the idea that deepening any knowledge, skill, or practice is not so much about closing the gap between what is known and what is not yet known as it is about finding ever new ways to exist in that space in between.

This post from Stacy about finally being one's witchy self really resonated with me. It may not be the right time for everyone to feel safe coming out of the broom closet, but there truly is nothing like even a small amount of free and regular spiritual expression. Living in accordance with one's weirdness is truly where it's at!

I tend to resist suggestions for prompts and structure in my journaling, but this method of vision journaling looks like it could work a treat for planning all sorts of things (thanks to Jeanna of Girlboss Woo for sharing this gem in her excellent newsletter).

Thorn of The Tarot Skeptic always tackles the big questions - this time, Is Tarot Necessarily Spiritual?

Austin Kleon's weekly link roundup always yields something excellent, and this post about taking time daily at your bliss station was a recent standout. I'm definitely aspiring to make either a little time or a little space in my life for creative incubation.

Uh oh, looks like I owe Austin yet more thanks for filling my August with good reading (seriously, subscribe to his thing!). Here's George Saunders on exalted states

Carrie Mallon knocks it out of the park, as usual, with these reminders of what's really important


Ok folks, that's what I've been reading and loving. How about you? Leave me a recommendation in the comments or come and share your picks on Twitter!

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Further Reading, July 2016

It's that time again - time for this month's reading roundup. I've been devouring books and music this month, as well as interviewing some amazing deck creators and inviting new versions of old favourites into the shop. Here's what I loved in July!

Around Here

I was so honoured to share a forecast for Scorpio as part of Siobhan Renee's legendary collaborative Tarot Scopes. This project is so cool - not only do you an awesome scope every month, you get it in a new and different voice each time. It's such a wonderful little slice of our community! You can find forecasts for your signs this month here.

I wasn't able to blog as regularly as I would've liked this month, but I did manage to post the next instalment in my now very sporadic series on the Wooden Tarot, on the court cards from the suit of Plumes. Birds and arrows ahoy!

I was also blessed with two wonderful guests on the blog this month. Rebekah Erev kindly shared with us a little more about her Malakh Halevanah/Moon Angel cards, and I swear every word that comes from this wonderful, powerful priestess artist wizard is gold! You can find the Moon Angel cards in the shop here

Art Nouveau artist Matt Hughes also stopped by to talk about his hopefully forthcoming Ethereal Visions Tarot. The Kickstarter for this deck is in its final days and still needs a little nudge, so if you like pretty, pretty tarot decks, do consider backing it!

In shop news, the reversed edition of the Spirit Speak Tarot landed this month, and it. is. delicious. Y'all know I'm a big fan of the original, but folks, I may even like this version of it more. It's so dark and rich, fit to lose oneself in! If you're so inclined, you can read my interview from a few months ago with this deck's creator here.

On the Bookshelf

I read greedily in the month of July, so there are too many books to list in detail. The standout favourite was The Lonely City by Olivia Laing, one of those indefinable pieces of non-fiction that might be memoir, might be art history, might be cultural studies, but is actually all those things at once and more. This book felt like spiritual food so rich it almost hurts to eat it! 

A voice from beyond the veil might have whispered to me in a dream, for I now forget how Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner found its way onto my radar. I was even puzzled when I received a notification from my library that it was ready to collect, as I couldn't even recall being familiar with the title, but I'm so glad it has made its way into my life. Another gem from Virago's Modern Classics range, Lolly Willowes is a funny and biting novel about women's independence, life in the country, and, naturally, witchcraft. 

It's been a long time coming, but I finally picked up a copy of The Raven's Prophecy Tarot, by Maggie Stiefvater. I'm a huge fan of her books, and although I finished it months ago, thoughts of The Raven Cycle continue to destroy my heart on the daily, so I thought it fitting that it spread its tendrils into my tarot work, too. I'm still in two minds about whether I'll trim those orange borders off. We'll see!

I've also been listening to a lot of, of all things, Tori Amos. Every moment of my life from ages 16 to about 21 were soundtracked by her music, but she's not an artist I've needed much in the last decade or so. Until now, apparently! It's nice to be reminded that From the Choirgirl Hotel remains one of my most-beloved albums, even if I haven't heard it in years. 

The Best of Elsewhere

Perhaps because I've been greedily reading books, I haven't read all that much online this month. A few gems, though: 

It isn't new, but I return to this post about an amor fati approach to life and magic by Carolyn Elliott again and again. It's a long read, and each time I revisit something different piques my interest. 

This interview with the editor of the forthcoming Asian American Tarot. This looks like a really amazing project, representing Asian American experience and exploring mental health struggles and self-representation. You can back the Kickstarter for this deck here.

I've already shared my undying love for the Tarot del Fuego by Ricardo Cavolo, so no surprises, I'm loving seeing it pop up more and more in the community. Paloma's deck interview takes a look at what it's like to work with this weird and wonderful creation.

I really enjoyed Ten Questions Every Tarot Reader Must Answer over on Dana's blog, Lavender Moon. It really got me thinking about how I define myself as a reader, what's important, what isn't. Expect more on this in the future!

STOP THE PRESSES, this is amazing (and I haven't even tried it yet!). Jeanna of Girlboos Woo has, as usual, outdone herself with this tarot spread for content planning. Essential reading for all internet mystics, and on my weekend schedule to test out!

Ok, that's it for me this month. What have you been reading? You know I love a recommendation! Share yours in the comments, or come say hi on Twitter!

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Further Reading, June 2016

Do I begin every monthly reading post by loudly exclaiming about how quickly the time is going? Probably. I'll spare you today, except to say, umm, it's the second of July. How did that happen? Ok, now I've exorcised that little tic, onwards with some good stuff to feed curious and contemplative minds!

This month's reading-related things: fiery tarot decks, Moon Angels, and a candle that allegedly smells like John Steinbeck (then, I assume, not now. Ick.).

Around Here

I kicked off the month on the blog with a little love letter to one of my favourite cards, The Wheel of Fortune. Thrills! Spills! Mud in yo' grill! What more could you want from a tarot card?

We're a couple of weeks out from the Solstice now, but you may still feel like indulging in a little mid-year inspired tarot. Here are my ruminations on the Solstice, with tarot spreads for Winter and Summer

And in case you were curious, my (current) top five tarot decks to take when stuck on a desert island.

Also - EXCITING! - Rebekah Erev's Moon Angels/Malakh Halevanah cards have landed in the shop! I'm so happy to be stocking this beautiful deck, and you can bet your boots that there'll be more of it on the blog very soon. As usual, I ship worldwide and shipping within Australia is free!

On the Bookshelf

To be honest, I still have a pretty heady Raven King hangover from last month, so although I read a bunch of books in June, there isn't anything I really want to shout from the rooftops about. You know when a book just gets into your blood, and nothing else can hope to move your cold, dead heart in its wake? Yeah, that. Thanks, Maggie Stiefvater!

In book related news, some dark witch on Twitter (you know who you are!) convinced me to rejoin Goodreads after several years' absence. If you're so inclined, come over and show me your books! Look at my books! Be my friend! 

In card reading news, I picked up a copy of the Tarot del Fuego for my personal collection, and it is SO. GREAT. It just pushes so many of my freaky weird buttons. If you have freaky weird buttons, too, you might like it!

The Best of Elsewhere

Foolishly, I failed to save up any of the great blog posts I read this month, so instead of a link roundup, I'm going to tell you all about the radical genius magicians who light up my inbox. I don't even need to go chasing blog posts, because these wonderful people come to me! These are some of my current favourite email lists to be on - if you're looking for inspiration, look no further!

Austin Kleon's Weekly Newsletter always delivers the goods, whether on creativity, art, music, education, or just generally interesting internet tidbits. It's like a jumper cable for your brain!

I swear by Rob Brezsny's wacky weekly horoscopes. They're always filled with good advice, couched in a wink, a nudge, and delicious references to art, mythology, and popular culture. He's like a kindly zen master, delivering essential wisdom under the guise of riddles and quips, and I invariably revisit his words throughout the week.

For interesting reflections on making stuff and selling it on the internet, Paul Jarvis' Sunday Dispatches are not to be beat. I find a lot of writing about entrepreneurship pretty cringy, but Paul Jarvis is so obviously just a real dude doing real things that your bullshit metre won't be tickled!

Speaking of no bullshit, good advice for spiritual entrepreneurs, I love Girlboss Woo's newsletter. What makes Jeanna's missives so great is that they always make me pause and ask questions - about my goals, my business, my customers, my mystical mojo, all of the above. Expect to be rendered challenged and curious! Just read this awesome list of business lessons from Queen Bey and head to the bottom to sign up! 

I sincerely hope everyone reading this is already subscribed to Briana Saussy's Lunar Letters, and if you aren't, why the heck not?! Always exquisitely written, and definitely channelled from beyond the hedgerow, Bri's emails are a treat. Bonus, you can find past editions on her website - I recommend the recent 10 Teachings I Learned from Fairy Tales.

There's a special place in my heart for the deeply amazing work to be found over at Siobhan's Mirror. Seriously, is #faceuptarot not the future of this art form?! Siobhan's radical tarot emails are rich with ideas and reflections and breathtakingly innovative ways to work with the cards. Also, monthly tarotscopes. What's not to like?

I always relish receiving an email from Carolyn Elliott of WITCH, because to be perfectly honest, they're always a little bit wicked. Carolyn writes about the craft and spiritual living with just a glimmer of something-something in her eye, and her fresh perspective piques my interest every time. 

It wouldn't be a reading roundup without mention of one of my favourite corners of the tarot web, Little Red Tarot. Beth's newsletter is always packed with amazing content, because her site is packed with amazing content. I've found this to be the best way to keep up with all the wonderful writers contributing to Little Red Tarot, plus, I love hearing about life and adventures from the boss lady herself! If you've been thinking about joining the wonderful Alternative Tarot Network, email subscribers are notified when registrations periodically open up.

Jessa Crispin's Reading the Tarot mailings are always opened with eagerness, mostly because I love her writing. There's zero fluff here, just cool and thoughtful reflection on the cards through the lens of the reader's experiences. Superb! Also, subscribers get 15% off readings in her shop.

It's news to nobody that Theresa Reed's website is jam packed with awesome, useful stuff, so it should come as no surprise that her emails are overflowing with bounty. Everyone's favourite Tarot Lady seems to pack more hours into the day than Beyonce (she obviously read Jeanna's post!), so her email list is indispensable if you want to keep up with all the blog posts, e-guides, workshops, books, astrology forecasts, interviews, affirmations, and tarot exercises that this wonder woman creates!


There you have it folks, the shining stars of my inbox! Now, lay it on me - who you do love receiving email from? Leave me a recommendation below or come share your picks on Twitter!

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Further Reading, May 2016

What a busy month May has been! I've been pouring love and energy and care into life here at Two Sides Tarot this month. With the release of the much-anticipated new Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck, and the arrival of the Sacred Symbols deck in the shop, I've had many new toys to play with and so much great stuff to share with you folks!

All of that, coupled with a busy time at my other job and what was, to be honest, a bit of a tough Mercury retrograde, has meant I didn't read as much as I ordinarily would. These are this month's diamonds in the rough!


First, Around Here

This month, I released my first free ebook! Oh, happy day! Journaling the Major Arcana is a guide to personal exploration through the cards of the Major Arcana. All you need to explore these journal prompts is a human psyche and a little curiosity, so they are suited to both tarot beginners and advanced readers. Download your copy here!

May saw two esteemed visitors to the blog - I just love having guests! Ashley of Story by Tarot came by to talk shop, and I interviewed Marcella Kroll about her creation (and my current favourite oracle), the Sacred Symbols Deck.

I also threw my hands up in frustration about traditional Sabbats, and decided to go off-grid with my own Wheel of the Year. Why not!

On the Bookshelf

I've already ranted and raved about this on my social media, but this month marked the release of the last book in one of my favourite fantasy series, The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. My bookshop boss kindly brought me a signed copy of The Raven King back from BEA, and I gobbled it up like the rich and delicious soul food it is, and now I'm reeling! I have a Raven hangover, and it feels so good. 

Anyone feel like a snack? May also marked the release of Chronicle Books' delightfully silly Food Fortunes deck. This deck comes with minimal explanatory notes, so you've got all the scope in the world to divine with your favourite foods. Yes, it turns out you can use quinoa as a metaphor for productivity!

Ok, it's not technically reading, but this month I've been compulsively revisiting Jason Isbell's 2013 album, Southeastern. It's an enduring favourite of mine, having been the backing track for many a kitchen sink singalong. Highly recommended if you're of the folk/bluegrass/touch of Southern rock persuasion!

The Best of Elsewhere

I LOVED this article by Kate Kiefer Lee about opening up the narrative of entrepreneurship and the myths we attach to about "following your bliss" and finding a calling. A validating read for multipotentialites and those of us who have a day job and aren't ashamed of it!

Actually, speaking of multipotentialites, I have Beth to thank for introducing me to Puttylike.com, an incredible resource for people who have a zillion and one passions and interests, and want to make space in their life for all of them. I definitely relate!

Indimoonrose.com shared a great interview with Mary Elizabeth Evans, creator of the Spirit Speak Tarot. I could read about Mary's art and process for days! (You can find my interview with Mary here).

That's it for me this month. What have you been reading and loving? Leave me a recommendation in the comments, or come and share your love on Twitter!

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Further Reading, April 2016

Ahh, Friday! In some ways, it's the busiest day of my working week, but in almost all ways, it's the most enjoyable. Today is typical - the morning spent on client readings and correspondence, and the afternoon on a few little creative odds and ends for Two Sides Tarot. In between, I took a walk to my local park and sat under a tree for a while, wondering if that heavy looking sky was going to open up (it didn't - not yet, anyway), and listening to my latest obsession, The Black Tapes podcast - think, an intersection of Serial and Welcome to Night Vale. You'll thank me later!

So that brings us to the topic of today's post - all the goodly stuff with which I stimulated my brain and filled my heart up in April. 

First, around here 

It's always a privilege to be a guest over at Little Red Tarot! This time, I wrote a little love letter to The Spirit Speak Tarot. My review gives you an inside look into this original deck, and highlights just a few of the reasons why it's a favourite for me. I hope you fall in love with it like I did!

The Fountain Tarot landed in the shop this month, and for the first time, I got this new offering at the same time as my customers! A new deck demands a proper introduction, and you can my interview with The Fountain Tarot here (spoiler alert - this deck means business!).

Did you catch my interview with tarot superstar, Carrie Mallon? Carrie was this month's guest on my series, Readers in Profile. Read all about Carrie's tarot story and her approach to the cards on the blog.

On the Bookshelf

A few weeks ago, one of my favourite poets died. If you haven't already read Jim Harrison's beautiful and impressionistic memoir, Off to the Side, I highly, highly recommend it. It takes a poet to stretch the form both radically and subtly, and I think Jim manages both with panache. Of course, his poetry is well worth a look, too. 

The Best of Elsewhere

An interview with Rebekah Erev over on Beth's column, Follow Your Arrow. People, this is my number one stop for inspiration right now! Rebekah talks so openly about her business, her art practice, her spirituality, her queerness, and how they all intersect, and it is SUCH. GOOD. STUFF. I've had this interview permanently open in my browser since I discovered it, and I've been popping over to read a little every time I need some inspiration. 

I just enrolled in Kristen's course to learn how to read playing cards and I can't wait to get started! It's currently 50% off so it's a great time to jump in.

This one's an oldie, from 2013, but it rang so true for me that I just had to share it. Camelia Elias makes a strong case that all systems of cartomancy share more similarities than they do differences. This came out when the lenormand resurgence was really gaining momentum, and while I think the calibre of the discourse around tarot and lenormand, or tarot vs. lenormand, has changed (i.e., hasn't everyone calmed down about it now?), it's still worth having our assumptions and "rules" challenged every now and then. Camelia is a great shaker of cages, and this is great read!

Because I cannot get enough of Camelia's writing and perspectives on magic and the cards: What is the Devil to You? Also this fabulous essay. Oh and what the hell, one more.

Praise the goddess for she is merciful, The Circo Tarot will soon be available again! Well, only if we all get over there and back that Kickstarter. I've been bummed out for months that I missed out on the last print run of this deck, so I'm really, really excited about this!

Some very thoughtful tarot prompts for grounding and coming back into the present moment, from Theresa Reed.

I loved these 3 Brand Lessons for Girlbosses From The Emperor. The Emperor is an archetype that continues to challenge me, so I really enjoyed getting some additional perspective on this card (not to mention, some sound business advice). I also really liked Jeanna's advice on how to choose a tarot deck.

An essential addition to your tarot toolkit - Beth's excellent spread for calming the butterfly mind - perfect for when you're all over the place and not sure what to do next.

So many great tips for productive and helpful things to do when business is slow - surprise surprise, not one of them involves despair or panic! (via Sarah von Bargen).

Samantha at Escaping Stars writes frankly about the rhythms and whims of depression and mania when you're a spiritual business owner, in Reverent Lows.

That's what I've been reading. What about you? Leave me a recommendation, or drop me a line on Twitter!

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Further Reading, March 2016

March has been a great month for content in my world - books, videos, blog posts... All sorts of enriching fabulousness has crossed my path, challenged my perspective, and flicked switches in my brain this month (not to mention sunsets! Autumm like FTW, y'all!).

There have also been some good reads, if I do say so myself, in these waters at Two Sides Tarot! Don't miss Cameron from The Tarot Parlor, who stopped by to talk tarot and creative writing, The Collective Tarot, and tips for tarot pros and beginners. I also got up close and personal with The Empress in the poetry (well, a poem) of Allan Ginsberg, and ruminated on balance and binaries on the Autumn Equinox.

Of course, there was plenty of goodness to be had elsewhere in March, too! Here's what I've enjoyed this month - 

On the Bookshelf

Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron could actually be the only manual for living that one might ever need. The practices in this book are truly transformative - and "practices" really is the key word, because the whole book is stuffed with transformative exercises that can be put into action, day after day. Pema is a spiritual radical, in the best kind of way!

The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits was my most-relished novel of the month. Ostensibly a caper about rival psychics, Julavits' real interests are death, absence, presence, and mothering. For comparison, I'd say Tartt-meets-Wes-Anderson-meets-a-tiny-bit-of-David-Foster-Wallace - delicious from start to finish.

Always good to have a little poetry on the go, and Black Mesa Poems by Jimmy Santiago Baca is my current fodder. Baca is yet another wonderful American poet championed by Denise Levertov and published by New Directions, so I knew this would be great before I even opened it, and I was not wrong. The American Southwest holds a special place in my faraway, antipodean heart, and this collection is like a little astral gateway to it. 

Around the Internet

An oldie but a goodie from Kelly-Ann Maddox, on ten common dilemmas faced by spiritual business owners. I love it that the advice in almost all instances asks us to come back to our intuition, and let that be the guide for making decisions (with a bit of good sense thrown in, of course!).

Oh, Kickstarter, you tricksy desire machine! There are so many cool decks coming out of the crowdfunding movement right now, and forthcoming Wisdom Oracle Deck by Sophia Wise One is no exception. 

Robert Place shares his tarot origin story (spoiler alert - it is COOL).

I gave a little cheer when I read this pair of blog posts by Hilary Parry and Theresa Reed about part time vs. full time tarot. Like Hilary, when I first started out in tarot business I felt self-conscious about being part time, as if it meant I was less serious or professional. These days, I feel confident in all my different vocations and don't mind saying so, but I still found it so encouraging to be reminded that we're all different creatures and so our businesses and aspirations and commitments are necessarily different. It's all a rich and delicious tapestry!

Evvie Marin of Interrobang Tarot celebrated her one-year blogoversary by sharing a great post on why it's a great idea to keep a tarot blog. If you've been thinking about dipping a toe into the tarot blogging pool, or you're already a blogger and need a little passion refresher, this post will sort you right out! Evvie is also a brilliant artist with a tarot deck in the works. I can't wait for the Black Ink Tarot to make its way into the world, it looks so gorgeous so far!

An interesting article over on Brain Pickings about a new book on intuition (among other things). Obviously, tarot readers don't need to be reminded of the value of this skill, but the book excerpts do offer some interesting perspectives on it. I particularly liked the stress the author places on intuition as being an ability to be developed - newcomers to tarot are often fearful of not being intuitive, when really, intuition is a muscle you strengthen, and not a trait you do or do not possess. Looks like the book could be an interesting read!

Tammy Strobel always brings the goods, and I really loved these reflective prompts that she shared in her weekly link roundup. 

I loved this post over at Siobhan's Mirror about tarot and money (part of the Spring Equinox blog hop - do follow that loop, if you have time, there are some other gems on it!). I've also really been loving Siobhan's posts over at Little Red Tarot.

And speaking of Little Red Tarot, this post from 2014 just popped onto my radar again. It's fair to say that almost everyone in the tarot world owes a debt of gratitude to Pamela Colman-Smith, and Beth's loving tribute is a beautiful celebration of her work.

Always a great reminder - 12 ways to stop feeling jealous on the internet. I've consciously set the intention to approach my time on the internet in the spirit of collaboration rather than competition, so I try to be as aware as I can of any creeping feelings of resentment or envy that might come to mind when sailing the internet sea. Such emotional tides are good chances to check in and see what's really going on (surprise surprise, it's almost never about the object of one's jealousy!). This post has some great suggestions for addressing those feelings in a self-loving and community-nurturing way.

What gems have you been reading or watching or listening to this month? I love a recommendation, so please do leave me one in the comments!

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Further Reading, February 2016

What a busy week it has been! My humble tarot shop went live (yay!), my bookshop job kept me more than busy, my Thursday night art class took no prisoners, and here I am, on Friday, taking a little break. Well, I say it's a break, really, it's a reading and writing day. I have so many plans for this blog - picking up the pace on my Working with the Wooden Tarot series, and remember Tarot Creativity Prompts? I think we should bring those back! - so while I get to work on those, here is some excellent recommended stuff for your enjoyment! 

Good Reading & Watching Both Online and Off

So excited that Grand Mystical Dame of Youtube, Kelly-Ann Maddox, is back with a new series of videos about tarot. I could listen to Kelly-Ann talk about anything, and I've been loving her videos about chaos magick and shadow work, but tarot, obvi, is a topic very close to my heart! This first Cardslinger series video is a fun look at how Kelly-Ann chooses decks for client readings, and what's on her wishlist. 

I'm really excited that Elle North's 108 Days of Sacred Intention has landed on my doorstep! This workbook has so many amazing suggestions for cultivating a rich and personal spiritual practice, and I'm really looking forward to working through it.

If you need any convincing about the value of emptying your brain onto a page (or, like me, you just like journaling porn), this article is a nice day-by-day account of how regular journaling can transform your creative practice!

I've been slowly working my way through this set of videos about Kyle Cease's 100 Day Self Connection Experiment. There are 101 videos and I'm still in the first half so I can't tell you how it ends (perhaps he ascends to heaven, Jesus-style, on camera? Who knows!), but so far there have been great insights about meditation, mindfulness, and daily spiritual practice!

This one's a meta-recommendation! Over on the ever-informative and wonderful Little Red Tarot, Beth shared some of the community's best tarot book recommendations. There are some real gems on this list (and even more in the comments), so if you're looking for some new tarot reading, check it out! 

I think this counts as good reading (well, I'm sure it does), but perhaps not in the way you might expect! I had a really spot on and supportive reading last month from the lovely Imogen of Soul Sincerity Tarot. One of my intentions this year was to make use of more the awesome talents in my community. Imogen was my first reader of the year, and she did not disappoint!

This one isn't metaphysical, but it should be compulsory, so I'm recommending it to everyone! Johann Hari's Chasing the Scream illuminates the utter, heartbreaking insanity of the war on drugs. Even though I've long been convinced of the wisdom of legalising and regulating, the history, personal stories, science, and stats in this book just blew my mind. Please, please, PLEASE, read it. 

Tarot Decks of Note

The Invisible Light Tarot by Brandy Eve Ellen is now available for purchase. I haven't snagged this one myself yet, but no doubt I will - you know I'm a greedy magpie for new decks! This one feels a little like an updated take on The Mountain Dream Tarot, with its strong photographs and choice of palette, and y'all know how I feel about the Mountain Dream! 

One deck I have recently purchased, although obviously not yet received, is The Spirit Cats Oracle, by Nicole Piar. The Kickstarter for this awesome feline-themed deck was funded in the first 24 hours, but there's still time to get on board! Nicole also did a really great guest post about this deck over at Little Red Tarot. Worth checking out if you'd like to find out more!

A couple of decks have come my way this week - a kind Instagram friend did a trade with me that landed me with a copy of the Akashic Edition of the Starchild Tarot (you know who you are - you're awesome!). Very much looking forward to spreading it out side by side with the first edition and taking in all the changes. I was also given a freebie at the bookshop this week, a copy of the Karma Angels oracle deck by Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin. Angels aren't really part of my practice, but when I saw the authors of this deck I took notice! The cards are absolutely lush, with splashings of gold foiling, and early Renaissance-vibe iconographical artwork. Maybe I could become an angel person after all! I'm looking forward to getting into these two decks over the coming weeks.

I know, I know, I keep bangin' on about this, but it's new and exciting! You can now buy more than one notable deck right here at Two Sides Tarot! The Wild Unknown and Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot are shipping now, and The Spirit Speak Tarot and the Vessel oracle deck are due in very soon! These babies ship worldwide, but I have extra good news if you're in Australia - shipping is totally free! 

So, that's what's been floating my boat. What about you? I love a good book, blog, or deck recommendation, so if you've got one, leave me a note in the comments!

Peeking Out of My Hidey Hole

Well, well, well! It has been an awfully long time since I last wrote a missive on the Two Sides Tarot blog. I am a firm believe in honouring your intuitions and inclinations, and over the past few months, the urge to write at length just hasn't been there. Today, though, I heard a little whisper in my ear. Could it be time to return to writing this blog? Let's follow that whim and find out!

So, what wonders have graced the shores of my world since I last wrote? 

A lot of journaling (my favourite pastime). A lot of meditation. 

A serious love affair with The Wild Unknown Tarot. If you are a follower of my daily Weather Report you might have noticed that, while I usually use a different deck each month, from January through April this year, we had the same deck over and over. Because The Wild Unknown is actually The Business. 

Feeling emboldened by Natalie Goldberg's classic, Writing Down the Bones. If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. Then, for god's sake, write about it.

Chasing that up with an advance reading copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's forthcoming number, Big Magic. In my other life I am a bookseller, so often spoiled with advance copies of wonderful books. A perfect chaser to Writing Down the Bones. Equally emboldening! A call to arms for creativity for the sake of itself. Keep your eyes peeled for this one - I believe it hits the shelves in late September.

Listening to a lot of On Being and Dear Sugar. Doesn't Cheryl Strayed have such a wonderful voice for radio?

What have you been up to lately? What has been stirring your mind or tugging on your heart? I'd love to know!

Further Reading - 22nd October 2014

It's been a little quiet around these parts of late, but as ever I have been occupied with throwing cards (especially the Morgan Greer Tarot for the Weather Report, which is fast becoming one of my favourite traditional decks), reading, yoga, meditation. Quiet pursuits! This is some of what I've been reading and enjoying lately - I hope you enjoy it too! 

Over the past couple of months, poet and life explorer Janine Prince has been grappling with our relationship with consumption, debt, and the search for deeper meaning and contentment. I've linked to this blog series before, but I urge you to revisit it as it just gets better and better! Here's the latest, or start here if you're new to the series. 

Sandra Pawula is one of my favourite writers on mindful living and spirituality, and I'm always excited to see a new post from her blog arrive in my inbox. Sometimes, though, it bears revisiting older posts, and this week I've found her series about her teacher, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, very inspiring and enriching.

This interpretation of Krishnamurti's sage advice is essential to make it through a challenging week. Plus, it features a picture of a cat looking bored in a hammock. Can't beat that! 

Have you ever practiced Metta meditation? Adding these deceptively simple (but sometimes extremely challenging) mantras to your meditation could change your mood, your relationships, and maybe even your life! I've really enjoyed incorporating this technique into my practice.

Finally, something tarot related - naturally! My lust for new decks knows no bounds, and there are so many great decks making their way onto the market right now. This week, my attention has been drawn to the City Mystic : New York deck by Virginia Jester and Chris Hopkins. This striking photographic deck draws its inspiration and aesthetic from the architectural details of New York City. Pretty cool! 

What have you been enjoying lately? Let me know in the comments!

Further Reading - 8th September 2014

Happy Monday everyone! Here's what I'm loving lately:

Sarah Von Bargen on How to Deal When People Unsubscribe/Unfollow/Troll Your Blog

Janine Prince has been sharing some tough love on coping with desire, over-consumption, and debt. Here's the latest!

I loved this interview with the creators of The Fountain Tarot over at Little Red Tarot. Fascinating to hear about the process of deck creation!

Ram Das on learning to grieve

As usual, Big Opes brings the good stuff with some wonderful additions to our spiritual vocabulary

What have you been reading lately, online or off? I love a recommendation! Share with me in the comments!

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Further Reading - 11th August 2014

Here's what I've been enjoying of late - mostly about cleansing our spaces, inside and out. Ahh!

The Minimalists share some ideas for dealing with email overwhelm, and Courtney Carver offers some simple (and actionable) approaches to streamlining your days. Both of these blogs are wonderful for reminding us to align our actions with our values, whether we subscribe to minimalism or not. 

A little spring cleaning for the heart and mind from Elephant Journal. 

Challenge yourself to really sit with your successes with the ever-insightful Esme Wang.

Debbie of Recovering Shopaholic takes on one of the less obvious areas where we accumulate clutter, in Dealing with FOMO and Information Overload

Finally, a bonus link for the week! Kayla of It's Not in the Cards has started a Youtube channel to talk tarot, buddhism, and spirituality. Her videos so far are really fun (plus there's a giveaway!), and I can't wait to see what she talks about next!

What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments - I love a recommendation!

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Further Reading - 28th July 2014

Happy Monday lovely humans! Here's what I've been loving lately. 

My dear friend Janine (she blogged wonderfully for me here) shared some insights this week on the counter-incantation, "No brighter future." Inspired by a typically mind-stretching essay by John Michael Greer on the Archdruid Report, this post is an eloquent protest against the siren call of progress, a stiff middle finger to the promise that the future will be rosy, and all we need to do is sit back and keep buying stuff until it arrives. From an ecological perspective, "no brighter future" is an ominously certainty, but I also find it to be a useful personal reminder that there is no future, only the present moment. Be in it, or be nowhere! Very Zen.

And here's the Archdruid's original post on the subject. 

You know I firmly believe that creative practice is a critical ingredient for a meaningful life (you can find my own series of creativity posts here). I also find Courtney Carver's thoughtful work to be a critical ingredient to helping me make my life more meaningful. Imagine my excitement, then, to read her take on the creative life, and why it is so important for us to overcome our fear and get those juices flowing. If that doesn't get you to pick up your camera, your paintbrush, your pen, I don't know what will!

I really love this post from Shelley of Sparrow Tarot about two tarot readers with two very different approaches, who come away from a reading with essentially the same message. Part of the joy of the tarot community is that everyone brings their own unique approach and methodology, but rarely do we have the opportunity to see two approaches in action with the same question! 

Finally, a confession. I've been spending way too much time this week playing a computer game (I know, I know, "who are you, and what have you done with Marianne?"). "Playing" isn't exactly the right word for it though, because in David OReilly's Mountain, literally the only thing you can do is watch. Mountain is an exercise in surrender, in observation. It challenges you to practice suspending judgement, to resist the urge to perfect, to correct, to explain. Objects will land on your mountain. Your mountain will experience weather. Sometimes it will speak to you. And that's about it. It's really, very cool. Here's the review that sold me - see if it sucks you in, too!

What's been floating your boat this week? Any reading you recommend? Share with me in the comments!

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Further Reading - 21st July 2014

Image Source

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Here's what I've been loving lately. Happy Monday everyone!

Always Well Within asks, Are You Constantly Driven To Do More? Ooh boy, did this ever resonate with me! When you feel enslaved by expectation and to-do lists, the ever-insightful Sandra Pawula suggests making friends with your inner driver, giving her a bit of a hug, and helping her calm down. Just what I needed!

LinkedIn says, Don't Give Away Your Magic For Free. This wonderful article goes out to all my fellow tarot-preneurs and fledgling small business owners who might be struggling with standing by their rates. It's tough, but so important if you are going to honour your skills, respect your paying customers, and build a thriving business!

Um, who doesn't love Upworthy? They bring me all the good things! This week, I loved 6 1/2 Years of Selfies Show Her Life With Mental Illness, in which youtube blogger and cat person Rebecca Brown shares a photo a day from the ages of 14 to 21, documenting all the ups and downs in between. Some people are so generous with their stories!

I've been catching up on some productivity porn this week, and I really enjoyed this list of the Six Things the Most Productive People Do Every Day. From the first tip, it recognises that we're humans, not productivity bots, and we need to work with our fabulously fallible humanness, not in spite of it. Also, it's another reminder that I have to bust my first-thing-in-the-morning email habit. Does anyone else struggle with this? I know it puts me on the back foot first thing, and yet... I'm completely addicted to it! 

I loved this TED talk about How to Thrive in a World Where Change is Constant. Funnily enough, Joi Ito's ideas about problem solving, learning, and encouraging creativity totally jive with my approach to tarot - acting intuitively, collaborating with others, allowing yourself to get uncomfortable, and working in the present, rather than focusing on the past or future. Great advice for business and life in general, as well as tarot!

And a bonus sixth link for the week - This person sent all their text messages in calligraphy for a week. Such a sweet way to practice a new skill, and to take a little time over your communications. 

What have you guys been reading and loving this week?

Further Reading - 14th July 2014

My clients approach me with all sorts of dilemmas and queries - from questioning life purpose, to relationship issues, to setting career goals, to spiritual dilemmas. The cards always grace us with great advice specific to the individual question, but most of my readings have one thing in common - an emphasis on self care. What I've found as I've listened to countless friends, family members, and clients express their hopes and worries, and as I've explored my own, is that you really can't put your best foot forward in any situation if that foot isn't steady enough to stand on!

To extend the metaphor, steadying that foot is all about fortifying the self, replenishing your reserves and nourishing yourself so that you feel loved, strong, confident and capable to step forth, to pursue what you want and to be loving and supportive of others - a spiritual and emotional pedicure, if you will! There has been so much wonderful writing about self care floating around recently, so I thought it fitting that we kick off our Monday with some of the best ideas for radical self love!

The ever-insightful Beth over at Little Red Tarot writes about how important is to regularly fill your well. You can only get good stuff out if you first put good stuff in, after all! This post deals particularly with creative work, but the idea of well-filling is applicable to all aspects of life. 

I love, love, love Everyday Feminism's honest take on self care, because sometimes lighting a candle or taking a few deep breaths simply doesn't cut it. Suggestion #1 is something often left out when we talk about self care, and this article makes me realise what an oversight that is!

Always big on the radical self love, Gala Darling provides a huge list of ways to look out for yourself if you're not so into fluffy bunnies and bubble baths. No messin' here!

Ask, Are You Serious About Loving Yourself? This two-part series from Always Well Within helps us get honest about what's going on inside, and shows how important it is to get that spring of loving kindness flowing within, before we can let it flow out into the world. 

Finally, 15 Tips for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People, from The Spirit Science. You don't need to be working intuitively or in the sacred arts to benefit from these suggestions! Unless you're living in hermit bliss on a desert island, chances are you interact with those around you every day, at work, while commuting, at home, and at play, and even in the most positive of interactions, I bet you pick up on the vibe of those around you. These tips are great for coming back into your own zone, so to speak, getting yourself centered and refreshed after spending time out in the world.

What are your go-to practices for self care? How do you show love and support to your own precious self? Let me know in the comments!

Further Reading - 7th July 2014

The internet is filled with wise and wonderful and thought-provoking stuff. Here's what I've been enjoying of late. Happy Monday everyone!

This article about Why Being a Beginner is Awesome was very timely for me. After being terrified of learning to drive for years, I decided I would conquer my fears and get behind the wheel before I turned 30. With a few months to go, I've had some lessons, and realised that so much of this struggle has been about learning to be ok with being bad at something I haven't tried before. It's an ego-driven resistance, but I'm slowly learning to embrace the awesomeness of being a beginner, rather than the terror! 

Benebell Wen shared a wonderful post on her blog about Being Right vs. Being Insightful as a tarot reader. Her insights here really get at the heart of what it means to offer ethical tarot practice for clients and readers alike. 

This is an older post, but I can never go past a pro-journal writing battle cry! Check out some of The Benefits of Journal Writing, and pick up some ideas for getting started. Brain dumping into a notebook has long been one of my favourite pastimes, one I try to make time for every day, and it's something I am constantly recommending to my clients. Give it try. You'll be surprised at how transformative it can be!

Tarot and the Woman Alone over on TarotTrends.com is a really interesting commentary on how our ideas about a couple of the female figures in the tarot have changed. This post deals with a lady close to my heart - the Queen of Swords. Whenever she comes  up in the Weather Report, I have to pause before making my comments because, to be frank, I really hate the fact that traditionally, this bold, intelligent, weapon-wielding warrior woman is meant to be representative of loneliness and mourning. Can we do away with that association already, please? 

Finally, a snapshot of tarot history over at CollectorsWeekly.com. Plenty of interesting facts, but my favourite parts were the snaps of rare, rare, rare cartomancy decks from Caitlin Matthews' personal collection. Pretty cool!

Have you read something great lately? Share it with me in the comments!

Further Reading - 27th May 2014

May has just flown by, hasn't it? I'm only now realising that the New Moon is nearly upon us again (coming up on the 29th), and I need to get thinking about setting my aspirations for June. When it comes to making plans and setting intentions, there's a lot of inspiration out there! These are a wonderful things I've been reading in the past week or so to feed my curiosity and fill my brain up with possibility for the weeks ahead. 

My offline reading material this week has been Alice Walker's recent collection of essays, The Cushion in the Road. I'm not all that knowledgeable about Alice Walker's oeuvre, but I picked this up on a whim and found it to be exactly what I was looking for. Alice's tireless and compassionate witness of human crises and redemptions is inspiring, and her emphasis on the need for us all to return regularly to the cushion for more contemplation was a timely reminder for me. 

I stumbled across a wonderful article by one of my favourite bloggers, Bri of Milagro Roots, about how to spiritually cleanse your space and your person. Her suggestions are wonderful if you're feeling some stale energy, and even better if you think there's actually some bad juju around. Along similar lines, her document on how to take a spiritual bath is not to be missed!

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of Musings on the Moon Card over at My Curious Cabinet. The Moon is one of my favourite cards, and its myriad interpretations are so fascinating. It's funny, too, that the responses to it in a reading range from deep attraction to fear and repulsion. The author follows some interesting threads, and I have to agree, the Cosmic Tarot truly does depict the crayfish to end all crayfish!

How great are these instructions for a New Moon Ritual Gathering over at MysticMamma.com? I'm a little disappointed that I've left it too late this month, but maybe I'll be able to get my mystical ladies together in time for the next new moon so we can connect with this important natural cycle, strengthen our bonds, and make some magic!

Finally, the courageous Hilary of Tarot by Hilary wrote a great post last week on how you just Can't Read for Everyone. It's a tough topic to tackle, but Hilary hits the nail on the head when she says that sometimes, the connection between reader and client just isn't there. As a business owner, it feels screwy to decline an order, but the fact is, sometimes saying yes when you're feeling no does more harm than good. As a metaphysical professional, I definitely agree that it is of better service to both client and reader to be honest about when the vibe isn't right. Hilary, thanks for writing so honestly and sticking to your guns on this tricky subject!

What have you been reading lately? I love a good tip! If you've find something intriguing and inspiring, let me know in the comments!

P.S. Looking for more reading material? Check out some of my very favourite tarot blogs!