TST Update: Happy New Year!

Yes, it's the 16th of January, so probably a little late for new year greetings. I find, though, that this time of year takes me a while to grow into, things don't always feel like they're truly underway until like, March. So, with that in mind, I'm practically early! I hope 2016 is blessing your cotton socks so far! 

New adventures are coming to Two Sides Tarot this year! Can you guess what they might involve? It's silly of me to even mention it, really, because I'm trying to keep it a secret for just a little bit longer, until certain things are ready (and Mercury is no longer retrograde, obvi). Clearly, though, I'm having trouble containing my excitement! Suffice it to say, Two Sides Tarot is growing, plugging into the network. Community is such an important part of my tarot practice - all of you beautiful people have shown me that! - and what comes next will be all about making the sweet stuff more available to more people. I want this humble website to be a conduit for goodness! Ok, shh! Enough of that. I better not let the cat out of the bag just yet!

In lieu of me telling all my secrets, here's a list of good stuff, both tarot related and not, that's been warming my heart. I hope it warms yours, too!

At the Reading Table - 

A couple of new decks have made their way into my life in recent weeks, and I haven't yet made intimate acquaintance with them all. Santa, by way of a very dear friend, gifted me with the classic Motherpeace Tarot, and the possibly now out of print Da Vinci Enigma Tarot, both of which will be making their way into my reading rotation soon. I also managed to acquire a German-language edition of The Kitty Kahane Tarot, which, evidenced by its takeover of my instagram, is rocking my world!

In the shop, New Year Readings are available for a little while longer. Also, in case you missed it, I am now offering Heart-Centered Oracle Readings, using the very gentle and supportive Journey of Love oracle deck. If you need a little encouragement to be kind to yourself, this sweet little offering is just the thing!

On the Bookshelf - 

The Radiance Sutras - I've been flirting with this book for a few weeks now, and I think one could string that out into a lifetime. Flirting is, I think, the right word, because these tantric verses are seductive. Lorin Roche's modern translation has been adding colour to my admittedly inconsistent meditation practice! If anyone else has read this, I'd love to know what you thought of it!

Felicity, by Mary Oliver - a new collection from the poet laureate of my heart is always cause for celebration (fortunately, she's extremely prolific so there is frequent toasting around these parts)! She has said that at this late stage in her life she is increasingly influenced by Rumi, and it is evident in this collection. If you need some extra M. O. in your life, don't miss her On Being interview

Indoor Green by Mr Kitly's Bree Claffey - because who doesn't love houseplants, and looking at interiors slightly tidier and better put together than their own? Also, who doesn't need a reminder to water all of their own indoor plants? Not me, no way. I never forget!

Around the Traps -

I have to thank Paige of Tarot and Tea for sharing this isolated vocal track of David Bowie's Starman in her most excellent newsletter (go to her site and sign up, it's always full of good stuff!). If you follow me on instagram, you'll know I've had Bowie on the brain all week. I know I'm not the only one to be shaped by his influence in my formative years, nor was I the only one to feel that he must have been immortal, so this week's news comes as a shock to the system. Hearing his voice reverberating in the silence is like a psychic kick to the proverbials. Get your tissues ready! 

Why pretend I've managed to read about anything else online this week? Here are David Bowie's Top 100 books, and some musings thereon

Well, that's me for now. What are you reading, shuffling, listening to, and thinking about? You know I love a recommendation! Please do share in the comments!

TST Update: Tarot Gifts, Guests Posts, New Years

Just a quick update from me this week, instead of the usual Friday post, as I've been snowed under with client work and Christmas craziness at the bookshop. While I haven't had time to formulate and produce a thoughtful, tarot-based post for you this week, I am so, so grateful to be busy with work I love! How great is it that I get to spend my days creating tarot readings for spiritual seekers and dealing great literature to book lovers?! I am so lucky! If you are one of the clients who has kept me busy this week, please know that I so appreciate you inviting me into your world and trusting me to throw some cards for you. Seriously. You rule! 

On that note, here's a bit of shameless horn tooting about what's up in Two Sides Tarot land right now - 

New Year Readings are available now for a limited time! This seasonal offering pops up but once a year, in time for the changing of the calendar. This 12-card spread explores the lessons, challenges and victories of the year just passed, looks at what energies might be coming your way in the new year, and offers some guidance for how to make the most of 2016. It's an epic read, running to a length of 3500-4000 words! If you're feeling reflective about the end of the year, or just excited to get on board with 2016, this reading is for you! Book yours here

Two Sides Tarot also offers gift readings! If you do celebrate this season with gifts and are seeking a little inspiration, a tarot reading might be just the ticket! When you purchase a gift reading, you will receive an email that you can give to the recipient, which includes your message, some info about Two Sides Tarot, and instructions for how to claim their gift reading. The recipient can request their reading whenever they feel the time is right, and I'll work with them to set a question and, if necessary, create a custom spread. As well as my standard offerings, my New Year Reading is also available as a gift - perfect for this time of year! Order your gift reading here

I recently had the extreme bodacious honour of writing a guest post over on Little Red Tarot about The Wooden Tarot. I'm a huge fan both of Beth's work and of the glorious Wooden Tarot, so it was really nice to bring those beautiful things together! Thanks for having me, Beth!

Although I haven't had a lot of reading time this week, I have been stealing glances at this amazing book. Circle of Eight by Jane Meredith was recommended to me in response to one of my Wheel of the Year blog posts by SJ of Witchling In Flight, and I must pay that forward by saying, everyone should read this book! Well, everyone who is interested in making personal, spiritual connections with the specific place in which they live, anyway. Thank you so much, SJ. It has given me so much to think about, and I'll definitely be writing about it and responding to it in more depth in the new year. 

Fellow Southern Hemispheran, Lucie of Blue Fox Tarot, shared her reading with my Summer Solstice Spread. Thanks Lucie, I hope you found it illuminating! 

Well, that's me for now. Better get back to work! What have you been up to? I'd love to know! Share your recent adventures in the comments!

Returning to Daily Practice

I'm back from my little jaunt up the coast, and the bustle of the season has already swept me up. Beltane is definitely in full swing down here in Australia, because opportunities to socialise and otherwise fill my calendar are abundant! I'm rather more interested, though, in getting back into my private pursuits - tarot, reading, journaling, yoga, and art. It's tricky at this time of year, the beginning of summer party season and Christmas craziness, to find much time and energy for quiet workings, but I'm determined to do it! Thus, I've been ruminating a lot this week about how to fit it all in. 

I'm super behind on my blog reading, but I did manage to catch a great post over on Dharma Eyes Tarot, featuring a spread for daily practice. I really loved reading about Emily's tarot explorations of her daily meditation practice, and it got me thinking - what am I doing every day to fill myself up? Travel, work, and social commitments have turned my regular routine upside down and got me feeling more like lying face down on the couch in my spare time than doing anything meaningful or productive. I'm ready now to put some intention back into my routine, and make sure I'm carving out a little time for mindful self-enrichment (so, scrolling endlessly through one's facebook feed does not count!).

The catch is, I'm undecided about how to proceed. Being a multi-passionate person, I always struggle to stick with one habit for very long, because there are always so many other things I am equally interested in. When I commit to daily meditation, I get quickly frustrated that I don't have time to journal, but when I commit to journaling daily, my yoga practice falls by the wayside and my body rages against me! I know now that trying to get all my spiritual engagement and fulfilment from one activity is not going to work for me. Any daily practice I commit to must be multifarious in nature! Perhaps it's more about setting aside a block of time and using it intentionally, than it is about committing to any particular path? 

This is a tarot blog, and so it should come as a surprise to none that I am going to explore this question and look for some clarity with... a tarot reading. Or, actually, with an oracle card reading. I've been carrying the Earthbound Oracle around in my bag for weeks now, and it's time to put it to proper use! I hope Emily won't mind that I've borrowed and slightly adapted her wonderful Spread for Daily Practice, and put my own desires and habits under the oracular microscope. Here we go!

Apologies for the tiny, crappy photo here. I've been back and forth, trying to get it to display at its proper dimensions, and it just ain't working! I give up. 

1. Where should my intention be in my daily practice? Abundance

So I think I was right in saying that my practice has to be multifarious! I should set an intention to make my practice broad and dynamic, responsive to my interests and passions, and accept that for now, that’s what works best. If I do kirtan meditation one day, and spend that time drawing the next, and then the following day read a book, that’s fine! This card also calls for a more expansive mindset – I know I have been falling into the trap lately of saying, “There’s not enough time! I don’t have the energy!”, and that only reinforces and justifies a pattern of not fulfilling my daily practice. Abundance says, I do have the time and I do have the energy! I need to be more mindful of how I apply it, certainly, but there’s more than enough available for me to work a little on my own projects every day.

2. Where can I find joy in my daily practice? Healing

The pleasure of daily practice will come from putting a focus on self-care. I love this time of the year (as a Christmas baby, I’ve always secretly believed all the brouhaha is just an elaborate warm up to my birthday – who else’s birthday gets an Advent, after all?!), and I love spending time with all the amazing people in my life, but I do need to remember to replenish my energies and do things that are just for me. The real joy will come from making my daily practice restorative and curative, an antidote to all that summer busyness.

3. What are the hindrances to my daily practice? Perseverance

Ahh, that ol’ chestnut! Obviously, the real hindrance to my daily practice is the challenge of sticking with it. I’m a Capricorn, so you’d think I’d be great at sticking to habits, but then my Pisces rising comes along and makes things like commitments, shall we say, a little more fluid? (On that note, get your birth chart done, it’s very illuminating!). I think the antidote to struggles with perseverance can be found in the first two cards: firstly, it’s ok to take the abundant approach and vary the practice itself if I’m struggling to stick to it; and secondly, remember how refreshing it feels when I’ve taken time to do my own stuff each day. Sticking with it will always be a challenge, but hopefully not an insurmountable one.

4. Where can I find encouragement/admonishment in my daily practice (see Emily's original post for some more notes on this excellent and very Buddhist card position!)? Protect

I need to make my daily practice sacred! The time I set aside, however I decide to use it each day, has to be protected from busyness, laziness, sleepiness, and other impediments. Protecting my daily practice from the incursions of everyday life will ultimately be a supportive act for the practice itself, and for me, too. Similarly, when I fail to protect that commitment, I know I’ll feel suitable admonished when I start to feel off centre, tired, and out of touch with myself. I like it, too, that this card is a verb – I need to actually DO what it is telling me. This is not about mindset or philosophy, but about action! I must actively protect my daily practice in order to reap its benefits.

So where does all of this leave me? I feel validated in my belief that I need to vary the content of my daily practice, and chastened about my flakiness and lack of commitment! I know that I need to set aside a little time every day to be used intentionally – be it five minutes of silent meditation, or an hour of tarot. Daily practice, in whatever form it takes, replenishes my energy, refines my craft, and enriches my spirit! Now, I’m off to do just that.

How does daily practice feature in your life? What are your go-to practices or habits for enriching your day-to-day? Let me know in the comments!

Excuse Me While I Step Out For a Moment

A work that I regrettably can't find the name of, by one of my favourite painters, Pegge Hopper. 

Just a quick note today to let you know that Two Sides Tarot will be away from the reading table from Friday 6th of November until Sunday 15th November. One of my dearest friends is getting hitched up on the North Coast, and I'm taking a week out to celebrate with her, lounge on the beach, and catch up with some of my northern-dwelling pals.

Ordinarily, I do some tarot work when on the road, but this time, I felt like I could use a proper break. I won't be doing any client readings or the daily Weather Report while I'm away. I have left the shop open though, so if it takes your fancy, you can book a reading during this time. Please be aware though that I will be fulfilling your order after I return on Monday 16th of November, so my usual lead time of 5 days does not apply. Even mystics need a little time to chill on the beach, right?! 

In my absence, here's some stuff to keep you busy - 

A great interview with the always-otherworldly Joanna Newsom. This woman is a visionary! If you haven't listened to her new album, Divers, yet, do yourself a favour and get on it.

Some of you may know that I'm obsessed with listening to other people's creepy stories. The Jezebel annual scary stories contest is always a goldmine, but this year's best find has been this reddit thread, in which a US Forest Service Search and Rescue officer describes some of the eerie and inexplicable things they have seen while deep in the woods. Random staircases, anyone?! Warning - it is both disturbing and addictive!

Do you follow my friend Janine's blog? She posts a thoughtful, personal essay every Friday, which always strikes a chord with me. Her beautiful works are on a whole range of topics, but at heart, her writing is always about what it means to try to live well in the modern world. She's writing about creativity at the moment because she's undertaking Nanowrimo for the I-don't-know-how-many-eth year in a row. Wish her luck!

Have you seen the recently released Earthbound Oracle deck? After a post-related delay, my copy finally arrived and golly gee, this deck is The Business! I'll write a proper deck interview when I return, but suffice it to say, this thing is really special. Andy Swartz is an incredible artist with a deep understanding of cartomancy practice, both tarot and otherwise. Please do consider supporting his work and picking up a copy of the Earthbound Oracle or the Wooden Tarot. Thank me later!

Have a good week! I hope you're up to something fun. If you feel like sharing, let me know what you're up to in the comments, and I'll read it all with great interest when I return!

The 1st of November - A Southern Hemisphere Beltane (or something)

I wrote a little while ago about an idea that had been percolating in my mind, born of a weird dissonant feeling of being psychologically and spiritually out of alignment with the flow of the seasons. In my own spiritual practice, I'm really craving more mindfulness and connection to the natural world, and so I'm learning more about the Wheel of the Year and its attendant festivals and observances. 

 If you're a regular visitor to this blog, you're probably aware that I reside in the Southern Hemisphere - in temperate Sydney, Australia, to be more specific, and that's where I often run into trouble! I get the majority of my media, information, and spiritual community time from the internet, and I shouldn't be surprised to discover that the majority of the citizens of the internet reside in the Northern Hemisphere. When it comes to celebrating the seasons, if you're an Australian on Instagram or Pinterest, things are bound to feel a little upside down! Right now, all my social media feeds are saturated with Samhain altars and ghoulishly awesome Halloween decorations (which, by the way, I am totally in favour of - Australia doesn't really have a tradition of Halloween, and whether we do it at the right time of the year or not, I really wish we could get our creepiness on more often!). If I look up from my computer and out the window, I'd notice that the sun is shining, the days are getting longer, the cicadas are hatching and singing and Summer is definitely in the post. Bit of a disconnect!

So, what to do about this? I don't identify with any particular earth-based tradition (or indeed, any particular tradition - I'd say I'm an eclectic, whim-based spiritual practitioner!), so the more pagan aspects of this are foreign to me. Add that to everything feeling a bit upside down and back to front, and you have me feeling really stumped! I certainly don't feel like I have the knowledge or authority to write a blog series about seasonal observances when I'm hardly familiar with them myself. Thank goodness, then, for the helpful comment of SJ from Witchling in Flight on my previous post, with the suggestion to turn to intuition. Feel your way through it, and see what comes up. Thus, this series is not intended to be instructional or authoritative, so much as a document of my personal experimenting. If you happen to reside on the bottom half of the earth, I hope some of this resonates with you! 

So, I'm beginning where I am, and fumbling my way through. I thought about waiting until the new year, or at least until the Solstice, but why put it off? The 1st of November is practically now! In the Northern parts of the world, this is Samhain, the season of Halloween and All Soul's Day, the thinning of the veil and the coming of the darkness. We knew that already! Down here in the South, though, the 1st of November is Beltane, the festival of fire, fertility, abundance, the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and Midsummer. I had to ask myself, "Ok, what does that actually feel like?" To be perfectly honest, I don't feel any particular, personal resonance with what I've learned about Beltane in my brief research - maybe that's because it is a traditionally Gaelic festival? Although there is Irish and Scottish in my ancestry, it's not something I feel particularly connected to.

But, what is the purpose of this if not nurturing personal connections with the world around me? I don't have to call it Beltane to feel it. So, in the spirit of investigation, I'm writing this post from my front step, feeling the cool breeze meet the warm air, listening to my neighbourhood birds sing and squawk and argue with each other. A small ginger cat just strolled across the gateway, which reminds me - it's kitten season! If that's not the perfect Beltane signifier, I don't know what is! (Fellow Southern Hemispherans, consider donating to your local animal rescue, because they'll be swamped! Here's one I like). I can see blooming bougainvilleas, and the jasmine plant I did my best to kill with winter neglect showing its resilience again. Abundance is definitely in the air!

The most obvious way to mark any seasonal festival is to make an altar which captures symbolic objects, images, ideas, and energies relevant to the time of year (or indeed, to anything you want to focus on). A cursory glance at google images will give you plenty of ideas for a green, leafy Beltane altar. I must admit, I'm not sure if I'm at the altar-making stage with this yet! I do maintain a couple of altar spaces, but in the spirit of being an eclectic-whimsical-spiritual practitioner, they're deliciously ad hoc, and I don't know if I want to mess with them. One way I will mark November 1st, though, is by spending some time in the garden, giving my plants (especially that resilient jasmine!) some love. That seems appropriately symbolic and Southern Hemisphere to me! 

All that said, I am still going to a late night screening of Evil Dead II on October 30th, because it's Halloween somewhere! And YAY, the Jezebel annual scary story thread rides again! Wherever you are in the world, I hope you're enjoying the season! 

How do you feel about all this seasonal observance? Do you mark any seasonal festivals? Are you in the Northern Hemisphere, or the Southern? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Books, Oracles and Spring is Here!

Today, a behind the scenes peek from the pen (ok, the laptop) of Two Sides Tarot. What's been shakin' round these parts? 

Books, as ever - I've just started Mark Nepo's extraordinary Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, and it's knocking my socks off! I go through phases with spiritual literature; sometimes I can't get enough and I love filling myself up with it, and other times I feel bloated on well-meaning advice from all those gurus and I need to take a step back and read something else for a while. After having stuck mostly to novels and memoirs for the past couple of months, I picked up Nepo's book and found myself ripe for his way of thinking. If you're looking for some inspiration or a reminder to engage with the numinous, I recommend it (and as ever, if you can, consider purchasing it from your local independent bookseller)! Other excellent recent reads include Michelle Tea's How to Grow Up and Jesmyn Ward's Men We Reaped. I do love a good (if harrowing) memoir! Any recommendations welcome!

I've never been much of an oracle card reader - for some reason (Capricorn, hello), I prefer to have the structure of the tarot as a foundation for my readings. I am beginning to open up my cold, hard little heart to one oracle deck in particular though. The Journey of Love oracle deck is a really warm and thoughtful piece of work, with rich and mostly abstract illustrations. I'm not sure yet if this will ever make its way into my client offerings, but I am enjoying incorporating it into my personal practice. It's a good one!

Since returning from my American holiday a couple of weeks ago, I've been having a total incense moment. I've always been a fan of some casual Nag Champa, and after weeks of being afraid of setting off hotel fire alarms, I must've really been craving it because when I unpacked, I realised I bought a WHOLE lot of incense on my travels! My haul included a variety of aromatic magics from House of Intuition in LA, two truly special blends from The Sword and Rose (thank you to everyone who encouraged me to go there, it really is a special corner of the world!), a variety of stick incenses, and that pinon pine brick incense pictured above. Needless to say, I've been burning up a storm since I returned! Life smells good! 

Finally, I'm just enjoying the shifting of the seasons. I missed most of the first month of Spring, since I was away in the US, but now that I'm back I can definitely feel that change in the air. We've had some very warm days, the light is shifting, daylight savings has begun, and the pollen count is off the charts (achooo). Meanwhile, most of my tarot community, online as you are, are getting ready for Halloween, mainlining the pumpkin spice, and embracing the shorter, cooler days. I've been thinking a lot about this lately, about how I would like to incorporate more observance of the Wheel of the Year into my personal practice. It does feel challenging, as a citizen of the Southern Hemisphere, when most of the information and observance on offer on the internet comes from the opposite season to what one is actually experiencing. Even before I was actively witchy, I'd always experience a sort of cognitive dissonance, as the bloggers I read and the tumblrs I followed got me all in the mood for hot chocolates when I was moving into summer, and for lazy summer afternoons by the pool when I should've been drinking hot chocolate under the doona!

So, to that end, I'm considering doing a series of posts for the Southern Hemisphere practitioner, to get those of us down here who are sneezing and shedding our cardigans in the mood, considering that we've just had our Vernal Equinox and we're heading towards Beltane. Can you dance around the maypole in November? I guess you can in Australia! With all of that said, I'm not an expert on the Wheel of the Year, and I don't identify as a Pagan or Wiccan or really with any other earth-based religion. In some ways, I think it's sort of odd to want to adopt these festivals in the Southern Hemisphere, since they grew from the spiritual traditions of Europe. I do think, though, that we owe it to whatever land we live on to pay attention, and observing the turning of the year is the best way I can think of to do that. So, more to come on this! And a shoutout to any other fellow Southern Hemispherans - is this something you also feel a lack of? Is someone already doing this (no doubt better than me!) and I just haven't found their website yet? Is this something you're interested in? Let's talk about it!

That's what's been stewing in my mind. What have you been up to? Got a great book recommendation or favourite incense blend to share? Let me know in the comments! Oh and remember, you can subscribe by email so you never miss a post!

Hello from the Road

Despite my best laid plans, it has been a while! If you've been following me on Instagram, you might have noticed that Two Sides Tarot is in transit at the moment. I'm on holiday, a two week trip spent mostly on the left coast of the US. When I planned this trip, I knew I wanted to spend a good amount of time in my favourite American city, San Francisco, and I wanted to be excited and curious and filled up by spending two weeks left to my own devices in a foreign land. So far, so good! I'd also expected to spend a lot more time while traveling writing, doing tarot, and reading, but that hasn't proven to be the case so far. Hence, the radio silence around these parts! The daily Weather continues apace, but my plans for blogging and other creative work while on the road have not come to fruition. 

I must admit, I'm an advocate of going with the flow, so I'm not too bothered by the fact that the mood of my holiday hasn't been as expected (although I do feel a little guilty for leaving this blog to lie fallow for too many days). In fact, I've been enjoying activating my lower chakras, just relishing being a body in the world, walking for miles and eating and looking at things and not paying too much attention to the spiritual implications of every sight or interaction. Perhaps that's spiritual in itself - just being in the moment. Living!

One altar I have prostrated myself upon while in SF is that of the almighty god of baseball - and as a Giants fan, I know that you only have to look at the 2014 season and World Series win to know this baseball god is a trickster! Just my kind of fellow. He's getting greedy though, because it seems our offerings of fandom in 2015 have been insufficient to secure a place in the postseason. Oh well, you can't win them all, and this fan is just happy to be here! 

I've done my run with the Giants though, and this weekend I'm heading out to Sedona for a few nights away from the city. Looking forward to diving into that beautiful red desert! And also, to taking it a little slower. More reading time, perhaps even a sleep in. Maybe even a blog post! Let's try to go with the flow though. I know better now than to lean too heavily on plans, and hey, Mercury's retrograde. Anything could happen! I will say, regular scheduled programming will resume soon. 

I hope you're keeping well. What have you been up to these past couple of weeks? Send me a virtual postcard in the comments!

Bits and Bobs from Behind the Scenes

In lieu of a strictly business tarot-related post, today I thought I'd share a little update about what's going on behind the scenes at Two Sides Tarot. I'm a busy beaver, but of course it isn't all toil around here! This post really is just a recap of what I've personally been up to - sometimes I just have to give in to the impulse to talk about myself! You've been fairly warned.

On the bookshelf, I've been slowly making my way through Deborah Lipp's new book, Tarot Interactions. It's refreshing to find a tarot book that goes beyond explaining card meanings to look at how to synthesise multiple cards into a cohesive reading. Although this book is aimed at the intermediate practitioner, I think in some ways it would benefit tarot beginners to start with Lipp's exercises right away. When you start learning tarot, it's easy to get bogged down in memorising card meanings, but what you really need to give good readings is an understanding of how those meanings interact with context. The sooner you can work that into your tarot practice, the quicker you'll be able to give really meaningful, relevant and detailed readings, so I highly recommend readers of all levels check this one out!

In non-tarot related reading, I've been on a bit of a YA binge, getting myself up to date with Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series (ALL THE FEELS) before the fourth volume is released on September 1st, and indulging in the always dark and delicious Holly Black, with her recent-ish book, The Darkest Part of the Forest. I do love me some tricksy fae folk! I also read another book by my beloved Natalie Goldberg, Long Quiet Highway, a volume of memoir that explores Natalie's zen practice and early writing career. Love, love, love, as always. If you're a fan of Writing Down the Bones, I'm sure you'll love spending more time with this inspired teacher. Finally, I almost always have some poetry on the go - this month's read, Mules of Love, is by one of my favourite poets, Ellen Bass. As ever, reading her poetry is like eating some kind of rich and magical spirit cake! Get it in you immediately!

It would appear that when I'm not reading cards, I'm reading books - that is almost true! In the rare moments I don't have my nose buried in a book, I've been playing countless rounds of solitaire with Corina Dross' Portable Fortitude playing card deck. Check out these cards, they are seriously cool! They may be bringing me good fortune in other areas of my life, but I'm sorry to say my solitaire win percentage has not improved. Probably can't blame Corina for that though!

Finally, I just wanted to share some progress from the Agony Augury question I answered for myself a couple of weeks ago about struggling to get back into exercising. Since writing that post, I've managed to stick to a schedule of two gross and sweaty workouts a week without too much difficulty. Just imagining that Page of Swords cutting away any procrastination and avoidance has been really helpful, and I feel so much better for it! I've also been giving a nod to my inner High Priestess, who appeared in a bit of a funny way in that reading, by doing five or ten minutes of seated meditation after my workout. It's a good way to close off the session and to integrate the positive lessons of the experience. I think my body also appreciates being listened to in that way, and it's nice to mindfully enjoy that enlivened post-workout sensation! If you have a question for the Agony Augury, please do write in!

That's what I've been up to. What about you? Let me know in the comments!

Trimming Borders, New Acquisitions, Podcasts, and More

Today, I thought, rather than posting a lengthy reading or tarot-related article, I'd just stop in and say hi. Hi! I hope you're well. In case you were wondering, and I know you were, here's what I've been up to this week!

I've discovered a favourite new hobby - trimming the borders off my tarot decks! I've long loved the way borderless cards look, but it wasn't until this past week that I had the right gear (and the courage) to give it a try myself. Look out world, I am addicted! Actually, I've only trimmed down two decks so far - a misprinted edition of the Wildwood Tarot I had, and my old copy of the Cosmic Tarot - but it's through sheer force of will that I haven't taken the knife to every deck I own! They just look so good freed from their borders! The art really opens up. Before I inflict it upon any other decks though, I will spend some time reading with these and see if I still like the borderless vibe. Stay tuned!

In case you're wondering, I bought a small photo trimmer from a craft store to do the bulk of the cutting, and I ordered one of these from ebay to round the corners. I did also wind up using a pair of very small, very sharp craft scissors to tidy the edges, because the trimmer was never totally accurate. It isn't a particularly difficult task, but I would urge caution if you are a perfectionist! It seems almost impossible, to me anyway, to get the trimmed cards 100% matchy matchy. I found that a lot of the images were actually printed slightly crooked on the cards, so trimmed down they do wind up being a little different in size. Also, the backs of the Cosmic Tarot don't match up with the images on the front, so do be mindful of that if you are considering trimming a deck and you think it will bother you. I'm not too fussed, but I can see that one more picky than I might drive themselves mad with it! If you are interested in taking the plunge, Seven Card Spread has an excellent tutorial here

In other news, last week, I added a new acquisition to my collection - the Japaridze Tarot. Ooooh! So pretty. I must admit, I was super excited to bring this one home, but I haven't had a chance at all this week to take it out and play. My week ahead is looking far less busy and social than the week just gone, so I look forward to more quiet evenings at home with the cards. I also have two other decks winging their way to me from overseas. Fingers crossed they make land soon and I can start using them all! 

In book reading news, I haven't dedicated as much time to reading as I would've liked this week, but I am slowly making my way through Phenomenal by Leigh Ann Henion. It's probably unfair to say since I'm only halfway through, but so far the book isn't quite adding up to more than the sum of its parts. It's interesting enough though, and if you like reading about faraway places, it's fun. I will say, too, that her writing about Hawaii, and the experiences she describes with the volcanos, are delightful and moving. If you have any interest in... shall we say, spiritual travel, I think it's worth picking this one up for that chapter alone!

What else has been filling my head? The excellent first episode of the Modern Mystic Podcast - seriously, GET ON THIS TRAIN RIGHT NOW! These gals are major magical babes, and you want to hear what they have to say! I also super enjoyed listening to Elizabeth Gilbert on the Robcast, and I've been epically binging on the inimitable Kelly-Ann Maddox's youtube channel. It's pointless of me to recommend her, because I'm literally the last tarot enthusiast in the known universe to get on board with her amazing, playful, smart, and informative work, so you must know her back to front already. On the off chance you're from some other, as-yet-undiscovered planet, get some Kelly-Ann Maddox in your ear immediately. She's the bomb.

Finally, the last thing rocking my world this week is the Alternative Tarot Network - the most supportive, interesting, and fun tarot community in town! This incredible network is the work of Beth from Little Red Tarot, and I cannot thank her enough for creating this space! THANK YOU, BETH! As far as I know, at the moment the community isn't open for new members, but if you subscribe to the Little Red Tarot Bits and Bobs mailing list, you'll be notified when the doors open again. Trust me, it'll be worth the wait! Plus, Beth's newsletter is great, so you'll want to subscribe anyway!

Before I sign off, I just want to remind you that I am now taking questions for my advice column blog series! If you have a pressing question and want to throw your hat in the ring, drop me a line, and you could score yourself a free tarot reading on your dilemma, right here on the blog! Don't be shy, friends! 

What's rocking your world right now? I'd love to know. Share, if you feel so inclined, in the comments!

Oh, and remember, you can summon me straight into your inbox, so you never miss a post! Subscribe here.

Honouring Your Instincts

Image by Forest Girl -   Source

Image by Forest Girl - Source

It's been a little quite around these parts this week. Although I had an exciting and full blog schedule for you all, somehow I just haven't felt compelled to sit down and write. In the past few days, I've been avoiding emails and blogging, and instead filling my hours with reading, journaling, meditation, and moon ritual. Oh, and playing with my cat, who seems to be full of beans and hankering for connection with his people. 

I'd say most likely this is the influence of our friend Mercury, who seems to be, from where we stand at least, moving backwards across the skies. We humans are hugely suggestible, and I don't know if I am feeling withdrawn because of what the planets are up to, or because I've simply read about what the planets are up to and unconsciously metabolised that as my own intention.

Either way, I have been led by instinct these past few days, whether organic or implanted, and it feels natural and fulfilling. Consulting the stars or the cards is an invaluable exercise for decision making and clarity seeking, but at the heart of it all, we have to honour our own instincts. Our deep wisdom and intuition are the best guides we have, and more often than not I find that the oracles we turn to will validate our own instinct. Learning to trust can be difficult, but putting it into practice in small ways (like, for example, withdrawing from your own blog despite a full schedule of posts!) works those muscles of inner wisdom and helps us to build up the strength to be guided by our own inner compass. 

So, friends, trust your guts. There is some great stuff out there about Mercury's influence right now. Read it and be guided by it, or don't. Whatever feels right to you. Now I'm going to close my laptop and retreat back into my cave until it seems natural to emerge. See you then!