Moon Angels/Malakh Halevanah Cards

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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A Visit from the Moon Angels: Getting to Know the Malakh Halevanah Cards

Every now and then, as I’m racing around this giant web of deliciousness that we call the internet, I stumble upon someone makes my brain go all, “WOAH. Hold up!” Interesting voices, interesting projects, diverse creators, badass babes… these are all things that grab my attention, and it’s safe to say that Rebekah Erev and her work are all of the above!

I came across Rebekah via a seriously awesome interview in Beth’s column over at Autostraddle (seriously, go read it!). Not only is Rebekah forging a path for inclusive spirituality as a Hebrew priestess and working her ass off as an artist and business owner, she has also created a beautiful and original tool for spiritual work, the Moon Angels/Malakh Halevanah card deck. Be still, my beating heart!

I’m so happy to say that Rebekah’s Moon Angels deck is now available in the Two Sides Tarot shop. As a thoughtful, beautiful, original, and practical tool for reflection and divination, it’s just the kind of thing I most love to champion and to share with my people – i.e., you!

Today on the blog, Rebekah is stopping by to tell us a little about her work and to share some ideas for working with the Moon Angels/Malakh Halevanah cards.

Before we start, Rebekah, tell us a little about yourself!

I’m a queer, Jewish, Hebrew Priestess and feminist artist. I work in a variety of materials and world including: object-making, ritual, performance and the written word. After giving a stab at teaching in the public schools I turned my life around and decided to pursue my calling as an artist and priestess. I currently make my home in the San Francisco Bay Area and I’m enrolled in a DIY MFA program that meets in libraries. (Tag line: I applied and I accepted myself.) I feel really lucky to live such a creative life.

In January 2015 I self-published the Moon Angel / Malakh Halevanah deck and book, a modern day spiritual tool, born of my interest in providing creative resources to shift cultural healing towards the expression of liberation in all its complexities. In 2013, I was ordained through the Kohenet Institute as a Hebrew Priestess. Under this title I officiate life cycle events including marrying people, doing ceremony for new born babies and mikvah (Jewish ritual immersion in water). I offer spiritual counselling including readings with my deck and public ritual.

What was your motivation for creating the Moon Angel / Malakh Halevanah cards?

My purpose in creating this deck was to make an accessible tool for creative inspiration and spiritual access. I think a lot of us in the modern world have looked to art as a divine inspiration where religion has failed us. For me, I need an easy, simple access into spirituality but it also needs to be substantial and speak genuinely to me. That’s what I hope this deck will be for people. I’ve drawn on the wisdom of my cultural background as a Jew and Hebrew priestess. Growing up my family was very assimilated. Art and writing have always been my personal, private access into the mysterious creative energies in the world. As an adult, integrating all of this has been an essential part of my life’s work. The deck was my first attempt at sharing that integration.

How do you suggest readers might work with the Moon Angels cards?

I always suggest people use the deck intuitively in ways that feel right for them. I’ve had people buy the deck and frame it and hang it on the wall. That’s lovely! I’ve also heard some gorgeous interpretations of the numbers and images that I could have never imagined. That’s how the deck becomes really personalized and takes on a life of its own.

One of my favourite ways to use the deck is to ask it a question if I’m undecided. So I’ll ask: What will be the outcome if I choose option #1? And then, What will be the outcome if I choose option #2? I’ll pick a card for each of the options and then reflect. Sometimes the answers can be quite revealing. Sometimes I get the message that either option is great. Like Oprah says, “There are no mistakes.” Phew!

Another great way to use the deck is to pull one in the morning to reference throughout your day. I always start off my day picking a card, meditating on it and placing it on my altar. I love seeing how it shows up or gives me lessons throughout the day. On my website I also give suggestions for how to use the cards with the moon’s turning. I find in general, the cards have been a reminder to look at the moon more frequently. With a greater awareness of the moon’s cycle, I get more aligned with my own emotional states.

It’s been this life-changing lesson of embracing all of my feelings. The cards are inspired by a teaching in Judaism that when you have a feeling, it’s an angel visiting. I’m forever coming back to this non-patriarchal embrace of feelings. I see the recognition and embrace of feelings as vulnerable. I truly believe this vulnerability is a source of strength and something we can lean back in. That’s the feminist agenda I want to get behind.

Rebekah also offers suggestions for working with the cards in sync with the cycles of the moon -

"On the new moon: Reflect on the past moon cycle. What are things you would like to let go of? Pick a card to elucidate what needs release. Sit with that. Take a moment to reflect on what you would like to bring in and focus on in the coming moon cycle, as the moon becomes bigger. What do you want to grow bigger in your life? What do you want to get started on? Pick a card for that intention. On the full moon: What big dreams do you have? What would you like to manifest? What needs to be closed in order for something else to begin? Pick a card to guide that intention. Make a wish! Put the card under your pillow. This is a turning point, a chance to move things in a new direction. However you use the cards, they were made to open up the sweetness of the moon’s turning. Their sometimes-audacious learning isn’t meant to obscure the mystery of life but instead enliven its complexity in your heart, and move you closer to its most authentic desires.

On the full moon: What big dreams do you have? What would you like to manifest? What needs to be closed in order for something else to begin? Pick a card to guide that intention. Make a wish! Put the card under your pillow. This is a turning point, a chance to move things in a new direction.

However you use the cards, they were made to open up the sweetness of the moon’s turning. Their sometimes-audacious learning isn’t meant to obscure the mystery of life but instead enliven its complexity in your heart, and move you closer to its most authentic desires."

Thanks so much for stopping by, Rebekah, and sharing a little about the Moon Angel / Malakh Halevanah deck!

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You can find more of Rebekah's work at her website, where readers in the US can also pick up a copy of the Moon Angel / Malakh Halevanah deck, and on Instagram and TwitterThe deck is also, happily, available from yours truly, here. I ship everywhere, and shipping within Australia is free! 

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