Wildwood Tarot

Lammas Came and Went

So much for my diligent observance of the Wheel of the Year! We're now five days into February, and I haven't done a damn thing to mark the cross-quarter day that comes at the beginning of the month. I have to admit that I've struggled to connect with this festival, the festival of harvest and sacrifice. The weather here has been erratic - alternately cool and windy, cool and raining, steaming hot and rain, burning hot and sunny. Each day - each hour - is a surprise, seemingly unrelated the last.

The Blasted Oak, from The Wildwood Tarot, represents the sacrifice and cleansing fire of Lammas.

My days are largely spent indoors, staying out of the heat or the wet or doing tasks that can't be done anywhere else, and there's no obvious thread of season to grasp on my walks to and from home. There are no changes that I can discern in the mostly-evergreen trees in my neighbourhood, and my indoor tropical and desert plants seem to operate independently of the external weather. I'm still enjoying the tail end of summer fruits from the supermarket, but apart from that, there's little sense that anything is cycling through.

Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, but I think what I've been wanting is some kind of sign that the Wheel is turning! Reading Beth's beautiful tales of Imbolc on the Isle of Skye makes me crave meteorological drama, and makes me wish I was more obviously in sync with things, perhaps in a garden, harvesting root vegetables. Instead, when I thought about sitting down to write this blog post, I was stumped. Shouldn't things feel more like they're wrapping up, as we get ready to go into the dark? Instead, life seems busier than ever. 2016 finally seems to be underway, with all kinds of projects gearing up around me. The sleepiness of the Christmas break is well and truly behind us. Everyone around me is throwing themselves into creative work, travel, new jobs. No way do I feel like thinking about storing my grain for winter! 

It occurs to me, though, that part of the reason I haven't felt like stopping to engage with this harvest festival is that I've been busy harvesting! Creative ideas are coming to fruition, hard work that I put in over the past couple of months is beginning to pay off, and I'm busy, busy, busy keeping all these plates spinning! As well as being a time of harvest, Lammas is also a time of sacrifice, and I've been happily sacrificing time and energy for my grand plans and projects. I'm a huge fan of Rob Brezsny's weekly horoscopes, and trusty ol' Capricorn keeps being told that sacrifices are in order, negative habits must be released, if targets are to be met. I hear you Rob, I hear you!

Living in a city with often undifferentiated seasons doesn't mean the Wheel's energies aren't visible. I'm learning to see the changes in my internal weather, and in the social weather around me. The connections aren't always obvious, but I'll keep trying, keep observing as the year goes on, and see what I can learn. 

Even though I'm a little bit late, I couldn't wrap this up without a Lammas-inspired tarot spread. If you're feeling like doing a little late harvesting, too, feel free to give it a try! 

1. FRUITS OF THE FIELDS: What blessing from the recent season is coming to fruition in my life at this time?

2. FUEL FOR THE FIRE: What habit, experience, or mindset needs to be released from my life before I move into dark, quiet period of the year?

3. PICKLES FOR THE WINTER: What lesson do I need to preserve from the recent season for the darker days ahead?

These are my findings, using the Earthbound Oracle -

Funnily enough, these cards do put me in mind of that turn towards the slower season. Turtles and birds nests are my images to take away here! I'll have to spend a little time with these cards and see what other insights they have to share. 

What are your thoughts on the harvest festival? How do you make it feel relevant and meaningful? I'd love to know in the comments! Oh, and don't forget, you can subscribe to Two Sides Tarot and get posts directly into your inbox!

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!

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