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!
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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