Friday, September 22, 2017

The Wild Within

Yesterday morning I felt compelled to draw a card from the Animal Spirits Knowledge deck that features the beautiful art of Susan Seddon Boulet.

What wild energy is walking with me now? 

The deer was my first experience in animal communion when I was 12 years old. I would walk across the street into the Woods, where I would hunt for berries, build lean-tos, and look for animal tracks by the riverside. On the luckiest of days I would see a fox or other shy, wild creature. One day as I was sitting on a footpath at the top of a forested hill, and the wind moved the maple and oak limbs back and forth above, a group of deer walked slowly through the trees below. Not long after that I began to dream of deer. I remember one in which a deer stood on the back porch of my home, waiting for me. I went outside and touched it as it stood there in silence.

Reading the text on the backside of the card, I felt an immediate connection to the New Moon reading I'd done the day before:
Stone Tarot
What gifts are unfolding, and how to nurture them? Here amidst the purples and blues and greens are themes of exploring personal happiness and contentment, of embracing my nature, of journeying through my own wilderness.

Even some of the language is the same: journey, wilderness, nature.

Artemis was the first goddess that I felt connected to as a young teenager, exploring the Greek deities in ninth grade. Wild, strong, an archer, a forest walker, a companion and protector of inhabitants of the deep woods. I have thought of her lately, and the connection here underscores that energetic presence. The wild within, the untamed, the breathtaking potency of divine feminine power.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Be Good to Yourself

My morning ritual for the past handful of months has involved putting coffee on to brew, and sitting down to pull a card or two for various Instagram challenges. I enjoy these Tarot/oracle challenges because they give a focal point for the day (one I don't have to think up myself). But this morning I looked at the prompts for both of those I'm participating in and shrugged. Neither appealed to me. I sat there staring for a while - should I look up a spread? Do a Celtic Cross (those are informative and familiar, but maybe too many cards for now)? No... as I sat there a three-card spread materialized in my mind, something simple and "just right" for my mood:

How do I feel?
What do I need?
How can I get it?

I felt moody yesterday, that old and familiar impulse to be alone, to not have to talk with anyone, to not have to be around other people. The hermit and the cave. I don't feel much different today. But having just come out of a hurricane that shut the city down for a week, I have so much to tend to at work, and a lot of people who rely on my support. My weekly reading "warned" me of these feelings. Sitting on the couch this morning I started to daydream about taking a day off, and how amazing it would feel to be able to take a day to decompress. Then I remembered the 7 of Cups from that weekly reading: "if you can imagine it, you can make it happen." Making my own needs a priority, if not the only one. Perhaps I could make it work? I decided to draw my cards:
Pagan Otherworlds Tarot - Uusi 
How do I feel? 5 of Wands rx
What do I need? Queen of Pentacles rx
How can I get it? 8 of Cups rx

All reversals certainly reflect the choppy energy moving through me at present. The 5 of Wands speaks to a sense of inner conflict - my internal and external worlds not combining well. That is very much the case. I sit here reviewing my schedule for the day, and I don't want any of it. And yet I'm not sure I can relinquish those responsibilities.

The Queen of Pentacles tells me that I should focus on taking care of myself, on addressing the needs that aren't being met; she asks me to be good to myself. This Queen gazes over at the 5 of Wands, perhaps aware that it is the source (at least in part) of her discontent. She gives me permission to honor my personal, intimate priorities, rather than brushing them off in the face of the busy-ness surrounding me.

The 8 of Cups reflects a desire to abandon it all - to walk away. And yet inverted it shows that I'm not convinced that I can, or should. But this is about getting what I need, so what about finding a balance? I started to reflect on my day today, on what I ought to be present for (a morning meeting), and what I may be able to release in order to make space for myself (perhaps completing some work from home in the afternoon). As I thought, I realized that I do have some wiggle room. I do have options. And suddenly my day started to take on a different hue.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Weathering the Storm: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma swept up over the peninsula of Florida last weekend, knocked over a lot of trees, peeled off some roofs, flooded bodies of water (and homes), and floated off to the north, taking our electricity with it. One week to the hour that we lost our power, we got it back (around 9:30pm last night). A week without electricity is great when you're backpacking, but in an urban setting post-storm it's a whole other thing. We have done well, though, I believe. We are fortunate in so many ways. Experiences like this cause you to think in new ways, and that is always welcome and good.

As I've been trying to keep up with two Instagram challenges, I thought I'd share two recent posts that capture the essence of this experience...

The following is something I posted a couple of days ago for the September Tarot challenge hosted by @lionharts:

Energy to work with this week: 4 of Swords (rx) from the Ostara Tarot
As I was shuffling, my mind wandered to the feeling I have been having lately that - despite having had a hurricane-related week off work - I am going to need a vacation. The problem is, I am not going to get it! Most people I know have their power back, but we are on day 6 of no electricity, in the hot, humid, subtropical late summer. I'm starting to get cranky. We have been operating in semi-survival mode for days, each moment considering our food options, what we have and don't have, if what we have is enough, how not to break the bank on takeout, how not to melt when the internal temperature of the house sits around 88 degrees. Dirty clothes rack up. In the evening we take walks and notice that the whole neighborhood has lights on now except for our block and the neighboring apartments. There is a tree that split nearly in two during the storm, one half leaning against a utility pole. A week later and there has been no movement to tend to it. I suspect this is why we are still in the dark.

I have been grateful, in many ways, for this time. Grateful for the shift in mindset it provokes. Grateful to see how people come together to support each other during times of distress. The kids spend long hours playing together rather than watching videos. I am profoundly aware of how good we have it compared to others who lost lives or whole roofs during the storm. We (humans in general) are deeply capable of thriving out of the bounds of the technological world. But give me a tent and a forest; the urban environment isn't friendly to this. We receive notifications not to interact with water bodies due to possible contamination and displaced wildlife (aka gators). Nightly strolls are complicated by brush from fallen trees that block the sidewalks, and yet the street has its own hazards (cars and crazy drivers). I won't have the downtime I would like, a liminal space to recover from the sap on my energy, and so I will have to take the time I need wherever I can.

This morning I wrote the following for the La Vie en Tarot challenge:

Do a three card spread
Visconti Sforza Tarot
Theme of the week: 10 of Swords ~ exhaustion, I am sure. The last week hasn't been particularly easy and I have a lot to do this week. The power came back on late last night, which was amazing. But there is no time to recover before jumping back in to the grind. It's also the last week of September classes for our students, and the schedule (due to the hurricane) is going to be chaotic. It is just a week, though, and we'll be fine. 

Challenges: 5 of Coins ~ I may feel like I don't have enough resources. We spent so much money on hurricane supplies and food while we were without power that I definitely do feel a bit financially cautious. But to a large extent that's a mindset, and the Queen of Pentacles I pulled earlier this morning speaks to that. 

Boon: 7 of Cups ~ If you can imagine it, you can make it happen. And also, encouragement (permission) to focus on my individual needs which may be different from the group I interact with. 

We are well. The kids are back in school today after a week of canceled classes. The markets are still low (at best) on cold foods, and some gas stations are still out of commission. Parks are still flooded, and debris still clutters the right-of-way down most streets. But these things will ease with time. I'm grateful for the experience, challenges and all.

Here are some pictures from my neighborhood:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Embracing the Shadow: An Eclipse Reading

This summer has proven to be a whirlwind of activity, movement, joys, and intense challenges. My blog has certainly landed toward the bottom of any priority list I might have had, and even this post has taken a week to finish writing (but I did it!). This grand solar eclipse a week ago was a special moment that has felt so profoundly relevant to all of the energies flowing in, around, and through my world since summer began. I saw an eclipse spread developed by Sharron Basanti from the School of Gypsy Arts  and made space to draw some cards.
I used my (fairly new) Visconti Sforza deck - the Golden Tarot by Mary Packard, which is sumptuous and rich and fun to read with....
What area of my life is the most influenced by the Solar Eclipse? Strength

I love the Strength card, though to be honest, this particular version was what prevented me from acquiring the Visconti-Sforza for so long! A man beating an animal is not at all how I experience Strength, but with historical decks it's critical to understand the context in which the deck art was created. In this case, it's meant to be a man keeping his pride and baser impulses in check. Still, I much prefer to see the friendship between a woman and a lion, bear, boar, or any other similar wild and fierce creature. To live in harmony with the wild within us is far healthier than to beat it into submission!

All of that said, this card makes so much sense for me (and I love the Leo connection between the eclipse and the card itself!). For months now I feel I've been getting to know more intimately than ever before my own wild nature; learning about how to stretch my wild limbs. I feel like a wolf on the inside, and sometimes even see one in my mind's eye when closing my eyes to fall asleep. How do I embrace this birth and still try to hold onto balance? The answer is: I can't always. Birth is messy. And that has largely been my focus for some time now. It's not always pleasant, but then sometimes it is, and I am filled with this glorious and wonderful power of my own feral self.

What illusions are being brought into the light? 8 of Swords rx

Patterns and paradigms have a way of turning in on themselves. Over this past summer I've come to startling and moving realizations about my own mental cages, the constructs that have kept me locked into a particular way of being that no longer fit me anymore. I was too big, and the surroundings too uncomfortable. I was ambling along, quite unaware of what was happening to me, and then one day, I woke up.

How can I embrace my shadow medicine? Knight of Swords rx

The Knight of Swords has long been my shadow warrior. He is upside down because he is my flip side. The Knight of Swords sees so clearly, and is not blinded nor deterred by the ebb and flow of sentimental tides. Once you see, you cannot (and should not) unsee, and there is great strength and conviction available there, in staying in that awareness. This Knight has kept me focused, has encouraged me to speak my truth, even when that truth is sharp and piercing. The determination and forward orientation of the Knight has kept me moving, even when I am uncertain of the destination.

What paradigm shifts will emerge after the eclipse? 2 of Wands

Themes of personal power and the willingness - readiness - to explore new landscapes (both outer and inner) have formed the backdrop of all of "this." If the 8 of Swords directly symbolizes the paradigm shift, the 2 of Wands is the door to new ways of understanding and engaging with myself and my space.

How can I harness potent medicine of the Solar Eclipse for my spiritual practice? 4 of Wands rx

In addition to some pertinent elements including "freedom" and "transition," this card is associated (via the Golden Dawn) with Venus in Aries. Learning how to honor my heart has been another fundamental theme this summer. The other day I pulled a card from the Raven Oracle (by Gabi Bücker) to serve as "food for thought" over the next handful of months - a sort of mantra or reminder when I need to refocus. The card message I received said: "Your heart is a treasure trove - not some smelly sewer." I laughed at that last bit, but the essence is true and relevant for me now. Love is everything; our hearts can handle limitless amounts of it, in all of its many forms. I want to explore all of the love that my heart has to offer, and that is certainly a spiritual practice.

Message from the Sun: 8 of Cups rx

In order to walk a new path, is it necessary to leave behind the old? Can I search my soul, honor myself, live authentically by transforming "what was" instead of discarding it? I think so. And at any rate, I believe that is the "question of the moment" that the Sun is presenting for my consideration.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Rune Post #25: Othala

Here is the (slightly delayed) final rune post featuring Othala, the twenty-fourth rune of the Elder Futhark, and eighth rune in the third aett.

Othala translates to "homeland," and connects to themes of property/land, ancestral legacy, ancestral streams, inheritance, and home.*
An Anglo Saxon rune poem reads:

An estate is very dear to every man,
if he can enjoy there in his house
whatever is right and proper in constant prosperity.


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Othala?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Othala has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

*It has sadly been misappropriated by some neo-Nazi groups that seek to align heathenry with racist ideology; it's critical to understand that the runes (and heathenry as a whole) have absolutely nothing to do with such ignorance, small-mindedness, and hatred.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Rune Post #24: Dagaz

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Dagaz, the twenty-third rune of the Elder Futhark, and seventh rune in the third aett.

Dagaz translates to "day," and connects to themes of daylight, breaking dawn, awareness, enlightenment, sudden and powerful realizations, cognition, enjoyment, breakthroughs, clarity, and hope.
Power of the Runes by Voenix; Ostara Tarot
This morning I happened to pull Dagaz (along with a Tarot card - the Page of Swords). Later I realized that Dagaz was today's rune post as well, and so I thought I would share what I wrote about that pairing:

This Page frequently comes up in connection to my relationship with Odin, so I wondered which rune would then appear...sure enough it is Dagaz, the Odinic Paradox, the great awareness, the meeting of right and left brains, the light bearer. There he sits, nursing a vibrant fire as the sun just starts to make its way over the edge of the horizon.

The Page is a seeker, asks questions, pursues knowledge and information and truth. The Page is a student of the universe, curiosity not constrained by age or social norms. We all see the world through different eyes, and yet as different as our experiences may be, there is something true in them all. I value the pursuit of understanding as a precious resource, cradling the reality that two opposites may indeed be part of the same whole.

An Old English rune poem reads:

Day, the glorious light of the Creator, 
is sent by the Lord;
it is beloved of men, 
a source of hope and 
happiness to rich and poor,
and of service to all.


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Dagaz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Dagaz has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I Am

Alaina from Exploringly Yours invited me to compose an "I Am" poem. After sitting on the idea for a  few days, one night this poem simply exploded forth from my soul:
I am
the hunger
I am
the wild
I am
the fertile
the ravenous
the craving
and the sin.
I am
a yawning
I am
a tidal flow
in and out
the thirst
the life
the primal shout
I am
a woman
I am
the untamed
the fury
the passion
and the grace.

I encourage you to write your own, and if you do, please let me know so that I can read them!

Rune Post #23: Ingwaz/Inguz

Today's second rune post concerns Ingwaz, the twenty-second rune of the Elder Futhark, and sixth rune in the third aett.

Ingwaz translates to "seed," and corresponds to Yngvi-Frey. This rune connects to themes of agriculture, energy, completion of a cycle, internal development, male fertility, and natural order.
Power of the Runes deck - Voenix
The seed is a powerful metaphor for the energy of this rune... the idea of the potency of climax, the internal machinations that precede a young plant's emergence from the soil; deep potential waiting for the right moment to burst forth.

An Old English rune poem reads:

Ing was first, among the East-Danes,
seen by men
until he again eastward
went over the wave;
the wain followed on;
this is what the warriors
called the hero.


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Ingwaz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Ingwaz has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

Rune Post #22: Laguz

Today's focus will be on Laguz, the twenty-first rune of the Elder Futhark, and fifth rune in the third aett.

Laguz translates to "water," and connects to themes of life, the unconscious, memory, dreamtime, the emotional body, psychic experiences, ebb and flow.
Power of the Runes deck - Voenix
An Anglo Saxon rune poem reads:

The ocean seems interminable to men,
if they venture on the rolling bark
and the waves of the sea terrify them
and the stallion of the deep heed not its bridle.


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Laguz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Laguz has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Rune Post #21: Mannaz

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Mannaz, the twentieth rune of the Elder Futhark, and fourth rune in the third aett.

Mannaz translates to "mankind," and connects to themes of broad community, the experience of humanity, contemplation, the soul, the self in the context of the "many."

An Icelandic rune poem reads:

Man is delight of man
and augmentation of the earth
and adorner of ships.
Power of the Runes deck - Voenix
This rune poem reminds me of stanza 47 of the Havamal:

I was young once,
I walked alone,
and I became lost on my way.
I felt like I was rich when I met another traveler - 
people's joy is in other people.*

I have found Mannaz to be a bit elusive, though it has come up most often for me during times of my own contemplation of the human condition (racism/prejudice, the political climate, my own values and how they relate to others, etc.).


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Mannaz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Mannaz has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

*Jackson Crawford translation

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Rune Post #20: Ehwaz

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Ehwaz, the nineteenth rune of the Elder Futhark, and third rune in the third aett.

Ehwaz translates to "horse," and connects to themes of partnership, trust, friendship, connection between two entities, and forward movement. It can also connect to topics involving animals, and is often correlated with Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged steed.

An Anglo Saxon rune poem reads:

The horse is a joy to princes in the presence of warriors.
A steed in the pride of its hoofs,
when rich men on horseback bandy words about it;
and it is ever a source of comfort to the restless.
I have so many funny stories with Ehwaz..... every time I draw it in the morning, I automatically think: "Two cars." In my personal experience this rune always means that I will be traveling with someone in tandem.

For example, I pulled this rune on a day my family was planning to go to a barbecue. I couldn't imagine why we would go in two cars, but sure enough in the afternoon my husband told me that our friend requested he come early to help set up, so we ended up driving separately.

Another day I pulled this rune when my daughter had a school concert, and my husband was running late, and so met us there after work.

Once I pulled this rune when my sister helped me take the car into the shop - she drove behind me so that we could leave together after dropping mine off for servicing.

Now my husband is in Sweden, and yet I pulled this rune last Saturday. I thought "this should be interesting!" My daughter had a volunteer project at a park that morning, so the kids and I dropped her off in my car. Later we decided to pick her up and head straight out to a park by a big lake nearby. Since the highway is the fasted route, I swapped cars to take my husband's as it has the SunPass (for toll routes) in the front windshield.

Even this morning, on the day I am posting about Ehwaz, I pulled Ehwaz. ;) On my way to work I thought I'd like a coffee, but decided to wait until getting to campus, and then I'd walk over to the cafe. In the end I walked over there with a colleague so that we could have a "walking meeting." Not car related, but certainly connected to partnership and movement!


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Ehwaz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Ehwaz has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rune Post #19: Berkano

Happy Wednesday and Happy Midsummer! Today's focus will be on Berkano, the eighteenth rune of the Elder Futhark, and second rune in the third aett.

Berkano translates as "birch," or "birch goddess," and connects to themes of birth/rebirth, motherhood, nurturing, creation, sanctuary, fertility, and the emergence of new ideas/projects.
Power of the Runes deck - Voenix
An Old Icelandic rune poem reads:

Birch is a leafy twig
and little tree
and fresh young shrub.


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Berkano?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Berkano has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

4) What deities do you connect to Berkano? Frigg? Freyja? Holda?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Rune Post #18: Tiwaz

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Tiwaz, the seventeenth rune of the Elder Futhark, and first rune in the third aett.

Tiwaz refers directly to the god Tyr, and therefore connects to themes of justice, victory, clear judgment, leadership, and sacrifices made for a greater cause.

An Old Icelandic rune poem reads:

Tyr is the one-handed god
and the leavings of the wolf
and the ruler of the temple.
Tyr is best known in lore for having sacrificed his sword hand during the binding of the wolf Fenrir. This rune poem clearly makes reference to that history. Additionally, there is some suggestion that Tyr may have occupied the role of principal "sky god" (as opposed to Odin) prior to the Migration Period (this period occurred roughly during the first millennia A.D., and ended about a hundred years prior to the start of the Viking Age in 793).

In the Eddic poem Sigrdrífumál, Sigrdrífa (the valkyrie) instructs Sigurd to carve "victory runes" on his sword, and call on Tyr two times, in order to achieve victory in battle.


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Tiwaz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Tiwaz has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tarot Thursday Three: Everywhere Synchronicity

It's been a while, but here is another round of Tarot Thursday Three, hosted by Julia at Spiral Sea Tarot! Feel free to create a post of your own with the same questions, or comment below with your own thoughts....

1. What is the greatest lesson tarot has so far taught you?

I suppose that I'd say that working with Tarot - and divination as a whole - has taught me that synchronicity is an intrinsic and ever-present aspect of the essence of the universe. People often discuss the "mystery" behind why the cards are accurate - after all, aren't they "just" paper and ink? Yes, yes they are. But that's the funny thing about synchronicity - it touches everything, and that includes the cards (and even apps!). Tarot is evidence of synchronicity on a micro-scale.
Jodorowski-Camoin Tarot de Marseille
2. What is the biggest way tarot has so far changed your life or added to it?

Tarot has been an amazing tool for self-development and personal growth. I can't count the number of times that I have worried about [insert topic here], and found incredible, practical, sensible, and deeply helpful advice in the cards. Tarot has helped show me the best way to approach challenging situations, has encouraged me when I've been wrapped up in self-doubt, and has given me the hard truth when that's exactly what I needed to hear (even if I didn't want to).

3. What keeps tarot interesting and fresh through the years (or months if you're a newer reader)?

On some level Tarot becomes part of the regular life routine. I often pull a card in the morning, or throw some when I'm feeling confused or anxious or curious or excited. I sometimes read for others, which never gets old. But I can say that Instagram has been a wonderful forum for engaging with other readers, glimpsing new decks, seeing how others read or relate to the cards. And then, of course, there are the never-ending supply of monthly divination challenges which provide a reading focus for each day. In fact, Tarot brought me to Instagram to begin with!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Banes: Turning Poison into Medicine

I am participating in an Instagram challenge this month hosted by @lionharts, called #thejunetarot, and the prompt for day eight is: "Last day of the Moon cycle focus."

I drew The Banes from the Druid Plant Oracle (by Philip and Stephanie Car-Gomm) 🌿

I love that the full moon makes an appearance in this card - quite fitting, I'd say, given the prompt! The Banes provide much food for thought...

These are plants that were so often feared for their poisonous qualities, and yet, handled with skill and respect, became powerfully effective medicines. Many such herbs were utilized in the preparation of "flying ointments" meant to induce astral travel and spirit exploration.
How often do we avoid our own dangerous qualities for fear of succumbing to them? Of late I have been pondering the deep power in diving into them; opening up to them; allowing them to teach us. I remember once, many years ago, a young man told me that at his Christian university it was not permitted for students to dance. I looked at him, mouth agape. He became defensive, and explained that as dancing led people to immoral behavior, it was best not to engage in it. I recall thinking about how disempowering that felt: we learn about will, and boundaries, and our Selves, by entering the dance, not by avoiding it.

But I can understand the fear. Our wildness can be intimidating, uncertain. It can loom large over and around and within us. And yet ironically, perhaps, that's the best part. It feels good to plumb our own depths, to see what lurks in our shadowy corners. You let it embrace you, and instead of being overtaken by its potency, you discover just how much power you wield when you are able to own your own skin, the entirety of your being within your grasp. Shadow and light, all the shades in between. There is something sacred and worth savoring in that - a holy medicine.


I have also been pondering the power of owning our own experiences, from one moment to the next, and not allowing others' ignorance or negativity to poison our own emotional body. Last night we were at the store and while waiting in line to pay, a man told another (in Spanish):

"I just came from Puerto Rico, and I'm not used to seeing 'darkies' out shopping so late."

He was referring to Jorge (and his blackness), and was clearly assuming that we couldn't understand. I was incensed. But instead of confronting the guy (which he would have done some years ago), he said to me:

"You can stay quiet out of fear, or you can stay quiet out of strength. This guy isn't even worth it, and I won't let his stupidity ruin this wonderful night."

Hmmm..... turning poison into medicine.

Rune Post #17: Sowilo

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Sowilo, the sixteenth rune of the Elder Futhark, and eighth (final) in the second aett.

Sowilo's literal meaning is "sun," and it connects to themes of confidence, success, achievement of goals, the sun wheel, guidance, optimism, energy, and honor.
Power of the Runes ~ Voenix (US Games Systems)
An Old English rune poem reads:

Sun is by sea-men
always hoped for
when they fare far away
over the fishes bath
until the brine-stallion
they bring to the land.

(I love the kennings in this one!)


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Sowilo?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Sowilo has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Rune Post #16: Algiz

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Algiz, the fiftteenth rune of the Elder Futhark, and seventh in the second aett.

Algiz's (also called Elhaz) literal meaning is "elk," and it connects to themes of protection, connection to the divine, the higher self, and inner strength.
As it intersects with the connection to divine forces at work in our lives, Algiz is often connected to Valkyries, who in lore are said to at times take the form of swans.

An Anglo-Saxon rune poem reads:

The Elk-sedge usually lives in the fen,
growing in the water. It wounds severely,
staining with blood any man
who makes a grab at it.


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Algid?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Algiz has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Cup Overflowing

Note: this post is all about menstruation, so if that's not your cup of tea then you may not want to continue reading ;)

I feel like I've been mentioning this topic quite a bit lately, and that's probably because any mention of it at all is more than I ever usually discuss my cycle in public! But in some ways it feels larger than me - relevant to all women, in some way or another. I'm also realizing that I've been feeling a bit "activisty" about it all.

A short time ago I wrote a poem about my decision to stop taking the contraceptive Pill (you can click here to read that post) and this past Tuesday marked the start of the first period free of chemical influence. It did come as a small surprise since for many years it all ran like clockwork: I stopped the Pill on a Tuesday, and by Friday I was bleeding. I started the Pill again the following Wednesday, and so forth. Cramps were minimal, and the duration of my periods was fairly short. Without a pill pack my periods will be reestablishing their own rhythm (though to slightly reduce the guess work related to when I can expect it to begin, I may download a "period tracker" app). Ah well, who needs an app when those subtle-yet-unmistakeable physio-emotional signs serve as useful alert? I was sending a voice message to my sister on Tuesday morning about how irritable I was - how I felt a little "premenstrual" and was finding myself reacting more strongly than usual to small annoyances. I didn't think that enough time had passed from my last period, so I chalked it up to my own hormones going through a shifting and resettling process. But lo and behold, that afternoon at a quick bathroom stop I found that it was indeed that time.

Wednesday morning (the next day) I pulled the Ace of Cups as my daily draw from the Morgan Greer  deck:
Morgan Greer Tarot - US Games
My first thought was: oh look! My cup is overflowing!... not in the way we tend to think... symbolic love and emotion... no, no.... that morning it was quite literal. In fact, upon waking up I had run directly to the bathroom after a torrent of blood overwhelmed just about everything I was wearing from my waist down. This period is not messing around. And just look at that lotus situation happening at the bottom of the card: that is clearly a uterus and ovaries! ;)

Emotionally I have been feeling quite prickly for a few days, and rather than easing up, it seems to be settling in and getting comfortable. Today is day three, and my disposition is quite like a cat with flattened ears (you cat people know what I'm talking about). Today is just not the day to be having any kind of conversations with people. It could go terribly wrong. It's not even noon yet and I've already had to stop myself from sending a couple of emails that my superego (thankfully) deemed entirely unnecessary.

While some of this is rather uncomfortable (emotionally and physically, and even logistically), there is another part of it that feels satisfying, and very welcome. I feel like my body is sighing with relief, as if I've finally given it the tools it needs to conduct a major deep cleaning. I'm giving it back its agency and sovereignty. And that feels profoundly nourishing.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rune Post #15: Perthro

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Perthro, the fourteenth rune of the Elder Futhark, and sixth in the second aett.

Perthro's literal meaning is largely considered a mystery (which is pretty fitting, really!), though some translate it to something akin to a "dice throwing cup." Perthro connects to themes of mystery, the unknown, örlog and wyrd, chance, unconscious knowledge, and even joyful fellowship (sharing cups).

Perthro is often associated with Frigg and the Norns, and there is an element of the "feminine mysteries" to this rune.
Power of the Runes - Voenix (US Games)
As a personal anecdote: today's rune coincides nicely with the fact that this is the first full day of a natural "flow" following my stopping the Pill several weeks ago. I wanted to rid my body of the hormonal influence, and allow it to resume its natural rhythms after so many years. I wasn't quite sure what that would feel like, or look like, and so it is quite like a rediscovery of myself, in a way.

An Old English rune poem reads:

(Perthro) is always
play and laughter
among bold men,
where the warriors sit
in the beer hall,
happily together.


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Perthro?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Perthro has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rune Post #14: Eihwaz

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Eihwaz, the thirteenth rune of the Elder Futhark, and fifth in the second aett.

Eihwaz translates to "Yew," and connects to themes of initiation, death mysteries, protection, and transformation.

Eihwaz is typically associated with Ullr, and the wood of the Yew was favored for bow-making due to its strength, flexibility, and magical protective qualities.
An Anglo Saxon rune poem reads:

The yew is a tree with rough bark,
hard and fast in the earth,
supported by its roots,
a guardian of flame and a joy
upon an estate.

Interestingly, an Old Icelandic rune poem reads:

Yew is a strung bow
and brittle iron
and Fárbauti of the arrow.

The latter portion is a reference to Loki's father, "cruel striker." The early Swedish philologist, Axel Kock, theorized that Fárbauti represented lightning (and his "arrow" set Laufey to flame, thus birthing wild fire = Loki). Both poems, then, have this reference to fire or flame. Thoughts?


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Eihwaz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Eihwaz has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Don't "Connect" With Your Deck? Be More Specific!

Tarot enthusiasts are wont to make the following sorts of statements about decks in their collection:

I really love the artwork, but I just don't connect with it.

I tried reading with it a few times but I couldn't seem to connect with it, so I gave it away.

I'd like to encourage the use of more specific language rather than the common refrain: I don't "connect" with it. What does that mean? It certainly doesn't mean the same thing for everyone who uses the phrase.
Golden Tarot - Liz Dean
When people talk about not "connecting" with a deck, they usually mean one (or a combination) of the following:

  • They feel uncomfortable with the deck's theme
  • They don't like the artwork
  • They like the artwork but find it doesn't represent the card essences clearly or accurately enough
  • They like the artwork but find each card too "busy" or the images too fine/detailed to read with easily
  • They find non-scenic Minor cards a challenge to interpret 

Why does specific language matter? Well, speaking as a writer and language professional, I strongly believe in cultivating accuracy in expression. I also feel that working to be as clear and detailed as possible about our experiences is a wonderful exercise in mindfulness and self-awareness. And of course understanding exactly why someone else doesn't "connect" with a deck might help us to empathize more profoundly with their experience, and hence allow us to commiserate and/or offer better feedback.

There is some wisdom in not being overly quick to rid ourselves of decks that don't seem to do it for us in the moment: those that don't call to us now may call quite powerfully to us later. Sometimes particular decks seem to complement a particular phase of our journey, and thus make the ideal companion, even if only for a while.

And then there are decks that may collect dust for years, but are worth hanging on to anyway, such as....

My copy of the Prisma Visions Tarot - a beautiful deck, and a solid part of my collection, but one I rarely feel called to read with. Why? The artwork on some cards (ahem, Wands courts) is simply a bit "messy," which is not aesthetically pleasing to me, and in some cases has me examining a card up close muttering, "What the hell is happening in this picture??" I also think that in the creation of the suit storylines, aspects of each individual card's composition and unique meaning was sacrificed. Still, it's a lovely and extremely creative work of art.
Prisma Visions - James R. Eads
So, here's to clarity in articulation - may it serve us well!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Circle Is Complete: Bleeding Time

#MayYouWriteLikeTheFool Day 4
Prompt: "We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete." 

Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA
One day I decided: no more Pill. 
After so many years of 
(what essentially boils down to) 
hormone therapy 
(three kids are a blessing, and also enough)
I started to feel like my body
my emotions
were no longer my own. 
My last contraception-induced period 
wound its way to
the end
and I responded by 
not swallowing the next pill.

Far longer than what had once been "normal" 
my body continued to expel rusty debris 
a deep purging
a restoration in the works
a sigh of relief.
Nothing was different, not from the outside.
And yet I kept stretching my body
examining my hands
watching the curves of my hips
searching for signs of what I was 
feeling inside:
an opening and release.

One day that familiar ache 
in my abdomen
announced the return of 
my blood
-now fresh, unencumbered 
by chemical constraints.
We met again
at last
The circle complete.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

An Orange Comet Blazes Across the Sky

#MayYouWriteLikeTheFool day three
Prompt: An orange comet blazes across the sky
Notes: This prompt brought forth a vivid memory I had as a young teenager, and as I considered it, and rolled it around in my mind, I realized just how much significance and emotion charged that moment...


I am thirteen years old. We've come to spend a week in a rented cottage along North Carolina's southern shores for the second time in two years. Red is an old college friend of dad's, and his kids are about the same age as me and Jessica. They grew up on the southern coast, and I admire the way their pale blonde hair contrasts with the brownness of their skin, tanned after hours and days and weeks and months of being outdoors.

My half sister is here, too, and her husband. They are fun to be around; they like to play drinking games, and the raucous laughter reaches into every corner of this sandy, beach-side house. I don't know where I fit, exactly. Partly that is because my mother isn't here. In the long stretches of the year that led up to this visit my life changed quite a lot: my parents divorced; my father remarried someone new and unfamiliar. Last year when we visited this same house, my parents were together, and suddenly this year they are not. I watch as my dad and his new wife laugh comfortably together, making jokes and small talk with other couples, as if it has always been this way. I watch from the edge of the room, uncertain and quiet.
Gaian Tarot ~ Joanna Powell Colbert
It is night, and I call my mother. She is far away, but through the phone her voice is warm and comforting. She feels close. She tells me that there will be a meteor shower this very night, and that I should examine the sky for its evidence. After we hang up I make my way to the back door of the house, to the steps that lead out into the inky blackness where the beach meets the ocean waves. I sit down and wait, and gaze up at the stars.

Just then, an orange comet blazes across the sky. I am filled with deep delight, and cry out in surprise. I leap to my feet and run into the house, its inner cavern lit up with lanterns and the shining eyes of semi-intoxicated adults in the midst of alcoholic antics. I am usually soft spoken, but this time I shout loudly into the crowd: "There is a meteor shower happening right now!" Most don't register my presence, but there is one woman who listens, and follows me outside to see for herself. She watches the sky light up with moving stars, and runs back into the house to gather the others.

A few moments later we are all gathered outside in the deep dark. We are ageless. We sit transfixed, the rush of waves a backdrop as golden slashes of light cross the sky, again, and again.

I am happy. It is more than the happiness of this breathtaking celestial show. I am happy because I can feel my mother's presence here. Though she and my father are no longer together, though a stranger has taken her place in this vacation house, it is my mother that quieted the revelry. It is the mysterious, palpable, subtle, profound power of my mother that ushered these gregarious personalities out into the awe-filled breath of night to bear witness to this shower of fire and light.

Rune Study Post #13: Jera

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Jera, the twelfth rune of the Elder Futhark, and fourth in the second aett.

Jera translates to "year," and connects to themes of harvest, the turn of the seasons, patience, peace, cycles, cause-and-effect, and harmonious movement with the flow of time.
Though Ingwaz is directly associated with Freyr, I have seen correlations made between Freyr and Jera due to the harvest/peace/abundance aspects of the rune. However, some connect Sif to Jera, for similar reasons.


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Jera?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Jera has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

4) What deities do you connect with Jera?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Smile That Is A Thinly Veiled Frown

This month I'm participating in a writing-oriented Instagram challenge hosted by Alaina @exploringlyyours and Dianna @unearthing_the_gift_ called "May You Write Like the Fool." Each day a prompt is provided to serve as a creative launching point. Pieces can take the form of haiku or other poetry, prose, blog posts, fiction, short essays, streams of consciousness.

Day one featured the prompt: A smile that is a thinly veiled frown. This is what unfolded:
Pagan Otherworlds Tarot - Uusi
"A smile that is a thinly veiled frown" / what is the price of insincerity?

I asked the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot about the social mores that ask us to keep our true feelings disguised (when someone asks you how you are, they usually don't really want to know, and such). King of Cups (inverted) was the response....

This is my significator, which was interesting to see. I recall vividly the last time I wore a thinly veiled frown. There was absolutely no way I could have shown my anger and sorrow and embarrassment without losing serious face. I kept my cool, went home, closed myself in my room and bawled for two hours. Then, I channeled my fury into rising far higher than I might have if the situation had been different. Not "I want" - but "I will." (And I did).

I see obvious value in running a tight ship as far as emotions go. Still, sometimes I wish I could speak my truth openly all of the time. I feel most free and authentic when I express myself in Spanish. I don't feel limited by the socio-linguistic constraints of English that filter my feelings into tidy boxes. And sometimes I say things I probably shouldn't. But it feels good.

Monday, May 1, 2017

SHEathenry Podcast: Conference of Heathen Women, Your Questions Answered

The 1st Conference of Heathen Women is taking place this July 28-30th in Asheville, North Carolina, and this past Saturday morning I had the chance to join a co-organizer, Hilary Wehrle, and host Alvilldr Infägra, to chat about the conference details - click here to listen!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rune Study Post #12: Isa

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Isa, the eleventh rune of the Elder Futhark, and third in the second aett.

Isa translates to "ice," and connects to themes of stillness, inertia, cold or cooling, focus, the ego and will, and control.

An Anglo Saxon rune poem reads:

Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery;
it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems;
it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.
Power of the Runes deck by Voenix
An Old Icelandic rune poem reads:

Ice is bark of rivers
and roof of the wave
and destruction of the doomed.

I particularly like the Icelandic poem, as that first bit reminds me of the ice that can cover rivers during the heart of winter. Ice gives the illusion of stasis, but under the "bark of rivers" there is so much movement taking place.


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Isa?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Isa has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

Monday, April 24, 2017

How Way Leads on to Way

Every once in a while I become mesmerized by the interconnectedness of things, and feel compelled to talk about it: this is one of those moments.

Last Friday I attended a psychometry meeting with a group of (mostly) women. It was the first time in many months that I was able to go, and it was lovely to reconnect with familiar faces. Each meeting begins with a meditation - different each time - meant to calm the mind and open us to the energies of the people and environment around us.

This time our meditation facilitator guided us through the opening of each chakra, and then to the expansion of those energies outward into the earth, the town, the world, and cosmos. Two things were very evident to me during this experience:

  • As I expanded outward into the depths of space, I felt Odin's presence, and I was very happy. Being there brought me back to a dream I'd had nearly a year ago (May 2016) about being in outer space, not seeing - but clearly feeling - Odin, and seeing concentric circles surrounding the planet. I won't go into detail here, but if you're curious, feel free to click here to read my post about it.
  • I felt a deep calling to connect more deeply to the Earth, and to mother energy. 
Shortly thereafter we began to "read" our objects (click here to read about how psychometry works), and the elderly woman who had my silver bracelet told me (among other things) that she felt I was on earth to teach peace. This is a theme that has been relatively consistent throughout my life. In fact, my tutelary Orisha is Obatalá, who is known for wisdom, patience, and peace. As I was listening to her read the notes she had written, I wondered about that, and about how over the past few years I feel like I've been developing my warrior qualities - how do the two connect when they seem so contrary? 

Yesterday I was feeling a bit glum and in need of "something" unidentifiable. In the evening my husband, son, and I drove downtown to my favorite metaphysical shop. I wandered. I had no clear purpose. I reviewed cards, but none called to me. I wandered through the crystal room, looked, and browsed, and then I saw a small basket filled with green stones - Green Aragonite. I am not normally attracted to green stones (which is a little funny, since green is one of my favorite colors!), but this felt good to me. I sorted through the basket and found a beautiful piece, striated with rusty lines reminiscent of lightning bolts. I was unsure of its characteristics, but it felt calming and nurturing, and right, so I kept it in my hand. 
Then I went to the book room, and let my eyes run over the titles. I thought I caught a glimpse of the word "trees" so I went back over the same shelf more slowly, and found a new book there called, "Be More Tree," by Alice Peck. Hmmm...... I pulled it out and started to flip through it, and I fell in love. The book reviews the qualities of a large array of trees from around the world - their characteristics, their cultural associations and mythologies. There are excerpts from well-known authors that capture the essence or teaching of a particular tree. There are suggestions for ways to "be more tree." 
Over the past month or two I quite suddenly started being utterly moved by the beauty of trees that I'd walked by hundreds of times before. I have always loved trees, and one of my favorite things about the nightly strolls that my husband and I take is the opportunity to simply see and appreciate them (and the birds, and flowers). And yet it was like I was observing them with a whole new set of eyes. I would stop mid-stride, mouth hanging open, ogling the elegance of an oak tree. Once I was so transfixed by the movement of the branches overhead dancing in the evening breeze, the last tendrils of sunlight weaving through their leaves, that my husband had to remind me that a car was coming, and that I should probably move! 

I pondered the Norse creation story, which tells that the first humans were created out of trees. When we went to a local Easter egg hunt, I saw groups of people waiting for the event to start, and next to them there were stands of cypress and oak trees. All I could think of was Ask (Ash) and Embla (Elm), and how closely we are related, somehow.

Indeed, in Germanic cosmology, the multiverse is contained within Yggdrasill, the World Tree. 

This tree book felt just as right as the stone I was carrying, so I purchased both and left the shop. Later I researched Green Aragonite, and found that it connects to Earth goddess energy, and helps calm the nerves. Hm! That was so timely in light of my meditation experience a couple of days before, and an unsurprising-but-affirming reminder that intuition is the best tool for selecting stones. 

Before bed I flipped the book open and it landed "randomly" on Olive - my namesake! Olive is associated with peace, which got me thinking about the psychometry reading, and about my earlier musing on the dichotomy between peace and warrior energy. 
And I realized that they are entirely complementary. We tend to think of them as opposites, but without the courage of the warrior spirit, can there ever be true peace? When I was young (and even into my young adulthood) conflict was deeply challenging for me. I avoided it at all cost, I worked hard to promote harmony and mutual understanding. I thought of myself as a "peace-loving" person, and while that was true, it was also true that I often avoided conflict out of fear. It is one thing to have the courage to be confrontational if necessary, but to prefer the route of thoughtfulness, diplomacy, and peace. It is quite another thing when the preference for peace stems from a place of fear and self-doubt. Obatalá is the Orisha of peace and wisdom, but he was also a great warrior who went to battle countless times. I don't believe he would have been able to be such a valuable force for cool-headed thinking and a calm demeanor without first having learned what it means to fight. 

In that sense, I see how the development of my warrior energy has been a sort of healing process (especially under the tutelage of Odin, though Obatalá's offerings are present here as well), and ultimately serves to make my preference for peace all the more meaningful. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Rune Study Post #11: Nauthiz

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Nauthiz, the tenth rune of the Elder Futhark, and second in the second aett.

Nauthiz translates to "need," or "need-fire," and connects to themes of self-reliance, hard work, resistance, the effort expended toward the realization of achievements, drudgery, and working one's örlög and wyrd. In Nauthiz, the discomfort of friction kindles the fire of the will. This is also a rune utilized in romantic endeavors/magic.

A small anecdote: last week I was feeling pressure to finally sit down and complete a writing project that I had been putting off for a few weeks; I knew I had to sit down and push it out (there is some quality of "birthing pains" to this rune, I find). I didn't want to, wasn't in the mood, but I hunkered down and focused and got it done anyway. Later I recalled that I'd pulled Nauthiz that morning, and it was such a perfect fit for that central focus of my day.
Power of the Runes - Voenix
An Old Norwegian rune rhyme* reads:

Need makes for a difficult situation;
the naked freeze in the frost.

An Old Icelandic rune poem* reads:

Need is the grief of the bondmaid
and a hard condition to be in,
and toilsome work.


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Nauthiz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Nauthiz has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

*translation from Runecaster's Handbook by Edred Thorsson

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Rune Study Post #10: Hagalaz

Happy Wednesday! Today's focus will be on Hagalaz, the ninth rune of the Elder Futhark, and first in the second aett.

Hagalaz translates to "hail stone," and connects to themes of disruption, bad weather, unexpected change, unpleasant (but ultimately positive) transformation, and the discomfort that accompanies growth and becoming. The hail falls, cold and harsh and even damaging at times, but when it melts the water nourishes the earth and encourages new seeds to grow. In its alternate form, Hagalaz appears a bit like a snowflake (as depicted in the card illustration shown below), and is said to contain the seeds of all other runes.
Power of the Runes deck by Voenix (US Games Systems)
An Old English rune poem* reads:

Hail is the whitest of grains,
it comes from high in heaven,
showers of wind hurl it,
then it turns to water.

An Old Icelandic rune poem* reads:

Hail is a cold grain,
and a shower of sleet,
and the destroyer of snakes.


1) What other meanings do you attribute to Hagalaz?

2) How do you utilize this rune in your practice?

3) If Hagalaz has presented itself in your rune work or castings, how have you seen its energy manifested, or experienced its impact?

*translation from Runecaster's Handbook by Edred Thorsson

Monday, April 10, 2017

Book Review: Going Beyond the Little White Book

Learning to read the tarot can be a daunting task. A traditional deck contains 78 cards, each one with incredible depth and breadth of meaning - where do you even begin? There are numerous theories regarding the "best" approach, and ultimately each seeker must find her or his own way. What is often indispensable (however one chooses to dive in to the universe of tarot) is a good reference text that goes beyond what any "little white book" could ever provide...something both esoteric and practical; something that offers a clear framework while encouraging intuitive development; something that provides a substantial launch pad of sorts, and yet leaves space for unique growth and exploration to occur.

Liz Worth's book,* Going Beyond the Little White Book: A Contemporary Guide to Tarot, successfully manages to deliver that alchemical combination in a thorough, easy-to-read, and very relatable package.

Following a brief introduction, the book is divided into three central sections:

  • a short but fundamental "How to Use This Book" prologue, 
  • the Major Arcana, and 
  • the Minor Arcana (broken down into suits)
I highly appreciate the manner in which Ms. Worth sets the stage for the reader: learning the tarot is a  long-term process that requires patience, commitment, and an open heart. No matter how long you have been reading, there is always more to uncover; we are all eternal students. And while on one hand she has created a profound and beautifully structured guide for use with any deck, she is very clear that the content she has developed is far from exhaustive: this book provides a (very comprehensive!) home base as each reader develops a unique and personal relationship with the cards. With her work Ms. Worth is offering up the sort of resource that she would have wanted as a new tarot student, and yet her holistic and detailed approach offers wisdom, insights, and food-for-thought even for established readers.

An average of four pages of text is awarded to every card in the deck, and each entry features the following sub-sections:

  • An "intention" that matches the energy of the card
  • A card-appropriate mantra that can serve as a focal point for study or meditation
  • A thorough overview of the card's energy and meaning
  • Suggestions for how to understand the card as a "challenge"
  • Examples of the card's connections to the two most popular areas of life: career and romance (both "light" and "shadow" aspects)
  • A list of questions to consider (I am a huge fan of using guiding questions to connect a card's meaning to personal experience, so I particularly love this element)
If you enjoy reading reversals, or if you are interested in exploring them, you will be quite satisfied with what you find here. While Ms. Worth mentions in her prologue that due to space constraints she has chosen not to include the meanings of reversed cards, she discusses how to understand cards when they fall in "challenged positions," which is one of the most common ways to understand a reversal. However by discussing them as "challenged" as opposed to "reversed," Ms. Worth offers the full scope of a card's potential meaning without showing preference for a particular reading style: some people don't use reversals, but all readers consider the shadow aspects of cards. Whether intentional or not, this approach is quite effective.

I do want to mention that while Ms. Worth has created a valuable resource that supports the use of any deck a reader prefers to work with (no card images are included in the book in order to encourage this), the card meanings do favor the Rider-Waite-Smith system as opposed to, say, the traditional Marseille (that said, there are some who apply the RWS method of reading to Marseille decks, and if you are one of those, then have at it!).

When all is said and done, the practical approach and natural voice that Ms. Worth weaves so fluidly together with her substantial experience in card reading makes for a very engaging and worthwhile read, no matter how many years you've been shuffling.

The down-n-dirty details of Going Beyond the Little White Book:

  • Author: Liz Worth
  • Author's website:
  • Format: ebook ($8.28) and paperback versions ($24.95) are available 
  • Page count: 354
  • ISBN: 9781483458557
  • To purchase, click here.

*I received Going Beyond the Little White Book from the author for review. That said, the content in this post accurately reflects my true thoughts and opinions on the title.