samhain

as someone raised in a very conservative protestant tradition, i've been slow to adopt the pagan wheel of the year that so many witches follow. it isn't that i feel that it clashes with how i was raised - on the contrary, i love celebrating the seasons and honoring the past, present, and future, and i really enjoy having holidays and celebrations that are separate from my christian roots. but i have a bit of imposter syndrome, as i rarely cast spells, light candles, or use an altar. i don't generally refer to myself as a witch, even though i want to. for me, praying feels like setting intentions and spell casting. my desk feels like an altar, a place where i can sip tea and consider each day. and reading tarot cards feels like daily magic. my approach may be simple, but i'm slowly learning to make these new traditions feel like my own.

samhain feels like a beautiful time to start fresh. this is my favorite time of year - the crisp air, the sense of change, the slow cold creeping in. the thinning of the veil feels tangible, impossible to ignore. and as a scorpio, with my birthday just around the corner, i can't help but feel like this time of year was made just for me.

with that in mind, i'm using this simple tarot spread to celebrate samhain, the witches' new year.

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what have you accomplished this past year? queen of cups. introspective, kind, generous, caring, creative, empathetic - this mother of water is sensitive but strong, deeply trusts her own instincts, and takes endless joy in both giving and receiving. she takes time for herself, gives herself space to consider and recover when needed, but still honors those around her as often as possible. the depth of her spirituality and emotions are as bottomless as the sea. for me, seeing this lovely archetype fills me with gratitude. last year at this time, i was coming out of a deep depression, having damaged relationships and feeling that i was fully unloveable. a group of friends i deeply cared for seemed to fracture, all because of my selfishness and inability to communicate. but now i have people in my life that understand me, and i have a better understanding of what i can do for others and what i cannot help with. i'm learning to trust my intuition in a way that makes me feel both empathetic and powerful. i feel calm, but there's a little bubble of joy in there too.

what lessons are to be learned from the spirits of the past? five of coins, a card of loss, hard times, illness, lack of resources. it's felt in the past that my depression and insomnia have severely limited what i can accomplish, the amount of energy and empathy i can provide - and that's still a reality, whether i like it or not. but growth can come from challenges, and experiencing those difficult times is a reminder that it's okay to take care of myself. i don't have to fully deplete myself in order to show others that i care for them, especially when it leaves me with nothing. sometimes it takes courage to prioritize myself, and to honor what i need rather than giving too much away or asking someone else to provide for me.

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what advice can we take from the spirits for the upcoming year? ten of cups. fulfillment, connection, overflowing love, boundless gratitude, profound joy. this is a card of completion, of true acceptance. we've fallen in love with ourself, found our chosen family, navigated some difficult decisions, discovered a spiritual path that brings comfort and joy, and now we feel whole, true, content. this is a lovely card under any circumstances, but as advice it encourages me to keep diving into community. going to a-camp earlier this year was a huge risk for me, but it paid off in spades, both in terms of helping me find true friends as well as giving me confidence to put myself out there, make new connections, and open myself to people that feel safe and right. this upcoming year can be one of true community, as i continue to build my chosen family and creating lasting, meaningful friendships with those i trust.

it was a simple spread, but a beautiful one. i feel so blessed by the cards that appeared, and i know i'll be thinking on them in the coming days.

thank you for reading, and have a blessed samhain! i would love to hear how you celebrate in the comments - do you make an altar, cast spells, leave out an offering? do you combine the sabbats with other traditions?

deck interview: lumina tarot

starting with a new deck is so exciting. i received the lumina tarot last week, and have been hanging on to it in anticipation, waiting for a day that i had the time for beth's deck interview spreadIMG_3305.jpg this deck is absolutely stunning, with vivid color, graphic images, and bold interpretations. i see both light and shadow in this deck, and it immediately felt right in my hands. i feel that my decks connect to various elements, and reach each accordingly - the only element i'm missing is fire, and i'm hopeful that this deck will speak to my passion, energy, and soul.

IMG_3309what is your most important characteristic? the king of pentacles: fulfillment, satisfaction, stability, practicality. a job well done, a creative endeavor completed, goals reached, tasks finished. this king represents wisdom, generosity, and calm determination. for me, this deck will be steady and firm, offer practical advice, and guide me towards achieving my goals and dreams.

what are your strengths as a deck? the eight of pentacles, a card of hard work, focus, skill, and dedication. inspiration and motivation abound. this card really speaks to craftsmanship, which makes me think that this deck excels at guiding me to further knowledge of tarot. it will challenge my interpretations, help me gain more skill in readings, and open my eyes to the cards in new ways.

IMG_3311what are your limits as a deck? the hanged man: new perspectives, shifting attitudes, being stuck or stagnant, surrender. this card invites us to consider ideas in alternative ways, release something, and learn to accept what we cannot control or change. the lumina tarot may be limited in terms of its perspective, or i may be challenged by its lessons, but it will ultimately help me to grow and understand its wisdom.

what are you here to teach me? the maiden of cups, one of my favorite cards. she's vibrant, sensitive, curious, creative, and is guided by a deep respect for her intuition. she understands that her emotions are her strength, and finds inspiration all around and within her. this deck will teach me to be open, to explore my intuition, and to continue learning to understand my emotions and creative abilities.

IMG_3313how can I best learn and collaborate with you? the ten of cups is a card of completion, happiness, love, and fulfillment. this card is an amazing outcome card, but in this position it speaks to being open to love and community, staying connected the world and relationships around us, and trusting our emotions and instincts. i'll learn best with this deck if i let my intuition guide me, step fully into my own power, and stay open to learning and growing.

what is the potential outcome of our working relationship? the seven of wands, a card of fire, energy, activism, and inner light. this card is a reminder that i am a strong, powerful individual, that my differences make me great, that i should trust in my own spark and follow the light i'm creating. the potential outcome of working with this deck is finding renewed confidence, building a strong sense of self, and holding on to courage and conviction. working with this deck will help me find creativity, inner power, and the strength to go forward, even if that means i go it alone. it's exactly the fiery, passionate, soulful energy i was looking for in this deck, and is an amazing card in this position.

i'm so excited to begin working with this deck regularly, getting to understand its ways and wisdom, and being challenged to expand my understanding of tarot. thank you to inner hue for putting this gorgeous deck together, and to everyday magic for stocking it in the US - i can't wait to get to know it better!

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ten & ten

i've pulled two tens the last two days, and while their messages initially seemed completely opposite, the more i wrestle with them, the more i see a common theme. yesterday i had no time to spend with my cards, but before i rushed off to jury duty i pulled the ten of cups. a lovely card that seemed timely - being on a jury is mostly about being fair and just, but i think it's also important to recognize kindness and compassion for all parties involved, as well as staff and other jurors. and with so many of my friends and family dealing with tremendous stress and anxiety and confusion at the moment, i took this card as a strong reminder to reflect love and positivity back towards the people i care about, even if it's a struggle. ten-of-cups

this is such a beautiful, holistic card - i love that it so clearly shows giving and receiving, reflecting back light and color in an even, continuous way. i really like this depiction, particularly as a queer woman who's not interested in having children. it seems that so many versions of this card feature a heteronormative family, with children and love and the whole "fairy-tale ending." but for me, my happiness is not defined by my romantic relationships, and having children is not the ultimate goal for my life. i really appreciate that the wild unknown tarot instead focuses on energy, reflecting positivity, and finding fulfillment in multiple places and channels, whether that's through family or community.

and then today, i get the most melodramatic card i know: the ten of swords.

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how much suffering can someone handle before they completely break down? there are so many swords impaling this poor bull that it moves past real tragedy and into the realm of the absurd. a few bloggers that i really love refer to this card as completely over the top, so much as to be laughable - and i have to admit that i did laugh when i pulled this card today. after being instructed to reflect love and send out good vibes into the world yesterday, today's card reminds me not to get in my head or make things more difficult than they need to be. so what if a conversation i had two months ago didn't go exactly as i'd hoped? so what if i made a mistake at a job six months ago and know that i could've done better? so what if i said something dumb to someone two years ago and still feel foolish about it? obsessing over these tiny pieces of my life - ones that have had little to no lasting impact on my career or personal life - isn't productive in literally any way. i need to truly focus on the positive, and let all the negative things go. i can't change things that have happened, but i can learn from it and move forward.

these tens work together beautifully, reminding me that my present community - the family that i have built, that's inclusive and kind and loves me for exactly who i am, flaws and all - is worth my time and energy, and is worth remaining positive for. all that shit in the past that i can't stop thinking about? it's time to let that go, and make room for the good stuff.