The Beginning of my craft...

I have decided to take you a journey. Every minute of it is my own, and yet - daily, questions that I ask will boggle you. You will sit in your kitchen and you will your tea and one of my questions will appear in your mind. And thus, your journey entwines with mine, welcome.

As of yesterday…

It has been one year since my reclusion. Quarantine hit at a time when others wanted to be social and about the world, but I was content being trapped. And so have I been. I was not strong enough to know who I was without the rest of them - the family, the friends, the seemingly required social engagements, the niceties that made me squirmy and inauthentic. The worst part of isolation that evolves into an empowering form of hermiticism - without all of the fasting... kind of. When you emerge a bit scragglier (the times I've set my hair on fire, y'all), in desperate need of a shower, and with your apologies for your absence, the pack that was behind you before the isolation has dwindled more than the last time, every time. Because of the messages you are sorry for not sending. Because of the glasses of wine you missed (probably smoking bowls anyway). The messages you didn’t send because, so much has gone unsaid fill your texts and emails. A year ago, I was in that moment. Who would continue to slough through to reach the promised land of the few months of social sanity I can offer each year? And though it breaks my heart, would I not do the same should someone I relied upon disappear?

The glorious part is when Ellen calls to tell me about her dream. Meghan needs her latest witchy incident re-communicated. Domini has animals for me to cross. Keana’s art draws me to her once more. Kaylee wants to sesh. Ann wants a cup of coffee OR tea (she’s one of those - me, too) with extra snark please. My mom is getting her vaccination. The sun is shining through the open window again. My partner sets his alarm for 5:45 in the hopes that I will already be awake, watching the stars fade or the moon travel and ready for a long snuggle and coffee in bed. Your brother and his partner (a glorious little sister she would make, JUST saying) across the country want to know how I am.

Now imagine a moment, Finnegan (goose dog - part goose part dachshund) wants to lay heart to heart and fall asleep face on face. There is purring and kneading lightly scratching your skin through the blanket near your arm, the warmth of an all too scaredy cat. Chimes abover you head ring. The wind whispers in your ear to you. The song birds begin their forays into the meadow, bickering on my porch for who be in what next today. The Birch tree bends outside bends and a light scratch touches the wall outside as she protects your treshold, and you are here. You are present. The present is where we always want to be but in order to proper mental health care for ourselves, we need to face the things that plague us. I say this not as a mental health professional but as veteran of mental health system in the USA for more than half of my life. Nothing brought me the peace, space, or clarity like the meadow did.

The Meadow allows me the of pleasure of watching two ravens fly either in pattern and sync or in drift and with claw. The Meadow makes me see so many things. The story of the Meadow truly begins in January of 2020. The moment that we knew we would be moving to her. It meant a HUGE downsize (but those giant studio loft windows), a remote location (but the shells in the clay), and fresh air for Finny (for all of us, we just didn’t know how much we needed it). In the purge I retained mostly clothes, organizational tools, BOOKS, every reading I ever printed from countless syllabi, and memories. Looking back there was a lot of witchy shit that I got rid of that would have been really nice right about now.

I started to document the meadow and her various energies just over a year ago. I had my gall bladder out in February. Before you have that surgery, you’re supposed to stick to 14 days of 1000 calories maximum. I’m skittish and do as I’m told, so I stuck to it. The first 4 lbs lost in gaining my health my health back came from that diet and surgery. I gorged myself afterwards, my mom brought me anything I wanted from the land of High School - the food nostalgia was hard. AND she let me pick the tv ALL weekend (y’all her entertainment options are unreal), made me apple pancakes while we watched Bones, and I was on oxy for the surgery pain, I didn’t poo for a minute but it made the vibe so chill… I don’t know if I finished those… JK. I did. I’m an insomniac. Being in pain, in the middle of the night, with self esteem catastrophe and the mental apocalypse going on in the background? Come on.

Self esteem. That’s what I remember crying on the stairs here for the first time. I felt naked in tears as I told myself and all that could hear was how much I hated myself for not being more productive. For some reason, maybe it was the oxy-sleep; the first couple weeks in the Meadow I was great. My mood instability had caused me to quit my job in Jan 2020 (I know, impeccable timing). So for the the first weeks every day I would get up, put on Bones, and unpack. I was productive, I was content. And then those feelings began to fade and once the fade began, I dragged myself under in my fear of fading further. I wonder now if the first two weeks were a demonstration of where my time in the meadow would lead me to be.

Just as the first cases of COVID hit the hospital nearest to her, It was time to return my mom's car after borrowing it for the move. But the real reason I was going was to see the surgeon that we share. Said, General Surgery Attending (Dr. Gsa), lives a 10 minute drive from me but I had to drive 2 hours to see him, such is Vermont. My appointment to have my stitches checked was still a week out but there was one meadow experience that Drew raved about that I had yet to do: Take a Bath.

Exhibit W is a picture of the bathtub dressed up for a ritual months later but please notice the enormity of this cedar-tile-lined shower that makes the steam smell like a cedar forest. It was half the reason that I wanted to move to the Meadow. This tub is glorious, I never even liked baths but something drew me to them.

I believe that the Meadow and the magic I had wielded as a child and long forgotten awoke on March 11, 2020 a day when I found a lady bug and deciding to reread The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo, something published when I was only 7 but so cataclysmically bone-shaking by my late teens. Almost annually I listen or read it. Something about it spoke to something within me. I picked up The Alchemist that day and then I put it down only days later. Around the time that I picked up my first Tarot cards from a local bookstore near where my husband is a butcher. Vape in my pocket (by this time I was smoking pretty much any time I felt like it, which is a lot; had done so only for about a month (my cannabis intake likely correlates with at least some of my magic). On the day before the world stopped, we walked through all the shops, touching everything, talking to everyone completely maskless. They were mandatory within a week for him as an essential worker (grocery). He used every one of his sick days in 2020 to be with me when I was, as they said in the early 20th century and before, hysterical. We couldn’t maintain the house and my mental health without an extra day a week. So during a pandemic when, every employee would want to save theirs, he gave every one to me. He was returned by the Universe with only needing 1 day for pandemic reasons - I had a mold allergy attack. Everyone tweaked and no one ever actually gave me antihistamines. But he gave every one of those days to me, for me. For the health of our total family. Those days began a week or two though from the moment we are traveling to now.

I was very excited to go to the bookstore. LOL I am ALWAYS excited to go to ANY bookstore. Knowing your local bookstore is sacred to me, though and because there is none in our town, I know all the ones nearby. This one is my favorite. I didn’t know what I was looking for that day but it didn’t feel like a book. I had in fact promised that I would not buy any books of paper until I had read all that I have and I have most of the pre-modern, post-modern, and religious canon. Anyway, I remember turning and seeing the box on the top shelf. We walked around and I just kept thinking of the teal on them. And how The Hermit felt connected to me for a reason. My card has since evolved but The Hermit was something I felt. Drew asked if I wanted them. I remember it clearly. I remember looking at the price and thinking that was reasonable for a potential life changer. But when I boldly took them to the register, I knew that my purple hair and dark clothes would make everyone think I was a witch.

And then I thought, I would like to be a witch. And then I thought, maybe I am a witch.

I don’t think it happened quite so cognitively at that time. I was still resistant. Witchcraft as I saw it wasn’t what I wanted; I didn’t want a booklist prescribed for every witch; I didn’t want to have to buy things like tarot cards to become a witch (unfortunately I didn't know until later how easy it is with intuition and observation); and I DO NOT want to engage in cultural appropriation on a massive scale (as the rise in metaphysical tools and interest grows).

But I knew that I was magic that day.

I remember expecting every step of my magical journey to be like a Harry Potter moment. I have the tattoo to prove I was raised on HarperCollins and Jo Rowling. Let me take a brief moment to discuss Harry Potter and what it means today. Once your writing goes into the world, it is no longer wholly yours. It is now open to imaginations, hearts, and minds of those who take the time to read something that a part of you is left in it. I respect the woman who would be a billionaire if she did not give much of her royalties to the same organizations that helped her when she was down and out. I respect the creation of an entire world, one so close to our own and yet so hauntingly different. I respect that she and that world were there for me in all my darkest moments, that Harry’s trajectory felt so utterly in sync with the chaos of my own teenage life. The quote I chose for my arm ended up being the right one. For those who do not know, Jo Rowling took it upon herself to deem what should and shouldn’t be considered a woman. Now, when a “woman” does that, she no longer gets to hold that illustrious title and must be demoted to that of a girl - someone naive, clumsy, and with very little perspective. She turned into someone that was the opposite of all I want to be on that day. To have her demean so many of my sisters for their birth certificates, it was heart breaking for all of us. We who had followed so bravely as Harry jumped on top of his old school building to escape his bullies, all the way to slaying the dark lord himself. He did it all for us to watch.

But he did it all on his own. We often make mention of the fact that this is a lot of responsibility for 11-18 year olds… Saving the world even with adults in the conversation. And we watched as the adults in his life failed him time and time again in the name of “keeping him safe”. What lessons did we learn from that?

My first edition copy from when I was an infant is well worn because that was always my favorite book. Followed closely by 3. I remember the light in my room as my mom read “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number 4 Privet Drive…” I remember the launch parties. The worst was when it would come out in summer and no one would take me because my parents divorced and my life went from neglect and loneliness to overwhelming attention... when I was spoken of. Goblet of Fire is the worst book and the worst movie. I. said. it. GOF is the book that I took my tattoo from. I always knew my first would be Harry Potter related. Honestly, I think I only wanted a piece of magic and a piece of the books that got me through ages 11-29 (although I was only 22 or 23). I got the tattoo at that time for a confluence of reasons that don’t honestly matter. What does is that I was given an hour window to get my text and ideas together before I needed to be in the studio because she had a cancellation and it was go time. Drew thought I would give up. He thought the anxiety would be too much but the excitement of this permanent reminder of what I came through and where I was going assuaged all fears. She sized it way up, still stalwart and no fear. It never occurred to stop. I believe all my tattoos to be bits of magic but this one feels all too meaningful, all the time.

At the end of book 4, Hagrid says in a passive sentence by the narrator that ‘what is coming will come and we will meet it when it does’. This was the moment of extreme change in the series. I hated book fou but I was also entering my own forced-grow up every step with Harry.

My digression ceases, and I take us back to the least of Rowling’s offensive misrepresentations of a culture (or lack of one) is that of the actual witch. Neither Wiccan, a cultural norm by the conception of Harry Potter, nor did she allow for the simple mystery of a magic spell to be understood. Everything was as McGonagall would say “Boom”.

While Seamus Finnagan’s (our dog’s namesake… I just realized why he is how he is) pyrotechnics were dramatic, every magical spell was. The ease with which energy was manipulated and not to answer how the magic was even done. Never did anyone do deep introspection and become one with the Universe and have an explosion go off with a simple word. Being a witch is a craft, it takes practice and time.

The Force is a MUCH better interpretation of what we witch’s do, ours just has wands instead of sabers and everyone doubts our millenia of herstory. When I started doing magic I expected a whoosh, a bang, or at least the tiniest sis broom bah? Instead, what I felt was an intense calm. An inexplicable knowledge of what to do, how to act, that I was doing what was right for me and the tender balance of the everything around and within me. Why that didn't feel like a boom in itself, I don't know but I suspect it's an old soul situation?

Or perhaps my world and emotions were bombastic enough that there was no need for an elaborate demonstration of my talents, I was dealing with enough.

"The wand chooses the wizard," really fucked me up, if I’m honest. I never know what is mine to take from nature because I expect to feel some vibration or pulse. And I do, in a way, but its much more subtle; less windblown (usually), more ringing in the ears.

Those Tarot Cards sitting there that was the tool that I needed as a ticket for admission. Admission to myself about my inherent gifts. We all have the ability to access these gifts, this oneness with all things. We can all feel this sense of calm in the face of the complete irrationality but legitimacy. Tarot had no real meaningful connection to me. I thought that the Major Arcana was a beautiful foil for a pantheon. The first day I played with them a little, but all I could do was look at my book and read it. So I put them aside for a couple of days. But I wanted to know and I researched in the mean time. I did not research the meanings of the cards, I did research on what this practice was originally based on. Check out the Timeline of Tarot on TheInstaWitchlist.

The Witchlist started out as a Pinterest board. As those who are interested in dabbling will find, Pinterest is a wealth of knowledge, particularly witch to witch. It was not until June, 2020 when I embraced Goddess Worship that historical texts truly overtook my craft and changed how I do magic. Specifically it was where I put my tarot spreads. That's how this all began.

I did doing regular readings to find my “frequency” for a few weeks before waning from the cards because trees and sunlight were beckoning. “Frequency” is what some call the energy that we emit from ourselves, magic workers may find that they have high frequencies or lower depending on the Moon cycle. This is certainly true for myself. (SPOILER: Next moon cycle I’m going to walk through a month with the Moon.)

The build to this was quite a winding one but if you're not here for 19th century monologue style, why are you reading this blog? My intentions almost never pan out. I planned to do this whole epic re-reading of a 3-card spread I did a year ago and compare it to today's pull... But as I type this I see what the intention was. Let's back up.

To reserve the rights of the Pin owner, I've linked the site for you to get the full extent of what that reading means. They are wonderful creators of mystical content, highly suggest for readers looking to diversify their spreads and types of questions. But I read cards differently than I did a year ago. A year ago, I pile shuffled and drew the card from the top of their spot (why is the top of the pile any less random than the middle?). I always flip them right side up, I don't know the world upside down.

What. My poor tarot brain. Typically speaking, the four "suits" are:

  • Wands: Fire, Willpower, Passion, Creativity, Projects, and Action.

  • Cups: Water, Emotions, Relationships, Inner experience, and Imagination.

  • Swords: Air, Thought, Logic, Ideas, The intellectual realm.

  • Pentacles or Coins: Earth, Sensual, Work, Finance, "Nature and the physical reality (Sterle, 32)."

When reading Tarot, I think it is more important that you rely on intuition so knowing these implications is helpful for blind reading (no notes, no meditation).

The "Pips" (as cards Ace-10 are referred to):

According to Sterle, a pip usually represents how events unfold in the [asker]'s life (32)."

  1. "Ace" - While when playing black jack the ace can wiggle, in the minor arcana it is the representation of one object. That object is filled with the potential that you have for new adventures and beginnings.

  2. Throughout most of human history we swarm the dichotomy and attempt the balance. There are two parts to all things, and whether you believe that to be divine or a random act of math; all seek balance. Twos are may lurk around decisions and pairs.

  3. The number 3 is a significant one in most numerologies (most are based off of Pythagoras' secret language among the members of his secret magic group! I get so jazzed Pythagoras though, I was 13 walking around with a pentacle on my hand - never felt safer, the pentagram in a circle was used to signal friends among each other. They would see the hand on the shake of meeting someone. Look at all my growth... and creativity... shit, I'm still doing 13-year old stuff). Creativity is also within the threes but not without expression in some way.

  4. I often think of 4 as the lifer. Ones are the beginnings, the potential. Then building with two is the addition of another and a need for balance - steps taken. Threes are ringing siren bell that says your glow up is coming. And fours, they represent what comes after all that inspiration and erratic creativity: stability, application, and formation. The ideas are coming to fruition. Now comes the build up to keep it up. Like, I just want to live life like a 4 you know? (No way! That's my Enneagram number).

  5. The shake up. I love a good 5 moment. Conflict, change, and expansion of the mind or soul is expected. Fives can be ominous in some ways. They present a challenge to the status quo - disruption in the stability.

  6. Alright, it's cool. Everything is fine. No, like actually. The negative omen of the number six and it's ties to any evil is a conversation for another time. In fact, get Ellen and I a bottle and we will Torah/Bible/Quran you all day AND night. Sixes aren't inherently evil in there. Six is in fact harmony, think of how powerful and chaotic 3's can be. But put them together, and you've got compassionate cooperation unfolding.

  7. I love 7 because it's like it was headed one way and then it said, I'm over it and nose dived into the unknown. But more likely, the 7 should be seen as the lofty elevation that 7s represent. Wisdom lies under 7's but not only in the the temporal realm. Spiritual exploration is coming.

  8. The eight, the weave of infinity represents 8's regeneration. But it requires change and action - when working with 8's be more judicious in how hard you are truly working toward change and if it is not giving you life, why not? 8's are the universe conspiring with us.

  9. The 9, the pinnacle of the 3 legacy. This is fulfillment, my loves. This is inspiration and idealism and hope and you did it and are doing it!

  10. As one thing begins, so it must end (like this post eventually). Tens are representative of the end of something. Something final but can carry with it the signs of renewal, beginning a new cycle.

The Court:

  • Pages: Pages are the youngest of the court and therefore represent the child or newness. The page holds the energy for their court, a burden not easily borne for one so small.

  • Knights: You know that the white night was probably just there to deliver the mail right? Knights are messengers, an extension of their suit and court, they are the link to the outside world.

  • Queens: So hear me out, Lizzo says "If he don't love you any more, then walk your fine ass out the door". So I say, 'If it don't serve me any more, Take your queen ass out that door.' Not eloquent but I've been writing this for a really long time. She holds the power to give and take energy from others in her suit, she is the one who wields the energy. Queens are usually here as a keeper, or one who bears great influence.

  • King: I feel like he's such a blow hard, you know. Like his literal role is to come up and be like, I own this and do what I want; when we all know the Queens really pack the punch (why is my language so violent today). The King is a herald of the end of something or the transformation into action vs. planning.

Major Arcana, the big guns. These I'm going to go through individually over a longer series of instagram posts. The Major Arcana has intricacies and subtleties that aren't always tied together easily.

For our purposes, we don't need the major arcana, though we will need it if I ever get to what I pulled today.

Question 1: My current frequency/energy emission: 4 of Swords

Note, this deck is entirely feminine and non-binary so gender gets bendy (YAS). I'll use they/them

pronouns for people as there is only one person per card.

They lay in their bed, completely exhausted with their four swords hanging triumphantly or menacingly over their bed. The Modern Witch Tarot Guide (MW Guide) was all the knowledge that I was using for reading when this was pulled. This is not my recommended strategy. Consider this my re-education.

I live dramatically state my intention and then just read the first line of the description from Modern Witch, 'the energy I am emitting now is...' "The struggle is real (Sterle, 40)."

Honestly, that's super fair. I was in a state of almost complete despair. I no longer knew how to give any other energy off then the exhaustion the cards told me about. And then, Lisa Sterle the magnificent artist of Modern Witch deck, she tells us, "relax, close your eyes, and meditate (41)." This card confused me, I felt as though I could never do enough to reach my goals until they were reached or to give up before I started. At this time I was wallowing in the travesty of another project started and abandoned by Lilith. In January, I tried for the second time to start up a styling and event planning business ready and waiting with website and business cards in hand as Covid began wreaking havoc across the globe, so it did my one and only gig. I was looking to the cards for guidance on what to do. The event gigging had come together very hastily, did I even want to plan events any more? (Now I need to know if Seance planning is a thing because next career?) I felt defeated and the cards felt it in return.

The only part of the message that was obscured to me at the time was that the thing I needed to relax was my brain, let the rest of me open up to things. I was in a place of extreme negative self-talk, I still have terrible bouts with it. Like someone else is using my internal voice to brutalize me the way people did when I was growing up.

Question 2: What I am currently attracting with this energy? Knight of Pentacles

'The energy I'm attracting is...' "The Knight is solid, dependable, and has a serious work ethic." Oh poor 29-year-old me. You were never going to get there from the book. Not even the slightest chance, you were never getting this one. The energy I was attracting was not that of the typical read. Alright, so this knight, they were warning me of the hard work that came next. I had opened myself up to the Universe and was attracting the energy for a spiritual awakening - a blurring of the body, soul, and mind. But work ethic is something I have felt I lack. I don't like to work, how can one truly what I have is an ethic? Taking pride in my work was what left me without taking pride in myself. Work ethic felt foreign. Work ethic was default. It had taken something form me, and it was time to give it back.

Question 3: I can attract more positivity and abundance by... Everything is fine. = Ten of Swords. Wow, the cards laid it out there for me and I couldn't see it. I am telling you, one year and I'm a new person. I see with different eyes everyday, as the meadow changes, so do I. I was told I needed to poke holes in my logic. I need to cease using my logical brain for 85% of my actions and start splitting it, balancing it.

I believe we've found part of our spell for the Equinox.

When I attempted to draw the same questions for myself today, something had changed. First I drew a card I associate with someone else and spoke to about a reading yesterday in which I denied her request to read for her. But thinking it could be coincidence, I shuffled and set my next intention. Two cards felt out simultaneously after I shuffled. Something told me to draw two more with the third question in mind. Fast forward to talking about it and thinking about it for hours, and it clicked. I was reading for two people. And neither of them are me! I knew instantly who the other belonged to, because while I could make the second one work for me, I didn't feel myself in that spread. This was not the intended ending to this epic tale of witchcraft and tarot, but many people in my life are at a crossroads and that is what the cards needed me to help with today. The cards never listen to me so I don't know why I thought they would. I look forward to exploring this new ability with you!

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