Friday, October 21, 2016

Daily Reading: King of Pentacles (Cue: Eerie Music)

I got the King of Pentacles. Again. This is super weird. I've done a total of five daily draws including today, and of those five, I drew the King of Pentacles TWICE.

I have a few different thoughts on what this could mean:

  1. The first time I got this, I pulled from it general advice to find a mentor or a community that could support and guide me along the way. Receiving this card again could be hammering that message in, implying that I'm on the right track, or implying that I need to search harder.
  2. I may have received this card again because the first time I read it, I was completely off. I'm not sure how that could have been the case, because I still do not believe that I am the King of Pentacles, but I do wonder if I just missed something entirely.

I have asked the good people of a Tarot Facebook group that I am a part of in hopes that their experience will yield insights that I may have overlooked.

One suggested that I look at the "shadow card", which I learned is the last card of a shuffled deck. Luckily, I had yet to organize my deck from that spread, so I pulled The Hermit. This card resonates far more with me than the King of Pentacles. It speaks of solitude and study; curling up under a blanket and studying tarot for hours on end without interruption. The Hermit is certainly where I am presently. But paired with the King of Pentacles? I didn't seem to clarify much. Unless I was wrong all along, and the King of Pentacles is a representation of what awaits me for the energy I am putting into Tarot! However, I believe that to be too idealistic of a read, and I do not want to allow my personal biases to get in the way of an accurate read.

Another person suggested that the King of Pentacles in encouraging me to delve deeper, and to consider taking a course or investing more into learning the Tarot. This suggestion potentially makes the most sense in conjunction with The Hermit and also considering I am trying to get my hands on Holistic Tarot be Benebell Wen. However, it does make me nervous to think that the cards are tempting me to spend more money. Not that I've spent very much at all, but I definitely don't want to pour money into a hobby that's hardly marketable.

Finally, someone suggested that the King of Pentacles could refer to an ancestral history of readers. This idea intrigues me, as I've always felt a natural pull towards these things, and even from a young age grasped a lot of concepts I knew nothing about. (Such as the theory of reduction in numerology.) However, I don't know that my ancestors practiced, and even if I knew for sure that they did, why would my deck be pointing to that fact so urgently?

It's certainly perplexing. I'm hoping that further study on the King of Pentacles will offer me some sort of revelation.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Daily Reading: Strength (Reversed)

Today is my one-year anniversary with my boyfriend, so when I sat down to do my daily draw, I expected something about that to come up. However, the cards know me better and they know that what I need to hear is not about how great my relationship is. I asked "show me what I need to know about myself; how I can travel further along on the path to spirituality", and the cards delivered to that purpose and nothing else.

I flipped over Strength, in the reversed position.

My initial reaction was confusion; I felt stronger than I had in a while! My Tarot skills felt like they were natural, yet improving quickly from my studies. My relationship, which was a major source of stress for a few months, was already getting better with the aid of my own readings. My most cherished friendship, which was quickly dissipating, suddenly felt reinvigorated. I had confidence in my skills as a Tarot reader, and my self-doubt in all aspects of my life has begun to fade.

So I decided to dig a bit deeper, and then a few other aspects noted by other Tarot readers caught my eye. They mentioned that the reversed position can mean a lack of self-discipline, and the habit of letting emotions rule your decisions and your life. Both of these things ring true for me.

Especially since I hadn't done a daily reading for the past couple of days.

Especially because I had promised the cards that I would begin practicing meditation, and subsequently downloaded an app and totally forgot about it.

And mostly because my most aggravating habit is, as it always has been, reacting with emotions first and logic second.

Insert a long sigh here because these cards have proven, once again, to know much more about myself and the world than I could ever hope.

So I have two goals after this reading. The first is to pause for a moment of meditation and find inner peace every time I feel that my emotions have too much power in any given situation. I'm not completely sure how well I will be able to manage this, but it is something I have to work on if I am to be successful in any endeavor. The second goal is to be more structured in my daily routine, and to make good habits and eliminate bad ones. I want to be consistent in my blogging both here on The Salem Tarot, as well as on my book blog via Books Amino. (Totally unrelated, although I hope to incorporate some Tarot there soon!) I want to meditate daily and start trying to get in some exercise every day as well. These are all goals that I've tried instating in my life before, but failed miserably. However, I believe that with my Tarot cards holding me accountable, it may be a little easier.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Daily Reading: The Star + First Celtic Cross Spread

My Tarot journey continues to be one of incredible accuracy and peaceful self-reflection.

When I did my daily draw today, I was happy to see that I had pulled The Star; a universal symbol for hope and peace, especially after a period of trying times. After my last few reads, I took this to mean that my work with the Tarot is already beginning to create good results for me. I remember on a daily basis to find moments of meditation and to expel negative energy, and in return, I feel it has brought me closer to myself and to my boyfriend.

I have begun trying to assign a daily goal to my draws, and today's goal was to have a proper meditation session. I will probably save that for a bit later, after I get out of the shower.

One thing that I have been thinking about The Star that was not mentioned in my resources is that to me, it seems to represent "homecoming" or finding your way back to a place of warmth and love. Much like the Northern Star served as a guide for the old sailors, The Star in my Tarot deck feels like a guiding hand back to safety. When I get around to starting a trove of descriptors for each o my cards, that may very well be the first one I add that comes completely from my own intuition as opposed to outside sources.


In other news, I attempted my first Celtic Cross spread today. I did it for a friend who came to me, worried about his social life. I was extremely nervous, partially because I know the Celtic Cross spread is difficult to interpret and partially because this was the first reading I would give to another person. And on top of that, he is unfamiliar with (and probably quite skeptical of) the Tarot.

But to my utter shock, the spread was scarily accurate. It spoke to his hard-working nature, and his habit of taking on too much to escape other aspects of his life, such as the emotional side. It mentioned a very quickly approaching opportunity, which he then confirmed by telling me about an internship. And the cards foretold that he would find community within his religion, and his internship is working with a church.

More and more, I am blown away by the Tarot's ability to pinpoint exact situations and feelings. If I didn't know any better, I would say that this goes beyond my intuition and reflection and well into the realm of impossible.

On a more personal note, I am quickly finding confidence in my intuition. It is as if things just click together in my head like a puzzle, and then the cards make complete sense. The Celtic Cross spread took a lot of time to read, but once I had all the notes in front of me, I could see an entire narrative playing out. I hope that means that I am going to become a great Tarot reader.

- Erebella

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Daily Reading: King of Pentacles + Beginner's Thoughts

I woke up feeling excited for another day to journey into the study of Tarot. It has been a process which has left me confused about my stance on the world as a whole. Am I spiritual now? A believer? Or do my thoughts tend to stay more scientifically-based? I am so unsure of everything right now. But there are a few certainties:

1. Tarot has been good for me thus far, and I feel like it will continue to be good for me. I have given myself a few different readings; two daily draws with simple one-card spreads, one weekly reading in the form of a three-card spread, and one reading which is similar except centered around my best friend and our relationship. Throughout these readings, a few lessons have become very clear to me:

- I need to spend more time focusing on positive energies and dispelling negative ones. I am too caught up in my head and anxiety is clouding my abilities for self-expression and self-love. I need to focus on finding moments of inner peace.

- I was recently in a period of deep self-doubt and pain, but I am past the worst part. In new endeavors (potentially such as Tarot), I will find creativity and prosperity.

- I need to focus on my friendships more. Rather than closing myself off from my friendship due to us growing in different directions, I can foster a friendship in which we learn from each other.

I must admit - I am hesitant to do readings based on my relationship. We are relatively happy and the relationship is lovely, but a bad draw could cause me undue stress which would only serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, the more I draw, the more I begin to realize that the cards are ultimately what you make of them. Even if I were to draw seemingly bad cards, that could only be speaking to a problem which, once I make an effort to solve, will help to strengthen my relationship. I may try this later today and see what happens.

2. I missed academic study. I recently left school due to mental health problems, and being unproductive has felt like a horrible spiral that I can't quite break. But ever since I began studying Tarot, I finally feel almost at home. Keeping my brain active in two different ways - both the logical and the creative - has been a necessary step forward towards health.

3. Tarot, and as I am starting to explore, other "mystical" things make me happy. I recently decided that I want to get into crystals, and I will definitely be buying an incense burner for some aromatherapy and smudging to cleanse my home and soul soon. I feel happier and healthier by the day, and if this keeps up, I will be a devout Wiccan in no time! (Maybe not, but honestly, everything feels like it's on an upward slope for the first time in months!)


My daily draw gave me the King of Pentacles. A few thoughts jumped to my head immediately - first, that I have been drawing pentacles left and right. In my first daily draw, I got the page. In the spread about my friendship, I got the eight and the seven right after the other. Clearly, my energies are hyper-focused on success and material. This makes sense, as I have spent the past few months worrying endlessly about finding a job or figuring out a path back to school or both.

Another strange observance: the Tarot has been wildly accurate as well as complimentary. I haven't gotten contradicting reads. It all adds up to a few points to remember: find peace, stop worrying, move forward.

The King of Pentacles is a sign of hard work turning into success. He is the master of his craft, and he has grown wise from his time working with himself and within the world. Clearly, I am not the King of Pentacles. My journey in Tarot is new and fresh, so I must read this card as advice to seek out community and elders who can inspire and educate me along the way. This is compounded by the fact that I was already beginning my search this morning before my draw.

I have since joined a few Facebook groups and have gotten second-opinion readings on my personal three-card spread. They seem to be complimentary of my reading skills, which is a fantastic thing to hear for someone who was so unsure of her talents and intimidated by those who have so much more pronounced gifts than myself.

I am led to believe by the Tarot that in my search for wisdom from those well-seasoned Tarot readers, I will find success and reward for the hard work I will put into this craft.

Until next time!
- Erebella

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Daily Reading: Page of Pentacles

Dreams of tarot had haunted me all night. I had studied vigorously the previous day, making tons of notes about the Tree of Life and how it connected to the deck, and I guess all of that studied buried itself in my subconscious. I had dreamt of giving readings, and I woke up with a start, as if something were about to happen.

I checked on the status of my package containing my first ever Tarot deck, and to my great surprise, it had been delivered already, despite it being three days too early.

I ran outside and sure enough, a package with my name on it lay in wait. I took it to my bedroom and opened it with great care, and finally, I had the cards in my hands. They were every bit as beautiful and as lovely as I had hoped. I consecrated my deck with a small, whispered prayer, and then I began. I searched for a few different techniques for daily draws, and decided on a very simple single-card spread. This was, it felt, the best thing to do for a beginner and also a great way to learn every single card and become intimate with my deck.

As I shuffled, I wondered about the accuracy of the draw. I watched as some of the stiff cards stuck to each other and refused to be shuffled, and I began to get nervous more than anything else. What if the deck offered me something totally different, that can't possibly feel true? What if I had spent my time and money on something which would ultimately be a novelty I bring out during Halloween or at parties?

I breathed significantly as I cut the deck and flipped over the card on top. To my odd delight, it was the page of pentacles. 

This was at first significant only because I had been drawn to that card while watching someone else go through the entire deck on YouTube. She had commented on how she didn't understand the sexuality of the art, but for some reason, the card immediately spoke to me. So when I pulled it this morning, my first-ever Tarot reading, I smiled.

Then began the actual task of deciphering its message. I cracked open The Linestrider's Journey, the accompanying book for the deck which is beautiful and informative. 

There, on page 262:

Keywords: new beginnings, prosperity, good luck, study, investment, desire, the beginning stage of long-term success

I'm not going to lie; at first, the correlation was completely lost on me. I focused in on "desire" and immediately attributed it to my boyfriend. However, approximately two seconds later, my mouth dropped slightly as I regarded all the keywords and realized that not only were they accurate, but they were scarily accurate.

Is this endeavor, one that I have already invested time and money into, not a new beginning? Was it not a strange and unusual stroke of good luck which brought me my Tarot deck three days earlier than expected? Was not my desire being fulfilled?

At this point, I was more than a bit shaken. What were the chances that the first card I pulled of 78 would be one that spoke to me receiving my deck and beginning a spiritual journey? I mean, I am aware of an intrinsic bias which will allow me to find meaning in nearly any card I draw, but this went beyond bias. This was fate.

Finally, after my initial shock, I breathed a sigh of relief because if the page of pentacles has anything to say about my foray into Tarot, it's that it will be a good and prosperous journey!

- Erebella

Friday, October 14, 2016

What is Tarot?

The short answer: A conversation.

If there is one thing that my brief studies have shown me, its that tarot is, above all else, a movement. The versatility of the card meanings, along with the shifts that occur based on placement; it is nothing but constant flow of meaning and emotion. Consider the death card by itself; it can be foreboding and worrisome, but it can also be relief; a chance for a fresh start. Reincarnation and renewal. The death card is easily one of my favorites so far just because it is so much more than its face value.

Deviant Moon Tarot
And the death card illustrates the point I intend to make very well: tarot is a way of channeling your inner focus and energy on something and opening yourself up to other ideas and approaches. Tarot allows you to recenter and evaluate your life with other lenses. Feeling like you are lacking in productivity may lead you to tarot, and the cards you draw allow you to focus on the archetypes which always surround us and find meanings and maybe even solutions which make sense. So does it not make sense to use your knowledge of the tarot and judge that against the situation you seek to gain insight for?

When giving a reading, does it not make sense to journey with the one receiving the reading to discover through the process of give and take what the cards might mean to him or her?

After all, interpretation is subjective and the meaning of a spread can vary so greatly depending upon the circumstances and character of the person seeking guidance. I believe that tarot is more than just laying out a few cards and saying "this is what you need to do". I believe that tarot reflects what we already know, but just allows us to see it through new eyes. And since we can't know everything about the other party when doing readings for others, we must talk to them. Say "This card can represent lots of changes; is something happening in your life that may facilitate that?"

Would it be possible to come to these sorts of revelations on your own, without tarot to guide you? Absolutely. Is it made easier when you have some sort of context to view yourself which is both outside of the situation while being completely informed by it? Definitely.

So to me, ultimately, tarot is a conversation. Between the reader and the one being read to. Between your internal and your external self. Tarot is a form of visually applying your inner knowledge to a problem and applying it physically.

Do I believe that some divine force or mystical being guides my cards and determines the outcome? I'm not so sure. But I do believe that in putting my faith in my tarot deck, I can look past the fog in my head and find clarity.

The method is complex, but the purpose is beautifully simple.

Introductions Are In Order

I am a skeptical person. I have, throughout the years, struggled to maintain faith in higher powers be it a god, a force, etc. I have also managed to become quite cynical and pessimistic about the world at the same time. As a child, dreams of learning witchcraft and hunting ghosts plagued my every waking moment. I remember printing out "real life" ghost stories and pictures and putting them in a manila folder labeled "Ghost Research". And then my interests faded as I matured and came to realize that the world is big and the knowledge to be gained is vast, without having to put my faith in these things that had no basis in science.

Now, I find myself in a strange period of transition. First, religion is steadily gaining more prominence in my life again. I have found solace in the word of the Bible, even if my interpretations are so much different than that of most organized religions. I find myself craving something more spiritual in nature, more content with the unknown, and more open to things I previously wrote off as trivialized and silly.

A number of factors came together to finally convince me to take the plunge and buy a tarot deck. Some of these may seem circumstantial at best, and downright ridiculous at worst. However, is that not what faith is, in essence? A ridiculous leap into the unknown, or circumstantial evidence turning you into a devout practitioner?

The first thing that "happened", or more accurately just came to a point, was a need to fulfill a lifelong fascination with tarot. I have always found the cards intriguing; someone less skeptical might suggest a pull to them or some sort of divine nature fating me to find them. I am not yet comfortable with the term "fate", but in a romantic sense, that's what it feels like. From early childhood, despite growing up in a household where no one practiced magic and few believed in ANYTHING other than conventional science, I had an intense curiosity about what lies beyond the veil of human sight. I wanted a deck of my own so desperately. Over the years, I pushed that yearning away, calling it a childish endeavor not suitable for someone wanting to be taken seriously. However, the call returned to me recently and has been stronger than I had ever felt it before.

The second event which inspired this massive change in worldly position was a fool's journey to the birthplace of American witchcraft, or at least, one of them: Salem, Massachusetts. My boyfriend and I decided to go to Boston, and such as I might have been fated to delve into Tarot, so I was fated to find myself moved with the ancient eeriness and connection of Salem. I walked the brick pathway past the modern shops, and found myself feeling more free and in love than ever before. Salem was a place where I felt so disconnected from the "Modern Gods" - technology, social media, television, etc. And suddenly, my spirit was in harmony with the past. I felt connected to the women (and men) who lost their lives because they were accused of witchcraft. I felt empowered by the strength of the women who lived there now. I felt...alive. Walking in Salem made me feel more myself than I had felt in a long time. So when I saw a shop selling tarot cards, I knew what I needed in life. Even if I didn't have them then, I would have them soon.

And the final event which was the last stone to fall into place, was that I watched the first episode of Outlander. Now, I realize that after reading about my deep, emotional journey to Salem, hearing that the final piece was a TV show might seem downright mad. But in the first episode, the heroine watches a group of Druid women perform a ritual, which ultimately sends her back in time. And as I sat, watching what is, I am sure, not an actual ritual, I felt once more the call to explore that which I had shunned so many years ago. I felt a need to be spiritual, to open my heart to nature and to the forces guiding the world. Whether that force is just the expansion of the universe, the movement of the planets, or something else, I wanted to be a part of it.

After some research, I found a deck which I believe will suit my purposes perfectly. It is one of the few decks that "spoke to me", as they say. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted it. And when I read about it, it all came together so beautifully.

I chose the Linestrider Tarot by Siolo Thompson. Not only was I drawn to the artistic style of these cards, but the animal imagery pulled in the natural element that I was craving, and the most important aspect of all: the Linestrider tarot represents the straddling of one between the physical and spiritual realms. Perhaps, the journey from one to the next. As someone in transition or even caught between two vastly different perspectives on the world, this deck was everything that embodies me at this time.

Maybe as I grow in either one direction or the other, a different deck will become the one I identify with. But for right now, Linestrider seems to be the obvious choice.

So this all brings us here. I have ordered the deck and while I await its arrival on Tuesday, I have found myself deeply embedded in the study of these cards. I have been forming my own philosophies about them, and I have been collecting the information provided by so many others before me. Soon, I hope to acquire a true Tarot Journal (or Grimoire, as I will be calling it) to keep my thoughts in. However, I will be maintaining this blog as well, to chronicle my journey semi-publicly but also so that I must synthesize all the information I have into meaningful conversations.

Thank you so much for reading this lengthy introduction. If you would, please take the time to say hello, share your stories of how tarot had affected your life, or impart any other knowledge or advice you might have.

Until next time.
- Erebella