How to: Tarot Card Divination Part 3

Hello lovely readers, I apologize for the absence of this post last week.

Lets talk about reading for others, reading for clients and the ins and outs of having access to other peoples personal information.

Little Rituals

Many readers have specific and special steps they follow when reading the cards. Some have fancy fabric they lay down, a candle they’ve marked especially for insight, words they chant, smells they burn, or gestures they make. These small rituals open themselves up to the infinite possibility, help guide them to clearly see, and reminds them of what they are about to do.  As always, these actions are personal, and have meaning only to the ones performing them. You are not required to follow any direction when setting out your cards. Maybe there is something in your tradition thats speaks to you, maybe theres something thats composed entirely of yourself that you want to use. Thats fine. Its all you and theres no wrong way.

 

Well there is one wrong way. This is a thing I see so commonly, not only with tarot card readers, but also with other psychics, mediums, new age hippies, and all manner of flotsam and jetsam. This thing really makes me frustrated and angry and I dont stand for it.

Lets Talk Ethics

When you have access to someones personal information, if you have a line onto what strangers do with their life, who they are, what things and forces will affect them, how their personal relationships will evolve and change them or any other little detail…KEEP THAT TO YOURSELF.

I cannot tell you how many times some stranger has come into the shop and started describing things about my energy, my future, my relationships, etc… This is rude and also how dare you. Consent is important sweeties, in all things. And if I agree to a reading by someone I expect them to keep their mouth shut about what they have discerned. I dont gossip about my clients and its a courtesy that is generally assumed in the community.

Remember Spiderman; with great power comes great responsibility.

Now go out an enjoy your enriching journey with tarot in an ethical and decent way.

 

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How To: Tarot Card Divination Part 2

Hello Sojourners! Its Liz and I am back again to continue the series on Tarot Cards and Cartomancy that I began last week. In this portion of the series Id like to focus on creating and maintaining bonds with particular decks, as well as different ways to cultivate you own personal meanings to the cards. Lets get to it!

The LWB is Not The Only Valid Interpretation

Almost all decks come with Little White Booklets, sometimes even larger bound copies of the similar, by rote meanings associated with the Rider-Waite Decks. These booklets are helpful to the beginner, and by all means should not be discounted. I more often than not tend to toss mine in the trash however. Having the artists input on what they envisioned is fascinating, but shouldn’t be where you base all of your interpretations from. Every person has a unique, individual way that they interact with and view the world around them. These experiences will color everything you see and do, and symbols are generally very personal. I am a trained artist so a lot of my interpretations has a distinctive art history kick to meanings of flora, fauna and colors. These interpretations are further changed by the fact that I am white woman in the south. The point I am trying to get at, is that if you have a strong association with the color green and it disagrees with what the LWB says, then you do not have to disregard your meaning for the booklets. There is no hard, solid, absolute truth in tarot card readings. What we do have is the traditional way things have been done, or the way that the majority of people do things, but might does not make right. And honestly the tarot has been fiddled with for so long that even the ‘traditional’ way could have been modified like a bunch of 4 year olds playing ‘Telephone’.

At this point in my cartomancy journey, I tend to have taglines for most of my cards. These taglines are quick, easy ways to remember the more deep and usually tangled interpretations. I had to pare down the word vomit when I started reading for others, and make it even more precise when I started charging for those readings.  It does mean that sometimes I have to temper and adjust my words for my clients. Code-switching is the fancy word for it , but really what it means is that if you are a close and trusted friend I have no problem calling the 9 of cups “The Masturbation Card’, or The Tower as ‘The Oh Shit Moment’. I tend to be a little less candid for strangers, preferring to try to maintain some mystery. The point of all of this is that no one has the authority from the Grand High Tarot Poobah to say that the way you read the cards is wrong. Conversely this also means that you cant tell someone else they are doing it wrong just because their method is different than yours. We always forget that the rules apply to everyone, including ourselves in this community of ours.

Well that’s great and all, Liz, but how do we cultivate these personal associations?

I’m so glad you asked! There’s a million and one ways to sort out the tarot for yourself, and just as many books written on the subject. Ill give you examples of some things that worked for me and leave it at that. I have no desire to rehash tired concepts from thousands of books.

  1. Tarot Journal: This method is a good way to organize your impressions when you look at a card. When you pull a card to Journal refrain from looking at any outside source for meaning and instead look at the parts of the card that stand out to you. I usually do it in a bullet format because I hate journaling. After youve exhausted your inner depths, then look up possible meanings for the individual symbols that you noted. Like on my Judgement card I noticed the field of poppies. Poppies are a flower used in art history to symbolize death and/or addiction. I then incorporated it into my meaning for the card.
  2. Pulling a Card per day: Everyday pull a card and then reflect on it and its meaning through the day. This is a tried and true method of figuring out a meaning of a card might be nuanced or can change from what the stark black and white meaning a LWB will give it.
  3. Talking to the Cards: You will look and sound like a lunatic, yes. I find talking to something makes me more likely to bound with that person, place, or thing. Talking at my cards made it easier for me to get a feel for their energy and makes it easier for me to see clearly when I use them. I talk things out with them and usually can divine some unusual possibilities from the stream of consciousness that falls out of my mouth. This is an alone, at home kind of activity, obviously.

The last one doesnt even need a number its so simple. Repetition. You only get good at something if you practice at it. Familiarity is essential with almost any skill, and tarot card reading is no different. Be patient, and dont try to be an amazing reader right off the bat. Things worth doing or getting often take time.

Well that is it for this part kiddos. Next time Ill talk about spreads, putting all this talk into action and we may even get to the most important part of all: Ethics. Ethics are essential my friends.

 

How-To: Hair Dyeing with Henna

Are you ready for a new look this summer? Want to avoid the harsh chemicals and cost associated with salon hair dyeing? It may be time for you to try out henna!

Henna is the common name for the Lawsonia inermis plant. This plant, when dried, ground into a powder and properly prepared, stains organic materials with a reddish color ranging from copper to dark auburn. Henna has been commonly used over the centuries to dye leather, fabric, skin, and of course, hair!

Treating hair with henna provides multiple benefits in addition to color, depending on how you prepare and apply the mixture. Henna treatments condition the hair, lend it shine and strength, help control split ends, and can help to loosen or straighten natural curls and waves.

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So why doesn’t everyone do this? Henna has a few traits you may want to be aware of before starting. When prepared for dyeing, it is a natural, chunky, pudding-like mixture that does not apply like store-bought hair dye. As a result, it can be difficult to apply and rinse out without patience. It has a natural, earthy smell that some find difficult to tolerate. It must sit in your hair for at least four hours in order for the dye to fully take permanent hold. The color will not always be a drastic change; Henna is moreso a transparent red over whatever color you already have. For blondes, henna will turn hair a fiery, ginger red. For darker colors, it may only lend a red shine in high-lighting situations. Lastly, while henna is permanent, it oxidizes over time. What starts out as a bright copper may age to a deep auburn over time. Monthly applications will build on the depth of the color in your hair, and keep it’s effects visible.

Think you’re ready to get started? Great! First, and most importantly:

What henna should I buy, and where should I buy it?

There are many products on the market sold as “henna.” You may find products claiming to sell henna in a variety of colors, ranging from colorless to red to brown to black. These products are often sold in beauty supply shops, and are not what we are talking about today. These “henna” products are almost always a mixture of cassia, henna, or indigo, with some not containing henna at all! At worst, some varieties will contain natural materials mixed with chemical hair dyeing powders. So how do you avoid this? Stick to buying bulk henna leaf powder from a herb resource, such as a local or online herb retailer or health food store. The package should be labeled with the botanical name of the plant Lawsonia inermis, and preferably with the year in which it was harvested. If you are able to look at the powder itself, it should be a relatively bright sage green color. It should smell earthy and herbal. The Sojourner carries henna in a variety of packages, all checked for quality and consistency over the years. If you are unable to make it to a local store, Mountainroseherbs.com, Starwest-botanicals.com, and Jamila brand henna powder all provide quality henna suitable for hair dyeing.

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How much henna do I need?

Speaking from personal experience, having more is better than not having enough! If you are able, go ahead and buy a full pound of henna powder in bulk, no matter what length your hair. Any excess prepared henna can be frozen and used for up to six months, and most people are able to use it up well within that time frame. Otherwise, it may be up to you to find the perfect amount for your hair. I have long, thick hair that is between 20-30 inches in length. I prepare a full pound, and normally use about 75% of the prepared mixture. Based on this, I would personally recommend at least a standard 4oz package of henna powder per every ten inches of hair. If you feel like it will not be enough, buy more!

How do I prepare it?

To prepare your henna, you will need a plastic bowl, whisk, plastic wrap, and plain bottled lemon juice. For a full pound of henna, you will need up to two 32oz bottles of lemon juice. An acidic liquid must be added to henna powder in order to release the dye. You will find individuals and articles that will recommend using coffee, orange juice, water, tea, beet root powder, and any number of other additives or liquids to help your henna release dye. I have personally found that straight lemon juice has the acid content to produce the most reliable and consistent color and dye release of any product out there. In addition, tea, coffee, and other dark liquids will not cause your henna to stain any darker or different that it would have with other liquids. Henna is a product that is easy and safe to experiment with, but keep in mind: The higher the water content of your liquid, the less consistent and reliable is the stain you will create on your hair.

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Place your henna powder into your plastic bowl, and slowly begin to incorporate the lemon juice. You will find that it drinks up a lot of liquid! Alternate adding a bit of liquid, and whisking to incorporate. Liquid, whisk, liquid, whisk, until you begin to have a mixture that resembles a thick pudding. Place your whisk in a sink, or on a non-porous surface to reduce the chance of staining any surrounding material or area. Tear off a large sheet of plastic wrap, and lightly press down to cover the surface of the henna in the bowl. This helps to prevent a “skin” of thick, oxidized henna from forming on the surface of the mixture. After this is finished, allow the henna bowl to sit in a relatively warm place to 24-48 hours. This time period will allow the acids to penetrate the henna leaf, and fully release the dye for use!

Now that you have your product purchased and prepared, it’s time to get started!

How-To: Hair Dyeing with Henna by Courtney V.


Supplies you will need:

Prepared henna. Spatula. Two or three pairs of vinyl or latex gloves. Plastic wrap. An old towel. An old shirt. Salve or lotion to prevent staining at your hair-line. Patience.

Optional: Shower caps. Plastic clips and combs for separating. Rain poncho.


  1. Wash your hair with a non-conditioning shampoo. Clear shampoos are a safe bet here; You will want to avoid coating your hair shaft with anything before applying the henna. Gently towel dry your hair, and brush thoroughly. Allow to air dry until only slightly damp. At this point in the process I like to have a friend or family member take “before” pictures of my hair. It will be easier to witness how the henna helps and changes your hair with a comparison photo!13288449_688767467941292_1117295107_o [One year since my last henna treatment. The split ends! The color transition! The dullness! The horror!]

  2. Prepare your area. A bathroom with a large mirror is the best place for henna treatments. Please avoid anywhere with carpet or expensive wood furniture! Henna will stain anything it touches that is even slightly porous! I like to cut a large trash bag along two sides, and lay it on top of my sink/vanity area. Afterward, gather anything that you will need handy, including: Gloves, plastic wrap, hair clips, combs, shower caps, prepared henna, damp rags or towels for skin cleanup, and salve.13340596_10156882629330123_1362949551_o

  3. Suit up. Wear an old t-shirt or other items of clothing that you would not mind being permanently stained. If you are able, a cheap rain poncho works well for keeping the henna off your clothes and skin! At this point, go ahead and apply salve or lotion on your face and neck from the hairline. Up to two inches is what I consider to be the “danger zone” for facial staining, while the back of the neck is almost guaranteed to endure some staining, somewhere. The ears are typically waxy enough to avoid stain.

  4. Apply the henna. Put on a pair of vinyl or latex gloves. This is important, as henna will stain skin and fingernails for up to two weeks! After donning your gloves, your technique will be up to you. If you are able, seperate your hair into sections and apply henna from root to tip. Realistically? My best hairdressing efforts almost always devolve into grabbing henna into my gloved hand directly from the bowl, and massaging/glopping/smashing it in. The goal is to coat every bit of hair, root to tip, with the henna mixture. It will be very messy! You may need to change gloves a few times to maintain dexterity.13287935_688767444607961_227206421_o[Just get it in there, any way you can!]

  5. Wrap your henna. At this point, there may be pounds of extra weight on your fully-hennaed head. I find it easiest, and most comfortable, to pile the hair as neatly as possible on top of my head. Use extra henna to sculpt and smooth it upward if you find it difficult. The Fonz is a good inspiration here. After it is piled atop, take the roll of saran wrap out of the cardboard box. Unroll a long piece, and cradle the back of your head/hair down to the hairline at the neck in the middle of the outstretched plastic, and begin to wrap from there. Try to cover all of the wet henna on your head with at least two layers of saran wrap. One continuous piece wrapped around the head two or three times provides the best strength and hold. Cut the wrap, and tuck in the edges. At this point, if you have a shower cap or two, place them over the saran wrap. This provides extra hold and support against leaks. In addition to that, I normally wrap an old towel around the other wraps. This helps keep in heat, which is good for setting henna color, and provide extra protection against dripping henna. 13313699_688767431274629_374453852_o[Try not to imagine what it actually looks like. …You did, didn’t you?]

  6. Clean up. And wait. At this point, what you have is a big mess, a wet head, and time! You will need to leave the henna on your hair for the next four hours or more in order for the dye to fully take and do its job. If you plan accordingly, you can henna right before bed and sleep with towel-covered pillows. This method also helps with the weight of the henna if you happen to have long hair.13324022_10156882629925123_655122789_o[There is unspeakable horror beneath this towel.]

  7. Wash it out. FINALLY. Step into a shower with water as cool as you can tolerate, and begin to rinse out your henna. If possible, avoid using shampoo. A lot of material will come out of your hair, but none should clog your drain. Rinse as many times as necessary, until you no longer feel grit or material in your hair. The water may or may not run clear, and this is okay. Typically, you will wash brownish, oxidized henna out of your hair three or more times, up to a week later. The smell of henna will linger for a few days; A small price to pay for the gorgeous color that awaits!

  8. Enjoy! Take an after picture, and compare your results. How does the henna affect your unique hair type and color? What differences can you note? Henna is an exercise in personal experimentation and governance over hair care. I like to use argan oil on my hair after a henna treatment to enhance the natural post-treatment softness. Whatever you do, enjoy the beauty and health of your naturally treated hair!13287920_689151494569556_1825327336_o[Before//After]

Cheers, and happy hennaing!

❤ Courtney ❤

 

How To: Tarot Card Divination Part 1

Hey Lovelies! Liz/Ivy here and for the next upcoming weeks I’m going to talk about one of my skill sets: divination through the Tarot.  All of my amassed experience and knowledge in one post would be enormous, so I am going to break it off into more easily digestible chunks starting with this one. Expect new parts on Sundays.

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What exactly is Tarot: A brief historical overview

And when I say brief, I do mean brief.

So the actual-facts first beginning of the use of Tarot as a divination source is murky and nebulous, like many things we modern-day pagans accept and use often. One of my very favorite and well-worn Tarot books: Rachel Pollacks’ Tarot Wisdom gives a much more detailed and meticulously researched history. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book for readers of any skill level. Continuing education can only further hone and enhance the knowledge base we have.

Disclaimer: History usually isn’t my favorite subject, and it is difficult for me to stay focused when I do come across it. Consequentially I usually work harder at remembering it, and usually its the first bit of knowledge to slip through the cracks in my memory, but I will do my best to give you an accurate retelling. If I mess anything up, I apologize and Id love for you guys to correct me gently in the comments below.

Tarot started out as a card game and eventually was used by occultists as a means of divination, with individual card meanings and names fluidly changing with every iteration. Each deck maker placed their own personality, belief system and meanings in their cards creating a rich tapestry of contradicting experiences and individual flavor. This just further proves my theory that there is no wrong way to read or interpret, since the people who made the different iterations couldn’t even agree.  But more on that later. The tarot went through many of histories greats, like Lévi, before eventually landing at the feet of the well known A.E White, a member of The Golden Dawn (which for those of you unaware is a  Big Deal occult order). He paid artist Pamela Colman Smith to render the images of his deck. She was also a member of The Golden Dawn, and had a history of painting while in trance. The deck has many influences from the Marseilles deck,  and pulls from other contemporaries of his time. I wont go into Crowley’s Thoth Deck, as its like a foreign language to me, but for anyone seeking that information our owner, Heron Michelle has used that deck for some time and would be able to help.

Whats with all of these different types of decks?

The Rider-Waite deck may be iconic but I absolutely hate the imagery. No offense, Pamela, but the stiff figures and bold colors do nothing for me. Many artists have since put their stamp on the imagery of this deck. Now-a-days you can find pretty much any kind of themed deck ranging from fairies to gothic decks, to renaissance art decks to every imaginable deck in between. There have been a few solely around cats that I have seen.
My personal preferred deck is the Shadowscapes deck by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Her whimsical, impeccably detail approach really speaks to my aesthetic. I usually find that this deck is a bit softer in its messages as well, so it easily lends itself to readings for clients.

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The Death Card from the Shadowscapes

So How Do You Use This Mode of Divination?

What an excellent question, dear reader!
That’s what this series is gonna be about, hopefully. Ill walk you through my process, give tips about building your own relationship with the cards, and write a couple of anecdotes that I have gathered in several years of reading. I hope you will join me on this journey and retelling. Until Next time, Blessed Be!