Starting up work once again . . .

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Well, my six-month hiatus away from conjure is coming to an end.  I’m feeling the itch, feeling called by my spirits to get back in the game.  As my dear friend Brother Moloch said not too long ago: it’s good to take breaks but don’t let too much time go by.  He’s right, as usual.

Sometimes, you need to clear your head.  This kind of work is so serious and intensive that after every 15-20 client cases, I tend to need a decompression period if I want to stay on top of my game.  So it’s been a good one.  I’ve moved twice in this last period—to southern France and then back to the USA for a while.  Now I’m in Europe again, my workshop is reestablished, and I’ve been doing tarot readings locally to get warmed up.  

You can find me moderating on Studio Arcanis most days or contact me here via my secure email: friendlyoccultist (at) protonmail (dot) com. 

If you need some work done or you need a reading, check out How to Hire Me, my Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, and What I Won’t Do for Money on this site.

While I’ve been away, I’ve gotten a plethora of requests for spiritual work.  To those who emailed me during that time, I can only say that sometimes the world of Spirit calls you to do this kind of work.  Other times, you are explicitly called not to work but to be introspective and care for yourself.  Since I have a full-time mundane income, I can afford to listen carefully to those messages.

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A quick Lenormand career reading.

This reading is offered here as an oracle for all those currently seeking better job prospects and career advancement.

A friend came by today to talk about her developing career.  She asked me to pull some cards and I felt drawn to use my Pixie’s Astounding Lenormand, which is a traditional Lenormand deck illustrated in the style of the Rider Waite Tarot.  It is my favorite Lenormand.  

The Stars guide us ahead on the path, adding their dreamy light and hopeful direction.  The situation has been slowly developing (The Tree) in an inspired way (The Moon).  In terms of career, this means good things are coming, if in a very subtle, gradual way.  Stay focused and keep doing what you’re doing.  It will turn out for the best.

The Veil: When Keys Turn in the Locks of Fate

Consulting my oracle deck, The Halloween Oracle, for insight about the cumulative effects of Mercury and Mars Retrograde and the lingering influence of the Super Blood Moon, I drew The Veil.  This is a card about the future, yes, but it is just as much about the future-becoming-present.  That is its true significance.

In the future, anything is possible.  It is when the future becomes manifest in the present that possibility transforms into meaning.  This card emphasizes that transformation.  In other words, look at the things you’ve been anticipating (both positive and negative).  The Veil indicates that they are about to become realities.  So get ready.

Magical people especially have to keep this card in mind because if there are workings and intentions out there, The Veil says they are doing to create effects, for better or worse.  Here, possibility becomes fate.  So mote it be.

 

Poetry and Prophecy

In early times, honey was the principal inspirational drink, often in the form of hydromel (which can be slightly alcoholic) or mead. Moreover, honey can be hallucinogenic if the bees frequent certain plants. (Wine as an inspirational drink arrived later with Dionysos.) Honey was the traditional food of the gods, often identified with nectar and ambrosia, which confer divine immortality. As you will see, Apollo governs both poetry and prophecy, which are identical in origin, and both are compared to honey when they are divinely inspired and, as a consequence, are both true and beautiful.

—John Opsopaus, The Oracles of Apollo: Practical Ancient Greek Divination for Today

Death! The cycle continues . . .

I could definitely feel a change when I woke up this morning.  I couldn’t quite isolate its nature, but it felt energetic.  So I decided to draw a card from my favorite oracle deck, The Halloween Oracle.  I was not surprised that I drew the death card, but it’s still very telling.

Death in this deck can be read the same way XIII – Death in the Rider Waite is usually read: the end of one thing and the beginning of another.  The subtext on the card above tells us the key concept: the eternal cycle begins here.  It also ends here.  The esoteric understanding of Death is that it’s a gateway, a door between one condition and the next in an eternal spiral of meaning and form.

So I think I felt that change last night and it’s causing me to be a bit introspective about the things in my life that are moving forward and also falling away.

2 Ways to Quickly Learn Basic Tarot Reading

My readings are worth it for 3 reasons: (1) I do long 19+ card layouts; (2) I produce long highly-detailed PDFs of customized interpretations unique to the client; and (3) I’m really, really good and can achieve a high degree of accuracy / specificity.  I’m also humble—just not necessarily with something I’ve been doing for over 3 decades and know a lot about.

Still, you don’t need to pay very much to get a decent basic reading.  I’ve seen people on tumblr doing what look like competent readings for as little as $1 USD.  I’ve also seen a lot of foolishness, as you might expect.

I suppose the cheapest and quickest way to get a reading is to download a free tarot app for your phone.  Those work, too.  The problem there is that you still have to interpret the answers and the stock interpretations that come with such programs have no way of customizing to your question / issue.  So your reading will always be of limited use unless you actually learn how to read.  There’s no getting around needing to have the knowledge.  

The genius of a good divination is that it speaks directly to what you need to know.  The catch is that you have to be able to understand the oracle’s particular language.  When you’re doing cartomancy with a tarot deck, you have a set number of expressions, usually around 78, comprising the greater arcana (usually picture cards from 0-The Fool through 21-The World) and the lesser arcana (usually four elemental suits of 14 cards each).  

Some decks have more cards, some fewer.  For example, when I do playing card readings, which I really enjoy, I’m only using the standard 52.  But I can do things with playing cards that are impossible with the tarot.  It’s the same with Lenormand decks that have about 36 cards.  Oracle decks vary.

Here, I’m only going to talk about the so-called “Standard” Rider-Waite-Smith style deck and how to read it.  Practice both of these quick methods for yourself before you decide to go pro.  Even though these are easy, they still take a little bit of work.

The first method is the simplest.  Get a RW-style deck, one that has graphic pictures on every card (as opposed to the older European decks that only have pictures on the major arcana and / or the court cards).  Determine a question to be answered and draw seven cards in a row.  Look at them from left to right.  Then ask yourself, “If this were the answer to the question, what story would these images be telling?”  In other words, look at the 7 cards as a story in pictures and try to say what that story is.

Now I hear you asking, “What about the right interpretations?  What if I get something wrong?”  Honeypie, I’m here to tell you that after you read a book on the history of cartomancy, your eyes will be opened.  There are so many different meanings attributed to the same images that worrying about getting it wrong is A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME.  The cards are there to focus your intuition.  Your intuition is what interprets them.

So why are there little books of card meanings that come with each deck?  Over time, certain styles of interpretation and meanings were written down and became considered authoritative.  Arthur Edward Waite’s Pictorial Key to the Tarot, for instance, is one of the first books people read.  Paul Foster Case wrote a good one on the major arcana, entitled The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages, mostly as a way to teach people how to use his BOTA deck for spiritual advancement.  Aleister Crowely wrote about his Thoth deck, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris and modern tarot writers like Stuart Kaplan, Rachel Pollack, and Marcus Katz have done much to advance public knowledge and insight about tarot.  But none of this matters for giving a good reading.  What matters is your ability to feel out the right story—the story that needs to come through the pictures.

So try my first totally intuitive method until you feel very fluent with giving 7-card answers that just come to you when you look at them.  Then move on to the more structural shortcut, which is my second suggestion.

This approach is still relatively easy, but it requires a little memorization, which makes it harder than the 100% intuitive method.  Here you memorize a one-word meaning for each of the 22 major arcana—i.e. The Fool is innocence, The Magician is creativity, The High Priestess is wisdom, etc.  Make a list of these one-word meanings and go over it until you’ve got it down without having to look.  Then remember that the lesser arcana are elemental suits.  Wands are fire. Swords are air. Cups are water.  Pentacles are earth.  That’s all you need to know.  Let’s say you decided that 9-The Hermit means “isolation.”  And you draw the 9 of Swords.  You know, when you look at the figure sitting up distraught in bed that she thinks she is abandoned and isolated.  You have “thinking” (air) and “isolation” (9, Hermit).  Get the idea?  Every one of the lesser arcana can be read elementally this way through its corresponding major arcana number.  

When it comes to the court cards, these are elemental as well.  Pages are air.  Knights are fire.  Queens are water.  And Kings are earth.  You’ll find varying elemental attributions for these as well, but I think this set is the most logical, given the way most people read each member of the court.  Incidentally, this takes all the guesswork out of interpreting them—usually the most difficult cards for beginners to learn.  Test yourself: using this method, how do you interpret the Knight of Cups?  If you start out by thinking “fire of water,” you’re on the right track.

Using these two methods, you will eventually know so much about each of the cards in a standard deck that you’ll become very confident.  Then you can do what I did (and what I hope you haven’t already done) when I was just starting out and memorize all the supposed “traditional” meanings from something like The Pictorial Key.  At least, when you start feeling like your readings are getting strong and accurate, compare your meanings to the existing ones and see where you agree and where your interpretations are unique.  You will learn new things about the cards that way.

Studying tarot is a lifelong practice.  My methods make giving beginning readings easy.  Getting confident with them will put you in a place where you can really begin to study more complex symbol and color systems insinuated into many decks.  As with anything complicated in the aggregate, the tarot is made up of many simple little things.  Learn the basics first and you will be an amazing reader before you know it.

Recommended Colleague: Balthazar

I like to recommend magical colleagues who I think are particularly talented, smart, and / or skilled.  I am approached by more clients than I can take.  And so, rather than being competitive (a negative characteristic of many public occultists, especially conjure workers), I try to serve the Art by bringing people together.  Balthazar is very smart, in my opinion, and is someone I regularly follow.  You can learn a lot just by paying attention to his YouTube videos.