Deck Review, Reviews

Tarot Deck Review: Shapeshifter Tarot

Deck: Shapeshifter Tarot
Publisher: Llewellyn
Writer & Artist: DJ Conway, Sirona Knight & Lisa Hunt
Overall Rating: 6/10

Card images (c) Llewellyn

Cardstock: It’s somewhat flimsy, but very springy to shuffle because of that, and the high gloss makes the cards slide against each other smoothly. It doesn’t have any nicked edges, but in the five years I’ve owned this deck it’s never been one of my go-to choices, so it hasn’t seen as much usage as some of my others. I’m not sure how it will hold up under heavy usage.

Artwork: The art is heavy on the blue/green/yellow part of the spectrum, and the images are soft watercolors with no hard outlines. The art almost looks a bit washed out in comparison to the dark blue borders. In keeping with the theme, many of the cards have figures that appear to be in the middle of shape-shifting, with animal imagery overlaying human figures. There’s also some implied nudity, so be aware of that.

LWB: The little white book is pretty useless if you’re looking for actual card meanings. The Majors each have a short paragraph, which is helpful, but the pips and court cards have 3-5 words and that’s it. I’m glad that we have more information for the Majors, though, considering they renamed almost all of them (Sorcerer and Sorceress for Magician and High Priestess, Mother and Father for Empress and Emperor, Circle for Wheel of Fortune, Shapeshifter for Hanged Man, Rebirth for Death, etc). They also added three cards: The Double, The Journey, and The Dreamer. The LWB also includes a couple of original spreads, which is nice.

Likes: I’m partial to air wands and fire swords, so I like that about this deck. I also generally find the artwork evocative, which helps considering how sparse the LWB is. I also like that the court cards are all depicting figures from Celtic mythology, and that these are clearly labeled in the LWB. For example: Gwydion and Arianrhod are the King and Queen of Wands, and Lugh and Brigid are the King and Queen of Swords.

Dislikes: I’m not really sure that the shapeshifting theme is really strong enough to carry this deck, and not all of the mythology choices for the court cards make sense within this context. Brigid, for instance, is depicted as shapeshifting into a wildcat of some variety, which seems an odd choice to me. I think transformation might’ve been a better theme, and would have given them a little more artistic leeway.

Overall Recommendation:

Overall I’m kinda lukewarm on this deck. If the idea of shapeshifting really resonates with you and you’re an intuitive reader, it’s probably perfect. If you’re looking for a deck that draws from Celtic mythology, you’re probably better off looking for something else. I like it, and I’m going to keep it in my collection, but I think it’s going to remain a deck I only use occasionally.

Deck Review, Reviews

Tarot Deck Review: Archeon Tarot

Deck: The Archeon Tarot

Publisher: US Games Systems, Inc.

Developer & Artist: Timothy Lantz

Overall Rating: 9/10

archeon fan
Image (c) US Gaming Systems, Inc

Cardstock:  Easy enough to shuffle.  Seems to stand up reasonably well to moderate use – several of the cards have nicked borders, but none of them are separating yet, though I’ve been using it pretty frequently in the past six months.  The tuck box is deteriorating, though, since I keep throwing it directly in my purse.

Artwork:  Back allows for reversals.  Black borders and greenish frame.  Card names on lower frame. Most artwork depicts human figures, animals, and pips, sometimes in ways that are reminiscent of the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith images.  Artwork is digital mixed media heavily based on model photography, and there’s a fair amount of artistic nudity but nothing I would consider pornographic.  Facial expressions of the models are fairly evocative and match card meanings.  Overall the artwork feel is somewhat dark and emotionally intense.

LWB: Pretty helpful, especially considering this is not a strict RWS deck.  Meanings are pretty consistent with traditional themes, though some of the gender symbolism (which I ignore anyway) is different.  Each Major entry begins with a short quotation, and a few explanatory paragraphs before a list of keywords for both uprights and reversals.  Each Minor entry begins with a short line that almost feels like poetry, to complement the artwork, and then gives keywords for both uprights and reversals.  For example, the 9 Wands above begins with “One by one, they aligned themselves with the stars.” It gives one spread example: Celtic Cross.  Does not give much information on how to read tarot.

Likes: The artwork was a bit intense for me at first but it grew on me, and it fits an empty space in my collection.  I’ve been using it as my go-to deck for talking to Na Morrigna.  I like how evocative the images are, because my primary mode of reading is very intuitive.

Dislikes: I usually buy tarot decks based on whether or not I fall in love with The Star, which is my personal significator… and I don’t love this one.  I also don’t like how the reversal keywords are basically just the opposites of the upright keywords.  There is so much more to reversals than that, and honestly that space could have been better used by providing more fleshed out meanings to the upright cards, since they usually have no more than about a half dozen words or phrases.  Also, the LWB has quite a few typos and formatting errors.

 

Overall Recommendation:

This is a solid deck for someone who’s familiar with tarot already, and likes reading intuitively based on artwork.  That said, the artwork definitely isn’t for everyone, and the nudity on the cards might make it difficult to use for in person readings in some public places.  It’s available for $20 on Amazon which is about average for a deck like this, by a big publisher.  Full disclosure, I have done a little modeling for the artist for another publication of his, but I paid for the deck myself.  He’s fairly local, and I got him to sign the title card at FaerieCon East a few years back.  In general I recommend this deck if the artwork speaks to you.

 

Divination, Other Updates, Tarot Spread

Relationship 5-card Spread

I started a series a while back of the tarot spreads I use in my Etsy Shop, but never finished it (whoops).  So here’s another installment: the 5-card version of my Relationship Tarot Spread.

Relationship 5 top
Yeah the “spread by” is my tumblr and not this blog, but I’m trying to head off reposts over there.

  1. This card is you.  Your wants, your needs, your concerns.  It encompasses your view of the relationship, and your influence on it.
  2. This card is the other person. Their wants, needs, concerns.  It represents their view, and their influence.
  3. This card is what uplifts you: what is going right, what is keeping you together. This represents the strengths of the relationship.
  4. This card is what pulls you down: what is going wrong, and what is pulling you apart. This represents the issues and weaknesses in the relationship.
  5. This is the general overview of the relationship: how are you doing on the whole?  It may also contain advice for the future.  If the querent had a specific concern or issue they wished to focus on, this card will focus on that aspect.

Pretty straightforward, right?  And applicable to any number of relationships, not just romantic ones.  I could just as easily use it to look at a friendship, or a parent-child relationship – anything between two people! I do have spreads that work for more than two people, but that tends to require more cards.  The smallest spread to look at a three-way relationship adds just one more card along the lines of card #2.

Stay tuned for the 9-card relationship spread, which is the next spread in my queue!

Deck Review

Tarot Deck Review: Lord of the Rings

Deck: The Lord of the Rings Tarot Deck & Card Game

Publisher: US Games Systems, Inc.

Developer: Terry Donaldson

Artist: Peter Pracownik

Overall Rating: 7/10

IMGP2447

Cardstock:  Easy enough to shuffle.  Seems to stand up okay to heavy use – I have a couple of cards that are separating a little and most of the cards have nicked borders, but I’ve been using this deck for years, so that’s understandable.

Artwork:  Back allows for reversals.  Black borders.  Card names on stonework border to the left.  Short phrase or sentence on wood plank beneath the image (For example, the Fool depicts Gollum seated with a fish by a pool of water, with a waterfall in the background, and the sentence beneath him says “Gollum, by a pool of water, considers the many possibilities open to him”).  Most artwork depicts scenes or figures from the Lord of the Rings, sometimes with pips superimposed.  Artwork is detailed, like miniaturized paintings.  Facial expressions are somewhat ambiguous, owing to the small size relative to the card.  The two borders take up a lot of room.  Some of the artwork is a little strangely proportioned, and Eowyn is oddly sexualized in a moment where she ought to be wearing battle armor.  Some of the artwork, especially when it relates to Sauron or the One Ring, is more stylized and less of a “scene”, which interrupts the continuity of the artwork a little.

LWB: Pretty helpful.  Gives a decent amount of information on both Majors and Minors.  Some information on reversals for Majors (but not Minors).  Meanings pretty consistent with traditional themes.  Gives one spread example: Celtic Cross.  Does not give much information on how to read tarot.  Half the book is the weird card game you can also play.  There is apparently also a companion book which does the work of bridging the little phrases on the cards with the meanings in the LWB, but I’ve only ever seen one, and that was in a second-hand shop (I bought it, of course!).

Likes: I’m a huge LOTR nerd, so I loved the theme.  I don’t know if this is exactly how I would have done it if I were going to make a fan-art LOTR tarot deck, but I’m pretty happy with it.  The fandom angle did help me get a better understanding of the meanings for the most part.  I also really like the detail in the artwork, though I could see why those who dislike borders or have vision impairments would find it difficult.  I’m ambivalent on the sentences at the bottom – I liked the idea when I bought this deck (it was my first one) but they don’t line up quite as well as I would like and sometimes they’re more unhelpful than helpful.

Dislikes: I wish the facial expressions were readable.  I also kind of wish the deck included characters from the Hobbit and the Silmarillion, because the cards are all just the Fellowshippers over and over again, really.  Too much border, not enough art.  The awkwardness of the card game, which means there are little extra graphics on the cards.  Not much information on tarot in general.  I’m not crazy about the artwork style, even though I appreciate the detail – I would prefer more continuity and more realistic proportions in the figures.

 

Overall Recommendation: This would be a good deck for anyone who doesn’t mind borders and likes LOTR.  Probably not a good idea for a beginner deck, though it worked out okay for me.  The theme and art would probably make it a good choice for in-person readings somewhere like a fantasy fair, and it holds up well to repeated use.  At $15 on Amazon it’s pretty inexpensive, and might make a good deck for someone on a budget.  In general I like it (it’s one of my go-to’s in my admittedly small collection) but it’s certainly not for everyone.

 

Readings with this deck are available in my Etsy Shop.

Event, Ritual

Sacred Space, Day 2

Gwdihŵ has sort of declined to write up his incomplete notes, so you’ll really just be getting my experience of the conference except where we attended an event together, I’m afraid.  But here was my Day 2!

Experiential Tree Ogham, by Raven Edgewalker

I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop.  I think this one, along with her second workshop on the last day, made up my favorite part of the entire weekend.  And also I now have ogham on the brain, so expect a little bit of that to filter through here eventually.  (Yes, I still have new tarot decks to learn, and yes, I’m beginning to learn runes, but really, a witch can never have too many forms of divination, can she?)

Raven started out with a little background and history of the ogham: it’s an alphabet, trees aren’t the only things associated with the letters (and some of those trees are vines or shrubs), it probably post-dates Christian contact, etc.  She emphasized that she likes that it’s newer, and likes that it seems to have been not fully developed by the time it was no longer used heavily, because that means there’s a lot of work that still could have been done, and that plus the fact that we don’t have complete sources means that it’s easier to create our own version, and to customize it to ourselves and our own practice.  She talked a bit about how she couldn’t get into ogham at first, couldn’t learn the symbols, not until she started actually working with plants and trees, and then from that work she ended up back at ogham.

Then she had us do a short meditation, where we were instructed to go find a tree and talk to it for a moment.  Many people found a tree from their childhood, or a tree that they interact with often now.  I ended up meeting the Black Spruce spirit I had been working with all winter.  One of the things Raven emphasized when we shared about our experiences was a thing I learned from Black Spruce previously – trees are not in a hurry.  They have time; they do not rush.  And neither should we, learning ogham.  She said we should start with getting to know the trees.  If you can identify 20 trees, learn their other properties, and then learn 20 more.  If you can only identify 2 trees, learn their properties and learn two more.  Double your knowledge.  Move slowly.  Feel your way through the trees and then the ogham as a system of divination will grow naturally in you.  A lot of the meanings she gets when she reads ogham hinge on her personal associations and personal relationships with the trees themselves.

There are 20 trees in the original ogham, but she said her personal set has grown to include about 70 plants, and she’s continued on the pattern of symbols and made her own staves, each out of the wood of the plant, and she encourages all of us to do the same – make our own version of the ogham.

Raven closed with another meditative exercise: this time we were supposed to become a tree, to start as a seedling and grow, trying to really feel and imagine branches and roots and the wind, and the other trees around us, a whole forest in the room.  That was a deeply grounding and beautiful exercise.

 

Tarot and Talking with the Dead, by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

Ellen started the class by setting up a small altar piece: what appeared to be a Halloween decoration graveyard with little stones and a little doll representing Maman Brigitte.  As she set up, Ellen talked a bit about Maman Brigitte, her relationship to the goddess and saint Brigid, and her role in Vodou as the wife of Baron Samedi and the Queen of the Graveyard.  Then we did a small ground-center-focus meditation, and said an invocation of Maman Brigitte together.

The first tarot spread was a four-card spread in which we were supposed to talk to a specific ancestor or other dead person or spirit, with each card asking one of the following questions:

  1. What is the primary energy or power of this spirit?
  2. How can you participate in the manifestation of that power?
  3. What particular message does this spirit have for you?
  4. What do you have to offer this spirit in return?

I used my LOTR deck, and ended up talking to my great-grandfather, who died while I was in college.

The second spread was asking the dead in general for their advice and insight, and it was a three-card spread using the following questions:

  1. What is important for me to know about what is coming in my personal world?
  2. What is important for me to know about what is coming in my community?
  3. What is important for me to know about what is coming in the larger world?

Many of us got answers about a time of change and upheaval in the last two questions.

We ended with a short journey meditation, to go and talk to the dead directly.  I went to see my great-grandfather and also saw my great-grandmother, his wife, and their son, my great-uncle whom I never met.  I helped them some with healing, and it was a very powerful but very personal moment.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ellen’s workshop, and it is to my dismay that I did not make it to her other tarot workshop: Tarot with the Dark Goddess.  She also presented “Inside Out Magic” and “Writing Ancient Lives”, both of which Gwdihŵ attended and enjoyed.

 

 

The New Orleans Conjure Dance, presented by Caroline Kenner and Gryphon’s Grove School of Shamanism, with music by Firesong

As it says in the Sacred Space programme, the Conjure Dance is a “ritual dance of spirit possession and manifestation.  It is inspired by the dances performed by Marie Laveau on Sundays in Congo Square, New Orleans, before the Civil War.”  Many deities from many different pantheons are invoked through song, and many more are given representation on altars set up along the walls of the room.

As I did last year, I began by walking around the room to look at all the altars first.  My first sweep with Gwdihŵ was just to greet everyone, and to see who was represented.  On our second pass, we left offerings.  We had brought a few special offerings, a bag of multicolor jelly beans, and a bag of gold foil wrapped chocolate eggs.  We gave each table a chocolate egg, and the jelly beans we passed out to our particular friends in each pantheon, using color symbolism.  Gwdihŵ also brought a few origami cranes and shells to give to some of his gods, and I had brought a large dark chocolate bunny also wrapped in gold foil for Bast.  There was alcohol provided by Caroline Kenner & co, and we gave a little of that as well, before settling in to enjoy the music some and to listen for invocation songs of those we know.

After a little while I went back to the Egyptian altar and sat for a moment, to ask Bast if she might join me for the night.  I had thought that it would take a lot of preparation work to be able to tune out the noise and find my center in order to open and let her in, but the opposite was true – I needed no more than ask, and she was there.  Then the juggling act of having a headmate began.  Walking was difficult only for the first few steps – then we made our way over to the alcohol to have a shot of something.  She wanted something sweet, like chocolate liqueur or kahlua or frangelico, but we had to settle for a sweet dark rum, which we both enjoyed.  Speaking was a little difficult at times – Gwdihŵ asked me about the alcohol and to be careful (because alcohol frequently doesn’t agree with my chronic illness) but I (we?) assured him that we would not have much – just a taste.  Bast seemed to enjoy watching the spectacle, and she was proud of how many statues she had on the Egyptian altar (although she was tied with Anpu, whom she ribbed gently).  We also tried a violet liqueur, and she didn’t like it, or I didn’t like it – I’m still not exactly sure.  Either way, we decided not to drink the whole shot, and so a shot and a half was our total alcohol consumption for the night.  We did try the peeps, though – I like them, and she enjoyed biting off their heads, as they were intended as stand-ins for sacrificial chickens.  Mostly we just watched and moved and tried to keep our balance, with her enjoying embodiment, but staying politely in the passenger’s seat of the car, so to speak.

I did need a little bit of help from a friend to find the stickers we were supposed to use if we didn’t want to be touched or had allergies or something, because that was early on and I was having trouble looking for them and I wasn’t sure how well I was going to be able to have a real conversation, starting with “Hello, Are you one of the helpers?  I have a request…”etc.  So instead I (we) walked up to my friend and sort of blurted out, “Do you know where the stickers are?  I need one.”  She saw that I was possessed and if I’m not mistaken also had a pretty good idea who my headmate was, and she helped me find the stickers and checked in with me and I assured her that I was fine, but having a little bit of difficulty with words.  Once I had the stickers on, Bast and I danced around some, and had a few interactions with friends, though some of those are less clear than others.  Between the alcohol and the late night and the headmate, my memory is not as crisp as it could have been, but it’s not truly patchy, either, just a little out of focus.

There was one point where I noticed a friend in distress and Bast pulled back quite a bit more so that I could speak a bit more fluently and not have to be balancing her presence while I tried to find assistance.  Once I had found someone to help and had communicated the problem to both them and Gwdihŵ (who had no headmates), I felt comfortable relaxing again and she came back, unperturbed by the interruption.  I am not sure, but I think she even pulled back without me asking her to in the first place – I find she is very respectful of boundaries, provided she knows them already or can predict them.  She even reminded me to go get my water bottle at one point, because I’d had nothing to drink but the two shots of alcohol.

I didn’t expect her to give me any messages for anyone, as we were really just having a good time at a party for the most part, but there was a particular friend of mine there who also works with Bast, and every time he passed by, she sort of sighed in my head and said, “Isn’t he great?”  or “I really like him.” or something like that, so after probably a half hour of that or more, I did go and tell him that she appreciated him, etc, knowing that he likely already knew that, but it’s always nice to hear it again.

The other interaction of any note, is that while I was outside talking with Gwdihŵ and another attendee, someone else who was possessed came out with a helper in tow, and Bast (who had been mostly in the background so that I could talk), came forward and perked up her ears and said “Loki?”.  I just barely did not allow that to come out of my mouth, afraid that I/she was wrong, but it turns out that she was right, and I’m a bit sorry now that I didn’t say it and allow that interaction to play out.  Oh well.  He’s since told me that he knew I/we recognized him then, but that it’s possible his possessory host did not, intent as she was (they were) on having a cigarette.

The acquisition of Bast as a headmate seems to have been much easier than her departure.  She was still quite present, although no longer quite in the passenger’s seat, by the time I fell asleep.  She hadn’t really left.  But then again, she’s frequently very close by even when we’re not attempting something possessory, and I think the line between being able to hear her, and her being a headmate is a bit blurrier than I had originally thought.  In any case, she was gone in the morning.

I think it was a good exercise in boundaries and balancing.  I have known for some time that I was once her Oracle and she would like me to fill that role again, and I think we’ll need more practice before we get there, but the ease of our night together at the Conjure Dance bodes well.  Dua Bast!

 

~Réaltán~

[Day 1 Here]

[Day 3 Here]

[Day 4 Here]

 

Devotional Jewelry, Etsy Shop Update

Etsy Shop Update

So in my Etsy Shop I’m migrating towards two types of listing, as far as the tarot and oracle card readings are concerned: by deck, and by spread.  I think having one listing with multiple price tiers is a better idea for me in the long run, because it will cut down on relisting costs and expirations.  To that end, I’m starting a new sort of aesthetic for that.  Most of the deck listings currently look a bit like this:

lotr purple cloth

That’s a lot witchier than the cards by themselves with plain wood beneath them, don’t you think?  Hopefully potential clients will like it, too.  I’m still including lots of pictures of cards, of course, especially in these deck listings.

The thematic spread listings got a facelift, too, but I think they may still be too plain.  Here’s an example:

love2

That could use witch-ing up a little, probably.  But at least this one’s pretty straightforward and was up in time for Valentine’s Day.  For these I’m also including a picture of all the decks I have, to make it a little easier for clients to choose one.

Beyond Love and Career and New Year (which will be leaving soon), I don’t have any thematic spread listings… but I’m thinking about perhaps making one or two more, if I can figure out what sorts of things potential clients are looking for.

Outside of the realm of divination, I’m working on devotional bracelets for Sekhmet and Anubis, and hopefully those will be in my shop soon!  Stay posted!

In other news, I’m going to start trying to update this blog weekly, probably on Mondays, although I’ll be out of town for the end of February, so I may not start posting regularly until mid-March.  Thanks for following along!

 

~Réaltán~

Divination

Imbolc Divination

IMGP1818.JPG

This is a tarot reading for Serendipities, based on this Imbolc tarot spread, using my Fantastical Creatures tarot deck.

1.   What is still frozen for Serendipities?

The Empress: The Morrigan.  We are still lacking in creativity, fertility, and bountiful prosperity.

2.   What will help keep us warm and comfortable?

Three of Pentacles: Hobgoblin.  We will need to learn new skills.  When an opportunity presents itself, we should take it.

3.   What clutter needs to be cleared out?

The Magician: Winged Cat.  Too much studying.  Time to put it into practice.

4.   What will the first signs of new growth be, this spring?

Three of Swords, Reversed: Jenny Greenteeth.  The relief of anxiety.

5.   What’s a project that we should begin now?

King of Pentacles: Lord of the Greenwood.  Organizing finances.

6.   A message of inspiration:

The Chariot: Centaurs.  If you sustain your efforts, you will succeed in the end.

These are really brief notes, I realize, but these are my very first impressions, and I’ll be returning to these cards to meditate further on their meanings in the coming days, and in the weeks up to the Equinox, when I plan to do a similar reading for the business.  It seems like solid advice and a good omen, though, so I’m happy with that.  I hope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful Imbolc!  Gwdihŵ and I are going to a little gathering tomorrow to celebrate more formally, but we’ve been celebrating in small ways at our own altar and hearth since January 31st.  Tomorrow marks the end of our festivities.

~Réaltán~

Divination, Etsy Shop Update

Second New Year’s Tarot Spread!

Here’s the second New Year’s Tarot Spread that I made, and this one is also available in my Etsy Shop!  The full graphic for this one is on tumblr, too, so spread it around if you see it, please!  And again, I don’t mind if anyone else uses or modifies this spread, even to sell in their own shops or tarot practice, but hopefully some of those who see this will decide to knock on my little (internet) shop door!

new years 7 top

Overview of changes coming in the New Year:

1. Work: changes to your career, job, or schooling

2. Play: changes to your hobbies or recreational activities

3. Friends: changes to your friendships, or changes in your friends’ lives that will affect you

4. Romance: changes in your love life, or change’s in a romantic partner’s life that might affect you

5. Family: changes in your family life, or changes in a family member’s life that might affect you

6. Health: changes to your health, either physical, mental, or emotional

7. Spirituality: changes to your spirituality or your religious beliefs or practice

 

If you do use this spread, let me know how it works for you!  And if you’re interested in having me to a reading for you, I offer this spread in four different tarot decks, or in two different oracle card decks.

~Réaltán~

Divination, Etsy Shop Update

New Tarot Spread

I created this tarot spread for our Etsy shop, anticipating that clients may want a little insight into what’s coming with the coming year, and what they can do to help make the transition smooth.  I made the graphic to share on tumblr, so if you see it there, please reblog!  I don’t mind if anyone else uses or modifies this spread, even to sell in their own shops or tarot practice, but hopefully some of those who see this will decide to knock on my little (internet) shop door!

new years 12 top

Things Leaving with the Past Year:
1. Something you’re ready to let go of
2. Something you need to let go of
3. Something you want to let go of
4. An external way to help yourself let go
5. An internal way to help yourself let go
6. An obstacle preventing you from letting go

Things Coming in with the New Year:
7. Something you’re ready to accept
8. Something you need to accept
9. Something you want to accept
10. An external way to help yourself accept things
11. An internal way to help yourself accept things
12. An obstacle preventing you from accepting things

 

If you do use this spread, let me know how it works for you!  And if you’re interested in having me to a reading for you, I offer this spread in four different tarot decks, or in two different oracle card decks.

~Réaltán~

Uncategorized

Consideration: Gryphon’s Grove School of Shamanism

Gwdihŵ and I are considering taking a two year course in shamanic practices* at Gryphon’s Grove, led by local big-name pagan Caroline Kenner.  The course is 12 classes a year (approximately one a month) and each class is several hours long.  We know people who have taken or are taking these classes, and they all gave us varying degrees of recommendation, though a few mentioned the price as a drawback.  They’re expensive classes ($500 each person per year) and we wanted to be absolutely sure that this is our right path before we commit, so we decided to do some divination on the matter.

For the first reading, the question was: How would we benefit from taking Caroline’s shamanism class?  Should we take it?

I used my Lord of the Rings Tarot deck, because it was my first and it speaks to me strongest, and here are the cards I pulled:

  1. King of Coins.  Phrase: “Treebeard, the ancient spirit of the earth.”

We have demonstrated effectiveness, and need new challenges.  We need new things to learn, to continue on our way.

  1. The Moon.  Phrase: “The power of the enemy seems stronger than it really is.”

Things are not as they seem – they are not as you fear.  There are good and deep reasons for taking the class, and Caroline’s wisdom is deep as well.  I am taking this to mean that my reservations about “shamanism” as a term are unfounded when it comes to her practice.  She doesn’t participate in cultural appropriation.

  1. Six of Coins.  Phrase: “Bilbo finds treasure in Smaug’s lair, but later will come a time for a division of the spoils.”

The classes are expensive, but they are a path to prosperity, too.  We must be discerning in our choice of teachers, but Caroline is worthy – our paths and priorities line up.

  1. Ace of Cups.  Phrase: “Galadriel’s mirror shows many things, but wisdom lies in understanding what is shown.”

We will learn to better understand what is shown; we will grow in our wisdom and intuition as they pertains to journey working and shamanic practices.

  1. Ace of Wands.  Phrase: “The fires of Mount Doom create the Master Ring.”

These classes will send us more quickly down our path, and they will have far-reaching consequences.  It will initiate a cycle of new growth, forging new things in our life.

  1. Two of Cups, Rx.  Phrase: “Faramir embraces Eowyn as they fall in love.”

Our stable relationship will provide a firm foundation on which we can build a stable practice together, and the shared experience will also reinforce our relationship.

These give a couple of very clear benefits to taking the classes, and generally can be seen as an affirmative answer: Yes!  Apply!

So then there’s the next task: writing the application.  Caroline asked for a few sentences about why we want to take the classes, and then she reads those and does a tarot reading to see if her helping spirits think we are a good fit for her class at this time.  Since she’s doing tarot, we figured a good way to decide what to say is to try and ask our spirits what her spirits need to know!  That means: tarot reading, part two.

Here are the second set of pulled cards:

  1. Page of Cups, Rx.  Phrase: “Butterbur serves at his inn, The Prancing Pony.  Many people come through its doors.”

We will make new social and other contracts; this is a good opportunity for networking.  This will help us learn skills that can serve the community.

  1. King of Swords.  Phrase: “Aragorn is crowned as King of Gondor, and takes the Lady Arwen as his bride and Queen.”

We are a team, and will need to work together on this class, or together on something else.

  1. Ten of Cups, Rx.  Phrase: “Their commitments fulfilled, the Companions sail across the Great Sea to the western Blessed Realm.  Cirdan remains in Middle-Earth.”

This will be an important cause of stability in our path to come.  This will be a good foundation for us to realize other dreams.

  1. Five of Coins.  Phrase: “The Company of the Ring enter the Underworld Labyrinth of Moria.”

Clarification: Seven of Coins.  Phrase: The Company try the mountain pass, but realize they must find another way into Mordor.

This is a good way to get from where we are now to where we want to be, and we will work diligently together, towards that end.  (I pulled a clarification card because the first card confused me – my intuition was pointing me in a different direction than the card’s intended meaning.  And yep, that was the direction I should have gone in.)

  1. Nine of Cups, Rx.  Phrase: “Bilbo holds his birthday party at Bag End.”

We want to serve the community, and want to bring joy and healing to others.  This will help us learn to give the community our attention and focus.

  1. Six of Wands.  Phrase: “In the Battle of the Five Armies, the tide turns against the Army of the Orcs.”

These classes will be an important accomplishment, and a turning point in our lives.

I tried to condense all that into a neat and readable couple of paragraphs, and here’s what I sent to Caroline Kenner:

Hello,

This is perhaps a rarity in that this is a single application for two applicants, [Gwdihŵ O’Manannán and Réaltán Ni Be Chuille].  We are a husband-wife team that would prefer to take the classes together, and we’ve been training together for a while now, particularly in Reiki and journey workings.  Please either accept or reject us as a unit, because if you only accept one we will most likely decline the invitation to enroll.

We wish to enroll in your shamanism courses because we think what we learn from you will be a good foundation for us to build off of as we reach toward other plans and dreams.  We believe we have been called to be healers, and we wish to serve the community in this capacity, bringing joy and healing to others.  We plan to someday open a healing center/pagan shop, and learning shamanic healing will be an excellent step in that direction.  Completing your courses will be an important accomplishment in our journey as healers, and will perhaps become a turning point in our lives.  Your classes are an excellent vehicle to take us from where we are now, to where we want to be; because of that we will be inclined to work diligently, and to learn as much as we can from you, the spirits, and our fellow students.  Our dream of opening a healing center and pagan shop has community service at its focus, but we will still need to get the word out and find our audience. To that end your courses are also an excellent way for us to network with fellow healers, as we hone our skills together.

We understand that you will do readings to see what your spirit helpers say about whether or not we are a good fit for your class, and we hope that they will see us in a favorable light, because we have consulted our own guides and they have led us here.

Thank you very much for your consideration,

[Gwdihŵ and Réaltán]

Hopefully we are accepted – I will let you know as soon as we do!

Bright Blessings!

Réaltán

*[I have issues with the term “shaman”, but that’s a topic for a later post]