daily tarot card: the Hermit

the hermit
the hermit, morgan greer tarot

Today’s card is one of my favorite of the majors, in part because the Hermit is my birth card, but also because I can so easily identify with it.

I love this Morgan Greer version in particular.  It could be dusk or early dawn by the deep color of the sky.  The Hermit stands on a precipice, looking into the abyss.  They know what they will find there, but they peer, contemplating, in wonder.  It is a long way down from where they stand, and they traveled a long way to get there.  Ever on a path, the Hermit is.  Ever exploring the galaxy of their mind.

“Life is transitory and though the imposing mountains may belie that fact, don’t be fooled into thinking they will be there forever.” — The Hermit, Notes from the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot

The Hermit is wise, true to themself, and has a thirst for knowledge and personal righteousness.  They walk a solitary path, unafraid.  They are ever searching, spiraling deeper into themself, into the world, on a quest for answers, meaning.  They do what is right simply because they should, not for glory.  They are Gandalf.  They know the value of living and “implores you to follow your dreams and make the most of your short, wild life on this planet” (Notes from the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot).


The next exercise in the Alternative Tarot Course for week 1 was to calculate and explore my birth card.  I already knew my birth card so I found it interesting for it to show up today!  The above writing is my exploration of this archetype.


I am blogging my experiences here with Beth Maiden’s Alternative Tarot Course which asks students to draw a card each day, reflect on it, complete weekly readings, and other assorted exercises.

week 1: what is tarot?

I first came across tarot when… those of you who happen to know this blog, may remember this story.  I came across tarot when a woman read tarot for others as a Karneval party trick.  I was so intrigued that I ordered the Original Rider Waite shortly thereafter.  I tried to read with this deck a number of times, but I wasn’t inspired by the art and the woman who read my cards did so so seamlessly that I had no idea what actually went in to learning tarot.  Five years later, and I was in London, at the Natural History Museum, fascinated by rocks and stones, an old childhood hobby of mine.  I purchased a pocket full of them, and traveled on to Edinburgh, where I found a beautiful labradorite ring in a shop.  I started Googling.  I have no idea what actually “led” me to tarot, but it wasn’t long before I had ordered the Wild Unknown and committed to actually learning tarot.

The reason I want to learn tarot is… I have already been practicing tarot for just over three years.  I’ve drifted away from tarot and my other spiritual practices in the last half of 2018 as my partner and I went through a lot of physical shifts (purchasing a home, doing renovations, and moving in to the home!), and I’m ready to re-center and re-ground.  I had enrolled in the Alternative Tarot Course in early 2017 and I’m using it now as a way to deepen my relationship with tarot, certain decks, and my spirituality.

Here’s how I feel about learning tarot in three words:
1.  Witchy
2.  Wild
3.  Connected

Ha!  *shrugs*

Tarot’s main purpose (for me) is… tarot has shifted a lot for me the more I’ve practiced.  When I first started reading, I had no idea what I was doing tbh and just followed along with whatever I saw people doing on Instagram.  I purchased way too many decks way too fast, participated in monthly challenges, in which I asked my cards very specific questions, pulled year ahead spreads trying to see the future, did huge spreads that didn’t inspire me, etc… Tarot for me, now, is all about using the tarot’s archetypes as a mirror, to reflect back what I already know within me.  I don’t ask the cards specific questions and steer away from large, complicated spreads.  Typically, I just pull a card and journal to see what comes up.

Here are some things I don’t believe about tarot… tarot can’t predict the future, tarot is not a box, tarot decks don’t have personalities, tarot is not the devil.

I think the most important qualities for a tarot reader are… a tarot reader should have an open and questioning mind.

In learning tarot, I hope to… dive deeper into myself, reflect, and connect.

I think my main challenges will be… not getting swept up into the witchy/spiritual/tarot culture of Instagram.  I did return to Instagram in order to garner inspiration from others, but, in late 2017/early 2018, IG led me far from my personal path, and I will strive to remain true to myself and my own feelings.

But I will try to overcome them by… I think I covered this above.

Any further thoughts… I’m grateful for this course, excited to learn, and to get back into a healthy habit for me.


I am blogging my experiences here with Beth Maiden’s Alternative Tarot Course which asks students to draw a card each day, reflect on it, complete weekly readings, and other assorted exercises.

This is the first exercise, “What is tarot?,” from week 1.

The Conundrum of Creativity

I told myself the weekend would be for writing.  I told myself I’d find some time to actually put more than a couple hundred words on the page.  And, well, I certainly wish it was easy as declaring it so.  I wish this nurse knew what the heck a weekend is.  When you work nights, and get off of working three in a row, it can be a struggle to balance the free time…because I mostly just want to sleep, and my immediate waking hours are spent eating.

*sigh* anyway, my writing over the weekend was mostly in stolen moments.  But today I have a couple hours free for writing, and afterward I’ll do more research (meaning: reading and watching television, ha!).

If you Google “how to be a writer” (which, I must admit, I’ve done more times that I can count…), it comes up with lists and lists of tips.  Consistently, one such tip is to commit to writing each day.  Treat writing like a day job.  Set aside a space and time for writing.  That sounds easy enough!  And, that’s what I’ve based my writing rules for this project around (writing, a minimum, five minutes per day).

I do view writing as a day job in theory, but I also severely romanticize the idea of writing a novel.  This creates quite a conundrum in my head.  How am I supposed to sit down and dutifully write each day, inspired or not?  This very question is what has stopped me from expressing these characters on page, the characters that live and breathe and have a whole life in my mind.  The muse has come by, the idea has flourished, but the words are still inside.

The struggle that I’ve found in writing this novel in the past is that my momentum ebbs and flows.  That’s the conundrum of creativity, I keep telling myself.  Creativity is not always a present force.  It’s not always whispered plot points or the next line of dialogue.  And why should I expect it to be so?  Just as almost anything worth it’s salt requires commitment, so to does writing a novel.  A dull, time consuming, not very romantic commitment.

Another tip on such lists is that the beautiful writing comes in the revision process.  Some writers state that they’ve completely re-written a novel a number of times before it’s in it’s finalized state.  And I’m holding this tip close, because as I dutifully fulfill my commitment each day to this novel, I can’t help but groan in my heart about how shitty it is.  I feel like every other word is “said” and I can’t connect scene to scene in any inspiring way.

I felt the same way when I finished my NaNoWriMo novel in 2010.  Make no mistake, that novel was a piece of shit.  The idea was interesting, and I wrote 50,000+ words about it, but damn, when I re-read it that one time, I groaned the whole way through.  And I haven’t touched it since.  But, the encouraging point here is that, shitty or not, I wrote the whole damn thing.  And that’s really all I’m aiming for here.  Who knows what is going to happen when this story is finished.

Right now, it’s just getting the words on paper.  Right now, I need to continue to show up.  Later, it’ll be a pretty and nice story.

(I can already tell y’all I’ll be writing so much more on this idea as the writing progresses.  So stick with me!  And maybe groan along with me as this thing unfolds.)

What do you do when your creativity feels stagnant?  How do you talk yourself around, or into, the mundane side of creation?  Let me know in the comments.

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

Tarot Thursday Three: March 16, 2017

Another week, another….Friday?  Seems I’m in a pattern to miss #tarotthursdaythree on actual Thursdays…  But that’s ok, because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, so this is a holiday edition as well.  Enjoy!

1.  Classic deserted island scenario: You’re stranded for a year on an island, but can bring along one companion.  Who from the court family keeps you company?

Oh snap — reading other’s answers, the Fool kind of popped in to my mind.  Like, he has this wild, free, careless energy that would keep me motivated and entertained (and, intermittently, completely annoyed) during our year of exile.  BUT then I read the question again and it said court family *duh*.  Hmm.  Who makes a good friend to the Queen of Swords (me)?  The most similar energy, I believe, to the Fool in the court is the Page of Wands.  So now I’m thinking about Lost; have you seen the show?  It was the first TV show that I was totally obsessed with in high school and college.  It’s about an airplane that goes down on an island and the survivor’s existence there.  Of course, that’s not all it’s about but that’s a decent one sentence summary.  Kate, similar to the Queen of Swords, is the character that I identify with, and she has two men that keep her entertained (heh) and fuel her will to survive.  One, Jack, is kind of the King of Pentacles: he’s got his shit together (kinda) and is the classic leader figure.  The other, Sawyer, is the “bad boy,” full of kinetic, crazy energy (that he eventually tempers, to a point), but he is similar to the Page of Wands.  I think the Page of Wands/Sawyer would be able to help me not murder myself (literally) while stranded on a desert island and would be resourceful enough to keep us alive for a year.  As long as it’s ONLY a year…….

2.  What are off-limit topics for you; inquiries that make you say “I won’t go there”?  Or is anything fair game?

Hmmm.  I haven’t specifically outlined topics I “won’t touch” but others’ answers were really good here (and that’s probably because most seekers have asked me for general guidance, nothing too specific or crazy).  In my “terms of service,” I’ve outlined clearly that the insight and inspiration my readings afford do not replace the advice of a professional in any field.  If someone comes to me for a reading and doesn’t know how to formulate a good tarot question, I’ll help them form a good open ended question that will get the energetic read of a situation and that I feel comfortable answering with the cards.

3.  How do you get “in the mood” or mind-frame to read?

In the mood, awww yeah.  It kinda depends.  I love to light incense, meditate for about 5-10 minutes before a session (lately, while listening to classical music), cleanse with palo santo or sage and Florida Water; this is my general routine.  But, sometimes that just feels like too much and too formal so I just grab a beer and shuffle.  Really, shuffling is the primary activity that focuses me and gets me in the groove.  As described before, my standard shuffling ritual is somewhat in depth — I shuffle the whole deck nine times, then split into three piles, shuffle each pile nine times, then shuffle the whole deck nine times, and shuffling the whole deck nine times between each card position.  I perform this shuffling ritual always between clients (the only thing I consistently do for each client) because it helps to center me on the querent/query and reset the deck (in my opinion).  So I guess my final answers is: I shuffle.

Here are other posts from this week that I’ve seen…

Ania

Julia

Jill

Rachel

Who would you bring on a desert island that wouldn’t make you go crazy?  What topics make you cringe?  What gets you in the mood, baby?  Let me know your answers in the comments below, or link me to your post!

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

 

Tarot Thursday Three: March 9, 2017

Another Thursday (that I missed, again!).  So, it’s after midnight, late Friday night/early Saturday morning, and here I am composing this post.  Enjoy!

1.  Does spell work have a place in your practice and if so, how?

I don’t do spells.  I had an interest in spell work (and still do, I guess), but I ultimately find it too complicated to be practical for my life.  Gathering supplies, casting a circle, calling down deities, etc — I just find that too much.  And I don’t see the space or need to call things in to my life (or banish them!  Though that could be useful…).  I like what Ania said about not feeling the need to affect reality in this way.  I feel like life is complicated, and I don’t know enough of what I want or need to ask for it specifically.  I feel like spell work in the traditional sense is something that needs to be practiced regularly for it to be effective, and I just don’t have the desire, or need, to practice spell work regularly.  However, I also like what Olivia wrote about her small spell and ritual work that she does, she made it seem very natural and intuitive.  I do like to hold intentions and affirmations, which I kind of view as mini-spells anyway.  And I do like doing ritual work, that is not quite spell work, but close.  I do this usually around the new and full moons.  I feel that this aspect of my practice is asking to be explored more, but I am not sure what that would mean in physical terms.

2.  What is the element you most identify with and/or enjoy working with and why?

As a through-and-through Aquarian, I live in my head and in daydreams.  I like to think through things, I create alternate timelines in my head (I maintain the idea that all possibilities exist in some realm), and I like putting word to paper.  I regularly have dreams of flying, where I literally kick off from the ground and float in the air.  Sometimes, the feeling is so strong that I recall it in my waking life, and I experience the desire to kick my feet into the air and float along in real life.  So I guess Air is really my jam.

I haven’t worked that much, specifically and pointedly, with any element.  I love to burn candles and incense, I love to collect bits of earth in stone/gem form, I love ritual baths… I have been told (by Benebell, no less!) that I should work to connect more with the earth element.  She gave me a pretty good overview on this, but to be honest, I don’t really know why or how to do this.  So, beyond placing a bunch of grounding rocks on my bedside (a big chunk of Mookaite!), I haven’t done much about that…

3.  Besides the cards, what are you favourite tools for divination and/or ritual?

As I said above, I love to burn candles and incense, but I don’t use this in a divinatory sense, more to set the mood — uh, so I guess for ritual!  However, I do this outside of ritual as well, and to be honest, I haven’t sat down and practiced any kind of ritual lately… I really love to use poetry collections (primarily Mary Oliver) for bibliomancy/stichomancy, and I’ve had some really great results with that.  I love to write, and I’ve been really into writing poetry (thanks to Jodi and her poetry challenge!) and making art (thanks for Kristen and her create this oracle deck challenge!), so I’ll be trying to include more of making both poetry and art into my practice.

At the time of publishing, here are the other posts that I’ve seen (and referenced above :))…

Julia

Ania

Olivia

Do you use spells in your practice?  What is your favorite element to channel?  What other stuff do you use in divination/ritual?  Let me know in the comments below (or let me know if you’ve made a post yourself!).

exploringly yours,
Alaina x