7 Tips to Get Your Life Under Control So You Can Get Back to the Magic

We’re all busy, right? We’ve all got a ton of things on our minds and it gets to be so hard to keep track of stuff. It’s even harder to fit in spiritual practices and make time for witchcraft.

I recently experienced this myself. I took on a lot of projects for This Crooked Crown on top of some personal projects for my own practice. Then Life reared its head. Family needed medical procedures or were sick (everyone’s OK! No worries), birthdays kept on coming, and the upcoming spring’s always a busy time with the ongoing Secret Future Plan project we’ve got going. Plus there’s the regular stuff to do too – readings, writing posts, taking photos, answering questions, and so on. There’s just a lot of stuff happening. I couldn’t keep up. It happens. Who’s got energy to cast a spell when you’ve been go-go-go all day?

I started going to bed with stress headaches and woke up with them too. That’s when I decided enough was enough and I was going to start managing my shit better. Here’s what I did.

7 Tips to Get Your Life Under Control So You Can Get Back to the Magic

01 Write down everything you’ve got going on 

This is absolutely the number one thing I recommend. It really drives home how busy you are and lets you see what’s happening so you can start prioritizing better. You may even decide to put something on hold for a while until some other project or situation can be finalized before taking up the reins again.

I wrote down everything I was thinking, doing, and feeling. It included little stuff like a mobile game I super enjoy playing daily to big years long projects that move slowly but surely. I also included stuff like stress about politics, birthdays, and personal worries or frustrations.

Then I numbered them three times. The first time, I numbered how important they were to me. This is kind of eye opening. You’ll really begin to see what’s important to you right now. Then I numbered them according to due dates – what needs to be done when – so bills or shop orders. The final time, I numbered them in order of priority to me or others I actually care about – a friend’s birthday, for example, might be more important to me than some due date for a thing I don’t really want to do.

Now do a comparison of the numbers. You can get as mathy as you’d like with this and figure out averages or whatever. I kind of just looked for similar numbers. If I listed a lack of spiritual connectivity as personal importance to as five but on the priority/due dates they were eleven or twelve, then that’s an area I need to focus on temporarily to feel personally satisfied but not dive into a major project for. So I might do a longer meditation session to help balance that out and get some more immediate results.

Make sure you look at how important stuff is to you and how you rate it as a priority. It might be that you’re ignoring your health or self-care in order to get shit done. it could also be that you want to accomplish something because you’re excited about it but it’s not actually all that important. Could your attention and energy be spent elsewhere or do you want to follow that excitement and allocate whatever time and energy you have left after you do that?

Also look at what numbers keep coming up or coincide with those items, especially if you’re into numerology. See if there’s a correlation with your divination readings in what cards keep coming up or if there’s some numerical importance attached to those numbers. Look at numbers that have huge discrepancies – or items you forgot to number. Those things may need some attention.

Now go through that list one last time and number how you want to proceed, taking in all that data. Using those numbers, write out a to do list with at least one actionable step you can take to start on that immediately. So if a birthday is your number one concern, write something like “research birthday gift” or “go out on Tuesday and buy present”.

It’s kind of a pain but this process can be really eye opening, especially if you remember to include things that aren’t just your daily to do or mundane but spiritual stuff as well. Maybe replacing that broken altar bowl doesn’t seem important but it might be weighing on your mind more than you know.

How to make this magic: Honestly, this technique is pretty eye-opening. I would use magical ink or paper or a language to write the list one last time in order of how you want to proceed, like a to do list, to ensure that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish.

 

02 Turned off the electronics early

I’ll be honest. I’m definitely one of those “turn off tablet/phone/computer/TV, roll over, go to sleep” kind of people. I don’t necessarily want to be. In a dream world and life, I wouldn’t even have a TV or computer in my bedroom. But since this isn’t a dream world, I have a ton of electronics in my sleeping area. And it’s a bummer.

Once I started going to bed with stress headaches – and waking up with them, I immediately stopped using electronics actively before going to sleep. Instead, I turned everything off but my tablet and read an fiction-based e-book until I found a physical book I wanted to read. I still woke up with stress headaches but I felt immediately less stressed and slept better.

There’s some scientific data to back this up but I know personally that turning my brain off from TV and instead letting my brain imagine stories before going to bed is better for me personally. Also look into blue light filters. I noticed my eyes hurt far less when I use blue light filters at nighttime.

It’s hard, I know. But give turning off your electronics ten minutes before you go to sleep a try.

How to make this magic: Putting sigils on your phone case for energy boosting is a great idea during the day to give both you and the phone a helping hand. Removing that phone from your hand at night allows you to have less energy and, thus, sleep much easier.

Aroma stimulation may also be useful. For example, I know it’s “no electronics time” and/or bedtime when I use lavender scented products. For me, lavender is used for quiet time. You might have a different scent that triggers this so do a little research to figure your own “shut off” scent.

 

03 Changed your rooms’ atmosphere and energy

Our rooms have their own atmospheres and energy. Right now, I’ve stacks and stacks of books everywhere for research projects. It reminds me of my college days where I was super stressed and sick all the time. Once I identified that as a contributing factor, I swapped out some things to shift the room’s energy – and my associations – to something else.

I picked fire, wind, and light as an energy to focus on. I used citrus scents, made sure to work in brightly lite rooms, and put on wind and bell soundscapes. My stressful associations shifted away and I felt far more productive and accomplished.

I also changed out my bedding, picked up lightly about the room, and rotated some decorative pillows and throw blankets to give a subtle change. I also throw open a window for a little while to air the place out.

As a bonus, changing up the lighting, scents, and sounds can immediately affect your mood.

How to make this magic: Color symbolism helps here, but so do scents and so on. Magical correspondences are your friend here. Ringing a bell can also dissipate clustered energies.

 

04 Dressed to boost your mood

Ten years ago, I scoffed at wearing sweats and casual tees on a daily basis. Now it’s my go-to when I’m in a time crunch and spending the day typing on a computer.

It makes sense. Ten years ago I was super active and busy – places to go, things to do, out before the sun rises and home at the witching hour. So I had to dress appropriately for those things. Since I work from home and my only co-worker is a cat, wearing sweats and a worn tee isn’t going to make a difference in what I do.

Except it kind of does. I started to put on non-lounge clothes in the mornings. It helped, most of the time, and kept me from glancing longingly at my video game consoles. Did it make me more productive? I don’t think so, but I felt more productive and put together. I felt more of a person and less like a cat pretending to be a person, so it has to count for something.

How to make this magic: Color symbolism and recognizing what outfits make you feel good about yourself is a huge bonus here so keep an eye on that. You can also individually enchant your clothing or other items for magical boosts as well.

 

05 Started work before you’re actually awake

The first thing I usually do in the morning depends on whether or not I woke up with or without an alarm. If I work up with an alarm, the first thing I’m doing is turning off that alarm on my phone which inevitably means I’ll check my notifications. If I woke up without an alarm, I’ll meditation for a few minutes, do some light yoga, and grab some breakfast.

But when I’m in a crunch, the first thing I do is crawl over to my desk and start typing. Usually, this happens when I have a reading queue a mile long and a post needing to be published in three hours. If I start working the moment I’m conscious but not yet awake, then I’m less likely to get distracted before half finishing whatever I needed to do.

When I do get distracted, I’m way more likely to want to finish whatever I was doing because, well, it’s probably almost done anyway.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a terrible thing to do routinely to yourself. It may start you associating work with lack of sleep (even if it’s true) and get you thinking bitter, dark thoughts against your work. It also doesn’t guarantee good work, especially with less intuitive projects. Remember to edit and review before you hit that send button if you work in this state. A metaphor that made sense at five a.m. might not make sense at eleven a.m.

How to make this magic: Cast a magnetic-style charm to one of your desk items, like your computer mouse or a sticker on your laptop. This allows you to feel “drawn” to use an item, even subconsciously.

 

06 White noise generators or instrumental music

I love white noise generators. I use them ALL. THE. TIME. Literally, all the time.

White noise is a great way to get your brain to productive mode without dealing with silence or hearing too much conversation and becoming distracted. I found that if I changed out what kind of sounds I listened to, I could get shit down. When I want to work, I put on video game instrumental soundtracks (no joke! Try the Skyrim soundtrack next time you’re knocking out a boring typing project).

White noise is not a one-size fits all kind of thing. Once you get into it you realize different people find different white noise better than others. For example “brown noise” rather than “white noise” is more comforting to me – think thunder rolling over the roaring ocean rather than rain. So if you’ve tried white noise generators before, try it again but try different tones and pitches to see what works best for you.

I highly recommend the free website mynoise.net. I’m not an affiliate of the website. I just really, really love it. I also use a playlist on Spotify (I have a premium membership I share with other folks so no ads) and the app Insight Timer which is a meditation app with a community who offer white noise meditation tracks for free.

How to make this magic: Use the sounds to your advantage. I’m spiritually attached to the ocean and water in general. So my go-to sounds are all water based. If you’re attracted to the wind, they have generators and soundscapes like that too. Fire? Done.  Earth? Yup, that can be handled too (forest sounds, cave sounds, farmland sounds, etc). More urban? Crowded cafe sounds are really popular. Use what makes you feel rooted and at home.

 

07 Meditation

When I was younger, I never meditated. It just wasn’t me and not something I wanted or needed to do. I knew what I wanted to do and I usually had a schedule of things to do in my head. As an adult, I have a ton of stuff going on too but now I’m often pulled in so many directions I can fail to prioritize what’s actually important to me. Meditation helps me ease that.

Meditation is also my go to when I have a super long to do list and I want to figure out what I actually want to do that day. My to do list might be twenty items long but meditation gives me a moment to breath and think “OK. What’s actually important here? What can I do now for others, now that I’ve done something for myself?”

Guided meditation can be really helpful for folks who have brains that don’t like to shut up or want to achieve a particular goal. Others may do better with simple quiet meditation. It’s a personal taste sort of thing. Even a few minutes helps.

How to make this magic: Meditation is often used in magical practices but there’s a lot of guided meditations out there that can be used to achieve particular goals or help you release a lot of negative emotions. Try out some and see what proves to be helpful to you.

 

So that’s what I did to get my to do list down to a minimal amount. They’re simple techniques, to be sure, and you’ve probably heard them all before. That’s kind of the point. They’re stuff you’ve heard before because they work. Don’t knock them until you try them.

I know January was really hard for a lot of people. I saw a lot of people struggling with some drama and nonsense during all of that time. It can be really difficult to dig yourself out of a hole spiritually in order to really get back on track so early on in the year. Just remember that each day is a chance to start fresh. Each month is a new beginning. You can always start again. Don’t give up and remember to give yourself a chance to breathe!

How to Create a Deity (Pop Culture Paganism)

How to Create a Deity by This Crooked Crown

 

A few years ago there was quite a kerfuffle about pop culture paganism. Okay, I’m totally downplaying it. It was pretty much a knock-out drag-down fight where people from all over were weighing in on their private blogs and tumblrs. It was a thing for at least a week.

It’s a weird thing to debate to me because I’ve always been using pop culture and non-magical media as inspiration for my magic. I developed my system of energy manipulation through a children’s fantasy book when I was ten. I taught myself scrying from an adult fantasy book not long after that. There is a book series that I’m fairly confident I wouldn’t have survived high school or college without. I read it daily and it helped shaped me in troubled times. I always had a few copies of the books on me, and it got to the point where a friend had copies in her bag in case I forgot mine.

People find hope and faith in all sorts of places. It seems really weird to me that people would disparage anything that others find faith in. Who cares who or what someone else worships? Their worship doesn’t disgrace your deity or deities. If you feel that it does, then it’s something that’s off in your thinking, not the other way around. I mean, there are plenty of faiths that want to have one deity above them all but… uh, that deity’s existence doesn’t necessarily mean other deities don’t exist?

Plus, historically, there are a lot of deities we recognize now that were sort of adapted or merged from other deities. Some of this is due to our historical understanding and some of it was due to regionalism. This is basic, Wikipedia-level knowledge.

Creating deities isn’t new. And worshiping non-deities isn’t new either. It just isn’t. After all, some traditions invoke the elements into their circles, and they aren’t typically considered deities. Sacred, yes, but not deities. Ancestor worship is a world-wide phenomenon and those ancestors aren’t considered gods. Pop culture paganism isn’t just interested in pop culture based pantheons but all aspects of paganism. So pop culture based spells, sacred entities, and so on.

And why not now? Why not now when there’s so much else in the world then there was back then? Who cares if someone you know online worships a god of coffee or a goddess of procrastination? Who cares if they are following the Outsider from Dishonored or are serious about the Elven pantheon from Dragon Age? Who cares if Link and the Legend of Zelda is their source material? What difference does it make if they live by the Jedi codes? So what if they have a shrine to the deity of quantum mechanics? That entity gives them hope, faith, courage, and strength. It makes them stronger. It’s one of the major reasons why people become involved in religions to begin with.

Anyway, there is no proper list of requirements or a checkbox one must fill in to become a deity. There is no list. There is absolutely no such thing as a proper deity because any deity is a proper deity. This is a personal thing. You’re going to have to make up your rules or what is and isn’t a deity yourself.

I could tell you each deity needs attributes or associations, but that’s not strictly true. What each deity usually has is a sphere of influence.

A sphere of influence is the things the deity influences around them. Let’s take Hermes. Hermes is the god of boundaries and thresholds; doorways. This means he crosses between worlds. In fact, except for a few rare occasions, he’s the only deity that can cross between the realm of the dead (as he’s conductor of the dead and an emissary), the mortal realm, and the realm of the gods. This means he has influence in all three locations. Let’s go further. He’s a god of traveling, of journeys (since he’s a god of doorways). He’s also a god of transition, movement: again, traveling, change, etc. This means he’s key and ideal for anyone who’s livelihood relies on traveling. He’s a messenger, right? An emissary. He passes knowledge and information onto others, especially the masses. This means he’s key for any knowledge, wisdom, speechcrafting, or works of art or literature. He’s passing that information on, giving up that culture to others. He’s even a bit of a trickster in some myths, which plays well with his cleverness and previously discussed influences. These are the things he is: we know this because of the source material, the literature we have on him.

So, Hermes is a god of herdsman (travelers), heraldry (messenger), omens (messenger), trade (travelers, messengers and bringing things to the home), travel, luck (because you’d bloody well need it with traveling and hoping someone doesn’t kill the messenger), the dead (again, emissary of the dead), thievery (literally within his mythos), language, education, the arts, literature (again, communication via messenger), athletics (you do that much traveling and you’d be in shape too), and finally the home.

Now the home is interesting here isn’t it? He’s a god of travel but he’s also a god of doorways. Your doorways. To your home. Why the hell wouldn’t you ask such a god to guard your doorways from trespassers? Why wouldn’t you ask for luck and grace as you pass under his doorway each and everyday? You return the same way as well.

That’s all in his sphere of influence. And it goes further. Hermes is associated with rams, due to mythology. So rams are in his sphere of influence. So are certain types of trees, symbols (winged hat, shoes, and staff anyone?). Hermai are a specific symbol that appear over doorways, crossroads, and regular roads as a mini shrine to Hermes himself. And that’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure someone out there has a whole huge list of what he’s associated with, all information gathered through mythology and historical, cultural research.

That’s his sphere of influence. Now, how does this relate?

Hearth by This Crooked Crown

Each deity there is can be broken into spheres of influence. Anything from the smallest fae to the greatest deity. All can be broken down into their associations, into their spheres of influence. As a creator of your own deities, you have to create your own mythology and spheres of influence for each of your deities. How detailed they are is up to you. You’ll find it’ll grow through associations humans make with objects.

I’ll take an example from one of my fictional novels-in-progress.

Deandr is a god of death, luck, intoxicants, war, and madness. He shares madness with two other godesses, the goddess of love and passion and the goddess of music, tricksters, and inspiration. Because Deandr’s a god of death and war, he’s worshiped by warriors. He’s a god of fighting (see: death)  and intoxicants so he’d be popular among brawlers and drunkards. He’s a god of luck so gamblers and thieves would find him irresistible. He’s also a god of madness – madness from drinking, from the throes of winning and losing, of adrenaline, blood lust, grief, despair, death, etc. He’s a god of a lot of things. Carrion birds, flesh-eating animals, animals used in combat (like horses), animals considered lucky (rare animals, like albinos, or two headed snakes) would all be part of his sphere of influence. Any plan used to make alcohol or intoxicants would be in his sphere of influence. Lesser attached but still considered would be children born of illicit drunken affairs, prizes from war, money and commerce, crafting, brewing, games. These are things that are attached to him simply by association, even if they strictly aren’t in his sphere of influence.

Now, obviously, spheres of influence can overlap with deities – this is true of all mythology, again, using Hermes as an example, he shares his status as a god of messengers with Iris and he shares his status as a god of the home with Hera and Hestia, depending on the home.

Spell and Herb Candle by This Crooked Crown

 

So the answer is there is no list. You have to decide what each god is in control of and from there let the associations grow. What does that god influence?

I’ll use a pop culture example. Let’s go with Cecil from Welcome to Night Vale. He’s the Voice of Night Vale – so speaking is his thing. But he’s also a messenger of news and plays music residents might not otherwise hear. So he’s the the bringing of new things, changes. He’s ruler of words, carefully crafted. But it goes deeper than that. He’s charismatic. He has influence and can dominate over people. He can sway public opinion, for good or bad. It goes, again, further. He’d also be great at self-deception, love at first sight, and living or creating his own world. He’s a big part of his community and clearly loves it so he’d be great for worship within a community.

For our purposes, this means he’s skilled with all chants and word spells, he’s mesmerizing so he’d be great with influencing and dominating others. As a radio host he’d had a radio personality – meaning he’s partially an illusion. He’d definitely be the entity you’d want to call upon if you had to make a public speech, need to convince someone to do something for you, or send a secret message. Associations would be music, words, voice recordings, any type of broadcasting equipment, broadcasting towers, cats, Carlos, and various other things he’s mentioned as a personal interest. All that from a character who’s physical appearance and off-radio personality we don’t even know.

Bonfire by This Crooked Crown

 

So when you create your deities, sit and really think about them. If they’re a god of water then what does water effect? Well, there’s animals living within it, there’s atmospheres of the sea, there’s darkness and light. There’s stillness and movement. It creates life and can kill. It’s literally a whole world. It can partially suspend gravity (as shit can float on water). And that’s just the beginning. That doesn’t even get into the composition of the water itself or how humans use it. It doesn’t get into that we’re made up of water. Water comes from the sky as well, can be both solid, semi-solid, and liquid (transforming much?). And it goes a ton further than that.

All of that before you get to the setting up of the altar, shrines, or holy spaces. All of that before offerings, rituals, and invocations. Can you skip those steps, sure. But you’ll find that you’ll connect much easier on a rational level when you have things laid out. You’ll find people will take you more seriously (and you’ll take yourself more seriously) when you have it all laid out.

This is a long-term, deeply personal project for each person. It will require quite a lot of thinking and researching the source material. It’ll require you to decide which source materials to follow when you have conflicting information. It’ll require you to think and really connect with this entity as you develop your practice. No two people approach the same entity in the same way – that’s true in any religion. It’s true in pop culture paganism too.

Good luck to those starting this endeavor. I hope this helps provide some thoughts on your path. I’m happy to be a sounding board to bounce ideas off of, if you’re stuck! Just drop me an email. Best wishes!

[Updated and adapted from my original post here.]

Elemental Combinations

I don’t really use elements in your traditional ritual set up. I do sometimes use them but it’s often in a more alchemical way than an earth-air-fire-water way.

One of my favorite ways to use elements is to combine them. A good example is an air plant. An air plant largely lives on air (with the occasional misting of water) but it’s still a plant so it’s an earth element. That’s three associations to deal with for one tiny little plant!

But elemental combinations are actually a really smart way to help set up an altar or a spell on the go. You can just roll with it. Instead of packing a ton of ritual items, you can just pack one or two herbs and that can suffice. It helps if you travel a lot, do a lot of on-the-go rituals, or need to be low-key.

Elemental combinations also have the benefit of being dual purpose so you can bring two different energies into a spell at the same time. Need both fire and water? A dried water plan may be the best way to go – just burn it with a candle.

Of course, the thing with element associations is that they are NOT universal. Every practitioner will need to rely on their cultural or traditional folklore in addition to their own personal associations.

 

However, correspondence charts are super helpful, especially when they’re well-researched. To that end, I’m happy to announce that I’m releasing online correspondence charts for free to you all.

These are heavily researched with sources. As in, you can look up where each correspondence comes from right down to the page. Right now, we’re starting with herbal correspondences because I have hundreds readily available but stones, metals, and other correspondences will come along in time.

I’m super happy to finally be sharing this with you. Keep an eye on the correspondence charts because they will constantly be updated. I will eventually create a downloadable PDF with all the correspondences but for now, it’s online only. Enjoy!

Money in the Spirit World – Astral Currency & Trade

Money in the Spirit World

 

Here’s some real talk: shit costs money. This is true with your spirit dealings as well.

Historically, money has been used in multiple cultures as offerings to spirits. (Also, historically paying the people who dealt with spirits, such as practitioners, was and still is a thing.)

However, it’s not always about the amount of cash you can put out. Trading expensive goods is also something that’s often used. Are you giving that expensive alcohol as a gift – or a bribe? Or is it really for services rendered on your behalf?

Offerings are made for a lot of reasons. They can be made from a place of love or fear. As a perfunctory action to something you’re excited to share. There’s lots of reasons to give offerings. It’s not necessarily part of a commerce-based action. You can simply do it to please the spirit or deity you’re with.

But, what about commerce? What about actions made that are not an offering? How do you trade with spirits? How does money work in the astral? To be honest, it’s not that much different with how money works here.

 

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My payment for services rendered today. Iron and brass.

A post shared by Samantha Davidson (@thiscrookedcrown) on

 

Commerce isn’t always going to be based on coins or paper money. In fact, most of the time, it isn’t. If you’re operating in a territory controlled by a specific ruler, that territory may offer currency, like any country would. But that currency will probably be worthless outside of that territory.

Trading services or items is probably one of the easiest ways to get something. Can you draw? Suggest that. Can you cast a spell or create a magical item? Did you find a pretty astral stone or grow a particular herb in your astral home’s garden? Try that as a means of trade.

Of course, you can always trade information. Information is, almost always, the most appreciated sort of currency. Tell someone where to a particular river, give directions to someone, mention where you last saw a particular spirit. Even gossip and rumors have their own weight and merit. Best of all, you can use the same information gained with different people and some people will pay very highly for information. The more desperate they are for that information, the more you can charge. It’s a very good idea to keep an eye on what kind of information you have to share and how much that’s worth to some people.

 

Another option is to get a job. This probably is the least liked option but is certainly going to get you what you want. If you do take on a job for someone, be sure that your terms are agreed upon in a very plain fashion. You will do X for Y and that’s it. Courier is a very popular job for dreamers and spirit walkers like us.  You can also be a freelancer of any skill you’re good at or even a mercenary. The tie-less kind of jobs are quite suitable for us as we aren’t consistently able to access the astral.

 

 

If you have you own territory or home, you can grow, make, rent, or create something there to sustain yourself. Maybe you’ll grow herbs or you have the only water for miles. You could be the only person in the area that can heal or has light or a safe place to sleep at night. Trade for these commodities and go from there.

You can also see if a local spirit has work for you to do. Working under the service of a spirit ruler or any spirit will be like working in you regular day job. The only exception is the work will probably be different and there probably isn’t a lot of rules in place. Make sure that you know your rights and how to get out of the job if you no longer want it. You can even make agreements to when your job ends if you don’t want it with the person that hires you right off the bat. Help yourself and make these demands and agreements at the start so you don’t have to worry about it later.

You can also make agreements to do something in the physical realm for the spirit. This works very well for us and it’s utterly unique to use dreamers and spirit walkers. Spirits can’t do this for one another usually so it gives us a unique advantage. However, I’ve found that the more you pay attention to a spirit while in this realm, the more control they have over this realm. For example, if a spirit asks you to make them a shrine in the woods and some kids find that shrine, it may give that spirit more power here because more people believe in them. It’s hit or miss as some spirits don’t work in the manner.

There’s pros and cons to each of these methods. You’ll have to talk to people and have a good grasp of people in order to trade information. Working under a spirit ruler may gain you some enemies because of your association but you’ll probably also be under their protection. Grow herbs to sell and you’ll have to actually, you know, grow them. Weigh your options before you decide what to do.

 

 

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to make trades and arrangements in front of a third neutral party. There are even mediator spirits you can hire for this specific purpose. But, anyone can serve as a third part. These third parties will verify the agreement of the trade (or whatever) and if one side of it is broken, then actions can be taken.

There are also spirits that work like money lenders or even currency exchange. These spirits will vary wildly in temperament so you might wind up dealing with a very nasty spirit or someone who is a complete sweetheart. Currency exchange will usually have a direct price – you bring 8 X and get 5 Y. The spirit making the exchange will take a small percentage of the trade for their own payment.

Keep in mind that breaking promises or agreements is considered extremely bad. Note, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a loophole to your advantage. Faeries are really the experts at this – they won’t do something outright against the agreement but they will find every loophole ever and use it instead.

Theft is an additional problem to remember. Items, even those in the astral, have energy and some people – even some practitioners – can track that energy like a bloodhound. So if you steal something and someone is skilled in tracking energy, they could hunt you down.

 

 

Not everything you can trade or do will be useful so cultivating many skills or keeping items around like some pack-rat RPG hero can help you figure out exactly what to offer at the time.

It’s tricky to get the hang of so don’t be surprised if you get up getting proverbially robbed during a deal. It happens. Live and learn. Like in real life, it takes time and practice to develop a good system of deal-making.

Why should you jump through all these hoops? Well, not everyone can create everything in the astral. And some items require knowledge to create that you don’t have. It also fosters relationships within the community. Plus, some things are just easier to buy than make.

The astral is a truly fantastic place and spirits of all kinds exist there. Some will have wildly different ideas of what’s useful or worth currency. Ask questions politely and you’ll probably do just fine.

Enchanting Objects for Second Sight

If you’ve hung around fairy tales long enough, you’ve run into the concept of using objects to achieve second sight.

Second sight is the ability to see things that are beyond normal perception such as spirits or energy. Some people are naturally gifted at this and others train themselves to use it. It sits firmly on the line between psychic ability and intuition.

Enchanting Objects for Second Sight by This Crooked Crown

Let’s be clear on one thing – just because someone has the second sight does not mean that they’re seeing spirits all the time. It doesn’t mean that they’re able to see all spirits. It doesn’t mean that they are always seeing spirits with their physical eyes. Spiritual beings aren’t always able to be perceive with physical eyes. It’s far more minute than “can you see that ghost?” even if it doesn’t seem like it.

There’s lots of folk information on how to achieve this. Looking through a hagstone or enchanting object are just one of the ways. You can use sandalwood, wisteria, wild thyme, and a number of other herbs to see what’s beyond normal vision. Trance inducers like flying ointments also work in this manner.

Look through a hagstone or doorway is another way to see these things. It’s about threshold crossing which is known to allow one to step between the worlds. (Hence the word “hedge-crossing”). Using this method, you’ll look through a hagstone (a stone with a natural hole in the center but shells with holes in the center work well too) and see what there is to see. Threshold crossing can be any kind of threshold. Stepping between two poles could be a threshold. Crossing between a wall and a hedge could be a threshold. There’s tons of ways to cross like that.

Weirdly, enchanting objects to allow you to see things is common in folk stories and fairy tales but not a common technique shared in modern day. I have no idea why this is.

In order to enchant an object to see what’s beyond normal sight, you’ll first need to pick an object that can be held up to your eye. Eyeglasses and sunglasses are absolutely the easiest and more available for this. A camera could also be used. You may want to pick a necklace you can hold up to your eye. This will be a constant spell so it’ll always be working.

That could actually be a problem. Anyone who has the second sight can tell you that it can be really distracting to see stuff that isn’t there. I’ve braked suddenly while driving thinking I was going to run over a dog that wasn’t there. I nearly jumped out a chair just last night because I thought something ran across the wall directly next to me – but nothing was there. If you’re not use to seeing these beings, you can absolutely end up looking a bit weird. It’s not a consistent thing but at least once a week I end up being startle by some spirit shenanigans that I wasn’t expecting and no one else can see.

You could also pick an object that you wear in order to give you second sight. This gives you more control over the ability. A pair of earrings is a good choice but a necklace or even an article of clothing can be a good choice too.

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Mushroom, mushroom

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The technique is very simple but gathering the ingredients can be very complex. It can take up two or three months to set this up if you don’t have any of the materials on hand. For best results, it could take years because you should collect the water and plants on the first of May and then cast the enchantment then as well – which could be difficult if the moon’s not working with you. You could, alternatively also or exchange May Day for October 31st or some other spirit important holiday. I don’t bother because that’s a lot of hurry up and wait for me but to each their own.

First gather water from an old water source – an old river, well, the ocean, etc. I specifically mention old as a pond newly made in a golf course isn’t going to have the same kind of results we want.

Gather the first morning dew for about seven days. You can do this by placing a jar outside overnight and picking it up as the sun rises the next morning. It probably won’t amount to much but that’s OK.

Create full moon water and new moon water by placing jars of water in window sills under the moonlight (or lack of moonlight).

Pour water from each of these sources into a bowl and place any of the following into it: calendula petals, wisteria leaves, powdered sandalwood, mugwort, ash leaves, violets, wild thyme, lavender, or woodworm. Pick as many or as few as you’d like. Let this sit under the full moon for a full night but remove it from sight before the sun rises. You can strain this water now, if you want.

Cleanse the object you intend to enchant. Wash the object with each water source. Make sure that you concentrate on the surfaces of the object. For a pair of glasses, you’ll trace the water along the eyeglass frame then wash the lenses on both sides. Repeat once more with the herb infused water.

Sleep with the object at your side on the night that you wash it. Then it’s ready to use. To use it, concentrate on what’s before you with your mind to see if there’s anything there for you to see. This should allow you to see spirits and energy far more frequently than before. As stated above, you may not physically see things with your eyes all the time but you should be able to sense things and see glimpses more easily.

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In addition to the problem mentioned above with reacting to things as if they’re physically in front of you, there’s another thing to be aware of. When spirits begin to notice that you’re able to see them, then they start paying attention to you. This can be fun for some people and terrifying for others. It depends on the beings you end up meeting and how you interact with them. If you’re not thinking about spirit work, then you might want to consider against this entirely. In the end, that’s a choice you’ll have to make.

It can be difficult to see spirits. Sometimes they simply don’t want to be seen or the circumstances aren’t right. Or maybe they don’t even have a physical form for you to see. You may need to just roll with whatever they give you. Good luck!

Secular Witchcraft Defined

Secular witchcraft is a rising star in the witchcraft scene but it’s also one that is heavily misunderstood.

Secular Witchcraft Defined by This Crooked Crown

As a secular witch, I practice a style of witchcraft that is separate from my spirituality.  The word separate is absolutely key. What this means that I may have spiritual or religious beliefs but they do not touch upon my witchcraft. The witchcraft practice and the spiritual/religious practice are not used in conjunction. They’re two separate things in my life, just like how your witchcraft may not touch your work life or family life.

It’s important to note the separation rather than the absence of spiritual connection. Much of the misconception is centered around this confusion. On the surface, absence and separation may appear to be the same thing but they’re not. If you combine oil and water in a glass, they separate but not disappear. Or you might think of your spirituality as a box and a separate box holds your witchcraft. Just because they’re apart doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

For example, as said I’m a secular witch but I’m also a hard polytheist that’s loosely tied to one god on a family level and another on a personal level (and maybe a third merely because the other two are around). I never use those deities in my witchcraft. They’re simply not a part of it. I don’t need or want them involved in the witchcraft portion of my life

 

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Quartz

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Witchcraft itself is the art, science, and skill of a witch. Witchcraft is not and cannot be inherently secular. This is another misconception that has been made. By saying that witchcraft is inherently secular denies the existence of spiritually connected paths and systems. It denies witchcraft religions such as Wicca. It denies the idea that magic can be pulled, derived, or invoked through sacred or divine means. It denies quite a lot of historical magical practices too. So let’s cut the crap now – your practice may personally be inherently or originally secular but witchcraft as a whole cannot be.

The tricky part with secularism is where to draw the line between spirituality and secularism. What portions of your life count as witchcraft? What acts are religious to you? How to separate them will entirely depend on you. Secularism requires an ability to separate intimate parts of your life and for some people that’s difficult or undesirable.

For me, my witchcraft is spell casting and manipulating the world with magic. That’s how I define my personal practice. My spirituality is more of convoluted and difficult to describe but it doesn’t include using magic or spells to change things. Spirit walking and divination are separate skills from either of these two. While I do use spirits in both my spirituality and my witchcraft I don’t enact a spell while doing a spiritual ritual at the same time. And divination is used in neither except for very rare occasions.

This means that I can be having a spiritual crisis and still be able to perform readings, cast spells, or deal with spirits. Or I could be feeling super disconnected to my witchcraft or spirit work but still be able to read tarot or feel spiritually connected.

 

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It’s extremely difficult to decide what believes are secular and where to draw the line. What makes up how you view the world? How do you define magic? How do you define spirituality or religion? What things are spiritual or sacred to you? Do they hold a place in your witchcraft practice? Can you cast a spell without using divine or sacred things in it? Ask these questions and see where your answers lie.

Many witches may call themselves secular when in actuality, they’re loosely religious. That’s not the same thing. You can’t sprinkle religion on top of secularism – it breaks the secularism, by definition.

Similarly, you can be an atheist and be a witch. Again, that belief of atheism should still be separate from witchcraft in order to be defined as secular witchcraft. Otherwise it’s simply atheistic witchcraft.

 

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Simple spell set up 🕯

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Many secular witches try the secular thing and eventually go away from it. Or they come to secularism from a religious or atheistic place. Which is perfectly normal. Our practices grow and change as to match how we as people grow and change. If your practices doesn’t suit the person you are or want to be, then it’s probably not anything more than a hindrance.

Secularism witchcraft isn’t for everyone and that’s perfectly normal. There’s no singular one size fits all for witchcraft. It’s perfectly OK to try secularism witchcraft and say “Nope! Not for me!” To each their own.

Knot Your Garter

A while ago I was researching love divination superstitions when I came across an interestingly little charm from the 1696.

To know whom one shall marry. You must lie in another county, and knit the left garter about the right legged stocking.. and as you rehearse these following verses, at each comma, knot a knot.

‘This knot I knit,

To know the thing,

I know not yet,

That I may see,

The man (woman) that shall my husband (wife) be,

How he goes, and what he wears,

And what he does, all days, and years’

Accordingly in your dream you will see him: if a musician, with a lute or other instrument; if a scholar, with a book or papers.(1)

Now this is particular charm evolves so the more common usage of it is as written in 1899 “To induce favourable dreams, nine knots are tied on a garter.” (2) There are other regional variations of this as well that are interesting to look at but we’re going to deal primarily with these two variations.

Now, I am a folklorist at heart. I majored in it at college so I love to watch superstitions evolve in this manner (and then dissect why they evolved in this manner).

 

Wrist Bells

 

More importantly, this is interesting from a witchcraft perspective. Here, the practitioner is sleeping somewhere different away from home. While there, they knit their left garter around their right stocking and say the verses. In their dreams, they’ll get a vision of their future spouse. (Remember that around this time, garters more unisex than they are now.)

There’s a couple ways to break down this superstition into an actual practice and it would widely depend on how the garter was constructed and the usage of the word “knit”. I don’t knit personally (I’m a crochet girl) but theoretically, you’d have to pull stitches out in order to restitch the stitches for this charm or you’d end up adding length to the garter and defeating the purpose of the garter entirely. Or, you’d add length to the garter ties, making them longer than used (garters were tied at this time, not elastic as now).

But garters are still a close, personal thing. They’re kept close to the skin and were incredibly individual yet ubiquitous items. There’s also a level of propriety to be addressed with garters. Garter kept your clothing where you wanted it to be, it kept you properly dressed. Typically speaking, you were rarely improperly dressed except around wardrobe-related servants or your spouse. So there’s something of a “revealing the self” aspect to this charm, subconscious though it made me.

As pre-made clothing became more popular, people made less and less of their own garters. Garters eventually became less used as clothing designs changed. The origins of the charm became older and less known. It simplified, due to clothing changes and time itself. It became more of a “knot nine times to reveal your future spouse in a dream” sort of deal.

 

 

Either (and any) variation of this charm has legs to stand on so the actual change isn’t the problem we face when looking to use this spell. Instead, what we need to address in how to adapt this spell to modern times.

Few people regularly wear garters. Many people end up with garters for their wedding clothing and that’s about it. It’s a special occasion thing, usually, so not a lot of people would consider this specifically important. Of course, some people still regularly use garters for costuming, tall socks, or they wear them for work-related clothing.

We need to look at what’s important here. Is the garter itself important? Or is what the garter represented more important? If the garter itself was important, then you would have to use a garter to cast this spell. If the garter isn’t important, then what could be used in place of a garter? Would making nine tiny knots with a piece of sting in the hem of your underwear work in lieu of a garter? Shoelaces? Hair? Hair ribbon? Suit tie? What could be used when it comes to modern clothing?

At it’s heart, this superstition is a knot spell to induce dreams of love. That’s what it’s suppose to do. So… would any knot do? Could you make something and then knot it?

Could you make a garter specifically for this purpose and use the charm for it? Either by knitting, sewing, or even braiding some thread together and tying it to your leg. The steps would probably be creating the garter to your left leg measurements, then tie it to your right leg, saying the charm, then go to bed.

 

 

If you wanted to adapt this to modern usage you’d have to answer these critical questions:

What’s the purpose of the garter? What does it stand for? Does that meaning still stand today for me? Is there an equivalent I can use instead?

How can I knot the garter or garter substitute? Will sewing stitches be representative? Or does it have to be knitted?

In the end, any of these variations would work. I don’t have a “here’s exactly how you adapt this” because there’s so many ways you could go with this. Personally, I’d crochet a garter (because knitting seems to escape me) with my left leg measurements and say the charm as I made each stitch. I’d make it long enough to tie on and knot the tying portion nine times. Then I’d tie it to my right leg nine times, repeating the verses, before heading to bed.

But, that’s me. How would you adapt this classic superstition? Does it sound similar to an old superstition you’ve heard of before?


  1. Oxford Dictionary of Superstitions, editors Iona Opie and Moira Tatem. 2005 Edition, Oxford Press. Page 221-222
  2. Ibid.

5 Tips to Loving Yourself + Tarot Spread

Quick post and then I’ll let you get back to your evening. There’s a ton of tips floating around about how to love and care for yourself. I’m not going to rehash all of that info because I’m sure you’ve run into it before. Here’s some of my favorite ideas.

Keep reading because there’s a tarot/oracle/divination spread at the bottom you might enjoy!

 

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Walk along the water with me?

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01 Focus on what you love

I pick one thing that I really like about myself and buy or create something nice for it. For example, I’m really fond of my hair so when I’m feeling down in the dumps, I’ll buy a new hat, make a new hair accessory, or try a new hair style.

It helps reinforce that there’s stuff I like about myself and that I’m still super cute even in sweats and a baggie tee while procrastinating today’s workout.

 

02 Forgive yourself

Life’s tough and sometimes it sucks. And when you suddenly remember that mistake you made when you were five, it’s like the world is crashing down for about fifteen seconds.

Forgiving yourself isn’t easy. How do you come to terms with something you’re still ashamed about or still embarrassed about? For me, I sit and and say, “yeah, that thing happened and it sucked. I’m sorry it happened but I can’t change it now. I know not to do that thing again.” And that little mental convo helps ease the regret that clings to that memory and it can ease out of the forefront of my mind. It doesn’t instantly forget that memory but it makes it easier to go on with my life.

 

 

03 Making time for yourself

I’m not really a meditation girl. I spend about five minutes on meditation, total, a day. I’m far too restless to sit otherwise. And half of that five minutes is actually me telling myself today’s to do list.

But all those thoughts running around in your head can be addressed when you’re not busy doing a thousand and one other things. Taking a moment to stop, think, and know that you’ve got eight more things to do before lunch is important. Know what else is important? Acknowledging how much of that to do list is actually for you.

If your to-do list is entirely for someone else or work, then you need to carve out time for yourself. And if you can’t find time, make time by dropping or rescheduling something that isn’t important.

 

 

04 Treat yourself

Typically when I’m treating myself,  I buy myself flowers or a book. Usually I mix up something super tasty while I’m at it. I don’t do it often and I make sure that what I’m making or buying isn’t witchcraft related. It helps separate my work and the rest of me. Don’t get me wrong, almost everything I do is witchcraft related eventually. Untreated flowers become dried flowers for my herbal creations, books are broken down to see if I can utilize any ideas in my spells. Food may later become offerings. These are all things that may happen but that’s not why I’m doing them, so it counts as a treat in my eyes.

Why and how do you treat yourself? Are you treating yourself for good accomplishments? To even out bad days? How about ordinary days? You know the ones that you have most of the time. Do you treat yourself then?

Figuring out how to treat yourself is super important. It can make ordinary days special and memorable. It can ease dealing with crappy co-workers or take the bite out of an argument with family.

It doesn’t have to be food based or shopping based, as many “treats” are. I sometimes dedicate an evening to doing something fun but “wasteful” like surfing pinterest pinning ideas for my dream home on a secret board. Or I’ll pop in a favorite Disney movie or read a favorite book once again. It’s a treat. For you. Who cares what others think of it?

 

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Always nice to visit the water.

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05 Stop doing things when they’re no longer fun

I don’t know about you but there’s lots of people out there that start doing a hobby and it no longer is fun. Sometimes projects become frustrating or you realize that the people around a hobby aren’t people you want to be with. Whatever the reason, they’ll be a point where you’ll stop and ask yourself “why am I doing this?”

And if you don’t have a good answer for that question, then stop it. A good answer might be “because I want to master this” or “I’m doing this for a commission” or “I want to achieve this goal”. If it’s not those reasons then it’s probably not worth your time right now. Put the project and hobby aside until you get inspired to pick it up again.

Your hobbies should be enjoyable. If they’re not, what’s the point?

 

Ready for the spread?

loving-myself-by-this-crooked-crown-3

A simple spread to be sure but it focuses on big questions.

01 How can I love myself?

This card doesn’t tell you what to love about yourself or why you should love yourself. Instead, it tells you how to treat yourself with love. It tells you how to show your love of your own self in the same way a card might show how you love someone else.

02 How can I care for myself?

This is your self-care methods. It may suggest that you reread a favorite book, binge watch TV, meditate, or any number of other self-care choices available to you. When you draw this card, make sure to correlate it with real-life actions in addition to ethereal or mental actions.

This card might be a little harsh. It may tell that you need to cut back on snacks and focus on healthier food choices. It might tell you to get out of the house and go make friends. It might even tell you to drop toxic friends for your health.

03 What can I do better for myself?

This card will focus on things you’re already doing. They will be things that you should focus on now, for yourself. If your attention is scattered or you feel like you’re being pulled in a thousand directions, this card will tell you where to focus your attention and how to get back on track.

It can also tell you things like “go make some more friends so you’re less lonely” or invite more art into your life. It might suggest that you take a class to inspire your yoga routine or start taking up daily writing prompts to upgrade your writing skill.

This isn’t necessarily about bettering yourself but doing things that you already like doing and focusing on that. It may also be a suggestion that you should focus on controlling your finances or getting a job promotion. It’s less self-oriented than any of the other cards and can involve how you deal with the world around you.

 

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Soul on fire

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Give it a try! It’s a simple little reading but can really answer some questions if you’re kind of floundering right now. If you don’t want to read for yourself, you can always buy this reading over at my etsy or storenvy shops.


Decks featured:

  • Sacred Creators Oracle by Chris-Anne © Chris-Anne.com
  • Linestrider Tarot: Kickstarter Edition by Siolo Thompson ©

How to Find the Perfect Tarot Deck for You

Reading tarot cards is often considered a stable of magical practitioners. Lots of people read tarot cards though (and many magical practitioners do not) so there’s about eleventy-billion ways to learn how to read tarot and even more reasons to read tarot.

First, let’s get that troubling superstition about buying your own deck out of the way. It might work as a superstition for you, but it’s fairly new in the realm of superstitions and likely doesn’t apply now. You can buy your own deck. The deck will read perfectly well and will not carry negative energy because you bought it.

More importantly, the criteria for your tarot deck is one that needs to be considered carefully. Each person will want different things out of a deck. Ask yourself these questions to help narrow the field.

 

how-to-find-the-perfect-tarot-deck-for-you-by-this-crooked-crown

 

Do I like the art?

This is, by far, one of the most important criteria. It’s really hard to connect to a deck which has an art style you don’t like. I have all sorts of decks in all sorts of art styles and I can read with many of them but there’s a few I don’t use as often because I’m not super fond of the art style. I keep them often due to sentimental reasons or because they work well for a particular thing but otherwise, I could live without them.

Look at the art. Glance through google images for more pictures and check reviews. There’s some decks that have a fantastic cover or a handful of cards I love but I couldn’t stand the rest of the deck. Sometimes it’s the colors or something else. It’s a personal choice and don’t discredit that when it comes to a selection. You’re doing the reading so your aesthetic should matter.

 

 

Do important cards resonate with me?

Many  readers have particular cards that resonate with them. They might always look at the High Priestess or the Fool to determine if they like the deck. I usually check the Tower, Magician, and Hermit myself because those are the cards I like the most. If those cards don’t work for you, how does that diminish the deck’s quality or importance? I know there’s a deck that has a nice if kind of weird Tower card that I’m unsure about. Something’s not right with it for me so I end up not using that deck quite as often as I might otherwise.

Don’t forget to check the court cards too. The whole Arcana is important, not just the Major. Check the leaders of the Minor Arcana too. I know what happens with the Kings and Queens can make or break how I feel about a deck.

 

05

 

Is the content up to par for me?

This is both a personal decision and an aesthetics  decision. I have a deck that covers all sorts of places in the world at all sorts of eras. But it largely settles in the medieval and Renaissance eras. But Chariot and World, with a handful of other cards, are thoroughly modern images with cars, computers, and so on. Every time I see one of these cards, it throws me because there’s so few of them compared to the rest. It made me change how I use the deck because of this.

You’ll want to consider the tone and content. Are a few cards really graphic? Do they show a lot of nudity? Are their children everywhere? What doesn’t work for you?

As said, some of this comes down to artistic choice with the creator. Some decks just aren’t designed well or use the creator’s own understanding of the cards rather than the traditional meanings people generally expect.

 

 

What do I want to do with the deck?

Are you focusing on love readings? Personal questions? Spiritual questions? Do you want a deck you can connect with or one that just the job done without a lot of fuss? I find that decks have an energy to them almost (or exactly) like a spirit. My Heart of the Faerie Oracle is so sassy and always wants attention whereas my Claude Bludel’s Classic Tarot is Grumpy the Grandpa Grumpasaurus. I’ve used my Heart of the Faerie Oracle for most everything but it doesn’t like financial questions. My Classic Tarot likes business questions but not business questions that relate to the heart or passions. It’s strictly business.

Reviews will help you determine a general deck usage typically but also check out the creator’s own words. The Heart of the Faerie Oracle was designed for relationships of all kinds and that purpose is abundantly obvious.

 

 

Will this deck be hard to learn?

Some decks are not beginner friendly. They might have small or intricate images or only have subtle hints at what they’re suppose to be rather than spelling it out on the card. My Deviant Moon Tarot, for example, doesn’t display the words “Cups” or “Swords” so you either have to pay attention or know the deck. I have numerous decks that just give numbers for the Major Arcana, which may not even work since some decks swap out the numerical placement of the Fool, World, and a handful of other cards.

Many decks expect you to know stuff. For example, the Sherlock Holmes Tarot is wonderfully but if you’re not overly familiar with a great deal of the Sherlock Holmes writing, you’ll have a challenging time with it. The Ghosts and Spirits Tarot takes from stories all over the world relying on you to either know the stories from the images or memorize the stories associated with the cards. Fairy Lights seems to have a hidden story or knowledge expectation, perhaps just merely being familiar with fairy tales as a whole helps or maybe there’s a specific real life fairy court life being referenced. This tends to only happen in themed decks but it’s something to be aware of.

Others might take the creator’s personal knowledge of the subject, skewing traditional meanings which makes it difficult to remember if you’re just learning stuff.

Originality versus RWS traditional meanings also may come into play here as well so keep that in mind.

 

 

Is it a RWS clone? Based off of RWS? Original? Does that matter?

Many of the decks you’re probably going to run into are Rider-Waite-Smith based decks (RWS) referring to the acknowledged creators of the tarot deck popularized today. This deck is also known as the Rider-Waite deck but Smith was the artist and her contributions shouldn’t be forgotten either so there’s been considerable movement to include her in the name/titles.

The RWS decks are the standard when it comes to tarot cards. Some decks are flat-out clones where even the position of the characters are exactly the same. A good example is the Tarot of the Magical Forest. It’s certainly pretty to look at and different with the animal characters but if you compare it to a RWS deck, you’ll see it’s a clone.

Many decks just take the RWS traditional meanings and put their own spin on it. You get some great themed decks out of this as well as some fantastic classics too. But, you’re at the mercy of the creators’ understanding of the cards and how they learned the cards. The Devil is a good example here: some people will immediately draw it as a classic devil and debauchery kind of scene and others go for a wholly different approach.

Original decks may have some inspiration from RWS or they might take inspiration from older tarot cards (tarot was a playing card game before it was a divination tool) or they could invent some new stuff. This is far rarer and often swings into the realm of oracle cards rather than tarot cards.

Oracle cards are different in that the meanings are entirely dependent on the creators. These decks are typically extremely original with their content and often are themed. The Mermaids and Dolphins Oracle comes to mind as does the Sacred Creators Oracle. Since there’s no standard in meanings, you’ll either have to use the book or intuition to read the cards.

There’s also Lenormand cards which are a whole different system of card reading. They have even stricter meanings than tarot cards, have a few hundred years less history, and have designated spreads. They’ve seen an upswing in popularity of late and many people use them now as oracle cards in addition to Lenormand cards.

I have all these styles of decks and I use them all fairly often. I’m an intuitive reader so it doesn’t matter to me which system I use in the end. I just pick the best tool for the specific question at hand. If you’re not an intuitive reader, a Lenormand or RWS deck might be a better choice. If you have trouble with memory, are an intuitive reader, or you dislike classic occultism, an oracle deck might be a better choice for you.

I honestly suggest one of each if you’re going to do a lot of divination reading. Don’t break the bank but a RWS, Lenormand, and oracle will each have different approaches to the same problem and can reveal different aspects of the same question. Or pick your favorite. It’s up to you.

 

 

Do I like the size and feel of the cards?

Not all tarot decks are created equally when it comes to materials. Card thickness, sheen, card material, shape, and the mere size can all change. For example, all of the Blue Angel Publishing decks I own are huge – I have trouble shuffling them at time with my tiny hands. My Enchanted Lenormand? Fits in a pair of women’s jeans pockets (a claim that has either confused you or highly impressed you, I’d wager) and is about the height of a tube of lip balm.

Each reader will have a preference. For example, I like small to medium sized cards, slight to matte sheen, and a bit thicker than a playing card but not so thick you can’t easily shuffle them. I have a friend who loves large cards and another that adore shiny ones. It definitely comes down to personal preference but it’s something to be aware of. Look for these details in reviews.

 

09

My favorites! The Queen of Swords, Page of Swords, the Hermit, and the Tower from the Dreaming Way Tarot

 

Do I want a companion book? What does it come with?

Most tarot decks comes with a tuck box which is exactly like a playing card box and a little white book with maybe a sentence to explain each card (also known as the LWB). Some tuck boxes and LWB are awesome and others are completely useless. Deviant Moon’s tuck box caused me so many issues when I got it that I spent the next day crocheting a bag for the deck just so I didn’t have to use the tuck box. Why? It was too tight and made closing the box and fitting all the cards difficult, risking even damaging the cards just to close the box.

Some decks have heavier cardboard boxes which are intended to house the deck permanently. And some others go completely overkill with their boxes and completely waste space. (I’m looking at you Heart of the Faerie Oracle and Enchanted Lenormand.) Often these decks include a companion book of some kind which makes up for the box size, usually.

I’ve also gotten decks in bags before which, like the heavier boxes, are intended for permanent storage but might not wholly protect the cards if dropped.

Companion books are a thing now and they’re pretty awesome. I’m not really a super fan of selling a companion book separately from a deck unless the deck comes with a LWB too but that’s just my opinion. Companion books are more complete LWBs, going into details about each card, usually a page or so, and often include a spread or two and some sort of introduction or forward from the creator(s). Some books are better written than others and they might be hard or soft covered. It varies from deck to deck.

 

 

Is the deck worth the price it’s being sold at to me?

This is more aimed at collectors than anyone else. I keep a list of decks I want and I periodically go through and examine the items on there, deciding if I want them for the reasons above or if the cost is worth what the deck offers. A RWS copy isn’t going to mean as much to mean as an oracle for example as I prefer original decks for the most part.

I see a lot of readers buy decks that they later sell off because they didn’t meet their needs. Sometimes, they wholly regret the purchase. Decks can be bought for the $25 price or under but many decks hover in the $35-45 range which, combined with shipping, can be a bit pricey if you don’t budget it. Many are more than even that and out of print or limited edition decks can go for hundreds of dollars.

Remember to take a second to think before purchasing. Many sellers don’t allow returns in this field so be aware before you buy what your options are if you don’t like the deck.

 

 

Does it have a companion app?

Some decks have their own companion apps. The mobile apps are sold separately but if you really love a deck, you can get the companion app and use the deck digitally on the road. Companion apps often also help you learn the cards.

Another good thing about companion apps is they’re often cheaper than the decks themselves so you can view all the cards without paying full price for the deck. Plus their ultra portable which can be a huge bonus if you’re a big traveler or aren’t public with your practice.

 

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What do others say about this deck?

Check reviews. Google up some reviews, ask around on social media, haunt the review section of retailer’s websites. Aecletic.com is a great place to start for this. Asking favorite bloggers is a good idea too. If you get a tarot reading from other readers, you can ask them how they feel about the decks used. There’s a good chance they’ll be happy to answer the question.

 

 

Those are good questions to ask if you’re looking for a deck. There’s a lot of choices out there so it can be tricky to find the right deck for you. Good luck and happy divining.

 


Decks featured (in order of appearance):

  • Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls by Matthew Lowes & Josephe Vandel ©
  • Heart of the Faerie Oracle by Brian Froud and Wendy Froud with Robert Gould © Harry N. Abrams
  • Fairy Lights Tarot by Lucia Mattioli © Lo Scarabeo
  • Classic Tarot by Claude Burdel © US Games Systems
  • Deviant Moon Tarot Borderless Edition by Patrick Valenza © US Games Systems
  • Scrying Ink Lenormand Oracle by Siolo Thompson © Bay & Willow
  • Dreaming Way Tarot by Rome Choi and Kwon Shina © US Games Systems
  • Tarot of the Magical Forest by Hsu Chi Chun, Leo Tang, Pietro Alligo, Giovanni Pelosini © Lo Scarabeo
  • Linestrider Tarot: Kickstarter Edition by Siolo Thompson ©
  • Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco © Blue Angel Publishing
  • Sacred Rebels by Alana Fairchild and Autumn Skye Morrison © Blue Angel Publishing
  • Sacred Creators Oracle by Chris-Anne © Chris-Anne.com

The Myth of Buying Your First Tarot Deck

There’s this superstition that you cannot buy your first (or any) tarot deck for yourself. It should be bought for you, given, or stolen but you should never buy it for yourself. If you do, the deck won’t work for you, or it’ll have negative energy, or bad luck, or whatever.

It’s not a superstition I ascribe to. In fact, I find it kind of rubbish.

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Heart of the Faerie Oracle by Brian Froud, Wendy Froud, Robert Gould, & Harry N. Abrams. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m superstitious at heart. I studied major in folklore in university so it’s my thing. But, uh, I’ve tested this and I’m calling it: it’s not true.

First, let’s get to the root of this superstition. It’s not a historical superstition and I’m prone to believe it’s only a few decades old – perhaps calling back to an era where tarot cards weren’t published regularly and therefore were hard to come by. The decks would have been passed down like treasures. In this theory, it makes sense that people would believe that these decks held more power because they’re proven reliable and held sentimental value. (That doesn’t mean those decks are better than one you’d buy, by the way, just more personal.) My theory suggests that this tradition morphed into a superstition over time due to grandstanding and ignorance.

There’s a second reason why this superstition might have come to prominence. That reason is research. Back in the 90’s when the internet was still young but the New Age and Neo-Wicca movement was strong, you could buy decks fairly easily. But just because you picked up a deck didn’t mean…

A) You would know how to read it. Those little white books are infamously useless and many tarot reading books at the time were hard to get or steeped in occultism. Peer-learning was definitely a thing but you never knew if you were getting the complete education.

B) That deck or style suited you. I know many people from that area that just bought decks because they were the only ones they could find, not because they liked the art or how the deck read.

C) The resources were there for reviewing the deck before purchase. These days, if you want to buy a deck, all you need to do is hop on your social media to ask friends what they think or google up a review. That wasn’t easily available in the past and rarely did you have the time to do that before purchasing. These days, I can check multiple reviews in the store on my phone within five minutes.

So if you bought a deck and it didn’t seem to work for you, it could be for any one of those reasons and not because you simply bought the deck.

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Another source is possible. It could simply be one of those things published or spoken of by one group and then taught to their readers/followers and that passed along like a terrible game of Telephone until we have the superstition as it stands today. I haven’t been able to track it back that far but it’s definitely a reasonable theory.

It’s also likely to be at least partially a corruption of other bartering myths of which there are thousands. Superstitions of these kinds generally works like this: You should not buy X for yourself but it should be given as a gift or bad luck will follow. It might also have a condition, like you shouldn’t buy it on a Thursday in October or a neighbor has to buy it for you. These sorts of superstitions typically start in a regional area and build momentum as people move into new areas of the world. It’s a pretty common style of superstition. I’ve seen this style of myth attributed to just about everything from tallow candles, to eggs, to cattle. Historically speaking, these myths are likely partially existent to circumvent community bylaws that disallow various behaviors within a small community. For example, you can keep chickens in my state’s capital city which is across the river from where I live but you cannot in my city. I can read tarot in almost any city in my state but one next door to where I live. And in the capital city, it’s illegal to throw pickle juice off the back of a trolley. The bylaws might or might not make sense but you can bet there’s some sort of history to them. These superstitions may be born from these sorts of laws.

Whatever the source, the fact is that many, many, many tarot readers including myself buy their own decks. Many readers have bought their first decks for themselves, including myself. And I’ve never heard a case of someone who suddenly cannot read their tarot cards or claims to have bad luck because they bought their own tarot cards. Continue to hold to the superstition if you like but it seems highly irrelevant to do so in this day and age of consumerism.

You do you, but be critical in what you hear and read, OK?

 


Heart of the Faerie Oracle by Brian Froud and Wendy Froud with Robert Gould © Harry N. Abrams

Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco © Blue Angel Publishing

Sacred Rebels by Alana Fairchild and Autumn Skye Morrison © Blue Angel Publishing

Sacred Creators Oracle by Chris-Anne © Chris-Anne.com