Divination & Dreams Tuesdays: Local Animal Shelter in Need!

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25% off of all purchases from my shop, and all readings will go towards a donation to the animal shelter.

You can purchase readings through PayPal on my main tumblr blog here, or shop blog here. If purchasing a reading through PayPal, please leave your question in the notes section. You will receive your reading via e-mail. 

My etsy shop is Hawthorn Howl. I also take custom orders. You can send me an ask on tumblr or message on my etsy shop. If you are purchasing a reading through the shop, please be sure to send me a message with your question. You will receive your reading via etsy message and e-mail.

What’s available:

  • 3 card reading
  • 5 card reading
  • 7 card reading
  • bibliomancy
  • crystal ball
  • scrying mirror
  • goblet gazing
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Magic & Myth Mondays: The Magical Properties of Maple

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Lately, I’ve had so many people ask questions about what magic requires, and what it doesn’t.

“This spell says I need this color candle, these herbs, and these crystals. I don’t have access to any of these, or I can’t afford them. Help!”

Truthfully, you don’t need any of that. Of course it’s nice to have, but it’s not necessary. In my personal practice, I like to keep things simple. Find your intent, and focus your energy. Everything around you can have a magical purpose if you get creative enough. I’m going to keep this week’s focus on a tree common in my area, the maple.

When I want to be reminded of the magic that fills maple trees, I take a walk in my own back yard. Just last week, I stood outside below one of the maples, looking up at the falling leaves. Each leaf that fell spiraled and floated down to the ground; and although some leaves fell together, the wind kept them all on a separate path. Much like humans, the maple leaves grow together, are taken on separate paths for a period of time, and return together as one. In one short year, the maple shows us the beauty of the life cycle. The process of dying for the maple leaf is not a sight of grim shadows, but a process of brilliant colors and captivating scents. The maple tree stands between the worlds of life and death, showing us the beauty in each.

Taking a closer look at the maple leaf, we find that there are many magical properties in the colors alone:

  • Red – fire, passion, strength, war, lust
  • Orange – creativity, intellect, opportunity, success, joy
  • Yellow – air, sun, happiness, imagination, inspiration
  • Green – earth, money, luck, healing, growth
  • Brown – animal magic, locating lost objects, house blessing

How to use maple leaves in your practice:

  • Make a wreath to hang on your front door or over the hearth – to bring desires to you related to the colors of the leaves.
  • Pick out one leaf, write your specific desires on it, seal it with wax paper and an iron, and frame it until the following autumn.
  • Use the leaves as mulch – to promote successful garden growth for the following year.

All this talk about leaves.. Don’t forget the maple syrup!

You can use it in a spell when you want to make someone or a situation “sweeter”.

Happy Magical Monday!

 

Spell Sunday: Simple Apple Spell

Washing away the negativity:

  • Rinse your apple under running water and imagine all the negativity in your life washing away. (Alternatively, if you are doing this with a group of people, you can rinse the apples in a large bucket of water, and pour the water into the ground as you imagine the negativity in your life washing away.)
  • Dry your apple.

Carving growth:

  • Use a sharp utensil, such as a knife or fork to carve on the outside of the apple ways in which you wish to grow. For example, creative growth or job promotion. Take the time putting your energy into the intention of growth.

Feasting on the harvest of growth:

  • At this point, you may eat the apple. As you do so, remember all of the ways in which you wish to grow.

*Carry the apple seeds for good luck.*

 

Lavender Biscuits

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*Makes 1 – 2 dozen, depending on size chosen.*

Items needed:

  • 2 microwave-safe bowls
  • Teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup – measuring cup
  • Beater
  • 1 Cookie pan for large biscuits OR 2 Cookie pans for small biscuits
  • Baking spray

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried, crushed lavender
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Steps:

  1. Lightly spray the cookie pan with baking spray, and set it aside while you’re combining ingredients.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients; including flour, baking soda, salt, lavender, cinnamon, and nutmeg, into one bowl and  mix them well with the beater.
  3. Put the stick of butter in a separate, microwavable bowl. Microwave for about 1 minute, or until the butter is soft enough to mix.
  4. Add the sugar to the butter, and mix for about 5 minutes, until a pasty texture forms.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla to the sugar and butter paste, and mix well.
  6. Once both bowls are mixed well, you’re ready to combine them. Add 1/4 cup of dry ingredients to the wet ingredients bowl, and slowly mix until you can no longer see dry ingredients. Continue adding 1/4 cup of dry ingredients to the mix, until all ingredients are combined.
  7. Preheat oven to 350*.
  8. While waiting for the oven to heat, form the dough into separate dough balls, and place evenly on cookie pan(s). An overflowing teaspoon of dough will make a large biscuit. A teaspoon of dough will make a smaller biscuit.
  9. Once the oven has reached 350*, the pan(s) will go in for approximately 10 minutes.
  10. It is important to continue checking on the baking process of the biscuits. I like to check around 5 minutes, 8 minutes, and then 10 minutes. A good way to tell if the biscuits are finished is to stick a toothpick in them. If nothing from the inside of the biscuits sticks to the toothpick, the biscuits are finished.
  11. The goal is a nice golden bottom, and soft biscuits.
  12. Allow biscuits to cool, then eat and enjoy!

Ghost Bottles

In celebration of the last days of the ghost festival, it’s a great time to make a ghost bottle. Ghost bottles are said to act as a vessel for the deceased to more easily communicate and manifest here in our realm.

Steps to make a Ghost Bottle:

  1. Choose a container with a cork. I’ve chosen a potion-shaped bottle, but any glass container with a cork would do. Recycle that old olive oil bottle if you’d like.
  2. Choose your bottle contents and fill your bottle. If you’re filling the bottle with herbs, you’ll want herbs associated with attracting spirits. Magickal Cat has an excellent Herb Grimoire if you’re not sure which herbs to choose. I chose mint, marshmallow root, and rose hips – that’s what I’ve got on hand. You could also use other things associated with ghosts, such as dirt.
  3. Cork your bottle and seal it with wax. Be sure to place wax paper underneath your bottle before pouring the wax to avoid any waxy messes. My bottle has been sealed with black wax because this is the color I associate with death and ghosts. You might choose a different color, such as white.
  4. Choose an item for the top of your ghost bottle. Michaels has some pretty neat skull beads, and they fit perfectly on top of my bottle. You could also use items such as a crystal, a rock, a small key. It’s up to you and what you will associate with.

Consecrating your Ghost Bottle

  1. Light a white candle and incense that attract spirits.
  2. As you do so, state your intention of allowing the Ghost Bottle to be a vessel for ghosts to communicate in this realm. You may wish to name specific relatives or friends that have passed at this time.
  3. Ask the spirits, or ghosts, if they are willing to work with you, and pay attention to the candle flame.
  4. Strong flickering of the flame may indicate a strong response, or yes. Still flickering or a flame that blows out may indicate a weak response, or no.
  5. Allow the incense to burn, and snuff out the candle when you are finished.
  6. Place your Ghost Bottle in a place sacred to you, such as an altar.

This is my adapted version of Ghost Bottles, fit to my personal practices. Change it as you wish to suit your own practices. Idea originally from Sarah Anne Lawless.

Cartomancy

We’re going to take a brief look at my main method of divination, cartomancy.

Cartomancy is divination using a deck of cards. Any deck of cards will do, including playing cards, cards you’ve created on your own, or the well-known tarot.

Can cards really tell us anything?

It’s good to have a sense of skepticism when dealing with the world around you. I like to believe in the cards, but I also keep a healthy sense of skepticism. People use cards for many different reasons. Telling the future, seeing into the past, asking if a spell will work, connecting with spirits, and connecting with deity are a few among these reasons. Personally, I like to remind my clients that they are purchasing a reading for entertainment purposes only, and I cannot guarantee anything.

How did I get into cartomancy?

At the age of 16 or 17, I read the Blue is for Nightmares series by Laurie Faria Stolarz. I was immediately fascinated by the magic brought to life in the series, specifically the practice of reading the future using a regular deck of playing cards. What the series never explained was the meanings of the cards, so it took a little research on my part to find them. I stuck to a 9-card layout, which was an extension of the common 3-card “Past, Present, Future” layout. I used the same deck of playing cards into my college years, but have since retired the deck.

This website does a decent job of describing the card meanings similar to the ones I originally used.

 

My Current Practice

Decks

Currently, I use six different decks. Pictures of these decks can be found in my etsy shop, Hawthorn Howl.

  1. Fairy Tarot – A whimsical deck, featuring suits that best reflect Fae (Acorn, Hearts, Leaves, Bells). I use this deck as my personal default deck, as well as for people with a light, enchanting nature to them. The deck can also be used for Fae communication.
  2. Steampunk – Man, machine, science, nature, alchemy, and romance all in one deck. This is a darker deck, that tends to go into greater detail than my others. I associate this deck with Hecate and Persephone.
  3. The Hobbit – As a LOTR and The Hobbit fan, I had to have this deck. Knowing the story of The Hobbit gives greater insight into the meaning behind the cards.
  4. Shadowscapes – A popular fantasy deck with some of my favorite artwork, influenced by Asian and Celtic artwork, as well as myths around the world.
  5. Animal Wisdom – A colorful deck, with each card being a different animal. I instantly fell for the coyote on the deck box. Who doesn’t love a trickster? This deck is great for communicating with your mirror animal. I associate it with Loki.
  6. Art Through the Eyes of the Soul Oracle – Not your average card deck, and much different from the tarot. The Lady of the Lake is the focus of this deck, with her dark mysteries in the depths of her waters.

Card Spreads

Spreads can be used for specific questions, or simply to reflect something, such as “Past, Present, and Future.”

I’m a huge fan of the 5-card spread in the shape of a star, which includes insight into the inner situation, life direction, obstacles that will appear, how to overcome those obstacles, and the overall purpose. It can be used as a general spread, or to answer a specific question. In my shop, I have listed one, three, five, seven, and eight card spread for different purposes, including fae connections, future, money, and relationships. I’m also willing to create a spread for questions not covered by those spreads.

Creating a card spread isn’t something I’d suggest for beginners. If you’re just starting out, pick one or two card spreads, and stick with them. Once you’ve been working with the cards for a while, you’ll get to know your decks, and what feels right, in the event that you do need to create a spread. As an example, I’ve created a spread visually similar to a staircase with two doors, using the Steampunk deck, for a past life reading.

Conducting Readings

I have a set routine of shuffling my cards into five separate piles, and then combining them all again. I then cleanse them using a quartz crystal. Sometimes, I choose to cleanse them by waving them above a candle flame. It’s really just how I’m feeling at that time. At this point, I concentrate on the purpose of the reading, or the question. Once the cards are shuffled and cleansed, I spread them out in front of me on a special cloth. I find it disrespectful to lay them on any uncovered surface, again, just my personal practice. I then go over the cards with my right hand, all the way down the line and back to the beginning before I begin to choose cards. Sometimes, I’ll feel a tingle in certain fingers. It might feel like a light vibration, it might be a stinging pain. Other times, I see certain images that guide me to choosing the cards. Once I choose a card, I begin to form the spread.

Card Meanings and Interpreting a Reading

The most important thing to remember is that you do not have to memorize the card meanings. In my case, I have six different decks, with different suits that don’t always match up. In time, you become familiar with the meanings, but it’s always good to do your research and check the meaning anyway. It’s much easier to tell a client “I want to do the research to provide you with the correct meaning of the cards,” rather than “I’m really sorry, but I didn’t do my research, and provided you with the wrong meaning.”

Once you’ve got the meanings to the cards, it’s time to interpret the spread as a whole. I look at the big picture, the artwork, and how it fits together to tell a story. I pay attention to themes, the same suit coming up, the same numbers coming up. They all provide keys into giving greater detail in my interpretation of the cards.

Important Note: Words I See Used in Relation to Cartomancy, and Why I Don’t Use Them

Gypsy – I am not a gypsy, my readings do not make me like a gypsy. This term is a racial slur.

Animal Totem/Spirit Animal – These terms are not culturally appropriate for me, and I will not use them. Instead, I will use terms such as “animal guide,” or “mirror animal.”

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones I see most often.

Why do I charge for readings?

They are a service that I offer. Practicing for roughly seven years has made me a more advanced reader. On average, a reading can take me anywhere between 20 minutes to 40 minutes. They can also be tiring, and I need to re-energize myself afterwards. What I make from readings is saved to help pay off my student loans. If you’d like a free reading, tell me how to explain to the student loan company that I can’t pay off my student loans.

Want to learn more about cartomancy and tarot?

Go here.

Working Altar

Ghost Festival

This altar is the altar I keep set up in my bedroom year-round, and it serves as my work space. Currently, it’s decorated for Ghost Festival.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s on my altar:

  • Skulls – specifically for Ghost Festival, to celebrate the deceased
  • Flower arrangements – to welcome Autumn and the harvest
  • Incense burners – incense are burned for various purposes; such as spells, cleansing, honoring
  • Salt – sometimes used for cleansing items
  • Dagger – used for directing energy and cutting herbs
  • Cauldron – used for burning items; such as incense, herbs, and paper used in spells
  • Tealight candle – a new one is placed on my altar each night during Ghost Festival, lit, and allowed to burn until it goes out on its own