Saturday, April 4, 2015

Back at the Triple Goddess for Easter

Just as my corner of the Midwest is emerging from a very frigid winter, I am once again returning (from my winter hiatus) for my first-Sunday-of-the-month discussions of Tarot and Magic at the Triple Goddess bookstore (on the east side of Lansing, Michigan).  Although tomorrow happens to be Easter Sunday, the bookstore will apparently be open, and so I will be there from 1:30 to 3 p.m. as previously.

In the past, I held these Sunday sessions more like workshops, with activities and an agenda to follow, but since we've gone to a more free-form sort of thing, it seems to be working better.  The main purpose is to explore all different sorts of tarot decks, (as well as oracle decks), getting to know the individual cards in more creative ways, as well as finding new ways to activate the magic in the cards.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


In the previous post, we looked at a love spell involving The Steampunk Tarot, which uses an image of doubling in The Sun card, (echoing some of the more antique renditions of this card).  When different creative teams come up with new tarot deck variations, it expands our understanding of the individual cards, and offers new opportunities for magic working.  Another deck which portrays a happy couple in its rendition of The Sun card is the “Tarot of Jane Austen,” (a Lo Scarabeo deck by Diane Wilkes; illustrated by Lola Airaghi).  This deck also portrays a happy couple in The World card, as in the world of Jane Austen, relationship is key to completion and wholeness.  These cards, then, are ideal for a spell where love leads to marriage, as shown below.

As stated in the previous post, you don’t perform love spells with an intent to bind a reluctant partner to your will, but to send an invitation out into the Universe, to attract the attention of individuals who will resonate to a shared vision of pleasure in relationship.  When performing this spell, as you lay out the cards, you could visualize different ways that you and your potential partner might come together, (while also allowing for unexpected ways of meeting), having fun discovering some things you have in common, and the eventual trip to the altar.

You’ll notice that The Lovers card is not included in this particular spell.  That’s because the Tarot of Jane Austen also uses an older conceptual rendition of The Lovers, that features another woman in the scene.  Older cards which depict the man having to decide between two women make a philosophical statement about choices, and touch on Jungian notions of lunar and solar forces, and the Dark Woman and Bright Lady archetypes.  However, for purposes of a love spell, we normally don’t want to distract attention from the desired one-on-one relationship, because we want the Lovers to be solely and intimately focused on each other.

Monday, June 2, 2014


Yesterday’s discussion session at the Triple Goddess centered on how the mysteries of twinning and the magic of doubling can apply to love spells, The Lovers card, and other cards with images of doubling, particularly as they apply to male and female characters. 

I want to make a few more points on this topic, but for those who attended, first let me apologize for my tendency to get distracted and confused, so that I don’t stay on track—jumping from topic to topic, dealing with things out of turn, skipping over some individuals, or not giving enough time to their questions and concerns, or too much time to others.  Because my son has been accompanying me, he’s able to give me a retrospective with some constructive criticism on these issues.  Also, because I am aware that I do have these problems, I’m very happy to have people hold my feet to the fire and forcefully pull my attention back to whatever or whoever I should be focusing on.

So anyway, I brought up this combined topic for discussion because I had heard that some of the attendees were particularly interested in love spells, plus the sun is currently in Gemini, the sign of the twins.  When we consider the reasons for engaging in romantic relationships, (as well as friendships, partnerships, and other types of one-on-one relationships), elements of twinning often add verve to the relationship.  There is a desire to find kindred spirits who share some of our personality traits and interests, and so also serve as mirrors to our selves.  However, we also like our partners to have some opposite traits and qualities, so as to complement our strengths and weaknesses.  It is no surprise that in magical twin pairs, opposites are also often portrayed; for example, the cult of the magical twins in Afro-Caribbean culture defines different types of twins, including a male and female pair.  On top of all that, there’s something about the idea of having a twin that is “fun,” so those of us who were not born twins may feel like we’ve missed out on something special.

The joy of having a partner who is a kindred spirit can be brought into love spells that use tarot cards with images of doubling.  As I explained about love spells during our session, the idea is not to coerce some individual into a relationship against his or her will, but to send out a mental call that attracts people who are on your same vibratory wavelength, holding out psychic images of the fun—as well as the fulfillment--you can enjoy together, should they respond to your magical invitation.  For doing tarot spells along these lines, there are of course a lot of images to choose from, to offer different visions of how life can be beautiful in relationship.

In keeping with the themes of pairing and twinning, I was going through my decks to see if any of the newer ones have picked up on images of doubling in The Sun card, as some of the very old versions feature a pair of children, and others a pair of lovers.  (This is in addition to The Lovers card.)  The imagery in question makes an astrological reference to the sun as ruler of the 5th house, which governs love, pleasure, and children—though the image also recalls the Gemini twins.  Although I find very few modern decks that include a human pair in the Sun imagery, this is nicely portrayed in “The Steampunk Tarot” (by Barbara Moore and artist Aly Fell), so this card can be used to bring an image of happiness into a love spell, as illustrated below:
For those who aren’t familiar with the term, “steampunk” is a literary and artistic genre that evokes a Jules Vernian fantasy, (set in the age of steam), and combines 19th century tech with high adventure, and sometimes also magic.  This steampunk tarot spell emphasizes the alchemical quality of an ideal relationship, so as you would be laying out the cards, it would be good to think about the joyful chemistry needed in relationship.  (In fact, if one knew something about chemistry, one could put a test-tube holder next to the card layout, containing two tubes with substances that mix well—and then mix them while thinking about the importance of having the right chemistry with another person;  persons that don’t have a chemistry set, but know something about aromatherapy, could try mixing essential oils.)  Notice, also, that the Steampunk 10 of Cups  puts the pair in more direct focus than other versions based on the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.  I like to have the Sun card up above, in the same way that children’s drawings often have a sun in the sky to denote happiness.

Well, there is a lot more that can be said about bringing images of pairing into love spells and other tarot spells, so I hope to say a bit more about that in my next post.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Returning to the Triple Goddess on April 6th

Yesterday I went over to the Triple Goddess, which has settled very nicely into its new location where it shares space with Everybody Reads bookstore and Creating Heroes Comics, to discuss upcoming plans with Dawne.  So, I will once again be showing up on the first Sunday of the month, from 1 pm to 3:30--free and casual, as always.  The exception is the month of May, when I will show up on the second Sunday, as I have a commitment for the first.

This year I want to do more of a free-form sort of thing, so I can be more responsive to peoples' needs and interests.  That was more of what I had in mind when I conceived the idea of "magical chats," but due to my compulsive need for organization, I turned the sessions into workshops with programmed activities.  Therefore, I've asked Dawne to keep a sheet of paper on hand, so people who would like to stop by can write down if they have any questions, issues, problems, interests, or concerns that I can address, and to which those present can contribute group energy.  Dawne will forward that information in advance, so that I can think about whether there are any charms I could put together, or other sorts of things I can bring along--including any special card decks--to see what sort of divination or magic we might apply to those particular concerns.  If you are planning to come, you could also let me know what you'd like by posting a comment to this blog.  Now that I'm getting back into action, I promise to check for comments more regularly.  (Sorry Dan and Cate, that I was so slow to respond to your question.)

Also, if you just feel a spontaneous urge to drop by, that's fine, too.  You don't need to sign up in advance or have to have any specific questions for me.  You can just drop in and hang out.  I will throw an assortment of materials into the back of my car, just in case a use for something or other comes up, pertinent to whatever we might be exploring.

By the way, one of the really nice things about this new venue is they have a very large conference table, which will make it nice if we do tarot spells or other activities where we want to be able to spread out cards and the like.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

More about the Lenormand Deck

Because I posted a Valentine's Day card spell yesterday, illustrated with Ciro Marchetti's "Gilded Reverie" version of the Lenormand deck, I thought I'd say a few more words about this deck.  The Lenormand was actually the first fortune telling deck I got to know, long before I heard of tarot cards, because my grandmother owned a version of this deck.  For purposes of comparison, below is what yesterday's Valentine spell would look like with my grandmother's deck:

An interesting thing about the Lenormand deck is that the card reading technique (as described in the booklet that came with this older version of the deck) involves laying out the entire deck in rows of 8 cards, with 4 cards centered in the bottom row.  This layout isn't too unwieldy, because there are only 36 cards.  (This differs from most tarot techniques, where you're dealing with just a few selected cards.)  You then interpret the different cards in terms of how they are positioned in relation to the "key" card, which is card 28 (a man), if reading for a man, or card 29 (a woman), if reading for a woman.  Cards closer to the key card carry more weight.  Cards are also read in relation to each other, so favorable cards close to card 27, the Letter, would foretell good news, whereas challenging cards may warn of news that is not so welcome.  Graphic relationships also figure in interpretation, So, card 6, the Clouds, has a dark side and a light side, and it makes a difference whether events denoted by other cards are to the side of the dark clouds or the white clouds.  In seeing how card meanings are modified by how they stand in relation to one another and their graphic features, my early experience with the Lenormand helped me to appreciate ways that tarot images can interrelate. 

Persons who are intimidated about studying tarot because they're concerned there's so much to learn might want to try the Lenormand instead.  I've used it very effectively, and it offers a different selection of images for those who want to do more with card spells.

Friday, February 14, 2014


As February 14th is a day for hearts, flowers, and messages of love, it's also a good time to send a magical Valentine in the form of a card spell--something for which the Lenormand deck is uniquely suited.  The Lenormand is not a tarot deck, but it has 36 cards with symbolic pictures, and has been around for a long time, with some attributing it to the famed Napoleanic era card reader, Mlle. Lenormand.  I have recently acquired Ciro Marchetti's "Gilded Reverie" version of the Lenormand, and below is the basis for a spell that you can use to send your good wishes to a loved one on Valentine's Day or any day.

Lay out card 9, the Flowers, which signifies "happiness and contentment in all things," while you think of the good wishes you want to send your loved one.  Then card 27, the Letter, further emphasizes the idea that you are sending a message.  The good wishes are then redoubled with card 24, the Heart, which foretells joy and good fortune, as well as romance.

In the Lenormand deck, card 28 signifies a gentleman and card 29 a lady, so if you want to send your love to a special man or woman, you could set the appropriate card below card 27, the Letter.  (For further magical action, you could also fill a cup with a heart or hearts on it with water or wine, and blow on the surface of the liquid as you think of your loved one.)  Of course, Valentines don't have to be just for lovers, they can also be used to reconnect with old friends.  You could even put card 13, the Child, under the letter, with the idea of sending a Valentine to your Inner Child of the past--remembering how when we as children received Valentines, it created a warm feeling of "inclusion."

P.S. Special Valentines Good Wishes to Javier, whose holiday greeting I overlooked, because I went for a period without checking the posts.

Friday, August 30, 2013


Sometimes we forget that Labor Day was created to honor labor, which Hannah Arendt described as the most human expression of the Life Force.  I have long been interested in the way that tarot artists portray scenes of labor, particularly in the Pentacles and Wands cards, because labor is such an important part of the balance of life.  And in the way that I always come back to the Rider-Waite-Smith [RWS] deck, even though I now have a large collection of decks, with many more beautifully illustrated, I find that Pamela Coleman Smith seems to do the most with scenes of the working life.  (At least in the decks I’m familiar with.)

Below is a tarot spell for attracting more creative work into your life, or bringing more creativity into the work that you have.  It uses “Three” cards, because Three is the number of creativity, but also brings in communications and community, which nourish and stimulate the creative life.  (For more on this topic, see my previous post, June 9, 2013, on “Tarot of Celebration.”)  The creative person needs to strike the right balance, because one also needs focused time to go inside one’s head and concentrate on the work.

            When you lay down the first card, the Three of Wands, think about how the exchange of ideas, including cross-cultural exchanges and modern communications media (such as the Internet), have contributed to the whole world of creative expression.  Think about ways that you can take greater advantage of these networks of energy, because, in magical thinking, everything translates into energy.  Envision yourself at the center of some very active enterprises, where goods and ideas are continually coming in and continually going out.

            With the next card, the Three of Pentacles, visualize yourself hard at work, enjoying the altered state of consciousness—the sense of being outside of Time—that focused work can generate.  Think about how you can bring a workman-like, artisanal quality to everything you do.  Also, just as the RWS version of this card shows the craftsman conferring with others, think about the people who are in a position to bring you work, and the people who are in a position to appreciate—or at least benefit from--your work, and how your relationship with them also adds meaning to your life and work.  (This “relationship” includes people we never even meet.)

            Finally, set the Three of Cups in place while thinking about how your life and work are enhanced by being a part of a community of celebration, and also the ways in which you can bring the creative element into communal pleasures.  Think about work itself as part of The Beautiful Life, and how, through your work, you are part of the dance of life.

Looking over the spread as a whole, note that 3+3+3=9, which multiplies the creative effect, with Nine being the self-replicating number in magical numerology.  If you’ve been living like a hermit, you could put Major Arcana card Nine, The Hermit, under the Three of Pentacles.  This honors your need for creative solitude, but, in relation to the rest of the spread, affirms your willingness to engage in creative exchanges with others, (as many historical and legendary hermits turned into generous guides and hosts when the occasion arose).  Some women might prefer to put the Nine of Pentacles under the Three of Pentacles.

By the way, if you happen to find yourself in lower mid-Michigan this Labor Day weekend, I shall be at the Triple Goddess bookstore in Lansing, (as I always am on the first Sunday of the month, from April through November), from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on September 1st.  Because this is also the time of year when many of us are going back to school, I’ll be demonstrating an exercise called “Entering the Magical Academy,” using Corrine Kenner’s “Wizards Tarot.”  This exercise is about getting the most out of this new semester in the School of Life, and includes identifying a “hidden teacher” card.  I shall also be discussing magical techniques for enhancing mental potency.