Cassandra Snow

Compassionate. Practical. Radical.

An Abbreviated Post-August Check In

Hello friends, witches & tarot lovers!

Mercury Retrograde has not been friendly to my apartment's electronic devices today so here's a quick update on where I've been AND an important September announcement!

Also, here's an arbitrary picture of Sir Didymus and Sebastian. Just because. 

Also, here's an arbitrary picture of Sir Didymus and Sebastian. Just because. 

Tarot life brought me TWO amazing classes, one on "Queering the Tarot" at The Future and a BRAND NEW course on "Sex & Tarot" at none other than The Smitten Kitten. My big announcement? DO NOT DESPAIR if you missed the first "Sex & Tarot"--it's happening again THIS month on September 16th at The Future. Sign up here--my queering class filled up quite nicely and I don't want you to miss this one too. PLUS if that date DOES NOT work for you, I'll be teaching not one, not two, but THREE classes at my beloved Eye of Horus this fall & winter. One for 101 newbies, a Queering the Tarot, and a Sex & Tarot. Check it out! 

Theatre life was a lot of prep for this month & my December show. Nothing thrilling to report about the work I've already done, but uh, you're not gonna wanna miss Drunk Queer HIstory on the 26th. Grab your tickets NOW! 

Writer life was my safe space this month. I got to review and feature a lot of cool events here, and I'm still going strong over here. I'm sitting on some potential big news, and getting a lot of storytelling pieces done in my free time (so if you like stories about illegal boat hopping or lizard rectums, hit me up). 

From Two Harbors, MN. Over Iona's Beach. 

From Two Harbors, MN. Over Iona's Beach. 

Non-work life took a hit for most of the month as a re-designed my Queering syllabus, created a Sex & Tarot syllabus, and stayed super, blissfully busy with tarot clients & behind the scenes theatre work. However, I insisted on taking my queerplatonic partner up to Duluth & Two Harbors MN last week and I am so unbelievably relieved to have ended such a busy month this way. We spent 2.5 days eating at some of our favorite restaurants, sitting on beaches, climbing up to cliffs and (literally) crying on said cliffs about how beautiful it all was. We also sipped tea until 3 AM with a darling college friend and got see Northern Lights Witch who gifted us a trip to Vikre Distillery for fancy cocktails.

I also spent a day earlier in August watching bad horror movies, eating Chinese food, and gifted one of my favorite people a fake llama head to decorate her wall with because birthdays are my favorite. 

That's it for me this month! Follow my multipassionate adventures in real time on my Instagram, or "like" my tarot page on Facebook for up to date info on where I'll be.

Blessed be, y'all!

Better Late Than Never!

Hello all,

I am back for this blog's monthly Link Roundup; admittedly I'm about a week late but it's for a very good reason. My 18 year old sister came into visit from Ohio! She is the cutest, sweetest little human and I cut my workload down to "need this money now" work. I missed doing my other stuff though, so next time I'll get it all queued up before I have a visitor. 

Out adventuring with my Sister. Had to show her my river :)

Out adventuring with my Sister. Had to show her my river :)

Before we dive in, TWO quick announcements! People are getting excited about both of the workshops I'm doing in August which is getting me all kinds of excited (but also nervous). The first is a revamp and remount of my Queering the Tarot workshop at The Future on August 17th. The other JUST officially announces is a brand-new (but still totally in my wheelhouse) Sex & Tarot course at The Smitten Kitten! Luckily for you, Queering the Tarot is sliding scale starting at just $15, and Sex & Tarot is FREE to you! Which means you could potentially take two radical tarot classes that weekend for just $15, and that actually seems like a pretty sweet deal to me!

Now, on to radical things OTHER people are writing and doing! 

Politics & Resistance

  • If you want a quick breakdown on what's going on with that BS Department of Justice statement that LGB people aren't covered under Title VII, Autostraddle has you covered.
  • There's some pretty important legislation being discussed about the non-profit sector too. It's easy to be overwhelmed right now, so this was easy to miss. 
  • A Lithub personal essay/book review about being torn between queer and Southern identity, plus the books he covers sound like important reads too.
  • Why IS Hyperfemininity Expected of Fat Girls? This one practically garnered applause from me.
  • I should probably just have a permalink list somewhere to all of Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's writing, and her Bitch articles have been on point lately. I especially loved "A Modest Proposal For a Fair Trade Emotional Labor Economy (Centered By Disabled, Femme of Color, Working Class/Poor Genius)". 
  • On Black Lives Matter, Queer Identity, and Appalachia. 
  • Lisa Frank Body Positivity is not as cool as it sounds. This is a good read though.
  • Prison Reform is one of the most important issues to me that never gets talked about. The way our society dehumanizes and traumatizes inmates, many of whom are in for minor crimes or no real reason at all, physically makes me ill. This piece talks about the juvenile system and why it's reform is a necessary queer issue. 

Tarot & Witchery

  • This has been shared around a bit in metaphysical circles, but just in case you missed it: "Astrology of the Stonewall Riots" is as cool as it sounds. 
  • Asali Earthwork regularly blows me away with her writing and witchery. This month I bookmarked both her review of The Personal Space Tarot and this so-necessary piece about mental health and witchcraft. The review is a really great example of a review and discusses tarot and the deck in depth. The personal piece spoke to me so deeply and is every bit as brave and beautiful as the title suggests. As a bonus, head over to her shop and snag some tea because it is delicious.
  • Dior is making Motherpeace Tarot inspired clothes now, and Vogue has the scoop! I completely nerded out when I saw this. 
  • "See the cripple dance" is ALWAYS one of my favorite Little Red Tarot columns, but this one on the Seven of Cups hit really deeply for this PTSD-trodden, chronically ill queer.
  • Also from Little Red: a super easy, informative guide to snagging the best crystals for spiritual fatigue.
  • I'm never going to stop posting about representation in the spiritual community and why it matters. I'm also never gonna stop linking back to radical writers of color highlighting the issues better than I ever could. 

Writing & Business

  • I love peering into people's personal work processes, and Benebell Wen's look at promotional tactics, what worked, and what didn't was great insight with useful information AND things that won't work for everyone but were still fun to read.
  • In Minneapolis everyone has a Prince AND a Bob Dylan story; in any case Seth Godin went somewhere I didn't quite expect with this one
  • This really applies to all types of writing and made me laugh a lot. Here's "How Not To Write A Play."
  • Y'all know by now how much I adore Theresa Reed, especially her "Soul Propietor" series. This one on how you want to feel in your business is especially good. 
  • A cute cartoon about job and gig hunting that everyone should see. It'll take you four seconds but it's good!
  • I talk about "Money Dates" a lot and how they've changed my life and both of my businesses, but it never occurred to me to share this primer from Bari Tessler herself with you. So...here you go!
A picture of Sir Didymus to break up the monotony of text. 

A picture of Sir Didymus to break up the monotony of text. 

Theatre & Art

  • "A Collective Call Against Critical Bias" is a wonderful start to important conversations about arts criticism and where we drawn the line, and features goodies like: "As female artists and academics…we have dedicated our careers…to dismantling discriminatory structures and practices in theater, and the criticism this year is so blatantly prejudicial that we felt compelled to collectively author an editorial that both documents the problem and puts it in an historical context."
  • There's a new series at the Twin Cities Arts Reader entitled "The Curmudgeon" about all the ways arts organizations are NOT actually helping the press help them. It sounds heady but it's actually really easy to access information about how to market shows better. 
  • I was so happy and surprised when I saw my friend Shannon on one of my favorite blogs today. Shannon runs Uprising Theatre Company, is a fantastic writer in his own right, and oh yeah, is a transgender Priest
  • Sometimes the title does the talking for us, like in "The Necessity of Diverse Voices in Theatre Regarding Disability and Difference."

All The Other Things I Love and Thought You Might Too

  • I was obsessed with Poison Ivy as a child. No, not the Batman character I'm still in love with, the other one. The movie starring Drew Barrymore. I guess I wasn't alone and this revisit from Dazed was written wonderfully. 
  • Andi Grace gets real at Little Red Tarot about what she's been through lately, and tells us what she's learned living in a van about boundaries and letting go. This one was truly beautiful.
  • One of my biggest flaws is that I'm a jealous friend. I will love you deeply and unconditionally. I will want nothing but the best for you. I will also be unbelievably jealous and feel incredibly stupid voicing that to you. So I was relieved to find an actual good article addressing this jealousy and it's roots.
  • An oldie but a goodie came back up in my feed the other day--an absolutely side-splitting teardown of Goodnight Moon. 

That's it for me y'all! Blessed be.

That's A Wrap on June!

Happy July, friends!

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This June we saw Litha, a summer Sabbat best used for thanks and resets. My closest friends and I did a simple spell with roses, the lake, and our deepest wishes. The lake was as wonderful as she should be and the city's reflection reminded us we were home. That is my place to reset: a large body of water, still night air, and lots of thanks to give. Before we made our wishes we thanked our dieties and spiritual energies for the gifts we already had that would enable this next phase of our lives. I am so grateful for my friends and loved ones, my own love of love, my work ethic, my careers, and my magick and gods themselves. I needed room and time for thanks as much as I needed the clarity or the energetic reset. One of my friends bought the most beautiful light purple roses to make our wishes on, and we watched them float away in the water as we breathed in hope and renewal. It was perfect for anytime, but the best Litha I think I've ever had.

So...what else was I up to this June? Uh...kind of a lot.

Tarot Stuffs!

  • As mentioned in my last end-of-month post, I have not one, but THREE classes lined up for August and September at various venues! I can officially reveal that on August 17th, I will be revamping my Queering the Tarot class at The Future, a really quirky, unique, very Minneapolis witch store and event center. You can reserve your seat here. I'm pumped. The OTHER two classes will both be...Sex & Tarot! I'm so excited to take my joyfully slutty view of the tarot and teach others to read that way. I'm premiering this one at The Smitten Kitten on August 20th (and then moving it to the Future). It's FREE at the Kitten, so definitely save the date!!!

  • I'm still at the Eye of Horus from 11:30-6 on Sundays and 3-9 on Wednesdays. I've been so happy (and busy) the past couple of months, so I'm strongly suggesting appointments if that's where you prefer to read for me.

  • If you prefer coming through just my business, that's great too! I'm reading Thurs-Sunday 1-6 P.M. And Monday 1-6 P.M. Or, and the reason I'm writing this when it's clearly visible elsewhere on my site, is that I've been working hard to promote my e-mail reading service and I've been doing some really wonderful readings that way. E-mail snow.cassandra@gmail.com if you're interested.

Things I Wrote

  • My review of the radical Urban Tarot by Robin Scott is up at Little Red Tarot. I got some great feedback from the deck creator herself and am so tickled with this deck. If you go back a little deeper on the site, you can also get some Queering the Tarot action.

  • Over at Thecolu.mn I'm still covering Queer Arts Must Sees in Minneapolis, giving a needed spotlight to worthy artists, and advancing the Queering the Tarot series.

  • Right here on my own blog I wrote another handy, easy tip for learning tarot and let my friend Abbie from Northern Lights Witch take over my Multi-Passion Diaries for the month.

Theatre Life

Photo courtesy of Jessi Hiemer/ @gluestickgeek on Instagram

Photo courtesy of Jessi Hiemer/ @gluestickgeek on Instagram

Okay, so this is where most of my life got away from me this month. In fact, it doesn't even deserve separate bullet points because it was a wild ride where Gadfly was concerned and it's all connected. First, we DID very successfully open and close our annual one-act festival. My play was HILARIOUS, and I'm so proud of everyone's work. The tech week process though? Kinda rough tbh. Our air conditioner broke, we had an actor just straight up not show up for tech rehearsals, and we were tech-ing six shows, some of them fairly artsy, with only a week to do it. You know, with no A.C. And a missing actor. Yet the festival was marvelous, all actors were accounted for during performance, and we closed on a very full, happy audience. Then...as a company, we made a tough, sudden decision. We had applied for several major grants for placemaking, and when they all failed to come through, we decided to let the lease on our art gallery run out instead of battling with another rent increase while still having a non-accessible restroom. This decision also meant a very, very fast turnaround to get out, and basically I've spent the last week cleaning an art gallery. This has been a really emotional turn and change in my life. A very good friend used to run the space, and we took over her lease. It's been queer run for six years. It's been magic this whole time. I met my current closest group of friends there. I fell in and out of love incredibly hard each way in this gallery. I created some of the best work of my life. I made some of the most important, notable connections of my personal and professional life in this gallery. It was a heartbreaking decision that we didn't take lightly. I am hopeful for these next steps. We ended on an incredibly high note. The support as we close up the gallery has been almost overwhelming. My business partner and I are more platonically in love than ever before. We will find a new space--the right space, in the right time. In the meantime? Well, season announcements are coming soon and it's going to be a breathtaking season of queer, feminist art. It's going to be one of our most rad seasons to date, and I'm antsy to reveal info soon...not immediately, but soon.

Recommendations

  • Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times is the first book in a long time that took me a long time to finish because I wanted to ruminate and absorb it in a way that was as unique as the book is. I can not recommend it enough to activists who love good prose.

  • J. Selby's in St. Paul has some of the best vegan food I have ever had in my life. I do eat mostly vegan, but this was truly special. Half comfort food, half gourmet, all delicious.

  • Manny and I dealt with our moving day blues for the Gallery by heading to Daddy: A Queer Variety Show and Dance Night, expecting friends and fun. We got those things, but it was also one of the most affirming, queer, warm spaces we've been in in a long time. Normally one of us likes an event more than the other, but we both felt totally at home and totally enthralled. They're doing it again on Thursday, August 10th at the Icehouse. It's so good. Don't miss it if you're a Twin Cities queer!

Other Shenanigans

  • My queerplatonic partner and I reached total queerplatonic partner peak this month as we spent our weekly date night on a beach eating pizza and laughing about all the bad sex we've each had with romantic and sexual partners. After a sad day of starting the gallery exit, it was the best thing we could've done for ourselves. Whoever you love or need the most right now, grab a pizza and a beach and hunker down for the night. You'll be transformed.

  • Northern Spark, Stone Arch Festival, and in spite of my issues with it this year, Pride all provided what I needed at the time: bonding with friends I already love, some quality solo time, and connecting with people from my community I hadn't seen in awhile, in respective order.

  • My darling friend Kate who runs the 318 Cafe did a really sweet gig for charity where she sang with her husband, and then several of our friends joined in for a few songs, and eventually her youngest child took the stage and blew us away with her voice and ukulele skills. It was music and love and giggles all around.

  • Goose teenagers at the park. Goose. Teenagers. At. The. Park. I was in love. Until they all started heading towards me at once and then I was kind of scared. But still in love.

That's a wrap for me on a wild, somewhat unpredictable but ultimately beautiful month. This July I'm dog-sitting for a week, then my AMAZING sister is coming down for a week, and in the meantime I've got pieces to write, cards to read, and art to get set on dates and locations. I'm ending the month like I started it: bursting with love and gratitude.

Blessed be, y'all!

    Tarot Learning Tip: Which Way Do Your Faces Face?

    Hello loves!

    I'm back with another quick tip for learning and bonding with your tarot deck. Admittedly, today's trick is one that only works if some of your cards have faces—but any faces will apply (human, animal, robot).

    As I teach and write about tarot, I always emphasize the importance of paying close attention and looking for details in the images in the cards. One such detail: in your cards that have figures who have faces, look for two things. 1) Which way is the face facing? & 2) Which way are the figure's eyes facing?

    There's two facets to this. One is in finding the deepest, most detailed information about your tarot cards while you're still learning them. Spread your cards out in order. Most tarot decks that feature faces will have a ton of them in the Major Arcana, so that's our best best for a starting point and the one I'll use as an example, but I do recommend going through by suit and doing the same thing. So, now that they're laid out—which way are the faces and then eyes facing? What does this tell you personally about the cards and their intentions?

    For example, in this take on The Fool from Barbara Moore's Book of Shadows As Above, The Summerlands shows someones looking away from the entire rest of the deck. What could that mean? Use your knowledge of The Fool (new ventures, new chapter, stepping into something different but also maybe a little naïve or, ahem, foolish). Is this figure stepping into the Summerlands, the afterlife, the next major karmic chapter in their life turning their back on the deck to keep the surprise alive? To avoid facing the realities coming their way? Or just to truly live and bask in that new vibe and energy? It's probably all three, but look at the eyes too—facing up towards the sky. This card looks up, not down, faces the magic they're creating but not the other stuff about to set in.

    Another example is our very next card—the High Priestess is usually looking straight ahead, not towards or away from any of the other cards. This means this card is completely focused on the querent who pulls Her. She's trying to peer into your soul and dig at that deep access. She's completely unconcerned with what's going on around her, she just wants to see YOU, and as such this card is a firm reminder that you have the answers and have what you need, and that maybe you just need to dig deeper to find it. In the picture, we see a slightly different take on her too—the Sorceress from D.J. Conway's Shapeshifter Tarot. She's actually looking slightly to the majority of the rest of the cards. A sorceress is a take on, but is not a direct synonym for a High Priestess. So is this Sorceress casting a spell to make the rest of the Fool's Journey unfold? It sure seems that way.

    A final example before we move on comes from later in the Major Arcana. The Star or Stars is a card of renewal and of hope and of faith--but I've also long looked at it as a card of knowing you have enough resources and are contributing resources back to the Universe too. It's a card of reciprocity and universal love and trust. So in the examples below, where are the women in the Star card looking? They're looking right at the water, the symbol of healing, the resource in question. Or perhaps the one from the Book of Shadows So Below is looking at her family and the fun scene they've created together. In short, she's looking at the world and life she's created but that she gets so much back from. Her eyes then too don't leave the scene. In Egypt Urnash's Tarot of the Silicon Dawn we don't see her eyes, per se. But they too are focused on what she's giving and pouring out.

    Once you have a handle on how face & eye placement affects your cards overall, it's time to start mixing them into readings. I've moved on to using all of the cards, and let's take a look at the very strong statement made the face and eye placement in the Six and Eight of Wands when pulled together from Siolo Thompson's Linestrider Tarot. The Man or Statue depending on your interpretation in the Six of Wands is looking right at the slightly nervous deer in the Eight of Wands who is trying to look back without being noticed. This deer is trying to move straight along their path but is looking back to a safer or more easily victorious time. Looking further, if the Six of Wands is a card of victory and triumph and the Eight is a card of very excitable but fast, often intimidating energy then it stands to reason that we are seeking triumph and control over our schedules. We might not be comfortable with the fast pace we are moving in, or it could be an assurance that we are in control and the things we're wanting to be triumphant about are happening—just maybe a little quicker than we are comfortable with. In that case the advice might be to look back to another time when you were moving quickly, seemingly too quickly, but ending up conquering something you'd been working towards for a long time.

    From the Prisma Visions Tarot pictured above, we have the Tower—a card of disaster, of everything we hold dear being torn down, of things being taken away from us. We also see the Seven of Wands, which can indicate a need to stand up for ourself and, from the image at hand, move forward no matter how rashly and confusingly we must do it. Yet sitting in the middle is the Four of Chalices. This is a card of discontentment and dissatisfaction, of excessive emotions or woolgathering. Yet in this spread, there's no surprise as to the “why!” This little child's face is pointed right at The Tower and all of the things they've lost. Their eyes look right at the building about to topple and refuse to acknowledge that maybe life goes on after, or maybe they should stand up for themselves, or maybe, just maybe, it'll feel more liberating to move about with fewer resources. What a powerful statement and reading, and look how much of it came just because of how the kid's face and eyes are pointed!

    There are oodles (a very scientific number) of ways to maximize your time learning your tarot deck—this is just one, but can lead you to others. Thinking about face placement can lead you to think about body language. Thinking about body language can get you to look closer. Looking closer can tell all kinds of new stories with any tarot deck. So go forth, let they “eyes” have it (SORRY FOR THIS PUN. I AM THE WORST), and dig deeper with your tarot deck every chance you get.

    Blessed be, y'all!

    Multi-Passion Diaries: A Witch Infiltrates the Public Policy Field

    Hello all! Welcome back to my ongoing Multi-Passion Diaries where I explore what it's like to be a theatre making, tarot card-slinging, freelance writing entrepreneur and general adventurous but introverted human in today's world. I also host guest blogs, which is what today is! E-mail snow.cassandra@gmail.com if you're interested in contributing.

    I'm so, so excited about our guest blogger today. Abbie from Northern Lights Witch is a close friend of mine (she even crashed in my spare bedroom for awhile when her job life got weird) who runs a really great witch business while managing a career in Public Policy.  Read all about how she juggles the two and what she's learning along the way. 

    I have always, always been a multipassionate. When I was a child, I wanted to be both a journalist, and an artist, and also I wanted to be a biologist. All at the same time. In high school, I spent my early mornings with the jazz band, worked hard to keep my grades up and my writing top-notch, and spent the evenings in rehearsal as an actress. I almost went to school to become a jazz musician, but decided during my senior year that I would rather be a writer. By the end of my senior year, I had decided that the best way I could make a difference in the world was to become a human rights lawyer.

    Spoiler alert: I am none of those things now.

    I don’t play in a band, I don’t work for a newspaper, and I don’t have a law degree.

    What I DO have is a Master’s in Public Policy, with a part-time job working on water policy and mining in Northern Minnesota, and a tarot business.

    I miss the arts. I miss playing music – when I listen to music, I yearn to play, and when I try to play I’m frustrated that it’s not as easy as it once was. I miss performing. But I am able to write in all of my careers. Writing is the constant that holds together all the pieces of me.

    Recently, I wrote on my own blog (link to my multipassionate post) about the cycles that you go through as a multipassionate professional. It’s important to recognize that sometimes, when you’re balancing two (or more!) careers, you need to put more energy into one of them than the other. That doesn’t mean that you don’t still have those multiple careers – it just means that the balance has shifted somewhere different for a while.

    For the last ten years, I have put almost all of my energy into my career in public policy. To an extent, it’s important to be creative in the field of public policy. It takes a deep level of analysis to take in all the information that you need, and to find new solutions to difficult social and environmental problems. But there isn’t that sense of freedom I crave.

    Me with a dear friend at graduation

    Me with a dear friend at graduation

    I started Northern Lights Witch while I was still seeking my Master’s degree, in large part because tarot was (is?) having a Moment and it’s been a part of my personal spiritual practice for over 12 years. But really: I needed an outlet where it was ok to talk about my understanding of the world in terms of intuition, rather than logic. I needed a space where I could deeply explore my identity as a witch, as well as write creatively about witchcraft and the Unseen parts of the world.

    It was a rebellion against the strict career positioning necessary in a graduate program.

    But as I’ve moved through both careers, I find that they really do inform one another in interesting ways. They are very different, and use different parts of my brain, but there are lessons to be learned that carry through both places.

    1. Trust your goddamn intuition. As much as public policy is about logic, it is also about intuition. This is especially critical when communicating with decision makers and those who hold power. It’s more important to read between the lines, to read the body language rather than the words. Now, I am not a mind-reader and it’s important to give people the benefit of the doubt, but it is possible to pick up a lot from nonverbal communication. Those gut instincts? Critical.

    2. Do. The. Work. When you’re working on legislative campaigns and issues, things move quickly. Sometimes, you’ll be asked to produce a policy memo in two days that needs to be researched in depth. I once wrote a policy brief that was 10 pages with 160+ individual citations in a week. I need to do a better job of translating this work ethic to my own tarot business, but I know that I have a capacity to produce top-notch work on a short timeline and with few resources.

    3. Know when something is outside of your control. Reading tarot has made me keenly aware of forces that are greater than myself. The election of Donald Trump to the presidency, and the subsequent radical alt-right takeover at many other levels of governance, has taught me important lessons about playing defense. And a lot of the time, things are outside of my control – and so I need to know when to use my power and how to use my power to the greatest advantage. Witchcraft and tarot are both ways of exploring the unknown, ways of exploring your own power. It is far easier to influence policy for the better when you know what is and isn’t within your sphere of influence. It’s important to concentrate your energy where you will actually have power, instead of needlessly running into walls. Tarot helps me accept that which is not within my control, and can remind me when I’m not focusing well.

    Going deep on a tarot reading

    Going deep on a tarot reading

    Tarot and public policy hone crossover skills – writing, intuition, communication, analysis – but they also hold particular tensions.

    When I accepted my current job, I decided to have my birth chart read for the first time. I knew that I would be moving to a more rural community, and I had concerns about being “out” as a witch. She advised me that it’s important to first establish credibility as a kickass environmentalist, and then to mention that I’m “tarot-interested.” I still haven’t told my boss that I do tarot readings. I’m terrified that I will lose his respect – or fail to gain it.

    And so I need to be careful about how open I am. My last name isn’t listed anywhere on my website, nor is my address. This has made it hard for me to fully throw my energy behind marketing, getting myself out there, and pitching podcasts and blogs. Not all positions within the field of public policy come with these politics – but navigating the field as a young person means I need to think critically about this. I need to establish credibility above anything right now.

    Soon, I hope to have a position that will allow me to bring my full self to all aspects of my work. Until then, I must keep my witchcraft in shadow. But the lessons I learn from the tarot resonate through all aspects of my life, and make me a stronger advocate. No matter how open I am about them.

    More About Abbie here, including bio and tarot info.

     

    My Water Altar! (Plus How to Build Your Own!)

    Creating an Elemental Altar

     

    I work very well with altars. I have one to Hecate and my ancestors. I have an ongoing prosperity spell that has become it's own altar. My living room windowsill collects more and more things to and from Hestia. Then the other night, I was re-reading the blog I penned shortly after my birthday and checking in with myself about how I was feeling on the whole “leaning into my emotions” thing when it hit me: I need a Water altar. I am a Pisces babe through and through, even when I suppress it. Which means that in times when I'm trying to heal and push myself to allow my own watery tendencies to heal me, I needed an altar to work with to push me on my way. I decided to build my Water Altar for two reasons:
     

    1. To have a daily visual, spiritual reminder to honor my truest, most watery self every day.

    2. To have an altar paying respect to the spiritual entities that come from or frequently work with water.

    I'm so happy with how my altar is looking already that I thought I'd share how to curate appropriate objects and build your own elemental altar. Whether you need to build an altar to your own sign's element, to an element who's energy you're lacking, or if you need a specific element's help for a specific spell or ritual, this should help. Here's what I put on mine:

    1. A tarot card! Obviously the first thing I rifled through to serve as the base of my water altar was the tarot deck I use for spellwork. I pulled out the Ace of Cups. The Ace of the corresponding suit is ideal; a Court card or any you strongly connect with would also work.

    2. Objects organically and responsibly given from that element. Examples would be feathers or leaves for Air. Stones and twigs work great for Earth. Matches or charcoal would work splendidly for Fire. In the case of Water, I used Lake Superior Agate that I pulled in real life, nautilus shells friends have given me over the years, a starfish I received as part of a gift basket once, and some seashells I picked up on an L.A. Beach. I do have two hard and fast rules for this part of building any altar, but especially one to an element. Number One: I don't take from anywhere with a sign posted saying I can't. Number Two: I have to ask a Spiritual Entity for permission (and receive that permission), even if it feels like something is screaming for me to take it. Gifted objects also work great for this part though, so if you are someone who doesn't take from nature at all, that's a perfectly reasonable way to add such objects.

    3. A touch of whimsy! I have a glass whale I've had forever that looks so cute sitting at the head of the water altar. I have a sea turtle that I'm sussing out if it belongs there are not. Relevant charms from a charm casting set or charm jewelry set also work. Toys, poems, song lyrics you wrote down—anything that adds a touch of whimsy and lightness will make those elemental energies very happy and eager to collaborate with you.

    4. Anything else that speaks to you. My black moonstone was screaming to go on the altar, and my quartz pendulum seemed pretty happy too. This altar wants NO fire as of now, so I left off candles. This is a purely intuitive side of the work, and a crucial one because of that.

    5. The actual element! A candle that you light daily for Fire, stones or a literal cup of dirt for Earth, incense or an ethically harvested bird skeleton for Air are great examples of this. I literally just made Moon Water in a mason jar and stuck it on my altar.

    That's it! No need to overcomplicate it. Besides, I'm a firm believer in living altars, which means I'll still use that pendulum on the go sometimes and it goes with me that day. Other stones may wanted added, or the Black Moonstone may end up getting used a different way. Tokens and emblems I find at a beach or receive as a gift could end up getting added, or not. I let my altars grow or shrink and use what's there when I work with it. I'd love to see pictures of your own elemental altars—hit me up on social media to show off!

    Blessed Be y'all!

    On Lizzo, River Walks, and Gearing Up for April

    The river is rushing, wildflowers are starting to bud, and my eyes won't stop watering. It must actually be full-on not-a-joke-this-time Spring! Normally autumn is MY season. Fall is when I come alive, when I feel my dieties working with me, and when I get excited about the year's transformations in my life. That's still very true—nothing like an October chill to reinvigorate me—but this Spring feels really fresh and exciting to me too. As we jump into warmer weather, here's how I spent my March when I wasn't here:

    A beautiful Spring day driving past a beautiful spot in Minneapolis.

    A beautiful Spring day driving past a beautiful spot in Minneapolis.

     

    • Tarot Stuff: As some of you reading have already discovered, I have picked up Sunday day time shifts at my beloved steady gig, The Eye of Horus! I'll be there from 11:30-6 on Sundays in addition to evenings on Wednesdays. In more mundane news, I've started using my Modern Spellcaster's deck in readings, and I've gotten into a lovely e-mail reading groove with a few of you too! You can find out more about my e-mail readings here.

    • Writing Round-Up! I did a major big kid writer thing this month—I applied to not one but TWO emerging writer's grants to finish a manuscript for a memoir about finding laughter in traumatic circumstances. There's also some Queering the Tarot action here and here, and a profile I got to capture on a poet I just adore here. I'm also working on a second e-book for y'all. This one is a little more substantial but I hope to finish up this month. You can grab my first, a mini e-book about using tarot for healing here.

    • Theatre (and beyond): Oh, you know, just performed improv and front of people for the first time, thus finishing my improv class with a bang. Plus a Drunk Queer History my company organized, a mainstage show I directed, and I dunno, something about us getting a grant for our summer one-act festival. Keep up to date by signing up for Gadfly's mailing list!

    • Life Outside of Work! (That's a thing, sort of?): I managed to have a really spectacular month in spite of having three careers, two of which required grants due and one which I produced multiple major events. Most notably, I ended the month at a Lizzo concert with three of my very best friends, brought to tears at a hip-hop show for (I think) the first time. The show has me mulling over self-love and what loving your body truly means. I adore my mind, and I'm a genuinely kind, sweet person and love that deeply about myself. I'm also incredibly fun. Yet for all of my body and fat positiviy and attraction to women and genderqueer people of ALL sizes actually loving my body the way Lizzo raps about is so hard for me. She has completely re-inspired me to take on self- love exercises to help me get there though

      • Favorite things I read: I started the month by breezing through Neil Gaiman's accessible, fun take on Norse Mythology. I got super sucked in to Murakami's weird world again with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I devoured Fisher's Princess Diarist and Mara Wilson's Where Am I Now in approximately a day and a half each. That's a lot, I know but it was a really good book month!

      • Favorite Things I Watched: I went to see King Lear at the Guthrie, not for research or review but just to go. This was the first time I'd gotten to do something like that in a very, very long time and the show was wonderful. The eye gouging piece of the play was SO well executed, and the rest of the show was pretty great too. Alternatively, Manny and I also binged Season 1 of Supergirl in about a week. I am completely obsessed and dying to get my hands on Season 2 even though it's still happening. I saw Get Out in the movie theater and OH. MY. GOD. Even with all the rave reviews I was surprised by how good it was, because it's that good. I don't even like scary movies but I'm raving about this one still. As just a guilty pleasure thing, I've also been watching Trial and Error on NBC. I love John Lithgow and this one is really silly and fun.

      • Other Things I Loved: Manny and I have spent several afternoons or evenings walking along the Mississippi River just chatting about ourselves, art, and the river itself. I'm so overjoyed that we're back in “hanging out near water” season and these escapes have helped my mental health so, so much. Now that it's warming up, if you're physically capable and live near a large body of water—go! What are you doing reading the internet right now?!

    One more view of the river before we head out for today!

    One more view of the river before we head out for today!

    That's it for me and my theatreific, booktastic, Supergirl-swamped March! Please tweet or Facebook me about your own adventures!

    Blessed Be, y'all!