Cassandra Snow

Magickal. Practical. Radical.

Cassandra Snow is a tarot card reader, writer, and theater artist professionally. This website is focused on her life in tarot, with substantial references to witchcraft, LGBTQ+ community, and chronic illness.

Filtering by Tag: art

A Real Witch In The Rehearsal Room: On Setting Intention and Deep Breathing

It’s 6:00 PM and actors are arriving from terrible traffic, plodding through snow banks and the stress of their day jobs. I am asking them to come in after the sun has already set in Minnesota. I am asking them do more work, learn lines, work their bodies, and connect with other humans in the three hours that stretch over what would normally be dinner time for a lot of us. As people trickle in, we start laughing and chatting. If someone seems particularly on edge someone else pulls them aside to check in. It’s often me but after a couple of weeks together, it’s often not. Once we start working actual pieces from the play, there are expected setbacks but nothing catastrophic. People are having fun & enjoying this.

It isn’t always like this. Magick & theatre are both dependent on a solid cast of collaborators and sometimes all of your best intentions fly out the window if other people don’t get along or if you’ve overlooked a problematic element of the show or even a cast member due to your own privilege. The best laid plans slip away sometimes because of weather, illness, or a slew of other uncontrollable factors. Sometimes you as a project leader will cling too tightly to your vision even if it doesn’t best serve the show because that’s what you were taught to do by bad directors before you.

Not all, but so many of these things can be mitigated by bringing your spirituality into your creative space. My spirituality is eclectic though largely Pagan. In my cast are a Christian, a Satanist, another Pagan, and some people who haven’t disclosed their spiritual beliefs. That means you’re not exactly going to set ups specific spells, rituals or prayers before each rehearsal because you want the whole team to feel apart of it. These are some of the things that help me set a healing space before rehearsals:

  • Like in Magick, Intention matters a whole hecking lot in art. I always have:

    • An artistic intention for the show

    • A healing or spiritual intention for the show

    • An artistic intention for rehearsal that day

    • A healing or spiritual intention for that day

  • In addition to having my own intentions, during warm-ups for rehearsal I always have everyone close their eyes for a second and set their own intention for our time at rehearsal that night. I also close each rehearsal with a question for everyone to ponder that, ideally, will help them set their intention for the next day.

  • While everyone is setting their intentions, I ask those who are physically able to take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing is crucial to resetting your body, clearing your mind, and generally BEING IN THE MOMENT. At the start of a rehearsal process it allows people space to feel and clear out anything that would get in the way of a good rehearsal.

  • Being in the moment. I don’t ask my actors to leave their anxiety, trauma or stress at the door the way a lot of directors do. (Though I do ask artists with white privilege, cisgender privilege, able-bodied privilege, etc to think how their emotional reactions might hurt people with less privilege.) I DO ask that artists bring that stress into the scene and use it if they don’t want to/can’t check it at the door. I ask that they work with those emotions and that energy, and I work to make sure we’re all living in that moment. This means that sometimes that outside stress of traffic jams and snow plows DOES melt away. Sometimes it means that a scene is fueled by an actor’s rage at white supremacy or patriarchy. The play comes out beautifully either way.

    My experience as a witch has taught me that control of my breathe (when possible), setting intentions and doing the work to manifest my spellwork ultimately get me where I want/need to go. Those same principles apply wonderfully to theatre or any artistic practice—especially when you’re working in a group. I used to work incredibly hard to seperate my art life from my witch life. One day I realized that was cutting myself short in both worlds and since allowing the two to blend, my work has never been the same.

    Blessed be y’all!

A Short & Sweet Yule Tarot Spread!

I spoke on my last blog about how important the concept of light is to the holiday season, and though I shifted my focus to something different there I a reading on my Patreon today based on the changeover of a dark winter into a lighter one. It was a simple three card spread, and I laid it out like this:

This deck is the  Numinous Tarot  & for a short time, you can  grab one here !

This deck is the Numinous Tarot & for a short time, you can grab one here!

I laid out the two cards on top (you can do it in whatever order makes the most sense to you) and then the one on the bottom in the center. The card placements represent (in this order):

1) What light is already shining in our lives?

2) What light do we need to let in?

and 3) What darkness can we let dim right now?

I absolutely loved the reading I did for my patrons with this spread. The concept of light in dark times is always important, and that’s true figuratively and literally. For December Holiday season we have multiple holidays that focus on light, most notably Yule and Hanukkah. Even Christmas has it’s hint of it though. The three wise men followed the light of the North Star, and secularly what do we adorn our houses with when we want to look festive? Oh right, lights!

Enjoy your reading, tarot lovers & have a blessed week or so until I see you again.

Blessed Be Y’all,
Cassandra Snow

If you’d like to see the community reading, my Patreon is community style which means you get FULL benefits including this one for as little as $1 a month. I donate 10% to an organization or person in need, and benefits include ongoing Queering the Tarot pieces, monthly tip sheets or worksheets about tarot or spirituality, patron only occult writing, and a monthly spread. Anyone who follows by the end of this month ALSO gets a FREE tarot workbook or e-zine from my shop in a couple month’s time! Support here.

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!

Heart and Hands Tarot--Support Now!

Good Afternoon all! I once again feel myself compelled to apologize for a lack of posts but I'm excited to be back, and SO excited to be writing a tarot deck in the works. Liz Blackbird contacted me about her upcoming Heart and Hands Tarot and the IndieGoGo making it all possible. I'm always happy to support queer creators, and I was additionally intrigued by the black and white art. As I watched the video on the campaign's page, I was moved by the unspoken but strong healing energy that went into the deck. I responded and told Liz I was eager to learn more. Here's our Q&A and some info about how you can support this great deck:

Tell us about yourself, first!
My name is Liz Blackbird (she/her/hers). I’m a visual artist, fiction writer, and poet currently based in Brooklyn, but I’m about to move to Ohio to pursue an MFA in creative writing. I’m originally from Michigan, so this will be a bit of a homecoming!

Prior to printing this deck, what was your relationship to tarot?
I’ve been interested in tarot since I was a teenager. I grew up in the suburbs of Flint in the 90s and generally felt a little unsatisfied with the environment around me, like it was kind of a bad fit, like there had to be something better out there. So I think I was predisposed to be attracted to all things magical. I was not raised religious, but my mother’s family was Catholic and evangelical Christianity was a strong (and often oppressive) force many of my friends’ lives, so I’ve also always been resistant to organized religion. A lot of my friends at that time felt similarly and were exploring wicca, neopaganism, and other more open-ended spiritual practices, and I initially learned about tarot through them. Many of us would ultimately come out as queer, and I think that had a lot to do with those initial feelings of discomfort with the status quo and the “bad fit” it seemed to be for us that led us to seek alternative spiritual paths in the first place.

The tarot attracted me as an artist, because I love the way its meanings are conveyed visually through mysterious and evocative images. It also nested nicely with my general agnosticism – whether or not I believe that I am being guided by supernatural forces, I can still trust that what I “read” in the tarot represents my truth on some level, even if it’s just tapping into something I already know about a situation but have been afraid to admit to myself, or giving me a framework to think about a situation in a different way. I generally only read for myself or close friends, so I’m usually pretty intimately acquainted with the lives of people I read for.

What stands out about the Heart and Hands deck? Why did you want to create this deck specifically?
The genesis of this deck was different than most, because it initially began not as a commercial endeavor, but as a personal project that I undertook to help me develop a new artistic direction at a time when I was feeling a little blocked. I had decided not to focus on studio art in college, and was regretting that decision a little bit. I had a really inspiring art professor at the time, Jyung Mee Park at the Maryland Institute College of Art, who essentially told me not to force it, that your art should stem from something you do naturally. In my sketchbooks, I had been doing a lot of casual black-and-white free-associative drawing, so I decided to try to take on a project in that style to see where I could go with it. I was already interested in tarot but didn’t feel that my knowledge of the cards’ meanings was very strong, so I decided to try designing my own deck to both stimulate my creativity and get to know the cards better. This, of course, turned out to be a much bigger project than I expected! It took me ten years to complete the illustrations. Though I had initially expected the project to remain private, as the years went by, so many of my friends saw my drawings and asked about how to get a copy of the deck that I decided I had to print it. I named it the Heart & Hands Tarot as a reminder of the power of our hearts to dream new possibilities and our hands to put those dreams into practice.

Ultimately, I think the black-and-white illustration style I developed is very unique and makes the deck stand out. I also think that my intention to enact a kind of creative “rebirth” through creating these cards really permeates the deck and comes through in the lushness and exuberance of the drawings. I also tried to create images that communicate the meanings of the cards in a direct and relatable way without requiring prior knowledge of other fields, like astrology and Kabbalah. But in general, I think my slow and meditative composition process—the fact that I didn’t force it—is what makes this deck special.

How does your deck speak to marginalized and queer audiences?
Because I identify as queer, and because queerness was so bound up in the way I first became interested in tarot, I tried to design this deck in a way that that avoided presuming heterosexuality or a male perspective, and that included people of color. Many of my figures, especially my Lovers, are very androgynous, and my number cards are all zoomed in to depict only the figures’ hands to avoid ascribing them a fixed identity. For my court cards, I chose to use a Prince and Princess rather than a Knight and Page to have gender equity within the court. There are also two major arcana cards that depict genderqueer figures – Justice and the World. In general, I wanted to create space in the designs for readers to be able to ascribe their own gender and sexuality interpretations to the cards.

Another big element of my work is in helping people heal so they can get to the part where they can be inspired and empowered. How does your deck speak to the healing process?
I think that in a lot of ways, creating this deck was a form of shadow work. Being a visual artist was a strong part of my identity as a teen, but because I did not focus on studio art in college, I found it harder and harder to maintain a creative practice in my 20s. Working on this deck was a big part of what kept me connected to that creative part of myself even as I was trying to make a living in other fields. Also, because the tarot is, among other things, a compendium of archetypal personalities, situations, concepts, and developmental states that we might experience throughout the life cycle, I found that working on parts of the deck that corresponded to issues I was dealing with in my life at the time was a great way to think through those issues in a broader, more distanced, more insightful way. 

Thank you so much for taking time to tell me more about this wonderful new addition to the tarot canon. How can we find out more or support you?
I’m currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to print the deck, so please visit my campaign page to support the project and to check out the "perks" (including copies of the deck) available for donating. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/heart-hands-tarot-deck/x/14290775#/ The campaign will be live until August 14th! I'm also launching an Etsy shop, ThirteenWaysToLook, so that I can make the deck available there after the campaign ends. It should be active by the winter of this year.

Thanks so much to all of you, especially Liz. Now, go support indie decks!

Blessed Be.

A Late April Link Round-Up (My first one!)

I'm a huge reader and love of other people's work--I've discussed what a bibliophile I am in other posts, and I link to other blogs frequently, but lately I've read a few articles in a row that I wanted to share. Most of them come from blogs I already frequent, but these stood out to me as being useful.

To start with, we have this BEAUTIFUL Full Moon in Scorpio energy that one of my favorite online sites gives ideas for using here.

Y'all know how much I love Little Red Tarot, and I was especially taken with Beth's recent crystal clear spread for focus on Autostraddle.

Another blog I'm inspired by is Yes and Yes. It's not a tarot, metaphysical, theatre, or even pure business blog but her perspective on life and how it evolves as she gets older is pretty close to my own, and I love that most of her regular articles are about getting someone else's perspective. This article about just living your life as an inspiration is so, so wonderful. I have a lot of "life crushes" who's life I look up to in spite of being pretty fiery myself, so I related to this piece a ton.

Biddy Tarot is always teaching me something about tarot or, you know, teaching, and I picked up some info as well as teaching tips from this essential guide to tarot combos.

AND even though I described myself as "fiery" earlier I can PRETTY boring too--so here's a great piece from Bizjournals.com about staying a leader even when you've had a month like my last month.

Finally, I'm linking to an entire site of a witch who's also Minneapolis located and also primarily concerned with how the metaphysical can help Social Justice! It's already beautiful and I'm excited to see what else she does!

AND in case you missed anything going on around my little corner of the internet, here's my latest Queering the Tarot reprint, my latest Queering the Tarot, my review on a local comedy show, and a blog where I review my friend Leora's Tangled Roots Oracle deck.

Until next time--Blessed be.

January is Over!

Tongue in cheek as it was, I recently blogged about getting off to a rough start on this blog. I adore having my own personal corner of the internet, different from social media, but truth be told this was a pretty brutal month for me physically, mentally, and emotionally. Just as I was recovering from a really gross, painful PCOS issue, I got the sinus infection from hell. As soon as I recovered from that, a bunch of personal stuff hit the fan (everyone's fine...now.) I ended the month getting in a minor car wreck on the way to event, hearing that someone I used to be very, very close with passed away, and with my least favorite server at a diner I frequent just to add insult to injury. Still, a lot of GREAT things happened this month too:

~I joined the cast of Patrick's Cabaret's next show, My Horrifying Love Life. I have a dream team cast and we're doing 7 plays in 15 minutes. Our show is called "Go Home, Aphrodite, You're Drunk," and we are "equally inspired by the hyper-realism of the theatre movement started by the Neo-Futurists and the complete and utter absurdity of the gay and lesbian channel on Netflix."
~Wrote some art reviews and about tarot here, and about tarot here.
~Secured really top-notch talent for Gadfly's Three-Day Celebration of Queer Art in March.
~Was a clue in a scavenger hunt!
~And of course, read for a lot of really wonderful clients. I actually added a few new probable regulars which is always the best feeling to know you've really connected with someone.

In my theoretical downtime I've been reading tons of graphic novels (read The Woods series, it's so good!), getting the queerplatonic partner caught up on The X-Files, and seeing a lot of really great theatre and art. I also had adult dreamsicle floats, entertained an out of town friend by playing Superfight, and spent way too much money at a steampunk coffee shop. The best books I read where I am Princess X by Cherie Priest which is a YA novel that was so not what I expected and so, so very good, and Portia de Rossi's Unbearable Lightness which almost broke me.

I have a very hectic, amazing February planned. I'm moving out of my cute little hobbit hole in Uptown Minneapolis and into a lovely split level townhouse in Whittier where I am dog-sitting for four months at the very end. My birthday is the 19th. (Don't let the cusp fool you. I could not be more of a Pisces,) and I have the Patrick's show the 12th and 13th. My client hours will stay relatively the same:

Eye of Horus Monday and Wednesday evenings
By appointment or email, 2-7 usually, Thurs-Sun

Appointments outside of Eye of Horus are payment due in advance, as are email readings. As for this blog, I've got an oracle deck to review, and some surprises up my sleeve, so definitely stay tuned!

Until then, Blessed Be.


 

Photo by http://www.melissahessephotography.com/

Photo by http://www.melissahessephotography.com/