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: paganism

Tangled Roots Oracle Gets AMAZING Update

Hello all! This post is so long overdue, and I'm happy to finally be sitting down and writing it. Some of you may remember back in April, I reviewed the first run of a friend's deck, and while I overall loved it (and it's the only Oracle deck I use regularly), I had some issues with one card--the Commitment card. To recap, the deck we're discussing is an incredible independent Oracle deck by Leora Effinger-Weintraub, called the Tangled Roots Oracle. The deck was created in the spirit of Leora's own spiritual tradition--the ecstatic tradition of the Upper Mississippi River Reclaiming community in Minnesota, USA., and while my own practice is incredibly eclectic, I responded very deeply to the deck's Earth based roots that still leave room for the very human experience of well, being human.

However, the original commitment card in the Tangled Oracle gave me cause for pause. While I myself am monogamous (mostly) and future-family minded, the rad queer in me had a lot of trouble accepting two wedding rings as a sign of commitment. I felt, and still feel, that that can be isolating for a lot of poly people, LGBTQ+ people, and even just Pagans who prefer handfasting or unique tradition to gold rings so often assumed to belong in heterosexual wedding scenarios, and in a deck so rooted in paganism and universality I felt it was particularly jarring.

Well, after hearing this feedback and taking some time to think about their own life and commitments, Leora updated their already spectacular Oracle deck, and this is the updated Commitment card:

When Leora's spouse handed me my copy of the updated card, something moved in me, very similar to the feeling most of the cards in this deck give me when I pull them, and I was thrilled when Leora had this to say about the update online: "The "Three Sisters" companion planting of corn, bean, and squash shows how multiple beings can grow together, supporting and nourishing each other. I honor all relationships: friendships, couples, open relationships, committed polyamory.... All the ways our commitment supports each other."

See, if you get readings from me, I am very likely to use gardening metaphors. Planting, harvesting, waiting, weeding, these are all crucial elements of most things in life, and this metaphor for all types of relationships struck the exact right chord. Furthermore, this card's very re-creation in this manner displays the themes at play in the card itself. In my critique, for example, I honored my commitment to honesty in relationships, and my commitment to my relationships as a result. In being so honest in my feedback, I displayed my commitment to better, more honest, more personal divination, as well as to Leora as a creator and friend who I knew could come up with something brilliant in lieu of the traditional wedding rings. In considering my feedback so heavily and creating such a card, Leora showed a commitment to their deck, our friendship, and their current art fans to keep pushing and creating things that represented the communities they're a part of. They showed a commitment to the Pagan community, the queer community, and the world at large to think outside the box.

With this update, this deck is a solid 10/10 for even skeptical Oracle deck users. The way the cards work together represent the Three Sisters plants growing in and of themself, and more than that, so many people are still living in the dark, terrified after last Tuesday. What better time to show your commitment to your friends, family, community--what better time to acknowledge that commitment isn't a one time gesture of generosity, but a lifetime of following that initial planting with maintenance and with cycles of death and rebirth and trust that no matter what happens, the things we've planted will grow again. This is a post I should've written a couple of months ago--but with everything that's happened recently, there is likely no better time to praise and honor the commitments my friends and I have made to each other. This card is breathtaking, and I hope everyone reading takes time to think about all the "Three Sisters" relationships in their life and how to use this card's lessons to honor and nurture them moving forward.

Again, you can check out Leora's deck here and grab your own. Thank you so much to the Effinger-Weintraub's and their commitment to our artsy, nerdy, Pagan friendship, and to Leora for creating such a beautiful deck.

Until next time, dear readers, Blessed be.

Light, Dark, and Discarded Pieces of Myself

For many pagans, this Thursday marks Mabon, a holiday to celebrate the changing seasons and welcome the second harvest. On this day, also called the Autumn Equinox, day and night are the same amount of time, so for many of us it's a chance to celebrate the necessity of both light and dark, and the joy that the balance of both brings.

This Mabon, I was struggling to figure out what my meditation and ritual should be. My usual celebrations just didn't feel right, and I have had the most confusing few weeks. Finally on a walk along the river, as I admired the leaves starting to turn, I cried out to my gods to cut through my scattered, sad thoughts, and slowly as I meandered it started coming to me. You see, for as long as I can remember, I've almost completely reinvented myself every few years. Often this was out of necessity--when you see the good in everyone, you often overlook the bad so I got my heart trampled on a lot. I've been taken advantage of a lot. And every time I got fed up, I just started over. New friend group, new clothing style, hair chopped off, big steps forward in my career. There were even a few dramatic location changes somewhere in there. In some areas of my life this has served me incredibly well. My multiple careers are streamlined enough to keep me motivated but relatively stable, and I am beyond in love with Minneapolis, my apartment, my cats, my blue and purple hair. Embracing the new--the new day, the new sun, the new light, has always created a multitude of blessings for me.

But with each new version of me, I killed off old parts of myself that I know I was meant to retain, each time losing another piece of my soul and my power until finally, I went through my current evolution--the one where my anxiety went through the roof and I didn't actually evolve so much as got really scared and meek. Of everything. Obviously none of that is working for me, at all and emotionally it has all been hitting a head I didn't understand. I have spent the last few weeks feeling so lost. I have a beautiful apartment, and so many other blessings and I thought when this many things would click into place I'd feel better. Less scared, less sad, less meek. Instead I've spent the last few weeks crying at the drop of a hat and staring off into space, completely unmotivated.

Then a college friend came to see me, and as we regaled my (amazing, not going anywhere) friends with stories of second college me, I felt completely overwhelmed and yet better than I have in months. It felt like I'd been wearing some costume that didn't quite fit and this college friend I haven't even seen in forever somehow made me see how silly I looked without even knowing what she was doing. While I was still reeling from this, I ran into an old rival from a couple of life cycles ago. She has moved on and is stable and content in her life, and was thrilled to see me. Catching up was surprisingly nice even as my stomach filled with butterflies for reasons I didn't understand. I eventually realized that I thought I'd been living in fear of running into her or other people from this phase, but really I've been afraid of running into the version of myself I was then. But I realized during our jovial conversation that this rival wasn't all bad then, and neither was I.

The old, the abandoned, the dark--these are the parts of myself I've kept hidden from all but a few. These are the parts I've kept hidden from myself in spite of glaring evidence that my sass, my cunning, my strength were needed. This Mabon I want to dance in my own darkness and feel it around me. I want to wear it like a shroud and when day breaks I want to keep wearing it still as the sun beats down on my face assuring me that these old versions of me aren't only harmless, but good for me. This Mabon, I want to return from the grey I've been living in and trying to convince myself that this is what light feels like. This Mabon, I want to renegotiate my concepts of light and dark entirely. This Mabon, I want my first spiritual connections to be with the versions of myself I killed off. I want them to know I'm sorry. I want them to come back. And I want the me that willed this apartment, my tarot business, my writing career into being, that fights for my theatre company's success every day, that keeps loving new friends and partners even when it's the scariest thing in the world, to know one thing: she's not going anywhere either.

Literary Magic: Two Must-Reads to Snag ASAP

Originally this was going to be two separate posts. I read a lot and I always do a book recommendation or two from the month in my End of Month wrap-up, but occasionally a book stands out so far above and beyond--AND fits right into what I want to do with my tarot practice and this blog that they deserve their own time. Each of these definitively deserve their own time, but between moving and maintaining everything I just don't have the time each deserves.

Nonetheless, I wanted to say SOMETHING about them and push, push, push you to go buy them as soon as humanly possible. The first will be of interest to ANYONE who found their way here via my Queering the Tarot series or by cross searching "queer" and "tarot".

Jailbreaking the Goddess takes critiques every progressive person has about the traditional Maiden, Mother, Crone Goddess path (ugh, virginity! ugh, wombs!) and offers a much-needed alternative. Larissa Firefox Allen's FIVE-FOLD Goddess path gets us away from woman = body and creates a nuanced, full look at Goddess energy and how it potentially applies to our work with this new understanding. Not only is this line of magick much more welcoming to trans Goddess worshippers, but the additional faces of the Goddess offer a whole new world of opportunity and understanding in our spiritual practice.

Firefox Allen also pulls no punches when discussing appropriation and colonization of spirituality. While those of us who have been doing feminist and anti-racist work for awhile may find a few chapters a little "Radicalism 101", for many picking up this book they are a necessity. For the rest of us--well, having some pages we can merely skim makes it all the easier to process our new understanding of our own dieties. My personal favorite part of the book's unique (and so easy to follow!) structure was the sections highlighting examples of dieties--AND REAL HUMANS--who exhibit the characteristics of the Goddess aspect being discussed. My only real critique of Jailbreaking the Goddess is that the journal prompts are almost too frequent. You may pick it up and decide I'm wrong, but since I tend to highlight, take notes, etc. when reading anyway, an additional prompt after basic material introductions threw me off. I complied in the beginning but by the third face, I just read several sections at a time and then journaled my reactions to the questions that came up either in prompts or other thoughts I had. Even with that distraction, this book significantly deepened my relationship with the Divine, helped me heal emotionally in a lot of places, and completely altered how I think about spiritual energy for the better. And even for someone who wears their queerness, their feminism, their radicalism like a second skin, it definitely opened my eyes to new ways to practice my faith in a more conscientious, decolonized way.

This next one may come as a surprise to some of my readers. I am incredibly skeptical about books bordering on self-help, even when disguised as business or finance books, and I keep my relationship with money pretty separate from everything else I do. However, a few people I really respect on the metaphysical blogosphere were pretty excited about it, so I went ahead and ordered Bari Tessler's The Art of Money. Three pages in, I had to put it down because I was crying. Hysterically. This book is about so much more than money, best practices, and spiritual entrepreneurship. It is part self-help but it actually helps. The first third of Tessler's program focuses on healing your emotional relationship with money, and before you roll your eyes, just check out the book. This section of the book literally changed my life. Tessler has us delve into money memories, and it has completely altered my perception of what is and isn't possible in my life in all the best ways. It has also made me more fearless in my business practices. It is intense emotional therapy, and everyone I've had read it had a similar reaction. Yet just when you think you're totally overwhelmed and aren't sure what your next move should be, Tessler introduces you to some incredibly practical measures that changed my life in a much more mundane but prosperous way. I was shocked when I did my first accounting session with myself; first by how much I was making, then by how much I was spending. One of the money stories that was wrong that I have told myself was "you don't have money"--over and over since childhood. Which made me unaccountable as an adult solo entrepreneur to anyone but my landlord (who I always managed to pull it together for). I'm certainly not dining with the Kardashians anytime soon, but getting my spending in a couple of areas under control is JUST as important to me right now as bringing more in after actually seeing the numbers. (Actually, post-move that's not really true, but in general it absolutely is.)

Tessler also takes care to stress that there are very real societal issues that may prevent you from fully reaching your financial potential, and admits she doesn't have solutions for that--instead the practical tips she does offer and her insistence on values-based bookkeeping will help almost anyone, and certainly anyone who does have steady income. Tessler also stresses that this one book is not the permanent solution. You have to keep healing your relationship with money, and you have to keep letting that relationship evolve and begin to affect your other habits. It may take re-reads and years of consistent journaling, but it beyond a doubt turned my relationship with money completely upside down even on this first go-round.

This is an admittedly abrupt end to this blog, but that's what I've got today! Now go, get all well-read and stuff. Until next time,

Blessed Be.

Basic Witchery for When Life Is SO Bad (or Busy) You Just Can't

I am beyond stressed right now. Beyond. I need an apartment confirmed last week and I am still searching. I have spent so much money on housing applications that I'm questioning how necessary eating is (very important, don't follow my path on this). I am exhausted. I run a theatre company, I write actually professionally, and I run a tarot business. On top of that I am chronically ill, and now I am spending hours a week house hunting.

Suffice it to say, my daily spiritual care has taken a bit of a backseat. BUT never fear, I'm here to talk about the things I DO remember to do every day (and you can too!) to stay as grounded, focused, and feeling like my witchy, whimsical, overly ambitious self.

  • Carry your stones around. It sounds obvious, but I leave them on my altar most of the time...but I don't really have an altar right now, so they are in a box and my favorites/the most necessary ones get pocketed every day. I have a peacock ore I got in LA that I feel almost paternal towards, and a small jet palm stone. Both of those help me find and center myself when the anxiety seems overwhelming. And when that doesn't work, tourmilated quartz specifically works to turn overwhelm to joy, and unakite is sometimes thought to pull negativity right out of you. Those are MY favorites for trying or hectic times, but you may have some of your own. Find some time to sit with them in your hands, or just give them a QUICK charge of your energy in the morning.
  • Essential oil! (or oil mixes) A lot of them can not be applied directly onto your skin without some problems, so ask your friendly metaphysical store clerk before assuming. Once you have one that is, keep a small vial near you for whatever purposes you need. I like Dragon's Blood for urgency, and have some Rosemary and Peppermint I mixed myself to cry out to Hestia right now. I also have prosperity and protection mixes that I like. I bring this up, because a lot of times we get them for aromatherapy diffusers or to dress candles or do other extensive work with, but if you have a skin-safe oil, you can just slap it on your pulse points and under your nose, say a (QUICK!) incantation, and be on your way.
  • Incantations: for focus, for calm, and for anything else you need in the moment. My meditative practice is really more of a theory right now, but I still take a few seconds every few hours to fondle my amethyst and moonstone pendants, and restate my intentions for the day. It takes maybe 10 minutes total throughout the whole day.
  • Light a candle while you're doing other stuff. Enough said. Sprinkle herbs on your windowsill. Pet an animal. Get your feet in the dirt or natural water for even one minute. Shower more consciously, with more attention to the water and your body.

These are a few of the things I trade off when daily meditations and nightly candle lightings can't happen, and no, it's not perfect and I still feel like I'm falling apart throughout much of my day--but I can calm my panic and meet most of my goals, magickal or otherwise, with keeping up my efforts but changing what they look like. Hope this is helpful to you too, and I'd love to hear how you stay witchy when life is wicked.

Blessed be!