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: tarot decks

The Decks I Use Most Often & Why (Plus my current deck wish list!)

Hello all,

As the holiday season approaches people are putting together their wish lists and reading holiday round-ups and I am living for it. I love those lists and eat them up with vigor. I’m not quite doing that but I am doing a post about the plethora of decks I use regularly and why you should grab them for your loved one or yourself this holiday season.

I’m picky about tarot decks: if you’re not queer friendly and throwing some fierce images at me, if there’s not a progressive slant, if you’re just rehashing the same classic tarot decks we all love but have been done to death I just can’t throw my money in to support you. I’m also exceedingly picky about the Death card, the Moon card, and having illustrated pips. I read and teach largely through art analysis so you’ve obviously gotta give me some kind of art to analyze.

With that being said, here are my absolute favorite tarot decks:

One of many very good images from the Next World Tarot

One of many very good images from the Next World Tarot

  • Unfortunately a couple of my favorites are out of print and a couple are in between printings. So while you maybe can’t buy The Numinous Tarot or Next World Tarot THIS holiday season you should bookmark those sites and check back.

    The Numinous Tarot is a delightful trip down a colorful genderqueer paradise and the art even features disabled people, chubby people, and lots of BIPOC. It’s shiny and pretty and I absolutely love it.

    The Next World Tarot is a powerful and exciting deck. In the creator’s own words “Featuring body outlaws, endangered cultures, and anti-colonial belief systems, THE NEXT WORLD TAROT envisions a world where justice relies on respect and revolutionary love “. It also gives crystal clear readings with practical steps.

    The Slow Holler is, unfortunately, totally out of print and potentially not coming back. The Collective Tarot is for sure not coming back which is a shame because I don’t even have one. I’m just obsessed. If you manage to find a copy of either floating around a Facebook marketplace or e-bay though grab it stat. Both decks are collective decks that reimagine the suits and the majors to be explicitly queer and reference queer community instead of heteronormative family units. Good luck and happy deck hunting!

  • There’s a deck I love so much I decided to use it to illustrate my upcoming Queering the Tarot book: The Urban Tarot by Robin Scott. I’m careful with this one because some of the images can be jarring to people who’ve had rough experiences. The deck updates the Thoth tarot beautifully though, giving it an urban magic makeover. It’s getting repackaged and sold through a bigger publisher soon but you can still grab a copy at the link.

  • My personal favorite decks are actually The Book of Shadows tarot by Barbara Moore. I honestly don’t know why I connect with this sister deck so much. The As Above & So Below decks are so different and not altogether cohesive. Yet I turn to the As Above over and over again for advice on spiritual matters, and the So Below is absolutely my standard deck for events and busy days at my steady gig as it’s packed with modern images, soft but bright colors, and practical guidance.

  • The Linestrider Tarot looks like a light, fluffy, whimsical deck. It is that, but it is also anything but. It is actually my “straight talk” deck that I turn too when I can sense someone needs some blatant honesty from the tarot. It just happens to have really cute splashes of watercolor throughout it.

  • The Prisma Visions is stunningly beautiful and at times starkly evocative but that’s just one of the reasons I love it. Each suit spreads out to make one big picture, and the card’s interpretation is just what happens when you lift that piece out. It’s an amazing learning tool for my tarot students and it’s a breathtaking deck to use with clients. Honestly if what you’re hearing is “I like it because it’s easy to learn and pretty”…well, that basically is what I’m saying.

  • I have often thought that a good way to subvert cis and heteronormativity in the tarot is to just not feature humans. The Wooden Tarot has proven that to be a solid viewpoint. This one somewhat breaks my rule about illustrated pips but there is enough difference in each card and intentional design of the pips that I am still able to teach and read with it easily.

  • The Cosmos Tarot & Oracle. I don’t even know what to say about this deck. It’s definitely not for beginners and even as someone who is just an astrology hobbyist I struggle with it sometimes as it combines the two forms of divination into something really unique and special, albeit a little complicated. It’s a collective deck too, and right out of Minneapolis. It’s stunning, artistically. It’s fun. It’s very deep and nuanced and you can read with it for years like I have and still learn new things at every use.

  • Surprisingly, the deck that has been and has felt like mine the longest is actually a very battered Spiral Tarot. This one fits in with my spiritual beliefs that life is a cycle and we sometimes just need guidance for where we are. My Celtic based paganism is largely why I fell so hard for this deck, but I also listed it on here not to push you to buy it but to show that the deck that calls out to you is the one for you. You can queer it later. You can add your radical beliefs and subvert every single card if that’s what you want to do. The magick is in the connection between you and the deck, and you never really know where that’s going to land.

From the  Book of Shadows, So Below

From the Book of Shadows, So Below

There’s one HUGE exception to that last statement though; when a deck isn’t rooted in our history and culture, we probably should not use it to make money. I have a Santa Muerte deck that I think most Latinx readers would absolutely adore. I use it for myself or my partners sometimes. I never, ever use it to make money or for promotional pics because it is so steeped in Latinx culture that it feels ludicrously appropriative for me to profit off of. Another deck I love and strongly recommend but do not use is the Dust II Onyx deck. It is so full of love for black women and black spirituality and so deeply imbued with fat and body positive messages. This deck is so important and I can not recommend it enough to black clients and students. I in no way use it to make money but honestly it’s phenomenal and you should own it.

As I look at how my practice has changed and evolved, I’m super into a few decks that I think would round out my collection amazingly. So here’s what I want Santa to bring me for secular Christmas this year (or what I want my Pagan friends to snag for me for Yule). My top wish list decks are:

  • The Visionary Tarot. I’ve been looking for a black and white deck that calls to me for a long time and I’m really smitten with this one and it’s silver edges. There’s very little info about the deck or it’s process out there. I saw it on one of my favorite instagram accounts and have been stalking the Etsy page ever since.

  • The Brady Tarot. This one is a lot of birds and again, I just really love the art of it. Emi has spoken a lot about her visions and ideas for the deck though and I’m always delighted at those interviews and Emi’s vision for using the tarot to shape conversation and connect to deeper purpose. For some of the same reasons I’m also really smitten with the Anima Mundi Tarot. They both go back to that whole “less humans = more queer, more liberation from patriarchal ideas, etc” idea and are so lovely in such different ways.

  • Of course I’m constantly dying to get my mitts on the aforementioned Collective Tarot as well as Thea’s Tarot, which is a queer, feminist deck. Thea’s IS coming back though and you can read more about it here.

Please share your favorite decks (or wish list items!) in the comments below! I love to hear about your experiences with tarot and what’s moving you these days!

Blessed be y’all!

Wow this year really might end after all


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It is December 3rd which means this ridiculous year is actually coming to a close. I can’t even believe it. I want to believe it I do, but man, this year. It seems like every one step forward I took as a person, my body decided to push me back three. For every step forward we took as a society…well, you know. It’s hard to be a person right now. It’s hard to be a person with empathy, it’s hard to be a person with their own problems, it’s very hard to be a marginalized person.

A new year isn’t going to change that.

I’m not a naive “new age influencer” who wants you to banish your bad thoughts. Just the opposite in fact. As we think about closing 2018, we should lean in to our anger and our grief and our sadness. We should let ourselves feel however we want, need, or just DO feel. We should use this winter to think about all of the things we’ve lost and if we even want to regain them. We will all feel motivated and peppy to make plans at the start of the year. For now, we should let ourselves feel the feelings.

In letting myself grieve and be sad for losing basically a whole year, I have already started to feel better. See, psychologists think that if we let ourselves experience peak emotion, there’s nowhere to go but up. We don’t actually get stuck in the well of sadness or pain, we start seeing the light and finding our way out naturally. Choking things down leads to bigger blow-ups later, so you WANT to let yourself lose it in the moment.

As I am slowly turning a corner, I am starting to be grateful again. November was a better month than most and this is actually a pretty chipper end-of-month recap. I do these monthly when I’m blogging to remind myself of where I’ve been and hold myself accountable to my goals. I also do them because I really love personal blogging and personal checklists, so maybe you do too?

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Business News!

  • ICYMI: I released this Sex & Tarot E-Zine that I like a great deal. It’s over 20 pages of healing work, thoughts on sex and tarot, and spreads to empower your sex life. I’ve got some grounding exercises should you panic before or during sex, and some personal stories too. It’s just $13.99 and a great way to process your end-of-year dating feels.

  • My Patreon is off to a strong start! I do this thing community style so everyone gets the same access to my work. I release something on there weekly. This month that meant the next in my “Queering the Tarot” article series, a patron-only spread to tune directly in to your intuition, a Full Moon reading to help you zero in on your intentions for this moon cycle, and a Tip Sheet to help you assess your own relationship to tarot. In addition to this high quality, heart-all-in work, if you sign up by the end of the year you get a FREE workbook or e-zine in my shop around February! Plus I like, donate to charity and stuff.

  • Most exciting: my book has a sampler! Queering the Tarot comes out May 1st and in the meantime, you can read the first couple of sections here. Pre-ordering helps debut authors A LOT so if you wanna see me do more books, help me get there by snagging your copy ASAP!

  • I mostly read tarot at Eye of Horus this month, and I’m still there through December and beyond! Check me out if you’re in the Twin Cities!

  • It’s obviously the perfect time for a year ahead reading. These need a week plus of prep and write-up time, so if you want yours by end of year, now is the time to snag!

  • Finally, gift certificate sales are OPEN—but ONLY through 12/22! Buy your best friend a year ahead reading, your mom a short general e-mail reading, or bring your partner IN for a reading in January. E-mail snow.cassandra@gmail.com and I’ll get you all set up to give the gifts of magick and insight this year.

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Other Stuff I Did In November

  • Northern Lights Witch took a bunch of us up to her parent’s farm where I actually got to relax, sleep amongst creepy dolls (really!) and enjoy the food and company of her delightful parents and several of our close friends. Also a very cute dog and two very cute cats were there!

  • I did an escape room set in a “haunted house” for my good friend Troy’s birthday. That was election night and being trapped in a house unable to check my twitter feed incessantly was actually a huge relief!

  • I had the sweetest vegan feasting holiday with the same friends as the puzzle room, including a vegan wellington that my best friend made! It was amazing and divine.

Recommendations

Tarot Decks: I’m not sure why I waited so long to get a Wooden Tarot but having this animal-rich deck absent of people has been 100% delightful. The deck feels so good even when I’m just holding it in my hands.

Books: Again, not sure why I waited so long given how much I love her other work, but Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother hit realllly close to home in a really good, cathartic way. I also read Saga Vol. 9 and cried a lot. If you haven’t started Saga, now is as good a time as any! Finally I flew through Terry Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment and it’s surprisingly relevant to today but in a way that is fun and relatable and won’t just remind you that you meant to spend today screaming into the abyss.

Movies & TV: Not gonna lie, all I care about from November is the She-Ra reboot.

Music: Cat Power’s Wanderer is what I have wanted and craved from her for so long. She’s back to haunting in this one. It’s wonderful. I’m also re-stuck on Brandi Carlile’s By The Way, I Forgive You album so if you need me I’ll just be over here crying about aging and life alongside it.

Internet:
I really loved this piece on Armenian diaspora and writing. Here’s a cuter, lighter piece about drag queens and the children’s books they love. This piece about how white supremacy, fatphobia, and colonialism are linked has been making the rounds for very good reason. Yes and Yes ran this piece that has me a little bit shaken up about my own life and habits. To end on: a really sweet piece about home and tarot.

That’s it for me this month! Please, please feel free to share some of your favorite moments from the month in the comments or on my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, especially if you have recommendations. (I love recommendations!)

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!

Spring is Here--Sort of? Maybe? But March Definitely is!

While February is hands down my favorite month, I am elated every time March hits as well. My oldest younger sister was born in March, the mainstage work I do for Gadfly Theatre is usually in March, and while I like winter, the seasons changing in general tends to help me hit a reset button. Granted, this year the latter hasn't been quite the steady rise I had hoped, but everything else stands!

 

February was wonderful, busy and hectic, but wonderful. I'm still in the middle of putting together a mainstage show about queer homeless youth and victims of sexual abuse. It was my birthday month which took me out for Mexican food and my favorite drag show with so many of my favorite people. That Pisces energy is hitting me pretty hard though, especially in light of the New Moon and eclipse and everything else. My PTSD is having some issues, but I'm also working through some emotions positively too. I'm a lot more in touch with my sensitive Pisces soul than I have been in a long time. I don't feel the need to play tough anymore, and I'm ready for real again--real feelings, real relationships, real, deep love of all types. I find myself welling up out of joy and gratitude AND fear and sadness at least a few times a day, but I'm letting myself have and experience that even though I've been trying to shove it down for the past couple of years.

Other things I've been up too:

  • Tarot Stuff: I've got this really short but powerful mini e-book for sale. It hasn't quite gotten the attention I'd hoped for, but everyone who has snagged one has loved it--so maybe you want to be one of those people? I'm still down at Eye of Horus on Wednesdays, and come April I'll be picking up Sundays too! After letting a good friend crash with us for a few months because of some work hubbub, I have my at home tarot studio back! I also got to read for some of the absolute cutest, sweetest people this month, saw a small boom in my e-mail business, and am talking to a few potential students for my newly revamped coaching package. See my services page to grab your own slot in any of that! I also had new headshots taken! Wheee!
  • Writing Round-Up! I really love some of what I did on the blog this month--plus the aforementioned e-book. My favorites beyond that are here and here. Additionally, some Queering the Tarot goodness--the Ten of Wands and Knight of Wands on different sites showed up, as usual. I also got to highlight one of my very favorite artists and get more insight from what drives her. I also got to research, write, and explore the beginning and growth of ball culture in the U.S. for Gadfly's latest Drunk Queer History. Even though a drunk storyteller doesn't quite get word perfect, I was really pleased with how it came out.
  • Theatre (and beyond): In addition to the hinted at work above with Gadfly (see our site for more), I'm in a WTF improv class at Huge Theater right now. I was absolutely terrified and super caught up in "OH MY GODS WHAT AM I DOING?" But I wanted a foundation to improve my storytelling, the quick one-minute play style of theater I love doing so much, and even just to learn some new tricks as an instructor and director. All of that happened and is happening, but I, um, think I've been bitten by this improv bug I was warned about...
  • Life Outside of Work! (That's a thing, sort of?): Because this has been a pretty emotional month, I'm a little all over the place in terms of goals like "reading a book a week" and doing things like squad hangs, but I had a few fun adventures. My birthday party at Lush was one of the most fun nights I've had in months, and I'm so grateful for the people in my life and that Lush like, exists and does such wonderful LGBTQ+ nightlife.
    • Favorite things I readTell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica by Zora Neale Hurston has lots of rich myth and culture about the oft misaligned voodoo. It reads as easily as any of her other work too. I also devoured Octavia's Brood, a speculative fiction collection inspired by Octavia Butler, mostly writers from marginalized communities. 
    • Favorite Things I Watched: Moonlight winning the Oscar for Best Picture was SO SO important to me. And that's the part I choose to focus on. Swiss Army Man was even weirder than I anticipated. I loved it.
    • Other Things I Loved: My hair went even bolder in it's purple, blue, and teal glory this time and I loooove it. Two of my best friends are obsessed with these tiny hands and overly large hands and any time they get broken out to play it's a good time. I finally tried Glam Doll NE thanks to some birthday fun, and they have some unique to that branch flavors and this ridiculous couch (pictured below) that I'm in love with. My brother sent me this deck for my birthday. It's stunning. I also worked some pretty hardcore magick this month (hence the first photo).

I have big goals for March: one event is down, but I have And Then They Fell opening. I want to get a second e-book, this one a little more substantial up. I have a couple of new regular series that will hit. And I'm determined to make it to a few shows I'm not directly involved with, in spite of the time crunch. And I can't wait to officially add a few decks to my repertoire, mostly this week or next: the Fairy Lights, Modern Spellcaster's, and eventually the Slow Holler (right now I feel really personally connected to the deck and using it elsewhere feels weird, but I do know it well enough by now), to be specific. I'm also pretty interested in a web overhaul but not promising that within the month.

Until then, blessed be! Feel free to share your own adventures. Love y'all.

A Linestrider Tarot Review!

My tastes can run pretty exclusively queer, feminist, and indie so when I noticed a new deck at the metaphysical store where I have a (wonderful) steady gig that didn't fit into that at all, I was extra enchanted by it for the sheer fact that I normally pass a lot of decks like that by. I kept coming back and playing with the demo, even doing a couple of personal readings with it. Finally I broke down, bought it, and brought it home. I'm officially grounded from buying decks, having also bought the new version of the Wild Unknown this month, but I feel genuinely blessed to have this deck in my life.

The deck is Siolo Thompson's Linestrider Tarot, and Thompson's mission was to add her own touch to a classic divination system. The deck's most important feature and why I think it called out so loudly to me was because the accompanying box and book confirm that part of the artist's "own touch" is adding whimsy to a divination system that goes deep to bring you to a place of healing and intuition. Tarot can get very heavy and very real, so adding a whimsical touch to remind us that whimsy exists is really inspired. I talk a lot about my PTSD and the fact that fun, lightness (as opposed to heaviness), and humor are crucial to my day to day existence. I'm a huge stand-up fan, and bubbles are on my "basic needs" tier when I'm stocking up my house, but I also work hard towards my goals and my own healing and recovery. This deck almost seems tailor-made for me--but I ran a discount using my new decks for private clients throughout July and it quickly became a favorite of my clients' as well.

I've already talked about overall inspiration and connection to this deck, so I'll dive right into how that manifests in the Artwork.Thompson created a deck that is deeply inspired by more traditional decks, but very successfully reinvents those images. The pictures seem simple--animals and people alike have firmer, darker lines creating their shape and watercolor to fill it out. Many of the images include a basic splash of watercolor for interest and mood. It's absolutely beautiful, and pictures never do it justice. It's definitely one I recommend getting in your hands. It is truly lovely, and the promise to stay true to tarot's depth while also bringing in some silliness and joy comes through in nearly every spread I've laid out. The card quality is not my favorite, and that does bring me down slightly. This is certainly not Thompson's fault and even though it's gotten pretty heavy use since I got it, nothing has cracked or worn down, and it's become more pleasant to touch as it's gotten shuffled more. They are a little stiff and just not as smooth or seamless as I had hoped.

The Queerness Quotient is really interesting in this deck. I want to be clear that I in no way think decks have to be queer, though I do think in 2016 they should be inclusive overall and a little more progressive in terms of gender roles. In the negative, the Linestrider does stick pretty rigidly to men as knights and kings, women as queens and pages as well as the presumptions that can accompany the Majors. However, Thompson (very likely not accidentally) uses a lot of animals in the deck, including in cards of romantic love or where a lot of gendered assumptions about relationships would normally be. Additionally, there are a few human characters that don't have a clear gender for us to make assumptions about, and that's done really well and in completely appropriate positions. Most of my Queering the Tarot work is using decks like this that someone might love or be really drawn to for personal reasons but that some cards may be hard to relate to on first glance. If you're good at thinking outside of the box or familiar with any of Queering the Tarot, this deck is relatively easy to work with.

Overally inclusivity however is slightly lacking. It's easy for me to believe that not all of the humans are intended to default to being white (it's a lot of lines and shadows that intentionally don't seem detailed or finished), but many going into a deck will assume that characters not explicitly POC are not. Decks shouldn't fall into the #tarotsowhite gap in 2016, but I do think that this blow is softened by the fact that many of the humans are just suggestions of humans and many of the cards are just animals. I definitely think that is this deck's weak spot.

Guidebook and Ease of Learning is stellar. This is probably the best deck for total beginner's that I've picked up in awhile, and definitely the best deck for intermediate to advanced readers who don't want to put a ton of effort into learning a new deck that I've picked up in a really long time. The animal symbolism is fun to read into, but knowing a ton isn't necessary as Thompson doesn't necessarily stick to that. The accompanying book is really easy to read, and Thompson doesn't unnecessarily throw you for a loop, though it is really fun to see her spin and interpretation of the cards she did get more creative with. While the cards seem really simple they do each of a few other details thrown in for symbolism and that's really fun to play with and add layers to your current understanding.

I am still very taken with this deck. I absolutely love it, and next month it is getting added to my general repertoire for sure. If you're looking for something different but not difficult to learn, this is a really solid option. The use of color and simple symbols is so smart and often so fun. I can't say enough good things about it, so I'll cut off here. It's produced by Llewellyn, so it should be really easy to find. They even have it on Amazon, but I can't suggest going to your local metaphysical shop or a private bookstore instead enough.

Until next time, Blessed Be.

 

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.

Tangled Roots Oracle Review

A little while ago a wonderful witch friend gifted me an Oracle deck she wrote and made the art for. It's a first run of a locally made deck, with the added bonus of Leora gifting it to me out of love, and so I was inclined to like it anyway--but as soon as the deck hit my hand I was surprised by how right it felt that I owned this deck. I rarely connect with oracle decks that aren't slightly creepy or fairy-laden (and even those I'm picky about), so I was really excited to see what transpired as I went through it.

This gift, the Tangled Roots Oracle, was created by local artist Leora Effinger-Weintraub, and her website as well as more about the deck is here. I wasn't officially asked to do a review, which makes me feel even warmer and fuzzier about the gift, but decided to do one anyone because I truly love this deck.

Overall inspiration and connection I've already touched on this quite a bit. Originally I sat down with Leora and asked a million questions about the how and why of the deck, and it originally started as just a way for her to have a deck she truly connected to. Her spirituality comes from a certain line, and she's a woman who's soul runs very deep, and so it was hard for her to find THE one. I think it's fascinating, and confirms the adage I hear about art and story-telling, that the more personal something is, the more universal it is. Leora may have created this for herself and those like her, but something about this deck runs really deep and digs right into your own soul.

The Artwork on the Tangled Roots Oracle is so simple and beautiful. That's very true to the artist's style--she does a lot of work with lettering and simple things that make a big statement. I'd seen some of the early illustrations and knew they gave a lot of ideas in a very concise manner, with the reader's knowledge and ability to suss out symbols being pretty key. The finals in the deck added a lot of color for what seems like interest but is incredibly mood-focused. Her use of symbols is great, and since this is a deck meant to be incredibly personal, I love that the picture is of just, say, a raccoon, for example. If a raccoon means something drastically different to you than it does to Leora, it doesn't matter--there's not anything to contrast your vision on the card, so it gets to speak to you as it needs to without being confused. Simple decks are one of my greatest joys in life, don't let my Prisma Visions and Tarot of the Silicon Dawn addictions confuse you, and this is one of the best I've seen in this vein.

Card Quality: If you've been keeping up with my blog or even just hear me talk about tarot a lot, you know this can be a touchy subject for me. I don't let poor card quality ruin a deck for me, but I do find it incredibly disappointing on otherwise flawless decks. So I am very happy to report that these simple but powerful images are seated comfortably on durable but flexible cards. One of the first things I said out loud about the deck was "Oooh, good cards!" by which I meant the quality.

Overall Inclusivity is a non-issue with this deck. Leora designed this with herself and immediate inner circle in mind, but she is a proud social justice warrior like myself (I know that term is supposed to be derogatory. I just don't find it to be.) This deck relies so heavily on suggestion, symbols, and shrouded figures that I don't think anyone would feel left out by this deck, and if anything, I think the way she uses her artwork does include and pull pretty much everyone into the fold.

The Queerness Quotient then is also stellar. Leora is a queer woman, so much like the Fountain Tarot, while not an explicitly queer deck, that piece of her identity runs through it in a way that those of us looking for a deck with queerness will be satisfied. That being said, the ambiguity of this deck makes it even more welcoming of those marginalized even within our community. While the deck was designed through a certain lens, she does a really lovely job of making sure that's not the only lens it can be seen through.
 

Guide Book and Ease of Learning also hit a home run in this case. Because this is a low cost self-published deck (a rare thing in and of itself), the guide book is a simple folded pamphlet with brief interpretations of the cards. It's very straightforward, and makes it doubly clear that this deck is very Pagan and very personal. The book offers very short interpretations which further allows for the reader to build from the building block she's laid out for us. My one sort of complaint or criticism is actually that I wanted more of Leora's voice in the book. Not necessarily in the interpretations of the cards, but she had such beautiful things to say about the deck's conception and creation that I thought a thicker pamphlet with more info about the deck would've been so valuable, esp to those who might just pick it up at an event or online. This Oracle deck is very easy to learn in comparison with others. I know tarot so well that I sometimes struggle with oracle decks, but the Tangled Roots Oracle goes in a logical order, and allows for free-thinking in a way that makes it easy for anyone to at least read for themselves with.

Leora Effinger-Weintraub's Tangled Roots Oracle sounds like a vague concept, but the information if gives can be as ethereal or concise if you need it to be. I've used it for everything from a "Mind, body, spirit" check-in to a question about a practical business issue I was facing and it gave me the information I needed in all cases. There's one or two cards that did take me aback--I expressed my concern about the deck's use of wedding bands to stand-in for commitment in a day and age where that particular symbol is often still seen as one of super traditional nuclear family lifestyles as opposed to how I, and many, queer people feel about romantic and other commitment. I have the deck's first run, and the artist is taking my feedback as well as that of a few other people into account. Ultimately though, even if nothing changes on the second run, Leora has created a really sweet, beautiful deck that is deeply rooted in Pagan beliefs but still offers incredibly valuable insight regardless of your identity and faith. I can't wait to get fully "off book," and this may be one of the first oracle decks I ever use for clients. It's that good.

Again, the website is here, and I am sure those that follow it will be among the first to know when sales go live again.

Blessed be, and thank you so much to Leora, her wife Eli, and all of the amazing queer Pagans doing amazing things in their communities.

 

"All We Are Is Our Stories"

This is something the flawless Desiree Burch said during Nerdcon in the fall, and it is a sentence that haunts me and comes back over and over again. It grows deeper every time--when it was stated, Desiree was giving a speech on why stories matter, and basically said that stories matter because we matter, and all we are once we leave this plane is the stories we leave behind. That is such a stunning and beautiful concept, such an impetus to speak your truth. Then this kept showing up in my readings.

This is the card "History," a special card added into The Tarot of the Silicon Dawn by Egypt Urnash. You can see an in-depth review of this card (that I did not write) here. It is devilishly queer and the extra cards are so wonderful and perfect add-ons for my life. This History card is starting to get under my skin as I grow and evolve, and keeps showing up in readings to really push the point home.

I've had a rough life, you guys. I make no secret of this, but I don't harp on it either. It is what it is, and I like to think that in spite of a rough upbringing, several chronic illnesses, and the reasons behind my PTSD and severe social anxiety disorder I am learning to move and thrive, and I am. I so am. The past year was so wild and I remembered how much potential and promise I truly have. Still there is something holding me back at times, and it is that voice that sounds like everyone who didn't believe me, everyone who hurt me, everyone who thought they were better and tried to oppress me. I have grown leaps and bounds, and still this card keeps showing up.

This card, you see, is about what we make of our history. It's about the stories we tell ourselves about our histories, and therefore our futures. In the card we see our figure bound by their words, bound by their stories, bound by their history, but this is not a card about how great bondage is. (Those cards are in this deck though, don't you worry ;) ) This is a card about how crucial moving forward is, but it exists to remind us we can not move on until we take control of our stories. This card tells us we can rewrite them, and we can rewrite their ending, and that we have too. We have to write our history in a way that we are empowered and we come out the victors in the end. We have to rewrite the stories we tell ourselves if those stories put us down and reinforce our insecurities, we just have too. We deserve stories where we persevered and we are so powerful. We deserve stories where we win. We deserve stories where we recognize that the story isn't over and anything can happen. We deserve empowering stories.

Because all we are, after all, is our stories, and we can't leave marvelous tales of wonder to the world when we just keep telling ourselves the same old horror stories.

 

A Very Tarot Christmas for Me!

My tarot wish list is almost always completely out of control, and I do buy decks pretty frequently. I like to have two-three that I'm learning and a plethora of faves to pick from for clients or myself. This Christmas I definitely got my "learning" shelf stocked up but some of them won't take me long, and the ones I'm most excited about are the harder ones, so I'm diving right in. Here's my snapshot reviews of the ones I've received this holiday season.

Cosmos Tarot and Oracle Deck
Overall inspiration and connection: Excellent. The queerplatonic partner and I went to the art exhibit here in Minneapolis and we were overwhelmed by the care put into every single art piece that comprises this deck. I was also fascinated by the concept of combining astrology, myth, and tarot to this extent. Most decks include all of these elements, but this is a totally different, beautiful beast that focuses more on the myth and cosmos. I have a deep abiding love for collaborative decks on top of that, and while some people won't like the lack of cohesion, my queer, art-loving brain loves it. The diversity of the different cards means my brain doesn't lull while I'm reading or try to make connections between cards where there aren't any.
Artwork: Stunning. It's 100 different brilliant artists and the variety of styles means there's something for everyone--with the exception, as aforementioned, of people who need their decks to be flawlessly cohesive.
Card Quality: Fine, so far; It's not a deck I held in my hands and thought "YES, BEST CARD QUALITY EVER," but it's better than even some of my decks that I use all the time. Nice and glossy, and though thin (which my arthritis loves because it shuffles better), they seem durable enough.
Queering Potential: Like the possibilities of the cosmos, the queering potential is endless. There's a few things in this deck that are gendered and the super traditional Empress isn't my favorite, but most of the cards are vague enough concepts or ideas or easy enough to alter genders and identities. Fascinatingly, there's called "Binary System" that could actually be wildly helpful in navigating through some of my client's identity questions, and more than enough cards that navigate outside of this binary to guide me the other way if they don't fall within the binary. The creators of this deck did a great job making sure myths were well-rounded and include some LGBTQQIAP+ oriented stories.
Guide Book and Ease of Learning: Ease of learning is a no-go on this one. I don't hold this against decks and prefer my decks to step outside the norm, so this isn't a slam, but if someone came to me and said "I really want to start learning tarot. What's a great starter deck?" I can't recommend this one. However, the guidebook is GREAT. It tells you about the astrological or cosmic entity being represented, the myth behind that entity, and how it ties into a reading. It is a totally different, made-up-for-this-deck school of tarot, and sometimes I hate that, but I really love what this deck does. If someone came to me and said "I want to learn tarot. I just want one deck I can connect to and bond with," this deck would be on that list.
Other Kudos or Complaints: The biggest problem I'm having with this one is a conflict between the way I learn and how this deck should be learned. I have several tips and tricks for learning, none of which work here. My preference is to combine what the deck says about the card with my understanding of it, but some of these are so drastically different. The cards do have keywords on them, which will be helpful for some, but hinders my learning style. This is more of a note than a complaint, but I know a lot of people learn similarly, and wanted to be honest about this. Even so, this is one of my very favorite decks, and is absolutely worth the challenge.

The Vertigo Tarot
Overall inspiration and connection: Great. This is definitely a "not for everybody: deck, but I'm a huge geek and Vertigo comics fan, so this has been on my list for a long while. It keeps going in and out of print, so I was so stoked and grateful the queerplatonic partner nabbed it for me when we saw a used copy. I connect with it really well, because most of the artists or writers involved are personal inspirations for me, but this isn't a deck for those not as into them or who just don't know much about the source material.
Artwork: For comic fans this is a beautiful interpretation of scenes and characters you love. For everyone else, it's a delightfully twisted and dark deck.
Card Quality: Not great, unfortunately. Someone who also collects decks to use told me at one point she couldn't use this one a lot, and I have to concur. Will absolutely use it for myself and geeky clients, but there's already some cracks and bends in it. They do shuffle well though!
Queering Potential: Adequate. There are some already queer or implied queer characters in the deck, and a lot of the stories and interpretations work well for how I already queer decks. Vertigo does have many more really great queer characters I would've liked to see show up, but I can definitely still work with this.
Guide Book and Ease of Learning: Ease of learning is great! It fits very well into most common schools of tarot. If you learn super image based, this one gets a little tricky. The guidebook is a little weird. They formatted it needlessly artistically but it basically does it's job and you can look up interpretations you can't figure out super easily.

(Anticipated) The Next World Tarot
I obviously don't have this yet. The Kickstarter just ended. I am so, ridiculously beyond excited for it though. For those who don't know, this is a Michelle Tea, Cristy C. Road team up that is described as a "queer punk" deck, and at first glance is full of nothing but WTFs. I could not be more ready for my kickstarted copy to show up. Obviously this review will likely change drastically, but hopefully by then I'll be writing regular reviews and get super in depth.
Overall inspiration and connection: I'm so desperate to get this deck in my hands. I want to cry with wanting it right meow, if that tells you anything.
Artwork: "Queer punk", full of femmes. I'm drooling over every single picture they've released already.
Card Quality: This is the one thing I'm nervous about. Kickstarted or indie decks in the past have been really hit or miss. I don't expect them all to be The Fountain Tarot (SO smooth! So good!), but I also don't want another Prisma Visions card stock--so thick, doesn't shuffle well, some of the gloss started peeling, etc. (The PV is a super phenomenal deck though otherwise!)
Queering Potential: My job is done here.
Guide Book and Ease of Learning: It looks pretty straightforward for a queer deck, but we'll see! I'm pumped about it regardless, whether it's easy breezy or a challenge.
Other Kudos or Complaints:

The Hobbit Tarot (Not Pictured)
Overall inspiration and connection: I mostly wanted this deck for geek cred and as a deck collector, but was pleasantly surprised by the connection I felt once it was in my hands. Not my strongest or most in tune deck, but definitely a pleasant surprise.
Artwork: Adorable in a way I don't hate. I don't do a lot of novelty decks unless I'm super into the thing, which I am in this case. This is a very sweet deck based on original artwork and concepts from Tolkien's book The Hobbit.
Card Quality: Good--if you've bought a mass market deck in the past 20 years, you know what to expect.
Queering Potential: It's tricky, but not impossible. In some ways a deck featuring mostly male characters lends itself to this easier, but it's a lot of twisting Tolkien's original character concepts. However, this deck is much more "epic quest" based and much less other people based, so it can be applied to any major quest or search.
Guide Book and Ease of Learning: By far the easiest deck I got this season to learn, and the deck is one of the small paper-only ones with really straightforward interpretations. It's not necessary to know about the tarot or The Hobbit to pick this up, and if you know about one or both it's really easy to combine what you know about each in your brain.
Other Kudos or Complaints: Any problems I have with this deck are problems I have with either Tolkien or original school of tarot concepts, so.

So Those were the decks other people got me this season (so far), and they are pretty great overall. In 2016 I should be receiving my Slow Holler tarot deck (!!!!!), and reviews moving forward will be one at a time and more in depth. I'm so excited to have this blog and have you all reading.

Share your favorite decks you got this year and how you feel about them, and until next time,

Blessed Be.

Yule is Coming!

Both Yule and Secular Christmas are very happy times for me, and we'll get to the latter shortly. For those who don't know, Yule is a Pagan celebration and depending on who you ask it can mean several different things. Common elements, and what I celebrate have to do with rebirth, returning to the starting point, the promise of coming light, and storing your harvest for the winter. As such, I created this rad Yule tarot spread for you all! Don't worry if you can't read my writing. I'll go through it all underneath.

The Spread is four cards, and you can use any layout you want but this one really shouldn't require anything fancy. Before I share spreads, I go through them several times to make sure it works out and the flow is right, and I had the best readings when I just did the four cards in a straight line. The four cards laid out should be read in order of how you read them, with the placements meaning:

1) What should my Yule focus be? By this we mean how should you focus and direct your energy on this day. For those of us who do ritual, what should that ritual be about? For those who just meditate and think a lot of things through throughout the day, what should you be thinking about?

2) What parts of me need to be reborn? In other words, which parts of ourselves should be transforming and changing or looked at totally differently this season?

3) What should I do to plan and store for my future? (Pretty straightforward)

4) How can I use the energy and lessons of this Yule to increase my happiness moving forward?

Below is a sample reading. Please note that while I do occasionally share public readings, this one is just a sample. Do not take it as a reading meant for you, me, or anyone else. It was done with my Tarot of the Silicon Dawn by Egypt Urnash.

Here we see the four cards laid out in a straight-ish line. We have the Chariot, the Five of Swords, the Queen of Pentacles, and the Two of Swords. As a reader the first thing I do is look at everything all together. What are my big messages this Yule? In this sample, we have Two Swords and the Chariot, all of which have elements of pain or moving on from it. Perseverance is a concurrent thread, or lack of it as the case may be. I'll note which colors or symbols stand out to me and if I think that means anything. Then I make note (mental or otherwise) of those things and look at the placements and cards individually.

1) What should my Yule focus be? With the Chariot here most likely my spiritual energy is best spent pursuing and going deeper with ongoing spiritual work, and based on the interpretation in this deck, connecting with my body and putting the various pieces of my life into something streamlined.

2) What parts of me need to be reborn? With the 5 of Swords, the parts I'm looking at rebirthing or transforming are the parts of me that are getting trapped by past pain or current fears. So I'd spend some time journaling and thinking about what that rebirth looks like. Do I need to reassess how I process pain? How I use fear? Or do I just need to let the parts of me that have been hurt grow back or rejuvenate?

3) What should I do to plan and store for my future? The Queen of Pentacles likes things nice and lush, but is in a stable place in her life and can enjoy herself. She works very hard and knows she deserves the rewards that come with that. The cards are likely telling me to invest in nicer things so I don't have to replace them as often, and to keep growing my businesses and allowing them to flourish. Likewise, investing in my own companies would be a good idea here. Enjoying myself and sharing with others is also key this holiday season, as holding on to every penny and investing it all will not make me feel confident financially, which will not allow me to grow.

4) How can I use the energy and lessons of this Yule to increase my happiness moving forward? Two of Swords--take all of these lessons in, and clear my mind. This card has trouble seeing what's in front of it and is frequently called on when one needs to make big decisions. So my best course of action is to clear my mind, take the rest of the advice of the cards, and then take that leap of faith. In this deck, that is particularly true if that leap of faith requires letting things go or moving beyond them, which ties in nicely with our other cards. The Chariot wants me to push forward and the 5 of Swords wanted those pain filled parts of me to be reborn.

Hope you enjoy it! I love Yule as a time to celebrate the faithfulness of light, and the more disciplined, determined dieties I worship. Sun dieties especially come to me now, guiding me even when we can't see them. Yule is the same time as Winter Solstice every year, which makes it December 21st this year, but I designed this spread with the idea that you'd use it to prepare for the day. It's also a good end of year spread, but I'll be doing a specific end of year spread a little later this month too.

Another thing I love that people are surprised by is secular Christmas. I grew up in a Christian household and community and still hold many of Christ's teachings close to my chest. ("Love your neighbor as yourself, and love me as I have loved you" is still one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.) Christmas doesn't mean what it used to mean to me as my faith has evolved, but it still represents a time to celebrate hope, love, and time with family. The pressure of buying so many gifts gets really overwhelming for me sometimes, but I genuinely love the practice. I also love receiving gifts and anyone who says they don't is lying! However, Christmas absolutely has its pitfalls. It is SO commercialized, there is SO much pressure to be ON all the time, and so many people are basically forced to spend time with so many people who may not love and support them the rest of the year the way they claim to now. Last year me and my roommate decided to reject those parts, but we are in a place of privilege to have been able to do so. For the rest of us, this is my favorite "dealing with the holidays" spread I have ever found. Seriously, it's SO good. Do it as much as you need to as many times as you get stressed this holiday season. It will help.

In the meantime, Blessed Be!