Tuesday, February 28, 2017

In Their Own Words: Song Suggestions, Anyone?

Hello, everyone! I had a very cool thing happen today. One of my readers, my friend Holly, was going through In Their Own Words: The Major Arcana of the Tarot and suggested a song for the World: "Closing Time" by SemiSonic.

Here are the lyrics that made her think of the World:

Closing time/Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

Pretty amazing, huh? A great choice for the World!

Do you have other suggestions for songs for the cards of the Major Arcana? Share them with me and I will share them with the world!

Feel free to comment here or send me an email to chime in. Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Random Meanderings

Greetings dear readers! I hope you had an amazing weekend. In no particular order, here are few random meanderings for you.

  1) You may have noticed some changes to the blog page. There is now a calendar on the links to the right on the main page; look under "Events". It will give you my schedule a couple of months ahead. I promise to do my best to keep it updated with the appropriate details for each event. It will include readings at 13 Magickal Moons and will have private events blocked off, so if you're interested in scheduling something you can start there!

  2) For those of you who are Civilization 6 players, I've managed to win as the Aztecs and the Germans this week on Warlord level. I think I also got in one win on Prince level as the Americans, but the AI civilizations gang up on you. Jerks.

3) I'm off to Cincinnati this coming weekend for a seminar at the Midwest School of Astrology, featuring America's premier classical astrologer, Dr. Lee Lehman. Horary and medical astrology are both on the agenda. I know I'm going to come home happy, tired, and with a very full brain.

  4) On my way out west, I'll be stopping for the evening in Wheeling, WV, and if you live in the area I hope you'll stop into Centre Cup Coffee...I'll be there reading cards and signing books starting at 6:00pm. It's this Thursday, March 2.

  5) This warm weather has been like the spring that we won't actually have here in northern Virginia. If you were saying "It's felt like spring," I suspect you just experienced it.  Hope you had a great time.

6) The next book in my In Their Own Words tarot series is in progress. I hope that the Wands installment will be available soon. My beloved, Virgo that she is, cracks a mean whip. 

  7) I had a great time last Sunday at the NCGR Conference in Baltimore, MD, where many of the brightest astrological stars--pun intended--came out to present. I was only able to be there Sunday, but saw some fantastic presentations and met up with a few old friends, and also met a few new ones. 

  8) A sincere "thank you" to everyone who has purchased In Their Own Words: The Major Arcana of the Tarot. If you're of a mind and haven't done so, please consider putting up a review on Amazon or Goodreads. The reviews will eventually allow Amazon to recommend my book to others, but I need 50 of them. Thanks in advance for helping me out!

  9) My post on binding earlier this week came from a reader suggestion, and I hope that if you have an idea for a blog, you'll let me know. That one seemed particularly timely. 

  10) Venus goes retrograde on Friday, and I'm hoping to coax her to do a blog installment before I leave on Thursday morning. She's usually pretty amenable to things like this, but I know she wants to get out of dodge for a while.

  I think that's it for the time being. Thanks as always for all of your support. Watch me on Facebook during my trip; I tend to be more active on social media when I travel or attend events because no one really cares generally what I'm eating for lunch or how many hours I've spent playing Civ (67). 

  I look forward to seeing you across my table soon!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Binding: What is Your True Intent?

One of my readers asked me to clarify the ideas behind binding spells. And it's a great topic to look at! Whole movies and books have revolved around it, so there's a lot of interest out there. 

At some point in every Witch's development, the question of performing a binding spell occurs. When should you do one? What's a good enough reason? And what are the karmic implications?

Let's start with what a binding is: A spell to keep someone--the caster or someone else--from doing a specific action or actions. And yes, it does involve hindering someone's free will; consequently, I take binding as a practice very seriously indeed.

Before we start down this path, I want to remind everyone that my stance on "harm none" is pretty simple: It's not possible. You are harming things every day, from the grass you walk on to the environment you live in. That's not to say that you shouldn't go out of your way to avoid harming people, but let's be realistic. Any spell you perform to enhance something in your life is going to "harm" directly or indirectly someone or something else. Fluffy-bunny Wiccans might say otherwise, but as a practicing Witch, that's where I stand. 

With that said, on the surface, taking away someone's free will is most definitely not "white magick"; you're definitely harming someone. But there is one question that should be central to your understanding of binding, or of any magickal working for that matter: What is your intent? To be clear, it's not what you SAY your intent is, but it's what you INTEND to do with your spell. This will also determine the karmic backlash you receive if any.

For example, did you know that love spells are actually binding spells in disguise? That's one of the reasons I never recommend using them. When you bind someone to love only you, you're taking away their free will to love or be with someone else. At that point, it's pure selfishness and ego driving you, and you can expect a pretty severe karmic bitch-slap for that.

But let's use another scenario. Let's say that you are concerned that a co-worker is gossiping about you or causing trouble for you deliberately at work. Before I even considered binding that person or "freezing" them in water--another great variant on the binding with the same impact!--I'd recommend protection spells. You can perform spells to protect "you and yours"--significant other, friends, pets, etc.--from harm with no concern about karmic repercussions. So I usually recommend starting there unless the danger is imminent. 

If there's no change in the situation in 3-4 weeks--and YES, you do have to wait that long--then a binding is something you could consider. 

Once again, let's go back to INTENT. If you intend to keep this person from gossiping about you and causing trouble at work, then that's essentially protecting "you and yours" and karmically you should be OK.

My concern is bindings that also cause harm to the target. If you want the person to stop causing trouble and gossiping and you also want them to perform poorly at the office, then you've crossed a line. Your INTENT must be crystal clear and not intend to cause any harm to your target. 

This last point is exceptionally important, folks. I'm a Scorpio, and we could practically write the "Don't get mad...get even!" book. If your spell involves the target receiving worse than they've given you, then once again you've crossed a line. With "I hope his dick falls off!" you risk having problems with your own genitalia, for example, when the target was unfaithful to you.

To be clear, revenge and justice are two different things. You don't bind someone as a punishment or to mete out justice in your own way; you bind them to protect yourself and those you hold dear. If you want the Universe to deal out something worse for your target than you yourself received, you're asking for trouble. But you don't bind someone for justice, either. 

Before I forget, you can also bind yourself, and this is a great way of helping yourself spiritually if you're trying to keep from doing something that harms you--smoking, overeating, etc. Of course, you won't get any bad karma from using it this way.

Finally, a binding to me is a serious spell done in serious circumstances. In other words, once you have tried to accomplish your goals on the mundane level without success, and you've worked some protection magick, then you can start to consider working a binding. But not before. I take a more conservative approach than others and I'll freely admit that point.

If we go back to our earlier gossipy co-worker, you should start by addressing the problem. You gather your evidence and you talk to this person, your supervisor, or their supervisor, or a neutral third party, like a human resources person or peer counselor. These are mundane--earthly, material--ways of dealing with this problem, and they should not be ignored. 

In other words, your first thought should not be to go home, make a poppet to look like your colleague, and bind them from ever receiving a promotion. Start in the mundane world, and work toward magickal solutions as necessary. If you don't need to use magick to solve this problem, then great! You can use the energy to fuel that prosperity spell with tax season upon us, right?

Bottom line: Binding is serious business, and it's a great tool to have in your Witch's toolbox. But Abraham Maslow once said, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you'll see every problem as a nail." Simply put, binding--and magick as a whole-- is NOT the answer to all of life's problems. It's used to help things along when necessary. And the Universe will often handle the problem for you; granted you might not be around to see a person receive their karmic just desserts, but that's just your ego talking. With a little time and some effort, you can swallow your pride. And sometimes, that's the best course of action. 

I'll just end by re-stating what I hope you take away from this blog. Binding someone else requires a thorough, honest look at your true intent. If the need is clear, and your intent is pure, then have at it! If you realize that you may be risking some karmic repercussions, back off and make sure you've done everything else you can in the mundane world before making a mistake that could lead to disastrous consquences. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Meeting of the Astrological Minds: Astrology and Emasculation in Charm City

Sun: Good morning, everyone! Hope you're hanging in. It's been a turbulent few weeks. Lady Moon, who do we have out right now?

Moon: At the moment, sir, only Jupiter. But it's going to be more challenging soon. [Opens Erin Condren planner] Looks like we'll do our solar eclipse dance this Sunday, sir. Hopefully, it will be a good one. 

Sun: Thanks for the reminder, Lady Moon. I had almost forgotten.

Moon: And if I'm reading this right, we've got Venus heading retrograde on March 3?

Venus: Correct. I'm out for a while beginning in early March, Lady Moon. And I know Merc is out again. 

Mercury: Early April for me, Lady Moon.

Moon: It was really nice at the beginning of the year having you all here. 

Pluto: I wouldn't go so far as to say that, Lady Moon. But it was more predictable, at least. 

Saturn: [To Pluto] Don't be rude, Pluto. [SIGH] We were seven planets once, and we can be seven again. 

Pluto: Doesn't matter how many of us there are, Old Man. You'd still be an asshole!

Saturn: I beg your pardon? You're lucky the Sun hasn't decided to kick you out for your poor attitude. 

Sun: Gentlemen, we're not going down this road again. Saturn, I was just planning to ignore his comments like most other planets do anyway.

Pluto: Thanks, boss. Good job with the positive motivation there. 

Sun: Sorry, Pluto. I'm just not feeling it much these days. I'm trying but it's been hard. 

Venus: We understand, sir. And I hate to go retrograde right now when people really need me. But orders are orders. 

Sun: No worries, Lady Venus. I've been dealing with these jokers for thousands of years. [chuckles] Mercury, would you like to give your report on the astrology conference?

Merc: Yes, sir. Our favorite blogger drove up the road a piece to spend a day at the NCGR Conference in Baltimore, a veritable who's who of the astrology elite. 

Saturn: Well, there were a number of notable absences. Some people were stopped at the border. You either take care of your paperwork or you don't get through...that's the deal. 

Merc: Luckily, that didn't take away from any of John's enjoyment. The first presentation he attended was about YOU, Old Man. I don't know that I'd question John's loyalty to you. 

Saturn: Really? 

Merc: Yup. It was on the history and mythology of Saturn, and it was an excellent presentation by all accounts. It was told in all its beautiful, detailed glory, and John stayed for the whole thing. 

Saturn: Wait, did they focus on the emasculation stuff again?

[Room silent]

Saturn: Damn. I really hate that part of the story! They end up portraying me as this emasculating, horrific taskmaster who is associated with the world's downtrodden people. Please tell me the lecturer didn't go there. 

Merc: Yup, sounds about right. They had some great images, too. There's this one where this one guy is holding what appears to be your...

Sun: [Interrupts] I think we get the point, Mercury. Who else did John see?

Uranus: The other highlight of the day was Janet Berres. She did a fantastic workshop on astrology and tarot. 

Sun: Oh wow! That's right up his alley. 

Neptune: Yeah, she did a great contrast between Uranus and I and the difference between astrology and tarot. Good stuff!

Saturn: I'm glad he went to see my presentation at least, though it sounds like it was thoroughly distasteful.

Mars: You are who you are, Old Man! I don't know that there are any photos of me with my junk in someone's hand, though. That's pretty awesome!

Saturn: Young man, your fascination with genitals of all kinds is irritating, and in this case infuriating. 

Mars: Not sure what you just said, Old Man, but I have a response: Get off my DICK! Or maybe that's the WRONG thing to say to you! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sun: Mars, that's more than enough. Merc, send the reports via email to Lady Moon, who will see that they're distributed.

Mercury: Yes, sir. It really was an interesting day. 

Saturn: With your permission, sir, I will withdraw. [Saturn leaves]

Sun: I think that's about all the nonsense I have time for these days, people. We're adjourned. 

Mars: Some guys get so sensitive about their dicks! I mean, I know he's old but he can probably still...you know...

Venus: Mars, you just don't know when to quit.

Sun: Lady Moon, please ensure that Mars' genital remarks are stricken from the official record. But keep the information provided by Mercury, since it was not actually intended to be insulting. 

Moon: Yes, sir. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Letters from Venus: Red Tuesday and Retrogrades

Good evening, everyone! Venus here to wish you a very happy Valentine's Day season.

It's a great time of year, no doubt about that. People really outdo themselves showing others how much they care, and that always makes me truly happy. But one of the saddest parts of this season is when things don't go quite as planned and people's feelings get trampled. 

Anyway, I was surfing the 'Net the other day and saw that there was a phenomenon know as "Red Tuesday", and I had never heard of it before. But I thought it was an extension of the holiday, like, "This is the lead-up to Valentine's Day." It sure sounded good...until I started looking into it further. 

And then I was sad, because Red Tuesday is apparently the Tuesday you should be breaking up with someone before Valentine's Day if your relationship isn't going the way you want. I guess this is really a thing. Breakups are hard enough, but putting someone through that pain a week before Valentine's Day? That sounds like cruel and unusual punishment. It's like saying, "Sure, I'll be yours...until someone better comes along." There's a person with feelings in there, you jerk! Sorry...I got carried away, but you see what I mean, don't you?

And as an aside, John didn't know about Red Tuesday either until one of his Taurus friends told him about it. Good on you, sister, for keeping him informed at least. 

Anyway, being an astrological planet has its highs and lows, and I get to see people in the throes of love and passion, and then watch relationships crumble. That second part is the part I hate. Sometimes it's necessary for both people to grow, but that's my head talking and not my heart, trust me! 

Once you get through Valentine's Day, then, unfortunately for all of you, I'll be on vacation soon afterward. I go retrograde starting in early March for nearly six weeks. With people in the world exceptionally upset and angry now, I need the vacation. I've got the perfect place picked out: It's a gorgeous house outside of Reno, Nevada. Hopefully, I'll be able to actually get there; they've been getting record snows and I could use the time to myself. Mars has to stay and work and this gives me the opportunity to really see how I work on a more personal level.

While I'm away, I have a few tips:

1) Please do NOT ask Mars for relationship advice. His bedroom skills may reign supreme, but his brain generally is the one between his legs. Ask pretty much any of the other planets, but not him. PLEASE. 

2) Know that relationships that are under stress will face additional stressors while I'm gone. No decisions, though, until I get back. You don't want to make the wrong call in your romantic life.

3) Stick with your current wardrobe. You don't want to change brands right now or try to figure out your personal style.

I think that's it for now. But I'd like to wish John and his beloved Jen a very happy Valentine's Day! They have been valentines for 24 years this year. Hope you crazy kids have a fantastic time next week!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mars Rising: Facing the Eclipse

[Dialing phone]

John: Come on, man. Pick up!


Mars: YO! Talk to me!

John: Mars? It's John!

Mars: Heyyyyyyy duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude! What's up?

John: Why don't you tell me? You texted me last night.

Mars: Huh? 

John: Your text message said "Duuuuuuude comin' 4 U Fryday". And I get the feeling it wasn't about potatoes.

Mars: OH YEAH! I did, didn't I? Well you know I'm getting hit this weekend. 

John: [Pause] Getting what this weekend? Lit?

Mars: No, asshole! "Hit", not "lit". Neptune's lit all the time and that shit is NOT for me. Well maybe some Jaeger...blood of the deer! And maybe some tequila!

John: Wait a sec...I think I understand. The eclipse is hitting you in my personal chart...is that what you mean?

Mars: Fuck yeah! I was sitting at 24 Aquarius when you were born...and the eclipse is catching me on the flip side. 

John: Yeah, I noticed. So how do you...behave when you "get hit"?

Mars: How the fuck should I know? You flabby wastes of space are all different. 

John: You're not being altogether helpful. 

Mars: Dude you talk like a weird combo of Merc and the Old Man! I just figured it out. WINNING!

John: [eyeroll] Fascinating. You, sir, are an insult even to cretins.

Mars: Oh, you're taking it? That's great!

John: Taking what?

Mars: Creatine! That shit is great for the body. 

John: Oh for fuck's sake! That's so far removed from what I even said it may as well have been in old French. No, of course I'm not taking any supplements! 

Mars: Dude, you will lose that spare tire in two shakes if you mainline it!

John: And damage my heart, liver, and kidneys in the process, right?

Mars: BULLSHIT! They've got nothing. Never hurt me at all. They're just haters.

John: You know this because of your Ph.D. in pharmacology from Harvard, I suppose? I'll take WebMD for $200, Alex. "This supplement could kill you if recommended by a caveman.""What is creatine?"

Mars: You're at it again, brainiac. Wanna speak fucking English now?

John: Fuck you, dickhead! I'll take my chances on Friday. 

[hangs up]

Mars: Huh. He sounded pissed. WHATEVER!