It is perhaps the most simple part of my nightly routine. These little stones just sit there on my nightstand, exuding their beauty and tiny imperfections, and that is where they stay. Thier role is just to rest there beside me. Yet, their simple presence is so meaningful to the ritual as a whole...the only one I can seem to keep on a regular basis.Read More
BY SIN RIBBON
Most believe a tarot deck’s use lies in divination, cards cast in a particular spread in order to foretell the future, yet many experienced tarot readers will you it is less about seeing into the future and more about providing insight to the individual asking the question. I rarely use tarot cards on others, but whether I’m giving a reading to someone else or divining the cards for myself, the search is always for guidance.
Most of us are worried about something at any given time. When a problem is solved, we shift our attention to a new one. Some find calm through meditation, yoga, or a relaxing hobby, and while these activities are healthy for the mind and body, tarot may provide specific clarity to the troubles that we face. I use the cards to better understand myself, the hidden subconscious layers that are often masked in superficial anxieties. Whenever I face an obstacle, the cards illuminate aspects I may have overlooked or ignored. It frames a new perspective, and that allows me to see things in a new way. Other times, they provide a friendly reminder that I am simply moving through a difficult period and that the light will shine again. They’ve provided me with a great deal of strength and reassurance over the years.
There are a wide variety of spreads (and decks) one can use; no one way is wrong. Even a typical playing card deck may be used, and there are several variations of the traditional tarot as well, some replacing the major and minor arcana altogether in favor of alternate meanings (oracle decks). I own six decks spanning tarot and oracle, and each has its own personality. One deck I use almost exclusively for the traditional Celtic cross formation (ten cards) that I divine for other people; another for decorative purposes in my home, such as pinning the cards to doorways and surrounding artworks; and the others I use for personal readings in spreads that rarely exceed six cards, the choice of deck depending on the answers I’m seeking.
Even traditional tarot decks will vary in meaning between decks. While each card in the tarot has an assigned meaning, every deck creator has their own interpretation. Some decks include reversed meanings whereas others must always be read right-side up. As you get to know a deck, so to speak, you will form unique interpretations of the respective cards; certain cards may appear frequently or carry special meanings.
Divining the cards is a meditative process that requires an open mind. Cards will share truths you may be resistant to receiving, so it’s important to be objective and willing to see from a new perspective. Quite a few people misunderstand the cards and assume they provide clear yes’s and no’s, but the search for wisdom is an internal one. A solution discovered on your own is more powerful than one simply told to you. Many times the reader is faced with aspects of a situation they were subconsciously aware of but had yet to assemble into a coherent whole. I drew a reading for a friend who received several cards highlighting her submissiveness and inability to stand up for herself, sacrificing her wants and needs in the process. She realized this part of her personality was a bigger issue than she had wanted to admit and thus could work on becoming more assertive. This progression from latent problem to personal growth is how the cards are most effective. Often, the cards provide validation for things we suspect may need focus, change, or healing, but we’re too afraid to face those issues until an outside source says, “Go for it!” The cards can provide specific insight in this way which is why they are a part of my personal journey for enlightenment and spiritual growth.
Validation is something we all crave. Whenever I am sleepless with anxiety, upset about rejected opportunities, or feel like my life is progressing too slowly, I turn to the cards. Sometimes they call me to action. Other times, they reassure me that difficulty is a natural part of the journey. Recently, I drew an oracle card that comforted me by telling me that while this point in my life was painful, it was okay to feel hurt. Suffering can be our greatest teacher, showing us the depth of our humanity and stretching our limitations to become stronger and more understanding. Drawing that card assured me that my pain was valid, and all I needed was time to heal. Sometimes, that’s all you can do.
In a strange way, the cards function as more of a therapist, providing insight, comfort, and encouragement when I need it most. They illuminate personal faults while providing guidance on how one can move forward. While one may attempt to foretell the future with tarot cards, I believe that would leave the reader disappointed, as the point of life is not to avoid problems but to change into someone capable of handling them.
If you’re looking to start using tarot and oracle decks, consider shopping around. Choose a deck whose artwork and meanings resonate with you personally. I believe that card divination is merely a translation of truths we already know but which have fallen lost in the sea of doubt and second-guessing. Think of a spread as a diagram of intuition. Tarot and oracle readings are a way of bringing sleeping issues and solutions to light, a method of becoming more honest with ourselves and listening to that still small voice which is always trying to guide us.
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Sin Ribbon is a storyteller on page, canvas and screen—her work culminated from poetry, screenplays, films and paintings. An eclectic blend, she draws from the philosophical and spiritual to spin existential tales of encouragement and consequence. Her works originate from the caverns of introspection and explore issues of identity, origin, loss and depression, and the quest for meaning. You can find her art on her website at https://sinribbon.com and her narrative podcast, 'In Her Burning: A Surreal Diary,' on iTunes.
BY LISA MARIE BASILE
If you keep an altar in your home, it may be a place where you naturally gravitate after work to ground yourself and get all that commute-work-capitalism off of you. It might be a place where you do spellwork. Or it might not be an altar for spellcraft at all; it may simply exist as a place where you keep symbols—reminders—of your strength, vision, and creativity, especially if feeling strong or wise or creative or happy isn't always easy (and when is it?).
For me, it's a little bit of each column—a place for me to be surrounded by my personal power objects in order to meditate and cast my intentions, and also a place where I can build a sort of mood board of my self at any given moment. I like to gather pictures of myself, crystals (these are from Myths of Creation) that I use as symbols for love and healing (for example), objects that represent my power—shells, seawater, perfumes—and other elemental bits (stones, flowers) from places that have symbolic power to me (like I always include a stone I got from a fisherman's village in Italy, a trip that was life-defining for me).
At my altar, I always write notes to myself in the present, mostly for things I need or desire or hope for currently. I admit I turn to the altar in moments of desperation (like, say, when I feel particularly troubled, anxious or sick), but I frequently try to do this with each new moon as a way to sort of get all those jumbled thoughts out of my head, down onto paper (a huge part of my craft), and into the universe where they can manifest. This new moon, I asked for strength and clarity in dealing with my chronic illness.
It's also really liberating and fun to create something beautiful made up entirely of your own vision—a creative and cathartic practice that, in itself, is meditative and reflective of your unique selfhood.
Would you like to build an altar? Here's what you'll need:
- Objects that represent you (a book, a piece of your jewelry a piece of fabric sprayed with your perfume)
- A candle to burn as you focus on your intention
- Oils (I use Moon Goddess Magick Apothecary oils). I tend to dab a bit on my wrists and on my power objects)
- Elemental objects to strengthen your intentions (a bowl of water, dirt, sand, shells)
- A note, handwritten, with your intention or goal
- A mirror for self-gazing and reflection
- A photograph of you, if you have one or would like to use one
LISA MARIE BASILE is a poet, essayist and editor living in NYC. She studied English and psychology as an undergraduate at Pace University and received a Masters in writing from NYC’s The New School. She's the founding editor-in- chief of Luna Luna Magazine (an online magazine & community dedicated to literature, witchcraft, the arts, and women). She is the author of a few books of poetry: Apocryphal, war/lock, Triste, and Andalucia. Her book NYMPHOLEPSY (co-authored with Alyssa Morhardt-Goldstein) will be published by Inside the Castle in November 2018 and was a finalist in the 2017 Tarpaulin Sky Book Awards. She is working on her first novella, to be released by Clash Books in 2019. Her poetry can be heard narrating the Into The Veil event video by Atlas Obscura. Her work has been nominated for the Best American Experimental Writing anthology and for several Pushcart Prizes. Her work has appeared in the Cambridge Writers Workshop anthology and in Best Small Fictions 2015, selected by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Robert Olen Butler. Lisa Marie has been published in or syndicated by Refinery 29, Greatist, Bust, Bustle, Marie Claire, The Establishment, Hello Giggles, The Gloss, Ravishly, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, and more. Work is forthcoming in the New York Times, Narrartively and more. FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER & INSTAGRAM.
BY LISA MARIE BASILE
One day, when I was about 17, I was sitting in science class during a test. The windows were open; the light was soft and the breeze was cool and everything was sort of quiet except for the whir of air. As our teacher passed out our exams, the papers slipped against one another in this very smallish, quiet, barely-there way, and I shuddered. The sound made me shudder. Here — I'll put it to you another way: something external caused a physical reaction in my body. It was like someone's hands in my hair; I felt a "tingle," as we call it, up and down my spine, deep in the roots of my hair and around my waist. It was odd and beautiful and totally involuntary.
Years later, it happened again — this time, at an internship. People behind me were cleaning up a beauty product shelf, shifting items to the left and right, softly placing glass bottles on the shelves. Because our office was so quiet, the interns were too — gingerly moving things about, making the tiniest of noises. It was barely perceptible, and yet, somewhere in my mind, the sounds created that same feeling. I had no words for it, but now I do: ASMR — Autonomous Sensory Meridien Response, defined as, "a euphoric experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine, precipitating relaxation. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia."
Nowadays, it's a phenomenon many people claim to experience — and the numbers don't lie. Millions of comments and views on YouTube ASMR videos show just how amazing ASMR is. It can set babies, dogs, veterans, the chronically ill, the mentally ill at ease — and it also just feels good. If you experience ASMR, or even if you just like chill (but sometimes very weird, TBH) videos that help turn your brain right off, and if you're a magical lady like myself....these videos are for you.