Tarot Talk

March, 2018

(The Lovers Card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti**


We just passed Valentine’s Day, so this might be a good time to examine the Major Arcana card known as The Lovers. Before we begin, let’s quickly define and describe some terms.

There are 22 Major Arcana cards in a Tarot deck, with numbers from 0 to 21; the Majors usually deal with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. An archetype (pronounced “ark eh type”) is a generic, idealized model of a person, an object, or a concept which can be copied, patterned, or imitated. The term archetype often refers to one of two concepts: a “stereotype,” a personality type observed multiple times, especially an oversimplification of a personality type; stereotypes can be positive or negative, or an “epitome,” which is the embodiment of a particular personality type, especially as the “greatest” or “best” example of the particular personality type; epitomes can also be positive or negative.

Archetypes present personality traits that are common enough to be known by us all, through images (rather than words) that contain symbolism that connects with our subconscious in a universal manner. Each of us can understand the symbolism of archetypes and connect with that symbolism because each of us has (or will) personally experienced these archetypes.

Each Major Arcana card corresponds to an archetype, an image, a number, an element, an astrological sign or planet, a Hebrew letter, and a Path on the Tree of Life joining two Sephiroth. Let’s get to work breaking this one down.

Many Major Arcana cards represent archetypes of people in our lives. The Empress is The Mother and The Emperor is The Father; we easily understand these archetypes because most of us have these people in our lives. Other Tarot Majors represent ideas or feelings or concepts or stories, rather than people. Temperance represents balance, The Wheel represents fate and Justice represents fairness, all three offering archetypes of ideas rather than people. Our card this month, The Lovers, has several archetypes: the Two Paths, the Union of Mature Opposites, and of course, Romantic Love. With The Lovers we learn how to discern and understand the interactions of duality, of the connections and interactions between pairs with strong connections, and with pairs of opposites (after all, we can’t understand light until we understand the darkness).

In keeping with the idea of duality, there are two traditional images of The Lovers. One shows a man and woman standing before an official or religious leader, with Cupid flying above the pair and shooting an arrow toward them. There is often a brightly colored sun behind the Cupid. A few versions of this image are a bit more sinister, showing a couple holding hands and another woman alongside them, sometimes seen as “the other woman.” Other times, one woman is seen as representing virtue and the other, sensuality. The other traditional image shows an angel with wings spread wide; standing before the angel are a naked man and woman. Behind them all are a blue sky, a blazing sun, and in the distance is a mountain. Often there is a tree behind the man and woman; the tree behind the man is usually heavy with fruit and the tree behind the woman contains a large serpent, reminding us of the Garden of Eden. Many Lovers cards offer other versions of embracing lovers, usually surrounded by flowers and green growing things.

The Lovers is the number six card of the Major Arcana. The number 6 represents victory over the obstacles of 4 (stability that could turn into stagnation) and 5 (movement that upsets stability), and is considered a perfect number because 6 equals the sum of its dividers (the numbers 1, 2 and 3 add up to 6). Perfect numbers are rare; the ancient Greeks only recognized four: 8,128, 496, 28 and 6. This number is also the smallest number above 0 that isn’t a prime or a square number. Snowflakes have 6 points, as does the Star of David, and honeycombs have 6 sides. Because 12 is seen as a number of cosmic order (there are 12 months in a year, and time is measured in units of 12 hours) and is used in other measurements (we use the dozen and the gross as units of measurement), 6 can be seen as representing the concept of “half.” It is also the highest number of the dice and is seen as lucky. The “sixth sense” represents ESP as well as hunches. And finally and quite appropriately for our purpose today, the number 6 is the symbol of Venus, the Goddess of love and beauty.

The Lovers corresponds with the element of Air, and thus the Minor Arcana suit of Swords, the playing cards suit of Spades, the direction of East, and the colors Yellow or Gold. Air is connected to the intellect, and to action, challenges, and a struggle that brings an outcome. This element represents the focused intent to bring forth manifestation, and many times it indicates a struggle as we bring an idea into reality. The element of Air can encourage a focus on truth and clarity, mental focus and spiritual guidance, and encourage a striving to achieve balance between the mind and the heart.

In astrology, The Lovers corresponds with the astrological sign of Gemini, the Twins. Gemini is about communication of all kinds, and about collecting information and stimulating the mind. Geminis are a mix of yin and yang, and they can easily see both sides of an issue. Gemini is all about the intellect, the mind, and the thinking process. They think clearly and make use of logic, and at the same time make use of their fertile imagination. Gemini is a mutable sign, and thus they can sometimes change their mind on a whim or not follow through to the end of a project, but this mutability makes them adaptable and flexible, too.

In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter is connected to the creative forces in the universe. They express themselves on three levels: one level is archetypical and runs from the first to the ninth letter; the second level is one of manifestation and runs from the tenth to the eighteenth letter, and the third is a cosmic level and runs from the nineteenth to the twenty-second letter. The Lovers corresponds with the Hebrew letter Zain (or Zayin), the seventh letter in the Hebrew alphabet and a member of the archetypal group; this letter represents the spear, sword or weapon, and it is also connected to food and to sustenance.

On the Tree of Life, The Lovers represents Path 17, running between Tiphareth (the hub of the creation process where energies harmonize and focus to illuminate and clarify) and Binah (female receptive energy and the origin of form and structure), connecting the Pillar of Balance to the Pillar of Form and the Sacred Feminine of Binah. A keyword for Tiphareth is “Beauty” and a keyword for Binah is “Understanding” so we could say that the 17th Path shows us the Beauty of Understanding as well as an Understanding of Beauty. The 17th Path is one of the paths that crosses Da’at, The Abyss, which tells us that The Lovers is not as simple as it appears on its surface.

Within the Major Arcana, The Lovers can be seen as connected to The Hierophant (which is about the group), and The Devil (which is about bondage, dependencies and addictions). Often, the traditional images of The Hierophant, The Lovers and The Devil have similarities; in many decks each often show s two people standing before some figure of authority or power. The Lovers is also connected to the Minor Arcana Two of Cups, another card that tells of duality, connections and love, and the Queen of Cups, the personification of love and compassion.

The Lovers of the Thoth Tarot has it all: a majestic priest (The Hermit of the Major Arcana), a blindfolded Cupid with bow drawn, a royal bride (who holds a cup) and bridegroom (who holds a lance). Before them are two children; on either side of the children are a white eagle (representing The Empress) and a red lion (representing The Emperor). At the very front of the card is the Orphic egg (the source of all manifestation), and around the egg is coiled the serpent Ophion (the fertilizer and protector of the egg). Above it all is an arch made of Swords. Crowley saw The Lovers as representing the alchemical process of Solution (the process that mixes a solid, gas or another liquid with a liquid, so that one substance seems to disappear into the other).

The Tarot of Bones (the awesome deck by Lupa that I reviewed last month month) Lovers card shows an image of a pair of Galapagos albatross skulls. These birds (who can live up to 50 years and who mate for life) are apart from their mates for most of the year, but in the spring when they reunite to make babies, they perform an elaborate mating dance as they greet and become reacquainted with their partners. The Tarot of Bones Companion Book sums up The Lovers nicely as “The pinnacle of romance and compatibility, bound together through mutual attraction and care.”

The Haindl Tarot Lovers card is chock full of symbolism: a red rose (love) superimposed with the Star of David (as above, so below and the four elements), with each point of the star adorned with a leaf (element of Earth, fertility, Nature); a spear (Wands, element of Fire) pointed down (ownership), and a unicorn (purity, innocence and enchantment). There is a tree on either side of the couple, reminding us of the Garden of Eden and the Trees of Life and Knowledge found there. An important symbol is the fact that the two Lovers hold each other’s hands behind a golden Cup, telling us that while we have many important personal choices in our lives, choices that can affect our physical environment as well as our emotional and mental selves, love is in front of it all.

The Shadowscapes Tarot Lovers card shows a couple who are kissing; they look into each other’s eyes and do not see the sun blazing overhead, the gold and gem-encrusted crown being offered to them. They only experience the oneness of passion and love that brings true union. This card tells of love and a union that can be based on romance, but also can be about the melding of both the heart and the mind, about communion and sharing, and it can even represent the transformative power of love.. The Shadowscapes Lovers card reminds us that this is about choice (and choosing can sometimes be a struggle) and about determining our own values.

The Lovers of the Gateway to the Divine Tarot are not quite touching. The image shows them at that moment just before a kiss that will be life-changing. Between them, Cupid’s arrow flies into the apple of desire that is growing on the Tree of Knowledge, and before them is the uncoiling serpent of awakening desire. Around them are four pillars decorated with lovers’ knots. This card represents relationships, intimacy, communication, unity, and choice, and the motivational power of love. The Lovers also can represent a choice between vice and virtue.

The Lovers presents the two halves that when united with balance are greater than the sum of their parts. This card is about love, but it is also about thinking! Remember, The Lovers corresponds with the element of Air and with the intellect and the workings of the mind. This card is about our personal values, and how they affect our choices and the promises we make to others.

The Lovers is about a one-to-one connection that we choose to allow, or not allow. We’ve all experienced both the pleasures and the pains associated with loving someone else. Trusting in the power of love, even though our minds may be giving other advice, is a very brave personal choice.

And for anyone who believes in the existence of Deity, any love that we humans may feel or experience is an echo or a reflection of the purest and most powerful love offered to us by Deity. The Lovers can be seen to bring us a true understanding of the beauty of love, an emotion which can cure us or kill us, and to show us the Divine nature of the choice to open ourselves to love.

** This year we will be featuring the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk.  You can view his work and Decks at .


About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journey To Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog,, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

For Amazon Information Click Image Below

Affairs of the Pagan Heart

February, 2018

Choosing Handfasting Cord Charms

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! You’ve planned every detail of the ceremony and reception with your partner and you’ve committed to having a handfasting ceremony, and now it’s time to choose what your cord looks like, from which colour(s) to choose to which charms represent the two of you. Of the two, the charms are, by far, the hardest to choose. There is a limited number of cord colours, but an unlimited number of symbols that could be used.

Charms at the end of a handfasting cord aren’t essential, but if you choose to add charms, the symbols should be the most meaningful symbols to you. After all, there are only two ends to a cord, so make them count!

The current definition of symbol on Wikipedia is spot on:

A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different concepts and experiences.”

Charms you choose may exist already and made of metal, or they could be carved from wood or a crystal, or they could be printed and placed into a photo charm.

As for how to choose symbols for your handfasting cord, think on the symbol you want to evoke meaning for your relationship and marriage. It may help to light some incense, meditate, sit cross-legged in front of each other, or even doodle with pen and paper with your eyes closed until you feel something has come forth.

You may want a literal charm. If you met at the seaside, you may want to walk along the beach together until you find some shells that compliment your cord. If your engagement took place at the Statue of Liberty, find a charm of Lady Liberty and something else to accompany it. If you have Celtic or Norse heritage, perhaps you’ll want to add a charm of a Celtic Love Knot on one end and the Ehwaz rune on the other end.

Sometimes choosing a charm based on what your relationship means can evoke a deeper representation. When you spend time with your partner, does a particular image come to mind? Does a particular animal frequently appear near you or cross your path when you talk about your partner? Does the same symbol keep appearing in any wedding-related dreams you have leading up to the ceremony? The universe is speaking to you in dreams, animal encounters, repetition, and strongest memories and wants you to take notice. So do!

And as relationships change, grow, and mature, the symbols you use to represent it may change as well, so if you reuse your handfasting cord later for a vow renewal or rebonding ceremony, consider changing the charms to represent what and who you are now. Add in charms for your family, your home, your spiritual path, or anything that may have changed or evolved since your marriage began.


About the Author:

Rev. Rachel U Young is a pagan based in Toronto, Canada. She is a licensed Wedding Officiant and under the name NamasteFreund she makes handfasting cords and other ceremonial accessories. She is also the Chair of Toronto Pagan Pride Day.

Affairs of the Pagan Heart

November, 2017

Adding a Spindle to the Wheel of the Year

As I wrote this, I was finishing up work for the day to head home to get ready to celebrate my 5th wedding anniversary with a quiet dinner at one of our favourite fancy restaurants. Though my husband is not pagan, we did a handfasting with cords of orange, brown, green, and silver in a beautiful loft space gallery that used to be a piano factory. It was an overcast day that rained on and off, and we didn’t care, as long as we had each other and were surrounded by our friends and family. We bound ourselves to one another, and by the grace of the Gods, the rain paused just after our ceremony so that we could run outside to get some outdoor photos amongst the glorious fall colours of late October.

I didn’t have my parents there to celebrate with me. They both passed away years before, and never even met my husband. It breaks my heart every time I think about how much my husband and my dad would have gotten along, or how easily my mum would have welcomed him into the family. I never dreamed of how my wedding would be, and was not that little girl who walked around in my mother’s shoes and a veil on my head and “played wedding” as easily as “playing doctor” or “playing school” or “playing tea time”. In fact, though I wholeheartedly believe in love and wasn’t opposed to marriage, enough time had passed by that I guess I thought it just wasn’t for me. So I never had those dreams of my dad walking me down the aisle, or getting ready in the morning with my mum.

However, when the time came, their absence was sorely missed. My parents were still married for 46 years when my father died, and were not at our wedding in person to witness their youngest getting married. But I know they were there in spirit, as were my ancestors before them, and I know they come forth when the veil between the spiritual plane and the living is most porous or at its thinnest. Each year, our anniversary has felt like the start of that thinning, the overlap between summer and fall, or Mabon and Samhain and forward to Yule.

And as I think on my ancestors and my immediate family that have passed on, I don’t think of them as lost. I think of them as pillars of love and endurance. They have faced so much in their lives, living through wars and social progress and political strife and so much more than what I have experienced, and if I can get a glimpse of them through the veil at this time of year, or gain a portion of their wisdom or obtain a sliver of their bravery, perhaps I would have even more inspiration to keep my heart strong for my marriage.

We mark and celebrate our anniversary as a reminder of how we fell in love, to look back fondly on the day we were married and celebrated our commitment to one another in front of our family and friends, and to take stock of our relationship. I also take the time to evaluate how my spirituality plays into the marriage, and how I can improve myself for myself mentally, physically, and spiritually.

If we think of the wheel of the year as a ship’s wheel, we see the evenly spaced spindles that indicate each season and sabbat. It’s important to can add to our own wheels with anniversaries and special occasions so that they are actually that – special occasions. They are things that we celebrate specifically for us, separate from what others are marking, so that we can spend energy on why that day is important to us.

This time of year has a lot going on for me. I honour my ancestors, I miss my parents, I celebrate my wedding anniversary, and I acknowledge the turning of the wheel as the year progresses, as sure as my heart beats.


About the Author:

Rev. Rachel U Young is a pagan based in Toronto, Canada. She is a licensed Wedding Officiant and under the name NamasteFreund she makes handfasting cords and other ceremonial accessories. She is also the Chair of Toronto Pagan Pride Day.

Book Review – The Magical Art of Crafting Charm Bags: 100 Mystical Formulas for Success, Love, Wealth, and Wellbeing by Elohim Leafar

October, 2017

The Magical of Crafting Charm Bags: 100 Mystical Formulas for Success, Love, Wealth, and Wellbeing”



by Elohim Leafar

Published by Weiser

Published: 2017

Pages: 235


We all have them – stones, botanicals, charms, claws and other objects that we consider precious and that we protect. Our ancestors in all cultures and magical traditions the world over had them, too.


These talismans go by many names: charm bag, mojo bag, medicine bag, conjure hand, gris-gris bag, trick bag. They come in all shapes and sizes, can be used for almost any purpose, are fairly easy to make and offer powerful magic.


Elohim Leafar – a shaman, diviner and traditional magician who lives in New York City – is descended from a Venezuelan family of spiritual and magical practitioners. His book goes into great depth about this practical magic that other books may cover in a few pages or perhaps a chapter.


The first portion of the book introduces readers to the basics of creating a magic circle in which to create talismans for specific purposes. The most important one you’ll make is to represent yourself, Leafar says. He then talks about how to charge, recharge and cancel a talisman’s powers.


Part two describes charm bags, how to make them and how to consecrate them. Many of the energies that can contribute to the power of these bags are presented, including phases of the moon, colors, plants and herbs, oils and essences, and gems and crystals from agate to zoisite. This information allows the user to gather up energies from multiple sources when crafting a custom bag. More information, including the magic of each weekday and incense magic, is given in the appendix.


Leafar states in his book, “Charm bags derive their power from the spells that are stored in them. All their energies are channeled through their different components.”


I’ve long made mojo bags both to use and to give. There’s something special about a little pouch full of intent and energy. This book gives me more ideas on how to use them in daily life.


There’s nothing supernatural about charm bags, Leafar writes, explaining, “You work directly with the forces of Nature to crate an entirely natural effect that arises from the combination of various elements, aspects, and moments linked fully with certain forces of Nature.”


The third part of the book gives 100 magical recipes for abundance, attraction, success, health, love, protection, power and more.


Magic exists everywhere around us, and Leafar draws on many cultures and traditions when showing how to tap into it. This manual can take readers from novice to expert. It provides references that can be used with any forms of the magical arts.


Leafar is also a palm reader and a dowser; he is dedicated to teaching the principles of spirituality and practical magic.



About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.


She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

September, 2017


(Lovingly dedicated to Bridget)


In the past few weeks, it has become apparent that there is a large part of this country (US) that has completely opposite feelings than the rest of the country when it comes to race, culture, gender. There is a segment of the population that is now being open with their hatred for anyone different than they and they are encouraged from the highest office. In light of this, the Goddess that I have chosen for this month is Kwan Yin, She of Mercy and Compassion, which is how we should all deal with each other, even those with whom we may disagree.




(Photo: Pinterest)


“She is a boat, She is a light

High on a hill in dark of night.

She is a wave, She is the deep,

She is the dark where angels sleep

When all is still and peace abides,

She carries me, to the other side.”

“She Carries Me”

by Jennifer Berezan

Kwan Yin is a bodhisattva (Buddha in the making), who is now seen as a Goddess. While she is most revered in Asia, Her worship has gone beyond into the western world.


Her name translates to “she who hears the cries of the world”.


She is one who has attained enlightenment and chose to stay until all of humankind has attained enlightenment.


She is a symbol of compassion and peace.


She banishes fear and hardship.


As the Goddess of 10,000 hands and 10,000 eyes, she sees everything.

(For a beautiful performance of Thousand Hand Kwan Yin from China, please watch: )



She is the Goddess of love and care.


She is a fertility Goddess, bringing children to those who want them.


Her energy is that of the Divine Mother, which is the same as Mother Mary’s in Christianity and the beloved Isis in Egyptian mysteries.


She resides on P’u T’o Shan and answers every prayer sent to Her. She is gentle and one is assured of being free from physical and spiritual harm by saying Her name in prayer and meditation.


She is associated with the heart chakra, which is the center of our being.


Kwan Yin with a Willow Branch (Photo: Pinterest)


She is not associated with that chakra in terms of a romantic or sexual love, but a love and acceptance of ourselves and others.


She wears flowing robes and carries a vase with the waters of life, the dew of compassion, from which she blesses all souls. She carries pearls of enlightenment to see clearly and a willow branch to heal illness. She is also seen carrying a white lotus blossom. Each of Her hands is held in a specific mudra (yoga for hands). Her other symbols are the dove (peace) and scrolls containing dharma (sacred teachings).


She is most revered in all of Asia, but Her worship has gone beyond and into the western world. She also goes by the names Kannon in Japan, Gwan-eum in Korea and Kuan Im in Thailand, among others.


It is said that She began life as a princess named Maio Shun. The earth shook and She was enveloped in the smell of flowers when She was born, as Her mother had dreamt of the moon at the moment of her conception. It was known that She would be a goddess, however, Her parents, the king and queen, were disappointed as they had wanted a son.


Her father insisted that she marry and she refused. Because she was so innocent and gentle, not eating the flesh of animals, she was known as the Maiden with the Heart of the Buddha. Due to her refusal, her father made her do the dirtiest and hardest chores around the castle. She requested to go to a nunnery and he agreed but first, went to the abbey and told the nuns to treat her as badly as possible. At the Temple of the White Bird, she felt weighed down by her chores but did them cheerily nevertheless. The Master of Heaven sent animals to help her.


When she still refused to marry, her father sent soldiers to the nunnery with orders to kill all of the nuns. The soldiers set the nunnery aflame and all of the nuns blamed Maio Shun and they turned on her. She pricked her mouth and spit out blood which turned into enormous rain clouds from which torrential rain came to put out the fire.


The King brought her back to the castle for execution. The executioner’s sword broke, his spear dissolved and he did the deed by choking her. A tiger came and stole her dead body away, putting an immortality pill in her mouth. When she came back to life, she meditated, strengthening her nature as a Bodhisattva.


Her father became ill and no one could cure him. A monk came and told the king that if he could find someone who would willingly sacrifice and eye and an arm, that a medicine could be made from them. The monk also told him where such a person could be found. The King sent a messenger to the nearby mountain and, of course, it was his daughter, who willingly gave up both arms and both eyes. The king was cured and went to the mountain with the queen to thank this person. When he saw it was his daughter, he begged her forgiveness. She then ascended to become the Thousand Armed and Thousand Eyed Kwan Yin.


It is said that her name chanted repeatedly becomes a prayer, and she hears and listens to all of the prayers sent to her.


Another of Her creation stories says that She was born from Buddha’s eye. There are several myths of Her beginning Her life as a male, Avalokitesvara, but it is as the female Kwan Yn that She is most beloved


Her mantra is OM MANI PADME HUM – The Jewel is in the Heart of the Lotus.


Om – seed sound of the Universe

Mani – Jewel

Padme – Lotus

Hum – represents that which is constant and immovable




(Photo: Pinterest)


Bring yourself lying down on the floor. Close your eyes and take several deep inhales/exhales.

Transport yourself to a field near the waters where white lotus blossoms bloom. See yourself there, walking leisurely enjoying the sight of these beautiful flowers. Smell the heady scent as your roam aimlessly, enjoying the beauty of this place.

You find a clearing and sit down, enjoying the peace and calm. You allow yourself to lie down on your back.

You look up and see that it is the night of the full moon. She looks larger than you have ever seen her, surrounded by the stars, in a velvety black sky. You gaze at the moon, mesmerized by her beauty, which draws you in. The moon seems to expand and grow brighter and you feel her energy filling you and you feel as if you are floating above Mother Earth.

As the moon expands, you notice that a shape begins to take form. As it becomes clearer, you see that it is Kwan Yin descending from the sky and surrounded by the light of the moon. She brings herself amongst the lotus blossoms surrounding you.

She looks at you and smiles. You begin to chant her name and she nods. She comes closer and hovers a few inches of the ground. She extends her hands to cup around your head and above your crown chakra.

You feel an energy enter you that you have not felt before. You feel yourself filling with her love, for you and for all of humankind. She fills you with the compassion and mercy that she feels toward everyone and she shares this feeling with you.

The light that surrounds her begins to surround you. You feel lighter, calmer, more accepting of what you perceive to be your own inadequacies, the things about yourself you do not like. You have more compassion for yourself, and feel yourself healing all of those little areas that have brought you emotional pain. This acceptance, this compassion grows within you to embrace all of the people in the world, accepting them, as well, and sending this energy out to heal all of them and blessing them with the light that has been so beautifully shared with you.

You feel her take her hands away from your head. While you miss the feeling, you also know that what she has given you, will always be with you. You have surrendered yourself to her and you will never be the same. When you open your eyes, She is gone.

You take a moment, remembering all that has happened and then you turn to, once again, walk near the lotus blossoms, picking one to bring with you as you return home, returning to yourself.


About the Author:



Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speakand Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess, as well as Mago Publications She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Womens Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through Imagine A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at and her email is






Spiralled Edge

August, 2017

Spiralled Edge – Finding the Hearth and Heart


Once upon a time, the Hearth and Heart of a home would have been the main room with a large fireplace for cooking and heating, where people went about their daily lives. The fireplace would have been the focal point of the room. But many houses don’t have fireplaces these days, or they may be mostly ornamental with a fake fire, and we certainly don’t have huge fireplaces. The focal point in that main room has become a TV set, not a fireplace.



Gradually, the hearth became the cooker. And the heart of a home moved into the kitchen. After all, there’s big heat source with a cooker, even if it might put out heat produced by electricity and there might not be any fire involved at all. This is where the magic of cooking takes place, making it the hearth and possibly the heart of the home.


Not everyone cooks though, and some kitchens are tiny. In my case, I have had a tiny kitchen that was really part of the living room. The hearth in our home over these past 2 years has been the living room. Not quite a kitchen, not quite a lounge (because I have slept here as well), no fireplace, just a bricked up chimney.


The hearth and hearth in today’s modern home, is that room in the house where people most want to gather. For the most part, we aren’t living in one or two room homes with a single large fireplace used for heating and cooking. The heart and hearth may still be the kitchen, it may be another room.


Over the next week, I will be moving out of a flat into a small house, complete with separate kitchen! And I have found myself wondering, where is the hearth in this new home? Kitchen, living room, back garden?


The kitchen has the cooker, and the boiler used to produce heat for the entire house as well as hot water. The living room has a bricked up fireplace. Outdoors in the garden there is an unused but reasonably put together brick barbecue. Each has potential, but I won’t really know until I have spent time in the house, adding my own energies to the place, until I have cleaned and cleansed it of other people’s energies.



Once I have found the heart and the hearth in our new home, I will be able to work to strengthen that, so that its warmth can spread more easily into the other rooms of the house. I’m not talking about a physical heat here. I’m talking about the warmth that comes from walking into a calm, loving home.


Over the first few days of August, I will start by giving the currently empty house a thorough clean, top to bottom. This will help to wash away any residual physical signs of previous occupants. Then, I will give the house a thorough energetic cleanse, to remove any residual non-physical signs of previous occupants. Finally, I will take around my own holy water and salt to bless the dwelling and place a layer of protection around it.


Then, and only then, I will be ready to move into our new home. Then, I will know where the hearth and heart is.


Where’s the Hearth in your home? Is it the same room as the Heart, or are they in different rooms? Does this make a difference to the energy in your home?


July, 2017

Middle Son (15) is a bit of a jester and trickster both. Whenever I tell him that I love him, he gives me a lopsided grin and replies: “I love me too!”



As well as funny I think this is actually brilliant as we are constantly being told that we can only love others in as far as well love ourselves. And if we do not love ourselves (wholeheartedly, sufficiently) our love for others becomes distorted because our own needs and unresolved issues colour the space. Manipulation and unresolved shadow material often comes into play, even if this is unintended and we are not aware of it.

Many of us grew up in families where love is not unconditional but conditional on us behaving a certain way and meeting the expectations of the parent, sometimes even living out the parent’s own unlived dreams. We grew up in families where co-dependency was rife and manipulation (trying to control both situations and people) the norm.

For some people I know being “loved properly” means arriving at a healthy degree of separation. A few months ago I asked the same son if he felt that “he receives enough love”. He shouted: “Too much!!” and ran off, slamming the door to his room shut behind him. After that moment , I have tried to give him more space and to be less openly affectionate with him. The cute blonde toddler that used to clamor : ”Cuddle me! Cuddle me!” has morphed into a young man who needs to leave the realm of home and mother to make his mark in the world.

That lack of “healthy separation” informs many key relationships in my life. I am very much ” my son’s mother”, I thrive in relationships where there is space, where it is OK to retreat and go silent, where it is OK to say that now is not a good time to meet or talk. Where my love for painting, writing, music and wide open space is understood and honoured.



I love the fact that my son has put both these dynamics into words, that he is aware of them and able to voice his needs. Loving ourselves – it is easier said than done isn’t it?! What does it mean to truly love ourselves?

In my perception of the world, love without a spiritual dimension often nosedives, crashes. There are many self-help books on the market that tell us to change our beliefs, to think positively, to use positive affirmations, to use visualisation to create desired outcomes and so forth. In my experience all those things certainly have their places and uses – but they cannot stand alone, they must be embedded in a personal cosmology and commitment to spirit (as we perceive spirit, a power greater than ourselves), a dedicated spiritual path.

Relationships with members of our family of origin often remain tricky and sticky for life because we are not given the space to change (and the changes we do make are frowned upon or ridiculed) and also because there are unspoken expectations and limits that erect a kind of trip wire between people. “Beyond this point expect hand grenades and landmines…”

Example: my own mother grew up as the child of a very abusive and manipulative mother who actively ‘broke her spirit’ (those were the words she used, her parenting goal) and made my mother her child servant: tending to her every need. This pattern carried on all through adult life. As a young child I observed my mother jumping in the car every time the phone rang with another demand from Oma (grandma).

My mother had been given a Roman Catholic upbringing (with a determined focus on self –sacrifice, putting others first and admiration for martyrs to the faith etc.) She truly believed that unconditional love meant meeting every single demand that Oma threw at her. Oma had many health problems (at least in part because medical issues were the legitimate road to attention from doctors, priests and her own daughter). I think you get the picture! My mother did not attend higher education. She chose not to work outside the home because “Oma and her three children came first”.

Oma died when I was 19 years old. Today my mother is nearly 79 years old and looking back on her life. One painful lesson I have had to learn is that loving myself means even operating a healthy degree of separation between my mother and me. Healthy boundaries that reflect the person I have become (I turned 50 a few weeks ago). My mother perceives those boundaries as me being a bit cold and distant. She has not done therapy. She has not delved deeply into the forces that shaped her own life and reflected on them. She prefers to think that “Life dealt her a pack of cards and she did her best with those cards”. She chooses not to see that she could have made many different choices along the way. Taking the role of victim (or “done to person”) absolves people from the need to take responsibility.

I myself actively choose to do a lot of work on family stuff. As a shamanic practitioner I am also very much aware of the pull of ancestral forces and unresolved ancestral issues expressing themselves through living members of families (often the most sensitive or psychic member of a family). I have chosen not to follow the “daughter sacrifices herself for her mother” dynamic or script. Even as a young child observing this, it felt all wrong to me. Instead I have worked on releasing and transmuting this from the family field. It is interesting too that I have three sons and no daughter – almost as if the Universe thought: “Enough of mother-daughter agony destroying lives. Let’s skip a generation….”

For my mother this is all very puzzling. After a lifetime of making sacrifices for others – who is going to do it for her as she navigates old age? An eldest and only daughter who lives abroad and works full-time is incomprehensible to her. And don’t worry, my brothers and I keep a very close eye on things, my mother is very far from abandoned and surrounded by wonderful neighbours and friends who also help her in many ways.

My mother is very affectionate. She tells me every phone call that she loves me. There are moments I feel like taking a leaf out of my son’s book and saying: “Yes, I love you and I love me too!” Meaning: if you truly love me, release me to my own dreams and calling, release me from the martyr archetype that runs so strong in you. Spare me your never-ending diatribes on working mothers (as the root cause of all evil in our society – in your perception) and take joy in my achievements.

This is all true, yet is also a simplification. Last year I published my first book (Natural Born Shamans, in English) and my mother has spent many hours with an English-Dutch dictionary, slowly reading many chapters of it. She does take pride in my creations – the ones that do not clash with her needs and values anyway.



Essentially I have two families. My family of origin with whom I am in relationship but operate healthy distance and boundaries. Then there is my spiritual family: the people I am thrilled to share the Web of Life with. These are the people who give me space, who encourage me to make choices that are good for my soul (not the easy choices that keep me stuck in my personal comfort zone). They are the people who truly rejoice in the things that make my heart sing – and this is mutual, I also give them both space and undivided attention in the right measure. I delight in their achievements, I will actively encourage them and cheer them on when they try new ways of being in the world. I feel no envy at their achievements – when they do something amazing I think: Road sign! If they can do it, maybe I too will try and succeed at something new. They are showing others the way!

It is only when we love ourselves that we learn that only very little other people do and say (even if they are talking about us) reflects on us. It reflects on who they are, where they are and the people they surround themselves with. These days I only take to heart feedback and constructive criticism from people who come from a place of love and wanting the very best for me. Not people who have not done any work on themselves.

I love you but I love me too!




About Imelda

Imelda Almqvist teaches shamanism, sacred art and internationally. 

Her book “Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life”, Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages was published by Moon in August 2016.


Imelda is a presenter on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True


And she will present on the Shamanism Global Summit with The Shift Network on July 25tth



She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

June, 2017



(Photo Credit : Pinterest)

Cliodnha, known as the Queen of the Banshees, or Queen of all the Fairies of the HIlls, is part of the Tuatha Du Danaan, subject to the Goddess Danu.

Cliodnha presides over Tir Tairngire, or the Land of Promise, a place of happy feasting, with no aging, violence, death or decay, which some say is the Celtic Otherworld.

She has three colorful birds, who eat apples from a tree in that Otherworld, that can heal the sick with the beauty of their song.


(Photo Credit: wolfanita@deviantart)

She is a Goddess of love and beauty. She would take the form of an enchantingly beautiful human woman and use her beauty to take many mortal lovers. She was associated with light and happiness, but with a dark edge because when we was done with her mortal lovers, she would sometimes lure them to their deaths by the sea.

She fell in love with a human man named Ciabhan, and wished to be with him. But she was lulled to sleep by the music of one of Manannan mac Lir’s minstrels, and was swept away by a wave. She is said to rule the ninth wave of every series of waves, which was larger than the preceding eight. Large waves are knows as “Cliodnha’s Waves”.


(Photo Credit:

One of the best known stories of Cliodnha is when Cormac mac Carthy asked her help in a lawsuit in the 15th century. Her advice to him was to kiss the first stone he saw in the morning. He did so and easily won his court case by the eloquence of his speech. This stone is the famous Blarney Stone. Cormac mac Carthy was so concerned that everyone would kiss the stone and the land would become a home to those who “could deceive without offending”, that he hid the stone in his castle, where it is to this day.

Cliodnha resides in her palace in the center of a sacred hill in County Cork, called Carrig Cliodnha.

May the blessing of Cliodnha be with you.


Bad Witch’s Guide

June, 2017


The Bad Witch’s Guide to Life, Love and Magick
I am a bad witch. There are a long list of reasons why I am a bad witch. Having been out of the broom closet for some considerable number of years I would on occasion get asked “but you’re a good witch though?” My response to that depending on the person asking but I found I started to say “yes, a very, very good witch” rather darkly as it usually got the point across.

There is this sort of pressure to be “nice” to everyone, as though we had to be saintly ambassadors of our faith. Not that I’m not generally a polite person I just don’t subscribe that “nice” is any kind of “good” or healthy. It is not authentic, it’s fake and insincere and I loathe it. Unfortunately good witches tend to fall into two camps. The “yes” witch (it’s a trap); whom has to be the kindest, sweetest most co-operative person to their own detriment of their own health and sanity (of the two kinds I have been closest to this kind). The other is the more witchy-than-thou; who will loudly proclaim or in snide whispers that only a _____ can be a true witch. This will depend on the witch but the vitriol and nastiness that goes with it, under the guise of “nice” of course, is deeply awful. These kind of witches police and pigeon-hole the community.


Life! Don’t talk to me about life!” Douglas Adam Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

I am a bad witch because I am not a patient person, nor a terribly forgiving one (though I try). I believe that life is wonderful, beautiful and amazing. It’s also full of injustice, hate and bile. From abusive partners, to drug-addicts who might want to break into your house, awful ex’s who make your life miserable or diseases robbing you of years of life.

Now life to me is three-fold, what you think, do and treat the world echoes out and you have to take responsibility for a certain amount of it. Yet being a bad witch I also think sometimes life happens to you as well as you happen to life. As such being passive about it all is a wonder in theory, “this too will pass” is wonderful if you have never had a kidney stone. You are responsible for you, and your kids. I don’t have the stomach to watch the powerful abuse the weak. It enrages me. I just can’t “love and light” at them. These things are usually time sensitive too. I am a bad witch because I think that a good offence can be the best defense. I happen to think that people who cause pain for their own pleasure are pretty awful and maybe if they got dumped into a barrel of sharp rocks and rolled down hill I wouldn’t lose any sleep.

That said I do understand that there is always more to a story (that doesn’t make someone less of a villain if they are one) and that good people can do terrible things. Cursing everyone who happens to eat meat because you think it is cruel shows a profound lack of understanding of context, and is the other end of the extreme of those who hunt for sport. There is no such thing as “harm none”. It doesn’t exist. Farmers in third world countries growing soy and other cash crops commonly consumed by vegans will kill pests with extreme prejudice and often live in poverty. Hunting “big game” damages the eco-systems and reduces an animal’s life to an “experience”. All you can do is the best you can and try not to be a dick about other people’s choices.

I think it is more productive to get passionately involved in making things better as often as you can.

You are going to have dodgy bosses (or co-workers), silly accidents, sudden illness and lying friends or family. Life is not a stream of perfect but you can be a good witch and suffer it well or take your power and do something about it.



“Keep it in Your Pants” Spell.

Sexual harassment is illegal; however temporary contracts, poor management, and no job security are. Sometimes being honest and making a complaint can get you fired. This isn’t right, but this is the world we live in.

A gendered pair of underwear. (Briefs, knickers, granny pants)

Wool or cushion stuffing

Yarrow flowers

White heather

Spring water

4 white candles (tea lights will do)

Photo or paper with all of their names.

Sew, staple or hot glue the underwear mostly closed.

You have no power of me, from sexual violence I am set free.”

This would be an appropriate gluing or sewing chant, but “leave me alone” is just as applicable.

Mix your herbs and stuffing together then add to the underwear. Add their photo or names and shut the underwear.

Place your underwear on a plate or dish with the unlit candles around it.

Let those who need to see what s/he is; see clear.

Those who are afraid feel no fear.

They lose the power they hold dear.

I am free to pursue my career.”

With each line light the candle. Then carefully pour the water over the underwear soaking it through. Now you can place in a zip-lock bag and put in the darkest deepest reassesses of your freezer (under the unmarked left-overs from three years ago); or under a rock in the garden. Somewhere cold and damp will do.

Leave for three months. If things haven’t changed you may need to do something else and if they have you can remove and deconstruct the underwear and re-cycle or destroy the underwear.




Lucy Drake has self published three books. The Key: Opening the doorway to Magickal Practice (which is in its second edition) and Litanies of Grief and Inspiration.


The Love of Chocolate by Guest Author Lilith Dorsey

February, 2017

The Love of Chocolate 



Dark and delicious, almost everyone loves chocolate. This little bean is not only tasty but also quite magickal. It has a long history of use throughout several countries and cultures.

Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree, discovered over 3,000 years ago in the rain forests of Central America. Originally it was used as an alcoholic beverage. Prized by Ancient Mayan societies, Chocolate from the very beginning was an integral part of rites and rituals. The Mayans has uncovered a way to cultivate the beans. Next they dried, roasted and ground them into a paste. This was then combined with chili peppers and cornmeal to make a strong beverage. This ritual drink was used for everything from initiations to burial rites.

The invasion of Mexico by the Spanish brought chocolate to Europe. There it was prized as a beverage of wealth and power. It was reserved for the elite as a supreme delicacy.

Even if you’re not a magickal person it is easy to see how chocolate is a sensual delight. It’s smell, texture and touch lend themselves to passion. Because of this chocolate is a wonderful ingredient to use in your love spells and workings.

In my book Love Magic, I talk about combining two great aphrodisiac ingredients, chocolate and strawberries. “Strawberries are one of the many plants ruled by Venus. This recipe blends two great romantic pleasures—both strawberries and chocolate—to conjure up some sweet romance.” Craft this recipe witch care and magickal intent and you will be able to manifest your desires.


Chocolate Dipped Strawberries Recipe

1 pound strawberries, washed and dried
2 Tbs. butter
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chunks or chips)

To make dipping easier, leave the leaves on your strawberries. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Dip strawberries one at a time into melted chocolate. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Enjoy with your love.



About the Author:

Lilith Dorsey M.A. , hails from many magickal traditions, including Celtic, Afro-Caribbean, and Native American spirituality. Her traditional education focused on Plant Science, Anthropology, and Film at the University of R.I., New York University and the University of London, and her magickal training includes numerous initiations in Santeria also known as Lucumi, Haitian Vodoun, and New Orleans Voodoo . Lilith Dorsey is a Voodoo Priestess and Psychic, and in that capacity has been doing successful magick since 1991 for patrons, is editor/publisher of Oshun-African Magickal Quarterly , filmmaker of the experimental documentary Bodies of Water :Voodoo Identity and Tranceformation, author of Voodoo and Afro-Caribbean Paganism,The African-American Ritual Cookbook, her latest book Love Magic and also choreographer for jazz legend Dr. John’s “Night Tripper” Voodoo Show.


Lilith can be reached at the following:






Next »