August, 2017

Welcome

August, 2017

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

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Welcome to the August, Lughnasadh/Lammas Issue of PaganPagesOrg.  This issue is sure to please with features, such as …

 

 

 

A Book Review of “The Crane Bag,”by Joanna van der Hoeven. This book is not actually about cranes though it does start with a Celtic crane myth. It is really a brief introduction to ritual tools and practices from the Druid tradition.

 

 

 

We’re not always good, and for those times, we have “The Bad Witch’s Guide” to look forward to.  This month, Lucy Drake covers hexing herbs.  Using herbs and spices, from your garden, or kitchen cupboard, for their left-hand use. 

 

 

 

Our Deanna Lambert, not only reviews “What is an Altar?,” By Rowan Moss, from the Pagan Children Learning Series, but shares her personal experience of using the book to teach her own  three-year-old son.   

 

 

We feature a book review of “Houses of the Horoscope,” by Alan Oken.  For 50 years, Alan Oken has practiced the art of “reading” the energy of the cosmos through the lens of astrological charts.

 

 

 

There are many ways to Cleanse & Charge your Crystals.  This month in “Crystal Connections,” Shiron Eddy teaches us 7 different ways to cleanse & charge.  She even shares her preferred method!

 

 

 

A Book Review of “Natural Born Shamans-A Spiritual Toolkit for Life,” by Imelda Almqvist.   Natural Born Shamans deals with supporting the spirituality of younger people and children.  It is a must read. 

 

 

 

Magickals columnist, Robin Fennelly, has a special article this month for our readers. “Creativity and Teaching” is an article about a free 3 week course she is offering.  You will not want to miss this.

 

 

 

 

This past July, Imelda Almqvist was asked to appear on the Shamanism Global Summit to speak about her shamanic work with young people and her shamanic group for children, “The Time Travellers.”  The Shift Network have been kind to allow us the use of the recording of her talk.  We hope you enjoy it.  You may hear it in the article “The Voices and Visions of Young People for Personal and Planetary Healing.”

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WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

August, 2017

Hand Fasting Gifts

 

 

Merry meet.

 

While couples planning weddings take advantage of gift registries at every place from The Home Depot to Crate and Barrel, couples who are hand fasting may appreciate a more pagan, creative and personal approach to gift giving.

 

At the urging of others, one couple I know visited their favorite pagan store and with the owner’s cooperation, made a list of items they liked. Those who wanted could look at the list and choose something without stressing over second guessing which book, what incense or the best color for an altar cloth. By the owner maintaining the list, it was helpful to know, for instance, someone had already gotten the wooden box with the pentacle on top.

 

(This box is available at magicraftshop on etsy.  You can view it by clicking HERE.)

 

Those who prefer to craft a gift have many options pagans will positively prize.

 

(There are a variety of ribbons to be found.  From the craft stores to your local dollar stores.)

 

If the couple is not making their own cord, you might want to craft it. It can be braided from ribbons with charms attached.

 

 

(These are just a few Pagan themed Charms you can use.)

 

Those wanting a challenge can try the five-string braid. In addition to ribbons, lace, trims and drapery cording found in fabric stores, and strings of beads found in craft stores can be incorporated. For a fall ceremony, consider wearing in a string of dried corn kernels, or strings of tiny shells for a hand fasting on the beach. Figure a finished length of at least six feet so that it can be wrapped around the wrists and knotted three times. If the number of people attending is small, you might organize its making by having each guest contribute the desired length of ribbon, lace, etc. Charms and color themes can be considered. As part of the ritual, they would be woven together with everyone’s intentions for a loving relationship.

 

(These handfasting brooms are available at BROOMCHICK on etsy.  You can view them by clicking HERE.)

 

A common hand fasting tradition is jumping the broom, making that another gift that would be welcomed. It can be purchased or made from twigs or other botanicals attached to a branch. It would then be decorated with lace, ribbons, flowers and other embellishments. Afterwards, the couple can hang the broom above a door or a mantle.

 

(Hand painted wine glasses.)

 

Painting champagne flutes or a chalice are other gifts that could be used as part of the hand fasting ceremony.

 

(Flower crown & hair pieces.)

 

Crowns for the couple can be made from flowers, leaves, antlers, feathers, vines, shells, handles from spoons and forks, or crystals – or any combination. If a man would rather wear a medieval style hat or even a top hat, it could be decorated with the same types of materials.

 

(Homemade, dressed talisman candle.)

 

What pagan ever has enough candles? You don’t have to be pouring wax to make a spell candle for the couple, you can start with any candle you choose, and using a selection of oils, chants, intentions, carvings and Reiki, turn it into a one-of-a-kind gift.

 

(This Grimoire is available at TheMadamePhoenix on etsy.  You can view it HERE.)

 

Smudge sticks, incense, tea blends and decorated journals are other ideas.

 

 

(The Magical of Crafting Charm Bags comes out on Oct. 1, 2017. Click link on bottom of page to pre-order.)

 

I happen to like making mojo bags, and would consider making one for the couple with herbs, stones, a miniature tarot card or two, runes and other objects holding my intentions.

 

These are just a few ideas for making a hand fasting gift both crafty and Craft-y. I’m sure there are many more.

 

Merry part. And merry meet again.

 

 

The Voices and Visions of Young People for Personal and Planetary Healing

August, 2017

 

This year I was asked to appear on the Shamanism Global Summit, July 2017. The Shift Network requested especially that I speak about my shamanic work with young people again, as I did last year. My shamanic group for children, The Time Travellers, has grown “older and wiser” since 2012, when we started this work. They are all teenagers now and acutely concerned about what is happening in our world

One thing is clear: young people MIND not being asked for their opinions and visions. They will outlive us and inherit the consequences of many decisions we are making right now. Decisions about the environment and global warming, political and financial decisions and so forth.

Children have not been on the planet as long as we have. They have absorbed fewer layers of conditioning and “old energy”, the old paradigm. They have a talent for seeing to the very heart of the matter (many urgent matters) and we would do well to listen to them and take their voices and dreams into account.

To hear what young people are actually seeing and saying, please listen to this recording. I have tried to use their own words where possible. You will also hear me “campaign” for a Summit for young people – but I am not sure if The Shift Network is ready for that just yet. However, I will keep on repeating my message!!

The last thing I will say is that when children are encouraged to listen to their own spirit allies, they have the power to transcend the divisions that exist even within shamanism today (core shamanism, Western shamanism, various schools of thought). All existing cultures (including those of Europe) were preceded by earlier shamanic cultures. Shamanism is our birth right!

If this work calls you and you are looking for practical ideas and sessions plans to help you get started – please read my book!

 

 

This interview was part of the Shamanism Global Summit a free online event helping you discover ancient shamanic practices from diverse traditions to apply to your daily life and our world! For more information, please visit http://shamanismsummit.com. This recording is a copyright of The Shift Network. All rights reserved.

 

Imelda Almqvist, 29 July 2017

 

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Imelda Almqvist is the author of Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life, (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) published by Moon in 2016. She teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally. Imelda pioneered a shamanic program for young people called The Time Travellers. This offers safe group space for children and teenagers to develop a viable spiritual toolkit and her first book describes this work and why young people are our greatest spiritual teachers! She is currently working on her second book (about sacred art).

 

 

 

 

Imelda’s otherworld paintings can be found in art collections all over the world. Her courses take place in the fertile place where art meets shamanism. The focus is on engaging in innovative ways with both mystery school material and on creating healthy vibrant reality rather than continuing to create reality from wounded or distorted old blueprints. Our ability to do this lies at the heart of navigating the current paradigm shift successfully.

Imelda is starting a school of Norse shamanism  based in Sweden called True North. She has three teenage sons and loves making art videos. The most extreme thing she has ever done is assisting with eye surgery in a field hospital in Bangladesh. One of the most life-changing things she has ever done is teaching art and design to under-privileged children and teenagers in Lima, Peru!

 

Forgiveness Practice in Families

August, 2017

In my daily work with children and families, the theme of forgiveness makes its way into many conversations I have with parents especially. Parents are in a leadership role that they are sometimes ill-prepared for. If they didn’t experience good parenting when they were children or see mentors engaging children with respect, it can be like becoming the CEO of a company you have no previous knowledge of. All of the sudden, parents are expected to launch into a demanding world of care, consistency, and responsibility while operating on very little sleep! This would stretch the capacity of any human being.

 

In Hawaiian culture, there is a forgiveness practice called ho’oponopono that is passed down through family lineages. Uncle Harry Uhane Jim is a Hawaiian kahuna and teacher. He says of ho’oponopono that it is a “time-evolved practice of managing trauma and transforming chaotic patterns into shapes and vistas of order and profound peace.” What I love about this practice is that it teaches us how to forgive ourselves and others when we inevitably make mistakes, trip, and fall in life. No one escapes conflict while they are in a human body and each of us need a way of moving through our failures–real or perceived.

 

I approach parenting as a spiritual practice with the families I work with. I coach them to look back on their experiences at the end of each day to see what they need to forgive themselves for, what victories to celebrate (however small), and what they would do differently next time. This can be challenging initially when parents are used to beating themselves up for not meeting their own expectations of themselves. We think berating and shaming ourselves will keep our behaviour “in line” in the future, but these patterns work to keep us stuck. One parent I worked with recently was so used to leaving herself on the hook that it was initially hard for her to come up with victories at all. This was my response to her:

 

Although I hear that this was rough for you, there were several victories in this experience that I can see:

 

1.  You were able to disengage to calm yourself down.

 

2.  You went back to brainstorm solutions when both you and your children were more calm and resourceful.

 

3. You continued to reflect after the fact until you figured out what your part of the conflict was. You redefined your boundaries and upheld them.

 

4.  You apologized and promised to change your responses in future and you followed through on that.

 

5.  You took responsibility for your role in the escalation as the parent (leader and guide).

 

6. You remembered that your children are not adults yet and were conscious of their developmental abilities. You changed your expectations to match what they could reasonably do at their respective ages.

 

In regards to this piece: When things are not working well, we will stop, sit quietly together and think of a solution.  I’ve noticed that this is not always possible when the conflict is really heated.  In this case, you could make an agreement that you will all take some space and problem solve when everyone’s calmed down to a resourceful state again.

 

How does it feel to you to see these experiences–though not pleasant at the time–as valuable learning moments where you get to increase your emotional heroism and level of vulnerability tolerance?  What if you re-framed these experiences by looking at all your victories instead of focusing your attention on your failures?  This doesn’t mean we don’t reflect on what we could have done differently, it just means that you put more of your energy on the things you did right because I’ve noticed you have a tendency (along with many other parents) to focus on how you are screwing up. The truth is that there are loads of things parents are doing right and paying attention to those things is just as important to keep perspective–especially in challenging moments.

 

I am not breaking any confidences by sharing my response. I’ve written various versions of this in the past two decades in my work with many families. In the hubbub of everyday life, it can be so easy to forget what is important. Ancient Hawaiian families knew this and infused their lives with ritual because they knew this was a way to keep their mind/heart/body/spirit clean daily. At the end of the day, they sat at their taro mat as a family and did ho’oponopono before bed.  This is a ritual where each member forgives themselves for their shortcomings in the day.  If there were any disputes, these were handled before bed so they were not taken with them into the dreamtime and the next day to be relived or expanded upon.  In this way, harmful patterns were curtailed daily.

 

This is one of many ways to do ho’oponopono:

 

Put your hands on your heart and do your forgiveness that way.

 

Say:

 

I forgive myself for ___________.  For as many things as you need to forgive yourself for until it feels complete.

 

I.e.  

 

I forgive myself for losing my temper with my sister.

 

I forgive myself for forgetting where I put things.

 

I forgive myself for believing that I can’t read.

 

I forgive myself for forgetting to remember all the things I am good at.

 

And allow yourself to learn from and let go of your mistakes. If you struggle with forgiveness, I challenge you to try this practice for a dream cycle (7 days) and notice any positive changes you experience in that time.

 

To watch more on ho’oponopono practice, go to this interview Jennifer Engrácio did on “Real Lives. Real People.” with Shyloe Fayad:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHgr45yx_aY

 

 

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Author Bio:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

 

 

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

 

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing”

 

 

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

Book Review: The Crane Bag by Joanna van der Hoeven

August, 2017

THE CRANE BAG

By Joanna van der Hoeven

 

I read this slim volume on a two-hour ferry crossing between Dover and Dunkirk!

This morning I woke up (in our house set in the forest in Sweden) to the call of two cranes in the field in front of our house. It seems that today is the day for writing my review of this book. The cranes themselves say so!

This book is not actually about cranes though it does start with a Celtic crane myth. It is really a brief introduction to ritual tools and practices from the Druid tradition. “Held deeply within Celtic mythology, the crane bag is both a symbol of sovereignty, as well as an item containing the ritual tools of the Druid. With proper use, it can further the Druid in working with the tides of nature, finding his or her own place in the environment. Living in balance, harmony and peace” (- From the back cover).

This is a useful book for complete beginners taking their first steps in exploring Druidry. It will help you find out if this tradition is for you or not. If you want to delve deeper there are other books on the market (some by this same author but also by other authors) and if not, there is no harm done as this is a small and affordable book.

The author takes us through all the basics, from “What is ritual?” to why we may choose to carry staff and drum, as well as a bowl, knife, candles and incense in our crane bag. Having described the tools she takes us through the elements of Druid ritual: the Call for Peace, Casting the Circle, honouring the Spirits of Place and Three Worlds, the directions and ancestors and so forth.

I like the way she emphasizes the need to source our equipment in an environmentally conscious and sound way. She points out that a number of items can often be found in charity shops ( recycling is always preferable to using Mother Earth’s precious resources to make new items). She also explains how making tools for others is a sacred art for craftspeople (like drum makers). As a teacher of sacred art I agree completely!

The book opens with the story of how the Crane Bag came to be and introduces the legendary Celtic characters Aoife and Iuchra. It is a sad tale in many ways. She ends by asking: what happened to Iuchra and Ilbhreac (the male hero in this tale) and says that is a tale for another day. I had fully expected her to return to this question in the final chapter and answer it – but she doesn’t. To me this is an opportunity missed. A truly satisfactory story (or book) ties up loose ends, if only on the final page…

Other than that: this makes great summer reading for anyone keen to know a little bit more about Druids and their craft.

 

 

Imelda Almqvist, Sweden, July 2017

 

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About the author

Imelda Almqvist’s 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.  

 

 

She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit 2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

http://shamanismsummit.com/

 

 

Excerpt from Celtic Witchcraft by Mabh Savage: The Color Red

August, 2017

 

The colour red appears throughout Celtic mythology and is normally associated with magic in some way. This may be the prophecy of war and bloodshed. Rowan, the tree with the startling red berries, is strongly associated with powerful magic. The Morrígan herself is normally portrayed as having red hair, especially in her guise as a sorceress or poet. Red is the magic of spells, curses, geas and prediction. Red is proactive magic; visible magic; magic that wants to be seen, admired or feared.

 

Think about red in our daily lives. Red means stop; warning; danger; love; passion; blood; fire; forbidden; command; hang up; hot; hazard and generally ‘pay attention right now’. It is the colour of compulsion. We are almost programmed to pay attention when we see red. The term itself, ‘seeing red’, denotes a state of rage that implies we are no longer fully in control of ourselves. In nature, flowers are red to attract pollinators, and insects are often red (or red and black) to warn of venom, or to con predators into thinking the potential prey is dangerous. Birds may flash red feathers to attract a mate and among our own ‘plumage’, red is considered a sexy colour; racy, dangerous and daring.

 

Fire

 

 

Red is used as the colour of the direction of south, and the element of fire. Often a red candle is placed at the southern part of an altar, or the southernmost part of a room where magical work is practiced. It may, however, not be practical for you to use fire or indeed to have candles in places where small hands or paws can reach them. So instead, you may want to use a red ribbon, symbolising the way passion binds us. A red pen can symbolise the fire of creativity. A simple blob of red paint on a stone or shell may bring a Spartan and natural beauty to your sacred space. You can use red flowers from the season; poppies in spring, roses in summer and perhaps chrysanthemums or rudbeckia in autumn and perhaps amaryllis or similar in winter.

 

Other natural additions to a sacred space can be hawthorn berries, rowan berries or holly berries depending again on the season. The juice from elder berries can be used to stain things red, and can even be used as a sort of ink.

 

Passion

 

Our passions are not just the obvious trio of love, desire and lust. We all have passions that stretch into other aspects of our lives; our ambitions, our motivation and our goals. Using red in magic helps us reach out from a place of wanting to a place of having or being. Red is also the connection between the human, physical state and the ethereal, magical state. When you are performing magic, you can imagine red blood flowing through an umbilical cord that attaches you to the universe, combining your own energy with that that resides within everything.

 

If you feel like you have taken on too many tasks, and can’t find a way to prioritise, this exercise is useful. Find a quiet and calming space. Make it feel comfortable; light incense, play music or open a window. Whatever makes you feel more you is very important here. Draw a red spiral on a white piece of paper. Start at the edge of the paper and working inwards from the top left corner, draw the curve clockwise and spiral gently in to the centre. There is no rush. Let the thoughts of the tasks you have piled upon yourself wash through your mind, without focusing on one in particular. While these thoughts flow, keep your eyes following the spiralling line you are drawing. When your spiral reaches a central point, focus on the whole image, then close your eyes and breathe deeply. You should find that you are able to prioritise much more easily, and also that the feelings of stress and pressure have alleviated. You are refilled with a passion to achieve your goals, instead of the fear that you won’t.

 

Blood

 

 

The colour red sneaks into magical and healing practice all over the world. Red is the colour of blood and therefore is intrinsically linked to life, and of course all that goes with that: passions, emotions, health, sickness and even death.

 

This is a technique I learned through my study of the ancient Mexican practice of Curanderismo. When you are feeling particularly stressed out, carry a piece of red ribbon or cord in your pocket. Whenever a problem crops up, tie a knot in the ribbon, concentrating on the issue that gripes at you. At the end of the day, take the ribbon out of your pocket. Look at all the knots. These are your problems. There may be few; there may be many. Go out into the garden, or if you don’t have a garden, use a pot on your windowsill. Bury the ribbon and imagine letting go of all your problems. You are returning the physical representation of your troubles to the earth. Letting go physically helps you to let go mentally.

 

If you enjoyed this, Mabh’s book is available at Amazon and all good book stores.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of:

 

 A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors

 

 

and

 

Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

 

 

Follow Mabh on Twitter, Facebook and her blog.

Book Review: What is an Altar? By Rowan Moss

August, 2017

What is an Altar? By Rowan Moss

 

 

What is an Altar? Is Book 4 in the Pagan Children Learning Series, by Rowan Moss. This book explains what an altar is, where you put it, and the different types (inside/outside, holidays, etc). After explaining that an altar is a sacred space, the author explains why it’s never okay to touch another person’s altar. A craft is included at the back of the book, which encourages children and their families to create an altar. This craft teaches children the items needed for the altar and the step by step directions to creating it. A glossary Is also included to explain words that children may not know.

 

I really enjoyed this book and the way that the illustrations explain what the author is saying. It’s easy to read and understand, which makes it a great book for younger children who may be just learning about it. An altar has so many uses, along with many different types. This book does a great job of explaining the different uses, whether its permanent/temporary, for a specific intent, an ancestral altar, or anything in between.

 

I shared What is an Altar? with my three-year-old son. While I have not explained much to him about Pagan ways, he thoroughly enjoyed this book. He enjoyed pointing out the different items in the illustrations. At the end of the book, we completed the craft. He loved choosing a spot for his altar, along with finding items to place on the altar. Most books he forgets about in a day or so, but What is an Altar? stuck with him. His new daily routine involves checking on his altar, placing or replacing items, along with saying a few thanks. While my son has his own altar, we also set up an outside altar that we leave offerings on. There is also a new family altar inside the home that he is helping decorate for the different holidays/occasions.

 

This book has been very helpful when it comes to introducing my son to Pagan beliefs. I highly recommend this book to anyone who might be having trouble explaining what an altar is to their children. It takes the guesswork out of what to say and explains it in a fun way.

 

Book Review: Palmistry Made Easy by Johnny Fincham

August, 2017

Palmistry Made Easy by Johnny Fincham

 

This is a small book, it is only 80 pages in length, but the author Mr. Johnny Fincham does seem to pack a lot of information into those 80 pages. In the introduction, Mr. Fincham mentions Charlotte Wolff who was a physician and psychoanalyst in 1936 and John Manning who wrote several articles in Psychology publications in the early 2000’s. And he also says that Palmistry is a vibrant and powerful tool used now in criminology, psychology and anthropology and genetics. On page 1 he writes,”The palm is proving to be an incredible mirror into the workings of the human mind.”

One of the first things Mr. Fincham says to do when doing a palm reading is to use water soluble ink to take prints of both hands of your client. You’ll need these to do the full reading that he is talking about doing. He then goes through the book breaking down all the different parts of the hand from different sections to the texture of the skin and the flexibility of the fingers. And one thing that I notice missing in the section on the flexibility on the digits on the hand is any type of warning when bending the digits to check for flexibility. The author instructs you to bend the thumb back toward the wrist, not to have the client do it.

There are 10 chapters in this book, each taking a look at a specific area of the hand. Chapter 7 is where he starts talking about the lines of the hand. And how they each have their own meanings and what part of a client’s or your mental approach to life they connect to. He also breaks the pattern of lines down into race and gender. In Chapter 8 he talks about the teacher’s square, and how that relates to careers. But later in Chapter 9, Mr. Fincham writes that stars and other shapes hold little to no meaning in a palm reading. He does mention in Chapter 9 a line he calls Spirit Line and writes:” It shows psychic perception and intuitive potential. It’s a very rare marking.” pg 60.

I do have a bit of an issue when he is talking about the Line of Emotion on page 43. He writes:” Lines which curve upwards are expressive, demonstrative, and somewhat `Italian` emotively.” That is the exact wording that he used. I feel that the author was trying to make a statement that would fully show what he meant, but I feel that the wording could have been done a bit differently. I know that some people could be a bit insulted by that sentence.

I feel that this is a base book, that you would need this and maybe an older book that talks about the “Mount of Mars” or the “Mount of Saturn” to do a full palm reading. This is a good book to have as part of a toolkit in studying Palmistry, but this is only part of a toolkit.

 

***

 

About the Author:

 

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become an E-Book reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at:  https://www.facebook.com/NumerologistDawnBorries/.

Seeing the Signs

August, 2017

Thoughts While Reading The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook

 

 

 

One of the books on my summer reading list is The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards, by Caitlín Matthews. I don’t have a set of Lenormand Cards – but I’m not letting that stop me from learning as much as I can about them. As with all divinatory cards, I am fascinated by the variety and beauty of the many sets of Lenormand cards available in occult shops, online or from private seller.

I think what appeals to me about the Lenormand is the combination of pictures, numbers and playing card symbolism. In divinatory terms, there’s a lot to work with. Since I don’t have a set of cards yet and have therefore never used a set of Lenormand cards, I can’t say anything about them but I have gazed on their images online and they are incredibly intriguing! I have seen enough sets to know which one – or ones – I would buy if I were in the position to do so. But being the witch that I am, I have learned that these kind of divination tools tend to come to you, rather than you seek them out. When I see the set I want, I’ll know it.

But while I am enjoying Caitlín Matthew’s informative and well-written book, this article is not about Lenormand cards per se. It about her assertion about reading Tarot cards versus Lenormand Cards. Having never read Lenormand Cards, I can’t say anything about that. I have no reason to doubt what she says. However, about reading the Tarot, she writes,

In tarot, cards are laid out in predecided or named positions. Take a spread like the ten-card Celtic Cross. Every position has a different meaning, as introduced by diviners as they lay cards down … Each position is an essential part of the reading and helps define or frame how the card laid upon each place is to be read.” (10)

She goes on to say, “Lenormand cards work by proximity to each other, creating meaning through juxtaposition. This is a more linguistic method. Just as we use different combinations of the alphabet to create words, so, too, do Lenormand cards work together to create different meanings, as we will see …” (10)

Of course, I don’t yet have a set of Lenormand cards, so I can’t say if using them is a “more linguistic” method or not. But I have been reading Tarot cards and studying the Tarot for over thirty years now and while some spreads are just as she describes – putting a card on a certain position and reading it against what that position is supposed to mean – other spreads do require the cards to be read together, as card combinations. So in that sense, the Tarot can be also be a linguistic method – quite honestly, I never thought of it as anything else.

On the subject of card combinations, I did learn quite a bit from her explanation of how to read the placement of cards – the first card as the subject and the second card as modifier. When there are more cards, the way the modifiers are worked out – left or right of a middle subject card – changes, but this is basically it. Now – maybe I’m just being cantankerous but I don’t see why this method can’t be used with a set of Tarot cards. Or a deck of playing cards, for that matter. When you’re a skilled reader, I would think you would be able to read most anything. I do not even pretend to play the part of a skilled reader – I am merely an interested amateur – a kitchen witch who has an interest in all the arts.

Once I did visit a skilled reader. It was many years ago in Topanga Canyon, California. She used an ordinary deck of Rider-Waite cards but she laid them out three in a row, read those three as a combination, then laid out three more, read those three, and so on. She laid the cards out very fast and read them very fast. She used maybe half the deck. One of the things I remember her telling me was that I was not with “the man I was supposed to be with” – I was with the father of my son – and my “soulmate” would be coming to me soon. Whoever that soulmate was, he has come and gone, because, as I said – that was many years ago. But my point is, the way she read the cards was more like setting out a Grand Tableau –she probably used around than 36 cards. Of course, at that time I had neither heard of the Lenormand Oracle or the Grand Tableau. But now – reading about it and thinking back – I wonder if she was blending the two systems for a better reading. Who knows?

In my Tarot notebook, I have notes about card combinations, some from books I have read and some printed off the internet. I have quite a lot from a now-defunct website called bigtarot.net – I searched for it the other day and it was gone – but websites come and websites go. It seems that most of the information I have saved refers to the court cards – I suppose that would make sense, since it’s easier to modify concepts concerning people. And most questions people ask concern other people! For instance, a queen with the seven of swords – it could be a light-handed woman or a woman who is a victim of theft, depending on the placement of the cards.

Someday I will have a set of Lenormand cards and I will continue my education with this divinatory system. Until then, I will practice my skills using Tarot cards, playing cards, and whatever else I have. As I was told as a child, “Practice makes perfect.” I don’t know if I’ll ever be perfect, but I know I will never stop practicing.

You can find out more about The Complete Lenormand Oracle by clicking HERE.

To read more on the author of the book, Caitlin Matthews, click HERE.

Brightest Blessings!

 

Before the Gates

August, 2017

A poem based on a meditation and visualization of Hekate, where she informed me I would make a choice, then walk through fire. She was not wrong, and it was more than worth it. This was written almost immediately upon returning from the meditative state.

 

One is a source of distraction

The other is a source of inspiration

One wishes to see me grounded

The other wonders how far I could fly

Let me stand upon your shoulders

Let me reach into the sky

Then you can climb on mine

And we’ll be reaching twice as high

One is a source of frustration

The other is a source of pure elation

One wishes to see me simple

The other revels in my complexity.

Let me open up the windows

Let us breathe true life once more

When finding walls around us

We’ll be breaking down the door.

So when standing at the crossroads

Says the lady with two lights

You can go the easy way

With no worry and no fights

But when standing at the crossroads

Says the one with whip and knife

Be sure you’re moving for yourself:

Your happiness; your life.

You may find this world again

But you may never find this soul

So never miss a chance

To complete yourself;

Be whole.

© Mabh Savage 2014

 

***

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of:

 A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors

 

and

 

Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

 

Follow Mabh on Twitter, Facebook and her blog.

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