Monday, September 11, 2017

Using "Dark" Decks and Cards

Recently, a person in a Tarot Facebook group asked about "dark" decks and cards. They were lately feeling attracted to some decks that could be considered "darker." They brought up concerns about attracting dark or negative energies and entities when working with "darker" decks.

For me, reading cards has nothing to do with entities or dark energies. The way I look at reading the cards, they are helping me connect my subconscious with my conscious, dipping beneath the surface, as it were. So when I read cards I'm not contacting or connecting with any type of dark energies or dark entities. I'm connecting with me, my subconscious, my intuition. The cards are a bridge to help me understand what I need to know.

So it's my opinion, based on my personal perspective, that if you're looking at some "darker" decks, then maybe there's a message those decks can help you connect with easier than other decks. It has nothing to do with dark or negative energies or entities.

For me, different decks get the message we need to hear across in different ways, like a different tone or bedside manner. Sometimes we need to hear a message bluntly, no nonsense, no bullsh*t. Sometimes, we might be in a place where we need the message, but said in a gentler way, a more comforting and supportive way. You'll still get the message you need. The different decks are about the tone and bedside manner of how the message comes across.

And I've done some practice readings using multiple decks for the same spread. Not to try to get a different answer or an answer I want to hear, but to compare what the different decks are saying, how they each answer the same questions. It's awesome how so often, the same or similar message is given by multiple decks or tools for the same question or spread. :-) Just said in a slightly different way or perspective.

I'd also like to address the false equivalency between "dark" and "negative." Far too often, these two things are seen as equivalent. What's dark is negative and what's negative is dark. I don't agree with this. For me, "negative" implies bad or harmful, maybe even evil. "Dark" is dark, in shadow. It's deep, deeper, something that hasn't been brought into the light (awareness or conscious thought) recently. It's what's tucked away, hidden, buried, consciously or unconsciously. You may not want it to be brought into the light/up to the surface (awareness), but maybe it needs to be. That's not negative or bad or evil. For me, "dark" does NOT equal "negative."

Can the cards be used in negative or harmful ways? Absolutely. Any tool can be misused and abused. But that doesn't make them inherently negative, bad, evil, harmful, etc. It's all in how we use the tool, for what purposes, and our intentions. So if your intentions are to use the cards to help, yourself and/or others, don't be afraid to work with a "darker" deck. It may be just what you need at that time.

I'd like to add a final caution... There's a lot out there, especially recently, about doing things like Shadow work and that type of thing. Sometimes, things are in the dark for a very valid reason. Bringing things out of the dark and doing Shadow work is not without some risks. Please educate yourself before pursuing this work, especially for others. Please don't hesitate to work with an appropriate mental health professional if things come up that are especially troubling or difficult for you to deal with. Cards can be used in conjunction with conventional professional mental health care. It's not an either/or situation. Seek professional care and assistance if you need it.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

In the Wake of Charlottesville

I'm sorry this response is a bit late. I had a horrendous migraine for 2 days that made typing and posting incredibly difficult.

I watched what happened in Charlottesville. I waited and listened for Trump's response. It was NOT ACCEPTABLE. It was NOT ok. There are no "two sides" when it comes to Nazis, white supremacists, fascists, and hatred. There is a right side-the side of opposing intolerance and of supporting human rights and a wrong side-the side of hatred and bigotry, period. Trump has shown himself to be on the wrong side. He has said too little, too late, and said the wrong things. Our President has equivocated between Nazis/white supremacists and those who oppose them. There is no forgiving that.

We are SUPPOSED to vehemently oppose Nazis and hatred!! The statues they're protesting the removal of SHOULD be removed. It's not about rewriting history. It's about NOT honoring what doesn't deserve to be honored. "We should always remember the past, but we do not necessarily need to revere it."

A woman died opposing Nazis on US soil. Let that sink in a bit... People in this country have relatives who fought (and died) against the Nazis in World War II. People who fled from or escaped the Nazis live in this country. I can't even imagine what they are thinking right now...

I have friends who are afraid. I am afraid. But we must stand strong and constant in our opposition to hatred and intolerance. We must try to be as peaceful as possible, while recognizing that sometimes force is justified and necessary. We cannot go backwards. We cannot allow history to repeat itself. We cannot tolerate intolerance or hatred.

These are trying and unsettled times. Please take care of yourself and those you care about. There's nothing wrong with stepping back and unplugging for a bit. Do what you can, where you can, when you can.

6 Ways Spirituality Can Reinforce Oppression and Racism
  I've seen these happen. I really appreciate the suggestions for how to change.

I Need to Talk to Spiritual White Women About White Supremacy
  As a spiritual white woman, I appreciate this article. I'm looking forward to reading Part 2.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Blog Response to Imogen Walters' #OracleObsessed

I just saw an excellent YouTube video on Oracle Decks by Imogen Walters with the hashtag #OracleObsessed. You can view the Original Video Here. I'm not on YouTube, but I thought I'd do a blog response instead. The questions are great and I'm excited to answer them.

1. What was your very first Oracle deck?

      My very first Oracle deck was the Nature Speak Oracle by Ted Andrews. I was new to the whole "cards" thing and starting to explore Paganism. These nature based cards seemed to fit my interests at the time.

2. What is your current favorite deck?

       Tough call! I have 3 or 4 favorite decks currently... I don't know that I could pick just one. If I HAD to choose I'd say the Sacred Creators Oracle by Chris-Anne and the Wisdom of the Oracle by Colette Baron-Reid. Nope, couldn't pick just one.

3. What's your most used deck?

       Probably Witchlings by Paulina Cassidy. It's upbeat and cute but gives in touch messages.

4. What's your least used deck?

       I have to admit I have a few decks that I just don't use very often. That's something I should remedy. Maybe I'll take this question as a kick in the butt suggestion to use them more often. The least used one is probably Oracle of the Dragonfae, but there are a few others used just as infrequently, much to my chagrin...

5. How did you learn to read Oracle cards?

      I "learned" while I was studying Tarot. I started with Tarot first and branched into Oracle cards. I can't say I ever specifically learned to read Oracle cards. I bought a few decks, read their accompanying books, tried some Tarot techniques with them, loved the idea of Lenormand card pairings for working with Oracle Cards, and just basically played and continue to play around with them. So I guess it's mostly experimenting as I go. I also do a lot of Oracle readings for myself, so that's decent practice, I guess.

6. What do you use Oracle cards for?

       I use Oracle cards for all sorts of things, lots of different types of questions. The thing I use them for the most is for helping me cope with chronic illness. It's difficult, living with chronic illness. Sometimes I need to hear a supporting and encouraging message. I feel Oracle cards tend to do that a bit better than Tarot does. 

7. How do you read the cards? Guidebook, intuitively, a bit of both?

        For Oracle cards, I love my guidebooks. I almost always read the guidebook entry when working with Oracle cards. Sometimes I get intuitive hits from the cards themselves. Sometimes the card itself is self-explanatory, but I get intuitive hits when reading the guidebook. The message I'm supposed to get will often "pop" when I read the guidebook.

8. Do you use spreads?

      Yes and no. I've never been big on spreads, for Tarot or Oracles, but they're starting to grow on me. I'm starting to use spreads more often lately.

9. Do you mix Oracle cards with other divination systems (Tarot, Lenormand, Runes, etc)?

       YES!!! I LOVE combining Oracle cards with Tarot and Runes. One of my favorite methods is to pull an Oracle card for a topic/message. Then, I pull 3 Tarot cards asking what else I need to know about that topic/message. Last, I draw a Rune asking for anything else I need to know. It's a favorite combination method that I came up with. I combine them in other ways too. I just LOVE combining them.

10. In your opinion, what makes a great deck?

         A well thought out and detailed guidebook. For me, I love a good guidebook to go with the deck. Because of all the varying themes and messages an Oracle card deck can have, I really prefer having a good guidebook for the deck. Artwork and cardstock are important too, but artwork and theme are so subjective. Different things appeal to different people or even appeal to the same person at different times. Good cardstock is a must too. 

11. What do you feel are the differences between Tarot and Oracle cards?

          Tarot has set systems and Oracle cards do not. Within the few Tarot systems (Rider-Waite-Smith, Thoth, Marseille, etc) the decks within each system will have a similar structure. So, for the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot decks, they're generally going to have 22 Major Arcana, 40 Number cards of Ace-10 each of some version of Swords, Wands, Cups, and Coins, and 16 Court Cards, some version of Page, Knight, Queen, King for each suit. Working within a system, there's transferable knowledge between decks even though the theme of the decks may vary.
          Oracle decks don't follow any set system. Each deck is a system into itself. Decks can have any number of cards, have any theme, have any meanings or messages within them that the deck creator chooses. There doesn't tend to be specific transferable knowledge between different Oracle decks.

12. Do you have any super unusual/unique Decks?

          I have three Oracle decks I'd consider unusual or unique. The first is Pathfinders, The Animal Totem Deck. It's an animal based deck with 83 cards, each illustrated by a different artist. It was independently published, a limited edition of 1000 decks worldwide and may be hard to find now. I believe it is out of print.
           The second Oracle deck I have that is consider unique is the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards (Amazon). This deck is based on reading tea leaves. The cards are round, like a teacup would be. There's 200 cards, which include 182 symbol cards, 12 month cards, and 6 astral house cards, along with an accompanying book to help you interpret the cards. Because the cards are round and somewhat small, they can be difficult to shuffle. I tend to just swirl them around, though a mesh bag is included for that purpose.
           The third is the Rebel Deck Tarot Cards. Not actually a Tarot deck, it's a funny and irreverent Oracle deck that gives short, to the point messages including foul language. Not for the sensitive soul, Rebel Deck is great for when you need that no-nonsense, smack in the head message.

13. What's your current deck crush?

          Affirmators! Affirmation cards to help you help yourself-without the self-helpy-ness, Affirmators! Love and Relationships, and Wisdom of the Oracle by Colette Baron-Reid.

14. If you could only use one deck from now on, what would it be?

         That's a tough one... I have a bunch of favorites. If I could only pick one, I'd have to say the Sacred Creators Oracle. The more I work with it, the more I'm loving it. 

Well, these are my answers to the #OracleObsessed hashtag. Do you work with Oracle decks? What is your favorite Oracle deck? Feel free to reply in the comments.

Head on over to Twitter and join the conversation with #OracleObsessed!!

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

New Crystal Collection Additions~Ametrine and Diamantina Lemurian Quartz Wands

*New Crystal Collection Additions~Ametrine and Diamantina Lemurian Quartz*

A beautiful new Ametrine generator piece.
New Ametrine June 2017 

I also purchased two stunning Diamantina Lemurian Quartz Wands, picked out for me by my friend Shaman. The slightly smaller, rougher one is double terminated. I was thrilled to realize it also has Rutile and Black Tourmaline strands within it as well. They are so small and fine that they can only be seen in excellent lighting and at certain angles. Shaman hadn't seen them when he chose these pieces for me.

New Diamantina Lemurian Quartz Wands

These beautiful pieces were chosen for me by my friend Shaman. He always makes the best and most appropriate choices for me when asked to help choose pieces that are local to him and long distance from me.

These pieces came from a mine in Brazil. We're lucky that a metaphysical shop I used to go to regularly for classes gets a visit from a family member of the mine owners once or twice a year. We get incredible selections at wholesale prices. Since moving, I'm not local to the shop anymore, so my friend Shaman goes and takes pictures and helps me choose pieces.

To see more pictures of these incredible pieces, head on over to my Instagram!

@RenaraTarot on Instagram

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Solstice 2017

Summer Solstice Crystal Grid with Orange Calcite, Citrine, Pyrite, and Sunstone

Today is the Summer Solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year. Themes for the Summer Solstice include growth, abundance, culmination, and fruition.

I stepped outside to let my dogs potty in the backyard. I consciously stepped out of the shade and into the sunlight. I noticed how bright the sun is today. I was blessed to see two ladybugs as I looked down at the ground. That will be the extent of my ritual observance today.

I deal with chronic illness and am still dealing with recovering from the after effects and symptom flares of an outing I did on Sunday. So no big rituals for me today. I'll be lucky if I finish the Tarot/Oracle reading I'd like to do for the Solstice. I did get some pics done of a Summer Solstice Crystal Grid I wanted to share here and on Instagram. So I did accomplish one of the two things I was wanting to do for the Solstice today. And now I've written this blog post. I'm feeling quite productive. 😊

Someone shared this article in a Facebook group I'm in. When I read it I thought it was so fitting for me today.

A second Summer Solstice Crystal Grid. I couldn't decide which I liked better, so I'm sharing them both. This Crystal Grid has Orange Calcite, Citrine, Pyrite, Green Aventurine, and Sunstone.

**How are you celebrating (or not) this year's Summer Solstice? Feel free to reply in the comments.

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Earth Magic Oracle by Steven Farmer (c) 2010 Hay House

Friday, June 9, 2017

New Fluorite June 2017

New Addition~Fluorite!! One of my favorite types of crystals and stones.

I've been waiting for for a nice, sunny day to get decent pics to show you all this new piece of Fluorite I got recently. It's absolutely GORGEOUS! I saw it in a shop and knew I just had to have it. It called to me... I needed the right light to be able to show you the stunning mix of purples, blues, and greens in this piece. I just LOVE this piece.

**Have you gotten any new crystals or stones recently? What kind? Feel free to reply in the comments.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

My Favorite Crystals Books List

Here's a list of my favorite books on Crystals and Stones.

My Top Two Favorite Crystals Books

•  My new favorite book is Crystals for Energy Healing by Ashley Leavy.
     This is an excellent book for getting started with working with crystals and stones. The book is divided into 3 sections: Crystal Basics, Crystal Healing, and Crystal Sourcebook (crystals for emotional healing, for spiritual healing and guidance, and for shielding and protection).
     There is an editing error on page 83, the Blue Lace Agate entry. The information given under the Attributes and Powers is actually for Aquamarine, which is named in the paragraph several times. Below is the actual entry for Blue Lace Agate, from the author.
"Attributes and Powers: Blue Lace Agate is a stone of forgiveness, helping you accept what has happened and release it. It encourages you to heal your emotions and find balance. Blue Lace Agate allows you to feel empathy and compassion for the person requiring your forgiveness and ensures that any energetic attachments are healed. It is a stone of positive communication, promoting assertiveness and personal power."
•  My second favorite book for working with crystals and stones is The Essential Guide to Crystals, Minerals, and Stones by Margaret Ann Lembo. 
      She gives an introduction to choosing and working with the stones, followed by the entries for individual stones arranged in alphabetical order. The pages are glossy and the pictures of the stones are gorgeous.
     Each stone's entry has a few keywords, some correspondences for each stone (colors, chakras, planets, numbers, elements, mohs scale, astrological sign), and then gives an affirmation, spiritual uses, mental uses, emotional uses, physical uses, divine guidance, and a basic geological description of the stone.

•  I'd also like to mention The Book of Crystal Spells and The Second Book of Crystal Spells by Ember Grant. These two books are about the metaphysical properties of crystals, stones, and minerals for spellwork, ritual, and magick, as opposed to crystal healing. While similar and even somewhat overlapping, there are differences between crystal healing and crystal magick.

      In The Book of Crystal Spells, the chapters are organized by style, including cleansing/charging/dedicating stones, jewelry/talismans/amulets, home and garden, glass and sand, elixers, rituals/meditations/affirmations, and grids.
      In The Second Book of Crystal Spells, the chapters are organized by style (grids and Tarot) as well as by type of stone (quartz points, chalcedony, special rock and mineral formations, quartz crystal points, even salt). There are also chapters for Sabbats/Esbats and stones for enhancing intuition. This book has a bit more of a Wiccan/Witchcraft practitioner focus.
      Both books have an appendix with entries and lists of metaphysical correspondences and associations.

•  I also love my good old stand-bys, The Crystal Bible Volumes 1, 2, and 3 by Judy Hall. 
      These books are well known to be must-haves if you are at all interested in working with crystals and stones. Volume 1 has many of the most commonly found crystals and stones. I consider it an absolute must-have. Volumes 2 and 3 contain additional stones, as new crystals and stones are being found all the time. There is NO duplication of entries between the different volumes. They each contain different stones. Be sure to start with volume 1.
      The books are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the stone. So you need to know the name of the stone you're looking for to find the correct entry. Each entry lists attributes of each stone and psychological, mental, and emotional attributes and uses, and a section on physical healing uses as well as recommendations for positioning.

•  The Encyclopedia of Crystals by Judy Hall is another great reference to keep on hand. This book is organized by crystal color, which is enormously helpful if you're not sure of the name of the crystal or stone you have. The revised and expanded edition was released in 2013. The entries are quite similar to The Crystal Bible entries. I personally feel that the pictures in this book are a bit nicer and clearer than in the Crystal Bible volumes.

The Crystal Healer by Philip Permutt is another book arranged by crystal color. The pictures are wonderful and each stone's entry gives information for physical and emotional/spiritual uses. There are fairly extensive listings of remedies for physical ailments and emotional ailments. I personally don't resonate with many of the remedies recommendations in this book, but that's just me. I mostly use this book for helping me to identify crystals and stones.

**What's your favorite crystals/stones book? Feel free to reply in the comments.

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