Tarot Exercise: The World of the Cards

BACKGROUND

This is a technique that I learned when first starting to read tarot. At the time, I wasn’t familiar with the meanings of any of the cards and was daunted by the idea of having to memorize all of them. However, once I practiced this method, I began to understand each card’s meaning without needing to rely on the guidebook that came with my deck.

This method won’t help you learn the meanings quickly. In fact, it is much slower than using a flashcard method to memorize each tarot card. However, you may find that you have a deeper understanding of each card and will be able to decipher its meaning in relation to other cards in a spread with more depth and nuance.

This method works best for decks with rich and detailed imagery, since it involves “diving” into the cards, though you could adapt this exercise to fit any deck.

So whether you’re just starting out in your tarot journey or if you want to get a better grasp on the cards, try out this exercise!

PREPARATION

Begin by setting the mood and preparing your space. Make sure you’re somewhere you won’t be disturbed and reduce all distractions. If you wish, you can call upon spirit guides/protectors or do anything else that’ll get you in the right mindset.

What’s most important is that you have the deck you wish to work with, you’re in a distraction-free and quiet space, and you have enough time to devote to the exercise.

CHOOSING A CARD

I personally recommend starting with one of the Major Arcana, though choose any card that visually appeals to you. You’ll know which card to choose first. You may even want to choose a card that often stumps you during readings.

Place the card flat in front of you and take a moment to notice all the details in the imagery. Just let your gaze naturally travel over the card. Make a mental note of what you’re particularly drawn to (you can write this down later.)

MEDITATION AND VISUALIZATION

Sunset, Dusk, Silhouette, Shadow, Girl, Woman, People

Now, let’s take things a step further. Once you’ve thoroughly examined the card, begin focusing on your breathing. Slow your thoughts until you reach a meditative state. Take your time with this step.

Looking at your card, imagine that you are peering through a window. In your mind’s eye, picture yourself climbing through this window and into the world of the card.

Once you’ve “stepped into” the card, what do you see? Are there humans, animals, or other figures? What plants are there? Do you see anything unexpected?

What do you hear? Are there birds singing? Gusts of wind? People laughing?

What do you feel? Does the environment make you feel uneasy, safe, happy, energized? Are you warm or cold? What is the weather like?

Try to explore this little realm beyond what you could see just by looking at the card!

Let these images and sensations come naturally. Don’t try to “force” them or try to make what you experience conform to any expectations that you have. Spend some time experiencing the world of the card with all of your senses! (This is especially helpful if you struggle with visualization! Even if you can’t “see” anything, try to experience the world of the card with your other senses!)

INTERPRETING YOUR FINDINGS

Once you’re content with exploring the world of the card, retrace your steps and exit through the window. Ground and center yourself.

Write down the details of the experience in your grimoire/journal. Using what you’ve experienced, how would you interpret that particular card? There is no “right” or “wrong” answer.

Repeat this process with the rest of the deck, if you wish!

ADVANCED EXERCISE

Once you feel comfortable with this exercise, you may wish to use it to better understand how cards are connected in a particular tarot spread. Using the steps outlined above, enter the first card of the spread and explore. However, instead of exiting the card afterwards, “jump” into the next card of the spread as if it is the next scene in a story.

How would you describe the transition of one card to the next? How do your feelings (physical or emotional) change from card to card? Did you notice you lingered in one card longer than the other?

CONCLUSION

Overall, this method has helped me better understand why certain cards have certain meanings. It has also helped me develop my own associations with certain cards.

Have you ever tried this method before? Or do you intend to try it now? If you test it out, let me know how it goes for you in the comments!

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Question Hour: Energy Work

anonymous asks:

What steps would you recommend to someone who has gotten down the very beginnings of energy work, but doesn’t know how to manipulating any energy other than their own? Thank you so much!

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Hello, friend! Definitely try starting small. This is a fun exercise to help practice energy manipulation, but it requires a buddy who also knows basic energy work.

Start out by forming a ball of energy out of your own energy. Take time to give it a solid shape. Have your buddy stand a few feet away from you, and toss the ball of energy to them. Then, play catch with that energy!

Once you feel pretty comfortable with that part of the exercise, reabsorb that energy and have your buddy create an energy ball out of their energy. Repeat the exercise of playing catch, taking the time to notice the difference between your buddy’s energy and your own. How does it look/feel?

Finally, with your buddy’s permission, try to alter the energy ball that they made. By now, you should feel more comfortable handling their energy, which may make manipulating it a little easier. Try changing its shape into a doughnut or change its color. Then return that energy to your friend once you feel more confident in manipulating that energy!

I really hope this helps!

Do you want the chance for your question to be featured in a Question Hour post? Message me your question on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, or in the comments!

Dabbling in Witchcraft

A post type that I see frequently is a newer witch posting about how discouraged they feel because they don’t have an intense daily practice, or witches in general comparing themselves to other witches.

Dabbling is okay! Not everyone has the time or desire to devote a large portion of their life to witchcraft, and that’s okay! Practice as much or as little as you desire.

There is a bit of a “downside” to dabbling in that you may not progress as quickly as someone who devotes more time to their craft, and you may take longer to master certain skills. This is what causes many witches to feel discouraged or inadequate: they compare their practice to someone who has either practiced longer, more frequently, or just generally has more experience. The solution to this is simple: don’t compare yourself to other witches! Your craft is your craft, and theirs is theirs. They have had more time to develop while you’re still just starting.

There is nothing wrong with dabbling or having more of a laid back practice, and many experienced witches started out by dabbling. Do what works for you, and ignore anyone who tells you that you must devote a specific amount of time to your craft.

If you are unhappy with your craft and want to take a more disciplined approach to it, the only person who can make that happen is you! Treat witchcraft like any other skill or habit and slowly incorporate it into your life more and more. Start small. Over time, it’ll become second nature to you. And if you’re content with just dabbling, that is perfectly okay too!

Witch Tip: Ingredients

Are you looking to take your spell casting to the next level? Connect with the ingredients that you’re using! Handle them (if safe to do so), sing to them, thank them for aiding you in your spell work, and give offerings to them before using them! Each ingredient in a spell, whether a crystal, herb, […]

Primrose’s Full Moon Ritual

This ritual was initially led on the Nightshade Network discord server! To participate in these rituals live, be sure to join! If you missed the ritual, here’s what you need to practice it on your own or with others!

Supplies:

  • Pen and paper
  • Full Moon

Please make sure that you are hydrated, that you’re somewhere that you won’t be disturbed for the duration of the ritual, and that you’re comfortable. If at any point during the ritual you feel drained or otherwise uncomfortable, feel free to step away and unwind with some simple meditation or a calming activity. 

*SHIELDING*

To begin this ritual, we shall start with shielding ourselves from unwanted or negative energy. You may use your own method of shielding or follow along with us!

If you’re following along, please begin by sitting or laying down comfortably. Take a few breaths to calm and center yourself. Once you feel calm, envision your energy forming a bubble around you. If you cannot visualize, feel the energy condensing or hardening around you like a protective shell. 

Either think or say your intention aloud: you are safe. Only energies that you allow and want may pass through this shield. Your shield is impenetrable.

Experience the energy around you. Experience it with all of your senses if you can. What does it look like? What does it feel like? What element is it made of? Make sure it is something that you personally find protective or comforting.

*JOURNALING TIME*

Now that you are shielded and protected from any unwanted energy, it is now time to look inward. Take a few minutes to focus on how you’re feeling energetically and emotionally.

Get your pen/paper or a word doc ready. Write down anything that is bothering you or no longer serves you that you are ready to release. You can write full sentences, phrases, bullet points, etc. 

Once you are done, set this aside for later. Please take about 5 minutes for this. 

*ENERGY CLEANSING WITH LUNAR ENERGY*

Turn your attention back to your own energy. Take a few more breaths to calm and recenter yourself.

Try to notice any abnormalities in your energetic body. Do you feel any blockages where the energy doesn’t flow the way you’d like? Where are you holding your tension? Make a mental note of these areas, and how your energetic body is influenced by the problems that you just journaled about. Notice those connections.

Close your eyes for a moment and picture/think about the moon. Take a few deep breaths. With each inhale, direct the lunar energy that emanates from the moon into your energetic body. Allow this energy to cleanse away any blockages or heal any other energetic abnormalities. With each exhale, feel the grip of the things that you journaled about loosen and detach. Feel the changes in your energy over time. Please take about 10 minutes for this step, but you may take longer if you feel you need it.

Once you are done, tear/destroy the paper or word doc to release any remaining bonds that it has over you.

*MEDITATION*

Now, release any remaining lunar energy (unless you wish to absorb it) and take a few slow, deep breaths. Sit/lay there quietly for a few moments and relax. Close your eyes, if you’d like.

Take about 5 minutes just to process how you feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and energetically. You may want to take time to ground yourself or otherwise unwind from the energy work.

30-Day Grimoire Challenge

Has your grimoire been sitting on a shelf for far too long? Have you been neglecting your craft and need a push to get back into it? Do you have a brand new journal for your grimoire that you want to start out? This challenge is for you!

Many of these prompts are geared towards beginners, but many of these prompts can be adapted to fit a more advanced practitioner!

Each day will have a specific prompt to help inspire your grimoire-writing. Some prompts will be more specific while others will be more open-ended. If you don’t like a specific day’s prompt, you may supplement it with your own! The important part is that you do something every day for 30 days! Tag your posts with #nightshadegrimoirechallenge if you’d like to share your work!


Week 1: The Self

Day 1: In the front or back of your grimoire, create a table of contents or index.

Day 2: Write your name (or craft/nickname) on one of the first pages. Research the meaning of your name and write that on the page. Look up name numerology and include that there was well. Reflect on how you relate to the information you’ve discovered.

Day 3: Calculate your astrological chart. Record the information in your grimoire along with any notes needed to remember their meanings. Highlight the information that especially resonates with you.

Day 4: Using your preferred method of divination, ask the following questions: “Who was I?”, “Who am I?”, “Who will I be?” Record your answers and a brief reflection in your grimoire.

Day 5: Why do you want to be a witch? Record the answer to this question and 3 goals that you have as a witch.

Day 6: Using your goals from the previous day, write down 3 steps for each goal (so a total of 9 steps) that you can take to achieve these goals. Make sure both your goals and the steps that you’ve recorded are achievable.

Day 7: Day of Reflection. Look through the week’s pages and reflect on what you’ve learned about yourself. How will this new knowledge affect you and your craft moving forward?

Week 2: Your Craft

Day 8: What are your strengths as a witch? Which areas do you wish to improve on? (Ex. Are you great at herbal magic but struggle with astral projection?) How can you shape your craft to emphasize your strengths and improve on your weaknesses?

Day 9: Look at the previous day’s answer. Research one of the topics that you listed as an area you wish to improve on. Record what you learn.

Day 10: What is witchcraft? How do you think it works? Record your answers.

Day 11: Take some time to meditate today. Let the thoughts come and go as they please. You may wish to communicate with your deities, spirit companions/guides, angels, ancestors, higher self, etc. Pay attention to any messages they tell you, whether that’s through words, images, or feelings. Record these details.

Day 12: Create a running list of the tools and supplies you have at your disposal for your craft, such as herbs, crystals, flowers, spices, taglocks, etc. Record any correspondences or personal associations you have with them.

Day 13: Research Day! Using at least 3 books or online resources, research how to write and cast a spell. Try to research multiple methods and modalities (as long as they are culturally open to you.) Record the method/modality that makes the most sense for you.

Day 14: Free Page! Use this day to create a page that you want to create!

Week 3: Spell-Crafting

Day 15: Write a spell to protect your grimoire from prying eyes.

Day 16: Write a spell for prosperity and success.

Day 17: Create a sigil for luck

Day 18: Write a spell for increased intuition

Day 19: Free Page! 

Day 20: Create a sigil for self-defense

Day 21: Write a spell for self-love

Week 4: Creativity

Day 22: Create an “aesthetic” grimoire” page. It can be as pretty and over-the-top as you like. Make it Pinterest-worthy!

Day 23: Write a poem that describes your craft or a hymn to a deity that you worship.

Day 24: Draw/Paint something in your grimoire!

Day 25: Write a spell using the following ingredient: rosemary

Day 26: Write a spell using the following ingredient: glitter

Day 27: Research a local urban legend, folktale, ghost story, or cryptid and record the details!

Day 28: Look back to Day 4. Repeat that prompt.

Week 5: Grand Finale

Day 29: Look back to Day 5 and Day 6, and reread what you wrote. Have you taken any steps towards your goals? If yes, check them off and record what you’ve done and how it helped you improve! If no, write a plan to help make starting your goal more attainable.

Day 30: Reflect on the past 30 days. Write what worked, what didn’t work, what you learned, what you still want to learn, and how this challenge impacted how you use your grimoire!

Congratulations! You’ve completed the 30-Day Grimoire Challenge! I hope you’ve enjoyed these prompts and that they’ve helped make using your grimoire a daily part of your practice!

Becoming a Witch

Becoming a Witch

One of the questions that I receive most frequently on my blog or my discord server is “how do I become a witch” or “I want to be a witch; where do I start?” And it’s understandable that people have this reaction! There is a wealth of information out there. In fact, there is so much information that it can sometimes get overwhelming wading through it all. And some information out there may or may not be accurate. Figuring out where to start isn’t as easy as some would make it seem.

So how do you become a witch? The answer is likely different than than you’d think.

Becoming a witch isn’t a linear path with ignorance on one end and mastery at the other. Instead, it is an ongoing conversation between your innermost self and the universe around you.

To become a witch, you must understand your innermost self:

Why do you want to become a witch? What will motivate you to maintain your practice even when you’re busy or distracted? What are your ultimate goals as a witch?

You don’t have to share these answers with anyone but yourself, but you should find these answers before anything else. The answers may change and develop over time as you change and develop your craft.

You must also understand the universe around you, both on a micro and macro level.

If you intend to use herbs in your craft, study the biological and magical affects of different herbs, and see what commonly grows in your area. What do the changing seasons mean for you, and do the seasons impact your craft? Where do you think magic comes from? How do you think it works?

Like the previous questions, answering these questions before you begin will help guide you to where you should start.

As you follow the path of the witch, your innermost self and the universe around you will remain in constant conversation. The world around you will influence your passions through inspiration or intuition. And your innermost self will influence the world around you through the manipulation of energy and will. In order for this conversation to become balanced and harmonic, you must understand your innermost self and the universe around you at the very beginning.

Follow your passions, your goals, and your motivations. Work in tune with the world around you, not against it. Embrace confusion and self-discovery. Experiment, research, and experiment again until you’ve tasted both success and failure.

Becoming a witch is not a linear process; it is a life-long pursuit to understand and control the forces that exist within and outside of us. Where you begin is up to you. And where you end up is exactly where you should be.