The Rowdy Goddess

An Ecstatic Vision of the Goddess, dancing in harmony with the Universe.

Archive for the tag “Tarot”

Come as You Aren’t

Part of what I teach is “how to lie at Tarot,” and someday I’m going to put it together as a workshop. Sometimes in teaching and in reading tarot, you need to adopt a persona so you can make your point. I did that several years ago and, voila, Madame Zelda was born.
I was teaching beginning Tarot with a friend and we wanted to do a session on how not to read Tarot. “We should role-play it,” I said. She agreed as long as I would take the lead. I chose to be the reader. I chose the cards for the reading, choosing some of the most challenging cards in the deck. You know the ones: nine of swords, ten of swords and the like. I chose some provocative ones like the Devil and the Lovers, too.

By that time in my tarot life, I had developed my authentic reader self to be compassionate, listening, intuitive and collaborative. I had to figure out a way to move out of that mindset. So I gave myself pep talks about what a “not reading” would feel and look like.
So we sat down to do our role play. I opened my mouth and a deep, faux-mid-European accent emerged. I asked for money upfront, bargaining and quibbling about the amount. I introduced myself as Madame Zelda who proceeded to deliver this reading. Madame Zelda always refers to herself as “Madame Zelda” and is supremely confident and complimentary of her own wisdom, power, and pyschic ability. That day, Madame Zelda actually gave a good reading in terms of the cards and delivering a message. However, she took center stage and the querent was over-run with information delivered with majestic condescension. I’m sure one of her antecedents is Lady Catherine from Pride and Prejudice.
Over the years, I have become very fond of Madame Zelda and so have many of my friends. She is flamboyant, gaudy, arrogant, honest to the point of rudeness, and very, very funny. I do know that when I sit down to read for people for real, Madame Zelda must fall away. She complains about that at all. It’s hard, she says, to get her message out when she has to go through all that caring and listening.
A few years ago, a friend mentioned that she took Mary Greer and Rachel Pollack’s workshop at the Omega Center in Rhinebeck, NY. These two wonderful, knowledgeable teachers had asked people to adopt another persona as a Reader. To think about costume, character, accent and such. What a genius I am. Just kidding.
Madame Zelda has taught me a lot. She helps me shake up my “business as usual” reading style. She is astute when it comes to the business side and the less than pleasant side of life. Everyone I read for knows I like to put a “pretty face” on things while Madame Zelda reminds me that sometimes you need to tell the hard truths.
Speaking of pretty faces, I think Madame Zelda really looks like this.

Get Your Tarot Gear On!

Creating My Own Tarot Accessories

Finding practical and comfortable ways to carry around your tarot decks and associated accoutrements can be a challenge. Books, journals, notebooks, handouts seem to be an important part of the experience of Tarot, especially if you are taking a class, going to a conference, or teaching a class. Readers, too, need to have a way to carry it hither, thither, and yon, as my mother says.

I also want to avoid looking like a bag lady whenever I can since I seem to have leanings in that direction  so I want to complement my style. My style seems to be comfortable and funky. I have some exacting standards about purses and bags. So I decided to make a bag to take my tarot cards and journals about.
I found a nice bag pattern from Lazy Girl Designs, the Towne Bag. I bought some funky home dec fabric on ebay. This is very Peter Max 1970s heavy fabric. It was fun to work with. I think I’ll do a reading with the Tarot cards on there at some point, they are interesting choices.

I had some fabric leftover, so I covered an old binder (reduce, reuse, recycle) with the fabric to hold my handouts from the Tarot School’s Readers Studio. I think it all turned out really very well. My next project is to find the right notebook/journal for taking notes and cover it with fabric, too.
So I’m geared up to learn and teach Tarot!!!

A Kiss for Valentine’s Day


There are many legends associated with the origins and customs of St. Valentine’s Day, with little known about the true historical fact. Whatever the origins, this holiday is a lot of fun, full of hearts, cherubs, kisses, cuddles, chocolates and red-hot cinnamon hearts.

Some sources say that February 14th was the festival of Juno, the Roman Goddess of women and marriage. This festival was followed by Lupercalia, a very well-documented holiday of the Roman God of agriculture Faunus. At the beginning of the festival, an order of priests called the Luperci gathered at the cave where the she-wolf raised Romulous and Remus, the founders of Rome. They called the boys and young men of Rome to join them as they sacrificed a goat for fertility and a god for purification. The boys would slice the goat hide into strips and dip them into blood. They went into the streets where they slapped Roman women and crops with these strips of hide to ensure fertility and easy childbirth for the women as well as good crops.

Later that same day, the young women of Rome would place their names in an urn; and the city’s unmarried men would draw a name. The men and women would be paired together for a year; a custom that often ended in marriage.

Pope Gelasius declared that February 14th was St. Valentine’s Day in 498 B.C.E. and it is popularly believed that he did this to end the lottery associated with Lupercalia, deeming it an unchristian practice. St. Valentine’s Day did not become connected with romantic love until the medieval era, and it is not clear which St. Valentine the holiday is named for.

The most popular legend is of a priest living near Rome in 270 B.C.E. The Roman Emperor Claudius II had outlawed marriage because he believed that unmarried men made the best soldiers. In an empire beset by internal strife and attacks from many different sources, Rome needed many able soldiers. This priest named Valentine took pity on lovers and would administer the sacrament of marriage in secret. Claudius had him arrested. The emperor when meeting Valentine was so charmed by this earnest priest, that he attempted to convert him to the Roman gods so that Valentine could avoid execution. Valentine remained true to his Christian God and was executed to become a martyr and a saint.

While he was awaiting execution, his jailer, Asterius, requested that Valentine heal his blind daughter; and through the miracle of his steadfast faith, Valentine was able to restore her sight. Just before his execution, Valentine asked for a pen and paper and wrote a message to her, signing it “From Your Valentine,” a phrase now associated with this holiday of love and messages.

In medieval times, St. Valentine’s Day became associates with romantic love in France and England; it was believed that February 14th was the day that birds paired and mated. This is mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules. It was common in those days for sweethearts to exchange messages on this day and to refer to each other as their “Valentines.”

As with many customs, the St. Valentine’s Day customs followed the Europeans as they settled the New World. The first mass-produced valentines were sold by Esther A. Howland (1828-1904) and were embossed paper lace. Her father owned a large book and stationary store in Worchester Massachusetts and she was inspired by a valentine she received from England. She became known as the Mother of the Valentine, and was known for her elaborate creations of lace, ribbons and pictures.

In the 21st century, this holiday has grown, and so have the customs associated with it. One billion cards per year are mailed on Valentine’s Day. Love and affection in all its manifestations are celebrated on this day. Passion, affection, steadfast love, crushes, lust, friendship, sex and family are all expressed with tokens of love.

Teaching Tarot and the New Student…some initial thoughts

I work at a college in the library and I’m part of many college-wide discussions about how to reach our students so that they learn. And much greater than that, they are excited and engaged in the learning process; further that students become passionate about the subject and it becomes a life-long pursuit or interest. It’s what makes us interesting human beings. And then when we reach out to one another, mind to mind, to share our passions, we are become community. Teachers and students alike become community. Passionate, knowledgeable, reflective, thoughtful, and engaged. We argue, we teach, we laugh, we learn, and we play as we learn.

Students who are there because the class is required, are not in this community yet. It takes some doing to get them to that place of passion and delight. For some, there will be topics that never excite them. For others, it will ignite them and the fire will burn for a lifetime.

Most students of Tarot come because they are interested: some are passionately drawn to the cards, perhaps for a long time; some because they are curious; and some because it’s something daring and even dangerous. For teachers of Tarot, we often get a “leg up,” or an extra boost because we don’t have to lure, seduce, and convince a reluctant learner to become engaged in our passionate discoveries.

At the same time, we can’t assume that everyone is going to become instantly attuned to the cards. It is an intimdating subject to study and learn. Seventy-eight cards with upright meanings, reversals, dignities, correspondences, images, and more. Centuries of writings, opinions, rumors, theories, and arguments can cause a student to run screaming to some other, more apparently simple divinitory system.

Then there’s the whoo whoo factor, both good and bad. The Devil’s Picture Book, a Wicked Pack of Cards are really something to fear by some folks and some of our students may have grown up with that idea. It is something to overcome. Then there’s the other side of the whoo whoo factor. People who come to the Tarot because they are following a spirituality that not only accepts but assumes that their practitioners will use some sort of divination. I’ll admit I was on both sides of this coin, having been in a fundamentalist cult and then following an earth-based religion. As teachers, we may have to temper one or other of those expectations.

On the other hand, we have a much greater change to lure our students into love of the Tarot because they are in the class voluntarily. All we have to do is seduce them gracefully and with the knowledge that a wicked deck of cards brings a lifetime of wisdom, passion, devotion, strength, and learning.

Manifesting Pendulums!

For the past few years, I’ve been manifesting pendulums. Not on purpose, they just come to me. For a couple of years, that was the gift I got for presenting at Pagan Pride Days. It was pretty cool, and some of them were just gorgeous. But I was perplexed because I wasn’t particularly drawn to them. I kept joking that it was a sign from the Goddess to learn about pendulums. I bought a couple of books, but didn’t bother to read them.

When Mouse and I started vending, one of the vendors sent me a beautiful one. It really called to me. You can see a picture of it here. One of my friends is a great pendulum dowser and I watched her use it. It’s very simple and such a tool for manifestation, concentration, and intention. Another witch in my coven taught us a chakra clearing method using pendulums. And I was set. I had a pendulum in my purse, by my chair and by my computer. I have been using a pendulum to heal some joint pain/arthritis in my right hand. It’s working.
Then I started losing pendlums. I discarded one of my purses, actually threw it away, and forgot to empty the zippered pocket. Along with a set of business cards, one of the cool pendulums got thrown away. I felt really bad, almost as if I had abandoned a friend. I said good bye in ritual and in dreams.
A few weeks ago, as I was packing to go to the Readers’ Studio, I discovered that I had lost my spiral pendulum. I decided not to panic and tear the house apart looking for it [that was hard], and just packed my bags.
The Readers’ Studio rocked and then rocked some more. Tarot is my divination of choice! One of the vendors, Mists of Atlantis had some wonderful pendulums. Two were made of citrine. I love citrine. This lovely yellow crystal continues to call to me through the years (that’s another story for later). So I carefully tried them both. I finally chose one and for the first time, manifested a pendulum by purchasing it. I think it’s special having come from the Readers’ Studio amidst all that divination magic; and Garnet, the proprietess of the Mists of Atlantis is a very magical person.
So I take my wonderful new pendulum back to my spot in the Studio classroom, open the bag my deck is in, and there is my spiral pendulum. Is that crazy or what. I must have stored away my pendlum when the cable guy came to install the new modem. Or maybe it just wanted to be near the Tarot.
And then as we were taking a break at the Readers’ Studio, the stress reliever gift they distributed were — you guessed it — pendulums. So now I have a sweet rose quartz pendulum. I think there’s more to learn here and I’m excited to move into that space.
Blessed Be your manifestations!



Two of Swords

I’m just back from the Tarot School’s Readers’ Studio. What a fabulous wonderful time. I learned so much (more on that later) and met so many wild, funny, and fabulous people. The accomodations were great and things were just wonderful.

The Two of Swords came up a lot in my readings which surprised me a lot. I don’t get that card very often. Over the past few years as I teach Tarot more, I am stuck by the quality of stillness in the Two of Swords. The figure in the card has to stay so still to maintain that balance. And everything else around her is also so very still. It’s like the whole Universe is holding its breath as this woman maintains the balance of the two swords.
Traditional meanings include blocked feelings, closed off, being defensive, waiting for something, and keeping things at a distance. I think one of the reasons I got the card is that I’m wrestling a lot with competing priorities. Lots of good things are happening and there are lots of choices to make. One thing about myself, is that when there are lots of choices to be made, I shut down and refuse to make the choice. Then sometimes happen by default (not always a good idea) or I just go with what is flowing the strongest at the time (sometimes good, sometimes bad).
This is something I need to reflect on a little more. I came away from the Readers’ Studio inspired to go back to my writing. Where to find the time? I don’t want it to take away from the other cool things I do, either.
More to come….
May all your choices be happy ones today!!!

Luck from the Lady Tonight!

Luck from the Lady Tonight!!
I’ve always been able to trust my luck. I’ve had some whopping bad luck but mostly I’ve had good luck. And I noticed, too, that I can make good luck happen for me and for friends. I was talking about this to a friend and she said, ‘then it’s not really luck is it?!”
That got me thinking about what is luck? Is it random acts of kindness and hostility by an indifferent Universe? Is luck something that can be cultivated and grown?
I believe it’s the latter. If you look at the big picture–and I mean the hugest picture–then everything, even chaos has a pattern and a purpose. Energy moves with purpose. Luck is another form of energy and if you can figure out how to move with its flow, then you have good luck. If you move against it, then your luck is less than auspicious.
Off on and on for awhile, I’ve had a thought. I don’t have a pentacle for my altar. Maybe I should shop for one or make one. The thoughts were fairly fleeting and I never devoted much thought to it at all except every once in awhile. In April, my coven [the one I’m in] had this absolutely fabulous day where we met for lunch, shopped, and ended up at the house for two rituals; one ritual was the dedication to the coven of two really terrific people and the other a full moon ritual. It was a memorable day. The husband of one of us makes these lovely stone carvings and she brought me an example of the stone so I could see if it was something I wanted to have a heron carved in for the coven I high priestess. The example was a lovely pentacle carved into the stone.
After everyone left, I realized that she had left the pentacle behind, so I emailed her and told her that I’d bring it the next time we had a gathering. She wrote back to say that she left it behind as a gift and thank you. I was so excited to get another wonderful gift from these fabulous people, but also because my random wishes turned lucky!
On another day, I was watching television and saw pictures of my Alma Mater, the University of Maryland [Fear the Turtle] and said to Mouse, “I haven’t been there in more than 25 years. I’d like to go back and see what they’ve done to the place. It’s just that everytime I go home to Maryland, I want to go to the eastern shore to see family and the ocean. A vacation trip to UM is a little lame. Later, at work I was thinking that I need to update my knowledge on copyright since I work with intellectual property all the time. Then I’m reading my email and get a notice of a conference on digital copyright. Guess where? You guessed it, the University of Maryland! How cool is that.
Last month I won two drawings in two different places. I was at a gathering held at a friends’ BnB and the prize was a one-night stand–er, stay–in their deluxe suite. They pulled ticket after ticket and no one had it. I wasn’t even thinking about it, and I won!! We haven’t gone yet, we’re saving it for a very hot summer’s day.
The other time was at the Tarot School’s Readers’ Studio. They instituted a new thing at the end of the session, drawings for donated prizes. And I won a complete set of Llewellyn’s Special Topics in Tarot. Eight books by Mary Greer, Nina Lee Braden and others. Very fabulous.
Now you’re thinking, oh she’s just lucky and I’ll never get that lucky. Yes I am lucky, partly because I stopped giving strength to negative statements like “oh I never win anything. It’s one of the most important lessons I learned at Akasha Con. Something I’ll write on a little later.
So if you think lucky, you will get lucky. And everybody wants that.

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