Traveling with Items of Faith

Okay, so I’ve mentioned before that I do not normally travel with items of my faith.  I leave my tarot cards at home, and instead take a deck of playing cards.  I leave my crystals and other items at home other than those set into the (very innocuous) jewelry that I wear.

Travel AltarThis is how I was taught, and it’s the practice I have followed throughout my entire life.  But, I’ve been feeling a need this time around to bring some things with me.  This is different, and unusual for me, and yet it’s a nagging niggle in the back of my mind that I’m having a hard time silencing.

So… I made myself a ‘kit’ of sorts.   A sort of ‘travel altar’ that I have packed to take with me on my trip.   I thought you’d like to see it and what’s in it.

Above, you can see how it looks all packed up and ready to go.  I’m using a book bandolier to hold it all together, and what you see there are two small hand-made notebooks for taking notes on any readings I do while I’m gone so that I can bring them back and transfer them into my journal when I get home.  I need to be able to hand-write my notes, as this connects to a different part of the brain than typing (no matter what device I’m typing on).   For example, all of my self-care spreads are hand written prior to being added to this blog, as are some of my other personal readings that I’ve shared.

Also included is my favorite type of pen for this type of writing (thank you Sharpie).  Then above that is my tin with all my supplies, and above that, the tin containing the deck I’ve decided to bring along with me on this trip.   I chose a tinned deck for protection of the cards, and that deck in particular because 1) it’s very easy to read and 2) it’s very inexpensive to replace if something happens to it.

Travel Altar

Okay, so in the picture above, you see everything taken out of their tins.  Starting with the deck of tarot cards on the left and working clockwise, we have….

  • The Morgan Greer Tarot deck (in a tin version)
  • A small spray bottle of homemade purification spray consisting of alcohol, distilled water, sweet grass, garden sage, lavender, clove, bergamot, rosehips, allspice, rosemary, and cedar shavings.  These ingredients are put in alcohol (this batch was made with vodka, although rubbing alcohol will also work) and set to age for several months before being strained and diluted with distilled water.
  • One tealight candle
  • An incense holder
  • A small sample of soil from the Olympic Rainforest, and beside it, a small sample of rain water from the Olympic Rainforest as well.
  • My black Sharpie 0.8 fine point pen
  • Two 18 page handmade notebooks (passport size) that came as a free gifts with past bandolier orders (made by CleverHands on Etsy)
  • A selenite thumb stone, and above it, a crystal quartz thumb stone
  • A flourite heart
  • Two small sticks (each) of Nag Champa and Frankincense
  • A small baggie of crystals and stones including labradorite, rose quartz, smoky quartz, amethyst, malachite, nuummite, tigers eye, apatite, citrine, moonstone, amazonite, green calcite, and a few others
  • A strand I made to signify the four elements.  It is created out of amazonite, citrine, carnelian agate, and amethyst, with crystal quartz positioned between each and on either end.
  • A mini Bic lighter

Travel AltarAs you can see in the picture on the left, it all fits nice and neat inside the little tin, and the tin closes tightly.  I will carry it on the plane, except for the lighter, which will have to go in my suitcase (because no way they’re going to let me take a lighter on the plane when they won’t even let me board with a pair of jeweler’s pliers).

So…. there you have it.   Something new I’ve never done before.  And yet…. maybe it’s time, yeah?



Making “Florida Water” at Home

Right, so my mother did not call this “florida water”, but I’ve looked at a LOT of Florida Water recipes, and it’s essentially the same thing with a few tweaks.  This version is my mother’s recipe for what she has always called her “Energy Cleanser” or “Energy Spray”.

I thought you might be interested, since you’d asked about spell craft.  This is an example of spell craft, although I will be doing a separate post to go into a better explanation of what that is and how it works later on.

As my mother’s name suggests, this is used for cleansing energy of an area or thing.  It can be used to wipe down furniture or items, to wash your hands, to spray in the air or on items, etc.  My mother uses it on EVERYTHING.   My sister and I are not usually so liberal with it, though, and so we only make enough to fill a 2 liter jar at a time.


What You Need:

Orange Peel, Rose Hips, Cedar Shavings, Rosemary, Garden Sage, Cinnamon, Lavender, Cloves, Sweet Grass, Star Anise, Ylang Ylang essential oil, and an air-tight jar.  Mason jars work, as will any other type of glass bottle or jar as long as it can create an air-tight seal even when turned upside down or shaken.  Many of these items can be substituted for their essential oils if you don’t want to forage and/or grow what you need.  I simply prefer the growing and foraging method.

You will also need a CLEAR alcohol of at least 80-proof.  I have used rubbing alcohol, everclear, and vodka in the past.   This batch is made with vodka, as it’s what I had on hand at the moment.

You’ll notice in my ingredients pictured above, I’m missing Star Anise.  That is because they were OUT where I normally source the magickal herbs that I’m not either ethically sourcing through nature or growing myself.  Thus, I will be adding it to the jar a bit later.

Once you have all that you need, clean your jar well  inside and out, then dry thoroughly.  Once dry, add all of the ingredients to the jar except the alcohol. I usually add the loose smaller ingredients first, but you can do this in any order that works for you.   As you add them to the jar, introduce them to your intention in using them and, while doing so, set your intentions energetically with each ingredient.

Each of my ingredients are introduced with the following intentions….

  • Lavender – energy purification, peace, and protection
  • Clove – repel negative influences, psychic protection, raising positive energy, and silencing gossip
  • Sweet Grass – energy purification, healing, attracting positive energy, and good fortune
  • Garden Sage – energy purification, wish fulfillment, and creating sacred space
  • Rosemary – energy purification, and warding off negative energy
  • Cedar Chips – banishing and warding of negative energy, creating sacred space
  • Cinnamon – grounding, protection, and success
  • Rosehips – attracting good health, attracting abundance, and promoting peace and harmony
  • Orange Peel – fostering positive energy, protection, hex breaking, and abundance
  • Star Anise (to come) – good luck, protection, calming energies, and increasing intuition
  • Ylang Ylang – clearing of and protection from negative energy, inviting in soothing energies, and nurturing the inner spirit

As you can see from the list above, each of the ingredients has its own purposes, but also works together with others in the jar to create a blend of primarily protective and cleansing properties.

Florida WaterOnce everything has been added to the jar, the alcohol you’ve chosen to use is then added and the container is filled up to its rim then sealed.   After sealing, this is a good time to give it a good vigorous shake to make sure your jar is air tight, as well as to get everything inside the jar mixed together.

Place the jar in a cool, dark place to set for three months.  It is usually a good idea to use a sharpie marker and write on the jar when the mixture was made and how long it needs to sit for, that way you do not forget. I prefer to do this making during the full moon as a part of my full moon ritual, so that I can include that burst of energy into the making.  I have made this mixture during this last full moon so that it will be ready to be opened for the new year, which is a tradition in our family.

It needs to be stored in a cool, dark place in order to protect the contents from degrading due to light.  But, be sure to pull it out each month at the full moon to set out in the moonlight after dark, but also be sure that you put it back in a cool, dark place before daylight.

Once opened, you want to strain the liquid inside through a fine mesh (or cotton cloth) to remove all the little bits of debris inside.  You can then tie up the contents in a biodegradable bit of cheesecloth and bury them to return them to degrade in the earth.   Strain the liquid a second time to ensure it is well cleaned, then transfer to a clean jar.

For use, you add 1 part mixture to (at least) 4 parts distilled water.   DO NOT use this mixture without diluting it by at least a 1:4 ratio or more.  It is very strong and needs dilution to be safe for your skin, pets, etc.   I personally use a 1:10 ratio just to be sure it is safe for Miss Luna to be around.  In my case, I fill a glass spray bottle with the diluted mixture and use it to clean surfaces before spell crafting, as well as to spray on my hands prior to tarot readings.

The remaining undiluted mixture can be stored in a cool, dark place until it’s needed.  As long as it is undiluted and sealed in an air-tight glass container, it will have an indefinite shelf life.

What is a Deck Swaddle?


So today I thought I’d share how swaddle my decks that don’t have a box to call home.  This happens a lot, as I am NOT a fan of the too-big boxes that a lot of decks come in.  If a deck comes in a tuck box, that’s great and I’m okay with that (until it eventually falls apart), but those great big oversized boxes are just a waste of space in my opinion.


I’m also not a big fan of deck bags, because I feel they are not secure enough to protect the deck from damage.   So instead, I swaddle my decks using a piece of cloth called a “fat square”.    A fat square is a piece of cloth usually sold for quilting purposes.  It usually measures anywhere from 18″ x 18″ to up to 22″ x 22″.   Most of those I have are 18″ x 22″, which is not square, and yet it’s still called a “fat square” for some reason.

I always use 100% cotton, and choose fabrics that I feel will fit the deck in question.  In the following example, I am wrapping my trimmed Everyday Enchantment deck.


1. Lie the fabric out flat and place the deck in the lower left hand corner.  Leave enough room on the left side and bottom so that both edges can fold up over the deck when the time comes.

2. Fold up the bottom part of the fabric over the deck.

3. Roll the deck up one flip, keeping it snug as you roll it into the cloth.


4. Fold the right edge of the cloth up and over the deck.

5. Roll the deck one flip to the left, making sure to keep the fabric snug around the deck as you do so.

6. Fold the right side up over the deck.  You can then fold back excess or wrap excess fabric around again if there is extra fabric to deal with.


7. Fold in both sides of the remaining cloth.  This is so that it doesn’t stick out and become messy when finished.

8. Roll the deck over into the remaining cloth so that there is only a little flap left to deal with.

9.  You can see in this photo where that little flap is going to go.  You want to tuck it into the pocket that is created by the cloth.


10. You can see here how it looks once that remaining piece of fabric is tucked in place.

And there you have a swaddled deck, wrapped up nice and neat.  It’s safe, secure and snug, and is easily able to store and stack, as well as safe to toss in a bag without worrying it’s going to get bent or dinged or damaged.

It takes a little practice to get it nice and snug, but I’ve found that most decks (other than some of the really large ones) fit in the ‘fat squares’ of fabric really well.


Bauble Traps

Ok, so it’s not really a trap in the strictest sense, but more of a distraction. Still…


If you’ve ever lived somewhere that you have a constant issue with things inexplicably disappearing and then reappearing on you, and especially shiny things, then this post might make sense.

In my family this disappearing act is believed to be most often caused by house sprites.  That is to say, by the Fae (including fairies, sprites, elves, brownies, and all the like).   The theory of a Bauble Trap is to distract them.  Although, often if you just ask for your items back and say thank you when they show up, it’s rare that these things become an issue in the first place.

If they do become an issue, though, or if someone just wants to set up a “just in case” then a “Bauble Trap” is the way to go.  I’m sure there are other names for this, but this is the name I know it by.

Essentially, what the Bauble Trap boils down to is a bunch of shiny stuff (bits of jewelry, etc) that you hang decoratively near a mirror.  Preferably near the front door or a window (but not in view of the door or window) and where light will shine off of the shiny baubles and the mirror’s surface.

As many of the little mischief makers are drawn to shiny bits, the combination of the shiny baubles and the mirror’s surface becomes a huge entertainment for them, and with this trap in place you may find that your other items are then left alone.

Be sure, though, as I mentioned, that you don’t put the Baubles Trap in view of your front door or window in question.  This would be seen as an invitation to outside Fae to come in and visit (or stay).  Although many of the Fae can be fun to have about, inviting more in is NOT something you want to do if you’re trying to resolve a mischief issue.

#SmallMagicks #MySpiritualToolkit a (non) VR to Yarrowen


Another YouTube hashtag response.  This one is from Yarrowen’s channel on YouTube, and addresses not specifically about tarot, but about little magicks and spiritual practices.   Not the big things you do daily or weekly or monthly, but the little everyday things that incorporate magick into your daily life.

So here is a small, non-comprehensive list of the little magicks that I incorporate into my life on the day to day.

  • Forest bathing (in the forest and out of it) is my number one magic in day to day life. Being in touch with my senses and the whisper of nature even in the city is very much a part of my every day.
  • Also, as she called it, the “micro mini meditation” of a breath, a check in with myself, and moment of gratitude.
  • Meditative shuffling.  Sometimes when I just need to feel a little soothing comfort, I’ll pull out a deck of cards (tarot, lenormand, or playing cards) and sit with them and shuffle for a bit.
  • I wear a small bead charms of labradorite and citrine attached to my medical bracelet.
  • The morning daily draw that I do, while seeking a positive message to carry with me through the day and foster a bit of perspective.
  • I match the mug I use with my morning tea to the mood of my day or the intention of the mood I wish to set for my day.
  • My daily devotional in the morning, which reminds me to stay grateful each day.
  • The jewelry that I wear, which is always a reminder of you.
  • Mudras during my meditation.  This is a new practice, but I have found one or two that really seems to enhance my meditation practice.
  • I create the jewelry and other items that I make in a mindful manner, with the conscious intention of it bringing something positive into the life of the person that each piece ends up with.
  • Speaking to my plants and the animals in my life.
  • Labradorite on the solar plexus and smoky quartz on the third eye during my meditation.  Also just a small thing that enhances my meditation practice and assists me in “tuning myself in” to where I want to be.

Yarrowen speaks of one little thing a day, but the truth is that I do most of these nearly every day.  But, just as I scatter sacred items and sacred spaces throughout my home, I scatter little bits of magick and spirituality throughout my life.

This is far from a complete list, because so many of the things I do are just a natural part of my day and I don’t even recognize them as spiritual or magickal until it is pointed out to me.

Thank you for the terrific hashtag Yarrowen.


Caring for a Tarot Deck

There are a variety of ways to take care of a tarot deck, and a plethora of old wives tales (some of them practical, others not so much). I think what is important, though, isn’t the old wives tales and superstitions, but gratitude.   You work with these cards, you trust these cards.  They speak to your intuition, and they are used as guides, as self care tools, as expressions, and as many other things.    They deserve to be treated well.

What I’ve found, though, is that everyone cares for their deck(s) differently.  I personally can’t speak for other’s methods and reasons for those methods, but here’s how I care for mine…

Step 1) Saying Hello – When a deck first comes into my possession, I look through the cards and familiarize myself with the artwork, the card stock, the feel of the cards in my hands, and the feel of the shuffle. I spend some time with the deck, just looking at each card and repeatedly shuffling the deck. I might, at this time, also do a couple of deck exercises, just to become more familiar with the structure of the deck. These most commonly include…

A) Laying out the cards of each suit, one at a time, and paying attention to how the element of the suit is expressed in each card, as well as take time to notice the similarities in the qualities of the cards within each suit, and the differences expressed through their progression from the Ace to King.

B) Looking at each number, from each suite together (all aces, all twos, etc) including the corresponding Major Arcana Cards. At this time, I seek the “theme” of the number within each of the five cards, and the differences of the elements they represent as well.

Step 2) Modifications – At this point, I will often do my modifications if I’m interested in doing any kind of alterations to the cards.  I like to do the modifications before cleansing the cards, as I want them to be their “finished selves” before I get to that part of things.

I’ve just started modifying my decks (beyond the occasional edging) recently, so along with starting a new cycle of cleansing and interviews with all of the decks in my collection (mentioned below), as I go through my decks to prepare them for this process, I am also picking out and setting aside those that I have definite feelings about wanting to modify in some way in the future.

3) Cleansing – I almost always will do this before I ever use the cards for any type of reading or communication.   In my case, cleansing is done by setting up outside (see the picture to the right) with a candle, appropriate crystals to lend their energy to the process, my abalone shell (on its stand) to catch ash, and a small smudge stick (usually that I’ve made myself) of white sage, sweet grass, and a very slender toothpick-sized sliver of palo santo wood. (I have a number of decent sized sticks that I purchased years and years ago, but it’s currently on the endangered watch list so I use what I have very sparingly, as I will not purchase more until it is off the endangered species list).   I then run each card through the smoke of the smudge stick, one at a time, paying mind to the individual card before me as I do so.

Some people do not cleanse their cards, as they worry it will alter the card’s personality (I’m sure there are other reasons, as well).  And, I guess I can understand that.  But for me, it’s important.

I see this process as similar to taking a bath.  When you take a bath, you wash yourself but you don’t lose your appearance or personality in the washing.  I feel that the “bath” is an important step, as it washes away any stray energy that might be lingering in the cards (for example, the energy of a suicidal employee that handled the cards at the printing company, or a resentful worker at the storage warehouse, etc).  I think it is important to wash away those energies so they don’t “muddle” the communication that comes from the cards.

After the initial cleansing that happens with the cards when they come into my collection, the only other time I ever cleanse them is 1) they are not communicating as clearly as they once did, 2) I’m re-doing a deck interview and feel a cleansing could help in “clearing the air” and opening up communication, or 3) I have allowed someone other than myself or my sister to touch them.  The last isn’t really something that happens all that much anymore.  Once upon a time, I used to do face to face readings and would have the querent shuffle the cards, split the deck, draw cards, etc.  Since the event that changed my appearance and the ways I communicate, though, I no longer do face to face readings so it is rare anyone aside from myself and my sister ever handle my cards.

4) Deck Interview – After the cards have been cleansed, I will go through the process of my deck interview.   This involves first putting the cards in order.  I’ve already shuffled this deck multiple times when first getting familiar with it and possibly during the modification process.   So I now take the time to put the cards back in order, which I feel helps “pause and reset” the deck, opening things up for them to speak clearly.  Sort of like organizing the deck’s thoughts before the interview begins.

I then do six riffle shuffles, before then shifting to overhand seesaw shuffling while I  wait for a card to stick out (or jump out) for each question in the interview.   Once I’ve gone through all of the questions,  I photograph the finished interview spread, and then I thank the cards as I riffle shuffle them three more times, then put them away.

5) Journaling – After the interview spread, I then print out the photo of the interview and add it to my deck interview journal, and write my journal entry about this deck, which includes why I bought the deck (or how it entered my collection), what my first impressions of the deck were, and then an outline of my interpretations of each answer the deck replied to during the interview.

6) Storage – With as many decks as I have, I am very conscientious about how I store my decks.  This depends on a variety of factors.

If the deck came with a “fitted” tuck box, I will usually keep the deck stored in this box.  The same can be said for small hard boxes that are made to specifically fit the size of the deck.

The BIG boxes that a lot of decks come with these days?  I remove the deck from the box, and will then take time to peel the artwork from the box to save and use later in the deck interview journal or in an in-depth study journal of that specific deck.    The deck is then wrapped in cotton cloth in a “swaddle” of sorts.   I am aware of the old wives tale that says you should wrap your decks in silk, but it just doesn’t feel good to me.  Silk is not as breathable or as comfortable as cotton.  I want them to be comfortable in their swaddle, and enjoy their resting time with the other decks in my collection.  It doesn’t seem enjoyable (in my opinion) to be wrapped up in suffocating silk when you can be in something far more comfortable.

My decks are then placed in one of four places.   I have two trunks (and a basket), which I store the majority of my decks in.  One trunk is for boxed Tarot decks only, the other is for all other boxed decks (such as Lenormand decks, Oracle decks, playing card decks, etc). The basket currently houses my swaddled decks. This system will possibly change a bit over time, and with the possible addition of a third trunk.

I have a shelf in my nightstand where a  handful of decks that are my “go to” decks sit along side whatever decks are next in my monthly deck studies.

I also have a small basket dedicated to decks that are waiting to be modified in some way. A lot of these are decks that require more extensive modifications such as trimming or backing, as I often do edgings right away when I have decided a deck needs it.

Aside from those spots, I have reference decks (and decks in tins) on a shelf in the living room beneath my computer monitor.  There is also between one to three decks at our altar in the bedroom, two decks on the night stand for ease of access and decoration, and my sister and I now (as of last week) have a plastic bin beside the bathtub that has a trio of waterproof decks in it.