My Kisses are Balloons – A Little Whimsy

kissWhen I was very little and I was trying very, very hard to learn how to draw hearts, it was frustrating to me that I couldn’t make a nicely shaped heart and have a perfect tip at the bottom. The lines always crossed.

My mother assured me not to worry about this. She said that a heart that is finished with the crossed lines at the bottom is sealed with a kiss.

Thinking back on this now, that was really sweet of her. And, for the longest time, that’s how I saw it.  But somewhere along the line, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to see it in a different way.

I don’t know how, or when, or why… but somewhere along the way those crossed lines at the bottom of a hand drawn heart transformed for me. It now no longer looks like an X, but instead they’ve started to look like the beginning of something new…

balloon

(Drawings done by Twist the Leaf… obviously.)

 

Revisiting Fear and Indecision

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I wanted to revisit the topic of fear after my post from yesterday and the topic of the meditation that I did yesterday.

Yesterday’s meditation was about indecision, which I definitely do not have a problem with in any way, shape, or form.   But I feel like my post made it sound as if I don’t have fear, which is definitely not the case.

I do, absolutely, have fear.

I fear losing my home to the point where I obsess over work and push myself beyond my limits at times in how much work I should take on. (Thank goodness that I’m also someone that likes their creature comforts, or that fear might rule my entire life.)

I often have issues around fear when it comes to some of my scars (particularly the one on my face) and how people react (or may react) to them, which has gotten better over time as I am no longer trying to seclude myself into my home… but I know I still have a long way to go on this.

I fear my ex and the day he will be released from prison.   I fear my ex, as well, in his conniving “other” ways of trying to reach me even while he IS in prison.

I’m goddamned well -terrified- of spiders, even though my logical mind tells me I shouldn’t be.  You can add piranhas to that list, too, ever since as a kid I saw that first original Piranha movie.

The point is, I do have fears, and I didn’t want my post from yesterday coming off as some kind of bravado or something.  It’s just that fears do not inspire indecision for me.

For me, indecision doesn’t come from fear.  It appears when I am feeling extremely vulnerable, which can put me in a place of “I dunno, you choose”, and it appears when I have not managed to gather enough information or had the chance yet to think something through.

Something To Say – An Emotive Rant At No One In Particular

So I watched an episode of the show “What Would You Do?” tonight, which I shared with you a bit in IMs earlier. But… I really wanted to write a post about it because, as you know, this is a really big issue that hits close to home.

On the show, it made me cry. Literally cry while I watched the kindness of some strangers… and the very realistic representation of the hurdles involved with this issue.

Although not deaf, in being mute I have a serious hurdle to overcome when out in public. It is a part of the reason that I often choose to have someone with me when I go out.

Still, I do plenty of errands and tasks out and about on my own, and you cannot imagine how often I run into problems. Whether I go out with paper and pen, my tablet to type messages on, or my phone that has multiple text-to-speech apps to use… there’s just some people that are completely intolerant to the hurdles involved with being non-vocal.

These people? Lift my chin and show them the scar so that they can understand I have no voice? And all you get is an “EW, WTF MAN?? That’s gross.”

There’s no empathy. There’s no understanding. No compassion. There’s no -effort- at all on their part.

I’ve had people I’ve tried to communicate with just snort at me and walk away. I’ve had them literally call me a “retard” and tell me that I shouldn’t be allowed outside my home alone.  These are people that work in a customer service industry.  Waiters, cashiers, retail employees…. people that should have SOME sort of temperance and make some sort of effort to understand and communicate.

I’m not a goddamned cripple.  I’m not mentally handicapped.  I don’t need a babysitter. I’m a grown fucking man that was attacked, died on my kitchen floor, and was brought back by paramedics to find myself forever  irreversibly injured in that attack.  I can communicate just fine as long as the other person is willing to put in a little effort beyond using their ears.   And yet?   That kind of behavior shown by the waiter in that show?  Is so very common.

It was really nice to see the people that stepped up, but as someone that deals with this issue on an everyday basis?  I can tell you from first hand experience, those kind souls are few and far between.   In my experience?  Most people would rather turn their head and pretend it’s not happening.

I don’t know why I’m posting this.  I think I just had to get it out.

 

75 Questions (and answers) About Myself

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A quiz that I ran across on one of my follower’s blogs, and you know how much I like quizzes so…. here we go.

Are you named after anyone?  I am not.
When was the last time you cried?  Hmm, well I teared up a couple of days ago, but I can’t remember why.   Really cried, though?  Mid-April, I think.
Do you have kids?  Good God no.
What is the first thing you notice about people?  Their energy.
What is your eye color?  Brown
What are your favorite smells?  Nag Champa, Vanilla, Cloves
Do you have any special talents?  Tons of them, most of them having to do with creativity.
Where were you born?  Canada
What is your zodiac sign?  Taurus
What are your hobbies?  Gardening, jewelry design, writing, listening to audiobooks, hiking, photography, dabbling in new creative ideas and endeavors, learning
Do you have any pets? Yes.  A mostly black torti calico named Luna.
What do you want to be when you grow up?  Stable
Who was your first best friend?  My twin sister
How tall are you?  5’10
What is the least favorite thing about yourself?  Chronic physical pain
Funniest moment throughout school?   I’ve lost most of my memories of that time of my life, but there is the first time I heard the story of the “Little Black WooWoo”.  It was told to me by Z about her dad, who was driving home one night with her in the back and had come to some railroad tracks.  He stopped, and then went to drive across, and right at that moment a little black pickup truck came whizzing by, passing him on the way across the tracks.  He thought it was a train.   Thus… the “Little Black WooWoo”.
What is your favorite drink?  Water, although I waver between whether  prefer it room temperature or ice cold.
What is your favorite animal?  I don’t have one, although most of the ones I am drawn to are marine life.
What is your favorite perfume?  Z has this lotion that she uses that’s been discontinued for like twenty years or something.  It smells like vanilla and amber without the sharp smell of perfume or any floral notes.  It’s SO nice.  She complained a number of times over the past year or so that she’s almost out.
What sports have you played?  Ugh.  None.  I’m not a fan of team sports or competition.
Who are some of your favorite YouTubers?  So many these days.  Lets see, off the top of my head… The Hermit’s Cave, Boho Tarot, Ethony, Dani Mystic, Becca Tarot Night Owl, On the Cusp Tarot, Pappa Squirrel, Ozark Oracle, Heather Carter, Crow Quill Tarot (this one is new, but I’ve really enjoyed what she’s put out so far), tons more too.  Outside of the whole tarot/spirituality thing, there’s also Beadaholique, Today I Found Out, Doctor Mike, DaveyWaveyRawPhotoshop Tutorials by Layer Life, Stone Music Entertainment, AOMG Official, Bad Yogi, Yoga with Adriene…  hard to choose even just a few, I guess.
What is your favorite childhood memory?  Going to Z’s house.
What is one of your bad habits?  Judging myself harshly.
3 things that make you happy.   Gideon, Sleep, Luna
3 things that make you upset.   Disrespectful behavior, Entitlement, Closemindedness
Top 5 favorite series.   Laurel K Hamilton’s book series.  The Charlaine Harris book series.  The Big Bang Theory on TV.  The Tide book series by Anthony J Melchiorri. That 70s Show on TV, which is never on TV anymore, it seems.
Top 5 favorite self-help books.  Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen, How to Meditate by Lawrence LeShan, The Melt Method by Sue Hitzmann, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water by Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, How You Can Survive When They’re Depressed by Anne Sheffield
One word that describes you.   Myriad
What is one of your favorite quotes?  “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou
Are you an introvert or extrovert?   Introverted with occasional moments of extroversion.
Are you left or right handed?  I am right handed, with a high amount of dexterity in the left.  I am ambidextrous when I have pliers in my hands and when I play pool.
Does your name have any special meaning?  My given name?  No.  My online name? Yes.  Twist the Leaf is from a spell casting that my sister and I wrote together when we were kids for a Samhain ritual, and still use all these years later.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Right where I am.  I love western Washington.  If anything, I’d love to live out in the woods, though.  Maybe a little, difficult to access cabin in the rainforest with a stream nearby.  That would be amazing as long as I could still have internet.
What is your favorite gadget?  ABCOTech Shower Speaker, although the remote plugs I have installed for the lights in my place come a close second.  I love  having the lights turn on and off on their own via a schedule.
Does your name make any interesting anagrams?   No, but depending on how it’s written, it looks an awful lot like “Leaf”.
Where did you grow up?  Western Washington state
What do you call your grandparents?   I don’t.  I never met my grandparents before they passed.
What is your biggest accomplishment? Surviving
What inspires you?  Nature, Color, Music
What is your greatest fear?   Losing my home is the fear that drives me.  My greatest fear, though, is losing my sister.
What has required the most courage in your life so far?   Choosing survival and recovery instead of giving up.
Who is your favorite actor? Cary Grant
Who is your favorite actress?  It’s a tie between Gena Rowlands and Susan Sarandon
What is your favorite movie?  Night of the Living Dead (the original 1968 version)
What is your favorite musical?  My Fair Lady
What is your favorite series?  I already answered that one above, but I would have to say for television… The Big Bang Theory
What is your favorite anime?   Desu Nōto (Deathnote) by Tsugumi Ohba
What is your favorite Disney movie?  Escape to Witch Mountain (the orginal 1975 version)
What is your favorite cartoon?  The Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoons from the 40s and 50s
Who is your top 10 favorite male singers?  In no particular order and only at this moment (as it changes regularly)… Leonard Cohen, Bi Rain, Bing Crosby, Kim Jae Joong, Xia, G-Dragon, Nat King Cole, Kim Woosung, Taemin, Dave Matthews
Who is your 10 favorite female singers?  Also in no particular order and only at this moment (as it changes regularly)… Barbara Streisand, Elkie Brooks, Heize, Emilie Simon, Ebba Forsberg, Beth Gibbons, Lou Lou Ghelichkhani, Fiona Apple, Kwon Bo-ah, Lesley Rankine
10 of your current favorite songs. Also in no particular order and only at this moment (as it changes regularly)… I Will Possess Your Heart by Death Cab for Cutie, Singularity by BTS, Bad by Tablo, Face by WooSung, Catch and Release by Silversun Pickups, Island in the Sun by Weezer, X Amount of Words by BlueOctober, Move by Taemin, UN Village by Baekhuyn, Boom by NCT Dream
What is your favorite book series? Currently (and for a while now) The Tide series by Anthony J Melchiorri
Who is your favorite author? I don’t have one, but my favorite book is a horror novel from the 80s called “Little Brothers” by Rick Hautala
What are your religious beliefs?  Buddhist Pagan…. Buddhist like as in an adjective, Pagan as the noun.
What is your favorite musical instrument?   Cello
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?   Orange Vanilla Swirl (but only if there’s Cheetos Puffs on hand), although the Blue Bunny brand of Bunny Tracks comes a really close second.
What is your favorite physical activity? Sex? Swimming.
What is your favorite way to pass the time?   Creating
What was your favorite subject in school?   English, especially the creative writing classes.
Did you go to college?  I sure did. For nearly four years… but, I didn’t finish.  Life happened.
What was your favorite tv show as a kid?   Z had these videos of this show from the 70s called “Land of the Lost“.  They were SO COOL.
Are you afraid of heights?   Not at all.
Are you high maintenance?   I want to say no, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the answer is actually yes.  Fortunately, I have an amazing partner who loves it when I’m needy.
Are you more inclined to build your own empire or unleash the potential in others? Unleash the potential in others.  I don’t want to rule over anything, because that just sounds miserable.
If you had more courage in your life, what would you do differently right now?  Courage isn’t something that I’m particularly lacking in, I don’t think.  Time and money, on the other hand…
What is the weirdest thing you’ve seen?   Road Rage
When did you have your first kiss?   Fifteen?  I gave (and received) my first BJ a good deal of time before I ever experienced my first kiss.
If you could be a Disney princess, who would you choose to be? LOL… Hmm. I’m going to say Aurora because… who doesn’t want to have THREE fairy godmothers?
Do you have a collection?   God yes.   I have a large collection of tarot/oracle/lenormand/affirmation decks. There are also crystals, candles, beads, jewelry supplies, finished jewelry pieces, houseplants, books, pliers, videos (I never watch), teas in the cupboard, paper punches (mostly in different sizes of round)… yeah, lots of collections.
What is one odd thing about you?   I’m allergic to lemons
What is your greatest dream?   financial stability
Do you sing in the shower?   No, although I do sometimes lip-sync or dance in the shower.
Where is your favorite place to shop in the mall?  Spencer’s Gifts.  Do they have those anymore?  I haven’t been to a mall in probably over a decade or more.
Where is your favorite place to eat?   Denny’s… I have a thing for pancakes.

I actually found a few of the questions in this a little difficult to answer.  It was a fun quiz, but took a little extra time to complete because I had to mull over some of the questions before coming back at a later date to answer them.

 

#MyBestAdvice a (non) VR to Brian Cormack Carr

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So this will be an easy (and short one) for the questions thing.   Brian Cormick Carr over on YouTube introduced the hashtag #MyBestAdvice on his channel recently, where he shared what the best advice was that he has ever gotten in life, and where from, and then asked others to do the same.

For me, this was advice given to me by Z.  Growing up, I spent a great deal of time at her house because she was 1) my parent’s “Pagan Parenting” coach of a sort, 2) she kind of ended up functioning as my sister and I’s “godparent”, and 3) she did a LOT of babysitting of L and myself.

So, with all those factors in place, it’s not really much of a surprise that this advice comes from her.   I think I was around twelve?  Maybe a little older.   Perhaps she was worried about how I would turn out, or perhaps it was just another guiding step on teaching us values.  Whatever the reason, her advice was to read a poem named “The Dash” by Linda Ellis.

Here it is…

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth
and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash.
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile…
remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash,
would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

By Linda Ellis, Copyright © Inspire Kindness, 1996, thedashpoem.com

This poem changed my life in a very literal way. It made me conscious of my effect upon others and the world at large in a way that nothing previously ever had and created a “community perspective” that reached way beyond just my immediate family and friends.

This poem is the best advice that I’ve ever received, and holds a framed place above my altar in the bedroom where I stand to do my devotional each day.  A daily reminder to always look beyond myself and be mindful of the influence I have upon others and the world around me.

#MyTop5Faves a (non) VR to The Hermit’s Cave

This is a reply to Simon’s newest hashtag over at The Hermit’s Cave on YouTube.   His question was what are your ultimate favorite Tarot, Oracle, Lenormand, and Playing Card decks… plus a wild card number five.   For his wild card, Simon introduced his favorite crystal, and I will be using that as my wild card as well.

Please keep in mind that some of these will change over time.  Others have been the same answer for years and years.

So, here we go….

Tarot of the Hidden Realm Favorite Tarot DeckThe Tarot of the Hidden Realm by Julia Jeffrey and Barbara Moore. This became my favorite from the moment it came out of the box.  It was much different than any tarot I’d owned to date, and when I ordered it, I wasn’t entirely sure how I would click with it.   As soon as the deck arrived and I opened the box and got the cards in my hands, though, all those worries disappeared.

I connect in a deep and profound way with the artwork in these cards.  The deck feels perfect, from the way they shuffle and fit in my hands to the artwork on the cards, and even the accompanying guidebook, which I see as more of a book of short stories than a guidebook.  I just love them.  In fact, I just recently bought a back-up set in case anything ever accidentally happens to the set I currently use.

Favorite Oracle Deck — For oracle decks, I’ve really found that it changes regularly. I have a “primary deck” for both tarot and oracle that I change out each month.   I might use others during the month as well, but these decks are my “deep dive” type of decks where I spend the majority of my time with them specifically.   I’ve found that whatever oracle deck I’m using during this time?   That ends up my favorite… at least until the next month comes along.

Flora Healing CardsCurrently, I’m combining the Flora Healing Cards and the Fauna Inspiration Cards (both by Phoebe Hunt and Rebecca Lefebvre) into one deck and using that as my oracle for the month of July.  These are beautiful cards filled with flora and fauna in watercolor imagery and include the elemental affinities on the top of each card as well.  On the back of the cards is a paragraph that explains the significance and guidance for the fauna or flora represented on the front.   I really like these.   They are not the normal gloss card stock, but something softer, which means you have to be a bit more careful with them than most decks, but surprisingly I don’t mind it with these decks, in fact…. it sort of “fits” really well.

1889 LenormandFavorite Lenormand Deck — This was difficult, but I think my favorite of all time is the 1889 Lenormand by Jennifer Sager.   I like the earthy colors and the artwork that is both soft and yet very clear at the same time.  It has that “old time” feel of the Lenormand decks I grew up with, but with a hint of modern style.

I have a feeling this will change if I can ever get my hands on a copy of Kelly Fitzgerald’s Story in Color Lenormand.  I’ve yet to get this deck into my collection, and it is not traditional imagery for the Lenormand by any means, but there is something about the images that I’ve seen that makes me think it will end up being a favorite for me.

Favorite Playing Card Deck — The Daydreams expansion pack of the Dixit Cards. They are not a regular playing card decks, but they are game card decks, which I personally use as intuitive oracle decks.  So maybe these should have gone up in the Oracle section?

Faunae Playing Cards Playing cards as in poker decks?  This one is slated to change very, very soon… but at the moment it is the Aqua and Creme playing cards put out by Bicycle (and are notoriously difficult to photograph), which I think might be out of print now, but can still be found on eBay from time to time.  I like them because I find the colors (as well as the distressed look of them) very soothing.   I say that they are is slated to change very soon, though, because I have backed a Kickstarter deck called the Faunae Playing Cards, and I have a feeling once I have them in my hands I am going to be enamored.

Labradorite Palm Stone The Wild Card — Favorite CrystalLabradorite has been my favorite crystal for as long as I can remember.   I connect really well with the energy of this stone (at least, as long as I avoid putting it on my forehead during meditation).  I find labradorite to be very soothing for me, and often meditate with a piece resting at my solar plexus, which can ease anxiety when I’m having issues in that department.  I’m a big fan of the large palm stones in particular, as I like that sense of “weight” with this stone, more so than any other.

 

 

#WatchingTarotTube (non)VR to Art and Tarot by Dee and Katey Flowers

TarotTube

So “TarotTube” is essentially a section of the YouTube community that focuses mostly on tarot, or metaphysics and tarot.   This quiz came from Art and Tarot by Dee and Katey Flowers, who are a couple of the content creators of that small community (small as in relation to YouTube as a whole, as the community is actually quite large).

1. How many channels are you subscribed to?

Currently, I am subscribed to 192 YouTube channels… although to be fair, they are not all tarot related, or metaphysical related, or pagan related.  I also subscribe to a lot of educational channels, humor channels, music channels, etc.

2. When do you normally watch TarotTube?

On Saturday.  And sometimes during the week while I’m working or doing other things.  I will also sometimes listen while driving (with Waze up on the screen instead of YouTube, of course).

3. How do you balance watching TarotTube , reading tarot, and making your own videos?

Well, I don’t make my own videos, so there IS that.   But essentially for balancing everything, it comes down to multitasking.  So much in my life really boils down to multitasking.

4. Is there a difference between videos you like watching and videos you like making?

Again… I don’t make videos.  So question three and four don’t really have much to do with me.   But, I included them anyway.

5. Who is the first TarotTuber you subscribed to and do you still watch them?

Hmmm.  I’m not sure if it was Avalon Cameron or Ethony, actually.   But yes, I still watch both of them.

6. Who is the most recent TarotTuber you subscribed to?

I’m pretty sure my latest was Tattoo’d Spirit.  Or it might have been Épine Du Veil … or possibly Atypical Tarot ?  I’m not entirely sure which one was last.

7. Share an old favourite TarotTuber!  

Aside from the two already mentioned above? One of my favorites is Simon over at The Hermit’s Cave.  Another that’s not quite as long in the tooth on YouTube would be Brian Cormick Carr, who has a lot of really good content for exercising your gray matter in relation to tarot and the metaphysical.

8. Share a new favourite TarotTuber!

Becca Tarot Night Owl  She was the first live chat I visited, and is very warm and welcoming. Also Tangerine Layla* The Sleepy Oracle, who is always a great watch for a little lightheartedness and fun.  One more is Heather Carter, who like Brian mentioned above, also makes some really thought provoking videos.

9. What is one of your TarotTube pet peeves?

The “One Trick Pony” Syndrome.  By which I mean that there’s no variety.  ALL they do is one thing without ever deviating into other things. (Such as only doing  tarot reading videos, or only unboxing videos, or only deck walk-through videos, etc.)

10. What have you learnt from watching other TarotTubers?

There is no way for me to outline this as there is just too many things and the vast array of what I’ve learned is too diverse, but I get a lot of fragments of knowledge and ideas from different videos, not to mention different perspectives and methods of looking at the cards and/or using them in my own life.

#5Things I Use Everyday & Can’t Live Without

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Becca Night Owl, over on Youtube did her first VR tag.  And, well of course I don’t do videos, but I do like quizzes, so I’ll answer here.

Her question for the #5Things tag is… What five things do you use every day and can’t live without?

Now, this list is really more what I -don’t want- to live without to be honest.  As I’m a firm believer in the survivalist in my nature.  That said?  I’m not kidding about #3.  Medication-free means I’m very, very up close and personal with the overwhelming urge to off myself.

In no particular order…

1)  A deck of cards.  It doesn’t matter if they are playing cards, lenormand, or tarot, preferably.  But oracle cards, Dixit cards (which I use as oracle cards), or even Kipper (which I don’t know how to read but could use if needed), will do.  Not just for my daily draw, or even to keep my hands busy, but because you can also play games with them and that works for me when left to my own devices.   If I was stranded on a deserted island and I had no cards?  I’d make myself some cards.  They’re just that important.

2)  My  phone.  I hate to say it.  I really do.   But it’s my connection with you and that’s what matters.   So I guess you could say it isn’t my phone at all but YOU that I can’t do without.  I love you.

3)   My antidepressants.  Life isn’t worth living without my antidepressants… literally.

4)  Labradorite.  The qualities of this stone include grounding, dispelling anxiety, strengthening intuition, and tempering negativity… among other things.

5)  Citrine.  The quality of this stone that I find the most important, and the reason I wear it daily, is that it releases anxiety and transforms negative energy into positive energy.   It also is known for being emotionally balancing, activating creativity, encouraging self expression, and helps enhance concentration.

The last two stones, I have made into small charms and attached to my medical bracelet, meaning that I wear them 24/7.

Story of the Sacred Circle Tarot

Usually, I do a group post for my deck modifications, since I’ve been doing quite a few of them over the past little bit.   But this particular modification was so surprising and so transformative, that I felt that it needed its own post.

First, a little backstory.

My very first deck was given to me, and so was my third.. fourth… possibly also my fifth.  I was raised by Pagan and Buddhist parents, and my mother gifted me the Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling cards when I was about ten years old.

Gypsy

It isn’t really a deck that I use anymore, although I still own both the deck I was originally given as well as a version of the deck that is over 100 years old.

Soon after, I was given my first Lenormand deck (which is the system that I first learned with), and then a handful more of them over the years that followed.

Blue_Owl

When I discovered the Ryder-Waite-Smith system, I was curious and eager to learn, and I requested a recommendation from the shop owner for a learning deck.   Now, I’m not sure why they recommended the Sacred Circle Tarot for this.  And, at around fourteen years old or so?  I wasn’t “centered” enough in myself or the RWS system to realize this deck was not going to be a good match for me, or to speak up and tell him “Um, no. How about a different one.”

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So, I bought the deck and I struggled with it.  I slogged through the reading, and fought with the deck at every turn.  For a while, I even thought that the RWS system was just not for me, and I retreated back to my roots in the Lenormand.

I’ve moved on since then, and back to the RWS.  I’ve discovered a multitude of decks that speak to me and that I enjoy (as you can clearly see by my list of decks that I now own).  But, I never got rid of the Sacred Circle Tarot I’d struggled with so horribly in the beginning.

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of deck modifications, and I have been eying the Sacred Circle deck with serious consideration since the first time I modified a deck.

Finally, I decided to take the plunge.   This is, hands down, my most aggressive deck modification to date, but I have to say, I’m really pleased with the results.

SacredCircle04

The first thing I did was trim the cards, of course.   You can see in the above image the difference that this made in the size of the cards.  A deck that was once oversized and on the edge of awkward has been cut down to the size of a mini deck.

It was the first card I cut that made me realize what my issue was with this deck all along, actually.   I trimmed the Tower first (because, well yeah, it was just fitting in this case), and as soon as it was trimmed, I was amazed at how much more I connected with the card.   What I realized is that those great big, highly intricate borders were what had turned me off to the deck to the point that it was nearly impossible for me to read with them or use them in any capacity.  Although there are a few borders in the Major Arcana that are beautiful, as a whole they’re impression on me is startling, garish, and in some cases an almost violent assault on the senses.

SacredCircle02

So, I cut them off.   All of them off.   The borders, the titles, the key words.   All of it but the main center picture on each card.

Suddenly, this deck felt much better.   The images spoke to me (although… not all of them), it felt good in my hands, it shuffles well and is screaming “use me, use me, USE ME!”.  The only issue I still struggle with is the “photo-shopped” imagery, which is a far and above improvement over it’s original incarnation.

I did have a small problem, though.  The Queen of Swords and the Warrior card (the Strength card) were a little too similar in my opinion, and a few of the other Major Arcana cards were easy to mix up.   The ones with people, I mean.    So, I decided to go ahead and use a fine point Sharpie and number the Major Arcana cards.

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I didn’t really need to do all the cards in the Major Arcana, but I liked the consistency of having them all done, so I numbered each of them with their roman numeral correspondence.

What is not consistent is the placement of the numbers.  This is because the cards (and images) are now so tiny that there isn’t a lot of room to select any one place to put the numbers in the same spot on each card.    So instead, I tried to find wherever there was a good space that the numbers would both fit, and be visible.

Finally, I then edged the deck in black.   I did this in a less precise way than I usually do my decks.   Normally, I take each card individually and edge the card, wipe the excess with a microfiber cloth, then repeat a second time if needed.

In this case, I took sections of the deck and did the edges of these sections all at once.   This causes the ink to bleed a bit  in between the cards, adding a touch of a messy border to the fronts and the backs, which was the idea.  I think that bit of “messy’ in the border goes really well with the artwork on the cards and I’m really happy with the results.

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Now?  After one night’s worth of work on altering this deck, it has been (nearly) completely transformed.  It no longer feels uncomfortable or awkward, and I no longer feel any inclination to avoid it or set it aside in the bottom of my tarot chest.  Instead, I love the way the cards feel in my hands, and aside from the photo-shopped look of some of the cards, I’m very happy with the aesthetic.

The Aliens Among Us

Today, I was tagged by Normal Happenings in a writing challenge.

“They”

Detail an experience of yours (real or fiction) so bizarre you think you might have encountered an alien from another world.

So, as usual, when I get put on a spot, my mind draws a blank.   Don’t you hate that shit?   Anyway.  After half a day of contemplation I finally decided to share what happened to me a few months ago while on the road.

When I first came home from this experience, I shared it with you.  I was shaken up (and feeling a little triumphant) and poured it all out.   Now I’m going to reflect back on that experience here.

So essentially, it boiled down to an experience with road rage.    I was on the highway (two lanes in either direction) on my way back to Seattle from a trip up north.   The traffic wasn’t particularly heavy and flowing fine, and as usual, I was driving a good ten or fifteen mph over the speed limit.  (Yes, I know.  I know.)

This speed allows me to move smoothly past cars in either lane without “whipping” from lane to lane like a nutcase.  It’s a comfortable speed for me when dealing with a minimum of four to five hours of driving.  (I really need teleportation.  Seriously.)

Anyway.  I had just passed a black truck going a good deal slower than myself.  I glanced over my shoulder at the truck as I passed, confirming I’d passed him and was pulling away, then changed lanes.     Apparently…. he sped up to try and block me from changing lanes (some people are just assholes and love an opportunity to show it?) and I ended up accidentally cutting him off as I hadn’t realized what he’d done until after the fact.

I had a moment’s grimace and a mental “shit, sorry” moment.  It happens.

rage4But this guy took things to a WHOLE new level when he then began first riding my ass, and then trying to change lanes and whip around me to get in front of me.

When I wouldn’t let him in front of me (because hello, erratic behavior at high speeds on a highway is a BAD idea) he then tried running me into the concrete median, then into the ditch a bit later.

I knew letting this guy in front of me on the highway was a bad idea, and I knew that losing him on the highway would be impossible.  He was…. I mean, just wow.  Erratic, enraged, violently aggressive with that truck of his, and he was going to cause an accident.     So, I decided to take an exit and get off the highway in the hopes that maybe I’d be able to lose him somewhere.

Instead, he followed and, in the middle of the street, whipped around me by going into oncoming traffic and then blocked the road with his truck, forcing me to stop in the middle of the street.   He then proceeded to get out of his truck and start in my direction.

I felt this was a really BAD idea, so I backed up (in the middle of the street).  A semi started coming our way, and I guess he figured the current situation was untenable to him, so he got back in the truck.   While he was getting in his truck, I quickly passed around him and hurried ahead.

He caught up, of course.

To keep hmi from getting in front of me again for a repeat performance, I used the left lane and got right up behind a car.  I felt bad riding their ass, but I didn’t want to let him get in front of me again because this had definitely become an issue in personal safety.

For just over 2 miles, I rode this car’s ass while he drove beside me in the right lane with his window down, screaming obscenities at me, flailing out his window, giving me the bird, etc.    TWO MILES!

I then (finally) managed to lose him as, while he was stuck in the right lane (and traffic was becoming more busy so he was definitely going to be stuck in that lane) I used a last-minute redirect before a traffic light to slip into the left turn lane and turn off.   He was forced to go straight.

Fortunately?   I have a very innocuous car in a very innocuous color, so once I was away from him, even if he saw my car again there’s a good chance he wouldn’t be able to be sure it was me.   Just to be safe, though?   I took an alternate route back to the highway to be back on my way.

In the time since this happened, it has been suggested I should have driven to the police station and pulled into the lot to sit there for a bit.   And you know what?  I really like that idea, and I think that’s exactly what I should have done.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think of it at the time.

That said? The focus of this post is on the driver of that truck.  He left me shaken and a little freaked out.   And reflecting back now?   I sit here wondering… How does anyone get -that- angry?  Where does that kind of anger come from?  How does someone allow anger to enrage them to the point where your actions are violently aggressive danger to not just yourself or the person you’re upset with, but the population at large?

This type of overwhelming rage is something beyond my scope of understanding, no matter how many times I try to wrap my mind around it.  How does the human condition even have room for this type of rage and resulting behavior?

Alien?  Absolutely.