Playing Favorites

So, Pagan Perspective is back online after their winter break and did new videos this week, but I felt very uninspired by the topic, which is about looking back at 2019 and ahead into 2020 and what our plans are.   I’m a bit burnt out on the whole transition from 2019 to 2020.   It seems to be all that’s focused on at this time of year from YouTube videos to writing prompts, tarot prompts, journal entries, etc.

So… I decided to do a different topic for this week.  Namely, since a few days ago I focused on what my favorite Major Arcana card in the tarot is (The Hanged Man), I thought today I would focus on a similar question.

Topic for the Week of 1/6: What is the card that you identify with most strongly from the Minor Arcana?  And, if it is different, what is your favorite card from the Minor Arcana?

Two of Pentacles

This is probably not surprising, but in the Minor Arcana, I associate most strongly with the Two of Pentacles.   I struggle with finding balance, and when I look at the imagery on most two of pentacles, that’s exactly what I see.   I see an eternal juggling of responsibilities, as I seek a balance that works for all.

The relationship and identifying I feel with this card isn’t surprising.  I hold down between three and five part time jobs depending on the season, plus run a home business.  I’m on my building’s administration board, and in a long distance relationship that requires my time and attention.  Add into this family responsibilities, medical responsibilities, and all the other things that make up a life as well as my own personal self care?   It’s a lot to keep in balance as the needs and responsibilities for each element are constantly changing.

Sometimes it feels like juggling and sometimes it’s even fun, other times it feels overwhelming, but it is a never ending task, which is what I see the infinity loop around the pentacles as being a symbol of in the card’s imagery.

Ten of Swords

Unlike in the Major Arcana where my favorite card and the card I identify strongest with are the same card, in the Minor Arcana this isn’t the case.

In the Minor Arcana, my favorite card in a tarot deck is the Ten of Swords.

This is because I appreciate a good warning that something’s coming that’s really going to hurt. I do predictive readings, and to me? That’s what this card says most often. It says, “Take a breath and keep moving. This shit is really going to hurt.”

It can also often feel a bit like compassionate understanding that sometimes to move through something or move on from something? It has to hurt… and that that’s natural and okay.

Self Doubt in Practice

Pagan Perspective is still on their holidays break (or at least I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on there), so there’s no new question to work with again this week.   So this week, I again decided to snag a question from one of the pagan/witchy type groups I’m a member of on Discord and use that instead.

CoprinopsisPicacea

Topic for the Week of 12/30:  About what in your practice do you tend to doubt yourself? What form does this doubt take, and how do you respond to it?

Even though I have an education in botany, and I am very versed in how to handle and work with plants and the like that can be dangerous and/or poisonous…. there is still doubt in myself in this area.  I do use ingredients from such organisms in my spells and castings, sometimes pretty regularly, and there is an inherent danger in this not just from the potential of the obvious physical contact, but the releasing of spores, trichomes (these are the hairs on certain plants), or saps among other things.

Because of this self-doubt, I am extremely careful in my handling of any and all parts of such plants and organisms.  I take extra time and extra care, as well as extra precautions  and safe-guards to make sure I don’t accidentally end up hurting myself or anyone in my home during or after this part of my spellwork.

How this self doubt manifests is a good thing, and I hope that I never lose the self doubt involved in this practice, as it ensures that everyone I care about is safe. I can only hope that anyone else out there incorporating these dangerous and poisonous ingredients in their spell craft is just as careful.

 

#IAmAFortuneTeller (non) VR to Mary-Grace Fahrun

Okay, so the Pagan Perspective is definitely on a holiday break.  So, I decided to do one of my (non)VRs today in place of a response to their regular videos.

One of my favorite content creators, Mary-Grace Fahrun, did a video on YouTube at the end of November about how she uses tarot and about the stigma behind the use of cartomancy for predictive readings. She included a tag for responses, and I very much enjoyed her video and wanted to do a response.

glass

Like Mary-Grace, I grew up with cartomancy. In my case it was Lenormand cards, then playing cards, and then tarot. In my experience, Lenormand in particular is all about handing you a roadmap of potholes along your path.

I don’t know where the judgement against predictive readings stemmed from, or why it is so prevalent among modern day readers, but it is very prevalent and highly frowned upon by a large majority of card readers out there.

Somewhere in my teens was when I ran into this issue.  I was told that 3rd party readings and predictive readings are ethically wrong, and for a while I fought against using the cards in that way… but honestly? I gave up on that rather quickly.

Interestingly, I am not as strong at reading the past as I am at reading the present and future.

Intuition is intuition, and that information is going to come through whether I want it to or not. So I had a good look at my own moral compass and values and decided that for me? Both 3rd party and predictive aspects are a part of it, or I don’t read cards… because it just comes naturally. And I sure as hell am not hanging up my decks!!

I honestly do not understand why it is considered taboo or why people look down their noses at readers that do fortune telling (predictive readings, telling the future, etc).  I’ve had people say it’s about clients seeing the predictions as written in stone, or taking away choice, etc.  But the fact is?   That is in the presentation, NOT in the predictive aspect.

Doing predictive readings requires the responsibility and sensitivity to make sure those you read for are aware of the fluidity of the future, and how even just having the reading can have the possibility of changing the results, because knowledge is power.  It requires empowering people, so that they can build the future that they want, and be prepared for what is coming.

Any tarot reader, no matter the type of readings they do, has the ability to take away people’s choices and diminish their power.  Not just during predictive readings.  You are tapping into their needs and wants, desires, fears, and the depths of their psyche.  And that requires sensitivity and respect and a sense of responsibility.

So yes… I am a fortuneteller.  I am not ashamed of that.  It’s how my intuition works and fighting against my intuition or ignoring my intuition’s voice is just… not the path for me.

 

Impact of One’s Path

So… I think that Pagan Perspective is taking a week off this week, as there’s no new question to work with.   Due to this, I decided to snag a question from one of the pagan/witchy type groups I’m a member of on Discord and use that instead.

sun

Topic for the Week of 12/16: How has your religion impacted your overall well-being? Has it changed how you see the world and other people?

The first part of this question is immeasurable for me. I get a great sense of peace and overall well being from connecting with nature, and the communion of that practice. It is a part of me at my very core, a part of not just who I am but of my internal makeup and my soul.  Because of that, it’s impossible for me to differentiate myself from that enough to really clearly delineate my path from myself and my well-being.  They are simply too integrated to be able to separate them.

I also can’t really say if my path has changed my outlook on the world or other people, as I’ve been (essentially) on the same path my entire life.  Yes, I transitioned from Wicca to a non-theistic Paganism when I left my parent’s home, but not a lot of my inner beliefs really changed in that shift, as I never really connected with deity in the first place.

What I can say is that the deeper I go into my spirituality, the healthier my emotional and mental health become… which in turn improves my outlook on just about everything.

 

Show and Tell – Heritage and Inheritance

The Topic for the Week of 12/9 from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is not a question at all, but rather, it is an encouragement to “Show and Tell”.

I thought for this I would like to show what my mother gave to me when I went to visit her over the week of Thanksgiving.   She really took me by surprise and I was hugely honored to be given the gift that she gave to me while  I was there.

The box of cards pictured in this post are my great-great-grandmother’s divination cards.  Or, rather, the last set of divination cards she owned before she passed away.  In her lifetime, she had gone through a number of decks, but if I understand correctly, she always burned them when they were replaced by a new set.   This set was the set that she used in the decade or so before she passed.

Interestingly enough, there is a spell of some kind cast on this deck.   I could feel the energy of it when I held the box in my hands, and the shift of that magic in my sliding open of the box (which works like a drawer) and found the two cards concealed in the bottom.

I asked my mother what she knew about it, but she didn’t know anything.  She has never even opened the box. This means that my sense of that energy was correct and those cards slid underneath the box’s “drawer” are indeed a part of the spell cast upon them.

While going through the drawer where these cards were tucked away, my mother came across an old deck of the Gypsy Witch Fortune Cards.

Interestingly, she thought this deck was mine, as it was the first deck I was ever given.   But, I have my deck already.  And L has hers as well.   This mystery deck was tucked deep in the back of the drawer, under the box of my great-great-grandmother’s cards, and also contained a small lock of hair.    These were given to me as well.

I have brought both of them home with me and carefully wrapped them up (boxes and all) in a silk scarf that used to belong to my grandmother.  At the moment, that bundle is sitting on my altar in place of the hand mirror I had been using as a representation of my ancestors.   I feel extremely honored to have been given these gifts and I cherish them more than I can possibly express.

Art Upon the Path

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about finding your path.

Topic for the Week of 12/2: “Do you do any art related to your path that you would like to share? Or is there art by others that is meaningful to you?”

Jewelry

Jewelry design and creation is one of my favorite hobbies, and one that I ended up turning into a business.

I use this creative outlet to express my love for nature and color and… symmetry.  I love creating beautiful things, and while doing so, filling them with positive intention.

Those pieces I create and the intentions set within them are then sent out into the world to bring a bit of joy, pleasure, and/or happiness to those that see, wear, and own these pieces.

With this hobby, I seek to spread out small touches of positivity out around the globe, one piece at a time.  I find a sense of peace and joy in doing so, and feel that in some small way I am contributing to a better world.  My creations are now spread across more than sixty countries, and I hope that with piece that I ship out, I send out just a little more positive energy into the world to be enjoyed and shared.

As for art from others that is meaningful to me… there is a reason that I own so many cartomancy decks.  I connect to the imagery in the cards, which means that there are many, many artists out there that create art that is meaningful to me.

I have also mentioned before the poem “The Dash” written by Linda Ellis.  This too is a type of art that I admire, and this one piece in particular really touched my soul.

 

The Right Path

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about finding your path.

Topic for the Week of 11/25: What let’s you know you have chosen the right path?

Is it strange that I’m having trouble formulating a reply to this question when I am so certain of my (somewhat unconventional even in the pagan community) path?

The thing is… it’s my heart and my gut that tell me I’m on the right path. I feel it deep inside where the soul lives.

I think that to get to that point, though, you have to get to a point of acceptance of the knowledge that everyone’s path is going to be different. Spirituality isn’t a “cookie cutter” experience, but rather highly individualistic. There is no right or wrong other than what is right for you (and of course, you know, legalities).

Once you can accept that each and every person is a unique snowflake and their spirituality is going to echo that individuality, then as you start exploring different practices, beliefs, faiths, and dogmas… you will find that some just feel right… and others don’t.

Take what resonates with you instead of trying to fit into a mold someone else had decided should be yours, and you will find it easier and easier to identify those things that work for you.

The Akashaic Records

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about the Akashaic Records.

milky-way

Topic for the Week of 11/18: This week’s topic isn’t a question, but rather a free-form topic on the Akashaic Records.

My understanding of the Akashaic Records is that it’s a metaphysical non-physical “library” of everything that is, has been, and will be.  The theory, the way I understand it, is that this library includes not just the collective unconscious of humans, but also encompasses the knowledge of what was, is and will be (past, present, and future) for every being and every thing everywhere at all times.

This is not something that I am particularly familiar with, although I am familiar with a similar belief from my father’s Buddhist faith concerning eight levels of consciousness.

That said?  Neither of these are a tenant that I particularly believe in, as there is an undercurrent to the belief that deals with free will and the lack-there of, as well as the lack of consideration for the butterfly effect of chaos theory, which I absolutely do hold stock in.

After all, how can this mystical non-physical library contain information for all that can and will be… if all that can and will be is fluid and can be changed through even just small choices and acts?  And what about other planes of existence?  Parallel universe theory?   The rest of the universe beyond our human, mammalian, or mortal experiences?

I don’t know… it just doesn’t really add up for me.

SocioEconomics and Eco-Justice

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about how socioeconomics and eco-justice tie into our beliefs and path.

field

Topic for the Week of 11/11:

from soul seeker:
“I am wondering if and how your path supports socioeconomic justice and eco-justice?”

from Rebekah Getchell:
“…in reading the book ‘For Earths Sake’ I found the argument and perspective that the domination of nature and women go hand in hand in our patriarchal society. it submits as evidence pointing to this fact, that we refer to nature in a feminist view, mother nature, mother earth, the now stopped practice of naming hurricanes after women. It supposes that we cannot fix one without fixing the other. Curious your thoughts and beliefs about this idea and argument.”

Okay so honestly?  I’m kind of confused by this question.  I did some research on the topic and it sounds to me like this is primarily a question on how my personal path supports equality and outreach to assist and lift up into equality those that qualify as minorities and the less fortunate.  (The word “eco-justice” confused me as well, because I was thinking ecology… but it’s in reference to economy.)

The thing is?  I am very disconnected from my community.  Aside from supporting balance and minorities through the way that I vote, supporting public services and small businesses in struggling areas,  etc. I don’t really have a lot of contact with others.

I do enjoy spending time sharing my path through online to those that can reach out through that medium, and providing ideas and perspectives in those areas online where I share such information.   These include places like Discord, where I often run into people new to the path that are unable to find learning resources through their local environment.

As for no longer naming hurricanes after women.  This is incorrect.  They have simply begun including the names of men into the practice as well.

As for the “mother” nature view.   I am devout to the energies of creation, evolution, and balance.  These energies are neither male or female.   I lately got myself nipped by a woman in a chat that justified the fact that there are hundreds of exclusively “sacred feminine” tarot decks out there and no “sacred masculine” tarot out there by the fact that women have been suppressed for centuries.

I disagree with this viewpoint, because if we are seeking balance in these things, then at this point we have swung out of balance far and beyond rectifying the imbalance between how the two genders are treated and the equality that is lacking.    So yes, maybe “mother” nature is not fostering balance in this area…. but I think that there are a lot of women out there that are very much pushing for what is not balance, but restitution and atonement for those hundreds of years in the past.

I may be male, but I as a Korean man in America?  I am also very much a minority.  (Not to mention I looked like a tall twelve year old until in my 20s, which means that I dealt with that issue as well.)  I know how that feels, and I know it can breed resentment.   But I do feel that there needs to be less of an expectation of being “owed” recompense, and more of a focus on balance and equality.

It feels like I’ve gotten off topic, but I have a little confusion as to the topic as a whole to begin with, I think.  I guess because I never considered my faith and practice as something that was a part of this particular topic.   I hope that my answer made some sense, though.

Seasons and Holidays

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about the holidays we choose to celebrate.

Untitled-1

Topic for the Week of 11/04:  “How did or do you decide what holidays to celebrate?”

Although in the wheel of the year there are eight holidays, I really only dependably celebrate two of them from year to year.  My family, as I was growing up, has always celebrated all eight.

In my case, the holidays mark seasonal transitions, and although I appreciate them and even enjoy spending time recognizing them through hiking and other activities in order to appreciate the transitions from one season to the next?   I don’t celebrate all eight holidays on a dependable year-to-year basis.

I guess, then, that I should first begin by defining “celebrate” since I did just mention that recognize each shift in seasons regardless of “celebrating them” in a traditional sense.

So, for the purpose of this post, celebrating means to include ritual and/or activities that are performed on a specific day or days surrounding the holiday in question.

The holidays that my family celebrates are Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, Lammas, and Mabon.   Of these holidays, I dependably celebrate Samhain and Beltane every year without fail.   These are the two points in the year where the veil within liminal spaces is at its thinnest, and for me they are not just the most powerful days of the year, but also the most sacred.

So there you have it!  Although I consider the entire transition of season to season sacred and enjoyable, and appreciate them all in my own way.   As far as holidays go?  I really only go “all out” to celebrate just two of them.

Post Script Edit:    As you just pointed out to me, I also celebrate both Thanksgiving (US) and Christmas (in a far less religious way).

These two are celebrated for specific reasons.

Thanksgiving involves visiting my mother’s house, and is celebrated because it’s a holiday she loves.  A core part of her faith involves feeding others, and there is a lot of ritual and spellcraft that goes into the cooking on that day in her home.   Each year, my sister and I visit her because this day is so very important to her (and the food is so goddamn good doesn’t hurt either).

Christmas on the other hand, is not a religious holiday for me.  Instead it is something fun.  It’s a chance to give friends and loved ones gifts, show appreciation and gratitude, and get gifts from them in turn.  It’s a time for absolutely spectacular crooners music and amazing scents and sparkling lights.  I do decorate (alibi sparingly usually), and we do exchange gifts, but it’s more like the holiday is an excuse to do these things rather than a spiritual experience.

So you’re right.   Although they are not pagan holidays, nor spiritual in the sense of the other holidays that I sometimes incorporate into my year, they are absolutely holidays that I celebrate.