Anglo Saxon Rune Set Creation

I recently shared on Twitter that I was in the midst of a Younger Futhorc or Anglo Saxon Rune Set Creation. The responses I got were surprising and inspiring so I decided to share my experience with the creation process here.

I began my rune journey years ago, but I didn’t come by them with any natural talent. I struggled with the runes despite other forms of divination, like tarot and scrying, coming so easily to me.
I’d been reading tarot professionally for years when I took a course in divination with Galina Krasskova in 2015. I mentioned there that I struggled with the runes – something just wasn’t clicking with me. She told me I was going about it wrong – instead of trying to memorize the runes as symbols with key word meanings, I needed to see them as Spirits and honor them in that way. Once I did that, I would be in a better position to learn who They are and Their messages.
This clicked and I’ve been loving runes ever since.

Why Anglo Saxon Runes?

I began my rune journey, like many others, with the Elder Futhark Runes. They felt good and I could eventually read for myself and others. However, when I met the Younger Futhorc runes in Raven Kaldera’s books, The Pathwalker’s Guide to the Nine Worlds, I knew immediately that I needed to work with these “extra” runes as well. They just felt right in my gut.

Why Make My Own?

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the Anglo Saxon runes in my rune set. I looked for a set but none of the ones I saw online resonated with me. I was also feeling a push to go deeper – Odin’s hand on my shoulder, adding weight, and reminding me of His own difficult and harrowing rune journey. Thankfully He hasn’t asked me to suspend or hang for the runes but I needed to put more work into them.

Do you know how to carve? Do you know how to stain?
The questions from the rune poem kept repeating in my head. So I knew what I had to do – I had to make my own set.

Anglo Saxon Rune Set Creation – Materials

Initially, I thought I would make the runes from some fallen trees from our back yard – I have my pick of storm-fallen pecan, pine, beech, peach, and cedar. Nothing felt right and every time I tried to push ahead with them, something happened. Branches I’d planned to cut from went missing, chunks were accidentally acquired for firewood, I’d cut and the inside would be hallow and bug-eaten, etc. You get the point, and so did I.

Next I thought bone would work. I traded an old oracle deck and book for a goat hide and some coyote bones. The bones didn’t arrive with hide because there was a mix up, the bones we initially thought would work turned out not to yield only 31, and the coyote toe bones were too small to carve comfortable (these will be repurposed for a headdress).

Getting a little upset and annoyed by the road blocks, I thought about giving up and trying to buy a set again. I looked at Raven’s set on Mengloth’s Market and inspiration struck – or rather, Odin laughed and I got my shit together. Raven’s set is gorgeous, btw, and I would have bought if it wasn’t for this itching need to carve my own – I highly recommend this set if you are open to buying.

So stone it is. Damon has a dremel and taught me how to use it on rocks. I collected a different stone or crystal for each rune based on intuition and research. Most I had in my collection from when I was learning crystal healing (if this is something you are into, I highly recommend the work of Katrina Raphaell).

Anglo Saxon Rune Set Creation

Stones and Crystals for Each Rune

The following list is based on UPG. I connected the stones according to intuition mostly and many, I was happily surprised, had some connections with mutual key words and vibes. If you disagree or have a different stone association, go with it.

Fehu – Citrine
I had a gem quality citrine piece from back when I made jewelry. It had amazing clarity and would look beautiful in a gold necklace. It felt perfect that Fehu, the spirit of trade who loves luxury, would get one of my finest stones. Once craved and stained, I intend to paint the carved rune with gold.

Ur – Onyx
When I was learning about the runes. Ur was one that resonated strongly with me. A spirit of determination, hard labor, and primal. I loved the dark strength of onyx for this rune and when going through my collection I found a piece I could already see shaped a little like this rune.

Thurisaz – Dragons Blood Jasper
Thor is strong in this rune as well as the Thurses. This is the Berserker, the chaotic warrior that is more animal than man in action. I chose Dragons Blood Jasper, a nature green splashed with bloody red.

Aesc – Sodalite
This is one of the runes that I had a hard time finding a stone for. I went to a local shope and stood in a rune of crystals and stones. Thankfully, I was alone, and could softly galdr the rune until something jumped at me. Sodalite – specifically a piece that was part sodalite, part pyrite. I grabbed it. Later I learned that Aesc is a rune of deep rooted determination, the shielded warrior facing the oncoming hoard, a volatile spirit, the height of the World Tree with its Eagle. Sodalite grounded with Pyrite is perfect for me.

Raidho – Jade
Luck and wisdom and cleverness are needed when you are a wanderer, going wherever your feet take you. Jade lends this.

Kenaz – Golden Tiger Eye
To me this rune speaks of Illumination – a torch shining light into the dark recesses, the lamp of the psychopomp, the Duergar blacksmith that discerns what lies within the metal and with flame can bring it forward. There is nowhere to hide when this light filled eye shines upon you or your darkness. It is bright and keen.

Gebo – Emerald
I initially thought of using Chiastolite but my piece went missing and I couldn’t find another at the nearby rock shop. I chose instead an emerald that was gifted to me and felt that it being a gift and a stone of the heart and relationships and trade for many centuries made it the best choice.

Wunjo – Lepidolite
I struggled with this stone as Wunjo is not a rune I have a strong connection with. I looked at Galina’s book, Living the Runes, and saw she associates it with Lepidolite. Intrigued, I looked at my lepidolite stones and galdred the rune. It rang true – this rune of joy and ecstasy resonating with the lithium rich, mica filled stone.

Hagal – Black Labradorite Skull
When I gathered all the stones I had that could fit in my hands (not my larger pieces that would have been to big for runes) one of them was a black labradorite skull. I initially got this for my husband and it sat in a collection beneath our altar to Odin. In the charcoal colors rainbows glint. The storms of Hagal clearing the path, down to the foundations, with the blessing of What does not kill you will make you strong. Her affinity with Helheim and the stormy rainbows of labradorite were perfect even if it means I’m a little nervous about carving this one.

Nauthiz – Flint
This rune is Need-Fire. It is the bow drill bringing forth the sparks when alone in the wilderness. It is survival and what our ancestors did to ensure the species would continue. Do what you have to do, she says. Flint is much easier to add to a rune set than a bow drill.

Isa – Clear Quartz
Quartz is the ice and snow of the gemstone world. I chose a piece that looks more like it came from the arctic than any other.

Jera – Topaz
I wanted something bright for this rune that feels at home among the Lossalfheim, yet something that speaks to its cyclical nature and connection to the earth and harvest, but without the darkness of Ing. My clear-yellow topaz felt perfect.

Eoh – Amethyst
While amethyst in general didn’t feel particularly right with Eoh, this particular stone did. My husband bought it from a witch at an event we attended years ago. It was blessed and meant to be part of a power-drawing talisman, like a reservoir or battery to be used at a later date. We never did find the right piece of jewelry or altar tool to add it to. When I went over my crystals and galdred Eoh, this one jumped out loudly.

Peorth – Dumortierite
The lot cup, the connection with the Nornir, and the association with mysteries makes this one of my favorite runes to meditate on. Dumoritierite boosts psychic abilities, increases patience, aids in self mastery, and, perhaps most importantly,helps you to listen to the voices of the Divine.

Algiz – Rainbow Labradorite
Yes, I already used labradorite in another rune, one unrelated to this one sort of. Thing is Algiz is protection but also the stone I related to bridges, specifically Bifrost – the rainbow bridge, that I associate with Aurora Borealis…which I associate with Labradorite. Labradorite is a shamans stone that is protective for psychics, diviners, journeyers, and spirit workers.

Sowilu – Sunstone
I feel like this one might be a given…

Teiwaz – Tiger Iron
I have a tiger iron point in my collection that I was given in a beginner rock collection when I was a child. It looks like a large canine tooth or a bodkin arrow. It was my first pick for this rune.

Berkana – Chalcedony
I wanted something related to nurturing, nourishment, and breast health. Blue Chalcedony was the first stone to pop up in my research and it just felt perfect.

Ehwaz – Ametrine
Ametrine is the combination of Amethyst and Citrine – the piece I have looks like one dropping into the other. This rune is of the Horse – taking care of, long journeys with a destination in mind and well mapped, and more but one aspect of it is also Horsing – being ridden by a spirit or God. This combination of Horse and Rider with a stone that is 2 at once felt perfect.

Mannaz – Garnet
Initially I wanted Amegreen for this rune, but it was harder to come by a piece I resonated with.
This is the stone of mankind, relationships, two Wunjo runes kissing, mediation, marriages, and all those inter-human relationships. Garnet with its blood, passion, groundedness, and more felt perfect.

Laguz – Coral
Another one I think is a bit of a given.

Ing – Carnelion
I have piece of carnelian that just felt perfect – it is bitten all over with golden lines marking the deep red of it. It felt very strong of the Sacrifice, Blood, Offering, Sex, Seed, and Kingship related to this rune.

Daeg – Blue Goldstone
This one threw me off. When I pulled out my stones, this particular piece of dark blue flecked all over with glittery gold demanded inclusion. When I galdred Daeg, it spoke up. But it was so dark! I thought, surely I was wrong – shouldn’t Daeg be something yellow, sunny…no. this was the transformation from night to day – and, the stone said, those transformations usually include a dark night of the soul first. I’ll paint this rune with gold once I carve it so that it is better seen.

Othala – Hearth Stone
So, some of the runes demanded a bit more care in where they came from. I couldn’t just go buy a crystal and carve it. Othala was one of them. She wanted a stone that was from the home, preferably the heart. I had a piece already that would work – white granite from when the people who built this house created the exterior and parts of the interior. She was satisfied with my choice.

Ear – Gravestone
Another I couldn’t just buy. I ended up dealing with a pesky haunting because of collecting this rune – one that I sent packing with relative easy but unnerving all the same so here is your reminder to leave offerings and cleanse heavily before coming home after doing cemetery work. (Before you ask, I didn’t cleanse as early as I should have).

Ac – Petrified Wood
Ac is the Oak tree, the Forest Jotun, Angrboda is her friend. If petrified wood cannot be found – iron wood, oak, or other very strong wood should be used. A piece of a wooden weapon or a bo staff is also good.

Ior – Serpentine
This rune so closely related to the Midgard Serpent Jormangandr needed to be something snake related. I initially wanted snakeskin jasper but the piece of serpentine that I found was perfect.

Os – Laps Lazuli
I connect this rune with Odin, lips wet with the mead of poetry, as well as Bragi with his rune carved tongue dripping honeyed apple wine and blood. For such divine communication, I chose regal Lapis Lazuli.

Yr – Bog Iron
This is the rune of the craftsman and archer so I chose Iron. Initially I planned on perhaps a piece of blacksmithed iron from my husband’s workings or perhaps a bodkin arrow that’s been dulled down. Instead I got something closer to home – marsh iron from near where I live. The kind of iron our ancestors would have pulled from to make some of their weapons.

Cweorth – Basalt
Fiery lava rock that speaks of fire and ashes is perfect for the rune of the funeral pyre.

Chalc – Moonstone
The fae like chalice matched up with my milky-white moonstone well.

Stan – Keystone or Cornerstone
Another piece of pretty gray granite, this one taken from a foundation stone of the house we live in.

Gar – Arrowhead or Spearhead
A piece of napped stone too large to be an arrow head but too broken to confirm it was a spear. Speaks of handmade weapons, former sharpness, slicing through the membrane separating us from the Gods.

Where Do I Go From Here?

I’ve picked and gathered my stones. Now I will carve them while galdring and make an offering to each one. The offerings will include home brewed mead or mugwort ale (depending on how it turns out), blood, and an herb associated with each rune. The herbs will then be combined into a pellet incense (similar to and inspired by kyphi which is a pellet incense with a honey, fruit, and wine base). I will share my herb associations and incense recipe in a later post.

Have you made your own rune set? How did you choose the material?
What is your favorite Anglo Saxon Rune Set resource?
Please comment below!

How I Read the Tarot for Online Clients

How do I read the In-Depth Tarot Readings that Clients Order?

In-depth Tarot Readings are one of my favorite ways to connect with clients. The readings are intimate, juicy, and always educational. I take these readings very seriously and dedicate quite a bit of time and attention to ensuring that when you receive your reading it is not only clear and full of advice but that it touches the core of your inquiry.
For me, it’s super important that each and every client I work with has a great experience. So that’s why I have created a list of literally ALL the steps I go through with each and every client- from the second they book me to the very last e-mail after the reading and beyond.

When You Place an Order

I receive a request for a reading
Check Paypal to see that they did indeed pay.
*If they did not, respond to the request with explanation of how the tarot reading works and the payment process via Paypal.
Payment received
Check the email to make sure I have a clear idea of what the tarot reading will be focused on (what is their question or what area of their life do they want to focus on).
*If there is no question or the question is unclear, respond asking for clarification or focus.
Question/Focus of the Reading is Clear
Respond to the request, letting them know you received their order and will have their reading to them within the next 3 days.

As soon as I have uninterrupted time to do the reading, I start collecting the tools I need. The tools include a variety of items including:

  • Tarot deck
  • reading cloth
  • pendulum and/or oracle deck (used for clarification)
  • candle/incense with holder and matches (I usually make my own candles and incense blends for this purpose)
  • crystals to help with focus and connection
  • Notebook and pen
  • a glass of water or cup of tea

The deck is selected by intuition or relation to the querent’s reading focus. For example: I’ll use XIII for clients that are into BDSM or have a question regarding their sexual relationships, for clients looking for information about their spiritual journey I like to use Thoth, and for business questions I often use Tarot of the Old Path. At times, I’ll use 2 decks such as a tarot deck and an oracle deck from which I will draw a card to guide the energy of the reading.
This is also the time when I make it clear that I will be busy for the next hour for the actual reading.

Setting up for the reading

I message Damon to let him know I won’t be answering the phone then I turn the phone on silent. I turn off all distractions like tv and computer though I might turn on some low music depending on my mood. I also schedule these readings during a time of the day when I’m least likely to be interrupted by any visitors like the land lady or delivery men or Jehovahs Witnesses, hah!

I lay out the reading cloth with the crystals in the corner, set out my cards (and pendulum if used), make sure my tea/water as well as my notebook and pen are near at hand and light my candle/incense.

Beginning with Prayer

My divination protocol was taught to me by Galina Krasskova in her divination course and you can see a similar protocol on Raven Kaldera’s website here. Its very simple:

  • Cleanse and clear space
  • Ask for the Gates to be opened (I pray to the Norse Goddess Syn for this)
  • Ask for a blessing from a patron deity (I pray to Odin and Frigga)
  • Ask for the blessing of Diviners that have walked this road before me (witchcraft teachers, Saint Agabus, and others)
  • Ask for the blessing of my beloved Ancestors
  • Bless the client
  • Bless the tools I am using
  • Formally and ritually ask for clarity

Connecting with the Online Client

Connecting with the querent in spirit and energy begins the actual reading. Some clients are very confused about this particular part of the reading and I get more questions about this than almost anything else about tarot readings. Since the reading is done without the client present, some feel that there is no possible way for me to connect with them or for the cards to answer their questions because their energy isn’t physically present. What I would love to easily get across is that energy isn’t caged in by such boundaries as time, space, physical barriers, etc however that usually leads to a discussion bordering on Quantum Physics and I’ve yet to work out an easy answer, sorry. In the end, I just try and help them understand I can just as easy tap into a client’s reading when their half way across the world as I can if they were a foot away from me and that, no, they don’t need to touch the cards in order to have an accurate reading – in fact, many readers are very picky about not letting anyone at all touch their cards ever and yet give excellent readings each time.

A tool that really helps me in connecting with clients across long distances is angelite which is a throat chakra stone that opens up communication. The particular stone I use is also imbued with the Reiki symbol for distance connection for this particular use.

Choosing a Spread

Each question, querent, and energy dictates what spread I use for a reading. Some spreads work particularly well for business and finance situations while others work well for when querents want to focus on bringing something in particular into their lives and just need guidance as to how. Sometimes the spread will shift and change during a reading, when I feel drawn to pull another card for clarification. At other times I may be drawn by spirit to simply lay out the cards without a spread and read the situation intuitively. No matter what situation I am in or what spread I use, I always make a note of it and explain to the client why I laid out the cards in the manner that I did.

Reading the Shuffle

While shuffling the cards, I take deep breaths and focus on the client and their question. The shuffle itself can often give me clues as to how this reading will go. If the cards have a lot of friction and the shuffle feels forces, I can guess that there are some barriers that the client or the situation has up that I might have to work through when reading the cards. If the cards shuffle together smoothly and evenly, I foresee that the reading and the client’s situation will also be smooth. If the beginning of the shuffle is smooth but then there is a bump, pause, or friction later in the blending of the cards then I foresee that there will be a bump in the road ahead for the client. I make a mental note of the shuffle to mark down later, set the cards on the altar, repeat the client’s inquiry, and cut the cards.

*Did a card fall out?
Sometimes during a shuffle or even cutting and laying out the cards a card will fall out. I ALWAYS read this card in the reading. I take these random cards as messages from the Divine that need to be taken into account for the client and the entire situation.

The Tarot Layout

Laying out the cards happens pretty quickly and without incident (this was not the case when I had a cat who wanted to snuggle the altar and tarot every time I had a client reading). I lay all the cards out at once. I know some readers lay out a card at a time and read that way but I find doing this task all at once allows me to see both the big picture and the details – no forest is lost for the trees this way.

Reading the Cards

Sitting with, soaking in, and reading the cards

During this time while the cards are out, I look at the entire reading, taking the image in like a painting at a museum. The entire reading tells a story just like each individual card does. I consider what the story looks like – is it a romance or a thriller? A drama? I then go row by row, card by card and read into the details with my client and their question in mind.

I have to admit, I often talk while I do this as if the client is there, mumbling over the cards and saying things like “Oh I see here that you’ve not be sleeping well…” and them nodding as if they’ve answered back. I often think back to myself, cradling my tea, squinting at tarot cards, and muttering away that most people would think I was absolutely nuts – but I know you don’t dear client because we understand each other, right?

Taking Notes

I take notes the whole process of the reading. If anyone looked at my notes their initial idea that I might be nuts might very well be justified. My handwriting is scratchy and nearly illegible. The topic seems broken and all over the place. Short hand, symbols, and little sentences in the margins like “It’ll be in the Fall. Probably close to Thanksgiving” fill pages. These odd bits of paper and writing will transform later, after another cup of tea and a long look over the tarot table, into your reading email. 

Your Reading

After I’ve digested the advice and messages of the cards, I take my notes to the computer. I begin typing up a comprehensive explanation of the reading with symbol explanations, broad stroke explanations, and, most importantly, what the cards say is in store for you and what you should do about it. This all adds up to 1000+ words that I combine with at least 2-3 photos of your reading. 
Before I send out the email, I re-read it and check in with myself. It is my biggest desire to make sure each client is getting as much information and advice as I can give. 
I then send out the reading with blessings and a welcome to each client to feel free to ask any questions about the cards I’ve laid out. 

Follow Up

After the client receives the reading I like to do a small check in, especially if I don’t hear back from them in the next few days. I want to make sure the reading went through as it should, that the messages were understandable, and that the images were easy to view.

If the client has questions I take my time to review the reading and we work on where things might not be clear. However, if their questions range outside of the reading, we discuss either 1 or 2 more card draws for an additional charge or purchasing another reading if the topic is separate from the last one.

Lastly, after reading is received and questions are answered, I send a thank you to the client for being such a great customer.  A month or so down the road I often check in with my clients. A month is a great amount of time to have between in-depth readings. I’ve found that this gives clients enough time to really process and implement the advice of the previous reading, they are ready to take the next steps in their life and might be interested in seeing what the cards have to say now.

I also love to see how clients are doing and how my reading has benefited their lives since we last spoke. This really reminds me of why I love my job – the results. 

I welcome all of our clients, and those considering becoming clients to read my Privacy Policy and the Tarot Reading page’s FAQ’s. If you have any questions, please feel free to Contact Me. 

Ask a Volva: Touching Tarot Decks

Should I let other people touch my tarot deck?

I get this question, in various forms, quite often, especially when reading at events. 
Before I go on to giving my answer, let me please say there is no Right answer or One True answer to this question. Each tarot reader might have a different opinion and it really is all about you and what you are comfortable with.  I know of at least one tarot reader who feels it is absolutely necessary for the clients to touch the deck. She feels that this connects the client’s energy to the cards and that the next client that chooses that deck, they choose the whole package – energy, cards, message, and all. She might have a point as I’ve never had a client respond with distaste to my decks or their energy (at least those clients who want a reading – this isn’t about those people who respond with distaste to my profession, that happens) even after they’ve been in the hands of clients all day at a fair. 

Varying Opinions
I have no issue with letting a client touch my cards. I’ve even had clients ask if they can go through my cards to look at the images on a certain deck they are drawn to and let them. I don’t feel it has a damaging effect and I usually cleanse my cards, thank them, and give them care between events anyways so I don’t feel I’m bringing a jangle of energy home or from event to event to event. 

What About a Client with Bad Energy?
You can always choose who you want to read the cards for.
That being said, if you still would like to go on with reading for someone who’s energy you don’t feel comfortable with, by all means, shuffle, cut, and deal the cards yourself. Most clients won’t know the difference. If they do ask why they aren’t cutting the deck themselves, just say that you felt moved to do so or were intuitively guided. You don’t have to make them feel uncomfortable by stating you don’t like their energy. 

Cleansing Your Deck
If someone does touch your deck and you don’t like it or feel the need to cleanse your cards, there are many ways you can do so – I discuss them here.

If you are at an event or party, the easiest way is to shuffle the cards continuously with the intention of dispersing the energies on them. Otherwise, you can be as elaborate or as simple in the cleansing process as you like. This is also why I usually if not always have a cleansing stone like clear quartz or selenite near at hand for space clearing.  However, I also know clients who guard their tools and tarot with great vindication. No one touches these cards but them and if they do, those cards then undergo a thorough cleansing and cycle of re-bonding with the reader.

Still other clients have 2 decks – 1 they read for clients and allow or don’t mind when they are touched and 1 for themselves that no one touches but them to keep the bond strong.  As for how much each tarot reader allows others to touch the cards is also varying. Some only allow a client to cut the deck but do not allow any further handling. Others don’t mind or even desire the client to thoroughly handle the cards.

I used to ask my clients to shuffle the cards – I stopped doing that when 2/3rds of my clients turned out to be uncomfortable with it as they felt they weren’t good at shuffling or had a hard time with 78 cards that were a lil bigger than a standard 52 card playing deck. I still have my clients, when in person, cut the deck because I think it draws them further into the experience and the connection between them, their question, the cards, and me can only benefit from it in my mind. 
Like I said before, when it comes to this question, it all depends on the reader and their personal beliefs. 

How to Recycle a Broken Tarot Deck

I recently lost a tarot card out of a deck I loved. I pulled the deck out of my trunk after I was unpacking from an event. I went through the cards and realized immediately something was wrong. I counted and alas, only 77. I separated the Major and Minor Arcana and knew just by looking, the Moon had disappeared. While disappointed, as I love reading this deck, I wasn’t completely heart broken because I know broken decks can be used in so many ways.

The Robin Wood deck is sadly not the first deck I’ve had problems with being broken. I’ve had decks given to me missing cards, I’ve bought decks used that are damaged, and I’ve had pets decide to do a little tarot reading of their own that has caused card damage. At first I was embarrassed to talk about the decks with other readers and I tucked them away in hopes of going back to them months later and they magickally develop that missing card or their tears and coffee stains be mended. 
I then realized that this was folly all its own and that the tarot can be used for so much more than just a traditional reading! This came to me when I was looking at a piece of furniture and wanting to do something to it to make it look spooky-magickal…like add tarot! A tarot deck is considered broken when it is 1) damaged or 2) missing at least one card. 
Broken here means that the deck cannot be read in the traditional fashion. 

If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
Make sure that the deck is broken. If it is missing a card, set the deck aside for a week or so and set your manifestation into gear to find the missing card. This has worked for me a number of times and usually the card shows up in the most random place. 
If the deck is damaged, do a thorough assessment and decide if its unusable in the traditional sense. Is it just one card? Would you still be comfortable reading for someone else with this deck, even if it isn’t professionally? Are you still able to read for yourself? Maybe this deck just needs to be handled with care and set aside for personal use only. 
Don’t dismantle or give up on your deck when it isn’t too late. 
As I developed this concept of non-traditional card use, I looked online and realized there are many, many readers who have broken decks ( I am not alone! gasp!) and are looking for something to do with them! I began compiling ideas and here is the fruit of my labor:

Create a Major Arcana Deck
If the lost or damaged cards are part of the Minor Arcana only, the Major Arcana cards can still be used in readings. Some types of readings and spreads, especially ones focusing on the spiritual aspects of life, use only the trump cards. 

Oracle Deck
I know of some readers who continue to read their broken decks but as more of an oracle deck. They take out the damaged cards (or leave out the missing cards) and also take out any cards they don’t resonate with or want in the deck. They then use the remaining cards as oracle cards, each representing a different intuitive message for them. 

Playing Cards
If you lose a Major Arcana card you can still use the pips and some of the court cards in a unique playing card deck. Playing decks have 52 cards consisting of 4 Aces, the pip cards 2-10 in each suit, and the Kings, Queens, and either the Knights or the Pages  as the playing card Jacks. 
Imagine playing poker with this deck!

Spell Cards
Use what cards are not missing or damaged for spells, manifestation, rituals, or meditations and pathworking. 

  • If you still have the 4 aces and like to use them to call the Quarters in ritual work, consider framing them or putting them in your magickal tool chest for that purpose in the future. 
  • Set aside the Emperor and the Empress or the Sun and the Moon to represent the Goddess and the God on the altar. 
  • Add the 4 of swords or the Moon to a dream pillow or satchet for rest or psychic dreams. 
  • Tape the Lovers card over the glass candle holder for the focus of a relationship aid spell. 

There are endless possibilities. 

Magickal Artwork & Decor
One of my favorite ways of using a broken deck is in art. 
The biggest piece of my tarot art is my tarot table. It started out as a cube steamer trunk to which I collaged the cards from my broken Jane Austen tarot deck. This is now an altar in my home and at events on which I do my tarot readings for clients and myself. There is a lot of tarot energy and my own personal mojo in this table and I love it.  Use The Remainder in Business
If you’re a professional tarot reader and one of your decks is broken, you can always re-purpose the cards to use in your business.

  • Turn the remainders in to special business cards for top rate clients. 
  • Paste them on your sign advertising your readings.
  • Turn them into price tags for any other items you sell like tarot bags or boxes. 

So the next time you’re going through your deck and find you only have 77 cards or your cat has gotten a hold of the High Priestess, again, don’t despair right away! Those cards are still full of purpose and spiritual juice to be used in your magickal life!
Tarot Blessings,

Mercury – The Trickster God of Commerce & Tarot

Foot-feather’d Mercury appear’d sublime 
  Beyond the tall tree-tops; and in less time 
  Than shoots the slanted hail-storm, down he dropt 
  Towards the ground; but rested not, nor stopt 
  One moment from his home; only the sward 
  He with his wand light touch’d, and heavenward 
  Swifter than sight was gone.

KEATS.


Mercury is known as the trickster and thief god of commerce and business. He is the swift messenger of the gods who rules over communication. With this in mind, he’s a handy deity to have on your side if you’re a professional tarot reader or business person in general. 
Other professions and areas that Mercury rules over include:

Astronomy/Astrology
Alchemy and Science
Speech
Writing and Books
Tarot and Runes
Knowledge and Learning
Codes and secrets
Travel
Foreign exchange and politics
Athletics including foot races and boxing
Mechanics
Inventor of weights and balances
Protector of messengers, especially at war
Fertility and masturbation
Sacrifices and Priesthood
Sleep, deep dreams and Astral Projection

Mercury’s connection with the tarot is through his being the keeper of divine secrets (usually Zeus’s promiscuity) and his association to the invention of writing. This connection is more strongly seen in his Egyptian aspect of Thoth.

If Mercury Were a Tarot Reader…

I picture him as a tall, lanky fellow with long black hair tied back away from his face, a goatee, thick eyebrows and piercing blue eyes. He’d have an earring in one ear, not just a tiny hoop but something dangly and flashy. He prides himself in how he dresses though some would say he looks tacky with his leather, silk, bright colors, and too much bling. He’s also that type that won’t let the 60’s go, loves wide collars unbuttoned to show his chest, wears his symbol on a thick chain around his neck, and will seem fresh when he asks what your sign is – but he’s far too clever to use it just as a pick up line.  Mercury flirts with men and women alike and will flit through relationships like people slide through revolving doors (and is far too charming to leave anyone in tears; every ex-lover believes it was their decision to move on). He loves the modern age with its freedom of sexuality and open, mass communication. He’s known to have all the new technological gadgets and every app for tarot and astrology, even if he can calculate what house he’s with ease. Even though he is very lucky at buying new toys and tarot decks, he is also a bit flippant with them and will toss them aside as soon as the next thing shows up.

Mercury is known to cut the deck as he sees fit – stacking the cards so that he can control the story about to be told to the client. This doesn’t mean he can’t read the tarot traditionally, of course. He knows the cards intimately; the layouts, the numbers, the astrology, and the people. He could read the cards in his sleep and may have done so from time to time while resting from a night of debauchery with his friends Bacchus and Apollo. 
He’s as slippery as the snakes on his Cadeceus but one would be a fool to not head the snakes words at the tarot table.

At the tarot table, he makes his clients question whether they sat down to have their cards read or to watch card tricks. He knows every way to shuffle and is one of the best card mechanics in the biz. He talks fast as he moved the deck from one hand to the other so that the cards look like their flying. By the time the deck is cut, the clients are mesmerized by the movement of the shuffle and the glint of his cuff links.

Mercury’s Metaphysical Correspondence Chart

  • Other Deity Associations: Hermes, Thoth, Wodin
  • Epithets: Hermes Trismegistus (Thrice Great Hermes), Diaktoros (the courier), Angelos (messenger), Logios (writer and knower of intelligent design), Agoraios (Of the Market Place), Dolios (crafty one), Eriounios (Luck-Bringer), Hermeneutes (Interpreter), Takhus (Swift), Poneomenos (Busy One).
  • Archangel: Raphael aka Israfil
  • Planetary Name in Hebrew: KVKB
  • Celestial Title: Messenger of the Gods
  • Symbols: Caduceus aka Kerykion, 8-pointed star, and the planetary/alchemical symbol of mercury
  • Tarot Card: The Magician (1)
  • Metal: Quicksilver and Aluminum
  • Day: Wednesday, the 4th of the month (as that was the only date given for when he was born) and the 25th of May
  • Hours of the Day Ruled: 1st and 8th hours of the day, 3rd and 10th hours of the night
  • Zodiac Signs: Gemini and Virgo
  • Numbers: 1, 4, 8, and 13
  • Gemstones: Agate, Opal, Yellow Topaz, Serpentine
  • Colors: Yellow and Orange
  • Hermetic Colors: Sky Blue and Gold
  • Musical Note: E
  • Trees: Almond, Ash, Aspen, Bottle Brush, Hazel, Larch, Mulberry, Rowan, Silver Birch and Juniper. 
  • Herbs: Carrot, Celery, Caraway, Cinquefoil, Dill, Fennel, Fenugreek, Fern, Lavender, Marjoram, Mandrake, Maidenhair Fern, Lilly of the Valley, and Vervain. Krokos (Crocus) – An Arkadian boy who was loved by Hermes. When the god accidentally killed him playing discus, he transformed the boy into a crocus flower.
  • Incense: Frankincense, camphor, malabathrumcock, and myrrh 
  • Animals: Ibis, Dove, Tortoise, Hare, Rams, and Monkeys
  • Anatomy Governed: Brain, Nervous System, Left Arm, and Respiratory System
  • Votives and Offerings: currency, especially foreign currency.

Choosing a Beginner Tarot Deck

I began reading tarot professionally in 2009 and have taught classes on the subject off and on ever since as well as participated in community tarot groups both online and off. I often meet people interested in tarot but who hesitate to begin learning or reading because they have questions and insecurities about the cards. By far the question I am asked the most by people interested in tarot is “What tarot deck should I start with?”  Before answering this question, I would like to acknowledge a myth that is very common in the tarot community. 

MYTH: In order to truly be able to read the tarot, your first deck must be given to you.  I heard this myth when I first began my tarot studies as a teenager and I hear it continuously as the years go by. I don’t know who first began this shenanigans but I would love to clarify that it is not true at all. 
Yes, my first deck was given to me and I could not read it anymore that I could read Sanskrit (I can’t, by the way). It was a square, blocky deck that I had problems shuffling and it had minimal images and symbols on it that I couldn’t interpret. This caused me to put off my tarot studies until college when I finally bought a tarot deck that I could read. 
Your first tarot deck can be given to you or you can purchase it, barter for it, borrow it, etc. The way you obtain your deck will not establish whether or not tarot will come easy to you or whether it is something that you will be able to do for years to come; those things are up to you. (BTW, I do not recommend stealing a deck or obtaining one by illegal means. That carries with it its own problems.) When clients, customers, and students ask me which deck they should purchase first I have two answers for them:

  1. Your first deck should have plenty of imagery – preferably of people doing things on the cards
  2. A deck that is aesthetically pleasing to you

The first recommendation sometimes leads to confused looks and questions so I’ll elaborate. Tarot decks have three sections:

  • The Major Arcana or Trumps
  • The Court Cards
  • The Pips (the number cards)

The Pips are what I am concerned about when it comes to the imagery of a beginner deck. In some decks, the pip cards look like playing cards that someone would play rummy or poker with – rows of coins, wands, swords, and cups but no real imagery to read off of. When a deck is like this, the meaning of those number cards relies entirely on the reader’s memory. 
I recommend cards with a lot of imagery and people doing things on the cards, especially the number cards because within that imagery the reader will pick up symbols and hints as to the card’s meaning. This makes them easier to read no matter what level the reader is at. 
The aesthetics of the deck is important for the simple reason that if you like the look and feel of the deck you’re using, you will use it more frequently. Besides, who doesn’t like to have pretty things?

PictureIf asked specifically or pushed for an answer as to which deck I recommend above others for those readers starting out, I say the simple Rider-Waite deck. This is a deck that many refer to as the oldest deck in circulation and the most common/easiest to get a hold of. Book stores, occult shops, new age stores, and head shops carry this deck. I can point out four locations to buy it in my area without hesitation so there is no worry as to ease of purchase for a newbie. 

I recommend this deck in particular because it definitely fits the first of the two previous requirements (the second requirement of aesthetics vary from person to person, of course). There is a ton of imagery in these cards and some tarot readers refuse to use any other deck because they feel this is the only one that contains the “true” esoteric symbols. I don’t know about that last part but I will say that there are a lot of books about this deck and its images and most beginner books will reference this deck unless they were written for another deck in particular. 
I will also say that I use this deck frequently. It is probably in the top three of my most used decks of my collection.  I did ask people in the tarot circles I move in to help me answer this question of recommendation. I asked them what do they look for in a deck and what decks they recommended or favored.  

The decks recommend include:

Teresa Mills of the Facebook group Tarot Daily Journal said, “What are your interests, does a themed deck appeal to you, what theme? What purpose do you want to use your deck, general readings or something else? Go to the aeclectic tarot website, they have over 1200 decks in their database. You can search by a specific theme, alphabetically, or search. You will find some card samples and the reviews can be helpful. If you find a deck you are interested in, you can then how to google and search for the deck, then click images and hopefully you can see more cards in the deck. I read a number of reviews before purchasing, which an give me an idea of the general structure and style of the deck.” The Aeclectic Tarot is an excellent resource for all tarot enthusiasts and her recommendation is an excellent point! I really don’t know that I could have said it better. 

Tarot Blessings
Ylir

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Ask a Volva: Why Should a Tarot Reader get a Professional Reading?

While sitting before my tarot cards among the hustle and bustle of a vendor hall or fair, I ask those who pass me a curious glance if they would like a reading. Some are interested, some pass on with a shy or fearful expression, and then there are those that stop, shake their heads and say, “I read my own cards (or Runes or other form of divination here).”

To me this is a curious reason to not have a reading (and yes I understand that sometimes it is only an excuse for not wanting to pay for a reading). I wonder if they truly never seek out readings from someone other than themselves. I personally cannot imagine relying solely on my own reading abilities, especially when problems arise in my life that feel bigger than me or what I can handle (and we’ve all been there, I know).

We All Need Help Sometimes

When it comes to someone like this (even those not in the reader community for I see this with healers, teachers and other professions) I ask “what happens when you’re too tired or sick to do this anymore? Who will do it then, when you have not taken care of yourself and you just stop because your body and mind can take no more?” You can only give so much when you are run down and you’re of no benefit to others running at half capacity or less.

Professional Tarot Readers and other Mediums & Metaphysicists often seek the aid of others in their field for therapy & guidance.

I can’t tell you the number of readings where rest, self-care, and stepping back from those they are helping comes up because someone gives and gives and gives to others and never takes a moment to give to themselves. I also can’t tell you how sad it makes me to see these clients get up from the tarot table and I know either intuitively or by something they say that they will not heed the words of the cards and will probably run themselves until they are sick. Wonderful people don’t stay wonderful very long without some help.

I take my own advice (in this case) to heart, reminding myself that I’m no good to my clients, friends, or family if I don’t take a moment to rest and recharge. Sometimes this is as simple as a cup of tea, a nap, or a hot bath. Other times I have to see help from others – my sister-in-law is often a phone call I make but sometimes I need help of a professional kind (we all do sometimes).

When I had my miscarriage in 2013, I went to a psychic friend of mine, needing answers and advice. I had talked to family and friends and while their words were kind and loving, they could not clear my mind of the pain and guilt and trauma I was going through. My friend, the psychic, had exactly the right message for me – “Just as women on this plane of existence have a choice in whether or not they want to have their child, our babies have a choice in whether or not they want to be born. Sometimes a being comes to the physical plane and cannot bear it. They see the life they will live and get scared or feel they are not ready. So they decide to stop before they even get started. They may come again later, in another form or the same, when they are ready.” (I share this here because someone else might need to hear these words, as I did, and be comforted by them.)

In my experience, Professional Readers seek other Professional Readers for aid more than any other type of querent.

I first had the discussion about tarot readers getting readings from others when I was studying under my tarot mentor, June Wright. June and I would swap tarot readings not only so that she could see my progress but also so that she could have a reading done by an outside source. At other times she would swap readings with Damon, who does not use the tarot but his intuitive and psychic abilities to read others. When I asked June why she did this rather than just read for herself she explained to me that having a fresh perspective from someone outside of her problem was sometimes just what she needed. She did readings for herself, and often, but this sometimes left her in a slump of the same answer without any other advice or ideas. However, when I pulled the cards for her, I would point out symbols and messages she hadn’t seen yet.

I do not hold to the myth that tarot readers cannot read for themselves. 

I think this is not only a silly statement but a detrimental one to someone just starting out with the tarot. Reading for ourselves is necessary to build a relationship with the cards whether we’re doing a daily one card pull or elaborate spreads to analyze an event or problem in our lives. Yes, we do bring our own personal biases to the reading table when we do this, which can show up when we read news that we don’t want to hear and blow it off only to risk further problems down the road. This is merely a lesson we all must learn and if you feel that your own biases are limiting your reading – all the more reason to have your cards looked at by another knowledgeable person.

I believe that the best explanation as to why a tarot reader should see another reader is my sister-in-law pointing out that most psychologists, therapists, counselors, etc see someone about their own problems, usually someone within their own profession. 

They do this as an act of self-care. 

They acknowledge that they too have problems, just like their clients, and that their profession is a great way to find help.

Self-care is something I don’t see a lot of within the reader community, sadly. I run into readers who are burned out, giving more of themselves than they should, and running themselves ragged doing everything for those around them and nothing for themselves. They view their abilities as a divine gift and that if they are not helping others with it at all times they are somehow letting down the cosmic creator.

Needless to say I am glad I sought help from another reader. I think I see where some readers are coming from – fear that going to another of their same profession or practice will somehow be giving the competition a leg-up on us, but this is far from the truth.
I’m not much on competition. Cooperation games are more my gig and when I am among competitive people I usually just sit back and enjoy watching them instead.
In readings and business, I feel the same way. We could all compete with each other like gas stations lowering and raising our prices by pennies…or…we could be a brother and sister-hood that helps each other out. I like the second idea best…plus its far less work than trying to keep up with the Joneses.

So, if you’re a reader that up till now has only read for yourself, go get a reading from someone else. There are groups on Facebook that are all about Tarot and other forms of divination and members are all the time offering to give or trade readings for those interested. I’ve also been known to trade readings and give out freebies when I get a wild hair…or is it hare…like riding off on the Ostara rabbit!
I hope that this little ramble has helped you to see that we all need help sometimes, and that is perfectly ok…hell, better than ok, it lets you connect with other people who might also need a reminder that they too should be taking care of themselves and not just others.

Much Love!
Ylir