Archive for October, 2019

Sorry for running late today, but I didn’t want to miss pulling a card entirely on this day.

Last night, I finally set up the Beloved Dead altar. It’s a ritual I have come to love, even in years where I seem to barely get it done in time. Remembering family, friends, and pets that were so important to my life helps keep them with me. The altar is a bit simpler this year – there’s something about 2019 that has been stripped down for me, so it carried over.

As many of us honor and invite our Beloved Dead, it is perhaps fitting that today’s card reminds us that we are all equal in the end and to not approach everything so seriously. Take time to remember loved ones in a positive way. Consider divination tonight, as it will be a key time to do so. However you celebrate this occasion, I wish you all the blessings of Avalon.

LADY DE LOS MUERTOS – Acceptance & Equality

Pale, you step out of the night
In red lace,
Full flowers upon your crown.
You bring the beauty to death
The equality and joy
Of the underground

The iconic lady of death, with a pale skull-like face, zombie eyes and rich red funeral flowers in her hair has become one of the most recognizable symbols of Halloween and the Mexican Day of the Dead, El Dia de los Muertos.

The original model for this flamboyant lady of death can be traced back to the ancient Aztec goddess Mictecacihuatl. As time went on, the figure remained balanced between beauty and horror, and morphed into the Lady of the Dead and eventually into the more modern graphic figure of “Catrina.” It is also reported that the identity of the original “Catrina” was bawsed on women who were very rich and had everything they wanted in this life. Yet, death takes everyone, equally, so it was a reminder that no matter how beautiful, rich, popular, or famous you were – in the end, death takes all.

The Mexican culture has a long-standing history of “laughing at death” and seeing it as just another aspect of life. In some ways, death is the last taboo in many Western cultures. We tend to hide away our dying and some of us may never even see the body of someone who has passed in our whole lives, but this was a much more common occurrence in the past.

Acknowledging that death is a natural process that will enter everyone’s life at some time and that perhaps, until then, choosing to be life affirming takes away much of the fear. Take a light approach to a situation initially and it may work out better. If you are holding on to something that does not serve you any longer – in particular materials things – simplify and let go.

The Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco, art by Jimmy Manton

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This is always a great card, reminding us not to be single focused in our efforts. Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

CAULDRON – Synergy and healing

Where all things come together
Under pressure, flowful synergy
A new thing is created
A crucible of infinity.

A typical depiction of a witch sees her standing over a boiling cauldron slowly stirring the bubbling and mysterious contents. As she stirs the enormous metal over the raw flames, she cackles and incants commands to all the elements, transforming the contents into something magical.

Cauldrons were commonly used in ancient and medieval times for everything from the nightly meal to the making of medicines. This “family crucible” was usually placed within the hearth of the home, making it an essential part of the gathering of family. Much healing and nourishment came from the cauldron.

Should you receive the Cauldron card, it indicates the importance of combining a variety of techniques or elements to get the best result. Do not pull all your eggs in one basket. Refuse to choose just a single rigid pathway when a variety of ways are there to be enjoyed and experienced. You can find your own ways to create something new. The cauldron is a deeply transformational tool – things change once they are put under pressure. Resilience is being cultivated over time and this means that you will be able to withstand any negative pressure much more healthily from the inside out.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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These two cards were equally insistent on being a focus today, so I decided to post them both. Take one or take them both – that is up to you!

JOY – Rejoicing in the present



I stand here,
I am where I am,
Fully alive and present
Stress is a sham

Besides the “HOOOOOOO” of a not-so-scary trick-or-treating ghost on Halloween evening, one of the most common sounds you’ll hear is laughter. There is so much joy at Halloween and it can be one of the most fun nights of the year if we allow that into our lives.

We lead busy lives: whether we are studying, running a household, have a demanding job, or all of them at once, it seems there is little time for us to stop, be present, and enjoy exactly where we are at this time. It has been said that the first step of real change is stopping and acknowledging that we actually need change. While sometimes we might feel that there is little to feel happy about and much to change, we can always fee grateful for something right now – and there is power in that position.

It is time to find the joy in this moment and to find that joy more often. Should this card come up in your divination, it heralds arrival of more happiness and profound joy into your life. It is a good omen!

Actively seek pleasure and build in more of the things that give you personal joy and laughter in your life. After all, we build in appointments for the dentist, so why not for our own pleasure?

 

HEARTH – Happiness in our hearts and homes

The heart of every home
The fire that unites
Winter’s warmth centres
Stories, love, and delight.

The ancient Romans believed that every home had a heart and it was the hearth. Where the fire burned, the family gathered for sustenance, communication, and protection. This concept was so important to the culture that there was a huge city hearth – the Vestal temple – where the fire of the home goddess, Vesta, burned forever without ever going out. This sacred flame was protected by the soldiers with their very lives should there be an invasion.

The place where the Goddess Vesta was honored within every ordinary home was also the hearth, and it is where women prepared food and cooked. Some of the food was always offered back into the fire as an offering to Vesta for her blessing and protection. Often husbands were sent away on military duty for years on end and their wives at home were not just expected to keep the home and and often the business running, but to wait for their husbands faithfully until their return. They prayed to Vesta to ensure their family members’ safe return and to keep the fires of love stoked. The saying “Keep the home fires burning” was inspired by this practice.

Should the Hearth card appear in your divination, you are being asked to look to your idea of what home and family is for you. Take the time to build up your “love” fire and have it burning brightly. Make your relationships a priority. If there is conflict within your home and family, it is time to take concrete steps to address the issue for good. If you or a member of your family is away from home due to travel and work, know that protection is being given.

The Halloween Tarot by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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Time to look at your energy and how it’s being used.

VAMPIRE – Emotional Intelligence

The deepest, the coldest
The evening of the blood
The hole never filled
The longing like a flood
While there are almost uncountable examples of vampires in literature, movies, and games, somehow the archetype of the blood-hunting, night-stalking, and somewhat elegant creature keeps being reinvented to seduce yet another generation.

Although the beautiful and somewhat desirable vampire form doesn’t really begin to enter the public consciousness until the mid-1800s, the idea of a human feeding upon the very stuff of life is much older. The Egyptians, Sumerians, Indians and the Balkan people all have mythos containing vampire-like creatures.

The vampire is an interesting figure because it is both horrifying and desirable. Having someone want us so much that they desire to be that closely linked with us does feel good – until we realize there is nothing much left of us to give.

Most of us have heard of the concept of emotional vampirism – the idea that people feed off our energy and our goodwill and take advantage of us through manipulation and their incessant neediness.

Should the Vampire card appear in your reading, it may indicate that you are being drained in this way and the time has come for stronger boundaries. We need to be very aware of what gives us energy in our lives and what takes it away. We should be aware of needing people to need us and why we invite people like this into our homes, workplaces, and lives, if indeed we have them around us. Developing the emotional intelligence without ourselves helps us defend against this kind of emotional and psychic attack and enables us to foster healthy equal relationships of all kinds.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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Regret is a slippery slope. On one hand, you can learn from that which you regret. On the other, if you never let go of regrets, you can never move on from them. They will haunt you and hinder your path and growth. Take care not to let past mistakes attach themselves to you for too long.

Blessings!

GHOST – Regret

Like smoke rising from the ashes
A mist from the sea
The dead they are watching
They have come to haunt me

The traditional definition of a ghost is the apparition of the spirit or soul of a formerly living being. Ghosts can be both in human form or animal and even occasionally inanimate objects such as ghostly ships have been reported. The belief in spirits and ghosts is extremely widespread across time and cultures and different words such as spirits, wraith, phantom, and shade have been used to refer to them.

Ghosts can be both people that we have known (ancestors, for example) who visit to assist us, or presences that are bound to a particular place because they have found it difficult to let go even after death. The concept of the haunted house or the “cursed” place is the basis for many a creepy ghost story. In fact, the most interesting ghost stories often involve a very angry or destructive spirit coming back to wreak its revenge after death. (The Old Norse word for “ghost” has the same root word as the word “fury”).

It is said that spirits that cannot let go of this world have a reason for this. Sometimes it is to warn the living, to guide them, but generally it is because they haven’t finished their business here on the plane of the living. They have regrets that they wish to resolve.

Should the Ghost come gliding into your life during divination, it may indicate that you have some regrets to let go of. Holding grudges or regrets is burdensome work and it weighs us down eventually. By taking actions to free ourselves of these old burdens, we clear the way for more rightful and wise action for the future. We can begin to live again fully if we let go of what was and step into new possibilities.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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This card is beautiful and significant. It reminds us of what is truly important, the thing many wise men and women has told us to focus on, and that is love. We are all energy, but it is up to us whether that energy is helpful, kind, and loving – or if it is concerned with the material things and ego.

ETERNAL LOVE

Love is love is love and it transcends physical death

When the body leaves us
And our souls are above
Our possessions no longer
Nothing remains
but the intertwining of love

All of us are the product of millennia of love. Our parent’s parent’s parents, our ancestors by blood and ritual all have in some way created the DNA that waves throughout our bodies. Love, in fact, powers life and death.

When most of us first encounter death in our lives, we experience grieving and in some ways that feeling could be described as an absence of love and the absence of that person or being. But the kind of love that is often shared between family members, friends, and lovers, separated only by physical death, is the kind that poets wax lyrical about, that is truly eternal and transcends death.

Should you choose this card, you are being reminded that love is the most power force in the universe. It is more powerful than death itself. Love lingers. It leaves its own legacy and we should be aware of this every day that we live. For those that are ready for and desiring of a partner, it also indicates that a significant love is close at hand and to be ready to open up to this new experience.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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Sorry to be running late, but here is your card of the day! Jack tells us that we are under his protection today.

Blessings!

Jack-O’-Lantern – Protection

Oh Jack! Oh Jack!
Let me carve my protection
Shine your fire outwards
Evil rejection and reflection

Halloween wouldn’t be the same without the carving of pumpkins into scary jack-o’-lanterns. Glowing menacingly from porches, dinner tables, and porches everywhere, Jacks actually have a rich history and a spiritual bent.

The original jack-o’-lantern was a will-o’-the-wisp, an old British term. The will-o’-the-wisp was a small bundle of sticks used as a flame or torch. The Irish and those living in the Scottish Highlands all carved winter vegetables – not just pumpkins but also parsnips, carrots, and beets. The time around Samhain (Halloween) was of course when the fae and goblins were said to be roaming wild and so the lanterns were intended to be both scary (scaring off the undesirable) and to light the way in the dark.

Today, carving pumpkin jack-o’-lanterns has become an art in itself and a true icon of Halloween. Intricate designs both scary and funny can be found in almost every home that celebrates the holiday. Both electric light and candles now illuminate the inside of the lanterns.

Know that you are protected and that you are capable of creating the life that you want and that the universe supports you in this should Jack shine his light upon you. Boundaries are important to teach people how to treat us and drawing this card indicates that you may wish to renew the ones you have or to establish new ones.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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This isn’t the most glamorous card in the Halloween Oracle deck, but it’s an important one. Understanding that strength is more than physical – and that being strong emotionally is in fact allowing yourself to feel and show you emotions (rather than stifle them). As the veil thins, it is important to be emotionally and spiritually strong if you intend to work with the Otherworld and the spirits in any way.

Blessings!

SKELETON – Strength

On the outside is flesh
On the inside is bone
There is strength in vulnerability
In power we have grown

Halloween is a scary festival. It is meant to frighten. We are meant to feel the release of being pleasantly scared. We trick-or-treat even though we know that someone may surprise us, we watch horror films knowing they will scare us, we even dress as skeletons who have no flesh at all and their bones are there for all to see! In short, we show our vulnerability at Halloween and our strength in facing our fears too.

There is incredible strength in showing vulnerability. It can often be the bravest course of action and the most frightening. More often than not, it is a powerful catalyst for personal growth even though we may not be able to perceive that at the time.

By showing our true selves and displaying some balanced vulnerability, we can seek and receive greater understanding from others. By admitting that we are wrong or that we don’t have the solution when we are expected to, we leave more room to turn things around faster. By asking for help and support rather than acting as martyrs and feeling resentful shows strength and wisdom, not weakness.

Should the Skeleton card bring itself to your attention, dare to show strength and vulnerability if that is what you really feel. Shame, pride, or embarrassment are heft burdens that need not be carried through the darkest of nights.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacy Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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First, I have to say I had two surprises yesterday. First, our neighbor brought over a pot of their deer chili for us to try. We are heading into good chili weather, so that was super sweet of them.

The second surprise was receiving the books I won from Rue and Hyssop’s Great October Book Giveaway. Receiving one of Jen’s packages is magical: wrapped with colors of the season and with a handwritten note. Thanks, Jen!

I’ve won, so I’m done for this year – but all of YOU out there can still win some amazing books and decks. This week’s giveaway features several herbal-inspired decks and a book.

OK, now on to the card of the day.

Forgiveness is easy to conceive but often hard to do. Whether it someone who hurt you years ago or yourself who needs forgiving, consider the peace that comes with letting go of grudges and regret. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean letting a person back in your life – it just allows you to move on from the wounds they inflicted.

Blessings!

FORGIVENESS – Reducing burden

A wrong is done
Consequences you cannot deny
But to hold a grudge is to drink poison
and think that the other person will die.

Being a cold-season festival, Halloween is the perfect time to pause and think about how things actually are in our lives and what heavy burdens we do not wish to carry through these harder, leaner times. Some of this heavy-heartedness may relate to old relationships or grievances. Some may relate to negative feelings we hold onto tightly about others and even a lack of compassion for the “mistakes” we have ourselves made.

It is said that it takes a “big person to apologize” but in many ways it takes an even bigger person to forgive. When we hold grudges, the negative energy is incredibly toxic. It is like drinking a poison and expecting the “other” unforgiven person to die! Whilst we may even harbor feelings of revenge (and to be honest, that does feel good for a while), it is important that we move those feelings along to forgiveness and release as soon as possible for our own health and wellbeing.

If you have chosen this card, think about who it is that you could be forgiving – and that includes yourself.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

 

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While it is good to keep your mind and energy in the present (not always easy – we often struggle with leaving the past and not jumping to an imaginary future), but there are times when it is good and helpful to focus on the future. Not to dream but to see what’s a good path for you and to set a goal to travel it. This card coming today suggests now is a good time to evaluate such things and peer into your future.

THE VEIL – The Future

There is a misty curtain
That divides us all
The veil that this night thins
Transparent the weave becomes
And the future no longer dims

The ancient Celts used to call the time of the longest night of the year, Samhain (pronounced SOW-en). They believed that there was a misty veil that separated the world of the dead and the living, but on two nights of the year, Samhain and Beltaine (the shortest night), that the veil would thin.

The fineness of the veil meant the ancestors were closer than ever and even gods would be close. This would mean that communications from the dead were more likely to occur and that divination (where the Divine speaks through something) would be more effective.

So while using this oracle, as the veil lifts, know that the other worlds are close. Listen in particular to what messages may come forth about your future. Look to what you want to happen: plan, set intentions, think big!

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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