Archive for October, 2021

OK, so all three cards that popped up this morning all indicate a pause and some calm consideration. Take a gander:

Yet the Underworld card was the strongest. The Underworld is a potent image for many of us, but too often those in Western society immediately think of hell. The Underworld varies by culture, as the oracle author discusses (and there’s even more difference if we add in the Celtic cosmology and view of the Underworld), so this card should not trigger fear. Much like the Death card in the tarot, this is about transformation, so is it time to stop, pause, and consider how you want to transform your life?

Blessings.

THE UNDERWORLDWhere all things pause and begin again

Another realm, shadow filled
Travel from death’s bed
Where we stop and transform
Within the realm of the dead

The idea of the “underworld,” a whole realm that we go to after we die, is a concept that crosses a huge variety of cultures and eras. The Sumerians, the Turkish, the Incas, the Greeks through to the Siberians, the Maori and the Kymers – all had a distinct word for the underworld. What is different though is how these cultures treat this concept – whether the underworld is seen as a place of rest and rejuvenation or horror and punishment.

The Christian hell is a place of darkness, fire, and punishment. The Egyptian underworld is one of judgment, peace, and renewal. In Maori culture, it is an in-between place of waiting, wisdom, and transition. Many myths that mention the underworld often involve the concept of a place of waiting and of trials and eventual judgment. It can also be a place of joy and peace.

Should the Underworld card be present in your reading, you are being asked to consider exactly what you have to do to transform your life into something you find easier or more authentic to you. This may involve changing course. It may involve trials and tests. Keep moving. Whilst things may fall away and your life may appear bare for a time, this is temporary. Space is being made into which you can create the new.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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For me, this card immediately conjures up the sense of a regal and grounding presence, but that might be due to this cat resembling my late queen of the house, Gabriel. She was the most regal presence my household ever had, and she never had to try to be that way.

This queen’s topaz eyes are reflected in the triquetra’s gem; blue topaz is thought to be a soothing stone as well as meaning compassion, communication, and strength. Note how she resides on a staircase, encouraging you to step up.

Queen of Wands

Meaning: A Sympathetic and understanding person, honorable, friendly, loving, practical, full of feminine charm and grace, sincere interest in others. The Queen of Wands wants us to be upbeat, creative, and self-aware – she is generally seen as a supportive figure. Do keep in mind Wands is connected to the element or Air, which ties to communication, intellect, and inspiration.

On the flip side, it can mean fickleness, as well as someone who has realized their self-worth and self-respect, which can appear as fickle and contrary to others! This can also indicate that you are being more introverted than normal. Examine why this is. If you simply need to recharge from a extra expenditures of energy, it’s perfectly ok to do so! If you are hiding from something, that’s a different story.

Tarot Familiars by Lisa Parker

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This is truly a magical card, because what greater alchemy is there than creating change to improve your life and the lives of loved ones? The Witch is here to help us understand we all have that power within ourselves – we simply have to claim it.

THE WITCH – The earthly weaver of the worlds

Earth, Air, Fire, Water
A woman lovely, a woman strange
Weaver of the worlds, moon’s daughter
Witch: The catalyst for change

Witches have had bad PR for a couple of millennia now. Originally the healers or cunning women of the village, the very word “witch” is believed to come from the Celtic word “wicce” meaning weaver or wise.** When the new religion of Christianity spread through the land, the custodians of the old Pagan ways, in part witches, were labeled as evil and – as we know from history – persecuted. They were driven underground (or under the night sky) into the shadows of misunderstanding and darkness.

However, for the purpose of Halloween, let’s look at witches as the weavers of magic and change. Through spells and rituals and even through herbal recipes (yes, often brewed in a cauldron), they weave the powers of this world and the next in synergy to solve problems and heal.

Holding the Witch card means that you can weave your own change throughout life and that magic indeed is afoot! You must understand that you have power and it is real. It may also indicate that others may be threatened by your developing personal power and that they may not appreciate or like the changes in you as you grow. Be prepared for this and do not be discouraged. New friends and better opportunities will be attracted instead.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

** This is the oracle author’s view. The etymology of the word “witch” is actually much more complicated than this, and debate goes on about it. I suggest looking it up in the Online Etymology Dictionary and historical sources.

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Seeing oneself clearly – to bring yourself out of the shadows of self-delusion – is an important part of the soul’s journey. Throw open the curtains and light the lamp – it’s time to be honest with ourselves.

Blessings!

SKULL OF LIGHT – Illumination

We can stay in the dark
Exist only in the midnight hours
But shining the torch
The victory is ours

As the famous psychotherapist Jung suggested, knowing our own darkness helps us cope with the darkness of others. Taking the time to “know thyself” and to seek understanding of our more destructive or shadow natures can lead to huge happiness and less anxiety.

The idea of being shown the way, in the most difficult of times and always know that we are never alone in the darkness are the keys to this magical element. Light is usually a comforting thing, yet sometimes we do not really want to see the boogie man under the bed! It is too scary, too big, and we know not how to defeat it. By simply shining the torch upon such darkness, the victory is ours.

Should the Skull of Light enter your life, know that it is time to build yourself fully to the clarity of bright illumination. Allow yourself to be seen, to see, and to act upon what is shown to you. The time has passed for hiding, for pretending, and for swallowing our discomfort by accepting the status quo when it really doesn’t suit us.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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Evening birds like the Cardinal herald beauty in the darkness (though it should be noted that cardinals are morning birds too – they tend to go to feeder both early and late, and ornithologists believe it might be to limit competition at the feeder). They show you that you may have hidden talents that you have been in the dark about.

On the other hand, cardinals are often perceived to be messengers or spirits of those who have passed away. As I personally know three people who have lost their mothers in the past few weeks and another friend who lost her brother, this may also be significant for them. My own mother’s anniversary of passing was less than two weeks ago, and cardinals were some of her favorite birds so they make me think of her as well.

Whatever this bird is telling YOU, take a few moments today to consider its message.

Blessings,

NIGHTSONG – Hidden talents

A ruby red bird singing
In the darkness full of sound
Like an unopened present
Ribbons still bound.

A bird singing at night is an unusual occurrence and those birds who are known as “singers of the darkness” are almost always considered sacred – or frightening! From the operatic nightingale to the hooting owl, hearing a bird that you cannot see weaving its magic through the night sky has captivated humans for millennia.

In the past, at Halloween time, a night that the veil between the worlds was said to be at its thinnest, these night birds were considered either omens or messengers of the gods. Depending on the culture, their voices were perceived as good luck and a positive validation or, alternatively, a warning about continuing on a certain pathway. In some mythology, the night bird was able to direct us toward discovering our talents and true purpose – a kind of guide in the darkness leading us to the dawn.

Should this beautiful but shy bird sing to you by appearing during your divination, know that you must unwrap the present of yourself. Look! Some of the gifts within you remain unopened. The time has come to step into your true potential and claim all possibilities for yourself. There is no more time to waste. No more excuses!

The Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco, art by Jimmy Manton

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This figure, often shown with a skull face, doesn’t care how we rich we are, how smart we are, or how we label ourselves. In the end, we all come to the same end. Fearing this and hiding behind our labels and stuff doesn’t change this. Learning to accept death is hard for our culture, yet it is incredibly healing. It’s also an equalizer.

Hope everyone has a good Wednesday.

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 based 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 author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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I’ve always been fascinated by graveyards and never considered them a typical haunt place (honestly, I think some of the energy of mourners is what people are picking up on, rather than the spirits of the dead). Strolling through a graveyard tells you much of a place’s history – you can easily see when the early 20th Century flu epidemic hit. Signs and symbols no longer used on headstones speak a special language.

Yet, many are afraid of graveyards, of facing their own mortality, and of natural cycles. Don’t be afraid of an ending (and I’m not just talking physical death here) as it just the beginning of something else.

Blessings!

GRAVEYARD – Unnecessary fear

The stones they mark
The eternal resting place
Yet the spirits they are walking
And they are ready for the chase!

Today’s modern graveyards are restful places – normally highly manicured and very well set out. While they can be places of profound sadness, few are the creepy gothic places of old, yet they still hold an undercurrent of fear and seem frightening places.

Due to countless stories of haunted graveyards, the thought of walking through cemeteries evokes fear in many of us – we imagine zombies and ghosts rising from the graves and bad spirits hiding out, waiting to harm an unsuspecting living person walking by. The idea of being at a graveyard after dark, or worse, at midnight, is the stuff of dares and nightmares.

But this isn’t the way with every culture. On the Mexican Day of the Dead, whole families picnic on the graves of their loved ones who have passed. Children play upon the graves, people play music, drink wine and share food all in the “company of the dead.” Graveyard dust is used as an ingredient in protective spells, not in curses.

Pull this card and know that you fear unnecessarily. Things are not as they seem and you can overcome your obstacles. The anxieties you have, although real, should be put aside before they haunt you long term. Instead, trust that you know the correct next steps and that you will act upon them.

The Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco, art by Jimmy Manton

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Good Monday, everyone! This is a pretty serious card, and it’s asking us to look at ourselves with an open eye to find those things that need work to break cycles or the things that make us different in the eyes of others even though it may be what makes you strong. This is a part of shadow work, and it’s not easy stuff. Sometimes we can do it alone but often we need a good friend or a professional counselor.

Blessings,

SKULL OF DARKNESS – Blind spots

We may not wish to delve there
The shadows, the darkness
the unknown.
Yet, when we search, we reveal,
And our power, it has grown.

The beautiful and mysterious skull of darkness encourages us to look at the part of ourselves that normally remains hidden or as unseen as possible.

We may not appreciate or like certain aspects of ourselves and yet, sometimes our greatest treasures lie within these areas. How many times have you heard of famous artists or people extremely successful in their fields being bullied for being so different – yet is these very differences from others that make them so powerful.

Additionally, all of us at some stage of life have certain “blind spots” that may cause us grief and trouble. Although we cannot see the issue clearly, it is the repeated patterns of pain that may alert us to them – symptoms, if you will. For example, the same things keep happening over and over again; we may be betrayed repeatedly, fail at something repeatedly, not complete tasks continually. Peace and pattern-breaking can be achieved by doing the work in uncovering our blind spot or even consulting trusted close friends or professionals to assist us to see what we cannot.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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tSo when choosing today’s cards, I had an interesting experience. The Trick-or-Treat card gave me the warm buzzy ball of energy feeling, which usually feels like it pushes up on my hand. I though, OK, it’s probably this one. But when my hand went over the Spider card, it literally pulled my hand down to the card (and no, my arm wasn’t tired LOL). That was a unique thing for me, but it seemed clear that this card wasn’t being ignored either!

Looking at them together, I think we’re being asked to reach out to others and build community through more playful means than what we often use. Whether it’s gathering around a bonfire or playing a board game or projecting a favorite movie on the side of the garage, let’s think of ways to bring joy and fun back into communities this weekend.

Below are the cards’ individual meanings. Wishing you all October blessings!

SPIDER – Community and web weaving

She spins her silk alone
In the dark with hope of collection
Sticky with dreams,
Weaving the worlds
A wide web of connection

Masses of sticky spider webs make any Halloween decorations complete. The idea of a haunted house covered in the “artwork” of a big, hairy spider is classic horror. Even those of us who appreciate our eight-legged friends still hurriedly brush off those stealthy webs if we run into them in the dark!

Although most spiders are not venomous, humans have an innate fear of them. Perhaps it’s the fangs or the poison. Perhaps it’s all those legs and the way they move. Perhaps it’s where they live – often in dark, hidden places – or the way our Western, popular culture has demonized them by making the giant, fierce, and man-eating! Some cultures though revere the spider in very positive ways. In many Native American traditions, for example, the spider is the creature that gives birth to all other animals and sustains the web of life. The Goddess Spider Grandmother (and there is also a Spider Woman) is a key deity that brings wisdom, safety, and communication to all the tribes. She created and wove all the stars in the sky and makes soft webs for those that are troubled to rest upon and be supported by.

Spiders’ webs can be seen as a symbol of connection, not necessarily entrapment. There is a fine line sometimes between a family or community supporting us and controlling is. This card looks at this discernment. It also suggests you review the way you communicate with the wider community, at work, or generally with others and take steps to improve this or do it slightly differently. It also indicates that there needs to be a balance between what you do for yourself and what you do for others . . . if we give too much to the outside, our strength diminishes and we cannot weave the supporting web for ourselves.

TRICK-OR-TREAT – Mischief and play

Stalking and stomping
Eyes shining and begging baskets
Faces and bodies
that are no longer ours
Laughing, skeletons and candy caskets

Trick-or-treating is such a fun thing to do, is it not? Yet, why do we trick-or-treat?

Ancient peoples understood that there were both mischievous and perhaps nasty spirits wandering around at nightfall at Halloween as well as happier, more benevolent spirits. They thought that if they dressed as spirits themselves (or other frightening creatures) then they would not be recognized as human and attacked. The idea of causing a little chaos as one of these “spirits” was part of the imitation (and the enjoyment) of thenight. The practice in medieval Britain was aptly called “souling.”

Today, trick-or-treating is a huge event. We spend much time, money, and effort dressing up as our scariest creatures and this has even extended to dressing up as our favorite celebrities and other pop culture idols. Instead of traditional candy apples and barmbrack, we give out a mind-boggling variety of candy. It matters not – the idea of frightening away death and darkness still stands.

I believe that the modern trick-or-treating also unites communities by introducing our families and friends to those around us in a non-threatening and joyful way. Many of us do not know our neighbors – even those who live next door – and Halloween gives us an excuse not to be so reserved and extend our boundaries.

Should you receive the Trick-or-Treat card in your divination, it may well be a time to examine your own life. You don’t have to be a child to let go and have some playtime and you can extend the fun to others. Sometimes we are afraid to make mistakes and play is one way to alleviate the pressure that we sometimes place on ourselves to get everything perfect every time. Alternatively, it is worth knowing that there is a balance between manipulation and mischief – the former is not pleasant and the other has at its core a sense of irreverent fun.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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