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We think of our muscles and flesh as what gives us strength, but in reality the skeleton that lies beneath all that is the structure that gives us the core of our strength and movement. As a metaphor, it works well to remind us that we have strength within us that we do not see everyday. We can face the world – and ourselves (which can often be more difficult) – as long as we remember that there is true strength within us.

Blessings and have a great Monday!

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 person 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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We saw this card not too long ago, so we may need a reminder of how we are expending our energy. Is there someone demanding too much of it from you? Are you not doing the things you need to do to recharge (admittedly, it is difficult right now for extroverts to charge safely)? Remember that this time of year is partially about preparing for the darkest time of year – make sure not to ignore the emotional aspect of this.

Blessings and have a great weekend!

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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Good Thursday! I hope the day finds you well and ready to discover or rediscover some talents you have hidden away. Grab the key and unlock your potential – even if its just for something you enjoy yourself.

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 author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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This lady represents some things that have very much been the cause of contention in some places lately. Why is it so hard to accept someone who is different from us? Though many say they do not see color (or religion or sexual orientation), the fact is that many of us do struggle to not label people and treat them as an equal human. Let’s keep working on it, shall we?

Blessings!

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 author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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Sometimes, our lives can get on a joyless cycle of work and responsibility. We must find time – especially NOW – to find joy and peace in everyday moments. Play with the kids or pets, watch a comedy, take a walk in a garden, play a game online with friends – find something that brings you joy so life doesn’t become a circle of dull monotony.

Blessings!

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 feel 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?

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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Our family enjoyed an autumn retreat at a state park in the Ozark area this weekend. We were long overdue for a getaway like this, and I’m feeling refreshed and stronger than I have in a long time after a couple good hikes. It was definitely a change of pace that we needed!

Speaking of change (yes, horrid segue), we saw this card suggesting change less than a month ago, but perhaps some of us didn’t get the message?

MUMMY – “Change”

The sand in his mouth
The bandage wound
Jealous of the living
Eternal life bound

The ancient Egyptians took death very seriously. Death was not seen as many of us see it – a finality to be dreaded – but as just the beginning of a new life and often eternal life, in a better place, the “afterlife.”

The practice of honoring and preserving the body through a complex process of mummification was central to ancient Egyptian culture. This was not just a physical embalming process but a carefully enacted ritual process that ensured preservation in the next world. Many other cultures also mummified their dead including the Incas, the Argentineans, the Maori, and many cultures of the Torres Straight Islands.

In our modern horror genres, the mummy has become an icon. From early horror writing at the turn of the century to the very popular films The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, the plot normally revolves around the mummy returning to life and cursing and hunting down the living. The discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tombs and other long-hidden Egyptian treasures in the 1920s in particular sparked an explosion in mummy-related films and literature.

Should you pull the moaning Mummy card from the deck, know that change is inevitable and that no matter how hard you try, things will not be preserved exactly the same way. The card also indicates that this change will be for the better. The endings, the closed doors, the barriers? This is just a healthy pause and and an indication that a change of tactics is needed. You are not cursed – you have just developed a pattern. You can take control and change.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artists Jimmy Manton

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This isn’t the most exciting card in the Halloween Oracle deck, but it’s an excellent reminder. Don’t let temporary darkness lead you to your lesser self – a new beginning is coming.

DAWN – The light after the darkness

After the darkest times
The sun will always rise
The dawn will always come
This can be no surprise

While midnight is often thought of a magical hour, throughout time dawn has also had its share of the mystical. All manner of magical beings had to return to their true forms by dawn (werewolves, for example) and vampires could only be active while the rays of the sun did not pierce the sky.

Dawn and deities of dawn heralded both hope and new life. Goddesses such as Eostre and Gods like Helios and Apollo were those who brought new life and dawn’s light to the world. The journey from the darkest night of the soul to a bright and hopeful dawn is one of the deepest and most power heroes’ paths repeated over and over in mythology.

Should you receive the Dawn card, you are being reminded that there is always a fresh start and a new beginning to be had. Change is unstoppable and even the most difficult times will pass, no matter how devastating they may seem. Hope is one of the most powerful motivating forces in the Universe and it’s being indicated here.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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What do you fear? Sometimes things we are taught to fear don’t make sense, and this card shows us that. There’s nothing in a graveyard to fear, but many do because it makes them consider their own mortality. Many of us fear change. We fear our neighbors. But should we? Maybe the change is for the better or the neighbor you think is so different is actually a caring person. Consider the rationale behind your fears.

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 author Stacey Demarco and artist by Jimmy Manton

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Thank you for being patient with me on the daily card. Yesterday, I had an early appointment in Kansas City, and I simply didn’t get up in time to pul the card.

As for today, now is the time to consider future actions and goals. The Veil thins as we near Samhain (and Beltaine), which makes divination more fruitful. However, you don’t have to wait 3 weeks to consider things and to plan.

Blessings!

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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As we head into the weekend, this is a card to remind us to enjoy the sweetness of what’s in our life now while looking to future things. Balance. 🙂
Have a great weekend, everyone!

BARMBRACK – Sweetness and synergy

A pea, a cloth, a coin, a ring, and stick
Within a loaf of speckled sweetness
Slice it and eat it
A glimpse of my fate’s completeness

Not quite a cake and not quite a bread, barmbrack is a sweet loaf, larger than a typical bread loaf, baked with flour, sugar, salt, and dried fruits such as raisins. The making of barmbrack is an Irish tradition that still stands around Samhain. The person baking the loaf would be sure to set the intention for love, truth, and synergy whilst preparing. Inside the dough, a number of special objects are hidden and baked into the loath.

The objects are used as a kind or random oracle – each one has a particular meaning which represents the fate of the person who found it in their slice! The traditional objects include a coin, a pea, a stick, a ring, and a small piece of cloth like muslin. Some other additions, made in more modern times, were religious medals.

Should your slice of brack contain a coin, this would indicate prosperity and good luck. The pea unfortunately meant that no marriage would occur for you that year, yet finding the ring meant a marriage was certain. The stick – to be avoided at all costs – indicated disputes and unhappiness and finding the cloth meant bad luck and little money ahead.

When you pull the Barmbrack card, it indicates a curiosity to know what is ahead but it’s important to balance that with the now – after all, we have the tools to change our future should we choose. The sweet synergy of barmbrack – all the ingredients including the objects are more complete and powerful together, than they are individually, should encourage you to seek your own “sweet spot.”

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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