An Altar or Sacred Place is a great way to show your devotion to the god and goddess and any other deities or special times of the year you would like to venerate and celebrate.
You can use it to keep your magickal and ritual items on, and it’s a great place to retreat to for some meditation, or to do a spot of candle magick for instance.
As with so much in the Pagan faith, everything you choose for your altar is up to you but I’m going to give you some suggestions and explain the significances of certain ritual items, and the elemental correspondences.
With my best selling Tarot Box now out of print and no confirmed date of when they will be back in stock, I needed to look for an alternative for those wishing to learn the ancient art of the tarot. Happily I have found a brilliant alternative – The Tarot Discovery Kit and DVD. It contains beautifully illustrated and easy to use cards, a satin bag to keep them in, a full colour helpful book plus a DVD with meditations and other videos to get you reading the cards like a pro in no time!
You may wish to get a deck you feel a particular affinity with, such as something with dragons, mermaids, egyptian or forest themed for instance. This can sometimes be more of a challenge, especially if the author has used some artistic license with some of the imagery, but on the other hand if you really like a deck it can help you connect with the cards and intuitively grasp the meanings (with a little help from a good book!)
If you are looking for a good book to help you learn then I strongly recommend Step-by-Step Tarot by Terry Donaldson. Check out the shop to get more details about this excellent resource for learning the tarot. Thanks for reading and Blessed Be! x StormJewel
So you’re interested in learning to read tarot cards, or just learning a bit more about the tarot? Why not try a free online reading, and whilst you are at it check what else your future has in store with a free horoscope. If all else fails maybe try my magic fate ball!
Yes there is a 15% discount off all products, get your pagan gifts and supplies, new age and psychic stuff, tarot cards plus beautiful mystical jewellery all with a big fat happy solstice discount! at www.stormjewelsgifts.com
Perfect for for a spare bit of time whether at home or at work, or when you just want to immerse yourself in a magickal world! There’s a great adventure game, an entertaining rpg game with bejewelled style combat, and a fun Magick Puzzle Game. Take a look!
The GreenMan is that spirit, energy, presence, inherent in every cell of the vegetative realm, and transmitted to the animal/human realms through the foods we eat, the flowers we smell, the trees we hug. he is interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, representing the cycle of growth being reborn anew each spring.
Although the Green man is today commonly associated with Paganism, in many ways he transcends any one religion as you will find his symbolism used in many cultures and religions around the world. The Green Man motif has many different faces and variations and is often related to natural vegetative deities springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. He has been found on tombs as long ago as the 2nd Century and he can also be seen in medieval and ancient myths, from the Green Knight of the Arthurian legends to Robin Hood. Some of the earliest Green Men have been traced to ancient Rome.
A good search of many churches and cathedrals will often lead you to discover a carving of a human head within a mass of leaves. Sometimes, the leaves appear to grow out of the head itself; at other times the human head seems to be a chance result of the configuration of the leaves.
I’ve got some lovely Green man products in my shop
A beautiful Green Man Pendant that can be used to help to raise planetary energy for spell workings, or simply as a gorgeous piece of jewellery. You can take it to a green area like a forest or park and meditate with it in your hand or around your neck.
A stunning Green Man Altar Cloth or wall covering depicting the Green Man in his verdant foliate form. A delightful muted green in colour, the celtic knotwork and oak leaves designs on its surface take on greater significance as you place your altar item in harmony with its swirling markings or use it to decorate your wall.
What is Ogham?
Many experts believe that the Ogham was a symbolic system used by the Druids containing their sacred teachings. Theirs was an oral tradition and each of the letters contained certain teachings as well as a Mystery (or several that were all related). You can find many examples of Ogham letters carved onto trees around England and Ireland.
Today many people use Ogham for divination, often carving the symbols onto sticks. I recently did a tree energy workshop, working with willow, and got to carve the Ogham symbol into my talisman of willow!
The Tarot is an excellent tool and method of divination for most people as it combines pictures and stories. If you are wondering whether you will be able to predict accurately, the answer is most likely yes as we all have intuitive powers, it’s just a question of developing them and finding out the best way for you to channel that intuitive knowledge into something you can interpret.
The tarot cards offer a space and place for the imagination, somewhere where imagery and dreams can be explored for divination, for meditation and for therapy and will provide you with lots of entertainment and a method to gain and give advice and if you decide to take it further it can even be a way of making money.
There’s lot’s of information in books and on the internet so here I’ll try to give you some key points and tips that you may not find in other places – remember that a lot of things are subjective so you may end up reading different things in other books and you will soon begin to see which ideas you identify with and which you don’t. Although each card does have a general meaning and feeling, even the interpretations you read will differ, and the most important thing is to pick the card meanings that feel intuitively right for you. The more you do the tarot, the more you will become in touch with your intuition and so the better at readings you will become.
If you are a beginner I highly recommend my best selling item, the Tarot Box – it has a great book that teaches you how, a board that has a spread pattern and a brilliant easy to use deck for beginners.
How does the Tarot work?
But to take a step back, here is my view of the tarot. I mentioned intuition and in my view what the tarot really is, is a means of interpreting what you or the person you are doing the reading for (sometimes called the querent) already consciously and/or subconsciously knows. Though sometimes you will predict something that will really surprise you as no-one could have known it in advance, but even so your intuition is sensing it. A lot of times if people come to you for advice (from the tarot or otherwise) they already know the answers but they just don’t know they know, or maybe they need someone to talk things through for the answers to come to the surface, and the same goes for yourself, mostly you probably do have the answers to your questions but they are obscured by the various things in life that make things unclear.
By using your intuition you can tune into this knowledge (and I will give you some tips on how to do this) and the tarot cards are thus your tools for making sense of what your intuition is telling you.
One thing that it is important to remember is that the future is not fixed. The cards are best used to ask advice – and you can find out what is going to happen based on the actions that are currently being taken, but if you don’t like the answer you have the power to change the future by acting differently. The tarot is great for exploring possible outcomes to situations, allowing you or the person you are reading for to choose the best course of action to take.
Ok so now that you have your cards what do you do?
For the cards to work best they need to have your energy attached to them. The more you handle them, the more your energy gets attached to the cards (a bit like the way jewellery worn next to the body absorbs some of your aura). So as you are learning the meanings make sure to handle them a lot.
To give the best readings you need to ‘get into the zone’. A good way to do this is by use of visualisation. I would suggest planting your feet flat on the floor (being outside is ideal or at least on the ground floor, but if this is not possible don’t worry it still works even if you are at the top of a high building), closing your eyes and taking some deep breaths. Then imagine that you are a tree rooting yourself into the ground, imagine you have roots stretching deep into the ground and searching for water, or even raise your hands to the sky as if you are stretching to the sun – this may sound a bit odd but it certainly does help to ground you! With practice you will start to feel your hands tingle – don’t worry if this doesn’t happen straight away. The more you practice this, the easier it will become, I now only have to think about it (mostly of the time, not always!) and I can feel energy tingling in my hands. You won’t have to do this before every reading, or you can just close your eyes when you are sitting down and imagine the same thing if you don’t want to look too weird when you have company! ;o)
The next thing to do is to visualise your chakras opening up one by one, like a flower – if you don’t know much about chakras have a look on the internet or get a book (although to make this work you don’t actually have to know a great deal about them, just a little bit). In short, chakras are like energy centres in your body, they send and receive energy and information and are closely connected to emotions – when you feel a pain in your heart because you are heartbroken, this is your Heart Chakra signalling to you that something is wrong, unbalanced. When you have a gut feeling this is your Solar Plexus indicating something is wrong – this chakra is particularly important for tarot readings as it is the one that links you to your intuition. Other important ones for readins are your Third Eye chakra, and also your Crown chakra (top of your head). By opening the chakras it makes it easier to sense things that allow you to do a correct reading. You can also hold the cards to your chakras to help your energy to be absorbed by them and to help you connect to the cards. Also, most readers (me included) believe that you should not let others touch your cards as this can interfere with the energies. Some readers let the querent pick out the cards, personally I prefer to pick them myself.
IMPORTANT: do not forget to close down your chakras afterwards (you can visualise them closing, and also if you like pass a hand over them). The reason is that if you do not close them you will leave yourself open and vulnerable to other people’s emotions. I forgot to do this once after doing a reading for a friend that was breaking up with a boyfriend and I felt heartbroken myself all day – ok I was sad for her anyway but I felt as if it was happening to me – until I remembered I hadn’t closed them down, and once I had done that I was fine again.
That may seem like a lot of things to do and remember for readings, but you don’t always have to do all these things, and especially if you are just reading for fun it doesn’t really matter, but remembering these tips will certainly help with accuracy in readings and you can actually do things like open and close your chakras quite quickly.
Which spreads to use?
There are so many spreads to use it really is personal preference and what the situation requires,but here’s something I like to do – I have never read this anywhere but find it works really well. If you are trying to understand someone better, follow the steps above, then think about them for a few minutes with the cards in your hands, then pick out just 1 card. I’ve often found it really elucidates your understanding of the person, and is very accurate. When I want a quick answer or am doing a fun reading for a friend I often use a three card spread – you can choose the meaning of each position of card yourself (before you select the cards from the deck), whether you want it to be past present and future or the current situation, what you should do and what can be the outcome, or whatever feels right.
Ethics and moral duty
When you read the tarot cards for others, you have a duty to be tactful in what you say, just as you would when you give advice. Sometimes the cards will reveal very strong meanings that cannot actually be said to the person/s and this is where you have licence to alter the truth. I’ll give you an example – A few years ago I did a lighthearted reading for three friends of mine that had just moved into a new house together, they had no real question to ask so we just asked what the future of the house held. The people were 2 boys and 1 girl. One of the boys (lets call him Jim) and the girl (lets call her Jane) had dated for years, then broke just under a year before moving in together. At the time of moving in – unbeknown to Jim, Jane and the other boy (lets call him Terry) had got together. I had an incling that this was going on, but Jim did not. Well, the cards revealed all kinds of tensions very specifically saying how one person would be jealous as the other two’s connection would grow and much more stuff to this effect!
Well there was no way I could sit there and explain all this to the three of them as you can imagine! So I made something non commital up – the only choice in the circumstance. I have heard many other tarot readers have similar stories and so the likelyhood is that at some point it will happen to you. Similarly if you do see a reading with really bad news (I’m not talking about death or illness, this is very unlikely to present itself as a meaning to you) but some other bad circumstance to someone that is in a fragile state, use your judgement and be gentle about the way you tell the reading, perhaps soften it considerably and try to point out the best course of action to avoid it.
A word of advice
Some books will advise against readings for yourself, I disagree with this apart from one thing – I have found it impossible to do readings concerning my love life, particularly if it is a question of if someone likes me or not. Stron desires and hopes can cloud the ability to read and often in these cases the cards are influenced by what you want to see, or you find yourself redoing the reading till you get the answer you want – of course you may be different, but just bear it in mind!
Remember, the tarot cards are not only a fascinating and useful tool, they are fun and will often suprise you with the truths they reveal – enjoy!