The Adventure Zone: Balance Arc Spread

taz_bobSage and I are HUGE fans of The Adventure Zone by the McElroy brothers and their dad (no spoilers, Sage isn’t done with the Balance Arc). For those of you who don’t know, TAZ is an actual play D&D podcast. The Balance Arc is the first story full of goofs and shockingly poignant moments.

The other day I said to Sage, “hey, let’s do a TAZ spread based around Magnus rushes in, Taako’s good out here, and Merle casts zone of truth!” And within an hour I have an image in my inbox of the spread, I love our relationship.

Even if you aren’t a fan of TAZ or know a single thing about the show, this is a great spread to assess a situation, we hope you enjoy using it!

  1. Magnus rushes in

You need to act and you need to act now. Now. Right now. Why are you still waiting?? Thinking is for other times and other people, but there’s an opportunity that needs your direct action and it cannot wait. Where do you need to surge ahead?

  1. Taako’s good out here

You need to consider the safety and comfort of yourself and your own interests. If you were a tank you’d get in harms way and hit a lot of things but you’re smart so you’re going to hang back and think this through. What needs protection and analysis?

  1. Merle casts Zone of Truth

Pandammit, you are so sick of everyone’s BS. You cast a spell for clear sight and deep truth, but remember that everyone is affected – even you. This card is an honest assessment of where you stand. Where can you cut the bullshit?

  1. Fantasy Costco

GOT A DEAL FOR YOU! What resources are at your disposal? What do you need to trade in that looked really flashy two arcs ago but has been sitting in your inventory gathering dust?

  1. Your Dungeon Master and your best friend

This guy. This fucking guy. The narrator of your story, the thing that keeps you on track, the overall shape of the plot, and all the funky characters in your life. What drives your story?

 

TAZ_BOB_Spread

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Libra and the Tarot

astrology-1293255_1280Today we say goodbye to the Sun’s time in perfectionist, hardworking Virgo and slip into something a little more comfortable with Libra’s focus on balance and harmony. Libra is a cardinal Air sign ruled by Venus, meaning that it is active and creative, intellectual and communicative, and invested in art and beauty. Libra is the sign that says I unite or I balance – and now is an excellent time to consider what disparate parts of yourself and your Tarot practice need to be brought together.

Libran energy is focused on justice, fairness, and seeking to understand all sides of a situation. Libra wants to ease conflict wherever possible and yearns for reconciliation of all parties. On the downside, Libra may lend itself to people-pleasing for the sake of avoiding upsets, going along to get along, and mistaking constructive or necessary conflict as unbearable strife.

How can you tap into Libra as a Tarot reader? You can:

  • Consciously allow yourself to let go of Virgo’s perfectionism and allow yourself to make mistakes while reading and studying Tarot.
  • Tap into Libra’s social aspect by joining a Tarot forum, swapping readings with friends, or teaching someone about the cards.
  • Anticipate Libra’s urge to downplay potential conflict when reading cards, especially for other people; be aware that you may feel swayed to fudge your initial interpretation to make the querent happy.
  • Practice spreads related to relationships, social dynamics, and overcoming conflict. Consider using our Traveler’s Spread to figure out what’s getting in your way and how to get back to harmony!
  • Meditate on cards like Justice, Temperance, Two of Cups, or Ten of Cups, or select another card that represents Libra to you.

Happy Libra season!

Tarot and Play, or Just Start Reading!

tarot and playI’m a children’s librarian, and that means that I seriously value playtime. Play is how we learn, how we prepare for the future, how we practice skills, and how we blow off steam. All sorts in the animal kingdom play, not just humans, and not just juveniles either. We need play, whether that’s jungle gyming or LARPing or fantasy footballing or even, yes, divinationing!

For a long time after I left behind my birth religion, I approached all matters of spirituality in terms of Serious Business. I had to do everything just right, and before I could do that I had to understand everything just right, but the only way to gain deep understanding is through experience and, well, you can see where that left me in terms of actual practice instead of armchair philosophy. This applied to my religious work as well as my Tarot reading which, for me at least, are intertwined.

My first deck and truly my first exposure to the Tarot was the Crowley Thoth Tarot – talk about a rude and bumpy introduction! – and I was intent on reading each card Exactly Right. For years I had no faith in any inherent intuition or creativity on my part and tried to read Tarot like it was one of grandma’s favorite recipes where if you get one thing slightly wrong you’ve brought shame and dishonor on you, your family, and your cow. That of course takes the fun and imaginative parts of reading Tarot and turns them into work. And not the shove up your sleeves and put some elbow grease on it work, but the kind of monotonous busy work that makes you second guess yourself at all angles.

More than a decade after Thoth and several decks later, I try to read Tarot the same way I encourage learning through play at my library. There are countless books and resources to help me understand the cards, sure. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I read multiple sites to interpret spreads even today. But the meaning of cards isn’t resting inert in the pages of books or the lines of someone’s blog. The meaning comes from how I interact with that information and apply it to the cards in front of me, finding the story in the artwork of the cards, and playing – there’s that word again! – around until I can make the cards click together. That’s the meaning that matters. That’s the point. That’s the fun. And that’s also where deep learning is, rather than rote memorization or trying to force yourself into the “right” kind of intuitive to read the cards.

The moral of this story is you will never feel ready. I still don’t feel ready, and I’ve been doing this over a decade! You also have an incredible ability to make even things you’re passionate about feel like dull work. But if you stop approaching this like a pitch-perfect recital and start approaching it as a romp in the woods/marathon Minecraft session/toddler stacking blocks up higher than they are and then gleefully knocking them down in a crash… you might actually start to have some fun. And if you have fun, you might actually learn something.

Reading for Getting Around Obstacles: The Traveler’s Spread

travelers spread(1)I’ve been struggling with some big questions in regards to my gender/identity. There are a lot of obstacles in my way to even beginning to find solutions. There is a lot of asking myself, “well, what do I do?” and “how do I get around this?” Particularly, in light that these obstacles aren’t something I can remove in without going up against society as a whole, or at least workplace bureaucracy. Since I don’t particularly feel like tilting at windmills, but still wanted some guidance while handling my troubled emotions, I created this spread to help me look at at my situation with a different light.

I based the idea around a hiker, coming up against an obstacle that they need to climb, or otherwise get around and dubbed it the Traveler’s Spread.

Card One: You, now.

Card Two: This is the ground below. Are you stable? shaky? You can treat this card a few ways, but ultimately, it’s the energies/people/things/nouns that are influencing you in your current mental/emotional/physical self.

Cards Three & Four: This is what’s in your way, the energies/nouns that are stopping you from going on your merry way are tied up in these cards.

Cards Five & Six: These are your tools in your bag. Again, you can treat this card a few ways. Maybe they are actions you need to take to get around the blockage, emotions you need to focus on, before you can move forward. Perhaps they are things or people you can access to help you move on the trail.

Card Seven: The goal you want to reach. This card stands as a final word on your reading. For me, this card was the Hanged Man in my reading (which, by the way cards, thanks for being so sarcastic) telling me I have to be ready to surrender to reach my end goal. This card could also stand as what you have to gain by getting by your obstacles.

Whatever you’re facing, I hope this reading can help give you some prospective. Keep on keeping on, we can make it through all of this.  – ❤ Etienne.

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Harvest Moon Spread

harvest moon

What abundance manifests for you this Harvest Moon?

The autumn equinox isn’t the only astronomical event that heralds the arrival of fall. The full moon rising closest to this equinox is known as the Harvest Moon; according to the Farmer’s Almanac this date falls on October 5, 2017 in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Harvest Moon is a good time to take stock of our, well, stocks! Practicing gratitude is not only a feel-good habit, but it also lets us become aware of all different kinds of wealth at our disposal that we might otherwise overlook. The Harvest Moon is also a time for planning how best to direct the abundance in our lives, or even how to attract more abundance through careful decisions and the smart use of resources.

  1. What has come to fruition?
  2. What energies do I have stored?
  3. How can I best use this abundance?
  4. How do I manage my stores?
  5. What should I be aware of when using my stored energies?
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Harvest Moon Spread Layout

Book this reading with Etienne and Sage for $15.00 by emailing oakandsagetarot@gmail.com!

Autumn Equinox Spread

Autumn Equinox SpreadThis is my favorite time of year, when summer in all her glory gives way to the harvest maiden tending over fall’s crops. There’s a beautiful still moment between seasons during the equinox when we can feel two energies meet, meld, and separate again. It’s an especially auspicious time to break out the cards and take stock of what summer has given us and what autumn will require in return. This spread is specifically made for a general autumn equinox reading that assesses the fruits of your labors and where your energies will take you over the next several weeks.

  1. goodbye summer what is leaving your life (energies, people, places, things), or what maybe needs a gentle push out the door.
  2. hello fall – what is entering your life, or what needs to be welcomed in with the rest of autumn.
  3. equinox – the blurred boundary between summer and fall encompassing you, right now, as you are; also the focal point unique to you this sabbat.
  4. bumper crops – unexpected gifts and opportunities to be had with summer’s lingering energy; you want to jump on these right away!
  5. autumn stores – the resources now at your disposal over the coming season such as living allies and the beloved dead, gods and spirits, and your own talents and strengths.
  6. harvest bounty – how the fruits of your past labors have paid off; what exactly you are harvesting at this moment in time.
  7. community table – how you can best spread your abundance around, especially when giving back to the communities that support you most.
  8. see you at samhain – a final word of advice for how to proceed and what to look out for until the next sabbat.
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Card Layout

Book this reading with Etienne and Sage for $30.00 by emailing oakandsagetarot@gmail.com!