And now, for something completely different. I promise this has a weird and witchy twist.
So I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim lately. I’ve got a story running on my book blog involving an Imperial rune-mage, which is why. He’s also an archaeologist, so in order to do the vast lore of the Elder Scrolls justice I’ve been absorbing every bit of theory, knowledge, text, and Top 10 Hidden Details lists I can get my wee hands on. That’s the backstory, short and sweet.
Early this morning I was scrolling through Tumblr – yeah, I know, don’t judge me – looking for anything related to Kynareth, one of the Nine Divines in the Elder Scrolls games. Mostly shrine screenshots and theories and whatnot. Well, a post came up of someone asking if they could use Kynareth in a pop culture pantheon. My brain goes, “Hm. I wonder what would happen if someone dedicated themselves to Kynareth for a month. Or to Talos, or Zenithar. Hmm.”
One leap of logic and a phone call from Brandon later, and I jokingly mentioned to him the idea of making an offering to or asking Dibella – goddess of beauty – for inspiration and help with art. Hung up the phone at the end of the conversation, thought little of it. Until about five minutes later when…
Suddenly so many inspiration!
Pop-culture Deity Devotion challenge! Using shrines in-game to leave offerings to the Nine Divines! Calling upon the Daedra for shadow work or bindings! Divination challenges!Tarot Spreads! And the CHEEESE!!!
So I do believe I just got trolled/helped by a video game goddess. Sounds like madness, might be madness, but it’s an interesting experiment nonetheless. I may or may not be distilling some of those ideas down into a workable format and posting them around. I particularly like the idea of Tamriellic pantheon tarot spreads. And putting a more helpful spin on some of the creepy/disturbing/unsettling Daedra. (Namiria, Mehrunes Dagon, and Molag Bal, I’m looking at you.) Part of me doesn’t want to touch the Daedra with a ten foot pole, part of me thinks it’ll be fun and enlightening, and part of me is still going, “these are from a video game! WTF?!”
Some of my oldest readers (readers? friends? who/what are you anyway?) will remember an attempt I made when I first started this blog to make a tarot deck based on characters from my novels. It… was alright-ish? But it didn’t pan out. The symbolism was wonky and forced and the sheer amount of time it took to do watercolor cards – I hate painting, as it turns out – made it, in the end, not really worth it to me.
And then I did the Five Realms Oracle.
More than anything, that proved to me that I do have a better handle on symbolism than I think I do, and that I have the patience and persistence necessary to complete a long-term, involved project like that. The tricky bit with that deck now is trying to put together a guidebook for it, and for that I’ve been testing it all over the place in different types of readings… but it’s hard to make an oracle deck from scratch. I can use the runes as a guide, obviously, but my views on the runes are changing a bit, and don’t really fit the cards anymore. I might take them off on the final versions. Still, trying to figure out how the symbolism fits into situations is a lot more difficult than I imagined starting out, even with a basic knowledge of the meanings already in place.
Tarot is different. Tarot is familiar. Tarot isn’t easy, per se, but it interacts and weaves into itself in known and predictable ways. The specific imagery can be twisted and shaped but the archetypal meanings stay roughly the same. Death is always change and rebirth. Strength is always endurance and boundaries. The Fool, as it turns out, was what I was missing the meaning of when I first tried to create the Five Realms Tarot (or the Revenant Tarot, I can’t remember which) a few years ago. I didn’t have a good enough scope of the whole story and the players in it. Who was powerful, who was learning. And part of what made the original set of symbolism so off was that I picked the wrong Fool.
Esper Ravenwood is the Fool. He’s the protagonist. He’s the one who goes on an epic journey, and whose journey gets reflected and faceted over and over again throughout his five and a half hundred years, and even after that. He is both catalyst and solution. He is the Fool that walks through the twenty-one doors, being changed by and in turn changing the people that he meets behind them. He’s walked through doors nobody was ever meant to come back through and done it anyway.
The other cards I lacked a decent understanding of? Death, Temperance, Judgement, and the Lovers. Which ties directly into what happened last April. I think I’ve finally walked through enough doors myself to do the Tarot justice. (Heh. Justice.) Watch me change my mind at the end of the Major Arcana. 😛
So… I think I might have another go at the Five Realms Tarot, now that I know who the Fool was. Funny enough, I wrote his Tales in first person. Read into that what you will.
This half-month is going to be all about doing what lights you up and makes you feel alive! Follow your passions and distance yourself from anything that overwhelms you (at least until you’re truly ready to deal with it).
Decks used: Shadowscapes Tarot, Five Realms Oracle, and the Wildwood Tarot
And right after I made this video a crow landed on the fence outside. It’s a sign!
In this video I do a reading for the runic half-month of Perthro (or Perdhro) which is from January 13th to January 28th. I pulled four tarot cards – two from the Wildwood and two from the Shadowscapes – and a single Five Realms Oracle card for looking at the overall energy of the half-month. I know I’ve started with a rather arbitrary rune, but frankly, I didn’t see any better time to start than now!
I hope this one provides some insight, and wasn’t too rambly.
Full disclosure, I’ve done three other readings with this deck already and it’s a bit scary how on-the-nose the results can be, sometimes. The reason for so many readings is simple: understanding the cards in different contexts. The more situations I find the cards in, the more facets I can look at and interpret.
Which brings me to my Yule reading for this year, which is actually a rune reading spread that I found on Pinterest and decided to try out since my cards have runes on them. Rather than tossing runes onto my rug, however, I asked my pendulum how many cards to pull for each position and read them from there. This deck seems to work really well with my pendulum, actually.
So, here’s the spread(which I’ve actually flipped from the original, for flow reasons), followed by my interpretation of the cards:
Past – The Warrior, The Sage, and The Wounded
This one is pretty straightforward. All the crap in April happened, I got called down a path I never thought I’d have to go down, and I’ve been struggling with trying to live without someone who had a massive effect on my life. Not only have I been trying to get a handle on the grieving process and trying to move past it, I’ve been in situations where it feels like people expect me to pretend it never happened and move on with my life. I can’t do that. This year changed me, for better or worse, and while I’m probably stronger because of it, I still don’t think I’ve got enough of a handle on anything to start really living again, even though the gods know I’m trying. Long story short: shit happened, and I’m still trying to deal with some of it.
Present – Wyrd
Speaking of on-the-nose, things are currently weird. I feel like I and many others are in a kind of between-space right now. Chronologically this seems to be true, since we’re between Yule and the New Year right now, and that seems like a rather funky time in most peoples’ lives, and not just because of the holidays or lack thereof. Right now, I’m taking a bit of a breather. Taking space – hee – from life while I try to figure out how to do anything remotely resembling moving forward. I feel a bit like life knocked me down hard over the last several months, and I’m just now getting up to limp into 2017. For the sake of understanding, I feel obligated to say that while I do try to put my best face forward on camera or in text, my mental/emotional state has been an absolute clusterfuck for the last seven months or so. That said, things are happening outside of my awareness right now and I think – I hope, anyway – that whatever strings are being pulled will lead to a reprieve at the least, and a breakthrough at best.
Action – The Rune
If you’re thinking this card has a very Odin vibe about it, you’d be right, and it was definitely designed that way on purpose. My tentative meaning for The Rune was something along the lines of embracing the unknown as a challenge, rather than an insurmountable wall. Looking into shadows you normally shun or shy away from. Ordeals and confrontations of the self come to mind immediately, and actually make me recoil a bit. I feel like I’ve already had enough crap thrown at me for one year, but unfortunately I believe the Powers That Be aren’t done with me yet. I know this is an action I will have to initiate, and taking action is by far the thing that I’m the worst at. This card represents stepping into the unknown and trusting that it’s for a reason. Or stepping into the unknown with a purpose, or a target. The Gar rune has always looked a bit like a crosshair, to me.
Stagnation – The Victorious, and the Realm of Spirit
This is what happens if I don’t take that action. That tower sticks out like a sore thumb in an, “I’m just waiting for the lightning strike,” kind of way. While it might make me feel like I’ve beaten something or won out in some way, I feel like it’ll be short lived and hollow. Yes, I could be happy, but I’ll still be stuck in the same place and just asking for something else to come along and push me out of the tower. (Oh hey, Bran Stark reference on accident.) So the question posed by the cards turns into, “Would you rather move of your own power or be moved by something you can’t control?” Being a Taurus, I’d rather just not move in general, but I see where this is going.
Future – The Guardian and The Alchemist
Now, this pair I find interesting for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that my primary archetype is the Alchemist. There’s a lot to pick out of these cards. They’re both facing each other, and are pulling magic in the same sort of way, but one is much more purposeful and the other is experimental. The Guardian is controlling water, and the Alchemist is playing with fire. The Guardian, being a dark-elf, is old, while the Alchemist is a young girl. Frankly, I’m still struggling a little with the meaning of the Guardian, but together these two cards synergize so well. Like the inner child and the inner parent (hm. “Guardian.” Interesting. That actually explains a little about why I’m terrified of the Guardian in the Wildwood Tarot, now that I think about it) coming together to make things happen of their own power, and at their own pace. So this seems like coming into power as a self-reliant being and not just being swooped around by forces beyond anyone’s control. I’m not quite sure yet, but I’ll definitely know it when I get there, if I get there.
Overview/Bottom of the Deck – The Smith
Recently I’ve started looking at the card at the bottom of the deck for an overview or a, “here’s what you’re missing” piece of information. The Smith has actually come up in a couple of other readings with this deck. I tend to be drawn to the Rune, rather than the actual figure, and the bit of the Uruz rune poem that says, “dross comes from bad iron.” Meaning, nothing worthwhile comes out of half-assing it. So, elbow grease and a steel resolve will likely be useful going forward. A common thread with me is that whatever I really put my mind to, I will achieve, because I’m a stubborn bull like that. So when a path isn’t really meant for me, I will plow my own. Make my own spear and throw it, too! At least, that’s what I like to think, and that’s been the case in the past. This deck is the result of being dedicated and determined, so hopefully that willpower carries through into whatever The Rune wants me to do.
The future is still a little blurry, but I’ll get there when I get there. In the meantime, what do you think of this deck? I’m pretty proud of it, if not as a functioning deck (which, I think it is) than as an artistic experiment. So far, most of my readings with it have been pretty spot-on, character and world knowledge aside.
The excitement is palpable. At least for me, given that I can, in fact, palp the deck. Forgive my not-wording there. My proof copy of the Five Realms Oracle showed up today and I had to make a video even though the light was fast approaching unfilmable territory. I AM SO STOKED. GUYS. I MADE A THING. Yes, the amount of caps lock in this description is completely necessary, trust me.
In which I get REALLY excited. If you’ve ever wanted to see what happens when I truly nerd out over something, this is that video. If this ends up being the only unboxing video on my channel ever, that’s fine by me.
June 29th was the first of the Runic half-month of Fehu, which means it’s the Runic New Year! Woo! We’re also coming down from the Solstice and the Full Moon, which means I had a hankering to check in with my path and where I’m going with it. Also, Rustus re-worked the Questing Path Spread and I wanted an excuse to try it out, since I was a big fan of the original. I was going to try it out when I first read the post, but something decided I needed to wait, and life happened for a while.
So, I asked my pendulum, and here we are! Wildwood Tarot and Earthbound Oracle volunteered to be my guides for this one, and I used some blue quartz, amethyst, and optical calcite to help glean the messages, as well as what I call my “Druid Stone,” which I’ve had since I was old enough to remember having it. It is a symbol of Me, which means I don’t use it and wont use it for anyone else.
Without further ado, the Questing Path Redux! (Which links to the original post so that you can read it.) I’m not going to go super in-depth with what I write up in this post, that’s what I’ve got a journal for. Also, for the record: the original spread doesn’t have two cards listed for the middle position, but two came out anyway when I did the spread. I can’t reason with this deck, it does what it wants.
1. The Path of The Shaman
You know that feeling when you get cards that are so in-your-face that you couldn’t possibly have picked them out yourself for fear of being too literal? Apparently Wildwood likes doing that to me. I almost feel like this one doesn’t need to be explained all that much, but for the sake of clarity and transparency: this is that thing that I was kind of afraid would happen when my current spirit-teacher showed up out of the blue. As Beth recently and appropriately quoted: “Never name the well from which you will not drink.” I’ve read books about shamanism, what it’s like, what the trials and weirdness are, and I’ll be quite honest, it’s not something I’ve ever wanted for myself. I didn’t think I was qualified for the longest time… up until Mutt passed away and that whole, horrifying incident with Pulse happened. My own Bran has a theory in that shamans are called as a result of death, and that certainly seems to be the pattern here. You’ll excuse me while I go into a corner and think about what I did.
2. The Destination – The Sun of Life
I know almost exactly where I’m going to be when this happens. I don’t quite know when it’s going to be, but I know where, and what I’ll be there for. That’s a “my eyes only” kind of thing, though, and that’s where the surface destination is. Underneath that, however, I see an acceptance of the Path, a burning sense of belonging and hope, finally hope, and my eyes are drawn immediately to that “star” in the center of the main figure’s chest. The time frame in this spread is either going to be much shorter than I’m prepared to deal with, or longer than I expect. I’m anticipating at least two trips up to the mountains in the next few months. It’s around this time of year that weird magical shenanigans tend to happen anyway, so I’m not all that surprised on the timing.
Also there’s that chalk horse in the background that I keep staring at and I’m not going to say why explicitly, but suffice to say that there’s a reason I have Ehwaz as part of my little personal symbol.
3. The Hill – The Pole Star & The Ancestor
That first one is a message that my own past-self has been trying to hammer (or axe, in his case *rimshot*) into my head for the past little while, and one which I still have problems with. Trusting myself and my own inner compass is weirdly hard for me to do, given that I live with myself every day. I recently did an automatic writing brain-pick in which my inner Sensei came out and really made me aware of how absurd it is for me to trust, say, Bran, over my own self.
With the Ancestor, my eyes go directly to the drum. I’ve been looking for a drum for months. I know what it looks like, or what if feels like, rather, how to play it, what spirit lives in it… but I haven’t found it yet, and don’t really know where it might be! I also see the crescent moon in the back, which strikes me because I got a sincere and subtle reminder from said moon that I do have a rather huge connection to it, and that I keep forgetting how much of an anchor it can be in my life. It was comforting, in a way. Also, the blue in that card and the sheer feel of it gives me massive spirit-teacher vibes, and I’m not sure what he’s planning, but I have a feeling it has to do with at least one of those “Ally” cards. I also get the feeling I’ve been avoiding something big and that he’s going to smack me upside the head with it.
4 & 5. Allies Above – Water & Ceremony
Water can only be one person/spirit from where I’m standing. Won’t say which one but I know who. I’m not exactly sure how he or Water energy in general will be helpful, possibly in cleansing and clearing, but I accept whatever help is needed. Maybe this will be something like getting my usual Taurean Stubbornness out of the way long enough to move in a different direction a little bit. Or, it’s that spirit’s presence – felt, but not seen.
Ceremony is still stumping me. I think I know what it’s talking about, but at the same time I really won’t be able to tell except in hindsight, probably. This is one I’ll have to come back to and meditate on for a while, because it’s one that never comes up for me. Applying it to this is rather difficult, though I am getting a sense of Sacred-Third here, with the two candles and the sun. (OOp! There’s the Sun again!) One could also make a word-pun with Sun and Son, but I don’t want to go there because I don’t know what it means, yet.
6 & 7. Allies on the Ground – Resistance & Death
I’d normally look at Resistance as a challenge, as something that needs to be overcome in order to get something done. Here, though, as an ally, I know exactly what it means. When I resist something with the whole of my being, not just being a little anxious or nervous but having my core essence screaming and kicking and fighting to run away, I know that whatever is going on isn’t my thing. This will probably help me narrow down what does and doesn’t serve me in an effort to find my “Pole Star,” as it were, which is one of the challenges it looks like I’ll be dealing with.
… Oh, Death. There’s one thing that immediately pops to mind when cards like, “Death,” “Ceremony,” and “Shaman,” are all in the same spread, and it’s another of those ‘Don’t Name the Well’ things. Not because I don’t think it might be necessary but because I’d rather not have to deal with that particular option/idea in the presence of my immediate family. Bran, sure. The rest, no. Why? Complicated. Mostly because of fear. However, the alternative is something more in line with the Death from tarot, in which case it has more to do with actually sitting down and accepting the path ahead, rather than trying to deny that it’s an option. Though, if history is any indicator of the future, I’m about to have some serious Wyrd dropped on my head. Joy.
So, there’s a lot to make of this one. There’s a lot I still need to explore and dive into, and there’s a huge lot that I don’t know if I want to understand. I actually hate it when this happens. However. It is what it is, and it may not be as dramatic as I feel like it has the potential to be. Seeing all the people getting sandbagged by Stuff around me, though, I expect it’s time for a big change. A little wander into the cave to fight the bear, if you will. I’m so looking forward to it, can you tell? [/sarcasm]
Thank you once again, Rustus, for the wonderful spread and for being awesome in general!
Today, June 3rd, is the last day I will be accepting requests for free tarot, oracle, and rune readings, but I’ll be opening up an Etsy shop on the 6th so that you all can commission me for art, readings, and whatever else I end up offering.
There’s a page with information up on my site, if you’re reading this from your “reader” tab. Go check it out if you want, come be a part of the party!
First, quick update on all the things: Scheduling at work seems to have gotten sorted out, so while it’s still not exactly a consistent schedule I at least have some time to live while I’m at home, and work on things that I’m called to do (more on that later). The healing process is going pretty well; I’ve given Mutt a place on the Names of Interest page (as well as adding my pop culture pantheon to the mix) and the brunt of the pain has more or less subsided now. I feel mostly human again, which is always a good thing!
Now, about hobbits, birthdays, and things I’m called to do. Yesterday was my birthday! Woo! Friday the 13th and nothing went wrong, besides the unexpected cactus (I kid you not, my mom got me a tiny cactus. I’m still not sure what to make of this turn of events). I also got a framed picture in the likeness of Frey, and I’m going to need to do some re-arranging soon so that I can make him a proper place. It’s currently hanging on my wall in place of my Big Honking Year Wheel.
You may be wondering what all this talk of hobbits is about. I’m not making short jokes, (even though I am pretty short) I’m actually making an offering to you, my tribe. And possibly others outside of what some would consider “my tribe.” (Hello to all of you as well, by the way!) In true hobbit tradition, I’m doing a reversal of the whole birthday presents thing. Instead of receiving, I’m giving gifts to you!
Since I’m setting up an Etsy shop (which will also be called BeingtheHermit) it occurs to me that I need to practice my readings, mostly the design and delivery thereof. Since there are a lot of you who wander into my little digital home in search of Tarot guidance, I figured you all would be both the ones to ask for feedback and the ones who would benefit most from this.
So! For the next 21 days (May 14th-June 3rd) you can send me an e-mail and ask for a free Tarot, Oracle, or Rune reading! I’ll have more details up in a “free readings” page very soon, but this is open to anyone who’s willing to give honest feedback in exchange for a bit of wisdom or inspiration from the cards/runes.
Happy birthday, everyone! Love all around, and I hope to see you soon!
– Erik (email@example.com)