Interview with a Witch: This Crooked Crown

thiscrookedcrownInterview with a Witch – ThisCrookedCrown

Today I’m talking to Samantha, from ThisCrookedCrown.

1) Why did you choose to start your business? Why choose witchcraft and divination as a base? What drew you to it?

Because I love it! I love witchcraft and divination; it’s one of my major passions and something I could never grow bored of. Starting my own business came about when I was unable to work in the mainstream workforce anymore due to medical reasons. Once I hit on the idea of starting my own business, I went with two of my major passions – divination and witchcraft. It just evolved from there.
I’ve been practicing witchcraft and divination for over twenty years now and never really experienced a time where I didn’t believe in magic. For me, discovering that witchcraft didn’t exist in the realm of fantasy and people still practiced it was really eye-opening. It meant that there was so much more to the world than what I’d been taught and there’s so much possibility! I love sharing that awe with my clients.
thiscrookedcrown

2) How do you balance what you give away for free (in terms of tutorials and spells, free readings etc) with what you charge for? 

I like to make generosity part of my business. I offer free advice and consultation on my blogs and to clients. I love offering resources like free spells and tutorials, free readings each Tuesday on my twitter, public meet-and-greets on Sundays, and give away readings for charity. It’s great to give back and help out as much as I can.
Balancing what’s given away and how much time I spend on non-paying work can be difficult but I try to break up the amount of daily work I do as 2/3 paying work versus 1/3 non-pay (donations, free spells, etc.). Monthly number crunching helps keep things real and makes sure that I stay on track.
3) How much time do you spend on blogs and social media, and how do you make that pay off, so to speak? What’s your social media strategy?
I’m a lurker! I’m always on social media but I like to sit back and see how people interact with each other. I find that really fun and really fascinating. I’m spending roughly two to three hours a day on various social media and sometimes twice that much when I’m setting up things like my daily tips on facebook.
I try to update at least one social media platform a day. If I’m not on tumblr then I’m posting to boards on pinterest, tweeting on the go, or updating my instagram. I have a posting schedule of what to post and when but I like to keep it flexible. If I make it too rigid, it’s no fun anymore. Social media’s really great to get more people interested and drive more business to your doors but it’s really just a lot of fun to interact with the people that are reading my work.
thiscrookedcrown

4) What’s your best piece of advice for someone who is starting a Pagan business, or hoping to improve their existing one? 

Take time off! It’s very easy as small business owners, especially in a niche like ours, to work all the time. You put in more time then you get more money, right? But it weighs on you until you begin to grow bitter or resentful. Taking time off seems counterproductive at first but it’s healthier, gives you a chance to have a life outside of work, and boosts your motivation and inspiration. It gives you a chance to reset your spirit and recharge your batteries which is critical when you do a lot of energy-based work. It’s absolutely my number one tip to being happy, having a successful business, and following your dreams.
(Ed: It’s been lovely to have Samantha on the blog, please make sure to follow her and ThisCrookedCrown – all her social media links in the appropriate paragraph above. You can subscribe to my email list here, and visit my Etsy shop here, or check my services pages for more from me.)

5 Lessons from Pluto Retrograde

Pluto Retrograde

Five Lessons from Pluto Retrograde

In this week’s blog post, we’re gonna look at what we can do to make the best of Pluto Retrograde.

What Happens When a Planet Goes Retrograde?

See the Mars Retrograde post for an  full overview, but basically it goes backwards and anything it rules also goes backwards.

What Is the Difference Between an Inner Planet and an Outer Planet?

Pluto’s status astronomically is irrelevant, because astrologically it’s still a planet.  An Outer Planet, to be precise. An Outer Planet plays its effects out over a much longer time – a whole generation of people will have Pluto in a particular place in their charts. This means the planets  a) go retrograde for longer and b) their retrograde is less immediately knee-quakingly BAD. (Although, I do explain why Retrogrades are kinda like injections at the doctors rather than great horrible stab wounds in the Mars Retrograde post.)

Because the Outer Planet Retrogrades deal more with grander feelings and less with specifics, there really is only one lesson with Pluto Retrograde: LET SHIT GO. Since Pluto is Lord of Inner Looking, you are going to be confronted with all of your bad habits and behaviours.   Pluto Retrograde will show you all of your shadows, and it’s up to you to face them. At the time of writing, Mars is also Retrograde which is causing you to look back into your past, you will find the answers of why you do certain stuff, and how to not to do it.

Here are some examples to kick start the process:

Bad eating habits

This is not just comfort eating, yo yo dieting and masking your feels with sugar, although those are all bad.

How much of your life are you spending contemplating or talking about what you put in your mouth?

‘Healthy’ eating can quickly become an unhealthy obsession, especially when you’re using it to mask something else.

Can we all just stop ascribing moral judgement to food? Most people couldn’t care less whether you’re having the cake or the salad, and anyone that does is another thing you can remove from your life.

Fuel your body properly, but don’t let it become an obsession, or use food as a way to mask or replace something else.

Using food as a crutch is a weirdly difficult thing to let go of; so don’t feel down if you’re struggling with this. Sugar plays directly with our chemical emotions and it is addictive. As always, if you’re really struggling, seek help.

Spring clean. Everywhere.

You don’t have to do it in a day if you don’t have the energy. In fact, I recommend you don’t, because you won’t. Sort out one small area at a time, and really sort it.

(NEVER go full on with decluttering. Always ends in tears.)

This time, when you declutter, think about why you kept each item. Was it a gift you felt obliged to keep? A keepsake that didn’t really do anything or fit anywhere, but you had it anyway? Something that no longer fit you, but you kept in the vain hope you’d magically lose weight/gain weight/grow two inches? That thing you’ve been meaning to mend for the past decade? Something useless you picked up because it was really cheap?

Get them sold, get them donated, get them gone.  Vow not to fall into the same trap again.

If you need a kick up the arse regarding physical clutter, and you have kids, realise this: you will die. You will die, or before then, you might become ill or disabled, and it will fall to your kids to deal with your crap instead of you.

Do you want to be like my Dad and try and find a reason to justify why you’ve kept almost empty paint tins from twenty years ago to your exhausted daughter who’s just spent an entire morning cleaning out your kitchen? The answer is: no, you do not.

But don’t forget that the physical is not the be all and end all of clutter. The other steps in the post will help you deal with spiritual and mental clutter, but have you thought about virtual clutter? My mother has more than 7000 unread emails in her inbox. Please learn how to use the sweep, mass delete and/or block function in your email client. You will feel so much better. It’s not just emails of course, when was the last time you curated your social media accounts? Defragged your disks? Went through your files?

Checking In With the Body

Do you really listen to your body anymore? Its pain? Its pleasure?

When was the last time you saw a doctor?

When was the last time you ate a vegetable?  Conversely, when was the last time you had a treat?

The body is not some sinful thing that weighs down your soul. It’s one of the most important part of you, and needs looking after and listening to.

Learn to speak the language of your body again.

It will tell you when you need to rest, when you need to eat something, when you need to change what you eat or when you need to run.

Listen to your pain instead of ignoring it. You can’t fix something you won’t acknowledge.

We are all stuck with the bodies that we have. All we can do is listen to them, and make the best of them.

Re-learn the difference between self-centered, and selfish.

Every human is self-centered. It is, however, easy to step over the line to selfish. You can take advice and comments about this from other people, but always take them with a pinch of salt.

Sometimes people are trying to make you feel small about yourself so they can manipulate you.

Sometimes people just plain don’t like how you are, and if you don’t really like them deep down, let that go.

However, we all have bad habits, and if someone you’re close to has a problem, try working with it/them. The best habit you can get into is really listening to people.

If you decide the person you’re listening to isn’t worth bothering with, than you can discount their advice.

But the only way to get the true measure of a person, is to listen. And the only way you can listen, is if you’re silent.

I can’t tell you* where to change your inner self, but you can use this time to look deeper, and clean out all the crap. It’s a sucky process, but apparently so is everything worthwhile.

Pluto Retrograde can be the best time to get rid of all the cobwebs that we’ve accumulated over the years. Whether they’re mental, emotional or physical, Pluto Retrograde will show us the way.

What thing/person/attitude have you got rid of this week?

(*Except I totally can with a Tarot reading from my shop, but you know what I meant.)

If you’re into astrology and want to learn Moon Magic, I recommend this course by Heart of the Forest.

(You can subscribe to my email list here, and visit my Etsy shop here, or check my services pages for more from me.)

Mars Retrograde – 10 Lessons to Help You Cope

Mars Retrograde

So what is Mars Retrograde?

A planet goes into retrograde when it appears to slow in the night sky, stop, and then go backwards. It isn’t actually going backwards in the astronomical sense; it just looks like that because of the particular way Earth is placed in relation to whichever planet.  In this case, Mars Retrograde.

Astrologically, the most basic explanation is that anything that Mars governs will slow down, stop and go backwards also. Anyone governed by a sign that Mars rules (i.e Scorpio) will feel the effects most, anyone with Scorpio or Sagittarius well represented in their birth chart and anyone who has their Mars in Scorpio (i.e, me) will also get the shorter end of the stick.

However, whenever any planet goes retrograde, you actually benefit from it if you stop fighting the energy. You need to tap into the energy and learn the lessons available to you. Are those the fun lessons where the teacher wheels in the TV and you watch a film?

Probably not.

So, Mars Retrograde in particular?

Mars is a planet of fire, so governs fiery stuff, but in the specifics it governs:

  • -fighting
  • -anger
  • -drive (which is different than ambition)
  • -motivation
  • – energy in general
  • -sexual matters

So, during Retrograde these all get turned on their head. As the theatre proverb goes, if it can go wrong, it will. Which is why during Retrogrades people say you should avoid certain situations and essentially hide in a hole. Which is tempting, but not useful. Especially with the nearer planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars) since they govern things which take up probably 70% of our day to day lives.

You can’t avoid anger. Except, you probably are, which is why you are currently so irrationally pissed off at everything. You’ve got to constantly be on the go and working, else you’d fail at your goals. Except, you can’t do that, which is why you’re so sleepy and sluggish.

You can’t avoid life; just like you can’t not put on the play. You need to find ways of working with the energy, not against it. Mars Retrograde can be an exceptionally healing time if you do it right.

Read on for ten lessons Mars Retrograde can teach you.

Mars Retrograde lasts from 17th April 2016 until approximately 29th June 2016.

Ten Lessons Mars Retrograde Can Teach You (and Advice On How to Do Your Homework)

1.Don’t work for the sake of work.

Advice:  You can probably stop doing around 80% of your job. No, don’t click away. I’m serious. It’s called Pareto’s Principle, and basically 80% of any success comes from 20% of any work. Pareto noticed that with his peapods, 80% of peas came from 20% of the peapods. Find out what your 80% of crap is, and stop doing it.

Hint: if you’re self-employed, it’s probably something around social media. Drop the follow me/like me games unless you’re literally at like less than ten followers, stop following huge amounts of people to get them to follow you, stop deleting your Pins on Pinterest, etc etc.

Unless you are really seeing a benefit from something, STOP. You will feel real resistance from yourself when you do this. This is because we are conditioned to work; and to feel bad when we are not. However, work for work’s sake helps literally no one. Not even your employer, if you have one.

You don’t need to work harder, you need to work smarter. I’ve halved my hours of work and more than doubled the results in terms of sales, when I approached my working life in this way.

If you would like to learn more about this, read Tim Ferris’s: The 4-Hour Work Week.

2. Learn why you are working for the sake of it.

It’s easy for me to say that we are conditioned to work, but each of us probably has a slightly different reason why we’ve fallen into the trap. For me, it’s guilt and envy.

I feel guilty that I’m sat on the couch whilst other people have to work 12 hour shifts. Which is silly, because me doing more work won’t make their lives any easier.

I also feel envious, and this is one of these irrational impulses you’ll find about yourself during Mars Retrograde. I feel envious of career people doing career things, having enough clients and work to be working 18 hours a day, doing this, doing that, having work lunches at fancy café with fancy suits.

You have to ask yourself is that what you really want? Do I really want to be working 18 hours a day? No. No I don’t. I want a business that sustains me …and I do want to eat at fancy cafes.

But neither of those things means I have to work daft hours.

Get off the damn treadmill, and since you’re looking for something to fill that time, find out precisely why you were on it in the first place. This will help keep you off it.

3. That thing you’re avoiding? Either do it or don’t.

Do you know how long I’ve procrastinated on one simple email? FOUR MONTHS. And the thing is, it’s not just that one email that didn’t get done. It was a whole bunch of other stuff that needed my concentration, and since I couldn’t concentrate because of that damn email, they didn’t get done either. I ended up either spending way too much time on online games trying to ignore the approaching brainweasels,* or I did a lot of work for work’s sake to try and convince myself I had Done Work.

So what happened, then, when I sent this disastrous email?

Nothing. In fact, better than nothing. I got sympathy and understanding for having to cancel due to real life issues.

What a waste of time and energy.

On the other hand, sometimes it’s best to accept that you never will put up those shelves in the garage/use that gift card/write that play. Strike it from your To-Do list forever and stop feeling guilty about it.

(*Negative thoughts that can consume you. It’s like you have a brain full of angry weasels. Brainweasels. It’s a thing, okay?)

4. That stuff you’re doing for ‘exposure’?

Are you actually getting exposure? Is it the sort of exposure that’s bringing you paid work? Is it bringing you the sort of clients that you actually want to work with? No? Then stop doing it. If you must work for free to build a portfolio, do it on your own terms, on your own websites, accounts and publications. You control the content, spend more time doing projects you enjoy, spend less time running after someone else, and you could probably monetize your free content to some extent as well.You don’t have endless amounts of energy; so you have to say no to some things.

5. That stuff you’re doing for a ‘hobby’?

You should probably keep doing that actually. You have to spend your energy doing fun stuff sometimes. Make sure you actually enjoy it though, and leave yourself enough energy to enjoy it. If you have to say no to other stuff for You Time you can actually use, so be it. Staring at the screen at TV (or books!) you’re not really enjoying but you’re too tired to do anything else is not ‘You Time’. That’s a sign you’re doing too much and need a break. Or a nap. Probably both.

6.Go the frick to bed.

If this is difficult, go the frick to a doctor. Who knows, you might be like me and find a nice doctor who gives you a certain blood test just in case, and then you find out you’re actually so deficient in a major vitamin you have to take stronger tablet than dying people in hospitals take.

I feel much better now.

And also, rest is not just sleep. You have to have downtime too. Take things slower. If you die tomorrow, you won’t really give a toss whether or not you did the washing or beat your colleagues’ sales score.

Learn to not do things. It’s more difficult than you’d expect. Go for walks. Read stuff. Colour in. Whatever appeals to you, and makes you park your arse for a few minutes to an hour.

7.Learn why you are angry.

And it’s probably not the reason you think. Anger is never irrational – when you feel yourself exploding over something minor, really think about the reason. Are you just stressed? Or is there something in your past that you never dealt with? Is that silly comment you just blew up about really just the last straw on a bad day, or did it actually trigger or upset you in a specific way? Does the person remind you of someone else, or are you just learning to stand up for yourself?

If you’re struggling with anything, I always recommend keeping a journal. The specific format I recommend is detailed in The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self, but it has benefits for anyone who is not a creator as well. The format is Morning Pages – three pages of long hand stream of consciousness first thing in the morning. If you don’t know why you’re upset or struggling, these Morning Pages will soon tell you. In excruciating, teenage poetry like detail. If you’re looking for a sign, you probably just aren’t listening to yourself.

8.Learn how to deal with your anger

Your anger isn’t irrational, but sometimes your actions are. Some people bottle up their anger and then lose their temper over something silly because they didn’t raise their voice at what really mattered. Other people can’t feel an emotion without expressing it. Just because someone is irritating, doesn’t mean you have to tell them. Even though you don’t like them, doesn’t mean they need to have that screamed at them. Just because you’re going through Hell doesn’t give you the right to jump down the throat of a waitress because she got your order wrong.

There are many options to work with your anger, including therapy. Personally I find art journaling helps me keep my temper and work through issues, but I know other people find solace in sports, especially martial arts.

9.Look at your relationship with sexual matters

Whatever your previous relationships, sexual orientation or amount of desire, we all probably hold hang ups, whether they more simple or something a lot darker.

Whilst I don’t recommend poking at your darker history without the aid of a therapist, the natural energy of Mars Retrograde will bring un-dealt with shenanigans forward, especially of the sexual nature.

Any journaling or other therapy type things you already do may be well focused on this area, although if you are deeply hurting I would always recommend you take the advice of a professional.

This is also a good time to address any sort of smaller hang ups around dating, and re-establish what you are looking for in a partner – including whether you are actually interested in having one or not!

A lot of our self-worth hinges, often wrongly, on our sexual nature and behaviour, so even if you’re pretty sure you’re good, checking in with yourself on some hot topics is always a good idea.

The ideas around sex and dating can often be fraught with misogyny, and there are many wrongful attitudes around same-sex and polyamorist relationships that can be very damaging when you internalize them.

At the time of writing, Pluto, the planet of looking inwards, is also in Retrograde, so any inner looking is especially well aspected now.

10. Are you chasing the right dream?

Another way that Pluto can help during Mars Retrograde. We spend so much of our time on the minutiae of life – according to this article, we spend 208 hours on average each year just doing cleaning. It is so easy to let life pass you by, and follow the same routines as five years ago.

Are you still the same person as you were then? Do you want the same things? Did you get the things you wanted – do you still want them?

Make sure you aren’t spending precious energy chasing something you don’t want.

In conclusion, Mars Retrograde can really help you learn to say ‘no’ to things that just aren’t worth it. What did you say ‘no’ to this week?

If you’re into astrology and want to learn Moon Magic, I recommend this course by Heart of the Forest.

(You can subscribe to my email list here, and visit my Etsy shop here, or check my services pages for more from me.)

 

Interview with a Druid – Nimue Brown

interview with a druid

Interview with a Druid – Nimue Brown

In today’s Interview with a Druid I’m talking to Nimue Brown, author, druid, and quiet activist, about doing the Pagan Business thing for the right reasons. This is one of my favourites Interview with a Druid (or Witch, etc) that I’ve ever done.

interview with a druid

Buy it here: Druidry and Meditation

On Knowing What to Write About

It depends on what I’m aiming to write – if it’s a blog post, it’s a case of what have I learned recently, or what’s annoying me! Some things come as a response to what’s needed – so I’m looking for radical ideas for my quiet revolution column at Pagan Dawn in an ongoing way, I’m thinking about alternative responses to the seasons for Sage Woman blogs, radical poetry might go to Gods and Radicals, miserable poetry goes to a local event.

interview with a druid

Buy it here: Druidry and the Ancestors: Finding our place in our own history

When it comes to books its a slower and less coherent process. I tend to have some long term interest in something before I get to the point of wanting to write a book about it. Usually there will be a combination of reading other people’s ideas on a subject, exploring a practice or an idea for myself, and it flows from there. At any given time I’m reading and exploring in a number of areas, some of which go into books, some don’t, and its not usually obvious when I start whether I’ll take it to fiction or non-fiction.

Sometimes both – Druidry and the Ancestors(non-fic) and Intelligent Designing for Amateurs (fic) both started life in my reactions to Ronald Hutton’s Blood and Mistletoe.

interview with a druid

Buy it here: Pagan Portals – Spirituality Without Structure: The Power of finding your own path

On Writing

I think the first thing to say is that being a writer does not pay my bills and probably never will – this is true of a good 95% of authors. Most of us have second jobs. Some of us manage to align those second jobs with the writing work, but that’s not always the case.

It’s certainly true that being an author in this day and age tends to mean spending more time tying to draw attention to your work than you spend creating the work. I give talks, now and then, I take books to events (easier for people who have cars, I suspect), interviews (!) I write articles and columns and blog posts and lurk around on social media trying to find ways to say ‘you could buy my book’ without boring people to death. I’m not a great self publicist, I’m much happier when I’m talking about other people’s books. I find it easier to be excited about other people’s work.

interview with a druid

Buy it here: Pagan Dreaming: The magic of altered consciousness

 On a Writing Career in the Pagan Field

My first advice would be to drop the ‘career’ notion. I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the Pagans who earn enough as professional Pagans with writing as part of the mix, to be wholly self supporting. Even best selling Pagan authors tend to have a second job – it’s realistic to think you could be working part time and being professionally Pagan part time. So, don’t do it for the fame and riches! Do it because there is something you feel called to share, because you’re inspired, driven, passionate about something.

Then at least there’s the job satisfaction, even if you aren’t getting any money out of it. Most Pagan events can’t afford to pay most speakers more than their travel costs. I know there’s a widely held belief that authors all rake it in JK Rowling style, that people charging for teaching are exploiting the community and all that. The truth is that many of the Pagans you’ve heard of are either paupers, or have a day job. I won’t name drop, but as an author, reviewer and member of various things, I’ve talked to a lot of famous Pagans along the way and I know something of what it costs them to do the work. If you’re looking for a career, this isn’t going to provide.

interview with a druid

Buy it here: Pagan Planet: Being, Believing & Belonging in the 21Century

Stay tuned for more Interview with a Druid!

(You can subscribe to my email list here, and visit my Etsy shop here, or check my services pages for more from me.)

 

 

10 Tips for Your First Professional Tarot Reading

10 Tips For Your First Professional Tarot Reading

 

professional Tarot reading

So, you think you’re ready for your first professional Tarot reading. But you’re still nervous – is reading professional Tarot different from reading for friends? How do you give the best professional Tarot reading and walk away with a happy client?

Here are ten tips for your first professional Tarot reading to make it the best one ever!

Stay calm

There are four types of Tarot clients.

  1. Excitable clients who wants a giggle and a laugh
  2. Nervous clients who may be frightened of what you may show them, or it’s their first time
  3. Skeptics
  4. Clients who’ve had more readings than you’ve given

All of these types (and more than likely ones that don’t fit in neat boxes) will smell weakness like a weakness-smelling thing. You gotta fake it till you make it, and then fake it a bit more. Public speaking is never wholly comfortable, and telling someone their fortune is always scary because you never quite know how someone is going to react.

They’ll react a LOT better if they trust you, and no one trusts someone whose mouth is running away with them, or who looks timid and closed off.

Head up, shoulders straight and remember that they believe in you enough to pay for this.

Stay silent

This here is a rule for life. Sometimes you’ve got nothing to say, so stay silent. If they ask why you’re quiet, just tell them the truth – you’re thinking!

If you must fill the gap because your client is antsy, tell them why it takes a while to grab the thread of a reading – all those possible symbols and meanings.

Don’t fill the gap with rubbish and half formed theories. It makes you look unconfident at best, and incompetent at worst. Start when you’re ready.  It’s okay to pause and relook at the cards halfway through. You want to deliver a good  professional Tarot service, not a lightning fast one.

Be upfront about what is expected from them

A lot of Tarot clients are nervous because they don’t know what to expect. Not everyone has even heard of Tarot.

Spend some time explaining things to them, either before they book a reading, or before the reading begins.

Are they allowed to touch your cards? Do you want them to remove conspicuous jewellery and accessories? Are they allowed to ask questions once you’ve started? What do you want them to do, and how do you expect them to behave?

Be aware of differing religions

Not everyone is of the same religion, and just because your client is another reader, don’t expect them to believe exactly the same things you do! Even when you are of the exact same religion, realise that people’s experiences with the divine or spirits will differ. My experience as a Tarot reader is influenced heavily by my experiences as a modern witch. That experience will differ completed to an atheist, a Wiccan, or a Hellenic Recon!

And that’s okay.

We clearly all either believe in Tarot or are open-minded towards it,  just be aware that not everyone will be happy to hear they have an angel following them, for example.

Be upfront about what you can’t or won’t do

Sometimes, what you can read on depends on your local laws. Other times, it’s best to stick to a strict code of ethics. This can vary from reader to reader, but you must tell your clients before they book to avoid disappointed clients and possibly even a lawsuit!

Legal Issues

To avoid lawsuits, there are a few things you should avoid doing at all costs

  • Reading for children. This usually counts as anyone underage, so for the UK it’s 18. Anyone under 18 can be classed as a ‘vulnerable person’. I don’t care how mature they are, if you are taking theirs or their parents money, you can be sued for doing this, if either your information is inaccurate, or you are perceived to have caused distress, or you are accused of being a fraud. And even if you give the best reading in the world, you can still be sued for it, because they’re classed as vulnerable.

 

  • Other sorts of vulnerable people, which can include those with mental disabilities, illnesses or in a vulnerable or distressed state of mind. There is no easily tickable box here, so err on the side of caution. If you feel uncomfortable, you can turn people away purely on the fact you feel they aren’t ready. If the person seems of right and able mind at that point, there’s no reason you can’t read for someone who’s, say, depressed. However, if they’re talking about suicide or something like that, they need a helpline or a therapist, not a Tarot reader. You can also always refund money if you think you shouldn’t have read for someone.

 

  • Never read on medical or legal issues. It puts you in two sticky situations – one, any medical or legal issue that someone is asking a Tarot reader is major enough to cause serious distress, which makes them a vulnerable person, and two, if they take your advice and something goes tits up, guess who’s ass is on the line again? Yep, it’s yours. Even with the ‘not a medical or legal professional’ disclaimer that you should have, I still would not recommend reading on these subjects.

It’s also perfectly okay to have a personal blacklist. I won’t read for questions about death, the dying or other sorts of spirits. I won’t do it for personal reasons, and it’s okay for you to have your own blacklist, whatever that looks like. So long as you tell your clients before they book.

Practice on a friend

I’m sure you’ve practiced your skills on friends before, but ask a friend to sit through a more ‘professional’ reading and give you some honest feedback. Perhaps convince a friend of a friend to sit for you and give you that feedback in exchange for a free reading, so you can ‘blind’ read on subjects that you don’t previously know about.

It’s okay to have a cheat sheet!

There’s nothing wrong with having a handy sheet with some keywords on it in case you suddenly draw a blank, or wonder if you’re reading a card correctly.

However, there’s a difference between quickly glancing at a sheet to confirm a hunch, to fumbling around in your bag for a guidebook or grubby bit of paper.

A nice laminated or decorated sheet somewhere around the table looks fine, and you can just say ‘Just checking a hunch,’ grab the paper, read it, and move back on with the reading. It’s as simple as that.

Be prepared to answer questions about Tarot

Your clients will be at varying levels of Tarot knowledge, so expect different questions and be able to answer them. A good background on what Tarot is, where it comes from (it’s not where you think), and how to use it. Extensive knowledge is not required, but it is a good asset. You love Tarot, so why would you not research stuff?

Be prepared to answer questions about every occult subject under the sun – also know that ‘I don’t know’ is an okay answer

People are at different knowledge levels of Paganism/witchcraft/Tarot etc, so expect them to expect you to know Everything about Everything. Don’t assume that just total newbies will ask you stuff, or get stuff wrong – I know readers of 30+ years’ experience not know the difference between Wicca and witchcraft.

Before the Internet, you struggled to find information about non-Christian religions, so misinformation was rife, and there is a certain publishers who will literally publish anything, regardless of whether it’s true. So, rumours abound, and it’s good to get a handle on a few of the common ones.

Again, you can’t be expected to know everything, but expect to be asked. ‘I don’t know,’ is a perfectly acceptable answer. There’s also ‘That’s interesting. I’ll look into that,’ which is useful whether or not you genuinely do find whatever your client has said interesting.

Listen to the client.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had someone come up to me and complain about a Tarot reader or psychic telling them they’re going to become pregnant, when they’re infertile or in a committed relationship with someone without the correct genitals for that whole shebang.  Or their husband will leave them for the other woman when he’s actually dead or something like that. Heard it all, and I wish I hadn’t.

Even on the small things, listen to the client when they’re in front of you. They probably know their own lives better than you do! If someone is correcting you, that’s good. That means you weren’t wrong on the other stuff, and now they trust you enough to engage, correct you and ask questions and work with you, which is precisely what you want from a client, especially repeat ones. No Tarot reader is going to be 100% right. I think the best of us could probably aim for 80% with hard work and effort. But never take a correction as an insult, and always listen to the client. If you’ve told them their sister will betray them, and they say they haven’t a sister, consider the cards might be referring to a close female relationship, rather than a sister. Don’t let it throw you.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your professional Tarot readings further, try my 5 Tips for Pro Readers.

Make sure you get your free Tarot Workbook before you leave!

What’s your best tip for a great professional Tarot reading?

Interview with a Witch – Demoiselle Étrange

interview with a witch demoiselle etrangeInterview With a Witch: Demoiselle Étrange 

In this week’s Interview with a Witch I’m talking to Valerie from Demoiselle Étrange, about the different streams of income you can use to build your business.

interview with a witch demoiselle etrange

My Story

“I wanted to share my vision of magic; in a simple and modern way.

I like logic in spirituality and believe it is possible to be connected to nature in your everyday life.

My personal blog became an online store and slowly turned into a full time project, with classes and services.

Our classes are offered on downloadable PDF files, since most of our clients are from Europe.

It is more convenient that way!

These classes are the results of our research and studies on various theme of the craft.

We love to gather information and simplify, so it is easier to understand the theory. We also prepare exercises so our students can put their knowledge into practice.

Our mission is to turn magic into something logical and accessible. Our goal is to help people develop their inner power and connect with nature!”

interview with a witch demoiselle etrange

As well as their website Demoiselle Étrange also has an Etsy shop.

“I love making amulets, gris-gris and talismans!

Each of them are inspired by other cultures and traditions, each of them has a story of its own!

The best part of my job is to keep on learning, while sharing and bringing some magic in someone’s life!

interview with a witch demoiselle etrange

It is not for everyone! Even today, people have misconceptions and judgements about the practice.

I think it’s important to have a down-to-earth approach toward people who don’t know much about it, so they can understand better.”

Siobhan’s Advice

Don’t think of your business simply in terms of what you have to sell, whether that’s a book, a candle, or a piece of jewelry. Consider other revenue streams, some of which you build onto what you already have with not much trouble.

Not all of them will work for you, but one or two may slot easily in to what you already do: sell courses, have third party adverts on your website, affiliate marketing or sponsored posts, e-books, Patreon, teaching or speaking. The list is endless.

And advertising needn’t be a dirty word – there are models where you can choose who advertises on your site and how, so you can choose business who you are happy to support and build that advert in a way that suits you and your followers. The best thing to keep in mind when you consider adverts and affiliate marketing, is only to promote the things that you would recommend to other people if you weren’t being paid to do it. 

Want to be featured on Interview with a Witch? Leave a comment below!

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(You can subscribe to my email list here, and visit my Etsy shop here, or check my services pages for more from me.)

 

Reconsidering the Elements: Fire

reconsidering the elements

Reconsidering the Elements: Fire

Fire is typically hailed as the creative and destructive element, but since all other elements also have a claim to creativity, you’re then left with destruction or sexual energy.

Which is honestly a bit of a cop out, because then you end up with some very strange Tarot readings with only those two answers for fire!

To understand fire’s role in magic and metaphysics, I think we first need to understand fire’s role in human culture.

I truly believe that without fire, we would have led the same existence as other animals. Without fire, it’s harder to digest animal and plant matter. Without fire, it’s harder to make effective tools. Without fire, it’s harder to stay warm. Without fire, there is no home. Without fire, grasslands would become ineffective and diseased, cutting us off from our main food sources. Without fire, you can’t see in the dark.

Fire is human beings taking something from nature, and controlling it.

The only other beings on Earth to use fire are certain plants, who wait for the grasslands to die, become hot, and eventually flame up, then causing these plants to spread their seeds. They require fire, but they don’t control it.

I think controlling fire the way we do is a purely human idea.  Many corvids use tools to get what they want, sometimes even making a tool from something in their environment to aid them. But they don’t use fire. Elephants use tools and higher reasoning, so do chimps, even dolphins.

But none of them use fire.

There are so many myths and legends about fire, from all corners of the globe. Think Prometheus, think Brigid.

Fire is the bit of us that sits behind the eyes, that tells us to push. To explore . To take the other road. Fire is the voice that whispers ‘What if?’

And sometimes, of course, fire leads us astray. Fire is our greatest ally, but also our greatest enemy.

Without control, fire will destroy us. It can wipe away whole cities if left unchecked.

And that, I think, is what fire represents in Tarot, magic, and metaphysics. Control, or the lack of it.

Control

If we control fire, we can live in luxury, with warm air, hot water, hot food and items made of metal, glass and plastic. We can achieve all our dreams with that voice that screams out for more, better, faster.

But if we don’t control fire, we die in agony, with everything we’ve built in ashes.

Fire needs respect, and if you don’t give it, it will run away and take down everything you love.

Fire is something almost unquantifiable in magic terms, it is a process, not a thing. And that is what makes it special.

If you want to work with fire, consider whether you are ready. Consider why you want to work with fire.  Any magic that you want to enact great change will benefit from the use of fire.

But of course, use it wisely.

(You can subscribe to my email list here, and visit my Etsy shop here, or check my services pages for more from me.)

5 Tips for Professional Tarot Readers

 

tips for professional Tarot readers

Five Tips for Professional Tarot Readers

Know Your Strengths

Are you better at distance or in-person readings?

Which would you like to concentrate on?

Which subjects do you prefer to read on? Which won’t you read on?

What are you best at?

You need to clarify this for yourself, so you can focus your efforts on providing the services you are good at.

You also need to spell this out for your potential customers. You can’t give everyone what they want. It’s better to serve a small audience well, than serve a large audience poorly.

You want repeat custom, not bad feedback, right?

Curate Your Content

No Tarot reader can read on every spread under the sun.

Even if you could, no buyer – especially someone new to Tarot, is going to be able to sift through 50+ spreads to find the one they want.

Most readers could stand to lose about 20% of what they offer. Are two of your readings/products very similar? Lose one or combine them.

Make sure your descriptions describe precisely what each spread (or product, or type of reading) is, does, and what it’s for.

What’s Your Style?

Another reader once told me she had all of her banners and promotional material made pink, to make her appear softer and kinder.

She worked in the MBS side of the Tarot world, so her readings were simple, and soft and kind, working more about building up the client in a therapy like way. Obviously, she wanted the attract the sort of client that likes that sort of reading.

However, personality wise, she had a very commanding presence and was quite brusque and appeared quite stern at first impression. This did not encourage her preferred clients to purchase from her.

So, she had all of her physical promotional material made pink. She said this was to soften her harsh aura, but whether you agree with that or not, your branding says something about you.

What does your shop, website or promotional material say about you? Do you like or agree with it?

What’s In it For the Buyer?

Most buyers couldn’t give a toss about all the fancy Tarot facts you know. If they did, they would buy a book on Tarot, not a Tarot reading.

What’s in it for them?

What, precisely, are they buying for their money? What can you tell them?

Why should they pick you, and not another reader?

Nobody really cares if you’re the Sixth High Priestess of Saturn’s Third Moon, if that isn’t going to get them a better product for their money.

The Law, and Third Party Guidelines

Make sure you are always acting in accordance with the law, and operating within the terms and conditions of any third-party websites you are hosted on, like Etsy or eBay. Etsy can and will shut your shop down without warning if they suspect you’ve been breaking the rules. And that’s fine, because it’s their site, and you agreed to their terms.

I don’t need to say that getting into trouble with the law could be so much worse. The law regarding Tarot reading and similar activities differs from country to country, and probably state to state or area to area in larger countries as well. Check your local laws, and check them again.

The deck pictured is the Wildwood Tarot and you can buy it here (affiliate link): The Wildwood Tarot

Did you enjoy these tips for professional Tarot readers? Please leave me a comment with yours!

Make sure you get your free Tarot Workbook before you leave!

Pop Culture Magic: 3 Non-Pagan Books That Changed My Practice

pop culture magic

Pop Culture Magic – 3 Non – Pagan Books That Changed My Spiritual Practice

Or, in the case of the first two, started it all.

Pop Culture Magic should not be such a dirty word. Magicians have been inspired by works of fiction, and vice versa, since the beginning of time.

Indeed, can we even separate one from the other?

Here are the three non-Pagan books that changed my world forever.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

This is one of his YA novels, but don’t let that put you off. The best children’s novels have a power beyond that of the best adult ones. This book not only changed my practice, but my life. Tiffany Aching is a normal girl, with normal hair and normal eyes, who is allowed to be a normal girl. She makes catastrophic mistakes, and has flaws, flights of fancy, friends, fights and falls. Tiffany is that heroine that is denied so many little (and big) girls, someone real, someone flawed, someone good who isn’t always nice.

That has a power all of it’s own, but it’s the way magic works in Discworld that has always grabbed me, or rather the way witchcraft works. Tiffany’s main flaw is her selfishness, and she realises that it’s also her strength, and it’s where her magic comes from. For too long women have been discouraged from being self-centered, yet here is a book that applauds it, and gives it the power it deserves.

Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

Yes, another Discworld novel, but this time one of the adult ones. I picked this one out of all of the witches book he wrote, because of one scene in particular, but all of his witches books influenced my practice beyond measure. From the non-reliance on special tools because of the scene where they raise a demon in a washtub with a scrubbing board and a stick in (I think) Lords and Ladies, or the distinct difference between herbal witchcraft and doctoring, headology and psychology, witchcraft and actual magic. Pratchett taught me that the measure of a witch is knowing when to use magic, and when to use cunning.

I chose Carpe Jugulum in particular, because of a scene between Granny Weatherwax, who is a witch, and a priest. Granny remarks that there are no shades of grey, only black and white ‘that’s got a bit grubby’. She also says that all the sins of the world start with the worst sin, and that is thinking of people as things. In later books, he gives a railway train a soul, and reminds us that we should treat everything as a person first, and a thing second.

Harry Potter

 Harry Potter taught me many things, but it influenced my practice by teaching me that the greatest magic is love. That doing the right thing isn’t easy, but you can find it on the edge between selfishness and selflessness.

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Top 5 Best Pagan Books

top five Pagan booksTop Five Pagan Books

These are in no particular order, one, because they are all very good, and two, because they deal with such vastly different subjects it would be unfair to rank them.

(Also, the first link in each, the actual name of the book is a link direct to that book on Amazon where you can buy it. It is an affiliate link which means I earn a tiny commission from Amazon should you buy anything through that link.)

  1. Pagan Planet: Being, Believing & Belonging in the 21Century edited by Nimue Brown. Full review here. I’ve chosen this one, because it features so many varied  viewpoints on what it is to be Pagan, that there isn’t a person on the planet who won’t learn something new or be offered a new way of looking at the world when they read this book. This book has articles not just from writers, but from other prominent Pagans, activists and clergy and both. This is a must read for anyone who feels like they’ve lost their way – there are so many ways out there, you can find one to suit you or create your own.
  2.  A Druid’s Tale by Cat Treadwell. Full review here. Cat shares what it’s like to be a Druid as she sees it, and it’s a wonderful tale, full of inspiration and lessons. Useful not only for people on a druidic path, but for anyone considering a clergy or professional religious role in a great many religions, I think.
  3. A Deed Without a Name: Unearthing the Legacy of Traditional Witchcraft by Lee Morgan. Full review here. Winning the award for longest title on my bookshelf, this book has really opened my eyes to folklore and folk magic, and allowed me to investigate historical material more thoroughly. This is a book I go back to, time and time again, for things even beyond witchcraft – I’m doing some research for some folklore articles I’m writing, and yet again this book turns out to be useful.
  4. Pagan Dreaming: The magic of altered consciousness by Nimue Brown. Full review here. It’s several months on from my first reading of this book , and I still can’t believe just how much it’s helped me. Following it has not only given me greater clarity and an actual relationship with my dreams, but has also given me my health back. Being able to to properly analyse not only my dreams but also my sleep has allowed a doctor to finally find out why I am tired, and now I have my life back. This is the only book I’ve ever read which emphasized and explained that to work with dreams you need to work with sleep, and how important sleeping actually is. I would recommend no other book on the subject.
  5.   The Book of English Magic by Richard Heygate. This book is not really designed for practioners, or for academics, which is why I love. It is a tour of English magic from as far back as we can reach, to the Chaos Magic of the 1980s, and contains just about every flavour of English magic I can think of. There are also interviews with all kinds of magic users, from witches to magicians to Wiccans, as well as simple tutorials to try out all kinds of magic. My copy is almost falling apart from overuse and it’s full of notes and scribblings too.

(Want more? You can subscribe to my email list here, and visit my Etsy shop here, or check my services pages for more from me. If you’d like to help support me, please consider becoming a Patron! You get all kinds of cool things for doing so.)