The Voodoo That You Do: Why I Voo-Don’t and a Spell to Papa Legba

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  This is probably the best I can do for now.

Let’s address the elephant in the room: I’m fucking tired.  The burnout is due to a few things, such as politics, dealing with people post-election, work, and the free-floating COVID-19 anxiety around here.  Oh, and the holidays aren’t exactly my thing.  

I’m usually like a taller, less hairy Lorax, but you get the idea.  

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, I did draw cards for the weekly readings, but I just couldn’t get the articles done.  As a peace offering, please accept this story time before we get back to business as usual.

Anyone who has been reading my posts for a bit can probably tell that I’ve done my fair share of spell work.  Although I try to talk a little bit about how I came to know some of these deities, I tend to only focus on my positive experiences.  This might be because I want to make magick and witchcraft more approachable, since paganism influences the way we think about psychology and spirituality in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.  (I’m looking at you, vision boards, Easter, Christmas, and “amen”.)  

I may scoff at the ignorance and shitty behavior individuals and groups engage in, but not the paths they walk.  Their karma is none of my fucking business unless they act in ways that affect me.  That said, voodoo has been an elephant in my spiritual room for over half my life.  The short part of this long story is, I had a couple downright scary experiences with voodoo and pretty much chose to put that skeleton in my closet as a result.  

Until about six weeks ago.

Like all of my crazy metaphysical trips, this one started with weird dreams.  The subject of the dream was always a relationship I sabotaged, a situation with gossipping opportunists I have known, or unhinged authority figures.  I have enough experience with all of these things to write a coffee table book, but aaaannnnyyyyhoo, let’s get back to the point.  

I chalked these dreams up to some old patterns I need to work through and focused on my gratitude for the present.  However, each dream got more and more vivid.  The other people and situations involved got more and more realistic.  It was becoming like The Tell-Tale Heart inside my skull.

Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub…

All of the fears, shame, guilt, insecurity, anger, and powerlessness in those situations reverberated in my ears like earwax with a subwoofer.  The sticky, slimy, and suffocating feeling followed me around no matter what I did.  What’s more, the energy around it felt like a dust cloud of chaos.  I couldn’t feel any patterns or predictability, just an overwhelming sense that something was about to explode.  

Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub

I used the phone-a-friend option, as I couldn’t hear a damn thing my intuition was trying to say.  She took a deep breath and chuckled.  After a pause, she asked, “Do you remember all the spastic shit you did when you were a baby witch?”

I cringed.

She continued, “Mmm hmmm, we’re talking about that.  Is there a male deity you pissed off or quit working with?”

I gulped.  Yes, yes there was.

Why I Voo-Don’t

I first wiped the crust out of my third eye when I was a teenager.  It wasn’t much.  Maybe I would read three books on developing intuition in a weekend.  Or maybe I would draw Celtic runes on paper.  I had crazy prophetic dreams and was the creepy girl who answered questions that weren’t asked, but I was pretty much dabbling at that point.

Good times.

Long story short, Teenage Me was practicing remote viewing whilst listening to a friend talk about her relationship issues when she mentioned burning letters.  Some witch friend of her boyfriend’s who happened to do a lot of African root magic and voodoo was telling her about it.  (I learned later that burning rituals aren’t exclusive to voodoo, but I digress.)  Her quick instructions were:

  • Write down an emotional letter to the target
  • Smear it with a couple streaks of a significant perfume or oil. 
  • Read the letter.
  • Focus on your intention.
  • Burn that shit.  

She wondered if the both of us should coordinate a burning ritual from our respective houses to heal her relationship.  Not knowing shit from shine-ola regarding the pagan basics—setting intentions, grounding, protecting your space, and not letting pure emotion dictate a spell—I agreed.  We wrote the letter together, agreed to do the damn thing at midnight, and agreed she would not have contact with him for the next couple days.  One of us agreed to that one, anyway.

Buuuttt I’m not bitter, so let’s continue.

I had my letter done, but I couldn’t figure out what perfume to use.  I wasn’t a major perfume person and it felt weird to use my perfume because dude wasn’t my boyfriend (thank god).  *ahem*  Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, I decided to use this lotion my friend mentioned she liked as well.  I followed the third hand instructions and made three smears on the letter after I read it in a dramatic, impassioned stage whisper.  (Not waking the parents is key.)  I held the letter in my hands and breathed as much emotion as I could into the letter.

Please find her.  Please see her.  Please listen to her.  Please don’t be an asshole for once…

I put this missive into the heaviest, microwave-proof pottery bowl I could find in the kitchen and lit a match.  I was able to light a couple corners of the letter before the flame almost caught up to my chipped nail polish.  I know my friend told me to close my eyes and visualize the smoke carrying my friend’s desire to her boyfriend, but Teenage Me was pretty terrified of fire.  

Don’t feel bad, Mowgli.  Teenage Me would’ve disappointed King Louie too.

So I kept my eyes open as I visualized, each pop and color change of the flame driving my anxiety through the roof.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a shadow in my closet.  My cat was on the bed, also staring at the shadow.  My breath slowed to heavy inhales and exhales.  Radiant heat rolled down my hands, seeming to feed the popping flame in the bowl.  There was a sludge-like feeling behind my eyes pushing against my skull.  My head was pounding.

Over here, child.

I couldn’t see the shadow, but I could feel it smiling.  Nothing evil, just the amused grin of an uncle figure, watching a small child trying to ride a two-wheeler for the first time.  I stared back at the shadow, but it was gone.

I got so freaked out that I poured water on the 80% burned letter, cleaned up my shit, and went to bed.

My friend called me the next day, frantically asking if I burned the letter.  I left out a few key details, but said I totally did what I thought we both decided to do.  

“So, um, did you do it?”

She got quiet, except for her breathing.

Duuudddeee, you called him, didn’t you?”

More silence.

“Whyyyyyyy?!”

She sighed, “I don’t know.  I started burning the letter, but…  I just couldn’t, you know?”

“So what happened?”

“He just started freaking out at midnight, just started yelling and screaming…”

I went cold and decided never to burn a letter again.  In fact, other than tarot cards and a couple vengeful moments, I left spells alone for several years.  That’s not to say I didn’t have potential guides approach me.  There’s a pesky recruitment processes all baby witches know quite well.  You see, being a burgeoning witch is like being a star athlete in high school.  The more talent you have, the more you attract college recruiters.  Some of these recruiters are from good schools, others…  not so much.  

Choose wisely, young witch-thletes.  Research all scholarships that come your way before signing anything.  This will go on your permanent record.

Fast forward like 15 years.  Thanks to a perfect storm of financial failure, moving back in with my folks, a break up, and a couple recent deaths, I was not exactly in my right mind.  My fellow OG psychics will tell you that the Universe sees this as the exact moment to open your third eye. 

Maybe one day I’ll open up about how I found out love spells are a horrible idea, but I’ll give you a snippet of why I don’t do voodoo or love spells.  Yes, the formal voodoo spell I tried was an attraction spell.  Here are the bullet points of why I decided voodoo was a good idea:

  • I was out of my damn mind with grief, anxiety, and depression.
  • I felt like a failure with nothing else to lose.  I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, or what I even could do with my life.  I believed I was talentless, not too intelligent, less than everyone and everything, and possibly incapable of ever making my life work.
  • I felt completely alone and the recent deaths left me with a paralyzing fear of dying alone.
  • I felt desperate for a victory.  It didn’t matter what area of life it was in.
  • I felt completely unlovable and needed to run from that feeling.
  • Remember what I said about recruitment?  The potential guides were getting bolder. 

Flash back to the part of my story where I sensed a kindly shadow in my closet.  That shadow came back, only the amused amorphous uncle followed me everywhere.  His appearances started coming with the smell of cigar smoke and a powdery perfume smell.  The scent was like a combination of baby powder and a siren song.  I couldn’t place it.

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, I left a browser open at home so I could get some water.  When I returned, there was an open Google search that brought me to Rev. Samantha Kaye and her crew at SpellMaker.com.  The shadow grinned at me from the corner, as if to encourage me to click around the site.  I complied, my spine tingling the whole time.

While I was waiting for my spell kit to arrive, the shadow’s presence got stronger.  I would also have weird coincidences, usually in the form of meeting people who knew about voodoo.  It turns out the shadow was Papa Legba, or the voodoo loa who acts as a gatekeeper between the human and spirit worlds.

His presence was never evil or threatening.  In fact, I found him quite warm and humorous.  Legba would show up in my dreams, smoking his stereotypical cigar and doling out nonjudgmental advice.  I remember having some great conversations with Legba about choices I would have to make.  He never once talked about my relationships, which I found weird because the spell kit I bought was an attraction one.  Just that I needed to choose wisely.

(SIDE NOTE: My rapport with Legba ended up being part of my inspiration for the character of Jeremy Brandt in Water Torture.  I don’t think I ever told Legba how much I appreciated his presence during that time in my life.)

By the time my kit arrived, I felt totally comfortable working with Legba.  So comfortable, in fact, that I totally glossed over the part of my research that showed loas are a little more, ummm, hands-on than other guides.  My first sign of this was the oil in the kit smelling exactly like the smell surrounding Legba.  Also, voodoo spells feel different than other spells I’ve done.  Normal spells set up a teacher-student dynamic between you and the deity.  Sometimes the teacher is a laissez faire Professor Snape type and sometimes the teacher is more motherly and kind.  Either way, there are boundaries.  You know where you end and they begin during the spell process.  Voodoo loas tend to get so enmeshed that it feels like they’re in your bones, driving your hands, heart, and emotions.  I found that doing the spell made me even more emotional, which was catapulting me into situations I normally would have avoided.  I also noticed that I would lose time and would operate on auto pilot at several points during the day.

I’m not an expert, but this seems to be due to voodoo spells drawing on emotional energy more than other types of magickal spells.  The more emotion you put into the spell, the stronger the energy behind the spell.  I had emotional energy to spare during that time, as my friend’s boyfriend certainly did back in the day.  Unfortunately, emotions are unconscious things.  You only get the tip of the iceberg when one is triggered, so an emotion-based spell is a recipe for all sorts of chaos and things going sideways.  Which is essentially what happened here.

I need to be concise, but I will say the turning point of this story was when a couple French dudes left me a voicemail, repeatedly asking, “Do you like zha-coo-zeeee?  We have zee hot tub.”  (I never gave them my real name or a phone number, btw.)

Almost 20 years after I buried the candle nubs from that kit and ran screaming, I can honestly say my time with Legba taught me a lot.  His methods were a little too chaotic for me and I’m not someone who likes others driving my emotional and spiritual car.  However, he pushed me out of my comfort zone, got me back into spellwork, and forced me to take control of my psychic gifts.  And he’s a great conversationalist.  I’m just the type of witch who believes spiritual possession is nine-tenths of the law and am unwilling to share my incarnate shell.

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THIS PART:  I am not saying voodoo is bad.  I am not saying those who practice voodoo are bad.  Papa Squirrel said it best in this post when he cautioned against thinking there is only one correct way.  Seriously, you’re not some metaphysical Highlander.  There’s no need to intellectually and spiritually decapitate others for having different beliefs.  What I AM saying is, voodoo wasn’t for me.  I have too much free-floating mental and emotional garbage to make it work.  I also prefer the more traditional student-teacher relationship between me and my guides.  What I am also saying is, proceed with caution and do your research if you think voodoo is your jam.  (SIDE NOTE: Proceed with caution and do your research before doing any spell.)

So You Want to Work With Legba?  My Best Advice

Voodoo spells work totally differently than any other spells I can teach you on this blog.  Please keep that in mind.  I won’t be offended if you seek out a more experienced—and less anxious—teacher.  In fact, do yourself a favor and order your supplies from SpellMaker.com (not sponsored).  Their team is great for “tech support” and gets back to you quickly whenever you ask a question.  They really are there to help.  

Legba is kind of the Saint Peter of voodoo, since he’s in charge of the gate between the living and the deceased.  He is also associated with Saint Anthony, the patron saint of finding lost things and those who feel lost.  Here are a few things Legba can help with:

  • Legba can push you off your emotional fence, forcing you to make a move.
  • Legba is a great friend to anyone at a crossroads.
  • Call on Legba to bring you good fortune, whilst protecting you from that which would do you harm.
  • Need some evil spirits out of your home?  Call on Papa Legba.

Legba is pretty easy to keep happy, but expect him to bring the chaos if you don’t give him the recognition he wants.  Here are some things that Legba likes:

**Most of the Etsy links in the above section are sponsored.  I am an Etsy affiliate because they honestly provide spiritual products that are made with love at a fair price.

PLEASE NOTE:  Voodoo is a legit religion, just like Wicca or Christianity.  I know the supplies can get a little pricy.  Feel free to get the spell kits, as they combine everything you might need.  If you feel like voodoo is your path and you don’t want to shell out a zillion dollars, then you may want to consider making your own supplies when possible.  Making your own supplies will help you strengthen your bond with your chosen guide.

A Quick Spell to Legba

What You Need (see previous section for specific products and resources):

  • An offering candle
  • Incense
  • An offering in a small bowl (I suggest candy, pennies, and old skeleton keys)
  • A shrine or shrine art
  • An amulet of Legba
  • A small cup of rum
  • A cigar
  • Oil created for Papa Legba

What You Will Do:

  1.  PROTECT YOUR SPACE.  Clean your home, sage the crap out of it, visualize your body and home in a bubble of protective white light, and repeat the following three times: “I invoke the grace of the divine, which fills my body and my space with light.  Light dissolves all darkness.”
  2. Light your candle, incense, and your cigar.  Take a couple puffs from the cigar, if you’re so inclined.
  3. Anoint your offering bowl, your amulet, and the shrine with the oil.
  4. Center yourself and focus on the shrine art or altar.  As you do, invite Papa Legba to open the gates.  Use this invocation I got from SpellBindingSisters.com (repeat three times):  

Papa Legba, open the gates. Your children are waiting.

Papa Legba, open the gates. Your children await.

Papa Legba, open the gates. Your children are waiting.

Papa Legba, open the gates. Your children await.

Papa Legba, open the gates, Your children are waiting.

Papa Legba, open the gates. Your children await.

  1.  Ask Legba for his help.  Talk to him like you would an old friend or compassionate relative.  Invite him to smoke the cigar, take your rum, and take your offering.  The Luna Rose Diary has some great advice on this.
  2. Thank Legba sincerely and ask him to close the gates.  This is as simple as saying, “I appreciate your presence and help.  Papa Legba, please close the gates for me.”  Not surprisingly, SpellMaker.com has some great advice on how it’s done.
  3. PROTECT YOUR SPACE AGAIN.  See Step 1.
  4. Repeat the spell for three weeks.
  5. Bury the remnants of the candles or throw them into a body of water.
  6.   Pay respects to a deceased loved one—or any grave—by leaving flowers on their grave.

PLEASE READ:  I am not doing private readings for the foreseeable future.  I have way too much going on to create content and be an effective reader.  Please understand, this isn’t personal.  I just need to clean my own mental and emotional house for now.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast displaced thousands of innocent pets.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest political collab.  He’s coming back next month, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

Tarot Reading of the Week: 10/27/20 – 11/3/20 AND 11/3/20 – 11/10/20

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  Sorry to be so slow.

WARNING:  This is the part of my weekly post where I talk about some pop-psychological and tangentially metaphysical thing.  My belief is I’m not the only one noticing this and I wonder how it will affect the New Normal (™).  I am doing this in the hopes that it is useful for someone.  If you are not that someone, you are more than welcome to skip to the reading.  Please accept my humble apologies if you found this preachy.

In a matter of hours, we in the U.S. will have the much anticipated 2020 presidential election.  Yeah, I already voted.  There’s no reason to state which candidate I chose or why because I feel like I’ve covered this.  But this does remind me of why I became fastidious about making sure I was on the vote-by-mail list for every election.  I call this my Okay Boomer story.

The year was 2016.  On the morning of the election, I remembered that I had not yet voted because my mail-in ballot was sitting on the counter.  This was the year a huge number of polling places were getting closed.  (SIDE NOTE: That number has grown exponentially over the last four years.)  I grabbed my ballot and groaned in annoyance.

As I drove to the closest polling place—a Methodist church—I tried to think of ways to make it more pleasant.  I thought, “Isn’t there a Starbucks down the street from that church?  I could drop my ballot in the little box and caffeinate myself.”

Continuing to repeat my mantra of “it’ll be fine,” I pulled into the overcrowded church parking lot.  Anxiety ballooned in my stomach like rancid bread dough.

It’ll be fine.  It’ll be fine—did that bitch just cut me off…?  Breathe.  It’ll be fine.

I took my fiftieth deep breath and took my place at the end of the quarter mile line.  It’ll be fine.  It’ll be fine.  It’ll be—-what the fuck is that piercing noise?

An older lady’s cackle rode into my air space on a cloud of her menthol smoke.  An air of snide rebellion hit my periphery before her MAGA hat and giant roll of stickers.  She sized up everyone in line and flitted to each person with any Trump or military paraphernalia on their person.  I should also note that she would give ample side-eye and up-and-down looks to anyone—me included—who looked like they might vote blue.  It’ll be fine.  It’ll be fine.  It’ll be fi—note taken, you crispy troll.

This bitter, crackly woman sidled up to each of her brethren with a pointed, yet sickeningly sweet, “Voting for Trump?  Want a sticker?”

She and her (mostly white and older) ilk smugly cackled together about how they would finally be represented, how they could finally stop being so PC, and how much Millennials were too damned soft to function and need to shut up about how the little shits are capable of surviving a zombie apocalypse.   (SIDE NOTE:  I’m about 10 years too old to be a Millennial, but it rubs me the wrong way when the generations that raised them shit all over them.  Yeah, they can be kinda self-righteous and obnoxious, but what was your role in creating this situation?)

It’ll be fine.  It’ll be fine.  It’ll be fine…

I tried to stay as invisible as possible while continuing to eavesdrop.  I’m not sure which hit me harder, my sheer disgust or the irony of these older people acting like shitty popular high school bully stereotypes.  Part of me also felt stuck and sad.  I didn’t know any of these older people, vets, or self-identified people on disability (yeah, they got that personal), but it didn’t matter.  These people were the same age as my parents, teachers, or friends and relatives that I took direction from at pivotal times in my life.  You know, the people who taught me to care about others and not be a judgmental sack of crap.  People from the generation that wrote this song:

These also could’ve been the people I work with (coworkers or clients).  It was becoming abundantly clear to me that the only way to maintain respect for anyone in this line was to pretend they weren’t there.  As the line moved closer to the church, I went from my frail mantra to a full-on energy shielding visualization in my head.  It was necessary because the venomous MAGA bitch fest seemed to escalate as we got closer to the church lobby.  The cackling and comments grew louder and angrier through the sea of emphysema coughs.  The line eventually moved close enough to the lobby that I could see a hand-painted mural, complete with bright colors, smiling painted daisies, and the following Bible verse:

1 Timothy 4:12 ICB

You are young, but do not let anyone treat you as if you were not important. Be an example to show the believers how they should live. Show them with your words, with the way you live, with your love, with your faith, and with your pure life.

Thanks to the ultimate Universal tension-breaker mural, my spontaneous guffaw blew any invisibility I thought I had.  The hissing, cackling, comments, and raspy coughs stopped so the line could cast an angry gaze at the heathen bitch who dared laugh out of turn.  The bitter crispies continued to look right through me—thank goodness—but I’m pretty sure I turned beet red.  

I originally planned to tell this story last week, then launch into a few meditation questions about anger being a secondary emotion this week.  However, this story was incredibly draining and dreadful to get onto paper.  It wasn’t because I embarrassed myself because that’s pretty much a daily event.  It was more because although I’ve always felt an undercurrent of nastiness and bullshit from this crowd, I managed to find a way to put it far enough on the back burner to coexist with them.  That all goes out the window once a presidential candidate validates it.

All I can really say is, please watch this video about another point in American history where we got fucked over by our piety, fear of losing power, making emotional decisions, letting anger rule us, and not looking at objective facts:

When you’re done with thinking, you need to watch Seattle Chef Joe’s Facebook Videos.  Please check out his FB page here.  

As always, I have to mention the MindBody/Wellness Research and Science Network group on Facebook.  The chick who runs it takes an evidence-based approach to holistic topics.  I appreciate her common sense-meets-spirituality way of doing things.

I’m no expert, but this may help:

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, Onto the Reading, Shall We…?

I asked the cards what we need to know about the week of 10/27/20 – 11/3/20 and I got: King of Wands (fire sign male, visionary, someone who does not suffer fools gladly, a warning against making hasty judgments, rash decisions, a passionate and loyal person, and someone who does not want to be restricted); Queen of Wands (fire sign female, possibly narcissism or self-importance, someone who speaks their mind and knows what they want, a creative and generous person, possibly attention-seeking, needing admiration or praise, and possibly an overbearing person); Ace of Wands (number 1 or 11, a surge of energy, creativity and intuition, starting new projects, new business ventures, optimism, hope for the future, and the need to expand one’s horizons); and the High Priestess (number 2, stillness, experiencing deep feelings, the need to deepen intuition, the need to be resourceful, independence, the need to be self-sufficient, loneliness or isolation, and the need to use down time constructively).  Two things stand out to me about this reading.  First, it starts with the King and Queen of Wands.  This can mean a few things.  You can take the King and Queen to mean you will be interacting with a married couple of some importance—like your parents—this week.  If not a married couple, it feels like business partners who have some sort of position of authority.  This couple or these partners are giving me a judgmental or defensive vibe.  It doesn’t feel like a true interaction, as they are mainly in it for themselves.  They’re coming into this interaction with you prepared to judge and possibly shame you for some petty stuff.  However, the High Priestess tells us that if you can take the objective observer role, you will disarm whatever intense, authoritative energy this King and Queen represent.  The other major theme in this spread is there is not a weak card in it.  We have two court cards (King and Queen), an Ace, and a Major Arcana card.  The Ace of Wands tells me this week is pivotal because it marks the beginning of a new project or pattern.  How you react to what’s thrown at you will determine how positive your next phase will be.  On a strange note, the project indicated by the Ace of Wands next to the High Priestess could signify you being inspired by your observations.  This would be a good week to write down your stray inspirations and make note of any themes.  I feel like although these observations will be based on things you’re passionate about, the High Priestess shows you can maintain a certain amount of composure during this planning phase.  

I asked the cards what we need to know about the week of 11/3/20 – 11/10/20 and I got:  King of Swords (air sign male, someone concerned with law and justice, possibly words used as weapons, a clever person, someone who gives good advice, a ruthless person, and the need to use logic to make decisions); Ten of Wands (number 10, martyrdom, burdens, taking on too much responsibility in relationships or at work, one-sided relationships, the need to delegate, physical overexertion, possibly later success, and using one’s burden as an excuse to leave a bad situation); Judgment (number 20, honesty, a fresh start, liberation, recognizing changes that need to be made, possible lifestyle changes, and seeing oneself or an old situation in a new light); and Eight of Wands (number 8, messages, swift action, letters and messages, life is speeding up, and possibly travel).  The King of Swords starts this spread with a bang.  This King is the definition of a double-edged sword.  The King represents someone possibly in the legal or medical field.  He is quick-witted, smart, and observant.  The King of Swords gives great, fair-minded advice.  The King of Swords can also be that sarcastic asshole who knows just how to get to your jugular.  Words are going to hurt this week.  This might also be the week where you decide to confuse being honest with being an abusive piece of shit.  The Ten of Wands feels double-edged in this spread as well.  I feel like the Ten next to our truth-or-candor King shows me you will see the truth about your contribution to situations, especially those relationships where you are giving more than you get.  The Ten shows me you have two choices.  You can either see the situation for what it is and scale back, or you can be a snarky drama queen and make pointed comments about how much you’re suffering.  The Ten is also a major warning against making excuses and letting your limitations define you, especially because it is next to Judgment.  The Judgment card is powerful here because it underscores the truth being shown to you, as indicated by the King.  Judgment also is a card of having your burdens lifted and getting a fresh start because you have seen the light.  If last week is learning through observation, this week will bring you new information via electronic communication.  The light bulb will most likely switch on due to a text, email, letter, or phone call.  I feel like although the intent of the communication is to answer a direct question, you will unintentionally get some serious intel on a situation you’ve been wondering about for a while.  The situation feels like tug-of-war and Judgment tells me you now have permission to drop the rope.  The Eight of Wands strengthens the quick communication vibe from the Judgment card.  Any communication or messages implied by the Eight of Wands tends to be literal, as opposed to universal signs.  This week will be a giant You Are Here sign.  You will know exactly where you stand.  Your job is to keep your mindset neutral and do what you have to do.  The last warning comes from the Eight of Wands, which advocates direct, clear communication.  Don’t breadcrumb anyone or sugarcoat shit in the name of being nice.  You can be respectful without being a pansy.

A quick update on my readings:  I have been asked a few times on Instagram if I have a free reading program for new clients.  Ummm, no.  I used to offer free readings, but please believe me when I say it really didn’t work out for me.  (It worked out so badly that there’s no way in hell I’m going to try giving free readings again.)  I give props to any readers who can make free readings work for them, but I’m not that reader.  I also understand that nobody needs to be paying $40 – $60 for a reading right now.  That’s fair.  Plus there are many other people and organizations—namely animal charities, coronavirus relief charities,Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, NAMI, food banks, and the official George Floyd Go Fund Me pageSo I’m offering $5 one-question mini readings if you donate to:

Here’s what you need to know about the one-question mini readings:

  • Make your $5 donation to any of the above causes.
  • Screenshot me a copy of the receipt with your payment and personal info blurred or crossed out.
  • Send me one question.  I can’t accommodate follow up questions at this time.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast displaced thousands of innocent pets.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest political collab.  He’s coming back next month, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

The Silver Lining is Tarnished: Marshall Delaware and Spicevicious Take on the Question, “Will There be Civil War 2.0?”

*With Super Special Guest, Marshall Delaware

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I updated the news and resource page.  I have updated the disaster hotlines page with some links to online support groups and state-specific stuff.  Sorry to be so slow.

(Another) DISCLAIMER:  Any and all information presented in this article is for satire, educational, and entertainment purposes ONLY.  There are a ton of hyperlinks in this article for you to get a little more context.  You really need to research these issues for yourself before coming to any conclusion.  Please, please, please DO NOT make any major life decisions based ONLY on what some psychic says.  Whether you agree or disagree with anything presented here, feel encouraged to research the issues for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

At the beginning of this month, I was doing my thing, focusing on the day-to-day in my little sphere.  This consisted of spending more time than I’d prefer attempting every form of shielding meditation I could think of so I don’t have to acknowledge the existence of the erstwhile Constitution, civil rights, COVID-19, and anti vaxxer immunology experts in my social media circle.  You know, those people on both sides of the spectrum who love to put down experts, but can’t be bothered to cite their sources or run shit through a fact-checker.  Somehow their crystals, hollow “thoughts and prayers”, tone policing, edgelord bullshit, jingoistic pro-‘Murica conservativism, those smug “the media is brainwashing all of you sheeple” types, using their religious beliefs as an excuse to be sanctimonious and shitty, and performative wokeness protect them from empathy and objective logic.  Kudos, I guess.

Does anyone else love the Block and Unfollow functions?

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, there I was just living my unimpressive life when my good buddy Marshall Delaware sent me this rather incendiary article.  In case you don’t feel like clicking on the hyperlink, this particular MSN article discussed how both sides of the political spectrum—the overly sensitive, anti-PC Far Right and the overly woke, anti-Karen Far Left—justify the use of violence if their side loses in November.  Marshall, a Canadian, asked, “So do you think you guys are headed for Civil War 2.0?”

Yeah, Marshy D probably was giggling with glee when he pulled the pin and ran away from this one.  But rest assured, the hole can always be dug deeper.

The tiny little fairy of optimism in my psyche flew onto my shoulder and blew glitter in my face.  The cotton candy-smelling jerk waved her wand and giggled, “It can’t get any worse.  People don’t stay mad forever.”

Fairies clearly don’t take Western Civ or read about the history of conflicts in the Middle East.

My first instinct was to throw a crystal at her and offer her “thoughts and prayers,” buuuttt I want to forge something a little more sustainable in my New Normal (™).  And what if she could kick my ass?  So I acknowledged the parts of her position that I thought were nice and said I would do my own research.

Then Agatha, my Regina George-esque kitten, pounced on her.  I’m still vacuuming pieces of pink gossamer wings from my carpet.

Long story short, the metaphorical Fae vs. Feline grudge match got me thinking.  Can things get any worse?  Can Americans get any angrier?  Can things get back to normal?  Can’t we all just get along?  

Something in me sank.  No we cannot, Rodney King.  No we cannot…

I’m not an expert.  I’m not anyone special.  I’m just some chick with tarot cards and a college education.  However, it may be worthwhile to explore some of these questions.  You’re here, I’m here.  Let’s indulge our existential angst and overthink this shit together, shall we?

Marshall Delaware and I are going to attack this topic with the cards, but there are some things we need to explore before we get to readin’:  First, we need to know what’s pissing us off so badly and how did we get here?  Once we even approach the root of our anger, we should probably do a quick pro and con list of our Old Normal (™) and get real about what worked and what didn’t.  We then need to figure out what we want in our New Normal (™) once we get that sorted.  Are we more concerned with sweeping shit under the rug or asserting our righteousness than we are with finding a more win-win way of being?

What’s Stuck in Your Craw, America?

There’s no way one post can cover the contents of our social craw, so I’m just going to break down some of the issues that are getting our collective panties in a wad.  Again, there’s no fucking way I will cover everything or do more than scratch the surface.

But here we go.  Here is the quick list of things pissing off both sides:

Like I said, I can’t possibly cover everything pissing Americans off this election.  Here are a few issues that deserve Honorable Mention:

  • Freedom of Speech vs. Spreading Misinformation or Hate Speech Online.  Seriously, before you post about BLM being run by terrorists, something being shady about Chelsea Clinton’s NBC job, or that picture of a protester hitting a priest, do your fucking research.  If fact-checking shows this may not be exactly true, don’t fucking post it.  Period.  End of story.  This goes for both sides.
  • Slut Shaming, Fat Shaming, Mom Shaming, #woke Shaming, and Shaming Shaming.  What are you really trying to do with this?  If you feel the need to belittle someone, don’t expect them to respect or like you in the morning.  You did this to yourself.
  • Gun Control.
  • LGBTQ+ Rights.
  • Religious Discrimination and Christian Priviledge.  
  • Medicare, Healthcare, and Obamacare.
  • Abortion.  Most arguments against abortion are religious ones.  See the previous section on the separation of church and state.
  • How Best to Deal with COVID-19.  To mask, or not to mask?  Although most people believe that the coronavirus is a real pandemic, there’s still that 25% who believes in myths and conspiracy theories.  Believe what you want.  I think the issue is when that 25% uses some bullshit about their civil rights to turn those beliefs into a political statement, rather than at least trying to do the considerate thing by taking precautions.

The issues dividing us appear to follow a general pattern.

  • Something pretty bad happens to a person or group of people.  People will do one of the following:  
    • Express sympathy.
    • Use this as an opportunity to inject themselves and their experiences into the situation.  (This one is pretty forgivable, depending on how it’s done.  The people who interject their experiences are either raging braggarts or they’re trying to work shit out on paper.)
    • Tell the world why their suffering is worse, or call the victimized person weak, lazy, whiny, entitled, etc.
    • Pretend they didn’t see anything.
  • Coalitions and movements form.  People either join or start counter movements.
  • People not directly involved with either side take this as an opportunity to shame a “loved one” or acquaintance for holding an opposite belief.

I haven’t laid down any cards, but I’m already feeling less than optimistic for a couple reasons:

  • Nowhere in this pattern am I seeing people coming to an actual understanding.
  • These issues would not have been so divisive if our relationships weren’t so self-centered to begin with and our society wasn’t busy turning us all into narcissists.

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, I need to walk this one off and call in the reinforcements as promised.  Won’t you please…

Is It Time for Civil War 2.0 after the US Election? Marshall Delaware Weighs In on the Chances of this Being a Dark Shift in the Way that Americans Deal with Democratic Outcomes.

Ah, the snow is on the ground up here and the chill wind is blowing sharply. The clock is ticking away, second by second, and the calendar says that in 13 days there’s going to be an election in the US. Democrats are tense even though the polls look quite good for the Biden-Harris ticket. As for the incumbent, well as I’ve previously predicted, he’s done like dinner. 

So why are the Democrats tense? Well, they thought that they had this in the bag in 2016 until the DNC Email Scandal alienated Hillary Clinton from her left-leaning supporters. Now they’re anxiously awaiting the President to come out with one last October Surprise that’ll somehow deny Joe Biden his long-awaited chance to change the curtains in the Oval Office and switch the locks on the doors of the White House. Let me reassure you once again, Trump’s going to lose and here’s why.

Depending on how Machiavellian you are, the pandemic was a great chance for him to lock in that second term. All he had to do was attack this virus with all of the power that he had at his disposal. He could have set up temporary medical centers from New York, to California, to Georgia and then gotten medical personnel from the military to handle the cases as they were being brought in for treatment. He could have ordered lockdowns and set the example for everyone else to follow. In other words, he could have taken this thing seriously and acted in a decisive manner. That would have shown Americans that for all of his fucking around on Twitter, he can actually demonstrate his mettle as a leader when a real crisis happens. That would have made a massive impression not just on Democrats, but on the whole world. It would have changed a lot of people’s opinion of him. People wouldn’t have dared to vote him out in the middle of this crisis if he was doing everything in his power to save lives and to stop this thing from getting worse.

Like I said, you have to be a Francis Underwood-level Machiavellian to appreciate this but the pandemic was his opportunity to shine like a boss and instead he choked in ways that are too numerous to be listed here.

That’s the single biggest reason why he’s going to lose, so you can stop worrying about October Surprises. His bag of tricks is empty. He himself apparently having the virus was the last gasp of a desperate scoundrel. 

But this article isn’t about Trump’s chances of winning. This article is about the potentially violent fallout of him losing. Recent polls indicate that both Democrat and Republican supporters equally believe that it’s okay to resort to violence if their side loses this election. With all of this nonsense talk about QAnon, and the Deep State bullshit that Tucker Carlson is peddling on Fox News, there’s quite a few people on the extreme right who think that Joe Biden is going to steal this election. Joe Biden doesn’t have to steal this victory. It’s going to be handed to him, but there has been quite a lot of sabre-rattling lately to indicate that a lot of people are going to take to the streets and I guess make election night into some kind of a Purge-type situation. Let’s break out the cards and see if that’s actually going to transpire.

King of Swords

4 of Cups (reversed)

The Lovers (reversed)

7 of Swords

10 of cups (reversed)

Naw, there’s nothing here of a disastrous nature. There’s no Tower, there’s no 3 of Swords, there’s no Death (reversed), there’s nothing here to show that the US is about to burn just because a lot of people have lost faith in the incumbent in the wake of the pandemic.

There’ll be some grumbling but not even SCOTUS is going to want to touch the whole QAnon-Deep State shitshow. There’ll be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth on social media but most people on the right are aware that the US has a rather impressive army. It also has a lot of actual state militias, the FBI, the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, and Firearms, and finally Homeland Security. Homeland Security all by itself is tasked with confronting domestic terrorism and the FBI, along with the NSA will provide them with whatever backup intel that they need if people feel like getting uppity because their guy squandered a gift from Satan that would have practically given him Vladimir Putin-level power if he had seized the advantage earlier this year and he started scribbling some serious Executive Orders instead of fucking around on Twitter.

Most members of the alt-right, and even the extreme far right, have enough brain cells between them to realize that they’re seriously outnumbered and outgunned, and with the Patriot Act, along with the NDAA in play, home-grown whackjobs can be renditioned if they try to mount some kind of an insurrection. It’s easier for them to bitch on social media and it’s a lot safer. People in the US can still be executed for treason, just ask the Rosenbergs. All they did was pass on nuclear secrets to the Russians and they ended up riding the lightning. Or better yet, ask Timothy McVeigh. I’m sure he’s some kind of an extreme right-wing martyr but that didn’t stop him from getting the needle after he bombed that federal building in Oklahoma City.

Biden and Harris are going to win, and the transfer of power should be a fairly uneventful transition come January. Trump’s real problems are going to begin at that point when his financial dealings are finally exposed, especially if Melania files for a divorce before the spring of ’21. That’s another article though for another time, like say Valentine’s Day.

Anyhoo, this is Marshall Delaware tellin’ y’all to git out there and vote fearlessly. There’s only one legit way to tell the incumbent what you think of him. Slap on a mask and some gloves and do your part if only because it’ll feel therapeutic, especially when it feels to you like you don’t have much power and control over any other area of your life at this time. Do the best that you can to be the best that you can.

Seeya.

Spice Cools Down (a Little) and Lays Down Some Cards

If you like the way Marshall reads, you can email him at ggm92666@yahoo.ca 

Before I start, let me just point out that the widow of the late Republican Senator John McCain endorsed Joe Biden in this ad right here.  This ad was effective for a couple reasons.  First, it is documented in articles like the ones you can read here, here, and here that Biden and McCain didn’t always see eye-to-eye.  They did, however, manage to keep their disagreements mostly professional.  Or at least professional enough to not lose sight of the fact that they were friends and coworkers above all else.  Yeah, you can be civil.  You can learn about the opposite point of view without taking it on as your own.  You can research your own side’s point before you post stupid shit.  You can educate others about fact-checking without resorting to smugness or shaming.  You can present your point of view without acting like you’re morally superior to those philistines on the other side.  You just choose to be a self-righteous ass hat to the people you claim to love.  This brings me to my second point: Cindy McCain’s ad was less of an attack ad and more of a reminder that it is always okay to change your point of view.  Neither Trump nor Biden are gods.  There is no such thing as a White Knight President that can deliver us from our woes.  The government is supposed to work with us, not hold us down or pander to our every whim.  It is our job to work together for the betterment of all, but most of us seem incapable of getting out of egotistical SJW, materialistically-motivated, or patriotism traps and see the bigger picture.

So is this uncivil lot headed for Civil War 2.0?

I asked the cards what we can expect in the next four years and I got:  The Hanged Man (number 12, the need to surrender one’s patterns that are no longer useful, behavior patterns that are now harmful, hanging on to old habits or addictions, the need to recognize one’s patterns, and letting go); Six of Pentacles (number 6, charity, giving and receiving help with no strings attached, unexpected help when needed, reaping what one sows, and sharing); Three of Wands (number 3, success in business, growth and expansion, the need to broaden one’s horizons, opportunity, and achievement); and Two of Pentacles (number 2, balancing various areas of life, mood swings, money fluctuations, and indecisiveness).  Oof.  There is nothing here that’s inherently negative, but this spread sets the tone with the Hanged Man.  This card implies you have a decision to make.  You can either keep your old habits, attitudes, and addictions or you can let go and do things differently.  In this case, doing things differently means not making emotional decisions.  This spread ends with the Two of Pentacles, which is a bit of a chaotic card.  The Two says you will have to balance your head and heart, family and finance, and you will still have to tapdance around those who believe something opposite of you.  If you combine this with the Hanged Man’s fish-or-cut-bait energy, you get a great deal of division.  However, this division won’t be nearly as hostile as the previous four years.  The Six of Pentacles and Three of Wands tell us there will be plenty of opportunities to make more money and change careers over the next four years, but the Two of Pentacles reminds us that this comes with a ton of instability.  Expect a lot of market ups and downs for two years.  I feel like the Six and Three together show us that there will be a few stimulus packages and infrastructure programs for small businesses.      

I asked the cards how Americans will deal with each other over the next four years and I got:   Ten of Wands (number 10, taking on too much responsibility, a one-sided relationship, martyrdom, the need to delegate, and possibly breaking out of a bad situation); Eight of Pentacles (number 8, profitable times, the need to focus one’s energy, and the need to take one’s skills to a wider audience); Ace of Cups (number 1 or 11, love, happiness, emotional contentment, emotional connection, and having one’s wish granted); and the Moon (number 18, moodiness, secrets, intuition, psychic experiences, time to go inward, the need to sit with one’s emotions, feeling triggered, and the need for self-reflection).  The Ten of Wands is a card of burdens, martyrdom, and possibly workaholism.  The workaholic dynamic is supported by the Eight of Pentacles, which is a card of putting your nose to the grindstone, as well as needing to focus better.  The thing about workaholics is they tend to use working long hours, making money, and climbing the ladder to avoid painful truths in their personal lives.  This tells me the nation will use the excuse of getting back to normal to sweep a lot of shit under the rug.  The good news is I don’t see any outright deception cards here, but the bad news…?  This spread ends with the Moon card, which is a card of secrets and intuitively knowing things.  We can act happy, like we put the nastiness of the last four years behind us, but some things cannot be unseen.  The Ace of Cups next tp the Moon tells me a New Normal (™) that we actually like will forge, but don’t be so happy to jump back into productivity and civility that you forget to listen to your intuition when it comes to reading the room.  If someone feels shady, they probably are.

I asked the cards what we should know about civil unrest and protest over the next four years and I got:  Death (number 13, the end of a cycle, rebirth, things coming to an end, losing something one will never get back, a warning against resenting that which cannot be changed, the need to accept what is, giving up old attachments, and transformation); King of Cups (water sign male, possibly jealousy and possessiveness, someone good at organizing resources, possibly a ruthless person, the need to explore one’s passionate nature, and possibly a time to keep one’s feelings to oneself); Princess of Swords (young air sign person, someone with a quick mind, someone with much to say, new information or messages, gossip, and new ideas); and King of Pentacles (earth sign male, someone comfortable with their station in life, generosity, a financially secure person, a cautious approach to life, and the need to be cautious with money).  The Death card tells us straightaway that anything you said over these last four years cannot be unheard.  Relationships that were broken by the events of the last four years are not going to be the same.  People have shown you who they are and you need to believe them.  The same goes for you.  Your actions have told people who you are.  So we have the transformation energy of Death next to the King of Cups, which feels like someone who is good at taking advantage of chaos and too much emotion.  The King feels like a warning against getting into a mindset of wondering when you’re going to get your piece of the pie or thinking that your suffering isn’t getting heard, as there’s a dirtbag looking to take advantage of this.  The King of Cups is a warning against getting too emotional because it will be a surefire way to get you taken advantage of over the next four years.  Protest and be civilly disobedient, but don’t lose your head.  You can be for a cause without losing yourself in the process.  The Princess of Swords speaks of the younger generations and social media.  The Princess feels quite chatty in this spread, which tells me we may be looking at the government feeling pressured into being more progressive.  The Princess is also a warning against spreading lies and bullshit, as you’re fucking with people’s lives.  Please consider the human element before you flame someone.  This spread ends with the King of Pentacles, which signifies a benevolent rich person or entity.  They won’t give away everything they have, but they do see generosity as part of helping the greater good.  I don’t see the protests stopping any time soon, but I do see a large portion of the people start to understand what they could lose if they take things too far.

For those of you who like my monthly spells, they can be easily customized to bring the best possible energy to the election, your country, the world, and your candidate of choice.

Practical Advice for the Politically Dissatisfied

If you really want to carry this surge of energy into the election, perhaps you should think about getting more involved yourself.  Vogue proposed these handy suggestions.  Here’s my list:

  1.  Emailing your congressman is simple.  You can find a good guide on how to do it here.  Open Media Foundation has put together this handy guide to finding your legislators, contacting them, and researching how they voted.  Not to be outdone, the U.S. government created this contact guide.
  2. You can also register to vote here.
  3. Also, I strongly suggest running all candidates’ claims and data through a fact checker.  NPR, Politifact, and FactCheck.org are reliable.  I think this would go a long way to getting the right candidate, since the 2016 election was punctuated by too much emotional, self-righteous apple pie bullshit and too little logic.  Seriously, perhaps it’s time to focus less on ranting and more on actually doing things.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast displaced thousands of innocent pets.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest relationship articleHe’s coming back next month, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

Tarot Reading of the Week: 10/20/20 – 10/27/20

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  Sorry to be so slow.

WARNING:  This is the part of my weekly post where I talk about some pop-psychological and tangentially metaphysical thing.  My belief is I’m not the only one noticing this and I wonder how it will affect the New Normal (™).  I am doing this in the hopes that it is useful for someone.  If you are not that someone, you are more than welcome to skip to the reading.  Please accept my humble apologies if you found this preachy.

How’s that retrograde treating you?  Getting used to the taste of feet in your mouth yet?

I need to take a quick break from cognitive distortions to show you a couple techniques that might preserve relationships you want to keep this election season.  The relationships you want to keep part is important.  I don’t know about you, but the past four years has caused me to see the people around me differently.  Marshall Delaware and I are working on a pre-election article that will explain this further, but all you need to know right now is I can’t unsee what I’ve seen.  I’m not special or particularly unique.  These anecdotes confirm my lack of uniqueness.  At least one of the four people reading this has had a similar paradigm shift.  A simple Google search has unearthed several articles like this one that discuss the signs of politics royally fucking over your relationships.  But is it really the politics, or were the relationships on the broken side pre-2016?  

Whatever the case, you probably don’t want to detonate all of your relationships.  We all have that really special spirit in our lives that just happens to believe something incompatible with what you believe.  They make your life better in any number of ways.  They are a ray of sunshine.  A bluebird of fucking happiness.  They just…  post some really stupid shit.  On a good day, you can scroll and ignore, scroll and ignore, lather, rinse, and repeat.  Buuuttt we’re in election season, so the rate of stupid shit being posted is going to quadruple.  

This humongous test of coping skills is brought to you by two acronyms:

  • WAIST: Why Am I Saying That?
  • WAIFT: Why Am I Feeling That?

These two simple, yet poignant questions can save you from shooting a verbal bullet you can’t take back.  In the short term, asking yourself these questions can distract you long enough to either drop the matter entirely or phrase your comment civilly.  Over time, being more in tune with your triggers and reactions to them will help you control said triggers.  Here are a few questions for those of you who want to take it deeper:

  • Why Am I Saying That:
    • Who is the person that triggered me?
    • What is the situation that triggered me?
    • Is there any part of the situation that makes me feel out of control?  What is that?
    • Is there any part of the situation that makes me feel weak, stupid, or helpless?  What is that?
    • When was the first time I was triggered by something like this?  What was the situation?  Who else was involved?
    • What are some positive ways that I have reacted to this trigger in the past?  What makes this positive?
    • What are some negative ways that I have reacted to this trigger in the past?  What makes this reaction ineffective?
    • What sort of relationship do I want with this person or entity after this situation is over?  
    • How do I want to feel about myself after this situation is over?
  • Why Am I Feeling That:
    • Who is the person that triggered me?
    • What is the situation that triggered me?
    • What are three things I’m feeling after being triggered?
    • What are three things I’m thinking after being triggered?
    • Is there any part of this situation that makes me feel small or ashamed?  What is that?
    • Is there any part of my relationship with the other person or entity that might be unresolved or uncomfortable?  What is that?
    • How does this person treat me on a normal basis?
    • Are my feelings more about this situation or about an unresolved part of this relationship?

When you’re done with thinking, you need to watch Seattle Chef Joe’s Facebook Videos.  Please check out his FB page here.  

As always, I have to mention the MindBody/Wellness Research and Science Network group on Facebook.  The chick who runs it takes an evidence-based approach to holistic topics.  I appreciate her common sense-meets-spirituality way of doing things.

Meanwhile, I thought this pick-a-card was pretty insightful:

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, Onto the Reading, Shall We…?

I asked the cards what we need to know from 10/20/20 – 10/27/20 and I got:  Ten of Swords (number 10, betrayal, gossip, slander, backstabbing, words that hurt, an end to a cycle of arguing, possibly leaving a bad situation, and possibly the need for a vacation); Nine of Swords (number 9, sadness, depression, a clear head is needed, finding answers, and needing to use one’s inner wisdom); King of Cups (water sign male, one who conceals their feelings, someone good at managing resources, someone who can be brooding and intense, possibly jealousy and possessiveness, creative person, possibly a time to not express one’s feelings, and possibly the need to explore one’s passionate nature); and the Hermit (number 9, needing to go within, turning one’s back on the material world or materialism, listening to oneself, possibly loneliness, and an urge to be alone).  Just when you thought it was safe, the Hermit and the Nine of Swords bathe this week in a butt load of 9 energy.  For those of you who didn’t read any of the September posts, nine energy in numerology corresponds with the Hermit and possibly the sign of Virgo (all my Virgo peeps, check out this video).  This energy brings wisdom, closure, and completion.  The downside is nine energy tends to be lonely.  None of these cards point to a particularly easy week.  The 10 of Swords and Nine of Swords are both cards that talk about verbal barbs and head fucks.  The main feeling with the 10 is tension, with a side of stress.  The Nine of Swords is a sadness card.  Seeing these cards together show me those of you who are prone to depression or anxiety—let alone those of you who are just plain sick of another person’s shit—will hit your breaking point this week.  I feel like the tension and sadness will be equal parts external and internal.  The external situation feels like a straight-up sabotage situation, seriously layered gaslighting, or a condescending prick who is looking to maintain power in a situation.  There’s nothing new about this situation.  It has just become harder to hide and you have zero fucks to give.  Just know that you have a right to your feelings and they are trying to tell you something.  The King of Cups tells us the one emotion to watch out for is jealousy, as I see envy or pride will be the two deadly sins the other person will try to use against you.  This means significant others that talk about their other options, gloating coworkers, or family members that like to point out what a lesser being you are.  The internal triggers for you will be ones related to feeling inferior and unlovable.  Any rejection is bound to feel 20 times worse this week.  I also feel like these feelings of being inadequate are brought on by stress, as you are in the middle of a transition and are definitely feeling an increased workload.  I feel like the King of Cups and the Hermit are pointing to a creative project that can be a refuge for you.  If there is a pet project that you have been meaning to to start, please feel free to use it as an excuse to ignore the drama llamas.  

For those of you who may need a little more this week, I asked the Doreen Virtue Angel Tarot Deck for the mantra for a week.  The definition of mantra for my nefarious purposes is: a present-tense statement that you can repeat to yourself during times of anxiety, sadness, or uncertainty.  It’s not an affirmation because the phrasing is more pragmatic and neutral, than overtly positive.  Here’s what I got:

The Card:  The Dreamer

Meaning:  Number 0, leap of faith, following one’s dreams, unexpected opportunities, finding creative solutions, asserting independence, and the need to listen to one’s own inner guidance.

Mantras:  I listen to my conscience.

  • I listen to my dreams, inspirations, and intuition.
  • I look at others in my life objectively and with fairness.
  • I look at myself with objectivity and fairness.
  • I allow toxic people, places, and things to leave my life.
  • I allow myself time and space to be alone.
  • I take small, daily steps towards my dreams.

A quick update on my readings:  I have been asked a few times on Instagram if I have a free reading program for new clients.  Ummm, no.  I used to offer free readings, but please believe me when I say it really didn’t work out for me.  (It worked out so badly that there’s no way in hell I’m going to try giving free readings again.)  I give props to any readers who can make free readings work for them, but I’m not that reader.  I also understand that nobody needs to be paying $40 – $60 for a reading right now.  That’s fair.  Plus there are many other people and organizations—namely animal charities, coronavirus relief charities,Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, NAMI, food banks, and the official George Floyd Go Fund Me pageSo I’m offering $5 one-question mini readings if you donate to:

Here’s what you need to know about the one-question mini readings:

  • Make your $5 donation to any of the above causes.
  • Screenshot me a copy of the receipt with your payment and personal info blurred or crossed out.
  • Send me one question.  I can’t accommodate follow up questions at this time.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast displaced thousands of innocent pets.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest relationship articleHe’s coming back next month, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

Tarot Reading of the Week: 10/13/20 – 10/20/20

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  Sorry to be so slow.

WARNING:  This is the part of my weekly post where I talk about some pop-psychological and tangentially metaphysical thing.  My belief is I’m not the only one noticing this and I wonder how it will affect the New Normal (™).  I am doing this in the hopes that it is useful for someone.  If you are not that someone, you are more than welcome to skip to the reading.  Please accept my humble apologies if you found this preachy.

At the risk of sounding like a glitching program, cognitive distortions are still very much on my mind for two related reasons:

  1.  Social media is a fucking cesspool that quite literally rewires your brain and screws with your mental health.
  2. It’s election season here in the States.  Social media is throwing gasoline on the fire of an already exhausted, angry, and divided society.

An explosion is pretty inevitable.  With so much free-floating bullshit, I find it difficult to keep a grip on what I can control and what is just gonna do its own thing.  Enter control fallacies, the cognitive distortion that entails having a messed up relationship with control.  Control fallacies boil down to two errors:

  1.  You assume that you can control absolutely nothing about this situation.  You are an absolute victim of fate.  You are but a jellyfish in the ocean of life, if you will.
  2. You believe that you can control absolutely everything about this situation.  You are the puppet master.  You are the captain of not only your life boat, but everyone else’s.

Like all cognitive distortions, control fallacies involve creating a relationship between two things that doesn’t exist.  We know logically there’s no way we can be responsible for either nothing or everything at all times.  Yet here we are.  If you’re curious, here are some ways that you probably encounter control fallacies:

  • A leader that takes complete responsibility for a country’s economy doing well, even though there is ample evidence that the economic boom started before they took office.
  • That friend or partner that apologizes when you’re upset, even though they had nothing to do with whatever upset you.
  • The 50-something divorcee who wants to be in a relationship, but will not put themselves out there because they feel too old to find a date.  
  • The person who obsessively follows the news, but then does not vote because they are convinced their vote won’t make a difference.
  • That ex who continues to text you or send you presents, even though you have told them you want absolutely nothing more to do with them.

Why yes, people who constantly take the victim stance and liars and serial manipulators are committing control fallacies.  People who alternate between the two extremes—with little-to-no time spent in the middle—tend to be codependent.  It takes a shit ton of mental and emotional energy to live in one or both extremes.  If the constant energetic drain on yourself isn’t enough, control fallacies tend to suck the life out of everything around you in the following ways:

  • It is harder to earn trust once you’re branded as a manipulator.
  • You may stop trying to do things that might be good for you—like applying for jobs or socializing—because you think there’s no point.
  • You don’t say what needs to be said—things like “I’m sorry,” “I love you,” or “that hurt me”—because you feel it won’t make a difference.
  • You don’t pay attention to others’ boundaries because you have your own agenda anyway.
  • You hate yourself because of a few flaws, but don’t work towards changing them because you feel like you have no control over any of it.

Wanna stop doing that?  Cool.  Here are a couple journal activities to get you started:

  • What are three situations where you tend to play the victim or assume everything is hopeless?
    • Who are the other people or entities involved in these situations?
    • What are three things that made each situation feel hopeless?
    • Describe the first time in your life when you felt helpless or like you had no control over a situation.
    • What were three things you could control about each situation?  How did you deal with these things?
    • What were three things you could not control about each situation?  How did you deal with these things?
    • How did your reaction to these situations help you?
    • How did your reaction to these situations make things worse?
    • What are some feelings you had about each situation?
    • What are some thoughts you had about each situation?
    • What did all of these situations have in common?
    • What was different about each of these situations?
    • What about your reaction do you want to change?  What is one small thing you can do this week to help you change this?
    • What about your reaction to these situations do you not want to change?
  • What are three situations where you tend to try to control everything or take responsibility for something that isn’t yours?
    • Who are the other people or entities involved in these situations?
    • What are three things that made each situation feel responsible for the outcome?
    • Describe the first time in your life when you felt responsible for others’ feelings or like you needed to control a situation.
    • What were three things you could control about each situation?  How did you deal with these things?
    • What were three things you could not control about each situation?  How did you deal with these things?
    • How did your reaction to these situations help you?
    • How did your reaction to these situations make things worse?
    • What are some feelings you had about each situation?
    • What are some thoughts you had about each situation?
    • What did all of these situations have in common?
    • What was different about each of these situations?
    • What about your reaction do you want to change?  What is one small thing you can do this week to help you change this?
    • What about your reaction to these situations do you not want to change?
  • What do the examples you listed for both extremes have in common?
  • What is different about the examples you listed for both extremes?
  • What are three things you can control in your life?
  • What are three things you cannot control in your life?

When you’re done with thinking, you need to watch Seattle Chef Joe’s Facebook Videos.  Please check out his FB page here.  

As always, I have to mention the MindBody/Wellness Research and Science Network group on Facebook.  The chick who runs it takes an evidence-based approach to holistic topics.  I appreciate her common sense-meets-spirituality way of doing things.

Speaking of things that only feel out of my control, I decided to stop being a slug and get back on the fitness wagon.  Somehow this translated to me doing dance aerobics.  You’d be amazed at how sweaty you can get by practicing variations of standing crunches, twerk legs, and semi-staccato arm movements.  These things light up my dopamine centers and make me smile like an idiot, so there’s that.  I’ve been doing workouts from the Eva Fitness YouTube channel.  You should probably consult your doctor before undertaking any fitness routine, but here’s a sample of her delightful routines:

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, Onto the Reading, Shall We…?

NOTE: I’M A COUPLE DAYS LATE AGAIN.  Please forgive me.  I’m still getting used to my new schedule and job.

I asked the cards what we need to know about 10/13/20 – 10/20/20 and I got:  King of Swords (air sign male, using logic and reason to solve issues, someone who is concerned with law and justice, quest for knowledge and truth, someone who supports humanitarian causes, clear-headed advice, and possibly harsh or cutting words); Nine of Cups (number 9, wishes coming true, contentment, “living the dream,” being okay with the world, and fulfillment); Death (number 13, transcendence, something that has come to an end, a warning against dwelling on resentment, irretrievable loss, the need to give up old attachments and habits, transformation on some level, and accepting change); and the Emperor (number 4, the need for discipline, self-discipline, taking initiative, a warning against being too rigid or overbearing, control issues, “daddy issues,” the need to take control of one’s life, and problems with authority).  Yeesh.  The first thing that strikes me about this spread is three out of four of the cards are incredibly strong.  We start with the King of Swords.  This King knows what needs to be done and focuses on just outcomes, no matter how uncomfortable.  The theme of discomfort continues with Death and the Emperor.  Death tells us that there is no point in fighting change, but you will not be left empty-handed.  A cycle in your life is ending and your best option is to transform yourself using what you have learned thus far.  The Emperor tells me that you will need to hunker down and put mind over matter in order to get your needs met.  There is no real numerical theme here, but the key phrases are: law and order, discipline, doing what’s right, justice, and working towards something better.  This week will be another week of baby steps, reminding yourself of your real goals and values, and not sliding into laziness or self-deprecation.  Each of these cards carries a powerful yes, but… here.  The King of Swords says you need to remind yourself that you already know what the right thing to do is, but you don’t have the right to berate yourself or others.  Telling the truth is fine, but shut the fuck up if you start to get snarky.  The Nine of Cups tells us that you have every right to feel satisfied with the progress you have made so far, but don’t wear yourself out patting yourself on the back.  Now is not the time to be lazy because you haven’t reached the goal yet.  Death tells us that we can’t expect anything to remain the same or be permanent, but letting go does not mean we stop moving forward.  You have to let go of shit that was getting in your way, not let yourself go.  The Emperor tells us there is a fine line between having self-discipline and being a fucking control freak.  If you have criticisms about the establishment, then check yourself before you become what you hate. 

For those of you who may need a little more this week, I asked the Doreen Virtue Angel Tarot Deck for the mantra for a week.  The definition of mantra for my nefarious purposes is: a present-tense statement that you can repeat to yourself during times of anxiety, sadness, or uncertainty.  It’s not an affirmation because the phrasing is more pragmatic and neutral, than overtly positive.  Here’s what I got:

The Card:  Three of Air

Meaning:  Number 3, air signs, great sadness, taking time to heal oneself, the need to forgive oneself and others, relationship issues, hurtful memories, and regret.

Mantras:  I forgive myself for past mistakes.

  • I forgive others for past mistakes.
  • I allow myself the space to grow and evolve.
  • I allow others the space to grow and evolve.
  • I allow my relationships to evolve.
  • I work towards accepting things I cannot control.
  • I take daily steps to make positive changes in my life.
  • I respect others’ boundaries and needs.
  • I respect my own boundaries and needs.
  • I listen to others without judgement.
  • I listen to myself without judgement. 

A quick update on my readings:  I have been asked a few times on Instagram if I have a free reading program for new clients.  Ummm, no.  I used to offer free readings, but please believe me when I say it really didn’t work out for me.  (It worked out so badly that there’s no way in hell I’m going to try giving free readings again.)  I give props to any readers who can make free readings work for them, but I’m not that reader.  I also understand that nobody needs to be paying $40 – $60 for a reading right now.  That’s fair.  Plus there are many other people and organizations—namely animal charities, coronavirus relief charities,Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, NAMI, food banks, and the official George Floyd Go Fund Me pageSo I’m offering $5 one-question mini readings if you donate to:

Here’s what you need to know about the one-question mini readings:

  • Make your $5 donation to any of the above causes.
  • Screenshot me a copy of the receipt with your payment and personal info blurred or crossed out.
  • Send me one question.  I can’t accommodate follow up questions at this time.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast displaced thousands of innocent pets.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest relationship articleHe’s coming back next month, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

Just Do It: Goddess Nike Spell for the Mercury Retrograde 10/13/20

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  Sorry to be so slow.

Something about September was kinda draining, no?  Maybe it was bracing myself for election season and the holidays.  Or it could be the running theme of tying up loose ends so that I could be ready for whatever karmic loop-de-loop shit we have coming to us in the final fiscal quarter.  Perhaps it was the overarching 9 energy all freakin’ month.  Whatever the case, all of that autumnal spring cleaning—metaphorical and literal—left quite a few people feeling like: 

We can rest now…  right?

Cue the Universe just sorta twiddling their thumbs whilst whistling a happy tune.

Just when you thought it was safe, we have one more Mercury retrograde in 2020 in the middle of the October full moon sandwich.  Oh, and let’s not forget about the super emotional new moon on October 16th.  And now might be a good time to mention that this particular retrograde ends on Election Day, November 3rd.  So what do we need to know about the October 13th Mercury retrograde?

Mercury Retrograde 10/13/20 – 11/3/20

On 10/13/20, Mercury goes retrograde in the intense, secretive sign of Scorpio.  It goes direct in the more relationship-oriented, diplomatic sign of Libra 11/3/20.  You can expect the normal Mercury retrograde chaos (this link explains it), such as:

  • Problems with communication (verbal, electric, telepathic, nonverbal, et al).
  • Contracts not being what they seem.
  • Friction in relationships.
  • Nervousness and anxiety, with a side of panic.
  • Misunderstandings and comedies of errors will abound, usually to reveal secrets that are screwing up your life.
  • Electronics and cars malfunctioning all over the place.
  • You may be a little clumsy or confused.
  • Delays, frustration, and impatience become the norm.

Although our ol’ buddy Merc is a trickster, he’s not as much of a douche as his reputation would suggest.  These retrogrades don’t happen just to fuck up your life.  Mercury retrogrades are actually a great time to:

  • Evaluate your choices and patterns.
  • Let go of any relationships that have become toxic or dramatic.
  • Start a new meditation routine.
  • Start journaling.
  • Get honest about your feelings.
  • Get out of the mix and take on more of an observer role.
  • Detox your life of gossip and negativity.

Back to Mercury doing the moonwalk through intense Scorpio.

Signified by the Death card in the tarot, Scorpio is a sign that’s all about beginnings and endings.  Hence the intensity we normally see with this sign.  Don’t let the Scorpion’s tendency to sting fool you.  They are a deeply emotional water sign, which makes them highly intuitive.  Much of Scorpio’s polarizing behavior comes from their high emotional intelligence and razor-sharp intuition.  A true Scorpio can size you up and decide whether or not you’re worth their time even before you’ve said hello.  Scorpios are nature’s detectives and lie detectors.  Yeah, it’s a wee bit intimidating.  They’re also prone to some wicked jealousy and can be possessive.  I think this video sums up Scorpio energy well:

This particular retrograde requires that you exercise caution before you speak or sign anything.  If you want your sign’s Mercury retrograde horoscope, check out this article here.  In general, though, this retrograde will bring:

  • Flashes of insight and dead-on intuition.
  • Exes or old friends may come back, but only to give you closure.  They’re not staying.
  • Problems with travel.
  • Issues with negotiations regarding children and business.
  • All sorts of sibling rivalry and problems between siblings being exposed.
  • Problems concentrating and remembering stuff.
  • Changed and thwarted plans.

Given this is also election season in America, a retrograde can really throw a wrench into the works.  This article gives you a little more insight into the havoc.  Here’s a quick survival guide:

  • Try to listen twice as much as you speak.
  • Hold off on any major decisions regarding travel, business, and children when possible.
  • Do a quick feelings check-in daily (use these journal prompts).
  • Keep a journal by your bed and write down your stray ideas and inspirations.  You’re trying to tell yourself something.
  • Keep your expectations low when socializing, especially if reconnecting with old friends.
  • Pray to the goddess Nike daily.

Wait…  Isn’t Nike a shoe?

Nike: Before She was a Shoe

Before she inspired an athletic shoe company, Nike was the ancient Greek goddess of victory.  She is the daughter of Pallas (a giant) and the river Styx.  I don’t even want to know how a giant mates with a river, but never mind.  Ohhhh…  Her mother Styx was a deity before she was a river, so I guess I can scrub those awful images of giant-on-river action out of my brain.  Ick. 

Nike the winged goddess is often pictured carrying Mercury’s staff or a wreath as a symbol of victory.

Like Athena, Nike never had a husband or children.  But unlike Athena, Nike could fly, run really fast, and drive a chariot like no other.  Nike was brought into Zeus’s service along with her three siblings—Zelos (rivalry), Kratos (strength), and Bia (force)—around the time of the Titan war.  Currying the favor of Nike was said to assure victory in not only battle, but also peaceful competitions.  However, I hear Nike can be a little fickle about assigning victory to people.

Here are a few things you can ask Nike for during this retrograde, or any other time:

  • You can ask Nike to help you be successful as you start a new job or academic program.
  • Nike can help you stick to a fitness routine.
  • Ask Nike how to best reach your goal.
  • Invite Nike to show you how to put the right plan in motion and stick to your plan.
  • Ask for Nike’s help in winning a settlement.
  • Nike can help you be victorious in a dispute.
  • Nike will help you conquer part of yourself that no longer serves you.
  • Ask Nike to help you break barriers that have been holding you back from a goal.
  • Ask Nike to motivate you during a difficult time.

I had a difficult time figuring out what Nike would like because it seems as though she’s not widely called upon, but here’s what I came up with:

  • Colors:  green, silver, and white
  • Stones: flourite, clear quartz, and agate (sponsored links)
  • Herbs/Incense: this eucalyptus and sage smudge stick, peppermint-eucalyptus incense, bay leaves, and cedar (sponsored links)
  • Objects: silver trinkets with angel wings on them (sponsored link)
  • Acts of Devotion:  Nike loves bestowing victory onto someone who shows her that they aren’t afraid to improve themselves.  If you want Nike’s help, be prepared to take up a fitness challenge, eat better, or meditate during the period of time you do this spell.  It doesn’t have to be a major overhaul.  Just demonstrate daily baby steps towards self-improvement and give her thanks after doing so.  Nike hates excuses.  Whatever you do, just do it (pun only partially intended).

Nike Ritual for Victory

What You Will Need

What You Will Do:

  1.  Start out with a meditation.  I feel like this meditation would put you in the right mindset.
  2. Set out your incense, trinket, candle, stone, and journaling supplies.  
  3. Set your intention and invite Nike into your space.  
  4. Give thanks to Nike and ask her to accept your offering, as well as bless the trinket and stone with her energy.  You can use this invocation: “I give thanks to the glorious goddess Nike.  Please accept this incense and this candle.  Please fill this stone and this trinket with your victorious light.  Your light dissolves all darkness.”
  5. Light your candle and incense.  As you do, visualize the smoke clearing the negativity keeping you from victory.  Visualize the stone and trinkets absorbing your intentions and filling with Nike’s victorious energy.
  6. Recite your prayer to Nike.  I found this prayer to Nike on a Greek pagan blog.  However, I’m combining this prayer to Nike with Dr. Mary Pritchard’s devotional.  Recite the prayer of your choice three times.  Here is my sample one:  “Nike, goddess of victory!  Hear my prayer!  I need courage to face (insert your request here).  Please help me/us find the strength and courage I/we need to face this battle, for the greatest good of all considered.  Golden blessed Nike, take me/us to victory!  I/we toil daily like the bees.  Please bestow on us/me the sweet honey of triumphs and of trophies.  Charge our/my chariots strong and sturdy.  Vanquish without any mercy enemies of our/my valiant army.  And give to us/me a divine glory, furnished with medallions and jewelry.  Everything that is worldly is only ours/mine by your decree.  We/i worship thee on bended knee.  We/I take a vow, we/I guarantee our/my devotion and our/my duty.  Take us/me to victory, oh Nike!”
  7. Make your petition to Nike.  As always, be humble and sincere, but confident.  A pragmatic and focused mindset is everything to Nike.  Invite her to take your offering again.
  8. Spend a few minutes writing whatever comes to mind.  Nike tends to use short sentences that read like a to-do list or affirmations.
  9. Extinguish the candle and thank Nike for her help.

NOTE: You might notice that I have sponsored links from Etsy and Magick Planet.  Although I get paid a small portion of every purchase when you use my links, I really do believe in the products they sell.  I feel they sell things that were made with love and at a fair price.  

A quick update on my readings:  I have been asked a few times on Instagram if I have a free reading program for new clients.  Ummm, no.  I used to offer free readings, but please believe me when I say it really didn’t work out for me.  (It worked out so badly that there’s no way in hell I’m going to try giving free readings again.)  I give props to any readers who can make free readings work for them, but I’m not that reader.  I also understand that nobody needs to be paying $40 – $60 for a reading right now.  That’s fair.  Plus there are many other people and organizations—namely animal charities, coronavirus relief charities,Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, NAMI, food banks, and the official George Floyd Go Fund Me pageSo I’m offering $5 one-question mini readings if you donate to:

Here’s what you need to know about the one-question mini readings:

  • Make your $5 donation to any of the above causes.
  • Screenshot me a copy of the receipt with your payment and personal info blurred or crossed out.
  • Send me one question.  I can’t accommodate follow up questions at this time.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast displaced thousands of innocent pets.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest relationship articleHe’s coming back next month, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

Tarot Reading of the Week: 10/6/20 – 10/13/20

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  Sorry to be so slow.

WARNING:  This is the part of my weekly post where I talk about some pop-psychological and tangentially metaphysical thing.  My belief is I’m not the only one noticing this and I wonder how it will affect the New Normal (™).  I am doing this in the hopes that it is useful for someone.  If you are not that someone, you are more than welcome to skip to the reading.  Please accept my humble apologies if you found this preachy.

In case you haven’t heard, Donald Trump and several people in his entourage have tested positive for COVID-19.  As much as I would love to gloat with Rumplestiltskin-esque schadenfreude, the disease and its potential for death aren’t funny.  The corona virus has harmed many people all over the world and I’m sorry for anyone who catches it, even if that someone had access to the latest research and precautionary measures.  I’m also not going to waste characters on typing some bullshit “thoughts and prayers” message either.  My reasons are simple.  One, I don’t fucking roll that way.  I don’t need an audience to prove that I’ve sent energy to a person or situation.  Two, they have access to the best healthcare our country has to offer.  If anyone needs the energy you’re wasting on your performative well wishes, it’s the people who have to figure it out themselves.  Lastly, Trump and Co. testing positive for the coronavirus does not change anything they—or their amped up base—have done to create fear, hate, anger, chaos, and just generally fuck things up in the name of ego and money.  They are sick and my heart goes out to them in the same way it would if any other person I didn’t care about contracted COVID-19.  This man GOT sick, he did nothing to CURE the sick.  There will be no canonizing here.

LET ME REPEAT MYSELF:  I am not happy Trump, Melania, Chris Christie, Kelleyanne Conway, or anyone else in that crew got sick.  The coronavirus is no joke and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  However, my sympathy for their plight does not change my feelings about them as people or how I feel about their actions.  Period.

But seeing other people make a martyr and a saint out of Trump online reminded me of a wee cognitive distortion called emotional reasoning.  For those of you who are relatively new or need a refresher, cognitive distortions are errors in thinking that result in self-sabotage, misunderstandings, resentments, and a whole slew of nasty crap.  Cognitive distortions typically stem from creating a relationship between two events that doesn’t exist.  A mismatched cause and effect, if you will.  The term emotional reasoning refers to accepting strong emotions as fact, rather than what you are feeling.  Here are some examples of emotional reasoning you might encounter on a regular basis:

  • People being so swept up in the Trump coronavirus diagnosis that they suddenly forget that he called it a hoax or targeted others.
  • Assuming your life is hopeless because you feel hopeless.
  • You have been a lifelong supporter of animal rights.  A friend posts an article about every last one of PETA’s ethical missteps.  Your immediate reaction is to get pissed and dismiss it as being false, without reading it.
  • This culture’s habit of glorifying dead celebrities.  Remember how everyone was Prince’s biggest fan after he died?  The collective wailing after Kobe Bryant’s untimely death?  
  • That friend who WON’T. SHUT. UP. about how much she misses her emotionally unavailable, self-absorbed ex.  You explain to her that we all romanticize traumatic or toxic relationships.  She tells you that you are just being hateful because you haven’t this much passion in your relationships.
  • You have been watching those emotionally manipulative Sarah McLachlan ASPCA ads for months.  The plaintive lament of that song.  Those sweet puppy and kitty faces that just want love.  Although you objectively know you can’t afford to make a monthly gift, the need to tell those innocent animals it will all be alright is just too strong…

Each example of emotional reasoning involved a need to distance oneself from an uncomfortable truth, romanticizing something negative, or pretending the negative didn’t happen.  As you can see, there’s a whole lot of defensiveness and denial there.  Emotional reasoning may seem counterproductive on paper—it’s can be downright destructive in real life—but it makes perfect sense to a prefrontal lobe that has been hijacked by the super emotional amygdala.  Think of it like this: 

  • The function of emotions is to tell you something is right or not right.
  • During strong emotions, the more logical parts of your brain tend to dip out so that the more primal parts can take the wheel.
  • While this is great for escaping danger or something directly germane to your survival, it can royally fuck things up when you need to figure out who to vote for, deal with others with opposing opinions, process trauma, or any situation when you need to see things clearly.

The trick to getting through emotional reasoning is giving yourself time to regain clarity.  The first step is to recognize when something has you feeling a little rash before it gets to this point:

You can try the classic self-care tips, like getting enough sleep, not eating crap, getting exercise, and using “I” statements.  Those are great for maintenance purposes.  However, you may want to objectively examine the evidence and compare it to your emotional state at some point.  I really liked the Zen journaling tips from The Art of Living blog.  The focus of this particular Zen activity is problem-solving and separating the evidence and thoughts from your emotional response.  You can find the article on this humble link, but here’s the gist:

  • Commit to journaling at least 5 – 10 minutes a day.  The ideal schedule is 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night.
  • Set your timer and write nonstop until the alarm sounds.
  • Get a new piece of paper.
  • Write the objective facts you listed on your original piece of paper onto the new piece of paper.
  • Throw away or burn the old piece of paper.

When you’re done with thinking, you need to watch Seattle Chef Joe’s Facebook Videos.  Please check out his FB page here.  

As always, I have to mention the MindBody/Wellness Research and Science Network group on Facebook.  The chick who runs it takes an evidence-based approach to holistic topics.  I appreciate her common sense-meets-spirituality way of doing things.

Oh, and I did this meditation a couple times this week:

You should check it out and compare notes in about 5 years.  Or not.  It’s relaxing nonetheless.

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, Onto the Reading, Shall We…?

I asked the cards what we need to know about the week of 10/6/20 – 10/13/20 and I got:  Two of Wands (number 2, partnership, success in business, the need to broaden one’s horizons, success coming from restlessness, new plans and deals, and possibly travel); Four of Cups (number 4, boredom, apathy, thinking the grass may be greener elsewhere, thwarted plans, and a relationship that has lost its appeal); the Hierophant (number 5, questioning what society wants and expects, the need to retain integrity in the face of criticism, the need to be oneself while functioning in society, a chance to heal old wounds, a teacher or guide appearing, and a new spiritual quest); and Ten of Cups (number 10, love, sharing, happiness, emotional fulfillment, dreams coming true, and others benefiting from one’s happiness).  This whole spread reads like a giant identity crisis to me.  It starts with restlessness (Two of Wands) and boredom (Four of Cups).  The restlessness from the Two usually comes from the same place as the boredom indicated by the Four of Cups.  You’ve done all you can in a situation and it’s time to go.  This can mean you have reached the top of the ladder or gone as far as you can in a dead-end job.  Or it can mean that you’ve been trying to improve things or negotiate with someone in your life, but you seem to be the only one putting forth an effort.  Perhaps this means you have too many projects going on at once and need to take a new approach to complete a couple of them.  Being overwhelmed does tend to create restlessness.  Or it could be as simple as needing a new challenge to spice up your fitness routine.  I honestly don’t see any true ending cards in this spread, but the final two cards make me think a decision is imminent.  The Hierophant is a bit of a turning point card in this spread, as it is the lone Major Arcana card.  If you take it from a numerology perspective, the 5 energy represented by the Hierophant enhances the restlessness suggested by the Two of Wands.  The Hierophant also represents a dislike of monotony and maybe impulsivity, but also the need to respect tradition and routine.  Lessons are big with the Hierophant, so don’t be surprised if you start dreaming about past situations in your life or meet someone who recently went through something that’s currently happening to you.  Learn from whatever is presented to you this week and let it guide your decision-making process.  This spread ends with the Ten of Cups, which is giving you the green light to make some needed changes.  I feel like these changes will involve small self-improvement steps that will add up over time.  The changes will start creating a positive ripple effect if you keep with them, but you may notice a few dopamine hits from them shortly after you start the upgrade process.  The key with whatever you decide to do is going to be consistency.  If you decide that you need out of a relationship, then stay away from bae.  If you decide that you need to exercise more, then keep doing that.  If you decide to improve your skin care, then give the products at least two weeks to work.  

For those of you who may need a little more this week, I asked the Doreen Virtue Angel Tarot Deck for the mantra for a week.  The definition of mantra for my nefarious purposes is: a present-tense statement that you can repeat to yourself during times of anxiety, sadness, or uncertainty.  It’s not an affirmation because the phrasing is more pragmatic and neutral, than overtly positive.  Here’s what I got:

The Card:  Queen of Earth

Meaning:  Earth sign female, thoughtful gesture or person, creativity, a warm and sensible person, the need to make time for those around one, take a sensible approach, be understanding with difficult people, a helpful person, someone good with money, and having a lot to offer.

Mantras:  I accept generosity in my life with gratitude.

  • I make time for the people and things that are important to me.
  • I allow myself time to take the most positive steps for all considered.
  • I allow others the space to ask for help when they need it.
  • I give myself time to weigh the pros and cons before making decisions.
  • I allow others the time to weigh the pros and cons before making decisions.
  • I approach situations with as much understanding as I can.
  • I allow others to help me.
  • I listen to others perspectives and learn from them, while maintaining my integrity.

A quick update on my readings:  I have been asked a few times on Instagram if I have a free reading program for new clients.  Ummm, no.  I used to offer free readings, but please believe me when I say it really didn’t work out for me.  (It worked out so badly that there’s no way in hell I’m going to try giving free readings again.)  I give props to any readers who can make free readings work for them, but I’m not that reader.  I also understand that nobody needs to be paying $40 – $60 for a reading right now.  That’s fair.  Plus there are many other people and organizations—namely animal charities, coronavirus relief charities,Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, NAMI, food banks, and the official George Floyd Go Fund Me pageSo I’m offering $5 one-question mini readings if you donate to:

Here’s what you need to know about the one-question mini readings:

  • Make your $5 donation to any of the above causes.
  • Screenshot me a copy of the receipt with your payment and personal info blurred or crossed out.
  • Send me one question.  I can’t accommodate follow up questions at this time.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast displaced thousands of innocent pets.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia? Arm the Animals is selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest relationship article.  He’s coming back later this month, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

Tarot Reading of the Week: 9/29/20 – 10/6/20

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  Sorry to be so slow.

WARNING:  This is the part of my weekly post where I talk about some pop-psychological and tangentially metaphysical thing.  My belief is I’m not the only one noticing this and I wonder how it will affect the New Normal (™).  I am doing this in the hopes that it is useful for someone.  If you are not that someone, you are more than welcome to skip to the reading.  Please accept my humble apologies if you found this preachy.

So have any of you taken my advice and checked out Bea Lucile on YouTube?  She’s a talented tarot reader, seems chock full of good energy, and has recently been tackling some heavier topics.  This week she tackled the fuck up-edness that is QAnon.  My brain melts every time I try to read an article about them, but I’ll try to make sense of what I’ve managed to retain.  QAnon essentially takes viral conspiracies like Pizzagate and whatever insane shit is brewing on 4chan a step farther because this humble theory about a Satanic sex trafficking cult has made it all the way to Congress.  Yeah, members of Congress are receiving death threats due to this tomfoolery.  I may drag Marshall Delaware into a future reading on this.

Which brings me to my pet topic of cognitive distortions.  QAnon and the public’s reaction to them are rife with cognitive distortions, as the whole thing centers around information with a barely perceptible sliver of credibility being taken out of context.  Like a real sliver under your fingernail, those on the receiving end of the death threats can tell you stuff out of context can make your life kinda uncomfortable if you don’t see it for what it is and deal with it properly.  

But back to my tarot crush Bea.

You can check out her video here.  No matter what you think about QAnon, she makes a couple good points.  Namely we cannot assume that it is all true or all false.  The message may not be completely insane just because the messenger wears a tinfoil hat and smells like stale potato chips.  Completely dismissing or believing a message as gospel because of any biases you may have about the messenger is called global labeling.  The simplest way of explaining global labeling is making assumptions about a person, place, or thing based on limited interactions with them or it.  Here are some ways global labeling might show up in your life:

  • Your new boss does your 30-day evaluation on Day 45.  You assume he’s disorganized based on this.
  • Something about your BFF’s new significant other bothers the hell out of you, but you can’t put your finger on it because you’ve only met them once.  Instead of getting to know them—if only for further context—you write them off as annoying.
  • You think moms who drop their kids off at daycare all day are either too lazy or too self-centered to be good parents.
  • Trump  calling Biden a socialist in the first debate due to his Democratic party affiliation, despite the fact that Biden tends to vote more centerist than at least half of his Democrat colleagues.
  • Your wife doesn’t seem to be listening when you talk about work one night, so you assume she’s uncaring.
  • Your last boyfriend cheated on you.  Therefore, you find yourself thinking all guys are cheaters.
  • Your brother failed a test.  He spends the rest of the day calling himself a failure.

Assumptions and helplessness are the major themes here.  You can file the assumption theme in the Captain Obvious file.  Putting outwardly similar things into one category involves a lot of assumption, as well as some possible ignorance and laziness.  Just saying.  The assumption theme hits you straight in the face, whereas the helplessness theme sneaks up behind you.  Think about it this way: making assumptions tells you what happens next.  

  • Assuming your BFF’s significant other is a jerk gives you permission to treat them like garbage, which will put them in a position to prove you right.  
  • If you assume your wife didn’t listen to you because she is uncaring, there’s no point in communicating your feelings.  
  • Your brother labeling himself as a failure gives him no reason to try.  
  • If Biden is a socialist, then a vote for him is giving ‘MURICA the two-finger salute.

Global labeling is a great way to self-sabotage whilst telling yourself that you can’t change anything about your situation.  It’s the mindset that seems to inspire every simpering Petri dish of victimhood that is a Seether song.  Unlike Shaun Morgan, though, you probably won’t make millions from it.  If you don’t want to drag this concrete ankle weight into your New Normal ™, you may want to try Tara Brach’s RAIN technique.  Here are a few sample RAIN journal questions:

  • Recognize what is happening within you:
    • What are three times in your life when you engaged in global labeling?  For each situation, answer the following:
      • What was one thought you were having at the time?  How did that thought make you feel?
      • What is one feeling you were having at the time?  How did this influence your perspective of the situation?
      • What was something you felt in your body during this situation?  How did this influence the way you felt about the situation itself?
  • Allow whatever is happening to just be what it is:
    • Think about those situations where you used global labeling.  Now answer the following questions for each situation:
      • Who was the other person or group of people involved?
      • What is at least one assumption you make about the person or group of people involved in this situation?
      • What is one thing from your experience with this person or group that makes your assumption true?  When have you found yourself believing this evidence?
      • What is one thing from your experience with this person or group that challenges your assumption or makes it false?  When were you able to accept that your assumption is false or not completely true?
  • Investigate your internal experience with detached compassion:
    • Think about your answers to all of the questions thus far.  What are some patterns you notice regarding the situations when you tend to use global labeling? 
    • What do your experiences with global labeling tell you about how you feel about the other person or group involved?
    • What do your experiences with global labeling tell you about how you feel about yourself?
    • Think about your answers to all of these questions.  What do your answers tell you about any fears you may have about the other person or group involved?
    • What do your answers to these questions tell you about any fears or insecurities you have about yourself?
    • What do your answers to these questions tell you about how you treat others?
    • Which answers to these questions do you feel are more positive?
    • Which answers to these questions do you feel show you ways that you could improve?
  • Nurture yourself:
    • What are some positive qualities your answers have shown you about yourself?  How can you showcase these qualities this week?
    • Based on your answers to these questions, how can you improve the way you feel about yourself?  What are some small steps you can take this week?
    • Based on your answers to these questions, what are some ways that you can treat yourself and the other person or group involved with respect?  What are some small steps you can take this week?

When you’re done with thinking, you need to watch Seattle Chef Joe’s Facebook Videos.  Please check out his FB page here.  

As always, I have to mention the MindBody/Wellness Research and Science Network group on Facebook.  The chick who runs it takes an evidence-based approach to holistic topics.  I appreciate her common sense-meets-spirituality way of doing things.

Unfortunately, it was another week of work chaos and poor time management on my part.  I’m going to try to minimize this going forward, but my work environment was really that unpredictable for the last 6 weeks.  This video definitely kept me going this week:

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, Onto the Reading, Shall We…?

NOTE:  Yes, I know that I’m almost a week late again.  Hopefully I can get caught up—and stay caught up for a while—this week.  I’m sorry.

I asked the cards what we need to know about the week of 9/29/20 – 10/6/20 and I got:  Three of Pentacles (number 3, recognition and attention, rewards for a job well done, appreciation for sincere effort, success in exchange for persistence, and a possible monetary bonus); Knight of Cups (water sign male, idealized love, loving and sensitive person, someone who lacks initiative, difficulty making decisions, creative ideas, and entering a creative phase in life); Five of Wands (number 5, competition or jealousy, posturing, difficulty in business or career, having one’s convictions questioned, and having to prove one’s point); and Six of Wands (number 6, training and hard work leading to success, victory, rewards for hard work and dedication, success in business and creative projects, and rewards for making good choices).  After having so much 9 energy in September, the lack of Major Arcana cards or running numerical theme feels refreshing to me.  The energy around this week feels a little less intense, but there are a couple themes swirling around this spread.  The first thing that jumps out at me is this spread begins and ends with success cards.  One of the running themes in September was wrapping up a chapter in your life, often by the Universe showing you why you should move on.  It was about gathering wisdom and the self-sufficiency to use it, rather than consult 35 of your best friends for the right answers.  Think of the success and victory theme as a little validation that you made the right choice, especially since rewards for good choices is a huge part of the Six of Wands.  The Three of Pentacles is our other victory card, but the victory signified by the Three is often one that brings more public recognition and validation than the Six of Wands.  Think of the Three as getting a standing ovation at a play or concert, whereas the Six of Wands is more like winning a Super Bowl.  Both require a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but the Six is more about edging out the competition.  Speaking of competition, the Five of Wands sits next to the Six.  When you see this Five, you can bet you are going to be dealing with some opposition and possibly a petty ass bitch or two.  My guess is pettiness and jealousy will be an undercurrent of your week, but it doesn’t feel like it will get to the level of sabotage.  I think much of the opposition will come from a couple places.  First, you have a couple people from the life you’re leaving behind who depended on you or will miss you more than they care to admit.  I feel like it’s easier for them to act like an asshole than to use their words.  The rest of the opposition will likely come from you.  This may be a good week to practice a little za zen meditation or a tiny memorial ritual to your old life.  I know leaving this chapter behind is in your best interest, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have some feelings about it.  The best thing to do is listen to them and honor them, without letting your emotions drag their dirty boots into this shiny new chapter of your life.  The Knight of Cups is a nod to these feelings, as well as a sign that you may be a little emotional this week.  Thankfully, the Knight is not as emotionally visceral as the Moon or the Queen of Cups, but it is quite the emo card.  This Knight can be a bit of a fuckboy in readings because it represents energy that is a little too in its feelings and tends not to last.  I feel like the aspect of the Knight you are most likely to see is the one that engages in too much fantasy and can’t seem to take real initiative.  Beware of this.  A good way to deal with your head being in the clouds is to write down your thoughts and ideas, but not committing to them just yet.  You will most likely go through too much of an adjustment period to keep your promises.  Focus on smaller goals and baby steps this week.  You’ve earned the down time.

For those of you who may need a little more this week, I asked the Doreen Virtue Angel Tarot Deck for the mantra for a week.  The definition of mantra for my nefarious purposes is: a present-tense statement that you can repeat to yourself during times of anxiety, sadness, or uncertainty.  It’s not an affirmation because the phrasing is more pragmatic and neutral, than overtly positive.  Here’s what I got:

The Card:  Life Experience

Meaning:  Number 16, Archangel Chamuel, a significant life event, revelation or epiphany that leads to change, time to flee the nest, liberation, seeing the truth, a change that can’t be avoided, time running out, awakening, growth, and one’s perspective changing permanently.

Mantras:  I accept the changes in my life.

  • I face the new chapter in my life objectively.
  • I allow others in my life the space to grow and change.
  • I allow myself the space to grow and change.
  • I allow myself time to see things for what they are.
  • I allow myself time to adjust to new perspectives.
  • I allow myself space to make mistakes without judging myself.
  • I allow others the space to make mistakes without judgment.

A quick update on my readings:  I have been asked a few times on Instagram if I have a free reading program for new clients.  Ummm, no.  I used to offer free readings, but please believe me when I say it really didn’t work out for me.  (It worked out so badly that there’s no way in hell I’m going to try giving free readings again.)  I give props to any readers who can make free readings work for them, but I’m not that reader.  I also understand that nobody needs to be paying $40 – $60 for a reading right now.  That’s fair.  Plus there are many other people and organizations—namely animal charities, coronavirus relief charities,Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, NAMI, food banks, and the official George Floyd Go Fund Me pageSo I’m offering $5 one-question mini readings if you donate to:

Here’s what you need to know about the one-question mini readings:

  • Make your $5 donation to any of the above causes.
  • Screenshot me a copy of the receipt with your payment and personal info blurred or crossed out.
  • Send me one question.  I can’t accommodate follow up questions at this time.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast displaced thousands of innocent pets.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest relationship articleHe’s coming back next month, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

Tarot Reading of the Week: 9/22/20 – 9/29/20

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  Sorry to be so slow.

WARNING:  This is the part of my weekly post where I talk about some pop-psychological and tangentially metaphysical thing.  My belief is I’m not the only one noticing this and I wonder how it will affect the New Normal (™).  I am doing this in the hopes that it is useful for someone.  If you are not that someone, you are more than welcome to skip to the reading.  Please accept my humble apologies if you found this preachy.

Cognitive distortions are still on my mind this week, but you probably could’ve finished that sentence for me.  One of the subtler running themes of this blog is prediction.  That’s one of the reasons people get so into the tarot, because they like having an idea of what’s next.  People tend to like having at least one thing in their life that they can depend on, be right about, or see coming.  Even if the outcome validates your worst fear, having an expectation met—or exceeded—is pretty satisfying.  I’ve been thinking about the cognitive distortion of mind reading, but you knew that.

“But wait,” you wonder, “why would a tarot reader be against mind reading?”

Mind reading as a parlor trick or byproduct of your spirituality is awesome, but the cognitive distortion of mind reading kinda sucks.  Unless you want to turn the most cherished parts of your life into a self-sabotage minefield.  In which case, keep doing it.  

As the name implies, the cognitive distortion of mind reading means you believe—often wrongly—that you already know what the other person is thinking.  Mind reading is not only a display of bad manners and poor boundaries, but it is also a cognitive distortion because you are assuming a relationship between two things that may not actually exist.  Your presumption often persists for three reasons.  One, you never asked the other person what they were thinking or what their rationale was for behaving the way they did.  Two, you never bothered to look for or examine any evidence that didn’t support your belief.  Three, you have emotional agendas, prejudices, and hidden baggage that mean more to you than any objective evidence in this situation.

Mind reading looks way subtler than some eccentric fortune teller hovering their hands over a crystal ball for dramatic emphasis.  It might show up in your life as:

  • Always being proven right about certain people, which leads you to believe you just know what their motives are.
  • That scheming in-law who starts most of her sentences with, “I just know what you’re thinking…”
  • Your coworker arrives 10 minutes late to a meeting, then later tells you they just know everyone thinks they don’t take this job seriously.
  • Your new romantic main dish texts you a couple hours after they normally do.  You break up with them because you just know they’re cheating.
  • Political candidates faking ads because they just know you’re voting on blind emotion and won’t research it.
  • Pretty much anything the current administration has said about gun control, since they just know that you have never—and probably will never—research the history of the Second Amendment, what the current gun control bills are proposing, or what it would even take to repeal the Second Amendment.  (HInt: the Second Amendment was created so that private citizens could create a militia for the government, not Ammon Bundy-type stand offs.  Double Hint: there are bigger fish to fry than repealing an amendment.) 
  • Your roommate leaves their dishes in the sink for the millionth time this week.  You’re pissed.  Not because you’re tired of picking up after them, but because you just know they’re leaving their garbage around because they clearly don’t care about anyone else.

Notice a couple themes in these examples?  Mind reading involves believing you know what someone’s true beliefs and motives are, despite often ignoring available evidence.  This particular cognitive distortion is highly disrespectful because you are assuming that you are more capable and perceptive than the other person, which is about as opposite of the definition of respect that you can get.  Anyone using this cognitive distortion in your direction is automatically assuming you are less intelligent, compassionate, trustworthy, objective, competent, savvy, or just plain less than they are because they somehow know what you’re thinking or feeling more than you do.  If you recognize yourself in any of these examples, please stop because you’re ruining your relationships by being arrogant as fuck.  You’re also closing yourself off to learning new perspectives and/or developing the emotional maturity necessary for true self-improvement.  P.S. You are also potentially giving yourself astronomical levels of social anxiety.

If mind reading is something you don’t want following you into the New Normal (™), here is a free Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) workbook to get you started.  You can also try these journal questions:

  • What are three situations where you are likely to engage in mind reading?  For each situation, answer the following:
    • Who else was involved in this situation?  How do you normally feel about them?
    • What are three things you assume about this person?
    • What is at least one piece of evidence that makes your assumptions true?
    • What is at least one piece of evidence that makes your assumptions false?
    • What is at least one thing you assumed about them in this situation?
    • What did they say or do in this situation that led you to make the assumption you did?
    • What is at least one thing you were thinking in this situation?
    • What is at least one thing you were feeling in this situation?
    • How did you express your assumptions to the other person?  How did they react?
    • How do you think your assumptions about this person are affecting your relationship with them in a positive way?
    • How do you think your assumptions about this person are affecting your relationship in a negative way?
    • If you had the chance to redo this situation, would you make the same assumptions?  Why or why not?
  • What is a situation when mind reading worked in a positive way for you?  What about this situation made it positive?
  • What is a situation when mind reading worked in a negative way for you?  What about this situation made it negative?
  • What are three assumptions you usually make about others?  
  • Mind reading works off the assumption that you somehow know more about what the other person must be thinking or feeling than they do.  How did you assume that you knew more than they did in this situation?
  • What are three questions you can ask in order to challenge your assumptions?

When you’re done with thinking, you need to watch Seattle Chef Joe’s Facebook Videos.  Please check out his FB page here.  

As always, I have to mention the MindBody/Wellness Research and Science Network group on Facebook.  The chick who runs it takes an evidence-based approach to holistic topics.  I appreciate her common sense-meets-spirituality way of doing things.

Once again, I’m late with this reading due to some work-related chaos that I could not account for, plan around, or control.  Hopefully this is the last week of it, but I can’t promise anything.  Anyhoo, I found this video to be a soothing thing to ponder:

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, Onto the Reading, Shall We…?

NOTE:  Yes, I know that I’m almost a week late again.  I’m trying to minimize the impact of work-related chaos on my literary and tarot endeavors, but it’s been a challenge.  I’m sorry.

I asked the cards what we need to know about the week of 9/22/20 – 9/29/20 and I got:  The Hermit (number 9, self-sufficiency, inner guidance, seeking one’s own answers, solitude, time to go within, preparing for a major change, reviewing one’s journey and choices thus far, and learning about oneself); Four of Cups (number 4, apathy, more of the same, boredom, a relationship that has become stale, stagnation, and the need to change one’s routine); Ten of Swords (number 10, gossip, betrayal, backstabbing, slander, the end of a cycle of arguments, leaving a bad situation, and mental stress); and the Hanged Man (number 12, suspended animation, wait and see, the need to surrender a part of oneself that is no longer useful, the need to look at something differently, the need for patience and tolerance, recognizing negative patterns, and the need to let go).  Huh.  This is the third week in a row that we have encountered 9 energy.  For you numerology types, 9 energy is about striking a balance between makin’ moves and acceptance.  This energy is about change and transcendence, while understanding the lesson up till now.  The Hermit—which embodies the aspect of 9 energy that requires stillness and going within—is my first clue that we are dealing with preparing for an ending that needs to happen.  The Hermit is a card of withdrawal, of taking a step back and evaluating the evidence.  I feel like approaching your week in this way will give you the best results, as the Hanged Man also suggests a lesson at play.  If you don’t consciously decide to take an observer’s role this week, I feel like the next two cards—the Four of Cups and the Ten of Swords—are suggesting an event that forces you to do so.  The Four of Cups is a card of apathy, of a situation that’s boring and/or no longer working for you.  Bored, dissatisfied people tend to be lethargic and negative, but possibly comfortable wallowing in their own dirty diaper.  They act shitty not only to express their boredom, but also because they’re secure enough to know that nobody will call them on their nonsense.  The Ten of Swords enhances the garbage vibes, as it is a card of betrayal and gossip.  It is also a card of mental stress and deciding enough is enough.  I feel like the Four and Ten together create an a-ha moment, when either you or the other person involved decide to pull the plug.  I don’t feel like anything that happens this week will be out of the ordinary, but you will be different.  You’re just ready for the next chapter to start is all.  I feel like both parties involved are ready for something different, but have become too comfortable to do anything about it.  Whatever division that happens will end up being a welcome relief, but maybe not right away.  The Hanged Man further underscores the feeling of being stuck.  Like the Ten of Swords, though, the Hanged Man suggests a separation is imminent.  The trick to the Hanged Man is being prepared to sacrifice something.  This could mean being the first person involved to speak up or walk away, but it will definitely require that you change something about your thoughts and behavior patterns.  This requires that you acknowledge your part in why the situation wasn’t working.  You need to own what you did wrong.  I don’t think anyone else involved will think about their part in events, but you need to evaluate your own behavior so that you can move on with a clean slate.  In case you need a soundtrack, try this song:

A quick update on my readings:  I have been asked a few times on Instagram if I have a free reading program for new clients.  Ummm, no.  I used to offer free readings, but please believe me when I say it really didn’t work out for me.  (It worked out so badly that there’s no way in hell I’m going to try giving free readings again.)  I give props to any readers who can make free readings work for them, but I’m not that reader.  I also understand that nobody needs to be paying $40 – $60 for a reading right now.  That’s fair.  Plus there are many other people and organizations—namely animal charities, coronavirus relief charities,Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, NAMI, food banks, and the official George Floyd Go Fund Me pageSo I’m offering $5 one-question mini readings if you donate to:

Here’s what you need to know about the one-question mini readings:

  • Make your $5 donation to any of the above causes.
  • Screenshot me a copy of the receipt with your payment and personal info blurred or crossed out.
  • Send me one question.  I can’t accommodate follow up questions at this time.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast displaced thousands of innocent pets.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest relationship articleHe’s coming back next month, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

High Infidelity: Marshall Delaware and Spicevicious Tackle the Question, “Are They Cheating on Me?”

With Super Special Guest, Marshall Delaware

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  Sorry to be so slow.

Spice Asks, “Are They a Jerk or Is The Universe Out to Get You?”

Back in the halcyon days when I started on Keen.com—2001, to be exact—I noticed most of the reader profiles targeted women at a crossroads in their relationships.  It wasn’t exactly a revelation, if you think about it.  I found Keen.com because grief, childhood issues, a cluster of identity crises, and some fucked up relationship issues collided.  I also noticed I wasn’t as popular as some readers not only because my schedule was so all-over-the-place, but also because I was perhaps a little too honest.  

A little too honest” was also sometimes code for seriously unchecked transference issues”.  It’s cringy and humiliating to admit that I was spraying my psychological sewage all over others’ situations, but I want you to understand that ALL PSYCHIC READERS are human beings with unconscious emotional issues.  It doesn’t make them bad or frauds—many people come out of horrible situations with greater empathy and wisdom—but it does mean you need to think critically about any spiritual data you get.  Yes, this also applies to spiritual info given by “mainstream” religious figures and doctrines, yoga gurus, and mental health experts too.

But back to the lecture at hand…

Those Keen.com profiles targeted women having cis, hetero relationship problems because nothing stabs at the very core of your being like possible infidelity.   Not knowing whether that person you let into your heart is only in there to drain it dry fucking sucks.  But here’s the thing: I got a lot of calls from men, people who identify as gender fluid, women who were into women, et al asking if their relationships were on the up-and-up.  Wanna know why?  Because being a duplicitous asshole isn’t exclusive to just one gender or sexual orientation.  You just get more women calling psychics is all.  Not only are men less likely to want to process their partner’s possible infidelity with a stranger, but also younger generations are closing that gender gap.  

Please understand that while my advice seems a little harsh, I totally get how painful and disorienting questions of infidelity can be.  I also understand that the only way to weather the storm is to get yourself in a position where you can make the best possible decisions for you and your future.  This means:

  • Acknowledging your feelings without getting swallowed whole by them.
  • Giving yourself time and space before you react (i.e. drunk text, cyberstalk, translate your most visceral emotions into text, drive by their house, etc.).
  • Giving yourself time before deciding to continue or restart a relationship that may have been toxic for you.
  • Evaluating the evidence before deciding what you want to do with the relationship.
  • Preparing to say what you mean and mean what you say when you finally do address this.
  • Figuring out whether the two of you can work through this debacle and use it as a way to strengthen your relationship.

Before you think you need to start collecting cats or join the Peace Corps to avoid the dating game, it may help to know why people cheat.  Here are some of the woo-woo and earthly reasons I’ve noticed why people stray:

  • Karma.  I know I sound like a broken record with this karmic relationship stuff, but sometimes it really is your karma or theirs that makes them cheat.  It could be that you were the cheater in a past life.  Maybe you caused them pain or broke a promise in another way during that lifetime—or over multiple lifetimes—and this infidelity was their soul’s way of breaking ties.  Or their Higher Self needed them to be the cheater during this lifetime in order to make them–or you–better people down the road.  
  • A wake up call.  Spiritually speaking, nothing can get you to shit or get off the pot like the outhouse exploding.  Getting drenched in break up diarrhea is one of those KABOOM-type events.  This is related to the karma reason because it involves metaphysical chess, but it may not have been premeditated.  Maybe you were on a comfortable path, but that doesn’t make it the best one for you.  Perhaps you wouldn’t have seen it if you spent forever and ever with the cheater.
  • Spiritual interference.  I don’t like talking about this one because it is relatively rare, but it does happen.  The thing about someone using spells or other occult stuff to mess with your relationship is it is a real bitch to prove.  I’ll have to do a little research to give you the best advice on this one, but I would suggest a good protection spell that does not name a specific target.  Just use “anyone who would harm, exploit, manipulate, undermine, steal from, or discredit me or my relationships; intentionally or unintentionally, by thought, by emotion, by action, or by energy” when you do the spell.  I’ve got some good ones for this, believe me.  But this is a different post altogether…
  • Self-sabotage as self-protection.  Some people hate conflict and will avoid uncomfortable conversations at all costs.  The emotional and mental gymnastics involved in them running from a confrontation kinda looks like what would happen if Cirque du Soleil choreographed a show about angry cats avoiding baths.  Sometimes this avoidance looks like self-sabotage.  Think of it like a relationship suicide bomb because they’re basically using anything they can find to blow up this relationship, even if that means blowing themselves up with it.  And what can decimate your relationships quite like cheating?
  • Relationship boredom.  Most relationships hit a phase where things aren’t as new and exciting as they were.  It might take days, weeks, months, or years.  Sometimes the familiarity is appealing, other times, not so much.  Sometimes the familiarity is just there to cover deeper issues that one or both parties want to avoid, like power struggles, personality differences, or toxic behavior.  Whatever the case, there are people that don’t handle familiarity and routine that well.  Anyone ever owned a border collie?  They have a wacky perpetual herding, chase-the-ball thing happening.  These dogs are a little too smart for their own good and can get mischievous when bored.  Sometimes cheating is the human version of that.
  • They suck.  This one’s pretty self-explanatory.  Some people cheat because they are fucking selfish and out for immediate gratification.
  • They checked out of the relationship, but didn’t want to hurt you.  This one combines selfishness, avoidance, feeling out of place, and a ton of anxiety.  Cheating is just one way to get you to make their decision for them.
  • You were never on the same page.  Maybe this one boils down to radically different communication styles, cultural barriers, or a shitload of denial.  Whatever the case, being out of sync with your partner feels like a song that’s just barely off key or watching a dance where one of the dancers is about a half step behind the others.  Maybe your partner felt it too.

Whatever the case, they are the one that chose to handle their feelings this way.  They are the ones that closed themselves off to you and opened themselves up to other possibilities.  No matter how you contributed to the situation, you never put a gun to their head and told them to cheat.  

And that’s just one of many things about infidelity that hurts like a bitch.

But Are They Cheating, Though?

Irrefutable proof of infidelity is hard to procure.  Unless you walked in on it, somehow got the pictures, have a confession, or some other piece of tangible evidence, all you have is a gut feeling.  Here’s the deal about gut feelings: your mind will try to screw with you ten ways to Sunday, but your gut is never wrong.  The only problem with gut feelings is they only know something is wrong.  They don’t necessarily tell us what that something is.

I think feeling insecure about your partner is a warning that you need to take a look at something in your relationship.  Let’s expound on the old “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” adage for a second.  Say you come upon a rager of a fire that’s savagely roaring through everything you hold dear.  I’ve been around enough physical and metaphorical fire to tell you that knowing how the fire started will tell you how you need to extinguish it.  Pyros, fire fighters, and really bad cooks will tell you that you deal with an electrical fire differently than a grease fire or a smudge stick ritual gone wrong.  How can you tell what started the fire and what type of fire you have on your hands?

By controlling the blaze and examining the evidence, of course.

The nagging feeling that all is not right in your relationship is much the same way.  Do you have a wildfire of an affair on your hands, or merely a partner who needs a little space?  Here’s a quick list of situations that might be setting off your intuitive fire alarm:

  • They seem more distant.  This one has a few reasons.  Maybe they are scared of screwing up another relationship.  Maybe it was something you said and they don’t know how to approach you.  Maybe they feel like they need to pull back in order to focus on their wants, needs, and goals.  
  • They’re having an emotional affair.  Do they seem a little distracted, or are they especially protective of their phone?  Or maybe they’re mentioning a new friend just a liiiitttttttlllleeee too much.  Although they might not be doing the horizontal mambo, these signs might be worth a conversation or two.  People usually have emotional affairs because they’re flattered by someone else’s attention, their partner has started taking them for granted, they feel lonely in the relationship, they’re bored or disconnected in the relationship, or any combo of these things.
  • They’re at the “just talking” stage.  Oh goody.  Another gray area affair.  This category takes the emotional affair a step further, though, because it’s more intentional.  Unlike the emotional affair, people in the “just talking” stage tend to know they’re doing it.  They just have a ton of plausible deniability about where these “conversations” might lead because they’re…  “just talking.”  This one can be totally nipped in the bud, but it’s still a major head fuck for everyone considered.
  • They have a “school husband/wife” or “work husband/wife.”  The quick definition of a work spouse is a coworker with whom you have a great deal of affection and rapport.  The level of trust, appreciation, and understanding between you makes you look forward to coming to work and makes the day go a lot faster.  Having a work spouse may increase job satisfaction, but it’s still a blurry boundary that can easily be taken too far.  
  • You found suggestive profiles, messages, or pictures.  There really aren’t too many logical reasons for this one.

So what should you do with these burning gut feelings?  I’ll get to that, but first, I’d like you to…

IS HE CHEATING ON ME OR AM I JUST HARSHING HIS BUZZ? MARSHALL DELAWARE PLUGS HIS NOSE AND DELVES INTO THE REALITY OF MODERN INFIDELITY FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT AND ENLIGHTENMENT.

Helllllllooooooooooooo, ladies. I know, it seems like I’ve been procrastinating on the old prognosticating but I really have no good excuse to give you so how about we just non-confrontationally slide into this timely topic and see if you are indeed the victim of a two-faced, double-dealing, fork-tongued fornicator.

  • Knight of Cups
  • Queen of Pentacles
  • 10 of Wands
  • The Hierophant
  • Queen of Cups

Okay, whenever I encounter a good news/bad news sitch, I always want to hear the bad news first because I love stories with happy endings, so let’s get the negativity out of the way first. Your dude harbours an idealistic conception of what love and commitment looks like and you’re not holding up your end of the bargain as you strut-bounce down the street screaming the lyrics to “WAP” because you’ve decided that that song is going to be your philosophical cornerstone to dealing with your man, and relationships in general. Oh well, I guess it’s a step up from whatever Billie Eilish is singing about. At least you don’t seem so fucking gloomy anymore as you longingly gaze at the kitchen knives while wondering if today is a good day to go out like a Roman, and if so is it mandatory that you wear the mask while slicing open your Brachial Artery as a courtesy to the medical examiner that finds your corpse?

Since I’m old enough to be his dad, I’ve been saying long before Da Anti Flip Lord, Pierre XO, graced us with His Interdimensional Presence, that the pendulum always swings the other way. Women wanted guys to stop focusing on the superficial/anatomical aspects and place a greater emphasis on things to do with character and personality, and guess what, they are. Guys are finally starting to clue in that between da bangs ya gotta hang, and hanging means conversing, engaging in some sort of positive and meaningful dialogues that induce an omnipresent sense of emotional intimacy, y’know pair bonding. It’s a little difficult to do that with a broad who thinks that 80% of the dudes on Tinder and Plenty of Fish are below average. It’s a bit of a slog for the dude in question to take you seriously when you can’t put away your fucking smart phone on a date and actually make an effort to make the dude feel like he matters, not with your body, just with your undivided attention in public places. It’s not enough to shag the bloke, or to vomit up some pithy love bomb on your Instagram, you have to actually do the quiet things too, like fucking listen to him. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with him, it just means you have to make a consistent effort to take him seriously. Because if you don’t, he won’t hesitate to abandon ship and cast his bread upon the waters once again.

Okay, that’s the bad news. The good news is, no he’s not cheating on you. For a dude cheating isn’t as easy as it looks. He can’t just show up at the nightclub, or the coffee shop, or anywhere really, throw up his red light, and then casually assess his options as da bitches flock to him. Even high status, seriously successful men have to work the hustle if they want to slide on into the holiest of holies, once again. They have to initiate. They have to work their best game and even those dudes strike out way more often that they’re willing to admit.

For a regular bloke it’s more morally acceptable to him to just give it his best effort in a monogamous sitch and when that well runs dry again, he can just leave without being told that he’s some kind of a lying cad. As long as he can say, “I tried but she just wasn’t that into me.”, then he can wank off and go to sleep feeling guilt-free without ever having to hear that Cardi B song ever again.

So yeah, that’s what I’m seeing here. The fear of infidelity is something that you can alleviate fairly easily, and it doesn’t involve you having to do anything degrading or borderline illegal. Just focus on your guy on a regular basis and practice active listening. Who knows, you might even find him interesting. Interesting enough to seriously commit to.

So yeah, that’s all I have to say about that. This is Marshall Delaware once again saying do the best that you can to be the best that you can. Seeya.

Spice Throws Out a Couple Things to Ponder

I once asked a good friend what her definition of Hell was.  She responded, “Having to show up naked for a tax audit, then finding out the auditor has Michael Bolton’s greatest hits playing in a continuous loop.  Oh, and the office door is locked from the outside.”

Uncomfortable, yes, but anyone who has dealt with a potential relationship security breach can tell you it gets worse.  Way, way worse.  To put it in Matrix terms, you can either take the blue pill or the red pill on this one.  The blue pill involves you completely ignoring your nagging feelings, even overcompensating for them by trying to be perfect.  The blue pill means you pretend that nothing is wrong and your relationship is candy-coated, rose-colored, obnoxiously happy #relationshipgoals.  The blue pill might mean you stuff down your darker feelings with food, gag your tears before they flow, and pour yourself into your relationship.  This sort of thing means you might have to post about your happiness on social media EVERY. FIVE. FUCKING. MINUTES.  It’s a recipe for the type of emotional burnout that only codependence and delusion can bring, but at least it’s misery that you know.

The red pill involves a lot more honesty and a willingness to get your metaphorical hands dirty.  Like, Lady MacBeth’s hands dirty.

Before we plunge our digits into the gore, I need to issue a disclaimer.  WARNING:  Love advice from Spicevicious tends to contain a high concentration of Resting Bitch Face (RBF).  Coming into contact with RBF is not advisable if you have an allergy to dry humor, sarcasm, and relatively large doses of truth. 

Stop Clutching Your Pearls and Pop The Red Pill Already

In order to successfully choke down the red pill, please remind yourself that the truth doesn’t care about what’s easier for you.  The truth is a honey badger.  It doesn’t give a shit.  This means YOU need to give a shit about you.  You know that fun buzzword self-care?  The one that basically got shoved down our throats during the quarantine?  Yeah, well, it means a little more than planting a garden when you’re dealing with questions surrounding infidelity.  It means getting real about what is best for you and your life.  This might look like:

  • Re-examining your boundaries.
  • Making a pro and con list of this relationship.
  • Getting real about your insecurities.
  • Making a list of things you want in a relationship.  Does your relationship meet your needs?
  • Deleting the meaner, more knee-jerk texts and emails you want to send.  It’s not helping.  Trust me on that.
  • NOT STALKING YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER.  Put them on a 30 day social media block if you must.  Find something else to do during the times you typically text or call them.  Channel your energy into this 30 day squat challenge so you can look good as you peace out, if that’s what you decide to do.
  • Developing a routine for yourself.

Now ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why do you think they’re cheating?
  • Can you continue the relationship if you find out that they’re not cheating?
  • What are you prepared to do if you find out they are cheating?
  • What are you prepared to do if you believe they are cheating, but they deny it?

Getting honest with that first question of why will help you figure out the answers to the other three questions.  Let’s tackle the first question, shall we…?

Why do you think they’re cheating?  My years of reading the tarot, watching friends go through hell, and being on both ends of this hell myself have taught me the “are they or aren’t they?” seed gets planted for a million combinations of the two reasons:

  1. You have evidence or observations that point to infidelity.
  2. Your insecurities are seriously fucking with you.

I feel like this Psychology Today article breaks down the 10 most common signs someone is cheating rather well.  It also plays into conventional wisdom, which states, “If you feel something is rotten in your relationship, it probably is.”  

Fair enough.  Let me just add a couple tweaks to that statement with a wee analogy.

Imagine you come home one day and something smells fucking awful.  Never have you smelled such a repugnant combination of rotting flesh being farted out a zombie’s ass, mixed with distinct top notes of an unbathed, hung over frat boy—sssnnniiiffffff!!!—and wet dog.  On the verge of throwing up your lunch, you fling open the windows.  You flip on all the fans.  You open the front door.  But the smell just gets stronger.  

It doesn’t matter what is causing the stench.  You cannot live this way.  Buuuttt it’s easier to work around the smell than to completely uproot every object in your house.  You decide to take the blue pill and scrub every visible surface, but leave the stuff you can’t see alone.

The smell only gets stronger.

As the stench continues to sear your eyeballs, your imagination runs amok.  What if there’s a body under your floorboards?  But I’m the only one who lives here.  Maybe someone planted it there.  Why wouldn’t they toss it in the lake?  Okay, you’re right.  It was circus clowns and giant spiders…  *sigh*  Sure…  I am NOT opening that can of worms.

Meanwhile, the blue pill solution does what it does best—keeps you comfortable until it blows up in your face.  The smell keeps you up at night and covers your food, your bed, and your clothes.  It blows through your heater and air conditioner.  Your friends and family start associating you with the stench.  They start pulling away until you are only left with the smell.

And then your house starts rotting.  It starts with a few mold spots here and there.  No matter how much you scrub them, the spots spread.  The mold covers more and more of your house until you notice soft spots and holes in the walls.

One day, after your house has disintegrated to the foundation, you notice the carcasses of a family of stray cats behind the water heater.  No evil clowns.  No serial killer neighbors.  Just something you could have easily taken care of as soon as you noticed a problem.

See where I’m going there?

Noticing something is wrong can quickly spiral out of control if you don’t deal with the insecurities underlying it.  Doing anything less—i.e. pushing down your feelings or only focusing on the surface-level parts of the situation—will only destroy you, which will only fuck you over no matter what happens with the relationship.

I humbly propose you do a couple things:

  • Separate the evidence from what you think it means, or want it to mean.  This means releasing judgment and the need to connect the dots from your receipts.  I really liked these tips to becoming less judgmental.  Here are the usable bits:
    • Practice nonjudgmental communication by removing words like “good,” “bad,” “always,” “never,” “right,” “wrong,” or anything that makes a situation black or white when talking about your evidence.
    • Don’t assume you know why or how something happened.  All you have right now is what and when.
    • Judgment is about self-protection and fear, so check out a good compassion meditation like this one or this one.  The more you release your fears and insecurities, the more you will be able to separate bullshit from the truth when your significant other bothers to explain themselves.
  • Acknowledge possible alternative explanations to each piece of evidence.  Like I said, all you have in this situation is what and when.  Hopefully the house analogy showed you how much an incorrect why can mess with you.
  • Have an honest talk with yourself about your insecurities and where they come from.  Go back to your compassion meditation or do this Anubis spell to feel less lost and ask yourself these questions as part of your intention:
    • When was the first time I felt this way?  Who else was involved?  What did they do?  How did I react?
    • What were some thoughts I had about myself after this happened?  
    • How did I feel about myself after this happened?
    • What did I tell myself about myself after this situation?  Am I still repeating these messages?  
    • What were some thoughts I had about others after this happened?
    • How did I feel about others after this happened?
    • What did I tell myself about others after this situation?  Am I still repeating these messages?
  • Have an honest talk with yourself about any other reasons you may have to accuse them.  Maybe you’re accusing your significant other of cheating to take the focus off some thoughts or urges you’re having.  Projection is a pretty common defense mechanism when we don’t want to own stuff that makes us feel ashamed, guilty, gross, or just plain crazy.  Look at your evidence objectively.  If your smoking gun is barely lukewarm, methinks you may protest too much.  Before you emotionally batter an innocent partner with infidelity accusations, ask yourself this:
    • Have YOU been thinking of cheating?
    • Are you bored in this relationship?
    • Have you been looking for a way out, but don’t want to be the bad guy?
    • Do you have a pattern of sabotaging your relationships?
    • Do you feel like you deserve this relationship?
    • Are you trying to leave them before they leave you?

Now you have your receipts in one hand, and both pills in the other.  None of the questions I posed to you are easy.  I honestly wish they were.  But then again, ignoring the warning signs ain’t no cake walk either.  I’m not a guru or anyone special.  I’ve just flipped enough cards and done enough observing to know that asking yourself these questions sooner, rather than later can save you a ton of pain in the long run.  Questions of fidelity and trust never go away quietly.  It’s just a question of how long you’re willing to keep them on mute.

P.S. Any of the spells I’ve posted on this blog can be easily tailored so you can:

P.P.S.  If you want to know more about your relationship quandary, please hit up Marshall Delaware for a reading.  You can email him at ggm92666@yahoo.ca  I guarantee zany hijinks and enlightenment will ensue.

A quick update on my readings:  I have been asked a few times on Instagram if I have a free reading program for new clients.  Ummm, no.  I used to offer free readings, but please believe me when I say it really didn’t work out for me.  (It worked out so badly that there’s no way in hell I’m going to try giving free readings again.)  I give props to any readers who can make free readings work for them, but I’m not that reader.  I also understand that nobody needs to be paying $40 – $60 for a reading right now.  That’s fair.  Plus there are many other people and organizations—namely animal charities, coronavirus relief charities,Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, NAMI, food banks, and the official George Floyd Go Fund Me pageSo I’m offering $5 one-question mini readings if you donate to:

Here’s what you need to know about the one-question mini readings:

  • Make your $5 donation to any of the above causes.
  • Screenshot me a copy of the receipt with your payment and personal info blurred or crossed out.
  • Send me one question.  I can’t accommodate follow up questions at this time.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast displaced thousands of innocent pets.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest political collab. He’s coming back in the near future to tackle another current events conundrum, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!