The Second House in Astrology

In astrology, the second house signifies personal property, assets, and resources. It represents that which directly supports the subject of the chart.

Each of the twelve astrological houses represents something different. In a natal chart, they relate to areas of a person’s life. With electional astrology, they signify different topics and how they relate to the event being planned. In horary astrology, they’re used to determine which planets are relevant to the question being asked.

The second house represents material assets, movable property, and financial resources. In other words, regardless of how we’re applying astrology, the second house is all about money.

Let’s look at each of these applications, and see how the second house is used.

The second house in astrology represents money and material resources.

The second house in natal astrology

Natal or birth charts are all about the person for whom the chart was cast. This means that in a natal chart the second house represents an individual’s assets and resources. It shows us that person’s potential for wealth, as well as how they approach or manage their possessions and money.

The planets found in this house, as well as the sign which rules it, “color” all things related to money. If we have a fire sign ruling this house, it indicates rapid movement or some instability relating to finances. When a planet such as Mars is here, this instability will be exacerbated. If we find Jupiter in this house, it’s usually a good indication of abundant resources–especially if Jupiter is well-dignified.

Planets in the house can also give us a clue as to how the person will make their money. If the planet ruling the tenth is here, it means the individual will make their money from their career or reputation. If the ruler of the seventh house is in the second, this can show that one’s partner is a significant source of resources.

The planet which rules the second house shows us in what manner its significations tend to be expressed. And the house where this planet it found? That tells us to which area of life toward which the person usually puts their money.

Electional astrology

When electing the time for something, the second house has much the same meaning as it does for a birth chart. It represents the financial resources or assets of the subject of the event, or the person initiating the action. Going on a vacation? This house shows the financial conditions surrounding the trip. Starting a new business? Again, it’s all about money and assets–in this case, how well the venture will preform financially.

Many astrological elections have financial implications, so the second house is always worth looking at. This is true even when it isn’t entirely obvious the event has anything to do with money. For example, if you’re electing the time for a medical procedure, a poorly-configured second house could mean the bill is much, much different from what you thought it would be.

Horary astrology

In horary astrology, we’re casting a chart for the moment of a question. In most cases, this means that the second house relates to the money or assets of the person doing the asking. It can also tell us about profits and losses from sales or investments, as well as loans or debts. As the second house “supports” the first house (the person themselves), in legal matters it often represents one’s lawyer.

As with elections, questions in horary astrology often implicitly involve money in some way. If someone asks a relationship question, for example, finding a connection between this house and the seventh (the partner) or eighth (the partner’s resources) might signify that financial matters in the relationship are worth a closer look.

Final thoughts on the second house

When you begin studying astrology, you should always start by looking at your birth chart. If you haven’t, use a website such as Astro-Seek to create one. Look at your second house, and the planets you find there. What does the second house have to say about your financial situation or prospects?

Have a blessed day!

The First House in Astrology

In astrology, the first house is the most important house in a chart. It signifies the subject of the chart, whether this is a person, place, or thing.

The first house begins with the Ascendant.

Every one of the twelve houses in a chart carries its own significations. In a natal or birth chart, they represent areas of a person’s life. Looking at an electional chart, they represent topics and how they relate to the event under consideration. With horary astrology, they are used to determine which planets are relevant to the question at hand.

For each and every one of these applications of astrology, the first house is the most personal. This means that in a natal chart, it signifies the person’s body, appearance, basic personality, and motivations. When putting together an astrological election, it represents the event itself, or the subject initiating the event. In horary astrology, it signifies the person asking the question.

Let’s look at each of these applications, and consider how the first house relates to them.

The first house in natal astrology

In a house system such as Placidus or Regiomontanus, the first house has the Ascendant as its cusp. It’s where the chart begins.

In a birth chart, or “nativity,” the first house is sometimes called the “house of life.” Its cusp, its ruler, and the planets located within it, give us a general idea of the life circumstances surrounding the individual. This includes their motivations, mannerisms, and mentality, but also their physical appearance and overall health.

Let’s talk about physical appearance first. According to the tradition, this includes a person’s size and shape, their complexion, and the features of their head and face. For example, if Saturn or Mars is located in the first house, one would expect them to have a mole or some other mark on their face. Or, if not on their face, on that part of the body signified by the sign of this house.

The rules for calculating one’s physical appearance from the chart are well beyond the scope of this article, but they’re all rooted in the first house.

Motivations and mannerisms are also found here. The traits associated with the sign of this house, as well as the planets within it, all give us a clues to these characteristics. If we see a fire sign on the cusp, we would expect an individual who is more extroverted than introverted. If Saturn is positioned here, though, that extroversion would be more moderated.

The planet ruling the cusp of this house shows us the area of life toward which the native directs most of their attention, as well as the manner in which they engage with it.

Electional astrology

The first house is the most critical house when it comes to astrological elections. It, and its ruling planet, represent either the event itself or the person or subject which acts to bring the event to pass. If we’re electing a date and time to start a vacation, it would represent the people going on the trip. If we’re electing a new business, it would represent the business. Breaking ground on a new building? You guessed it, it signifies the building.

When looking for an auspicious time to begin something, it’s vital that the first house and its ruler be in a good condition and free of malefic influences. This is usually the first step an astrologer takes when electing a time.

Horary astrology

In horary astrology, where a chart is cast for the moment of a question, the first house represents the person asking the question. In many horary questions, the answer is found by looking for an aspect between the ruler of this house, and the ruler of whichever house represents the thing being asked about.

If someone asks about a job they applied for, we’ might’d look to see if there’s an aspect between the ruler of the first house and the ruler of the tenth, which governs one’s career. If someone asks if they’ll marry their current partner, we’d look for an aspect between the ruler of the first and the ruler of the seventh.

There are many other rules when it comes to answering horary questions, but the first house is almost always involved.

Final thoughts on the first house

When you begin to learn about astrology, it’s always a good idea to start by looking at your own birth chart. If you haven’t seen your chart before, you can use a website such as Astro-Seek to create one. Look at your first house, and the planets within it. What do they have to say about you?

Remember, every house in the chart has something to say. The first house, though, is particularly important, and it must be studied carefully.

The first is always first.

Have a blessed day!

How to practice visualization for magic

Almost every magical text written in the last century describes “visualization” as the key to success. But what if you have trouble forming mental pictures?

Visualization exercises are everywhere in magic. Whether we’re talking about “seeing” yourself in a new car, or “scrying” into the Astral Plane, this idea of mental imagery is a near constant. It’s also something many people struggle with when they’re first getting into magic.


I was one of those people.

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had exceptionally vivid dreams. I also read constantly, with horror stories being among my favorite, and could get lost in a book for hours. These worlds I visited, either in dreams or books, all seemed incredibly real to me. And yet, the first time I tried a visualization exercise I saw described in a how-to-magic book, I failed miserably.

The second time was a failure, too. And the tenth. And the hundredth.

I started studying magic when I was twelve years old. It wasn’t until I was sixteen, four years after I started practicing, that I finally got visualization. Now, at the ripe old age of grumble mumble something, it’s second nature to me.

In this post, I’d like to give you an “exercise routine” to help you practice visualization. If you’re struggling, maybe this will save you a few years.

Not everyone can do visualization

Believe it or not, some people are simply incapable of visualization–at least as it’s described in the books. In this section, I’ll discuss some of the reasons why, and try to give you some advice where I can.

Vision impairment

First, let’s talk about people who are vision impaired. When the impairment is the result of an illness or injury experienced after a person was born, they usually have no more trouble visualizing things than people without vision impairment. If this describes you, I’ll say that the first exercise in this post requires sight, but you might be able to adapt it and the rest this post to suit your needs.

If someone has been totally blind since birth, that’s a different story. There is evidence that the brains of such people still experience vision-related electrical activity, but they’re certainly not “seeing” in the “conventional” sense of the word. If this describes you, this post might not be of much help to you.

This post also won’t be of much help to those people who experience aphantasia.


Aphantasia is the inability to voluntarily form mental pictures. It was first noted back in 1880, but no one actually began to study it until 2005! As such, there’s not a whole lot of data on aphantasia. Based on the studies we do have, though, it seems that about four percent of the population experiences some form of it.

Ever since aphantasia gained wider awareness, I’ve seen a lot of people claim to have it. And by “a lot” of people, I mean way more than four percent.

Almost always, these are people who are relatively new to magic.

Now, it’s certainly possible (even probable!) that the prevalence of aphantasia has been wildly understated. It hasn’t been studied for that long, and there’s a lot we don’t know about it. If you think you might have aphantasia, I strongly encourage you to seek out a medical professional in your area and speak with them. You might not only be able to help deepen our knowledge of this condition, there’s evidence that it could be linked to dementia later on in life.

BUT…visualization is also a skill, and it takes time and effort to learn. Remember up top when I said it took me four years to get it right? Don’t expect to be an overnight success with this. I think this post can help speed the process, but it’s not going to do the work for you. Even if you get absolutely no success, try as you might, please give it some time before self-diagnosing a neurological condition.

With that out of the way, let’s get visualizing.

Visualization #1

So, we want to see something in our mind’s eye. That’s the goal, here, right? We want to be able to close our eyes and picture something, anything we want, in detail. How do we start? We start simply.

I’m going to give you a basic shape, you’re going to stare at it for thirty seconds (trying not to blink too much), then you’re going to close your eyes. When you close your eyes, you’ll see an “after image” of the shape. Your mission in this exercise is to hold on to that image. You want to keep that image for as long as you can. If you have a timer you can start without having to look at it, it’ll help you track your progress. You’ll be doing this exercise more than once.

Ready for the shape? Here it is…

A red, equilateral triangle for visualization.

Simple, right. It’s just a red, equilateral triangle. (There’s a reason I chose this for your first shape. It was the first one that I used back in the day!)

Click on the triangle to make it big, and keep your eyes on it for thirty seconds. Just count one Mississippi, two Mississippi, etc. Then close your eyes and hold onto the triangle you “see” there. Fun fact, the triangle you see behind your eyes will be blue! (Assuming you don’t have certain forms color vision deficiency.)

Go on, try it. I’ll wait.


You’re back? Great! How’d you do? Did you “see” the triangle? Was it blue? How long were you able to keep it there?

If staring at the image above hurt your eyes at all, or you’d like to be able to do this exercise away from a screen, that’s fine. Just get a piece of white paper, and either draw the triangle on it, or use some red construction paper and paste it on with a glue stick. It’ll work the same way.

Do this exercise three times a day for three days, but give yourself a break in between attempts. Your break should be no less than twenty minutes, but an hour is better. Give your eyes and your mind a chance to relax and reset. Once you’ve taken a break, try it again. See if you go a little longer this time.

After three days of practice, take day four off before moving on to the next exercise.

While you’re doing this, though…

Bet you didn’t know this first exercise was a two-parter. Yup. You’re going to do this on the same days you’re staring at the triangle. It’s okay, though. You don’t need a computer screen or a craft project for this. All you need is a towel.

Well, that and a table and chair. And about ten minutes.

Clear a couple of square feet off the table, pull the chair up, and lay the towel down to your right if you’re right-handed, your left if you’re left-handed. You want to be able to comfortably sit, reach out with your dominant hand, and lay it flat on the bare table without touching the towel. You also want to be able to lay it flat on the towel without touching the bare table. Got it? Good.

Towels and tables

Now, sit (if you’re not already), put your hand on the bare table, and close your eyes. You want to sit like this for one minute. While you’re doing that, really try to feel the table under your hand. Don’t massage it or anything, keep your hand still. Just feel it. Is it cold? Warm? Rough? Smooth? Really sink yourself into the feeling.

Once the minute is up, open your eyes, move your hand to the towel, and close your eyes again. You’re going to spend one minute feeling the towel. As before, keep your hand still. Just feel what you feel. Is it fuzzy? Is it rough? Should you maybe switch fabric softeners? Again, try to feel the towel as intensely as you can. And yes, I’m aware of how that sounds. Just go with it.

After you’ve spent a minute feeling the towel, open your eyes, move your hand to the table, and do this whole thing again. One minute of table, one minute of towel. You want to spend a total of six minutes doing this–three minutes for each, one minute at a time. At the end of six minutes, your hand should be on the towel.

Do you know where your towel is?

This is the fun part. Don’t open your eyes, and don’t move your hand. Instead, imagine moving your hand to the table. Keep your “real” hand where it is, but “see” your “imaginary” hand move to the table and “feel” the table under it. Really try to see your hand move, really try to feel the table. Don’t worry if this doesn’t seem to be working, just keep at it.

After one minute, keep your eyes closed, move your “imaginary” hand back to the towel, and “feel” the towel. This should be easier, right? I mean, your “real” hand is actually on the towel.

A minute later, open your eyes, actually move your hand to the table, then close your eyes again. You guessed it, you’re feeling the table for another minute. After that, you’re going to keep your eyes closed and imagine your hand moving to the towel. Feel it under your hand? Try to focus as hard as you can on what the towel feels like for one solid minute.

Then you’re done! See, I told you it would take about ten minutes.

How’d you do? Are you wondering what the point of this was? I’ll tell you in the next exercise! In the meantime, do this towel trick once a day for three days, then take the fourth day off. On the fifth day, move on to the next exercise.

Visualization #2

Visualization is about “seeing” things, sure. But seeing is just one way of perceiving. The visual part of the first exercise is specifically about seeing. The towel part of the exercise was partly about seeing, but it was mainly about feeling. We’re working two senses, sight and touch, at the same time. Why?

Because what we’re really trying to do is to get your mind to perceive something which “isn’t really there.” By working double-duty, you’re going to get to where you want to be a lot faster.

Anyway, it’s day five (if you’ve been following the schedule I suggested) so it’s time for another exercise. And this one you can do pretty much anywhere, so long as you aren’t driving or operating heavy machinery or something.

During day five, and as often as you can during day five, you want to take a minute to close your eyes and see the triangle from the first exercise. That’s right, we’re trying unassisted visualization now. Try to see that blue triangle behind your eyes.

You can do this on the bus, or while sitting in the bathroom, or waiting for your order at the café–wherever and whenever you can give it a shot safely, go for it. Don’t do this for more than about a minute at a time, though, and give yourself at least a five-minute break before trying it again.


Here’s where you might be in for a surprise. Some people start seeing success at this point! Not a lot of people, and certainly not most, but some do. The triangle is usually quite dim and “flickery,” but you’ll know if it’s there or not. It’ll probably go a little lop-sided, or it might stretch or shrink. The triangle–if you see it–will seem to do everything but stand still.

If, by the end of day five, this describes you, then congratulations! You’re visualizing!

However, if you just don’t get any sort of triangle at all during the whole day, it’s back to the first exercise for you. And that’s okay! Most people don’t get this on the first pass. Go back, do three days of triangles and towels, take the fourth day off, and try this exercise again.

Keep at it until you can get the triangle at least somewhat reliably without the visual aid.


Ongoing Practice

Once you can see the triangle without using a visual aid, keep doing the towel and table trick every other day or so. You want to aim for three times a week, with a day or two off in between. It really will help speed your progress.

I mentioned that the triangle you first visualize is probably going to be dim, flickering, and it will almost constantly shift around. This is normal when you first begin, but it’s not where we want to end up. This section is going to give you an ongoing program which will help you not only make the triangle behave, it will also lead to you visualizing whatever you want.

This practice should take no more than fifteen to twenty minutes. If you can do it every day, great, but don’t try it more than once a day. I also wouldn’t try it if you’re feeling tired, or just ate a large meal. You want to be at your best, otherwise you’ll just be spinning your wheels and frustrating yourself.


You want to set aside about twenty minutes or so, and find a comfortable place to sit where it’s quiet and you won’t be disturbed. We’re going to be doing some meditation, so make your space as amiable to relaxation and concentration as possible.

Sit and breathe

Sit in your space, take a deep breath, and slowly release it while you let your eyes gently close. Don’t try to visualize anything yet, just breathe. You don’t have to breathe in any particular way, except that you do want to completely fill, then empty your lungs. This is sometimes called “belly breathing.” If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know what I’m talking about.

Take a few minutes to just “check in” with your body. Feel your limbs, let your thoughts do whatever, then slowly bring your attention to your breath. Again, don’t try to time it or control it. Just let yourself breathe naturally and fully, inhaling, then exhaling.

Keep your attention on your breath for a few minutes. If you feel your mind start to wander, bring it gently back to your breath. Inhale. Exhale. Relax.

Triangle time

Once you feel relaxed and focused on your breath, call up the triangle and shift your attention to it. You’re about to begin the hard part. You want to hold the triangle in your mind and keep it still.

The goal is to maintain the triangle at a constant size, and keep it’s shape and orientation the same. If it starts to grow or shrink, gently reset it to its proper size. Do the same if it moves or tries to change its proportions. The keyword here is “gently.” Don’t get angry or frustrated. This is really hard to do, and it takes a lot of practice to do it well.

When you first begin, if you’re able to keep the triangle still for even ten seconds that’s a serious accomplishment.

Simple shapes

After you have reached the point where you can hold the triangle still for at least thirty seconds, you’re ready to try another shape. Getting to this point will likely take you a few weeks of consistent practice. That’s right. Weeks. Again, don’t be discouraged. Be patient.

What shape should you use next? Dealer’s choice. I suggest trying a square, a circle, or a five-pointed star, but it’s really up to you. Just keep it simple, and don’t make a visual aid for it like we did with the triangle. By now, you should be able to call up one of these simple shapes on your own.

As to color? You can stick with the blue you’ve been seeing, but you can try another primary color as you wish. When you can hold any simple shape of any color in your mind for a full minute, without any noticeable movement, you’re golden.

Three-dimensional solids

At that point, try any simple, unmoving, three-dimensional object. It may seem more challenging at first, but if you’ve come this far it shouldn’t take you more than about a week to start seeing some progress. Start with a cube if you can’t think of anything else.

Once you can hold a 3D object for a minute, then you can try making it move. For instance, if you’re using a cube, make it slowly rotate. Have it rotate along one axis at first, in one direction then in the other. When you have the hang of that, make it rotate along two axis. Sooner than you think, you’ll be able to make the cube tumble through space, in any direction at all, exactly according to your desire.

Multiple objects

By now, you’re so far along that you really don’t need any more guidance. I’ll throw this last bit out there just in case, though.

Move on to two simple solids. Hold them still at first, then have them move and rotate. Even have them bump off of each other. Then you can move on to three, four, and even five objects. Make them all the same, or make them all different.

Try complex objects that you’re familiar with, such as your favorite chair, or the lamp on your desk.

If you can manage to do that, congratulations! You should be able to visualize anything you need or want to.

Next steps?

I assume you read this post and went through all of the work above because you had a goal, a reason for wanting to get good at visualization. Well, whatever that goal is, your next step is obviously to go and do it. Most people practice visualization as a prelude to Astral Travel, or what I usually call “Journeying.” If that’s you, then you’ll have no trouble beginning that practice now.

Beyond that, the only thing I can do is remind you that visualization is a skill. Not only does it take time and effort to learn, but it can also get “rusty” if you don’t use it regularly. You can probably stop with the towel and table routine, but you’d do well to keep meditating and building those concentration muscles.

Anyway, I hope this post helped!

If you have any tips or thoughts on visualization, feel free to drop them in the comments below. I’d love to read them and I’m sure other people would too.

Have a blessed day!

How to do a tarot reading for a loved one

A tarot reading is a uniquely helpful, yet deeply personal experience. So, when a loved one asks for a reading, it can sometimes get a little awkward.

I was prompted to write this post after a conversation I had with another reader. They mentioned that their spouse had asked them for a tarot reading about a sensitive subject. They declined, and their spouse got a little upset with them. Everything’s fine now between the couple, but this reader asked me how I would have handled the situation.

And that got me thinking.

A good tarot reading is personal

A good tarot reading is personal.

Whether we’re talking about a reading being done face-to-face or over the Internet, tarot readings are personal experiences. A person asks a question, and a person does the reading. If the question is sincerely asked, and the person asking is truly invested in the answer, there can be a lot of emotions involved.

If you’ve ever had a tarot reading, or read the tarot yourself, think of some of the questions you’ve asked. In my years of reading the cards, I’ve had questions about break ups, financial hardships, dire medical situations, and everything in between. Sometimes I’ve seen very good news in the cards. Other times? Not so much.

To me, it’s vitally important that both the querent and the tarot reader feel at liberty to share their thoughts and feelings without holding back. I don’t mean to imply we’re talking “brutal honesty,” here. There should be nothing “brutal” about a reading. But honesty? That’s a must.

Even reading for a total stranger can sometimes challenge a reader’s ability to speak the truth, kindly but plainly. How much more challenging might this be if the querent is someone you love?

“Do I have cancer again?”

That’s a question a lot of tarot readers won’t touch with a ten-foot pole, even for a stranger. Now imagine it coming from your ten-year-old nephew.

You can always say no

I deliberately chose an extreme example just now, because I wanted to illustrate a point. You can always, always say no when asked for a tarot reading. No one should ever try to force you into throwing the cards for them. If something, anything about the situation is making you uncomfortable, politely decline. If the person tries to insist, stand firm.

This goes for strangers as well as loved ones.

In my own tarot consultations, I’m willing to answer almost any question that’s sincerely asked of me. However, I also make it plain that I reserve the right to not answer a question if I don’t think it would be helpful or appropriate.

What are your tarot reading boundaries?

The last paragraph I wrote up above is worth re-reading. Yes, I’ll answer almost any question, unless I don’t think it would be helpful or appropriate. Those are my boundaries, and I hold to them.

So, how should you do a tarot reading for a loved one? First, you need to know and set your own boundaries for tarot reading in general.

What kinds of questions are you willing to take on? What are you not willing to consider? Are you willing to read for people under the age of eighteen? Will you read for couples or groups, or will you only do a reading one-on-one? Will you do readings in public, such as at a party or at the bar?

Sit with these questions and really, really get to know your answers to them.

What are your personal boundaries?

Now think about the boundaries you have in your day-to-day life. Think about the conversations you’ve had with friends and family. Think about interactions which have made you feel comfortable or uncomfortable.

If you’re a parent, would you be comfortable having a frank conversation about sex with your kid?

Would you feel comfortable having a frank conversation about death with your parents?

What if the people in these conversations were switched?

Every relationship we have is unique, and each comes with its own set of permissible versus non-permissible topics.

With that long preamble out of the way, let’s get to the meat of the post.

Doing a tarot reading for a loved one

Let’s assume a loved one has asked you for a tarot reading, and you’ve decided that you’re willing to do it. The first thing you need to do is think back over the tarot and personal boundaries you’ve set, and state them clearly. Tell the person what you are, and are not, comfortable discussing during the reading.

I can’t stress this enough. Be upfront and firm (but polite!) about how you’re willing to proceed. Make sure the other person understands, and they’re willing to respect your boundaries.

Once you’re both on the same page, go ahead and begin the reading just as you would any other. During the reading, however, there are some tips you should keep in mind.

Don’t hedge

I read somewhere once that live performers experience the most stage fright when someone they know is in the audience. I’ve seen this happen with tarot readers. People who would normally be able to drop stone-cold specifics for a stranger suddenly start rattling off long lists of possible interpretations. Why is this?

My guess is that either they didn’t really want to do the reading in the first place, so they’re “talking around” it, or…they’re worried they’ll get it wrong and look bad in front of their loved one.

Be bold. Get out of your own way and read the cards.

Be wary of your biases

Let’s say your best friend is dating someone you can’t stand. Let’s further say that your best friend asks you for a tarot reading about their relationship. If you decide to go through with this reading, be very, very careful in your interpretation. A reading like this is exactly the sort of thing which can get you in trouble.

If the cards come up, and you think they cast doubt on the future of the relationship, is that because of wishful thinking on your part? If you think they show a more positive message, is that because you’re trying to be “objective,” but really you’re just ignoring the negative?

And what if the cards really do come up showing trouble? Does your friend know how you feel about their significant other? What will you say to assure them you aren’t trying to break them up?

Whenever we’re very close to someone, they’re obviously a significant part of our lives. We’re emotionally invested in them. This makes it very hard to be objective, especially when it comes to something like the tarot. Tarot relies at least as much on intuition and feeling as it does on the “objective” meanings of the cards.

Keep the conversation going

A tarot reading should always be a conversation between the reader and the querent. Even if it’s done online over email, the reader should ask the querent questions, and the reader should answer any questions the querent has. If you’re doing a reading for a loved one, this becomes even more important.

Don’t let the reading become a monologue or sermon. Ask the querent what they think of each card. Ask open ended questions about your interpretations.

Think back to that relationship example I wrote above. Let’s say the cards show a recent fight between your bestie and their partner. Don’t just ask if they’ve been fighting. Rather, say something like this: “The cards are saying there’s been some real tension lately, what’s that about?”

The more the reading feels like a conversation, and less like prognostication, the better you’ll both feel.

Just one more thing

Reading the tarot for other people can be a challenge. Assuming we take it seriously (and I certainly do), it can test our boundaries, our ethics–even our basic assumptions about the world. When we read for someone we love, those challenges don’t go away, they often become harder. I figure I’ve probably made that clear up above, but I mention it here because there’s another point I want to contrast with it.

The tarot, in my opinion, is a beautiful, miraculous gift. Sure, we know its origins, and we can trace its path through history, but I still see it as something not quite of this world. Coming into contact with the tarot, and becoming immediately enraptured by it, was honestly one of the best things which ever happened to me. At the very least, it was one of the most significant turning points of my life.

If you’ve had a similar experience of the tarot, why not pass that along? That loved one who wants you to do a tarot reading for them? Why not buy them a tarot deck?

Remember, you can always say no, but maybe try saying: “No, I can’t read for you. But I can help you read for yourself?”

Sure, this won’t work for everyone who comes knocking on your door. But you know what? If it does work, you’ll have one more thing to share with each other.

Have a blessed day!

How to understand sect and hayz in astrology

Sect and hayz in astrology are deeply intertwined concepts. In this post, I’ll explain what they are, how they’re connected, and how to apply them to a chart.

The best way to understand sect and hayz is to go over each of them in turn, because hayz is essentially an evolution of sect. So, let’s get started.

What is sect?

In astrology, charts and planets have a sect, which can be either nocturnal or diurnal. A chart’s sect is diurnal if the Sun is located above the horizon, meaning it’s a day chart. If the Sun is located below the horizon, it’s nocturnal and thus a night chart.

In order to understand sect and hayz, you first need to understand sect.

A planet’s sect, however, is an intrinsic part of that planet and doesn’t change–with one exception.

The Saturn, Jupiter, and the Sun are all diurnal planets. Mars, Venus, and the Moon are all nocturnal planets. The planet Mercury is a special case. Its sect depends on its position relative to the Sun. If Mercury rises before the Sun, it’s diurnal. If it rises after the Sun, it’s nocturnal.

The sect of Mercury illustrated.

A planet is considered to be “in sect” or “of the sect” when it is located in a chart which matches its own sect. So, a diurnal planet in a day chart would be considered in sect. A planet is “out of sect” or “contrary to sect” when it’s in a chart which doesn’t match. A diurnal planet in a night chart would be out of sect.

Is that all there is to sect?

There’s one more wrinkle about sect we need to address before we move on to hayz. Up until now, we’ve only considered charts as being either day charts or night charts. If the Sun is above the horizon, we’ve treated the whole chart as a diurnal or day chart. This isn’t the whole story.

In a day chart, only the top half of the chart (the half above the horizon) is diurnal. That should make sense because the Sun is in the top half of the chart in a day char. It’s what makes it a day chart to begin with. The bottom half of the chart (the half below the horizon) is nocturnal.

What does this mean? It means that a diurnal planet can be perfectly at ease, and in sect, in a “night chart” so long as it’s located below the horizon. If a nocturnal planet is above the horizon in that same chart, it’s also in sect.

Mercury and sect illustrated.

Now, some astrologers disagree on this point. In particular, people who study and practice ancient astrology think of this as only a mitigating factor. That is to say, being in the nocturnal half of a day chart doesn’t make a nocturnal planet fully in sect, it just eases it somewhat.

In later forms of traditional astrology, such as that practiced during the Renaissance, this “mitigating factor” became much more important. Indeed, by this time, many astrologers weren’t considering sect very much at all. Instead, they used the concept of hayz.

What is hayz?

In order for a planet to be considered in hayz, it must first be in sect according to rules of the later tradition. That’s why we needed to talk about sect, first. Sect and hayz are deeply related because hayz includes the concept of sect.

What else is needed for a planet to be in hayz? The gender of the planet must match the sign of the zodiac in which it’s placed in the chart.

Now, I know, the whole “masculine” versus “feminine” thing in astrology is frequently debated. I’m not going to wade into that debate and try to convince anyone of anything. The simple fact is, these are the words we have, and these are the words you’re going to find in traditional texts. That’s the only reason I’m using them here.

The signs of Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius are considered masculine. The signs of Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces are considered feminine.

The planets Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the Sun are considered masculine. The planet Venus and the Moon are considered feminine. Once again, the planet Mercury is a special case. For the purposes of hayz, Mercury is considered masculine if it’s diurnal, and feminine if it’s nocturnal.

If a planet is both in sect, and it’s located in a sign which matches its gender, the planet is in hayz. If a planet is missing either of these qualities (it’s out of sect or not in a sign of its gender), it’s considered contrary to hayz. That’s all there is to it.

How do you apply sect and hayz to a chart?

According to ancient astrology, when a planet is in sect, it’s more likely to manifest its more positive or constructive significations. If a planet is out of sect, it tends to manifest in a more negative way. It works rather like (and in cooperation with) the idea of essential dignity. A well-dignified planet will still tend to manifest in more positive ways even if it’s out of sect, it just won’t be as positive.

Once astrologers shifted to using the concept of hayz, it was interpreted largely the same way. A dignified planet will be even more likely to act in positive ways, while a debilitated planet will tend to act in less negative ways. Hayz won’t make a debilitated planet awesome, but it won’t be as bad.

Conversely, if a dignified planet is contrary to hayz, it won’t be quite so positive. It won’t act as though it’s actually debilitated, it just won’t be as constructive as it could be.

This is the approach I use in my own astrological practice and consultations. Partly, this is because I tend to stick to Renaissance astrology in general. Mostly, though, it’s because my experience seems to indicate that hayz yields more accurate results.

Not everyone agrees about sect and hayz!

As I mentioned above, different astrologers have different takes on sect and hayz. What I’ve written above is the way that I’ve come to think of these concepts. There are some very good astrologers out there with entirely different views and I respect them greatly.

In fact, the astrologer Chris Brennan has written an excellent book titled Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune. In pages 190 through 197, he writes a detailed (and well-cited) description of sect, as it was actually used in the Hellenistic period. He then describes how it relates to hayz in the later tradition. If you happen to have that book on your shelf, it’s worth reading over his explanation and seeing how it compares with what I’ve written here. If you don’t have a copy of his book, you should get one. I can’t possibly recommend it more highly.

I’ll also add that if you happen to have a different approach or take on sect and hayz, please drop it in the comments down below! I’d love to hear from you.

Have a blessed day!

How to choose a tarot deck that’s right for you

Looking to get into the tarot, but aren’t sure which deck to use? In this post, I’ll give you some tips on how to choose a tarot deck that’s right for you.

Is it okay to buy your own deck?

There’s a myth that you should never purchase your first tarot deck, rather it must be given to you by someone else. I have no idea where this notion came from, but it’s been floating around for years. It’s also complete nonsense.

Tarot decks, particularly your first deck, are deeply personal objects. I still use a Rider-Waite-Smith deck for many readings, because that was the first deck I picked up. And whether or not you connect with a deck is far more important than how it came to you. In my opinion, this means you might even get better results from the cards when you choose a tarot deck to work with. Giving and receiving tarot decks is fine, but there’s no reason you can’t just walk into a store buy whichever one calls to you.

With that out of the way, let’s get on with it.

Try to choose a tarot deck which looks nice

Choose a tarot deck which looks good to you.
The Mystic Dreamer Tarot has an art style I quite enjoy, even if I don’t read with it very much.

For me, one of the most important criteria for choosing a tarot deck is whether or not I like how it looks. Do I like its theme? Its color scheme? Its art style? They say looks aren’t everything. I say that if I’m going to spend hours staring at a bunch of cards, I’m not going to choose a deck which I think is ugly.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (to drop another cliché), so behold every deck you might consider and ask yourself whether or not you think it’s beautiful. Do you like dark and moody things? Look for a deck in a dark and moody style. Are you really into colorful fairies? You’ll probably find a swarm of decks which appeal to you.

This might sound like obvious advice, but trust me, it’s not. I know many tarot readers who have decks with art they hate, but they still use them become someone else told them to. I also know many readers who’d probably be happiest with a light-hearted “theme” deck, but are afraid they won’t be taken seriously if they pull it out for a reading.

Look at the symbols

We’re still kind of in the realm of aesthetics here, but look at the symbols and glyphs on the cards. Do they resonate with you? Do they intrigue you?

One way to look at the tarot is to see the cards as a symbolic representation of the world. This means the symbols and themes you see in a deck should, in some way, reflect how you see the world itself. When you choose a tarot deck, you’re choosing the symbolic language you’ll be using for your readings.

If you’re just starting out with the tarot, some of the symbols might confuse you, but you shouldn’t feel especially “put off” by them.

Size matters

Some tarot decks use cards which are about the size and shape of regular playing cards. Others are very much oversized, while most fall somewhere in the middle. Many of my decks are a little over four inches tall by about two-and-a-half inches wide.

Why do I mention this? Because different people have different hand sizes, and some decks are easier to handle than others. A typical tarot deck contains seventy-eight cards. That alone makes them a little more challenging to shuffle than a poker deck. Very large or very small cards can make shuffling even more of a challenge.

Card stock matters

It’s rarely something you can check while you’re holding a sealed box in the store, but what sort of stock are the cards printed on? Is it thin and cheap? Thick and heavy?

I’ve seen a lot of tarot decks which are printed on stock so thin that they rip and wrinkle if you stare at them too hard. I’ve also seen decks where the cards are thick enough that you could probably use them as roofing shingles.

If at all possible, try to get a feel for how thick and flexible the cards are before you choose a tarot deck. I have one on my shelf with thick card stock and edges so sharp that it actually hurts my hands to shuffle them. You probably don’t want that sort of thing in your life. You also don’t want a deck that will shrivel up the first time you sneeze at it.

If all of the above looks and feels good to you, I say go ahead and buy the deck. That said, we’re not quite done yet.

After you choose a tarot deck

When you purchase a tarot deck, think of it as the first date in what might become a long-term relationship. You still need to get to know each other.

Take the deck somewhere quiet to open. Hold it in your hands, and try to remember the feeling you had when you were a kid about to open a present.

Then, open the box carefully, and explore what’s inside. If the deck comes with a booklet, set it aside and look at the cards with only your own impressions to guide you. Let curiosity take the lead.

Once you’ve gone through the deck, shuffle the cards and perform a few, three-card readings.

What questions should you ask? Here are my big three:

  1. What can you tell me about yourself?
  2. What kinds of questions do you like to answer?
  3. Why did you come to me?

Depending on the answers I get, and the overall “vibe” I feel from the deck, I’ll ask more questions and throw more cards.

I won’t try to get a “serious” answer from a deck until I’ve spent several days doing these little “getting-to-know-you” readings. And I’ll never use a new deck in a tarot consultation for someone else until I’ve done several “real” readings for myself.

If all seems well, and we have a good connection, I’ll put the deck into “rotation” and see where the relationship leads. If we don’t connect, I hand the deck off to someone else, and assume I’m just here to help it get to the person it’s actually meant for.

I hope this advice helps you the next time you go looking for a new tarot deck. And if you have any advice for others, why not drop it in a comment down below?

Have a blessed day!

How to create and activate magic sigils

Magic sigils are one of the simplest, yet most powerful methods of practical enchantment. In this post, I’ll tell you what they are, and how to use them.

Virtually every internet wizard has a blog post (or a whole book) dedicated to the subject of sigils, so why am I writing this one? A couple of reasons.

First, I used to hate sigils. Back in the 90s–when I was an edgy teenager first learning magic–I thought sigils were silly. They didn’t feel like “real” magic. No circle on the floor, no calling out barbarous names, no skulls. Boring.

Second, when I did try to use magic sigils, they just didn’t seem to work. So, not only were they boring, they were useless.

Suffice it to say, in the thirty-ish years between then and now, my opinion of sigils is wildly different. Not only do I think they’re anything but boring and useless, they’ve become an indispensable part of my magical toolbox.

I do have other methods I use in my magical practice, and sigils aren’t my first choice for most things, but they’ve helped me get a lot of stuff done.

So let’s talk about what magic sigils are, how to create them, and how to get them working.

What are magic sigils?

The term “magic sigil” has been used since the middle ages to describe all sorts of signs and symbols. Most were used as “seals” for certain kinds of spirits, and were inscribed in order to summon or control them. In modern usage, particularly since chaos magic became a thing back in the 1970s and 1980s, the term usually refers to a symbol which the magician constructs to represent an intention.

I’ll be talking about the modern sort of magic sigil in this post.

We’re going to decide on an intention or goal we wish to manifest, then we’ll create a glyph or drawing to represent it symbolically. After we’ve created the glyph, we’re going to activate or “charge” it. And then? Well, “and then” nothing. We’re done!

As I wrote up above, this is simple, simple stuff. Minus a few easy-to-follow rules or guidelines, the previous paragraph is nearly everything you need to know about magic sigils.


If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know what I’m going to say next. Before you do any magic, you should perform some sort of divination on the matter, or consult with someone who can do the divination for you. I’ve never seen magic sigils manifest in undesirable ways, but you should still get the “lay of the land” before intervening.

Crafting intentions

For most people, the hardest part of creating a magic sigil is coming up with the right intention for it. This is the “what for” of the sigil itself, so if this step isn’t done well, the rest of your efforts will be all for naught. Don’t worry, though, because even this step isn’t all that hard once you get the hang of it, and you know what kind of “intention” we’re looking for.

An “intention,” in this case, is a statement. A short, simple, affirmative statement which exactly captures what you want the sigil to do. The keywords here are “short,” “simple,” and “affirmative.”

The intention you craft for your sigil should be something you can express in no more than ten words, though fewer is better. You should also use the simplest, clearest vocabulary possible. Furthermore, it’s best if your intention is expressed as a fact which is already true, and not as a wish for the future.

Another thing I should point out is that sigils tend to work on their own schedule. I’ve seen some ways in which other magicians have tried to “speed up” their sigils. I’ve tried pretty much all of these techniques, but I haven’t seen them make much of a difference.

Sigils, for me at least, tend to work very well for medium to medium-long-term goals. That is, they generally manifest anywhere from three weeks to a year out. If you need something done today, sigils aren’t the way to go. So, when you’re crafting your intentions, make sure you give them some room to work.

Lastly, this is magic we’re talking about, so don’t be afraid to “shoot for the Moon,” so to speak. You’ll see what I mean by this in the following example.

An intention example

Let’s say you’re struggling financially, and are afraid you won’t be able to make your credit card’s minimum payment next month. So, you decide to do some magic about that.

“I want to be able to pay my credit card bill next month,” is not a good intention for a magic sigil. First, it’s too long. Second, it’s phrased as a desire. We don’t want wishes, here, we want facts.

“I will be able to pay my credit card bill next month,” is only slightly better. It’s the same length as the last one, but at least it’s an affirmative statement of fact.

“I pay my credit card bill next month,” is getting there. It’s shorter, and it has that “air of confidence” about it which seems to work really well for sigils.

“My credit cards are paid in full,” is a good intention. Even shorter than the last, but now we’ve made it into a bold statement about the present. No more “wishful thinking,” we’re talking facts. Also, note how we’re not limiting ourselves to one credit card anymore. This is magic we’re doing–so why not go big, or go home?

“I am debt-free,” is an excellent intention for a sigil. Short, simple, affirmative–and we’re not holding back on what we really want to see happen.

See, when I call this “crafting” an intention, I really do mean crafting. A really good intention takes time and effort. Don’t be surprised if you have to write, write, and re-write in order to get it right. In fact, if you’re not doing that, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Creating the symbol

It’s time to turn your intention into a symbol or glyph. For this stage, I recommend that you use a sketchbook and a pencil.

At the top of a blank page, write out your intention in all capital letters, without any punctuation. Then, cross out all of the vowels. Finally, cross out any repeating consonants, leaving only the first instance of each letter in place. After you’ve done this, all you should have left is a list of unique consonants.

Now comes the fun part: trying to draw a single symbol which uses these letters as its components.

Trust me, this really is quite fun, and even if you have zero drawing ability (like me!), it’s not as hard as it sounds. You can stretch the letters, shrink them, bend them–feel free to distort them however you like. There are only three “rules” here: use all of the letters; try to “hide” them; and make the symbol look “magical.”

What does a “magical” symbol look like? That’s up to you.

A symbol example

Let’s stick with our intention example and turn it into a proper magic sigil. First, we write the phrase out in all capitals across the top of the page.


Next, we’ll take out the vowels.


That leaves us with only consonants.


Since we have no repeating consonants here, we’re ready to create our symbol. To be clear, if we had, say, two or more R’s in our list, we’d want to cross out all but one of them.

The process of twisting and folding the letters into shape might take a while, or it could happen almost instantly. Don’t try to rush it, just let it take the time it takes.

Here’s what I came up with using the letters above…

Magic sigils don't have to be complicated.

I don’t think I did too badly! All of the letters are there, I don’t think they’re terribly obvious, and it certainly seems like a magic sigil to me. Take a good look at the symbol and compare it to the letters. See if you can work out what I did here. Even better? See what you can make of those letters on your own.

I drew this out in my sketchbook, then–because this is just and example for this post–I re-drew it on the computer. For actual sigils I plan on using, I keep everything on paper, for reasons that will be obvious in the next section.

The hardest part of this stage is knowing when a sigil is “done.” I wish I could tell you there was a simple way to know this, but there really isn’t. It’s done when it feel done. You’ll be sitting there drawing, erasing, re-drawing and then…BOOM! There it is!

You’ll just know.

Activating magic sigils

There are many different ways to activate a magic sigil. I’m going to give you the “Cliff’s Notes” version of how I activate mine, but feel free to experiment. Read up on how other magical practitioners do things and figure out what works for you.


The first thing I do is transfer the sigil from my sketchbook to a nice piece of cardstock. Usually, I use white cardstock, but use any type or color of paper which works for you. The main things to consider are the size of the paper, and whether it will provide a good contrast to the color you’ll use for the sigil itself.

I prefer my sigils to be about four inches square. Why? It just feels right to me. At that size, I can fit in all the detail I need, and I can see the whole thing without my eyes needing to move around too much.

The next question to ask is what are you going to draw the sigil with? A black “Sharpie” marker works pretty well, in my experience. Lately, though, I’ve been using a calligraphy set for almost everything.

What can I say, dip pens hit different. You also have a lot more options when it comes to ink, which I’ll talk about later.

I like to do this transfer just before I activate the sigil. Ideally, I do it right at my altar as the start of the ritual, but my altar is pretty packed nowadays.

Regardless, once you’ve transferred your sigil, bring it to your altar or some other quiet place. You need to be able to sit and concentrate for several minutes without being disturbed.


I place the sigil face-up on the altar, and bring over a chair. The goal is to be able to sit comfortably while also being able to see the sigil clearly. I have two large altar candles which I light, then I burn some frankincense, and settle into a brief meditation to clear my thoughts.

When I’m relaxed and ready, I look at the sigil and let my eyes sort of…drift. This is the part which is hardest to explain. I’ll do my best, but experience is really the best teacher here.

After a while of concentrating on the sigil, keeping my attention on it, and allowing my eyes to see through it and past it, the sigil…moves. It will come to life and float off the paper. This is my experience of the process, but it’s pretty much universally how I’ve heard other magicians describe it.

I continue to sit there, watching the sigil move, letting it “dance,” until it eventually settles down. Sometimes it seems to collapse into the card abruptly, other times it smoothly merges into it. Either way, once the sigil looks like a inert doodle again, that’s when I know the activation is complete, and the magic sigil is now working its sigil magic.

Follow up

I usually give myself a minute or two to “come down” from the activation, then I extinguish the candles.

What do I do with the sigil now? I usually hang it up on my wall for a while. How long is a “while?” Eh, however long. I have about twenty of them on my wall now. Whenever I put up any new sigils, I take a few of the old ones down, and stick them in the back of a binder which I keep in my altar.

About once a year, I take the sigils out of my binder and burn them.

Some people burn their sigils right after activation, others carry them around for a while like a talisman. What should you do? You guessed it–whatever feels right.

Is that all there is to magic sigils?

What I’ve written above is more than enough to help you get started with sigil magic. Beyond these basics, there really isn’t a lot to cover. There are a few other things you can do or experiment with, though, should you be the curious type.

Material correspondences

According to some magical traditions, certain colors and materials correspond to certain kinds of magical forces or work. For instance, some people associate the color green with money, or the color blue with healing. The same goes for certain minerals or herbs.

This is one of the reasons why I love having a set of dip pens around. If you know how to mix your own ink, you can use that knowledge to enhance your sigil work.

The same can be said if you know how to craft your own paper.

Of course, who said you have to use pen and paper at all? Paint is a thing. So is clay. Hmm…

Multiple sigils

Another thing to try is activating multiple sigils at once. This is something I do all the time. If I have a set of related intentions, I’ll create a sigil for each one, lay them out on the altar, and activate them all in the same sitting.

Beyond keeping the sigils at least somewhat related to each other, my only other “rule” is that I never try to activate more than five at once. Why? It usually takes me about ten or so minutes to activate one sigil. An hour at my altar is about the most time I can spend at my altar comfortably without feeling fatigued.

Look to other magicians

Way back at the beginning of this post, I told you that every magician on the internet seems to have a take on magic sigils. This is only my take, and my advice. What I wrote above is what works for me, and what seemed suitable for a basic introduction.

So go on, explore! See what other people have to say on the subject.

And if you learn anything exciting, let me know in comments below.

Have a blessed day!

Learn traditional astrology with these five excellent books

So you want to learn traditional astrology? Here are the top five books I recommend to everyone to help them get started.

But first? Let’s ask the million dollar question…

Do you have to learn traditional astrology from books?

Learn traditional astrology with these five excellent books.

The short answer to this question is no. If you do a search, you’ll find several well-respected and knowledgeable astrologers who offer online classes in traditional astrology. Some of these teachers do require you to purchase a book or two as “classroom” texts, but they bring a lot of themselves to the table.

If you learn best in a classroom setting, an online course might be just the thing for you. Me? I like books, so that’s what you’re getting here.

All five of the books below are in-print and are readily available online. I’ve included an Amazon link to each book, but if you can find them at your local occult bookstore that’d be swell.

On the Heavenly Spheres

On the Heavenly Spheres

I’ve recommended this book before, and I’ll keep recommending it. On the Heavenly Spheres by Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro is absolutely the best introduction to traditional astrology I’ve ever read. Packed with information on history, theory, and technique, it’s not only a great place to start, it’s a reference you’ll come back to over and over again.

It’s definitely information-dense, so it might pose a challenge to people looking for a quick “overview,” but it really is a must-have. And I think it’ll especially shine if you keep it next to you while reading the other books on this list.

Buy it here.

Traditional Astrology Course

Traditional Astrology Course

This is the companion book to On the Heavenly Spheres, also written by Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro. Its full title is Traditional Astrology Course: Essential Concepts and Interpretation Basics, and it definitely lives up to its name.

While this book expands on the material in the first, it does so in a way which will help you learn traditional astrology through practical application. If you only purchase two of the books on this list, these should be them.

Buy it here.

The Martial Art of Horary Astrology

The Martial Art of Horary Astrology

Published in 2002, Dr. J. Lee Lehman’s The Martial Art of Horary Astrology still holds up as one of the best modern works on the subject. In my opinion, when you first learn traditional astrology, it’s best to start with horary astrology. This is the branch of astrology where you cast a chart in order to answer a specific question. It’s the most “divinatory” form of astrology, and one of the most popular forms used prior to the modern era.

This book presents the topic in plain English, and serves as an excellent bridge between the books I recommended above, and the two which I’m about to mention below.

Buy it here.

Christian Astrology (Books 1 & 2)

Christian Astrology (Books 1 & 2)

In 1647, William Lilly published his magnum opus Christian Astrology. Consisting of three volumes, this book was the first major work on astrology published in the English language. He covers theory and technique with equal style, grace, and depth. He’s also quite challenging to read, even in the updated editions of his text now available in two volumes.

This volume contains the first two “books” of Lilly’s original text. The first is an introduction to the theory and techniques of astrology, while the second is his treatise on horary astrology and “the resolution of all manner of questions and demands.” It’s a marvelous book, but I recommend that you have considerable familiarity with those I mentioned up above before trying to tackle this one.

Buy it here.

Christian Astrology (Book 3)

Christian Astrology (Book 3)

This is the third volume of William Lilly’s original work, and it focuses on natal astrology. In my opinion, it provides a wonderful description of how to adapt your knowledge of horary astrology to the interpretation of birth charts. If you’re learning traditional astrology, odds are pretty good you’d like to apply its principles beyond the asking of specific questions. This book will help you do just that.

There is a downside, though, and that is this book just isn’t as readable (or reliable) as his earlier work. If you’ve absorbed Books 1 & 2, as well as the others I recommended, then you won’t have too many issues. Otherwise…you’re in for a bit of a time.

Buy it here.

Where to go next?

Traditional astrology is a very deep and broad topic. Once you start learning it, and you come to appreciate it, there will probably be no end to the books you’ll acquire. My own shelves (and tables, and floors) are filled with texts on the subject.

Consider the books above to be a “good start” to your traditional astrology library. Where you go from here is really up to you.

If you have any books that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below. I still have a few corners of my house that aren’t completely filled yet.

Have a blessed day!

How to magically cleanse an object

Sometimes, things we bring into our home come with unwanted energy or uninvited guests. In this post, I’ll tell you how and when to magically cleanse an object.

A while ago, I wrote a post on magical house clearing. How to get “uninvited guests” out of one’s home is one of the more common questions I get. Another one is how to magically cleanse objects or items. So, let’s talk about that today.

When should you magically cleanse an object?

Why magically cleanse this when you can just not buy it?

If you read my post on house clearing, you just know I’m going to start this post by asking the question: “Should you magically cleanse objects?”

The short answer is: “It depends.”

In general, there are two cases where I’ll cleanse an object: if I plan to use it specifically and only for magical purposes; or if it’s actively causing “trouble.”

Magical tools

I’ve said before that my magical practice is very “spirit-focused.” This means I experience everything around me as “haunted” in one way or another. When I’m performing a ritual, both myself and the work I’m doing are intertwined with the tools I employ, and the spirits within them.

Candle holders, statues, offering plates–they’ll probably get a cleansing before getting plonked down on my altar. The same holds true for tarot decks, pendulums, and scrying mirrors. Anything I plan to bring into ceremony with me usually gets a once-over. I used to be somewhat lax in this practice, but I’ve had enough…challenging experiences to make this almost a hard and fast rule.

Why “almost,” you ask? We’ll get to that.

“Mundane” objects

As for other things I bring into my home? I don’t give them much of a thought unless they act up in disruptive ways. I don’t feel a particular need to magically cleanse every book I order, or every roll of paper towels I buy.

The same holds true even for things like antiques. Just because something is old, or it was owned by someone else, doesn’t mean I have to magically cleanse it. Besides, if I bought an antique, it’s probably because I liked the energy coming off it. Why would I want to mess with that?

If I bring something home and immediately begin experiencing disruptions or unwanted weirdness? That’s when I get to work.

Talk before you cleanse

Before I magically cleanse anything, I talk to it. As I said, I’m spirit-focused, and I treat spirits as persons deserving of respect and consideration. Even if something seems to be acting up, I’ll sit with it, and try to get a read on what’s going on. Sometimes that means journeying and meeting it on the “Astral Plane,” sometimes that means throwing some tarot cards. Either way, I “diagnose” before I attempt to “cure.”

This is especially true if it’s an object I plan to work magic with.

I read a ritual once for “consecrating a magical blade.” The gist of it was that you buy a knife, and bring it outside. You point it at the sky and say some words, then point it toward each of the four directions saying some other words. Finally, you stab it into the ground “up to the hilt.”

I wonder how many people have done this ritual. I also wonder how many of these people ever bothered to ask the knife how it would feel about that. Or how many people even took the time to explain to the knife what was going to happen.

This might sound silly to some people, but establishing a relationship with the items I bring into ceremony is pretty important to me. And relationships start with communication.

Be nice

Incense is a great way to magically cleanse an object.

If I decide to magically cleanse an object, I first explain to it what I’m going to do, and why I’m going to do it. Then I do the least invasive “cleansing” I can. I first burn some palo santo and make sure all sides of the object are touched by the smoke. This works really well for “mellowing” spirits and energies. In my experience, it doesn’t exorcise things, it just makes them “chill.” And if they don’t want to chill, they usually leave of their own accord.

Once I’ve done this, I then burn some frankincense, and do the same with it as I did with the palo santo. Frankincense “elevates,” and it’s my go-to incense for when I want to “raise the vibrations” in a space, or in an object. Again, it doesn’t drive things away. Or, rather, it won’t drive things away unless those things aren’t comfortable in a positive environment.

Finally, I take a while–sometimes a few days–to just be nice to the object. I talk to it, explain how I’d like to work and play with it, and be as “good vibes only” toward it as I can.

In almost every case, with only one or two exceptions in all of my experience, this is enough to magically cleanse an object.

Are you sure it’s meant to be?

So, what if you take the “nice” approach and things still just don’t feel right? Is it time to break out the “big guns?” Maybe.

Then again, maybe the object just isn’t that into you.

There’s something a bit audacious in thinking that every magical tool or item should be thrilled to be in our presence, and if something acts up, it must be because there’s something wrong with it.

I’ve purchased or been given many items, magical and otherwise, which I just never connected with. Usually, they seem “inert,” for lack of a better word. They cause me grief, but they don’t do anything, either. Rarely, they’ll be pretty adamant that our relationship isn’t going to work out.

How do I know when an object and I aren’t a good fit? It comes back to that whole talking and treating them with respect and dignity thing. And when I find I have such an object in my possession, I send it on its way. Sometimes this means gifting it someone my intuition says might be a better companion for it, sometimes it means taking it somewhere out in the world and leaving it there to be found.

Before you go all “nuclear” on an object, try to get your ego out of the game, and really ask if a relationship is something you both want.

Being not-so-nice

If you're going to magically cleanse something, it's often a good idea to do it outside.

Alright, so you’ve tried to be nice, you’re certain that you and this object are “meant to be,” but it’s still not behaving itself. What do you do?

Get ready to break out the asafoetida resin!

Asafoetida is a dried gum or resin which is not only incredibly potent for banishing, it also has a very pungent smell that some describe as “like the devil’s own butthole.”

Needless to say, if you’re going to magically cleanse with it, you’ll want to take it outside.

Grab the object, an incense burner, charcoal, some asafoetida, and some Florida water. Go outside where you won’t be disturbed and won’t disturb the neighbor. Light the charcoal, toss on a chunk of asafoetida, and move the object through the smoke. Thoroughly engulf it in the smoke.

While you’re doing this, firmly and as vulgarly as you can, tell whatever energy or spirit is messing with the object to get the hell out and go away. After a while, you should feel a definite sense of success. It’s hard to describe, but you’ll know it when you experience it. Usually it only takes a minute or two for that feeling to come, but give it ten or fifteen minutes if you can.

When you feel successful, put a couple of dabs of Florida water on the object, then do the “nice” steps I described above before taking it back into your house.

Did you magically cleanse it?

If the not-so-nice approach doesn’t work, and you think the object still has “issues,” toss it. Throw it away, burn it, or bury it somewhere that’s not on your property. Unless you know someone who specifically works with “haunted” or “cursed” items, just get rid of it, and don’t hand it off to someone else.

Honestly, though? I’ve never, ever had to go to this extreme. Like I wrote above, in almost every case, the nice approach was more than sufficient. And in almost every case it wasn’t, it turned out that the object wasn’t the problem–the relationship just wasn’t going to happen.

That’s my experience, anyway. What’s yours? If you’ve had an object that gave you grief, drop a comment down below. I’d love to hear what happened and how you handled it.

Have a blessed day!

Learning how to use the Celtic Cross

No other tarot spread is more well-known or widely-used than the Celtic Cross. In this post, I’ll tell you how it works, when to use it, and when not to.

What is the origin of the Celtic Cross tarot spread?

In 1909, British poet and occultist Arthur Edward Waite published what would become the most popular tarot deck of all time. Illustrated by the artist Pamela Coleman Smith, the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Deck came bundled with a thin book written by Waite himself. Called The Key to the Tarot, this book discussed the meanings of each card, and described how to use them for divination. He revised and re-released this book a year later as The Pictorial Key to the Tarot.

Near the back of this book, we get a description of the Celtic Cross spread. Waite refers to it as “An Ancient Celtic Method of Divination.” If you know your tarot history, this claim is a bit far-fetched to say the least.

In truth, Waite appears to be the first person to describe this spread. There are no printed references to it prior to 1909, at least that I can find anyway. It’s unclear whether the Celtic Cross was Waite’s own invention, or if he learned of it from someone else. Either way, since instructions for its use have come bundled with nearly every tarot deck sold over the last century, it’s almost certainly the most-used tarot spread today.

How do you use the Celtic Cross?

Waite’s instructions for using the Celtic Cross spread are fairly straight-forward. The instructions below are mostly his, although I’ve added my own thoughts based on thirty years of working with it.

Setting Up

Waite begins by telling the tarot reader to select a card to be the “significator,” which symbolizes either the person asking the question, or the subject being asked about. Here’s a quote:

“The Diviner first selects a card to represent the person or, matter about which inquiry is made. This card is called the Significator. Should he wish to ascertain something in connexion with himself he takes the one which corresponds to his personal description. A Knight should be chosen as the Significator if the subject of inquiry is a man of forty years old and upward; a King should be chosen for any male who is under that age a Queen for a woman who is over forty years and a Page for any female of less age.”

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

We’re then told to put this card face up on the table before proceeding.

Personally? I don’t do this. And that’s for a couple of reasons.

First, I don’t find the Court Cards connect with people in the way Waite describes. I wrote an article about this, titled Understanding the Court Cards, if you’re interested.

Second, I think it’s better to leave all of the cards in the deck until we start dealing them out. If a so-called “significator” card is actually relevant to the situation, I trust that it’ll show up without my having to pull it out in advance.

Anyway, at this point, we (or the querent) shuffles the cards while thinking of the question. Then we (or, again, the querent) cuts the deck, and the tarot reader lays out the cards in the following pattern…

The Celtic Cross tarot spread.

What are the meanings of the card positions?

As with most tarot spreads, each card position in the Celtic Cross has a certain meaning. When we interpret the cards, we take this positional meaning into account. I’ve provided a keyword or title for each position in the diagram above for easy reference. In this section, you’ll find the full explanation for each position.

The Subject

This card represents the major influence or situation which the question refers to. It’s the “nutshell” version of the matter at hand, or the central theme of the situation.

The Crossing

This card usually represents the main or central obstacle which is blocking or opposing the Subject. I say “usually,” because if this card is very good, or its nature is very harmonious with the Subject, it may not represent an obstacle at all. It could be a “stepping stone” which can actually be a source of help or assistance. This is especially likely to be the case if it’s also of a similar nature to either the Self or Environment card.

The Basis

This card is sometimes called the “Foundation.” It represents something which has not only already happened, but is likely the main reason for asking the question in the first place.

When I conduct a tarot reading for someone using the Celtic Cross, these three cards almost always relate to the question or circumstance in a very obvious way. For example, in a question about a troubled love affair, I’d expect to see the Two of Cups, the Lovers, or the Three of Swords in some or all of these positions.

When I don’t see any connection between these three cards and the question, I proceed with considerable caution. I also explain to the client that I may not be getting an accurate read on the matter. Fortunately, at least in my experience, this is rarely the case.

The Past

This card represents something in the past which relates to the matter at hand, sometimes in an unexpected way. Many of the situations we find ourselves in today are connected to older events or patterns we’ve experienced before. This card usually shows us the most pertinent bit of history which has led to the current situation.

The Possibility

This is one of the two “outcome” cards in the Celtic Cross spread (the other being outright titled “The Outcome”). It typically shows us the “best case scenario,” or else what the client can hope for if they put their energy and focus toward achieving it.

I wrote “typically” above, because we need to compare and contrast this card with the Outcome card in order to be sure of its role. This is particularly true when the Possibility card appears to be much more negative than the Outcome. I’ll write a bit more about this later on when I discuss the final card in the spread.

The Future

This is an event or influence which will come into play in the immediate or very near future. In many cases, it gives us a good indication of the client’s next, best opportunity to alter the outcome of events. It’s something to keep an eye out for, and to either avoid or take advantage of. Which route we should take depends on the context, and the rest of the spread.

The Self

I also call this card the “Toolbox.” It tells us what the querent themselves is bringing to the situation. Often, this card represents a strength, or a source of aid. Other times, though, it represents an obstacle, or “baggage” the client is carrying with them. Just like the Future card, we need to look at the Big Picture to decide whether the Self is helping or hindering the client.

The Environment

This card is much like the Self, only instead of showing us what the querent is bringing to the party, it shows us outside influences. Again, these may be constructive or destructive to the querent’s objectives or goals. Only careful thought and experience will tell us which.

The Hopes or Fears

The second-to-last card in the spread tells us something about what the client wants to happen, or what they’re afraid might happen.

To be perfectly blunt, I hardly ever find this card useful. Like the first three cards, it can serve as a kind of “check” to make sure we’re getting an accurate read on the matter. Otherwise? The client probably knows what their hopes or fears are, so this card doesn’t give us much in the way of practical aid.

The Outcome

Like the Possibility card, this one shows us one way the situation can turn out. In general, the Outcome is what will come to pass if the situation is allowed to proceed without further interference. Contrast this with the Possibility–that which will come to pass if the querent puts in the effort and work.

When the Outcome card looks much more favorable than the Possibility, it’s a sign that the client should let things unfold naturally. When the Possibility looks better? That’s when it’s time for the client to push for what they want.

When should you use this spread?

Given the Celtic Cross is the most popular spread in the world, you might think it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. Me? I disagree. I think there are times when it’s a good one to use, but there are other times when it’s…less so.

It’s excellent when you want to get a detailed look at a situation, including all of the most important surrounding context. For example, it’s my go-to spread when I’m about to do some serious magic to influence a situation.

I wrote an article awhile ago about how I think it’s extremely important to divine before you enchant. My thoughts on the matter haven’t changed one wink, and the Celtic Cross is usually the spread I use before dusting off my altar and getting down to business.

It’s also a good spread to use when you’re faced with situations or circumstances which seem particularly chaotic or confusing. If you’re job hunting, and can’t seem to get your foot in the door anywhere, throw the cards and ask: “What’s up with my job search?” You’ll usually see multiple factors at work, and get a good idea of how to proceed.

When should you not to use this spread?

The biggest advantage to the Celtic Cross is that it uses ten cards, and you get a lot of context. This is also its biggest disadvantage.

Ten cards is a lot of cards. And, in my personal opinion, ten cards is too many for most questions and situations. With so many cards on the table, we can get overwhelmed with information, and that might actually prevent us from getting a useful answer.

I maybe use the Celtic Cross for one out of fifteen or twenty readings. Let’s face it, most questions people ask the tarot are actually quite simple. “Will I get the job?” “Will Sophie go out with me?” “Should I take a gap year or stay in school until I finish my degree?”

For questions like these, simpler spreads with fewer cards work just fine, and usually provide much clearer answers than the Celtic Cross.

Then again, that’s just my opinion. If you have a different one, I’d love to hear it.

Have a blessed day!