Lammas Tarot Blog Hop: What’s Your Name?

How DARE they change the name? I was in an uproar about it.


Our topic is :

“Within the realms of Numerology, when a name is changed it alters the vibration, so a name that resonated at the vibration of 2, suddenly resonates at 9 because letters are either added or indeed dropped. It got me wondering about Tarot, in the sense of Card Names, does a change of name alter the vibration of a card and its meaning, what could that mean for a client, who comes in and asks will changing my name make a difference? etc… “

This made me think of many ideas but the one that comes up is how I first met a differently named card. Let me set the stage. I am a baby witch. It is 1983 maybe? I’ve just really taken up the cards for use as a tool. Before this, I had been studying but never really clicking with the cards. I had the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot that I was using along with the Herbal Tarot. I loved it. Loved it so much that I wanted another deck to work with. Just to test my theory that the Herbal Tarot would be the only deck I ever truly jived with. (I’ll wait while you finish laughing.)

So I picked up the Tarot of the Old Path. Remember, baby witch? Anything that had anything witchy like in the name was going to be sought out by me. Hey! Don’t judge. At least I did avoid the huge pentagram-around-my-neck stage.

When I was going through my new deck (my precioussss), I discovered a few things. The biggest one was that they had screwed up the names. Add to that it wasn’t even the right image. I mean, Death, that jolly, bony knight on a white horse, was not a knight. There was no horse. And this guy wasn’t jolly at all. He, or she, was Transformation. At least the Herbal Tarot, just a ghostly figure in front of flowers, was still Death, right?

How DARE they change the name? I was in an uproar about it. I mean…they didn’t even add up the same numerologically. In my baby witch dogma I felt all name changes had to resonate with the original name number. HEY! It’s what my teacher said. (Heard that one before? Better yet, said it?) But then I asked my teacher. <insert very wry look here> Lady Lhianna looked at me for a bit. She had a way of really piercing you with her look even if she was (is still) a petite brunette beauty.

Then she asked me, “What’s in a name, Arwen?” Knowing I needed to think about it, I pondered that. Of course, I realized that my Christianized way of looking at death was still death=done. There was no next time. There was no “one more ride” in the way I was taught. You died. You went to heaven or hell. Hell wasn’t a flaming pit of doom in my church. It was the absence of God’s presence in your life. Scary, right?

But Death in the pagan way I follow IS a transition. It is moving from this world to the one beyond with a very real possibility of returning. Then there is the concept of how death changes not only those who die, but also those left behind. I know I have been hanged by every death in my life.

What about you? What do you think is in a name? Leave your comment then hop on to the next blog in this Tarot Blog Hop from Jay Cassells.


TarotBlogHop: Timing. Is it everything?


Welcome to the Summer Tarot Blog Hop 2019. Today is the Summer Solstice. Happy longest day of the year to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Happy shortest day to those of you down under! I wonder if we are up yonder if y’all are down under. But I digress.

I gave the bloggers this challenge. ” Timing is a big thing in divination. There are many thoughts around how to do it as well as opinions on whether or not to do timing. So this solstice, I am challenging you to tackle timing. “

I am going to offer you a spread called But When. Typically I read for folks who understand that I don’t do timing very much. Even so, there are those who need to know the timing for things. If I’m looking to see when I need to launch something or what’s an auspicious time for a thing I want to do, I turn to astrology. By that I mean I ask my astrologer! One of my favorite business tools is the AstroBiz Digest by Theresa Reed. For personal astrology I go to Julia Waters. And for day-to-day, I use my Metaphysician’s Day Planner. But I don’t use it much in the way of my Tarot readings.

The one thing I do use as timing is the seasons. They are a broad enough category that I feel comfortable using them. This spread drills my season timing (which is very fast and loose) down to something more useful for specific timing.

Drill down is the key here. This spread asks a When question, then drills down.

I am going to ask about a specific thing that I want to know WHEN on. It’s a very mundane thing, but pricey. I want to know when the best time to will be to switch over to central a/c with a humidifier and furnace.

BUT WHEN Timing Spread

The first thing I do is ask the question while shuffling. I focus on the idea of timing. I am using the Herbcrafters Tarot for this.

When is the best time FINANCIALLY (that’s an important qualifier) to make the move to the whole house enviromental system?

The World (Pachamama) is the card I drew. For me, this makes me think of the fullness of the year, of fall. When abundance is proven in the harvests we bring in.

So with Fall as my answer, I ask which month is best? September, October, November, or December? Fall is from 21 Sept to 21 December so I will lay four cards from the deck I just shuffled. I am looking first for Earth cards as they are the money suit. If there are no Earth, then I will look for other messages.

September is the 7 of Earth. I don’t see this as a great month because this is a card of pause and reflection.

October is the 2 of Earth. Here is a choice card so I might want to get some bids now.

November is the 10 of Fire. That’s a no for me as this is about taking on too much.

December is the Madre (Queen) of Earth. I would say that’s a good month to look into getting the system.

If I wanted to get more specific, I would choose four more cards for each week of December (or five if there are five weeks.)

I am not that concerned today June 20 about December 2019 so I won’t drill down more.

But for timing, this is one way you might want to tackle the issue.

Please remember to leave a comment on each of the blogs as you hop through.

Oh, the winner of the deck giveaway from the last hop is Sheila Englehart. Please use the Contact Me button to send me your address so I can get your deck out to you.


TarotBlogHop: What I Learned On My Not-Summer Vacation


Altar in progress featuring a bit of my Readers Studio swag.
Altar in progress featuring a bit of my Readers Studio swag.

Joy has asked us to discuss our thoughts on education and beyond. So I went to the Readers Studio in NYC to get something to write about. Okay, not really, but the timing was excellent.

First, let me preface this with a caveat. No teacher knows it all. No student can learn it all. But all knowledge must be absorbed. Cool? It’s a koan by Arwen. And I am sure it is not a new one in this universe.

I recently read a post by someone who had paid a significant sum of money to a teacher he found on YouTube. Then he discovered that this teacher had one small problem.


Doesn’t seem like a problem, right? Student wanted to learn. Teacher wanted to teach. Well, unless you are a tabula rasa, you already have some knowledge. Some of that is going to bump up against what someone else says. You have to learn what is yours to absorb and what is theirs to keep. However, this teacher told the student that everything they knew was pretty much wrong because it didn’t agree with his list of what’s right in the world of Tarot. This, people, is NOT a teacher. Run from those. Do not give them your money. Tell us who they are!

Back to Readers Studio. We were treated to a Divination Day (I chat about that on my other post in this hop–keep hopping to find it.) Then we got two days of main stage presentations, study groups, rituals, incubators, and breakfast talks. Please understand that there is utterly no way to do it all. I did less this year than I did last year. I did NO study groups. I went to bed or chatted with friends. And there were some amazing study groups this year.

So what did I do? I absorbed the mainstage presenters brains. Muahahahah. Ethony Dawn kicked us off on Friday with her Tarot Muses (book coming but don’t rush her. I’m doing that. 😀 ) I went so deep with this presentation. She gave us a spread to work with each of her Muses. I also got a copy of her book Your Tarot Court: Read Any Deck With Confidence . This book is a good one. I love her work with the courts as noble allies. I also had the chance to spend time with The Cartomancer’s design goddess and assistant editor, Bean! BONUS.

Then Saturday hit. Remember that there were study groups Friday night so here we all are a bit bleary-eyed (study groups, talking, or otherwise sleep-compromised.) George Koury is as funny as he is spiritual–and he is deeply spiritual. He gave us a handout on his Peter Pan spread that opened me up on deep levels. It is a deceivingly simple three-card (but four-question) spread. It is one I will be using with clients (book a reading) because of the depth it created. It is on a simple, easy subject–life’s purpose.

Last, but not least, was Sasha Graham. Her body of work speaks for itself. Cartomancer readers were treated to an article by her recently. Her light and breezy topic was about the seven cornerstones as evidenced in the 7 of Cups. That pretty much blew my danged mind. We did writing prompts while creating a mandala. You know, the light kind of thing you want to do. LOL.

Each presentation contained such juicy nuggets of wisdom I will spend weeks if not months processing. I stopped taking notes after a bit just to absorb the lessons.

The learning didn’t stop there. It continued at breakfast with friends I’ve known and friends who were new this year. It went on in the hallways and elevators. I got so much from just hanging out with my colleagues (all those who attend are my colleagues) and close friends. Getting time to do a download with Ethony and Benebell was a highlight. I never get time with these two so it was a treat to steal off for a gabfest.

So to answer Joy’s questions…

What classes are you taking/recommending?

What are you doing to advance your knowledge/experience/abilities with tarot?

Joy Vernon

I went to Readers Studio 2019. I absorbed as much as I could. I carried home handouts. I walked out with books (gifts, people, gifts!). I enriched my world by opening up to other people’s gifts of knowledge. If you are curious about my download of RS 2018, here’s that blog. As you go hopping through this Beltaine/Beltane 2019 Tarot Blog Hop, please remember to leave a comment so we know you were there.

I am recommending Readers Studio and classes by any of the above teachers. Oh, by the way, if you leave me a comment here and/or on my other post in this hop, you will be in a drawing to win this deck. It’s part of my swag from Readers Studio that I want to share with you.

Here’s a picture of that swag. You will see art from Joanna Powell Colbert along with her Herbcrafters Tarot (pre-order on this link for a cool gift!), art from Monica Bodirsky, my amazing hamsa mandala from Heidi Strachan via the Boston Tea Room. Speaking of Heatherleigh Navarre, she suckered me into getting that darling crystal ball! I got books from Ethony Dawn and Theresa Reed as well as snagging a copy of the Alice Grist book from the swap table. My gorgeous hamsa piece and Ganesh bracelet are from Soultopia (owned by Michelle and Roger Welch who are HIGH up on my people I adore list.) And more! I know I’m leaving things out! Oh! Tori Hartman handed out cute little bags. And I got Gina Thies’ Tarot of the Moors (so excited about that!) The “I’m bossy” bag came from…c’mon Arwen, you know this… and the Vegemite was from Karin Dalton-Smith, the teacup lady.

Readers Studio 2019 Swag
Readers Studio 2019 Swag

In conclusion, don’t be that aforementioned teacher. Okay, now go hop!


TarotBlogHop: Ostara 2019


NEWS FLASH! The lasted 78 Tarot deck just launched its Kickstarter. It’s already over 60% funded! Are you in?

Hey, y’all! Welcome to the Ostara Tarot Blog Hop. We had two themes. For this blog I chose Theme 2. Our wranglers, Sharron and Jay, asked us, “Shuffle and randomly choose a card out of a deck that you feel is connected to the Spring Equinox. Please briefly mention in your blog what deck you used and why you feel it conjures up feelings of Spring for you. Now, imagine cracking an egg open and you find the card that you randomly choose inside of it. The card is your secret ingredient. Your source of inspiration. The challenge is to create a recipe that describes the energy of the card.”

My deck of choice was the Merryday Tarot. I have to confess I have not worked with this deck until recently. It was just one among many in my collection. By the way, I am releasing a large portion of my deck collection. I will be updating this link with more decks so do check back.

The Merryday Tarot appeals to me as a spring deck because it is very bright in color. The suits are the elements and seasons with Swords being Air/Spring. The card I drew was the Elemental of Pentacles aka the Page of Pentacles. In this deck, it bears the name of Centaur/Satyr along with these keywords: Instinctive, Common Sense.

And I realized I had to share a recipe from October 2008. I deemed this a Page of Pentacles recipe because it is a cheap meal. The Page is often my young job seeker just on the market. He or she is rarely “deep in the pockets” so the next meal may be at the all-you-can-eat beer bust. Spend a buck on a beer and stock up on the nibbles.

Well, that’s how it used to be. I think they shut those down as they encouraged folks to drink. Not me. I would buy my one beer (okay maybe two) and fill my plate. Twice. Not shy about taking home leftovers either.

Now there is a secret ingredient in this dish so you can turn it into a spell. Here’s the recipe. I’ll give you the secret at the end.

Page of Pentacles Chips Are Down Pork Chops

  • 2 pork chops, thawed, bone in (If they are thick, extend the cooking time accordingly)
  • 1/2 C Miracle Whip
  • 1/2 C Parmesan
  • 2-3 dashes Tabasco
  • Pepper
  • 1 & 1/2 C Crushed Potato Chips
  • 1 TB olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

Coat non-stick baking pan (I used a pie dish) with olive oil.

Mix Miracle Whip, Parmesan, Tabasco and pepper in a bowl. Coat pork with mixture. Press into potato chips on both sides. Place in the pie pan.

Bake for 50 minutes. NOTE: Check on chops at 30 minutes. And no need to add salt. Those potato chips are salty enough.

What’s the secret ingredient? The potato chips, of course. When you put this together, see the potato chips as the pentacles/coins coming into your life. Let the pepper be your passion and the pork chops your own stability. As you make this dish, envision eating it at a fine restaurant as you treat all of your supportive friends and family.

Let’s eat, y’all! Now hop on using the links below. Thanks for visiting me. I’m Arwen, the professional Joy Seeker. Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

Please do leave a comment. Thanks.


Really Odd Shit aka TarotBlogHop: Imbolg 2019


Hey, y’all! Arwen, Professional Joy Seeker here. It’s Tarot Blog Hop time again. Did you know that I started this Imbolg 2012? I’m so proud of how it’s continued. That’s because of dedicated individuals! This hop is brought to us by seasoned wrangler Jay Cassels and new wrangler Sharron Bassanti. Is it me or were double letters required to wrangle this ODD ASSOCIATIONS hop? Hmmmm?

Um, it’s just me. The seasoned wrangler is actually Morgan Drake who has no double letters. Still, I’m leaving in my double letters because it makes me grin!

Yeah, it’s probably just me. But what our wrranglerrs asked of us was, ”
Share your Oddest, Most Interesting, Most Educational associations that you have adapted in your divination practice. Have you discovered yourself reading for circus clowns, disgruntled teenagers, aliens from outer space, or a herd of cats? “

Really? They want me, queen of the weird shit, to answer that? Twice? (You will also see me on my blog if you do the whole hop. I hope you will. And please? Leave comments? That’s all we ask of you. Even if it is just “Arwen is making me leave a comment.” Thanks!

I have a metric shit ton of weird stories. True weird stories. Stories you just can’t make up. Let’s start with the missing baby one, shall we?

Psycho? Did someone say Psycho? Mother? Mother?

First, I worked on a 1-900-Psycho line. Sorry, Psychic. My mother and sister loved calling it a psycho line. And I loved them for it. They have my humor. Not everyone does.

Back to the missing baby. I took a call from a woman who was worried about getting pregnant. She talked about her two miscarriages. I did a reading. We discovered that guilt was blocking her. I told her she might want to do a grief ritual. When she said she wanted to know more, I gave her instructions that involved three candles, three stones, three offerings. (ASIDE: That ritual was shared with a friend who asked if she could use it in her book as a pet death/euthanasia ceremony. Of course I agreed! She even mentioned me in her forward.)

Right…back to the missing baby. The woman stayed silent while I proscribed the ritual to her. I assumed she was writing everything down. Well, she was, but she had a huge question for me at the end.

“Why did you say three of everything? I told you I’d had two miscarriages.”

I was stunned into silence (which is also an oddity in the life of this Aquarius rising.) “Ummmm, I guess I heard you wrong?” I answered even though I knew I hadn’t.

That’s when she said, “No, I don’t think you did. I didn’t tell you about the first baby I lost. I had an abortion…”


THUD. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I was young. I had been reading on the line for about a month. This was one of my first instances of learning to trust what falls out of my mouth. Somehow I knew three was the number. That had come through me without me filtering it.

I never heard back from her. I can only hope that she now has the children I saw for her. They would be in college by now or graduated.

That’s my first odd story, but not my last. Keep on hopping to read everyone else’s odd associations.

Want to learn Tarot my way?
Want to take a 30 day trip to become a joy seeker?
Want to join my Inner Joy Seeker Tribe?
Want to get Arwen and Ember in your inbox every month? ?

Please remember to leave a comment on each blog. And share some as well so your friends can come hop along. Seek joy, y’all. #seekjoyyall


TarotBlogHop: Yule 2018


Happy Holidays, y’all. It’s time for the Tarot Blog Hop. This is an even that celebrates the Tarot community by asking bloggers to all post at the same time on the same subject. I liken it to Brigadoon–springing up fully realized every six weeks.

For this episode of TBH, our wrangler has asked us to explore the concept of cozy. Cozy is such a lovely word, isn’t it? I thought I might share a recipe with you, but my coziest recipe is tea and toast. Right? Who needs a recipe for tea and toast. My others are mac-and-cheese and tuna. I know, tuna, right? Who has tuna for a comfort food? Me, I guess.

Right now, cozy is a word that is not finding a home in my daily vocabulary. I’ve been up to my earballs (that’s a joke in my family) in alligators that looked a lot like back-to-back issues of The Cartomancer. I got behind on Fall so Winter was right on the heels of it. I mean I got the Fall issue in the mail on 12/14, then picked up the Winter issue on 12/20. Guess what I’ll be doing while you are blithely hopping away? HA!

So back to cozy. Cozy for me is wrapping up in a quilt. Then snuggling into my pillows while burying my nose in a really good book. Lately, my reading has been nearly all done on Audible. I’m currently loving re-listening to the Bloody Jack series. It’s about a young girl named Mary Faber who goes on all sorts of madcap adventures. It’s not horror despite the name. Just a fun read.

But that’s cozy to me. Reading while wrapped in a blanket. Or, as I did as a girl, reading while up a tree. True story! There was a gorgeous live oak in my front yard. It had a perfect place to lean back for a reading nook. My mother used to pitch acorns at me to get my attention.

Four of Swords from the Whimsical Tarot
Whimsical Tarot (can I be the Princess at the top?)

So, to make a long post longer, cozy is that feeling of blissful quiet. That precious instance of time when I can sit in absolute stillness with no noise other than nature. The card that brings to mind is the Four of Swords. It is my meditation card, my “quiet times are necessary” card, my “tell the world to shut up” card.

What about you? What is your idea of cozy? Happy Yule, y’all. Merry Christmas. Joyous Solstice. Happy Hanukkah. Celebrate Kwanzaa. However you do it, make your winter/summer solstice cozy.


TarotBlogHop: Samhain 2018 #TarotBlogHop


“Our religion keeps reminding us that we aren’t just will and thoughts. We are also sand and wind and thunder. Rain. The seasons. You learn to respect everything because you are everything.” ~ William Least Heat Moon 1939-

Welcome to  the 2018 Samhain Tarot Blog Hop wrangled by Aisling. She asked us to explore our beloved dead. Although she gave us three questions  (and I did stay on script for one), I’m actually reusing an old post from 2012. It’s about my most beloved dead, my mother. Of all those who have preceded me in death, I miss her the most.

Marilu at about 19
Marilu at about 19

I was blessed with a mother who wasn’t overly religious although she was a faithful woman. She grew up Catholic, then raised my sister and me in the Episcopal faith. She attended the Methodist church with her second husband while beginning her drift back to her childhood faith of Catholicism. She allowed me, albeit regretfully, to leave the Christian path without making it hard on me. She didn’t like it. I know this. I also know that she wanted me to be happy and secure. So she didn’t make my religious choice a bone of contention. And she certainly could have. She was a strong woman from some very strong women. In my family, the matriarchs have always stood out.

My Mama had a German-Scot Mama and a Scot-Irish Papa. While her mama, my Grannilu, was not someone I remember as a good cook, Mama said there were good cooks in her family. She passed her love of starchy potatoes and stinky cabbage on to me with this dish. It’s one she found later in life. Like her, I’m a collector or recipes. I even cook some of them. ? She made this for me for one of my homecoming meals and I loved it then as I love it now. Even die-hard cabbage haters will fall for this treat!

Because it’s something I closely identify with Mama, I knew this one had to be a Queen (the Empress was already taken, sorry Mama!). The Queen of Cups might seem like the perfect choice but my Mama was a sharp-edged Scorpio. She was funny–brilliantly so at times and almost always pointed and sharp insightful humor. I knew her as a widow most of my life (she remarried when I was in my early 20’s). Her friends were classy, stylish women (when they weren’t being redneck haints.) She was a classy, stylish woman whom I adored her. She wasn’t the cookie-baking, soccer mom but she was the take-you-to-the-library, defend-you-tooth-and-nail mom. I’m lucky to have had the time I did with her. So she is the Queen of Swords to me. And it would have tickled her to be the Queen of Bats as she loved nature.

Queen of Swords Cabbage Au Gratin

1 head cabbage, shredded
4 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs (divided)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 beaten egg
1-1/2 cup grated cheese (divided)
1-1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 pound bacon

Brown bacon, set aside

Cook cabbage in water 10 minutes. Drain.

Beat egg, cream, and seasonings together.

Layer cabbage in a casserole pan with egg mixture and remaining ingredients, except bacon. Reserve some of the breadcrumbs and cheese for topping.

Place chopped bacon on top of the casserole, dot with butter and bake in a preheated 350° F. oven for 30 minutes.

6 servings

Arwen says: Mama didn’t do the bacon and I don’t either. Just a sodium overload!

I hope you will let me know if you try this. I think I’ll make some this week. If you are Catholic, maybe you’d like to light a candle at Mary’s altar for my mama. Her name was Marilu. ? I’ll light a candle on my own altar. Don’t let religion come between you and those you love. It’s really not worth it. Instead, share a meal and a blessing that you have friends and family who care about you enough to worry about you.

Here’s to all of us and our beloved dead. We are blessed to have the ability to choose who we call family. “You learn to respect everything because you are everything.” Thanks to William Least Heat Moon for that. Now go hop to the next blog to see what they have to say about Samhain and our beloved dead.


Tarot Blog Hop: Mabon 2018


Balance was the focus for me on my recent retreat with Joanna Colbert. We each did work with our ancestors to discover what it was that needed to be worked on. Mine was balance. We did a sacred dance with Jennifer Lucero-Earle where I danced my dance of balance to MaMuse Natural Order .

For me, Mabon is balance. Our TarotBlogHop wranglers, Jenn and Louise, have asked that we look at how balance can be restored. I am going to tackle that in this blog. You will also see me on another blog post in this hop. I decided to tackle two. Balance, yes?

So, the question of “how can balance be restored” presumes that balance has been lost. I propose that we don’t lose balance so much as we get a bit off-axis, if you will. By that I mean we wobble. Wobbling can be scary if you aren’t expecting it. Like being on a plane that suddenly hits turbulence. I don’t know about you, but I get REALLY anxious if the plane starts doing a jig without warning. You?

The thing is the crew is trained for this. I’ve learned to watch them. If they aren’t running and screaming as if Cthulhu has arrived, I do so deep breathing (after rechecking my seat belt, of course.) They’re not off-balance. They are still doing what they do. It also taught me to check myself before I wreck myself. Usually this works. There have been times when I’ve gone off completely unhinged. That’s so embarrassing to me.

Embarrassment and I are really good friends, though. I’m good at laughing at myself…eventually. Of course, in the moment? Not so much. But being truly out-of-balance or needing to restore balance? That’s tricky if you are self-correcting a mere wobble. There’s a high possibility you will over-correct. Which can be worse than the initial wobble. For example, think of a teen who breaks curfew one time (for any reason). Their parental unit goes nuclear telling them their curfew is now back to 7:30 as if they were eight years old. Any bets on how fast that teenager is going to sneak out? Start ignoring all the rules because, obviously, their parent is a tyrant? In teenage think, that is.

What if the parent had said “Okay, that’s one. You only get one because I don’t play baseball. Home by curfew or don’t expect to go out until your next birthday.” I’m not a parent so your mileage may vary. If that doesn’t work for you, let’s try cooking. You make a dish. You put in twice as much salt as you should rendering it inedible. An over-correction would be “I vow I’ll never make that dish again.” Right? All you need to do is pay a bit more attention.

I associate balance in the Tarot with the two cards. Each one has a message of what can happen if you do too much of one thing. Justice, card 11, and the High Priestess, card 2, and Judgment, card 20, are also two’s in my view. Think about what is wobbling in your life right now. How can you apply gentle correction to pull yourself back into balance? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.