TarotBlogHop: Samhain 2017 Handbaskets and Maps


Our blog hop wrangler, Jay Cassels, gave us an easy-peasy topic for this hop. (casts big stank-eye at Jay.) If you are hopping forward, you just came from Messages from Lore. If you are hopping backwards, then you already met Jay (if not, leave him a message on his blog that tells him I’m giving him the stank-eye!)

After reading his topic, I thought I’d name my post “Handbaskets and Maps.” But the spread he gave us took me to a different spot. I’m okay with that. Here’s his topic:

For this year’s Samhain Hop, I am interested to find out where you are at the end of this cycle. Using either a single card or a three card spread from your chosen deck:

  • What do the cards tell you about where this cycle has lead you – Where have you been?
  • What do they tell you about where you are headed – Where are you going?
  • What do you feel has changed for you at the end of this cycle along your journey of life?

Like I said, easy-peasy, right? Sigh! So, I’m going to use the Secrets of the Mystic Grove. While it’s not a Tarot deck, I like it for the way it’s been answering my questions lately. Of course, I’m partial to it for other reasons.

Secrets of the Mystic Grove Seeking Knowledge
Seeking Knowledge

So where have  I been this cycle from last Samhain to this? Ha! Seeking Knowledge indeed! I’ve learned so much in this year. And I’m still cramming more into my brain on a daily basis. In case you missed it (and, darlings, how could you with as mouthy as I’ve been), I’m the new editor of The Cartomancer. This print & digital quarterly was founded by Jadzia and Jay DeForest. When Jadzia announced this past May that she was going to be turning the magazine over to someone, I threw my name in the hat. After talking with Jadzia quite a bit, she decided I was the right candidate for this.

I was thrilled. Then I realized I was also terrified. A bit like the gal in this card who seems to have overloaded her head with information. Still, I’ve learned I can ask for help. I can trust people to help me. I’ve learned that I’m a terrible ditherer when I get anxious. I’ve learned that my husband is very good at pointing things out that help me grasp the situation. So yes to Seeking Knowledge. I’ve also learned a lot about myself in this year. You would think at 56, I’d have a handle on that, but come to find out…there was more to learn.

Secrets of the Mystic Grove Bloom

So cards, where am I heading now? What’s the next point on the wheel for me? Bloom it is. This is the card that I draw a lot. It is, in my head, a paraphrase of one of my favorite quotes.

Bloom Where You Are Planted. Ashleigh Brilliant.

I first read that quite a while ago. Saw it in a newspaper and clipped it out (when’s the last time you did that?) Because I was something of a gad-about in my younger days (still am, truth be known), my mother used to write me into her address book in pencils. Something of a family joke.

But that “being seen” is certainly a good thing for me in terms of my work. I want the magazine to not just maintain, but to grow. And right now, I really am all about the magazine. Well and the decks I’m writing for. Two are turned in to my publisher (USGames) with a third in progress on my computer. I’m loving it, too. When I did the Fairy Tale Lenormand, I was hooked.

Secrets of the Mystic Grove 5 Authenticity

So the last question is what do I feel has changed for me from the Arwen I was in 2016 to the Arwen I am in 2017. I think I’m more confident about my self-worth. I’m told I still under-value myself, but hey! I’m getting better. But why don’t I look at the cards, hmmm? This is a reading, after all. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Authenticity for the win. This card made me laugh out loud when I first saw it. I was so startled by the pheasant in her hair that I didn’t see the cactus right away. Talk about a woman who doesn’t care what others think, right? I don’t want a damned bouquet, thank you very much. I shall pose with a small barrel cactus and you can suck it if you don’t like it. So yes, this time last year I had just left a job that I wasn’t really giving my all. Now this year I have a magazine, a Patreon, a YouTube channel and decks to my name. Has it been easy? Nope, it hasn’t. I’ve had to face fears, shed tears, and lose a few friends along the way (that was mostly politics, damn it.)

As I’ve told more than a few people, when I turned 50, I discovered that 50 is the new “fuck it.” 55 to nearly 57 has been a whole lot more of that. I have less patience for the inane but am also less inclined to engage it. It’s just not worth the expenditure of energy to try to fix crazy. Crazy doesn’t fix. It just gets more cray-cray. Probably the best lesson I’ve learned this year.

Blessed Samhain to my fellow travelers on this path. Happy season of the witch to the rest of you. May your ancestors bring you wisdom and carry away grief as necessary. And if you do find yourself in a handbasket, look under the seat for a map. I’m sure I left one somewhere.

Secrets of the Mystic Grove used with permission of US Games Systems, Inc., c. 2017. All rights reserved.


Tarot Blog Hop: Samhain 2016 Wake The Dead


Welcome to the 2016 Samhain/Halloween/Mid-Fall Tarot Blog Hop. We’ve been doing these hops since Imbolc 2012. It brings me such joy to know that for these past five years, community-minded bloggers have gathered every six weeks to create a ring of posts that all share the same subject. It’s been copied by others (which also brings me great joy) so I know that original question “How Can I Be The Best Candle” truly burns on.

This time, we are asked by our wrangler, Louise Underhill of Priestess Tarot, to turn to our ancestors for advice. She challenged us to “seek their advice on what we need to work on in the year to come.”

So I did. First, I wanted to be clear on the questions as well as the intent. Once I had the questions, I took time to make sure I was mindful of my surroundings. I wanted to be aware of not only where I was, but who I was.

I opened up asking my ancestors to gather if they would. I requested that one of them step forward to give me advice for the coming year (in my Tradition, we treat Samhain as the New Year even though the validity of that has been brought into question.) Honestly I hoped that someone from my deep ancestral bloodlines would turn up. Maybe the daughter of that English king (not a very popular king, oops) or the German lawyer would weigh in on the questions.

Nope. I got a much closer relative. And I knew her the moment I pulled the first card. But first, let’s look at the spread itself.

Arwen Lynch's Wake The Dead spread
My 2016 Samhain spread: Wake The Dead

The answers were pretty clear. Because of the reading, the answers were also quite personal. I’ll show you the card and give you the abbreviated answers.

Moon Victoria Regina Tarot
The Moon, Victoria Regina Tarot

First up was the Moon. With the binoculars and crawfish on this one, I immediately knew it was my mother. She was a Scorpio as well. I have a Scorpio Moon that rests in the 8th house so this could only be Mama. At first I thought it might be her mother, but the crawfish and binoculars were all Mama.

10 Swords Victoria Regina
Ten of Swords

Next came the 10 of Swords. If I wasn’t sure before, this nailed it (pun intended). My mother once told me a story about a sparrow, a cat and a pile of manure. The lesson was to stop complaining about where you were. The main message I got here was, “Being weighed down by other people’s opinions is silly. That’s their energy, not yours. DO YOU.” On a side note, when I look at my handwriting on this question, the “do you” is very similar to my mother’s handwriting. Hmmm

Strength showed up as the response to the third question.

Strength Victoria Regina Tarot

Her admonition here was that she raised me to be a strong woman. She reminded me that she had not been fair to me in one area (she took care of me when she should have let me find my own feet) but she felt I was getting better there.


World, Victoria Regina Tarot

The fourth question brought the World (so many Majors, Mama.) She was a bit fierce on this one which didn’t surprise me. Protecting her children was one of her strengths. Living with a Scorpion for a mother wasn’t always easy, but you knew she had your back. The answer was, in part, “Focus on the people who add to your life rather than take away. Be your own center.”

Finally, I pulled the Two of Wands. My mother loved that I wrote. She got to read the first book my writing partner and I ever finished. That book has never been published, but my sister called me. She was laughing because my mother, who was in the hospital dying from cancer (she passed away two months after), would not take any calls. She told my sister to tell them she was reading. Her message here was to take action. Do rather than be. The funniest thing was her “Get wet sooner” message. She’s the reason I keep writing.

Thanks, Mama. I love you and I will always remember you.

Marilu Johnston circa 1956
Marilu, my beautiful mother

Now please leave a comment then hop on to the next post. Or hop backwards. And thanks so very much for sharing this and other posts. You can use the hashtag #tarotbloghop .


MidFall/Samhain Tarot Blog Hop


I am this year’s wrangler for our MidFall/Samhain Tarot Blog Hop. I asked everyone to focus on this topic.

***Commune, Communicate, Commemorate with those who have gone on before us. ***

Samhain Incense 2015
Samhain Incense 2015

It’s Samhain or MidFall. This is the last of the three harvests in the Northern Hemisphere and the advent of Spring in the Southern hemisphere. It is a time that I know as being a thinning of the veil…a time for the honouring of those who have crossed over before us. This will be a hop focused on communing, communicating and commemorating our loved ones.

My offering is this YouTube video that I did this morning. It is an All Hallow’s Eve tradition for me. I cast my circle then did my New Year’s reading using Joanna Powell Colbert’s Elder of Fire spread. All links are in the drop-down box beneath the video. Just click “More”.

Arwen’s Elder of Fire reading.

Now I invite you to hop through to the rest of this Samhain Tarot Blog Hop. If you find a broken link, just go back to the post you came from and click the Master List link to skip that one.

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on. Blessed Samhain to you.


TarotBlogHop: Tarot & Tea & The Dead

A spread to contact the dead for today’s #TarotBlogHop. Blessed Samhain, y’all.


Tea time?! This is what we get for having someone from across the pond. That darned Louise Underhill is our wrangler. Here is what she wants us to chat about.

The topic of the Samhain Blog Hop this time, is to discuss or show, via the Tarot or any other oracle, who you would invite to an afternoon tea on the Day of the Dead. What do you imagine they’d be like? What Tarot card (or cards!) would represent them? What would you ask them? What would you like to learn from them? Your “guest” can be living, or dead, but imagine them there and then represent them in a Tarot card (or more). [Tweet “A spread to contact the dead for today’s #TarotBlogHop. Blessed Samhain, y’all. “] So this is a very challenging topic for me because I can think of a dozen or more folks that I wouldn’t mind having over for an afternoon tea. Um, first of course I’d have to research what time an afternoon tea is and what one serves at a tea. I mean I guess tea and crumpets? But what exactly is a crumpet? And why are cookies biscuits? And sweaters jumpers? And flashlights torches? Well never mind the last. I can see the logical progression from a real flaming torch to a mechanical torch. But the jumper thing? Yeah, that I don’t get. But I digress which means I am totally avoiding the subject.

Gaian Tarot Guardian of Air
Gaian Tarot

I guess, since I am fixing to dive into NaNoWriMo tomorrow, I’ll go with an author. Again so many to choose from. There is one that I keep circling back to. I read her when I was in junior high and high school. Loved how she swept me out of my world into hers. Then I learned that not only was she a good writer, but she was also a lesbian. And from her pictures, a very attractive one at that. At that time my personal id was lesbian so it was very affirming to me to know that a childhood favorite author was like me. For her card, I’ll have to go with the Guardian of Air from the Gaian Tarot. She is perched up on a mountain where she can do her work, get her messages in and get them out as well. I love the intensity of this card as well. Oh, who did I invite? Why none other than JFK’s favorite author, Mary Renault. I would want to ask her about her biggest personal struggle with writing. Then the conversation would just flow. By the way, if you are doing NaNoWriMo, come buddy up with me. I’m there as TarotByArwen. And check out my eCourse to help yourself get those fifty thousand words cranked out. This time of year I have a lot of conversations with the dead–my own and other people’s loved ones. I wanted to also share a simple spread with you that you might use when you try to contact your own dearly departed. The Veil Is Thin Spread 1. Who comes to me now? 2. What message do you want to give me? 3. How can I honor your message best? I would suggest doing this in a consecrated Circle for the best results. Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on!


Talking To The Dead

Arwen’s telling real-live ghosts stories, y’all. What’s yours?

Unknown Deck Shadow 11#affirmation It’s Samhain soon so let’s talk about ghosts, shall we? In my 30+ years of reading Tarot for others, I’ve had some wild experiences. At first I read the cards pretty strictly–by the book you might say. Grin! But then I had my first visit from the other side. I was reading on a 1-900 line back in the early 90’s. In the deep past, I turned up the Chariot reversed. This was when I still read with reversals. The feeling I got on this card was immediate. I felt cold prickles run up and down my arms. My shoulders and back were similarly afflicted.

[Tweet “Arwen’s telling real-live ghosts stories, y’all. What’s yours? “]

Then I told the woman this. “There was a car wreck. You lose someone important. It was in the mountains. He wants you to know it was his heart. He didn’t feel any pain from the wreck.”

The woman gasped then started to cry. I was appalled. I immediately apologized but she told me not to. Then she asked me to tell her more. At that point I had a memory of a man I’d never met. I described him to her as well as her own front room. He told me to tell her that she wasn’t to move the big pots by herself. My client began laughing through her tears.

She informed me that her husband had died in that car wreck. It had been on an Ozark highway. One of her fears had been how much pain he’d been in. She also told me that I described him perfectly right down to what he was wearing when he died. The big pots were her outside planters. She’d just been thinking that day about moving them in to avoid the cold that was coming.

I don’t remember much else about that reading other than knowing I’d had a very real contact from someone who was dead. It shook me to my core. I logged off for the night wondering if I ever wanted to pick up the cards again. I talked with my partner and some friends who all told me that I should read again. If I had brought the client comfort, then it couldn’t be a bad thing.

So I did keep reading. And I did have more (and still do) experiences where someone just shows up to deliver a message. Sometimes the messenger and message are so oblique, I think, “I’m making this shit up.” But then my client always confirms who it is.

What about you? Ever have a dream about a loved one who has passed? Did they bring you a message? Ever get a message for anyone else?

Samhain aka Hallowe’en is one of the times when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. Maybe now is a good time to write a letter to a lost love to let them know lessons you learned from them. Or perhaps a letter to clear the air with someone who has died might be helpful for you. Whatever you do, take some time to listen to the messages that may be coming to you.

Today’s affirmation:

I remember the past. I learn from the past. I look forward to the future. I live in this moment. My life is in my own hands. I am the director of my own fate. My shadow self and my light self are balanced and whole. Loved and loving, I love each of you.

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

Shadow, Unknown Deck (if you recognize it, please tell me)

Ghosts of the Past

What kisses did you mean to give? To get? Who can you not forget?

Halloween Oracle  Ghost Regret
Halloween Oracle
#affirmation This card makes me think of Ol’ Blue Eyes. No, not Bill Clinton, silly. The original Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. That hat-wearing son-of-a-gun Sinatra, Frank Sinatra.

Regrets? I’ve had a few….did it myyyyy way.

“Regrets, I’ve had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.”

Here is the card Regrets from Stacey DeMarco’s Halloween Oracle (Blue Angel distributed by U.S. Games). The moment I saw the box I was drawn to this deck. The box features a sugar skull.

But this card is an eerie one with our milky-eyed miss misting in and out. She stares up and out in an unseeing way. She almost seems transfixed by whatever she sees.

Perhaps it is the memory of things she didn’t do. Things she didn’t try. People she didn’t forgive or didn’t forget. Kisses she meant to give. Love she meant to offer.

[Tweet “What kisses did you mean to give? To get? Who can you not forget?”]

I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I want for my own afterlife. I may not be the type to ride my motorcycle sideways and slide in screaming whoo hooo, but I do want to be the woman who can say, “Yeah, I have no regrets. No ghosts to haunt me.”

What about you?

Today’s affirmation

I release my regrets. I let my fears ghost away. I believe that every choice I’ve made has led me to this moment. And this moment is good. The past holds more joy than sorrow because I choose to focus on the joy. I move into my future self confident in my ability to seek joy.

Seek joy, y’all Pass it on.

Yeah, thanks, Frank. I’ll do it my way too.

Regrets, Halloween Oracle, U.S. Games

P. to the S. One of my regrets that I’m striking off the list is doing a NaNoWriMo. I’ll be using my eCourse. Will you?

TarotBlogHop: Samhain 2013

Tarot, for me, is such a gift for writing. Because Tarot for Writers is less about traditional interpretation and more about creative opening, it’s really the perfect tool.

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Welcome to the 2013 Samhain Tarot Blog Hop. In 2012, a group of us came together to show that we can build community. This is our ongoing effort to explore and express the deep bond Tarot can create. We choose, as a group, to celebrate community rather than denigrate one another. I am proud to be a part of another community exploration.

This Tarot Blog Hop theme is LOVE. Just love. No question to answer. This round’s Blog Hop Mistress Alison Cross just said love.

I have to admit that it was really really really did I mention REALLY difficult for me to come up with a blog topic. I am not sure why except that it is really not a subject I think about this time of year. But then I realized that there is something I love about this time of year.

This time of year!

You see this is my favorite of all the seasons. Nothing beats rainy days, crackling fires, hot cider and cool days. I can’t think of anything I love more than fall. Crisp leaves, hints of wet earth and so much more make this a season I adore.

It’s also the time of NaNoWriMo. Do you know that I’ve never done a NaNoWriMo? It’s true. I haven’t. But I have taught a workshop for the past 5 or 6 years called the Hero’s Journey. It’s one of my Tarot for Writers workshops. Connecting creative minds with one more tool to help them create is a joy to me. But I have to admit that the workshops were very draining. And I could only take so many people at a time. Limits. It had so many limits that I began to dread offering it.

Then it hit me. I could take my love of teaching and offer it in another way. I hooked up with the Amazing Biz + Life Academy (click that link to sign up for some free goodies) where I met other heart-led entrepeneurs who were bringing what they loved to others. Because of the Business Goddess course, I got the idea to offer my Hero’s Journey as an eCourse.

Now anyone can take my workshop at any time. I think it’s brills, as my friends across the pond might say. No one is tied to my schedule. They can sign up when they like and get thirty three emails over as many days. It’s over forty thousand words geared towards teaching folks how to utilize their own voice, their own creativity and the Hero’s Journey. Tarot is the vehicle and each student chooses how fast they drive.

Tarot, for me, is such a gift for writing. Because Tarot for Writers is less about traditional interpretation and more about creative opening, it’s really the perfect tool. Here’s a peek at one of the spreads I offer in my eCourse.

Cocktail Spread

Next let’s examine a spread I do for my characters to deepen them. Often our characters are sketchy at first. We might know one or two things about them like caped crusader who fights crime. But we need more. We need to know what makes them stand out at the League of Justice company picnics. When this happens, I pretend I’m going to a cocktail party with my hero as my guest.

Cocktail parties are designed to be free-flowing and you need a quick introduction. For those in the writing business, you can think of this as your Elevator Pitch only for your character. You will draw three cards. The first card is what your character does for a living. The next is why your character does that for a living. And the last card is a personality quirk.

  1. Your Character’s Job
  2. Your Character’s Personality
  3. A Quirk

For me, the most important card here is the quirk. Let’s say your hero’s job is saving Metropolis from criminals (Knight of Swords). His personality is the strong, silent type (Emperor). But his quirk? His quirk is that he has this thing for a woman but she doesn’t know about his secret identity (Page of Pentacles.) I’m most interested in what makes him unusual, aren’t you?

So what about you? What do you love most about Fall?

Thanks for stopping by during this Tarot Blog Hop. Remember that comments are a great way of letting me know you were here. If you are a fellow writer, take a peek at my eCourse. NaNoWriMo does start tomorrow.

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Burning, Changing & Power

That’s a heavy challenge. I’m not even certain I know where to begin with this much less how to begin.

Today’s card is not a card but a reading. Joanna Powell Colbert, creatrix of the Gaian Tarot, has a spread for Samhain. I did it last year and here it is again. This spread is one that I find hits in a very personal way.

I offer this so you can see a new spread as well as see how a reading can make you dig into yourself a bit


1. Offering: What or who is dead or dying, that you need to honor? 6 of Earth

This seems interesting since this card has been showing up over and over lately. Even when I’m just shuffling the deck, it will pop out. What is the message the 6 of Earth is saying to me? Is this about being more involved? Is it about giving more? Giving less? I admit to being very confused. Then I looked more. The two things that pop out are the sunflowers and the banner. Alma Tierra. Well Tierra is land, isn’t it? But what is Alma? Off to research. I’ll be right back.

And I got chills. Alma de Tierra means soul of the earth. So does this mean Earth Soul. Is that what I need to honor? The earth is in dying mode right now so this may be the Gaian’s propensity towards being spot-on literal. I need to honor the dying earth. So how do I do that? Good things to think about in this time of turning inward.

2. Challenge: What task does the Elder of Fire ask of you? Moon

Priestess. My first thought is that I am being asked to return to the place of being a priestess. I admit that I’ve moved away from that. There are so many reasons why. But here are the changes being honored–dark, waxing, full, waning. Repeat. The fish (is that a trout or a salmon?), the owl and the howl. Yes, I like to rhyme sometimes. The owl and the howler are messengers while the fish is wisdom but also a messenger. It is like earth (howl), air (owl) and water (fish) have joined together and I am the woman catching the changes representing fire.

That’s a heavy challenge. I’m not even certain I know where to begin with this much less how to begin.

3. Center: Where do you find your center of power? 2 of Water

Sweet joy. In the simple companionship of two souls who know one another on a cellular level. I think this speaks to the challenge. To meet that challenge I must reconnect with this idea that companionship is where it’s at. I lead a fairly physically solo life. Not so much here on the interwebz, but my day-to-day is not filled with soul-filling companionship. Perhaps I need to figure out how to sustain myself with what I have or reach out to make what I lack less?

4. Opening: What new sweetness is wafting in on the scent of burning herbs? 9 of Earth

I have to admit my inner self gave a fist pump along with a “can I get a WHOOP WHOOP?” shout of happiness. Who doesn’t want the 9 of Earth as their new sweetness? And this is an interesting harkening back to that very first card of honoring the soul of the Earth. This is the promise that all things cycle (hello Moon). All things die. All things are reborn. None of this is useless. It all feeds something or someone somewhere somehow. I look forward to this prosperity of community and of self.

5. Wisdom: What secrets do the ancestors whisper to you this All Hallows Eve? Child of Fire

I hear them say that I need to take the risk. I need to burn. I need to let my passion out even when I fear others will see me as a foolish child who doesn’t know the dangers that wait. The Ancestors say to me, “Arwen, touch that passion. Feel that fire. Show others how to be passionate joy seekers like the child of Fire.”

See his face? Pure sweet unadulterated joy for the beauty that is the fire. He’ll be okay. I think even if he plunged his hand into the hot center that he would be okay. Faith and joy. I am told to carry on with faith and joy.

See Joanna’s original post here. I did this spread last year. I was very interested to see what my Center of Power card told me then.

Blossoms, Memories & Letting Go

Now I have to make that next step and stop worrying about her. Stop caring that she appears to be committing some type of public social Hari-Kari ritual. I won’t be a part of her crazy any more.

As I dressed for work today, I put on what I call Romany Reader Rags. Basically I put on the costume of what folks tend to expect a Tarot psychic to look like. I put on my black wrap dress then added a pink pashmini shawl around my waist, a purple crochet long vest, an Indian scarf for my hair and a huge squash blossom necklace. Very Hollywood and certainly a far cry from authentic.

As I moved into the day, my thoughts turned to my ancestors and my loved ones. It’s hard to make time to Continue reading “Blossoms, Memories & Letting Go”