Friday, June 25, 2010

The Wedding.

Last night, I went to the wedding but fortunately, did not have to go alone! ABL and NVD came with me, but they got there after I did. The first people I ran into were a cluster of my Tarot clients! I only recognized one, and then felt really dumb when the other two introduced themselves to me. They'd been in my house for readings and everything. I couldn't remember their names. I couldn't remember what I told them, either (I never do), but I did remember what they came to see me about. They gave me updates and also said, "You were SOOOO right." It made me feel good.

Also, as it turned out, the bride's bachelorette party was filled with clients of mine.

"All everyone said was, 'ohmigod...she was sooooooo accurate'!" one of my clients said.

"I should have jumped out of a cake," I replied.

Reading Tarot is fraught with insecurity. Was I wrong? Was I mean? Did I fuck up someone's life who should have never listened to me? Do I owe refunds to everyone who has ever hired me?

It's nice to get good feedback once in awhile.

Now, I want a Jewish wedding when/if I ever get married. The canopy was so pretty.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Live readings onstage

Last night, I read Tarot ***LIVE*** onstage. I've done Tarot readings in front of an audience before, but it's normally in a class. It was scary to do a reading at an open mic, where there are lots of rancid skeptics in the audience.

I got to read for Chemda, a woman I know from the Artstar scene, who is "The Girl" of Keith and the Girl, one of my favorite podcasts.

I think I did okay! She said I did okay, anyway. But maybe she was just being nice to me.

Honestly, what's more important than doing a public reading is doing something that scares you. Try it. Every day. Okay, I don't do it every day, but I do it when I've got the chance.

Tonight, I have to go to a wedding and probably have to go alone because Jorge double-booked himself. That's okay. I've never been to a wedding alone before. That's kind of scary.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Enlightenment through Dog Shit.

I love Summer Solstice, by the way. Some of the most important revelations I've had have occurred around the Midsummer Sabbat. Usually, like love, when you're least interested in being Enlightened, the Great God Pan will appear in full form before your very sober eyes. Or you learn that your altar blew the fuck across the room on the same day your life was being turn upside down--while you were 2,000 miles away from it. Those were mine, anyway. Some of them.

This weekend, though, I celebrated my ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of getting my SUPER IMPORTANT THIRD DEGREE. Or something like that. I celebrated it by walking the labyrinth in my boyfriend's back yard.

(For the record--it is insanely awesome that I have a boyfriend with a labyrinth
in his back yard.)

B was at school and I spent the early twilight of midsummer in the labyrinth. My NYC head is constantly cluttered with all the projects I have going on, and all the ideas I want to make into form, and there's usually a soundtrack of whatever band I've been listening to too much of, plus a few voices from awkward childhood memories that never got thoroughly sanitized by therapy. Don't gasp. You surely have them too, if the pills haven't taken care of them.

I decided to walk the labyrinth with no thoughts. This was hard. I would only take a step if my mind was completely without thought. This meant I would take one step and then stand there for another several minutes while waiting for the projects-ideas-bands-awkward childhood memories to dissipate. "Oh wait...I have no thoughts--step NOW! Wait...that was a thought... shit."

I couldn't get my mind to go fully blank. That's a hard thing to do. We're born with the ability to do it, but we're also born with the ability to wrap our legs around our heads and suck our toes from the opposite sides of our mouths--but most of us adults can't do that. It takes a lot of training to get back to your natural state. The best I could do was focus on one item at a time. "Walk to weed." "Walk to wood chip." "Walk to rock"

Walking the labyrinth, it would take about a minute and a half to get to the center. It's not that big. At the rate I was walking, though, it took me almost an hour.

One thing I did not focus on while walking was, "What's my message? What am I meant to learn?" All I focused on was one weed after another, knowing I'd eventually get to the middle, but only focusing on the small steps in the meantime. I wasn't even concerned with GETTING a message, just so long as I got to my goal.

But when I got to my goal, I saw indeed the message I was supposed to receive from the labyrinth.

There was a big pile of dog shit crusting up on the little trail where I'd walked. I didn't walk through it, though! I didn't even see it. I'm sure if I had nearly walked through it, I would have seen it and avoided it. But because I was focused on "Next weed..." I did not even see the pile of shit. I passed right by it.

Okay, Gods. I got my message. If I stay focused on what I'm doing and don't allow myself to be distracted by crap, I miss the piles of shit all together.

Good to know, as I navigate the final months of my Saturn return.

P.S. What a difference a year makes. :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Creating a Tarot Deck--Getting Started

I need to stop verbally wanking it and actually put something of substance in this blog--if I'm going to be all serious n' stuff. Until that day comes, you're going to have to hear about my road to Tarot Deck Creation....

Creative processes are frequently likened to birthing a child. Jorge and I call Tarot of the Boroughs our "Elephant Baby" being as it's been in creative utero for over two years. Almost three, in fact, if you count the span of time I spent kicking the idea around in my head.

I don't remember when I had the "Wouldn't it be great if I made a fucking Tarot deck?" thoughts began. Probably when I was doing a lot of readings for individuals and parties in New York--just before the crash came and my corporate party jobs vanished. People often like to know what specific cards mean and I would try to find contemporary correlations.

"See this guy?" I'd say, holding up the King of Coins. "This dude sitting on a throne surrounded by coins and fruit and stuff--that's your boss." I started seeing the Coin Court cards as CEOS and office workers, the Wands' Court as artists. Cup characters seemed pretty obvious--they were all of us falling in and out of love. I hadn't a clue where to start with the Swords.

I'm going to tell you one secret of the Creative Universe: It's not about you--it's about the project. Art is the vehicle for the Divine to speak through us, and It will shout out Its message to whoever can hear it. So if you have an idea for a book, a painting, an installation, a performance piece--whatever project is lurking around in your mind, I guarantee you that 700 other people out there are thinking up the same thing. The Gods will shout out what They want to see in the world, and will come by to help along anyone who is planning on getting it out there. I'd had this happen with several of my 10,000 failed attempts at writing novels and screenplays. If the Urban Tarot deck was in my consciousness, it was surely in the consciousness of others, too.

(Brace yourself for cliche....)

When I was in traveling in Ireland, where lots of good inspiration comes from (see? cliche....), I turned to a friend and asked if she felt like working on a Tarot deck with me. It seemed like it was a good time to go ahead and do it. She agreed! This was good. My friend was a very talented visual artist and I can't draw worth shit. But I had good ideas and I could run around taking pictures of the things I wanted drawn and could send them to her. She would draw the cards and I would find someone who would publish us. Hooray! We'd make a million dollars in no time.

When I returned to New York, I got started right away. Except for one problem: I didn't own a camera.

This was when I wrangled Jorge on board. We'd been friends in the Artstar scene of New York for awhile, and he'd attended a few rituals and meditations that my old Coven led. He was also interested in learning to read Tarot. Seeing as he had a camera and was quite photogenic, I asked if he'd be willing to lend me a point and shoot, and if he wanted to pose for me as "The Fool," which we later re-named, "The Seeker."

Jorge did not own a dinky point and shoot camera, but a super-nice camera with a strap and a big lens. Although he would have been nice enough to lend me the camera, I know my clumsy limits. Plus, he was curious about the project and offered to take all of the pictures.

Check out this G-Crack exchange! This is where it ALLLLLLL began, folks.....

4:09 PM George: hey. no I am actually non busy actually

me: Cool!
I was wondering two things....
one, if you had a digital camera I could borrow (not one of your really nice ones, something simple) and two, would you be willing to pose in a photo for me?
Clothed. I won't make you get nude with the weather this cold. :)

4:13 PM George: lol, Well I actually only have one camera. I could maybe take the pictures for you. Oh and sure I pose for you.

me: Cool!!!! I couldn't pay you, though....I'll buy you beer!

4:14 PM George: Sure I'll do it for some beer.

me: My friend and I are working on designing a tarot deck. She is drawing the cards from photos of real people. I would love for you to be The Fool (that's a good thing--not a bad thing.) The Fool is the first card in the tarot. He's young and optimistic and starting a journey. He's only called The Fool because he has yet to attain knowledge--not because he's foolish or a dumbass. You look young and have a natural optimism that shines through. I would love to photograph you in a train station with a large backpack--as though you were coming to NY for the first time.

4:18 PM George: alright, well that sounds like me, I still have a lot to learn. I have a plain black backpack about medium sized. Train station, maybe one of the above ground stations? Or were you thinking of a more Grand Central cross roads.

me: Grand Central, yes
Some photos of you in the center of the terminal, and some getting off a train.
To see which one works better.

4:20 PM George: alright thats sounds like a good idea. For the getting off the train perhaps above ground station, more light is what I am thinking. Oh and let me know about any other photos you need taken for the rest of the project. At the moment still waiting to see if I get rehired, not sure if the people in my department will still be there.

4:23 PM me: are AWESOME...

4:24 PM There are 78 cards in total, but we're only concentrating on 4-5 at the moment. We already have photos for two, so we'll need to work on pulling a couple more before the New Year.

4:25 PM What are your plans for Sunday?

4:26 PM George: Sunday is open for me all day. Alright, sounds like you guys are working on a cool project.

There were many days when Jorge deeply regretted this decision.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Totally have nothing to say today.



Monday, June 14, 2010

Places to send your cash to do something to help

I don't have a lot of information about these places, so I would welcome feedback if you've got it--but here are three places that are working to help animals affected by the Gulf oil spill.

National Wildlife Federation

Audubon Society

International Bird Rescue

These are pretty much solely bird places. But, since we're bringing in Branwynn at our Summer Solstice and She's really into birds (starlings...), it seemed a good match to donate next Sabbat collection to help the winged friends. Now, my Crew my overturn my suggestion and say we've got to donate the money to the Save the Crabs foundation or's wholly within their rights to do so.

Oh, and I'm tired today. It's a day when I wish Pan hadn't made me give up caffeine.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ugh..the oil spill, the oil spill.....

I wanted to go. I was ready. Get me out of my sensible, second-hand Admin outfits, strap me into a pair of haz-mats, and pack my ass to the Gulf. "I'm going to fix the oil problem!!! Who's with me?????"

Then I realized something. I don't know how to clean up an oil spill.

I have a hard enough time unblocking my shower drain. Maybe that can be my contribution. I'll suck the shit out of my shower plumbing and ship it to BP. Whatever is in there could stop a Tsunami.

At our last Full Moon meditation, where we focused on the Cauldron of Rebirth, I spoke about letting go of feeling responsible for the things which I had no control over. Like whether other people liked the rituals I created. The feelings of other people about my work. The oil spill in my beloved Atlantic.

"But the truth is," I said. "I don't know how to fix the oil hole. I would not be any help at all."

"Don't worry, Courtney," said one of the Crew. "Even BP doesn't know how to fix the hole."

I'm wasting a lot of time crying over images of oil-drenched pelicans on the web version of the New York Times. Of course they're worth crying over, but wringing my hands because I can't go clean them myself is pointless. I have no skills in oil clean up. If I went down there, the people who know what they're doing would waste more time in training me than cleaning, itself.

What I CAN do is call a group of people together energetically to heal the ocean. It's not going to stop the oil by itself, and the damage has already been done. But it's something on the energetic plane that may help this thing from ever happening again.

Also, we can put our cash together. Giving money is not always the favorite option of the bleeding heart. We'd rather give our old clothes, canned food, or in this case--cut hair to aid in disaster. But we must remember that disaster teams are trained in this. They have access to sharply-discounted resources that we do not have, but they don't always have the cash to make it work.

We of course want to select reputable organizations as much as possible when choosing where to send our monies. So, if anyone reading this can make a recommendation of a place working to help the people of the Gulf region or the clean-up itself, please let me know!

And if you're coming to our Summer Solstice celebration, the money will be going to that cause.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Been a little emotional as of late

Especially today. I took it out on the people at Verizon internet tech support. But they deserved it.

If one of those tech support people heard from me today and heard all the bad, nasty things I called you, I apologize for my rudeness. But you really do work for an asinine company.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Returning from MIA

Hey dudes,

I really fell off the blog wagon, but you can all blame my deck for that. And if you haven't had a chance to buy it is!

In other news, I was accepted at Union Theological Seminary. (!!!) Yes, they know I'm Wiccan. No, I didn't "mask" or hide anything. There's a stirring the community for leaders to obtain more formal training. As soon as I started talking about starting seminary both in workshops and online, I started getting questions from people who have been looking for seminary training, but have yet to find one that is well-suited to their Pagan practices.

It's a tough one, yes. My recommendation is that you go into your research into seminaries with as open of a mind as you would like to receive when the Admissions board reviews your application. Most members of traditional and mainstream religions want to be accepted by you just as much as you hope to be accepted by them. If you are open and accepting, chances are you will be received with open arms. The Gods aren't through with us yet (thankfully...) and our own Wiccan and Pagan pantheons have been raising a hell of a lot of noise lately, trying to get us working alongside the bigger religions.

Just give it a shot. Talk to the people. Be honest about yourself. Hear what they have to say. Both of you decide together if you will be a good fit for the school and vice versa.

And...once I finish the ultimate battle with bad, bad Verizon, I'll be spending more time on this here blog. :)