2017: A Fool's Journey

I've been foolish most of my life, and that didn't entirely change as I got older. I waited for maturity to hit me like a train but instead I discovered it is an endless journey that is only accomplished through age and introspection.  Being foolish doesn't mean I was stupid, it means I made the same mistakes everyone makes on their journey to self discovery and appreciation.

One of the things that's been most revelatory this year is how much I tend to edit myself for the benefit of avoiding drama.  There's a safety in being compliant that allows me to avoid confrontation, on the other hand, it is not in my nature to let things slide, to say nothing.  I'm learning the balance between the two, the balance between kindness and honesty, because these two concepts don't play well together.  The fun part has been refusing to keep up that pattern of compliance.

The people in your life who love you won't take your happiness personally, they wont hold your gains against you.   People who love you will not play you for a fool, they will celebrate your happiness whether it involves them or not, they will be happy for your gains and feel for your losses.  2017 was about hate and love.  I chose love.


This years theme was Self Care- a hot topic in the pagan community as of late, and an even more important aspect to reclaiming the sense of unified spiritual self for a woman of color during these times of empowerment.   When we circle up to talk about what we need, it usually comes down to needing to feel cared for, to care for ourselves.  I went from dismissive of my background to embracing of my whole self in a very short amount of time, 2015 to 2017.  I went from fitful sleep and extreme isolation to being rested and open.  I went from fearful of every move and every word to being easily engaged and ready to be seen.  And I deserve to be seen. Have you met me?  I'm great.  "I am green.  I'm gorgeous.  I'm everything that starts with a G..."

Haughty and charming, shy and reserved all at once, I am my mother's child.  That was another act of healing this year took; having a come-to-Jesus with both my parents, resolving a lot of years of pain and resentment over the course of the last few months.  Most of that is thanks to my sister Kendra, she's my rock when I'm a wreck, and she knows how to handle us all.  With that kind of love in your life, you've got to be grateful for it.  I don't always show my gratitude because I often feel unworthy of whatever good is done for me, but I know I'm good enough to be loved, so I know I need to work on being grateful instead of fearful.

When you've got severe Social Anxiety Disorder, it can be perceived as selfishness and narcissism.  In a way that can be true sometimes, but the the foundation is fear: genuine, crippling, all-consuming fear of being perceived negatively.  It haunts my every waking moment and impairs my sleep for days on end.  All you can do is keep smiling and remind people that it isn't them.  It's you.  And you're fine, you're normal, you just operate on a different wave length.  And that is OKAY.

I'm in a coven now.  We emerged as an off-shoot of our Black Student Union as a way of keeping the sisterhood of melanated women connected as we move on with our respective paths.   We can go months without seeing each other.  But it's a coven the likes of which you should fear!  We don't practice magic together.  We ARE magic together.  We aren't all witches, but we are most certainly witchcraft.   Our nights, however they are spent, make magic for us all.  Sometimes it's a quick get together to watch old hip hop videos (or in my case, they're trying to bring me up to speed with current music, heh), sometimes it's bath jar making and hoodoo sugar boxes, some times it's just talking shit on our smoke break in the Greenbelt where we all work/worked.  It's anything, it's everything, it's nothing.  No pressure for me to show up or talk. No expectations for me except to just be myself.  And I am myself.

They're all so beautiful and so much stronger than me in their own ways, and yet I'm the oldest so the dynamic is interesting and new.  Dev is the nurturing sunflower who loves with their whole self; you'll never feel alone with them because they makes you feel like the most important person just by looking at you. Shatarra is the bad-ass with eyes like cat- yet beneath that exterior is a soul so sensitive she'll make you weep at the depth of her.   Ruzeda's the fashionista with superb style who speaks her mind without reservation and it is refreshing to be around- the realness of her is tangible and exciting.   JB is the future of the America, I'm certain of it; I've never met someone so even-keeled and steely-backed....if she has fears, I've never seen her bend to them.   Char is generosity and success wrapped up in drive covered in cuteness, the kind of mind you want running your show because she thinks of everyone and everything with deep consideration.   Carmen is sexy and sweet and smart and every kind of good S word you can think of; just painfully beautiful and exceptionally poetic, she's a distraction in the best way.  I just met Amina but she's a stunner, definitely one of those classy and driven girls that's going to go places, you can tell, and she's made all of us, especially our Will, so very happy.   Me?  They tell me I'm like the knowing older sister.   I really love them.

Gods... I just love.  I love deeply and totally.  I love ME the most, which is why I also know it's important to be honest about what you DON'T love...  I don't love being guilt tripped, or family time, or doing my art with other people watching, or eating food I don't want, or hanging out for hours without a specific goal, or lengthy small talk.  But all of those things are my boundaries and I've learned not to apologize for them.  I'm never going to be the kind you can just get close to whenever, and I'll never be the kind to want to just hang around all day.  I'll always prefer my own company to anyone else, but it certainly does feel nice to know that when I occasionally get bored with my solitude, there's a team waiting for me who understand, respect and even like that about me.  Balance is all a Libra can ask for, right?

feasting is an important part of any magical gathering, right?  We do it up.
The Fool in me always knows how to sabotage myself.  Along the way I stumbled.  I made friends with some bad people and got myself into some scary situations on occasion.  But...  I fell in with a circle who only seek to bring me up, to raise me up, and I'm growing up with them, learning to love everything about my blackness.  I found out how to step back and let things be.  I persisted and failed and still something good came of it.  I lost something unexpectedly and had to grieve all over again.  I fell out of friendships with people who predator on my compliance.  I learned to ask for space without feeling guilty.  I learned how to stand up to men who scare me, I learned how to stand up to girls who bully me.  I learned that being 30 doesn't save you from making an absolute ass of yourself nor does it save you from feeling like a child, but it saves you from giving too much of a damn.

The Black Power Tarot,, a gift from a covener
Flawed and foolish, that's what I am, that's what we are.  The Fool's journey only moves forward in the right position.  With my stars aligned and my allies beside me, I move into the next year a little wiser, a little harder and a lot less ready to say sorry for nothing...

I'm not fooled by the unknown things ahead,  I have me and I have my slice of the world.  I don't feel foolish at all anymore.

Tall Poppy: Top Ten Tarot Decks of All Time

10. The Golden Botticelli Tarot by A. Atanassov, Lo Scarabeo
A perfect deck for an appreciator of quintessential Renaissance art; it is romantic, well edited and tailored to the traditional tarot mythos.  My favorite aspect is the vibrant colors and the play of the gold foil against the soft pastels common to the style. 

9.  The Alchemical Tarot: Renewed 4th Edition by Robert M. Place
A favorite among occultists, this deck is complex, vivid, modern and beautifully illustrated.  The prominent use of alchemy symbolism, astromancy and hermetic art lend to the classic vibe of this deck. It's polished and glossy which can bother some readers, but I rather like it's durable print stock.  This deck would appeal to the esoteric minded seer. 

8. The Tarot of the Absurd by The Barefoot Fool 
I've reviewed this one before so I'll keep this brief:  it's contemporary, strange, easy to read and eye catching.  The vendor is kind and helpful and their work is a fascinating play of shapes and dynamic movement. 

7. The Etruscan Tarot by Riccardo Minetti, Silvana Alasia, Lo Scarabeo
The Etruscan culture is fascinating to learn about, and most of what we know of their aesthetic is gleaned from the impressive and vast amount of art work and artifacts left behind. Drawing from the sources of vase paintings, frescoes and mosaics as well as graffiti and etchings, this deck portrays the tarot through the mythology and social life of the Etruscans, whose style resembles a multitude of cultures who influenced them.  History fans will like this deck, I know I certainly do.

6.  The Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini, U.S. Game Systems Inc.
A retro deck from 1970 with a cult following that's lasted damn near 50 years, it is exceedingly difficult to find an original in mint condition but well worth the price if you do, it belongs in any classic collection.  It is one of the classic Waite-Smith schools of deck but its style is just individual enough to make it its own class of deck rather than a Waite-Smith clone. The characters depicted are elegant, the colors somewhat muted by age but none the less vibrant.  Vintage decks like these appeal to the younger crowd of readers these days and I'm hoping the style will make a resurgence.

5.The Dame Darcy Tarot by Dame Darcy
The Dame Darcy is absolutely one of my babies, a deck worth keeping close and passing only to a loved one.  This deck is so much fun- it ranged between cutesy and  pleasantly-cartoonish to raw and abstract.  The entire theme is oceanic, maritime and board-walk, you will love the feel of them as they shuffle.  It's an extremely feminine deck and will appeal for its diversity and individuality.

4. The Golden Thread Tarot by Tina Gong at Labyrinthos
I reviewed this deck a while back on my Reviews page and I stand by my belief that this is among the most high quality and lovely decks you could possibly purchase.  Not only is the artwork fun, interesting, graphic and well designed, the quality of the cards is top-notch and you can download an app which arts as the companion book and guide to this deck.  I can't recommend it highly enough for readers who appreciate a slight quark to a serious deck.  They move like water when shuffled and come in a quality two part box.  Golden decks are a particular favorite of mine and I make a habit of collecting every golden or gilded deck in production, I must say, this one takes the cake when it comes to the illuminated deck game.

3. The Ophidia Rosa Tarot by Leila & Olive
Once in a while, I receive a piece of artwork so stunning I spend a whole day with it in my hands, just staring at every inch of it.  This deck is the single most impressive deck in my collection; it has it all- quality, metaphor, meaning.  It appeals to my naturalistic sensibilities and aesthetic as an herbal occultist.  The vendors/artists are punctual, talented and stylish and this deck reflects their talent.   For a review, visit HERE.

2.  The Golden Tarot of Klimt by A. Atanassov, Lo Scarabeo
The Klimt is the deck I use the most.  I've read the majority of my readings with this deck, both privately and publicly.  It communicates with me on every level because Gustav Klimt communicates with me.  The gold foil is expertly applied, the art chosen for each card is well chosen in my opinion, though it can take a little bit more interpreting.  There's a dreamy sweetness to the cards as well as a stark realism that gives this deck a mass appeal.  I recommend this to any painter, any sketch-artist, anyone who glows in the presence of creative expression.  This is the deck for you.

1.  The Morgan Greer Tarot by Bill F. Greer with Lloyd Morgan, U.S. Game Systems Inc.
The ultimate learners deck; it is classic, vintage and colorfully illustrated.  The shapes are pleasing and rounded, nothing too harsh or edgy and it captures the themes in tarot necessary to learning and memorizing the common themes of cards; red roses, white lily, dogs, crayfish, crescent moons under feet and blue mantles; each is ripe with symbolism which deciphers deeper meanings of the cards and their spirits.  For any beginner, this is the most highly recommended non distracting deck, I'd say far superior in translation of imagination than the Waite Smith.

Deck to watch for...

I have a feeling...I have a deep resonance with this deck and with the artist.  They are a marvel, and totally charming and cognizant of their fan base.  It looks like death and gold and glorious meaning.  I'm especially excited to see a P.O.C person do a deck relevant to their beautiful heritage.  I'm in awe of the style already and was really happy with the vendor's updates. I'm looking forward to this deck in February and am honored to have backed it.  I'd have bought twenty if I could!  It's just... well, it's bound to be something special. I have a feeling.  Amrit Brar: you are a fantastic artist, may you always be inspired!

"Step into my parlor,"
said the reader to the guy.


Thread + Essence 
For sigils of the papaver 

For sigils of the nightshade (nightshade pollen powder)

For the sigils of sweetpea and Mercury

For the sigils of Ivy

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