Improve Your Groove

Tarot for when it’s all good.

I love it when people talk in T-shirts.

My husband is a drummer. This morning we were watching and interview / demo video on with Stanton Moore, the drummer for Galactic. If you like music and/or drums even a teensy bit, and you don’t know Stanton Moore or Galactic, run don’t walk YouTube or his website or where ever  you listen to music and check it out. It may not be your taste in music, but it is worth a listen just for the sheer skill and musicality of it all. My personal favorite is “Ha di ka” from the album Carnivale Electricos because it totally reminds me of The Magician card from the Black Cat Tarot.

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But that’s another story.

In the middle of all the music stuff he said that you can always “improve your groove” which would make a pretty good t-shirt, I think.

No doubt the groove he means has some particular musical meaning that I don’t understand. To me, it invokes the notion of dynamic balance, comfort, ease, being “in a rhythm,” a sort of wu wei  state of mind, just rolling with things as they come and it’s all good.

So how do you improve on that, and why would you want to? After all it is OK for everything to be OK.

Acknowledging the groove improves it.

There is a vaguely toxic version of gratitude floating around out there. I had a client one time that was going to be grateful goddammit until she got the romance she wanted. She had heard that gratitude brings the things that you want, and was essential to the spiritual Law of Attraction. Being grateful for what you have brings you what you want. Valid point – sort of. I had to wonder how grateful she really, genuinely FELT if she was as miserably laser focused on her current loneliness and that new relationship as she said. Scott Cunningham wrote that “the feeling is the power.” Empty gratitude as an exercise to gain something can’t feel all that terrific. The magick happens when you feel the gratitude for the stuff that is right here, right now. When that happens, the gratitude brings you a wealth of good things that were right there under your nose, perhaps unacknowledged.

Gratitude is a comfortable groove. It is not some ecstasy, not something you can force or do as a means to an end. If you aren’t grateful now, ok. If things are bad…ok. Acknowledge that realistically too. You have to understand how things really are before you can improve them, right? Gratitude is looking around and feeling that this isn’t so bad. As I type that, I “hear” (which is how I describe intuition that comes as sounds, words or music instead of mental images) a song by Esperanto reggae artist Jonny M, “Malacxa” which means “not awful”…. like we would say “not bad”

The Magician, all songs aside, is a good card for the concept. The process of finding a groove, being in it, acknowledging it, improving it, can work a sort of magic. Gratitude CAN attract good things, but not by doing it come hell or high water to get some specific thing. The groove magic comes when you appreciate and improve the groove you are already in more than you throw your mind and energy at something that is not in your groove right now at all.

 

En Esperanto “Malacxa” means “unawful”… think “not bad”

Bookshelf: Magick of Reiki

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I love a good book and a cup of coffee (or Red Zinger tea as it was when I took the picture)

This past weekend I finished Magick of Reiki: Focused Energy for Healing, Ritual, and Spiritual Development by Christopher Penczak. It is a absolute must-read for Reiki practitioners in America, possibly everywhere else, too.

I originally picked up the book to learn more about the magick piece of it. Full disclosure, I began to study Reiki back in the late 1990s, and was attuned as a Master-practitioner in the Usui style in 2000. Reiki was the topic my Ph.D. thesis in 2011. Reiki is my jam, I use it all the time for myself and my family. For various reasons, it hasn’t been until lately that I’ve started to connect the dots between the Asian culture influences (Taoism, Zen, Meditation, Reiki) and the European cultural influences (Tarot, Magick, aromatherapy, crystals) within my overall energy work.

To put it in a food analogy, I was expecting to try a new dish, but instead got a big old bowl of really delicious and familiar comfort food.

My expectations were backwards. Rather than being a book about a Magickal practice that incorporates Reiki, this is a book about Reiki by a Reiki teacher that points out the ways that Reiki is similar to magick. Instead of a book nudging the limits of my magickal knowledge, I found a book that was, after all, right in my wheelhouse. Delightfully so.

Mr. Penczak’s description of Reiki is right on the mark in my experience. I respect the he way he approaches all the varied schools in Reiki. He deals insightfully and compassionately with some fairly hot button issues between them.

His attitudes toward a wide variety of topics within Reiki very much resonate with my own. His thoughts on extended symbols, individually given symbols, publishing symbols, Reiki guides, the use of intuition within Reiki practice and most of all the giant bugaboos about money and charging for lessons and treatments are all kind, wise and just exactly what the American Reiki landscape needs. For magick topics and learning, I plan to read his other books. Magick of Reiki may not be the best choice for beginner magick reading, but it is perfect for next-step Reiki reading.

This is a book for people who have had a taste of Reiki and are looking for a fuller, more empowered approach to their practice. I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone who has had any sort of Reiki attunement or training. This is next step elevation of existing Reiki practice through review of the basics and an overview of important advanced concepts.

It seems to me that the best non-fiction writing gives some nugget, some bit of wisdom that transcends its literal topic. The same is true here. Whenever similar ideas come from sources separated in place, time or specialty, it gives that idea a real gravitas. One might shy away from calling anything ultimate ‘truth’ but similar ideas from dissimilar sources makes any notion important to my mind.

Mr. Penczak emphasizes following one’s own intuition and feeling in incorporating different Reiki practices into our own, both generally and session by session as needed. Joanna DeVoe describes herself as a “spiritual magpie” following the same self-direction for her spiritual practices writ large, magick or otherwise. Benebell Wen, in Holistic Tarot, connects the universal life energy (the ‘ki’ in Reiki, the “chi” in Tai Chi) to the ability to do Tarot readings at a distance. Scott Cunningham, in Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, reminds us that “the feeling is the power.” Adam Savage, writing in Every Tool’s a Hammer hints at the same autonomy and independence of thought within the realm of creativity and making. Mr. Savage captures the core of it when he quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men – that is genius.”

Genius, as every superhero movies teaches us, can, however, go wrong. To believe your inner heart is genius. To to have an inkling that it can be useful to everyone is generous. To believe that the totality of your path is the one singular right way for everyone is arrogance.

That isn’t to say all singular traditions are arrogant or wrong. The wrongness comes in assuming that one specific tradition is the one true way for everyone be it within Reiki or Magick or making stuff. If there is a particular tradition or path that is right in its totality for you, by all means follow it. You must fo what you know to be right for you be that stick with a particular school or be that follow your inner heart.

There is common ground between the group and the individual.

Tradition is tradition. Method is method. Making your own way is a tradition and a method of its own. Magick of Reiki hints that using the best of what we know gleaned from all the varied schools of Reiki IS the tradition of Reiki just like Cunningham hints that the feeling of power IS the power within magickal practice. This notion seems at diametric odds to adherence to prescribed old ways. Think about trust. Trust runs deeply through both approaches. Trust is the tradition.

In order to follow one particular school of thought within Reiki (or anything else) it require trust of that tradition. It requires trust in the originators and the transmitters of the tradition. If you are on a more inner (read solitary) path, it requires a great deal of trust too….trust in your perceptions and in your ability to adapt as better information comes along. In practice, it is a yin-yang dynamic combination of both. If you follow a tradition, you have to trust your inner knowing to choose the right tradition out of the many that exist. It requires extroidinary trust in your inner heart to change traditions and personal practices if needs be. If you are solitary, you have to trust the outer sources of information that you in turn adopt and adapt.

Usui, Tibetan, Johrei, Karuna, Shamballa; whether you follow one tradition or draw from them all and more, trust is the tradition behind it all.

Other Bookshelf posts:

Sigil Witchery

Blue Dress With Pink Shoes

Carl Jung called it synchronicity.

I call it something worth a little attention.

Intuition, “psychic gifts” in many ways is simply letting yourself see connections and coincidences. Synchronicity is defined as a meaningful coincidence. Even if there is no plausible connection, if something seems meaningful to YOU – it IS. To you. Not every attention-getter is a profound announcement to the world. It might just be a message just for you. A reminder to water the plants, or something. It doesn’t have to change the destiny of the world to be real, to have a meaning impact impact on your way of thinking. A meaningful coincidence isn’t mystical destiny knocking at your door. Well, yeah, it might be….but it doesn’t always have to be.

Listening to coincidences, following such modern day omens, is how we live in a balance between intuition and logic, magic and mundane. We should pay attention when intuition grabs our attention. We shouldn’t go wild with it when logic and common sense urge caution.

In short, let love lead attention, let logic have a hand in deciding action.

Here is an example. A few days ago, I was reading a book when my husband showed me an internet picture of a pink and white sneakers, and asked me what color they are. When he said they looked teal and grey, I had to resist the urge to wrestle him to the ground and administer a colorblindness test. I mean, Teal? Seriously? It is, of course,  the same trick of light that sparked the great blue/black vs white/gold dress controversy of twenty ought fifteen. But, not having any Ishihara plates on hand, we both just shrugged and went back to what we were doing.

A few minutes and a few pages later Christopher Penzak in the Magick of Reiki describes taking an aura reading class and doing an exercise where several people would read a person’s aura and then compare notes afterward. (We did the same thing in an aura reading class I took back in the 90s, so I can verify this is both a good way to learn auras AND the way this exercise always seems to go) He saw bright yellow, another person saw electric blue, another person saw no colors at all but a zigzaggy lightning shape. Just the same, all of them interpreted what they saw as representing “stress” as I recall the story. On the surface, they each saw vastly different things, but at the core, the important message still was still communicated. Just exactly like the internet picture thing a few minutes before. He saw teal, I saw pink, but we both saw shoes. If everyone gets caught up in arguing over the color, we all would have miss the real message: “This person is feeling stressed right now” or “That is a pair of shoes.

Neither of these things are particularly unusual. Neither of these things are the slightest bit supernatural. We show each other internet pictures all the time. That’s the way aura classes go, it seems. BUT when the two very similar things coincidentally happen within a few minutes of each other, it is worth a moment of hmmmm….

Different colors lead to the same shoes. Different colors lead to the same aura energy. What do these two little attention grabbers lead to?

First and foremost, trust your intuition. You might intuitively get “pink” while someone else gets “teal” but as long as you ultimately wind up at the important part of “shoes” both colors are fine. As long as you (or the person you are reading for) gets to the important core message, all the different colors and paths that take you there are valid.

Second, trust your intuition. We all do this differently. Honor your path (no matter what color it may be) Honor your process. Do things so that you feel good and right about it at the end of the day. Do what gets you to the most honest message you can give. It doesn’t matter if you get there by seeing zigzags, blue or yellow, as long as you get to energy of it.

Third, trust your intuition. Your intuition might scream SHOES while you have pink shoes clearly in mind. If your client says nah, they are TEAL, then don’t sweat it. The symbolism of intuition is intensely personal. It might have taken the pink to get you to say the important “shoes” part. If  shoes makes them think teal, that’s perfectly fine. The right message got through. It just took a few daisy-chained steps to get from pink to teal, but as long as your client gets to “teal” it’s ok. It is just part of the process to go from pink to shoes to teal.

Fourth, trust your intuition. It’s an imprecise process. We all have intuition, but communicating it well is a skill and an art. We can all read Tarot and follow our own intuition. Reading for other people is a whole other level of thing. But don’t let that stop you from…did I mention?….trusting your own intuition for you.

Here is a photo of the pink shoes next to ….the pink shoes.

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One Card Handwritten InkMagick Sigil Tarot Example

Welcome to the last one of these I’ll be doing in colored ink. From now on These will have a whiter background and black, more precise lines. I’ll post some of the shorter “Today’s Tarot” posts with the new app….but this will give you a better idea of how much more in depth a personalized one card reading is compared to a generic blog post.

It’s all magick now….except for Zombie Cat’s yes/no readings and seasonal / specials like the “Seasons of the Year” layout, all of my readings follow this basic format….your card, interpretation, intuitive symbol /doodle / sigil element and an affirmation that sums up the main advice of the reading. The structure is the same. The intuitive content is as good as ever, it is just a matter of polishing up how I get it to you. I’m still finding balance between the personal, personalized feel of handwriting and the professional look and legibility of an actual font. The best mix so far has been all handwriting for one-cards, type for the longer ones (now that I have a way to insert the hand drawn sigil part into a typewritten page. I’m sure there are technically easier ways to do this, but intuitive feel plays a part too. What do you think? Any thoughts about black vs color, handwriting vs print (I do like fun fonts. Architect’s Daughter is my favorite for readings – for no particular reason.

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It’s all magick now

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It’s been half a year since TaoCraft Tarot’s official launch on Halloween, 2018. Today is half-o-ween (halfway to Halloween) or, if you want to be traditional about it, Beltane. This is the first spring that I have been open with all of you about my Taoist / witchy tendencies. If TaoCraft can launch on Halloween, it is only fitting to do something for Beltane.

It’s all magick now.

In honor of days of light and summer fire, I’ve made all the readings InkMagick Sigil Tarot. All of the readings now feature a sigil element and reading-based affirmation. Lucky for you, these won’t be handwritten unless you specifically order a pen and ink snail mail paper version from the Shop. The photo of your layout and the typed explanation part will stay the same. So will Zombie Cat with all of his snark and sly advice in the form of yes/no readings and the new Ask Zombie Cat page

I’ve thought of making layout changes, but it doesn’t feel right. The layout and position meanings are going to stay the same, in the old, reliable, trusty “Modern Oracle” layout that works so well. If it ain’t broke, far be it from me to fix it.

If you would like a reading in the new “InkMagick Sigil Tarot” format, you can order on the HOME page. If you want the handwritten version using my increasing beloved and magic wand like ink dip pen, those can be ordered from the TaoCraftTarotShop on Etsy, along with all the e-books, mala and jewelry (pssst….check out the necklaces. Mother’s Day is coming soon).

To those who celebrate, Merry May and Blessed Beltane, and to everyone else, Happy Tuesday! It’s all good. It’s all magick now.

Today’s Tarot 22 April 2019

InkMagick Sigil Tarot (both email and paper versions) are still at a special price until the end of April. Each one card meditation style reading includes a sigil element given by intuition that you may use to inspire your own sigil crafting plus a positive affirmation based on your reading.

Please visit the home page to order

customized artistic service, for entertainment and personal enrichment only

The Power Grows

The more digital becomes the norm, the more power handwriting gains as it slips into the realm of the quaint, the old-fashioned, the arcane.

I’ve seen it called both a day and a month of commemoration, but April has been dubbed “National Letter Writing Month” here in the US. It isn’t about pretty callegraphy, it is about heart to heart communication in written form.

In honor of the month, my favorite format (writing) and my Tarot specialty (distance, e-mail, mail) “InkMagick Sigil Tarot Readings” are $1 off the regular price until April 30, 2019. Order yours on the home page.

Each reading, both paper and digital, gives a sigil element, a symbol or doodle given by intuition. You are welcome to use it in your own sigil crafting. In the me pictured above, the pinaform (feather) shape symbolizes a pen or writing. the line paper, plus our connection, the circles hint at electrons, distance communication.

If you are interested in sigils, writing, and magick (yes, I use the k, it just looks cooler and I’m no Penn and Teller, you know?) I suggest reading Sigil Witchery by Laura Tempest Zakroff and Write Your Own Magic by Richard Webster.


TaoCraft Tarot is on YouTube! Please visit, like and subscribe: https://youtu.be/nfV6eP_G4RM

National Letter Writing Month

I suck at writing letters.

So OF COURSE I’m celebrating National Letter Writing Month.

If I’m negligent about writing personal letters, it’s because it hard to think of something interesting to say besides SSDD written in big crayon. So let’s give ourselves something to talk about – TAROT!

Handwriting has been niggling at me lately, hand in hand with learning about Sigils. I’ve known and used the power of the written word for myself for, well, decades. Journaling, affirmation writing, setting energy, a written word form of sigil work. It’s all been a very positive experience. I can’t promise it will work as well for everyone, but I’m still going to put some of that positive mojo into my Tarot work as a whole.

“InkMagick Sigil Tarot” is that Tarot-meets-writing combination. Each reading is hand written (as legibly as I can muster, calligrapher I’m not) and includes your uniquely drawn card, the interpretation, a “sigil” or symbol or doodle or something non-verbal given by spirit or intuition, then wraps up with a positive affirmation statement based on the reading.

I can write it in my “Rocketbook” which converts the handwritten page into a PDF document, so I can email it to you.

OR I can send it on honest to goodness old fashioned ink on paper. I charge a little more for those to cover the cost of paper, postage, and the side trip to the post office.

Getting letters is as much fun as sending them. More, actually. So I’m more than happy to e-mail from clients and readers. Here is a contact form to make it easy for you. Say something! Please!

Have a good weekend – R.