🍁The Maple🍁 A Fall Tarot Spread

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I’ve been wanting to design some new spreads for some time now. With the weather finally turning from oppressive heat and blazing sun to the cool, grey days I love about the Northeast, I was inspired to create a spread for Fall.

I call it the Maple Spread because it loosely resembles a maple leaf, especially with my brown, woody Binding of Isaac deck. I chose this deck because I’ve been playing the game a lot lately so I’m feeling really connected to the energy.

The grounding card represents the overall energy of the season. What’s the theme of this Fall? The “spire” cards each focus on an individual month, telling you where to direct that overarching energy. I gave this new spread a shot and I’m very pleased with how well it worked. The grounding card feeds into each month incredibly well.

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The Reveal! At first glance, the grounding card is the only major arcana presence. Strong foundation. And the Empress! Then I see half of my pulls are fours, which represent security and stability. I think of those words and heavy wool socks, steaming tea, and mountains of blankets and snuggles all come to mind. But let’s dig into the spread.

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Overall Fall Energy
The Empress
I love this card! She is the feminine energy of creation, and nurturing self and others. This season is all about embracing the sensual – activate all of your senses to create beauty in your life. Make a winter garden in a jar. Indulge in pumpkin spice, ginger and clove. Bake a pie for your neighbors or coworkers. Surround yourself with what inspires you to MAKE what you love.

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September Focus
Six of Hearts (Cups)
Tap into your childhood to inspire new projects and works of passion. Let nostalgia carry you to familiar places. It’s not about living in the past, but rather borrowing aspects from days gone to blend into new fabrics, poems, recipes, spells, songs…

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October Focus
Four of Pennies (Pentacles)
In October, transition from nostalgia to tradition. What can you resurrect from the past to create new traditions, or update sacred ones? Tradition is one of the greatest methods of building a sense of stability. Remember that you can’t control the chaos, but relying on rituals and the Fall traditions you create will alleviate the worry.

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November Focus
Four of Keys (Swords)
This is actually the perfect November card as it places the emphasis on creating calm heading into the often stressful traditional holiday season. Build mental strength through meditation. Revamp your morning ritual. Go to your happy place – mentally and in real life as often as you can. Take a bubble bath every night. Do whatever it takes to move your mind into a calm atmosphere where you feel protected. Rest and replenish your energy.

Give the Maple Spread a try and let me know what YOUR fall focuses are.

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San Jose Sidequest: The Winchester Mystery House

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“This house will poison you.” The tour guide warned. Between the toxic red wood and the original lead paint, he meant it literally. The Winchester Mystery House was built by Winchester Rifle Company heiress Sarah Winchester who, as legend puts it, was directed to never stop building by the spirits of people killed by the guns that made her family so wealthy.

It’s a solid ghost story made more interesting by the fact that the layout of the home is so strange and unusual. Cabinets open to reveal solid walls. Stairways end abruptly into ceilings. Doors open into 10 foot drops (or more!). And those are only a few of the oddities within the walls of the sprawling Victorian mansion.

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I believed the legend. I believed it because I lived it for years. In high school and into my Freshman year of college, I was plagued by a reoccurring nightmare where I was running from something chasing me through a bizarre mansion. As I ran through decadent rooms, I’d encounter stairways to nowhere, doors that opened into thin air, windows in the floors, walls that sparkled like embers and floors that shifted. I remember several of the rooms, but the dream always ended in the same place – a blood-soaked room full of candles with a pentacle drawn on the floor and a single light fixture in the center of the ceiling with a dim red light.

At least twice a week I’d wake up crying and sweating, but I had no idea this house in my nightmare was real! Then one night Freshman year of college, I had the TV on as background noise while writing a paper and I heard a creepy voice describing the house from my nightmare. The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. That moment triggered two things: 1) I never had the nightmare again and 2) I knew I had to visit the house someday.

So with my trip to E3 taking me to California, I booked a little side trip to San Jose to finally explore the mansion.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I booked my Mansion and Explore More tours. Was I Sarah Winchester in a past life? Would I feel weird? Would I get sick? Would I end up possessed? I tempered my expectations by reading Captive of the Labyrinth on the plane so I could better understand the facts of Sarah Winchester’s life.

The night before my visit, I pulled a card in my hotel room while thinking of Sarah Winchester’s life. It was the Six of Wands.

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This card is all about harnessing your talents and embracing success to make yourself known, which is exactly what Sarah Winchester did in building this house. Really, in building her life after the tragic deaths of her baby and husband.

 

On Sunday, I arrived at the site super early. The grounds are free to explore and they have a little cafe and gift shop. I didn’t get any ominous feelings walking through the gardens. Then again, I’d never seen the house from the outside before…

All around the sun-soaked grounds, fruit trees stretched their limbs, heavy with pears and apricots. There were even almond trees shading a quiet patio on the north side of the house. The aroma of flowers was overwhelming, but seemed to delight the hummingbirds darting above my head. I didn’t feel anything ominous or dark (despite the massive headache I ended up with all day). In fact, the energy was buzzing with creativity and curiosity.

I sat down in one of the stone rotundas by the front door and pulled more cards. Again I got the Six of Wands. Clearly, the card is Sarah herself.

Next I pulled a card to ask the spirits what I should expect once I entered the house. They gave me the Moon. It was an invitation to the truth. They wanted to set the rumors straight and remind me that I shouldn’t believe everything I hear. Things aren’t always what they seem.

Finally, the guide called my tour number and my group was ushered into the carriage port to begin. Inside the house, I felt comfortable, confused, but safe and curious. We wandered up steps and through narrow hallways. The guide pointed out a set of stairs that led into the ceiling, just like I dreamed. There was a window built into a floor in one room, which I also recognized. And, of course, the well-known door to nowhere (which is visible from outside as well).

We were several rooms in (there are 160 total) before my surroundings got SUPER familiar. The guide took us into a tight cube of a room with doors on every wall (one of which led to a steep drop if opened). In the center of the room was the light fixture from the end room of my nightmare – the one I’d seen covered in blood and filled with candles. The fixture and covering were almost exactly as I knew them to be, but in my version, the light was red and here it was blue. The guide described this as the seance room where Sarah communed with the spirits on what to build next.

A few rooms later, we were in the room with shifting floors. In my dream, the floor was covered in somewhat spongy, moveable panels. As it turns out, in the actual Winchester Mansion there’s a conservatory where Sarah Winchester kept her plants inside a sunny room. The floor panels ARE movable so staff could take them up to water the plants. AND they’re slightly soft, unlike a normal floor. Excess water from the plants would be absorbed and redirected to plants outside in an ingenious irrigation system.

On my second tour, a guide took a smaller group of us through closed off, damaged or unfinished rooms of the house. It was here I saw the “burning ember walls” from my dream. In one of Sarah Winchester’s bedrooms – dubbed the Crystal Bedroom – the walls glittered as the light hit them. As I moved around, the walls sparkled spectacularly. Crushed mica, our guide said, embedded in the wallpaper. It was absolutely stunning.

Sarah Winchester House Crystal Bedroom Crushed Mica Wallpaper

This photo doesn’t do it justice, but the pattern does look a bit like sparkling flames.

There were other rooms I knew – the ballroom, Sarah’s main bedroom – but those three were the most prominent. It was so bizarre to see the house in real life after seeing it so vividly in my dreams for so long. I still don’t know why I dreamed of this place or if there’s any real connection there, but I’m glad I go to see it and end this crazy story.

Have you ever had a wild case of deja vu?

Tattoo Tarot Interview

This deck is very special to me. The Eight Coins Tattoo Tarot is my 8th deck, and I’m an 8 in numerology. It came signed and with an extra card drawn from the creator’s personal deck… well, when it came. The USPS took my initial order and lost it in spectacular fashion. Sometimes I still check the tracking number to visit that deck as it rests somewhere near Atlanta. Lana happened to find a leftover deck with one of her cards in it and she was kind enough to send it to me. As my newest deck, it’s my last in my tarot interview series.

What are you here to teach me?
V of Pentacles
I know I’m not the deck you expected. I’m a replacement for one lost in the mail. A leftover my creator didn’t sell. But I hope you will accept and treasure me anyway.

What are your strengths?
The Magician
I make shit happen. I get the gears turning. Look how I got off that dusty shelf and made my way to New York City! Let’s create a kick ass destiny.

What are your limitations?
The World
The journey of my creation was a long and arduous process filled with lots of hills and valleys. Then I traveled to you after lying forgotten on a shelf. I’m worried my trip has come to an end when I’m not meant to sit still.

What are you here to teach me? *Note: I pulled this card with my left hand while thinking about how the left hand is supposed to be closer to the heart. And this card bears the image of a heart!
VII of Wands
To stand up and fight for yourself (like I did) and your ideas. Stand in your power and magic. Know you are unstoppable!

How can we best collaborate? *Note: This is also the extra signed card in the deck!
X of Swords
You need to let go of the lost deck. It’s gone. Stop checking the tracking number. I’m here and I deserve your attention, not your disappointment. We both need to let go and move forward, together.

What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
IV of Wands
We’ll celebrate many moments of success and achieve anything we want to. The universe is a party and we have an exclusive invitation to shine bright.

I immediately connected with this deck like no other. It called me out about the lost deck and blew me away with this interview. I’ve decided this is the deck I’ll always travel with so its journey never stops.

Want to know whats in your cards? I’ll read them for you starting at just $5!

Tarot of the Silicon Dawn Interview

The Tarot of the Silicon Dawn is by far the most challenging in my collection. There are 21 unconventional arcana cards in addition to the traditional 78, including Void cards and four Fools! The personality of this deck is, in the artist’s words, “fully prepared to give you the finger.” But I adore comic book style imagery with sexy sci-fi twists.

Check out my previous deck interviews.

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Tell me about yourself.
0 of (Void) – a small white butterfly with a rainbow trail on a black card
I am free of associations. Not bound by the elements or astrological ties, my energy precedes the constellations and will outshine the last star. I am chaotic. I am raw potential. I am unformed power.

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What are your strengths?
Princess of Swords
There’s no one like me. I’m wild. Unconventional. Unpredictable. I am a cocoon of opposites and madness so thick that I could suffocate, but I thrive despite myself. My ambiguity is my strength. I am never wrong because I am never right.

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What are your limitations?
Ace of Pentacles
1. I wear many identities. Sometimes I lose myself in my masks. Sometimes you will not be able to see through them
2. I can be a destructive force. Like fire,  I can’t help what I am.

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What are you here to teach me?
99 of Wands
Transcendence, in a word. How to grow your inner magic enough to create the right conditions for your being to go on to other worlds and lives after death.

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How can we best collaborate?
4 of Pentacles
Retreat internally and focus. Achieve mental and emotional stability despite any potential flaws in your world and I will be able bring you the most clarity in my complexity.

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What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
4 of Wands
Peace, solitude and riches in your own little ivory tower. But beware ⎻ as you well know, towers eventually crumble.

When I started this interview, I had a lot of anxiety. I was afraid of these cards. They’re the smallest of all my tarot cards, but they felt so aggressive and almost ominous. The more I handled them though, the more they got to know my energy, they began to change and feel more malleable. More comfortable. This deck will always be tough. I might always need to rely on the book for help interpreting the cards, but it also has the most potential.

Want to know whats in your cards? I’ll read them for you starting at just $5!

The Deviant Moon Tarot Interview

The Deviant Moon by Patrick Valenza is my oldest and dearest deck. I was drawn in by the dark, almost Tim Burton meets Salvador Dali aesthetic back in college and it’s the deck I’ve studied and learned on and bonded with over the last 10ish years.

(Catch up on all my deck interviews at the bottom of this post.)

Over those years, this deck has some to truly speak to me. Cards quite literally often “jump” out of the deck at me. This happens so often that I tend to just shuffle until the required number of cards have all jumped out. My Deviant Moon readings are clearest and most comfortable so I’m excited for this interview!

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Tell me about yourself
Nine of Cups
Like the genie on this card, you discovered our power together the moment you opened me. I work as you wish to bring well-being, pleasure and success. I’ve always strived to bring you all your hearts desires.

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What are your strengths?
The Hanged Man
My timing is impeccable. You tend to be impatient and impulsive, but I can guide you to suspend actions or delay decisions until the moment of maximum impact. *Note* the card on the bottom of the deck was Strength, reinforcing this

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What are your limitations?
The Devil
Like you, I can become obsessed and hell-bent on a particular idea or situation. I will not let you ignore a message I have for you, even if it’s not what you’re asking for. It will follow you until you learn it. Only then can we move on.

 

What are you here to teach me?
Four of Cups
Appreciate your success and practice gratitude. Do not grow comfortable with the status quo. Keep seeking your truths and exploring your vast identity. You have no reason to ever e bored or dissatisfied with life.

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How can we best collaborate?
Two of Swords
We are two balanced powers. Stubborn. Strong. Comrades. Old friends. I’m ready to fight for your future. We must remember to work together as sisters in arms and never against each other.

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What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
Eight of Pentacles
From day one we’ve been working closely to forge your confidence and determination to master the art of tarot. If we keep going, we will build a nuanced and detailed practice to guide your journey and successes.

I adore this deck – the way it moves in my hands, slips between my fingers like it’s an extension of my being. My first love. My oldest relationship. The energy of this deck is more like my own than any I have ever encountered.

Want to know whats in your cards? I’ll read them for you starting at just $5!

Binding of Isaac Tarot Interview

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I’ve always viewed this deck more as a novelty – a collectible from one of my favorite video games ever, The Binding of Isaac. I’ve never used it before. This is a completely virgin deck! Until now. The cards depart from the traditional suit structure, instead calling on items from the game to represent suits. So I took some creative liberties to identify the parallels.

Keys = Wands
Bombs = Swords
Pennies = Pentacles
Hearts = Cups

Check out my other deck interviews.

Tell me about yourself
The High Priestess
I am the mediator between light and dark, the guardian of the unconscious and the link between reality and the inaccessible reaches of the mind. My understanding of the Universe runs deeper than The Basement.

What are your strengths?
Five of Pennies
Nothing distracts me from spiritual development. Coins may help you achieve success in the game, but in the end, it always comes down to heart. Let’s focus on keeping your heart full over your pockets.

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What are your limitations?
Ace of Pennies
Don’t talk to me about the material world. I’m not interested in wealth or career issues. I want to help you manifest your inner potential and achieve your spiritual goals.

What are you here to teach me?
Ten of Bombs
How to survive taking the hits. Life can be a bullet hell run. The people you love and trust might back-stab you. There will surely be loss after loss after loss. Keep restarting.

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How can we best collaborate?
Ace of Keys
Let’s just go for it. No instruction manuals. We’ll figure it out along the way, breaking through walls and unlocking mysteries.

What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
Three of Keys
We’ll open doors to self-exploration and gain control of all around you. Your horizons will expand in all directions as we journey onward together.

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Amazingly, in this interview there were a lot of subtle nods to the game in the personality of the deck! I was expecting darkness based on the nature of the game, but the energy is pretty playful. The game connects the earthly with the dark and the light, so I feel like this deck has a good grasp on bridging those realms to open my perception and intuition.

Want to know whats in your cards? I’ll read them for you starting at just $5!

The Wild Unknown Tarot Interview

I jumped into this latest interview with one of my more advanced decks. The Wild Unknown replaces the knights and pages with “son” and “daughter” cards for each suite. The imagery, while whimsical and gorgeous, presents in a watercolor minimalist style that connects deeply with nature instead of adhering to the traditional tarot symbolism. So I’m still pretty married to the guidebooks when I read from this deck.

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Tell me about yourself

Daughter of Wands
I am a truly visionary deck. Stronger than my soft appearance suggests. A free spirit who embraces transformation. I’m passionate and emotionally-driven. I’m very excited to connect with you and begin our journey together.

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What are your strengths?
Ace of Pentacles
Every tree begins with a small seedling. I will be the soil that grounds you. My connection to all things natural will nurture our relationship into a blossoming tree bearing fruit to nourish you on this journey. My specialty is turning passion into opportunity and turning opportunity into wealth of various forms. I will help you manifest abundance through the things you already love.

What are your limitations?

Daughter of Pentacles
I can only take you so far. You need to stay focused on the tangible outcomes to fulfill our work.

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What are you here to teach me?

Temperance
You’ve never been very good at balance, even though it’s balance you seek. I want to help bring harmony to your life. I will teach you how to heal and renew. Through our connection and work, you will learn to better trust the ebb and flow of the Universe and let go so you may flow within her.

How can we best collaborate?
The Moon
Embrace your light and shadow so you can keep the whole picture in view. Sometimes you miss the forest for the trees. Let go of mental blocks so we can enjoy the path to our destination.

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What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
IX of Wands
We will go far together, to the moon, step by step. The gaps in knowledge and skill will close to bring abundance. Don’t ever stop climbing. Push on and let nothing stand in your way.

The Wild Unknown carries the most peaceful energy of any deck I’ve used. I turn to this deck in times of great stress or conflict to get a deep breath of practicality.

Want to know whats in your cards? I’ll read them for you starting at just $5!