December 2020 Advent Draw 3

December 3, 2020 Advent Calendar Draw: The Chariot
December 3, 2020 Advent Calendar Draw: The Chariot. Click to embiggen

On the third day of December, my solstice advent gave to me… The Chariot.

This is a hard symbol for me to transpose. I use something similar for the Wheel of Fortune and the World cards in my journal, so when I see this image I immediately think of those cards. It will take time to adjust. The Chariot is the card that gets me going. I am moving along my path and heading to greatness. This card reminds me to focus on the long term goal, those desires I want to have manifest. Time to break out the idea books and sift through them for fertile ideas. Time to revise book two!

So far I’ve been given the tools to manifest this month and cataloged my fundamentals. Now it’s time for me to pick a direction and head into it. Focus my awareness and energy and put it into motion. 

What areas are you focusing on this month? What energy has you excited for? Email me and let me know what you have got going on.


December 2020 Advent Draw 2

December 2, 2020 Advent Calendar Draw. Today is the Tower
December 2, 2020, Advent Calendar Draw. Today is the Tower. Click to embiggen

On the second day of December, my solstice advent gave to me… The Tower. 

The Tower is a powerful card, one many readers do not like to get for their clients. Over the years of working with tarot, however, I have found kindness in this card. It asks us to let go and to get back to our fundamentals. These are the building blocks that make each of us unique and can help us recenter and focus our intent on what we want to put out in the world. I used to play a lot of basketball in high school. Our practice sessions weren’t just us playing games over and over again. No, we ran laps around the gym to improve speed. We’d practice various dribbling and passing skills. We’d also play games to help with our aim to make baskets. These are the fundamentals which help players get better. You never stop dribbling or tossing a ball during a game. Dropping a ball or missing a pass can make or break a win.

As we grow older we have our own fundamentals for who we are. These days fundamentals might includes meditation, which helps me breathe. Writing, in the form of blog posts like this, or playing with words to make better sentences. They also include shuffling tarot cards and drawing one daily. Fundamentals help ground us and keep our minds sharp. We never grow out of them. Instead, we always return to them, over and over, so we get better and build new towers where we can see the world afar. And this is the message the Tower shares with me every time I draw it. Go back to the beginning: breathe, read, write, shuffle.

What are your fundamentals? What Towers have you torn down to rebuild anew? Feel free to email me and let me know what activities you go back to over and over again.


December 2020 Advent Draw 1

December 1, 2020 Advent Calendar Draw: The Magician
December 1, 2020, Advent Calendar draw is the Magician. Click to embiggen

On the first day of December, my solstice advent gave to me… The Magician.

Happy December first, everyone. I swear I mixed everything up really well. Despite my best efforts, the universe wanted me to have The Magician. I love that the message of manifestation and bringing your dreams to life sits on the first day. It’s time to bring out the magic of winter, light some fires, drink some hot chocolate, and recognize the beauty of the change in the season.

The Magician is here to bring some fun into this day. And I think I’ll start reading a few good books while snuggled on the sofa. 

What does The Magician mean to you? Drop a message in my inbox and share a good winter holiday manifestation with me.


December 2020 Planning Spread

To recap, in 2020 I’m using these decks: The Sovereign Oracle, the mini Ceccoli Tarot, and the Animantras deck. I chose them because I wanted to play with mini decks this year. They give me a theme, a means to apply the theme, and a cute animal to act as the guide for the lesson. This whole spread sits on my desk where I can see it, work with the energies, and integrate them into my day.

Theme: Compost
How: Ace of Swords
Helper: Butterfly (be delicate)

December 2020 Planning Spread. Click to embiggen.
December 2020 Planning Spread. Click to embiggen.

In a fantastic fitting display of awesomeness, the final theme for 2020 is Compost. What a great way to end a year that started out with so much promise and then left us to scramble in finding new ways to connect to the world at large. Composting dead matter is an important occurrence in Portland. Gatherings would always have one question revolve around what could or could not be placed in the composter. Believe it or not but we can compost almost everything. It’s awesome. I am being asked this month to break ideas or items down into their components. To let go of whatever isn’t working and reshape it into something new for the next idea. I love that this is coming after a month of Focus, where I have spent so much time digging for completion. Now it’s time to celebrate those achievements (and accolades) and figure out what worked so I can continue on with my efforts.

How to do this is the Ace of Swords. I love the Aces, so full of potential and life. The Ace of Swords is that a-ha moment. The initial suggestion of an idea which has a lot to offer. For me, it comes in the form of a finished physical product, or the idea of a new book. When it comes to composting and breaking something down, I think of lists. Take that product and turn it into the steps for manifestation. What will I need? How long will it take to develop? So I guess while I’m planning for the new year, I should break my ideas down into manageable chunks.

Butterfly darts in to be the last helper of this year. Their message is be delicate and they are another Third Eye chakra member. Butterflies have always represented creativity to me. I love their endless patterns and designs when they flutter around in summertime. We even had a Butterfly and moth center nearby while I was growing up so I got to see more than just the usual Colorado creatures. For Kayti butterflies are just one part of the cycle of life. In her booklet, Kayti suggests that we need to remember that these delicate creatures are also highly resilient and that no matter what goes on in our lives we need to be delicate when we transition from one phase to another. So while I compost the remnants of 2020 into fertile soil for next year, I also need to be delicate with the memories of what I wanted to do with this year and what happened. Not everything can be composted and not everything from this year should be tossed out. I am a fire sign after all, I always have big plans tucked around my mind.


Project: Tarot Solstice Advent Calendar

A sample of the finished project.
Click to embiggen

As a child, I had a few winter holiday joys. One of them was the chocolate advent calendars we received as gifts for the holidays. I found pleasure in being able to pop open the door and receiving a small gift during the big countdown to the holiday. Over time and as I grew older, I had forgotten about the calendars and the simple joy of counting down to the holiday. In 2012, Barbara Moore posted her idea for a Tarot Advent Calendar on the Llewellyn blog. Her idea was to sew pockets for cards in a five by five grid. Then she would randomly select one card a day to count down for Christmas/Yule. The inner child was hooked and wanted to incorporate this idea into her winter traditions.

Over the years, I had gathered fabrics and plastics and various tools to replicate one of my own. One problem with doing this is that I did not want to count down to Christmas. I planned to count down each day until the winter solstice, loosely defining the date as December 22nd. This way, I get to pull a single major arcana card each day as the light grows darker towards the shortest day of the year. Year after year past and I was still no closer to getting my calendar done. Then, something cool happened at the end of the holiday season in 2019. 

The tree and the pencil markings for hooks. Click to embiggen

Kendra and I went into my local craft store, Craft Warehouse. While perusing the aisles for fabric, pens, washi, and other inspirational items, I found a tall, green wooden tree. Then the lightbulb came on. It was the PERFECT size for my solstice calendar. I bought it, along with 22 wooden discs, a small block of pine, and the seed of the dream grew. 

The pandemic hit, and everything changed. My travel plans got put on hold, and I’ve been homebound. When I broke out the Samhain decorations early this year, I discovered how much joy it brought to my mood. An unexpected light appeared in this strange year. With this month’s theme of Focus, I knew it was time to sit down and finally manifest this idea. I wanted to play. 

My ornaments are the 22 one-inch discs. Ours came without holes, so we used a drill press to make holes at the top. When I had all my disks together, I laid down the tree and started laying each disk on the tree. Your inner child will love this step. Make some hang off the branches, space them out and look for a pleasing design. It took me a day or two to come up with a nice layout. We marked each location for the eventual hook screws with a pencil.  

Table saw used to cut base. Click to embiggen

Then we moved onto the block base. Kendra and I decided to cut a groove into the wood to slide the tree in and out for storage. She used our table saw to cut the wood. The tree leans a small bit, so everything hanging on the tree shows well. The whole thing looks great, and it’s secure and stable. We also screwed in the hooks so each ornament would freely dangle.

The next step was to figure out what would be placed on the disks to denote each major arcana card. I wanted to use symbols instead of words, so I searched for cute tarot planner stickers. I ended up purchasing a set of stickers from LightPlansStudio on Etsy. I got their two-pack because you never know what happens when applying the stickers on the final product. After the stickers arrived, I added them to each of the wooden disks (a test run, if you will). Everything looked great, but then I decided I wanted white discs instead of plain wood color.

First coat of white spray paint down. Click to embiggen

I got a bottle of Rust-Oleum’s Matte White paint. We set up a small paint station in the garage, and I sprayed each side of the disk. I had to do two coats because the wood was thirsty. Spray painting the discs took a whole weekend to do, set, and dry. When they were dry, I had to clean the discs up by sanding paint off their edges. I used an emery board since I didn’t have access to sandpaper. Please don’t use nail clippers as I did.  Sanding the sides will destroy them, and you will have to buy a new set.

Finally, we got to the fun part, reapplying the stickers. I removed each sticker and affixed it to each ornament. Then I used matte-finished Modge Podge (remember this stuff? I used to glue puzzles together and hang them in my room when I was young! Ah, to be a child of the 80s) to seal the stickers onto the wood and protect the images from damage. I recommend using a fresh bottle because the glue does go bad after a while — ask me how I know. 

Testing the hooks before adding stickers. Click to embiggen

To store your ornaments, you can use a small bag. Just dump the discs into it and shake them for shuffling. Because I had snowflake and winter fabrics already picked out (since 2012, remember), I decided to make a custom draw bag. My favorite pattern is this reversible dice bag by Think Craft Thoughts. The original pattern is too big, so we adjusted by making a smol one (15″ long by 8.5″ tall), giving enough space for my grabby hand to remove an ornament once a day.

Starting tomorrow, after I decorate our mantel with our solstice decorations, I’ll shake the bag and draw a disc. Then I’ll hang it on the tree at random. You can follow along here on the blog. I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you all!

This was such a fun project. It fed the need to create new winter rituals and satisfy my inner child. I look forward to using this tree year after year. I hope it’s inspired you to do something for your practice. 

I’ve had to close the comments on my blog, so if you recreate this project or have other tarot winter traditions, please email me. I’d love to know how you’ve integrated tarot into your winter holiday traditions.