By Deborah Blake
Lots of people read their horoscope every morning, but for many of us, that is the only bit of “checking in” we do. After all, few people have the time (or inclination) to do a full tarot spread with their morning coffee. And mostly, we don’t need that much detailed information. Luckily, there are lots of fast and easy ways to get a quick hint at what your day holds, or what you need to know to make the most of it.
Years ago, when I was practicing with my first coven, my then-high priestess had us do an interesting experiment. Every day for a month, we pulled one rune stone at the beginning of the day. We wrote down the stone, and any flashes of intuition we got when we looked at it, and then checked in at the end of the day to see if there was, in fact, any relationship between the two. Not surprisingly, there often was.
This also turned out to be a great way of learning the runes themselves. I started out having to look up the meanings of each rune in a book [my favorite is Lisa Peschel’s A Practical Guide to the Runes—it’s old, but it is easy to use and understand], but by the end of the month, I was much more familiar with them. If you’re interested in becoming better acquainted with the stones or any other form of divination, try doing something like this. It’s a fun and practical way to learn. Either pull one out of a bag, if that’s what you store them in, or place them in a small bowl and just close your eyes and grab one.
If rune stones aren’t your thing, you can do this with tarot cards instead. If you’re not used to using the cards, I suggest starting with something basic like the classic Rider-Waite Tarot. That’s the one I started with, lo these many years ago, and I have been reading professionally for ages with this one pack. [It’s a bit battered by now, but it works so well for me, I’m rarely tempted to switch to something else, despite the bevy of beautiful decks out there.] However, there are lots of variations on the tarot card deck, and you can pick whichever one seems to “speak” to you the most loudly.
As with the rune stones, you can start your day by shuffling the deck and picking out a card at random. Sometimes one will even jump out of the deck at you. You can either ask a question (“What does my day hold?” “What do I need to know today?”) or just see what comes up. If you are dealing with something tricky, you can ask a specific question, like “Should I go out on a date with that hunky guy at the office?”
There are plenty of alternatives for those who don’t have or don’t like either rune stones or tarot cards. I have a number of interesting decks that I use for inspiration, answers, or just a way to get in touch with spirit quickly and easily.
One of my favorites, which I’ve used numerous times in ritual with my group Blue Moon Circle, is the Goddess Inspiration Oracle deck, by Kris Waldherr. She’s well known for her beautiful goddess-themed artwork, and this deck is filled with amazing images, as well as lovely descriptions of the 80 goddesses featured on the cards—yet another way to learn while being inspired and guided.
My current favorite was a Yule gift from my friend Rebecca Elson of this very blog, The Magical Buffet. The Conscious Spirit Oracle Deck by Kim Dreyer has lovely pictures and inspiring affirmations. I’ve taken to pulling one each morning, standing at my altar, and reading it out loud. Then I try to carry its message through the rest of my day. For instance, this morning’s card was number 18: Air Elemental. And the affirmation said, “I embrace the element of air and am open to all knowledge and wisdom.” Isn’t that a great way to start out the day? (Also, I have to do research today, so it makes a certain amount of sense.)
I’m not sure exactly what it is about the Conscious Spirit Oracle Deck that has me so captivated. Some of it is the sheer gorgeousness of the cards themselves. (Even the back of the deck is amazing.) The introduction says the deck was created “to honor, celebrate, and reconnect to Nature, Spirit and the Divine Feminine in all her forms: the angel, fairy, goddess, the maiden, mother and crone,” and it does just that. The deck (from U.S. Game Systems, which puts out many of my favorites) comes with a 44 page guidebook, and gives you the option of working through the cards from beginning to end, or using them randomly, as I have chosen to do. Kim Dreyer, who did both the illustrations and the writing, had done exactly what the introduction suggests, and created a deck that can help guide you, connect you, and inspire you. Little wonder it is my new favorite.
The simplest way to use either of these options is to choose one and simply pull one card each morning. Take a minute to focus on it, and you’re done.
To move a little more deeply (and I highly recommend trying this, at least for a month sometime), write down your card, and any thoughts or feelings you have about it, and keep track of them in a small notebook. (If you already journal, you can add this to your daily jottings.) At the end of a day, a week, or a month, take a look back and see if you can make out any patterns that could be helpful.
Asking for guidance and/or inspiration doesn’t have to be complicated or take a lot of time. You certainly don’t have to be an expert card reader to do it. And the Conscious Spirit Oracle Deck is just one option, but it is a great one.
About Deborah Blake:
Deborah Blake is the author of six books on modern witchcraft from Llewellyn Worldwide. Her seventh, “The Witch’s Broom”, will be coming out in April, and her first two novels (about a modern version of the Baba Yaga fairy tales) are coming from Berkley Publishing in September and December.