Sunday, July 26, 2015

What to do When a Tarot Client is in Crisis

Many of us read Tarot because we enjoy helping others.  There may be a time during our career though where we aren’t prepared for the type of help we are asked to provide.  Do you know what to do if a client tells you they are suicidal, that they need help with their abusive relationship, or that they need help with a drug or alcohol problem?  If you aren’t trained to deal with these situations it can leave you in a panic.

I happen to have a background in mental/behavioral health so the first time this happened to me I was lucky.  I had the tools to switch professional hats and get through the situation, but most people don’t have that training.  What do you do in those situations?

1.Stay calm.  The calmer you are the better you’ll be able to keep your client at ease.  Also, the calmer you are the better you’ll be able to think and act.

2.Acknowledge their inherent worth.  No matter if the scenario is one of a desire for self-harm, a need to find the courage to ask for help to deal with an abusive situation, or a need to seek help for addiction one thing everyone can use reminding of is their inherent worth on this planet.

3.Listen.  You’ll find that most people in crisis have one thing in common; they just want someone to listen to them.  They often feel as if they have no voice and just want to be heard.  Only give advice if you are qualified to do so.

4.Defer.  Chances are that you are not a mental/behavioral health specialist and beyond the above steps you’re really not equipped to handle the depth of this person’s needs.  It is important that you realize your limitations and refer clients to the appropriate resources.  You can do this by giving your client the number to the appropriate national hotline for their situation.  Keep these numbers with your other Tarot reading materials.  You never know when you’ll need them but when you do you need them readily at hand.  If you can’t find the number quickly the client may leave or hang up before they get the information they need.  I also encourage clients to reach out to friends and family whom they can trust.

Here are some important numbers/websites to have on hand.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1 (800) 799-SAFE (7233)
Alcoholics Anonymous  (This site directs persons to the phone numbers to the AA in their area.)
Narcotics Anonymous (This site directs persons to the phone numbers to the NA in their area.)

The line between Tarot advisor and therapist can be a thin one, anyone who reads Tarot has seen that.  It is important that we as readers recognize when things are beyond the scope of our job and offer the client appropriate avenues.  We certainly don’t want to turn our backs on someone in need and the best way for us to help clients in these situations is to point them in the direction of professionals who are trained to deal with these types of things while being as supportive as our role allows.

WiFi Spirit

I wrote not long ago about some spirit activity in my home that we have chalked up to a spirit a friend of ours has nicknamed “Beth.”  Since that post there wasn’t any activity.  For one week I did nothing different then my husband had been away a lot last week and I had been smudging the house nearly daily.  I don’t smudge when he’s home because he can’t stand the smell of sage or any incense.  During those two weeks I didn’t have any troubles with the net or seeing strange lights or anything.  As of Friday he’s home again, meaning I hadn’t smudged the house since Thursday.  Today, we’ll call him Hal, was over to visit with Odin while Lugh and I were at the U.U. this morning. 

Upon arriving home Odin and Hal had a Beth story to tell me.  Now if you remember one of the things she was doing was turning the wifi off on computers.  They had Hal’s laptop on our coffee table and they were done using it so Hal put it to sleep.  A little later the guys watched as the laptop came out of sleep, turned off the wifi, and turned sleep back on.  This happened right in front of their eyes.  The computer turned itself on, turned off the wifi, and put itself back to sleep.  Creepy!

Odin is out of the house at the moment so I took the opportunity to quickly smudge the house.  This spirit has some deal with the net that I’ve never seen before.  That’s three computers she’s turned the wifi off on at different times.  Plus there’s the activity while we are on the net on game nights. 

I don’t sense anything harmful in the house.  The energy of the house is good and feels clear.  Honestly, it feels like there is nothing here but we keep having these occurrences.  Hal is a techie by profession and has ruled out any electrical problems.  We know it’s not the wifi itself because it’s only turned off on one device at a time, it’s still working on all the other devices in the house when this happens.The energy in the house was good before I started smudging nearly every day so I’m not sure that the smudging had any bearing on the time without activity.  No one seems to be bothered by anything it’s all just strange.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Facebook is not Google

Facebook is not Google.  This isn’t just true of the Pagan groups that I belong to on Facebook but I do encounter this a lot in them.  Let me start by saying that I realize we all have to start our path somewhere and I actively answer questions.  I even used to write a Pagan advice column for a magazine where I answered questions about Paganism and many of my blog posts are written for beginners as well as veterans.  When I shake my head and scroll on is when someone asks a question so basic that you know they haven’t tried to find the answer for themselves.  I refer to Google as the smartest person I know and if you know how to look you can find loads of info on most topics.  Not everyone has the research background that I do and I take that into account.  I firmly believe that part of following the Pagan path is doing research.  If you look something up for yourself and still don’t understand, then by all means ask someone, but try to find the answer for yourself first. 

Every day I scroll through my groups on Facebook and see questions that I go, “Really?  You couldn’t have Googled that for yourself?”   It’s not that I don’t want to teach what I know and it’s not that I think people shouldn’t ask questions.  They should, but please give your question a little legwork on your own before you ask on a group.  It’s okay if you don’t understand something and you need some help.  If you’re just starting out and you want to know what some good books are by all means ask and people can recommend books they found helpful.  If you want to know what a magick circle is, Google it first or purchase and read a 101 book.  Then if you still have questions ask for help.
I don’t want an environment where people can’t ask questions but I think out of respect for your path and for other Pagans people should crack a book or “Google it” first.  Then ask if what you found is right if you want, or ask for deeper information that’s harder to come by, or ask for clarification.  Part of walking the Pagan path is searching for your own answers not being spoon fed the answers.  I’m always happy to help someone along their path but I’m not here to do all the legwork for someone.  I’ve spent years researching to learn what I know.  I’ve spent hard earned money to learn what I know.  I’m happy to help but show me that someone put in some effort on their own.

I’ve thought about doing a series of blog posts where I answer some of the questions I come across in groups, but I’m discouraged.  Why?  Because what good does it do anyone if I write these blogs and no one searches for the answers?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ghost Cat

Over the past month we’ve had some subtle signs that a spirit or spirits are hanging around the house.  A friend of ours has named our spirit “Beth.”  We play an RPG with this friend and my brother online every Sunday night.  The first strange thing that happened was that we were about to all log off and suddenly in our dining room there was a flash from a blue ball of light.  Another Sunday we’re all online playing, everything is going fine, and suddenly I get kicked off the net but Odin doesn’t get kicked off on his computer so it wasn’t the signal.  I restarted my computer but I couldn’t get back online, turned out my wifi got turned off in the middle of playing.  One minute everything was fine and the next (with my hands off the computer) my wifi gets turned off.  I had to manually turn it back on.

About a week later I turn on my computer and my wifi is off again.  Later that day we were online with the same friend mentioned above and the lights start going crazy in the house.  The tv and computers stayed on but the lights keep flickering on and off.  It did this several times over a half an hour period.  Last week I had another time of my wifi being off.  Yes I’ve checked for viruses. 

We’ve had some spirit activity here in the past but we attributed it to our neighbor at the time.  He believed he had a spirit that he called “Winchester” who followed him from home to home.  When we first moved in there was no activity here.  After he moved in we had some and then after he moved out it stopped, until now.  When he lived here one of the things that would happen is that Lugh and I would see a ghost cat.  I know that Lugh was actually seeing it because one evening we were both on the couch and I saw it run by.  Lugh looks at me and goes, “There went the ghost kitty again.”  So we both saw it at the same time doing the same thing.  Yesterday he comes to me and says he’s been seeing the ghost kitty again. 

It would seem that something wants to make its presence known.  Who I don’t know, I don’t sense anyone.  That’s the real odd thing about this.  When our neighbor lived here you could feel the presence of a person.  This time there’s nothing.  No cold spots, no feeling like there’s someone in the room, no energy out of the ordinary.  It’s just plain weird, even for us.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Litha Service

I’ve grown tired, after several years, of referring to my Witchlings as such instead of by a name so from now on I will use the following names for them.  Lugh is my oldest and Loki is my youngest.  For anyone who’s missed it Odin is my husband.  Lugh’s preschool was really good at accommodating the fact that they had a nontraditional student and they didn’t make him feel left out during the holidays.  His elementary school is a different story all together.  It’s a public school but instead of a winter party or just general holiday party they do full out Christmas from mid-November until winter break.  There were tons of Christian activities that we didn’t want our son participating in.  We have enough trouble with his grandparents confusing him he doesn’t need bombarded with more conflicting information.  I knew that, for the first time, they were making him feel different and weird.  They made him feel like there was something wrong with HIM.  I could tell he needed a sense of Pagan community but didn’t have a way to offer it to him at the time. 

Many of you will know that I’ve recently had the opportunity to start going back to the U.U. that is closest to me.  Our U.U. has a very high percentage of folks who identify as Pagan.  This past Sunday Lugh and I attended the Litha service.  The flower communion service began to give him a feeling of belonging but the Litha service was invaluable to him.  When everyone in the room echoed “Blessed Be” Lugh lit up and turned to me.  “Mommy, that’s the thing we say,” he beamed.  Even though I told him that there would be other Pagans there that was what made it click for him that he wasn’t alone.  He finally felt that sense of community that he needed.  He wants to keep going to the Sunday services and he’s told me that he wants to go along to drumming circles as well.

The Litha service was wonderful.  A circle of candles was lit.  Offerings where left for the fae.   We colored mandalas.  All of which Lugh dug.   Lugh also discovered that he likes Enya.  The service reminded me to let the energy of the sun burn away all of the unwanted energies in my life.

I hope that we’ll be able to keep going both for him and myself.  Odin has a job interview today and if he is successful it will make it hard if not impossible to keep going.  It may be possible for me to take Odin to work so that I’ll have the car but I would need my mother to watch Loki while Lugh and I go.  That could prove difficult.  Loki is just too young and squirmy to go.  They welcome children of all ages there but to keep Loki out of trouble I’d have to watch him in the children’s area which would mean Lugh and I would essentially be there but still miss the service.  Hopefully the gods will help us make it all work out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Drunken Drummer

Last night I went to a dinner and drumming circle at the U.U.  I was expecting a night of raising powerful healing energy, but the whole night became tainted.  I knew from the Sunday service that there was dissension amongst the ranks but I didn’t know it would erupt last night.    I don’t know the whole history or the whole story at all.  What I did see last night was someone drunk and inappropriate and someone else calling him on it.  Now both parties were in the wrong the one confronting the drunk should not have made a spectacle of the situation especially in front of someone newer to the congregation.  The thing was though that the confronter had valid points to the extent that I had to work to hold my tongue.  A large part of the problem was that apparently the U.U. has a rule that permits having one glass of wine at functions.  A person there kept refilling his glass while making fun of the rule saying, “I’ve only had one GLASS.”  The thing is he was loud and making inappropriate jokes and clearly over the legal limit to drive.  It was the over the legal limit part that I really wanted to jump in on.  I even contemplated watching which car he got into and then calling the police to report a drunk driver but I had to leave before he did so that wasn’t an option.

I had thought about taking my oldest to the drumming circle but decided I would go to one by myself first to feel out if others brought their children.  There were indeed two children there to witness all of this and I was so glad that I had not brought my son.  I will take him to the next one but only because I know this can’t happen again because it was the drinker’s last time at the U.U., he’s apparently moving to Idaho.  I was so disgusted at the situation that I actually got up got my purse got my keys out and thought about just leaving before the drumming had even started.  At this one of the members started unpacking the drums and said to the two men, “I’m starting the drumming to cover over this.”  Another member came over to me and apologized for their behavior and assured me that this was not typical behavior. 

We drummed and though the drumming itself was wonderful it couldn’t clear the cloud that hung over the night.  

Monday, June 15, 2015


We’ve started a new non-spiritual tradition in our house.  Every weekend we watch a scary movie with our oldest Witchling.  He’s six and as is typical of his age he wanted to start watching scary movies.  About three weeks ago we watched the movie Ouija.  Since then he has been persistently pestering me to use our Ouija board.  I have mixed feelings on this.  I don’t believe that the Ouija board is a “door to Hell” probably because I don’t even believe in Hell.  But I don’t believe it’s a door to the spirits either.  I believe it is a way to communicate with our unconscious mind.  The Smithsonian has an excellent article on the history of the Ouija board that you can read here 

At one point in time it was common place for people to use talking boards on a regular basis.  They were quite ubiquitous and popular among even Christians because in those days they believed that it didn’t go against the Bible’s teachings.  The board road the Spiritualism movement to great fame and they were so common place that even Norman Rockwell did a painting featuring an Ouija board for the Saturday Evening Post.  They were seen as positive tools to make connections with those on the other side.  The Ouija board was really a symbol of hope up until the movie The Exorcist appeared in theaters.

After this pivotal point the reputation of the Ouija board made a radical turn.  The movie scared the pants off of people and transformed what was a wholesome family activity into a “tool of the Devil.”  Suddenly churches that once condoned the use of Ouija boards now condemned them.  Overnight the Ouija board went from friend to foe.

I don’t believe there’s any harm that will come to my son if I let him use the Ouija board since I don’t believe it is a tool to commune with spirits, good or bad.  What I worry about are the social implications.  He’s on summer vacation right now but what if when he goes back to school he tells other kids or the teacher that he’s played with an Ouija board?  He already has to deal with being the only Pagan there I don’t think he needs anything else to make him different.