Monday, 22 December 2014

December reading

Below is the video of the three card reading for the month of December. I'll be doing these at the end of each month on the second last Sunday. If you're interested in winning one in January, you must be a subscriber to my blog or YouTube channel, and comment below that you are interested.


Saturday, 20 December 2014

Krampus - The Forgotten Companion of Santa

Lately there has been a resurgence of interest in a traditional Germanic Yuletide figure - Krampus, a devil like figure who accompanies Santa or Saint Nichloas, in parts of southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland. While Santa gives presents to the good boys and girls, Krampus is responsible for punishing the bad ones.



Depicted as a long tongued beast with horns, covered in brown or black hair, and with one human foot and one cloven foot, he is bound by chains symbolizing the devil being bound by Christianity. He carries birch switches to strike the bad children with, and a basket or tub, in which to potentially carry away the naughty ones.



Many scholars believe that the figure goes back to pagan times, and is a christianized version of the horned god, who was changed into an evil figure. Santa Claus is a variation of other winter figures like Old Man Winter, Odin or the Holly King who's aspects have been morphed with the patron saint of children, Saint Nicholas. In Germanic countries he visits children on Dec.06 and leaves the good children presents in their stockings.
It is interesting to note that Odin in ancient Norse tradition was believed to leave good children presents in their shoes at this same time of year. He would fly to their houses on his eight legged horse Sleipnir and children would leave offerings of ale for him and hay for the horse. But there's no correlation at all between him and Santa right? Lol.



Krampusnacht
Alright - back to Krampus. Krampusnacht (Krampus night) is celebrated on the eve of Dec.06 Saint Nichloas' day. Men dress up as Krampus figures and accompany St Nicholas (who is dressed like a bishop). This tradition can be traced back to mummery parades associated with the winter solstice, where men would dress up in masks and like beasts and dance. This eventually became part of the celebration of Saint Nicholas. They parade about the town with him and visit homes and businesses. While St Nick gives gifts, Krampus distributes coal and birch switches often painted gold. These are put in the house as good luck charms and to remind kids to be good throughout the year. People then give the Krampus offerings of Schnapps to appease him.




Perchta
In some areas women accompany the Krampus figures as well, known as Perchtas. Perchta, also called Berchta, or Frau Holle in Northern Germany, is a goddess associated with winter and the 12 days after the Winter Solstice. She is either shown as a beautiful young lady in white or an old haggard crone. During the parade these women are usually dressed as scary old hags.



Krampuskarten
Since the 1800s Europeans have had cards depicting Krampus, usually with the words "Greetings from Krampus" on them. These were popular in the 19th century and often featured violent imagery. Towards the turn of the last century, the art work became more cartoon like and less violent, like the one below.



Krampus Resurgence
During the 1930s - 50s Krampus celebrations were actively discouraged in areas like Austria because they were considers to be too pagan. However a resurgence in the last few decades means this tradition is being kept alive. There is debate though about wether he is too frightening for children.



This is certainly the predominant sentiment in North America as the Santa Clause tradition carried over well to the new world, but the darker aspects were left behind. The last couple of years have seen a new interest in Krampus.You can now even get Krampus holiday sweaters! Though it had been suggested that some are using the figure to be anti Christmas/Yuletide/Holiday season. Personally I think he can just be included in with everything else.


What do you think of Krampus?

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Friday, 19 December 2014

Update

i thiught I'd just film a quick update letting everyone know what I've been up to especially since I haven't posted a video in a couple of weeks. I got busy as everyone does at this time of year and thought I'd save posts to this week when I started my holidays. Of course I came down with a horrendous flu as soon as I started vacation, and am still recovering.
 I wanted to say a big thank you as well to all of you who followed over to my new blog here. I love our little blogging community, and will be including my blig followers in the future giveaway as well. Thanks to everyone that is following me wether on the vlog or blog. I appreciate all the comments and I  looking forward to another great year of blogging in 2015. :)

Who else thinks this screen shot makes me look like I'm either crazy, or about to eat an enormous piece of pie.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Book Review - The Essential Lenormand

In October I ordered the book "the Essential Lenormand" by Rana George, off of Amazon to help me learn to read my new Lenormand cards. You may have seen the book and cards in my October haul video, where I promised a review when I had read the book. I'm not totally done yet, as I'm still working with the exercises, but I thought I would give my impressions so far.



The book is quite large and filled with great information about this particular oracle system. It is divided into three parts - the first about the authors journey and a bit about the oracle, the second part goes through each of the 36 cards, and the third part has exercises to develop your reading skills.
The first part was interesting as the author describes growing up in Lebanon and how she learnt to read the cards at a young age and
to rely on their guidance, particularly during the difficult years of war. She tells some excellent stories about her experiences and how the cards helped predict events in her and her family's life.
The second part is the biggest section of the book, and goes through the meanings of each card. It clearly lists all the meanings for each card in various contexts - like work, health, romance etc. She then gives a story or two as an example of readings involving that particular card, as well as some card combinations.



The third part is the one I'm currently working through. It involves exercises to help one learn to read the cards. It starts with journaling card combinations and the gradually leads to working on more complex spreads like the box spread - a classic 3x3 Lenormand spread. The exercises all lead up to reading the grand tablaeu, the biggest and most challenging spread involving all 36 cards.



Personally I found the book very informative and not ponderous to read despite it's size. The information is laid out clearly, and the exercises all build on each other. I enjoyed her storytelling and the examples she gave.
I also found the design of the book to be quite visually appealing, especially the second part which lays out the interpretations for each card.
I would recommend this book for anyone else looking to learn Lenornand cards.
If you have read this book or other Lenormand books, let me know your thoughts or recommendations. I'd love to hear them.

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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Sweater Season

Unless you are lucky enough to be living in a warm sunny climate, or down under where it's summer, it's probably getting chilly out there. Here it is a delightful -7C, so it's time to bring out cozy sweaters and sit in front of a fire. This time of year there are loads of sweaters to be had in the shops but not all of them suit my gothic taste. I'm not into the whole ugly sweater thing either - funny as it is. So I decided to look for inspiration online for gothic style sweaters.
First I came across these two sweaters from Fantasmagoria.eu






The first has a lovely distressed look, while the second has a more elegant and feminine design. I love the faux fur and buckles on the front.
I then found this delightfully batty cardigan by Sour Puss.



The following two I found on Tumblr and I enjoy the simplicity of the large graphic on black.







The next pair I saw on Polyvore. They both have a pastel goth vibe, but I still enjoy them.






And finally if you are really into the traditional Christmas sweater, you can always go for some Christmas Krampus knitted ones.






What are your thoughts on winter sweaters?

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Monday, 1 December 2014

Review - Angel Tarot Cards

This past month I picked up a deck of Angel Tarot cards by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine, with Steve Roberts as the illustrator. I recently have gotten interested in working with more angelic energy and saw these in a bookstore, so decided to purchase them. They aren't my usual style of cards, but the more I work with them, the more I am enjoying their gentle, positive energy. I think they will be especially good for clients that are maybe a little spooked by traditional tarot, are more religious, or are drawn to Angels in particular.



Artwork and Design
The artwork is digital which I'm usually not into, but it works for this deck. The images are fantastical, ethereal and brightly coloured. This is not a dark deck in any way. The major arcana feature various archangels, and the suits are divided into the elements air, water, fire and earth. The art on the air cards feature unicorns, water is mermaids, fire is dragons and earth is fairies. Personally I would of used fairies for air and unicorns for earth, but I can see why she did this as the unicorn horns can be a sort of sword like stand in.
There are different coloured borders for the suits which can be helpful, but if you don't like borders, this deck does have large ones, so you may not want that. A brief description is also written on the top and bottom of each card. This may be helpful for beginners, but might annoy some more experienced folks. Personally I don't mind them, but can take it or leave it.



Companion Book
The instruction book that comes with it is small but informative. It has a page or two per each card and gives the meaning for each card. There are no reversals with this deck, so each one is given an upright and generally positive meaning. Even more challenging cards like the 5 of swords (air in this case), you are asked to examine how you might of contributed to a negative situation, and how you can change it, rather than just blaming others. The author has also changed some of the names of the more challenging cards. For example Death is Release and the Devil is Ego. The card's meaning does not change, she just rephrased it in a more positive light. This may not sit well with everyone, but I can see that some would get a lot out of this approach.
There is also a larger companion book toucan but separately which I will review later.



Size and Weight
The deck is on the large side, so might be difficult for some to shuffle. They are the usual size for most Hay House decks. The weight is very sturdy, which I am pleased about and each card has a silver gilded edge, which is a nice touch.

Packaging
The box is sturdy and fits both the deck and companion book easily. It is great for storing and is easy to open as most Hay House decks are.


Overall
If you like darker decks or are more if a tarot purest, then this deck may not be for you. If you are into Angels, unicorns or fairies, or would like a more uplifting type of oracle, then you will probably enjoy this deck.
Personally I am loving working with this deck for daily card draws and will continue to work with its gentle energy.

What are your thoughts?
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