Excuse me, are you the Witch?


this is just beautiful…

Originally posted on Cauldrons and Cupcakes:

Image from Mattsko

Image from Mattsko

“Perhaps I am the only person who, asked whether she were a witch or not, could truthfully say, “I do not know. I do know some very strange things have happened to me, or through me. - Lady Alice Rowhedge” 
Norah LoftsBless This House

Last year the little girl from down the road at our city house knocked on my front door. The family had not lived in the street long, and I hadn’t met her or her siblings, although I had waved to them on occasion.

I could tell she was nervous.

“Excuse me,” she asked very shyly, “are you the Witch?”

Before I could say anything she pulled a fifty cent coin out of her pocket which she placed on the doormat at my feet.

“Can you turn my brother into a toad or a rat or something? Not forever, but just…

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Arcana In Balance: The Magician

The “Arcana in Balance” series began in the early days of the Modern Oracle Tarot blog. The idea was to look at each of the major arcana cards, and how they each teach us an important point of balance in life, like the balance of work and play, new beginnings and staying the course, as we saw with the Fool card last week. The original series was interrupted mid-way by the demands of dissertation, and bringing “Triquetra: The Dance of Worlds” and “#PeaceTarot” to e-publication. The series is back for real now. I’ll be re-posting the first cards from the archives, with a few tweeks and edits to bring them up to date. Then I plan to finishing the series once we’re caught up. All posts copyright Ronda Snow, all rights reserved.

This week: The Magician


Popular culture is a handy thing. A huge number of people have seen it – that’s the definition of popular, right? The cool thing about it is that it contains as much truth as anything else if you keep your eyes (and mind) open to it. If you watch the medium John Edward, you’ll see he uses TV, movie and music references all the time. So do I. Pop culture is fertile soil for the coincidences and synchronicity that is the very language of soul and spirit.

For the magician card, my favorite movie reference is the Disney’s “Halloweentown”. I love the line that “Magic is just wishing for something, then letting yourself have it”

If you want to get all intellectual about it, this alludes to the psychology of self-confidence and “self-sabotage”. But let’s stick with the pop theme, and let ourselves mentally fly on broom, like the witches of Halloweentown. Or Harry Potter. Or whatever bit of fiction that you like.

The Magician card is fun, powerful, and evocative. In my mind’s eye it brings forward images of Merlin, Dumbledor, Gandalf. Wisdom, humor and above all…magic.

What is magic? The ability to move things around without physical effort? The ability to make what we want appear out of thin air? If you could have magical powers like a legendary wizard, what would you do with it? What would the things you do with your magic say about you?

While we could talk all day about magic, the wizard archetype, and making life magical, let’s get back to the balance aspects of the card.

Think of labor-saving and thing-making stereotypes of magic we’ve always seen in books, movies and tv. Underneath that is simply desire and fulfillment. We want stuff. The fictional version of magic symbolizes instant gratification.  We desire certain things…some attainable, some more fantastic. Sometimes, though, those wants have have been symbolically fulfilled in a less instant, but more literal way. Man wants to fly, so in time we invent airplanes, balloons, hang gliders, helicopters and more.

So magic has to do with the balance of desire…the wish for something…and our ability to have it fulfilled.

The magician is often associated with the Alchemist…changing one thing into another that is more desired. There are consequences. We might get gold from lead, but the lead is lost in the process. We may find sudden wealth, but at what does it cost us in terms of contentment…and taxes? Again…balance is the key. You may desire love or a relationship with a person…but at what price? Is the cost of fulfillment make the desire worth it? What if a wish causes harm to another in the process of fulfilling it for you? If you knew the consequences, would you keep the same wish? Think of genies from literature. Genies are magic too…of a trickier sort, often with hard lessons in tow with the magic. “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it” as the saying goes.

Magic, manifestation…the law of attraction. It’s all related. If we wish for something, we have a choice…

We can set our intention…but then put on the brakes and not allow ourselves to have our wish made real – which can be good or bad. If we keep stopping short of success, what does that teach you? By the same token the ability to abort can be a safety net and act of compassion if things are going wrong or headed toward harm.You can make wish, identify a need, set your intent – and then do nothing about it, except wish and intend and attract your heart out…and then get angry and resentful when it doesn’t happen.

Or you can make a wish, work for it, allow the universe to help you get it…and then be grateful for the magic that let your wish be made manifest.

Yes, we can allow ourselves to have our wishes. It is OK to allow our happiness. The counterbalance to allowing and attracting is doing the real world  work that is needed, plus having the compassion to not harm others in the rush of attainment.

Manifestation and missing out, self and others, attraction and repulsion: These are the dichotomies of the magician.

May you make a good wish…and let yourself have it. May your life be magic.

Back by Popular Demand


There is still lots of interest in the combination of the Magician and the Lover’s card. I have an uneasy feeling it comes from a place of fear and manipulation, to be honest. I get the vibe that it comes from 1. a fear of rejection or a fear being ‘alone’ ie not in a dating relationship or 2. a desire to control someone else’s feelings, and bend a situation to one person’s will over another.

There is no love potion or love spell – especially not in Tarot. What goes around comes around. Like attracts like. What you give to the universe comes back to you threefold. Approaching dating and romance with anything other than love and compassion for the other person is bad advice.  Here are some pages and old posts that might be more helpful.


The Magician and The Lovers in a romance question.

How to Find Your Soulmate

Decision Meditation

Alice got it right, Twilight predicts the future

Tarotbytes: 10 of Coins



All it takes to be happy is giving yourself permission to be it.



“Clap along if you feel happiness is the truth” – Pharrell Williams

“People are as happy as they make up their mind to be” – attr. to Abraham Lincoln

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony” – Ghandi

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion” – Dali Lama

quotes via brainyquote.com and azlyrics.com

Q&A: Will we get back together?



Q: Will we get back together?

A: I don’t know.

Only you and your ex can answer that. Tarot doesn’t predict the future, or read other people’s minds. It’s a way to learn, a way to find inspiration, a way to access your own good intuition…not some kind of creepy stalker thing to go rummaging through other people’s hearts and minds. End of discussion as far as I’m concerned.

But this is your lucky day – felt pulled to pull a card for you BUT it doesn’t have anything to do with your ex or if you’ll get back together. This card is only intended to help you understand the way things are now, and maybe give you some idea about what direction to go next.

Your card is: Three of Swords.

If you look at the Smith artwork in the Rider Waite Tarot (public domain image via sacred-texts.com), this card makes lots of sense, really.

Your are experiencing heartache. Breakups are heartbreaking things, and this card is acknowledging your hurt, letting you know the universe hears you and understands.

This card is offering you the heart version of that old Zen adage – instead of “only an empty cup can be filled” in this case, only the broken heart can be mended, meaning this is a life lesson, and an important one.

Look at it logically for a minute. You broke up for a reason. SOMEthing happened. Has that changed? Has the trust been repaired? What’s different now? What tiny shred of anything makes you think things would be a tiny bit different if you did get back together? Why would you want to go back to that, whoever was at “fault”?

Better than thinking about getting back together, wouldn’t it be better to think about how this has changed YOU? What have you learned? What do you know now about the kind of relationship you want in your life? What are you able to give – or not give – to a relationship? “you can’t cross the same river twice” they say. You can’t go back, even if you re-start a relationship with the same person. Time has passed, and experiences have passed between you. Don’t think in terms of getting back together…think of starting new, be it with this person or with someone else.

If there is as much heartache as this card hints, why rush back now? Who do you want your partner in romance to be: someone who is whole, happy and strong, or someone emotionally injured, bleeding and needy? It isn’t up to other people to heal you…only you can heal you. What chance would a relationship have (new or re-start either one) if you go into it hurting and half-there? If you want a good new relationship, go into it whole strong and happy…like attracts like. Offer up wounds, you get wounds. Go into it happy, whole, and full of love to give…then chances are greater of attracting the same in to your life, too.

Will you get back together? I dunno. You need to answer that…and answer why you would want to.

Return of Arcana in Balance series: The Fool


Back in 2009, I started a series of posts about the cards of the major arcana and the way they point out places in life where balance is needed. All the cards have that aspect…no one card is all good or all bad. The card right side up isn’t one thing and reversed another…like life, all the cards have a balance of opposites contained all in one whole. I’ve always agreed with Diane Morgan “Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao” in this respect and others. There is an enormous amount of overlap between Taoist philosophy and Tarot insights as I see it. The idea of the dynamic balance of opposites – or more often a dynamic juggling act with a balance of many aspects – is the key place where Tarot and Taoism meet.

Initially, I’ll be re-posting the old commentary as we go through the major arcana as it most commonly appears. There may be some variation with some Tarot decks.

If you would like to read more Tao and Tarot overlap, please feel free to read the “Tao Tuesday” posts on my holistic health and writing blog at RondaSnow.com.




From 2009:

It was an AH-HA moment.

My teacher, Joy Star, tweeted about The Lovers card speaking about male-female balance. Like a lightbulb over the head, it was suddenly obvious that all the major arcana had this kind of insight to offer.

As I see it, the traditional “meaning” of ANY tarot card is shaded, changed, “spin doctored” three things…the position within the spread, the purpose of message, and the personal associations of the person receiving the reading. This last is, in my opionion, the most important. Traditional card meanings and spread-position connotations are well known, so I’ll be talking over the next several weeks about the idea of “message purpose”. Cards can have a ‘flavor’ to the message. They can emphasize advice, cautions, validations, messages of encouragement …or in the case of the major arcana, show where life is out of balance. Balance, is a very important concept, especially in some eastern philosophies. It is also an integral part of modern holistic health, and stress management.

The Major Arcana is symbolic of the major life lessons and stages of life from birth to death. These cards have always been thought to have greater energy, depth and complexity than the minor arcana cards. They are the big deal stuff that “trumps” the “small stuff” Back when the tarot cards were used for playing games, the major arcana cards were literally ‘trump’ cards, just as exist in our card games today.

The first Major Arcana card is “The Fool”. Over time language changes. Now when we think of “fool” we think of “foolish” which has many negative connotations: impractical, oafish, ill-informed, even stupid, impulsive…not the kind of person you would want to hang around with…much less have them teach you a big life lesson.

That is part of the lesson to be sure…that innocence teaches and that we can learn from anyone or any situation, but that is another post.

A more contemporary way to think of “The Fool” is like a court jester…or a stand up comedian.

Think of some of the most popular comedians….on the level of a Robin Williams, Dennis Leary, or Whoopie Goldberg…people whose comedy is art, and have something large to say.

THAT is the feeling of this card.

The point of balance in question is one of work and play, humor vs seriousness.

I often associate a cliche or old proverb with the major arcana cards…for this one “all work and no play make Jack a dull boy” also “Laughter is the best medicine”

If the Fool comes to you, think where things are too serious…or you aren’t taking them seriously enough.

Where do you need to put effort, but equally important, where do you need to lighten up and feed your soul as well as mind and body. Stress is a killer. Laughter heals. There is a certain wisdom to the ‘work hard, play hard’ paradigm that Americans seem to love. By the same token, the “hard” needs to be off set at times with “chill”. Sometimes we need to work, but maybe not so hard, and play, but not so gung-ho.

I love the lessons we can find in kids cartoons. Here the best example I can think of is the Disney cartoon “Phineas and Ferb” (love it…would watch it even without kids around)…they put out effort, but love it, go with the flow of it utterly…and accomplish the impossible in a summer afternoon.

Yeah, its just a cartoon…pure fantasy. But so are a lot of the things we learn from and revere. Why not learn from a cartoon? To dismiss what you see there, is to dismiss the lesson of the Fool card. It’d be foolish.

May you find balance in work and play, effort and relaxation, humor and gravity.