My Annual Year-Wheel Tarot Spread

Last night marked the end, in the Serbian calendar, of the “Unclean Days”–a period of time characterized by folk observances that reveal a commingled Pagan and Eastern Orthodox Christian sensibility. One of the major themes emphasized during this liminal 12-day period between the waning influence of the old year and the embryonic energies yet to crystallize in the new is the auspiciousness of performing divination.

Now, while my mother tells me that I had a great uncle in Serbia who performed divination by gazing into an old brazen bowl into which he read the shapes of a beeswax candle’s droplets in spring water, and my mother’s own mother told fortunes with a regular deck of playing cards as well as scrying in Turkish coffee grounds, I like to stick with the Tarot. But not just any Tarot deck–though, admittedly, like many Pagans, I have several at my disposal–my preferred one is the very first one to come across my petite priestess hands: a Marseilles Tarot deck given to me by my awesome Uncle Milan, my mother’s brother. During his 50 years of life (cut short by lymphoma) on this planet, he was an astute esotericist, Jungian psychologist, gifted viola player, and good-humored, pipe tobacco-smoking outdoors enthusiast. The Marseilles deck was his, given to me before my fifteenth birthday with a very knowing wink from his deep-set, coal-black eyes. Continue reading

Go to Hel, Part 3: Bound by Bone—Deepening My Devotion to Loki’s Daughter

The wallpaper on my work PC is a stunning 1905 painting by the German artist Emil Doepler. Entitled “Loki’s Brood,” I find throughout the course of any given workday that I completely lose myself in reverie as I look at Hel. It’s almost as if Her distant gaze, surely focused as it is on Other/Inner Worlds, mirrors my own as I gaze at Her and think on Her glorious Being. Is it possible to truly love—with all the inner reserves of affection and devotion that your heart is capable of squeezing out—a Goddess of Death? Continue reading

Go to Hel, Part 2: “Please, Don’t Squeeze the Shaman”: Journeying Deep into Helheim

It all began in August of 2013, when I moved into my first-ever purchased home: a cozy condo in Chicago’s far northwest corner—a neighborhood, unbeknownst to me at the time, notoriously known for its ghastly history and stupendously huge mass paupers’ graves lurking beneath my very subdivision and a large swath of the surrounding area! Continue reading

“Roar”: An Occult Short Story I Composed in June, 2009

Once again, she’d misread the sign. The sign outside St. Cornelius Catholic Church on Foster Avenue announced, in actuality, “Eucharist Adoration.” She, however, saw the ridiculously paired words of “Aquarium Addictions” instead. 

She took a long drag from her clove cigarette and indifferently noted the single file of traffic-jammed vehicles ahead of her. She turned on the radio and turned up the volume of the car stereo two notches in response to the announcer’s promise that the first act of Wagner’s Siegfried would conclude after the commercial break. 

These kinds of drive-by misinterpretations have been occurring with a frequency that was beginning to disturb her somewhat: “Trauma” instead of “Truman College” while zipping south on Lake Shore Drive; “Prior Experience” instead of “Panda Express” by the Lake Forest Oasis; and, most nonsensical of all, she managed to transform a billboard’s message of “Diamonds Are Forever” into “Demons Wear Burberry.” 

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8th House Mysteries: Le Petit Mort, Le Grand Mort, et Puissance

“I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!”

Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ode to the West Wind” (1819; line 54)

If you find astrology interesting and you were to take a gander at my natal chart, you’d notice the fun stellium of planets (Venus and Uranus take center stage, so you know it’s a good time) giddily aspecting each other in my 8th House, the dark closet of sorts where subjects not meant for polite conversation in the light of day such as sex, other peoples’ money, and death get thrown in to be dealt with at a later time, when company leaves.  Continue reading