Reading About Writing: Oracle Cards as Editorial Assistants

Reading About Writing: Oracle Cards as Editorial Assistants March 9, 2022

So I was working on a blog post about the frustrations of job hunting, which included a passive-aggressive, thinly-veiled attack on a nonprofit organization that had reached out to me like, “You are uniquely suited for the social media manager/notary position we currently have available, and we would be very excited to bring you in for an interview,” and then afterwards, followed up with, “Okay, full disclosure: We went ahead and hired this girl who turned the position down multiple times in the past, but we wanted a backup person to string along in case she bailed on us again.”

I was just about to hit “publish” when the firm emailed back like, “Wait! We might actually hire you after all. We’re not sure. Do you mind twiddling your thumbs for a few months while we figure out what we’re doing? We’re a little drunk right now.”

And so I twiddled, with the post burning a hole in my drafts folder.

My tutelaries praying for me to make good decisions for a change. (Image via Pixabay.)

I talked to Chester and Sarah about the essay and what I should do with it, and they were both like, “Yeah… maybe don’t publicly bash the organization by name until they make a decision one way or another?” Which struck me as sage advice. But I still needed something to write about.

So I figured I’d try something new and use my Liminal Spirits cards as writing prompts.

The layout I normally read with is called the “Little Star,” which I picked up from an old book on cartomancy many years ago. It’s basically a scaled-down version of the Celtic Cross spread: A card is drawn to represent the present, and another card is placed across it to represent influences on the present; a third card is placed to the left to represent the past, and a fourth card is placed to the right to represent the future.

The Little Star gives good, concise summations without bogging the reader down with extraneous details, and it works with pretty much any oracle deck, which is also a selling point. I was ready to get to blogging, so I pulled four cards and turned them over.

Salamander, Desert, Roots, and Burial Ground from The Liminal Spirits Oracle.

Desert is the “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” card — it signifies a situation that is emotionally volatile and needs to be set aside for the time being. In the present position, it’s basically yelling, “Do not blog about the nonprofit (no no no).” Roots crossing the present is telling me to literally look at the past, where Salamander lies waiting: fiery passion, and recovery from something lost.

Burial Ground in the future reinforces that the topic should be something that has already occurred. However, it also shows me making peace with a memory, and leaving a marker to commemorate it, then moving on with my life.

When we put the cards together, we get pretty clear instructions: Instead of focusing on the anger I’m feeling about the whole job thing, I should turn my attention to something passionate from my past that resulted in a loss I was able to bounce back from; something that I remember fondly, and that taught me a lesson, but something I can ultimately leave behind after setting it up as the basis for a decent story.

So I meditated on all of that, and then I was like, “Hey, wait. Don’t salamanders live in swamps?”

Anyway, that’s how I ended up writing about the Cajun.

The Liminal Spirits are both fabulous and happy to be seen. (Image via Pixabay.)

Once that post was up on the blog, I started wondering what to write about next. And then I remembered that I had a post on Wicca that was almost good to go — I just needed to flesh it out with some royalty-free pictures.

I was concerned, though, that my perspective on the particular Wiccan issue covered in the post might be ill-received and/or misunderstood. And not just in a “some people have knee-jerk reactions whenever they see the word ‘Wicca’ and their impotent rage amuses me” kind of way. Like, an actual bad way.

Since the cards helped me compose the Cajun post, I decided to repurpose them and run a systems check on the Wiccan post, just to see how it would go over. So I shuffled the deck and plunked down four cards, and whoo, y’all. I was glad I did.

Here’s the spread:

Ash, Crystal, Hare, and Monkshood from The Liminal Spirits Oracle.

In the present, Crystal: I need to look at all facets of a situation before making any kind of decision. Crossing the present, Hare: Fertility and abundance in some cases, but in this reading, a warning to check my ego. Based on those two cards alone, I can tell that the post is not as great as I’d like to believe it is.

In the past, Ash: Mirroring Crystal, Ash is telling me that the post is focused too much on one thing, and that I need to pull back and look at the big picture. And in the future, Monkshood, which is the real kicker here.

Monkshood, or Aconite, suggests that I need to be aware of a potentially damaging situation, and that I need to a) avoid being noticed, and b) prepare a defense, just in case. The card also says that I need to take responsibility for my actions, which is… not what an aspiring wordsmith wants to hear right before unleashing new prose upon the universe.

Long story short, the post can stay right where it is for now. I’ll look at it with fresh eyes in a couple of days and see what is glaringly omitted and go from there.

If Monkshood were a person. (Image via Pixabay.)

Clearly, I’m getting a lot out of this exercise, even if not every reading about writing turns out favorably. But that’s a good thing, because it means I’m getting better at letting the cards transmit their messages objectively, and not projecting my own preferred interpretations onto them. Score one for personal growth.

Although the whole thing has gotten me curious as to how effective other forms of divination might be at getting my writing unstuck. I’ve got a Lenormand deck that I haven’t played with in ages, so that might be fun to experiment with, since Lenormand cards tend to focus on practicalities and the “how” of a given query. And even though I suck at Tarot, it couldn’t hurt to dig out my Deviant Moon deck and give it a whirl.

And because if I try something, I want other people to try it and show their math (it’s the Chaos Witch in me): If you’ve got a deck that you work with regularly and, like, a looming deadline or something, throw some cards and see what they have to say. I’d be really, really interested to know what results other writers get out of this process.

Or maybe do a reading on reading, and let me how that goes. Or tell me about your day. I just like getting comments.

“And in the present… the Cover Photo.” (Image via Pixabay.)

I stopped twiddling, by the way, and I fired off a big stack of applications to other companies. Working with the cards creatively made me realize that there are more options out there than I can see at the moment — I just need to uncover them.

And putting energy into writing instead of seething at the nonprofit was definitely beneficial. So, y’know, more of that, please.

Plus I got one more cool reading out of it.

Once I banged out the majority of this meta-post, I wanted to know what the Spirits thought my subsequent blog post should be. Considering the previous workshopping spread, I was pretty surprised by the cards that came up. (Also, I promise I shuffled thoroughly between the last reading and this one.)

Clay, Monkshood, Belladonna, and Cedar from The Liminal Spirits Oracle.

Monkshood has moved from the future to the present, as if to say, “So let’s revisit that Wicca post.” And the present is crossed with Belladonna — stating that great strength and power can be hiding behind a pretty facade — which gives me the exact direction I need to take with the post.

Clay in the past shows me reshaping an artistic endeavor, and Cedar in the future is encouraging: Even though I’m a little worried about the reception the post might get, once it’s cleaned up, people will understand the point I’m trying to make.

So overall, yeah, the post is going to work out fine. And in the long run, who cares if I’m not nonprofit social media manager material? I obviously have a bright career ahead of me as a Liminal Spirits brand ambassador, and that promises to be infinitely more rewarding.

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About Thumper
Thumper Marjorie Splitfoot Forge is a Gardnerian High Priest, an initiate of the Minoan Brotherhood, an Episkopos of the Dorothy Clutterbuck Memorial Cabal of Laverna Discordia, a recovering alcoholic, and a notary public from Houston, TX. You can read more about the author here.

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2 responses to “Reading About Writing: Oracle Cards as Editorial Assistants”

  1. I totally love how you use the Liminal Spirits deck – and yes, I bought the deck after reading your earlier posts. One year, during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) I pulled cards for people who struggled with their novel plots – it was great for me and them. Thanks for sharing a really neat and concise spread!

  2. That’s amazing! I have never actually made it through NaNoWriMo, but I may try again this year and use the cards to figure out where to go with it. I really love the idea — thank you for sharing it!

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