On Seven Irish Women You Should Know

@Sella Turcica The best Irish patron saint(/syncretization of the pre-Christian supreme deity)!

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 8:49 am 0

On Fresh Out of the Coven: Pentagram Pie

@adorable-eggplant Yes! I would love a recipe and suit interpretation for the other three! But if you're doing a spotlight on pentacles because of the time of year, I suppose I'd understand...

But also, I read tarot, and I'd be happy to give you, adorable-eggplant, my personal understanding on the breakdown of the suits. The easiest way I've found to describe it to people without familiarity with tarot is to use the four classical elements and the corresponding parts of the person.

Wands/Staves: Fire, spirit. This pertains to a person's... this is a bit hard to explain. I like to say it's a person's will, or their most essential sense of self. The part of one that gets inspired and wants to create things, like art, but not just art - also whatever kind of work one does. This is passion and anger and sex. When I say "will," I mean that experience of wanting something badly enough that you can summon up all of the energy you need to just make it happen. That kind of will. If you know astrology, this corresponds roughly with Mars. Also corresponds with summer, midday, the full moon, and the south.

Cups: Water, heart. This is about personal relationships, romantic or otherwise. It's about feelings (not physical sensations, that's different), both in the sense of intuition (knowing something by feeling it) and emotions. This is the love part of love - not the passion, but the affection, the fondness. If you know astrology, this corresponds with Venus. The other correspondences are weaker than with fire above, but this would be sundown, autumn, the waning moon, and the west.

Swords: air, mind. This has to do with thought, perception, intellect, education, communication, logistics, planning. The correspondence here with astrological Mercury is very strong. The mind is the major knowledge center, and here we know things through observation and deduction (as opposed to heart, above with feeling/intuition). The analogy of a sword/sharpness and the idea of "cutting through bullshit" is very useful - when we are perceiving clearly, we cannot be fooled. That is swords positively expressed. However, when negatively expressed, swords is the place of fear and reactionary behavior. We can deduce incorrectly and perceive inaccurately, so knowledge in this sense is prone to error, and that's the birthplace of fear. (Whereas with intuitive knowledge, the feeling itself can't be wrong, per se. We might interpret it wrong, and that's why intuition still isn't 100% reliable, but the interpretation itself happens in the mind, which is, again, the place that's prone to error.) I'm rambling here, sorry. The directional correspondences here again are weak, but they would be sunrise, spring, the new/waxing moon, and the east.

Pentacles/disks/coins: earth, body. This is all about the material life, and I don't mean that in any pejorative sense that's associated with the popular understanding of "materialism." It's about the physical, lived experience of having a body - eating, sleeping, physical sensation, having physical possessions, home and hearth, family, to a certain degree it's ancestry. It's about money, physical work (not the part where you get inspired to do your work - that's fire/wands), nature, gardening/growing food. And everything the author said above. There isn't really an astrological correspondence here because the planet would be Earth. The directional correspondences are also weak, but they're midnight, the dark/new moon, winter, and the north.

However... the way the cards use this imagery becomes infinitely complex in practice. Two cards can interact with each other in such a way that it might look to someone getting a reading like the reader is disregarding the suits, but really, it's a very complex interplay of symbols, ideas, and immediate reactions to the images. Like... If you've ever read His Dark Materials, my experience of finding meaning in a tarot spread is remarkably similar to the way that Lyra had a sense of how the different symbols on the alethiometer changed and influenced each other's meanings as they came up in a reading together. (And in case you couldn't tell from my tone here, I think it's completely fucking sweet.)

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm 0

On Interview with a Pagan Clergyman

@stonefruit I consider myself like... Pantheist-Pagan-Catholic I guess. I definitely don't have a "church" the way this interviewee does, but I have a spiritual community in my city, and we observe the moon cycles and the yearly festivals like Samhain and Beltane and what not (although not with as much enthusiasm or structure as what the above interviewee describes). We've largely created this together as we've gone along, and it's really not patriarchal. But also, it has been overwhelmingly women participating in things, and the community has mostly grown from the women's circles we've held, so that will obviously set the tone, but we do have plenty of male friends and partners who participate to varying degrees. Some of them are working on getting a men's circle together. I think the lack of any real leadership will keep it from even having the opportunity to be patriarchal, since there isn't anyone directing things who could take it there. There is a smaller group of us within the community who facilitate most of the gatherings, but we all have the explicit intention of keeping it vague enough that anyone who joins us can really home-brew her own spiritual practice within our spaces.

So I think that this completely grassroots approach is a really excellent approach for seekers who have either vague or specific desires about what kind of spiritual life and community they'd like to have. The obvious problem is access, though, since the way we do it is entirely word-of-mouth and mostly in private residences. But I'm in Philly, if there are any Philly-area 'pinners who are seeking and want to chat.

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 7:22 pm 0

On Drinking Up and Sitting Down With the Men's Men at the Nashville Whiskey Festival

@Lauren C. Ostberg@facebook Thanks for your response! I think there is a place for editorial input on moments like that within pieces. Like, if The Hairpin wants (which I can't really assume, but I hope they do) to present feminist material, they could turn to you and mention the line, and suggest that you include maybe one more sentence reflecting on that reaction. I don't think an honest sentiment like that should be excised, because that's part of what I love about this website and other similar outlets: they're honest reflections of what our daily lives entail. But I've grown used to a vague culture of reflection here at the Hairpin, and I think there's a way to do it that both preserves honest expression and encourages a standard of social awareness. Websites like this build culture, however small the impact of any given individual post, and the privilege and power of having a widely-read media outlet, I believe, come with a responsibility to use them... at least with intention, if not for outright social good.

Anyway, I felt my original comment was aimed more at the Hairpin editorial staff than at you, the author, fwiw.

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm 1

On Drinking Up and Sitting Down With the Men's Men at the Nashville Whiskey Festival

The woman who pours my whiskey is tall, which helps me take her seriously, despite her perky demeanor and conventional attractiveness.


Posted on October 4, 2013 at 1:08 am 8

On 7 Classic Film Heroines Who Suck at Personal Safety

@Jaya Yeah, but she's not the point. She's like the Mary Poppins of The Princess Bride - the real magic's in Dick Van Dyke/Westley.

Posted on September 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm 2

On A Very Rare Look Inside the Lisa Frank Headquarters

Chances that's Lisa Frank herself dancing in the bear costume?

Posted on September 11, 2013 at 10:54 am 1

On A Drone's-Eye-View of Burning Man

I have been! Twice. It's my favorite place on earth. It's home.

Posted on September 10, 2013 at 10:46 am 1

On Two Photo Sets: Burning Man and Underwater People

@iceberg There's lots about Burning Man that's totally awful. You're not wrong. But it all really pales in comparison with the sheer beauty and drama of the experience. Those photos don't even quite capture it.

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

On Two Photo Sets: Burning Man and Underwater People

Ah! I'm getting all teary in a lecture right now! Didn't get to go this year, but those photos really transported me. Thanks for posting.

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 9:58 am 0