I wrote a tarot deck review

I’m putting some of my tarot content in my tarot and knitting blog, so I had to take a minute to squee that I wrote a review of one of my favorite tarot decks over at The Wooly Witch.  Take a look if you like!

In other news, Katie and I are getting REALLY excited, the annual May Day Faerie Festival is SOON!  End of the month!  We have so much that we want to get ready before then and we’ll probably be scrambling to do everything at the last minute like we always do, but that’s fine.  Everything is okay at Spoutwood.  I CAN’T WAIT TO BE THERE!!

We’ve started subscribing to this meal delivery thing called Blue Apron.  Every week they send us a box of fresh ingredients enough to make 3 meals and we chop and prep veggies and cook ourselves a vegetable laden meal.  It’s been lovely, and it’s definitely getting us to eat more fresh vegetable.  It’s not cheap, but we also aren’t wasting any food.  So far we’ve loved all but one of the meals (it was just okay, not bad) and it’s been fun to get the boxes in the mail and cook new exciting things!

Also I dyed my hair blue again!  It matches the yarn I got in my yarn club this month!

yarn

I love love love the color.

That’s it for now!  See you at Spoutwood!

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Being Gay

It’s not actually something I talk very personally about and in talking with Katie a while ago about her fears around her queer experience not being valid because of reasons, I felt like it’s something I really needed to share.

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There is a ton of lesbian, gay, queer, trans narrative out there and a lot of it used to begin with the phrase “I always knew I was different.” And there’s nothing wrong with that, there are tons of people out there who always did know something, and their experiences are just as valid as anyone else’s.

But it isn’t my narrative. And something that I’ve learned as I’ve read more and more people’s accounts of their coming out stories, their self realization stories, is that we need more stories. There is no one single queer narrative, even if people grow up in very similar circumstances, everyone views the word a little differently. And that is a wonderful thing.  I think we need to welcome the diversity of experiences as part of our queer narratives.

I remember reading this book when I was in graduate school, it was called On My Honor: Lesbians reflect on their Scouting Experience. In that book I FINALLY found a narrative that resonated with me. I said, for the first time, “Oh my God, ME TOO!”. And it was a shocking and profound moment. That light bulb moment where you finally truly know that you are not alone in your experiences.

I blogged about that book back in 2006, when it was a light bulb moment for me.

Firstly, I didn’t really even realize that ‘liking girls’ was a THING you could do. I mean I’d heard about gay and lesbian people, but only in that passing “Geraldo show, I kissed my best guy friend” kind of way. I was raised in a very loving and supportive household, my family always valued diversity and we definitely talked about other cultures and pluralism, but sexual orientation just wasn’t really something that was even on the radar as something you could be.

Looking back, I think the first time I was really ever exposed to anything queer at all was when I was living in Hawaii, and they were talking about same sex marriage, this would have been back in… somewhere in the late 90s I guess. And it was just something that adults talked about somewhere off on the fringes of my attention. I can’t even really recall an actual conversation, just a general feeling of ‘weird’. I remember Ellen coming out on a magazine cover, something about arguing about trim on a blazer.

The first gay person that I knew about (because statistics tell me that I almost certainly knew other gay people, I just didn’t know it, and maybe if they were anything like me, they didn’t either) was this guy I knew in high school. There was this odd conversation about how we were all having “Girl Talk” even though my friend, who was a guy, was there.  I was a little confused and then a different friend pulled me aside and, in a hushed whisper, told me that he was gay. I can remember thinking of him kind of like some kind of rare unicorn that I’d heard about but never actually seen. Please be kind to me, I was fifteen I think.

Another person, who was a friend of a friend, told me that she was bisexual. And she told me by having me play a gang of hangman. It was a strange and bizarre moment. Because of the hangman thing, not because of the bi thing.  I can only guess that she wasn’t sure how to talk about it and so she made it this game.

I came out to my friends through a blog post mostly.  I’m pretty sure I got nothing but positive support, although a couple of people were sort of dismissive and said that they had known for ages and were just waiting for me to tell them.  Which was, and still is, kind of hurtful.  Not in a terrible way, but in that slight microaggression kind of way.  I know that they didn’t mean it to be, and would probably feel bad if they realized how it might feel to me.  Also, you don’t KNOW that someone is queer before they do.  You might wonder if they are, or not be surprised if they later tell you.  But you don’t know it before they do.  I also had a response where someone insisted that I needed to immediately tell some other people who I was really NOT ready to.

Tip: If a friend comes out to you and you’ve suspected forever, please don’t be all like “DUH, I knew.”  A better response might be “Cool, I’m honored that you trust me enough that you’re telling me.”  Just saying.

So that was a little difficult, in a very non dangerous way.  I often feel a little bit guilty about some of the emotions I have around my coming out when so many of my queer friends and allies have had MUCH worse experiences.  I was never in physical danger, I didn’t risk losing my job, my family, or my friends.

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I’ve been very blessed to have a lot of safety around being gay.  No one throws things at me or screams at my wife and me when we walk down the street.  No one defaces our house or threatens us.  We actually had this one bizarre experience where we were buying groceries and the bagger, an older gentleman, asked if we were sisters (we get that A LOT, because two ladies together obviously must be sisters, there’s no possible other configuration).  To which I smiled patiently and said no, we’re married.  He paused, and you could almost see the wheels in his brain scrambling to catch up and process what I’d just said.  This is fairly normal, most times I just smile and we leave whoever’s mind we’ve just blown and go on our way.  But this time we were still paying for our groceries and he seemed to recover his faculties pretty quickly.  He walked around the grocery counter and SHOOK MY HAND and offered me congratulations.  And he shook Katie’s too.  It was a truly bizarre, but oddly sweet moment.  We thanked him, and took our groceries outside.  To our credit, we waited until we were safely outside before we BURST into laughter and congratulated each other on being married.  You know, more than 8 years ago!

We are very blessed.  Even though there is a LONG way to go for queer folks, I’ve seen a lot of things I never ever would have expected to happen.  Idiotic microagressions aside, like never seeing ourselves represented in media (try finding lesbians in non-lesbian targeted media sometime), and being assumed to be sisters, we’re doing well.

The Magic of Spinning

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I have been trying to get Katie into some kind of fiber craft for ages and ages, and so when she recently said that she might like to try drop spindle spinning with me, I was over the moon!  I think I may have actually jumped up and down with excitement.  She has always been game to try out any craft I’m into, she’s made some beautiful granny squares, and even contributed one to the blanket several friends got together to make for our dear friend, Bethany, when she went away to a university in far away Michigan.  But none of the fiber arts that I am completely crazy about seemed to check the boxes for her.  Although she does have a beautiful loom and has woven some truly gorgeous projects on that.

But spinning!!!  I practically SHOVED fiber and my simple Ashford drop spindle into her hands.  And then I went online and ordered her a whole bundle more so she would have variety :3

And we’ve been spinning together.  And it gives me such JOY.  When we went to the Common Ground Fair last year we both brought our spindles along and while we sat waiting to watch Sheep Dog demonstrations, we spun together.  Sitting side by side on a little red wooden bench spinning wool on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

Seeing her discover that she likes spinning rekindled my love of drop spinning too.  So portable, so magical, so… perfect!

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I’ve said before that knitting is magic.  And I’m going to do that thing again.  Spinning is MAGIC.  Seriously.  And it’s science.  It’s this blow your mind cool fusion of old magic and modern science.  When you spin, you’re literally expending physical energy when you put twist into your yarn.  This is kinetic energy.  If you’ve studied physics then you know that energy can never be destroyed.  It only changes shape.  The energy from your body, your movements, goes out from yourself and into the yarn.  You are both physically and metaphysically sending your energy into that craft!

This idea isn’t really mine though, I got this Mind Blown moment from reading the book Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont.  She talks about the physics and the moving energy.  My brain exploded into the witchy magical side of it all

And right now I’m getting ready to add a new spinning wheel to our house.  I’m saving my pennies (and you need a whole heck of a lot of pennies to get one of these beauties!) for an Ashford Joy.  It’s this beautiful folding wheel and I should have enough saved in about two weeks!  I can’t wait to tell you all about her when she arrives.

If I’ve piqued your interest in spinning, and I hope that I have, I absolutely recommend that book I mentioned, Respect the Spindle, and I recommend that you hop over to YouTube.  Short of having someone teach you in person, Youtube is the second best way to learn to drop spindle spin.  It’s this ancient and simple process that connects you with generations of people who went before you.  Taking your energy, a spindle, and a little wool, you can create something from practically nothing.  And that is just SO COOL.

-R

Tarot: A jumbled beginning

As I was thinking of starting this post, I was thinking of a line something like “I’ve been interested in tarot since…”. But then I thought about it and I can’t remember exactly when I ‘got into’ tarot. In a way, it’s like a queer coming out story: they always used to start with ‘I always knew I was different ever since I was a child’. And, honestly, mine just doesn’t. Mine was more like ‘I never even realized that I could possibly be gay until I fell madly in love with this awesome girl’ :3.
Daily drawing -The Lovers

It was sorta like that with Tarot.  When I was a freshman, there was this girl a few rooms down who had tarot decks.  She once offered to give me and a few of my friends readings.  At that point I didn’t know pretty much anything about tarot and I was more interested in looking through the cards.  She said that she didn’t like to let other people handle her cards, which at the time I thought was weird as heck, but now I kind of understand.  Although, I think now, when I get ready to read for people, if they’ve never seen tarot, I’d like to have a deck on hand that they could page through and ask questions about.  There are definitely decks that I have now that I wouldn’t let most people handle, maybe a select few.  Those are decks that I use only for myself.

Daily draw #emperor #Athena :) :)

After this, my first encounter with tarot, I got interested, and like the data loving librarian that I am, I went straight to the internet and READ EVERYTHING I COULD FIND.  I bought my first tarot deck, and I can’t remember if I bought it on Amazon or if I found it at the mall, maybe Barnes and Noble.  I wish I could remember, and I wish I still had it.  I’m pretty sure that I sold it somewhere along the way after that first blush of interest had faded.

My first deck was a Lord of the Rings themed deck.  I must have tried reading those cards, but I have almost no memory of them.  They weren’t all that pretty (and I’ve found that I really need my decks to be pleasing to the eye or else I haven’t connected with them) and I was kind of in over my head.  I hadn’t read Lord of the Rings, and the movies didn’t even exist yet (I’m dating myself a bit here 😉 ) so I don’t know why I even picked them.  I was into fantasy things; that might have been why.  And funnily enough, this is how I spoiled myself for the movies and books.  The death card is Gandalf, and now, looking back at that, he is SUCH an appropriate figure for that card.
Magic candle crafted for my #tarot work #candles #magic #tarotreading #tarotreadersofinstagram

I’m rambling about all of this now because I’m in an upswing of tarot interest again.  My interest in the cards has waxed and waned over the years, I’ve collected a lot of decks and only recently started to use them again.  It was Katie that I have to thank for reigniting my passion for them.  She found an article on Autostraddle about tarot, and that article linked to some others, and was part of a series, and I HAD TO READ THEM ALL.  RIGHT NOW.  The article, The Fools Journey, was written by an awesome person named Beth who runs a site called Little Red Tarot.  I went to her site and discovered that she offers something called the Alternative Tarot Course.  She calls it “An eight-week course to develop your personal approach to tarot”.  And she’s queer so it’s STUFFED full of inclusive queer tarot insights and it was absolutely exactly what I needed. Katie and I decided to work on this together, and while we’re definitely taking a LOT more than 8 weeks to do it, it’s been incredibly helpful and useful, and I love it.  I recommend it to ANYONE interested in tarot even a little bit.  It’s really helping me get comfortable with my decks and I’m learning to trust my intuition about them a lot more.

Snapshot #tarot spread this morning. TWO ACES! Very exciting. #tarotreading #tarotreadersofinstagram

I’ve learned that I love love love to buy Tarot decks, and I especially love decks that aren’t relentlessly heteronormative.  Beth at Little Red Tarot has had some good recommendations.  At the moment here are some of my favorites:  The Universal Goddess Tarot, The Wild Unknown Tarot, The Happy Tarot, and the Joie de Vivre Tarot.

Others that I have but haven’t really worked with:  Tarot of the Silicone Dawn (which is QUEER as heck, but for me it’s a bit hard to read), Wildwood Tarot, Manga Tarot, Robin Wood Tarot (which used to be my go to, but over the years it’s just too white-washed and hetero for me), and the Universal Fantasy Tarot.

The only deck I’ve gotten that I REALLY don’t like is the Tarot Art Nouveau (by Antonella Castelli).  I thought I’d love it because Art Nouveau usually means lots of pretty ladies and beautiful art.  But it has some deeply creepy power dynamics with all of the Kings, and the Lovers card was so upsetting that I actually removed it and burned the card (it isn’t the one picture above that’s in Art Nouveau style, that one is actually the Tarot Mucha, which is okay).  I felt like I needed to do it to get that energy out.  I did contemplate selling the deck, but instead I opted to remove the offending cards and use the rest for art 🙂  You can see the lovely ladies of The Star up above on my tarot candle.

So here I am, halfway through the course (court cards is week four).  Katie and I worked together assigning the court cards to people we knew and characters we write.  I’m feeling like doing readings.  I fell out of practice with my daily draws, because that’s what I’m really really good at, starting things and then not finishing them.

I hope this time around it sticks.  I’m trying to make it stick!

A multihued beginning: Arboreal Rainbow

Here there be dragons.

Okay, so it’s more like here will be knitting, ferns, tea, and magic.  My wife, Katie, and I share a little white house in New Hampshire with our two cats, two finches, and too much wool (it’s all mine).

I’m a librarian who loves knitting, spinning wool, and making messes in her studio.

Rachel at the Fairie Festival 2015

Katie is a writer who loves ferns, trees, and art supplies.

Katie at the Fairie Festival 2015

We got married in sandals in a backyard almost eight years ago and we try to fill our lives with faerie things, magic spells, and tasty noms.  You’ll find glitter glued to the floor of my studio (it was mostly an accident–a happy accident), antique field guides to birds and wildflowers overflowing Katie’s shelves, and a pot of tea brewing when you’re at our house.

And these are our adventures.