Lughnasadh Spread for Gratitude and Facing Fear

Lughnasadh is a Celtic festival celebrated on the 1st of August. However, as the Celts marked a new day at sunset, really it is from sunset on the 31st July, to sunset on the 1st of August. It marks the beginning of the harvest season, halfway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. It is celebrated in the modern day by Pagans, as are other festival days including Bealltainn, Samhuinn, and Imbolc. In fact, you can celebrate some of these days in Edinburgh with the Beltane Fire Society.

The festival is named after a famous Irish God, Lugh. He is associated with skill and mastery, and he founded the Tailteann Games as a way to mourn his foster-mother Tailtiu. They did competitions in running, wrestling, swimming, archery, and other sports that are similar to the Olympic Games. It was also a popular time to have Handfasting ceremonies. Although Lugh is a legendary figure, these games were revived in the Medieval times, and again in the modern day.

Based on some information I got from The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, I have created a Tarot spread to be used during this season.

Lughnasadh celebrates the first harvest of the year, but there is also a darker side to such joy, as the cold winter days are coming closer, and if we are not careful, we might not have enough food for the months ahead.

This spread allows you to celebrate what you are grateful for, whilst recognising and facing any fears you may have for the future. By taking the time to reflect on and journal whatever comes up for you, it becomes easier to deal with what life throws at you.

Lughnasadh Spread Layout
  1. Theme or context for this reading- eg work, relationships, spirituality. You can either choose this card yourself or pick one at random.
  2. Something to be grateful for.
  3. Something to be grateful for.
  4. Something to be grateful for.
  5. Fears and uncertainties about the future.
  6. One way to approach these fears.
  7. Another way to approach these fears.
White Numen Tarot

Here are the cards that I drew, and a basic interpretation.

  1. Ace of Cups: the theme or context for this reading will be emotional.
  2. Page of Pentacles: I am grateful for having the emotional energy to spend on hobbies and studies, rather than being too burned out to focus on anything more than the mundane aspects of life.
  3. 10 of Cups: I am grateful for the positive relationships I have, and for the support I receive from others.
  4. The Sun: I am grateful for the small joys in life, like seeing flowers and bees on my walks outside.
  5. 7 of Cups: I am not sure which decision to make when there are so many options in front of me, and I am afraid of making the wrong choice.
  6. King of Pentacles: I can develop a resilient growth mindset and find abundance in whatever decision I make.
  7. 5 of Cups: When I have setbacks, I will try not to let my emotions get the better of me, and find a way to salvage even the hardest obstacles.

Feel free to share your readings in the comments, and other ways you celebrate Lughnasadh. I hope this year’s harvest is fruitful, whether yours is a literal vegetable garden, or in other ways such as how you are developing your life or business.

How do I get started with tarot?

Cat Tarot Wrap, Purple Tarot Pouch, Purple Tarot Cloth, Four of Cups: This Might Hurt, Ace of Cups: Sasuraibito

Your First Deck

There’s this really pervasive myth that your first tarot deck should be gifted to you. I don’t know where this comes from, but to me that seems a lot like gatekeeping. I wouldn’t have gotten started in tarot if I had waited around for someone to gift me a deck. I don’t know anyone in my personal life who is interested in tarot, so this myth seems like a way to keep it inaccessible to most people.

When picking a deck for the first time, I recommend picking something that really appeals to you personally. This is another reason why waiting for a deck to be given to you doesn’t really work. If you don’t like the artwork of the deck, you won’t use it. 

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If you have the opportunity to look through the images on each card, whether in a physical store, or by looking it up online, you will have a much better idea of whether a deck is right for you. Don’t only focus on whether you like the art, but also if you are able to get a good sense of the symbolism or meaning of the card. You want a deck that gives you instant messages, not one that leaves your head a bit cloudy.

When you’re just starting out, it can be good to have access to a Rider Waite Smith deck. You can just check the images online if you like, but many tarot books are centred around the symbolism of the RWS. Being able to quickly check what a particular card looks like can really help you learn at first.

You can have one deck or many, just beware of becoming addicted to buying new decks all the time! Indie decks can be pricey, so if you can only afford a cheaper mass-produced or second-hand deck for now, don’t worry. All that I would ask is that you don’t buy a deck from somewhere like Wish or AliExpress. They are all poor quality faked versions of existing tarot decks, which takes revenue away from the artists, creators, and publishers of the real deck. 

Books

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There’s so much information online that buying tarot books isn’t exactly necessary. But if you’d like to deepen your knowledge or learn a little history and context behind the cards, I do recommend picking up a book such as Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom which is pictured above. Here are a few popular tarot books you might like to take a look at:

Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack

Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen

The Easiest Way To Learn Tarot Ever by Dusty White

Modern Tarot by Michelle Tea

Kitchen Table Tarot by Melissa Cynova

Tarot For Troubled Times by Shaheen Miro and Theresa Reed

All Of Our Stories by Beth Maiden

For more ways to learn tarot, check out the Resources page of this blog.

Journal

If you take no other advice from this blog, please at least do this: keep a tarot journal! Write out your spreads and what meanings you took from them. Monthly readings are a great way to reflect on how your life is going, and you can also do readings for events such as birthdays, moon phases, or any other special occasion or event. Keep notes, little messages to yourself, stories, anything you like. You can use any notebook, but if you need something more guided, Liminal 11 are coming out with this tarot journal soon. 

Storage

You can of course just keep your cards in the original box. But some boxes are a little flimsy, and if you want to take your cards out and about, consider a tarot wrap or pouch. There’s an old myth that you have to keep your tarot deck wrapped in black silk. As luxurious as that sounds, you want something that is easy to access so that you can quickly and easily use your tarot deck whenever you feel like it. In the caption of the image at the top of this post, I’ve linked some storage options that I really like. Etsy is a great resource, especially for supporting small and home businesses.

Reading Cloths

Having your own little ritual for practicing tarot helps to make it a mindful and relaxing experience. You should do whatever you are most comfortable with, but it can be nice to set out a cloth, get a cup of tea ready and take some deep breaths before drawing cards. Reading cloths draw you into the spread that you’re looking at and help to prevent you from losing your cards. Again, Etsy is a great resource, but if you have any furoshiki they’re the perfect shape and size to use as a tarot cloth, and also to store and carry around your deck. 

Other Tools

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I really like this card stand I found on Etsy. I recommend beginning a new tarot practice by drawing a daily card. If you’re able to display that card somewhere you can see all day, it will help you to keep the meaning in mind, and to apply it to the rest of your day. You could keep it in your journal or your wallet if that works for you. Just don’t lose it!

 

If you are an experienced tarot reader, what do you wish you had known when you started? What has been most useful for your practice? I’d love to hear some tips and tricks. 

 

3 Magical Musicians To Uplift Your Tarot Practice

You sit down with your deck of cards, maybe a cup of tea ready, perhaps a reading cloth laid out or a notebook by your side. Most of the time, I practice in silence so that I can focus on the cards in front of me. But music can add extra dimension to a reading, and I recommend trying it at least once. If you’d like to give it a go, here are three of my recommendations for artists you should listen to when reading tarot cards.

The Visitor – Kadhja Bonet

She sets a tarot card
A fool lies on his face
Lost despite his own
Compass yielding pocket

Described as ‘psych-soul’ by Pitchfork, Kadhja Bonet has a honey-rich voice, and the timbre of the instrumentation is comforting and yet at the same time seems to transport you into a different world. From her Bandcamp page:

(sounds like) Kad-ya was born in 1784 in the backseat of a sea-foam green space pinto. After spending an extraordinarily long time in her mothers plasma, she discovered the joys and gratifications of making noise with her hands and face while traveling at maximum velocity through intergalactic jungle quadrants.

Orbit – Shenandoah Davis

If you’ve listened to Root Lock Radio, you might recognise this song from the opening of each episode. Sparkling notes from a toy piano or glockenspiel make you feel like you’re in an old house listening to a music box. I also love the artwork from the album cover of Souvenirs by Shenandoah Davis. This album is definitely worth listening to in its entirety. 

Sztoj pa moru – Laboratorium Pieśni

Laboratorium Pieśni are an all-female folk group from Poland. From their about page:

Using traditional, polyphonic singing they perform songs from all over the world, mainly: Ukraine, Balkans, Poland, Belarus, Georgia, Scandinavia and many other places. They sing a capella as well as with shaman drums and other ethnic instruments (shruti box, kalimba, flute, gong, zaphir and koshi chimes, singing bowls, rattles etc.), creating a new space in a traditional song, adding voice improvisations, inspired by sounds of nature, often intuitive, wild and feminine.

The rhythmic drumming of this song is great for getting yourself in a good mindset for tarot: forgetting about anything you need to do for the rest of the day, just relaxing and taking time to connect to your unconscious self. 


Do you listen to music when practicing tarot? What helps you to relax and focus when taking time for yourself?