THE KEY TAROT CARDS FOR NOVEMBER 2017

In the season of decay and renewal, we’re asked to open ourselves wide for soul evolution, says Melinda Lee Holm. Let your deck guide the way towards the light with these tarot cards for November 2017 …

The theme for November is POWER. We start the month clearing out the debris impeding our ascension with the Death card, and then move into a series of expansions in our emotional lives, our inherent magical powers, and the courage to pursue our goals. It’s a big month!

So stay open, stay flexible, and keep your eye on the prize.

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:: 11/1 Day of the Dead—Death :: 
Day of the Dead was celebrated in central and southern Mexico long before the Spanish invaded and matched the indigenous celebrations of the dead to their Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The holiday is a time to honor the dead, to celebrate their lives, and keep their memories alive by making shrines, picnicing at grave sites, and leaving trails of marigolds to lead the way back home.

While the teachings of the Death card can feel extremely difficult, the acceptance of Death as a natural part of life is one of the greatest lessons we can learn. This extends to the life and death of relationships, modes of thinking, patterns of behavior, and ways of being. The Death card reminds us that we are always evolving, always growing and expanding and, yes, dying. Embrace life to the fullest by embracing the wisdom of Death.

Calling in Death: 

  • Wear or carry Obsidian to release what is not serving you and open communication with the Spirit World
  • Eat black sesame—a favorite of Shiva, the destroyer and transformer
  • Draw out your demons—literally. Drawing can help exorcise what needs releasing without the pressure of naming that comes with using written words.
  • Honor the dead through prayer, lighting a candle, visiting a marker, or simply telling their stories 

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:: 11/13: Venus conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio—2 of Cups :: 
Remember that awesome dose of expansion I talked about last month with Jupiter arriving to hang out in Scorpio for 13 months? Well, on the 13th, Venus will join Jupiter in Scorpio for just a couple weeks, steering this major expansion into the realm of beauty and L O V E. Keep your ears perked up and your eyes open for fresh waves of love energy in new or existing relationships and take a good look at any aspects of your personal beauty routine and/or concept that could use a tune-up.

To bring on a new day in the land of love, we look to the 2 of Cups. Cups represent Water, the element of emotion, and in the 2 we see the spark of what is possible in the emotional realm when 2 hearts come together. This card is all about the maagic of the initial attraction we feel when we meet someone new. This is of course sometimes a romantic attraction, but it can also be a spiritual attraction of friendship or mentorship. Love comes in many forms!

Calling in the 2 of Cups: 

  • Bathe with Rose Quartz—a stone or two in the tub will charge up the whole bath with heart opening energy
  • Make a date with someone new
  • Switch up your beauty routine with a new cosmetic—love the vessel you’re in!
  • Wear pink or green, the colors of the heart center

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:: 11/18: Occult Day—The Magician :: 
While there is very little information about the origins of this holiday, it is on every list of November holidays. And as a proud occultist, I will gladly take the invitation to celebrate! This Occult Day, get yourself in line for those downloads of secret wisdom by calling in The Magician.

The Magician is the Tarot’s master of manifestation. In almost every representation, he is shown with the power of all four suits (wands, cups, swords, pentacles) at his disposal. In this card, we see the figure of The Magician with one hand pointed up toward the Heavens and the other pointed down toward the Earth. When we recognize that we ourselves are beings of both the Earth and the Cosmos, we can begin to open up to our innate powers of manifestation and our Magician within.

Calling in The Magician: 

  • Eat Cinnamon to accelerate your innate magical powers
  • Create a personal mantra and say it aloud daily—use your magic words!
  • Meditate with Labradorite, stone of magic and self-mastery
  • Finally get that Tarot deck (or palmistry book, or grimoire, etc) you’ve been wanting for so long

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:: 11/28 Red Planet Day—The Emperor :: 
This celebration of the planet Mars and its association with both Scorpio and the cardinal fire sign, Aries, asks us to embrace passion, direction, and intense energy.  Whether you have Aries planets or not, look to where Mars falls in your chart and celebrate and capitalize on its big dose of fiery action from the Red Planet.

The Emperor is the perfect embodiment of Mars energy in the Tarot. Energetically, The Emperor is single-minded in his determination to accomplish his goals and create the world around him that’s in exact alignment with his personal vision. While he sometimes gets a bad reputation for being cold, the true nature of The Emperor is simply to pursue his goals and ideals with an enviable purity of passion.

Calling in The Emperor: 

  • Wear or carry Carnelian, the warrior’s stone
  • Practice The Power of No and save your energy for your own pursuits 
  • Power dress – suit? piles of jewelry? red lipstick? Get it.
  • Make a vision board – you have to dream it to make it happen!

Want more tarot magic? Book a session with Melinda here, and make sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook. 

WHY IS GAY TANTRA SO TABOO?

Why is gay tantra so taboo? It’s time to call an end to the dogma of patriarchy and traditional gender roles, says Lisa Luxx

Credit: Concha on Behance

Here we are at a mountain top tantric yoga retreat on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. The love of all my lives is trembling in zen beside me. Class is about to adjourn after our first day and it’s been enlightening; a breath of fresh mountain air into the depth of my ‘yoni’ after a year of undiagnosed vulva pain and gender delusions.

Then the goddess leading the workshop goes and says something that brings the screeching banshee of psychosexual trauma right back. “Your homework is to think about having sex with the opposite sex.” A fellow dyke raises her hand and asks, “Why has it got to be the opposite sex?” The goddess, unmoving, diverts her eye line from the gays and announces stoically, “Because tantra is for man and woman.”

Oh. I wonder why no one ever told me that before. I’d e-mailed the school ahead to tell them, “My girlfriend and I would like to do the practical tantra retreat,” and they opened their pockets wide for us to dispense our money. But they never said, “Tantra is for man and woman.”

On our walk home my girlfriend expresses how uncomfortable she is to have been given these instructions, I argue that it’s probably okay, trying to diffuse the upset. And start to think about having sex with men. It plays out like a Kung Fu fight in my head until some element gets thrown through the stain glass windows of my eyes and I see in front of me that it’s way too 2016 for this kind of disheartening heteronormativity.

It seems, this super straight approach to tantra comes from the misled belief that Shiva and Shakti literally represent man and woman. However, I got mulling this over with my friend Stephanie (who’s written a book called Sex Drive on liberating her orgasm) and she introduced me to the cult icon Barbara Carrellas who wrote the first ever book on queer tantra: Urban Tantra.

“Shiva and Shakti, in Hindu tantric philosophy, are actually huge entities representing consciousness (Shiva) and energy (Shakti). When Shakti and Shiva had sexual intercourse it gave birth to the world. How this got confused with vagina and penis, I do not know,” Barbara explains on the phone to me, after I’ve returned to England.

Back at Hridaya in Mexico, Antoaneta’s teaching became more cracked and twisted as we went on. By the second day she had termed, and continued to refer to, the clit as the “little penis.” An offensive that landed like the shells of warfare in the trenches of my creed.

I’ve toured spoken word performances that educate women on the facts that may empower their clit and one facet of this is that the clit is not small; it can extend up to 9 inches within us. The clits of many straight women will be bigger than their partner’s dick.

The course leader – who began the retreat glowing in light and by now had morphed into this disheveled, haggered devil of a being – proceeded to laugh off lesbian sex as something that only happens in yoni therapy, not a real manifestation of love on this earth. We walked out. My girlfriend cried all the way back to our cabana.

The next day we bumped into another lady from the course who was quite distressed. She told us she too was gay and what we’d missed in the final day was a ceremony whereby many unknown men had entered the space. Men who had not been on the course but who were marched in to save any woman having to pair up with another woman during the sensual massage.

This lady we spoke to, who we’ll call Kirsty, had left in floods of tears, “I feel stupid because I don’t know why I came back to tantra. I thought it was worth giving another chance but discrimination is all I’ve ever experienced at tantra schools.”

When I spoke to my queer friends about my experiences in Mexico, they had all nodded solemnly and said, “Yeah, homophobia is a real problem in mainstream tantra.” And, that was the key lesson for me to learn; there is a mainstream tantra, which doesn’t have the social awareness that some of us expect.

For anyone who has ever experienced ‘energy genitals’ they’ll know that the line between owning a dick and a pussy can be smudged. I’ve had a dick before. Insomuch as I’ve felt the erection rise from my pelvis and enter my girlfriend, and she’s felt it inside her. I wouldn’t have had the linguistics to explain this before speaking to Barbara, who coined the term ‘energy genitals’.

“There is a position called Yab Yum where the person on the bottom could have a physical possession of a vagina and the person on top could have a physical penis. But the person with the vagina experiences a penis. Once they start rocking and holding eye contact the man feels he’s being penetrated by the woman.”

This is a genderless phenomenon. And for someone who exists in the grey area between genders and doesn’t always feel wholly assigned to the physical sexual design given unto me, tantra appealed because it focuses on energy rather than physicality. And tantra does exist as beautifully open as that. Barbara Carrellas runs her own courses which allows for magic to happen off-script.

For example, “One guy came to a women’s class because he couldn’t make it to another. So he was doing the breathing technique for women and he was flying just as far and as fast as any women in the room. To which I realised, there’s a lot to this I don’t understand and I think I’m being fed a lot of myths and lies.”

The Radical Faeries, once a gay male counter-culture network in the US is now opening up to all gender and sexual identities. Within their discourse is tantric teachings. The network has now spread globally too.

When one embarks upon a tantra course they lay themselves open and become ultra vulnerable, any teacher who is insensitive or who makes you feel invisible can emboss serious damage within you.

It’s important to find a workshop leader that is emotionally equipped to the complexities of sexual identity. When humans come together and open themselves up in a small space it’s bound to get messy and as my friend Jessie says “you just have to hope for a great facilitator”.

Jessie is part of women’s only tantric program called Shakti Tantra which she tells me is a great place to heal. But the divide should not be a must for us to feel safe. For any tantric workshop to serve its purpose it needs to be free of patriarchal dogmas. That doesn’t mean being free of men.

Ask lots of questions before you book your space on a course: will I get split up from my partner, will I have to be paired up with anyone I don’t want to, will I have to reveal details about my sexual past, and so on. If you don’t get the answers you’re looking for then keep searching for the right tantra course. There are retreats friendly to all persuasions, genders and sexualities (including polyamorous types).

Tantra began as a deliberately transgressive art form. It was the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll of its day. It was a political movement. So take these homogenous tantra fundamentalists with a pinch of salt and reclaim the art form. As Barbara says: If you want to practise the semen retention that’s fine but, don’t tell the rest of us that’s the only way to do it!