The Maniacal Rantings of the Urban Crone

Bear witness to the rantings of the Urban Crone as she emparts her wisdom in her own rather quirky way.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sextiles, and Lions and Gates, OH MY!!!

The Grand Sextile, also known as the Lionsgate is a big conversation right now. The Moon and planets and whatnot aligning for a 12 hour or so window in such a way where it creates the six-pointed star also known as the Star of David. There are lots and lots of blogs about positive energy and transition, manifestation and realization of goals, and the just all around good vibrations aspect like it is sort of a nice, fluffy astrological Disney trip. Yay (note sarcasm).

There is another side of this for those who are sensitive to big energy shifts, especially when those energy shifts involve “gates” or portals or anything shiny like that. This side is not nice or wonderful or positively warm and fuzzy at all.

For those of us who are way sensitive to these things, there is the manic building of energy where you feel like you cannot ground enough, like your soul is set to vibrating more violently than a cheap motel bed. Violent mood swings, manic shifts, strange swings in your thought processes that make you question just everything in your universe. And then there is the gate itself.

For those who are sensitive to spirits, angels and just any sort of ethereal being, this is not fun. This is like someone yelled “house party!! Free booze” in the middle of a full college stadium. Pandemonium of an epic sort of thing. And for those of us who have been busy and have been neglectful of keeping control of the energy of their space and maintaining the proper shields and whatnot (sheepishly raises irresponsible hand), it becomes like a sort of a cross between Rockfest and a bad acid trip.

I am not writing this in criticism of anyone who is enjoying the shininess of the whole event. And it is a cool, once in a lifetime sort of an event, the alignment of astrological bodies into the symbol that represents Spirit, and the Sacred Union of the Masculine and Feminine Divine energies. For the person who has been paying attention to this coming and have made all the right plans, and has the proper skill and mind set, there could be some very cool things done during this window, epic world changing pieces of magic that legends are made of. 

I am writing so that the other people who feel like freaks because they are not enjoying this festive event don’t feel quite so alone. You aren’t. I am sitting here even as I write this just going out of my skull. Grounding, grounding, grounding and grounding, and not getting much relief. I am refraining from making huge, life altering decisions or operating heavy machinery. It would probably be an awesome time to sketch or paint, except that I can’t keep my hand steady enough at the moment to hold a pencil or a brush (typing is challenging enough). But, I am holding, somehow, by just sheer will, and writing this so that somewhere in the cosmos of the world wide web, it reaches someone who now feels a little less like the lone lunatic. You are not. I am here, my friend, bouncing off the walls right there with you. Hang in there.
Urban Crone... 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Witch Bag...

One of the most versatile magical objects is a simple bag. These have an incredibly long history. For as far back as people existed, they always found a way to create some sort of bag. These took on new meanings when people started placing sacred, magically charged items into them, sometimes referred to as a medicine or gris-gris bag.

An expansion of this is the Witch Bag, a bag carrying specific objects energetically charged for a single purpose. This is a tried and true piece of Witchcraft that cannot be any easier or cheaper to construct and use.

The purpose of your Witch bag can be anything, including:



Emotional healing

Enhance communication/cooperation


The uses for a Witch bag are really only limited by your imagination and resources.  Witch bags are basically Amulets or Talismans, depending on the purpose. Amulets repel certain types of energy away from you, whereas Talismans attract certain types of energy to you. When you create a Witch bag, this is basically what you are doing.

The Bag:

The bag itself should really be no bigger than a deck of playing cards. Anything bigger really isn’t necessary because you aren’t going to be loading it down with a ton of items. You can buy a bag or sew your own. There really is no hard and fast rule about this, though bags you sew yourself do contain more of your own energy. The color of the bag can be something plain like white or earth tone, or a color that best represents the purpose of the bag. For example, a bag created for prosperity/luck would be best suited in green, whereas a bag created for protection would do well as black. Fertility can be either green or brown since both of these are associated with the Earth and growing things.
The bags can also have symbols on them. The bag I carry for protection has a pentacle on it. You can find bags with symbols on them, or you can paint them on yourself using a paint marker.

Clear Intentions:

Once you have obtained your bag, you will need to make sure you have a clear intent in mind for it. Your purpose for your bag should be very specific. For example, you are making a bag because you need $500. If you are not specific as to when you need it by, you may spend the rest of your life picking up nickels. The purpose is successful, just not how you wanted it. So, the more specific you are, wanting $500 for a trip that has to be paid for in full by August 8th, the more likely you will get what you need.


Your purpose will also dictate what you put into the Witch bag. I am a big fan of the rule of three. It keeps my magic from becoming complicated and cluttered. The three types of things I generally stick to are Crystals, Herbs/Oils and some sort of Token.

The type of Crystal will greatly depend on the purpose of the bag. For prosperity, crystals such as Citrine, Moss Agate, Aventurine and Flourite are incredibly useful. Bags created for emotional healing should contain crystals such as Rose Quartz and Blue Lace Agate, which is also useful for bags created to enhance communication. I have Blue Lace Agate in a bag along with Aventurine, Flourite and Amethyst that I use to enhance psychic energy for readings. All bags, regardless of the purpose, should also have a clear crystal point as an energetic amplifier of sorts, to help draw the energy out of the other crystals.

Herbs and/or Oils/Resins are also things that should be in your bag. They should actually be placed within a smaller bag then that bag placed in your Witch bag so they are getting all over the place. Herbs such as Mugwort, Agrimony, and Sage are good for bags designed to ward off negative intentions. Cinnamon and Clove in their whole states are perfect for bags created for prosperity as that is the energy they hold. The herbs you use should be dry to prevent molds. Oils and resins should be used very sparingly as well since they will often react to the other objects in the bag. I usually just put a drop or two of whatever oil I am using on the other herbs I am placing in the bag, and let them air dry for a little bit so things aren’t so slimy.

The final objects you will place in your Witch bag will be some sort of token representing the outcome you are desiring. Tokens can be fancy coins or 4-leaf clovers to bring luck and prosperity. Animal totems or symbols of protective Gods and Goddesses can be used in bags created for protection. For fertility, a representation of a fertility Goddess or a phallic symbol is the perfect token.
You can also include symbols and sigils if you have an understanding on how to use them. For example, the rune Fehu can be used as a prosperity symbol. Several runes can be overlaid to create a sigil for protection. This can be written on a stone using paint or even on a piece of fabric or paper and placed in your Witch bag. Again, if you have an understanding on how to use symbols and sigils, they can be an asset to enhance the energy of your bag.

Whatever you choose to put in your Witch bag, you need to do the research to find out what will work best for you. Just a few of each type of item will due to create the right energy for your bag.


Once you gather all of your items for your Witch bag, you will need to cleanse everything, including the bag, but except the Herbs. Herbs are considered pure energy forms and really do not require any cleansing, unless you were growing them in your bathroom or sock drawer or someplace bizarre. The items can be cleansed in several ways:

Smudging: Sage or Cedar will cleanse the energy of whatever you are using, causing no harm to the items.

Moon light: Moon light is the most gentle and causes the least amount of harm. Place items in the light of the full moon for an hour or so and the objects will be cleansed.

Sunlight: If you are in a rush, items can be placed in direct sunlight for 30 minutes and be cleansed. Keep in mind that certain stones such as Amethyst, Citrine and Flourite react badly to excessive sunlight, so no more than 30 minutes.

Please note that if you are using a token that carries the energy of someone specific, and you want to retain that energy, you should pass on cleansing it.

Once everything, including the bag, is cleansed, you are ready to construct the Witch Bag.  

Construction and Consecration:

Whether you choose to call the quarters and pull up a full magic circle, or you like to keep things simple, the construction and consecration is exactly the same:

1.     Place all the items in the bag and close the bag.

2.     Hold the bag in both hands, or just your power hand (your dominant hand/hand you write with).

3.     Visualize not only the purpose of the bag, but the outcome. Hold that image in your mind. This is the energy of your intent/purpose for the bag so really build up and focus it into an energy ball in your mind, sitting at the top of your head.

4.     Move that energy down through your head, neck, across the shoulder of your power hand, down the arm of your power hand, through your power hand and into the bag.

5.     Keep focused on that energy for a while, visualizing your purpose fulfilled. Feel that energy pulsating in the bag.

6.     Set the bag aside and be sure to ground any excess energy you may be experiencing.

There, you Witch bag is now ready to do whatever it is that you have programmed it to do. Here are a few rules so that all your hard work does not go to waste:

1.     Do not let others handle your bag.

2.     Do not let others open your bag.

3.     Do not open your bag or take any items out of your bag

4.     You may add an item to your bag by consecrating that specific item in the manner laid out above.

Destroying a Bag:

When your purpose has been fulfilled, the job of the Witch bag is done. At this point, all that is left is to destroy the bag. This can be done by digging a hole and empty the contents of the bag into the hole. Toss the bag in and then fill the hole in. You can also dump the contents in a river or deep, fast moving stream, and then toss the bag in.

If you use a token that is very valuable to you, or an expensive crystal that you can’t part with, you can cleanse these items in the manner that I have spoken of. That should remove any residual energy you put into it and make it safe to have around.

Blessings and good luck!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

She Danced....

It was the Saturday night fire at Heartland, wood stacked high and burning brightly in the circle like a beacon to the Gods. The young danced around the fire in the dance of sexuality and excitement. Mothers and grandmothers shared the dance with little ones, showing them the joy of being free. But, it was she who caught my attention and held me captivated.

She was lithe, almost too thin, her rib cage showing in a way that marked a life of very thoughtful care. Her small bare breast lay almost flat against her hard chest. She danced, thin arms raised and twining, body swaying rhythmically to the pounding heartbeat of the drums. She moved gracefully around the fire, the wind and the heat blowing and twirling through her long salt and pepper hair. And I was mesmerized by her.

As she glided around the fire, I instantly was filled with the feeling of Deity, of being witness to the Goddess moving before me. Not just the Goddess, my Goddess, the Crone incarnate, showing me age with grace in a way that I had never seen before in my lifetime. The Crone held me captive for quite some time as she made her way around the fire over and over, seeming to notice nothing but the fire as if she were moving in a space all her own. There was something beyond a peace and serenity about her. The glow upon her was not just the fire she danced around but the fire that burned within her.

As I watched her, witnessing the extraordinary divinity and grace of this Elder before me, I found something within myself. I found a renewed connection with spirit, and with the Goddess within me. I finally understood the Grace and Beauty of coming into the Crone phase of being, of moving in my own space, taking the beat that is given and not conforming but finding a way to incorporate that rhythm to who I am and how I choose to exist as I move around the Cosmic Fire of Life.

I still carry that peace with me, gifted to me by someone I do not know. I should have thanked her, and that is my only regret. But, I did not want to stir the stillness and serenity of her moment. I will carry her within me for the rest of my life, that image of the beauty and grace of the Crone, a gift that I hope to one day pass on to another.

Blessed Be….

Saturday, May 11, 2013

(My take on Mother's Day) "I told you so..."

Life is just too short. It really is. A large chunk of your life is spent as a kid with not a lot of control over your universe, well, not really. Your parents may give in to you, but, in the end, it will come back to bite you in the ass when you realize that isn't how life works, which brings us to the next chunk of your life. I like to call this the "I know absolutely everything, yet I am clueless what I want to do with my life" phase.
This phase is my freaking favorite to watch from the sidelines. Mind you, I was a total freaking idiot with no clue as to what the heck I was doing, but you couldn't tell me that because, yes, I knew freaking everything. And, of course my mother was right. She just was, and so is yours. Suck it up, Princess, because you will figure out one day that she really is right. And she is right because when she was your age, she was right there, messing up her own life with no clue. It is a vicious circle of life that nobody really escapes from (cue Lion King Music). The Gods have a sense of humor. Just freaking deal with it.
There is also this weird brief phase after all that, sort of a post apocalyptic lull, where, if you are lucky, you figure shit out and get to listen to your mother say "I told you so" a whole lot. Just suck it up and let her do it. She screamed bloody murder while pushing you out her vagina so she has earned a bit of your time, and some serious gloating points. So, whether she is standing right there with the bail money in hand, taking a moment to take advantage of your undivided, jail-cell-occupying attention, or stealthily waiting like some Karmic Ninja, stockpiling numerous "I-told-you-so's" just so she can spring them on you all at once while you are driving her to the doctors or to the store for toilet paper. You just need to shut up, pull your big girl panties up and just take it.
Because, there is something important that you need to understand. Moms aren't forever. I am fortunate enough to have my mom still, who really likes to say "I told you so" a whole lot. But, there are people out there without moms, who wish there mom was still there to bust their balls about something epically stupid they did. It is one thing to do something epically stupid and then have the torture of listening to your mother tell you just how epically stupid it was, but it is monumentally worse to do something epically stupid, and be met with a momless silence.
So, this Mother's day, don't just give your mom a card, or flowers, or a car (well, you can buy her a car, that would be ok), give her time, that wonderful, golden, fleeting gift of your time so she can tell you just how completely you have wasted your life and you could have done something so much more awesome than becoming a doctor who cures cancer in kids or a supreme court justice (you know you could have done better, slacker). Listen to it. Take it in with all the love and adoration you can muster, and even thank her for showing you that being a rich and famous writer is such a dead end job, you are going to find something much more worthy next week. This is what she wants because, to her, time equals love. Time is the real currency of the mothers of adult children. It is always too late when the adult child realizes that it goes both ways, that time with her is their currency too.
And, if your mother is no longer with you (and I am truly sorry for your loss), take a moment and think of every time she told you, "I told you so," and send her a loving thank you from your heart. She will hear you because she is still watching, still tallying up all those epic mistakes you continue to make with your life, even finding little ways to smack you in the back of the head when you cross too far over that line. And she is stockpiling some good material for when you meet again, in the great beyond, so she can take your hand, kiss your cheek, and say... "I told you so."
Urban Crone

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Deck Review: The Dark Carnival Tarot

The Dark Carnival Tarot deck is a hand-drawn 78-card, some what traditional, small press tarot deck. The artwork on the deck is based around what it's creator, Rachel Paul, calls "dark circus imagery", inspired by the Juggalo subculture surrounding the band Insane Clown Posse.  Available on Etsy from the artist, the very reasonably priced deck set includes the deck, a booklet and a bag with your choice of design.

I normally don’t comment on bags included with decks from the creators but in this case I felt I had to. Rachel went the extra mile here and I want to give her kudos for it. With your order, you get a black velvet bag on which Rachel will hand paint any number of designs, including a Lotus Cross, Butterfly, Violent J or Shaggy 2 Dope Clown Face, Ringmaster, Wraith (the one I got), or really whatever you like. Really liked this extra personal touch.

The Dark Carnival Tarot deck itself that I received is actually the new, third-edition. The first two editions, it is my understanding, were available at different Juggalo culture events, and were received very fondly. I will admit to not knowing much about the Insane Clown Posse (ICP) culture but was drawn to the deck because it is something my oldest daughter likes. So, while I am not a Juggalette, I can, as a Tarot reader, appreciate this deck and Rachel’s effort.

The cards are 3.5”x5" (making them larger than a standard playing card deck) borderless and professionally printed on thick, semi-gloss cardstock. The artwork is bold and bright, full of fantastic detail. Rachel does an interesting job of capturing the essence of the meaning of each card while holding fast to the Juggalo cultural references. The suits are Duckets (Pentacles), Faygos (Cups), Axes (Swords) and Gats (Wands) all who’s elemental correspondences hold to the RWS system. While I would not recommend this deck to a beginner, it is oddly readable. I would, however, recommend that a little bit of background in understanding the ICP culture would definitely further your understanding of the deck. Rachel uses the symbolism of the culture to further illustrate the symbolism of each card, and you would really be missing some gems with this deck if you didn’t at least take a moment to give a cursory look into the Juggalo culture, something you can find in the accompanying booklet.

 The 56-page booklet is an interesting read, giving you some small insight into the Juggalo culture. I will say that do not agree with a number of things Rachel said in her introduction, some of which bordered on the insulting for those of us with many years of Tarot reading experience. It is one of those thing where someone who is incapable of doing something talks down on those who can. But, it’s her booklet and everyone is entitled to their opinion, even when they are wrong. The rest of the booklet is an asset to this deck. It is written in the Juggalo vernacular (for a lack of a better word), full of slang and profanity that actually makes it amusing to read. But, it also gives you a fantastic understanding of her thought process behind each card, something I like seeing artists do and one of the reasons I love small press decks. I especially find her thought process when it came to the court cards (Joker, Warrior, Queen and King, in this deck) very interesting. Where some people stumble, she really has a decent grasp. Every card has a great interpretation and this makes the booklet both functional for the reader and an actual entertaining read, something some accompanying books/booklets fail to do.

My overall impression of the Dark Carnival Tarot deck is that it is one that is interesting to look at and would be interesting to read with. I, again, do not recommend this deck for someone who does not already have an understanding of Tarot as the standard symbolism is not there, and a beginner may find the imagery overwhelming. I also think that, much like the Deviant Tarot, you have to like the artwork, which I do find pretty interesting, to get into the deck. I will say that even if it isn’t something you could see yourself reading with, the Dark Carnival Tarot deck is one of those decks you will regret not having as part of your collection purely because of how well done and unique it is. Kudos to Rachel Paul on her fabulous creation!

Review at a glance:

Overall: 3 out of 5 wands

Card stock quality: Good

Card size: Good

Book/Booklet Quality: Really Good (once you get past the snarky intro)

Collectability: Very

Reader level: Reasonable understanding of Tarot symbolism and meanings.
Urban Crone...

Deck Reviews

   I have decided to start writing reviews on some of the Tarot, Oracle and Lenormand decks that I acquire. I am doing this because there are a number of deck I have gotten that I wish someone would have said, "hey you aren't going to like that deck." And there are a number of decks I have passed on that I wish someone would have said, "hey, this deck has some cool stuff you might like." There are also mass market decks that are born with tons of hype, only to be disappointments, and small press decks born quietly in the dark that are masterpieces. This will level the playing field somewhat.
  My deck reviews are my opinion of the deck, subject to my own preferences and biases when it comes to decks. I am purchasing these with my own money, so I have that right. But, keep in mind that behind my opinion is 25 years of experience as a teacher and professional Reader, as well as an avid deck collector. I am not saying you absolutely have to agree with me, but I would like you to at least keep in mind where I am coming from on this.
  My review will look at a variety of aspects of the deck, from artwork to card quality to readability to the companion book/booklet and so on. I will write a full review and then also offer a review at a glance at the end of the article which will look like this:

Overall: this will be on a scale of 0 to 5 wands, 0 being just awful to 5 being amazing.

Card stock quality: I am picky about this as it effects the shufflability (yup, made that up) of the deck. This will range from awful (with an explanation as to why) to excellent.

Card size: I have small hands so the card size does figure into how I feel about a deck. This will also range from awful (again, with an explanation) to excellent.

Book/Booklet Quality: I generally do not read much into the companion materials that come with decks but I know some people do, and with some decks, like Oracle decks, it is even necessary. For this reason, I will review this as well, with a range from awful to excellent.

Collectability: I am an avid, almost rabid, collector of decks. I have found over the years that there are some decks worth having in your collection and some that just aren't (unless you insist on having everything ever printed). This will range from not collectible (with explanation) to very collectible.

Reader level: This is important to me. Not all decks are meant for beginners. They just aren't. There are some decks that really require you to have some understanding of the meanings and symbolism of Tarot before you can really read with them. And there are some decks that are actually pretty clear cut and easy to read with. I will range this from Beginner to Expert, and try to make clear what I mean as applies to each deck.
Again, these will be based on my own personal opinions and experiences. I am not saying that it is the gospel according to all things, but I am hoping that it offers a valuable tool when you consider buying a deck.
Urban Crone