It’s officially Autumn again.
The last few evenings have been chilly, and the moon has been full. If there was ever a time for magic- now would be it. September 20-22 marks the Autumn Equinox; the first day of Fall, and one of two days of each year when the daylight hours are the same length as the night. In many cultural traditions (especially modern pagan religions) this is a prime time for magic. I am a little partial toward this day myself, as it was September 21st of 2019 when I found and adopted my cat. Even before that, I always loved autumn, and thought it was a magical season, but I also have to admit that I am not a superstitious person. I believe in science and rationality- but I also believe in the possibility of the unknown, the power of ritual, and the subconscious mind. So, I indulged myself in a little divination.
I broke out the tarot deck.
To be clear, I don’t believe in psychics or fortune telling. I use my cards very differently than the average witch or medium. I use my cards as a form of guided meditation and self-reflection. Rather than expecting the cards to tell me things I don’t know, I use my cards to help me reflect on things I do know. I use them to help me look at a situation from a new angle or bring up a topic that’s been lurking in the back of my mind, unnoticed. I know that these revelations, insights, and inspirations come from my own conscious and unconscious mind. The cards serve as a spark to start the musings, and a prompt to continue the inner conversation: helpful, but not magic. Last night was no different.
I kept drawing the devil and death.
For those unfamiliar with tarot, that must sound alarming. To be clear, the devil does not mean Satan, and death isn’t “death”. The devil card represents entrapment, fear, temptation, and materialism. The death card represents endings, failures, letting go, profound change, and even self-awareness and morality. Getting these cards felt like a heavy-handed symbolism that would make a literature professor scoff. I’ve been dreaming of leaving the corporate world for a simple life, but have too much financial anxiety from childhood poverty to take the risk. I have dreams of living running my soap shop by and writing by night, interrupted with nightmares of failing at failing at my business, and losing all the stability I’ve spent the last decade of my life building. No matter how hard I work, no matter how much I earn- my financial anxiety isn’t going away any time soon. So, no matter how burned out or unhappy my job makes me- I Know I will keep working. No matter how much I want to let go of my past, make a change, and chase my dreams- I know that my fear will keep me shackled to my desk. So, that’s how I got called out by a deck of cards.
But, to balance our that harsh call-out, I had a dream.
I don’t remember the plot or the details, but I do remember one thing: my long-dead best friend was there. When she passed away in 2014, I dreamed of her often. In the years that followed, came to me less and less often. Now, she only appears in times of great change. I’m always happy to see her in my dreams. She’s always a comforting presence, as she was in life. I always found it notable, however, that even in my dreams- she’s died. She doesn’t die in my dreams, nor is she currently dead in my dreams; in all my dreams she’s come back from death. What could that mean? If had to guess, it would be that her passing was such a big event in my life that even my dreams must except it’s reality. But my subconscious views her as a guardian angel or a symbol of comfort and hope that can transcend even death itself. So, though I can’t remember what we were doing or what she said, I remember being shocked and happy to see her return to me. I woke up feeling contented by her memory- as if visited by her spirit.
Maybe there is a little magic in Autumn.
It may not be the magic found in fantasy novels and movies, but it doesn’t make it any less mysterious and powerful. In autumn, I find myself becoming more reflective and open to change. Maybe it’s that pensive state that opens me up to both the warnings, and the comforting, healing touch of my own subconscious thoughts. The universe is made up of patterns; patterns on a cloth that is woven with millions of threads. Magic is the ability to recognize these patterns, and pick out the threads that create it. Once you can see the patterns and the threads, you can predict and change how the clothe is woven. Isn’t that magical enough?