Category Archives: Divination

A Couple of Upcoming Events of Note

Hi, all! I have a couple of upcoming events of note that I wanted to share with you:

Northwest Tarot Symposium Free Psychic Fair and Vendor Hall: March 2-3, 2019, Portland (Clackamas), OR

As part of the NWTS in Portland, OR at the Monarch Hotel, the event’s psychic fair and vendor room will be open to the public, free of charge, from 9am – 5pm both March 2 and 3, 2019. I’ll be vending there and will also have some of the Tarot of Bones original assemblages in the art show. I’ll also be signing books and tarot decks from 12pm – 1pm on Saturday (though you can come by the booth for them any time during the event.) There’s a lot more to NWTS, though; find out about full registration and all it offers at the official NWTS website.

Pocket Osteomancy Bone Divination Class: March 17, 2pm – 4pm, Portland (Sellwood), OR

Divination with bones doesn’t have to be complicated! Pocket Osteomancy: A Simple Bone Divination Set is a simple but effective system for using animal bones to focus your intuition and explore possibilities in your present and future. It is based loosely on the Minor Arcana of the Tarot of Bones. It’s great for both beginners who may feel intimidated by more complex systems, and also provides a basic structure for more experienced practitioners to build on and explore.

In this class you’ll learn about Pocket Osteomancy and how to use it, and get to create your own set with real deerskin and bones! You’ll also have a chance to try using your new set for divination, and ask the creator (that’s me, Lupa!) questions. The registration fee is $50/person and includes all materials for creating your set as well as a copy of the Pocket Osteomancy book. To register, please call the Raven’s Wing Magical Co. at (503) 946-8951. Official Facebook Event Page here.

Introducing Pocket Osteomancy: A Simple Bone Divination Set

Surprise! I have a new book! Well, booklet, anyway. And there’s a nifty handmade divination set with it, too!

Pocket Osteomancy is a bone divination system that I created based loosely on the Minor Arcana of the Tarot of Bones. It’s a bone casting method using a casting cloth divided into four quadrants. I first released it to some of my Patrons on Patreon last year so that they could try it out, but they only had a single instruction sheet to work with. Now I’ve fleshed that out into a 24-page booklet available as a paperback or ebook, and you can purchase the casting cloth and bones as well!

Divination with bones doesn’t have to be complicated! Pocket Osteomancy: A Simple Bone Divination Set is a simple but effective system for using animal bones to focus your intuition and explore possibilities in your present and future. It’s great for both beginners who may feel intimidated by more complex systems, and also provides a basic structure for more experienced practitioners to build on and explore.

I’ve ordered paperbacks and they should be here within the next week to week and a half, so you can go ahead and place your orders now. I will fill ALL orders once the paperbacks have arrived. You can make your purchase here at

On Divination and Projection

I’ve been practicing divination for about two decades now. I started with Elder Futhark runes, and then tried tarot for a while before falling deeply in love with the Ted Andrews Animal-Wise deck, which I use as a totem card deck. I’ve tried a few other systems, and I’ve pretty consistently found that if I understand how the system works and what each component means, I can use it pretty successfully.

Some of this is because I have really good pattern recognition. It’s not surprising–I’m an artist, and I have a fair amount of visual-spatial intelligence. So once I know the lay of the land, as it were, I can pick up the patterns within it. I also possess a decent amount of empathy–not the sort where people claim to be able to sense others’ emotions even with no real contact with them, but the sort every emotionally healthy human has, the empathy that we evolved as part of being exceptionally social, communicative creatures and which we exercise through both verbal and non-verbal communication. You might be amazed how much active listening plays a part in good divination.

But what I want to write about now is the issue of projection. In its original psychological context it involves someone denying a quality in themselves while accusing others of displaying the very same quality. But the meaning of the word has drifted a bit over the decades, and can also mean when we imagine that the other person is experiencing or thinking the same thing we are, to include when we’re aware of it. I’m going to use that latter, less strict definition for the purposes of this post.

It is impossible to give someone a 100% unbiased divination. This is just the truth when it comes to filtering any information through the mind of a human being: we are invariably going to add our bias to it, no matter how slight. Sometimes it’s as small as what words get the most emphasis in your relaying of the information–or even what words you choose to use. Other times, a reader may make their bias very clear, even making suggestions as to what the querent should do.

Neither of these are necessarily bad in and of themselves. I’ve had readings where I needed to be very careful of what I was saying and how I was saying it because I needed to be sure the querent got as neutral a reading as possible. And I’ve had some where the best tactic was to be more directive, particularly when the message seemed urgent. As with anything, it depends on the situation.

But it’s important to be mindful of projecting your biases when you read. Let’s say you’re reading tarot with the Rider-Waite-Smith deck or one based on its imagery. The cards have some historical meanings, as well as others that have been built up over the years. The images in the cards also have certain cultural meanings associated with them. We know the Fool is the Fool because he is carefree, not really paying attention where he’s going, and looking like he might be about to walk off a cliff while his little dog tries to warn him in vain. He is not opening the mouth of a lion like Strength, or tumbling through the air from the Tower.

But we, in the end, add our own spin to these cards. Some people see the Fool as a shiny new beginning, a reason to step forth onto an untrodden path. Others view him as being too naive, and one should be cautious before blazing a new trail. He’s also been seen as someone wasting their time on frivolous things. It all depends on the reader and what biases we place on the Fool.

This is where projection comes in. A reader who sees Fool-ish people as lazy and directionless may urge a querent to move beyond the Fool’s part of the journey. Someone who appreciates the enthusiasm of youth, on the other hand, may tell the querent that the Fool is a great sign of energy and a return to innocence. All of these are potentially right, and it’s okay if your biases affect how you personally interpret a card and what meanings seem to fit it best. A moderate amount of projection is necessary in order to make use of any divination system; it’s part of what makes it your reading instead of a reading given by that other person at the next table at the psychic fair.

Where projection can become problematic is where our biases are too influential on what we tell the querent. It’s one thing to interpret a card; it’s another entirely to tell the querent whether this is good or bad. The reader who sees the Fool as too foolish may say “This card represents someone who hasn’t yet settled down and found their path in life; does that sound familiar to you?” rather than “The Fool is the card of immature people who can’t even figure out what they want to do with their lives, and maybe you need to get more serious about things.” Occasionally there will be a time when that latter, more hard-hitting message is appropriate to convey, but for the most part it’s better to at least open your discussion of that card with the more neutral statement and see how the querent responds before going on.

What we really don’t want to do is judge the querent themselves. Sometimes we get people coming in with really hairy problems. Sometimes, yes, they’ve made some bad choices, and they may not even be fully aware of how their actions have brought about consequences. While there’s that occasional querent who may benefit from a metaphorical two-by-four to the back of the head, it’s generally a good idea to err on the side of compassion and non-judgement. As a reader, it is not your job to fix the person or tell them what an utter screw-up they are. Instead, you’re conveying information, helping them understand it, and being a sounding board as they start to figure out what to do with it. (If you find yourself resembling Judge Judy or Gordon Ramsay, you’re doing it wrong.)

So how do you keep your projection in check while making the most of its usefulness? Primarily be being aware of it. First, look at why you assign a particular meaning to each card or other component of your divination set, and if there are certain interpretations and patterns that keep coming up whenever it arrives in a reading. This is especially important with divination systems where each component can have multiple interpretations. If you keep records of your readings, check for those same patterns where you keep assigning the same or similar meaning to the same card/symbol/etc.

The other part of awareness is to consciously pay attention to your biases as you’re reading. The next time you give a reading to someone else, pay attention to how much of what you say is your bias or judgement being laid out on the table versus straight information about the card/etc. in relation to the querent’s question or situation. How many times are you interpreting the card for them versus letting them decide what it means for them?

And finally think of whether that querent wants you to tell them the answers, or whether they just want information that they can then chew on a while. A good way to gauge this is to convey the meaning of the first card as neutrally as possible, and then ask them what they think. Some may have a lot to say about it, but there are also those querents who say “Well, I don’t know…” With time you’ll be able to gauge not only how active a querent wants to be in their reading but also be able to adjust your amount of projection as the reading proceeds.

Did you enjoy this post? Consider having me give you a totem card reading!

How to Reconcile Tarot and Non-Human Nature

I’m taking a bit of a break from working on the last few assemblages for the Tarot of Bones, and I had some thoughts regarding working non-human animals into the very anthropocentric symbolism of the tarot. See, my deck has no humans in it whatsoever; it’s all made from the bones of other species of vertebrate, and draws heavily from natural history in design and meaning. This is very different from the majority of decks out there; most are based in one way or another on the Rider-Waite Smith deck, itself derived from even older decks.

With the exception of the Seven of Wands and the Three of Swords, all of the RWS cards include a human, humanoid figure, the Moon’s human face, or in the case of the Aces a disembodied hand popping out of a cloud. Where there are non-human animals, they are largely symbolic of human interests and biases; the Knights ride horses as is appropriate, the depths of the psyche are symbolized by a crab or lobster in the Moon card, and Strength shows the taming of a lion. Even some animal-themed tarot decks are essentially the RWS in fur, feather and fin. We reign supreme, and the other animals are merely bit players in our archetypal dramas.

This is, of course, to be expected. While tarot readings for pets and other animals certainly exist, for the most part we’re pretty self-centered, wanting to know what’s going to happen with us and our fellow human beings. Unfortunately this anthropocentrism has contributed heavily to our current environmental crisis; whether through necessity, malice or apathy, we have all contributed to one degree or another to the poisoning of the land, water, sky and their inhabitants.

One of my goals as a pagan, author and artist is to help people break out of that self-centered perspective. The Tarot of Bones is one tool I’m using to that end. While I, too, have drawn on the RWS deck for inspiration, I also rely quite a bit on the behaviors and other traits of the animals whose bones I’ve worked into the assemblages for the card art. This is especially true for the Court Cards and Major Arcana, all of which utilize the skulls of species specifically chosen for each card.

But this isn’t just a “this animal means this, that animal means that” deck. I’m trying to show the parallels in our behavior. I want us to internalize the ways of other animals so that we recognize them as kin. We may not want to acknowledge our inner sloth, but my Hanged Man draws on how that animal has used its slower lifestyle to survive and thrive over thousands of years–and how we can learn to do the same. And anyone who thinks we’re the only ones who fall in love have never seen two red foxes playfully courting each other! (Okay, so we’re less likely to run around peeing on our territory in the process, but you get the idea.)

The thing is, a lot of the lessons in the tarot are universal, not just for us alone. Every male ungulate has had to fight to the top of the mountain and hold his place like the Seven of Wands, and eventually even the King of the Mountain must fall, a la the Five of Swords. There is the feasting time of the Three of Cups, and the famine of the Five of Pentacles. Some cards may seem a little too abstract for our non-human kin, like the Magician. Consider that that card’s figure relies on making use of the resources available to him at any time, though, and we quickly see how every other creature survives doing the same.

In the end, there’s really not a whole lot that we humans can claim as our own without exception. Our technological skills are just a result of tool-making instincts coupled with a ridiculously large and complicated brain; our wars are no more than territorial squabbles writ large, and our peace is the baseline sought by every creature (except, perhaps, curmudgeons like the sarcastic fringehead).

So for you tarot enthusiasts out there, the next time you break out a deck for a reading, consider how the outcome might affect a coyote, or a monarch butterfly, or a giant squid. How might you read for the other creatures of the world?

Wednesday Only–Get My Booklet “Skull Scrying” For Free!

Hey, everyone! Want to get a free copy of my newest booklet, Skull Scrying:Animal Skulls in Divinatory Trance Work?

I just got done replacing the clunky old Paypal buy it now buttons on my website with a shiny new WordPress-based shopping cart! To celebrate escaping 2008, every paperback book order, even if it’s for just one book, placed on the Green Wolf website from 12:00 AM December 23, 2015 to 12:00 AM Pacific Standard Time December 24, 2015–that’s midnight to midnight Wednesday only–will get a copy of Skull Scrying added for absolutely free! You get a freebie, and I get to make sure the shopping cart is working for people besides me.

Sound like a good deal to you? Head over here to my website to get started shopping!

(Note: this applies to orders placed at the Green Wolf website only, not Etsy, Amazon or any other third-party website. Offer good for one free copy per person.)

Surprise! I Have a New Book on Scrying With Skulls!

Okay, so I was a sneaky, sneaky author. I know my official next book is Nature Spirituality From the Ground Up: Connect With Totems In Your Ecosystem, which is due out from Llewellyn in January 2016. However, I’m also still working hard on The Tarot of Bones deck and book, and since I intend to self-publish the book using CreateSpace as a platform, I wanted to give it a test run with a smaller project.

So I wrote a 32-page booklet on a topic I haven’t really talked much about but which has been near and dear to me for a few years now, and you can now order both paperback and ebook copies of Skull Scrying: Animal Skulls in Divinatory Trance directly from me at this link. Animal skulls are much more than passive decorations on an altar; they are potential allies in the ancient divinatory art of scrying. Through skull scrying you can draw forth answers to your questions and gain more insight into situations in your life with the help of the spirit within the bone. This booklet is by no means an exhaustive text on the art of scrying, but is an introduction to a particularly nature-centered version thereof. Suitable for beginners and experienced practitioners alike. The table of contents gives you an idea of what you can look forward to:

A Brief Introduction
Chapter 1: What is Skull Scrying?
Chapter 2: Choosing a Skull for Scrying
Chapter 3: Skull Scrying and Interpreting Results
Afterword: Recommended Suppliers

Please note that I will be receiving my first paperback copies of Skull Scrying on or around November 24; all paperback orders made before then will be fulfilled from that order.

Quick Note: Want to Read an Excerpt From the Tarot of Bones Book?

Over at the Tarot of Bones updates blog I’ve posted an excerpt from the first draft of the Tarot of Bones companion book. I figured you all might enjoy getting a preview of what’s to come! If you aren’t familiar with the Tarot of Bones, feel free to check out the website detailing this ambitious art and writing project I’ve been working on since the beginning of the year.

The Tarot: Major, Minor and Me

Over the past few months, as I’ve been working on the Tarot of Bones, I’ve had the opportunity to reassess my relationship with this particular divination system. Like many newbie pagans, back in the 1990s I was eager to jump into all sorts of exciting topics of study and practice. I found I had a halfway decent affinity for divination, and so between the Shapeshifter Tarot and a set of elder futhark runes I carved from natural chalk found in a Missouri creek, I began practicing this ancient art. Also like many new diviners, I found myself sticking pretty closely to my books as I parsed out meanings of card and layouts and queries. Then in 1999 I discovered Ted Andrews’ Animal-Wise deck, and thus began a love affair that lasts to this day. I left behind traditional tarot, and delved into a more organic, nature-based form of divination.

When I was preparing last year to start creating the Tarot of Bones, I took the opportunity to revisit my relationship with the more traditional aspects of the tarot. What I found surprised me: even though I hadn’t been actively reading tarot in over fifteen years, I found my personal interpretations of the cards to be deeper and richer, as well as more personal, than they had ever been. All those years doing totem readings with the Animal-Wise deck had vastly improved my pattern recognition and intuition skills, and so I could focus primarily on reacquainting myself with the tarot as a specific system.

Not surprisingly, the Major and Minor Arcana each have distinct personalities and bailiwicks. I think of the Major Arcana as a sort of pageant, with actors in specific archetypal roles, telling the Fool’s Journey through trial and triumph. Death and the Tower bring about massive, sometimes terrifying changes, but these are integral to moving the story along so that the Star and Judgement and others can even things out again. I don’t see the Majors (or the Court Cards) as representing individual people so much, though I know that’s a common way to interpret them in readings. Rather, I see them as the grand mythical forces that run through the lore and cultures of people worldwide. They are the experiences shared among a species, grand and poetic and given a stage through epic tales. They rock us to sleep every night as children, and they see us into our dreams–and our deaths.

The Minor Arcana, on the other hand, are the everyday people watching the pageant as it proceeds through its stages. Once the Fool has greeted the World and all the players bow for applause and roses, the audience goes back to lives as artisans and lawyers, retail workers and cooks, tech professionals and musicians and students. The Minor Arcana includes the cards of the individual and the intimate. We’ve all had sleepless nights full of worry, and we’ve all had joyous moments of celebration with others. We know the small, petty conflicts that can blow up into great drama, and the seemingly enormous accomplishments that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t make a lot of difference to anyone but ourselves (and that’s okay.) The Courts, in particular, refer to states of being I can aspire to (or avoid!), rather than telling me to look for a dark-haired man (I only have to go as far as the next room in my apartment to find one of those. Hi, honey!)

So what’s the difference between the Majors and Minors in my readings? The way they’ve been lining up lately is that when a Major comes up, I look outward, into the greater patterns and machinations of humanity. Turn over a Minor Arcana card, and I look inward, or very close to me. Rarely will the reading bring up an individual person; mine tend more toward patterns and situations, often involving other people, sometimes myself alone. Of course, these are generalizations. There are always exceptions. Sometimes a Major will want to get up close and personal, and sometimes a Court or Pip will remind me that those deep moments of isolation or bursts of inspiration speak to much larger social or species-wide currents.

Of course, this is just a discussion of the strictly tarot-flavored elements of my readings. As the Tarot of Bones develops, the animals themselves are speaking up, particularly in the Major and Court cards. But that set isn’t finished yet, and so our conversation is still ongoing.

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