Monday, September 30, 2013

Quick & Easy Tarot, by Lily Oak, a review by moi

                Recently I was given the opportunity to review Lily Oak's newest book, Quick & Easy

Tarot, released by Hedge Witchery Books (, and I am so very

grateful for the opportunity. I read tarot every day; I have even been known to carry my deck around

in my purse for no other reason then to have it nearby. I am not a beginning reader by any means, but

Lily Oak has included pieces of information in her book that were quite new and fascinating to me.

            She begins with the history of tarot, from its origins as a 15th century game

known as 'trionfi' to its evolution in the 18th century to the divination tool we utilize


          Oak gives instructions on how to choose and 'connect' with your tarot deck (a key

 piece here, because if you do not have a connection with the deck you use, you will either

 not have any results, or your readings will make no sense whatsoever. I speak from

          Her example of taking notes on one's personal impression of each card is stellar;

 my deck is very complimentary to me, but only insomuch as I have memorized the

 meanings given in the guidebook. I have never thought to examine each image to see

 what my own impression would be. I will be rectifying this very soon.

          She provides readers with a brief description of each card of the Major Arcana

 (Those are the 22 cards which are associated with life experiences, and include such

 cards as The Fool, The Wheel of Fortune, The Sun, The Moon, and Death.) Oak also

 includes the definitions of each card. (Helpful if your deck didn't come with a


           Moving on to the Minor Arcana, Oak names the four suits: Cups, Swords, Coins

 and Wands. These may change from deck to deck. For instance, the deck I use, Kris

 Waldherr's Goddess Tarot, is comprised of Cups, Swords, Pentacles and Staves. (Should

 you purchase this deck, be aware that the card images of the Major Arcana are very

 different from the ones described in Quick & Easy Tarot, though the cards do have the

 same meanings as the ones provided by Oak.) She defines the meaning of each of the 14

 cards in each suit, then continues on to offer you the elemental meaning of each suit as

 well, very useful when using your cards in ritual.

           Next, Oak takes readers through steps leading to using cards for a reading. She

 gives advice on how to prepare oneself and one's deck, then offers instructions for laying

 out the cards. She offers two three-card spreads, one I've never seen before , so of course

 I had to give it a try. My reading of the three card Week/Moon/Season layout had

 interesting, though, happily, promising results. I'm going to keep my eyes open for

 opportunities both dutiful and fulfilling. Next, a familiar-to-me five card spread, then two seven card
layouts I hadn't seen before.

           The final spread Oak offers as an example is the 13 card Wheel of the Year spread, an
impressive-looking layout that is actually quite easy to read and comprehend. It's one of my favorites
when I'm looking for information concerning an outcome that will encompass several months of

           I do not read tarot professionally, or for very many other people. For those that may be

interested in pursuing this, however, Oak includes an etiquette section of sorts, giving her readers

advice on how to communicate with clients or friends concerning a reading. This I found very

informative. Maybe one day I will begin offering tarot readings with my Reiki treatments.

           Overall, Lily Oak's Quick & Easy Tarot is an impressive little book: it has all the

information a tarot beginner could need, written simply and concisely, with regard to the

 fact that beginners are just that, beginners. I am not a beginner, but I guarantee I will be

utilizing this gem of a book often.

           Quick & Easy Tarot is currently available for the Kindle, and will be available in

paperback next month.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

     So much has been going on here in Ellie's kitchen: a milestone birthday was celebrated with friends and family gathered around the table; I'm waiting (HOPING!) to hear back from a literary agent concerning a children's book manuscript; I've posted two new essays on the SageWoman blogs, and have been given an opportunity to blog for The Bookish Owl (
     We've had several lovely warm days, and I've had my little boy out along the bike path that runs by the river, exploring nature, investigating bugs, and getting supremely dirty. (Because what could be more fun, really?)

     Today will be a down-tempo day, as my little bitty one is very sick (Sick enough that he fell asleep for a nap on his own at 9 am...and he had only been up for three hours. This is an unheard-of occurrence.) AND it's COLD OUT THERE! afternoon spent in the kitchen is in order, methinks. Sweet potato cookies? Sure thing. Fresh bread? Of course! What else to do when baby is too sick to play outside? Wrap him in a blanket, tuck him into a corner of the big kitchen bench, and feed him tea and warm fresh-baked goodness. In between baking projects I'll tap away at a couple writing projects.
Plus, I have to plan our Mabon celebration, which is soon upon us. I'll leave you now with my family's favorite dinner-time treat:  Farm-Style Bread. Enjoy!

Farm-Style Bread

1 package or 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
2 c warm water
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) melted butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
7 to 8 c flour (I use a mix of unbleached white and whole wheat, but use whatever you like best)

1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water; allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes, until foamy.
2. Add butter, salt, eggs, and 4 c flour; beat until smooth. mix in enough flour to make a soft dough, not so sticky that it gets everywhere.
3. Turn onto floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes; place in greased bowl, turning to coat, and let rise, covered, for 1 hour.
4. Punch down, divide in two, shape into loaves and place in greased bread pans. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
5. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before cutting...unless you don't care how it looks, then by all means rip into it right away and slather with too much butter. Ah, heaven.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Burning the

   I suppose there is an advantage to random insomnia....while sitting around, eye-poppingly wide awake at 2:30 in the morning, there are positively no distractions. Can't turn the television or the stereo on because two of the bedrooms are off the living room, and I don't want to make my daughter or my husband share in my misery. (Trust me, it really doesn't love company.)
   This would explain why I was able to write an entire children's book in the wee hours of this morning, and draft and half-write a second. And these are not infant or toddler board books, with three and four word sentences per page. Nor are they mini-novels. They are (or would be, if I could draw!) picture books: short, 4 to 5 sentence paragraphs per page. I've got this. Why the heck can't I get published? Grr. It's all about sending it in at the right time. (Yes, I am arrogant enough to believe that my work is good enough to publish. Because it is.) I just need to figure out when the right time is.