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The Orphan’s Almanac is off the air until further notice.

-The Management

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The Butterfly in Your Gun

TOTL

“Let me fall out of the window
With confetti in my hair
Deal out jacks or better
On a blanket by the stairs
I’ll tell you all my secrets
But I lie about my past
So send me off to bed forever more.”

~Tom Waits, “Tango Till They’re Sore”
 

Title: The Oracle Travels Light: Principles of Magic with Cards
Author: Camelia Elias
Publisher: EyeCorner Press
Date of Publication: 20 July 2015
Format: Paperback, 170 pages
Copy provided by the author.
 

IT WOULD be a grave injustice if I were to describe The Oracle Travels Light as a book about reading cards. In fact, I believe that I would alter the subtitle to read Principles of Magic, with Cards, as the author’s use of the Tarot de Marseille, throughout, is more about giving the reader a handle, a lifeline, to hang on to, as this far-reaching, unapologetic, and quite possibly divisive book crests wave after wave.

The author, Camelia Elias, is a writer, teacher, and cartomancer, with a sharp eye for detail, and a tongue like a barbed lash. No angle is left unexamined, and no concept remains sacrosanct. There is an aggressive tone, overall, that could easily deter a reader, but to abandon the chase would be to their detriment. The author’s pressure is nearly Socratic in its subtlety, pushing against the reader so that the reader might push back, and, in that bunching and stretching of the mind, discover something wondrous.

The author’s candid anecdotes, surgically precise examinations, and relentless irreverence are a firebrand amidst a popular occultism long since grown hopelessly tangled. It follows paths that are easily missed, telling tales and answering questions that some might wish to ignore.

The cards are here, despite my apparent protestations. Dr. Elias is a cartomancer, through and through, and the Tarot is the body and blood, carrying the spirit of her teaching. Even experienced card readers can expect to find valuable insight, and beginning readers could well look here for a treatment for that period of aimless fumbling that comes early in the practice. With a seasoned reader’s guidance on interpreting the fall of the cards, as well as explorations of their talismanic and ritual uses, The Oracle Travels Light is a significant and valuable text. It looks, unflinching, at why and how we work magic, and belongs in the hands of any who have ever contemplated these questions.

The Oracle Travels Light has put my cards back in my hands. I’ve spent a shamefully small amount of time with them, lately, but reading this book has me analyzing my use of both the Tarot and playing cards with fresh attention.

With this butterfly in my gun, I feel as though I might never again miss my mark.

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Little Sorrows

Gustave Doré, 1866

“What hath night to do with sleep?”

~John Milton, Paradise Lost
 

AND SO we’ve reached the end. The fires have burned down, and the ringing of those bells has faded into the distance. The space between is filled with long, dark hours, and the ashen smell of snow.

Coddle the embers, children. There’s a spell, yet, before you can praise the Sun, again.

I humbly thank everyone who chose to join me this year, for my 12 Nights of Krampus. It’s a small joy to share with so many others those things that remind me what magic looks and feels like.

This celebration would be impossible without the kind generosity of so many wonderful and talented people. I encourage you, dear reader, to seek them out, for they work miracles, and spin our dreams into form.

+ Avalonia

+ Belladonna & Bones

+ Candlesmoke Chapel

+ ConjureMan Ali

+ House of Orpheus

+ Sarah Lawless

+ Phytognosis

+ Quadrivium Supplies

+ Rosarium Blends

+ Jen Rue

+ Scarlet Imprint

+ Aidan Wachter

+ Wolf & Goat

Now, it’s the quiet for me. I’ve got my iron teapot and Chinese green, a stack of books that demand my attention, and no reason, whatsoever, to go out among the lights and noise.

You can expect several book reviews to roll out, in the coming weeks, but for now, goodnight.

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Title image Gustave Doré, 1866.

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Night 12: Whither Hast Thou Fallen?

Gustave Doré

“Please allow me to introduce myself…”

~The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”
 
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+++ THIS DRAWING IS CLOSED +++
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ONCE AGAIN, we’ve come to the last Night, and, once again, I’ve managed to survive another year. I can’t necessarily say that my 34th has been a particularly stellar year, but steps were taken, and progress was made.

And books were read.

On the twelth Night of Krampus, you are offered one of my favorites of the year. A guide for the fallen…

image by TLI

I’ve written at some length about Scarlet Imprint, and I hope to continue to do so, for the foreseeable future. This year, Scarlet Imprint, and one of its founders, Peter Grey, gave us a tremendous offering, in the form of Lucifer: Princeps. You can read my full review, HERE.

Tonight’s winner will receive a signed copy of the hardback, “Crowned” edition of Lucifer: Princeps.

Have you fallen, my brothers and sisters? Share this post and leave a comment, below. In 24 hours, the fires go out for another year.

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Title image by Gustave Doré, 1866. Other photograph by The Little Imp.

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Night 11: When the Bough Breaks

image

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

~Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
 
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+++ THIS DRAWING IS CLOSED +++
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I AM NOT really a creature of the wild places. I was born astride the stile, between the sprawl and the heath, as it were. My place is amidst library dust, and tumbledown graveyards, and the echoes of country churches. My spirits are those who bled before.

On the eleventh Night of Krampus, you are offered a step widdershins.

Sarah Lawless is an artist, writer, and root-cutter, whose works with ink, bone, and leaf are well-known and much respected. In her creations, we can hold and cherish the riddle of the green.

Tonight’s winner will receive her Winter’s Green collection, a set compounded from the flesh and spirit of evergreens, such as wintergreen, fir, pine, juniper, and cedar. Carefully prepared from almost entirely wildcrafted ingredients, this set brings you the medicine and magic of the winter forest. It includes:

+ Balsam Fir Herbal Syrup
+ Winter Solstice Loose Incense
+ Pine Pitch Herbal Ointment
+ Winter Forest Chest Rub
+ Winter Forest Smoking Blend

Have you lingered amongst the sighing trees? Share this post and leave a comment, below. In 24 hours, the church bells will call us all home.

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Photograph © Sarah Anne Lawless.

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Night 10: Still Waters

© Jen Rue

“Innocent magic is stronger than evil.”

~Deadboy & the Elephantmen, “What the Stars Have Eaten”
 
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+++ THIS DRAWING IS CLOSED +++
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I OFTEN imagine quiet places. I think of somewhere empty of people, where books and tea are in abundance, and the only sounds are the wind in the chimney and the rain against the windows. I think of places wild green, and dusty grey, and autumn’s burnished red, where my voice can grow rusty, and my hair like iron.

I think often of a valley I’ve never seen, and of a sister I’ve never met.

On the tenth Night of Krampus, you are offered gifts from the well.

Jen Rue, of Rue & Hyssop, is a dear friend, and a devoted wildcrafter, who deeply loves the valley she rambles in.

Tonight’s winner will receive a bundle of goodies from Jen’s shop, Three Cats and a Broom. Included are a bottle of her Prosperity spray, as well as her excellent Florida Water and Rue Water.

Are you eager for the return of Spring? Share this post and leave a comment, below. In 24 hours, the lamp will sputter out.

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Title photograph © Jen Rue.

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Night 9: By Feather, Sand, and Bone

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“Darkness there and nothing more.”

~E.A. Poe, “The Raven”
 
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+++ THIS DRAWING IS CLOSED +++
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IT’S A SIMPLE matter, losing our way. Whether it’s the dying light, or the mounting noise, or the choking dust, the trail we’ve so carefully cut seems to vanish out from under our feet, leaving us wandering and confused. Of all the ways we’ve learned to combat this, the diviniatory arts remain among the oldest. We read signs in the movement of celestial bodies, the flight of birds, the fall of cards, or bones, or stalks of yarrow, seeking eagerly for answers.

On the ninth Night of Krampus, you are offered a view of the bones of the Earth.

Of the divination methods I practice, geomancy stands as the one that most intrigues me. The more I learn about it, the more its complexities unfold. The man who introduced me to the art is ConjureMan Ali, a skilled and erudite magician and diviner.

Tonight’s winner will receive a geomantic reading from ConjureMan Ali, forecasting the year to come.

Have you lost your way? Share this post and leave a comment, below. In just 24 hours, it will all be windblown sand.

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Title photograph © Gary Shelly.

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Night 8: As Above…

image by TLI

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
 
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+++ THIS DRAWING IS CLOSED +++
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MAGIC can run the scale from shockingly simple to numbingly complex. With many languages, ritual structures, and theoretical frameworks, it can be dizzying.

And let us not forget the material components.

On the eigth Night of Krampus, you are offered a glimpse into the locked cupboard.

The information age is both a blessing and a curse. With the world seemingly grown small, there are few secrets left. However, to know is not necessarily to respect.

Purveyors such as Phytognosis uphold the honor of the respectful adepts, offering up beautifully crafted goods, compounded from ethically collected materials.

Tonight’s winner will receive a jar of fine Hojari frankincense, a bottle of Dragon’s Blood ink, a tin of Abramelin incense, and a bottle of
Key of Solomon incense, all carefully chosen, and cunningly made.

Are the coals burning? Share this post and leave a comment, below. In 24 hours, the stone goes dark.

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Title photograph by The Little Imp.

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Night 7: In Thy Blood

© Wolf & Goat

“I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live…”

~Ezekiel 16:6
 
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+++ THIS DRAWING IS CLOSED +++
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BE IT amongst the jars of a wizard’s laboratory, high in a stone tower, or hidden on a shelf of moldering books, in the basement of an abandoned, shadow-haunted church, it was the idea of secrets waiting to be learned that first attracted me to the Arts. While things have largely turned out not to be exactly like the stories, there have certainly been some fascinating glimpses, along the way.

On the seventh Night of Krampus, you are offered a peek through the hag stone.

However relatively mundane the efforts of the working magician are, in between those eye-blink revelatory experiences, it is still a strange and wonderful path. Few purveyors embody that strangeness and wonder like the duo of Wolf & Goat.

From their beautifully haunting spirit statues and fetishes, to the almost storybook ingredients of their magnificent oils and powders, Wolf & Goat are workers of the old school.

© Wolf & Goat

Tonight’s winner will receive a bottle of their Thirteen Woods oil. A terrible and fascinating potion, compounded from the plants and animals that call the forest home, it is designed to aid in working with the green and wild, the living and the dead, and those that stride between.

© Wolf & Goat

In addition to the above, tonight’s prize also includes the shade of one of the most compelling items in magical lore: the mandrake. The winner will receive one of Wolf & Goat’s Mandrake Fetishes, prepared for them.

The Moon is setting. Share this post and leave a comment, below. In 24 hours, the dawn will chase us home.

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Title image and photographs © Wolf & Goat.

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Night 6: Toil and Trouble

image by TLI

“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.”

~William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 1
 
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+++ THIS DRAWING IS CLOSED +++
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NOT EVERYONE hungers for the return of the Sun. There are those among us who cherish the long nights, and the cold, muted days.

I am not alone.

On the sixth Night of Krampus, you are offered a touch of the beautiful, and of the strange.

From Rosarium Blends, we have a bottle of bewitching Van Van perfume, a new take on an old formula, designed to entice good fortune. Also up for grabs is an atomizer of Cthonic, a smokey perfume intended to invoke the Black Man at the Crossroads.

But tonight’s prize comes with some risks.

Marcus McCoy, the mad genius behind the House of Orpheus, has included a bottle of Oil of Lovecraft. Made with the graveyard dirt of that master of the weird (and God knows what else…), it is sure to herald coming horrors.

Will you reach for the rose and the thorn? Share this post and leave a comment, below. In 24 hours, it will be banished back to the depths.

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Title photograph by The Little Imp.

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