Welcome to the Yule season on the Gulf of Mexico coast; not that cold, but damp and drizzly, with fog sometimes descending in a manner of minutes to create magical lights. People put out Christmas lights and decorate trees, but it’s not quite the same crispness of air as in more northern climates.
I do sometimes pine for snow-filled winters, but not for too long. I lived a long time in the northeast USA, and the winters were interminably long (and damp) and much colder, and the snow stayed on the ground from late November to April (sigh!). The wide West of the USA can be more severely cold and blizzardy in places, but there are more places where the snow comes and goes, so there are breaks. I’m looking forward to going back to that part of the world in 2016.
This year, our awesome chief-of-all-wranglers, Arwen, has challenged us to contribute to a blog hop “office party” with whatever gifts and contributions we’d like to bring. I’ll go to the party with my favorite card for this season, a spread for the new year, and a bit of sweetness for you to take home.
Tarot Winter in the Wildwood
My favorite deck for seasons and winter in particular is the Wildwood by Mark Ryan, John Matthews and Will Worthington. I always feel taken back by this deck to simpler times of survival and earth-based ritual, when winter could definitely be fatal if one didn’t pay close attention and plan ahead. My favorite winter card from the deck is the Hermit, complete with holly wreath, a “star” (the lantern), and your Christmas wren (also, snow). I’m personally looking forward to going inside the tree house for something hot to drink by a cozy wood stove (let’s not have open fireplaces inside a tree house!). It will be nice to study Tarot and take a break from the cares of the outside world.
The New Star Spread
Time to reprise my 2012 New Star Spread, which I also posted in the December 2015 TABI (Tarot Association of the British Isles) Tracker newsletter. (You don’t have to be a TABI member to subscribe to this monthly newsletter with Tarot in the news, events in the UK, cards, spreads, and great blog posts to go to—sign up at the TABI site, here.) The spread is designed to give you a look at the galaxy of your new year. Here’s the way it works:
Question: What new direction should I take in the new year for the greatest happiness (you can also get more specific by asking about creative projects, work/career, relationships, health, etc.)?
1 – North Star – Your current direction
2 – Dark space between – What’s keeping your new guiding star from you
3 – New colours – What attitudes/skills you need to apply to see through the dark
4 – Power source – What sources of support you have to follow your new direction
5 – New Star – Your new direction, visible
6 – Chaos clarifier – Toss a card out randomly and see which card/star it comes closest to, and add that influence to your new direction.
This is by far my favorite chocolate thing (and I consider myself something of a chocolate addict). Remember to cut into small pieces; very rich and very buttery! Awesome for parties this time of year.
Double Chocolate Mint Dessert
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter or margarine (two American-style sticks), softened
1 16 oz. can Hershey’s or equivalent chocolate syrup
2 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1 Tablespoon water
3/4 teaspoon mint extract
3 drops green food coloring
6 more Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cake layer: Lightly grease a 13x9x2 baking pan.
In a large bowl, beat together flour, sugar, eggs, ½ cup of softened butter or margarine (1 stick) and syrup until smooth. Pour into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Top may still appear wet when done. Cool completely before proceeding to next layer.
Mint cream layer: In a small bowl, mix confectioners sugar, ½ cup of butter or margarine (1 stick), water, ½ t of mint extract and food coloring. Beat until smooth. Spread over cake layer and chill.
Melted chocolate layer: In small microwaveable bowl, combine 6 T butter or margarine, chocolate chips and ¼ t of mint extract. Heat in microwave on high for 1 to 1 and 1/2 minutes, then stir until melted completely. Pour and spread over the mint cream layer and chill again prior to serving.
Depending on how small you cut the pieces, will feed 12–36 people. Most do come back for seconds, however. I recommend cutting the pieces pretty small, since this item is very rich indeed.
So, take a piece of chocolate (mmmm!) and then you can wander off to enjoy my neighbors’ contributions to this Tarot holiday party. I’m sure Louise will give you more insight into the Wildwood deck (going left), and one never knows what Karen will be up to on her blog, except that it will be both funny and chaotically creative at the same time.