How to Read Oracle Cards

Oracle cards were the first magical tool I bought myself when I set out on my magical path. I had always had a fascination with tarot cards, but I felt a bit intimidated about using them in my magical practice, so I decided to use oracle cards as sort of a stepping stone.

Find a set that you feel a connection with

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I wasn’t sure about which set I should start with so I decided to look at different designs and see which one called to me. When I saw The Wisdom of Avalon Oracle Cards by Colette Baron-Reid I knew that I wanted to have these cards. I have always had a fascination with the story of King Arthur, and most legends, and after reading the book The Mists of Avalon I felt even more connected to the magic of Avalon. The cards are beautifully designed and make me feel a part of Avalon.

Build a relationship with your cards

When I received my cards I took them out of the package and looked through each of them. I wanted to see each card and learn their meanings.

It’s important to touch each of your cards and have your energy flow through them. You want to be familiar with each card and you want them to be familiar with you. You can also say a little prayer over your cards or talk to them. Thank them for the wisdom and guidance that they will provide to you in your life and thank them for coming into your life. You can also read the accompanying book that comes with your set. This will help you understand the meaning of each card and guide you when you feel unsure.

Reading the cards using the guidebook 

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When you first start out you may feel apprehensive or unsure, so you might want to rely on the guide book in the beginning.  You can use this until you become more comfortable with working with your cards.  It can also help you think more about what your spread means.

Reading the cards using intuition 

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Eventually, you may want to start reading the cards using your intuition. When doing so look at each card and think about what it means in relation to you question. Read the words written on the card and look at the picture. Look at each detail. You can withdraw meaning even from the smallest details. Also, see which card draws you in more. That may be the one that holds the answer or it may be what you need to focus on.  Be confident in your intuition because it is your guides leading you and they only have your best interests in mind.

One card spread 

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Using a one card spread is what I like to use to begin my day. I typically ask the cards what I need to be mindful about for the day. This helps me to pay attention to what I am seeing, what I say and how I interact with others.  I have also used this spread when I am reading tarot cards. Some people may find it unusual, but I have found it to be very helpful. If I am unsure of what the tarot cards are saying, or I need some clarity, I can use a one card spread to help me understand my other reading.

Three card spread 

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I use this spread when I need to understand a situation a little deeper. You can use this spread to represent past, present and future, three stages of something else or anything else you like. There isn’t a right or wrong way to read this spread or for what you want it to represent.

Four card cross spread 

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You would use this spread if your question is a little more complicated and you’re in need of more guidance. I usually don’t use more cards than this because I find that the reading gets a little muddled and I lose sight of my question in trying to understand the meaning behind each card.

Asking questions 

You can ask the cards any question you want but I stay away from yes or no questions. The cards are not a magic eight ball and I would never want to use them in that way.  Since I use them in my spiritual practice I want to use it more respectfully and use it in a way that can help me grow spiritually. They are a guide and whenever you ask a question I think it is best to ask questions that will help you understand a situation better. Don’t look at it as telling the future, but look at it as helping guide to your future.

Choosing cards 

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Sometimes I will choose a card from the top of the pile, but you don’t have to. You can choose a card from anywhere within the stack. You can move your hand(s) over the cards and feel which card(s) you feel energetically drawn to. Only choose a card that you feel is right.

Understanding cards that look scary 

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Some cards may seem scary or unsettling but don’t be alarmed by these cards. Not everything is literal and somethings are metaphorical. For example, if you choose the card death it doesn’t mean a literal death. Think about what death represents: It is the end of a cycle and a part of life.  If you choose this card it may represent the end of a relationship, situation or stage of life. Something must die, or end, in order for something new to be born. When dealing with these cards always think of what else they may represent and you will see that the universe is guiding you towards what is good.

May the goddess guide you  🌒🌕🌘

 

 

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Shanghai’s Cityscape & Garden Getaway

I was bubbling over with excitement to finally be going to Shanghai. I was excited to see my partner’s homeland and experience part of her country that she had never seen before.

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This was printed after I was fringerprinted😆

DF2551F4-2815-40E4-8136-D83BBE635A49While our(my partner and I) primary purpose was to eat as much as possible, I also wanted to see what Shanghai’s cityscape was like. My first sight of the city was on the Meglev train and luckily I had a window seat.

Some street views looked beautifully unreal.

My favorite place in Shanghai is definitely the river view at night. We walked along the river and no matter where we stood we had a beautiful view of the other side. After walking around for a bit we took a riverboat cruise. If you’re in Shanghai you definitely shouldn’t pass this up. It gave us a break from all the walking we had done and we were still able to enjoy the city at our leisure.

One of my favorite things about Asia is the abundance of vending machines, but Shanghai definitely stepped it up with fresh orange juice and an actual coconut. I dont think anyone can top that.

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Don’t mess with the scooter gang or you’ll get run over

On our last day we went to visit my partner’s best friend in Suzhou. Luckily, we were able to get train tickets despite the fact that everyone was traveling to their hometowns for the harvest festival.

Suzhou is famous for its gardens and I really wanted to see Tiger Hill. There were many people there, but the garden is immense and there were several areas that were almost deserted.

Walking around the garden was very peaceful and it’s easy to get lost in there, which we did, but we were able to see most of it because of that.

We happened to stumble upon two strangers who had a love for Classical Chinese music and they were singing together. Unfortunately, they were a little camera shy when we came up, but their voices fit perfectly with the scenery and I would have enjoyed listening to them longer.

As we walked around some more we found even more music being played. A young women was playing a guzheng and we saw a traditional opera.

We finally made our way to the temple and were able to see the various forms of Buddha and even a 3D wall depiction.

Old school picture frame.

Bonsai Garden.

The most famous part of the garden is the pagoda. It is over 1,000 years old, so over time it has begun to lean due to the forces of nature. A beautiful leaning tower.

2FE8F56D-BB6F-4BCF-9290-43D9AB281B29I loved my time in Shanghai and I didn’t want to leave. There is so much to see in and around the city that I know that I’ll have to come back and explore some more.

Feast in Shanghai

I had been antipcating our trip to Shanghai for several months. It would be my first visit to China and my partner’s and I first international trip together. Unfortunately, we arrived several hours after our arrival time due to China Eastern’s inability to ever leave on time. Thankfully, my partner is able to keep me positive even when I am feeling hangry.

We decided to keep our explorations near our hotel because of how late it was so we tried a night market nearby. Sadly, it was the middle of the week and there weren’t any vendors, but we were able to get some skewers from a small restaurant. We had gluten, mushroom and lamb skewers. They were very well seasoned, but there wasn’t much meat on the lamb, it was more fat than anything else, but it was still very delicious. I’m not sure what seasoning was used, but I wish I could have bought some to take home.

After we ate we decided to walk around and see what was around the neighborhood. That is when I saw a restaurant selling Shanghai breakfast and I couldn’t walk past. Shanghai breakfast was the number one meal I wanted to try. We had dou jiang(hot soy milk), dou fu nao(which is soft tofu in a light broth), you tiao(a fried dough that you dip into the soy milk) and ci fan taun(a rice roll that can be filled with what you choose). The meal was better than I had imagined. The soy milk wasn’t watery, as I thought it might be, it was very smooth and light. The fried dough wasn’t overly sweet and it complemented the soy milk and absorbed the soy milk without gettting very soggy. The tofu melted in my mouth and the broth was surprisingly flavorful and it tasted even better when my partner added chili oil. The rice roll surprised me the most because I wasn’t expecting a lot of flavor from it, but there were several layers of different ingredients. We couldn’t figure out what was used, but there were some sweet and sour vegetables and some salty meat. With each bite I bit into a new flavor and I would have kept eating if I wasn’t so full. All of this and a mildly sweet herbal tea was less than $4 USD.

The next day we went to a restaurant that was known for their noodles, but we didn’t limit ourselves to just that. I wanted to try as much as possible so we ordered xiang qin dan gan(marinated hard boiled egg slices), yan shui ya(steamed or boiled salty duck) and Jinpai hai xian mian(seafood noodle soup). Our food didn’t look like it would really go together, but the flavors balanced each other very well. The egg slices were mild and were like a palate cleanser. It balanced the saltiness of the duck meat which was also tender and juicy. The meat fell of the bone and right into my salivating mouth. The duck doesn’t look very pretty, but you shouldn’t let that deter you from trying it. Last, we had the seafood noodle soup, which was my favorite. The broth looked milky and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was delicious. You can taste the crab, the base of the broth, but I dont know what other seasonings are used. It was mild, but it wasn’t a soup that you would get tired of eating and you dont feel heavy after eating it. Also, they gave us 5 whole shrimp, so I left more than satisfied.

My partner wanted a snack so we bought chou dou fu(stinky tofu). I know a lot of people say that the smell is awful, but it didn’t smell bad to me and I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to try new food. I thought it tasted great.  The tofu was firm and the broth was a little spicy, slightly sour and salty.  I will definitely try this again. I was still feeling adventurous so I decided to try Dove durian chocolate. That was a mistake. It tasted like white chocolate with onion filling and I couldn’t finish it. The filling tasted completely different from fresh durian, which I tried later and actually liked.

Later, we met up with my partner’s childhood friends and had dinner together. They ordered more food than we could eat, but my favorites were the li yu jiang ya(marinated duck) it tasted sweet and salty, duo jiao yu tou(Steamed fish with salted chilies over noodles) despite being spicy I was able to eat it and the fish was seasoned all the way through and mo cha bai yu(matcha tofu) a dessert tofu that was slightly sweet with a very smooth texture. For dessert they wanted ice cream, which I can never pass up, so we went to Häägen Dazs. Not very Chinese, but ice cream is delicious everywhere.

On our last full day to ourselves we visited the Shanghai Muslim Market. It’s only opened on Fridays and it seemed like it was winding down by the time we got there, but there were still many food stalls open. I really wanted to try the baozi and jiaozi because I prefer beef over pork and I wasn’t disappointed. The nui rou baozi( beef baozi) was crunchy on the outside and well seasoned and juicy in the middle. The nui rou jiaozi had a thick, crispy outside with a tender filling similar to the baozi. We also tried the lamb skewers and the meat was tender. If we would have stayed another week I would have gone back to eat more.

We found more baozi at a famous bao restaurant near the river. When we tasted their baozi we knew why there was a line. I haven’t had a wide array of baozi, but the flavor in these were well balanced and very juicy on the inside, which my shirt found out rather soon but I’m not bitter. We couldn’t get a to-go-box so we’ll have to live on the memory of the best baozi we’ve ever had.

On our last day in China we went outside of Shanghai to visit my partner’s best friend. Her husband made us hot pot, but without using water. It was a no-broth hot pot that used the water from the ingredients to cook everything, but the main ingredient was the Chinese mitten crab from Yang Cheng Lake. The crabs were very sweet and juicy and were the best part of the hot pot. Definitely the best crab I’ve ever had.

There is so much to eat in Shanghai and I know I’ve only scratched the surface of Shanghai cuisine, but thanks to my wonderful partner I was able to feast in Shanghai.