This spread is named for it’s shape, which resembles a horseshoe, crescent moon, or pyramid. It's one of my very favorites because it not only reveals that which is hidden, but it also suggests a course of action the you may wish to follow.

CARD ONE:  This card represents past influences and conditions.

CARD TWO:  Card two indicates the present conditions . It may be subjective and relate to thoughts or feelings, or it may be objective, and relate to tangible, known circumstances or people.

CARD THREE:  What is hidden. This reveals unforeseen circumstances, secrets and situations that have not been taken into account - and which may influence the outcome of the reading.

CARD FOUR:  This card represents obstacles and challenges. These may be major obstacles or just passing influences. Again, as with card two, it may denote either the inner world of thought and feelings, or the outer world of material events.

CARD FIVE:  What surrounds you. This position describes the current background to your question, the environment, and the presence of others . Help and guidance, or the attitudes of others may be revealed here.

CARD SIX:  Suggested course of action. Suggestions for action, biding your time, enlisting the aid of others, etc. will be signified here.

CARD SEVEN:  Probable result. this card assumes that you will take the action suggested by card six, and overcome any of the challenges revealed by cards three and four. If you decide not to follow the advice of the sixth card, all bets are off and the outcome will be different.

Note: It's often helpful to draw a second card for the seventh position. This card would signify the outcome should you choose not to heed the advice of the sixth card.

Blessings, Robyn

The making and use of ink has been part of human history for at least two thousand years. It's certainly been a basic element of magic for a very long time. I like to make my own ink for use in spells that require writing.   It's very easy to do so, and it adds a personal touch that, I feel, increases the momentum and power invested in each written request.

You can buy a quill for use with your homemade ink at most craft stores, but I have better luck with a fountain pen.  You will probably also want to purchase some quality paper if you're going to go to all this trouble, but the results are well worth the extra effort.

Here are a couple of ink recipes to help get you started:

Walnut shell ink

12 walnut shells, hammered into small pieces
1 cup distilled water
1 tsp vinegar
A glass or ceramic saucepan

Put the water and the shells in the pan and bring them to a boil. Reduce heat and let them simmer for a half hour to 45 minutes. Remove them from the heat and allow the mixture to sit for at least 8 hours. Add the vinegar, strain out the shells, pour the finished ink into a small bottle and store it in the fridge until you need it.  Don't forget to shake it before use. This makes a pretty, dark brown ink.

Blackberry ink

1/2 cup of blackberries (you can also use blueberries)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vinegar

Mash the berries and force them through a fine mesh strainer to juice them. Add the vinegar and salt and the ink is ready to use. It doesn't keep well, but it makes a very pretty ink.

Early in April, the mail brought a long anticipated package, "The Magician Longs to See" twin peaks tarot by Ben Mackey. I couldn't wait to get home and open the box!  And I wasn't disappointed. The photo above is the introductory pamphlet and the one below depicts The Magician, The Empress and the Justice cards.

The cards themselves are colorful, just the right size for my hands, and seem very sturdy. I love the way the artist kept to the spirit of the tarot and still incorporated so many elements from the series. My reading style relies as heavily on the actual images as it does on traditional meanings, so I was especially pleased to see that every single card in the Minor Arcana is as fully illustrated as those of the Major Arcana and tells it's own story.

The four suits are represented by the symbols in the photo above.

Cups = Coffee cups

Swords = Fir Trees

Wands = Logs

Pentacles = Poker Chips

When the individual suits are laid out in order from the Ace to the King, they each tell the story a specific sub plot. For instance, all of the Wands have to do with The Log Lady.

I think this deck is brilliant and love using it here on Keen. Please let me know if you would like a reading with this deck.

This is my all-time favorite tarot spread, and it's also the one I use most for my professional readings. My sister, Teri, aka Love Angel Tarot, deserves the credit for this because she's the one who taught it to me (and to the rest of our family). Over the years, my sisters and nieces and I have given thousands of readings using this simple layout, and have yet to find one that works better.  This spread is awesome because it's quick, to the point, and it provides a wealth of information to the reader.

The layout is very simple. Working from left to right, lay out 3 cards in a row and place the 4th card aside for later. Now lay 3 more cards out next to the first ones. Finally, place the 4th card above and in the middle of the other 6.  Like this:

1       2     3     5     6     7

Each position in this spread is assigned a different meaning and when read together, they're almost like a book.  Here's what each position means:

1. The near past.

2. The present circumstances.

3. The near future.

4. The focus.
This card brings all the others into focus and can reveal more about the situation than all the others combined.

5. The obstacle - factors that could work against you and/or what you should avoid.

6. The  blessing - Factors that could work in your favor and/or your best course of action.

7. The most likely outcome, provided you take the advice suggested by cards #6 and #7.

The cards are also read according to whether they are upright or reversed. This works especially well for yes/no questions. More upright cards gives a "yes" answer, while more reversed cards gives a "no".

A few years ago, I bought a wonderful book called "Carnival of the Spirit" by Luisah Teish.  I love this book because it's a joyous celebration of the seasons, complete with folklore, original stories, poetry, and ritual. Family plays a large part in this book and the rituals are designed so that you can do them on your own, or else with you family.

One of my very favorite passages in Carnival of the Spirit is found in the spring section, and even though it's not spring, I'd like to share it with you.

"The April Showers Face Wash: Sometimes we find ourselves caught between outer beauty and inner sorrow. Little green sprouts are budding, the birds are singing, people are walking hand in hand wearing bright clothes---and you're all alone. What a drag. Maybe you had a hard winter or you're suffering melancholy over someone you didn't get to see last summer. Whatever the cause, you catch yourself crying at a time when the whole world seems to be smiling.

At these times it helps to collect some spring rainwater in a bowl, sit quietly, and let yourself cry into the bowl.  Wash your face in the rain-tear water, them pour the water on your healthiest flowering houseplant.

You see, the Mother of Beauty cries also. In my tradition we say that when Oshun cries, all things are about to be made right. The crying means that she can no longer tolerate things are they are and she is about to change them sweetly, sweetly. By mingling your tears with hers and giving them to a growing thing, you make the statement that you are ready to change and blossom."

Isn't that lovely? It started raining a few minutes ago, and I think I'll go capture some rainwater in my favorite rice bowl - it seems like the perfect way to bring a little springtime into my day.

Thank you, Luisah Teish, for sharing your wisdom and traditions with us!

This lovely card called "Psychic" is from 'The Soulmate Oracle Deck' by John Grey, Ph.D.  It reminds us how very easy it is to fall into the "psychic trap", wherein we believe we can intuit exactly what our partner thinks, feels, or wants, at any given time. Its easy to believe that we can properly interpret their actions, responses, words, and then respond according to that interpretation.

Why is this kind of thinking a trap?
  • Because we can never know for sure what's happening inside the mind and heart of another person - not even the person closest to us.
  • We each come equipped with our own set of expectations, beliefs, fears, and filters, which predispose us to see things in a certain way.
  • No two people are exactly the same, so it's never safe to make assumptions based on our previous experiences with other people.
  • It's much easier and less stressful to ask what someone else is thinking than it is to try to figure it out on our own.
Here's some of what Dr Grey has to say about playing psychic in a relationship:

"Viewing a partner through the distorting lens of our inner "crystal ball" is dangerous, as we seldom realize that we are simply making things up. We've all heard of self-fulfilling prophecies. These occur when someone is so strongly affected by their "psychic knowledge" that they act in a way that makes their worst fears come true.

How do you tend to play the psychic with your partner? All of us at times think we know what our partner is feeling. We become upset by what we think our partner means by an action or by their words. We even limit our own choices and behavior according to how we believe they will respond to us. Do you recognize how you do any of these things?

It's important to realize that whatever you see in your "crystal ball" could be absolutely wrong. You may be limiting your relationship by believing in that crystal ball. This card warns you to beware of being "psychic" in any way about your partner. It's always better to ask than to assume!"

Conversely, it's also unwise to expect our partner to be psychic about us! They have no way of knowing what we feel, need, think, at any moment, especially when we haven't shared that information with them. Then we become hurt or angry because they haven't satisfied our unspoken needs. The reality is that it's simply not true that if our partners "truly care" about us, they'll "know" what we want without our telling them.

To quote Dr Grey again:

"The card PSYCHIC makes a suggestion: To find out what is really going on, talk! Open your mind, your heart, and your eyes. Then open your mouth. To know what's going on with your partner, ask them! If there's something you want or need from your partner, tell them! If you are having problems, speak up and discuss what's going on inside of you.

By talking, you and your partner can distinguish your imagined ideas and beliefs from the realities within each of you - and see each other more clearly. With this clarity, you will more easily see ways that you can move together toward greater joy and fulfillment."

The bottom line is, if you want to know what your partner is thinking, ask them! And if you want them to know what you're thinking, tell them! Communication is the key to a loving, caring, informed relationship.


How many times have you said, "Let me sleep on it and I'll get back to you?" Letting things simmer in our subconscious overnight is a wonderful way to approach problem solving.  In fact, this concept can be taken to the next level (sympathetic magic, if you will) and we can literally sleep "on" whatever we have in mind.

There are so many ways to sleep on whatever's bothering you - if you have money concerns, try sleeping on a $10 or $20 bill. If you're faced with a difficult decision, write each choice down on a piece of paper and tuck both of them in your pillow case. I've found that worn out tarot decks are outstanding in this capacity. I choose whichever card seems to match the current situation and write or draw on the front of it.

I like this concept so much that I found a flat silk pouch with a flap that snaps shut and place whatever objects feel right inside. Then I tuck the pouch inside my pillowcase and go to sleep.

There are so many more things you can sleep on than paper and money, however. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

  • Flower petals!  Flowers have meanings of their own. Apple Blossoms = good fortune,  blue flax = domestic happiness, evening primrose = everlasting love.
  • Herbs. herbs also have meanings of their own. Sage = protection and wisdom, horehound = good health, marjoram = happiness, comfrey = healing.
  • Tokens. If your problem is lack of communication, choose an object or a token that reminds you of the person you're missing. 
  • Feathers also aid in communication because they represent the element of air.
  • Soap. If you're wanting to clean up some area of your life, sleep on a few chips of your favorite soap.
  • Fabric paint. If it bothers you to sleep with anything inside your pillowcase, get some fabric paint and write or draw on the case itself.
  • Embroidery. Embroider flowers, feathers, whatever you like, instead of painting it on. 
P.S. This method works best if you approach it with the mindset of attracting, or drawing to yourself, the most positive outcome possible.

"Are you passionate about wanting to see the big picture of your life?" 

"Are you committed to being surprised in the best possible ways?"

These were the questions posed by my favorite astrologer, Rob Brezsny one day when I checked my horoscope  He was talking about the sacred art of the pilgrimage, which he describes as "A journey to some sacred place that excites your imagination and awakens buried fantasies of who you are and what you may become. An extended prayer of a journey, where you slip away from your regular life in order to concentrate your energy on a prolonged conversation with spirit."  He assured me that I would receive cosmic assistance or invisible help to gently shock myself into the living the dreams that have gotten fuzzy.

Who could resist such a message? Not me. I took his advice and began making plans for a short pilgrimage to the coast. My husband and I stayed at an inn next to a bird sanctuary, where we saw huge flocks of wild geese, herons, ducks, seagulls, and many other birds. We strolled along streets that were new to both of us, ate new foods, visited the ocean, and checked out the local art scene, and came home refreshed and invigorated. And someday, I want to go on a very special pilgrimage to Spain to view the works of Antoni Gaudi. I want to visit the park and the cathedral he designed in Barcelona, to see  for myself what it looks like when an astonishing internal vision becomes reality.

I realize the horoscope was intended for Taureans, but I think it applies equally to all of us. How long has it been since you took yourself on a pilgrimage? Where would you go for your pilgrimage and for what purpose?  To purify yourself? To think long and hard about where you're going and what you want to do next? To make atonement, or to shed grief that is weighing you down? To embrace the joy of living? There are a million reasons to go on a pilgrimage and I'm sure you'll recognize yours when you see it. :) 

The radio was on in the car this morning and I wasn't paying any attention, until  "Driving Sideways" from the "Magnolia Soundtrack" by Aimee Mann started to play. Ever since then this song has been stuck in my brain. I can't help but think how well these lyrics apply to a lot of situations in life - especially relationships.

So many times we fall into the trap of  measuring relationship success by how quickly things move, how fast the other person moves towards a commitment, how soon we get to the stage where we can feel secure. But speed is not necessarily an accurate measure of how well things are going, or even where they're going. As Ms Mann says in this song,

"And you will say
 That you're making headway
 And put it in overdrive.
 But you're mistaking speed
 For getting what you need
And never even noticing
You never do arrive.
Cause you're
Driving sideways
If you roll down the window you'll see
You're where you don't belong."

Sometimes, the very best things in life don't arrive as quickly as we wish they would, and the path that leads us there isn't as smooth and easy as we wish it were. But in the end it's the goal that matters, rather than the ease and speed with which we move. So from now on, I'm going try to  remember to sit back, chill out, and sing along with Aimee Mann while I check the sat nav to make sure I'm moving in the right direction.

A few years ago, I discovered the joys of making and using magical soap.  There's basically no difference between the use of candles in magic and the use of soap in magic, except that the soap is even more personal and the magic goes with you when you leave your home. Unlike amulets, mojo bags, incense, etc., soap magic is invisible to other people. Best of all, it couldn't be easier!

I make my magical soap the lazy way, and recommend that you buy a book on soap making if you want to make yours from scratch the old fashioned way.

Basic supplies for a small batch:

  • Several bars of your favorite unscented soap. I like to use either Dove or Ivory. You can also save small leftover pieces of soap until you have enough to make at least  two bars of new soap.
  • Essential oils or powdered herbs with the magical  properties you want to add to your soap  *See the list at the bottom of this blog
  • Cheese grater
  • double boiler, or two sauce pans - one smaller than the other.
  • Molds. You can buy soap molds at a craft store or use a muffin tin if you like round soap.
  • Oil to grease the molds.


  • Oil your molds and set them out on a piece of newspaper.
  • Grate the soap bars into the top of your double boiler, or to the smaller of your two sauce pans.
  • Add water to the bottom pan and stir until the soap chips melt. 
  • Add your essential oils or herbs, keeping in mind the end result you're looking for. Concentrate on what you wish to accomplish while stirring the soap mixture.
  • Pour the soap mixture into your molds and let them sit until they harden.
Here's a few of my favorite soap ideas:

  • Energizing coffee soap.  Add 1/3 cup of fresh coffee beans ground extremely fine to your soap mixture. This makes an invigorating energy soap. Not only does it help to keep your batteries charged all day, but it also smells wonderful. And it exfoliates your skin to keep you glowing. 
  • Love attracting yarrow and rose soap. Add yarrow and rose oil to your soap mix, and stir while meditating on the kind of love you are trying to attract. I sometimes like to grind up dried yarrow and rose petals, instead of using the oils. This adds bits color and texture to your soap. Either way works equally well.
  • Money attracting jasmine soap. Add either ground jasmine petals or jasmine oil to your soap mixture. Use both if you like. This soap is great for attracting prosperity.

Finally, here is a list of herbs and flowers and their magical qualities.

BASIL - Removes negativity from the home or workplace.

BAY LAUREL - Protection against evil influences, stops interference.

CATNIP -Courage, love and happiness, joy.

CHAMOMILE - Luck in gambling, luck in getting proposal of marriage.

CLOVE - Banishes evil, friendship, grants desires.

DANDELION - Helps to improve clairvoyance, purifies.

DRAGON'S BLOOD - Brings good luck, protection, money, love.

FRANKINCENSE - protection, purification, spirituality.

GINGER - Love, money, success, power.

JASMINE - Love, money, strengthens psychic abilities.

JUNIPER - Protection against theft, attracts love, aids in psychic development.

LAVENDER - Love, money, attracts help.

LEMON VERBENA - Guards against evil, repels those you do not love.

MARIGOLD - Gives clairvoyant dreams.

MARJORAM - Protection.

MUGWORT - Protection, strengthens psychic abilities, aides in divination.

MYRRH - Purification, protection, spirituality.

NUTMEG - Luck, love, prosperity, fertility.

ORRIS ROOT - Aids in divination, attracts love.

PATCHOULI - Breaks spells placed on you, attracts money, defeats enemies.

PEPPERMINT - Purification, love, increases psychic ability.

PINE - Purification.

ROSE PETALS - Love, happiness in the home.

ROSEMARY - Healing for headaches, keeps a lover faithful.

RUE - Defense against spells and dark magic, repels negativity.

SAGE - Purification, protection, wisdom.

ST. JOHN'S WORT - Happiness, healing, courage, love, protection, divination.

SANDALWOOD, RED - Healing, protection, spirituality, wishes come true.

SANDALWOOD, YELLOW - Protection, spirituality.

THYME - Cures nightmares.

VERVAIN - Repels psychic attack, purification, gaining love or wealth.

WORMWOOD - Repels negative magic.

YARROW - Divination, love spells, keeps couples happily married.

Incense has long been used to help establish a particular magical atmosphere.  I use it on a daily basis to help myself prepare for readings & meditation, for protection, or to promote certain energies within my home.  The top of my dresser serves as my altar and this has the added benefit of making my clothes smell wonderful. 



Below is a list of scents long associated with certain magical energies or qualities.


BALANCE: Jasmine, orange, rose.

BANISHING: Cedar, clove, patchouli, rose, rue, vervain.

BINDING: Apple, cypress, dragon's blood, pine, wormwood.

BLESSING & CONSECRATION: Carnation, cypress, frankincense, lotus, rosemary.

CHANGES: Dragon's blood, peppermint.

COURAGE: Allspice, dragon's blood, musk, rosemary.

CREATIVITY: Honeysuckle, lilac, lotus, rose, vervain.

DIVINATION: Acacia, cinnamon, honeysuckle, lilac, nutmeg, rose, thyme, yarrow.

ENERGY: Allspice, bay, carnation, cinnamon, dragon's blood, frankincense, ginger, lotus, musk, pine, thyme, rosemary, verbena.

GOOD LUCK:  Bayberry, cedar, cinnamon, honeysuckle, jasmine, lotus, mint, nutmeg, strawberry, vervain, violet.

HAPPINESS: Apple blossom, basil, cedar, clove, cypress, fir, gardenia.

HARMONY: Jasmine, juniper, lavender, lilac, lily of the valley, lotus, myrrh, orange, patchouli, rose, rosemary, vetiver, vervain, ylang-ylang.

HEALING: Carnation, cedar, cinnamon, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, gardenia, lavender, lotus, myrrh, orange, peppermint, rose, rosemary, sandalwood.

INSPIRATION: Acacia, clove, cypress, fir, laurel, lily of the valley, rosemary, sage.

LOVE: Amber, apple blossom, frangipani, gardenia, honeysuckle, jasmine, juniper, lavender, vetiver, violet, ylang-ylang.

MEDITATION: Acacia, bay, cinnamon, frankincense, jasmine, myrrh, wisteria.

MONEY: Bayberry, bergamot, cinnamon, honeysuckle, jasmine, musk, vetiver.

PROTECTION: Basil, bay, bayberry, carnation, cinnamon, citronella, cypress, dragon's blood, fir, frankincense, jasmine, juniper, lilac, lily of the valley, marjoram, pine, sandalwood, violet.

PSYCHIC ABILITIES: Ambergris, honeysuckle, lemon, lotus, mimosa, nutmeg, wisteria.

PURIFICATION: Basil, bay laurel, cedar, cinnamon, citronella, dragon's blood, eucalyptus, frankincense, myrrh, peppermint, pine, rosemary, sage, thyme, vervain.

REMOVING HEXES: Cedar, myrrh, vetiver.

SPIRITUALITY: Frankincense, lotus, myrrh, sandalwood.

SUCCESS: Ginger.

VISIONS, Acacia, bay laurel, frankincense, lotus.

WILL POWER: Rosemary.

The following spell is taken from the book, "Simple Spells for Success" by Barrie Dolnick. I took the basic spell and adapted it just a bit to fit my own needs, but I'm presenting it to you exactly the way the author wrote it. 

"Spell to Attract Money"

On a Friday during a waxing moon and
 in the second hour after sunset, light a green candle.
Place yellow roses in a vase with water.
Dab one of the following scents on the candle:

Say Aloud

I draw in the eternal flow of prosperity
to connect with me on this Venus evening.
I call in fire, earth, air, and water
to manifest abundance around me.
I affirm I am open to all forms of prosperity,
and that it comes to me easily and readily.
I ask the I be guided to use this gift
within the greater good.
So be it.
And so it is.

Blow out the candle. Eat at least one grape.
You may repeat this spell on any  day
during a waxing moon hereafter.

I recently wore out my third copy of the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot deck and had to buy another one.  For the first time, I actually read the introduction by it's creator, Graham Cameron. His description of how tarot works is remarkably apt and I want to share it with you today.

"Welcome, imagine yourself as an actor, placed in a theater at birth. You have been invited to join millions of other actors, to take your place on the stage known as Phantasmagoric Theater. Every scene in the script has been carefully crafted, and you've learned your cues. If nothing goes wrong you should be able to sail through your performance until the final curtain call.  But things can and do go wrong - perhaps there is interference in the sound system, your costume is uncomfortable, or you're unhappy with the scenery.  So you begin to make adjustments, and in doing so, cause minor changes to the outcome of the play.

Using tarot, you can connect yourself through a psychic process back to the original script  and recognize the deviations you may have made to the performance.

Envision Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot as a doorway into your life.  The curtains open, revealing the fool, who invites us on a journey of spiritual fulfillment.

--Graham Cameron"

I love this description and think it applies equally well to every other deck, as well.  The tarot is a system designed to help bring us back in tune with the original script of our lives. It provides much needed direction and helps us bring our story back into alignment. 

Bright blessings, and may the performance that is your life be magnificent!


The Tree of Life is an important symbol in nearly every culture. It is rooted deep within the earth, yet it's branches reach up to the sky. Thus it becomes a link between heaven, the earth, and the underworld, uniting above and below.

In Jewish and Christian mythology, a tree sits at the center of both the Heavenly and Earthly Edens. The Norse Cosmic World Ash, Ygdrassil, has its roots in the underworld while its branches support the abode of the Gods. The Egyptian's Holy Sycamore stood on the threshold of life and death, connecting the worlds. To the Mayas, it is Yaxche, whose branches support the heavens.

The following tarot spread is based upon this ancient symbol. It's a bit like the Celtic Cross, and yet it has significant differences. This is not a spread to be used for yes/no readings, or when answering simple questions. I prefer to use this when looking into a situation at depth, or when looking at a fairly lengthy amount of time. The cards are laid out as explained in the diagram below. The interpretation for each card follows the diagram.



The Significator.
This card represents you, and should be chosen from any of the people cards in the deck.

1. Aims or Ideals.
This card represents what you would like to achieve.

2. Influences.
What is influencing the situation.

3. General Nature.
This is the general nature of the question; it defines the question more completely.

4. The Key.
This may be something that you aren't seeing; it is the key to the answer to the question or how to resolve the situation, or how to achieve what you are attempting to achieve.

5. Influences of the Present.
Influences on the situation or question from present circumstances that you would be wise take into account for this reading.

6. Influences of the Future.
These will be things you are advised to take into account in the future.

7. Effect of the Significator.
This is the effect that the significator has on the situation.

8. Effect of the Environment.
The effect that the people around you have on the situation, as well as other things surrounding you.

9. Hopes and Fears.
These are things that you fear will happen, or you hope will happen with the situation.

The Final Outcome.
The ultimate answer to the your question.

Here is the simplest recipe for a love potion that I know. I stole it from my sister, Love Angel. :)

Go to a health food or metaphysical store and buy a bottle of ylang-ylang oil. You can also find it online. (ylang-ylang is pronounced "eeelong-eeelong.") Now that you have the oil in hand, all that's needed is to apply a small amount to your clothing and/or skin. That's it. ylang-ylang is a powerful aphrodisiac and attention magnate, and it smells so wonderful that I'd wear it even if it wasn't.

I was skeptical when Love Angel first told me about this wonder oil, but I bought some and put a small amount on each ankle. Then I went downtown to the bakery to test drive the oil. While I was standing in line to pay for my bread, the man who fixes my computer walked past. Then he turned around, got down on his knees in front of everyone there and asked me how the hem of my skirt was constructed. This was a man who'd never before paid the slightest attention to me. Pretty soon, there were two other people also looking at the hem of my skirt - I think they were attracted to the oil on my ankles. I was highly embarrassed, but had to conclude that the oil was indeed working the way my sister had promised it would.

That was several years or more ago and ylang-ylang oil has never once failed to produce interesting results when I wear it. I think if you try it, you'll be pleased, too.

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