A Divination Altar

IMG_3852

Madame Nadia’s Divination Altar

Last week I finally    got to accomplish a spiritual task I was planning for a long while. But due to a busy schedule — conjure clients, a masters degree, a family, and all that jazz — I had to wait for a summer break in order to build a divination altar. It took me about 5 days from the point of starting to clean and prep the area where I was planning to erect it, to actually having a functional sacred space for devotion and inspiration. 

Madame NAdia is reading the Deste at the Hoodoo Heritage Fest, photo courtesy Coastside Conjure

Madame Nadia is reading the Deste at the Hoodoo Heritage Fest, photo courtesy Coastside Conjure

I was taken by surprise when, after posting a picture of my newly constructed fortunetelling shrine, I got many questions about it from folks over social media. After thinking about it I realized that indeed I haven’t seen many images of divination before. 

What I call a divination altar is a space dedicated to the Spirits I work with when I read fortunes. By honoring my Spirits regularly, my connection with them deepens, and my divination skills improve. Not every one works with Spirits, or knows their Spirits, or is aware of a presence of such energies while divining — and it’s perfectly fine. This is just the way I do it, and how my practice had unfolded throughout the years. In fact, now that I think about it, building this shrine in a first place was a mission given to me by my Spirits of Divination. 

Building altars has its own aesthetic. Every one does it their way. And my technique, even if originally my intention was keeping it clean and functional, turns into a sensory overload painted in the colors of a bordello. Really, I shouldn’t even try fighting it anymore. lol

IMG_3851

Carnivalia Sign

The pieces on the altar are images, photographs and statuary that has special meaning to me or to my Spirits. For instance, last May, while teaching at the Hoodoo Heritage Festival, I was presented by the sweet, Coastside Conjure, with a beautiful shingle sign made by Carnivalia. Since I am not reading in person, I knew I wanted this large beauty to be the backdrop for my altar. I also keep a few beautiful containers with graveyard dirt — one of them contains dirt from Mlle. Lenormand’s grave site, another precious gift I received from a talented colleague and friend, Balthazar Conjure.

IMG_3854

Graveyard dirt and other delights

A cool water container, glass

In addition, I keep a few card decks and other, special to me, divination and magickal tools either on display or hidden. One of these is my first Thoth deck that also happens to be the oldest reading deck in my possession (as opposed to the vintage decks in my collection). The only deck I owned prior to the above mentioned cards was a Rider Waite Smith I purchased at the age of 15. However, these cards were left at Ma Kali’s feet as part of my initiation offering some 10 years ago. And of course, there are candle holders and an incense brazier placed securely among bones, furs, shells, magickal goodies, and a central piece — a glass for water. I must boast that this cool container is also a present from a friend and a student, Dean from QuickSilver Conjure. I do have awesome friends! ❤ 

IMG_3853

A playing cards – themed water container between two shells

The purpose of this post was more to share my thought process and approach to altar building and fortunetelling, than giving you an instructional bulletin. I hope that some of you find this information meaningful, and apply it to your own fortunetelling practices. 

If you have questions, please post them in the comments section or on my Facebook page

Warmly,

Madame N. 

Need a reading? No problem! You can book one here

All images and text Copyright Madame Nadia 2014

a ‘Deste’ Love Reading

I have been getting a lot of Deste-related questions recently from folks who want to learn the deck. The Spirit of Deste — and if you read Deste you know exactly what I’m talking about — has been quite pushy about wanting me to give it more attention. Although I am far from mastering this oracle, I thought it would be helpful sharing an actual reading I’ve recently done for a client. Luckily, the client was gracious and has given me permission to share her consultation with you.

In addition, I have a couple of important announcements tucked at the end of this post — so make sure to check them out before you click on and away from my blog 😉

To the Reading, then:

My client wanted to know about the prospects of her relationship with a colleague, whom she’s been involved with for several months now. I drew the Imperial Cross — thanks Dimitra for teaching me this technique. Essentially, it’s a similar layout to what we refer as the Celtic Cross, but Miss Meimaridi calls it the Imperial Cross.

Image

an Imperial Cross layout + a Djan for advice

Dare Reversed (Rx) in the center represents the man you are in a relationship with. By being reversed we see already that the situation isn’t ideal. The card in general foretells of reversals of fortune, and having to wait for what you want. Your situation is influenced by outside forces — it’s not in your own hands. Most likely it’s family issues that interfere with your relationship.
Clouds represent the obstacles. You want clarity, yet this desire isn’t possible at the moment. With the Anchor to the right of the Clouds, it seems like what you really want is clarity in regard to the stability of this relationship.
Gate Rx stands for the fear of the negative influence this relationship could have on your work / career situation. Also, if your guys was waiting for a promotion at work, Gate Rx below his significator card, Dare Rx, it doesn’t look likely.
Assyranta is a female in a position of influence. Is he married or in a committed relationship? It sure looks like that with Assyranta on above Dare Rx that is on top of Gate Rx.
In that case, she is in control of the situation, and he won’t leave her / divorce her.
~ after the reading the client had confirmed she is involved with a married man ~
Zara, the white horse of the diamond suit, shows the bright promises of the past; it looked like this relationship would blossom into a more fulfilling and easier to handle romance, and that the man you are dating would be a suitable choice for a partner.
With Anchor placed in the position of upcoming events, I don’t think you’ll be leaving him soon. Anchor is a card of stability. I do not foresee a major change in the status quo, so to speak, in the near future. It also shows that if he is in another relationship, he’ll continue going between both of you. Butit’s important to remember that the Anchor is a positive card. So it’s quite possible that your outlook on the relationship will become a bit more positive, and so you won’t want to make changes.
The Mice Rx tell us that you have hopes for this relationship to work out, and regain the things that were lost in the near past.
You have people around you that push you to stay in the relationship with him, while others sway you against it. This is shown the reversed Fish card. It makes you feel like others know better than you. You are stuck in the middle, unable to make a decision, and wanting others to decided for you.
Your own feeling is that you are willing to give him one last chance. The Tomb Rx states so.
For now, as seen by the Letter card, you will continue communicating with him.
Bedes Rx is the advice card. It doesn’t show great potential for the relationship because you have a lot working against you. Bedes talks about having to wait for a very long time, and be extra patient to get this relationship to a place that is truly healthy and good for you.

I hope this sample reading was helpful for you. Please feel free to respond in the comments about your experiences with the Deste, and how do you handle love consultations.

Image

Madame Pamita, Johannes, Madame Nadia, & Elvyra at the Hoodoo Heritage Fest 2013

As you may already know, I will be presenting two workshops at the Hoodoo Heritage Festival in California, in the first weekend of May. One of the workshops might be of special interest to you, and so I thought I’d share the details.

Beyond the Reading: Using Tarot, Lenormand, and Playing Cards in Rootwork is a workshop crafted to teach how to use Tarot, Lenormand, and Playing Cards to diagnose yourself or a client and decide which spell to use for any given situation, how to customize that spell for maximum effectiveness, and even how to incorporate your cards into hoodoo spells.

This workshop will take place between 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM, on Saturday, May 3, 2014.

You’ll even get to take home some awesome conjure goodies when you sign up for the workshop.

On another note, I will be on the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour, along with catherine yronwode and ConjureMan Ali, this coming Sunday, at 5 PM CST. I hope you can tune in, and join the live chat that’s always loads of fun. The show is also archived, and available for later listening.

A Method to My Madness — 6 core principals driving my divination practice

Honey Jar with Lenormand elementsA couple of months ago I was invited to teach a workshop on divination anchored in the context of hoodoo, which is a primary source of magical services I offer to clients. The specific focus of this course was learning to asses magical conditions, i.e. evil eye, by using a divinatory instrument — be it cards, bones, omens, or what have you.

The workshop was a success, and I’ll be offering a more elaborate version at the Hoodoo Heritage Festival held by Lucky Mojo and the Missionary Independent Church next year.

Although this workshop ties directly to the conjure and Southern folk magic traditions, I believe the “Core Rules” I use in my practice are relevant across the board and help polish any forms of divination.

Below is an excerpt focused on the core principals helping me to get a grip on multiple layers of information that often appear in a single consultation. Please keep in mind that the workshop was designed to help individuals assess a magical (usually personal) case.

A Method to My Madness

1. Pick & Stick:

Don’t jump between various systems, but learn the Ins & Outs of one, preferred method. Practice does makes better! Especially when the questions move away from mundane, and inquire the critical. If you want to know whether a neighbor’s son, who is in the hospital because of a terrible car accident and is in critical condition, will live through August— you probably shouldn’t divine on it with the Bunny Tarot you got for Christmas, and have used only once on Easter.

2. Keep it Simple:

Especially in the beginning — diving into a complicated system of divination tends to span more confusion, discouragement, and eventually stasis. Making something more complicated than it needs to be will not make it better.

3. Set Parameters:Vogue Cover

Decide what means what BEFORE you sit down to read… For example, lets say that you are concerned about being jinxed by a co-worker, and your preferred divination method is the Lenormand. You decide to pull two cards on the matter at hand, and you pull first the Dog card, followed by the Lady card. So does this draw mean that a female co-worker is throwing for you, or does it proves your suspicion to be groundless?

The answer completely depends on the parameters you’ve set prior to the reading. If you’ve decided that positive and neutral cards always return a solid YES (without looking into the context of the draw), and your question was: Has Molly been jinxing me? Then the answer is Yes, she was. However, if you decided that positive and neutral cards stand for positive/pleasant outcomes (basing your answer on the context of the draw), then Molly isn’t jinxing you. On the contrary, she is a loyal and supportive colleague.

The reader is the one responsible for setting the parameters. How you set them is completely up to you. But be sure to make these executive decisions prior to a divination session.

4. Formulate CLEAR Questions:

Formulating clear questions is the most important “core rule,” in my opinion. If your questions are generalized and fuzzy, the answers you’ll get will ALWAYS be shrouded in doubt and uncertainty!

Just yesterday an email client has asked to see if “she and her guy” will ever be together. It’s a common way people ask questions. And as a diviner and a rootdoctor it is my job to correct some MAJOR issues with involving the formulation of this question, prior to presenting it to my oracle.

Lets look at the word ever, and how long it lasts. For instance, a young adult might consider a period of three months to last for ever. Now an adult, a Taurus for example ;-), might be willing to wait for a loved one for decades. While a client who believes in reincarnation, and has recently lost a partner, will consider ever to be a lifetime or two.

And what about the word together? To one person it might mean hanging out together at the same space. To another it represents spending time together as platonic friends? Most likely a statement like that refers to a romantic relationship. But in order to clarify what exactly together means, some input and clarification is needed on a case-to-case basis.

Indeed, ever should be framed as an exact period of time; while together needs to be spelling out the type of a desired relationship. So a better question might look like: “Will I and John Doe be in a committed, romantic, and intimate relationship within the next 3 months?” This way both my client and I share the same understanding of the query, and can interpret the results of the consultation appropriately.

5. Question Everything:

A common misconception circulating within the spiritual community for years states that repeating the same question, or asking too many questions will result in confusing the oracle, or even worse, offending it.

If you hold this belief, please ask yourself the following:

Do you really want to work with an oracle, a system, or an entity that is so capricious that it gives you grief for asking for clarification? Or maybe it has a spiritual ADHD, and it cannot retain focus when asked a series of three to five relating questions?

So what’s going to happen if a client comes to you because have a $50,000 and they want to invest it in one of four aggressive portfolios. I don’t know about you, but in cases like this I tend to confirm, reconfirm, and re-reconfirm my answer. So give your oracle a dose of spiritual Adderall, to keep it in focus and in check 🙂

MLClouds6. Assess Your Mental State — Can you read for yourself?

Finally, it’s important to acknowledge that even the best of diviners under certain circumstance is incapable of producing meaningful, and “true” readings when looking into a personal issue of high priority. The fact of the matter is that if a certain situation in our lives gives us anxiety, it renders detachment largely impossible and throws objectivity out the window.

Personally, when I cannot interpret the message of my own divination because there’s just too much going in my life in relation to a specific situation — I choose to pamper myself, and turn to other readers for a second opinion.

No matter what the situation is, I enjoy getting readings from others. It’s a great opportunity to get a different perspective, learn a new technique, and support the diviners’ community by purchasing a reading. And I highly recommend you do it too!

Warmly,

Madame Nadia 

Finding a Lost Object Using the Lenormand

So it might appear like a petty, even a dumb draw; but it illustrates precisely why traditional Lenormand is by far one of my favorite divination systems:

(1) It’s practical

(2) It’s unpretentious

(3) And it’s uber accurate

A Case of a Lost DVD Cover

My husband and I rent DVDs for our young daughter at the local library. She is three and a half, and has been a fan of Angelina Ballerina for about half of her life. So last time we went to the library we rented Mousical Medleys, which is an Angelina Ballerina feature. And today the time has come to return the DVD.

Although the actual disk was still in the DVD player, my husband couldn’t find the film’s case for the life of him. He looked all around the basement — which is our family room, and where the TV is located — but Mousical Medleys was nowhere to be found.

The DVD case wasn’t behind the TV stand. I was neither under the couch, nor in the toy basket.

“I have no clue where it is,” hubby announced in somewhat annoyed manner.

“I’ll find it,” I said.

“How?”

“I’ll throw some cards on it.”

Standing in the doorway separating the unfinished part of the basement from the common area, he gave me the typical look husbands of fortune tellers give their wives when we grab at the “supernatural” to mend the general household affairs — it looks like something like a fuse between the “yeah, right” look, and the “oh shit” gaze — and moved on onto the next item on his to do list.

For the task at hand I picked the Magpie Oracle by Carrie Paris, which is a collection of all the 36 Lenormand symbols in a form of tiny charms. I love using these because it’s easy placing them on letter-size Lenormand house printouts. (Carrie actually provides some cool charts on her site to be used with the Magpie Oracle.) Casting the Magpie charms reminds me casting bones, just in a less involved and formal manner.

So back to the story; For my investigation I used a Lenormand Houses chart, casting 3 charms onto specific houses to try figuring out where the DVD Case is hiding.

The first charm was a mouse! I knew I was on the right track immediately:

(a) the Mice card talks about losses and theft;

(b) the actual MIA object was a cover of an animation about a mouse ballerina and her mousling friend dancers;

I placed that charm on the House position in the chart. The next draw was an Owl, which I placed in the house of Mice. Finally, I drew the Sun charm, placing it in the Birds / Owls space.

Mouse+Owl+Sun on Magpie Oracle

Together Mice+Birds+Sun zoned on a very specific area where the lost object is located. In this specific draw I was interested in physical locations and characteristics attributed to the cards. For instance, The Mice card points to the basement — so I knew the DVD cover hasn’t “left” the family room area. The Birds represent all forms of communication, and our internet modem is located in the basement, behind the TV. The owls, specifically, also made me think of glasses because it’s a card that relates to vision issues — and I keep a pair of glasses right next to the modem, which is by the TV, for the rare occasions when I actually have the time to watch movies with the rest of the crew. Finally, the Sun stands for electricity, and TVs specifically.

Magpie Charms & mini Marseille Lenormand

My conclusion was that the cover of Mousical Medleys must still be right there, by the TV, the modem, and the DVD player.

It took me about 5 seconds to move a few large children books laying on the TV stand, right by the DVD player to find the missing case. “You gotta be kidding me,” I said to hubby who saw me in action and now was scratching his head in disbelief.

the DVD case is "hiding" under books

 

Lenormand couldn’t be more precise. Like a sonar of sorts it gave me an exact location. I didn’t need to invoke spirits, form a psychological profile of my family, or connect to my inner child.

And this is why i love Lenormand!

Finding the lost DVD case

Affectionately,

Madame Nadia 

A Bulgarian Dondorf Lenormand

Recently I came across a Lenormand deck on eBay that I absolutely had to have. It’s a 1947 Dondorf Lenormand from Bulgaria.

IMG_7094IMG_7098

The cards are in a pretty fragile condition. Clearly, they’ve been loved and used quite a bit because of the visible wear and tear condition. The colors, however, are quite striking and vibrant. Much more so than other vintage Dondorfs that I own.

IMG_7097

The most fascinating aspect of this deck is the poems on the cards — they are written in Bulgarian, as well as the booklet that comes with the deck. I can read and understand some because the alphabet is the same as Russian. But I’ll need to spend more time with it in order to really understand what the poems and the instructions say.

IMG_7100

There’s an inscription on the front page of the booklet, and I am very curious about what it says and who was the recipient of this gift. Even though the cards’ condition is far from excellent, the fact that some of the history of the deck comes through via the handwritten dedication makes it so much more precious to me.

IMG_7096

Blessings,

Madame Nadia

When Hitting a Lenormand Plateau

A puzzled Madame Nadia

A puzzled Madame Nadia


I love Lenormand! So you can imagine how terrible I felt when I hit a “reader’s block”.

My interest in this system of divination started just before the massive Lenormand conversion has begun in the United States. I was attracted to the seemingly simplistic look and reading approach, and the very direct and practical responses the cards gave.

Since I couldn’t find any real Lenormand readers in my area I sought after virtual mentorship, receiving a lot of valuable information, guidance, and support from Andy, Fennario, and Mama Whodun. Andy’s blog became my Lenormand mecca, and I subscribed to the Dutch-Belgian school of meanings as I eagerly joined Andy’s free course.

I did my homework with a zeal, produced multiple blog posts, and practiced reading the cards daily myself and, after feeling more comfortable with the system, for clients. I joined a Facebook study group, through which I met many acolytes and even a couple new mentors, while observing how Lenormand is taking the US market by storm and, too often, becoming something slightly different (but this post isn’t about that). And as I attempted to stay purist in my approach to interpreting the cards, I became completely consumed by consumerism; buying hot, new decks and powdery, vintage pecks that suddenly showed up everywhere around me like hot beignets. Everything was la di da sweet…. And then I hit a plateau.

It really hit me when I begun working with the Grand Tableau lesson in Andy’s course. Suddenly what used to be fun and inspiring, now raised anxiety. There was so much details, tricks, and just SO MUCH information yet to be learned and memorized. “Damn,” I thought to myself, “It really will take time to learn!” The Lenormand wasn’t that simplistic in my eyes anymore, and I realized that I have to take a break from jamming more and more technical information into my head if I REALLY wanted to get it.

Sadly, it became clear to me that what I was really doing was racing to an imaginary finish line. Instead of taking the time to learn how to read these amazing cards, now I was lost in competing with a virtual band of readers. And this wasn’t working. I knew that I had to slow down, take a break from the course, and reconfigure my priority list.

All great films have multiple story lines. Sure, the Alpha storyline is what’s most important. However, it is because of secondary story lines that we are able gage the colors and measure the depths of our characters. Without these parallel prisms of information, every film is a rigid composition of only primary “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” sort of colors.

LiliesMy film metaphor is quite a detour. But it makes this post more flavorful. And so is the Lenormand experience I’m striving for. After exiting a self-imposed, mental competition, I’ve searched for new ways to look at the cards without pressure. I figure that there must be other layers and prisms through which each card, and consequently combinations of cards, would reveal information greater than just key words and right-to-left reading technique. I yearn to know how much dust, in a given read, is accomulated on the Rider’s boots; and how sharp is Scythe’s blade, and how sexy is the Lily? I crave those B and C story lines. And so do my clients.

Recently I’ve been feeling a shift in the way that I read. I am walking away from rigid ideas about cards, as I am building a personal library of notions and experiences. I’ve also found a few helpful sources. Taking Caitlin Matthews’ informative webinar, Petit Lenoirmand Method — Past and Future, has been really helpful with building new, and more personalized layers of interpretation. And even more recently, being exposed to the writings of a heavy weight Lenormand champion, Chanah, of Confessions of a Freaky Fortune Teller, who has returned to the cartomancy scene just in time to lift my reader’s block, has been awesome. So there’s light in the end of the tunnel.

IMG_7706I guess that Mama Woudun and Fennario were right after all, saying it takes years before you really start digging the Lenormand. Following their wise advice, I took my relationship with the cards to the next phase. Maybe we’re not living together yet, but we’re definitely going out steady. I feel like I am ready to “meet the family”; that I do care to know what makes big sister Bouquet tick, when is uncle Whip planning to get out of the closet, and what kind of mental illness grandpa Clouds gifted my sitter with. I’m not so obsessed parading my “red, hot” reader’s skills to others anymore. What I am focused on is getting to know the cards’ personalities intimately — and how these play out when we’re together. That’s all.

Cheers,

Madame Nadia

I am a proud member of Hoodoo Psychics

This is just a short post to let y’all know that as of last night I am a proud member of Hoodoo Psychics.

This is the first time I am venturing into the psychic hotline world, and I am very excited because Hoodoo Psychics is a true cooperative organization with a solid code of ethics. Currently, all the diviners who read via this site are also members of the Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers.  I couldn’t ask for a better company!

So dial 1-888-4-HOODOO ext. 8468 if you would like to book an instant reading with me 🙂

 

Warmly,

Madame Nadia

 

Cinderella Weekends

My husband is finishing his Master’s degree — which means that along my full-time job and my fortune telling and conjure practice, I am also having quite a load on my shoulders taking care of our household, our daughter, and two spoiled fur-babies. And thought it sounds like bitching (and maybe it is 🙂 ), I wouldn’t mind cloning myself if I could. Especially on the weekends, when my to do list looks like a menacing, multi-headed hydra, and a martini-therapy seems like the only sane option.
This weekend my husband is away on a school-related seminar. And I am here — in “charge”! I pulled three cards from my vintage Piatnik, that gave me a perfect reflection of today’s situation.

The Crossroads is about important choices, and the decision-making process. In today’s, simplified, context I see it as being in charge and having to navigate the day for my family.
The House and the Child are quite literal. My decisions will be about my home, and focused on my daughter.

I also feel that the advice within these cards talks about making a conscious decision to have a good day because it could go either way.

In other words, bitching is OK, but don’t forget the blessings! Read between the lines of the laundry list, and enjoy what you’ve got without loosing your mind in the details of what needs to get done.

I’ll try!

Faithfully,

Madame Nadia

Join me for some spooky Halloween conjure on the Lucky Mojo Rootwork Radio show today!

It ain’t no spooky Halloween without some good ol’ conjure! Join me today on the Lucky Mojo Rootwork Radio Hour, during the most amazing and witchy time of the year. In addition to our regular format, of free call-ins for divination and hoodoo advice, we will also discuss working with ancestors and spirit guides.

The show will air on 5 PM CST, and will run through 6:30 PM CST.

I will have some new and wonderful card decks with me — debuting on air The Wild Unknown Tarot, and the precious Madame Duberckowski’s Fortune Telling Cards. In addition, I’ll have my trusty Lenormand, of course, with my beloved The Book Of Knowing playing cards. I promise, all of you cartomancy fiends will have some new decks to think about.

If you are new to the radio show, here is some more information:

The Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour is a real, live call-in show where the general public gets a chance to ask about actual problems with love, career, and spiritual protection, and we recommend and fully describe hoodoo rootwork spells to address, ameliorate, and remediate their issues. You will learn a lot just by listening — but if you call in and your call is selected, you will get a free consultation from two of the finest workers in the field, cat yronwode and ConjureMan Ali.

The number to call in for the show is (818) 394-8535.

Hope to see you there!!!!

Affectionately,

Madame Nadia