Instructional love for the sign that doesn’t get enough credit

Virgo the Virgin. This is the go-to archetype associated with those born between August 23rd and September 22nd. Also: analytical, neurotic, critical, judge-y, and anal. Oof. Those are some words.

Let me offer some alternatives.

Self-sufficient. Reliant. Possessed. Virgo is poised and sure, independent and fully able to fulfill their own desires. This sign is all about the exploration, discovery, and knowing of the Self. Virgo is The Maiden.

Persephone, Koine, Isis, Ishtar — just some of…


When Colleen woke up on Saturday morning, it was quiet.

Photo by Edu Grande on Unsplash

When Colleen woke up on Saturday morning, it was quiet.

She did not hear the next-door children screeching as they bounced on their new trampoline. She could not make out the rumble of passing traffic, on its way to market, or service, or homeward bound, again. There were no jingling dog’s collars pausing on her front lawn. No squeaky strollers off to the park. No filtered, flittered conversation from her downstairs neighbor’s morning FaceTime calls. No whir of bicycles flying blindly down her alley. …


The breakup that deprogrammed my toxic romantic pattern

Photo: milan2099/Getty Images

It’s a few days into the New Year and I am nauseated and pale, vibrating with a soon-to-be sated expectancy.

I am breaking up with someone.

“You are an option; you’re just not the option.”

Or, someone is breaking up with me.

I’m sitting in an emotionally claustrophobic apartment I was buzzed into without a greeting (a first) after fleetingly forgetting which floor to summon (a one-hundredth). …


Scary Tarot

The Death card tells us it’s time for transformation

Illustration: Lisa Sterle | Modern Witch Tarot

The sun sets betwixt two ivory towers as a king lies, dead, at the feet of a pure-white horse. Women and children — mourners, perhaps — plead with the shadowed, bony figure astride the snorting steed: Death has come to town.

The Major Arcana are set apart from the rest of the Tarot deck for the archetypical lessons they present to us. When any of these cards appear in a spread, they come to us heady with importance. With them, we take immediate and careful heed. …


Scary Tarot

Let go of hustle and embrace flow with the Ten of Wands

The Fountain Tarot. Photo courtesy of the author.

A weary figure bears a bundle of 10 rods as it moves down a dark road. In certain lights, it might appear that they are not a willing ferryman, but instead trapped within the poles. What is their final destination with this burden, I wonder?

Three writers’ faces are illuminated in iMac-blue. They type, then delete. Struggle, then push through. The three wend their way through a first draft, then a second, then a third. On the wall above them, amid movie posters and photographs, is a framed card.

In curving pink and gold, it reads:

She believed she could…


Scary Tarot

The Devil invites us to question our desires

Illustration: Lisa Sterle | Modern Witch Tarot

The Devil raises his hand as two nude, chained figures stand before him. We are left to judge whether this is a greeting, a blessing, or a curse.

“Oh my god, you guys are so loud right now,” M hisses hoarsely as she slips deeper into her plush theatre seat, hiding her face from view in embarrassment.

A and I cackle in response before polishing off the dregs of red wine I smuggled into the movie screening in my S’well water bottle. We’ve been providing a running commentary on the films screening that evening, not unlike the famed muppets Statler…


Scary Tarot

The Five of Pentacles calls us back to our community

Photo: Alina Vilchenko/Pexels

Beneath a crystalline night sky, two figures huddle together for comfort against the cool flakes surrounding them. They are need without fulfillment, souls seeking solace, impoverished and alone.

Those of us who craft and practice can, nearly always, feel backward into the roots of ourselves, finding the spell-casters and soothsayers; the dowsers and scryers; all of the trusted, knowing hearts who beat out the minutes and moments before us.

I am not the first witch in my family; my lineage errs toward the oracular. My bisnonna read tea leaves, while my Nana had prophetic premonitions. My mother is an intuitive…


Dispatches from the Lost Ones Club

Photo: Artem Ivanchencko/Unsplash

Hello. Welcome. Dear —

I was four when my father died. This by no means makes me an expert on loss. It just means I’ve spent a rather extended period of time around grief. It means that, when I was grown-up enough to do so, I was able to choose if and when I wanted to grieve. And I did, as it turned out.

I picked out years spent in, or avoiding, therapy. I decided to crack open the cavity of my chest so the kraken lying there could burst forth to pillage my life. I let those emotional, throbbing…


Mind Games

The humbling power of ‘I don’t know’

Photo: Gary Yeowell/Getty Images

It snowed yesterday, even though it’s the middle of spring. Flurries are working themselves into a tizzy today, too. I packed only a single sweater in the two suitcases I lugged across the country with me.

I’ve worn it every day for the past week.

I am unemployed, with absolutely no idea what sort of employment I’d like to pursue. My bank account is a wasteland, and I’m sniffling into my phone outside a cafe where I just purchased a $7 macadamia-milk latte. I am having a meltdown.

“I just want someone to tell me what to do!” …


Scary Tarot

The Tower asks us to challenge long-held beliefs

Photo: DEA/G. DAGLI ORTI/Getty Images

In the 15th century, a deck of cards called tarocchi emerged in Northern Italy, the very same region my ancestors descended from. This cosmic coincidence didn’t occur to me when I got my first download in Tarot knowledge at age nine, from a Romani-descended family friend — I was simply focused on learning a new card game, one with much higher stakes than Hearts or Crazy Eights.

Of course, tarocchi — or as it’s now called, the Tarot — isn’t an idle game. The cards help us gaze into our futures and selves. Whether they were introduced to the Italians…

Sasha Duncan

storyteller | feminist | guide || Sasha offers teachings from her multitude of stumbles, bumbles, and breakthroughs || she/her || follow @sashamduncan

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