The Checkmate Tarot Spread

A small business that has hired you to provide financial consultation needs advice on how to deal with a litigious company that’s pushing them out of business. A group of friends is preparing to take a long journey across multiple different countries, and they’re looking for some advice on what they’ll need to take into consideration for the trip. A group of alt-right folk have been causing trouble in the local pagan community, and your coven of antifascist witches needs to formulate a gameplan.

In situations like these, you might be looking for a tarot spread that’s a little more in-depth, something with a lot of opportunities to strategise, to simulate possible moves, to apply lateral thinking, and to come up with multiple adaptable approaches to a complex problem.

The Checkmate Tarot Spread is a new spread developed to satisfy those needs.

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HOLOGLYPHIC CENTRIFUGE IN ASTRAL ROTUNDA XXI: 24/7 Lo-Fi Musick of the Spheres

In recent years it feels like there’s been a massive new appreciation for Tarot, both in terms of folk choosing to get Tarot readings and folk choosing to learn Tarot for themselves. On one hand, we could say this is the due to the rippling futureshock of the rupture of the twinned Aeon of Horus-Ma’at after the quantum detonation of 2012 and the emergence into solar cycle 25 which vibrates from the Summer of Love through to the morphically-resonant Gaian nightside waking-dreams of 16th-and-17th century court alchemists; on the other hand, we could say it’s just because Tarot is extremely cool and lots of occult and witchy folk are talking more openly about their practice and making it more accessible to get into it.

A few folk have asked me some advice about getting started with Tarot, how to interpret the cards, how to pick a deck, and so on: I wanted to make a wee guide to collect together some of the advice I’ve given and to make it easier for a wider range of folk to try it out for themselves.

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“Who’s quoting this?”: Synchromystic Language, Narrative and Metatextuality in Hellier

In November 2019, the second season of Planet Weird original series Hellier was released through Amazon Prime, and then later free on YouTube. The crew comprises Dana and Greg Newkirk of the Travelling Museum of the Paranormal and Week in Weird, Karl Pfeiffer and Connor Randall of the Spirits of the Stanley series, and, joining the team as a regular investigator after an appearance in Season One, occult adventurer and researcher Tyler Strand. Their investigation runs the gamut of paranormal phenomena, starting with strange emails from a man seeing goblins outside of his house at night, to the Mothman sightings and Fortean phenomena of Point Pleasant, to a cipher that decodes the names of ultraterrestrials, to spooky caves deep in the country. Season 2 brings us connections to the ostensible clustering of the paranormal along the 37th parallel, rumours of rural cult activity, experiments in hypnosis and psi, meetings with occultists, and the evocation of the great god Pan in an eerie cave. 1

One aspect of the team’s investigation that deserves close attention is their attempt at communication with the unseen forces that appear to be orchestrating their initiation into the wider occult world, if the signs and synchronicities are to be believed. Throughout their investigation, the Hellier team appear to be in contact with something – the essence of which is so slippery and difficult to grasp that they simply refer to it as “the phenomena”. This phenomena appears to manifest through their sessions with spirit boxes and in charting synchronicities – but there is ample scope to consider it as being in some way tied to the narrative of Hellier itself, the way the crew talk about that narrative, and how the phenomena crosses the dividing lines between the team’s experiences, the show, and its audience.

In particular, language, narrative and metatextuality are recurrent themes throughout the series, most often literally in the sense of delving into various esoteric books, cryptic emails and ciphers, or attempting spirit communication through diverse means; there’s a more subtle current in the fact that many of the group’s paranormal experiences – and the production of the show itself – sidle up against the vagaries of communication, textual processes, and storytelling, some of which we’ll discuss below.

Note that there are spoilers for both seasons of Hellier in the discussion ahead!

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Work / Hire / Commission

We will make such strange and curious things for you.

  • Samples of all work can be found in the Portfolio.
  • Requests can be made and discussed over email or Twitter (see Contact),.
  • Open to NSFW/18+ commissions.
  • Transactions are handled through Ko-fi or Paypal.
  • Note that requests for work with additional requirements (tight deadlines, high-volume work, contracts e.t.c.) may be priced differently.

Content Writing

Fiction Writing

Writing and developing scenes, backstories or mood pieces for personal original characters, roleplaying characters and extended universes, creating lore and fic for conworlds and original settings.

  • $25 for up to 1,000 words, + $10 per 1,000 words thereafter
  • Specialist subjects: M/M fic, narratives with queer characters, witchcraft, the occult and supernatural, Victoriana, orcs, monsters, furry.
  • Samples: The Netherhall Experiments (Writing Sample); Monstrous Lore.

Game  Writing

Writing for games, including interactive narrative, dialogue, item descriptions, romance routes, sex scenes, lore entries or mood/atmosphere pieces.

Content/Feature/SEO Writing

Writing blogposts, guest features or articles for SEO on a variety of topics.

Interactive Narrative/Twine Games

Creating a short twine game based on characters, themes and narratives requested.

  • $50, + $negotiable for additional requested complexity (e.g. branching narratives, specialised game mechanics)
  • Specialist subjects: M/M, narratives with queer characters, witchcraft, the occult and supernatural, Victoriana, orcs, monsters, furry.
  • Samples: BEHEMOTH (itch.io), Hypnagogue (itch.io).

Illustration

Illustrating characters and scenes, and creating cover art.

Tarot Readings

Each Tarot reading comes with a card-by-card analysis and interpretation, an overall summary, and a photo of the cards in your spread. Note that Tarot readings aren’t foolproof and 100% accurate systems of predictions, and future decisions should not be based off of a reading alone!

All Tarot readings are handled through Ko-fi, or Patreon for subscribers.

  • $3 for a 3-card reading, $6 for a 6-card reading, $9 for a 10-card Celtic Cross reading (for all readings except Extensive Readings.)
  • General Reading: A general overview of your situation at present; no specific question or direction, using the cards to suggest a particular issue.
  • Specific Reading: A reading to explore one question or issue in particular, where all of the cards will be interpreted in light of that question/issue.
  • Creative Reading: Ideas and inspiration for original characters or settings, such as suggestions for character backgrounds, possible plotlines for future roleplaying campaigns, looking at narrative problems from different perspectives, or something similar.
  • Extensive Reading: A more in-depth reading, either involving more cards, with more complex and specific requirements, or which are required to be repeated regularly. This may include tarot readings for businesses, queries with multiple questions, queries with two or more possible options, or for those requiring more esoteric/occult interpretations of the cards (good for those with a background in the occult). Extensive readings’ costs are negotiated based on requirements: get in touch through the contact page for more information.
  • Patreon supporters on the Conjuror or Wych tiers can request a 3-card or 6-card Tarot reading each month.

Consultancy

Sourcing the origin of weird possibly-occult symbols or things you’ve found; suggestions for where to look for further information on occult topics or areas of interest; consultation on occult and magickal art, narratives and history in fiction; discussing experiences and interpreting them through potential occult lenses. Information is presented without dogma or commitment to one particular religious or spiritual practice, and is provided as context/routes for exploration rather than as definitive and authoritative orthodoxy.

  • Consultation is usually a pay-what-you-want donation after the consultation itself, larger projects or more extensive consultations are open to negotiation.

Dream Projects

Any commissions that check off something from this list of oddnesses might be eligible for a discount with discussion!

  • Orcs
  • Nonfiction commissions exploring modern or postmodern magick and the occult
  • Scripts/theme & scene directions/dialogue for queer erotica

Portfolio

Portfolios

Click the folders below to open the portfolio.

Writing

Feature Writing

Fiction Writing

Game Narrative Writing

Other Writing

Writing Portfolio

Feature Writing

Fiction Writing

Game Narrative Writing

Other Writing

The Price the Two Pay Will Be The Third: We Know the Devil, a review

Messy queer teenage emotions, a conflicted religious upbringing and imbalanced relationship dynamics are all things that many LGBTQ people have had to learn to deal with as part of growing up. Thankfully, very few of us also have to deal with the literal devil on top of that – but the trio of teenage protagonists in horror visual-novel We Know the Devil have no choice but to contend with all of these things over the course of one fateful night in an abandoned shack near their religious youth camp.

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