Hello everyone! I thought I would introduce myself and share my first practical experiance. My name is Christian and I have been drawn to the occult and higher mysteries for as long as I can remember. I was raised and stepped in, you guessed it, Christianity, and while finding many things to resonate with have always found myself wanting. I've been an avid researcher into a modicum of faiths, beliefs and practices, but have never broken free of the constraints engrained in me from years of indoctrination to take a practical approach into any other forms of spirituality or mysticism, until now. I stumbled accross Olivia by happenstance, and found myself enthralled and enamored in the graciousness and kindness shown to those of us who were on "the other side of the isle". Persecution from my family for interest in the magickal path kept me for years from exploring my higher self, so again, I thank you for your tolerance. Divination and astrology have always fascinated me. So I figured that might be a good place to start. I headed to my local spiritual store today, and upon arriving I went into perception overload. As it turns out today is the Sabbat of Lughnasadh, and there were at least 50 people crammed into this little shop, I almost turned and walked out, but I had driven 40 miles and I wasn't leaving empty handed. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and the moment you opened the door you are greeted with the most beautiful smell, it instantly set my mind at ease. I had previously been researching which Tarot deck I would possibly purchase, but of course none of those were at this shop, so I started going through the different demo decks they had and didn't really connect to any of them. I felt defeated, the enthusiasm that had brought me thus far was all but gone, painfully I turned to leave and glanced up on the highest shelf and an image caught me eye, I opened the box and instantly knew this was what I had came here for. With renewed vigor I began browsing further and found a few books to further my path. Luckily enough I was able to pick up the last pack of Palo Santo and I was finally ready to depart. I wish I could describe the mixture of emotions on my drive home, a constant swirl of excitement and nervousness. I made it home and cleansed my space, for an alter I have yet to derive. I shuffled the deck at least 15 times, I wanted to make sure it's original form had been properly mixed and on the final shuffle a card fell out. I was terrified. I almost picked it up and put it back into the deck, but recalling information from before, this must be what the universe or spirit wants to convey. I turned it over and sure enough the first card I pull is the Devil! I could almost hear the cosmos laughing. A Poke at my aforementioned path, but also exactly what I needed to see. The imagery shown is of a man and a woman cowering in fear of a hooded figure hiding in the darkness. I wrote down my interpretation and then referenced the book that came with the deck, and I must say my initial explanation coincided quite remarkably with the artist description. I , not anyone else, have been standing in my own path for far too long. I thanked the cards for their guidance and started to panic because I had nothing to wrap them in. I went to my closet and found a carmine handkerchief, not sure if it's silk but it's soft and warm. I wrapped the cards and placed them next to my pillow, and let out one of the best sighs of relief I have ever felt. As if all of the negative and blocking energy that I have carried with me for years had instantaneously vanished, and I felt as light as the air. It almost brought me to tears. It may not seem like much, but today has been a riveting experience, and I am humbled and thankful to be beginning a new path of my choosing. Thank you for listening!