The Small Pond

When I started this blog in July of 2017, I was recovering from the shock of the imminent demise of the Aeclectic Tarot forum and hoping to find (or create) another active venue for discussion of the more esoteric side of tarot and divination in general. A few upstart forums rushed in to fill the void, but the more seasoned community of occult thinkers seems to have dispersed while the mix of tarot neophytes and more socially-motivated participants has remained fairly constant. I’ve found the online experience much the poorer for it, so I’ve pretty much retired from the forums and just continue to “howl in the wilderness” here.

Since that time, I’ve offered a range of opinions on all the aspects of divination that happen to interest me, both esoteric and traditional, but the hoped-for up-tick in interest and interaction just hasn’t happened. Although internet forums are a wonderful tool for bringing like-minded people together, it seems that serious philosophical discussion is out-of-fashion now, having been replaced by the instant gratification of Facebook  banter and (<makes faintly disapproving “curmudgeon face”> ) the “fluffy bunny” mode of interpretation favored by newbies and social-media mavens.

In the last year, I’ve made 540 posts and received 2,457 visitors, 7,507 views and 348 likes, but only 97 followers (of which not all are still active) and 118 comments (although I would have sworn it was much less than that). I have no way of knowing how these stats stack up against similar blogs, many of which are more well-established. Some interesting dialogue has occurred, but by-and-large discussion has been rather anemic. That said, I renewed my WordPress subscription and will press on because . . . well, because I can (and can afford to foot the bill). From what I’ve seen, at least some of my content pushes the envelope as far as depth and vision, ranging anywhere from the cutting edge to the dark underbelly of metaphysical thought, but I’m beginning to think that we as diviners inhabit a very small pond.

17 thoughts on “The Small Pond

  1. I love your blog (I’m Velvetina from long-lost AT) and read practically every single post.
    I should comment more, but I’m shy! HOWEVER I do understand that feeling of talking into the emptiness (is there anyone there?) so I thought I’d say hello and repeat – I honestly enjoy your blog posts!
    I joined a couple of forums. I tried a couple of FB groups (they made me ridiculously irritated!) but I do miss that feeling of genuine informed conversation (including humour, including nonsense) over at Aeclectic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just wanted to chime in to say that I really appreciate the approach you take to tarot and/or your blog. It’s so rare to find someone who explores “occult tarot”. I’ve very much gravitated that direction myself, but resources are rare. While I currently try to navigate unfamiliar waters, your blog has been a steady directional force to the madness.

    Thank you for the effort you put in, and I hope you find continued success in the road less traveled. Trust me, as someone who was fluffier in my approach for years, it’s worth it… at least to me… to take that more in-depth approach. Hang in there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I write about this stuff because I can’t not think about it most of the time. My recent forum contributions have, with few exceptions, fallen on deaf ears, so I bring the inspiration here instead. There are two quotes relatable to occult pursuits that I like to play off of one another. One is Hamlet’s advice to Horatio: “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy” and the other is David Hannon’s remarks about P.T. Barnum’s gullible customers: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” My goal is to champion the cause and hopefully educate the erstwhile suckers to the extent of my ability.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. While the key to a successful (by any measurable metric) blog is obviously good content, there are many other factors involved too. There are a few decent books on blogging in general, and WordPress in specific, why not take a look at one of those for further ideas?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the tip. I just upgraded my WordPress account to premium and have more latitude for creativity now. Much of the blogging advice is related to monetizing, and since I’m not trying to eke a living out of blogging, I don’t really care too much about that. Reading tarot for paying clients in a face-to-face setting is more profitable anyway. But I will certainly check out the books; I’ve already found some valuable advice online.

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  4. Indeed, much of the advice is geared towards monetisation. However that is fairly intimately linked with increasing blog visibility too, so a lot of that advice still stands, I suppose. By way of example, I co-run a blog with a friend (unrelated subject) and after some months and years of observing the stats and looking under the hood, we found that blogs of a certain length, clearly formatted, accompanied by a good illustration, posted on Thursdays (or Fridays, I forget) obtained the most hits. Once we had the “formula”, then it was more or less a matter of sticking to that for the sake of simplicity.

    I also set up a dedicated Scribd page to host the numerous documents and books we were sharing/producing. Even with generous space allowed for on the blog, being able to embed a Scribd book, much like a Youtube video, looks a lot nicer and easier for readers. I generally also included the direct download link from the blog if the file wasn’t too large.

    Other blogs have their Youtube channels, or podcast, or Soundcloud stream for audio. There are possibilities beyond text too.

    In any case, be sure to include the link to your blog on your profile on the forums you frequent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not so much attempting to reach a lot of people as trying to engender some discussion among kindred spirits (although I suppose one should ideally beget the other). I did see a recommendation somewhere to always include some kind of graphic in a post. WordPress supports drag-and-drop for JPEG files, but a lot of my stuff is in PDF so I’ve been using Dropbox. I don’t do YouTube because I don’t want to be just one more amateur among a sea of other wannabes. Some videos are painful to watch.

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      • True, a good deal of videos are self-indulgent, not to say cringeworthy. But a properly thought-out and well-delivered audio recording can nicely accompany the text, or complement it.

        In terms of visual display, it makes more sense to also include a graphic of your spreads alongside the Dropbox download link. Having the image directly visible does make a difference. Hence the use of Scribd. Just my tuppence worth.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have the ability to scan my spreads into JPEG format and import them as pictures. It’s a couple of extra steps (printing, scanning, editing, importing) but probably worth it. I looked into Scribd a while ago but don’t want to pay the fee to use it. Thanks again for your advice.

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  5. I suppose I understand where you’re coming from. It is always good to get feedback on a blog post that turns into serious discussion. But it seems to me that blogs just aren’t really suited for that like forums or groups are, and if the latter is going the way of instant gratification and fluffy bunnies, well, is it that surprising? The blog is more like a soapbox from which we preach, and those who care to listen won’t add much more than an “Amen to that!” if they add anything at all. Serious discussion is rare in my experience, and as both a blogger and a reader of blogs, I can say that I’m guilty of reading and moving along without adding my two cents. It’s just the way it is, but it doesn’t mean people aren’t reading and taking away from it. If the goal is to incite serious discussion, rather than disseminate ideas and information, then its a tough decision between shouting into the void and hoping something responds (like SETI) or joining the forums and gritting your teeth while you sift through all the BS. I don’t know if a better option exists. Personally, I am perfectly happy to sit in my little corner of cyberspace, my own virtual hermitage, if you will, and just leave my lantern shining for those who do feel like passing by my way for a morsel as they wander the wilderness. Not many do, but I didn’t pick the Hermit’s life for the society (or maybe I did…).

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I departed central Connecticut in 1979 for the woods of southern New Hampshire, I left a vibrant New Age community behind for what amounted to self-imposed exile. I continued to study and practice privately, and took the downtime to work my way through the B.O.T.A course material, but I missed the group interaction aspect. When I found the online tarot communities I thought I had discovered the Promised Land, and for almost seven years Aeclectic Tarot was a good approximation. I don’t mind gritting my teeth and wading through what the current crop of forums has to offer, but I’m not getting much intellectual stimulation for the time spent. At least running this blog I know not to expect much engagement, which is probably why I try to post new material every day and just keep plugging along. I’m basically talking to myself out loud and paying for the privilege; it’s kind of a running monologue of my thought processes and personal observations, and I agree it’s not a good vehicle for conversation. But my main impression is that our art is a lot less evolved than I would have expected more than 40 years after it first took off, and I find that rather unfortunate. There are, of course, some highly competent niche players, but it is after all a pretty small niche.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Forums is forums and blogs is blogs. They’re 2 different animals entirely. And I appreciate that you miss the forum dynamic.

    I don’t pretend to have the experience, expertise or background as someone such as yourself, but I had everything you mentioned in this blog post in mind when I built the Cult of Tarot Forum. My concept was to promote and support 3 areas, Reading Tarot, The Art of Tarot (art as in creation, design etc) and The serious Study of Tarot.

    To achieve this I knew one thing I would need to do is to take actual steps to prevent the forum from turning into the things I did not want it to be. Things which you also described while politely avoiding specifics.

    The forum is still young, just 6 weeks or so as I write this. But I can say we are thus far in a very good way. We have thoughtful contributors and I think a good level has been set and that level continues to be raised.

    I hope the people, the ones with so much much knowledge, with so much to share and yet still crave to learn, who’ve been scattered to the winds will will be blown our way at some point. Many have been already.

    If it’s interesting for you, I think if you click on my name, it will link to the forum and you can have a look for yourself. In any case it is good to see you and others continue to pursue this endlessly fascinating study. And if it’s any comfort, we are all howling into the wilderness. But despite its serene appearance, the wilderness is teeming with life.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You may have more readers than you think; I have subscribed via an app, rather than WordPress (which I don’t have the hang of yet).

    And give the forums some time!
    It took ages for Aeclectic to become what it was; I’m sure that in a few years, at least one of the new ones will have grown & matured a bit.
    (My money is on thetarotforum.com)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your insights. I registered at Tarot, Tea & Me but haven’t been able to log in. Right now I’m on the trail of several people from Aeclectic who haven’t resurfaced (at least not under their old usernames); I know at least a couple have lost interest in the forums and others post very infrequently. I’m hanging at Cult of Tarot at the moment, having relinquished mod roles at a couple of other forums.

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      • Thetarotforum (formerly Tarot, Tea & me) has been having some difficulties the last few days; when they get back up, perhaps Littlefang can figure out why you can’t log in.
        What I like there, is that by far the most discussions are about *using* tarot; at the Aeclectic forum, about 80% of threads were just drooling about decks people had bought, wished they had bought, were going to buy, etc….

        I’ve just discovered Cult of Tarot, thank you!
        That looks like a great place, too.

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