exploration without expectation

at the beginning of every year i purchase a tarot spread from carrie mallon, one of my favorite readers and someone whose website and card descriptions have helped me from the very beginning of my tarot journey. i love getting these readings, hearing someone outside of myself look at cards and paint me a picture of where i’ve been and where i’m going. and while i generally keep these large spreads private, the intensity of this year has caused me to reflect on the themes that carrie explored with me in a new light, and to consider the ways that i’ve seen them manifesting.

in looking through the notes that i took during the reading, i was struck by one idea in particular: exploration without expectation. that theme has come up for me a few times this year, as i looked at various potential futures, listened to deep inner longings, processed loss and healing, and embraced both movement and boundaries. i’ve tried to take more chances, participating in workshops, studios, and retreats. i’ve applied for new positions, submitted more writing and tarot work, launched a patreon, rebuilt my website, started writing tarotscopes, adjusted my pricing, tackled lengthy study challenges, and committed to writing every single day. i’ve started casting small personal spells, and have been considering how that work differs from prayer, tarot reading, meditation, and other daily rituals. i’ve dealt with two deaths in the family, moved across the country several times, and had to adjust both of my businesses to accommodate these shifts. and just this week, i hit a five year milestone that has shaken me deeply.

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so much has happened in my personal life this year. and yet, exploration continues to be a theme: releasing the expectations that so often creep in, letting myself be messy and unfinished and raw, taking chances without knowing the outcomes and allowing that be part of the magic. i’ve failed plenty of times, been rejected, started things without having any idea where they’re going. and yet it’s been a year of significant growth, as i push myself harder, put myself out there, let my dreams for my future begin to have more sharply defined edges. i’ve been brave, and strong, and found deep reserves of personal magic. i’ve refused to let the possibility of failure keep me from trying. and while i’ve not always succeeded, some of those risks have absolutely paid off, giving me opportunities and inspiration and connections that have helped me grow in unexpected and beautiful ways.

“you can be both really scared and really ready.”
- carrie mallon

my theme words for this year were try and engage. i think both words speak deeply to examination and observation, a willingness to try even when we aren’t sure where it might go, and a desire to be present and engage with our choices no matter where they lead us. exploration isn’t necessarily about forward movement or progress - rather, it’s an opportunity to find new perspectives, consider all possibilities, open ourselves to potential. nothing is assumed. we ask questions, reflect on both the obvious and the hidden, challenge what we think we know or understand. and while engage speaks to participation, being in the moment, committing to a path forward, try simply asks for effort. together, these words capture my desire to challenge my own capacity for creativity, and give me an answer every time i want to hesitate or overthink. when it doubt, just try. and if that little spark starts to grow, engage.

there’s so much space for growth in these words, just endlessly overflowing potential. and as challenging and often overwhelming as this year has been, it’s forced me to keep evolving. the richly transformative energy of this summer, the powerful eclipses that push for release and intention, the intensity of planetary shifts and aspects - everything is building on itself, making room for learning.

this morning i drew the world card, one that often feels like an end i’m not ready to see. do any of us ever feel whole, complete, perfected? this archetype speaks to the evolution we’ve experienced, the transformations we’ve accepted, the paradigm shifts that alter our entire perspective. i don’t feel finished, but i do feel changed. this year has shifted so much, forcing me to adjust the ways i see myself, the hardships i can endure, the growth i keep finding. and as i continue this path of exploration without expectation, as i keep trying, learning, engaging, i hope i can remember how far i’ve come, and how far i can still go.

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dark to full, revisited

CW: suicide, self-harm, depression

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five years ago this week was the first time i tried to end my life.

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it wasn’t the only time. but that first effort, that first tumble into darkness, that first time waking up realizing that things hadn’t gone according to plan - that was five years ago.

some days it feels so recent, and i can still taste the shame and regret on my tongue. other days i can almost forget it happened, and those desperate days feel like they belonged to someone else.

i wasn’t a meticulous planner. those painful, terrifying moments happened in a time of desperation, of loneliness, of complete and utter darkness. i needed to be out of my skin, needed everything to be still, needed my body to let me go. it was the only way of escape i could see, the only possibility i had left. i couldn’t envision a future that included my survival - and yet, i survived.

twice.

in the five years since, so much about my path has changed. i’ve moved four times, started regular therapy, come out to my family as both bisexual and someone with major depressive disorder, and found the right medication. i’ve started reading tarot cards, built a queer community, done significant work on my marriage. i write daily, reflect daily, check in with myself daily. and by some combination of effort and magic and science, i haven’t had a depressive episode in almost two years.

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i don’t miss my depression, not exactly, but i do have powerful, sometimes overwhelming memories of what it felt like to be lost in those shadows. it’s exhausting to be a person, especially right now, as a chronically ill queer woman in america - someone who longs for this world to be safe for everyone regardless of their race, culture, gender, sexual identity, religion, family, job, health, status, or choices. depression is miserable, terrifying, wretched - but it also gave me an escape from daily life, one that i rarely find otherwise. my idiopathic insomnia means that sleep is fleeting, and some weeks completely out of reach. my freelance schedule means i drift through my days, in full control of my time but able to easily slip through the world without a trace. and my propensity for dreaming, for quiet, for introspection, means i’m often lost in my own mind, exploring my darkness, wondering who i’ve become and may be becoming.

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last spring i was awake in the middle of the night, gazing at the moon, remembering those days of unrelenting pain and sorrow. the memories of those dark decisions still haunted me, and i knew sleep would be impossible until i made some kind of effort to write down my memories, to release the ghost. and while i’m not sure i’d write it the same way now, dark to full still reminds of me of the trauma i’ve experienced, the sensation of being trapped and alone and utterly, completely hopeless.

yet somehow, in the midst of all the suffering, i still see glimpses of hope in these reflective words. i see someone who wants to be seen, who’s longing for escape, who’s trying to look forward. i see possibility.

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growth isn’t always linear, and healing isn’t always permanent. sometimes we find new ways to tear those scars open, pulling ourselves backwards, creating unexpected methods of self-harm that force us to wander lost in our own darkness again. and although it’s so easy to feel alone in this kind of pain and grief, in this endless cycle of remembrance and release, i hope that sharing this small, fragile piece of my story reminds you that so many of us are struggling, and you don’t have to be isolated in your sorrow. i promise that someone loves you, even if you don’t remember it right now. i believe that you have options, even if they feel too scary to consider. and i know that healing is possible, even on days when it feels you’re being torn apart.

i’m not sure where i’ll be in five more years, what my reflections will look like. i don’t know where my story leads. but i’m grateful for the progress i’ve found, and that the journey i’m on includes dreams for the future, hopes and plans and aspirations. i’m finding potential where i once saw none, and that shift changes everything.

i haven’t always looked forward, but i’m starting to move my gaze from the moon to the path ahead.

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thank you for being here, for reading, for letting me be vulnerable in this space. and if you feel trapped, please reach out to someone, ask for help, make a call. it’s possible to find hope again.

full moon in aquarius

we’re still in dazzling, fiery leo season, bursting with inspiration and adventure - but with so much planetary movement, eclipses, and shifts over the last month or two, this has been a summer of deep transformation and powerful manifestation. there’s a lot to process, to feel, to consider, and today’s full moon in aquarius may feel a bit more intense than usual.

with so many transitions and planetary transits over the last few months, it may feel that foundations are breaking apart, that knowledge is being challenged, that ideas and truths that felt stable are suddenly slipping away. and while this can be frightening, frustrating, or agitating, transformations make space for evolution, growth, and empowerment. leo season has been all about challenging what we thought we knew, finding the confidence and courage to embrace change, and owning our strength and personal magic.

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leo and aquarius are opposites - one hot and fiery, passionate and present, while the other is cool and detached, observant and forward-thinking. both tend to think the best of things, leo finding joy in their personal confidence and courage with aquarius believing the best in others and seeing the possibilities in society at large. and while these signs may not seem completely at ease with each other, especially in light of today’s full moon, this phase invites self-examination, consideration, and celebration. we can find the best parts of ourselves, consider how we can best contribute to collaborate arts and efforts, and honor our victories while also seeing potential areas for improvement. today’s full moon invites collaboration and decisions based around the collective, rather than leo’s focus on the individual, and may force us to spend time with desires or ideas that make us a bit uncomfortable.

i wrote this simple spread as a chance to explore where our focus should be, as well as taking this opportunity to both celebrate and make room for growth. in spite of potential discomfort and growing pains during these long, transformative months, aquarius reminds us to consider the big picture, to dream of a better future, and to invest in personal growth and exploration. with virgo season beginning next week, this is a perfect chance to begin the process of reflection and introspection that the hermit will soon usher in.

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what to focus on: the hanged man. i’ve been seeing so many cards of surrender, release, and patience in the last few weeks, from strength to hecate to the seven of swords. all of these cards keep bringing the same message - i have to let go of expectation, prepare for whatever comes next, and abandon any illusion of control. i’ve been trying so hard to be patient as i continue waiting to see what comes next for me, working to stay calm and not push and practice wisdom, but i’m starting to get frustrated with my lack of progress. and while leo’s fire may be consumed with inspiration and passion, aquarius makes a lot of space for the bigger picture, evolution, and a more holistic view of the world. by embracing the water bringer’s expansive perspective, i may be able to find it easier to surrender to this moment, to find richer lessons in the in the in-between.

what to celebrate: death. coming right after the hanged man both in the major arcana and this spread, my beloved scorpio card asks me to accept something coming to a natural end, and to celebrate the freedom and release that this can so often bring. the hanged man and death both can speak to discomfort in different ways, but giving in to greater powers and allowing fate to guide us forward can often be a relief. this kind of permanent conclusion can sometimes catch us by surprise, but after so many weeks of the same messages to wait and yield and relinquish power, i’m in a space to celebrate this shift and anticipate the ways this change will create new space.

what to shift: the chariot. rounding out this intense trio, the chariot is an archetype of momentum, determination, and focus - and while this powerful movement and drive can be inspirational and powerful in the right moments, right now it’s the kind of energy i need to release. this is a time to stay in this space of capitulation and sacrifice, to embrace the lessons of the hanged man and death, and to resist my urges to push forward. i need to be content to sit in stillness for a time, and see what internal wisdom and magic manifest during this upcoming transformation.

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i’ve been having a tough week, and asked the cards for clear messages - and with three major arcana cards, i’d say the moonchild tarot delivered. and while i’ve been hoping that this lengthy time in the in-between was coming to an end, the cards indicate that i may still have more to surrender. a crossroads is approaching, and i can’t rush my way through it - instead, i need to seek stillness, be aware of the bigger picture, and prepare for further evolution.

how are you honoring today’s full moon in aquarius? are your cards equally intense? if you use my spread, please tag me - i’d love to see your cards and interpretations. have a beautiful moon celebration!

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planetary shifts on august 11

i’m not a trained astrologer, but i find the ways that planets move and impact us deeply fascinating - and august 11th brings a variety of planetary movements and shifts that will have a major impact on energy, potential, and inspiration, providing fresh insights and new possibilities. the lion’s gate portal will still be open until the 12th, offering waves of abundance and joy, and tomorrow jupiter goes direct in sagittarius, making our dreams more clear, and ushering in joy and freedom. additionally, uranus will station retrograde in taurus, revealing ways we may need to shift or grow in order to bring necessary change, and mercury enters leo, boosting self-confidence, powerful expression, and joyful movement. all in all, this is a massive energy shift, bringing positivity, opportunities, and clearing pathways forward. these transits offer us a chance to make adjustments, to invite in growth and change, and to clarify our goals and dreams so that we can pursue them in a more direct way. and with so much potential, a spread seemed like a great way to explore possibility, and to recognize abundance.

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i don’t normally write spreads for transits like this, since it’s outside my wheelhouse, but tomorrow’s shifts seemed too significant to not explore more deeply. and i find that even when i don’t completely understand all of the nuances of something, tarot still finds ways to teach me, to offer perspectives for growth and understanding that allow me to dive deeper and make necessary meaning. after such an intense and transformative july, i’m eager to see what the next few months will bring, and how i can seek joy, confidence, and magic in an intentional and powerful way.

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how can i invite abundance? strength. the birth card of leo, our current season, and a card of maturity, grace, wisdom, and patience. this card reminds us of our wildness and our inner power, while also urging us to wait for the right timing, to not push, to demonstrate control and shrewdness in all things. and while all of this fiery energy has the potential to burn down everything in its path, it asks us to keep a tight leash on that strength, to remember what we’ve learned, to demonstrate our power in the moments we choose to wait. i can invite abundance through patience and wisdom, letting things come to me, not pushing past limits. and by observing before acting, i increase my chances of recognizing good opportunities when they manifest, instead of clinging to possibilities that aren’t right.

where do i need to surrender control? king of cups. an emotional leader and spiritual guide, the king of cups understands the depth and power of his emotions, and doesn’t try to control how he feels within. his power is in his ability to listen, to learn from the feelings he experiences, and to trust his intuition completely. this card is connected to scorpio, my sun sign, and speaks to me of someone that is able to help others get deeper in touch with their own inner magic, to explore the depths of who they are and come into their heart’s power and strength. and yet if i keep too much held back, if i try to control too many aspects, things may fall apart completely. i need to surrender control around my feelings, to let myself experience everything, and to not fear the intensity within me.

where should i focus on growth? four of coins. i tend to have a scarcity mindset, to never feel that i’m doing enough or that i have enough. and while i try to be generous with my time and possessions, i do hold back quite a bit in certain areas, keeping resources like energy and intuition under tight wraps. growth for me in this area may not simply translate into giving more of myself away, but rather in learning to allow those skills to grow and flourish, inviting me to find powerful strength and deeper reserves of magic. and if i keep monetizing everything i love, it may shift my ability to find joy in my work. i can keep some things for me, instead of feeling guilty about everything i’m not sharing.

what will inspire me? the moon. one of my favorite cards and a constant source of inspiration, the moon will continue to be a big theme in my life. her regular shifts, everlasting phases, endless depths and mysteries will keep energizing me, showing me new ways to expand my creativity and magic. this card explores the instincts we often suppress, the dreams we may be afraid to examine, and the unknown depths of our subconscious, all of which offer so much potential for powerful inspiration.

where might this potential lead me? ace of coins. a new endeavor, the beginning of an important and substantial journey, another way to develop resources that feed my spirit and keep me thriving. i love seeing the ace of pentacles in this position, because it’s a card that literally bursts with potential, mirroring the themes of these planetary shifts and movements. potential leads to more potential, and by keeping myself open to abundance, tracing new pathways forward, exploring old themes and new inspirations, i can continue building cycles of possibility for myself.

overall, this spread gives me so much hope for the future. both strength and the moon invite me to embrace my inner magic, power, and instincts, and the king of cups chimes in to encourage me not to shy away from my wildness and intensity but instead to celebrate it. the four of coins urges me not to be afraid to share what i have, but also to keep finding joy in my work and the potential i’m creating. and the ace of coins offers so many possibilities for the future, a chance to build a beautiful new beginning.

these cards are lovely and kind, and feel exactly right for where i am. i need to see abundance where it appears, instead of hanging on to ideas or projects that aren’t manifesting. there are so many options out there, and if i stay patient and observe everything, instead of just seeing what i want to see, i’ll find the opportunities i’m craving. i need to keep trusting myself, to keep finding joy in the things i love, to keep celebrating the inspiration i’ve already found, and it will lead me somewhere beautiful.

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are you doing any rituals or spreads to mark this intense energetic shift? how does this energy differ from the black moon we experienced just a few weeks ago? if you use this spread, please feel free to tag me so i can see your cards. have a beautiful day!