yule & winter solstice

it's been a busy few months - completing #nanowrimo in november with a series of personal essays around tarot archetypes, leading a major arcana instagram challenge (follow along with #decembermajors), and beginning to plan projects for the new year. we're planning a temporary move to san diego, i'm working on several new tarot projects, and i'm hopeful for what the future may bring. with yule upon us and the holiday season in full swing, it feels like the perfect time to take a step back from all the madness and do a simple six-card reading. i love this spread from sarah knight, which combines the reflection and magic of yule with celebrations of our present and hope for our future.

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release: what do i need to let go of as i move forward? ace of wands. a card often associated with incredibly high energy, the ace of wands is bursting with inspiration, movement, and power. there's excitement here, a feeling of momentum and potential and adventure - but if we don't do anything with it, the idea can slip through our fingers, or stop feeling quite so exciting. i spent a lot of time this year coming up with ideas and then running out of energy to do them, losing excitement for things i had been previously infatuated with. i need to release the intoxicating sensation of beginning something new, and instead work to focus more on following through with current or older ideas. starting things is exciting, but finishing things has power and weight.

increase: which aspect of my life needs more energy now? six of wands. i've been through a lot of challenges, and this year was a tough one. but rather than dwelling on what i've lost, this card serves as a reminder of how far i've come and how much i still have to look forward to. this is a card of power, self-worth, lighting our own fires and pushing forward with confidence. i'm much better at building up others than i am at being sure of myself, but the cards are asking me to put more energy towards doing the things that make me happy and strong. it's time to be proud of who i'm becoming, of what i'm good at, of what i love to do.

decrease: which aspect of my life needs less energy now? strength. while this is a lovely card of maturity, patience, and restraint, in this position it can be seen as a literal weakness - i struggle to put myself out there, to take chances, to reveal my own wildness. i am much more likely to be holding a camera in a corner of an event than be on stage or speaking with confidence. and yet, when i've taken risks this year, even when they haven't paid off they have still taught me a lot. those chances have brought me to some really cool places, have helped me build some wonderful relationships. restraint and maturity are really good things, but if i use them to hide behind i'll never get all of the places that i want to be. it might be time to be a little bit louder, to be a little bit more confident, to be a little bit more willing to put myself out there.

induce: what do i need to bring forth in my life at this time? two of pentacles. i tend to be a bit obsessive, especially when i'm working on a new project - i constantly research, plan, organize. i get consumed by the next big thing, blaze through it quickly, and sometimes wonder how it went by so fast. this is a card of balance, hard work, juggling multiple things. and while it is often a kind of warning to not try to take too many things on, in this position it's asking me not to focus too much on any one thing, and instead bring multiple passions into my life. i've been focusing really hard on tarot and writing since finishing my first marathon - but i haven't been running, practicing yoga, taking many photos, or reading new books. i miss the other passions in my life, and i need to bring them back so that i have a bit more balance and energy.

celebrate: what should i give thanks for at this year's end? ten of swords. this card often pops up for me in positions of gratitude or personal strengths, and it always makes me laugh - the depression and insomnia that have dominated my adult years is summed up nicely in this rather gruesome card. but while the darkness that i carry has created a lot of challenges for me, it has also served to strengthen me, to force me to be honest about who i am and what i need, and has pushed me to care for myself in ways that i might not have otherwise. it's given me inspiration to write, and ways to connect with others in a way that feels deeply authentic. i try to be aware of when i'm indulging in self-pity or being overdramatic, but i also know that my mind can be a scary place where things feel bigger than they actually are. i am grateful to still be here, breathing, writing, connecting with people. this card is a constant reminder of where i could be, and where i have been. i'm so thankful that i don't have to live in this card every day.

activate: what should i be calling into my life for the year ahead? six of pentacles. growth, prosperity, and generosity - next year is a time to enjoy the things i've created, and continue to give back as much as possible. reciprocity is an important part of this card, and i think in this context it can act as a reminder to value myself and what i can create while also working to serve others. i've pitched a project that i'm really excited about and it's been well-received, which gives me hope that next year i'll be able to connect with others and do what i love in a new and beautiful way. but it's also important to know when to ask for help, to remember humility, to be kind always. next year has a lot of space for growth and giving, and i'm so excited to see what 2019 will bring.

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how do you celebrate yule? i'd love to hear about your rituals for the holidays, the solstice, and the new year. bright solstice and blessings for the new year!