when i was preparing to go to my first a-camp last year, the main emotion i was drowning in was fear. i signed up without knowing a soul, hadn’t spent much time with queer people or in queer-normative spaces, and had no idea what to expect or how i would do. the cards were incredibly encouraging, so positive and gentle and kind that i found it hard to believe that my experience could be nearly as good as promised.
turns out, camp was even more wonderful than i had ever imagined. many of the friendships that i began last year have blossomed into deep and powerful connections, and every time i think about the impact that this group of people have had on my life i can hardly believe how lucky i am. a-camp absolutely changed my life, bringing me confidence and strength and a community that i’m intensely grateful for. and this year, as i prepare to leave for ojai, i can only hope that my experience is just as impactful as the first one.
i’m using the same spread as last year, beth’s holiday spread from little red tarot.
my spirit in going: seven of cups. i can see a lot of possibilities for this camp, and have been considering so many ways that i could influence or shift the way that my experience could be. from wondering about relationships and connections to worrying about my outfits and body confidence, it feels like this camp is rich with potential - that is, if i can focus on the positive instead of obsessing about what could go wrong. right now my spirit is absolutely unsure of what is ahead, unsure of how i’ll feel or act, unsure of how i’ll be received - and the seven of cups speaks to all of those fantasies and dreams. i can shape my time at camp by being decisive and choosing what i want, but right now things feel up in the air.
what to pack: seven of swords. last year i felt like i needed to push myself to be as open and honest as possible, sharing as much of myself as i could, in the hopes of making strong connections with others and finding people i could befriend. and while that was what felt right last year, this year i can be more true to myself, guard my secrets a bit more closely, pay attention to my surroundings and wait for the right moment to move forward and be brave. it’s okay to want to protect myself, to sit back and observe, to not spill all my thoughts and hopes and dreams right away.
what not to pack: wheel of fortune. i tend to bring a spirit of inevitability to projects, to blame myself when things go wrong or resign myself to fate, but for this camp it’s important to remember what i do have control over. i have agency over myself, can choose what i do and don’t want to do. and while i cannot change the ways that other people perceive me or behave, it’s important to honor my actions and words, and to take responsibility for myself. rather than feeling a sense of constant surrender, it’s essential that i leave the doomsday and cynicism behind and instead honor my choices and desires.
the spirit of the holiday: ten of swords. there may be a lot of times when i find myself overthinking, missing the full picture, or painting myself as a victim during this camp. whether drama is happening that is out of my control or whether i find myself feeling hurt or lonely, there’s potential for this camp to be confusing or even painful. i’ll need to be conscious of my needs, pay attention to reality instead of my inner narratives, and not get tangled in traps of my own making. i tend to see myself as an outsider, misunderstood, or unwanted, so this may be an important reminder to note what is actually happening, and not just manifest my fears or project my worries onto others. i’ll need to stay aware of actual truth and reality, not get lost in dark nightmares or depressing fantasies.
the highlight: father of cups. while my intellectual self may struggle, my emotional self will be strong and in control, able to share feelings and insights generously and perhaps offer intuitive advice or useful perceptions. i’ll be able to lead with my heart during camp this year, making decisions that speak to the core of who i am and honor my emotions and longings with confidence. the father of cups is so sure of who he is, knows his strengths and power, and doesn’t apologize for who he is - and this card gives me hope that when i trust my heart and lean into my intuition, i too can thrive.
my souvenir: mother of cups. i’ll bring home rich self love, strength and purpose with my intuition, and the ability to channel my talents into artistic and creative expression. the mother of cups is closely tied to the high priestess, my birth card, so this queen feels especially important in this position - she’s reminding me that i already know who i am, where my magic lies, and that i’ll be able to carry those lessons forward with pride and intention even when camp is over.
while my cards for this year’s camp aren’t as overwhelmingly positive as last year (pulling both the ten of cups and the world felt like a lot to live up to), i’m delighted to see both of the rulers of the water suit in strong positions. while i may feel a bit confused about my purpose, need to guard secrets a bit more closely and not surrender to my darker tendencies, my ability to process and express my emotions will be powerful, and i’ll find a strong sense of self and purpose. i’ve been working hard the last year to harness my magic, to believe in my talents and intuition, and my deepest desire for this year’s camp is that i’ll continue to connect with others in meaningful ways, and find deeper confidence in myself.
a-camp runs from june 5-10th, but be on the lookout for thoughts and reflections (along with the continuation of my minor arcana study challenge) once i’m back home. and if you’ll be attending camp this year, drop me a line - i’d love to connect!