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.


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.