dark to full

CW: suicide and self harm.

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the moon is at her peak, lighting up the clear sky. i can't see stars from my city apartment, but i know they're there, basking in the glow of their beautiful mother. she is stunning, brilliant, full of mystery and wonder.

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i'm staring up at her because i'm thinking about what it means that i'm still here, alive and breathing and soaking up her light.

surviving suicide is a strange and terrible thing. my mind wanted this little life to be over, but my body wouldn't cooperate. i made a choice, in a horribly dark set of moments, that being nothing was better than beingthis particular something. that leaving the world behind was preferred, that not existing would be a relief. i'm not sure that i really wanted to be dead, but i definitely didn't want to be alive. i wanted to be nothing. i wanted to be empty. i wanted everything to just stop.

but after the horror of the decision, after taking the necessary steps, there was a moment of peace. of quiet. of relief. finally, i could stop fighting. i could just rest. it would all be calm, and dark, and still. i waited, and prayed, and walked into the arms of the darkness.

but then i woke up.

the chilling fury, the utter misery of realizing that i'd failed. the knowledge that i would now have to deal with the consequences of this act, this weakness. the fear that no one would care, that it wouldn't matter, that everything would still be the same. crying on a cold floor, calculating hours lost, recognizing that i'd have to get up eventually and pretend nothing ever happened. do i try again? how long do i wait? it's dizzying, this horror. it's overwhelming.

and yet, i was alive. still. my pulse was slow but steady, my skin tender and sensitive, my breathing shallow. i felt dizzy, strange, not whole - but i was still in this lifetime, under this moon. i had to peel myself off the floor, clean myself up, find a new story to tell.

no one can understand unless you've been through it. unless you've had to wrestle with a gutting decision, a complete failure, another major thing you couldn't accomplish. you can't even do this one thing right. you're not good at living, but you're terrible at dying. it's impossibly big to hold. there's no room for it, no space, but it finds ways to fill you anyway, and then it hollows you out, cracks you open, spills you onto the floor. you felt alone, and you're still alone, and you'll always be alone. we're all alone.

i've done this twice.

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the moon is glorious. her brilliant light, a perfect reflection of the sun she circles, is somehow all her own. she creates her own mystery, her own magic. she brings out our wildness, our terror, our dreams. she's been my companion for both attempts, watching silently, offering little comfort. perhaps she understands how i've felt, how i still feel sometimes.

her phases are part of her beauty. times of darkness, creeping shadows, still and silent and watchful. slow growth, gradually bringing light, until her fullness illuminates, pulls at the oceans and outshines the stars and makes the beasts howl into her night. it gently fades, she gradually draws her cloak back to cover her face, leaving us behind until she is completely hidden again. she rests, and waits, and eventually starts again. she's generous with her moonlight, but she's smart enough to keep some for herself.

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i wish my own cycles were as predictable, as smooth. i've held so much darkness, and sometimes it wraps itself around me, holds me too tight, won't let me breathe. i'm slowly, slowly waxing, finding the light in the world, learning to reflect it back when i can. it takes so much time, so much energy.

i know what that dark moon feels like, how alone she is when her face is covered, her shadows so rich she's almost impossible to see. it's hard to remember right now, when she's shining in her full, perfect glory, but in a few short weeks she'll be hidden from me again, holding back her light, gathering that quiet strength for next time.

i hope i'm never that dark again. i hope i keep reaching for the light, even when it's distant and faint. and i hope the moon knows that even when she's surrounded by the shadows, hiding herself, that she's not alone.

i'll never stop looking for her.

new year, new look

you may notice that this blog looks quite different from its old version, known as daughter of cups. i'm not big on new years or resolutions, but one of my goals for this upcoming year is to spend more time on this blog, to start offering tarot readings to friends and strangers, and to do a deeper dive into photography and writing. with that in mind, i'm delighted to introduce my new name: 3am tarot. as a lifelong insomniac (a condition more commonly known as idiopathic insomnia), i find that much of my best creative work comes at night. i've always loved the quiet times when everyone else is asleep, knowing that i can be fully present, fully alive, fully aware. 3am is a time i see many days, and while it's frustrating to not be asleep, it's delicious to know that i'm the only one awake. rather than continuing to fight this tendency, i'd rather lean in and embrace this challenge, a condition that's shaped my life and personality but also given me strength i may never have known otherwise.

i will continue to post daily on my instagram (currently @wandering.priestess, changing soon to @3am.tarot), and will be sharing more work here. please feel free to reach out at any time for readings, questions, comments, or just to connect - i love to meet fellow tarot readers, witches, practitioners of magic, queer folk, or any kind of badass people.

happy 2018, and keep reaching for magic - even if it's at 3am.

 

searching in shadows

i need to write here more. instagram has been wonderful for finding community and building relationships, but i want to make sure i'm also writing for ME, not just for likes and pretty photos. i got into tarot for growth and self-discovery, and i want to continue to understand the cards and develop a relationship with them. the group dynamics feel strained, and as i come out of my depression, i'm very worried that i've damaged these friendships beyond repair. i don't want to lose these girls, any more than i already have from circumstance. i actually created my own spread for the first time today, and i hope to make more as they're needed.

 

1. the situation/relationship right now

i pulled the two of swords as my card for a shadow i may be ignoring, and it felt right on IMG_0289point. i'm in a battle with what i'm worried about and what's actually real, and i'm too afraid to ask the hard questions. i'm paralyzed, afraid to move in any direction out of fear it'll be the wrong one. what if i ask my friends where they are and they truly don't want to be in my life anymore? what if i'm being impossibly selfish and someone has something difficult going on, and in my depression no one told me? what if absolutely nothing is wrong and i'm just lonely, realizing that my friends are just fine without me? every outcome feels awful. the two of swords pushes me to grow up, face the situation head on, and make some progress, rather than cowering in a stalemate.

2. me & my recent behavior in relationship

i pulled the father of swords, which feels pretty accurate. i'm distant, judgmental, sure that i'm seeing things clearly when i'm actually just viewing them through a narrow lens. i'm sure that they don't care about me, sure that they're ignoring me, sure that they're father-of-swordstoo lazy to reach out. but what i have done to help? am i contacting them, offering help or a shoulder to cry on? have i been so selfish that no one wants to help me anymore? it's definitely possible.

i'm trying to push emotion out of this situation, since it feels like i'm drowning in sadness and anxiety and fear. but that's simply making space for me to decide who's right and wrong in the situation, when it's far more complicated than that. i'm dealing with a severe mental illness, and it's not my friends' job to fix that for me. we've probably all made mistakes, but there is a way to move forward, and i need to be honest and clear in my views of what that is. i need to be fair, to be wise, to see things as they truly are.

3. them & their recent behavior in relationship

for this section, i gave each friend her own card to represent them and our relationship, and then also slipped a card underneath to offer advice on repairing this specific relationship. it was important to me to honor my friendship with each of these women, as they're very different and we're dealing with different issues in each one.

IMG_2255tatum: the moon, a card of mystery, wildness, shadows. i really love this card, and i know she does too - the moon is beautiful, quiet, peaceful, strong, and can twist situations into something complicated and confusing. it can reveal and create secrets. things get easily misconstrued. my relationship with tatum is similar - we love each other deeply, but i often don't understand her when things get difficult. i know how to take care of her, but i don't know how to rely on her - until i have to, and then she usually steps up. sometimes i'm hurt by how she handles things, and it often feels like she disappears when i really need her. the last few weeks have been very confusing, as it seems like she wants to help but doesn't know how, even when i explain to her what i need. we're not communicating well, but i don't think it means that we're not still close friends.

what can i do to help heal this relationship? the hermit, a card of quiet reflection, introspection, and meditation. i've been giving the relationship space, and this makes it seem like i should continue to do that - give us both time and space to think through what we need. it could also suggest that we need some time together, without the other girls - perhaps i should give her more time to recover from me, but when she reaches out, we can spend some time just us. talk through what's happened, check in with each other in person, really listen and reflect on what we can do better. i don't want to be a bad friend to her, and i know she wants to be here for me too.

hannah: the world, a card of completion, wholeness, harmony. hannah has said this to IMG_2256me too, but in some ways i feel like my friendship with her is the most complete. we really understand each other, we just click in a way i don't always relate to people. i feel like we have similar instincts, we view the world in a similar way, and when i'm with her, i feel like she gets me and i get her. our friendship feels very whole in that way, and i think she's navigated my depression better than anyone else in the group. i hope this card also means that she still loves me, that our relationship isn't fragmented like the others, and that she's happy and doing things she loves.

how can i help this relationship? mother of pentacles, a card of love, support, and compassion. i think we've been doing a good job trying to support each other, but i'll keep reaching out occasionally, making sure she knows that i love her and care about her. this is a card of patience and kindness, and while i might not get to see her for awhile, i'll keep extending that same kindness that she's been giving me. i think we're okay.

IMG_2257beth ann: the nine of pentacles, a card of stability, happiness, and contentment. i've been really worried about BA and the last message i sent, that she didn't reply to - not sure how to move forward, how she's feeling, what's going on. i've talked to her the least in the last few weeks, and i don't really know what's going on with her. this card gives me hope that things are actually okay, and that she didn't reply simply because i told her it wasn't necessary. she may feel safe and secure right now, both in our relationship and in her own life, which is wonderful - i don't want to keep worrying about if i've messed this one up.

how can i help this relationship? the lovers, a card of respect, unity, and joy. what a relief! we are already in a good place, but i need to extend gratitude, kindness, and a lot of respect for her and who she is. make sure she knows how much you appreciate her, listen when she needs you, and be grateful and loving in your relationship with her. we have a really good vibe going, and are stronger together.

4. what can i do to improve the relationship overall?

judgment, a truly incredible card for this position. all of my cards were pretty positive IMG_0372and incredibly helpful, but this one symbolizing letting go and leaving fears behind feels like an amazing gift. i'm escaping my depression, finally releasing that darkness, and these fears about my friendships are just that - fears. they're probably all busy, dealing with other things, and just because things are getting quiet doesn't mean i've ruined everything with something i can't control. i shouldn't be afraid to reach out, to support them, to extend kindness and love.

i think it's gonna be okay.

stalker cards

the nine of wands keeps coming up for me - this is the third time i've seen it in two weeks. it seems to describe this move so aptly, and it feels like it's haunting me. i even dreamed about this card the other night. i can't seem to escape it. nine-of-wands

when a card is recurring like this, i think it's tempting to blow it off or find a way to explain it all - yeah, yeah, i get it. especially with a card like this, in a situation like this: we've been working towards this move for months, it seems like every stage gets more complicated and difficult, and this card signifying the end of a long journey and perseverance seems rather... obvious.

many of my resources talk about stalker cards, and the importance of giving them their due. when a card continues to show up in different readings, it's trying to tell us something important, make us see something that we're missing. and while the meaning of this card seems fairly straightforward to me, i'm also a very new reader - there's always more to learn, additional insights, new information and hidden meanings that i need to spend some time parsing through.

with that in mind, i decided to do a simple three-card spread to gain additional insight into this card, and what i might be missing.

1. what is the importance of this card in my life right now?

seven of swords. seven-of-swords secrecy, protection, remaining aware of surroundings, staying on guard - this card fascinates me. so many possible meanings, so many layers. this card can speak to deception, to procrastination, to avoidance, but i've always seen a fox under tremendous pressure, trying to remain aware of the dangers and protect herself. even in a position of rest, she's got one eye open, a sword at the ready. she knows about the swords overhead - she's looking forward, staying aware of any new dangers she hasn't seen yet.

i see a lot in this card, particularly in this position - i think i've been extremely afraid of this move falling apart, and haven't wanted to completely commit to the process in case it doesn't work out. with someone taking over our sublet, our application to a new place pending board and management approval, the owner of our new apartment also trying to get approved for her new place - it's so many moving pieces, and i don't want to be too disappointed if it doesn't work out. but being so guarded and protective of myself, being so aware of all of the potentials for this to go wrong... it's making me slow and overly cautious. i'm putting off tasks that i could easily do now, simply because it moves me closer to the end. and while protecting myself isn't completely foolish, it's also working against me.

2. what is preventing me from hearing the message of this card?

five-of-wandsfive of wands. scattered, unfocused, lost, confused, overwhelmed. this is absolutely the best card in the deck to describe my current frame of mind. i'm practically in a daze, can't pay attention to details, and feel utterly exhausted. i keep missing pieces and forgetting to do things, putting things off and never coming back to them.

i'm so concerned with what might go wrong, so overwhelmed by the possibilities and making contingency plans, that i've completely lost sight of what it would mean to actually move. i can't envision my goal. my limited energy is pointing in a million directions.

3. how can i release any blockages?

three of pentacles. three-of-pentacles focus, collaborate, find discipline. the only card in the spread with any hints of color, it seems to point to both my dealing with the nine of wands as well as how i need to make this move happen at all. by harnessing my skills, leaning on the abilities of others, and working hard, i can both understand the deeper meanings of this card and also get everything on my enormous to-do list completed.

my recent cards have been pointing to focus and structure, from the fiery energy of the ace of wands to the stable, disciplined presence of the emperor. teamwork has been the key to my tarot studies, both in relying on the wisdom of more experienced readers and also getting involved in forums and speaking more with friends about what the tarot is teaching me. by continuing to harness that energy i'll find a deeper understanding of the nine of wands, and will also be able to accomplish my goals.

overall, this was a really helpful spread. my fears of failure and my overall exhaustion are keeping me from the main message of the nine of wands - to stay calm, and to focus on one step at a time. it feels like i keep getting close to my goal only to have another setback, another complication, another delay - but if i can stay focused on each small task, rather than worrying about everything that may go wrong, and if i can lean on my husband and my friends and my family to help me get through this, this move will happen just the way it should.