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!

finding hope

i swear i don't only use tarot spreads from beth at little red tarot - but i'll gladly admit that hers are some of my favorites. they're consistently challenging, direct, and encouraging, and i always learn something new about tarot and about myself. her spring equinox spread looks like just what i need this morning. it's the spring equinox, and i'm trying to be optimistic. after feeling a bit lost the last months, doubting myself and my relationships, i'm trying to be stronger, more resolute, and make some real decisions about friendships i've been holding on to for too long. i'm a very loyal person, and a very lonely person. it's hard for me to connect, takes time for me to open up - but once i do, those connections are forever.

but that's just me, and i know that's not how everyone functions. it's so hard to recognize when a friendship has turned sour, when someone doesn't value you anymore, but for my own well-being it's time to change my inner narrative around a particular person. i'm taking my heart back, rescuing it from someone who hasn't treated it well. it'll take time for my heart and i to heal. but isn't spring all about renewal, new life, a fresh start? it's what i'm craving. and while the cards aren't as interested in my interpersonal struggles, they do have a lot of advice and encouragement for me.

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what is coming forth in my life right now? what is emerging, what is just beginning to pierce the surface and peek through? the mother of swords. perceptive, sharp, experienced, powerful, determined, with some suffering in her past and present. she's wise and intelligent, but can be prickly and defensive too. she's been hurt many times, and has learned to guard her heart, keep others at a distance, and stay cautious. but she also knows when to laugh at the world, when to not take life or mistakes or pain too seriously. she's not afraid to face the truth, even when it sucks.

i really feel the spirit of this queen these days. i'm sifting through painful memories, trying to let go of hurts, making myself harder and stronger and more independent. i crave community and hate being misunderstood, but perhaps i'm just someone that's meant to be alone. i have a wonderful partner and a few friends that truly know and love me, and that will have to be enough. i hope the arrival of this fierce, proud lady is an indication that i will find strength, power, and respect in hardening myself, that i can make my pain into something that gives me clarity and wisdom and pluck.

IMG_0304how might I really honour this emergence? how might I frame what is happening for me right now, so as to truly understand and integrate? the two of wands, the first of three fire cards in my spread. determination, focus, direction, moving forward. rather than lingering in the painful memories i'm holding, it's time to channel that strong female energy and move into the next stage of my life. by embracing my inner fire, letting passion drive me, and keeping my thought patterns positive and forward-facing, i can find that core of strength and power that i know is inside of me. doing the work to channel that fire into something real, something tangible, is so hard - but it's what's necessary to truly create something new and powerful and inspiring.

this card can also speak to partnerships in creative endeavors - and while i haven't spoken to a single soul about the details or vision for my private project, perhaps one day i'll find someone that will give me the same encouragement and inspiration that i've always tried to spread.

IMG_0311what is the work of the coming months? what does it look like? the nine of wands. this is such a beautiful, inspiring card to me, speaking of strength, confidence, stamina, and focus. the end of the journey is near, hard work is about to pay off, and we just have to rally our power and keep our eyes on the prize.

seeing the nine of fire brings me a lot of hope for the future of my creative work, that i may grow weary or frustrated but it doesn't change the fact that i'm on the right path. there will be challenges in the future, times that i'm too tired or confused or lost to keep going, but i hope i'll remember this card and see it as a light in the darkness. my project has merit, it's important and worth fighting for, and i have the creative spirit and vision and power to do the damn thing. i just need to keep on going.

IMG_0359what do I need to clear or let go as part of this work? the chariot, the only major card in my spread. this beauty represents courage, strong will, determination, and triumph, an inner warrior with the drive and focus to conquer her demons. she may be a little naive, a little inexperienced, but she knows what she wants and will push herself hard to get it.

there are a few ways to interpret this card in this particular position: perhaps i need to pace myself, not make snap decisions, ease into my projects and not cut people out too quickly. or perhaps i need to focus on what i want, let go of my worries and fears and instead put all of my energy into reaching for success. either way, this card asks me to believe in myself, release doubt, and channel my strength. i need to be wary of obsessive behaviors, both in creative work and in spiraling thoughts and doubts about relationships and my own self.

IMG_0303what ‘fertilizer’ do I need right now? What is the most nourishing food I can offer myself, how can I show myself love as I begin this chapter of my journey? the ace of wands. energy, expansion, inspiration, growth, enthusiasm, adventure. that flash of fire, bursting life, untapped potential. scrambling for a pen to write down the words that jumped into your mind, scribbling a quick sketch to finalize later, texting a friend with a brilliant idea for collaboration, recording a melody that turns into your favorite piece of music - it's powerful creative energy, and it's right at your fingertips.

i love seeing this card. i can show myself love, build myself up, make myself stronger by channeling that inspiration into something new, something beautiful. rather than cutting something out, cutting someone off, cutting myself up, i should be building, creating, growing. it's time to shift my focus to my own projects, let that fire feed my soul and help me find a new adventure. that buzz of possibility is everywhere, and i'm craving it.

 


 

IMG_3351spring brings with it new life, possibility, opportunity. this spread really gives me hope that this year will be less about transitions and more about owning my power and passion, being honest with myself, and finding ways to express my creativity that really honor my personal vision. i want to be more than my depression, than my loneliness, than my pain - i want to make something beautiful, inspire others, and offer something new. perhaps i'll always be understood and feared by others - but if that gives me the space and strength to create something powerful, maybe it'll be worth it.

birth cards

rather than a regular single-card drawing, today i'm meditating on a specific card: my birth card, the high priestess. there are a lot of ways to calculate birth cards, but for me, every method produces this card. IMG_0354the high priestess is one that i really love and admire: intuitive, psychic, wise, mysterious, calm, one that is comfortable in stillness. she is able to see beyond what most are capable of, listening carefully to what is both spoken and unspoken. most people, problems, and situations have much more going on under the surface, and the high priestess' ability to see beyond the obvious and acknowledge what is hidden gives her the ability to find the truth. she has utter confidence in her strengths, understands her power, and does not fear what she does not know. she embraces the mystery, the tension of the unknowable, and puts emphasis on things we cannot prove but that simply are.

finding and meditating on my birth card is part of my week one exercises, and beth has a bit more information on numerology to explore. to gain further understanding and connection with my birth card, i'll be using this simple three-card spread to explore the high priestess' energy. a getting-to-know-you spread, so to speak.

1. how do you relate to this card? what is your relationship with this card?

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the seven of pentacles, a curious card in this position. this card can be considered the report card of the tarot, a chance to step back and evaluate progress, get organized, and consider whether the path forward is correct or if a shift should take place. in terms of the high priestess, this card could be showing that while i'm taking first steps towards becoming a more intuitive person and tarot reader, than i still have a ways to go. starting beth's course and applying more disciplined work towards my practice is certainly a shift for me, since i started in a much more casual manner - but i do tend to to rely on books and blogs for my interpretations, rather than my own instincts. i want to be a more intuitive reader, but often get caught up in the idea of a correct meaning, rather than what my mind and heart tell me when i look at the cards. the orderly, organized fashion of this card seems in direct opposition of the calm, confident mystery in the high priestess, and doesn't represent the kind of reader that i want to be.

2. how does this particular card reflect your own relationship with yourself, and what can you learn from it?

ace-of-wandsthe ace of wands, a card i've been seeing more and more. a bold opportunity, an exciting beginning, the fiery crackle of energy and movement - this card represents a fresh new start with a big idea. again, the fire and passion and anticipation all seem to contradict the peaceful stillness of the high priestess, making this a challenging card in this position.

i do like quiet, but i also am a very passionate person - and my eagerness to understand and move forward with tarot could be limiting my ability to deepen my practice and meditate with cards as i work with them. i want to be a strong reader, want to feel a deep connection with the cards, but my instinct after a spread or a daily draw is not to meditate and ponder, but rather to reach for my books and resources. analyzing and explaining the cards is not a bad instinct, but to rely on my intuition is a bigger challenge for me, and one that i should be focusing on. more luna, less hermione. 

3. how can you actively and positively integrate this archetype into your own life?
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the daughter of pentacles, a child and student of the earth who radiates peace, strength,and stillness. responsible and kind, she is supportive of those around her, hard-working, detail-oriented, and resourceful.

this card is a beautiful reminder that i am just getting started, that a year is not long to be reading tarot, that focusing on details is not a downfall but rather the means to an end. i need to accept where i am in this process, using the resources at my disposal but also trusting myself to solve problems on my own. my intuition is strong and present - i simply need to consider it a resource in my tarot reading, and remember that my instincts can be just as powerful as the meaning and interpretations of much more experienced readers.

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my birth card, the high priestess, is a powerful, inspirational card - and it's completely okay that i'm not her yet. i'm still a daughter, a student, finding my way on shaky legs. but my ability to step back and reconsider, along with my fiery passion for this practice, will help me continue to grow and learn to trust my intuition and embrace the beautiful mystery of the tarot.

the horror inside

it's finally come for me: the nine of swords. as someone that's battled insomnia and depression for most of my life, i knew when i began tarot that eventually this card would find me. and after almost a year of reading, i'm a little shocked that this is the first time i've ever drawn it.

IMG_0296this card is the definition of horror. disgusting, confusing images crowd this card, dark and twisted, and it's difficult to even tell what is happening. the longer you look at it, the more revolting and upsetting it becomes. symbolizing dark visions, anguish, and the nightmares that keep us up all night, this is a card i've been dreading. it seems to represent everything that i hate about myself, everything i fear, all in one hideous image.

there are certain weapons against depression that i can wield during the day. they don't always work, but when i have tasks to accomplish, a mile-long to do list, or deadlines looming, i can usually force myself to set the darkness aside for a bit and get things done. and daylight offers other comforts - friends, television, delivery food. even at my worst, daytime is always easier.

but the middle of the night, oh. that's when it's always harder. everyone is asleep, darkness reigns, and the world is silent and still. it's just me, alone and anguished, trapped in the endless upside-down. once those bad thoughts start, once i fall down that rabbit hole, it can be absolutely impossible to stop, breathe, and remember who i really am. problems become unsolvable, friends seem like enemies, and everything seems utterly hopeless. i've had a few nights like this in the past few weeks, and they never get easier.

is there any hope in this card? carrie notes that while the nightmare itself is a tangled mess, the swords themselves are orderly and evenly spaced, attacking the beast from all sides. swords are all about mental energy, and it's important to note that this entire hideous thing is in the mind. as beth states, this is mental self-torture. it's completely self-created, self-inflicted. this whole ugly thing is inside my mind.

i decided to give myself the gift of a clarifying card this morning, and the energy couldn't be more different: the ace of wands.

bold as hell, crackling with wild, fiery, passionate energy, this energetic card is all about ace-of-wandsexciting adventures, fresh creativity, and flashes of brilliant inspiration. where the swords are dark and tortured, pushing all that negativity inward towards a secret nightmare, this ace pushes inspiration outward. those colorful beams of enthusiasm seem to go on forever.

the message here seems clear - put your energy outward today. find that fire, share your enthusiasm, spread positive energy, and perhaps you can conquer the hideous nightmare waiting at midnight. make the day bright and strong, and the night won't seem quite so dark. i keep stabbing myself with those sharp edges, letting my mental swords cut me down - but the brilliant fire of those wands can help.

the monsters never seem quite so bad in the light.

green lights

there's so much energy humming right now, it's actually palpable. sometimes when i'm shuffling and preparing to pull my daily reading, it feels like certain cards are almost inevitable, that you know what's coming before it comes. with so much uncertainty, anxiety, and adrenaline going at all times these days, it feels like the only card i could possibly draw today is the one i got: the ace of wands.ace-of-wands aces are always representative of opportunities & beginnings, a seed being planted, the purest qualities of its suit. and when combined with wands, the suit of fire, energy, action, passion, movement, adventure... this is an incredibly high-powered card. bursting life, untapped potential, exploding energy - everything in this card screams to get moving, seize that opportunity, grab that new adventure. the wand in this card literally radiates fiery energy and power and light.

we're in the process of filling out applications for new apartments, and our timelines for this move are so tight that every decision feels urgent, like we're constantly falling behind. things feel like they're careening out of control, flying through non-stop green lights and hairpin turns, and all we can do is breathe deep and hang on and hope that we stay on course. this card encourages me to keep pushing, to stay focused, to harness all of that frantic, stressful energy and channel it into positive steps forward. don't fear the speed - use it.

this card can also speak to restlessness and uncertainty, both of which i certainly am flooded with at this moment. i think that simply acknowledging emotions (as yesterday's card reminded me) can be really helpful in difficult situations, and that taking a beat to feel what i'm feeling is always a useful exercise. i have to keep pushing to resolve this situation and plan our move, but i can also pause for breath and remember to care for myself, to pace myself, to remain focused on the final outcome.