autumn equinox spread

blessed mabon! i enjoy the long, lazy days of summer, the heat on my skin, the warm rain, the bright green of nature - but this transition is my favorite time of year. the air is starting to cool, nights are coming sooner than before, there's a crackle of electricity all around. even in new york city, this concrete playground so many of us call home, the arrival of autumn is lingering. i can smell it already. as we celebrate the autumn equinox and the changing of the seasons, i wanted to use this lovely transitional tarot spread from sharron basanti (@seedsofshakti). it's the perfect way to welcome in this beautiful new harvest season, and to prepare for monday's full moon.

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as the days get colder, what will the frost nights wilt & wither that needs to be shed? two of plumes/swords. in the last week i've pulled the two and three of swords, and have really been feeling this transition from difficult choice to sudden sorrow. the more traditional two of swords puts a real emphasis on two ideas working against each other, making a decision to move in a singular direction. but these wings have to work together to accomplish anything, even under an ever-changing, cyclical moon. this sense of choice, finding a way to move forward, is tempered by the idea that several ideas can work together to create something new. the tension in the idea of perfect balance and symmetry is something that i should be working to shed - art is rarely "perfect," but rather continues to evolve and grow with us.

what energetic cords need to be pruned during the fall, so that i can bud & blossom in the spring? six of blooms/cups. this card is often associated with roots, memories, a nostalgia for times past. all of those eyes springing from the heart of this blossom serve as a reminder to be aware of the many possible perspectives, of how our memories can shift as we grow, of the various ways we remember ourselves and our own histories. but sometime we can get trapped in our own past, and spend so much time looking backwards that we cannot see a future for ourselves. i need to gently correct my vision, learn to look forward more frequently, rather than spending so much time reflecting on where i've been and how i came to be.

as the darkness grows, how can i bring in the light? four of blooms/cups. this blossom is withered and wasted, picked before it had a chance to fully develop. there's a strong sense of loss, but it's of our own making - selfishness, impatience, dissatisfaction caused us to choose poorly, to be greedy, and now nothing is what we hoped it would become. i love this time of year, but i often feel regret for what i didn't do in earlier months, for the goals that were set and not met. but rather than focusing on the negative, on wishing things were different, i can bring in the light by owning my choices, by noting self-destructive patterns, by appreciating what i have.

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what dreams have ripened that need to be harvested & celebrated with a grateful heart? nine of stones/wands. i've been pushing myself to the creative limit, taking new jobs, trying new things, expanding my imagination beyond what i thought i was capable of. this card often represents nearing the end of a long journey, stamina and focus and gathering strength for that last push. that antler with all of its fiery crystals is beautiful and powerful, but it also looks heavy, like it takes a lot of effort to hold. this is a time to begin releasing all of that effort, to consider this the end of a long journey and celebrate what has been accomplished.

what blessings will emerge as the season transitions? three of bones/pentacles. cooperation, different ideas or people coming together, is beautifully represented here as three bones forming a joint. each piece is strong on their own, but by coming together in a creative way, the final product has strength, flexibility, and can accomplish something that none of them can do on their own - bend and move. while the company i've been working for has shut down, i'm busy forming a new team, starting an entirely new business out of the ashes of the old one. there's so much we can do when we work together, and i can already see the blessings that have sprung from this unexpected adventure.

message for the autumn equinox: six of plumes/swords. so much of this spread is about looking ahead, moving forward with joy and appreciation, balancing new ideas and new people, and leaving certain things behind, so seeing this lovely little mallard shedding those feathers that were weighing him down is the perfect message for my mabon. making mistakes and taking risks can result in painful situations, or even outright failure - but we can always learn from these choices. and knowing when it's time to walk away, when something no longer serves us, is a wise and often difficult moment. i'm in the process of leaving several situations, but am keeping the new ones in my sights, moving with strength and purpose in this new season.

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have a blessed equinox and happy mabon! and if you do this spread too, please tag me - i'd love to see what the new season has in store for you.

seeking october

september has been a difficult month. my depression has dominated these past weeks, culminating in some very serious self-harm issues that terrified me. i've felt so alone in these dark days, wondering why i'm still struggling, trying to find any beams of light that may help me. but september has also shown me how much i've grown, even though i'm feeling so low. making the effort to see a therapist regularly (and not skipping a single appointment, no matter how terrible i'm feeling) has made a difference. reaching out to friends and family to be honest about what's happening has made a difference. telling my husband when things are getting desperate has made a difference. and i truly believe that working with tarot, pushing myself to connect with the tarot community, and reading even on difficult days has made a difference. it's been a really hard month, but i'm still here.

i haven't been particularly consistent with this instagram challenge, but i've really enjoyed mixing the prompts in with my regular readings. and as i look to october, hopeful that the fiery colors and crisp air and cooling waters and rich earth will help bring me back to center, it feels like there's room for a few cards of reflection.

27. where & how are my fears holding me back?

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the world, a card of completion, balance, and wholeness. an interesting card for fears and hesitation, but this sense of peace, unity, and fullness is something i struggle with. the dark parts of me, my depression and insomnia, my struggles, my jealousy, my shadows - they are just as much of a part of me as my better qualities. i may not be a perfect person, but i am a complete person, and the light and dark sides of me are both important.

i pulled the fountain for my theme card for september, a card from the fountain tarot that also represents a firm sense of self, contentment, learning to simply be. we are connected to the universe in a unique way, but we are also complete in ourselves. learning to accept who and where i am, understanding that all the parts of me combine into something that is whole even when it feels broken, has been a real struggle this month. there are so many pieces of myself that i despise, and i wish i could shed them, leave them behind, or turn them into something better. but these reluctant feelings, this desire to change the core of who i am, is driven by fear. if i can learn to accept this broken self, and see the cracks and flaws as signs of strength and perseverance rather than as fundamental failures, perhaps i can find new strength in myself.

28. what can use more of my time?

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the nine of cups is a lovely card of contentment, quiet, and letting things be. the circle of cups is not yet complete, but there is a stillness, a gentle pleasure to this card that feels incredibly soothing. this card always feels like permission to relax, to enjoy the moment, to be grateful, to indulge in the small things that help us find peace and rest. it's a card of self-care, of relaxation, of generosity.

i often struggle with self-care, finding it difficult to fully rest into any one moment. i may treat myself to a bubble bath or an at-home facial, but i find it hard not to still check my email, read about whatever latest hideous thing our idiot-in-chief has said on twitter, worry about friends and family, wonder how i can boost my career, and on and on and on. i may try to take time for tarot, but i find myself irritated with any interruption, constantly distracted, feeling like the whole thing is ridiculously self-centered. several doctors have all told me i need to adopt a regular yoga practice to help my severe major depression and idiopathic insomnia, and i find it impossible to do this as it somehow feels like a selfish indulgence. i feel like i don't deserve anything, like i shouldn't waste money and time and energy on things that only benefit myself, like i don't do enough for others to also indulge myself. but depression takes everything away, and finding ways to physically and emotionally tell myself that i am worthy, that i am valuable, that i am important - that can have a huge impact on recovery.

29. what should october leave behind?

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i love the daughter of swords. i love her honesty, her directness, her agility, her intelligence. she assesses situations calmly, considers the best solution in a straightforward manner, and refuses to play games. she doesn't make things more complicated than they need to be - rather, she has a gift for boiling issues down to their more simple, basic principles. she trusts her instincts, relies on facts and reason, values the truth above all. why would i want to leave her behind?

perhaps it's simply to make way for growth. the daughter is the youngest member of the court, often called the page or the novice, and while she feels like a pure expression of the suit, she still has much to learn. being so analytical, so focused on truth and facts, can definitely be taken too far - and applying so much mental energy to something as nebulous and complicated as depression hasn't been super helpful for me. reading articles, talking about it nonstop, being unable to see anything through any other lens - even my tarot readings always come back to my mental illness, rather than any of the other things going on in my life.

in this context, i think the daughter of swords is asking me to make room for some other approaches. it may be time to get out of the sky and get back in touch with nature and the earth, to let myself feel all of these messy, water-logged feelings, to acknowledge the bits of fire that will hopefully start to spark again. it's time to get out of my head and learn to trust my own instincts, even if they aren't always based in the element of air.

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comparing this with my three cards from the first day of september, there's a lot of similarities. my theme card is reflected in this fears card, reminding me to embrace all the pieces of myself, even the ones i'm not proud of. my strength was guarding myself, staying safe, and here i'm also encouraged to take care of myself, to remember the good, to find healing in stillness and quiet and solitude. and my weakness was burden, exhaustion, which i appear to have countered by swapping passion for prudence.

here's hoping for a more balanced, energetic, positive october.