something new

the last few months have been intense, hectic, and deeply stressful. with so much going on for me and for my partner, the last thing i expected was to find a full time position - but after stumbling into a brand new start-up, poised to launch this week, i've accepted a new job, and i start tomorrow. i'm excited, terrified, unsure, hoping i live up to the high expectations i can already sense. i don't often use celtic cross, having a strong preference for short, simple spreads. but tomorrow feels like the beginning of a new chapter, and i'm filled with anticipation. i'm craving guidance, insight, advice.

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the present: maiden of wands. full of passion, energy, and ambition, the maiden of fire is brimming with potential and anticipation. she reflects my current state perfectly, full of creative energy and a desire to succeed. i'm desperate to be valuable and valued, hoping that taking this opportunity is a risk that will pay off.

the challenge: the hierophant. i worry about following the rules, fitting into structure, not knowing what i'm "supposed" to do. freelance positions have always worked well for me because i can make my own way, so one of my biggest fears about this job is being too unconventional. my challenge is in believing in my ability to make my own structure.

the past: wheel of fortune. i've had both major success and huge failures in my last full time job. at times it felt like i was in control, crushing it, an essential member of the team - but that slowly changed until i was making mistakes, knew i wasn't fitting in, couldn't pull my weight. i know both paths are a possibility, but i have control over my actions and my work.

the future: two of cups. what a lovely card for the future! the two of cups is often about two people coming together, but it can also represent self-love, and that's what i see here - a new beginning, a fresh connection, a strong passion. there's a sense of understanding and balance in this card that i'm really craving in this new job.

above: three of swords. i've been burned by jobs and clients before, and i'm very consciously bringing that fear with me. but the three of swords isn't just about heartbreak and betrayal - it's also about finding our own strength, overcoming pain, seeing the lesson. i need to be cautious about how much of myself i give to this new company, but i also can't bring too much of my past pain forward.

below: eight of pentacles. this is a card of craftsmanship, hard work, focus, dedication. i'm proud of how hard i've worked to get to this point, but i know i still have much more to learn. seeing this card in this position gives me hope that the passion and practice i've channeled to get here will continue to serve me moving forward, and that i will be able to work hard and find my groove.

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advice: knight of pentacles. this knight moves methodically, carefully, with a set goal in mind. sometimes he can become a little obsessive, a little set in his ways, but his strength is in his ability to continue moving forward at an even pace. i need to not get too ahead of myself, not worry about what may happen next month or next year, but rather just keep putting one foot in front of the other, taking things day by day. by staying calm, being responsible for my work, and enjoying slow progress, i can get the most out of this position and this team.

external influences: the emperor. i've been hired by a passionate, high-energy man, and it's definitely possible that he's an emperor. while he wants to make his own way and help our team develop their own processes and strengths, i can definitely see the structure, dedication, and leadership that the emperor so often channels. i want to trust that my new boss will take care of me, help me to thrive, and give me the structure and resources in order to do so.

hopes/fears: king of swords. i worry about fitting in with the current team, being valuable, coming across as talented and intelligent, so the king of swords fits beautifully into this position. i really crave acceptance and teamwork, and while the king of swords is brilliant and fair-minded, he can also be seen as cold, closed-off, unwilling to connect. i want others to trust my opinion and my decisions, but i don't want to be removed or make anyone uncomfortable.

outcome: four of pentacles. firm boundaries, protecting resources, control. while there's success here, the four of pentacles is about holding back, being unwilling to share parts of ourselves - whether they're resources, talents, or emotions. in this position, this card indicates to me that while i may find financial success, i'll be tempting to hold back parts of myself in other ways - i may not make close friends, may not share parts of myself. this is an appropriate warning, as i often take a long time to warm up to others and have struggled to connect with coworkers. but seeing it here, with so many others positive cards, gives me hope that this is something i can work towards changing. it may not happen right away, but if i work to be open and generous with myself and my time, perhaps i won't be so closed off in the long run.

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i found this spread incredibly helpful, and really reflective of where i am now and where i want to be going. it gives me a lot of hope for tomorrow and the rest of my first week!

do you ever read larger spreads like the celtic cross? do you disagree with any of my interpretations? i'd love to hear from you in the comments!

keeps on turning

back in the city, back to real life. today's card is a perfect reminder that everything is connected and the world keeps on turning: the wheel of fortune. IMG_0362this is a card i've only worked with once before, but it's one that i find very appealing. there are so many colorful threads, so many knots and tangles and loops that connect everything together. we can't always trace the lines, don't always see how one thing impacts another, but everything is linked. in the middle of the mess, it's hard to see why things are happening or how it could possibly end well, but with time and perspective we can see the whole picture, learn valuable lessons, gain fuller insight into our world. and even when the wheel spins on its head, when we flip from the top to the bottom without warning, there is still a sense of something greater than ourselves, a power bigger than our own small selves.

change is inevitable. control is fleeting. most days, the world can look like nothing more than beautiful, terrible chaos. the world can be upended in an instant - whether we recognize that change or not. and this card encourages us to remember humility, to not get too high-and-mighty, to stay aware of our actions and our contributions to this world of ours. we can only do so much, control so much, change so much.

IMG_0304major arcana cards are the theme of my next week of exercises through beth's course, and in the spirit of continuing to learn i drew a second companion card. a perfect reminder to not surrender all of my power, the two of wands is a card of willpower, determination, decisiveness, and potential. rather than cowering in fear at the wheel of fortune, seeing it as a symbol of inevitability and fate and destiny, i need to also remember that i still have agency and independence. the world may keep turning whether or not i'm here, but i still have opportunities to make my mark. i have a role to play in this life, things to create and speak and do. one of those colorful threads represents me, and what i do with my time and energy and spirit can matter. i don't want to get too big, too arrogant, too confident - but i shouldn't let the power of the wheel crush me either.

checking in

my mind kept going back to the eight of pentacles after my reading yesterday, trying to sift through various meanings and what this card might be trying to tell me. and while i'm not sure that i have all the pieces together, my cards clearly want me to continue to work with pentacles. today's draw is the seven of pentacles. IMG_0324lined up in an orderly fashion, with lines at direct angles behind them, this card is organized, thoughtful, and contemplative. this is a card for stepping back and evaluating, considering progress made and if a change of direction is needed. beth calls this an interim report card, which speaks to me in a much clearer way than yesterday's eight. rather than doing something quickly or haphazardly, this card speaks to making long-term decisions that will work for good. putting effort into what is truly important will make all the difference in the future, and will start to pay off in ways that are even bigger than planned.

my mind is a bit confused at the moment, trying to construct the perfect words to express what i want and need. pride is this weekend, and i'm going to participate in events for the first time: a run in the park, a fun meet-up with some much-admired writers and vloggers, and of course, the big parade. i have friends meeting me at each event and am excited about finally joining the community. but the month is also drawing to a close, and while i've been working on drafts for the letters i still need to send to a few family members, i haven't finalized or sent them out yet. i'm worried about commas and phrases, scared about how they might react, as if one tiny word will make the difference between their acceptance and support or a complete disaster.

pentacles typically are tied to the earth, to worldly possessions and successes, to career and home and wealth. i have trouble relating to this suit, simply because i don't have a strong tie to money, or a particular definition of success, or a big end goal for my career. i don't really evaluate my life this way. but if i change the meaning of pentacles to reflect what keeps me whole and grounded, what makes me feel safe and secure, what gives my life purpose and meaning, then these cards become much more significant. and while relationships and communication are traditionally tied to cups, in my current situation, my family and friends are keeping me together. not having certain people in my life know the truth about my identity feels like something that's holding me back, like i can't truly relax or be happy and whole. the thing i'm craving, what will bring me back to earth and let me feel strong and confident, is honesty. i want to live my truth, not just with a select few but with everyone in my life.

there is so much fear, still (and perhaps always), but i know that i'm making the right choice. this matters too much to ignore.

beauty & balance

of the four suits in tarot, pentacles are the one i draw the least - by quite a lot. i relate deeply to the emotional cups, love delving into the mental space created by the swords, and seek out the crackling, fiery energy from the wands - but those earthy, grounded pentacles rarely come up for me in readings. today's card is one of the few in the suit i've drawn before: the two of pentacles. two-of-pentaclesstrong and bold, with large, beautiful wings balancing two pentacles, this butterfly is powerful, open, and full of stable energy. the most obvious interpretation here is balance, with her asymmetrical wings and those pentacles delicately sitting on her massive wings. the rainbow lemniscate connecting the symbols adds the only touch of color, but keeps everything tied together beautifully. but this card can also indicate inevitable change, as the butterfly herself goes through a complete transformation in order to acquire those glorious wings. she may look fragile, but is much stronger than she appears - she's able to quickly change direction, catch a slight breeze and use it to her advantage. there's an unexpected strength along with easy flexibility that makes her unique, dynamic, and able to balance change in a beautiful way.

pentacles are tied to work, home life, possessions, finances, and earthly matters, so i can't help but consider my career prospects whenever they come up. i have a busy week, packed with a variety of shooting gigs - live music for a singer/songwriter friend, my regular work with restaurant menus, a queer women's cocktail event for pride, and social media images for a catering business. i love weeks like this, that push me to constantly adjust my style and perspective, forcing me to grow and adapt as a photographer, but they can also be challenging - every day is more different than usual, and it can take more energy to do everything well. this card can remind us to stay flexible, prioritize what matters, and embrace changes that may come along the way.

of course, this card could also be speaking to other types of change - perhaps a new job opportunity is coming, or another move is on the horizon. but it feels to me that balance is the message today, remembering to honor all of my commitments and approach every task with purpose, flexibility, and creativity.

the stories we tell ourselves

today's card is a perfect reflection of how i've been feeling about a situation in my life: the eight of swords. and while this is not an easy card to see, it does offer a number of challenges for me to process as i work through this problem. eight-of-swordsthe wild unknown depicts this card as a butterfly, curled up tightly into herself, dangling from a sword and surrounded by many others. she has no space to fly, no room to breathe, no obvious escape route. this card speaks of powerlessness, feeling trapped, and crippling self-doubt.

but those swords represent mental energy and conflict, that double-edged blade of creation and destruction. how much of this situation is real, and how much of it is in our minds? are we so busy seeing ourselves as the victim, drowning in feelings of fear and isolation and pain, that we can't see that these bindings have been built only in our minds, and not in reality? if we can find a way to step back, see clearly, and reevaluate, would a solution for escape become obvious?

for the last few months, i've been struggling deeply with changes, anticipating a loss that feels inevitable. i see no way forward that does not lead to this suffering. and i've been mourning this loss, though it hasn't yet happened. it feels completely unavoidable to me, like the wheels were set in motion long ago and now i simply have to follow this unchangeable path. there is no obvious solution, nothing i can do to alter what will happen, and i hate feeling so out of control when i can see what's coming.

but what if my mindset is wrong? in her meditation on this card, carrie urges us to reconsider the stories that we tell ourselves, to look deeper at the situation and evaluate the personal power that we might be unconsciously surrendering. and i've always found it fascinating, the ways that we view ourselves versus how the world may see us. i have a very specific view of myself, that probably completely contradicts how others see me, and the complete truth of who i am lies somewhere in the middle.

but the narrative i've built around this particular situation could be a carefully constructed trap. i know how i think this all plays out, but perhaps by seeing this future and feeling that it's inevitable, i'm limiting myself only to that outcome. what if there is a way out that doesn't involve loss? what if i've spent so much energy crafting my own bonds that i've missed an obvious solution?

we need stories, narratives, a way of viewing the world and our place in it that connects us. those threads are essential, and how we see ourselves and our paths can impact everything. but focusing on only one outcome, viewing those threads as set it stone rather than flexible and shifting, can be incredibly limiting. if we can't grow and change and learn, can't be broken and rebuilt to be stronger, then what is the point of any of this? and if i can alter this situation, can shift my path to go somewhere new, why wouldn't i try?