get over yourself

do you ever find yourself wanting to achieve a goal, but being terrified of even getting started? i've had a few opportunities to share my writing pop up, and while the recent times i've put myself out there have gone well (more on that later), i have a new chance to share my work on a larger platform, and it's haunting me. i know i want it, but imposter syndrome is a bitch, and my thoughts are so tangled with anxieties that i can't seem to get started. as always, beth maiden's spreads to the rescue. begin now, with what you have - i have to start somewhere.

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goal: i chose the queen of wands for myself, as i'm currently craving that fiery energy, those creative sparks, that power and magnetism to write something that really speaks to others. i want the confidence to share my story, without fear.

the bottom row of cards are things that i already have, and what i can build on.

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two of swords: choices, options, finding balance, dealing with a blockage. this definitely feels reflective of where i currently am - wondering if this project is worth the effort, worried about my abilities, scared of moving forward in any direction. i know that taking this chance is something i should do, but i need to fully embrace this as a path forward so that i can stop wasting energy with worries and fears.

ace of cups: exploring emotion, a new relationship, blossoming. just writing the piece i have in mind will be an emotional journey, will force me to open myself up and examine things i've long suppressed. there's excitement here, but also an unfamiliar energy, a pull towards something i normally avoid. i deeply believe in my intuition, and following its guidance can lead me to create something beautiful, honest, and real.

four of cups: feeling disconnected, trapped, or empty. another card of decisions, i think this card is reflecting my boredom in my current career. i'm deeply grateful for the constant opportunities to do the photography work that i love, but it's not pushing my creative boundaries, and i've been craving another outlet. it's important to not take my work for granted, but giving myself a chance to express myself in a new way will help me across the board, giving me new energy and helping me to push myself beyond my own limits.

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the middle row of cards are my next steps, giving me guidance on how to use the resources i have to get moving.

wheel of fortune: sometimes a path forward feels inevitable, while other times we're called to break our own patterns and behaviors. it doesn't feel like an accident to me that a writer i deeply admire suggested i write a specific type of piece - it feels like the kick in the ass i needed to try something new. i took a chance earlier this year with a submission to a story podcast, and several of my essays were chosen - this feels like a continuation of that energy, pushing me to keep trying, to put myself out there, to take a risk in a fresh medium. i don't want my fears of rejection or anxiety about being "good enough" to keep me from doing something i love, even if i do need to practice and improve. i'll never get better if i don't keep trying.

four of wands: celebration of hard work, moving on to bigger projects, a milestone. having my work recognized is an incredible feeling, and i've been getting a little of that lately. i won a prize from a recent instagram challenge, having my words recognized as insightful and powerful, which meant the world to me. having my essays chosen for a podcast feels so exciting, even if it hasn't aired happened yet. and having someone i really respect read my work is so affirming. all of these things are worth celebrating, and it's good to feel that satisfaction, to shut out that little voice saying it's all fake and silly and that they must be confused or lying. it's so important to recognize our own progress, and to remind ourselves of what we've accomplished.

something to know about my goal: eight of wands. there's so much fire to channel, so much creative energy flowing, and rapid movement can be overwhelming. ideas can pop up left and right, giving us a second wind for old projects as well as new visions, and it can be easy to get carried away or rush through to get to the next big thing. the queen of wands knows how to hold all of that fire, but i'm still getting there - take it slow, write everything down, and trust in my intuition.

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this spread was just what i needed to remind me of who i am, where i've been, and where i'm going. swords and cups are important parts of me, but if i can harness that wand energy and remember my place in the grand cycle of the universe, i can become the fiery queen of my dreams and be a force for inspiration, power, and creative magic.

death & rebirth

i was delighted to pull the empress today, particularly after drawing the emperor for the first time just a few days ago. these cards act as a pair, yin & yang, combining the energies and characteristics of all the mothers and fathers in the deck to create complete, holistic protectors and rulers. the-empress unlike the emperor's tall, narrow, straight lines, embodied in the strength and constancy of the evergreen tree, the empress is colorful, expansive, and is represented by a more cyclical deciduous tree - she experiences the seasons, goes through periods of death and life and change. she thrives in the darkness, her colorful leaves and blossoms offering protection and inspiration for those around her. almost every resource i've seen refers to her as the earth mother, a nurturer, the creator of life and the sustainer of creative and spiritual fertility. she is mother nature; life-affirming, wise, loving, generous.

the empress' more internal, "feminine" energy contrasts but compliments the emperor's outward, "masculine" force, the pair of them combining the strengths of all four suits. mentally strong, emotionally aware, passionate and adventurous, grounded and steadfast. they both rule, protect their lands and their people, but their different strengths work together beautifully. and while i'm less interested in the gendering and the specificity of assigning male/female energies, i love that both are seen as strong and vital - the cards reflect each other perfectly, are completely in sync, reflect each other.

having drawn the emperor days ago, when i needed to stay resilient and structured, it's very soothing to see the empress' more nurturing, protective energy today. this card tells me that today can be for growth, for kindness, for caring for myself and the people i love. after days of pushing all of my energy outward, today can be a day of rest, of spiritual exploration, of quiet rebirth.

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...& ten.

three tens in a row is not a coincidence. ten-of-wands

the ten of wands is a card i get a lot. dreary, disorganized, scattered, confused, lacking direction - these wands are tangled in the darkness, going every which way. it's hard to even see the individual wands, or to tell which way they're pointing.

tens being the end of the cycle represented in the minor arcana, and wands embodying passion, fire, purpose, inspiration, creativity - getting this card frequently seems appropriate. my daily work is creative, my brain is creative, my passions are all creative. i'm a water sign, a scorpio. i live in the dark, i trust my intuition, i thrive on passion, i feel deeply. it makes sense that a soul like mine, which tends towards strong emotions and intense cravings, would feel burned out constantly. my job is in the visual arts, so every time i'm working i need to dive into that deep well of creative energy. and my hobbies are all creative too, from the more passive ones (i love to read and lose myself in music) to  more active pursuits (writing, tarot, cooking, pretending to learn guitar). creativity and passion are what keep me whole and functional, and some days it feels like the cycle of the suit of wands and fire is one that i live every week.

while this card is very understandable and relatable for me, it also feels like a bit of an admonition. i don't get very specific in my queries for daily readings - i almost always ask for guidance for the day, where i should focus, and how i should spend my energy. but today i found myself rambling, listing all the possibilities and inadvertently asking a million tiny questions about how exactly i should spend this quiet, rather unstructured day. the cards are giving me a clear message - you're scattered, you've overwhelmed, you're exhausted. chill out, prioritize, declutter.

so i asked for a clarification card, and boy did i get one: the lovers. what a beautiful card.

the-lovers

union, joy, love, desire, contentment. it feels like the complete opposite of the ten of wands - like an overflowing cup rather than a tangle of sticks in the darkness. and while i think this card can mean so many things depending on how and where it falls, in this context it feels like advice: to be grateful for my marriage, to be content with what i have, to seek peace in going with the flow, to blend and enjoy all the facets of me. yes, i'm a dark, weird, passionate, intense person - but i'm also married to someone energetic, analytical, adventurous, bright. i need to support him, but can also learn from his enthusiasm and airy, sagittarius energy.

it's okay to feel this dark, swirling energy constantly, and it's understandable that i'd feel burned out a lot. but it's also okay to push that aside, to care for myself, to focus on joy, and to put my energy into being gracious and grateful.