new moon in virgo

i've found it difficult to connect with my cards over the last few weeks. not because i don't love them or want to use them, but because my own energy is so incredibly low that it becomes hard to read clearly. sometimes tarot gives me a boost, helps me find direction, raises my own energy in a beautiful way - but when i'm already exhausted, it feels impossible to reach deep and find enough strength to see the messages of truth in the cards. but i miss my practice, miss the wisdom, miss connecting with something outside myself. and i may be completely drained, but just the process of shuffling and listening is still soothing. and while my spread is full of fire and has a few difficult cards, i'm still grateful for the insight this reading offers.

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1: ground: what new energy is earth bringing into my life? five of wands. while this scattered fire and competitive tension doesn't feel very related to virgo's exacting earth energy, perhaps it's instead signaling a change of direction or focus. i've been giving almost all of my energy lately to my new job, but it's meant that my creativity and passion have suffered. it feels like all of my fire is lost - maybe this new earth energy will help me find it again.

2: clear: what chaos can be shed to make room for this new energy? father of wands. strong, passionate, crackling with energy, this king of fire can let his charisma take over, and doesn't always think things through before acting. i'm struggling to see the father as chaos when the five of wands so often signals scattered energy and lack of focus, but perhaps his powerful and dominant energy is causing more harm than good.

3: perspective: where could i practice better judgment? the six of wands often speaks to overcoming adversity, and in this case i see it as removing myself from situations that tangle me up or get me caught in darkness. my job right now has very little positivity, and i'm struggling to rationalize why i should stay at all. sometimes we have to push through challenges in order to become stronger and wiser, and other times a situation is toxic and the best thing we can do is remove ourselves from the situation.

4: self-love: how can i avoid self-criticism this moon cycle? ten of wands, a card that i often read as creative burn-out or feeling overwhelmed. perhaps by channeling my fire into just a few specific tasks, i can find some of the self-love i've been missing lately.

5: intentions: how best could i manifest this new energy into my life? mother of pentacles. finally, some earth! she's a relief after all this fire. and caring for house and home, enjoying earthy pleasures, connecting with family and friends - those all sound so lovely and calming and delicious right now. keeping my physical self rested and ready is something i haven't been prioritizing, but applying that strong virgo energy to my own self seems like just the thing to help me get back on track.

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.

positive & present

i'm continuing to focus on my instagram challenge, but today's cards were so fascinating that they deserve a deeper dive.

day 17: where should i focus more on the present?

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the six of wands, a card of victory, escape, and release. this card appeared just last week to represent my personal intentions, and really spoke to me of hope. sometimes it takes a long time to untangle ourselves from the darkness, but that patience and perseverance will ultimately help us free ourselves from whatever we're trapped in. my mess of wands is this persistent depression, a smothering of my inner fire that i cannot seem to reignite. the dark chaos below her brilliant wings reveals no easy paths through, no obvious tunnels or beams of light to follow out. the butterfly had to make her own way, and i imagine it was painful and difficult and frustrating at various moments. but this card is her triumph, blasting free and soaring up and out on her beautiful wings.

this fight is still my present, and it's easy to lose in the hazy struggle of every day life. just getting dressed, doing my job, caring for my dog and my husband, staying in touch with friends feels like too much - i also have to fight off these miserable tangled shadows?

yes, the cards whisper. keep fighting.

day 18: what can use a more positive view?

the ten of wands, a card of heavy burdens, overload, giving up, too much of a good thing. all those brilliant burning fires have exhausted themselves, run out of fuel, been smothered by too many other wands, and everything has been extinguished. all that's left IMG_0312is a pile of leftovers, energy that has burned out. this card was my weakness for the month of september, and has been challenging me this month.

feeling so drained of fire, utterly exhausted, and having lost passion and light and interest in even the most basic of activities - it's miserable. and it's hard to find positivity in such a dark and discouraging card, one that seems to reflect my mental state over the past three weeks. but saying yes to everything, smiling and acting like everything is fine, all to try and force my way out of depression - that isn't the answer. i have to remember to find joy in one thing at a time, to relish those little victories, to focus on what's positive in my life rather than letting myself drown in all the negatives. having opportunities is wonderful, but saying yes to every single thing is not.

i had a conversation the other day about wishes, and giving up mental illness and challenges if we could. and while my idiopathic insomnia and major depressive disorder are not characteristics that i love or enjoy, they are such massive parts of me and my life that it's hard to imagine who i would be without them. if i slept normally, would i be more positive, more energetic, more friendly? if i didn't deal with depressive episodes several times a year would i be more popular, more optimistic, more spontaneous? it's impossible for me to know. and while the idea of not having insomnia or depression is certainly appealing, i'm not sure i would want to lose them both - because i don't know who i would become. what if gaining hours of regular, uninterrupted sleep impacted my creativity? what if not descending into the shadows and darkness made me less sensitive to moods, and damaged my intuition? would those losses be worth it?

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both of these cards remind me that for better or worse, i am who i am. this dark depression, these murky shadows, the tangled branches and twisted thoughts and difficult struggles are all part of me. but fighting through it, trying to find those bits of light, pushing through all the pain and hurt and this aching, overwhelming sadness to eventually find freedom and space and room to breathe? that's part of me, too. and staying engaged in that fight, finding one wand to wield rather than just burning them all to ashes, and remembering that i'll escape eventually, are lessons worth repeating.

intention & truth

instagram has felt easier these last few days - a bit more anonymous, a bit more concise, a bit safer. the prompts from my tarot challenge are thoughtful and focused, and i've really enjoyed getting to know others in the community. but today's cards are devoted to uncovering inner truths, and i find myself wanting a bit more space to explore these meanings. i'm utterly drained, and the last few days have been very difficult, but this feels like a good way to assess and reflect. IMG_0308

first up is my intentions: the six of wands. this is a new card for me, but i already love it - it reminds me so much of judgement, rising above darkness and shadows and tangled thoughts and feelings to be free, to find space and light, to move forward. the butterfly is so bright, so strong, and those tangled thorns below her could've shredded her wings to bits. she may be tired, she may feel worn down, but she has managed to break free and find space to spread her wings again. this is such a lovely, victorious card, recognizing what we've had to fight through to find progress. and this absolutely feels like my current intentions - i just want to escape this darkness, want to opened my battered wings and fly out of all of this hurt and pain and fear. i feel like i've been stuck here for so very long, and i'm craving escape. i want fresh air, want room to breathe, want to feel like i'm in charge of my body and mind and soul again. everything feels so dark, but this butterfly's beautiful, colorful wings give me a bit of hope.

 

son-of-wandshow is this manifesting in my life, and what are my actions signaling? the son of wands is independent, single-minded, completely focused on achieving his goals. he's charming, adventurous, passionate, and completely confident in his abilities. he knows that the path he's following is the correct one, and he's sure that his plan will work - no obstacles in sight, no challenges he can't face, no storm he can't weather. who needs a backup plan when you already know you're capable of facing anything?

his confidence is staggering, and certainly doesn't reflect how i feel right now. but that focus on doing one thing well, on following a path to the very end, on putting all of my energy into one task? that i relate to. tarot has become something so important to my days, and even when i don't have the energy to write or the strength the share my readings, pulling a card or two and spending some time in thought and meditation has become a goal for each day. i may not accomplish a single other thing, but at least i can find some time for reflection, for consideration, for challenges. it feels like if i can just listen to the cards, even for only a moment, it gives me a much-needed break from the darkness swirling in my mind.

i love that both of these cards are wands, that both cards feel independent and strong, that both cards are focused on a single purpose. i'm longing to break free of my darkness, and i'm using tarot to help me find my way out. and while both of these characters are finding their own way, and i still feel pretty lost in those tangled branches, the son of wands gives me hope that by focusing my energy on self-reflection and understanding, eventually i'm going to find a way to escape.

let's go

today's card is one that always brings me a bit of anxiety, and a lot of expectation: the two of wands. and while this is not a welcome card for me, there's so much to unpack and sort through as i consider the why. traditionally, the two of wands is a card of determination, IMG_0304willpower, potential, embracing power, taking a big step forward. horizontal lines indicate stability and power, but all those colors of the rainbow remind us of the limitless promise here - all that energy can be focused just about anywhere. there's so much possibility here, taking the fiery energy and opportunity present in the ace and harnessing it into something concrete. having the fire and the passion to get excited about something is a great start, but without channeling that energy into something specific, it can fizzle out, fade away, or simply get lost. we have to be willing to reach out and grab those wands, point that colorful, vibrant energy towards something, and get going.

for some, i imagine this is a really exciting card. new ideas! a call to action! potential for greatness! but for me, i simply see pressure. there's so much expectation when starting something new, so many challenges to get things right, that i'm afraid to even start.

i've written before about the stories that we tell ourselves, the way that we view our personalities and strengths and experiences, and how that often looks very different than the way others perceive us. i think that's a fundamental part of the human experience, that no matter how self-aware we strive to be, we will always see ourselves in a specific way that may not align with the way we appear to the world around us. my view of myself has always been fairly specific, both in terms of what i am and what i'm not: hardworking, but not ambitious. creative, but not a creator. passionate, but not goal-oriented. interesting, but not unique. i am someone that can help people achieve their goals, craft their art, support their dreams, but i don't have lofty ambitions or life-long objectives of my own. i'm artistic, but i'm not my own artist - i can contribute and complete, but i don't have enough ideas to actually start something.

...which makes a card like this, that's all about learning and building and focusing, feel impossible. what could i make, say, create, that hasn't already been done a hundred times? why would my struggles, my lessons, my thoughts matter to anyone? how could i express myself that wouldn't feel redundant, or simply ridiculous?

the answer is that i don't know. i'm more comfortable in a supporting role, but this card is not about comfort. this card is about taking all those swirling ideas, those niggling fragments of inspiration, those random scribbles in notebooks and hastily-written, half-finished stories, and channeling them into something real. whether or not anyone sees it is not the point - the purpose is to actually make or do or say the thing, to craft it into something that matters. the point is the process, the journey, the attempt. simply making the effort isn't the first step, it's the third or fourth in an long series - and it can be the hardest one.

i'm not sure where this is going yet, but what's clear is that it's time to get started.