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.

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.

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.

release.

as i work through and process some difficult things, it was such a gift to pull today's card: judgement. i actually received this card a few weeks ago and found it very comforting, but today it feels like a push forward.IMG_0372 there's so much in this card, beauty and truth and freedom and soaring towards the light, release and understanding and pure hope. this dove is so strong, fleeing that tangled darkness below to reach the bright open space above. and so often, ugliness is created by us - fear, guilt, pain, anxiety, depression. we spend so much energy worrying about what might happen when we finally release those secrets and fly free, but the dove is so much more powerful now, having shed the dark and embraced her strength. and this card feels like an incredibly powerful symbol to me, that perhaps it's time for me to embrace my strength too.

today is june 1, the first day of pride month. as a bisexual woman, raised in a very religious family and church that was vocally anti-homosexual, pride and judgement are difficult topics for me. it's taken me a very long time to own my identity, and to admit that while i don't all the answers, i can no longer deny who i am. i only came out a few years ago, after i'd already been married for some time, and it was a shock to my parents and many who'd grown up with me. other friends were much more supportive and loving, including my husband, and for that i'm incredibly grateful. but there are some very important people in my life who still don't know about my sexual identity, and in this month of pride, and this impossible political climate, it feels more essential than ever to come clean and stop hiding.

IMG_0304the cards aren't always this on-the-nose, so i gave myself a clarifying card to make sure i was moving in the right direction: and pulled the two of wands. a bold, goal-oriented card of determination, focus, and strength... that happens to have a colorful, vivid rainbow in the background.

i think that we bring a lot of our own baggage to tarot - it can be hard to clear my mind and not project everything i want to see into my readings. but i've been worrying non-stop about telling these last family members about my orientation, feeling isolated and alone, and these cards give me so much strength. it will not be easy, but i can't keep hiding in the darkness. it's time to reach out and grab those wands, face my truth, and release some of the secrets.

it's time to find some pride.

the power of the wand

i've pulled wands in every single reading this week. today was no exception: the two of wands was my daily draw this morning. and in addition to a lot of intense fire energy, i've also pulled the ace, two, and three of wands this week. a lot of bright, bold, adventurous energy here. IMG_0304

these three cards can tell a story about starting something new: the ace is a powerful idea, excitement, energy, readiness. the two is focus, determination, solidifying the idea and thinking through the steps and pieces necessary to make it happen. and the three is action, jumping in, envisioning that beautiful goal and going after it. it's a powerful trio, and pulling all three cards over the last few days feels significant.

of course, i'm not really in the middle of an exciting new adventure - i'm slogging through the same old depression, wondering if it will ever end. everything is so grey and washed out right now, and all three of these cards are positively bursting with color and vitality. but the two of wands is all about taking a quick pause to determine direction and focus, to evaluate the plan, to become fully aware of everything that's happening. there's so much light and energy in this card, but those horizontal lines also show stability and power, ready to be harnessed and focused in whatever way we need.

this is an exciting card, but it's also a bit overwhelming. i'm not sure what to do with all of this fire, or where to direct it. to make the choice to reach out and grab those wands - am i ready? can i handle it? will it backfire?

i'm not sure i have the answers. but the cards seems to think that it's time to take some of that colorful power back. i hope they're right.

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