mercury retrograde spread

three or four times a year, the planet of communication, travel, and technology appears to move backwards, and also appears to wreak havoc on details, movement, and organization. whether you’re someone that fears mercury retrograde’s subtle chaos or embraces its urgings to slow down and consider decisions, for the next few weeks we are encouraged to move with thoughtfulness, reflect on where we’ve been, and pause our movement forward. and while we’re only a few days in, i know i’m not alone in already seeing unexpected snags and tangles in daily movement or systems.

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rather than stressing over everything we’re told not to do during this particular time of the year, i prefer to lean into this energy and see how it can serve me. this is a chance to revisit our past, to reflect on how we found ourselves on this particular path. it’s an opportunity to reconnect with old friends, past relationships, or connections that have fizzled out. and it’s a time to review old and current projects, to reassess goals, to renew our commitments to work or dreams or plans that we may have let slip away for other things.

in addition to these essential themes of revisiting, reconnecting, and renewing, i’ve also included a card for repair in this spread, a chance to consider something we may need to dive deeper into or take responsibility for. i find that giving the tarot an opportunity to speak openly on certain topics often reveals insights or shadows that i hadn’t seen clearly, and since we’re still in cancer season, this is the perfect time for internal exploration, trusting our intuition, and letting ourselves feel emotion deeply.

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revisit: ace of cups. i’ve been seeing a lot of court cards in my readings the last few weeks, but the ace of cups asks me to revisit the beginning of my emotional and spiritual journey this year - connections, feelings, blossoming intuition. the ace of water reflects the full range of human emotion, and as we move into the last few weeks of cancer season, my feelings are bubbling over, powerful and even overwhelming me at times. this card honors all of that intensity, while reminding me that calm peace and necessary rest are just as important as passionate expression and deep connection.

reconnect: maiden of cups. this card was a very important one for me when i started reading tarot years ago, so for me this feels intensely personal, like a call to remember why began this journey and what it has taught me so far. learning to trust my intuition and embrace my natural sensitivity has not always been easy or pleasant, but honoring the depths of who i am, my passion and desire and eagerness for reflection, has helped me grow into the person i am today. reconnecting with my original reasons for reading tarot may help me find new layers of meaning in my current work, and could inspire me even more in the future.

repair: seven of swords. i’m definitely someone that values my secrets and privacy, builds boundaries and protects myself from so many things. the tarot often encourages me to consider why i’m building walls, and when to let people through them, and in this case it may be that my need for mystery and seclusion has caused hurt, pain, or confusion in those around me. this card often connects to deceit, while encouraging us to grab the blades and consider what will motivate us to action. i may need to do some repairs to relationships in my life, particularly around boundaries, privacy, and things i’ve been carrying within.

renew: seven of wands. a card of independence, activism, and motivation, the seven of wands represents strength of purpose, honoring one’s personal vision, and being willing to stand up for what we believe in. i’ve been dealing with a lot of self-doubt lately, questioning who i am and what i stand for, wondering what my greater purpose is. and while i may not find those answers in this short time of mercury retrograde, i can renew my belief in myself, my trust in my intuition, the magic that i keep building and releasing. this is a card of courage, a reminder to keep pushing towards my dreams and celebrating my progress.

with cancer season’s watery cups and two sevens of assessment and consideration, my reading seems deeply connected to the current season and movements. both the ace and maiden of cups represent beginnings, asking me to reconnect with my origins as well as how i found myself on this particular path. sevens are connected to the chariot, a card of movement and purpose that’s also the birth card of cancer, and a message i can’t miss about remembering where i’m going and honoring my truth. mercury retrograde may ask us to pause movement and consider our full journey, but these cards take it a step further, asking me to remember the core of who i am and the needs i often hide from both others and myself. my reflections during the coming weeks could help me find renewed fire, creativity, and intention for the rest of this year and beyond.

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how has mercury season been treating you? please feel free to tag me if you use this spread, and thanks for reading!

new moon & solar eclipse in cancer

today’s new moon in cancer is accompanied by a solar eclipse in cancer, making this a particularly intense beginning for our new cycle. cancer’s cardinal water and deep connection to the moon’s constantly shifting phases can make this an emotional time, potentially shifting our emotional boundaries or inviting release. you may find yourself acknowledging secret desires or dreams, tapping into intense feelings, or recognizing a need for transition in your home life or relationships.

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eclipses are too volatile for deep magic or intense rituals, but offer wonderful opportunities for reflection, attention, and setting goals. new moons always open a new cycle, encouraging growth and intention as we put energy into specific areas or projects and allow ourselves to focus on progress - and cancer is nurturing water, rich intuition, powerful sensitivity. today may feel like a lot, but focusing all of that emotion and intention in a specific direction can help us feel a bit more protected, while also preparing for the growth of the coming weeks.

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what is this new moon trying to highlight or teach? the high priestess: subconscious, mystery, personal wisdom. just like cancer’s deep waters, the high priestess is connected to intuition and the moon, inviting intense personal investigation. this is a time for me to dive deep within, to acknowledge my desires and fears, to grapple with my own internal magic and consider hidden truths. this is not necessarily going to be a cycle of powerful action, but rather a chance to reflect and meditate, honoring what i carry within and considering who i want to become.

what hidden truths or emotions will this new moon reveal? page of wands: exploration, passion, adventure. i’m craving something new, something exciting, an opportunity to utilize my creativity and vision and see where my passions can take me. and while this isn’t necessarily the exact moment to jump headfirst into new or unexpected desire, my need for change will be revealed during this cycle, and opportunities for innovation and daring may begin to emerge. the page of wands is a trailblazer, a risk-taker, and invites me to consider what parts of myself crave the same excitement.

what needs to be released or forgiven? the lovers: partnership, balance, harmony. whether i need to explore forgiveness or release within my main relationship or find this within myself, this cycle will invite opportunities for choice, a chance to acknowledge long pathways and deep connections. the lovers is intensely tied to equilibrium, asking us to celebrate all parts of ourselves, our needs and desires, our cravings and wishes.

where are these transitions leading me? queen of wands: brilliance, creativity, confidence. i love the journey from the page to the queen of wands within this spread, a child just beginning to explore her fire versus a powerful and badass leader who knows exactly how to wield it. this queen is so passionate, so active, so aware of her power and brilliance and creative spark. she inspires everyone around her, helps ideas develop and shine, and is magnificent in her strength and wit. if i can explore my magic and shadows, begin to embrace my fire, and find balance both within myself and in my relationships, i can develop into this intensely powerful, richly creative leader.

what is this new moon and eclipse combination revealing for you? and how will you utilize it? please feel free to tag me if you use this spread, and have a wonderful new moon!

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cancer season & midsummer

today marks the beginning of cancer season and the longest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere, a time when we celebrate the beginning of summer. shifting from gemini to cancer can be an intense transition, as we move from buzzing, electric energy to a calmer, more slow-moving time of emotions, intuition, and protection. and while the lovers encouraged us to find balance within, to honor the various pieces of ourselves, to find freedom both within and in spite of relationships, the chariot pushes us to fly through the world, to show that confidence to others, to move with purpose and determination towards our most important goals and intentions. cancer is the first water sign of the zodiac, giving us a chance to spend time diving deep into our emotions and enabling us to envision a future that honors our most personal needs and desires. when we add the manifestation and brilliance of the summer solstice, it feels like anything is possible.

cancer is associated with the divine feminine and the moon, heavily influenced by her constantly shifting phases and ability to find comfort in shadows. and though for many of us this is the longest day and shortest night of the year, we can still honor those cycles of growth and retreat even as we celebrate the sun in all its brilliance and glory. this combination of energies is the perfect time for reflection on the year thus far, remembering our intentions and measuring our progress towards those bigger, broader goals. when we harness the power of the chariot towards those renewed visions and anchor them in cancer’s intuition, we find a season of intentionality, purpose, and depth.

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i created a spread for today’s solstice, focusing on fire and intention but still honoring the emotion and nurturing power of cancer. my cards for the full moon in sagittarius earlier this week brought some intense messages and rich lessons, inviting me to find deeper self confidence, take pride in the magic and rituals i’ve found for myself, and consider the transitions that are ahead. today’s cards continue that theme, reminding me of how i thrive and encouraging me to move with slow, beautiful intention.

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what is the source of your inner light and passion? two of swords: conflict, balance, blockages. i thrive under pressure, make magic out of struggles, am able to take my frustrations and confusion and channel it into art. when things are even and easy i get complacent, but i find passion in challenges, push against restrictions, and gain most of my inspiration from difficulties and obstacles. this may seem like an odd pairing, but it resonates for me, especially when i reflect on the pieces of writing and creativity that i’m most proud of. light can still come from darkness, and knowing how to utilize shadows can be a strength.

where do you shine the most brightly? seven of wands: courage, focus, independence. i shine the most brightly when i’m willing to stand up for my beliefs and my work, when i channel my efforts into activism, when i believe in myself and the things i’m creating. this is not necessarily a card of ease, instead representing the moment when a projects gets complicated, or when we have to defend our viewpoints and ideals. when i am wholeheartedly invested in my work, when i stop doubting my abilities and vision, that’s when my magic is at its peak.

where could you use more fire? nine of swords: mental illness, nightmares, fear. depression and insomnia will always be battles i’m fighting daily, and it may be useful for me to channel some of my passion and fire into keeping those particular demons at bay. it could also be that examining them more closely could inspire further creative work, that instead of fighting against them, i could reflect more deeply on the ways that these illnesses and disabilities have shaped me.

how can you find your deepest potential this season? two of pentacles: balance, focus, intention. instead of being so focused on production and output, this is a season for slow growth, moving with purpose, and laying a strong foundation for future work. it’s tempting for me to get lost in cancer’s water or the chariot’s powerful movement, but i can find deeper potential in gentle intention. and while i’m eager to work hard, to push myself, to see my dreams begin to manifest in front of me, i can find richer satisfaction in slow, intentional work, and in balancing my needs.

what message should you carry forward this summer? five of wands: needless conflict, loss of direction, disorganization. instead of trying to work on ten projects at once, with scattered focus and a loss of purpose, i need to put my energy into one project at a time. by remembering the beauty i can make out of pain and chaos, honoring my need for independence and channeling my intentions into slow, steady growth, i can build something lasting, and create magic that will continue to inspire. getting lost in unnecessary battles or focusing on pointless details will get me nowhere, but remembering the wisdom of the five of wands will help me stay moving and keep my goals in the front of my mind.

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as with my last spread, the cards aren’t pulling any punches. and in spite of my love of water and excitement for cancer season’s powerful reflections and rich emotional depths, no water cards appeared in this reading. instead, the cards focused on the creativity i harness through challenges, on maintaining balance and focus rather than trying to do too much. my messages for this summer are clear: believe in myself, harness the fire inside, and move forward with intention. this is a season to do a few things well, instead of doing so much that i get lost in it.

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my cancer tarotscopes are live on autostraddle, and geminis can get some extra insights from me over at radical tarot. my minor arcana study on instagram is wrapping up this month, so if you want to be the first to hear about the tools i’m building with all of those writings, please consider supporting my work on patreon. and finally, if you use this solstice spread please tag me - i’d love to see your cards and insights.

happy cancer season and blessed solstice!

full moon in sagittarius

as we come to the end of energetic, creative gemini season and begin to move into the time of sensitive, emotional cancer, this moon in sagittarius inspires high energy, exploration, and movement. and yet full moons often ask us to be still and reflect, to honor how far we’ve come, to consider where we’re going. this is not a moon for intense work or forward motion, but instead a chance to assess the personal truths we’re carrying, the movement we’ve made, and the ideas we are ready to leave behind.

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i draw single cards for my patrons during every new and full moon, and this cycle began with the empress - a beautiful card of creation, transitions, honoring the process. she is all about raw magic, putting ideas into the world and seeing how they look once they are made manifest. there’s no need for perfection, but rather the empress offers a chance to play, to celebrate the process, to honor where we are. when we are able to create without expectation, we can find so much unexpected beauty and inspiration, and build new starts that we can continue in the future.

we’ve had some intense moon phases lately, and this one felt like a lot of mixed energy - gemini and sagittarius begging for movement and active work, cancer wanting dreamy introspection and self-care, and the moon phase itself craving quiet celebration and deep release. i created a simple spread for this full moon, hoping for insight into this particular cycle as well as advice on what to bring forward and what to leave behind.

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where is this full moon inviting celebration? the sun: celebration itself, bringing truths into the light, honoring a childlike spirit of joy and the community that surrounds me. after returning from a-camp and processing a lot of emotions and experiences, i still feel a sense of hope. this camp wasn’t easy, especially after multiple deaths in the family and a second cross-country move this year, but i’m finding such joy in being back home, in reconnecting with my friends, in envisioning my possible futures. this full moon asks me to dance in sunlight and fire, to honor where i am, and to rejoice with those that care for me.

where might i be overdoing it? the lovers: balance, freedom, partnership. i may be relying too much on others for assurance that i’m doing the right thing, encouragement about my work and choices, support for my needs and desires. having chosen family, rich friendships, and a supportive life partner are all wonderful, powerful things, but i also need to be able to rely on myself, to find balance within, and to move with purpose and steadiness. i think of myself as strong and independent, but am often very unsure of my path, or doubt my choices. i need to leave some of that uncertainty behind and be willing to take chances alone, to stand behind my work and put myself out there in new ways.

how can i channel this passionate, exploratory energy? the hierophant: ritual, magic, spirituality, history. i need to spend more time considering how i harness and utilize my own personal magic, to understand my connections between physical and spiritual, to respect my history and see how it shapes my future. this card can so often represent structure and power, feel like boundaries or restrictions, and yet when i create rituals for myself and celebrate the faith that i have found as an adult, i feel more free than i ever did in organized religion. small spells, working with crystals, daily tarot readings, and feeling peace when i spend time in nature - this faith looks so different than what i was raised in, but it feeds my spirit and encourages me constantly.

what impact will this moon have on my future? the hanged man: shifting perspectives, surrender, intention. with so much intensity in the previous cards, this full moon will alter the way i see my future, and could usher in some powerful and essential transitions. i have a very particular narrative around my past, my personality, and my trauma, and while these cards invite celebration in community and taking control over who i am becoming, they also ask me to do a lot of heavy, internal work and processing. when we dig deep and take an honest look at our shadows, it’s not unusual to make unexpected discoveries that alter the way we see ourselves or our path. the hanged man asks us to breathe in the moment, surrender to our inner self, and be willing to let go of expectation until a situation changes.

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four major arcana cards in a spread is a lot, and means i have much to work through and work out this full moon. and while it can be intimidating to see this many majors in a full moon spread, i know that i’m working through a lot internally, processing and shifting, dreaming and creating. even though full moons so often ask us to release and celebrate, honoring the height of a cycle, what i see in these cards is just a beginning. and with the hanged man on the end, signaling an oncoming shift in perspective, i feel release and surrender just around the corner.

how is this full moon feeling for you? are you enjoying celebration, or anticipating a letting go? if you use the spread above, please tag me or let me know how it went in the comments. happy full moon!

exploring the fool

the fool has been popping up a lot for me lately. i’ve written about it some on instagram, but it’s also come up in private morning readings, when pulling cards with friends, and anytime i’ve wondered about how to move forward in my writing work. in spite of my structured pieces, my regular column, my ongoing patreon newsletters and moon phase pulls, i’m still craving more. and while i joked on twitter about the fool just being a strong person saying “do the damn thing,” it’s not wrong - this card is begging us to take a chance, to surrender to that idea or journey or desire that’s been building in us for longer than we want to admit.

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i want to write - essays, personal pieces, finding ways to tell my tarot story and link it to my life in more complex ways. i don’t know where to start, how to pitch, when to submit, who to ask for help. it feels overwhelming, but the desire is still present, in spite of the many obstacles i can see or conjure up to delay my own progress. the fool doesn’t care about how possible something is, about success - she simply begs us to take that first step, to seek joy, to follow our hearts. she needs us to start the journey, to take the chance, to dream. she asks us to try.

so today, i’m asking: little fool, what do you want me to do? some people don’t pay much attention to stalker cards, but for me a reoccurring card signals a missed message, an ongoing need, a chance to revisit an important theme or idea. the fool is such an important card in tarot, representing that moment when we leave behind what we are sure about and step into that beautiful, wild unknown. and while i know she is craving exploration, i need to understand how to start, how to move, how to be brave. i need her wisdom, which comes not from experience or knowledge but instead from her ability to listen to her deepest needs and most profound desires. the fool has no time for bullshit, and understands how to prioritize herself. she dreams so big, and i want to do that too.

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what is the importance of this card in my life right now? nine of wands. my writing doesn’t feel stale or stagnant to me, but perhaps my willingness to take risks has slipped away, and now i feel protective and scared. the fool keeps asking me to take chances, to put myself out there, to share my work and my emotions and my history - and while i want to do that it also feels deeply frightening, and terribly vulnerable. what if i get hurt, get rejected, simply fail? the nine of wands is so much fire, knowing that we are close to the end, but also represents strength and tenacity, a willingness to keep fighting. the fool sees where i am, recognizes my insecurities and struggles - but she still wants me to try, in spite of all that fear and anxiety and uncertainty. not knowing the outcome and doing it anyway is the fool’s whole message, and being scared or lacking confidence doesn’t mean i shouldn’t still take the chance.

what is preventing me from hearing the message of this card? nine of swords. i tend to get in my head a lot, rationalize why i shouldn’t do things or make arguments for staying safe. the nine of swords is terror, insomnia, nightmares, and represents the ways that i mostly think about how things could go wrong in my writing, rather than what could work out in a positive way. by focusing only on the negative, by imagining the worst case scenario, i lose all the possibility, the potential, the beauty in mistakes and the ability to learn and grow. i’ve created a powerful trap, haven’t been able to see outside of my failings and lacks, and it’s keeping me from taking the chances that the fool sees.

how can i release any blockages? the magician. just fucking manifest. if i can simply see the potential ahead, can envision possibility, can start actually writing and follow where it leads me, everything will shift. worrying and dreaming endlessly about how things could go wrong, without even having pieces that i’m trying to place or writing what’s flowing through my head is a bit ridiculous. i need to start creating works that i’m proud of, harnessing the resources at my disposal and the people around me that are cheering me on, and see where it goes. the magician knows their power, understands their abilities, and doesn’t let fear get in the way of creation. by beginning the process, enjoying the mistakes, harnessing my magic, i might actually get somewhere.

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this spread was incredibly helpful for me, kicking my ass and acknowledging how much i’ve let fear limit my progress. sometimes the cards have to remind us of truths we’ve already uncovered, weaknesses we’ve already acknowledged, and i’m deeply appreciative that the true black tarot pulled zero punches and reminded me of how far i’ve come. the fool isn’t actually foolish, and she knows what she’s asking of me. sometimes we have to take chances to find the most substantial rewards, particularly when it comes to creative work - writing can be intensely personal, but i’ve seen it pay off for so many. i want to be brave enough to start the process, to push past my fears and rationalizations and start creating work i love.

time to get writing.