Well, we're at the end of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and I've successfully written 31 different posts relating to Tarot, history, fear, motivation, diversity, creativity, and my continued ridiculous love for Leonie Dawson
This is a huge thing for me, because while I love my blog to pieces, and I love everyone I've met through it, sometimes I slip up. I don't write a post every day, so I write extra posts and backdate a day or two. I don't always promote every post perfectly. Some of my ideas have been great, some not so great. I could write for a month or ten years, love it no less, and still have it be a learning process. So accomplishing this, having everything to show for this month, is a big deal for me.
Why would I tell you this when I'm a life coach? When I use my gifts as a Tarot reader, along with creative exercises and a guiding hand, to help others to learn, plan, expand, and grow? Because it's okay.
I have ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. That means things like schedules, repeated tasks, and details are sometimes difficult for me. I've had to learn, over a long period of time, that Getting Stuff Done and Being Organized doesn't come as easily to me as it does to other people.
That means I've done more to learn how to make it happen for me, what works and doesn't work, what fits into my personal rhythm and needs. And that means I've learned how to make mistakes: with acceptance. Understanding what happened, and how that's where I'm at. Resolving to take what I've learned, and try again tomorrow.
I've had times in the past where I'd decide that overnight, I was going to be a master of everything. I'd plan to work my tail off until my house was sparkling, my eating habits were flawless, I'd accomplished four or five different projects and still have time to read a book about spirituality or self-development at the end of the day.
That just doesn't work
. Even when I finished most of what I planned to do, I was exhausted. The things I loved felt like chores, items on the checklist of life rather than something that could genuinely benefit me and be enjoyable. And the stuff that wasn't so great? I'd punish myself over it - until I learned that not only was this biologically supposed
to be difficult, but learning it was a process
So I set a few things to do each day. I broke it down and made it simple for myself. I slowly chipped away, and I kept moving forward. No punishment, no judgement. If I had an unproductive day, I'd look at what happened, and I told myself I'd do better tomorrow.
And when I got the website made, the class finished, the story written, I'd be able to look at it and say: "I did that."
Congratulations to everyone else who completed the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and to anyone worrying about what they haven't accomplished: nothing is impossible. The only way you could ever lose your way is to stop moving completely.
The card for this week is the Ace of Wands, and again it's reversed, showing a lot of blocked energy in terms of focus, drive, and creativity. The things that are blocked in our lives are often the things we most need to unblock and learn. To me, that's why one of the interpretations of Tarot reversals is to pay special attention to the card and bring it into focus in your life.
The deck this week is the Forest Folklore Tarot, a deck by illustrator Kessia Beverley-Smith that draws inspiration from the New Forest in England. All the Wand cards in this deck have the same blonde, dainty fairies as shown in this first card -- which is interesting to me, because I'd have taken that kind of coloring for an Air fairy, and I've seen horses used to represent Earth. Associations are often so subjective, which can sometimes make them hard to navigate when you're using them to perform magick, or even to inspire you personally. But they can also lead to some really cool outside-the-box thinking.
Because I look at that image and I see a very powerful, spirited, free animal standing as a backdrop over the very beginning of the Wands cycle, a small light of inspiration and spirit that will soon grow and increase. I'm going to be starting a group read of The Fire Starter Sessions soon, and I'm really excited to see what changes it creates in my life and my business. I do have dreams and visions for my life, visions I want to create - but it's so easy to get our way blocked by the fear and the overwhelming choices. We don't know how to just keep moving forward in a continued exercise in growth.
But the beauty of the Ace is that it'll soon expand into two, three, four wands crafting the foundations of active and inspired life. The trick is to keep that spark ignited, to keep moving forward and not be crushed by the overwhelm of it all. I had something told to me in a dream once, that I've kept with me forever since:
"Don't worry about where you are right now. Just keep going."
Well, aside from the "hero with a presumably hopeless cause" thing, they're both archetypes.
From Anansi to Merlin, from Don Quixote to Jack Sparrow, archetypes are characters that are larger than life—broad "types" that everyone can know and relate to. Famous figures like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell spoke a lot about archetypes because they say a lot about human nature. Through the way we tell stories, we learn a lot about what's important to us, and how we view the world we live in.
Archetypes become blueprints that we all can relate to, drawing us in based on how we live and what we want for ourselves. Few people feel they're exactly like Batman, Gotham City's brooding guardian, or that they have the roguish charm of Han Solo. But they can reflect on the powerful images those characters create when they're looking for inspiration about the kind of person they'd like to become.
Tarot may have started as a card game. But the figures in that game—the Emperor, the Chariot, the World—are all images of ideas we can connect and relate to. This makes it a perfect tool for self-discovery. The way we tell the story of our lives is powerful stuff. When we choose the stories we tell ourselves and the world, we decide the images that help us reflect on our lives.
Tarot's Major Arcana is where the most archetypical figures dwell. The Major Arcana provide images of many different figures and settings along a long road to self-development and enlightenment. The ideas about what they represent have changed over time and they're still changing. But finding out what those images mean to us tells us a lot about who we are.
Try this exercise to take a look at the archetypes that inform your life:List three of your favorite characters from any story. Movies, comics, mythology— nothing is off-limits. If you want to list a religious figure you believe literally exists, that's completely fine too. Remember, we're looking at the stories that inspire us and help us grow.
Now look at your list of three figures. For each character, list the qualities that draw you to them the most. I'd suggest at least three things but you can keep going if you like.
When you've created your list, look at the characters and qualities that you've written down. Spend some time thinking about them. Are they male or female? Heroes or villains? Do you relate to them because of things from your own life? From the lives of people you love? How can you use their stories to inform and transform your own life?
This blog post is an excerpt from my new course, Tarot Journeys: Of Mentors and Magic Wands
. The course takes a look at the first six cards of the Major Arcana, and how they can serve as guides on our personal journeys. If you like what you see, give the course a look - and sign up to my list! I'll be sending regular updates about Tarot Journeys and all my other offerings, including a free giveaway coming up soon!
There are a lot of eye-rolling cliches about how talking to yourself is a sign of some kind of instability, the first sign that you're "losing it." It means you're fragmented, freaking out, unable to "keep it together."
Personally, I think it's a great idea. And I keep on learning new ways to do it.
You know the old jokes in cartoons, when you get a look at a character's brain? There are all these little mini-selves running around, like highly specific Smurfs. 'Anger' sets his head on fire at the slightest insult. 'Love' is scattering flowers. 'Fear' is cowering in a corner, trembling at every little noise.
Of course, it's never that easy to pick specific things out. Emotions are complicated, wrapping themselves in layers and sometimes carrying two completely contradictory feelings at once. It can seem like a huge, frightening task to even sort through all your feelings, let alone pick them out and give them a face.
But maybe that's exactly what we need to do sometimes. Take a look at the complicated thought that's been hanging on to you for a while, keeping you blocked or sad or overwhelmed. Start picturing it as a person. What does it look like, and how does it dress? What's its body language? Does it have a name? Draw it, if you're artistic.
Set aside ten or fifteen minutes where you can sit quietly, undisturbed. Then turn in towards that feeling and have a conversation with it. Introduce yourself to it, and ask what it's doing there. Learn who it is, and make friends with it. Find out what it needs. See if you can transform it, and find some positive work for it to do.
Any kind of communication with yourself is just one more form of meditation. And the more we sort through and get to know ourselves, the more we're able to transform ourselves into stronger, happier people.
When talking to a friend about some tough memories, she said something to me that I have the feeling is going to stick with me a long time.
"What's the story you're telling behind that?"
We all have stories, she explained. Not the stories that really happened, the ones that are actually a part of our history. But the stories we tell ourselves, the ones that come up in our memories and play tricks on us.
"I wasn't good enough, so I failed."
"Their lives are perfect; I wish I was like them."
"I ruined everything, and now they hate me."
Maybe, as an anxious or sensitive person, you actually say it in those words. Maybe you don't realize that's the way you see it, but you might as well be saying it in the back of your mind. Our lives go through a filter, where we see the circumstances as a play - and the ending is whatever we decide to believe about ourselves. And often, the impressions we leave are strong and can be unforgiving.
Look back over the stories you tell yourself, and find one that stands out as an old regret. Then rewrite it. Pick out the parts where you did well, and the parts where you could have done better. Then rewrite the ending. Create the final act where you release your pain, climb the next hurdle, prove yourself and believe you deserve it.
You're already writing your story. Empowerment just means consciously creating a new chapter.
I found out today that an acquaintance from high school is very ill, possibly dying. It's actually the second time I've suddenly lost a friend from that time; the first was about three years ago. What surprises and amazes me is that while my relationships with the two people were incredibly different, all the same things came flooding back. The memories of who I was then, the comparison of who I am now, became a steady stream as if someone had just unplugged a pipe. And oddly, a lot of my thoughts weren't so much about my friend or my acquaintance as the other people who knew them, and who they might have grown up to be.
The Druidcraft Tarot version of the Six of Cups illustrates it here: there's a part of old identities that do stay with us no matter where we go. The rough, awkward times especially, the times when we were first sorting through all the unpolished knobby bits towards figuring out who we really are. You see it in sitcoms, the joke about how the polished, accomplished person used to be "really awkward" as a kid. A little part of us may always worry that we are who we were, not who we become. If things were especially awkward and painful - as a lot of childhood often is - then we might worry our accomplishments are even a sort of mask under the "real thing".
I was told once that everyone has a story, something about their experience, their own unique world, that transforms them and leads them towards their purpose. I'm inclined to agree. We aren't just our present. We're our past, slowly taking the first steps into the light, forming the imperfectly perfect foundation of what we're going to be. We're our future, looking back from a lifetime of experience, able to see our moments of fear as blips on a radar of evolution. We're alternate roads, things we might have done - or not done, or feared to do - that turned us into different people. Our life is a constant road of evolving, changing, becoming, regressing, and becoming again. We are such brilliant beings. And we contain multitudes.
Everything we are now is a little bit of who we were. Everything we were is a bit of what we're going to be. And it is all important. Every single sad, awkward bit. Every bright, triumphant moment. The roads we've traveled are a part of us, even when we think we've left them behind. But that's all right. In fact, often, that's the only way it should be.
One of my favorite bits of advice about using the Tarot for daily guidance and growth comes from the book "Tarot Journaling" by Corrine Kenner. The book is a really extensive guide to using Tarot cards as a prompt for daily journaling, one of the best ways I know to both learn the cards and gain some insight into yourself.
The advice was this: if the card you draw doesn't seem to fit you or your situation, start writing about that. Write about how it doesn't fit you at all, about how it was a mistake to draw that card. Write about why you can't possibly learn from it. By the end of your writing, you'll see why it was the card you were meant to draw all along.
When we perform divination for ourselves, we're all at the risk of seeing what we want to see. We draw another card "just to be sure", or interpret things in the broadest possible terms. It's one of the reasons even Tarot readers get readings from others: sometimes we just can't be objective about our own situation.
But when our purpose in reading is to spiritually delve, to see what we can dig up within ourselves, it's important to understand that there really are no accidents. There are many, many paths to the heart. Sometimes, in discovering what doesn't feel right, you can make room for what does. Sometimes in asking the wrong question, you stumble how it leads to the right one.
It's an excellent lesson for life as well: don't wait for it to be the "right" moment. Keep going, do the work, and the road will lead you to the answers you're meant to find.
I'm a natural, lifelong learner. Really, when it comes to courses and books and things that'll enrich and improve my life, I'm a bit of a magpie grabbing at shiny things. But I'm going to lay it out here: a lot of my business is just beginning, my goals are just starting to be planted and to sprout. There are a ton of things I want to learn and do and take part in. And I can't do them all right now - I have to be very, very discerning. I can't make any big investments the way I'd like to unless I know they're The One.
And the one big commitment I've made is in Leonie Dawson's work.
I've already spoken a bit about Leonie Dawson in the past,
but I did want to give you another look at some of the transformative power of what she creates. There's such a giving, sunshine-y spirit behind what Leonie creates for women, and she's constantly creating and giving others a powerful boost all the time.
For those of you just tuning in, Leonie Dawson runs the Goddess Circle,
a seriously awesome group of women who want to celebrate their inner goddesses while connecting in the form of a virtual women's circle. Yes, this is an affiliate post - but I wouldn't promote anything I didn't 100% use and love myself. Through the Circle, I've already met an awesome variety of women, who are willing to support each other in business (blog trading and website review), creativity, or if they just need to vent. That'd be worth the $199 a year for membership alone - but Leonie has a huge assortment of course and meditations about business, creativity, health, chakras, you name it. And she offers all of that free
to anyone who joins the circle. A lot of sites tout how they're giving thousands of dollars worth of content away for just (insert whatever arbitrary price here). But I legitimately believe that's what Leonie is doing, providing a great price for a ton of great work.
Through Leonie, I've been turned on to so many awesome women, and given so many new ideas about ways to improve my life and awaken my inner goddess. She hand-paints the ebook pages of her courses, and infuses them with such a gentle, supportive spirit that you can feel her giving you a lift through the page. In just six days, she'll be beginning her six-week Creative Goddess e-course,
and I'm super excited to be taking part. If it's anything like her business course, and her 30 Days of Goddess
course, it provides a lot of excellent information while giving a big lift to the spirit.
I'm unable to offer you a full review just yet, but I did start the Creative Goddess course a little bit early, feeling the need for a creative boost. Along with a beautiful boost to my creative juices, the first week's 30-minute meditation gave me a huge feeling of tranquility and inner power. It taught me to contact my inner older, wiser self, a concept I'd never really explored before. That's something I want to return to again and again, any time I feel not-enough for whatever I want to accomplish... and I know we've all had that time.The Creative Goddess e-course
is $89 dollars if you don't want to join the Goddess Circle and get everything else
that goes with it, $199 if you do. And it is seriously, seriously worth it.
For this week's Card of the Week, we have the Ten of Pentacles reversed, from the Babylonian Tarot by Sandra Cicero.
I really like the simplicity of this deck's style while adding a lot of details that add depth to a reading. While I don't know anything about Sumerian cosmology, the illustration for the Ten of Pentacles (which is given the keyword 'completion' here) puts me in mind of the Kabbalah's Tree of Life. The hawk at the top of the tree, and the snake at the bottom, put me in mind of "as above, so below", the idea that the heavens are reflected here on earth and vice versa. On a more mundane level, I think it's only too appropriate that there's often a lot of plant imagery in the Pentacles suit. It's the card of practical, solid things, and of growth in the earth, so what better symbol for the culmination of all that than a tree?
Numerology-wise, the Tens mean the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. When you're dealing with the Ten of Pentacles, you're looking at a stable home or family, a job with a solid foundation, a business established and thriving. But if we're keeping the tree metaphor in mind, it's like fruit that's ripe and ready for harvesting. We reap the rewards, but that doesn't mean the tree stops growing. We tend and care for it, getting ready for the next cycle of growth. And if we don't pick the fruit in time, it grows overripe and we miss our chance.
I think that's the reversal coming into play - letting your stability turn stagnant or useless, not turning it into a fresh cycle of new growth. Or you could not recognize the good thing when you have it, and fail to take advantage of or appreciate it.
This week, think about the elements of your life that are exactly where you want them to be, completely satisfying. Are you practicing gratitude for the blessings in your life? And are you staying where things are prosperous and safe, or are you preparing yourself for the next challenge? The only constant in life, after all, is that we're always continuing to grow.
A lot of people look at Tarot as a way to go deeper into their own lives. That's what I do: helping people shed light on the patterns and energies in their lives, giving them a better look at where to go next. But what I love about the cards is they can be so versatile. Sometimes even a day-to-day question can get you strikingly specific results.
The time I couldn't get in touch with a friend, for instance, so I consulted the cards and drew The Moon (needless worry) and the Four of Wands (a celebration). She was at a festival that day, and couldn't get to her phone. Or this weekend, when my computer was being an absolute delight, and I hadn't heard from my tech support forum of choice for hours. The Magician told me I had the tools I needed to tackle it myself, and while I didn't fix everything, I did manage to get my Internet back online.
Of course, it's probably not always going to be effective if you rely on a deck of cards to tell you what to have for dinner tonight. But it makes for an interesting way to flex your reading muscles. Part of being an effective reader, after all, is letting your intuition stretch you just beyond the classic meanings of the cards into a new mode of thinking. (How would you use the cards to decide what's for dinner? Six of Cups means a favorite childhood meal? The Tower means something spicy with bold flavors?)
It's not good to let Tarot do all your thinking for you, of course, and it's an easy trap to start relying on it too much. Ultimately everything should rely on your own decisions and common sense. But give the Tarot a spin for an unusual question sometime, and see what muscles it flexes in your mind. It just might surprise you.