Every now and then, as a coach and the owner of a heart-based business, it's important for me to look at why I'm doing this.

What I want to communicate. What my message is. Because Tarot is the way I tap into the Bigger Picture in order to tell it, and coaching is the way I want to lend my gifts to the world - but it's important to remember the why.

The one big thing I'd share with everyone if I could, and that something is this:

Remember who you are.

You may not feel you know that. Or you may think it changed a long time ago. You may think you're not allowed to be the person you'd love to be, in the best of all worlds. 

Everyone has those moments, those times knowing the answer feels too painful. Maybe you're too afraid of finding the wrong answer, so you never even ask the question.

But it's there. It's deep in the core of you. When you envision yourself at your most powerful, on-fire, truth-telling, the height of your potential, that's you. That's the height of your power.

And when you're at your most afraid, when you want to give up and hide, and there's that small voice that reaches out in the frightened silence. That voice that tells you to get up, keep moving, that instinctively reaches towards the sun - that's you too. And in a way, that's also one of the most powerful things you can do.

It doesn't matter how you look or what you weigh. It doesn't matter what mistakes you've made, or what fears you have. 

It doesn't matter how far you step from the 'mainstream' path, because the secret is? In some way, we all do. We just think it's only us.

You are who you are, and nobody can take that away from you. The day you start to own it is the day you choose to make it yours. It's okay. You're okay.

The Moon is a card about the things we find in the dark. It's all the irrational fears and scared secrets. It's the stuff we're afraid to dig up because we think we can't handle it. It's the fears that, sometimes, are completely irrational and made to hold us back. And it's the intuition we find when we dig deep enough, the secrets and strengths that help us finally claim our real, authentic selves.

I call my practice 'Mirror Moon' because I think by providing a glimpse into a possible future, and a look at the archetypes and ideas that can help empower us, Tarot and coaching can help us do as the moon does. 

We can reflect light - our own inner light, the truest part of ourselves. 

And we can illuminate our paths. Avoid the potholes and tree roots, see ahead to where we want to go...and how to get there.

What do you want to reflect to the world? And what would you like illuminated? Let me know in the comments!

I've been rewatching a lot of Fraggle Rock lately, since my girlfriend with a decidedly HBO-deprived childhood has never seen it. Yeah, yeah, I'm a grown-up and I'm supposed to be above these things. But screw my credibility. There's a lot of simple wisdom in kids' stuff that we don't really remember to touch as adults, and it's Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets and Sesame Street, which should say it all.

And Fraggle Rock? Has to be the most pagan show I've ever seen. A living, breathing system of caves that teach about the interconnectedness of life? A festival where you compose tributes to the full moon?  And if you want to teach a newly-minted teenaged Wiccan about why she can't be initiated just yet, just show her "Mokey and the Minstrels".

Then there's Marjory the Trash Heap, the "all-knowing" oracle who pings me quite a bit for obvious reasons. She demonstrates some genuine power and insight towards the end of the series, but mainly Marjory is kind of a shyster - someone who gives you not-quite-groundbreaking sayings or junk objects in the form of talismans. She does claim to be all-knowing, but the Trash Heap doesn't really take payment for her services. She's more than happy to dispense a little bit of cryptic practicality, watch the Fraggles mistake it for deep wisdom, and then let them work out their own problems with this new bit of direction. Her ultimate goal is the goal of all great oracles: to no longer be needed.

And often, the magic works. Anxious Boober feels a surge of courage when clutching a bottlecap inscribed with the words "no deposit, no return." Red and Wembley learn the charm of spilling a bottle of milk and pointedly not crying over it, which gives them the confidence to finally stop worrying and make a plan.

What Fraggle Rock knows, and what Tarot readers know, is that objects and sayings aren't the important thing. There are literal "junk oracles", where you draw discarded odds and ends out of a bag and make observations based on what you find/the meanings you attach. And they're much the same as Tarot's lovely, inspiring, and extremely subjective art. The power is in the reader, whether that's intuition or just plain common sense. It connects us to the magic of the world, taps us into something bigger.

The insights from divination are personal insights, a little nudge in the right direction. They encourage someone to understand the situation and get moving, with the confidence that they knew a little more about themselves and their path than they did half an hour ago. There's a tremendous, often magical power in that. And the greatest power of all, of course, is that you can put a little of your focus and intention into the world - and get a great deal back out of it, no matter what tools you use.

"No deposit, no return." 

It's nearly a year ago to date. Attending a Lammas celebration, I go to a Tarot reader participating in the festival. She gives me a lot of wonderful advice about the new direction my life is moving towards, and the evolution I'm about to go through. She rightly tells me that in just six months, my entire outlook on life will be different.

She then speaks in extensive warnings about the man who will enter my life that I shouldn't trust with my heart, as he's just looking for a handout. She explains that I'll then meet a man I slowly grow closer to, and enter a more serious relationship with him.

I don't remember the exact details because at that point I had zoned out - when I wasn't exchanging glances with my long-time girlfriend of eight years, who was sitting on the chair right next to me.

As it happens, we did experience a period of growing much closer right around the timestamp this reader gave me. And some male friends were involved, but not in the way the reader said. It's not that this person was completely inaccurate in terms of my reading. She wasn't dead-on, but if you thought outside the box some of her advice was invaluable. But right away she'd made some assumptions about who I was and what I wanted out of life. And that was where she'd lost me.

It's not that this person was homophobic, or a bad person in any way. Really, any time we fail to be inclusive, we're a product of our environment. Ignoring the way our whole society focuses on one kind of person: how many decks that aren't made specifically for gay men feature a heterosexual Lovers card? How many genderqueer or trans people can you find in any Tarot deck? People over a certain weight? People who aren't white, which is thankfully becoming less of a problem, but I still see decks where there's not a single brown, black, or Asian face to be found.

Hell, you could even argue that the very construction of a Tarot deck - the quiet, intuitive High Priestess and the motherly Empress, the power-wielding Emperor and forceful Magician - is rooted in a certain set of gender roles. And Tarot came from the 15th century, so that's to be expected. But when do we challenge that, and what does it do to our preconceived ideas?

When you read for strangers, even if you're divining their lives, it's important to not assume the way those lives work. Even if we're not licensed therapists, a lot of us consider ourselves to be in service positions. That means we're meant to illuminate and empower the lives of our clients - and we can hardly do that when we don't realize a client is in a poly relationship, or asexual, or only feels female some of the time. It's not really our business to ask, but it's our job to know that these are possibilities - and that if we're operating in the web of life, sometimes there are strands we never even imagined we'd land on.

I was all set to give you the third part in my 'Five Things You're Not Supposed To Do' series, but I just had to rant a bit!  One thing you'll learn about me very quickly is that I have some pretty strong gut reactions, and I also like to think (and think, and overthink...)!  If I stay balanced between both of these things, it helps me be a great reader; it means I trust my intuition, but I can ground it in the "real world".  But it also means that if something just doesn't sit right with me, I have to sit around and figure out WHY.  

More than once in the last few of days, I've stumbled upon some people playing up the "mysterious Tarot reader" image.  I've read about how to dress up at a party and theme your outfit, to play up a "character" in order to provide an entertaining atmosphere.  I've seen people advised to deliver their readings via cryptic messages to leave everyone wanting more - messages that, from what I could gather, have no actual value or use!  And these are people who clearly know how to use the cards, and to set up more "legitimate" sessions.

Now, don't go off and leave in a hurry.  I've had a reading or two at parties myself, and I love Renaissance Faires.  I know the Tarot can go in a hundred different directions, and I'm a huge Soapbox Sadie about no "right" way to work with the cards. So why was my first reaction to bristle and frown at the idea of Tarot for entertainment's sake?  Is it the idea of turning something I love, something I use for counseling and empowerment, into a gimmick?  Is it the lack of respect Tarot already gets?  (I got my fair share of 'Madame Zelda' jokes from my family when I started.)  Is it that the typical 'Gypsy fortune teller' image is actually kind of racist against Romani people?  Or do most people know the difference between fun at a party and the "deeper" uses of Tarot, and I should just lighten up?

I think it's more than fine to add a little magick into the Tarot, whether you're particularly witchy or not.  All the magickal lodges and mystery schools have their secrets: the crown you wear when you're at a certain level, the slightly spooky initiation on a dark night of symbolic rebirth.  That's because we're drawn to theatricality, to mystery.  We like being the heroes of our own stories.  Putting on a show for ourselves makes everything a little more meaningful, and the Tarot is no different.  But (and there's always a "but")...

I'll never forget how during one of my first readings, all I had to say was 'you've had a loss' and the sitter burst into tears.  She could have lost a job, an argument, a toothbrush.  But she'd lost her husband, and those fifteen minutes she'd purchased turned into a session about grief, support systems, and her new normal.  The cards have an uncanny knack for hitting the truth, bringing up what a person needs to think about, and making us take a good hard look at ourselves even when we don't mean to.  Scary?  Sometimes.  Necessary?  Absolutely.  And only dangerous if you don't want to be a happier, more secure and self-aware person - which is what it's a good reader's job to help you do.

Have fun with the cards, and maybe costumes have their place if they're not messing with someone's culture.  At Halloween and Camelot Days, I'll be right there with you in the ironic witch's hat.  Not every reading is a huge soul-baring session, and a party isn't really the place for it anyway.  But the Tarot deserves respect, and so do the people you're reading for.  If someone is frightened or upset when you're throwing out mystic-sounding nonsense, or disrespects counselors and lightworkers because you're putting on too much of a show, that's doing a disservice, no matter how small.  I'm not an authority to be throwing out edicts and rules, no one is, but I know what pings my radar and my gut, and all I can think is: being the "life of the party" will probably make you more mainstream, but it pays to be careful.

Another thing you'll learn pretty quickly: I'm always game to talk (and talk and talk) about it, even if you totally disagree - respectfully, of course.  Leave a comment and tell me what you think!

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