The Star is one of my favorite cards. And I'm always pleasantly surprised that it doesn't have more people resisting it like The Tower, or giving it layers of meaning like The Devil or Death. It's a card about faith, hope, and Divine guidance, and yet everyone's as delighted to see it as me.

Okay, I know that sounds ridiculous. Why would people be opposed to the promise of good things to come?

Well, hope is a challenging thing. Hell, the President of the United States made it a campaign topic. It suggests the Divine or angels, an end to struggle, the light at the end of the tunnel. That's tough sometimes. When you're sad or overwhelmed, being told there's a way out can be frightening. It suggests changes that might be large and just as scary. It asks for you to take risks, make adjustments, and be ready to entertain second chances.

The Star follows The Devil, a card about being trapped by harmful patterns and self-defeating behaviors, and The Tower, a card about breaking down the crumbling foundations to rebuild new things. It's a hope that emerges from tough, painful circumstances, a guidepost that points the way home. And the beauty of The Star? Is that all of these things are steps on the road to something amazing. The World, with its completion of a cycle and feeling of having it all, is only four steps away. 

In a way, The Star is a lot like a good Tarot reading. If you're feeling confused, lonely, or just plain in need of clarity, it can show you the road ahead. It can give you new insights on how you change your life. It's been delivered to you at a time you can handle it, when you're capable of making the change - but the change is up to you. It's a responsibility that is purely in your hands.

And making that change yourself, as scary as it can be, will make the conclusion all the more powerful and satisfying.
This week's deck is the Tarot of Prague by Alex Ukolov & Karen Mahony, a collage of photographs from Prague's art and architecture. I love the pensive, thoughtful look of the figure pouring the jars, and the little stars captured in the water. Divine love and new possibilities are wellsprings that never truly run dry, not if we know how to access them. But we do need to remember to take a drink.  

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.

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.

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