`Who are YOU?' said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, `I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'
When the Caterpillar asks this infamous question in Alice in Wonderland, he's mainly just being difficult. But there's a reason such a pointed question stirs feelings in Alice - and in us. Ask any of us who we are, and there's at least two dozen ways we could answer.
Most of us, if we're asked how we see ourselves, start listing off our titles and our accomplishments. "I'm a daughter. I'm a sister. I'm a Tarot reader and a coach. I'm a Floridian." We can go on and on with the labels we attach to ourselves, right down to things that set us apart from the mainstream, put us in categories, or even just put us down.
The thing is, so many of those things aren't permanent. They're changing, and our sense of self changes with them. Jobs are lost, divorces are filed, people move across the country or even across the world. One minute we "have it all together", with the relationships and careers we're told make us capable adults, and the next something changes - as life inevitably does - and the way we talk and feel does too.
But what changed? Are you any less 'you' when you've lost the weight, converted to the new religion, or made the move to another country? Or is there a core 'you', when you peel off all the layers, that remains constant no matter what is going on around you?
I'm not saying some labels aren't important parts of who we are. Sometimes they describe an experience we only share with certain people. Or they're part of an identity that's so important, we want the world to know it.
But you ask five different people what those labels mean, and you'll get ten different answers. For a friend of mine, calling my ADD a "disability" meant I thought I couldn't do anything I set my mind to. I had to explain that for me, it meant I knew what naturally came harder to me, so I knew where I had to focus my energy - and to be patient when it took a little longer to improve.
In the end, it's what a label means to us more than the word itself. When I first went into business for myself, I researched the business style of a professional Tarot reader. Then I looked at coaching, and found that it was a huge element of what I did in my readings: helping clients take the next step towards the person they wanted to be, the life they wanted to live. But was I a life coach? A Tarot reader? How to market myself? I came to realize that these two parts of my work - the spiritual and the practical - were so intertwined they were both a part of what I did. Ultimately, no matter what the term, these were my tools as someone who loved to counsel, guide, and give.
So who ARE you?
Start writing - or talking, or vlogging, or whatever's comfortable for you. Think about what comes to mind when someone asks you that question. And then look for the meaning inside the words. What are the qualities in you that guide that huge part of your life? If you suddenly didn't have the money, the job, the spouse, what feelings from those things would still be left, shaping who you are?
And if you suddenly feel like you'd be less loveable, capable, or "together"...well, take a look at that. Where does that come from? You'd be no less loving, ambitious, or accomplished if you were still looking for a way to share it. And wanting something you feel you don't already have - well, that means you value those qualities. And that's a powerful thing all on its own.
Who are you? I guarantee you know, maybe even more than you think.
In my small but growing collection of Tarot decks, the Osho Zen deck is by far my favorite. I don't know a lot about Zen philosophy, but I love how calm and affirming it is, how visually beautiful, how clearly it reads. I love the re-imagining of the cards that affirm and lend new depth to their meanings.
"Completion" is a lovely keyword for the World, since it emphasizes a lot of what it's about: the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one, the feeling of contentment and fulfillment that comes with achieving what you set out to do. In the metaphor of the Fool's Journey across the Major Arcana, this is the feeling we're supposed to seek. This is the great outcome that we're looking for, the hero's quest we're on.
But what is it, exactly?
A key tool for a lot of counseling and coaching is to consider what happiness looks like:
- "If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be?"
- "What's your ideal vision for this project/relationship/outcome?"
- "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?"
It's an effective tool. It gives us a sense of perspective. So much of the time, our idea of what would satisfy us is either enormous, playing to the idea that it's impossible and out of our reach, or too small in order to keep us safe and comfortable. More than once I've heard of life defined as a quest for a great, nebulous "something" that we're all never going to find. We imagine that our dreams need to be impossible in order to be worthy. We imagine that we'll never be satisfied, that we'll always be looking for more.
Asking what your dreams look like right now, allowing yourself to name them, lets you move forward without self-consciousness. And it's the moving forward that's the important thing.
The truth is that life isn't a quest for one "something". It's a journey towards a lot of little somethings. The beauty of the Fool's Journey is that the Fool can be visiting any of the Major Arcana at any time. When he achieves the World in one realm of his life, there will be others that call his attention. And all of his successes will become parts of his new journey, towards a different piece of his evolution.
Don't paralyze yourself worrying about your path - if it's the "wrong" one, if you're playing it too large or too small, if it's too grandiose or too shallow. Life itself is a journey towards a constantly expanding conclusion. The things that are calling you now, the wishes you have, will become a part of your life and make even grander things possible.
The Fool doesn't take one journey, he takes many. And they're all pieces of a grand puzzle.
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!
The first installment of Tarot Journeys, a jam-packed six week walk through each card of the Major Arcana, is finally here!
(Like that picture? That's my oh-so-basic Photoshop skills. I feel so clever!)
I am hugely excited, because not only does this fill one of my goals for Mirror Moon Tarot, becoming a teacher of Tarot and spiritual development, but it's opening up a truly unique offering to all of you.
So many Tarot courses tell you how to read the cards. Which, well, that's what they're here for - right?
Yes and no. Because Tarot is all about archetypes, larger-than-life story figures that teach us about ourselves and the world. It's all about symbolism, from the little dog chasing the Fool to the two pillars framing the High Priestess's temple. And it's all about micro-lessons in wisdom, spiritual development, and ways to create change in your life.
I wanted to create a course that highlights all that - the things that Tarot can teach us emotionally, spiritually. And I wanted to do it in the way I love best, as an interactive journey - meditations, exercises, quotes, spreads, and lessons about how to tap into the wisdom of the cards.
This is a huge, HUGE undertaking. So huge that I had to divide even the Major Arcana up into parts. This first segment, Of Mentors and Magic Wands
, lets you apprentice to the first six cards of the Major Arcana - the Fool through the Heirophant - as a journey to a deeper understanding of Tarot and of yourself.
Enter the Magician's garden and call the elements. Create your own daily traditions with the Heirophant. Let the Emperor show you that you, and only you, are the authority on yourself. And much, much more.
(or on the 'Courses' tab above) to find out more about exactly what you'll get over the full six weeks.
And if you enjoy this course? The others in the series are well underway!
Still not sure if this is right for you? Take a look at a preview from the opening of the course,
where I show you how archetypes - and even the stories you love - can tell you a lot about who you are and what you value.
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!
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.
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.