$5 one card readings now available!

$5 one card readings now available!

On Saturday, I met with a friend to “help” her with getting her garden together. (And by “help” I mean “yay I got to play with seedlings and dirt for a bit!”) I brought over my Tarot cards, because apparently that’s how I roll these days, and did a one-card reading both for her and for me. And she asked me why I wasn’t offering readings online yet, because so far what I’d read for her has been affirming and helpful, and she knows I could help more people by offering more readings.

Today, I finally got it together to put up some terms and a button to send me $5 to pull a card for you. Take a look here, and I look forward to working with you!

(P.S. I’m doing a lot of juggling these days, and a lot of it is behind-the-scenes work on blog posts. I’m sorry I’m not more visible, but that’s what I have going for me right now I’m afraid. 🙁 Feel free to add me on Twitter or Instagram to check in!)

Warming weather means… PLANTS

Warming weather means… PLANTS

After that serious post, I want to write something with more levity: maybe something like help my brain is in serious gardening mode. The problem is that I’m no gardener! I used to have some success with plants, but lately it’s black thumb for everything I touch. But I won’t give up! Nor will an excellent grandfatherly fellow volunteer, who likes to enable my desire for green things. This January he enabled it by giving me this beauty for my birthday.

A baby Christmas cactus with a bow stuck in the dirt next to it.

Last year he gave me cuttings, but taking a vacation or two without someone to water them was a bad idea. I won’t give up this year, though. I have plenty of people to help me figure out what in the world I’m doing, and every time I tell someone what I want to do in a backyard garden, they nod sagely as if I’m making sense. Between the grandfatherly volunteer, a gardening friend, and a friend who’s a soil expert, and a friend who grew up learning about landscaping, I figure I have a good team of people to ask for help.

So a couple of weeks ago, my landlord floated the idea of a vegetable garden by me, and ever since I’ve been daydreaming about what to do and how to do it. I do think that my landlords are too overwhelmed to do anything with a vegetable garden, though, and I’d have to put some kind of fence around it so that their chocolate lab doesn’t get excited and tear up whatever I may plant. Neither of my housemates seem to have any interest or expertise in growing things, so it seems like it falls to me, the least outdoorsy of all of us, to figure out what kind of gardening I want in our backyard.

And I’m so on this. (Well, except for the part where I haven’t yet gone to the store to find prices for wood planks to make a raised bed and chicken wire to keep around the bed and talked to the landlord about what she thinks, and have I mentioned that I’m the least outdoorsy and also most disabled of everyone in this house?)

At least I have a team of people who like to talk about gardening with me!

When I last went to the garden store a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t leave without a plant. I bought a philodendron and managed to make it unhappy by forgetting to water it for a few days. Yesterday I finally got around to repotting it. Here it is in its nice new pot soaking some water up:

A newly potted philodendron plant soaking up water

Here it is today in its home in the window:

The potted philodendron in a window

It’s already perking up extremely well! Hopefully this means I did it all right and can move on to plotting a vegetable and herb garden in the backyard. Wish me luck!

Having it all figured out

Having it all figured out

You know, a lot of blogs tell you they have the answers to everything, and I’ve always been staunchly against having the answers. I have what works for me, I have ideas and opinions, but answers? If I had the answers, where would I need to go next in my spiritual path? The search for truth and mystery is a journey that never ends. So while I’m here, I’ll share my journey and the insight I have gained from it, but I will never have everything figured out—and that’s okay.

A lot of blogs put me off because the authors make it seem like they have everything figured out and that they’re going to help you, too, learn How To Life, and yeah, nope. I’ve internalised the idea that I can’t post something unless I have something big to say, something well thought out, something that will enlighten readers. That’s a lot of pressure! Why do I let it get to me?

I vented recently to a friend that one time, the internet was all about what we could create with it. We teenagers made web sites to our favorite musicians, movies, and TV shows, worked pretty graphics, learned every bit of HTML and CSS we could to make web sites that shone our love for the creations. Then Google Adsense came out, and suddenly people were growing up and learning the importance of having money for sustenance, and adults were figuring out that the Internet could be “monetized” and suddenly blogs and web sites weren’t about talking about the things that made us happy and excited, they were working on gaining audiences so they could make money. So of course they’d put themselves in a position of authority—who would buy their books or e-courses or sponsor their speaking fees if they weren’t an authority?

Then there were blogs about how you, too, could make a lot of money by blogging, and then people clamored to write their own blogs to make money, and then suddenly there were all these people on the Internet blogging with the goal of making money instead of talking about the things they’re interested in. Now it seems like ALL blogs out there position themselves as an authority on something, relying on the capitalist structure where if your authority isn’t behind your product, you aren’t doing it right. And we the people writing the content ARE the product.

That’s a structure that just doesn’t work for me. I’m a person first, and can’t turn myself into a sellable product without repressing what makes me me. (Though I’m more than happy to charge for services rendered—want a Tarot reading? Maybe you’d like some advice on web sites? I’d be happy to charge for those things, but I won’t tell you I’m THE authority, just what I’ve learned on the Internet over the last fifteen years.) I won’t write about how to do this thing or that thing and expect you to believe me as the last word. I will write about what I’ve learned while figuring myself out, and how I came to the conclusions I’ve come to, and ask questions to get to more answers.

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

It’s the first day of April, and I’m kicking it off by writing essays that’ll turn into blog posts…

Ready. Just gotta start writing. #campnano

A photo posted by SJ Witchling (@sjwitchling) on

I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo this month with the goal of writing a lot of blog posts, finally finishing that law school application, and getting as much writing done as possible. I’ve kicked it off with a draft of a mini-essay that I’ll finish up and post over the weekend, and now that that’s out of the way, I might go for a walk, take some pictures, see the world outside, (rest my wrists). April is starting off bright and green, which is somewhat rare in my part of the world, and I should go enjoy it while I can.

Talk to you all soon!

Resting is hard, have some links

Resting is hard, have some links

I’ve been staring at this screen for at least an hour now, trying to decide how to start and what to say.

The truth is, I’m in pain. I’ve been caught by another days-long headache—one that doesn’t respond to even my prescription painkillers, seems like. It’s been off and on for about a week and a half now, so I’ve been able to do some things on the off days. Since yesterday morning the headache has been decidedly On, and I’m spending most of my energy taking care of myself and not giving depression an opening to stir up bad feelings.

It’s agonising to not be able to do the things I want to do because my body won’t cooperate. I have ideas and plans and dreams to implement! Words to write, but I can’t seem to reach them behind the fog of pain. I’m just watching time pass me by and getting more anxious about the things that need to be done that I can’t get doing.

An aloe plant perched on a windowsill looking out to a street.

But you know what? This is my experience. I fight the mindset that experiences are less valid when not accompanied by productivity. I fight that I am defined by what I am able to do. Why do I say that to other people, and then let myself beat myself up when I have days that I can’t breathe or can’t think for pain? Why do I hold myself to a different standard?

Those are questions to let myself sit with for a while. For you, some links to articles that are helping me pass the time during this headache.

On Barrenness and Lying Fallow: Esme Wang talks about damaging cultural beliefs about productivity and doing too much and navigating it and chronic illness. My chronic illnesses are different from hers, but they still define my day to day life—and I still have trouble recognising and accepting that.

To even categorize these days is a kind of self-punishment, because I can’t control how they happen. There is no magic formula for having a “good day” versus a “bad day.” I have a chronic illness. It doesn’t answer to me; I answer to it.

Slow Cooking Your Dreams: I have an idea I’m working on with a friend, and I told myself at the very beginning that it’s okay if it takes six months—or longer—just for us to decide on a domain name and what kind of content we want and who we’ll have to contribute. But let my Tarot dreams unfold in their own time? Never. Until I read this post. If I’m disrupting capitalism, I need to disrupt this myth within myself that I have to be productive to be getting somewhere.

We’ve been sold on the idea that what we desire must happen immediately, and that the longer it takes to arrive, the more of a reason we have to feel bad.

This is the premise we have collectively hooked into: things taking long is a perfectly legitimate reason to feel bad about our lives.

5 Productivity Hacks You Need Now: Not that we need more productivity hacks. This link was chosen for this acknowledgement that’s said so rarely:

This obsession with productivity defeats the purpose of a productivity hack. The purpose of a productivity “hack” is not to produce more but rather, to get better at what you’re producing so you actually have time to have coffee with a friend or read a comic.

Enjoy the links, help distract me by talking to me on Twitter, and talk to you again soon!

Reflecting on the Four of Swords

Reflecting on the Four of Swords

I’ve been meaning to write an entry for four days now. I spent a whirlwind weekend at Paganicon, exploring what it means to be pagan in a world that needs so much more from us in terms of social justice, and how do I personally put together practices that keep me grounded in my beliefs? I have a few starts to answers to that second question, and I’ve been feeling really close to my Tarot cards the last few days because of the conference.

Which is awesome.

I grabbed my Fey Tarot and brought it with me a few places over the weekend, including a Tarot meetup for queer people on Monday night. I got to see my decks through others’ eyes, and check out some great and new-to-me decks that others have. And while I was sitting there, leafing through my cards, this Four of Swords snagged my attention.

An image of the Four of Swords, a fairy putting on war paint for battle, from the Fey Tarot deck

I’ve seen it before in readings, and it is such a strong card to me: gearing up for battle, putting on the war paint—I have a joke with a friend that my makeup is Pigments of Protection, my armor against the outside world. So I see myself putting on makeup in this card, and getting ready to do battle with the day.

Last night, as I was drawing a card to write about in my paper journal, I saw this Four of Swords at the bottom of the deck, thought about it a minute, then shuffled. Shuffled four times, cut the deck, and flipped over the top card: Four of Swords. Well done, Tarot. Well done.

I see in this card that I have all the tools I need to protect myself as I venture into the world: I have my makeup, I have my understanding of how to pay attention to my needs. I have some light shielding in place so that I don’t “read” too much from others. (I have a lot of work to do to feel confidence in my shielding from others’ energy, though.) I’ve figured out reasons for why some “normal” interactions bother me and what I can do about it. I really am ready to take on the next stage of my life.

I can see where protections might go too far, though, and if I ever see this Four of Swords reversed, I’d have to examine myself to see if I’ve been shielding myself from too much. Am I being vulnerable to the people who matter to me, or have I closed myself off entirely from everyone? Am I pushing friends and family away instead of letting them know what I need? That happens often enough that I need a good nudge to remind me that people care about me, and it’s okay to let down my guard.

For now, though, I’m reassured by the presence of the Four of Swords reminding me that I got this. I can go after my hopes and dreams, because I’ve worked hard to earn the skills I need. It’s a beautiful feeling.

Beating anxiety with fairy tales

Beating anxiety with fairy tales

On the one hand, I can believe it’s been over a month since I last posted. On the other, I never wanted to get this bad at posting. Anxiety has taken over my posting capability for the last month; instead of pushing through it, or acknowledging it so that I can get past it, I’ve hid from the online Tarot community and my cards.

There are some things I’m brave about, but facing myself is not one of them.

I miss it, though. I did a Tarot reading yesterday, and it amazed even me at the cards that came up. Tarot proves itself over and over to me, that it taps into something greater than we are. I miss that, and I’m still working on incorporating it into my life.

There will always be brain demons telling me I’m not strong enough, or good enough, or that I haven’t done enough other work to write blog posts, or that I’m a failure so I shouldn’t try. So here’s to beating those brain demons.

I recently opened a new-to-me deck of the Fairy Tale Tarot, and I’m thrilled with it, so I took pictures.

Pack of cards on the left and companion Fairy Tale Tarot book on the right

The Fairy Tale Tarot has 78 different fairy tales represented on each card. I looked to make sure that fairy tales from around the world are represented, and while it is heavily biased toward European fairy tales, there are a few sprinkled throughout from other cultures.

But let me take a minute to show you my beat-up childhood copy of Andrew Lang’s The Red Fairy Book.

A well-worn copy of The Red Fairy Book

Yes, folks, this book was new to me when I got it, and I have paged through it time and time again. It’s even got my childhood bookmark in it still. I almost successfully bought the rest of the books in the series, but my focus petered out as the stories seemed to follow the same patterns. This one was always the one I loved best.

So you might recognize that when I say I’m into fairy tales, I’m not kidding!

I’m sure you’ll be surprised to learn that I’m absolutely delighted with this deck. From the back of the cards, the evoking the idea of unlocking the door to a world of enchantment…

The Fairy Tale Tarot deck fanned out with the back facing with its antique key design.

… to the magnificent, detailed, and complex representations of each fairy tale …

Four sample cards from the Fairy Tale Tarot

… I know I’m going to get along well with this deck. I mean, just check out those angry trees doing their own Fae thing. And I have to hand it to the artist, Lisa Hunt, she also evoked some modern-day fairy tales in the cards. For example, in the top left of the last photo, does that not look like Lyra from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials? And wasn’t that trilogy a modern fairy tale in some ways? Other cards were reminiscent of Narnia, and I’m sure if you were a bigger Harry Potter fan than I, you’d see some of that too. Fairy tales are told over and over, and they change in their retellings: there’s something powerful about that, too, and these cards force me to consider the retellings as part of a great cultural mythos, as well.

The accompanying book also retells the stories in each card:

A sample page from the Fairy Tale Tarot of the Princess of Cups, telling the story of the Little Mermaid

Lisa Hunt combines the different versions of “The Little Mermaid” that I’m familiar with, and recognizes the commonality between all the versions is a sensitive, romantic young woman, a fitting Princess of Cups.

Check out the Nine of Cups:

A sample page from the Fairy Tale Tarot for the Nine of Cups

Cups, swirling imagery, more mermaids for the watery element—well done.

If you’re a fairy tale geek, too, you should check out this deck. I can’t get over the details in each card. They’re filled with moving stories, and they’re doing a great job of reminding me that it’s okay to take up the cards and try again.

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