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$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!)

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.

When each step is a hurdle

When each step is a hurdle

I can tell winter is looming from my desire to never empty my pot of tea. I have candles burning in the room I’m working in almost daily, and my cat requires serious pushing to get her to stop snuggling up against my wrists. It’s been grey out. Getting myself out of bed to face another day has been a challenge I’m not sure I’ve overcome. I have so many things I want to be on top of, but really all I’ve been able to wrap my brain around is my knitting.

Happily, it’s been so long since I last was able to knit regularly that this is a wonderful source of delight. But it doesn’t keep me on track with my few real-world commitments. I spent seven hours last week trying to figure out the design for this site, and then got frustrated, or scared, or some feeling that’s stopping me from setting it all up again and trying again. I need to try again, because I have some better ideas of how to go about coding the things, but it’s so hard to just start. I’m afraid I’m putting something else out. I have a lot of emails I need to catch up on, because I have had such a hard time working on that lately. I have some kitchen reorganization that would be helpful to have. And I have the demons in my head telling me that what I’m doing right now is not good enough, and will never be good enough, and that’s not fair to me, either.

So I’m taking baby steps to getting back in the game. I should have gotten up and grabbed some paper to write down the List of things I should take care of, but I started a list in my head. Today so far I’ve figured out how to get to the Overcoming Racism conference I’m going to on Friday and Saturday. I’ve done some reading and responding for a workshop I’m attending next week. I’ve started boiling some tins to sanitize them. I’ll use the tins once they’re dry to store tea and to make some lotions (though those things don’t have to happen today, although getting started would be great). I’ve snuggled my cat and written a list of the people I need to email to follow up with.

Baby steps. I can do this. You can do this. We can do this.

That said, how about a draw from the Fey Tarot about what to focus on right now?

Three cards from the Fey Tarot arranged in a triangle
4 Pentacles, 6 Chalices, I – The Magician

It seems like you’re juggling everything right now, but with a focused will you won’t lose your balance. Good luck.

Using the cards in the right state of mind

Using the cards in the right state of mind

One thing I want to combat with Witchling in Flight and my writing is the tone of articles on the Internet about how you should do this or that, but don’t give you the author’s experience with it. So much of what I read these days is about how this person did something, and you can do it too, or BuzzFeed lists of “how to” that have no personal voice. I grew up with blogs and LiveJournal and teenagers on the outside trying to find a place to fit in on the Internet because we couldn’t find our place outside of it, and that’s the ideal I hold in my head for what we all could be when we share our stories here. I want to talk about things from my experience, not from scientific trials and research conducted by big companies. I want to tell you what I have found to be true to my soul, and I want to hear your stories too.

So I can’t lie to you about why I’m not able to pull any cards today.

I keep reading all these articles about how to care for your friend with depression, or how it really feels, or “there are more people with depression than we think, we should be talking about this!”, and it never makes me feel like I’m being spoken to as a person. Depression is one of my chronic illnesses, and it’s been flaring this week. I don’t understand why, and I do all of the things I have learned over the years to take care of myself, and sometimes it’s just not enough. The flood of voices in my head eager to tell me I’m worthless, have no value, that no one wants me around sometimes gets too loud and crashes all of my barriers.

Yesterday was one of those days.

I am better today, I think, because I am at the point of being able to recognize that those feelings have nothing to do with me or how my community sees me. But those feelings and thoughts still take over, and it takes all the energy I have just to be awake and survive until I can fall asleep again and hold out hope that in the morning I’ll be stronger. That sleep will reinforce the barriers between the real me and the voices telling me I don’t belong to this world.

Now it’s morning, and they’re reinforced, but still not blocking all of the evil thoughts in my head.

Part of the reason I have had such a hard time staying connected to Tarot when I first got interested in it is because I was in such a deep depression at the time, and I refuse to read the cards when I know my judgment is clouded by my mental illness. It’s now years later and I spend more days happy with myself than not, but I still believe that I shouldn’t take out the cards to read for others when I’m feeling this low and this stuck behind a dark cloud. So this week, I’m going to focus on other things, on trying to distract myself to a better place. It might show up as some extra blog posts about other journeys of self discovery. It might just become knitting and watching Star Trek: The Next Generation for many hours this week. (I’m so happy to be knitting!) I might just set up a few blanket forts in the living room. It’s all okay. I’ll get through this, and come out on the other side again, and then I’ll pick up the cards and be delighted to find my way back.

Looking Forward 26 October 2015

Looking Forward 26 October 2015

Things I am working on:

  • Setting up a web development environment on my computer
  • Spending hours reading state laws and tax considerations
  • Playing with new accounting software to understand how things work

Okay, when I get obsessive, I get obsessive. But I always have to take a minute to step back and re-evaluate what I’m avoiding when I’m in moods like this. Am I putting something off? Did I tell someone I would do something and then completely forget about it? If I completely forgot about it, is it because it makes me anxious? Am I avoiding things?

Anxiety is a mental illness that makes my brain run down pathways that keep me from doing the things I need to be doing. So while I am glad I’ve done the things above, and there is definitely more that needs doing with the web development part, I knew today I had to stop for a minute and reset my brain. Running in circles does not make things easier, SJ.

What did I find when I forced my brain away from the drug of the new shiny projects? I still hadn’t sent an email to my care team that I’d meant to on Friday. I was really behind on some grassroots outreach I said I’d do. And I had completely forgotten about a project my dad sent me. These are the reasons learning how to manage my mental illnesses is so important. My brain likes to direct me to thoughts that keep me stuck in bad habits. So every few days I need to stop. Reset. And think about something else in my life and see what comes of that.

Do you get into habits too? Where you just keep going down that rabbit hole and don’t know how to pull yourself out? It’s hard not to, isn’t it? Let’s see what the Tarot says for the week, maybe through the lens of “reset your mind, back to basics”.

Three Halloween Tarot cards scattered face up over the face-down cards: Nine of Pumpkins, King of Bats, and Knight of Ghosts

Nine of Pumpkins

As the first card, the Nine of Pumpkins wants my focus: this lady of leisure knows how to enjoy the sensual parts of life. The message to me is that it’s time to take a break and remember the feel of earth beneath my feet, cooking delicious food, and re-orienting myself into the sensual. Get out of my head for a bit. My head can get over-analytical and run in loops. My kitchen could use a cleaning and I could use some baked goods, so focus on that a little more.

King of Bats

The King of Bats here emphasizes mastery over business and legal matters. I’ve done enough research in the last week while waiting for things to process. I have these matters handled, like the King of Bats. He supports the Nine of Pumpkins in the message that this time, I can relax and take care of myself for a bit instead.

Knight of Ghosts

I’ve seen the Knight of Cups a few times recently. In this spread, he’s not telling me to listen to the undercurrents of a situation and navigate the waters smoothly, he’s probably focusing more on the fact that I’ve been more introverted and introspective than usual lately. I’ve stopped talking to people with my obsession lately. That’s not how to keep my community going. I miss them, and I don’t know how to express that properly. So it’s time to bake some bread (Nine of Pumpkins!) and bring it over to a friend’s and talk about what’s going on with me.

I’ve been forgetting to do my one card draw the last few days (… or week) and these cards also want to remind me that I learn so much about myself and work on different perspectives when I take my cards out every day. So I had better make sure I do take out my cards tomorrow and work with them again!

Looking Forward 19 October 2015

Looking Forward 19 October 2015

New week, new Looking Forward post. How are you doing? I’ve been spending a lot of time getting comfortable with the idea of opening a Tarot business, which for me means researching how to register in my state and whether I need to know anything about taxes. It’s exciting, so long as I don’t remember how much I doubt myself. Having anxiety is ridiculous.

But I’m absolutely looking forward to reading for others. While I’m waiting for things to clear through, though, I’ll be doing a lot of tweaking of this web site, tweaking of my best practices and habits, and reading and reflecting. Which I’m sure I’ll share at some point, but first it’s time for a Looking Forward reading for the week!

What should we look forward to this week?

Queen of Pumpkins, Knight of Pumpkins, and Four of Imps

Three Tarot cards from the Halloween Tarot deck: Queen of Pumpkins, Knight of Pumpkins, and Four of Imps

I see you there, Four of Imps. Telling me to have some fun. Telling me to go to a party, stop fretting about money so much, to let the forces do the work I’ve put into motion. It’s just so hard for me to let go of the anxiety and need to have everything under my control.

The Knight of Pumpkins bears the message of abundance, if I care to stop with the freaking out for a moment. That thing you’re waiting for right now? It’ll happen. Just give it time to get there.

And the Queen of Pumpkins wants to remind us that there is strength in making sure your foundations are solid. You can’t weather anything if you don’t have strong roots to hold you solidly to yourself. Is this metaphor going anywhere? I think not. In any case, an abundant garden is one with well-fertilized soil, and that’s a good thing to remember to take care of.

I realize I did this backwards, but it seemed like the thing I needed to hear most was the Four of Imps’s “Hey! Look at something else for a while. The more you concentrate on something, the less able the magic is to make it happen for you.” Which is a lesson I probably should know by now, with all the reading about magic I’ve been doing. So, as usual, I’ll be tending to my roots. I think I’ll start with enjoying some candle light. Have a wonderful week!

Looking Forward 13 October 2015

Looking Forward 13 October 2015

I really did want to get this back to Mondays, but I was hit with so much exhaustion yesterday that I just couldn’t handle it. Next week. We’ll see how I do. 😉 I spent a couple of hours today researching some drama in the online Pagan blogging community, which made me pretty sad. It scares me how easily people can hurt other people, and I hope to be as calm of a presence as I can be.

Anyway, over the weekend I did a tiny bit of community organizing in the form of creating a Dreamwidth community for me and others to record our daily Tarot card draws and work together to study the cards: [community profile] tarotstudies. Partly inspired by The Alternative Tarot Course, in which Beth practically orders you to draw cards every day, and partly in a community spirit of learning from others, I’m hoping it becomes a good community of Tarot reflection, contemplation, and discussion. If you, too, are in love with Dreamwidth’s site structure and mission, and are interested in the community, please do join!

Now that that’s out of the way, how about three cards to keep us company this week?

Ten of Pumpkins

The Ten of Pumpkins card from the Halloween Tarot

The Ten of Pumpkins shows us all we have at hand, if we only could take off our blindfolds and look around us. This card suggests that we have plenty of resources at our disposal, but we need to open our minds to what those resources could look like. Tens usually are the culmination of something, and right now the culmination seems to be of how much we’ve gained.

Six of Bats

The Six of Bats card from the Halloween Tarot

The Six of Bats is a bit confused, maybe even feeling a bit attacked by the knowledge coming from all sides. Maybe we’re listening to too many things, or maybe we need to find a focal point, because if we let ourselves get overwhelmed by things that don’t matter, we’ll have a pretty hard time with staying on track.

Five of Bats

The Five of Bats card from the Halloween Tarot

Meanwhile, the Five of Bats wants to caution us against holding important things too close to our chests. Again, the more we focus this week on small things, the more blind we are to the riches about us. Try and see things from someone else’s perspective: maybe there’s something we can learn from them, or maybe they’re trying to tell us something important about ourselves.

What’s next for me?

What’s next for me?

I’ve spent a lot of the day today asking myself, “What’s next?” I know what’s next in the health department, scheduling an appointment I’m extremely anxious about. (I’ll do it tomorrow with the help of a therapist.) For my grassroots team, what’s next is a long break, at least a month. (All winter if I get my way.) Now that I’ve spent all day yesterday in bed to recover from an extreme weekend, what do I do with the energy I have?

Sure, I have some cleaning that needs to be done, but what’s going to get me out of bed in the mornings? Like I’ve said, I’ve been asking myself this question all day, and it didn’t occur to me until just now to pull a Tarot card and see what it thinks.

So, without further ado…

XIII Death

An image of the Death card from the Halloween Tarot deck

This Death sure does love a party: a symbol of Halloween itself, a time to let things go for a bit while we make merry. Death is usually a card of big changes, and while I see some of that in this card, I also see setting aside some time to enjoy my achievements. To lie fallow for a few months, sip some tea, have some friends over to break bread, but to not push so hard that I break again.

Maybe part of that is what I want it to be for me, but it is interesting that Death showed up on the day that I’m really feeling the change of seasons and quietly freaking out that winter is on its way again. Maybe, with the veil between the worlds thinning, it’s a good time for me to look into some ancestor work. Maybe it’s time to reach out to spirits and the Otherworld. There are definitely a lot of things I could do with the Death card, but my restless spirit really needs to hear the “slow down and enjoy the fruits of your labor” part of it right now. Despite the pressures in our society to rush rush rush go go go and get things done NOW, I don’t do that well, and I hope to find a balance between (somehow) making enough money to live and not having to rush around.

Thanks, Halloween. Guess I’ll go and try to figure out how to make that work in my life!

Looking Forward 5 October 2015

Looking Forward 5 October 2015

This weekend was something. I alluded last week to working on a final comment collection push for my environmental activism, and on Friday we got the news that our work over the last five (!!!) years has paid off. Cue excitement and frenzy, plus a meeting with the utilities company—wherein they actually let me in the building. (A story we’ve been passing around for a year has something to do with their security people kicking me out…) We’d been planning an end-of-comment-period celebratory party tonight, but now we’re going to be celebrating even more.

This, and my weekend part-time job, and apple picking yesterday, and managing my depression and migraines (major headache last night, and major depression Friday night), and I’m pretty out of it. How are you doing? I’m really feeling like a person with disabilities today. All my spoons are used up, and I need to borrow from tomorrow’s for tonight’s event. It’s pretty intense. It’s re-shaping the way I look at life, having to think about managing my reserves this way. I don’t look sick. I look like a young, vibrant, joyful young woman a lot of the time, and that’s how I’ve been brought up to see myself. It really clashes with how I feel lately. Sometimes I wonder how much I could do if I didn’t deal with illnesses. I think I’d be a superhero, considering all I do while dealing with an unhappy body!

So I’m learning patience with myself and my body and re-shaping my narrative of myself.

How about some Tarot for this coming week, huh? I’d like a quiet week where the most I have to deal with is a cat on my lap most of the day. How about you?

Queen of Pentacles, 5 of Pentacles, and 9 of Pentacles

Three Fey Tarot cards laid out in a triangle on a table: Queen of Pentacles, 5 of Pentacles, 9 of Pentacles

It’s really autumn now that it’s October, so it’s a good time to revisit hearth and home, the grounding element of Earth that the Pentacles rule. This suit is the suit of what I said before: quiet time to snuggle a cat, eat apples picked yourself from the tree, and recharge with the energy the Earth can provide. The pentacle in 5 of Pentacles resembles a fire, even, to remind us to get cosy, maybe build a fire, drink some tea, and not worry too much about what’s going on outside, just take care of your own energy.

The 9 of Pentacles is a bit tricky, though. She seems ready to pass on a message: if you’re not going to slow down and let some grounding energy into your life, something you don’t like will happen. Something unbalanced. Got it, Lady 9. This week, I’ll make applesauce and deal with the bare minimum to live.

What about you? What makes you feel secure and comfortable when autumn arrives?