I know we are over two weeks away, but I simply cannot be more ready for fall this year.
Summer is an incredibly busy time for me. Because I live in Florida, weekends are filled with sunshine, friends, and cookouts. We enjoy long lazy days on the river and warm sultry nights with hours of cocktails and conversation.
Fall beckons with its promise of cooler temperatures, encroaching darkness, sweater weather, and nostalgia. Fall reminds me of the October day years ago when my husband and I met and fell in love. It also brings back the memories of the local fair, raking leaves with my dad, bonfires, oysters, and pumpkin spice everything.
I also look forward to the approach of Halloween. Halloween (Samhain) makes no apologies for its Pagan history, and it is the only Pagan holiday that has remained true to its roots. Easter (Ostara) and Christmas (Yule) were long ago taken over by Christianity and rebranded in a way that appealed to their followers.
When the weather is crisp and the leaves begin to change color, I love to sit outside below a tree and reflect on the year. Each spring and summer leaves me changed, and always stronger.
In honor of the approach of fall, I invite you to try out the following four routines and rituals to prepare yourself for this time of retreat and reflection. This begins with the celebration of Mabon on September 22nd.
Mabon is a Wiccan holiday that marks the middle of the harvest. It is a time of equal day and equal night. Reminiscent of Thanksgiving, it is time to reap what you have sown, giving thanks for the harvest and the bounty the Earth provides. Since many of us do not grow our own food, it is also a good time to finish up old projects and plans and “plant the seeds” for new endeavors or changes in our lifestyle.
Mabon is traditionally celebrated by Wiccans by incorporating the symbols and colors of this harvest holiday into their day. Symbols of Mabon include cornucopias, ivy, pumpkins, pinecones, gourds, apples, dried seeds, and pomegranates. Colors associated with this holiday include orange, brown, gold, maroon, and red. Many of us already incorporate aspects of Mabon into our lives. If you have been shopping lately, you have no doubt seen an influx of decorations that incorporate the symbols and colors of this holiday. Even people with no pagan aspirations have symbols of Mabon throughout their homes and adorning their mantles this time of year.
If you would like to celebrate Mabon this year, which falls on Friday, September 22nd, consider the following five activities to help you benefit from this time of year.
1) Host a Fall Dinner
Gather your family and friends and prepare a meal using foods symbolic of the holiday, such as apples, pomegranates, potatoes, onions, carrots, and squash.
2) Prepare an Altar
Modern pagans or solitary practitioners build an altar complete with symbols and colors of the holiday. Incorporate items like pinecones, gourds, leaves, seeds, and candles that are orange or yellow. Traditionally, an orange or yellow candle is lit on the altar and a prayer may be offered to the Goddess Mother or Green Man.
Use this time to go for a long walk in nature and do some reflection. Think about the past year and the things that have happened that you would like to release. Make plans for the coming months for new projects and plans. Think about what you may wish to incorporate into your lifestyle and make a note of your thoughts in a journal. You may also wish to craft a vision board (though this would be a good activity to do on October 5th, the next full moon).
4) Do Arts and Crafts for your Home
Gather items associated with Mabon, ones that include harvest symbols such as corn, corn silk, pumpkins, gourds, leaves, wreaths, or acorns. Craft items for your home that incorporate these symbols to enjoy in your home over the fall season. If you aren’t crafty, purchase these items at a craft store like Michael’s and decorate your home in honor of the season.
Let me know what special things you do in honor of Mabon below. Happy fall, ya’ll!
I realize the title of this blog sounds as though I’ve decided to write about sex rather than tarot. I haven’t (yet). It was the only way I could think to summarize what happens when a particular suit dominates all your tarot readings.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the tarot are the four suits of the minor arcana – Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles – and how they work together to fully represent the wide range of experiences we encounter in our day-to-day lives. Unlike the major arcana, which represent the big, spiritual lessons unfolding around us, the minor arcana speak to the more mundane things contained within the human experience. This includes things like worrying over finances, juggling daily responsibilities, or going out with friends.
As a brief summary, the four suits of the tarot represent the following:
Swords – Air – Thoughts and Mental Activity
Wands – Fire – Creativity and Career
Cups – Water – Feelings and Emotions
Pentacles – Earth – Money and the Physical World
I have said that there is no greater teacher of tarot than life and time itself, and I stand by that. If you are studying tarot, a year of working with the cards daily and reflecting on how they play out in your life will be the best teacher there is. No book can teach you what life can.
A while ago I wrote about how the suit of Swords was affecting me personally. During this time I was grappling with the mental illness of a loved one. My mind raced constantly with worries about the future and pervasive guilt that I could not lift her out of darkness. As an empath (someone who easily feels the emotions of others), and someone who has grappled with her own depression, I found myself sliding into sadness with her. The swords were showing up consistently in my daily readings, and sleep did not come easily. Luckily, with time and psychiatric care, things begun to shift, and I am happy to report that the intense stress of the past few months has ended.
Interestingly, as the swords retreated back into the pile of cards, the cups emerged and began to take over my daily readings. This past month has been all about emotions and feelings in a way I have not experienced in years. Nearly all of my readings have prominently featured the cups. Experiencing them in this way has led me to my own increased understanding of how these energies play out in our lives.
My experience with the cups has been so intense that I’ve decided to examine each of them, card by card, and share my reflections on what they have meant to me personally. These descriptions below build on what I have learned from studying the tarot, reading for others, and journaling for myself. I will expand this post by delving into the other suits in time, as they unfold in my life. I will cover the court cards separately.
As you review these cards, you may find the symbolism in the Rider Waite is so overt that you can predict what each card is about before you even read the description. This is why I believe the Rider Waite to be the perfect deck for a beginning reader versus a more abstract, artistic tarot deck. If you want to read more about learning to read tarot for yourself, check out this article.
Ace of Cups: Each ace is a gift from the universe and a positive omen for a new beginning. The Ace of Cups represents a new wave of emotion crashing into your life. A new love may present itself to you. This isn’t necessarily a sexual love – it could be a pleasant exchange with friend. The Ace of Cups can also appear when you have an opportunity to release emotional burdens. This card can also represent an outpouring of creativity powered by feelings of love and deep emotion. It can represent the birth of a child (likely a girl, versus a boy as suggested by the Ace of Wands).
Two of Cups: The Two of Cups bodes well in relationship readings when someone wants to know if there is potential with a new love interest. This is the card of star-crossed lovers. When this card appears you know you have met someone very significant in your life. As a lover, it could be your soulmate. However, it can also be a very close friend or even a business partner. It can also represent falling in love with a new hobby or personal interest.
Three of Cups: This card represents good times with friends. This is the card of abundance and celebration. It suggests a time in your life when you will go out, be social, and maybe have a few drinks. Modern interpretation could also see this as Internet dating or even a threesome (gasp!). In love readings it suggests that a person is more focused on having fun and being casual rather than something serious, and it can also be an indicator that someone may need to slow down on the drinking if their social life has been a little too full.
Four of Cups: The Four of Cups suggests boredom or dissatisfaction within a relationship. Oftentimes there is nothing wrong with the union, but it feels stale. This could also present itself as depression or melancholy. This card encourages you to examine yourself and is a reminder to reflect on all the things that are right and well in a relationship rather than focusing on the negative. The figure in the card is being a bit greedy and ungrateful. (Jerk!)
Five of Cups: The Five of Cups is about grief and loss. This is known as the card of “crying over spilled milk.” This card presents itself when we long for a past love or have our heart broken. It is a bad omen for an existing relationship as it suggests that the current energies within the relationship may be leading toward trouble or betrayal.
Six of Cups: The Six of Cups is about nostalgia. With this card, we look back on a time when we were happy and fulfilled. It may be a time when we were younger, as in childhood. It could also be that we are longing for an earlier period in our relationship when there was still romance and intrigue. This card can also tell you that you need to indulge your inner child and have a little fun.
Seven of Cups: The Seven of Cups appears when our fantasies are running wild. We may have several different paths (or people) to choose from. This card creates a certain degree of paralysis in your life because it is hard to know where to go or what to choose. It can also be that someone has high hopes for a relationship, but they are fooling themselves. I experienced this card at the beginning of 2017 when I wrote about intention deficit disorder.
Eight of Cups: This card is about hard choices. It’s about examining our current relationship and/or situation and evaluating whether it still meets our needs. Oftentimes this card shows up if someone is contemplating a breakup or divorce, or leaving a job. It is about making difficult decisions and choosing a new, and often more difficult, path in order to seek one’s own truth. This is a difficult card to work through in your life.
Nine of Cups: The Nine of Cups is one of the best cards you can receive in a reading. This is known as the “wish card” and it represents deep emotional fulfillment. In a relationship reading it means you are very satisfied. It also can suggest that you are in a time of life where you are able to manifest the things you want quite easily.
Ten of Cups: The Ten of Cups celebrates the time and energy we invest into our relationships and families. This card celebrates the joy of family life. This is the high point of family life, when things are happy and simple.
We must celebrate the emotional depth that the cups add to life, and not just on Valentine’s Day. All the warm feelings, the sweetness of love, the emotional vulnerability, and even the heartbreak… Without love life wouldn’t be quite so sweet.
“To love is nothing. To be loved is something. But to love and be loved, that’s everything.” – T. Tolis
Life has been challenging lately, hence why I haven’t been writing much.
The past few weeks have been filled with the energy of the suit of swords. Swords symbolize our minds, thoughts, and problems we experience. I don’t like receiving a lot of swords in a reading. As a Gemini, I have enough restless mental activity in my life, and I certainly don’t need more problems. However, we don’t get to control what happens in life. I learned that lesson with my personal experience with the Tower card last year.
My tarot readings over the last month have been dominated by the suit of swords and some of the most dreadful cards in the suit, no less. Here were the two most common ones.
Nine of Swords, Wild Unknown Tarot
Three of Swords, Wild Unknown Tarot
I am not ashamed to admit that several people in my family, myself included, struggle with mental health issues. I am lucky that my bouts with depression are seasonal in nature and are easily alleviated with medication. Others are not so lucky.
When you watch someone you care about struggle with severe depression and suicidal thoughts, it hurts. When someone you love hurts themselves, it is unbearable. When you are an empath and easily feel what others are going through, it is even more difficult.
There is such a stigma about mental illness in this society. Some people see mental illness a flaw in a person’s character, or as something that people exaggerate to get attention from others. This is not helpful. If they actually spent some time around someone who was experiencing severe depression, they would see that it is debilitating condition, and that no one would choose to act this way.
It also makes me incredibly upset that some people insist that people with depression “just need to get over it.” When someone has a physical impairment, they generally are shown sympathy and support by the community at large. We don’t tell a person in a wheelchair to just get up and walk. Everyone has an opinion on how to best heal someone with depression. Throughout the month I had many individuals offer all sorts of advice as to how to best help my loved one, including, but not limited to:
“Are you sure she isn’t doing this for attention?”
“You should take her phone away.”
“You should make her exercise.”
“Is she eating too much sugar?”
I know that people mean well and that these comments are meant to be helpful, but when you are already doing all you can (working with a team of trained professionals and educating yourself constantly on how to best help someone going through this), and struggling emotionally yourself, it sucks.
It is ironic that during this time, when I most need my spiritual practices, they go right out the window.
I am speaking from my own personal experience here. I know some people turn to prayer or self-care in times of stress and calamity, but this is not my experience. I am more likely to experience a dramatic decrease in my energy level, and to attempt to rectify the situation by either eating more chocolate or succumbing to exhaustion in a heap on the couch. I wake up too late and don’t have enough time to walk or meditate in the morning.
I know that physical movement will make me feel better. I know that a ten minute meditation can feel like a half-hour nap. I know pulling a few tarot cards and allowing myself time to reflect on them in my journal will be tremendously therapeutic, but I struggle to do any of these things.
I have spent the past month in a terrible spiritual slump. It was all I could do to just pull a card or two in the morning. One day I allowed myself to journal, and it was helpful, but I couldn’t sustain it.
As luck would have it, I was prompted out of my slump yesterday by one of my favorite people in the tarot, Jessi Huntenburg. Jessi is incredible reflective, deep, and intelligent, and I have enjoyed watching her videos for months. Recently I was lucky enough to win a free Full Moon reading with Jessi (and wouldn’t you know it, my card for the Full Moon cycle was the Three of Swords). Yesterday, she did a particularly moving reading for the New Moon in Taurus that she posted on her YouTube channel.
For me, it drove home the importance of taking care of ourselves so we can take care of others. It also made me desire some of that grounded, balanced Taurus energy for my own life.
After watching the reading I decided to follow her advice and list the things I need to begin doing for myself so I do not lose my shit over the coming weeks. This includes eating mostly vegetables, not drinking too much, getting enough sleep, and having at least four hours a week to do something creative that serves no purpose other than to relax me. In other words, leaving time for sewing, making bath products, relaxing in the hot tub, and reading for pleasure.
I hope that my intense experience with swords has ended, but truly, I feel like it already has. This morning my cards were the Eight of Swords and the World. I now believe that the only battle that is left is in my head. If I can master my thoughts and refuse to allow myself to be constricted by them, then perhaps I can end this cycle and start anew.
Are you a Gemini? A Leo? A Pisces on the cusp of Aries?
Whatever your answer, it was most likely your sun sign. Almost everyone knows their sun sign. Nearly all references to horoscopes in American culture focus exclusively on this aspect of astrology.
However, did you know that there are two other MAJOR components to your horoscope that you may have been neglecting? In fact, they are as equally important in how you view the world (and how the world views you). I am talking about your Moon sign and your Rising sign (also know as your Ascendent sign).
In astrology, the sun represents life, vitality, force, action, and the energy we put out into the world for all to see.
The Sun holds our solar system together. Just as the planets of our solar system rotate around the Sun, some astrologers consider our Sun sign to be the center of our personality.
Our sun sign is a major factor in our lives since this represents our active personality. By exploring our sun sign, we can examine our mental states and better understand ourselves. The Sun cannot be hidden. Just as the Sun reveals itself with its radiant, blinding light, the personality traits we show people most are those shown through our Sun sign. This is why when you read your horoscope in a newspaper or magazine it always references our Sun sign.
Most people have a Moon sign that is different from their Sun. For example, my Sun is in Gemini and my Moon is in Scorpio.
This explains why people with the same Sun sign can be, and often are, so different from each other. Sometimes when people read a description of their Sun sign, they feel it is not a good representation of them. It may feel incomplete, or even completely inaccurate. Moon signs may provide a much more accurate description of what a person is like.
The moon itself has no light; it reflects the light of the sun. In a similar way, our Moon sign represents the vast potential within us that is often obscured in darkness. Thus, our Moon sign reveals insight into our shadow selves. The Moon represents your instinctual self, which many people keep hidden – even from themselves.
Some astrologists define our Moon sign as our unconscious. Moon signs help define our emotional development, or express the unconscious side of our personality. It explains why we do what we do.
If, by chance, your Moon sign is the same as your Sun sign, it amplifies the traits of that sign. This would make you a “double” of your Sign, such as a “double Gemini.” If your rising sign (more on that later) is also the same sign, then you are a TRIPLE of your sign (like my husband, who is a triple Gemini).
On points where your Sun and Moon Signs are compatible, they work together to help you get through the hardships and accomplish your goals. Where they are not compatible, you may feel conflicting desires or be at odds with yourself in some way.
Your Rising sign, otherwise known as your Ascendant, is the zodiac sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the exact moment you were born. It varies depending on the minute of your birth. Only when you know the exact time you were born can your Ascendant sign can be calculated to the exact degree.
Your Rising sign appears as the very first personality traits you exhibit as a child. However, as you grow and change, your Sun sign gradually becomes more noticeable to others.Some astrologists believe that the Sign becomes noticeable weaker after a person reaches 30 years of age, as their confidence grows in who they are.
The Ascendant can be likened to your public image, or the mask you wears in public. It provides the most insight as to the first impression we make when we meet new people. Interestingly, the Ascendant can even influence your appearance! The Sign becomes expressed in your image, style, and mannerisms.
Some believe that if your Ascendant falls closer to the beginning of the sign, the effects of that sign will be felt more strongly. This is also true if the Sun is in a weak position in the birth chart (such as if the individual was born at night). Likewise, it is also thought to be weaker when the individual is born towards the end of the sign’s Ascendancy, just before the next sign appears.
Because the Ascendant sign is specific to the time and place of the individual birth, it represents the environment and conditioning a person may be influenced by during their childhood and is considered as important and significant as the Sun and Moon signs, because all other aspects on the chart are filtered through this Sign.
What is your Moon and Rising Sign?
Has your curiosity been piqued? Are you ready to see your full astrological profile? Visit the following websites to learn more about your birth chart. You will need to review your birth certificate to have the information needed to craft a precise birth chart.
If you would like a full astrological profile, which includes a birth chart analysis, I can provide you with a custom report. These reports are typically about 8-10 pages in length. To do this, I will need your name, date of birth, time of birth, and place of birth. These reports are $30 and will be completed within 2-3 business days. Send your requests to email@example.com.
After I read for a client, many of them express to me that they want to learn how to read the tarot cards for themselves. The two most frequent questions I hear are, “How do you learn to read the tarot cards?” and “How long did it take you to learn to read tarot?”
I have compiled my top five tips on learning to read the tarot. Other readers may have different opinions, but this is my blog, so I’m offering my opinion. I welcome the feedback of other readers in the comments.
Tip 1 – Purchase the Rider Waite Tarot Deck (this includes the Radiant Rider Waite or Universal Rider Waite).
I believe that this is the ideal deck for anyone who is learning to read the tarot. My reasons for this are numerous. One, almost every book you read when learning the meanings of the cards will feature images from the Rider Waite. This makes it very simple to transfer the knowledge from the book to the cards you are working with. Two, almost all tarot decks available for sale are based on the imagery found in the Rider Waite. If you can learn to read with this deck, you can learn to read with nearly any deck you want to work with. Sometimes when I read with an art deck (like the Wild Unknown), I close my eyes and see the images from the Rider Waite to help me determine the meaning of a card. I am very glad this was the first deck I learned.
Here is a comparison between the Rider Waite and some other popular decks. Can you guess the meaning of the card? Do you see how the card on the right doesn’t convey quite the same meaning? The meaning is the same, but it is harder to intuitively pick up on it.
Tip 2 – Purchase books on the meaning of the tarot cards and read, read, read.
There are a growing number of readers who identify as intuitive readers (meaning they use their intuition alone to determine the meaning of the tarot cards), but I think it is critical to learn the traditional meanings. This will enable you to work with more decks if you choose to expand your collection. It is relatively easy to read the Rider Waite intuitively, especially the minors. But when you work with more abstract decks like the Thoth or the Wild Unknown, it is great to have an index of symbols and meanings associated with each card.
I also suggest you seek out information from the best and brightest in the field of tarot. My personal favorites include Benebell Wen, Marcus Katz, Rachel Pollack, Mary Greer, Eden Grey, and Joan Bunning. Here are a list of some of my favorite tarot books.
Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen (I just got this, but I know it’s going to be one of my favorites. It’s thicker than the Bible.)
Llewelyn’s Complete Book of Tarot by Anthony Louis
78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack
Tip 3 – Commit to drawing at least one card daily.
Each and every day, draw a card in the morning. Write it down in a journal along with the date. Write down everything you know about the card. As the day progresses, be sure to pay attention to how the energy of that card plays out in your life. At the end of the day, write down any notes from what you observed. Then, look up the meaning in one of your books and jot down any meanings or symbols you may have missed. The best way to truly learn the meaning of a card is to experience it on your own. Journaling is an excellent way to record your personal experiences with each card in the deck.
Tip 4 – Study!
You aren’t going to learn tarot without commitment to studying regularly. When I was learning I didn’t go a day without reading, listening, or talking about the tarot. Podcasts, audiobooks, regular books, blogs… Consume them all.
Personally, I would recommend tackling the meaning of the cards in the following order.
The Major Arcana (you must understand the Fool’s Journey)
The Court Cards
For some reason, court cards were the most challenging for me to master. I suppose that is why I saved them for last. You may wish to tackle them first. The choice is yours.
I also recommend sticking to the upright meaning of each card at first. Reversals can be very confusing for a beginning reader.
Tip 5 – Join the tarot community.
The tarot community is alive and thriving. Where I live, I am lucky to have an entire “fortune-telling family” that supports and encourages each other. If you live in the Tallahassee area, there is a fantastic FREE tarot class held every Sunday by one of Tallahassee’s best and most experienced readers, Leah. Please contact me for details. These are the people you need in your life!
Sadly, this isn’t a possibility for many people throughout the world. Fear not, because as long as you have Facebook, you are among friends. Reach out and join some tarot groups. Here are the Facebook groups I couldn’t live without.
Tarot Tarot Tarot (this is definitely aimed at beginners, and provides new tarot readers a place to exchange readings and get feedback in a public forum)
Tarot Professionals (over 24,000 members and counting!)
Tarot Rebels (just don’t post pictures from Rider Waite here – this is for other decks only)
If I follow these tips, how long until I’m proficient with tarot?
I would say that with six months to a year of devoted daily practice and study you can learn to read for yourself, as well as friends and family, rather fluently.
Under no circumstances do I feel it is ethical to charge for readings until you have completed at least 50 free readings for your friends, family, and strangers. Once you are comfortable with several spreads and can ascertain the meaning of the cards without using a guidebook, you may be ready to charge for a reading. You may decide never to charge for a reading. Whatever floats your boat!
Also, I don’t believe there comes a point in the life of any tarot reader when you are finished learning the tarot.
The truth is, professional tarot readers never tire of discussing and learning about the tarot. As a tarot tribe we all learn from each other. The more we work with others who share our passion, the better we get at our craft. The task of learning about tarot is never done.
All tarot readers need a place that enables them to pause their daily lives when reading and reflecting on the tarot. As my tarot journey evolved, so has my sacred space for this purpose.
I began in my bed, as this is one of the only places a mom of two girls can find peace and quiet. However, it soon became clear that this area would not suffice. It simply did not provide the kind of respite and sanctuary required for me to truly disconnect. Because there wasn’t a separate space, the lines between work and rest and study and play became blurred very quickly.
I now have two spaces within my home that I use solely for readings and meditation. The first is an altar in my bedroom. This consists of little more than a small wooden table and a meditation pad. Facing east, this cozy nook provides the perfect place to pause, meditate, and do my daily reading each morning. This is also where I sometimes conduct remote or online readings for my clients.
The other area where I conduct readings is outside at a private table on my covered porch. This area is particularly loved, as it comfortably seats two people. The fact that I live in the woods and am surrounded by nature adds to the aesthetics and charm of this sacred space. When I sit at the table alone or with a client, it reminds me that I have stepped into a different zone and a different frame of mind. In the past, I would shuffle the cards and fan them out on my bed or at the kitchen table. However, I have come to see that using the table outside lends itself to a better reading. I also find that it makes my clients more comfortable.
Regardless of the area I use, I have an established routine I use to cleanse the area and prepare myself to work with the tarot. First, I use a variety of crystals. I use several different kinds to ground myself, including black tourmaline and smoky quartz. These settle me down and remove any negative energy. Once this has been done, I use a variety of other crystals to amplify psychic energy and strengthen my intentions to work with spirit, including quartz, blue kyanite, and amethyst.
I then smudge the area with sage and light a candle. Frankincense oil is always used, as it promotes feelings of peace, relaxation, and satisfaction. I apply it to my pulse points and close my eyes, calming my mind. I then conduct a short meditation, and select the deck that I feel is best for the reading. I only begin a reading after I am thoroughly prepared.
If you don’t have an extra room or space for a table, finding a place to work with the cards may seem difficult. You can make do in any space if you have a few key objects to help transform your daily space into a sacred space. First, an altar cloth or special piece of fabric is essential. This protects your cards from stickiness and/or spills that may be lurking on the surface of your table. I also suggest having a candle and a particular oil or incense that relaxes you and helps your mind shift from its regular pace to one that is more relaxed and open. Finally, a small statue or icon that you can fix your eyes on while you meditate is also helpful. My first statue was a small statue of the Buddha that I acquired from World Market.
Working with the tarot is a huge commitment and it takes up a lot of time, and it’s important to have established boundaries within your home to help keep it from bleeding into personal time with your family and friends. Because I have separate spaces to work with the tarot, I can step out of my daily life and into my sacred space in a way that honors my personal life. When I’m in my sacred space, I do not answer my phone or think about what I am doing at work that day. When I leave my sacred space, the only thing I take with me is the peace from my meditation and the insight I received from the cards.
Do you have a sacred space for tarot? Tell me about it in the comments.
My name is Bethany, and I began my journey with tarot many years ago.
I received my first tarot card reading when I was seventeen years old and at a tremendous crossroads in my young adult life. Confused and frightened, I turned to my friend’s mother that had years of experience reading tarot cards. I watched, fascinated, as she unfolded a beautiful piece of crimson silk and took from it her trusted tarot deck. She laid the cards out in a cross and studied them with her piercing blue eyes.
A moment passed and she began to speak. I sat, stunned, as everything she said aligned perfectly to my current situation. Tears came to my eyes as she spoke about the recent challenges I had experienced, but alas, the future was bright. My life was about to change in a very big way – and for the better, she said. She assured me that if I continued on my current path I would be glad I did. I left her house that days feeling relieved and at peace knowing that everything was going to be okay.
A month later I was married to my high school sweetheart, and eight months later I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy little girl. In April my husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. After that first reading, I was given my first Rider Waite tarot deck by a friend. I have been a student of the tarot ever since.
Years later, as a professional reader, I now sit beside clients with the same frightened expression I wore many years ago. It is my turn to comfort them when they cry, or to congratulate them when life promises the fresh new start they are seeking.
There is no greater honor than to assist people spiritually by providing divine guidance when they need it most.
If you are in need of such guidance, please reach out.
Prior to the close of 2016, as usual, I cleaned the house from top to bottom. I ensured that all Christmas things were put away. I bought collard greens and black-eyed peas to eat on January 1st (it’s a southern thing, I think).
In the days before December 31st, I thought long and hard about my intentions for 2017. I made a list of things I hoped to manifest in the coming year, which I keep in a special place. This list includes the following: walk every day, meditate for 15 minutes a day, pay off all credit cards and loans (excluding the mortgage), switch to non-toxic cleaners, and other similar items.
I felt a huge sense of excitement going into the New Year because so many things were coming together. I met so many amazing people in recent months, and these new connections had led to me being invited to read tarot in not one, but two amazing shops in Tallahassee. I made some awesome new friends and found a tribe of people who shared my interests and support my spiritual journey. Furthermore, all this positivity was coming on the heels of a tremendous spiritual awakening I experienced after going through some incredibly rough times (you can read about my experience with the Tower card here – oh goodie!)
I welcomed the New Year with friends, beer, and nachos, and even managed to get home by 11:00 p.m. to celebrate at midnight with my husband, Trent (with no kids in the house, either!) Things were looking swell and promising.
By January 2nd I could tell that something was wrong. Something just didn’t fit. For one thing, I had the concentration of a toddler. I couldn’t seem to get anything done. My creativity felt zapped and I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. The days were slipping by without a single thing on the list being addressed. The fucking daylight just seemed to slip through my fingers like sand. Even my daily walks at work – which have been an integral part of my work routine for years – did not happen. My working hours passed right by with my ass glued to the chair at my desk – and I did not even leave my desk to take a lunch break. I sat through it eating raw almonds and drinking kefir while I worked.
At home with my creative pursuits, I didn’t write a thing. I couldn’t think of a thing I wanted to write. I didn’t roll out of bed earlier and walk on the treadmill, but immediately went on my phone to peruse social media while my brain woke up. I managed a measly two minutes of meditation in the morning before drawing my daily tarot cards. All the materials for my projects sat on the shelf, untouched.
It’s not that I didn’t think about doing all of these things. My head swam with ideas and inspiration. At work I fantasized about taking a vacation where I didn’t go anywhere – just did all the things I want to do. (This is on the heels of a two week vacation from work.) All I wanted to do was get to the things on my list, yet I lacked the drive to put one foot in that direction. I simply couldn’t decide what to do first, let alone make it happen.
My head was literally in the clouds. I had all these options and choices, and I spent a good deal of my time thinking about them. I was paralyzed by my choices. That is when it hits me – I am the figure in the Seven of Cups. It was indeed the excitement and anticipation of all the things I wanted to accomplish that was holding me back.
For those of you who are beginning to read tarot, I must say that you learn the cards best by experiencing them. It is only when you are in the throes of infatuation that you fully recognize the Two of Cups. It is when you recognize that you are in a toxic relationship, yet you can’t find the strength to leave, that you experience the Devil. There is truly no better teacher of tarot than life itself.
As a budding astrologer, I wonder what a seasoned astrologer would say if I told them that exactly eight years ago I was experiencing the Seven of Cups just as strongly, although my wild imagination and impractical dreaming were of a different nature. Could there in fact be a cyclical pattern to these experiences?
I am on the cusp of breaking out of this haze. The other night was a full moon, and I revisited my list of intentions and longed for the energy I need to get me moving in the right direction. I believe I just am beginning to feel it now as my fingers fly across the keyboard – and I welcome it. I have it on my schedule to make natural cleaning products this Saturday and share them with my friends. I’m getting back to myself again.
However, I also am learning to recognize that life has its ebbs and flows. Perhaps it’s okay not to be so productive all the time. I had a discussion with a dear friend of mine who is a health coach about this very topic over lunch this week (if you need to make changes in your life to benefit your health, do visit www.heatherdiamondhealth.com for an amazing jump start). We are both Geminis with incredibly active minds, and oddly enough, we both experiencing exactly the same feelings in the recent weeks, and it is not something we are accustomed to experiencing. We both agreed that though it feels frustrating, it’s natural, and we need to learn to embrace this side of life of strongly as we cling to our desire to be superwomen and do it all.
That said, perhaps I will just stay here a little longer with my head in the clouds… or maybe I’ll actually wake up tomorrow and get back on the treadmill of life. Either way, I’ll make 2017 my bitch…eventually.
At 36 years of age, I just began to live an authentic life. I am no longer afraid to risk rejection, humiliation, or scorn. I am not easily embarrassed. I do not fear what people think of me.
For the first 35 years of my life, I existed in two worlds simultaneously. The contrast was so glaring that I feared I would never be able to bring the two parts together and still be loved by my family or respected by my peers.
Part One: I am what mainstream society expects of me.
I excel in school and begin taking college classes at 16. I marry and have my first child at 18, and finish college with my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at 21. I begin working at an exhibit company that focused on environmental and cultural sites of interest throughout the world. With the birth of my second child I begin teaching students with disabilities at an elementary school to be closer to my children. Six years later I take a position with the Florida Department of Education where I support students on a statewide level. I earn a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, and advance to the University of South Florida where I expand my skills to include web development. I provide for my family, pay my bills, vote, serve as a member of my homeowner’s association, and try to be an upstanding citizen.
Part Two: I am rejected by mainstream society.
I am a mystic. I read constantly and my library includes books on psychic development, philosophy, astrology, Buddhism, and tarot. I am drawn to religion and spirituality but have lost faith in organized religion. I accept Jesus as a profound teacher and role model but do not believe he is the only messenger of God. I sit in nature for extended periods of time trying to connect to the earth and my spirit guides. I believe in spirit guides. I read tarot cards and I believe that they provide insight and guidance into our daily lives. I surround myself with crystals that I believe contain positive energy and vibrations. I bathe in salt and essential oils when I feel down to cleanse my aura. I believe some people have gifts that allow them to see auras, communicate with spirits, and see the future. I track the phases of the moon and align my intentions accordingly, and will complete certain rituals that I believe manifest my desires. Some would call me a witch, but I don’t really believe in the Devil.
For many years I kept the two parts of myself separate and few knew the whole truth of who I was. Only my closest friends knew the “real” me. I was afraid and ashamed to reveal my interests and beliefs for fear of people thinking I was crazy or just plain stupid. How could an intellectual believe this crap? I feared that this side of myself would open me up to public scorn or potentially hurt my chances of getting a job in the future.
Mostly, I was afraid of hurting my dear grandmother that I loved deeply. She was the best grandmother that anyone could ever wish for. She was deeply afraid of anything “new age” or “spiritual” as she believed it was from the Devil. She was in her eighties and I didn’t want to do anything that would stress her already fragile heart. A couple of our family members were struggling with addiction to narcotics, stealing and lying to support their habits, and she was deeply hurt and stressed out about this. I would never have forgiven myself for causing her any more stress or risking her health further.
Beginning in February of this year, most of my readings began featuring the Three of Swords in the future position. This card represents deep sorrow, grief, and heartbreak. Naturally, this scared the shit out of me. What it could mean? Would my husband betray me? Was someone going to be hurt? What awful thing lurked around the corner? As a result, I loved deeper, I hugged longer, and I made sure to tell everyone how much I cared about him or her every time we were together.
The Three of Swords came to fruition on May 12th, 2016, and it is a day I will never forget. My beloved grandmother had been in a rehab facility due to an ankle injury for which she required physical therapy. I was going to see her as often as I could, rubbing lavender oil on her bruises and bringing her food that I knew she enjoyed. That afternoon, my mother had visited her after work and found that she was quite ill. She didn’t look right, and she was so weak she couldn’t lift her arms. The staff had not noticed this, but my mother was alarmed and insisted a doctor check her out. The physician was called and he agreed it would be prudent to have her taken to the hospital. My mom was scared, so I decided to join my mother and grandmother just to make sure everything was okay. My grandmother was loaded into an ambulance, and mom and I followed her to the hospital.
Upon arriving at the hospital it became apparent that everything was not okay. The moment we arrived at the Emergency Room, a team of people rushed in. It was determined that her pacemaker had stopped working and her heart was failing. We were immediately barraged with questions about her DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders. We were told it was serious and she could die very soon. We had to make frantic calls to try to determine her wishes. After several insane, tear-filled hours, the doctors were able to get her pacemaker working again. It turns out that the rehab facility she was in was not making sure she drank fluids or taking her to the bathroom regularly, and her kidneys failed. It caused her blood levels to become toxic and force her heart out of rhythm. When she was stabilized that night, I told her that her sister and my sister were so worried that they were on their way to see her. She laughed and said, “Well, I ain’t dead yet!” Those were the last words she ever said to me, and it was the last time I saw her smile.
After a moment of hope that she would recover, I awoke the next morning to find out she had slipped into a coma. Various life-saving procedures were tried to revive her, but within the day she was gone. It was May 13, 2016. Friday the 13th.
Even now, months later, I feel a vast emptiness inside as I remember that she is dead. She is not at home in her recliner sitting with my grandpa. I can’t call her and tell about my day. Tears flood down my cheeks as I remember that last moment we had together, and I hope wherever she is that she feels my love for her from beyond the veil.
In my experience, the death of a loved one creates a vacuum in your life that I do not believe will ever be filled. It is such a void that when I allow myself, it swallows me whole and I swim in an ocean of grief and tears. It is a physical sensation of heaviness and emptiness simultaneously that I feel in my chest whenever my mind wanders and I think of her.
I recount this story of loss and grief for two reasons, I suppose. The first is that this is the first time I have written about it, and it is therapeutic to do so. The second is to return to where this story begins, and explain how it took the passing of my grandmother to bring the two sides of me together.
With my grandmother’s death, I no longer felt I had to conceal who I was. I would have hid it forever if I could have kept her in my life, but that was not possible. For the first time, I was free to be me and to integrate the two parts of myself without shame. I no longer feared what people would think of me if they knew what I did behind closed doors. Fearfully at first, I began to share my metaphysical interests with my family and my close professional colleagues. I then publicly shared information on my website and blog on my personal Facebook page. There was no more “hiding in the broom closet.” This is who I am – take it or leave it.
Death serves as a reminder that life is fleeting. With luck, we might have 100 years to experience all this existence has to offer. No one knows what comes next – NO ONE – and anyone who tells you with certainty that they do is full of shit.
We are not here just to get an education, work, fall in love, raise children, and accrue possessions. In fact many of these things distract us from our true purpose. We are here to be our authentic selves and live the life to which we are destined. We are here to help others and be our best selves. There is so much love and beauty to experience and share with others.
Forget what you think you know about life. In fact, don’t think at all. As Eckhart Tolle says, “You are not your mind.” For five minutes, don’t think. Just be you, in the moment, and be still and silent. Pretend your mind is a puppy and when it begins to think about the laundry, tell it to sit.
Be in the present. The only thing we truly have and are guaranteed is this present moment. Try to live in it and be as authentic as you can be. Every moment that passes is a moment lost. When we come out with confidence and lose the fear of judgment, we inspire others to do the same.
As soon as you are able – and it might not be now (you have your own reasons for holding back) – I encourage you to live without fear and be who you are. People might just surprise you.
*I am so thankful for my mother, for her unconditional love. Though I am not at all the person she would like for me to be, she loves me anyway and never makes me doubt it. I am so blessed to have her in my life.*
It isn’t often that I get obsessed with artists, writers, and poets. But it happens, and when it does I simply can’t get enough of them. As a result, I will read/listen to/watch as many of their creations as I can get my hands on. Some of my previous obsessions include (in chronological order): Stephen King, Radiohead, Quentin Tarantino, Cormac McCarthy, Arcade Fire, Sylvia Plath, and The National.
My latest obsession is with artist/writer Kim Krans, the creator of the Wild Unknown.
To begin with, she is beautiful, creative, and intelligent. But my admiration goes far beyond that. I sincerely admire her creative drive. She has passion and an amazing work ethic that has led her to create music, calendars, a tarot deck, an oracle deck, a children’s book, jewelry, clothing, and more. Her creative vision is unstoppable, and her art will live on forever. As an aspiring writer and artist she is the quintessential role model.
Not that it came easy. Kim worked hard to hone her craft. This is how she answered Portland Apothecary when asked what she turns to for inspiration in her work.
“Aritsts memoirs, biographies, and interviews. Its easy to look at others and think wow, they have it all, their life is perfect, their success came easy, etc. This leads us to feeling disconnected and bummed out. But when you read the actual stories of people’s lives, you hear all that they have gone through to get where they are, all the resistance that could’ve stopped them at any point. Its very uplifting to read stories like this, to know the truth of an artist’s life instead of a projection.”
It wasn’t long ago that I purchased the Wild Unknown Tarot deck, and I was instantly smitten. It is incredible. So when I learned there was an accompanying oracle deck called the Animal Spirit deck, well, I couldn’t exactly wait until Christmas to get it. I encouraged my husband to buy a new video game and I placed my order ($56 with shipping) guilt-free. He gets his, I get mine.
The Animal Spirit oracle is the perfect accompaniment to the Wild Unknown tarot. While the Wild Unknown Tarot provides a clear glimpse of all elements of day-to-day life, the Wild Spirit oracle provides a big picture view of our personal development. As you all know, the person we are today is not the person we were last year. We are constantly growing and evolving, changing and morphing. Using this deck in tandem with the tarot deck provides a deeper glimpse at ourselves and our current place in life, as well as where we are going.
Kim fashioned this oracle deck and the animals therein around the five elements – earth, fire, water, air, and spirit. This further enhances the connection of this deck with the world at large.
I decided to use this deck to enhance a reading with the Wild Unknown. The example is below. In recent months I have felt a strong desire to write my own story with tarot and/or continue to education on a completely new path, so I decided to probe that issue.
Question: What do I need to know about my calling to work professionally and/or write about tarot?
I jumped into reading professionally and developing a website and blog with a lot of unbridled energy. My efforts were bold, and I certainly didn’t ask for or consider the input of others in moving forward. My efforts were exhaustive and I didn’t take it slow. Within the course of a few days I had a blog and a website completely operational.
This is the final card of the Animal Spirit deck, and it represents cosmic completion and the seventh chakra. The decision to move forward with reading professionally and writing about tarot was based on the long journey I took in exploring it. It was only after a long period of dedicated study and practice that it was set into motion. Only when I felt I was fully developed in this area did I proceed.
At this point I am reading professionally but certainly not enough to justify leaving my career in education. I have choices to make about where I go from here. I need to decide what my next steps are. I have been feeling torn about where I should focus my attention. Should I return to school for another advanced degree to further my career in education or psychology, or should I honor my creativity and spirituality and pursue learning that supports my spiritual desires? Or, should I continue my day job and dedicate myself to a daily writing practice? Whatever I choose, I must honor and nourish my relationship with the tarot. It is my passion.
The turtle is grounded and connected to life. It collects life experiences and preserves these ideas under its shell for the future. The turtle energy is the energy of writers and storytellers. My current experiences are teaching me where to go from here.
A welcome sign – there is fulfillment and abundance in the future! The groundwork I lay now will result in success and achievement in the material plane. Whatever I choose to pursue will ensure a firm financial footing for myself and for my family.
It is imperative that I remember to take care of myself even as abundance abounds on the material plane. There is a tendency in the frog to become overworked and undernourished. Connecting to the source is paramount. Though frogs spend much time on land, water is critical to them! Water is rejuvenating to frogs, so when I feel bogged down I should seek renewal in lakes, rivers, or the ocean. This is an easy task as I live in Florida and am surrounded by all of the above!
I hope you have enjoyed this peek at the Animal Spirit deck. If you enjoy the Wild Unknown I would suggest adding this to your collection when feasible. As the Wild Unknown is the deck I purchased exclusively for my own readings, I simply couldn’t resist and I find it compliments my readings with the deck nicely.