The Sword in the Slump

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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.

 

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.

Astrology 102

3 Things You NEED to Know about your Horoscope

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).

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Sun Signs

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.

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Moon Signs

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.

Rising Signs/Ascendants

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.

http://alabe.com/freechart/

http://www.astro.com/cgi/ade.cgi

http://www.chaosastrology.net/freeastrologyreports.cfm

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 namastetarotreadings@yahoo.com.

I am currently accepting new tarot clients. To learn more about booking a reading with me, please visit my website or stop by my Facebook page.

 

A Space for Tarot 

Sacred Space

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Intention Deficit Disorder 

I have Intention Deficit Disorder.

I began 2017 with the best intentions.

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.

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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.

Oh ye of little faith!

Seriously… Tarot can’t really tell me anything about my life – can it?

Many people want to get a tarot reading, but don’t because they are afraid they will be disappointed.

It’s normal for people to have doubts about whether a tarot reading can really reveal things about their life if they have never received a reading before. Skepticism is alive and well in today’s society. This is especially true for matters of faith and other things beyond the lens of science.

I began my journey with tarot many years ago when I received my first tarot card reading at seventeen years of age. I was at a crossroads in my young adult life. I had just found out I was about four weeks pregnant. Confused and frightened, I turned to my friend’s mother that I adored who had keen intuitive abilities and many years of experience with reading tarot cards. I watched, fascinated, as she unfolded a beautiful piece of crimson silk and took from it her trusted tarot deck. On the kitchen countertop she laid the cards out in a cross and studied the cards 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.

What card was in the current situation? You guess it… The Empress.

Tears came to my eyes as she spoke about the recent challenges I had experienced. I had big choices to make in the coming weeks about what I was going to do about this pregnancy.  She said my life was about to change in a very big way – and for the better. It looked as though I may even get married. This I would never have guessed, because at this point my child’s father was most certainly not ready to be a father and did not want me to have the baby. She assured me that if I continued on my current path, and trusted in my baby’s father, I would be glad I did. Things were looking up for my future. I left her house that days feeling relieved and my burden was lightened knowing that maybe, just maybe, everything was going to be okay.

Two months later I married my high school sweetheart, and a few months later I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy little girl. This year my husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary, and that baby is turning 18 in a few weeks. After that first reading, I was given my first Rider Waite tarot deck on my 18th birthday. I have been a student of the tarot ever since.

That first reading forever changed the way I viewed the tarot cards, but I was most certainly a skeptic before then. There is no shame in skepticism. Why shouldn’t we question everything in life and decide for ourselves?

As a child we blindly follow the beliefs of our parents, and later that of our peers. The major arcana series in the tarot captures the experience of growing from a child into an adolescent. The Lovers best represents this turning point in our lives. In adolescence we begin to question, rebel, and make choices for ourselves. The choices we make will then power us forward on our path (via the Chariot).

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The Lovers – the card of adolescence.
As we mature we do not need to believe things simply because we are told. Independent thinking and making our own choices about what is right is what makes this time period so interesting to be alive. Aleister Crowley (magician, founder of Thelema, and father of the Thoth tarot) believed that the 21st century marked humanity’s entry to the Aeon of Horus, a new era in which humanity would take increasing control of their destiny. This exciting time comes on the heels of the Aeon of Osiris, in which religions like Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism dominate the world.

As a species (mankind), we are growing up! We live in an age where humanity as a whole is maturing out of a childlike state to that of a rebellious teenager – questioning everything and deciding for ourselves. The spirit of Horus is the spirit of rebellion as society’s artists, poets, musicians, writers, and activists actively push for social reform and justice. It shakes traditional paradigms and brings radical change to individuals and countries, as well as dramatic changes to religious ideals and beliefs.

This new age is evident in church attendance rates that have been in steady decline for the past 20 years, with people shifting from weekly to monthly or just holiday attendance. Sociologists have attributed this trend to a number of reasons, from boredom during services and lack of motivation, to generational incompatibility of belief systems and social changes attributed to modern life.

Skepticism isn’t a new concept. One of the most famous skeptics in history dates back to Bible times – the Apostle Thomas. Thomas refused to believe that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the ten other apostles until he could see and feel the wounds received by Jesus on the cross for himself. We use the term “doubting Thomas” to refer to a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience.

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24-29)

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Calling all tarot skeptics!

 Thomas simply could not believe until he saw it for himself. I use the example of Thomas to introduce what I jokingly and lovingly refer to as a “Doubting Thomas Reading.” Now, I’m not claiming in any way to be Jesus or even be like him (though I aspire to – Jesus was pretty awesome and a total social justice pioneer in his day). I simply want to give any doubting skeptics the opportunity to experience a tarot reading for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

The “Doubting Thomas Reading” is a concise, 20 minute reading on a question of your choosing for only $20. Within 24 hours of the conclusion of the reading, if you are unhappy with the reading and feel that it did not address your question or concern, I will refund your money, no questions asked. All I ask is that you have a well-formulated question or issue on which you would like insight and be open to the process. If you clam up and do not provide input along the way, chances are you won’t get the full benefit of the reading. A reading is a conversation between reader and querent who work together to get the most concise interpretation out of the cards as they present themselves.

Readings can be conducted in person, on the phone (U.S. only), through email, Facebook Messenger (live), or Skype. With an email reading, you may reply back with three additional clarifying questions on the reading which I will then address. Readings will be completed within 48 hours of sending payment.

If you would like to receive a “Doubting Thomas Reading” please email me at namastetarotreadings@yahoo.com

Sometimes you must experience things to believe them. I invite you to try it! I am confident that you will not be disappointed.

(Only one Doubting Thomas Reading per client.)