Blog

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.

 

Learn to Read Tarot 

5 Quick, Easy Tips for Learning to Read the Tarot

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

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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.

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BE LIKE THIS GUY
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 Wands

The Cups

The Swords

The Pentacles

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)
  • Tarot Nerds

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.

*SOAPBOX ALERT*

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.

Have fun on your journey!

XO Bethany

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.

First Time for Everything 

Firsts

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.

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.

Coming Out of the Broom Closet 

This is me.

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.

Fear

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.

Breakdown

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.

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Three of Swords, Wild Unknown Tarot deck (Kim Krans)
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.

Integration

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.*

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