divination, life

I apologize for my tardiness.

I ate most of my bodyweight in melon and pasta and, like the mighty African rock python consuming the equally mighty springbok, I needed to sleep on a warm rock and not move for an extended period of time.

Anyway. I’ve been doing a lot of considering re: the Jungian concept of the “shadow self.” It’s a topic I’d like to delve into further, but really deserves a post (or three, or four) of its own. Suffice it to say that I think it’s what’s making the pandemic especially difficult for a lot of people — when it’s hard to be in the same room as yourself, you’re not likely to enjoy having a lot of free time on your hands.

This led on a short free-association jaunt through various meditations, trance work, and sound healing, and I landed on a specific need: a guide to what I’m trying to fix in the first place. I know my faults, and I like to think I’m relatively self-aware, but there’s more to integration than that. There’s really no road map for how this kind of thing is supposed to go, though.

In my search, I came across the Cleansing the Soul tarot spread by Emerald Lotus Divination. “Sure,” I thought, “Why not?”

It’s not a super complicated spread, but it yields a lot of information — from the needs of the physical body, to the soul, to the inner child, to how to stay connected to your higher self. I’m not really under any illusion that the general public is super into my own inner journey here, but, if you’re curious about how a theoretical spread might look and how the cards relate to each other, this might be helpful.

I used the Animalis Os Fortuna deck, and my own spread shook out like this:

What my physical body needs: Nine of Wands, depicting the iguana. In this place, this appears to mean the need to push forward. I’ve been engaging in more physical activity, so the message here seems to be to keep at it, and keep increasing my reps. I even bought a sledgehammer to make a shovelglove!

What my soul needs: Five of Wands, depicting the axolotl. Struggles, obstacles, and rivalry. I’m competitive by nature. I’m at my best when I have an opponent, even if they don’t know they’re my opponent and I make no attempt to take the competition out of my own mind. It’s practically what the concept of Instagram hate following was made for, if you substitute “hate” with “rivalry.” I’m not too enlightened to enjoy opposition. Comparison isn’t always the thief of joy — a little healthy competition keeps life interesting, and helps spur me to be a better version of myself.

What my inner child needs: Two of Wands, depicting the salamander. A pause, and to bide my time. Considering a lot of what I’ve been struggling with lately are childhood memories, it sounds like my inner whelp needs a break. I don’t blame them.

How my shadow self is impacting my life: Knight of Swords, depicting the magpie. Impulsiveness, aggression, and overenthusiasm. Consequences, schmonsequences, he has things to do. He goes for what he wants, and everything else be damned. His intentions are pure, but he’s kind of a dick about them. That’s… Yeah, that sounds about right.

This magpie’s probably choosing a new victim to swoop on.

A way that I can begin to accept my shadow aspect: Five of Swords, depicting the peacock. Defeat, and suffering from egotism. There’s an interesting pathology that impacts people in relationships with others who show signs of narcissistic personality disorder, no matter whether those relationships are romantic or familial. Laconically, it’s usually called “fleas.” They’re behaviors that seem to “jump” from a narcissist to a victim, and, if they aren’t resolved, from that victim to their victims. Essentially, they’re protective mechanisms — tiny things you do to protect yourself from narcissistic rage and other forms of abuse at the hands of someone with a fragile, wounded ego.

I can see a flea here. My shadow self impacts my life by making me impulsive and aggressive. I jump from one thing to the next if I’m not immediately good at it, because my upbringing showed me that failure meant mockery and pain. Aggression was rewarded, while softer feelings were mocked and rooted out.

How to better process my emotions: Ace of Cups, depicting an overflowing vessel. Interestingly, this card stands for optimism and new opportunities. It also shows a cup overflowing, and the suit of Cups specifically relates to the emotional self. This cup runneth over, sharing its bounty. The advice here is to process feelings by sharing them.

Something I need to be more aware of: Ten of Swords, depicting the vulture. Oof. Vulture and I go way back, and he usually seems to show up when some kind of purging needs to or is about to happen. (Did you know that vultures sometimes eat so much that they can’t fly, and need to vomit before taking off? Fascinating! Also super gross!) The Ten of Swords is despair and ruin. It’s the end of a cycle, and the ending ain’t a happy one. In this context, it means to let go and be reborn. This cycle is over, and it sucked, so get ready to start a better one.

They also poop on their own legs to cool off.

How to stay more connected with my higher self: The Queen of Wands, depicting the cobra. I love the Queen of Wands. She stands for generosity, creativity, and drama. She has power and self-possession, she’s courageous and hot-tempered. She’s beauty, she’s grace, she can probably wreck your face. The lesson is to temper that power with kindness, and invest energy into creative work.

The pandemic has done everyone’s nerves up wretched, and I think the shadow self has a lot to do with that. It’s not easy to have a lot of time on your hands if you don’t enjoy your own company, and it’s also not a simple problem to solve. This tarot spread doesn’t offer a quick fix, but it does answer some important questions.

divination

A Tarot Reading from Mintcoven

Note: This post contains affiliate links to the tarot reader I chose. These allow me to earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting tarot readers and this site!

This week, I decided to have someone else pull some cards for me. I didn’t really have a question in mind — to be honest, it feels like a lot of my life has stalled lately. Even my therapist recently suggested making appointments “as needed” instead of regularly, since there’s not much going on. So, I asked Mintcoven for a general three card reading, just to see what messages I should be receiving.

Mint responded shortly afterward with a very thorough analysis and a picture of the reading itself.

And would you look at those reversals!
(Also how cool is this deck?)

The Emperor reversed represents a loss of power — not surprising to me, considering the entire country right now. We’ve more or less surrendered to COVID-19, the ruling class is profiteering with impunity, progress toward justice seems painfully slow at times, and “U.S. Soldier Admits Plotting With Neo-Nazi Cult to Kill Fellow Troops” is a real headline. Point being, it gets hard not to feel a loss of power sometimes. So, Emperor reversed. I get it.

Next is The Chariot reversed. Mint said that this card, paired with The Emperor, represents a spiritual unrest. I feel this pretty hard, too. Isolation makes me feel disconnected — not necessarily from people (as I said yesterday, there are advantages to solitary ritual), but from nature. The cycle of life. The world. I feel like a weed that’s been uprooted from the edge of the sidewalk and put in a pot on the windowsill. Safe, yes. Cared for, yes. But potting soil and glass aren’t the same as dirt and sun. In some senses, I’m spiritually at peace. In others, I’m chafing.

Mint went on to explain that this probably isn’t a super prominent spiritual unrest, but a loss of intuitive guidance and path making. It’s true — every day is more or less the same. There isn’t much to orient myself by, and I have noticed myself doing more trancework, seeking more dream symbolism, doing everything short of reading gallons worth of tea leaves to get some message to hold onto.

Because this is happening on an intuitive and spiritual level, the suggestion here was to get ready for an info dump from my guides, particularly those traditionally considered “feminine.” This is part of a balance that is shifting and recalibrating itself.

The last card is The Priest reversed. This points to letting go of values that were put on me by tradition or other external forces, and a challenge to how I used to live. For the next few weeks, I’m to keep my eyes peeled for messages, and signs of things that are no longer working getting themselves out of my way.

Mint wrapped up the reading with the suggestion to journal my dreams and write down everything that seems significant. This is a big shift, and there probably isn’t one little sign or symbol that will let me make sense of it — this is big picture stuff.

The good news is, I’m probably not going it alone. Others are going through this reawakening too, so I won’t have to travel this road by myself. Are you one of them?

divination, life

A road-opening reading from Justincasetarot

Note: This post contains affiliate links to the person who read for me. Thank you for supporting tarot readers and this site!

It’s said you should never read cards for yourself, and, for the most part, I agree — especially with long, complex readings. The more information you have to grapple with, the more likely you are to insert your own interpretations that may be a little off the mark. In a reading where the interpretation of one card can be dependent on the interpretation of others around it, injecting too much of your own hopes and desires can make things confusing and inaccurate.

That’s why I occasionally like to have someone else read for me, especially if I want a lot of information. This time, I chose Justincasetarot’s Ganesha spread.

My own pantheon is a bit limited — I have a very few deities that I work with. While Ganesha isn’t one of them, he is one of my favorite Hindu deities. Even though I don’t make requests of him, I still sometimes leave offerings for him during Ganesh Chaturthi — especially puffed rice, bananas, and incense.

(I actually do this for a lot of deities that I don’t really have a relationship with. I feel like looking up their taboos and leaving offerings they might like is the spiritual equivalent of telling a stranger on the bus “Happy birthday,” you know? It’s just polite. If they don’t want it, they can ignore it.)

According to the listing, this spread answers six specific questions:

  1. Why is your way blocked?
  2. What energy is needed as the first step to unblocking your way?
  3. What energy do you already have that will aid you?
  4. What do you need to rid yourself of on the way?
  5. What is Lord Ganesha’s lesson here?
  6. What will be the results of your way being opened?

I sent the reader the information they needed, and received a very detailed reply the next day.

In short, my way is blocked by miscommunications and money matters, which wasn’t a surprise. I need balance, guidance, and unorthodox action to take the first step to removing this block. Fortunately, I’m already pretty gutsy — if there’s one thing I’ll say for myself, I can act with bravery — and this will help me. Along the way, I’ll need to carefully consider where I get my information from, and refuse to waver from my position.

Lord Ganesha’s lesson here was primarily to stay positive, and be patient. The feeling of being trapped by obstacles will start to go away. I often get the message to wait, even from my own readings for myself. It’s possibly the most frustrating part!

Lastly, the results of unblocking the way will be that my talents begin to shine. Creative partnerships flourish, and I will realize that I don’t need to actively seek validation in order to feel validated.

All told, this reading was very helpful and detailed. It matched a lot of information I’ve received before (though not all of it was something I wanted to hear, admittedly). I was especially impressed by Justincasetarot’s response time — like I said, I sent in the request one day, and had a PDF of the reading in my inbox the next!

If you’re feeling stuck or blocked in life right now, I highly recommend this reading. It’s reasonably priced, very detailed, and answers a lot of key questions.

divination

Bâtons, Deniers, Épées

This week, I wanted to try something a little different.

Not long ago, I picked up a copy of the absolutely beautiful Tarot de Maria Celia, a deck based on the Tarot of Marseilles, illustrated by Lynyrd-Jym Narciso. The ToM is a bit different from conventional Rider-Waite-Smith-based decks, in that the pip cards aren’t illustrated — they’re much more like a regular deck of playing cards. The meanings of the pip cards also vary a little, with their own subtleties and nuances.

Learning to interpret them has been a bit of a challenge. I’m not a fan of rote memorization, but pip cards that don’t have actual scenes on them don’t leave you nearly as much to go on. That has its advantages, but can make things a little intimidating.

troisdedeniers
Notably not pictured: three people standing under a fancy archway.

So, for this week’s reading, I settled on an easy three card spread. Even without artwork to read into, I figured three cards would give me enough information to build something from.

I drew the II de Bâtons (Wands), the XIIII de Deniers (Pentacles or Coins), and the XIII d’Épées (Swords).

Twos are the continuation of the beginnings indicated by the Aces. As a duality, they can represent two sides of a situation, or a decision of some sort. Two is a pair, and the fertile, creative energy between them.

As a decision, the Two of Wands represents the shift from the physical to the creative. It’s at the very beginning of the Wands cycle, so it also represents the opportunity to broaden your horizons. If the Ace represents the beginning and the choice of a goal, the Two is the next step: planning in order to make it a reality.

Nines are the completion of their respective cycle. As in other decks, Deniers represent material wealth and physical comforts. The Nine of Pentacles here is a point of freedom and self-governance. It stands in contrast to the Two — it’s nearing the end, knowing the plan, and and understanding that self-discipline and follow through are what got you here.

The Eight of Swords is self-imposed restriction. It is near the end of the cycle, but notably not there yet — there’s an obstacle in the way, and it’s you. Use too much caution, spend too much time devoted to making the right decision, and no decision will be made. At the same time, it’s a good idea not to make any major decisions until you are able to recognize that your entire decision making process has been defined by limits you’ve set for yourself. It’s choice fatigue, the paralysis of indecision, the trouble with Katy Make Sure.

I feel pretty called out.

We are comfortable. I’m at the very beginning of some creative plans, working out the kinks and deciding how to progress. At the same time, because I’m at a point where I’m comfortable, there’s a not-insignificant part of me going, “Now what?”

Growing up poor, much of my thinking was dominated by material concerns. I was presented with many, many different incarnations of the idea that if I just had this thing, I could be that person, and they are better than I am. It was kind of a huge relief when “shabby chic,” thrift-store clothes, capsule wardrobes, and mason jars became trendy, because that’s all stuff I had anyway, just out of poverty reasons.

I’m freer now. I’m more autonomous now. I spent a lot of time pursuing goals that lined up with an idea of success that I didn’t choose for myself, and now that I’ve attained many of them, what now? 

It’s a scary feeling. A sort of unsettling is-this-it feeling. Is it just this, and more of this, and then eventually we die? How do I shake the limitations of traditional markers of success?

Four things have made me ecstatically happy recently:

  • Finding pants that fit. (I’m a 2 now, and a Petite. If I accept this, finding the right size will be much harder, but I also won’t look like I’m wearing my partner’s pants.)
  • My partner surprised me with a gift. (Otter socks, a card, and a stuffed otter. His name is Philippe.)
  • I started a painting. (Three guesses what it’s of, and the first two don’t count.)
  • I found some neat flowers I hadn’t seen before.

Literally none of these line up with the goals I was raised to have. None of them are really markers of success, either. But is it really okay to just let go of that?

I’m ready to make a plan, to work towards new aspirations. I’m at a point where we have the time and money to do this. I just need to let go of these limitations first.

Then what?

 

divination, life

The Libra New Moon (or, Man, That’s a Lot of Cups)

So, last week I drew the Ace of Wands. Aces represent beginnings and opportunities, and I definitely had my share: I started therapy, queued some posts on a new creative project that’s going live very soon, and went through my first (and hopefully only) carbon monoxide leak.

Yeah, I know. It can’t all be fried gold. At least I know I can kind of handle one if it happens again, and came to the realization that we really needed a different kind of CO detector. As it turns out, there is a lot of variability in what will make a CO alarm trigger. When you hear that beep, you can’t always be sure if it’s an “open the windows and turn everything off” 30 ppm that’s been going for the past seven hours or so, or an “evacuate immediately and call 911” 400 ppm that’s spiked in the past four minutes. This news was less than reassuring to me, so I picked out a new alarm with a display that reads in parts per million. Is it as accurate as the detectors the fire department uses? Probably not, but I still figure it can ballpark enough to help me save myself in an emergency.

You know that mental exercise where you’re supposed to reframe “have to”s into “got to”s? I’m trying to do that. It was terrible and terrifying, but everyone’s okay. I had to deal with a carbon monoxide leak, but I also got to see myself go through it and come out alright, and got the opportunity to learn more about how to better keep us all safe. It really could have been much, much worse.

Anyway, with this out of the way, let’s talk about the Libra new moon.

Like Aces, new moons are beginnings. A Libra new moon is a great time for balance, cooperation, and magic for anything related to the two — creative work, justice, partnerships, or balancing the emotions. Instead of doing my usual one card pull this week, I decided to find a new new moon spread to try out. I usually create my own on the fly, depending on the situation, but I do really enjoy seeing what others have come up with. (That’s why I keep a Pinterest board full of kickass spreads.) This time around, I chose this one from Emerald Lotus Divination.

So! Let’s see what we’ve got.

Position 1: What This New Moon Has in Store for Me

The Seven of Cups, from the Rider-Waite deck. Artwork by Pamela Coleman Smith. A silhouetted figure stands in front of seven cups. One holds a blue head, one has a glowing sheet ghost(???), one has a snake, one has a very tiny caste, one has either very excellent jewels or extremely terrible fruit, idk, one has a laurel wreath, and one has a very small blue dragon.
The Seven of Cups, from the Rider-Waite deck. Artwork by Pamela Coleman Smith.

The Seven of Cups. A figure (in my deck, a crow. In the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, a dude) stands in front of seven cups, each filled with different things. It is up to the subject to choose the cups that hold good things, and not, like, snakes and creepy heads and bitey-looking blue lizards.

Many possibilities are open to me, and I have a lot of choices to make. This definitely tracks — October is going to be a month of big decisions and major upheaval. To make the best of these situations, I have to be proactive and make a choice. Fantasizing about some idealized situation is not going to put that cup full of jewels in my hand.

Position 2: My Energy During This New Moon

The Queen of Cups. Alright! As the suit of emotions, the Queen represents a figure that offers care and support. She can be the aspect of yourself that nurtures and provides you with self-care, or someone else entirely.

This card could represent my desire to take care of myself, or one of the people I’ve reached out to for help. It’s worth noting that both of my mental health professionals are female, so, while this position specifically asks about my energy during this new moon, my energy is also reaching out in search of a caring figure to help fix my brain. In either case, I’m reassured by the queen’s presence here — either I am making the nurturing, self-caring choice, or I am reaching out to someone who exhibits those traits. I need either (or both!) of those things right now.

Position 3: What I Need to Be Open To

The Page of Wands. He’s so happy with his giant walking stick. The Page of Wands is a playful figure, and may represent a charming, roguish person, or even just the arrival of good news. He is a bright, lovable, puckish, impetuous character.

I swear, I shuffled this deck well. Still, somehow, he is the only non-cups card I drew. To be honest, whether he represents a fun person or a piece of good news, I’ll take it. It’s hard to find a negative aspect of the Page of Wands (outside of his tendency to rush into things, but I think the Knight definitely has it worse). If this is what I need to be open to, I can handle that.

Position 4: Something That Wants to Manifest

The King of Cups. A kind, compassionate figure, he tempers his authority with understanding. He is calm, sympathetic, and good at listening.

At this point, I am actively trying to manifest emotional balance and creativity. The suit of cups stands for both, so I will take the King’s appearance as a sign that I’m on the right track. Coupled with the Queen of Cups and the Page of Wands, things are looking pretty good.

Position 5: How to Focus My Attention to Bring My Desires into Reality

The Three of Cups. Party on, my dudes (or dudettes, or dudes-as-in-men-and-not-as-a-gender-nonspecfic-term, or dudes-meaning-literal-city-dwellers-vacationing-on-a-ranch-and-pretending-to-be-cowhands). This card stands for reuniting with people from the past, or just straight up celebrating.

While this card can mean that I should party down and enjoy myself, it can also indicate that there’s a happy event to look forward to. In this case, it makes sense that I should both express gratitude and celebrate where I am and what I’ve achieved in life, and maintain an optimistic outlook and keep looking forward to the future. I think I can manage that.

All told, this reading feels great. I have choices to make, my energy is compassionate and nurturing (or attracting compassion and nurturing), I need to be open to fun people and good news, emotional balance is just waiting for the opportunity to manifest, and I should focus on celebrating the good times to achieve my desires. Sweet.