weekly reboot

i have a very busy week and a half approaching: theatre photography, pre-event work for an upcoming festival, a friend’s birthday, a few fun evenings out, a half marathon, and my parents coming into town for the weekend. with so much going on, i wanted to do a spread for the upcoming week, to help me know how to approach it and carry me through. i don’t anticipate having time for my usual daily readings, though i hope that i can fit in a few here and there.

with that, i chose a simple three-card spread from jessi huntenberg, called the reboot spread. the spread is designed to help find ways to integrate self-care and make useful concessions when you’re overwhelmed or coming through something difficult. i found my cards challenging and not as clear as i would’ve hoped, so if you have additional insights i’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

1. what’s the most important task for me to prioritize this week?

eight-of-cups

at first i was a bit startled to see the eight of cups, but in the context of my fading depression and the long few months i’ve had, this card actually seems pretty empowering. representing moving on, changing direction, and abandoning what’s broken, i think this card is giving me permission to set aside my depression and hurt feelings and focus on what’s in front of me this week. it’s time to chart a new course, leave those broken cups behind, and find a new path.

this isn’t always easy, and even with something dark and unwelcome like depression, it can be hard to move away from it completely. you get so used to living with it that finding the strength to push it away and walk back towards the light feels completely impossible. but i know that i’ve been finding my way back, and this card encourages me to keep going and pushing myself.

2. what task can i drop or put off until i’m feeling more up to it?

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the son of pentacles isn’t a card i’ve worked with before, and i’m always delighted to get to know another card in my deck. incredibly hard-working, steadfast, focused, calm, and quiet, this son is known for his stamina and determination. he trusts his intuition, pushes through trials and struggles, and chooses work that he deeply believes in. he is utterly focused on the road ahead, his eyes unwavering, his goal fixed.

this card is beautiful in its imagery and its message, but is a bit confusing to me in this position. perhaps it is simply telling me that it’s okay to not know the final destination or every career and life goal, but instead to focus on these next few steps. every job i take, every event i work, every image i create helps make me better and more experienced at what i do. and though this week will be hectic and possibly overwhelming, everything keeps me moving farther down the path. i might not have a “fantasy job” or a super specific dream for my career, but all of these things are bringing me in the right direction – and it’s ok for that to be enough this week.

3. what self-care practice do i need to engage with to help me get back to center?

four-of-cups

the four of cups might seem like an odd form of self-care, but it does resonate with me quite a bit. fours are inward-focused, offer structure and stability, and can encourage us to act or break free. the wild unknown guide defines this card as greed and selfishness, but it can also be viewed as self-preservation, protection, or finding that oh-so-necessary emotional stability.

i have a tendency to overexert myself when it comes to helping others, and it can get me into trouble. it’s easier for me to focus on assisting my friends and family than dealing with my own problems sometimes, but that’s not always a healthy instinct and can later fester into feelings of isolation, frustration, or being taken advantage of. focusing on my own emotions or needs does usually feel selfish to me, but only when it’s me doing it – when i encourage my friends to do it i am positive that it’s warranted, healthy, and useful. i believe this card is encouraging me to focus on my needs this week – a lot of what i’ll be doing will be working for others, helping others, or doing kind things for others, so it’s important for me to take time out to care for my own needs, rather than seeing self-care as selfish.

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stalker cards

the nine of wands keeps coming up for me – this is the third time i’ve seen it in two weeks. it seems to describe this move so aptly, and it feels like it’s haunting me. i even dreamed about this card the other night. i can’t seem to escape it.

nine-of-wands

when a card is recurring like this, i think it’s tempting to blow it off or find a way to explain it all – yeah, yeah, i get it. especially with a card like this, in a situation like this: we’ve been working towards this move for months, it seems like every stage gets more complicated and difficult, and this card signifying the end of a long journey and perseverance seems rather… obvious.

many of my resources talk about stalker cards, and the importance of giving them their due. when a card continues to show up in different readings, it’s trying to tell us something important, make us see something that we’re missing. and while the meaning of this card seems fairly straightforward to me, i’m also a very new reader – there’s always more to learn, additional insights, new information and hidden meanings that i need to spend some time parsing through.

with that in mind, i decided to do a simple three-card spread to gain additional insight into this card, and what i might be missing.

1. what is the importance of this card in my life right now?

seven of swords. seven-of-swords
secrecy, protection, remaining aware of surroundings, staying on guard – this card fascinates me. so many possible meanings, so many layers. this card can speak to deception, to procrastination, to avoidance, but i’ve always seen a fox under tremendous pressure, trying to remain aware of the dangers and protect herself. even in a position of rest, she’s got one eye open, a sword at the ready. she knows about the swords overhead – she’s looking forward, staying aware of any new dangers she hasn’t seen yet.

i see a lot in this card, particularly in this position – i think i’ve been extremely afraid of this move falling apart, and haven’t wanted to completely commit to the process in case it doesn’t work out. with someone taking over our sublet, our application to a new place pending board and management approval, the owner of our new apartment also trying to get approved for her new place – it’s so many moving pieces, and i don’t want to be too disappointed if it doesn’t work out. but being so guarded and protective of myself, being so aware of all of the potentials for this to go wrong… it’s making me slow and overly cautious. i’m putting off tasks that i could easily do now, simply because it moves me closer to the end. and while protecting myself isn’t completely foolish, it’s also working against me.

2. what is preventing me from hearing the message of this card?

five-of-wandsfive of wands.
scattered, unfocused, lost, confused, overwhelmed. this is absolutely the best card in the deck to describe my current frame of mind. i’m practically in a daze, can’t pay attention to details, and feel utterly exhausted. i keep missing pieces and forgetting to do things, putting things off and never coming back to them.

i’m so concerned with what might go wrong, so overwhelmed by the possibilities and making contingency plans, that i’ve completely lost sight of what it would mean to actually move. i can’t envision my goal. my limited energy is pointing in a million directions.

3. how can i release any blockages?

three of pentacles. three-of-pentacles
focus, collaborate, find discipline. the only card in the spread with any hints of color, it seems to point to both my dealing with the nine of wands as well as how i need to make this move happen at all. by harnessing my skills, leaning on the abilities of others, and working hard, i can both understand the deeper meanings of this card and also get everything on my enormous to-do list completed.

my recent cards have been pointing to focus and structure, from the fiery energy of the ace of wands to the stable, disciplined presence of the emperor. teamwork has been the key to my tarot studies, both in relying on the wisdom of more experienced readers and also getting involved in forums and speaking more with friends about what the tarot is teaching me. by continuing to harness that energy i’ll find a deeper understanding of the nine of wands, and will also be able to accomplish my goals.

overall, this was a really helpful spread. my fears of failure and my overall exhaustion are keeping me from the main message of the nine of wands – to stay calm, and to focus on one step at a time. it feels like i keep getting close to my goal only to have another setback, another complication, another delay – but if i can stay focused on each small task, rather than worrying about everything that may go wrong, and if i can lean on my husband and my friends and my family to help me get through this, this move will happen just the way it should.

career spread

after today’s daily reading on blockages, strength, balance, and hard work, i felt motivated to do a longer spread focusing on my career and professional development. as a fairly new tarot reader, longer spreads are very intimidating – i often struggle to find connections between the cards, and to understand the full picture rather than focusing on individual cards. with that in mind, i’m posting this spread here along with my limited understanding of it – but i’m also sharing it in a forum or two with the hopes of gaining additional insight. i hope to update this as i continue to work through meanings.

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in general, i do think this was a helpful spread, with a lot of overlapping themes and advice. while i am still a bit uncertain about how to jumpstart my stalling career, i feel encouraged with the overall picture this spread has given me.

1. a source of strength within your situation

four-of-swordsfour of swords.
stillness & mental power. rest, quiet, calm, and finding ways to take time for yourself even when there is pressure and stress in the situation. when i was younger i found it very difficult to remove myself from bad situations, or give myself space to work through what was bothering me. but as i’ve gotten older i see more and more that i need a lot of room to think, to recover, and to think through issues and decisions. this card seems to be telling me that this has become a strength for me, and that my ability to deal with difficulties in healthy ways and seek quiet spaces to reflect and recover is something that will continue to serve me well in this situation.

other readers have suggested that this card can indicate a future lifting of pressures, and that those swords dangling overhead aren’t permanent. this card can also represent patience, and not getting hung up on the inconsistent nature of my work. stay calm and persistent, whether i have tons of clients or a slow week.

2. an action you can take to build on this strength

daughter-of-cups

daughter of cups.
this card is near and dear to my heart – not because it’s who i am, but because it’s who i’m working towards becoming. full of creative energy and capable of surrendering completely to her artistic, emotional side, the daughter of cups has an open heart, a kind soul, and a beautifully harmonious spirit. combined with the strength of finding mental space and rest, it seems that i should keep myself open to emotional discovery and experiences, even when i’m finding respite in quiet thoughts and meditation. i can have boundaries and respect my need for stillness, while still enjoying creativity and the beauty in artistic pursuits. for me, this card encourages me to continue finding ways to care for myself, through yoga, meditation, reading, writing, and tarot. as a photographer, my work can also be a way to retreat into art, and it’s important not to lose that.

this card can also be asking me to pay special attention to emotional issues and changes, and potential focus on keeping my work simple and sweet.

3. a source of weakness within your situation

six-of-swords

six of swords.
this card indicates processing a difficult situation, recovering from a harsh lesson, moving forward in spite of pain or confusion. it can also represent an unawareness of the future, but a determination to move forward anyway. as a weakness, this is a bit confusing, but since i don’t have really strong, solidified goals for myself in terms of my career, perhaps this is simply acknowledging that not having a strong endgame is a weakness. as mirrored in a later card, i do struggle with wondering if i should give up freelancing, so perhaps this is also highlighting that i don’t feel completely secure in my choice to work for myself.

fellow readers were particularly helpful with this card, suggesting that i consider my true level of commitment, how much time i’ve spent moving in any one direction, and that too much time dwelling in the darkness can cause us to miss the light ahead. i’ve certainly been considering trying new types of photography to gain more work, so this card may be telling me to stick with what i know and focus on improving, rather than expanding.

4. an action you can take to improve this weakness

four-of-cups

four of cups.
this card so often speaks of apathy, discontent, and selfishness – and it’s also not the first time this card has show up for me in a position of advice in a larger spread. this card confuses me in this position, since it doesn’t feel like as much of an action as a state of being or an emotion. but i think perhaps this card is encouraging me to be a little bit selfish. if i want to be a freelancer and keep doing what i love, maybe it’s okay to be focused on myself. but i need to identify what’s making me discontent and apathetic, what i really want out of this work, and to go get it. reconnect with what matters and what i love, and go deeper within to find it.

i gained a lot of insight into this card through other readers, who encouraged me to be less hung up on the creator’s words and instead remember that fours are generally inward and reflective. others thought this card could be telling me to strongly consider my skills and what sets me apart, or that i need to stop considering changing work and instead focus on what i truly want.

5. opportunities available to you

seven-of-pentacles

seven of pentacles.
contemplation & uncertainty. this card represents stepping back, assessing progress, being aware of where you are and where you’re going. i’ve achieved a lot in my career, and this is the time to reflect on it and learn from my progress.

in practical terms, this seems to indicate reviewing my previous clients, updating my portfolio to reflect my work, and looking at how my eye has developed over the years. i’m self-taught, so every shoot is an opportunity to learn and develop and grow – this card encourages me to reflect on that journey, as well as looking to how i can continue to improve my work and my style.

others agreed – this card is pointing towards my existing clients, and encouraging me to be supportive and respectful, seeing how i can grow and learn with them.

6. how you can approach these opportunities

mother-of-cups

mother of cups.
insightful, psychic, magical. this queen is deeply in touch with her emotional self as well as the emotional needs and states of others, incredibly intuitive, and both kind and compassionate. while she usually signals a need to reach out to others and care for their emotional well-being, in this position it seems that i should be aware of my own feelings. since this card relates back to the previous card and assessing my professional progress, i feel that the mother of cups is encouraging me to listen to my heart, remain open and aware, and let my intuition guide me forward. while pentacles are earthy, grounded, and practical, cups are all about emotion, which could mean that while freelancing isn’t always the most financially realistic option, it’s certainly what my heart has always encouraged me to do.

as with the previous card, remaining compassionate, sympathetic, and kind with my current clients – as well as seeing if there’s additional work i can create for them that would help in new ways – is something to be working towards.

7. something which threatens your situation

eight of cups.eight-of-cups
this card isn’t confusing to me at all – i understand exactly what it’s telling me. throughout my career i’ve always faced a lot of doubts. can i really make a living as a photographer? do i have the skills, the talent, and the ambition to do this? am i capable of doing what it takes to become a success? is there enough work for me in this field and profession? will i ever be good enough?

this card is all about knowing when to walk away from a difficult situation, and as an echo to the six of swords earlier, these broken cups reflect my constant feeling that i should make the more “responsible” choice, give up freelancing, and take a full-time job. even when i have a lot of work and am loving what i do, i worry that it’s a flighty, foolish dream, and that eventually i’ll have to grow up and work a 9-to-5 somewhere.

8. a way to deal with this threat

nine-of-wands

nine of wands.
the last card of this reading, and one i got just days ago in a daily reading, this card indicates persevering, moving forward, and not giving up. another that doesn’t seem as complicated to interpret, though i want to keep diving into the nuances this card presents.

the passion is there, i’ve come so far, and while the journey hasn’t always been easy or pleasant, i’m getting closer to the end. this card seems to know that i’ve been stuck and stagnant, confused, and considering giving up (again) – but it tells me instead to stay focused, and that the struggle will be worth it.

 

the overall theme here seems to be that i do love my rest, and that i am weary and confused and scared to continue, but that i need to evaluate how far i’ve come and keep my eyes forward. it’s been a challenging road, but i’m following my heart and doing something that i love. by acknowledging the past, i can learn from my own work and continue to make opportunities for myself. i need to stay open, follow my intuition, and persevere. with the insight other readers have given me, i do feel encouraged that i’m on the right path, and that i simply need to commit and stick with it, rather than constantly feeling guilty or second-guessing my decisions.

 

 

 

balance & blockages

some days it’s hard to find the time for tarot – i strive to do daily readings but it’s not always simple to find a quiet pocket of time to draw a card, meditate and ponder its meaning, and spend a few minutes writing and reflecting on how it can advise me on my day. but other days, like today, i seem to have endless time stretching before me, and my daily card challenges me to keep questioning and working through it. today’s card is the two of swords.

two-of-swords

this is a card that i always seem to struggle with, which is both ironic and fascinating. the card itself in traditional interpretations means blockage, stalemate, stalled progress. the swords represent two opposing forces, their energy high but forcing each other to stay in their position. the eclipse in the center beautifully illustrates shadows and confusion, the moon blocking the light of the sun, allowing us to look directly at it but making it hard to comprehend what our vision tells us.

however, when i draw this card my instincts tell me something else. i always seem to see balance, symmetry, equal forces, and steely focus. the swords may be crossed, they may be pushing against each other, but even with the stunning eclipse in the background they are single-minded in their attention and efforts.

i was delighted to read that beth sees a similar duality – and the samples of the two of swords in other decks seem to offer a variety of interpretations. whether its a willful pushing away of realities to focus on a single issue or decision, or a naive avoidance of a problem, there is both strength and withdrawal in this card. sometimes we have to push daily distractions out of our mind and put all of our energy towards preparing, making a strong decision, steading ourselves. but denial is a strong instinct, and it can be easy to mistake steady focus with putting our heads in the sand about real issues, and ignoring challenges that won’t go away until they’re dealt with. (if you’re out there reading this, i’d love to hear your interpretations and personal intuitions about this card in the comments!)

wanting more on what i may be blocking or ignoring (whether intentionally or not), i pulled a clarification card and was rewarded with an old friend: the eight of pentacles.

eight-of-pentacles

like the ten of wands or the ace of swords, this is a card that comes up a lot for me in both daily readings and larger spreads. the spider is steady, calm, and always working – she isn’t distracted by what’s around her but instead is hyper-focused on her craft and her mission, and weaves intricate, beautiful webs as often as possible. this card reminds us that hard work and perseverance are what bring us closer to our goals. for me it also represents getting out there and pushing myself to continue to improve my photography, whether by seeking new clients or creating personal projects that push me outside my comfort zone and help me develop my artistic style and professional skills.

centering the two of swords around my professional work makes this daily reading much more clear. while i love what i do, things seem to be slowing down or stalling out these days – my regular clients, while consistently providing work, seem to be slowing down this week. i haven’t shot anything new in a few months. and i haven’t been pushing myself to experiment with my camera, read about new equipment or techniques, or creating recipes or projects for myself to develop my portfolio. i’ve let myself be distracted by the myriad of other things in my life – and while these things are important, i should put my focus back into my work for a bit.

in light of this daily reading (and given my very slow work week ahead), i’d like to do an additional spread focused on developing my career. more on the way…

 

the devil in the details

apparently starting this online, open journey is bringing out some intense cards for me to work through. today’s daily reading card was a big one: the devil.

the-devil

it’s hard not to feel a bit wary of this card, in spite of my determination to not label cards good or bad. i want to be open and intuitive, and let the cards speak to me in each moment, rather than having harsh, instinctive reactions to the cards. and this devil, with his burning hooves and that sly, wicked glint in his eye, is certainly challenging those goals today.

many of my references speak of the devil in the same light: he represents ugly relationships with people or substances, can indicative negative patterns, bondage, temptation, materialism, or indulgence. and while it seems that his main mission is to point out unhealthy patterns and bring awareness to what traps we may be in, it doesn’t always have to be negative – the devil can also encourage us to challenge our assumptions, and to take a more critical look at how time and energy are being spent.

personally, this card is a bit confusing – i’ve been in kind of a haze the last few weeks, having trouble focusing on much of anything, lacking energy, feeling unmotivated and uninspired. i’ve been pushing myself to spent more time writing, and more time with the tarot, which don’t seem like negative habits on their own but perhaps are my way of escaping dealing with the realities of my life.

i’m not sure if other readers, whether new or experienced, do this, but when i pull a card that i can’t see a clear meaning in, i’ll occasionally pull a second clarification card. sometimes this becomes immensely helpful, immediately shifting my awareness to a new reading or aspect of the original card, and furthering my understanding when i take them as a pair. i pulled the son of cups.

son-of-cups

i’ve always identified very strongly with the suit of cups. the son is a fascinating card to pull alongside the devil, since he’s known for jumping in too fast and too deep, missing nuances and details, getting a little cocky about his abilities and perhaps rushing. cups are all about water, emotion, depth, connections, and while the son has a bit more experience and sensitivity than his younger sister, he can also turn self-indulgent, ignore the logic of a situation, and spend too much time with his emotions.

i started therapy this week, and also started two blogs – one a private journal, and one this public tarot journal. i’ve also spent a lot of time writing, both about my personal journey as well as my spiritual one. and while i don’t believe that these habits are inherently negative, the combination of the devil and the son of cups points to perhaps too much time naval-gazing. introspection can be good, and healthy, and learning to talk about my emotions and myself is something that i hate but have been trying to improve. these cards are telling me that jumping in head first, and spending so much time focusing on myself, isn’t the way to go. i still need to get outside, get active, enjoy my life, and not spend all of my time in front of my computer or buried in books. tarot is a beautiful tool, and writing can be extremely constructive and helpful, but i can’t get so lost inside these things that i forget to do anything else.