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?

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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?

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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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breathe deep

i’ve been pulling a lot of positive cards lately – ones that encourage me to look forward to what’s ahead, to seek hope and adventure, to start something new and embrace my own power through it. and it’s been lovely to feel so much strength and energy flowing through these cards – but it’s been a bit overwhelming too. today’s card, the seven of cups, seems to reflect and understand that perfectly. IMG_0338

i’ve written about this card before, and while it’s not always the most welcome sight in a
daily reading, it can also be a bit of a relief to have feelings acknowledged. this card flips everything on its head, and we don’t know which way is up, what time or place or day it is, or even how to move forward. it takes things we thought we were sure of and makes us question them. it can be an indication to stop, look around, take a breath, reassess. things are not what they seem, confusion is afoot, something is amiss.

i’ve been procrastinating, unsure, feeling simultaneously afraid to start and oh-so-tired of being stagnant. depression, especially when it lingers, is like slogging through mud, like wandering through fog, and it makes everything feel slow and heavy and exhausting. and as i attempt to stand up and stumble out of this darkness, to find my way back to who i know i can be, it’s hard to know how to get back into real life again.

the-empressin an effort to seek guidance, i pulled a second card for clarification, and got some serious female power: the empress. she’s beautiful and bold, a colorful beacon in the darkness. this strong tree is constantly evolving with the seasons, and her brilliant shades of pink and purple speak of spring, of the growth and life that come after a long period of cold darkness. she is warm, gentle, compassionate, and strong.

both of these cards are set at night, but reveal very different truths. while the seven reflects the confusion that darkness can bring, the confusing emotions and conflicting directions, the empress is solid and grounded, confident in her light and her strength. the darkness only serves to illuminate her, causing that which is insignificant to fade into the background.

and while it’s okay to be unsure sometimes, to feel hesitant or weak or confused about the next step, the empress reminds me that there can be power in the darkness. finding that inner light is not always easy, but that doesn’t mean that it has faded away.

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and don’t look back

so many of my emotions lately have centered around feeling left behind. i may not consider myself someone that craves control, but i do believe that no one wants to feel helpless, like all of their choices have been taken away or that they have no say in what happens next. raising your head and realizing that everyone has moved on without you, that you’re alone and perhaps don’t even know how long you’ve been that way, is a terrible thing.

but making the choice to stand up, assess your choices, and move on alone can hold such power. there’s tremendous strength in knowing when to leave something behind. and while the eight of cups can often denote sadness, isolation, or even despair, i was glad to see it in today’s daily reading.

the wild unknown depicts a different scene than other decks – dark mountains loom eight-of-cupsunder a grey sky, while a group of cups lies abandoned. this is a card of revolution, of transition, of changing direction or perhaps even changing the journey, and many decks include a figure leaving these cups behind and moving away with purpose. what i love about this card, and what differs from other interpretations, is that these cups are completely shattered, unusable, broken. there’s nothing left to salvage, no way to repair or reuse them. the only thing to do is to leave them, and perhaps to find new cups to fill.

the cards often surprise me, because i feel that someone in my current frame of mind might find this card discouraging. there’s nothing left for me here, everything is broken, i’m beyond repair. but instead i see courage, strength, and resolution. the cups are worthless, the journey has gotten off-track, and it takes purpose and fortitude to know when to stop, adjust, and restart. why would i keep holding on to these damaged cups? they’re useless to me. isn’t it better to set them aside and seek something that i can use?

yesterday’s card was all about action, control, awareness, and knowing your strengths. today i see where i’m to channel all of that readiness – it’s time to leave all of this behind.

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standing up

it’s been a long, hard few months. after yesterday’s post got much more personal than i usually am in this space, i spent a lot of time reflecting on where i am, where i’ve been, and where i’m going. depression is a long, winding road, with no real destination or end in sight. it’s a tough path to travel. but sometimes there’s such beauty to be found in darkness, and a poignancy to pain that can reveal harsh, but essential truths. while this isn’t a journey i would choose, it’s one i must take, and all i can do is keep my eyes and ears open to the lessons i can find along the way.

after so much introspection, i’m rather delighted by today’s card: the magician.

IMG_0353a new card for me, and one of self-empowerment, stamina, strength, and spirit. the wild unknown book describes the magician as “a card of boundless, expansive energy,” and indeed, the card is vivid, almost pulsing with light. the wildcat is strong, graceful, courageous, and wields the energy of all four suits with ease. he’s aware of his surroundings, but not afraid of them. there’s beautiful potential here, an anticipatory feeling of stillness, readiness. the magician is poised, awake, aware. he knows that he has the tools needed to conquer any situation, and the fortitude to know which skill will be needed in order to succeed.

after so many weeks in the dark, knowing that i’m still probably going to be drowning for a bit longer, this is an immensely empowering card. all about action, the magician knows what to do and how to do it. there’s no self-doubt, no confusion, no hand-wringing or gnashing of teeth or hiding in a corner. there’s such bold, quiet confidence here, such beauty and power and intensity. and while i may not feel that in myself at this very moment, pushing myself to find actions that i can take to find my own beauty and power and intensity feels like good advice.

i think it’s okay to not always be okay. but remembering that action is possible even when you feel completely and utterly powerless can be a beautiful reminder of what we are all capable of. the tools are right there – i just need to find a way to grab them and wield them with grace.

days go by

and again, weeks and weeks have gone by. i’ve been drowning in depression, and every time i think the tide is coming in and i think that i might be able to reach dry land, another current catches me and i’m pulled back under. depression ebbs and flows, but my compass has been completely shattered in the storm – i usually have a better sense of how long i’ve been treading water, when i’ve reached the eye of the storm, if i’ll get a glimpse of the horizon soon. but this time around i spent so much energy pushing it away, trying to hold it back, that now i’m utterly lost at sea.

i’ve been struggling in particular with my history of self-harm, and have gone down the terrible rabbit hole of comparing my struggle to that of others. any therapist, self-help book, or rational human will tell you that this is a terrible idea, that recovery is not a race, that everyone copes differently. but when i see the love and support given to friends of mine, whether they’re surviving sexual assault, dealing with crippling anxiety, recovering from eating disorders, or learning how to embrace life after a failed suicide attempt, i can’t help but feel ugly and lonely and wrong. why is it easy for me to extend kindness and sympathy and generosity to others that are struggling, and yet impossible for me to offer myself the same courtesy? my laundry list of issues are long and growing longer by the day, and yet when i see someone that has but one item on my own list, my heart aches for them. why can’t i ache for myself? why do i constantly listen to that nasty voice in my head, the one that says that nobody cares about me, that i have to be strong and not burden anyone else, that people only like me because of what i can give them?

my therapist is kind, my husband is supportive, and the few others in my life who know the ins and outs of my struggles have been wonderful. so why this need for me? why does my heart swell with envy when i see a friend post about her suicide attempt and get endless comments and notes of support, of love, of encouragement? people telling her she’s brave, she’s strong, she’s a fighter, she’s powerful, she’s an inspiration.

i tried, and failed, twice. what does that make me? (the voice in my head says, “it makes you a failure.”)

i brought all of this to the cards today. and they didn’t let me down: i pulled the tower.

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not for the faint of heart, this card. and though the instinct is to recoil, to cower in fear, to weep and beg and sorrow, perhaps this card and this depression are markers of real, internal movement. the tower signifies a permanent evolution, irrevocable change, a deep, significant transformation. there’s no going back to what we were before – we have to move forward into that wild unknown, whether we like it or not.

and perhaps the cards are simply urging me to learn from my darker past and stop being so afraid. step into the light. reveal the scary. shed that skin. if support is what you need, stop being afraid of rejection and simply ask for it.
IMG_0340naturally, steeped in fear and desperate to be wrong, i pulled a second clarification card: the nine of cups. a card of satisfaction, of pleasure, of contentment. it’s all about enjoying what’s in the present, reveling in stable, calm energy, and indulging in the things that give us joy.

could there be a stranger pair? i’m not sure. but what i see is that upheaval is necessary, that change is a’comin’, that the very foundations of my world are altering. and yet, there is peace to be found. there is serenity in knowing that this evolution is extremely necessary, and that i have been stagnant for far too long.

there’s a lot to process here, with many truths that i’m not sure i’m ready to see. but i’ve let the cards be silent for far too long, and i know in my bones that it’s time to listen. maybe that means that there are others in my life who are ready to listen too.

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finding my way back

it’s funny how in some times of upheaval you cling to things that are new, and in other times you discard everything. the last few weeks i really have been avoiding my cards, and i hope to find my way back to them now that i’m settled into a new place. i’ve missed them, quite a bit, but have also not been feeling very introspective. i’ve just wanted to be alone, to focus on all these details and projects and stresses without my cards forcing me to deal with thoughts and feelings that i knew i couldn’t handle. it took me a few minutes to locate my cards, which made me sad. and i can’t even find my notebook with the last eight months of readings and studying and notes. most things are unpacked, but i don’t feel settled – i’m just untethered, floating through the days.six-of-cups

today’s card, because my deck clearly has a sense of humor, is the six of cups.

don’t get me wrong, this is a lovely card. it speaks to joyous memories, the stories we tell ourselves, the roots that have shaped us and strengthened us and given us our foundation. nostalgia, childhood, growth, understanding, the unconscious. the six of cups encourages us to consider where we’ve started, and how far we’ve come. i also feel that the card reminds us to stay grounded, even in our emotions, and to allow ourselves to revel in the strength of our past, no matter what secrets linger there.

but this card can also indicate a need for forgiveness, a clinging to old hurts or scars beyond what’s healthy. other decks feature completely different imagery, and many versions of this card, particularly shadowscapes and druidcraft, seem to highlight a yearning to return to simpler things. i think many interpretations of this card are positive, but there’s a tendency to romanticize the past, to gloss over the pain and hurt that might’ve been present and instead focus on the easier, happier moments. both of these cards feature children, blissfully ignorant of the difficulties and responsibilities of adulthood, but while one card features someone simply gazing in awe and envy at these young, free kids, the other actually shows the dangers of losing yourself to those longings. they’re so caught up in this magical land of play and fantasy that they’re missing the reality around them.

it’s easy to long for simpler days, especially if your childhood was particularly carefree. i had a stable, loving family and material comforts, but was hiding a lot of secrets and pain that i still have to deal with on a daily basis. i don’t miss those days, but i do often consider how to simplify things, and wish for less troubles.

my current worries are all extremely adult right now – finances, a quiet point in my career, the stress of moving, issues with our subletter, concerns about changing friendships – and this card feels like it’s teasing me, reminding me of simpler memories and easier times, encouraging me to stay grounded and focused. but perhaps it’s also reminding me to look deeper, to explore the pieces of what makes me who i am – as well as what has shaped those that are important to me. feeling so lost, like the earth has shifted beneath my feet and i’ve been cut free of all those strong, colorful roots, is perhaps something i can overcome.

sevens, sevens

i’ve been feeling pretty disconnected from my cards for the last week or so. drawings have been stagnant, i’m seeing the same themes in my daily pulls, and have just felt stunted. the last few weeks have dragged as i continue to hurry up and wait for this move to progress, and the cards are absolutely reflecting that. i haven’t really felt inspired to write about these cards, as they share similar themes: the four of cups, the five of wands, the seven of swords. i’m stuck, distracted, overwhelmed, confused.

today’s card is no different, but i want to get back in this practice and glean as much as i can from the cards, even when i’m in a bad cycle. today’s card is apt: the seven of cups.

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this is a card that looks really different in both traditional rider-waite, and also changed significantly from the first edition of wild unknown (i have the second edition), so there’s a lot of symbolism to unpack. while other depictions feature clouds, with cups full of many choices, this newer card instead has a backdrop of mountains and darkness, with an inverted sun and a slim sliver of moon. it’s hard to tell if the cups are empty or full, and having both major celestial beings featured along with the disorienting placement of the cups creates an overall theme of illusion, confusion, and indecision.

sevens are typically cards of attainment and action, giving advice on how to achieve goals and what steps to take next. in this case, the seven cups face different directions, indicating that emotions are high and very confused. so many choices, potential directions to go, mesmerizing fantasies and tangled feelings. i don’t read reversals but this card works both ways, giving it even more layers of meaning.

for me, this card perfectly reflects how i’m feeling. i’m running in circles, not accomplishing much, feeling like there’s so much to do but afraid to start. i think that while this seven acknowledges where i’m at, it also reminds me to take a deep breath, try to see past the fantasies and illusions and focus on what’s real. the hard decisions have been made, and now i just need to prepare myself for the next steps.