inner light

today’s card is a reminder for peace, calm, finding quiet spaces, and channeling that inner light: the four of swords.

IMG_0291swords can be a stressful suit for me, and the more i work through the elemental aspects the more i understand that air and i just don’t quite fit. something about all that open space, nowhere to hide, the clarity of truth and the forceful nature of wind and storms – it all makes me a bit uneasy. i like my swirling tides and churning waves, feel safer when i can hide in the depths of stormy seas and sink beneath the currents. but i can’t live solely in those mysterious waters – sometimes honesty and openness are the only way to find contentment. and with those big swords hanging overhead, the lamb has to look within herself to find the eye of the storm, has to set her own boundaries and find peace even when everything around her is tense.

we head back home today, after a crazy week in california. there have been some stressful times, some difficult times, some sad times. i don’t feel nearly as rested or relaxed as i hoped to feel, and catching a cold halfway through didn’t help. but i’m grateful to have been able to spend even a few days in one of my favorite places, and thankful to have spent time with family and new friends. IMG_1517

today is a travel day, which are hardly known for being restful or quiet. but as i fly through the air to my home, perhaps i can find some rest, create some moments of peace and calm for myself. i want to be able to learn from each element, rather than wrapping myself up in one and ignoring the rest. my mental space may often be cluttered, may be dark and twisty and confusing, but that doesn’t mean i can just pretend it’s not there. especially after so much stress, it’s critical for me to rest even in tension, to set boundaries for myself so that i can take some deep breaths and find center again.

strength in stillness

today’s card is one of my favorites: the four of swords.

four-of-swordspeaceful and strong, the lamb is confident in the power and clarity of her third eye. she’s aware of the swords hanging overhead, but she still smiles in the face of the unknown, allowing herself some much-needed rest. as the guidebook says, she sits in stillness and without fear. fours can represent stability and balance, so combined with the strong air energy and mental power of the swords, this card is all about quiet, rest, and finding space. it can remind us to set gentle boundaries, to protect ourselves, to seek tranquility and self-care practices that gives us peace and strength.

it’s absolutely possible to find moments of peaceful retreat while under pressure, and it’s an important skill to develop. not everything can be done by sprinting or pushing hard – sometimes we have to pause, to breathe, and give ourselves some time to rest and evaluate our progress before we can continue facing those swords again. knowing how to set those boundaries, both for others and for ourselves, is essential for healing and self-care. i’m not very good at creating those gentle barriers, but i relish the quiet times when i can find them. and with so much going on lately, both professionally and socially and mentally and emotionally, i’ve been craving some still moments for myself.

perhaps some time of meditation and solitude will help keep those swords overhead at bay for a little while longer.

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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