lost mojo

i’m feeling drained, tired, and generally uninspired. the work i’m doing is so fun and i’m proud of it, but it’s not exciting me for some reason. the cards i pulled this morning are ones i’ve drawn very recently, and aren’t speaking to me in a meaningful way. what’s a reader to do?

beth’s finding your mojo spread, of course.

1. here’s my mojo:

IMG_0362the wheel of fortune. this isn’t my birth card, or even one that i work with or feel especially drawn to, but it makes sense to me here. i do value the connections between things, the colorful threads that tie everything together, even when events seem completely random. i enjoy the mystery and chaos that lie on the surface, and feel such relief and awe when things start to fall into place on a deeper level. there is only so much that we can control, and sometimes all i can do is let things go, and let fate take over. the only thing that is constant is change, heraclitus wrote, and there’s something comforting in that. my mojo is linked to control and power, to the inevitability of change, to surrendering to destiny. i’m more at peace when i stop trying to control everything and simply follow those vibrant threads that connect every person and thing, when i accept my small role in this world and don’t try to make it something that it isn’t.

 

2. here’s what’s getting in the way:

IMG_0305the three of wands. a card so perfect in this position, it made me laugh out loud. envisioning the future, as the wild unknown guidebook says about this card, always seems to cause me problems. i don’t have huge goals for my life, often resisting the so-called five- or ten-year-plan that so many others cling to. and tied with the wheel of fortune as my mojo, of course i would struggle when considering if all of these different types of shoots are ultimately going to help or hurt my career.

while i like being constantly busy and having work coming in all the time, every “traditional” job i’ve had has left me exhausted, frustrated, and doubting myself. freelancing is difficult but i know that it truly is the right path for me – i love the freedom to pick and choose work, love challenging myself to solve problems and grow, love working with new clients and new photography styles and new events. i thrive in the unknown, succeed when things are unpredictable, push myself harder when the outcome is unclear. clarifying my goals is something i hate to do, but feeling like i should be more goal-oriented is absolutely blocking my mojo these days.

3. solution:

father-of-cupsthe father of cups. if there’s a more appropriate card for this position, i can’t think of it. open-minded, calm, sensitive, and strong, he doesn’t hide from his emotions – he thrives on them, knowing the power that they contain. rather than the more introspective, mysterious members of his court, he harnesses the power of his connections and feelings in a stabilizing, empathetic way, and pushes that energy outward. his emotions do not control him – he understands and values their strength, and allows them to connect him to the world and people that he values.

what a beautiful card for me, in this position. while the action-oriented, fiery wands can stress me out and block me, making me second-guess my drive and lack of detailed goals for myself, the cups always bring me back to center. i trust my intuition, value my emotions, and rely heavily on my ability to read and navigate difficult situations. i work best when i work by instinct, following my gut to find a solution that feels right. it’s time to stop doubting myself, stop trying to make my life fit into a neat little box, and instead enjoy the fact that i’m a bit different. so what if my goals and dreams aren’t the same as others? who cares if i don’t know where i want to be (or who i want to be) in twenty years? does it really matter if i’m unique, independent, utterly strange? what’s most important is that i’m confident and content with my choices, that i trust myself, that i follow my heart.

mojo: found.

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shifting perspective

after all of the emotion and release that happened yesterday, i wasn’t sure what the cards would have in store for me today. but a new card is always an exciting challenge, and the hanged man is an excellent opportunity to explore new facets of my deck.

IMG_0364suspended upside-down, the bat views the world in his own unique way. finding rest during the daylight hours and coming out to hunt and explore only in darkness, he comes at life from a different angle. everything is a bit off-center, new and sometimes strange, but for him this is his daily routine. the only color in this card is in his eyes, blood red and wide open.

there are a lot of interpretations for this card – sacrifice, surrender, release, struggle, restriction, suspense, retreat, meditation, resistance. it all comes back to this idea of waiting, whether intentionally or not, along with seeing things from a new perspective. he transcends what is “normal,” and instead approaches problems from an unexpected position. while being upside-down can be an uncomfortable position for us, for him it feels natural and relaxed. this card can encourage us to seek stillness, to find rest in spite of what feels difficult, or to prepare for a unpleasant or uncomfortable situation that is approaching.
son-of-wandsi may have taken a step forward, but there are much more difficult ones to come. for me, this card is a reminder to try to see the perspective of others, to find stillness and calm in uncomfortable places, and to keep my eyes open and aware.

seeking more insight into this difficult card, i gave myself an additional card for clarification: the son of wands, a card with a completely different energy. while on his own he speaks to drive, passion, and adventure, when paired with the hanged man he could be suggesting putting all of that energy and action into embracing that new perspective. rather than struggling against what could feel like a trap, relaxing into an uncomfortable position can force us to stretch and grow in ways that soon feel like second nature. like a challenging yoga inversion, sometimes pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone can ultimately strengthen us, helping us master what at first felt impossible.

i love this pairing. both the hanged man and the son of wands are independent, self-sufficient, and utterly free. they create their own perspective, push themselves to do things differently, and don’t shy away from the unknown. it’s a beautiful lesson for today.

 

death (of the ego)

it’s been a difficult few days, and i’ve missed my morning readings. i hoped to find some clarity and calm, but instead have pulled some major, serious cards that will require a lot of processing. my card for today is death.

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rather than using more traditional imagery like the grim reaper cloaked and waiting, the wild unknown uses simple remains of a small bird. we see the literal decay, the end of life, and the change from what was a living creature into something completely different. death doesn’t have to be literal in tarot – rather, it can be a phoenix rising from the ashes, becoming reborn, changing and altering into a new being. something in my life needs to come to an end, to make way for a new chapter.

this could be a difficult card, and it’s not one i was expecting to see this morning, but there’s something so simple and final and real in this card. there’s no fighting it, no postponing it, no ignoring it – death just is. there’s a sense of letting go, of beautiful surrender, that’s unavoidable. and while i’m not completely sure what ending i should be seeking, it’s clear that i can’t pretend it’s not necessary.

hoping for clarity, i instead pulled another huge card: the devil. i’ve worked with this IMG_0367wicked one before, but as a clarifying secondary card, i think his meaning can change. i would love to read this combination as surrendering negativity and temptation, that it’s time for me to let go of the bad stuff to make way for the good, but i have a feeling that the cards are saying more than that. is my depression a crutch? do i cling to it in order to avoid dealing with my issues? have i been letting myself drown in pain and sorrow because it’s easier than seeking a solution? are there toxic people or things in my life that i’m ignoring? or is it me that’s toxic?

in researching this pairing of death and the devil, the same phrase kept emerging: the death of the ego. rather than some impending tragedy or sudden shift, death is a natural but unavoidable reality. but in tarot, death can be a choice. i can change elements of who i am, can choose to be different, can let go of my specific perception of myself and instead seek to discover who i truly am. but the devil can show fear, the temptation to run, and represents those negative patterns that we can’t escape. fear is such a strong motivator, and can be a huge barrier to change. and i have such strong, miserable patterns that i cling to, whether i want to or not.

these are big cards, strong energies, and it’s a lot to take in. but the cards are not holding back here, which means i need to be brave enough to listen to what they have to say.

 

time to soar

i had a few moments this morning before i have to head off to work, and thought i’d pull a quick card for some advice for the day. naturally, rather than something familiar and lovely like the six of cups or the two of wands, i pulled a new card from the major IMG_0372arcana: judgement. and this requires a bit more unpacking, but it was definitely worth the effort today.

a strong, brilliantly white bird soars high above, rays of black and white energy streaming from her wings. below, bats or dark birds seem to follow, straining behind her. they grow into a tangle as we get lower on the card, until they are completely indistinguishable from the darkness below.

judgement is a strong word, and as someone from a very religious, fire-and-brimstone style background, my first instinct was fear. but the main word that the wild unknown uses for this card is forgiveness, which completely changes my feelings on this card. suddenly i see the bird not being consumed by the darkness below, but rather rising above it. perhaps instead of the bats coming up to consume her, they’re inspired by her brightness and following in her footsteps.

there’s so much to consider in this beautiful card (and i absolutely adore beth’s take on judgement on her blog), but i love the idea of letting go, of seeking truth, of not only forgiving those in our lives that can drag us down but also of forgiving ourselves. i blame myself for so much, carry so much guilt with me through my days, and seem to dwell on every terrible thing i’ve ever done. i am also absolutely one of those people that is still embarrassed about silly, thoughtless things i’ve said or done years and years ago, that probably no one else remembers but me.

this card is so close to the end of the major arcana, with only the world left in the cycle, and is an incredible symbol of how release and forgiveness is very necessary for completion and happiness. i can choose to soar into that light, to release everything unkind and stressful and judgmental. maybe it’s time.

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.

naturally, 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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keep calm & carry on

my cards the last few days have been pretty scattered, giving me a lot of advice on how to approach each day: keep your heart open. stay high energy. listen to your intuition. don’t be afraid of adventures. be passionate. be emotional. be strong. be courageous. (but don’t get too carried away!) rather than my usual general questions, i took a slightly different spin today and asked what kind of energy i should be channeling for myself, and which way i should be moving: and i pulled the emperor.

the-emperor

a strong, full evergreen tree stands tall and alone in the bright daylight, stable and grounded. he offers shelter to those in need, and a steady, calming presence to everyone around him. unlike the empress’ colorful leaves and blossoms, the emperor’s needles are constant throughout all the seasons, weathering every storm. his is a reassuring presence, one that denotes strength, logical, practicality, sensibility, and order. his control and strength is the yang to the empress’ yin, his outward energy harmonizing with her internal mystery and magic.

some of my resources have a lot more difficulty with this card, as he can represent an authoritarian father or ruler, someone that imposes rules and discipline and structure. as a harsh taskmaster or a stern disciplinarian, this card has less appeal – my immediate instinct is to rebel, to fight those rules and regulations, to make my own path. but i think in this case, this more organized, practical approach is best right now – moving is so complicated, and there’s so much swirling around in my head that i can barely focus on any one task. this is definitely a time when being organized, making lists, and following schedules will help me achieve my goals and not lose my damn mind.