intention & truth

instagram has felt easier these last few days – a bit more anonymous, a bit more concise, a bit safer. the prompts from my tarot challenge are thoughtful and focused, and i’ve really enjoyed getting to know others in the community. but today’s cards are devoted to uncovering inner truths, and i find myself wanting a bit more space to explore these meanings. i’m utterly drained, and the last few days have been very difficult, but this feels like a good way to assess and reflect.

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first up is my intentions: the six of wands. this is a new card for me, but i already love it – it reminds me so much of judgement, rising above darkness and shadows and tangled thoughts and feelings to be free, to find space and light, to move forward. the butterfly is so bright, so strong, and those tangled thorns below her could’ve shredded her wings to bits. she may be tired, she may feel worn down, but she has managed to break free and find space to spread her wings again. this is such a lovely, victorious card, recognizing what we’ve had to fight through to find progress. and this absolutely feels like my current intentions – i just want to escape this darkness, want to opened my battered wings and fly out of all of this hurt and pain and fear. i feel like i’ve been stuck here for so very long, and i’m craving escape. i want fresh air, want room to breathe, want to feel like i’m in charge of my body and mind and soul again. everything feels so dark, but this butterfly’s beautiful, colorful wings give me a bit of hope.

 

son-of-wandshow is this manifesting in my life, and what are my actions signaling? the son of wands is independent, single-minded, completely focused on achieving his goals. he’s charming, adventurous, passionate, and completely confident in his abilities. he knows that the path he’s following is the correct one, and he’s sure that his plan will work – no obstacles in sight, no challenges he can’t face, no storm he can’t weather. who needs a backup plan when you already know you’re capable of facing anything?

his confidence is staggering, and certainly doesn’t reflect how i feel right now. but that focus on doing one thing well, on following a path to the very end, on putting all of my energy into one task? that i relate to. tarot has become something so important to my days, and even when i don’t have the energy to write or the strength the share my readings, pulling a card or two and spending some time in thought and meditation has become a goal for each day. i may not accomplish a single other thing, but at least i can find some time for reflection, for consideration, for challenges. it feels like if i can just listen to the cards, even for only a moment, it gives me a much-needed break from the darkness swirling in my mind.

i love that both of these cards are wands, that both cards feel independent and strong, that both cards are focused on a single purpose. i’m longing to break free of my darkness, and i’m using tarot to help me find my way out. and while both of these characters are finding their own way, and i still feel pretty lost in those tangled branches, the son of wands gives me hope that by focusing my energy on self-reflection and understanding, eventually i’m going to find a way to escape.

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let’s go

today’s card is one that always brings me a bit of anxiety, and a lot of expectation: the two of wands. and while this is not a welcome card for me, there’s so much to unpack and sort through as i consider the why.

traditionally, the two of wands is a card of determination, IMG_0304willpower, potential, embracing power, taking a big step forward. horizontal lines indicate stability and power, but all those colors of the rainbow remind us of the limitless promise here – all that energy can be focused just about anywhere. there’s so much possibility here, taking the fiery energy and opportunity present in the ace and harnessing it into something concrete. having the fire and the passion to get excited about something is a great start, but without channeling that energy into something specific, it can fizzle out, fade away, or simply get lost. we have to be willing to reach out and grab those wands, point that colorful, vibrant energy towards something, and get going.

for some, i imagine this is a really exciting card. new ideas! a call to action! potential for greatness! but for me, i simply see pressure. there’s so much expectation when starting something new, so many challenges to get things right, that i’m afraid to even start.

i’ve written before about the stories that we tell ourselves, the way that we view our personalities and strengths and experiences, and how that often looks very different than the way others perceive us. i think that’s a fundamental part of the human experience, that no matter how self-aware we strive to be, we will always see ourselves in a specific way that may not align with the way we appear to the world around us. my view of myself has always been fairly specific, both in terms of what i am and what i’m not: hardworking, but not ambitious. creative, but not a creator. passionate, but not goal-oriented. interesting, but not unique. i am someone that can help people achieve their goals, craft their art, support their dreams, but i don’t have lofty ambitions or life-long objectives of my own. i’m artistic, but i’m not my own artist – i can contribute and complete, but i don’t have enough ideas to actually start something.

…which makes a card like this, that’s all about learning and building and focusing, feel impossible. what could i make, say, create, that hasn’t already been done a hundred times? why would my struggles, my lessons, my thoughts matter to anyone? how could i express myself that wouldn’t feel redundant, or simply ridiculous?

the answer is that i don’t know. i’m more comfortable in a supporting role, but this card is not about comfort. this card is about taking all those swirling ideas, those niggling fragments of inspiration, those random scribbles in notebooks and hastily-written, half-finished stories, and channeling them into something real. whether or not anyone sees it is not the point – the purpose is to actually make or do or say the thing, to craft it into something that matters. the point is the process, the journey, the attempt. simply making the effort isn’t the first step, it’s the third or fourth in an long series – and it can be the hardest one.

i’m not sure where this is going yet, but what’s clear is that it’s time to get started.

embers & flames

my letters are written, and i’m sending them in just a little while. i’ve been awake for hours, full of crackling energy and nervous anticipation. it’s pride, and i’m about to finish coming out. i asked for a card to meditate on, to give me energy and strength, and was given one of my favorite cards in the deck: the mother of wands.

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i’ve loved this card since i first started with tarot, but she took on new meaning for me a few weeks ago as i was gathering the courage to come out on social media for the first time. most of the people in my life already knew, but making that public declaration felt like such an important step, and helped to pave the way for me to finish coming out to my family. she represents charisma, confidence, passion and strength and ferocity. she knows what she wants and will do what it takes to get it. she is so powerful and fearless, and she inspires me to be brave.

fire is such a beautiful, changeable element. it can flare up quickly, burn low and slow, spread so fast it’s unstoppable, smolder and spark. it has many faces, can sometimes show instantaneous energy and flash, but other times creep up and spread until it’s out of control. this queen knows when to let the embers build slowly and when to let it rage with smoke and flame, and loves all of its forms. i think i’m slowly learning that it’s okay to shine brightly, to let myself crackle and glow, to embrace the heat even when it’s scary.

and as i prepare for my first pride celebration, even as the rain comes down, i know it’s okay to burn.

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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what’s next?

i was thinking a lot about the dual nature of tarot as i prepared to draw this morning’s card, particularly how sons/knights can represent the strengths and weaknesses of each suit. i find them such fascinating, difficult cards, and was intrigued that i hadn’t pulled one in awhile, particularly since i’ve been in such a challenging mental state for so long.

my cards do seem to tease me, because of course i pulled the son of wands as today’s daily draw. clearly i have more reflecting to do.

son-of-wandsoh, this charming, clever, passionate son. bold and confident, adventurous but flighty, he brandishes his fiery wand with pride and stares straight ahead, never looking back. he knows what he wants and it doesn’t even occur to him that his plan might not work out. this son of fire, of energy, of inspiration and creativity, is always on the move. he pushes forward, obsessive and driven, craving the next high and completely sure of his place in the world. i’ve written about him before, but today i think he carries a different message for me.

there’s no fear in this snake, no hesitation, no room for self-doubt. he’s ruled by his passions, by that constant need for adventure – everything in his posture is about the next big thing. wrapped around the wand, bathed in the brilliance of its light, he barely seems aware of what’s around him. he’s focused solely on what’s next.

and while this card clearly carries warnings, and there can be danger in this kind of single-minded pursuit of passion and glory and excitement, there’s something so lovely in his pure, unadulterated eagerness. he could be the captain of a ship, staring into the storm without fear. he could be a warrior, believing in the honor of the upcoming battle. he could be a firefighter, assessing the blaze and knowing it’s time to run into it. that intense focus, that readiness for whatever is around the corner – he’s not afraid of the challenge, he’s actually seeking it, anticipating the next big thing.

to actually welcome what’s coming, even if it’s unknown – there’s beauty there. and after yesterday’s three of wands, with its glimpses of a colorful future, perhaps i can begin to seek hope too.

…& ten.

three tens in a row is not a coincidence.

ten-of-wands

the ten of wands is a card i get a lot. dreary, disorganized, scattered, confused, lacking direction – these wands are tangled in the darkness, going every which way. it’s hard to even see the individual wands, or to tell which way they’re pointing.

tens being the end of the cycle represented in the minor arcana, and wands embodying passion, fire, purpose, inspiration, creativity – getting this card frequently seems appropriate. my daily work is creative, my brain is creative, my passions are all creative. i’m a water sign, a scorpio. i live in the dark, i trust my intuition, i thrive on passion, i feel deeply. it makes sense that a soul like mine, which tends towards strong emotions and intense cravings, would feel burned out constantly. my job is in the visual arts, so every time i’m working i need to dive into that deep well of creative energy. and my hobbies are all creative too, from the more passive ones (i love to read and lose myself in music) to  more active pursuits (writing, tarot, cooking, pretending to learn guitar). creativity and passion are what keep me whole and functional, and some days it feels like the cycle of the suit of wands and fire is one that i live every week.

while this card is very understandable and relatable for me, it also feels like a bit of an admonition. i don’t get very specific in my queries for daily readings – i almost always ask for guidance for the day, where i should focus, and how i should spend my energy. but today i found myself rambling, listing all the possibilities and inadvertently asking a million tiny questions about how exactly i should spend this quiet, rather unstructured day. the cards are giving me a clear message – you’re scattered, you’ve overwhelmed, you’re exhausted. chill out, prioritize, declutter.

so i asked for a clarification card, and boy did i get one: the lovers. what a beautiful card.

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union, joy, love, desire, contentment. it feels like the complete opposite of the ten of wands – like an overflowing cup rather than a tangle of sticks in the darkness. and while i think this card can mean so many things depending on how and where it falls, in this context it feels like advice: to be grateful for my marriage, to be content with what i have, to seek peace in going with the flow, to blend and enjoy all the facets of me. yes, i’m a dark, weird, passionate, intense person – but i’m also married to someone energetic, analytical, adventurous, bright. i need to support him, but can also learn from his enthusiasm and airy, sagittarius energy.

it’s okay to feel this dark, swirling energy constantly, and it’s understandable that i’d feel burned out a lot. but it’s also okay to push that aside, to care for myself, to focus on joy, and to put my energy into being gracious and grateful.