burning out

i’m deep into my insomnia, going on day five of no real sleep, and tarot feels like a giant mystery right now. it’s time to begin week two of the alternative tarot course, focusing on the elements and suits of the minor arcana. and while i’m excited to keep exploring my deck and expanding my knowledge, everything in my head is twisting and turning upside-down. no surprise that today’s draw was the seven of cups, a card that perfectly mirrors my exhausted mind and tangled thoughts.

while water and cups represent relationships, connections, love, friendship, and emotions, part of my work this week is learning how the different suits overlap and interact with each other. the suits speak to each other, reference each other, and offer little hints and reminders that none of these elements exist in a vacuum. someone who’s IMG_0338intellectual and analytical might feel much more comfortable dealing with air and earth, staying connected to the world around them and focusing on knowledge and facts, rather than first considering emotional responses or passionate ideas. and though this seven deals with those watery, elusive emotions, connections to other people that we can’t usually control, depths that can be frightening to explore – i can’t help but notice the powerful celestial bodies that feature on this card, and those strong mountains in the background. this confusion may be centered on cups and water, but there are references to air and earth too. after all, when emotionally confused, when illusions feel much too real, when everything is sideways and it’s impossible to know which step to take next, don’t we try to intellectualize, find a rational solution, seek the truth? don’t we scramble to find our footing, stay grounded, find comfort in the physical world? when our hearts are disoriented and can’t find a way forward, we move to other strengths, work to solve the problem in a new way.

my personal elements are mainly water and fire, but i’m working to incorporate more air and earth into my daily life. i rely the most heavily on my instincts and intuition, rather than my intelligence or ability to recall facts and knowledge. i may live in the physical world, and relish being in nature, but i tend to get lost in my thoughts and dreams when left to my own devices. my weakest element is probably air, as my mind can be a very dark and difficult place. i’m not always comfortable solely in my head, preferring to either lose myself in the physical world or stay true to my fiery passions or swirling, complex emotions.

some larger elemental spreads will be coming later in the week, but for today i’m going to give myself permission to live in this disorienting space, and try to get my head on straight.

checking in

my mind kept going back to the eight of pentacles after my reading yesterday, trying to sift through various meanings and what this card might be trying to tell me. and while i’m not sure that i have all the pieces together, my cards clearly want me to continue to work with pentacles. today’s draw is the seven of pentacles.

IMG_0324lined up in an orderly fashion, with lines at direct angles behind them, this card is organized, thoughtful, and contemplative. this is a card for stepping back and evaluating, considering progress made and if a change of direction is needed. beth calls this an interim report card, which speaks to me in a much clearer way than yesterday’s eight. rather than doing something quickly or haphazardly, this card speaks to making long-term decisions that will work for good. putting effort into what is truly important will make all the difference in the future, and will start to pay off in ways that are even bigger than planned.

my mind is a bit confused at the moment, trying to construct the perfect words to express what i want and need. pride is this weekend, and i’m going to participate in events for the first time: a run in the park, a fun meet-up with some much-admired writers and vloggers, and of course, the big parade. i have friends meeting me at each event and am excited about finally joining the community. but the month is also drawing to a close, and while i’ve been working on drafts for the letters i still need to send to a few family members, i haven’t finalized or sent them out yet. i’m worried about commas and phrases, scared about how they might react, as if one tiny word will make the difference between their acceptance and support or a complete disaster.

pentacles typically are tied to the earth, to worldly possessions and successes, to career and home and wealth. i have trouble relating to this suit, simply because i don’t have a strong tie to money, or a particular definition of success, or a big end goal for my career. i don’t really evaluate my life this way. but if i change the meaning of pentacles to reflect what keeps me whole and grounded, what makes me feel safe and secure, what gives my life purpose and meaning, then these cards become much more significant. and while relationships and communication are traditionally tied to cups, in my current situation, my family and friends are keeping me together. not having certain people in my life know the truth about my identity feels like something that’s holding me back, like i can’t truly relax or be happy and whole. the thing i’m craving, what will bring me back to earth and let me feel strong and confident, is honesty. i want to live my truth, not just with a select few but with everyone in my life.

there is so much fear, still (and perhaps always), but i know that i’m making the right choice. this matters too much to ignore.

passing time

after a hectic and challenging week, along with a running race that i was certainly not prepared for and a busy weekend of planning several upcoming trips, i’m now facing a very quiet few days. only one shoot scheduled, editing finished, nothing major on the agenda. it was no surprise to draw a card that so often symbolizes confusion, procrastination, and choices: the seven of cups.

IMG_0338this card pops up a lot, both in my daily readings and also in my thoughts. it’s beautiful and confusing, a colorful, entrancing illusion, often pointing to tangled feelings, deception, temptation, or the power of dreams and decisions. sometimes we get so caught up in a fantasy that we lose our grasp on what’s actually in front of us; other times we’re simply dazzled by all of the lovely options in front of us and paralyzed by choice. in my case, a sudden end of my work to-do list leaves me with endless options for how to spend my week. my personal tendency to disappear and lose time can often take over, and since i’m still considering how best to compose coming-out letters to family members, my brain feels like a jumbled mess. i’ve been relying on my work to keep me busy, but now that everything is completed i need to come to terms with the best way to communicate.

i don’t mind mystery or challenges, but this card can point to so many things that i often pull a clarifying card along with it to give me a direction to consider. in this case, my card is much more grounded and clear: the mother of pentacles. whenever i pull this card i feel that it’s reminding me to care for mother-of-pentaclesmy husband and family, to use my energy and resources to help them however possible. with extra time and energy this week, it seems like a perfect opportunity to offer assistance, get organized, and be a kind and compassionate caretaker. my husband is very overwhelmed these days and while i can’t solve any of his problems (my first instinct when things are going badly for anyone), i can listen, offer empathy, and do what i can to lift other small burdens around the house. i’m not always good with words, preferring to express affection and love through actions or gifts, but in this case my energy can be focused on a way that it will have true impact on the ones that need it.

the mother of pentacles feels like the opposite of self-care; rather, she devotes her time and resources to those she cares about. i can use my energy for them today, and find a way to help myself tomorrow.

focus & strength

today’s card is a beautiful, encouraging one: the chariot.

9ccc795f1209e4161696b48dbb206836looking straight ahead, the beams of the sun above streaming down around her, this horse is poised, intense, and sure of herself. she radiates power and confidence, her gaze focused and ready. there’s nothing she can’t accomplish if she puts her mind to it. the wild unknown book calls her a reflection of one’s inner warrior, reflecting our personal confidence and will.

there are so many important details in this card – the moon on her forehead points to intuition, reminding me to trust my instincts and listen to that little voice inside. the pentacle around her neck shows that she is grounded, perhaps that she has gained mastery over earthly goals and is ready to conquer something new. and the sun shining overhead offers strength and new possibilities, offering illumination and happiness. she has overcome much, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that her journey is over – there is always more to do.

i think this is such a strong, lovely card, and while it’s one i’ve drawn for friends, is not one i’ve seen in a personal reading for myself. i can’t help but hope that this is encouragement for me, a reminder that i am stronger than i believe, that i can accomplish so much with focus and determination. perhaps she is answering some of the questions that yesterday’s drawing seemed to ask. the chariot represents triumph, success, overcoming adversity. and while she does not float through difficulties without effort, she is sure and strong, pushing herself to reach for those dreams and possibilities and wishes.

as i continue to wrestle with my own demons, working through a difficult choice, i’ll take her strength, experience, and wisdom and work to apply it to my own situation. if i can focus on my goal, the chariot reminds me that anything is possible.

 

protect yourself

i’ve been seeing a lot of swords and cups in my reading today, and i think it’s a perfect (if very on-the-nose) representation of my current mental state – my emotions and fears at war with what my mind is telling me i must do. today’s card is the seven of swords.

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like the four of swords, this clever creature is completely aware of the swords over her head – but unlike the lamb, channeling her power and setting boundaries for herself, this fox keeps an extra sword hidden, waiting for something big to happen. perhaps she’s aware of a threat in her midst, and doesn’t trust those around her – or maybe she’s the one with the secret, and is wary of being discovered. either way, she is on edge, keeping an eye on everything.

this card often reminds me of the seven of cups, another card that can speak of secrets, illusion, and deception – both speak to internal issues, whether they’re mental or emotional. and having seen both suits so many times in recent readings, it seems fitting to mediate on them both.

IMG_0338last week i wrote a post about coming out, and struggled with whether or not to share it on social media. this blog is not private, and i rarely write secret posts, but it also doesn’t get a lot of traffic – i write mainly for me, and while i occasionally send posts to friends, rarely share it beyond that. as i work through how to come out to some remaining family members, i’ve been wanting additional support from those that already know, along with those that don’t but will be strong allies. but i’ve been putting it off, worried that no one would care, that it wouldn’t mean anything. i’m out to almost everyone in my life – surely posting that on a site like facebook, where my connections are friends and real people i’ve met, shouldn’t be that scary. right? if i can write things that are available to strangers on the internet, surely people that care about me are less intimidating?

but oh, the fear is palpable. just considering posting this publicly (along with writing this post, right now) feels self-indulgent, self-involved, self-serving. sharing a post about my sexuality, as brief and broad as it is, feels like a huge personal step for me. and perhaps it’s the seven of swords speaking – this secret i have is impacting so many relationships, so many decisions, simply because i haven’t shared it yet. but the seven of cups looms too – is my brain pushing my heart to do something it’s not ready for? do i only think this is an important step, when it actually wouldn’t matter to anyone? will i feel better when it’s over, or simply obsess about likes and comments and fear nasty private messages?

i’m honestly not sure. but the phrase i keep seeing in blogs and forums about this card is act consciously. what’s more important – feeling calm and at peace with myself, or getting attention and support from others? do i want to tell people for them, or for me?

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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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finding inner light

another wand. this suit has been with me all week – there are clearly some lessons to glean here: inspiration into action, passionate creativity, the power of important challenges. today’s card is a beautifully empowering one: the seven of wands.

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a bright flame stands alone, illuminating the darkness all around. the other wands are piled in the corners, leaning against walls, seemingly exhausted or cast aside. the others have succumbed to the darkness, but our bold seven stands up straight, on her own power. that brilliant flame is the only color here, and is not merely a spark but a full, beautiful light.

sevens are focused on personal attainment, achieving a goal, and providing some practical advice. and with so many wands in my recent readings, it’s impossible not to feel that my cards are pushing me to find that inner strength, to seek that fiery confidence of the seven of wands. she’s bold, powerful, and solitary – proud of her inner strength, unafraid to be an individual, following her heart and spirit to be as brilliant as she can. there’s so much encouragement in this card, a real “take no shit” attitude that i love. shine on, little wand.

this can be easier said that done. it’s not always easy to be brave, to be proud, to stand tall and alone. embracing our inner weird, not shying away from what makes us individuals, and having the confidence to burn alone can be a terrifying prospect. but whatever it means, for you reading and for me writing, finding that inner light can be essential to keep going. i keep writing about this darkness i’m trapped in, and this beautiful card reminds me to trust my inner fire, to let that little spark guide me through my day.