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.

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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every which way

after so much beauty and strength in yesterday’s draw, today’s card initially feels a little discouraging: the five of wands.

five-of-wandsthese wands are laying haphazardly, each pointing in a different direction, with none of them touching or overlapping. the lines behind them reflect the chaos, moving in hard angles and with erratic spacing. all of this suggests a complete lack of focus, confusion, distraction – the eye wanders, unsure of where to look. rather than working together to move in one direction, they seem to be fighting each other, defensive and contrary.

i’ve been enjoying pushing myself in different directions in my photography, but it can also bring up worries about talent, ability, and stretching myself too thin. am i good enough to try all of these styles and specialties? can i make a living doing all the things i like, or do i have to choose just one? this field is so competitive, and with everyone posting images every single day from their cell phones, some good and some downright terrible, it’s impossible not to feel threatened or like i have to prove my worth and value every day.

daughter-of-cupsi pulled a clarifying card to offer additional guidance, and found an old friend: the daughter of cups. and while she can represent many things, in this context i see her quiet confidence in the full spectrum of the suit of cups. she knows that water can be clear or murky or choppy or still, bright and illuminating or dark and mysterious. even when she doesn’t understand every facet of herself, she still trusts that every emotion has value, and believes in her own instincts. knowing that she doesn’t know everything does not bother her – she finds it comforting that there is much she does not understand. there is power in wonder, in the unknown.

confusion is not always bad, as it forces us to focus on what matters. and second-guessing my career choices doesn’t make me weak, as long as i don’t allow it to stall or consume me. but these cards feel like they’re pushing me to rise to a challenge, rather than give in to distraction and fear. i am capable of riding out these difficulties, as beth from little red tarot says. this tension can make me stronger.

 

courting cups

my last few daily readings have stirred up a lot of emotion, and with so many cups and swords in play it’s no surprise that i’ve been very internal these days. today’s card seems to honor my sensitive state, while still pushing me to action: the father of cups.

father-of-cupsi’ve seen both the daughter and the mother of this suit recently, and while they’re both powerful figures, in tarot the female energy is connected to internal awareness, psychic abilities, and strength of intuition. the mother of cups is deeply introspective, powerful in her reading of situations, and intensely empathetic. in contrast, the father of cups (and in tarot, masculine energy in general) is action-oriented, pushing us to direct energy outward rather than reflecting inward. he is strong, direct, diplomatic, open-minded, sensitive, supportive, and level-headed. he is the master of his emotions, but remains immersed in them – rather than exerting control and ignoring all those feelings raging inside, he understands the power that they have and uses it to better connect with the world around him. he uses that empathy and sensitivity to navigate his emotions as well as difficult situations, remaining calm and diplomatic. his presence is stabilizing, reassuring, and he isn’t afraid to dream. while the mother of cups thrives in the darkness, using it to focus on what’s important and real, the father is comfortable in the light of day, with nowhere to hide. he is not afraid of being exposed.

cups can be a tricky suit to navigate. and as a water sign with a tendency towards hiding her emotions, i often find myself caught between identifying and sharing my feelings. it’s instinctive for me to keep them hidden, but this king has found a way to harness and use that emotional energy in a positive, balanced way. i certainly have more in common with the female members of the cups court, but seeing the father today is a strong reminder that emotions are powerful, and learning to master them doesn’t mean simply bottling them up or relying solely on intuition.

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one step at a time

after reading through a beautiful, in-depth reading from one of my favorite tarot readers, i’ve had a lot to consider this morning. it can be hard sometimes to take all of the information and insight from a larger spread and find ways to break it down into more manageable steps, to know where to go or how to begin. today’s card is a lovely reminder that we are all students: the daughter of cups.

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it’s no secret that i love this card, and all she represents: the eager innocence of the page, the tranquil, quiet spirit of the cups, the depth of emotions present in water, and the ability and desire to see all the beauty and range of her suit. there’s such hope here, an optimism and brightness and appreciation that i don’t always see in tarot. she may not have all the answers but she’s ready to find them, longing to hear the messages that the water holds for her.

after pulling the mother of cups just yesterday, and seeing the high priestess (who’s also my birth card) in a larger personal spread earlier today, this is such a sweet reminder that we all have to start somewhere. i do trust my intuition, and have even before i starting reading tarot, but exploring these cards and trying to understand them has given me an even greater appreciation for natural instincts, empathy, and the power of quiet.

and while i’d love to be the mother of cups or the high priestess, fully aware of my personal power and confident in my abilities as an intuitive presence, i’m still at the beginning of my journey. this daughter may be young, may not have as much experience or knowledge as her older, wiser family members, but she plays an important role in the court: she reminds us to keep searching, to keep being curious, to keep pulling back layers to see what lies at the heart of what matters.

sometimes not being afraid to ask questions, letting go of looking foolish, and simply embracing our role as a student is one of the most powerful actions we can take. there can be fear in the unknown, but there is such powerful freedom there too. the truth will find me eventually, and until then, i need to be kind and gentle to myself, and remember that the answers will come when it’s the right time.

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drowning in empathy

empathy is a tricky, beautiful, difficult thing. someone without enough can come across callous and cold, heartless and unkind. but someone with too much can seem fragile and sensitive, or can take on so much of another’s feelings that they seem to forget whose feelings are whose. i’ve been thinking a lot on the role of empathy lately, and what it means to be an empath, so pulling the mother of cups today feels just right.mother-of-cups

i’ve gotten this card in both daily readings and larger spreads before, and i always love to see this queen in all of her glory. i love her intelligence, her mystery, her sensitivity and strength. to me, she is the master of her own heart and emotions, but is also incredibly attentive to the needs of others. she has the gift of intuition, a deep awareness of her emotional self, and the ability to care for others in a way that seems to go above and beyond what many are capable of. there’s such kindness in this card, a tranquility and inner strength that i admire and hope i can someday find.

i don’t consider myself to be an empath, but i do find myself feeling exhausted or bogged down if important people in my life are having a tough time. my partner has been dealing with intense work stress for most of our marriage but particularly the past six months or so, it’s impossible not to feel the impact it has on my own emotions, and can sometimes even manifest into physical symptoms. similarly, when close friends or family are going through difficult periods, instability with moods, or times of stress, i have to work hard not to drown in it myself. i want to care for them and take some of that weight, but i often don’t know where to put it except onto my own shoulders.

today, the mother of cups feels like both an acknowledgement and an encouragement. compassion is generally good, empathy is generally helpful, being in touch with our emotions is generally powerful. but putting aside our own mental health to aid others isn’t something that should be done lightly, and expressing kindness to ourselves can be just as important as finding kindness for others. the mother of cups is quiet and wise, and knows when and how to use her abilities in the best way possible. it’s a lesson i need to learn, and i believe she can teach me a lot.