Weekly Tarot Spread for 7/11/21

Well, I can now say I have done weekly spreads two weeks in a row! I’m not sure that I’ve accomplished that before now, and I’m glad I have done it. Last week’s spread really helped me, and I hope that it helped you too. Let’s see what this week’s spread has to offer.

Energy for the Week Ahead: Four of Cups

The astrological correspondence for this card is Moon in Cancer, which, we just went through the New Moon in Cancer so this energy is still very present right now. There is a lot of moving water in the card imagery, waterfalls, suggesting that emotions are moving, changing, in flux. Maybe we don’t know how we feel about what is going on right now, or our emotions are all over the place. We are invited to just sit with that this week, to feel into that, however that shows up for us. It can be uncomfortable, to have all of these emotions just swirling around, but we can anchor in the moon, which invites us to get still and listen to our guides, our bodies, and our intuition. Just listen and connect.

What are we being invited to pay attention to: Six of Wands

Spirit has given you ideas and a sense of purpose. The knight in the card imagery is not worried about what anyone else thinks about his purpose. He is venturing out to accomplish it, complete faith in his ability to do so. We are being invited to pay attention to our own sense of purpose and our views on what others feel about that. Does it matter what others think? Not really, if what spirit has given you is in your highest and best. And really, if you are in alignment with those guides who have your highest and best in mind, then there should be no question about that.

What should we be mindful of: Five of Pentacles

It looks like we are still dealing with some of that scarcity that came in like a wrecking ball last week. Where in your life did it show up? Was it real scarcity, or just a scarcity mindset that you dealt with? Be mindful of where you are feeling scarcity this week and avoid knee-jerk, reactive actions that you might regret later. Scarcity can be hard to deal with, but if you just sit with it a little bit and find something to do to ground yourself, you can move past the discomfort and begin to problem-solve through it.

What should we embrace: Queen of Wands

Embrace that part of you that is the creator, with the ability to change your reality. If these is something we don’t like, we can change it. We can create the reality we want. All of this takes time, but we are invited to embrace that part of ourselves that can make this possible this week.

What should we let go of: The Wheel of the Year

We should let go of our linear concept of time and energy. Our society conditions us that we must be productive and grinding all of the time, go, go, go. But everything in nature works in cycles. The seasons, the moon. Our energy is the same way. Some days it seems like we can move mountains, and other days it seems like we barely have the energy to get out of bed. Embracing these cycles instead of pushing ourselves to be productive through them no matter what the cost can really help us as we move through the next week. Be mindful of your energy and your energy cycle and honor it in whatever ways that you can.

I hope that this spread helps you as you work through the coming week. Let me know how it goes in the comments!

New Moon in Cancer

Tomorrow is the New Moon in Cancer, and I have been pondering the energetics of this new moon for a few days now. I’ve been looking at Cancer a bit closely since it is Cancer season, and I have been preparing a Tarot Deep Dive into The Chariot.

The most popular way to think about Cancer energy is to think about an emotional energy; Cancer is most equated with emotions and an emotional nature. I feel that this is lazy astrology work however, because there is a lot more to Cancer than this. Cancer is a nurturing energy, since it is related to the still waters of the earth and the nurturing and protecting waters of the body such as breast milk and the water sac that protects the heart. Water feeds life on this earth and allows living things on this earth to grow and survive, so it is vitally important. And while the water element does equate to emotions in the Tarot, it can also equate to nurturing.

The sign for Cancer is the crab, and the most prominent feature of the crab is its protective shell. Cancer is also about protecting ourselves from overwhelm or hurt from forces and energies outside of us. But on the flip side of that, if we spend all of our time protecting ourselves we run the risk of growing afraid to make ourselves vulnerable. When we come out of our shell and make ourselves vulnerable growth happens, we meet new people, we build connections. While being in our shell keeps us safe, it does not allow room for much growth. We will explore this more in the upcoming Tarot Deep Dive for The Chariot.

New Moon energy has to do with new beginnings, the beginning of a new cycle. Sometimes just starting a new thing can make us feel vulnerable. We can put off starting anything because we are afraid of failure. But if we don’t start anything, we don’t accomplish anything. We don’t expand and grow because we stay contracted and protected in the shell of our own making. The New Moon in Cancer can invite us to come out of our shell and start something new.

But perhaps you are overwhelmed right now. This last year and a half has been overwhelming for a lot of people, myself included. You feel like you have been vulnerable enough during these times and keep getting hurt by the news, the economy, the lock downs, and everything else that COVID has brought to us. For you, the New Moon in Cancer might be inviting you to slow down and nurture yourself during this time. Take a break from the news. Turn off your social media for a bit. Slow down and relax, connecting to yourself and your emotional state at this time. Tend to the trauma that COVID brought. Rest.

Tarot Spread for the New Moon in Cancer

Tarot Reading for Week of 7/4/21

I have not been very consistent with my weekly tarot readings on here. I really want to get better. I am in the process of making some changes in my overall life focus, so maybe that will help. I guess only time will tell!

The energy of this week’s reading is powerful. It really calls on us to change how we are caring for ourselves during this time. But I am going to let the spread speak for itself….

Energy of the Week Ahead: Five of Pentacles

I know what you are thinking right now. When I pulled this card for the energy of the week ahead I thought, “Uh, oh. We are going to be in for a rough week!” When we see the Five of Pentacles we typically think of scarcity, that there is not going to be enough to go around. And this is not surprising since we live in a cultural system that has as a pillar of foundation the proliferation of a scarcity mindset. “Buy more, consume more! Get it now because soon it will be gone!” That kind of energy leads to contraction as we feel like we are competing with everyone else for basic life necessities.

So we might be looking at that this week. We might be looking at a “not enough-ness” of some kind. How are we going to handle that energy this week? When we feel threatened by anything, including not having what we need, our brain can go into a fight-flight-flee response. If we don’t have enough staff coverage at our job our brain might knee-jerk into thinking that we need to get another job. If we run short financially our brains will pick us apart over every little thing we have bought in the last two weeks and foster guilt and shame. These patterns the brain has of fighting or fleeing difficult situations make it hard to be mindful in the heart of the situation. Which is what we need to do. What can we do to foster mindfulness in the heat of a situation of scarcity so that we don’t do something that we might regret? How can we keep ourselves in the present moment and not worry about what happened in the past or what is going to happen in the future? How can we stay in the now so that we can productively work through the situation and come out on the other side with our sanity intact? That is what we need to keep in mind as we look at this energy for the week ahead.

What Are We Being Invited to Pay Attention To: Two of Swords

So we know that the energy of this week is going to be one where we have to practice mindfulness so that our brain does not drive us crazy regarding the scarcity that we are going to face this week. Two of swords builds upon that call for mindfulness by telling us that we need to work self-care into the week. Typically with this card it means stopping and coming back to center whenever we feel that the brain is going to start taking over with its stories. The imagery on the Witches Tarot deck by Ellen Dugan shows a woman who is blindfolded, holding two swords as if to protect herself. Behind her is a lake. Water typically signifies the emotional realm. The blindfold suggests that the woman cannot see her outer reality at this time, so she must be in her inner reality. And the swords suggest that she is doing this to protect herself from what is going on in the outer reality, that she is protecting her emotional state from the circumstances that are happening in her outer reality.

This kind of thing is as simple as setting up a mindfulness reminder on your phone so that every so often you are reminded to just stop, drop in, and check in. We can get so frantic, especially if we are going through tough times, that we can become out of our bodies in a manner of speaking. We can be totally focused on what comes next, putting out fires around us, and not fully present with ourselves or how we are doing emotionally. Two of Swords reminds us how important it is to stop and check in with ourselves, to go within and make sure that we are okay emotionally.

What We Should Be Mindful Of: Six of Swords

Six of Swords asks us to be aware of who is steering our boat. The imagery of the card shows a person in a boat, paddling on the water. Again, the emotional realm is very present here.

We know that if we put someone else in charge of our emotions, in charge of steering our boat, it can come out badly for us. In my training as an early childhood educator, I learned that any time you make statements like “You are driving me crazy,” you are putting someone else in charge of your emotions. Basically, you are making them captain of your ship. You are then subject to any whims and desires that person has, and it can drive you crazy. Six of Swords tells us to take ownership of our own emotional state. When we go from, “You are driving me crazy,” to “I feel crazy when you do ______,” we begin to build a foundation where communication can happen and change can take place. If we don’t like how something is going down, we can problem solve rather than blame someone else for our emotional upset. This is a powerful skill that Six of Swords reminds us that we have. We are the captains of our emotional ship. This week, it is important that we are mindful of that.

What Should We Embrace: Knight of Wands

Knight of Wands is about moving in a way that feels good to you. Sometimes the pace of the people around us can be fast, especially in our society where productivity and grind culture are major focuses for a lot of people. Knight of Wands asks us to be aware of what pace feels good to us and move at that pace. Stop worrying about the way everyone around us moves.

Sometimes it can be hard to feel what pace will work best for us. We are so busy seeing the paths that other people are on and we think that we should be doing what they do as fast as they seem to be doing it. We push ourselves into burnout because we are trying to go someone else’s pace instead of our own.

In order to find our own pace, it is important that we drop in and feel what works best for us. We keep in touch with our inner emotional realm and take care of our nervous system. And then we move, we flow, we dance, we do in ways that feel the best to us.

What We Should Let Go Of: Death

We need to let go of old ways of doing things. The cards in this spread ask us to change how we are dealing with the energies that we are going through at this time. COVID has change a lot about the way the world works, the way business works, and we have to take care of ourselves. We have to remember that the economic system that we are living in right now does not put our needs first, and the staffing shortages, sickness, separation, and other factors brought about by COVID, the political climate, systemic inequality, and other factors require us to rethink how we are living and working in the world. No one else is going to put our needs first, except maybe our families. It is so important that we take care of ourselves during this time, and the death card is here to tell us that the way that we used to do things needs to go. We need to take care of ourselves, guard our nervous systems, take charge of our emotional health, and move in ways that benefit us, not the capitalist system that has burnt us out.

Good luck in the coming week! Let me know in the comments section how it goes!

Entering Cancer Season

Entering the Waters of Cancer Season

Today marks the beginning of Cancer season, the beginning of the season of summer. We leave the yang, explosive information transmission that is Gemini and enter a yin period of inward reflection on emotions.

Nature around us is lush and green, and the increasing temperatures and sustained periods of light require plants and animals to seek shelter and water. And at this time let us not forget about those in the west and Midwest of the United States who are experiencing record high temperatures, drought conditions, and wildfires. We pray that the waters reach you soon!

Cancer is ruled by the moon, our closest celestial friend. The moon is so close, in fact, that it actually influences our oceans and tides. I imagine that since we are made up of mostly water, it is not a long shot to suggest that the moon affects us as well. I admit that I am only starting my journey with working with the moon so I can’t speak a lot about that here. But I do know that the moon is connected to our ability to feel. Just as the moon moves quickly through the zodiac (completing a cycle in roughly 28 days as opposed to the sun’s 365 days), our emotions quickly move, change, and morph, never quite looking exactly as they did a moment ago.

The sign corresponding to Cancer is the crab, and here we get to the heart of the matter (that was a Cancer pun, but you may not get it for a moment). The crab has a shell that protects it from predators and other outside forces. For us, we feel our emotions in our hearts (there it is!), and when we get hurt emotionally we build up our own defenses. It may be hard to trust a potential partner if we have been hurt by a partner in the past. We may think twice about telling a friend a story that leaves us vulnerable if that backfired on us in the past. For every hurt, another brick is built into the wall of our defenses. Our job is to try not to build the walls too high. We do this by becoming aware of the emotions we are feeling and allowing ourselves to not only feel them, but process them by walking ourselves through what happened and how our emotions changed during the experience. How did our emotions change? Did the other person actually do anything wrong or are we reliving an emotional script from the past that got triggered during this experience? While we want to keep ourselves protected from hurt, we don’t want to completely alienate ourselves from others, either. Cancer asks that we look inward at our emotional terrain and see if we have a healthy balance between protection and vulnerability.

Cancer and the Tarot

The Chariot from the Smith-Rider-Waite Tarot

Cancer corresponds with the Chariot card, number VII in the Major Arcana. The Chariot is the thing that moves us. Think about it as the shell of the crab. The crab carries its shell everywhere with it, just as the Chariot carries us. There are so many things that can carry – pieces of our societal culture, our public persona, what we do for a living. But when you think about the crab and how it moves with its shell, pretty soon that crab grows too big for that shell. It grows out of that shell and it has to find a new shell. It’s just part of the growth process of the crab.

The same is true for us. Look closer at the picture of the Chariot from the Smith-Rider-Waite deck, as Jeff Hinshaw of Cosmic Cousins podcast implored his audience to do as he pointed out that the Chariot has no wheels! It might be the finest Chariot around with all of the fanciest accommodations, but if it has no wheels you aren’t going to get very far. Maybe what has been moving you is not built for growth. Or maybe it has carried you so far but now the wheels have worn or fallen off. You will not be able to continue the journey unless you find something new to move you. Much like the crab who can’t continue healthy growth unless he finds a shell that fits.

Cancer season asks us to examine what is moving us, to feel into all aspects surrounding that, and to let go of what needs to be left behind, if need be. Feeling into life and where your life is going is vital Cancer work.

The Lessons of 2020 and the Emperor Year

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a difficult year. I have already watched, read, and listened to multiple videos, articles, and podcasts that have outlined some of the more life-changing events that happened during the past year. 2020 brought death, destruction, separation, and violence in many different aspects. From other perspectives, however, it brought awareness and reflection. It was definitely a complex year.

I’ve spent some time during the past couple of weeks reflecting on the year and the lessons that it brought to me. I remember how excited I was about 2020 being an Emperor year, from the perspective of the Tarot: when you add the digits of 2020 together, they equal 4, and Emperor is the fourth card of the Major Arcana. I don’t prescribe to the interpretation of the Emperor as the imperialistic, patriarchal male figure, which is a common interpretation of the card. Because the Emperor card is associated with Aries, I interpret it as having to do with assertiveness, being okay with taking up your space in the world, and movement associated with your life calling. On the zodiacal wheel, Aries is the first sign and has to do with the essence of who we are on a soul level. The Emperor asks us to step into the truth of our identity as soul beings. Stepping into my truth has been hard for me for most of my life, so I was excited about the lessons that this year would bring.

Fours are all about structures. In the case of 2020, with all of the changes that we have faced and the disruption those changes have caused to existing structures, the Emperor seems to have signaled that disruption or destruction of existing societal structures and the beginnings of the building of new structures in our society. As a collective, we have experienced more awareness of systemic oppression in multiple facets of our society, including racial inequalities, police brutality, and marginalization of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC folx. This awareness has led to a rising up of voices in the form of protests and other forms of activism. We have also seen more awareness around the effects related to capitalism. We have seen people changing the way they live and work related to that awareness. There has been dialogue about how the structures that were put into place when this country was founded caused real harm and trauma and continues to cause harm and trauma to this day.

Emperor themes arise on a personal level as well. I was recently gifted an experience that summed up Emperor energy for me. A friend of mine was leaving a job that she liked for a better opportunity. When she told me about the environment of the place she was going, I thought about how awesome it would be to work in a place like that. If I had indulged in the fantasy that my mind created, my whole job would have been different than it is now. It would have been the same as the job I was doing before I ended up where I am now. It would have been the same as the job that landed me in burnout. But I have often fantasized about going back into that aspect of my field because it was fun and I was good at it. The temptation to send in my resume for another opening that was available was strong, but then I thought about everything that my current job offers me. It allows me the opportunity to build on the skills I have already acquired. It has allowed me the opportunity to heal from my burnout. It is a place of support and growth, and the skills that I am learning will help me as I move forward with what my guides are calling me to do. If I had indulged in my brain fantasy, I would have been taking a huge step backward, a step that could have potentially taken years to right. In the moment that I came to the conclusion that I was in the right place doing what I was meant to be doing, I gained a newfound confidence in my current position. True to my Emperor interpretation, I had found the confidence to step into my place and take up space. It also gave me more confidence in my candle magick abilities as I work to build a future for myself in this completely new field (new for me, anyway). It seems that completely letting go of the past and embracing the present really does lead to more confidence in one’s abilities.

Social media did not help me in this personal journey. Constantly seeing what other people are doing on their journeys brings forward a lot of anxiety and stress about what I am doing, whether or not I am doing it right, if I should be doing it differently. Stepping away from social media has given me the presence of mind to realize that my journey is my own and that it doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s. My brain and nervous system have been a lot healthier without social media in my life, and my confidence in my own journey has grown the longer I have been without it.

However, when social awareness exploded over police brutality of BIPOC folx, social media help me see, hear, and understand the points of view of marginalized people and voice my support. It also helped me find ways to financially support organizations committed to change.

Emperor energy also helped me to examine my relationship with the capitalistic structures in our society, from the way our society weight-shames to the way the structure instills an unhealthy work ethic in the bottom tier of the workforce. Rest and grounding became constant themes of the year for me as I worked to heal from the damage that years in a burnout state had caused. I developed many self-care rituals to help me in this process and to help me manage every day stress (which is much different since the pandemic hit), from herbal teas to essential oil blends.

2020 was definitely a difficult year, but it did build a foundation for the work that 2021 will bring. The job now is to take the knowledge and skills that we gained and build a new, brighter future with them.

The Magick, Medicine, and Wisdom of Plants

Not lavender, but pretty just the same.

I recently decided to dive into making herbal-infused oils for massage, salves, and other uses. It is something I have dabbled in a little bit, but I always look for ways to make my craft better. I’ve only done calendula-infused oil before now, but about a month or so ago (because my method is so precise and scientific, ha ha) I infused some lavender in sweet almond oil. I didn’t decoct it until a few days ago.

One thing I love about my dive into herbal magick and medicine is how it grounds me. Most of my life I have felt pretty ungrounded, which is to be expected I suppose, since I have an abundance of Aquarius (air sign) in my chart. Separating the lavender from the oil was a very grounding process: smelling the aromatic lavender as I poured the oil from the jar, squeezing the oil out of the lavender and feeling the oil on my hands – it was an experience that was definitely grounding, which was truly healing in its own right.

Lavender and I have sort of a history. Let’s just say that I have never been a big fan. Any time I have smelled a lavender scented lotion or candle, it has made me turn around and run the other way so fast. It has seemed like a harsh scent to me, not very gentle, and definitely not calming like people talk about it being. I definitely didn’t get it.

But lately lavender has started to grow on me. It started with my exploration into essential oils. I started using an oil with lavender in it on my pillow to help me calm down and sleep better. At first I couldn’t stand the smell of it, but as I kept using the oil, it became easier to use. Then I started using dried lavender flowers in tea. When I buy dried lavender to use for different potions, I have really started enjoying the scent of it, even better than the scent of the essential oils. I recently went to a circle/group where it was proposed that those herbs and scents that we have a hard time with indicate some sort of trauma or blockage in the area that the plant/scent is said to help with. I believe that there is some truth to that.

The oil was my latest lavender creation, and as I decocted it, I really enjoyed the grounding process. I did it before work the other day, and so after I finished getting all of the oil out of the lavender, I walked away and finished getting ready for work.

And then, something strange happened when I was driving to work: I started crying! There was really nothing that happened during my morning to bring it on; it just happened. It wasn’t a big cry, but I could tell that it could be if I let it. However, since I was on my way to work, I was not going to let myself do that. But I knew in my mind that the lavender that I had my hands in was working its magic on me and my body was trying to release some pent-up trauma that it was holding on to. Lord knows I have enough pent-up trauma in my body. I hold on to every emotion under the sun. I have a lot of trauma that I know is still stored up from childhood, when I didn’t feel safe enough to release it, and that feeling has followed me into adulthood as I hold on to negative emotions in fear that I might make someone else mad or hurt someone else’s feelings with my own emotions.

And then yesterday, on Thanksgiving, the deluge came and there was no holding it back. I don’t think I could have predicted it because the situations that brought it out seemed so innocuous. First, I was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV rather begrudgingly because I don’t like the commercialism of the holidays but I love the parade. Then the holiday commercials started rolling, the sappy ones when the family comes together, or the kids are doing cute things. I found myself tearing up at a lot of the commercials, and I sat there wondering, “What in the hell is wrong with me?” Then, my partner and I had a continuation of a conversation that has been going on for a couple of weeks that does have a small electrical charge to it, and my daughter made a rude comment when I asked her to do something.

That’s all it took.

I excused myself from the living room to get ready to visit family, and while in the shower I lost it. It started pouring out. I let some of it come, and I felt the urge to scream, which I have never had happen before and which was kind of scary and freeing at the same time. I knew that I couldn’t just scream in the shower; I’d probably scare everyone in the house. But I remembered advice about screaming into a pillow and finished my shower so I could do that. So for the moment the crying stopped.

When I got out of the shower I sat on the bed, but was interrupted by my partner who came in to finish getting ready too. He made a couple of comments related to our conversation, and then the crying started again! I was rather perplexed at this point because I knew that he would think that all of this was because of a conversation that was really not that emotionally charged to begin with. But he walked out of the room and I was able to let more of the crying out. There was no more urge to scream at this point, but I’m not sure that it isn’t waiting for me at some point in the near future. I am beginning to understand what is so healing about primal scream therapy, or at least I did in the moment when I had the urge to scream.

My point of writing this personal story is so that you can see how beneficial herbs and plants are to life. They are friends and allies, and teach us things about ourselves if we let them. If I completely shut lavender out of my life because I don’t like it, I wouldn’t have experienced the healing power of a good cry. I fully believe at this point that lavender is working with me to learn how to express my emotions in a healthy way instead of holding on to them, a lesson that I know that I desperately need. I’m sure I will have plenty more emotional escapades while working with lavender, and I hope that I don’t completely scare my family in the process. But learning about myself through learning about herbs and plants is an amazing gift that I never thought would come from this path that I have taken. At least, I never thought it would manifest itself the way that it has. I have already had some amazing experiences with a few plants, and the funny thing is that those experiences weren’t with plants that I would have chosen. They have been with plants that apparently chose me. That in itself is a magickal thought: these plants chose me. They wanted to work with me. I wouldn’t have chosen lavender to work with, but lavender is working with me and the medicine that it is bringing is amazing.