Journal Entries

Midweek Mindfulness: Six of Cups.

TW: Non-specific references to childhood trauma.

In tarot, sixes always have the potential to invite harmony in our lives where there may have been dissonance. They bring a gentle return to hope and can bring a sense of warmth and gratitude. The Six of Cups is a bit tricky as it is associated with our past, and experiences of nostalgia. For those of us with trauma attached to our past, even the sweetest memories can be barbed.

In our healing work, if it feels safe, we can try separating our beloved memories from the ones that upset us when we return to them.  An example that came up from my own life is one of my sister and I lying on our backs looking up at the falling snow and imagining the snowflakes were stars which made us feel like we were shooting through space. I remember the pure joy and giddiness that I felt while doing this. For many years, this, or any thoughts of my youth were accompanied by a wash of adrenaline and nervous system responses. I am slowly getting to a place where I can hold both realities at once. It sounds something like this: “This is such a beautiful memory, and it is okay to acknowledge that this was not the entirety of my experience. I am still holding my inner little one close and making sure she knows that I’ve got her now, and these memories can be explored securely. Even my favourite stories might bring up painful thoughts but I am safe now.” Find wording that feels good to you and little you.

Six of Cups can inspire work with our inner little ones to see if we can invite in some joy from a small part of our past and allow ourselves to expand into this place while gently holding the idea that this is a process. It can be done in our own time. We can explore the difference between the gentle sting of nostalgia and the unpleasant body sensations with traumatic recollections. It is also one of the most powerful ways to release the hold that our abusers have on us. In this way, we can slowly rewrite our story so that we get to decide which parts we return to rather than being hijacked by upsetting memories.

You are so incredibly special and valuable,

Love,
Carrie

From The Crow Tarot by @crowtarotmjcullinane

Journal Entries

Midweek Mindfulness: The Star (Reversed).

Landing right after the Devil and Tower in the midst of line three of the Majors-a pretty intense ride-The Star is a beacon and a gentle message of healing when it appears upright. It is a reminder of our place in the universe and while it is welcome after the situations that bring the two cards prior, it can feel quite vulnerable. Reversed, the sentiment is similar but there is a blockage or hesitation. This might be related to external circumstances or it might be an internal shift but it tends to feel like our healing process has been stalled for some reason.

While this can feel frustrating, especially at this point in the journey, remember that tarot is always here to support us, so if a pause is occurring, it is a necessary one. Perhaps you have been working so hard on yourself and forgetting to take a break and just “be” with whatever is. Maybe we have not been paying attention to our energy levels and need a reminder that we have been through a lot in a very short time.

Another way the Star in reverse might show up for us is when we are holding on to hope that someone or something is going to change, ourselves included. This can halt our progress in a number of ways. Change takes intention and diligence. We can’t use our will to get others to change and wishing that we would change rather than making a plan is a waste of energy. Hope is a beautiful gift and one that has a vital place in our lives but when we use it as a crutch to excuse bad behavior or toxic situations, it becomes a boundary issue. Sometimes the Star will come along in reverse to remind us of how far we have come and to be an ally in situations where we are tolerating something we shouldn’t.

Some invitations for working with reversed Star energy are:

🖤 Where have I been hoping for something or someone to change? Have they shown any indication that they also want this change?

🖤 When was the last time I took a break from healing and just allowed myself to be wherever I am at? What might that look and feel like?

🖤 When was the last time I considered how far I have come and truly held myself in that reflection?

With love,
Carrie

Journal Entries

How Tarot can Help us During Recovery.

How Tarot can help us during recovery.

While I will be focusing on recovery from substance use disorder, I have personally used tarot as a support system for many kinds of recovery including deep grief, rage, Complex P-TSD, mental health crises, and drug and alcohol addiction.

*To be clear, I am absolutely not advocating for using tarot (or anything else) without other systems in place for your recovery. It takes a scaffolding of support that looks different for each of us. I am sharing this as one powerful tool for those who may have limited access, or are exploring their options and considering their personal choices.*

Here are some of the ways that tarot can be a powerful ally during these deeply challenging times.

1) It can bring us back to the present moment. Most of us who suffer, or have suffered from addiction find it difficult to remain present. Many of us have C-PTSD and learning to dissociate was one of the ways we stayed alive. If we pay attention, we notice that we are almost always focused in the past or the future, rarely the present. When we begin the process of staying with the discomfort, especially during withdrawal phases, drawing a card can help us ground and offer a message to replace the repetition we might be “hearing.” This can be the difference between being able to ride the wave of a strong craving or relapsing. 

2) It can serve as a confidential and neutral support system. We can come to our deck in the depths of our sorrow without worrying about how we appear. We can openly explore what we are experiencing without the inhibition of how we will be perceived. Often the realizations we come to on our own in this way are profound.

3) It can help us to repair our self-trust. In recovery, and with time, we may be able to rebuild trust with our loved ones but I have found that the hardest bridge to build was the one back to trusting myself. We tend to lie to ourselves most of all and that is a tender relationship to repair. Tarot helped immensely with this process, both in reading for myself and reading for others. I realized that my inner voice was there all along, I just had it on “mute.”

4) It can allow us to explore our triggers in our time, in a space where we feel comfortable. The only way to heal our shadows is to get to know them. Often we become aware of our shadows when we are faced with a trigger and our nervous system gets the best of us. With tarot, we are looking at the entirety of the human experience from birth to death and everything in between. Our reaction to these chapters in life can help us see where things are still raw and need attention without blowing up relationships and/or falling back into destructive patterns.

5) We can embody archetypes that we are not yet comfortable with. For those of us who have spent significant time in addiction, we are often quite “young” coming out of it. By that, I mean that we arrested the process of getting to know all of the facets of our personality. In a safe, and authentic way, we can harness some of these archetypes and see how they fit which is essentially what many people do in their youth. We can go to a gathering holding fiery Queen of Wands energy and see how it feels for us. We can go into a work meeting with cool and collected King of Swords on board and practice holding our boundaries. Embodying archetypes can be our first courageous steps into the world in our new skin.

6) We can learn the difference between our brain chemistry and our inner knowing. Brain chemistry yells. It is loud. It is meant to keep us safe, but it does not like when we step out of our comfort zone. Our inner knowing is quiet and soft. It often gets drowned out and we can miss subtle cues that are often the most important. Tarot is a beautiful tool for learning how to honour and be grateful for our brain chemistry without accepting its invitation to fear, and instead, turning to the wisdom that we all hold within us.

All recovery is a long and arduous battle that not everyone can understand. No matter what you are fighting your way through, I want you to know that I see you and I hope that you know that you are not alone.

With love,
Carrie

Journal Entries

The Fastest way to Identify Toxic Relationships.

There is a simple way to identify unhealthy relationships, whether they are friendships, colleagues, family members, or partners. You simply reflect on when and how you hear from them. It is that simple.

Do they reach out to see how you are doing, and actually make space for an answer? Do they ask about your family, your work, your plans? Essentially, do they stay in touch because they truly care, or do they only seem to check in when they need something? If you communicate primarily through messaging services, the pattern will be easy to spot. This one-sidedness can be an underdeveloped communication pattern on their part, and that is their work to do, but this information can help you to see where your energy might be “bleeding out” and landing in a place with no reciprocity. In nature, we see symbiosis, which is a mutually beneficial energy exchange and it is just as important in human interaction. There are nuances and spectrums to this, and sometimes we may lean more than we support which is expected, but when there is a distinct lack of compassionate space on their part, it can be important to be aware of. It can also remind us to look at where we are taking more than giving.

This is not to throw shadows over anyone, but it is an important practice in order to see where our boundaries might need strengthening. Often, resentment will already be building in those relationships, so this process can repair connections to those we are interested in staying in contact with. It can also remind us to look at where we are taking more than giving.

This looks a bit different if it is a partnership you are in, especially if you are cohabitating. Because you are in a shared space, it can be more challenging to recognize, but it will often show up the same way. Does your partner ever stop what they are doing, connect with you (hug, eye contact) and ask how you are doing? Do they stay engaged when you answer? Do they follow up about it another time?

This can lead us into a practice of gentle inquiry around where we are not honouring ourselves and The Empress can be a beautiful card to work with for this. Where are we being an advocate for ourselves and how can we strengthen this capacity for self-sovereignty? We deserve people in our lives who value our time and are invested in our well-being as well as their own.

With love,
Carrie

Journal Entries

Reaching Back, Reaching Forward.

Image: A photo of Carrie as a child wearing a white sweater with chin-length brown hair and a round barrette. She is smiling but missing her front teeth and standing next to a pony that is nibbling her hand.

If you could reach back in time and give your little self some encouragement, what would you say? The thing is, we can do this sacred work. Our inner little ones are always available for the support that they may not have had when they were embodied. It can be so healing to go through processes that allow you to hold yourself and show them that they are safe now. They are thriving, healing, and empowered.

And even better? Our inner children can remind us how to play and see the world as we did before we were instructed on how to interpret what we were looking at. We saw things openly, courageously, and vibrantly. Through this work, we can meet in the middle. We can run towards each other, us keeping our little selves safe, and our inner children helping us return to courage.

There are many tarot cards that can support us with this, but I love working with the pages on this. They remind us how to think in ways that we may have unlearned (Swords); play with excitement that we may be in the habit of tempering (Wands); fully allow and outwardly express our feelings and frustrations (Cups); and be unwaveringly aware of the abundance around us (Pentacles). Maybe it is time to invite these Pages in and see what comes up for you.

“Everything seemed possible, when I looked through the eyes of a child.
And every once in a while; I remember,
I still have the chance to be that wild.”
― Nikki Rowe

Until our paths cross again,
Carrie

Journal Entries

Reflections from a Liminal Space

This is something I have been working with a lot lately. As I took a break from doing 1:1 readings to embark on some important and deeply challenging healing, I have found myself in a liminal space. If you are not familiar with the term, liminal space refers to a way of being “in-between” states. We are not where we were, yet we are not where we are going either. I am familiar with it but the intensity of this experience brought forward a great deal of resistance, which has illuminated things about myself and my process that I was unfamiliar with. I hate it lol.

So, I started to think about which card might help me work with this idea of holding all of my experiences equally-that is, staying curious about the experiences that cause contraction for me, and not gripping on to the times when I am comfortable, or in a time of expansion. Today, Temperance came to mind. This makes sense because Temperance is a card of moderation and moving away from excess, and for someone with ADHD, this is not something that comes naturally. When things are good, I want all of it, and I want to know how to make it even better. When I am in a state that causes me discomfort, I want out immediately! That makes growth and everyday challenges more complicated than necessary.

So, with this card, the invitation might be, how do we honor and appreciate all of our states of being with the same consideration? We may never get to a point of celebrating rock-bottom mental health, but can we gently hold ourselves in that while our cups refill? This may require slowing right down and adjusting our output so that we can be *with* this discomfort, rather than muscling through as we are taught. Slow, deliberate appreciation. Notice in the Rider-Waite-Smith card pictured, that it is hard to say whether the water is flowing from the higher cup into the lower, flowing upwards, or flowing back and forth equally. This is what we are aiming for. Equal measure.

Until our paths cross again,
Carrie

Tarot

Are you Going Through Life on Autopilot?

As I moved from my 30’s to my 40’s I noticed a specific pattern of well, patterns. I did the same thing most days and reached for the same vices repeatedly-all contributed to disengaging from my life. I spent too much time in a habitual rut and it was only through returning to my tarot practice six years ago that I recognized how much of my time was spent “sleepwalking” through my days.

Although I have used tarot for over 20 years, it was when I took the deep dive into the cards to form a relationship with each one and what I realized is that every single card illuminates a different aspect of our lives. Every card! That was 78 ways that I was potentially ignoring my needs, desires, and fears. I became focused on putting together a system for learning the cards that did not feel like a grind. I am proud to share this system through Tarot Essentials, my signature Tarot course.

Tara Brach says:
“Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.”
― Tara Brach

I began to deepen my practice and use tarot full-time for healing and self-reflection. I studied each of the cards in order, sought out the recognized leaders in the tarot world and committed myself to a tarot practice in the hopes that I could return home to myself and my inner knowing.

Now I find myself:
• 13 years into my committed partnership and despite everything we have been through, we are more connected than ever.
• Using tarot to check in with myself regularly, before I burn out.
• Making strong decisions based on deep inner-knowing and self-trust.
• Working from a place of service teaching something that I love!

Finding ways to demystify tarot and learn the meanings without being overwhelmed is what led me to create my signature course, Tarot Essentials. I truly believe that tarot is for everyone! Some readers bring beautiful psychic gifts to their tarot practice but it is unnecessary to have anything other than curiosity and a desire to work with the cards. I often find that the people who have no experience with tarot tend to have the most profound observations. Young people, in particular, who do not doubt themselves often hit the nail on the head as far as traditional meanings go.

This Eight-Week online course will give you everything you need to read tarot for yourself and others.https://apothecarrietarot.podia.com/tarotessentials

When we learn to use tarot to self-reflect, rather than as a predictive tool, we open up a new line of communication within ourselves that can heal our relationships with ourselves and others. We can navigate blind spots in the privacy of our own sacred space, and we can find a way to contribute more positively to the world.

It never fails to amaze me to learn what a deck of cards can unlock in all of us.

Until our paths cross again…

Enrollment for Tarot Essentials will reopen in Autumn 2021. Please join the waitlist to secure your spot.

Tarot

Two of Cups

Page of Wands (1)

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

Please see my thoughts on age, race, and gender in tarot.

Traditionally, this card is read as a coming together of two people in a new, loving relationship. This eliminates a large part of our wonderful population so let’s explore a slightly different angle. While this card can be about an equal, compatible partnership, it has more to do with the overall theme of “coming together.”

In tarot, twos often point to decisions and duality. Because we are in the realm of emotions with the Cups, this card often comes up when someone is having trouble holding space for two or more parts of themselves.

12644951_10153749695945935_4116842080432364353_nAs we go through life, we often branch off in many directions, sometimes nudging parts of ourselves away. This can be a positive thing, but it can also lead to a sense of instability. It brings me back to the idea of “This AND that are true.” Meaning, the more we open ourselves to loving all polarities that exist within us, the more balanced and self-loving we become. 

There is also a gentle vulnerability in the Two of Cups. An offering of the cup that holds all of your precious secrets, fears, shame, and hopes. With uncertain hands, we hold this out to someone. Such a beautiful gesture, and a courageous one.

For those who are seeking partnership, this can be a vital step in attracting someone that will provide a more supportive and rich relationship. It is almost as if we send out signals that we are unwilling to settle for anyone who won’t appreciate our unique gifts the way we do. 

For those not seeking a partnership, this could mean both a deepening of self-appreciation or potentially a new friendship, or experiencing a new level of closeness with an existing friend. That goes for individuals currently in a partnership as well. 

I invite you to spend some time looking at all of the “hats” you wear in life. Using myself as an example, I am a homeschool mom so that is my “teaching” hat, I’m also a mother, a partner, a daughter, a sister, a friend and a tarot instructor. There are times where being a homeschool mom does not play well with being a mother so it can be difficult to appreciate both of those things at the same time. Out of these “hats” the most challenging one would be associated with my family of origin. This is something I am continually working on due to a necessary separation from them. 

What are the “hats” you wear? How about masks? Many of us have masks that we must wear to fit in under certain circumstances. Some of those are necessary, but are there any masks that might be shed? In order to love all parts of ourselves, including parts that we hide away, we must be willing to look inward with curiosity and love, and without judgement.

We think the fire eats the wood. We are wrong. The wood reaches out to the flame. The fire licks at what the wood harbors, and the wood gives itself away to that intimacy, the manner in which we and the world meet each new day.”
― Jack Gilbert

“To say “I love you” one must know first how to say the “I”.”
― Ayn Rand

Until our paths cross again…

Tarot

Ace of Cups

TarotCups1

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

Please see my thoughts on age, race, and gender in tarot.

Here, we enter the realm of the Cups which represent our emotions, intuition, and relationships.

Screenshot 2021-01-15 132526With the Ace of Cups, we are being offered a new beginning in the form of a rush of feelings, excitement, and/or intuition. While traditionally this card is associated with new relationships, considering many folks are not looking, it is helpful to widen our approach to this card. In this way, the idea of a rush of new feelings can be applied to friendships, events, and realizations. This energy may come through as the experience of something the seeker has not felt before. 

This Ace is an awakening of sorts. Sometimes it manifests as a deepening of feelings for a certain person or a rich deepening of your intuition.  

How would you describe the feeling of the Ace of Cups? Where does it manifest in your physical body? This might be a fun intuitive painting, sketch, or free-write. Can you recall a time when something inside of you awakened? Do you think there might be ways to invite Ace of Cups energy in when things are stagnant? Perhaps you could journal about these thoughts and the idea that we can, at any time, summon the energy of a tarot card as a guide and an ally.

“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.”
Ramana Maharshi

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart”
― Helen Keller

Until our paths cross again…

Tarot

King of Wands

page-of-wands-3

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

Please see my thoughts on age, race, and gender in tarot.

The King of Wands is a powerful combination of fire (Kings) and fire (Wands). This King is passionate, creative, confident, and highly driven. When this card comes up in a reading, it can suggest that the seeker is being invited to trust in their abilities and mastery in their area of interest. This is not the time for self-doubt.

LightSeers-14-King-of-Wands-Tarot-Meaning
The Light Seer’s Tarot did a beautiful job of illustrating a more youthful King of Wands.

The King of Wands is someone who is incredibly passionate, ethical, and capable of igniting fires of inspiration wherever they go. Despite their inherent power, there is a restlessness about this energy and there can be a tendency to want to move on as soon as things become tedious or repetitive. This King has a nearly limitless supply of energy but this can cause them to ignore the physical constraints of their body which can lead to burnout if they are not careful.

Freedom is deeply important to this King and without it, they can become hot-tempered and experience control issues. However, if given the room to fully express their abundant nature and passions, this frank and friendly King will be the warmest, most magnetic person whose spark is a pleasure to be around.

I invite you to consider what lights this fire inside of you? Perhaps you could make a list of the causes that are closest to your heart. Social activism is a wonderful way to experience King of Wands energy. Is there a way you can become involved? It may also be helpful to think about figures who exude this kind of energy. Who in life has inspired you to become part of necessary change? How can you embody this courage and inspire others?

“Mother Dear, one day I’m going to turn this world upside down.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

“Love is an expression of power. We can use it to transform our world.”

― Ericka Huggins

Until our paths cross again…