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

Journal Entries, Tarot

Mid-Week Mindfulness: The Tower

The Tower is one of the most feared cards in the tarot deck and yet it is my favourite grounding card and provides some of the most transformational healing.

First, I want to honour that while I have come to embrace this card, that does not mean that it is easy energy to be in. That would defeat the purpose of it. The very nature of the Tower is seismic and can be incredibly destabilizing, but that is precisely where the medicine is. It asks: “What circumstances cause my entire foundation to crumble and how can I rebuild in a way that will better support me next time an earthquake hits?”

The Tower will never demolish anything that is in our best interest. This energy comes to serve when the “home” we have built will not allow us to grow any further and it does not mess around–it takes it down to the ground. This can be frightening to watch, but this ally stands with a hand on our shoulder and whispers: “You’ve got this.” 
The freeing thing about moving through Tower times in our lives is that there is nothing we have to “do” at that point. All of the hand-wringing and indecision is finally behind us and we are now left with an empty lot on which we can build the foundation and cocoon that will house us for our regeneration. We do this with experiential knowledge and a deeper understanding of our own inner workings.

The gift within this card is that with timeless wisdom, no judgement, and zero toxic positivity, The Tower bears witness in the hardest times that we have to endure. I had always come to think of this as things like loss, divorce, and ruptures in trust, and it absolutely can be, but I have recently come to understand it as a messenger. It comes when we are presented with opportunities for new ways of metabolizing existential pain. This is not tied to circumstances-it can happen as part of our process without a catalyst. If we are open to exploring our personal way of experiencing the world, we will come up against painful and challenging truths about ourselves. The older we get, the more conclusive we are about the kinds of disruption we can manage, and this certainty comes at a cost: we do not evolve. It is okay to learn that it takes less than we thought to bring us to our knees: The Tower stands with us, and reminds us that while this may be a chapter of demolition, it is more importantly leading into a book of our becoming.






Tarot

New Moon in Leo & Inner Strength

4 minute read

Without even realizing there was a New Moon in Leo this week, I have been working with the medicine in the Strength card (which astrologically corresponds with Leo). It showed up for me in a reversed position recently and has haunted my daily draws so I have been pathworking* the card for the last little while.

The overall theme of the Strength card is a reserved, compassionate, and kind type of strength. It speaks to using power in a way that is supportive and non-oppressive. I wanted deeper meaning and to explore how this card can serve as an ally for us and this is what I came to share during this new moon, in this time of renewal:
Sometimes the things we don’t say have the most power.

My particular neurological wiring, augmented with C-PTSD, ADHD, and a host of other unique attributes, makes impulse control a monumental challenge. I am also a very passionate person so when I hear/see/sense something that I consider unjust or unkind, my nervous system goes from 0-100 in seconds. I see red. I snap into “fight-or-flight” mode. As you can imagine, this does not make for the most articulate arguments and certainly does not lead to opening someone’s mind.

This is where the Strength card can be an integral balm in your healing toolkit. There is potency in subduing our inner lion. This can often show up when we take a beat instead of reacting. I have learned that in this pause lies the difference between an argument–with potential injury to the relationship–and a learning opportunity for both of us.

Have you ever met someone who has that element of quiet wisdom? I have always been in awe of those people, and envied their self-possession. They leave an indelible impression on me. I think the reason these emotionally evolved people are so influential is that folx who are conducting themselves in a way that is harmful know that they are wrong on some level. They are expecting to defend themselves. They have their words slung over their shoulder. When they are met with an unflinching gaze, rather than a tirade, it shakes them up. It causes the words of defense that they keep ready to get caught in their throat. There are meaningful ways that we can affect change that require intentional silence.

Note: I want to be clear that this is not about violent silence, where we say nothing and allow someone to cause direct harm. This is not about allowing someone to be abused while you stand by and do nothing. This is about other people’s life choices and more long-term situations. You are unlikely to change your racist, bigoted uncle’s mind over dinner, but you might pose some questions that cause him to reflect. You probably aren’t going to turn your meat-loving friend into a vegan, but your choice to personally lead a life that less harm is a statement in itself.

Our big reactions to things are tangled up with our triggers and it takes time and space to be able to tell the difference. I am still working on this. I am learning about resolve. I am exploring the power of sitting in discomfort while taking a pause. Something happens every time I succeed: I don’t look back at the interaction and cringe and I don’t have to dread seeing the person I shared that interaction with. Quite often they leave with something to consider that just might change their mind.

Invitation: How does this particular kind of strength show up in your life? Do you have anyone in your life who embodies this kind of strength? What do you think of them? What are the “hot button” topics that are hard for you to discuss without becoming heated? How might you learn to sit with that dissonance long enough to allow your nervous system to regulate so that you can take part in important conversations without either blowing up or shutting down? Can you recall a time when you were able to gently comfort your inner lion and create a safe space where different viewpoints can be expressed and meaningful change could take place? Conversely, where do you draw the line? For example, there are some discussions that I have no interest in being a part of right now because I know that they are too distressing for me.

*The practice of pathworking in the tarot is varied but often refers to meditating on a single card to go deeper into the meaning. Some people use guided visualizations and imagine actually stepping into the card and interacting with the figures and/or environment pictured, others just allow themselves to be open to new information about the card’s meaning. Other practitioners consider pathworking to be a long-term process of picking up information about the concepts in the cards along the way.

A figure with a floral crown and wearing a white dress adorned with flowers gently closes a lion's mouth. The lemniscate, or infinite symbol floats about their head. The overall color in the background is yellow.
The Strength card from the Rider-Waite Smith Tarot
Tarot

Page of Wands

Page of Wands

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.

When was the last time you fingerpainted without worrying about results or the mess? The Page of Wands (Daughter of Wands in The Wild Unknown) invites you to tap into childlike play and wonder. This Page is the ultimate spark of inspiration and creativity. If you have ever suffered from writer’s block, the Page of Wands is that glorious moment when you are suddenly inspired and fly through another chapter. If you have been feeling apathetic lately, you can be sure that this card will usher in a time of rejuvenation.

The Page of Wands asks us to call in our inner child and embody that untarnished view of the world. In this suit, which is fire-based, it can be re-igniting a passion project that has been on the sidelines, or following an inspired idea to see where it may end up!

This Page reflects the story of the Four Healing Salves:

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions.

When did you stop dancing?

When did you stop singing?

When did you stop being enchanted by stories?

When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?

Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.

Often, this Page is associated with swift good news and may represent an optimistic, playful, warm person in your life. In its shadow aspect, this can represent someone who is passionate but reckless and does not pause before they act. This can often be associated with a lack of ego exploration or overall immaturity.

Because of the nature of this card, I would like to invite you to create the Page of Wands as you imagine them using paint, collage, creative writing, or your medium of choice. Imagine you are fleshing out a character for a film and consider doing a character sketch of this person. Introduce yourself to the Page of Wands as you have created them.

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
― Richard Lingard

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
― Osho

Until our paths cross again…

Tarot

Ten of Wands

Ten of Wands

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

Finally, after all of the struggles and battles, it is time to look around at what you have created. YOU did this! This is not to say that success comes without a new share of responsibilities, but you have weathered the struggles and are now ready to delegate.

Often this card is associated with “burden.” It makes sense as we often see a figure either carrying or trying to lift ten wands on their back, sometimes uphill. However, the great cardslinger Tom Benjamin offered a positive, and potentially more helpful association with this card which was: “anything worth doing costs, is worth spending energy on.” When we think about passion projects that we have worked hard on, even the times when we are spread so thin we barely have time to eat, there is a sense of satisfaction there. While we are certainly feeling the weight of responsibility, this comes from creating something that really means something to us. It could be compared to someone who has started and grown a successful non-profit. This takes incredible dedication and stamina, yet you will be hard-pressed to find someone in this realm who doesn’t love the work they are doing.

What is important now is to ensure you aren’t taking on unnecessary burdens. If you have the opportunity to delegate the aspects of the project that do not excite you, do it. If someone asks for your help and you can’t extend yourself any further without experiencing burnout, learn kind ways to decline. Make sure that you are making the best use of your energetic resources in order to continue doing this great work.

Saying “no” is something that many of us struggle with, so with this card, I invite you to practice saying “no” in ways that feel comfortable to you. Remember that being a people-pleaser is a trauma response. By all means help when you can but when you are already feeling overextended, learn how to “give good no.”

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy Pausch

“When you start living the life of your dreams, there will always be obstacles, doubters, mistakes and setbacks along the way. But with hard work, perseverance and self-belief there is no limit to what you can achieve.”
― Roy T. Bennett

Until our paths cross again…

Tarot

Nine of Wands

Nine of Wands

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

The Nine of Wands comes along just when you thought the coast was clear. In the Eight of Wands, you let your guard down for a moment to enjoy the ride and along comes the Nine to interrupt you. This card is here to test your courage and resilience and take a final swing at you. The card is often depicted as a battle-weary individual with an expression of doubt and resignation. In The Wild Unknown (pictured above) we see a staircase littered with wands reminding us how steep stairs can feel when you are exhausted. This is the final challenge before the culmination of your creative efforts and the passion you have invested in this area of your life.

This card asks you to dig deep and find that last reserve of energy and stamina in order to make it to the finish line. Tap into your primal side and let loose with one last battle cry! If you can find your way over this last seemingly staggering hurdle, your endurance and persistence will pay off. This is a great time to make your boundaries clear to those who test them.

What does the word “courage” represent to you? Do you recall a time when you were about to give up but were able to find hidden strength you didn’t know you had? I invite you to do a free-write  about how it felt to discover that you had more fight in you than you realized. Often this is where deep and lasting growth occurs.

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
― Louise Erdrich

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
― Jane Austen

Until our paths cross again…