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 High Priestess

Image: La Papesse from the Sacred Sisterhood Tarot by Ashawnee Dubarry and Coni Curi featuring an individual with dark skin, with a head wrap topped with a crescent moon in a bowl of water. They are holding the Tora across their chest in their right hand . Two columns are on either side of them and there is fabric with golden pomegranates behind them.

That question you have been wrestling with-you already know the answer.

We often turn to others for clarification, and that can be a vital step in our journey, but what would it look like to fully trust your inner knowing? Tarot is such a valuable tool for self-inquiry as the cards serve as a metaphorical “third party” but they will always reflect the truth that we hold inside. No card does this better than the High Priestess.

This card serves as a reminder that while our truth can become muddled and can have layers of doubt laid upon it, it is there for us when we are ready. The powers that hunch over our society would shrivel and collapse if they were faced with a populous that was steadfastly self-assured and did not allow campaigns of fear and scarcity affect our every decision. There is a large investment in keeping us in a state of self-doubt. This is important to remember when we are facing situations that require us to really listen to that quiet voice of intuition. We all have one! Even folx who don’t consider themselves to be intuitive hold the same vital information that all of us do-they just need practice.
To work with High Priestess energy is to work with our most intimate capacity for self-trust. For many of us, who had our relationship-to self-fragmented as children through trauma and unmet needs, this can feel startling, overwhelming, and even dangerous. This is where the High Priestess holds us close and allows us to unfold within a container of safety. They remind us consistently, but gently, that we hold the key to everything we are meant for in this life. We hold the answers, the guidance, and the map.

Some of the ways we can connect with this inner knowing is through meditation, pathworking, silence, writing, sleeping (dreaming), and most of all listening. Our brain chemistry tends to yell over everything else, and learning to honour the work our brain does to keep us alive while inviting in the quiet messages that our subconscious has for us is where the medicine lies. There is no wrong way to do this-only the way that works best for you.

Every time we come home to ourselves when we have stayed from our convictions, every time we say “no” to something that doesn’t serve us, and every time we remember that we are the best source of our truth, we embody High Priestess energy. We never lose this gift-they are with us every step of the way. All we have to do is listen.


Until our paths cross again,

Carrie






Journal Entries, Tarot

Mid-Week Mindfulness: Eight of Wands

I am so grateful for Jeremy Hush’s reimagining of this card. Traditionally, this card is all about creative vision, swiftness, progress, and energy. That is all wonderful…except if you want this card to serve as a waypost. How often do you face the day with a feeling of rocket-fueled inspiration? If so, that is amazing! It is not, however, a common human experience. With each one of the 78 cards, I make it my priority to ensure that all card meanings are universally helpful and serve everyone. So while this idea of being swept away in creative bliss sounds wonderful, it is only one way of experiencing this energy, which brings me back to my gratitude for this particular art.

The individual in this image does not seem remotely concerned with urgency. In fact, they are quite peaceful in repose as nature moves on around them. No doubt there is probably motion of all kinds surrounding them, but it is not changing their experience or their pace.

The suit of Wands is fire-based and while it does have to do with what we are most passionate about, what would that look like without the capitalist indoctrination? Can we deeply care about what we are putting out in the world, while still recognizing that we do not have the capacity to designate energy to it right now? Of course! Pushing through when we know we are at our limit in an attempt to stay relevant, or even in our purest desire to help is unnatural and will inevitably lead to a miserable crash. Our unique medicine is special because it is finite. We are allowed to allocate it how and when works for us and this will fluctuate over time as it should. Healers and deep-feelers often have to learn this the hard way, so use this card as an invitation to look at the offerings you put into the world and assess if you are doing this in a resourced, or a frantic manner. Your gifts and love for your life’s work will not shrink with rest-but they will dull with overexertion.


Until our paths cross again,

Carrie






Journal Entries, Tarot

Mid-Week Mindfulness: Seven of Cups

Daydreaming is something that we often “unlearn” in adulthood. We are taught to “keep our feet on the ground” and often give up on our aspirations. While there is some truth in being realistic while pursuing our goals, there is rich medicine in allowing our minds to wander to “what ifs.”

This card invites us to imagine a different life, a different career, or a different way of being in the world, but also advises us to look closely at what we are aspiring to. If you notice, in this traditional Rider-Waite Smith card seen here, some of the images in the cups are translucent. This can reflect the “grass is greener” mentality we are all vulnerable to, especially when we are envisioning change. As we allow ourselves to sip from the outside of the limits we, and likely society, have placed on ourselves, we must also check in with our inner knowing before making abrupt change. If there are things in our lives that are not working, is that because of the situation, or have we been disinterested and apathetic? There is no wrong answer here-simply observation.

The Cups represent our emotional realm, and one that is particularly vulnerable to the repercussions of stagnation. I invite you to indulge in the luxurious, limitless, and exciting possibilities that you can bring to mind, and imagine embodying these new personas or lifestyles. How can you welcome some of these practices into your life without completely overturning everything? Are there introductory classes to something you have always wanted to learn? Could you use a change of scenery with your partner? Is there a new way of cooking that you have always been curious about? This is your nudge.

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