Tarot Journal

Journal Entries

Four of Pentacles and “Resource Guarding.”

Approx. Reading time 3.41 mins

I know that resource guarding is a term used in dog behavior, but hear me out. In my practice, Pentacles/Coins are all about safety. For some of us that means having a robust savings account to lean on; for others, it is food security, for some people, having a reliable shelter equals safety but today I want to talk about pentacles/coins and our bodies.

For those of us with chronic conditions, neurodivergence, and cognitive challenges, everyday tasks that many people don’t think about can be incredibly draining for us. Some days, just getting out of bed takes everything we have. While some people spend full days in noisy and chaotic environments, for some of us, a few moments in those surroundings can be physically painful. Masking and being aware of every movement and gesture is exhausting and I’ve been thinking about this card from this perspective. I wanted to share a bit about that in case it resonates.

As an autistic person with ADHD, migraines, C-PTSD, and mood disorders, I tend to push way too hard when I have energy, and then completely burn out. For anyone unfamiliar with the term “spoonie,” this refers to folks living with chronic illness and the analogy that they are allocated a certain number of “spoons” each day and tasks such as cooking and laundry spends a certain number of those spoons. When you’re out, you’re out. The urgency of the task doesn’t matter at that point.

So, moving away from the older associations with this card being folx who are miserly or frugal, since Pentacles represent the physical realm, it makes sense that this could be in regards to physical “spending’ if you will.

I wanted to invite conversations around conserving our energetic currency as needed and making space for that not only to be okay but to recognize that this creates safer relationships for the person with the limited capacity and those who care about them. It creates transparency so that the person who struggles can be honest about where they are at, and their companions don’t have to worry that their friend will say “yes” when they don’t want to. What does this look like in practice? For example, I don’t often commit to things very far in advance because I truly don’t know where I will be at from one day to the next. I know that pushing myself to do things when my mind and body are screaming “no” is injurious and I no longer do that. It is frustrating and humbling but at least for now, it is my reality. I do my best to keep my word when I do commit to events but there are times when rest is not optional.

Wherever you struggle and overextend yourself, the medicine in this card is there to remind you that you don’t “owe” your physical currency to others. Much like the “oxygen mask theory,” if we burn ourselves out, we can’t help anyone, even our closest loved ones. Where do you have trouble saying “no” in your life? Are there certain people or situations where you tend to put your needs aside to support them? How might you anticipate and plan to have a more self-advocating approach next time?

Even as a mother, I have learned ways around my zero-spoon days and while I haven’t yet banished the associated guilt, I have accepted that these days will happen. However, I think that the real magick in this card comes from slowing down enough to notice body cues before you hit that wall. For neurodivergent minds, this is often a struggle. We forget to eat, sleep, or drink water, and we just keep chipping away at the neverending to-do list. Suddenly we bonk and it takes time to recover. I recently read that it can be helpful to aim to utilize 50% of your energy for that day rather than spending it all. Maybe, in the Four of Pentacles, we can remember to pause, take a breath, and ask our body what they really need at this moment. It isn’t miserly, it’s resource-guarding for survival. You are amazing.

Sidenote, with this interpretation you can almost imagine theis person on the card doing the somatic self-holding activity which I find incredibly helpful when I am in crisis. This is done (if you are able to) by tucking your right hand in your left armpit and your left hand on the outside of your right bicept and applying as much pressure as feels good. Photo below:

Drawing of a person doing the somatic self-holding exercise. The person has their right arm tucked in their left armpit and their left arm on the outside of their right bicep.

With love,

From the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith.

Journal Entries

Time for a personal practice? I tend to laugh at the idea too.

Image of Carrie looking exhausted with no makeup and a lazy bun in her hair, on a couch win her holiday jammies on. In her lap is Myrtle,  a black and white cat, and her son laying against her. They are looking in the distance at the TV.

🥴 Weary, exhausted, full-time-jammies parent, I see you and I raise you homeschooling a 12-year-old when both of us are neurodivergent! If I’m lucky, some part of my day looks like this photo. Generally, it ends with me collapsing into bed and directly onto my Switch or into a scrolling black hole. Sound familiar?

Maybe you are looking for “me-time” that doesn’t involve a bottle of wine or more per night. Perhaps you long for meaning in your life, but who has time for that and where do you start? As a parent, alone time is precious and often rare, so it can put us into freeze mode when we get it. This is a breeding ground for unhealthy habits and anxiety. Maybe you aren’t even sure what your interests are anymore.

Parenting takes us away from our identities and often when we are out of the survival-mode of keeping a tiny human alive, we are someone different, and we don’t know what to do with that. Then, we can add the pressure of trying to find some kind of meaning in this often dizzying experience called life. Spiritual practice? Mindfulness? When?!

Tarot is for everyone, but there is something special about what it does for parents, sensitive folks and survivors. We tend to give so much of ourselves that there is nothing left for our own care. This is where unhealthy patterns and habits breed-hence the alcoholism and host of other ways I avoided discomfort. Tarot can lend a hand here-I promise.

I have taken all of the research, courses, books, and experience I have put together and carved out the most meaningful and fuss-free ways to connect my students with tarot and make it their own. I would love to spend 6-weeks showing you how to use tarot for boundaries, goal-setting, self-sovereignty, and finding your way home to who you are now.

I have created the course Embodied Tarot with all of us over-givers in mind. The material is accessible, does not take much time out of your week, and gives you the connection and accountability of weekly group calls to share what comes up for you in a supportive and inclusive container. This is your invitation to gift yourself the time and attention you so freely give to others.

Make sure you are on the waitlist to hear more about it: https://mailchi.mp/1e568e3f25cc/embodied-tarot-waitlist

Or for more information: https://apothecarrie.ca/tarot-courses/

Spots are limited and when they are full, doors will close, so be sure to get on that waitlist or feel free to message me if you have any questions at all.

Talk to you soon!

Love Carrie

Journal Entries

Waitlist Open for Embodied Tarot

🎉 Waitlist is open for my brand-new complete tarot course and registration is coming in just 7 days (yes, I think of The Ring too)😉!

Make sure you are on the waitlist to hear more about it: https://mailchi.mp/1e568e3f25cc/embodied-tarot-waitlist

Or for more information: https://apothecarrie.ca/tarot-courses/

Join me for 6-weeks of supportive, modern tarot approaches that will give you everything you need to use tarot for yourself and others using an inclusive, holistic, and trauma-sensitive framework.

What is Embodied Tarot?

Embodied Tarot is a 6-week online course guided by Carrie (that’s me), a teacher with over 25 years of experience with tarot. The term Embodied Tarot comes from my system for using the cards as a tool to navigate tough life situations where we might not have developed skills for: holding our boundaries, honouring our limits, and putting our own needs first. We will also learn to check in somatically on what our body is telling us. We survivors tend to give all of our attention to our brain chatter and exploring tarot in this holistic way is incredibly healing.

Spots are limited and when they are full, doors will close, so be sure to get on that waitlist or feel free to message me if you have any questions at all.

Talk to you soon!

Love Carrie

Journal Entries

Midweek Mindfulness: Page of Coins

Approx. Reading time 2.45 mins

In this beautiful depiction of the Page of Pentacles, we have the quote: “aut viam inveniam aut faciam” which translates from Latin to English as: ““I shall either find a way or make one.” Such is the spirit of this Page.

Pages embody youthful energy and provide a rich way to work with our inner children. The Page of Pentacles is endlessly curious in a grounded way. They want to know how things work and whether there is a better way forward.

In working with the energy of the Page of Pentacles/Coins, we might take some time to look at things as though it were the first time we are seeing them! Imagine the wonder and amazement at all of the moving parts of today’s innovations! We may use our kitchen mixer every day but do we ever stop to think about all of the steps that were taken to create this efficient machine?

As young ones, we often pose the question “why” after almost everything adults say. It comes from this inquisitiveness that is often discouraged by frazzled adults who may not know the answers. So, in time we stop asking, and with that, we stop wondering. What would it feel like to lean back into that level of curiosity? If you have a young one in your house, you might choose a day to answer every time they ask “why” or “how?” If you are not sharing your space with a little, this invitation is for you to pause and consider some of the things you do and imagine explaining them to a young person, or even someone from another planet. It sounds silly, but this can be such a fun activity. If you are someone who wears makeup, imagine explaining each step and what each product does. When you put a meal together, what makes you choose certain ingredients? If you have an animal companion in your home, what would it be like to explain their characteristics and adaptations to someone who had never seen one?

The idea is to spend some time noticing where you take things for granted. It is an activity that has the potential to create new ways of thinking and can even strengthen the connections in your brain. It is also a way to bring some gratitude into your day in a natural and authentic way.

Take a moment to look around you right now. Imagine you have just been dropped into this room, at this moment, and everything is brand new. What questions would you have? What items do not make sense without prior knowledge?

We can take this curiosity with us when we engage with people. Curiosity helps us to come from a place of non-judgment and helps reduce conflict. Instead of making assumptions about someone, we might ask questions. For instance, when someone makes a statement that is in direct contrast to our own belief systems, maybe it is something that they have not thought much about. By asking questions, not only do we make our interactions softer, we may just encourage folks to examine truths that cause harm to others. In this way, the Page of Pentacles can be a deeply transformational energy to invite in! Is the way forward the best for us, or shall we create a new way?

With love,

From the Antique Anatomy Tarot by Claire Goodchild

Journal Entries

Midweek Mindfulness: The Emperor Reversed

Watercolor background with a reversed image of The Emperor Card from the Tarot of the Divine. It features a king holding a sword and wearing a red cloak. There is a castle in the background

CW: Oppression and the BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, and differently-abled communities.
Approx. Reading time: 1.5 mins.

How does an imbalance in power show up in your life? Where is it your experience that things that should feel fair and equitable do not?

Traditionally, The Emperor is known to represent the concept of “father” in the tarot. In taking an inclusive look at this card where gender and the capacity to bear children do not factor in, we are looking at societal expectations and authoritarian structures. Despite the efforts of powerful movements toward change, we still live in a society that values conformity and oppresses those who do not. We see an aching imbalance in how folx are treated based solely on their appearance and/or identity.

This imbalance affects us all whether we are misunderstood and marginalized or not. For those of us with privilege, part of the healing and recalibration process is our acknowledgment of this. Cis white folx like myself will never experience the layers of abuse that othered communities do and moving through life with this understanding is the first step in healing this poison. Taking further action steps to align ourselves with a future that we want to be a part of, where safety is a birthright rather than something that is doled out according to the holder is the work we need to be doing.

This work belongs to the folx with privilege to heal. So, where are we using this to elevate the voices that are being silenced? How much of our time is dedicated to unpacking the years of conditioning that continue to factor into our output in this world? How often are we listening to the BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S+ voices that are sharing their struggles and how are we contributing to the reparation of these injustices? What about our inborn ableism? How are we showing up with the intention of accommodation? The only way to undo the damage done is to work diligently on a different path forward. Only then can we begin to brew the medicine that is a fair and just society.

With love, Carrie

From Tarot of the Divine by Yoshi Yoshitani: http://www.yoshiyoshitani.com

Journal Entries

2023: Year of The Chariot

Approx. Reading time 3.5 mins

2023: Year of the Chariot

So what does that mean? Numerology is an important component of tarot and to use it, we break more complicated numbers up into their single-digit parts. So, for years: 2023=2+0+2+3=7. We are working with 7’s this year. In the Major Arcana, the larger themes in the tarot, this aligns with The Chariot.

The Chariot asks us to harness and focus our intention and will in a chosen direction. This can feel like it is often illustrated in the card-much like trying to pull two strong horses together and keep them on the same path despite their desire to pull in two opposing directions. 

The last couple of years have consisted of deep internal dives and persona excavation. It has been laborious and often distressing work. It has been necessary to prepare us for the theme of this year. It is time to, as one of my learning facilitators Sarah M. Chappell says: “Take messy action.”

As a neurodivergent person who is often paralyzed by overwhelm, brain fog, and PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance), any action can feel distressing, so please know that I approach this with empathy and the understanding that you will honour your autonomy and nervous system first and foremost. 

So, in this spirit, if there have been things that you have wanted to take action on, but you are stuck and unsure of which interest or path you would like to take, The Chariot nudges us to pick one and take the first steps. For example, if you are thinking of a career change but feel inundated by choices, pick one and take the very early steps toward it. Ask yourself questions about it. Perhaps you could arrange a session with someone who does this work so you may learn what a day looks like in that field. There are websites such as Coursera which offer university-level courses for free! Begin your exploration and see how it feels. You may either learn that it isn’t at all what you thought, or you might find yourself ignited with a desire to pursue it. Both of these states are unattainable from the consideration phase. 

The idea is that we can easily get stuck spinning our wheels and trying to make the “best” decisions. We are living in increasingly uncertain times and it can make planning for the next day excruciating, let alone planning for our future, but without anything to move towards with anticipation, we can fall flat pretty quickly. 

What would you like to contribute to in this world? What conversations would you like to take part in? How do you feel called to show up and what steps can you take to align with that purpose? This is the year to ask these questions. 

This may also be a personal goal that you wish to attain. For me, 10 months ago, it was leaving alcohol behind for good. In the beginning, those steps looked like 60-second intervals. The *only* thing I could manage at that time was to not drink for that moment. Those single minutes became half-hour segments and eventually opened into me getting long overdue diagnoses and learning how to trust myself again. If I had thought about these huge concepts at the beginning, I never would have started. So, regardless of what you would like to achieve this year, it is helpful to consider what that first step would be and steer the “horses” in that direction.

Recalibrating to putting our energy toward that which feels purposeful can help us to feel liberated and energized but that doesn’t mean that this path will be unobstructed. Rarely do great things happen without the punctuation of naysayers, obstacles, and self-doubt. 

The Chariot reminds us that we can do hard things. You have done hard things and look at you holding on to yourself and staying the course despite what has been thrown at you. You are fucking amazing and I hope that this year, you see that for yourself.

With love,

From The Light Seer’s Tarot by Chris Anne

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,


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,

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,

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,