Tarot Journal

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

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

Tarot Myth-Busting #2

Myth: Tarot is Evil/ Satanic/ Black Magic.

Truth: Tarot is simply a deck of cards.

With respect to the rich spectrum of belief systems, there is nothing evil about using tarot. It is simply a deck of 78 cards, each with a place in a timeline of the human experience.

The readers I choose to align my work with use tarot from a place of support and encouragement. We use it to provide clarity to folx who are struggling to find their way forward. We use it to gently guide people towards a place of healing. We illuminate blind spots in ourselves and others so that we may move forward in a strong, compassionate way.

Of course, anyone can use the tarot and while I have not heard of anyone using it to ring up demons for their party, I can say that I have heard of tarot being used in ways that are incredibly insensitive. I have heard several accounts of people going to a tarot reader and having left with dread and fear. It is not unheard of for a reader to turn the cards over, gasp and claim that they can’t finish the reading, leaving the person who sought their guidance sick with fear about what was coming. If there is potential “evil” that can be associated with tarot, it lies with the reader.

Most of the above accounts were before the age of the internet so now we can learn more about a reader before seeking their services. While I don’t know if those examples could be classified as “evil,” I will assert that it is definitely “irresponsible.” Most tarot readers have descriptions on their approach as well as videos and/or writing that you can look at to see if they feel like a good fit for you. If you aren’t sure, ask them! If you are looking for a particular kind of reading, the good news is there are as many tarot readers available as there are decks. With online interactions becoming the new normal, you are not limited to a reader in your area, so poke around.

Summary: The Tarot is a deck of 78 cards illustrating, or suggesting various aspects of the human experience. Because anyone can use the tarot, I suspect you can find people who are using it for darker purposes, but it is simply a tool that can be used for so much good. Try not to let fear turn you away from a tool that has quite literally saved my life.

Until our paths cross again…

Tarot

Embracing the Shadows: New Course Offering!

Whether you are new to tarot or a seasoned reader, chances are you have found yourself thrown off by some of the more dramatic cards in the deck. Perhaps the person you were reading for had a strong response to the images on one or more of these cards. The truth is, these dark or traditionally “scary” cards are some of our strongest allies!

I have spent years with these cards and have found ways to bring the light to them in your readings for yourself and others. This course was put together with my profound love for the special gifts within these challenging cards.

What is Embracing the Shadows?

Embracing the Shadows is a self-guided journey through ten of the most misunderstood cards of the tarot. Once you register, you have lifetime access to this course material including updates and improvements. Whether you are new to tarot or a seasoned reader, there will be something in this course for you. I have included a brief introduction to tarot to ensure accessibility for new tarot students.

This course will take you from cringing at the sight of these cards in a reading to celebrating the healing gifts that they bring to you and your clients. We will be looking at the Five of Cups, Three of Swords, Eight of Swords, Nine of Swords, Ten of Swords, Five of Pentacles, The Hanged Man, Death, The Devil, and The Tower. 

This offering is highly personal and I am so grateful to be able to share it with you. 

As someone healing from C-PTSD from severe childhood abuse, 8 years into recovery from addiction, and living with a host of brain chemistry issues, I continue to walk this healing road with you. I am passionate about sharing my favourite tool for this journey: the tarot. 

Tarot has the potential to bring us home to our inner knowing. Facing these ten cards from  this perspective helps to remove fear from the equation whether you are reading for yourself or for others. If you approach these ten cards with an open heart and mind, they have the most transformative potential to offer. They will help you learn to move through triggers and challenges with fluidity while still living your truth. 

This course includes:

  • Over 2 hours of recorded video with slides.
  • 4 Lessons covering why these ten cards are traditionally challenging and new ways to work with them.
  • A 12 page workbook full of information, definitions, journal prompts and tarot spreads.
  • Insight from an instructor with over 20 years experience. 

If you would like to gift this course to someone, please contact me after purchasing.

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

Notes on Shadow Work

What is Shadow Work?

The term “Shadow Work” gets thrown around a lot these days but often without an explanation. Perhaps it is because the process itself can look vastly different from one person to the next. The intent behind shadow work (sometimes referred to as underworld descent) is to uncover internal parts of ourselves that have been consciously or unconsciously repressed for any number of reasons. Essentially, our shadow is comprised of our blind spots: things we can’t see about ourselves. These often pop up in the form of triggers and/or very strong reactions to other people or situations.

Throughout our lives, we learn to repress parts of ourselves that society may deem inappropriate. Often, we do this to better fit in with family and our peers. This is important as our survival has historically relied upon our integration with our community. However, this stifling of our expression can lead to unwanted thoughts and behaviors, and over time can become quite destructive. It is in recognizing how these shadows affect our interactions and narratives that we begin to lessen our burden and gain emotional maturity.

Shadow work stems from the teachings of psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung. This work seeks to address the “negative” or “unflattering” impulses and aspects of our personality and learn how they came about. Often this can include jealousy, greed, rage, and sometimes unwelcome or troublesome desires. One of the more benign examples is if we were told as a child to be “seen and not heard,” the idea of public speaking as an adult can be paralyzing. Most of our shadows are born in childhood. As children, our capacity for joy, creativity, and curiosity are celebrated yet this is only part of our experiences in youth. We also experience anger, envy, and greed. Even expressing ourselves as silly or vocal in school was often met with negativity. These traits are experienced throughout our lifetimes, but it is in suppressing them as a child that they begin to take on a new shape. This reinforcement of reward for “good” behaviours and punishment for “bad” behaviours in childhood begins to take on the news shape: our shadow selves. 

As we work to accept and love all parts of ourselves, including those aspects that are contrary, we become further integrated human beings. Over time, we find that we are less sensitive to the behavior and comments of other people. This work is vital and a life-long journey. 

If you would like to find out how I mix shadow work and tarot, I invite you to my course, Embracing the Shadows.

Until our paths cross again…

Tarot

Full Moon Reading–July 4th 2020

The Ostara Tarot
The Ostara Tarot by Applejohn, Cooke, Gibbard, and Iredale

This month, our full moon is in Capricorn and we will experience the final lunar eclipse of Summer. This is a Buck Moon which refers to when male deer grow their antlers. In tarot symbolism, antlers and horns remind us of our connection to the divine, to higher consciousness. This full moon will be amplified by the eclipse, so the energy at this time will focus on our truth and the relationships and situations that no longer serve us.

I drew each of these cards to represent the energy around specific weeks of this moon cycle, but it quickly became clear that the cards were tying together a beautiful narrative. It goes something like this:

This is a month to dive deep, I mean really deep, into self-love and unflinching, radical self-acceptance. We may begin the moon cycle by investigating some self-limiting beliefs as represented in the 8 of Swords. This is where we kick Imposter Syndrome to the curb and realize that we have unique gifts that other people need. Step out of the cycle of self-doubt before the last chapter of the Swords suit plays out: insomnia, anxiety, etc. Know that you may be blind to the way out of this thought pattern so it will take some courage to move away from it.

While many of the cards in this spread traditionally point to a new, satisfying relationship, I tend to approach the cards with the philosophy of the wonderful Lindsay Mack who asserts that each of the cards in the tarot HAS to apply to EVERYBODY or it doesn’t apply to anybody. What this means is that if we look at the Two of Cups and The Lovers as cards suggesting a new relationship, how does that work for people in a committed, monogamous relationship? How does it apply to someone who is single with no desire to partner up? There are so many variations of these examples that I find it much more helpful to explore ways that we can love and unite parts of ourselves in order to be of service to our loved ones and our communities. When we learn to accept and celebrate what we previously deemed undesirable we become a more integrated person and for those looking for a partner, you will naturally attract healthier matches.

Some refer to this as raising your vibration, the law of attraction and many other new-age terms, but I think of it as fine-tuning your bullshit filter. When you hold yourself up and unlearn all of the critical narratives that have been forced on you, anyone who comes into your life with unhealthy intentions is likely to be scared off. As we see in the Ten of Cups, which came up as our meditation card for the month, it is our birthright to feel whole and celebrated. For you, if this is finding a life-long companion, great! If you are already in a committed relationship, this could mean getting to know each other in new and fulfilling ways. If you prefer to be on your own, this is a time to fully envelope yourself in rich, loving kindness and rejoice in the freedom that comes from not answering to anyone.

I truly hope this was helpful and I look forward to connecting with you during the next full moon. As always, feel free to contact me with thoughts and questions.

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…

Tarot

Queen of Wands

Page of Wands (2)

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.

With the Queen of Wands we get the intriguing blend of fire (Wands), and water (Queens). The energy in this card burns hot but flows like cool water. This Queen is not likely to go unnoticed. She holds the key to bringing polar opposites together magically and exudes this effortlessly. This may remind you of people you have met who just radiate sexuality and seem to be a magnet while their external features are not those traditionally admired. There is just something so special about them. This reminds us that we all have the birthright to feel sexy, powerful, and radiant regardless of our physical appearance (which is ever-changing). This Queen embodies creative and productive energy.

220px-Wands13

It is worth noting a few things in the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith card (left). First, this is the only Queen who sits in a wide-legged position, suggesting assertiveness and strong sexuality. Second, this card is often referred to as the “Witch of the Queens” in tarot which suggests that the black cat may be her familiar. There is such a magical quality to this energy. Perhaps this is due to the alchemy required to bring fire and water together in such a harmonious way. It is as though this person can silently insist that the two elemets play nice.

It is interesting to consider that apparently Pamela Colman Smith, who illustrated this deck, was instructed to draw a different animal for this card but chose a black cat instead. This black cat has become an iconic topic of discussion in tarot communities. What does it bring to mind for you?

With all of this in mind, I invite you to explore when and where you feel empowered and sensual. I ask that you do your best to shelf shame and guilt while you ease into this. How do you experience your inner magic? How can you tap into your personal power? Is there a way to spend more time exploring this space?

This can also be a great time to look at where you are allowing your boundaries to be taken for granted or disrespected. Everyone has a right to their own boundaries. If you find that you are constantly defending them to someone, it may be time to take a break from that relationship until they can honour what you have established for your own safety. You do not have to answer to or apologize for your personal sense of power (assuming no harm is being done). You will find that as you strengthen your boundaries, your relationships will become more mutually fulfilling.

“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.”

-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent’s tongue—my woman’s voice, my sexual voice, my poet’s voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.”
—Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Until our paths cross again…