Heart vs Head: a 30 day challenge to get my Woo back

It’s been awhile since I sat down with my tarot cards or even thought about the mystic world.  I apologize both to myself, my cards, and even to you.  Things have changed a lot since the eclipse.  I’ve returned to school to pursue a degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant and have been swamped with homework that involves finding evidence, proof, research, studies, etc.

I love it, and honestly when I’m done, I feel that my own magic and divination practices will fit in well.  Occupational Therapy is about returning someone to wholeness, empowering them to function as the best version of themselves.  It’s not just what’s broken, it’s what lies underneath, surrounds, and looms ahead that is considered, too.   How does that not scream of magick?

And yet, I’ve been almost ashamed of using my cards, of burning incense, of anything “woo”.  Why?

So I decided to do something about it to try and reconnect with my cards and myself.

November is the host of “National Novel Writing Month”  which leads to the NaNoWriMo challenge of trying to write 50,000 words in one month.  I’ve participated a few times in the past, never reaching that goal, but still having fun.   However, with school I knew I’d have to put it off for this year.  Instead, I decided to work on my spiritual interests and build on my books of shadow and light.  30 days of tarot, magick, magical study.  I’ve been journaling my adventure over the past 12 days.

Somedays I’ve had a lot of time to read or meditate.  Others days I had just enough time to burn incense with a focus in mind.  However, I feel much closer to my cards and belief system.  I almost lost that to science.  I’ve even taken two days to reorganize my space and create a plan for where I could have “scared space” in a more permanent place of the house.  It all goes towards my 30 day goal of having a larger base of my book of light and shadow.  I’ve been reading more and letting my intuition pull me towards different aspects of magick.  I thought for a long time, I’d be a green witch.  But I enjoy gardening more than using the plants I grow.  And I’m very close to my rosemary right now.  So, greenish.  But making herby teas and remedies like that isn’t something I’m excited about.  I thought I would never enjoy candle magic, but I can’t wait to try it.  It’s fascinating to expand, grow, change, and learn.  I love it.

During this time, I’ve also been working with a new oracle deck that I rescued at my local used bookstore.  Tiger and Dragon Oracle I Ching cards.  When I first opened them at home I had a little buyer’s remorse.  However, they play super well with my Druid Craft Tarot deck, and we are all becoming fast friends and better at designing spreads.

Today’s spread is simple: past, present, future – tarot cards; and an oracle card to help show the relationships.

Past and future sit below present in a pyramid shape.  And the idea of the present it literally within this moment, or even moon cycle.  Nothing super crazy, but I like seeing how past and future are more connected than I realize.  And I like that present is highlighted at the top of the pyramid to remind me to be more present.

Today’s pull: using the Druid Craft Deck and the Tiger & Dragon Oracle Cards

Past – 2 of Swords

Present – High Preistess

Future – 5 of Wands

Oracle – Resoluteness

Seriously cards, this is exactly what I needed this morning.  I felt that the choice I had to make was getting harder and harder the more I was using my science and logic-loving mind.  I’m grateful that I created my grimoire project it’s helped reconnect.  This project has led me to draw the High Priestess card (a first).  I usually never resonate with the High Priestess.  She’s what I want to be, but I always feel that I’m not even close.  However, having her represent my present is a big reassurance that I am on the right path.  However, it won’t be easy and there will be conflict ahead with my choices.  And I can already think of a handful, which I won’t delve on, but I will journal about later.    As for my Oracle’s wisdom, Resoluteness is needed to keep my hold on trying to reach High Priestess-ness.  It won’t be easy, it hasn’t been easy, but it’s what I want and feel is right for me, so I should stick to the path.

 

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Mindful Tarot, just a few thoughts

I just listened to the Biddy Tarot Podcast with special guest Lisa Freinkel discusses how to mindfully approach tarot.

Wow, so many ideas are racing around in my head after listening to this.

I’ve been wanting to become more mindful in my life.  I have my little timeouts that I try to go to when life is too hot of a mess.  They help, when I remember to even try them.  I have them, but they are a little dusty.  So, it seems that this strategy isn’t working for me.  If I were observing someone else, I would suggest that they try something different because whatever is trying to happen isn’t happening and probably won’t happen at this moment.  And that’s okay.

But I’m observing myself, and so kind words like that are never an option.  Nope, I am a failure, I suck, I should just give up and accept that I will never be X or Y or even Z.  The typical self-defeating talk.

Not today.  Nope.

Today, I learned that mindfulness can be done right with my tarot cards.  Now, how about that?playing-cards-2205554_1920

Lisa Freinkel explained that instead of arriving at the deck with a question, lay the cards and let the questions, reactions, ideas arise from there.  Don’t have expectations, just look at the cards to find resonance with your life.  Also, take breaths and reconnect with yourself, don’t rush the process.  And if you are being fair and honest with yourself, the meaning/questions will surface.  She also mentioned to free write with the card/cards in mind and allow the pen to take you places, but always make sure to breathe.

It’s almost like approaching the session backwards.  You see the answers and then need to glean the question.

Why I like this.  I usually do my tarot alone my bed, which is usually one of the few places I can hide from the kids of J.  So I am usually always in a place where reflection could naturally occur if I took the time.  I’ve just never thought about that before.

My bedroom has a lot of room for breath.  A lot of room for quietness.  A lot of room for stillness.  Something that usually isn’t found in the rest of our house, bless those kiddos.  😉  So starting in a mindful setting, it is only a natural leap to try a mindful tarot reading.

Pull a card or two and just feel them out.  I always try to journal about my readings, note any questions, spread designs (if they are significant), any patterns (like this morning, I drew the nine of wands and the nine of swords but both were reversed.  I also drew the hermit.  That’s a lot of nines), any cards that I’ve never pulled before in this spread or for this type of question or in a long long time.

Freinkel teaches journaling along with mindful tarot, delving into the moment of the cards and, as Bridget always says, NEVER TOUCHING THE BOOK. 😉

I try really hard to never touch the book, unless its a new deck and they have different images or names for cards.  And even then, I usually research the symbolism or names online.

 

I can’t wait to try this.  So glad I brought my headphones with me to school, this was a fascinating listen during my breaks.

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The podcast is on the Biddy Tarot website – episode 85

And Lisa Freinkel has a Youtube channel called “Mindful Tarot”.  (I haven’t had a chance to check this out yet, but I will be investigating soon)

 

Any tarot tips to share?  Any one try this before?  Where do you like to do your tarot readings for yourself?

Reading for the Week of September 10th

The incense is burning.  Sandalwood.  One of those smells that instantly relaxes my mind.  As I shuffle the cards, I ask for an easy week.  No lessons, right now.  I’ve had enough the past three weeks.  Maybe you have too.

As I shuffle, a card falls out of my hands, still face down.  This I usually take as a sign.  The cards saying to me, “THAT one, right there.  That is the one you need NOW.”  Okay.  I shuffled a few more times then felt like I was ready to flip the gifted card over.

Hello, 5 of Wands.  So glad you chose to answer my question about the energy for coming the week.  Well played, cards.  Well played.  

And I felt this would happen right as the words left my mouth.  It’s when we don’t want a lesson that we really need one, right?

I am using the Druid Craft Tarot Deck.  A birthday gift from my husband, and my first non-Rider Waite deck.  I absolutely love the artwork.  Each card tells a very vivid story, which is how I read the cards.

And there it sits, the 5 of Wands, Reversed.  Great, reversed means it really is a lesson I have to work through.  Damn…

In the Druid Craft Tarot Deck, there is a band of men (5 to be exact) rough-housing with sticks.  I say rough-housing because they don’t look like they are trying to murder each other, some look annoyed, but others look like they are enjoying creating the chaos.  They rough-house on a hill, their wooden wands intersecting and make triangles and intersections that look like astrological trines.

Below them is a chicken, pecking in the dirt.  It’s actually the chicken I saw first.  She’s not distracted by the chaos behind her, she is looking for something.  But what exactly, I’m not sure.  But is she ever determined and brave during the craziness that is just behind her.

I guess that means that I should work on my focus as well.  As I breathe the sandalwood infused air, I can see exactly what this means for myself.  My life has completely lost its routine.  A routine that I spent two years creating.  A routine for myself and the family.  In August, both E and myself started school.  E is in kindergarten, and I am returning to the local community college.  We both are learning a lot, but our schedules are off.  I’ve been working on adjusting the housework, dinner prep, and family time so that I still have time to do my homework, and E can do hers.  E also started Tae Kwon Do, and does that twice a week.  It’s very different for us.

But I need to find my focus and reduce the amount of irons in my fire.  Be like the chicken, and maybe all the things (important or not) will give you time to sort them out.  It’s impossible to focus on all of them at once, but they aren’t going anywhere, so don’t worry about that.

 

What can I do to best embrace this energy?

The crazy will come no matter what right?  So how can I best work with it?  I always pull three cards because I like the number 3.  It provides options and the relationships between the 3 cards can be more meaningful than just a pair or lone card.  And 4 is just flat out too many.

The cards:  7 of Wands, Princess of Wands, The Lord.

Wow, there is a lot of wands in this reading.  A lot of fire.  Hopefully cleansing and not wild.

Seven of Wands.  A man stands atop a stone wall holding a staff, below him six spears can be seen.  Defense, boundaries, sticking to your decision.

The Princess of Wands.  She looks like she’s about to step out into an brand new adventure.  The wind is blowing her hair back, her face looks determined and excited, and her walking staff is there to join her.

The Lord.  I pulled him last week as well in terms of helping accept the week’s energy.  Hmmm…either I didn’t learn enough or his lesson is just that important.  He sits atop a stone throne, while his face looks stern, he does seem ready to listen.  He is making direct eye contact with me, his staff of power is in his hand.  His staff has the runic symbol for sun or power carved into it.  His helmet is adorned with antlers, his throne with horned rams.  Interesting references to nature, antlers are a seasonal adornment, while horns are lifelong.  Does this mean that as a king he will only last a season (or until he dies) but his legacy (kingship, leadership, being the governor of his people) lasts forever?  Hmm…

 

So yeah…  How does this work?

I feel like I need to embrace the journey like the Princess of Wands.  I may not like it, but it’s happening, so why not try to find something to enjoy?  I am still my own boss.  If I need to study instead of worry about the dishes, then I should study and ask for help, or delegate.  Could the Lord also be my husband?  Should I ask him for help with the house more?  I hate to do that…but maybe I should.  I am already feeling threatened by the amount of homework and paperwork E brings home, along with my own homework and studying.  I need to stick to my guns and remember why I am doing this.  I know my friends and family think I’m nuts for going back to school again, but I shouldn’t let that get to me.  I know what I want, my husband and kids are my biggest support right now, and that’s what I care about the most right now.

I also feel like the 7 of wands is warning me about trying to deal with too many things at once.  A king hears audience with one person at a time, I need to deal with the upcoming spears one at a time.  I need to walk tall in my choices and embrace the journey.

 

If I work on these things and try to best embrace this energy, what could happen?

Six of Pentacles.  An old man, dressed in a gray robe with a large golden collar is handing out coins to open hands.  He has a staff and a large bowl with him.  He is crouched under a tree.  The tree is adorned with six pentacles.  There is snow on the ground, but the tree has leaves and berries, some sort of conifer.

 

 

So the takeaway:

If I stop and work on myself, find my focus, and don’t give into distraction, then I will be able to help those around me more.  I can do this by sticking to my decisions, delegating, and embracing the journey.

 

 

Notes and Reflections:

There are a lot of wands in this draw.  Even the non-wand suits have staffs.  Wands are bringers of creation.  They are a fire sign, so action must be taken to deal with the distractions and chaos that is overwhelming me right now.  Fire will lead to earth, the pentacles.  Earth in winter, but still able to help.  This is the first time I’ve pulled the six of pentacles.  So that’s interesting.

 

Queen of Cups and a New Journey

I am going back to school.  Today, actually.  In a few hours, and I am extremely excited.  The plan is to study to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant.  My dream is still translucent, but I am interested in mental health and creating habits and baby steps that will improve their lives.

A goal that I am eager to reach and eager to put the work into, but not without the help of the Queen of Cups.

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The Queen of Cups:  Manifested her dreams and intuitions into her special cup.  Brought the metaphysical into the physical world.  It wasn’t overnight, she was trained, taught, and primped for this.  And there are rules, laws, and truths she can’t bend or break, these rules are her foundation and her pillar of power.  She let her intuition and dreams surround her so that she could better use these truths to reach her dreams, but she didn’t let them overtake her, she is still in control of her reality and knows what is firm and real and what is fluid and illusionary.

 

 

Why an OTA?  Honestly, less school, but still able to help.  (like a vet tech and not a vet).  And Occupational Therapy needs to be in our lives more.

This is something I personally could have used help with after being diagnosed with postpartum depression after both kids.  I don’t think I ever really recovered after the first one, and it got pretty dark after the second one.

For both events, I was given pills as the ultimate and final solution.  Okay, so I took them.  That is what the doctor told me to do, and he’s a doctor, so I should believe him, right?  This is the ONLY thing that will help me.  No other options were offered, and at the time I was so tired and sad that I didn’t even think to ask about something like therapy or even a call line.

Nope, just take this little beige pill once a day and be on your way.

I returned to work after the first kiddo, and while on the medication, nearly got fired a few months later because I was becoming a robot.  I was a teacher, I was supposed to respond to my students and all I had become regurgitator of lecture.  It was not good…  At home, I would rush with the baby and get her to bed so I could work on grading, new lectures, and other teacher things. It was bleak and bad.

Thank goodness my boss talked to me about it.  Thank goodness she gave me another chance and time to either change or wean myself off the pills.

I chose to get off the pills.  I decided to try gluten free.  I’d heard that it could help with depression, and it would give me something other than work or baby to focus my energy.  It worked fairly well.  I found myself in a clearer headspace, I enjoyed parenting and teaching once again and was no longer a robot.

When I had the second baby, I was sick of working at that school (long story, not the right place for that).  I worked one final semester and then was fortunate enough to stay home with them and work part time.  Which actually saved us a TON of money (again, another story).

And I could feel the darkness once again after baby number 2.  And because I was desperate not to fall into myself too deep, I asked the doctor again for help and he threw more pills at me.  The same pills.

And that was that.

I took them, but when I started to feel the robot coming out, I weaned myself off.  I would rather be sad than be a robot.

Not only was I sad, I was upset and hurt by my doctor.  What the hell?  Here take this…  Not, let’s look at what’s happening in your life.

It took three years, but I am in a much healthier and happier place.  I still have dark times, but I am becoming much kinder to myself and they are becoming less and less.

In these three years, I have developed habits for myself, the children, and the house.  Journaling, yoga, meditating (still working on that one), expanding my spiritual side, eating keto (good bye sugar, you were making me the saddest and I didn’t even know it), playing with the kids, exercising, getting a dog, my planner, setting goals, learning tarot, combining mundane with magical, learning what the heck self-care was and how to actually do it.

There were lots of trials and errors.  For some of this time, we didn’t have insurance so outside help wasn’t really feasible.  If I had a buddy to reach out to or become accountable with the journey would have been a lot smoother and easier to traverse.  However, I wouldn’t be here now with the same desires to help others.

I feel like I can be a good helper.  I was a vet tech for 12 years, a teacher for 7 years.  My favorite part of both careers was the one-on-one time with owners, teaching them how to understand and work with their pet’s recently diagnosed disease or injury (emergency and internal medicine for most of my time); and working with students together on a project or paper.  I feel that both of these will help with a career in OTA, and honestly, I am excited about that.  Sure, there will be hard days, but I’m sure there will (and always will be) more good days than bad.

Well that’s the story.  The motivation behind my new adventure.  Here’s to creating a unique cup of my own to hold all my future adventures and to toast to fulfilled dreams.

To keep myself on track, I placed the card in my planner.  She’s taped to the ‘dashboard’ tab, so I can see her every day because I use her every day.

 Keep our dreams close, but our goals closer, right?

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The Empress and Toni Morrison

I’ve just finished reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly.  A great (and sometimes hard) read about vulnerability and shame in our lives.  This book helped me open my eyes and better assess the habits I’ve recently been hiding behind to make myself feel like a “good” mom and wife.  But what I realized was it was a front.  And I want to change my habits so that I am my best version of what mom and wife mean.

I want to be more Empress-like.

 

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The empress: the mother, caregiver, provider, nurturer.  Influenced by intuition and love.  Sitting on a firm foundation, but softened by love.

That is the mother I want to be, but in my own way.  I will never be the Pin-perfect mother of the year.  I will not turn into Donna Reed overnight.

It’s going to take work, I’ve been living with these habits for a long time.  I’m going to start in the most simple way I can think of.  In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown quotes Toni Morrison.  It’s not a pithy or super striking quote; it’s simple, to the point, and heart-driven.

“When a child walks in the room, your child or anybody else’s child, do your eye light up?  That’s what they’re looking for.”

 -Toni Morrison

I heard this Monday, and I have been trying to do this every time O or E walks in the room.  Even J, not that he’s a child, I just want him to see that I still love him with all my heart, and I’m glad we’re still on this journey together.

I’ve been trying.  It’s hard.  When stomping of feet or whining proceeds them, it’s hard to want to react immediately with kindness.  And safety does come first, that applies to you O, especially when you are trying to defy physics.  But you get the point.

When I used this as my first reaction, the tears and overall grump faded faster than if I met them with annoyance, frustration, or exasperation.

This is just a baby step to becoming more Empress-like.  Baby steps in the right direction. 🙂

 

More to come, I’m sure.  I’m still learning every day.

When Magical meets Mundane

The full moon was a week ago and I was ready for it.  Sorta…

Keeping track of the moon and having a plan of what I want to manifest outwardly has been something I’ve been working on.

I had my plan:   I was going to create a ritual space along with a daily ritual.

I thought of this around the time of the new moon, so I had time to create the space and decide the ritual.  The space would be in my bedroom, that is probably the most sacred space for me in the entire house.  Other than sleep, storytime with the kids, sex with the hubs, and reading, nothing else super worldly enters that space.  No homework, no work of any kind.  That’s always been my rule.  And it’s worked, it’s a very peaceful place that I enjoy very much.

I began finding a space in our room and clearing out clutter.  It was very fun, I enjoyed it a lot.

However, about a week later, something else was beginning to gnaw at my heart.  Ritual was great, physical space was great, but something wasn’t right.  It was like a rock in my shoe, something small was rubbing just right to make everything feel off.

I made a list of other things that I need help with.  Things both personal and that would benefit others.  The winner of the list making was that feeding the family was most important.

Okay, it’s not that I don’t feed my family, I just make dinner last minute and sometimes the protein is still frozen when I try to cook it.  This leads to spending too long making dinner and eating way too late and finishing dinner right at bedtime.  Also, the resources we already had weren’t being used.  I’d go out for a last minute trip and end up buying something twice.  It was stressing me out and a giant mess.

Then came the doubt.

Isn’t the moon’s blessing supposed to be spiritual in nature?  But if the body isn’t happy, the spirit can’t be happy right?  And if Momma aint happy, nobody’s happy.  But this is just so, so, so boring.

 

I pulled out my tarot deck and asked my normal “upcoming week” questions for help with picking a direction.

What is the energy of the upcoming week?  Nine of Cups, reversed

What can I do to best channel this energy?  Eight of Pentacles, Two of Pentacles, and Ace of Swords

Likely outcome of the week if I best use this energy?  The Lovers, reversed.

I read reversed cards as pertaining to myself personally.  So What I got from this is that my own wish and needs will be met.  This allowed me to embrace the mundane goals for this full moon.  The lessons in the channeling cards show that a habit should be created, but the 2 of pentacles meant it was still fluctuating, and that if I kept it as simple as possible (the Ace of Swords) it will best serve its purpose.  And if I worked at creating a routine that would help with this goal of keeping up with meals, groceries, and inventory, harmony would be reached within myself (The Lovers, reversed).

[Again, I read intuitively based on the story of the Rider-Waite deck cards]

 

Okay, so with the cards showing me that I should follow my gut and that it was possible to create something that would help with my current dilemma.  And that’s what I did.

I made a printable that has space for days of the week (dinner only), a space for noting needed groceries for the planned meals.  Along with a note about any prep needed for the next dinner.  A small space to note where they can be purchased.  On the back is an inventory based on category.  This lives in a page protector and can be written on as needed.

It was all finished the day of the full moon.  That night I meditated on it and set my intentions for the upcoming moon cycle.

One Week Later:

I really like this planning page.  I plan all the meals for the week on Sunday, note anything that needs to be prepped for the next day.   The list lives in my keto binder, so I can make a grocery list as I plan the menu for the week.  It’s easy to update and manage.   I feel much calmer about dinner, even though I’m still working on creating things that the entire family will eat and will be in line with my diet, but that’s just part of this new transition.

 

While I would rather work on spiritual endeavors in sync with the moon phases, if the physical isn’t happy then the spiritual won’t have a place to reside.  So when I get this under control, I will be more likely to turn more spiritual once again.

Tarot Journal Revisited

A few weeks ago, my list of reasonings for having a tarot journal posted.  While my reasoning for such a thing is still desired, I have attempted 3 different mediums to accomplish the task: A paper notebook, a binder, and digital.  My first attempts was a binder, and you can read about how it worked out below.

  1. Familiarity with cards
  2. Creating stronger systems for relating with the cards and connecting with my intuition
  3. Creating a stronger foundation for using my intuition
  4. Increasing the likelihood that I might read for others one day

Okay, but how?

Some people use notebooks, others, binders, and some are even are all digital.

I have tried all of these methods in the last 2 months that I have had my tarot cards and I have mixed feelings about all of them.

And while I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned about all three methods, that would become a VERY VERY long post.  So, I’ll start with the Binder Method.  The easiest to update and evolve with as you progress

The Binder Method

Okay, so first I feel that I should say a few things about myself to explain my rationalization about these various systems.  I taught in the higher education world for 6 years.  One thing I learned when teaching multiple classes at a school was to use a single binder to keep that entire class organized.  I had 4 inch binder per class.  Each binder held the lecture notes, the quizzes/tests, handouts, extra resources like magazine articles or diagrams, etc.  We all used binders, and we all loved them, even though they were a little excessive in size.

While they are nice for storage and portability, binders are coffins for my creative ideas.  I hardly ever updated my binders; instead, I would update my digital copies, but never print out the new versions for the binder (my inner Lorax just wouldn’t let me do it).  So my physical binders were usually out of date – if any one had ever stopped to check.  For a while, I avoided using binders outside of work; they were the places that creative ideas died, for me anyway.

But I wanted a place to keep all my research on tarot AND be updatable as I read and practiced more.  I am a natural journaler who loves composition books, but updating those is a challenge and usually leads to confusion rather than learning.   Also, as I was delving into the world of Tarot the idea of a journal was pretty common when it comes to beginning studies.  Some people stress notebooks, but there were numerous binder versions out there.  So I felt that I should give it a try and see how it worked and if it lived or died.

How I Set Up My Binder (in the Beginning):

Through all the research, I decided to use the following setup, which I think came from Biddy Tarot (I am 90% sure on this).   The following sections were suggested; and I initially used them:

  1. Card Meanings
  2. Personal Tarot Readings
  3. Tarot Reading Techniques
  4. Tarot Resources
  5. Tarot Spreads
  6. Personal Reflection

I really liked this system of organization.  I thought I would like that there were so many specific areas to fill with notes, etc.  I also loved how the message of feel free to change it however you want was dripping off every paragraph.  So I tried this method for June, and it was okay.  I printed out some of the handouts I’d found online, I hand wrote a few things, and I tried journaling on looseleaf.

I quickly became indifferent to this set up, and by the end of the month, I wasn’t enjoying the numerous section.  They were too many, and I felt like I was splitting hairs with deciding placement for some things.  Some handout may fit into the Spread AND the Resource page, so which one is it?  I also do NOT enjoy journaling on loose leaf.  My inner voice is much more academic on loose leaf – I hold back because I worry that if the paper fell out due to tears or faulty binder rings, then someone else might read it and I would not enjoy finding that out.  So I moved those to an actual notebook – which I know, anyone could read, but it works better for me.

I have combined Personal readings with reflection since at this time I am only reading for myself.  I have also combined the techniques and resources.

What I love is that I can print out or take notes on tarot topics from books, blogs, etc and store them all together in one place.  AND you can update your feelings about a certain card because a binder if a living thing when it comes to housing research.

The sections that do the least for me are the Personal Readings and Reflection.  A binder isn’t a good platform for me with these.  I love reflection – but not in a binder.

What my Binder Looks Like Now:

  1.  Card Meanings – This includes meanings that I glean from numerous sources, as well as color theories, numerology, astrology, and archetypical symbols (like what castles can mean, etc).   For each card, I have handwritten notes about their meanings, and update them with others as I keep learning, and even my own meanings that I’ve gleaned through practicing.
  2. Techniques, Resources, and Spreads – For me this makes more sense to have all in one place.  I use different colors of ink or paper to keep it separate.  This is where a lot of my research now is heading.  Lists of what 3 card spreads can be used for, new spreads I discover through social media and notes on if I like them or what I would like to change about them.  Lists of books I want to read on various subjects related to tarot or divination in general.
  3. Notes – This is where I place things that I am working on, goals, and things I want to learn more about when I have the time.  Again, colors are used to keep things organized.  Lists of books to read, decks I want to own, personal challenges that I am trying to work out in terms of tarot learning.

I removed the journal section, I like to journal in notebooks.  So I moved to a notebook that I can keep in my binder if I want, or take with me.  I do try to journal or, at the very least, make short notes about a reading at least once a week.  I only note daily cards if I feel a deep connection with them, and even then, I usually only jot it down in my planner.

Take Aways

PROS:

  • Great for actively updating and fine tuning your research.
  • Can organize it any way you like and include what you like (astrology or candle magick correspondences with your tarot cards, go wild!)
  • Can use any colors or materials you like to make the pages, and even the binder itself, something personal and treasured.
  • It is a great storage site for your research.
  • Can purchase accessories to hold pens, tape, stickers, etc.
  • Can journal in a spiral notebook and store it in the binder

 

CONS:

  • Binder rings can wear out and become either uneven or gapped, which can make turing or storing pages almost impossible.
  • Binders can be expensive for what they are.
  • Fancy binder materials can be expensive as well, but sometimes are worth the investment – like page protectors
  • Holes can rip and tear over time, but you can put your notes in page protectors.
  • If you have your pages in page protectors, can be cumbersome to annotate pages.  You have to remove them from the page protector and then make sure to return them when done.
  • Page protectors make your binder thicker than it really is

 

Next time, I’ll talk about the pros and cons of a composition book and a digital book of shadows.

 

Did I miss anything?  Do you have a tarot journal?  What kind?  Do you love it? Why?  Would love to know! 🙂

Visible Self Care – Trying to Set Examples for the Kiddos

My goals for this moon cycle was self-improvement. With the New Moon, I focused on creating internal self-care habits that can be seen by others, but only work for me.  Things like journaling and meditation.  It’s nice when the kids see that I am trying to make time for myself, but I can’t really include them into these activities with me.  Sure, I can try and have the 2 year old sit still and meditate…  (I laughed as I typed that sentence) or have the 5 year old color with me while I work on my journal and maybe not ask me how to draw an X or Y or Z.

And that led to my external list.  The goal is to take time for myself, but these are also things that the kids could do too with little explanation or coaxing.  While I will NOT let them light incense for a few years, we can sit at the table and enjoy the smell or look at the smoke together.  I can make them lemon and honey tea to sip along with me while I sip my coffee and we can try to be mindful about how it feels to drink our beverages.

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Somedays I feel like the dormouse, but I act the part of the March Hare

And even though the point of self-care is to focus more on yourself, these simple activities actually cause the kids to slow down for a few  minutes with me and we both benefit.  They don’t join me every time, and occasionally I do wait until they are doing something else entirely (mommy needs space some days).

However, the fact that they can see me taking a break is important to me.  I don’t remember seeing much of this in my own family.  I am sure my parents had their methods of taking a break, but most of it was at the end of the day.  My mom would always go to bed early and read or watch TV, and my dad was a computer geek who would be working on his computer for fun.  Beyond that, I don’t remember much.  Day time was always for being active and busy, and while there is nothing wrong with that, I need breaks of silence and aloneness to function my best.  (yay for being an introvert!)

For my parents, the active days and relaxing nights worked for them.  But for me, after I left home, I thought I was doing something wrong.  I would seek out lunch breaks at work alone or with a book.  I would come home and not want to talk or even see my husband because I had to be around people in a very small clinic all day long and I was very done.  And even now, staying home with the kids, I thought I was a terrible mother because I still make my 5 year old take naps (okay, rests) in her room, so that I can have time to just sit and be still.

I didn’t “know” I could take a break or a minute when I became an adult, especially a mother.  Not during the day, anyway, I would rush rush rush to get everything done – chores, meals, handwriting and letters for the soon to be  kindergartener, errands, lesson planning/grading (I taught part time at the local technical college), laundry.  I had to do ALL the things before the sun went down.  I would read at night, but sometimes I’d still be thinking or worrying about my day or work the next day, or the kids (once they came into our lives).

The burnout was intense, but I didn’t realize it until I stopped my teaching job last month.  I have extra time without grading and lesson planning.  And when I tried to enjoy it, I felt wracked with guilt.  I can’t sit and work on a novel that I tried to start for last NaNoWriMo.  I can’t take a nap.  I can’t actually (and finally) open and start playing Stardew Valley (only been putting that off for about two years).

This moon cycle was my first step to making sure that I take care of myself in order to take care of those around me.

I’ve read about self-care for years.  I even talked about it in my English 101 classes (hypocrite!).  I studied it, but never acted on it (what I do about everything I’m interested in)  I even started trying to make small things happen daily.  Things that were just for me, but then something would throw off my rhythm and I would spiral downward.  But, if I can have small things, non-routine things, that I can even do with the kids, then this habit should grow and help all of us.

These simple things are something I can pull from when I need to clear my head and only have a few minutes.  They also can work when the kids want to be with me (which some days is ALL day long).  And things they can pick up and use for themselves.  My daughter occasionally takes short breaks in her room where she just lies on the bed and looks out her window for a few minutes.  She usually comes back a lot more relaxed.

Eventually, I plan on teaching them about journaling.  That is my real outlet when I’m over-stressed or can’t shut my brain off.

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But for now, I am trying to incorporate something daily that they could join me in if they want to.  Something that is not a routine either, so that I can be more flexible – something I really need to work at right now.

I am trying to make an effort to take a break in front of them.  And tell them that I am taking a break.  It will be a challenge – I will have to fight off the mom guilt for ignoring them for 5 minutes (maybe).  Something we can both benefit from.

 

Full Moon

The full moon is out tonight.  No more hiding or hoarding things you don’t need.  It’s all exposed under the light of the full moon.  This is a time to think about transformation until the next full moon. 28 days to work through the things that are holding you up or holding you back.

Also the time to recharge your crystals, your tarot cards, and anything else you want or need including yourself.  Anything to help with the heavy energy that is present.  Don’t know if you feel it to, but my anxiety has been flaring up for the past week for no reason.  I’ve been very chill up until this week.

Not sure about you, but I could use a reboot both emotionally and mentally.  Even just a short break from your thoughts can help.  Helps me when the overwhelm or anxiety begins to strike.  These can help make a margin of space between you and your emotions.  And while it may be a small margin, sometimes that’s all you need to find your footing again or shed light on the path.


Few easy ways to make time for yourself:

  • Mindfully enjoy your beverage of choice.  Feel how it moves around your mouth.  What if feels like on your teeth, tongue, cheeks, and throat.  Sounds silly, but when you take a sip think about that liquid instead of your day or whatever.  It’s like a timeout, the clock may still be running, but you have a second to stop thinking about real and “important” things.
  • Force yourself to look out the window for at least 2 minutes.  Think about what you see and try to make up a story around it.  Are the birds you see gossiping about what the squirrel did or the latest episode of X they watched through a window?  Again, it’s dumb and silly, but it gives you a pause when the thoughts come too fast.
  • Smell something that gives you comfort.  I love lavender and clean laundry.  Any chance I can work these smells into my day I am happier for it.  As tedious as laundry gets, I try to enjoy the smell and feel of warm, clean laundry.
  • Pull a tarot card.  Just one and think about the picture.  You can do a few things here with this one.  1. Tell yourself a story about the figure in the card.  The story can be in the lines of what they mean or you can go crazy.  Have the couple in the Devil card trying to sell you a used car. Or maybe a story of how the man in the ten of wands got into that situation.  Get as deep or as funny as you need. Feel free to do a spread of your choice if you have the time and energy.
  • Burn some incense or candle or spray some air freshener.  Clear your head with a new smell.  It’s amazing how much a little sandalwood smoke can completely turn my day around.
  • Take a few deep belly breaths.  Feel the air move through you even if it’s just plain room air.  Try the alternating nasal breathing exercises where you block one nostril at a time per breath.  Try breathing through your mouth or nose if you don’t normally breathe that way.  Fill your belly with air and rock a drum solo.  Take breaths sitting then standing and try to notice the difference.

Sure, this list is small and maybe a little silly.  Don’t brush off silliness.  Adulthood is boring and over-stressful.  I envy my kids – they can amuse themselves for hours with the simplest things like a piece of string, and all I can see is how useless the string is or try to list ways I can use it to make life better (but still serious).

Since the moon is full, maybe it’s time to delve into that which is causing you angst.  Maybe you’re not ready yet.  But when you feel overwhelmed, remember to take a few seconds to be mindful or silly.  Try to let the overwhelm go and shift your focus onto things more deserving of your time: you, your family and friends, your pets.

Happy Full Moon.