Burning out and relighting

daily_guidance21I’ve been doing a lot of serious work lately- tarot work, activism work, day job work, all of it. I’ve been ending some practices, beginning some new ones, reading everything and just buzzing with enthusiasm.

Last month, a reader told me that I should approach all this new stuff carefully. She reminded me that this stuff is real and doing this spiritual work can take a toll.

Of course I didn’t listen to her and just barreled on through, joining every program I thought pinged my intuition, stocking up on cards, doing full Celtic cross readings every day. And of course, I ran into a serious wall this week.

I woke up one morning just drained. My head ached. I could NOT drink enough water. I felt down, down, down. I spent all day slogging through working, just waiting to get home to curl up on my couch and mope the night away.

My activities have been all over the place lately and I’ve just been pouring energy out in all directions. I’ve also been very angry and upset over the current political situation. I need to reign it in. As an experiment, I’m taking a break from tarot and just reading one oracle card a day to see where I need to be guided.

The day after my big crash I pulled the Heart Chakra card from Doreen Virtue’s Daily Guidance from your Angels Oracle Deck. The message I took away was that I needed to recharge my heart. I need to build up some reserves of love- for myself and for the world.

I’ve been practicing gently. My heart burnt out, but just for a moment. It needs relighting and some very careful tending.

 

bummed

Well, I have been a little bummed lately. While my own personal, spiritual and daily life seems to becoming together, the world seems to be falling apart. Some days it seems hard to focus on spiritual stuff- don’t we have bigger problems to worry about?

Maybe….maybe not. We might have more immediate concerns. But let’s be honest- our spiritual dryness as a culture and a world is part of what has gotten us into this mess, and there is nothing bigger than that.

I need some focus and to clear out the cobwebs of my own emotions to see the best way forward, to learn to take care of myself and my world.

So with that in mind, I turned to the New Age Hipster’s Bummed Out Spread

Card 1:  Where You Were

The Sun Reversed-  Just as I was riding along, happy like that new born babe, basking in the exciting rays of my newly rediscovered connection with the Holy Spirit, BAM. The clouds came along. Things became confused. The Sun is still there, but I am having a hard time feeling it.

Card 2: What Brought You Down

The King of Cups Reversed- And who brought the clouds? Why, a bad king of course! A bad king who is bringing us down with his emotional manipulation, his vice, his violence and his vengeance.

I’m sure you can guess who I mean.

Card 3: Energies Around You

Justice- I’ve never been so happy to see a card in all my life. Justice, the balance of the universe, fairness, righteousness- this is all still with us! Justice is all around me. I just need to tap into her and to take action!

Interestingly, earlier today I was looking up Lady Master Portia, also known as the Goddess of Justice. I’m not much of an Ascended Masters type (or so I thought), but Lady Portia appeared to me in meditation years and years ago.

Card 4: What Could Keep You Down

9 of Swords Reversed- Ah, one of those times when you get a card so obvious your intuition can just take a break and just go with the book meaning. Yes, what could keep me down is oppression and more importantly, turning my anger at oppression inward against myself.

Card 5: What Will Help

4 of Pentacles Reversed- I pull this card so often you would think I was history’s greatest miser. I’m not- but I do have a tendency to keep myself restricted. I don’t share my gifts, particularly my earthly skills, as much as I should.

I also let fear of losing my livelihood and my comfortable life get in the way of acting. Time to reverse that- be generous: of spirit, with my gifts, with my life. I can do my part to let loose the restriction that threatens to bind the whole country right now.

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The Reader’s Reading

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It’s a great night for some spiritual work- rainy and cold outside, the window cracked just a bit so I can hear the rain. Halloween, Samhain, All Souls are coming near- I can feel the air crackling with energy.

I am ending my first week working with the Little Red Tarot‘s Alternative Tarot course. I pulled this week’s reading a few days ago and have been chewing on it ever since. This is a reading all about how I will be as a reader– what this journey through tarot has to offer me and what I am bringing to the table.

1.   What is your most important characteristic?

Queen of Wands- I’m not being falsely modest when I say no one would describe me as charming or charismatic. But what is is my most important characteristic as a reader (and even more broadly, as a spiritual pilgrim)? The Queen of wands is firey- but she is also a Queen, and that can mean inward, yin energy. While contemplating this card, a phrase popped into my head- the Inmost Light. As a reader, as a spiritual person, this is what I carry in my heart.

(Also the Queen of Wands is stubborn. I’m really stubborn).
2.   What strengths do you already have as a tarot reader, what are you bringing to this course?

Death- Wow, of all the Majors to pull! I am ready at this moment in my life to change. I am ready to transform. I am ready (or I want to be ready) to die to my ego to move closer to eternity.
3.   What limits do you feel as you start this course?

Ace of Pentacles- I’m not very eager to admit this to myself, but I long for wordly approval- the approval of my partner, family and others who don’t exactly get the spiritual aspects of my life. And I also want just worldy stuff. I want accolades and money. There is a part of me that hopes I’ll be a great tarot reader, that I’ll make money off it, that this blog will take off and I’ll be a Big Name. But to look at this journey only though that lens would keep me at square 1- unable to progress, as a reader and in the material world.
4.   What key lesson can you learn on your developmental journey with tarot?

Two of Wands (reversed)- I’d like to stay in my castle, looking at the world pass me by, or better yet, controlling everything by holding it in my hand. I can’t- I need to get out there. I need to be the World.
5.   How can you be open to learning and developing on this journey?

King of Pentacles- Pentacles are my limits, but they also can be the source of my learning. My desire for worldly justification can propel me out of the castle of the Two of Wands- and, with the hard work of a good King, I can embrace all that is good about the world and my fellow travelers.
6.   What is the potential outcome of your tarot journey?­­­

Six of Cups (reversed)- This week I also had a reading from a great reader and she told me that journeying into tarot can be really healing for me. My childhood and my past have left big emotional gouges on my soul and my hope for this journey is to heal those and learn to be kind, to my past self, my current self and my future.

 

Tarot & I: A Brief History

cardsI bought my first pack of tarot cards as a teenager. My mother found them and threw them away. A recovering evangelical, she had a lingering distrust for the “occult” and a general suspicion of my interest in anything spiritual. Add it to the list of things she threw out: pentacles, terrible books about Wicca, every candle I ever bought.

Years later, I bought another pack. I was staying with my mother temporarily during a dark time in my life- recovering from mental health issues, dropping out of the college I had worked hard to get into, the dissolution of my strongest relationships. I started reading the cards everyday, painfully slowly, diving right into the Celtic Cross because it was the only thing I knew.

I made the mistake of leaving my cards out on the floor one day before I left for my temp job. My mother threw them away, yet again, worried that my recent mental distress was manifesting as religious delusions, like the ones that had plagued my father during his short life.

I didn’t bother fighting about it. I was busy anyway, figuring out how to live. It was a time-consuming process, lasting the better part of a decade. Now I find myself with a career, a partner, and a home, but there is something missing. One piece I have neglected while building my life from scratch- my spirit.

My first step: I bought my first tarot deck in 10 years. I’m working through the Little Red Tarot’s Alternative Tarot course. These cards, that have always called to me, even in the shallowest, cheesiest readings I’ve had over the years, are turning out to be a wonderful map for this new pilgrimage I’m on. Yesterday I had a great reading, and my reader told me that tarot would be a great healing force for me.

I’m ready to being. I’m ready to be the Pilgrim.