The Reader’s Reading, myself as a tarot reader

reader's reading
the tarot reader’s reading

This is the week one reading from the Alternative Tarot Course.  I’ve moved away from larger spreads (and, really, this one isn’t even that big) because I feel like I can gain a myriad of insights from just one card at a time and I don’t need six cards telling me different things at the same time.  However, Beth Maiden does craft my favorite spreads, so I’m happy to be re-entering the spread game with her at the helm.

1. About me in general: what is my most important characteristic?  Three of Cups

Connection: making connections, feeling connection, celebrating connections, and focusing on the good stuff.  Yes, tarot isn’t all roses, but even the messy stuff brings about big shifts if we are honest with ourselves.

2. What strengths do I already have as a tarot reader, what am I bringing to this course?  XX, Judgment

Plugging in, reconnecting with the small, quiet parts of self, and analyzing the task or question before me.

3. What limits do I feel as I start this course?  Three of Wands

I feel like this is a warning in the sense that it’s easy to get carried away, in looking beyond the shore and forget that life is what is right here, in front of me.

4. What key lesson can I learn on my developmental journey with tarot?  XIV, Temperance

I mean, this is the perfect card for a tarot journey.  As Lindsay Mack says, Temperance is “where we learn, holy shit!  When I’m not operating from ego, spirit drops in even better than I imagined, even better than I dreamed.”

5. How can I be open to learning and developing on this journey?  King of Swords

Straight up connecting with my eternal student, airy, swords-y mind.  Making a plan of attack, and staying dedicated to learning.

6. What is the potential outcome of my tarot journey?  Ten of Wands

Letting go of what no longer serves me, to tackle tasks with my full head and heart.

The conclusion of the week 1 lesson is to select a card from this spread which most represents my tarot journey, and to keep it close through this course.  While the King of Swords may most represent a student and dedication to the course, I feel that Temperance is the card I most want to emulate during this time.  I love how Temperance tasks ego with taking a back seat, how Temperance has struck a balance between spiritual and earthly pleasures, how Temperance is a symbol of what is Right.  Temperance is why we humans bother with the tarot at all: to get a glimpse, a notion, of the divine journey beyond and outside ourselves.


I am blogging my experiences here with Beth Maiden’s Alternative Tarot Course which asks students to draw a card each day, reflect on it, complete weekly readings, and other assorted exercises.

Cry, Babe, Cry

At our last session with our therapist, my partner and I were challenged to cry with one another.  The therapist suggested we put on a sad film, and (1) feel in our body where the emotion of “sadness” starts, and (2) shed tears with one another.  We decided to watch This Is Us, a family drama tv show, one I had already watched before, and cried at on my own.  A tv show works well for us because we don’t have much relaxing time together.  Andy liked the first episode, and we both had a little tears, so we’re sticking with it and we’ll see where it goes from here…

But the day after that therapy session, I did a tarot spread for myself that I had found on Sammy’s blog, Spirit and Saga.  Her post talks about how her inability to cry led her to feeling stagnant creatively, and vice versa.  This peaked my interest, as while I am not feeling particularly stagnant creatively, I wondered how the release of my emotions could contribute to my creative productivity, and help me to write my novel.  She provided the following spread.

unnamed-1

The positions are:

  1. Block.  What’s in your flow’s way?  What is the root issue that blocks you from feeling?
  2. Action.  What action can you take to overcome this block?  What release work can you try now?
  3. Affirmation.  What advice does the Universe have for you?  What can you keep in mind while feeling and releasing?

My responses were pretty interesting, and are shown below.

unnamed

  1. Block.  Eight of Wands.  Well, this card isn’t one I would traditionally think as a blocking card.  This card is about forward action, it’s about movement, inertia, results.  And perhaps that is my exact downfall at this time.  I’m concerned with moving from place to place, solving the problem and moving on to the next.  I’m working on writing my novel, and sometimes that takes precedence over all things.  The warning inherent is this card is of being too aggressive, of ignoring the need for balance, of not sitting and settling with the emotional experience.  And I feel that is exactly the answer to this question.  As an Aquarius/swords-y person, I tend to brush over emotions.  A lesson that came in the next week after pulling this spread, is that it’s ok to sit with the hurting emotions, it’s ok for things to not be immediately perfect.  And I think this card here reflects that.
  2. Action.  Three of Wands.  This is kind of a weird card to me.  I almost feel as if it’s unnecessary, but when looking at in within the context of the two of wands and four of wands, it’s meaning is more clear.  Quite simply, this card is about growth and perspective.  It is the leverage that takes the dreams of the two of wands to the stable positioning of the four of wands.  Here, it tells me to take a step back, to look at the larger context of my emotional experience.  That larger context is, perhaps, how my emotional tides can affect my creative productivity.  In the Hudes Tarot (which is the deck I used here), the three of wands talks of looking inward for strength.  The woman pictured appears lost in thought, as she picks up the fallen wand.  While I believe inward contemplation is necessary, the three of wands in general has an expansive meaning, growing in potential and perspective so that I can contextualize my emotional experience.
  3. Affirmation.  Eight of Swords.  Another eight.  This card does not feel like an affirmation from the universe, it feels like a warning of what could happen if I don’t reel in the eight of wands energy from card one.  Though the eight of swords is basically a prison, it reaffirms to me that I can break out of it.  My emotions need not be a prison, my emotions need find a flow, a flow between emotion and expression, creatively and emotionally.

As if this spread didn’t give me enough food for thought, the same day I did this spread, I received a reading from Ashley over at Moon & Lioness, shown below.

unnamed-2

I asked her to read on my creative endeavor, my in-progress novel.  What struck me most about Ashley’s reading for me was the connection she drew between my relationship and my creative work (from the two of vessels mostly).  She wrote of finding a balance, of taking inspiration from my relationship.  She emphasized participation with my full heart in my life, and thus, in my novel.

That all of the fiery imagery in Ashley’s reading for me, and my own reading with the fiery wands, happened on the same day tells me that my creativity, my relationship, my emotions, my tears are inherently linked.  It tells me that what happens in one part of my life is inexorably linked to another part.  My emotions are not a prison, my emotions are part of the flow of creativity.  Such a big, morphing message to integrate into my practice!

What a day for all of these thoughts to ruminate!  Happy full moon and lunar eclipse in Aquarius, my friends.

Do you have any problems embracing your emotional flow?  What happened *when* you embraced your emotional flow?  How do you relate your emotions and creativity?  Have you every used Sammy’s spread (highly recommend!)?  Let me know in the comments.

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

 

Thoughts on the Ten of Pentacles

Hey all, welcome to Exploringly Yours for International Tarot Day Blog Hop.  I’m giving you a peak into the ten of pentacles, and I hope you enjoy.  Keep scrolling for three perspectives, a spread, and a recipe.  At the end, you’ll find the links to the previous and next cards in the tarot!

unnamed-3

If I had to pick one word for the ten of pentacles, it would be “cozy.”  This card is a promise of fulfillment, of comfort — and for creatures of comfort like myself, I can fully appreciate it.  You know that feeling of coming home to loved ones — be it cat, dog, parents, partner, children — to a warm meal, putting on your pajamas and chilling on the couch?  Yeah that’s this card.

unnamed

Different interpretations tease out different elements of this card.  The traditional Rider-Waite-Smith card portrays the promise, while showing what is inside and what is outside.  You get both perspectives in this card.  Which are you?  Are you the seeker, looking for your comfort, or are you in it and you need the reminder to look around and appreciate it?  This version leaves the message up to the reader, and what fits at the time.

unnamed-1

Two of my favorite versions of this card are from the Slow Holler Tarot and the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot.  The ten of stones in the Slow Holler Tarot capitalizes on lineage and survival.  It’s obvious in this version that extreme comfort is paramount, and I don’t mean this in a superficial way.  I mean comfort in the sense that you soul feels right at home and delights in the family that you land in, either the one that you were born into, or the one that you have created for yourself.  This card is like a lemniscate: it encourages us to remember that this isn’t a one way street — what we nourish, nourishes others, and in turn comes back to us.

unnamed-2

The ten of pentacles from the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot focuses on the familial unit.  This card calls to mind the collective, as opposed to the individual.  It asks us to imagine future generations, to see, in our mind’s eye, our legacy, our bloodline, extending out before us.  We aren’t alone in this earth journey.  What we do each day creates ripples, and to feel at home requires us to acknowledge that we do not exist in a vacuum.

unnamed-4

Do you want to further explore the ten of pentacles energy?  Try this straight forward spread in order to begin that exploration.

  1. How can I bring more of the ten of pentacles energy into my life?
  2. What promise does the ten of pentacles hold?
  3. What do I need to release to fully embrace the ten of pentacles?

Finally, one of my favorite recipes for coming home to and consuming with a loved one.  It’s adapted from The Muffin Myth, but I make it in the crock pot and it’s super easy.  It’s called mung bean coconut curry, and it’s deliciously spicy and chunky.  I make a huge double batch and have leftovers for the week and for the freezer.  I mostly cook by eyeballing spices, but I can tell you the more the better with this, and be generous with the salt otherwise it’ll all be too astringent.  Mix all the ingredients together in the crockpot, and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Keep an eye on it in the first two hours to add more water as needed, or just go ahead and add more water to begin with.  I like mine chunky so I prefer to add water as I go.  Serve over white rice with sriracha and you’ll be in heaven.

  • Some oil
  • Cumin powder, freshly grated ginger, ground coriander, turmeric, sea salt, cayenne pepper
  • approximately 9 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2- 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 4-6 cups water
  • 2-3 cups dry mung beans, picked over for stones and well rinsed
  • 2 can coconut milk (I prefer full fat, but light will work too)
  • Juice of 1-2 limes

Click here to go back and read about the nine of pentacles on Charlotte Eléa’s blog, and click here to read Nicholas Dewart’s thoughts on the page of pentacles.

What do you think about the ten of pentacles?  Do you have any strong connections with this card?  No connections with this card?  Let me know in the comments!

exploringly yours,
Alaina xx

Influence of Culture in My Spiritual Practice

Friends!  I’ve met so many amazing people through social media (primarily Instagram) who share my interests of tarot and exploring spirituality.  We all have different specialties, or areas on which we like to focus.  Because of this, I’m bringing on some awesome guest bloggers at Exploringly Yours to share their knowledge of different topics on which I’m not particularly well-versed.  Today’s Guest Post is by my lovely friend, Dianna.  I got to meet Dianna in person last time I was in Chicago, and we had a lot of fun exploring local metaphysical shops (which was a bust, unfortunately), and drinking beer at Revolution Brewing.  Dianna introduces herself below so I’ll turn it over to her…….

Hello Exploringly Yours readers!  Before we dig into talking about my experience with how culture has shaped my spirituality I wanted to give you a brief introduction.  I am a fellow tarot and oracle card reader, crystal lover, and aspiring writer.  I am also a mom of two, I was born in Mexico and now live in the USA.  By day I work in a health center doing community engagement, I get to meet a lot of people and create content for social media.  By night I am an Instagram enthusiast, you can find me at @unearthing_the_gift_.  I also have a blog, which you can visit here.  I’m excited to share with you how my culture has shaped my current spiritual practice and I hope that you will share how your culture has, or has not, impacted your spiritual practice in the comments.

First, I thought I would share what my current spiritual practice looks like.  I am not a religious person, so I don’t follow a set religion.  That said, I am fascinated by religion in an intellectual level and love learning about the different beliefs systems in the world.  I don’t believe spirituality and religion are mutually exclusive, I do think that sometimes religion has lost the spirituality part, but that is a topic for a different blog post.

My current spiritual practice involves the use of tarot and oracle cards for reflection and guidance.  I incorporate crystals into my spiritual practice during meditation and when I am reading cards.  I also connect with Spirit Guides and Ascended Masters and consider them important partners/teachers in my spiritual journey.  (Julia Eve wrote a great guest post about that too, which you can find here.)   More recently I have started to learn about the Akashic Records and hope to be able to use this new skill to help others get closer to their soul’s purpose.  I also use writing and journaling as a tool in my spiritual practice.  I love exploring different ways of expressing and experiencing my creative and spiritual journeys.

My Mexican heritage has influenced my spiritual path in many different ways.  Being Mexican means that I am a place/person where the convergence of two distinct worlds (the pre-hispanic and the Spanish) takes place.  Both of these worlds, which collided a long long time ago, have rich and deep cultural and spiritual histories, which I am just beginning to discover.

When I was growing up in Mexico, although my family and I weren’t Catholic, many of the celebrations that the whole town took part in were Catholic with underlying pre-hispanic rituals/beliefs woven into them.  Catholicism in Latin countries (as in other countries) is inextricably woven in with pre-hispanic religions.  In small towns you have the priests, the doctors, and the curanderas (witch doctors/healers) as the three figures of authority who can perform healing.  My family, and everyone else really, went to la curandera to heal ailments of the spirit which were being manifested in the body, el mal de ojo (the evil eye), el susto (best described as chronic spiritual sickness), las limpias (spiritual cleansings).  I was taken to la curandera a few times, and my mom and grandpa used to do a “diy” version of limpias at home too.  

Many of the things I am learning now as I develop my spiritual practice are things that I had already witnessed and participated in before.  This has helped me feel more comfortable with adopting spiritual practices, especially when their background is pre-hispanic civilizations.  I feel I have a claim to them, that it is okay for me to use them, and that I am not appropriating them.  Appropriation is a topic that has been on my mind for a while.  For example, I also feel a great interest in Celtic spirituality, but I am not a Celt or of Celtic heritage, so I ask myself: do I have the right to lay claim to Celtic beliefs even though it’s not my culture?  I have decided that it is okay do follow your spiritual path where ever it takes you.

I still have much to explore and learn, which is exciting.  My spiritual practice is continually evolving as I learn and discover new ways of connecting with Spirit.  Connecting with my roots and Ancestors is a message that I have been receiving through my card readings and dreams lately and I hope to continue to explore that in the months to come.  On my list of things to explore are also shamanism, celtic spirituality, and the Popol Vu (one of the few pre-hispanic holy texts that survived colonization).  

I wanted to leave you with a little something to help you explore how your own cultural roots are shaping your spiritual practice, so here is a small spread to help you get that started.

IMG_20170304_133238

  1.  The current state of my spiritual journey.
  2.  What three gifts has my cultural background/heritage bestowed upon me to help me in my spiritual journey?
  3.  In what subconscious ways is my cultural background/heritage influencing my spiritual journey? (Pick one or more cards).

If you do the spread let us know in the comments, I’d love to hear how it went!

Thank you Alaina for this opportunity to contribute to your lovely blog!

***

How cool.  I’d love to hear in the comments how any of you have been affected (or not!) by the intersection of culture and spirituality.  What practices have been passed on to you by your family, are inherent to communities you grew up in, or a part of cultures you belong to?  What influences you now that may not be part of what you were taught when growing up?

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

Tarot Thursday Three: March 2, 2017

Hey all!  Another week I’m behind on the prompts…. Sometimes the days just get away from us, eh?  This week, Julia also shared a really cool spread by Kimberly, @fablesden, entitled “A Tarot Spread for a Tarot Reader.”  Here, I answer the blogging questions, and include my pulls for this spread.

1.  What was it that initially sparked your interest with Tarot? 

As previously recounted, I was formally introduced to tarot at a costume party.  I purchased my own first deck shortly thereafter, but didn’t dive in to the hobby until years later.  I remember I was in Edinburgh on a solo trip, I had just purchased some crystals while in London at the Natural History Museum… I had a lot of time on my hands… And I guess it must have been the magical feel of the city, but the metaphysical was on my mind.  In Edinburgh, I purchased a labradorite ring, and not long after being home, I purchased my first working deck, The Wild Unknown.  I cannot recall what exactly pushed me to do this, really.  Maybe it was the striking art of the deck, to be honest.  But I’m not sure how I even really came upon the deck… I should look back in my journals and see if I wrote down my actual logic……

2.  Is it what you expected it to be and if not, in what ways were your expectations defied?

Yes and no.  I guess my initial exposure to tarot made it seem really mystical.  When watching the tarot reader at the costume party, she was getting shocked reactions from the people she was reading for.  People she didn’t even know!  She read the tarot very intuitively and I got the sense that she had never actually “studied” tarot, but it was just something her parents exposed her to and she just kind of knew.  I hoped my experience would be like that — HA! — and so in that way, my expectations were defied.  While I’m regularly bowled over by the readings I do and receive, I’ve learnt that tarot is more a reflective tool than a tool with inherent magical powers.  They are, after all, just cards.

3.  How do you primarily use Tarot? I.e. for divination, self-reflection, analysis, shadow work, ritual or something else?

My tarot work, at this time, is primarily reflective work.  I like to use the tarot for guidance and for analysis of what is going on in my daily life.

unnamed-1

And now, my spread.

1.  Why do I want to read for others?  VII of Swords.  To help others see the paths laid out before them.  To help others analyze the energies of what is going on in their life and to make an informed decision of what happens next.  To help others see the risks/benefits of putting a plan into action.

2.  What is my biggest strength as a tarot reader?  VIII of Pentacles.  There is a pride and love that I have for this kind of work.  I’m honored that people come to me and find value in what I have to share with them.  I view this work as a process of discovery for myself, while shining a light for others on their own path.

3.  What are some negative attitudes or beliefs that may hinder me as a reader?  II of Wands.  While the two of wands is about making a choice, and boldly following my bliss, as an answer to this question I feel the reversed aspects of this card are applicable.  Second guessing myself, comparing myself to others…

4.  How can I continue to grow and improve as a tarot reader?  The World.  Continue on the cyclic journey of learning; there is always more to learn and improve upon.  Enjoying the journey, and finding ways to learn in new places.

5.  How does my practice help me grow as a person?  Knight of Cups.  Tarot reading, and especially reading for others, helps me to get in touch with my intuition and to trust the softer sides of myself.  I do not like to feel vulnerable, but when you are putting your work out there, for others to purchase, it is an extreme exercise in vulnerability.  It helps me to feel out my emotions, to share my concepts and ideas that do not otherwise have an outlet.

At the time of publishing, Julia’s is the only other #tarotthursdaythree post that I’ve seen!

What sparked your interest in tarot?  Did your expectations change as you went along?  Did you try out this spread?  Did you make a post this week?  Let me know all about it in the comments below!

exploringly yours,
Alaina x