Alternative Tarot Course · Tarot · Tarot Spread

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.

Alternative Tarot Course · Tarot

week 1: what is tarot?

I first came across tarot when… those of you who happen to know this blog, may remember this story.  I came across tarot when a woman read tarot for others as a Karneval party trick.  I was so intrigued that I ordered the Original Rider Waite shortly thereafter.  I tried to read with this deck a number of times, but I wasn’t inspired by the art and the woman who read my cards did so so seamlessly that I had no idea what actually went in to learning tarot.  Five years later, and I was in London, at the Natural History Museum, fascinated by rocks and stones, an old childhood hobby of mine.  I purchased a pocket full of them, and traveled on to Edinburgh, where I found a beautiful labradorite ring in a shop.  I started Googling.  I have no idea what actually “led” me to tarot, but it wasn’t long before I had ordered the Wild Unknown and committed to actually learning tarot.

The reason I want to learn tarot is… I have already been practicing tarot for just over three years.  I’ve drifted away from tarot and my other spiritual practices in the last half of 2018 as my partner and I went through a lot of physical shifts (purchasing a home, doing renovations, and moving in to the home!), and I’m ready to re-center and re-ground.  I had enrolled in the Alternative Tarot Course in early 2017 and I’m using it now as a way to deepen my relationship with tarot, certain decks, and my spirituality.

Here’s how I feel about learning tarot in three words:
1.  Witchy
2.  Wild
3.  Connected

Ha!  *shrugs*

Tarot’s main purpose (for me) is… tarot has shifted a lot for me the more I’ve practiced.  When I first started reading, I had no idea what I was doing tbh and just followed along with whatever I saw people doing on Instagram.  I purchased way too many decks way too fast, participated in monthly challenges, in which I asked my cards very specific questions, pulled year ahead spreads trying to see the future, did huge spreads that didn’t inspire me, etc… Tarot for me, now, is all about using the tarot’s archetypes as a mirror, to reflect back what I already know within me.  I don’t ask the cards specific questions and steer away from large, complicated spreads.  Typically, I just pull a card and journal to see what comes up.

Here are some things I don’t believe about tarot… tarot can’t predict the future, tarot is not a box, tarot decks don’t have personalities, tarot is not the devil.

I think the most important qualities for a tarot reader are… a tarot reader should have an open and questioning mind.

In learning tarot, I hope to… dive deeper into myself, reflect, and connect.

I think my main challenges will be… not getting swept up into the witchy/spiritual/tarot culture of Instagram.  I did return to Instagram in order to garner inspiration from others, but, in late 2017/early 2018, IG led me far from my personal path, and I will strive to remain true to myself and my own feelings.

But I will try to overcome them by… I think I covered this above.

Any further thoughts… I’m grateful for this course, excited to learn, and to get back into a healthy habit for me.


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.

This is the first exercise, “What is tarot?,” from week 1.

Exploration · Tarot

Love as a Work in Progress

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If you’re like me, you’ve learned a bit about love over the years.  If you’re like me, you’ve had your perceptions bashed upon the rocks, the waves of life repeatedly making you pull them out and reassess.  If you’re like me, each success and failure has taught you a little more.  It’s hard to say if I ever truly believed in “romance” in it’s stereotypical fashion; love and relationships never looked like that for me.  But, my views on love received a major overhaul about five to six years ago, which started with my current relationship, and it continues to be in flux and flow.

From a young age, we are inundated with examples of “love stories” in films that are made for very young children (I’m looking at you, Disney), planting seeds of expectation of what we could one day receive as love.  Nearly every story I’ve ever consumed has some kind of romantic subplot.  It’s gets you to thinking about the romantic subplot you will one day have, even at a very young age, because, of course, everyone gets a romantic subplot, right?…

But then we grow older and learn love is not all sunshine and rainbows, it can be kinda awkward and piecemeal.  Sometimes nothing happens for very long years.  Sometimes a friend likes you and you don’t like them back.  Sometimes you freak out and break up with someone over the phone.  Sometimes you break up with someone to be with someone else.  Sometimes you feel ugly and alone.  Sometimes you make mistakes you can’t take back.  Sometimes you receive calls in the night from someone confessing their love.  Sometimes you learn people say things just to get in your pants.  Sometimes you make a fool out of yourself.  Sometimes someone lies to you.  Sometimes people stop talking to you.  And you never get that so-very-Disney fairy tale.

You learn fairy tales exist in all sorts of forms.  You learn love is not about the flashiness, and the how-can-I-Instagram-this?  You learn that love is the quiet dedication of coming home to the same person each night.  That love is someone knowing your favorite foods and weird moods.  That love is someone supporting your strange endeavors and whimsy.  That love is someone rubbing your feet when they really don’t like feet.  That love is someone always doing the dishes.  That love is a re-commitment each day, of time and listening.  That love is committing energy to another person, to being together.

The thing about love is there is no one size fits all.  Love looks different for, and to, everyone.  Love may not exist in a romantic form for you at all.  Maybe that Disney model works for you.  In the end, you have to listen to yourself, and listen to your partner, and chose what’s right for you.  Love is a work in progress.  Every day.

How have your views on love changed over the years?  How are they still changing?  Let me know in the comments.  This post was inspired by the above cards from the Slow Holler Tarot and Oracle of Oddities.

exploringly yours,
Alaina xx

Journal · Practice · Tarot · Tarot Spread

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.

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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.

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  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.

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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

 

Tarot · Tarot Spread

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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