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

Exploration · Home · spirituality

Minimalism and Maidenhood

With the darker days coming in, I’ve felt a heaviness.  In part the season, sure, the tides the stars and cosmos, but also because of very practical reasons.  Primarily, because my partner will be graduating soon and we have no idea what our future holds.  So there has been some stress.  I was mean and tense and basically a mess until I found something on which to focus: a minimalism project.

And so I cleaned my work space, my sacred space; I declared this my clearing magic.  I took two days and touched everything in my desk, cabinet, bookcase, and bedside table.  I either pitched it, kept it, or am planning to try and sell it.  I packed most of my stupidly large tarot collection away in the closet (which is the next project), put my working decks neatly in a desk drawer, and my active decks on my desk.  I kept only the stones and gems that mean the most to me, and pilfered through my books, keeping only the ones that I believe I’ll actually read (ideally within the next year…?).

Alaina Intuitive art
Art for me, by Christina Hira

My original intention was completely to eliminate stress.  But then I got a tarot+art+poetry reading from Christina at wild.dark.magic in which she encouraged me to think not only of what I am removing, but also what I’m calling in.  She suggested to appropriately grieve what is leaving me.

Oh, that hit me like a tons of bricks.  Feeling started to click into place, and I realized what had happened.  Over the last two years or so, I had accumulated a bunch of shit that I thought I needed for my ~*path*~.  Decks, and stones, and books that I thought would flip some switch, and the divine would sing, and BAM, everything would make sense.  Good one, Alaina.  Basically, I spent way too much money on way too much stuff, the energy within my space became claustrophobic, and I became confused.  This realization made me feel like a child again; my uncertain and insecure inner child came out.  But I am done with that.  I am calling in space to move and explore.  I am transitioning, I am growing.  I am ready to learn for myself, create new paradigms and definitions for myself.

I am moving out of my Saturn return, I am moving into being a woman.
This is the transition I must honor.
I am no longer that girl (though she still lives inside).
The loss of my maidenhood is the loss I must mourn.

There is never a moment of completeness, we are always a work in progress.

How are you feeling these dark and cold days?  Or, warm and sunny days — depending on where you are in the world.  What projects are you working on?  Let me know in the comments.

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

#tarotthursdaythree · Tarot · Tarot Spread

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.

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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

Guest Post · Practice · spirituality · Tarot Spread

An Introduction to Working with Spirit Guides

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 from Julia — she introduces herself below, so I’ll just turn it over to her….

Since this isn’t my blog, I suppose a little introduction is in order. My name is Julia and you can find me over on my little corner of the web, Spiral Sea Tarot. While the majority of what I share and discuss is regarding Tarot, there are many other branches of metaphysics that I study, participate in and weave into my practice. One such topic is that of Spirit Guides. I became interested in this concept many years ago, and over time, my understanding has evolved and interest increased. A couple of years ago I dived deeper into this world, attending lectures and finally taking a course, which really only grazed the surface. Truly, what has helped me to understand this branch is direct experience, and because I am a Tarot enthusiast first and foremost, my work with this realm needed to incorporate that tool. While this post will not focus on the system I developed, which uses Tarot to connect with a member of our team and learn more about who they are, I will provide a high level overview of Spirit Guides, so you can begin to understand how they are assisting you behind the scenes.

For starters, you don’t have to know your spirit guide team intimately, by name, to enjoy their presence and incorporate them into your practice. In fact, it is my belief that whether we regard them or not, they are always present. Even if we aren’t consciously aware of our team, we do receive insights from them, perhaps even often. For example, a flash of insight as you’re going about your day. Or a gut feeling that you just can’t shake. Or even in dreams may they use the opportunity to get to us. It doesn’t have to be this big, paranormal experience. Our guides are with us offering nudges and whispers for an unlimited array of things, mundane to mystical.

So, who are these mystical beings? How can we be more aware of their presence? And how does Tarot fit into all of this? Let’s start with the basics. What are Spirit Guides? Speaking broadly, our guides are beings working with us and for our benefit. Each of us have our own unique makeup consisting of some entities who have been with us since incarnation (and beyond) and some who are present just to assist with specific goals.

The types of guides that exist are vast. For many of us, we have a mix of guardian angels, archangels, ascended masters and ancestors, but those are just the basics. Through my studies and experience reading for others or having myself read, I have come to know other types. For example, Goddesses (or other representations of divine feminine), astral or exterrestrial guides, animal guides and more. But there is one guide that is common to us all, and that is the Higher Self. This is the you that you access when you consult your cards (knowingly or not) and the you that comes out to play during dreams and other states of consciousness. It’s actually quite active all the time, but the logical or “left brain” tends to shut it down when we’re not in that receptive state. This form of you exists beyond the physical body and is intimately connected to your ethereal records, which is why it’s the perfect source to connect with to seek guidance on your own life path and purpose.

With all of our guides, there are some simple ways to begin to recognize their presence. I’ll use the example of reading tarot since this is where I access my team the most. There are two main ways that I can identify guide interjection as opposed to the “left brain” drawing conclusions, and that’s through what I call a flash of insight or rapid internal dialogue. When I’m reading, it’s easy to start connecting pieces together, but in doing this, it’s also easy to identify where a thought or idea stemmed from; it has a path back from which you can follow. With guide interjection, I find the thought just appears. It even feels subtly different, as if it just popped in without any help on my part. The idea itself is usually not related to anything else I was thinking and can’t be traced back easily. The other way I can distinguish guide interjection is through rapid internal dialogue. This is where I start zoning out a bit and having a conversation with myself, but very rapidly, where the answers to questions come very quickly, without awkward pauses or fillers (hmm, ummm, uhhhs). So if you’re in the middle of a session, and a thought, word or image flashes in front of you and seemingly from nowhere, you can thank your Higher Self and spiritual team for the insight!

There is another quick way to identify if the flashes, insights and guidance you’re getting are from your Higher Self/spiritual team and not simply from the ego, and that is by their tone. Your spiritual team isn’t going to berate or judge you, so if these are the thoughts you’re having (whether about yourself or others), it’s likely from the ego place. Sometimes it can get a bit lost in translation through the human filter, but messages from spirit and high self should at least be neutral in nature.

So should you invite your Higher Self and spiritual team into your tarot reading sessions or other practices? Absolutely. While they will be there anyway, providing a direct invitation helps solidify that bond. You can do this very simply by stating the intention and making the ask. When I am opening up a session, I will say something along these lines: “I am now connected to my spiritual team and Higher Self and I ask that only messages from high spirit connect with me during this session.” I say “high spirit” to help distinguish between lower guides who may be trying to “help”, but that’s another topic for another day! Another way to amplify your connection is by incorporating crystals. I use the following when I’m reading, but also keep some on my bedside table. This is, by no means, a conclusive list:

  1. Celestite: One of my favourites. Celestite is a soft and soothing stone that helps open our hearts to the spirit guide realm.
  2. Angelite: This stone is especially potent for bridging connections with the angels.
  3. Clear Quartz: Clear quartz is a natural amplifier and boosts everything else around it. It can increase the magnitude of our intentions and boost the power of other stones nearby.
  4. Selenite: Clears, cleanses and allows for the connections that we form to flow more freely.
  5. Moonstone: Different types of moonstone serve different functions, but aid in the ability to amp our psychic senses and connect with our own goddess energy within.

We’re really only just scratching the surface of the spirit guide realm, so hopefully this will be enough information to get you thinking about the ways in which your team has been supporting you and how you can better hear their guidance. But, before I go, I will leave this post with one final offering, being a spread that I’ve developed to consult your higher self regarding your current path and purpose. Feel free to use tarot or oracle or a combination of both, or even adapt the prompts to your liking.

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Card 1 – What should I be focusing on at this time?
Card 2 – What should I remove from my focus?
Card 3 – What direction does my current path wish to move toward?
Card 4 – Am I currently on that path?
Card 5 – If not, how can I course correct? If so, what can I do to maintain my trajectory?
Card 6 – What other message do you have for me at this time?

I hope you’ll enjoy the spread and leave feeling a bit more informed and connected to the supportive team around you. If you’d like to discover more about the Spirit Guides, the different types and learn my unique system for using tarot to connect directly with a member of your team, you’ll have to join me for the upcoming class I’m teaching through Pull-Pen-Paint. The entire course will also feature 11 other teachers from around the globe and span the duration of a month. My specific class will be a 90 minute live and interactive session, where you can expect to start to bridge the connection between you and your unique team.

One thing I can say, through my own experience, is that this realm does like to be acknowledged. They love when you make discoveries about yourself, and them, and take up new ways to invite them into your life and make use of their guidance. So be open to the subtle suggestions, no matter how silly, and honour those gut reactions, even if they defy logic. This is your team and Higher Self using your intuition to help you walk the best and most informed path. The best part? It’s absolutely free wisdom just waiting to be taken advantage of, and the more you do, the clearer the channel will become.

Happy connecting!