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

Making Time to Write

Welcome to a most mundane post!  But, as I want to plot and track this whole writing a novel journey, there will be mundane posts regarding organization and scheduling and all that great stuff!  I’m just hoping to keep all my thoughts in one place, for myself and, you know, posterity…

And so last night was my first day back to work after my trip.  For those of you who don’t know, I work nights (7 pm to 7 am) as a labor and delivery nurse.  The shifts are typically emotionally and physically exhausting, but I only work three shifts in a seven day stretch.  My unit tends to schedule us all three 12-hour shifts back to back, which is fine because it means I get more days off afterward.  When I work three 12s in a row, it’s work-sleep-eat-repeat.  And when I’m off those three in a row, I’m livin on a weird combo of night shift hours, attempting to adjust back to real people hours, and having no clue what day it is.  And, well, I can already tell you it’s going to be hard to find writing time between my twelve hour shifts.

Today, I’m in between two twelves.  I worked last night, got home this morning, hung out with my partner for a bit (won’t see him much in the next 24 hours because our schedules are so opposite and busy!), then went to sleep by 10 AM.  I slept until about 3 PM because, naturally, they are doing some major construction outside my apartment.  Still, I try to wake up a little early before a shift so that I can feel like an actual human being.  I walked to the local coffee shop and got an iced coffee, meditated, ate some food, and here I am.  Instead of writing my novel, I’m writing this blog post….hmm.

I can already tell this is going to be tough because my “creative process” isn’t the kind to just get down to business and produce something.  I like to go out to a coffee shop, browse Instagram, doodle, pay bills, organize, and, umm, not write immediately.  I was talking with my partner, and he suggested just getting in five good minutes of writing each day.  I love that idea!, even if it goes against my “process.”  But it requires a bit of planning, too.  In order to get in five good minutes of writing, I need to have a pre-meditated idea of where I want the story to go.

So here’s the plan… ten minutes of good writing time each day, in which I actually write for five minutes, and then plan for tomorrow’s writing for five minutes.  Sound fair?  That’s the plan for now.  Today is day three of this whole process, so let’s see how it goes.  Also — shoutout to Jessi Huntenburg for today’s Instagram post, shared below, on this conundrum.

💗This one’s for the #girlbosses , for the badass mamas who bust out their hustle to a chorus of requests to meet others’ needs. This is for ladies who work a full day only to come home and pursue their dreams into the wee hours of the night. This is for moms who work part time to save money on childcare, who work full-time because they have to or want to or who work from home while cooking, cleaning, and child-minding in between. This is for women who don’t let a sexist job market stop them from going after their due and who choose to stay home and raise their kids regardless of what the world might say about them. This is for any woman who’s doing her best to be her best self in this world–I salute you💗

It’s time to go after what I’m due.

What are you working on?  How do you schedule in creative time for yourself?  Let me know in the comments!

exploringly yours,
Alaina xx

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

Tarot Thursday Three: February 16, 2017

Well, I was pretty bummed to have missed posting this week’s #tarotthursdaythree on Thursday.  I had a funky work schedule this week — worked three midnight shifts then had to switch back to the day time on Friday.  Ugh.  Needless to say my sleep patterns were a little off, which found me very sleepy on Thursday during the day and not very productive….

Anyway, here are my answers for this week’s installment of #tarotthursdaythree, hosted by Julia, and questions from me!

1.  How do you feel about the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS)?

Basically my answer to this question inspired this set of questions.  The RWS was my first deck, but not the first one that really inspired me to learn.  (I feel like I’ve told this story a million times but now YOU GET IT AGAIN!).  I had my tarot read with a RWS deck at a Fasching/Karnival/Mardi Gras party (similar to Vanessa’s story).  My reading was done only with Majors, and I don’t even really remember what she said, but I think I got the Devil, the Hanged Man and the Tower…?  Yikes!  I was intrigued by the mysticism of tarot — I had watched this woman read strangers’ tarot all night, and everyone was impressed.  Like a good little tarot beginner, I purchased a RWS deck but ultimately put it aside for years before purchasing The Wild Unknown, which is the deck that really started my journey.

Lately, however, I’ve been connecting really well with my RWS.  Originally, I just did not connect with the RWS images.  They seemed aloof and disconnected from the daily life that I experience.  As I learned more of the card meanings, I developed a connection with the traditional symbolism of the cards.  This idea/practice is discussed also over at Julia’s and Jill’s posts.  I find that the more decks I work with, the more other decks’ images come to mind as I’m reading, particularly with the RWS, which I don’t think is bad.  This helps to remind of of the different dimensions of a particular card.  My favorite rendition is the Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot, which is just dreamy in my opinion.

Anyway, so umm yeah, lovin’ the RWS lately.

2.  What was your beginning deck?

Well, I guess I answered that above — oops!  First purchased deck was the Rider Waite Tarot Pack, but The Wild Unknown is what got me really excited to learn tarot.

3.  Do all beginners need to start with the RWS (or clone), in your opinion? Why/why not?

I am woefully under-qualified to give tarot beginners any tips….but, I would mainly recommend a beginner to look at the Rider-Waite-Smith and clones to see if they connect with any of the decks’ images.  As I know, if you’re not inspired by the art, you’re not going to be inspired to continue to learn.  If you don’t like the RWS, pick a deck that speaks to your intuition and has gorgeous art.

That being said, I feel that there are so many RWS clones that it should be easy these days to find one that a new reader can appreciate.  Furthermore, if the reader intends to make a life-long study out of tarot, starting with a RWS would be most beneficial.  So basically…..any rules here are meant to be broken *shrug*.

Well, that’s it 🙂 … I think I already linked to everyone who has done this round so far (Julia and Jill).  Let me know if you make a post and I’ll check it out!

What do you think of the RWS?  What is the ideal beginner deck in your opinion?  Let me know in the comments.

exploringly yours,
Alaina x