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

Fertilization of Inspiration

I spent this last weekend with my mom in Denver, Colorado, visiting my sister who has lived out there for a couple of years.  The weather is hot and dry, and in Denver proper there aren’t any mountains — it’s basically a desert.  It’s a trendy city, with lots of healthy mid-thirty year olds and lots of gentrification.  We ate a ton of great food, and explored the area, and went to Red Rocks to see The Avett Brothers under the full moon.  That night was so hot and so clear, perfect for outdoor music.  We had a couple freak accidents and pitfalls and arguments — but, hey, family vacations am I right?  Overall, a great weekend away.  And, I don’t know what it was, but the whole time I was there I felt electrified with inspiration…

So, there are these characters and this story that I’ve been fleshed out in my head for literal years.  Like, since 2011, when I was in Austria and had nothing better to do than write and read and drink all day…with some occasional English teaching, I guess.  The story is in part inspired by a dream I had (that part I don’t remember too much any more), and I outlined and made notes and tried to write the whole thing a couple times, but no manuscript ever got finished.  In part, I blame the outlining and the planning because in November 2010, I did complete a novel, by the seat of my pants, for National Novel Writing Month so we know this is possible.

These scenes from this story are so planned out that I have them in my mind like memories.  These characters become more nuanced as I grow and change myself.  If you’re a writer, or daydreamer, or creative of any kind, I think you will know what I mean.  They are aching for their story, their year that I have in my mind, to be told.

What’s a girl to do?  In my year ahead forecast that I got from Benebell back in December 2016, she encouraged me repeatedly to manifest a writing project.  Hmm, I thought.  I wasn’t sure if this would be an old idea come back around, a fresh idea, or my tarot reading business (which certainly requires tons of writing!).  For a long time, I tormented myself with the idea of a fresh idea (yikes, just the ideas of ideas freak me out…), and, again, if you’re a creative of any kind I think you’ll know what I mean.  Benebell’s July card for me is the Tower, while my own card for myself is Death (in August followed, respectively, by the King of Wands reversed and Emperor, a stalker lately).  And while I find that predictive month-by-month cards don’t do much for me, to be honest, I feel these all mesh together so well when surrendering to a creative project, which may have to be explored in a separate blog post…

Now I feel I know what my writing project is, and I feel I know that I can complete this.  I feel like I have the first fertilization of inspiration to actually complete this story.  I don’t want to plan too much, or make strict rules for myself, but I do know I want to write, at least a little, each day.  And I want to share my progress with you all, here.  Probably not everyday, but more often than I’m blogging now (which…it’s been a while since I’ve been regular).  I’m not sure how much of the actual story details I’ll share, but I’m going to need all the continuing inspiration and support and ideas that I can handle to get this story out.

Day One | I need to water this little sprout of inspiration; it’s here, it’s seeded, now I need to do my part.  So, today, I went to the coffee shop and wrote this post.  I’ve written a couple hundred words for my story and intend to write, at least, a couple hundred more before my ukulele lesson this evening.  I write on my computer, because that is fastest for me, and I like watching my word count go up (it’s the little things).  As it stands, I’m starting from the same point that I’ve always started this story, but who knows if that’s how it’ll stay.

Are you a writer, daydreamer, or some kind of creative?  Have you ever written fiction?  A short story?  A long story?  What about non-fiction?  Do you write with pen and paper or the computer?  Tell me allll about it 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: March 16, 2017

Another week, another….Friday?  Seems I’m in a pattern to miss #tarotthursdaythree on actual Thursdays…  But that’s ok, because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, so this is a holiday edition as well.  Enjoy!

1.  Classic deserted island scenario: You’re stranded for a year on an island, but can bring along one companion.  Who from the court family keeps you company?

Oh snap — reading other’s answers, the Fool kind of popped in to my mind.  Like, he has this wild, free, careless energy that would keep me motivated and entertained (and, intermittently, completely annoyed) during our year of exile.  BUT then I read the question again and it said court family *duh*.  Hmm.  Who makes a good friend to the Queen of Swords (me)?  The most similar energy, I believe, to the Fool in the court is the Page of Wands.  So now I’m thinking about Lost; have you seen the show?  It was the first TV show that I was totally obsessed with in high school and college.  It’s about an airplane that goes down on an island and the survivor’s existence there.  Of course, that’s not all it’s about but that’s a decent one sentence summary.  Kate, similar to the Queen of Swords, is the character that I identify with, and she has two men that keep her entertained (heh) and fuel her will to survive.  One, Jack, is kind of the King of Pentacles: he’s got his shit together (kinda) and is the classic leader figure.  The other, Sawyer, is the “bad boy,” full of kinetic, crazy energy (that he eventually tempers, to a point), but he is similar to the Page of Wands.  I think the Page of Wands/Sawyer would be able to help me not murder myself (literally) while stranded on a desert island and would be resourceful enough to keep us alive for a year.  As long as it’s ONLY a year…….

2.  What are off-limit topics for you; inquiries that make you say “I won’t go there”?  Or is anything fair game?

Hmmm.  I haven’t specifically outlined topics I “won’t touch” but others’ answers were really good here (and that’s probably because most seekers have asked me for general guidance, nothing too specific or crazy).  In my “terms of service,” I’ve outlined clearly that the insight and inspiration my readings afford do not replace the advice of a professional in any field.  If someone comes to me for a reading and doesn’t know how to formulate a good tarot question, I’ll help them form a good open ended question that will get the energetic read of a situation and that I feel comfortable answering with the cards.

3.  How do you get “in the mood” or mind-frame to read?

In the mood, awww yeah.  It kinda depends.  I love to light incense, meditate for about 5-10 minutes before a session (lately, while listening to classical music), cleanse with palo santo or sage and Florida Water; this is my general routine.  But, sometimes that just feels like too much and too formal so I just grab a beer and shuffle.  Really, shuffling is the primary activity that focuses me and gets me in the groove.  As described before, my standard shuffling ritual is somewhat in depth — I shuffle the whole deck nine times, then split into three piles, shuffle each pile nine times, then shuffle the whole deck nine times, and shuffling the whole deck nine times between each card position.  I perform this shuffling ritual always between clients (the only thing I consistently do for each client) because it helps to center me on the querent/query and reset the deck (in my opinion).  So I guess my final answers is: I shuffle.

Here are other posts from this week that I’ve seen…

Ania

Julia

Jill

Rachel

Who would you bring on a desert island that wouldn’t make you go crazy?  What topics make you cringe?  What gets you in the mood, baby?  Let me know your answers in the comments below, or link me to your post!

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

 

Tarot Thursday Three: March 9, 2017

Another Thursday (that I missed, again!).  So, it’s after midnight, late Friday night/early Saturday morning, and here I am composing this post.  Enjoy!

1.  Does spell work have a place in your practice and if so, how?

I don’t do spells.  I had an interest in spell work (and still do, I guess), but I ultimately find it too complicated to be practical for my life.  Gathering supplies, casting a circle, calling down deities, etc — I just find that too much.  And I don’t see the space or need to call things in to my life (or banish them!  Though that could be useful…).  I like what Ania said about not feeling the need to affect reality in this way.  I feel like life is complicated, and I don’t know enough of what I want or need to ask for it specifically.  I feel like spell work in the traditional sense is something that needs to be practiced regularly for it to be effective, and I just don’t have the desire, or need, to practice spell work regularly.  However, I also like what Olivia wrote about her small spell and ritual work that she does, she made it seem very natural and intuitive.  I do like to hold intentions and affirmations, which I kind of view as mini-spells anyway.  And I do like doing ritual work, that is not quite spell work, but close.  I do this usually around the new and full moons.  I feel that this aspect of my practice is asking to be explored more, but I am not sure what that would mean in physical terms.

2.  What is the element you most identify with and/or enjoy working with and why?

As a through-and-through Aquarian, I live in my head and in daydreams.  I like to think through things, I create alternate timelines in my head (I maintain the idea that all possibilities exist in some realm), and I like putting word to paper.  I regularly have dreams of flying, where I literally kick off from the ground and float in the air.  Sometimes, the feeling is so strong that I recall it in my waking life, and I experience the desire to kick my feet into the air and float along in real life.  So I guess Air is really my jam.

I haven’t worked that much, specifically and pointedly, with any element.  I love to burn candles and incense, I love to collect bits of earth in stone/gem form, I love ritual baths… I have been told (by Benebell, no less!) that I should work to connect more with the earth element.  She gave me a pretty good overview on this, but to be honest, I don’t really know why or how to do this.  So, beyond placing a bunch of grounding rocks on my bedside (a big chunk of Mookaite!), I haven’t done much about that…

3.  Besides the cards, what are you favourite tools for divination and/or ritual?

As I said above, I love to burn candles and incense, but I don’t use this in a divinatory sense, more to set the mood — uh, so I guess for ritual!  However, I do this outside of ritual as well, and to be honest, I haven’t sat down and practiced any kind of ritual lately… I really love to use poetry collections (primarily Mary Oliver) for bibliomancy/stichomancy, and I’ve had some really great results with that.  I love to write, and I’ve been really into writing poetry (thanks to Jodi and her poetry challenge!) and making art (thanks for Kristen and her create this oracle deck challenge!), so I’ll be trying to include more of making both poetry and art into my practice.

At the time of publishing, here are the other posts that I’ve seen (and referenced above :))…

Julia

Ania

Olivia

Do you use spells in your practice?  What is your favorite element to channel?  What other stuff do you use in divination/ritual?  Let me know in the comments below (or let me know if you’ve made a post yourself!).

exploringly yours,
Alaina x