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.

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

 

Exploration · Journal · Practice

Scary Couples Therapy

I had a therapy session with my partner yesterday.  We’ve been seeing this therapist since the beginning of the year, and we both enjoy attending the sessions and find value in our conversations.  She calls us on our bullshit and pushes us where we are uncomfortable.  And, boy, we’ve been uncomfortable.  We’ve been resistant, hesitant, lazy, and scared.  But we’ve also been successful, begun healing, busted barriers, and continue to grow together with her assistance.  It’s a practice: showing up, trying things to see what works, and then trying something else.

We were extremely resistant about starting couples therapy.  We were confused about why our “young” relationship needed such work.  Shouldn’t this be easy?  Shouldn’t this be something people who are married 20 years need, not a couple that has only been together for 5 years?  Are we failing?  Are we trying to scoop water out of our sinking boats with barehands?  The answer to all those questions, of course, is yes, and no.

One thing I realized yesterday is that we have gone through more shit together in 5 years than a lot of those couples who have been together for 20 years.  He was in school, I was in school (nursing school = hell), he moved away, his brother died by suicide, my grandparents passed away, I moved away, he started school again, we moved in together, and some other things that are too big and too private and maybe one day I’ll write about them, but that day is not today.  So, damn, yeah, it’s like we can’t catch a break.

But, we’re still together, and that is thanks to hard work and consistent practice.  Couples therapy is like that buzzword “shadow work” on a massive scale.  To be honest, I’ve never seen a therapist on my own, so I don’t really know how this would compare.  But, sitting on a couch, with the person who you love and trust most in this world and talking about your shame or your past or your hurts is really fucking vulnerable and scary.  You’ve got to pull out everything that is ugly and look at it and talk about it.  You’ve got to accept it or change it.  You’ve got to honor those dark underbelly thoughts and feelings, the things we keep hidden and buried.

I have no doubt my partner would accept me and all of my faults, whatever comes out, but admitting those faults to myself is really the scariest part.  I know I’m getting to something good in therapy when I start to go: “well, umm, yeah, kinda.”  I know I’m getting to something good when I can’t completely own it outright.  95% of the time, our therapist calls us on our shit and is accurate.  100% of the time I resist immediately when someone tells me how to feel.  But then I sit, and I allow, and I know she’s right.  We walk out of our sessions smiling, particularly the sessions that kick us in the ass.

And so yesterday, our therapist tasked us with watching a movie and examining our emotions while doing so.  Not just any movie, a sadass, hold-those-tears-in-because-I-don’t-want-anyone-to-see-me-cry, tear jerker.  Except that she wants us to cry.  There have only been a handful of times that Andy and I have cried in front of each other, and it’s always been stilted, awkward, pretend-I’m-not-really-crying crying.  And let’s be real, that’s pretty fucked up.  I love and trust this person more than anyone, why can’t our emotions flow with each other?  (I did a tarot spread yesterday on this, and that will be the next blog post ;))

That’s what I’m doing in the next week: watching a movie with my lover and trying to cry.  Give me some recommendations of excellent crying movies!  And, if you’ve seen a couples therapist and want to talk about, I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!  What was your experience like?  Scary as hell, too?  Or, the opposite?  Let me know in the comments 🙂

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

Novel · Writing

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

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