The Tower can be a terrifying card; even just the imagery is alarming, let alone the implications of the card itself. The illustration of a lightning bolt destroying a tower, leaving rubble in its wake, is scary enough. What could be more alarming than losing your stable base to a natural disaster? Well, to most humans, change.
Yes - change, upheaval, awakening, and a metamorphosis is encompassed by this card. I will confidently say that one of the most unnerving things a person must deal with in our lives is change. It's so damn comfortable to stay the same, who would want modify what they're doing if it seems to work? Almost no one! Yet, here we are in quarantine without much of a choice; we must face this change head-on.
It was in April that the Corona virus debacle started to really feel real. On the 3rd, I was finally home in Chicago after being "stuck" in New Orleans for two weeks longer than expected and that was when this "new normal" started to set in for me. I was actually home, stuck inside, and understandably forced to make the most of it/find a new way of living. Being the Capricorn that I am, I immediately started looking for new ways to financially survive and keep some semblance of power over my world.
Obviously, this was not easy. Being thrown into the online world of classes, zoom, and entertainment was, and still is, a struggle. Who could have guessed that in a time when everyone was being fired, laid-off, or given reduced work schedules, no one would want to spend any of their extra money on services that are usually deemed optional? Well, I guessed, but I didn't want to do nothing or give up on teaching until this crisis was over. Offering free classes five times a week was my first idea, giving people the option to donate if they could, and I jumped in head-first.
People were watching, some were donating, and a few more were purchasing readings. It wasn't as much as I had hoped, but more than anything I was having fun. Planning classes, offering services I care about, and getting to talk about subjects that I love without any interruptions was a thrill. Unfortunately, I do not currently possess infinite amounts of energy at my disposal. After a month of classes without much in return, I was exhausted. I have since stopped these classes for now, but in April something amazing had occurred to me. I had successfully worked my butt off in a time of chaos to produce something I could be proud of!
It has never come easy to me, putting energy and effort consistently into a personal project without anyone or any deadlines looming over my head. Usually, the fear of disappointing someone else, the fear of failure, or just plain old anxiety pushes me to work hard. This time, it was passion and positivity that had initiated my motivation. In yoga, Tapas is the heat, the struggle you endure to approach greatness in your body and mind. I have never been one to step into the heat without a shove, and lately I had been putting the blame on an unbalanced Solar Plexus Chakra, which rules your fire. Every day at my altar I would relight a yellow candle and focus on that Chakra, the center of Willpower and Strength. Without noticing, that part of me began to heal, allowing the rest of me to bloom, even during a month ruled by the tower. I believe the reversal of the card was hinting toward that transformation.
When dealing with The Tower, reversed, ask yourself: What is chaotic in my life right now? How can I use that chaotic energy to my advantage, to energize part of my life? Where could I use a transformation right now? Am I putting my energy into the right parts of my life? What parts of my life are unstable and need to be knocked down?
Perseverance in power, perceptiveness in communication, and confidence in the self; these are what rules the Queen of Swords. She can cut through the fog and see clearly what is in front of her, giving her power over the situation. Yet, power is expressed differently than just strength in the Queen; her power is enduring and circumspect.
With that being said - March was a doozy, to say the least. On March 4th, I made the decision to move back in with my parents and push myself to be a better version of me. I am officially a bachelor(ette). This decision was not made in haste or anger with E; I still love my friend but we both need time to focus on our mental-health and ourselves. At home, I had been organizing my stuff, applying for yoga jobs, and advertising more tarot gigs.
On March 14th, we both left for a trip to New Orleans we had planned months in advance. The trip was going well until our flights back home got cancelled, no thanks to COVID-19. Shops were closing down, we had plans that needed to be abandoned, and it was becoming increasingly more frustrating to continually reschedule our flights and have them get called off again. Back home, all of my classes, except for one gig that went on Zoom, got cancelled, I had plans with no one, and quarantine was beginning to be put in place. In a fight against my own patterns of fear and the unknown - like the Queen with her sword, cutting through a dense, clouded judgement - I finally decided to extend my stay for two more weeks without E. I was nervous at first, but my excitement grew and fear quickly dissipated.
I was free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without much regard for anyone else except my gracious hosts. Of course, I couldn't go to museums or any of my favorite stores, but I could visit my sister, Helena, a few blocks away. I could ride around town with my hosts/friends/family, one of which is a NOLA tour guide, and get my own mini-tours, filled with facts and tidbits on our drives to-and-from Costco. I drank coffee and read books for hours in their backyard, with visitors always popping by, like the little lizards that ran everywhere, the rare baby opossum, and of course, the daily visits from the neighbor's chicken, Isabel. Before E left, I had a dream about reading a book on Tarot Reversals, so before the shops all closed I went on a hunt for one to pour myself over. Focusing on me had never been so accessible nor had it ever felt so good.
In that time I had so much energy flow into myself that I finally felt ready to give back; I decided to start offering free 30-minute classes online. The brainstorming had begun and Instagram flyers were quickly made. By the end of March, inspiration was flowing and the pursuit of self was in full swing. The Queen of Swords had appeared.
When faced with the Queen of Swords, pay attention to any prejudices or distortions you have to the position you are currently in. How can you face your situation head on? Are you being forthright? How can you communicate your thoughts and needs more clearly?
A note on the deck I am using:
The Hermetic Tarot Deck has lots of differences from your average Rider-Waite deck, but perhaps the most noticeable difference is in the Court cards. Usually, the order of the court card goes as follows: Page, Knight, Queen, King. The Hermetic Tarot deck's Court cards on the other hand, goes like this: Knight, Queen, King, Princess. I love this distinction; it gives the daughter, the culmination of the Mother and Father, the most power. The Queen doesn't become less important, the page is merely replaced by the princess, who is a new energy all together, which moves her up in the cycle.
~TW; Trauma, unsafe situations, descriptions of trauma responses.~
Like the ancient Roman festival of ritual cleansing, Februa, from which February gets it's name, my month that was ruled by the Three of Cups, was clarifying. Time was spent healing my psyche, exploring my interests, and tending to my needs.
The Three of Cups is ruled by water and 3; Water representing your emotional and spiritual self and 3 representing abundance, creation, and fertility. Together, it's a time of creating (or rediscovering) friendships, discovering that which inspires you, and most of all, being the parent to yourself and creating an improved version of yourself, a.k.a., healing.
Of course, healing is not easy. It is painful, world-crumbling, and tiresome. For a long while now, I felt like the end of my trauma-healing journey was in sight; My hyper awareness has died down quite a bit, I usually feel quite confident and safe most days, and I felt ready to stand my ground to anyone who tested my boundaries. But then, as I was reading in a library one day, a man approached me from behind and seductively touched my shoulder as he passed me by. My left brain immediately went silent while my right brain went haywire; I was frozen. My muscles tensed up and my eyes began to glaze over as I started to dissociate. Although it felt like minutes, I know it was seconds before a librarian snapped at him and had my back. He was ordered to leave the library after he became belligerent. The place went quiet as I began to silently cry. I thought I would be able to stand up for myself in a situation like this, and it made me aware that this journey is one I will probably never be completely over with. This was difficult to come to terms with but was a necessary realization. It was tough, but healing is always difficult.
Since that experience, I have began practicing saying "No" to everything and anything that doesn't serve me, I took a sober week off to clear my mind, and have began doing things that make me feel empowered, such as sending e-mails to people I want to work with, going roller skating, and practicing falling down with grace instead of fear (by falling down on purpose and rolling around on my floor like a complete goofball). I have also made plans with more friends than usual, I've been eating intentionally, exercising more frequently with the intention of getting stronger, and practicing trauma-informed yoga by myself.
My altar has since been rotating between focusing on the solar plexus and the throat chakra, for power/motivation and truth/communication, respectively. I can already see my growth before my very eyes and I can't pretend I'm not proud of myself. Life is complex and everyone has trauma; it's your time to look at the hard truths and put life back into your own hands. This month, give yourself something to be proud of; focus on the Three of Cups and ask yourself, "What do I need? What do I want?"
This past month moved fast, knocking me off my feet and stealing my time before I could even process what just happened. The days were full of pushing myself up and out of bed, putting my all into work, and drinking probably way too many lattes. I mean, sweaty-for-no-good-reason too many lattes. Now as I drink my tea and try to reflect on my January 2020, it can easily be summed up by my card of the month, Judgment.
Judgment is less about being petty and seeing what went wrong and more about deciding what is important, what is right, and what is aligned with your personal needs. For me, that included continuing to decide what I want to do for work, what I wanted to consume (both food and media-wise), and how I want to communicate. For work, I ended up choosing a focus on tarot and subbing classes until I build up healthy professional habits. Putting effort into my already-established classes and clients includes future monthly tarot-readings at Tsubo Salon! (Stay tuned for more Tsubo info)
As for consumption, I had to be just a bit honest with myself about unhealthy eating habits; understanding that lifestyle changes are healthier than diets, this will be a slow process of replacing unhealthy foods(mostly my love of donuts) with healthier options (yummy yogurt) and replacing my hobbit-like meal plan of way too much snacking and meals down to a regular 3. I sure do love my food so smaller meals will be the key!Media-wise, I opted for less screen time this month and replaced it with more reading. Not that I didn't watch Netflix, I totally did (Big Mouth & Parks and Recreation binges!), but I capped my TV time at 2 hours or less most days. This led to me finishing five books this month (Follow me on goodreads to see what I'm reading)!
Lastly, I had to be honest about my communication. I have been putting effort into confidence and eloquence with my clients and coworkers while working on kindness and reflection with my loved ones. When I'm out and about it's easy to feel small and overwhelmed by the largeness of the city energy; being mindful that I am worthy to teach and allowing myself to take up space has been essential in building confidence. When I'm with my loved ones on the other hand, I can let the pressures of daily life build up in silence and explode into chaos; consciously spreading love, showing my appreciation, and timely apologies have been extremely helpful in communicating skillfully as a human this month.
The Judgment card is a great tool for self-improvement, giving you space to sit back and observe what you truly need. Take a moment for yourself to reflect, but don't forget to give yourself some love and be forgiving before you beat yourself up.
As always when I give a tarot reading, I try my best to stay positive, but when I saw that my Theme of the Year card was The Tower, I have to admit I was nervous. The Tower depicts lightning striking a burning building and people falling out of the windows; not exactly what you’d call a cheerful image. I immediately knew it was going to be a rough year, and it did not disappoint. I lost my health insurance which led me to run out of my medications, I got sick/ injured a ton, many people I love spent a fair share of their time in the hospital, and my beloved cat, Stinky, passed away. While the Universal Energies/Ancestors/The Tower definitely kicked my ass, there is a bright side to this card and situation; The destruction and razing of one element leaves space and opportunity to build anew, higher and stronger.
Perhaps the best way this was demonstrated this past year was in therapy. Many people believe a spiritual or mental awakening looks like a sudden, beautiful epiphany but that is usually unlikely. Growth is ugly and unpleasant. Expansion is achieved through pressure, hard work, and likely a large amount of tears. I learned that self-care isn’t just warm baths and treat-yourself themed outings, but it’s also being brutally honest with yourself about your habits and coping-skills you’ve learned over the years that no longer serve you. Being honest with myself has been extremely difficult but has improved my life drastically; I’ve caught my patterns of people-pleasing, stopped impulses to break-down when times have been tough, and I’ve become aware of my tendency to go mute rather than communicating my concerns. The most important thing I’ve learned is that I’m not broken; I am whole.
I am thankful for the challenges 2019 dealt me and I’m ready for a new hand. Here’s to 2020!
Bonus-List of Awesome Things that Happened in 2019:
Stay-cation while Dog/House-sitting
Settled into new job
Taught tons of Yoga and Meditation classes
Went to Renaissance Faire
Got a new car, thanks to my grandparents!
Saw tons of live music, including Herbie Hancock, Kamasi Washington, and Snarky Puppy
Saw the dentist
3-year anniversary with Emmanuel!
Read tons of beautiful tarot spreads
Went to therapy biweekly
Hung out with family and friends
Read 33 books
Put in notice at work to focus on yoga, meditation, tarot and most importantly, mental health!
***This is a post about anti-witchcraft propaganda, its effect on me personally, and my experience as a practitioner. Please read this with an open-mind.***
So, I found this pamphlet on the Chicago Pinkline train today on my way home. It was placed on the seat to be found my someone like me. From the pictures you can see why it was particularly upsetting for me.
Basically, the comic was an anti-witchcraft, ignorant approach to converting sinners. It was not a surprise to find this but definitely a disappointment.
Want to know why I don't talk much about my beliefs? Because after hundreds of years of purposeful misinformation by the church people have absolutely NO IDEA what we actually practice. I have told people I practice and they have treated me like an idiot. Managers have seen my cute little amethyst pentacle (a symbol for the 5 elements, not the devil) slip out from my shirt and told me it was inappropriate for work. In fact, even I was ignorant about witchcraft and felt extremely uncomfortable identifying as a Witch for a very long while. I always knew I was Pagan, but after years of growing up and observing Witchcraft being vilified in the media and our American-Christian-Culture, Witchcraft felt dirty in my mouth. It was this way for a long time until after reading, researching, and really trying to understand what I was, I couldn't deny anymore that the only thing in my way of having a happy spiritual practice was my own bias against my own beliefs.
I know a few people who have converted to Christianity after their experience with witchcraft, but it was NOT because someone was rude and bigoted towards their beliefs, it was through gentle kindness and a slow realization that it just wasn't for them.
This comic makes it seem like witches are plotting against Christ and the Church. I think it is very much possible to be a kind, responsible, loving Christian. Sure, I was raised by Pagan parents (who, by the way, NEVER forced me to believe anything. I am solely Pagan because they encouraged me to explore and decide for myself what beliefs really resonated.) but having an art-historian/former attendee of Catholic school as a mother, I was raised with a lot of stories from the bible. I've heard tons about Jesus and I think he was an awesome guy with some great teachings. I actually know a lot of you guys here on Facebook from church because I love Classical and Baroque music and it was almost exclusively written for the church. Do I hate Christianity? Nope. Does this pamphlet make witches like me out to be Jesus haters, crappy children to their mothers, and angry idiots? Yes. Does it make me want to follow the word of Christ any more than my decently Christ-positive upbringing? No.
If you and I have different spiritual beliefs, fine. Tell me what you believe and we can have a respectful conversation in order to understand each other more. In fact, I LOVE talking religion and nearly went for a degree in it. But if you want to try to tell me what I believe, I promise that you will get nowhere.
I'm usually pretty quiet about my witchcraft practice. Yes, I post my altar and my tools from time to time on my instagram, but I don't ever really talk about what I believe in. This pamphlet was the cherry on top of our political climate that has been encouraging people in their bigotry. I think it's time I talk about what we believe.
First off, everyone practices differently. Witchcraft is not a religion therefore anyone can practice. I know Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists who practice. No matter who you are, the basic idea is to work with the cycles of the universe, rather than against them, to make your life better.
Let me say that again.
Witchcraft is using the cycles of the universe to make your life better.
THAT'S IT! No demons. No sacrificing babies. No encouraging evil. Sure, some witches do these things, but some Christians shoot up schools. All I'm saying is that we dont judge an entire population based on the actions of a few.
Now, back to the cycles of the universe. This means that we use both physical and psychological rules/properties to our advantage. For example, if a witch is stressed out, they might run themselves a bath filled with lavender and myrrh (The bath, lavender, and myrrh all being proven to help reduce anxiety and improve health. This is the physical part.) while also repeating a self-love spell in their head while they wash away any dirt on their body (This is the psychological part, proven to be an effective tool for self-care and improvement.).
Yes, you read that right! Taking a bath with intention is witchcraft. Once you learn about witchcraft it becomes kind of funny to realize all of the witchy things you do on a daily basis without realizing it. Here's a small list of things that are witchcraft:
Slow breathing when you're stressed.
Cooking a meal for your family with love.
Listening to your favorite song when you're sad.
Math. Yes, math.
Taking any kind of medication to heal yourself.
Looking through old family photos to try to understand where you came from.
Giving your friend a hug to make them feel better when they're sad.
I'm not joking. Is this all really worth telling someone that they're going to hell? I'd say no.
Something that might seem strange or evil to outsiders is that a lot of us practice Shadow Magick. This is looking at the darkest parts of yourself, understanding your past, coming to terms with anything "bad" you might have done, ACCEPTING IT, then learning from it in order to be a better person. Without shadows, there would be no light.
Personally, I follow a mostly green path, which is to say that I get my meaning from nature. I try to be as close as possible to nature whenever I can because it makes me feel whole. I like to gaze at the stars because it helps me to realize that I am small and my mistakes are insignificant in the grand scheme of things but it also makes me feel important and beautiful because the odds of our universe exploding and creating the perfect conditions for life on Earth is SO small that I feel indebted to live my best, most human life I can. Witchcraft makes me want to be a kinder and smarter person. It makes me want to try every hobby, meet every kind of person, read every kind of book. My practice helps me take care of myself, my family, and the world around me. It helps me make and follow through with goals. Witchcraft is definitely not evil. Witchcraft is a neutral, empty vessel and it becomes what you put into it.
If you read this far, I really appreciate it. This was honestly hard to write. I'm very used to the judgmental tones and I had gotten so comfortable that it was normal for me to hide my beliefs. I've slowly become more and more open but I know in my heart that this judgment I have recieved is completely and totally due to purposeful misinformation and willful ignorance.
Feel free to share this post if you like; I would love to start a discussion. If any of my fellow witches want to add anything, PLEASE DO! Anyway, stay respectful and spread some kindness today! 💖💫🖤
I've grown up in a world that puts bandaids on issues rather than healing the source of the wound. Depressed? Here's a pill. Is your child crying? Punish them and make them be quiet. Hate your corporate job? Keep working, you'll be promoted eventually. The thing is, after a while you'll realize that you're still depressed, your child doesn't trust you with their emotions anymore, and you're still stuck in a dead-end job. In order to fix a problem, you have to go to the root of the issue.
For me, my main issue has been my health, both physical and mental. In high school I started seeing a therapist, which is probably the closest thing to spiritual healing you can do without being overtly spiritual. Therapy had helped me through some of my roughest times, but once I was done, I stopped working on my mental health. I continued taking my medications, ignored all issues, and pretended like nothing bad had ever happened to me. But the pills would fix everything, right??? Of course not.
As time went on, things got worse. I started to develop anxiety around men and I didnt like to leave the house unless necessary. I knew that this was wrong, that this kind of life was not for me. I loved the outdoors, had men in my life who I trusted and loved, and I knew that my future would be bright. I had given all of my strength away to people who didn't deserve it, and I was done.
I got started immediately with therapy since I knew that my anxiety with men was the most important thing for me to overcome. I started actively watching myself and my reactions in certain situations and began attempting to rewire my brain. I focused on the realization that I had way more power in any situation than I gave myself credit for. I then started picking up my spiritual practice, meditating, reading my cards here and there, praticipating in group magick, and going out in nature as often as I could. This step was essential since it gave me the daily practice of reflecting on my purpose on this planet and living each day purposefully. Next, I began working on my career. I quit my retail job, I started applying to yoga jobs again, volunteering with Yoga for Recovery, and networking with other instructors. Things had been improving, but there was still a lot of work to do.
Of course, right as my work started to pick up, I woke up one morning to ordain a wedding when a horrible sickness rushed over me. The sickness lasted for weeks, keeping me unble to work. I went to doctors and they tried to give me a prescription antacid and an anti-nausea medication since they didn't know what was wrong. Just another bandaid. I was hopeless; I felt all of my work was for nothing.
Luckily, the universe had been looking out for me and sent me two lovely humans who would help me out. The first, was my boyfriend's mom, Angela. Tired of seeing me sick and sad that she couldn't help, she paid for me to see a Chinese Medicine doctor. The second awesome human was that doctor, Diane Miller. Diane gave me some pretty tough news: I could no longer bandaid my problems. I had to change my lifestyle, my diet, and the way I approached sickness. She gave me accupunture, guided me through meditative breathing, and gave me probiotics and stomach enzymes to help my digestion. Her approach to medicine was something I had never seen before; It was a spiritual practice. She has been seeing me for free since that first appointment, and I've only been mildly sick twice since I've seen her. My world began to shine bright again!
After all of these months of sadness, sickness, and healing I've discovered that working hard on yourself and your health truly pays off. These past two weeks I've been specifically spending time on things that make me happy; Helping others, reading Harry Potter, spending time with Emmanuel, kissing our cat Stinky, seeing friends, and working on my spiritual growth.
Healing is painful but it's worth the pain to free your brain.
March, 2018. This is the month where I create my own yoga business with no savings.
On the 1st of the month, I picked up my certification. I was finally complete, I had gone through all of the tough work, and I had nothing else to worry about. Wow, did I quickly find out how wrong I was.
Fast forward a two weeks, and here I am; I need to buy yoga insurance, business cards, the proper domain to THIS website, a yoga alliance membership, more trainings, and extra yoga mats for future students. I'm currently discussing the possibility of renting out a place for my studio, but I have so much to pay for first.
Yesterday I called to cancel my Corepower membership since I can no longer afford it.
I decided to become a yoga teacher for my career path because of my love for the practice and my dedication to the spiritual side of my life. I didn't choose the path for money - Infact, I knew this was going to be very difficult. Luckily the universe has been looking out for me and I just started a new retail job fourteen days ago so that I can pay for all of these expenses as they come up. It's only been 12 days and I'm already much closer to becoming a full-time teacher, and even closer to being part-time.
I believe I can do it. Check back on April 1st?
What are you up working for this month? What are you manifesting?