anxiety

The Mirror, The Tool, The Gift of Tarot: The reason we study and practice

People often ask me how I got into tarot. Not a surprising ask as only 3 years ago I was metaphorically crushing it, one would say, as far as career and finances go. I was on a path of sorts, something palatable and easy and acceptable. I had a great stable job as a recruiter and a range of hobbies. From yoga, bootcamp and spinning to piano, voice and eventually improv plus the occasional Tinder or OK Cupid date, Happy Hour or warehouse party. I was always doing something. Always laughing or working or grinding or getting shit done.

I was also struggling with anxiety and depression that no volume of “fun" to fill the spaces could seem to get rid of. I exercised, I ate well, I was in therapy. I did all the things you’re supposed to do, but none of the help I was getting provided the relief I so desperately craved. This lead to many Saturday mornings laying in bed, staring out the window wondering what the point of it all was. Why even bother?

Then, one day as I laid on the floor, groaning behind the reception desk, a weekly occurrence for me then, the beautiful Whitney Diamond suggested I get a tarot reading with her friend, Bakara Wintner. “You will love her,” she said. Decidedly cynical, but desperate for anything to make me feel better (or at lease feel different), I said “sure… whatever” and booked an appointment.

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As she pulled cards and explained their meaning and how they translate to my own life experiences, I feel a pull and a connection to the imagery, to the symbolism, to the parallels of the collective. I felt I had a new sort of permission. Permission to trust myself. To believe myself. To reject the stories and rules that were provided to me without rhyme or reason. Permission to write the laws of my own life. My own code for navigating love and family and fulfillment and sex and friendship and ethics and ambition and work.

Soon thereafter, I reached out to Lindsay Mack and began a deep dive into the history, symbolism and meaning of tarot, my own intuition, and my Self. And now, I humbly offer you an opportunity to explore this beautiful tool in a collaborative environment of fiery, creative and curious individuals through the power of myths, folklore, popular culture and our own stories. The Fool, The Lover, Death, The Tower, these are all stepping stones in our universal journey, whether you're Harry Potter, Cinderella, Wonder Woman or Hercules, our cycles of healing and evolution all stop in the same places. I offer you a safe space to explore the cards and explore your Self over the next 12 weeks

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Sometimes I get a little heavy on the scholarly side of things and doubt the magic of the cards. I recognize the usefulness of the images, but forget that something deeper seems to always call forth the necessary symbols. The cards swiftly slap me in the face every time I fall into this trap. Last week, I sat down to check in with the full moon energy and sit in ritual. I shuffled. I cleansed. I meditated. I breathed. I sat tall and felt my deck in my hand, I asked my questions and expected my brain to start piecing archetypal imagery together to make up some sort of correlation which is what happens when I approach my deck from my left brain (Ravenclaw rising, what can I say). But from the first pull, confirmations and feelings and information flooded me without giving me a chance to “think” through it and I was in tears.

The mirror of tarot is no joke. A reader does not carry secret wisdom. The wisdom is inside us all. I don’t have the answers. I just listen to the possibilities and open myself to lessons and truths embedded in these 78 images with foundations in an ancient oral tradition and parallels in Jungian archetypes, the Chakras of Hinduism, the Tree of Life of Kaballah, and so many belief systems and philosophies that have all strived to answer questions of universal truth. Who are we? What are we here for? Why do we feel the things we do? What is this eternal longing? How do we cycle through these ego journeys more gracefully? How do we come to terms with our mortality?

A reading does not always feel as serious or deep as all that. Maybe you just want to pull a card for inspiration. Maybe you’re curious about how to approach a new person or opportunity. But deep below the surface, lives the seed of these bigger picture questions. And maybe sometimes words aren’t enough. Maybe articulating these feelings feels too limiting. That is why we have images and symbols to guide us. To inspire us. To hold a mirror to the shadows and the lights of inner selves. 

And so I invite you to dive in with me, to explore the tarot, and in turn, yourself.

Note: Email me with any questions about registering or for a payment plan.

On Intuition: An Awakening (or how I learned that anxiety is not a weakness)

Living inside your body is hard. If you’re prone to anxiety or any other kinds of hyper awareness and discomfort, you could develop pretty harmful habits just to survive. It may feel like this supreme weakness. Why do I feel this unbearable jolt of electricity when I hear the phone ring? Why do I jump to 1,000 horrible outcomes before anything even happens? Why is my brain broken?

Well, this kind of hyper awareness kept our ancestors alive when the dangers were far more threatening than a shitty text or an overbearing boss or client. When that freak out feeling happens, and a bear is attacking, that shot of adrenaline keeps you alive. It's how our ancient counterparts managed to survive, reproduce, and pass on those gene. I repeat: Feeling anxious is how we once survived. In the modern world, however, it’s really freaking inconvenient, definitely, but it’s not weakness. It’s the reason you’re alive at all.

On the days I feel good, I almost feel silly about all my little worries. All the little boxes of doubts and hang ups and years of conditioning that kept me quiet and scared and sad. But on the days I feel bad, it feels like I’m falling down a serrated crack into the center of the earth, into a part of myself that is empty, that is a black hole, that will never end. That feeling, that gripping and tension in every muscle fiber of my body, that’s resistance. That’s the supreme discomfort of not listening to your body. 

When your feelings are routinely dismissed as trivial by parents, teachers, lovers, friends, it’s easy to feel the initial pinprick of a bodily response and say “NO THANK YOU.” But that never works. That leads to built up tension. Shoulders that hike up to your earlobes. Lower back pain. Knots in your calves. Tendonitis. Tension headaches. Yup, all that repression has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is definitely inside your body. Yikes. 

The High Priestess and The Queen of Cups ask us to listen deeply in The Fountain Tarot.

The High Priestess and The Queen of Cups ask us to listen deeply in The Fountain Tarot.

What does all this have to do with intuition? Well, in being so uncomfortable and therefore disconnected from our bodies, we lose that guiding compass that lives inside us. If you hate the feelings within your body, it becomes easier and easier to dismiss it completely. Have you felt yourself shut down, block out everything around you, feelings, sensations, words? Like viewing the world through a fishbowl lens, looking down on yourself as if you were a hovering spectre, or as Get Out so succinctly put it, from the “sunken place”? 

I have found that the times I feel the most uncomfortable, the times I could really use a drink or a pint of ice cream or whatever substance is your go to (this includes sugar and TV), those are the times my body has been begging me to pay more attention. To stop masking these feelings with rolls of duct tape like the pacifier I clung to as a child until my mother told me the pacifier factory burnt down all mine melted int he dishwasher to wean me off. Sometimes our internal mother needs to step in and say, “no, now you listen.”

Often when a client asks me a question, they are either asking the wrong question or they already know the answer. It’s just hidden behind other messages. Messages from society, our upbringing, the many faced internal selves who have their own ideas of what good and healthy look like. Today we are so over stimulated. So burnt out. Constantly connected. Constantly on overdrive. Maybe the remedy isn’t more of something, something new, something better, upgrade 3.7. Maybe we need less. Less noise, less notifications, less busy-ness, less metrics. Maybe we can ditch the Fitbit and listen to what our bodies are saying.