So I haven’t blogged here in over a year, but I have just renewed my site contract as I do want to share my love of tarot. After some deliberation have decided it’s about time I got my finger out and back to it, so here we are.
My plan is for a weekly blog, on decks, cards review etc maybe the odd book review. I might do some Youtube stuff as well. I’ve even joined Twitter, again, for my sins.
A thing that seems to come up time and again on any forum or group I’m a member of is the age-old dilemma of reversals. In why do some people read Tarot reversals while others don’t? I have seen both sides judging fellow readers on whether they do or do not pay attention to which side up a card is facing. The arguments being that you are missing a lot of extra meaning and nuance if you don’t read reversals. This is countered with the ‘I use my intuition to know’ line 🙂 that’s the one I use generally
I have never read reversals, as they seem to somehow interfere with my process, they threw me into a tailspin generally. I don’t mean I can’t think of the meaning or relate meanings to the question at hand. But when they come up I tend to then over think them and this then can interfere with the flow for me. I have found that my intuition is quite capable of telling when a card drawn has a negative aspect highlighted.I also find that the fact that some cards in the deck are the wrong way round also limit the combinations that come up this is just my opinion.
Ultimately though it is the readers choice whether they take these into account or just right side them when they come up. Looking down our noses at each other’s processes and methods is a bit of snobby whichever way it is given.
Pre-amble….. I’m not very good at not just launching myself into my blogging. By which I mean when I read other peoples blogs they have a nice pace, do introductions etc – they do writing that doesn’t just fling you in at the deep end, sorry I’m not so good at that. Hold your nose we are going in… fair warning I’m talking about me a lot. And it’s pretty personal.
So today I’ve been thinking about my recent mental health experiences. I’ve had a pretty horrible 12 months, truth be told. Spent most of the early part of 2017 with a nasty bout of labyrinthitis which you may or may not know is a disease of the inner ear. This affected my balance massively and was exhausting to live with. All my energy was taken up with just getting through the day without falling over. If you have it you have my empathy and understanding.
It took me months to recover from this, then depression and anxiety hit me, I began to question my value as a human. I’d barely worked for months, and although my employment was unaffected they were very good to me, my self-worth waned. That being said it was never that great to start with. By November of 2017, I was in a really weird place mentally. Suffering from obsessive repetitive OCD like ideas, and PTSD from unresolved childhood issues really took hold, thankfully I have amazing friends who made me see a doctor. I wasn’t ready to jump under a bus, but somedays I felt like an accidental bus squishing could only be a good thing. Pretty sad huh? I was sad, and I was obsessing about things of little consequence, ridiculous things it seems to look back. It makes me mad when people make OCD jokes like such mental anguish could ever EVER be funny.
I managed to get myself referred for some CBT if you don’t know what that is it stands for cognitive behavioural therapy – and it’s pretty hard work, and I’ll be honest you need a bit of bravery to look at yourself this way. I’ve done 8 sessions so far, each one hard and found it the most profoundly painful experience, but it has been worthwhile in building coping strategies for when I am being triggered – another word I don’t like jokes being made about. Triggers are real things, real upsets, not to be joked about. And although it is not the aim of CBT, CBT has helped me acknowledge the source of the problems, the unresolved traumas of my childhood. I have no intention of detailing them here btw, but they are pretty horrible, and they have been hidden away in shame for years. They have clouded my everyday life for years without being confronted, tainting a lot of experiences, misrepresenting the truth of lots of situations. I am confronting them now — they need to be exorcised, like a poltergeist who is moving all your stuff behind your back. You don’t understand what is happening until it all clicks together, then that ghost better start packing its bags because the spotlights are out. You can’t heal a wound without examining it, and sometimes that examination will hurt badly. But it’s a worthwhile endeavour to know you can fall asleep at night without wondering why you are so continually hurt and damaged by the world.
I won’t say I’m out of the woods completely, and somedays I feel like I am still grieving for myself and the wasted years, I have cried for the child within me because she did nothing to deserve that pain. That being said I do feel like I am ready to move on with a lot of things, to change a lot of things that I have been frightened of change. Fearing the unknown because the little things I was holding onto might have been swept away by those changes.
The world is a very different place for me now compared with 5 or 6 months ago. I can’t control everything and that’s ok now. I just have to let it go. I am feeling more positive, and things can get better. Sometimes you just need a little help to get through these things. There’s no shame there.
Tarot Kaizen – By Alison Cross. If you don’t know Alison Cross let me introduce you – Alison is/was the chair of TABI – Tarot Association of the British Isles She has written two books – A Year in the Wildwood – about the Wildwood Tarot deck, and Tarot Kaizen. What the heck is a Kaizen you say? Kaizen, as Alison explains in the book, pretty much means ‘change for the better’ in Japanese. The Tarot Kaizen book contains over 100 small daily exercises you can use with your tarot deck to make help you get to know it, and to make working with it better. Alison also hosts a Facebook Kaizen – a couple of times a year, where a group follow the exercises together, in a secret group. Everyone sharing their experiences of working through the exercises. The aim is to improve your working relationship with a specific deck by doing these small exercises daily to build a foundation of knowledge and practise.
In my opinion it is worth the few pound cost, you can work at your own pace and redo the Kaizen for different decks. Tho working it for one deck at time is definitely the way to avoid burn out and boredom.
Tarot Kaizen is available on Kindle to download from Amazon and I recommend it. Below is my day 3 Kaizen exercise to interview the deck.
I am using the Deviant Moon in this example:
Card 1 – Tell me about yourself – what adjectives describe you?
King of Wands – energetic, dynamic, enthusiastic. This is a more male energy deck than some others I have known (maybe) and is keen to lead the way.
Card 2 – What gifts do you bring into my life?
2 of Coins – Balance, to bring a more balanced view of tarot back, from the academic world of Thoth immersion to something a little less, bookish. The 2 of coins looks like she’s shaking it up.
Card 3-What challenges shall I face with you?
8 of wands I am going to have to work for this to work properly. Which I guess is the same for all of us. To get the best from the deck you have to give your best.
Card 4 – What energies will sustain me during this Kaizen quest?
7 of CupsThe variety of challenges and cards, the images that I will see and the landscape of the Deviant moon will entice me to be more creative (the image shows a figure drawing) .
Card 5 – What is your message for me as we begin this quest?
Ace of Cups – this is a new friendship/relationship, yes it’s cardboard but it has a personality and it’s a new exciting dynamic, that will grow given the right tending and ingredients.
Meditation can be a bit boring when you think about, just sitting there just doing nothing, thinking nothing, relaxing. I think that is what puts the vast majority of people off, we just don’t have time to stop for a nothing break, there’s so much that needs to be done. Also we are caught up in the superficial world of social media. If I spent as much time writing as I did FBing and using Instagram, well I guess those best-selling novels would have been written by now.
Most of the things we need to do should have been done yesterday if the truth was told, we all live in a catch-up mode at times, relentlessly chasing our tails, round and round. That Hamster-wheeling is also the main reason why we should stop to give our minds a rest once a day at the very least because they deserve it. Your brain really does deserve a vacation. I actually love the times I am able to disconnect from the world of FB and forget it for a while. It’s perfectly blissful to have nothing on your mind. There is no other way to describe it.
The body gets to sit about and relax, but the mind very very rarely gets a chance to escape the relentless processes of remembering, planning and worrying. How is that fair? It’s just not really, is it? Equality for body and mind! Equal rights to long lazy days!
I have recently tried to work on making my meditation more mindful, focusing on the breath and staying in the body. I have found this, along with giving my body the early night and long sleep it craves, gives me an increased desire to write. Which is what I feel I want to be doing with my time, rather than feeling I’m wasting time on unproductive scrolling. I want to be here, this is enjoyable and I have more ideas – how magic is that? Respect your mind, give it exercise but give it deep relaxation also.
A good way to start with meditation and slowing your mind down is to buy an app for your phone, something like headspace or calm would do nicely, but there are others out there. They each have some free content that will give you 3-5 minutes of guided meditation a day. 3-5 minutes is great. It sounds so minor but when you sit to do it, sometimes getting yourself to the seat is the hardest thing you can do, it will be worthwhile. Try to set an alarm on your phone at a set time each day – for me its 6.15 as that’s when I can get away to myself the easiest. But pick a daily time that suits. Turn up to the mat, it’s two minutes, you won’t miss anything on Facebook in two minutes. How many days have you spent scrolling the same old updates? Get that time back in your hands!