Tarot

Reflection: Strength

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.

— brene brown

image by stefan tan via unsplash.

image by stefan tan via unsplash.

out of all of the cards in the major arcana, strength is the one that i have the most familiar relationship with, though this relationship continues to evolve and develop with every experience. ever since i have started working with tarot, it frequently appears and in the fountain tarot it’s depicted by a a woman riding an amorphous beast with a fiery, feisty smile staring right at you. whenever i’ve looked into her eyes, it’s been hard for me not to feel that it is the part of me that has kept me moving forward, making tough decisions to protect and care for myself, and believing in my resilience even when i struggled to believe it.

my card for the year and for the card of april were both strength. after struggling to embrace the movement that the eight of wands (february) and king of wands (march) was demanding from the last two months, i decided that with that synchronicity april would be the month i truly needed to jump off the diving board i had been staring down and take the plunge.

before i get to far into my personal experience with the card of strength, for those who haven’t worked with this card before, let’s take a second to consider its more general meaning.

STRENGTH

in the rider waite smith deck, the strength card depicts a woman with a lemniscate above her head in a flowing white dress, wearing a crown and flowers around her, holding the head of a lion as it gazes up at her. it’s interesting to consider, based on the context this card appears, is she exerting dominance and force against the lion, closing its jaws with its tail curled in submission underneath it? or is she stroking it, having tamed it and the lion finding comfort in her touch?

i believe it probably depends on what the lion represents for you, but either way this is not a battle scene. instead, they stand in a peaceful, sunny field with the sky a bright, golden color behind them. it is a scene exuding the elements of grace, fortitude, resilience, and courage. regardless of whether the lion is snarling or being stroked, it almost seems to welcome the opportunity to be tamed and provided guidance through the way it looks up at her, bows its body, and tucks its tail.

the lion will likely represent many different things, people, and situations that we face in life—but centered around the theme that it represents our passions, pride, ego, and the things we do to survive. i find it intriguing to consider how the lion appears so small next to the woman holding its head. i personally see that strength presents an opportunity for us to surrender our desire to fight for our survival or defend ourselves, pride, and passions to our intuition and parts of ourselves that are wiser and not so attached to our egos.

through experience, we learn that we do not have to burn bridges or lash out to get our point across or make healthy decisions. instead, we can make these choices for ourselves in a measured, calm way.

the fortitude and resilience that the woman exudes seems to indicate that we are more than capable of facing the situation at hand, if only we can surrender to our own abilities and trust our true strength to be calm, resilient, and truly courageous in the face of adversity.

how can we embark on this journey? in the words of brene brown, “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” 

image by  Priscilla Du Preez  via unsplash

image by Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash

MY JOURNEY WITH STRENGTH

in my personal life, i find it intriguing that strength is my card for both this year and the month of april. these past two months, i’ve felt a bit of a struggle with the cards i’ve had. in many ways, i wanted those energies depicted in the cards to do the heavy lifting for me rather than showing up to the do the work and create space to invite the energy in. i wrote about this experience with eight of wands and how i was looking for the external validation and arrival of this energy rather than taking bold action or clearing space myself. as a result, i felt desperate, insecure, and frustrated rather than feeling grounded or like i could trust myself to take those actions.

with the appearance of strength, i realized it was time to jump in the pool and learn to swim.

SURRENDERING

over the past year, i have been making a lot of intense decisions around caring for myself, implementing boundaries, and choosing to actively heal myself.

first, this past summer i became estranged from my family after years of struggling with boundaries and my expected role in the family. because this had been causing me so much stress for so long, i genuinely felt just sheer relief for months before really starting to feel the grief settle in my bones at the beginning of this year. since then, i have struggled to be gentle with myself and to allow myself the time and space necessary to even be vulnerable about my emotions. in many ways, i felt like grieving at all only affirmed how important my family is or how i need them when i’ve spent years distancing myself and extricating myself from their dynamic. i’ve had to take great steps to let the heaviness of my bones guide me to rest, to be felt, and allow myself to finally cry about the emptiness i feel not over the members of my family, per se, but through allowing myself to palpate the emptiness that exist in these roles in my life.

secondly, i was in a job where i was facing a lot of the same dynamics that were present in my family. it was incredibly stressful to be in my role itself with these dynamics, other than it being incredibly triggering and bringing up a lot of the trauma from my family. i have struggled with money for years and this was the first job where i was truly starting to make enough to start paying down debts, so it took me months of feeling ill and genuinely starting to dissociate regularly for me to recognize enough was enough and i had to choose myself and my health. this in many ways was actually harder than leaving my family because i was still receiving something (a paycheck and financial stability) in exchange for this emotional pain. i had been taught to sacrifice myself and my wellbeing for the sake of money for so many years, that this was a huge form of reprioritization for myself.

this month, i left a side job i’d been working for over 2 years. a few behind the scenes changes make it clear that it just wasn’t going to be fulfilling for me anymore. choosing to leave this job felt actually incredibly intense and was where i truly drew upon the strength card.

TINY SHIFTS

i found it intriguing that taking the most radical steps, such as becoming estranged from my family, actually felt easier than starting to implement these new systems and ways of living into the smaller, more everyday components of my life. i think it’s because i was just at such a breaking point with my family that i couldn’t carry that burden anymore whereas it would’ve been much easier for me to just ignore my feelings around these smaller aspects of my life. through choosing to still take actions and extricate myself from these unhealthy, albeit familiar dynamics, even in the smallest slivers of my life indicated that i wasn’t just taking these steps because i couldn’t handle it anymore, but that i was actively choosing to care for myself before things reached that breaking point. as someone who has been taught to sacrifice their needs to others’ priorities and desires for so much of my life, this has been an incredible paradigm shift that has truly shaken me to my core.

when i look into the eyes of the woman in the card strength, i want to say to that part of myself, ‘thank you for saving me.’

through finally leaving this job, after leaving all of these other dynamics i’ve listed, i truly feel like i have cleared the space necessary to move from a point of trying to cope with and handle unhealthy dynamics and old thought patterns, to a point of healing.

there is now space for me to process, acknowledge, and heal from these experiences and create new thought patterns without simultaneously having to justify these same dynamics being in my life in any capacity, no matter how small.

through making this transition, i feel like i am now able to look at the entirety of my work in the past year and hold myself tight. i have felt a great deal of joy and sadness simultaneously well up in my body. i look at the card of strength, see that part of myself that believes in my strength smile back at me, and i want to cry. i want to thank myself for continuing to fight for what feels like forever.

i feel like i have been fighting through life, through these dynamics, trauma, and emotional abuse for the past seven years. the entire time, that small part of me has chosen to fight, to dig deep and believe in myself and my ability to carry forward even when i wanted to collapse, to give up the fight, and just succumb to these forces and people around me. when i look into the eyes of the woman in the card strength, i want to say to that part of myself, “thank you for saving me.”

image by  Maddy Baker  via unsplash

image by Maddy Baker via unsplash

CLEARING SPACE

during our latest interview with lisa nagel on our podcast, she presented a beautiful analogy about the different ways of clearing space and letting go that nature presents. in the interview and other aspects of her writing, she talks about how beech trees and oak trees release their leaves. beech trees release their leaves all at once in anticipation of their new leaves coming in whereas oak trees hold onto many of their dead leaves until a new bud comes through and releases that old leaf.

in the past, i’ve always been a person to hop from stepping stone to stepping stone. it was okay if the path meandered, but i was always building and always moving forward with a new opportunity to replace the old one. in leaving these two jobs, and i suppose my family in many ways, i feel like the beech tree. i released all of these relationships and commitments with nothing to fill their place.

i have had to become familiar with this void and sitting with emptiness. the emptiness of not having a family, of not having another career based job lined up, and not having another stepping stone to jump to. i’m currently not able to justify my worth through an exemplary paycheck or title. through this void and through the card of strength, i’ve seen the opportunity to lash out, act from my ego, to return to that ability to claw my way through life and fight for survival, and try to fill this void with something, anything, so it won’t just feel so empty—but i’ve dedicated myself to the act of surrendering.

i have become the lion. with my tail curled underneath, i bow to the wisdom and intuition that i hold within me. after years of having to fight for survival. this time, i have fought enough to clear this space to be able to listen, to be able to sit in space and time, and just listen to that void and do the work i need to to be prepared for the opportunities i see ahead of myself.

WORKING WITH STRENGTH

if you are working with the energy around strength, first and foremost, i recommend that you watch the ted talks by brene brown and read a book or two of hers such as daring greatly. her entire body of work exudes the energy of strength through finding the connection, creativity, and opportunity that vulnerability in the face of fear provides—and how this personifies true courage.

i highly recommend listening to our most recent podcast episode with lisa nagel where we discuss inherited trauma and ancestral healing—which requires this ability to show up, be vulnerable and gentle with ourselves and our healing process while recognizing our resilience.

otherwise, when working with strength or if you are wanting to invite the energy of strength in your life consider a few of these questions when meditating, journaling, walking, or even driving. just let them settle in your mind for a moment and find surrender in the answer provided.

  • what does the lion represent to you?

  • how have you had to fight for yourself in your life?

  • write a list of ways that you are strong and instances where you have demonstrated your strength

  • what do the words strength, vulnerability, and surrender mean to you?

  • what ways are you comfortable being vulnerable?

  • how do you let go and clear space?

  • what habits and survival mechanisms does the lion represent for you?

  • what steps can you take to release those mechanisms to your wiser, compassionate, vulnerable self?

if you’d like to work on this intention through spell work, feel free to utilize the sigil i’ve included below by drawing it on a sticky note and placing it on your desk, stirring it into your food, writing it on your palm, drawing it in your journal, writing it down and burning it, burying it, or letting it dissolve in water—whatever works for your intention and how you wish to activate the sigil.

 
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as always, thank you for reading and feel free to reach me with your experiences, thoughts, questions, and other forms of communication either via instagram or my email!

until next time,

bri

Ritual Ideas for Uranus in Taurus & the New Moon in Pisces

as you may have heard, we are in a time that is flush with transits. i personally love to see transits as opportunities and invitations to work with these energies rather than this force from above here to wreak havoc on our lives. this week, we get to work with the new moon in pisces, mercury retrograding in pisces, and uranus moving back into taurus after its recent retrograde into aries. if you haven’t had a chance to read about these transits and would like to understand the energy we are working with, head over to this post that i wrote talking all about these early march transits!

otherwise, this combination of transits leaves ripe opportunity for rituals and i wanted to provide a few ideas i had from more extravagant to simpler rituals. you can still work with the new moon’s energy for a few days after today, plus mercury is going to be in retrograde for a few weeks and uranus in taurus for 7 years! you may want to call upon these rituals at different times of this month or even build upon them for similar transits in the future. either way, these are just ideas that you can feel free to follow to a “t” or modify based on materials you have or based on your own intuition. i would love to hear what you end up doing for your ritual! feel free to message me on instagram or send me a note, i would love to hear from you!

for myself, i really want to tap into the physical nature of taurus and the watery, transmutable energy of pisces. this transit naturally lends itself to a ritual shower or bath. based on which is available, or preferable, to you here are some suggestions.

  1. ritual bath or shower

a ritual bath or shower is a wonderful way to tap into the sensual, physical nature of taurus while embracing the transcendent, watery nature of pisces.

while all of these supplies are optional, if you have them available i would recommend using the following:

  • a black, white, and/or green candle(s)

  • herbs that you associate with abundance or spirituality (there are some ideas listed in this article), for me i would use:

    • cinnamon

    • rosemary

    • frankincense

  • any special body oils, soaps, face masks that you would like to use

as you prepare for your shower, based on your preference and the herbs that you’ve chosen decide if you’d like to use them to dress your candle or if you like to use the herbs in your shower or bath.

as you draw your bath or prepare your shower, consider the intention or mantra that you are working with. think of this word or phrase as you light your candles, keeping them in a safe spot on the bathroom counter or bathtub.

when you enter the water, before you use any body care items on yourself, think about the stories you’ve been telling yourself that you’d like to wash away. allow the flow of the water to help ease this transition and process of unburdening. this may be a practice that you implement each day as it often takes practice and focused efforts to release the stories we have interwoven into ourselves.

once you feel like you have taken enough time to try to remove any stories or thoughts about yourself that you no longer want to carry, you can take up the body care items and herbs. as you massage them along your body, feel this gold light enter your physical form. continue to think of your intention or mantra as this light intensifies and wraps you in its aura. you hold this light with you now and will need to nourish it, but that will happen as long as you think of this intention and mantra.

a new technique i have recently liked using is, if you have an enclosed shower, drawing sigils in the steam on the glass and seeing them dissolve through the process of the shower. you can do the same using just the steam on your mirror as well!

take your time but also trust yourself to know when you are ready to step out and move forward with your day. this just commences your practice with this intention and it will grow over the moon cycle and even beyond if you choose to stick with it!

2. plant magic

consider buying a plant associated with prosperity and abundance. personally, i’m looking at buying a money tree.

from there, you can write your intentions or sigils on a slip of paper and burying it into the soil of the plant. this provides for a slower form of release of these intentions over time. plus, as you care for the plant, you can think about literally growing these intentions and giving them life.

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3. tarot spread

if tarot is the medium you like to work with, and especially if you find understanding astrological events through the narratives that tarot provides easier, i would recommend this simple but informative spread i’m working with myself.

requiring six cards, this spread includes a bottom row of three cards, a second row of two cards, and a final single card at the top. the question for each row is as follows.

bottom row: what does uranus in taurus mean for my life?

second row: what does the new moon in pisces mean for my life?

top card: what does these transits mean together for my life?

i'‘ll admit i’m a bit loose on my question-making and trust for my deck to give me the information i need. that being said, you can easily change some of the meanings of these questions to be more specific if you have those questions to ask. personally, i just wanted to see the landscape in front of me and how i could journey through it!

4. MOVEMENT & MEDITATION

working with taurus and pisces gives us an opportunity to find ritual centered around connecting our body and, not just our mind, but our soul and square the physical and spiritual planes of our existence.

finding intentional movement during this time is a wonderful opportunity to practice this connection. how i would recommend going about this is finding a mantra or intention to center yourself around that is soul-focused and based on your dreams and what would fulfill you on a soul-level and combining this with movement.

this could mean going on a walk and meditating on that intention while gazing at the landscape around you—how does this start a dialogue in your head? what symbols become prominent to you? what parts of the landscape even provide answers for how to move towards those intentions?

swimming is truly the ideal piscean activity as you embody the zodiac sign’s symbol of the fish, but you could exercise this intentional movement in any form between yoga to lifting weights to going on a run. my only recommendation would maybe be not to listen to music or listen to only music without words—give your brain space to breathe and get dreamy.

MOVING FORWARD

i’m so excited to see what you decide to do to step into the opportunities these transits provide us.

always remember that this practice is about you and what you need. some days, just sitting in silence for five minutes or doing a check in to notice shifts in particular aspects of your life around these themes is the most work you will be able to do and that’s okay! other times, you may have plenty of materials at your disposal and the time to match, make the most of it!

either way, i’m excited to see what comes from the intentions we set!

keep me posted about what you’re working with, if you have questions or ideas that you’d like to share, or if you’d just like to say hey. you can always message me on instagram or drop me a note!

until next time,

Bri

Reflection: Eight of Wands

When I found out that the eight of Wands was my card for February, I was elated.

After all, it carries the traditional definitions of action, things becoming easier after difficulty, and things seeming just to flow. I had grappled with the Queen of Pentacles and the intention of “Clarity” throughout January which had revealed, with searing awareness, how imperative it was to care and fortify myself before others or to put my energy into situations. it became clear that it was time for me to leave my current job and start a new chapter. simultaneously, i found out that i would be attending grad school this fall! this was amongst a whirlwind of developing projects and beginning to see further possibilities for this blog and work i do in-person. so when I saw the 8 of Wands with its seeming promises of action, inspiration, and ease, I thought, “Sign me up!”

What I didn’t realize was actually how resistant I would be to the flow of the eight of Wands. the resulting experience, even with its sometimes painful intensity, completely transformed my impression of what kind of energy the eight of wands can bring into our lives.

Eight of Wands

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In the Rider Waite Smith deck, the Eight of Wands is represented by eight staffs flying through the air. In the Wooden Tarot, its represented by eight crystals in similar motion. In the Fountain Tarot, beams of light seem to either center on a focal point or extend outward (a bit of a Rorschach in terms of your interpretation, huh). When I first considered this card, the initial elements I noticed were the action and swiftness of the staffs flying through the air. when i considered the fountain tarot’s representation, i loved the focus it depicted—especially as i had been feeling uncertain and unrooted in what was the next step after i left my current job. as someone who fills their life to the brim with projects (admittedly, sometimes to my detriment) this promise of an action-packed saga came as a great relief to me! In retrospect, what I notice now is how each of these elements are all moving quickly while remaining in alignment. it was this component of the 8 of wands that took me by surprise and was brought into my life with an element of searing awareness.

you see, this month has genuinely been one of the hardest months i have experienced in awhile. on one hand, i experienced some incredible firsts including launching our podcast, open magic, and unexpectedly reading tarot professionally for the first time! each of these certainly felt like a classic eight of wands moment, creativity and inspiration bursting forth, feeling that flow. but each of these moments appeared as sparks of joy in the murkiness i felt like i was wading through rather than being a focal point of my orbit.

finishing out my position over the past month has left me completely burnt out and exhausted. some days i’ve just had a hard time keeping track of a conversation or what i said 10 minutes ago. when i faced the job market again, this burnout and sense that i haven’t completed anything over the past year left me with an identity crisis over what jobs to even look for. this was only complicated by feeling myself emotionally pinball between anger and sadness as i processed grief over becoming estranged from my family, which took place last summer.

as i faced this stagnation, friction, and despair over what to do next or who i am, i kept thinking about the eight of wands. and to be honest, i was pissed. where was the flow i had been promised? where was the ease? because this all seemed pretty damn hard to me. it’s interesting because—in moonlighting as a cycle instructor—when i ask students to turn their resistance high and find slow deliberateness in their work, i ask them what comes up. how do they feel stuck? what are they unable to run away from? this was exactly what i was facing. where i thought it would be able to run, it was all coming to a head. all of the frustration i hadn’t processed or any inadequacy or question over myself hit me head on. i was frustrated over how hard it was for me to own the label of an “astrologer” or how tenuous i had been about revealing any skills related to tarot reading. i was pissed at my mom for not loving me the way i am and not having a family to turn to in my distress. i was pissed that insurance benefits come with jobs, over having to buy a new laptop, and i was mad over not knowing what the hell i was doing next.

where i finally reached a breakthrough, and started to truly understand what lesson this card presents, was when i was up at midnight and had finally completed a summary statement for my resume. i had spent all day rewriting my resume in a roiling, feverish haze. have you ever felt what it is like to wrestle yourself? every sentence i tried to write, every bullet point i laid out, felt torturous because it emphasized that no matter what i accomplished, i could still feel this way. empty, lost, angry, unwanted. as the day rolled on and i languished, i thought about the eight of wands again and my intention for february—what had started as “vision” and morphed into “envision.” when i felt that question appear again, with distress and pain, why isn’t this easier?! i realized how much expectation i had placed on this card’s energy to make my life easier and how unwilling i was to face these difficult emotions myself. i had to acknowledge that where i had been demanding ease and flow, i was really demanding escape. there had always been a flow, but i had been demanding a river to rise just so i could swim in the opposite direction because claiming who i was with confidence also meant swimming through these excruciating emotions contained within myself.

but i wanted to move forward, and with a deep breathe i plunged into my vulnerability and wrote my summary statement: “Human decoder ring here to translate the most complicated subjects into actionable and understandable reading for the everyday person. Expert on providing innovative, critical opinions on topics of wellness, magical living, and the ideals that shape our lives.” i almost cried after writing this because i felt like i had been standing on a diving board for days, too scared to jump, and now i had taken the plunge.

KEYWORDS FOR EIGHT OF WANDS

through this process, i now know that the eight of wands brings to us actioned alignment.

this was the piece that i was missing when i first saw this card. i had only seen the action forward, but now when i see the card each element is moving forward, synchronous with one another. anything that slows you down, holds you back, keeps you stuck, is brought to your attention with painful intensity to be sheared away.

similarly, i think it is a symbol for burnout, the exhaustion that comes from treading water and not submitting to the ebb and flow that comes with life. it is only when you find purposeful synthesis and intentionally unburden yourself of what cannot flow with you that you can move forward with the focused intensity that the eight of wands grants.

questions from the eight of wands

if you are wanting to contemplate the energy of this card or see it appear in a reading and feel stuck with it, here are some questions to consider: 

  • What am I resisting?

  • What is detrimental to me, but I’m afraid of releasing?

  • In a dream world, what do I want for myself? How have I already put the work towards this vision?

In many ways, the questions brought up by the Eight of Wands makes me think of working through the obfuscation that Neptune can sometimes bring and what we must sort through to access the power to imagine and envision that it brings. A journaling exercise for it is available here! 

I would love to hear your experience with your card for the month or your interpretation of this energy! Feel free to reach out via Instagram or writing me a note!

Until next time,

Bri

Reflection: January & Queen of Pentacles

when we sit down with our decks, feel the drag of card stock against our thumbs as we shuffle and draw, or scroll through our feeds to read energetic forecasts, we invite conversation into our lives. the scenes of a man trying to run away with swords in tow to the celebration and joy that community brings us, the cards we draw become our conversations partners. as we sit with them, they tell us stories of our life, our inner world, how events around us shift the world that lives within us—or maybe they allow us to tell that story for ourselves.

either way, while we may develop a beautiful, communicative relationship with particular cards over time, there are still moments where the cards either feel damning or we can’t decipher the story the cards is trying to tell.

while I have many resources to turn to and read about particular cards, transits, what-have-you, i’ve found the most beneficial exercise is reflecting on how particular energies and archetypes manifested for me, personally. when take the abstract and ground it in our personal experience, we create a powerful working relationship and these practices of tarot, astrology, and more become filled with meaning because they are full of things meaningful to us.

when I received my year ahead reading from gina of incandescent tarot, it was intriguing to see who was sat at my table as conversation partners for the next year and to be offered an introduction to what stories each would tell! I also was curious about how other people had experienced the cards that I was now sitting with for the next year outside of the information available in the reading.

since I hold the belief that we learn best from the stories of one another, I decided I would offer a reflection on how each of my cards of the month (in concert with astrological transits + spell work) manifested for me.

so if you’re someone who looks up or considers the meaning of a card and thinks, “yeah but what does that really look like?!” this is post is for you!

feel free to also join in by drawing a card for the month (beforehand or retroactively) and sharing your experience via the comments below, email, Facebook, or instagram!

queen of pentacles (bones) from the wooden tarot.

queen of pentacles (bones) from the wooden tarot.

queen of pentacles

in the fountain tarot, the queen of pentacles stands in an elegant black cloak, topiaries and greenery surrounding her as the pentacle she holds is nestled into her clothing.

when I first saw that the queen of pentacles was my card for the month, I will admit I was a bit nervous. my tarot readings have primarily been a landscape of watery emotions and the fire of inspiration coming together—the earthy energy of the pentacles was a bit intimidating to me! how would I feel in the rootedness that it can bring? would I feel confined, or liberated from the solidity?

while the traditional definitions of the queen of pentacles often represents domesticity, creating a nurturing home, financial rewards and gains, and more, she taught me the importance of turning these efforts inward.

when I started the month, I was also working with my intention of clarity which I had created an altar and candle for. at the time, I didn’t think I needed that much clarifying about my life. I was working the same job I had for almost a year and was going to stay there while working through school—if I were to get into graduate school.

but when particular relationship dynamics in the workplace—ones that I had considered leaving over previously—started to become active again, I felt panic. I had already selected a path that was the “right” thing to do such as staying at a job longer than a year, having a well-paying job, that my job was just becoming permanent and I would receive benefits. but amongst this rationalization, my entire body was screaming “no! we will not do this again!” in its Terror and panic, I started to feel myself dissociate, my consciousness removing itself from the situation it no longer wanted to endure.

in this moment of blind fear, the queen of pentacles cupped my hand as we sat in conversation and reminded me that my time and energy is just as valuable as any dollar bill. that it is not my responsibility to cut all life away within myself so that someone else’s garden could grow. instead, life is about fighting for and defending yourself just as you would for your loved ones. this also meant Investing in myself, being loving, generous, compassionate towards myself. pouring any amount of resources I would put into something external, I must pour into myself first. my garden should be the most abundant before turning to help another person.

she reminded me of the saying that you cannot heal yourself in an environment that made you sick. much more, that I deserve healing intrinsically just through being, that it is not something I must earn. it is something I must work for, but it is not something that I need to justify for myself.

with this conversation, I decided to listen to the scream of my body. to be brought back down into the earthy depths where the queen of pentacles is most comfortable. the answer becomes less clouded and less prone to abstraction when you listen to your body first—and mine was on fire.

she reminded me that if I wanted to stay committed to the work I had been doing to heal from my family trauma, that I needed to face or make the active choice to leave situations outside of my family that replicated the same dynamics, to create boundaries, and save myself.

when I found out I had gotten into graduate school a week later, I was absolutely elated for so many reasons. I felt respect for myself over my hard work and felt like I had been seen and appreciated for that work. much more, I felt that shift within myself and that it was time to give my notice.

the queen of pentacles in the wooden tarot is a saber tooth tiger skeleton, a skull draped with ivy and one tooth chipped. this queen reminds me that you are worth fighting for and protecting, and that sometimes being nurturing, loving, generous, means confrontation. when I gave my notice and was explicit about the reason I was leaving, I felt that queen rise within me. standing up for myself and speaking my truth, versus using another excuse as a reason to leave, felt respectful to myself. it felt respectful because I was honoring my own pain, speaking my truth, and no longer ceding my position to make someone else happy. In that process, I felt like I rescued myself and particularly, that I was rescuing my childhood self when this wasn’t possible. now, here I was experiencing similar dynamics at work as I had as a child, but this time, I had the power to fight for myself through speaking up and saying that my experiences were valid, real, and worth the time to consider.

since that moment, I have felt similar to how I felt when I separated from my family: safe. safe because I knew that regardless of how long it took for me to arrive at this decision, I still fought for myself in the end, and that is something that can continue to be built upon. this feeling of security has brought with it the natural side effects: less activation, more confidence, and actually being excited versus dreading the future.

much more, I have felt more proud of myself than I have in months! I have reveled in the intrinsic motivation I hold within myself and the incredible things I create from my passion. in just the past six months I’ve gotten my shit together to go to graduate school, I started this blog, and now i’ve co-launched a podcast.

sitting with the energy of the queen of pentacles has helped me arrive at this place of recognizing my true value and, as a result, to determine how I want to allocate the resources I have such as time. if it makes me feel like shit, why would I stick around? much more the lesson that I think the queen has brought me is that there is no need for me to justify it either. it is because I deserve to invest in myself, treat myself with respect, and take care of myself as a person with needs and healthy boundaries.

while it has brought up a well of emotion for me, this experience with the queen of pentacles has been deeply liberating. I have had more chances to say “therapy works!!” this month when I’ve recognized the stories I have told myself for years to finally be shifting.

I feel powerful; this power comes from recognizing my own worth and honoring it, fighting for it, and believing in that song I hold within myself.

photo by  Chelsea Bock  via unsplash.

photo by Chelsea Bock via unsplash.

a meditation for the queen of pentacles

when you find yourself in conversation with the pentacles in general, this earthy element often asks us to return to the information that sensation can bring us. as with my example, when I followed the wisdom that the queen of pentacles carries, my body held the answer all along. for those who are still working through trauma this may not be the ideal exercise for you and it could be that an alternative activity, such as journaling about these prompts, thinking about them while walking, or an alternative that you know works for you, may be viable replacements. there are certainly other ways to consider these questions as well.

I also think having a notebook handy to draw the visualizations you experience afterwards would be a delightful part of the process.

  1. center and ground. take a few breaths and do a check In with yourself. focus on rooting your tailbone into the earth.

  2. imagine yourself as a garden. if you can’t yet visualize what this garden would look like, focus on your heart. you have a blossom there. it continues to grow and grow, moving outside of you as it spreads out into an entire garden.

  3. what kinds of plants are present? is it a forest instead of a garden? a marshland? sink into the environment that’s presented and just observe it.

  4. as you observe the landscape, ask yourself what needs tending to. feel the soil in your hands as you take care of this area of the garden that needs help.

  5. in the process, notice what feelings arise within your body. what part of your life outside of this garden needs tending to?

  6. address each spot that arises in your mind. notice how your body feels after you take care of these parts of your garden.

  7. what areas are the most vibrant and alive? how does it feel to look at these parts of your garden? what parts of your life outside of this meditation does this apply to?

  8. take your time with your garden. notice what it asks for and also the beauty of it. this is all within you.

and let this meditation become your own! what is it that you want to explore? how can this be powerful you? make it all yours!

RECOMMENDED READING FOR THE PRINCIPLES OF THE QUEEN OF PENTACLES

feel free to send me recommendations for this theme via instagram, email, or in the comments below and i’ll update this list!

  • eastern body western mind - anodea Judith

  • the works of tasha Tudor

  • body keeps the score - Bessel van Der kolk

  • all about love - bell hooks

  • get money - Kristin Wong

VISUAL EXPLORATIONS OF the QUEEN OF PENTACLES

I also decided to go all out and am adding to this Pinterest board with visuals that I relate to the queen of pentacles if this is how you best absorb information!

otherwise, let me know what you thought of this post and I would LOVE to share your experiences with your card for the month to share here or on my instagram! it can even just be a paragraph, that paragraph will be so instructive and meaningful to others.

feel free to reach out via email, instagram, or the comments below!

until next time,

bri