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Tarot: No Questions Asked

Tarot: No Questions Asked

Way back in the days of yore when I began dipping my toes into the tarot community online, Theresa Reed aka The Tarot Lady was one of the first readers I discovered. When I think of Theresa, I think of consistency. She’s got a blog, a podcast and a social media presence and she SHOWS UP. In addition to her online content, she’s the co-author of Tarot for Troubled Times and the author of The Tarot Coloring book plus the brand new book Tarot, No Questions Asked.

I just finished reading this new book, so we’re gonna talk about it today! I was sent the book by the publisher. However, all thoughts are my genuine opinions. Plus, I would have bought this book anyway, which is why I said YES.

Sidenote: they say don’t judge a book by a cover, but can we do that for just a second? Because I love this cover. Very Instagrammable, is it not?

Theresa Reed’s writing has a conversational tone. The introduction was written by the legendary Rachel Pollack and describes the book as “unpretentious.” I think the straightforward tone of the book would make for a welcoming experience if you’re new to tarot and feel put off by convoluted philosophies. It’s not that this book doesn’t go deep, it’s just that it does so with humor and levity. For example, this passage talking about the Empress: “This card can also represent sensuality. Time to indluge in some pleasurable activities? Uh-huh. Boom chika wow wow!”

The book is made up of three parts: Tarot Basics, Intuition Basics, and Road Testing Your Skills. It would be suitable for a total beginner as Tarot Basics section covers the standard stuff you’d find in most beginner texts: tarot history and myths, components of the deck and so on. This is all pretty brief and the bulk of the first section is a card-by-card meanings glossary for all 78 cards.

The meanings articulated here are pretty on par with what you’d think of as ‘traditional’ meanings for the cards, delivered with ‘Tarot Lady’ style. They make up a good chunk of the book (over half). Theresa teaches using the Rider-Waite-Smith and does reference some of the specific symbols in this deck. That said, even if you use another deck you could still get something out of this. I found the interpretations broad enough that I think they’d give you something to think about no matter what deck you’re working with. I actually did most of the exercises with The Spacious Tarot, pictured above.

To me, the most interesting part of the interpretations was the information on reversed meanings. Theresa has a really different way of reading reversals than what I use in my own practice. As Theresa herself writes, “if you want to see tarot people argue, ask their opinion about reversals.” Made me lol because ain’t it the truth? She goes on to write that using reversals or not is up to you, which I completely agree with. In Theresa’s style of teaching, reversals can signal “blocked energy or something stalled…..(or) the opposite meaning of the card.”

As I said, very different from my personal style, but I think as a reader it’s good to keep your mind open and at least consider other ways of doing things! That’s actually something Theresa herself mentions in the book’s conclusion: “you mustn’t get too stuck in your ways or develop what I call ‘bad tarot habits’ of only seeing the cards from one perspective, including mine.”

My favorite part of the interpretations – and really, my favorite part of the entire book – was the “tarotcises” offered for each card. I will admit I haven’t actually done all of them, but I have done a few and always found them enriching. I’m sure that the tarotcises are the part of the book I’ll find myself revisiting most often in the future.

As an example, here’s the tarotscise for the Emperor: “the Emperor is such a severe dude. For this Tarotcise, try to find something soft about him. Study the card carefully. Where might you find tenderness in the Emperor?”

The second section of the book, Intuition Basics, is a well rounded primer in different types of intuitive abilities and exercises for enhancing intuition. When you use the word ‘intuition’ around tarot readers, we all have different ideas of what this means. Theresa’s style of intuitive reading is not that out of line with what some people might call predictive or dare I say “psychic” reading.

It’s another way in which this book asked me to come out of my set in stone ways, as someone who is constantly telling my clients “I’m not psychic and I don’t read predictively.” It’s not that I have an issue with predictive reading, it’s just not something I think of myself as particularly skilled at. That said, some people ARE skilled in this, and if that’s you, there’s definitely a market for it.

Theresa does explain that she doesn’t believe readers can “see it all” or that tarot can predict everything. Essentially, if you choose to read predictively, Theresa says “we can see where actions may be leading, but there is always the possibility you will misinterpret information or the querent may decide to make a change.” Throughout the book, she shares anecdotes about readings she’s conducted over the years. I quite enjoyed reading these – maybe her next book will just be Memoirs of a Tarot Reader with all kinds of stories! I would totally read that.

Part three, Roadtesting Your Skills, covers everything from creating the right environment for a reading, to shuffling and cleansing your deck. There’s a section on spreads, including sample interpretations. This is another section I think would be particularly useful for beginners (but also readers of any level!) because it’s nice to see how an experienced reader ties the cards together and forms an interpretation. This section is rounded out with plenty more tarotcises and even has an informative little section on going pro as a reader, should that be something you choose to pursue.

Overall, this book would be great for a beginner looking for a breezy, approachable primer. I think it’s worth a purchase for the tarotcises alone. As I already mentioned, even as a more ‘advanced’ reader I really like the tarotcises and I’m sure I’ll refer to them again. Consider ordering this one from a local book shop, they really need the support! Or you can get it on Amazon.

~~~~

In other news…I’m finally open for tarot readings again! As my business evolves, I’ve been spending more time lately shipping out my own deck and have been less available for client work. I’m in a rhythm – for now – where shipping is manageable and I look forward to connecting with you if you feel inspired to book a session.

Going forward, I will continue this approach of monitoring my time and energy to determine when it is wise to open for client sessions, and when I need to take further breaks. My priority is always showing up with the right energy and focus to offer really valuable sessions. I appreciate your patience and understanding as this continues to shift and cycle.

All the details are here.

Take care,


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

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Activating your parasympathetic nervous system

Activating your parasympathetic nervous system

I want to talk about something else that’s been on my mind a lot lately: calming the parasympathetic nervous system.

There’s been a few synchronicities around this for me lately. Up until this week, the parasympathetic nervous system was something I was vaguely aware of but hadn’t given much thought. This week, I was suddenly seeing it mentioned in multiple places: first in a book I’m reading, Tarot for Transformation by Andy Matzner (highly recommended!), then on one of my favorite podcasts, To The Best of Our Knowledge.

In case you are unfamiliar with this, here’s a very brief explanation via Psychology Today:

“The autonomic nervous system—sometimes called the involuntary nervous system—regulates many bodily systems without our conscious direction, such as the circulatory and respiratory systems. Two of its three branches are the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.

When the sympathetic nervous system is aroused, it puts us on high alert, sometimes called the “fight-or-flight” response. The sympathetic nervous system is necessary for our survival because it enables us to respond quickly when there’s a threat. By contrast, when the parasympathetic nervous system is aroused, it produces a feeling of relaxation and calm in the mind and the body.”

The article goes on to point out that many of us are living in constant fight-or-flight mode. This has already been true for a while, throw in a global pandemic and a contentious election cycle in America, plus all the other atrocities happening across the world, and it feels like we’re on collective hyperdrive now. As an aside, if you’re in the US, please vote. I have chosen to vote for the candidate whom, if elected, might actually lower our collective anxiety instead of constantly fanning the flames.

That said, having your sympathetic nervous system overly activated leads to exhaustion, burn-out and anxiety. It prevents us from claiming our full, authentic power. It’s very difficult – sometimes even impossible – to make aligned choices and do meaningful creative things when you are at the mercy of your sympathetic nervous system.

I understood this phenomenon through direct experience even before I had the language to talk about different branches of the nervous system. Back in the Key Finding days (remember I had a podcast once?) I talked about “soothing your frazzled nerves.” I didn’t realize it, but I was talking about activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Another synchronicity: when the Five of Wands comes up, I often think about ‘frazzled nerves’ or an over-activated sympathetic nervous system. Today I drew the Five of Wands with Temperance. This card combination felt eerily on point as Temperance can be about balance, and arousing the parasympathetic nervous system is described in the same Psychology Today article linked above as ‘restoring balance.’

So how can you calm your nervous system? There are many ideas out there, and you know yourself best. Try a few things and be open to find what works for you. If you already know what works for you but you’ve drifted from those things, return to them. The things I’ll describe from here are just a few that been nurturing for me lately.

Exploring ways to activate the parasympathetic nervous system is fascinating to me because it’s one of those places where psychology and spirituality meet. As one example, there is a long held belief in the power of breath in various spiritual traditions. The research confirms this: deep, mindful breathing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to calm your nervous system.

To be frank, I sometimes get annoyed when I’m told to focus on my breath. But the fact is, if you actually do it instead of just writing this off as a cliché….it does help. Harvard researcher Emma Seppala has worked with veterans experiencing trauma who have seen incredible results using breathing exercises. Seppala says:

“Sounds simplistic, but breathing is probably the most powerful thing you can use to access your parasympathetic nervous system. When you breathe in, your heart rate accelerates and your blood pressure goes up. When you breathe out, it decelerates — your blood pressure goes down. So the simplest thing you can do is start to lengthen your exhales. Taking a few minutes at your desk, closing your eyes and breathing out twice as long as you breathe in is going to calm your heart rate immediately, lower your blood pressure.”

Andy Matzner, who is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist, gives in-depth information about the spiritual and scientific power of the breath in his new book. This book is really an all around treasure trove, but one thing in particular I learned is the importance of breathing in through your nose. Matzner writes:

“The tiny hairs in your nose are called cilia and they, along with a mucous membrane, act as a lint trap, preventing an excess of external particles from getting any further into your body. Cilia also warm and humidify incoming air, which is beneficial for your delicate respiratory tissue.

In addition, breathing in through the nose allows us to breath more deeply, which stimulates the lower lung to send greater amounts of oxygen throughout the body. This type of deep breathing also activates the abundance of parasympathetic nerve receptors that are found in that section of the lung.”

*Cue ‘The More You Know’ music here*

Tea is also a tried-and-true way to calm the nervous system. There’s a reason various cultures have tea traditions: not only the tea itself, but the entire ritual of tea has calming effects. Make choosing your blend a sensory experience by getting whole leaf if possible. Smell it and touch it before brewing. Watch the steam rising from your cup.

Andy Matzner points out that green tea has high rates of an amino acid known for its relaxing properties. Herbal teas are also great options – my personal favorites are peppermint and lemon balm. As an added bonus, tea pairs notoriously well with tarot.

Next up, an example of how intuitive it is to find practices to calm your nervous system. For the past year or so, I have been allllll about epsom salt baths. This isn’t because I read some cutting edge research telling me to take baths, it’s just something I felt naturally drawn to do. Once I did look into it, I found there is actually some evidence supporting this. According to the Cleveland Clinic, epsom salt baths can help soothe physical pain and ease the mind. I like to pair my baths with a soothing music playlist and my new galaxy light projector for possibly the most relaxing vibes ever (video here).

One more thing I wanted to mention today, which sort of circles us back around to where we started: imagery is another potent way to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. Here again we have a connection between the scientific and the spiritual, as the power of visualization has long been revered by spiritual practitioners.

I may be slightly biased, but I must say the Spacious Tarot is wonderful for visualizations and active imagination work. Especially in the major arcana, we designed most of the cards to feel immersive, as though you could move right in. Try going through the deck face-up and choosing an image that calms you. Gaze at the card, while connecting with your breath, and picture yourself immersed in the imagery. The Star is one of my favorite cards for this practice, it makes me feel awe and reverence and as though I am held and safe.

I could go on and on, because there are so many other exercises and modalities out there that might work for you. But I will leave it here for now, and simply encourage you to seek what works for you. Activating the parasympathetic nervous system really matters not just on a personal level, but on a collective level.

A culture of calm lets us act instead of react. Make conscious choices instead of living on auto-pilot. Be led by our desires instead of dragged by our fears. It is a reclamation of your natural state of being. It is a return to something your soul knows is right. It is a part of healing yourself, and in turn healing the whole.

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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

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All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
I will cry

I will cry

Hello!

I’m sitting on my back porch so that when I’m not squinting at the computer screen, I can gaze out at the big trees in my neighborhood. It’s that kind of classic fall day where the leaves are golden and red and the sun gleams off them in just the right way to amplify their magic. There’s enough of a chill breeze you know it’s fall, but enough sun that you’re still radiant.

Lulu’s here too – she’s an inside cat but she occasionally gets to venture to the balcony. Right now she’s meowing at a cheeky squirrel who is doing parkour around the yard.

A few months ago I wrote a post using a method described by Mary K Greer as writing from your heart with tarot, and I’m going to do that again today, using the Spacious Tarot.

I shuffled and pulled the Guardian (Queen) of Cups.

This morning I was remembering a random meme I came across a while back where this person had a shirt that said “Don’t fuck with me” and in the next frame you could see the back of the shirt said “I WILL cry.” I personally relate very much and I need this shirt.

A few days ago, I went for a walk with one of my best friends who has recently gone through a great loss and we talked about the value of crying. Emotions are physiological sensations, and crying is part of the body processing them.

A few hours ago on my Instagram feed I saw a post by @sitwithwhit with a list of things you might say to someone in distress instead of telling them not to cry.

Around lunch time today, I told my husband that I feel like crying today. Why? I don’t know, why NOT?! It’s not about any one particular thing, sometimes I just feel like crying.

And as a sort of jarring contrast, yesterday on a walk I passed an apartment with a huge flag in their window that said “Trump 2020: FUCK YOUR FEELINGS.” Which ties into that whole ‘snowflakes’ thing in which being sensitive is equated with being weak or irrational or incapable.

Last week I talked about the Elder of Cups. And now I draw the Guardian of Cups. It all seems connected.

The core thing is this: the Guardian of Cups shows you that you can have firm boundaries (the cup inside of the flower) while still honoring your emotions. You can have a “don’t fuck with me” vibe while tears are streaming down your face. You can be sensitive and be a bad-ass as the same time.

Telling someone not to cry or saying “fuck your feelings” is not edgy or helpful. It’s passé.

The Guardian of Cups is emblematic of a new wave. This wave subverts outdated misunderstandings of what it is to be strong and rational and capable. To be strong is to know when you need tender loving care. To be rational is to incorporate intuition and emotional well-being into your choices. To be capable is not villainizing your feelings, it’s seeking to understand them.

I pulled another card and it’s the Six of Cups. Oh boy. Okay. Well, I already mentioned Trump once in this post and also in last week’s post and I’m sorry because I don’t like talking about him more than anyone likes hearing about him but it’s election season and I’m an American so it’s on my mind.

So, the Six of Cups made me think of that whole thing where a Trump campaign advisor tried to throw shade at Biden by comparing him to Mr. Rogers and people were like “um, being like Mr. Rogers is a good thing, actually.”

Sweetness and simplicity are words that often come to my mind when I see the Six of Cups. Also words I associate with Mr. Rogers. In our version, there’s a bigger cup which in my mind has given these tiny flowers to the smaller cups. There’s a sense of generosity and small but important acts of caring.

Now I am thinking of another meme that says something like “be nice to yourself, drink water and get sunlight, you’re basically a houseplant with more complicated emotions.” A very Six of Cups-ish sentiment, that is. So here’s the questions I’m asking myself, and maybe you want to ask them to yourself, too.

What’s one simple kind thing I can do for myself today?

What’s one simple kind thing I can do for someone else today?

I understand this may sound a little saccharine or childish but you know what? Sometimes it is okay to be saccharine and childish. I know the world is a very cynical place and somehow we have come to equate cynicism with intelligence. But today, both of these cards remind us that being earnest and sincere is pretty great, too.

And maybe in a jaded world, being a little more kind and sincere and earnest is actually a badass act of rebellion, too.

Begin or deepen your tarot studies with
Foundational Tarot, my free video course!
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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

Creative Commons License
All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
Diplomacy and the King of Cups

Diplomacy and the King of Cups

I’ve drawn the Elder of Cups (known in most decks as the King of Cups) as my card of the day twice this week. And it’s got me thinking…

When I began learning tarot, one of the keywords I learned for the King of Cups is diplomatic. This has always stuck with me and is a key part of how I understand this card. Here’s the part where I do that clichè sharing the dictionary definition of a word thing, but I think it’s actually fruitful here so bear with me.

Diplomacy: skill in dealing with others without causing bad feelings. (Merriam-Webster)
Diplomacy: the art of dealing with people in a sensitive and effective way. (Oxford)

I see the court cards as representing specific aspects of personality. So when I draw a court card, I tend to begin by asking “in what ways am I currently aligned with this aspect of my personality? Is it helping or hurting? How can I better bring forward the useful aspects of this card within myself?”

So that’s how I got here, thinking about what it means to be diplomatic. What does diplomacy look like? Why is it important? In what ways have I been refusing to heed the wisdom of this card, hence causing it to show up for me again and again?

My first impulse is to get very defensive about how OTHER people aren’t being diplomatic. I mean, here in the US, we have a president who has normalized being (excuse my somewhat undiplomatic language) a hateful asshole who is constantly pouring gasoline on the fire of division. A lot of the discourse in the highest echelons of society is the opposite of diplomatic.

But tarot has this annoying way of being like “well, you can’t really control what other people do so maybe let’s think about how you can best process your own energy and then possibly you’ll show up in a way that inspires other people to transform as well.”

Ugh, tarot, you can be such a buzzkill. Making me examine myself instead of just constantly projecting shit onto other people. FINE THEN!

So, what can we learn here? How can I be a little more like the King of Cups even when existing amongst shadowy Emperors?

Well, the King is the adept one, and the suit of cups has to do with the emotional realm. So the King of Cups is someone who has a level of mastery in the emotional realm. They are not controlled by their emotions, but this doesn’t mean repression – it means contextualization. They are a leader who does not seek to divide and conquer, but rather to understand and unite.

Perhaps most important to the conversation here, the King of Cups understands the deep emotional undercurrents that move through every person and every situation. The fact is, we are all emotional driven creatures. Much more than we’d like to admit. A superpower of the King of Cups is that they know this. While some people seek to understand emotions in order to manipulate, this King seeks to understand emotions in order to maintain harmony.

In short, the King of Cups is diplomatic because being diplomatic works. That is, it works if you value peace and respect and compromise. If you really want to improve the well-being of yourself and others, if you really want to resolve conflicts, if you really want to be an effective leader…being diplomatic is the way.

Consider the alternative. The other ways are about shame, dehumanization, authoritarianism and control. If you read a history book or just take a look at the world around you, you’ll see these ways do not work in the long run. Probably we should all agree that these things are bad, but what do I know.

Here’s the kicker though: being diplomatic is soooooo hard. It’s much easier to just fly off the handle, blame other people for all the world’s problems, share hateful memes and lament about how people on the “other side” are at fault for everything. Aligning with your inner King of Cups requires you to challenge your base instincts and approach things from a deeper perspective. It ain’t easy, but it’s important.

Also important: this isn’t about putting on a ‘when they go low we go high’ air of superiority. It’s not about stroking your ego with the notion that you’re some ethically evolved being. It’s not about a naive expectation that we should all just get along (that’s more of a Page of Cups thing – the King has leveled up). It’s not about tone policing – this is a huge point: in some circumstances, being diplomatic is a privilege. This is DEFINITELY NOT about telling someone who is being abused or facing discrimination that they need to ‘just be nice.’ That is a distorted misinterpretation of this message and the King of Cups ain’t about it. The King of Cups is emotionally intelligent, not emotionally manipulative. Don’t get it twisted.

It is about realizing that the only sustainable path forward – both in our personal relationships and in broader cultural contexts – is diplomacy. I think it’s something worth expecting of ourselves (whenever it is reasonable) and also expecting from other people. We should not normalize or accept the erosion of diplomacy, because when we do, we’re in trouble.

I repeat: IT IS NOT EASY TO BE DIPLOMATIC. This requires great skill. It requires diving into your own depths, sifting through your shadowy unconscious, and bringing that wisdom to the surface (which is what you literally see in the image from the Spacious Tarot). It requires tremendous patience. It requires showing grace to yourself and others when you act out of impulse or shadow. It requires composure, compassion and inner stability.

To be honest, even trying to write diplomatically about diplomacy is a challenge for me. I’m more of a Knight of Cups than a King of Cups, most of the time, but you gotta evolve right? Or at least attempt to. I value diplomacy, and believe it is the way. And the Elder of Cups is nudging me, following me to say: so you believe this, do you? Then you must be willing to align with my energy and act accordingly. Again and again.

Begin or deepen your tarot studies with
Foundational Tarot, my free video course!
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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

Creative Commons License
All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
Our Emperor year revisited: crazymaking, chaos and remembering who the fuck you are

Our Emperor year revisited: crazymaking, chaos and remembering who the fuck you are

If you pay attention to pretty much any tarot teachers, you probably know about calculating year cards. This practice has been adopted by lots of tarot teachers, but as far as I know the method was originally presented by Mary K Greer and Angeles Arrien. The concept is simple: add up the numbers in the current year and the corresponding major arcana is the year card. 2020 2+0+2+0=4, card 4 is the Emperor, so 2020 is an Emperor year.

To be honest, year cards aren’t something that resonate particularly strongly with me. There have been many years where I don’t give them a single passing thought! Part of my ‘meh’ about this is how it is contingent on the Gregorian calendar, which is now the most mainstream way to measure time but it is just one of many, many, many calendars out there. Despite this naysaying, I do find year cards interesting to think about.

And I’ve found myself thinking about it more this year than possibly any other year so far. Last week I talked about the Tower, and in many ways 2020 feels much more like a Tower year than an Emperor year to me. But this week I’ve been thinking about the Emperor.

Actually, the relationship between the Tower and The Emperor is an interesting phenomenon, as there’s a creative tension here. Tower energy is chaotic. Emperor energy is orderly. Tower energy is about upheaval. Emperor energy is about structure. Tower energy is unpredictable. Emperor energy is reliable.

It’s worth mentioning the above described Emperor energy when it manifests in its highest potential, but there’s a shadow spectrum to the Emperor as well. The Emperor can cling too tightly to control, lodging themselves into the collapsing Tower and refusing to acknowledge the futility of this. The Emperor can be tyrannical or even violent in the quest for order. The Emperor can uphold structures that are biased and unjust.

Yeah… some of that shadowy stuff has certainly been manifest this year in ugly and harmful ways. So. Part of our Emperor year is confronting this shadowy shit. We can’t ignore it or make excuses for it or downplay the severity of it. It’s there and the way we respond matters.

So how do we respond? I can’t answer that question for anyone but myself. For me, part of responding to the shadowy aspects of the Emperor is revisiting the more useful aspects of this card.

One useful aspect of the Emperor, when it manifests in a more integrated way, is that the Emperor KNOWS WHO THE FUCK THEY ARE.

Just last night I was doomscrolling Twitter (10/10 do not recommend) and in the midst of all the posts lamenting the chaos of our current hellscape, I came across a tweet series from Chani Nicholas that said:

“GO LOOK AT MARS. Contemplate what you are willing to fight for. Offer your bitterness, hostility and arrogance as sacrifice. Reclaim your power from the chaos of the world and remember who the fuck you are.”

In the RWS system, the Emperor is associated with Mars, so there’s that. And isn’t Mars still in Aries? You know I’m not an astrology expert, BUT DAMN. Synchronicities abound.

Back to the point: The Emperor knows who the fuck they are. Remembering who the fuck you are is no small feat when it feels like the ground is constantly shifting, when you’re constantly bombarded with fearful and uncertain messages, when you’re flung into Tower moment after Tower moment. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who feels like they’ve forgotten who the fuck they are a time or two this year.

So….as we’ve still got a few months left in the year, it’s a good time to ask yourself: Who the fuck am I? In what ways have I forgotten who the fuck I am? What do I need to do to remind myself of who the fuck I am?

Now that I think of it, those questions would work perfectly as prompts to use with your tarot deck!

The Emperor also offers lessons in responding to the phenomenon sometimes called “crazymaking.” I was first introduced to this concept in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. A few traits of crazymakers: expecting special treatment. Discounting your reality. Sowing division. A refusal to take accountability and projecting blame onto others. A polarized worldview. A proclivity to create chaos. It actually ties right back into what we talked about earlier, because crazymakers aim to throw you off balance from who the fuck you really are.

Crazymakers are the worst parts of Tower energy incarnate, and we all know a few of them. I daresay some of them hold public office. Unfortunately, in many ways 2020 has been a great year to be a crazymaker. Not so great for the rest of us who have to deal with the fallout.

And what lesson does the Emperor have here? Boundaries, of course.

This can be about external boundaries such as reducing the amount of time you spend around the crazymakers in your personal life, or laying down new ground rules for how they are allowed to interact with you. In line with the part about remembering who the fuck you are, it can mean reiterating what type of behavior you will and will not tolerate in your domain.

This can also be about setting internal boundaries, especially when it comes to the crazymakers in the public sphere. Such as: adjusting your news consumption. Or even taking magical measures to protect your energy before you engage on social media or discuss current with friends and family. Magical energetic protection could include visualizing a protective light shield, reciting a mantra or affirmation, or (my favorite) carrying black tourmaline.

In my experience, one of the best boundaries you can have with crazymakers is simply refusing to engage. As is also true in people with narcissistic tendencies, crazymakers are fueled by reactions. They WANT you to get upset. They WANT you to get thrown off by their fuckery. Even if it is subconscious, detracting your energy is their ultimate goal. So staying sovereign and firm in your boundaries and refusing to play their game is often the most powerful response.

The Emperor can have a tendency to get too rigid, so it helps to remind yourself that your boundaries can be as flexible as you need them to be. Stay in touch with your energetic landscape as it shifts. Claim the authority to refresh and update your boundaries as often as necessary.

And so here we are, nearing the end of this post and also nearing the end of 2020 (though I don’t doubt the next two months will feel like two years). Here with the shadows of the Emperor, but also with the magnificent power this card offers. How will you channel your inner Emperor from here?

Begin or deepen your tarot studies with
Foundational Tarot, my free video course!
Join the email list for instant access.


 

Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

Creative Commons License
All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
Working with the Archetype of Upheaval

Working with the Archetype of Upheaval

Pretty much since the pandemic started, people are constantly talking about these ‘unprecedented’ times. Unprecedented. Unprecedented. Unprecedented. Honestly, I’d be happy if I never heard this word again (especially coming from corporations), partly because it’s so overused but also partly because…I don’t really think these times are unprecedented?

Here’s a thing I say a lot: tarot is a map of the human experience. This map applies as much now as it did when the first decks appeared hundreds of years ago, and I believe its accuracy will be hold up even a few hundred more years in the future. As such, tarot reminds us that none of the stuff we’re going through right now is new, actually. We’re in a time of upheaval, yes. But this isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last.

The major arcana has long been described as archetypical. An archetype is an energy embedded in human consciousness, which appears again and again regardless of time or place or culture. The exact manifestation of the archetype DOES vary greatly with time and place and culture, but an archetype is the manifestation pared down to its essence.

The Tower is the archetype that might resonate the most with our current times, because at its essence the Tower is the archetype of upheaval. And right now it’s pretty important that we focus on working with this archetype.

Upheaval has occurred again and again throughout human existence, and even in the broader universe. The big bang itself was an upheaval. The births and deaths of stars are upheavals. The synchronous transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture that occurred in many human cultures 10,000 years ago was an upheaval. The proliferation of the internet has been an upheaval. Just to name a few, in very broad strokes.

To be clear, yes, the exact manifestation of our current upheaval is new. This exact set of circumstances IS “unprecedented.” But upheaval itself is a core part of the human experience. It can be an act of grace to acknowledge how unique this time is, but I think we do ourselves a disservice when we fixate on the unprecedented narrative. In an odd way, remembering that Tower energy is not totally unprecedented. It is a known point on the human experience map. This may not make Tower energy any more enjoyable, but it offers a more empowering and even spiritual perspective on our current reality.

Yes, we are uniquely tasked with navigating *this particular* upheaval. But navigating upheaval is something that always has been, and always will be, an essential part of existing in this universe. The Tower shows that upheavals can be scary, painful and destructive. I see plenty of that darker side of the Tower at work right now. But what we need to remember is that the Tower is not inherently a ‘negative’ card. Upheavals don’t have to be a bad thing, The Tower teaches that upheavals can be sacred. They can be a clearing.

As I recently wrote on Instagram, in the Spacious Tarot (pictured above) the Tower is a cairn: a pile of rocks sometimes used to mark a path. But here the rocks are struck by lightning, suggesting the old paths are no longer viable. This can be a frightening card, but it is also a card of opportunity. When an old way is no longer passable, we can choose to channel the energy of the tower, actively tearing down old systems in order to create new paths. What if we worked proactively with this energy? What if instead of fearing upheaval, we ushered in the types of upheaval that are so desperately needed right now?

Way back in 2014 I posted a video talking about how the Tower can represent breakdowns AND breakthroughs. This is a time of breakdown in so many ways, and we can’t bypass the difficulty of that. But isn’t it also a time of breakthroughs? I’d certainly fucking say so! This is something the Tower has in common with the Wheel of Fortune: both can sometimes be about external energies that you don’t have direct control over. But both can also be worked with proactively.

It’s okay to feel jolted and lost and like you’re in the midst of a breakdown because, well… we are. But where is your sovereignty in this moment? How can you actively be part of the breakthrough? Instead of just freaking out at the destruction and closed paths, how can we shift towards the paths that are opening?

So here we are, whether we like it or not, in the midst of upheaval. We’ve been here before and we’ll be here again. Turn to the lessons you’ve gleamed from past experiences of upheaval, both within your own life and within human history and the universe. And perhaps most importantly: stay open and present for the specific lessons that are arising right now. As I said in the reading for the collective last week, a new phase is just beginning. How bout we choose to be participants, co-destructing AND co-creating with the universe?

Lightning moves quickly but offers a flash of illumination for those who are perceptive. Let us be perceptive.

PS: Don’t forget to take care of yourselves and your crew when the shit hits the fan. Get outside if possible. Pet a cat. Hug a tree. Step awaaaaaay from screens for a while. Unless you are using the screen to watch funny videos or if you’re me, get back into Animal Crossing. Drink water. Scream into the void when you need. Eat a vegetable every now and then. Make art. All that good stuff. Upheaval is discomfortable as fuck so let’s have some empathy for self + others.

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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

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An Equinox Tarot Reading for the Collective

An Equinox Tarot Reading for the Collective

The autumn equinox is one of my favorite times of year.

Equal parts shadow and light.
Libra season.
Nature slowing down.
Tea. Colorful leaves. Coziness.

I’ve still been a little quiet on the blogging front lately, but I had the inspiration to record a reading for the collective, so here we are. Listen while you put away laundry or go for a walk or make dinner. Or, just get comfy in a chair with a cuppa whatever and listen.

Take what resonates. Leave the rest. As always!

A few major themes that come up in the reading:

-We are already in a new reality.
-This is a time of recalibration.
-What beliefs are you reaffirming, holding more tightly?
-And what beliefs are you holding loosely, transforming?
-How can you make sure your approach is both useful and effective?

Please feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Thank you for being here!

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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

Creative Commons License
All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
Here I am.

Here I am.

‘elloooooo!

I’m settling in with a cup of hot tea (nettle, mint and lemon balm, from my very own garden) on the first day of September. There’s a noticeable chill in the air today. It’s funny how that happens sometimes, at least here in Utah: the weather changes line up with the months changing. It’s supposed to warm up later in the week, but today mother nature got the memo that autumn is coming. And yeah, I’m a #basicwitch so I do love autumn.

It’s been a few weeks since I blogged, and I’ve missed it. You may or may not remember that I set the intention to blog every week in 2020. I was on a pretty decent roll for most of the year, but the past few weeks I stepped away to focus on shipping out the second edition of The Spacious Tarot. I’m *almost* caught up on shipping now. Though I feel like I’ve been saying that for a week. Thing is, the orders keep rolling in! But I’m not complaining. Shipping is a lot of work, but it’s pretty damn amazing to know you’ve created something people actually like and want to purchase. I’m so, so, so, SO grateful.

As usual, there’s been lots of thoughts rattling around in my brain lately. One of them is: I am here. Which is what I wrote in the subject line of this email. I am here. In this room. In my body. In this particular phase of my life. In this time on the planet. Within this web of socio-political, economic and cultural factors. I am here.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to fully understand all of it. I don’t need to judge it, or make sense of it, or suffer over it. There’s bad, there’s good, there’s anxiety, there’s peace, there’s chaos, there’s magic. It’s a weird time, but we are here. You are here. I am here. It’s a simple phrase, but powerful, to me. A mix of ownership and non-attachment.

Things are far from perfect. There’s still so much I yearn for in my own little ego-sphere. And there’s always so much of discomfort and injustice and destruction in the broader sphere. The question for me is always: how can I be HERE and claim some joy and acceptance of that, without BYPASSING what is difficult? It’s an ongoing inquiry. And for me, part of the thing is paradox (something I’m always yammering on about). The paradox of being fully okay with being HERE while also being fully aware of the issues and challenges that co-exist in this space.

Does any of that make sense? I don’t know. I just know we are here. And we’re not here for long. So I want to really be here.

Casual reminder that I’m an INFP. And a Cancer Sun. And a lot of other Cancer in my chart. Including Mars in Cancer. And I feel like all this explains a lot.

As the summer winds down, I’m trying to be outside as much as possible. Tending to the wee bit of land I currently “own” aka my yard. Harvesting herbs. Weekly hikes. Daily walks. Mornings on the porch with coffee and oatmeal and journals and tarot decks. Evenings with a beer on the grass. Just going outside, even in the middle of the city, is one of the best ways I know to shift my energy.

A couple weeks ago the collective energy got to be so intense that the only way I could cope was through awkward attempts at humor which you may have caught on my Instagram reels. You have to do what you need to do to find reprieve at times like this. Sometimes it’s yoga and herbal tea. Other times it’s a cocktail and an hour mindlessly scrolling Instagram reels.

As soon as we shifted into Virgo season I really felt the intensifying of the question: what’s next? But I know that question has to be tempered with the question of what’s now? So the refrain: I am here. Being here builds towards what’s next, but I should know by now there’s no level of certainty when asking what’s next. I’m starting to feel into what I want to be next. But we shall see.

For now: client sessions are still closed as I focus on shipping out decks. A few creative ideas are starting to peek out, and I’m feeling into which one is right to take on going forward. I have a massive list of books to read. I move between the desire to share everything, articulate my thoughts, write write write. And the desire to hide away, to just contemplate, to say nothing. So, as is my pattern, I’ll likely do a little of each.

*fights urge to apologize in case this post was incredibly boring*

Thank you for being here with me. I am sending you the coziest vibes imaginable. We are HERE.


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

Creative Commons License
All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.

Vlog: the Spacious Tarot 2nd edition is HERE!

THEY’RE HERE!

The Spacious Tarot is a collaboration between Annie Ruygt + Carrie Mallon. Available for purchase at thespacioustarot.com.


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

Creative Commons License
All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
Illusion, Knowledge, Magic

Illusion, Knowledge, Magic

Back when the shutdowns were just beginning I wrote a post about how for some of us, this time is a call to deepen our witchy mystic weirdness. This continues to ring true for me.

The collective story we’ve been living out no longer makes sense. This is no longer a fringe sentiment. We’re having mainstream conversations about the pitfalls of capitalism, the already-present effects of climate change, the systemic racism still present in America (and around the world). And those are just a few examples of the old narrative crumbling. It’s been happening for a while, it just seems to be accelerating lately.

Nothing changes in the outer world until our internal myths change. Or as Einstein put it, you can’t solve a problem using the same thinking that created it.

This is all stuff I’ve been thinking about for years. What completely new stories do we need? What old stories can we learn from? Where am I called to learn and unlearn, imagine and envision? How can I be a part of co-creating this new narrative, making space for it, being present with its unfolding? I still have many more questions than I have answers.

Sometimes the questions seem so big and complex that I just want to ignore them and watch Netflix forever. (Avatar the Last Airbender specifically). Sometimes the challenges seem so intense that I just want to curl into a small ball and dissociate from it all. Or lately, I just want to disappear into the mountains and watch sunsets (the picture above I took camping last weekend) in between listening to Taylor Swift’s new album on repeat (I love it and I don’t care who knows it!). Sometimes I feel like WTF is wrong with me that I’m dwelling on this existential shit so often? I used to think I would get older and become less brooding, but instead I get more antsy with age.

I also used to think maybe these thoughts are pathological. Y’know, messed up brain chemistry. Or maybe it’s because of the alignment of the stars when I was born. I’m a Cancer sun, so I can’t help feeling FEELINGS. And maybe some of these things are factors. But also, maybe there’s nothing wrong with thinking these things and maybe we actually need people who think these things. Maybe there have always been people, throughout human history, who yearned for magic and new stories and transcendental ways of being. And maybe it’s actually great that people like that exist. Maybe the world, the universe, needs these kinds of people. Maybe….I’m one of those people? That’s a nice thought.

Anyway. Even with all the questions I have, there’s one thing I know for sure. Tarot is part of all of this. Tarot reflects and deepens these questions. Tarot offers glimmering hints of answers, new ways of being, possibilities, shifts. And I don’t expect to leave this incarnation having all of the answers, anyway. Even if I just devote a little time and energy to sitting with these questions, even if I’m a small part of weaving a new story, even if I only ever understand the smallest sliver of the pie, that’s something. None of us have all the answers, and that’s okay.

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Joseph Campbell: “life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.”

This weird time (as we keep calling it, but really, all times are weird) has taken me deeper into the path of the mystic, and that feels right in ways that can’t be expressed through language. It is an alignment that reverberates with the deepest layers of my consciousness. It’s something I need to continue saying yes to.

Anyyyyyways…somehow this long navel-gazing introduction came out before I could stop it! So thanks for sticking with me, because I actually have something else I want to share today: a tarot spread. I randomly found this in the notes app on my phone, but I know I didn’t make it up. Unfortunately I can’t remember where I found it and Google was no help. So if you happen to know who created this spread, please let me know because I try to give credit where it is due.

It’s a three card spread using the following positions:

Illusion – Knowledge – Magic

I will use the Spacious Tarot, and offer a brief interpretation for myself as well as the collective. Please take what resonates and leave the rest. And also, give the spread a try for yourself if it intrigues you!

Illusion: Judgement reversed
Knowledge: Four of Cups reversed
Magic: Death

Judgement reverse really hit me hard because it relates to some of the musings I shared above. Judgement can be about a calling, a Big Life Purpose. But there’s this illusion many people fall prey to with this concept. The illusion goes like this: when you find your purpose, trumpets sound! Angels usher you in! Think about the imagery on the Waite-Smith version of this card: it’s epic. It’s the illusion that when you find your purpose, YOU KNOW. It’s dramatic and unmistakable and you’re changed forever.

And I mean, sometimes this is the case. Occasionally you get a big, dramatic, unmissable wake up call. But more often, the expectation of such grandiosity is an illusion. In reality, finding your purpose is usually much more subtle. Sometimes the invitation to greater meaning and purpose is so subtle that it can be easily overlooked. Instead of the clouds parting, it’s a small glimmering, a subtle shift. Instead of trumpets blaring out, it might be a whispering, quiet voice that says “this way.” Don’t miss the small nudges because you’re waiting for a grand gesture.

The Four of Cups reversed as knowledge ties directly into this. To me, this is a reminder that in order to attune to the subtle energies of your Big Important Purpose, you need to withdraw from the stream. The stream could symbolize many things: a constant barrage of news and social media. Expectations and ‘the way things have always been done.’ And of course, the stream could also symbolize your own emotions. Know this: you must disengage from these things, at least occasionally, in order to restabilize. In order to come back into living from your center. Because when you’re living from your center, you’re more capable of feeling into the subtle whispers which are always trying to beckon you.

Death is Magic. I liked writing that sentence!

What I’m noticing the most right now is the way the hands reach out for the flower. Here in the image they seem frozen in time, but can you imagine what might happen if you stepped into the card? I can envision the skeletal fingers brushing the flower, but then it drifts away again. Maybe they finally do get ahold of it for some time, but eventually the skeletal hands decompose entirely.

So the magic is that we can’t really hold anything forever. We can catch glimpses. We can brush up against something sacred. But we can’t control or own or pin anything down. Kinda reminds me of what I shared earlier and the quote from Joseph Campbell: there’s a lot of magic in the fact that there’s so many things you just can’t know, can’t hold.

The white rose has many layers of symbolism. According to Arthur Edward Waite himself (via Mary K Greer in an old post on Aecletic Tarot), the white rose represents purification of the desire nature. The ego desires. The ego wants answers. The magic of Death is in transcending the ego. Transcending the ego itself is something most of us can only do occasionally before we slip back into its grasp. But if you’re willing to devote to this practice, the magic intensifies. New layers are constantly revealed, old layers are constantly shed.

Wowza! I really liked this spread and I’ll definitely be using it again. Thank you for being present for my metaphysical ramblings today. Cheers to our individual stories, and the unfolding story we are creating together.


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

Creative Commons License
All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.

Carrie Mallon

Header art from The Spacious Tarot illustrated by Annie Ruygt

All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2014-2019 

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