The Seven of Pentacles is an invitation to integrate

Delta Enduring Tarot

Tonight is a full moon eclipse, and next week is Lammas.

These events bring permission and encouragement to pause, rest, reflect, celebrate, integrate. A time when we get to take a step back from all the busy-ness of summer and check in with ourselves.

As I wrote in an email to my coven yesterday, as we discussed ideas for Lammas ritual, “I have learned so much this year…and for me a lot of it still feels like satellites whizzing around my head. I can see them, I get them, I grab at them – I now want to move into embodying what I’ve learned, so it becomes a source of grounded, rooted strength inside, a resource I can draw on, a staff I can lean on or use to point the way.”

Reclaiming the time and space that is mine, the body, mind and soul that is mine. Shutting out the to-do list, the incessant notifications and the agendas of others for a moment, so I can collect myself, so I can see where I am. A mid-year resetting so that I can move into a cooler new season with a more holistic perspective and a grounded sense of my own enough-ness.

The busiest person gets little of worth done if they’re not pausing to reflect, assess, and (likely) adjust. Lessons must be integrated, moved from the mind down into the body. How can we move forwards if we don’t know where we are in the present? Busy-ness makes us work faster and harder – but it’s when we step back that we find the key.

This is Seven of Pentacles energy.

The Shadowscapes Tarot

This card invites you to pause. To check in. To return to your self, your power, your magic. To take stock of what is bearing fruit in your life.

To integrate the lessons of the year so far.

It’s what late summer light is for, I believe. Lammas. Mugwort cigarettes. And meadowsweet incense, rose tea, taking time to knead bread, to paddle, to make a fire…

To sit in whatever silence we can find and claim for ourselves, and let it all settle in.

Give yourself the gift of the space you need. Allow yourself to see what is coming forth, I say to myself, to you, to anyone who needs to hear this.

Thea’s Tarot

Integration is a sustainability practice

The Seven of Pentacles reminds us that it’s healthy to reflect, and it’s okay to tweak things, or even alter course if necessary. This card is like the apex of a bridge – it’s a moment to check out the view. At this point, we celebrate how far we have come, we consider where we are going, and most importantly we understand the present moment in the context of a journey with a past and a future. It’s not about a destination, or ‘arriving’ somewhere. It’s about understanding all of this as an iterative, cyclical journey; we are changed each time we arrive back in a familiar place.

Pulling this card face-up for the community yesterday, I invite you to join me in a little full moon journaling and offer the prompts below. Pick one, pick any, or do them all.

What’s going on for me right now? What has grown, changed, happened in my life in the past season?

What is bearing fruit?

What has failed?

What have I learned? What lessons can I integrating now, so that you are wiser for next time?

What does it mean to ‘integrate’? How will I embody the wisdom I have gained?

Who am I, after all of this? Am I the same? Or someone new?

How will I communicate this?

The Wildwood Tarot

My own responses…

So…what is going on for me right now?

Gosh. Um.

I’ve spent the past seven months in what I intended as an ‘input year’. Shifting focus away from output, projects, launching creations or making bold statements – away from outward activity – and towards internal excavation, listening and being open to new perspectives and ways of seeing, feeling, acting. I’ve received coaching from two wise teachers. I’ve started therapy. I’ve been working through several liberatory programmes including Desiree Adaway’s Freedom School, Rain Crowe’s The Burning Times Never Ended, and Jardana Peacock’s Resilience, among others. I’ve pushed at my comfort zone by immersing myself in meditation and contact improvisation. I’ve read more books than I have in years. I’ve begun to excavate – with guidance – some of the most insidious expressions of capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy that are at work in my daily choices.

To all of this work I took what I knew to be true at the start of this year: That it’s time for me to step up, find my real voice, and get behind it so I can be the change I want to see.

It’s been in turns uncomfortable, luxurious, angry, spacious, painful, and illuminating.

It has changed me. It is changing me.

Have I stepped up? In some ways, yes. I’m more present in my life and in my work. I’ve certainly stepped up to the potential to make mistakes, get called out, learn through fucking up. I was too scared to do that before. I’m still scared now, but I’m here for it.

To be honest, I’m still at a point where I’m standing in all the mess, not yet knowing how it is all going to be put back together. My coach described it as deciding to sort out an entire big messy room. It doesn’t happen neatly – first you have to pull out all the shit that’s piled up everywhere and make a huge mess, and look at it all, and assess it, and decide what to throw out, then you know what you’re dealing with, then you can figure out how it all goes back, where, how, in what order. In order to to this, it’s helpful to make a cup of tea and just sit with it, before launching in.

That’s a real Seven of Pentacles moment, right? The card often shows a ‘bountiful harvest’ kind of image, which works perfectly for some interpretations. At other times though, it’s more like the intimidating task of creating order from chaos.

Slow Holler Tarot

One thing I’ve learned this year is the power of giving things space to breathe.

I’ve learned it repeatedly, in many different contexts. I’m only just getting my head around the lesson now, but my body new long before.

When I have a problem or a puzzle or an issue to deal with, my pattern is to go one of two ways: run right at it and hit it as hard as I can… or run away, bury my head in the sand, and let it fester til unvoiced anxiety threatens to knock me off my feet.

Neither of these are healthy. Don’t need to be a life coach to know that one.

What I’m learning to do is to give things a little space to breathe.

That new project idea I had? When I sat with it (instead of immediately beginning) it shifted, it evolved. It’s still evolving, and I’m loving watching it grow. It’s beginning to take shape now, and I’m taking the small, slow and intentional actions needed to bring it forth. When it is time to take bigger, bolder steps, it will be because I know the direction I want to head – and, crucially – why. (Oh that why, so often missing from my fire-brained projects.)

That difficult letter to a beloved old friend? My god if I had sent it while I was still in that acute place of rage and pain, my words would have cut to the bone and hurt both of us, probably ending our friendship. I have done this in the past and I still grieve what I trashed through speaking to quickly and from the depths of my own pain, unable to see any other perspective. This time, I gave it space, journaled my letter silently six times over, before I arrived at a place where I could own at least some of my own shit, and talk from there.

The Circo Tarot

At the end of last year, I knew I wanted to make a big change in my working life. I knew I wanted to show up differently, that I wanted a different kind of job. I knew I needed to step up… but to what? I didn’t know. I talked candidly about ditching Little Red Tarot, making a sudden shift to something else. A big part of me, not knowing where else to go with this restless feeling, truly wanted to do that. I’m sincerely glad I didn’t.

Instead, in many ways, 2018 has so far been a prolonged Seven of Pentacles, a prolonged reflection on what works and what doesn’t. What is growing, and what is returning to the earth. What serves me, and what isn’t. Who I was, who I am, and who I hope to become.

Little Red Tarot has been my nest, my garden and a vessel of my own art for seven and a half years. That’s a lot of years of growth and change. I’ve gained a lot in this job/role, more than I could know. And I’ve sacrificed a lot too. It’s a bit like parenting in some ways. All of this feels right and good. I have no desire to change the past or do things differently. I have made mistakes, I have forgiven myself. I have learned as I went along.

I know that change will soon come for LRT. I know that my own role, this job I half-intentionally, half-accidentally created for myself, is going to shift into something else. I’m mind-mapping, reading cards, journalling, meditating, and having wine-fuelled discussions with folks I love. But pushing at this idea before it’s ready? Nope. That’s not going to bring about the transition this needs. Giving it space, approaching with curiosity and openness, allowing this all time to take its own shape, is what feels right.

The White Sage Tarot

U’m also, however, learning about the political nuances of ‘giving things time’ and ‘going slowly’. Though I know in my bones it’s a good approach to life and work in general, there are times when shit actually is urgent, and times when it is an abdication of responsibility, a form of spiritual bypass, to choose slowness.

I want to practice (and model) the kind of slowness that strengthens and grounds me, and that stays rooted in consciousness, that is aware of when this is ethically and spiritually the right approach, without being wilfully ignorant of the urgency of action at other times. (Sabrina Scott’s comments on this recent post have really brought some of this home.) A big thing I want to take forwards with me right now is the beginnings of understanding the difference. I want to get better at this. I want to talk about it, too.

All of this stuff about slowness has to do with unlearning capitalism

It permeates every area of my life, because I have been brought up within it, socialised into complicity, to believe its values are normal. Even as I rage against capitalism, boycott, campaign, whatever, I notice how it’s values are embedded within me, how I live them, how I breathe them. An emphasis on productivity, speed and efficiency, and this sense, always, that there is not enough time.

That there is not enough…anything.

I want this out of my body.

So I am unlearning this belief. There is enough time to sit and breathe, to close my eyes, to use my senses, to listen to my body. There is enough time to think. There is enough time to feel, before that. There is enough time to pull a card, make a wish, sip hot tea in the stillness of the night. There is enough time to let my anger settle and see what is created in the embers. There is enough time to build in sustainable, nourishing practices into my day so I don’t burn out at 37 wishing I’d spent less time staring at screens.

The belief that there is not enough is planted there by capitalism. It is a long-established tool for keeping the people small and distracted. As long as we believe there is not enough, we will compete, we will waste our energy in the fight to get more, and we will be all the more lost in our sense of inadequacy.

It’s bullshit. All of it. This year I am unlearning this, not only intellectually, but in my body. I want it gone.

Tarot of the Crone

Slowness has a big part in my question about integration, about how we embody the lessons we’re learning.

Like many people I’m up in my head way too much. Maybe because I’m an Aquarius, but more because capitalism teaches us this way, prizing intellect, speed, efficiency, logic, above other forms of knowing. I am so enmeshed in this that even as

I’m trying out some other ways of bringing wisdom into my body, so I can access it not only through my intellect, but through actually feeling it, as an energy within me, as a resource I can draw on, as a grounding force. Dancing is one way! For the past few weeks, each morning I’ve pulled some seriously wacky shapes in an attempt to let my body express what it knows. I’ve also been practicing lying on the ground, planting a statement or an idea, and giving it lots of time to move from my brain down into other parts of my body. It is incredible – I can feel it moving.

Another thing is noticing where guilt and shame shows up in my body. When I feel that awful juxtaposition of anger at oppression and deep shame at my own complicity in that oppression, I challenge myself to sit with it. More often than not, the shame moves along, moves down through my body and gets metabolised in my gut, leaving me with something. much more useful: aligned determination. These processes take time, they take the willingness to sit in discomfort, but there is a shitload to be learned about resilience.

Who am I, after all of this? Am I the same, or someone different?

I’m still me, and I’m totally different, both at the same time.

Honestly, I have no clue who I am right at this moment. One full moon, one eclipse, one session with a tarot card, these moments ask me to pause for that question, but they don’t hand me answers on plates. At least, not the kind I can write down.

I wonder if any of us really knows who they are becoming until we are them… and then of course life keeps changing and us with it. Some people seem so self-assured, so happy in the understanding of who they are. I don’t crave that, but I sometimes envy it, for sure.

Anyway, here I am. In the mess of it all, taking stock. There’s a lot more journalling to do, a lot more integrating. Tonight I’ll make an altar to the moon and the eclipse, sit with the Seven of Pentacles and Layla Saad’s wise words in Many Moons and recommit to pausing and resting and bringing all of these lessons into my body.

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  1. Elaine says:

    I just wanted to say, Yes! to leaving space for things. I’m in a seven of pentacles period, in that everything is starting to come together – in work, in art, in relationships. I’m not done with clearing away stuff, but I’m beginning to be free of a lot and in the meantime the things I’ve been working at have started to flourish. But that for me was a process of planting seeds and tending, over a period of years, and letting things grow in their own time. I have two wonderful projects kicking off, but when they are done there will have to be more coming up, new stories, new poems, new projects, So whenever something catches my attention I sit with it now for a couple of hours, think of things I could do with it, and then put it aside, like bread, to rise. I’ll have a look at it in passing over the next few months, and then when I have space and time it’ll be ready to work on. It took me a long time to learn that kind of patience, and to accumulate enough things coming to maturity that I didn’t feel useless and uncreative, but now I’m beginning to be happy.

  2. Cynthia says:

    Your point is very well taken about input versus output. There is so much noise around us, ideas and expectations of what we “should” do. I’ve found that the more I listen to myself, the better decisions I make. This can be frightening at times, if you’re going against what your family or society tells you.

  3. Cathou says:

    Your words capture so well the energy of this season (eclipse, lammas, …) and much of the thoughts I’ve been juggling with lately. This morning I was thinking about how I could articulate my strong anti-productivity feelings with the reality that there is no outside of capitalism for now, we’re all inside a destructive system, with different types of privileges and freedoms as how we can afford to resist, slow down and invest in the battles. Your article helps. It is important. And on a personal level, it is important that I DO sit with your journal prompts suggestions 🙂

  4. Erin Marie says:

    I am so grateful for you and the way you show up for this community in vulnerability and authenticity in posts like these.

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