Okay, so it might seem a little odd to write about self-care just a few days after coming back from a (first ever!) beach holiday in Ibiza…but hey. Maybe I’ve got the post-holiday blues. Thinking about self-employment and how to get by in the big wide world right up until the moment of departure, then forgetting about it all and just enjoying sun, sea and sand…only to return to the same worries and chaos and obsessive planning, well…I feel a bit flat really. I had some big dreams for this year which are still very much on the front-burner but are going to take a hell of a lot longer to fruit than I’d imagined…and meanwhile I’m more or less living off my wits, reimagining my life and concentrating on a different thread in the maze every few hours and getting very confused in the process. It’s still a great deal better (and far more me) than turning up each day to a job I’d long since grown tired of…but just at this moment I’m in need of a little pep-talk to keep me strong and keep me opening those doors.
So let’s see what the cards have to say. I started putting together a little ‘self care’ spread look at this, but it just turned out like a SWOT analysis for my mental health, so I’m just gonna go with that. And for the first time in ages, I reached for the Wildwood Tarot, by Will Worthington, Mark Ryan and John Matthews – I really felt the need for its roots and birds and rocks and animals today.
1. Strengths – QUEEN OF STONES * BEAR
I love this fierce and fiery mama-bear – gazing out into the sunset, wondering what tomorrow will bring, ready for anything. She is protective and strong and knows how to look after herself. It feels great to get this card here – as an internal strength, the Queen of Stones reminds me that I’m doing fine – I’ve got enough to eat and a lovely flat which is warm, safe and comfortable. I’ve got bits and bobs of work which pay me enough to get by (and are fun!) The protective feeling in this card rings true too.
‘Pragmatism and generosity open doors at every point’, write Mark Ryan and John Matthews, and I am glad to remind myself of this. I’ve just got off the phone with a good friend who said she admired the way I always seem to land on my feet. It’s true – and I think it’s because of all that door-opening. If it’s pragmatism and generosity that’s helping to open them then I need to keep a firm grip on these traits. They do always serve me well, but now I’m feeling ‘flat’, I’m not feeling as generous, or as practical. This queen tells me not to let go of these qualities.
2. Weaknesses – XXI. WORLD TREE
Am I just too keen to integrate everything into my life and find ultimate fulfillment right here and now? Tarot helped me to see that I am definitely a World-seeker…well, everyone is, surely, at heart. We all want to find our place in the world and to feel at one with the universe. But in amongst my weird feelings lately I’ve heard the message coming through…’just enjoy where you are right now’. I’m restless, I want things to happen, I want wham-bam magic to happen and for everything to suddenly fall into place…and then I feel disappointed when they don’t. I look closer at this image and at the maze on the ground. Life is a maze, and I’m finding my way through. I’m definitely exhausted with all the planning and thinking and replanning I’ve been doing. But maybe things are in place. Maybe right here is perfectly good enough for now (I don’t actually have anything to complain about and my life is as fun and filled with love and joy as ever) and I need to chill out on ‘the search’ for a bit and just concentrate on enjoying the journey.
3. Opportunities – QUEEN OF VESSELS * SALMON
Creativity, intuition…I’ve not been using these elements of myself much lately. This leaping salmon queen is anything but flat, flying up that waterfall using the power of her heart and soul. Today I’ve been preoccupied with the thought that whilst I’ve been incredibly busy these past few months, I’ve been neglecting my creative self, and I’ve just not felt as ‘tuned in’ as normal. The Queen of Vessels encourages me to indulge a little – as does The Artist’s Way, which I picked up again today for the first time in nine months. When I was following this book in spring and summer last year, I felt myself dealing with things creatively, developing my intuition and tuning in more closely to my soul. That said, I had a heck of a lot more time then – last summer was the summer of fun! But this morning I started it again, and I can already feel it’s going to take me somewhere quite different this time.
4. Threats – NINE OF ARROWS * DEDICATION
Very different from the traditional Nine of Swords, this card is about a ‘sacred summoning’.
The spiritual warrior dedicates their arrows of inspiration by playing the bow as it it were an instrument of summoning. The inner oath keeps one on a balanced footing by dedicating skills to a greater good.
Wow. Okay, so am I taking life a little too seriously right now? If this is a threat to me, then it seems to sit nicely alongside the World Tree, showing me that I could be putting a little too much stock and spiritual energy into the ‘project’ at the moment (where the project is earning enough to get by and working on a couple of other things and somehow making it all fit together). This isn’t an especially spiritual journey, it’s a fun/chaotic stage in a process of figuring things out, and frankly I’m getting mentally pretty exhausted from all the constant thinking and planning.
For those who hear the calling and become spiritual warriors and protectors of the land, responsibility and sacrifice are also required.
There’s an emphasis here on understanding our reciprocal relationship with the earth, on making every action a thoughtful, considered, benevolent and very giving one. But reading this here, as a threat, again I just feel like it’s a little too worthy! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see this as advice to go live in a totally superficial or disconnected way…it feels more like I’m just putting way too much thought into everything. Which brings me back to the traditional illustration on this card – usually a person tortured in the night by overwhelming worries and thoughts. Funny – this card came up for me a few days ago when I pulled a daily card, and once again it was a very different interpretation, that time telling me not to let anxieties overwhelm me but to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Not that I really feel like I’m in a tunnel right now, but I’m definitely getting a message to lighten up a little here.
In terms of self care, these cards have been so kind and helpful. They remind me of my strengths – that I am resourceful, pragmatic and strong. They encourage me to indulge my creativity once again – something I neglect from time to time which always leads me to mini identity crises and a feeling of deflation. And not just my creativity, but my intuition…again something which has become a little buried under all the damn thinking. And then, coming right round to all of that thinking, they tell me to chill the heck out and stop wanting everything to be pure and perfect all the time. There’s room in this year, this month, this day to enjoy being in the moment – this crazy, cool, chaotic moment – as well as looking forwards to achieving bigger dreams. So I’m gonna get creative again – get out the typewriter, fix the sewing machine, get that herb garden happening and make the little pieces of art that keep popping into my head only to be engulfed by worky stuff, and start remembering to experience each day as the awesome little gift that it is.
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.