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When wellness doesn’t work……

With all this time in self-isolation and social distancing, so many thoughts and themes have been running like a wild horse in my mind. Although I believe strongly that holistic health practices and wellness techniques can create a strong foundation, I feel the need to talk about, and pull some cards, on what happens when wellness techniques aren’t working. What do you do when the toolbox has been emptied and used, with little to no results? The hard truth is that sometimes, despite all our intentions to tend to our needs, there is a deeper wound that refuses to be well.

All things exist within the Wheel

I sat down to pull a card, and the feeling that kept coming up for me was disappointment. I have been working with my own toolbox of wellness, one that I have been fortifying for years, and yet it has been a true sore spot of me. Turning it over revealed the Wheel of Fortune, a card that speaks to interconnection, nothing is lost or out of place within the wheel. Within the Wheel of Fortune, all moves together or not at all. One strand pulled on the dream catcher could release a knot somewhere else, holding everything in place.

It is also the card of energetic balance and cause and consequence. This brings us back to reality of wellness not always being available, providing a gentle salve of healing. Sometimes, wellness is not available as a healer, not because we are not doing the practices right, or because we don’t care, or are unworthy. Sometimes wellness is not available to us because there is hole deep within the psyche, and the implementation of wellness techniques pokes at that hole, stimulating the trigger that we are not without pain and disappointment and worry and grief.

Sometimes, disappointment festers deep in the unconscious, not stirring or stimulated until we bring forth a practice that should bring us more into alignment. Think of it like an anti-placebo. Being so focused on constantly using wellness techniques to find balance can have an opposite reaction. Hello Wheel of Fortune…..

So much emphasis on one trajectory means that the trajectory we are trying to move away is also turning, and sometimes the dial flips. Now, I am not saying that this means that all wellness practices should be forgotten, or that something is wrong with you if you are finding yourself in this space.

I have been here in some capacity for months. If you find yourself here, you are not alone. If you find yourself feeling disappointment, trying to remedy it, and just rubbing a sore spot…you are not alone. The lesson from the Wheel of Fortune is that all movement, however well intended, often puts the spotlight and what we want keep in the darkness. We cannot move towards wellness without even subliminally or subtly shining a light on from that which we are moving away.

There isn’t a hard or fast answer to remedy this, it may just take some time. One of the only ways I know to confront disappointment or pain or negativity when I have tried other and failed with other factors is journaling. Journaling allows expression over anything-bad good, right, wrong. Journaling is the place to emotionally dump all your shit. It doesn’t always bring an answer, but it can feel good to just get it out. Other ways might be a mantra like: “I am allowed to feel this” or “This too shall pass.”

Other techniques may be watching comedy, reading books, or finding ways to alleviate the brain, and your brain’s chemistry. It may also just need to heal in due time. Disappointment, and a plethora of other emotions, almost have their own brains or personalities, resilient in their attempt to keep us within arm’s length. In the end, the Wheel of Fortune does tell us that this too shall pass, it just may be uncomfortable as hell in the meantime….

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Update to Capstone class offerings- free services now available online

I wrote in a previous blog post about my Capstone class, but I am going to readdress it here because it is important that I update my services and terms with this pandemic being as serious as it is.

We may have to be socially distant, but we can still work together

I am student at the Red Rocks Community College campus, and I am in my final class- the Capstone. The intention of this class is to transition me from being a student into the professional world of integrative health, equipped with knowledge and skills to meets clients intentionally and mindfully. The requirement for this class is that I offer 12 community hours with others, either through workshops or one-on-one sessions, using my skills and knowledge as that transition. These hours are free and are meant to highlight our strengths, and what we wish to bring to this field, to our prospective clients, and the world at large.

Because of this pandemic, it is important to put health first and foremost. These 12 hours were supposed to be face to face, but that is not an option, or a responsible choice to make right now. Now, these services are going to be done online-either through skype, google chat, or phone if you choose.

It is important to address some key things about my services and these modalities I will be offering:

  • They are FREE- Completely free. No bait and switch or you have to enroll in something. Just free. That is because I am a student and this is requirement I need to fulfill this Capstone. If you would like to stay in touch afterwards, I would love that, but that is not a requirement.
  • You need to be 18+. 17 and under is considered a minor, and I don’t do any work with minors or children.
  • Everything is confidential. Nothing is shared from our conversations. Again, this is more about my transition, the work I do, and my strengths and weaknesses.

It may seem like not the right time to talk about some of themes around holistic health, but I think this is an opportune time. We are all facing collective limitations, forced to sit at the throne of the self in ways we have not had to do so before. We are facing the stress from other people’s actions, and uncertainty of what lies ahead. For those reasons, I think it is an opportune time to talk about ways to practice stress management simply, but effectively. I think it is important to still set goals for the self, and empower the self in order to meet others, and these circumstances intentionally and with purpose.

Connection and intention go a long way, even during these uncertain times

I hope to work with you and be of service where you need during this time. I also really need the hours, so your presence is greatly appreciated. I am looking to work with about 6-7 people, doing about 2 hours worth of services between us. That gets me to my needed 12 hours, but also presents adequate time to discuss and open these conversations. This is on a first come, first serve basis.

If you would like to work with me, please email teaandtombstones@gmail.com. Thank you so much. I wish you love and security during these uncertain times. XOXO

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The Herbcrafter’s Tarot deck review

The Major Arcana

I received the Herbcrafter’s Tarot as a birthday present last year, and I am so glad that this deck has come into my possession. I love this deck, and will take the rest of this blog post to break down all the key details about this deck. If you would like to purchase this deck or learn more about it after this blog post, you can click this link, which will take you straight to the Herbcrafter’s Tarot website (this is not an affiliate or promotional code or link). The deck was written by Latisha Guthrie, an herb / kitchen witch, teacher, and homesteader. The artwork is by Joanna Powel Colbert. She has created the Gaian Tarot, the Pentimento Tarot, and also teaches workshops and retreats related to the craft, the Goddess, and more.

What is immediately clear about this deck is that is created with a true knowledge and love of herb-crafting. You do not need a previous knowledge of herbs in order to use this deck. You will need to be invested in learning about the herbs. Each card in this deck relates to a specific herb (the one exception being the World card, which I will get into here in just a bit), so if you aren’t invested in learning about, or using herbs, this probably isn’t the deck for you.

The Herbcrafter’s Tarot is so beautifully made. The cards measure 5″ x 3″ which makes them a decent size. The paper has a nice glossy sheen which makes them easy to shuffle. The illustration for the back of the card has a very different feel than the front of the card. To be honest, I am not in love with the illustration for the back of the card. It feels disconnected from the gorgeous artwork of the cards themselves. The artwork is reversible if your cardback to match your reversal preference. I don’t mind if the image is non-reversible because I still don’t know the particular card chosen until I turn it over, but there many who want card-front and card-back to match.

If you choose to keep the deck in its box, the material has some heft, and will keep your decks well-protected. The green string allows for easy access of the cards, and the guidebook fits snug at the top, making a substantial tarot set. If you choose to put your cards in some other container or bag, I would recommend keeping the guidebook. Normally, I tend to forget the guidebook for my tarot decks, but this deck brings in so much more information, that I find it worthwhile to keep the guidebook on hand.

The guidebook is packed full of information that speaks to the formation of this deck, the intention of the herbs used for each card, and how those herbs are handled or grown in nature. These intentionally chosen herbs also relate heavily to a more numerology-based system of reading. As you can see in the picture below, the herbs chosen do not merely reflect the identity of their corresponding tarot card. They correspond to the numerology and to the herb in nature, and how it is used. Working with this deck and this guidebook will give you a good understanding of herbology, numerology, and tarot, all within one tarot deck!

The perimeters for the tarot, herb, and numerical correspondence in nature.

One of the other main differences is the titles for the Minor Arcana. Instead of staying with the elemental object (swords, pentacles, etc.) for each suit, the Minor Arcana are named in relation to the elements themselves: earth, fire, water, and air. The elemental token that is featured in the minors are:

Air/ bolines

Fire / mortars and pestles

Water / kettles

Earth / baskets.

Three of Earth / Raspberry, Eight of Fire / Ginger, Four of Air / Lavender, Two of Water / Mallow

Each of these tools are needed to participate fully in herb-crafting. The elements also take on an additional layer of understanding to help with learning and skill acquisition.

Air = learning, fire = creating, water = nourishing, and earth = giving.

This is somewhat similar to a more traditional understanding of the tarot and the elements.

Air / Swords = the mind: thoughts, brainstorming, ideas, and communication.

Fire / Wands= the spirit: creativity, ingenuity, perseverance, and ambition.

Water / Cups= the heart: connection, understanding, compassion, emotions.

Earth / Pentacles= the body: production, tangible, sensory, and environmental.

One of the final differences is the court card titles have also changed. Instead of Page, Knight, Queen, King, the court cards are now named Hija (daughter), Adelita (Warrior), Madre (mother), and Curandera (healer). Each of these titles bring similar energy to the more traditional court cards, but also represent the transformation of energy that comes from the different thresholds of the herb path. Each court card shows an image with outstretched hands, and shows how the herbs are handled differently as you progress through the court rankings.

Hija of Fire / California Poppy, Adelita of Fire / Cayenne, Madre of Fire / Thyme, Curandera of Fire / Damiana

The picture above has the four court ranks for the element of Fire. The Hija of Fire may be my personal favorite card of the deck. The Hija sits on her blanket, adorned with incense, costume jewelry, California Poppies, and she is both witnessed and protected by her stuffed tiger. She is undertaking the path in a way that is both playful and imaginative. The Adelita of Fire carries the tradition of her people’s medicine by crushing cayenne to make fire cider. The Madre of Fire keeps a whole-hearted and fierce spirit to create and use ingredients that fill her hearth and home. Finally, the Curandera of Fire teaches the power of love and intimacy, healers in their own way.

Speaking of the imagery, Joanna Powell Colbert’s artistic rendering of each card is simply stunning. Her images are so detailed and intimate, that it really feels like a part of time was captured, not just the herb. Each image feels so heavenly, that you can almost smell what’s on the stove, feel the sunshine, or test the nearby water. The artwork is so beautiful and important, but one of the other reasons I really recommend keeping the guidebook is because Latisha Guthrie’s description for each card is informative and easy to understand. Her writings detail how you can either begin or reinforce your herbal path with each herb, and benefit from each card you turn over. It is not a mere guidebook; it is an informative text for the herbal path.

If you have a decent understanding of herbs or numerology, this may be a decent deck to learn the tarot on. If new to all practices, I personally would not recommend learning on this deck, only because there is so much information that comes with this deck. By fully learning tarot through a more standard or straightforward deck, there isn’t a need to learn both herbs and tarot at the same time. However, that is merely my personal opinion, and I am sure that for many people, this deck would create full expansion in their beginning practice.

This deck has been a recent go-to for bringing in an understanding of garden magic and kitchen medicine. I would give this deck a 5/5, it is simply that beautiful, and that useful. I am getting loads of ideas for teas and tincture I want to create. I am gaining a deeper respect for the earth under my feet, and all that comes forth from its foundation. If you want to learn more about herbs, numerology, or gain more knowledge from the expertise of two powerful women who have walked this path for decades, this is a great deck to invest in.

The World begins a new chapter: awakened, alive, vibrant and gazing forward. There is a palpable readiness.
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Deck Forecast – 2020 (Wild Unknown Archetypes and Tarot)

The deck forecast begins at the very top of the table, with the Desert and the Hanged Man

For 2020, I am going to switch up the decks that I use. The Wild Unknown Archetypes decks is STUNNING. I cannot get over these cards. Plus, archetypes are meant to explored, discovered, understood, and utilized. This makes them the perfect deck for doing a monthly deep dive. The

Wild Unknown Tarot is the companion card, creating a layered message of what archetypal energy is present, and how to invite this potent energy into your life. Patrons will still receive a third card in their monthly card forecast. If you would like to become a patron, click the badge on the right hand side and join the dwelling!

For reference on how to tell upright vs. inverted, I pull every card with my right hand, and then turn each card over pulling from the left side. If I were to take these cards out of the circle, and place them in a straight line, I would then grab from the right side and move left if it’s on its side (horizontal). I hope that makes sense! It can be hard to tell when it is this kind of formation.

I tried to get a picture that did justice to the imags, while keeping the names visible. For clarity, here is the monthly forecast:

January: The Desert and The Hanged Man

February: The Shadow and the 8 of Swords inverted

March: The Eternal Child and the Tower inverted

April: The Poet and the Devil

May: The Castle and the 9 of Wands

June: Eros and the World

July: The Crone and the Mother (Queen) of Swords inverted

August: The Creator and the Ace of Cups

September: The Queen and Temperance inverted

October: Thanatos and Judgement

November: Aletheia and the 10 of Cups inverted

December: The Mirror and the Son (Knight) of Wands

So, that is the forecast for 2020. I am not going to lie, when I say the card pairings for January through April, I said to myself, “Here, we go….” That is not to say that the cards are bad or that I don’t like them. Cards like the Tower and the Devil have some of the most profound blessings, but they are not easy cards to grasp and hold. Those cards, and many others, can be incredibly daunting, and speak to growth in ways that are often uncomfortable or hard to bear at times.

Some things to note about the complete forecast: the year is divided into 6 major arcana cards, 4 pip cards, and 2 court cards. Major Arcana cards speak to great forces, forceful momentum, and encompassing shifts. When a spread, or here a forecast, is dominated by Major Arcana cards, that means that the year forecast is going to see a lot of transformation that is effective more on a grand scale of life, rather than dealing with the more minute details of the day to day. The Majors are archetypes unto themselves. They represent the macrocosm. Their energies are so large that, at times, it can be harder to feel their presence.

We have the 8 of Swords inverted, 9 of Wands, Ace of Cups, and the 10 of Pentacles inverted. With the majority of the pips and court cards falling to the Swords, we can safely say that the majority of the microcosm will be focused on the threshold of thoughts, communication, brainstorming, ideas, and narration. We will be looking into the mental faculties that gauge the energies, and how that logical clarifying accompanies the larger forces at play. The Court cards are the cards that speak to us between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Side note: I do not read Court cards as other people. I read them as the threshold between the majors and the minors. That means that July and December present invitations for a more intimate conversation about how to bridge yourself between the energetic forces and shifts available, and how to make energies available.

What are your thoughts on these card pairings? If you would like to download my free monthly ezines from 2019, do so by the end of the year. After that they will be getting deleted to make room for 2020 ezines. Much love to you!

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Approaching the end of the year

The end of the year is finally coming to a close. I feel the need to create a little time capsule of my year, and what better place than my blog? For me, this year was a rough one, but also an insanely beautiful one. There were so many things that happened, and many things I really had to confront and face. This was also the year that I really had to admit and confront where I was hurting myself, and my business.

Here were some of the major points of my year:

+My schoolwork consisted mostly of science classes (which is not my strong suit) to finish the requirements for my Associates in the Integrative Health program. Next year, I get to enjoy the Capstone, all about transitioning into the professional world.

+I got to see some whales and experience the beauty of Mexico.

+My cat was on and off sick for months. He was so sick that, at one point, Grizzly and I really thought we were going to lose him. However, my little Zombie survived, and I feel that experience in many ways brought Grizzly and I closer together.

+Some of the other classes that I got to take this year were amazing, including Medicinal Herbs in the Wild, where I met a dear friend, and fell more in love with herbs, and Colorado.

Towards the end of this year, my own health started to take a turn. What first started out as acid reflux, has turned into breathing issues that have persisted for about a month now. The shadow part of me isolated even farther, less willing to do things like see friends, run errands, or get motivation for the things I needed to complete. However, it also brought me closer to spirit, and to myself.

My year card was Strength, and I feel that after this year (I haven’t even mentioned the social injustices and headlines that have impacted and changed me), I have a better appreciation for that card. I also have had to take some time and reconcile with myself the fact that I have had to put myself on ice in regards to my business. I have had bitter moments where I have feel like I’m hitting a wall. I have had moments where it seems like I have been wasting my time. I had had moments where it has felt like no matter what I do for my business, it wasn’t good enough.

(If you would like to know your year card is, add up your birth month and day with the current year. If yours equals something like this (29), you would then add those two together, which equals 11. In the Wild Unknown deck, which is the one I use most often, the 11th card is Strength.)

It was like constantly hitting a wall. It took me a while to realize that I was the wall. My ego was needing certain boxes checked off to feel validated. My spirit just wants to express the tarot, and other modalities, with passion and authenticity. Going forward, I have recognized where I was placing expectations on the outside world, but I really need boundaries with myself. I also needed new projects.

So, come next year I am going to start a podcast. This is something that I am really excited for, and I have been toying with the idea for a while now. I am ready to try something new. I am also going to start putting up physical products, expanding my services, and establishing my platform a little bit more. I was not giving myself was the belief that I deserved a thriving business. I was not allowing myself to feel the confidence needed to thrive. That stops now. It is not welcome in 2020.

If you are feeling overdrawn, overburdened, or anything that does not register with your higher being, I ask to you to see where your beliefs or confidence or compassion for yourself is at. I am not saying that I found the formula for growth. That is a process that I look forward to learning more about as I discover more about myself. I simply ask you to confront and face. You can do it. You are strong. You are worthy. You are gorgeous. If you would like to go deeper into some energy, we can work together, and use the tarot to unleash some needed energy. Next post will be about the deck forecast for 2020.

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My Spread Pricing and Why I Don’t Charge Per Hour

I wanted to do and write something a little bit differently today. More specifically, my intention is to show a little bit of my process behind certain aspects of my business. Many, if not most, tarot readers charge based on time spent for the reading. There is nothing wrong with this, but I personally have never liked to charge that way. A big reason why is because of my first reading as the client, not the reader.

I like to charge based on number of cards pulled as opposed to a set price per hour. Time can be a good factor to set the value, but I don’t personally like to be controlled by a timely starting and stopping point.

I went to see a tarot reader long before I knew how to read tarot. To be fair, I had not done my research into the type or reading, or reader, I wanted. I simply had some cash and showed up at a store in Denver. I also had not taken the time to consider what I wanted, and more importantly needed, from my reading. What was the underlying purpose? What would I do with the information given to me? How could I be vulnerable and hear both the good and bad the cards may bring forth? I asked myself none of these question. (I would like to spend a whole post on the etiquette between reader and client, but I digress….)

So I show up at a store, cash in hand, ready for my reading. I asked if anyone was available to read for me. A woman was, and although I do not expect or want an overly fluffy or lovey-dovey reader (that is not my style), this woman was cold and not very friendly. We went to a section of the store, that was separated by nothing more than a divider. This made my walls go up. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted or needed from my reader, but I knew I didn’t want every customer walking by to overhear what I considered, and still do, a sacred conversation.

I told her a little bit about what was going on with me, and she started to pull the cards. And she kept pulling… and pulling…. and pulling. She must have pulled over thirty cards from her deck. I say this not because I question or despise the way another reader works with her cards. (I also want to make it clear that many, if not most readers do not read this way. They are inviting, informative, and value the shared energetic experience.) I did not feel like this reader valued my presence. I say this because the majority of the reading was spent shuffling and looking and shuffling and looking. I could not tell you a single card that was pulled because she didn’t talk very much. The last five minutes of a fifteen-minute reading was spent with her asking a few more questions, and then giving some small suggestions, and that was it.

Those fifteen minutes cost me $20.00, and although I recognize that is not the most expensive reading ever, it was still a lot for me at that time financially. I left feeling overwhelmed, annoyed, and more confused than before. I would have preferred it if she had pulled one card for me and had deeply gone into the meaning of that card, and how it could relate to me and my situation. As a reader, I don’t not believe more is more when it comes to number of cards. As a client, I know it’s not. A couple of years later, when I started developing my website, writing spreads, and determining my prices, I knew that I didn’t want to make anyone as my blessed client feel like they had been overcharged and under-served.

My pricing starts at $10.00 for one card, and goes up in $5.00 increments for each additional card.

But, I wrestled with the way to price my services and my spreads. What was fair to the clients, but still honored and valued the heart and soul I put into my work? I finally decided that I wanted to charge based on cards that I pulled. This means that my one-card readings (still thorough and written with love) are not charged the same way that my five-card reading does. Here are some of the main reasons I decided to charge this way (I feel the need to preface here that this is what works for me and the way I operate as a tarot reader. I am not saying that others who price or charge differently than me are doing it wrong. Different strokes for different folks):

1.) I don’t like being rushed for / by time and numbers: By removing the constraint of time, I personally feel more free to spend as much time as needed going into the messages that I download from each card. By removing the layer of time from my readings, I feel less confined by time.

2.) Discussing the cards from intuition: I could take one hour to discuss one card if my intuition keeps downloading meaningful content. I could take less time with more cards. With no time limit, I feel able to discuss each download clearly and without rush.

3.) Gives you financial options: Because my spreads are based upon the amount of cards I pull, I have many different spread options available on my website. You can choose the spread that works for you and for your budget. As mentioned, I have been in the place where $20.00 was my grocery limit for the week. I believe tarot is medicine, but I also believe it shouldn’t put you in the red. No matter the spread you choose, you will get my soulful intention to provide the best tarot reading I can.

4.) Telecommute makes time commitment harder: Because I do readings exclusively out of my home right now, time commitment to readings is not so black and white. Often, during a reading I pull the cards, write down initial notes by hand, and then take some time (outside, in meditation, or by journaling) to really let my intuition start downloading. It doesn’t always get channeled so immediately. So, I don’t have to start a timer or take note when I started or stopped. This again makes me feel less pressured by time, and more able to just read the cards and write.

5.) Quality over quantity: More cards does not mean a better reading. More time does not mean a better reading. Say it with me: more does not mean better. As I said in my story above, I would have preferred a $20.00 with only one or two cards, as opposed to a reading that had half the deck, and little to no detailed insight from particular cards. One card can really anchor you into clarification, or speak to your needed questions. Throwing down card after card after card may not always provide the most insight.

No matter as a reader, or a client, the main focus is in the value of each energetic experience. If you do not see what you want or need on my website, reach out to me. My prices are set by the cards I pull, but we can collaborate to create something of utility that honors both energy and budgets.
Photo by Ikhsan Sugiarto from Pexels

Hopefully, this provides some clarity to the way my pricing is set on my website. If you have any questions, or if you have a certain price point but don’t see a spread that fully covers your needs, no worries, shoot me an email at teaandtombstones@gmail.com and we can get a spread that fits your price point and your needs. Thanks for reading. Much love to you!

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Card Comparison: The Emperor

The Two Emperors: Ostara tarot and the Wild Unknown

There are many things that move across the cards, particularly the Major Arcana, like a wave, no matter the image. This bloodline of understanding, symbolism, or definition comes from the archetype, the held knowledge of numbers and namesakes.

The Emperor is no different. When the word EMPEROR is said, each one of us can visualize something. He or she may look different. The kingdom may hold different colors and material grandeur. But, the general understanding of an Emperor is a ruler who stands alone. He is the beacon of order for all that he rules.

It is because of this general understanding that the Emperor is often given a fierce and authoritative connotation. In this post, we will not be looking so much at the card definition and attributes. If you would like to read my interpretation of the Emperor please click here to go to my interpretations of the Wild Unknown card meanings. You will find the Emperor, as well as all the cards that I have thus far written a personal interpretation for.

In this post, we will be taking time to look at the Emperor across the two decks that I own: the Wild Unknown tarot and the Ostara tarot. These two cards will be examined and shed light on the nuance that they bring to the interpretations of the Emperor.

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Starting from left to right, we have the Emperor from the Ostara tarot. Unlike many other decks that depict the Emperor as a wise or authoritative older man, here the Emperor is young. He wears not a crown of gold or jewels, but two horns that symbolize his dominion over the natural earth. He is of both worlds, showing that he can understand the rule of law and the laws of nature.

These combined together can create balance in the physical fabric of the world. His youth means that he has vigor, and he does not rely on others to to uphold or protect those whom he serves. His gaze is off in the distance, showing that his vision is on the horizon, far off in the distance. The symbols on his body show that he is also mysterious, something seen hardly at all in other decks. In fact, the directness of other decks (which we will see in the Wild Unknown) is the antithesis of mystery. But these symbols as part of his physical body means that he is learned in other languages, ones that may unlock other mysteries that can serve and protect. He has taken the time and embodied the learning the different languages that are part of his world.

He also does not depict a foreboding or fierce figure. He seems gentle, a little wild or mischievous perhaps, but his face is beautiful and soft. As a counterpart to the Empress, he also holds the a childlike whimsy to create and protect the world that he is a part of.

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The Emperor in the Wild Unknown is depicted as a large tree. The size of the tree emphasizes age and time. A tree that big has been around for a long time. This sticks with the more traditional definition of Emperor as one with the benefit of experience because of age and time. Behind the Emperor is a brilliant, fiery sun, which may be the crown of the natural world.

With this brilliance comes clarity of vision, and fire for action. In this deck, the Emperor as a tree speaks to action in terms of giving. At this size, he acts like one of many lungs for the planet, taking in loads of carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Trees this size create a canopy for the sky, and a network for the soil. They are a home for the fauna, shade for the weary, and a beacon for the lost.

The Emperor is depicted in only one color. He is stark black, resembling his stark nature, perhaps a little harsh and direct, but beautiful and giving nonetheless. There is also a notion of simplicity with this card, which is very different from the other Emperor. The symbols that adorned the Emperor’s body speak to a complicated understanding of different languages and symbolism in this world. Here, the Emperor is much more simplistic. He is there, front and center. He is visible, giving, nurturing, but also abrupt in palate to some.

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There you have two different images for the Emperor. I hope these comparisons help show how the image brings nuance and layers to the knowledge of the cards. Please let me know how these, or other images of the Emperor resonate with you. Much love.

Ashlie

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How to Work with Justice When We Feel it isn’t Serving Us

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We knew the Justice card would be hard. We knew this wouldn’t be an easy month. Justice is something that when it doesn’t come, can hit you across the palpitating heart. This month, I am not going to lie, it seemed to keep coming. At first, my instincts were to dig in harder, to learn more and know more so I could more in the search for Justice, and being an ally for those who need it most. I thought that through my good intentions of constantly seeking the truth of what was going, I could be better prepared.

That is not what happened……

I became overwhelmed by everything that was going on. The news was enough to make turn my good intentions into stone. I couldn’t carry all the emotions that I felt around these injustices. So I pulled back. I set boundaries. I created timelines of when I would have the TV on, and when I would enjoy a stupid funny movie. I needed this boundary because for a few days I was so inundated with horrific headlines that I forgot to laugh.

Justice is something that will push us to the limits. We need to act and search for the things in this world that will balance the corruption, the hatred, the violence. We need to use our words to say clearly where we wish to see Justice manifest. With the midterms coming up, this is another way to actively seek what we see is fair settlement for ourselves and others.

There are a lot of things to be positive about. I do not want to say that tumultuous times purge all the beauty in this world. There is still much to be grateful for, and much to love. But Justice is a balancing act, and I am not going to lie, today was a hard one. The new shooting in Pittsburgh, the bombs sent in the mail, it all felt like “Here we go again.” And then I read the news that two wolves were killed in Washington State.

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Wolves are killed everywhere. I know this. I can’t always read it because it hurts, but I know it happens. Today I just spilled over in emotion. I cried hard. Harder than I have in probably a year. It was just too much. I kept thinking this is unfair for everyone. This is unfair. The shadow of Justice was coming in, and I didn’t know how to handle it. So I sat with it. I kept sitting with the pain of everything going on. I finally realized that no matter how bad the news gets, no matter how much I want to give in, I need to keep speaking about the causes I am invested in.

So if you are working with Justice, and you feel the way I do, here are some things to do to work with Justice when it doesn’t feel it is working with us. These are things that have worked for me. If something else works for you great! Share it. I would love to know how others work with this card when it feels it isn’t working with us:

1.) Create boundaries. No one can hold all of their pain and rage all the time. Be informed. Learn. But take time to laugh, to find happiness. Take breaks. It is okay to do so.

2.) Sit with the emotions. What do they have to say. If we suppress our pain when something bad happens, when something is unjust happens, we also suppress our empathy and desire to see things done right for all.

3.) Use what resources or words you can, when you can. We are all in this together, and I hope that we can all share the load towards love and inclusion.

4.) Keep believing. Empathy and love are not always going to win the battle, but I believe in my bones that it will win the war. Fighting for Justice is not always an act of love. Sometimes, it is an act of pain and heartbreak to still be fighting for equality in many topics. But, if no one fights for Justice, it won’t happen.

**Thank you for reading. I hope this small blog helps in creating ways to work with Justice, even when it feels like a mountain. It is a hard month, but I would rather feel the pain and the love than apathy and detachment any day of the week. Much love to you. Stay wild wolflings!!** #alwayshowling

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Duality Cards: Justice and The Empress

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There are some cards in the tarot that seem to foster a good kinship with each other, however unlikely they may seem to fit. Others are antagonists of each other, representing energies that conflict the core essence of either card as an individual message. Both are important, and both need to be expanded upon. It should also be stated, that one card can have multiple benefactor cards.

One such alliance I see in relation to the Justice card is the Empress. I think that the message of the Empress can help show the sweetness of the fruit born from Justice. Justice, as we have mentioned, is a card about mental clarity to follow the truth. The Justice card seen here (from the Ostara Tarot) shows Justice as blind, unaided in the potential distractions and biases that naturally exist in this world.

However, what starts out as a quest for Justice, for the fair and right course of punishment or action, can quickly become a search for vengeance. When one person or creature is wronged, there are those who are quick to say that the same should be done to the offender. I am not here to argue that this point in and of itself is meaningless, but I do think that it should stated that vengeance is not justice. Vengeance attaches an emotion of revenge or rage to an action. This does not apply to self-defense. Self-defense is in a whole other category. These messages are bigger picture and do not apply to immediate physical or bodily threats of harm. 

Justice is not always an easy fight. Read any history book to see how justice came to many groups of people way to late. I was recently watching the movie 42. This movie is about Jackie Robinson, and the racism he faced as he became the first black man to play in professional baseball. This movie is a beautiful story, but one scene spoke to me in particular. One white player went to Branch Rickie, nervous and concerned from a death threat he had received by small-minded bigots. Branch, unconcerned with this player’s fear, showed him a whole file of death threats sent for Robinson. He said that all this hatred was actually promoting empathy for Robinson.

Obviously, segregation in itself is unjust, but the unintended consequence from many peoples’ hatred was an ability to see how wrong it was. Empathy goes a long way. That is why I chose the Empress today. There are other cards that could be paired with Justice, and have great messages to give. But empathy, led by an unconditional duty to promote understanding and truth, can keep justice away from vengeance. Vengeance and revenge do not promote a higher integrity even though they are natural feelings. It is natural to be angry at the wrong-doings of others. It is natural to wish at times that others felt the pain we feel. But empathy opens a door that revenge cannot close.

We do not have to agree with others to show them compassion or empathy. We do not have to believe all the same things in order to break bread with another person. We can be empathetic towards people who are different. But if that other person promotes violence, speaks with racist or misogynistic words, or condemns others as inferior we can use justice to fight for correct actions to remove these people from power, the podium, or our communities. It goes both ways. We do not have to listen to someone spewing hate, but we do not have to respond with hate either.