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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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The Law of Creation

Law 2: The Law of Creation

The second karmic law is the Law of Creation. This law states that life does not merely happen by chance or coincidence. Life is formed in the forges of ourselves; we are the creators. This means that as creators for our own lives, it is imperative that we hold to our truth, and honor that which makes each of us who we are. If you hide your truth or refuse to be an active participant in the daily makings of your own life, it can be of no surprise then, when your life does not hold the glittering riches of what you value.

One of the things that is important to be an active creator of your life, is to be present and aware of what is around you. Why? Because what is around you can be a direct message about your internal self. If your external world, and the way it moves and flows daily is peaceful (for the most part), inclusive (of yourself and others), creative (sacred expression), your internal self probably feels secure and sound. If your external world moves and flows daily from a place of fear, anger, or isolation, your internal world probably feels like a struggle or energy drain.

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels

The Law of Creation, with each person as the creator, means that if your world and external self are not in alignment with your higher potential, your internal self is most likely out of alignment with your truth. When or if this happens, look to what is within you that needs to be present and seen. Look to what your truth is, and that which you seek. If you look for answers and solutions outside yourself, your internal self is constantly left to adapt to themes, ideas, and situations that are not in alignment with your core.

5 of Pentacles from the Ostara Tarot

I think this sentiment applies nicely to the 5 of Pentacles, the tarot card of the month. This image shows a girl standing outside of a cathedral, and she is clearly destitute at the moment. Her wrap is in rags, her skin is exposed, and the night is bleak and snowy. With her is a snake, wrapped around her closely. Together they attempt to move and protect themselves from the elements. What she does not realize is that right next to her, shining through the cathedral window, is a stained-glass portrait of a snake wrapped around a tree of five pentacles.

If she would just turn and look at the light shining and the portrait on the stained-glass window, she would realize that she is where she needs to be to heal and be whole again. She would realize she is welcome beyond the doors of her current situation. Only she can make the choice to look and see that world is giving her an opportunity to regroup and grow through her personal truth. She is being given an opportunity by the universe to seek that which is seeking her, and to be part of the oneness of life.

The Law of Creation, since it applies to each person, means that you connecting to your life, forged from your own daily creation, means that when you meet another person, animal, or personified spirit, you are connecting to the oneness of the universe. Your life creation is a creation of energy. This energy is elevated through choice to be part of the wholesome universe as one energetic force.

There are certain things that are obvious outliers for the Law of Creation (in my humble opinion). Freak accidents happen. Bad things happen to good people. Life is often a painful experience. What is not an outlier that you, and each person, create your life through your choices, actions, relationships, intentions, spirit, and so much more. When looking to use the Law of Creation to connect more deeply to the oneness of yourself and beyond, look to the current energy within and around you. Ask yourself if you are happy. Ask yourself if you are okay. Ask the universe to help reveal the opportunity you need to grow, and then look up and choose…….

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Breakdown of the 12 Karmic Laws – The Great Law, The Law of Cause and Effect

We all know about the understood universal energy of Karma, even making memes and jokes that Karma is a bigger bitch than any of us ever could be (and there may be some actual truth to that statement). I have been thinking a lot about karma ever since the beginning of August. The Phoenix reversed is sending a message that it is time to really look at the karmic cycles we moving through, and the ones we are stagnant in. August is presenting an opportunity for each of us to really look at what in our actions, choices, or surroundings is holding us back from ascending on our hierarchical ladder of self.

The Phoenix is an invitation to provide for yourself and rise past Root Chakra

There are 12 Karmic Laws, and I want to devote a blog post to each of them. There is to much to say about each law for one post. So, we will start with the first law: The Great Law, also known as the Law of Cause and Effect. This is perhaps the most well-known law. This law basically means what is says. The energy you put out into the universe (including sub and unconscious energy) comes back to you.

Because of cause and effect, because the energy includes sub and unconscious energy, this law is often defined and perceived as a message of: if you are positive, positivity comes back you. If you are negative, negativity comes back to you. I respectfully disagree with this statement. Yes, there is something to be said about constantly looking at the world through a dark lens. There is something to be said about those people who constantly choose to exist in the darkness, and never wish to be honest about themselves so they can move into the light. We all know someone like this, and they are perpetuating a karmic cycle because they keep choosing a dark path, and then complain there is no light.

Where I take issue with this blanket statement of positive versus negative is 3-fold

1.) The Universe does not work or flow in only black or white: The Universe, the collective unconscious, Goddess and Gods do not exist in a state of either good or bad. There are layers of perception, action, emotion, and process. Sometimes the hardest things to do are scary to us. Sometimes the worst things for us, about us, are easy. Cause and Consequence is not a simple singularity that keeps a tally of every positive or negative aspect of ourselves. Cause and effect is more based in patterns, and a willingness to try and be courageous for change.

2.) It is impossible to be positive all the time: There is no way that we can have only good days, hold only good vibes. Why? Because that is not normal. If you can have a good day and have only good vibes during tragedy, that is not living and feeling into the dynamics of expression and emotion. Loss, death, heartbreak, rejection, insults, grief and more are going to bring out negativity, and that’s okay. It means you are human. The patterns come in how you handle it, and how you choose to let it define you.

3.) I believe it comes down to where this energy resides on your inner spectrum: Simply put, the life experience is going to move us on the spectrum with each day. It is going to move us further towards love, or further towards fear. I believe this is where the karmic cycle takes root. You can have a negative emotion, but still come from a place of love. You can keep perpetuating a smile to avoid having to deal with deep fear or sadness. In the end, I believe karma comes down to where the life experience consistently moves you on the spectrum.

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Honest analysis of the first 12 days of July

July has been crazy from the get-go, and it hasn’t let up. In fact, it feels like it is growing stronger in its tumultuous ways. I cannot tell if it is Mercury Retrograde, the monthly cards, or the fact that it is just July, but this month is starting to feel crowded and cramped with all that energy spiraling in all directions. After writing my monthly ezine, I tried to really contemplate the cards message, decipher what was keeping my stagnant in my current space. I did not have to wait long for an answer…..

Within these fluttering 12 days, I have tried to power on and keep it business as usual. That is where I started to overdraw my energetic savings, depleting me of my ethereal riches. To start with some things a little less serious, I have tried to keep my business output the same, despite the fact that I work from home, and my home is currently an active construction site. The constant noise of whirring power tools, hammers banging their heads, and people shouting has left me short-tempered and exhausted, actually.

I finally had to throw in the towel and wait a few days for the crews to move to the other side of the complex before I could start my creations again. I do not write this with the presumption that this is a unique or extraordinary situation. It isn’t. Because of that fact, I couldn’t help but wonder why I felt so rushed, like I was failure because I couldn’t power through the circumstance.

This toxic mindset made me feel even worse, heightening already heightened energy. Some of this energy came from other, deeper sources too. One of my cats has been dealing with some health issues with no clear cause (despite some serious and expensive tests). Each trip to the vet, each dose of medication, made me feel more depleted. I didn’t know what to do, or sometimes how to handle this experience. All I knew was that I would do everything I could, and some days that didn’t feel like enough. Again, heightened energy left me feeling depleted and unable to honestly handle many things. Top that off with a flat tire this (thankfully discovered while at home), and these first 12 days have been a mountain.

But this is not a blog post meant to harbor resentment or throw a pity party. Some wonderful things have happened too. My cat is doing much better now. I decided to get fully back on board with yoga, opting to do my routine through youtube videos (Yoga with Adriene is amazing by the way) to save money, and I have been feeling great. I have also started baking more again, and eating better. I have also noticed that my energy has either been incredibly high or low and lazy. When I am feeling that brightness in myself, I have been working to declutter and reorganize my home.

I am also being more cognizant of how much news I take in. It is important to be mindful of what is going on in the world (when babies are being held captive, we cannot turn away from the truth), but it is also important to keep the head up, the eyes forward, and the heart open. Sometimes stepping away may feel privileged (and it completely is), but is necessary to breathe and not overwhelm the heart with such repulsive news.

So there have been many wonderful things coming from this heightened energy. But all of it made me wonder, why I am judging myself so harshly in moments, and then loving myself fiercely in other moments. Coming back to the Daughter of Pentacles and the Bat reversed (for the full description of the monthly cards, head over to my free offerings for the July ezine), I realized the first thing I have to release is judgement. There are times where I need to let myself stoop into laziness or frustration. Not the most pleasant of feelings, but it has a lot to teach. We cannot exceed our limits, although it is almost ingrained in us to just go, go, go. By taking a step back and letting myself feel a little triggered, I recognize that my sensitivity is proof of my existence. It is part of the spiral of life that I wouldn’t trade for anything, even in these times.

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Mother of Cups in the Dark

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There have been numerous words given to the Mother of Cups, full of praise and light, justly deserved. But there needs to be time given to the dark mother, the one in the corner, carrying wounds and weapons that haven’t been seen.

There are many reasons why it is important to go into the dark side of the tarot:

1.) There is no card in the deck that is strictly good or bad. They all carry the cosmos of light and trouble.

2.) There is no one way to “define” good or bad. Is a good card good because it makes us feel positive? Is a “bad” card the good one because it challenges us to grow and learn so we can honor our highest potential?

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The Mother of Cups promotes self-love, self-discovery, the need for boundaries, and a self-actualized encouragement to go deeper into what we love and cherish in this moment. However, despite these nuisances of deeper love and celebration, the Mother of Cups (just like any other card) has a dark side that reveals obstacles, troubles, or a need for change.

The Mother of Cups shows the beauty of self-love and love to others, but that doesn’t mean that everyone we are around is someone who will bring us joy. We are often required to be around others who we do not hold the best feelings for. This is not a shadow element, but how we deal with this can become a shadow element if we are unchecked in certain behaviors.

One behavior is shit-talking. This behavior does nothing but breed hostility. We are vocalizing our negative feelings,  but not in a way that reaches any conclusion or solution for growth. I want to be clear that shit-talking is not the same as venting. When we vent to someone, we are also not looking for any conclusion to be met, nor are we trying to make a point. We are simply letting out our emotions to someone we trust, or venting in a journal. When someone is trash-talking someone else, we are not trying to reach a solution, but we ARE trying to make a point of how bad this other person is.

When someone trash-talks another it is often because they would never express their feelings in a constructive way to the person involved. Obviously, this is problematic behavior. The Mother of Cup teaches self-love. If we are hurt or upset with someone that is okay, but it becomes problematic when we refuse to address the issue, and resort to bad-mouthing someone behind their back.

 

Another dark side to the Mother of Cups is the need for validation from others. If there is a need to be validated or approved by others, it can often be because of deep-rooted insecurities. The problem here is that the gratification for validation never promotes self-love because it didn’t through us or for us. It came out of a need to be enriched by the words of others, to be seen or in the spotlight. When we practice self-love, we are validating our own vulnerable nature, complete with gifts and flaws.

The urge to be validated can be seen in many ways. It can be seen in jealousy, that we want more validation that someone else. It can be seen in toxic comparisons, or in the need to be competitive with another person, to outdo them and shine brighter. Obviously, all of these are problematic because it fosters a negative outlook. It preaches that we don’t have enough, but it never encourages a healthy way to express our emotions.

Finally, the Mother of Cups is highly intuitive and nurturing. Because of these qualities, she is also prone to burn-out, creative dismantling, or emotionally worn. If the Mother of Cups does not take time to spend alone or with others who fuel her creative or emotional passions, if she is constantly fulfilling the needs of others while neglecting herself, she will burn out. Boundaries and the Sacred No are incredibly important for the Mother of Cups. She needs to be able to take care of herself so that she can serve others.

**Please note that I am not saying that these traits equal a bad person. We all hold and often can act on this dark elements at times. What is important to be mindful, and work to foster an environment where we are self-loving, and promoting love and honesty to others.**

Let me know your thoughts!

Much love Wolflings,

Ashlie

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Celebrating Rituals and Other Mothers

Dear Wolflings,

In my studies, I have had the privilege of learning and working with many people on many topics. One that rings out to me is Aromatherapy in particular. I love using this oils in all ways that I can, and I have found that many oils in working with the tarot has heightened and intensified my practice.

I am particularly into Basil right now because it is the oil that reminds me of the Mother of Cups. I will be doing a blog soon about the different ways I have been using Basil oil. But I want to talk about an event that I want to celebrate and share with you all.

Michele and Loretta are two women I know, and they are hosting a beginner’s class all about essentials oils, the uses, benefits, and knowledge of where to get good oils, and it ends with everyone making their own dream pillow.

This class is only $17.00, and you are getting some great knowledge about the topic. I want to share and celebrate others in this world who are helping to promote these topics that promote our higher well-being.

Check out the picture below for all the details. Stay Wild Wolflings!

Michelle_Flyer_29th_Nov_

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November cards: Dragonfly and the Mother of Cups

Dearest Wolflings,

We have passed through a harsh month, full of dichotomies and conflicting energies. I am happy to say that November is going to be a time of reflection, tapping into mindful directions, and listening to the rolling waves of our hearts. We move into the month of the Dragonfly and the Mother of Cups. Both cards tap into ancient wisdom of mindful intentions and actions. These cards harness a need to go deeper into the psyche, to heal wounds and learn more about our power.

Dragonfly and the Mother of Cups

Starting with the Dragonfly, this spirit animal has been seen in symbols across almost every culture. They have been around in some form for millions of years. They have seen the changes of the Earth, the rivers, the mountains, and the seasons through eyes that make the bulk of their head. They must keep moving, and they can move in all directions. These ancient ones call on us to see, to be still, and to move with direction. They call on us to quiet the mind and listen to the wisdom that come from being a part of this world. Acting with direction is key. Thinking before speaking is key. Creating powerful intentions and visualizations are key. The first step is to come into rhythm of silence by quieting the mind. Sit alone and meditate. Journal your thoughts and feelings. Create something for the simple sake of creation. The mind is able to move with purpose when we create buffers to safeguard the positive thoughts we are starting to manifest with this animal energy.

Free stock photo of nature, blue, eyes, grass

All the mothers are the Healers. They are the Keepers of knowledge, lineage, and ritual. They safeguard the treasures of history and heritage. The Mother of Cups is double-water. Everything about her flows from the well of creation and intuition. In some ways she is like the Empress, endless in her capacities of love for the sake of love. They both radiate the light of inner acceptance, inner bloom. Where they depart is the Empress is the bridge between the High Priestess and the Emperor. She understands the messages of this world, but she is creative and channels her gifts towards the dawn of new possibilities which the Emperor enforces.

Swan on Body of Water

The Mother of Cups is more internal, spending more time in ritual and in sacred space. She is highly intuitive and spiritual, but she is less public, less out in the open. Her gifts are born and brought from a place that she cannot share with others. Because she is a Swan, she is of two worlds. One of the land, and one of dark water. Because she is of two worlds she is also a bridge, a bridge between the tangible manifestation and the deep, pulsating quiet of the heart. She is a Keeper of the heart, of relationships, and selfless love, and a Healer to the world when she comes to the surface.

If there is one line I could write to describe what messages I am receiving from these cards, it would be: Quiet the mind. Channel the heart. Going deeper into the subconscious, into wishes and dreams, and manifesting positivity, ritual, heritage, our inner lineage is a tall order. How can we keep things out of our minds when so much is happening that is trying to force its way in? By creating boundaries. Like the Mother, we need to be of almost two worlds. The visible one on land where we bond and love and speak about how that love is never going to go away. But we also must go deeper to heal and learn and channel that love into ourselves for manifestation. Last month saw intense energy, now we must quiet the mind, and channel the heart for change.

**Thank you for reading. Please let me know your thoughts on these cards for November. Much love. Stay wild, wolfling!**

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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.

wolf

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.