When the clock turned from 2019 to 2020 last year, I was in a bit of a dark place. Questioning literally everything from my creative path, to my art business, and the social media grind, I felt unfulfilled. I felt lost.
If I wanted something, I should be able to have it right away, right? Wrong. If I got a lot of likes on a photo I posted, I should feel better about myself, right? Not a chance. If I wanted to move and change my surroundings, the right place would pop up instantly, right? Nope.
The way in which I was functioning in the world had suddenly snapped. The blindfold removed. I realized I had been operating from ego instead soul, seeking external gratification as a way to avoid the discomfort in the present moment. And in order to let this version of my egotistic identity go, it was going to take a lot of work.
So I put on my boots and got to hiking through a very dark night. I was terrified and uncomfortable. Everything felt unknown and I couldn’t see two feet in front of me. But instead of panicking about what might be lurking in the shadows, I turned my attention inwards. A new adventure initiated as I traversed the internal landscape of my mind and soul, walking deeper into the present moment than ever before. I trusted myself and the universe to lead me through the dark night of the unknown.
A year later, I can say with utmost certainty that I’ve changed.
And I am finally feeling ready to tell you about the force of change behind these shifts in my life, because well, after a year like 2020, we could all use a grounding practice.
It all began with a deck of 78 cards called The Tarot. Each card comes with its own invitation, message, and medicine for self-reflection. You can pull these cards for yourself, for others, or just connect with their energies throughout the day.
Through building a Tarot practice, I have put significant energy into studying my brain and soul. I have treated my studies like school- pulling cards daily, taking notebooks full of notes, filling journals full of words, and enrolling in online courses. A student of my own experience, I've sat quietly observing myself. I’ve made mistakes along the way and bypassed certain areas, then gone back to rewrite the essay. Yet in this school, there’s no one to tell you wrong from right because that doesn’t exist here. There is no pass or fail because in the Tarot, you yourself are your own teacher. There’s no graduation because it’s essentially based upon the evolution of self-care over a lifetime.
With Tarot by my side, I've processed grief from the past that I didn’t even know still lived in me. I've grown a stronger sense of self and devotion to my life path as an Artist. I've been able to decipher the difference between my brain chatter and my soul purpose. And during moments of anxiety when I just want to escape the present, I’ve turned to my deck.
I received my first Tarot deck when I was 13 for Christmas. I remember laying the cards out on my bedroom floor and looking at all of the images. But after pulling them out the first time, I don’t think I touched that deck again.
Over a decade later, I had a dream one night that my life long bestie, Rachel Taylor, pulled some cards for me. Taking this as a sign, I messaged Rachel about my dream and she gave me a reading. I immediately wanted to learn more. A few months later for my 25th birthday, Rachel gifted me my first deck.
I began pulling cards every day, going through the booklet of interpretations included with the deck, looking online for supplemental info. But I couldn't help feeling like I was missing some pieces of vital information about the cards. A lot of the common interpretations didn't resonate with anything that I was experiencing in my own life. At the time, I was constantly pulling Ten of Swords, and the interpretation of this card were about betrayal and backstabbing. This definition didn’t resonate with me and had nothing to do with what I was experiencing in my own life…
So I began scouring the internet for Tarot podcasts and information, looking for something that I could connect with. There had to be someone out there digging deeper than the surface. I was looking for interpretations beyond the Empress representing feminine energy and the Kings as father figures. Something more than the pentacles relating to money and the cups to romance.
Right around December of 2019 (during that dark phase I was talking about in the beginning), I found Lindsay Mack's Tarot for the Wild Soul podcast. She speaks about the Tarot differently than anyone else I had found. Digging deep, Lindsay elegantly excavates down to the core of each card, going beneath the capitalistic and patriarchal interpretations of tarot, weaving together each cards energy with an inclusive, human, and universal lens. And though her teachings do provide interpretations of the cards, the common theme revolves around trusting your own knowing and critically thinking beyond what she or anyone else says.
I was immediately hooked. I've based my whole life and career off of questioning structures and expectations placed upon me, so I immediately resonated with her work. After listening to hours of TFWS on Spotify for several months, I decided to enroll in the eight week TFWS Soul Tarot School, a deep dive into every single card in the Tarot. Rachel enrolled too, and together we processed what we were learning and held each other accountable for the workload each week.
This course came into my life in none other than divine timing. It was May 2020 and I was quarantined in a little cabin in the woods, on an island where I grew up. I hadn't left the cabin since the initial shutdown in March. Like many others during that time, I was feeling pretty anxious and restless. I wanted more than anything to move, leave, escape the inevitable of the pandemic and also my hometown. I felt confined to the bounds of this very familiar place and the limitations of COVID-19 and the shutdown. Mask culture, social distancing, everything was familiar yet unfamiliar, it was a very strange paradox.
From day one of the course, I entered a giant excavation of my life. And I began realizing how much weight I place on my external world. How I view external change as something that will save me from the pain of the present. But one of the biggest truths I learned from this course as a whole, is that the external change is often the last piece to shift, all of the work must take place internally first. I know this to be true because, in retrospect, I see it reflected in my own life.
When I was 20, I felt a strong calling to become at artist, even though I didn’t even know exactly what the outcome would be. It took me 3 years of dedicating all of my free time to my art, alone in my bedroom, to actually find any “success at it.” And the work really never ends. It’s a constant evolution of folding in and unfolding what we know and what we thought we knew.
It's a process I am still very much in, and like I said before, there is no graduation. But I do know there have been some fundamental changes in my life. And it will all continue to change and evolve over time. Because after all, the only constant is change.
I sure unloaded a ton of stuff out of my metaphorical backpack in 2020. And walking into this new year, I am carrying less and I feel considerably lighter.
It’s hard to say what the new year will have in store for us all. But as the clock turns closer to ringing in 2021, I know this to be true- that the future is far from fixed, yet each moment we live, we create the future we will live in the next. It’s a blank canvas and WE get to paint it!
After some reflection and planning, here’s what I am painting on my canvas in 2021:
I invite you to take a few minutes, or a few hours and ask yourself… what will you commit to this new year? What will you paint on your blank canvas?
With all of the love in my heart, wishing you a gentle and peaceful transformation into 2021. May all of your truest dreams come to fruition in this new year. Thank you for being by my side through this difficult year. Can’t wait to walk into 2021 with you.
P.s. I know for a fact that building a tarot practice helped me evolve as a human being. I cannot recommend Lindsay Mack's work with TFWS more, so if you feel called please take a look at her offerings. Maybe tarot isn't for you, and that's cool too. It’s likely not for everyone, and I am in no way recommending that it is a ‘cure’ for anything. Just sharing something that has immensely helped me :)