Monday, December 30, 2019

Benefits of Daily Card Draws


As I prepare to suspend my practice of doing a morning daily draw for the year, I find myself reflecting on the benefits of this practice that has been my habit for over six years now so I thought I'd share my insights of what I've found to be the biggest benefits.

I never did any daily draws nor journaled my readings for the first decade of learning to read cards with the Tarot, I'd never heard of the practice and I've never been much for keeping a daily diary or journal. I started doing daily draws and journaling them for the first time when I was learning to read the Lenormand, following the advice of Donnaleigh de la Rose whose videos were my main source of education for it. She suggested it was a good idea as doing so would teach one the language the cards use with each of us, and I've found that to be very true and I added on to keyword lists to create my own with meanings that came up for me out of this practice. It also helped me to learn the language of the cards and how to read them in context with each other. The practice was to draw three cards in the morning, journal the cards drawn and your interpretation, then to look back at the end of the day to see how what happened was predicted by the cards.

I continued this practice when I returned to reading tarot again after a two year break of full immersion into Lenormand. Where I'd struggled to interpret the tarot before, now I found I was learning its language as well. It helped me greatly to get an easy grasp on the Thoth and the Tarot de Marseille as well, and to get up to speed quickly with using these systems professionally. However, using it as a learning tool over the past couple of years changed my practice from mixing my reading using tarot and oracle cards and a rune to get meaning into doing a 3-card draw and I'll admit that's not as fun and has started to make it feel more like a chore lately. 

If it starts to feel that way to you, find a way to get more creative with it and mix things up! Daily draws can be playful because we learn better when we play than when everything is serious study. This is what I'm planning to do when I return to doing daily draws in 2021, or even late 2020 after getting settled in to my new home and life. My best readings were those where I had a tarot card, an oracle card and a rune mixed together to give one prediction for the day, and those always felt fun and playful as I experimented with mixing the decks together and seeing what worked well together and what didn't. 

I've always asked, "What does today bring me?" You can use this or a similar question (for example: "What do I need to know about today?"), use a spread, or create a spread rather than asking one question. Again, get creative and make it playful and you'll learn a lot more than if you treat it as a serious study the whole time! 

The biggest benefits to doing a daily draw are to see how the cards are speaking to you and shorten your learning curve with them, as well as to provide a time of meditation and connection to spirit. You can do this at the beginning of your day or the end of it, or both as you draw your cards and interpret them in the morning then use some time in the evening to reflect on your day while looking at your cards to see how the events of the day were reflected in them. If the only time you have for reflection and meditation is at the end of the day, draw your cards in the evening for the next day, then reflect on how they played out before doing the draw for tomorrow. 

I highly recommend this practice to beginner and veteran readers for the insights such a daily exercise can give and I know that I'll miss it this year. It's been a habit that I enjoyed most of the time, and it's given some structure and discipline to my days as well. But taking a break will offer me a chance to come back to it with fresh appreciation for this time of my day, and a new sense of playful exploration.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Plans for the New Year 2020

I mentioned in a previous post that I actually celebrate the beginning of the new year at the Winter Solstice because that's the start of a new solar return in the northern hemisphere. It's the Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere and some ancient cultures celebrated it then. So, what do I do about the start of the new calendar year?

Well, I celebrate that as well in different ways. Some new habits began at the solstice, like finally sticking true to my paleo diet and lifestyle. Others will start at the beginning of the calendar year, like changing what I do regarding my daily draws with tarot. Why? Because those are something that I change monthly through the year as far as decks, and then major changes begin with the calendar year shift because that ends the month of December and begins the month of January. 

It's also when the decorations have come down from Yule/Christmas since it's the one holiday we do decorate for specifically for the sake of my husband. He really gets into it, and I have to admit that I like it a little bit too, it's cheery. But this year we're taking it down December 31st as we begin to prepare for our epic move to NH starting January 1st. We have cleaning, packing, decluttering and all to do before we list our house in February of this year. Small preparations started at Yule as I felt that energy come in, but the big changes will start in a few days. 

The other major preparation I'm doing this year is to suspend my daily card draw practice. I started doing a daily draw six and a half years ago when I started studying Lenormand, and continued it when I returned to tarot. I've focused the past two years on different systems, or dialects, of tarot and now I've changed my original plan for 2020 again to be a suspension of this practice because there will be huge periods of time that I just won't have time to do it, or doing so will be too much trouble. I'm too OCD to do daily draws parts of the year but not others, and I've been doing it long enough to have learned how tarot and Lenormand speak to me, so I feel comfortable just taking a break for a year instead. 

The calendar new year starts a new numerological cycle, something I'll be exploring for this year in my next post, so it's also a time for shifts and changes and that's the other thing I recognize, the shift from a 12/3 year to a 4 year (2+0+2+0=2+2=4), and after the year of death and loss we went through that started in early January 2019 when we lost our two senior dogs within six days of each other, followed by the deaths of Steve's parents within three months of each other, I can't wait to put this year behind me and usher in a new one! 

Sunday, December 22, 2019

What the Winter Solstice Means to Me

As the longest night has now passed and the first day of the new solar cycle is waning, I've been celebrating the start of a new year. This is, after all, the time our ancestors would have recognized as the beginning of a new year before manmade years following some nonsensical timing of there being a certain amount of days to a year, or even modern scientific timing as we began to track the orbit of our earth around the sun, and then start our year on an arbitrary day. 

Our ancient ancestors tracked things by what they could see with their naked eyes, and knew the timing of the solar and lunar cycles well. They would have tracked by how many moon cycles or solar returns had happened, and counted years starting on the first day after the longest night. So for me, this begins a new cycle in my life, a new year and a new chapter. Having the energy of the upcoming New Moon to work with amplifies this for me. And honestly, after what we've been through during 2019, I can't wait to start working on the changes we're making for 2020 and our new adventures. 

So, I wish you all a very Happy Winter Solstice and a Happy New Year as each day brings the return of the sun, and thank you to all of my readers, I appreciate you for wanting to read my musings.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

How Doing a Depth Year for 2019 Changed Me

I joined a majority of the Tarot Community on YouTube at the beginning of 2019 who were doing a Depth Year, inspired by Jessica Starr who was inspired by a blog post she'd read. In my case, it wasn't jumping on board of a ship, rather the ship was on the same course that I was already rowing as I'd done a year of going deep with the Thoth Tarot in 2018 and had already planned to go deep for a year with the Tarot de Marseille in 2019 as well as going deeper into my spiritual studies in order to get solid on my spiritual path, something I'd been struggling to have as a focus in my life. Narrowing my focus to two specific areas and going deeper into myself and my studies this way created profound changes for me this year. 

First, my spirituality changed as I let go of things that had never really resonated with me that I'd clung to just because "all" pagans followed them, like the Wheel of the Year and Sabbats, changing to following what's in the sky that our ancient, pre-agricultural ancestors would have followed: the phases of the Moon and the Solstices and Equinoxes. Rather than call them by special words, I just call them by what they are, for example we have the Winter Solstice coming up soon rather than Yule in my practice. I definitely consider it the beginning of the new year as well for our ancestors certainly would have started their year then since they didn't have the later manmade calendar dates to go by, their yearly cycle was more natural.

The second thing that changed drastically was how I read tarot. Learning to read the Tarot de Marseille the way it was read for hundreds of years before Tarotmancy was developed, returning instead to Cartomancy, was very comfortable to me because it allowed me to stop feeling like I needed to superimpose meanings that I didn't feel related to tarot and weren't part of how I read it like astrology and numerology, which I see as their own practices and not part of tarot. I've never really found tarot worked well for me in doing shadow work and spiritual insight readings, I've always found oracle decks to work better for those personally. 

So basically this Depth Year of 2019 allowed me to go deeper within to find what really works for me personally. In letting go of all that doesn't feel right to me, I was able to become more of my authentic Self, and in response to that I also left YouTube. I've found peace, and now all explorations I do aren't something I feel I need to share with the world, they're personal and for my own enjoyment and exploration and I like it that way. 

Exploration will be my theme for 2020 as I leave depth years behind and, after two years of focusing on specific decks and systems, bring out my other decks to play again to see if they can fit into my new way of seeing the tarot or not. Also, as we're moving to my home state of New Hampshire this year after I've been gone for over 30 years, it will be a year of exploration there too as we learn our way around and explore new trails too. I'll be exploring things I've wanted to do for a long time like refinishing furniture and making herbal salves, decoctions and tinctures along with new ways of gardening. I'm excited about the new horizons ahead of me next year! 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

What It's Like to Be An Online Tarot Reader

Almost everyone who becomes a tarot reader wonders at some point what it's like to be a professional tarot reader and many today do decide to become tarot readers online. From a profession that was shady and few sites were available with only a handful of psychics and card readers to a field where there are now a plethora of sites with more growing every day, many of which have hundreds of readers around the world, it's certainly appealing to anyone who has psychic abilities or can read tarot and oracle cards.

However it's not as easy as it sounds to actually do this work, and many don't realize just how different it is to work online than to do psychic fairs or read for private clients. People at psychic fairs are often just seeking entertainment, and those seeking a private reading want in-depth information or an annual check-in, but the online customer is someone in a crisis, often panicking, and most readers don't have the training and background to deal with them, nor are they prepared for this after reading for friends and family. I also see a lot now who enter this field, or try to enter it, after only a year or so of actually reading cards for themselves and very little experience reading for others at all. 

I'd been reading cards for over 10 years and had read them at a few fairs and other events when I started reading for my first online agency, and still it was a bit of a shock to realize how different it was even with warning from the friend who got me started so many years ago. Why? Because I had no idea people had panic attacks over whether or not someone was going to call them or what their boss might be thinking about them. It never occurred to me that people would call in asking about their exes' current relationships, pining over them still many years later and waiting for them to go back. Nor did I ever imagine anyone would want to know when someone they told never to call them again was going to call them. My jaw still occasionally drops, but less and less so. 

Then there are the truly painful situations of arranged marriages that people don't want to enter because they love someone else that's not approved of by the family, or those who are suffering from severe loneliness or a streak of horrid relationships and wondering when they're going to finally find true love with someone who really loves them and the sad stories of those who are in financial crisis and wondering when they'll find a good job again. I've been absolutely shocked to find out just how many men and women are cheating out there, and how often the "other woman" wonders when he's leaving his wife so they can be together (it rarely goes the other way in my experience). 

My worst experience was a woman who called and yelled vitriol in my ear for 14 minutes then threatened suicide as she hang up, and since we have no contact information and usually no idea even where they're calling from, there wasn't anything I could do and customer service for that company made it clear they weren't going to do anything for them either, though they had the information to reach out. People can and do get nasty and can leave you a bad rating because they didn't agree with your reading, whether it was accurate or not. 

If you pursue this as a career, you'll develop a thick skin. You'll also develop your skills faster and get more experience than is usually possible with a private practice, and get very fast at interpreting those cards. Speed is a necessity since you're usually being paid by the minute, so I've developed a faster shuffling method and can listen to a question, shuffle and lay down the cards and reply in two minutes for basic questions, it only takes longer if they talk longer before I get to shuffle. 

You don't have time for elaborate shuffling techniques or to wait for jumping cards, nor to meditate before the reading. You also don't have time to lay the cards face down and turn them over. I've learned to just lay mine down face up and start talking about my first impressions while I'm still laying down cards. This is also why I prefer cartomancy and reading in lines of cards over using positional spreads, though the basics like a Celtic Cross or a 9 Card (3x3) work well for fast reading and can be expounded upon with further questioning. 

I do love my work and I take it seriously, but it's not for everyone and I've burned out a couple of times myself only to return, the last time after a break of almost a year when I got laid off and needed a way to earn money from home again. The income isn't steady, so you need to have another steady source from a spouse or another job while you build your reputation and clientele, which is another reason I took that break, to allow my husband to build his own business while I provided a steady income for us.

I know many who have tried it and hated it, and I also know a few who treat it like a game because it's very easy to develop a very callous attitude when you find yourself dealing with the same people always asking about the same situations and not moving on or healing no matter what advice they're given. I've learned that most people seeking advice on the phone lines are rather like fast food customers, they've no interest in what's healthy, they just need a quick fix to soothe their anxiety, and they hope you're going to tell them what they want to hear. 

I've returned to it for the benefits of being able to work from home doing something that I do enjoy and having the flexibility to create my own schedule. This became exceptionally important as we had to go down to only one vehicle and we got a new puppy, so it was hard for me to work outside of the home or to work a fixed schedule this year. Like any job, it has its good days and bad days, pros and cons.

If you decide to give reading for an online psychic service a try, I wish you the best of luck. If you have questions or want some suggestions for good companies in the US to try, use the contact form and shoot me an email, I'll do my best to help you get started. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Reconnecting to My Primal Self

I've been very slowly unplugging from modern life as my 50s progress, including closing all of my social media accounts one by one so that I can read and study more. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate modern conveniences and technology, but I just feel we've gone too far with it and are causing ourselves health issues because of it from poor posture to a lack of social connection despite all of the "friends" we may have on social media, many of whom we've never met and never will. Without that, it's really just empty and leaves us feeling depressed and alone as we isolate ourselves inside of our homes in front of our TV, phone, tablet or computer screens.

This is part of what's driving my desire to move home to the state of NH where reforesting is happening because of the conservation mindset and regulations there that preserve the forests and waterways, bringing more wildlife there as well. My plan on going there is to be way from my computer more and off of my devices, running a business based more in crafts, skills and services in person rather than one done online. I want deeper connection to people as well as a deeper connection to myself as a human being. 

I'm also following some of the advice Mark Sisson gives in his book The Primal Connection like getting zero drop footwear for weather and places that don't allow my Birkenstocks or bare feet, going back to using incandescent light bulbs and even replacing some of those with bug lights to limit my exposure to blue light at night. I've used the settings on all of my devices to have warmer screens with lower light (night shift in your settings can be set for any 23 hour period, so choose an hour you're always sleeping for it to brighten and cool and you can get Flu.x if your device doesn't have those settings in display). 

My main plan is a lifestyle built more around what humans are meant to do: to eat more meat and veggies and a lot less sugars and refined grains, get out into nature more, to do work that requires skills and physical activity and less hunching over my desk, and rise and sleep with the sun. 

Even if you can't move to the country or quit your job, there are many things that you can do to counter the damage created by modern life in the 21st century. Start by getting rid of social media and instead fostering more local social interaction by finding a group that meets regularly around your interests, MeetUp is full of them. If you're physically capable, hit the trails in your area and find friends to join you. Go to bed earlier and dim the lights beforehand, using warmer bulbs. You can get yellow goggles for eye protection from any home improvement store for work if you're not allowed to adjust your computer screens. And start paying attention to what you eat, making healthier choices. The saying goes that life is short, but modern lifestyles are making lifespans shorter and it doesn't have to be so, you can be in more control. 

Monday, December 9, 2019

What You Need To Know If Your Gallbladder Has Been Removed

If you've had your gallbladder removed, there are some things you need to know that your doctor won't tell you. He may not even know since it might not be covered in medical school, which is run by Big Pharma. I know that like my appendix, I was told that this isn't a really necessary organ.

Here's what I've learned in the decades since living without mine, first and foremost of which is that there's no such thing as an unnecessary organ in the modern human body. The appendix is the first line of defense where your body releases the probiotics you need for healthy digestion, and the gallbladder is a control valve for the release of bile into your intestinal tract. The consequences of having both removed are horrendous for your digestive system and will leave you with many food intolerances, gut flora and fauna that's way out of balance, and not just leaky gut syndrome but an intestinal tract that's getting its mucosal lining eroded by the river of bile that will now pour through it. 

I'm going to put a disclaimer in here: I'm not a doctor and nothing I say is meant as medical advise, what I offer is a what I've learned from over a decade of research and more than two decades of living with the consequences of these two organs being removed, which were triggered by the second one after having my two children because apparently multiple traumas to this system add up to a lot of damage with sudden onset symptoms and gradual onset symptoms. 

The first was losing iceberg lettuce, followed shortly by all dairy products, then soy substitutes because lactose wasn't the issue, it was casein, another milk protein. We don't hear about casein as much as lactose and whey, but milk has three proteins, four if you split casein into A1 and A2, and you can have issues with both despite the ads now for A2 milk. I just avoid all dairy because if you're intolerant of one, then you're most likely intolerant of all, which will be discussed in a later post.

So what can you do? First, don't eat yogurt, it's nothing but milk curd with a lot of sugar added because no matter how many live bacteria they put in it, once it's heated for homogenization and pasteurization those are dead and useless. Kefir is a better option and may be tolerated even by those with dairy intolerances, but you can also get coconut or water kefir, and take a really good probiotic after doing diligent research and finding a good brand with at least 7 different types of bacteria because both your small and large intestines need it, and the more strands the better of healthy bacteria in your gut. 

Next, you need to take a mucilage because your mucosal lining needs to be protected and fed. Some examples are slippery elm bark, licorice root and marshmallow. I personally drink a cup of Throat Coat Tea by Traditional Medicinals, the original formula, which I buy in my local grocery store in the tea aisle because that formula has all three of those. I drink that after my liver-stimulating cup of coffee and before breaking my fast (which the coffee doesn't do as it's black, and I only drink the one cup for its liver-friendly bitter effect). 

Now why do I drink something to stimulate my liver in the morning if too much bile running through my intestines is a problem? Because what's needed is trying to control the release of that bile to time it for proper digestion of your food. Before breaking my fast I also take a digestive enzyme with ox bile in it, something that can be ordered on Amazon or found at your local health food store.  The one that I take is Nature's Plus Ultra-Zyme. Again, this is to stimulate bile release when you need it so it needs to be taken before each meal. 

The beauty of the growth of the internet over the last 20 years is that we have a lot more information available to us than what our doctors share and recommend, we just need to do the research. The information is out there from many really good sources. Honestly, today there's no excuse for not being more proactive in caring for your health, and I think doctors are also benefitting because they can also further their education outside of the box rather than just reading medical journals, and the better ones are doing so and recognizing us now as partners in our health. 

Monday, December 2, 2019

Book Review: Untold Tarot by Caitlín Matthews

I don't do a lot of book reviews unless a book is really outstanding in my opinion; mediocre and in-between just isn't worth getting excited about as far as I'm concerned, so that should begin to tell you how I feel about this particular book. Untold Tarot:The Lost Art of Reading Ancient Tarots by Caitlín Matthews is the book I most recommend to those starting out with the Tarot de Marseille, and I feel it's really the only one you need if your budget or space are tight. 

The only other books on this subject I recommend are by Camelia Elias, but she has a very specific style. What I love about this book by Caitlín Matthews is that it's all-encompassing, and yet it's so well-written that you enjoy learning while you read it and it's not a tome that will take up a ridiculous amount of space on your shelves either. 

Mrs. Matthews is well known in the world of cartomancy and divination, and her knowledge and experience are well-respected throughout the industry, and it shows in this book. She gives a very thorough but interesting history of the tarot, then the various ways one can read the Tarot de Marseille, including the "open book" method so favored by Jodorowsky, Ben-Dov, Enriquez and Elias by using the visual cues in the cards. 

She goes further than them by giving meanings in a couple of different ways, using keywords for the suits and numbers as well as actual meanings for the pip cards themselves. Most books on the Tarot de Marseille only give meanings for the Trumps, or Major Arcana, and then attempt to explain how to read the visual cues in the pips, but Mrs. Matthews gives meanings that have been handed down through the ages and are thereby historical meanings for the cards.

Throughout the book are various charts, graphs and pictorial examples of actual readings in color with interesting anecdotes. She has sections on the Trumps, the Pips, the Courts, and then also includes exercises, instructions on how to read the cards directionally and historical layouts used in cartomancy. 

Not only is what's written in the book outstanding, the construction of the book itself is of excellent quality as well. The cover is a soft cover, but sturdier and thicker than most with part of each folded back over like the jacket of a hardcover book, providing wonderful built-in place markers, and the paper is a very high-quality high gloss paper like a high end magazine. 

I consider Untold Tarot: The Lost Art of Reading Ancient Tarots by Caitlín Matthews to be a must-have resource for any serious professional reader or student of the tarot, especially if you're planning to learn and work with the Tarot de Marseille. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Our Puppy Has Panosteitis

Raven at 6 months old

That's our purebred male black German Shepherd puppy, Raven, at 6 months old and weighing in around 76-77 lbs (he wouldn't stay still on the scale), which is about 16-17 lbs above average at that age. He was the runt of his litter, but now he's the largest one and he grows overnight--literally. 

The day he turned 5 months old, he figured out how to get up on our bed by himself and it was his trick for the day. Every time we turned around he was up there again, then jumping down at will.  Being slightly indulgent parents, we just thought it was cute and took pictures. That night he started to limp and hold his right paw up when sitting and he was still doing it the next day, so we figured he'd sprained it by overdoing the on and offs from the bed, a natural assumption. Having tons of first aid training and having attended nursing school, I put some salves for pain on it and wrapped it, taking the wraps off at night to give it a rest. After a few days, he seemed to be doing better until we played a game of tug and he started to limp and hold that paw up again, so again I started wrapping it and we even bought a dog-specific neoprene brace for it since he kept chewing off the sports tape. 

After a month of this, we took him to the vet because we were becoming afraid he'd become permanently lame and learned that although I meant well, what I was doing wasn't doing any good, he had something called Panosteitis, or growing pains, that occurs sometimes in large breed puppies because of how fast they're growing, especially those who truly grow faster and larger than normal. German Shepherds are one of the breeds who are prone to it, and the only other one I know of is another male GSD who was the same size as Raven at the same age. 

The good news is that it will self-resolve when his growth plates close, somewhere around 18-24 months. The bad news is, we have a puppy who has a painful inflammation of his bones (the literal meaning of Panosteitis) for at least another year. It's hard to see your puppy limping or lying around when he should be running around, jumping and playing, or to hear him cry out in pain when he's just lying there. However, we've found some solutions. 

First, we're raw feeders but on a budget, so the mainstay of our dogs' diet is chicken and sardines. Our holistic vet suggested tweaking that by adding ground turkey to his diet because according to Chinese Food Therapy, a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, chicken (especially with bones in it) is a hot food and turkey is a cold food, as are the sardines. He runs hot and inflammation is hot, so he needs cold foods for balance. She advised us to keep using the turmeric and black pepper for the inflammation and added a plant-based steroid, served up with a bit of coconut oil (my preferred fat for the turmeric absorption and one he loves).

Second, I did some research on CBD oil and its effectiveness in Panosteitis and discovered it's actually quite beneficial because not only does it help with the pain and inflammation, but it also helps build bone density in dogs with Osteoarthritis, Panosteitis and HOD (hypertrophic osteodystrophy, another form of growing pains in puppies). So I purchased CBD oil from a company I trust and we added that to his brunch and dinner and that helped a little bit.

Next I did some more research and decided to follow advice for herbal pain remedies used in dogs for osteoarthritis pain, made sense since I'd seen it lumped together with the CBD oil. I chose two that I already had on hand for my own use, chopped licorice root and cayenne pepper powder. I just added them on top of the ground turkey with everything else, including his probiotic and vitamins. (I'm loving the addition of ground turkey, it makes it a ton easier to administer all of these additions!)

I noticed an immediate improvement with the licorice root, and even more of one with the cayenne pepper. Now he still has some pain if he overdoes things, but our puppy isn't limping often at all and he can run and play again! We still make sure we don't do things like play tug or do too much running or walking on pavement, but it's nice to know there was something we could do so that our sweet pup isn't suffering as much anymore.

If you have a puppy with Panosteitis, do some research, there are things you can do. And consider going a holistic route with diet and herbs because that's a lot easier on his or her system for long term treatment than prescription steroids and pain pills. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Why I Prefer the Tarot de Marseille

3 of Cups from RWS, TdM and Thoth tarot systems

When I started my journey with learning to read tarot, I started out with the Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela and Joyce Eakins, a Thoth-based deck, having no knowledge that there were different systems, or styles, of tarot decks. I struggled with it for a few years until I finally found the pictorial system of the Waite-Smith, or RWS, decks and found those much easier to learn how to read. Most of us start there and some never venture into the other styles because they find them intimidating. 

In 2018 I decided to do an in-depth focus on the Thoth, and I fell in love. There's an energy to them that freed me from the pictorial keys of the RWS based decks, those fixed images as portrayed by the artist's interpretation of the meanings of the cards. However, each card has a key word that gives it a fixed meaning, so you're still locked into a vision created by the Golden Dawn, and it's very hard to see past those for alternative meanings. 

Both of the systems based on the Golden Dawn are great if you want a paint by numbers way of reading the tarot. You know, this card means this unless it's reversed or in shadow, then it means that, period, not much alteration from it. The 3 of Cups is a great example as it means joy or abundance, and is seen as a gathering with friends to celebrate. Of course, the shadow is the opposite of this. But can it mean more? 

I chose to move to studying the Tarot de Marseille (TdM) system in depth for 2019, and if I thought I loved the Thoth (and don't get me wrong, I still do, it's a gorgeous deck), then when I actually started to learn how to read the Tarot de Marseille the way it was originally read for centuries before Etteilla and Court de Gebelin got ahold of it, then the Golden Dawn, I was totally Gobsmacked. I found full freedom from the interpretations of others being imprinted upon the images of the deck, and the ability to find unique meanings based on the question and the rest of the cards. I had found my way back to cartomancy, this time with tarot. 

So, why is this important to me? Because now when I see the 3 of Cups in a reading I can look at the cards around it and the question and I can see cheating, or a break up, or one person controlling others, or someone breaking off from a group to find their own way. I can see both joy and sorrow much more easily, as well as a myriad of other possibilities. Maybe things are stacked together, or something has broken off of its main part. There's just so much more that can be seen here than in the other two systems.

I admit that it was intimidating in the beginning, and the journey hasn't been easy. I've read many books this year and I took the Tarot de Marseille Foundation and Advanced course offered by Camelia Elias. I've worked exclusively with the TdM for all of 2019, both personally and professionally, and I'm finally starting to feel like I've got it down rather well. 

If you're thinking of learning to read the Marseille style decks, then I highly recommend giving it a try, and approaching it like you're new to tarot. Forget all that you think you know, and let go of all that you think you need to learn, and start reading and playing. The best books to start with in my experience are Untold Tarot by Caitlín Matthews and Marseille Tarot by Camelia Elias, and I do recommend her course as well as her other books, but I'd start with these two books first because hands down they're better than any of the others that are often recommended. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Making Sacred Time for Yourself

Stillness and time alone to connect with our inward selves and the Divine is a primal need for humans, yet one we often struggle to meet in today's hectic, fast-paced and overly busy world. It can very difficult to create time for yourself and your sacred practices like meditation and yoga, a walk in nature, or just sitting in peace with a cup of tea and a good book. 

I struggled with this myself for several years before discovering the secret was to find a good time of day in my family's routine for me to be undisturbed, and then make this time for myself a top priority above all others. This is something many women especially struggle with because we tend to put the needs of everyone else above ours. The kids, our spouse, the dogs, emails, work all come before our own needs, and we often feel selfish for wanting that time to ourselves, yet we can become resentful, fatigued, overly stressed--and even extemely ill--from not having it. 

For me, the way I finally found to get daily meditation, yoga and my daily tarot draw in was to make the first hour after I shower and dress in the morning my "Hour of Power". Since I work from home I don't need to get up early to do this, but I know of women who do exactly that in order to have that time. Those early hours of the day are actually very good for all of us humans hormonally, especially if we can have the rising sun in our sight. 

For my husband, the mornings don't work for this as that's his time he prefers to watch the news, have his coffee and breakfast and prepare for his day at work. He takes his time for a sauna, meditation and yoga in the evenings as a way to relax, destress and decompress from his day at work before going to bed. 

It doesn't matter what time you find for your sacred practice or just relaxing with some quiet time alone, it just matters that you do and make it your time that everyone respects, including yourself. We are, after all, human "beings", not human "doings", and time to BE is something we all need. Give yourself that gift this holiday season. 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Why I Left YouTube

So, the big question is, why did I leave YouTube? Well, the answer perhaps starts with why I started a channel in the first place, and that was because my office was downstairs under the living room and I felt like the troll under the stairs, a bit lonely and cut off from my family and I was bored while I waited for calls when I was working online as a tarot reader, so I was watching a lot of YouTube, one particular channel especially, and I decided to join in the fun. There weren't as many tarot channels back then, in 2014.

I've been on and off YouTube a couple of times over the past five years, same with Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. I'd canceled all of my other social media and returned to YouTube in August of 2018, right after my 55th birthday, but I've discovered a bit of a problem with it as time has gone on, the same things that led me to leave before: it's just too big of a distraction and keeps me from doing the reading and studying that I want to do, and it just starts to feel like too much pressure to keep up with everyone and adds too much stress to my life. 

I've thought about taking a break for weeks now, but then I started putting up the quality content I've always wanted to provide because with our upcoming move from PA to NH in 2020, I know I may be way too busy next year to produce any content or watch any videos. I also don't even know if we'll have internet, or if we do it may only be satellite or DSL. We're moving to an area that many people vacation in to unplug, so only in areas where there's a good concentration of permanent residents do they have decent internet, and that's what we're moving there to get away from instead. That realization is part of what made me leave YouTube permanently. 

So, what's the other part? For me, Paleo living has become not just a diet but a complete lifestyle, as much as possible in our modern age. This past week I've had a few chances to hang out with friends in person, and that felt very good and right. Talking about friends I have around the world and across the country, with a few exceptions, felt fake. I've never met these people in person and never will. Now some I text and email with regularly, and even video chat with occasionally, so those are the exceptions. The rest, it just doesn't feel "right". In his book Primal Connection, Mark Sisson mentions that we're designed to gather with small groups of people, not hundreds or thousands over digital media. I agree, and I think that's what's been bothering me for a couple of years now. 

Adding to it is the new elitist guidelines on YouTube, like only channels with over 500 or 1,000 subscribers having access to certain features rather than having them available to all channels. There were features that I had available that suddenly disappeared since I didn't meet the new criteria yet. 

Most of all though is just feeling like I get nothing done due to irrelevant distractions that aren't really adding anything substantial to my life, again with a few exceptions. Nor do I feel that I've done much substantial to add to the lives of others. I hope that I'll do so with this blog instead, and put some good content out that others will appreciate and find valuable, something that no social media really seems to do. 

I have no regrets over my time on YouTube, and I'm very grateful for the friends I've made that I couldn't have made any other way. Time will tell which ones are true friends and which are not, and I'm already discovering who is who, but I have to be true to myself and live my life without feeling I have to share it with the world. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

My Journey with the Tarot de Marseille

It's funny, but if you'd told me a few years ago that my favorite tarot system would become the Tarot de Marseille, I'd have said you were crazy. Who could love those images? Or read with those pips?! I'd have told you that it's the hardest system of tarot to read, and I'd have meant it--and a lot of people would agree that they feel the same about it, it's just so intimidating. 

And yet, this year I decided to learn the Tarot de Marseille and focus on using on this system to learn it really well. Every tarot deck and book I purchased had something to do with the TdM as it's fondly abbreviated. And I fell in love! 

When I decided to study the Marseille tarot system, I thought I'd have so much to learn like new lists of meanings, numerology, astrology, etc. because I never used those with the RWS and Thoth tarot systems, and I felt very overwhelmed. I discovered that I was wrong because the ancient way of reading tarot doesn't use all of that, it's actually much simpler, which made sense when I thought about it. After all, this system goes way back to the 15th century, a time when education was reserved for the merchant class, clergy and royalty, not the average person, and it wasn't always as good as it is today. Also, the tarot started out as a game, Tarocchi in Italy, and was widely used in gaming halls before it was turned into a divination tool. My point here isn't to give a history, there are plenty of good resources for that, but I had to mention its origins to explain.

So instead of having to learn any of those things, what I had to do instead was to throw out everything I thought I knew about tarot and come to it as a complete beginner, and the result has been wonderful. It's a return to cartomancy, which I first really fell in love with when I learned Lenormand, and I almost never returned to tarot because I loved that system so much. Now I have the best of both worlds because I have cartomancy with tarot cards as well as Lenormand cards! 

Tarotmancy has always been a struggle for me, really. And what do I mean by that term? Modern tarot, mystical tarot, tarot readings based on the esoteric meanings that Etteilla, Court de Gébelin, Levi, and the Golden Dawn. I'm just not into using numerology, astrology, and the Qaballah to give readings for clients who want to know if s/he's going to call again or if they're going to get the job. I also don't use tarot for Shadow Work as much as I use Oracle cards for it as those go deeper for me. 

So, if you're thinking of learning the Tarot de Marseille, but you're feeling intimidated by all you think you have to learn, let go of that and begin the journey from the perspective of a beginner and it will be easier. It certainly worked for me! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

My 30 Day Challenge Begins

Today is October 2, 2019 and I've decided to do a 30 day challenge until October 31 and return to following a Paleo diet and lifestyle strictly for that time along with intermittent fasting and see what impact that has on my health and weight. 

I've been eating healthier overall, but keep sliding back occasionally as well, and so neither my health nor my weight loss are progressing at the pace I know they can, and the changes I've made this time around aren't as significant as the ones I did 7 years ago that had such an impact. Then I did as I am now, I started with a 30 day challenge that ended up extending over months and resulting in a 70 lb weight loss when I quit smoking, and also healed the hypothyroidism, insulin resistance and fibromyalgia with chronic myofascial pain syndrome and IBS that had been plaguing me.

I'm making some tweaks this time around that I didn't make before because now that I'm in my 50s, some of this will be harder to do than it was then just because of changes that come at this age and the onset of menopause. In other words, I am not the same woman at 56 that I was at 49 physically. So I'm following guidelines for intermittent fasting that are more stringent, fasting longer and eating for a shorter duration on alternate days and eliminating sugars that I didn't eliminate before. I've also added a morning cup of black coffee and an afternoon cup of tea for the caffeine stimulation to my system. These have been part of Ayurvedic medicine for millennia. 

The other main tweak I'm going to make is that in addition to walking, I'm adding an actual workout schedule that will alternate weight training and floor exercises to strength train, something I didn't do before that left me still feeling and looking really fat when I was very close to my ideal weight for my height and age, which eventually led to me giving it all up and just returning to eating too much sugar and junk food. 

The first thing that had to happen though was to start loving myself and my life, and letting go of stress and worry. I've spent the past month working on this, starting while I was sick with a very virulent cold and couldn't do much else but go inward to start healing, and this past week I've finally really achieved it. One thing I know is that my mental and emotional state are key to the success or failure of this challenge. Having my husband's full support like I do is the other key. It's harder, though not impossible as my past success proves, to avoid those foods if they're in the house tempting me, so it's good that he's also on board with doing his own version of this challenge. 

I'll be posting occasional updates on here, not just this month but for as long as I'm blogging because this is just the kickstart for a lifelong plan, being honest about how well I'm doing and the results I'm seeing, because accountability is the other key to succeeding. Yes, I need to be accountable to myself, but it also helps to be accountable to others.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

When You Hit Rock Bottom...

So, to continue the story of my long road back to health, it's taken a bit of a detour lately. My mother-in-law died last month, just three months after her husband died in front of her. Let's say with losing our two old male dogs within six days of each other back in January, a very traumatic setback in our plans to move from PA to NH, and then this double loss, 2019 has been a really rough year and it's been very difficult to remain on track with our health goals since we both tend to reach for "comfort foods" at times of stress, not uncommon for most people and it doesn't matter how much you know if those healthy habits aren't well established yet. 

So, what brought me to rock bottom was that after a month of eating really good and starting to feel a lot better and seeing some really good results begin to happen, I hit a month of eating really crappy again (along with my husband), and then I got a cold on top of my ragweed allergies. And when I say a cold, this was the cold to beat all colds and came on like a fast-moving storm! One moment I was fine, the next my throat got scratchy and sore and my sinuses started to fill up while my energy started to drain proportionately. Ugh.

The first night I didn't sleep at all. Zero, zilch. I finally got about a one hour nap the next day, followed by a night of sleep of one hour at a time and cuddling with our heating pad to loosen the mucus in my sinuses and lungs since essential oils alone weren't doing the trick and my ears started to hurt really bad from the pressure of the sinus congestion because I have small eustachian tubes. Most people would probably hit the ER at this point, but I'm stubborn and my husband agrees with me on it being a very low level last resort. I was finally coughing up a lot of mucus at last because of the combination of heating pad and essential oils, so we thought I'd be fine in the morning, and I did look and feel a bit better...until I got in the shower and was dizzy and struggling to breathe. 

I spent the first couple of hours of that day in bed with the heating pad and essential oils until I finally felt well enough to sit out in the living room and eat breakfast. I went downhill again gradually as the day wore on and finally went to a satellite care facility for treatment. I may be stubborn, but I'm smart enough to know when it's time for western medical intervention. I felt much better after a nebulizer treatment and the first dose of Prednisone, an albuterol inhaler and an allergy tablet. I'm still also using my essential oils in conjunction because I know they'll still help my body to actually heal. I finally got a good night's sleep, and I'm looking forward to more.

So, the firm decision to stop eating crap has been made because I hit a point of rock bottom. Again. I know this time I'll stick to it because I know it was a major contributing factor in getting sick in the first place. I know this because my past experience from when I was following a really good regime proved that my allergies were almost unnoticeable and I never got sick. So, back to eating right and daily exercise, which I've done faithfully and well in the past and thereby can definitely do again successfully...this time for life as I learned a very hard lesson by falling off of that wagon a few years ago and the much harder journey I'm having to get back on it.

When you hit rock bottom, then the only place to go is up; and when you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, then the best thing to do is change your diet and lifestyle in order to change your health. That is the magic bullet. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

When Life Give You Lemons

My husband and I were supposed to move from our current home in PA to my home state of NH this year. We had worked hard for months on renovating and staging our home, decluttering it, deep cleaning it, repainting it, etc. We put it on the market and it sold in less than two weeks for close to our list price. Everything was moving along smoothly and we were preparing to go up to NH to look at houses and purchase our home up there, we just had to wait for the appraisal to come back and then the title clearance.

The appraisal came back fine, but then we discovered that what we thought would be a minor issue with the title from my late father-in-law's estate (my late husband's father, not my current husband's) was actually a really huge issue due to a state law here that would require not only for that to be paid off, but for a really ridiculously large sum of money to be placed in escrow until the paper came back from the state that his estate was officially closed. That can take 3-6 months we've been told. 

Since our entire plan to move hinges on buying our new home in NH with cash out of the proceeds from the sale of this house and paying off other stuff to become debt-free, that killed our plan and our ability to sell this house and move this year. We had to back out of that sale, pay the buyers back for what they put into inspections and the appraisal, and take our home off of the market until we can get that estate paid off and get that document back from the state. It was absolutely devastating.

My husband and I are positive people though, and so we didn't stay down about it for long. We've continued to make some small changes for the better to this house for its future sale, we decided that I could invest in a very special course that is only offered once a year that I wasn't going to be able to do because of the move, and we decided to get the German Shepherd puppy that my husband wants now while we're here rather than waiting until after we get settled in up there and do any necessary renovations to our new home. We have an amazing fenced in yard that's perfect for a new puppy to run and play in, as well as to train him in. He'll be more mature by the time we move.

This delay has also allowed us to go through some of what has been packed up and pare it down. Books, for example. I've packed up four boxes of books to take to Half Priced Books to eliminate. We found a home for a very bulky and heavy TV lift cabinet we had, so that's a large piece of furniture that we've eliminated. We're trying to lighten our load a bit and get rid of unnecessary "stuff". 

We also learned a lot. Neither of us has made an out of state move that includes selling and buying a house before, and there were a lot of things to learn and coordinate, and what I'd arranged was a bit clumsy and needed tweaking; I'll be doing a better job of that next time around. 

So, life handed us lemons in this deal, but we've decided to sweeten it and make them into lemonade. 😊

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Today is the First Day...

This is a picture of me from April of 2013, just six years ago. I was about to turn 50, I'd quit smoking and lost 70 pounds, going down from a size 20W to a regular size 12. I was following a Paleo diet and lifestyle. I could hike for miles and hours nonstop, motor uphill better than my husband, and was healthier at 49 than I'd been at 29. Still, I looked and felt fat because of my abdomen, waist, hips and butt.

Because of how I felt after looking at images of myself, I raided my father's cookie drawer and my mother's candy cupboard and started eating sugar again. My younger son and stepson graduated from high school that year, and anticipating a large turnout for the double graduation party, I ordered a larger sheet cake than we ended up needing. Not being able to resist, I ended up eating most of what was left--a substantial amount of cake. 

Shortly afterwards, I started going to the gym again, but I'd stop for groceries on the way home and reward myself with a candy bar. Slowly at first, and then quickly, the weight came back on. Now I've gained all of that weight back plus a few more pounds, putting me in the category of being truly obese as for the first time in my life, I'm 100 pounds over my ideal weight and approaching the age of 56. 

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I'm also noticing more health concerns than I've ever had before, and I've decided it's time to do something about it. I watched a video that my husband sent me since he's also facing some of the same problems that I have and we're both concerned about being in our 50s and very overweight. That video led me to watching others by the same person and learning that my health is in far more danger than I realized, so today I decided that there's no more room for excuses nor procrastination, today really is the first day of the rest of my life.

What that means is that I started my day with tea and stevia (SweetLeaf brand because it doesn't have dextrose or other sugars added) rather than coffee and sugar. I'm making sure that all of my snacks are healthy, mostly raw vegetables. I'll make a large bowl of salad today rather than buying the greens and having them rot away in my fridge. I've started to walk, I'll keep going on that and make sure to get in some kind of workout when it's too cold or wet to walk instead of making excuses and being lazy. Due to my success before, I know that I can do it again, but I also know that this time around I need to do some things for those abs so that I don't derail myself because I still feel fat when I lose weight and gain health. 

So I've started this blog to share this journey so that 1) I'm accountable to someone besides my husband, and 2) perhaps all that I've been through and am doing now can help someone else. I'll be raw and honest here and in my videos and although there might be some overlap, there will be some different information as well. 

So if you're interested then follow my blog and check out Dr. Rhonda Patrick because she shares a lot of amazing information.