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2018, A Year in Review

We’re down to the last days of 2018. What a wild ride this year has been. Here’s a recap of everything I’m proud of for 2018. I also had many great clients and reading events. Thinking about them all puts a smile on my face.

The big thing I did this year was accept a contract from Llewellyn for my first book, Tarot Inspired Life. It’s a dream come true for me, years in the making. I received my author copies a few days ago, and have been hearing from friends that they’ve received copies. I’m both elated and nervous but that’s par for who I am. While copies are available in some stores and online at Google Play right now, the official street date is January 8, 2019. So there’s still time to preorder your copy now!

I also got some professional pictures taken of me for the book and all my sites. My photographer, Christy Carr, was fabulous in keeping me focused and helping me feel like a rockstar, despite my mind-body issues. I’m so grateful for her help.

A box filled with copies of Tarot Inspired Life

In addition to the book release, I separated out the two tarot domains I own. Inner Compass Tarot, the business site, got moved over to www.innercompasstarot.com. The www.tarotinspiredlife.com domain has been repurposed to promote my book. I spent most of autumn and winter creating worksheets, templates, and other downloads. I plan on posting book specific entries over there. 

Classes

I taught Pop Culture Tarot with Rose Red at PantheaCon this year. We had a full room full of eager attendees who learned many ways to integrate tarot and pop culture references in their cards and spreads. Each table created a unique spread, which we collected, and I created a fun download as a keepsake.

Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone asked me to run a Breakfast Round Table at Readers Studio this year. I chose to focus my discussion around how we as tarot readers can promote great change in the world as we’re going through all these political, social unrest, and environmental changes. I was blessed to receive many awesome responses to this question and have integrated many suggestions into my personal practice.

While I din’t teach at NWTS this year, I did focus on producing a quality conference for everyone to enjoy.

Publications

The year in review posts are especially important for me to see what body of writing I produce out into the world every year. Much of what I wrote throughout these months, won’t be released until next year, so it creates this weird perspective where I feel like I haven’t done much of anything. However, as you’ve seen I have.

Arcanum Tarot from Lo Scarabeo

I wrote the booklet for the second deck by Renata Lechner. Once again, her dreamy lifelike art provides a wonderful backstory to tarot’s adventures.

The Cartomancer, Vol 4, Issue 2

The editor asked my advice for the Sage Advice Experts Roundtable. I’m one of six experts answering the question “What is your favorite card in the Tarot and why? Or cards, if that works better.”  (Link goes to the PDF version because the print issue sold out.)

Fairy Oracle from Lo Scarabeo

I cowrote the booklet with Rose Red, and for some reason only my name shows up on this. We attempted to give a good structure and victorian backdrop for this deck which features Arthur Rackham’s art.

John Bauer Tarot from Lo Scarabeo

I wrote the booklet for this deck which features John Bauer’s art. 

The Starman Tarot from Lo Scarabeo

This was a HUGE project and an honor. I wrote the tarot introduction section, the keywords, how to use the cards, and created two spreads for this David Bowie inspired deck by Davide De Angelis. I also ended up being a primary editor for the whole book which he and his wife co-wrote.

Tarot Visions Podcast

Rose and I continue to produce episodes of Tarot Visions. We added a new member to our team who has taken over audio processing. While I enjoyed processing episodes, having our new teammate doing them gives me the space I’ll need in 2019 to tour for my book. We’re still interviewing people and we’ve also expanded our solo episodes to discuss our own practices and thoughts. I also took small breaks during this year to focus on TIL edits and website work.

Lifestyle

My word for 2018 was community. I wanted to make better and stronger connections to my friends and to share who I was with the world. I think I’ve done a good job of that with my various platforms.

Visited the sea otters at the Oregon Coast Aquarium at Newport, OR.

I stepped away from Facebook on my birthday and haven’t logged in since. I feel less stress and it gives me more opportunities to talk about what is going on with friends over the phone or email, or… gasp.. in person! I’m still active with Facebook Messenger, as many friends use this service to communicate. I am also very active on twitter. For some reason, I don’t see twitter as threatening to my mental stability as Facebook.

You’d think that with all this new time on my hands, I’d have read a lot of books. Sadly, I only got through 27 books. One of the books in my current reads pile I’ve been working on since last year! Sheez… maybe I need to read more.

I DID get caught up on podcasts this year. Podcasts got weird for me after my dad died in 2016, and it felt like a huge relief to get most of them current. Perhaps this is one step along my grieving process?

A lot goes on in my head. Last year I lost a dear friend and my personal counselor. While I’m sad and miss him, I’m happy to say I found a new counselor to help me navigate my brain and the challenges of being bipolar. I feel more grounded, heard, and helped through the difficult changes. It can be hard to admit mental health challenges, so if you’re struggling…please know I’m here. I hear you. I hold space for you.

I continue to listen to my body and give it what it needs. I exercise, get massages, and see a chiropractor. I also am working on changing my perspective of my body and self image. I’m still facing pita pain in my neck, and as such, I am eager to add acupuncture into the list after the new year.

I look forward to 2018 drawing closed and seeing what 2019 has to offer. I have big plans for this next year: adding new services to the Inner Compass Tarot site, new blog posts here and at the tarot inspired life domain, and yes, I am working on new book ideas. I’ll also be teaching and traveling. There’s never a dull moment in my life.

This about wraps it up for 2018. I look forward to 2019 and what surprises it has in store for me. More travels, more words, more thoughts, more tarot!

What achievements have you done this year? What are you looking forward to doing in 2019? Let me know!

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A Winter Solstice Spread

Winter solstice 2018 Spread using the Spirit Keeper's Tarot by Benebell Wen. Card one is 3 of cups. Card two is Knight of Wands. Card three is Wheel of Fortune. Card four is Queen of Swords.
Winter 2018 Solstice Spread using The Spirit Keeper’s Tarot by Benebell Wen.

In her December newsletter, Joanna Powell Colbert shares a wonderful Solstice spread. In honor of the shortest day of the year, I chose to do this reading. I timed the reading as close to the actual solstice hour as I could.

The Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is a great deck. However, it’s not for the faint of heart. A bit confusing at times, the readings I do for myself have blown me away every time a card spills out. It’s definitely one I’ll draw when I need the universal clue-by-four. I’ve been working with it for my daily draws this month and felt it was only fitting to use this perceptive deck for this spread. Enjoy!

1- Darkness / Dismemberment / Brokenness
What have you lost? What are you grieving? What is broken within you? (If you get a positive card in this position, you might want to read its shadow side or reversed meaning.)

3 of Cups: The 3 of Cups represents community, celebration, a coming together. While this year has been my year of community, I also feel a sense of loss in this area. I want to feel a part of something greater than myself, to connect with like-minded individuals, and yet… I am home and do much alone. I am bipolar and sometimes I feel like I don’t belong, even when I do. So, part of me wonders how I can get what I want and recognize it when it does happen.

2- Promise / Rebirth of the Sun / Renewal
What is the promise of renewal that will come with the dawn of Winter Solstice? 

Knight of Wands: The dawn heralds the return of the light, of fire. I am a Leo and my chart is filled with fire. Creativity is my passion, and I look forward to the fire returning fast and furious to fuel my desires of new works, new ideas, and studies.

3- Integration of Dark and Light
How do the darkness and the dawn intertwine? What wisdom do they create together? 

Wheel of Fortune: Out of all the cards drawn, I think this is my favorite. Darkness and dawn are part of the cycles of life. They will always be there, going around and around, as our planet circles the Sun. I feel as if I’m being called to honor my own cycles. To expose and to understand my inner cycles of light and darkness. To know that while the mania and depression exist, they are also a part of me, and why I am the way I am. And it’s perfectly okay to have them. 

4- Gift of the Darkness / Remember
What is the gift of the broken time, hidden in the darkness? What longs to be remembered and restored?

Queen of Swords: I had to look this card up in Benebell’s guide for she changes the court card names around. One of the first things I read on this card is that the figure is left handed. So am I. So I feel as if I need to restore and honor my own “left handedness”. I interpret this as in blazing my own path. Yes, the queen is left minded as well, logical, calculating, but she also doesn’t deal with crap from others.

With Tarot Inspired Life almost out in the world, I need to remember not everyone will enjoy it. Not all reviews will be good, and this is okay. I need to just keep my head down and blaze my own path. And continue to share my knowledge, my insight, and my path with others.

What Solstice Spreads have you drawn upon this holiday season? Have any insights on this reading you want to share? Please feel free to leave a comment below. 

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A Winter Holiday Spread

The five card spread I created for the winter holidays. Card one is knight of swords. Card two is 7 of wands. Card three is the high priestess. Card four is The Hermit. Card five is the 6 of swords.
Images from The Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

Two weekends ago I visited a dear friend, Callie French, for an afternoon of holiday cheer and tarot reading swaps. There were six of us, all from the past summer’s tarot class. We drank wine, caught up, and talked tarot.

Once we settled down around the dining room table, Callie turned our attention to the reading swap. The spread she set us all up with had five cards and no real name. With all that goes on during winter, I thought it was a lovely spread and a great gift to have it interpreted by someone else.


The spread positions are:
1. Center: You in this current moment.
2. Above: The guiding light which shines down.
3. Below: This anchors you. What gives you a foundation.
4. Left: This is what you need to give.
5. Right: This is what you need to receive.

I used The Shadowscapes Tarot for my cards. This is how my friend interpreted the images on the cards. The notes below are almost what my friend said, verbatim.

  1. Me in the center: Knight of swords. Magical, Strength and flight, different perspectives. I’m prepared and can deal with the crap. Look to the Stars.
  2. Guiding Light from above: Seven of wands. Learn how to sort things out. Let the beauty come out from the crazy. Two dragons. 
  3. The anchor from below: The high priestess. Owl for wisdom. Going inward. Tree is rooted and spirals up. More stars. Balance of day and night. 
  4. What I give on the left: The hermit. Learn to balance the need to be alone and be out. Put thought into being out versus inside. What goes on must come out. Beauty, strength and purpose is key. 
  5. What I receive on the right: 6 of swords. Receive messages from my dreams. Ugly duckling and the swan. Strong spiritual connection. Nurture myself. 

My takeaway is while the next few weeks are going to try my core, I should center and return to my anchor (tarot and spirituality and creativity), allow myself the freedom to pick and choose where my engagements are, and to listen to my dreams, guides, and symbolism.

If you try this spread, please let me know how it went for yourself by adding a comment below.

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December 2018 Planning Spread

Here we go, it’s the last month of this year’s tarot planning session. Thanks for hanging in there and reading my thoughts.

In this post, I’ll attempt to demystify December’s 3 card mini-spread from my Overview of 2018 spread. To recap, the three decks I used were The Enchanted Map, Triple Goddess Tarot, and Spirit Cats. I chose these 3 for their ability to give me concise info and for their ability to work together. The Enchanted Map card represents the theme of the month. The Triple Goddess card elaborates ways to achieve the theme. The Spirit Cats card gives me a guide card whose energy I can call upon when I need support.

Theme: #8 Come Together
How: Knight of Cups
Helper: balance

December 2018’s 3-card spread

The final theme is Come Together. This card is the culmination and expression of having learned love. What a great card to wrap up the final month (and this series). December a month when the cultures around the world try to “come together” (locally, nationally, globally). I’ll be using this card’s energy to reflect on my relationships, both good and bad. Two of my personal words this year were Community and Connection and everything I have done this year has been to strengthen my ties with those I choose.  I’ll get mushy this month and tell people how I feel. It’ll be awkward, but I am so grateful for the awesome peeps in my life.

Showing me how to do this is the Knight of Cups. I liken this knight to Galahad, the pure, the one who retrieved the holy grail. This knight might be on the move, visiting friends and celebrating events, but he does it with honesty. The knight of cups evaluates each relationship and connects to those energies. They are passionate. They are not afraid to share the emotions and let the tears fall. The greatest gift we can give one each other is the gift of emotion; to really share what we feel with others and let others know how they make us feel. Embodying this theme is all about connecting to people.

Varo Tiptoe Sky is December’s spirit cat guide. She’s on the card for balance and this is a good reminder here. Sharing and letting the feels train pour out is always good, but you gotta make sure you’re not over-doing it. She’ll keep me centered and grounded as I learn just how much love and gratitude to dump on my friends. She’ll also remind me how to find my own temperance for when the emotions threaten to overtake me.

And this closes this year-long series on using tarot (and oracle cards) to help guide you through a year’s worth of planning goals, working on projects, and going deeper in your own life. I doubt I’ll be doing the same 36 card layout next year. This was a lot to process and deal with (both on a blog writing level, and on a reading processing level). Guess we’ll find out what I decide to do near the end of this month.

Do you have any cool year-long planning spreads or ideas? Let me know, I’m always on the lookout for these things.

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November 2018 Planning Spread

In this post, I’ll attempt to demystify November’s 3 card mini-spread from my Overview of 2018 spread. To recap, the three decks I used were The Enchanted Map, Triple Goddess Tarot, and Spirit Cats. I chose these 3 for their ability to give me concise info and for their ability to work together. The Enchanted Map card represents the theme of the month. The Triple Goddess card elaborates ways to achieve the theme. The Spirit Cats card gives me a guide card whose energy I can call upon when I need support.

Theme: #11 Balancing Act
How: 8 of pentacles
Helper: passion

November 2018’s 3-card spread

Balancing Act is perfect for that November energy where winter holidays meet the daily hustle. If this month looks like past Novembers, I’ll need to use this theme as a shield to keep away energies which drain me. This card forces us to examine what we are doing in our life. Where are we doing “too much”? How out of whack do we feel? If there’s areas that can be moved out, to cut them. It’s time to take back a life spinning out of control and build in some sanity.

The 8 of Pentacles leads the charge on how to do this. It takes dedication, focus, and yes…hard work to bring some balance into life. We need to be sure the path we’re setting down is do-able and achievable. If the balance is external (like cleaning or decluttering) then there’s definitely hard physical, and mental, work to be had. And we must be strong in our convictions to stick to the plan, no matter what. That’s how I’ll be achieving balance this month. With luck, this becomes a new habit so I don’t have to repeat the cycles again and again.

The spirit cat of this month’s name is Ember and she’s all about passion. Passion is perfect for this planning cycle because without being in love with what you’re doing, it feels like pulling teeth. I believe anything we love doing (like writing or reading tarot) should be fun, first and foremost. If it stops feeling fun, or if I find myself dragging ass to do it, then I need to stop and re-evaluate what is going on. Do I axe the activity from my life, or do I find the passion. Ember will remind me what passion is and where I can find, kindle, and keep it going.