I’ve been teaching my tarot course to a group for the first time ever. Before this I only taught one-on-one but it’s so nice to see how people learn in a group and I have been loving it.
One of the consistent questions that comes up very often is “Why can’t I hear my intuition?”. Maybe you’ve said something like that yourself. Or maybe you’ve looked at a professional reader and wondered how they do it. How do they hear or see something?
Our instinct is always to try harder. More effort will produce results. If I just think harder, if I just meditate harder, if I just keep trying, I will make my intuition work by sheer force of will.
Unfortunately this is the exact behavior that makes it so hard to hear our intuition.
We are conditioned to that. We grow up believing hard work pays off and if we haven’t seen the results we want then we should just work harder. It’s okay that our first instinct is to go to our trained behavior.
The truth is that it’s less effort that actually helps. I think prayer is us asking a question to God, Source, The Universe, your higher self (pick your fave) and meditation is listening for the answer. Intuition is what happens in the middle. When we start to relax, we are able to hear little impulses or messages coming through.
Our only job is to notice what comes up.
The reason it’s so hard for us to hear our intuition is because we are trained to ignore it. We are trained from the time we are very young to outsource our wisdom. We go to school and church. We learn from our parents. All of that is really important. What we miss out on is the ability to learn and experiment with what is best for us. We aren’t taught to listen and to hear our own intuition.
I fully believe we can return to this inner hearing with a little guidance and practice. So often what I’m doing in a tarot or Reiki session is validating what a client already knows intuitively. They just need to hear someone confirm it so they don’t feel crazy.
If you think that you can’t hear your intuition, I promise that it doesn’t mean that you don’t have it or that it’s not talking to you.
In fact, I bet I can prove it to you right now. We are most aware of our intuition when it is trying to keep us safe. So I bet you have had an experience that you couldn’t explain that goes something like this: You meet someone for the first time and just had a bad feeling about them right away. You don’t know anything about them but something just feels “off”. They are perfectly nice to you and seem personable and normal. You immediately ignore it and just assume you’re being judgemental or jealous.
And what happens when we get those impulses? We start explaining them away. Maybe I just saw something that looked off. Maybe it was a coincidence. Our brains are lazy and they want to logically explain things that don’t make sense away.
Maybe you start a friendship or relationship with that person only to find out, a short time later that they are actually manipulative or a liar, or even violent. Then you blame yourself, for not knowing better because you had that “off” feeling early on and wouldn’t trust it.
So then we end up right back where we started – confused, not trusting our intuition, or just plain thinking we don’t have it. And the cycle continues until we start to interrupt it and train ourselves to listen to and question those intuitive impulses.
This month I am opening the doors again to my High Priestess Embodiment Workshop that is a training entirely on how to connect to your intuition. The High Priestess is the card that reminds us of our ability to connect to our intuition in any moment to find what’s best for us. This workshop is entirely virtual and combines lecture, meditation, journaling and a mini yoga practice to help you get in touch with your own intuition. You don’t need any tarot training or understanding as this is an intuition workshop. If you are interested in learning more you can sign up for the waitlist here to be the first to know when the doors open.
I can hardly believe it’s been a year since I left my corporate job and went full time with Star, Sage & Spirit. As much work as it is it does feel a bit like I blinked my eyes and year flew by. Hard to believe that I wrote my first big post over a year ago. I was so scared to put it out there and just look at me now!
I am so proud of what I’ve done this year. For the first time I can remember, I gave myself some time to rest. I took a couple months over the summer to actually chill out. For as long as I could remember, I was a person with multiple jobs. Becoming my own boss allowed me the true luxury to have time to think about what I really wanted to be doing with my time and energy. I am so grateful that I got to do that because I really needed it.
By the time the fall rolled around I was busier than I had ever been. October is a big time of year as a tarot reader but I really packed it in with a Spiritual Expo, a residency at Chaddsford Winery, workshops, speaking at two different events and yoga teacher training.
Over the past year I’ve done readings and treatments for hundreds of people, I’ve taught 300 + yoga classes, and quite a few workshops. I also launched my first online workshop with my High Priestess Tarot Embodiment workshop back in February and my first course, Practical Tarot for Everyday Intuitives which just started this month. I am so excited to be doing this work, and honestly happy that I already had the plans to take my work online this year.
Covid-19 threw a real wrench into my plans for the year in all realms of my business. As much business as I do online, a lot of my clients are dealing with ongoing challenges to their finances, child-care, and exhaustion.
I am very grateful that I made a plan for my year back in December that already included getting more of my business online. I don’t know what I would have done if I had to start from square one.
I am also grateful for my community. I have met so many other incredible soloprenuers this year and having that community back in my life has helped me feel more confident and less alone on this path. I’m a social person and community support has been one of the most important things for my growth this year. I have a wonderful community of friends who push me outside of my comfort zone and keep me accountable to myself.
This year has brought so many lessons for me and I wanted to share them today.
Lesson 1: No matter how much you want someone to show you the path, everyone has to cut their own.
No one has the exact blueprint for you, except for you. This is a tough pill to swallow for people like myself who love to have a blueprint for how things are done.
I wanted to know the right way. I read books, did a lot of business and marketing training, but ultimately I’m the boss. I have to decide how things work.
Sure, I’ve benefited from the help of other entrepreneurs and coaches, but largely when you work for yourself you have to be willing to adapt, let go of things that aren’t working.
Setting “work” hours was a simple and effective way to keep myself from losing my mind. It sounds silly but I learned this back when I started working from home at my last job. I am the type of person who will just work always if I don’t set some boundaries on my time. This kept me from scheduling clients at all hours and also forced me to step away from my work and do stuff for fun.
Lesson 2: You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
Everyone has their own idea of how work is done. This goes across fields but I think it’s especially present in my tarot work. I spend A LOT of time taking apart the ideas and preconceived notions people have about tarot from religion and pop culture.
Some people come in expecting me to talk to their loved ones in spirit just because I’m a medium but in general I keep tarot separate from mediumship. To me they are two different channels. Sometimes a spirit might pop in but for the most part when I’m doing a tarot reading I am tuning in to the energy of the person sitting in front of me. I’ve had several people disappointed or frustrated because they don’t understand that being a medium isn’t just having a constant conversation with the other side.
I’ve learned to have more clear service descriptions and to enforce boundaries around that. Some people handle this better than others, and I have to accept that some people will always feel entitled to more of my time and energy. That is true no matter what job I’ve had.
However, the clarity that this has given me around my work has been invaluable. I’ve spent this year crafting and reworking my offerings into something much more clear and refined and now the clients that I have are very aware of what they are buying and are open and present for the work. I cannot understate how important this has been.
I was also fired from two different yoga studios over the past year. Both of those were because I wasn’t willing to bend to the will of people who wanted to make more profit off of my hard work.
I have always been a person that speaks up and asks questions when other people are afraid to. I don’t mind going first. That said, going first is tough. It often makes you the disrupter but I have made a point to always ask in a constructive way even when I understand. I received some truly nasty feedback, but I also know that it’s not really about me and that helped me bounce back.
The moment you make peace with people not liking you, is the moment you are free.
At the end of the day, you are the person that needs to feel comfortable with the energy exchange no matter what the job is. When you worry about people liking you, or what they think, you stop valuing your work in an authentic way.
Lesson 3: You have to LOVE the work.
I love my work. I have felt drawn to healing my whole life and it wasn’t until I found Reiki and energy work that it clicked.
I also love watching things come together for people with tarot. I often feel like I’m confirming thoughts or feelings my clients have and validating their own intuition. Watching people grow and trust themselves more has been such a gift.
This is also true with teaching tarot. Watching students begin to understand how their intuition works for them, trusting themselves, and having tools to better advocate for their needs has been so rewarding.
Being true to keeping the love alive did mean taking a step away from mediumship this year. While I do love the work and it has brought about profound transformation for me and others, It can also be very draining. In particular with everything going on right now with covid-19 I’ve had to take a step away from this work.
It is hard for me to keep my vibration high and keep a clear connection to the other side when I’m experiencing a lot of fear myself. It has also just been a very transitional time for A LOT of spirits which has made it difficult to hear through the noise.
Lesson 4: You have to be willing to shift over time.
(Insert COVID 19 joke here) Obviously this year has been one of having to let go of the formats we are used to and that has been true for many businesses. One of the things I’ve realized with switching to so much customer facing time, is that I’ve needed to shift my expectations of myself.
I’ve spent most of my career sitting at a desk so this was a big adjustment and I underestimated how tiring it can be to stay present when you’re face to face with clients. I’ve adjusted my schedule a lot. I have also shifted my offerings and noticed how much I enjoy teaching. It allows me to do the same things I do one on one but reach more people. This wasn’t my original plan when I started a year ago but I have adjusted and really loved teaching and building community.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from all of my healing work it is how much we all truly have in common. I hear similar struggles shared by so many clients and teaching in workshops, free training, and on online forums allow me to speak to these things that are so collective, and it helps us all feel less alone. Especially when we are physically isolated.
Lesson 5: Walk Your Talk
If you’ve been reading the blog you have seen me posting all about how I use tarot in my business but there’s a lot more that I do to incorporate my work into everyday life. I truly learn so much from my own spiritual practices that I work to share with students. Teaching from experience keeps me grounded and accountable to keep up my own work.
I even did my own business year ahead spread to celebrate.
Looks like the theme of the next year is going to be getting more clear about what I really want to be doing. Getting more comfortable with boundary setting when it comes to my work and being more discerning about what still feels in alignment for me and what I might need to let go of. I can still be a little guilty of doing a lot of free labor because I just want to help everyone so that’s been on my radar for a while.
I also see a greater opportunity to feel more stable. Although a lot changed this year and a lot of unexpected challenges came up, I think that I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t and how to give things up that aren’t working. This year looks like it will give me an opportunity to set up greater structure which will hopefully save me time and energy.
I also have made a point to find support in the areas where I struggle. So this year I’ve invested in some technology to make things easier and a tech support person for when I get stuck. There’s tremendous value in saving myself that stress, even if it’s a bit of a stretch financially.
Lesson 6: Be afraid but do it anyway
This is maybe the most important lesson I’ve learned so far. Growth only happens when you get outside of your comfort zone. I’ve done a lot of uncomfortable things this year. Putting myself out there on social media is scary. It opens me up to criticism and it brings me face to face with imposter syndrome but in those moments where I’m most scared, I know there’s a lesson on the other side. It’s usually not so scary once I actually do it.
I still have days when fear runs the show but they are fewer and farther between.
I am so grateful to be one year in. I’ve learned so much. I have the most incredible clients and students and I am so happy to be doing this work. I also have an incredible group of fellow entrepreneurs who have offered advice and community to me and I’m very grateful for them as well.
I also wanted to give a shoutout to my partner, Mike. He’s always here behind the scenes giving me hugs when I’m discouraged, editing my training videos and audio, and taking beautiful photos of me. Thank you for supporting my vision, even when I’m not great at articulating it.
Finally, in honor of my one year anniversary and to thank all of the amazing clients and friends who have supported me this year, I am offering a FREE online workshop this Friday, May 22nd at 1PM ET in partnership with Healers Wanted. My Lovers Card Tarot Embodiment workshop will teach a blueprint of how you can best advocate for the love and support you need in your life, not just from others, but also from yourself. You can sign up here.
The Netflix binge continued into week four of our quarantine here in Pennsylvania. I figured I would make the most of it by bringing you more Tarot in Pop Culture.
This week I watched Wine Country which Stars Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler and came out a few months back.
When it first came out, I had multiple friends reach out to ask if I was getting paid $475 per half hour for tarot parties. No friends, sadly, I am not.
Wine Country tells the story of a group of friends who go for a trip to California Wine Country to celebrate one their 50th birthdays and to reconnect as friends. Amy Poehler’s character has a tight itinerary for the entire weekend which includes tarot readings for the group.
The reader arrives and complains about how the house was not marked and then says “I’m a psychic, not Magellan.” That gave me a good chuckle.
I find that frequently clients expect me to read their minds. I should know why they are getting a reading but being psychic isn’t like I’m reading your mind. Things don’t come in as clearly as we speak to each other as humans.
But I digress.
Anyway, Amy Poehler’s character greets Madame Sunshine, who comes into their rental house, immediately insults the space declaring she will have to “smudge the heck out of the space”.
Then she states that they need to go to a different room that is not “contaminated”.
The rules of social grace also apply to being a tarot reader. I would never walk into someones home and insult their space or the energy of their house. I might notice if something was off but I wouldn’t through jabs at a host or hostess.
Then she finally sits down to read.
What I found most interesting about this is that she reads for each woman in front of the rest of the group. She doesn’t ask any questions or get any insight as to what they want to focus on. She simple pulls a card and then starts reading.
As a rule, I try to keep readings at a party off to the side so that people can have privacy, since readings can tend to become very personal very quickly. If I can be in a separate room, it’s even better because it allows the client to feel more comfortable opening up. I’ve given some really powerful readings in that type of environment, even though they are typically very short readings.
As a rule I try not to ever give a reading in front of other people, unless the sitter specifically requests it because you can’t be sure of what will come up and how comfortable they will be talking about it in public.
However, in a movie, I see how it can help for comedic effect and to move the plot along.
I also find it interesting that she pulls one card per person. You can certainly gain some insight from a single card pull but not nearly as much as with a few cards, and even with short readings you can usually find enough time to pull at least three cards.
The second sitter who come up for her reading asks Madam Sunshine a question, which she ignores and just continues her reading. Not only is this rude, but it’s also a no-no. Questions are like the filter you put the card through, so if the sitter has a specific question in mind it can completely change the meaning of the card. That’s why I always offer clients the opportunity to pick a topic or a specific question at the beginning of their reading.
Then, she pulls the Death card. She reads it as transformation and metamorphosis and I was thinking “Finally, a movie that actually doesn’t use the old death card = death trope”…but I thought too soon. In the next breath says, “But it can also mean death is coming.”
By the time, she gets around the group reading, the women are all so freaked out and discouraged they tell her not to bother. She pulls the cards, looks at them and says, “Yeah, you’re right, nevermind.” This sends the group into a panic asking what it says and is it bad.
This part puzzled me because she pulled the Seven of Cups, The Four of Wands, and Temperance. She tells them they surround themselves with battles, that they have been intertwined and dueling for thousands of years, and that they need to shed their tough shells that have built up over time if they are going to remain friends. There’s a lot of secrets. Finally she says, “From one old lady to another, get over your shit, cause it is later than you think. That will be $475.”
I would have read that same spread as trying to fit too much into a short period of time, a message to focus on quality time, not quantity and to focus on the moment of connection, and try to stay present with each other. There’s healing to be found in our connection with our friends if we can get over the pettiness that keeps you bickering. Bring your focus back to the strengths in your relationships and what brought you together in the first place.
As for getting paid $475 for a half hour reading…I laughed out loud. Sadly, that is not my rate right now, but I did get a kick out of it.
Overall I found this representation to be pretty typical for hollywood. I was a little disappointed but I also recognize where it is a convenient plot point to stir up tension between the friends and also added a certain level of comedic effect. And of course, it’s important to approach readings with a sense of humor, so I suppose they nailed that.
If you are interested in a tarot party, I am currently offering online tarot parties as an option for a fun socially-distant night in with friends. I allow clients to hang out in the virtual zoom room and chat with each other, while I do readings in a separate breakout room where I do the individual readings. You can email me email@example.com to book now.
Since we have been stuck at home for a while now I have been getting deep into my Netflix queue and catching back on both some good and bad shows. Among those I was long overdo to watch was the last season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix.
And there, early in season two (Season 2 Episode 4 to be exact) an episode featuring a tarot reader. I was thrilled to see what kind of portrayal this show would offer. I find the perception of tarot in pop culture to be interesting. Over and over in older movies or scary movies, there’s this trope of an old, haggard-looking reader who pulls the Death card and predicts the death of our beloved characters. I wanted to tease out a couple of recent references of tarot in the media to explore what is accurate and inaccurate about these portrayals.
In this episode, a mysterious Tarot reader arrives at Dr Serberous’ House of Horrors seemingly out of nowhere. She rushes in from the rain and asks if she could give some readings.
A few moments later, Sabrina arrives, and is offered a reading which she skeptically decides to sit in for. The reader draws the magician card and says that he’s a handsome trickster that few women can resist. Then she draws the 3 of swords and the tower reversed.
Sabrina is transported into a daydream/alternate world where she suspects her boyfriend, Nick, might still be seeing his exes or sharing private information about their relationship with those same exes. In a fit of frustration she refuses to be his assistant in his magic show act for the school talent show. However when the talent show comes, her jealousy gets the best of her again and she volunteers to be an assistant for his last trick. The trick makes her float in the air on her own, which is at first exciting. Then, one of Nick’s exes increases the power of the spell and she keeps floating up, through the roof of the school, and through the atmosphere until she’s floating through space, frozen solid.
We are taken back to the present moment where a stunned Sabrina says to the tarot reader, “That’s not actually going to happen, is it? I’m not going to freeze to death in outer space?”
“We don’t read the cards, child, the cards read us. They whisper secret truths. In this case it’s not the boy you need to fear. Believe your trickster and him alone. You need not fear the dark path…”
Next, Sabrina’s friend Theo sits down for a reading. The readers pulls the Knight of Swords and The Wheel of Fortune and Theo is transported into a daydream/alternate reality. Theo, who also happens to speak and communicate with spirits, gets advice from an ancestor to use the magic that Sabrina’s family has access to, to help him fully transition into his truest form.
In the middle of the night, he sneaks into the Spellman house, finds a spell to help with gender transition and completes it on his own. When he wakes in the morning, he is finally in the body that aligns with how he feels and he is thrilled. By the end of the day, things have taken a terrifying shift, as he discovers that a side-effect of the spell has started to turn his body into a tree.
When he comes back to the present moment with the reader, she advises him that it’s a warning to not try to do everything on his own, and to reach out for help early on, to get the support he needs with the process.
The cut-away daydreams are a pretty dramatic representation of a reading but this whole episode, as character after character gets their readings, we see how the cards are just presenting information about what we might experience if we follow a particular path. The characters get insight into their fears and what might be clouding their perceptions. They also get advice that reinforces what they already know in their hearts.
Sabrina gets reminded that lying once doesn’t mean that person is always a liar. Theo learns that he has the love and support of a lot of people who want to see him get what he wants but in a safe and supported way. And each of the rest of the characters get their concerns validated while also getting some direction and confirmation of their own intuitive hunches.
I really appreciated this representation of the tarot. The show itself goes through a bit of a spookier, creepier lense but in general the way that tarot is presented is more in line with my reading style.
No, I don’t transport my clients to an alternate reality where their worst fears play out. What I do see is that so many clients come in with very real fear in their hearts. They want guidance, and often they are afraid they will hear that their greatest fear will come true.
I’ve had several people tell me they aren’t ready for a reading yet because they aren’t prepared to hear what they might be fearing. (I even have people who are nervous to be around me now because they are afraid I’m going to “sense” something about them that they might not want me to.)
There’s a lot of wisdom in waiting to have a reading until you can be totally open. I find that the best readings come from clients being really willing to question their desired outcome. Often, we are missing some part of the bigger picture and tarot offers the opportunity to focus on that.
What I particularly liked is that the reader in this episode didn’t tell the characters what to do, but offered them information to inform their decisions. This is something I have always said. Tarot is about getting more information to inform your decisions, not about the cards or the reader making the decision for you. It is a practice in empowerment.
The whole thing is ruined a bit by the reader having an agenda in each of the readings she gives. Good tarot really involves removing your own opinion and ego from the equation, but as far as everything I’ve seen in movies and TV shows this wasn’t too bad.
Overall I found this episode to be accurate in its portrayal of tarot. I do wish we could do without the old, haggard, lady-in a-turban trope and the idea of tarot only being done in a creepy environment. However, in terms of how tarot is typically portrayed in the media, I really liked this use of the cards to move the plot along and offer each character insight into their concerns, even if the show is cheesy.
I actually wrote this blog at the beginning of last week, before everything changed so drastically. It’s even more appropriate now that so many different entrepreneurs and self-employed folks are having to majorly adjust the way they do business to try to survive in lean times.
This week I watched as all the local yoga studios in the area began to close their doors. I talked to friends, students, and personal clients of mine who were experiencing intense anxiety to balance safety, sanity, and still keep the lights on. It is a hard choice to make because I know for myself and so many of my teacher friends, we all feel tremendous guilt letting our students down. And those of us who teach full time also have a lot of fear about how to make ends meet in the meantime.
It’s all really perfect timing because I have been working specifically on my Moon Card Tarot Embodiment workshop. Last weekend I did this workshop all about the Moon card and working with your shadow. The class was about facing the scary emotional things that we try to breeze over. It’s about the end to spiritual-bypassing and the beginning of radical honesty. It’s about learning to sit with discomfort, and make no mistake, my friend, these are VERY uncomfortable times.
The fear and anxiety are very real. This kind of disaster brings up major base level, root chakra issues of safety security, health, and financial freedom. People are feeling fear on a lot of fronts and while I planned this class back in the fall for Pisces season because the Moon Card is the tarot card for Pisces, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
I’ve been dealing with my own brand of shadow work lately. Sharing yourself in a public way, on the internet can open you up to criticism and imposter-syndrome and I’ve been dealing with a bit of both. It’s okay. I’m a tough cookie, but I did want to talk a little bit today about how to navigate working for yourself when you feel discouraged.
I’ve learned so much about the importance of community over the past few months. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: working for yourself full-time can be very lonely. You don’t have a tech support team, or people to brainstorm with, and you don’t have anyone patting you on the back when you do a good job.
Since I started teaching yoga I’ve had a deep appreciation of community. It helped me get on my feet when I was a new teacher and I continue to feel supported by so many of my teachers friends. I feel it especially during times like these when we are all feeling the crunch.
I’ve also seen how wonderful community has been for our yoga teacher trainees with our first teacher training this year. Our students really stepped up and supported each other in the kindest ways as they began teaching and finding their own voices. They continue to do so even after they have all graduated and are getting out on their own and it’s so amazing to watch.
In December, I participated in a virtual business planning retreat for female entrepreneurs. During the retreat I had a chance to bond with so many amazing women from so many different industries. It was a wonderful opportunity to brainstorm problems and get new ideas and support through the community. I also have a new entrepreneur buddy, Megan, who is an audiobook narrator, and who I chat with every week about how we are doing with hitting our weekly goals.
For the past month and a half I have been in an incubator program with eleven other awesome witchy, creators. The purpose of the program is to break through mental blocks and limiting beliefs, and to give us a practical pathway to follow to create our first program launch.
I have been working really hard on my first tarot course and it’s brought up a lot of imposter syndrome and internal stories. I tell myself the market is saturated. So many other programs already exists. Who am I to teach? Can I even teach something that came so naturally to me?
My coach, Sarah, and her community have allowed me to ask these questions and show up with an undefended heart for feedback and constructive criticism. The program has also allowed me to participate in others’ success and cheer on my peers while they are doing their own deeply vulnerable work. Every victory for them feels like one of my own.
So I wanted to write this today as an ode to everyone in my community and all those who have been a listening ear to me so far, all those who have reached out over the past week, and all those who will reach out in the future. I am lucky to have each and every one of you in my life.
And if you are a budding entrepreneur starting your business in the wake of a global pandemic and looking for support and community, don’t hesitate to reach out and find your own group of like-minded friends. It’s impossible to understand the value of having someone who understands your struggle, listens intently, and offers feedback until you experience it. There are tons of facebook communities, instagram friends, local community groups. Find your people and don’t be shy. You never know who will be able to help you out when you’re feeling down or who you will be able to help out.
If you are looking for ways to support me during this time, I will be offering live yoga classes online via the studios I teach at and my own instagram (@starsagespirit) and facebook. I also offer tarot readings and distance reiki via videochat and I am extending my hours to accommodate In addition, if you missed my moon card class yesterday you can send me an email and if you will provide a donation, I will send you the link to watch the replay.
I am also doing an online spring equinox workshop this weekend, Saturday, March 21 from 11am-1PM. This workshop will welcome in the new season with a half vinyasa, half restorative yoga flow, intention setting for the new season, and a healing guided meditation to provide healing and stress relief. Yoga is a wonderful way to get back in touch with your body and to help you feel more grounded and peaceful during this time of heightened stress. You can sign up here.
10% of the proceeds from both workshops will also be donated to the Aim High Studio Food Kitchen in Collegeville, PA to help them serve and nurture my local community in Montgomery County, PA in this challenging time for so many less fortunate families.
I will be updating more throughout the week so be sure to keep an eye out for more online offerings to help you from going stir crazy. Stay healthy and safe out there.
When I was a kid, Are you Afraid of the Dark was a show on Nickelodeon, where a bunch of teenagers, who called themselves “The Midnight Society”, sat around a camp fire in the woods and told scary stories. I was way into it. Spooky stories, campfires, unsupervised youths…it was basically what I imagined being a teenager would be like.
Although as an adult it begs the question, where were these kids parents and why were they allowed to start fires in the woods alone at night? Aren’t forest fires a concern? Do most teens even know how to start a fire?
But enough motherly questions…
I was thinking about this show as we entered into Pisces season on February 19th. The tarot card that coordinates with Pisces is the Moon and the moon card is all about sitting with discomfort and embracing our shadow side. Less of the thing that goes bump in the night, and more the thing that goes bump in all of our interpersonal relationships. This kind of scary is what we try to hide in all our close friendships and intimate interactions.
The fact is we are all afraid of this dark.
During their transitional time of the year, when the weather is starting to warm (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), it can be a time of deep reflection. We are far enough away from our entry into the new year to have lost touch with our goals or resolutions for the year, which can bring about a lot of shame.
The moon card is all about exploring deep truth within ourselves. Are we ready to make the changes we might have agreed to at the beginning of the year? Do we want to hold these resolutions for a real reason or do they just sound good to us? Why might we be struggling to focus on goals that are supposed to be important to us?
These questions and this exploration can bring up deep shame that is self-imposed or even learned from our family system. Remember, you don’t need to have a background that is rife with trauma for shame to be an expertly wielded weapon in your world.
The fact is we are all afraid of this dark. The uncomfortable things that come up in our daily lives. We all struggle to be ourselves because we’re afraid of being judged. We crave connection and we all sit in our own little pods, hoarding the dark and heavy things about ourselves and presenting just the parts that we access to be socially acceptable.
Even the way people present those things on social media is very curated and neat. A picture of a woman saying how she struggles with depression with one single, beautiful tear streaming down her cheek, all while the rest of her makeup is perfect.
Give me a break, Instagram Ingrid!
I’m currently participating in a business incubator program to help me authentically create and market my first ever full tarot reading course. I’m in the program with ten other creators and entrepreneurs and I’ve been watching the moon card play out in real life over the first month of our interactions.
So many of these folks are coming forward with deep shame and imposter-syndrome about their own experience-level or their product itself. So many of us deal with very real emotional wounds that keep us afraid of stepping up as the most authentic version of ourselves. It is hard work and I’m so honored by the vulnerability and raw honesty of the people in this program with me, because so often they are voicing the things that I’m feeling, but struggled to articulate.
It’s been enlightening for me to notice and be coached out of the ways in which I hold myself back. I haven’t even fully shared my Facebook business page because I’m worried what people from my “old life” will think. I’m worried all those ex-boyfriends, old co-workers, high school friends will think I’ve gone off the deep end.
Modern American society is focused almost entirely on achievement, wealth, and doing as much as possible to succeed. We tend to glorify an underdog story of hard work and strife and we vilify those who things come easy to. But only if that underdog story isn’t too messy. Only if it’s short-term and fits into a lovely little story package.
We have so much programming that working harder, longer, or faster is the solution to everything. We embrace a culture of business. How many times have you asked a friend how they are, or been asked yourself and go automatically and without really thinking to the phrase “I’m good, just soooooo busy.”
These are things we all do.
The moon card invites us to slow down and take stock of the things that make us uncomfortable. It’s an invitation for us to observe the less social-media-ready side of ourselves. It reminds us to turn away from the cult of busy-ness and acknowledge what comes up when we sit still and take stock of how we are spending our time and energy or how we are showing up in our work and personal life. The moon is a reflection of what is just under the surface, that we might be unconscious of, but if we take a moment to pause and look at our behavior pattern, might come to the surface with a host of unpleasant emotions.
The more we can do this work and not feel afraid of the messy thing that might come up, the more we grow and change. This shadow work is about showing up and starting to see ourselves in clearer light, to understand our behaviors, and to begin to anticipate when shame and doubt come up for us.
When we face the darkness, it loses its power. It becomes less frightening.
This month, I am doing an in person Moon Card Tarot Embodiment Workshop at Nectar Yoga Studio in Phoenixville, PA on Saturday, March 7th from 1:30-3:30 PM. This workshop will combine discussion and theory on the Moon Card, pranayama and breathwork to release shame, yoga, meditation, and journaling. I am looking forward to holding space for deep emotional processing. With this type of radical self-honesty we can release ourselves from being a prisoner of shame. There are still a few spots left in this workshop and you can sign up here.
A couple months ago, I had my first appointment that didn’t go so well. I’m fortunate that this is really the first time this has happened since I have been doing this work.
It was all due to a communication issue. The client was under the impression that because I’m a medium, I would bring mediumship into everything that I do.
She had come in for a 2020 Year Ahead Tarot Session and was disappointed that I wasn’t connecting with her loved ones in spirit. On my website I keep these offerings separate and I use specific language for each. In tarot I’m reading the clients energy and giving them insight on their life and struggles that come up for them. (This is not the case for all readers but this is how it works for me).
That was not what this client wanted. She was very frustrated that I was not giving her a mediumship reading, despite the fact that she did not book a mediumship reading. About twenty minutes in, she stopped the session and said she really didn’t feel like it was connecting the way she wanted so I asked for some clarification on what she meant.
Did she feel that I wasn’t accurately getting a picture of her situation? No.
She said she knew what I told her was what was going on, and it made sense that she knew she needed to work on those things. Everything I had told her was accurate and connected with her current circumstances. But she was under the impression that because I’m a medium I would be connecting to spirit and bringing through messages because that’s what she experienced when she went to another reader. I reiterated what I always say at the beginning of my sessions that we all read a little bit differently, but that this type of reading is meant to read her energy, not her loved ones in spirit.
So I made what I thought was a good business decision, I stopped the session. I told her that maybe we just weren’t a good fit, and told her I would refund her payment and I did so as soon as she left.
That is a violation of my no refund policy but I wanted to do right by her, and even though I had already invested my time and energy. As a new business owner it was more important for me to have someone leave happy even if they didn’t get what they want, than finish a reading that they weren’t receptive to and try to force it.
I think this is one of the hardest things as a reader. You aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. You have to try not to take it personally.
I wanted to talk about this today to bring up a few things.
First of all, if you are a reader or any kind or a healer, really try to take your ego out of your work. When you care so much and love what you do, it can be easy to take things very personally. Sometimes you will have readings that are lights out. You will feel super connected and super in sync with your client.
Other times clients come in with very real pain that is consuming them and with a desire to hear a specific thing. They might be disappointed when they don’t get the exact message they wanted out of the session and while this is disappointing for both client and reader, it’s not personal. It will feel personal, but it’s not.
And then there are clients who won’t be satisfied no matter what you do. You also have to make peace with that as well.
For example, this same client felt a need, after I had apologized for the misunderstanding about what service she was purchasing and sent her a full refund, to still send me another email insulting my space, my reading style, and my tarot cards and explained how because I was a medium she “would expect to see those skills on display” . She also implied that because she felt my fees were high, she felt entitled to that.
It was a lesson to me on boundaries. I let her cross one boundary by giving her the refund, and so she felt entitled to more. You have probably experienced this with boundaries in your own life. If you give someone an inch, they feel entitled to a mile.
It’s been a huge gift for me to be able to take my ego out of the equation. I am in charge of providing the reading or healing session, translating what I see and hear, and giving my full attention, compassion, and concentration to my clients. But I am not responsible for their outcome.
So often with spiritual work, clients come in thinking that a practitioner is required to give them what they want. They are focused entirely on the outcome they want. But your job as a practitioner is to provide the space for them, to provide a healing environment, to listen to their concerns, and provide them with what insights you have. You have an obligation to give them what they need, which may not be entirely in alignment with what they want.
I think of it like going to the doctor, you can give the client the medicine, but it’s up to them to take it. Not every client is going to be ready to do what they have to in order to grow. Not every client is going to be ready to hear what you have to say. Part of being a spiritual practitioner, maybe the hardest part, is learning to be okay with that.
This whole experience reminded me how important it is as a service provider to have clear service descriptions and a clear cancellation and refund policy. Setting expectations for clients is paramount.
It is also the responsibility for the client to do their research and be sure that they know what they are purchasing and that they approach readings with an open mind.
So here are my pointers for finding the right practitioner:
Know Your Goal
Whenever you are seeking a service, you should be sure you know what your ultimate goal is. You should be sure that the service that you are purchasing fulfills that goal and that you understand what you are buying. I am always happy to answer questions or direct clients towards the service that is more in line with their goals and almost every reader I know, does this regularly.
It’s in the readers best interest to make sure that the client is set up for success. That’s just good business.
Make Sure You Understand that Practitioners Philosophy and Limitations
I have very specific language on my page about what service is good for which type of issue. I also have a breakdown of my philosophy towards reading and healing in my “About Me” section. I list what I will and won’t read on because there are a lot of legalities, especially in Pennsylvania, about what you can and can’t give advice on. I state clearly that I am not legal, financial, or medical council and this type of work is not included in any of my services.
I also have specific language in my terms and conditions of my services about how I don’t provide refunds, and that while I will give guidance on topics ultimately, my clients have free will.
You should be wary of any reader who acts as though they have all the answers, rather than empowering you to get your own answers or validating what you already intuitively know. Do not give your power away to someone else.
Get a Personal Referral
I am also a big believer in getting and giving personal referrals for any spiritual work. My business is almost exclusively personal referrals, and I love it because it sets clients up for success and I know that the people coming in know exactly what to expect.
I also only see other practitioners that I know personally, have been referred to, or that I have seen how they provide their readings to other people via their website or a podcast.
This will give you a clear expectation of how the reading works, if they have the type of style that you would find helpful, and what kind of questions or prep work you might need to do ahead of time.
I hope that sets all of you up for your best experience with your next intuitive or healing session.
If you are a practitioner, I hope it validates your experience and inspires you to stay firm with your boundaries. Healthy boundaries help you to feel safe as a practitioner, and to build your business without feeling burned out or resentful of the work that you love so much.
If you haven’t taken the time to set clear boundaries, don’t beat yourself up, make the time this week to do it. It doesn’t take very long and it only requires a bit of clarifying language on your website or in your literature. Take the time now to invest in yourself and your business. It only takes a few minutes to do the research and set yourself up for success.
There’s this idea out there that if you listen to your intuition, it will never lead you wrong.
While I do think that is true, I also think that sometimes we can get a little confused by our own perception and our own fear. So the filter that we put the intuitive messages through is the real problem.
In my own practice, I’ll find myself waiting to ask a question until I’m sure I’m ready to hear the answer, even if it’s not what I want to hear. If we approach these questions we pose to our intuition expecting a specific outcome, or with fear about hearing what we don’t want to hear, we can cloud our comprehension of the message.
Intuition is approached best when you try to make yourself as neutral as possible. For me, the messages come through clearest when I have no buy in, either way, and I just want to hear an answer. This is why it’s much easier for me to read for other people than it is to read for myself. When I sit down for a reading with a client, even if I have a strong personal relationship with them, it’s much easier for me to just be a neutral vessel passing the information along.
When I read for myself, I run into all my own worries and fears and I have to do a lot more work to stay clear as I’m reading. For daily check ins, or just random curiosity questions, it’s no problem. However, if I come to my cards or sit in meditation with something that is really bothering me and heavily weighing on my heart, I really struggle to get clarity.
If this happens multiple times on the same topic, that’s when I might turn to a fellow reader friend and ask for some insight. Sometimes the heaviest topics that carry the most fear are the ones we just can’t tackle on our own. That’s why we have friends, therapists, and other readers to give us perspective and guidance when we are too anxious to get a clear answer.
So often when people tell me that their intuition led them wrong, and they start to explain how, I can hear the moment in the story where they got the message, and applied it to their own expectations.
There is nothing wrong with this, it happens to all of us. There are some things it is just hard to be neutral about.
The problem arises when we don’t take responsibility for those expectations, and instead start to assume our intuition is broken, or our intuition led us wrong, or worst of all, assume that means we aren’t intuitive at all. Because intuition is an intangible thing, and very hard to measure, the moment that we feel like it isn’t working for us, we have a tendency to completely write it off and say that it doesn’t work.
I can’t tell you how many times I started pulling cards for myself and would just keep pulling until I got something I liked as an answer. Yes, I teach tarot and yes. I still do this. I am human.
The point is to be aware of your expectations when you go into meditation or when you sit down with your cards. Pay attention to how you are feeling. You don’t have to empty yourself completely or be some kind of robot in order to get the answer but it’s good to be aware of the filter you are putting the answer through.
So how can you become more aware of that and bring more clarity to your intuition?
I recommend a quick writing exercise to help make you aware of what might be coming up for you in a given moment. Sit down with a notebook or journal and take a few deep breaths. Place your left hand palm face up on your left leg and your right hand on your heart and take ten deep slow breaths. Then open your eyes and write answers to these questions.
What fear is coming up for me right now?
What happens if that fear is confirmed?
What do I hope will come through when I tune into my intuition?
What do I think will actually come through?
At this point, I will often ask any guides or angels to help me get clarity and answers that are for my highest good. This can be very helpful to do if you want to start to develop a relationship with your guides or if you are just still feeling very emotional.
Then, take a few moments to sit in meditation or pull some cards. However you like to tune into your intuition, take some time to do that. When you are finished and feel like you have received some guidance, write it down. Then take a look at how the information you got compares to your fears and expectations going in.
When I do this exercise I can normally see where I might have given into fear by how much what I wrote matches up with the question about fear. I can also see if I was able to stay neutral.
You can do this several days in a row and just see if your perception changes. You can also look back over time and notice if you see a pattern.
Having a written log of what fears come up can serve as a great way for you to start to acknowledge your own patterns. Sometimes we are so unaware of our default setting but when we see the same message written down over and over we can start to learn that pattern and over time we might not need to write things down at all.
I hope this helps you become more confident in listening to your own intuition and more compassion for yourself when you are struggling to get a clear answer. You don’t have to be neutral all the time. You can use this exercise to start to work through emotion without it clouding your comprehension of intuitive messages.
Finally, If you are looking for help honing your intuitive gifts, The High Priestess Embodiment Digital Workshop is still open for enrollment. There are only a few spots left in this first time offering and it will only be available until Wednesday, February 19th at 11:59 PM ET. If you enroll in this course you will have access for the lifetime of the course as well as access to all future course updates.
This course is an introduction to connecting with your intuition. It is an entirely self-paced workshop. I firmly believe that intuition is for everyone. In modern society, we are so overstimulated that it can be easy to think we have no access to intuition at all. We start to doubt ourselves and our instincts. This course will provide you with practical tools to connect with your intuition and make decisions with confidence.
If you are tired of giving your power away to self-doubt and have always wanted the tools to start to explore your own intuitive gifts, this is a great place to start. Invest in yourself! If you want to join the workshop you can sign up here.
If you have any questions or feedback on the course or on today’s post please feel free to reach out to me via email sheila at starsagespirit dot com.
Over the past year I have been working on a series of classes all about embodying the energy of certain tarot cards. This has brought about a lot of questions, like how do you do that, and what does embodiment even mean.
Today let’s talk about tarot, how to embody a certain card and bring its energy into your life, and why this is helpful.
Starting off, I wanted to talk a little bit about why tarot. Tarot cards are a tool for divination and reflection. Traditional decks contain 78 cards, each one representing experiences we all go through as humans.
My perspective on reading tarot, which is different than a lot of other readers, is that the cards provide a valuable reflection of our internal landscape. I see the cards as an intuitive tool for guidance. Reading for me becomes less about the cards themselves and more about what they bring up when you reflect on them.
Personally, I can read people without the cards. A fellow reader looked at me during a reading a few months ago and remarked, “you don’t need the cards.”
I know this but i also know that it helps people to see a visual representation of what they are going through or struggling with. The cards provide that touchpoint for people. (I also find it freaks people out less when the cards tell me something. People need a reason why or how a reader knows things.)
The cards can give a glance at what is in store as well but that information is usually less relevant than the reflection.
So what about embodiment?
Embodiment of a card is a way for us to bring that energy into our life in a more tangible fashion. When we think about a certain card we can come up with some ideas of how to get inspired by the energy or feeling of that card, but it can be hard to actually make it feel real to us.
In the embodiment classes I have been teaching, we use discussion to get familiar with the energy of the card. Then we talk about how that applies to everyday life. Then to really embody the card, we do a yoga flow inspired by the energy of that card, we take some time for meditation on some questions around this card and how we can bring it into our everyday life in a more present way.
And why would we want to do this?
There are a whole myriad of reasons.
I will use the High Priestess card as an example. The High Priestess card represents our ability to tap into our own inner knowing and guidance. The card teaches us about our connection to our intuition and how to trust that what we are hearing is right for us.
Talking about the card is great and can be so helpful to bring new ideas to mind, but the embodiment piece is where it really starts to shift from just an idea into a practice. When we start to look at moving intuitively, we start to feel our own internal guidance system switch on. When we meditate on where in our body we feel it when we feel aligned and guided by our intuition versus where we might feel our ego trying to lead us astray, we start to physically recognize the signals our body provides.
The whole experience helps bring the energy of each card to life. Instead of just hearing an idea, it gives you ways to bring it into your daily life.
There are lots of ways to embody the energy of a card. Maybe you’re feeling unstable while moving or starting a new job; you can work with the strength and fortitude of the Emperor card. Perhaps you’re trying to cultivate more patience and understanding your family; you could work with the Temperance card. You could even use The Star Card to help you move through trauma and start to heal.
You can meditate on each of these cards and start to feel in your body. So with the Emperor card,you would bring to mind moments where you felt confident and strong, and then bring that feeling into your body. How did you feel physically when you felt confident and strong? Where do you notice that feeling in your body? How long can you sit with that feeling? Maybe over time you can hold on to that feeling longer.
You can even combine cards and say something like, “I really want to cultivate patience with the Temperance card but I also want to put people in their place when they need it”; maybe by using the Strength card.
The possibilities are endless.
I am very pleased to say that next week, I will be releasing my High Priestess Tarot Embodiment class as an online workshop that you can take at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home. This class offers the opportunity to learn all about intuition. We cover how to embody the High Priestess card, how to notice the physical cues that intuition brings up in our bodies, and how to strengthen intuition with practical exercises.
This class has been one of my passion projects over the past year and I am overjoyed to be bringing it to life in a new format. All the exercises and lessons in this workshop are tools I use in my own practice and development and my goal is to give everyone a playbook for working with their own intuitive talents.
I am very excited to add this option to my offerings after a lot of requests to bring back this offering for people who missed them the first time around.
You can join my email list here to be the first to get the deets about the release. Keep an eye on social media over the next week for a sneak peek.
I’m fresh off a trip to Florida to visit some family and ready to tackle 2020. This time of year when we launch into Capricorn season we tend to have a lot of energy and ambitious, no-nonsense goals.
That’s why so many people head into the year with super aggressive New Year’s resolutions. I watch year after year in my yoga classes how January will have classes packed to the gills only to slowly diminish towards the end of the month, and balance back out to the usual in February.
So why is it so hard for us to set manageable goals?
I’ve been reading a lot about this over the past few weeks with trying to manage my own resolutions and set goals that make sense to me. I think a big part of it is that we have a limited amount of motivation and it’s easy to burn out when you use so much motivation all at once.
Another reason is that a lot of people don’t know the “why” of their goal.
So let’s look at the typical New Year’s resolution, I want to make healthier and more conscious meal choices.
While this is a great goal, what is the actual motivation for doing it? Are you just trying to lose weight? Does it sound good to you? Is it something you’re hoping you will get around to eventually?
When we focus on things that sound good to us, that we haven’t been able to find the motivation for yet, it’s important to ask yourself why it hasn’t been a priority until now.
A few years back I wanted to try to get into running. I absolutely did not enjoy it, but it sounded good to me. I wanted to learn and I thought that was enough and for a few weeks it was. But, after about a month I was running out of steam.
I really took some time to ask myself why I was doing this and why it was important to me. Then, I reflected back on a study I read about how just 30 minutes of cardio exercise three times per week was enough to significantly reduce cancer-risk.
That was it for me. I set a small goal and my running grew from there. After about three months, it was normal for me to run three hour long runs a week. I maintained that for several years and I really learned to enjoy it. It was a commitment I made for myself and my health.
I’m not telling you all this to toot my own horn, it’s really about finding your own motivation.
We tend to set some ambitious spiritual expectations for ourselves as well. My advice is to start small and figure out your why.
Spiritual practice doesn’t have to look like meditation every single day. Maybe that’s not feasible with your schedule. Maybe you say you won’t go more than 3 days without making at least five minutes of meditation. Maybe you vary your types of meditation so you stay motivated and find your favorite type.
You can also find ways to include this in your everyday schedule.
I wanted to bring a journaling practice into my life but I could never find the motivation to be consistent. About three months ago I committed to just five minutes every morning and five minutes every night. That’s ten minutes a day and because it is such a short amount of time, and it’s built into my schedule as soon as a wake up and right before I go to sleep, it’s easy for me to stay with this habit I’ve built.
Give yourself some time this week to really focus on your “why” for your resolutions or goals. Really break down why each one is important to you so that when your motivation wavers, you can come back to your practice with renewed vigor and excitement.
This doesn’t mean you need to sit down for an hour and do breathing exercises or deep meditation. Just give yourself the gift of twenty minutes of quiet and ask yourself a couple of questions. Maybe even write it down so you remember.
I hope 2020 brings you and yours a lot of joy and good fortune. I have a lot of exciting offerings coming up over the next three months so make sure you are paying attention to my weekly emails (you can get on my email list here) and keep an eye on social media.